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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

Sabancaya (Peru) Daily explosions with ash emissions, large SO2 flux, ongoing thermal anomalies, December 2019-May 2020

Sheveluch (Russia) Lava dome growth and thermal anomalies continue through April 2020, but few ash explosions

Dukono (Indonesia) Numerous ash explosions continue through March 2020

Etna (Italy) Strombolian explosions and ash emissions continue, October 2019-March 2020

Merapi (Indonesia) Explosions produced ash plumes, ashfall, and pyroclastic flows during October 2019-March 2020

Erta Ale (Ethiopia) Continued lava flow outbreaks and thermal anomalies during November 2019 to early April 2020

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) Weak phreatic explosions during August 2019-March 2020; ash and lahars reported in late January

Manam (Papua New Guinea) Minor explosive activity, continued thermal activity, and SO2 emissions, October 2019-March 2020.

Stromboli (Italy) Strombolian activity continues at both summit crater areas, September-December 2019

Semeru (Indonesia) Ash plumes and thermal anomalies continue during September 2019-February 2020

Popocatepetl (Mexico) Dome growth and destruction continues along with ash emissions and ejecta, September 2019-February 2020

Santa Maria (Guatemala) Daily explosions with ash plumes and block avalanches continue, September 2019-February 2020



Sabancaya (Peru) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sabancaya

Peru

15.787°S, 71.857°W; summit elev. 5960 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily explosions with ash emissions, large SO2 flux, ongoing thermal anomalies, December 2019-May 2020

Although tephrochronology has dated activity at Sabancaya back several thousand years, renewed activity that began in 1986 was the first recorded in over 200 years. Intermittent activity since then has produced significant ashfall deposits, seismic unrest, and fumarolic emissions. A new period of explosive activity that began in November 2016 has been characterized by pulses of ash emissions with some plumes exceeding 10 km altitude, thermal anomalies, and significant SO2 plumes. Ash emissions and high levels of SO2 continued each week during December 2019-May 2020. The Observatorio Vulcanologico INGEMMET (OVI) reports weekly on numbers of daily explosions, ash plume heights and directions of drift, seismicity, and other activity. The Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) issued three or four daily reports of ongoing ash emissions at Sabancaya throughout the period.

The dome inside the summit crater continued to grow throughout this period, along with nearly constant ash, gas, and steam emissions; the average number of daily explosions ranged from 4 to 29. Ash and gas plume heights rose 1,800-3,800 m above the summit crater, and multiple communities around the volcano reported ashfall every month (table 6). Sulfur dioxide emissions were notably high and recorded daily with the TROPOMI satellite instrument (figure 75). Thermal activity declined during December 2019 from levels earlier in the year but remained steady and increased in both frequency and intensity during April and May 2020 (figure 76). Infrared satellite images indicated that the primary heat source throughout the period was from the dome inside the summit crater (figure 77).

Table 6. Persistent activity at Sabancaya during December 2019-May 2020 included multiple daily explosions with ash plumes that rose several kilometers above the summit and drifted in many directions; this resulted in ashfall in communities within 30 km of the volcano. Satellite instruments recorded SO2 emissions daily. Data courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET.

Month Avg. Daily Explosions by week Max plume Heights (m above crater) Plume drift (km) and direction Communities reporting ashfall Min Days with SO2 over 2 DU
Dec 2019 16, 13, 5, 5 2,600-3,800 20-30 NW Pinchollo, Madrigal, Lari, Maca, Achoma, Coporaque, Yanque, Chivay, Huambo, Cabanaconde 27
Jan 2020 10, 8, 11, 14, 4 1,800-3,400 30 km W, NW, SE, S Chivay, Yanque, Achoma 29
Feb 2020 8, 11, 20, 19 2,000-2,200 30 km SE, E, NE, W Huambo 29
Mar 2020 14, 22, 29, 18 2,000-3,000 30 km NE, W, NW, SW Madrigal, Lari, Pinchollo 30
Apr 2020 12, 12, 16, 13, 8 2,000-3,000 30 km SE, NW, E, S Pinchollo, Madrigal, Lari, Maca, Ichupampa, Yanque, Chivay, Coporaque, Achoma 27
May 2020 15, 14, 6, 16 1,800-2,400 30 km SW, SE, E, NE, W Chivay, Achoma, Maca, Lari, Madrigal, Pinchollo 27
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Sulfur dioxide anomalies were captured daily from Sabancaya during December 2019-May 2020 by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Some of the largest SO2 plumes are shown here with dates listed in the information at the top of each image. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Thermal activity at Sabancaya declined during December 2019 from levels earlier in the year but remained steady and increased slightly in frequency and intensity during April and May 2020, according to the MIROVA graph of Log Radiative Power from 23 June 2019 through May 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Sabancaya confirmed the frequent ash emissions and ongoing thermal activity from the dome inside the summit crater during December 2019-May 2020. Top row (left to right): On 6 December 2019 a large plume of steam and ash drifted N from the summit. On 16 December 2019 a thermal anomaly encircled the dome inside the summit caldera while gas and possible ash drifted NW. On 14 April 2020 a very similar pattern persisted inside the crater. Bottom row (left to right): On 19 April an ash plume was clearly visible above dense cloud cover. On 24 May the infrared glow around the dome remained strong; a diffuse plume drifted W. A large plume of ash and steam drifted SE from the summit on 29 May. Infrared images use Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a), other images use Natural Color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The average number of daily explosions during December 2019 decreased from a high of 16 the first week of the month to a low of five during the last week. Six pyroclastic flows occurred on 10 December (figure 78). Tremors were associated with gas-and-ash emissions for most of the month. Ashfall was reported in Pinchollo, Madrigal, Lari, Maca, Achoma, Coporaque, Yanque, and Chivay during the first week of the month, and in Huambo and Cabanaconde during the second week (figure 79). Inflation of the volcano was measured throughout the month. SO2 flux was measured by OVI as ranging from 2,500 to 4,300 tons per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Multiple daily explosions at Sabancaya produced ash plumes that rose several kilometers above the summit. Left image is from 5 December and right image is from 11 December 2019. Note pyroclastic flows to the right of the crater on 11 December. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-49-2019/INGEMMET Semana del 2 al 8 de diciembre de 2019 and RSSAB-50-2019/INGEMMET Semana del 9 al 15 de diciembre de 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Communities to the N and W of Sabancaya recorded ashfall from the volcano the first week of December and also every month during December 2019-May 2020. The red zone is the area where access is prohibited (about a 12-km radius from the crater). Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-22-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 25 al 31 de mayo del 2020).

During January and February 2020 the number of daily explosions averaged 4-20. Ash plumes rose as high as 3.4 km above the summit (figure 80) and drifted up to 30 km in multiple directions. Ashfall was reported in Chivay, Yanque, and Achoma on 8 January, and in Huambo on 25 February. Sulfur dioxide flux ranged from a low of 1,200 t/d on 29 February to a high of 8,200 t/d on 28 January. Inflation of the edifice was measured during January; deformation changed to deflation in early February but then returned to inflation by the end of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Ash plumes rose from Sabancaya every day during January and February 2020. Left: 11 January. Right: 28 February. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-02-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 06 al 12 de enero del 2020 and RSSAB-09-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 24 de febrero al 01 de marzo del 2020).

Explosions continued during March and April 2020, averaging 8-29 per day. Explosions appeared to come from multiple vents on 11 March (figure 81). Ash plumes rose 3 km above the summit during the first week of March and again the first week of April; they were lower during the other weeks. Ashfall was reported in Madrigal, Lari, and Pinchollo on 27 March and 5 April. On 17 April ashfall was reported in Maca, Ichupampa, Yanque, Chivay, Coporaque, and Achoma. Sulfur dioxide flux ranged from 1,900 t/d on 5 March to 10,700 t/d on 30 March. Inflation at depth continued throughout March and April with 10 +/- 4 mm recorded between 21 and 26 April. Similar activity continued during May 2020; explosions averaged 6-16 per day (figure 82). Ashfall was reported on 6 May in Chivay, Achoma, Maca, Lari, Madrigal, and Pinchollo; heavy ashfall was reported in Achoma on 12 May. Additional ashfall was reported in Achoma, Maca, Madrigal, and Lari on 23 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Explosions at Sabancaya on 11 March 2020 appeared to originate simultaneously from two different vents (left). The plume on 12 April was measured at about 2,500 m above the summit. Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-11-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 9 al 15 de marzo del 2020 and RSSAB-15-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 6 al 12 de abril del 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Explosions dense with ash continued during May 2020 at Sabancaya. On 11 and 29 May 2020 ash plumes rose from the summit and drifted as far as 30 km before dissipating. Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya , RSSAB-20-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 11 al 17 de mayo del 2020 and RSSAB-22-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 25 al 31 de mayo del 2020).

Geologic Background. Sabancaya, located in the saddle NE of Ampato and SE of Hualca Hualca volcanoes, is the youngest of these volcanic centers and the only one to have erupted in historical time. The oldest of the three, Nevado Hualca Hualca, is of probable late-Pliocene to early Pleistocene age. The name Sabancaya (meaning "tongue of fire" in the Quechua language) first appeared in records in 1595 CE, suggesting activity prior to that date. Holocene activity has consisted of Plinian eruptions followed by emission of voluminous andesitic and dacitic lava flows, which form an extensive apron around the volcano on all sides but the south. Records of historical eruptions date back to 1750.

Information Contacts: Observatorio Volcanologico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico), Barrio Magisterial Nro. 2 B-16 Umacollo - Yanahuara Arequipa, Peru (URL: http://ovi.ingemmet.gob.pe); Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Meteorológico Nacional-Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 25 de mayo 658, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/inicio.php); 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/); 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).


Sheveluch (Russia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava dome growth and thermal anomalies continue through April 2020, but few ash explosions

The eruption at Sheveluch has continued for more than 20 years, with strong explosions that have produced ash plumes, lava dome growth, hot avalanches, numerous thermal anomalies, and strong fumarolic activity (BGVN 44:05). During this time, there have been periods of greater or lesser activity. The most recent period of increased activity began in December 2018 and continued through October 2019 (BGVN 44:11). This report covers activity between November 2019 to April 2020, a period during which activity waned. The volcano is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) and Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

During the reporting period, KVERT noted that lava dome growth continued, accompanied by incandescence of the dome blocks and hot avalanches. Strong fumarolic activity was also present (figure 53). However, the overall eruption intensity waned. Ash plumes sometimes rose to 10 km altitude and drifted downwind over 600 km (table 14). The Aviation Color Code (ACC) remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale), except for 3 November when it was raised briefly to Red (the highest level).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Fumarolic activity of Sheveluch’s lava dome on 24 January 2020. Photo by Y. Demyanchuk; courtesy of KVERT.

Table 14. Explosions and ash plumes at Sheveluch during November 2019-April 2020. Dates and times are UTC, not local. Data courtesy of KVERT and the Tokyo VAAC.

Dates Plume Altitude (km) Drift Distance and Direction Remarks
01-08 Nov 2019 -- 640 km NW 3 November: ACC raised to Red from 0546-0718 UTC before returning to Orange.
08-15 Nov 2019 9-10 1,300 km ESE
17-27 Dec 2019 6.0-6.5 25 km E Explosions at about 23:50 UTC on 21 Dec.
20-27 Mar 2020 -- 45 km N 25 March: Gas-and-steam plume containing some ash.
03-10 Apr 2020 10 km 526 km SE 8 April: Strong explosion at 1910 UTC.
17-24 Apr 2020 -- 140 km NE Re-suspended ash plume.

KVERT reported thermal anomalies over the volcano every day, except for 25-26 January, when clouds obscured observations. During the reporting period, thermal anomalies, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm recorded hotspots on 10 days in November, 13 days in December, nine days in January, eight days in both February and March, and five days in April. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, detected numerous hotspots every month, almost all of which were of moderate radiative power (figure 54).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Thermal anomalies at Sheveluch continued at elevated levels during November 2019-April 2020, as seen on this MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph for July 2019-April 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

High sulfur dioxide levels were occasionally recorded just above or in the close vicinity of Sheveluch by the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) aboard the Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite, but very little drift was observed.

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

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


Dukono (Indonesia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Dukono

Indonesia

1.693°N, 127.894°E; summit elev. 1229 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Numerous ash explosions continue through March 2020

The ongoing eruption at Dukono is characterized by frequent explosions that send ash plumes to about 1.5-3 km altitude (0.3-1.8 km above the summit), although a few have risen higher. This type of typical activity (figure 13) continued through at least March 2020. The ash plume data below (table 21) were primarily provided by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC). During the reporting period of October 2019-March 2020, the Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4) and the public was warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

Table 21. Monthly summary of reported ash plumes from Dukono for October 2019-March 2020. The direction of drift for the ash plume through each month was highly variable; notable plume drift each month was only indicated in the table if at least two weekly reports were consistent. Data courtesy of the Darwin VAAC and PVMBG.

Month Plume Altitude (km) Notable Plume Drift
Oct 2019 1.8-3 Multiple
Nov 2019 1.8-2.3 E, SE, NE
Dec 2019 1.8-2.1 E, SE
Jan 2020 1.8-2.1 E, SE, SW, S
Feb 2020 2.1-2.4 S, SW
Mar 2020 1.5-2.3 Multiple
Figure (see Caption) Figure 13.Satellite image of Dukono from Sentinel-2 on 12 November 2019, showing an ash plume drifting E. Image uses natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During the reporting period, high levels of sulfur dioxide were only recorded above or near the volcano during 30-31 October and 4 November 2019. High levels were recorded by the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) instrument aboard the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite on 30 October 2019, in a plume drifting E. The next day high levels were also recorded by the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) aboard the Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite on 31 October (figure 14) and 4 November 2019, in plumes drifting SE and NE, respectively.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Sulfur dioxide emission on 31 October 2019 drifting E, probably from Dukono, as recorded by the TROPOMI instrument aboard the Sentinel-5P satellite. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Geologic Background. Reports from this remote volcano in northernmost Halmahera are rare, but Dukono has been one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes. More-or-less continuous explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, occurred from 1933 until at least the mid-1990s, when routine observations were curtailed. During a major eruption in 1550, a lava flow filled in the strait between Halmahera and the north-flank cone of Gunung Mamuya. This complex volcano presents a broad, low profile with multiple summit peaks and overlapping craters. Malupang Wariang, 1 km SW of the summit crater complex, contains a 700 x 570 m crater that has also been active during historical time.

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/); 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/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Etna (Italy) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian explosions and ash emissions continue, October 2019-March 2020

Mount Etna is a stratovolcano located on the island of Sicily, Italy, with historical eruptions that date back 3,500 years. The most recent eruptive period began in September 2013 and has continued through March 2020. Activity is characterized by Strombolian explosions, lava flows, and ash plumes that commonly occur from the summit area, including the Northeast Crater (NEC), the Voragine-Bocca Nuova (or Central) complex (VOR-BN), the Southeast Crater (SEC, formed in 1978), and the New Southeast Crater (NSEC, formed in 2011). The newest crater, referred to as the "cono della sella" (saddle cone), emerged during early 2017 in the area between SEC and NSEC. This reporting period covers information from October 2019 through March 2020 and includes frequent explosions and ash plumes. The primary source of information comes from the Osservatorio Etneo (OE), part of the Catania Branch of Italy's Istituo Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologica (INGV).

Summary of activity during October 2019-March 2020. Strombolian activity and gas-and-steam and ash emissions were frequently observed at Etna throughout the entire reporting period, according to INGV and Toulouse VAAC notices. Activity was largely located within the main cone (Voragine-Bocca Nuova complex), the Northeast Crater (NEC), and the New Southeast Crater (NSEC). On 1, 17, and 19 October, ash plumes rose to a maximum altitude of 5 km. Due to constant Strombolian explosions, ground observations showed that a scoria cone located on the floor of the VOR Crater had begun to grow in late November and again in late January 2020. A lava flow was first detected on 6 December at the base of the scoria cone in the VOR Crater, which traveled toward the adjacent BN Crater. Additional lava flows were observed intermittently throughout the reporting period in the same crater. On 13 March, another small scoria cone had formed in the main VOR-BN complex due to Strombolian explosions.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows multiple episodes of thermal activity varying in power from 22 June 2019 to March 2020 (figure 286). The power and frequency of these thermal anomalies significantly decreased between August to mid-September. The pulse of activity in mid-September reflected a lava flow from the VOR Crater (BGVN 44:10). By late October through November, thermal anomalies were relatively weaker and less frequent. The next pulse in thermal activity reflected in the MIROVA graph occurred in early December, followed by another shortly after in early January, both of which were due to new lava flows from the VOR Crater. After 9 January the thermal anomalies remained frequent and strong; active lava flows continued through March accompanied by Strombolian explosions, gas-and-steam, SO2, and ash emissions. The most recent distinct pulse in thermal activity was seen in mid-March; on 13 March, another lava flow formed, accompanied by an increase in seismicity. This lava flow, like the previous ones, also originated in the VOR Crater and traveled W toward the BN Crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 286. Multiple episodes of varying activity at Etna from 22 June 2019 through March 2020 were reflected in the MIROVA thermal energy data (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during October-December 2019. During October 2019, VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) notices issued by INGV reported ash plumes rose to a maximum altitude of 5 km on 1, 17, and 19 October. Strombolian explosions occurred frequently. Explosions were detected primarily in the VOR-BN Craters, ejecting coarse pyroclastic material that fell back into the crater area and occasionally rising above the crater rim. Ash emissions rose from the VOR-BN and NEC while intense gas-and-steam emissions were observed in the NSEC (figure 287). Between 10-12 and 14-20 October fine ashfall was observed in Pedara, Mascalucia, Nicolosi, San Giovanni La Punta, and Catania. In addition to these ash emissions, the explosive Strombolian activity contributed to significant SO2 plumes that drifted in different directions (figure 288).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 287. Webcam images of ash emissions from the NE Crater at Etna from the a) CUAD (Catania) webcam on 10 October 2019; b) Milo webcam on 11 October 2019; c) Milo webcam on 12 October 2019; d) M.te Cagliato webcam on 13 October 2019. Courtesy of INGV (Report 42/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 07/10/2019 - 13/10/2019, data emissione 15/10/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 288. Strombolian activity at Etna contributed to significant SO2 plumes that drifted in multiple directions during the intermittent explosions in October 2019. Top left: 1 October 2019. Top right: 2 October 2019. Middle left: 15 October 2019. Middle right: 18 October 2019. Bottom left: 13 November 2019. Bottom right: 1 December 2019. Captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

The INGV weekly bulletin covering activity between 25 October and 1 November 2019 reported that Strombolian explosions occurred at intervals of 5-10 minutes from within the VOR-BN and NEC, ejecting incandescent material above the crater rim, accompanied by modest ash emissions. In addition, gas-and-steam emissions were observed from all the summit craters. Field observations showed the cone in the crater floor of VOR that began to grow in mid-September 2019 had continued to grow throughout the month. During the week of 4-10 November, Strombolian activity within the Bocca Nuova Crater was accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. The explosions in the VOR Crater occasionally ejected incandescent ejecta above the crater rim (figures 289 and 290). For the remainder of the month Strombolian explosions continued in the VOR-BN and NEC, producing sporadic ash emissions. Isolated and discontinuous explosions in the New Southeast Crater (NSEC) also produced fine ash, though gas-and-steam emissions still dominated the activity at this crater. Additionally, the explosions from these summit craters were frequently accompanied by strong SO2 emissions that drifted in different directions as discrete plumes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 289. Photo of Strombolian activity and crater incandescence in the Voragine Crater at Etna on 15 November 2019. Photo by B. Behncke, taken by Tremestieri Etneo. Courtesy of INGV (Report 47/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 11/11/2019 - 17/11/2019, data emissione 19/11/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 290. Webcam images of summit crater activity during 26-29 November and 1 December 2019 at Etna. a) image recorded by the high-resolution camera on Montagnola (EMOV); b) and c) webcam images taken from Tremestieri Etneo on the southern slope of Etna showing summit incandescence; d) image recorded by the thermal camera on Montagnola (EMOT) showing summit incandescence at the NSEC. Courtesy of INGV (Report 49/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 25/11/2019 - 01/12/2019, data emissione 03/12/2019).

Frequent Strombolian explosions continued through December 2019 within the VOR-BN, NEC, and NSEC Craters with sporadic ash emissions observed in the VOR-BN and NEC. On 6 December, Strombolian explosions increased in the NSEC; webcam images showed incandescent pyroclastic material ejected above the crater rim. On the morning of 6 December a lava flow was observed from the base of the scoria cone in the VOR Crater that traveled toward the adjacent Bocca Nuova Crater. INGV reported that a new vent opened on the side of the saddle cone (NSEC) on 11 December and produced explosions until 14 December.

Activity during January-March 2020. On 9 January 2020 an aerial flight organized by RAI Linea Bianca and the state police showed the VOR Crater continuing to produce lava that was flowing over the crater rim into the BN Crater with some explosive activity in the scoria cone. Explosive Strombolian activity produced strong and distinct SO2 plumes (figure 291) and ash emissions through March, according to the weekly INGV reports, VONA notices, and satellite imagery. Several ash emissions during 21-22 January rose from the vent that opened on 11 December. According to INGV’s weekly bulletin for 21-26 January, the scoria cone in the VOR crater produced Strombolian explosions that increased in frequency and contributed to rapid cone growth, particularly the N part of the cone. Lava traveled down the S flank of the cone and into the adjacent Bocca Nuova Crater, filling the E crater (BN-2) (figure 292). The NEC had discontinuous Strombolian activity and periodic, diffuse ash emissions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 291. Distinct SO2 plumes drifting in multiple directions from Etna were visible in satellite imagery as Strombolian activity continued through March 2020. Top left: 21 January 2020. Top right: 2 February 2020. Bottom left: 10 March 2020. Bottom right: 19 March 2020. Captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 292. a) A map of the lava field at Etna showing cooled flows (yellow) and active flows (red). The base of the scoria cone is outlined in black while the crater rim is outlined in red. b) Thermal image of the Bocca Nuova and Voragine Craters. The bright orange is the warmest temperature measure in the flow. Courtesy of INGV, photos by Laboratorio di Cartografia FlyeEye Team (Report 10/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 24/02/2020 - 01/03/2020, data emissione 03/03/2020).

Strombolian explosions continued into February 2020, accompanied by ash emissions and lava flows from the previous months (figure 293). During 17-23 February, INGV reported that some subsidence was observed in the central portion of the Bocca Nuova Crater. During 24 February to 1 March, the Strombolian explosions ejected lava from the VOR Crater up to 150-200 m above the vent as bombs fell on the W edge of the VOR crater rim (figure 294). Lava flows continued to move into the W part of the Bocca Nuova Crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 293. Webcam images of A) Strombolian activity and B) effusive activity fed by the scoria cone grown inside the VOR Crater at Etna taken on 1 February 2020. C) Thermal image of the lava field produced by the VOR Crater taken by L. Lodato on 3 February (bottom left). Image of BN-1 taken by F. Ciancitto on 3 February in the summit area (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV; Report 06/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 27/01/2020 - 02/02/2020, data emissione 04/02/2020 (top) and Report 07/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 03/02/2020 - 09/02/2020, data emissione 11/02/2020 (bottom).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 294. Photos of the VOR intra-crater scoria cone at Etna: a) Strombolian activity resumed on 25 February 2020 from the SW edge of BN taken by B. Behncke; b) weak Strombolian activity from the vent at the base N of the cone on 29 February 2020 from the W edge of VOR taken by V. Greco; c) old vent present at the base N of the cone, taken on 17 February 2020 from the E edge of VOR taken by B. Behncke; d) view of the flank of the cone, taken on 24 February 2020 from the W edge of VOR taken by F. Ciancitto. Courtesy of INGV (Report 10/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 24/02/2020 - 01/03/2020, data emissione 03/03/2020).

During 9-15 March 2020 Strombolian activity was detected in the VOR Crater while discontinuous ash emissions rose from the NEC and NSEC. Bombs were found in the N saddle between the VOR and NSEC craters. On 9 March, a small scoria cone that had formed in the Bocca Nuova Crater and was ejecting bombs and lava tens of meters above the S crater rim. The lava flow from the VOR Crater was no longer advancing. A third scoria cone had formed on 13 March NE in the main VOR-BN complex due to the Strombolian explosions on 29 February. Another lava flow formed on 13 March, accompanied by an increase in seismicity. The weekly report for 16-22 March reported Strombolian activity detected in the VOR Crater and gas-and-steam and rare ash emissions observed in the NEC and NSEC (figure 295). Explosions in the Bocca Nuova Crater ejected spatter and bombs 100 m high.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 295. Map of the summit crater area of Etna showing the active vents and lava flows during 16-22 March 2020. Black hatch marks indicate the crater rims: BN = Bocca Nuova, with NW BN-1 and SE BN-2; VOR = Voragine; NEC = North East Crater; SEC = South East Crater; NSEC = New South East Crater. Red circles indicate areas with ash emissions and/or Strombolian activity, yellow circles indicate steam and/or gas emissions only. The base is modified from a 2014 DEM created by Laboratorio di Aerogeofisica-Sezione Roma 2. Courtesy of INGV (Report 13/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 16/03/2020 - 22/03/2020, data emissione 24/03/2020).

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

Information Contacts: Sezione di Catania - Osservatorio Etneo, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/it/); Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Météo-France, 42 Avenue Gaspard Coriolis, F-31057 Toulouse cedex, France (URL: http://www.meteo.fr/aeroweb/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/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Boris Behncke, Sonia Calvari, and Marco Neri, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: https://twitter.com/etnaboris, Image at https://twitter.com/etnaboris/status/1183640328760414209/photo/1).


Merapi (Indonesia) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions produced ash plumes, ashfall, and pyroclastic flows during October 2019-March 2020

Merapi is a highly active stratovolcano located in Indonesia, just north of the city of Yogyakarta. The current eruption episode began in May 2018 and was characterized by phreatic explosions, ash plumes, block avalanches, and a newly active lava dome at the summit. This reporting period updates information from October 2019-March 2020 that includes explosions, pyroclastic flows, ash plumes, and ashfall. The primary reporting source of activity comes from Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG, the Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology, a branch of PVMBG) and Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM).

Some ongoing lava dome growth continued in October 2019 in the NE-SW direction measuring 100 m in length, 30 m in width, and 20 m in depth. Gas-and-steam emissions were frequent, reaching a maximum height of 700 m above the crater on 31 October. An explosion at 1631 on 14 October removed the NE-SW trending section of the lava dome and produced an ash plume that rose 3 km above the crater and extended SW for about 2 km (figures 90 and 91). The plume resulted in ashfall as far as 25 km to the SW. According to a Darwin VAAC notice, a thermal hotspot was detected in HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery. A pyroclastic flow associated with the eruption traveled down the SW flank in the Gendol drainage. During 14-20 October lava flows from the crater generated block-and-ash flows that traveled 1 km SW, according to BPPTKG.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. An ash plume rising 3 km above Merapi on 14 October 2019.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Webcam image of an ash plume rising above Merapi at 1733 on 14 October 2019. Courtesy of BPPTKG via Jaime S. Sincioco.

At 0621 on 9 November 2019, an eruption produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater and drifted W. Ashfall was observed in the W region as far as 15 km from the summit in Wonolelo and Sawangan in Magelang Regency, as well as Tlogolele and Selo in Boyolali Regency. An associated pyroclastic flow traveled 2 km down the Gendol drainage on the SE flank. On 12 November aerial drone photographs were used to measure the volume of the lava dome, which was 407,000 m3. On 17 November, an eruption produced an ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater, resulting in ashfall as far as 15 km W from the summit in the Dukun District, Magelang Regency (figure 92). A pyroclastic flow accompanying the eruption traveled 1 km down the SE flank in the Gendol drainage. By 30 November low-frequency earthquakes and CO2 gas emissions had increased.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. An ash plume rising 1 km above Merapi on 17 November 2019. Courtesy of BPPTKG.

Volcanism was relatively low from 18 November 2019 through 12 February 2020, characterized primarily by gas-and-steam emissions and intermittent volcanic earthquakes. On 4 January a pyroclastic flow was recorded by the seismic network at 2036, but it wasn’t observed due to weather conditions. On 13 February an explosion was detected at 0516, which ejected incandescent material within a 1-km radius from the summit (figure 93). Ash plumes rose 2 km above the crater and drifted NW, resulting in ashfall within 10 km, primarily S of the summit; lightning was also seen in the plume. Ash was observed in Hargobinangun, Glagaharjo, and Kepuharjo. On 19 February aerial drone photographs were used to measure the change in the lava dome after the eruption; the volume of the lava had decreased, measuring 291,000 m3.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. Webcam image of an ash plume rising from Merapi at 0516 on 13 February 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia and PVMBG.

An explosion on 3 March at 0522 produced an ash plume that rose 6 km above the crater (figure 94), resulting in ashfall within 10 km of the summit, primarily to the NE in the Musuk and Cepogo Boyolali sub-districts and Mriyan Village, Boyolali (3 km from the summit). A pyroclastic flow accompanied this eruption, traveling down the SSE flank less than 2 km. Explosions continued to be detected on 25 and 27-28 March, resulting in ash plumes. The eruption on 27 March at 0530 produced an ash plume that rose 5 km above the crater, causing ashfall as far as 20 km to the W in the Mungkid subdistrict, Magelang Regency, and Banyubiru Village, Dukun District, Magelang Regency. An associated pyroclastic flow descended the SSE flank, traveling as far as 2 km. The ash plume from the 28 March eruption rose 2 km above the crater, causing ashfall within 5 km from the summit in the Krinjing subdistrict primarily to the W (figure 94).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Images of ash plumes rising from Merapi during 3 March (left) and 28 March 2020 (right). Images courtesy of BPPTKG (left) and PVMBG (right).

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 2000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequently growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent eruptive 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 during historical time.

Information Contacts: Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG), Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology (URL: http://merapi.bgl.esdm.go.id/, Twitter: @BPPTKG); Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/, Twitter: https://twitter.com/BNPB_Indonesia); 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/); Jamie S. Sincioco, Phillipines (Twitter: @jaimessincioco, Image at https://twitter.com/jaimessincioco/status/1227966075519635456/photo/1).


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

Erta Ale

Ethiopia

13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued lava flow outbreaks and thermal anomalies during November 2019 to early April 2020

Erta Ale is a shield volcano located in Ethiopia and contains multiple active pit craters in the summit and southeastern caldera. Volcanism has been characterized by lava flows and large lava flow fields since 2017. Surficial lava flow activity continued within the southeastern caldera during November 2019 until early April 2020; source information was primarily from various satellite data.

The number of days that thermal anomalies were detected using MODIS data in MODVOLC and NASA VIIRS satellite data was notably higher in November and December 2019 (figure 96); the number of thermal anomalies in the Sentinel-2 thermal imagery was substantially lower due to the presence of cloud cover. Across all satellite data, thermal anomalies were identified for 29 days in November, followed by 30 days in December. After December 2019, the number of days thermal anomalies were detected decreased; hotspots were detected for 17 days in January 2020 and 20 days in February. By March, these thermal anomalies became rare until activity ceased. Thermal anomalies were identified during 1-4 March, with weak anomalies seen again during 26 March-8 April 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Graph comparing the number of thermal alerts using calendar dates using MODVOLC, NASA VIIRS, and Sentinel-2 satellite data for Erta Ale during November 2019-March 2020. Data courtesy of HIGP - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, NASA Worldview using the “Fire and Thermal Anomalies” layer, and Sentinel Hub Playground.

MIROVA (Middle Infrared Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed frequent strong thermal anomalies from 18 April through December 2019 (figure 97). Between early August 2019 and March 2020, these thermal signatures were detected at distances less than 5 km from the summit. In late December the thermal intensity dropped slightly before again increasing, while at the same time moving slightly closer to the summit. Thermal anomalies then became more intermittent and steadily decreased in power over the next two months.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Two time-series plots of thermal anomalies from Erta Ale from 18 April 2019 through 18 April 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system. The top plot (A) shows that the thermal anomalies were consistently strong (measured in log radiative power) and occurred frequently until early January 2020 when both the power and frequency visibly declined. The lower plot (B) shows these anomalies as a function of distance from the summit, including a sudden decrease in distance (measured in kilometers) in early August 2019, reflecting a change in the location of the lava flow outbreak. A smaller distance change can be identified at the end of December 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Unlike the obvious distal breakouts to the NE seen previously (BGVN 44:04 and 44:11), infrared satellite imagery during November-December 2019 showed only a small area with a thermal anomaly near the NE edge of the Southeast Caldera (figure 98). A thermal alert was seen at that location using the MODVOLC system on 28 December, but the next day it had been replaced by an anomaly about 1.5 km WSW near the N edge of the Southeast Caldera where the recent flank eruption episode had been centered between January 2017 and January 2018 (BGVN 43:04). The thermal anomaly that was detected in the summit caldera was no longer visible after 9 January 2020, based on Sentinel-2 imagery. The exact location of lava flows shifted within the same general area during January and February 2020 and was last detected by Sentinel-2 on 4 March. After about two weeks without detectable thermal activity, weak unlocated anomalies were seen in VIIRS data on 26 March and in MODIS data on the MIROVA system four times between 26 March and 8 April. No further anomalies were noted through the rest of April 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery of Erta Ale volcanism between November 2019 and March 2020 showing small lava flow outbreaks (bright yellow-orange) just NE of the southeastern calderas. A thermal anomaly can be seen in the summit crater on 15 November and very faintly on 20 December 2019. Imagery on 19 January 2020 showed a small thermal anomaly near the N edge of the Southeast Caldera where the recent flank eruption episode had been centered between January 2017 and January 2018. The last weak thermal hotspot was detected on 4 March (bottom right). Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

10.83°N, 85.324°W; summit elev. 1916 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak phreatic explosions during August 2019-March 2020; ash and lahars reported in late January

Rincón de la Vieja is a remote volcanic complex in Costa Rica containing an acid lake that has regularly generated weak phreatic explosions since 2011 (BGVN 44:08). The most recent eruptive period occurred during late March-early June 2019, primarily consisting of small phreatic explosions, minor deposits on the N crater rim, and gas-and-steam emissions. The report period of August 2019-March 2020 was characterized by similar activity, including small phreatic explosions, gas-and-steam plumes, ash and lake sediment ejecta, and volcanic tremors. The most significant activity during this time occurred on 30 January, where a phreatic explosion ejected ash and lake sediment above the crater rim, resulting in a pyroclastic flow which gradually turned into a lahar. Information for this reporting period of August 2019-March 2020 comes from the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA) using weekly bulletins.

According to OVSICORI-UNA, a small hydrothermal eruption was recorded on 1 August 2019. The seismicity was low with a few long period (LP) earthquakes around 1 August and intermittent background tremor. No explosions or emissions were reported through 11 September; seismicity remained low with an occasional LP earthquake and discontinuous tremor. The summit’s extension that has been recorded since the beginning of June stopped, and no significant deformation was observed in August.

Starting again in September 2019 and continuing intermittently through the reporting period, some deformation was observed at the base of the volcano as well as near the summit, according to OVSICORI-UNA. On 12 September an eruption occurred that was followed by volcanic tremors that continued through 15 September. In addition to these tremors, vigorous sustained gas-and-steam plumes were observed. The 16 September weekly bulletin did not describe any ejecta produced as a result of this event.

During 1-3 October small phreatic eruptions were accompanied by volcanic tremors that had decreased by 5 October. In November, volcanism and seismicity were relatively low and stable; few LP earthquakes were reported. This period of low activity remained through December. At the end of November, horizontal extension was observed at the summit, which continued through the first half of January.

Small phreatic eruptions were recorded on 2, 28, and 29 January 2020, with an increase in seismicity occurring on 27 January. On 30 January at 1213 a phreatic explosion produced a gas column that rose 1,500-2,000 m above the crater, with ash and lake sediment ejected up to 100 m above the crater. A news article posted by the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) noted that this explosion generated pyroclastic flows that traveled down the N flank for more than 2 km from the crater. As the pyroclastic flows moved through tributary channels, lahars were generated in the Pénjamo river, Zanjonuda gorge, and Azufrosa, traveling N for 4-10 km and passing through Buenos Aires de Upala (figure 29). Seismicity after this event decreased, though there were still some intermittent tremors.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Photo of a lahar generated from the 30 January 2020 eruption at Rincon de la Vieja. Photo taken by Mauricio Gutiérrez, courtesy of UCR.

On 17, 24, and 25 February and 11, 17, 19, 21, and 23 March, small phreatic eruptions were detected, according to OVSICORI-UNA. Geodetic measurements observed deformation consisting of horizontal extension and inflation near the summit in February-March. By the week of 30 March, the weekly bulletin reported 2-3 small eruptions accompanied by volcanic tremors occurred daily during most days of the week. None of these eruptions produced solid ejecta, pyroclastic flows, or lahars, according to the weekly OVSICORI-UNA bulletins during February-March 2020.

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

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/, https://www.facebook.com/OVSICORI/); Luis Enrique Brenes Portuguéz, University of Costa Rica, Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo Facio Brenes, San José, San Pedro, Costa Rica (URL: https://www.ucr.ac.cr/noticias/2020/01/30/actividad-del-volcan-rincon-de-la-vieja-es-normal-segun-experto.html).


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — May 2020 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)


Minor explosive activity, continued thermal activity, and SO2 emissions, October 2019-March 2020.

Manam is a basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano that lies 13 km off the northern coast of mainland Papua New Guinea; it has a 400-year history of recorded evidence for recurring low-level ash plumes, occasional Strombolian activity, lava flows, pyroclastic avalanches, and large ash plumes from Main and South, the two active summit craters. The current eruption, ongoing since June 2014, produced multiple large explosive eruptions during January-September 2019, including two 15-km-high ash plumes in January, repeated SO2 plumes each month, and another 15.2 km-high ash plume in June that resulted in ashfall and evacuations of several thousand people (BGVN 44:10).

This report covers continued activity during October 2019 through March 2020. Information about Manam is primarily provided by Papua New Guinea's Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), part of the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM). This information is supplemented with aviation alerts from the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). MODIS thermal anomaly satellite data is recorded by the University of Hawai'i's MODVOLC thermal alert recording system, and the Italian MIROVA project; sulfur dioxide monitoring is done by instruments on satellites managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Satellite imagery provided by the Sentinel Hub Playground is also a valuable resource for information about this remote location.

A few modest explosions with ash emissions were reported in early October and early November 2019, and then not again until late March 2020. Although there was little explosive activity during the period, thermal anomalies were recorded intermittently, with low to moderate activity almost every month, as seen in the MODIS data from MIROVA (figure 71) and also in satellite imagery. Sulfur dioxide emissions persisted throughout the period producing emissions greater than 2.0 Dobson Units that were recorded in satellite data 3-13 days each month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. MIROVA thermal anomaly data for Manam from 17 June 2019 through March 2020 indicate continued low and moderate level thermal activity each month from August 2019 through February 2020, after a period of increased activity in June and early July 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume in visible satellite imagery moving NW at 3.1 km altitude on 2 October 2019. Weak ash emissions were observed drifting N for the next two days along with an IR anomaly at the summit. RVO reported incandescence at night during the first week of October. Visitors to the summit on 18 October 2019 recorded steam and fumarolic activity at both of the summit craters (figure 72) and recent avalanche debris on the steep slopes (figure 73).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Steam and fumarolic activity rose from Main crater at Manam on 18 October 2019 in this view to the south from a ridge north of the crater. Google Earth inset of summit shows location of photograph. Courtesy of Vulkanologische Gesellschaft and Claudio Jung, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Volcanic debris covered an avalanche chute on the NE flank of Manam when visited by hikers on 18 October 2019. Courtesy of Vulkanologische Gesellschaft and Claudio Jung, used with permission.

On 2 November, a single large explosion at 1330 local time produced a thick, dark ash plume that rose about 1,000 m above the summit and drifted NW. A shockwave from the explosion was felt at the Bogia Government station located 40 km SE on the mainland about 1 minute later. RVO reported an increase in seismicity on 6 November about 90 minutes before the start of a new eruption from the Main Crater which occurred between 1600 and 1630; it produced light to dark gray ash clouds that rose about 1,000 m above the summit and drifted NW. Incandescent ejecta was visible at the start of the explosion and continued with intermittent strong pulses after dark, reaching peak intensity around 1900. Activity ended by 2200 that evening. The Darwin VAAC reported a discrete emission observed in satellite imagery on 8 November that rose to 4.6 km altitude and drifted WNW, although ground observers confirmed that no eruption took place; emissions were only steam and gas. There were no further reports of explosive activity until the Darwin VAAC reported an ash emission in visible satellite imagery on 20 March 2020 that rose to 3.1 km altitude and drifted E for a few hours before dissipating.

Although explosive activity was minimal during the period, SO2 emissions, and evidence for continued thermal activity were recorded by satellite instruments each month. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite captured evidence each month of SO2 emissions exceeding two Dobson Units (figure 74). The most SO2 activity occurred during October 2019, with 13 days of signatures over 2.0 DU. There were six days of elevated SO2 each month in November and December, and five days in January 2020. During February and March, activity was less, with smaller SO2 plumes recording more than 2.0 DU on three days each month. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery recorded thermal anomalies at least once from one or both of the summit craters each month between October 2019 and March 2020 (figure 75).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. SO2 emissions at Manam exceeded 2 Dobson Units multiple days each month between October 2019 and March 2020. On 3 October 2019 (top left) emissions were also measured from Ulawun located 700 km E on New Britain island. On 30 November 2019 (top middle), in addition to a plume drifting N from Manam, a small SO2 plume was detected at Bagana on Bougainville Island, 1150 km E. The plume from Manam on 2 December 2019 drifted ESE (top right). On 26 January 2020 the plume drifted over 300 km E (bottom left). The plumes measured on 29 February and 4 March 2020 (bottom middle and right) only drifted a few tens of kilometers before dissipating. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, and 8a) showed thermal anomalies at one or both of Manam’s summit craters each month during October 2019-March 2020. On 17 October 2019 (top left) a bright anomaly and weak gas plume drifted NW from South crater, while a dense steam plume and weak anomaly were present at Main crater. On 25 January 2020 (top right) the gas and steam from the two craters were drifting E; the weaker Main crater thermal anomaly is just visible at the edge of the clouds. A clear image on 5 March 2020 (bottom left) shows weak plumes and distinct thermal anomalies from both craters; on 20 March (bottom right) the anomalies are still visible through dense cloud cover that may include steam from the crater vents as well. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The 10-km-wide island of Manam, lying 13 km off the northern coast of mainland Papua New Guinea, is one of the country's most active volcanoes. Four large radial valleys extend from the unvegetated summit of the conical 1807-m-high basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano to its lower flanks. These "avalanche valleys" channel lava flows and pyroclastic avalanches that have sometimes reached the coast. Five small satellitic centers are located near the island's shoreline on the northern, southern, and western sides. Two summit craters are present; both are active, although most historical eruptions have originated from the southern crater, concentrating eruptive products during much of the past century into the SE valley. Frequent historical eruptions, typically of mild-to-moderate scale, have been recorded since 1616. Occasional larger eruptions have produced pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached flat-lying coastal areas and entered the sea, sometimes impacting populated areas.

Information Contacts: 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; MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Vulkanologische Gesellschaft (URL: https://twitter.com/vulkanologen/status/1194228532219727874, https://twitter.com/vulkanologen/status/1193788836679225344); Claudio Jung, (URL: https://www.facebook.com/claudio.jung.1/posts/10220075272173895, https://www.instagram.com/jung.claudio/).


Stromboli (Italy) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian activity continues at both summit crater areas, September-December 2019

Near-constant fountains of lava at Stromboli have served as a natural beacon in the Tyrrhenian Sea for at least 2,000 years. Eruptive activity at the summit consistently occurs from multiple vents at both a north crater area (N area) and a southern crater group (CS area) on the Terrazza Craterica at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a large scarp that runs from the summit down the NW side of the volcano-island (figure 168). Periodic lava flows emerge from the vents and flow down the scarp, sometimes reaching the sea; occasional large explosions produce ash plumes and pyroclastic flows. Thermal and visual cameras that monitor activity at the vents are located on the nearby Pizzo Sopra La Fossa, above the Terrazza Craterica, and at multiple locations on the flanks of the volcano. Detailed information for Stromboli is provided by Italy's Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) as well as other satellite sources of data; September-December 2019 is covered in this report.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 168. This shaded relief map of Stromboli’s crater area was created from images acquired by drone on 9 July 2019 (In collaboration with GEOMAR drone group, Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany). Inset shows Stromboli Island, the black rectangle indicates the area of the larger image, the black curved and the red hatched lines indicate, respectively, the morphological escarpment and the crater edges. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 50/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 02/12/2019 - 08/12/2019, data emissione 10/12/2019).

Activity was very consistent throughout the period of September-December 2019. Explosion rates ranged from 2-36 per hour and were of low to medium-high intensity, producing material that rose from less than 80 to over 150 m above the vents on occasion (table 7). The Strombolian activity in both crater areas often sent ejecta outside the crater rim onto the Terrazza Craterica, and also down the Sciara del Fuoco towards the coast. After the explosions of early July and late August, thermal activity decreased to more moderate levels that persisted throughout the period as seen in the MIROVA Log Radiative Power data (figure 169). Sentinel-2 satellite imagery supported descriptions of the constant glow at the summit, revealing incandescence at both summit areas, each showing repeating bursts of activity throughout the period (figure 170).

Table 7. Monthly summary of activity levels at Stromboli, September-December 2019. Low-intensity activity indicates ejecta rising less than 80 m, medium-intensity is ejecta rising less than 150 m, and high-intensity is ejecta rising over 200 m above the vent. Data courtesy of INGV.

Month Activity
Sep 2019 Explosion rates varied from 11-36 events per hour and were of low- to medium intensity (producing 80-120 m high ejecta). Lapilli and bombs were typical from the N area, and coarse and finer-grained tephra (lapilli and ash) were most common in the CS area. The Strombolian activity in both crater areas often sent ejecta outside the crater rim onto the terrace, and also down the Sciara del Fuoco towards the coast.
Oct 2019 Typical Strombolian activity and degassing continued. Explosions rates varied from 2-21 events per hour. Low intensity activity was common in the N area (ejecta less than 80 m high) and low to moderate intensity activity was typical in the CS area, with a few explosions rising over 150 m high. Lapilli and bombs were typical from the N area, and coarse and finer-grained tephra (lapilli and ash) were most common in the CS area. Some of the explosions sent ejecta down the Sciara del Fuoco.
Nov 2019 Typical Strombolian activity and degassing continued. Explosion rates varied from 11-23 events per hour with ejecta rising usually 80-150 m above the vents. Occasional explosions rose 250 m high. In the N area, explosions were generally low intensity with coarse material (lapilli and bombs). In many explosions, ejecta covered the outer slopes of the area overlooking the Sciara del Fuoco, and some blocks rolled for a few hundred meters before stopping. In the CS area, coarse material was mixed with fine and some explosions sent ejecta onto the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco.
Dec 2019 Strombolian activity and degassing continued. Explosion rates varied from 12-26 per hour. In the N area, explosion intensity was mainly medium-low (less than 150 m) with coarse ejecta while in the CS area it was usually medium-high (more than 150 m) with both coarse and fine ejecta. In many explosions, debris covered the outer slopes of the area overlooking the Sciara del Fuoco, and some blocks rolled for a few hundred meters before stopping. Spattering activity was noted in the southern vents of the N area.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 169. Thermal activity at Stromboli was high during July-August 2019, when two major explosions occurred. Activity continued at more moderate levels through December 2019 as seen in the MIROVA graph of Log Radiative Power from 8 June through December 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 170. Stromboli reliably produced strong thermal signals from both of the summit vents throughout September-December 2019 and has done so since long before Sentinel-2 satellite imagery was able to detect it. Image dates are (top, l to r) 5 September, 15 October, 20 October, (bottom l to r) 14 November, 14 December 2019, and 3 January 2020. Sentinel-2 imagery uses Atmospheric penetration rendering with bands 12, 11, and 8A, courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

After a major explosion with a pyroclastic flow on 28 August 2019, followed by lava flows that reached the ocean in the following days (BGVN 44:09), activity diminished in early September to levels more typically seen in recent times. This included Strombolian activity from vents in both the N and CS areas that sent ejecta typically 80-150 m high. Ejecta from the N area generally consisted of lapilli and bombs, while the material from the CS area was often finer grained with significant amounts of lapilli and ash. The number of explosive events remained high in September, frequently reaching 25-30 events per hour. The ejecta periodically landed outside the craters on the Terrazza Craterica and even traveled partway down the Sciara del Fuoco. An inspection on 7 September by INGV revealed four eruptive vents in the N crater area and five in the S crater area (figure 171). The most active vents in the N area were N1 with mostly ash emissions and N2 with Strombolian explosions rich in incandescent coarse material that sometimes rose well above 150 m in height. In the S area, S1 and S2 produced jets of lava that often reached 100 m high. A small cone was observed around N2, having grown after the 28 August explosion. Between 11 and 13 September aerial surveys with drones produced detailed visual and thermal imagery of the summit (figure 172).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 171. Video of the Stromboli summit taken with a thermal camera on 7 September 2019 from the Pizzo sopra la Fossa revealed four active vents in the N area and five active vents in the S area. Images prepared by Piergiorgio Scarlato, courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 37.2/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Giornaliero del 10/09/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 172. An aerial drone survey on 11 September 2019 at Stromboli produced a detailed view of the N and CS vent areas (left) and thermal images taken by a drone survey on 13 September (right) showed elevated temperatures down the Sciara del Fuoco in addition to the vents in the N and CS areas. Images by E. De Beni and M. Cantarero, courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 37.5/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Giornaliero del 13/09/2019).

Strombolian activity from the N crater on 28 September and 1 October 2019 produced blocks and debris that rolled down the Sciara del Fuoco and reached the ocean (figure 173). Explosive activity from the CS crater area sometimes produced ejecta over 150 m high (figure 174). A survey on 26 November revealed that a layer of ash 5-10 cm thick had covered the bombs and blocks that were deposited on the Pizzo Sopra la Fossa during the explosions of 3 July and 28 August (figure 175). On the morning of 27 December a lava flow emerged from the CS area and traveled a few hundred meters down the Sciara del Fuoco. The frequency of explosive events remained relatively constant from September through December 2019 after decreasing from higher levels during July and August (figure 176).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 173. Strombolian activity from vents in the N crater area of Stromboli produced ejecta that traveled all the way to the bottom of the Sciara del Fuoco and entered the ocean. Top images taken 28 September 2019 from the 290 m elevation viewpoint by Rosanna Corsaro. Bottom images captured on 1 October from the webcam at 400 m elevation. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 39.0/2019 and Rep. No. 40.3, Stromboli, Bollettino Giornaliero del 29/09/2019 and 02/10/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 174. Ejecta from Strombolian activity at the CS crater area of Stromboli rose over 150 m on multiple occasions. The webcam located at the 400 m elevation site captured this view of activity on 8 November 2019. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 45.5/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Giornaliero del 08/11/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 175. The Pizzo Sopra la Fossa area at Stromboli was covered with large blocks and pyroclastic debris on 6 September 2019, a week after the major explosion of 28 August (top). By 26 November, 5-10 cm of finer ash covered the surface; the restored webcam can be seen at the far right edge of the Pizzo (bottom). Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 49/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 25/11/2019 - 01/12/2019, data emissione 03/12/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 176. The average hourly frequency of explosive events at Stromboli captured by surveillance cameras from 1 June 2019 through 5 January 2020 remained generally constant after the high levels seen during July and August. The Total value (blue) is the sum of the average daily hourly frequency of all explosive events produced by active vents.

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

Information Contacts: Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy, (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/en/); 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).


Semeru (Indonesia) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes and thermal anomalies continue during September 2019-February 2020

Semeru is a stratovolcano located in East Java, Indonesia containing an active Jonggring-Seloko vent at the Mahameru summit. Common activity has consisted of ash plumes, pyroclastic flows and avalanches, and lava flows that travel down the SE flank. This report updates volcanism from September 2019 to February 2020 using primary information from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

The dominant activity at Semeru for this reporting period consists of ash plumes, which were frequently reported by the Darwin VAAC. An eruption on 10 September 2019 produced an ash plume rising 4 km altitude drifting WNW, as seen in HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery. Ash plumes continued to rise during 13-14 September. During the month of October the Darwin VAAC reported at least six ash plumes on 13, 14, 17-18, and 29-30 October rising to a maximum altitude of 4.6 km and moving primarily S and SW. Activity in November and December was relatively low, dominated mostly by strong and frequent thermal anomalies.

Volcanism increased in January 2020 starting with an eruption on 17 and 18 January that sent a gray ash plume up to 4.6 km altitude (figure 38). Eruptions continued from 20 to 26 January, producing ash plumes that rose up to 500 m above the crater that drifted in different directions. For the duration of the month and into February, ash plumes occurred intermittently. On 26 February, incandescent ejecta was ejected up to 50 m and traveled as far as 1000 m. Small sulfur dioxide emissions were detected in the Sentinel 5P/TROPOMI instrument during 25-27 February (figure 39). Lava flows during 27-29 February extended 200-1,000 m down the SE flank; gas-and-steam and SO2 emissions accompanied the flows. There were 15 shallow volcanic earthquakes detected on 29 February in addition to ash emissions rising 4.3 km altitude drifting ESE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Ash plumes rising from the summit of Semeru on 17 (left) and 18 (right) January 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia and via Ø.L. Andersen's Twitter feed (left).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Small SO2 plumes from Semeru were detected by the Sentinel 5P/TROPOMI instrument during 25 (left) and 26 (right) February 2020. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed relatively weak and intermittent thermal anomalies occurring during May to August 2019 (figure 40). The frequency and power of these thermal anomalies significantly increased during September to mid-December 2019 with a few hotspots occurring at distances greater than 5 km from the summit. These farther thermal anomalies to the N and NE of the volcano do not appear to be caused by volcanic activity. There was a brief break in activity during mid-December to mid-January 2020 before renewed activity was detected in early February 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Thermal anomalies were relatively weak at Semeru during 30 April 2019-August 2019, but significantly increased in power and frequency during September to early December 2019. There was a break in activity from mid-December through mid-January 2020 with renewed thermal anomalies around February 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The MODVOLC algorithm detected 25 thermal hotspots during this reporting period, which took place during 25 September, 18 and 21 October 2019, 29 January, and 11, 14, 16, and 23 February 2020. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery shows intermittent hotspots dominantly in the summit crater throughout this reporting period (figure 41).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery detected intermittent thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) at the summit of Semeru, which included some lava flows in late January to early February 2020. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); 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/); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com).


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dome growth and destruction continues along with ash emissions and ejecta, September 2019-February 2020

Frequent historical eruptions have been reported from Mexico's Popocatépetl going back to the 14th century. Activity increased in the mid-1990s after about 50 years of quiescence, and the current eruption, ongoing since January 2005, has included numerous episodes of lava-dome growth and destruction within the 500-m-wide summit caldera. Multiple emissions of steam and gas occur daily, rising generally 1-3 km above the summit at about 5,400 m elevation; many contain small amounts of ash. Larger, more explosive events with ash plumes and incandescent ejecta landing on the flanks occur frequently. Activity through August 2019 was typical of the ongoing eruption with near-constant emissions of water vapor, gas, and minor ash, as well as multiple explosions with ash plumes and incandescent blocks scattered on the flanks (BGVN 44:09). This report covers similar activity from September 2019 through February 2020. Information comes from daily reports provided by México's Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED); ash plumes are reported by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Satellite visible and thermal imagery and SO2 data also provide helpful observations of activity.

Activity summary. Activity at Popocatépetl during September 2019-February 2020 continued at the high levels that have been ongoing for many years, characterized by hundreds of daily low-intensity emissions that included steam, gas, and small amounts of ash, and periods with multiple daily minor and moderate explosions that produce kilometer-plus-high ash plumes (figure 140). The Washington VAAC issued multiple daily volcanic ash advisories with plume altitudes around 6 km for many, although some were reported as high as 8.2 km. Hundreds of minutes of daily tremor activity often produced ash emissions as well. Incandescent ejecta landed 500-1,000 m from the summit frequently. The MIROVA thermal anomaly data showed near-constant moderate to high levels of thermal energy throughout the period (figure 141).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 140. Emissions continued at a high rate from Popocatépetl throughout September 2019-February 2020. Daily low-intensity emissions numbered usually in the hundreds (blue, left axis), while less frequent minor (orange) and moderate (green) explosions, plotted on the right axis, occurred intermittently through November 2019, and increased again during February 2020. Data was compiled from CENAPRED daily reports.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 141. MIROVA log radiative power thermal data for Popocatépetl from 1 May 2019 through February 2020 showed a constant output of moderate energy the entire time. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Sulfur dioxide emissions were measured with satellite instruments many days of each month from September 2019 thru February 2020. The intensity and drift directions varied significantly; some plumes remained detectable hundreds of kilometers from the volcano (figure 142). Plumes were detected almost daily in September, and on most days in October. They were measured at lower levels but often during November, and after pulses in early and late December only small plumes were visible during January 2020. Intermittent larger pulses returned in February. Dome growth and destruction in the summit crater continued throughout the period. A small dome was observed inside the summit crater in late September. Dome 85, 210-m-wide, was observed inside the summit crater in early November. Satellite imagery captured evidence of dome growth and ash emissions throughout the period (figure 143).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 142. Sulfur dioxide emissions from Popocatépetl were frequent from September 2019 through February 2020. Plumes drifted SW on 7 September (top left), 30 October (top middle), and 21 February (bottom right). SO2 drifted N and NW on 26 November (top right). On 2 December (bottom left) a long plume of sulfur dioxide hundreds of kilometers long drifted SW over the Pacific Ocean while the drift direction changed to NW closer to the volcano. The SO2 plumes measured in January (bottom center) were generally smaller than during the other months covered in this report. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 143. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Popocatépetl during November 2019-February 2020 provided evidence for ongoing dome growth and explosions with ash emissions. Top left: a ring of incandescence inside the summit crater on 8 November 2019 was indicative of the growth of dome 85 observed by CENAPRED. Top middle: incandescence on 8 December inside the summit crater was typical of that observed many times during the period. Top right: a dense, narrow ash plume drifted N from the summit on 17 January 2020. Bottom left: Snow cover made ashfall on 6 February easily visible on the E flank. On 11 February, the summit crater was incandescent and nearly all the snow was covered with ash. Bottom right: a strong thermal anomaly and ash emission were captured on 21 February. Bottom left and top right images use Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); other images use Atmospheric penetration rendering to show infrared signal (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during September-November 2019. On 1 September 2019 minor ashfall was reported in the communities of Atlautla, Ozumba, Juchitepec, and Tenango del Aire in the State of Mexico. The ash plumes rose less than 2 km above the summit and incandescent ejecta traveled less than 100 m from the summit crater. Twenty-two minor and three moderate explosions were recorded on 4-5 September along with minor ashfall in Juchitepec, Tenango del Aire, Tepetlixpa, and Atlautla. During a flyover on 5 September, officials did not observe a dome within the crater, and the dimensions remained the same as during the previous visit (350 m in diameter and 150 m deep) (figure 144). Ashfall was reported in Tlalmanalco and Amecameca on 6 September. The following day incandescent ejecta was visible on the flanks near the summit and ashfall was reported in Amecameca, Ayapango, and Tenango del Aire. The five moderate explosions on 8 September produced ash plumes that rose as high as 2 km above the summit, and incandescent ejecta on the flanks. Explosions on 10 September sent ejecta 500 m from the crater. Eight explosions during 20-21 September produced ejecta that traveled up to 1.5 km down the flanks (figure 145). During an overflight on 27 September specialists from the National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED ) of the National Coordination of Civil Protection and researchers from the Institute of Geophysics of UNAM observed a new dome 30 m in diameter; the overall crater had not changed size since the overflight in early September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 144. CENAPRED carried out overflights of Popocatépetl on 5 (left) and 27 September (right) 2019; the crater did not change in size, but a new dome 30 m in diameter was visible on 27 September. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Sobrevuelo al volcán Popocatépetl, 05 y 27 de septiembre).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 145. Ash plumes at Popocatépetl on 19 (left) and 20 (right) September 2019 rose over a kilometer above the summit before dissipating. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 19 y 20 de septiembre).

Fourteen explosions were reported on 2 October 2019. The last one produced an ash plume that rose 2 km above the summit and sent incandescent ejecta down the E slope (figure 146). Ashfall was reported in the municipalities of Atlautla Ozumba, Ayapango and Ecatzingo in the State of Mexico. Explosions on 3 and 4 October also produced ash plumes that rose between 1 and 2 km above the summit and sent ejecta onto the flanks. Additional incandescent ejecta was reported on 6, 7, 15, and 19 October. The communities of Amecameca, Tenango del Aire, Tlalmanalco, Cocotitlán, Temamatla, and Tláhuac reported ashfall on 10 October; Amecameca reported more ashfall on 12 October. On 22 October slight ashfall appeared in Amecameca, Tenango del Aire, Tlalmanalco, Ayapango, Temamatla, and Atlautla.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 146. Incandescent ejecta at Popocatépetl traveled down the E slope on 2 October 2019 (left); an ash plume two days later rose 2 km above the summit (right). Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 2 y 4 de octubre).

During 2-3 November 2019 there was 780 minutes of tremor reported in four different episodes. The seismicity was accompanied by ash emissions that drifted W and NW and produced ashfall in numerous communities, including Amecameca, Juchitepec, Ozumba, Tepetlixpa, and Atlautla in the State of México, in Ayapango and Cuautla in the State of Morelos, and in the municipalities of Tlahuac, Tlalpan, and Xochimilco in Mexico City. A moderate explosion on 4 November sent incandescent ejecta 2 km down the slopes and produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km and drifted NW. Minor ashfall was reported in Tlalmanalco, Amecameca, and Tenango del Aire, State of Mexico. Similar ash plumes from explosions occurred the following day. Scientists from CENAPRED and the Institute of Geophysics of UNAM observed dome number 85 during an overflight on 5 November 2019. It had a diameter of 210 m and was 80 m thick, with an irregular surface (figure 147). Multiple explosions on 6 and 7 November produced incandescent ejecta; a moderate explosion late on 11 November produced ejecta that traveled 1.5 km from the summit and produced an ash plume 2 km high (figure 148). A lengthy period of constant ash emission that drifted E was reported on 18 November. A moderate explosion on 28 November sent incandescent fragments 1.5 km down the slopes and ash one km above the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 147. A new dome was visible inside the summit crater at Popocatépetl during an overflight on 5 November 2019. It had a diameter of 210 m and was 80 m thick. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Sobrevuelo al volcán Popocatépetl, 05 de noviembre).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 148. Ash emissions and explosions with incandescent ejecta continued at Popocatépetl during November 2019. The ash plume on 1 November changed drift direction sharply a few hundred meters above the summit (left). Incandescent ejecta traveled 1.5 km down the flanks on 11 November (right). Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 1 y 12 de noviembre).

Activity during December 2019-February 2020. Throughout December 2019 weak emissions of steam and gas were reported daily, sometimes with minor amounts of ash, and minor explosions were only reported on 21 and 27 December. On 21 December two new high-resolution webcams were installed around Popocatépetl, one 5 km from the crater at the Tlamacas station, and the second in San Juan Tianguismanalco, 20 km away. Ash emissions and incandescent ejecta 800 m from the summit were observed on 25 December (figure 149). Incandescence at night was reported during 27-29 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 149. Incandescent ejecta moved 800 m down the flanks of Popocatépetl during explosions on 25 December 2019 (left); weak emissions of steam, gas, and minor ash were visible on 27 December and throughout the month. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 25 y 27 de diciembre).

Continuous emissions of water vapor and gas with low ash content were typical daily during January 2020. A moderate explosion on 9 January produced an ash plume that rose 3 km from the summit and drifted NE. In addition, incandescent ejecta traveled 1 km from the crater rim. A minor explosion on 21 January produced a 1.5-km-high plume with low ash content and incandescent ejecta that fell near the crater (figure 150). The first of two explosions late on 27 January produced ejecta that traveled 500 m and a 1-km-high ash plume. Constant incandescence was observed overnight on 29-30 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 150. Although fewer explosions were recorded at Popocatépetl during January 2020, activity continued. An ash plume on 19 January rose over a kilometer above the summit (top left). A minor explosion on 21 January produced a 1.5-km-high plume with low ash content and incandescent ejecta that fell near the crater (top right). Smaller emissions with steam, gas, and ash were typical many days, including on 22 (bottom left) and 31 (bottom right) January 2019. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 19, 21, 22 y 31 de enero).

A moderate explosion on 5 February 2020 produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km and drifted NNE. Explosions on 10 and 13 February sent ejecta 500 m down the flanks (figure 151). During an overflight on 18 February scientists noted that the internal crater maintained a diameter of 350 m and its approximate depth was 100-150 m; the crater was covered by tephra. For most of the second half of February the volcano had a continuous emission of gases with minor amounts of ash. In addition, multiple explosions produced ash plumes that rose 400-1,200 m above the crater and drifted in several different directions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 151. Ash emissions and explosions continued at Popocatépetl during February 2020. Dense ash drifted near the snow-covered summit on 6 February (top left). Incandescent ejecta traveled 500 m down the flanks on 13 February (top right). Ash plumes billowed from the summit on 18 and 22 February (bottom row). Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl, 6, 15, 18 y 22 de febrero).

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: Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México D.F. 04360, México (URL: http://www.cenapred.unam.mx/), Daily Report Archive http://www.cenapred.unam.mx:8080/reportesVolcanGobMX/BuscarReportesVolcan); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily explosions with ash plumes and block avalanches continue, September 2019-February 2020

The dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex on the W flank of Guatemala's Santa María volcano has been growing and actively erupting since 1922. Ash explosions, pyroclastic, and lava flows have emerged from Caliente, the youngest of the four vents in the complex, for more than 40 years. A lava dome that appeared within the summit crater of Caliente in October 2016 has continued to grow, producing frequent block avalanches down the flanks. Daily explosions with ash plumes and block avalanches continued during September 2019-February 2020, the period covered in this report, with information primarily from Guatemala's INSIVUMEH (Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meterologia e Hidrologia) and the Washington VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center).

Constant fumarolic activity with steam and gas persisted from the Caliente dome throughout September 2019-February 2020. Explosions occurred multiple times per day, producing ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 3.1-3.5 km and usually drifted a few kilometers before dissipating. Several lahars during September and October carried volcanic blocks, ash, and debris down major drainages. Periodic ashfall was reported in communities within 10 km of the volcano. An increase in thermal activity beginning in November (figure 101) resulted in an increased number of observations of incandescence visible at night from the summit of Caliente through February 2020. Block avalanches occurred daily on the flanks of the dome, often reaching the base, stirring up small clouds of ash that drifted downwind.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. The MIROVA project graph of thermal activity at Santa María from 12 May 2019 through February 2020 shows a gradual increase in thermal energy beginning in November 2019. This corresponds to an increase in the number of daily observations of incandescence at the summit of the Caliente dome during this period. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Constant steam and gas fumarolic activity rose from the Caliente dome, drifting W, usually rising to 2.8-3.0 km altitude during September 2019. Multiple daily explosions with ash plumes rising to 2.9-3.4 km altitude drifted W or SW over the communities of San Marcos, Loma Linda Palajunoj, and Monte Claro (figure 102). Constant block avalanches fell to the base of the cone on the NE and SE flanks. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery on 10 September at 3.1 km altitude drifting W. On 14 September another plume was spotted moving WSW at 4.6 km altitude which dissipated quickly; the webcam captured another plume on 16 September. Ashfall on 27 September reached about 1 km from the volcano; it reached 1.5 km on 29 September. Lahars descended the Rio Cabello de Ángel on 2 and 24 September (figure 102). They were about 15 m wide, and 1-3 m deep, carrying blocks 1-2 m in diameter.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. A lahar descended the Rio Cabello de Ángel at Santa Maria and flowed into the Rio Nima 1 on 24 September 2019. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 21 al 27 de septiembre de 2019).

Througout October 2019, degassing of steam with minor gases occurred from the Caliente summit, rising to 2.9-3.0 km altitude and generally drifting SW. Weak explosions took place 1-5 times per hour, producing ash plumes that rose to 3.2-3.5 km altitude. Ashfall was reported in Monte Claro on 2 October. Nearly constant block avalanches descended the SE and S flanks, disturbing recent layers of fine ash and producing local ash clouds. Moderate explosions on 11 October produced ash plumes that rose to 3.5 km altitude and drifted W and SW about 1.5 km towards Río San Isidro (figure 103). The following day additional plumes drifted a similar distance to the SE. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission visible in satellite imagery at 4.9 km altitude on 13 October drifting NNW. Ashfall was reported in Parcelamiento Monte Claro on 14 October. Some of the block avalanches observed on 14 October on the SE, S, and SW flanks were incandescent. Ash drifted 1.5 km W and SW on 17 October. Ashfall was reported near la finca Monte Claro on 25 and 28 October. A lahar descended the Río San Isidro, a tributary of the Río El Tambor on 7 October carrying blocks 1-2 m in diameter, tree trunks, and branches. It was about 16 m wide and 1-2 m deep. Additional lahars descended the rio Cabello de Angel on 23 and 24 October. They were about 15 m wide and 2 m deep, and carried ash and blocks 1-2 m in diameter, tree trunks, and branches.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. Daily ash plumes were reported from the Caliente cone at Santa María during October 2019, similar to these from 30 September (left) and 11 October 2019 (right). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 28 de septiembre al 04 de octubre de 2019; Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 05 al 11 de octubre de 2019).

During November 2019, steam plumes rose to 2.9-3.0 km altitude and generally drifted E. There were 1-3 explosions per hour; the ash plumes produced rose to altitudes of 3.1-3.5 km and often drifted SW, resulting in ashfall around the volcanic complex. Block avalanches descended the S and SW flanks every day. On 4 November ashfall was reported in the fincas (ranches) of El Faro, Santa Marta, El Viejo Palmar, and Las Marías, and the odor of sulfur was reported 10 km S. Incandescence was observed at the Caliente dome during the night of 5-6 November. Ash fell again in El Viejo Palmar, fincas La Florida, El Faro, and Santa Marta (5-6 km SW) on 7 November. Sulfur odor was also reported 8-10 km S on 16, 19, and 22 November. Fine-grained ash fell on 18 November in Loma Linda and San Marcos Palajunoj. On 29 November strong block avalanches descended in the SW flank, stirring up reddish ash that had fallen on the flanks (figure 104). The ash drifted up to 20 km SW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. Ash plumes rose from explosions multiple times per day at Santa Maria’s Santiaguito complex during November 2019, and block avalanches stirred up reddish clouds of ash that drifted for many kilometers. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH. Left, 11 November 2019, from Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 09 al 15 de noviembre de 2019. Right, 29 November 2019 from BOLETÍN VULCANOLÓGICO ESPECIAL BESTG# 106-2019, Guatemala 29 de noviembre de 2019, 10:50 horas (Hora Local).

White steam plumes rising to 2.9-3.0 km altitude drifted SE most days during December 2019. One to three explosions per hour produced ash plumes that rose to 3.1-3.5 km altitude and drifted W and SW producing ashfall on the flanks. Several strong block avalanches sent material down the SW flank. Ash from the explosions drifted about 1.5 km SW on 3 and 7 December. The Washington VAAC reported a small ash emission that rose to 4.9 km altitude and drifted WSW on 8 December, and another on 13 December that rose to 4.3 km altitude. Ashfall was reported up to 10 km S on 24 December. Incandescence was reported at the dome by INSIVUMEH eight times during the month, significantly more than during the recent previous months (figure 105).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Strong thermal anomalies were visible in Sentinel-2 imagery at the summit of the Caliente cone at Santa María’s Santiaguito’s complex on 19 December 2019. Image uses Atmospheric Penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during January 2020 was similar to that during previous months. White plumes of steam rose from the Caliente dome to altitudes of 2.7-3.0 km and drifted SE; one to three explosions per hour produced ash plumes that rose to 3.2-3.4 km altitude and generally drifted about 1.5 km SW before dissipating. Frequent block avalanches on the SE flank caused smaller plumes that drifted SSW often over the ranches of San Marcos and Loma Linda Palajunoj. On 28 January ash plumes drifted W and SW over the communities of Calaguache, El Nuevo Palmar, and Las Marías. In addition to incandescence observed at the crater of Caliente dome at least nine times, thermal anomalies in satellite imagery were detected multiple times from the block avalanches on the S flank (figure 106).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Incandescence at the summit and in the block avalanches on the S flank of the Caliente cone at Santa María’s Santiaguito’s complex was visible in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 8 and 13 January 2020. Atmospheric penetration rendering images (bands 12, 11, 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery at 4.6 km altitude drifting W on 3 February 2020. INSIVUMEH reported constant steam degassing that rose to 2.9-3.0 km altitude and drifted SW. In addition, 1-3 weak to moderate explosions per hour produced ash plumes to 3.1-3.5 km altitude that drifted about 1 km SW. Small amounts of ashfall around the volcano’s perimeter was common. The ash plumes on 5 February drifted NE over Santa María de Jesús. On 8 February the ash plumes drifted E and SE over the communities of Calaguache, El Nuevo Palmar, and Las Marías. Block avalanches on the S and SE flanks of Caliente dome continued, creating small ash clouds on the flank. Incandescence continued frequently at the crater and was also observed on the S flank in satellite imagery (figure 107).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. Incandescence at the summit and on the S flank of the Caliente cone at Santa María’s Santiaguito’s complex was frequent during February 2020, including on 2 (left) and 17 (right) February 2020 as seen in Sentinel-2 imagery. Atmostpheric Penetration rendering imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/ ); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); 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/).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 20, Number 09 (September 1995)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Aira (Japan)

Explosions continue, but at much lower levels compared to August

Akan (Japan)

Elevated seismicity accompanied by tremor

Arenal (Costa Rica)

Gas and lava emissions; some Strombolian eruptions and pyroclastic flows

Asosan (Japan)

Continued mud and water ejections and many isolated tremors

Bezymianny (Russia)

Explosive eruption causes 2-3 mm of ashfall 50 km away

Etna (Italy)

Ash emissions and another episode of Strombolian activity from the summit craters

Irazu (Costa Rica)

Minor increase in seismicity during August

Iwatesan (Japan)

Tremor and low-frequency earthquakes

Izu-Tobu (Japan)

Migrating seismic swarms

Kilauea (United States)

Numerous lava flows upslope and on the coastal plain; new ocean entry formed

Kirishimayama (Japan)

Seismicity decreases near Shinmoe Crater

Kozushima (Japan)

Strong earthquake swarm in early October

Kujusan (Japan)

Phreatic explosion on 11 October causes ashfall 60 km away

Negro, Cerro (Nicaragua)

Small lava flows in main crater; ash eruptions end in mid-August

Parker (Philippines)

Crater lake overflow causes flooding; no volcanic activity

Poas (Costa Rica)

Over 9,000 seismic events in September, most of them low-frequency; no tilt

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica)

Seismic activity continues at a rate of tens of events per month

Ruapehu (New Zealand)

Large eruptions produce lahars and send plumes to over 10 km altitude

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Phreatic eruptions continue; new lava dome in summit crater

St. Helens (United States)

Steady increase in seismicity through 1995



Aira (Japan) — September 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions continue, but at much lower levels compared to August

Activity at Minami-dake Crater in September consisted of 13 eruptions, including seven explosive ones. The highest ash plume of the month rose 1,500 m on 15 September. Ashfall measured at the Kagoshima Local Meteorological Observatory, 10 km W, was 26 g/m2. At a seismic station 2.3 km NE of Minami-dake crater (Station B), 449 earthquakes and 431 tremors were recorded.

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: Volcanological Division, Seismological and Volcanological Department, Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100 Japan.


Akan (Japan) — September 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Akan

Japan

43.384°N, 144.013°E; summit elev. 1499 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Elevated seismicity accompanied by tremor

During September, Me-Akan was the site of elevated seismicity and limited tremor. The monthly total number of earthquakes was 252 at Station A, 2.3 km NW from Ponmachineshiri Crater. The highest daily number of earthquakes, on 10 September, was 19. On 13 September a volcanic tremor occurred for one minute duration.

Geologic Background. Akan is a 13 x 24 km caldera located immediately SW of Kussharo caldera. The elongated, irregular outline of the caldera rim reflects its incremental formation during major explosive eruptions from the early to mid-Pleistocene. Growth of four post-caldera stratovolcanoes, three at the SW end of the caldera and the other at the NE side, has restricted the size of the caldera lake. Conical Oakandake was frequently active during the Holocene. The 1-km-wide Nakamachineshiri crater of Meakandake was formed during a major pumice-and-scoria eruption about 13,500 years ago. Within the Akan volcanic complex, only the Meakandake group, east of Lake Akan, has been historically active, producing mild phreatic eruptions since the beginning of the 19th century. Meakandake is composed of nine overlapping cones. The main cone of Meakandake proper has a triple crater at its summit. Historical eruptions at Meakandake have consisted of minor phreatic explosions, but four major magmatic eruptions including pyroclastic flows have occurred during the Holocene.

Information Contacts: Volcanological Division, Seismological and Volcanological Department, Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100 Japan.


Arenal (Costa Rica) — September 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Arenal

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Gas and lava emissions; some Strombolian eruptions and pyroclastic flows

In September, Arenal's active vent, crater C, continued its regular emission of gases, lava, and sporadic Strombolian eruptions; in addition, there were occasional pyroclastic flows. Lava that began to be emitted in July 1995 followed a course toward the SW and by the end of September had flowed to 1,050-m elevation. By the end of September, lava moving NW reached 800 m elevation. At the 1,400-m elevation a new arm branched off; it trended SW and by the end of September had reached 1,200 m elevation.

Explosions in September sent columns >1 km above the active vent that were typically blown to the NW, W, and SW. Toward the end of the month, some ash also fell on the NE and E flanks. Bombs and blocks arrived at elevations as low as 1,200 m. Crater D was fumarolically active.

During September there were 977 seismic events and 223 hours of tremor (figure 73). The majority of the seismic events were associated with Strombolian eruptions. Some of these eruptions were large enough to register at an outlying station 27 km more distant from Arenal than the one usually used (station JTS, 30 km SW of the crater). The total number of events (figure 73) for February and March were extrapolated based on 9 and 19 days, respectively, of recorded data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Seismic events and tremor at Arenal, January-September 1995, recorded at Station VACR (2.7 km NE of the main crater). Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

A pulse of expansion detected in May 1995 ceased, and in September distance lines returned to a tendency toward long-term contraction (13 µrad/year). With the exception of one dry tilt instrument, which indicated deflation at 12 µrad/year on the W flank, there were no significant measured changes in tilt.

A brilliant color photograph of Arenal erupting appeared on the front page of the Washington Times on 22 September. Without either objects for scale or accompanying clarifying text, the photo caused considerable short-term confusion about the volcano's status. It was quickly learned that the photo depicted typical conditions at the volcano and observers in Costa Rica had not witnessed increases in activity. The volcano's first chronicled eruption took place in 1968 and many basaltic andesite discharges have followed.

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

Information Contacts: E. Fernandez, E. Duarte, R. Saenz, W. Jimenez, and V. Barboza, Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica.


Asosan (Japan) — September 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued mud and water ejections and many isolated tremors

Throughout September the hot water pool on the floor of Naka-dake Crater 1 frequently ejected mud and water; the highest ejection rose 10 m. Many isolated tremors were recorded at Station A, 800 m W of the crater. The monthly total of isolated tremors was 6,618; only two earthquakes were detected. Continuous tremor with 0.2-0.8 µm amplitude was registered throughout the month.

Mud ejections have been reported since May 1994 (BGVN 19:05). The 24-km-wide Aso Caldera contains 15 central cones. One of these cones, Naka-dake, has erupted more than 165 times since 553 AD, the first documented historical eruption in Japan. Aso is located 75 km E of Unzen and 150 km N of Sakura-jima volcanoes.

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: Volcanological Division, Seismological and Volcanological Department, Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100 Japan.


Bezymianny (Russia) — September 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosive eruption causes 2-3 mm of ashfall 50 km away

At 0500 on 6 October, regional seismic stations began to record volcanic tremor with a maximum amplitude of 5-6 µm. An ash plume was detected by the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) on a satellite image taken at 0824. The Institute of Volcanology (IV) reported that an eruptive column first appeared over Bezymianny around that time, and by 0900 it was ~8 km high. Weather satellite imagery at 0948 showed that the plume had reached the coastline nearly due E, with a top estimated to be 10 km above sea level.

At 0930, volcanic ash started to fall in Kliuchi, ~50 km NNE. Tremor and ash emission increased up to 1200, followed by 3 hours of intense ashfall; during a period of 140 minutes 700 g/m2 of ash fell in Kliuchi. Because the air in Kliuchi was strongly polluted with volcanic gas, a warning was issued for the residents to take precautions. From Kliuchi, E. Zhdanova, a volcanologist from the Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry (IVGG), reported that ashfall had stopped at about 1700 on 6 October after 2-3 mm of deposition. AVO satellite imagery at 1813 showed the disconnected ash plume ~150 km E. The plume was moving ENE and was over 400 km from the source. By about 0930 on 7 October, the ash plume had undergone significant diffusion and was no longer detectable on satellite images.

As of the morning of 7 October the volcano was obscured, but there was no more tremor. Zhdanova suggested that the explosive phase of the eruption had ended and a lava dome was forming again. This interpretation was confirmed by a large hot spot seen at the vent on AVHRR imagery after the ash cloud had disconnected from the volcano.

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: Alaska Volcano Observatory; E. Zhdanova and V. Kirianov, Institute of Volcanic Geology & Geochemistry, Piip Avenue 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia; N.A. Zharinov and S.A. Fedotov, Institute of Volcanology, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia.


Etna (Italy) — September 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions and another episode of Strombolian activity from the summit craters

A strong episode of black ash emission from Northeast Crater (figure 60) during the late morning of 13 September lasted only a few minutes, sending an ash plume 100 m above the crater rim. Red ash emissions from Bocca Nuova and Northeast Crater continued until about 20 September, but explosions of variable frequency and intensity were heard from both throughout the month. Voragine (Chasm) and Southeast Crater exhibited only weak degassing in September. Poor weather prevented internal crater observations.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. Topographic sketch map of Etna's summit craters (stippled), September 1995. Shaded areas within the craters indicate collapsed, degassing pits, and solid points are active boccas producing Strombolian activity. Within Bocca Nuova, the hatched area indicates the deepest part of the crater floor. Courtesy of the Istituto Internazionale di Vulcanologia.

On the evening of 2 October explosive Strombolian activity resumed at Northeast Crater from two small vents, aligned NNE-SSW in the lowest portion of the crater floor, ~150 m below the crater rim (figure 60). During observations the next morning, loud vigorous explosions were almost continuous, throwing scoria above the crater rim. A slight decrease in the frequency and energy of the explosions occurred that afternoon, although some incandescent bombs fell on the outer crater slope. Activity continued to decline during the night, and on the morning of 4 October Strombolian explosions were restricted to a single vent ejecting bombs up to a few tens of meters above the crater floor. By the evening of 5 October only incandescent degassing vents were present. During the same period, Bocca Nuova exhibited frequent red-brown ash emissions alternating with normal degassing. Ash emission was occasionally accompanied by incandescent bomb ejection. The ash puffs, more copious on the morning of 3 October, were produced by the same partially collapsed vent that was the site of Strombolian activity in August (BGVN 20:08).

Bombs collected on the crater rim (the first accessible material since the end of the 1991-93 eruption) were geochemically comparable with the 1991-93 lavas. The bombs were porphyritic hawaiite with phenocrysts of plagioclase (~16 volume %), clinopyroxene (~4%), olivine (~1%) and Ti-magnetite microphenocrysts in an intersertal groundmass.

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

Information Contacts: Sonia Calvari and Massimo Pompilio, CNR Istituto Internazionale di Vulcanologia, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy.


Irazu (Costa Rica) — September 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Irazu

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor increase in seismicity during August

Irazú's seismic station (IRZ2), located 5 km SW of the active crater, registered a minor increase in seismicity: During August and September there were low-frequency events detected 10 and 14 times, respectively. There were also higher-frequency events only detected locally during August and September; these occurred 30 and 48 times, respectively.

Geologic Background. Irazú, one of Costa Rica's most active volcanoes, rises immediately E of the capital city of San José. The massive volcano covers an area of 500 km2 and is vegetated to within a few hundred meters of its broad flat-topped summit crater complex. At least 10 satellitic cones are located on its S flank. No lava flows have been identified since the eruption of the massive Cervantes lava flows from S-flank vents about 14,000 years ago, and all known Holocene eruptions have been explosive. The focus of eruptions at the summit crater complex has migrated to the W towards the historically active crater, which contains a small lake of variable size and color. Although eruptions may have occurred around the time of the Spanish conquest, the first well-documented historical eruption occurred in 1723, and frequent explosive eruptions have occurred since. Ashfall from the last major eruption during 1963-65 caused significant disruption to San José and surrounding areas.

Information Contacts: E. Fernandez, E. Duarte, R. Saenz, W. Jimenez, and V. Barboza, Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica.


Iwatesan (Japan) — September 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Iwatesan

Japan

39.853°N, 141.001°E; summit elev. 2038 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Tremor and low-frequency earthquakes

Between 0019 and 0105 on 15 September, Tohoku University seismometers near Iwate volcano registered intermittent small-amplitude volcanic tremors and low-frequency earthquakes. Four low-frequency earthquakes had epicenters 2 km E of the summit at ~8 km depths.

Geologic Background. Viewed from the east, Iwatesan volcano has a symmetrical profile that invites comparison with Fuji, but on the west an older cone is visible containing an oval-shaped, 1.8 x 3 km caldera. After the growth of Nishi-Iwate volcano beginning about 700,000 years ago, activity migrated eastward to form Higashi-Iwate volcano. Iwate has collapsed seven times during the past 230,000 years, most recently between 739 and 1615 CE. The dominantly basaltic summit cone of Higashi-Iwate volcano, Yakushidake, is truncated by a 500-m-wide crater. It rises well above and buries the eastern rim of the caldera, which is breached by a narrow gorge on the NW. A central cone containing a 500-m-wide crater partially filled by a lake is located in the center of the oval-shaped caldera. A young lava flow from Yakushidake descended into the caldera, and a fresh-looking lava flow from the 1732 eruption traveled down the NE flank.

Information Contacts: Volcanological Division, Seismological and Volcanological Department, Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100 Japan.


Izu-Tobu (Japan) — September 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Izu-Tobu

Japan

34.9°N, 139.098°E; summit elev. 1406 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Migrating seismic swarms

On 11-12 and 18 September micro-earthquake swarms occurred offshore near Cape Kawana-zaki, in an area adjacent Ito City on the E coast of the Izu Peninsula (figure 15). After that, few micro-earthquakes took place until late September. An intense swarm began in late September; focal depths shallowed as the swarm shifted N and lay off Cape Shiofuki-zaki (figure 15). Personnel at Ajiro Weather Station, 9 km NNW of the source, felt 33 shocks. Kamata seismic station in Ito City, 5 km SW of the source, registered a total of 3,608 shocks. Two tiltmeters near the coast of Ito Peninsula showed rapid changes in tilt; volume strain meters around the volcano recorded compression.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Izu-Tobu epicenter map (top) and plot of focal depths versus time for September through 16 October 1995 (bottom). Courtesy of JMA.

Geologic Background. The Izu-Tobu volcano group (Higashi-Izu volcano group) is scattered over a broad, plateau-like area of more than 400 km2 on the E side of the Izu Peninsula. Construction of several stratovolcanoes continued throughout much of the Pleistocene and overlapped with growth of smaller monogenetic volcanoes beginning about 300,000 years ago. About 70 subaerial monogenetic volcanoes formed during the last 140,000 years, and chemically similar submarine cones are located offshore. These volcanoes are located on a basement of late-Tertiary volcanic rocks and related sediments and on the flanks of three Quaternary stratovolcanoes: Amagi, Tenshi, and Usami. Some eruptive vents are controlled by fissure systems trending NW-SE or NE-SW. Thirteen eruptive episodes have been documented during the past 32,000 years. Kawagodaira maar produced pyroclastic flows during the largest Holocene eruption about 3000 years ago. The latest eruption occurred in 1989, when a small submarine crater was formed NE of Ito City.

Information Contacts: Volcanological Division, Seismological and Volcanological Department, Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100 Japan.


Kilauea (United States) — September 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Numerous lava flows upslope and on the coastal plain; new ocean entry formed

A large lava flow broke out of the E (Kamoamoa) tube on 1 August at 490 m elevation and cascaded down Pulama Pali (a fault scarp); by 3 August the flow had split into three lobes. The E flow was the most voluminous and advanced down the W side of the flow field as an aa/pahoehoe flow with multiple channels. The W flow was a large pahoehoe sheet flow with many active streams. The middle flow was an 1,800-m-long channelized aa/pahoehoe flow, but had stagnated by mid-August. On 17 August the W lobe cascaded over Paliuli and spread out along its base over the next five days. That same day the E lobe reached the coastal plain and on 18 August was within 200 m of the WHA seismometer, which was removed the next day. Two pahoehoe flows were noted upslope on 3 August, originating at ~660 and ~650 m elevation. The upper flow was not active on 11 August; however, the lower flow was still active and burning forest at 590 m elevation. The Highcastle ocean entry was active but variable in August, with mild explosive activity on 7-8 August. During sampling on 11 August, a lava stream visible through a skylight at ~635 m elevation was 15 m wide and 19 m deep. A lava flow 300-400 m long was active close to the 600-m elevation, but all flows and the Highcastle ocean entry stagnated when the eruption paused on the evening of 22 August.

The eruption resumed on 25 August, and the first flows broke out of the tube system at 660 m elevation. Later breakouts were noted at 600 and 510 m elevations. The tube system appeared to be reoccupied only as far as the 510-m elevation, from which point a large aa flow cascaded down the E side of the flow field. By the 28th, flows had advanced to 240 m elevation. By 29 August the Kamoamoa lava tube had been reoccupied as far as the top of Pulama Pali. Several surface breakouts burned kipukas above the pali, and numerous shallow skylights developed. On the slope of Pulama Pali, aa and channelized pahoehoe flows advanced in two major fronts down the E side of the Kamoamoa flow field, burning forest along the edge. The leading edge of these flows reached the base of Pulama Pali on 29 August and advanced as pahoehoe sheet flows toward the coast, entering the ocean on 7 September. Through 11 September, pahoehoe spilled into the ocean at several discrete locations in a zone ~200-300 m wide on the far E margin of the Kamoamoa flow field.

On 12 September, voluminous channelized and sheet flows were observed at the coast and on Pulama Pali; surface flows on the slope were limited to intermittent breakouts. These lava flows continued to burn forest along the E edge of the flow field. Pahoehoe sheet flows several hundred meters wide continued to enter the ocean at the E edge of the Kamoamoa flow field (Kamokuna) in late September. A new ocean entry 1 km W of the other flows (Kamoamoa) was established on 21 September. By 9 October a major ocean entry fed by a tube was well established at Kamokuna and generating a large plume from a diffuse, ~100-m-wide entry zone of surface pahoehoe flows; there was only minor explosive activity. Smaller, intermittent entries were observed farther W at Kamoamoa, where surface pahoehoe flows occasionally reached the ocean. On the slope of Pulama pali, most of the lava was traveling in tubes, though small surface flows were frequent.

The pond at Pu`u `O`o continued to shrink in early August, and a sluggish crust had formed over much of the pond; the only open areas were on the W and N edges. The pond remained locally crusted and fairly small in late August; it was often >95 m below the crater rim, but it rose slightly during the pause. Between 25 August and 1 September the pond rose ~30 m, but subsequently dropped back to around 100 m. During this interval very vesicular tephra were deposited on the crater rim. By 5 September, the lava pond had risen to 60 m, overlapping the old crater floor formed in February 1992, but again receded to ~100 m depth by 12 September. The level of the lava pond then remained unchanged at roughly 80 m below the crater rim through 9 October. Sloshing lava in the ~15-m-diameter circular pond occasionally overflowed onto the adjacent crater floor formed during August.

Eruption tremor levels along the East Rift Zone remained low, with sporadic bursts of higher amplitudes during 6-9 August. Microearthquake counts were high on 1-2 August, but were below average beneath the summit and rift zones through mid-month. Low-level tremor persisted until the evening of 22 August, when it decreased in amplitude. Amplitudes remained at nearly background levels until the morning of the 26th, gradually increasing to nearly 2x background. On 24 August, counts of shallow (LPC-A) and intermediate-depth (LPC-C) long-period earthquakes were high. The counts remained high through the 26th for the LPC-C events and through the 27th for the LPC-A events. On the evening of 24 August a shallow M 3.2 earthquake beneath the upper edge of the East Rift Zone was felt mildly by a few nearby residents. Eruption tremor levels were fairly high until early on 30 August. Tremor amplitudes in early September dropped to nearly background levels with bands of higher amplitudes of one-half to three hours duration.

The number of intermediate, long-period microearthquakes was high during 5-8 September (nearly 500 events). Tremor levels were relatively low during 12-25 September except for isolated higher-amplitude bursts. Eruption tremor amplitudes were ~2x background until 30 September. From 1 October, tremor levels dropped slightly, and by 4 October, banding patterns of low amplitudes alternating with higher amplitudes became apparent. Also, from 1 October, intermediate-depth long-period (LPC-C) earthquake counts began to increase. The most intense days were 5-7 October, with total daily counts of 167, 434, and 214, respectively; many were large enough to locate. Short-period microearthquake activity remained low to moderate beneath the summit and rift zones from August through early October.

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: Tari Mattox and Paul Okubo, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), U.S. Geological Survey, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI 96718, USA.


Kirishimayama (Japan) — September 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Kirishimayama

Japan

31.934°N, 130.862°E; summit elev. 1700 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity decreases near Shinmoe Crater

The total number of earthquakes in September was 182, a significant decreased compared to the 463 recorded in August. On 29 September there were 25 earthquakes recorded at Station A, 1.7 km SW of Shinmoe-dake Crater, the highest daily total of the month.

Geologic Background. Kirishimayama is a large group of more than 20 Quaternary volcanoes located north of Kagoshima Bay. The late-Pleistocene to Holocene dominantly andesitic group consists of stratovolcanoes, pyroclastic cones, maars, and underlying shield volcanoes located over an area of 20 x 30 km. The larger stratovolcanoes are scattered throughout the field, with the centrally located Karakunidake being the highest. Onamiike and Miike, the two largest maars, are located SW of Karakunidake and at its far eastern end, respectively. Holocene eruptions have been concentrated along an E-W line of vents from Miike to Ohachi, and at Shinmoedake to the NE. Frequent small-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 8th century.

Information Contacts: Volcanological Division, Seismological and Volcanological Department, Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100 Japan.


Kozushima (Japan) — September 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Kozushima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong earthquake swarm in early October

At 2143 on 6 October, a M 5.6 earthquake occurred near Kozu-shima (figure 2). The earthquake, which had an intensity at Kozu-shima of V on JMA's scale, caused a few landslides there. A M 4.8 earthquake 14 minutes earlier had an intensity of IV. During the next several days, an earthquake swarm continued offshore to the SW of Kozu-shima (figure 2, bottom). The swarm's maximum depth shifted downward with time, reaching 20-25 km. None of this seismicity was thought to have been induced by volcanism.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Kozu-shima epicenter map (top) and plot of focal depths versus time for September through 16 October 1995 (bottom). Courtesy of JMA.

Though obscured by epicenters on figure 2, Kozu-shima island has dimensions of 4 x 6 km and lies 20 km SSW of Nii-jima island and adjacent to the Izu Peninsula. Kozu-shima contains abundant rhyolitic surge deposits and lava domes. Its last eruption was in 838-840 AD. Seismicity near the volcano, and sometimes in vicinity of Nii-jima, has been episodically high in recent years.

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

Information Contacts: Volcanological Division, Seismological and Volcanological Department, Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100 Japan.


Kujusan (Japan) — September 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Kujusan

Japan

33.086°N, 131.249°E; summit elev. 1791 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Phreatic explosion on 11 October causes ashfall 60 km away

The observation of "smoke" in the Kuju Volcano Group (figure 1) near the Hosho dome (summit elevation 1,762 m, figure 2) at about 1800 on 11 October prompted the local meteorological observatory to issue a volcano alert. Ashfall from the phreatic activity was observed in towns as far as 60 km away, but there was no noticeable seismicity. When observed by the Kyushu Mobile Volcano Observation Team at 1430 on 12 September, steam was rising 400 m from around mid-slope on the dome. At that time there were three vents and fissure vents on the E slope of Hosho in an area ~300 m E-W by 100 m N-S. A photograph published in the Japan Times on 13 October (figure 3) showed steam emissions from numerous points along one ridge of the dome.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Map of central and southern Kyushu Island, showing selected cities and historically active volcanoes. Courtesy of Tokiko Tiba.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Map of the Kuju Volcano Group (modified from Kuno, 1962). Hosho Dome is near the center of the group.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Photograph of steam emissions from the Hosho dome at Kuju. Scanned from a photograph published in the Japan Times, 13 October 1995.

Reference. Kuno, H., 1962, Japan, Taiwan, and Marianas: Catalog of active volcanoes of the world, part 11, p. 54-57.

Geologic Background. Kujusan is a complex of stratovolcanoes and lava domes lying NE of Aso caldera in north-central Kyushu. The group consists of 16 andesitic lava domes, five andesitic stratovolcanoes, and one basaltic cone. Activity dates back about 150,000 years. Six major andesitic-to-dacitic tephra deposits, many associated with the growth of lava domes, have been recorded during the Holocene. Eruptive activity has migrated systematically eastward during the past 5000 years. The latest magmatic activity occurred about 1600 years ago, when Kurodake lava dome at the E end of the complex was formed. The first reports of historical eruptions were in the 17th and 18th centuries, when phreatic or hydrothermal activity occurred. There are also many hot springs and hydrothermal fields. A fumarole on Hosho lava dome was the site of a sulfur mine for at least 500 years. Two geothermal power plants are in operation at Kuju.

Information Contacts: Volcanological Division, Seismological and Volcanological Department, Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100 Japan; Tokiko Tiba, Department of Geology, National Science Museum, 3-23-1 Hyakunin-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169, Japan; The Japan Times, Tokyo, Japan.


Cerro Negro (Nicaragua) — September 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Cerro Negro

Nicaragua

12.506°N, 86.702°W; summit elev. 728 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small lava flows in main crater; ash eruptions end in mid-August

Increased seismicity was detected at and up to 15 km around Cerro Negro during 24-28 May. Ash plumes to ~100 m above the crater rim were first observed on 29 May (or the afternoon of 28 May). The eruptions (1-2/hour) correlated with periods of increased seismic activity. On 1 June, the seismicity increased in frequency and intensity, with eruptions occurring about every 15 minutes. Fine-grained ash, consisting primarily of free crystals with minor amounts of basaltic fragments, was deposited N of the cone (figure 7). Bulk density of the ash deposit was measured at 1.3 +- 0.2 g/cm3. Trace amounts of ash (0.5 mm) from eruptions on 2-5 June fell as far N as Malpaisillo (figure 7), with 1-mm ash thicknesses extending 5 km N of the vent. This deposit represents 1 x 104 m3 of ash, equivalent to an eruption rate of 100 m3/hour.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Location map of Cerro Negro and adjacent volcanoes, Nicaragua. Dashed ellipses show the interpreted extent of 0.5- and 1-mm-thick ash deposits for 2-5 June 1995 activity. Courtesy of Brittain Hill.

Eruptive activity was observed and recorded during 2-5 June, 6 June-1 July, and 24 July-16 August. During this time, activity was characterized by discrete explosions occurring on average every 8 +- 5 minutes. There was no apparent periodicity to the explosions, although patterns of increasing and decreasing repose times were apparent. These explosions commonly produced convective columns at least 400 m above the cone, and sometimes rising ~1 km; many produced ballistically transported blocks. Most blocks fell within the crater, but some occasionally impacted as far as half way down the outer slope of the cone. Blocks that reached maximum heights (100 m) and distances had estimated ejection velocities of 100-120 m/second.

The most intense activity was observed just before noon on 2 June, when a small dilute pyroclastic flow formed on the NW flank of the cone during an explosion. Deposits from this flow were found on the NW flank and extended <100 m from the base. The massive, fine-grained (<1 mm median diameter), and very well sorted deposit was ~1 cm thick on the cone slope and covered very fine ash from 29 May-1 June explosions. Although this deposit has the high degree of sorting and grain-size characteristics of surges, sorting is better than commonly observed in basaltic surge deposits (Wohletz, 1983). One explanation for this high degree of sorting is that the deposit was produced from a dilute, relatively low energy surge, which lacks a magmatic component common in most other basaltic surge deposits (Wohletz and Sheridan, 1979). This interpretation is consistent with the generally phreatic character of the eruption.

Seismic activity increased markedly on 24 July, with sustained periods of nearly constant tremor. A small lava flow formed in the E part of the main crater on 24-25 July. Ash eruptions during and after the lava emission continued at the same apparent frequency and magnitude as before. A sporadic increase in seismicity on 3 August was accompanied by increased degassing from within the crater. However, there was no associated increase in the number or magnitude of ash eruptions. Eruptive activity decreased significantly on 15 August, and ceased on 16 August.

Soil radon concentrations were monitored at 28 stations deployed around the base of Cerro Negro during early June. These stations were located near a permanent seismic station on the SSE side of the volcano, and on and near the Cerro La Mula Ridge, which extends NW from Cerro Negro (figure 7). Anomalously high radon concentrations were observed at nearly all of these stations during 2-3 June. At one station (700 m SSE of the crater), the radon concentration was 396 pCi/L on 2-3 June and 146 pCi/L on 3-4 June, compared with 17 pCi/L previously measured (Conway and others, 1994). Anomalous values (100-1,000x background) also were observed on 2-3 June at stations located up to 800 m N of the crater. Radon concentrations had dropped to near background levels at most stations by 4-5 June, but eruptive activity continued with little change. We conclude that a pulse of soil degassing occurred during the initial stages of the eruption, likely associated with dike injection and fracturing of wallrock.

A self-potential anomaly across Cerro La Mula Ridge, 750 m N of the active crater, correlated with the location of low-temperature fumaroles (60-88°C), and radon anomalies. Temperature increases of ~30°C were measured in this area, associated with the 1995 eruptive activity. Continuous monitoring of the self-potential anomaly on 4-5 June revealed amplitude changes corresponding to diurnal changes in air and ground temperatures, and periods of rainfall.

Preliminary ash-leachate studies by M. Navarro show low total S and Cl, along with low S/Cl, consistent with lack of a juvenile component in the ejecta. In addition, the regularity of the eruptions, the consistent fine grain-size of the deposits, and lack of obvious juvenile components support the interpretation of activity as dominantly phreatic. The heat needed to drive this event was provided by the intrusion of a small volume of magma into the shallow subsurface. Evidence for the presence of new magma includes the eruption of lava on 24-25 July, observed patterns of seismicity, increased temperature and radon flux in thermal areas, and the relatively constant periodicity of eruptions over the days of direct observation.

Cerro Negro is the site of the most recent small-volume basaltic eruption at a cinder cone in the western hemisphere, having last erupted in April 1992 (Connor and others, 1993). Cerro Negro first erupted in 1850, with at least 19 documented eruptions occurring up to April 1992. The longest eruption occurred in 1960, when activity persisted for approximately three months. Cerro Negro is characterized by unusually explosive eruptions, and may represent the upper end of basaltic eruption explosivities. Preliminary research suggests that this explosivity may be controlled by relatively high magmatic water contents (>2 weight percent) associated with highly crystalline, viscous magmas (Roggensack and others, 1994).

References. Connor, C.B, Powell, L., Strauch, W., Navarro, M., Urbina, O., and Rose, W.I., 1993, The 1992 eruption of Cerro Negro, Nicaragua: An example of Plinian-style activity at a small basaltic cinder cone: EOS, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union v. 74, no. 43, p. 640.

Conway, F.M., Macfarlane, A.W., Connor, C.B., LaFemina, P.C., and Reimer, M., 1994, Degassing at a young cinder cone: Volcan Cerro Negro: Geological Society of America, 1994 Annual Meeting Abstracts with Program, 26 (7), p. A453.

Roggensack, K., Williams, S.N., Hervig, R.L., McKnight, S.B., Connor, C.B., and Navarro, M., 1994, Evidence of polybaric fractionation: Melt inclusions in 1992 eruption of Cerro Negro volcano, Nicaragua: EOS, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, v. 75, no. 44, p. 747.

Wohletz, K.H., 1983, Mechanisms of hydrovolcanic pyroclast formation: grainþsize, scanning electron microscopy, and experimental studies: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 17, p. 31-63.

Wohletz, K.H., and Sheridan, M.F., 1979, A model of pyroclastic surge: Geological Society of America Special Paper 180, Boulder, CO, p. 177-194.

Geologic Background. Nicaragua's youngest volcano, Cerro Negro, was created following an eruption that began in April 1850 about 2 km NW of the summit of Las Pilas volcano. It is the largest, southernmost, and most recent of a group of four youthful cinder cones constructed along a NNW-SSE-trending line in the central Marrabios Range. Strombolian-to-subplinian eruptions at intervals of a few years to several decades have constructed a roughly 250-m-high basaltic cone and an associated lava field constrained by topography to extend primarily NE and SW. Cone and crater morphology have varied significantly during its short eruptive history. Although it lies in a relatively unpopulated area, occasional heavy ashfalls have damaged crops and buildings.

Information Contacts: Martha Navarro, Oscar Canales, and Wilfried Strauch, Instituto Nicaraguense de Estudios Territorales, Managua, Nicaragua; Brittain E. Hill, Charles B. Connor, F. Michael Conway, and Peter LaFemina, Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analyses, Southwest Research Institute, 6220 Culebra Rd., San Antonio, TX 78238-5166 USA.


Parker (Philippines) — September 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Parker

Philippines

6.113°N, 124.892°E; summit elev. 1824 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Crater lake overflow causes flooding; no volcanic activity

The overflow of Maughan Lake, the crater lake at Parker volcano, followed heavy rains associated with a passing typhoon and caused flashflooding in NW-flank communities on 6 September. A team from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) was dispatched to determine whether the overflow was caused by volcanic activity. Although no volcanic alert was declared, PHIVOLCS recommended that the crater area should be considered off-limits because of instability of the crater walls. Fieldwork on 8-9 September revealed that the flood was channel-confined along the NW-flank Alah River, which drains the crater lake, from 1,000 m down to 540 m elevation (Barangay New Dumangas, T'boli, South Cotabato Province). Below this point it was transformed into a sheetwash. The floods killed more than 60 people, destroyed 300 homes and nine bridges, and displaced 50,000 people.

Aerial observations on 11 September indicated that two or three landslides, indicated by escarpments, had occurred along the Alah River prior to the crater lake outbreak. The total mass displaced appears to have been sufficient to have dammed the upper reaches of the river. The crater wall was well-vegetated and without landslide scars, although underwater landslides may have contributed to the rise and subsequent overflow of the lake. The overflow breached the blocked river channel, sending an estimated ~10-15 x 106 m3 of lake water down the river, lowering the lake by 1 m. No turbidity or color change was observed in the crater lake, indicating that there had been no volcanic explosion. On 9-10 September PHIVOLCS installed seismometers in T'boli, 12 km NW of the crater at 540 m elevation, and at Tobolok, ~4 km NW of the crater at 1,300 m elevation. No volcanic seismic events were recorded through 11 September.

Geologic Background. Parker volcano, also known locally as Falen, is a low, vegetated stratovolcano overlooking Sarangani Bay near the southern tip of Mindanao Island. The steep-sided, 1824-m-high andesitic-dacitic stratovolcano is surrounded by extensive, youthful pyroclastic-flow deposits that suggest parallels to Pinatubo volcano. The summit of Parker is truncated by a 2.9-km-wide caldera with steep-sided walls that rise 200-500 m above heart-shaped Maughan Lake. This volcano was unknown to most volcanologists until recent years, but it is now known to have been the source of a major explosive eruption in 1641 that was previously attributed to Awu volcano on Sangihe Island, Indonesia and caused darkness over the island of Mindanao. The 1641 eruption included the emplacement of voluminous pyroclastic flows and lahars and resulted in the formation of the summit caldera. This was the last of three major explosive eruptions from Parker during the last 3800 years.

Information Contacts: Ernesto G. Corpuz, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), 5th & 6th Floors Hizon Building, 29 Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines; United Press International.


Poas (Costa Rica) — September 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Poas

Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2708 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Over 9,000 seismic events in September, most of them low-frequency; no tilt

During September, 9,144 seismic events took place, the most for any month in 1994 or thus far in 1995. These events were predominantly low-frequency (8,854 events, figure 58);

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Low-frequency seismicity at Poás, January-September 1995. Data were collected at station POA2 located 2.7 km SW of the active crater. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

The level of the sky blue lake within the N crater climbed 0.6 m in September with respect to August. The lake's temperature was 34°C.  Fumaroles on the W lake terrace increased their output, but they only generated gas columns <50 m high. Although weaker than these fumaroles, two new fumaroles appeared on the terrace to the NW and SW of the lake. Other new fumaroles were seen along the N wall of the pyroclastic cone; fumarolic gases discharging from the cone reached 93°C. Constant bubbling continued to issue from points in the central and W lake. The fumarolic area on the SW and S wall maintained a 90-95°C temperature and discharged gas columns that rose as high as 100 m. Mass wasting of unstable hydrothermally altered rocks in this area covered some fumarolic vents and opened new ones.

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

Information Contacts: E. Fernandez, E. Duarte, R. Saenz, W. Jimenez, and V. Barboza, Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica.


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — September 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

10.83°N, 85.324°W; summit elev. 1916 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismic activity continues at a rate of tens of events per month

The seismic receiver at the remote Rincón de la Vieja volcanic complex (RIN3) is located 5 km SW of the active crater. During August it registered 42 events at frequencies below 1.5 Hz; during September, 28 events with frequencies below 2.5 Hz.

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

Information Contacts: E. Fernandez, E. Duarte, R. Sáenz, W. Jimenez, and V. Barboza, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica.


Ruapehu (New Zealand) — September 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Ruapehu

New Zealand

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Large eruptions produce lahars and send plumes to over 10 km altitude

Following noteworthy "vent clearing" eruptions at Ruapehu (figure 17) on 29 June and 3 July, and phreatic eruptions in September, a series of larger eruptions began on 23 September. During the next week Ruapehu discharged plumes that were frequently reported by aviation sources to have reached at least 10 km. The following was compiled from Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences (IGNS) reports and aviation notices.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Index map of North Island, New Zealand, showing the location of Ruapehu and other volcanic centers.

Precursory activity and minor eruptions. Many of Ruapehu's frequent small eruptions have been linked to high temperature in the crater lake. Unusually high lake temperatures (as well as other measured changes) also preceded the recent activity. During 1985-95 the surface temperature of Ruapehu's crater lake peaked at >40°C seven times; two of those peaks were in 1995. The early 1995 peak reached 55°C, the highest surface lake temperature recorded in 13 years (BGVN 20:01 and 20:05). The second 1995 peak reached roughly 44°C, the third highest seen in the 1985-95 interval. Key observations, including those from crater lake inspections carried out during visits from 25 May through 23 September (table 7) suggested a build-up in activity.

Table 7. Summary of key observations at Ruapehu, 25 May-23 September 1995. Prior to the larger eruptions observers reported that the lake was generally gray in color, often with sulfur slicks on its shore or surface; the lake began discharging water at Outlet sometime between 4 and 18 July. Courtesy of IGNS (IGNS Immediate Report (25 May-15 Aug 1995); IGNS Science Alert Bulletin (18-21 Sep 1995); Aviation report (23 Sep 1995).

Date Crater Lake Data Other Observations
25 May 1995 45.9°C at Outlet; ~0.7 m below overflow. One very small eruption observed.
16 Jun 1995 38.0°C at Outlet; ~1.5 m below overflow. No evidence of recent eruptions.
26 Jun 1995 Very strong tremor for a few hours at one station. --
29 Jun 1995 Last ARGOS transmission. Volcanic earthquake (M 3.2) correlated with an eruption.
03 Jul 1995 -- Volcanic earthquake (M 2.4) correlated with an eruption.
04 Jul 1995 33.0°C at Outlet; 0.5 m below overflow. Intense steaming in the lake center. Two very small eruptions observed; evidence of larger eruptions that probably occurred on 29 June and 3 July. Small deformation.
18 Jul 1995 31.0°C at Outlet. Discharge of 50 l/s. Evidence for recent minor eruptions but no observed activity.
15 Aug 1995 29.0°C at Outlet. Discharge of 5-10 l/s. No evidence of recent activity; small deformation.
18 Sep 1995 Moderate vent-clearing explosive eruption at 0805 from within the lake. Caused a flood, a lahar, and a small mudflow down the flanks; accompanying volcanic earthquake (ML 3.6). The lahar was the largest down the Whangahu river since 1975.
20 Sep 1995 48°C at Outlet. Very large overflow. New scoria bombs found; 15 small phreatic eruptions witnessed.
20 Sep 1995 -- Eruption similar to 18 September, only smaller; accompanying volcanic earthquake (ML 3.2).
20-21 Sep 1995 Lake water chemistry indicates increased magma-water interaction. Geodetic data show increased crater diameter.
23 Sep 1995 Major eruption began; column top reached over 10 km altitude. --

A hydrophone and related acoustical detection components in the crater lake registered unusually high noise levels during late May, consistent with seismic activity. A moderate noise burst took place on 13 June, and relative quiet prevailed through 29 June. These data were communicated via the satellite-relayed ARGOS data system at 2-hour intervals; the last transmission (0800 on 29 June) came just prior to a M 3.2 volcanic earthquake and eruption that destroyed the ARGOS equipment.

Seismicity was at background levels from 15 May until just prior to the 29 June earthquake. The earthquake began at 0802 as a small 2-Hz signal followed by a 1-Hz signal. The main part of the earthquake, which also contained 2-Hz signal, started at 0821, and peaked between 0822 and 0824. After the main part of the earthquake, more signals centered around 1 and 2 Hz prevailed. The 2-Hz signals are common to both volcanic earthquakes and tremor at Ruapehu, suggesting that both may excite the same resonator.

Ruapehu's tremor typically has a dominant frequency of ~2 Hz and occurs almost constantly, often with no clear surface volcanic expression. Although not recorded at all stations, during 1995 and possibly longer, tremor has contained a previously unrecognized dominant frequency of 7 Hz with a consistent amplitude of 1 µm/s. During April, May, and late June, intervals of strong 2-Hz tremor dominated the seismic records. Very strong tremor took place for a few hours on 26 June. Tremor declined thereafter and remained low from early July through much of August.

Lake water increased in Cl and especially Mg ions closer to the eruption. The Mg/Cl ratio rose from values around 0.035 in early 1995 (BGVN 20:05), to the most recently reported value of 0.072 on 15 August (table 8); there was a further increase of unstated magnitude on 20-21 September (table 7). Prior to the eruption, the rise in Mg was thought to represent leaching from unweathered andesites. The increase in Cl, which reached greater levels than seen in at least 9 years, was thought to result from both large-scale evaporation and HCl input. The rise in Mg/Cl ratio represented the largest shifts seen since the large 1971 and 1975 eruptions. Shifts in the concentrations of K, Fe, and SO4 from samples collected on 18 July suggested increased input of SO2 into the vent-lake system rather than a water-rock equilibrium process in the vent. Although provisional, results for SO4 on 18 July suggested a 4.5% increase--the highest ever recorded for the lake.

Table 8. Ruapehu Crater Lake water analyses and temperatures at Outlet, 25 May-4 July 1995. Courtesy of IGNS.

Date Mg (ppm) Cl (ppm) Mg/Cl Outlet Temp (°C)
25 May 1995 385 7603 0.051 46
16 Jun 1995 427 7797 0.055 38
04 Jul 1995 514 7976 0.064 33
18 Jul 1995 551 8014 0.069 --
15 Aug 1995 584 8154 0.072 --

Deformation surveys on 4 July and 15 August confirmed only small measurable changes. This result suggested little or no magmatic movement in the upper part of the vent, in contrast with much of the other data in the same time interval. The limited deformation may have been a consequence of an open vent that allowed a small amount of magma to escape without measurable deformation. Measurable changes were apparently evident later (20-21 September, table 7).

Larger eruptions in late September. Ruapehu produced a series of larger eruptions during 23-30 September and later, continuing into October. Preliminary estimates suggested the eruption plumes reached 8-12 km heights as reported by aviation sources (table 7 and figure 18). The aviation reports and occasional satellite imagery typically noted plumes possibly extending as far as ~270 km from the summit (from an episode of eruptive bursts that were thought to have been more dense and ash-rich beginning at 1600 on 24 September). This particular series of bursts only initially reached low levels, but ash was said to have been lifted higher by induced cumulus convection, ultimately reaching a reported altitude of ~12 km. On subsequent days, the plume's typical maximum lateral extent was given as roughly 60 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Histogram summarizing the height of column tops for Ruapehu eruptions, based on available aviation reports and IGNS Science Alert Bulletins. Courtesy of Nick Heffter, NOAA.

For the 24-hour interval ending on 24 September (exact times undisclosed) observers at Ruapehu noted both small- and medium-sized steam-rich ash-bearing explosions, the largest of which had plumes that rose from 500 to over 1,500 m. On 24 September medium-sized explosions yielded a distinctive, though modest seismic signature and lesser explosions were not detectible. Near midnight on 24 September the number of volcanic earthquakes rose significantly; strong tremor roughly doubled in intensity compared to that morning; reflected seismic waves from numerous explosions yielded a confused signal.

Reports for 25 September (at 0900, 1700, and a summary the next day) noted that an eruption column had developed from many moderate-sized eruptions. With its top at 8-10 km altitude, the plume was blown into the E quadrant for several tens of kilometers, dropping ash 18 km E (Desert road; total accumulation, 1 mm), 30 km E (the Kaimanawa mountains), and 120 km E (traces at the coast). The ash deposited at Desert Road contained mainly particles of 10-250 µm size; 30-60% of the particles were juvenile. Significant amounts of ash had accumulated in the vent area but large blocks had been ejected less than ~1 km from the vent. Outlet was dry, but based on later observations, the inner crater still contained a lake.

At 0900 on 25 September a lahar flowed down the Whangaehu valley. The valley forms a key drainage that descends ESE from the crater, ultimately curving S and W to encircle Ruapehu's S flank; downstream parts of the Whangaehu Valley cross the Auckland-Wellington rail line near Tangiwai. Later the lahar declined in size, but it was noted as still continuing and sediment-laden at 1630, having eroded a stream bank upstream of the Tangiwai bridge. Another lahar flowed W of the crater down Mangaturuturu Valley.

At 1700 on 25 September, the volcanism during the previous 30 hours was described as episodic, punctuated by two cycles of increasing then decreasing intensity. Based on seismic data, the second cycle was not quite as vigorous as the first. In the night and morning of 25-26 September minor amounts of ash continued to fall over the volcano's E quadrant. Low-to-moderate tremor continued until at least 1700. Occasional explosions were large enough to be recorded seismically but were smaller than those in the morning of the previous day. Although during much of the day visual observations were hampered by cloud cover, at 0600-0700 on 26 September observers saw the plume drifting ESE. The plume was fed by numerous weak explosions and observers noted that minor amounts of ash fell throughout the night. Observers also noted that lahars flowing down the Whangaehu Valley were smaller than on the previous day. A very small lahar, deposited during an earlier event, was noted in the SE-flank Wahionoa Valley.

A SO2 flux measurement at 1600 on 26 September indicated an output of 2,600 +- 400 metric tons/day. Such high fluxes confirmed significant magmatic involvement in the eruption. Although cloud cover limited the visibility on much of 26 September, the low seismic activity during the day suggested explosions of modest size. From about 2300 through early the next morning tremor amplitude fluctuated, increasing up to moderate levels. After 0400 tremor coexisted with many volcanic earthquakes.

Visual observations made after sunrise on 27 September correlated tremor and earthquake increases to moderately vigorous eruptive activity. During this period (0600-0700) the earthquakes reached a size equivalent to those on 25 September. By about 0930 on 27 September, however, the earthquakes stopped and the eruption's size dropped. Earthquakes then remained undetected until at least 1700.

Aerial observers on 27 and 28 September saw that Crater Lake had been greatly reduced in size; although indistinct, the steaming surface had clearly dropped by tens of meters. They also saw a previously concealed terrace formed during the 1945 eruption and recognized a new small lahar deposit in a drainage on the NW flank (in the Whakapapaiti Valley). On 27 September observers reported no water in the upper Whangaehu Valley and viewers the next day stated that downstream at the Tangiwai bridge the water level had returned to normal.

During the 24 hours ending at 0930 on 28 September, moderate levels of seismicity prevailed, and three larger volcanic earthquakes took place in the 0215-0340 interval. These earthquakes may have been associated with discrete explosions. Other volcanic earthquakes at 0736 and 0839 were linked to mild puffs of ash-bearing steam rising from the crater.

Ruapehu's alert status was raised to Level 4 (table 9) on 25 September. As late as early October, there had been no reports of death or injury caused by the eruption. Because of potential hazard to aircraft, aviation and meteorological workers have carefully monitored the eruption, producing forecasts of the plume's transport and dispersal ("VAFTAD" modeling program, see BGVN 19:06) as well as the actual visible observations that have confirmed the height of the plume's top (figure 18).

Table 9. Scientific Volcano Alert Level system for New Zealand volcanoes. Note that the frequently active cone volcanoes of New Zealand (White, Ngauruhoe, and Ruapehu) require definitions different from all other volcanic systems. Because of this, Alert Levels 1-4 are split into two parts: one for the frequently active cones and the other for reawakening systems. Courtesy of the IGNS.

Alert Level Phenomena Observed Scientific Interpretation (Volc Status)
0 Typical background surface activity; seismicity, deformation, and heat flow at low levels. Usual dormant, intra-eruption or quiescent state.
1 Departure from typical background surface activity. Minor phreatic activity. Apparent seismic, geodetic, thermal, or other unrest indicators. Signs of volcano unrest. No significant eruption threat.
2 Increase from a low level of activity, accompanied by changes to monitored indicators. Significant change in level or style of ongoing eruptive activity. Increase in seismicity, deformation, heat flow and/or other unrest indicators. Indications of intrusive processes. Local eruption threat.
3 Increased vigour of ongoing activity and monitored indicators. Significant local eruption in progress. Commencement of minor eruptions at reawakening vent(s). Relatively high and increasing trends shown by unrest indicators. Increasing intrusive trends indicate real possibility of hazardous eruptions.
4 Significant change to ongoing activity and monitored indicators. Hazardous local eruption in progress. Establishment of magmatic activity at reawakening vent(s), with acceleration of unrest indicators. Large-scale eruption now appears imminent.
5 Hazardous large volcanic eruption in progress. Destruction within the Permanent Danger (red) Zone. Significant risk over wider areas.

The late September eruption was widely covered in the news. According to Reuters (25 September), "A conservative Australian politician is linking nuclear testing by China and France to a string of earthquakes around the Pacific and volcanic eruptions in Montserrat and New Zealand's Mount Ruapehu." Although this connection was discounted by earth scientists, the accusation did reverberate in the media and parliaments world wide.

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

Information Contacts: C.J.N. Wilson, B.J. Scott, P.M. Otway, and I.A. Nairn, Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences (IGNS), Private Bag 2000, Wairakei, New Zealand; Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, POB 735, Darwin NT 0801, Australia; J. Heffter, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Air Resources Laboratory SSMC3, Room 3151, 1315 East West Hwy., Silver Spring, MD 20910 USA; Synoptic Analysis Branch, NOAA/NESDIS, Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA.


Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — September 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Soufriere Hills

United Kingdom

16.72°N, 62.18°W; summit elev. 915 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Phreatic eruptions continue; new lava dome in summit crater

Following the formation of Vent 3 and significant ashfall on 22 August (20:8), more than 6,000 residents of southern Montserrat were evacuated to safe areas in the N part of the island. Press sources estimated that by late August ~3,000 people had left for neighboring islands. Vent 4 opened on 27 August and produced mainly steam emissions with some minor ash through 30 August. Although seismicity was high from 30 August through 1 September, steam and ash emissions remained low (20:8).

From 0500 on 1 September through 0500 on the 3rd, only 19 shallow earthquakes occurred beneath the volcano. During that same period, 17 episodes of gas venting were recorded; at least six of those episodes produced some ash, and the two events on 2 September each decayed into a long-period signal of ~10 minutes duration. Venting continued to enlarge vents 2 and 3, but emissions from Vent 4 remained low. A helicopter observation flight on the afternoon of 2 September was in progress when an emission episode began at 1606 with increased steaming that developed rapidly into a small steam-and-ash plume. The emission occurred from a narrow part of the main group of vents that extend SE from Vent 1. Mud on the floor of the vent was expelled during the episode, forming a small mudflow that moved down the S side of the moat and over the area of Vent 2. A gas-and-ash emission at 1912 on 2 September, similar in size and duration to emissions in recent days, was widely observed because of clear conditions. Lightning associated with this activity lasted ~1.5 hours, and an SO2 odor was detected. Installation of a hardened EDM (electronic distance meter) station in the Tar River area was completed on 2 September.

During 3-4 September there were four gas-venting episodes, twelve volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes, and four long-period earthquakes. Aerial observations on the morning of 3 September revealed that the area around the S end of the main group of vents had been enlarged. The moat pond in the NW corner was still present, and fragmental material had collapsed into Vent 1. Afternoon observations showed no new mudflows, and the S moat appeared dry.

On the afternoon of 3 September, scientists at the volcano observatory completed an assessment of the current volcanism since 21 August and prospects for future activity. The rate of eruption signals increased slightly after 21 August, but the size of the eruptions did not. No change in the style of eruptions was anticipated, but areas downwind could be subject to ashfall and temporary darkness. Eruptions were thought likely to be concentrated along the linear vent chain on the W side of Castle Peak dome. The amount of shallow seismicity decreased below that prior to 21 August. SO2 flux remained near detection limits since 21 August. The rate of long-period seismic events showed no clear pattern, although a slight decrease may have occurred. Initial EDM results indicated no movement of the SE flank of Castle Peak dome or at a site in Upper Gages. Electronic tiltmeters have detected no large-scale deformation since they stabilized on 5 August. Ash samples analyzed through 27 August revealed no juvenile material.

The scientists concluded the following: ". . . eruptions to date have been entirely phreatic, with no direct evidence of magmatic involvement. So long as this behavior pattern persists, it only constitutes a significant hazard to areas within 1.5 km of Castle Peak dome and the areas S of White's Bottom ghaut. All ghauts [ephemeral watercourses] that originate on the flanks of the Soufriere Hills volcano are subject to flooding and should be avoided." Based on this advice, the government approved re-occupation of the areas immediately S of the Belham Valley River from which residents were evacuated on 23 August. All other residents from areas closer to the crater, evacuated since 21 August, were required to stay in the northern third of the island. Controlled entry restrictions were relaxed in most areas to allow residents to prepare for an approaching hurricane. Following passage of the hurricane, on 6 September the remaining evacuation orders were lifted.

Activity during 4-8 September was consistent at a low and generally declining level. At about 1530 on 8 September there was a significant steam explosion. Two hours later, at about 1730, two large ash eruptions produced a vertical plume that formed a mushroom cloud, which drifted to St. Peters (~30 km NNW) and to the N. Soufriere Hills continued to have intermittent swarms of earthquakes from the summit and nearby areas, including three events felt in Woodlands on 11 September. Occasional steam eruptions produced falls of fine ash in communities around the volcano, and morphological changes were continuing in the summit area. These developments suggested to volcanologists that magma was close to the surface under the volcano and that a magmatic eruption was still a possibility.

Two weeks later, on 25 September, a lava dome began growing in the W part of the moat near the linear chain of vents. An explosion between 1100 and 1200 on 27 September caused ashfall on the S part of the island, with minor ashfall also reported in the St. Georges area. Minor explosive activity continued through the end of September.

Geologic Background. The complex, dominantly andesitic Soufrière Hills volcano occupies the southern half of the island of Montserrat. The summit area consists primarily of a series of lava domes emplaced along an ESE-trending zone. The volcano is flanked by Pleistocene complexes to the north and south. English's Crater, a 1-km-wide crater breached widely to the east by edifice collapse, was formed about 2000 years ago as a result of the youngest of several collapse events producing submarine debris-avalanche deposits. Block-and-ash flow and surge deposits associated with dome growth predominate in flank deposits, including those from an eruption that likely preceded the 1632 CE settlement of the island, allowing cultivation on recently devegetated land to near the summit. Non-eruptive seismic swarms occurred at 30-year intervals in the 20th century, but no historical eruptions were recorded until 1995. Long-term small-to-moderate ash eruptions beginning in that year were later accompanied by lava-dome growth and pyroclastic flows that forced evacuation of the southern half of the island and ultimately destroyed the capital city of Plymouth, causing major social and economic disruption.

Information Contacts: Soufriere Hills Volcano Observatory, Plymouth; Seismic Research Unit, UWI; UNDHA; AP; Caribbean News Agency (CANA), Barbados.


St. Helens (United States) — September 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

St. Helens

United States

46.2°N, 122.18°W; summit elev. 2549 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Steady increase in seismicity through 1995

No explosions or gas-and-ash emissions occurred from the lava dome between 1 January and 30 September 1995. Seismic activity was still low, but the number of small-magnitude (M

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Seismicity at Mount St. Helens, January 1986-September 1995. A high concentration of earthquake activity at

This same zone of seismic activity became active in late 1987, about 2 years before the 1989-91 steam explosions began, and it presumably marks the approximate location of the magma conduit system. Those relatively small explosions hurled dome rocks as large as 30-40 cm in diameter at least 800 m from the dome and produced ash plumes as high as ~6 km above sea level. Detailed study of the 1987-91 seismicity and the 1989-91 explosions suggests that both occurred in response to increased pressure in the conduit system.

One possible cause for the pressure increase is that volcanic gas (primarily water vapor) became concentrated along the conduit system as a consequence of the progressive cooling and crystallization of magma. This increased pressure would likely lead to increased rock fracturing immediately surrounding the conduit system, as well as to intermittent sudden gas release. In addition, downward growth of cracks and fractures in the dome during and immediately after periods of intense precipitation could trigger gas explosions when such fractures intersect pressurized areas; many but not all of the 1989-91 explosions followed periods of heavy rainfall. Another possible cause for the pressure increase is intrusion of new magma into the lower depths of the conduit system. There is no evidence, however, that any magma has approached the surface during 1995. Regardless of the cause, it seems likely that the change in seismicity reflects a renewed increase in pressure along the magma conduit system.

Because the 1989-91 steam explosions were not preceded by any specific short-term warning signs, the similarity of the current seismicity raises concerns that future small dome explosions could occur without additional warning. Experience with the 1989-91 explosions, as well as explosions during the years of dome growth, suggests that they would produce hazards primarily within the crater, to a lesser degree in the stream channels leading from the crater, and to an even smaller degree on the upper flanks of the volcano. These hazards could include the impact of ejected dome rocks and rapidly moving pyroclastic flows sweeping the crater floor. During the 5 February 1991 explosion, a small pyroclastic flow reached the N edge of the crater. Heat from a rock avalanche or pyroclastic flow could also generate a lahar in the crater and in channels leading from the crater. Also, gas explosions could generate dilute but visible ash plumes perhaps as high as 6 km above the volcano and light ashfall as far as ~160 km downwind.

Geologic Background. Prior to 1980, Mount St. Helens formed a conical, youthful volcano sometimes known as the Fuji-san of America. During the 1980 eruption the upper 400 m of the summit was removed by slope failure, leaving a 2 x 3.5 km horseshoe-shaped crater now partially filled by a lava dome. Mount St. Helens was formed during nine eruptive periods beginning about 40-50,000 years ago and has been the most active volcano in the Cascade Range during the Holocene. Prior to 2200 years ago, tephra, lava domes, and pyroclastic flows were erupted, forming the older St. Helens edifice, but few lava flows extended beyond the base of the volcano. The modern edifice was constructed during the last 2200 years, when the volcano produced basaltic as well as andesitic and dacitic products from summit and flank vents. Historical eruptions in the 19th century originated from the Goat Rocks area on the north flank, and were witnessed by early settlers.

Information Contacts: Dan Dzurisin, Cascades Volcano Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey, 5400 MacArthur Blvd., Vancouver, WA 98661 USA; Steve Malone, Geophysics Program, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195 USA. URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/cvo/).

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