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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

Sheveluch (Russia) New whaleback dome extruded in late September 2020; intermittent explosions

Erta Ale (Ethiopia) Thermal anomalies persist in the summit crater during May-September 2020

Merapi (Indonesia) Eruptions in April and June 2020 produced ash plumes and ashfall

Semeru (Indonesia) Ash plumes, lava flows, avalanches, and pyroclastic flows during March-August 2020

Kavachi (Solomon Islands) Discolored water plumes observed in satellite imagery during early September 2020

Krakatau (Indonesia) Eruption ends in mid-April 2020, but intermittent thermal anomalies continue

Raung (Indonesia) Eruptions confirmed during 2012- 2013; lava fills inner crater in November 2014-August 2015

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Strombolian activity, gas-and-steam and ash plumes, and a lava flow during June-early July 2020

Fuego (Guatemala) Ongoing explosions, ash plumes, lava flows, and lahars during April-July 2020

Nishinoshima (Japan) Major June-July eruption of lava, ash, and sulfur dioxide; activity declines in August 2020

Turrialba (Costa Rica) New eruptive period on 18 June 2020 consisted of ash eruptions

Etna (Italy) Effusive activity in early April; frequent Strombolian explosions and ash emissions during April-July 2020



Sheveluch (Russia) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New whaleback dome extruded in late September 2020; intermittent explosions

The ongoing eruption at Sheveluch continued during May-October 2020, characterized by lava dome growth, strong fumarolic activity, and several explosions that generated plumes of resuspended ash. Activity waned between November 2019 and April 2020 (BGVN 45:05), and this less intense level of activity continued during the reporting period (table 15). The volcano is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT). The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) throughout.

Notable explosions took place on 13 June, 28 June, 2 August, 24 August, and 7-9 October 2020 (table 15), sending ash plumes more than 1 km above the summit that drifted to distances of between 75 and 310 km. Some of the plumes were described by KVERT as being composed of re-suspended ash. On 28 September a large dacitic block of lava, a “whaleback” dome, was first seen being extruded from the eastern part of the larger lava dome in the summit crater (figure 55); it was given the name “Dolphin” by KVERT.

Table 15. Explosions, ash plumes, and extrusive activity at Sheveluch during May-October 2020. Dates and times are UTC, not local. VONA is Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation. Data courtesy of KVERT and the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Dates Plume altitude Drift Distance and Direction Remarks
13 Jun 2020 5 km 120 km NE Webcam captured an explosion. VONA issued.
28 Jun 2020 -- 140 km E Plume of re-suspended ash. VONA issued.
02 Aug 2020 4.5 km SE, E Moderate explosion produced a small ash plume.
24 Aug 2020 -- 75 km ESE Plume of resuspended ash.
28 Sep 2020 -- -- A new lava block extruded from the E part of the lava dome was first visible.
07-09 Oct 2020 -- 310 km SE Plume of re-suspended ash. VONAs issued.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Photo of the Sheveluch summit showing the new lava block (referred to as “Dolphin”) being extruded in eastern part the lava dome on 28 September 2020. Photo by Yu. Demyanchuk; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

According to KVERT, a thermal anomaly was identified from the lava dome in the summit crater (figure 56) in satellite images every day during the reporting period, except for several days in August and September when weather clouds obscured the view. During the reporting period, thermal anomalies, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, recorded hotspots from 2-13 days per month; after June, the number of days with hotspots gradually diminished every month. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, detected frequent anomalies. NASA recorded high levels of sulfur dioxide above or near Sheveluch during several scattered days in May and June by the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) aboard the Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite, but very little drift was observed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Photo showing typical fumarolic activity from the lava dome at Sheveluch on 18 September 2020. Photo by Yu. Demyanchuk; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

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

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


Erta Ale (Ethiopia) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Erta Ale

Ethiopia

13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal anomalies persist in the summit crater during May-September 2020

Erta Ale is an active basaltic volcano in Ethiopia, containing multiple active pit craters in the summit and southeastern caldera. Volcanism has been characterized by lava flows and large lava flow fields since 2017. This report describes continued thermal activity in the summit caldera during May through September 2020 using information from various satellite data.

Volcanism at Erta Ale was relatively low from May to early August 2020. Across all satellite data, thermal anomalies were identified for a total of 2 days in May, 7 days in June, 4 days in July, 11 days in August, and 15 days in September. Beginning in early June and into September 2020 the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity graph provided by the MIROVA system identified a small cluster of thermal anomalies in the summit area after a brief hiatus from early January 2020 (figure 99). By mid-August, a small pulse of thermal activity was detected by the MIROVA (Middle Infrared Observation of Volcanic Activity) system. Many of these thermal anomalies were seen in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery on clear weather days from June to September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. A small cluster of thermal anomalies were detected in the summit area of Erta Ale (red dots) during June-September 2020 as recorded by the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity data (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of MIROVA.

On 12 June a minor thermal anomaly was observed in the S pit crater; a larger anomaly was detected on 17 June in the summit caldera where there had been a previous lava lake (figure 100). In mid-August, satellite data showed thermal anomalies in both the N and S pit craters, but by 5 September only the N crater showed elevated temperatures (figure 101). The thermal activity in the N summit caldera persisted through September, based on satellite data from NASA VIIRS and Sentinel Hub Playground.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery of Erta Ale on 17 June 2020 showing a strong thermal anomaly in the summit caldera. Sentinel-2 satellite image with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery of Erta Ale showing thermal anomalies in the N and S pit craters on 21 (top left), 26 (top right), and 31 (bottom left) August 2020. On 5 September (bottom right) only the anomaly in the N crater remained. Sentinel-2 satellite image with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Erta Ale is an isolated basaltic shield that is the most active volcano in Ethiopia. The broad, 50-km-wide edifice rises more than 600 m from below sea level in the barren Danakil depression. Erta Ale is the namesake and most prominent feature of the Erta Ale Range. The volcano contains a 0.7 x 1.6 km, elliptical summit crater housing steep-sided pit craters. Another larger 1.8 x 3.1 km wide depression elongated parallel to the trend of the Erta Ale range is located SE of the summit and is bounded by curvilinear fault scarps on the SE side. Fresh-looking basaltic lava flows from these fissures have poured into the caldera and locally overflowed its rim. The summit caldera is renowned for one, or sometimes two long-term lava lakes that have been active since at least 1967, or possibly since 1906. Recent fissure eruptions have occurred on the N flank.

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


Merapi (Indonesia) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptions in April and June 2020 produced ash plumes and ashfall

Merapi, located just north of the city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, is a highly active stratovolcano; the current eruption began in May 2018. Volcanism has recently been characterized by lava dome growth and collapse, small block-and-ash flows, explosions, ash plumes, ashfall, and pyroclastic flows (BGVN 44:10 and 45:04). Activity has recently consisted of three large eruptions in April and June, producing dense gray ash plumes and ashfall in June. Dominantly, white gas-and-steam emissions have been reported during April-September 2020. The primary reporting source of activity comes from Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG, the Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology, a branch of PVMBG), the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

Activity at Merapi dominantly consisted of frequent white gas-and-steam emissions that generally rose 20-600 m above the crater (figure 95). On 2 April an eruption occurred at 1510, producing a gray ash plume that rose 3 km above the crater, and accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions up to 600 m above the crater. A second explosion on 10 April at 0910 generated a gray ash plume rising 3 km above the crater and drifting NW, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions rising 300 m above the crater (figure 96). Activity over the next six weeks consisted primarily of gas-and-steam emissions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Gas-and-steam emissions were frequently observed rising from Merapi as seen on 3 April (left) and 4 August (right) 2020. Courtesy of BPPTKG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Webcam image showed an ash plume rising 3 km above the crater of Merapi at 0917 on 10 April 2020. Courtesy of BPPTKG and MAGMA Indonesia.

On 8 June PVMBG reported an increase in seismicity. Aerial photos from 13 June taken using drones were used to measure the lava dome, which had decreased in volume to 200,000 m3, compared to measurements from 19 February 2020 (291,000 m3). On 21 June two explosions were recorded at 0913 and 0927; the first explosion lasted less than six minutes while the second was less than two minutes. A dense, gray ash plume reached 6 km above the crater drifting S, W, and SW according to the Darwin VAAC notice and CCTV station (figure 97), which resulted in ashfall in the districts of Magelang, Kulonprogo, and as far as the Girimulyo District (45 km). During 21-22 June the gas-and-steam emissions rose to a maximum height of 6 km above the crater. The morphology of the summit crater had slightly changed by 22 June. Based on photos from the Ngepos Post, about 19,000 m3 of material had been removed from the SW part of the summit, likely near or as part of the crater rim. On 11 and 26 July new measurements of the lava dome were taken, measuring 200,000 m3 on both days, based on aerial photos using drones. Gas-and-steam emissions continued through September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Webcam image showed an ash plume rising 6 km above the crater of Merapi at 0915 on 21 June 2020. Courtesy of BPPTKG.

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: Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG), Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology (URL: http://merapi.bgl.esdm.go.id/, Twitter: @BPPTKG); 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/).


Semeru (Indonesia) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

8.108°S, 112.922°E; summit elev. 3657 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes, lava flows, avalanches, and pyroclastic flows during March-August 2020

Semeru in eastern Java, Indonesia, has been erupting almost continuously since 1967 and is characterized by ash plumes, pyroclastic flows, lava flows and lava avalanches down drainages on the SE flanks. The Alert Level has remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4) since May 2012, and the public reminded to stay outside of the general 1-km radius from the summit and 4 km on the SSE flank. This report updates volcanic activity from March to August 2020, using primary information from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and satellite data.

Activity at Semeru consisted of dominantly dense white-gray ash plumes rising 100-600 m above the crater, incandescent material that was ejected 10-50 m high and descended 300-2,000 from the summit crater, and lava flows measuring 500-1,000 m long. Two pyroclastic flows were also observed, extending 2.3 km from the summit crater in March and 2 km on 17 April.

During 1-2 March gray ash plumes rose 200-500 m above the crater, accompanied by incandescent material that was ejected 10-50 m above the Jonggring-Seloko Crater. Lava flows reaching 500-1,000 m long traveled down the Kembar, Bang, and Kobokan drainages on the S flank. During 4-10 March ash plumes up to 200 m high were interspersed with 100-m-high white gas-and-steam plumes. At the end of a 750-m-long lava flow on the S flank, a pyroclastic flow that lasted 9 minutes traveled as far as 2.3 km. During 25-31 March incandescent material found at the end of the lava flow descended 700-950 m from the summit crater (figure 42).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed lava avalanches descending the SSE flank on 26 March 2020. Images using short-wave infrared (SWIR, bands 12, 8A, 4) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Incandescent material continued to be observed in April, rising 10-50 m above the Jonggring-Seloko Crater. Some incandescent material descended from the ends of lava flows as far as 700-2,000 m from the summit crater. Dense white-gray ash plumes rose 100-600 m above the crater drifting N, SE, and SW. During 15-21 April incandescent lava flows traveled 500-1,000 m down the Kembar, Bang, and Kobokan drainages on the S flank. On 17 April at 0608 a pyroclastic flow was observed on the S flank in the Bang drainage measuring 2 km (figure 43). During 22-28 April lava blocks traveled 300 m from the end of lava flows in the Kembar drainage.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. A pyroclastic flow at Semeru on 17 April 2020 moving down the S flank toward Besuk Bang. Photo has been color corrected. Courtesy of PVMBG.

Similar activity continued in May, with incandescent material from lava flows in the Kembar and Kobokan drainages descending a maximum distance of 2 km during 29 April-12 May, and 200-1,200 m in the Kembar drainage during 13-27 May, accompanied by dense white-gray ash plumes rising 100-500 m above the crater drifting in different directions. White gas-and-steam plumes rose 300 m above the crater on 26-27 May. Dense white-to-gray ash plumes were visible most days during June, rising 100-500 m above the crater and drifting in various directions. During 3-9 June incandescent material from lava flows descended 200-1,600 m in the Kembar drainage.

Activity in July had decreased slightly and consisted of primarily dense white-gray ash plumes that ranged from 200-500 m above the crater and drifted W, SW, N, and S. Weather conditions often prevented visual observations. On 7 July an ash plume at 0633 rose 400 m drifting W. Similar ash activity was observed in August rising 200-500 m above the crater. On 14 and 16 August a Darwin VAAC advisory stated that white-gray ash plumes rose 300-400 m above the crater, drifting W and WSW; on 16 August a thermal anomaly was observed in satellite imagery. MAGMA Indonesia reported ash plumes were visible during 19-31 August and rose 200-400 m above the crater, drifting S and SW.

Hotspots were recorded by MODVOLC on 11, 6, and 7 days during March, April, and May, respectively, with as many as four pixels in March. Thermal activity decreased to a single hotspot in July and none in August. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system recorded numerous thermal anomalies at the volcano during March-July; a lower number was recorded during August (figure 44). The NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide page showed high levels of sulfur dioxide above or near Semeru on 18, 24-25, and 29-31 March, and 9 April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Thermal anomalies at Semeru detected during March-June 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. Semeru, the highest volcano on Java, and one of its most active, lies at the southern end of a volcanic massif extending north to the Tengger caldera. The steep-sided volcano, also referred to as Mahameru (Great Mountain), rises above coastal plains to the south. Gunung Semeru was constructed south of the overlapping Ajek-ajek and Jambangan calderas. A line of lake-filled maars was constructed along a N-S trend cutting through the summit, and cinder cones and lava domes occupy the eastern and NE flanks. Summit topography is complicated by the shifting of craters from NW to SE. Frequent 19th and 20th century eruptions were dominated by small-to-moderate explosions from the summit crater, with occasional lava flows and larger explosive eruptions accompanied by pyroclastic flows that have reached the lower flanks of the volcano.

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 (Multiplatform Application for Geohazard Mitigation and Assessment in Indonesia), PVMBG, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


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

Kavachi

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Discolored water plumes observed in satellite imagery during early September 2020

Kavachi is an active submarine volcano in the SW Pacific, located in the Solomon Islands south of Gatokae and Vangunu islands. Volcanism has been characterized by phreatomagmatic explosions that ejected steam, ash, and incandescent bombs. The previous report described discolored water plumes extending from a single point during early 2018 and April 2020 (BGVN 45:05); similar activity was recorded for this current reporting period covering May through September 2020 and primarily using satellite data.

Activity at Kavachi is most frequently observed through satellite images and typically consists of discolored submarine plumes. On 2 September 2020 a slight yellow discoloration in the water was observed extending E from a specific point (figure 22). Similar faint plumes continued to be recorded on 5, 7, 12, and 17 September, each of which seemed to be drifting generally E from a point source above the summit where previous activity has occurred. On 7 September the discolored plume was accompanied by white degassing and possibly agitated water on the surface at the origin point (figure 22).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Sentinel-2 satellite images of a discolored plume (light yellow) at Kavachi beginning on 2 September (top left) and continuing through 17 September 2020 (bottom right). The light blue circle on the 7 September image highlights the surface degassing and source of the discolored water plume. The white arrow on the bottom right image is pointing to the faint discolored plume. Images with “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Krakatau (Indonesia) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption ends in mid-April 2020, but intermittent thermal anomalies continue

Krakatau, located in the Sunda Strait between Indonesia’s Java and Sumatra Islands, experienced a major caldera collapse around 535 CE, forming a 7-km-wide caldera ringed by three islands. Presently, the caldera is underwater, except for three surrounding islands (Verlaten, Lang, and Rakata) and the active Anak Krakatau that was constructed within the 1883 caldera and has been the site of frequent eruptions since 1927. On 22 December 2018, a large explosion and flank collapse destroyed most of the 338-m-high island of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) and generated a deadly tsunami (BGVN 44:03). A larger explosion in December 2019 produced the beginnings of a new cone above the surface of crater lake (BGVN 45:02). The previous report (BGVN 45:06) described activity that included Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and crater incandescence. This report updates information from June through September 2020 using information primarily from Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, also known as Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) and satellite data.

A VONA notice from PVMBG reported that the last eruptive event at Krakatau was reported on 17 April 2020, though the eruptive column was not observed. Activity after that was relatively low through September 2020, primarily intermittent diffuse white gas-and-steam emissions, according to PVMBG. No activity was reported during June-August, except for minor seismicity. During 11-13, 16, and 18 September, the CCTV Lava93 webcam showed intermittent white gas-and-steam emissions rising 25-50 m above the crater.

The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) graph of MODIS thermal anomaly data showed intermittent hotspots within 5 km of the crater from May through September (figure 113). Some of these thermal hotspots were also detected in Suomi NPP/VIIRS sensor data. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed faint thermal anomalies in the crater during June; no thermal activity was detected after June (figure 114).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 113. Intermittent thermal activity at Anak Krakatau from 13 October 2019-September 2020 shown on a MIROVA Low Radiative Power graph. The power of the thermal anomalies decreased after activity in April but continued intermittently through September. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 114. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing a faint thermal anomaly in the crater during 1 (left) and 11 (right) June 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/).


Raung (Indonesia) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Raung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptions confirmed during 2012- 2013; lava fills inner crater in November 2014-August 2015

A massive stratovolcano in easternmost Java, Raung has over sixty recorded eruptions dating back to the late 16th Century. Explosions with ash plumes, Strombolian activity, and lava flows from a cinder cone within the 2-km-wide summit crater have been the most common activity. Visual reports of activity have often come from commercial airline flights that pass near the summit; Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM) has installed webcams to monitor activity in recent years. An eruption in 2015 produced a large volume of lava within the summit crater and formed a new pyroclastic cone in the same location as the previous one. Confirmation and details of eruptions in 2012, 2013, and 2014-2015 are covered in this report with information provided by PVMBG, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), several sources of satellite data, and visitors to the volcano.

Newly available visual and satellite information confirm eruptions at Raung during October 2012-January 2013, June-July 2013, and extend the beginning of the 2015 eruption back to November 2014. The 2015 eruption was the largest in several decades; Strombolian activity was reported for many months and fresh lava flows covered the crater floor. Raung was quiet after the 2015 eruption ended in August of that year until July 2020.

Eruption during October 2012-January 2013. A MODVOLC thermal alert appeared inside the summit crater of Raung on 14 October 2012, followed by another four alerts on 16 October. Multiple daily alerts were reported on many days through 8 November, most within the main crater. Single alerts appeared on 29 November and 1 December 2012 (figure 9). PVMBG raised the Alert Level on 17 October from 1 to 2 due to increased seismicity and raised it further to Level 3 on 22 October. A local news report by Aris Yanto indicted that a minor Strombolian eruption occurred inside the crater on 19 October. Strombolian activity was also observed inside the inner crater on 5 November 2012 by visitors (figure 10); they reported loud rumbling sounds that could be heard up to 15 km from the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Thermal activity at Raung during October and November 2012 included multiple days of multi-pixel anomalies, with almost all activity concentrated within the summit crater. Strombolian activity was observed on 5 November. Image shows all pixels from 23 September-1 December 2012. Courtesy of MODVOLC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Strombolian activity was observed inside the inner crater of Raung on 5 November 2012 by visitors. They reported loud rumbling sounds that could be heard up to 15 km from the crater. Photo by Galih, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

The Darwin VAAC issued an advisory of an eruption plume to 9.1 km altitude reported at 0237 UTC on 8 November 2012. In a second advisory about two hours later they noted that an ash plume was not visible in satellite imagery. A press article released by the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) indicated that gray ash plumes were observed on 6 January 2013 that rose 300 m above the summit crater rim. Incandescence was observed around the crater and thundering explosions were heard by nearby residents.

Eruption during June-July 2013. Two MODVOLC thermal alerts were measured inside the summit crater on 29 June 2013. A photo taken on 21 July showed minor Strombolian activity at the inner crater (figure 11). A weak SO2 anomaly was detected in the vicinity of Raung by the OMI instrument on the Aura satellite on 27 July. Thermal alerts were recorded on 29 and 31 July. When Google Earth imageryrom 14 March 2011 created by Maxar Technologies is compared with imagery from 29 July 2013 captured by Landsat/Copernicus, dark tephra is filling the inner crater in the 2013 image; it was not present in 2011 (figure 12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Strombolian activity was observed inside the inner crater at the summit of Raung on 21 July 2013. Photo by Agus Kurniawan, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Satellite imagery from Google Earth showing the eroded pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater of Raung on 14 March 2011 (left) and 29 July 2013 (right). Dark tephra deposits filling the inner crater in the 2013 image were not present in 2011. The crater of the pyroclastic cone is 200 m wide; N is to the top of the images. Courtesy of Google Earth.

Eruption during November 2014-August 2015. Information about this eruption was previously reported (BGVN 41:12), but additional details are provided here. Landsat-8 imagery from 28 October 2014 indicated clear skies and little activity within the summit crater. Local observers reported steam plumes beginning in mid-November (figure 13). MODVOLC thermal alerts within the summit crater were issued on 28 and 30 November, and then 15 alerts were issued on seven days in December. Thermal Landsat-8 imagery from cloudy days on 29 November and 15 December indicated an anomaly over the area of the pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater (figure 14).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Local observers reported steam plumes at Raung beginning in mid-November 2014; this one was photographed on 17 November 2014. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Satellite evidence of new eruptive activity at Raung first appeared on 29 November 2014. The true color-pansharpened Landsat-8 image of Raung from 28 October 2014 (left) shows the summit crater and an eroded pyroclastic cone with its own crater (the inner crater) with no apparent activity. Although dense meteoric clouds on 29 November (center) and 15 December 2014 (right) blocked true color imagery, thermal imagery indicated a thermal anomaly from the center of the pyroclastic cone on both dates. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

In January 2015 the MODVOLC system identified 25 thermal anomalies in MODIS data, with a peak of eight alerts on 8 January. Visitors to the summit crater on 6 January witnessed explosions from the inner crater approximately every 40 minutes that produced gas and small amounts of ash and tephra. They reported lava flowing continuously from the inner crater onto the larger crater floor, and incandescent activity was seen at night (figure 15). Landsat-8 images from 16 January showed a strong thermal anomaly covering an area of fresh lava (figure 16).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Visitors to the summit crater of Raung on 6 January 2015 witnessed explosions from the inner crater approximately every 40 minutes that produced abundant gas and small amounts of ash and tephra. Lava was flowing continuously from the inner crater onto the larger crater floor, and incandescent activity was observed at night. Photos by Sofya Klimova, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. On a clear 16 January 2015, Landsat-8 satellite imagery revealed fresh lava flows NW of the pyroclastic cone within the summit crater at Raung. A strong thermal anomaly matches up with the dark material, suggesting that it flowed NW from within the pyroclastic cone. Left image is true color-pansharpened rendering, right image is thermal rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Satellite images were obscured by meteoric clouds during February 2015, but PVMBG reported gray and brown plumes rising 300 m multiple times and incandescence and rumbling on 14 February. Visitors to the summit crater during the second half of February reported Strombolian activity with lava fountains from the inner crater, at times as frequently as every 15 minutes (figure 17). Loud explosions and rumbling were heard 10-15 km away. MODVOLC thermal alerts stopped on 25 February and did not reappear until late June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. A report issued on 25 February 2015 from visitors to the summit of Ruang noted large Strombolian explosions with incandescent ejecta and lava flowing across the crater floor. The fresh lava on the crater floor covered a noticeably larger area than that shown in early January (figure 15). Photo by Andi, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

PVMBG raised the Alert Level to 2 in mid-March 2015. Weak thermal anomalies located inside and NW of the pyroclastic cone were present in satellite imagery on 21 March. PVMBG reported gray and brown emissions during March, April, and May rising as high as 300 m above the crater. Landsat imagery from 22 April showed a small emission inside the pyroclastic cone, and on 8 May showed a clearer view of the fresh black lava NW and SW of the pyroclastic cone (figure 18).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Fresh lava was visible in Landsat-8 satellite imagery in April and May 2015 at Raung. A small emission was present inside the pyroclastic cone at the summit of Raung on 22 April 2015 (left). Fresh dark material is also evident in the SW quadrant of the summit crater that was not visible on 16 January 2015. A clear view on 8 May 2015 also shows the extent of the fresh black material around the pyroclastic cone (right). The summit crater is 2 km wide. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Nine MODVOLC thermal alerts appeared inside the summit crater on 21 June 2015 after no alerts since late February, suggesting an increase in activity. The Darwin VAAC issued the first ash advisory for 2015 on 24 June noting an aviation report of recent ash. The following day the Ujung Pandang Meteorological Weather Office (MWO) reported an ash emission drifting W at 3.7 km altitude. The same day, 25 June, Landsat-8 imagery clearly showed a new lava flow on the W side of the crater and a strong thermal anomaly. The thermal data showed a point source of heat widening SW from the center of the crater and a second point source of heat that appeared to be inside the pyroclastic cone. A small ash plume was visible over the cone (figure 19). Strombolian activity and ash plumes were reported by BNPB and PVMBG in the following days. On 26 June the Darwin VAAC noted the hotspot had remained visible in infrared imagery for several days. PVMBG reported an ash emission to 3 km altitude on 29 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. A new lava flow and strong thermal anomaly appeared inside the summit crater of Raung on 25 June 2015 in Landsat-8 imagery. The new flow was visible on the W side of the crater. The darker area extending SW from the rising ash plume is a shadow. The thermal data showed a point source of heat widening SW from the center of the crater and spreading out in the SW quadrant and a second point source of heat on the flank of the pyroclastic cone. Left image is True color-pansharpened rendering, and right image is thermal rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity increased significantly during July 2015 (BGVN 41:12). Ash plumes rose as high as 6.7 km altitude and drifted hundreds of kilometers in multiple directions, forcing multiple shutdowns at airports on Bali and Lombok, as well as Banyuwangi and Jember in East Java. The Darwin VAAC issued 152 ash advisories during the month. Ashfall was reported up to 20 km W during July and 20-40 km SE during early August. Visitors to the summit in early July observed a new pyroclastic cone growing inside the inner crater from incandescent ejecta and dense ash emissions (figure 20). Landsat-8 imagery from 11 July showed a dense ash plume drifting SE, fresh black lava covering the 2-km-wide summit caldera floor, and a very strong thermal anomaly most intense at the center near the pyroclastic cone and cooler around the inner edges of the crater (figure 21). On 12 July, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a view of an ash-and-gas plume drifting hundreds of kilometers SE from Raung (figure 22).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. A new pyroclastic cone was growing inside the inner crater at the summit of Raung when photographed by Aris Yanto in early July 2015. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Landsat-8 imagery of Raung during July 2015 indicated dense ash emissions and a large thermal anomaly caused by fresh lava. On 11 July a dense ash plume drifted SE and a strong thermal anomaly was centered inside the summit crater. The 2-km-wide crater floor was covered with fresh lava (compare with 25 June image in figure 19). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. On 12 July 2015 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a natural-color view of a plume of ash and volcanic gases drifting hundreds of kilometers SE from Raung. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

A satellite image on 20 July showed fresh incandescent lava covering the floor of the summit crater and a dense ash plume drifting N from the summit (figure 23). Incandescent ejecta emerged from two vents on the new pyroclastic cone inside the inner crater on 26 July (figure 24). On 27 July a dense ash plume was visible again in satellite imagery drifting NW and the hottest part of the thermal anomaly was in the SE quadrant of the crater (figure 25). Substantial SO2 plumes were recorded by the OMI instrument on the Aura satellite during July and early August 2015 (figure 26).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. A satellite image of the summit of Raung on 20 July 2015 showed fresh, incandescent lava covering the floor of the summit crater and a dense ash plume drifting N from the summit. Thermal activity on the NE flank was likely the result of incandescent ejecta from the crater causing a fire. Image created by DigitalGlobe, captured by WorldView3, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Incandescent ejecta emerged from two vents on the new pyroclastic cone growing inside the inner crater of Raung on 26 July 2015. Photo by Vianney Tricou, used with permission, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Landsat-8 imagery of Raung during July 2015 indicated dense ash emissions and large thermal anomalies from fresh lava. The 2-km-wide crater floor was fully covered with fresh lava by 11 July. On 27 July the dense ash plume was drifting NW and the highest heat was concentrated in the SE quadrant of the crater. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Substantial plumes of sulfur dioxide from Raung were measured by the OMI instrument on the AURA satellite during July and August 2015. The first plumes were measured in mid-June; they intensified during the second half of July and the first week of August, but had decreased by mid-August. Wind directions were highly variable throughout the period. The date is recorded above each image. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Page.

Significant ash emissions continued into early August 2015 with numerous flight cancellations. The Darwin VAAC reported ash plumes rising to 5.2 km altitude and extending as far as 750 km SE during the first two weeks in August (figure 27). Satellite imagery indicated a small ash plume drifting W from the center of the crater on 12 August and weak thermal anomalies along the E and S rim of the floor of the crater (figure 28). The summit crater was covered with fresh lava on 14 August when viewed by visitors, and ash emissions rose a few hundred meters above the crater rim from a vent in the SW side of the pyroclastic cone (figure 29). The visitors observed pulsating ash emissions rising from the SW vent on the large double-crater new cinder cone. The larger vent to the NE was almost entirely inactive except for two small, weakly effusive vents on its inner walls.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. A dense ash plume drifted many kilometers S from Raung on 2 August 2015 in this view from nearly 100 km W. Incandescence at the summit indicated ongoing activity from the major 2015 eruption. In the foreground is Lamongan volcano whose last known eruption occurred in 1898. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Landsat-8 satellite imagery of Raung indicated a small ash plume drifting W from the center of the crater on 12 August 2015. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. The summit crater of Raung on 14 August 2015 was filled with fresh lava from an eruption that began in November 2014. Ash emissions from a vent in the side of the newly grown pyroclastic cone within the crater rose a few hundred meters above the crater rim. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

The lengthy sequence of multiple daily VAAC reports that began in late June ended on 16 August 2015 with reports becoming more intermittent and ash plume heights rising to only 3.7-3.9 km altitude. Multiple discontinuous eruptions to 3.9 km altitude were reported on 18 August. The plumes extended about 100 km NW. The last report of an ash plume was from an airline on 22 August noting a low-level plume 50 km NW. Two MODVOLC alerts were issued that day. By 28 August only a very small steam plume was present at the center of the crater; the southern half of the edge of the crater floor still had small thermal anomalies (figure 30). The last single MODVOLC thermal alerts were on 29 August and 7 September. The Alert Level was lowered to 2 on 24 August 2015, and further lowered to 1 on 20 October 2016.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. By 28 August 2015 only a very small steam plume was present at the center of the summit crater of Raung, and the southern half of the edge of the crater floor only had weak thermal anomalies from cooling lava. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/);Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/, https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/86213/eruption-of-raung-volcano); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); Aris Yanto (URL: https://www.exploredesa.com/2012/11/mount-raung-produce-of-vulcanic-ash-plume-and-continue-eruption/); DigitalGlobe (URL: https://www.maxar.com/, https://twitter.com/Maxar/status/875449111398547457); Øystein Lund Andersen (URL: https://twitter.com/OysteinVolcano/status/1194879946042142726, http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian activity, gas-and-steam and ash plumes, and a lava flow during June-early July 2020

Klyuchevskoy is a frequently active stratovolcano located in northern Kamchatka. Historical eruptions dating back 3,000 years have included more than 100 flank eruptions with most lateral craters and cones occurring along radial fissures between the unconfined NE-to-SE flanks. The previous report (BGVN 45:06) described ash plumes, nighttime incandescence, and Strombolian activity. Strombolian activity, ash plumes, and a strong lava flow continued. This report updates activity from June through August 2020 using weekly and daily reports from the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT), the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory (VAAC), and satellite data.

Moderate explosive-effusive activity continued in June 2020, with Strombolian explosions, frequent gas-and-steam emissions that contained some amount of ash, and an active lava flow. On 1 June a gas-and-steam plume containing some ash extended up to 465 km SE and E. The lava flow descended the SE flank down the Apakhonchich chute (figure 43). Occasionally, phreatic explosions accompanied the lava flow as it interacted with snow. Intermittent ash plumes, reported throughout the month by KVERT using video and satellite data and the Tokyo VAAC using HIMAWARI-8 imagery, rose to 5.5-6.7 km altitude and drifted in different directions up to 34 km from the volcano. On 12 and 30 June ash plumes rose to a maximum altitude of 6.7 km. On 19 June, 28-30 June, and 1-3 July some collapses were detected alongside the lava flow as it continued to advance down the SE flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Gray ash plumes (left) and a lava flow descending the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank, accompanied by a dark ash plume and Strombolian activity (right) were observed at the summit of Klyuchevskoy on 10 June 2020. Courtesy of E. Saphonova, IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

During 1-3 July moderate Strombolian activity was observed, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions containing ash and a continuous lava flow traveling down the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank. On 1 July a Tokyo VAAC advisory reported an ash plume rising to 6 km altitude and extending SE. On 3 July the activity sharply decreased. KVERT reported there was some residual heat leftover from the lava flow and Strombolian activity that continued to cool through at least 13 July; KVERT also reported frequent gas-and-steam emissions, which contained a small amount of ash through 5 July, rising from the summit crater (figure 44). The weekly KVERT report on 16 July stated that the eruption had ended on 3 July 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Fumarolic activity continued in the summit crater of Klyuchevskoy on 7 July 2020. Courtesy of KSRS ME, Russia, KVERT.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows frequent and strong thermal activity within 5 km of the summit crater from March through June followed by a sharp and sudden decline in early July (figures 45). A total of six weak thermal anomalies were detected between July and August. According to the MODVOLC thermal algorithm, a total of 111 thermal alerts were detected at or near the summit crater from 1 June to 1 July, a majority of which were due to the active lava flow on the SE flank and Strombolian explosions in the crater. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery frequently showed the active lava flow descending the SE flank as a strong thermal anomaly, sometimes even through weather clouds (figure 46). These thermal anomalies were also recorded by the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity data on a MIROVA graph, showing a strong cluster during June to early July, followed by a sharp decrease and then a hiatus in activity (figure 47).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Thermal activity at Klyuchevskoy was frequent and strong during February through June 2020, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). Activity sharply decreased during July through August with six low-power thermal anomalies. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images show the strong and persistent lava flow (bright yellow-orange) originating from the summit crater at Klyuchevskoy from 1 June through 1 July 2020. The lava flow was active in the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Strong clusters of thermal anomalies were detected in the summit at Klyuchevskoy (red dots) during January through June 2020, as recorded by the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity data (bands 12, 11, 8A). Activity sharply decreased during July through August with few low-power thermal anomalies. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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


Fuego (Guatemala) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing explosions, ash plumes, lava flows, and lahars during April-July 2020

Fuego, located in Guatemala, is a stratovolcano that has been erupting since 2002 with historical eruptions dating back to 1531. Volcanism is characterized by major ashfalls, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and lahars. The previous report (BGVN 45:04) described recent activity that included multiple ash explosions, block avalanches, and intermittent lava flows. This report updates activity from April through July 2020 that consisted of daily explosions, ash plumes, block avalanches ashfall, intermittent lava flows, and lahars. The primary source of information comes from the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Summary of activity during April-July 2020. Daily activity throughout April-July 2020 was characterized by multiple hourly explosions, ash plumes that rose to a maximum of 4.9 km altitude, incandescent pulses that reached 600 m above the crater, block avalanches into multiple drainages, and ashfall affecting nearby communities (table 21). The highest rate of explosions occurred on 2 and 3 April and 2 May with up to 16 explosions per hour. White degassing occurred frequently during the reporting period, rising to a maximum altitude of 4.5 km and drifting in multiple directions. Intermittent lava flows were observed each month in the Seca (Santa Teresa) and Ceniza drainages (figure 132); the number of flows decreased in June through July, which is represented in the MIROVA analysis of MODIS satellite data, where the strength and frequency of thermal activity slightly decreased (figure 133). Occasional lahars were detected descending several drainages on the W and SE flanks, sometimes carrying tree branches and large blocks up to 1 m in diameter.

Table 21. Activity summary by month for Fuego with information compiled from INSIVUMEH daily reports.

Month Number of explosions per hour Ash plume heights (km) Ash plume distance (km) and direction Drainages affected by block avalanches Villages reporting ashfall
Apr 2020 5-16 4.3-4.9 km 8-20 km E, NE, SE, W, NW, SW, S, N Taniluyá, Ceniza, Las Lajas, Trinidad, Seca, Honda, and Santa Teresa Morelia, Panimaché I and II, Sangre de Cristo, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa, Las Cruces Quisache, La Rochela, Ceylan, and Osuna
May 2020 4-16 4.3-4.9 km 10-17 km S, SW, W, N, NE, E, SE Trinidad, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Las Lajas, Santa Teresa, Seca, and Honda Panimaché I, La Rochela, Ceilán, Morelia, San Andrés Osuna, Finca Palo Verde, Santa Sofía, Seilán, San Pedro Yepocapa, Alotenango, Ciudad Vieja, San Miguel Dueñas, and Antigua Guatemala
Jun 2020 3-15 4.2-4.9 km 10-25.9 km E, SE, S, N, NE, W, SW, NW Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Santa Teresa and Honda San Pedro Yepocapa, Sangre de Cristo, Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Finca Palo Verde, El Porvenir, Yucales, Santa Emilia, Santa Sofía
Jul 2020 1-15 4-4.9 km 10-24 km W, NW, SW, S, NE Trinidad, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Honda, Las Lajas, Seca, and Santa Teresa Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, and El Porvenir
Figure (see Caption) Figure 132. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Fuego between 9 April 2020 and 13 July 2020 showing lava flows (bright yellow-orange) traveling generally S and W from the summit crater. Some lava flows were accompanied by gas emissions (9 April, 9 May, and 24 May 2020). Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 133. Thermal activity at Fuego was persistent and strong from 16 September through late May 2020, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). From early to mid-June activity seemed to stop briefly before resuming again at a lower rate. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during April-May 2020. Activity in April 2020 consisted of 5-16 explosions per hour, generating ash plumes that rose 4.3-4.9 km altitude and drifted 8-20 km in multiple directions. Ashfall was reported in Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW), Las Cruces Quisache (8 km NW), La Rochela, Ceylan, Osuna (12 km SW). The Washington VAAC issued multiple aviation advisories for a total of six days in April. Intermittent white gas-and-steam emissions reached 4.1-4.5 km altitude drifting in multiple directions. Incandescent ejecta was frequently observed rising 75-400 m above the crater; material ejected up to 600 m above the crater on 11 April. These constant explosions produced block avalanches that traveled down the Taniluyá (SW), Ceniza (SSW), Las Lajas (SE), Trinidad (S), Seca (W), Honda, and Santa Teresa (W) drainages. Effusive activity was reported on 6-13 and 15 April from the summit vent, traveling 150-800 m down the Ceniza drainage, accompanied by block avalanches in the front of the flow up to 1 km. Crater incandescence was also observed.

On 19-20 April a new lava flow descended the Ceniza drainage measuring 200-400 long, generating incandescent block avalanches at the front of the flow that moved up to 1 km. On 22 April lahars descended the Honda, Las Lajas, El Juté (SE), Trinidad, Ceniza, Taniluyá, Mineral, and Seca drainages and tributaries in Guacalate, Achiguate, and Pantaleón. During the evening of 23 April the rate of effusive activity increased; observatory staff observed a second lava flow in the Seca drainage was 170 m long and incandescent blocks from the flow traveled up to 600 m. Two lava flows in the Ceniza (130-400 m) and Seca (150-800 m) drainages continued from 23-28 April and had stopped by 30 April. On 30 April weak and moderate explosions produced ash plumes that rose 4.5-4.7 km altitude drifting S and SE, resulting in fine ashfall in Panimaché I, Morelia, Santa Sofía (figure 134).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 134. Photo of a small ash plume rising from Fuego on 30 April 2020. Photo has been slightly color corrected. Courtesy of William Chigna, CONRED.

During May 2020, the rate of explosion remained similar, with 4-16 explosions per hour, which generated gray ash plumes that rose 4.3-4.9 km altitude and drifted 10-17 km generally W and E. Ashfall was observed in Panimaché I, La Rochela, Ceilán, Morelia, San Andrés Osuna, Finca Palo Verde, Santa Sofía, Seilán, San Pedro Yepocapa, Alotenango (8 km ENE), Ciudad Vieja (13.5 km NE), San Miguel Dueñas (10 km NE), and Antigua Guatemala (18 km NE). The Washington VAAC issued volcanic ash advisory notices on six days in May. White gas-and-steam emissions continued, rising 4-4.5 km altitude drifting in multiple directions. Incandescent ejecta rose 100-400 m above the crater, accompanied by some crater incandescence and block avalanches in the Trinidad, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Las Lajas, Santa Teresa, Seca, and Honda drainages that moved up to 1 km and sometimes reached vegetated areas.

During 8-11 May a new 400 m long lava flow was detected in the Ceniza drainage, accompanied by constant crater incandescence and block avalanches traveling up to 1 km, according to INSIVUMEH. On 8 and 17 May moderate to strong lahars descended the Santa Teresa and Mineral drainages on the W flank and on 21 May they descended the Las Lajas drainage on the E flank and the Ceniza drainage on the SW flank. During 20-24 May a 100-400 m long lava flow was reported in the Ceniza drainage alongside degassing and avalanches moving up to 1 km and during 25-26 May a 150 m long lava flow was reported in the Seca drainage.

Activity during June-July 2020. The rate of explosions in June 2020 decreased slightly to 3-15 per hour, generating gray ash plumes that rose 4.2-4.9 km altitude and drifted 10-26 km in multiple directions (figure 135). As a result, intermittent ashfall was reported in San Pedro Yepocapa, Sangre de Cristo, Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Finca Palo Verde, El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Yucales (12 km SW), Santa Emilia, Santa Sofia, according to INSIVUMEH. VAAC advisories were published on eight days in June. Degassing persisted in the summit crater that rose 4.1-4.5 km altitude extending in different directions. Crater incandescence was observed occasionally, as well as incandescent pulses that rose 100-300 m above the crater. Block avalanches were observed descending the Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Santa Teresa, and Honda drainages, which could sometimes carry blocks up to 1 km in diameter.

On 2 June at 1050 a weak to moderate lahar was observed in the Las Lajas drainage on the SE flank. On 5 June, more lahars were detected in the Seca and Mineral drainages on the W flanks. A new lava flow was detected on 12 June, traveling 250 m down the Seca drainage on the NW flank, and accompanied by constant summit crater incandescence and gas emissions. The flow continued into 14 June, lengthening up to 300 m long. On 24 June weak and moderate explosions produced ash plumes that rose 4.3-4.7 km altitude drifting W and SW (figure 135). On 29 June at 1300 a weak lahar was reported in the Seca, Santa Teresa, and Mineral drainages on the W flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 135. Examples of small ash plumes at Fuego on 15 (left) and 24 (right) June 2020. Courtesy of William Chigna, CONRED.

Daily explosions and ash plumes continued through July 2020, with 1-15 explosions per hour and producing consistent ash plumes 4-4.9 km altitude drifting generally W for 10-24 km. These explosions resulted in block avalanches that descended the Trinidad, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Honda, Las Lajas, Seca, and Santa Teresa drainages. The number of white gas emissions decrease slightly compared to previous months and 4-4.4 km altitude. VAAC advisories were distributed on twenty different days in July. Incandescent ejecta was observed rising 100-350 m above the crater. Occasional ashfall was observed in Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, and El Porvenir, according to INSIVUMEH.

On 4 July in the early morning, a lava flow began in the Seca drainage, which also produced some fine ash particles that drifted W. The lava flow continued into 5 July, measuring 150 m long. On the same day, weak to moderate lahars traveled only 20 m, carrying tree branches and blocks measuring 30 cm to 1 m. On 14, 24, and 29 July more lahars were generated in the Las Lajas drainages on the former date and both the Las Lajas and El Jute drainages on the two latter dates.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); William Chigna, CONRED (URL: https://twitter.com/william_chigna).


Nishinoshima (Japan) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nishinoshima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Major June-July eruption of lava, ash, and sulfur dioxide; activity declines in August 2020

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 through November 2015 and returned during mid-2017, continuing the growth of the island with ash plumes, ejecta, and lava flows. A short eruptive event in July 2018 produced a small lava flow and vent on the side of the pyroclastic cone. The next eruption of ash plumes, incandescent ejecta, and lava flows began in early December 2019, resulting in significant growth of the island. This report covers the ongoing activity from March-August 2020 when activity decreased. Information is provided primarily from Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) monthly reports and the Japan Coast Guard (JCG), which makes regular overflights to make observations.

Renewed eruptive activity that began on 5 December 2019 continued during March-August 2020 but appeared to wane by the end of August. Major lava flows covered all sides of the island, with higher levels of activity during late June and early July. Ash emissions increased significantly during June and produced dense black ash plumes that rose up to 6 km altitude in early July. Explosive activity produced lightning and incandescent jets that rose 200 m and large bombs that fell to the base of the pyroclastic cone. Lava flow activity diminished at the end of July. Ash emissions decreased throughout August and appeared to cease after 27 August 2020. The MIROVA plot clearly reflects the high levels of thermal activity between December 2019 and August 2020 (figure 80); this event was reported by JMA as the largest eruption recorded to date. Sulfur dioxide emissions were very high during late June through early August, producing emissions that drifted across much of the western Pacific region.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. The MIROVA plot of thermal activity at Nishinoshima from 14 October 2019 through August 2020 indicates the high levels between early December 2019 and late July 2020 that resulted from the eruption of numerous lava flows on all flanks of the pyroclastic cone, significantly enlarging the island. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The Japan Coast Guard (JCG) conducted overflights of Nishinoshima on 9 and 15 March 2020 (figure 81). During both visits they observed eruptive activity from the summit crater, including ash emissions that rose to an altitude of approximately 1,000 m and lava flowing down the N and SE flanks (figure 82). Large ejecta was scattered around the base of the pyroclastic cone. The lava flowing north had reached the coast and was producing vigorous steam as it entered the water on 9 March; whitish gas emissions were visible on the N flank of the cone at the source of the lava flow (figure 83). On 9 March yellow-green discolored water was noted off the NE shore. The lava flow on the SE coast produced a small amount of steam at the ocean entry point and a strong signal in thermal imagery on 15 March (figure 84). Multiple daily MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued during 1-10, 17-24, and 27-30 March. Landsat-8 visual and thermal imagery on 30 March 2020 confirmed that thermal anomalies on the N and SE flanks of the volcano continued.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. The Japan Coast Guard conducted an overflight of Nishinoshima on 9 March 2020 and observed ash emissions rising 1,000 m above the summit and lava flowing into the ocean off the N flank of the island. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (JCG) and JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Lava flows at Nishinoshima during February and March 2020 were concentrated on the N and SE flanks. The areas in blue indicate topographical changes due to lava flows and pyroclastic deposits from the previous measurement. The growth of the SE-flank flow decreased during March while the N-flank flow rate increased significantly. Left image shows changes between 14 and 28 February and right image shows the differences between 28 February and 13 March. The correlated image analysis uses ALOS-2 / PALSAR-2 and is carried out with the cooperation of JAXA through the activities of the Satellite Analysis Group of the Volcano Eruption Prediction Liaison Committee. The software was developed by the Japan National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention and uses the technical data C1-No 478 of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. Courtesy of JAXA and JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Nishinoshima, March 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Vigorous steam emissions on the N flank of Nishinoshima on 9 March 2020 were caused by the active flow on the N flank. Whitish steam and gas midway up the flank indicated the outlet of the flow. Ash emissions rose from the summit crater and drifted E. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard and JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Infrared imagery from 15 March 2020 at Nishinoshima showed the incandescent lava flow on the SE flank (foreground), blocks of ejecta scattered around the summit and flanks of the pyroclastic cone, and the active N-flank flow (left). Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard and JMA.

Ash emissions were not observed at Nishinoshima during JCG overflights on 6, 16, and 19 April 2020, but gas-and-steam emissions were noted from the summit crater, and a yellow discoloration interpreted by JMA to be sulfur precipitation was observed near the top of the pyroclastic cone. The summit crater was larger than during previous visits. Steam plumes seen each of those days on the N and NE coasts suggested active ocean entry of lava flows (figure 85). A lava flow was observed emerging from the E flank of the cone and entering the ocean on the E coast on 19 and 29 April (figure 86). During the overflight on 29 April observers noted lava flowing southward from a vent on the E flank of the pyroclastic cone. A narrow, brown, ash plume was visible on 29 April at the summit crater rising to an altitude of about 1,500 m. Thermal observations indicated continued flow activity throughout the month. Multiple daily MODVOLC thermal alerts were recorded during 2-6, 10-11, 17-23, and 28-30 April. Significant growth of the pyroclastic cone occurred between early February and late April 2020 (figure 87).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Multiple entry points of lava flowed into the ocean producing jets of steam along the N flank of Nishinoshima on 6 April 2020. Courtesy of JCG and JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Lava flowed down the E flank of Nishinoshima from a vent below the summit on 19 April 2020. The ocean entry produced a vigorous steam plume (left). Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. The pyroclastic cone at Nishinoshima grew significantly in size between 4 February (left), 9 March (middle), and 19 April 2020 (right). View is to the E. Courtesy of JMA and JCG.

Infrared satellite imagery from 17 May 2020 showed a strong thermal anomaly at the summit and hot spots on the NW flank indicative of flows. Visible imagery confirmed emissions at the summit and steam plumes on the NW flank (figure 88). Gray ash plumes rose to about 1,800 m altitude on 18 May during the only overflight of the month made by the Japan Coast Guard. In addition, white gas emissions rose from around the summit area and large blocks of ejecta were scattered around the base of the pyroclastic cone (figure 89). Steam from ocean-entry lava on the N flank was reduced from previous months, but a new flow moving NW into the ocean was generating a steam plume and a strong thermal signature. Multi-pixel thermal alerts were measured by the MODVOLC system on 1-3, 9-10, 13-15, 18, and 26-30 May. Sulfur dioxide emissions had been weak and intermittent from March through early May 2020 but became more persistent during the second half of May. Although modest in size, the plumes were detectible hundreds of kilometers away from the volcano (figure 90).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Landsat-8 satellite imagery of Nishinoshima from 17 May 2020 confirmed continued eruptive activity. Visible imagery showed emissions at the summit and steam plumes on the NW flank (left) and infrared imagery showed a strong thermal anomaly at the summit and anomalies on the NW flank indicative of lava flows (right). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Lava continued to enter the ocean at Nishinoshima during May 2020. A new lava flow on the NW flank produced a strong steam plume at an ocean entry (left) on 18 May 2020. In addition to a light gray plume of gas and ash, steaming blocks of ejecta were visible on the flanks of the pyroclastic cone. The strong thermal signature of the NW-flank flow in infrared imagery that same day showed multiple new lobes flowing to the ocean (right). Courtesy of JCG and JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Small but distinct SO2 emissions from Nishinoshima were recorded by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite during the second half of May 2020. The plumes drifted tens to hundreds of kilometers away from the volcano in multiple directions as the wind directions changed. Nishinoshima is about 1,000 kilometers S of Tokyo. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Activity increased significantly during June 2020. Satellite imagery from 2 June revealed two intense thermal anomalies at the summit indicating a new crater, and lava flows active on the NW and NE flanks, all showing gas or steam emissions (figure 91). Dense brown and gray ash emissions were observed rising from the summit crater during JCG overflights on 7 and 15 June (figure 92). Plumes reached at least 1,500 m altitude, and ejecta reached the base of the pyroclastic cone. Between 5 and 19 June the lava flow on the WNW coast slowed significantly, while the flows to the N and E became significantly more active (figure 93). The Tokyo VAAC reported the first ash plume since mid-February on 12 June rose to 2.1 km and drifted NE. On 14 June they reported an ash plume extending E at 2.7 km altitude. Dense emissions continued to drift N and E at 2.1-2.7 km altitude until the last week of the month. The JCG overflight on 19 June observed darker ash emissions than two weeks earlier that drifted at least 180 km NE (figure 94) and incandescent tephra that exploded from the enlarged summit area where three overlapping craters trending E-W had formed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Landsat-8 satellite imagery on 2 June 2020 confirmed ongoing activity at Nishinoshima. Lava produced ocean-entry steam on the NE coast; a weak plume on the NW coast suggested reduced activity in that area (left). In addition, a dense steam plume drifted E from the summit, while a fainter plume adjacent to it also drifted E. The infrared image (right) indicated two intense anomalies at the summit, and weaker anomalies from lava flows on the NW and NE flanks. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Lava flows at Nishinoshima entered the ocean on the N and NE coasts (left) on 7 June 2020, and dense, gray ash emissions rose to at least 1,500 m altitude. Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. The lava flow on the WNW coast of Nishinoshima slowed significantly in early June 2020, while the flows to the N and E covered large areas of those flanks between 5 and 19 June. The areas in blue indicate topographical changes due to lava flows and pyroclastic deposits from the previous measurement. Left image shows the differences between 22 May and 5 June and right image shows changes between 5 and 19 June. The correlated image analysis uses ALOS-2 / PALSAR-2 and is carried out with the cooperation of JAXA through the activities of the Satellite Analysis Group of the Volcano Eruption Prediction Liaison Committee. The software was developed by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention and uses the technical data C1-No 478 of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. Courtesy of JAXA and JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Nishinoshima, June 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Ash emissions and explosive activity at Nishinoshima increased significantly during the second half of June. Dense black ash rose to 2.4 km altitude and drifted at least 180 km to the NE on 19 June 2020. Vigorous white steam plumes rose from the ocean on the E flank where a lava flow entered the ocean. Courtesy of JCG.

The Tokyo VAAC reported ash emissions that rose to 4.6 km altitude and drifted NE on 25 June. For the remainder of the month they rose to 2.7-3.9 km altitude and drifted N and NE. By the time of the JCG overflight on 29 June, the new crater that had opened on the SW flank had merged with the summit crater (figure 95). Dense black ash emissions rose to 3.4 km altitude and drifted NE, lava flowed down the SW flank into the ocean producing violent steam explosions, and incandescent tephra was scattered at least 200 m from the base of the pyroclastic cone from ongoing explosive activity (figure 96). Multiple layers of recent flow activity were visible along the SW coast (figure 97). Yellow-green discolored water encircled the entire island with a width of 1,000 m.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. The new crater on the SW flank of Nishinoshima had merged with the summit crater by 29 June 2020. Courtesy of JCG and JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Dense black ash emissions rose to 3.4 km altitude and drifted NE from the summit of Nishinoshima on 29 June 2020. Lava flowed down the SW flank into the ocean producing steam explosions, and incandescent tephra was scattered at least 200 m from the base of the pyroclastic cone from ongoing explosive activity at the summit (inset). Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Different textures of lava flows were visible along the SW flank of Nishinoshima on 29 June 2020. The active flow appeared dark brown and blocky, and produced steam explosions at the ocean entry site (right). Slightly older, brownish-red lava (center) still produced steam along the coastline. Courtesy of JCG.

MODVOLC thermal alerts reached their highest levels of the period during June 2020 with multi-pixel alerts recorded on most days of the month. Sulfur dioxide emissions increased steadily throughout June to the highest levels recorded for Nishinoshima; by the end of the month plumes of SO2 were drifting thousands of kilometers across the Pacific Ocean and being captured in complex atmospheric circulation currents (figure 98).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Sulfur dioxide emissions at Nishinoshima increased noticeably during the second half of June 2020 as measured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Atmospheric circulation currents produced long-lived plumes that drifted thousands of kilometers from the volcano. Nishinoshima is 1,000 km S of Tokyo. Courtesy of NASA Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

By early July 2020, satellite data indicated that the NE quadrant of the island was covered with ash, and a large amount of new lava had flowed down the SW flank, creating fans extending into the ocean (figure 99). The Tokyo VAAC reported ash emissions that rose to 3.7-4.9 km altitude and drifted N during 1-6 July. The altitude increased to 6.1 km during 8 and 9 July, and ranged from 4.6-6.1 km during 10-14 July while the drift direction changed to NE. The marine meteorological observation ship "Ryofu Maru" reported on 11 July that dense black ash was continuously erupting from the summit crater and drifting W at 1,700 m altitude or higher. They observed large volcanic blocks scattered around the base of the pyroclastic cone, and ash falling from the drifting plume. During the night of 11 July incandescent lava and volcanic lightning rose to about 200 m above the crater rim (figure 100).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. By early July 2020, satellite data from Nishinoshima indicated that the NE quadrant of the island was covered with ash, and a large amount of new lava had flowed down the SW flank creating fans extending into the ocean. The areas in blue indicate topographical changes due to lava flows and pyroclastic deposits from the previous measurement. Left image shows differences between 5 and 19 June and the right image shows changes between 19 June and 3 July that included abundant ashfall on the NE flank. The correlated image analysis uses ALOS-2 / PALSAR-2 and is carried out with the cooperation of JAXA through the activities of the Satellite Analysis Group of the Volcano Eruption Prediction Liaison Committee. The software was developed by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention and uses the technical data C1-No 478 of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. Courtesy of JAXA and JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Nishinoshima, June 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. High levels of activity were observed at Nishinoshima by crew members aboard the marine meteorological observation ship "Ryofu Maru” on 11 July 2020. Abundant ash emissions filled the sky and tephra fell out of the ash cloud for several kilometers downwind (left, seen from 6 km NE). Incandescent explosions rose as much as 200 m into the night sky (right, seen from 4 km E). Courtesy of JMA.

During 16-26 July 2020 the Tokyo VAAC reported ash emissions at 3.7-5.2 km altitude that drifted primarily N and NE. The vessel "Keifu Maru" passed Nishinoshima on 20 July and crewmembers observed continuing emissions from the summit of dense, black ash. JCG observed an ash plume rising to at least 2.7 km altitude during their overflight of 20 July. A large dome of fresh lava was visible on the SW flank of the island (figure 101). Lower ash emissions from 2.4-3.7 km altitude were reported by the Tokyo VAAC during 27-29 July, but the altitude increased to 5.5-5.8 km during the last two days of the month. During an overflight on 30 July by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention, dark and light gray ash emissions rose to 3.0 km altitude, but no flowing lava or large bombs were observed. They also noted thick deposits of brownish-gray ash on the N side of the island (figure 102).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. JCG observed an ash plume at Nishinoshima rising to at least 2.7 km altitude during their overflight of 20 July 2020. A large dome of fresh lava was visible on the SW flank of the island. Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. Ash emissions changed from dark to light gray on 30 July 2020 at Nishinoshima as seen during an overflight by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention. Thick brownish-gray ash was deposited over the lava on the N side of the island. Courtesy of JMA (Information on volcanic activity in Nishinoshima, July 2020).

JMA reported a sharp decrease in the lava eruption rate during July with thermal anomalies decreasing significantly mid-month. Multiple daily MODVOLC thermal alerts were recorded during the first half of the month but were reduced to two or three per day during the last third of July. Throughout July, SO2 emissions were the highest recorded in modern times for Nishinoshima. High levels of emissions were measured daily, producing streams with high concentrations of SO2 that were caught up in rotating wind currents and drifted thousands of kilometers across the Pacific Ocean (figure 103).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. Complex atmospheric wind patterns carried the largest SO2 plumes recorded from Nishinoshima thousands of kilometers around the western Pacific Ocean during July 2020. Nishinoshima is about 1,000 km S of Tokyo. Top and bottom left images both show 6 July but at different scales. Courtesy of NASA Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Thermal activity was greatly reduced during August 2020. Only one or two MODVOLC alerts were issued on 11, 18, 20, 21, 29, and 30 August, and no fresh lava flows were observed. The Tokyo VAAC reported ash emissions daily from 1-20 August. Plume heights were 4.9-5.8 km altitude during 1-4 August after which they dropped to 3.9 km altitude through 15 August. A brief pulse to 4.6 km altitude was recorded on 16 August, but then they dropped to 3.0 km or lower through the end of the month and became intermittent. The last ash emission was reported at 2.7 km altitude drifting W on 27 August.

No eruptive activity was observed during the Japan Coast Guard overflights on 19 and 23 August. High temperatures were measured on the inner wall of the summit crater on 19 August (figure 104). Steam plumes rose from the summit crater to about 2.5 km altitude during both visits (figure 105). Yellow-green discolored water was present on 23 August around the NW and SW coasts. No lava flows were observed, and infrared cameras did not measure any surface thermal anomalies outside of the crater. Very high levels of SO2 emissions were measured through 12 August when they began to noticeably decrease (figure 106). By the end of the month, only small amounts of SO2 were measured in satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. A strong thermal anomaly was still present inside the newly enlarged summit crater at Nishinoshima on 19 August 2020. Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Only steam plumes were observed rising from the summit crater of Nishinoshima during the 23 August 2020 overflight by the Japan Coast Guard. Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Sulfur dioxide emissions remained very high at Nishinoshima until 12 August 2020 when they declined sharply. Circulating air currents carried SO2 thousands of kilometers around the western Pacific region. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

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), Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, 3-1-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8932, Japan (URL: https://www1.kaiho.mlit.go.jp/GIJUTSUKOKUSAI/kaiikiDB/kaiyo18-e1.htm); 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/); 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/); Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency-Earth Observation Research Center (JAXA-EORC), 7-44-1 Jindaiji Higashi-machi, Chofu-shi, Tokyo 182-8522, Japan (URL: http://www.eorc.jaxa.jp/); 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/).


Turrialba (Costa Rica) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Turrialba

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruptive period on 18 June 2020 consisted of ash eruptions

Turrialba is a stratovolcano located in Costa Rica that overlooks the city of Cartago. Three well-defined craters occur at the upper SW end of a broad 800 x 2,200 m summit depression that is breached to the NE. Activity described in the previous report primarily included weak ash explosions and minor ash emissions (BGVN 44:11). This reporting period updates information from November 2019-August 2020; volcanism dominantly consists of ash emissions during June-August, based on information from daily and weekly reports by the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA) and satellite data.

Volcanism during November 2019 through mid-June was relatively low, dominated by low SO2 emissions (100-300 tons/day) and typical low seismic tremors. A single explosion was recorded at 1850 on 7 December 2019, and two gas-and-steam plumes rose 800 m and 300 m above the crater on 25 and 27 December, respectively. An explosion was detected on 29 January 2020 but did not result in any ejecta. An overflight during the week of 10 February measured the depth of the crater (140 m); since the previous measurements made in February 2019 (220 m), the crater has filled with 80 m of debris due to frequent collapses of the NW and SE internal crater walls. Beginning around February and into at least early May 2020 the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity graph provided by the MIROVA system detected a small cluster of thermal anomalies (figure 52). Some of these anomalies were faintly registered in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery during 10 and 25 April, with a more distinct anomaly occurring on 15 May (figure 53).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. A small cluster of thermal anomalies were detected in the summit area of Turrialba (red dots) during February-May 2020 as recorded by the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity data (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery detected minor gas-and-steam emissions (left) and a weak thermal anomaly (right) in the summit crater at Turrialba on 11 January and 15 May 2020, respectively. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

On 18 June activity increased, which marked the start of a new eruptive period that produced ash emissions rising 100 m above the crater rim at 1714, 1723, and 1818. The next morning, 19 June, two more events at 1023 and 1039 resulted in ash emissions rising 100 m above the crater. During 23-26 June small ash emissions continued to occur each day, rising no higher than 100 m above the crater. A series of small ash eruptions that rose 100 m above the crater occurred during 28 and 29 June; four events were recorded at 0821, 1348, 1739, and 2303 on 28 June and five more were recorded at 0107, 0232, 0306, 0412, and 0818 on 29 June. The two events at 0107 and 0412 were accompanied by ballistics ejected onto the N wall of the crater, according to OVSICORI-UNA.

Almost daily ash emissions continued during 1-7 July, rising less than 100 m above the crater; no ash emissions were observed on 3 July. On 6 July, gas-and-steam and ash emissions rose hundreds of meters above the crater at 0900, resulting in local ashfall. Passive gas-and-steam emissions with minor amounts of ash were occasionally visible during 9-10 July. On 14 July an eruptive pulse was observed, generating brief incandescence at 2328, which was likely associated with a small ash emission. Dilute ash emissions at 1028 on 16 July preceded an eruption at 1209 that resulted in an ash plume rising 200 m above the crater. Ash emissions of variable densities continued through 20 July rising as high as 200 m above the crater; on 20 July incandescence was observed on the W wall of the crater. An eruptive event at 0946 on 29 July produced an ash plume that rose 200-300 m above the crater rim. During 30-31 July a series of at least ten ash eruptions were detected, rising no higher than 200 m above the crater, each lasting less than ten minutes. Some incandescence was visible on the SW wall of the crater during this time.

On 1 August at 0746 an ash plume rose 500 m above the crater. During 4-5 August a total of 19 minor ash emissions occurred, accompanied by ash plumes that rose no higher than 200 m above the crater. OVSICORI-UNA reported on 21 August that the SW wall of the crater had fractured; some incandescence in the fracture zone had been observed the previous month. Two final eruptions were detected on 22 and 24 August at 1253 and 2023, respectively. The eruption on 24 August resulted in an ash plume that rose to a maximum height of 1 km above the crater.

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

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/, https://www.facebook.com/OVSICORI/); 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).


Etna (Italy) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Effusive activity in early April; frequent Strombolian explosions and ash emissions during April-July 2020

Etna, located on the island of Sicily, Italy, is a stratovolcano that has had historical eruptions dating back 3,500 years. Its most recent eruptive period began in September 2013 and has continued through July 2020, characterized by Strombolian explosions, lava flows, and ash plumes. Activity has commonly originated from the summit areas, including the Northeast Crater (NEC), the Voragine-Bocca Nuova (or Central) complex (VOR-BN), the Southeast Crater (SEC, formed in 1978), and the New Southeast Crater (NSEC, formed in 2011). The newest crater, referred to as the "cono della sella" (saddle cone), emerged during early 2017 in the area between SEC and NSEC. Volcanism during this reporting period from April through July 2020 includes frequent Strombolian explosions primarily in the Voragine and NSEC craters, ash emissions, some lava effusions, and gas-and-steam emissions. Information primarily comes from weekly reports by the Osservatorio Etneo (OE), part of the Catania Branch of Italy's Istituo Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologica (INGV).

Summary of activity during April-July 2020. Degassing of variable intensity is typical activity from all summit vents at Etna during the reporting period. Intra-crater Strombolian explosions and ash emissions that rose to a maximum altitude of 5 km on 19 April primarily originated from the Voragine (VOR) and New Southeast Crater (NSEC) craters. At night, summit crater incandescence was occasionally visible in conjunction with explosions and degassing. During 18-19 April small lava flows were observed in the VOR and NSEC craters that descended toward the BN from the VOR Crater and the upper E and S flanks of the NSEC. On 19 April a significant eruptive event began with Strombolian explosions that gradually evolved into lava fountaining activity, ejecting hot material and spatter from the NSEC. Ash plumes that were produced during this event resulted in ashfall to the E of Etna. The flows had stopped by the end of April; activity during May consisted of Strombolian explosions in both the VOR and NSEC craters and intermittent ash plumes rising 4.5 km altitude. On 22 May Strombolian explosions in the NSEC produced multiple ash plumes, which resulted in ashfall to the S. INGV reported that the pit crater at the bottom of BN had widened and was accompanied by degassing. Explosions with intermittent ash emissions continued during June and July and were primarily focused in the VOR and NSEC craters; mild Strombolian activity in the SEC was reported in mid-July.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows multiple episodes of thermal activity throughout the reporting period (figure 296). In early April, the frequency and power of the thermal anomalies began to decrease through mid-June; in July, they had increased in power again but remained less frequent compared to activity in January through March. According to the MODVOLC thermal algorithm, a total of seven alerts were detected in the summit craters during 10 April (1), 17 April (1), 24 April (2), 10 July (1), 13 July (1), and 29 July (1) 2020. These thermal hotspots were typically registered during or after a Strombolian event. Frequent Strombolian activity contributed to distinct SO2 plumes that drifted in different directions (figure 297).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 296. Multiple episodes of varying thermal activity at Etna from 14 October 2019 through July 2020 were reflected in the MIROVA data (Log Radiative Power). In early April, the frequency and power of the thermal anomalies decreased through mid-June. In July, the thermal anomalies increased in power, but did not increase in frequency. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 297. Distinct SO2 plumes from Etna were detected on multiple days during April to July 2020 due to frequent Strombolian explosions, including, 24 April (top left), 9 May (top right), 25 June (bottom left), and 21 July (bottom right) 2020. Captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Activity during April-May 2020. During April, INGV reported Strombolian explosions that produced some ash emissions and intra-crater effusive activity within the Voragine Crater (VOR) and abundant degassing from the New Southeast Crater (NSEC), Northeast Crater (NEC), and from two vents on the cono della sella (saddle cone) that were sometimes accompanied by a modest amount of ash (figure 298). At night, summit crater incandescence was observed in the cono della salla. The Strombolian activity in the VOR built intra-crater scoria cones while lava flows traveled down the S flank of the largest, main cone. On 18 April effusive activity from the main cone in the VOR Crater traveled 30 m toward the Bocca Nuova (BN) Crater; the pit crater at the bottom of the BN crater had widened compared to previous observations. A brief episode of Strombolian explosions that started around 0830 on 19 April in the NSEC gradually evolved into modest lava fountaining activity by 0915, rising to 3 km altitude and ejecting bombs up to 100 m (figure 299). A large spatter deposit was found 50 m from the vent and 3-4 small lava flows were descending the NSEC crater rim; two of these summit lava flows were observed at 1006, confined to the upper E and S flanks of the cone. Around 1030, one or two vents in the cono della sella produced a gas-and-steam and ash plume that rose 5 km altitude and drifted E, resulting in ashfall on the E flank of Etna in the Valle del Bove, as well as between the towns of Zafferana Etnea (10 km SE) and Linguaglossa (17 km NE). At night, flashes of incandescence were visible at the summit. By 1155, the lava fountaining had gradually slowed, stopping completely around 1300. The NEC continued to produce gas-and-steam emissions with some intra-crater explosive activity. During the week of 20-26 April, Strombolian activity in the VOR intra-crater scoria cone ejected pyroclastic material several hundred meters above the crater rim while the lava flows had significantly decreased, though continued to travel on the E flank of the main cone. Weak, intra-crater Strombolian activity with occasional ash emissions and nightly summit incandescence were observed in the NSEC (figure 300). By 30 April there were no longer any active lava flows; the entire flow field had begun cooling. The mass of the SO2 emissions varied in April from 5,000-15,000 tons per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 298. Photos of Strombolian explosions at Etna in the Voragine Crater (top left), strong degassing at the Northeast Crater (NEC) (top right), and incandescent flashes and Strombolian activity in the New Southeast Crater (NSEC) seen from Tremestieri Etneo (bottom row) on 10 April 2020. Photos by Francesco Ciancitto (top row) and Boris Behncke (bottom row), courtesy of INGV.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 299. Strombolian activity at Etna’s “cono della sella” of the NSEC crater on 19 April 2020 included (a-b) lava fountaining that rose 3 km altitude, ejecting bomb-sized material and a spatter deposit captured by the Montagnola (EMOV) thermal camera. (c-d) An eruptive column and increased white gas-and-steam and ash emissions were captured by the Montagnola (EMOV) visible camera and (e-f) were also seen from Tremestieri Etneo captured by Boris Behncke. Courtesy of INGV (Report 17/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 13/04/2020 – 19/04/2020, data emissione 21/04/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 300. Webcam images showing intra-crater explosive activity at Etna in the Voragine (VOR) and New Southeast Crater (NSEC) on 24 April 2020 captured by the (a-b) Montagnola and (c) Monte Cagliato cameras. At night, summit incandescence was visible and accompanied by strong degassing. Courtesy of INGV (Report 18/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 20/04/2020 – 26/04/2020, data emissione 28/04/2020).

Strombolian explosions produced periodic ash emissions and ejected mild, discontinuous incandescent material in the VOR Crater; the coarse material was deposited onto the S flank of BN (figure 301). Pulsating degassing continued from the summit craters, some of which were accompanied by incandescent flashes at night. The Strombolian activity in the cono della sella occasionally produced reddish ash during 3-4 May. During 5 and 8 May, there was an increase in ash emissions at the NSEC that drifted SSE. A strong explosive event in the VOR Crater located E of the main cone produced a significant amount of ash and ejected coarse material, which included blocks and bombs measuring 15-20 cm, that fell on the W edge of the crater, as well as on the S terrace of the BN Crater (figure 302).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 301. Photos of Strombolian explosions and summit incandescence at Etna on 4 May (left) and during the night of 11-12 May. Photos by Gianni Pennisi (left) and Boris Behncke (right, seen from Tremestieri Etneo). Courtesy of INGV.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 302. A photo on 5 May (left) and thermal image on 8 May (right) of Strombolian explosions at Etna in the Voragine Crater accompanied by a dense, gray ash plume. Photo by Daniele Andronico. Courtesy of INGV (Report 20/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 04/05/2020 – 10/05/2020, data emissione 12/05/2020).

On 10 May degassing continued in the NSEC while Strombolian activity fluctuated in both the VOR and NSEC Craters, ejecting ballistics beyond the crater rim; in the latter, some of the blocks fell back in, accumulated on the edge, and rolled down the slopes (figure 303). During the week of 11-17 May, eruptive activity at the VOR Crater was the lowest observed since early March; there were 4-5 weak, low intensity pulses not accompanied by bombs or ashfall in the VOR Crater. Degassing continued in the BN Crater. The crater of the cono della sella had widened further N following collapses due to the Strombolian activity, which exposed the internal wall.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 303. Map of the summit craters of Etna showing the active vents, the area of cooled lava flows (light green), and the location of the widening pit crater in the Bocca Nuova (BN) Crater (light blue circle) updated on 9 May 2020. The base is modified from a 2014 DEM created by Laboratorio di Aerogeofisica-Sezione Roma 2. Black hatch marks indicate the crater rims: BN = Bocca Nuova, with NW BN-1 and SE BN-2; VOR = Voragine; NEC = North East Crater; SEC = South East Crater; NSEC = New South East Crater. Red circles indicate areas with ash emissions and/or Strombolian activity, yellow circles indicate steam and/or gas emissions only. Courtesy of INGV (Report 29/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 06/07/2020 – 12/07/2020, data emissione 14/07/2020).

On 18 May an ash plume from the NSEC rose 4.5 km altitude and drifted NE. Strombolian explosions on 22 May at the NSEC produced multiple ash plumes that rose 4.5 km altitude and drifted S and SW (figure 304), depositing a thin layer of ash on the S slope, and resulting in ashfall in Catania (27 km S). Explosions from the VOR Crater had ejected a deposit of large clasts (greater than 30 cm) on the NE flank, between the VOR Crater and NEC on 23 May. INGV reported that the pit crater in the BN continued to widen and degassing was observed in the NSEC, VOR Crater, and NEC. During the week of 25-31 May persistent visible flashes of incandescence at night were observed, which suggested there was intra-crater Strombolian activity in the SEC and NSEC. The mass of the SO2 plumes varied between 5,000-9,000 tons per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 304. Photo of repeated Strombolian activity and ash emissions rising from Etna above the New Southeast Crater (NSEC) on 22 May 2020 seen from Zafferana Etnea on the SE flank at 0955 local time. Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.

Activity during June-July 2020. During June, moderate intra-crater Strombolian activity with intermittent ash emissions continued in the NSEC and occurred more sporadically in the VOR Crater; at night, incandescence of variable intensity was observed at the summit. During the week of 8-14 June, Strombolian explosions in the cono della sella generated some incandescence and rare jets of incandescent material above the crater rim, though no ash emissions were reported. On the morning of 14 June a sequence of ten small explosions in the VOR Crater ejected incandescent material just above the crater rim and produced small ash emissions. On 25 June an overflight showed the developing pit crater in the center of the BN, accompanied by degassing along the S edge of the wall; degassing continued from the NEC, VOR Crater, SEC, and NSEC (figure 305). The mass of the SO2 plumes measured 5,000-7,000 tons per day, according to INGV.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 305. Aerial photo of Etna from the NE during an overflight on 25 June 2020 by the Catania Coast Guard (2 Nucleo Aereo della Guardia Costiera di Catania) showing degassing of the summit craters. Photo captured from the Aw139 helicopter by Stefano Branca. Courtesy of INGV (Report 27/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 22/06/2020 – 28/06/2020, data emissione 30/06/2020).

Similar modest, intra-crater Strombolian explosions in the NSEC, sporadic explosions in the VOR Crater, and degassing in the BN, VOR Crater, and NEC persisted into July. On 2 July degassing in the NEC was accompanied by weak intra-crater Strombolian activity. Intermittent weak ash emissions and ejecta from the NSEC and VOR Crater were observed during the month. During the week of 6-12 July INGV reported gas-and-steam emissions continued to rise from the vent in the pit crater at the bottom of BN (figure 306). On 11 July mild Strombolian activity, nighttime incandescence, and degassing was visible in the SEC (figure 307). By 15 July there was a modest increase in activity in the NSEC and VOR Craters, generating ash emissions and ejecting material over the crater rims while the other summit craters were dominantly characterized by degassing. On 31 July an explosion in the NSEC produced an ash plume that rose 4.5 km altitude.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 306. Photos of the bottom of the Bocca Nuova (BN) crater at Etna on 8 July 2020 showing the developing pit crater (left) and degassing. Minor ash emissions were visible in the background at the Voragine Crater (right). Both photos by Daniele Andronico. Courtesy of INGV (Report 29/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 06/07/2020 – 12/07/2020, data emissione 14/07/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 307. Mild Strombolian activity and summit incandescence in the “cono della sella” (saddle vent) at the Southeast crater (SEC) of Etna on 11 July 2020, seen from Piano del Vescovo (left) and Piano Vetore (right). Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.

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: Sezione di Catania - Osservatorio Etneo, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/it/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Boris Behncke, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy.

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 19, Number 07 (July 1994)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Aira (Japan)

Volcanism continues; 14 explosive eruptions

Arenal (Costa Rica)

Continued gas and lava emissions; sporadic Strombolian eruptions

Asosan (Japan)

Crater 1 at Nakadake still restless

Batur (Indonesia)

First significant eruptive activity in 18 years leads to ashfall 6 km WSW of the summit

Cumbal (Colombia)

Increased fumarolic activity

Etna (Italy)

Explosive degassing from La Voragine; fumarole temperatures reported

Galeras (Colombia)

Seismicity remains low; crater described and fumarole temperatures reported

Gamalama (Indonesia)

Eruptions generate ash cloud to ~5 km altitude and cause ashfall

Huila, Nevado del (Colombia)

Description of the Paez earthquake's mass wasting

Ijen (Indonesia)

Minor phreatic eruption in February described

Kanaga (United States)

Steam-and-ash plume rises 4,500 m; enlarged hot spot on imagery

Kilauea (United States)

Bench collapses and littoral explosions occur as lava flows continue to enter the ocean

Krakatau (Indonesia)

Frequent ash explosions (300-450/day) reach heights up to 500 m

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Thick ash clouds from Crater 2 accompanied by explosion sounds

Lascar (Chile)

Moderate short-lived eruption sends plume over Argentina

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Explosions on 5-7 July generate ash clouds and eject lava fragments

Marapi (Indonesia)

Eruption sends ash column to ~6 km above sea level; summary of 1993 activity

Masaya (Nicaragua)

Sulfur-rich plume and incandescent ejections from opening in lava lake

Merapi (Indonesia)

Increased deformation precedes a nuee ardente

Momotombo (Nicaragua)

Summit fumarole temperatures range from 238 to 655°C

Nyamuragira (DR Congo)

High lava fountains feed lava flow on NW flank

Nyiragongo (DR Congo)

Lava lake activity produces strong red glow above crater

Poas (Costa Rica)

Ashfall SW of the summit covers 56 km2

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Seismicity remains low; minor subsidence

Ruapehu (New Zealand)

Relatively stable with water cooling of Crater Lake

Semeru (Indonesia)

Small ash eruptions to 500 m above the summit

Telica (Nicaragua)

Explosive eruption causes ashfall >12 km SW of the summit

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea)

White vapor emissions and low-frequency tremor

Unzendake (Japan)

Lava lobe 13 grows endogenously but then nearly stops growing in late-July

Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand)

No eruptive activity, but new shifts in leveling and magnetic data



Aira (Japan) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Volcanism continues; 14 explosive eruptions

Sakura-jima generated 22 eruptions in July, including 14 explosive ones. None of them caused damage. The highest plume rose to 2.2 km (at 1859 on 5 July). In July, the amount of ashfall at [KLMO] was 237 g/m3. Volcanic swarms were absent in July but 520 earthquakes were detected at a seismic station 2.3 km NW of Minami-dake crater.

Geologic Background. The Aira caldera in the northern half of Kagoshima Bay contains the post-caldera Sakurajima volcano, one of Japan's most active. Eruption of the voluminous Ito pyroclastic flow accompanied formation of the 17 x 23 km caldera about 22,000 years ago. The smaller Wakamiko caldera was formed during the early Holocene in the NE corner of the Aira caldera, along with several post-caldera cones. The construction of Sakurajima began about 13,000 years ago on the southern rim of Aira caldera and built an island that was finally joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kitadake summit cone ended about 4850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minamidake. Frequent historical eruptions, recorded since the 8th century, have deposited ash on Kagoshima, one of Kyushu's largest cities, located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km from the summit. The largest historical eruption took place during 1471-76.

Information Contacts: JMA.


Arenal (Costa Rica) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Arenal

Costa Rica

10.463°N, 84.703°W; summit elev. 1670 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued gas and lava emissions; sporadic Strombolian eruptions

At . . . Crater C, July marked another month of continued gas and lava emissions, and sporadic Strombolian eruptions. During July, the lava flow that began at the end of April continued to erupt and flow down an established channel. During 23 days in July, seismic station VACR (2.7 km NE of crater C) recorded an average of 18 events/day. These were interspersed with days having very low seismicity and tremor. Beginning on 23 July, Strombolian-type eruptions became common, and during 23-30 July they were seen 52 times. In some cases these eruptions were accompanied by sounds similar to a jet or steam engine. On 28 July tremor reached an amplitude of 27 mm at a frequency below 2.5 Hz.

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

Information Contacts: E. Fernández, J. Barquero, V. Barboza, R. Van der Laat, F. de Obaldia, and T. Marino, OVSICORI; G. Soto, G. Alvarado, and F. Arias, ICE; M. Mora, C. Ramirez, and G. Peraldo, Univ de Costa Rica.


Asosan (Japan) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Crater 1 at Nakadake still restless

Crater 1 remained restless through July, but the intensity of activity became more moderate compared to the last two months. Through July the average amplitude of continuous tremor was around 0.1 µm.

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.


Batur (Indonesia) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Batur

Indonesia

8.242°S, 115.375°E; summit elev. 1717 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


First significant eruptive activity in 18 years leads to ashfall 6 km WSW of the summit

Beginning on 4 August, the daily number of A-type volcanic earthquakes increased to 14; two days later 125 events were registered. An eruption on 7 August from the E part of the summit, Batur Crater III, caused ashfall as far as ~6 km WSW (figure 1). Ash covered Kintamani on the caldera rim, one of Bali's famous tourist attractions. Incandescent lava fragments and black smoke were ejected to heights of 300 m. None of the larger lava fragments fell outside of the active crater. News reports indicated that the eruption generated 960 explosions through 11 August. Volcanic tremor recorded by the VSI on 13 August had a maximum amplitude of 4.5 mm, but was increasing. By 14 August, when lava reached the surface, the tremor amplitude was 23 mm.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Map of the Batur caldera, showing hazard zones, selected towns, and extent of ashfall from the eruption that began on 7 Aug 1994. The inner caldera is not shown, but includes most of danger zones I and II. Courtesy of VSI.

As of 18 August, no evacuations from the area around the . . . volcano had taken place. About 180,000 people live in Bangli Regency, but only ~500 live in what a spokesman called the "critical region." Batur was declared off-limits for climbers on 7 August, and local villagers were put on alert. An official at a monitoring center said tourists who evaded guards and climbed the mountain were taking large risks. According to press reports, the eruptions have not reduced the number of visitors to the popular resort island; Batur's crater attracts ~300 people every day. Many observe the volcanic activity from Kintamani, on the crater rim (figure 1).

Geologic Background. The historically active Batur is located at the center of two concentric calderas NW of Agung volcano. The outer 10 x 13.5 km wide caldera was formed during eruption of the Bali (or Ubud) Ignimbrite about 29,300 years ago and now contains a caldera lake on its SE side, opposite the satellitic Gunung Abang cone, the topographic high of the complex. The inner 6.4 x 9.4 km wide caldera was formed about 20,150 years ago during eruption of the Gunungkawi Ignimbrite. The SE wall of the inner caldera lies beneath Lake Batur; Batur cone has been constructed within the inner caldera to a height above the outer caldera rim. The Batur stratovolcano has produced vents over much of the inner caldera, but a NE-SW fissure system has localized the Batur I, II, and III craters along the summit ridge. Historical eruptions have been characterized by mild-to-moderate explosive activity sometimes accompanied by lava emission. Basaltic lava flows from both summit and flank vents have reached the caldera floor and the shores of Lake Batur in historical time.

Information Contacts: VSI; AP; Reuters; UPI; ANS; D. Shackleford, Fullerton CA, USA.


Cumbal (Colombia) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Cumbal

Colombia

0.95°N, 77.87°W; summit elev. 4764 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Increased fumarolic activity

"Cumbal . . . (figure 1), has been showing signs of possible reactivation during the past year. New fumaroles have appeared and the gas column has grown noticeably larger. Cumbal was visited by volcanologists from INGEOMINAS and the Univ de Montréal on 11-15 July 1994. A portable seismometer was installed . . . at 4,185 m elev, ~580 m below the summit. Both high-frequency and long-period events were recorded, as well as some possible tremor episodes. Several fumarole fields at the summit (figure 2) exhibited maximum temperatures as follows: El Verde, 378°C; El Tábano, 191°C; La Desfondada, 132°C; La Plazuela, 99°C; La Grieta-verde, 84°C; Vecino a la verde, 80°C. El Tábano is a new fumarole field that appeared in early 1994. For comparison, in 1988 El Verde had measured temperatures of 150-326°C. The El Verde fumaroles produced audible noise. Most of the gas column at Cumbal appeared to emanate from the El Verde fumaroles."

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Location map showing Cumbal volcano and the city of Cumbal. Modified from Mendez (1989).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Sketch map of the crater area of Cumbal, July 1994, showing fumarole locations. Courtesy of INGEOMINAS.

Reference. Mendez F., R.A., 1989, Catálogo de los volcanes actives de Colombia: Bol. Geol., v. 30, no. 3, 75 p.

Geologic Background. Many youthful lava flows extend from the glacier-capped Cumbal volcano, the southernmost historically active volcano of Colombia. The volcano is elongated in a NE-SW direction and is composed primarily of andesitic-dacitic lava flows. Two fumarolically active craters occupy the summit ridge: the main crater on the NE side and Mundo Nuevo crater on the SW. A young lava dome occupies the 250-m-wide summit crater, and eruptions from the upper E flank produced a 6-km-long lava field. The oldest crater lies NNE of the summit crater, suggesting SW-ward migration of activity. Explosive eruptions in 1877 and 1926 are the only known historical activity. Thermal springs are located on the SE flanks.

Information Contacts: G. Patricia Cortes and R. Torres Corredor, INGEOMINAS, Pasto; J. Stix and M. Heiligmann, Univ de Montréal.


Etna (Italy) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosive degassing from La Voragine; fumarole temperatures reported

The following describes [fieldwork] on 1-27 June and 10-18 July 1994.

"As during visits in June-July and September-October 1993, Northeast Crater was blocked and inactive, but collapse was continuing around the edge with minor rockfalls every few minutes or so. Southeast Crater was also little changed from 1993, with a quietly degassing vent under the SE rim, but no indication of gas coming out under pressure. There was strong high-temperature fumarolic activity around the crater rim, temperatures being generally highest in the cracks.

"The Chasm (La Voragine) had a single vent in its floor measuring ~ 8 x 10 m, discharging gas continuously under pressure in rhythmic puffs at a rate of ~ 30 puffs/min. On 17 June and 12 July only, distinct explosions could be heard at the rate of 1-8/min. These were the first signs of explosive activity since the end of the 1991-93 eruption, and an indication that the Strombolian degassing that has characterized the summit over the past few hundred years is resuming.

"Bocca Nuova vent was degassing almost totally silently from two vents, one to the SE and one to the W; however, on 27 June when the weather was calm, 13 very faint gas puffs/min could be heard. The SE vent seemed similar to last year, measuring ~ 10 m in diameter, but the W vent had collapsed and enlarged considerably, now measuring perhaps as much as 50 m in diameter. On the early morning of 16 June a reddish tinge to the plume above Bocca Nuova was first noticed. Upon closer inspection on 17 June, the SE vent was seen to be pouring out thick clouds of red dust, apparently a result of internal collapse within the vent, while the W vent continued to emit white fume only. Dust emission intensified in the following days, causing the downwind side (S through W) of the summit to become a striking red color. The activity was continuing in mid-July.

"The levelling traverse showed comparatively small vertical movements since September 1993. The area near Belvedere, and other areas over the dyke intruded during the 1991-93 eruption, had subsided by up to 2 cm, as had the NE rift zone near Monte Pizzillo. During the same period, a small area ~1 km SW of the summit inflated by just over 1 cm. Horizontal movements measured since October 1993 showed generally small or insignificant changes, with nearly all lines recording changes of >1 cm. Only two stations appear to have moved by more than this; a station on the E edge of Southeast Crater had shifted 3 cm E relative to nearby stations, and a station close to the NW edge of the Bocca Nuova had moved 2 cm W. These movements are consistent with expansion of the central magma column as it refills.

"Surface temperatures were measured between 1 and 27 June at four active fumarole areas with a Minolta/Land Cyclops Compac 3 hand-held radiometer (8-14 mm). Temperatures were not corrected for spectral emissivity, so all radiant temperatures are given here as brightness temperatures. On the NE rift zone, nine areas of fumaroles were observed near the N edge of the 1966-67 lavas (between 2,450 and 2,500 m altitude). Temperatures for fumaroles at the two lowest of these areas ranged between 33 and 50°C. Another area of fumaroles observed at the upper rim of the W wall of the Valle del Bove around Belvedere, above the 1991-93 dyke, had temperatures in the 57.5-84.7°C range. Temperatures measured at fumaroles and cracks in the still-cooling 1991-93 lava-flow field in the Valle del Bove were between 85 and 221°C. The locations and temperatures of fumarole areas measured in the vicinity of the summit craters are given in table 5. Temperatures of the vents within the central craters were also measured from the crater rim: 342°C for the Chasm vent, and 159 and 81.5°C, respectively, for the SE and W vents of Bocca Nuova. Active fumaroles were observed, but not measured, along the 1991-93 fissure zone and 14 December 1991 cones and flows between Southeast Crater and Belvedere, along the October 1986 fissure zone, and in the Valle del Bove below Monte Simone."

Table 5. Fumarole temperatures in the vicinity of Etna's summit craters, measured on 18 and 27 June, and 14 October 1994. Courtesy of Andrew Harris, Open University.

Date Fumarole / Rift Locations Temperature (°C)
27 Jun 1994 NE Crater - at N rim 50.4-65.0
27 Jun 1994 NE Crater - rifts at NW rim 56.0-141
27 Jun 1994 NE Crater - at dip in NW rim 45.5-97.4
27 Jun 1994 NE Crater - at E rim 51.4-85.6
18 Jun 1994 Bocca Nuova - on N slope 40.5-75.6
18, 27 Jun 1994 Bocca Nuova - inside N rim 42.2-54.3
27 Jun 1994 Bocca Nuova - rifts at N rim 52.0-74.4
18 Jun 1994 Bocca Nuova - at SW rim 52.0-65.7
18, 27 Jun 1994 Central Craters - at S rim 40.6-82.6
27 Jun 1994 Between central and SE Craters 59.1-81.3
18, 27 Jun 1994 SE Crater - rifts and fumarole at N rim 51.2-312
27 Jun 1994 SE Crater - rifts and fumarole at W rim 60.0-208
14 Oct 1994 NE Crater - fumarole at N rim 39.2-77.4
14 Oct 1994 NE Crater - rifts at NW rim 153-246
14 Oct 1994 NE Crater - fumarole at W flank 50.4-74.2
14 Oct 1994 NE Crater - fumarole at W rim 41.0-210
14 Oct 1994 NE Crater - fumarole at S rim 50.5-221
14 Oct 1994 Bocca Nuova - fumarole at N flank 50.1-75.5
14 Oct 1994 Bocca Nuova - rifts and fumarole at N rim 47.3-74.5
14 Oct 1994 Bocca Nuova - fumarole at SW rim 50.0-72.4
14 Oct 1994 Central Craters - fumarole at S rim 49.2-82.4
14 Oct 1994 Fumarole between central and SE craters 50.2-82.8
14 Oct 1994 SE Crater - rifts and fumarole at N rim 57.5-482
14 Oct 1994 SE Crater - rifts and fumarole at NW rim 56.4-218
14 Oct 1994 SE Crater - rifts and fumarole at W rim 46.8-99.5
14 Oct 1994 SE Crater - rifts and fumarole at S rim 49.9-88.0
14 Oct 1994 SE Crater - rifts and fumarole at E rim 68.5-180
14 Oct 1994 SE Crater - rifts and fumarole at NE rim 52.2-121

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: J. Murray and A. Harris, Open Univ; L. Platt, Sheffield Univ; D. Renouf, UK.


Galeras (Colombia) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity remains low; crater described and fumarole temperatures reported

Seismicity during June and July showed no significant changes. . . . Low-frequency seismicity was at very low levels during June, although a "screw-type" event did occur; this type of event was numerous before eruptions in 1992-93. Shallow "butterfly-type" activity during the first half of June was similar to May, when the number of events decreased notably. These small-amplitude, short-duration, high-frequency events, interpreted as caused by fluid movement or rock fracture at shallow depths (<2 km) near the active cone, increased in number in the second half of June and through July. During June the fracture events were located N of the volcano, near the source that was active during November-December 1993, with other fracture events to the NE or closer to the crater. Additional sources were W and S of the crater. Fracture activity within the crater consisted of very small magnitude events (M <2.3) at depths between 2.1 and 9.7 km.

The active inner cone was visited on 21 July 1994 by volcanologists from INGEOMINAS and the Univ de Montréal. The morphology of the cone was modified considerably by the eruptions of 1992-93, which seem to have progressively deepened the crater to the present level of 200-300 m (figure 71). Prior to dome emplacement during October-November 1991 the crater was ~ 150 m deep; after dome growth in 1991-92, the crater was ~80 m deep. A N-S trending fracture, named Novedad, now breaches the S crater rim. Partial collapse of the crater rim and blocks 10-20 cm in size were noted on the N side of the cone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Sketch map (top) and perspective view (bottom) of the Galeras crater, July 1994. Small ovals represent fumaroles; crater depth is ~200-300 m. View is from the west. Drawn by Milton Ordonez, INGEOMINAS.

Some low-pressure fumaroles were noted in the deepest part of the crater, but gas was being emitted mainly in the shallower W and SW sectors. At Deformes fumarole, on the SW flank of the cone, temperature was measured and gas samples were collected for analysis. Maximum temperature was 138°C, significantly cooler than the ~200°C recorded in December 1992 and January 1993 (Zapata G., 1992; Goff et al., 1993). Besolima, generally the hottest measured fumarole on the cone's outer flanks, had largely disappeared. Las Chavas fumarole showed very low activity with a maximum temperature of 105°C. A new fumarole near the W rim of the cone, named Nuevas, had temperatures of 208 and 392°C. This fumarole is in the area where Florencia fumarole and remnants of the lava dome (destroyed in July 1992) had temperatures of 640°C on 26 November 1992 (Zapata G., 1992).

Stationary COSPEC measurements of SO2 in June from five points around the volcano showed low levels of gases (18-176 t/d), similar to the measurements obtained using the mobile COSPEC (79-217 t/d). July degassing was concentrated on the W periphery of the active cone, with low concentrations of SO2 (<220 t/d) measured by COSPEC.

Electronic tiltmeter variations in June at the Peladitos station were 2.4 µrad in the tangential component and 7.8 µrad in the radial component. The Crater tiltmeter fluctuated in June due to electronic problems; no deformation was observed in July. On 7 July the Agua Tibia springs, located in the Rio Azufral valley 5 km W of the active cone, had a temperature of 21°C and pH of 5.

References. Zapata G., J.A., 1992, Visita al crater del volcan Galeras: INGEOMINAS Internal Report, 30 November 1992, 2 p.

Goff, F., McMurtry, G.M., Adams, A.I., and Roldán-M., A., 1993, Stable isotopes and tritium of magmatic water at Galeras volcano, Colombia: EOS, Trans. Am. Geophys. Union, 74(43), p. 690.

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: R. Corredor and C. Gonzalez, INGEOMINAS, Pasto; J. Stix and M. Heiligmann, Univ de Montréal.


Gamalama (Indonesia) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Gamalama

Indonesia

0.8°N, 127.33°E; summit elev. 1715 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptions generate ash cloud to ~5 km altitude and cause ashfall

A NOTAM that originated from the Ujung Pandang FIR on 6 May 1994 requested that all aircraft avoid the area around Gamalama volcano. VSI did not note any unusual activity on that day, and no ash cloud was detected on satellite imagery. The warning only noted that the height of "dust" was variable.

Members of the SVE visited Gamalama at 1130 on 21 July. Summit activity consisted of violent degassing from the summit crater, producing a white-gray plume above the volcano; no solid material was ejected during the observations. A small active fumarolic area on the W crater rim exhibited yellow sulfur deposits. White vapor was rising from a large crack on the E crater rim, a part of the crater that appeared to be very unstable. The bottom of the crater could not be seen from the rim.

VSI reported that activity from the main crater increased with a sudden eruption on 5 August 1994 at 2125. The eruption produced an ash cloud to a height of 3,000 m above the summit . . . and accompanying ash falls. A felt earthquake a few minutes before the eruption had an intensity of MM II-III. Volcanic tremor recorded since 10 August preceded another eruption at about 2400 on 13 August from the same location. A news report indicated that explosions on 14 August caused ashfall in Ternate (~ 4 km SE), and that 5-20 minor explosions/day had occurred in recent days.

Following eruptions in May 1993 (18:5 & 7; and VSI, 1993a), seismicity steadily decreased to low levels by the end of June; vapor emission stopped by the end of August 1993 (VSI, 1993b). Seismicity began increasing again in December 1993 (VSI, 1993b), and explosions were reported during January-March 1994 (19:05).

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

Information Contacts: W. Tjetjep, VSI; H. Gaudru, C. Pittet, M. Auber, C. Bopp, and O. Saudan, EVS, Switzerland; BOM Darwin, Australia; AP; Radio Republik Indonesia.


Nevado del Huila (Colombia) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevado del Huila

Colombia

2.93°N, 76.03°W; summit elev. 5364 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Description of the Paez earthquake's mass wasting

The destructive earthquake-triggered mudflows of 6 June (19:5) were the subject of a preliminary report (Casadevall and others, 1994) following an investigation by a team from INGEOMINAS and the USGS during 30 June-9 July. What follows is a summary of that report, which includes first-hand observations on slope-failure and transport of loosened material.

The M 6.4 earthquake that struck on 6 June 1994 is now termed the Paez earthquake. Although the preliminary epicenter determination was W of the volcano's summit, a more recent estimate places it on Nevado del Huila's SSW flank, several kilometers N of the village of Irlanda (figure 1; BGVN 19:5). Prior to the earthquake, normal background seismicity prevailed; a series of aftershocks also took place beneath the volcano.

Earthquake damage was attributed to shaking, mass movement of loosened material, and flooding. The volcano's topography and volcanic deposits contributed to the disaster, but the primary area of landslides lay S of the main volcanic edifice and reached a maximum elevation of ~3,000 m. Aerial observers on 7 July saw no changes in either the vigor of fumaroles present near the summit or in the distribution and surface appearance of glaciers. Though dislodged ice was noted in news reports, none was found during fieldwork. The latest estimates on direct human impact from the earthquake are >150 fatalities, 500 people listed as missing, and 20,000 people displaced. Six bridges and >100 km of roads were destroyed.

All mass movement due to slope failure was previously called "mudflows" (19:5). The new report uses more precise terminology (Varnes, 1978), and provides an English-Spanish glossary that includes these and other terms: (a) rock, soil, and earth falls, (b) various kinds of slides including earth slides and debris slides, (c) rock avalanches, (d) debris avalanches, and (e) earth flows. According to this scheme, the bulk of the observed slides were earth slides derived from weathered residual soils that have developed on the bedrock. Lack of bedrock involvement and the limited amount of translations that involved bouncing, rolling, or falling resulted in few mass movements categorized as rock avalanches.

Nearly all of the 6 June earthquake-triggered landslides originated on slopes of >=30°. In this steep terrain they mainly began as shallow slips in residual soils. The soils had been saturated a few weeks prior to the earthquake by heavy rains. Reduced shear strength because of the saturated soils was a major factor in the observed slope failures and the velocity of the downslope movements. Typically these water-charged slides were ~ 1-2 m thick, and immediately liquified, transforming into either debris avalanches or earth flows moving rapidly downslope. In total, these processes stripped >50% of the vegetation from the steep hillsides. The slides themselves caused little direct damage since the steep slopes were generally uninhabited.

Adjacent to the volcano, in up-river villages such as Irlanda and Wila, damage took place as the mobile earth flows ran across relatively flat terrace surfaces. Earth flows in Irlanda were only 2 m thick, but they destroyed the houses and structures in their path. Some of the damage at Irlanda may have been caused by a high-velocity earth flow that began on the opposite side (the E side) of Rio Paez and crossed over.

The 1994 debris flows in the Rio Paez were cohesive (>3% of sediment with <0.004 mm size), which means that they remain intact and travel long distances. On the other hand, large previous debris flows preserved in lateral terraces along the river are of the noncohesive type that transformed into hyperconcentrated flows as they moved downstream. The noncohesive debris flows are thought to have been more closely related to past explosive volcanism and provide one means of analyzing past behavior at Huila. This point is noteworthy because the headwaters of the Rio Paez provide the drainage for almost the entire volcano. Because the bulk of debris flows must travel down the Rio Paez, study of the deposits along it should provide a thorough record of the volcano's seismically and magmatically generated deposits.

The report noted several analogous cases of "widespread stripping of saturated materials and vegetative cover from steep slopes" during seismic loading. One case involved the M 6.1 and 6.9 earthquakes of March 1987 in NE Ecuador. Those earthquakes triggered an estimated 75-110 million m3 of mass wasting, killed an estimated 1,000 people, destroyed a major oil pipeline, and caused US $1 billion in damages. These events are also of interest because Mount Rainier (Washington State, USA) contains a gravitationally unstable zone of altered rock high on its edifice. The zone could detach during seismic loading and move downslope, eventually reaching heavily populated areas.

Researchers continue to watch the volcano to see if the recent seismicity causes any changes to its normally passive hydrothermal system. Monitoring is done from an observatory in Popayan, 83 km SW.

References. Casadevall, T.J., Schuster, R.L., and Scott, K.M., 29 July 1994, Preliminary report on the effects of the June 6, 1994 Sismo de Paez (Paez earthquake), Southern Colombia: U.S. Geological Survey Response Team, 15 p.

Varnes, D.J., 1978, Classification of mass movements, in Schuster, R.L., and Krizek, R.J. (eds.), Landslides: Analysis and Control: U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Transportation Research Board Special Report 176, p. 11-33.

Geologic Background. Nevado del Huila, the highest peak in the Colombian Andes, is an elongated N-S-trending volcanic chain mantled by a glacier icecap. The andesitic-dacitic volcano was constructed within a 10-km-wide caldera. Volcanism at Nevado del Huila has produced six volcanic cones whose ages in general migrated from south to north. The high point of the complex is Pico Central. Two glacier-free lava domes lie at the southern end of the volcanic complex. The first historical activity was an explosive eruption in the mid-16th century. Long-term, persistent steam columns had risen from Pico Central prior to the next eruption in 2007, when explosive activity was accompanied by damaging mudflows.

Information Contacts: INGEOMINAS, Popayan; T. Casadevall, USGS.


Ijen (Indonesia) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Ijen

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor phreatic eruption in February described

At 0915 on 3 February 1994, a small phreatic eruption took place from the S part of the crater lake. Coincident with the eruption, lake level rose ~1 m. Visual and seismic activity then returned to normal through July. During 7-14 August, the number of volcanic earthquakes and tremor increased compared to earlier in August. The temperature of the light-green crater lake was 39-42°C.

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

Information Contacts: VSI.


Kanaga (United States) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Kanaga

United States

51.923°N, 177.168°W; summit elev. 1307 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Steam-and-ash plume rises 4,500 m; enlarged hot spot on imagery

On the morning of 15 July a pilot observed steam plumes rising from multiple vents to ~600 m above the summit. FWS personnel in Adak . . . reported steam plumes during 16-22 July. A distinct hot spot . . . was seen on a satellite image from 0906 on 22 July. FWS personnel aboard the RV Tiglax observed incandescent flows on the flank of Kanaga during the night of 27-28 July; low-level steaming from the summit area was continuing. Also in late July the FWS crew saw a blocky lava flow entering the sea on the NW flank, forming a new headland and small cove. Pilots reported incandescent flows on the NW flank during the following week, and steam plumes to 1,500 m altitude. On 10 August the RV Tiglax passed within ~3 km of shore and the crew observed the two NW-flank lava flows for the first time during daylight. Steam was rising from where the flows were entering the sea, and a strong SO2 odor was detected. Satellite imagery again recorded hot spots . . . during 2-12 August.

At 0500 on 18 August, the FAA received a pilot report of "glowing" at the summit. Pilots reported a light gray, dense steam cloud at 0800 rising to 4,500 m above the summit that had a mushroom-shaped top and was trailing to the E. A satellite infrared image taken at 0836 showed a summit hot spot twice as large as that seen in recent weeks, suggesting an increase in heating associated with production of lava flows. Also visible in the image was a plume extending 15-20 km NE; enhancements of calibrated data suggested that the plume may have contained some ash. Throughout the day, pilots and FWS personnel in Adak observed an eruption cloud consisting of a white, dominantly steam portion, which rose to ~4,500 m altitude, and a vigorously roiling, gray, ash-bearing portion that rose to an estimated 2,400-3,000 m altitude. A loud rumbling, similar to the sound of a freight train, was heard in Adak all afternoon and into the evening. Prevailing winds carried the plume NE, and a light curtain of fallout was observed. Satellite images from 1133 and about 2000 on 18 August showed a plume drifting NE.

The summit hot spot, which on 18 August appeared to have doubled in size, persisted on a satellite image from 1004 on 19 August. No plume was visible that day, although cloud cover may have obscured it. FWS observers reported continued rumbling from the direction of the volcano. Kanaga continued to erupt minor amounts of ash during 20-21 August, interfering with local air traffic and dropping a light dusting of ash on the community of Adak. As of midday on 22 August, analysis of satellite imagery indicated a possible plume, containing minor ash, drifting generally ESE from the volcano over Adak. The FAA enforced a 24-km restricted flight zone around Kanaga until 1430 to minimize the possibility of aircraft encountering an ash cloud during instrument approach and departure. Poor weather obscured the volcano through the morning of 22 August. However, no ash cloud was seen from Adak as visibility improved through the day.

Pilots and other observers continued to report and photograph avalanches of hot fragmental debris cascading down the N flank of the volcano into the ocean. Although AVO has been unable to clearly discern the source of this material, it likely represents collapse of a growing lava dome or ejection of hot blocks of lava from near or within the summit crater. Based on the last eight months of activity, continuing episodes of ash eruption accompanied by avalanching of hot debris down the volcano's flanks can be expected. Depending on wind conditions and the size of a given eruptive episode, additional ashfall on Adak is possible.

. . . .The eruption has been characterized by intermittent, low-level steam and ash emissions producing plumes rarely rising over 3,000-4,500 m altitude and drifting a few tens of kilometers downwind. Although tracking of ash fallout is limited due to the remote location of Kanaga, it appears from satellite imagery that detectable fallout has been confined to within a few tens of kilometers of the volcano. On 22 August, AVO learned that several very light dustings of fine ash on the N portions of Adak had occurred over the past few months.

Geologic Background. Symmetrical Kanaga stratovolcano is situated within the Kanaton caldera at the northern tip of Kanaga Island. The caldera rim forms a 760-m-high arcuate ridge south and east of Kanaga; a lake occupies part of the SE caldera floor. The volume of subaerial dacitic tuff is smaller than would typically be associated with caldera collapse, and deposits of a massive submarine debris avalanche associated with edifice collapse extend nearly 30 km to the NNW. Several fresh lava flows from historical or late prehistorical time descend the flanks of Kanaga, in some cases to the sea. Historical eruptions, most of which are poorly documented, have been recorded since 1763. Kanaga is also noted petrologically for ultramafic inclusions within an outcrop of alkaline basalt SW of the volcano. Fumarolic activity occurs in a circular, 200-m-wide, 60-m-deep summit crater and produces vapor plumes sometimes seen on clear days from Adak, 50 km to the east.

Information Contacts: AVO.


Kilauea (United States) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Bench collapses and littoral explosions occur as lava flows continue to enter the ocean

"The . . . eruption continued throughout July with more lava entering the ocean in the W Kamoamoa/Lae Apuki area. On the morning of 8 July, a piece of the Kamoamoa bench, ~4,000 m2, fell into the ocean. Littoral explosions following the collapse deposited a small amount of spatter on the delta. A wave associated with the collapse event deposited blocks on the surface of the delta, 40 m inland of the sea cliff. One line of stations, set up to monitor movement of cracks on the active bench, disappeared into the ocean with the collapse. Following the event, the remaining lines recorded several centimeters of seaward movement. The cracks on the bench continued to widen throughout the month. Some of the larger cracks contained standing water.

"Surface activity was confined mostly to the W Kamoamoa/Lae Apuki bench; however, on 11 July, a surface flow broke out of the active tube on Pali Uli. This flow did not reach the ocean before stagnating. There were no significant changes in the Pu`u `O`o lava pond, which was 79 m below the crater rim in July.

"The ocean entries were intermittently explosive, following the 8 July collapse, due to smaller collapses along the front of the bench. Littoral explosions increased in frequency and magnitude later in the month. The most dramatic event began on the afternoon of 26 July. By the following day, large spatter bursts had built a 10-m-high littoral cone on the leading edge of the Kamoamoa/Lae Apuki bench. Explosive activity was initially episodic but was continuous by at least 1810 on 27 July. At 2025 a cascade of lava, about 5 m wide, ripped out of the tube on Pali Uli, from the same area as the 11 July flow. Within 50 minutes, the explosive activity at the ocean had subsided. The cascade on Pali Uli fed flows that eventually stagnated the following day. Activity at the ocean paused briefly, but by 1112 on 28 July, plumes were again visible off the Kamoamoa/Lae Apuki bench. Surface flows broke out on the bench, and by the end of the month extended the bench 5-10 m W."

Geologic Background. Kilauea, which overlaps the E flank of the massive Mauna Loa shield volcano, has been Hawaii's most active volcano during historical time. Eruptions are prominent in Polynesian legends; written documentation extending back to only 1820 records frequent summit and flank lava flow eruptions that were interspersed with periods of long-term lava lake activity that lasted until 1924 at Halemaumau crater, within the summit caldera. The 3 x 5 km caldera was formed in several stages about 1500 years ago and during the 18th century; eruptions have also originated from the lengthy East and SW rift zones, which extend to the sea on both sides of the volcano. About 90% of the surface of the basaltic shield volcano is formed of lava flows less than about 1100 years old; 70% of the volcano's surface is younger than 600 years. A long-term eruption from the East rift zone that began in 1983 has produced lava flows covering more than 100 km2, destroying nearly 200 houses and adding new coastline to the island.

Information Contacts: T. Mattox, HVO.


Krakatau (Indonesia) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent ash explosions (300-450/day) reach heights up to 500 m

Ash explosions continued at a rate of 300-450/day in early August. The height of the ash columns, measured from the [Pasuaran Observatory] during clear weather, ranged from 150 to 500 m above the summit, with incandescent projections evident at night. The sporadic eruptions have deposited ash over almost the entire island. During the second week of August, explosion earthquakes averaged 460 events/day. Occasionally, explosion sounds were heard and vibrations felt at the observatory.

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

Information Contacts: VSI.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — July 1994 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)


Thick ash clouds from Crater 2 accompanied by explosion sounds

"Eruptive activity at Crater 2 continued during July, while Crater 3 activity was at a low level. Throughout the month, Crater 2's normal moderate emissions of thin white-grey vapour were disrupted by forceful ejections of thick, mushroom-shaped, grey-brown ash clouds accompanied by low explosion and rumbling sounds. These caused fine ashfall NW of the volcano. On 16 and 22 July, the ash clouds rose several thousands of meters above the crater. Steady weak night glow was reported on 26 July and there was fluctuating weak-bright glow on the 29th. Crater 3 continued to emit small volumes of mostly white vapour, sometimes with blue and grey vapour. There were no audible sounds or night glow reported during July. Seismic activity throughout the month remained at a low level with between 1 and 7 small low-frequency earthquakes/day."

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

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


Lascar (Chile) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Lascar

Chile

23.37°S, 67.73°W; summit elev. 5592 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Moderate short-lived eruption sends plume over Argentina

Renewed Vulcanian activity during 20-26 July generated plumes up to ~9,000 m altitude, ~4,000 m above the summit . . . . On 20 July at 1630 a grayish column 400-500 m high was emitted from the crater. The next day at 1230 a brownish eruptive column rose 3,000-4,000 m and immediately drifted NE. Very fine ashfall was reported in Salar de Olaroz in the Argentine Puna, 120 km NE of the vent. At 1430 on 23 July another eruption plume to a height of 3,000-4,000 m was blown NNE. No ashfall was reported in the Argentine Puna following this activity.

A single short-lived Vulcanian explosion at about 1200 on 26 July generated a column and NNE-trending plume that soon detached from the volcano; prevailing high-level winds then shifted the plume toward the E. Witnesses from Toconao (35 km NW) and San Pedro de Atacama (70 km NW) reported a moderate explosion followed by a dark-colored mushroom-shaped column that slowly rose to 4,000 m height. Pilots from Aerolineas Argentinas, AeroMonterrey, and Lineas Aereas de Chile reported to the Argentina National Metereological Service that the plume, ~30 km wide and 200 km long, reached an altitude of 9,000 m. Ashfall was only reported in areas close to the volcano. No ashfall was reported in the small village of Catua along the Chilean-Argentine border, 80 km E of Lascar. Immediately after the eruption the volcano showed very diminished activity, with weak white fumarolic plumes that hardly rose above the crater rim. From 27 July to 4 August the volcano exhibited normal fumarolic activity.

Infrared images of the 26 July ash cloud were captured by Raúl Rodano and Luis Ganz from the Meteosat 3 satellite (figure 22). An image taken at 1346 on 26 July showed an ESE-directed plume 50 x 20 km in size, reaching an altitude between 3,600 and 5,400 m (figure 22, top). At 1523 another image showed a 130-km-long plume with the trailing edge located 60 km from Lascar (figure 22, middle). On the E side of the plume, a core (40 km in diameter) developed vertically and reached ~7,000 m altitude. The lower levels of the plume were oriented ESE, following the general atmospheric circulation. Because of wind-shear between 5,400 and 7,000 m, the plume was reoriented NNE by upper-level winds (200°- 70 km/hour). On the image taken at 1631, the plume is 180 km long and 100 km from the source (figure 22, bottom). Based on analysis of this imagery, the NNE-oriented E end of the plume reached an estimated maximum height of 7,500 m. Although the sky was cloudy by 1830, scattered parts of the NNE-oriented plume could be seen 80 km E of Jujuy, Argentina, drifting E at 80 km/hour at an estimated altitude of 4,500 m. With frame animation it was possible to discern the dispersed plume reaching Presidente Roque Saenz Pena city, 800 km E of Lascar, at 2009 on 26 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Infrared images of the 26 July 1994 plume from Lascar (white area) taken from the Meteosat 3 satellite. At 1346 (top) the small plume (50 x 20 km) was moving ESE. By 1523 (middle) the trailing edge of the 130-km-long detached plume was located 60 km from the volcano. On the image taken at 1631 (bottom), the plume was 100 km from the source, 180 km long, and the E end was oriented NNE. Approximate location of Lascar is shown by the black triangle; Jujuy, Argentina, is indicated by the white square. Courtesy of Raúl Rodano and Luis Ganz.

These eruptions comprise the fourth period of Vulcanian activity following the large subplinian eruption of 19-20 April 1993. Eruptions were also reported in August and December 1993, and February 1994. All are thought to have been caused by blockage of the degassing magmatic system due to collapse of the dome formed in the late stages of the April 1993 eruption. The present morphology of the crater is unknown, although this renewed activity suggests further subsidence of the crater floor due to conduit degassing. Lascar, the most active volcano of the northern Chilean Andes, contains five overlapping summit craters along a NE trend. Prominent lava flows descend its NW flanks.

Reference. Gardeweg P., M.C., 1994, La Explosion del 26 de Julio, 1994, X Informe sobre el comportamiento del Volcan Lascar: Informe Inedito, Biblioteca Servicio Nacional de Geologia y Mineria, 4 p.

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

Information Contacts: M. Gardeweg, SERNAGEOMIN, Santiago; J. Viramonte, R. Becchio, I. Petrinovic, and R. Arganaraz, Instituto Geonorte Univ Nacional de Salta, Argentina; B. Coira and A. Perez, Instituto de Geologia Universidad de Jujuy, Argentina; R. Rodano and L. Ganz, Aerolineas Argentinas Weather Division, Buenos Aires, Argentina; H. Corbella, CONICET - Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences, Buenos Aires.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — July 1994 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)


Explosions on 5-7 July generate ash clouds and eject lava fragments

"During July, there was a brief increase in the level of activity from Southern Crater, while Main Crater activity continued to remain at a low level. Activity from Southern Crater was low from 1 to 4 July with gentle emissions of small volumes of white vapour. From 1430 on 5 July onwards, activity increased as weak deep-sounding explosions were heard at 5-10 minute intervals accompanying forceful emissions of grey-brown ash clouds. Incandescent lava fragments were seen being ejected from Southern Crater during the evening until the activity stopped at 2130. Ash emissions continued to occur until 7 July, and only one explosion was heard on 6 July. For the remainder of the month, activity at Southern Crater continued at the normal low level, with only white vapour emissions and blue vapour observed on 12 and 15 July.

"Throughout the month Main Crater continued to emit white vapour, weak to moderate in volume. A whitish-grey plume was seen on 31 July. No sounds were heard and no night glow was observed.

"Seismic activity remained at a low-moderate level throughout the month, with small fluctuations in the number and amplitude of low-frequency earthquakes. On average ~1,170 earthquakes/day were recorded, and there was a brief quiet period from 25 to 27 July when <500 earthquakes/day were recorded. There were no significant tilt changes in July.

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, R. Stewart, and C. McKee, RVO.


Marapi (Indonesia) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Marapi

Indonesia

0.38°S, 100.474°E; summit elev. 2885 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption sends ash column to ~6 km above sea level; summary of 1993 activity

An eruption at 0016 on 12 August 1994 sent an ash column to ~6 km altitude, a height of 3,200 m above the summit. Another explosion at 0046 ejected ash 280 m high. From the observatory ~7 km from the crater, observers noted incandescent projections as high as 300 m above the crater rim, accompanied by explosion sounds and vibrations. Ashfall in and around the city of Bukittinggi . . . ranged from 0.5 to 1 mm thick. Shallow volcanic earthquakes were recorded after the explosions, but gradually decreased.

Eruptions during the first half of 1993 (VSI, 1993a) produced lapilli and ash that were deposited in a radius of 1.5-3 km from the active crater. A dark gray column rose as high as 1,200 m above the summit . . . , but was usually in the 400-500 m range. Explosion earthquakes from January to July 1993 fluctuated between 1 and 77 events/day. The frequency of explosions increased in July 1993, but then decreased from August through December (VSI, 1993b). These explosions during Jul-Dec 1993 deposited lapilli and ash within a 750-m-radius of the active crater. Incandescent material fell within a few tens of meters of the crater rim. Average plume height in the second half of 1993 was 400-800 m, reaching a maximum of 3,200 m above the summit. Throughout 1993, deep volcanic earthquakes (A-type) were detected at a rate of 6-41/month. Between 42 and 338 shallow (B-type) events were recorded each month.

Geologic Background. Gunung Marapi, not to be confused with the better-known Merapi volcano on Java, is Sumatra's most active volcano. This massive complex stratovolcano rises 2,000 m above the Bukittinggi Plain in the Padang Highlands. A broad summit contains multiple partially overlapping summit craters constructed within the small 1.4-km-wide Bancah caldera. The summit craters are located along an ENE-WSW line, with volcanism migrating to the west. More than 50 eruptions, typically consisting of small-to-moderate explosive activity, have been recorded since the end of the 18th century; no lava flows outside the summit craters have been reported in historical time.

Information Contacts: VSI.


Masaya (Nicaragua) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Sulfur-rich plume and incandescent ejections from opening in lava lake

Scientists from FIU and INETER visited Masaya for about an hour on the afternoon of 26 May 1994 and noted that the two incandescent openings (5-7 m in diameter) in the cooling lava lake observed on 1 March near the N wall of Santiago crater (BGVN 19:03) had coalesced into a single opening 10-12 m long. A sulfur-rich plume was being emitted from the opening at a rate of several pulses/minute; the pulses were accompanied by jetting sounds easily heard from the S rim. Fresh, black ash covered the crater floor immediately SW of the opening. INETER scientists reported that small Strombolian explosions ejected incandescent material from the opening several times during May and June 1994.

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

Information Contacts: Peter C. La Femina, Michael Conway, and Andrew MacFarlane, FIU; Christian Lugo, INETER.


Merapi (Indonesia) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Increased deformation precedes a nuee ardente

A nuée ardente erupted around 1400 on 16 July 1994, an event preceded by a clear increase in tilt several days before the eruption. Figure 9 shows tilt measurements during the interval 1-18 July. One set of measurements came from a site on Merapi's summit (Goa Jepang, ~2,900 m elevation); the other set of measurements came from a cave on Merapi's S flank (~1,000 m elevation).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Tilt at Merapi recorded at both the summit and in a cave on the S flank, 1-18 July 1994 Courtesy of Arnold Brodscholl.

The daily temperature variation in the cave is<1°C, suggesting little influence from temperature there (left-hand scale). The daily record of tilt varied significantly less at the cave site (typically <100 µrad) than at the summit site (typically ~150 µrad), an observation consistent with the more stable temperature in the cave.

Tilt began increasing at both sites roughly five days prior to the eruption. During this interval the tilt at both sites correlated consistently overall, and moderately at the finer-scale. Tilt ceased to track consistently near the end of the eruption, when the flank site underwent a dramatic decrease, a turn-around that began prior to the end of the eruption. Summit tilt measurements in January 1993 were similar to those presented here but then measurements at the cave site were a rarity, leaving the increased tilt without confirmation.

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: A. Brodscholl, GMU; Subandryo, VSI; B. Voight, Pennsylvania State Univ.


Momotombo (Nicaragua) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Momotombo

Nicaragua

12.423°N, 86.539°W; summit elev. 1270 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Summit fumarole temperatures range from 238 to 655°C

Beginning on 11 June, scientists from FIU and INETER deployed a datalogger in the crater to continuously monitor fumarole temperatures and barometric pressure. The team entered the summit crater three times along a trail that crosses an active avalanche chute and leads around to the NE crater rim. Condensate and Giggenbach-type samples were collected from fumaroles along the SW crater wall. These fumaroles were very corrosive, as indicated by the destruction of the datalogger thermocouples, and had temperatures ranging from 238 to 655°C. A voluminous plume was rising from the crater on 13 March.

Geologic Background. Momotombo is a young stratovolcano that rises prominently above the NW shore of Lake Managua, forming one of Nicaragua's most familiar landmarks. Momotombo began growing about 4500 years ago at the SE end of the Marrabios Range and consists of a somma from an older edifice that is surmounted by a symmetrical younger cone with a 150 x 250 m wide summit crater. Young lava flows extend down the NW flank into the 4-km-wide Monte Galán caldera. The youthful cone of Momotombito forms an island offshore in Lake Managua. Momotombo has a long record of Strombolian eruptions, punctuated by occasional stronger explosive activity. The latest eruption, in 1905, produced a lava flow that traveled from the summit to the lower NE base. A small black plume was seen above the crater after a 10 April 1996 earthquake, but later observations noted no significant changes in the crater. A major geothermal field is located on the south flank.

Information Contacts: Peter C. La Femina, Michael Conway, and Andrew MacFarlane, FIU; Christian Lugo M., INETER.


Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


High lava fountains feed lava flow on NW flank

High lava fountaining in early July took place from a new vent on the W flank, named Kimera. Located ~100 m S of the 1971 Rugarama cone, this vent became active at 2148 on 4 July, but remained active for only 4-5 days. The lava flows generally moved W until at least 10 July, when the flows reached their maximum extent. By 11 July, the small lake (Magera) at the E foot of a Precambrian escarpment was entirely filled and dried by the flow. High SO2 concentrations detected by the TOMS during 5-10 July were most likely caused by this activity at Nyamuragira and not from the lava lake at Nyiragongo. Nyamuragira also emitted levels of SO2 detectable by satellite during 17-19 July 1986 (275-375 ± 30% kt) and on 24 September 1991 (20 kt).

A press report described falls of both ash and Pele's hair during the first half of July in the Mokoto Hills, above the W escarpment of the rift ~20 km from the volcano. Several farmers reported problems caused by cattle eating ash-laden grass.

Long-term monitoring data indicated an apparent acceleration in seismo-geodetic activity in the past 10 years. Seismicity steadily increased from <200 volcanic events/month in 1960-65 to ~300-400/month in the early 1980's (figure 13). Increased seismicity after 1985 suggests an acceleration of magma supply into the volcano. The geodimeter network operating on the Nyamuragira summit has also revealed a gradual strain increase since 1980, showing that the crater is dilated.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Monthly number of volcanic earthquakes at Nyamuragira, 1960-92. The short-period seismic station is located 110 km from the volcano. Vertical arrows indicate flank eruptions. Courtesy of H. Hamaguchi.

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

Information Contacts: N. Zana, Centre de Recherche en Géophysique, Kinshasa; H. Hamaguchi, Tohoku Univ; J. Durieux, GEVA, Lyon, France; G. Benhamou, Libération newspaper, France; T. Casadevall, USGS; I. Sprod, GSFC.


Nyiragongo (DR Congo) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake activity produces strong red glow above crater

For four days around 14 July a dense steam-and-gas plume was visible from Goma, and red glow could be seen at night. An amateur video taken on an unknown day between 19 and 24 July included a 6-second partial view of the crater that revealed a large very active lava fountain roughly in the center of the crater. A large, flat spatter cone had been built, with a least three large openings in the walls and lava flows radiating from the openings. The entire lava lake was not active. The background was hidden by gases and clouds, making it impossible to determine the elevation of the lava lake surface. Following the 1982 activity, the surface was 400 m below the crater rim. A very strong red glow was again observed above the crater during the night of 29 July. Very little red glow was reported in early August.

Another eruption within the summit lava lake began at about 1900 on 10 August. Red glow above the summit could be seen from Goma during daylight as well as at night. Press reports also stated that "ash and dust" had been emitted from the volcano. The increased activity on 10-13 August and strong red glow visible from the refugee camps caused some concern among the refugees and relief workers.

Volcanologists from Zaire, Japan, France, and the USGS were all present in Goma from 19 to 23 August. The primary purpose of the USGS scientists was to evaluate the hazards posed to the ongoing relief operations in Goma, which contained more than one million Rwandan refugees and the large Zairian population. Specific hazards addressed included the threat of active lava flows to resettlement camps and infrastructure, the threat of volcanic ash to air relief operations, and the threat of CO2 accumulation to refugees in resettlement camps along the Goma-Sake road.

During the flight to Goma on 19 August, USGS volcanologists flew over and around the crater. Although the crater floor was clearly visible, no signs of activity were observed. However, during the pre-dawn hours on 20 August, strong red glow above the main crater could be seen. Early that morning the French Army flew USGS and French volcanologists to the summit. At that time the lava lake was very active, with fountaining of lava up to 40 m above the surface of the crater floor, estimated to be ~450 m below the crater rim. Seismograms from instruments operated by Zairan scientists clearly showed this eruptive activity. The eruption-related seismicity had ended by 22 August, and no additional red glow was noted. No activity was observed during an aerial inspection the next day, but red glow was again seen early on 24 August.

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: H. Hamaguchi, Tohoku Univ; J. Durieux, GEVA; T. Casadevall and J. Lockwood, USGS; AP.


Poas (Costa Rica) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Poas

Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2708 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ashfall SW of the summit covers 56 km2

Despite roughly 3 months of rainy weather, the colorful northernmost crater lake that evaporated this past year remained nearly dry, venting became alarmingly noisy, and in the interval from 9 July to 5 August the volcano produced a series of ash falls. These falls were carried to the SW and covered a roughly 56 km2 area.

Increased vigor of fumaroles has led to vapor columns reaching >1 km above the lake floor; the columns were blown to the W and SW. Some of the columns were red to orange in color, presumably due to combustion of sulfur. In the recent past the most vigorous fumaroles were located near the former lake's center. These fumaroles diminished in size; during July the ones located SW of the former lake were of greatest importance.

On 21 July, a fumarole S of the former lake generated a white-colored column; thermocouple measurements of the fumarole revealed a 495°C temperature. The highest pressure fumarole, also located S of the former lake, emitted a red- to orange-colored plume. Continuously jetted gases contained entrained sediment. These escaping gases had a temperature of 515°C, measured with a pyrometer aimed toward the vent. Other fumaroles issued sporadic sediment and colored gases; temperature at the dome was 81°C. ICE and ECG reported jetting gases thrusting to 350 m above the crater floor and then rising convectively to 1 km. Using infrared thermometry, temperatures as high as 700°C were measured in the S-vent area.

Ash was erupted on the night of 9 July and into the morning of 10 July. Continued reports of ash fall came from San Miguel Arriba, Trojas, San Luis de Grecia, Cajon, and Porvenir de Sarchi (figure 53). These reports continued for 2 days; later, mapping and compilation led to an ash distribution map for this and later eruptions in July (figure 53). Blocks were principally limited to the crater area, fine ash covered much of the summit area, and the finest ash blew as far as about 15 km. The fumaroles ejecting lake sediment continued to grow, and ejected ash with blocks. Such events were noted seven times in late July (24, 25, 27, 28, 29, and twice on 30 July). In general, the strongest ash eruptions were accompanied by loud jet-like noises.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Distribution of ash from Poás during July 1994. Scale is approximate; roads indicated by dashed lines, rivers by solid lines, and settlements by dots. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

OVSICORI-UNA reported July seismicity from station POA2 (2.5 km SW of the active crater) in terms of several types of events (figure 54). In July, a total of 4,994 events took place. Starting on 26 July several high-frequency (volcano-tectonic) earthquakes took place each day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Poás seismicity for July 1994. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

The amount of deformation on two distance-measurement lines has, since 1973, shown a tendency toward contraction, amounting to about 0.7 and 1.8 ppm/month, respectively. Between 24 June and 5 July both lines suddenly contracted about 19 ppm. From 22 July until the end of the month there were no further significant changes. Back in the interval between 8 March and 12 May a component of two leveling lines deflated slightly (10 µrad). During the last re-occupation of the leveling lines, which took place at the end of July, one line 2 km S of the active crater had inflated by about 17 µrad.

The increased degassing has led to a variety of health and environmental problems. Crops and soils have been damaged. Residents on the W and SW flanks continue to report irritations to the throat, skin, and eyes when gases and ash enter their communities.

On the morning of 22 August an American Airlines flight reported an eruption cloud to ~6 km. Visibility over Poás was poor due to thunder storms to the E and clouds in its vicinity; satellite imagery was unable to detect the plume. Jorge Barquero described this plume as consisting of vapor and gas. A plume on the previous day reached to about 2 km above the vent; heights of these plumes were highly dependant on local wind conditions. As of 22 August, no confirmed ash-bearing plumes had erupted since 5 August.

Geologic Background. The broad, well-vegetated edifice of Poás, one of the most active volcanoes of Costa Rica, contains three craters along a N-S line. The frequently visited multi-hued summit crater lakes of the basaltic-to-dacitic volcano, which is one of Costa Rica's most prominent natural landmarks, are easily accessible by vehicle from the nearby capital city of San José. A N-S-trending fissure cutting the 2708-m-high complex stratovolcano extends to the lower northern flank, where it has produced the Congo stratovolcano and several lake-filled maars. The southernmost of the two summit crater lakes, Botos, is cold and clear and last erupted about 7500 years ago. The more prominent geothermally heated northern lake, Laguna Caliente, is one of the world's most acidic natural lakes, with a pH of near zero. It has been the site of frequent phreatic and phreatomagmatic eruptions since the first historical eruption was reported in 1828. Eruptions often include geyser-like ejections of crater-lake water.

Information Contacts: E. Fernández, J. Barquero, V. Barboza, R. Van der Laat, F. de Obaldia, and T. Marino, OVSICORI; G. Soto, G. Alvarado, and F. Arias, ICE; M. Mora, C. Ramirez, and G. Peraldo, UCR.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — July 1994 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)


Seismicity remains low; minor subsidence

"July was relatively quiet, with 220 detected earthquakes . . . . Activity was highest in the middle of the month, with half the earthquakes occurring between 13 and 19 July, and two swarms on those days. Most of the earthquakes, including the 13 July swarm, were located on the NE portion of the ring fault on the E side of Greet Harbour at depths of 0-4 km. Most of the rest were located near the W portion of the ring fault. An exception to this was the swarm on 19 July, which was located, albeit poorly, in the center of Karavia Bay. None of the earthquakes were large enough to be felt. The largest earthquake during the month, M 2.7, occurred on 5 July. Leveling measurements on 19 July showed a very small amount of subsidence, <9 mm, at the end of Matupit Island since 27 June.

"On 13 July, signals were recorded from three earthquakes that originated outside the network, somewhere N of Rabaul. S-P times between 2 and 4 seconds were consistent with locations near Tavui caldera, an underwater caldera N of Rabaul. This caldera was only discovered in 1984 and virtually nothing is known about it. Records are currently being checked for any other seismic activity that may have come from this vicinity."

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, R. Stewart, and C. McKee, RVO.


Ruapehu (New Zealand) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Ruapehu

New Zealand

39.28°S, 175.57°E; summit elev. 2797 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Relatively stable with water cooling of Crater Lake

When visited on 8 June, Crater Lake appeared a very pale, almost yellowish, gray. On 4 July, as was more typical for the recent past, the crater lake was a uniform battleship-gray with no evidence of convection or slicks. Temperature at Outlet, 22°C, was slightly higher than for June-July in past years. The lake is currently cooling following a minor heating event in early June that followed strong acoustic signals, minor earthquakes, and volcanic tremor 10-15 days earlier. These two recent visits revealed no evidence of eruptive activity.

On 4 July, unusually thick accumulations of snow prevented deformation surveys and emphasized the need to install tiltmeters in key locations to improve the continuity of monitoring. Snow and ice were removed from the ARGOS satellite installation, but the solar panel could not be located under deep snow and battery and transmission power steadily declined.

A working party coordinated by the Ministry of Civil Defence has considered developing a contingency plan for volcanic hazards. They also may adopt a system using "Volcanic Alert Levels" graded from 1 (low level) to 5 (highest level, hazardous eruption in progress).

Geologic Background. Ruapehu, one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes, is a complex stratovolcano constructed during at least four cone-building episodes dating back to about 200,000 years ago. The dominantly andesitic 110 km3 volcanic massif is elongated in a NNE-SSW direction and surrounded by another 100 km3 ring plain of volcaniclastic debris, including the Murimoto debris-avalanche deposit on the NW flank. A series of subplinian eruptions took place between about 22,600 and 10,000 years ago, but pyroclastic flows have been infrequent. A single historically active vent, Crater Lake (Te Wai a-moe), is located in the broad summit region, but at least five other vents on the summit and flank have been active during the Holocene. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have occurred in historical time from the Crater Lake vent, and tephra characteristics suggest that the crater lake may have formed as early as 3,000 years ago. Lahars produced by phreatic eruptions from the summit crater lake are a hazard to a ski area on the upper flanks and to lower river valleys.

Information Contacts: P. Otway, B. Scott, and A. Hurst, IGNS Wairakei.


Semeru (Indonesia) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

8.108°S, 112.922°E; summit elev. 3657 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash eruptions to 500 m above the summit

Eruptive activity on 3 February 1994 produced ashfalls, lava avalanches, and pyroclastic flows, destroying a village and killing 6 people (19:01). Total volume of the pyroclastic-flow deposits was about 6 million m3.

During 5-14 August observations, visual and seismic activity . . . were normal. The daily number of explosion earthquakes fluctuated between 40 and 100 events, and volcanic tremor was occasionally recorded with a maximum amplitude of 4 mm. Ash eruptions generated clouds up to 500 m above the summit. There were no pyroclastic flows or lava avalanches.

Geologic Background. Semeru, the highest volcano on Java, and one of its most active, lies at the southern end of a volcanic massif extending north to the Tengger caldera. The steep-sided volcano, also referred to as Mahameru (Great Mountain), rises above coastal plains to the south. Gunung Semeru was constructed south of the overlapping Ajek-ajek and Jambangan calderas. A line of lake-filled maars was constructed along a N-S trend cutting through the summit, and cinder cones and lava domes occupy the eastern and NE flanks. Summit topography is complicated by the shifting of craters from NW to SE. Frequent 19th and 20th century eruptions were dominated by small-to-moderate explosions from the summit crater, with occasional lava flows and larger explosive eruptions accompanied by pyroclastic flows that have reached the lower flanks of the volcano.

Information Contacts: VSI.


Telica (Nicaragua) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Telica

Nicaragua

12.606°N, 86.84°W; summit elev. 1036 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosive eruption causes ashfall >12 km SW of the summit

An eruption on 31 July produced a gas-and-ash column that rose ~800 m above the 1,060-m-high summit. Ashfall was reported SW of the volcano (figure 6). Phreatic activity continued until 12 August with gas emission and minor ash explosions. Seismicity has been recorded continuously since December 1993, when a permanent telemetered seismic station (TELN: short-period, vertical-component) was installed ~500 m E of the active crater rim (figure 7). Also since December 1993, the Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) has collaborated with the government, local authorities, civil defense, and the media, to educate the population about the situation at the volcano. Due to the relatively low magnitude of this eruption, it was not necessary to carry out the prepared evacuation plans.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Ashfall from Telica, 31 July-6 August 1994. Courtesy of INETER.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Sketch map of the summit area at Telica, showing locations of crater fumaroles (left) and seismic stations (right). Courtesy of INETER.

A seismic event on 15 June 1994 was recorded by several stations of the Nicaraguan seismic network, up to distances of ~40 km from Telica. This event at a depth of 6 km had a maximum magnitude of 2.1. The 31 July eruption was preceded by a steady increase in seismicity during 15-25 July (figure 8), recorded by station TELN. Seismicity had increased from25 events/day at the end of May. By the end of July there were up to 150 events/day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Seismicity at Telica, February-August 1994. Courtesy of INETER.

Crater and fumarole observations, March-June 1994. Beginning on 3 June, scientists from Florida International Univ (FIU) and INETER spent 15 days at Telica as part of an ongoing investigation to determine the areal extent and intensity of degassing, and the role of structural controls on degassing from the volcanic complex. A lacustrine deposit was observed in March at the S end of the crater, and a small, muddy brown lake was visible in May-June. All observations were made from the NE rim, where jetting sounds were clearly audible. Sulfur-rich steam from the crater sometimes moved down the slopes of the volcano, filling the NW valley with high concentrations of SO2; sulfur odor could occasionally be smelled on the NE slope. Residents on the flanks of the volcano stated that the activity was not unusual for this time of the year.

Fumarole temperatures near station TELN were in the 81-86°C range, similar to temperatures in September 1993 and March 1994. A low-temperature fumarole was discovered on the lower ESE slope of the ridge occupied by the seismic station. A data-logger recorded fumarole temperatures and barometric pressure for four days. Fumaroles near TELN and in the active crater exhibited increased flux since March. At times the crater fumaroles appeared to be emitting steam and gases in discrete clouds at intervals of several minutes. The most intense fumarole was in the upper NW corner of the crater (A on figure 7). Other fumaroles were observed in the lower NW corner, on the N, E, and SE crater walls, and in avalanche deposits on the S and SE parts of the crater floor. Fumarole A had temperatures of 150-160°C in July 1994 (figure 7). In the NE corner of the crater, fumarole B increased in temperature from 55°C in April to 174°C in July. Another fumarole area on the E side of the crater (C) had a temperature of 498°C in July, a significant increase from 246°C in 1990.

Eruptive activity. A relatively small explosive eruption at about 1645 on 31 July produced a gas-and-ash column that rose ~800 m above the summit. The light-gray ash cloud was driven SW by the wind, depositing about 2 mm of ash in the towns of Chichigalpa (20 km WSW), Quezalguaque (12.5 km SSW), and Posoltega (16 km SW) (figure 6). No seismic events were felt by residents near the volcano, but the sound of the explosion was heard at distances up to 10 km.

Following the 31 July eruption, phreatic activity continued in the next hours and days with varying intensity of gas emanation and ash expulsion. One of the strongest explosions, on 5 August, produced an ash column 1,200 m high. One phase of gas emission reached heights of 200-300 m above the crater rim. Gas also filled a valley W of the volcano with high concentrations of SO2, sometimes causing breathing problems for INETER scientists who traveled through the valley at a distance of ~2 km from the crater. Seismicity at shallow depths (~2 km) beneath the crater was recorded by TELN and four stations installed after the eruption began: telemetric stations TEL 2, 3, & 4, and local digital registration station TEL 5 (figure 7). The numerous weak events during the eruption were only recorded by the local seismic stations.

Chemical analyses of washed ash samples collected on different days indicated an increase of the SO42- and Cl- contents over time. Several very heavy rainfalls occurred during the eruptive period. Analyzed rainwater samples also showed high concentrations of SO42- with respect to Cl- and F2-, and a corresponding low pH level. Similar measurements two weeks before the eruption showed normal low concentrations of SO42- and Cl-.

Early eruption products consisted of very fine-grained, light-colored, blocky ash. INETER volcanologists believe that the ash was non-juvenile, and was ejected during phreatic or phreatomagmatic eruptions. Major explosions generally lasted for ~10-25 minutes. Early eruption columns were mostly white in color, and ranged from several hundred meters to 1,400 m above the vent. On 9 and 10 August, the ash was black, significantly darker than before, with correspondingly darker eruption plumes. The ash remained blocky and non-vesicular.On 10 August, 40-50 high-frequency seismic events were recorded, including one that lasted 4.5 hours. High-frequency events prior to 10 August occurred at a rate of ~70-90/day and were associated with more frequent explosions (10-20/day). The number of daily explosions also decreased to 6 on 10 August, including one major explosion that lasted for 16 minutes. An explosion at 1800 on 11 August generated a plume that rose 350 m, but only 16 high-frequency events were detected that day. On the early morning of 12 August one of the strongest explosions of this eruption occurred; activity then decreased throughout the day. By that evening the explosions had stopped and gas emanation and seismicity reached very low levels.

Seismicity had increased slightly by 16 August, five microseismic events were detected during 24 hours on 17-18 August, and on 20 August tremor lasted for 6.2 hours. However, no seismic events were detected on 21-22 August, and activity remained low as of 26 August.

On 23 August, Oto Matias (INSIVUMEH, Guatemala) arrived with a COSPEC instrument to assist INETER scientists in making SO2-flux measurements. Attempts to carry out COSPEC measurements of the SO2 concentration in the gas plume were made on 24 August, but low levels of gas emission and cloudy skies prevented good results.

Soil sampling. During three field surveys by FIU and INETER scientists in early June, >60 stations were deployed over 50 km2 to determine the concentration of radon (Rn), CO2, Hg, and He in soils. One identified anomaly had intensified between March and May/June 1994. This anomaly, ~750 m long and 250 m wide, surrounded the TELN seismic station. Along this anomaly, Hg values ranged from several tens of ppb to >2,900 ppb, He from 5,399 to 5,415 ppb, CO2 to 2.1 volume %, and Rn to 1,819 pico-Curies/liter.

San Jacinto Hot Springs. The village of San Jacinto, 9 km NE of the town of Telica and 2 km E of Santa Clara volcano, contains a field of boiling mudpots (BGVN 19:03). Soil samples for Hg and CO2 measurements were collected from the hydrothermal field in March and May/June 1994. The March samples contained CO2 concentrations up to 0.09 volume % and Hg from 6,710 to 21,512 ppb. The onset of the rainy season had resulted in an increase in both the size of the field and the steam flux since 9 March. Exploration for a new geothermal power plant was taking place approximately 250 m WNW.

Historical activity. Telica is a composite volcano located 19 km N of León at the NW end of a large volcanic complex. Known historical activity dates from a strong eruption that occurred in 1527-29. Strong activity was also noted in 1685, 1740-43, and at least 7 times in the 20th century. During several eruptions ash has damaged agricultural crops. In February 1982 several strong explosions generated ash columns of 3.5 km height and the ashfall affected nearby towns. The most recent eruption of Telica in November 1987 included Strombolian-type activity.

Eruptions in pre-historical times produced ash deposits of 50 cm thickness or more within a radius of 50 km. A volcanic hazard map (figure 9) suggests that ashfall poses the greatest threat to the local population. Lava flows have occurred, but with low frequency, most recently ~1,000 years ago. The hazard zone for pyroclastic eruptions lies within ~2 km of the crater. Lahars have occurred as a result of very strong eruptions during the rainy season.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Volcanic hazards map of Telica. Hazard zones are shown for ashfall and tephra, lava flows, and column collapse. Courtesy of INETER.

Geologic Background. Telica, one of Nicaragua's most active volcanoes, has erupted frequently since the beginning of the Spanish era. This volcano group consists of several interlocking cones and vents with a general NW alignment. Sixteenth-century eruptions were reported at symmetrical Santa Clara volcano at the SW end of the group. However, its eroded and breached crater has been covered by forests throughout historical time, and these eruptions may have originated from Telica, whose upper slopes in contrast are unvegetated. The steep-sided cone of Telica is truncated by a 700-m-wide double crater; the southern crater, the source of recent eruptions, is 120 m deep. El Liston, immediately E, has several nested craters. The fumaroles and boiling mudpots of Hervideros de San Jacinto, SE of Telica, form a prominent geothermal area frequented by tourists, and geothermal exploration has occurred nearby.

Information Contacts: H. Taleno, L. Urbina, M. Navarro, O. Canales, C. Guzman, C. Buitrago, A. Izaguirre, Christian Lugo M. (Vulcanology); W. Strauch (Seismology); C. Urbina, and A. Acosta (Electronics), INETER, Managua; Peter C. La Femina, Michael Conway, and Andrew MacFarlane, Florida International Univ, USA.


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Ulawun

Papua New Guinea

5.05°S, 151.33°E; summit elev. 2334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


White vapor emissions and low-frequency tremor

"The level of activity . . . was slightly lower in July . . . . The summit crater continued to emit mainly white vapour, of variable volume. Faint blue vapour emissions were seen on 3, 5, 9, and 20 July. No sounds or night glow were reported.

"Seismic activity . . . continued the pattern of previous months, with mainly sub-continuous, low-level, low-frequency tremor, and the occasional larger low-frequency earthquake. Only two high-frequency earthquakes were recorded during the month. Amplitude measurements and RSAM monitoring were made difficult at the start of the month by storm-generated noise. However, both showed a gradual increase through the month until about 23 July when there were sharp drops; gradual increases were again seen through the end of the month."

Geologic Background. The symmetrical basaltic-to-andesitic Ulawun stratovolcano is the highest volcano of the Bismarck arc, and one of Papua New Guinea's most frequently active. The volcano, also known as the Father, rises above the N coast of the island of New Britain across a low saddle NE of Bamus volcano, the South Son. The upper 1,000 m is unvegetated. A prominent E-W escarpment on the south may be the result of large-scale slumping. Satellitic cones occupy the NW and E flanks. A steep-walled valley cuts the NW side, and a flank lava-flow complex lies to the south of this valley. Historical eruptions date back to the beginning of the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions were mildly explosive until 1967, but after 1970 several larger eruptions produced lava flows and basaltic pyroclastic flows, greatly modifying the summit crater.

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


Unzendake (Japan) — July 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Unzendake

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lobe 13 grows endogenously but then nearly stops growing in late-July

Lobe 13 . . . grew endogenously at slow rates until late-July. Its final size was ~80 m long, 70 m wide, and 30 m high; it lies hidden behind the roughly 10x longer lobe 11, which forms the prominent bulge on figures 73 and 74.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Sketch of the Unzen lava done showing features of the 22 July photograph (figure 74); view is roughly [from] the N. Vegetated surfaces are shown in black, undifferentiated dome, talus, pyroclastic-flow, and other deposits shown lightly shaded. Courtesy of S. Nakada.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Photograph of the lava dome at Unzen, 22 July 1994. Taken from a helicopter looking [from] approximately N. Courtesy of S. Nakada.

In Unzen's summit area, the endogenous dome developed three E-W trending ridges along its top. The highest (central) ridge uplifted in early-July between two other ridges. The central ridge and a N ridge moved to the N at a rate of ~2 m/day during July, leaving behind the S ridge and increasing the width of a graben between them. The central ridge also rose vertically at a rate of <1 m/day. The E part of the central ridge consisted of brown-colored massive lava that was rounded, convex upward, and relatively smooth. The ridge was composed of massive lava squeezed from the interior of the dome, an effect also seen in April. When the lava reached the top of the ridge it broke and collapsed.

The ridges stopped moving N at the end of July. Occasionally there were small, low-density rockfalls to the SW in early- to mid-August. Owing to fragmentation, the massive lava of the central ridges decreased its height by ~20 m during the first two weeks in August, and at the same time the talus slope hardly advanced in any direction. These observations imply that for this two-week period in August an extremely low eruption rate (estimated at 4m3/day) prevailed.

During mid-July to early-August a continuous rain of N-directed rockfalls occurred when the N ridge became exposed at the cliff top. These rockfalls transformed into small pyroclastic flows, generally with run-out distances under 1 km. Pyroclastic flows were detected seismically at a station 1 km WSW of the dome and real-time monitoring of the dome was accomplished by four sets of visible and thermal infrared video cameras. During July this system detected 44 pyroclastic flows.

During most of July, microearthquakes beneath the dome generally took place <80 times a day. The total number of earthquakes in July was 2,488, roughly a 20% drop from the previous two months.

EDM by the JMA and the GSJ found that during late-June through mid-July the radial distance to one reflector on Unzen's N flank shortened rapidly, by tens of centimeters/day. The lack of confirmation from other reflectors suggested that the area in motion was of limited size.

Geologic Background. The massive Unzendake volcanic complex comprises much of the Shimabara Peninsula east of the city of Nagasaki. An E-W graben, 30-40 km long, extends across the peninsula. Three large stratovolcanoes with complex structures, Kinugasa on the north, Fugen-dake at the east-center, and Kusenbu on the south, form topographic highs on the broad peninsula. Fugendake and Mayuyama volcanoes in the east-central portion of the andesitic-to-dacitic volcanic complex have been active during the Holocene. The Mayuyama lava dome complex, located along the eastern coast west of Shimabara City, formed about 4000 years ago and was the source of a devastating 1792 CE debris avalanche and tsunami. Historical eruptive activity has been restricted to the summit and flanks of Fugendake. The latest activity during 1990-95 formed a lava dome at the summit, accompanied by pyroclastic flows that caused fatalities and damaged populated areas near Shimabara City.

Information Contacts: S. Nakada, Kyushu Univ; JMA.


Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand) — July 1994 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)


No eruptive activity, but new shifts in leveling and magnetic data

Routine monitoring visits on 23 April and 28 June 1994 found no evidence of any eruptive activity. On 23 April the floor of Princess Crater was occupied by a muddy pond that contained fresh landslide debris (see figure 21). The divide between Wade and Royce craters had been destroyed. Active fumaroles included those in TV1 Crater, and those escaping from beneath landslide debris in the Royce area.

Scientists who made brief trips on 12 and 15 May noted 5-10 m subsidence of the lake occupying the active vent area on the floor of Wade Crater; the lowered lake level persisted until at least 29 May. A triangulation survey on 28 June determined the lake to be 56 m below sea level and 92 m below the rim of the 1978/90 Crater Complex.

Deformation was surveyed in nearly ideal conditions on 28 June, achieving a good error of closure; the results showed that since 19 January 1994 a subtle but significant crater-wide uplift, typically 5-10 mm, has taken place. Stronger uplifts occurred at Donald Mound (+15 mm) and SE of Peg M (+21 mm). This kind of crater-wide inflation was last seen in the three years preceding the 1976-93 eruptions.

A magnetic survey of established sites revealed a pattern of net magnetic changes very similar to the two previous periods of measurements in 1993. A negative anomaly lay to the N of Donald Mound (-100 nT), and a positive one to the S (+60 nT). P. Rickerby noted that "these anomalies could be interpreted as resulting from shallow heating under Donald Mound (~50 m deep) and shallow cooling under TV1."

Seismicity recorded during January-June 1994 has generally showed little change; tremor in this interval has remained near background, though it has been present on 54% of the obtained records.

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: T. Hunt, B. Scott, T. Kabayashi, and T. Tosha, IGNS, Wairakei; P. Rickerby, Victoria Univ, Wellington.

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