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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

Karymsky (Russia) Explosions during November 2020-January 2021; new eruptive episode in April 2021

Langila (Papua New Guinea) Ash plumes, SO2 emissions, and thermal anomalies during November 2020-April 2021

Dieng Volcanic Complex (Indonesia) Phreatic explosion on 29 April 2021

Pacaya (Guatemala) Ash emissions during March 2021 close airport; lava flows travel over 3 km, burning crops and blocking roads

Etna (Italy) Frequent explosions, ash plumes, fountaining, and lava flows during December 2020-March 2021

Fuego (Guatemala) Ash plumes, ashfall, and incandescent block avalanches through March 2021; lava flows and a pyroclastic flow in mid-February

Kavachi (Solomon Islands) Discolored water plumes observed in satellite imagery during October 2020-April 2021

Semisopochnoi (United States) Ash emissions in June 2020 and during February-May 2021

Piton de la Fournaise (France) New eruption with lava fountains and flows on 7-8 December 2020

Heard (Australia) Thermal anomalies during November 2020 and January 2021

Sabancaya (Peru) Daily ash explosions, large SO2 flux, and thermal anomalies from multiple domes, October 2020-March 2021

Telica (Nicaragua) Numerous explosions and ash plumes during late November-early December 2020



Karymsky (Russia) — May 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

54.049°N, 159.443°E; summit elev. 1513 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions during November 2020-January 2021; new eruptive episode in April 2021

Karymsky, part of Kamchatka’s eastern volcanic zone, has had frequent eruptions since 1996 that have included ash explosions, ash plumes, gas-and-steam emissions, and thermal anomalies. Its most recent eruption began in April 2020 and has been characterized by ash explosions, ash plumes, ashfall, gas-and-steam emissions, and thermal anomalies (BGVN 45:10). This report covers activity from November 2020 through April 2021 and describes the end of the previous eruption in February 2021 and the start of a new eruption in April. Information comes from daily, weekly, and special reports from the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and satellite data.

During the first half of November 2020 activity consisted of intermittent explosions accompanied by thermal anomalies. During 1-2 November an explosion sent ash plume to 6.5 km altitude that extended as far as 60 km ENE and 30 km SW. An ash explosion on 8 November generated an ash plume that rose to 8 km altitude and drifted 230 km NE. According to the Tokyo VAAC ash plumes were observed on 9 and 11 November that rose to 6 and 7 km, respectively. Intermittent thermal anomalies were observed in satellite data throughout the month.

Moderate gas-and-steam emissions were observed intermittently during December, sometimes accompanied by thermal anomalies. On 10 December, at 0845 local time, explosions generated ash plumes that rose to 6-7 km altitude and drifted NW. Ash explosions continued throughout the day, drifting as far as 220 km NW, W, and SW. Subsequent ash plumes were reported on 13 and 18 December that rose to 3.9 km altitude and drifted N, and 2.7 km altitude that drifted SW, respectively. Explosions on 26 and 30 December produced ash plumes that rose to 4-5 km altitude and drifted as far as 70 km NW. The Tokyo VAAC reported ash plumes to 5.2 km altitude that drifted NW and N on 27 December, to 3 km altitude that drifted SE on 29 December, and to 4.6 km altitude that drifted W on 31 December.

Similar ash explosions accompanied by thermal anomalies were reported during early January 2021. On 1 January the Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume that rose up to 5.2 km altitude and drifted S, followed the next day by explosions that sent plumes to 5.5 km altitude and drifted 130 km SE. Some of the resulting ash deposits on the snow-covered flanks were observed in Sentinel-2 natural color satellite imagery (figure 55). KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over a lava dome was visible in satellite images during 14-15, 20-24, and 27 January. Explosivity significantly decreased in February and activity was primarily characterized by moderate gas-and-steam emissions and a thermal anomaly that was last detected on 5 February, marking the end of the current eruption period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Sentinel-2 natural color satellite images showing fresh ash deposits (dark gray) on the snowy flanks at Karymsky, occasionally accompanied by white gas-and-steam plumes, as seen on 3 (top left) and 28 (top right) December 2020 and 2 January (bottom left) 2020. Satellite images with “Natural Color” (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During 2-6 April a thermal anomaly was detected in satellite data, according to KVERT. Explosions on 4 April at 1130 local time resulted in ash plumes that rose to 8.5 km altitude, which then drifted NE for 255 km during the day, marking the beginning of a new eruptive episode. On 11 April at 1745 ash explosions rose to 4 km altitude and drifted 67-115 km SE, according to a VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation). KVERT continued to report weak thermal anomalies that were visible in satellite images during 9-12, 16-17, 22-23, and 29 April.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows three small clusters of low-to-moderate strength thermal anomalies during early November, early December 2020, and early January 2021 (figure 56), which each coincided with explosion events reported by KVERT. No thermal activity was detected after late January through April, according to the MIROVA graph, though KVERT noted thermal anomalies during early February and again in early April. A total of two thermal hotspots were detected by the MODVOLC thermal algorithm on 10 December, which was also visible in an infrared satellite image. Sentinel-2 infrared satellite images captured white gas-and-steam plumes rising from the summit during 10 November and 10 December; on 10 December the explosive events were accompanied by a strong thermal anomaly that was visible through the clouds (figure 57). Weaker thermal anomalies were observed in the summit crater on clear weather days on 25 December and 14 January 2021, which were also reported by KVERT (figure 57).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Small clusters of low-to-moderate strength thermal anomalies at Karymsky were detected during early November, early December 2020, and early January 2021 as seen in the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Sentinel-2 infrared satellite images show strong degassing plumes from the summit crater of Karymsky on 10 November (top left) and 10 December (top right) 2020 both drifting W. On 10 December a strong thermal anomaly was visible at the summit but was mostly obscured by clouds. On 25 December (bottom left) 2020 and 14 January (bottom right) 2021 faint thermal anomalies were still visible in the crater, accompanied by some ash deposits (black color). Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Karymsky, the most active volcano of Kamchatka's eastern volcanic zone, is a symmetrical stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera that formed during the early Holocene. The caldera cuts the south side of the Pleistocene Dvor volcano and is located outside the north margin of the large mid-Pleistocene Polovinka caldera, which contains the smaller Akademia Nauk and Odnoboky calderas. Most seismicity preceding Karymsky eruptions originated beneath Akademia Nauk caldera, located immediately south. The caldera enclosing Karymsky formed about 7600-7700 radiocarbon years ago; construction of the stratovolcano began about 2000 years later. The latest eruptive period began about 500 years ago, following a 2300-year quiescence. Much of the cone is mantled by lava flows less than 200 years old. Historical eruptions have been vulcanian or vulcanian-strombolian with moderate explosive activity and occasional lava flows from the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); 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).


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — May 2021 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 plumes, SO2 emissions, and thermal anomalies during November 2020-April 2021

Langila, located at the western tip of Papua New Guinea’s New Britain Island, consists of a group of four small overlapping cones. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions with ash emissions have been recorded since the 19th century from three active summit craters. The current eruption period began in October 2015 and has recently been characterized by low-level thermal activity and ash plumes (BGVN 45:11). Similar activity continued during this reporting period of November 2020 through April 2021 using information primarily from the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) and satellite images.

The NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide page, using data from the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite, showed a few weak sulfur dioxide plumes during early December 2020 and late March 2021 that drifted in different directions (figure 22). The Darwin VAAC issued notices of ash plumes on 9 January 2021 to 4.9 km altitude that drifted W, on 13 January to 3 km that drifted WSW, and on 5 April to 1.5 km that drifted SW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Small sulfur dioxide plumes were visible above Langila based on data from the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Faint plumes drifted W on 8 December (top left) 2020, N on 10 December (top right), SE on 18 March (bottom left) 2021, and NW on 20 March (bottom right). Small plumes were also present on most of those days originating from Manam (to the W) and Bagana (to the E) volcanoes. Courtesy of the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

MIROVA recorded a single low-power thermal anomaly was detected during early November, followed by four more during early December (figure 23). A low-power cluster of thermal anomalies resumed in mid-March that continued through the month. Three more anomalies were recorded in late April. The latter part of this thermal activity was also detected in Sentinel-2 infrared satellite imagery. A single thermal anomaly was visible at the summit crater beginning in February 2021, and in March a second thermal anomaly appeared that continued to be observed through April (figure 24).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Few low-power thermal anomalies at Langila were detected during early November (1) and early-to-mid-December (4) 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). A cluster of low-power thermal anomalies were detected in mid-March 2021 that continued through the month, followed by three anomalies in late April. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Weak thermal anomalies were visible at the summit of Langila in infrared satellite imagery during February through April 2021. Though clouds obscured most of the view on 12 February (top left), a single faint thermal anomaly was observed. On 9 March (top right) two thermal anomalies were observed at the summit, which were also visible on 6 (bottom left) and 18 (bottom right) April. On 18 April, the western thermal anomaly seemed to have decreased in strength slightly. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Dieng Volcanic Complex (Indonesia) — May 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Dieng Volcanic Complex

Indonesia

7.2°S, 109.879°E; summit elev. 2565 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Phreatic explosion on 29 April 2021

Infrequent phreatic explosions have occurred at the Sileri Crater Lake in the Dieng Volcanic Complex, with three explosions between 30 April and 2 July 2017, and one on 1 April 2018 (BGVN 42:10, 43:05). None were reported in 2019 and 2020. The volcano is monitored by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation or CVGHM).

PVMBG reported that a phreatic explosion at the Sileri Crater Lake occurred at 1825 on 29 April 2021, ejecting rocks 200 m S and E and mud 400 m S and 300 m E. According to a news article, a local road was temporarily closed because rocks (about 10 cm in diameter) from the explosion were scattered along the road and the mud made conditions slippery. The closest residents are 1 km away. The Alert Level remained at 1 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to stay 500 m away from the crater rim.

Geologic Background. The Dieng plateau in the highlands of central Java is renowned both for the variety of its volcanic scenery and as a sacred area housing Java's oldest Hindu temples, dating back to the 9th century CE. The Dieng volcanic complex consists of two or more stratovolcanoes and more than 20 small craters and cones of Pleistocene-to-Holocene age over a 6 x 14 km area. Prahu stratovolcano was truncated by a large Pleistocene caldera, which was subsequently filled by a series of dissected to youthful cones, lava domes, and craters, many containing lakes. Lava flows cover much of the plateau, but have not occurred in historical time, when activity has been restricted to minor phreatic eruptions. Toxic gas emissions are a hazard at several craters and have caused fatalities. The abundant thermal features and high heat flow make Dieng a major geothermal prospect.

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/); Detik News (URL: https://news.detik.com/).


Pacaya (Guatemala) — June 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions during March 2021 close airport; lava flows travel over 3 km, burning crops and blocking roads

Extensive lava flows, bomb-laden Strombolian explosions, and ash plumes from Mackenney crater have characterized the persistent activity at Pacaya since 1961. The latest eruptive period began with intermittent ash plumes and incandescence in June 2015; the growth of a new pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater was confirmed later that year and has continued, producing frequent loud Strombolian explosions rising above the crater rim and ongoing ash emissions. In addition, flank fissures have been the source of lava flows during 2019-2021. A significant increase in both effusive and explosive activity that began in February 2021 continued through mid-May. Activity during March-May 2021 is covered in this report with information provided by Guatemala's Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), multiple sources of satellite data, and photographs from observers on the ground.

Summary of activity during March-May 2021. Incandescent explosions, ash emissions, and subsequent ashfall increased substantially at the beginning of March 2021 from the already increased levels during February. Explosions sent ejecta hundreds of meters high and hundreds of meters from the summit; ash plumes drifted tens to hundreds of kilometers and ashfall occurred almost daily in communities within tens of kilometers of Mackenney crater. The most extensive ash emissions forced closure of the International Airport in Guatemala City on 22 March. Ash emissions decreased during April and were intermittent into the first half of May, after which they tapered off.

Effusive activity also increased significantly during March 2021; by early in the month as many as three lava flows with multiple branches, all about 1 km long, were simultaneously active on multiple flanks. A new fast-moving flow appeared on the SW flank during the second half of March and rapidly reached 1.5 km in length, flowing NW then SW, ultimately extending over 3 km. It had multiple branches that caused vegetation fires, destroyed significant cropland, and crossed roads before stopping in mid-April. A new flow emerged along a similar path at the end of April and grew to over 2 km long in early May before activity at its source fissure ended on 17 May. High temperatures remained at many flow areas around the volcano for the rest of the month.

The high levels of activity are reflected in the MIROVA radiative power data for the period which show the increase in intensity to very high levels through mid-April, followed by a pulse in late April and early May that corresponds to explosions and lava flows. Thermal activity decreased significantly by the third week of May (figure 160). The MODVOLC thermal alert data shows a similar pattern with multiple alerts issued most days in March and for the first half of April, and another pulse of activity from 27 April-13 May. Significant sulfur dioxide emissions were recorded in satellite data several times in March and April and corresponded to periods of increased explosive and effusive activity (figure 161).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 160. The ongoing eruption at Pacaya increased significantly in intensity in December 2020 and continued to increase through March 2021 as seen in this MIROVA log radiative power graph. Abundant ash emissions and extensive lava flows emerged from numerous fissures until activity decreased substantially in mid-May 2021. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 161. Pulses of increased sulfur dioxide emissions at Pacaya were measured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite multiple times during March and April 2021, including (top row, left to right) on 5, 10, and 21 March, and (bottom row) 6, 8, and 16 April. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Activity during March 2021. A notable increase in seismicity early on 1 March 2021 coincided with increased Strombolian activity. Observatorio Volcán de Pacaya geologists observed explosions sending ejecta 500 m above the rim of Mackenney crater accompanied by plumes of ash and gas that reached 3.5 km altitude and drifted W and SW. For most of March high levels of Strombolian activity sent ejecta 200-400 m high each day, sometimes higher, reaching 800 m on 3 March, 800-1,000 m on 5 March, and 700 m on 10 March (figure 162). Sounds as loud as a train locomotive or plane engine from the explosions were frequently reported, and ejecta was sometimes scattered 500-600 m from the cone. Explosive activity with ejecta and ash emissions were also reported from the fissure feeding the lava flow on the S flank 300 m below Mackenney crater. On 14 March, ejecta from the fissure sent block avalanches 1,300 m down the S flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 162. Strombolian activity at Pacaya sent ejecta hundreds of meters above the summit and down the flanks on 4 March 2021 while effusion continued on the SW flank, also producing an intense glow. Image by Reuters photographer Josue Decavele taken from Los Rios. Courtesy of Reuters Pictures.

The increase in explosive activity also included an increase in dense ash emissions and resulting ashfall during March 2021. Ash plume heights ranged from 3 to 5.5 km altitude, and often drifted W, NW, or SW. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume centered about 75 km WSW of the summit on 1 March. On 3 March a dense ash emission was drifting W from the summit at 3.7 km altitude. The next day ash was detected almost 100 km SW just off the Mexican Pacific coast before dissipating. The altitude of the ash emissions increased to 4.9 km on 5 March; puffs drifting W were visible in satellite images extending over 250 km from the summit the next day. Pulses of activity lasted between 15 minutes and 13 hours, and produced tephra fallout around the volcano, dense ash plumes that drifted 3-5 km, and finer ash plumes that drifted more than 60 km.

Explosions on 7 March caused lava fountains 100-500 m above the crater. The following day ash plumes were drifting 45 km SW at 3 km altitude. On 9 March ash plumes fanned out from the NW to the SW about 30 km from the summit before dissipating. From 11 March onward multiple daily discrete ash emissions extended at least 30-50 km WNW and SW from the summit at altitudes of 3.7-4.3 km altitude, and much farther on some days. The plumes reached 90 km WSW on 12 March, and 140 km W on 14 March. The next day, ash emissions extended over 100 km WSW, with remnants visible in satellite images almost 185 km away by the end of the day. On 16 March they drifted 170 km WNW at 4.3 km altitude and on 18 March the ash emissions were observed drifting SW at 3.4 km altitude extending 185 km from the summit. Dense gray-black emissions were accompanied by white steam emissions on 21 March (figure 163).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 163. Dense dark gray ash emissions rose from the summit of Pacaya on 21 March 2021 causing significant ashfall around the region. In addition, white steam plumes surrounded the summit. Courtesy of CONRED.

Dense ash clouds seen on 22 March 2021 were drifting rapidly SSE at 4.9 km altitude as far as 75 km, SE at 6.1 km altitude, and visible in satellite imagery moving E at 7.6 km altitude up to 25 km from the volcano. The next day they were drifting NE at 3 km altitude up to 90 km away, and SW at 4.6 km altitude. A narrow ash plume was detected in visible satellite imagery on 28 March drifting about 80 km NW of the summit before dissipating. Over the next two days a plume was detected moving SW at 3 km altitude about 130-150 km from the summit. In addition, another plume was drifting NW at 4.3 km altitude on 31 March causing dense ash to cover the summit of Fuego that was visible on webcams. The lower plume was visible over 300 km SW of Pacaya before it dissipated (figure 164).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 164. Haze from ash emissions at Pacaya extends for tens of kilometers across the region in multiple directions after many days of emissions, while a fresh ash plume rises above the volcano in the left foreground on 31 March 2021. Ash drifted NW up to 50 km and was reported in Sacatepéquez and Chimaltenango. In the middle right to the NW is the large Agua volcano, and behind it to the right are Fuego and Acatenango. Ash from Pacaya was visible in Fuego webcams that day. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

Communities all around Pacaya were affected by ashfall many times throughout March 2021 (figure 165, table 7). Most of the communities were within 10 km of the summit, but ashfall reached more than 20 km away multiple times. During the bigger ashfall events, blocks more than 6 cm in diameter fell on the flanks of the volcano, while lapilli (2 mm to 6 cm) fell up to 5 km away, and fine ash was observed up to 30 km away (figure 166). The most significant ashfall events occurred during 22-23 March when ash drifted tens of kilometers in multiple directions and caused the closure of La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City (figure 167).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 165. Communities all around Pacaya were affected by ashfall throughout March 2021. The red oval was the area where INSIVUMEH cautioned residents to be prepared for ashfall and lapilli after explosions on 3 March. All of the communities shown by yellow stars were affected by ashfall at some point during March. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Boletin Volcanologico especial BEPAC-41-2021, Eruption, Volcan Pacaya, 3 de marzo 2021, 11:55 horas).

Table 7. Communities reporting ashfall from Pacaya during March 2021. Information courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

Date Direction Tephra Description Community
01 Mar 2021 SW Ash El Patrocinio and others in that direction.
03 Mar 2021 SW Ash El Patrocinio and El Rodeo, SW flank.
05 Mar 2021 SW Ash, lapilli (2 mm to 6 cm) and blocks greater than 6 cm San Francisco de Sales, Cerro Chino, El Cedro, El Patrocinio and El Rodeo, ash in Los Rios and Los Jazmines communities, and in the municipalities of Palín (10 km WNW) and Escuintla (20 km SW).
06 Mar 2021 W, S Ash El Patrocinio and El Rodeo, SW flank.
08 Mar 2021 SW, S, SE Ash Pacaya village, El Chupadero farm, La Laguna farm and others in this area.
10 Mar 2021 W, SW Coarse ash and lapilli El Patrocinio, El Caracol.
11 Mar 2021 W, SW Ash El Patrocinio and San José El Rodeo in the municipality of San Vicente Pacaya.
14 Mar 2021 W, SW, NW Ash San José el Bejucal, San Antonio el Pepinal, San Francisco de Sales, Concepción el Cedro, San José Calderas, fine ash in the municipalities of Amatitlán (10 km N), Villa Nueva (15 km N), Mixco (30 km NNE) and the Capital city (25 km NNE).
15 Mar 2021 W, NW Ash Communities on the NW, W, SW flanks.
16 Mar 2021 NW, W Ash, Lapilli Fine ash to 2 cm long lapilli in El Patrocinio, San José El Rodeo and Concepción El Cedro, in the municipality of San Vicente Pacaya. Fine ash in the urban area of Amatitlán.
17 Mar 2021 SW, W, NW, N Ash El Rodeo, El Patrocinio, El Cedro, San Francisco de Sales, Amatitlán, Villa Nueva.
18 Mar 2021 S, SW Ash El Rodeo, El Patrocinio, Los Pocitos and others in these directions.
22 Mar 2021 E, SE, S, SW Ash El Rodeo, El Patrocinio, Los Pocitos, Los Dolores, Los Llanos, Santa Elena Barillas, Mesías Alta and Mesías Baja.
23 Mar 2021 S, NE Lapilli, ash Lapilli in San Francisco de Sales and San José Calderas. Ash reported in El Cedro, San Francisco de Sales, Mesías Bajas, Mesías Altas, Los Pocitos, Los Dolores, Santa Elena Barillas, and also Villa Nueva and the Capital Guatemala City. La Aurora International Airport (25 km NNE) closed.
24 Mar 2021 NE Ash Mesillas Altas and Mesillas Bajas.
25 Mar 2021 W, NW, NE, N Ash San Francisco de Sales, San Vicente Pacaya, Pepinal, El Cedro, Calderas, Mesías Alta, and Messías Baja.
26 Mar 2021 SW Ash El Rodeo and El Patrocinio.
27 Mar 2021 S Ash El Rodeo, El Patrocinio, Cedro, San Vicente Pacaya, and others in that area.
28 Mar 2021 S, SW Ash El Patrocinio.
30 Mar 2021 S Ash Communities on S flank including Finca El Chupadero and Los Pocitos.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 166. Lapilli-size tephra (2 mm to 6 cm) from Pacaya was reported several times during March 2021 in communities as far as 5 km away, including this example on 16 March 2021 from Concepcion El Cedro (4 km NNW). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (BOLETIN VULCANOLOGICO ESPECIAL BEPAC-56-2021, ACTUALIZACION DE ACTIVIDAD Y CAIDA DE TEFRA, 16 de marzo 2021, 09:05 horas).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 167. A plane at the La Aurora international airport in Guatemala City was dusted with ash from Pacaya on 23 March 2021, forcing closure of the airport for much of the day. Photo by Moises Castillo/AP, courtesy of CNN.

Lava flow activity also increased significantly during March 2021. At the end of February, an active flow on the S flank remained about 1 km long, shedding incandescent blocks hundreds of meters from its advancing front. By 3 March, three flows with multiple branches were active on the SSW flank; they were 800-1,000 m long (figure 168). On 5 and 6 March two flows with many branches extended 300-500 m down the S flank (figure 169). Flows were active on the SW, S, and SE flanks on 7 March. The S-flank-flow with two branches reached 1 km long by 8 March and had incandescent blocks constantly falling of the leading edge. It increased steadily in length, reaching 1.8 km by 16 March (figure 170).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 168. Three flows were active on the S and SW flanks of Pacaya on 3 March 2021, seen here with an infrared camera. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 169. On 5 March 2021 two main flows with multiple branches extended 300-500 m down the S flank of Pacaya causing very bright thermal signatures in satellite imagery. Sentinel-2 image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11 and 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 170. Two branches of the S-flank lava flow at Pacaya were each about 1.4 km long on 12 March 2021. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (FOTOGRAFÍAS RECIENTES DE VOLCANES).

Two new flows emerged from the S and SE flanks on the morning of 18 March (figure 171). The S-flank flow grew to 500 m and part of it overflowed outside the plateau. The SE-flank flow was 400 m long in front of the village of Los Llanos, causing fires in the vegetation which continued for several days (figure 172). On 20 March the SE flank flow caused a strong thermal signature in satellite imagery with incandescent blocks falling downslope far beyond the front (figure 173). During the night of 20-21 March, a new flow appeared on the SW flank and grew to 500 m long; the flow on the SE flank reached 850 m. The following day the rapidly growing SW-flank-flow reached 1,500 m long, causing vegetation fires on ranches in Las Granadillas.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 171. Two new flows emerged from the flanks of Pacaya on 18 March 2021 as seen in this FLIR thermal webcam image. The S-flank flow (center) grew to 500 m with two active branches. The SE flank flow (right) descended 400 m near the village of Los Llanos and burned vegetation. A third fissure higher on the SW flank (upper left) also had a short active flow. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Boletin Vulcanologico Especial BEPAC 58-2021, 18 March 2021).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 172. Burning vegetation from a lava flow on Pacaya’s SE flank was controlled by CONRED workers on 20 March 2021. It was burning at the Los Llanos farmhouse, Finca el Muñeco, Villa Canales. Photo by Sergio Girón, courtesy of CONRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 173. On 20 March 2021, a flow on the SE flank of Pacaya was about 400 m long with incandescent blocks falling several hundred meters downslope to the SE and causing fires in the vegetation. A strong thermal signature was also present from explosive activity inside Mackenney crater (top). Sentinel-2 image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11 and 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Three flows were active on 22 March 2021, with existing flows on the SW (1,500 m) and SE flanks (300 m), and a new flow on the E (500 m) flank. By 25 March activity was focused on the SW-flank flow which had reached 2.5 km in length (figure 174). It was about 400 m wide and 2.5 m high, burning vegetation as it advanced, and causing damage on coffee and avocado plantations. By 31 March the flow exceeded 3 km in length with multiple active fronts. One of the flow fronts near the community of La Breña was still advancing, but the one at the Campo Alegre farm had stopped moving. The flow continued to cause fires, destroy crops and buildings, and block roads (figure 175).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 174. A large flow on Pacaya’s SW flank had reached 2.5 km long by 25 March 2021 (left) and over 3 km long 5 days later on 30 March (right). It flowed W from a fissure on the W flank, then NW around a higher area before continuing SSW. The flow caused fires, destroyed crops and buildings, and blocked roads. Sentinel-2 images use Atmospheric rendering (bands 12, 11 and 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 175. The large lava flow on Pacaya’s SW flank had traveled over 2.5 km by 27 March 2021 when this wide-angle drone image was taken. One of the fronts of the flow was near the community of La Breña and the other was near the Campo Alegre farm. Courtesy of CONRED.

Activity during April 2021. On 1 April 2021 remnant plumes from earlier ash emissions were moving SW over the Pacific about 400 km from the summit at 4.3 km altitude, while newer emissions were drifting S at 3.4 km altitude towards the coast. Continuous ash emissions were reported by the Washington VAAC through April 4 (figure 176) drifting tens of kilometers mostly SW at 3.5-4.5 km altitude. Ash drifted up to 20 km S and SW during the first week and caused frequent ashfall in communities on the SE, S, and SW flanks, with the most affected being Los Pocitos, El Rodeo, and El Patrocinio. A few moderate to strong explosions sent ejecta 100-500 m above the Mackenney crater. By 9 April ash emissions were more sporadic and tended to drift only 5-10 km SW, W, and NW, and no ashfall was reported. The VAAC reported occasional emissions observed in the webcam on 8 and 14 April. An ash plume was detected on 16 April moving NNW at 3.4 km altitude. Strombolian activity diminished and activity changed to primarily steam and gas plumes rising 200 m above the crater after this. A short episode of sporadic explosions during 24-29 April sent ejecta to 250 m above the crater, generated loud noises, and produced ash emissions that rose a few hundred meters and drifted several kilometers.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 176. Daily explosions at Pacaya produced dense ash emissions rising to 3.5-4.5 km altitude during the first part of April, including on 2 April 2021 when the ash drifted S and SE. Multiple branches of the lava flow on the SW flank were also burning vegetation near Las Granadillas and Buena Vista (smoke plumes in the foreground). Courtesy of CONRED.

The SW-flank flow that began during 20-21 March remained active into early April and was 2.8-3 km long during the first week. It continued to advance during the second week and reached 3.7 km long with multiple active branches that were burning vegetation (figure 177). During 7-11 April it was advancing W and N in the area of La Breña and W and S in the area of El Patrocinio and El Rodeo on the Campo Alegre farm (figure 178). By 10 April this flow was 400 m from El Patrocinio and 250 m from San José El Rodeo. By 13 April it was burning avocado and coffee plantations 370 m from houses in El Patrocinio (figure 179). Another active front to the south was 250 m E of El Rodeo and had blocked the road between El Rodeo, El Caracol, and Los Pocitos. The seismic activity associated with the lava effusion decreased significantly beginning on 16 April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 177. Lava from Pacaya’s SW-flank flow was 300 m wide and extended more than 3 km by 7 April 2021; it was burning vegetation in its path as it advanced at about 5 meters per hour. Courtesy of CONRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 178. The SW-flank flow at Pacaya continued to advance during the first half of April 2021 as seen here on 4 (left) and 9 (right) April. The communities of La Breña, El Patrocinio, and El Rodeo were the most affected. Sentinel-2 images use Atmospheric rendering (bands 12, 11 and 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 179. By 14 April 2021 the SW-flank flow at Pacaya was 3.7 km long and several hundred meters wide. It had multiple active branches that came within a few hundred meters of the communities of El Patrocinio and San José El Rodeo and had burned significant acreage on coffee and avocado plantations. It also blocked the road between El Rodeo, El Caracol, and Los Pocitos. Courtesy of CONRED.

During 18-20 April 2021 the branch near La Breña stopped advancing, and by 21 April the branch near El Patrocinio had stopped (figure 180), although temperatures remained high and gas emissions from vents along the flow continued in many places through the end of April. A lava flow appeared on the SE flank on 27 April, following a few days of renewed explosive activity, and grew to 175 m by 29 April. INSIVUMEH reported another new flow on the N flank on 29 April (figure 181); it advanced rapidly to the NW around Cerro Chino, and then turned towards the SW, reaching 1.6 km long by later in the day when the leading edge was located about 100 m from La Breña with several active flow fronts.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 180. The lava flow on the SW flank of Pacaya stopped advancing a few hundred meters before reaching El Patrocinio in San Vicente Pacaya, home to about 350 people, on 21 April 2021. Photo by Moises Castillo/Associated Press, courtesy of KTLA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 181. A lava flow emerged on the N flank of Pacaya on 29 April 2021 and advanced rapidly NW around Cerro Chino and then SW towards La Breña, reaching 1.6 km long by the end of the day. Courtesy of Colred Los Llanos.

Activity during May 2021. Sporadic emissions of steam and gas with occasional ash were typical from Mackenney crater at the beginning of May 2021. Possible ash emissions were seen in satellite data on 1 May drifting W at 3.4 km altitude. Dense plumes, some with abundant ash, were reported on 8 May drifting W and S. Strombolian activity on 10 May from the NW-flank fissure was feeding the flow which began on 29 April; it sent ejecta 50-150 m high, and loud noises were heard. The Washington VAAC reported minor amounts of ash observed in satellite images moving SW from the summit during 10-13 May, when intermittent pulses of dense ash were reported drifting W and SW from the crater. Intermittent ash emissions rose to 3.7 km altitude on 14 May and were observed about 100 km SW before dissipating. Ash plumes drifted up to 5 km W on 15 and 16 May, causing ashfall during 16 and 17 May in El Patrocinio and El Rodeo (figure 182). During 18-21 May constant steam and gas, and periodic ash, emissions drifted 5-10 km NW and W at about 3 km altitude with ashfall reported in communities such as San Francisco de Sales, Concepción El Cedro, Aldea El Patrocinio, and San Miguel Petapa. For the remainder of May, small quantities of ash accompanied dense steam and gas emissions that rose 200-700 m above the summit and drifted W, SW, and S up to 5 km. El Patrocinio, El Rodeo, and other fincas in that area within 10 km reported ashfall on 26 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 182. Pulses of dense ash emissions from the summit of Pacaya were noted on 16 May 2021 by a team of volcanologists from Boise State and Michigan Tech Universities. Steam and gas from still-hot lava flows rose from the flanks. Courtesy of Geo_Sci_Jerry.

The N-flank flow that began on 29 April 2021 continued to advance into early May. It had originally flowed NW, then curved around Cerro Chino and headed W. It was 2 km long and advancing in the vicinity of La Breña on 3 May. On 5 May incandescent ejecta was observed at the fissure feeding the flow, which had advanced to the S of La Breña where incandescent blocks continued to fall off the front of the advancing flow. On 6 May the flow reached 2.3 km in length on the W flank, with only one of the fronts continuing to advance slowly. Small explosions were reported at the fissure. The lava flow continued to advance laterally in places as incandescent material spilled over the edges. Explosions from the fissure on 9 May threw material 15 m away as the flow continued moving slowly W (figure 183). By 11 May the flow was no longer advancing at its front but was still expanding due to overflows along its edges. Explosions from the fissure on 14 May launched ejecta 40 m (figure 184), and the flow front again moved slowly westward; by then it was about 2.3 km long (figure 185). Activity at the fissure ceased by 17 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 183. Strombolian explosions at the fissure feeding the W-flank lava flow at Pacaya were visible on the night of 8 May 2021. Although the lava flowed rapidly, it didn’t advance significantly after the first week of May; instead the lava flowed laterally and spread out over the flanks in several places until activity at the fissure ceased on 17 May. Copyrighted photo by David Rojas, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 184. The fissure on the NW flank of Pacaya was still active on 14 May 2021. Explosions produced ash and ejecta that rose 40 m above the fissure. Courtesy of CONRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 185. The flow on the NW flank of Pacaya was also still active on 14 May 2021. It was over 2 km long and still actively flowing but no longer advancing. Sentinel-2 image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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/ ); Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://conred.gob.gt/www/index.php, https://twitter.com/ConredGuatemala/status/1393207685756203011); Colred Los Llanos, Coordinadora local para la reduccion de desastres, Los Llanos, Villa Canales (URL: https://www.facebook.com/Colred-Los-Llanos-102105058094847); 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/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Reuters Pictures (URL: https://twitter.com/reuterspictures/status/1367472450418704387); CNN (URL: https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/23/americas/guatemala-airport-volcano-closure-latam-intl/index.html); KTLA, (URL: https://ktla.com/news/nationworld/lava-from-guatemalas-pacaya-volcano-threatens-small-communities-that-live-nearby/); David Rojas, (URL: https://twitter.com/DavidRojasGt/status/1391592159221063680); Geo_Sci_Jerry (URL: https://twitter.com/SciJerry/status/1394083192773222406).


Etna (Italy) — April 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent explosions, ash plumes, fountaining, and lava flows during December 2020-March 2021

Etna is located on the island of Sicily, Italy, and has had eruptions that date back 3,500 years. Its most recent eruptive period began in September 2013 and more recently has been characterized by frequent Strombolian explosions, effusive activity, and ash emissions. Activity has commonly originated from the summit areas, including the Northeast Crater (NEC), the Voragine-Bocca Nuova (or Central) complex (VOR-BN), the Southeast Crater (SEC, formed in 1978), and the New Southeast Crater (NSEC, formed in 2011). Another crater, referred to as the "cono della sella" (saddle cone), developed during early 2017 in the area between SEC and NSEC. This report covers activity from December 2020 through March 2021, consisting of frequent Strombolian explosions of variable intensity, effusive activity, ash emissions, and ashfall. Information for this report comes from weekly and special reports by the Osservatorio Etneo (OE), part of the Catania Branch of Italy's Istituo Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologica (INGV).

Summary of activity during December 2020-March 2021. Intra-crater Strombolian explosions that varied in frequency and intensity throughout the reporting period, and the accompanying ash plumes that rose to a maximum altitude of 11 km, primarily originated from the Southeast Crater (SEC), Voragine Crater (VOR), and occasionally the Northeast Crater (NEC) and Bocca Nuova Crater (BN). Beginning in mid-February a series of short lava fountaining events occurred in the SEC that continued through March. These episodes were also characterized by accompanying ash plumes, incandescent ejecta, and lava flows.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows strong and frequent thermal anomalies throughout the reporting period (figure 319). Some of these anomalies were markedly high in mid-December, mid-January, and mid-March. According to the MODVOLC thermal algorithm, a total of 190 alerts were detected in the summit craters during December through March; thermal anomalies were reported for nine days in December, eleven days in January, fifteen days in February, and sixteen days in March. Frequent Strombolian activity contributed to distinct SO2 plumes that drifted in multiple directions (figure 320).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 319. Strong and frequent thermal anomalies at Etna were detected during December 2020 through March 2021, as reflected in the MIROVA data (Log Radiative Power). Some thermal anomalies were significantly high in mid-December, mid-January, and mid-March. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 320. Distinct SO2 plumes from Etna were detected by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite on multiple days during December 2020 to March 2021 due to frequent Strombolian explosions, including 22 December (top left) 2020, 20 January (top right), 21 February (bottom left), and 7 March (bottom right) 2021. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Activity during December 2020. During December, INGV reported intra-crater Strombolian explosions in the SEC, NEC, and BN. During the more intense SEC explosions material was ejected onto the flanks. Gas-and-steam emissions were reported in the VOR. A field survey on 13-14 December showed that the SEC was an irregular ellipse 150 x 230 m open to the SW. On 13 December Strombolian activity intensified at 2020 and around 2300 evolved to lava fountains which lasted through 2350, though explosions continued. Collapses of the SW part of the SEC at 2315 resulted in pyroclastic flows that traveled up to 2 km, covering the Monte Frumento Supino cone (SSW flank). Around that time two fissures opened on the SW flank of the SEC and produced lava flows until about 2350 (figure 321). A third minor pyroclastic flow went down the SSW flank at 2330. Two lava fountains were seen during 0050-0110 on 14 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 321. Photos of Strombolian activity at the Southeast Crater at Etna on the evening of 14 December 2020 (left) seen from Tremestieri Etneo (20 km S) and a thermal image showing the Bocca Nuova, Voragine, and three active vents in the SEC seen from the Montagnola (EMOV) thermal camera at 0949 (UTC) on 15 December (right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 52/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 14/12/2020 – 20/12/2020, data emissione 22/12/2020).

During a field inspection on 14 December scientists noted that the two lava flows on the S and SW flanks were cooling; the S flow had widened near the base of the SEC and formed four main lobes, one of which had stopped just NW of the cones that formed in 2002-2003 (figure 322). The SW flow traveled SSW, branched, curved around the W part of Monte Frumento Supino, and then stopped. An explosion in the easternmost SEC vent generated an ash plume at 1352 that rose to 4 km altitude and drifted S. Additionally, on 14 December sporadic ash explosions resumed in the VOR; incandescent ejecta was visible at night. On 15 December a new lava flow formed on the SW flank of the SEC at 0924 that advanced a few hundred meters. Eruptive activity briefly stopped in the E vent of the SEC during the afternoon of the 15th and during 16-18 December exhibited strong degassing and nighttime incandescence.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 322. Map of the Southeastern Crater (SEC) at Etna showing active lava flows and the cono della sella (red dot). The light green hatch mark represents the location of the eruptive fissure that opened on the SEC flank. The lava flow extended about 2 km SW, and by 14 December had formed four main lobes. The black arrow represents the direction of the pyroclastic flow after the collapse of the SW portion of the SEC cone. This map uses ground observations and thermal image analysis on a PlanetScope satellite image. Courtesy of INGV (Report 51/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 07/12/2020 – 13/12/2020, data emissione 15/12/2020).

Seismic tremor amplitude gradually increased on 20 December, though weather conditions prevented observations. On 21 December at 1008 Strombolian activity increased in the SEC from the central and easternmost vents. Activity evolved to lava fountaining that lasted an hour, as well as an ash plume that rose to 10 km altitude and drifted NE. An active lava flow was still visible on the SW part of the cone which had collapsed on 13 December. A second flow was observed at 1521 on the S slope of the SEC that descended toward the Valle del Bove. Activity continued through the night (figure 323), and on 22 December at 0350 Strombolian activity increased in the central and easternmost vents; around 0415 a lava flow from the SW flank traveled W, overlapping cooling lava from 21 December. Lava fountaining began again at 0519 and fed three lava flows: one from the S flank traveled SW for 2.8 km and was 600 m wide, branching off to the W and E of Monte Frumento Supino, a second that traveled 2.8 km E toward the Valle del Bove, and a third that originated at the E vent of the SEC that traveled 1.3 km ENE toward the Valle del Leone (figure 324). At 0520 a few small phreatic explosions in the Valle del Bove were due to the lava flow interacting with snow. By 0600 the lava fountains gradually subsided and stopped, though Strombolian explosions persisted at varying intensities. On 24 December at 0830 explosive activity in the E vent of the SEC gradually increased, ejecting material above the crater rim and emitting ash that drifted E.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 323. Photo of Etna’s Southeast Crater showing a new episode of lava fountaining during the early morning on 22 December 2020 viewed from Tremestieri Etneo, south of the volcano. Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 324. Thermal webcam images showing (top left) Strombolian explosions and (top right) lava fountaining in the Southeast Crater seen from the Nicolosi (ENT) and Montagnola (EMOT) cameras on 22 December 2020. Lava flows were visible traveling toward the Valle del Bove and Valle del Leone seen from the Monte Cagliato (EMCT) (bottom left) and Schiena della’asino (ESR) (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 53/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 21/12/2020 – 27/12/2020, data emissione 29/12/2020).

On 29 December at 0750 there was a gradual increase in explosive activity in the E vent of the SEC, producing ash emissions that drifted ENE. Around 0900 Strombolian activity further intensified, ejecting coarse material onto the E flank of SEC (figure 325), but by 1000 the explosions had decreased. Intra-crater Strombolian activity in the NEC, VOR, and BN continued with sporadic ash emissions through the rest of the month; explosions in the VOR intensified, ejecting material above the crater rim.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 325. Photos of the Strombolian activity at the Voragine (left background) and Southeast Crater (right foreground) at Etna on the evening of 28 December (left) and ash emissions rising from the SEC on the morning of 29 December (right) 2020. Photos by Boris Behncke, INGV.

Activity during January 2021. Activity in January continued with intra-crater Strombolian explosions of variable intensity in the SEC, NEC, VOR, and BN with sporadic ash emissions. On 4 and 6 January at least two episodes of intense Strombolian explosions produced continuous ash plumes that drifted E and ejected coarse pyroclastic material. A lava flow on 17 January breached the SEC at 0740 and traveled to the base of the cone toward the Valle del Bove (figure 326); the lava effusion rate increased at 0819, and the flow reached an elevation of 3 km by 1000. Volcanic tremor amplitude and Strombolian activity intensified at 2000 on 18 January, evolving into lava fountains through 2130. A lava flow emerged in the E vent of the SEC at 2015 and moved 2 km ESE toward the Valle del Bove. Lava fountaining produced a plume that drifted SE, resulting in ashfall in Fleri and Acicastello (figure 327). During 2130-2147 a second lava flow on the N side of the SEC reached a length of 1.3 km. By 19 January the explosions decreased in intensity and the lava flows had begun to cool. On 20 January a new lava flow on the N side of the SEC traveled ENE at 0140, overlapping the previous flow on the 18th; by 1830 it was no longer active. The VOR was characterized by almost continuous Strombolian explosions that ejected material above the crater rim. Satellite imagery from 27 January showed that a small lava flow from a vent in the N section of the VOR was pouring into the BN. The BN also produced Strombolian explosions that often ejected material above the crater rim. At night, summit crater incandescence was observed in the NEC.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 326. Map of the summit craters of Etna showing the active vents and lava flow field on 18 January 2021. The base is modified from a 2014 DEM created by Laboratorio di Aerogeofisica-Sezione Roma 2. The hatch marks indicate the crater rims: BN = Bocca Nuova; VOR = Voragine; NEC = North East Crater; SEC = South East Crater. Red circles indicate areas with ash emissions and/or Strombolian activity. Yellow circles indicate steam and/or gas emissions only. The red shape highlights the active lava flow on 18 January and the yellow and orange shape highlights the cooling lava flow from 17 January. Courtesy of INGV (Report 04/2021, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 18/01/2021 – 26/01/2021, data emissione 26/01/2021).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 327. Photos of lava fountains and an ash plume in the SEC at Etna that resulted in ashfall on the SE flank (top) as well as in Fleri (bottom left) and Acicastello (bottom right). Photo a was taken from Tremestieri on the S side of the volcano. Courtesy of INGV (Report 04/2021, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 18/01/2021 – 26/01/2021, data emissione 26/01/2021).

Activity during February 2021. Variable Strombolian activity continued into February at all four summit craters; the last time this occurred was during 1998-1999. The most intense, almost continuous, Strombolian explosions at the SEC originated from two vents in the eastern top of the cone; less intense activity occurred at the S vent. Intra-crater Strombolian activity at the NEC sometimes produced nighttime incandescence. Explosions at the BN sometimes ejected coarse material above the crater rim. A field inspection on 5 February showed that three scoria cones had been built around vents at the bottom of the crater. Another nearby cone occasionally produced dense emissions. Intra-crater lava flows continued to spill into the BN from the VOR, overlapping those formed in late January. On 6 February around 0530 Strombolian activity intensified in the E vent of the SEC and produced an ash plume that drifted E.

During the morning of 15 February explosive activity at the SEC intensified, with activity continuing at the E vents. Sporadic and sometimes violent explosions were also observed at the saddle cone; intra-crater explosive activity continued in the BN, VOR, and NEC. On 16 February at 1700 lava began advancing down the E flank of the SEC for a few kilometers. A partial cone collapse at 1705 produced a pyroclastic flow that traveled 1.5 km along the W wall of the Valle del Bove. The activity changed to lava fountains around 1710, rising 500-600 m high and generating an ash plume that rose to 6-10 km altitude and drifted S (figure 328). Centimeter-sized lapilli and ash was observed in Nicolosi (16 km S), Mascalucia (19 km S), and as far as Catania (29 km SSE) while fine ashfall was reported in Syracuse (60-80 km SSE). Lava flows continued to advance into the Valle del Bove, reaching an elevation of 2 km by 1759. Another lava flow from the SEC traveled N toward the Valle del Leone; smaller lava flows traveled N and S, reaching 2.9 km elevation. Explosive activity decreased and lava fountaining stopped between 1800 and 1838, though ashfall continued; by 2025 the lava flows had stopped. Strombolian activity persisted at the SEC overnight during 16-17 February and stopped by 0715 on 17 February, though sporadic explosions were reported in the VOR at 0420, 0435, 0444.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 328. Photos during 15-16 February of Strombolian activity at the summit craters at Etna on 15 February 2021 (top left); a pyroclastic flow that occurred at the beginning of the eruptive event on 16 February at 1805 (top right); an eruption plume that was a result from the eruptive event on 16 February, seen from the S (bottom left); map of the lava flows on 16 February showing the active vents (red dots), degassing vents (yellow dots), summit craters (black hatch marks), and direction of the lava flows (light green and dark green), as well as the maximum length (4 km) and volume (2.6 million cubic meters) (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 08/2021, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/02/2021 – 21/02/2021, data emissione 23/02/2021).

An eruptive event began at 2330 on 17 February, about 30 hours after the previous one, with a lava flow from the E vents in the SEC, followed by lava fountaining at 0100 on the 18th that rose 600-700 m (figure 329). The lava flow advanced toward the Valle del Bove, the NE, SE, and SW through the saddle vent (“bocca della sella”), covering an area of about 1 km. A second flow on the N flank of the SEC moving toward the Valle del Leone was about 1 km long. Another flow was reported on the S side of the SEC. The resulting ash plume drifted SE, causing ashfall in Zafferana, Etna, and Acireale. The lava fountains ended between 0140-0155 on 18 February, though the lava flows continued to advance.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 329. Activity at Etna during 17-18 February 2021 included lava flows and fountaining. The initial lava flow is seen in a thermal camera image just before midnight from Monte Cagliato on the E side of the volcano (top left). Lava fountains that rose 600-700 m high and lava flows are seen from Milos shortly after midnight (top right). An eruption plume seen from Milos at 0020 on 18 February was accompanied by nighttime incandescence, lava fountains, and lava flows (bottom left). A map of the lava flows on 17-18 February shows the active vents (red dots), degassing vents (yellow dots), summit craters (black hatch marks), and direction of the lava flows (yellow and green), as well as the maximum length (4.1 km) and volume (4 million cubic meters) of the flows (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 08/2021, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/02/2021 – 21/02/2021, data emissione 23/02/2021).

During the morning of 19 February a lava flow effused from the E vents in the SEC at 0855, followed by a rapid increase in explosions and renewed lava fountaining (figure 330). A line of 4-5 vents produced “fan-shaped” lava fountains at 0953. An ash plume rose to 10 km altitude and drifted SE, causing ashfall in some towns. The lava flow that descended toward the Valle del Bove interacted with snow, causing strong explosions, and were accompanied by rockfalls on the flanks of the SEC. By 1110 the explosive activity had stopped.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 330. Thermal images of the lava flow at Etna around 0900 (local) on 19 February 2021 taken with the thermal camera in Monte Cagliato (top left). Later lava fountains reached 600-700 m high, based on the thermal image from Monte Cagliato (top right). A strong ash plume was observed from Pisano (SE) (bottom left). A map of the lava flows on 19 February showing the active vents (red dots), degassing vents (yellow dots), summit craters (black hatch marks), and direction of the lava flows (orange and green), as well as the maximum length (3.8 km) and volume (4 million cubic meters) (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 08/2021, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/02/2021 – 21/02/2021, data emissione 23/02/2021).

Weak Strombolian activity was visible in the late afternoon of 20 February (figure 331). At 2230 a small lava flow from the E vent in the SEC descended 150-200 m into the Valle del Bove. By 2300 the activity had changed to pulsating lava fountains. Beginning at 0100 on 21 February more western vents became active and the E vents ejected lava 600-800 m high. At 0128 lava fountains were ejecting lava up to 1 km high and were sustained for about 10 minutes (figure 331). At the same time, a lava flow from the saddle vent moved a few hundred meters SW. An ash plume rose to 10 km altitude, resulting in ashfall on the SW flank. At 0200 the lava fountains decreased in intensity and by 0220 explosive activity stopped. Periodic ash emissions rose from both the S and E vents later in the evening. A lava flow in the SEC advanced 1 km toward the Valle del Bove. Lava fountains and Strombolian explosions continued at multiple vents. Activity intensified again during 0218-0220 on the 22nd, with lava fountains over 1 km high sending incandescent material onto the flanks. Lava flows in the Valle del Bove reached 3.5-4 km from the crater. During 0430-0515 about 20 strong explosions from SEC vents ejected incandescent bombs that landed at the base of the cone. The NEC was characterized by strong degassing and crater incandescence, often accompanied by Strombolian activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 331. Images of weak Strombolian activity in the eastern vents of the SEC at Etna at sunset on 20 February 2021 (top left). Thermal image from the Bronte thermal camera showing strong Strombolian activity at 0131 (local) on 21 February (top right). A strong ash plume at 0205 on 21 February was observed from Tremestieri Etneo (bottom left). A map of the lava flows during 20-21 February showing the active vents (red dots), degassing vents (yellow dots), summit craters (black hatch marks), and direction of the lava flows (red and green), as well as the maximum length (3.2 km) and volume (2.9 million cubic meters) (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 08/2021, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/02/2021 – 21/02/2021, data emissione 23/02/2021).

During the evening on 22 February weak Strombolian explosions were visible in the SEC. The frequency and intensity of the explosions increased and by 2210 material was ejected onto the flanks. Jets of lava were ejected 300 m high at 2305, and by 2327 lava fountains were reported from a second SEC vent. Lava overflowed the crater at 2328 toward the Valle del Bove. Within the first hour of 23 February lava fountains rose more than 1.5 km and an ash plume reached 10 km altitude, causing ashfall to the NW. Lava overflowed the S vent and descended SW. At 0115 the lava fountains decreased. Strombolian activity intensified again at 0450, accompanied by ash emissions. Two lava flows traveled SW and SE, the latter of which reached 1.7-1.8 km elevation. By 1000 the lava flows were no longer active; the flow on the SW flank had traveled a few hundred meters, overlapping the previous flows.

The lava fountaining episodes continued; Strombolian activity at the two vents in the SEC increased during the late afternoon on 24 February that evolved into lava fountains reaching 400 m above the crater. Ash emissions also persisted in the SEC. Lava overflows from the crater headed ESE toward the Valle del Bove as far as 2-4 km and in the S area of the SEC. During 1900-2122 the lava fountains reached 500 m high and a resulting ash plume rose as high as 11 km altitude. A second lava flow traveled SW and at 2100 a pyroclastic flow descended 1 km into the Valle del Bove. The lava fountains in the SEC stopped by 2335, though the lava flow remained active in the SW and E sections.

Weak Strombolian activity on 28 February was visible at 0810 that evolved to lava fountains at 0839, feeding lava flows that traveled E toward the Valle del Bove. The fountains abruptly intensified at 0902 with jets of lava rising 700 m above the crater rim. An ash plume rose as high as 11 km altitude and drifted ESE, resulting in ashfall to the E (figure 332). A small lava flow at the S part of the SEC began at 0909, followed by a pyroclastic flow at 0920. The lava fountains ended abruptly at 0933, though the lava descending E remained active. By 1526 the lava flow in the Valle del Bove was no longer active.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 332. Photo of a strong ash plume rising above Etna’s Southeast Crater on the morning of 28 February 2021 that drifted ESE, with ashfall visible. Taken from Tremestieri Etneo. Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.

Activity during March 2021. Weak Strombolian activity resumed on 2 March at 1145 in the SEC, which increased in intensity at 1234 with ash emissions. From 1324 to 1550 lava fountains generated an ash plume 9 km above the crater, depositing ash and lapilli in Nicolosi, Aci San Antonio (18 km SE), Pedara (15 km SSE), and Catania (29 km SSE). On 4 March Strombolian explosions increased at 0200 and produced ash emissions that dispersed NE (figure 333). At the same time, Strombolian activity from VOR ejected material above the crater. Degassing persisted in the NEC. Around 0320 the Strombolian explosions in the SEC evolved to lava fountains and at 0515 a lava flow from the E section of the base of the cone was traveling toward the Valle del Bove. Strombolian activity in VOR changed to lava fountains at 0859 that were 300 m high. An ash plume rose 11 km above the crater, depositing ash and lapilli in Fiumefreddo (19 km ENE), Linguaglossa (17 km ESE), and the area of Reggio Calabria. Lava fountains continued.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 333. Photos of the beginning an eruptive episode characterized by an early lava flow originating from Etna’s Southeast Crater (right foreground) and an explosion at the Voragine Crater (left background) on 4 March 2021 (left). Dense gray ash plumes and white degassing plumes were visible from several summit vents on 4 March (right). Taken from Tremestieri Etneo. Photos by Boris Behncke, INGV.

Another eruptive episode on 7 March starting between 0100 and 0200 included Strombolian explosions and minor lava effusions at the E base of the SEC that descended into the Valle del Bove. At 0430 an increase in Strombolian activity generated an ash plume that rose to 5 km altitude and drifted E. The lava reached an elevation of 2.8 km altitude by 0450. Strombolian activity intensified again at 0520 and the lava flow advanced to 2.7 km elevation. Lava fountains at 0720 generated another ash plume that rose to 10 km altitude and drifted E. INGV-OE personnel reported ash and lapilli deposits in Milo (11 km ESE), Fornazzo (10 km ESE), Trepunti (17 km ESE), Giarre (17 km ESE), Macchia di Giarre (16 km ESE), Mascali (18 km E), Riposto (19 km ESE), and Torre Archirafi (20 km ESE). Strombolian activity resumed at 1050 and was over by 1500.

Similar Strombolian activity in the SEC on 10 March changed to lava fountaining and a large eruption plume that rose to at least 9 km altitude and drifted ENE (figure 334). Ash and lapilli were reported in Mascali, Giarre, and Fiumefreddo. A lava flow from the S vent reached an elevation of 1.8 km. By 0430 on 10 March the lava fountaining had stopped, though sporadic ash emissions continued until 0700. On 12 March Strombolian activity in the SEC and accompanying ash emissions began again. As the activity intensified, lava overflowed the E part of the SEC, descending toward the Valle del Bove. Lava fountaining was observed up to 500 m and generating an ash plume that rose to 6 km altitude and drifted E. Within an hour, lava had advanced from an elevation of 2.8 km to 2 km. By 0939 the ash plume had risen to 9-10 km altitude and resulted in ashfall in Fleri, Milo, Fornazzo , Giarre, Santa Venerina (15 km SE), and Torre Archirafi (20 km ESE) (figure 335). Lava fountaining had stopped at 1050, though weak Strombolian activity and ash emissions persisted until 1115. The lava flow advanced as far as 1.7 km elevation while a second lava flow expanded on the W slope of the Valle del Bove for an average length of 3 km and a volume of roughly 1 million cubic meters. Strombolian activity continued in the NEC, BN, and VOR, producing minor ash emissions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 334. Photo of the nighttime lava fountaining activity at Etna during 9-10 March 2021. Courtesy of INGV Youtube channel.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 335. Photo of an ash plume rising above Etna’s Southeast Crater on the morning of 12 March 2021. Taken from Tremestieri Etneo. Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.

On 14 March Strombolian activity began at 2110 that evolved into lava fountaining at 0048 on the 15th (figure 336). Lava traveled toward the Valle del Bove as an ash plume drifted E (figure 337). By 0343 lava fountaining had stopped, though weak Strombolian activity and lava flows continued. On 17 March at 0155 weak Strombolian activity was observed, changing into lava fountaining at 0319. An ash plume drifted SE and a lava flow was moving toward the Valle del Bove, the latter of which overlapped the one from 15 March. Due to cloud cover, observations were limited and discontinuous. Fountaining activity stopped at 0717 and was followed by explosive activity. Weather conditions cleared the summit on 18 March at 2142, showing explosions in the SEC and a lava flow in the Valle del Bove. On 19 March at 0734 explosive activity was visible in the SEC, which intensified at 0915, accompanied by ash emissions. Lava fountaining started at 0935 with an accompanying ash plume that drifted ENE. By 1136 lava fountaining had stopped and changed to Strombolian activity, which gradually decreased. Only sporadic explosions were visible with minor ash emissions by 1350; lava flows along the Valle del Bove were reported in the late morning.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 336. Photo of a lava fountain episode at Etna’s Southeast Crater during the night of 14-15 March 2021. Taken from Tremestieri Etneo. Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 337. A map of the lava flows on 15 March 2021 showing the active vents (red dots), degassing vents (yellow dots), summit craters (black hatch marks), and direction of the lava flows (blue), as well as the maximum length (2.7 km) and volume (1.1 million cubic meters) (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 12/2021, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/03/2021 – 21/03/2021, data emissione 23/03/2021).

Though weather conditions often prevented a clear view of the summit, weak Strombolian activity was reported in the SEC at 2005 on 23 March, which had evolved into lava fountaining at 0330 on 24 March (figure 338). At 0335 a lava flow from the SEC was seen branching toward the Valle del Bove and the SE. A pyroclastic flow followed the lava at 0336, descending into the Valle del Bove. The lava fountains generated an ash plume that rose to 6-7 km altitude and drifted SSE, resulting in ashfall on the S slope and in Catania. Lava fountaining gradually decreased at 0700 and by 0945, it had stopped; the lava flows continued to advance. Intra-crater Strombolian activity continued in the NEC, BN, and VOR, accompanied by sporadic weak ash emissions. After the fountains stopped, another ash plume was seen rising to 4.5 km altitude and drifting SE. At night, ashfall was reported in Milia and Trecastagni (16 km SE). The explosions had stopped by 1347. By 25 March the two active lava flows had stopped.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 338. Photos of the lava fountain episode and incandescent Strombolian activity at Etna’s Southeast Crater during 23 (left) and 24 (right) March 2021. Taken from Tremestieri Etneo. Photos by Boris Behncke, INGV.

On 30 March weak Strombolian activity in the SEC resumed around 0607 with a single ash explosion that quickly dispersed near the summit (figure 339). Over the course of the day activity at the SEC gradually changed from degassing to continuous weak Strombolian activity at about 1830 from at least two active vents. This activity increased during the night, throwing lava above the crater rim accompanied by sporadic ash emissions. Several lava flows effused from the S base vent. The main part of the flow traveled toward the Valle del Bove with other smaller flows descending to the S and SW. Two other vents at the S base had opened by the evening, one of which ejected spatter a few tens of meters high. Throughout the night, periods of lava fountaining were detected while the main lava flow descended the W wall of the Valle del Bove. Strombolian activity intensified at 1850 and produced an ash plume that rose to 4 km altitude and drifted SSW. At 0000 there was a gradual transition from Strombolian activity to lava fountaining.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 339. Photo of an ash plume rising from Etna’s Southeast Crater on the morning of 30 March 2021. Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.

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

Information Contacts: Sezione di Catania - Osservatorio Etneo, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/it/ ); Boris Behncke, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy; 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/); NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Fuego (Guatemala) — April 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes, ashfall, and incandescent block avalanches through March 2021; lava flows and a pyroclastic flow in mid-February

Guatemala's Volcán de Fuego has been erupting vigorously since 2002; reported eruptions date back to 1531. These eruptions have resulted in major ashfalls, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and damaging lahars, including a series of explosions and pyroclastic flows in early June 2018 that caused several hundred fatalities. Activity consisting of explosions with ash emissions, block avalanches, and lava flows has continued since 2018; activity during December 2020-March 2021 is covered in this report. Daily reports are provided by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH); aviation alerts of ash plumes are issued by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Satellite data provide valuable information about thermal anomalies and ash emissions.

The many hourly explosions at Fuego throughout December 2020-March 2021 produced vibrations that rattled roofs and windows in the communities around the volcano every day, sometimes heard and felt as far as 20 km away. The explosions produced incandescent block avalanches that descended the flank ravines (barrancas), with a few of the blocks traveling as far as the vegetation near the bottom. The Seca, Ceniza, and Taniluya ravines were most often affected, but blocks were also reported many times in the Trinidad, Santa Teresa, El Jute, Las Lajas, and Honda ravines. Incandescent ejecta could be seen rising 100-300 m above the summit on most nights. Ash plumes rose to 4.4-4.8 km altitude every day and usually drifted W and SW; the Washington VAAC issued 2-5 ash advisories daily. Ashfall was a near-daily occurrence throughout the period. Effusive activity from 13-15 February produced two lava flows; a series of pyroclastic flows on 14 February affected the Ceniza canyon. For several days after the effusive activity, strong explosions caused ashfall in communities up to 50 km away. The MIROVA graph of thermal anomalies showed persistent high heat levels throughout the period with a brief spike to higher levels during mid-February when the lava flows were active (figure 141). MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on multiple days each month including eight days in December 2020, 11 days in January 2021, 12 days in February, and seven days in March. Sentinel-2 satellite data showed thermal anomalies inside the summit crater five or six times each month, in all available non-cloudy images.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 141. Consistently high levels of thermal anomalies continued at Fuego during July 2020-March 2021. A brief spike in mid-February 2021 corresponded to two lava flows and a pyroclastic flow. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Explosive activity continued at Fuego during December 2020. Seven to eleven explosions per hour were typical; a few days had 10-15 explosions per hour. Gas and ash emissions rose to 4.4-4.8 km every day with ash plumes drifting usually W and SW 10-15 km, occasionally to 20-25 km (figure 142). Plumes drifted over 10 km N and NE on 6 December, 20-25 km S and SW on 13 and 14 December, and 30 km E, SE, and N during 28-31 December. Vibrations were heard and felt up to 15 km away on the W and SW flanks on 7 December. Ashfall was reported almost daily in multiple communities including Panimache I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofia, Los Yucales, Sangre de Cristo, Finca Palo Verde, and San Pedro Yepocapa. In addition, ashfall was reported on 10 December in Ojo de Agua and Santa Isabel, on 14 Dec in Ojo de Agua and Santa Emilia, in Santa Emilia on 20 and 21 December, and in Chimaltenango to the N on 31 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 142. An ash plume rose from the summit of Fuego early on 9 December 2020 while blocks descended multiple ravines and resuspended ash on the flanks. Photo by Fredy Arnoldo Esquit Chiquitá, 07:56 am hora local, courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

The ash plume drift direction continued to be N and NW on 1 and 2 January 2021 resulting in ashfall reported in San Pedro Yepocapa, La Soledad, and San Miguel Duenas. According to INSIVUMEH, plumes drifted 20-25 km those days. In addition to ashfall in Panimache I, Morelia, Santa Sofia, and Yucales most days of the month, ashfall was reported in La Rochela on 3 and 6 January and Ceilan on 6 January. Ashfall was reported to the N in Acatenango on 10 January after activity increased; rumbling was heard 20 km away. Explosions produced ejecta which rose 300 m and sent incandescent blocks around the crater rim and onto the upper flanks. High levels of activity continued the next day and produced ashfall in San Pedro Yepocapa, Santa Sophia, Morelia, Panimache II, El Porvenir Yepocapa, Sangre de Cristo, and at finca Palo Verde. Pulses of incandescent ejecta rising 100-300 m were common during the second half of January and ashfall continued on many days in the same communities to the W and SW. Remobilized ash triggered by incandescent blocks descending the ravines was reported in the last week of January. The number of explosions per hour was 6-12 on many days and they produced noises as loud as a train engine that lasted for several minutes at a time.

Explosive activity during February 2021 remained the same as previous months, with 7-15 explosions per hour, train engine noises that lasted for 3-10 minutes, and gas and ash plumes that rose usually to 4.5-4.8 km altitude and drifted W, SW, and S. Rumblings that rattled windows and roofs were heard 15-20 km away on 5 and 10 February; incandescent blocks descended the ravines for hundreds of meters (figure 143). Near-daily reports of ashfall in communities to the W, SW, and S continued; most affected were Panimache I, Morelia, Santa Sofia, Porvenir, Finca Asuncion, Rochela, Santa Sofia, Yucales, Sangre de Cristo, Palo Verde and Yepocapa. In addition Ceilan, El Zapote, and El Rodeo reported ashfall on 5 February when winds carried ash to S and SE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 143. Incandescent block avalanches could be seen descending a ravine on the NW flank of Fuego in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 3 February 2021. A diffuse ash plume drifts S from the summit. Image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

In a special report issued on 13 February INSIVUMEH noted that the seismic station had registered a change in the eruptive pattern on 12 February. During the night a lava flow emerged from the summit and traveled 1,000 m down the Ceniza ravine on the SW flank (figure 144). It produced incandescent blocks at the leading edge that fell farther, reaching the vegetation. Loud noises similar to a train engine were audible 8 km from the volcano. At 2100 on 13 February a second flow began in the Seca ravine that grew to 500 m long. Incandescent ejecta rose 200 m above the crater and constant loud noises were reported. By this time the Ceniza flow had reached 1,500 m. The following morning both flows remained active; the barranca Ceniza flow was 1,300 m long and the barranca Seca flow was 500 m long. Persistent explosions of ejecta to 200 m above the crater continued along with loud noises. The incandescent blocks spalling off the front of the flows remobilized ash that drifted S, SE, and SW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 144. Two lava flows were active on the flanks of Fuego on 13 February 2021. A flow in the Ceniza ravine on the SW flank grew to 1,500 m long, while a 500-m-long flow descended the Seca ravine on the NW flank. Sentinel-2 image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Beginning at 1020 on 14 February 2021 a series of pyroclastic flows were observed in the Ceniza ravine. They lasted for three minutes and traveled several hundred meters. Ashfall was reported in Alotenango, El Porvenir, and Finca La Reunion. By the end of the day the Ceniza lava flow was active for 800 m and the Seca flow reached 200 m. Seismic energy decreased noticeably the next day along with a decrease in the flow rate and thermal energy. Explosions continued with ash plumes drifting E, NE, and N up to 50 km resulting in ashfall in Porvenir and Alotenango. INSIVUMEH considered the effusive eruption over by the evening of 15 February, and noted a decrease in the rate of explosions to 12-14 per hour (figure 145).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 145. Although explosions at Fuego on 15 February 2021 had decreased in frequency, they still produced ash plumes and blocks rolling down the ravines that caused plumes of resuspended ash. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (BOLETIN VULCANOLOGICO ESPECIAL BEFGO 023-2021, Guatemala, 15 de febrero de 2021, 15:30 horas).

Loud explosions continued 16 February and produced abundant ash that drifted E, NE, and N. The Washington VAAC reported intermittent ash emissions seen in satellite images moving ESE at 4.9 km altitude extending around 110 km from the summit before dissipating. Ashfall was reported in Celian, San Andres Ozuna, Rochela, Zapote, and El Rodeo. On 17 February ash plumes rose to 4.5-4.8 km altitude and drifted N, NE, and E as far as 50 km and caused ashfall in many communities, including as far away as Guatemala City. The wind changed to the E and SE later in the day, and plumes drifted 30-40 km over the departments of Sacatepequez, Escuintla, and Guatemala. Ash plumes from Pacaya were also affecting the same areas that day. The following day ash plumes were drifting 40 km SW. For the remainder of February ashfall affected the same communities to the SW and W as earlier in the month. The incandescent ejecta that rose 350 m above the summit on 28 February produced a strong thermal anomaly in satellite data that also showed incandescent blocks descending all the ravines around the summit (figure 146).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 146. Incandescent ejecta was observed 350 m above the summit of Fuego on 28 February 2021 and produced a strong thermal anomaly shown in this Sentinel-2 satellite image. Also visible is incandescent ejecta around all the ravines near the summit and a small ash plume drifting WNW. Image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Explosive activity continued throughout March 2021, producing ash plumes that rose to 4.5-4.8 km altitude and drifted mostly W and SW (figure 147). This resulted in ashfall most days in the same communities as before that were located 10-20 km away. The loud rumblings continued daily, lasting for 2-5 minutes at a time and rattling windows and roofs all around the volcano. Incandescent ejecta rose 100-300 m and the blocks traveled down all of the ravines, sometimes reaching the vegetation.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 147. Numerous ash emissions at Fuego during March 2021 were captured in Sentinel-2 satellite images along with the frequent thermal anomalies. Ash plumes drifted W on 5 and 20 March (top row) and NW on 25 and 30 March 2021 (bottom row). Images for 5 and 25 March use Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Images for 20 and 30 March show Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Kavachi (Solomon Islands) — June 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Kavachi

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Discolored water plumes observed in satellite imagery during October 2020-April 2021

Kavachi is an active submarine volcano in the SW Pacific, located in the Solomon Islands south of Gatokae and Vangunu islands. Volcanism has been characterized by phreatomagmatic explosions that ejected steam, ash, and incandescent bombs. The previous report described discolored plumes extending from a single point during early September 2020 (BGVN 45:10); similar activity was recorded for this reporting period covering October 2020 through April 2021 using satellite data.

Activity at Kavachi is most frequently observed through Sentinel-2 satellite imagery and has recently been characterized by discolored submarine plumes. On 2 October 2020 a slight yellow-green discoloration in the water was observed extending NE from a specific point (figure 23). Similar faint discolored plumes were intermittently recorded on 27 October, 1 November 2020, and 25 January 2021, which each extended NE, SW, and SW, respectively, from a point source above the summit where previous activity has occurred. Intermittent discolored plumes were also visible during March 2021 (figure 24). The plume discoloration on 1 March extended S from the origin point. On 11 March, the discoloration remained near the origin point. A narrow plume extended several kilometers W on 26 March, followed by a short plume seen towards the NW on 31 March. The only plume seen in April was a broad diffuse area of discoloration extending S on the 10th (figure 24). No discoloration near the volcano was observed in May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Sentinel-2 satellite images of a discolored plume (light yellow-green) at Kavachi beginning on 2 October 2020 (top left) that extended NE. Additional plumes were visible during clear weather on 27 October (top right) that extended NE, on 1 November (bottom left) 2020 that extended SW, and strongly on 25 January 2021 (bottom right) that extended SW. Images with “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of discolored plumes (light yellow-green) at Kavachi during March-April 2021. On 1 March (top left) the plume was observed extending S with a strongly discolored origin point. On 11 March (top right) the plume remained close to the origin point and did not seem to extend outward. On 26 March (bottom left) the plume was narrow and strongly extended W for several kilometers. On 10 April (bottom right) the plume extended S. Images with “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Semisopochnoi (United States) — June 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Semisopochnoi

United States

51.93°N, 179.58°E; summit elev. 1221 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions in June 2020 and during February-May 2021

The volcanic Semisopochnoi Island in the western Aleutian Islands contains a group of cones within a caldera complex (figure 5). The active Cerberus center has three summit craters, with the current activity originating from North Cerberus. Since September 2018, typical activity has produced minor ash deposits within the vicinity. This bulletin summarizes activity that occurred from April 2020 through May 2021 based on information given by the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), supplemented by satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. This satellite image of Semisopochnoi Island, Alaska, shows the major surface features with an 8-km-wide caldera in the center. As of 2021, Mount Cerberus is the most active of three cones within the caldera complex. The North, East, and South Cerberus craters are indicated, with a faint gas plume dispersing NE from the active North crater on 22 August 2020. Base satellite image from Sentinel-2 using Natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Intermittent small explosions occurred at Semisopochnoi during early 2020. An AVO Volcano Activity Notice for Aviation (VONA) issued on 1 April reported no indication of activity over the previous two weeks and seismicity at background levels. Satellite data show detectable sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission and visible steam plumes. Low-level unrest continued into early June with occasional small earthquakes, including a few small low-frequency events and episodic tremor, occasional steam plumes, and detectable SO2 emissions. An increase in tremor was detected around 12-13 June, and infrasound and seismicity indicated rapid degassing events on 17 and 19 June, with activity declining again by the 20th. AVO noted that clear satellite images acquired on the 21st showed minor ash deposits near the crater, likely from the elevated activity during the previous week, and vigorous gas and steam emission (figure 6). Steam and gas emission continued through to the end of the month then intermittently through July. A 200-km-long SO2 plume was detected on 15 July and low-level unrest continued.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Minor ash deposits are visible on the Semisopochnoi North Cerberus Crater and a steam plume is shown dispersing ESE on 21 June 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite image with Natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

A gas plume was reported on 7 August and seismicity was above background to the 9th, after that seismicity was at very low levels with no more significant events detected. Infrequent small earthquakes were detected through September and minor steam emissions on the 22nd. Seismicity remained low throughout October. No eruptive activity had detected since mid-June and seismicity had declined to very low levels prior to seismic data transmission failing on 11 November. Due to the lack of data, on 20 November the Aviation Color Code and Alert Level were reduced to Unassigned.

There were no reports of activity during December 2020 or January 2021. A satellite image acquired on 7 February showed several small ash deposits extending at least 3 km from the North Cerberus Crater, likely produced by a small explosion the previous week (figure 7). Steam emission prevented views into the crater and clouds obscured the volcano over the following week.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. This Landsat 8 image acquired on 7 February 2021 at Semisopochnoi shows several linear ash deposits from the North Cerberus Crater. This reflects low-level explosive activity. Landsat 9 true Color – pansharpened scene. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

On 10 March a satellite image revealed a recently emplaced ash deposit that extended 1.5 km from the crater, with a steam plume being blown to the E (figure 8). Several similar small ash deposits had been noted by AVO in the previous weeks. No activity was observed or detected through 18 March, other than a possible gas plume that day. At 0350 on the 19th a small explosion was detected by infrasound monitoring. Another small explosion was detected at 0230 on the 21st, followed by a series of smaller explosions. During 22-23 March three explosions were detected. Cloud cover prevented visual observation of these events, but possible SO2 plumes were detected and a confirmed plume on the 23rd indicated further unrest. A probable ash deposit and plume were imaged on the 24th (figure 9). Activity continued with intermittent explosions and SO2 plumes detected through the 27th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. This 10 March 2021 WorldView-3 satellite image shows ash deposits from low-level explosive activity at the Cerberus North Crater at Semisopochnoi. The ash extends to 1.5 km from the vent and has been partly remobilized by wind. A plume emanating from the crater is being blown to the E. Figure by Hannah Dietterich, courtesy of AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. An ash deposit is present between the dashed lines, deposited on snow (red) in this Planet Labs near-IR false color satellite image acquired on 24 March 2021. The deposit extends over 8 km ESE across Semisopochnoi from the North Cerberus Crater and a plume is also visible in the same area. Image courtesy of AVO.

Several small low-altitude ash and gas plumes were detected in satellite images on 30 March and 1 April. Cloud cover prevented satellite views until 12 April, when new ash deposits and low-level ash emissions were observed extending at least to the coastline, accompanied by weak infrasound signals. Low-level activity was also detected the following day. Sustained ash emission that began on the morning of the 15th (figure 10) produced a plume extending more than 350 km E to altitudes of 6 km; activity continued through the next day with a change in direction to the N at around 3 km altitude. Ash emission continued over the following days with a VONA released on the 22nd reporting an ash plume reaching 3 km and extending about 75 km S (figure 11). Through to the end of April ash and SO2 plumes were either observed or noted as probably occurring under cloudy conditions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. This Sentinel-3 satellite scene acquired on 15 April 2021 shows plumes from Semisopochnoi dispersed over 330 km from the vent. The insert shows a zoomed-in view of the island and the proximal ash plume. Original image by Hannah Dietterich, AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. This Planet Labs satellite image acquired on 22 April 2021 shows an ash plume produced by the North Cerberus Crater and dispersing S. Ash deposits are visible on the flanks of the cone. Figure by Hannah Dietterich, AVO.

The volcano was often obscured during the first week of May, with activity possibly continuing at a low level without detection. A gas plume was detected on the 11th, and an ash plume is visible in satellite images acquired on the 17th (figure 12). Small explosions and SO2 emissions were detected through 21 May. An ash emission reaching 3 km altitude that was seen by an AVO field crew on 29 May was also observed in satellite data moving SW. Elevated temperatures were detected in the North Cerberus Crater. Ash emissions were produced again on the 30th and observed by an AVO field crew (figure 13). Seismic data transmission was restored on 26 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Satellite images of Semisopochnoi acquired on 17 and 29 May (top), and a photograph taken on 29 May 2021 (bottom) show weak activity at the North Cerberus Crater, including ash emission, gas emission, and elevated temperature on the crater floor. Sentinel-2 color infrared (vegetation, bands 8, 3, 4) scene at the top left and the false color (urban, bands 12, 11, 4) scene at the top right courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground. Photo courtesy of Hannah Dietterich, AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Minor ash emissions produced on 30 May 2021 at Semisopochnoi’s North Cerberus Crater around 1320 local time, taken from a helicopter during field work. Both top and bottom-left photos are taken from the SE. Photos courtesy of Hannah Dietterich, AVO.

Geologic Background. Semisopochnoi, the largest subaerial volcano of the western Aleutians, is 20 km wide at sea level and contains an 8-km-wide caldera. It formed as a result of collapse of a low-angle, dominantly basaltic volcano following the eruption of a large volume of dacitic pumice. The high point of the island is Anvil Peak, a double-peaked late-Pleistocene cone that forms much of the island's northern part. The three-peaked Mount Cerberus was constructed within the caldera during the Holocene. Each of the peaks contains a summit crater; lava flows on the N flank of Cerberus appear younger than those on the south side. Other post-caldera volcanoes include the symmetrical Sugarloaf Peak SSE of the caldera and Lakeshore Cone, a small cinder cone at the edge of Fenner Lake in the NE part of the caldera. Most documented eruptions have originated from Cerberus, although Coats (1950) considered that both Sugarloaf and Lakeshore Cone could have been recently active.

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


Piton de la Fournaise (France) — April 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Piton de la Fournaise

France

21.244°S, 55.708°E; summit elev. 2632 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruption with lava fountains and flows on 7-8 December 2020

Piton de la Fournaise is located on the French island of Réunion in the western Indian Ocean. Its previous most recent eruption occurred during February into April 2020, characterized by fissure eruptions, fountaining, and significant lava flows (BGVN 45:05). This report covers May through December 2020, describing the new eruption in early December that was characterized by lava fountains and flows, using information from the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF) and various satellite data.

Slight deformation was recorded after the end of the April eruption, but overall activity during May-November 2020 was low, with no eruptive events, according to OVPF. Starting around 16 June seismicity resumed, which included 77 shallow volcano-tectonic earthquakes during the month and occasional rockfall events in the Dolomieu Crater. This increase in seismicity was accompanied by inflation at the base and summit of the volcano. Shallow volcano-tectonic earthquakes continued to be reported under the Dolomieu Crater during July-November accompanied by rockfall events. In late September the number of shallow volcano-tectonic earthquakes increased markedly to 1,648, but then decreased to 129 in October and only four in November.

OVPF reported that during 0510-0554 on 4 December a seismic swarm of about 101 volcano-tectonic earthquakes was accompanied by minor, but rapid, inflation just below the center and N rim of the Dolomieu Crater. Seismicity decreased after 0600, but inflation continued through 6 December. A second seismic crisis began at 0228 on 7 December, accompanied by rapid inflation. Fissures opened on the WSW flank of the Dolomieu Crater at 0440 at elevations ranging from 2.2-2.3 km and spanning a 700-m-long area; lava began to erupt from these fissures during 0455-0500 (figure 202). Scientists on an overflight at 0700-0730 observed lava fountains rising 15 m high from the three active fissures and short lava flows (figure 203). By 1700 the fissure at an elevation of 2.3 km was the most active, with five small vents, while the other two were showing less intense activity. Satellite data via the HOTVOLC platform showed a lava flow rate of 5 and 30 m3/s during 7 December. The eruption period ended at 0715 on 8 December, following a gradual decrease in tremor and a three-hour phase of seismic signals that indicated degassing. Twenty-one volcano-tectonic earthquakes were recorded during that day under the W rim of the Dolomieu Crater. Another six earthquakes were reported during the morning of 9 December through 0900. Surficial activity was no longer visible.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 202. Photo of the active fissure vents on the WSW flank of the Dolomieu Crater and the lava fountains accompanied by degassing at Piton de la Fournaise at 0730 on 7 December 2020. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du lundi 7 décembre 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 203. Photo of the lava fountains up to 15 m high at Piton de la Fournaise during 7-8 December 2020. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed brief, but significant, thermal activity during early December, reflecting the new eruption. This thermal activity was also visible in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery on 7 December 2020, showing lava flows and possibly lava fountains from the fissures on the SW and W flanks (figure 204). Accompanying this activity were SO2 emissions that were detected by the Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI instrument (figure 205).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 204. Sentinel-2 infrared satellite image of the thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) on the S and SW flanks of Piton de la Fournaise on 7 December 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 205. Image of the SO2 emissions that occurred during the eruption at Piton de la Fournaise on 7 December 2020 detected by the Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Geologic Background. The massive Piton de la Fournaise basaltic shield volcano on the French island of Réunion in the western Indian Ocean is one of the world's most active volcanoes. Much of its more than 530,000-year history overlapped with eruptions of the deeply dissected Piton des Neiges shield volcano to the NW. Three calderas formed at about 250,000, 65,000, and less than 5000 years ago by progressive eastward slumping of the volcano. Numerous pyroclastic cones dot the floor of the calderas and their outer flanks. Most historical eruptions have originated from the summit and flanks of Dolomieu, a 400-m-high lava shield that has grown within the youngest caldera, which is 8 km wide and breached to below sea level on the eastern side. More than 150 eruptions, most of which have produced fluid basaltic lava flows, have occurred since the 17th century. Only six eruptions, in 1708, 1774, 1776, 1800, 1977, and 1986, have originated from fissures on the outer flanks of the caldera. The Piton de la Fournaise Volcano Observatory, one of several operated by the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, monitors this very active volcano.

Information Contacts: 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); NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); 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).


Heard (Australia) — May 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

53.106°S, 73.513°E; summit elev. 2745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal anomalies during November 2020 and January 2021

Heard is a remote island located in the southern Indian Ocean that contains the Big Ben stratovolcano, which has had intermittent activity since 1910. More recent activity since 2012 through October 2020 has been characterized by thermal anomalies in the summit crater and lava flows, primarily identified based on information from satellite data (BGVN 45:11). This report covers similar activity that continued during November 2020 and January 2021.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows a total of three thermal anomalies of varying power during November 2020 (figure 46). Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery shows a single thermal anomaly on 9 November 2020 and later, on 11 November two strong thermal anomalies, possibly two lava flows, were observed descending the S and SW flanks (figure 47). These thermal anomalies were also detected by the MIROVA system. Weaker thermal anomalies were observed on 18 and 20 January 2021 in the summit crater. No new thermal activity was detected after November through April 2021 by the MIROVA system.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Only three thermal anomalies at Heard were detected during November 2020, according to the MIROVA system, shown in this Log Radiative Power graph. The strongest thermal anomaly represents the two possible lava flows that were observed in Sentinel-2 infrared satellite data. No thermal anomalies were observed during December through April 2021. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Sentinel-2 infrared satellite imagery of Heard Island’s Big Ben volcano showed a thermal anomaly (bright yellow-orange) on clear weather days on 9 (top left) and 11 (top right) November 2020, along with 18 (bottom left) and 20 (bottom right) January 2021. On 11 November two strong thermal anomalies, possibly representing different lava flows, were observed descending to the S and SW flanks, though much of the activity was covered by clouds. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Heard Island on the Kerguelen Plateau in the southern Indian Ocean consists primarily of the emergent portion of two volcanic structures. The large glacier-covered composite basaltic-to-trachytic cone of Big Ben comprises most of the island, and the smaller Mt. Dixon lies at the NW tip of the island across a narrow isthmus. Little is known about the structure of Big Ben because of its extensive ice cover. The historically active Mawson Peak forms the island's high point and lies within a 5-6 km wide caldera breached to the SW side of Big Ben. Small satellitic scoria cones are mostly located on the northern coast. Several subglacial eruptions have been reported at this isolated volcano, but observations are infrequent and additional activity may have occurred.

Information Contacts: MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Sabancaya (Peru) — April 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Sabancaya

Peru

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily ash explosions, large SO2 flux, and thermal anomalies from multiple domes, October 2020-March 2021

Although tephrochronology has dated activity at Sabancaya back several thousand years, renewed activity that began in 1986 was the first recorded in over 200 years. A new period of explosive activity that began in November 2016 has been characterized by pulses of ash emissions with some plumes exceeding 10 km altitude, frequent thermal anomalies, and significant SO2 plumes. Daily ash emissions and high levels of SO2 continued during October 2020-March 2021, the period covered in this report. The Observatorio Vulcanologico INGEMMET (OVI) reported daily on numbers of explosions, ash plume heights and directions of drift, seismicity, ashfall, and other activity; IGP (Instituto Geophysico del Peru) issued weekly reports of activity.

Activity at Sabancaya during October 2020-March 2021 consisted of multiple daily explosions with dense gas-and-ash plumes, SO2 emissions, and persistent thermal anomalies from the summit crater. OVI and INGEMMET confirmed the presence of a second dome inside the summit crater in mid-November. Ash plumes rose 1-2 km above the summit on most days; higher plumes occasionally reached 2.5-3.0 km above the summit. Ash most commonly drifted W and SW, but there were significant periods where the wind sent ash N and NE. Ashfall was reported in communities around the volcano on 3-8 days each month. The Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) issued three or four daily reports of ongoing ash emissions throughout the period. The plumes generally rose to 7.3-8.2 km altitude and drifted in various directions, often visible in satellite imagery.

Moderate levels of thermal energy were reported by the MIROVA project during July 2020-March 2021. Power values were generally consistent, with a small increase in November and a brief drop from late December through January 2021 (figure 90). The MODVOLC system reported nine thermal alerts in October, 12 in November, one in December, none in January, and four each both February and March. Moderate to strong SO2 emissions were recorded virtually every day during the period by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite (figure 91).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Thermal anomalies at Sabancaya from July 2020-March 2021 persisted at low to moderate power levels through the period. A small increase in frequency occurred during November 2020 and a decrease in thermal activity was apparent from late December through January 2021. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. High levels of SO2 emissions from Sabancaya were recorded by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite during October 2020-March 2021. Examples of the larger plumes each month are shown here; the date is along the top of each image. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

The Buenos Aires VAAC reported intermittent pulses of ash moving SE from the summit at 7.6 km altitude on 1 October 2020 (figure 92). Continuous ash emissions were reported at 7.3-7.9 km altitude throughout the month, resulting in several reports of ashfall. Ash was reported in Lluta on 5-6 October, in Taya on 6 October, in Huanca on 10 and 15 October, in Maca and Lari on 18, 27, and 28 October, in Madrigal on 18 and 27-29 October, and in Chivay on 27 and 29 October. Ash was also visible in satellite imagery on 16 and 26 October. Thermal anomalies were present in satellite images on 1, 6, 11, 16, and 26 October (figure 93).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. A dense plume of ash rose to 7.6 km altitude and drifted SE from the summit of Sabancaya on 1 October 2020. Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (REPORTE DIARIO DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCAN Sabancaya, RDSAB-250-2020 / DGAR-INGEMMET Diario: 01 de octubre del 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. Thermal anomalies and ash emissions appeared in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery at Sabancaya multiple times during October 2020. On 11 October a strong thermal anomaly was present along with a dense steam plume drifting W (left). On 26 October both an ash plume and a thermal anomaly were present (right). Images use Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Strong thermal anomalies appeared in satellite images on 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 November 2020. Two distinct ash plumes rose from the summit crater on 5 November, and thermal anomalies were also present in multiple areas of the crater in satellite images that day (figure 94). OVI reported the existence of a second dome in the summit crater the next day. In a report issued on 17 November INGEMMET named the second dome “Iskay” and identified it in the NE part of the crater using satellite images; it was about 12,000 m2 in size (figure 95). On 25 November thermal signals from both domes were visible in satellite imagery along with an ash plume drifting W that rose to 2,900 m above the summit (figure 96). Ashfall was reported in both Madrigal and Lari on 14 and 16 November, in Lluta on 25 November, and in Huambo on 25-28 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Thermal and ash activity at Sabancaya on 5 November 2020 both suggested the presence of a second dome inside the summit crater. Two ash plumes rose from the summit (left) and a strong thermal anomaly appeared in the NE quadrant of the crater (right). Left image is from INGEMMET webcam. Right image is Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a) of Sentinel-2 satellite image. Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (REPORTE DIARIO DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCAN, RDSAB-285 2020 / DGAR INGEMMET Diario: 05 de noviembre del 2020) and Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. OVI-INGEMMET used webcams and satellite imagery to identify a new dome inside the summit crater of Sabancaya in November 2020. (A) Incandescence over the crater taken by a surveillance camera ~25 km NE on 9 November. (B) Incandescent ejecta rises from two locations within the summit crater taken by a surveillance camera ~4.7 km N on 9 November. (C) Sentinel-2 near-infrared satellite image from 15 November showing hotspots inside the crater; source: MOUNTS. (D) Planet Labs satellite image taken on 16 November showing the location of the growing dome; source: PlanetLabs Inc. Figure prepared by C. Laverde (SGC). Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (OVI / 17 noviembre, 2020 / Comentarios desactivados en INGEMMET RATIFICA LA PRESENCIA DEL SEGUNDO DOMO DE LAVA EN EL CRÁTER DEL VOLCÁN SABANCAYA DURANTE SU ACTUAL PROCESO ERUPTIVO / Noticias, Novedades).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. The dense ash plume that rose 2.9 km above the summit of Sabancaya on 25 November 2020 (left) could be seen drifting W in satellite imagery that day (right). It rose from the new dome in the NE quadrant of the crater, which appeared as a strong thermal anomaly in the Sentinel-2 satellite image using Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (REPORTE DIARIO DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCAN Sabancaya, RDSAB-305 2020 / DGAR INGEMMET Diario: 25 de noviembre del 2020) and Sentinel Hub Playground.

Ash emissions continued from both areas of the summit during December 2020 (figure 97); a thermal anomaly was recorded in a satellite image on 15 December. Ashfall was reported in Cabanaconde on 1, 8, and 10 December and was also reported in Pinchollo and Madrigal on 10 December. Two dense ash plumes on 5 January 2021 confirmed that both summit domes were still active (figure 98). Ash emissions appeared in satellite images on 4, 9, and 29 January 2021, along with a thermal anomaly on 29 January (figure 99). Ashfall was reported in Huanca on 15 January, Huambo on 18 January, Madrigal and Pinchollo on 27 January, and in Chivay on 29 January. A lahar descended the Pinchollo ravine near Huayraray around 1610 on 20 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Ash emissions continued from two areas within the summit crater of Sabancaya during December 2020. On 9 December the taller plume rose to 2,400 m above the summit (left). On 16 December two dense ash plumes were captured by one of the webcams (right). Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (REPORTE DIARIO DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCAN Sabancaya, RDSAB –319-2020/ DGAR –INGEMMET Diario: 09 de diciembre del 2020 and RDSAB –324-2020/ DGAR –INGEMMET Diario: 16 de diciembre del 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Two dense ash plumes rising from the summit of Sabancaya on 5 January 2021 confirmed that both domes were still active. Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (VOLCAN SABANCAYA Reporte de monitoreo volcanico, 05 enero del 2021, RMVSAB, 002 2021 / DGAR INGEMMET).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. Ash emissions from Sabancaya appeared in Sentinel-2 satellite images on 4, 9, and 29 January 2021. The plume on 9 January (left) was visible in the Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) and the plume on 29 January (right) partially obscured a thermal anomaly at the summit in an Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a) image. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Daily ash emissions continued during February 2021 with plumes that rose as high as 3 km above the summit (figure 100). Ash plumes were visible in satellite images on 13 and 18 February (figure 101). Ashfall was reported in Huanca on 5 February, Pinchollo on 11 February, and in Madrigal on 11, 15, and 16 February. Two small to moderate lahars were reported in the area of Sallalli on 4 February. Ashfall was also reported in Huambo on 8, 9, and 17 March, Cabanaconde on 9 March, and in Huanca on 15 and 25 March. Satellite images indicated ash emissions on 10 March and thermal anomalies on 10 and 25 March (figure 102).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. Daily ash emissions rose from Sabancaya during February 2021. On 4 February the plume rose to 2.6 km above the summit and drifted S and SE. Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (VOLCAN SABANCAYA, Region Arequipa, Reporte de monitoreo volcanico, RMVSAB-024 2021 / DGAR INGEMMET 04 febrero del 2021).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. Ash plumes were a daily occurrence at Sabancaya during February 2021. A large plume covered the volcanic edifice and nearby area on 13 February (left). A smaller plume on 18 February was concentrated over the summit (right). Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) of Sentinel-2 images. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. Ash emissions and thermal activity continued at Sabancaya during March 2021. On 4 March ash emissions rose to 1.8 km above the summit and drifted W and SW (left). On 10 March ash emissions rose to 900 m and drifted W and NW while a strong thermal anomaly was evident inside the summit crater (right). Sentinel-2 satellite image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground. Left image courtesy of INGEMMET (VOLCAN SABANCAYA, Region Arequipa, Reporte de monitoreo volcanico, RMVSAB-044 2021/ DGAR INGEMMET 04 marzo del 2021).

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

Information Contacts: Observatorio Volcanologico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico), Barrio Magisterial Nro. 2 B-16 Umacollo - Yanahuara Arequipa, Peru (URL: http://ovi.ingemmet.gob.pe); Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), Calle Badajoz N° 169 Urb. Mayorazgo IV Etapa, Ate, Lima 15012, Perú (URLhttps://www.igp.gob.pe/servicios/centro-vulcanologico-nacional/inicio); Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Meteorológico Nacional-Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 25 de mayo 658, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/inicio.php); 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/); NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Telica (Nicaragua) — March 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Telica

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Numerous explosions and ash plumes during late November-early December 2020

During January-October 2020, activity at Telica consisted of frequent seismicity, fumarolic emissions, and beginning in July, explosions that generated gas-and-ash plumes (BGVN 45:11). The following report describes activity between November 2020 and February 2021 using monthly and special bulletins published by the Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) and satellite images.

Following some small ash explosions in late October, activity decreased in November 2020. INETER scientists visiting the volcano on 24 November observed small pulses of gas and ash originating from the SW walls and flanks, and heard jet sounds inside the crater. The team also noted abundant gas emissions on the N and NW walls and subsidence inside the crater.

A new series of ash explosions began at 0538 on 30 November (figure 52). Similar activity later that morning ejected incandescent ballistics and generated a small gas-and-ash plume (figure 53). Almost continuous explosions for more than three days produced gas-and-ash plumes that rose 50-400 m above the crater rim, depositing most of the ash on the SW slope. The explosive activity on 2 December was visible in satellite imagery (figure 54), and ash plumes the next day reached the ocean (figure 55). After more than three days of almost continuous explosions, explosions became sporadic until 1450 on 8 December. A total of 1,315 small explosions were recorded between 30 November and 8 December. Ashfall during this period was reported in communities to the SW, including Zarandaj (6 km WSW), Cristo Rey (6 km W), Las Colinas (7 km WSW), Garrobo Empinado (8 km SSW), El Panal (9 km SSW), Canta Rana (10 km SW), Ceibo Chachagua (10 km SW), Las Mercedes (10 km SW), Punta Arena (10 km SW), La Virgen (12 km WSW), Filiberto Morales (15 km WSW), Los Cocos (9 km SSW), Verónica Lacayo (10 km SW), and Nuevo Belén.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Webcam photo of an explosion at Telica at 0538 on 30 November 2020. This event was the first in a series of explosions that continued until 8 December. Courtesy of INETER.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Webcam photo of an explosion at Telica at 0921 on 30 November 2020 that generated a dense brown ash plume. Courtesy of INETER.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Sentinel-2 images of Telica on 2 December 2020 in natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) showing a brown gas-and-ash plume streaming SW. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Landsat 8 false-color image (bands B4, B7, B1) of a gas plume (light blue) from Telica extending SW over the Pacific Ocean on 3 December 2020. Courtesy of INETER.

Thermal anomalies seen in Sentinel-2 satellite images were identified again starting on 14 December 2020, for the first time since 10 September. The hotspot in the eastern part of the crater was detected intermittently through 22 February 2021.

SO2 emissions measured by the Mobile-DOAS technique using 5-7 transects, averaged 99 metric tons/day for November and 821 metric tons/day for December. These values were outside the normal range and represented among the lowest and highest averages, respectively, since at least 2009. SO2 emissions averaged 129 metric tons/day during January. Small landslides were heard in February, and weak degassing was evident.

According to INETER, about 907,863 seismic events were recorded during 2020, of which 51,275 were long-period (LP) earthquakes; the source of which was 6-10 km deep. In December alone, seismicity was dominated by volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes, of which 262,549 were counted. Tremor remained between 20-50 RSAM units. Seismicity continued in early 2021, though INETER did not report any explosive activity. In January 2021 about 140,000 seismic events occurred, of which 24,652 were LP earthquakes. In February about 86,243 seismic events occurred, of which 1,725 were LP earthquakes, 431 were VT earthquakes, and 15,093 were hybrid earthquakes. During both months, tremor remained between 20-50 RSAM units.

During a field visit on 19 January 2021, INETER observed that the crater had increased in diameter to 20 m and in depth to 5 m. The main crater displayed weak gas emissions. During the visit, temperatures of the four fumaroles on the eastern rim were 55-57°C, somewhat lower than the previous three months and significantly lower than during February-July 2020. Temperatures during a visit on 11 February were even lower.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 20, Number 11 (December 1995)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Aira (Japan)

Explosive eruptions continue to generate ash plumes

Akan (Japan)

Early November seismic swarm with two minutes of tremor

Arenal (Costa Rica)

Explosive activity increase from October; lava flows continue

Asosan (Japan)

Numerous isolated tremors

Barren Island (India)

Eruption apparently ends by late June, but aviation notice posted on 2 December

Erebus (Antarctica)

No significant activity from the active lava lake; gas measurements

Erta Ale (Ethiopia)

Lava lake still active with fountains as high as 15 m

Etna (Italy)

Six lava fountaining episodes from Northeast Crater

Fogo (Cape Verde)

Eruption of 2 April through 28 May covered over 6 square kilometers of land

Fukutoku-Oka-no-Ba (Japan)

Discolored seawater

Galeras (Colombia)

Fumarolic and seismic activity continue at low levels

Irazu (Costa Rica)

Local seismicity detected

Kilauea (United States)

Surface lava flows, lava tubes, and ocean entries still active

Kujusan (Japan)

Seismically active with occasional lapilli and steam ejections

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Ongoing eruptions lead to detectable ashfalls 10-15 km away

Lengai, Ol Doinyo (Tanzania)

Minor lava flows and projectile emission in December

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Steam release with occasional minor ash and bombs

Monowai (New Zealand)

Earthquake swarm in late November detected acoustically

Negro, Cerro (Nicaragua)

Vigorous eruption produces a new cone, dome, lava flows, and large ash plumes

Niijima (Japan)

Seismic swarm on 4 December

Poas (Costa Rica)

Fumarolic and seismic activity

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Small ash-bearing emissions from Tavurvur

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica)

Additional details about the 6-10 November eruption

Shishaldin (United States)

Eruption sends ash plume above 10 km altitude

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Dome building, minor ash eruptions

St. Helens (United States)

Seismicity decreases without any explosive activity

Stromboli (Italy)

Low-level ash plumes and lava fountains during September-October

Suwanosejima (Japan)

Continued minor eruptive activity throughout much of 1995

Tokachidake (Japan)

Gradual increase in the number of seismic events

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea)

Modest degassing

Veniaminof (United States)

Minor steam and ash emissions in November

Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand)

Sub-crater divides collapse, but no eruptive activity



Aira (Japan) — December 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 eruptions continue to generate ash plumes

Minami-dake crater was active throughout November-December 1995. Eruption totals for November and December were 19 and 42, respectively. Of these, explosive eruptions for the same months numbered 14 and 36, respectively. The local seismic station recorded 453 earthquakes and 446 tremors during November and 467 earthquakes and 83 tremors during December. The highest monthly ash plumes took place on 30 November (2,300 m above the crater), and on 9 December (1,700 m). Ashfall measured 10 km W of the crater was as follows: November, 5 g/m2; and December, 18 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) — December 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Akan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Early November seismic swarm with two minutes of tremor

On 1 November there were 46 earthquakes recorded, and small amplitude volcanic tremor continued for ~2 minutes. High seismicity continued through the 5th with 18-28 events/day. The November earthquakes totaled 643.

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

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


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

Arenal

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosive activity increase from October; lava flows continue

October plumes rose as high as 1 km above Crater C. During the second week of November explosive activity increased, growing both in terms of the number of outbursts and the overall quantity of tephra emitted. Blocks and bombs landed above 1,000 m elevation. Ash columns rose over 1 km and blew over the NW, W, and SW flanks. Windows vibrated in buildings 6.5 km E (La Fortuna).

A lava flow first emitted in July remained mobile; one arm reached 860 m and another reached 900 m elevation. A new flow began at the end of the month, venting from a point S of the vent for the previous month's flow, and moving SW. Re-established vegetation in the zone of lava flows continued to degrade due to acid rain.

For the frequency range below 3.5 Hz, there were 765 events during October and 444 seismic events during November (figure 74). These events chiefly occurred associated with Strombolian eruptions; some were of sufficient amplitude to reach station JTS, 30 km from the active crater. The largest number recorded in a single day was 40 (on 5 November). During October and November, 2.1-3.5 Hz tremor took place for about 232 and 238 hours, respectively (figure 74). On 15 and 17 November tremor prevailed for 21 and 20 hours, respectively.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Arenal seismicity and tremor for 1995 (recorded at station "VACR," 2.7 km NE of the main crater). Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

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

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


Asosan (Japan) — December 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Numerous isolated tremors

During November and December 1995 the floor of Naka-dake Crater 1 remained covered with hot water, yet there were few if any mud-and-water ejections. During November the number of isolated tremors reached 5,488; during December, 4,896. In addition, continuous tremor prevailed with amplitudes confined to 0.1-0.8 µm.

Geologic Background. The 24-km-wide Asosan caldera was formed during four major explosive eruptions from 300,000 to 90,000 years ago. These produced voluminous pyroclastic flows that covered much of Kyushu. The last of these, the Aso-4 eruption, produced more than 600 km3 of airfall tephra and pyroclastic-flow deposits. A group of 17 central cones was constructed in the middle of the caldera, one of which, Nakadake, is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. It was the location of Japan's first documented historical eruption in 553 CE. The Nakadake complex has remained active throughout the Holocene. Several other cones have been active during the Holocene, including the Kometsuka scoria cone as recently as about 210 CE. Historical eruptions have largely consisted of basaltic to basaltic-andesite ash emission with periodic strombolian and phreatomagmatic activity. The summit crater of Nakadake is accessible by toll road and cable car, and is one of Kyushu's most popular tourist destinations.

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


Barren Island (India) — December 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Barren Island

India

12.278°N, 93.858°E; summit elev. 354 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption apparently ends by late June, but aviation notice posted on 2 December

Based on observations in late June 1995, the Indian Coast Guard reported on 1 July that explosive activity in the crater area had stopped, but gas emissions were still coming from the area near the coast. On 2 December an aviation Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) was issued from the United Kingdom for increased activity at Barren Island. However, no eruptive activity was seen on GMS satellite imagery over the area.

Landsat TM images from January 1995 (20:04) showed activity from a subsidiary vent on the S slope of the central crater. Subsequent images from 24 February, 13, 14, and 30 March, and 15 April 1995 also revealed activity from the central crater. Some of the images showed a lava or debris flow present in the WNW channel leading towards the sea. A thermal infrared image on 13 March showed a large hot central vent, and at least two subsidiary vents on the S slope; the image also revealed a lava passageway and the cooler plume.

Further Reference. Haldar, D., Chakraborty, S.C., and Chakraborty, P.P., 1996, The 1995 eruption of the Barren Island volcano in the Andaman Sea: Records, Geological Survey of India, v. 129(3), p. 59-62.

Geologic Background. Barren Island, a possession of India in the Andaman Sea about 135 km NE of Port Blair in the Andaman Islands, is the only historically active volcano along the N-S volcanic arc extending between Sumatra and Burma (Myanmar). It is the emergent summit of a volcano that rises from a depth of about 2250 m. The small, uninhabited 3-km-wide island contains a roughly 2-km-wide caldera with walls 250-350 m high. The caldera, which is open to the sea on the west, was created during a major explosive eruption in the late Pleistocene that produced pyroclastic-flow and -surge deposits. Historical eruptions have changed the morphology of the pyroclastic cone in the center of the caldera, and lava flows that fill much of the caldera floor have reached the sea along the western coast.

Information Contacts: D. Haldar, Director, GSI Eastern Region, Calcutta; J. Lynch, SAB.


Erebus (Antarctica) — December 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Erebus

Antarctica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


No significant activity from the active lava lake; gas measurements

Significant collapse of the Inner Crater was occurring in late 1995, although the lava lake remained fairly constant in size at ~20 m diameter and generally in the same location. No significant eruptions have occurred from the lava lake over the last 5 years and no bombs have been observed on the crater rim. Magma composition has shown no change over the last 20 years. A recent volume of 12 papers (Kyle, 1994) summarizes some aspects of the volcanic activity and environmental effects of Erebus through the 1980's and early 1990's.

Passive degassing from the lake contributes a small plume and the SO2 content has usually been monitored in December by COSPEC (see Kyle and others, 1994 for COSPEC data up to 1991). Since 1991 the SO2 emissions have ranged between 40 and 70 Mg/day (megagrams/day is the SI unit equivalent to metric tons/day); bad weather limited measurements in December 1995. FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared) open-field spectrometry measurements in December confirmed the HCl/SO2 ratio of the emitted gases to be in agreement with measurements made by impregnated filters over the last 8 years. However, high CO levels significantly exceeded those of both HCl and SO2. Although CO2 in the plume has not been measured it is assumed to be high due to the alkalic nature of the magma. The high CO may be a function of the presumed high CO2 concentrations in the magma and its fairly low oxygen fugacity.

A network of eight seismic stations are operated as part of the Erebus Volcano Observatory by the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Seven stations have 1-Hz vertical single-component instruments, and the eighth is a 1-Hz three-component station. The stations have radio telemetry links to McMurdo Station where a digital event detection system and several analog helirecorders record the data, which are automatically transferred daily via the Internet to New Mexico for analysis and archiving. Details about the seismic network and associated seismicity can be accessed on the WWW Erebus page (see below).

Magmatic eruptive activity has been continuous since the discovery of a anorthoclase phonolite lava lake in 1972 (Giggenbach and others, 1973). Activity has been relatively uniform over the last 15 years with the exception of two significant events. In 1984 there was a 3-4 month period of larger and more frequent Strombolian eruptions which ejected bombs >2 km from the summit crater. On 19 October 1993 two moderate phreatic eruptions blasted a new crater ~80 m in diameter on the Main Crater floor and ejected debris over the northern Main Crater rim. These are the first known phreatic eruptions at Erebus, and probably resulted from steam build-up associated with melting snow in the crater.

References. Giggenbach, W.F., Kyle, P.R., and Lyons, G., 1973, Present volcanic activity on Erebus, Ross Island, Antarctica: Geology, v. 1, p. 135-136.

Kyle, P.R., Sybeldon, L.M., McIntosh, W.C., Meeker, K., and Symonds, R., 1994, Sulfur dioxide emissions rates from Mount Erebus, Antarctica, in Kyle (1994), p. 69-82.

Kyle, P.R., ed., 1994, Volcanological and Environmental Studies of Erebus, Antarctica: Antarctic Research Series, American Geophysical Union, v. 66.

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

Information Contacts: Philip R. Kyle, Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, NM 87801 USA.


Erta Ale (Ethiopia) — December 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Erta Ale

Ethiopia

13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake still active with fountains as high as 15 m

Lava lakes have been present since 1967, and possibly 1906, although the N lava lake became inactive between 1988 and 1992. Recent ground observations were reported in September and November 1992. Observations have also been made using satellite imagery. New observations were made during 6-11 December 1995 by a team from Spele-Film and the Societe de Volcanologie Geneve while working for a French television network.

Only fumarolic activity was observed from the large crater (~300 m diameter) in the N part of the caldera. Fumaroles were concentrated SW of the pit within the crater, with some emissions coming from the inside wall and the slope of talus covering the pit floor. Almost all of the visible fumes came from the main pit, and seemed more abundant than in November 1992. A secondary pit crater with a diameter of ~15 m was seen in the SE part of the main pit.

Within the central part of the caldera, the S lava lake is located at the top of a small lava shield. The N and E flanks of this shield are partially covered by abundant lava flows originating from the N crater. The S flank of the shield is dominated by a large inactive cone. No fumes were visible, but the air near the pit-crater rim was very hot, frequently making it difficult to breathe without a mask. The diameter of the S pit-crater was ~140 m (based on a measured circumference of 446 +- 2 m), and the lake was 90 m below the W rim. The lava lake was similar in size and location to one observed in 1992, covering an area of ~60 x 100 m in the WSW part of the pit (figure 6). However, the level of the lake was believed to have risen ~5-6 m. Two slope breaks on the generally flat pit floor, not present in 1992, suggest that the entire floor may have subsided.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Sketch showing a cross-sectional view of the central pit-crater (S lava lake) at Erta Ale, December 1995. Courtesy of P. Vetsch.

Lava lake activity was characterized by intermittent fountaining from as many as four locations at a time. No regular pattern was noted, but fountaining was more frequent near the SW border of the lake, and the more intense fountains (5-15 m high), started near the center of the lake and migrated to the border. During the stronger fountaining phases, a large raft of cooled surface lava moved towards the lake center. The lava lake was generally more active than in 1992. Pele's hair was frequently seen above the fountains, and some rose on the hot air out of the pit.

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

Information Contacts: P. Vetsch, Societe de Volcanologie Geneve, B.P. 298, CH-1225 Chene-bourg, Switzerland; L. Cantamessa, Geo-Decouverte, 65 rue de Lausanne, CH-1202 Geneva, Switzerland; G. Farve and C. Rufi, Spele-Film, Borex, Switzerland; C. Peter, 14 Haupstrasse, D-82547 Eurasburg, Germany.


Etna (Italy) — December 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Six lava fountaining episodes from Northeast Crater

On 2 August 1995 explosive activity resumed at Northeast Crater (NEC) (BGVN 20:08). In August and September the activity was sporadic and low in intensity (BGVN 20:09), but after 2 October a vigorous Strombolian phase was observed (BGVN 20:10). Explosive activity occurred again during 19-22 October.

On 1 November there was vigorous spattering and bubbling of magma in a 15-m-wide pit on the NEC floor. Magma degassing formed large bubbles that burst, throwing spatter to the crater rim. In the following days the activity was discontinuous and less intense.

Lava fountaining episodes, 9-14 November. At 0014 on 9 November there was a sudden increase in volcanic tremor, but bad weather prevented summit observations. Between 0105 (at Trecastagni) and 0110 (at Catania, 30 km SSE) ash and lapilli fallout covered the SE flank (figure 61), eventually reaching as far as Siracusa, 75 km from the vent. The episode lasted only a few minutes and the material on the lower slope amounted to a few tens of grams per square meter, although rare dense lapilli broke some skylights and car windows. Fieldwork the next morning revealed that the NEC eruption produced a lava fountain followed by a strong phreatomagmatic blast. Part of the S rim collapsed inside the NEC and was later ejected. A welded spatter deposit several meters thick mantled the upper slope of the NEC cone and was overlain by a few centimeters of ash and lapilli. The bombs varied from 2-3 m close to the vent, to 25 cm at 2.5 km downwind. Several large accidental lithics (up to 1 m) occurred in the very proximal deposit. A large amount of spatter fell into the crater, raising its floor by several tens of meters. The crater appeared completely sealed, with wide red cracks on the crust of the spatter pile. The total volume of tephra from the 9 November eruption was ~1.5 x 106 m3.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. Map of the Etna area showing areas affected by ashfall on 9, 14, and 27 November, and 23 December 1995. Courtesy of IIV.

On 10 November a new lava fountain episode at NEC was observed from Catania around 0400-0530. Pulsating magma jets climbed up to 300 m above the crater rim; some were expelled up to 500 m. An ash-and-lapilli column ascended ~5,000 m and was blown SE. The spatter deposit was limited to the upper part of the volcano and in a narrow strip extending ~3 km SE; little ash fell on the middle slopes. The estimated volume of the pyroclastics was a few tens of thousands of cubic meters.

A third episode took place around 0600 on 14 November, and lasted ~3 hours. Between 0800 and 0900 the paroxysmal phase sent dense black ash columns through a white cloud covering the summit until they reached 5,000 m altitude. During the entire episode a non-continuous sustained eruptive column was observed and each ash puff contributed to a plume bent downwind that reached its buoyancy level at 6-7 km altitude. Ash and lapilli rained on the NE flank down to the coast (figure 61), leaving only a few grams of material per square meter on the middle and lower slopes. The proximal spatter deposits, mapped two days later, partially covered the previous ones on the cone and extended ~2 km NE in a band a few hundred meters wide. Lithic blocks and ash were less abundant than in deposits from the 9 November episode. The crater bottom was sealed by back-fallen welded spatter and was ~50 m below the crater rim, 100 m higher than before 9 November. The total volume of tephra from the 14 November eruptions was ~350,000 m3.

The volcano remained quiet after the 3rd episode. Within NEC, only a few large cracks on the welded spatter crust emitted fumes. Bocca Nuova crater showed a normal continuous degassing; Southeast and Voragine craters continued their steam emission.

Lava fountaining episodes, 22-27 November. Late on 22 November continuous glows were observed at NEC and some bangs were heard on the lower slopes. Beginning around midnight, two hours of fire fountaining and intense red glow was visible from Catania. The lava jets remained fairly low (~100 m above the crater rim) so the proximal spatter deposit mantled only the upper part of the cone, whereas the fine material fell on the SE flank as far as the coast. However, the total volume of the erupted material was limited to a few tens of thousand cubic meters, close to that of the second episode.

After the 22 November episode the vent was closed again by material that fell back into the crater. Three days later some bangs were heard at NEC and glow was observed during the night of 26-27 November. That morning seismic tremor rose suddenly and at 0715 an ash-and-lapilli column rose from the volcano. Cloud cover prevented direct observations. Ash and lapilli were carried by strong winds and fell on a narrow band of the N flank down to its foot (figure 61). Lapilli fallout ended around 1000, but the explosive activity continued for several hours. The thickness of the scoria-fall deposit varied from decimeters close to the vent to ~1 mm at 12 km away. The total tephra volume from this 5th eruptive episode was estimated at 0.4-0.5 x 106 m3.

Fieldwork two days later revealed that the proximal spatter deposits of the 22 and 26 November episodes were thinner than earlier ones. Lithic blocks were less abundant than in the 9 November deposits, but large ballistic scoriaceous bombs were found up to 500 m from the vent. The crater floor was completely sealed by fall-back spatter, but every 40-60 minutes a gas pocket broke the solid crust and a single lava bubble burst. These phenomena were observed for a few more days.

Activity during December. In the first half of December the summit craters were quiet, with continuous steam emissions, except for NEC, which had no open vent. A short explosive phase was reported on the night of 6 December. Poor weather conditions prevented observations until 16 December, when continuous Strombolian activity was seen at a small vent on the crater floor; a cone grew within a few days. The activity was characterized by the bursting of single magma bubbles alternating with degassing jets and spatter lasting from tens of seconds to a few minutes. This intense Strombolian activity continued for several days.

Around 1100 on 23 December strong bangs were heard from skiers on the upper slope. Very soon the bangs became frequent and black ash puffs were observed from NEC. Between 1215 and 1220 the first jet of magma rose above the crater rim, followed shortly by several pulses of magma jets and a large eruptive column. Between 1235 and 1305 the paroxysmal phase occurred, with jets of magma that rose 500-600 m (measured on the video record of the surveillance camera at La Montagnola, 2,700 m elevation on the S flank). Fragments from the top of the jets fed an eruptive column that reached 9.5 km altitude (6.2 km above the summit). Clear weather allowed observation of the column from many places on Sicily, as far as the city of Palermo 190 km away. Abundant ash and lapilli fell on a wide band of the NE flank down to the coast (figure 61). A brownish ash plume was emitted by Voragine during the entire paroxysmal phase of the eruption. Around 1330 the eruption quickly declined, but isolated explosions occurred until the evening. This episode was the most energetic among the six at NEC during November and December 1995.

The proximal deposit mantled the NEC cone with meters of welded spatter. In the W and E saddles between NEC and the Central Cone, spatter formed two thick lava flows a few hundred meters long. The E flow was still active during the night of 23-24 December; downslope movement of fluid material in the core produced continuous collapses of large incandescent blocks at the flow front. Crater modifications included the thick new scoria bank and widening and lowering of the S crater rim. Ballistic clasts had been thrown up to 600 m from the vent and landed as cow-pie bombs up to 2 m in diameter. The distal deposit from the eruptive column was made of scoriaceous bombs and lapilli up to 10-15 km from the vent, and from lapilli and a minor ash up to the shoreline, 22 km away. The bombs were very brittle, flat, and up to 30 cm in diameter at 6 km from the vent (observed while still in the air). The scoria-fall deposit formed a continuous band from the vent to the coast, damaging fruit plantations, vehicles, and buildings. The Messina-Catania freeway had to be cleared of a scoria deposit along a 4-km-long stretch. The deposit thickness along the dispersal axis was 6-7 cm at 6 km, 3-4 cm at 13 km, 3 cm at 16 km along the freeway, and 1-2 cm at 20 km near the coast. The estimated total volume of pyroclastics erupted on 23 December was ~3 x 106 m3.

On the days after 23 December eruption only a few blasts were heard from NEC, but on the nights of 27 and 28 December discontinuous glow was again seen, sometimes similar to those produced by mild Strombolian explosions. No further activity was reported at NEC or the other craters through the end of the year.

Tephra characteristics. Bombs and lapilli erupted during the November-December 1995 episodes are highly vesiculated and show glassy and smooth surfaces. Only in the volcanics erupted on 9 November are both vesicles and surfaces filled by reddish, fine-grained non-juvenile material. Juvenile ash consists of: 1) poorly vesiculated tachylitic (glassy) grains; 2) highly vesiculated clasts with glassy, smooth surfaces, and many Pele's hair and shards in the finer fraction; and 3) loose crystals covered in some cases by a thin film of glass.

Generally rounded grains with variable alteration form the non-juvenile fraction. In the ash fraction of all deposits, juvenile material is always the most abundant (60-100%), and preliminary investigation indicates that it increased with time. The juvenile fraction is ~60% of the 9 November ash, ~80% of the 14 November ash, and ~100% of the ash erupted during the following episodes (23 and 27 November, 23 December). The proportions of different juvenile components also changed during the eruptive sequence.

Scoria erupted during the November-December explosive episodes are, like most of Etna's historical volcanics, porphyritic hawaiites with phenocrysts of plagioclase, clinopyroxene, and olivine, and microphenocrysts of Ti-magnetite in a hyalopilitic groundmass. The scoria are more vesiculated and slightly less porphyritic than those erupted in October 1995. The chemical composition of November-December scoria is rather homogeneous even if the 9 and 14 November material is slightly more differentiated than those erupted after 23 November. Overall, the composition of the November-December volcanics is comparable to those of the Strombolian activity at NEC during the first half of October, and to the products erupted in the first days of the 1991-93 eruption.

Seismicity. Seismicity recorded by the permanent seismic network (12 stations; figure 62), during November-December 1995 was characterized by remarkable phases of increased volcanic tremor amplitude. Earthquake activity stayed at very low levels. A few tens of shocks took place and the only significant episode occurred on 24 December when a minor swarm (6 events; Mmax=3.2) was located near Mt. Maletto (NW slope of the volcano) at a depth of ~15 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Map of Etna showing locations of seismic stations, tilt stations, and EDM networks maintained by the Istituto Internazionale di Vulcanologia as of December 1995. Courtesy of IIV.

Since the end of August 1995 volcanic tremor recorded at Pizzi Deneri (PDN: ~2 km from NEC, 2,820 m elevation) and Serra Pizzuta Calvarina (ESP: ~7 km from NEC, 1,590 m elevation) stations has shown an increasing trend. This pattern became more evident in late September, when some increases in tremor amplitude were recorded for durations ranging from tens of minutes to a few hours. The most relevant increases in tremor amplitude occurred on 22-23 September, 2, 3 and 21 October, 9, 10, 14, 22-23, and 27 November, and 23 December. This tremor amplitude pattern correlated with visually observed NEC eruptive activity.

The volcanic tremor spectral amplitude temporal pattern at PDN and ESP stations showed a clear amplitude increase. Spectral amplitude peaks were superimposed on the increased trend and corresponded to the episodes listed above. Dominant peaks in tremor spectra recorded at PDN and ESP stations showed a high-frequency (~3.5 Hz) trend coincident with the high tremor amplitude. Each amplitude increase showed similar characteristics.

Ground deformation. After the end of the 1991-93 eruption deformation was dominated by steady inflation, mostly affecting the W and NE slopes. Positive trends of areal dilatation, cumulating at ~14 ppm, were clearly apparent on the SW and NE flank EDM networks (figure 62) following the 1991-93 eruption, while the S network was characterized by a flat trend of areal dilatation for several years. Both the SW and NE networks followed comparable trends, only differing in the recent sharp positive gradient variation (10 ppm) shown by the latter between August and October.

The shallow bore-hole permanent tilt network (figure 62) indicated a progressive increase (starting by the second half of 1993) in the radial tilt component recorded at the stations on the W flank (MSC: 50 µrad) and on the N flank (MNR: 10 µrad), while the S slope showed no appreciable positive variation until July 1995. The eruptive activity resumed at the summit craters by late July-early August, and the renewed ejection of magma appeared to be strictly related in time to the positive variation of the radial tilt at SPC (~15 µrad) and the sharp increase of areal dilatation in the NE sector. Radial tilt at PDN was affected by a sharp negative variation (35 µrad) at almost the same time.

September EDM survey on the S flank. J. Moss noted that reoccupation of a different S-flank EDM network in September 1995 showed only minor line extension since eruptive activity resumed in August. Significant extensions of lines perpendicular to the Valle del Bove accompanied dike emplacement prior to the 1991-93 eruption. However, the July 1995 survey showed only minor changes since July 1994. Over 80% of the lines measured between those two surveys showed extension, suggesting a pattern of broad edifice inflation. The small strain rates suggest that no magma was intruded into this part of the S rift zone prior to September 1995.

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: M. Coltelli, M. Pompilio, E. Privitera, S. Spampinato, and S. Bonaccorso, CNR Istituto Internazionale di Vulcanologia (IIV), Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ingv.it/en/); Jane L. Moss, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education, Francis Close Hall, Swindon Road, Cheltenham GL50 4AZ, United Kingdom.


Fogo (Cape Verde) — December 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Fogo

Cape Verde

14.95°N, 24.35°W; summit elev. 2829 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption of 2 April through 28 May covered over 6 square kilometers of land

The eruption that began on 2 April (BGVN 20:04 and 20:05) ended on or about 28 May, according to V. Martins. New lava flows covered ~6.3 km2 of land. The total volume of lava extruded was ~60-100 x 106 m3, assuming lava flow thicknesses of ~9-15 m; the known range was from 1 to >20 m. Based on six major-element XRF analyses, the lava flow erupted during the first night (3 April) was determined to be a differentiated kaersutite-bearing phonotephrite (IUGS system), whereas later lava flows and spatter were more primitive tephrite basanite.

Fogo Island consists of a single massive volcano with an 8-km-wide caldera breached to the E. The central cone was apparently almost continuously active from the time of Portuguese settlement in 1500 A.D. until around 1760. The June-August 1951 eruption from caldera vents S and NW of the central cone began with ejection of pyroclastic material.

Geologic Background. The island of Fogo consists of a single massive stratovolcano that is the most prominent of the Cape Verde Islands. The roughly circular 25-km-wide island is truncated by a large 9-km-wide caldera that is breached to the east and has a headwall 1 km high. The caldera is located asymmetrically NE of the center of the island and was formed as a result of massive lateral collapse of the ancestral Monte Armarelo edifice. A very youthful steep-sided central cone, Pico, rises more than 1 km above the caldera floor to about 100 m above the caldera rim, forming the 2829 m high point of the island. Pico, which is capped by a 500-m-wide, 150-m-deep summit crater, was apparently in almost continuous activity from the time of Portuguese settlement in 1500 CE until around 1760. Later historical lava flows, some from vents on the caldera floor, reached the eastern coast below the breached caldera.

Information Contacts: Richard Moore, U.S. Geological Survey, Mail Stop 903, Federal Center Box 25046, Denver, CO 80225 USA; Frank Trusdell, U.S. Geological Survey, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718, USA; Veronica Carvalho Martins, U.S. Embassy, Rua Hoji Ya Henda 81, C.P. 201, Praia, Cape Verde; Arrigo Querido, INGRH Servicos Estudos Hidrologicos, C.P. 367, Praia, Cape Verde.


Fukutoku-Oka-no-Ba (Japan) — December 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Fukutoku-Oka-no-Ba

Japan

24.285°N, 141.481°E; summit elev. -29 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Discolored seawater

An aviator flying over the waters of the southern Volcano Islands for Japan's Maritime Safety Agency reported seeing light-green seawater on 25, 27, and 28 November. Discolored seawater was last seen at this location in September 1993.

Geologic Background. Fukutoku-Oka-no-ba is a submarine volcano located 5 km NE of the pyramidal island of Minami-Ioto. Water discoloration is frequently observed from the volcano, and several ephemeral islands have formed in the 20th century. The first of these formed Shin-Ioto ("New Sulfur Island") in 1904, and the most recent island was formed in 1986. The volcano is part of an elongated edifice with two major topographic highs trending NNW-SSE, and is a trachyandesitic volcano geochemically similar to Ioto.

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


Galeras (Colombia) — December 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic and seismic activity continue at low levels

Volcanic activity remained low during November and December. No significant surface changes were detected during this period, in agreement with electronic tiltmeter measurements on the E flank. Gas emission was concentrated in the W part of the crater, and the El Paisita, Las Chavas, La Joya, and Las Deformes fumaroles remained active. During 2-22 November there were temperature increases at Las Deformes and Las Chavas of 28 and 14°C, respectively. Correlation spectrometer measurements of the SO2 flux remained low (<100 metric tons/day).

There were a few small seismic events associated with fluid movement in November, and sporadic seismicity associated with rock fracturing 2-4 km NNE of the active crater. During December, high-frequency seismicity consisted of small events (M <2.6) concentrated in the seismogenic region 6 km NE of the crater. Local residents felt events on 4 and 29 December that were M 2.5 and 2.6, respectively. The first of these events was centered in the NE region at 5 km depth, and the second at 7 km SW of the crater at 8 km depth. Only three small long-period events were recorded.

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, 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).


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

Irazu

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Local seismicity detected

During October Irazú's seismic station (IRZ2), located 5 km SW of the active crater, registered 14 low-frequency events and an additional 19 microseisms that were only detected locally.

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

Information Contacts: E. Fernandez, E. Duarte, R. Saenz, W. Jimenez, and V. Barboza, OVSICORI-UNA.


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

Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Surface lava flows, lava tubes, and ocean entries still active

The East Rift Zone eruption continued in the last quarter of 1995 with lava erupting from the 780-m elevation flank vent next to the Pu`u `O`o cone (figure 98). The lava immediately entered subsurface tubes and traveled SE toward the coast, a distance of ~11 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Map of recent lava flows from Kilauea's east rift zone, October 1995. Contours are in meters and the contour interval is approximately 150 m. Courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Activity during 10 October-6 November. Most surface flows broke out from the tubes on the steep slope of Pulama Pali and on the coastal plain. Some of these flows burned vegetation and extended the flow field at the base of Pulama Pali several hundred meters E. On the flats at the coast, surface flows occurred just upslope from the ocean entry at Kamokuna, and also 1 km farther W, near the old Kamoamoa campground. A major bench collapse at the Kamokuna entry on 16-17 October was accompanied by explosive activity that built two littoral cones.

A portion of the crater floor in the Pu`u `O`o cone collapsed, leaving a pit ~50 m in diameter that was partially filled by a large rockslide from the base of the W crater wall. The timing of the pit formation probably coincided with seismic events either on 19 and/or 29 October. The lava pond rose to ~75 m below the N spillway. On the upper slope above Pulama Pali, new skylights in the roof of the lava tubes continued to appear and crust over rapidly. Surface flows in this area and on the slope of Pulama Pali were small and infrequent. Most of the lava traveled via lava tubes to the coastal plain on the E side of the Kamoamoa flow field. Isolated breakouts occurred in the central part of the flow field, below Paliuli. The ocean entry at Kamokuna continued to produce a large acidic plume. Interaction between lava and seawater was occasionally explosive and formed two littoral cones on the bench.

Eruption tremor levels remained relatively low with amplitudes ~2x background. Long-period events from both shallow- and intermediate-depth sources continued at low-moderate rates. The number of short period microearthquakes was low beneath the summit and rift zones.

Activity during 7 November-4 December. A brief pause during the night of 10-11 November was immediately preceded by increased shallow seismic tremor and slight summit deflation. By the morning of 11 November lava was no longer entering the ocean at Kamokuna; however, activity at the eruption vent and the Pu`u `O`o cone had already resumed. During the afternoon, the lava pond was very active, its level fluctuating at least 10-15 m within 30 minutes, with spattering up to a height of 30 m. By the following day, lava was once again entering the ocean. Since this short pause, the lava pond has maintained a level ~75 m below the N rim. The floor of the large collapse pit was partially resurfaced by new lava flows after the pause.

Surface flows on the lower slope of Pulama pali and on the coastal plain continued to expand the Kamoamoa flow field E into forest and grasslands. At the shoreline, advancing pahoehoe flows filled the gap created by Kupaianaha eruptions in 1992, at the E edge of the current Kamoamoa flow field. These flows have produced a new ocean entry ~500 m E of the Kamokuna entry.

A large bench at the West Kamokuna entry collapsed on 23 November. Sustained explosive activity on 26 November built a new littoral cone (3-4 m high) on the bench. Lava was entering the ocean at 2-3 locations along a new East Kamokuna bench, located inside the W edge of the old Kupaianaha flow field. Breakouts from the relatively immature tube system were continuously active on the coastal plain near this entry. An older tube continued to feed isolated breakouts in the middle of the Kamoamoa flow field. The long-lived skylight at 735 m elevation finally crusted over in late November, leaving the tube system completely sealed off for the first 4 km from the vent. However, new skylights continued to appear and crust over near the top of Pulama Pali.

Eruption tremor was low and relatively steady, with a few isolated increases in amplitude in banded patterns. Shallow, long-period microearthquakes were slightly above average on 11, 12, and 16 November, with daily counts of nearly 100. Intermediate-depth, long-period counts were high on 2 and 3 December. Short-period summit and rift microearthquake counts were low.

Activity during 5 December-1 January. Small surface breakouts were observed high on Pulama Pali and on the coastal plain. The West Kamokuna entry occupied a large, mature bench; on 12 December, explosive activity at this entry built a new littoral cone. The East Kamokuna entry continued building a new bench. A pause in the eruption began at 1500 on 14 December and lasted until midnight on 15-16 December. The plume from the ocean entries stopped completely by 16 December. When the eruption resumed, lava again flowed through the existing tube system and reached the ocean at West Kamokuna bench on the afternoon of 17 December. The East Kamokuna entry was not reactivated after the pause.

Just prior to the 14-16 December pause, only a solid crust was visible where the Pu`u `O`o lava pond had been, at 80-90 m below the rim. By 19 December the lava pond had risen to ~68 m below the rim of the cone and was actively circulating. The pond level then subsided several meters and stabilized by 28 December. Surface flows occurred high on Pulama Pali, between 675 and 570 m elevation, and in the area from the 300-m elevation on Pulama Pali, down to the far eastern side of the flow field, to the coastal plain and ocean entry. Flows moved E into the grassland and brush near the base of Pulama Pali. A single ocean entry at West Kamokuna was active in late December, where a major collapse between 30 December and 1 January took out a section of the bench ~50-70 x 200-300 m in surface area, including several littoral cones. Explosive activity was observed at the ocean entry both before and after the collapse, but the most energetic and spectacular activity was reported on 1 January, immediately following the bench collapse. This activity included lava bubble burst and spatter and tephra ejections to heights estimated at 60 m. These explosions built a new littoral cone.

Eruption tremor levels remained low at ~2-3x the background. Shallow, long-period (LPC-A, 3-5 Hz) microearthquake counts were high on 5 December and again from 15-18 December. On the 15th and 16th, LPC-A counts were 200/day, gradually diminishing on the 17th and 18th. Shallow, long period (LPC-B, 1-3 Hz) microearthquakes were also high in number during 16-18 December, peaking on the 17th, with more than 150 events counted. Both types of LPC events are from a source 0-5 km in depth. They differ in frequency, suggesting a possible change in the condition of the source.

Shallow summit activity continued in the second half of December, with many hundreds of long-period (LPC-B, 0-3 Hz) events per day. The high counts peaked on 22 and 24 December with daily totals of 1,730 and 1,346, respectively. By 26 December, LPC-B counts appeared to be decreasing, while a slight increase of LPC-A was noted. The increase of shallow activity was coincident with the mid-December eruptive pause. Microearthquake counts were below average.

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

Information Contacts: Dave Clague, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), U.S. Geological Survey, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI 96718, USA.


Kujusan (Japan) — December 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Kujusan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismically active with occasional lapilli and steam ejections

An aseismic phreatic eruption vented from the N flank (not E as previously reported) of Hosho dome on the evening of 11 October (BGVN 20:10). The eruption came from a 400-m-long E-W fissure that includes multiple sub-fissures and craters.

The Volcano Research Center (VRC) at the University of Tokyo reported that the estimated volume of tephra from the 11 October eruption was 22,000 m3. Violent steaming from the vents and craters along en-echelon cracks has reportedly continued since then. An image taken by the French SPOT-2 satellite on the morning of 13 October shows an ash plume extending SW.

JMA reported that on 12 and 13 November field observers saw steam vigorously escaping from Vent D. The steam carried volcanic lapilli up to 5 cm in diameter.

Another JMA field party witnessed a loud explosion on 13 December, but ejecta were not found. VRC reported that another phreatic eruption on the morning of 18 December produced ~20% of the tephra of the 11 October eruption. Associated tremor, local deflation, and earthquakes were noted. Small ash emissions continued until at least as late as the night of 13 January 1996. In material erupted since 20 December, clear juvenile rhyolite glass shards were recognized in the ash and comprised roughly 1% of its volume.

The highest plumes during November and December rose ~300 and 600 m above the vent. On 23 November, earthquakes increased and the daily total was 13; the monthly total was 69. During the most active days in December, the 2nd and 18th, daily totals were 22 and 29, respectively; the total for the month was 134.

Further Reference. Hiroki, H., and Tatsuro, C., 1995, Eruption of Iozan at Kuju volcano in October 1995: Journal of the Geological Society of Japan, v. 101, no. 12, p. 43-56.

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; Volcano Research Center, Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113 Japan (URL: http://www.eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp/VRC/index_E.html); Geological Survey of Japan, 1-1-3 Higashi, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305 Japan (URL: http://www.aist.go.jp/ GSJ/dEG/sVOLC/kuju_E.html).


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — December 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)


Ongoing eruptions lead to detectable ashfalls 10-15 km away

Throughout November-December, Crater 2 continued to emit white-to-gray ash and vapor, with plumes rising up to several hundred meters above the crater. During November, ashfalls reached 10-15 km on the N-NW flank; these eruptions were accompanied by audible explosions and rumbling. The eruptions threw incandescent projectiles during the first half of both November and December, and steady crater glow took place on most November nights and on 9-11 December. Crater 3 remained quiet. The greatest December activity, during the 23rd through the 26th, had emissions similar to those in November, but plumes rose somewhat higher (up to 1 km above the crater) and ash fell 10-15 km SE and SW.

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

Information Contacts: Ben Talai, H. Patia, D. Lolok, and C. McKee, RVO.


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — December 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)


Minor lava flows and projectile emission in December

Summit visits by members of the Societe de Volcanologie Geneve during 15-19 December revealed low rates of intermittent effusive activity and some small explosions. Five episodes of lava emission were observed from hornito cluster T36 (BGVN20:10), each lasting

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Sketch map of part of the Ol Doinyo Lengai crater showing new features and lava flows, 15-19 December 1995. Modified from the January 1994 map in BGVN 19:04.

Almost continuous ejection of lava fragments occurred from a cinder cone T37 (~15-25 m high), and with less intensity from a hornito in a small collapse depression just W of T5/T9 (figure 37). A small lava pond, observed for ~3 hours on 16 December, inside the depression at the foot of the hornito exhibited splashing and small bubbles. Two major flank collapses of T37 released large quantities of very fast-moving (5-8 m/second) aa lava flows that were ~50 cm thick. The first flank failure, on 16 December, was a progressive event on the W side. However, the E-flank collapse on the 18th came without warning, quickly sending a lava flow NE between T5/T9 and F35, almost to the crater rim.

Fumarole temperature measurements were taken on the N crater rim, inside new cracks on the crater floor, and at the tops of T8 and T15. All temperatures were 70-80 degrees C.

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: P. Vetsch, S. Haefli, and C. Peter, Societe de Volcanologie Geneve, B.P. 298, CH-1225 Chene-bourg, Switzerland.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — December 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)


Steam release with occasional minor ash and bombs

Throughout November, Manam's activity remained low and night glow from its craters was absent. On 8 December, weak projections of incandescent lava were seen, and steady glow took place on the nights of 9 and 10 December. During November and December, both summit craters chiefly released steam, but on 8, 17, and 19 November South Crater released wisps of blue vapor, and on 25 and 28 November it released gray ash. South Crater also made weak, low-frequency roaring sounds on 1 November. Except for 6-11 December, activity was low during most of the month.

Earthquakes increased at the end of October, but during November they took place at the moderate rate of 600-1,400/day. They remained moderate in December. In the first half of November a tiltmeter 4 km SW of the summit continued to register slight deflation followed during the latter half of the month by a 2 µrad inflation.

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

Information Contacts: Ben Talai, H. Patia, D. Lolok, and C. McKee, RVO.


Monowai (New Zealand) — December 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Monowai

New Zealand

25.887°S, 177.188°W; summit elev. -132 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Earthquake swarm in late November detected acoustically

During November, Reseau Sismique Polynesien (RSP) stations on the islands of Tahiti, Rangiroa, Tubuai, and Rikitea registered acoustic T-waves. The waves were associated with a seismic swarm centered >2,500 km E of these islands. The swarm was located at 25.92 S, 177.15 W, essentially the coordinates of the Monowai seamount.

The T-wave swarm consisted of four episodes. The first, at 1751 on 27 November, lasted for 20 minutes and included seven separate explosions and other strong events. The second, 1403 on 28 November lasted 4 minutes and included small-amplitude events. The third, at 1842 on 30 November, prevailed for 7 minutes and included moderate-amplitude events. Ten minutes later, the fourth episode included 25 distinct explosions and other strong events.

The character of the T-wave signals was consistent with volcanism. T-waves are sound waves with paths that propagate through the sea; on reaching land the energy travels at the higher speed of ordinary seismic waves. Compared to earthquake-generated T-waves, volcanically generated ones are impulsive and of comparatively short duration.

Recent activity includes a possible eruption in 1944, and about seven documented eruptions during 1977-90 (BGVN 16:03). The seamount lies midway between the Kermadec and Tonga Islands, ~1,400 km NE of New Zealand. The adjacent trench is significantly shallower (~4 km) compared to the Tonga and Kermadec trenches (9-11 km deep).

Geologic Background. Monowai, also known as Orion seamount, rises to within 100 m of the sea surface about halfway between the Kermadec and Tonga island groups. The volcano lies at the southern end of the Tonga Ridge and is slightly offset from the Kermadec volcanoes. Small parasitic cones occur on the N and W flanks of the basaltic submarine volcano, which rises from a depth of about 1500 m and was named for one of the New Zealand Navy bathymetric survey ships that documented its morphology. A large 8.5 x 11 km wide submarine caldera with a depth of more than 1500 m lies to the NNE. Numerous eruptions from Monowai have been detected from submarine acoustic signals since it was first recognized as a volcano in 1977. A shoal that had been reported in 1944 may have been a pumice raft or water disturbance due to degassing. Surface observations have included water discoloration, vigorous gas bubbling, and areas of upwelling water, sometimes accompanied by rumbling noises.

Information Contacts: Francois Schindele, Laboratoire de Geophysique, B.P. 640, Papeete, Tahiti.


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

Cerro Negro

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Vigorous eruption produces a new cone, dome, lava flows, and large ash plumes

A significant eruption in November-December followed almost six months of unrest and minor eruptive activity. During a crater visit on 13 November no precursors were observed, and on 18 November only background seismicity was recorded by the CNGN station (500 m E of the crater).

Early phase of activity, 19-22 November. Local residents first noticed explosions about the time of the onset of 30 minutes of mildly increasing seismicity detected by the CNGN station at 1145 on 19 November. Following a pause, seismicity continued to gain strength. Increasing activity was reported that afternoon by residents in Malpaisillo (~10 km N). Observations on the night of 19-20 November indicated mild Strombolian activity, with vertically directed ejecta, that was gradually increasing in strength. A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) was issued the next day warning aviators of the volcanic activity.

Eruption tremor amplitude increased continuously and saturated the CNGN station (60 dB gain) at 0200 on the 21st. Tremor was detected on short-period seismic stations within a 30 km radius (at San Cristóbal and Momotombo volcanoes, and near the city of León). Energy release increased continuously and tremor could be felt over 1 km away, when sitting down, as a smooth rocking motion.

At 2000 on 21 November incandescent bombs were being thrown up to 300-400 m above the 1992 crater rim. Ash content was low compared with the 1992 and May-August 1995 activity, and bombs were often very large (meters across), which deformed and broke up in flight. Because of near-vertical trajectories, few bombs fell outside the crater. The new cone being built within the 1992 crater (figure 8) had a steep (>45 degrees) basal scarp, 2-5 m high, followed by a level bench and then a less steep slope (25 degrees) to its crater. Ejecta pulses maintained a frequency of 20/minute, but the size and duration of each pulse varied. From 0255 to 0310 on 22 November ejecta heights were <150 m but ash content and degassing were much higher, emitting dark clouds with each explosion. A thick, white lower plume appeared to be escaping from a new lava dome in the 1992 crater, 50 m W of the new cone (figure 8). By 0500 the eruption had regained previous intensity levels and exhibited near-constant fire-fountain-like activity, bombs were larger, and pulse frequency increased to 22/minute. The eruption continued at this level for over 4 hours.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Sketch of the crater at Cerro Negro, 0700 on 22 November 1995. Drawn from photographs taken by Pedro Perez; courtesy of INETER.

The new cone had almost reached the lip of the 1992 crater by 0700 on 22 November. At that time the lava dome emitted a small lava flow, 2-5 m wide and 50 m long, that followed the edge of the new cone towards the lowest part of the 1992 crater (figure 9). From 0930 to 1000 a series of explosions ejected material to the lower slopes of the new cone. Sand to gravel size ash fell W of the cone, but no large ejecta. Compared to the 1992 ejecta this material is highly vesicular with millimeter-size vesicles; olivine, pyroxene, and plagioclase are present, and some plagioclase crystals are 1 cm long. That evening the new cone overgrew the N rim of the 1992 crater and material began spilling towards Cerro La Mula. From 1900 to 2300 a tongue of lava spilled over the N rim of the 1992 crater. The front moved at less than 1 m/hour, but blocks constantly tumbled from the front down to the base of the main cone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Sketch map of Cerro Negro showing active lava flows, 2000 on 23 November 1995. Drawn by B. Van Wyk de Vries; courtesy of INETER.

Lava flows beyond the crater, 23 November. After 1400 on 23 November dark gray pulses observed from 25 km away formed a plume that rose faster and higher than on previous days, attaining several kilometers altitude. Observations were made from the seismic station after 1500. During about 1515-1525 the plume became less ash-rich, ejecta became less frequent, and strong degassing pulses were heard. When regular pulses resumed, some bombs were ejected laterally onto the flanks of the main cone. Periodic heavy falls of 1-3 cm scoria were encountered by the scientists walking under the plume 1.5 km from the cone. Red glow was visible at 1730 over Cerro La Mula, and there was a smell of burning vegetation, suggesting an active lava flow. The lava tongue was observed at 1800 between Cerro La Mula and Cerro Negro (figure 9). Later named the La Mula flow, it was ~20 m wide and 5 m thick, and advancing at ~2 m/hour.

At 1830 a 20-m-wide lava stream moved down the N flank through a small breach at a rate of ~150 m/minute from the crater rim to the base of the cone. A lava field spreading out from the base of the cone had reached ~1 km from the crater by 2000, advancing 10-30 m/hour along two 300-m-wide fronts (figure 9). To the E of the flow the volcano flank appeared to be bulging and was irregular with large blocks jutting out that occasionally fell downslope, revealing incandescent lava. It appeared to the scientists that a slow-moving 20-m-thick blocky lava flow was moving to the crater rim and collapsing down the flank; however, the shape of the flank also suggested outward bulging. The blocky lava extended at least 200 m NE from the base of the cone.

Continuous and voluminous pulses at 2000 created a fountain that sent bombs at least 600 m above the crater. Ash clouds accompanied each pulse and occasional flames of burning gas reached 100-200 m above the crater. This activity had decreased by 2045, and by 2115 pulses of bombs appeared only every 30 seconds, although continual noise suggested smaller pulses.

Of the four GPS stations set up in the vicinity of the cone, by 23 November one had been destroyed by lava and another was too dangerous to approach. Measurements at the remaining stations were within the error of the equipment (2 cm at best). However, two fresh fault scarps radial to the cone were observed on the W side with 5 cm of displacement. Tremor energy increased continuously until 1200 on 23 November, after which it maintained a constant level.

Continuing activity, 25-26 November.The eruption plume was again clearly visible on 25 November from Managua as a diffuse gray column turning horizontal at ~2,000 m. At 0900 distinct pulses of dark gray ash rose from the crater and formed mushroom shapes before drifting W and being incorporated into the plume; ashfall was reported in León and Corinto. At times only massive bombs were thrown out, while at others strong explosions sent up dense ash clouds. Ash and highly vesicular scoria

At 1100 on 25 November most bombs were still ejected vertically, but a significant number were exiting at low angles and falling low on the flanks. The new cone had grown to ~40 m across, and its top was ~30-50 m below the 1992 crater summit. Bombs fell mostly on the cone and rolled down to the base. The small breach where the 23 November lava flow exited was partly covered by a new blocky flow, which appeared to come straight N from the new cone, though no exit vent was visible. It may have been produced by accumulated, still liquid ejecta beginning to flow outwards, as seen on 22 November. The flow had advanced half way down the flank, covering another blocky flow. The dome in the crater had grown to ~100 m wide and 40 m high. Blocks were continually spalling off the dome, which also sustained a continuous rain of bombs from the new cone. Multiple small lava tongues originated from the dome. The crater dome was less pronounced on 26 November, and was blocky rather than spiny. The new cone had grown ~10 m overnight.

The two flows moving N on the 23rd had reached ~1-1.5 km from the volcano. The larger W lobe was ~400 m wide and 3-5 m thick at the front with a small lobe extending down the gully below Cerro La Mula, and another extending E into a depression in the old N lava field. The E lobe had extended into forest at the E side of the old N lava field. Over a three-hour period the flows advanced ~12 m. A low ash-covered area with a small old cinder cone separated the lobes. The sides of each flow were slowly (~1 m/hour) encroaching on this and thickening. The thick lava lobes below the dome were advancing, and many areas of the dome were glowing. The ~30-m-wide La Mula lava flow had advanced W ~500 m down a small valley and was moving at ~1 m/hour on 25 November; by 0600 on the 26th it had stopped. By 0645 the other lava fronts had advanced 20-50 m since the previous evening. The main W lobe had spread E and a large block in the middle of the flow had moved ~100 m.

Seismic tremor levels remained high through 26 November. Tremor was continuous and distinctly felt up to 1.5 km from the cone.

Satellite observations of the ash plume. Visible satellite imagery on 25 November indicated a possible low-level ash cloud at 1245 (figure 10). The height of the plume was estimated at 4,500 m altitude and was moving SW at ~30 km/hour. Another small low-level plume was seen on imagery at 0815 the next day at an estimated 2,750 m altitude and moving WSW at ~35 km/hour. Explosive activity increased on 1 December, when visible imagery at 1230 revealed a plume 18 km wide extending ~320 km W; it was estimated to be between 3,000 and 6,000 m altitude. By 0900 on 2 December, the plume extended at least 640 km W and was below 4,000 m.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Map showing ash plumes from Cerro Negro detected on visible satellite imagery on 25-26 November, and 1-2 December 1995. Courtesy of the Synoptic Analysis Branch, NOAA/NESDIS.

End of the eruption, early December. Explosive and effusive activity ended on 6 December. However, a lava flow was still moving N on 8 December. Isopach maps of the ashfall through 2 December (figure 11) were constructed by Markus Kesseler based on 85 GPS control points (precision +- 30 m). The 0.1 cm isopach encloses an area of ~200 km2. An estimated 12,000 people were affected by this eruption, about 6,000 of whom had been evacuated from 15 rural communities. Farmland was significantly damaged by ashfall and lava flows during the harvesting season; most of those affected were farmers and their families.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Isopach maps of ashfall from Cerro Negro, 19 November-2 December 1995. Isopachs within the 5.0 cm limit are at 10-cm intervals, up to 50 cm closest to the crater. The 2-5 June isopachs (BGVN 20:09) are shown for comparison. Courtesy of Markus Kesseler; base map courtesy of Brittain Hill.

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

Information Contacts: Wilfried Strauch, Virginia Tenorio, Rolf Schick, Helman Taleno, Leonel Urbina, Cristian Lugo, and Pedro Perez, Instituto Nicaraguense de Estudios Territorales, Managua, Nicaragua; Benjamin van Wyk de Vries, The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom; Markus Kesseler, Dept. of Mineralogy, Universite de Geneve, 13 rue des Maraichers, 1211 Geneve 4, Switzerland; Michael Conway and Brittain E. Hill, Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analyses, Southwest Research Institute, 6220 Culebra Rd., San Antonio, TX 78238 USA; Jim Lynch, NOAA/NESDIS Synoptic Analysis Branch (SAB) , Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA; Department of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations, Palais des Nations, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland.


Niijima (Japan) — December 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Niijima

Japan

34.397°N, 139.27°E; summit elev. 432 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismic swarm on 4 December

On 4 December, many earthquakes occurred in and around the island, some of which were felt. The largest one was M 4.3.

Geologic Background. The elongated island of Niijima, SSW of Oshima, is 11 km long and only 2.5 km wide. It is comprised of eight low rhyolitic lava domes that are clustered in two groups at the northern and southern ends of the island, separated by a low, flat isthmus. The flat-topped domes give the island the appearance of two large plateaus bounded by steep cliffs. The Mukaiyama complex at the southern end of the island and Achiyama lava dome at the northern end were formed during Niijima's only historical eruptions in the 9th century CE. Shikineyama and Zinaito domes form small islands immediately to the SW and west, respectively, during earlier stages of volcanism. Earthquake swarms occurred 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.


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

Poas

Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2697 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic and seismic activity

The surface of the sky-blue crater lake rose in November (20 cm higher than October); the lake's temperature was 26°C. A vigorous subaqueous fumarole appeared adjacent the lake's S shore. The W-terrace fumarole emitted yellow, sulfur-rich gases and particles; other fumaroles located on the NW-SW terrace emitted only low amounts of gases. Measured fumarole temperatures were in the range 94-96°C along the S and SE crater, an area that produced 100-m-tall gas columns. Gases escaping the pyroclastic cone had temperatures of 93°C.

During 1-22 November the local seismic station recorded 5,146 events (predominantly of low-frequency), significantly fewer than the number seen in the two previous months (figure 59).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Poás seismicity for January-November 1995 recorded at station POA2 (2.7 km SW of the active crater). Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Geologic Background. The broad 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 are easily accessible by vehicle from the nearby capital city of San José. A N-S-trending fissure cutting the complex stratovolcano extends to the lower N flank, where it has produced the Congo stratovolcano and several lake-filled maars. The southernmost of the two summit crater lakes, Botos, last erupted about 7,500 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 an eruption was reported in 1828. Eruptions often include geyser-like ejections of crater-lake water.

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


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — December 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)


Small ash-bearing emissions from Tavurvur

Throughout most of November 1995 the two recently active centers remained quiet, with Tavurvur emitting only steam and Vulcan not emitting any visible vapor (figure 24). Then on 28 November, Tavurvur suddenly began erupting, creating a parasitic crater. Vulcan continued to remain quiet throughout December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Index map of Rabaul and detail of soil CO2 transect. Elevation contours given in meters; base map after Johnson (1995).

The volume of Tavurvur's faint blue vapor emissions seemed to increase in the weeks prior to 28 November. On the morning of the eruption an impressive white steam cloud stood several hundred meters above Tavurvur's summit. The new eruption, which was preceded by weak roaring sounds, started at about 1020, and initially consisted of forceful emissions of gas and dark ash at 2-6 minute intervals. Those emissions lacked explosion sounds; they rose 400-800 m above the crater rim and blew over a broad arc between the SE and SW, resulting in fine ashfall both onshore and over the sea. No ashfall reached Kokopo, 25 km SE. The next day, 29 November, two intervals of stronger emission took place (at 1200-1300 and 1415-1430), sending columns ~1 km above the summit.

An aerial inspection on 30 November revealed a new crater on the 1994-95 crater's SSE rim. Although the 1994-95 crater displayed no new activity, fumaroles were particularly active along its E walls. An old explosion crater along the base of Tavurvur's S flank, in which 6 people were killed in 1990 by inhalation of carbon dioxide, was releasing weak-to-moderate emissions of white vapor from its N to E walls. Directly downslope and immediately offshore of this explosion crater a spring had become considerably more active since the 1994 eruption; during the 30 November aerial inspection it was prominent, giving off a strong stream of rusty brown water. During November and December, ground deformation remained low.

Tavurvur discharged dark ash clouds in December, typically at 3-6 minute intervals, that rose 400-1,000 m above the summit. On 2 December two ash clouds rose to 1.5-2 km. The second brought intense lightning causing minor damage to home appliances in Rabaul Town (figure 24). On 5 December, a particularly loud explosion, heard 30-40 km away, accompanied the discharge of an ash cloud that rose to 1.2 km. Additional loud explosions accompanied dense ash clouds that rose to 1-1.2 km; these took place during December as follows: 11th (1 time), 13th (1), 14th (4), 18th (1), 23rd (1), 24th (1), and 29th (2). Moderate-sized clouds blew SE, and very fine ash occasionally fell both in Kokopo and, due to shifting winds, in Rabaul Town. On December nights, observers saw incandescent fragments and during the second half of the month they heard occasional deep roaring noises.

Seismicity. November seismicity generally remained low, but was punctuated by 11 high- and 42 low-frequency events. Eight of the high-frequency events were located. Five occurred within the caldera's seismically active elliptical fault zone, in the NE (1 event), W (1), and S (3) quadrants. Although one of the extra-caldera events was centered S of the caldera, two events were located immediately to the caldera's NE, an area where the bulk of the high-frequency earthquakes have occurred in the past few months. One of these two events, ML 3.0 on 24 November, produced a felt intensity of MM III at Rabaul Town.

Of the 42 low-frequency earthquakes during November, 17 came from around Tavurvur volcano. Two of these occurred in late October, and 9 others in November prior to the 28 November eruption. The last time such events appeared was during the eruptive activity in March 1995. The other 25 low-frequency earthquakes not centered around Tavurvur were more difficult to locate accurately due to emergent waveforms and fewer stations outside the caldera. Many may have originated immediately N of the caldera. On 10 November a low-frequency earthquake centered 7-8 km outside of the caldera was strong enough to trigger aftershocks.

During December, seismic instruments detected 30 high-frequency earthquakes, 684 low-frequency earthquakes, and 488 explosion events. Instruments also recorded occasional discontinuous non-harmonic tremors. About 70% of the high frequency earthquakes occurred during 4-6 December. The five located events had epicenters in either the S part of the caldera's seismically active zone (the largest one, M 2.7), NE of the caldera (two events), or within the caldera. All of the seismic explosions and most low-frequency earthquakes originated at Tavurvur; the 20 exceptions originated farther NW and took place at the end of the month.

Fumarole and soil sampling. During 21-27 November, rainwater, water from hot springs, and gases from subaerial and submarine fumaroles were sampled at 13 sites (table 3). Compared to Vulcan, fumaroles at Tavurur displayed relatively high temperature, low pH, and high conductivity. Hot springs sampled near the shore of Greet Harbor were slightly acidic and comparatively conductive. All samples were more acid than those assessed prior to the 1994 eruption episode.

Table 3. Summary of fumarole and hot spring sampling at Rabaul Caldera, 21-27 November 1995. Courtesy of RVO.

Location Number of samples/type Temp (deg C) pH Electrical conductivity (mS/cm)
Tavurvur 3/fumarole 202-98.9 1.21-3.53 0.327-10.4
Vulcan 1/fumarole 99.8 5.28 0.0758
Rabalanakaia 1/fumarole 99.3 3.20 0.444
Vulcan 1/hot spring 99.2 5.98 73.3
Greet Harbor shore 4/hot spring 62.6-84.8 5.89-6.66 52.9-53.8
Sulphur Creek 1/hot spring N.D. 6.21 4.29
Rabaul 1/rainwater N.D. 6.06 N.D.

A soil CO2 survey E of Simpson Harbor (figure 24) showed that CO2 concentrations varied widely, 0.4-20% (figure 25). As reported by Mori and McKee in 1987, the CO2 concentrations peaked along the seismically active fault zone (near the old airport), some distance from either Tavurvur or Vulcan. Other anomalously high concentrations were seen at the Matupit causeway and Sulphur Creek. Low concentrations were seen at other places, including Matupit Island.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Soil CO2 concentrations at Rabaul Caldera along transect A-A'. Courtesy of RVO.

Isotopic analysis of six selected samples along the profile found that 13C ranged from -29.8 to -18.4 per mil suggesting chiefly biogenic contributions. A mixing process with a minor contribution of volcanogenic CO2 might also account for the wide range of ratios seen. High soil CO2 levels could be related to the effects of a higher thermal gradient along active fractures and faults.

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, H. Patia, D. Lolok, and C. McKee, RVO; N. M. Perez and H. Wakita; University of Tokyo, Earth Chemistry, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113 Japan.


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — December 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)


Additional details about the 6-10 November eruption

An eruption on 6 November 1995 followed increases in fumarolic activity and a several-month long increase in local earthquakes and tremor (figures 11 and 12). Park rangers who visited the summit at the start of October noted increased fumarolic activity and witnessed landslides down the main crater's walls. Strong sulfur smells were noted W-SW of the volcano on multiple occasions in the days prior to 6 November (figure 13).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Rincón de la Vieja's monthly totals for tremor and low-frequency seismicity, January-September 1995. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Rincón de la Vieja's seismicity, 1-13 November 1995. An eruption began on 6 November. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Map of NW Costa Rica showing key features associated with Rincón de la Vieja's 6 November 1995 eruption. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

The seismic receiver (RIN3) sits 5 km SW of the active crater. Although the OVSCICORI-UNA seismic system failed on 29 October (and possibly other times during the month), it functioned reliably again after the 31st. Low-frequency events gradually increased during 1-6 November (figure 12), followed by a modest decline. High-frequency events were only registered after 3 November. Tremor was absent prior to the 6 November eruption.

OVSCICORI reported that the first phase of the eruption consisted of vapor with subordinate ash in a discharge lasting 2 minutes. Later, vigorous fumarolic activity led to many hours of constant tremor. Only two more clear eruptions followed in the initial 17 hours of venting, but others followed in subsequent days. The eruption climaxed on the morning of the 8th, when columns reached 3.5 km altitude. Fine ash blew W and NW; larger blocks and tephra were confined to within ~1 km and the area of heavy ashfall reached ~5 km away (figure 13).

During some phases of the eruption, lahars flowed down the Azul and Penjamo rivers and an interfluvial ravine called the Quebrada Azumicrorada (figure 13). Upper reaches of these drainages sustained up to 6 m of erosion. Lahars on the 7th were cooler and more water-rich than those on the 8th. In addition to previously reported damage, on 8 November lahars shut down some communications systems.

At 0900 and 1130 on 8 November OVSICORI scientists visited the summit area and saw impact craters as large as 2 m in diameter; the craters were produced by 0.5-1.0 m diameter blocks, some of which were still warm to the touch. The scientists also saw ongoing phreatic eruptions escaping from a vent adjacent to the crater lake.

At 0411 on the 9th a shock wave was felt 25 km SE in the city of Liberia; the related outburst was seen from the N flank, where residents witnessed incandescent block ejections.

Amplitudes on the seismic recorders regularly peaked at over 30 mm on 6-9 November. The highest amplitudes, on 7-9 November, reached nearly 60 mm. Amplitudes decreased the morning of 9 November; following the eruption (10-14 November) amplitudes generally remained under 10 mm with infrequent spikes to ~20 mm and a few rare spikes to 30 mm. Tremor decreased by an order of magnitude on 10 November and it dropped to <1 hour/day on 13 November.

During fieldwork in early December, G. Soto (ICE) and G. Boudon (IPG) inspected the near-source region. For a radial distance of ~1 km from the crater they saw a deposit consisting of muddy ash, lapilli, and blocks. These reached 40 cm thick on the crater's southern outer rim at a point 150 m from the inner rim. The deposit's thickness and grain size decreased rapidly with distance, such that at 600 m SW of the crater the deposit was only 7 cm thick. The deposit's basal zone was enriched in fine grained, muddy-looking material, but throughout the deposit there occurred lustrous black juvenile clasts. Over ~1 km2 of the upper surface of the deposit, there lay a blanket consisting of (a) dense, quenched blocks, (b) breadcrust bombs with notably vesicular cores, and (c) some highly vesiculated fragments. On 8 December at points 5 and 8 km from the summit, the Penjama and Blanco rivers, respectively, still ran milky and were slightly acidic in taste. That same day, the scientists saw only fumarolic activity. Although scientists looked for a lake in the depths of the crater, they failed to gain a clear view there.

Reference. Boudon, G., Rancon J.-P., Kieffer, G., Soto, G.J., Traineau, H., and Rossignol, J.-C., 1995, Estilio eruptivo actual del Volcan Rincón de la Vieja: evidencias de las productos de las erupciones de 1966-70 y 1991-92: Rothschildia, 2 (2): 10-13, Area de conservacion de Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

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 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 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 3,500 years ago was the last major magmatic eruption. All subsequent eruptions, including numerous historical eruptions possibly dating back to the 16th century, have been from the prominent active crater containing a 500-m-wide acid lake located ENE of Von Seebach crater.

Information Contacts: E. Fernandez, E. Duarte, R. Sáenz, W. Jimenez, and V. Barboza, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica; Georges Boudon, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, 4, Place Jussieu, 75252, Paris Cedex 05, France.


Shishaldin (United States) — December 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Shishaldin

United States

54.756°N, 163.97°W; summit elev. 2857 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption sends ash plume above 10 km altitude

Based on satellite imagery and pilot reports received by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, an eruption began at 1830 on 23 December. Between 1830 and 2000 on 23 December, pilots reported an ash plume as high as 10.5 km altitude (35,000 feet); prevailing winds carried the plume primarily N and NW. Analysis of a satellite image from 1912 showed a possible small ash plume extending ~50 km NW. Possible very light ashfall was reported at approximately 0130 on 24 December in Cold Bay, 90 km NE; this ash would have been carried by westerly low-altitude winds.

Geologic Background. The beautifully symmetrical Shishaldin is the highest and one of the most active volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands. The glacier-covered volcano is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes along an E-W line in the eastern half of Unimak Island. The Aleuts named the volcano Sisquk, meaning "mountain which points the way when I am lost." A steam plume often rises from its small summit crater. Constructed atop an older glacially dissected volcano, it is largely basaltic in composition. Remnants of an older ancestral volcano are exposed on the W and NE sides at 1,500-1,800 m elevation. There are over two dozen pyroclastic cones on its NW flank, which is blanketed by massive aa lava flows. Frequent explosive activity, primarily consisting of Strombolian ash eruptions from the small summit crater, but sometimes producing lava flows, has been recorded since the 18th century.

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory.


Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — December 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)


Dome building, minor ash eruptions

Although there was relative quiet during October (20:10), during the first 10 days of November three large phreatic eruptions occurred. Each of these eruptions blanketed Plymouth, 4.5 km W of the active vent, with ~2 mm of ash (table 2). Dome growth within the crater started on 16 November, the estimated date when juvenile material first reached the surface, and continued through at least December. Estimates of the dome's rate of growth from 16 November to 6 December were on the order of 0.5 m3/sec.

Table 2. Summary of the daily behavior of Soufriere Hills, 1 November through 11 December 1995. The table omits most geophysical and geodedic observations, however, "eruption signal" refers to seismically determined eruptions, and "mudflow signal" refers to seismically determined mudflows. Courtesy of MVO.

Date Events and Comments (local time)
01 Nov 1995 Ashfall (1129).
02 Nov 1995 Ashfall in Trails, Brodericks, and surrounding areas (0118). Explosions accompanied by light ashfall in Upper Gages and Chances Peak (1923).
03 Nov 1995 Mudflow (0254); Steam-and-ash emissions resulting in light ashfall in Parson's-Amersham and Plymouth (1122). Continued enlargement of Vent 1. Steam-and- ash emission (1122). No major changes in Castle Peak.
04 Nov 1995 Eruption signal (0247), no reported ashfall. Eruption signal; one eruption generated an ash plume reaching 2.5-km high; several millimeters of ash fell in Amersham-Plymouth and S of Plymouth (1725).
05 Nov 1995 Eruption signal (0139), no reported ashfall. Mudflow toward Fort Ghaut (0214). Minor eruption without visible ash or steam (1307). Eruption signal (2030).
06 Nov 1995 Minor mudflow (0410). Increase in the size of Vent 1. Ashfall, light (0347) in crater area and steam plume, 1.5-km high. Eruption signals (1044, 1809), no ashfall.
07 Nov 1995 Eruption signal (0123), no ashfall. Ashfall (0815). Eruption signals (2018, 2358).
08 Nov 1995 Eruption signal (0935).
09 Nov 1995 Ashfall, several millimeters accumulated in areas to the W and SW of the vent (Kinsale, Amersham, Plymouth, and Richmond) (0419).
10 Nov 1995 Eruption signals (0145, 0420, 1348). Plume of ash and steam (1535), 1.5-km high, blown SW.
11 Nov 1995 Mudflows in Gages-Fort Ghaut areas (0548, 0743). Eruption signal (0733), no ash emission.
12 Nov 1995 Eruption signal (0247), no ash emission. Steam emission from several new vents SW of main activity area. Old vent reopened S of Vent 1.
13 Nov 1995 Eruption signal (0600). Minor ash and steam (1603), blown N.
14 Nov 1995 Minor ash-and-steam emission (1610). Continued steam emissions from vents first observed on 12 November. Vent closest to Castle Peak greatly increased in size, surrounded by fresh ash.
15 Nov 1995 Minor ash-and-steam emission (0900-1000). Noise of breaking rocks, small landslides, venting heard from crater.
16 Nov 1995 Poor visibility but felt earthquakes, loud venting, rock-impact sounds, and light ashfall at Chances Peak (1500), with some drifting SW into the Broderick's area.
17 Nov 1995 Episodes of light ashfall in Amersham. Landslides had partially filled the Vent 1 crater. The September dome grew in height and extended toward Chance's Peak. Vigorous steaming at the two vents between Castle Peak and the dome.
18 Nov 1995 Occasional landslides at the edge of Vent 1.
23 Nov 1995 Noises heard from crater (rock breaking and small landslides). CO2 detected in the summit area for the first time.
24 Nov 1995 Noises heard from crater (as above).
26 Nov 1995 Confirmed emergence of a new spine adjacent to the September spine and close to Castle Peak.
28 Nov 1995 Sound of breaking rocks heard from crater.
29 Nov 1995 Sound of breaking rocks heard from crater.
30 Nov 1995 Confirmed lava dome within Vent 1.
01 Dec 1995 Dome slowly growing in Vent 1 crater; attendant ash emission and rock avalanches. A second area of dome growth identified NW of September spine. Two small ash clouds drifted towards Plymouth.
05 Dec 1995 Rapid increase in the size of and the number of cracks within the new (26 November) spine. Increased emission of steam and light ash of reddish color.
06 Dec 1995 Lava dome glowing, visible from the airport.
07 Dec 1995 Reddish ashfall (0929) accompanied a small explosion. Continued slow growth of lava dome.
08 Dec 1995 Lava dome had broken along cracks. Deformation continued in the area around the September and November domes. Ash cloud (1025).
09 Dec 1995 About 20 minutes of mudflow signal recorded at Gages seismic station (0434). Explosion with light ashfall (1419, 1520). Dome growth rate slowed.
10 Dec 1995 Mudflow signal recorded at Gages seismic station (2240).
11 Dec 1995 Rusty brown ash eruptions, ashfall W of crater (0910, 1455, 1530, 1604). No major dome growth detected. Steam emitted with variable intensity at a vent close to Castle Peak.

Small rockfalls from the flanks of the new, locally incandescent dome were witnessed on several occasions. During early December, debris from a larger rock avalanche was seen in the moat of English's Crater. As of early January, neither local avalanches nor material liberated during the failure of spines escaped the crater area. The limited mobility of the rock avalanches suggested they were not propelled by gas explosions with great overpressures. Although floods and dilute mudflows were distinguished seismically, no significant debris avalanches or pyroclastic flows occurred.

Heavy rainfall after 11 December may have triggered several small ash emissions, depositing red-brown ash on the upper W-flanks. The ash presumably consisted of non-juvenile material, from rock avalanches sloughing off the new dome, and some hot juvenile ejecta from small explosions vented in or around the new dome.

Although quantitative SO2 flux measurements were lacking, as of early December related damage to vegetation extended ~3 km downwind and 1.5 km laterally. Tree damage was severe on the upper W flank. Gases sampled at three of the established fumaroles (soufrieres) around the volcano showed no change in composition. Although gas and acid aerosol production had been at enhanced levels from mid-November to early December, air sampled in Plymouth during early December contained very little SO2.

Dome growth.Beginning on 30 November, good visibility allowed observers to watch a single dome develop from two smaller bodies (figure 6). One body was NW of the September cryptodome (an intrusion that produces a surficial bulging), and the other at Vent 1. The evolving dome had a rough blocky carapace that initially had some small (

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Topographic map of the crater area at Soufriere Hills showing pre-eruption morphology (thin lines) and new features (bold lines) as of 10 December 1995. Contour interval is 50 feet, values shown are feet x 100 (3.28 feet = 1 m); coordinates shown are UTM. CH indicates Chances Peak; CA indicates Castle Peak. Courtesy of MVO.

A prominent spine on the new dome's E side grew in height until 7 December when it began to collapse. The spine's maximum vertical growth rate was estimated to be 5-8 m/day. Further dome growth at a slower rate occurred until 9-10 December, and slower growth, or a possible halt, continued as late as 13 December. On 13 December a small, radial crack on the N side of the new dome emitted steam and ash for most of the day. At least two columns reached in excess of 500 m above the crater rim.

A new batch of extruded material reached the surface on 15 December. On the 17th, in addition to widespread incandescence radiating from the new dome, observers saw a new ~ 40-m-tall spine. Between the 17th and 20th the spine grew vertically at 7 m/day, and the adjacent dome also rose, but at a slightly slower rate. The spine's growth rate during some undisclosed intervals reached up to 20 m/day. On 17 December observers also saw a narrow crack in the dome within Vent 1 that emitted glowing ejecta. Many small ash releases sent columns up to ~1.1 km above the summit.

During the week ending 27 December, several spines grew 5-10 m/day then subsequently collapsed. One spine had grown to ~15 m higher than Castle Peak (summit elevation ~910 m) prior to failing late on 25 December.

Explosions on 21 December produced a mildly convecting ash cloud that rose ~1.5 km above the volcano. Ash fell to the N, reaching the N portion of the island. Although apparently phreatic events took place in early- to mid-November, this was the most vigorous explosion since then and it may have been driven magmatically. Steam production remained constant during 21-27 December, feeding a plume that sometimes carried small amounts of ash. From 28 December to 3 January there was relative quiet and slow dome growth. Only 3 m of dome growth took place during the week, and for a least a few days after about 1 January, the dome may have ceased growing.

Deformation. Data from two electronic tiltmeters showed no significant changes during the crisis. Despite their stability, around 10 November deformation in the upper part of the volcanic edifice was recorded by EDM and GPS measurements at Castle Peak Dome and Chances Peak. Four days of significant deformation were followed on 15 November by intense seismic activity (see below). These were followed on 17 and 18 November by an upward extension of the dome that formed in September. The dome also appeared to have extended slightly towards Chance's Peak. Although visibility was poor for the next 10 days, glimpses through steam and cloud cover suggested further doming and rock avalanching. These processes influenced a wide area on the NW side of Castle Peak Dome, including the edge of Vent 1.

From mid-November until about mid-December, the rate of deformation remained very low, with daily shortening on the order of a few millimeters along most lines, even those aimed at the presumably less stable upper flanks.

The EDM data for 10-12 December showed lengthening of the lines to Castle Peak—a deflation of the edifice. Around this time, a longer interval of GPS data also showed their lines had lengthened by >1 cm overall (with some shorter-term variability). This rate was equal to or greater than the average rate during the month of October. Late December deformation measurements using GPS and EDM techniques suggested either a return to slight inflation (14-20 December) or stability (21-27 December).

Seismicity. Montserrat seismic activity falls into four categories: 1) tremor, 2) long-period events, 3) volcano-tectonic earthquakes, and 4) regional earthquakes.

After 15 November, elevated seismicity prevailed with relatively few quiet periods. The pattern appeared very similar to that seen in late September associated with the formation of a cryptodome and possibly associated with the later extrusion of a spine. The elevated seismicity was inferred to be due to a high-level magmatic intrusion.

After 27 November there was a loss of discreet, locatable events. Low-amplitude tremor became intermixed with intervals of intense, low-amplitude, long-period events; these arrived at rates of up to 5/minute but were recorded only on the closest seismic station (MGAT, Upper Gages, figure 7). In early December tremor increased somewhat at other stations farther from the crater (MLGT, Long Ground, and MBCT, Bethel); at this time amplitudes of events at Gages also increased and the RSAM seismic index rose as high as it has been since 15 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Montserrat seismic stations and epicenters shown in map and cross-section views, 10 December 1995. The intersection of the two cross sections is indicated by an asterisk. Epicenters are shown with two symbols, indicating variations in data quality (square, A and B quality; cross, C and D quality). Stations MSAT and MPVF were off line; MVPZ and MSSZ were 3-component stations. Courtesy of MVO.

Until 9 December there were also small, frequent, long-period earthquakes. These were accompanied by low-to-variable amplitude tremor at the Gages station, but tremor disappeared from all other stations by 8 December. The number of locatable earthquakes dropped to 1-2/day, the lowest observed during this crisis. Located earthquakes were mostly volcano-tectonic and at slightly greater depths (0-5 km) than the long-period and hybrid-type earthquakes that had dominated since 24 November. High-amplitude, high-frequency tremor was recorded at station MGAT for several hours during 10-11 December; this was probably due to an increase in steam venting from several areas on Castle Peak.

The dome grew during the week ending on 13 December, with few accompanying earthquakes early on 6 December. In contrast, during 14-20 September there were 2-20 locatable earthquakes/day, many with epicenters along the N flanks at depths of 0-6 km. During the week ending on 20 December all stations registered earthquakes with emergent onsets and a dominant frequency of 2.2 Hz; these took place 5-15 times/day. Some of the earthquakes corresponded to small explosions. Heavy rains on 16-19 December triggered floods and dilute mudflows who's acoustic signals were detected by the seismic network.

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: MVO, Plymouth; Seismic Research Unit, UWI.


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

St. Helens

United States

46.2°N, 122.18°W; summit elev. 2549 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity decreases without any explosive activity

During October-December there were no explosions or gas-and-ash emissions from the lava dome, and no explosion-like seismicity was detected. Surveys of the lava dome indicated that deformation rates have remained at background levels. No increase in deformation of the dome occurred as a consequence of the recent earthquake activity, but the NW side of the dome continued to move downward very slowly as it has since a series of small explosions between 1989 and 1991. Periods of intense rainfall in November generated several lahars from the crater. All of the lahars were detected by the USGS real-time acoustic-flow network and probably flowed into Spirit Lake. Such lahars are common during intense rainfall following the dry summer months.

The number of small-magnitude (M <1) earthquakes beneath the crater decreased slowly from nearly 100/month in September (BGVN 20:09) to ~25/month in December. Seismicity at the end of December was similar to the first 6 months of 1995. The gradual decrease in seismicity, combined with the lack of small explosions related to the September increase, has lowered the concern of scientists monitoring the volcano. Small dome explosions are still possible, but their likelihood is no greater early in 1995.

Geologic Background. Prior to 1980, Mount St. Helens formed a conical, youthful volcano sometimes known as the Fujisan of America. During the 1980 eruption the upper 400 m of the summit was removed by slope failure, leaving a 2 x 3.5 km horseshoe-shaped crater now partially filled by a lava dome. Mount St. Helens was formed during nine eruptive periods beginning about 40-50,000 years ago and has been the most active volcano in the Cascade Range during the Holocene. Prior to 2,200 years ago, tephra, lava domes, and pyroclastic flows were erupted, forming the older edifice, but few lava flows extended beyond the base of the volcano. The modern edifice consists of basaltic as well as andesitic and dacitic products from summit and flank vents. Historical eruptions in the 19th century originated from the Goat Rocks area on the north flank, and were witnessed by early settlers.

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


Stromboli (Italy) — December 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Low-level ash plumes and lava fountains during September-October

In contrast to very intense activity seen in summer-autumn 1994, Boris Behncke noted that activity remained low from early 1995 through October. The low level of activity, also shown by seismic data acquired by the University of Udine (see recent Bulletins), was interpreted by some researchers as a possible precursor of a more powerful eruption in the near future, resulting in a warning and access restrictions in April-May.

Eruptions during August-October produced low lava fountains and ash plumes. Activity from vent 3/1 (figure 46) consisted of night glow and spatter ejections, at times throwing bombs outside the crater. Vent 1/1 had periods of vigorous lava fountaining, often dropping incandescent bombs on the Sciara del Fuoco, particularly in early September. During dry weather, a dense gas plume often formed a hazy layer at 850-900 m altitude that extended for tens of kilometers.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Map of the crater terrace at Stromboli, 19-20 September 1995, showing active vents. The map was produced using EDM and triangulation measurements. Vent numbering is consistent with sketch maps from April 1995 (BGVN 20:04). Courtesy of Andy Harris and Nicki Stevens.

During a 19-20 September visit by Andy Harris and Nicki Stevens, activity was observed from five vents (figure 47). A 4-m-diameter vent in the side of a hornito (1/4), had incandescent walls and an internal temperature of 940°C, as measured with a Minolta/Land Cyclops 152 infrared (0.8-1.1 µm) thermometer. Gas-jet eruptions from this vent sent incandescent gas and minor ejecta ~50 m high. Regular explosions from vents 1/2 and 3/2 ejected bombs and brown ash clouds up to ~100 m. Seven eruptions during a 90-minute period from vent 2/1 sent bombs to a height of ~50 m. No explosions were seen from vent 3/1, but it exhibited continuous night glow and apparently quietly ejected a few bombs to no more than 10 m above the crater rim.

Observations by Behncke on 28-29 September showed that craters 2 and 3 had not changed significantly since a visit on 20 April (BGVN 20:04). Vent 3/1 showed fluctuating glow at night but had no ejections. Vent 3/2 had very weak emissions of reddish ash every 5-20 minutes. Crater 1 had been largely filled with small spatter cones during the summer of 1994, but their destruction began with a powerful phreatic explosion on 5 March 1995 (BGVN 20:04). However, the twin cones (1/4 & 5) in vent area 1/3 remained. Neither of them had erupted after September/October 1994, but an incandescent vent (~10 m wide) at the SE base of the SW cone (1/4) had brief noisy gas explosions that emitted a diffuse incandescent gas cloud.

Vigorous eruptions observed by Behncke from vent 1/1 ejected black ash plumes that occasionally rose >100 m. After dark, incandescent ejections were seen, and loud roaring noises were audible. Reports by other observers in early October disclosed continuing low-level eruptions from vents 1/1 and 3/2 and incandescence from vents 1/3 and 3/1. In addition to the vents active in September, a vent behind the twin cones in Crater 1 and a vent in the NW part of Crater 3 were active when observed by Open University geologists on 15 and 30 October.

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

Information Contacts: Boris Behncke and Giada Giuntoli, Department of Volcanology and Petrology, GEOMAR, Wischhofstr. 1-3, 24148 Kiel, Germany; Andy Harris, Department of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, United Kingdom; Nicki Stevens, ESSC, University of Reading, P.O. Box 227, Reading RG2 2AB, United Kingdom.


Suwanosejima (Japan) — December 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued minor eruptive activity throughout much of 1995

Eruptive activity took place from March to June and from August to December 1995. Some ashfalls were observed at a village 4 km SSW of the crater. The two historically active summit craters and typically have Strombolian eruptions.

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

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


Tokachidake (Japan) — December 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Tokachidake

Japan

43.418°N, 142.686°E; summit elev. 2077 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Gradual increase in the number of seismic events

During the second half of December, the number of earthquakes gradually increased, totalling 103 for the month. Consisting of a NE-SW aligned group of stratovolcanoes, Tokachi has a record that includes a partial cone collapse in 1925 that led to ~144 deaths and 5,000 homes destroyed.

Geologic Background. Tokachidake volcano consists of a group of dominantly andesitic stratovolcanoes and lava domes arranged on a NE-SW line above a plateau of welded Pleistocene tuffs in central Hokkaido. Numerous explosion craters and cinder cones are located on the upper flanks of the small stratovolcanoes, with the youngest Holocene centers located at the NW end of the chain. Frequent historical eruptions, consisting mostly of mild-to-moderate phreatic explosions, have been recorded since the mid-19th century. Two larger eruptions occurred in 1926 and 1962. Partial cone collapse of the western flank during the 1926 eruption produced a disastrous debris avalanche and mudflow.

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


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — December 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Ulawun

Papua New Guinea

5.05°S, 151.33°E; summit elev. 2334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Modest degassing

During October-December emissions generally consisted of moderate-to-high amounts of white vapor. Gray emissions were also reportedly observed on three days in October and a number of days in November. Seismic activity was very low in October-November and unreported for December.

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

Information Contacts: Ben Talai, H. Patia, D. Lolok, and C. McKee, RVO.


Veniaminof (United States) — December 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Veniaminof

United States

56.17°N, 159.38°W; summit elev. 2507 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor steam and ash emissions in November

On 15 November, residents of Perryville, ~30 km S, heard rumblings and booms through the early evening. They also observed minor ash emission, as well as increased steaming. Minor steam and ash emission was again observed on 30 November. Veniaminof was obscured by clouds on satellite imagery of 15 November, and no hot spot was visible during the last week of the month. Low-level eruptive activity has been intermittent since July 1993 (BGVN 18:07).

Geologic Background. Veniaminof, on the Alaska Peninsula, is truncated by a steep-walled, 8 x 11 km, glacier-filled caldera that formed around 3,700 years ago. The caldera rim is up to 520 m high on the north, is deeply notched on the west by Cone Glacier, and is covered by an ice sheet on the south. Post-caldera vents are located along a NW-SE zone bisecting the caldera that extends 55 km from near the Bering Sea coast, across the caldera, and down the Pacific flank. Historical eruptions probably all originated from the westernmost and most prominent of two intra-caldera cones, which rises about 300 m above the surrounding icefield. The other cone is larger, and has a summit crater or caldera that may reach 2.5 km in diameter, but is more subdued and barely rises above the glacier surface.

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA, 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.


Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand) — December 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Whakaari/White Island

New Zealand

37.52°S, 177.18°E; summit elev. 294 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Sub-crater divides collapse, but no eruptive activity

The following summarizes observations between August and December 1995 made by pilot R. Fleming and IGNS scientists. No significant eruptive activity has occurred since minor ash emissions on 28-29 June (BGVN 20:07).

A new 30-m-diameter crater was noted on 12 August in the area of the May '91 embayment. It had destroyed a large fumarole and was ejecting mud at intervals of 2-5 seconds. By 3 October, Wade, TV1, and Princess craters were joined in a single lake, following the failure of their divides. On 13 November the rising lake level was encroaching on the area of fumaroles and hot ground. Several new fumarolic vents were noted 20-30 m above the lake level. No more crater changes were observed through 12 December. Very little seismicity was recorded: low-frequency tremor accompanied the formation of the 12 August vent. Seismicity revealed no evidence of eruptive activity since 28-29 June.

Ground deformation and magnetic surveys continued to record trends indicative of future eruptive activity. Inflation was localized in the Donald Mound area, in contrast with the earlier pattern of crater-wide inflation between November 1994 and July 1995. Inflation is occurring at a much greater rate than that observed before the 1976 eruption. Magnetic decreases under Donald Mound and on the NE side of the 1978/90 Crater Complex indicate shallow heating. Other indicators like heatflow and gas chemistry do not suggest an incipient eruption. Fumarole temperatures remain relatively low, and gas samples from fumaroles were richer in water than in the past, consistent with the rise of the water table. However, the influence of the rising water level and its possible masking effects remain uncertain.

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

Information Contacts: B.J. Scott, Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences (IGNS), Private Bag 2000, Wairakei, New Zealand.

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements  Obituaries

Misc Reports

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

Additional Reports  False Reports