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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

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

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


Recently Published Bulletin Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

San Miguel

El Salvador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash emissions during 22 February 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Cleveland

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667 USA (URL: https://avo.alaska.edu/), b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA (URL: http://dggs.alaska.gov/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/).


Ambrym (Vanuatu) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambrym

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References:

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

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

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

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


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

Copahue

Chile-Argentina

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue, Caviahue, Argentina (URL: https://twitter.com/valecaviahue, Twitter:@valecaviahue).


Nishinoshima (Japan) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nishinoshima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency-Earth Observation Research Center (JAXA-EORC), 7-44-1 Jindaiji Higashi-machi, Chofu-shi, Tokyo 182-8522, Japan (URL: http://www.eorc.jaxa.jp/); Japan Coast Guard (JCG) Volcano Database, Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, 3-1-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8932, Japan (URL: http://www.kaiho.mlit.go.jp/info/kouhou/h29/index.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Simon Carn, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931, USA (URL: http://www.volcarno.com/, Twitter: @simoncarn).


Krakatau (Indonesia) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.esdm.go.id/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Amber Madden-Nadeau, Oxford University (URL: https://www.earth.ox.ac.uk/people/amber-madden-nadeau/, https://twitter.com/AMaddenNadeau/status/1159458288406151169); Anna Perttu, Earth Observatory of Singapore (URL: https://earthobservatory.sg/people/anna-perttu); Simon Carn, Michigan Tech University (URL: https://www.mtu.edu/geo/department/faculty/carn/; https://twitter.com/simoncarn/status/1211793124089044994); VolcanoYT, Indonesia (URL: https://volcanoyt.com/, https://twitter.com/VolcanoYTz/status/1182882409445904386/photo/1; Christoph Sator (URL: https://twitter.com/ChristophSator/status/1184713192670281728/photo/1); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); Pascal Blondé, France (URL: https://pascal-blonde.info/portefolio-krakatau/, https://twitter.com/rajo_ameh/status/1199219837265960960); Alex Bogár, Budapest (URL: https://twitter.com/AlexEtna/status/1211396913699991557); Piotr (Piter) Smieszek, Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia (URL: http://www.lombok.pl/, https://twitter.com/piotr_smieszek/status/1204545970962231296); Peter Rendezvous (URL: https://www.facebook.com/peter.rendezvous ); Wulkany swiata, Poland (URL: http://wulkanyswiata.blogspot.com/, https://twitter.com/Wulkany1/status/1214841708862693376).


Mayotte (France) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayotte

France

12.83°S, 45.17°E; summit elev. 660 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fernandina (Ecuador) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Fernandina

Ecuador

0.37°S, 91.55°W; summit elev. 1476 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fissure eruption produced lava flows during 12-13 January 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Masaya (Nicaragua) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake persists with lower temperatures during August 2019-January 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); La Jornada (URL: https://www.lajornadanet.com/, article at https://www.lajornadanet.com/index.php/2019/10/16/volcan-masaya-expulsa-cenizas/#.Xl6f8ahKjct).


Reventador (Ecuador) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Pacaya (Guatemala) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kikai (Japan) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kikai

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Single explosion with steam and minor ash, 2 November 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 20, Number 10 (October 1995)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Adatarayama (Japan)

First tremor since 1965

Aira (Japan)

Explosive activity continues

Akan (Japan)

Continued elevated seismicity

Asosan (Japan)

Isolated tremor; ejections of mud and water

Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001) (Unknown)

Lidar data from Germany and Virginia

Dukono (Indonesia)

Pilot report of plume on 25 September

Etna (Italy)

Frequent Strombolian explosions and ash emissions from Northeast Crater and Bocca Nuova

Galeras (Colombia)

Minor seismicity and fumarolic emissions

Iwatesan (Japan)

Short tremor episode

Izu-Oshima (Japan)

Minor tremor and 48 earthquakes

Izu-Tobu (Japan)

Tremor observed again

Kozushima (Japan)

Earthquake swarm ends in mid-October

Kujusan (Japan)

Additional data on the sudden aseismic eruption of 11 October

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Ash-bearing eruption columns rise hundreds of meters

Lengai, Ol Doinyo (Tanzania)

New hornitos and lava flows observed in July

Llaima (Chile)

Minor eruption just after a M 4.0 earthquake 160 km to the east

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Passive degassing

Merapi (Indonesia)

Pyroclastic flows travel down two river drainages

Poas (Costa Rica)

High seismicity

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Minor seismicity and vapor emission

Raung (Indonesia)

Aviation report of a plume, but not seen on satellite imagery

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica)

New eruption; lahars damage a bridge and lead to evacuations

Rinjani (Indonesia)

Small ash plume seen on 12 September

Ruapehu (New Zealand)

Late September-early October eruptions rival those in 1945

Ruby (United States)

Submarine eruption

Semeru (Indonesia)

Explosions and pyroclastic flows continue

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Small ash explosions continue; three new vents form; September dome grows

Tengger Caldera (Indonesia)

Eruption from Bromo sends dark ash plume 700 m above the rim

Vulcano (Italy)

Fumarolic activity notably diminished from previous years

Yellowstone (United States)

New mud volcano, minor mud flow, and associated thermal features



Adatarayama (Japan) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Adatarayama

Japan

37.647°N, 140.281°E; summit elev. 1728 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


First tremor since 1965

During 27 October, volcanic tremor of about 3-minutes duration was recorded at a site 4.8 km NE of Adatara's summit (station A). This was the first case of tremor since the local observatory began observations in 1965.

Geologic Background. The broad forested massif of Adatarayama volcano is located E of Bandai volcano, about 15 km SW of Fukushima city. It consists of a group of dominantly andesitic stratovolcanoes and lava domes that rise above Tertiary rocks on the south and abut Azumayama volcano on the north. Construction took place in three main stages that began about 550,000, 350,000, and 200,000 years ago. The high point of the complex is 1728-m-high Minowasan, a dome-shaped stratovolcano north of Tetsuzan, the currently active stratovolcano. Numanotaira, the active summit crater, is surrounded by hot springs and fumaroles and is breached by the Iogawa river ("Sulfur River") on the west. Seventy-two workers of a sulfur mine in the summit crater were killed during an eruption in 1900. Historical eruptions have been restricted to the 1.2-km-wide, 350-m-deep Numonotaira crater.

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


Aira (Japan) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosive activity continues

Activity at Minami-dake crater became high during both early and late October. On 28 October, 9 explosive eruptions occurred and significant volcanic ash fell in Kagoshima City. During October, seismic station B (2.3 km NE of Minami-dake crater) recorded 720 earthquakes and 1,206 tremors. On 27-28 October there were seismic swarms. During October the volcano produced 31 eruptions, 23 of them explosive; the highest ash plume, on 28 October, rose 3 km above the summit crater. October ashfall (measured 10 km W at the Kagoshima Meteorological Observatory) was 117 g/m2.

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

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


Akan (Japan) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Akan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued elevated seismicity

Seismicity during October, and thus far in 1995, remained slightly higher than was typical for the past several years (figure 6). The highest daily number of earthquakes during the month took place on 2 October and consisted of 33 events (recorded at Station A, 2.3 km from Ponmachineshiri Crater). The monthly total for October consisted of 395 events.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. The number of daily earthquakes at Akan's station A, 1 January 1987 through October 1995. Courtesy of JMA.

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.


Asosan (Japan) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Isolated tremor; ejections of mud and water

During October the floor of Aso's active crater (Naka-dake Crater 1) remained covered by a pond of hot water. The pond's surface was disrupted by occasional fountaining up to 5-m high. Elevated tremor continued since last month, and some October days had over 200 earthquakes; the daily mean amplitude of continuous tremors sometimes reached over 0.5 þm. Personnel 800 m W of the crater (at Aso Weather Station) felt earthquakes at 1829 and 1909 on 11 and 22 October, respectively.

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.


Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001) (Unknown) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001)

Unknown

Unknown, Unknown; summit elev. m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lidar data from Germany and Virginia

Lidar data from Germany for July and August (table 4) again revealed the presence of a volcanic aerosol layer centered at 17-19 km altitude. Backscattering ratios have decreased since the last reports (Bulletin v. 20, nos. 2 and 7). October lidar data from Hampton, Virginia, showed an aerosol layer at 18-19 km altitude; these values are similar to the previous report (Bulletin v. 19, no. 11). Backscatter data declined to the range of 1.22-1.25 from 1.38-1.50.

Table 4. Lidar data from Germany and Virginia, USA, showing altitudes of aerosol layers. Backscattering ratios are for the ruby wavelength of 0.69 microns. The integrated value shows total backscatter, expressed in steradians^-1, integrated over 300-m intervals from the tropopause to 30 km.

DATE LAYER ALTITUDE (km) (peak) BACKSCATTERING RATIO BACKSCATTERING INTEGRATED
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (47.5°N, 11.0°E)
07 Jul 1995 11-27 (19.7) 1.12 (1.3) --
19 Jul 1995 12-26 (19.8) 1.13 (1.3) --
21 Jul 1995 13-29 (18.0) 1.12 (1.3) --
26 Jul 1995 11-28 (19.1) 1.13 (1.3) --
31 Jul 1995 13-24 (18.8) 1.09 (1.2) --
03 Aug 1995 12-27 (17.5) 1.12 (1.3) --
Hampton, Virginia (37.1°N, 76.3°W)
23 Mar 1995 12-25 (17.8) 1.36 0.135 x 10-3
04 May 1995 12-25 (18.7) 1.3 0.104 x 10-3
19 Oct 1995 15-30 (18.1) 1.22 0.059 x 10-3
23 Oct 1995 15-30 (18.8) 1.25 0.065 x 10-3

Information Contacts: Horst Jager, Fraunhofer -- Institut fur Atmospharische Umweltforschung, Kreuzeckbahnstrasse 19, D-8100 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany; Mary Osborn, NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC), Hampton VA 23665, USA.


Dukono (Indonesia) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Dukono

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Pilot report of plume on 25 September

A pilot report from a Qantas flight on the morning of 25 September described a plume to 6 km altitude that was drifting ESE. Visible satellite imagery failed to detect volcanic ash, but weather clouds in the SE sector were identified with infrared imagery.

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: BOM Darwin, Australia.


Etna (Italy) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3295 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent Strombolian explosions and ash emissions from Northeast Crater and Bocca Nuova

The Istituto Internazionale di Vulcanologia (IIV) report below provides an overview of activity during October. IIV reports generally summarize the temporal evolution of volcanic phenomena during the whole month, skipping some trivial details, and frame the ongoing activity in the context of phenomena over a period of years.

Reports detailing activity during short visits made by visiting volcanologists provide a different perspective on the volcanism. One such report for some days in October was provided by a team led by Open University (OU) volcanologists conducting routine deformation measurements during 9 September-14 October. Short visits to the summit craters on 7, 12, and 14 October were also made by Boris Behncke, with additional observations from Carmelo Monaco and Marcello Bianca (University of Catania), Maria Felicia Monaco (Bari University), and others.

Review of July-September 1995 activity. Strombolian activity resumed at Bocca Nuova on 30 July and in Northeast Crater on 2 August (BGVN 20:08). On 30 July spatter was observed inside Bocca Nuova from a new pit crater on the N part of the crater floor. The activity climaxed on 2 and 3 August, when lava jets rose above the crater rim, then stopped on the night of 4 August. Strombolian explosions during 2-3 August issued from a small vent in the lowest part of the crater. Two more Strombolian episodes occurred on 18 and 29 August. A strong explosion from Northeast Crater on 13 September sent an ash plume 100 m above the rim. Ash emissions from Bocca Nuova and Northeast Crater continued until about 20 September, but explosions were heard throughout the month (BGVN 20:09). The OU team noted light ashfall 2-3 km away in the third week of September, and heavier ashfall 50 m from the Bocca Nuova rim on 27 September.

Overview of October 1995 activity from IIV. After a short period of Strombolian activity at Bocca Nuova and Northeast Crater at the beginning of October, alternating mild Strombolian activity and ash emission characterized their activity for the rest of the month. On 8 October almost continuous rumbling noises (like roaring jets) were heard from both craters. On the morning of 12 October intense ash emissions took place from both craters. Bocca Nuova displayed small short-lived ash puffs (5-7/hour), while from the Northeast Crater a dense ash column rising as high as 900 m developed repeatedly (2/hour). IIV field parties working in the summit area reported that the ash emission were accompanied by falling rock noises. However, successive surveys observed neither juvenile nor lithic blocks on the crater rims.

After 12 October Strombolian activity progressively resumed at Northeast Crater and continued with variable intensity until the end of the month. On 19 October Strombolian activity was relatively vigorous and the scoria ejections, up to few tens of meters from the crater rim, were almost continuous. A survey on 25 October revealed an appreciable decrease of the explosion frequency. Bocca Nuova exhibited intermittent ash emissions after 12 October. As during previous activity, they originated in a depressed area of the NW crater floor. Explosions observed on 19 October were accompanied by ejection of a black (lithic?) block to a few tens of meters above the crater floor, but neither glowing at the vent or ejection of incandescent bombs were observed. After 19 October intermittent ash emission progressively decreased, and in the last week of the month weak Strombolian activity resumed at Bocca Nuova. Significant eruptions on 9 and 14 November will be reported in the next Bulletin.

Deformation measurements. Preliminary results from the OU team indicate little ground deformation since October 1994 over most of the network. Summit levelling showed insignificant movement (-5 mm near the summit, +7 mm on the N flank) apart from the area above the 1991-93 dike, which between the W side of Cisternazza and Belvedere showed a fairly consistent subsidence of 17-24 mm. Preliminary GPS computations suggested a radial expansion about the summit of ~15 mm. Dry-tilt stations showed no large tilts.

Details of 1-7 October activity. Observations from the Northeast Crater rim on the afternoon of 1 October by the OU team revealed two faintly glowing vents, ~3-5 m across, on the crater floor. The following night, bright summit glow was seen from Nicolosi (15 km S), and on the morning of 3 October loud explosions from Northeast Crater were heard from the trail 800 m W, which had been covered with a thin layer of red ash overnight. Explosions were again heard late in the afternoon from ~7 km away, and light ash fell near Monte Corbara (5 km NW). While approaching the crater at 1815 on 3 October, two guides and an Italian TV camera crew returning from the rim warned of bombs falling outside the crater. As the OU team moved towards the high ground behind the crater, a large explosion sent brightly-glowing juvenile bombs just over the rim, rolling toward them. A few seconds later a single bomb ~20 cm across landed 10 m away, 100-200 m from the rim. Similar bomb ejections to smaller distances occurred about every 2 minutes until the team descended at 1845. On 7 October, Behncke noted a dense steam-and-gas plume from Northeast Crater. Most of the plume and occasionally some ash rose from the SSE part of the crater floor; falling stones were frequently heard.

Detonations from within Bocca Nuova heard by the OU team on 1 October were only audible from the rim. One vent on 4 October was explosively exhaling gas, and the other was collapsing, producing brownish ash clouds. Behncke observed small Strombolian explosions from Bocca Nuova on 6 October, but only ash emissions the next day. On the 7 October visit, Behncke observed frequent ash plumes from Bocca Nuova accompanied by rumbling noises and the sound of falling stones; Strombolian explosions were frequent.

The Chasm (La Voragine) quietly emitted fumes on 1 October. On 4 October the OU team climbed into Southeast Crater to the edge of the vents, which emitted gas quietly and not under pressure, apart from one area just below the S rim. On 7 October, Behncke heard small explosions, but no ejections or incandescence were seen after sunset.

Details of 12-14 October activity. Between 0800 and 0900 on 12 October a series of collapses within Northeast Crater generated a thick ash cloud. Pulses of rapidly rising ash plumes resulted in a vertical column 800-1,000 m above the summit. After 0900, a dilute gas plume rose from Northeast Crater while Bocca Nuova sent frequent ash emissions 200-300 m above the summit. When Behncke reached the crater rim shortly after 1230, there were vigorous steam emission and explosions from Northeast Crater.

Behncke saw incandescent spots in the central Northeast Crater floor that gradually increased in number and intensity. Pyroclastic ejections became more frequent and vigorous, and soon the incandescent areas were hidden by gas and dilute ash plumes. The ash plumes first rose slowly to ~100 m above the crater floor, but gradually rose higher and became more heavily ash-laden. About 5 minutes after the onset of ash venting, dense convoluting ash clouds began to rise above the rim. Bomb and ash emission steadily increased. The high-pressure gas emission noise at the beginning of this activity changed to a dull rumbling connected with the ash emission. Short pulses of bomb emissions every 5-10 seconds were followed by a dark ash puff. After ~10 minutes, the ash puffs merged into a continuous column that rose hundreds of meters above the rim. Around 1345 vigorous emissions ejected black ash plumes ~1 km above the summit. Periodic ash emissions from Northeast Crater gradually became less vigorous before ceasing that evening.

On 12 October (0800-0900), the OU team heard detonations from Bocca Nuova, mainly from a vent on the E side of the floor, but the larger vent on the NW side occasionally threw 20-cm-diameter lithic blocks 30-50 m high. Ash emissions seen by Behncke after 1230 occurred every 2-5 minutes from the pit on the NW crater floor. Each emission began with block and/or bomb ejections followed by a dense ash plume. The bombs and blocks rose out of the ~50-m-deep pit but remained ~100 m below the rim, whereas the ash plumes rose 100-500 m above the summit. An open vent in the SE crater floor displayed continuous gas emission with occasional explosions that ejected dense gas clouds.

Shortly after 1700 on 14 October Behncke saw a central glowing vent in Northeast Crater. Vigorous high-pressure gas emission produced a roaring noise, and the plume was almost vapor-free. During the first 30 minutes of the visit, glowing spatter was occasionally ejected from the vent. As degassing increased, numerous incandescent spots became visible, aligned more or less concentrically around the vent. After the first half hour, Strombolian bursts became more vigorous, ejecting bombs ~50 m above the pit. About 10 minutes later, the explosions again intensified, and the crater floor around the vent, which appeared more funnel-shaped, was covered with incandescent bombs. Ejections rose ~100 m above the vent but remained far below the crater rim.

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: Massimo Pompilio, CNR Istituto Internazionale di Vulcanologia, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy; John B. Murray and Fiona McGibbon, Dept. of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, United Kingdom; Nicki Stevens, NUTIS, Reading University, Whiteknights, P.O. Box 227, Reading RG6 2AB, United Kingdom; Phil. Sargent, Sue Elwell, and Sarah Cooper, Civil Engineering Dept., Nottingham Trent University, Burton Street, Nottingham NG1 4BU, United Kingdom; Boris Behncke, Dept. of Volcanology and Petrology, GEOMAR, Wischhofstr. 1-3, 24148 Kiel, Germany.


Galeras (Colombia) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor seismicity and fumarolic emissions

Activity during August-October remained low. Fumarolic emissions continued from areas near the active cone, with a concentration of fumaroles on the W part of the summit. SO2 concentrations, obtained by the COSPEC method, remained generally low at 53-170 metric tons/day in August and < 100 t/d in September. No deformation was detected by electronic tiltmeters during August-October. Temperature measurements at La Joya and Chavas fumaroles, as well as radon measurements, have begun in order to improve the surveillance.

High-frequency seismicity during August was centered NNE of the active crater, and consisted of events of M < 2.2 Seismic activity in September was characterized by volcano-tectonic events, located mainly in three seismogenic regions: W, SW, and NNE of the active crater. Most active was the NNE source, which has shown signs of reactivation since last March. Most earthquakes had magnitudes < 1.5. Four events during September were felt by local residents, on 3, 12, 15, and 16 September, with magnitudes of 2.5, 2.0, 2.7, and 2.7, and depths of 12, 5, 8, and 8 km, respectively. The 16 September earthquake occurred in the SW region and the other three events in the NNE region.

The most significant October seismicity consisted of high-frequency events NNE of the active cone at depths of 3-7 km; magnitudes were < 3. The largest earthquake, on the morning of 15 October, was centered ~3 km NNE of the cone at 7 km depth. It had a magnitude of 3 and was felt in Pasto, Jenoy, Narino, and in other local towns.

Geologic Background. Galeras, a stratovolcano with a large breached caldera located immediately west of the city of Pasto, is one of Colombia's most frequently active volcanoes. The dominantly andesitic complex has been active for more than 1 million years, and two major caldera collapse eruptions took place during the late Pleistocene. Long-term extensive hydrothermal alteration has contributed to large-scale edifice collapse on at least three occasions, producing debris avalanches that swept to the west and left a large horseshoe-shaped caldera inside which the modern cone has been constructed. Major explosive eruptions since the mid-Holocene have produced widespread tephra deposits and pyroclastic flows that swept all but the southern flanks. A central cone slightly lower than the caldera rim has been the site of numerous small-to-moderate historical eruptions since the time of the Spanish conquistadors.

Information Contacts: Pablo Chamorro and Diego Gomez, INGEOMINAS - Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Pasto, A.A. 1795, San Juan de Pasto, Narino, Colombia (URL: https://www2.sgc.gov.co/volcanes/index.html).


Iwatesan (Japan) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Iwatesan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Short tremor episode

Tohoku University seismometers near Iwate volcano continued to register tremor (BGVN 20:09). Beginning at 0009 on 20th October, the tremor lasted ~25 minutes.

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-Oshima (Japan) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Izu-Oshima

Japan

34.724°N, 139.394°E; summit elev. 758 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor tremor and 48 earthquakes

On 4 October, local instruments recorded volcanic tremor of short duration and small amplitude. Throughout the month a significant but undisclosed number of earthquakes occurred in the adjacent N and W coastal areas. During October there were 48 earthquakes beneath the cone.

Geologic Background. Izu-Oshima volcano in Sagami Bay, east of the Izu Peninsula, is the northernmost of the Izu Islands. The broad, low stratovolcano forms an 11 x 13 km island and was constructed over the remnants of three dissected stratovolcanoes. It is capped by a 4-km-wide caldera with a central cone, Miharayama, that has been the site of numerous historical eruptions. More than 40 cones are located within the caldera and along two parallel rift zones trending NNW-SSE. Although it is a dominantly basaltic volcano, strong explosive activity has occurred at intervals of 100-150 years throughout the past few thousand years. Historical activity dates back to the 7th century CE. A major eruption in 1986 produced spectacular lava fountains up to 1600 m height and a 16-km-high eruption column; more than 12,000 people were evacuated from the island.

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) — October 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)


Tremor observed again

Mid- and late-September micro-earthquake swarms occurred offshore near Capes Kawana-zaki and Shiofuki-zaki (BGVN 20:09), an area adjacent Ito City on the E coast of the Izu Peninsula. In late September and early October pulses of seismicity continued off these Capes, trailing off toward mid-October (figure 16). Located ~5 km SW of the epicenters, Kamala Seismic Station recorded 5,881 October earthquakes. The largest earthquake struck at 1142 on 1 October with M 4.8; nearby Into City sustained a JMA-scale intensity of IV. Small-amplitude tremors occurred on both 4 October (four times), and 12 October (one time); low-frequency earthquakes took place on 4 October (four times) and 6 October (one time). Volumetric strain at Higashi-Izu and Ajiro acted in the sense of compression.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Hourly earthquakes at Izu-Tobu recorded ~5 km SW of the seismic sources, September-October 1995. 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.


Kozushima (Japan) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Kozushima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Earthquake swarm ends in mid-October

As reported in BGVN 20:09, on 6 October a M 5.6 earthquake occurred adjacent to Kozu-shima and a seismic swarm followed for the next few days. After that, seismic events continued but decreased toward the end of October; in total, during October there were 246 felt earthquakes.

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) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Kujusan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Additional data on the sudden aseismic eruption of 11 October

On 11 October, aseismic phreatic eruptions started within the Kuju volcanic group, on Hosho (Hosyo) dome's E side (BGVN 20:09). On 12 October observers found an E-W trending line of vents ~300-m long; also, at that time an ash-bearing plume rose to ~1 km above the crater.

The eruption deposited a 100 m2 blanket of fist-sized volcanic clasts; it also emitted mud that flowed down an adjacent valley. After that, the volume and height of the plume gradually decreased until finally ash-bearing eruptions ceased at the month's end. Seismicity stayed low during October.

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.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Langila

Papua New Guinea

5.525°S, 148.42°E; summit elev. 1330 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash-bearing eruption columns rise hundreds of meters

The increased eruptive activity at Crater 2 that began during late September continued throughout October. The activity was marked by intermittent audible explosions. The bigger explosions developed plumes that rose several hundred meters above the summit crater, resulting in ashfalls on the volcano's N-NW side. Langila produced steady but weak crater glow on most nights during October; it threw incandescent lava fragments on 23-24, 26, and 31 October. Crater 3 was quiet, only giving off weak white emissions towards late October. Seismic recording restarted on 5 October after both seismographs had been inoperative since January 1995. October seismic activity was moderate.

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

Information Contacts: Ben Talai, RVO.


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New hornitos and lava flows observed in July

Intermittent explosive activity and extrusion of carbonititic lava on the crater floor began in January 1983 and continued for over ten years. Vigorous effusive and explosive activity in June 1993, perhaps the strongest of that eruptive episode, covered most of the crater floor and upper W flank with fresh lava flows and deposited ash on the flanks (BGVN 18:07-18:10). In September 1994 a deep central depression contained a hornito from which highly vesicular brown lava was erupting (BGVN 19:09).

Activity observed in mid-July 1995 was the first reported since September 1994, although the appearance of the recent flows indicated that they were a few months old. Members of the Societe de Volcanologie Geneve (SVG) visited the summit on 15 July 1995. A visit to the summit crater was also made by Celia Nyamweru on 19 July.

Activity on 15 July 1995. SVG observers reported a new active hornito (T36), ~4 m high, close to the S foot of T20 (figure 35). Fluid carbonatitic lava flows were emitted from its base through a channel in the direction of a rounded collapsed new opening ~15 m in diameter, close to T5/T9. The lava in the channel was pale brown and frothy, with a velocity estimated at 1.5 m/second; temperature was ~550 degrees C. At the end of the channel, the flow moved N through different tubes. Lava breakouts from some downstream openings were still very fluid and completely black. Both small pahoehoe and aa lava fronts were observed. Ejecta were rare from the summit vent of T36. The new lava field was mainly directed N, with one branch passing W of T20 and the other going through and filling the oval-shaped depression first noted in October 1993 (see BGVN 19:04).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Sketch of the Ol Doinyo Lengai crater (~300 m wide) looking SW from the NE rim, 19 July 1995. Courtesy of Celia Nyamweru.

Activity on 19 July. At 1000 the crater was full of cloud, hiding features on the crater floor, but frequent sharp cracks, bangs, and thumps were heard, as well as bubbling noises. Conditions improved so that activity could be observed after 1115. White to brown steam was escaping continuously from the top of T20, and a little from T5T9. Sulfurous fumes were emitted from cracks on the E crater rim and wall. The lower slopes of T23 were made up of many small parallel pahoehoe flows, now soft and pale brown; T23 was not emitting steam. The new cones, T34 to T37, lay W of the depression that had been virtually filled by lava flows from these centers. T34 was a double cone, pale gray, with an open vent on its upper slope from which no steam or heat was being emitted. T35 was light brown to white, with no sign of fresh lava. T37 was a shallow circular crater W of and close to the base of T5/T9; it appeared fresh but showed no activity on 19 July.

T36 was a compound cone of which T36A was the largest component; it was composed of cascades of pahoehoe lava, some whitened and others black and very fresh. T36B was a rounded dome with a small vent at its base from which lava was emitted. T36C appeared to have a crack along its crest that emitted gas-rich lava. T36B and T36C were ~5 m apart and very close in elevation. Activity from hornito cluster T36 (figure 36) consisted of clots of lava thrown ~1 m above T36B, gas-rich lava escaping from the top of hornito T36C and flowing down its N slope, and very fluid, black shiny lava escaping from a small crack (T36E) on the lower slopes of this feature and flowing N across very recent pahoehoe. At 1137 a small spray of gas-rich lava escaped from hornito T36D, on the W side of T36. Warm pahoehoe flows on the W slope of T36,

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Details of hornito cluster at Ol Doinyo Lengai. 19 July 1995. Asterisks indicate areas of active lava emission. Courtesy of Celia Nyamweru.

Crater morphology. Features from June 1993 and earlier (see map in BGVN 19:04) were still visible, but major new cones had formed in the area between T5/T9, T20, and T23 (figure 35). T5/T9 remained a very prominent feature, and the tops of the T8, T14, and T15 cones remained visible, although all were surrounded by many younger lava flows. T24, T26, and T30 were not inspected closely, but there seemed to be no change in these large features in the S part of the crater; they were gray and white, with no sign of recent activity. West of T36 were two low lava domes with pale brown open craters, now inactive. To the W of them, on the edge of F34, was a low wide feature, possibly a collapsed cone, probably the features identified as T22, T31, and T32 in September 1993 (BGVN 18:09). There was also a rather new hornito in this area.

Recent pahoehoe flows ~10 cm thick had reached the base of the E, N, and NW walls. Crater walls appeared lowest to the NW. The rugged F34 and F35 lava flows of June 1993 were heavily weathered and beginning to soften and crumble. They were quite dark gray; a great contrast to the flows that had formed over the last several months (thin pahoehoe flows that whiten within a few weeks of eruption). No recent ash was observed on the outer slopes of the cone, the crater rim, or the inner walls; the vegetation was green and healthy. Brown vegetation was observed in a few areas near the base of the inner wall, probably due to contact with hot lava reaching the wall, and on part of the S wall below the summit.

This symmetrical stratovolcano in the African Rift Valley rises abruptly above the plain S of Lake Natron. It is the only volcano known to have erupted carbonatite tephra and lavas in historical time. The cone-building stage of Ol Doinyo Lengai ended about 15,000 years ago and was followed by periodic Holocene ejections. Historical eruptions have consisted of smaller tephra ejections and emission of numerous natrocarbonatite lava flows on the floor of the summit crater.

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

Information Contacts: Celia Nyamweru, Department of Anthropology, St. Lawrence University, Canton NY 13617, USA; M. Vigny and P. Vetsch, Societe de Volcanologie Geneve, B.P. 298, CH-1225 Chenebourg, Switzerland.


Llaima (Chile) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Llaima

Chile

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor eruption just after a M 4.0 earthquake 160 km to the east

Beginning on 13 October 1995 Llaima started emitting gases and occasional ash; in addition, during the night the northern principal crater glowed a rose color. Dominant winds dispersed the eruptive columns toward the SE on 13 October. Three days later, Llaima started emitting a continuous, strong blast of steam that occasionally also contained dark-gray scrolls bearing fine-grained ash. The resulting plume blew NE.

On the night of 20-21 October, the principal crater discharged a strong explosion. Wind carried ash toward the SW, depositing it on the alpine ice. Some ash fell over the Trufultruful valley and the valley's most eastern flanking hills, forming a band or stripe up to 12 km in length.

On 21 October between 1600 and 1800 the volcano gave off a continuous, intense column of vapor and ash. That night, between 2300 and 0100 in the town of Conguillio, residents heard an explosion accompanied by subterranean noises. The following night, observers saw a "ring of fire" over the principal crater, an effect thought to indicate the presence of lava within the crater.

The Servicio Sismologico de la Universidad de Chile reported that seismic activity one day before the eruption, on 12 October, included a M 4.0 earthquake that struck the region; its depth was 70 km; its epicenter fell at the extreme S end of Lake Lieulleu in the Cordillera de Nahuelbuta (38.28°S, 73.408°W), a spot about 160 km E of Llaima. During 20 and 22 October, portable seismometers picked up 1.0-1.5 Hz tremor; on 20 October the tremor appeared about 15-20 seconds before the above-mentioned explosion. It should be noted that such sub-continuous episodes of 1.0-1.5 Hz tremor are relatively rare at Llaima.

The 13-22 October eruptions followed fumarolic activity (BGVN 20:02) and, before that, an outbreak of ash-bearing eruptions in late August 1994 (BGVN 19:08). On the basis of the above behavior, the 24 October SERNAGEOMIN report stated that the volcano had been assigned an alert status of yellow. Llaima, an ice- and snow-covered stratovolcano, is one of the largest and most active in Chile; it erupted in 1990, 1992, and 1994.

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

Information Contacts: Hugo Moreno1, Gustavo Fuentealba, and Paola Pena, Observatorio Volcanologico de los Andes del Sur, SERNAGEOMIN, Temuco, Chile.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — October 1995 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)


Passive degassing

Activity was low during October. During the month, both summit craters released only white vapors at low to moderate rates and both audible sounds and summit-crater night glow were absent. During the first three weeks of October, the daily totals of low-frequency earthquakes were at 200-500, but by month's end they increased to 800-1,300. Coincident with the increase, earthquake amplitudes also rose by ~50%. No visual changes accompanied the increase in seismicity. However, data from tiltmeters (4 km SW of the summit) showed a deflation of approximately 1.5 m µrad beginning around the second half of the month.

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: Ben Talai, RVO.


Merapi (Indonesia) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Pyroclastic flows travel down two river drainages

During August-October 1995 pyroclastic flows ("glowing avalanches") continued flowing down the Boyong River; others entered the Krasak River and reached ~1-1.5 km from the source. Seismic activity was dominated by multiphase and lava-avalanche (rockfall) earthquakes. The number of multiphase earthquakes increased in October to 793 events, compared to 186 in September. Earthquakes associated with lava avalanches or rock falls gradually decreased from 1,195 events in August to 806 in September and 605 in October (figure 16). Shallow volcanic (B-type) earthquakes (~1 km depth) were recorded on 25 October and a deep volcanic (A-type) earthquake (2.7 km depth) was detected on 30 October. Observations in October indicated an inflation associated with 40 µrad of tilt. Measurement of SO2 by COSPEC indicated that the emission rate during October fluctuated between 18 and 112 t/d (average 63).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Seismicity at Merapi, June-October 1995. Courtesy of VSI.

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: W. Tjetjep, VSI.


Poas (Costa Rica) — October 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)


High seismicity

During October, tremor at Poás reached 101 hours; the last time tremor rose over 12 hours/month was May-September 1994, an interval when tremor ranged between 49 and 307 hours/month. The number of minor earthquakes, which were predominantly of low frequency, continued to climb during the month of October, reaching 9,838 events. This was a value ~8% larger than the total for September, the previous month with the most seismic activity in 1995.

The crater lake has risen consistently: by ~5 m during June-October (ICE), and by ~30 cm in the last month (OVSICORI-UNA). During October 1995, the fumarole on the W terrace appeared to have decreased its emissions compared to recent months (< 50-m-high steam plumes), and others on the lake's NW and SW sides also had diminished output. Fumaroles on the S and SW crater wall produced steam columns reaching 100 m tall. During October, bubbling in the lake still continued. During October OVSICORI-UNA scientists measured the temperatures at several sites: pyroclastic cone, 93°C; fumaroles on the S and SW sides of the crater, 95-97°C; the lake in the inactive crater (Lake Botos), 15°C; and the lake in the active crater, 30°C.

Head scarps of landslides that emanate from the dome and flow toward the lake displayed ongoing mass wasting; ICE workers mentioned that this mass wasting may have been triggered by recent heavy rains. In addition, ICE reported that on 17 September (at 0548) a M 3.9 earthquake struck; it had a depth of 5 km and an epicenter 1.6 km SW of the main crater. At the summit, the earthquake's intensity was MM III-IV.

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, and V. Barboza, Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA); Mauricio Mora, Escuela Centroamericana de Geologia, Universidad de Costa Rica; G.J. Soto, Oficina de Sismologia y Vulcanologia del Arenal y Miravalles: OSIVAM, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE).


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Rabaul

Papua New Guinea

4.271°S, 152.203°E; summit elev. 688 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor seismicity and vapor emission

The volcanoes at Rabaul Caldera continued to remain quiet in October. Tavurvur's summit area released bluish white vapors at very low rates; however, the emission rates rose during rainy days at the end of the month. No emissions came from Vulcan.

Only 19 earthquakes were recorded in October. Two of the 13 low-frequency earthquakes originated from Tavurvur while the rest came from either within or just outside the caldera's N sector. The six high-frequency earthquakes took place on the 20th (2 earthquakes), 23rd (2), 26th (1), and 29th (1). Most of these high-frequency earthquakes occurred in the caldera's NE sector (Namanula area). One high-frequency earthquake (ML 1.9, on the 23rd) originated near Tavurvur at about 1 km depth. October ground deformation remained very low.

Geologic Background. The low-lying Rabaul caldera on the tip of the Gazelle Peninsula at the NE end of New Britain forms a broad sheltered harbor utilized by what was the island's largest city prior to a major eruption in 1994. The outer flanks of the 688-m-high asymmetrical pyroclastic shield volcano are formed by thick pyroclastic-flow deposits. The 8 x 14 km caldera is widely breached on the east, where its floor is flooded by Blanche Bay and was formed about 1400 years ago. An earlier caldera-forming eruption about 7100 years ago is now considered to have originated from Tavui caldera, offshore to the north. Three small stratovolcanoes lie outside the northern and NE caldera rims. Post-caldera eruptions built basaltic-to-dacitic pyroclastic cones on the caldera floor near the NE and western caldera walls. Several of these, including Vulcan cone, which was formed during a large eruption in 1878, have produced major explosive activity during historical time. A powerful explosive eruption in 1994 occurred simultaneously from Vulcan and Tavurvur volcanoes and forced the temporary abandonment of Rabaul city.

Information Contacts: Ben Talai, RVO.


Raung (Indonesia) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Raung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Aviation report of a plume, but not seen on satellite imagery

An aviation report stated that at 1705 on 15 August "smoke" from Raung at an altitude of 6 km was drifting W. Following this report, aviation notices were posted in Indonesia, New Zealand, and Australia for the next 24 hours. No plume was observed by Australian meteorologists on satellite imagery from 1800 on 15 August through 2050 the next day.

The last reported eruption, which occurred sometime between January and June 1993, generated an ash column 600 m above the rim and caused ashfall in the surrounding area.

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

Information Contacts: BOM Darwin, Australia.


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — October 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)


New eruption; lahars damage a bridge and lead to evacuations

A new phreatomagmatic eruption followed three months of declining seismicity. During 1995 the number of local earthquakes peaked in July and then progressively decreased (figure 10). Prior to the eruption, during October, OVSICORI-UNA reported that park rangers who ascended to the main summit saw increased degassing and noted the appearance of fumaroles along cracks at the E and NE crater margins. Rangers described the crater lake's color as green and the smell as strong and sulfurous.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. The number of monthly earthquakes at Rincón de la Vieja volcanic complex recorded 5 km SW of the active crater (station RIN3), January-October 1995. The seismic system failed to operate on 29 October; the three events recorded during the rest of the month were all of low frequency (

ICE described the eruption as phreatomagmatic, beginning at 1504 on 6 November, and climaxing on 8 November with 25 explosions. They noted the ash-bearing and steam-rich columns rose to 1 and 4 km, respectively, above the crater. Ash blew WSW; medium- to fine-grained ash reached up to 30 km from the volcano (Santa Rosa National Park).

According to ICE, on 9 November the eruption entered a steam-rich phase. Columns typically rose 200 m, but sometimes as much as 1.5 km after some steam explosions.

During the course of the eruption, ballistic ejecta were thrown over a zone extending to ~1 km N. Ejecta formed lahars that followed two key rivers (Penjamo and Azul rivers) and their tributaries. Heavy rains beginning on 10 and continuing on 11 November triggered secondary lahars and associated floods; a bridge 7 km N of the crater (Penjamo bridge) was damaged but not destroyed, interrupting traffic flow. During this episode, lahars along a tributary of the Penjamo river produced a gully 8-m deep and 25-m wide, isolating some inhabitants.

Initial inspections of ash and the lahar matrix indicated that they mainly consisted of hydrothermally altered fragments, lake-sediment mud, and vesiculated glassy andesite fragments.

Some residents living near the volcano were evacuated to a safe village 9 km NW of the crater. News reports on 8 November by both Associated Press and Deutsche Presse-Agentur stated that about 100 families were evacuated. Two days later Enrique Coen reported relocation of 300 families.

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, and V. Barboza, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica; G.J. Soto, Oficina de Sismologia y Vulcanologia del Arenal y Miravalles: OSIVAM, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Apartado 10032-1000, San José, Costa Rica; Enrique Coen, Departamento de Fisica, University Nacional, Heredia, Costa Rica; Associated Press; Deutsche Presse-Agentur.


Rinjani (Indonesia) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Rinjani

Indonesia

8.42°S, 116.47°E; summit elev. 3726 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash plume seen on 12 September

A NOTAM about volcanic activity from Rinjani was issued by the Bali Flight Information Region on the morning of 12 September. An ash cloud was reportedly drifting SW with the cloud top around 4 km altitude. As of 1200 that day, Australian meteorologists had not observed a significant plume on satellite imagery. Synoptic Analysis Branch analysts detected no ash cloud on either visible or infrared GMS imagery. However, at 1600 the Bureau of Meteorology in Darwin advised aviators that a weak low-level plume was intermittently evident on satellite imagery as far as 28 km SW of the volcano.

Geologic Background. Rinjani volcano on the island of Lombok rises to 3726 m, second in height among Indonesian volcanoes only to Sumatra's Kerinci volcano. Rinjani has a steep-sided conical profile when viewed from the east, but the west side of the compound volcano is truncated by the 6 x 8.5 km, oval-shaped Segara Anak (Samalas) caldera. The caldera formed during one of the largest Holocene eruptions globally in 1257 CE, which truncated Samalas stratovolcano. The western half of the caldera contains a 230-m-deep lake whose crescentic form results from growth of the post-caldera cone Barujari at the east end of the caldera. Historical eruptions dating back to 1847 have been restricted to Barujari cone and consist of moderate explosive activity and occasional lava flows that have entered Segara Anak lake.

Information Contacts: BOM Darwin, Australia; SAB.


Ruapehu (New Zealand) — October 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)


Late September-early October eruptions rival those in 1945

Ruapehu's current eruptive period began with a vent-clearing blast on 29 June 1995 and a series of larger eruptions began on 23 September (BGVN 20:09). More recently available information (in Immediate Report RUA 95/06) highlighted 18 and 20 September observations summarized below. These are followed by brief comments on eruptions during October.

Activity during 18-20 September. An eruption at 0805 on 18 September was accompanied by a ML 3.6 earthquake; the eruption produced the largest lahar down the ESE flank since 1975. The ESE drainage is called the Whangaehu River. Two days later, at 0122 on 20 September, another eruption associated with a smaller earthquake (ML 3.2) also sent a smaller lahar down the Whangaehu River.

At roughly 0800 on 18 September the ski field manager heard what he initially thought was wind noise while he was inside a ski lodge building on Ruapehu's flanks, a spot 400 m N of the Whangaehu channel (Aorangi lodge at Tukino). He went closer to the river and saw a 12-18 m deep lahar in the narrow channel.

Later that day, a flood warning gauge 27 km downstream was triggered at 1123, suggesting the lahar moved at an average speed of roughly 2.3 m/s (8.3 km/hour). By around noon at Tukino the lahar was 40-m wide and had covered the snow up to 20-30 m above the Whangaehu valley floor. The lahar's surface rose about 11 m on the outside of one turn. A preliminary estimate of peak flow was >1,000 m3/s; the local velocity, 15 m/s. An early phase of the lahar had cut out 2-3 m of ice and snow formerly filling the valley.

The 18 September lahar arrived at a point 57 km downstream from Crater Lake (Karioi) at 1515, 7 hours after the eruption. Volume of the lahar at this point was estimated (by groups identified as NUWA Wanganui and ECNZ) at ~2 x 105 m3; the peak flow, at ~34 m3/s. The lahar destroyed a hiking bridge, leaving only its 0.2-m-high concrete abutments on either side of the river.

The smaller 20 September lahar arrived at 57 km downstream (Karioi) 8 hours after the eruption; its size there was estimated at ~0.9 x 105 m3; its peak flow, at ~21 m3/s. In an area above ~2,000 m elevation, the 18 and 20 September lahar deposits were separated by an intervening snow layer. Still higher, above ~2,400 m elevation, both lahars had emerged from the upper Whangaehu valley's snow and ice tunnel system. Lahars passing through and over the uppermost part of this system had produced considerable new crevasses and collapse features in the snow and ice. On 20 September, collapsed holes downstream of the large ice cave (located below the crater lake's drainage point at Outlet, figure 19) were filled with non-steaming water that had apparently cooled. The ice cave itself appeared largely intact.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. (above) Survey points for deformation studies at Ruapehu (prior to the disappearance of Crater Lake). (below) Summary of deformation between stated stations and given time intervals. Courtesy of IGNS.

A helicopter was used to visit the crater on 20 September. A large column of steam rose from the waterfall immediately below Outlet. A large volume of lake water continued to spill over the waterfall even though recent eruptions through the lake had expelled substantial lahar-forming discharges. Ash from the 18 September eruption was plastered on some steep slopes. Ash from the 20 September eruption was plastered on the new snow around the lake margins. On the E side of the lake there was a N-trending, 100-m-long lobe of ash on the glacier surface. Scoria clasts found near Outlet (the largest, 20-50 cm across) formed a continuous layer trapped behind a low lava ridge. Their distribution suggested they were deposited by a passing surge rather than as impacting ballistics. Absence of snow on the surface of the scoria indicated they had probably arrived during the 20 September eruption and some clasts still had warm interiors. Sampled clasts were black in color, and consisted of an unaltered plagioclase-, augite-, orthopyroxene-bearing andesite. The lack of Fe-Ti oxides makes them similar to 1966 ejecta; in contrast, ejecta from 1971 and 1975 did contain minor amounts of Fe-Ti oxides. Three ash samples collected from within the crater contained lapilli up to 25 mm in diameter and composed of angular lithic material. Ash finer than 2-mm diameter was dominated by gray shiny spheroids and globules of sulfur with lesser amounts of gray comminuted lake bed material.

In the interval 15 August-20 September the deformation of the area about Crater lake was significant and indicated moderate inflation (figures 19 and 20). The deformation survey was hampered by snow and ice, which deeply buried most survey stations. Survey mark D had been bent 70 mm out of position immediately prior to the August survey, but eccentricity corrections enable a valid comparison with all former observations at D. Maximum changes took place in the E-W direction. These changes were similar to those computed by comparing the mean of the five surveys made earlier this year to the September survey (first column, bottom of figure 19).

Non-elastic inflation of the style seen was previously noted as much as 2 weeks prior to eruptions on 8 May 1971 and 24 April 1975. This short-term inflation (lasting weeks) was also seen on 12 occasions during 1980-91; these occasions were tentatively correlated with intense heating and minor eruptions. Still, the relation between inflation magnitude and the corresponding eruption remains uncertain.

The 20 September crater visit yielded the following lake observations. The lake's temperature was 48.5°C (on 15 August it had been roughly 20 degrees C cooler, figure 20). There was a strong smell of SO2. The volume of water escaping at Outlet was estimated visually at 1 m3/s (on 15 August it was only ~50 l/s). This exceptional output was the largest seen in 24 years.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Plots of Ruapehu's cross-crater deformation, crater lake temperature, and Mg/Cl ratio for 1976 through late-1995. The cross-crater deformation is approximately E-W (between stations I and J, figure 19). Courtesy of IGNS.

Lake water sampled on 20 September showed clear increases in the concentrations of Mg, Cl, and SO4 ions, and in the ratio of Mg/Cl (figure 20). The observed concentrations for 15 August and 20 September, respectively, were as follows: Mg, 584 and 713 ppm; Cl, 8,154 and 8,619 ppm; and SO4, 26,600 and 30,600 ppm. Increases in Mg began in May and pointed to dissolution of fresh andesitic material into the hydrothermal system. Although previously it was not clear if the source of Mg was juvenile or older andesites, the increased amounts of Cl and SO4 firmly established the input of fresh magmatic material.

SO4 concentrations stand at the highest levels ever recorded at Ruapehu. In the absence of synchronous increases in K, and noting that Ca continues to be controlled by gypsum solubility, it is clear that the increases in SO4 were not attributable to dissolution of secondary hydrothermal minerals. Instead the SO4 increases indicated greater SO2 flux into the lake. Assuming a lake of 9 x 106 m3, the increase in SO4 from 15 August to 20 September equates to a minimum input of ~700 metric tons/day of SO2 into the lake. This behavior differs from that observed prior to the 1971 eruptions: The indication is that the quantity of magma involved in the current activity is larger than in the 1971. Taken with the rather moderate degree of cross-crater deformation seen, the quantity of SO2 discharged into the lake indicates connection to larger volumes of degassing magma at depth.

Volcanic tremor remained at background from early July until early September; its amplitude was ~1 µm/s for signals centered around 7 Hz, and at this value or slightly lower for signals centered around 2 Hz. During a five day interval starting on 6 September, the amplitude of 2-Hz tremor increased. During the 24 hours prior to the 18 September eruption and earthquake (BGVN 20:09), predominantly 7-Hz tremor occurred, at one point doubling in amplitude. Later, ~80 minutes prior to the eruption and earthquake, tremor again increased by a factor of 2-3, with 2-Hz tremor becoming dominant. Although dramatic, Ruapehu often displays wide-ranging shifts in tremor amplitude and, in retrospect, the increased amplitudes seen would not have been a useful way to predict the eruption.

The 18 September earthquake took place at 0805, continuing for 6 minutes. Analog seismograms from the three local stations (Dome, Chateau, and Ngauruhoe) were pegged, and the M 3.6 estimate was made based on amplitude recorded by the tremor-monitoring system. After the earthquake, predominantly 2-Hz tremor prevailed, remaining at or above the pre-earthquake amplitude. Later the same day (18 September), strong 1-Hz tremor occurred--for the first time at Ruapehu since the early 1970s.

Further minor earthquakes were recorded during the next few days. On 19 September seismometers registered a ML 2.2 earthquakes as well as four other discrete earthquakes; on 20 September there were ML 3.1 and 3.2 earthquakes followed by another interval of strong 1-Hz tremor until 0900.

October eruptions. At the time of this writing, IGNS reports for October are incomplete, but a brief survey of available "Science Alert Bulletins" and aviation reports suggested that minor eruptions continued and in mid-October moderate ash-rich eruptions took place. On 11 October a plume was seen in satellite imagery; on 12 and 14 October, pilot and associated aviation reports indicated ash to at least ~10 km altitude.

The 11 October eruption was described as near-continuous moderate eruptive activity that included hot ballistic blocks and lightning. Subsequent lower intensity eruptions presumably fed the plume so that its proximal end remained attached to the volcano. The eruption deposited ash in a blanket with a tentative volume between 0.01 and 0.05 km3. Thus, the steam-rich plumes seen in the 3 weeks prior to 11 October gave way to more ash-rich plumes during this eruption. A thin blanket of ash was also deposited during the 14 October eruption.

The absence of a crater lake was confirmed on 14 October. By 17 October, partly impeded views into the crater revealed steam and ash emitted from at least three vents, and a still-dry crater floor. COSPEC measurements around this time suggested the SO2 flux was over 10,000 metric tons/day. A COSPEC flight on 21 October gave viewers their first look at a possible new lava dome, however, there were no subsequent confirmations of the dome in available reports.

Geologic Background. Ruapehu, one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes, is a complex stratovolcano constructed during at least four cone-building episodes dating back to about 200,000 years ago. The 110 km3 dominantly andesitic volcanic massif is elongated in a NNE-SSW direction and surrounded by another 100 km3 ring plain of volcaniclastic debris, including the Murimoto debris-avalanche deposit on the NW flank. A series of subplinian eruptions took place between about 22,600 and 10,000 years ago, but pyroclastic flows have been infrequent. A single historically active vent, Crater Lake, is located in the broad summit region, but at least five other vents on the summit and flank have been active during the Holocene. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have occurred in historical time from the Crater Lake vent, and tephra characteristics suggest that the crater lake may have formed as early as 3000 years ago. Lahars produced by phreatic eruptions from the summit crater lake are a hazard to a ski area on the upper flanks and to lower river valleys.

Information Contacts: 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, P.O. Box 735, Darwin, NT 0801, Australia.

Correction: The most recent analysis indicates that there were 18 hydrothermal eruptions recorded between 0600 and 1640 on 20 September. Table 7 indicated "15 small phreatic eruptions witnessed."


Ruby (United States) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Ruby

United States

15.62°N, 145.57°E; summit elev. -230 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Submarine eruption

Ruby is a prominent, active submarine volcano in the Mariana Arc (2,300 km S of Tokyo) located NW of the Island of Saipan (figure 1). Although signs of an eruption were first noted by fishermen about 11 October, initial attempts to confirm their early observations failed. On 23 October fishermen reported that they could hear submarine explosions in that vicinity. A vessel from the Wildlife and Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands confirmed these reports. An Associated Press news report stated that early on 25 October observers had seen dead fish and bubbles, and had smelled a sulfurous odor. On 27 October the Pacific Daily News reported the eruption site as 15°36'22"N, 145°34'33"E (15.6061°N, 145.5758°E). This spot clearly lies on the edifice identified by Bloomer and others (1985, p. 215) as Ruby (only ~1.7 km from the point specified in this report's heading).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Index map and bathymetric map (depths in meters) showing seamounts near Saipan Island, including the known active centers Esmeralda Bank and Ruby (after Bloomer and others, 1989).

Prior to the eruption, published estimates of the summit elevation suggested a 230-m depth, a refinement an earlier estimate of 549 m (Bloomer and others, 1985, p. 215). On 6 October 1995, the Pacific Daily News report stated the summit was measured at 185-m depth. This newly reported depth remains unconfirmed. According to Mike Blackford, on 23 October a marine depth finder reportedly measured a depth of ~60 m. Although this could be a reflection off the eruptive plume, in the absence of any discussion of instrument type and calibration, this depth remains equivocal.

According to Koyanagi and others (1993), the two seismic stations nearest the eruption were on Saipan (~50 km SE of Ruby) and Pagan islands (~130 km N of Saipan), both too distant to detect subtle seismic effects. Despite the lack of a nearby seismic station, tremor appeared on seismic records at the time of the eruption and the next day. Given the temporal coincidence between the eruption and the tremor, the two were probably associated.

A fish recovered at the eruption site was found to have small particles of ash in its gills and HVO researchers planned to analyze this ash. News of the eruption caused concern about a possible local tsunami and on 25 October, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands issued an alert.

Evidence for Ruby's active status came from 1966 hydrophone data, followed later by dredging of extremely fresh volcanic rocks bearing plagioclase, clinopyroxene, and olivine (Bloomer and others, 1985).

References. Bloomer, S.H., Stern, R.J., and Smoot, N.C., 1989, Physical volcanology of the submarine Mariana and Volcano arcs: Bull. Volcanol., no. 51, p. 210-234.

Koyanagi, R., Kojima, G., Chong, F., and Chong, R., 1993, Seismic monitoring of earthquakes and volcanoes in the Northern Mariana Islands: 1993 summary report: Prepared for the Office of the Governor, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Capitol Hill, Saipan MP 96950 (revised 21 February 1993), 34 p.

Geologic Background. Ruby, a basaltic submarine volcano that rises to within 230 m of the sea surface near the southern end of the Mariana arc NW of Saipan, was detected in eruption in 1966 by sonar signals (Norris and Johnson, 1969). In 1995 submarine explosions were heard, accompanied by a fish kill, sulfurous odors, bubbling water, and the detection of volcanic tremor.

Information Contacts: Robert J. Stern, Center for Lithospheric Studies, University of Texas at Dallas, Box 830688, Dallas, TX 75083-0688 USA; Robert Koyanagi, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI 96718, USA; Ramon C. Chong, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Disaster Control Office, Capitol Hill, Saipan, MP 96950 USA; Mike Blackford, Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, 91-270 Fort Weaver Road, Ewa Beach HI 96706, USA; Associated Press; Pacific Daily News.


Semeru (Indonesia) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions and pyroclastic flows continue

The VSI reported that by 3 August a tongue of glowing lava had reached 300 m long; at 1932 that evening the lava collapsed to feed lava avalanches. Qantas airlines reported additional activity at 1510 on 8 August, describing volcanic "smoke" near Semeru to above 4 km. Two days later, around 1530 on 10 August, a Qantas flight reported an ash cloud to 9 km altitude with a SW drift.

VSI noted that during August-October small-to-moderate explosions and avalanches continued from the Jonggring Seloko summit crater. Plumes rose to a maximum of 600 m above the summit; the average plume height was 300-500 m. In August and September, pyroclastic flows often traveled down the Kember River, then descended the Kobokan River, reaching a distance of 1-3 km. The frequency of lava avalanches increased in September, extending along the Kember River for up to 500 m from the summit.

Earthquakes associated with the pyroclastic flows were variable, with 1-16 events/day through early October; after that the frequency of earthquakes decreased. Increasing numbers of volcanic earthquakes (both A-and B-type) started on 11 October and continued until the end of the month, fluctuating at 1-14 events/day (figure 8). The number of explosion earthquakes was typically 45-109/day (figure 8), except on 26 and 27 September, when there were only 33 and 24 events, respectively.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Eruptive activity at Semeru as detected by seismograph, August-October 1995: pyroclastic flows and volcanic earthquakes (top), explosions and avalanche events (bottom). Courtesy of VSI.

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: W. Tjetjep, VSI; BOM Darwin, Australia.


Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — October 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)


Small ash explosions continue; three new vents form; September dome grows

The observatory was moved on 1 October from the Vue Pointe Hotel to Eifel House on Bishop View Road in Old Towne. A phreatic eruption that day deposited ash across a large area, including the capital city of Plymouth. This eruption was followed by a volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquake swarm, with 70 events located beneath the volcano at depths of 1-6 km. Two of the earthquakes, at 2257 and 2319, had magnitudes of ~2.5 and were felt at the observatory; several were felt in the Long Ground area. After about 0500 on 2 October, the number of located earthquakes dropped to ~5/day. Two episodes of low-amplitude broadband tremor recorded during 1-3 October were related to steam emission. Electronic tiltmeter and EDM observations during that time revealed no significant deformation.

EDM measurements at Tar River completed on 3-4 October continued to show a shortening trend, signaling minor inflation. Shallow VT (12 located events) and long-period (2 events) seismicity continued. Moderate levels of seismicity prevailed during 4-8 October, with 30-40 shallow (< 6 km depth) VT earthquakes each day, rare felt events (M 2-2.5), and a few long-period events. No deformation was detected by electronic tiltmeter.

An explosion around 2355 on 5 October caused heavy ashfall in Plymouth and in the SW part of the island. On 5 October the government announced that over the next two days they would evacuate Plymouth's home for elderly people and the hospital, sending residents to the N part of the island.

Two eruption signals were recorded at 0235 and 0347 on 8 October, and the EDM line at Tar River continued to show minor inflation. Seismicity began decreasing on 8-9 October, when 24 earthquakes were located beneath the volcano, with a few in the Centre Hills area. A small eruption at 1356 on 9 October generated light ashfall in Amersham and Upper Gages. Vent 2 was emitting a small amount of steam again during 7-9 October. Several episodes of broadband tremor may have been caused by increased steam emission. There were only 6 located earthquakes during 9-10 October, but several episodes of broadband tremor. Another minor eruption around 0012 on 10 October caused light ashfall in Plymouth. Visual helicopter inspection of the crater revealed significant steam emission and an increase in the size of the 25 September dome (20:9).

Formation of Vent 5 on 11 October. An ash eruption at 0021 on 11 October came from a new vent on the Tar River side of the Castle Peak dome, and damaged the EDM reflector at Tar River. A small earthquake swarm accompanied this vent formation. There were two more small ash eruptions later that day at 1540 and 1700. Although no significant changes to the dome were noted, steaming continued from its top; Vent 1 was also steaming, and appeared to be larger and deeper. Scientists noted that steam emissions from the crater had generally increased.

Three more ash eruptions occurred on 12 October, at 0901, 0955, and 1114. Continuous steam emission came from several areas in the crater and Vent 5. Two episodes of broadband tremor during 12-13 October were attributed to increased steam emission. Seismicity was low, with only 22 events during 11-13 October. No deformation was detected following this latest series of explosions.

Formation of Vent 6 on 14 October. An eruption at 0708 on 14 October created another vent on the NE flank of Castle Peak dome, generated a significant amount of ash, and ejected blocks as far as the edge of Long Ground, ~1 km E of the vent. A pilot reported that the plume may have reached ~2 km altitude. Another eruption at 1058 caused no reported ashfall. Two gas venting episodes at 2200 and 2345 on the 14th were associated with a small earthquake swarm and broadband tremor episodes. Vent 2 again emitted moderate amounts of steam, accompanied by a loud roaring sound, and Vent 5 continued to emit small amounts of steam. Seismicity decreased from 18 events on 13-14 October to five events accompanied by broadband tremor on 15-16 October.

Seismicity increased again on 16-17 October with 22 events clustered in two areas: one beneath the volcano and the other just E of Windy Hill. Steam-and-ash eruptions were recorded by the seismic network at 1757 and 2245 on 16 October, and at 1150 and 1522 on the 17th. There were also several episodes of broadband tremor and ~30 minutes of low-frequency harmonic tremor starting around 0414 on 17 October. Later that morning an aerial inspection of the crater showed no significant changes and little steaming. During a second flight at 1145, a large mudflow originating within the crater moat beyond Vent 2 was seen running rapidly down the Hot River and reaching the sea. This was probably the largest mudflow (in terms of volume of material) since the current activity began.

During 17-18 October there were 12 scattered earthquakes, several periods of broadband tremor, and some intermediate-frequency tremor. Ash eruptions were recorded at 1739 on the 17th and at 0530 on the 18th. The dome area continued to emit steam, but did not increase in size.

Formation of Vent 7 on 18 October. The 31 earthquakes during 18-19 October were clustered beneath the volcano. Several broadband tremor episodes and one period of low-frequency tremor were also detected. An eruption at 1621 on the 18th was associated with the formation of a new vent within the moat area of English's Crater, just SW of Vent 1. Another eruption was recorded at 2207 on the 18th. An explosive event around 1516 on 19 October generated a mudflow down the Hot River. During 19-20 October there were 28 earthquakes located; the events were scattered throughout S Montserrat, with some clustered beneath Soufriere Hills and St. Georges Hill.

There were 15 VT earthquakes on 20-21 October concentrated around the Long Ground/Soufriere Hills area. Several eruption episodes on 21 October resulted in ashfall that affected villages in the E. Ash fell at the airport for the first time, closing it briefly. No deformation was detected at the Tar River EDM or Long Ground tilt stations. Helicopter observations revealed that Vent 1 had extended E and was responsible for the previous ashfall. There was a small mud flow down the Tar River.

An average of 35 earthquakes/day occurred during 21-23 October. They were scattered throughout S Montserrat with some concentrations in the Long Ground-Tar River area and beneath the volcano. Some broadband tremor was also recorded. Visual observation of English's Crater both from helicopter and Tar River on 22 October revealed light steam emission from vents 2 and 5. When observed on the morning of 23 October, the September dome continued to steam, and was covered with sulfur deposits; it may also have grown since last observed on 20 October. Only one other small area SE of the dome was steaming. An eruption at 1337 on 23 October produced ash deposits within the summit crater and at Tar River. Steam emission increased after this eruption.

Seismicity decreased following this eruption to 10-14 events/day through 29 October, except for 22 events on the 27th. Locations were mainly beneath the volcano, although some were centered in the Windy Hill area and other parts of S Montserrat. An eruption at 1325 on 25 October caused ashfall in the Tar River area. Eruption signals were again recorded at 2314, 2321, and 2347 on 25 October, and at 0447 on the 26th; no ashfall was reported. Several episodes of low-amplitude broadband tremor were recorded during 25-26 October. EDM measurements at Tar River on 26 October indicated a continuation of the minor inflation observed during the past several weeks.

A steam-and-ash eruption at 1317 on 27 October from Vent 1 was followed by more than 30 minutes of low-frequency tremor. Eruption signals were recorded at 0855 and 2018 on 28 October, but no ashfall was reported. Steam emission from Vent 2 was observed that afternoon. Eruptions occurred again at 0326 and 0857 on the 29th, both followed by broadband tremor. An ash-and-steam plume was seen from the observatory following the 0857 event. Steam was seen coming from Vent 1 during a helicopter flight, but no major changes were noted.

Seismicity increased on 29-30 October to 55 events; most were clustered in a region just W of Windy Hill, with some scattered in the Centre Hills and Soufriere Hills areas. Eruption signals were recorded at 2110 on the 29th, and at 0244 and 1310 on the 30th. Two small long-period events were recorded after the first eruption. Ash from the first two of these eruptions was observed in English's Crater by helicopter. The third eruption, witnessed by scientists at the Tar River EDM site, produced a high column that caused ashfall over a wide area. This ashfall was the most significant since 21 August, and was accompanied by a density current of ash in the Gages valley. The morning of 31 October visual observations revealed a significant increase in Vent 1's size, but the 25 September dome appeared unchanged.

Seismicity decreased again the next day to 23 events, but they were located in clusters in the Tar River-Long Ground area and W of Windy Hill. There were also four long-period events and several episodes of broadband tremor. One eruption at 1118 on 31 October had no reported associated ashfall. EDM measurements at Tar River again showed a slight shortening, associated with continued slow inflation of the upper part of the volcanic edifice.

Only 14 seismic events were recorded during 31 October-1 November; most were located beneath the volcano with a few in the Windy Hill and Fox's Bay area. There were three long-period events and several episodes of broadband tremor. A small eruption at 1129 on 1 November caused ashfall within the summit crater.

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: Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), Olde Towne.


Tengger Caldera (Indonesia) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Tengger Caldera

Indonesia

7.942°S, 112.95°E; summit elev. 2329 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption from Bromo sends dark ash plume 700 m above the rim

On 9 September, dark gray emissions were observed reaching a height of 70 m above the rim of Bromo Crater. Volcanic tremor associated with the emission events (maximum amplitude of 1-3 mm) was recorded continuously beginning on 8 September, using a PS-2 seismograph installed 750 m from the active crater. After 10 September the plume was denser than during the March-May 1995 activity (20:03). An international Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) on the morning of 22 September reported an ash cloud with a top at ~3 km altitude and a SW drift. The height of the ash column gradually increased, peaking at 700 m (~3 km altitude) on 25 September (figure 2); during the emission, maximum tremor amplitude was 49 mm. A thick dark gray ash cloud caused ashfall in nearby villages, reported as far away as ~20 km E (around the area of Sukapura). The eruption vent, with a diameter of ~25 m, was located on the N part of the crater floor, similar to the last eruption. Ash eruptions were continuing at the end of October, but the activity was gradually decreasing. In October the maximum plume height was 200-450 m above the crater rim; the maximum tremor amplitude was 8-40 mm.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Height of ash plume and maximum tremor amplitude at Bromo, Tengger Caldera, September-October 1995. Courtesy of VSI.

Geologic Background. The 16-km-wide Tengger caldera is located at the northern end of a volcanic massif extending from Semeru volcano. The massive volcanic complex dates back to about 820,000 years ago and consists of five overlapping stratovolcanoes, each truncated by a caldera. Lava domes, pyroclastic cones, and a maar occupy the flanks of the massif. The Ngadisari caldera at the NE end of the complex formed about 150,000 years ago and is now drained through the Sapikerep valley. The most recent of the calderas is the 9 x 10 km wide Sandsea caldera at the SW end of the complex, which formed incrementally during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. An overlapping cluster of post-caldera cones was constructed on the floor of the Sandsea caldera within the past several thousand years. The youngest of these is Bromo, one of Java's most active and most frequently visited volcanoes.

Information Contacts: W. Tjetjep, VSI; BOM Darwin, Australia.


Vulcano (Italy) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Vulcano

Italy

38.404°N, 14.962°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic activity notably diminished from previous years

Fumarolic activity, vigorous in the late 1980s and through 1994, notably diminished in 1995 (BGVN 20:04 and 20:06). During observations in September, the steam and gas output of the most conspicuous fumaroles, at the N rim of the Fossa Grande crater, was back to pre-1985 levels, and no longer formed sizeable gas plumes. Some of the formerly most vigorous fumaroles and steaming cracks were no longer active. Strong gas emission still occurred from fumaroles in the oversteepened and unstable Forgia Vecchia area, below the N rim of the Fossa Grande, and hydrothermal alteration continued to weaken the rock. Several blocks of strongly altered rock with volumes of ~100-500 m3 each had already detached and subsided by 10-20 cm, and may fall. However, it was uncertain whether they would reach the S margin of the village below the Fossa cone. Fumarolic activity also continued from numerous places on the beach N of the "Faraglione" and on the low isthmus connecting Vulcanello to the main body of Vulcano island. During a visit to the western-most (and most recent) crater of Vulcanello on 13 September, no evidence of recent fumarolic activity was found in its NE part where intense fumarolic activity took place until the mid-19th century.

Geologic Background. The word volcano is derived from Vulcano stratovolcano in Italy's Aeolian Islands. Vulcano was constructed during six stages during the past 136,000 years. Two overlapping calderas, the 2.5-km-wide Caldera del Piano on the SE and the 4-km-wide Caldera della Fossa on the NW, were formed at about 100,000 and 24,000-15,000 years ago, respectively, and volcanism has migrated to the north over time. La Fossa cone, active throughout the Holocene and the location of most of the historical eruptions, occupies the 3-km-wide Caldera della Fossa at the NW end of the elongated 3 x 7 km island. The Vulcanello lava platform forms a low, roughly circular peninsula on the northern tip of Vulcano that was formed as an island beginning in 183 BCE and was connected to Vulcano in about 1550 CE. Vulcanello is capped by three pyroclastic cones and was active intermittently until the 16th century. The latest eruption from Vulcano consisted of explosive activity from the Fossa cone from 1898 to 1900.

Information Contacts: Boris Behncke and Giada Giuntoli, Department of Volcanology and Petrology, GEOMAR, Wischhofstr. 1-3, 24148 Kiel, Germany.


Yellowstone (United States) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Yellowstone

United States

44.43°N, 110.67°W; summit elev. 2805 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New mud volcano, minor mud flow, and associated thermal features

On the SW flank of Sour Creek resurgent dome W of Astringent Creek in the 0.6 Ma Yellowstone caldera, is an extensive, unnamed acid sulfate hydrothermal system (figures 2 and 3). Surface expression of the ~3 km2 thermal area consists of discontinuous high temperature altered ground, turbid springs, pools, seeps, fumaroles, mud pots, a large gas- and sulfur-rich acid lake, and numerous sublimated sulfur mound deposits interspersed among low-temperature forest-covered ground.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Index map of the western United States showing the location of Yellowstone Caldera.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Sketch map of Yellowstone Caldera indicating the location of the recent thermal features described in this and an earlier report.

During early 1990, a significant rise in temperature in the upper NW end of the hydrothermal system began killing old-growth pine trees. Within a year, a new super-heated fumarole emerged, blanketing the downed trees and roots with a layer of hydrothermally altered coarse sand from a directed blast to the N.

The temperature and volume of dry steam venting from the deep "shaft-like" vent steadily increased over the next three years, with the temperature reaching a maximum of 104.3°C on 8 October 1994, ~11°C higher than the local boiling point. The dynamic activity of the fumarole and surrounding hot ground was only monitored about twice a year over the three years following its 1990 inception due to its remote location and restricted access.

A similar progression was previously seen during 1985 in an area ~4.5 km to the E. This area, the upper E margin of the Mushpots thermal area, sits on the W flanks of Pelican Cone (BGVN 17:03). The progression went from new hot ground and dying mature forests, to the vigorous breakout of a dry, super-heated fumarole with progressively hotter temperatures over time, followed by sudden emergence of a large and violent mud volcano. Both the 1985 and recent thermal features had similar fluid compositions.

During 1992-94 the unnamed thermal area W of Astringent Creek developed a series of seven large craters that evolved as the Mushpots thermal area did in 1985. The craters were progressively younger towards the SW, ending at the site of the current new hot ground and fumarole (figure 4). In December 1993, National Park Service research geologist R. Hutchinson predicted that the newest superheated fumarole would soon evolve into a large mud volcano.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Sketch map (scale approximate) showing the surface expression of an unnamed thermal area W of Astringent Creek in Yellowstone Caldera. Coordinates for map's center are at about 44°38'06"N, 110°16'44"W. Courtesy of R. Hutchinson.

As a part of routine monitoring, the thermal area W of Astringent Creek was inspected on 7 June 1995. The former 104.3°C fumarole was replaced by a large vigorous mud pot with ejecta extensively scattered around it. In addition, two new smaller roaring fumaroles at or slightly above boiling point, three new moderate-sized churning caldrons (pits containing hot, agitated aqueous fluids), numerous smaller muddy pools, collapse pits, and frying-pan springs (audibly degassing springs) were apparent then. Extensive areas of unstable quicksand-like saturated ground made up of scalding mud were found under the fallen trees. Some regions were heavily encrusted with sulfate minerals or sulfur crystals; others were covered by baked organic matter on the pine forest's floor.

Extending NW from the largest parasitic churning caldron, below the new mud volcano crater, was a spectacular white kaoline clay mud flow (figure 4, dark shading and arrow showing flow direction). It spread rapidly to reach an average width of 13.8 m in the first 55 meters of its length in dead forest grove and eventually terminated 114 m from its source on the open, acid thermal-basin floor.

The relative freshness of the ejected mud and incorporated semi-coarse sandy material indicated that the super-heated fumarole transformed into the powerful mud volcano between mid-April and mid-May. The distribution of large mud bombs suggested that their trajectories reached 20-30 m above the crater rim. Ejecta were seen along the following compass bearings with the stated maximum distances from the crater: N, 13.6 m; E, 30.2 m; S, 25.4 m; and W, 12.1 m.

When visited on both 7 June and 9 September, the mud volcano still continued to throw mud 0.5-1.5 m high from dozens of points around the crater floor. The mud volcano crater was 13.5-m long, 11.3-m wide, and 3.9-4.9 m deep. A conservative estimate of the crater volume was 315 m3. The total area covered by the ejecta and crater was ~2,100 m2. In the SW quarter of the crater a large, slightly elevated projection was visible with an arcuate line of dry, white, probably super-heated fumarole vents.

The largest parasitic caldron had numerous points of ebullition in its irregularly shaped pool (maximum dimensions of 10.8 x 7.9 m), with a water level 0.7-1.4 m below the former forest floor. The churning water was near boiling, opaque, light tan in color, and partially covered with brown organic-rich foam derived from cooked plant material.

Each of the caldrons were interpreted as being parasitic to the mud volcano crater because they appeared to have evolved shortly after the initial fumarole collapse and then subsequently drained much of its fluids. This relationship seems to have rapidly lowered the crater floor, preventing the accumulation of a thick ejecta cone on the crater rim.

The mud volcano crater, parasitic features, vents, and the associated hot ground remain extremely dangerous and unstable. Additional alterations in the creation of new or enlarged springs, and perhaps even another mud volcano crater are anticipated. With respect to geologic hazards, the acid sulfate thermal area should be checked again in the near future. Photographs were taken on 7 June.

The Yellowstone Plateau volcanic field developed through three volcanic cycles spanning two million years and included some of the world's largest known eruptions. Eruption of the > 2,500 km3 Huckleberry Ridge Tuff ~2.1 million years ago (Ma) created a caldera more than 75 km long. The Mesa Falls Tuff erupted around 1.3 Ma, forming the 25-km-wide Island Park Caldera at the first caldera's W end. A 0.6 Ma eruption deposited the 1,000 km3 Lava Creek Tuff and associated caldera collapse created the rest of the present 45 x 75 km caldera (figure 3). Resurgent doming then occurred; voluminous (1,000 km3) intercaldera rhyolitic lava flows were erupted between 150,000 and 70,000 years ago. Phreatic eruptions produced local tephra layers during the early Holocene. Distinctive geysers, mud pots, hot springs, and other hydrothermal features within Yellowstone caldera helped lead to the establishment of the National Park in 1872.

Geologic Background. The Yellowstone Plateau volcanic field developed through three volcanic cycles spanning two million years that included some of the world's largest known eruptions. Eruption of the over 2450 km3 Huckleberry Ridge Tuff about 2.1 million years ago created the more than 75-km-long Island Park caldera. The second cycle concluded with the eruption of the Mesa Falls Tuff around 1.3 million years ago, forming the 16-km-wide Henrys Fork caldera at the western end of the first caldera. Activity subsequently shifted to the present Yellowstone Plateau and culminated 640,000 years ago with the eruption of the over 1000 km3 Lava Creek Tuff and the formation of the present 45 x 85 km caldera. Resurgent doming subsequently occurred at both the NE and SW sides of the caldera and voluminous (1000 km3) intracaldera rhyolitic lava flows were erupted between 150,000 and 70,000 years ago. No magmatic eruptions have occurred since the late Pleistocene, but large hydrothermal eruptions took place near Yellowstone Lake during the Holocene. Yellowstone is presently the site of one of the world's largest hydrothermal systems including Earth's largest concentration of geysers.

Information Contacts: Roderick A. Hutchinson, National Park Service, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190, USA.

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

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

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

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



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

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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


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

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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