Logo link to homepage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ibu (Indonesia) Persistent daily ash emissions and thermal anomalies, July-December 2020

Etna (Italy) Strombolian explosions and ash plumes persist from multiple craters during August-November 2020

Copahue (Chile-Argentina) New eruption in June-October 2020 with crater incandescence, ash plumes, and local ashfall

Masaya (Nicaragua) Lava lake continues accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions during June-November 2020

Nevados de Chillan (Chile) Frequent explosions, a lava flow on the N flank, and lava dome growth during July-October 2020



Nishinoshima (Japan) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Nishinoshima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kerinci (Indonesia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Whakaari/White Island

New Zealand

37.52°S, 177.18°E; summit elev. 294 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Suwanosejima (Japan) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Karangetang (Indonesia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Nevado del Ruiz

Colombia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dome growth and ash emissions continue during July-December 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ibu (Indonesia) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Ibu

Indonesia

1.488°N, 127.63°E; summit elev. 1325 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Persistent daily ash emissions and thermal anomalies, July-December 2020

Mount Ibu is an active stratovolcano located along the NW coast of Halmahera Island in Indonesia. After a two-day eruption in 1911, Ibu was quiet until 1998-1999 when explosions produced ash emissions, a lava flow and dome growth began inside the summit crater. Although possible dome growth occurred in 2001 and 2004, little activity was reported until ash emissions began in April 2008. These were followed by thermal anomalies beginning the next month; ash emissions and dome growth have continued for 12 years and the dome now fills the summit crater (BGVN 45:07). Activity continued throughout 2020, consisting of frequent white-and-gray emissions, ash explosions, ash plumes, and small lava flows. This report updates activity through December 2020, using data from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and various satellite instruments.

Activity throughout July-December 2020 was very consistent and similar to activity reported earlier in the year. Tens of daily explosions produced white and gray ash emissions that rose 200-800 m above the summit (figure 25). Occasional larger explosions were reported in VONAs and VAAC notices. The MIROVA graph of log radiative power for the period shows consistent thermal anomalies the entire time (figure 26). Satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 identified thermal anomalies inside the summit crater every month, usually a larger central one and a smaller one to the NW, suggesting continued dome growth and lava flow activity (figure 27).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Between 60 and 90 explosions occurred most days at Ibu during 1 July-31 December 2020. White and gray plumes rose 200-800 m above the summit crater every day. Data courtesy of PVMBG daily reports.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. The MIROVA graph of Log Radiative Power at Ibu from 3 February through December 2020 indicated a constant ongoing heat source from the summit of the crater. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Thermal anomalies persisted at the summit of Ibu throughout July-December 2020. One central anomaly was usual accompanied by a smaller one slightly NW of the central spot. Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11a, and 8), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The Darwin VAAC observed multiple minor ash emissions in satellite imagery drifting W on 6 July 2020 at 1.8 km altitude. A series of discrete puffs of ash were observed on 15 July also at 1.8 km altitude drifting W. Ongoing minor emissions were discernible on visible and RGB imagery at 2.1 km altitude drifting W on 20 July. On 30 July ash plumes rose to 1.8 km altitude drifted NW and a hotspot was present at the summit. A single MODVOLC alert was issued on 8 July. Single MODVOLC alerts were also issued on 11, 18, and 27 August 2020. PVMBG issued a VONA on 5 August, reporting an ash cloud that rose to 1.8 km altitude and drifted N (figure 28). The Darwin VAAC reported an ash emission later that day that rose to 4.3 km altitude and drifted NW for several hours before dissipating. Multiple discrete emissions were identified in satellite imagery drifting N at 2.1 km altitude on 11 August; they dissipated quickly. During 22-25 August intermittent ash emissions rose to 1.5-1.8 km altitude and drifted NW and W. Minor continuous emissions were again reported on 28 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Ash plumes rose from the summit of Ibu many days during July and August 2020, including on 8 July (top) and 5 August (bottom). Courtesy of PVMBG.

Many ash emissions during September and October 2020 were not accompanied by VONAs or VAAC advisories (figure 29). PVMBG issued a VONA on 20 September for an ash emission that rose to 1.5 km altitude and drifted N. Continuous discrete ash emissions over several days drifted SW to NW during 25-29 September at 1.8-2.1 km altitude, as reported in multiple VONAs and VAAC advisories. Single MODVOLC alerts were issued on 26 and 30 September. The Darwin VAAC issued an ash advisory on 8 October for intermittent ash emissions rising to 2.1 km altitude and drifting NW. A single MODVOLC alert was issued the next day. On 20 October ash emissions again rose to 2.1 km altitude and drifted NE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Ash emissions at Ibu were photographed in webcams on 6 September (left) and 12 October (right) 2020. Courtesy of PVMBG.

The Darwin VAAC reported intermittent ash emissions to 1.8 km altitude during 3-5, 12-13, 18-19, and 22 November 2020 that drifted SSW for several hours before dissipating. PVMBG also issued a VONA for an ash cloud on 27 November that rose to 2.1 km altitude and drifted W. They reported faint rumbling at the PGA Ibu station on 10 November and loud rumbling on 16 and 18 November. During December, minor ash emissions rose to 1.8-2.1 km altitude and drifted E on 4 and 6 December, SW on 11 December, and SE on 12-13 December. PVMBG issued a VONA on 19 December for a white to gray ash cloud drifting N at 1.7 km altitude. Single MODVOLC alerts were issued on 10, 13, and 22 December. Numerous ash emissions were captured by the webcams (figure 30).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. Ash emissions at Ibu were recorded in webcams on 17 November (top) and 5 December (bottom) 2020. Courtesy of PVMBG.

Geologic Background. The truncated summit of Gunung Ibu stratovolcano along the NW coast of Halmahera Island has large nested summit craters. The inner crater, 1 km wide and 400 m deep, contained several small crater lakes through much of historical time. The outer crater, 1.2 km wide, is breached on the north side, creating a steep-walled valley. A large parasitic cone is located ENE of the summit. A smaller one to the WSW has fed a lava flow down the W flank. A group of maars is located below the N and W flanks. Only a few eruptions have been recorded in historical time, the first a small explosive eruption from the summit crater in 1911. An eruption producing a lava dome that eventually covered much of the floor of the inner summit crater began in December 1998.

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


Etna (Italy) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian explosions and ash plumes persist from multiple craters during August-November 2020

Etna, on the island of Sicily, Italy, and has had documented eruptions dating back 3,500 years. Its most recent eruptive period began in September 2013 and has continued through November 2020, characterized by frequent Strombolian explosions, effusive activity, and ash plumes. Activity has commonly originated from the summit areas, including the Northeast Crater (NEC), the Voragine-Bocca Nuova (or Central) complex (VOR-BN), the Southeast Crater (SEC, formed in 1978), and the New Southeast Crater (NSEC, formed in 2011). The newest crater, referred to as the "cono della sella" (saddle cone), emerged during early 2017 in the area between SEC and NSEC. This report from August through November 2020 updates activity consisting of frequent Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, summit crater incandescence, degassing, and some ashfall based on information primarily from weekly reports by the Osservatorio Etneo (OE), part of the Catania Branch of Italy's Istituo Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologica (INGV).

Summary of activity during August-November 2020. Intra-crater Strombolian explosions that varied in frequency and intensity throughout the reporting period, and the accompanying ash emissions that rose to a maximum altitude of 4.5 km, primarily originated from the Northeast Crater (NEC), the New Southeast Crater (NSEC), and intermittently from the Voragine Crater (VOR). Degassing of variable intensity typically occurred at the VOR and the Bocca Nuova (BN) Crater. At night, occasional summit crater incandescence was visible in webcam images, accompanied by explosions and gas-and-ash emissions. On 14 August strong Strombolian explosions produced an ash plume that rose to 4.5 km altitude and drifted SE, resulting in ashfall between Pedara, Trecastagni, and Viagrande. INGV reported that the central pit crater at the bottom of BN continued to widen, and on 9 September scientists observed that a new pit crater had formed NW of the central depression and was widening due to crater wall collapses. During late October to 1 November, INGV reported that small lava flows originated from scoria cones in the NEC and were visible from the edge of the crater but did not spill over.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows frequent thermal activity of varying strength throughout the reporting period (figure 308). In late October, the frequency of the thermal anomalies increased, and continued through November. According to the MODVOLC thermal algorithm, a total of 31 alerts were detected in the summit craters during August through November; thermal anomalies were reported for five days in August, four days in September, four days in October, and eight days in November. Frequent Strombolian activity contributed to distinct SO2 plumes that drifted in multiple directions (figure 309).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 308. Strong and frequent thermal activity at Etna was detected during August through November 2020, as reflected in the MIROVA data (Log Radiative Power). Beginning in late October, the frequency of the thermal anomalies increased compared to the previous months. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 309. Distinct SO2 plumes from Etna were detected on multiple days during August to November 2020 due to frequent Strombolian explosions, including 29 August (top left), 8 September (top right), 1 October (bottom left), and 11 November (bottom right) 2020. SO2 plumes were observed drifting in multiple directions. Captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Activity during August-September 2020. During August, INGV reported intra-crater Strombolian explosions in the NEC, VOR, and NSEC (including the cono della sella) craters, which produced discontinuous ash emissions rising above each crater (figure 310). Gas-and-steam emissions were the dominant activity in the BN crater. INGV noted that the central pit crater on the floor of BN had been gradually widening since April. On 2 August a slight increase in explosivity resulted in minor ashfall in Trecastagni and Acicastello. Explosive activity occasionally ejected material above the crater rim up to several tens of meters. On the morning of 7 August incandescent Strombolian activity was visible in the NSEC (figure 311). During the evening of 10-11 August surveillance cameras showed the explosions ejecting incandescent material on the surrounding flanks. On 14 August intense Strombolian activity in the saddle cone of the NSEC produced an ash plume that rose to 4-4.5 km altitude and drifted SE, resulting in ashfall between Pedara, Trecastagni, and Viagrande. By the evening activity had sharply declined, according to a VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) report, though sporadic ash emissions continued. A new series of ash emissions associated with explosions of varying intensity began on 15 August in the NSEC. A resulting ash plume rose to 4-4.5 km altitude and drifted ESE. On 17 August gas-and-steam emissions were seen rising above the VOR crater, accompanied by persistent Strombolian explosions. Between the afternoon and early morning of 20-21 August surveillance cameras showed an increased intensity and frequency of ash emissions above the NSEC and NEC that rose to 4-4.5 km altitude and drifted SSE. INGV-OE scientists reported minor ashfall in Trecastagni, Viagrande, and Catania. During 24-30 August ground observers reported that the intra-crater explosions in the NEC originated from two explosive vents; the BN crater exhibited gas-and-steam emissions from the central pit crater, which continued to widen. During 25-26 August explosive activity increased at the NSEC with ash emissions rising to 4.5 km and drifting SSE, which resulted in modest ashfall in Catania, Viagrande, and Trecastagni; by morning, the volume of ash emissions had decreased, though explosions persisted. During 28-29 August discontinuous and modest ash emissions originating from the NSEC rose 4.5 km altitude drifting E and ENE but did not result in ashfall. Emissions had stopped by 1747 on 29 August, though intense gas-and-steam emissions continued, occasionally accompanied by mild explosive activity (figure 312).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 310. An ash plume accompanied Strombolian explosions at Etna on 3 August (top left) and 4 August (top right) and as seen from the Montagnola (EMOV) thermal camera in the NSEC. Continuous Strombolian activity and summit crater incandescence was observed on 7 August (bottom left); an ash plume was visible in the Monte Cagliato surveillance camera during the day on 9 August (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 33/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 03/08/2020 – 09/08/2020, data emissione 11/08/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 311. Strombolian explosions and summit crater incandescence was observed at Etna’s New Southeast Crater (NSEC “cono della sella”) during the early morning of 7 August 2020 seen from Tremestieri Etneo. Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 312. Photo of the S edge of the Bocca Nuova Crater at Etna on 29 August 2020 showing degassing in the pit crater. The main scoria cone within the Voragine Crater is visible in the background. Courtesy of INGV (Report 36/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 24/08/2020 – 30/08/2020, data emissione 01/09/2020).

Strombolian activity of varying intensity continued in the NSEC and NEC during September, producing sporadic ash emissions (figure 313). The BN and VOR craters were characterized by gas-and-steam emissions. Explosions in the NSEC ejected coarse pyroclastic material above the crater rim several tens of meters, some of which were deposited on the S flank, and accompanied by sporadic ash emissions; these explosions continued to widen the depression in the saddle cone of the NSEC. Intermittent nighttime crater incandescence was observed in the NSEC. Sporadic and weak ash emissions were observed in the VOR. On 9 September INGV scientists reported intense degassing from the center pit crater in the BN. To the NW of this center depression, a new pit crater had formed and began to widen due to the collapse of the crater walls (figure 314). On 26 September explosions in the NSEC produced an ash plume that rose to 4 km altitude and drifted E, though no ashfall was reported.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 313. Webcam image showing explosions in the New Southeast Crater and resulting ash emissions on 1 September 2020. Courtesy of INGV (Report 37/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 31/08/2020 – 06/09/2020, data emissione 08/09/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 314. Photos of the bottom of the W edge of the Bocca Nuova Crater at Etna on 9 September 2020. Gas-and-steam emissions are visible rising above the pit crater in the background. In the foreground a new pit crater had formed to the NW of the central pit crater (yellow dotted line). Photo was taken from the S edge of the BN crater. Courtesy of INGV (Report 38/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 07/09/2020 – 13/09/2020, data emissione 15/09/2020).

Activity during October-November 2020. Similar variable Strombolian activity continued into October in the NSEC (cono della sella) and NEC; isolated and weak ash emissions were visible in the VOR crater and gas-and-steam emissions continued in both the VOR and BN craters. On 1 October an increase in explosive activity in the NSEC occurred around 0800, which produced an ash plume rising to 4.5 km altitude, drifting E. Ash emissions on 3 October were mostly confined to the summit crater, but some drifted toward the Valle del Bove. On 7 October Strombolian explosions in the NSEC generated an ash plume that rose to 4.5 km altitude drifting E and ESE. INGV personnel reported ashfall as a result in the Citelli Refuge. On 9 October drone observations showed at least three active scoria cones on the floor of the NEC with diameters of 30-40 m and heights of 10 m; a fourth vent was later reported in November (figure 315). INGV reported that activity characterized by Strombolian explosions and spatter was fed by these vents, accompanied by intense intra-crater fumarolic activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 315. Map of the summit craters of Etna showing the active vents and the area of cooled lava flows (light green) updated on 9 October 2020. The base is modified from a 2014 DEM created by Laboratorio di Aerogeofisica-Sezione Roma 2. The hatch marks indicate the crater rims: BN = Bocca Nuova; VOR = Voragine; NEC = North East Crater; SEC = South East Crater; NSEC = New South East Crater. Red circles indicate areas with ash emissions and/or Strombolian activity, yellow circles indicate steam and/or gas emissions only. Courtesy of INGV (Report 44/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 19/10/2020 – 25/10/2020, data emissione 27/10/2020).

During 12-18 October surveillance cameras captured incandescence in the NEC and pyroclastic material seen during more intense explosions. During the week of 19-25 October several thermal anomalies were detected on the NEC and BN crater floor. Particularly at night, thermal and surveillance cameras observed incandescent ejecta rising above the NSEC (figure 316). On 23 October a helicopter overflight along the W side of Etna showed continued explosions at the NSEC, which produced both ash emissions and incandescent shreds of lava. An associated ash plume rose to 4.5 km altitude and drifted SSE. Sporadic ash emissions were also observed in the BN crater (figure 316). During 26 October to 1 November occasional Strombolian activity resumed in the VOR which ejected material over the crater rim. The BN crater activity was characterized by small intra-crater collapses and consequent ash emissions. In the NEC, similar explosive activity persisted with the addition of small lava flows from the scoria cones, which were visible from the crater edge, though activity remained confined to the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 316. Photos showing Strombolian activity at the New Southeast Crater at Etna on 25 October 2020 (top left); ash emissions were observed during 22 October 2020 (top right). Ash emissions rose above the Bocca Nuova Crater on 22 October (bottom left) and weak ash emissions were seen above the Voragine Crater on 22 October (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 44/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 19/10/2020 – 25/10/2020, data emissione 27/10/2020).

Activity in November continued with variable Strombolian explosions accompanied by discontinuous ash emissions from the NSEC, NEC, and BN. During more intense explosions, ejecta reached several tens of meters above the crater, sometimes falling just outside the crater rim. Intensive degassing in the BN crater revealed occasional reddish ash in the new W pit crater that formed in September. The central pit crater was primarily characterized by intense gas-and-steam emissions and intra-crater wall collapses. Four vents were observed on the bottom of the NEC during 2-8 November, though only three of them produced Strombolian explosions, the fourth was quiet. On 5 November Strombolian explosions in BN originated from the W pit crater; coarser material was ejected above the pit crater rim. By 12 November Strombolian activity had decreased, explosions in the BN had deposited material on the S flank. Out of the three active NEC scoria cones, only one was continuously exploding, the second had discontinuous explosions, and the third was primarily emitting gas-and-steam. On 15 November faint ash emissions from the E side of the NSEC were observed (figure 317). On 20 November sporadic explosive activity continued from the NSEC and BN, the former of which occasionally ejected material above the crater rim (figure 318).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 317. Webcam images of the New Southeast Crater at Etna on 14 (left) and 15 (right) November 2020 showing Strombolian activity in the cono della sella (left) and the E vent shown by the black arrow (right). Images were taken by the Montagnola webcam. Courtesy of INGV (Report 47/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 09/11/2020 – 15/11/2020, data emissione 17/11/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 318. Drone image of the New Southeast Crater at Etna on 21 November 2020 showing an ash plume rising above the inner crater rim (black line). Fallout is visible within the crater rim (small red circles). Courtesy of INGV (Report 48/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 16/11/2020 – 21/11/2020, data emissione 24/11/2020).

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

Information Contacts: Sezione di Catania - Osservatorio Etneo, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/it/); 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/); Boris Behncke, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: https://twitter.com/etnaboris).


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

Copahue

Chile-Argentina

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruption in June-October 2020 with crater incandescence, ash plumes, and local ashfall

Copahue is an elongated composite cone located along the Chile-Argentina border. The E summit crater consists of an acidic 300-m-wide crater lake which is characterized by intense fumarolic activity. Previous activity consisted of continuous gas-and-ash emissions during early November 2019, accompanied by nighttime incandescence, minor SO2 plumes, and the reappearance of the lake in the El Agrio crater during early December 2019 (BGVN 45:03). This report, covering March-November 2020, describes an eruption with gas-and-ash plumes from mid-June through late October, accompanied by thermal anomalies visible in satellite imagery and small SO2 plumes. Primary information for this report comes from the Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN) Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), the Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Activity during March-May 2020 was relatively low and consisted primarily of seismicity, sulfur dioxide emissions, and occasional white gas-and-steam emissions rising 300-900 m above the El Agrio crater. On 20 March a series of volcano-tectonic seismic events were detected SSW of the volcano; satellite images showed a decrease in the size of the crater lake. SO2 emissions had daily averages of 487-636 tons, with the highest value reaching 1,884 tons/day on 16 May. During April slight subsidence was reported in the crater, occurring at a maximum rate of 0.3 cm/month.

Activity during most of June and July consisted of occasional white gas-and-steam emissions rising 350-500 m above the El Agrio crater and SO2 emissions averaging 592-1,950 tons/day; a high value of 1,897 tons/day was reported on 13 June. However, on 16 June a period of increased seismicity was accompanied by crater incandescence and gas emissions containing some ash. SO2 plumes increased slightly in July with values of 2,100 and 1,713 tons/day on 2 and 4 July, respectively. Another ash plume was observed by local residents on 16 July, accompanied by elevated seismicity and SO2 emissions of 4,684 tons/day. On 20 July residents of La Araucanía described an odor that indicated hydrogen sulfide gas emissions. A photo on 23 July showed an ash plume rising above the crater (figure 55).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Photo of a gas-and-ash plume rising from Copahue on 23 July 2020. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina.

Beginning in early August, and continuing through September 2020, the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity graph provided by the MIROVA system identified a small cluster of thermal anomalies in the summit area (figure 56). Thermal anomalies during this time were also captured in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery, showing a persistent hotspot of varying strength in the summit crater (figure 57). This thermal activity was accompanied by small sulfur dioxide plumes identified by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite, which exceeded two Dobson Units (DU). Distinct SO2 emissions greater than two DUs were detected on 6, 11, 21, 22, and 29 August, 1 and 6 September, and 4 and 15 October (figure 58).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. A small cluster of thermal anomalies were detected in the summit area of Copahue (red dots) during early August through September 2020 as recorded by the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity data (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed a thermal anomaly (bright yellow-orange) at Copahue during August-October 2020. Images using “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Small SO2 plumes were recorded at Copahue during August-October 2020. Top row: 11 August and 1 September 2020. Bottom row: 6 September and 15 October 2020. Courtesy of the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

During August, approximately 133 explosive events were detected, in addition to the gas-and-steam and SO2 emissions (figure 59). On 3 August pulses of ash emissions were reported by SERNAGEOMIN, which resulted in a 2.2-km-long tephra deposit estimated to have a volume of 1 km3. Gray gas-and-ash emissions were observed on 6 August, followed by a thermal anomaly detected in satellite imagery beginning on 8 August. Sulfur dioxide emissions were elevated compared to previous months, measuring an average of 2,641 tons/day with high values of 4,498 tons/day on 12 August that increased to 4,627 tons/day by 27 August. During 16-31 August webcams recorded gas-and-ash plumes rising as high as 1.7 km altitude and were sometimes accompanied by nighttime crater incandescence. Plumes drifted in multiple directions as far as 4.3 km N, 9 km NE, 8 km E, 4 km SE, 4 km SW, 9 km W, and 4.4 km NW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Photo of a white gas-and-steam plume rising from Copahue on 12 August 2020. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina.

Elevated activity continued into September with 2-10 explosive events detected during the month; during 1-15 September webcams recorded gas-and-ash plumes rising to 1.1 km altitude, drifting 6-15 km SW and SE, which were sometimes accompanied by nighttime crater incandescence (figure 60). On 7 September a Buenos Aires VAAC advisory reported an ash plume rising to 3.7 km altitude drifting SE. On 11 September a webcam showed a weak gas emission, possibly containing some ash. Three episodes of gas-and-steam plumes were reported, rising 100-1,040 m above the crater, sometimes accompanied by incandescence. SO2 emissions were in the 1,499-1,714 tons/day range, with a high value of 4,522 tons/day on 28 September. SERNAGEOMIN reported repetitive explosions in the acid lake area alongside fumarolic activity, ejecting some material 1.7 km N, 1.2 km SE, and 4 km E of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. Photos of gas-and-steam plumes rising from Copahue on 6 September (top) and 28 September (bottom) 2020. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina.

Persistent activity in October consisted of gas-and-steam plumes, ash emissions, and SO2 emissions. The gas-and-steam plumes rose 1.4 km above the crater, occasionally accompanied by nighttime incandescence. On 5 October the SO2 emissions were at a high value of 3,824 tons/day. During 12-15 October ash emissions resulted in a wide distribution of ashfall that reached 6.8 km NE, 7 km SE, and 6.7 km SW (figure 61). A pilot reported an ash plume rose to 3.7 km altitude drifting SE, according to a VAAC advisory, though the plume was not visible in satellite data. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery recorded strong gas-and-ash plumes during August-October, drifting generally S and E, which resulted in ash deposits on the nearby flanks (figure 62). Continued emissions had covered all of the flanks with ash by late October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. Photos of a gas-and-ash plume rising from Copahue on 13 October (top) and 15 October (bottom) 2020. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Sentinel-2 images showing ash gas-and-ash plumes rising from Copahue during August-October 2020, resulting in some ashfall in the nearby areas. The ash plume on 31 August (top left) is drifting S with ashfall observed on the N and S flanks. The ash plume on 7 September (top right) is drifting SE with ashfall on the E and S flanks. The ash plume on 27 September (bottom left) is drifting E and N with ashfall on the NE flanks. The ash plume on 20 October (bottom right) is drifting S with ashfall on all the flanks due to continued activity. Images using “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Similar activity during November decreased, primarily characterized by gas-and-steam plumes and SO2 emissions. White gas-and-steam emissions, possibly with some ash content, were observed with a webcam on 9 and 12 November, accompanied by low but continuous seismicity. During 11-12 November SO2 emissions were at a high value of 904 tons/day. A white gas-and-steam plume was observed on 15 November rising 760 m above the crater; typical degassing rose 200-300 m above the crater, according to SERNAGEOMIN. The daily average of SO2 emissions ranged 366-582 tons.

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

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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); Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue, Caviahue, Argentina (URL: https://twitter.com/valecaviahue, Twitter: @valecaviahue).


Masaya (Nicaragua) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake continues accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions during June-November 2020

Masaya, located in Nicaragua, includes the Nindirí, San Pedro, and San Juan craters, as well as the currently active Santiago crater. The Santiago crater has contained an active lava lake since December 2015 (BGVN 41:08), and often produces gas-and-steam emissions. Similar activity is described in this report which updates information from June through November 2020 using reports from the Instituto Nicareguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) and various satellite data.

Volcanism at Masaya has been relatively quiet and primarily characterized by an active lava lake and gas-and-steam emissions. From January to November 2020 there were 8,551 seismic events recorded. A majority of these events were described as low-frequency earthquakes, though a few were classified as volcano-tectonic. MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed few low-power thermal anomalies during June through November (figure 87). A small cluster of low-power thermal activity was detected in July and consisted of seven thermal anomalies out of a total of thirteen thermal anomalies recorded during the reporting period. Thermal activity was also observed in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery, which showed a constant thermal anomaly in the Santiago crater at the lava lake during July through October, occasionally accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume (figure 88). Small and intermittent sulfur dioxide emissions appeared in satellite data during each month of the reporting period, excluding July, some of which exceeded two Dobson Units (DU) (figure 89). On 6 July, 11 and 13 August, 7 September, during October, and 9 and 13 November, INETER scientists took SO2 measurements by making several transects using a mobile DOAS spectrometer that sampled for gases downwind of the volcano. Average values during these months were 1,202 tons/day (t/d), 1,383 t/d, 2,089 t/d, 950 t/d, and 819 t/d, respectively, with the highest average reported in September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Few thermal anomalies were detected at Masaya between June and November 2020 with a small cluster of thermal activity in July. A total of thirteen low-power thermal anomalies were shown on the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power) during the reporting period. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed the active lava lake at the summit crater of Masaya during July through October 2020, occasionally accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions, as seen on 27 July (top left) and 30 September (bottom left). Images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Intermittent sulfur dioxide emissions were captured from Masaya during June through November 2020 by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. These images show SO2 emissions reaching up to 2 Dobson Units (DU). Top left: 9 June 2020. Top right: 23 August 2020. Bottom left: 7 September 2020. Bottom right: 15 November 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

During June and July persistent gas-and-steam emissions were reported rising above the open lava lake in the Santiago crater (figure 90). On 20 June INETER scientists measured the gases on the S side, inside the Nindirí crater (SW side), and La Cruz (NW side). A perceptible gas-and-steam plume was noted rising above the Nindirí crater and drifting W. Crater wall collapses were observed on the E wall of the Santiago crater; the lava lake remained, but the level of the lake had decreased compared to previous months. During July, thermal measurements were taken of the fumaroles and near the lava lake using a FLIR SC620 thermal camera. INETER reported that the temperature measured 576°C, which had significantly increased from 163°C noted in the previous month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Images of the lava lake at Masaya during June 2020, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions (left) and a gas-and-steam plume rising above the Santiago crater (right). Courtesy of INETER (Boletín Sismológico, Vulcanológico y Geológico Junio, 2020).

Small crater wall collapses were detected on the NW and E wall of the Santiago crater, accompanied by abundant gas-and-steam emissions during August (figure 91). On 7 August thermal measurements were taken of the fumaroles and near the lava lake, which showed another temperature increase to 771°C. Continuous collapse of the crater walls began to excavate depressions in the crater floor and along the walls. Similar activity was observed in September with abundant gas-and-steam emissions in the Santiago crater, as well as collapses of the E wall (figure 91). Temperature measurements taken during this month had decreased slightly compared to August, to 688°C.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Photos of the Santiago crater at Masaya during August (left) and September (right) 2020 showing a) an internal collapse on the N wall of the crater floor; b) an internal collapse on the S wall of the crater floor, forming a depression; c) newly excavated crater floor due to wall collapses; and d) an internal collapse on the S wall. In September a significant amount of gas-and-steam emissions originating from the N side of the crater were observed compared to the previous months. Courtesy of INETER (Boletín Sismológico, Vulcanológico y Geológico Agosto and Septiembre, 2020).

Activity in October and November remained consistent with continued wall collapses in the Santiago crater, particularly on the S and E wall, due to fractures in the rocks and erosion, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. INETER reported that the level of the lava lake had decreased due to continuous internal wall collapses, which had caused some obstruction in the lava lake and allowed for material to accumulate within the crater. On 9 October thermal measurements were taken of the fumaroles and near the lava lake using a FLIR SC620 thermal camera (figure 92). The temperature had increased again compared to September, to 823°C. By 26 November, the temperature had decreased slightly to 800°C, though activity remained similar.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Thermal measurements of the active lava lake and fumaroles taken in the Santiago crater at Masaya on 1 October 2020 with a FLIR SC620 thermal camera. Temperatures reached up to 823°C. Courtesy of INETER (Boletín Sismológico, Vulcanológico y Geológico Octubre, 2020).

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Nevados de Chillan (Chile) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevados de Chillan

Chile

36.868°S, 71.378°W; summit elev. 3180 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent explosions, a lava flow on the N flank, and lava dome growth during July-October 2020

Nevados de Chillán, located in the Chilean Central Andes, is a volcanic complex composed of late-Pleistocene to Holocene stratovolcanoes. On 8 January 2016 an explosion created the Nicanor Crater on the NW flank of Volcán Viejo. Recent activity consists of explosions, ash plumes, pyroclastic flows, and a new lava dome in the Nicanor Crater (BGVN 45:07). This report covers July through October 2020; activity is characterized by frequent explosions, ash plumes, a lava flow on the N flank, and continued lava dome growth. The primary source of information comes from the Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)-Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), the Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and satellite data.

Since 27 June webcams have showed an active lava flow that originated from the Nicanor Crater and descended the N flank. Activity during July consisted of 210-473 volcano-tectonic seismic events and 565-614 explosive events. Ash plumes rising 1.1-1.2 km above the crater and were accompanied by day and nighttime incandescence on the E edge of the Nicanor Crater. Due to these explosions, SERNAGEOMIN reported that tephra and other pyroclastic deposits were deposited within 400 m to the E of the crater. On 1 July a Buenos Aires VAAC advisory reported that a webcam showed ash emissions rising to 4.3 km altitude. Continuous explosions the next day produced ash plumes that rose 500 m above the crater. During 1-2 July the active lava flow had reached 40 m long and descended at a rate of 0.2 m3 per second. On 6 July an explosion at 0837 generated a gas-and-ash plume that rose 1.2 km above the crater and drifted SE; sporadic ash emissions were also observed on 7 July, according to a VAAC advisory. SERNAGEOMIN webcams showed that the lava flow that began on 27 June continued down the N flank, while a new lobe 55-194 m long moved toward the NE flank of Nicanor Crater. Gas plumes were also observed rising above the active crater, as noted on 20 July (figure 63). On 29 July weak ash emissions rose 3.9 km altitude and drifted SE, according to a VAAC report. During that day, the volume of the lava dome measured 400,000 m3 and grew at a rate of 0.1 m3 per second. Throughout the month, the lava flow continued to descend the N flank of the Nicanor Crater, reaching 520 m at a rate of 0.7-0.6 m per hour. Some unconsolidated blocks up to a meter in size detached from the front of the flow and moved up to 240 m. Sulfur dioxide emissions during the month averaged 823 tons/day with a high value of 1,815 tons/day reported on 29 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. A white gas-and-steam plume was observed at Nevados de Chillán on 20 July 2020. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN webcam, posted by Volcanology Chile.

During August SERNAGEOMIN reported 68-75 volcano-tectonic seismic events and 497-578 explosive events, the latter of which ejected material as far as 300 m E and NE from Nicanor Crater. Associated ash plumes rose 800-980 m above the crater and were accompanied by day and nighttime crater incandescence. The lava dome continued to grow during the month, reaching a thickness of 41 m, according to SERNAGEOMIN. SO2 emissions were an average value of 134-205 tons/day with a high value of 245 tons/day reported on 3 August. On 15 August a VAAC advisory reported weak and sporadic gas-and-ash emissions at the summit; on 20 August a hotspot was detected in satellite imagery, though an ash plume was not observed. The active lava flow on the N flank extended 490-495 m and moved at a rate of 0.07-0.06 m per hour. On 31 August a webcam showed an ash plume rising above the volcano, accompanied by the advancing lava flow on the N flank (figure 64).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. An explosion at Nevados de Chillán produced an ash plume on 31 August 2020. A lava flow accompanies the ash plume on the N flank. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

Similar activity continued into September, with 45-48 volcano-tectonic and 591-621 explosive events. Ash plumes rose to 1.5 km above the crater and were accompanied by day and nighttime incandescence on the E edge of Nicanor Crater. During 1-15 September explosions at the lava dome produced ash plumes that rose to less than 1.5 km altitude, resulting in ashfall within 300 m E and NE of the crater; ejecta from larger explosions was also observed to the ESE. Satellite images showed partial destruction of the lava dome as well as loss of some material due to successive explosions at the beginning of the month. Overall, the dome continued to increase in size, reaching a volume of 180,000 m3 and a thickness of 45 m since August (41 m). The lava dome measured 93 m NW-SE and 104 m SW-NE. By 15 September the 500-m-long lava flow had descended the NNE flank and continued to advance at a rate of 1.7 m per hour. The W levee of the flow channel had ruptured, which caused the toe of the lava flow to thicken. On 20 September ash emissions rose to 3.7 km altitude and drifted NE and ENE, according to a VAAC advisory. On 22 September gas emissions, weak and sporadic ash emissions, and occasional explosions accompanied the lava flow. Through the remainder of the month, the lava flow persisted, measuring 615 m, and advancing at a rate of 0.4 m per hour; its volume was 487,000 m3 (figure 65). SO2 emissions were an average value of 111-358 tons/day with a high value of 503 tons/day reported on 22 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Photo (color corrected) of the incandescent lava flow at night descending the NNE flank of Nevados de Chillán on 21 September 2020. Photo by Jose Fauna, courtesy of Volcanology Chile.

During October there were 34-61 volcano-tectonic seismic events reported, as well as 607-644 explosive events, seven of which generated ash plumes that rose 1-1.5 km above the crater. Day and nighttime incandescence in the E edge of Nicanor Crater remained. Ash deposits associated with the explosive activity were distributed to the E and NE as far as 300 m from the crater; denser pyroclastic deposits from stronger explosions were located to the N and NE. The lava flow on the N slope persisted, extending 614-683 m from the crater rim at a rate of 0.1-0.82 m per hour with a width of 80.2 m near the crater rim and up to 112.8 m near the toe. The lava dome also continued to grow since it was last measured in September; it was 115 m wide at the base by 107 m high. SO2 emissions were an average value of 167-355 tons/day with a high value of 588 tons/day reported on 26 October. On 29 October an ash plume was detected in satellite imagery and rose to 3.7 km altitude and drifted W, according to a VAAC advisory (figure 66). SERNAGEOMIN reported that a 25-m-diameter subcrater had formed on the E inner edge of Nicanor Crater at the top of the lava dome. On 30 October, intermittent gas-and-ash emissions were visible at the summit in satellite imagery, rising to 3.9 km altitude and drifting SE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Webcam image of an explosion at Nevados de Chillán on 29 October 2020 that produced an ash plume that rose 360 m above the crater and drifted SW. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows frequent low-power thermal activity beginning in early June and continuing through October 2020 due to frequent explosions, the continued lava dome growth in Nicanor Crater, and the lava flow that descended the N flank (figure 67). On clear weather days, two thermal anomalies in the summit craters are observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery; one represents the growing lava dome and the other is the lava flow on the N flank (figure 68). On 25 September an ash plume was observed drifting S.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Frequent low-power thermal activity at Nevados de Chillán continued during July through October 2020, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed a persistent thermal anomaly (bright yellow-orange) in the summit crater of Nevados de Chillán during July through October 2020. On 29 July (top left), a third faint thermal anomaly was detected on the N flank, indicating a lava flow. On 25 September (bottom left) an ash plume was visible drifting S. Images using “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The compound volcano of Nevados de Chillán is one of the most active of the Central Andes. Three late-Pleistocene to Holocene stratovolcanoes were constructed along a NNW-SSE line within three nested Pleistocene calderas, which produced ignimbrite sheets extending more than 100 km into the Central Depression of Chile. The largest stratovolcano, dominantly andesitic, Cerro Blanco (Volcán Nevado), is located at the NW end of the group. Volcán Viejo (Volcán Chillán), which was the main active vent during the 17th-19th centuries, occupies the SE end. The new Volcán Nuevo lava-dome complex formed between 1906 and 1945 between the two volcanoes and grew to exceed Volcán Viejo in elevation. The Volcán Arrau dome complex was constructed SE of Volcán Nuevo between 1973 and 1986 and eventually exceeded its height.

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Meteorológico Nacional-Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 25 de mayo 658, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/inicio.php); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Volcanology Chile (URL: https://twitter.com/volcanologiachl); Jose Fauna, Caracol sector, San Fabián de Alicom, Chile (URL: https://twitter.com/josefauna).

Search Bulletin Archive by Publication Date

Select a month and year from the drop-downs and click "Show Issue" to have that issue displayed in this tab.

   

The default month and year is the latest issue available.

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 21, Number 03 (March 1996)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Aira (Japan)

Frequent explosive ash eruptions continue

Akademia Nauk (Russia)

More details about the early January eruptions

Akutan (United States)

Seismicity declines with no eruption after two earthquake swarms

Arenal (Costa Rica)

Continued eruptions and recently updated map of lava flows

Avachinsky (Russia)

Increased seismicity and a higher steam plume

Etna (Italy)

Intermittent ash emissions and Strombolian activity from two summit craters

Fukutoku-Oka-no-Ba (Japan)

Emission of colored water and long discolored aqueous plumes

Hokkaido-Komagatake (Japan)

Additional information about the 5 March eruption

Irazu (Costa Rica)

Infrequent microseisms in February and March

Iwatesan (Japan)

Volcanic tremor registered again on 4 March

Karymsky (Russia)

More details about the early January eruptions

Kilauea (United States)

Heightened activity on 1-4 February followed by 10-day pause; bench construction

Kuchinoerabujima (Japan)

Increasing number of earthquakes since January

Kujusan (Japan)

Increased seismicity in late March, but plume remains ash-free

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Vulcanian explosions continue

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Inaudible, weak-to-moderate steaming from two craters

Oshima-Oshima (Japan)

Earthquakes and tremor detected

Pinatubo (Philippines)

Rainfall during October-November 1995 typhoons generates floods and lahars

Poas (Costa Rica)

Seismicity decreased roughly 10-fold since October 1995

Popocatepetl (Mexico)

Continued ash emissions; new lava dome and lava flows in summit crater

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

December-March ash deposits now 10-cm thick; seismicity continues

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica)

Mild seismicity continues in February

Sangay (Ecuador)

Phreatic explosions, blue gas plumes, crater glow, and dome rockfalls

Socorro (Mexico)

Slight temperature increases at most summit fumaroles and hot springs

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Escalating dome growth spawns pyroclastic flows and another evacuation

Suwanosejima (Japan)

Weak ash eruptions in early March cause ashfalls

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea)

Still emitting low to moderate amounts of steam

Unzendake (Japan)

Tremor associated with minor tilt changes



Aira (Japan) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent explosive ash eruptions continue

Minor activity continued at Minami-dake until mid-March, although the highest ash plume of the month rose 2,100 m above the crater on the 6th. Twelve explosive eruptions occurred on 18 March. Overall during March there were 88 eruptions, 69 of which were explosive. The monthly total ashfall measured 10 km W of the crater was 22 g/m2. Seismicity recorded 2.3 km NW of the crater during March consisted of 970 earthquakes and 773 tremors.

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.


Akademia Nauk (Russia) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Akademia Nauk

Russia

53.98°N, 159.45°E; summit elev. 1180 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


More details about the early January eruptions

According to the Institute of Volcanology (IV), the eruption on 2 January (BGVN 21:01) began around 0800. This activity was preceded by an upsurge in seismicity that started in April 1995. At 1926 on 31 December 1995, a M 5.8 earthquake occurred in the Kronotsky gulf, 50-60 km NE of the volcano. On 1 January at 2057 an earthquake of M 5.2 in the Karymsky region was followed at 2157 by a M 6.9 event centered ~25 km S of the volcano. During the next day there were more than 10 aftershocks of M >= 5.0. On 2 January at 1540, a group of IV volcanologists arrived by helicopter. Eruptive centers were observed near the summit and 5-6 km S in Karymsky Lake (maximum depth 115 m), which fills the Akademii Nauk caldera.

The eruption began with formation of a vent with a diameter of 20-30 m, located 50 m below the summit. Violent emissions of ash-rich gas jets rose to 1 km from another vent on the SW slope. Steam-and-gas jets, occasionally with black-colored matter, were also ejected to several hundred meters from beneath the surface of Karymsky Lake. The presumed eruptive center was 100-200 m from the shore in the NW sector of the lake. Turbulent steam-and-gas plumes rose 5-6 km above the surface from a 200-m-diameter area. Ice covering the lake had completely melted.

On 3 January the near-summit vent increased in size to 50 m in diameter. Gas and steam blasts alternated with ash ejections from the two simultaneously active vents on the volcano. Ash was usually ejected from the upper vent, and a white-colored plume was emitted from the lower vent. Ash ejections lasted 2-3 minutes, and gas blasts lasted 1.5-2 minutes. An ash-and-gas column rose 1-1.2 km and was blown E and SE by the wind. The surface of Karymsky Lake steamed intensely, sending clouds 800-1,000 m above the lake. Areas of green water were visible through breaks in the clouds, and a newly-formed black beach was seen. In the N and NE sector of the lake a narrow spit, beginning from the source of the Karymsky river and extending 250-300 m to the center of the lake, had formed. The water level in the lake had dropped a few meters. The upper reaches of the river had dried up, but on 2 January waves from the submarine eruption (up to 10 m high or more) overflowed the N shore, flooding a wide valley 1.5 km below the source. During a surveillance flight on 4 January, large areas of the valley were covered by black mud. The beach contained three fumarolic vents along the NE-trending fault zone. Within a radius of 500-800 m of the source of the Karymsky River, the surrounding snow-covered hills contained thousands of holes with diameters ranging from 10 cm to 1.5-2 m formed by lithic blocks ejected from the lake. The water level of the lake continued to fall because of intense evaporation.

Light-gray dacitic ash covered an area of about 150-200 km2. At a distance of 8 km from the volcano fractions ranging from 0.16 to 0.06 mm dominated. Estimates made by S.A. Fedotov indicated that on 2 and 3 January the ash ejection rate from the summit crater reached 3-4 tons/second.

Routine observations from 2 January through 11 February showed that the climactic phase of the subaqueous eruption continued for no more than 12-15 hours. That eruption consisted of frequent explosions during which a vapor-gas mixture with lithic material was ejected to the surface. In the N sector of the lake at the shore W of the Karymsky River, damaged trees provided evidence of two eruptive sources 500-600 m from each other. This zone contained the main concentration of bomb material ejected from the lake. A portion of the shoreline (150-200 m long and 5-15 m wide) E of the river sank several meters into the lake. The main eruption center was 500 m from the shore, but smaller peripheral centers were also observed. As a result of the eruption, in the NNW sector of the lake, a beach in the form of a wide 0.4 km2 cape was produced, as well as a narrow spit extending SE from the old shore. The length of the new shoreline was 2.4 km, and a large shoal was observed around the new peninsula. According to the preliminary estimates, the ejected deposits in the lake are at least 1 km2 in area and 5-10 x 106 m3 in volume.

Thermal springs that discharge at the S shore of Karymsky Lake were destroyed by ejecta from this eruption, and several new mud pots were formed; chemical composition of the solutions was unchanged. Near the center of the new beach, composed of sand-gravel and bomb material, a chain of five explosive vents with diameters from 1.5 to 30 m was observed. At the N end was a thermal site with a diameter of ~50 m that exhibited intense vapor emission and was covered by sublimates; visiting scientists detected a hydrogen sulfide odor. A dry funnel with a diameter of ~3 m and high gas emission at a temperature of 97°C was in the center of this site. Other explosion funnels had water at a depth of 1.2-1.5 m with temperatures from 33 to 70°C. The three funnels closest to the lake and on the opposite shore had gas emissions with temperatures of 97-98°C.

On 4 January run-off from the lake ceased owing to damming by ejected material. Analyses of water samples from the lake, river, and various hot springs in the area indicated that there had been chemical contributions to the lake water by an underlying magma body.

Geologic Background. The scenic lake-filled Akademia Nauk caldera is one of three volcanoes constructed within the mid-Pleistocene, 15-km-wide Polovinka caldera. Beliankin stratovolcano, in the SW part of Polovinka caldera, is eroded, but has been active in postglacial time (Sviatlovsky, 1959). Two nested calderas, 5 x 4 km Odnoboky and 3 x 5 km Akademia Nauk (also known as Karymsky Lake or Academii Nauk), were formed during the late Pleistocene, the latter about 30,000 years ago. Eruptive products varied from initial basaltic-andesite lava flows to late-stage rhyodacitic lava domes. Two maars, Akademia Nauk and Karymsky, subsequently formed at the southern and northern margins of the caldera lake, respectively. The northern maar, Karymsky, erupted about 6500 radiocarbon years ago and formed a small bay. The first historical eruption from Akademia Nauk did not take place until January 2, 1996, when a brief, day-long explosive eruption of unusual basaltic and rhyolitic composition occurred from vents beneath the NNW part of the caldera lake near Karymsky maar.

Information Contacts: G.A. Karpov, Ya.D. Muravyev, R.A. Shuvalov, S.M. Fazlullin, and V.N. Chebrov, Institute of Volcanology, Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia.


Akutan (United States) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Akutan

United States

54.134°N, 165.986°W; summit elev. 1303 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity declines with no eruption after two earthquake swarms

Intense seismicity was felt by Akutan residents beginning on the evening of 10 March and through the next day (BGVN 21:02). Students in Akutan (13 km E of the summit; figure 1) carefully counted the frequency and intensity of the earthquakes during the day on 11 March. The resulting information was the first quantitative dataset about the earthquakes and suggested that this was an earthquake swarm rather than a classic mainshock-aftershock sequence. The strongest shocks rattled small objects on tables and caused some cabinet doors to open; ground shaking was continuous. The largest of the earthquakes had a magnitude of about 5.1, and there were several of M 4-5, most of them were probably in the M 2.5 to 4 range. There were no operating seismometers on Akutan Island at the onset of seismic unrest; the nearest seismometer was at Sand Point, ~380 km NE. The intense seismic activity began subsiding at about 1700 on 11 March but remained at a level substantially above normal. Seismicity continued through most of that night with many events strongly felt in Akutan. Seismicity declined on 12 March, and late that day a seismologist from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) who reached Akutan with a seismometer and a portable recording system determined that the earthquakes were volcano-tectonic.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Terrain-corrected synthetic aperture radar (SAR) image showing Akutan and Makushin volcanoes in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Courtesy of the Alaska SAR Facility; data copyright European Space Agency.

At about 1700 on 13 March, felt-earthquakes began occurring at a rate of greater than 1/minute, a higher rate than on 11 March. Damage associated with these earthquakes included objects tumbling off shelves, and ground shaking was again continuous. The strongest of these events were felt as far away as Dutch Harbor/Unalaska 50 km SW of Akutan. The number of earthquakes recorded in Akutan was over 800/day during the intense earthquake swarm on 13-14 March. A slight decrease in the rate of activity occurred at about 0500 on 14 March, but felt earthquakes still occurred every 2-3 minutes. There were a few earthquakes with M >= 5, and more between 4 and 5. This swarm began subsiding about 18 hours after onset. Because of the continued high seismicity AVO initiated use of a Level of Concern Color Code system and designated the current level to be Orange on 14 March, indicating an eruption was possible at any time within the next few days. On the night of 14 March, AVO's seismologist in Akutan reported 4-5 felt events.

On 15 March the rate and intensity of recorded earthquakes, although much lower than earlier in the week, remained well above background. At about 1700, a geologist flying into Akutan glimpsed a part of the N flank and summit area through broken clouds, but observed no evidence of eruptive activity. AVO scientists in Akutan felt only a few earthquakes that night. The number of earthquakes recorded on 16 March was much lower than during the swarms of 11 and 13 March. However, the rate and intensity of earthquake activity remained well above background. The weather continued to be poor, hampering visual observations. The number of daily earthquakes remained about the same through 19 March. Scientists in Akutan reported feeling only a few earthquakes each of those nights.

The Level of Concern Color Code was downgraded to Yellow on 20 March based on decreasing seismicity over the previous six days to 60-80 events/day. The Yellow code indicates that the threat of imminent eruption has declined, and the possibility that the volcano will return to quiet over a period of weeks without eruption has increased. An airline passenger reported seeing the snow-filled summit crater, with very slight normal wisps of steam from the central cinder cone, and no evidence of eruptive activity. The level of seismicity remained above background, and several earthquakes each day were felt in Akutan.

By 22 March a total of five seismic stations in four locations had been installed and all data were being sent to the Fairbanks and Anchorage laboratories in real time. Maximum separation of the stations was ~9 km. Four of the stations were located around Akutan Harbor, and the fifth was on the E slopes of the volcano about midway between the village of Akutan and the summit. The seismic array will remain in its present geometry until additional stations can be placed by helicopter this summer. By 24 March all AVO personnel had left, and around-the-clock monitoring using the new seismic stations was being conducted from AVO.

The number of earthquakes continued during 21-25 March at a rate of ~60-80/day, decreased slightly by 27 March to ~40-60/day, and remained at that level through 29 March. As of 5 April seismicity continued to slowly diminish. Earthquakes were distributed widely beneath the E half of the island with a cluster, shallower than 10 km, located ~8-10 km due E of the summit cinder cone and ~5 km W of the village of Akutan. The rate of seismicity during 6-12 April was about half that of the previous week, with ~10-20 earthquakes/day, most too small to be felt by local residents. Seismicity decreased again by half during 13-19 April, to ~5-10 small earthquakes/day.

Geologic Background. One of the most active volcanoes of the Aleutian arc, Akutan contains 2-km-wide caldera with an active intracaldera cone. An older, largely buried caldera was formed during the late Pleistocene or early Holocene. Two volcanic centers are located on the NW flank. Lava Peak is of Pleistocene age, and a cinder cone lower on the flank produced a lava flow in 1852 that extended the shoreline of the island and forms Lava Point. The 60-365 m deep younger caldera was formed during a major explosive eruption about 1600 years ago and contains at least three lakes. The currently active large cinder cone in the NE part of the caldera has been the source of frequent explosive eruptions with occasional lava effusion that blankets the caldera floor. A lava flow in 1978 traveled through a narrow breach in the north caldera rim almost to the coast. Fumaroles occur at the base of the caldera cinder cone, and hot springs are located NE of the caldera at the head of Hot Springs Bay valley and along the shores of Hot Springs Bay.

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA; Alaska SAR Facility, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775 USA.


Arenal (Costa Rica) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Arenal

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued eruptions and recently updated map of lava flows

During February and March, Crater C continued to emit gas, lava, and sporadic Strombolian eruptions. For both months, OVSICORI-UNA reported that the intensity of explosive activity was slightly below that of January, however, columns still rose ~1 km. Prevailing winds blew towards the NW, W, and SW. Arenal continued to cause acidic rains and to eject volcanic bombs, blocks, and ash. The volcano's steep slopes and receding vegetation have led to gullying in unconsolidated material and cold avalanches down local drainages.

ICE reported the distribution of lava flows down Arenal's W slopes (figure 76). A flow active from May 1995 through early January 1996 ceased and a new one trending WNW began in late January, its downslope end reaching 1,200-m elevation in early March. Also, on the N flank in early March, some rolling blocks destroyed forest down to 1,150 m elevation. Deposits reminiscent of those from pyroclastic flows were found in late December at 950 m elevation.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Sketch map of Arenal area showing distribution of lavas as of March 1996. Courtesy of G. J. Soto.

ICE noted that December explosions were ~15-30 minutes apart; after mid-January the explosions were ~27 ± 21 minutes apart (1 sigma standard deviation); steam often vented in the N quadrant of Crater C. Nightime observers saw cyclic changes in the intensity of crater glow repeating every 39 ± 22 seconds; the changes were attributed to convection in the intra-crater lava pool. ICE also repeatedly measured ash deposition rates adjacent to the crater (table 13).

Table 13. Mass of Arenal's ash collected at a site 1.8 km W of the active vent. Courtesy of ICE.

Collection Interval Avg daily ashfall (grams/m2) Ash % 300+µ Ash % less than 300µ
24 Aug-26 Sep 1995 20.7 36 64
26 Sep-23 Oct 1995 1.1 0 100
23 Oct-22 Dec 1995 24.2 56 44
22 Dec-06 Mar 1996 32.9 50 50

OVSICORI-UNA reported the respective values of tremor duration and local seismicity during February and March: 386 and 261 hours and 758 and 624 events. Events of frequency below 3.5 Hz typically accompanied those eruptions that ejected pyroclastics.

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: Erick Fernández, Elicer Duarte, Vilma Barboza, Rodolfo Van der Laat, and Enrique Hernandez, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica; Gerardo J. Soto, Oficina de Sismolog¡a y Vulcanolog¡a, Departamento de Geolog¡a, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Apartado 10032-1000, San José, Costa Rica.


Avachinsky (Russia) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Avachinsky

Russia

53.256°N, 158.836°E; summit elev. 2717 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Increased seismicity and a higher steam plume

On 7 March the Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry (IVGG) reported a noteworthy increase in seismicity beneath Avachinsky and an increase in the height of the steam plume to ~100 m above the volcano. The steam plume suggested a possible increase in heat flux. The IVGG reported that the possibility of an eruption within the next few weeks to months has increased significantly. Elevated seismicity was previously reported in late 1993 and early 1994 (BGVN 19:01).

Geologic Background. Avachinsky, one of Kamchatka's most active volcanoes, rises above Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka's largest city. It began to form during the middle or late Pleistocene, and is flanked to the SE by the parasitic volcano Kozelsky, which has a large crater breached to the NE. A large horseshoe-shaped caldera, breached to the SW, was created when a major debris avalanche about 30,000-40,000 years ago buried an area of about 500 km2 to the south underlying the city of Petropavlovsk. Reconstruction of the volcano took place in two stages, the first of which began about 18,000 years before present (BP), and the second 7000 years BP. Most eruptive products have been explosive, with pyroclastic flows and hot lahars being directed primarily to the SW by the breached caldera, although relatively short lava flows have been emitted. The frequent historical eruptions have been similar in style and magnitude to previous Holocene eruptions.

Information Contacts: Tom Miller, Alaska Volcano Observatory (URL: https://www.avo.alaska.edu/); Vladimir Kirianov, Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia.


Etna (Italy) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash emissions and Strombolian activity from two summit craters

Adverse weather conditions that prevented observation of the summit in late February (BGVN 21:02) continued throughout March. Ash puffs from Bocca Nuova crater (BN) were seen during some clear periods on 1 and 5 March, and on the morning of 6 March several black ash emissions were observed. Between 1200 and 1300 a sequence of ash puffs was produced from Northeast Crater (NEC). At 1530, another dense black ash puff was emitted from BN. At sunset the snow mantle was discontinuously covered by a thin ash layer. Ash emissions were again observed during some clearings on 7 March.

On 11 March around 2300 a one-hour long increase in tremor amplitude was recorded at the summit stations. During the afternoon of 12 March the weather improved and after sunset pulsating red glows were observed above NEC by the surveillance camera. Glow produced by the Strombolian activity after 1730 was almost continuous until changing to pulses at 1840 and disappearing at 2100. At the climax, red tracks of volcanic bombs were recognizable up to 150 m above the crater rim. The eruptive episode was marked by increased seismic tremor amplitude similar to that of the previous night.

On the morning of 14 March weather conditions became worse and the video link was interrupted. The video link was restored on 21 March and some minor ash emissions were observed. The observations by the video camera remained intermittent due to the poor weather. Around 2000 on 30 March a remarkable increase in low-frequency events and explosion earthquakes was recorded at all stations of the seismic network; poor weather prevented visual confirmation. The phenomena continued until 2100 on 31 March and during the daytime strong pulsing steam emissions, sometimes with ash, were observed at NEC and BN.

Strombolian activity that began the day after the eighth fire fountaining episode (9-10 February) continued in April, building several nested spatter and scoria cones on the NEC floor; these rose as high as the crater rim.

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

Information Contacts: Mauro Coltelli, CNR Istituto Internazionale di Vulcanologia (IIV), Piazza Roma 2, Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ingv.it/en/).


Fukutoku-Oka-no-Ba (Japan) — March 1996 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)


Emission of colored water and long discolored aqueous plumes

Aviators from the Japan Marine Safety Agency (JMSA) began observing yellowish-green discoloration of seawater during 25-28 November 1995 (BGVN 20:11/12). Similar discoloration was seen on 12, 22, and 23 January 1996 (BGVN 21:01), and also on 26 January, as reported by the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Information from the Volcano Research Center revealed that JMSA observers once again noted yellowish brown discolored seawater in the area on 4 April. According to the reports, the colored area expanded like a belt up to ~3 km long. Strong emission of colored water was recognized from two points. Although white-colored suspension was observed on the surface, floating pumices were not recognized. Yellowish-green to yellowish-brown water observed on 12 April formed a plume ~4 km long and 200 m wide, including 3-4 spots from which colored-water was gushing out intermittently. No pumices were recognized.

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; 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); Hydrographic Department, Maritime Safety Agency, 3-1 Tsukiji, 5-Chome, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104, Japan.


Hokkaido-Komagatake (Japan) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Hokkaido-Komagatake

Japan

42.063°N, 140.677°E; summit elev. 1131 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Additional information about the 5 March eruption

Volcanic tremor was registered for six minutes starting at 1810 on 5 March by the JMA station 4.1 km WSW of the crater. During this activity, two main vents opened on and near the S side of Showa 4-nen (1929) crater. A line of vents extending ~200 m N-S formed on the S part of the crater floor. Strong eruptive activity was observed until 7 March and then decreased. Volcanic earthquakes had increased somewhat prior to the eruption, but seismicity remained low afterwards through mid-April.

Geologic Background. Much of the truncated Hokkaido-Komagatake andesitic volcano on the Oshima Peninsula of southern Hokkaido is Pleistocene in age. The sharp-topped summit lies at the western side of a large breached crater that formed as a result of edifice collapse in 1640 CE. Hummocky debris avalanche material occurs at the base of the volcano on three sides. Two late-Pleistocene and two Holocene Plinian eruptions occurred prior to the first historical eruption in 1640, which began a period of more frequent explosive activity. The 1640 eruption, one of the largest in Japan during historical time, deposited ash as far away as central Honshu and produced a debris avalanche that reached the sea. The resulting tsunami caused 700 fatalities. Three Plinian eruptions have occurred since 1640; in 1694, 1856, and 1929.

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


Irazu (Costa Rica) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Irazu

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Infrequent microseisms in February and March

During March, the dark-blue lake dropped 30 cm with respect to December 1995. Constant bubbling continued along the N, NW, W, and SE shores. The NW-flank site of the December 1994 eruption continued to emit low volumes of gas. During February and March seismic station IRZ2, 5 km SW of the crater, registered 31 and 19 microseisms, respectively. These events were only detected locally. Significant tilt was not detected over the deformation network.

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: Erick Fernández, Elicer Duarte, Vilma Barboza, Rodolfo Van der Laat, and Enrique Hernandez, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica; Gerardo J. Soto, Oficina de Sismología y Vulcanología, Departamento de Geología, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Apartado 10032-1000, San José, Costa Rica.


Iwatesan (Japan) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Iwatesan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Volcanic tremor registered again on 4 March

Small-amplitude volcanic tremor was detected on 4 March. Tremor was last registered on three days in January 1996 (BGVN 21:02) and once in October 1995.

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

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


Karymsky (Russia) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


More details about the early January eruptions

According to the Institute of Volcanology (IV), the eruption on 2 January began around 0800. This activity was preceded by an upsurge in seismicity that started in April 1995. At 1926 on 31 December 1995, a M 5.8 earthquake occurred in the Kronotsky gulf, 50-60 km NE of the volcano. On 1 January at 2057 an earthquake of M 5.2 in the Karymsky region was followed at 2157 by a M 6.9 event centered ~25 km S of the volcano. During the next day there were more than 10 aftershocks of M >= 5.0. On 2 January at 1540, a group of IV volcanologists arrived by helicopter. Eruptive centers were observed near the summit and 5-6 km S in Karymsky Lake (maximum depth 115 m), which fills the Akademii Nauk caldera.

The eruption began with formation of a vent with a diameter of 20-30 m, located 50 m below the summit. Violent emissions of ash-rich gas jets rose to 1 km from another vent on the SW slope. Steam-and-gas jets, occasionally with black-colored matter, were also ejected to several hundred meters from beneath the surface of Karymsky Lake. The presumed eruptive center was 100-200 m from the shore in the NW sector of the lake. Turbulent steam-and-gas plumes rose 5-6 km above the surface from a 200-m-diameter area. Ice covering the lake had completely melted.

On 3 January the near-summit vent increased in size to 50 m in diameter. Gas and steam blasts alternated with ash ejections from the two simultaneously active vents on the volcano. Ash was usually ejected from the upper vent, and a white-colored plume was emitted from the lower vent. Ash ejections lasted 2-3 minutes, and gas blasts lasted 1.5-2 minutes. An ash-and-gas column rose 1-1.2 km and was blown E and SE by the wind. The surface of Karymsky Lake steamed intensely, sending clouds 800-1,000 m above the lake. Areas of green water were visible through breaks in the clouds, and a newly-formed black beach was seen. In the N and NE sector of the lake a narrow spit, beginning from the source of the Karymsky river and extending 250-300 m to the center of the lake, had formed. The water level in the lake had dropped a few meters. The upper reaches of the river had dried up, but on 2 January waves from the submarine eruption (up to 10 m high or more) overflowed the N shore, flooding a wide valley 1.5 km below the source. During a surveillance flight on 4 January, large areas of the valley were covered by black mud. The beach contained three fumarolic vents along the NE-trending fault zone. Within a radius of 500-800 m of the source of the Karymsky River, the surrounding snow-covered hills contained thousands of holes with diameters ranging from 10 cm to 1.5-2 m formed by lithic blocks ejected from the lake. The water level of the lake continued to fall because of intense evaporation.

Light-gray dacitic ash covered an area of about 150-200 km2. At a distance of 8 km from the volcano fractions ranging from 0.16 to 0.06 mm dominated. Estimates made by S.A. Fedotov indicated that on 2 and 3 January the ash ejection rate from the summit crater reached 3-4 tons/second.

Routine observations from 2 January through 11 February showed that the climactic phase of the subaqueous eruption continued for no more than 12-15 hours. That eruption consisted of frequent explosions during which a vapor-gas mixture with lithic material was ejected to the surface. In the N sector of the lake at the shore W of the Karymsky River, damaged trees provided evidence of two eruptive sources 500-600 m from each other. This zone contained the main concentration of bomb material ejected from the lake. A portion of the shoreline (150-200 m long and 5-15 m wide) E of the river sank several meters into the lake. The main eruption center was 500 m from the shore, but smaller peripheral centers were also observed. As a result of the eruption, in the NNW sector of the lake, a beach in the form of a wide 0.4 km2 cape was produced, as well as a narrow spit extending SE from the old shore. The length of the new shoreline was 2.4 km, and a large shoal was observed around the new peninsula. According to the preliminary estimates, the ejected deposits in the lake are at least 1 km2 in area and 5-10 x 106 m3 in volume.

Thermal springs that discharge at the S shore of Karymsky Lake were destroyed by ejecta from this eruption, and several new mud pots were formed; chemical composition of the solutions was unchanged. Near the center of the new beach, composed of sand-gravel and bomb material, a chain of five explosive vents with diameters from 1.5 to 30 m was observed. At the N end was a thermal site with a diameter of ~50 m that exhibited intense vapor emission and was covered by sublimates; visiting scientists detected a hydrogen sulfide odor. A dry funnel with a diameter of ~3 m and high gas emission at a temperature of 97°C was in the center of this site. Other explosion funnels had water at a depth of 1.2-1.5 m with temperatures from 33 to 70°C. The three funnels closest to the lake and on the opposite shore had gas emissions with temperatures of 97-98°C.

On 4 January run-off from the lake ceased owing to damming by ejected material. Analyses of water samples from the lake, river, and various hot springs in the area indicated that there had been chemical contributions to the lake water by an underlying magma body.

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

Information Contacts: G.A. Karpov, Ya.D. Muravyev, R.A. Shuvalov, S.M. Fazlullin, and V.N. Chebrov, Institute of Volcanology, Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia.


Kilauea (United States) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Heightened activity on 1-4 February followed by 10-day pause; bench construction

Unusually heightened activity along Kilauea's East Rift zone on 1-4 February was followed by a pause that began on 4 February and ended at midnight on 14 February (BGVN 21:01). Tilt in the N-S direction increased roughly 3-fold; in the E-W direction, roughly 4-fold. Daily counts of shallow, summit SPC earthquake counts rose from around 10/day to 580/day.

During the 14-day pause, lava continued circulating inside the lava pond at Pu`u `O`o cone but no lava was seen flowing in downstream tubes. The lava pond rose to 60-70 m below the rim as the eruption restarted and lava re-entered the tubes around mid-day on 14 February.

Lava subsequently broke out of the tubes to reach the surface at numerous locations (including those at 750-, 720-, 700-, 450-, and 90-m elevations and on the coastal flats). About 31 hours later lava reached the ocean via the old tube system. Despite these numerous sites where lava had been escaping from tubes on 14-15 February, in the days following lava generally ceased reaching the surface and feeding lava flows. Lava did emerge at elevations of 60 to 100 m and on the coastal plain between Kamokuna and Kamoamoa (figure 99). The surface of the lava pond dropped by 19-21 February, possibly reaching 90 m below the rim. Still, on 23 February aa emerged at 270 m elevation. The same day, 23 February, explosive activity at the Kamokuna bench built a new littoral cone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. New land and active entries in the Kamokuna area, March 1996. Index map shows the swath of 1992-96 lava flows. Courtesy of HVO.

As late as 9 March, flows confined to the area below Pulama Pali and the coast covered much of the S half of the Kamoamoa flow field but failed to reach either adjacent grasslands or the sea. During the early hours of 29 February the entire lower coastal bench, a roughly 30 x 100 m area, fell into the ocean. The event was recorded seismically at an instrument 10 km distant. Since then, freshly erupted lava began constructing a new coastal bench.

During the second half of February through early March, low-amplitude tremor in the East Rift continued; during 13-26 February and 12-25 March tremor amplitudes were ~3x background but showed fluctuations. During the February interval microearthquake counts were low beneath the summit and rift zones. Shallow, long-period microearthquake counts were high on 4-5 March and briefly again on 8 March. On 2, 5, 7, and 8 March there were four events > M 3.0 in the 7-33 km range. Deep tremor from the usual SW source was recorded in three episodes during 14-15 March: a total of 90 minutes on 14 March and 108 minutes on 15 March. Counts of shallow, long-period earthquakes increased during 19-23 March reaching a maximum daily total of 1,750.

On 24 March, 2 hours of elevated tremor (4-5x background) took place without accompanying shallow short-period earthquakes. That same day, the summit inflated rapidly for an hour and then deflated for several hours. The rate of inflation was similar to that of 1 February but the summit acquired only 3 µrads of tilt compared with the 15 µrads seen on 1 February. As the summit deflated on the afternoon of 24 March, the eruption site on the East Rift zone probably received a small magma surge resulting in moderate-sized breakouts in the early afternoon. The breakouts, which originated from the lava tube at the 820-, 750-, and near the 600-m elevations, produced small pahoehoe flows that were mostly stagnant by the next morning. On the night of the 24th, bright glow from Pu`u `O`o indicated turbulence in the lava pond. Except for these flows on 24 March, surface lavas mainly appeared below the base of Pulama Pali.

At the coast, spectacular explosions, some as high as 70 m, began on 19 March. Though diminishing thereafter, they persisted until at least 6 days. Observers saw lava bubble-bursts, lava fountains, and steam jets. These explosions built up five new littoral cones ~130 m W of the earlier Kamokuna entries inside the National Park (figure 99).

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: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), U.S. Geological Survey, PO Box 51, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718, USA.


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

30.443°N, 130.217°E; summit elev. 657 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Increasing number of earthquakes since January

According to the Sakura-jima Volcanological Observatory of Kyoto University, the number of earthquakes has increased around Shin-dake since January. The total number of earthquakes recorded was 32 in January, 40 in February, and 77 in March.

A group of young stratovolcanoes forms the E end of Kuchinoerabu-jima Island, midway between Suwanose-jima and Kyushu. Several villages on the 4 x 12 km island are located within a few kilometers of the active crater of Shin-dake and have suffered damage from historical eruptions. Shin-dake is the summit cone, and has been the site of all 13 eruptions known since 1840. The last eruption was a weak 30-minute explosion on 28 September 1980 that sent an ash plume 2-3 km high.

Geologic Background. A group of young stratovolcanoes forms the eastern end of the irregularly shaped island of Kuchinoerabujima in the northern Ryukyu Islands, 15 km W of Yakushima. The Furudake, Shindake, and Noikeyama cones were erupted from south to north, respectively, forming a composite cone with multiple craters. All historical eruptions have occurred from Shindake, although a lava flow from the S flank of Furudake that reached the coast has a very fresh morphology. Frequent explosive eruptions have taken place from Shindake since 1840; the largest of these was in December 1933. Several villages on the 4 x 12 km island are located within a few kilometers of the active crater and have suffered damage from eruptions.

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


Kujusan (Japan) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Kujusan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Increased seismicity in late March, but plume remains ash-free

Seismicity increased during 24-27 March, and volcanic tremors were detected late in the month. The total number of earthquakes in March was 507. The height of the ash-free plume remained at 100-300 m for most of the month, with increases to 600 m on 12 and 27 March.

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

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


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — March 1996 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)


Vulcanian explosions continue

Moderate explosive activity continued at Crater 2 during March, however, there was possibly a slight decline compared to last September. Intermittent Vulcanian explosions released ash clouds that rose several hundred meters above the crater. These explosions resulted in minor ashfalls to the volcano's SE. A weak but steady crater-glow was observed on a few nights. In accord with these observations, 6-30 daily explosion earthquakes registered at a station 4 km away. There was no visible activity from Crater 3.

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

Information Contacts: Ben Talai, RVO.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — March 1996 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)


Inaudible, weak-to-moderate steaming from two craters

When visible, South and Main Craters only gave off weak to moderate white vapor. There were no audible sounds from either crater and no sighting of glow at night. Seismic monitoring at Manam was absent during March. Measurements from the water tube tiltmeters at Tabele Observatory (4 km SW of the summit) indicated no deflation to slight deflation.

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

Information Contacts: Ben Talai, RVO.


Oshima-Oshima (Japan) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Oshima-Oshima

Japan

41.51°N, 139.367°E; summit elev. 732 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Earthquakes and tremor detected

Volcanic earthquakes and tremors were detected near the end of March by instruments maintained by Hokkaido University.

This small island 55 km W of Hokkaido in the Japan Sea consists of two coalescing volcanoes. An eruption in August 1741 produced heavy ashfall on the Hokkaido mainland. A violent explosion and landsliding from the Nishi-yama cone accompanied a large tectonic earthquake and a major tsunami that killed 1,475 people, most on the W coast of the Oshima Peninsula. Subsequent eruptions through early 1742 produced a new central cone and lava flows. Minor explosive activity was documented in 1759, 1786, and 1790.

Geologic Background. Oshima-Oshima, a small, 4-km-wide Japan Sea island 55 km west of the SW tip of Hokkaido, is the emergent summit of two coalescing basaltic-to-andesitic stratovolcanoes. Higashiyama, at the east end of the island, is cut by a 2-km-wide caldera covered on its west side by Nishiyama volcano. The western cone failed during an eruption in 1741, creating a large horseshoe-shaped caldera breached to the north that extends from the summit down to the sea floor at the base of the volcano and producing a mostly submarine debris avalanche that traveled 16 km. A tsunami associated with the collapse swept the coasts of Hokkaido, western Honshu, and Korea, and caused nearly 1500 fatalities. The 1741 eruption, the largest in historical time at Oshima-Oshima, concluded with the construction of a basaltic pyroclastic cone at the head of the breached caldera. No eruptions have occurred since the late-18th century.

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


Pinatubo (Philippines) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Pinatubo

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Rainfall during October-November 1995 typhoons generates floods and lahars

Intense and prolonged rainfall, associated with the passage of two typhoons on 1 October and 3 November 1995, triggered lahars and floods along the Pasig-Potrero River.

On 1 October 1995, Typhoon Mameng delivered 337 mm of rain on the Sacobia pyroclastic fan triggering five distinct and fairly continuous lahar episodes over a 14-hour period. The largest episode had an estimated peak discharge of 400 m3/sec at Mancatian, Porac. Within each episode were discrete peak readings that could be generated by several causes: variations in rainfall intensity and duration, bank caving, repeated damming and breaching along channel constrictions, as well as any combination of these. Flows were described as steaming at observation point Delta 5 (15.5 km from Pinatubo), but progressive dilution through the incorporation of older materials cooled the flows to ambient temperature by the time they reached Bacolor.

The Typhoon Mameng deposit can be distinguished from earlier lahar deposits by the abundance of pebble to boulder-size clasts rip-ups of older, pre-1991, eruption materials scoured from the channel. The Mameng deposit was provisionally classified in two distinct debris flow units: a gray pumiceous, pebbly sand unit (A), and a brown, lithic-rich, coarse gravel unit (B). Unit A occurs as small overbank deposits at Mancatian, and as laterally extensive coalescing lobes from San Antonio, Bacolor down to the Gapan-San Fernando-Ologampo (GSO) road. Its occurrence as an overbank facies at Mancatian suggests that this unit correlates to the above mentioned peak flow episode. Unit B corresponds to subsequent flows and waning episodes: it occurred as in-channel, gravel terrace deposits from Delta 5 observation point downstream to the GSO road, and from thereon as an overbank facies where it overlaid unit A.

A total area of 25 km2 was buried beneath 0.5 to 6 m thick of sediment. An estimated sediment volume of 50 x 106 was deposited during these events, with roughly 40% consisting of either old, pre-1991 eruption deposits or post-1991 eruption lahar materials.

On 3 November 1995, 150 mm of rain fell on Mount Pinatubo with the passage of Typhoon Rosing. Lahars observed at Delta 5 watch point were relatively cold hyperconcentrated flows, based on the absence of steaming. Estimated peak discharge was about 120 m3/sec. Based on flow sensor data from the Pasig-Potrero river, the peak flow was channel-confined down to the GSO road and lasted ~2.6 hours. It eroded ~30 m of the left bank along the Porac-Angels Road. Sediments were mostly clayey remobilized Mameng deposits.

Former flows had already filled the stretch of the channel at a point 2 km upstream of the GSO road down to the S portion of Bacolor. When the peak flow reached the channel-filling stage, it caused flows to bifurcate and incise a new channel (figure 34) ~50 m W of the typhoon Mameng channel. Average in-channel deposition was 2 m thick; average overflow deposition, ~0.3-m thick. Overflow units were observed along the banks of the previous channel along the GSO road and leveled to a recently emplaced steel bridge. Flows reached farther downstream causing flooding and siltation near Mesalipit and Tinajeros. The other channel backflowed following considerable aggradation along the GSO road. The new channel delivered muddy flows that induced flooding and siltation in the W portion of San Fernando, particularly in the Barangays of St. Nino and St. Lucia.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Map of the 1991-95 lahars at Pinatubo. Courtesy of PHIVOLCS.

Lahars have occurred during every rainy season since the eruption of 15 June 1991. Pinatubo's last reported lahars were triggered by the heavy rainfalls of July 1995, when 30 x 106 m3 of debris, deposited over a 12 km2 area, forced mass evacuation of Porac and Bacalor (BGVN 20:07).

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

Information Contacts: Raymundo S. Punongbayan, director, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, (DOST), 5th & 6th Floors Hizon Building, 29 Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines.


Poas (Costa Rica) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Poas

Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2708 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity decreased roughly 10-fold since October 1995

During a February visit, the temperature of the turquoise-green crater lake was 26°C and its surface had risen 2 m with respect to its January level. Except that this lake-level rise had covered some active fumaroles, their behavior was similar to previous months. Fumaroles on the SE, S, and SW sides of the crater had temperatures of 93-95°C. One fumarole along the lake's W shore had migrated upward along a crack.

When visited during March, the lake appeared sky blue in color, its surface had dropped by 0.5 m compared to the previous month, and the water temperature was 30°C. Fumaroles, their gas emission rates, and temperatures were similar to previous months. A distance survey across the crater found that a 21 ppm/year expansion had occurred since mid-1995. At a spot adjacent to the lake, the survey found an 18 mm contraction since October 1995.

The pyroclastic cone, the major source of gas emission, discharged plumes 200-400 m high. Where accessible the temperatures of the emitted gases were around 94°C; gas emissions sounded like releases from a pressure valve, particularly those venting along the inaccessible N wall.

February and March seismicity consisted of a total 1,100 and 983 events, respectively, the majority being low frequency. This was a roughly 10-fold decrease since a peak in October 1995. Tremor duration was <10 hours, down from over 250 hours in November and December 1995.

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: Erick Fernández, Elicer Duarte, Vilma Barboza, Rodolfo Van der Laat, and Enrique Hernandez, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA); Gerardo J. Soto, Oficina de Sismología y Vulcanología, Departamento de Geología, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE).


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued ash emissions; new lava dome and lava flows in summit crater

A new eruption began early on 5 March with continuous tremor followed by small ash emissions (BGVN 21:02). Low-level ash emissions continued through 11 March with some larger events on 10 and 11 March. Those episodes generated plumes that extended SW over the Pacific Ocean.

After 11 March and through the 19th, the overall level of activity appeared to have reached a steady state. Fumarolic activity alternated with 4-6 short-duration ash emissions each day from the same vents as the 1994-95 episode. These emissions formed short-lived ash columns that were carried away by the wind. Light ashfalls were reported from several towns around the volcano, particularly to the E and S. Seismicity, as low-level tremor accompanied by minor A- and B-type volcanic earthquakes, also showed almost stationary patterns and energy release rates. No deformation was detected by the 3-tiltmeter network on the N flank.

Satellite imagery during this interval revealed intermittent plumes extending E at altitudes around 6-7 km. Late on 13 March the plume was visible as far as 340 km ESE of the summit at 5-7 km altitude; ashfall was reported in Puebla, 70 km E. Large plumes of very thin dispersed ash blowing E over the Gulf of Mexico were observed through 15 March, with denser plumes closer to the volcano. During 15-19 March, when observed on satellite imagery, plumes averaged ~20 km wide and 60 km long before they dissipated; altitudes were in the 5-7 km range.

Ash emission increased between 2000 on 19 March and 0300 on 20 March, when characteristic signals of eight emission events or 'puffs' were detected by the seismic monitoring network. Afterwards, the emission-event rate returned to the previous range of 4-6 events/day. This, combined with stronger winds towards the E, produced light ashfalls on towns in that direction. The 'puff' events were detected on top of a moderate level of volcanic seismicity, consisting of A- and B-type events and low-level tremor, as well as strong signals from Pacific-coast tectonic earthquakes unrelated to the volcanic activity.

On 21 March the ash emission rate remained stable. The next day, the puffs' frequency increased to ~9/day, but their size decreased. Average height of the ash plumes was ~500 m above the summit, and duration <5 minutes. This activity continued without significant changes until 25 March, when the rate of ash emissions reached 8 puffs between 1030 and 1230 before returning to a rate of 8-10/day. This condition prevailed until 28 March, when another increase in the level of activity was detected similar to that on 25 March. The ash puffs were easily recognized in the seismograms as 30-40 seconds of tremor followed by an impulsive signal, similar to seismic events in the 1994-95 episode. Although the release of seismic energy increased after 25 March, the levels never reached high values, and remained well below the energy level of 5 March. Seismicity decreased again in late March.

Plumes after 20 March continued to be visible on satellite imagery, and were interpreted based on wind data to generally have been below 7 km altitude, with some slightly higher. However, poor weather and low levels of activity limited the number of plumes identified. Aviation notices from Mexico City and observers at the Puebla airport through 4 April continued to report ash at low levels, usually within ~20-30 km of the summit, blowing in easterly directions.

On 29 March during a COSPEC flight, Lucio Cardenas, Juan Jose Ramirez, and Hugo Delgado observed a new lava dome with an area of 400 m2 on the E side of the crater floor along the rim of the inner crater (a lava dome destroyed during the 1920-27 eruption). This new lava dome was observed coming from a source outside that inner crater but flowing into the it. Another helicopter flight later that day confirmed that block-lava was flowing from a vent located between the vents opened on December 1994 and the 1919 craterlet near the center of the crater. This lava slowly flowed towards the craterlet. When the dome was checked again on 1 April lava had filled most of the inner crater (nearly 60 m deep) and increased its area to nearly 600 m2. Assuming that the lava started to flow towards the craterlet on 25 March, and that it had been almost filled by 1 April, a rough estimate of the lava extrusion rate is 5,000-6,000 m3/day.

The formation of this craterlet was described in detail by Dr. Atl, the painter-volcanologist who later studied the Parícutin eruption in detail. According to him, the bottom of the volcano crater was almost flat before 1919. That year, extruded lava formed a small dome ~35 m high and 60-70 m diameter in the base. That dome collapsed in 1923 forming the craterlet. The volume of the internal cone of the craterlet is estimated to be 40,000 m3.

A series of SO2 flux measurements was begun after January 1994 (BGVN 19:11 and 19:12). During 1995 measurements rose to nearly 8,000 metric tons/day (t/d) in March, but gradually decreased to 2,000 t/d in June. A persistent decrease in gas emissions starting in July reduced the SO2 flux to nearly 100 t/d by December 1995. During the 5 March 1996 event, renewed ash emissions coincided with SO2 fluxes of up to 15,000 t/d; by late March it was decreasing, but emission levels remained high (>5,000 t/d). Currently, the COSPEC measurements are carried out by the Instituto de Geofisica (National University of Mexico), sponsored by the Secretaria de Gobernacion (Ministry of the Interior) through CENAPRED (Disaster Prevention National Center) using an instrument borrowed from the University of Colima and a plane owned by the Mexican Navy.

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

Information Contacts: Servando De la Cruz-Reyna (CENAPRED and Instituto de Geofisica, UNAM); Roberto Quaas Weppen, Enrique Guevara Ortiz, Bertha López Najera, and Alicia Martinez Bringas, Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED), México D.F., México; Hugo Delgado Granados, Instituto de Geofisica, UNAM, Circuito Cientifico C.U., 04510 Mexico D.F., México; Jim Lynch, NOAA Synoptic Analysis Branch.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — March 1996 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)


December-March ash deposits now 10-cm thick; seismicity continues

During March the intra-caldera cone Tavurvur produced ash explosions at 2-5 minute intervals; these rose to ~400-1,500 m altitude and then generally drifted SE. As a result, over the last 4 months ~10 cm of ash accumulated on the abandoned village of Talwat (2 km SE of Tavurvur). Vulcan only produced weak fumarolic emissions.

Seismicity fluctuated slightly during March, remaining at a level slightly lower than the peak reached in mid-February. Low-frequency earthquakes, events associated with Tavurvur ash emissions, took place 100-250 times/day (a total of 4,708 times during March). There were also five brief intervals where non-harmonic tremor took place. Only six high-frequency earthquakes occurred; some were kilometers outside the caldera to the NE in the area most seismically active since the 1994 eruption.

No significant ground deformation affected the caldera during the month. Overall, during the recent eruptive phase, the only observed ground deformation has been a slight (20 µrad) deflation at the tiltmeters nearest to Tavurvur.

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, Rabaul Volcano Observatory, P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — March 1996 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)


Mild seismicity continues in February

Several small-to-moderate eruptions took place in early November 1995 (BGVN 20:10 and 20:11/12). Mild seismicity continued after the eruption; during February seismic station RIN3, located 5 km SW of the active crater, registered seven microseisms (six low-frequency, one high-frequency). These microseisms were only detected locally.

Geologic Background. Rincón de la Vieja, the largest volcano in NW Costa Rica, is a remote volcanic complex in the Guanacaste Range. The volcano consists of an elongated, arcuate NW-SE-trending ridge constructed within the 15-km-wide early Pleistocene Guachipelín caldera, whose rim is exposed on the south side. Sometimes known as the "Colossus of Guanacaste," it has an estimated volume of 130 km3 and contains at least nine major eruptive centers. Activity has migrated to the SE, where the youngest-looking craters are located. The twin cone of Santa María volcano, the highest peak of the complex, is located at the eastern end of a smaller, 5-km-wide caldera and has a 500-m-wide crater. A Plinian eruption producing the 0.25 km3 Río Blanca tephra about 3,500 years ago was the last major magmatic eruption. All subsequent eruptions, including numerous historical eruptions possibly dating back to the 16th century, have been from the prominent active crater containing a 500-m-wide acid lake located ENE of Von Seebach crater.

Information Contacts: Erick Fernández, Elicer Duarte, Vilma Barboza, Rodolfo Van der Laat, and Enrique Hernandez, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica; Gerardo J. Soto, Oficina de Sismolog¡a y Vulcanolog¡a, Departamento de Geolog¡a, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Apartado 10032-1000, San José, Costa Rica.


Sangay (Ecuador) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangay

Ecuador

2.005°S, 78.341°W; summit elev. 5286 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Phreatic explosions, blue gas plumes, crater glow, and dome rockfalls

From 24 November to 12 December 1995, the first detailed study of Sangay volcano (figures 1 and 2) was carried out by an Instituto Geofísico/ORSTOM team (Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Quito), with helicopter support from the Ecuadorian Army and the assistance of five local guides from Alao. During this time, activity was characterized by continuous fumarolic steaming, frequent phreatic explosions, occasional crater glow, and dome rockfalls. Previous reports from August 1976, August 1983, and June-August 1988 (SEAN 01:10, 08:07, and 13:08) identified four summit vents aligned WSW-ENE, which are here numbered from 1 to 4 going from W to E.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Present cone of Sangay in December 1995 viewed from the base camp 4.3 km SW. The recent pyroclastic-flow deposit on which the campsite is located is in the foreground, among the badlands corresponding to an older edifice. At the summit can be seen the W lava dome (Vent 1) and its now inactive lava tongues. Photo by M. Monzier, courtesy of ORSTOM.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. View of the Sangay summit in December 1995 looking NE from the base camp showing the lava dome and associated lava flows from Vent 1. Behind this dome, a steam plume rises from the main crater (Vent 3). Photo by M. Monzier, courtesy of ORSTOM.

In 1976, Vent 1 consisted of a fracture from which lava was slowly issuing, but by August 1983 it had built a lava dome. This small dome was apparently more active in August 1988, and sent a lava flow 400 m down the W flank, where it split into two lobes. In late 1995 this dome was possibly still growing, and was the source of some fumarolic activity and many rockfalls, making the W and SW slopes of the cone dangerous to cross. Apparently there have been no new lava flows from this vent since August 1988. Vent 2, a small 15-m-diameter crater immediately ENE of Vent 1 has frequently been the site of explosive activity (1976 and 1983), but apparently was less active in 1988 and was quiet during the 1995 visit. The ENE crater (Vent 4) remained inactive but with occasional fumarolic activity.

Vent 3, at 80-100 m across, is the largest and deepest crater. In 1976 and 1983 only fumarolic activity was observed from this crater, but lava was reported in 1988. During the 1995 visit it was the site of frequent phreatic explosions, some separated by hours, others coming as often as every 26 minutes. Several explosions were followed by a rhythmic, pulsating roar that lasted for up to 50 oscillations. White vapor plumes, ejected with the audible explosions, rose several hundred meters above the summit. Light blue gas plumes and occasional red glow at night immediately above this crater implied the presence of lava. Frequent rockfalls from the upper S flank of the cone suggested that some lava may be escaping, breaking off, and rolling down the S slopes.

During the visit a portable MEQ-800 Sprengnether seismograph with a vertical, 1-Hz L4C geophone was operated at the La Playa base camp, 4.3 km SW of the main crater at 3,600 m elevation. A preliminary study of the smoked-paper seismograms showed three types of seismic signals, frequently associated with observed explosions in the crater (figures 3 and 4): tremor, long-period, and hybrid events. Tremor events had a monochromatic signature with a period of 1 second and lasted < 60 seconds. The long-period events had emergent arrivals and a constant period of ~0.7 seconds; they were often associated with observed explosions. Hybrid events began with a long-period event (0.7 seconds) and were followed by a signal similar to that of the tremor (1 second). Some hybrid events were associated with audible and observed explosions followed by a roar like pulsating, rhythmic exhalations. No local high-frequency events were detected.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Types of volcanic earthquakes at Sangay recorded by the seismic station 4.3 km SW in December 1995. Courtesy of ORSTOM.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Volcanic seismicity recorded at Sangay, 26 November-10 December 1995. Courtesy of ORSTOM.

Recent lavas and pyroclastic-flow, debris-flow, and lahar deposits are ubiquitous around the cone and testify to Sangay's nearly continuous activity. The site of the La Playa camp (figure 5) is on an andesitic pyroclastic-flow deposit containing bombs up to 4 m in diameter which was emplaced between 1956 and 1965. An accident with two fatalities happened in August 1976 (SEAN 01:10). A previously unreported accident occurred in December 1993 when the main crater exploded just as two mountaineers looked over its rim. Both were blinded by the heat and fragment impacts and remained lost in the jungle on the cone's lower slopes until rescued three days later.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Preliminary geological/structural map of Sangay volcano based on fieldwork, aerial photographs, and 1:50,000 topographic maps from the Instituto Geografico Militar, Quito. Key: M = metamorphic formations; I, II, III = successive volcanic edifices; C1 and C2 = avalanche calderas; AD = avalanche deposits. Campsites are shown as black dots (La Playa = basecamp, Z = Zumbacocha and D = Duende are secondary camps).

In addition to the present cone (Sangay III), two previous edifices were identified and sampled, both of which had been destroyed by collapse. The remnant calderas are found on the E side of the present cone and are breached E toward the Amazon plain. Their probable avalanche deposits lie at the E foot of the cone. A preliminary geologic map of Sangay (figure 5) shows the three successive edifices and the two associated calderas. Edifice I is mainly built of lava, whereas edifices II and III contain both lava and pyroclastic deposits. The products of edifices I and II appear to be more varied in composition (greater differentiation) than those of Sangay III, where mafic andesites seem to predominate.

This isolated stratovolcano E of the Andean crest is one of Ecuador's most active volcanoes having been in frequent eruption for the past several centuries. The steep-sided glacier-covered volcano towers above the tropical jungle on the E side; on the other sides heavy rains have caused plains of ash to be sculpted into steep-walled canyons up to 600 m deep. The first historical eruption was reported in 1628, and more or less continuous eruptions took place from 1728 until 1916, and again from 1934 to the present.

Geologic Background. The isolated Sangay volcano, located east of the Andean crest, is the southernmost of Ecuador's volcanoes and its most active. The steep-sided, glacier-covered, dominantly andesitic volcano grew within horseshoe-shaped calderas of two previous edifices, which were destroyed by collapse to the east, producing large debris avalanches that reached the Amazonian lowlands. The modern edifice dates back to at least 14,000 years ago. It towers above the tropical jungle on the east side; on the other sides flat plains of ash have been sculpted by heavy rains into steep-walled canyons up to 600 m deep. The earliest report of a historical eruption was in 1628. More or less continuous eruptions were reported from 1728 until 1916, and again from 1934 to the present. The almost constant activity has caused frequent changes to the morphology of the summit crater complex.

Information Contacts: M. Monzier and C. Robin, ORSTOM, A.P. 17-11-6596, Quito, Ecuador; M. Hall, P. Mothes, and P. Samaniego, Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional, A.P. 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador.


Socorro (Mexico) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Socorro

Mexico

18.78°N, 110.95°W; summit elev. 1050 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Slight temperature increases at most summit fumaroles and hot springs

Logistical support from the Méxican Navy enabled researchers to measure seven fumarole and hot spring temperatures on 2 February 1995 in the summit region of Socorro Island's Mount Everman. Previous measurements, taken on 5-12 February 1993, were made at the same sites. These sites, labeled A-G, are shown on sketch maps and tables in Siebe and others (1995) and BGVN 18:01. In this most recent series of measurements, all temperatures were 90°C, except site D, which was 74°C. The 1993 measurements were made in conjunction with a local submarine eruption that also produced T-wave signals. These new measurements showed a several-degree increase over many of those in 1993.

The 1993 eruption was seen at the ocean surface over the island's submarine W flanks; during this visit further signs of eruption were absent from the ocean's surface and from distant hydrophones. Unfortunately, local hydrophones on the S end of the island were not operational. Several hundred meters N of the summit, on North Dome, the visitors saw recently killed vegetation and dead trees on the margins of some hydrothermally active pits. They also noted soft warm ground, dead bracken, and newly established pits, suggesting reactivation. In other cases green trees grew in the pit walls. While the majority of the fumaroles appeared similar to those in 1993, the observers noted three 'mud volcanoes'; two were active and the third issued deep rumblings. A stream in the vicinity of the summit and North Dome had a temperature of 60°C and numerous 80°C springs were seen both along its bed and nearby.

Reference. Siebe, C., Komorowski, J-C., Navarro, C., McHone, J., Delgado, H., and Cortes, A., 1995, Submarine eruption near Socorro Island, Mexico: Geochemistry and scanning electron microscope studies of floating scoria and reticulite: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 68, p. 239-71.

Geologic Background. Socorro, the SE-most of the Revillagigedo Islands south of Baja California, is the summit of a massive, predominately submarine basaltic shield volcano capped by a largely buried, 4.5 x 3.8-km-wide summit caldera. A large tephra cone and lava dome complex, Cerro Evermann, forms the summit, and along with other cones and vents, fills much of the Pleistocene caldera. Rhyolitic lava domes have been constructed along flank rifts oriented to the N, W, and SE, and silicic lava flows from summit and flank vents have reached the coast and created an extremely irregular shoreline. Late-stage basaltic eruptions produced cones and flows near the coast. Only minor explosive activity, some of which is of uncertain validity, has occurred from flank vents in historical time dating back to the 19th century. In 1951 a brief phreatic eruption ejected blocks, and the gas column reached 1200 m altitude. A submarine eruption occurred during 1993-94 from a vent 3 km W of the island during which large scoriaceous blocks up to 5 m in size floated to the surface without associated explosive activity.

Information Contacts: Andrew M. Burton, OCEAN, Organizatión para la Conservación Estudio y Análisis de la Naturaleza, A.C., 22 de Diciembre No. 1, Col. Manuel Avila Camancho, Naucalpan, Edo. de México.


Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — March 1996 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)


Escalating dome growth spawns pyroclastic flows and another evacuation

During March ash plumes continued to blow over the Capital and environs, and the rate of dome extrusion escalated. Later, on 3 April, explosions at the dome and pyroclastic flows down the Tar River prompted an evacuation of the southern part of the island.

Seismicity during March from both rockfalls and deeper sources continued in a manner consistent with dome growth. Tremor was repeatedly recorded at Gages station. Although there were exceptions, deformation mainly continued as a shortening of line lengths equivalent to ~1 mm/day (similar to trends seen since mid-November). The chief exception was on the W flank (Amersham to Chances Steps line), which on March 11 showed a surprising 3 cm lengthening since last measured on February 19. This is a reversal of the shortening that occurred from October to late December on this line.

Numerous rockfalls and avalanches from the dome in early March chiefly appeared on the dome's SW and NW sides. Next, they were repeatedly seen on the NW but some also started in the dome's central area (week 2). Rockfalls then shifted from the dome's NW margin to the E margin (week 3). Later rockfalls descended the NW, W, and E margins (week 4).

Rapidly growing spines continued to be common during much of March. They were noted on the dome's SW (weeks 1 and 2) and NW (week 4). On the NW, one spine achieved the greatest absolute height of any yet seen. It extruded rapidly, rising 10 m over an interval of about one day on 26-27 March. Over a 24-hour interval beginning at 1600 on 21 March, another spine's vertical growth measured ~7 m.

The dome's topography was mapped during week 2 from Farrell's lookout (on the WNW). The resulting map allowed workers to estimate the dome's mid-March volume as ~6.7 x 106 m3, a value comparable to previous, cruder estimates made in the field. It appeared that the dome's growth rate increased 7- to 10-fold in the last few months. Specifically, the late-November and December rate was ~0.2-0.3 m3/second whereas the March rate was closer to 2 m3/sec. On 3 and 12 March the growing dome's summit elevations were 845 and 875 m, a 30 m rise in ~9 days. Later, on 20 March, a visit to Gages Wall revealed that, even though this sector had few rockfalls around the time of the visit, the dome's talus apron had grown to within ~15 m of the wall's top.

During week 2, fine ash carried from some larger rock falls was deposited on the upper W flanks. On 17 March, viewers on Farrell's lookout were enveloped in a warm ash cloud following a rockfall that occurred without a noticeable explosive component. That same day an explosion may have helped drive an ash column to 2,300 m.

Other relatively large ash clouds appeared repeatedly during late March and early April. On 27 March there were ash clouds generated at 0642, 0700, 0848, and 1725. The 0642 event produced an ash column that reached a height of 2,000-2,300 m and blew W blanketing areas in vicinity of the Capital. The 0642 event accompanied a seismic signal comprised of seven pulses in a 14-minute interval; the 0700 event generated a smaller ash column accompanied by three seismic pulses. Except for these intervals of unusual seismicity and frequent signals from large rockfalls, seismicity during the 24-hour interval prior to the 27 March events had been generally quiet. Helicopter observations shortly after the 0700 event disclosed that ash had been channeled to the E down a drainage called the Hot River Ghaut. Hot ash had traveled for ~1 km from the dome, igniting dead trees along its path. Observers witnessed the 0848 event, but it was much smaller and areally restricted.

Several other plumes on 31 March led to a nearly one-hour interval late that day when unusually intense seismicity registered at all the stations. The seismicity was correlated with ash plumes that blew W. On 1 April a helicopter flight confirmed the largest block-and-ash flows yet seen. Although runout distances were similar to those seen on 27 March (on the order of 1 km from the base of the Castle Peak dome), those on 1 April entrained bigger blocks and had a more widely dispersed dilute component that burned a broader swath of trees and foliage around the Tar River Soufriere (~1 km NE of Castle Peak's summit).

Until a small explosive event at 0652 on 3 April, the majority of the airborne ash was thought to have come from rockfalls and avalanches off the dome. This explosion, and several other significant ones the same day, discharged from a fissure on the dome's E flank, a spot that also appeared as the source of recent rockfalls. At various times on 3 April, continuous ash emissions came from the crater area. The activity continued to build during the day, with many small explosive seismic signals and continuous tremor recorded at the closest seismic station on Chances Peak.

At 1518, a pyroclastic flow occurred in the Tar River area. It traveled ~1.9 km down this drainage and burned vegetation and set fire to sulfur at the Tar River Soufriere. It also extended 1.9 km down the Hot River Valley (to where the road crosses the river), stopping ~400 m upslope of the Tar River Estate house. Although no inhabited areas were affected by the pyroclastic flow, the settlement of Long Ground lies ~2 km NE of Castle Peak's summit. The flow generated an ash plume that rose to ~6,700 m. Much of the ash blew N in light and variable winds. Other pyroclastic flows occurred at 1808 and 1818. These events, some of which were captured on NASA GOES satellite images, prompted scientists to note the possibility of further explosive eruptions during the next few days and to urge residents to move to the island's N end. The 3 April evacuation continued through at least 30 April.

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

Information Contacts: Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), c/o Chief Minister's Office, PO Box 292, Plymouth, Montserrat (URL: http://www.mvo.ms/); NOAA/NESDIS Synoptic Analysis Branch (SAB), Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA.


Suwanosejima (Japan) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak ash eruptions in early March cause ashfalls

Weak ash eruptions were observed on 5 and 6 March; occasional ashfalls were reported on the island. Nine explosions were observed in 1995 and there were small eruptions during 10-13 January (BGVN 21:01). Activity has been high since 1950.

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

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


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — March 1996 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)


Still emitting low to moderate amounts of steam

As in previous months, during March Ulawun emitted weak to moderate volumes of white vapor. The seismograph did not operate.

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, RVO.


Unzendake (Japan) — March 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Unzendake

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Tremor associated with minor tilt changes

Volcanic tremor on 24 March was associated with minor tiltmeter changes. A pyroclastic flow on 10 February (BGVN 21:02) was the first in a year. Dome growth followed by collapses that generated pyroclastic flows was a common occurrence during the 1990-95 eruption.

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

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

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements  Obituaries

Misc Reports

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

Additional Reports  False Reports