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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

Aira (Japan) Ongoing explosions with ejecta and ash plumes, along with summit incandescence, during July-December 2019

Suwanosejima (Japan) Explosions, ash emissions, and summit incandescence in July-December 2019

Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand) Explosion producing an ash plume and pyroclastic surge resulted in fatalities and injuries on 9 December 2019

Barren Island (India) Thermal anomalies and small ash plumes during February-April 2019 and September 2019-January 2020

Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) Frequent gas and some ash emissions during May-December 2019 with some hot avalanches

Nyiragongo (DR Congo) Lava lake persists during June-November 2019

Ebeko (Russia) Frequent moderate explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall continue through November 2019

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) Intermittent ash plumes with significant gas and steam emissions during January 2016-December 2017

Sabancaya (Peru) Explosions, ash and SO2 plumes, thermal anomalies, and lava dome growth during June-November 2019

Karangetang (Indonesia) Lava flows, strong thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam emissions, and ash plumes during May-November 2019

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) New vent, lava fountaining, lava flow, and ash plumes in late September-October 2019

Nyamuragira (DR Congo) Strong thermal anomalies and fumaroles within the summit crater during June-November 2019



Aira (Japan) — January 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing explosions with ejecta and ash plumes, along with summit incandescence, during July-December 2019

Sakurajima is a highly active stratovolcano situated in the Aira caldera in southern Kyushu, Japan. Common volcanism for this recent eruptive episode since March 2017 includes frequent explosions, ash plumes, and scattered ejecta. Much of this activity has been focused in the Minamidake crater since 1955; the Showa crater on the E flank has had intermittent activity since 2006. This report updates activity during July through December 2019 with the primary source information from monthly reports by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and various satellite data.

During July to December 2019, explosive eruptions and ash plumes were reported multiple times per week by JMA. November was the most active, with 137 eruptive events, seven of which were explosive while August was the least active with no eruptive events recorded (table 22). Ash plumes rose between 800 m to 5.5 km above the crater rim during this reporting period. Large blocks of incandescent ejecta traveled as far as 1.7 km from the Minamidake crater during explosions in September through December. The Kagoshima Regional Meteorological Observatory (11 km WSW) reported monthly amounts of ashfall during each month, with a high of 143 g/m2 during October. Occasionally at night throughout this reporting period, crater incandescence was observed with a highly sensitive surveillance camera. All explosive activity originated from the Minamidake crater; the adjacent Showa crater produced mild thermal anomalies and gas-and-steam plumes.

Table 22. Monthly summary of eruptive events recorded at Sakurajima's Minamidake crater in the Aira caldera, July through December 2019. The number of events that were explosive in nature are in parentheses. No events were recorded at the Showa crater during this time. Ashfall is measured at the Kagoshima Local Meteorological Observatory (KLMO), 10 km W of Showa crater. Data courtesy of JMA (July to December 2019 monthly reports).

Month Ash emissions (explosive) Max plume height above crater Max ejecta distance from crater Total amount of ashfall (g/m2)
Jul 2019 9 (5) 3.8 km 1.1 km --
Aug 2019 -- 800 m -- 2
Sep 2019 32 (11) 3.4 km 1.7 km 115
Oct 2019 62 (41) 3.0 km 1.7 km 143
Nov 2019 137 (77) 5.5 km 1.7 km 69
Dec 2019 71 (49) 3.3 km 1.7 km 54

An explosion that occurred at 1044 on 4 July 2019 produced an ash plume that rose up to 3.2 km above the Minamidake crater rim and ejected material 1.1 km from the vent. Field surveys conducted on 17 and 23 July measured SO2 emissions that were 1,200-1,800 tons/day. Additional explosions between 19-22 July generated smaller plumes that rose to 1.5 km above the crater and ejected material 1.1 km away. On 28 July explosions at 1725 and 1754 produced ash plumes 3.5-3.8 km above the crater rim, which resulted in ashfall in areas N and E of Sakurajima (figure 86), including Kirishima City (20 km NE), Kagoshima Prefecture (30 km SE), Yusui Town (40 km N), and parts of the Kumamoto Prefecture (140 km NE).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Photo of the Sakurajima explosion at 1725 on 28 July 2019 resulting in an ash plume rising 3.8 km above the crater (left). An on-site field survey on 29 July observed ashfall on roads and vegetation on the N side of the island (right). Photo by Moto Higashi-gun (left), courtesy of JMA (July 2019 report).

The month of August 2019 showed the least activity and consisted of mainly small eruptive events occurring up to 800 m above the crater; summit incandescence was observed with a highly sensitive surveillance camera. SO2 emissions were measured on 8 and 13 August with 1,000-2,000 tons/day, which was slightly greater than the previous month. An extensometer at the Arimura Observation Tunnel and an inclinometer at the Amida River recorded slight inflation on 29 August, but continuous GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) observations showed no significant changes.

In September 2019 there were 32 eruptive events recorded, of which 11 were explosions, more than the previous two months. Seismicity also increased during this month. An extensometer and inclinometer recorded inflation at the Minamidake crater on 9 September, which stopped after the eruptive events. On 16 September, an eruption at 0746 produced an ash plume that rose 2.8 km above the crater rim and drifted SW; a series of eruptive events followed from 0830-1110 (figure 87). Explosions on 18 and 20 September produced ash plumes that rose 3.4 km above the crater rim and ejecting material as far as 1.7 km from the summit crater on the 18th and 700 m on the 20th. Field surveys measured an increased amount of SO2 emissions ranging from 1,100 to 2,300 tons/day during September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Webcam image of an ash plume rising 2.8 km from the Minamidake crater at Sakurajima on 16 September 2019. Courtesy of Weathernews Inc.

Seismicity, SO2 emissions, and the number of eruptions continued to increase in October 2019, 41 of which were explosive. Field surveys conducted on 1, 11, and 15 October reported that SO2 emissions were 2,000-2,800 tons/day. An explosion at 0050 on 12 October produced an ash plume that traveled 1.7 km from the Minamidake crater. Explosions between 16 and 19 October produced an ash plume that rose up to 3 km above the crater rim (figure 88). The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force 1st Air group observed gas-and-steam plumes rising from both the Minamidake and Showa craters on 25 October. The inflation reported from 16 September began to slow in late October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Photos taken from the E side of Sakurajima showing gas-and-steam emissions with some amount of ash rising from the volcano on 16 October 2019 after an explosion around 1200 that day (top). At night, summit incandescence is observed (bottom). Courtesy of Bradley Pitcher, Vanderbilt University.

November 2019 was the most active month during this reporting period with increased seismicity, SO2 emissions, and 137 eruptive events, 77 of which were explosive. GNSS observations indicated that inflation began to slow during this month. On 8 November, an explosion at 1724 produced an ash plume up to a maximum of 5.5 km above the crater rim and drifted E. This explosion ejected large blocks as far as 500-800 m away from the crater (figure 89). The last time plumes rose above 5 km from the vents occurred on 26 July 2016 at the Showa crater and on 7 October 2000 at the Minamidake crater. Field surveys on 8, 21, and 29 November measured increased SO2 emissions ranging from 2,600 to 3,600 tons/day. Eruptions between 13-19 November produced ash plumes that rose up to 3.6 km above the crater and ejected large blocks up 1.7 km away. An onsite survey on 29 November used infrared thermal imaging equipment to observe incandescence and geothermal areas near the Showa crater and the SE flank of Minamidake (figure 90).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Photos of an ash plume rising 5.5 km above Sakurajima on 8 November 2019 and drifting E. Photo by Moto Higashi-gun (top left), courtesy of JMA (November 2019 report) and the Geoscientific Network of Chile.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Webcam image of nighttime incandescence and gas-and-steam emissions with some amount of ash at Sakurajima on 29 November 2019. Courtesy of JMA (November 2019 report).

Volcanism, which included seismicity, SO2 emissions, and eruptive events, decreased during December 2019. Explosions during 4-10 December produced ash plumes that rose up to 2.6 km above the crater rim and ejected material up to 1.7 km away. Field surveys conducted on 6, 16, and 23 December measured SO2 emissions around 1,000-3,000 tons/day. On 24 December, an explosion produced an ash plume that rose to 3.3 km above the crater rim, this high for this month.

Sentinel-2 natural color satellite imagery showed dense ash plumes in late August 2019, early November, and through December (figure 91). These plumes drifted in different directions and rose to a maximum 5.5 km above the crater rim on 8 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Natural color Sentinel-2 satellite images of Sakurajima within the Aira caldera from late August through December 2019 showed dense ash plumes rising from the Minamidake crater. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed intermittent thermal anomalies beginning in mid-August to early September 2019 after a nearly two-month hiatus (figure 92). Activity increased by early November and continued through December. Three Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images between late July and early October showed distinct thermal hotspots within the Minamidake crater, in addition to faint gas-and-steam emissions in July and September (figure 93).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Thermal anomalies at Sakurajima during January-December 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) started up in mid-August to early September after a two-month break and continued through December. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing small thermal anomalies and gas-and-steam emissions (left and middle) at Sakurajima within the Minamidake crater between late July and early October 2019. All images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); 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); Weathernews Inc. (Twitter: @wni_jp, https://twitter.com/wni_jp, URL: https://weathernews.jp/s/topics/201608/210085/, photo posted at https://twitter.com/wni_jp/status/1173382407216652289); Bradley Pitcher, Vanderbilt University, Nashville. TN, USA (URL: https://bradpitcher.weebly.com/, Twitter: @TieDyeSciGuy, photo posted at https://twitter.com/TieDyeSciGuy/status/1185191225101471744); Geoscientific Network of Chile (Twitter: @RedGeoChile, https://twitter.com/RedGeoChile, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RedGeoChile/, photo posted at https://twitter.com/RedGeoChile/status/1192921768186515456).


Suwanosejima (Japan) — January 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions, ash emissions, and summit incandescence in July-December 2019

Suwanosejima, located south of Japan in the northern Ryukyu Islands, is an active andesitic stratovolcano that has had continuous activity since October 2004, typically producing ash plumes and Strombolian explosions. Much of this activity is focused within the Otake crater. This report updates information during July through December 2019 using monthly reports from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

White gas-and-steam plumes rose from Suwanosejima on 26 July 2019, 30-31 August, 1-6, 10, and 20-27 September, reaching a maximum altitude of 2.4 km on 10 September, according to Tokyo VAAC advisories. Intermittent gray-white plumes were observed rising from the summit during October through December (figure 40).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Surveillance camera images of white gas-and-steam emissions rising from Suwanosejima on 10 December 2019 (left) and up to 1.8 km above the crater rim on 28 December (right). At night, summit incandescence was also observed on 10 December. Courtesy of JMA.

An explosion that occurred at 2331 on 1 August 2019 ejected material 400 m from the crater while other eruptions on 3-6 and 26 August produced ash plumes that rose up to a maximum altitude of 2.1 km and drifted generally NW according to the Tokyo VAAC report. JMA reported eruptions and summit incandescence in September accompanied by white gas-and-steam plumes, but no explosions were noted. Eruptions on 19 and 29 October produced ash plumes that rose 300 and 800 m above the crater rim, resulting in ashfall in Toshima (4 km SW), according to the Toshima Village Office, Suwanosejima Branch Office. Another eruption on 30 October produced a similar gray-white plume rising 800 m above the crater rim but did not result in ashfall. Similar activity continued in November with eruptions on 5-7 and 13-15 November producing grayish-white plumes rising 900 m and 1.5 km above the crater rim and frequent crater incandescence. Ashfall was reported in Toshima Village on 19 and 20 November; the 20 November eruption ejected material 200 m from the Otake crater.

Field surveys on 14 and 18 December using an infrared thermal imaging system to the E of Suwanose Island showed hotspots around the Otake crater, on the N slope of the crater, and on the upper part of the E coastline. GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) observations on 15 and 17 December showed a slight change in the baseline length. After 2122 on 25-26 and 31 December, 23 eruptions, nine of which were explosive were reported, producing gray-white plumes that rose 800-1,800 m above the crater rim and ejected material up to 600 m from the Otake crater. JMA reported volcanic tremors occurred intermittently throughout this reporting period.

Incandescence at the summit crater was occasionally visible at night during July through December 2019, as recorded by webcam images and reported by JMA (figure 41). MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed weak thermal anomalies that occurred dominantly in November with little to no activity recorded between July and October (figure 42). Two Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images in early November and late December showed thermal hotspots within the summit crater (figure 43).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Surveillance camera image of summit incandescence at Suwanosejima on 31 October 2019. Courtesy of JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Weak thermal anomalies at Suwanosejima during January-December 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) dominantly occurred in mid-March, late May to mid-June, and November, with two hotspots detected in late September and late December. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing small thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) within the Otake crater at Suwanosejima on 8 November 2019 (left) and faintly on 23 December 2019 behind clouds (right). Both images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


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

Whakaari/White Island

New Zealand

37.52°S, 177.18°E; summit elev. 294 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosion producing an ash plume and pyroclastic surge resulted in fatalities and injuries on 9 December 2019

Whakaari/White Island has been New Zealand's most active volcano since 1976. Located 48 km offshore, the volcano is a popular tourism destination with tours leaving the town of Whakatane with approximately 17,500 people visiting the island in 2018. Ten lives were lost in 1914 when part of the crater wall collapsed, impacting sulfur miners. More recently, a brief explosion at 1411 on 9 December 2019 produced an ash plume and pyroclastic surge that impacted the entire crater area. With 47 people on the island at the time, the death toll stood at 21 on 3 February 2019. At that time more patients were still in hospitals within New Zealand or their home countries.

The island is the summit of a large underwater volcano, with around 70% of the edifice below the ocean and rising around 900 m above sea level (figure 70). A broad crater opens to the ocean to the SE, with steep crater walls and an active Main Crater area to the NW rear of the crater floor (figure 71). Although the island is privately owned, GeoNet continuously monitors activity both remotely and with visits to the volcano. This Bulletin covers activity from May 2017 through December 2019 and is based on reports by GeoNet, the New Zealand Civil Defence Bay of Plenty Emergency Management Group, satellite data, and footage taken by visitors to the island.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. The top of the Whakaari/White Island edifice forms the island in the Bay of Plenty area, New Zealand, while 70% of the volcano is below sea level. Courtesy of GeoNet.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. This photo from 2004 shows the Main Crater area of Whakaari/White Island with the vent area indicated. The crater is an amphitheater shape with the crater floor distance between the vent and the ocean entry being about 700 m. The sediment plume begins at the area where tour boats dock at the island. Photo by Karen Britten, graphic by Danielle Charlton at University of Auckland; courtesy of GeoNet (11 December 2019 report).

Nearly continuous activity occurred from December 1975 to September 2000, including the formation of collapse and explosion craters producing ash emissions and explosions that impacted all of the Main Crater area. More recently, it has been in a state of elevated unrest since 2011. Renewed activity commenced with an explosive eruption on 5 August 2012 that was followed by the extrusion of a lava dome and ongoing phreatic explosions and minor ash emissions through March 2013. An ash cone was seen on 4 March 2013, and over the next few months the crater lake reformed. Further significant explosions took place on 20 August and 4, 8, and 11 October 2013. A landslide occurred in November 2015 with material descending into the lake. More recent activity on 27 April 2016 produced a short-lived eruption that deposited material across the crater floor and walls. A short period of ash emission later that year, on 13 September 2016, originated from a vent on the recent lava dome. Explosive eruptions occur with little to no warning.

Since 19 September 2016 the Volcanic Alert Level (VAL) was set to 1 (minor volcanic unrest) (figure 72). During early 2017 background activity in the crater continued, including active fumaroles emitting volcanic gases and steam from the active geothermal system, boiling springs, volcanic tremor, and deformation. By April 2017 a new crater lake had begun to form, the first since the April 2016 explosion when the lake floor was excavated an additional 13 m. Before this, there were areas where water ponded in depressions within the Main Crater but no stable lake.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. The New Zealand Volcanic Alert Level system up to date in February 2020. Courtesy of GeoNet.

Activity from mid-2017 through 2018. In July-August 2017 GeoNet scientists carried out the first fieldwork at the crater area since late 2015 to sample the new crater lake and gas emissions. The crater lake was significantly cooler than the past lakes at 20°C, compared to 30-70°C that was typical previously. Chemical analysis of water samples collected in July showed the lowest concentrations of most "volcanic elements" in the lake for the past 10-15 years due to the reduced volcanic gases entering the lake. The acidity remained similar to that of battery acid. Gas emissions from the 2012 dome were 114°C, which were over 450°C in 2012 and 330°C in 2016. Fumarole 0 also had a reduced temperature of 152°C, reduced from over 190°C in late 2016 (figure 73). The observations and measurements indicated a decline in unrest. Further visits in December 2017 noted relatively low-level unrest including 149°C gas emissions from fumarole 0, a small crater lake, and loud gas vents nearby (figures 74 and 75). By 27 November the lake had risen to 10 m below overflow. Analysis of water samples led to an estimate of 75% of the lake water resulting from condensing steam vents below the lake and the rest from rainfall.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. A GeoNet scientists conducting field work near Fumarole 0, an accessible gas vent on Whakaari/White Island in August 2017. Courtesy of GeoNet (23 August 2017 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. GeoNet scientists sample gas emissions from vents on the 2012 Whakaari/White Island dome. The red circle in the left image indicates the location of the scientists. Courtesy of GeoNet (23 August 2017 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Active fumaroles and vents in the Main Crater of Whakaari/White Island including Fumarole 0 (top left). The crater lake formed in mid-2017 and gas emissions rise from surrounding vents (right). Courtesy of GeoNet (22 December 2017 report).

Routine fieldwork by GeoNet monitoring teams in early March 2018 showed continued low-level unrest and no apparent changes after a recent nearby earthquake swarm. The most notable change was the increase in the crater lake size, likely a response from recent high rainfall (figure 76). The water remained a relatively cool 27°C. Temperatures continued to decline at the 2012 dome vent (128°C) and Fumarole 0 (138°C). Spring and stream flow had also declined. Deformation was observed towards the Active Crater of 2-5 mm per month and seismicity remained low. The increase in lake level drowned gas vents along the lake shore resulting in geyser-like activity (figure 77). GeoNet warned that a new eruption could occur at any time, often without any useful warning.

In mid-April 2018 visitors reported loud sounds from the crater area as a result of the rising lake level drowning vents on the 2012 dome (in the western side of the crater) and resulting in steam-driven activity. There was no notable change in volcanic activity. The sounds stopped by July 2018 as the geothermal system adjusted to the rising water, up to 17 m below overfill and filling at a rate of about 2,000 m3 per day, rising towards more active vents (figure 78). A gas monitoring flight taken on 12 September showed a steaming lake surrounded by active fumaroles along the crater wall (figure 79).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. The increase in the Whakaari/White Island crater lake size in early March 2018 with gas plumes rising from vents on the other side. Courtesy of GeoNet (19 March 2018 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. The increasing crater lake level at Whakaari/White Island produced geyser-like activity on the lake shore in March 2018. Courtesy of Brad Scott, GeoNet.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Stills taken from a drone video of the Whakaari/White Island Main Crater lake and active vents producing gas emissions. Courtesy of GeoNet.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Photos taken during a gas monitoring flight with GNS Science at Whakaari/White Island show gas and steam emissions, and a steaming crater lake on 12 September 2018. Note the people for scale on the lower-right crater rim in the bottom photograph. Copyright of Ben Clarke, University of Leicester, used with permission.

Activity during April to early December 2019. A GeoNet volcanic alert bulletin in April 2019 reported that steady low-level unrest continued. The level of the lake had been declining since late January and was back down to 13 m below overflow (figure 80). The water temperature had increased to over 60°C due to the fumarole activity below the lake. Fumarole 0 remained steady at around 120-130°C. During May-June a seismic swarm was reported offshore, unrelated to volcanic activity but increasing the risk of landslides within the crater due to the shallow locations.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Planet Labs satellite images from March 2018 to April 2019 show fluctuations in the Whakaari/White Island crater lake level. Image copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.

On 26 June the VAL was raised to level 2 (moderate to heightened volcanic unrest) due to increased SO2 flux rising to historically high levels. An overflight that day detected 1,886 tons/day, nearly three times the previous values of May 2019, the highest recorded value since 2013, and the second highest since measurements began in 2003. The VAL was subsequently lowered on 1 July due to a reduction in detected SO2 emissions of 880 tons/day on 28 June and 693 tons/day on 29 June.

GeoNet reported on 26 September that there was an increase in steam-driven activity within the active crater over the past three weeks. This included small geyser-like explosions of mud and steam with material reaching about 10 m above the lake. This was not attributed to an increase in volcanic activity, but to the crater lake level rising since early August.

On 30 October an increase in background activity was reported. An increasing trend in SO2 gas emissions and volcanic tremor had been ongoing for several months and had reached the highest levels since 2016. This indicated to GeoNet that Whakaari/White Island might be entering a period where eruptive activity was more likely. There were no significant changes in other monitoring parameters at this time and fumarole activity continued (figure 81).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. A webcam image taken at 1030 on 30 October 2019 from the crater rim shows the Whakaari/White Island crater lake to the right of the amphitheater-shaped crater and gas-and-steam plumes from active fumaroles. Courtesy of GeoNet.

On 18 November the VAL was raised to level 2 and the Aviation Colour Code was raised to Yellow due to further increase in SO2 emissions and volcanic tremor. Other monitoring parameters showed no significant changes. On 25 November GeoNet reported that moderate volcanic unrest continued but with no new changes. Gas emissions remained high and gas-driven ejecta regularly jetting material a few meters into the air above fumaroles in the crater lake (figure 82).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. A webcam image from the Whakaari/White Island crater rim shows gas-driven ejecta rising above a fumarole within the crater lake on 22 November 2019. Courtesy of GeoNet.

GeoNet reported on 3 December that moderate volcanic unrest continued, with increased but variable explosive gas and steam-driven jetting, with stronger events ejecting mud 20-30 m into the air and depositing mud around the vent area. Gas emissions and volcanic tremor remained elevated and occasional gas smells were reported on the North Island mainland depending on wind direction. The crater lake water level remained unchanged. Monitoring parameters were similar to those observed in 2011-2016 and remained within the expected range for moderate volcanic unrest.

Eruption on 9 December 2019. A short-lived eruption occurred at 1411 on 9 December 2019, generating a steam-and-ash plume to 3.6 km and covering the entire crater floor area with ash. Video taken by tourists on a nearby boat showed an eruption plume composed of a white steam-rich portion, and a black ash-rich ejecta (figure 83). A pyroclastic surge moved laterally across the crater floor and up the inner crater walls. Photos taken soon after the eruption showed sulfur-rich deposits across the crater floor and crater walls, and a helicopter that had been damaged and blown off the landing pad (figure 84). This activity caused the VAL to be raised to 4 (moderate volcanic eruption) and the Aviation Colour Code being raised to Orange.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. The beginning of the Whakaari/White Island 9 December 2019 eruption viewed from a boat that left the island about 20-30 minutes prior. Top: the steam-rich eruption plume rising above the volcano and a pyroclastic surge beginning to rise over the crater rim. Bottom: the expanded steam-and-ash plume of the pyroclastic surge that flowed over the crater floor to the ocean. Copyright of Michael Schade, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. This photo of Whakaari/White Island taken after the 9 December 2019 eruption at around 1424 shows ash and sediment coating the crater floor and walls. The helicopter in this image was blown off the landing pad and damaged during the eruption. Copyright of Michael Schade, used with permission.

A steam plume was visible in a webcam image taken at 1430 from Whakatane, 21 minutes after the explosion (figure 85). Subsequent explosions occurred at 1630 and 1749. Search-and-Rescue teams reached the island after the eruption and noted a very strong sulfur smell that was experienced through respirators. They experienced severe stinging of any exposed skin that came in contact with the gas, and were left with sensitive skin and eyes, and sore throats. Later in the afternoon the gas-and-steam plume continued and a sediment plume was dispersing from the island (figure 86). The VAL was lowered to level 3 (minor volcanic eruption) at 1625 that day; the Aviation Colour Code remained at Orange.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. A view of Whakaari/White Island from Whakatane in the North Island of New Zealand. Left: there is no plume visible at 1410 on 9 December 2019, one minute before the eruption. Right: A gas-and-steam plume is visible 21 minutes after the eruption. Courtesy of GeoNet.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. A gas-and-steam plume rises from Whakaari/White Island on the afternoon of 9 December 2019 as rescue teams visit the island. A sediment plume in the ocean is dispersing from the island. Courtesy of Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust.

During or immediately after the eruption an unstable portion of the SW inner crater wall, composed of 1914 landslide material, collapsed and was identified in satellite radar imagery acquired after the eruption. The material slid into the crater lake area and left a 12-m-high scarp. Movement in this area continued into early January.

Activity from late 2019 into early 2020. A significant increase in volcanic tremor began at around 0400 on 11 December (figure 87). The increase was accompanied by vigorous steaming and ejections of mud in several of the new vents. By the afternoon the tremor was at the highest level seen since the 2016 eruption, and monitoring data indicated that shallow magma was driving the increased unrest.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. This RSAM (Real-Time Seismic Amplitude) time series plot represents the energy produced at Whakaari/White Island from 11 November to 11 December 2019 with the Volcanic Activity Levels and the 9 December eruption indicated. The plot shows the sharp increase in seismic energy during 11 December. Courtesy of GeoNet (11 December 2019 report).

The VAL was lowered to 2 on the morning of 12 December to reflect moderate to heightened unrest as no further explosive activity had occurred since the event on the 9th. Volcanic tremor was occurring at very high levels by the time a bulletin was released at 1025 that day. Gas emissions increased since 10 January, steam and mud jetting continued, and the situation was interpreted to be highly volatile. The Aviation Colour Code remained at Orange. Risk assessment maps released that day show the high-risk areas as monitoring parameters continued to show an increased likelihood of another eruption (figure 88).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Risk assessment maps of Whakaari/White Island show the increase in high-risk areas from 2 December to 12 December 2019. Courtesy of GeoNet (12 December 2019 report).

The volcanic activity bulletin for 13 December reported that volcanic tremor remained high, but had declined overnight. Vigorous steam and mud jetting continuing at the vent area. Brief ash emission was observed in the evening with ashfall restricted to the vent area. The 14 January bulletin reported that volcanic tremor had declined significantly over night, and nighttime webcam images showed a glow in the vent area due to high heat flow.

Aerial observations on 14 and 15 December revealed steam and gas emissions continuing from at least three open vents within a 100 m2 area (figure 89). One vent near the back of the crater area was emitting transparent, high-temperature gas that indicated that magma was near the surface, and produced a glow registered by low-light cameras (figure 90). The gas emissions had a blue tinge that indicated high SO2 content. The area that once contained the crater lake, 16 m below overflow before the eruption, was filled with debris and small isolated ponds mostly from rainfall, with different colors due to the water reacting with the eruption deposits. The gas-and-steam plume was white near the volcano but changed to a gray-brown color as it cooled and moved downwind due to the gas content (figure 91). On 15 December the tremor remained at low levels (figure 92).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. The Main Crater area of Whakaari/White Island showing the active vent area and gas-and-steam emissions on 15 December 2019. Gas emissions were high within the circled area. Before the eruption a few days earlier this area was partially filled by the crater lake. Courtesy of GeoNet (15 December 2019 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. A low-light nighttime camera at Whakaari/White Island imaged "a glow" at a vent within the active crater area on 13 December 2019. This glow is due to high-temperature gas emissions and light from external sources like the moon. Courtesy of GeoNet (15 December 2019 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. A gas-and-steam plume at Whakaari/White Island on 15 December 2019 is white near the crater and changes to a grey-brown color downwind due to the gas content. Courtesy of GeoNet (15 December 2019 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. The Whakaari/White Island seismic drum plot showing the difference in activity from 12 December (top) to 15 December (bottom). Courtesy of GeoNet (15 December 2019 report).

On 19 December tremor remained low (figure 93) and gas and steam emission continued. Overflight observations confirmed open vents with one producing temperatures over 650°C (figure 94). SO2 emissions remained high at around 15 kg/s, slightly lower than the 20 kg/s detected on 12 December. Small amounts of ash were produced on 23 and 26 December due to material entering the vents during erosion.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. This RSAM (Real-Time Seismic Amplitude) time series plot represents the energy produced at Whakaari/White Island from 1 November to mid-December 2019. The Volcanic Alert Levels and the 9 December eruption are indicated. Courtesy of GeoNet.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. A photograph and thermal infrared image of the Whakaari/White Island crater area on 19 December 2019. The thermal imaging registered temperatures up to 650°C at a vent emitting steam and gas. Courtesy of GeoNet.

The Aviation Colour Code was reduced to Yellow on 6 January 2020 and the VAL remained at 2. Strong gas and steam emissions continued from the vent area through early January and the glow persisted in nighttime webcam images. Short-lived episodes of volcanic tremor were recorded between 8-10 January and were accompanied by minor explosions. A 15 January bulletin reported that the temperature at the vent area remained very hot, up to 440°C, and SO2 emissions were within normal post-eruption levels.

High temperatures were detected within the vent area in Sentinel-2 thermal data on 6 and 16 January (figure 95). Lava extrusion was confirmed within the 9 December vents on 20 January. Airborne SO2 measurements on that day recorded continued high levels and the vent temperature was over 400°C. Observations on 4 February showed that no new lava extrusion had occurred, and gas fluxes were lower than two weeks ago, but still elevated. The temperatures measured in the crater were 550-570°C and no further changes to the area were observed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Sentinel-2 thermal infrared satellite images show elevated temperatures in the 9 December 2019 vent area on Whakaari/White Island. False color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: New Zealand GeoNet Project, a collaboration between the Earthquake Commission and GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.geonet.org.nz/); GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/); Bay of Plenty Emergency Management Group Civil Defense, New Zealand (URL: http://www.bopcivildefence.govt.nz/); Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, Auckland, New Zealand (URL: https://www.rescuehelicopter.org.nz/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Ben Clarke, The University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, United Kingdom (URL: https://le.ac.uk/geology, Twitter: https://twitter.com/PyroclasticBen); Michael Schade, San Francisco, USA (URL: https://twitter.com/sch).


Barren Island (India) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Barren Island

India

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal anomalies and small ash plumes during February-April 2019 and September 2019-January 2020

Barren Island is a remote stratovolcano located east of India in the Andaman Islands. Its most recent eruptive episode began in September 2018 and has included lava flows, explosions, ash plumes, and lava fountaining (BGVN 44:02). This report updates information from February 2019 through January 2020 using various satellite data as a primary source of information.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed intermittent thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit from mid-February 2019 through January 2020 (figure 41). There was a period of relatively low to no discernible activity between May to September 2019. The MODVOLC algorithm for MODIS thermal anomalies in comparison with Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery and Suomi NPP/VIIRS sensor data, registered elevated temperatures during late February 2019, early March, sparsely in April, late October, sparsely in November, early December, and intermittently in January 2020 (figure 42). Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery shows these thermal hotspots differing in strength from late February to late January 2020 (figure 43). The thermal anomalies in these satellite images are occasionally accompanied by ash plumes (25 February 2019, 23 October 2019, and 21 January 2020) and gas-and-steam emissions (26 April 2019).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Intermittent thermal anomalies at Barren Island for 20 February 2019 through January 2020 occurred dominantly between late March to late April 2019 and late September 2019 through January 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Timeline summary of observed activity at Barren Island from February 2019 through January 2020. For Sentinel-2, MODVOLC, and VIIRS data, the dates indicated are when thermal anomalies were detected. White areas indicated no activity was observed, which may also be due to meteoric clouds. Data courtesy of Darwin VAAC, Sentinel Hub Playground, HIGP, and NASA Worldview using the "Fire and Thermal Anomalies" layer.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Sentinel-2 thermal images show ash plumes, gas-and-steam emissions, and thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) at Barren Island during February 2019-January 2020. The strongest thermal signature was observed on 23 October while the weakest one is observed on 26 January. Sentinel-2 False color (bands 12, 11, 4) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported ash plumes rising from the summit on 7, 14, and 16 March 2019. The maximum altitude of the ash plume occurred on 7 March, rising 1.8 km altitude, drifting W and NW and 1.2 km altitude, drifting E and ESE, based on observations from Himawari-8. The VAAC reports for 14 and 16 March reported the ash plumes rising 0.9 km and 1.2 km altitude, respectively drifting W and W.

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: 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/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/).


Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) — January 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kadovar

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent gas and some ash emissions during May-December 2019 with some hot avalanches

Kadovar is an island volcano north of Papua New Guinea and northwest of Manam. The first confirmed historical activity began in January 2018 and resulted in the evacuation of residents from the island. Eruptive activity through 2018 changed the morphology of the SE side of the island and activity continued through 2019 (figure 36). This report summarizes activity from May through December 2019 and is based largely on various satellite data, tourist reports, and Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reports.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. The morphological changes to Kadovar from 2017 to June 2019. Top: the vegetated island has a horseshoe-shaped crater that opens towards the SE; the population of the island was around 600 people at this time. Middle: by May 2018 the eruption was well underway with an active summit crater and an active dome off the east flank. Much of the vegetation has been killed and ashfall covers a lot of the island. Bottom: the bay below the SE flank has filled in with volcanic debris. The E-flank coastal dome is no longer active, but activity continues at the summit. PlanetScope satellite images copyright Planet Labs 2019.

Since this eruptive episode began a large part of the island has been deforested and has undergone erosion (figure 37). Activity in early 2019 included regular gas and steam emissions, ash plumes, and thermal anomalies at the summit (BGVN 44:05). On 15 May an ash plume originated from two vents at the summit area and dispersed to the east. A MODVOLC thermal alert was also issued on this day, and again on 17 May. Elevated temperatures were detected in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite data on 20, 21, and 30 May (figure 38), with accompanying gas-and-steam plumes dispersing to the NNW and NW. On 30 May the area of elevated temperature extended to the SE shoreline, indicating an avalanche of hot material reaching the water.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. The southern flank of Kadovar seen here on 13 November 2019 had been deforested by eruptive activity and erosion had produced gullies down the flanks. Copyrighted photo by Chrissie Goldrick, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images show elevated temperatures at the summit area, and down to the coast in the top image. Gas-and-steam plumes are visible dispersing towards the NW. Sentinel-2 false color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel-Hub Playground.

Throughout June cloud-free Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed elevated temperatures at the summit area and extending down the upper SE flank (figure 38). Gas-and-steam plumes were persistent in every Sentinel-2 and NASA Suomi NPP / VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) image. MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on 4 and 9 June. Similar activity continued through July with gas-and-steam emissions visible in every cloud-free satellite image. Thermal anomalies appeared weaker in late-July but remained at the summit area. An ash plume was imaged on 17 July by Landsat 8 with a gas-and-ash plume dispersing to the west (figure 39). Thermal anomalies continued through August with a MODVOLC thermal alert issued on the 14th. Gas emissions also continued and a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) was issued on the 19th reporting an ash plume to an altitude of 1.5 km and drifting NW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. An ash plume rising above Kadovar and a gas plume dispersing to the NW on 17 July 2019. Truecolor pansharpened Landsat 8 satellite image courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

An elongate area extending from the summit area to the E-flank coastal dome appears lighter in color in a 7 September Sentinel-2 natural color satellite image, and as a higher temperature area in the correlating thermal bands, indicating a hot avalanche deposit. These observations along with the previous avalanche, persistent elevated summit temperatures, and persistent gas and steam emissions from varying vent locations (figure 40) suggests that the summit dome has remained active through 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Sentinel-2 visible and thermal satellite images acquired on 7 September 2019 show fresh deposits down the east flank of Kadovar. They appear as a lighter colored area in visible, and show as a hot area (orange) in thermal data. Sentinel-2 natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) and false color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel-Hub Playground.

Thermal anomalies and emissions continued through to the end of 2019 (figure 41). A tour group witnessed an explosion producing an ash plume at around 1800 on 13 November (figure 42). While the ash plume erupted near-vertically above the island, a more diffuse gas plume rose from multiple vents on the summit dome and dispersed at a lower altitude.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. The summit area of Kadovar emitting gas-and-steam plumes in August, September, and November 2019. The plumes are persistent in satellite images throughout May through December and there is variation in the number and locations of the source vents. PlanetScope satellite images copyright Planet Labs 2019.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. An ash plume and a lower gas plume rise during an eruption of Kadovar on 13 November 2019. The summit lava dome is visibly degassing to produce the white gas plume. Copyrighted photos by Chrissie Goldrick, used with permission.

While gas plumes were visible throughout May-December 2019 (figure 43), SO2 plumes were difficult to detect in NASA SO2 images due to the activity of nearby Manam volcano. The MIROVA thermal detection system shows continued elevated temperatures through to early December, with an increase during May-June (figure 44). Sentinel-2 thermal images showed elevated temperatures through to the end of December but at a lower intensity than previous months.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. This photo of the southeast side Kadovar on 13 November 2019 shows a persistent low-level gas plume blowing towards the left and a more vigorous plume is visible near the crater. This is an example of the persistent plume visible in satellite imagery throughout July-December 2019. Copyrighted photo by Chrissie Goldrick, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. The MIROVA plot of radiative power at Kadovar shows thermal anomalies throughout 2019 with some variations in frequency. Note that while the black lines indicate that the thermal anomalies are greater than 5 km from the vent, the designated summit location is inaccurate so these are actually a the summit crater and on the E flank. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: 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/); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov); Chrissie Goldrick, Australian Geographic, Level 7, 54 Park Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia (URL: https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/).


Nyiragongo (DR Congo) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake persists during June-November 2019

Nyiragongo is a stratovolcano with a 1.2 km-wide summit crater containing an active lava lake that has been present since at least 1971. It is located the Virunga Volcanic Province (VVP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, part of the western branch of the East African Rift System. Typical volcanism includes strong and frequent thermal anomalies, primarily due to the lava lake, incandescence, gas-and-steam plumes, and seismicity. This report updates activity during June through November 2019 with the primary source information from monthly reports by the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) and satellite data.

In the July 2019 monthly report, OVG stated that the lava lake level had dropped during the month, with incandescence only visible at night (figure 68). In addition, the small eruptive cone within the crater, which has been active since 2014, decreased in activity during this timeframe. A MONUSCO (United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) helicopter overflight took photos of the lava lake and observed that the level had begun to rise on 27 July. Seismicity was relatively moderate throughout this reporting period; however, on 9-16 July and 21 August strong seismic swarms were recorded.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Webcam images of Nyiragongo on 20 July 2019 where incandescence is not visible during the day (left) but is observed at night (right). Incandescence is accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. Courtesy of OVG.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data continued to show frequent and strong thermal anomalies within 5 km of the crater summit through November 2019 (figure 69). Similarly, the MODVOLC algorithm reported almost daily thermal hotspots (more than 600) within the summit crater between June 2019 through November. These data are corroborated with Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery and a photo from OVG on 19 December 2019 showing the active lava lake (figures 70 and 71).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Thermal anomalies at Nyiragongo from 3 January through November 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were frequent and strong. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) showed ongoing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) at Nyiragongo during June through November 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Photo of the active lava lake in the summit crater at Nyiragongo on 19 December 2019. Incandescence is accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume. Courtesy of OVG via Charles Balagizi.

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

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), Departement de Geophysique, Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles, Lwiro, D.S. Bukavu, DR Congo; MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Charles Balagizi (Twitter: @CharlesBalagizi, https://twitter.com/CharlesBalagizi).


Ebeko (Russia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

50.686°N, 156.014°E; summit elev. 1103 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent moderate explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall continue through November 2019

Activity at Ebeko includes frequent explosions that have generated ash plumes reaching altitudes of 1.5-6 km over the last several years, with the higher altitudes occurring since mid-2018 (BGVN 43:03, 43:06, 43:12, 44:07). Ash frequently falls in Severo-Kurilsk (7 km ESE), which is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT). This activity continued during June through November 2019; the Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Explosive activity during December 2018 through November 2019 often sent ash plumes to altitudes between 2.2 to 4.5 km, or heights of 1.1 to 3.4 km above the crater (table 8). Eruptions since 1967 have originated from the northern crater of the summit area (figure 20). Webcams occasionally captured ash explosions, as seen on 27 July 2019(figure 21). KVERT often reported the presence of thermal anomalies; particularly on 23 September 2019, a Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image showed a strong thermal signature at the crater summit accompanied by an ash plume (figure 22). Ashfall is relatively frequent in Severo-Kurilsk (7 km ESE) and can drift in different direction based on the wind pattern, which can be seen in satellite imagery on 30 October 2019 deposited NE and SE from the crater(figure 23).

Table 8. Summary of activity at Ebeko, December 2018-November 2019. S-K is Severo-Kurilsk (7 km ESE of the volcano). TA is thermal anomaly in satellite images. Data courtesy of KVERT.

Date Plume Altitude (km) Plume Distance Plume Directions Other Observations
30 Nov-07 Dec 2018 3.6 -- E Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 1, 4 Dec.
07-14 Dec 2018 3.5 -- E Explosions.
25 Jan-01 Feb 2019 2.3 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 27 Jan.
02-08 Feb 2019 2.3 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 4 Feb.
08-15 Feb 2019 2.5 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 11 Feb.
15-22 Feb 2019 3.6 -- -- Explosions.
22-26 Feb 2019 2.5 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 23-26 Feb.
01-02, 05 Mar 2019 -- -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 1, 5 Mar.
08-10 Mar 2019 4 30 km ENE Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 9-10 Mar.
15-19, 21 Mar 2019 4.5 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 15-16, 21 Mar.
22, 24-25, 27-28 Mar 2019 4.2 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 24-25, 27 Mar.
29-31 Mar, 01, 04 Apr 2019 3.2 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 31 Mar. TA on 31 Mar.
09 Apr 2019 2.2 -- -- Explosions.
12-15 Apr 2019 3.2 -- -- Explosions. TA on 13 Apr.
21-22, 24 Apr 2019 -- -- -- Explosions.
26 Apr-03 May 2019 3 -- -- Explosions.
04, 06-07 May 2019 3.5 -- -- Explosions. TA on 6 May.
12-13 May 2019 2.5 -- -- Explosions. TA 12-13 May.
16-20 May 2019 2.5 -- -- Explosions. TA on 16-17 May.
25-28 May 2019 3 -- -- Explosions. TA on 27-28 May.
03 Jun 2019 3 -- E Explosions.
12 Jun 2019 -- -- -- TA.
14-15 Jun 2019 2.5 -- NW, NE Explosions.
21-28 Jun 2019 -- -- -- TA on 23 June.
28 Jun-05 Jul 2019 4.5 -- Multiple Explosions. TA on 29 Jun, 1 Jul.
05-12 Jul 2019 3.5 -- S Explosions. TA on 11 Jul.
15-16 Jul 2019 2 -- S, SE Explosions. TA on 13-16, 18 Jul.
20-26 Jul 2019 4 -- Multiple Explosions. TA on 18, 20, 25 Jul
25-26, 29 Jul, 01 Aug 2019 2.5 -- Multiple Explosions.
02, 04 Aug 2019 3 -- SE Explosions. TA on 2, 4 Aug.
10-16 Aug 2019 3 -- SE Explosions. TA on 10, 12 Aug.
17-23 Aug 2019 3 -- SE Explosions. TA on 16 Aug.
23, 27-28 Aug 2019 3 -- E Explosions. TA on 23 Aug.
30-31 Aug, 03-05 Sep 2019 3 -- E, SE Explosions on 30 Aug, 3-5 Sep. TA on 30-31 Aug.
07-13 Sep 2019 3 -- S, SE, N Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 6 Sep. TA on 8 Sep.
13-15, 18 Sep 2019 2.5 -- E Explosions. TA on 15 Sep.
22-23 Sep 2019 3 -- E, NE Explosions. Ashfall in S-K.
27 Sep-04 Oct 2019 4 -- SE, E, NE Explosions.
07-08, 10 Oct 2019 2.5 -- E, NE Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 4-5 Oct. Weak TA on 8 Oct.
11-18 Oct 2019 4 -- NE Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 15 Oct. Weak TA on 12 Oct.
18, 20-21, 23 Oct 2019 3 -- N, E, SE Explosions. Weak TA on 20 Oct.
25-26, 29-30 Oct 2019 2.5 -- E, NE Explosions. Weak TA on 29 Oct.
02-06 Nov 2019 3 -- N, E, SE Explosions.
11-12, 14 Nov 2019 3 -- E, NE Explosions.
15-17, 20 Nov 2019 3 -- SE, NE Explosions.
22-23, 28 Nov 2019 2.5 -- SE, E Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 23 Nov.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Satellite image showing the summit crater complex at Ebeko, July 2019. Monthly mosaic image for July 2019, copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Webcam photo of an explosion and ash plume at Ebeko on 27 July 2019. Videodata by IMGG FEB RAS and KB GS RAS (color adjusted and cropped); courtesy of Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Satellite images showing an ash explosion from Ebeko on 23 September 2019. Top image is in natural color (bands 4, 3, 2). Bottom image is using "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A) to show a thermal anomaly in the northern crater visible around the rising plume. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. A satellite image of Ebeko from Sentinel-2 (LC1 natural color, bands 4, 3, 2) on 30 October 2019 showing previous ashfall deposits on the snow going in multiple directions. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data detected four low-power thermal anomalies during the second half of July, and one each in the months of June, August, and October; no activity was recorded in September or November MODVOLC thermal alerts observed only one thermal anomaly between June through November 2019.

Geologic Background. The flat-topped summit of the central cone of Ebeko volcano, one of the most active in the Kuril Islands, occupies the northern end of Paramushir Island. Three summit craters located along a SSW-NNE line form Ebeko volcano proper, at the northern end of a complex of five volcanic cones. Blocky lava flows extend west from Ebeko and SE from the neighboring Nezametnyi cone. The eastern part of the southern crater contains strong solfataras and a large boiling spring. The central crater is filled by a lake about 20 m deep whose shores are lined with steaming solfataras; the northern crater lies across a narrow, low barrier from the central crater and contains a small, cold crescentic lake. Historical activity, recorded since the late-18th century, has been restricted to small-to-moderate explosive eruptions from the summit craters. Intense fumarolic activity occurs in the summit craters, on the outer flanks of the cone, and in lateral explosion craters.

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); 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/).


Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevado del Ruiz

Colombia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash plumes with significant gas and steam emissions during January 2016-December 2017

Nevado del Ruiz is a glaciated volcano in Colombia (figure 86). It is known for the 13 November 1985 eruption that produced an ash plume and associated pyroclastic flows onto the glacier, triggering a lahar that approximately 25,000 people in the towns of Armero (46 km west) and Chinchiná (34 km east). Since 1985 activity has intermittently occurred at the Arenas crater. The eruption that began on 18 November 2014 included ash plumes dominantly dispersed to the NW of Arenas crater (BGVN 42:06). This bulletin summarizes activity during January 2016 through December 2017 and is based on reports by Servicio Geologico Colombiano and Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales, Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) notices, and satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. A satellite image of Nevado del Ruiz showing the location of the active Arenas crater. September 2019 Monthly Mosaic image copyright Planet Labs 2019.

Activity during 2016. Throughout January 2016 ash and steam plumes were observed reaching up to a few kilometers. Significant water vapor and volcanic gases, especially SO2, were detected throughout the month. Thermal anomalies were detected in the crater on the 27th and 31st. Significant water vapor and volcanic gas plumes, in particular SO2, were frequently detected by the SCAN DOAS (Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy) station and satellite data (figure 87). A M3.2 earthquake was felt in the area on 18 January. Similar activity continued through February with notable ash plumes up to 1 km, and a M3.6 earthquake was felt on the 6th. Ash and gas-and-steam plumes were reported throughout March with a maximum of 3.5 km on the 31st (figure 88). Significant water vapor and gas plumes continued from the Arenas crater throughout the month, and a thermal anomaly was noted on the 28th. An increase in seismicity was reported on the 29th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Examples of SO2 plumes from Nevado del Ruiz detected by the Aura/OMI instrument on 10, 26, and 31 January 2019. Courtesy of Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Ash plumes at Nevado del Ruiz during March. Webcam images courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano, various 2016 reports.

The activity continued into April with a M 3.0 earthquake felt by nearby inhabitants on the 8th, an increase in seismicity reported in the week of 12-18, and another significant increase on the 28th with earthquakes felt around Manizales. Thermal anomalies were noted during 12-18 April with the largest on the 16th. Ash plumes continued through the month as well as significant steam-and-gas plumes. Ashfall was reported in Murillo on the 29th.

The elevated activity continued through May with significant steam plumes up to 1.7 km above the crater during the week of 10-16. Thermal anomalies were reported on the 11th and 12th. Steam, gas, and ash plumes reached 2.5 km above the crater and dispersed to the W and NW. Ashfall was reported in La Florida on the 20th (figure 89) and multiple ash plumes on the 22nd reached 2.5 km and resulted in the closure of the La Nubia airport in Manizales. Ash and gas-and-steam emission continued during June (figure 90).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Ash plumes at Nevado del Ruiz on 17, 18, and 20 May 2016 with fine ash deposited on a car in La Florida, Manizales on the 20th. Webcams located in the NE Guali sector of the volcano, courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano 20 May 2016 report.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Examples of gas-and-steam and ash plumes at Nevado del Ruiz during June and July 2016. Courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano (7 July 2016 report).

Similar activity was reported in July with gas-and-steam and ash plumes often dispersing to the NW and W. Ashfall was reported to the NW on 16 July (figure 91). Drumbeat seismicity was detected on 13, 15, 16, and 17 July, with two hours on the 16th being the longest duration episode do far. Drumbeat seismicity was noted by SGC as indicating dome growth. Significant water vapor and gas emissions continued through August. Ash plumes were reported through the month with plumes up to 1.3 km above the crater on 28 and 2.3 km on 29. Similar activity was reported through September as well as a thermal anomaly and ash deposition apparent in satellite data (figure 92). Drumbeat seismicity was noted again on the 17th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. The location of ashfall resulting from an explosion at Nevado del Ruiz on 16 July 2016 and a sample of the ash under a microscope. The ash is composed of lithics, plagioclase and pyroxene crystals, and minor volcanic glass. Courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano (16 July 2016 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. This Sentinel-2 thermal infrared satellite image shows elevated temperatures in the Nevado del Ruiz Arenas crater (yellow and orange) on 16 September 2016. Ash deposits are also visible to the NW of the crater. In this image blue is snow and ice. False color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During the week of 4-10 October it was noted that activity consisting of regular ash plumes had been ongoing for 22 months. Ash plumes continued with reported plumes reaching 2.5 above the crater throughout October (figure 93), accompanied by significant steam and water vapor emissions. A M 4.4 earthquake was felt nearby on the 7th. Similar activity continued through November and December 2016 with plumes consisting of gas and steam, and sometimes ash reaching 2 km above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. An ash plume rising above Nevado del Ruiz on 27 October 2016. Courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano.

Activity during 2017. Significant steam and gas emissions, especially SO2, continued into early 2017. Ash plumes detected through seismicity were confirmed in webcam images and through local reports; the plumes reached a maximum height of 2.5 km above the volcano on the 6th (figure 94). Drumbeat seismicity was recorded during 3-9, and on 22 January. Inflation was detected early in the month and several thermal anomalies were noted.

Intermittent deformation continued into February. Significant steam-and-gas emissions continued with intermittent ash plumes reaching 1.5-2 km above the volcano. Thermal anomalies were noted throughout the month and there was a significant increase in seismicity during 23-26 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Ash plumes at Nevado del Ruiz on 6 January 2017. Courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano.

Thermal anomalies continued to be detected through March. Ash plumes continued to be observed and recorded in seismicity and maximum heights of 2 km above the volcano were noted. Deflation continued after the intermittent inflation the previous month. On 10-11 April a period of short-duration and very low-energy drumbeat seismicity was recorded. Significant gas and steam emission continued through April with intermittent ash plumes reaching 1.5 km above the volcano. Thermal anomalies were detected early in the month.

Unrest continued through May with elevated seismicity, significant steam-and-gas emissions, and ash plumes reaching 1.7 km above the crater. Five episodes of drumbeat seismicity were recorded on 29 May and intermittent deformation continued. There were no available reports for June and July.

Variable seismicity was recorded during August and deflation was measured in the first week. Gas-and-steam plumes were observed rising to 850 m above the crater on the 3rd, and 450 m later in the month. A thermal anomaly was noted on the 14th. There were no available reports for September through December.

On 18 December 2017 the Washington VAAC issued an advisory for an ash plume to 6 km that was moving west and dispersing. The plume was described as a "thin veil of volcanic ash and gasses" that was seen in visible satellite imagery, NOAA/CIMSS, and supported by webcam imagery.

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

Information Contacts: Servicio Geologico Colombiano (SGC), Diagonal 53 No. 34-53 - Bogotá D.C., Colombia (URL: https://www2.sgc.gov.co/volcanes/index.html); Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales (URL: https://www.facebook.com/ovsmanizales); 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); 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).


Sabancaya (Peru) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sabancaya

Peru

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions, ash and SO2 plumes, thermal anomalies, and lava dome growth during June-November 2019

Sabancaya is an andesitic stratovolcano located in Peru. The most recent eruptive episode began in early November 2016, which is characterized by gas-and-steam and ash emissions, seismicity, and explosive events (BGVN 44:06). The ash plumes are dispersed by wind with a typical radius of 30 km, which occasionally results in ashfall. Current volcanism includes high seismicity, gas-and-steam emissions, ash and SO2 plumes, numerous thermal anomalies, and explosive events. This report updates information from June through November 2019 using information primarily from the Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP) and Observatorio Volcanologico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico) (OVI-INGEMMET).

Table 5. Summary of eruptive activity at Sabancaya during June-November 2019 based on IGP weekly reports, the Buenos Aires VAAC advisories, the HIGP MODVOLC hotspot monitoring algorithm, and Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite data.

Month Avg. Daily Explosions by week Max plume Heights (km above crater) Plume drift MODVOLC Alerts Min Days with SO2 over 2 DU
Jun 2019 12, 13, 16, 17 2.6-3.8 30 km S, SW, E, SE, NW, NE 15 20
Jul 2019 23, 22, 16, 13 2.3-3.7 E, SE, S, NE 7 25
Aug 2019 12, 30, 25, 26 2-4.5 30 km NW, W S, NE, SE, SW 7 25
Sep 2019 29, 32, 24, 15 1.5-2.5 S, SE, E, W, NW, SW 14 26
Oct 2019 32, 36, 44, 48, 28 2.5-3.5 S, SE, SW, W 11 25
Nov 2019 58, 50, 47, 17 2-4 W, SW, S, NE, E 13 22

Explosions, ash emissions, thermal signatures, and high concentrations of SO2 were reported each week during June-November 2019 by IGP, the Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), HIGP MODVOLC, and Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite data (table 5). Thermal anomalies were visible in the summit crater, even in the presence of meteoric clouds and ash plumes were occasionally visible rising from the summit in clear weather (figure 68). The maximum plume height reached 4.5 km above the crater drifting NW, W, and S the week of 29 July-4 August, according to IGP who used surveillance cameras to visually monitor the plume (figure 69). This ash plume had a radius of 30 km, which resulted in ashfall in Colca (NW) and Huambo (W). On 27 July the SO2 levels reached a high of 12,814 tons/day, according to INGEMMET. An average of 58 daily explosions occurred in early November, which is the largest average of this reporting period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery detected ash plumes, gas-and-steam emissions, and multiple thermal signatures (bright yellow-orange) in the crater at Sabancaya during June-November 2019. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. A webcam image of an ash plume rising from Sabancaya on 1 August 2019 at least 4 km above the crater. Courtesy of IGP.

Seismicity was also particularly high between August and September 2019, according to INGEMMET. On 14 August, roughly 850 earthquakes were detected. There were 280 earthquakes reported on 15 September, located 6 km NE of the crater. Both seismic events were characterized as seismic swarms. Seismicity decreased afterward but continued through the reporting period.

In February 2017, a lava dome was established inside the crater. Since then, it has been growing slowly, filling the N area of the crater and producing thermal anomalies. On 26 October 2019, OVI-INGEMMET conducted a drone overflight and captured video of the lava dome (figure 70). According to IGP, this lava dome is approximately 4.6 million cubic meters with a growth rate of 0.05 m3/s.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. Drone images of the lava dome and degassing inside the crater at Sabancaya on 26 (top) and 27 (bottom) October 2019. Courtesy of INGEMMET (Informe Ténico No A6969).

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows strong, consistent thermal anomalies occurring all throughout June through November 2019 (figure 71). In conjunction with these thermal anomalies, the October 2019 special issue report by INGEMMET showed new hotspots forming along the crater rim in July 2018 and August 2019 (figure 72).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Thermal anomalies at Sabancaya for 3 January through November 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were frequent, strong, and consistent. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Thermal hotspots on the NW section of the crater at Sabancaya using MIROVA images. These images show the progression of the formation of at least two new hotspots between February 2017 to August 2019. Courtesy of INGEMMET, Informe Técnico No A6969.

Sulfur dioxide emissions also persisted at significant levels from June through November 2019, as detected by Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite data (figure 73). The satellite measurements of the SO2 emissions exceeded 2 DU (Dobson Units) at least 20 days each month during this time. These SO2 plumes sometimes occurred for multiple consecutive days (figure 74).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Consistent, large SO2 plumes from Sabancaya were seen in TROPOMI instrument satellite data throughout June-November 2019, many of which drifted in different directions based on the prevailing winds. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Persistent SO2 plumes from Sabancaya appeared daily during 13-16 September 2019 in the TROPOMI instrument satellite data. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

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: Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), Calle Badajoz N° 169 Urb. Mayorazgo IV Etapa, Ate, Lima 15012, Perú (URL: https://www.gob.pe/igp); 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); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://SO2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); 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); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Karangetang (Indonesia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava flows, strong thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam emissions, and ash plumes during May-November 2019

Karangetang (also known as Api Siau), located on the island of Siau in the Sitaro Regency, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, has experienced more than 40 recorded eruptions since 1675 in addition to many smaller undocumented eruptions. In early February 2019, a lava flow originated from the N crater (Kawah Dua) traveling NNW and reaching a distance over 3 km. Recent monitoring showed a lava flow from the S crater (Kawah Utama, also considered the "Main Crater") traveling toward the Kahetang and Batuawang River drainages on 15 April 2019. Gas-and-steam emissions, ash plumes, moderate seismicity, and thermal anomalies including lava flow activity define this current reporting period for May through November 2019. The primary source of information for this report comes from daily and weekly reports by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM, or the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and satellite data.

PVMBG reported that white gas-and-steam emissions were visible rising above both craters consistently between May through November 2019 (figures 30 and 31). The maximum altitude for these emissions was 400 m above the Dua Crater on 27 May and 700 m above the Main Crater on 12 June. Throughout the reporting period PVMBG noted that moderate seismicity occurred, which included both shallow and deep volcanic earthquakes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. A Sentinel-2 image of Karangetang showing two active craters producing gas-and-steam emissions with a small amount of ash on 7 August 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Webcam images of gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit of Karangetang on 14 (top) and 25 (bottom) October 2019. Courtesy of PVMBG via Øystein Lund Andersen.

Activity was relatively low between May and June 2019, consisting mostly of gas-and-steam emissions. On 26-27 May 2019 crater incandescence was observed above the Main Crater; white gas-and-steam emissions were rising from both craters (figures 32 and 33). At 1858 on 20 July, incandescent avalanches of material originating from the Main Crater traveled as far as 1 km W toward the Pangi and Kinali River drainages. By 22 July the incandescent material had traveled another 500 m in the same direction as well as 1 km in the direction of the Nanitu and Beha River drainages. According to a Darwin VAAC report, discreet, intermittent ash eruptions on 30 July resulted in plumes drifting W at 7.6 km altitude and SE at 3 km, as observed in HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Photograph of summit crater incandescence at Karangetang on 12 May 2019. Courtesy of Dominik Derek.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Photograph of both summit crater incandescence at Karangetang on 12 May 2019 accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. Courtesy of Dominik Derek.

On 5 August 2019 a minor eruption produced an ash cloud that rose 3 km and drifted E. PVMBG reported in the weekly report for 5-11 August that an incandescent lava flow from the Main Crater was traveling W and SW on the slopes of Karangetang and producing incandescent avalanches (figure 34). During 12 August through 1 September lava continued to effuse from both the Main and Dua craters. Avalanches of material traveled as far as 1.5 km SW toward the Nanitu and Pangi River drainages, 1.4-2 km to the W of Pangi, and 1.8 km down the Sense River drainage. Lava fountaining was observed occurring up to 10 m above the summit on 14-20 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Photograph of summit crater incandescence and a lava flow from Karangetang on 7 August 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

PVMBG reported that during 2-22 September lava continued to effuse from both craters, traveling SW toward the Nanitu, Pangi, and Sense River drainages as far as 1.5 km. On 24 September the lava flow occasionally traveled 0.8-1.5 km toward the West Beha River drainage. The lava flow from the Main Crater continued through at least the end of November, moving SW and W as far as 1.5 km toward the Nanitu, Pangi, and Sense River drainages. In late October and onwards, incandescence from both summit craters was observed at night. The lava flow often traveled as far as 1 km toward the Batang and East Beha River drainage on 12 November, the West Beha River drainage on 15, 22, 24, and 29 November, and the Batang and West Beha River drainages on 25-27 November (figure 35). On 30 November a Strombolian eruption occurred in the Main Crater accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions rising 100 m above the Main Crater and 50 m above the Dua Crater. Lava flows traveled SW and W toward the Nanitu, Sense, and Pangi River drainages as far as 1.5 km, the West Beha and Batang River drainages as far as 1 km, and occasionally the Batu Awang and Kahetang River drainages as far as 2 km. Lava fountaining was reported occurring 10-25 m above the Main Crater and 10 m above the Dua Crater on 6, 8-12, 15, 21-30 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Webcam image of gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit of Karangetang accompanied by incandescence and lava flows at night on 27 November 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia via Øystein Lund Andersen.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed consistent and strong thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit craters from late July through November 2019 (figure 36). Satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 corroborated this data, showing strong thermal anomalies and lava flows originating from both craters during this same timeframe (figure 37). In addition to these lava flows, satellite imagery also captured intermittent gas-and-steam emissions from May through November (figure 38). MODVOLC thermal alerts registered 165 thermal hotspots near Karangetang's summit between May and November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Frequent and strong thermal anomalies at Karangetang between 3 January through November 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) began in late July and were recorded within 5 km of the summit craters. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) confirmed ongoing thermal activity (bright orange) at Karangetang from July into November 2019. The lava flows traveled dominantly in the W direction from the Main Crater. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showing gas-and-steam emissions with a small amount of ash (middle and right) rising from both craters of Karangetang during May through November 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite data detected multiple sulfur dioxide plumes between May and November 2019 (figure 39). These emissions occasionally exceeded 2 Dobson Units (DU) and drifted in different directions based on the dominant wind pattern.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. SO2 emissions from Karangetang (indicated by the red box) were seen in TROPOMI instrument satellite data during May through November 2019, many of which drifted in different directions based on the prevailing winds. Top left: 27 May 2019. Top middle: 26 July 2019. Top right: 17 August 2019. Bottom left: 27 September 2019. Bottom middle: 3 October 2019. Bottom right: 21 November 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://SO2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: https://www.oysteinlundandersen.com); Dominik Derek (URL: https://www.facebook.com/07dominikderek/).


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — December 2019 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)


New vent, lava fountaining, lava flow, and ash plumes in late September-October 2019

Ulawun is a basaltic-to-andesitic stratovolcano located in West New Britain, Papua New Guinea, with typical activity consisting of seismicity, gas-and-steam plumes, and ash emissions. The most recent eruption began in late June 2019 involving ash and gas-and-steam emissions, increased seismicity, and a pyroclastic flow (BGVN 44:09). This report includes volcanism from September to October 2019 with primary source information from the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

Activity remained low through 26 September 2019, mainly consisting of variable amounts of gas-and-steam emissions and low seismicity. Between 26 and 29 September RVO reported that the seismicity increased slightly and included low-level volcanic tremors and Real-Time Seismic Amplitude Measurement (RSAM) values in the 200-400 range on 19, 20, and 22 September. On 30 September small volcanic earthquakes began around 1000 and continued to increase in frequency; by 1220, they were characterized as a seismic swarm. The Darwin VAAC advisory noted that an ash plume rose to 4.6-6 km altitude, drifting SW and W, based on ground reports.

On 1 October 2019 the seismicity increased, reaching RSAM values up to 10,000 units between 0130 and 0200, according to RVO. These events preceded an eruption which originated from a new vent that opened on the SW flank at 700 m elevation, about three-quarters of the way down the flank from the summit. The eruption started between 0430 and 0500 and was defined by incandescence and lava fountaining to less than 100 m. In addition to lava fountaining, light- to dark-gray ash plumes were visible rising several kilometers above the vent and drifting NW and W (figure 21). On 2 October, as the lava fountaining continued, ash-and-steam plumes rose to variable heights between 2 and 5.2 km (figures 22 and 23), resulting in ashfall to the W in Navo. Seismicity remained high, with RSAM values passing 12,000. A lava flow also emerged during the night which traveled 1-2 km NW. The main summit crater produced white gas-and-steam emissions, but no incandescence or other signs of activity were observed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Photographs of incandescence and lava fountaining from Ulawun during 1-2 October 2019. A) Lava fountains along with ash plumes that rose several kilometers above the vent. B) Incandescence and lava fountaining seen from offshore. Courtesy of Christopher Lagisa.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Photographs of an ash plume rising from Ulawun on 1 October 2019. In the right photo, lava fountaining is visible. Courtesy of Christopher Lagisa.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Photograph of lava fountaining and an ash plume rising from Ulawun on 1 October 2019. Courtesy of Joe Metto, WNB Provincial Disaster Office (RVO Report 2019100101).

Ash emissions began to decrease by 3 October 2019; satellite imagery and ground observations showed an ash cloud rising to 3 km altitude and drifting N, according to the Darwin VAAC report. RVO reported that the fissure eruption on the SW flank stopped on 4 October, but gas-and-steam emissions and weak incandescence were still visible. The lava flow slowed, advancing 3-5 m/day, while declining seismicity was reflected in RSAM values fluctuating around 1,000. RVO reported that between 23 and 31 October the main summit crater continued to produce variable amounts of white gas-and-steam emissions (figure 24) and that no incandescence was observed after 5 October. Gas-and-steam emissions were also observed around the new SW vent and along the lava flow. Seismicity remained low until 27-29 October; it increased again and peaked on 30 October, reaching an RSAM value of 1,700 before dropping and fluctuating around 1,200-1,500.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Webcam photo of a gas-and-steam plume rising from Ulawun on 30 October 2019. Courtesy of the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO).

In addition to ash plumes, SO2 plumes were also detected between September and October 2019. Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI data showed SO2 plumes, some of which exceeded 2 Dobson Units (DU) drifting in different directions (figure 25). MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed strong, frequent thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit beginning in early October 2019 and throughout the rest of the month (figure 26). Only one thermal anomaly was detected in early December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI data showing a high concentration of SO2 plumes rising from Ulawun between late September-early October 2019. Top left: 11 September 2019. Top right: 1 October 2019. Bottom left: 2 October 2019. Bottom right: 3 October 2019. Courtesy of the NASA Space Goddard Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Frequent and strong thermal anomalies at Ulawun for February through December 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) began in early October and continued throughout the month. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity in November was relatively low, with only a variable amount of white gas-and-steam emissions visible and low (less than 200 RSAM units) seismicity with sporadic volcanic earthquakes. Between 9-22 December, a webcam showed intermittent white gas-and-steam emissions were observed at the main crater, accompanied by some incandescence at night. Some gas-and-steam emissions were also observed rising from the new SW vent along the lava flow.

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: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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/); Christopher Lagisa, West New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea (URL: https://www.facebook.com/christopher.lagisa, images posted at https://www.facebook.com/christopher.lagisa/posts/730662937360239 and https://www.facebook.com/christopher.lagisa/posts/730215604071639).


Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong thermal anomalies and fumaroles within the summit crater during June-November 2019

Nyamuragira (also known as Nyamulagira) is a high-potassium basaltic shield volcano located in the Virunga Volcanic Province (VVP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Previous volcanism consisted of the reappearance of a lava lake in the summit crater in mid-April 2018, lava emissions, and high seismicity (BGVN 44:05). Current activity includes strong thermal signatures, continued inner crater wall collapses, and continued moderate seismicity. The primary source of information for this June-November 2019 report comes from the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) and satellite data and imagery from multiple sources.

OVG reported in the July 2019 monthly that the inner crater wall collapses that were observed in May continued to occur. During this month, there was a sharp decrease in the lava lake level, and it is no longer visible. However, the report stated that lava fountaining was visible from a small cone within this crater, though its activity has also decreased since 2014. In late July, a thermal anomaly and fumaroles were observed originating from this cone (figure 85). Seismicity remained moderate throughout this reporting period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Photograph showing the small active cone within the crater of Nyamuragira in late July 2019. Fumaroles are also observed within the crater originating from the small cone. Courtesy of Sergio Maguna.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows strong, frequent thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit between June through November (figure 86). The strength of these thermal anomalies noticeably decreases briefly in September. MODVOLC thermal alerts registered 54 thermal hotspots dominantly near the N area of the crater during June through November 2019. Satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 corroborated this data, showing strong thermal anomalies within the summit crater during this same timeframe (figure 87).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity (log radiative power) at Nyamuragira during 30 January through November 2019 shows strong, frequent thermal anomalies through November with a brief decrease in activity in late April-early May and early September. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) confirmed ongoing thermal activity at Nyamuragira into November 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), Departement de Geophysique, Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles, Lwiro, D.S. Bukavu, DR Congo; Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sergio Maguna (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sergio.maguna.9, images posted at https://www.facebook.com/sergio.maguna.9/posts/1267625096730837).

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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. 3295 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 eastern flank of the extinct Talawe volcano. Talawe is the highest volcano in the Cape Gloucester area of NW New Britain. A rectangular, 2.5-km-long crater is breached widely to the SE; Langila volcano was constructed NE of the breached crater of Talawe. An extensive lava field reaches the coast on the north and NE sides of Langila. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded since the 19th century from three active craters at the summit of Langila. The youngest and smallest crater (no. 3 crater) was formed in 1960 and has a diameter of 150 m.

Information Contacts: Ben Talai, 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 1807-m-high basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano to its lower flanks. These "avalanche valleys" channel lava flows and pyroclastic avalanches that have sometimes reached the coast. Five small satellitic centers are located near the island's shoreline on the northern, southern, and western sides. Two summit craters are present; both are active, although most historical eruptions have originated from the southern crater, concentrating eruptive products during much of the past century into the SE valley. Frequent historical eruptions, typically of mild-to-moderate scale, have been recorded since 1616. Occasional larger eruptions have produced pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached flat-lying coastal areas and entered the sea, sometimes impacting populated areas.

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

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


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

Information Contacts: E. Fernandez, E. Duarte, R. Sáenz, W. Jimenez, and V. Barboza, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica; 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 Fuji-san of America. During the 1980 eruption the upper 400 m of the summit was removed by slope failure, leaving a 2 x 3.5 km horseshoe-shaped crater now partially filled by a lava dome. Mount St. Helens was formed during nine eruptive periods beginning about 40-50,000 years ago and has been the most active volcano in the Cascade Range during the Holocene. Prior to 2200 years ago, tephra, lava domes, and pyroclastic flows were erupted, forming the older St. Helens edifice, but few lava flows extended beyond the base of the volcano. The modern edifice was constructed during the last 2200 years, when the volcano produced basaltic as well as andesitic and dacitic products from summit and flank vents. Historical eruptions in the 19th century originated from the Goat Rocks area on the north flank, and were witnessed by early settlers.

Information Contacts: Dan Dzurisin, Cascades Volcano Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey, 5400 MacArthur Blvd., Vancouver, WA 98661 USA (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 of the volcano 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

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


Central Chile and Argentina


Estero de Parraguirre


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

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

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

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



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

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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


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

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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