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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

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

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

Recently Published Bulletin Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Kadovar

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Tinakula

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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


Erebus (Antarctica) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Erebus

Antarctica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fewer thermal anomalies during 2020 compared to recent years

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Aira (Japan) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent explosions continue during July through December 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Nishinoshima (Japan) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Nishinoshima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Whakaari/White Island

New Zealand

37.52°S, 177.18°E; summit elev. 294 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kerinci (Indonesia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Suwanosejima (Japan) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Karangetang (Indonesia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Nevado del Ruiz

Colombia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dome growth and ash emissions continue during July-December 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 19, Number 08 (August 1994)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Aira (Japan)

Number of eruptions and amount of ashfall increase

Asosan (Japan)

Mud and stone ejections from crater floor

Batur (Indonesia)

Activity declines following 7-11 August eruption

Bezymianny (Russia)

Gas-and-steam plume seen for the first time since February 1994

Colima (Mexico)

Additional details about 21 July explosion; recent deposits described

Galeras (Colombia)

Long-period screw-type seismic events detected

Karangetang (Indonesia)

Description of fumaroles and morphology

Kilauea (United States)

New lava flow advances over a fault scarp; ocean entries remain active

Klyuchevskoy (Russia)

Eruption sends gas-and-ash bursts at least 3 km high; lava fountaining

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Explosions produce thick eruption columns and light ashfall

Llaima (Chile)

New eruptive episode involves multiple explosive events

Lokon-Empung (Indonesia)

Description of fumaroles in the active crater

Mahawu (Indonesia)

Mudpots, small geysers, and vigorous, noisy fumaroles

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Ash ejections from Southern Crater up to 1,000 m above the summit

Merapi (Indonesia)

Two new broad-band seismometers detect long-period pulses and tremor

Nyamulagira (DR Congo)

Summit caldera observations

Nyiragongo (DR Congo)

Seismicity associated with June-August activity

Pinatubo (Philippines)

Monsoon rains generate lahars and secondary explosions

Popocatepetl (Mexico)

Seismicity moderate, but distinct plume and very high SO2 flux

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Major eruption sends plume to 18 km and covers Rabaul town with ash

Sheveluch (Russia)

Normal fumarolic activity and seismicity

Soputan (Indonesia)

Lava dome and fumarole descriptions

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea)

Low-frequency seismicity

Unzendake (Japan)

Slow endogenous growth of the lava dome; pyroclastic flows continue



Aira (Japan) — August 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Number of eruptions and amount of ashfall increase

Volcanic activity increased in August . . . with 55 eruptions . . . including 17 explosive ones. No damage was caused. The highest ash plume of the month rose to 3,200 m at 1725 on 24 August. No volcanic swarms were registered, but 861 earthquakes were detected at a station 2.3 km NW of Minamidake crater. Heavy ashfall was observed on 21 August (159 g/m2) at [KLMO]. Total ashfall . . . during August was 425 g/m2.

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.


Asosan (Japan) — August 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Mud and stone ejections from crater floor

Activity from Crater 1 was moderate in August. However, at about 0800 on 11 September, intermittent mud ejection from the water-covered crater floor was detected seismically. Tremor registered at a station 800 m W of the crater had an amplitude of 4.8 µm. The seismic station detected similar activity on the evening of 12 September. During the daily crater visit on the morning of 14 September, several tens of stones were found outside the crater rim, within ~300 m of the crater center.

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) — August 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Batur

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Activity declines following 7-11 August eruption

An . . . eruption . . . on 7 August . . . marked the first significant eruptive activity in 18 years. According to a 12 August Reuters news report, during 7-11 August Batur "spewed glowing ash and smoke more than 600 times." The Reuters report noted that a spokesman for the local governor's office said "the threat of a major volcanic blast on Indonesia's resort island of Bali appeared to lessen on Friday [12 August] after Mount Batur's activity slowed." The news report also quoted Wimpy Tjetjep (VSI): "The probability that there will be a big and destructive eruption is small."

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: W. Tjetjep, VSI; Reuters.


Bezymianny (Russia) — August 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Gas-and-steam plume seen for the first time since February 1994

Seismicity remained at background levels from mid-July through early September. However, during 7-14 July, a gas-and-steam plume with a small amount of ash was observed rising ~500 m above the extrusive dome. On 11 July the ash-and-steam plume rose to ~3,000 m asl and drifted generally NE. The gas-and-steam plume extended 150 m above dome through 24 July. During the week of 11-18 August a gas-and-steam plume rose ~200 m above the volcano. A small gas-and-steam plume (to 50-70 m above the volcano) continued during the last 2 weeks of August. On 2-8 September, E. Zhdanova (KVERT) observed a viscous lava flow being "squeezed" from the extrusive dome. A gas-and-ash plume reached 1 km above the volcano and extended >40 km from the volcano. The volcano was obscured by clouds during the next week.

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

Information Contacts: V. Kirianov, IVGG.


Colima (Mexico) — August 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Colima

Mexico

19.514°N, 103.62°W; summit elev. 3850 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Additional details about 21 July explosion; recent deposits described

Increased seismicity in July 1994 culminated in a phreatic explosion on 21 July, destroying the 1991 lobe and producing avalanches and ashfall. The following report, from the geology group of the CUICT at the Universidad de Colima, provides additional details about this activity based on observations from La Yerbabuena village (8 km SW of Colima).

Rock avalanches occurred during the two days prior to the explosion at 2020 on 21 July. At La Yerbabuena it was possible to hear about 15 rock avalanches between 2230 and 2330 on 19 July, each lasting for 2-3 minutes. The day before the explosion, 11 rock avalanches with durations of 1-3 minutes were heard within 3.5 hours, but rain and fog hindered observations. On 21 July, two eyewitnesses, located 10 km (rancho El Jabalí) and 8.5 km (rancho La Joya) SSW of the volcano, respectively (figure 20), observed 30 minutes of incandescent rock avalanches down the SW flank just prior to the explosion. Following these avalanches there was a 15-second-long sharp hissing sound, a reddish glow at the summit, and then the explosion. A dark mushroom-shaped column rose above the summit and remained for about 15 minutes before dissipating. The explosion was heard within a radius of 20-35 km S of the volcano (figure 20). Rock avalanches continued throughout the rest of the night.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Map of the area around Colima volcano showing the limit of ashfall (dashed line) from the 21 July 1994 phreatic explosion, and the radius within which the explosion was heard (heavy line). Courtesy of Geology group at CUICT.

Light ashfall began 30 minutes after the explosion and lasted for 90 minutes. An accumulation of 36.6 g of ash was measured during the first hour within a 1 m2 area at La Yerbabuena. Observations of the ash that night using a binocular microscope revealed no juvenile glass. Winds with velocities of 7.5-11.8 m/s at 3,500 m altitude transported ash as far as 35 km W, forming a deposit2 (figure 20). The ashfall caused no adverse effects to people or vegetation because of rainfall during the next few days.

Block-and-ash flows left deposits in the upper part of El Cordobán valley that stopped at 2,700 and 2,325 m elevation in two branches of the valley. Because of these deposits, civil protection authorities were notified of the possibility of lahars farther down the valleys during the current rainy season, similar to those that occurred following the 1991 eruption. Six days after deposition, temperatures at 20 cm depth in pristine block-and-ash-flow deposits were 116-282°C; some blocks yeilded temperatures of 120°C. Gas pipe structures were identified where hot vapor was escaping and forming conical features on the surface of the deposit. The block-and-ash-flow deposits had an average thickness of ~4 m and an estimated total volume of 450,000 m3 (in both branches). A massive ash-cloud surge deposit found on both sides of the El Cordobán valley was 1-2 cm thick and 50-70 m wide; brushwood and small trees were inclined in the direction of the flow, and maguey plants close to the valley rim were scorched. The ash-cloud surge extended ~500 m beyond the block-and-ash flow, and covered surrounding vegetation with 1-3 cm of ash.

A new lahar deposit was discovered at 1,650 m elevation in the Cordobán Valley. It was 80 cm thick and had enlarged the width of the channel by 1.7 m. Two eyewitnesses confirmed that at 1700 on 25 August, following three hours of rainfall, a lahar descended with the sound of rolling rocks. The lahar traveled ~10 km downslope, and covered part of a road at about 1,250 m elevation.

COSPEC flights made on 25 July and 6 August revealed an SO2 flux of 270 metric tons/day, close to the baseline value of 300 tons/day. Seismicity recorded at the Red Sísmica de Colima (RESCO) was low for the first 48 hours after the 21 July explosion, but then increased above the level recorded in the 72 hours before the explosion. A few minor explosions were also detected seismically.

Geologic Background. The Colima volcanic complex is the most prominent volcanic center of the western Mexican Volcanic Belt. It consists of two southward-younging volcanoes, Nevado de Colima (the high point of the complex) on the north and the historically active Volcán de Colima at the south. A group of late-Pleistocene cinder cones is located on the floor of the Colima graben west and east of the complex. Volcán de Colima (also known as Volcán Fuego) is a youthful stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera, breached to the south, that has been the source of large debris avalanches. Major slope failures have occurred repeatedly from both the Nevado and Colima cones, producing thick debris-avalanche deposits on three sides of the complex. Frequent historical eruptions date back to the 16th century. Occasional major explosive eruptions have destroyed the summit (most recently in 1913) and left a deep, steep-sided crater that was slowly refilled and then overtopped by lava dome growth.

Information Contacts: C. Navarro, A. Cortés, R. Saucedo, J-C. Gavilanes, J. Orozco, A. González, and I. Galindo (Director), CUICT-Universidad de Colima; G. Reyes and A. Ramírez, Centro de Investigación en Ciencias Básicas (RESCO-CICBAS), Universidad de Colima.


Galeras (Colombia) — August 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Long-period screw-type seismic events detected

Long-period "screw-type" events, associated with fluid movements, appeared again on 9 August 1994. There were 18 of these events during 9-26 August, with a maximum of 2/day. These events are called "screws" because of the similarity on a seismograph record to the profile of a screw with a fine thread. This type of signal is significant at Galeras because it preceded five of the six eruptions between July 1992 and June 1993. After the 7 June 1993 eruption (18:6), 94 of these signals were recorded in July, August, September, October, and November 1993, and sporadically in January, March, and May 1994, without being followed by an eruption. However, the lack of eruptions following these occurrences does not decrease their importance. These signals, similar to those that preceded the 7 June 1993 eruption, were also the most monochromatic that have been seen, with frequencies of 2.6-3.2 Hz and durations of 20-120 seconds. These events occurred around the volcano at depths of <3 km. Some small-magnitude earthquakes were located NNE of the crater at a depth of 3-8 km; this source has remained active since the last swarm of screw-type signals between November and December 1993.

SO2 flux measurements taken by the mobile COSPEC were low. Deformation equipment indicated no variations; apparent changes at one tiltmeter were due to electronic problems.

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: INGEOMINAS, Pasto.


Karangetang (Indonesia) — August 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Description of fumaroles and morphology

"During observations at 1145 on 15 July from the SW flank, a white plume rose above the volcano and extended toward the E. Two active lava domes were present on the summit, one in the S, and the other in the NE. Each generated white plumes from its top. Many fumaroles with yellow sulfur deposits covered the S side of the NE dome. A small chaotic-looking lava flow was located near the foot of the NE lava dome. It was possible to hear weak, rhythmic explosions from an area located between the two lava domes behind the summit pass, but no direct observations were possible because of the cover of rising clouds."

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

Information Contacts: H. Gaudru, C. Pittet, M. Auber, C. Bopp, and O. Saudan, EVS, Switzerland.


Kilauea (United States) — August 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)


New lava flow advances over a fault scarp; ocean entries remain active

"Lava continued to enter the ocean in the W Kamoamoa/Lae Apuki area. Surface flows broke out on the bench, directly behind the littoral cone formed in July. These flows extended the active bench area 300-400 m W and formed a new tube parallel to the shoreline. Lava initially entered the ocean along a 500-m-wide front, but by the end of August entries had consolidated and lava entered the ocean along a 150-m-wide front. Additional breakouts resurfaced much of the older part of the bench early in the month. Small bench collapses and moderate-sized littoral explosions were observed towards mid-month. High surf on 23-24 August deposited sand and debris 50 m inland, along the entire front of the bench. Breakouts immediately behind the active ocean entries covered parts of the new bench and the storm deposit. There were no major bench collapses during the last half of August; material swept in by the storm appeared to support and slow the seaward movement of the bench.

"On 16 August a small pahoehoe flow broke out of the tube at 90 m elevation. A much larger channelized aa and pahoehoe flow broke out at 285 m on 20 August and rapidly advanced below 90 m elevation. The flow was active along its entire length, and by the end of the month fingers of active lava extended below the Paliuli fault scarp.

"The pond in Pu`u `O`o was active throughout August and its surface fluctuated at 79-84 m below the crater rim. Circulation in the pond was sluggish."

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.


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — August 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption sends gas-and-ash bursts at least 3 km high; lava fountaining

An eruption began on 8 September with lava fountaining and ash plumes that rose to an altitude of at least 8 km on 12 September. Explosive activity increased on 30 September, and on 1 October the ash column rose to >15 km altitude.

During 7-24 July, seismic stations continued to register weak intermediate-depth (10-30 km) earthquakes under the volcano (15-55/day); the duration of volcanic tremor averaged 8-22 hours/day. Weak fumarolic activity from the central crater was observed during the week of 7-14 July. Clouds frequently obscured the volcano through mid-August, but British climbers who visited the summit in early August reported no unusual activity. Seismicity increased from 24 July to 2 August, when 15-149 weak intermediate-depth earthquakes were recorded each day, accompanied by 1-20 hours/day of volcanic tremor. The number of weak intermediate-depth events decreased again during the next three weeks to 8-37 earthquakes/day. Tremor averaged 5-10 hours/day through 11 August, 3-4.5 hours/day the following week, and 5-17 hours/day by 2 September. Weak intermediate-depth earthquakes decreased from 2 to 8 September, averaging only 1-4 events/day. However, volcanic tremor was recorded for an average of 19-22 hours/day. Normal fumarolic activity was observed from the central crater early in September.

Seismic data indicated that an eruption began from the central crater at about 0400 on 8 September. Lava was observed fountaining 200-300 m above the crater from two separate vents. Gas and ash outbursts to 1 km were recorded every 10 minutes. Pilots from American Airlines reported an ash cloud as high as 11 km above sea level around 1445 on 9 September, and at 1010 the next day the cloud was reportedly moving SE at the same altitude.

On 12 September ground observers reported that the eruption sent gas and ash to 1.5 km above the crater. The ash plume reached an estimated 3 km above the 4.7-km-high volcano, to an altitude of ~8 km. The plume extended to the NE for more than 50 km and ashfall was reported in Kliuchi, [30 km NNE]. A 1-km-long lava flow was observed on the SW slope of the volcano; mudflows were also noted. Continuous volcanic tremor was recorded as far as 65 km from the volcano.

Kliuchevskoi was obscured by clouds on 13 September, but gas and ash explosions on 14 September rose 600-800 m above the crater with an ash column extending to 2 km above the crater. The ash plume was carried E for at least 50 km. A new lava flow 1.5 km long was observed on 14 September issuing from two NW-flank vents ~200 m below the crater rim. This flow is in addition to the lava flow on the SW flank of the volcano. Lava fountains were again observed extending to 200 m above the crater rim. Continuous volcanic tremor, with a maximum amplitude of 6.3 µm, was recorded at distances of 11 km from the volcano.

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

Information Contacts: V. Kirianov, IVGG; J. Lynch, SAB.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — August 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)


Explosions produce thick eruption columns and light ashfall

"Eruptive activity at Crater 2 continued in August. Except for a quiet period during 1-11 August, on most days thick columns of mushroom-shaped grey-brown ash clouds were released. Light ashfall in coastal areas downwind was reported on 12 and 26 August. One explosion noise was heard on the 12th, and occasional rumbling noises were heard on the 17th and 23rd. Steady weak red glow was seen on 1 and 15 August.

"Crater 3 activity was generally low. Throughout August, Crater 3 produced weak emissions of thin, pale-grey and occasionally blue vapour. After the 26th the volume of blue emissions became moderate. The 30th marked the beginning of occasional moderate to thick emissions of grey-brown ash clouds producing light ash fall on the N and NW sides of the volcano.

"Seismicity was low throughout the month. Daily totals of volcanic earthquakes were between 1 and 5."

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: I. Itikarai, R. Stewart, and C. McKee, RVO.


Llaima (Chile) — August 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Llaima

Chile

38.692°S, 71.729°W; summit elev. 3125 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruptive episode involves multiple explosive events

On 25 August 1994 Llaima volcano began a new eruptive episode. Its last eruption started on 17 May, generating an ash column >4 km high, subglacial lava, lahars, and flooding. The subglacial lava left a melted ice channel down the SW side of the volcano. From a point ~5.4 km W of the summit (Las Paraguas) at 0900 and 0915 on 21 August people felt two earthquakes of intensity II and III. On 25 August, beginning at 0900, observers heard explosions from the principal crater, and at 1135 the first ash column became visible.

Between 1630 and 1800 on 26 August, a gas-and-ash cloud rose 350 m above the summit and a portion of the cloud extended along the ice channel. Continuing from 1930 through the night, the eruption increased in intensity, ejecting gases and incandescent tephra up to 500 m above the summit; some tephra fell as far away as the summit's outer flanks. On 27-28 August the volcano was completely cloud covered, preventing direct visual observations. Some sources reported feeling continuous explosion shocks throughout 27 August, and one source felt 3 clear explosion shocks at 5-second intervals on 28 August. These observations suggested continuing eruptions.

Several seismic stations were installed during the crisis; the first began operation at 1458 on 26 August. During its first 21.2 hours of operation station El Trueno, located 18 km WNW of the principal crater (N of Cherquenco village), revealed harmonic tremor with a predominant frequency of 1.1 Hz. It is fitting to emphasize that in this situation the gain of the seismic system was relatively low (66 on a MEQ-800 instrument), and in May higher gains were in use (78 and 84). In essence, the August tremor had higher amplitude than it did in a roughly 6-hour post-effusive period associated with the May eruption. In addition, other high-frequency signals were detected during parts of 26-27 August, which are still under study. In the last 15 hours of this interval the record contains banded tremor predominantly of 1.0 Hz frequency.

A second seismic station began operation at 1046 on 27 August when a portable MEQ-800 (filter 0-5, gain 72) was installed. Station MELI was placed 14.5 km from the principal crater (N of Melipeuco, a town 20 km SSE of the volcano). The instrument detected harmonic tremor of 1.0-1.2 Hz frequency at roughly 4-5 episodes/minute. The tremor signal was thought to arise from magma-water contact in Llaima's magma-laden conduit system. Tremor of the same frequency continued for the first 6 hours of 28 August (0000-0600), but grew in amplitude and frequency range (to 1.5 Hz). Banded tremor appeared, possibly indicating pressurization processes associated with the ascent of a new batch of magma from depth. In the interval 1100 to 1752 on 28 August the seismicity remained roughly constant, although there was a tendency toward increased energy release.

A third station, installed at 1300 on 27 August, was located 1.1 km from Lago Verde, 7 km E from the principal crater. During 1300-1700 this instrument received such strong tremor signal that it had to be set at minimum gain (60). Later, the station was moved farther away, to Pangueco, 10 km from the principal crater.

On 28 August, scientists monitoring the volcano made several "General Recommendations." These included an Orange alert, 72 hours of vigilant watching of the seismic data, warnings to stay away from Llaima's drainages, and to remain attentive for further official instructions.

A new eruptive phase started at midnight on 28 August when a strong explosion produced a gas-and-ash column. The column was observed in Melipeuco beginning at 0300 when the sky cleared. The activity decreased noticeably by 0510 but reactivated so that between 0640 and 0940 puffs of gas-and-ash in the crater reached 100-600 m above the rim. Thereafter they decayed and grew weak though constant. Between 1120 and 1209 pyroclastic emissions reactivated, discharging a continuous column to 1,000 m above the crater with explosions producing dense scrolls every 5 seconds (VEI = 2).

A 4-hour overflight began at 1125 on 29 August. During that interval the plume mainly rose 400-500 m, but sometimes 1,000 m, above the principal crater's rim. Strong winds came from the W, carrying a visible plume at least 80 km toward the Andean passes "Pino Hachado" and "El Arco" along the Argentine border. The plume lay between 3,200 and 4,000 m altitude; vapor appeared to be absent in both the plume and the column suggesting a very magmatic eruption. The source vent was a 100-m-diameter crater in the E side of the principal crater, surrounded by a small spatter-cone covering the crater floor. From mid-day until 1700 erupted material rose 600-1,000 m and the wind continued to carry the plume E. At 1740 the eruptive intensity decreased but at 1818 it increased, again sending ash 600-700 m above the crater. After 1930 frequent intermittent explosions tossed more ejecta onto the spatter cone verifying its mode of the construction.

Seismicity monitored at station MEI captured the 29 August midnight explosion noted above. In the interval from 2200 on 28 August to 0100 on 29 August, the seismic record showed increased tremor amplitude (3-5 mm at a gain setting of 66) at frequencies of 1.1-1.2 Hz. Later, from 0200-0430, tremor frequency remained stationary at 1.1 Hz, amplitude dropped, and intervals of banded tremor prevailed. Further decreases in amplitude occurred later (0841-1909, 29 August), and while the frequency range of the tremor remained approximately stationary, tremor dropped to a level from where it only appeared episodically.

On 28 or 29 August the Emergency Committee met with members of the community to explain Llaima's activity, including a summary of the eruption character and fundamentals to help maintain civil calm and at the same time to convey potential hazards. Civil calm was called for owing to preparedness by the regional government, community groups, Carabineros, firefighters, the Chilean Air Force, and other groups. Hazard status remained at alert-level Orange.

On 30 August the ash eruption intensified; column height oscillated 2-3.7 km above the crater (corresponding to VEI 2). At 1603 the first dense, vapor-rich ejection took place; 38 minutes later an intermediate phase began, with vapor discharge accompanied by increased amounts of ash. The highest ash column during this phase ascended to 1.5 km above the crater. Vapor-rich and ash-rich phases alternated for ~ 3 hours (until 1901). At 2100 venting stopped. On 31 August, vapor discharge became pronounced around 0900 and continued until 1600.

Beginning at 2000 on 30 August and again at 0155 on 31 August, there was continuous tremor in the 0.9-1.0 Hz frequency range followed by ~ 40 minutes of banded tremor of similar frequency. Seismic quiet prevailed during the next 6 hours at stations MELI and PANG. Seismicity also remained low from 31 August until at least 0941 on 2 September.

Figure 7 shows a sketch of the crater seen during a 1 September overflight of Llaima (in a Chilean Air Force aircraft); the flight took place during calm, clear weather and visibility into the principal crater was excellent. The crater's normally snow-and-ice-covered surface was completely blackened by ashfall; about 15 fumaroles remained, yet ash-emissions were absent. A small cone covered most of the crater floor, its 100-m-diameter, funnel-shaped source vent lay adjacent to the SE crater wall (figure 8). On 1 September, the fissure of melting ice created by the 17 May subglacial lava flow still continued to send up a significant vapor plume. Although mostly westerly winds were noted by observers, the weak ash distribution was over a wide arc, ranging from compass bearings 190-310 (figure 9). There were two lobes of heavier deposition, one toward the N, the other ESE.

Because of decreases in both volcanic and seismic activity, around 2 August scientists lowered the hazard status from Orange to Yellow. However, they expressed concern about potential restriction or blockage of the vent by new deposits in the main crater. They were also concerned about the recent shift in seismic character compared to the previous 4 years.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Sketch looking down on Llaima's principal crater at 1500 on 1 September. Courtesy of Hugo Moreno.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Preliminary cross section of Llaima's crater showing estimates of the fill thickness and the funnel-shaped vent from the recent eruption. Courtesy of Hugo Moreno.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Zones of major ash cover from the Llaima eruptions in late-August. The ESE lobe reached about 6 km from the source, the length of the N lobe was unreported. Courtesy of Hugo Moreno.

Geologic Background. Llaima, one of Chile's largest and most active volcanoes, contains two main historically active craters, one at the summit and the other, Pichillaima, to the SE. The massive, dominantly basaltic-to-andesitic, stratovolcano has a volume of 400 km3. A Holocene edifice built primarily of accumulated lava flows was constructed over an 8-km-wide caldera that formed about 13,200 years ago, following the eruption of the 24 km3 Curacautín Ignimbrite. More than 40 scoria cones dot the volcano's flanks. Following the end of an explosive stage about 7200 years ago, construction of the present edifice began, characterized by Strombolian, Hawaiian, and infrequent subplinian eruptions. Frequent moderate explosive eruptions with occasional lava flows have been recorded since the 17th century.

Information Contacts: H. Moreno1, M. Murillo, M. Petit-Breuilh, and P. Peña, SERNAGEOMIN, Temuco. 1Also at Univ de Chile, Santiago.


Lokon-Empung (Indonesia) — August 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Lokon-Empung

Indonesia

1.358°N, 124.792°E; summit elev. 1580 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Description of fumaroles in the active crater

"During our visit to the summit zone on 8 July, intense fumaroles escaped from several parts of the Tompaluan crater floor. This fumarolic activity was mainly concentrated in the N where an intracaldera structure was covered by yellow sulfur deposits. Many other fumaroles with sulfur deposits were also located in the S, E, and W parts of the crater. Temperatures measured with an electronic thermometer at the E fumaroles showed a maximum value of 95-96°C. The fumarolic gases were mainly composed of H2O and H2S."

Geologic Background. The twin volcanoes Lokon and Empung, rising about 800 m above the plain of Tondano, are among the most active volcanoes of Sulawesi. Lokon, the higher of the two peaks (whose summits are only 2 km apart), has a flat, craterless top. The morphologically younger Empung volcano to the NE has a 400-m-wide, 150-m-deep crater that erupted last in the 18th century, but all subsequent eruptions have originated from Tompaluan, a 150 x 250 m wide double crater situated in the saddle between the two peaks. Historical eruptions have primarily produced small-to-moderate ash plumes that have occasionally damaged croplands and houses, but lava-dome growth and pyroclastic flows have also occurred. A ridge extending WNW from Lokon includes Tatawiran and Tetempangan peak, 3 km away.

Information Contacts: H. Gaudru, C. Pittet, M. Auber, C. Bopp, and O. Saudan, EVS, Switzerland.


Mahawu (Indonesia) — August 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Mahawu

Indonesia

1.352°N, 124.865°E; summit elev. 1299 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Mudpots, small geysers, and vigorous, noisy fumaroles

Part of the EVS report follows. "During our observations at 1100 on 9 July intense and noisy gas emissions (like a jet engine) occurred near the low NW part of the inner wall of the crater. These gas emissions generated a gray-white plume. This area of the crater was covered by many yellow sulfur deposits. A strong smell of hydrogen sulfide was also noted. An important solfatara zone surrounded the NW, N, NE, and E sides of the green, ~40,000 m3, acidic crater lake. Two small geysers, the one in the N and the other in the NW, were very active (2-3 m height). Several boiling basins and mud pots were active around the lake. It was not possible to get down into the crater without rock climbing equipment, because the crater walls were very steep." EVS observers also proposed that a low part of the S wall had collapsed.

Geologic Background. The elongated Mahawu volcano immediately east of Lokon-Empung volcano is the northernmost of a series of young volcanoes along a SSW-NNE line near the margin of the Quaternary Tondano caldera. Mahawu is capped by a 180-m-wide, 140-m-deep crater that sometimes contains a small crater lake, and has two pyroclastic cones on its N flank. Historical activity has been restricted to occasional small explosive eruptions recorded since 1789. In 1994 fumaroles, mudpots, and small geysers were observed along the shores of a greenish-colored crater lake.

Information Contacts: H. Gaudru, C. Pittet, M. Auber, C. Bopp, and O. Saudan, EVS, Switzerland.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — August 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)


Ash ejections from Southern Crater up to 1,000 m above the summit

"Increased activity at Southern Crater began on 8 August following a week of low-level activity. This change initiated with weak emissions of thick grey ash clouds. On the 9th, the emissions changed to forceful ejections of thick grey-brown ash clouds that caused light ashfall on the NW side of the volcano. Activity subsided after the 11th, but started again on the 18th and continued until 30 August. The thick grey-brown ash columns rose ~400-1,000 m above the summit. Most of the ash ejections were associated with explosion and low roaring and/or rumbling noises. Incandescent lava fragment projections were seen on 23 and 26-30 August.

"Activity from Main Crater consisted of emissions of weak-to-moderate white vapour through August. No noises or night glows were observed. Seismicity remained at low levels throughout the month except for a brief period during 21-29 August when it was moderate. This coincided with the period of thick brown ash cloud emissions and incandescent lava fragment projections. On average, ~1,200 volcanic earthquakes were recorded each day."

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: I. Itikarai, R. Stewart, and C. McKee, RVO.


Merapi (Indonesia) — August 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Two new broad-band seismometers detect long-period pulses and tremor

Two STS2 broad-band seismometers were deployed on 27-29 July by collaborators of the Geophysical Laboratory of GMU and Martin Beisser of GFZ-Potsdam. The researchers investigated signal coherency at different points on the volcano to find suitable sites for a multi-station seismic array that will make permanent records at a 50-Hz sampling rate. The researchers measured Merapi seismicity at a base station located at Klathakan (1.8 km WNW of the summit between 1,200-1,300 m elev), the site of a seismic station for the last eight years. The second station was mobile and GPS-equipped; however, for the following comparisons and discussion the mobile site remained 400 m N of the base station.

Figure 10 shows amplitude data for three components of volcanic shock from the mobile station. The volcanic shock event that began at 1750 and 37 seconds on 27 July is here termed Event A. Figure 11 shows the arriving signals and allows for a visual comparison of the coherency in the vertical component (top two plots), and two orthogonal horizontal components (lower four plots). From visual inspection, the best coherency appeared in the vertical-component data. Some other types of events received appeared to show less coherency between the two sites.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. A seismic event on Merapi received at the mobile station showing 3-component amplitude data. The event shown began at 1750 and 37 seconds on 27 July 1994 and is termed "Event A." Courtesy of A. Brodscholl.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. The first five seconds of Event A on Merapi (27 July 1994) as received at the broadband base and mobile stations (400-m separation). The records show considerable coherency. Courtesy of A. Brodscholl.

Figure 12 shows three components of a previously undetected tremor type, a tremor preceded by or superimposed on a long-period pulse. On the record, the interval of greatest short-period amplitude came after the pulse's maximum. Examples of this kind of tremor were seen three times in 12 hours. Whether these events are common on Merapi and elsewhere still remains uncertain.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Merapi seismic record from the mobile station showing an example of tremor coming after the maximum of a long-period pulse. These pulses and temporally associated tremors were seen three times in a 12-hour period and were not previously detected. Courtesy of A. Brodscholl.

[The reported low-frequency signal was later found to be caused by instrumental problems not recognized at the time of submission.]

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: M. Beisser, GFZ-Potsdam, Germany; A. Brodscholl, GMU.


Nyamulagira (DR Congo) — August 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyamulagira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Summit caldera observations

The eruptive activity . . . continued until 27 July, when seismic tremor ended and no more glow was observed. The lava flow moved over the 1971 Rugarama flow and partially filled Lake Magera at the W Precambrian escarpment. Heavy steaming from the unfilled portion of the lake was observed on 23 August during an overflight. Fumarolic activity was also observed along the 1989 fissure (figure 14), and the fresh lava plain in and around the pit crater appeared much larger than before. At the S end of the 1989 fissure a new solfataric area was noticed; a feature not formed during the 1989 or 1991 eruptions. Zairian scientists who visited the crater on 25 August observed ash emission from the 1989 fissure and confirmed that there had been fresh lava extrusion in the central crater. No evidence of lava flows on the S slope of the volcano was observed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Summit caldera of Nyamuragira, 25 August 1994, showing lava flows from 1989 (black) and 1994 (cross-hatched). Courtesy of N. Zana.

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

Information Contacts: N. Zana, Centre de Recherche en Géophysique, Kinshasa.


Nyiragongo (DR Congo) — August 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)


Seismicity associated with June-August activity

On the night of 22-23 June, glow above the central crater [indicated] a reactivation of the lava lake. A seismic station on the S slope of the volcano recorded a low-frequency microearthquake at 0232 on 23 June that may have coincided with the initial lava outburst; there were no felt earthquakes before this event. Long-period tremors recorded at Katale station ceased ~2 hours after the initial lava outburst. However, tremor activity increased significantly at 2355 later that same day.

A National Park team that visited the summit reported three active vents inside the crater, the northern-most of which had formed a small scoria cone. On 1 July, four lava fountains were active. Intense lava emission was accompanied by increasing tremor amplitude recorded at local seismic stations. Continuous activity lasted until about 17 July, but decreased notably after 4 July. Additional episodes of lava lake activity occurred during 13-15 August, 19-21 August, and from about 1920 on 25 August through the 29th. The rate of lava fountaining . . . seemed to be lower than that observed during 1982. Lava fountain heights of 30-40 m were also less than the 80-100 m heights reached in 1982. The level of the fresh lava lake was ~5-10 m below the 1982 lava lake height, and the lake was confined close to the central vent in an area of ~120-150 m.

Renewed lava lake activity was preceded by a general increase in amplitude and frequency of long-period volcanic earthquakes. Volcanic tremor and earthquake swarms were recorded on 5-9 January, 20 January, and 16 May 1994. Records from the S-flank seismic station (Bulengo) indicated increased seismicity in the SW Virunga area; the frequent volcanic tremor and microearthquakes recorded at this station were not recorded at other stations outside the Nyiragongo field. A seismic swarm on 5 January 1993 was dominated by A-type volcanic events with focal depths of <5 km. On 21 November 1990 a M 4.5 earthquake was centered on the S flank. This event, felt in Goma with an intensity of MM V-VI, resulted in cracked walls of several brick houses and the death of one woman caused by a falling concrete platform. There were several aftershocks, and tremor activity was recorded for several days.

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: N. Zana, Centre de Recherche en Géophysique, Kinshasa.


Pinatubo (Philippines) — August 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Pinatubo

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Monsoon rains generate lahars and secondary explosions

Lahars from the upper slopes of Pinatubo began again in June 1994, induced by monsoon rains. This volcanic hazard has been frequent in the drainages of Pinatubo during every monsoon season following its June 1991 eruption. Tropical cyclones brought continuous rains on the Pinatubo area in June. Lahars developed in the major drainage channels of the O'Donnell (NE), Sacobia (E), Pasig-Potrero (SE), Marella-Santo Tomas (SW), and Bucao (NW) rivers. On the SE flank, the lahar crisis was more dramatic along the Pasig-Potrero River because it had captured the upper reaches of the Sacobia River in October 1993. The following report, from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, summarizes lahar activity during June-August 1994.

The first lahars were noted on 23 June. Other lahars on 10 July caused damage in downstream villages. They passed under Mancatian Bridge 2 and then curved to the left side of the Pasig-Potrero channel towards Bancal, in barangay Maliwalu (figure 31). These lahars resulted in 2-3 m of deposition on the Mancatian area (from the Angeles-Porac Road to ~2 km upstream) and at least 2 m of in-dike deposition, decreasing to 1-m-thick deposits near Bancal.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Pinatubo lahar deposit map along the Pasig-Potrero River between Mancatian and Santa Rita, 3 August 1994. Courtesy of PHIVOLCS.

On 19 July, lahars cut through the Mancatian portion of the left dike and encroached on several houses at and near its outer base (figure 31). Aggradation on the left side of the channel forced the active channel to shift towards the right inner dike, so subsequent lahars (25 July) aggraded the right portion of the diked area. Average aggradation along the Mancatian area was ~3 m. Succeeding lahars (26 and 30-31 July) overtopped and breached the inner right dike ~600 m upstream from the road. The breach allowed the lahars to bury areas outside of the inner dike with 2 m of debris. Downstream, strong lahar flows (even as early as 19 July) breached the left dike at Bancal. The breach, ~100 m wide, allowed the lahars to be delivered as far as barangay San Antonio, Bacolor. The bulk of the lahars that passed through the breach were deposited at barangays Potrero and Cotod. Deposits in these areas were as thick as 4 m, especially very near the dike. Deposits in barangay San Antonio and Duat areas were 20-100 cm thick.

Significant deposition in the Mancatian area along the right side of the channel shifted the active flow back towards the left side of the channel so that by 1 August the lahars were again battering the left dike. The active channel maintained this course as of early September.

The passage of Typhoon Ritang on 6-7 August did not bring much rain over the Pinatubo area. However, the lahars generated filled the Pasig-Potrero River from the Delta 5 watchpoint (figure 32) to barangay Mancatian, and caused additional deposition at the alluvial fan area. In-channel aggradation left only a few meters of freeboard along some of the channel and lahars overflowed at the left bank, near the base of Delta 5. The overflowing lahar buried part of an old fan area between Pasig-Potrero River and Sapang Ebus (Taug River) with 0.2-2.0 m of debris. The overflow started on the afternoon of 6 August. The Typhoon Ritang lahars that were conveyed all the way down to the alluvial fan reaches had observed discharges of 60-300 m3/s upon reaching Mancatian. These laminar lahars further aggraded the Cotod and Potrero area by 50-100 cm.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Pinatubo lahar deposit map between the Pasig-Potrero River and Sapang Ebus, 17 August 1994. Courtesy of PHIVOLCS.

After Typhon Ritang and beginning on 8 August, lahars continuously flowed in the Pasig-Potrero River. These non-streaming hyperconcentrated streamflow lahars had an average discharge of 6 m3/s at Delta 5 and 3 m3/s at Mancatian. It is suspected that these lahars were triggered by the breaching of a lake, because no rainfall was recorded by the Upper Sacobia rain gage during 8-16 August. Lahars with the same characteristics were observed in 1991 and 1992 during the release of water from lakes formed on the pyroclastic-flow field by the damming of tributaries with lahar and secondary pyroclastic-flow deposits.

On 16 August, shortly after a large secondary explosion and possibly a secondary pyroclastic flow on the Sacobia pyroclastic-flow field, lahars in the Pasig-Potrero River suddenly ceased and the river became dry. Debris from the secondary pyroclastic flow might have temporarily dammed the river because continuous lahars resumed on 20 August. Aerial surveys on 19 and 30 August revealed several lakes, the biggest of which was in the same location as the 1992 lake. A breach on the outer left dike ~500 m downstream of the Angeles-Porac road allowed these continuous non-rainfall lahars to be delivered and deposited at the alluvial fan area outside of the dike. The accumulation of sediment caused extensive damage outside of the left dike from Barangay Manibaug-Pasig down to Barangay San Antonio in Bacolor, Pampanga.

Geologic Background. Prior to 1991 Pinatubo volcano was a relatively unknown, heavily forested lava dome complex located 100 km NW of Manila with no records of historical eruptions. The 1991 eruption, one of the world's largest of the 20th century, ejected massive amounts of tephra and produced voluminous pyroclastic flows, forming a small, 2.5-km-wide summit caldera whose floor is now covered by a lake. Caldera formation lowered the height of the summit by more than 300 m. Although the eruption caused hundreds of fatalities and major damage with severe social and economic impact, successful monitoring efforts greatly reduced the number of fatalities. Widespread lahars that redistributed products of the 1991 eruption have continued to cause severe disruption. Previous major eruptive periods, interrupted by lengthy quiescent periods, have produced pyroclastic flows and lahars that were even more extensive than in 1991.

Information Contacts: R. Arboleda and M. Matinez, PHIVOLCS.


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — August 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity moderate, but distinct plume and very high SO2 flux

As usual, seismicity during July and August consisted primarily of B-type events (figure 3). During these two months, B-type events were recorded more frequently than during much of January-March and less frequently than during much of May. Type-A, -AB, and -B seismic events at Popocatépetl were defined in 19:1.

Guillermo González-Pomposo and Carlos Valdés-González noted that when B-type seismicity increased in July and August, A- and AB-type seismicity declined. Both A- and AB-type seismicity remained at 0-1 events/day for July-August, except for two days when one or the other type reached 2 events/day. Overall, during July type-A events took place 4 times, type-B events 150 times, and type-AB events 6 times. During August type-A events took place 5 times, type-B events 165 times, and type-AB events 6 times.

In contrast with the moderate levels of seismicity seen in July and August, early July ultraviolet absorption correlation spectrometry (COSPEC) measurements made by ASU and UNAM researchers indicated a prodigious SO2 flux: a minimum of 575 metric tons/day (t/d) and an estimated "true flux" of 2,700-3,500 t/d. Their report on the 5,420-m-high volcano follows.

"We were able to make a driven traverse [using an automobile] of the plume of Popocatépetl on 1 July, 1994. The data showed an SO2 flux of 575 t/d, if a standard wind velocity of 1 m/s was assumed; this must be considered as the absolute minimum. Our best estimate of the true wind velocity was based on the National Airport measurements at 5 km above sea level (on 2 July) of 5 m/s. Therefore, our best estimate of the true flux was 2,900 t/d. An estimate of the uncertainty in this flux is complicated by measurements made on 2 July using the Trimble GPS (Global Positioning System) instrument on board the chartered aircraft. One aircraft traverse, at the crater level, suggested a wind velocity of ~30 m/s. So, we are reporting what seems to be a minimum realistic SO2 flux.

"At ~0900 on 1 July, the sky was relatively clear and the plume was visibly blowing to the SW. It appeared to rise a few hundred meters above the crater, before being blown by the wind. The white, cloudy plume remained visible for tens of kilometers, perhaps a hundred kilometers. By the time we were on the road that passes around the W margin of the base of Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl, the cloud cover became sufficient to block any certain view of the plume. At 1700 in the afternoon, however, we were in the saddle between Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl and had another very clear view of the plume. Its appearance then was similar to the way it had looked before, suggesting approximate stability for intervals of hours and days. Using the standard approach (Stoiber and others, 1983), we mounted the COSPEC on the passenger seat of the van, with the telescope looking vertically, and drove at roughly constant velocity (~30-40 km/hr). The traverse was more than 40 km in total length, with its center being at a point approximately straight W of the volcano's crater. Good maps facilitated geometrical corrections to allow for portions of the traverse not normal to the plume's axis.

"The airplane traverses made on 2 July used a plane flown by Sergio Zambrano who used his on-board GPS instrument to minimize all of the usual uncertainties concerning location, aircraft velocity, length of traverse, and angle between the traverse and the plume axis. However, the one measurement that we did not recognize adequately while airborne was the ability to realistically estimate wind velocity at the elevation of the plume, as it was dispersed. The five traverses gave extremely repeatable graphs [on the strip chart records] and the estimated flux was 3,100 ± 400 t/d (using the 5 m/s wind velocity measurement from the National Airport). Because we failed to recognize the possibility of using the GPS instrument for measuring the wind velocity we cannot accept the one [~30 km/hr] measurement as well constrained. If it were true, then the SO2 flux was enormous.

"Our measurements of SO2, by two different COSPEC methods on two different days, were remarkably similar. The plume looked very homogeneous, when we were able to see it on these two days. The increase in SO2 flux since measured by T. Fisher and others by aircraft on 1 February 1994 (1,200 ± 400 t/d) is very difficult to escape [19:1]. An increased gas flux is also consistent with the visual impression of H. Delgado upon climbing to the crater rim in August, that the gas emissions were greater with more loud sounds from the fumaroles within the crater."

Although the reported SO2 flux is strikingly large for a volcano not in eruption, it is too small to confirm with the satellite-borne TOMS, which detects masses of SO2 greater than about 5 kilotons (Bluth and others, 1992). Popocatépetl looms over the México and Puebla valleys, potentially threatening over 20 million people.

References. Bluth, G.J.S., Doiron, S.D., Schnetzler, C.C., Krueger, A.J., and Walter, L.S., 1992, Global tracking of the SO2 clouds from the June, 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruptions: Geophysical Research Letters, v. 19, no. 2, p. 151-154.

Stoiber, R.E., Malinconico, Jr., L.L., and Williams, S.N., 1983, Use of the correlation spectrometer at volcanoes, in Forecasting Volcanic Events, H. Tazieff and J.C. Sabroux (eds.): Elsevier, New York, p. 425-444.

Geologic Background. Volcán Popocatépetl, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain, rises 70 km SE of Mexico City to form North America's 2nd-highest volcano. The glacier-clad stratovolcano contains a steep-walled, 400 x 600 m wide crater. The generally symmetrical volcano is modified by the sharp-peaked Ventorrillo on the NW, a remnant of an earlier volcano. At least three previous major cones were destroyed by gravitational failure during the Pleistocene, producing massive debris-avalanche deposits covering broad areas to the south. The modern volcano was constructed south of the late-Pleistocene to Holocene El Fraile cone. Three major Plinian eruptions, the most recent of which took place about 800 CE, have occurred since the mid-Holocene, accompanied by pyroclastic flows and voluminous lahars that swept basins below the volcano. Frequent historical eruptions, first recorded in Aztec codices, have occurred since Pre-Columbian time.

Information Contacts: Departamento de Sismología y Volcanología, Instituto de Geofísica, UNAM; Stanley N. Williams and Tobias Fisher, Arizona State Univ, USA; Claus Siebe and Hugo Delgado, Instituto de Geofísica, UNAM, Circuito Exterior. 1 Also at Benemérita Univ Autónoma de Puebla, México.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — August 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)


Major eruption sends plume to 18 km and covers Rabaul town with ash

Vulcan and Tavurvur, two vents on opposite sides of Rabaul Caldera (figures 15 and 12), erupted on the morning of 19 September and sent ash as high as 18 km asl. This caldera forms a sheltered harbor whose N end is occupied by Rabaul, New Britain's largest city. The report of August seismicity was sent from RVO on 9 September. Satellite interpretations are courtesy of NOAA, with TOMS data from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Although communication with Rabaul was cut off for many days, RVO reports were received for 23 and 27 September. Information based on reports from local and international news services is noted, and may not be accurate.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. NW tip of the Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain Island, papua New Guinea, showing the road network (dashed lines), towns (dots), and volcanic centers (triangles). Modified from McKee and others, 1985.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Map of the Rabaul Caldera showing recently active volcanic vents and extinct composite cones (modified from Almond and McKee, 1982). [copy from 18:03]

August seismicity. The total number of detected events for August was 448 . . . . The month was quiet until 25-28 August when 227 earthquakes were detected, with more than half of them on the 26th. Unusually for Rabaul, these earthquakes tended to be discrete events not occurring in swarms. Only 34 of the August events were located, 25 of them during 25-28 August. Most located earthquakes were along the ring fault near Tavurvur, or offshore to the S and SW; 17 hypocenters had location errors ofL 2.6, but none of the earthquakes were felt. On 28 August, the caldera network recorded what appeared to be a low-frequency earthquake. Signals with a dominant frequency of ~1 Hz recorded on some of the inner network stations were very complicated with no clear phase arrivals or onsets. These signals probably originated close to the Matupit Island seismometer. No seismicity was recorded after 29 August.

Seismic precursors, 18-19 September. RVO reported that at 0300 on 18 September, a M 5.1 earthquake occurred beneath the harbor. An aftershock sequence from this event merged into an intensifying swarm of high-frequency (A-type) earthquakes. Peak intensity of this swarm occurred around 2400 that night with ~2 felt events/minute, but then tapered off slightly toward morning. By 0600 on 19 September the eruption had begun. Thus, only 27 hours of unusual seismicity preceded the eruption. Inspection of the seismograms since the onset of the eruption revealed several long-period events in the 12 hours prior to the M 5.1 earthquake.

Initial eruptive activity, 19 September. Tavurvur began erupting around 0600 on 19 September, followed by an explosion from Vulcan ~1-1.5 hours later. RVO volcanologist Patrice de Saint-Ours was quoted in press reports that day as stating that the pattern of eruptions was very similar to 1937, and that the vents were no longer visible from the observatory because of the ash cloud, estimated by ground observers to be >3 km high. Most press reports described thick mushroom-shaped pulses of ash rising from the vents, hot ash falling near the vents, and loud explosion noises. Aerial video footage showed vigorous, thick, light-brown ash columns, and the surface of the harbor covered with ash and floating pumice. Other press reports on 19 September stated that Rabaul town was covered with 20-25 cm of ash, and that thunderstorms mixed rain with the ash, forming a heavy mud that damaged buildings and vegetation. The press reports also described columns of gray ash rising thousands of meters into the air, ejecta as large as trucks, and "black muddy rain." Ash fell across New Britain and New Ireland.

A pilot report received at Port Moresby at 1034 placed the top of the volcanic ash cloud between 15 and 18 km altitude. A later pilot report noted the presence of drifting ash ~185 km SW of Rabaul well above 6 km altitude. GMS satellite imagery as late as 2132 on 19 September revealed an obvious plume fanning out to the S through WNW. The W part of the plume was tracking W and WNW at ~110 km/hour, and had moved across central Papua New Guinea; plume height was estimated to be 21-30 km, well into the stratosphere. The S part of the plume, at an altitude of 12-18 km, had begun to move SE at ~55 km/hour around an upper tropospheric ridge. A satellite infrared image taken a few hours earlier, at 1800 on the 19th (figure 16), showed similar plume morphology. Initial estimates of plume height during the first two days of activity were between 18 and 30 km. Space Shuttle astronauts who observed and photographed the plume (figure 17) estimated its height as at least 18 km based on altitudes of storm clouds in the area.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Infrared satellite image of the ash plume from Rabaul, 1800 on 19 September 1994, about 12 hours after the start of the eruption. Courtesy of George Stephens, NOAA/NESDIS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Photograph of plumes from Rabaul taken by Space Shuttle astronauts roughly 24 hours after the start of the 19 September 1994 eruption. Oblique view is to the SW. The cloud-covered island in the foreground is New Ireland, and the papua New Guinea mainland is in the distance. The eruption column rose to 18 km where it flattened out and was blown W in a fan-shaped plume. A layer of yellow-brown ash was blown towards the N by lower level winds. NASA photograph STS064-116-064, courtesy of Cindy Evans.

Eruptive activity, 20-23 September. Video of the eruption, taken from a helicopter about 1.5 days after its start, showed massive, gray-to-black ash columns billowing vigorously from Vulcan and Tavurvur. The maximum height of the cloud was reported by the press to be ~20 km, with blocks as big as cars falling into the harbor. Black ash appeared to be falling over a wide area and scenes from Rabaul town showed buildings and vegetation blanketed by ash.

Night winds on 19 September, which were generally blowing NNE-NE (taking the ash over New Ireland), changed direction at dawn on the 20th and started blowing N-NNW, and as the afternoon progressed the winds became more westerly. By 1532 on 20 September the plume had narrowed compared to previous GMS satellite images and the core was moving WSW at ~55 km/hour at an altitude of ~12 km. As night fell on 20 September the cloud had reached the main island of Papua New Guinea between Lae and Milne Bay; residents in the town of Lae, 600 km away, reported ashfall.

On 21 September, witnesses said huge mushroom clouds of dense, black smoke and debris continued to rise high above Tavurvur and Vulcan. Much of the falling ash combined with rain, turning to a heavy mud mixture that demolished some houses and destroyed coconut plantations. The airport was buried under debris, many roads were blocked, and the harbor was covered with debris and floating pumice.

The plume was still moving WSW at 1832 on 21 September at ~7.5 km altitude, and was visible for up to 90 km SW of the origin. Soon after this time the plume was no longer clearly visible on GMS imagery, indicating that strong explosive activity, which had ejected ash high into the atmosphere almost continuously since about 0600 on 19 September, had declined. Some residents returned to Rabaul town during a brief respite from the falling ash. However, by the morning of 22 September Vulcan was ejecting massive amounts of whitish ash and Tavurvur was emitting dark blackish-gray ash. GMS satellite imagery for 1230 on 22 September revealed a new mid-high level plume that was ~40 km long and moving WSW. The plume was estimated to be at ~7.5 km altitude, and could still be seen at 1530 on GMS infrared images.

A report from RVO for the period from 1500 on 22 September through 0900 the next day indicated that volcanic and seismic activity remained relatively stable. Steady emissions continued from Tavurvur with a dark gray ash-and-vapor cloud rising ~2 km and blowing NE over Rabaul town. Low rumbling sounds accompanied the stronger emissions. At night, incandescent ejecta could be seen falling on the NW flank, but incandescence was rarely visible in the eruptive column due to its high ash content. Intermittent pulses of stronger activity from Vulcan produced jets of a vapor-rich ash at intervals of 5-15 minutes. Collapse of the column generated pyroclastic surges that traveled 2-5 km from the vent, mostly to the NE. Generally there was a low volume of ash in the eruption cloud. The column height was about 1.5 km. At night witnesses saw incandescent ejecta accumulate around the vent at the beginning of each pulse.

An aerial inspection by volcanologists at 1620-1640 on 22 September revealed little morphological change at Tavurvur, with the active vent located on the W side of the 1937 crater. At Vulcan, the only active vent was near sea level on the breached NE-flank crater. Eruptions were Surtseyan, highly explosive, and vapor-rich with low ash content. No great deformation was noted since the start of the eruption. Overall, volcano-seismic activity showed a steady small decline during 20-22 September. During the inspection, visibility over Rabaul was generally very good, but there were occasional ash falls.

On the morning of 27 September, RVO reported that Vulcan was no longer erupting, but an ash plume from Tavurvur was still present, and there was an ashy haze over Rabaul town. Seismicity had decreased to about the detection limit using the RSAM averaging method. The observatory reported ~40 mm of fine powdery ash at their location, and ~50 cm of ash at the airport, with the ash-fall layer thickening rapidly towards Matupit Island. The press initially reported up to a meter of ash in Rabaul town, but later estimates were consistently around 75 cm for most areas. No accurate mapping of the ashfall has been completed. Press reports on 25 September estimated that 25% of the buildings in the greater Rabaul area had been completely destroyed, and that another 50% had significant structural damage. Preliminary damage assessments reported on 27 September by the UNDHA indicated that 40% of the buildings in the area had been seriously damaged.

Satellite-based SO2 data. The Meteor-3 satellite overflew the eruption plume . . . at 1538 on 19 September. Preliminary results from the TOMS instrument showed SO2 column amounts no higher than background and a slight column ozone increase in the region that was most likely due to the presence of SO2. Another pass at 1520 on 20 September showed an SO2 plume of ~45,000 km2, with an SO2 mass estimated at a maximum of 80 kilotons (kt) ± 50%. At 1503 the next day, preliminary results showed that the estimated size of the SO2 plume was 50,000 km2, with an SO2 mass estimated at 70 kt ± 50%. The SO2 detected on 21 September had probably been produced since the overflight on the previous day because the small tropospheric plume noted at that time would have either dispersed or been chemically converted within 24 hours. Preliminary data from the overflight at 1430 on 23 September showed an estimated size of at least 40,000 km2 for the SO2 plume, with an estimated SO2 mass of 35 kt ± 50%. By 1410 on 24 September, SO2 column amounts were no higher than background levels in the vicinity of the volcano.

Evacuations and official response. On the night of 18-19 September, during the period of strong continuous seismicity, an estimated 30,000 people evacuated from Rabaul town and surrounding villages. Apparently, most of the people left before the eruptions began, but evacuations by road and sea to the towns of Kokopo (20 km SE) and Kerevat (~25 km SW), continued on 19 September. The airport closed just as Tavurvur began erupting. Evacuees went to missions and townships along the Gazelle Peninsula, where they were housed in camps, schools, church halls, and hospitals. Authorities were preparing to provide food and shelter for up to 70,000 people.

Ships rescued thousands of villagers off beaches near Rabaul town on 20 September. Press reports indicated that although Rabaul town was totally evacuated, there were small villages in the surrounding hills where people were trapped and taking shelter in schools and churches. As of 21 September, 45,000 people had been displaced, of whom 25,000 were located in Kokopo and the remainder at Kerevat and nearby mission and government stations. By 23 September, the UNDHA reported that a total of 53,000 people had been displaced. The only reported casualties were one boy killed when he was hit by a truck during the evacuation, and one man struck by lightning.

Following the declaration of a state of emergency in Rabaul, the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea made a helicopter inspection on the afternoon of 19 September. NOTAMs issued from the Port Moresby Flight Information Region on 19-20 September advised pilots to exercise caution and informed them that the airspace within a 110 km radius of the Rabaul airport was closed to all air traffic unless authorized by emergency management officials. A NOTAM on the 22nd advised aircraft to avoid an abnormally colored cloud, especially yellow-brown or grayish layers. It further stated that the ash particles could contaminate engine oil and cause engine deterioration within hours. The duty manager of Air Niugini (national airline of Papua New Guinea) said all flights to and from New Britain and New Ireland provinces had been suspended. Relief flights were using an abandoned airstrip at Tokua (~20 km SE of Rabaul), which had received no ashfall.

Looting in Rabaul town was reported during both the evacuation and on 21 September, when military forces were brought in to help local police. News reports frequently mentioned looting by residents who had not evacuated or by non-residents going into the evacuated area. By the evening of 21 September, the army had sealed off all outlying roads and only allowed entry by authorized personnel.

At the request of the Papua New Guinea government, the USGS Volcano Disaster Assistance Program sent three volcanologists to Rabaul on 28 September. They took telemetered seismic stations with a PC-based data acquisition and analysis system, several telemetered tiltmeters, and other deformation-monitoring instrumentation. This equipment was requested because RVO was unable to locate earthquakes with only three seismic stations remaining in operation. The other stations were incapacitated by tsunamis, vandalism, or heavy ashfall.

References. Almond, R.A., and McKee, C.O., 1982, Location of volcano-tectonic earthquakes within the Rabaul Caldera: Geological Survey of Papua New Guinea report 82/19.

McKee, C.O., Johnson, R.W., Lowenstein, P.L., Riley, S.J., Blong, R.J., de Saint-Ours, P., and Talai, B., 1985, Rabaul caldera, Papua New Guinea: volcanic hazards, surveillance, and eruption contingency planning: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 23, p. 195-237.

Mori, J., McKee, C., Itikarai, I., Lowenstein, P., de Saint-Ours, P., and Talai, B., 1989, Earthquakes of the Rabaul Seismo-Deformational Crisis September 1983 to July 1985: Seismicity on a caldera ring fault: IAVCEI Proceedings in Volcanology 1, J.H. Latter (ed.), Volcanic Hazards: Assessment and Monitoring, p. 429-462.

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: C. McKee, R. Stewart, and I. Itikarai, RVO; J. Lynch, SAB; G. Stephens, NOAA/NESDIS; I. Sprod, GSFC; C. Evans, NASA-SSEOP; G. Wheller, Volcanex International Pty Ltd, Tasmania; Kevin Vang, Macquarie Univ, Sydney; ICAO; UNDHA; AP; UPI; Reuters; Papua New Guinea Post-Courier.


Sheveluch (Russia) — August 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Normal fumarolic activity and seismicity

Weak shallow seismic activity (1-4 events/day) continued to be registered beneath the volcano throughout July and August. Average duration of volcanic tremor was less than 30 minutes/day. The gas-and-steam plume (up to 500 m above the extrusive dome) observed during 7-14 July was blown E for about 30 km. Clouds frequently prevented observations in July and early August. Normal fumarolic activity was observed above the extrusive dome during mid-August. In late August and early September a gas-and-steam plume was observed up to ~3 km above the extrusive dome. Shallow seismicity remained at normal levels (1-5 events/day) through 12 September, with an average of 0.3 hours of tremor/day.

A strong eruption in April 1993 has been followed by a plume visible during clear weather (18:4-8 & 10-12, and 19:1-4 & 6). Prior to that eruption, the most recent explosive activity was in April 1991 (16:3). The largest historical eruptions from Shiveluch occurred in 1854 and 1964.

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: V. Kirianov, IVGG.


Soputan (Indonesia) — August 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Soputan

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava dome and fumarole descriptions

The EVS mounted an expedition to visit N Sulawesi volcanoes in July. They found that the morphology of Soputan's lava dome suggested continued endogenous growth. Some other parts of their Soputan report follow.

"Many fumaroles rose in different parts of the dome, mainly in its central part and in the space between the dome's foot and the crater wall. The summit area of the dome was strewn with chaotic blocks covered by white and yellow sulfur deposits. Two other fumarolic fields were located on the SW and W parts of the lava dome. Temperature measurements showed a maximum of 140°C; gases mainly consisted of H2S, SO2, and CO2."

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

Information Contacts: H. Gaudru, C. Pittet, M. Auber, C. Bopp, and O. Saudan, EVS, Switzerland.


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — August 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)


Low-frequency seismicity

"Seismic activity in August continued the pattern of previous months, with mainly sub-continuous low-frequency tremor and occasional larger low-frequency earthquakes. No high-frequency earthquakes were recorded."

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: I. Itikarai, R. Stewart, and C. McKee, RVO.


Unzendake (Japan) — August 1994 Citation iconCite this Report

Unzendake

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Slow endogenous growth of the lava dome; pyroclastic flows continue

The lava dome grew endogenously SE to SW during mid- to late-August. The S ridge on the dome top 0moved S by ~1 m/day and rose vertically by ~0.5 m/day; the central ridge decreased in height. Crest-line measurements from 3.5 km SE of the dome confirmed the endogenous growth. EDM measurements by the JMA in cooperation with the GSJ were hampered by poor weather conditions and volcanic ash. The eruption (magmatic extrusion) rate remained at a low level. The GSJ calculated the average eruption rate from early-April to mid-July as 60,000 m3/day, based on aerial photographs. This value is similar to those for February-April, although no values for the calculation error were given.

The N and S parts of the presently growing dome had no room for talus deposition (figure 75). Therefore, the advancing dome easily triggered rockfalls in both directions that moved straight downward as pyroclastic flows. Most parts of lobe 13 collapsed during 15-29 August, generating pyroclastic flows to the SW, S, and SE, which reached the Akamatsu valley. Pyroclastic flows detected seismically at a station ~1 km WSW of the dome totaled 264 during August. Real-time monitoring of pyroclastic flows is also conducted at the UWS using four sets of visible and thermal-infrared video cameras. In late August, JMA recorded the second largest daily number of pyroclastic flows since 20 May 1991, based on signals registered at the seismic station SW of the dome. This large number of events reflected smaller distances between pyroclastic flow routes and the seismic station than was previously the case.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Sketch map of the lava dome at Unzen, late August 1994. Solid dome rock is shown as black. Arrows indicate the main direction of pyroclastic flows and rockfalls. Solid and dashed lines represent slope dip directions of new and old talus deposits, respectively. Volcanic gas emission points are shown by "f" symbols. Courtesy of S. Nakada, Kyushu Univ.

On the nights of 15 and 16 August, pyroclastic flows descended SE ~400 m through a deep gully, which developed during rainy seasons at the S margin of the Akamatsu valley floor. Field inspection on 24 August showed that the 15-16 products were block-and-ash-flow deposits consisting of multiple layers each ~2 m thick. The deposits included still-hot lava blocks up to 3 m across in an ash matrix, and were covered with an ashfall layer ~10 cm thick. No associated surge deposits were evident. Gently sloped depressions ~2 m across, indicating underlying fumarolic pipes, were found on the surface of the 15-16 August deposits. The depression surfaces were reddish to yellowish brown, and lava pebbles (3. Density has increased roughly with time during this eruption (1.8 to 2.5 g/cm3); there has been a roughly negative correlation between density of lava blocks and eruption rate. The SiO2 contents of new samples were 64.7-65.1 wt.%, remaining roughly constant with previous lavas (63.5-65.5%). These results indicate that the vesicularity (porosity) of lava blocks probably decreased with time.

Pyroclastic flows moving SW passed through a gully in the S slope of the dome, crossed the Akamatsu valley floor, and came against the N wall of Mt. Iwatoko, generating frequent ash clouds. A pyroclastic flow late on 27 August traveled 2.0 km SE and produced a signal that lasted for almost 30 minutes, the longest duration since pyroclastic flows began in May 1991. Many pyroclastic flows in the last 10 days of the month had long durations, but all were considered to be triggered by small-scale collapses. On 29 August, pyroclastic flows again moved SE through the gully in the Akamatsu valley; the horizontal travel distance was ~3 km from the source. The volume of the largest pyroclastic-flow deposits during this period was estimated to be ~100,000 m3.

Microearthquakes beneath the lava dome were registered at a rate of ~50/day during the first half of August, and gradually increased in number later in the month. On 28 August, 474 earthquakes were detected at a seismic station 3.6 km SW of the dome. In total, 7,306 earthquakes were registered during August.

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

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

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements  Obituaries

Misc Reports

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

Additional Reports  False Reports