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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

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

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


Recently Published Bulletin Reports

Bagana (Papua New Guinea) Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions and thermal anomalies during June-November 2019

Kerinci (Indonesia) Intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes during June-early November 2019

Bezymianny (Russia) Lava dome growth, ongoing thermal anomalies, moderate gas-steam emissions, June-November 2019

Mayon (Philippines) Gas-and-steam plumes and summit incandescence during May-October 2019

Merapi (Indonesia) Low-volume dome growth continues during April-September 2019 with rockfalls and small block-and-ash flows

Manam (Papua New Guinea) Significant eruption on 28 June produced an ash plume up to 15.2 km and pyroclastic flows

Tangkuban Parahu (Indonesia) Phreatic eruption on 27 July followed by intermittent explosions through to 17 September 2019

Sheveluch (Russia) Frequent ash explosions and lava dome growth continue through October 2019

Piton de la Fournaise (France) Three brief eruptive events in July, August, and October 2019

Agung (Indonesia) Quiet returns after explosions on 10 and 13 June 2019

Copahue (Chile-Argentina) New ash emissions begin in early August; intermittent and ongoing through October 2019

Turrialba (Costa Rica) Activity diminishes during March-October 2019, but small ash emissions continue



Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Bagana

Papua New Guinea

6.137°S, 155.196°E; summit elev. 1855 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions and thermal anomalies during June-November 2019

Bagana volcano is found in a remote portion of central Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea. The most recent eruptive phase that began in early 2000 has produced ash plumes and thermal anomalies (BGVN 44:06, 50:01). Activity has remained low between January-July 2019 with rare thermal anomalies and occasional steam plumes. This reporting period updates information for June-November 2019 and includes thermal anomalies and intermittent gas-and-steam emissions. Thermal data and satellite imagery are the primary sources of information for this report.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed an increased number of thermal anomalies within 5 km from the summit beginning in late July-early August (figure 38). Two Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed faint, roughly linear thermal anomalies, indicative of lava flows trending EW and NS on 7 July 2019 and 6 August, respectively (figure 39). Weak thermal hotspots were briefly detected in late September-early October after a short hiatus in September. No thermal anomalies were recorded in Sentinel-2 past August due to cloud cover; however, gas-and-steam emissions were visible on 7 July and in September (figures 39, 40, and 41).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Thermal anomalies near the crater summit at Bagana during February-November 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) increased in frequency and power in early August. A small cluster was detected in early October after a brief pause in activity in early September. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showing small thermal anomalies at Bagana between July-August 2019. Left: A very faint thermal anomaly and a gas-and-steam plume is seen on 7 July 2019. Right: Two small thermal anomalies are faintly seen on 6 August 2019. Both Sentinel-2 satellite images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. A gas-and-steam plume rising from the summit of Bagana on 18 September 2019. Courtesy of Brendan McCormick Kilbride (University of Manchester).

The Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) scientific team partnered with the Rabaul Volcano Observatory and the Bougainville Disaster Office to observe activity at Bagana and collect gas data using drone technology during two weeks of field work in mid-September 2019. For this field work, the major focus was to understand the composition of the volcanic gas emitted at Bagana and measure the concentration of these gases. Since Bagana is remote and difficult to climb, research about its gas emissions has been limited. The recent advancements in drone technology has allowed for new data collection at the summit of Bagana (figure 41). Most of the emissions consisted of water vapor, according to Brendan McCormick Kilbride, one of the volcanologists on this trip. During 14-19 September there was consistently a strong gas-and-steam plume from Bagana (figure 42).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Degassing plumes seen from drone footage 100 m above the summit of Bagana. Top: Zoomed out view of the summit of Bagana degassing. Bottom: Closer perspective of the gases emitted from Bagana. Courtesy of Kieran Wood (University of Bristol) and the Bristol Flight Laboratory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Photos of gas-and-steam plumes rising from Bagana between 14-19 September 2019. Courtesy of Brendan McCormick Kilbride (University of Manchester).

Geologic Background. Bagana volcano, occupying a remote portion of central Bougainville Island, is one of Melanesia's youngest and most active volcanoes. This massive symmetrical cone was largely constructed by an accumulation of viscous andesitic lava flows. The entire edifice could have been constructed in about 300 years at its present rate of lava production. Eruptive activity is frequent and characterized by non-explosive effusion of viscous lava that maintains a small lava dome in the summit crater, although explosive activity occasionally producing pyroclastic flows also occurs. Lava flows form dramatic, freshly preserved tongue-shaped lobes up to 50 m thick with prominent levees that descend the flanks on all sides.

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); Brendan McCormick Kilbride, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, United Kingdom (URL: https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/brendan.mccormickkilbride.html, Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrendanVolc); Kieran Wood, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1QU, United Kingdom (URL: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/engineering/people/kieran-t-wood/index.html, Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrKieranWood, video posted at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7Hx645v0eU); University of Bristol Flight Laboratory, Bristol BS8 1QU, United Kingdom (Twitter: https://twitter.com/UOBFlightLab).


Kerinci (Indonesia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes during June-early November 2019

Kerinci, located in Sumatra, Indonesia, is a highly active volcano characterized by explosive eruptions with ash plumes and gas-and-steam emissions. The most recent eruptive episode began in April 2018 and included intermittent explosions with ash plumes. Volcanism continued from June-November 2019 with ongoing intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes. The primary source of information for this report comes from Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and MAGMA Indonesia.

Brown- to gray-colored ash clouds drifting in different directions were reported by PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC, and MAGMA Indonesia between June and early November 2019. Ground observations, satellite imagery, and weather models were used to monitor the plume, which ranged from 4.3 to 4.9 km altitude, or about 500-1,100 m above the summit. On 7 June 2019 at 0604 a gray ash emission rose 800 m above the summit, drifting E, according to a ground observer. An ash plume on 12 July rose to 4 km altitude and drifted SW, as determined by satellite imagery and weather models. An eruption produced a gray ash cloud on 31 July that rose to 4.6 km altitude and drifted NE and E, according to PVMBG and the Darwin VAAC (figure 17). Another ash cloud rose up to 4.3 km altitude on 3 August. On 2 September a possible ash plume rose to a maximum altitude of 4.9 km and drifted WSW, according to the Darwin VAAC advisory.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. A gray ash plume at Kerinci rose roughly 800 m above the summit on 31 July 2019 and drifted NE and E. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Brown ash emissions rose to 4.4 km altitude at 1253 on 6 October, drifting WSW. Similar plumes reached 4.6 km altitude twice on 30 October and moved NE, SE, and E at 0614 and WSW at 1721, based on ground observations. On 1-2 November, ground observers saw brown ash emissions rising up to 4.3 km drifting ESE. Between 3 and 5 November the brown ash plumes rose 100-500 m above the summit, according to PVMBG.

Gas emissions continued to be observed through November, as reported by PVMBG and identified in satellite imagery (figure 18). Seismicity that included volcanic earthquakes also continued between June and early November, when the frequency decreased.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showing a typical white gas-and-steam plume at Kerinci on 9 August 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite image with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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/); 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/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Bezymianny (Russia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava dome growth, ongoing thermal anomalies, moderate gas-steam emissions, June-November 2019

The long-term activity at Bezymianny has been dominated by almost continuous thermal anomalies, moderate gas-steam emissions, dome growth, lava flows, and an occasional ash explosion (BGVN 44:06). The volcano is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT. Throughout the reporting period of June to November 2019, the Aviation Colour Code remained Yellow (second lowest of four levels).

According to KVERT weekly reports, lava dome growth continued in June through mid-July 2019. Thereafter the reports did not mention dome growth, but indicated that moderate gas-and-steam emissions (figure 32) continued through November. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, based on analysis of MODIS data, detected hotspots within 5 km of the summit almost every day. KVERT also reported a thermal anomaly over the volcano almost daily, except when it was obscured by clouds. Infrared satellite imagery often showed thermal anomalies generated by lava flows or dome growth (figure 33).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Photo of Bezymianny showing fumarolic activity on 4 July 2019. Photo by O. Girina (IVS FEB RAS, KVERT); courtesy of KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Typical infrared satellite images of Bezymianny showing thermal anomalies in the summit crater, including a lava flow to the WNW. Top: 21 August 2019 with SWIR filter (bands 12, 8A, 4). Bottom: 17 September 2019 with Atmospheric Penetration filter (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Prior to its noted 1955-56 eruption, Bezymianny had been considered extinct. The modern volcano, much smaller in size than its massive neighbors Kamen and Kliuchevskoi, was formed about 4700 years ago over a late-Pleistocene lava-dome complex and an ancestral edifice built about 11,000-7000 years ago. Three periods of intensified activity have occurred during the past 3000 years. The latest period, which was preceded by a 1000-year quiescence, began with the dramatic 1955-56 eruption. This eruption, similar to that of St. Helens in 1980, produced a large horseshoe-shaped crater that was formed by collapse of the summit and an associated lateral blast. Subsequent episodic but ongoing lava-dome growth, accompanied by intermittent explosive activity and pyroclastic flows, has largely filled the 1956 crater.

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); 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).


Mayon (Philippines) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

13.257°N, 123.685°E; summit elev. 2462 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Gas-and-steam plumes and summit incandescence during May-October 2019

Mayon, located in the Philippines, is a highly active stratovolcano with recorded historical eruptions dating back to 1616. The most recent eruptive episode began in early January 2018 that consisted of phreatic explosions, steam-and-ash plumes, lava fountaining, and pyroclastic flows (BGVN 43:04). The previous report noted small but distinct thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam plumes, and slight inflation (BGVN 44:05) that continued to occur from May into mid-October 2019. This report includes information based on daily bulletins from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and Sentinel-2 satellite imagery.

Between May and October 2019, white gas-and-steam plumes rose to a maximum altitude of 800 m on 17 May. PHIVOLCS reported that faint summit incandescence was frequently observed at night from May-July and Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed weaker thermal anomalies in September and October (figure 49); the last anomaly was identified on 12 October. Average SO2 emissions as measured by PHIVOLCS generally varied between 469-774 tons/day; the high value of the period was on 25 July, with 1,171 tons/day. Small SO2 plumes were detected by the TROPOMI satellite instrument a few times during May-September 2019 (figure 50).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery of Mayon between May-October 2019. Small thermal anomalies were recorded in satellite imagery from the summit and some white gas-and-steam plumes are visible. Top left: 30 May 2019. Top right: 9 June 2019. Bottom left: 22 September 2019. Bottom right: 12 October 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Small SO2 plumes rising from Mayon during May-September 2019 recorded in DU (Dobson Units). Top left: 28 May 2019. Top right: 26 July 2019. Bottom left: 16 August 2019. Bottom right: 23 September 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Continuous GPS data has shown slight inflation since June 2018, corroborated by precise leveling data taken on 9-17 April, 16-25 July, and 23-30 October 2019. Elevated seismicity and occasional rockfall events were detected by the seismic monitoring network from PHIVOLCS from May to July; recorded activity decreased in August. Activity reported by PHIVOLCS in September-October 2019 consisted of frequent gas-and-steam emissions, two volcanic earthquakes, and no summit incandescence.

Geologic Background. Beautifully symmetrical Mayon, which rises above the Albay Gulf NW of Legazpi City, is the Philippines' most active volcano. The structurally simple edifice has steep upper slopes averaging 35-40 degrees that are capped by a small summit crater. Historical eruptions date back to 1616 and range from Strombolian to basaltic Plinian, with cyclical activity beginning with basaltic eruptions, followed by longer term andesitic lava flows. Eruptions occur predominately from the central conduit and have also produced lava flows that travel far down the flanks. Pyroclastic flows and mudflows have commonly swept down many of the approximately 40 ravines that radiate from the summit and have often devastated populated lowland areas. A violent eruption in 1814 killed more than 1,200 people and devastated several towns.

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/); 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/).


Merapi (Indonesia) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Low-volume dome growth continues during April-September 2019 with rockfalls and small block-and-ash flows

Merapi is an active volcano north of the city of Yogyakarta (figure 79) that has a recent history of dome growth and collapse, resulting in block-and-ash flows that killed over 400 in 2010, while an estimated 10,000-20,000 lives were saved by evacuations. The edifice contains an active dome at the summit, above the Gendol drainage down the SE flank (figure 80). The current eruption episode began in May 2018 and dome growth was observed from 11 August 2018-onwards. This Bulletin summarizes activity during April through September 2019 and is based on information from Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG, the Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology, a branch of PVMBG), Sutopo of Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), MAGMA Indonesia, along with observations by Øystein Lund Andersen and Brett Carr of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Merapi volcano is located north of Yogyakarta in Central Java. Photo courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. A view of the Gendol drainage where avalanches and block-and-ash flows are channeled from the active Merapi lava dome. The Gendol drainage is approximately 400 m wide at the summit. Courtesy of Brett Carr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

At the beginning of April the rate of dome growth was relatively low, with little morphological change since January, but the overall activity of Merapi was considered high. Magma extrusion above the upper Gendol drainage resulted in rockfalls and block-and-ash flows out to 1.5 km from the dome, which were incandescent and visible at night. Five block-and-ash flows were recorded on 24 April, reaching as far as 1.2 km down the Gendol drainage. The volume of the dome was calculated to be 466,000 m3 on 9 April, a slight decrease from the previous week. Weak gas plumes reached a maximum of 500 m above the dome throughout April.

Six block-and-ash flows were generated on 5 May, lasting up to 77 seconds. Throughout May there were no significant changes to the dome morphology but the volume had decreased to 458,000 by 4 May according to drome imagery analysis. Lava extrusion continued above the Gendol drainage, producing rockfalls and small block-and-ash flows out to 1.2 km (figure 81). Gas plumes were observed to reach 400 m above the top of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. An avalanche from the Merapi summit dome on 17 May 2019. The incandescent blocks traveled down to 850 m away from the dome. Courtesy of Sutopo, BNPB.

There were a total of 72 avalanches and block-and-ash flows from 29 January to 1 June, with an average distance of 1 km and a maximum of 2 km down the Gendol drainage. Photographs taken by Øystein Lund Andersen show the morphological change to the lava dome due to the collapse of rock and extruding lava down the Gendol drainage (figures 82 and 83). Block-and-ash flows were recorded on 17 and 20 June to a distance of 1.2 km, and a webcam image showed an incandescent flow on 26 June (figure 84). Throughout June gas plumes reached a maximum of 250 m above the top of the crater

Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. The development of the Merapi summit dome from 2 June 2018 to 17 June 2019. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Photos taken of the Merapi summit lava dome in June 2019. Top: This nighttime time-lapse photograph shows incandescence at the south-facing side of the dome on the 16 June. Middle: A closeup of a small rockfall from the dome on 17 June. Bottom: A gas plume accompanying a small rockfall on 17 June. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Blocks from an incandescent rockfall off the Merapi dome reached out to 1 km down the Gendol drainage on 26 June 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Analysis of drone images taken on 4 July gave an updated dome volume of 475,000 m3, a slight increase but with little change in the morphology (figure 85). Block-and-ash flows traveled 1.1 km down the Gendol drainage on 1 July, 1 km on the 13th, and 1.1 km on the 14th, some of which were seen at night as incandescent blocks fell from the dome (figure 86). During the week of 19-25 July there were four recorded block-and-ash flows reaching 1.1 km, and flows traveled out to around 1 km on the 24th, 27th, and 31st. The morphology of the dome continued to be relatively stable due to the extruding lava falling into the Gendol drainage. Gas plumes reached 300 m above the top of the crater during July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. The Merapi dome on 30 July 2019 producing a weak plume. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Incandescent rocks from the hot lava dome at the summit of Merapi form rockfalls down the Gendol drainage on 14 July 2019. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.

During the week of 5-11 August the dome volume was calculated to be 461,000 m3, a slight decrease from the week before with little morphological changes due to the continued lava extrusion collapsing into the Gendol drainage. There were five block-and-ash flows reaching a maximum of 1.2 km during 2-8 August. Two flows were observed on the 13th and 14th reaching 950 m, out to 1.9 km on the 20th and 22nd, and to 550 m on the 24th. There were 16 observed flows that reached 500-1,000 m on 25-27 August, with an additional flow out to 2 km at 1807 on the 27th (figure 87). Gas plumes reached a maximum of 350 m through the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. An incandescent rockfall from the Merapi dome that reached 2 km down the Gendol drainage on 27 August 2019. Courtesy of BPPTKG.

Brett Carr was conducting field work at Merapi during 12-26 September. During this time the lava extrusion was low (below 1 m3 per second). He observed small rockfalls with blocks a couple of meters in size, traveling about 50-200 m down the drainage every hour or so, producing small plumes as they descended and resulting in incandescence on the dome at night. Small dome collapse events produced block-and-ash flows down the drainage once or twice per day (figure 88) and slightly larger flows just over 1 km long a couple of times per week.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. A rockfall on the Merapi dome, towards the Gendol drainage at 0551 on 20 September 2019. Courtesy of Brett Carr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

The dome volume was 468,000 m3 by 19 September, a slight increase from the previous calculation but again with little morphological change. Two block-and-ash flows were observed out to 600 m on 9 September and seven occurred on the 9th out to 500-1,100 m. Two occurred on the 14th down to 750-900 m, three occurred on 17, 20, and 21 September to a maximum distance of 1.2 km, and three more out to 1.5 km through the 26th. A VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) was issued on the 22nd due to a small explosion producing an ash plume up to approximately 3.8 km altitude (about 800 m above the summit) and minor ashfall to 15 km SW. This was followed by a block-and-ash flow reaching as far as 1.2 km and lasting for 125 seconds (figure 89). Preceding the explosion there was an increase in temperature at several locations on the dome. Weak gas plumes were observed up to 100 m above the crater throughout the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. An explosion at Merapi on 22 September 2019 was followed by a block-and-ash flow that reached 1.2 km down the Gendol drainage. Courtesy of BPPTKG.

Geologic Background. Merapi, one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, lies in one of the world's most densely populated areas and dominates the landscape immediately north of the major city of Yogyakarta. It is the youngest and southernmost of a volcanic chain extending NNW to Ungaran volcano. Growth of Old Merapi during the Pleistocene ended with major edifice collapse perhaps about 2000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequently growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent eruptive activity, began SW of the earlier collapse scarp. Pyroclastic flows and lahars accompanying growth and collapse of the steep-sided active summit lava dome have devastated cultivated lands on the western-to-southern flanks and caused many fatalities during historical time.

Information Contacts: Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG), Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology (URL: http://merapi.bgl.esdm.go.id/, Twitter: @BPPTKG); Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/, Twitter: https://twitter.com/BNPB_Indonesia); Øystein Lund Andersen? (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com); Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB (Twitter: @Sutopo_PN, URL: https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN); Brett Carr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY, USA (URL: https://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/user/bcarr).


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — October 2019 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)


Significant eruption on 28 June produced an ash plume up to 15.2 km and pyroclastic flows

Manam is a frequently active volcano forming an island approximately 10 km wide, located 13 km north of the main island of Papua New Guinea. At the summit are the Main Crater and South Crater, with four valleys down the NE, SE, SW, and NW flanks (figure 57). Recent activity has occurred at both summit craters and has included gas and ash plumes, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows. Activity in December 2018 prompted the evacuation of nearby villages and the last reported activity for 2018 was ashfall on 8 December. Activity from January through September 2019 summarized below is based on information from the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), the University of Hawai'i's MODVOLC thermal alert system, Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI and NASA Aqua/AIRS SO2 data, MIROVA thermal data, Sentinel-2 satellite images, and observations by visiting scientists. A significant eruption in June resulted in evacuations, airport closure, and damage to local crops and infrastructure.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. A PlanetScope image of Manam showing the two active craters with a plume emanating from the South Crater and the four valleys at the summit on 29 August 2019. Image copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.

Activity during January-May 2019. Several explosive eruptions occurred during January 2019 according to Darwin VAAC reports, including an ash plume that rose to around 15 km and dispersed to the W on the 7th. RVO reported that an increase in seismic activity triggered the warning system shortly before the eruption commenced (figure 58). Small explosions were observed through to the next day with ongoing activity from the Main Crater and a lava flow in the NE valley observed from around 0400. Intermittent explosions ejected scoria after 0600, depositing ejecta up to 2 cm in diameter in two villages on the SE side of the island. Incandescence at both summit craters and hot deposits at the terminus of the NE valley are visible in Sentinel-2 TIR data acquired on the 10th (figure 59).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Real-Time Seismic-Amplitude Measurement graph representing seismicity at Manam over 7-9 January 2019, showing the increase during the 7-8 January event. Courtesy of RVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Sentinel-2 thermal infrared (TIR) imagery shows incandescence in the two Manam summit craters and at the terminus of the NE valley near the shoreline on 10 January 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel-Hub Playground.

Another explosion generated an ash plume to around 15 km on the 11th that dispersed to the SW. An explosive eruption occurred around 4 pm on the 23rd with the Darwin VAAC reporting an ash plume to around 16.5 km altitude, dispersing to the E. Activity continued into the following day, with satellites detecting SO2 plumes on both 23 and 24 January (figure 60). Activity declined by February with one ash plume reported up to 4.9 km altitude on 15 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. SO2 plumes originating from Manam detected by NASA Aqua/AIRS (top) on 23 January 2019 and by Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI on 24 January (bottom). Images courtesy of Simon Carn, Michigan Technological University.

Ash plumes rose up to 3 km between 1 and 5 March, and dispersed to the SE, ESE, and E. During 5-6 March the plumes moved E, and the events were accompanied by elevated seismicity and significant thermal anomalies detected in satellite data. During 19-22 March explosions produced ash plumes up to 4.6 km altitude, which dispersed to the E and SE. Simon Carn of the Michigan Technological University noted a plume in Aqua/AIRS data at around 15 km altitude at 0400 UTC on 23 January with approximately 13 kt measured, similar to other recent eruptions. Additional ash plumes were detected on 29 March, reaching 2.4-3 km and drifting to the E, NE, and N. Multiple SO2 plumes were detected throughout April (figure 61).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. Examples of elevated SO2 (sulfur dioxide) emissions from Manam during April 2019, on 9 April (top left), 21 April (top right), 22 April (bottom left), 28 April (bottom right). Courtesy of the NASA Space Goddard Flight Center.

During 19-28 May the Deep Carbon Observatory ABOVE (Aerial-based Observations of Volcanic Emissions) scientific team observed activity at Manam and collected gas data using drone technology. They recorded degassing from the South Crater and Main Crater (figure 63 and 64), which was also detected in Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI data (figure 65). Later in the day the plumes rose vertically up to 3-4 km above sea level and appeared stronger due to condensation. Incandescence was observed each night at the South Crater (figure 66). The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume on 10 May, reaching 5.5 km altitude and drifting to the NE. Smaller plumes up to 2.4 km were noted on the 11th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Degassing plumes from the South Crater of Manam, seen from Baliau village on the northern coast on 24 May 2019. Courtesy of Emma Liu, University College London.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. A strong gas-and-steam plume from Manam was observed moving tens of kilometers downwind on 19 May 2019, viewed here form the SSW at dusk. Photo courtesy of Julian Rüdiger, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI SO2 data acquired on 22 May 2019 during the field observations of the Deep Carbon Observatory ABOVE team. Image courtesy of Simon Carn, Michigan Technological University.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Incandescence at the South Crater of Manam was visible during 19-21 May 2019 from the Baliau village on the northern coast of the island. Photos courtesy of Tobias Fischer, University of New Mexico (top) and Matthew Wordell (bottom).

Activity during June 2019. Ash plumes rose to 4.3 km and drifted SW on 7-8 June, and up to 3-3.7 km and towards the E and NE on 18 June. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite data show hot material around the Main Crater on 24 June (figure 66). On 27 June RVO reported that RSAM (Real-time Seismic Amplitude Measurement, a measure of seismic activity through time) increased from 540 to over 1,400 in 30 minutes. "Thundering noise" was noted by locals at around 0100 on the 28th. An ash plume drifting SW was visible in satellite images acquired after 0620, coinciding with reported sightings by nearby residents (figure 67). The Darwin VAAC noted that by 0910 the ash plume had reached 15.2 km altitude and was drifting SW. When seen in satellite imagery at 1700 that day the large ash plume had detached and remained visible extending SW. There were 267 lightning strokes detected within 75 km during the event (figure 68) and pyroclastic flows were generated down the NE and W flanks. At 0745 on 29 June an ash plume reached up to 4.8 km.

Villages including Dugulava, Yassa, Budua, Madauri, Waia, Dangale, and Bokure were impacted by ashfall and approximately 3,775 people had evacuated to care centers. Homes and crops were reportedly damaged due to falling ash and scoria. Flights through Madang airport were also disrupted due to the ash until they resumed on the 30th. The Office of the Resident Coordinator in Papua New Guinea reported that as many as 455 homes and gardens were destroyed. Humanitarian resources were strained due to another significant eruption at nearby Ulawun that began on 26 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite data show hot material around the Main Crater and a plume dispersing SE through light cloud cover on 24 June 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Himawari-8 satellite image showing the ash plume rising above Manam and drifting SW at 0840 on 28 June. Satellite image courtesy of NCIT ScienceCloud.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. There were 267 lightning strokes detected within 75 km of Manam between 0729 on 27 June and 0100 on 29 June 2019. Sixty of these occurred within the final two hours of this observation period, reflecting increased activity. Red dots are cloud to ground lightning strokes and black dots are in-cloud strokes. Courtesy of Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc.

Activity during July-September 2019. Activity was reduced through July and September. The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume to approximately 6 km altitude on 6 July that drifted W and NW, another plume that day to 3.7 km that drifted N, and a plume on the 21st that rose to 4.3 km and drifted SW and W. Diffuse plumes rose to 2.4-2.7 km and drifted towards the W on 29 September. Thermal anomalies in the South Crater persisted through September.

Fresh deposits from recent events are visible in satellite deposits, notably in the NE after the January activity (figure 69). Satellite TIR data reflected elevated activity with increased energy detected in March and June-July in MODVOLC and MIROVA data (figure 70).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Sentinel-2 thermal infrared images acquired on 12 October 2018, 20 May 2019, and 12 September 2019 show the eruption deposits that accumulated during this time. A thermal anomaly is visible in the South Crater in the May and September images. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. MIROVA log radiative power plot of MODIS thermal infrared at Manam during February through September 2019. Increases in activity were detected in March and June-July. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; 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); 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/); Office of the Resident Coordinator, United Nations, Port Moresby, National Capital District, Papua New Guinea (URL: https://papuanewguinea.un.org/en/about/about-the-resident-coordinator-office, https://reliefweb.int/report/papua-new-guinea/papua-new-guinea-volcanic-activity-office-resident-coordinator-flash-2); Himawari-8 Real-time Web, developed by the NICT Science Cloud project in NICT (National Institute of Information and Communications Technology), Japan, in collaboration with JMA (Japan Meteorological Agency) and CEReS (Center of Environmental Remote Sensing, Chiba University) (URL: https://himawari8.nict.go.jp/); Simon Carn, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931, USA (URL: http://www.volcarno.com/, Twitter: @simoncarn); Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc., Louisville, Colorado, USA (URL: https://www.vaisala.com/en?type=1, Twitter: @COweatherman, URL: https://twitter.com/COweatherman); Emma Liu, University College London Earth Sciences, London WC1E 6BS (URL: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/earth-sciences/people/academic/dr-emma-liu); Matthew Wordell, Boise, ID, USA (URL: https://www.matthhew.com/biocontact); Julian Rüdiger, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Saarstr. 21, 55122 Mainz, Germany (URL: https://www.uni-mainz.de/).


Tangkuban Parahu (Indonesia) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Tangkuban Parahu

Indonesia

6.77°S, 107.6°E; summit elev. 2084 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Phreatic eruption on 27 July followed by intermittent explosions through to 17 September 2019

Tangkuban is located in the West Bandung and Subang Regencies in the West Java Province and has two main summit craters, Ratu and Upas (figure 3). Recent activity has largely consisted of phreatic explosions and gas-and-steam plumes at the Ratu crater. Prior to July 2019, the most recent activity occurred in 2012-2013, ending with a phreatic eruption on 5 October 2013 (BGVN 40:04). Background activity includes geothermal activity in the Ratu crater consisting of gas and steam emission (figure 4). This area is a tourist destination with infrastructure, and often people, overlooking the active crater. This report summarizes activity during 2014 through September 2019 and is based on official agency reports. Monitoring is the responsibility of Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Map of Tangkuban Parahu showing the Sunda Caldera rim and the Ratu, Upas, and Domas craters. Basemap is the August 2019 mosaic, copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Background activity at the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu is shown in these images from 1 May 2012. The top image is an overview of the crater and the bottom four images show typical geothermal activity. Copyrighted photos by Øystein Lund Andersen, used with permission.

The first reported activity in 2014 consisted of gas-and-steam plumes during October-December, prompting PVMBG to increase the alert level from I to II on 31 December 2014. These white plumes reached a maximum of 50 m above the Ratu crater (figure 5) and were accompanied by elevated seismicity and deformation. This prompted the implementation of an exclusion zone with a radius of 1.5 km around the crater. The activity decreased and the alert level was lowered back to I on 8 January 2015. There was no further reported activity from January 2015 through mid-2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Changes at the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu during 25 December 2014 to 8 January 2015. Rain water accumulated in the crater in December and intermittent gas-and-steam plumes were observed. Courtesy of PVMBG (8 January 2015 report).

From 27 June 2019 an increase in activity was recorded in seismicity, deformation, gas chemistry, and visual observations. By 24 July the responsible government agencies had communicated that the volcano could erupt at any time. At 1548 on 26 July a phreatic (steam-driven) explosion ejected an ash plume that reached 200 m; a steam-rich plume rose to 600 m above the Ratu crater (figures 6, and 7). People were on the crater rim at the time and videos show a white plume rising from the crater followed by rapid jets of ash and sediment erupting through the first plume. Deposition of eruption material was 5-7 cm thick and concentrated within a 500 m radius from the point between the Rata and Upas craters, and wider deposition occurred within 2 km of the crater (figures 8 and 9). According to seismic data, the eruption lasted around 5 minutes and 30 seconds (figure 10). Videos show several pulses of ash that fell back into the crater, followed by an ash plume moving laterally towards the viewers.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. These screenshots are from a video taken from the Ratu crater rim at Tangkuban Parahu on 26 July 2019. Initially there is a white gas-and-steam plume rising from the crater, then a high-velocity black jet of ash and sediment rises through the plume. This video was widely shared across multiple social media platforms, but the original source could not be identified.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. The ash plume at Tangkuban Parahu on 26 July 2019. Courtesy of BNPB.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Volcanic ash and lapilli was deposited around the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu during a phreatic eruption on 26 July 2019. Note that the deposits have slumped down the window and are thicker than the actual ashfall. Courtesy of BNPB.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Ash was deposited on buildings that line the Ratu crater at Tangkuban Parahu during a phreatic eruption on 26 July 2019. Photo courtesy of Novrian Arbi/via Reuters.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. A seismogram showing the onset of the 26 July 2019 eruption of Tangkuban Parahu and the elevated seismicity following the event. Courtesy of PVMBG via Øystein Lund Andersen.

On 27 July, the day after the eruption, Øystein Lund Andersen observed the volcano using a drone camera, operated from outside the restricted zone. Over a period of two hours the crater produced a small steam plume; ashfall and small blocks from the initial eruption are visible in and around the crater (figure 11). The ashfall is also visible in satellite imagery, which shows that deposition was restricted to the immediate vicinity to the SW of the crater (figure 12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Photos of the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu on 27 July 2019, the day after a phreatic eruption. A small steam plume continued through the day. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. PlanetScope satellite images showing the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu before (17 July 2019) and after (28 July 2019) the explosion that took place on 26 July 2019. Natural color PlanetScope Imagery, copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.

Another eruption occurred at 2046 on 1 August 2019 and lasted around 11 minutes, producing a plume up to 180 m above the vent. Additional explosions occurred at 0043 on 2 August, lasting around 3 minutes according to seismic data, but were not observed. Explosions continued to be recorded at 0145, 0357, and 0406 at the time of the PVMBG report when the last explosion was ongoing, and a photo shows an explosion at 0608 (figure 13). The explosions produced plumes that reached between 20 and 200 m above the vent. Due to elevated activity the Alert Level was increased to II on 2 August. Ash emission continued through the 4th. During 5-11 August events ejecting ash continued to produce plumes up to 80 m, and gas-and-steam plumes up to 200 m above the vent. Ashfall was localized around Ratu crater. The following week, 12-18 August, activity continued with ash and gas-and-steam plumes reaching 100-200 m above the vent. During 19-25 August, similar activity sent ash to 50-180 m, and gas-and-steam plumes to 200 m. A larger phreatic explosion occurred at 0930 on 31 August with an ash plume reaching 300 m, and a gas-and-steam plume reaching 600 m above the vent, depositing ash and sediment around the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. A small ash plume below a white gas-and-steam plume erupting from the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu on 2 August 2019 at 0608. Courtesy of PVBMG (2 August 2019 report).

In early September activity consisted of gas-and-steam plumes up to 100-180 m above the vent with some ash plumes observed (figure 14). Two larger explosions occurred at 1657 and 1709 on 7 September with ash reaching 180 m, and gas-and-steam up to 200 m above the vent. Ash and sediment deposited around the crater. Due to strong winds to the SSW, the smell of sulfur was reported around Cimahi City in West Bandung, although there was no detected increase in sulfur emissions. A phreatic explosion on 17 September produced an ash plume to 40 m and a steam plume to 200 m above the crater. Weak gas-and-steam emissions reaching 200 m above the vent continued through to the end of September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. A phreatic explosion at Tangkuban Parahu in the Ratu crater at 0724 on 4 September 2019, lasting nearly one minute. The darker ash plume reached around 100 m above the vent. Courtesy of PVGHM (4 September 2019 report).

Geologic Background. Gunung Tangkuban Parahu is a broad shield-like stratovolcano overlooking Indonesia's former capital city of Bandung. The volcano was constructed within the 6 x 8 km Pleistocene Sunda caldera, which formed about 190,000 years ago. The volcano's low profile is the subject of legends referring to the mountain of the "upturned boat." The Sunda caldera rim forms a prominent ridge on the western side; elsewhere the rim is largely buried by deposits of the current volcano. The dominantly small phreatic eruptions recorded since the 19th century have originated from several nested craters within an elliptical 1 x 1.5 km summit depression.

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/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: https://www.oysteinlundandersen.com/tangkuban-prahu/tangkuban-prahu-volcano-west-java-one-day-after-the-26th-july-phreatic-eruption/); Reuters (URL: https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/editors-choice-pictures-idUSRTX71F3E).


Sheveluch (Russia) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent ash explosions and lava dome growth continue through October 2019

After a lull in activity at Sheveluch, levels intensified again in mid-December 2018 and remained high through April 2019, with lava dome growth, strong explosions that produced ash plumes, incandescent lava flows, hot avalanches, numerous thermal anomalies, and strong fumarolic activity (BGVN 44:05). This report summarizes activity between May and October 2019. The volcano is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT).

According to KVERT, explosive activity continued to generate ash plumes during May-October 2019 (table 13). Strong fumarolic activity, incandescence and growth of the lava dome, and hot avalanches accompanied this process. There were also reports of plumes caused by re-suspended ash rather than new explosions. Plumes frequently extended a few hundred kilometers downwind, with the longest ones remaining visible in imagery as much as 1,000-1,400 km away. One of the larger explosions, on 1 October (figure 52), also generated a pyroclastic flow. Some of the stronger explosions sent the plume to an altitude of 10-11 km, or more than 7 km above the summit. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) throughout the reporting period, except for several hours on 6 October when it was raised to Red (the highest level).

Table 13. Explosions and ash plumes at Sheveluch during May-October 2019. Dates and times are UTC, not local. Data courtesy of KVERT.

Dates Plume altitude (km) Drift Distance and Direction Remarks
30 Apr-02 May 2019 -- 200 km SE Resuspended ash.
03-10 May 2019 -- 50 km SE, SW Gas-and-steam plumes containing some ash.
13 May 2019 -- 16 km SE Resuspended ash.
11-12 Jun 2019 -- 60 km WNW Explosions and hot avalanches seen in video and satellite images.
24, 27 Jun 2019 4.5 E, W Ash plumes.
05 Aug 2019 2.5 40 km NW Diffuse ash plume.
25 Aug 2019 4.5-5 500 km NW Ash plumes.
29 Aug 2019 10 Various; 550 km N Explosions at 1510 produced ash plumes.
30 Aug 2019 7-7.5 50 km SSE Explosions at 1957 produced ash plumes.
03 Sep 2019 5.5 SE --
02-03, 05 Sep 2019 10 660 km SE Ash plumes seen in satellite images.
05 Sep 2019 -- -- Resuspended ash.
11-12 Sep 2019 -- 250 km ESE Resuspended ash plumes. Satellite and webcam data recorded ash emissions and a gas-and-steam plume with some ash drifting 50 km ESE on 12 Sep.
12-15, 17, 19 Sep 2019 -- 200 km SW, SE, NE Ash plumes.
20-21, 23, 26 Sep 2019 7 580 km ESE Explosions produced ash plumes.
29 Sep, 01-02 Oct 2019 9 1,400 km SE, E Explosions produced ash plumes. Notable pyroclastic flow traveled SE on 1 Oct.
04 Oct 2019 -- 170 km E Resuspended ash.
06 Oct 2019 10 430 km NE; 1,080 km ENE Ash plumes. Aviation Color Code raised to Red for several hours.
08 Oct 2019 -- 170 km E Resuspended ash.
06, 09 Oct 2019 6.5-11 1,100 km E --
11-13, 15 Oct 2019 6.5-7 620 km E, SE Explosions produced ash plumes.
16-17 Oct 2019 -- 125 km E Resuspended ash.
19-20 Oct 2019 -- 110 km SE Resuspended ash.
21 Oct 2019 10-11 1,300 km SE Explosions produced ash plumes.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. An explosion of Sheveluch on 1 October 2019. A pyroclastic flow was also reported by KVERT this day. Courtesy of Yu. Demyanchuk, IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

Numerous thermal anomalies, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, were observed every month. Consistent with this, the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system recorded thermal anomalies almost daily. According to KVERT, a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during the entire reporting period, although cloudy weather sometimes obscured observations.

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); 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/).


Piton de la Fournaise (France) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Piton de la Fournaise

France

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Three brief eruptive events in July, August, and October 2019

Short pulses of intermittent eruptive activity have been common at Piton de la Fournaise, the large basaltic shield volcano on La Réunion Island in the western Indian Ocean, for several thousand years. Over the last 20 years effusive basaltic eruptions have occurred on average twice per year. The activity is characterized by lava fountains and lava flows, and occasional explosive eruptions that shower blocks over the summit area and produce ash plumes. Almost all of the recent activity has occurred within the Enclos Fouqué caldera around the flanks of the central cone which has the Dolomieu Crater at its summit, although past eruptions in 1977, 1986, and 1998 have occurred at vents outside the caldera. Two eruptive episodes were reported during January-June 2019; from 18 February to 10 March, and from 11 to 13 June (BGVN 44:07). Three episodes during July-October 2019 are covered in this report, with information provided primarily by the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF) as well as satellite instruments.

Three brief eruptive episodes took place during July-October 2019. In each case, slow ground inflation in the weeks leading up to the eruption was followed by sudden inflation at the time of the fissure opening and lava flow event. This was followed by a resumption of inflation days or weeks later. The first event took place during 29-30 July and consisted of three fissures opening on the N flank of the Dolomieu cone. It lasted for less than 24 hours, and the maximum flow length was about 730 m. The second event began on 11 August with two fissures opening on the S flank of the Dolomieu cone. The flows traveled downhill almost 3 km; activity ended on 15 August. Two new fissures opened during 25-27 October on the SSE flank of the cone; one was active only briefly while the second created a 3.6-km-long flow that stopped a few hundred meters before the major highway. The sudden surges of thermal energy from the eruptions are clearly visible in the MIROVA thermal data (figure 182). Each of the eruptive episodes was also accompanied by SO2 emissions that were detected by satellite instruments (figure 183).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 182. Three eruptive events took place at Piton de la Fournaise during July-October 2019 and appear as spikes in thermal activity during 29-30 July, 11-15 August, and 25-27 October. Additional events in late February-early March and mid-June are also visible in this MIROVA graph of thermal energy from 12 December 2018 through October 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 183. Sulfur dioxide emissions were measured from Piton de la Fournaise during each of the eruptive events that occurred in July (top left), August (top right and bottom left), and October (bottom right) 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Activity during July 2019. The last eruption, a series of flows from several fissures on the SSE flank of Dolomieu Crater near the crater rim (at the center of the Enclos Fouqué caldera), lasted from 11 to 13 June 2019 (figure 184). Ground deformation after the eruption indicated renewed inflation of the edifice which had been ongoing since May. OVPF reported an increase in seismicity beginning on 21 June which continued throughout July; the earthquakes were located near the NW rim of the Dolomieu Crater and on its NW flank. Four centimeters of elongation were recorded between two GNSS stations within the Enclos during late June and July prior to the next eruption. The next short-lived eruption took place during 29-30 July, near the location of the seismicity on the NW flank of the Dolomieu cone about 600 m E of the Formica Leo cone. The onset of the eruption was accompanied by rapid ground deformation of about 12-13 cm, recorded at a station that is located west of the Dolomieu Crater (figure 185).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 184. Location maps of lava flows formed during the 11-13 June 2019 (left) and 29-30 July 2019 (right) eruptions at Piton de la Fournaise. Information derived from satellite data via the OI2 platform and aerial photos. Lava flows from June are shown as red polygons and eruptive fissures are shown as white lines. For the July event, the flows are shown in white. Courtesy of OVPF, OI2 and Université Clermont Auvergne (Monthly bulletins of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, June and July 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 185. Horizontal surface displacements indicating inflation of Piton de la Fournaise of about four centimeters were gradual between 14 June and 28 July 2019 (left). Just prior to and at the onset of the eruption on 29 July, a much greater displacement of about 12 cm occurred, associated with the subsurface ascent of magma (right). Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, July 2019).

The late July eruption began around 1200 local time on 29 July 2019 with the opening of three fissures over a distance of about 450 m on the N flank of Dolomieu cone, close to the tourist trail to the summit (figure 186). Lava fountains 20-30 m high were reported. Thermal measurements indicated flow temperatures of about 1,100°C at the base of the lava fountains; samples were collected for analysis (figure 187). Average discharge rates of 11.6 m3s were estimated for the eruption which ended less than 24 hours later, around 0430 on 30 July. The maximum flow length was about 730 m.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 186. Three fissures opened at Piton de la Fournaise on 29 July 2019 and flows traveled 730 m downslope before stopping the next day. The fissures were located on the N flank of Dolomieu cone. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP, Imaz PressRéunion, and Réunion La 1ère (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, July 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 187. Samples were collected for analysis by OVPF from the 29 July 2019 flow at Piton de la Fournaise. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, July 2019).

Eruption of 11-15 August 2019. During 1-10 August there were 33 shallow volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes located under the SE flank of Dolomieu cone; a new eruption began over this area on 11 August (figure 188). Two centimeters of inflation were recorded between the 29-30 July eruption and the 11-15 August event; this was followed by a rapid burst of inflation (tens of centimeters) at the onset of the eruption. Inflation resumed shortly after the eruption ended. The eruption began around 1620 local time on 11 August. Two fissures opened, one at 1,700 m elevation, and one at 1,500 m elevation on the SE flank, about 1,400 m apart (figure 189). Due to the steep slopes in the area, the lava flow quickly reached the "Grande Pentes" area before slowing down at the flatter "Piton Tremblet" area. The farthest traveled flow was cooling at an elevation of about 560 m, about 2 km from the National Road (RN2) on 14 August. The maximum effusion rate was measured at 9 m3/s. The eruption stopped on 15 August 2019 at 2200 local time after more than 6 hours of "piston gas" activity, and a brief pause in flow activity earlier in the day. About 3 million m3of lava were emitted, according to OVPF-IPGP. The flows from the 1,700 m and 1500 m altitude fissures reached maximum lengths of 2.9 and 2.7 km, respectively.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 188. Locations of eruptive fissures that opened on 11 August 2019 on the SE flank of Dolomieu cone at Piton de la Fournaise, and the approximate locations of the associated flows. Courtesy of IVPF-IPGP / OPGC-LMV (Bulletin d'activité du mercredi 14 août 2019 à 15h30, Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 189. Lava flows from the Piton de la Fournaise eruption of 11-15 August 2019 emerged from two fissures on the SE flank of Dolomieu cone. The flows were both active on 13 August (left) at around 0930 local time. Visual and thermal images of the lava flows on 14 August at around 2100 local time (center and right) showed them continuing down the steep slope of the cone and spreading out over the shallower area below. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP, LMV-OPGC (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, August 2019).

Activity during September-October 2019. Very little activity was reported during September 2019. Seismicity remained low with only 32 earthquakes reported during the month, and inflation, which had continued after the 11-15 August eruption, stopped at the beginning of September. Inflation resumed on 11 October. Two seismic swarms were recorded during October 2019. The first, on 21 October (207 events), lasted for about 40 minutes, and did not result in an eruption. The second began on 25 October and consisted of 827 events. It was followed by an eruption during 25-27 October located on the SSE flank of the Dolomieu cone. Deformation followed a similar pattern as it had during and prior to the eruptive events of July and August. Inflation of a few centimeters between 11 and 24 October was followed by rapid inflation of about 10 cm at the onset of the new eruption. Inflation resumed again after this eruption as well.

Two fissures opened during the 25-27 October eruption, one at 1,060 m elevation and one at 990 m. The first fissure was no longer active when viewed during an overflight 2.5 hours after it had opened. The flows moved rapidly until reaching the lower slope areas of the Grand Brule about 1.5-2 km downstream of the "Piton Tremblet" area. On 26 October only one vent was active with fountains 10-20 m high (figure 190). The lava discharge rates during the eruption averaged about 14 m3/s. The eruption ended at 1630 local time on 27 October after one hour of "gas piston" activity (figure 191). A total of about 1.8 million m3 of lava was emitted. The flows from the 990 m elevation site reached a maximum length of 3.6 km, and the lava flow front stopped about 230 m before reaching the RN2 National road (figure 192).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 190. On 25 October 2019 the front of the active flow at Piton de la Fournaise had reached the level of the Piton Tremblet by 1700 local time (left). Image by PGHM (Bulletin d'activité du 25 octobre 2019 à 18h00, Heure locale). The following day, the active vent had lava fountains 10-20 m high (right) (Bulletin d'activité du samedi 26 octobre 2019 à 11h00, Heure locale). Courtesy of OVPF/IPGP.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 191. The eruptive site of the 25-27 October 2019 eruption at Piton de la Fournaise had one flow still active on 27 October with 10-20 m high lava fountains (left). The flow front stopped that day a few hundred meters before the National Road (right). Courtesy of OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du dimanche 27 octobre 2019 à 12h00, Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 192. The location of the 25-27 October 2019 lava flow at Piton de la Fournaise started at the very base of the SSE flank of Dolomieu cone and traveled 3.6 km E towards the Highway and the coast. Basemap from Google Earth, fissures (red) and flows (in white) derived from aerial photos. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, October 2019).

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

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (OVPF-IPGP), 14 route nationale 3, 27 ème km, 97418 La Plaine des Cafres, La Réunion, France (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr); 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/).


Agung (Indonesia) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Agung

Indonesia

8.343°S, 115.508°E; summit elev. 2997 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Quiet returns after explosions on 10 and 13 June 2019

After a large, deadly explosive and effusive eruption during 1963-64, Indonesia's Mount Agung on Bali remained quiet until a new eruption began in November 2017 (BGVN 43:01). Activity continued throughout 2018 with explosions that produced ash plumes rising multiple kilometers above the summit, and the slow effusion of the lava within the summit crater. Increasingly frequent and intense explosions with ash emissions and incandescent ejecta characterized activity during February through May 2019 (BGVN 44:06). Two more explosions in June 2019 produced significant ash plumes; no further explosive activity occurred through October 2019. Information about Agung comes from Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), also known as the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and multiple sources of satellite data. This report covers the end of the eruption in June and observations through October 2019.

After a large explosion on 31 May 2019, a smaller event occurred on 10 June. Another large explosion with an ash plume that rose to 9.1 km altitude was recorded on 13 June (local time). It drifted hundreds of kilometers before dissipating. No further explosive activity was reported through October 2019, only diffuse white steam plumes rising at most a few hundred meters above the summit. The Alert Level remained at III (of four levels) throughout the period. The record of thermal activity showed an increase during the explosive events of late May and June, but then decreased significantly (figure 57). There was no obvious thermal signature in satellite images that explained the small increase in thermal energy recorded by the MIROVA data at the end of August 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. The thermal energy at Agung increased significantly during the explosive events of late May and early June 2019, and then decreased substantially as seen in this MIROVA graph from 23 January through October 2019. There was no obvious satellite thermal signature to explain the brief increase in thermal energy in late August. Courtesy of MIROVA.

On 31 May 2019 a large explosion produced an ash plume that rose more than 2 km above the summit (BGVN 44:06, figure 56). The Darwin VAAC reported that it split into two plumes, one drifted E at 8.2 km and the other ESE at 6.1 km altitude, dissipating after about 20 hours early on 1 June. A small eruption with an ash plume that rose to 3.9 km altitude was reported the next day by the Darwin VAAC. It was detected in the webcam and pilot reports confirmed that it drifted E for a few hours before dissipating. PVMBG reported gray emissions to 300 m above the peak on 1 June and 100 m above the summit on 2 June. By 6 June the emissions were white, rising only 50 m above the summit. For several subsequent days, the summit was covered in fog with no observations of emissions.

On 10 June 2019 an explosion lasting 90 seconds was reported at 1212 local time; PVMBG noted a gray ash plume 1,000 m above the summit (figure 58). The Darwin VAAC confirmed the emission in satellite imagery and by pilot report; it was moving SW at 4.3 km altitude and then drifted S before dissipating by the end of the day. Early on 13 June local time (12 June UTC) a new explosion that was clearly visible in the webcam produced a large ash plume that drifted W and SW (figure 59). The explosion was recorded on the seismogram for almost four minutes and sent incandescent ejecta in all directions up to 700 m from the summit. The first satellite imagery of the plume reported by the Darwin VAAC suggested the altitude to be 9.1 km. A secondary plume was drifting W from the summit at 5.5 km altitude a few hours later. By six hours after the eruption, the 9.1 km altitude plume was about 90 km SSW of the Denpassar airport and the 5.5 km altitude plume was about 110 km W of the airport. By the time the higher altitude plume dissipated after about 14 hours, it had reached 300 km S of the airport. For the remainder of June, only diffuse white steam plumes were reported, rising generally 30-50 m above the summit, with brief pulses to 150-200 m during 27-29 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. An ash plume rose 1,000 m above the summit of Agung on 10 June 2019. Top image courtesy of Rita Bauer (Volcano Verse), bottom image courtesy of PVMBG (Information on G. Agung Eruption, 10 June 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. A large eruption at Agung at 0138 local time on 13 June 2019 sent an ash plume to 9.1 km altitude and incandescent ejecta 700 m in all directions. Courtesy of Jaime S. Sincioco, screenshot from volcano YT webcam.

Although no further surface activity was reported at Agung during July through October 2019, PVMBG kept the Alert Level at III throughout the period. Only steam plumes were reported from the summit usually rising 50 m before dissipating. Steam emissions rose to 150 m a few times each month. Plumes were reported at 300 m above the summit on 6 July and 15 August. No thermal anomalies were visible in Sentinel 2 satellite images during the period.

Geologic Background. Symmetrical Agung stratovolcano, Bali's highest and most sacred mountain, towers over the eastern end of the island. The volcano, whose name means "Paramount," rises above the SE caldera rim of neighboring Batur volcano, and the northern and southern flanks extend to the coast. The summit area extends 1.5 km E-W, with the high point on the W and a steep-walled 800-m-wide crater on the E. The Pawon cone is located low on the SE flank. Only a few eruptions dating back to the early 19th century have been recorded in historical time. The 1963-64 eruption, one of the largest in the 20th century, produced voluminous ashfall along with devastating pyroclastic flows and lahars that caused extensive damage and many fatalities.

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/); 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/); Rita Bauer, Volcano Verse (Twitter @wischweg, URL: https://twitter.com/wischweg/status/1137956367258570752); Jamie S. Sincioco, Philippines (Twitter @jaimessincioco, URL: https://twitter.com/jaimessincioco/status/1139109685796020224).


Copahue (Chile-Argentina) — November 2019 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 ash emissions begin in early August; intermittent and ongoing through October 2019

Most of the large edifice of Copahue lies high in the central Chilean Andes, but the active, acidic-lake filled El Agrio crater lies on the Argentinian side of the border at the W edge of the Pliocene Caviahue caldera. Infrequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 18th century. The most recent eruptive episode with ash plumes lasted from early June 2017 to early December 2018. After 8 months of quiet, renewed phreatic explosions and ash emissions began in August 2019 and were ongoing through October 2019. This report summarizes activity from January through October 2019 and is based on reports issued by Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN) Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), satellite data, and photographs from nearby residents.

Intermittent steam plumes were reported from the El Agrio crater at the summit during January-July 2019, but no ash emissions were seen. An increase in seismicity and changes in the crater lake level during March led SERNAGEOMIN to increase the Alert Level from Green to Yellow at the beginning of April. Fluctuating tremor signals in the first week of August coincided with satellite imagery that showed the appearance of dark material, possibly ash, on the snow around the summit crater. The first thermal anomaly appeared on 3 September and the first clear ash explosions were recorded on 11 September. Eruptive activity was intermittent through the end of the month; a series of larger explosions beginning on 30 September caused SERNAGEOMIN to raise the Alert Level from Yellow to Orange. A period of more intense explosive activity lasted through the first week of October. The larger explosions then ceased, but during the rest of October there were continuing observations of seismicity, ash emissions, and incandescent ejecta, along with multiple thermal anomalies in the summit area.

Observations during January-April 2019. Copahue remained at Alert Level Yellow with a 1-km exclusion radius during January 2019 after ash emission in December 2018. Ongoing degassing was reported with white plumes from El Agrio crater rising to 355 m (figure 25). The Alert Level was lowered to Green at the end of the month, and the exclusion radius was reduced to 500 m, although intermittent low-level seismicity in the region continued. SERNAGEOMIN reported a M 3.2 earthquake about 10 km NE of the summit, 2 km deep, on 29 January 2019. The acidic lake inside El Agrio crater was quiet at the end of the month (figure 26).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Degassing of steam from Copahue on 10 and 17 (inset) January 2019. Courtesy of OPTIC Neuquén (10 January) and SERNAGEOMIN (17 January).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. El Agrio crater at Copahue on 31 January 2019. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.

Steam plumes occasionally rose to 180 m above the crater during February 2019. A swarm of 117 volcano-tectonic (VT) seismic events on 22-23 February 2019 was located about 14 km NE of the volcano, with the largest events around a M 3.5. Steam plumes rose to about 280 m above the crater during March. SERNAGEOMIN noted an increase in seismicity during the month, and a decrease in the lake level within El Agrio crater. This led them to increase the Alert Level to Yellow (second on a four-level scale) at the beginning of April. Emissions remained minimal during April (figure 27); an 80 m high steam plume was reported on 4 April. The lake level continued to fall, based on satellite imagery, and a M 3.1 earthquake was reported on 29 April located about 10 km NE of the summit about 10 km deep.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Clear skies revealed no activity from the summit of Copahue on 7 or April 2019. The volcano was quiet throughout the month, although the Alert Level remained at Yellow. Image taken near Caviahue, 10 km E in Argentina. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.

Observations during May-July 2019. Sporadic episodes of low-altitude steam plume degassing were noted during May 2019, but otherwise very little surface activity was reported (figure 28). On 13 May, a steam plume reached 160 m above the crater rim, and on 28 May, the tallest plume rose 200 m above the crater. Hybrid-type earthquakes were recorded early in the month, followed by a slow increase in the amplitude of the tremor signal. Seismicity increased slightly during the second half of the month with activity concentrated closer to the summit crater. A weak SO2 plume was recorded by satellite instruments on 23 May. The level of the lake began increasing during the second half of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. No surface activity was visible at Copahue on 5 May 2019, but seismicity increased slowly during the month. Image taken near Caviahue. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.

SERNAGEOMIN reported tremor signals with fluctuating amplitude throughout June 2019. Repeated episodes of low-altitude white degassing occurred around the El Agrio crater. On 7 June, a 300 m plume was observed above the crater; the level of the crater lake was variable. On 17 June a 400-m-tall white plume was observed above the crater. Seismicity, although low, increased during the second half of the month. Multiple episodes of low-altitude white degassing occurred around the active crater all during July 2019 (figure 29). On 9 July a plume rose about 450 m above the crater. On 16 July a white plume rose 250 m above the crater. SENAGEOMIN noted a rise in the rate of seismicity during the first half of the month; the tremor signal continued with fluctuating amplitude. Satellite instruments detected small SO2 plumes on 4 and 9 July (figure 30).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. A steam plume rose a few hundred meters above the summit of Copahue on 23 July 2019. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite detected small SO2 plumes at Copahue on 4 and 9 July 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Activity during August-October 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery from 2, 4, 7, and 9 August suggested the ejection of particulate material (figure 31), with dark streaks in the snow extending a few hundred meters E and SE from the crater. Images from the community of Caviahue on 3 and 4 August show distinct discoloration of the snow around the E side of the summit crater (figures 32 and 33). Small but discernible SO2 plumes were detected by satellite instruments on 2, 3, 16, 19, 30, and 31 August. Fluctuating tremor signals continued during August with several episodes of low-altitude white degassing from the El Agrio crater; a white plume on 5 August rose 380 m above the crater. The lake level continued to drop and the Alert Level remained at Yellow.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Sentinel 2 satellite imagery of Copahue from late July and early August 2019 show fresh dark material deposited over the fresh winter snow, suggesting recent ejecta from the El Agrio crater. Top left: The summit was covered with fresh snow on 25 July 2019. Top right: A dark streak extends E then N from the El Agrio crater on 2 August. Bottom left: A streak of dark material trends SE from the crater over the snow on 4 August. Bottom Right: On 7 August a different streak extends E from the crater while fresh snow has covered the earlier streak. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. At sunset on 3 August 2019, darker material was visible on the snow on the E side of the summit of Copahue; a dense steam plume rose from El Agrio crater. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Particulates covered the fresh snow near the summit of Copahue on 4 August 2019, as seen from the community of Caviahue, about 10 km E. A steam plume rose from El Agrio crater. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.

Distinct SO2 plumes were again captured by satellite instruments on 1, 3, and 5-7 September 2019 (figure 34). The first thermal signature in nine months also appeared in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 3 September (figure 35). Midday on 9 September, seismometers recorded an increase in the amplitude of a continuous tremor. High clouds prevented clear views of the crater and no ash emissions were observed. Beginning on 11 September, low-energy long-period (LP) events were associated with infrasound signals and low-energy explosions that produced small ash plumes. The largest explosion produced a plume 250 m above the crater. Incandescence and high-temperature ejecta were observed around the emission point. The ash drifted ESE about 3 km. Ten explosions were reported between 11 and 12 September, associated with low-intensity acoustic signals and ash emissions. Plumes reached 430 m above the crater rim on 12 September. Ash deposits on the snow were visible in in Sentinel-2 images on 11 and 13 September, extending about 6 km E from El Agrio crater (figure 35). Images from the ground on 12 September indicated fresh ash on the E flank (figure 36).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Small but distinct SO2 plumes from Copahue were measured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite on 1 and 3 September 2019, and additionally on 5-7 September. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Sentinel-2 satellite images indicated thermal activity and ash emissions at Copahue on 3, 11, and 13 September 2019. Left: The first thermal anomaly in nine months appeared on 3 September. Middle: An ash streak trended E across the snow from El Agrio crater on 11 September. On 13 September, the streak was a wider cone that extended ESE for about 6 km. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Ash deposits coated snow on the E flank of Copahue on 12 September 2019, while a steam plume drifted SE from the crater, as seen from the community of Caviahue about 10 km E in Argentina. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.

Although fresh snow had covered any ash deposits by 16 September 2019 (figure 37), small thermal anomalies appeared in Sentinel-2 imagery on 16 and 21 September. SO2 plumes were measured by satellite instruments on 21 and 25 September. Photos from Caviahue on 25 September showed ash on the E flank and a steam-and-ash plume drifting NE (figure 38). Ashfall on the snow was visible in satellite imagery on 26 September, and covered a larger area on 28 September; there was also a substantial thermal anomaly that day (figure 39).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Fresh snow had covered over recent ash emissions at Copahue by 16 September 2019; thermal anomalies were detected in satellite data from the summit crater the same day. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. On a clear 25 September 2019 fresh ash covered snow on the E flank of Copahue, and an ash and steam plume was drifting NE from the El Agrio crater. The mountains are reflected in Lago Caviahue located about 12 km E in Argentina. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Sentinel-2 imagery of Copahue on 28 September showed ashfall in a large area around the summit and a small ash plume (left); a substantial thermal anomaly was also visible within the El Agrio crater (right). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During the late afternoon of 30 September, three high-energy LP earthquakes were reported located 5.8 km NE of the El Agrio crater. They were accompanied by abundant lower energy earthquakes in the same area. The VT earthquakes were equivalent to a M 3.5. Inhabitants of Caviahue (12 km E) reported feeling several of the events; atmospheric conditions prevented observation of the summit. This sudden increase in seismicity prompted SERNGEOMIN to raise the Alert Level to Orange and increase the radius of the area of potential impact to 5 km. Seismicity (VT, LP and tremor earthquakes) continued at a high rate into 1 October. Argentina's geologic hazards and mining agency, Servicio Geologico Minero Argentino (SEGEMAR) also issued a notice of the increased warning level on 30 September (figure 40).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. A dense steam plume rises from the active crater at Copahue in this image looking due E towards Caviahue and Lago Caviahue, 12 km E. The rim of the Caviahue caldera is in the distance. Argentina's SEGEMAR posted this photograph (undated) with their notice of the increase in warning level on 30 September 2019. Courtesy of SEGEMAR.

Cameras near the volcano detected ash plumes associated with explosions around the crater at 0945 on 1 October 2019 which continued throughout the first week of the month. Satellite imagery showed streaks of dark ash over snow trending SE and E and from the summit on 1 and 8 October (figure 41). Five separate explosions were recorded during 1-2 October. Persistent degassing was accompanied by episodes of ash emissions and incandescence at night. Seismicity continued during 2-3 October, but poor weather mostly obscured visual evidence of activity; a few pulses of white and gray emissions were observed. Seismic events were located 5-7 km NE at a depths of 0.7-1.7 km, and continued for several days. Clearer skies on 4 October revealed steam plumes and pulses of ash rising from El Agrio crater. Incandescence was visible at night. A ground-based image showed ash covering the E flank and an ash plume drifting NE down the flank (figure 42). The Buenos Aires VAAC reported weak ash emissions on 4 October moving NE at 3.4 km altitude. The webcam showed continuous ash emission from the summit during 4-5 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Copahue showed dark streaks trending SE and E from the summit in early October. On 1 October 2019 (left) there was a narrow streak of ash to the SE and a steam plume drifting the same direction. On 8 Octobe0r (right), a wide cone of ashfall covered the E flank, and a plume of gray ash drifted NE over the edge of the deposit. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Gray ash covered areas of Copahue's E flank on 4 October 2019 and an ash plume drifted NE down the flank. Image from Caviahue, about 10 km E. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.

White steam plumes with pulses of ash and incandescence at night were observed on 5 and 6 October. Seismic activity decreased on 6 October. The following day, SERNAGEOMIN lowered the Alert Level to Yellow and reduced the restricted zone to 1,000 m around the summit crater. While seismicity had decreased, ash emissions continued from low-level pulsating explosions which produced ash plumes that drifted E (figure 43). They observed that the total area to that date affected by ashfall was about 24.5 km2, extending up to 5 km W and 6 km E from the summit. They also noted that a pyroclastic cone about 130 m across had appeared inside the crater. Ash emissions and explosions with incandescent ejecta continued during the second week of October (figure 44). A change in wind direction created a several-kilometer-long streak of ash trending SW from the summit by 13 October; a strong thermal anomaly that day indicated continued activity (figure 45). SO2 plumes were recorded by satellite instruments on 1, 3, 4, and 13 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Ash and steam drifted E from the summit of Copahue on 7 October 2019, the day that SERNAGEOMIN lowered the Alert Level from Orange to Yellow. Courtesy of SEGEMAR.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Incandescent ejecta was visible at the summit of Copahue overnight on 11 October 2019 in the image from a local webcam. Courtesy of Culture Volcan.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. A new dark streak of ash on snow trended SW from the El Agrio crater at Cophahue on 13 October 2019. The strong thermal anomaly the same day indicated the level of eruptive activity was still high. Natural color image based on bands 4,3, and 2; Atmospheric penetration rendering based on bands 12, 11, and 8a. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Seismicity continued for the rest of October, but no explosions were recorded. Sulfur dioxide emissions were recorded by satellite instruments on 18, 22, 23, and 30 October (figure 46). When weather permitted, constant degassing with episodes of ash emissions from the crater were visible during the day and incandescence appeared at night. Satellite imagery on 18, 23, and 28 October showed substantial ash plumes drifting in different directions from the summit. A large area around the summit crater was covered with dark ash on 18 and 23 October. Fresh snowfall had covered most of the area by 28 October, and the narrow dark streak trending SE underneath the ongoing ash plume was the only surface covered with material (figure 47). Distinct thermal anomalies appeared in satellite images on 16, 18, 23, and 31 October. A number of thermal alerts were recorded by the MIROVA system as well during the second half of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite recorded SO2 emissions from Copahue on 18, 22, 23, and 30 October 2019. Satellite imagery on also showed ash plumes on 18 and 23 October. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Distinct ash plumes and dark ashfall over snow on 18, 23, and 28 October 2019 at Copahue indicated ongoing eruptive activity (top row) through the end of the month. The large area of ash-covered snow visible on 18 and 23 October was covered with fresh snowfall by 28 October when the dense ash plume drifting SE left only a narrow dark trail of ashfall in the fresh snow underneath (right). Strong thermal anomalies were apparent on 18 and 23 October but obscured by dense ash on 28 October (bottom row). Natural color image based on bands 4, 3, and 2; atmospheric penetration rendering based on bands 12, 11, and 8a. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The highest plume noted by SERNAGEOMIN during the second half of the month rose 1,200 m above the crater on 22 October 2019 (figure 48). The Buenos Aires VAAC reported ash emissions from the summit visible in webcams almost every day in October. On 16 October, an ash plume was seen in satellite imagery moving SE at 3.4 km altitude under mostly clear skies; the webcam showed continuous ash emission. A faint plume was barely seen moving S in satellite imagery at 3.4 km altitude on 18 October; the webcam revealed continuous emission of gases and possible dilute volcanic ash. The VAAC reported ash emissions daily from 18-25 October. Drift directions varied from SE, moving to NE on 21-23 October, and back to E and SE the following days. The altitudes ranged from 3.0 to 4.3 km. On 20 October, the plume extended about 80 km SE. The ash appeared as pulses moving NE on 22 and 23 October at 4.3 km altitude. Emissions reappeared in satellite imagery on 28 and 30-31 October, drifting SE and NE at 3.4-3.7 km altitude; incandescence was visible overnight on 30-31 October from the webcam.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. A plume of ash and steam from Copahue rose 1,200 m above the summit on 22 October 2019 and drifted NE. It was clearly visible from 25 km SW of the volcano in the El Barco Indigenous community of Alto Biobío, Chile, along with ash-covered snow on the SW flank. Courtesy of EveLyN.

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/); OPTIC Neuquén, Oficina Provincial de Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación- Gobierno de la Provincia del Neuquén, Neuquén, Argentina (URL: https://www.neuqueninforma.gob.ar/tag/optic/, Twitter: @OPTIC_Nqn, https://twitter.com/OPTIC_Nqn); 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); Cultur Volcan, Journal d'un volcanophile, (URL: https://laculturevolcan.blogspot.com, Twitter: @CulturVolcan); EveLyn, Twitter: @EveCaCid (URL: https://twitter.com/EveCaCid/status/1186663015271321601).


Turrialba (Costa Rica) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Turrialba

Costa Rica

10.025°N, 83.767°W; summit elev. 3340 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Activity diminishes during March-October 2019, but small ash emissions continue

This report summarizes activity at Turrialba during March-October 2019. Typical activity similar to that reported in late 2018 and early 2019 (BGVN 44:04) included periodic weak ash explosions and numerous emissions containing some ash. However, during this period activity appeared to diminish with time. Data were provided by weekly reports by the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA).

According to OVSICORI-UNA, only highly diluted ash emissions were recorded from 22 April to 27 May (note that no reports were available online from the last week of March until 22 April). Weak ash explosions were again noted on 28 July, 4 August, and possibly on 20 October. OVSICORI-UNA reported more explosions or emissions containing ash on 25 and 28 October (table 9).

Table 9. Summary of reported activity at Turrialba, March-October 2019. Cloudy weather sometimes obscured observations. Maximum plume height is above the crater rim. Information courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Date Time Max plume height Plume drift Remarks
01 Mar 2019 0444 200 m NE --
02-04 Mar 2019 -- 200-300 m -- Continuous emissions with minor amounts of ash.
09-12 Mar 2019 -- 1,000 m -- Gas plumes containing minor amounts of ash.
16-17 Mar 2019 -- -- -- Frequent and discontinuous emissions, but no visual confirmation due to poor visibility.
20-22 Mar 2019 -- 300 m W, SW Continuous emissions of steam with periodic pulses of diffuse ash; sulfur odor noted in Tierra Blanca de Cartago on 22 March.
23-26 Mar 2019 -- -- -- Steam plumes with low concentration of magmatic gases.
24 Mar 2019 0503 500 m -- Series of four pulses with ash.
31 Mar 2019 0735 -- -- Explosion followed by passive emissions with low concentration of magmatic gases. Seismicity dominated by low-frequency events.
08 Apr 2019 -- -- -- Minor ash emissions.
24 Apr 2019 -- -- -- Diffuse ash emission.
26 Apr 2019 -- -- N Emission with low ash content.
27 Apr 2019 0722 below 100 m -- Weak, brief explosion with ash plume.
04 May 2019 0524 -- -- Emission of very diluted ash.
12-19 May 2019 -- -- -- Passive, short-duration emissions with small amounts of ash occurred sporadically.
19-20 May 2019 -- -- -- Prolonged and intermittent periods of emissions with minor amounts of ash.
28 Jul 2019 1441 -- -- Weak explosion and ash emission after 30 minutes of heavy rain. Inclement weather prevented visual confirmation. Ashfall in La Picada (N) and El Retiro farms.
03-04 Aug 2019 -- -- -- Two small explosions, with some ash in the second.
11 Aug 2019 -- -- -- Weak emission during night, identified by its seismic signal. No ash emission observed.
05 Aug-19 Oct 2019 -- -- -- No ash detected.
20 Oct 2019 2100 -- -- Explosion identified with seismicity; weather conditions prevented visual observation. No ashfall reported.
25 Oct 2019 0400, 0700 -- -- Weak explosion at 0400, with ash. Ash at 0700 not associated with seismic signal, so could be a small intra-crater collapse.
28 Oct 2019 1500 -- -- Weak emission containing ash.

A report from Red Sismologica Nacional (RSN) about the 28 October ash explosion noted that it occurred at 1501 local time and lasted about 5 minutes. There were no reports of ashfall, but the crater webcam captured the small plume rising from the active vent. Incandescence in the active crater continued to be seen on the monitoring cameras.

Geologic Background. Turrialba, the easternmost of Costa Rica's Holocene volcanoes, is a large vegetated basaltic-to-dacitic stratovolcano located across a broad saddle NE of Irazú volcano overlooking the city of Cartago. The massive edifice covers an area of 500 km2. Three well-defined craters occur at the upper SW end of a broad 800 x 2200 m summit depression that is breached to the NE. Most activity originated from the summit vent complex, but two pyroclastic cones are located on the SW flank. Five major explosive eruptions have occurred during the past 3500 years. A series of explosive eruptions during the 19th century were sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows. Fumarolic activity continues at the central and SW summit craters.

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/); Red Sismologica Nacional (RSN) a collaboration between a) the Sección de Sismología, Vulcanología y Exploración Geofísica de la Escuela Centroamericana de Geología de la Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), and b) the Área de Amenazas y Auscultación Sismológica y Volcánica del Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Costa Rica (URL: https://rsn.ucr.ac.cr/).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 21, Number 05 (May 1996)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Aira (Japan)

Explosive activity continues, decreased activity in May

Akademia Nauk (Russia)

Eruptions continue through April; more details of early January activity

Arenal (Costa Rica)

Tremor duration unusually large in April (434 hours), but normal in May (325 hours)

Asosan (Japan)

Crater glow

Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001) (Unknown)

Lidar data from Virginia, Germany, and Cuba

Azumayama (Japan)

Small-amplitude volcanic tremor

Fukutoku-Oka-no-Ba (Japan)

Discolored seawater

Hokkaido-Komagatake (Japan)

Steaming activity continues

Irazu (Costa Rica)

No tilt in April-May but tens of local earthquakes

Iwatesan (Japan)

Small-amplitude volcanic tremor

Karymsky (Russia)

Eruptions continue through April; more details of early January activity

Kilauea (United States)

Surface flows, ocean entries, and bench collapses; summit inflation episode

Kuchinoerabujima (Japan)

Number of volcanic earthquakes increases

Kujusan (Japan)

Seismic activity increases, but there is no ashfall

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Intermittent Vulcanian explosions produce ash-and-vapor clouds

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Low level activity persists

Poas (Costa Rica)

N crater lake at 10-year high; water temperature increases; phreatic explosion on 8 April

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Strong Strombolian eruption followed by less intense and more varied activity

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica)

Seven minor seismic events

Ruapehu (New Zealand)

Eruption on 17 June sends ash several kilometers above the summit

Ruiz, Nevado del (Colombia)

Earthquake swarms during July-September 1995 and January-April 1996

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Dome growth and evacuation continue in May

Stromboli (Italy)

Continued high levels of activity through mid-June; two larger explosions

Tokachidake (Japan)

Seismic activity increases

Toya (Japan)

Seismic activity increases

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea)

Low to moderate emission of steam continues

Unzendake (Japan)

Partial dome collapse triggers a pyroclastic flow



Aira (Japan) — May 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosive activity continues, decreased activity in May

During April, Miniami-dake crater produced 14 eruptions, including five that were explosive. Seismic station B, 2.3 km NW of Miniami-dake crater, recorded 364 earthquakes and 120 tremors. On 28 April an ash plume rose 3,500 m above the summit crater. This was the highest ash plume observed during the month. A monthly ashfall total of 8 g/m2 of ashfall was measured at the Kagoshima Local Meteorological Observatory (KMO), 10 km W from the crater.

During May, Minami-dake crater produced one explosive eruption. Station B recorded 64 earthquakes and three tremors. The highest ash plume of May rose 3,500 m above the summit crater. The ashfall total at KMO was 6 g/m2.

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

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


Akademia Nauk (Russia) — May 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)


Eruptions continue through April; more details of early January activity

Eruptions began on 2 January from the summit of Karymsky and from the lake (Karymsky Lake) within the Akademia Nauk caldera (figure 1), previously considered to be extinct (BGVN 21:01-21:03). Eruptive activity at [Karymsky] continued through the end of April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Schematic map showing some features of the SW part of the Karymsky Volcanic Center. Karymsky Lake lies within the Akademia Nauk Caldera. Courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology.

Precursory seismicity. Large tectonic earthquakes in the Kronotsky Gulf have historically been among the precursors to eruptions from Karymsky and Maly Semiachik volcanoes. At 1926 on 31 December 1995, a M 5.6 earthquake occurred in the Kronotsky Gulf (50-60 km NE) at a depth of ~60 km. Earthquake swarms are common beneath the large (50 x 35 km) Karymsky Volcanic Center, but an unusually large swarm started on the evening of 1 January with hypocenters to depths of 80 km (figure 2). These followed a M 5.2 foreshock, and at 2157 a shallow M 6.9 earthquake took place centered ~25 km S of Karymsky; this was the largest earthquake recorded beneath the Kamchatkan volcanoes during the past 50 years. Scientists from the Institute of Volcanology and the Kamchatkan Experimental-Methodical Seismological Department of Geophysical Survey, Russian Academy of Sciences, flew to the epicentral zone of the continuing earthquake swarm and observed the onset of the eruption.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Map and cross-sections of epicenters from the earthquake swarm at Karymsky Volcanic Center that began on 1 January 1996. Cross-section A-B (below map) trends approximately NW-SE, and cross-section C-D (left of map) trends approximately NE-SW. Courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology.

Early eruptions at Karymsky volcano. On the afternoon of 2 January the eruption began on Karymsky's upper SW flank 50 m below the old summit crater and from the Akademia Nauk caldera lake, ~6 km S (figure 3). Ash and gas clouds from the summit vent fed a plume rising to 1 km above the crater; the ash-flow rate was estimated to be several cubic meters per second. The eruption cloud extended E towards the ocean and ashfall was visible 40-50 km away.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Simultaneous eruptions of Karymsky (right) and Akademia Nauk (left) volcanoes, 2 January 1996. Distance between the summit vent of Karymsky and subaqueous vents in the Akademia Nauk caldera lake is 6 km. The Karymsky cone is 700 m high. Courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology.

On the evening on 3 January another crater formed on Karymsky; it looked like a 30-m-diameter amphitheater open to the SW. Sub-vertical Vulcanian explosions occurred from this crater to an altitude of 1 km. Over the next few days, explosions sent gas-and-ash emissions 300-1,100 m high almost every minute.

During the first three days of the eruption, ~500-800 x 103 tons of solid materials, including ash, lapilli, cinder, and bombs, were ejected at Karymsky. During the next 2-3.5 months ~3-4 x 103 tons of andesite-dacite tephra (SiO2 61%) and a small amount of bombs were ejected. An area with a radius of 15-20 km was covered by an ash layer several millimeters thick. The layer's thickness increased along the ashfall axis, reaching 20-30 mm at 4-5 km from the source.

Early eruptions at Akademia Nauk caldera lake. Violent subaqueous explosions on 2 January took place several times every hour in the N part of the 5-km-wide Akademia Nauk caldera lake (figure 4). Explosion clouds rose to 8 km altitude, but most of the tephra fell back into the lake. Ash from Karymsky Lake covered Akademia Nauk volcano and its surroundings. The head of the Karymsky River had its valley and adjacent flood-lands inundated by high water and mud flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. One of the powerful subaqueous explosions from the N part of Karymsky Lake (Akademia Nauk Caldera), 2 January 1996. The base of the growing cloud is ~1 km wide. Courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology.

Although the Akademia Nauk caldera lake had been ice-covered during the winter, after the January explosions water temperature reached 25°C, pH decreased from 7.5 to 3.1-3.2, and mineralization increased from 0.1 g/l to 0.9 g/l. Thermal water compositionally similar to those of the Karymsky springs started to discharge at a new shoal in the N part of the lake. According to preliminary estimates, ~0.015 km3 of material was supplied to the lake during the eruption.

After the lake water had cleared, a subaqueous deposit around the main explosion vent (with a diameter of 1 km) was observed. The N part of the deposit, ~1 km2, was exposed at the surface, forming an arched spit with the adjoining peninsula (figure 5). According to preliminary estimates, ~5-10 x 106 m3 of tephra including sand and rounded fragments of various sizes, and many bombs, formed the deposit there. Their composition ranged from basaltic andesite to andesite-dacite. The volume of deposits on the bottom of the lake is much greater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. View of Karymsky Lake showing the new 1-km-wide peninsula formed by subaqueous explosion deposits on 2 January 1996. The main vents are to the left of the beach arc. Courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology.

Activity through April. During the ensuing days in January, the eruption style at Karymsky dropped to 5-6 explosions reaching 500-900 m high every hour. More vigorous single explosions were exceptional. On 13-14 January, a block-lava flow from the flank crater traveled 400 m, was 50-70 m wide, and averaged 6-10 m thick. In late January the interval between explosions started to increase from 30 minutes to 2-3 hours.

In February only several explosions were observed each day (figure 6). In late February the number of explosions increased to 5-6/hour, but their intensity decreased. In March the number of explosions decreased but their intensity increased. In April the number of explosions increased. For example, on 23 April they took place every 5 minutes. Two additional lava flows were emitted from the flank crater in April.

A dense geodetic network developed since 1972 at the Karymsky Volcanic Center has been measured repeatedly. During the past 20 years, a horizontal extension of Akademia Nauk caldera was observed that may have indicated filling of a magma chamber under the volcano. Measurements made in February and March revealed an extension of 232 cm along the 3.5-km base and subsidence of 70 cm near the area of subaqueous explosions in the caldera lake.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Typical Vulcanian and Strombolian activity at Karymsky, January-April 1996. Courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology.

Karymsky Volcanic Center. Karymsky and Akademia Nauk are part of the 50 x 35 km Karymsky Volcanic Center (sometimes referred to as the Zhupanovsky volcano-tectonic depression). Located in the Eastern Kamchatka volcanic belt, 30 km from the Kronotsky Gulf and Pacific Ocean, this center contains 21 volcanic edifices, six calderas, and two historically active stratovolcanoes, Karymsky and Maly Semiachik.

The 5-km-diameter Karymsky Caldera formed 7,800 years ago and the Karymsky cone has been growing in the center of the caldera for 5,300 years, ejecting andesitic and dacitic materials. Historical reports on Karymsky's eruptions have been available since 1771. During that period of time, more than 20 prolonged eruptions were separated by quiet periods as long as 10 years. The most recent previous eruption continued from 1970 to 1982.

Akademia Nauk caldera, which was named by the famous Russian volcanologist Vladimir Vlodavetz in 1939, is located immediately to the S in the SW part of the Karymsky Volcanic Center. Its activity began about 50,000 years ago. The N part of the caldera is occupied by Karymsky Lake (4 km wide, 12.5 km2 in area, and 80 m deep). The Akademia Nauk chloride-sodium springs, with 1.3 g/l mineralization and temperatures >250°C in the interior part of the hydrothermal system, discharge along the lake's S shore.

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: S.A. Fedotov, V.A. Budhikov, G.A. Karpov, M.A. Maguskin, Ya.D. Muravyev, V.A. Saltykov, and R.A. Shuvalov, Institute of Volcanology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia.


Arenal (Costa Rica) — May 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)


Tremor duration unusually large in April (434 hours), but normal in May (325 hours)

Fluctuations in the intensity and frequency of explosive activity were reported by OVSICORI-UNA. Activity during April increased above that of the previous several months but diminished during May. The April increase was accompanied by a corresponding rise in the amount of pyroclastic material produced; columns ascended over 1 km above Crater C in April and somewhat lower in May; these were commonly blown towards the NW, W, and SW. Ashfall measured at the ICE station 1.8 km W of the vent was higher during March-May than earlier in the year (table 14).

Table 14. Ash collected 1.8 km W of Arenal's active vent. Courtesy of Gerardo Soto, ICE.

Collection Interval Avg daily ashfall (grams/m2) Ash % 300+µ Ash % less than 300µ
22 Dec-06 Mar 1996 33 50 50
06 Mar-15 Apr 1996 43 50 50
15 Apr-16 May 1996 48 56 44

During April and May, bombs and blocks fell to 1,200 m elevation. New pyroclastic-flow deposits were noted in April. Early April pyroclastic deposits descended the SW flank (to 1,000 m elevation) and those of late April descended the NW flank (to 1,250 m elevation). Light ash fell towards the N and NE in May.

Lava flows emitted in the previous month divided into two arms that both trended about NW. A new, NE-trending flow began during April and by the end of the month its front reached 1,200 m elevation. Sporadic avalanches fell off this front and sometimes reached into forested land. During May, continued descent of the flows to as low as 750 m elevation led to avalanches off their fronts producing small fires in the woods. Accumulating tephra and lava have caused Crater C's floor to rise an average of 5.4 m/year since 1987.

OVSICORI-UNA reported a progressive seismic buildup during April; over the course of the month the number of local earthquakes increased 4- to 6-fold peaking on the 27th. Station VACR (2.7 km NE of the Crater C) registered rather typical numbers of earthquakes for both April and May: 798 and 828 events, respectively. Many of these earthquakes were associated with Strombolian eruptions that took place on 20-28 April.

The number of hours of tremor during April, 434, was the highest measured in more than two years. While there occurred a progressive buildup in the number of earthquakes during April (ending on the 27th), tremor during the same interval fluctuated strongly, with daily totals between about 6 and 23 hours. May tremor totalled 325 hours. Results for monthly earthquakes and tremor obtained by ICE are smaller but also show relative increases (table 15).

Table 15. Average seismicity at Arenal, as recorded in Fortuna station, 3.5 km E of active vent. Courtesy of ICE.

Month Earthquakes/day Daily tremor (hours)
Jan 1996 44 4.25
Feb 1996 -- --
Mar 1996 47 5.61
Apr 1996 63 7.83

Deformation studies carried out during April and May indicated no significant changes in that time interval. By the end of April 1996 the distance network had indicated a contraction of 22.4 ppm/year during the last two years.

OVSICORI-UNA and a team of seven visiting scientists reported that on 1-9 March Arenal's summit was almost continuously visible due to abnormally clear weather. Two gas plumes were observed, the largest being associated with the continuing Strombolian activity. This plume had extremely variable output and was often ash laden. The smaller plume, which was emitted at a more-or-less constant rate (even during the Strombolian explosions), carried no ash. The separate plumes were thought to signify the existence of two or more summit vents.

The Strombolian activity remained vigorous and variable, with large bombs being regularly thrown over the crater rim, making access to points on the edifice above 1000 m extremely hazardous. The ash column sometimes collapsed, resulting in pyroclastic surges, some of which were witnessed. Ash fallout from the plume was observed to vary from a wet, fine powder to dry particles up to 0.5 mm in diameter. Ash occasionally fell on the lower western flanks of the volcano.

The two lava flows referred to above were active when observed by visiting scientists. One flow was more vigorous; it issued from a steeply leveed channel aligned westwards from the summit for 200 m before diverging northwestwards.

A survey of lava flows erupted during 1995 showed that the westward flow had halted at 750 m and was composed of Arenal's typical basaltic andesite. The visiting scientists saw one anomalously hot area at 850 m elevation on the N levee that was distinguished by escaping steam. The levee on the flow's opposite side had completely collapsed. The flow was beginning to be vegetated by moss and ferns. The westward flow, which halted at 850 m in November 1995, contained vesiculated lava as well as the usual basaltic andesite mixed with blocks of ash. Flow thickness at the front of the surveyed flow that lies to the NW was around 100 m.

SO2 fluxes were also measured by COSPEC as a follow-up to measurements made at the same time last year. Six days of flux data during 29 February-8 March were collected, the result of more than 40 measurements. Daily averages were 110, 194, 111, 130, 259, and 171 metric tons/day (t/d); the mean for the period was 163 ± 53 t/d (1 sigma). The flux appeared to be small and variable, though less so than at the same time last year (BGVN 20:04). The highest SO2 flux was associated with mild explosive eruptions. Also evident in the fluxes in some instances were both a strong post-eruption decrease and a possible gradual pre-eruption increase.

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; Hazel Rymer and Mark Davies, Dept. of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, United Kingdom; John Stix, Dora Knez, Glyn Williams-Jones, and Alexandre Beaulieu, Dept. de Geologie, Universite de Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, H3C 3J7, Canada; Nicki Stevens, Dept. of Geography, University of Reading, Reading RG2 2AB, United Kingdom; Gerardo J. Soto, Oficina de Sismología y Vulcanología, Departamento de Geología, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Apartado 10032-1000, San José, Costa Rica.


Asosan (Japan) — May 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Crater glow

Red glow has been observed over part of the S wall of Naka-dake Crater 1 since 27 April. The floor of this crater was still covered with water in May. Aso, a 24-km wide caldera, produced pyroclastic-flow deposits during the Pleistocene that cover much of Kyushu. Naka-dake, one of the 15 intra-caldera cones of Aso's caldera, has erupted more than 165 times since 553 AD.

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

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


Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001) (Unknown) — May 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001)

Unknown

Unknown, Unknown; summit elev. m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lidar data from Virginia, Germany, and Cuba

Lidar data from Virginia, USA, again revealed the presence of a volcanic aerosol layer centered at about 22 km altitude in April and May 1996 (table 6), somewhat higher than the 18-19 km measured during August-December 1995 (Bulletin v. 20, no. 10, and table 6). Over Germany, the aerosol layer was concentrated around 15-20 km altitude during January-April 1996, consistent with measurements made during late 1995 (Bulletin v. 21, no. 2). Backscattering ratios continued to show a decreasing trend at Hampton, and remained stable at Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Data from Cuba during January-April 1996 were highly variable, but still comparable to late-1995 data (Bulletin v. 21, no. 2). The base of the aerosol layer was consistently around 15-17.5 km (dropping to 12.7-13.3 km in April), but the layer peak ranged from 18.1 up to 27.1 km. Backscattering ratios were also variable, with seven measurements showing the expected slow decrease to the 1.11-1.17 range, but with the other six being anomalously high in the 1.35-1.51 range.

Table 6. Lidar data from Virginia, Cuba, and Germany showing altitudes of aerosol layers; some layers have multiple peaks. Backscattering ratios from Virginia are for the ruby wavelength of 0.69 µm; those from Germany and Cuba are for the Nd-YAG wavelength of 0.53 µm, with equivalent ruby values in parentheses for data from Germany. The integrated value shows total backscatter, expressed in steradians-1, integrated over 300-m intervals from 16-33 km for Cuba and from the tropopause to 30 km at Hampton and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Courtesy of Mary Osborn, Horst Jäger, and Rene Estevan.

DATE LAYER ALTITUDE (km) (peak) BACKSCATTERING RATIO BACKSCATTERING INTEGRATED
Hampton, Virginia (37.1°N, 76.3°W)
04 Dec 1995 13-25 (18.7) 1.22 1.05 x 10-4
25 Apr 1996 15-26 (22.4) 1.14 0.61 x 10-4
21 May 1996 15-28 (22.4) 1.18 0.64 x 10-4
31 May 1996 16-26 (22.0) 1.13 0.32 x 10-4
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (47.5°N, 11.0°E)
04 Jan 1996 10-32 (19.1) 1.15 (1.30) --
11 Jan 1996 09-31 (19.2) 1.14 (1.28) --
17 Jan 1996 10-30 (16.4) 1.13 (1.25) --
31 Jan 1996 10-28 (19.8) 1.12 (1.23) --
06 Feb 1996 09-28 (15.7) 1.11 (1.21) --
23 Feb 1996 10-27 (14.7) 1.13 (1.25) --
27 Feb 1996 10-27 (18.2) 1.10 (1.20) --
05 Mar 1996 09-31 (17.9) 1.13 (1.25) --
05 Mar 1996 PSC peak at 19.8 -- --
07 Mar 1996 09-28 (17.9) 1.14 (1.27) --
14 Mar 1996 10-31 (15.8) 1.15 (1.29) --
23 Mar 1996 12-28 (18.0) 1.13 (1.25) --
15 Apr 1996 10-27 (17.2) 1.12 (1.24) --
Camaguey, Cuba (21.2°N, 77.5°W)
19 Jan 1996 14.8 (19.9) 1.17 0.55 x 10-4
24 Jan 1996 15.1 (21.7) 1.08 0.12 x 10-4
29 Jan 1996 15.1 (18.7) 1.58 4.90 x 10-4
04 Feb 1996 15.4 (23.5) 1.35 1.40 x 10-4
09 Feb 1996 17.2 (27.1) 1.11 0.26 x 10-4
15 Feb 1996 17.5 (22.3) 1.51 1.00 x 10-4
15 Feb 1996 17.5 (23.8) 1.48 --
24 Feb 1996 17.2 (25.6) 1.11 0.27 x 10-4
02 Mar 1996 16.9 (23.8) 1.16 0.13 x 10-4
18 Mar 1996 15.1 (18.1) 1.17 0.66 x 10-4
31 Mar 1996 15.7 (21.4) 1.16 0.69 x 10-4
05 Apr 1996 12.7 (23.8) 1.36 3.20 x 10-4
12 Apr 1996 13.3 (19.4) 1.27 0.66 x 10-4

Information Contacts: Mary Osborn, NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC), Hampton VA 23665, USA; Horst Jäger, Fraunhofer -- Institut für Atmosphärische Umweltforschung, Kreuzeckbahnstrasse 19, D-8100 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany; Rene Estevan and Juan Carlos Antuña, Centro Meteorologico de Camagüey, Apartado 134, Camagüey 70100, Cuba [J.C.A is presently at Univ. Maryland, Dept. of Meteorology, College Park, MD 20742 USA];


Azumayama (Japan) — May 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Azumayama

Japan

37.735°N, 140.244°E; summit elev. 1949 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small-amplitude volcanic tremor

Small-amplitude volcanic tremors were detected on 26 April and 26 May. The last eruption occurred in December 1977. Earthquakes began in September 1977, followed by mud and sand spattering and ejection of small blocks in October, and active fuming in November. The small eruption on 7 December 1977 sent ash 500-1,000 m above the crater and produced minor ashfall. Similar ash ejections occurred through January 1978 (SEAN 03:01 and 03:02).

Geologic Background. The Azumayama volcanic group consists of a cluster of stratovolcanoes, shield volcanoes, lava domes, and pyroclastic cones. The andesitic and basaltic complex was constructed in two E-W rows above a relatively high basement of Tertiary sedimentary rocks and granodiorites west of Fukushima city. Volcanic activity has migrated to the east, with the Higashi-Azuma volcano group being the youngest. The symmetrical Azuma-Kofuji crater and a nearby fumarolic area on the flank of Issaikyo volcano are popular tourist destinations. The Azumayama complex contains several crater lakes, including Goshikinuma and Okenuma. Historical eruptions, mostly small phreatic explosions, have been restricted to Issaikyo volcano at the northern end of the Higashiyama group.

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


Fukutoku-Oka-no-Ba (Japan) — May 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)


Discolored seawater

During the first half of May, aviators of the Maritime Safety Agency and the Maritime Self-Defense Force reported discoloration of seawater at Fukutoku-Okanoba. Similar discoloration has been observed since November 1995 (BGVN 20:11/12, 21:01, 21:03, and 21:04). An overflight on 23 May indicated no discolored seawater.

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


Hokkaido-Komagatake (Japan) — May 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)


Steaming activity continues

Activity has declined since the eruptive events of March when two vents opened on and near the S side of Showa 4-nen (1929) crater, and a line of vents extending ~200 m N-S formed on the S part of the crater floor. The height of the gas plume remained at 100-200 m. A volcanic earthquake occurred on 15 May. No volcanic tremor was observed.

Komaga-take sits 30 km N of Hakodate City (population 320,000). The andesitic stratovolcano has a 2-km-wide horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the E. The volcano has generated large pyroclastic eruptions, including major historical eruptions in 1640, 1856, and 1929. In the 1640 eruption, debris from a partial summit collapse entered the sea resulting in a tsunami that killed 700 people. Although the 1929 eruption was one of the largest 20th century eruptions in Japan, it may not have had clear geophysical precursors.

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


Irazu (Costa Rica) — May 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)


No tilt in April-May but tens of local earthquakes

During May the lake's water was yellow in color and its surface dropped by 40 cm with respect to March 1996. Irazú's seismic station (IRZ2), located 5 km SW of the active crater, registered 55 and 26 events during April and May respectively; all were only detected locally. For the interval April through May dry-tilt measurements failed to show significant changes.

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) — May 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Iwatesan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small-amplitude volcanic tremor

Small-amplitude volcanic tremor was detected on 12 May. Tremor was last reported on 4 March (BGVN 21:03), and previously in January and 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) — May 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptions continue through April; more details of early January activity

Eruptions began on 2 January from the summit of Karymsky and from the lake (Karymsky Lake) within the Akademia Nauk caldera (figure 2), previously considered to be extinct (BGVN 21:01-21:03). Eruptive activity at [Karymsky] continued through the end of April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Schematic map showing some features of the SW part of the Karymsky Volcanic Center. Karymsky Lake lies within the Akademia Nauk Caldera. Courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology.

Precursory seismicity. Large tectonic earthquakes in the Kronotsky Gulf have historically been among the precursors to eruptions from Karymsky and Maly Semiachik volcanoes. At 1926 on 31 December 1995, a M 5.6 earthquake occurred in the Kronotsky Gulf (50-60 km NE) at a depth of ~60 km. Earthquake swarms are common beneath the large (50 x 35 km) Karymsky Volcanic Center, but an unusually large swarm started on the evening of 1 January with hypocenters to depths of 80 km (figure 3). These followed a M 5.2 foreshock, and at 2157 a shallow M 6.9 earthquake took place centered ~25 km S of Karymsky; this was the largest earthquake recorded beneath the Kamchatkan volcanoes during the past 50 years. Scientists from the Institute of Volcanology and the Kamchatkan Experimental-Methodical Seismological Department of Geophysical Survey, Russian Academy of Sciences, flew to the epicentral zone of the continuing earthquake swarm and observed the onset of the eruption.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Map and cross-sections of epicenters from the earthquake swarm at Karymsky Volcanic Center that began on 1 January 1996. Cross-section A-B (below map) trends approximately NW-SE, and cross-section C-D (left of map) trends approximately NE-SW. Courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology.

Early eruptions at Karymsky volcano. On the afternoon of 2 January the eruption began on Karymsky's upper SW flank 50 m below the old summit crater and from the Akademia Nauk caldera lake, ~6 km S (figure 4). Ash and gas clouds from the summit vent fed a plume (figure 5) rising to 1 km above the crater; the ash-flow rate was estimated to be several cubic meters per second. The eruption cloud extended E towards the ocean and ashfall was visible 40-50 km away.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Simultaneous eruptions of Karymsky (right) and Akademia Nauk (left) volcanoes, 2 January 1996. Distance between the summit vent of Karymsky and subaqueous vents in the Akademia Nauk caldera lake is 6 km. The Karymsky cone is 700 m high. Courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Continuous gas-and-ash emission from the new vent on the upper flank of Karymsky, 2 January 1996. Courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology.

On the evening on 3 January another crater formed on Karymsky; it looked like a 30-m-diameter amphitheater open to the SW. Sub-vertical Vulcanian explosions occurred from this crater to an altitude of 1 km. Over the next few days, explosions sent gas-and-ash emissions 300-1,100 m high almost every minute.

During the first three days of the eruption, ~500-800 x 103 tons of solid materials, including ash, lapilli, cinder, and bombs, were ejected at Karymsky. During the next 2-3.5 months ~3-4 x 103 tons of andesite-dacite tephra (SiO2 61%) and a small amount of bombs were ejected. An area with a radius of 15-20 km was covered by an ash layer several millimeters thick. The layer's thickness increased along the ashfall axis, reaching 20-30 mm at 4-5 km from the source.

Early eruptions at Akademia Nauk caldera lake. Violent subaqueous explosions on 2 January took place several times every hour in the N part of the 5-km-wide Akademia Nauk caldera lake (figure 6). Explosion clouds rose to 8 km altitude, but most of the tephra fell back into the lake. Ash from Karymsky Lake covered Akademia Nauk volcano and its surroundings. The head of the Karymsky River had its valley and adjacent flood-lands inundated by high water and mud flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. One of the powerful subaqueous explosions from the N part of Karymsky Lake (Akademia Nauk Caldera), 2 January 1996. The base of the growing cloud is ~1 km wide. Courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology.

Although the Akademia Nauk caldera lake had been ice-covered during the winter, after the January explosions water temperature reached 25°C, pH decreased from 7.5 to 3.1-3.2, and mineralization increased from 0.1 g/l to 0.9 g/l. Thermal water compositionally similar to those of the Karymsky springs started to discharge at a new shoal in the N part of the lake. According to preliminary estimates, ~0.015 km3 of material was supplied to the lake during the eruption.

After the lake water had cleared, a subaqueous deposit around the main explosion vent (with a diameter of 1 km) was observed. The N part of the deposit, ~1 km2, was exposed at the surface, forming an arched spit with the adjoining peninsula (figure 7). According to preliminary estimates, ~5-10 x 106 m3 of tephra including sand and rounded fragments of various sizes, and many bombs, formed the deposit there. Their composition ranged from basaltic andesite to andesite-dacite. The volume of deposits on the bottom of the lake is much greater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. View of Karymsky Lake showing the new 1-km-wide peninsula formed by subaqueous explosion deposits on 2 January 1996. The main vents are to the left of the beach arc. Courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology.

Activity through April. During the ensuing days in January, the eruption style at Karymsky dropped to 5-6 explosions reaching 500-900 m high every hour. More vigorous single explosions were exceptional. On 13-14 January, a block-lava flow from the flank crater traveled 400 m, was 50-70 m wide, and averaged 6-10 m thick. In late January the interval between explosions started to increase from 30 minutes to 2-3 hours.

In February only several explosions were observed each day (figure 8). In late February the number of explosions increased to 5-6/hour, but their intensity decreased. In March the number of explosions decreased but their intensity increased. In April the number of explosions increased. For example, on 23 April they took place every 5 minutes. Two additional lava flows were emitted from the flank crater in April.

A dense geodetic network developed since 1972 at the Karymsky Volcanic Center has been measured repeatedly. During the past 20 years, a horizontal extension of Akademia Nauk caldera was observed that may have indicated filling of a magma chamber under the volcano. Measurements made in February and March revealed an extension of 232 cm along the 3.5-km base and subsidence of 70 cm near the area of subaqueous explosions in the caldera lake.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Typical Vulcanian and Strombolian activity at Karymsky, January-April 1996. Courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology.

Karymsky Volcanic Center. Karymsky and Akademia Nauk are part of the 50 x 35 km Karymsky Volcanic Center (sometimes referred to as the Zhupanovsky volcano-tectonic depression). Located in the Eastern Kamchatka volcanic belt, 30 km from the Kronotsky Gulf and Pacific Ocean, this center contains 21 volcanic edifices, six calderas, and two historically active stratovolcanoes, Karymsky and Maly Semiachik.

The 5-km-diameter Karymsky Caldera formed 7,800 years ago and the Karymsky cone has been growing in the center of the caldera for 5,300 years, ejecting andesitic and dacitic materials. Historical reports on Karymsky's eruptions have been available since 1771. During that period of time, more than 20 prolonged eruptions were separated by quiet periods as long as 10 years. The most recent previous eruption continued from 1970 to 1982.

Akademia Nauk caldera, which was named by the famous Russian volcanologist Vladimir Vlodavetz in 1939, is located immediately to the S in the SW part of the Karymsky Volcanic Center. Its activity began about 50,000 years ago. The N part of the caldera is occupied by Karymsky Lake (4 km wide, 12.5 km2 in area, and 80 m deep). The Akademia Nauk chloride-sodium springs, with 1.3 g/l mineralization and temperatures >250°C in the interior part of the hydrothermal system, discharge along the lake's S shore.

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: S.A. Fedotov, V.A. Budhikov, G.A. Karpov, M.A. Maguskin, Ya.D. Muravyev, V.A. Saltykov, and R.A. Shuvalov, Institute of Volcanology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia.


Kilauea (United States) — May 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)


Surface flows, ocean entries, and bench collapses; summit inflation episode

Surface flows were limited to the area below 180 m elevation in late March and early April (figure 100). Through the end of March, the Kamokuna ocean entry exhibited frequent explosive activity. On 6 April the volume of lava entering the ocean diminished as breakouts from the tube increased. By the 8th, the entry was producing a moderate-sized plume, and many small pahoehoe flows were active on the coastal plain. Most of the activity during 9-22 April took place below 165 m elevation, near the base of Pulama Pali. The surface flows on the coastal flats below Paliuli entered the ocean, forming three new entries in addition to the long-lived Kamokuna entry. On 9 April, surface flows entered the sea at the E end of the 1994 Lae'apuki bench (figure 100). Another flow entered the sea in the Kamoamoa area on 15 April, about halfway between the E Lae'apuki and Kamokuna entries. On the 22nd, a small lobe of the flow feeding the E Lae'apuki entry branched off to the W and produced a small new entry. The Pu`u `O`o pond was ~80 m deep as of 18 April and had divided into two active areas separated by a 30-m-wide segment of stationary crust.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. Map of recent lava flows from Kilauea's east rift zone, April 1996. Contours are in meters and the contour interval is approximately 150 m. Courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

The three active ocean entries were mostly nonexplosive from 23 April to 6 May. On the night of 28 April a large collapse of the Kamokuna bench removed a piece roughly 100 m wide by 400 m long. Surface flow activity was concentrated on the coastal plain. A moderate size "rockfall" registered on 2 May at local seismic stations, suggesting a possible collapse near Pu`u `O`o.

Surface flows during 7-20 May were diminished compared to those of previous weeks and limited to small, short-lived pahoehoe breakouts on the coastal plain inland of the Lae'apuki ocean entry. Lava continued to enter the ocean at Lae'apuki, Kamoamoa, and Kamokuna, with only 10-20% of the total volume entering at Kamoamoa. A major bench collapse at Kamoamoa on 16 May removed the entire bench, along with a significant piece of older inland terrain, for a total area of 375 x 60 m. Coastal explosions were recorded on 9 and 16 May, possibly related to bench activity. The lava pond inside Pu`u `O`o was visible on 16 May and appeared unchanged at a level of 80-90 m below the rim.

On the afternoon of 11 May, two short bursts of rapid summit inflation during a three-hour period were accompanied by shallow seismic tremor up to 6x background level. They were followed by four hours of deflation. This event did not noticeably affect the location or volume of lava flows on the east rift zone.

Through 29 May the eruption continued with three active ocean entries and small pahoehoe breakouts on the coastal plain from the lava tube supplying the Kamoamoa entry. A large pahoehoe sheet flow was observed at 180 m elevation on 29 May. On 29-30 May the eruption gradually shut down over 18 hours. By the morning of 30 May, the ocean entries had died and the 13th pause of Episode 53 had begun. During the pause, the level of the lava pond in Pu`u `O`o cone fluctuated by as much as 30 m, rising to a high point of 58 m below the rim on 3 June. Lava also appeared on the floor of the Great Pit in the outer wall of the cone. This pause in the eruption lasted until 4 June.

Seismicity. Eruption tremor continued with amplitudes averaging ~2-3x background level from 26 March through 3 June. There were three episodes of weak, deep tremor from a SW source on 31 March, 2 April, and 5 April. A fourth tremor of moderate size from the same source occurred on 7 April. Daily counts of shallow, long-period summit events were moderate to low with a maximum of 119 on 27 March. Microearthquake counts then remained generally low beneath the summit and rift zones through 20 May. Shallow, long-period microearthquake counts increased during 21-22 May and again from 30 May to 3 June. A flurry of shallow earthquakes at the uppermost end of the Upper east rift zone began on 30 May. High counts persisted and peaked on 3 June, with >200 events for the day. The number of short-period events was low beneath the summit from 21 May to 3 June.

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) — May 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Number of volcanic earthquakes increases

According to reports of Sakura-jima Volcanological Observatory, Kyoto University, 86 earthquakes occurred around Shin-dake in May. Seismicity has been increasing since January 1996.

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. The youngest cone, centrally-located Shindake, formed after the NW side of Furudake was breached by an explosion. 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) — May 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Kujusan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismic activity increases, but there is no ashfall

The increased seismicity that began in late March and early April (BGVN 21:02 and 21:03) continued during May. The total number of earthquakes in May was 423, of which 283 occurred on the 14th. No volcanic tremor was observed. The plume height remained at 100-400 m for most of the month, but rose to 600 m on 14 May. There were no ashfalls.

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


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — May 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)


Intermittent Vulcanian explosions produce ash-and-vapor clouds

Crater 2 activity continued in May as in past months (BGVN 21:04) with intermittent Vulcanian explosions producing thin-to-thick white-to-gray/brown ash-and-vapor clouds. These clouds rose several hundred meters above the rim before being blown to the N, NW, and SE and producing fine ashfalls. Occasional explosions were heard. Glows of variable intensity were seen on most nights during the first three weeks. Weak projections of incandescent lava fragments were observed on 12 and 14 May. A daily range of 10-50 explosion earthquakes was recorded at the seismic station until it became non-operational on 24 May. Crater 3 remained quiet apart from a single emission of very thin white/gray vapor on 7 May.

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

Information Contacts: D. Lolok and C. McKee, RVO.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — May 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)


Low level activity persists

Low-level activity persisted during May as in previous months (BGVN 21:04). Both summit craters emitted white vapor in variable quantity. Blue vapor from South Crater was seen on 28 and 29 May, and weak roaring noises were heard on the evening of 6 May. Between 1 and 5 May the daily occurrence of low-frequency earthquakes ranged from 440 to 690 events/day. This value increased up to 800-1,690 events/day during 6-30 May. On the 31st the seismicity dropped to the early May level.

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

Information Contacts: D. Lolok and C. McKee, RVO.


Poas (Costa Rica) — May 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)


N crater lake at 10-year high; water temperature increases; phreatic explosion on 8 April

When observed by visiting scientists on 11-13 March, the lake in the active N crater was at its highest level since 1986, with a depth estimated at 50 m. The lake's color was pale green, its measured temperature, 32°C, and pH, 1.5.

The scientists noted three areas of fumarolic activity in the active crater with the strongest concentrated on the 1953-55 cone immediately S of the lake. Most of this activity was located on the NW side of the cone near lake level; in this area, high-pressure degassing exited from an E-W oriented fracture ~10 m above the lake's surface. These fumaroles have appeared since the beginning of 1996. Low-pressure fumaroles were also observed on the eastern top of the dome, with gas exiting through small cracks and crevices. Maximum temperatures were 93°C, suggesting that these were boiling-point fumaroles.

A second set of at least five individual fumaroles above the lake's W edge within the inner crater began appearing at the end of 1995, with the most recent one, which displayed the highest gas pressure, forming in March 1996. A third set of fumaroles had been observed since April 1995 in the crater's S area where the trail begins ascending to the Mirador; these had low pressure. Temperatures did not exceed 93°C, again indicating boiling-point fumaroles.

Microgravity measurements made in the crater area showed a continuation in the trend of increased gravity on the N crater floor and a new pattern of decreased gravity (~100 µgal in two years) on the S crater floor.

When visited by OVSCICORI-UNA scientists during April and May the surface of the light-gray crater lake had risen 0.4 and 96 cm, respectively, compared to March. The lake's temperature recently increased: in April it was 36°C and in May, 42°C (compared to 26°C in February and 30°C in March). As is typical, fumaroles clustered near the pyroclastic cone. Their temperatures measured 94°C during April and May; however, the most vigorously degassing zones were inaccessible. Some of these degassing zones continued to make loud noises and their condensed gases formed plumes that rose to 500 m above the crater floor. On the SE, S, and SW walls, maximum fumarole temperatures ranged between 91 and 94°C.

In addition to suspended sulfur and constant bubbling seen in the lake, small landslide deposits were noted leading into the lake from the crater walls. Park guards reported that when the wind blew to the S, visitors suffered from coughs and irritated eyes and skin. New fumaroles appeared along the E crater wall, coincident with high-frequency earthquakes and increased steam output at the pyroclastic cone.

Except for signals associated with a small phreatic eruption, seismic station POA2 registered relative quiet during April: 651 total earthquakes, 24 mid-frequency earthquakes, 17 high-frequency earthquakes, and four hours of tremor. During May POA2 registered 1,243 earthquakes, 29 mid-frequency earthquakes, 21 high-frequency earthquakes, and six hours of tremor. Some of the latter signals during May were correlated with increased fumarolic activity and the appearance of new fumaroles in the active crater.

On the morning of 8 April a low-frequency signal lasting for 223 seconds coincided with an eruption. Fieldwork on 12 April disclosed that the eruption had thrown blocks S to SW of the dome. The blocks had dimensions of up to 35 x 45 cm; in an area N of the lake, the diameter of some blocks reached 80 cm. The N, W, and SW walls of the lake were coated with light gray material ejected from the lake floor. Much of the same material fell back into the lake. Insubstantial deformation was seen during April and May.

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), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica; Hazel Rymer and Mark Davies, Dept. of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, United Kingdom; John Stix, Dora Knez, Glyn Williams-Jones, and Alexandre Beaulieu, Dept. de Geologie, Universite de Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, H3C 3J7, Canada; Nicki Stevens, Dept. of Geography, University of Reading, Reading RG2 2AB, United Kingdom.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — May 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)


Strong Strombolian eruption followed by less intense and more varied activity

On 11 May a Strombolian eruption took place at Tavurvur. Until early in May weak to moderate explosions occurred every few minutes and generated pale to dark-gray ash-and-vapor clouds that rose ~ 400-1,000 m before drifting 15-20 km downwind (mostly SE, S, and SW). Large incandescent ejecta were observed at night and roaring noises were heard from as much as 15 km away (BGVN 21:04).

Visible eruptive activity began to change mid-afternoon on 9 May. Vapor emissions reached ~1,500 m and seismicity increased to a peak around 2200, when a series of strong explosions started. By about 0800 on 10 May, the emissions were sub-continuous and explosions sent ash clouds ~2-2.5 km above the vent. The activity declined through the afternoon. Later that day the emission column was ~1.2-1.5 km high, with occasional explosion clouds rising 1.9 km. Shortly before midnight, explosions were occurring at intervals of ~5 minutes.

A moderate increase in activity began at midnight on 11 May. By 0245 it changed to Strombolian mode as explosions were occurring every 30 seconds, with increasing frequency and strength. Large bolts of lightning flashed through the growing eruption column. Slabs of lava ~10-15 m in diameter were ejected hundreds of meters above the vent, and meter-sized blocks were landing on the shore ~1 km from the vent. By 0300 the explosions and the lightning were almost continuous. The eruption column was a constant stream of incandescent lava fragments rising at least 400 m. There was a spontaneous evacuation of some people from nearby Matupit Island. Strong air-shock waves from the explosions were felt within a few kilometers from the summit. Irregular and continuous tremors were recorded, but observers noted that the shaking was due to the blasts and not to earthquakes.

Seismicity peaked at 0315. Within minutes the activity declined, the streaming of ejecta stopped, and the time between explosions increased to 30 seconds. By 0400 the activity had returned to the level observed on 10 May. At 0438 the first of a series of strong explosions, at irregular intervals of 10-40 seconds, sent incandescent ballistic blocks 1.5 km from Tavurvur. The last explosion, at 0728, generated and ash cloud that rose ~2.3 km.

During the following day a few large explosions occurred, but their frequency and strength were declining. The emissions were commonly white and blue vapors with occasional ash. By the end of 12 May the explosions stopped and seismicity consisted of irregular tremor. This type of activity persisted for 2-3 days, until 15 May when explosive activity resumed.

Several phases of intensified activity took place during the following weeks, but these were considerably less intense than that of 10-11 May. Seismicity remained weaker than during the previous five months (figure 26).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Seismicity at Rabaul for the period December 1995-May 1996 with detail over the days of peak activity in May. Courtesy of RVO.

A new electronic tiltmeter was installed on 30 April at Matupit Island, ~2.5 km WSW of Tavurvur. It initially measured moderate WNW downward tilt. This continued until 3 May when the pattern reversed and ESE downward tilt began. On 8 May, after accumulating ~10 µrad of rotation, the tilting pattern again changed and the instrument recorded WNW downward tilt. The WNW downward tilt that started on 8 May was probably related to the 9 May activity. The WNW downward tilt continued until 20 May, with rotation reaching up to 16 µrad. From 20 to 30 May the downward tilt returned to ESE and gradually decreased to zero.

The available COSPEC measurements showed a decline in SO2 emission rate from the range of ~500-900 metric tons/day (t/d) at the beginning of May to background values of a few hundred tons per day during 8-15 May. At the end of the month the emission rate increased to ~800 t/d. Although the 8-15 May data failed to portray any flux increases associated with the 10-11 May eruption, later, on 18 and 26 May, peaks in SO2 emissions correlated with some less dramatic periods of enhanced eruptive activity.

A total of 3,993 explosion earthquakes was recorded during May. Episodes of volcanic tremor numbered 106; more than 90% of these tremors took place during the 10-11 May eruption. Four high-frequency earthquakes were recorded during the month. Two of these were within the zone of defined by 1994 caldera seismicity.

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: D. Lolok and C. McKee, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 385, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — May 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)


Seven minor seismic events

During May seismic station RIN3 registered a total of seven events: two of high frequency and five of low frequency.

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

Information Contacts: 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.


Ruapehu (New Zealand) — May 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Ruapehu

New Zealand

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption on 17 June sends ash several kilometers above the summit

Between approximately 1430 on 15 June and 0100 on 16 June, volcanic tremor reached the highest levels recorded during the previous six months. There were no reports of volcanic activity accompanying this tremor episode; however, poor weather conditions prevented observations after the start of the tremor. At about 0600 on 17 June the level of volcanic tremor started to increase again. The first of several eruption plumes was seen around 0650; larger pulses were observed at 0710 and 0825. The plumes rose several kilometers, carrying voluminous amounts of coarse ash. Large blocks rising to heights of 400-500 m fell as far as 600-700 m from the vent. The second pulse was accompanied by a small lahar down the [E]-flank Whangaehu River valley (see map in BGVN 21:04). Ashfall was recorded as far N as Turangi, 32 km away, due to the prevailing southerly wind. The Alert Level was raised to 3, indicating a significant local eruption in progress (see BGVN 20:09).

Volcanic tremor continued to increase until about 1100 when it plateaued at levels similar to those during the 11-12 October 1995 eruptions. By about 1330 the level of tremor was starting to decline, and the style of activity changed to discrete explosive events. Around 1500 the volcano started to erupt every 10-15 minutes, sending ash-laden plumes to several kilometers height (figure 23). During an overflight around the same time, observers confirmed a small lahar down the Whangaehu catchment but no evidence for pyroclastic flows out of the summit crater basin. Light ashfalls occurred over much of the zone extending N from the volcano to the Bay of Plenty between the coastal towns of Tauranga and Whakatane. A significant Strombolian eruption during 2100-2200 on 17 June was characterized by loud detonations and sprays of glowing rocks ejected above the crater, and was accompanied by strong seismicity. Through to about 0300 several discrete eruption earthquakes were recorded, but the size and rate decreased through the morning of 18 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Satellite image of the Ruapehu eruption plume, 1512 on 17 June 1996. The ash cloud is rising to about 20 km altitude in clear weather over North Island, New Zealand. The image was created from NOAA-14 data by combining the visible, near infrared, and one thermal infrared wavelength band. Courtesy of Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research.

Observations made on overflights the morning of 18 June confirmed that the new lake was destroyed and the crater floor was dry. The active vent was in the S part of the crater floor, on which thick deposits of bombs and lapilli had accumulated. The bombs and blocks ejected during the night traveled farther than those erupted on 17 June, to ~1.5 km from the vent. Dome Shelter remained intact, as did the seismic signal from the shelter. On 18 June the active vent was producing weakly ash-charged plumes 1,000-2,000 m above the summit, which were blown downwind, forming a low-level haze at 1,500-3,000 m altitude.

Low-frequency volcanic tremor remained elevated, suggesting that molten material continued to move into the base of the volcano. This eruption was continuing at press time in late June, and had caused significant closures of airspace around the Auckland airport and all of North Island. Additional details will be reported next month.

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

Information Contacts: B.J. Scott, Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences (IGNS), Private Bag 2000, Wairakei, New Zealand; Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research Ltd., P.O. Box 38491, Wellington, New Zealand (URL: https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/).


Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — May 1996 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)


Earthquake swarms during July-September 1995 and January-April 1996

Almost two years of low-level seismicity ended in mid-March 1994 with the occurrence of a high-frequency earthquake swarm followed by long-period events and an explosion on 23 April (BGVN 19:05). Activity returned to low levels through the rest of 1994.

A mid-sized landslide in January 1995 descended the upper reach of the Lagunillas River but caused no significant damage. It was primarily caused by ground and ice-cap instability, not volcanism. Seismicity in July and August 1995 was stronger than in April 1994. Swarms of long-period events reached a maximum count of 1,050 events on 26 July with more than 6.3 x 108 ergs of energy released. Some of the events were related to explosions heard by scientists doing fieldwork some kilometers away from the Arenas Crater, but ash emission was not confirmed. No significant volcano-tectonic activity was registered. Swarms of long-period events during early September 1995 were similar to those of July-August, but were fewer in number and had less energy. This volcanic related seismicity was located mostly toward the Arenas Crater and the SW part of the volcano at shallow depths.

Seismicity during January-April 1996 remained low, except for the first 10 days of January when there was an increase of long-period screw-type events, with a high of seven on the 5th. Most of these events were located at shallow depths near Arenas Crater and over its W side. Screw-type events have become significant since May 1995. Some volcano-tectonic earthquake swarms also occurred during these four months. Two significant swarms were located toward the S part of the volcano, near the RECI seismic station (figure 47). In both swarms, maximum magnitudes were close to 3. Tremor signals were intermittent; some saturated the stations closest to Arenas Crater, but none were correlated to ash emissions. The electronic tiltmeter 800 m from Arenas Crater (FARA) did not show significant variations. During these four months there were a total of 657 volcano-tectonic earthquakes and 1,308 long-period events recorded by the observatory network. This suggests that processes related to fluids within the volcanic conduits were dominant over fracture-related processes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Location of telemetered stations and significant seismic events recorded at Ruiz during January-April 1996. Courtesy of INGEOMINAS.

Nevado del Ruiz, located 33 km SE of Manizales, is a broad stratovolcano of andesitic and dacitic lavas and andesitic pyroclastic deposits that cover more than 200 km2. Steep headwalls of massive landslides cut its flanks, and melting of its summit ice cap during historical eruptions resulted in devastating lahars. The last eruption began with moderate phreatic ejections on 11 September 1985. On 13 November 1985 an explosive eruption produced pyroclastic flows and surges that melted part of the summit ice cap. Major mudflows subsequently devastated Armero and other towns on the flanks of the volcano, causing over 23,000 fatalities. Intermittent minor ash emissions with occasional stronger phreato-magmatic eruptions continued until July 1991.

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: John Jairo Sánchez A., Fernando Gil Cruz, Alvaro Pablo Acevedo, John Makario Londoño, and Jairo Patiño Cifuentes, INGEOMINAS Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales (OVSM), A.A. 1296, Manizales, Caldas, Colombia.


Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — May 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)


Dome growth and evacuation continue in May

During May the dome's growth continued, accompanied by small intermittent pyroclastic flows and minor ashfalls that were mostly thought to be generated by rockfalls. Although activity during the first week of May appeared similar to the final week of April, visibility became poor after 5 May. When visible, the dome's new growth was manifested in rapid increases of summit elevation (on 19 April, 865 m; on 30 April, 896 m; on 2 May, 898 m; on 3 May, 909 m). This was followed by an apparent 2-m decrease (i.e. on 4 May, 907 m). Many rockfalls took place on the dome's NE and E flanks. Throughout early May small ash clouds repeatedly blew W depositing very small amounts of ash in the Upper Gages and Amersham areas.

Activity was characterized as slightly less elevated during the second week of May. However, visual observations on 11 May indicated that a small pyroclastic flow had traveled 300 m E of the base of old Castle Peak dome (into the Upper Tar River Valley passing just S of the path of the 3 April pyroclastic flows). Although this flow had set fire to some trees, no significant changes were observed, and small ash clouds again blew W depositing minor ash in the Upper Gages, Amersham, and Fort Barrington areas.

On 12 May the dome area discharged abnormally large ash clouds associated with at least three pyroclastic flows E of the crater down the Tar River. Relatively large ashfalls also took place in the WNW-NW sector at least as far as the coastal area (Fox's Bay). In some places the ashfall reached a maximum thickness of 3 mm. These ashfalls were reported in parts of southern and central Montserrat (including the settlements of Farrell's, Rileys, Windy Hill, Gages, Lees, St. George's Hill, Fox's Bay, Richmond Hill, Garibaldi Hill, Ile Bay, Old Towne, and Salem). Areas affected also included some settlements in the designated safe zone in the N part of the 13-km-long island (including Cork Hill, Weekes', Olveston, and Barzey's) and small amounts of ash fell in the volcano's E sector (Tar River, Long Ground, and Whites).

The 12 May episode began at about 0630 when near-continuous rockfalls took place on the dome's E flank lasting until about 0720. From 0720 to 0945 the rockfalls became intermittent and small but they still produced ash clouds. A further increase in activity produced pyroclastic flows that were seen in the Tar River Valley at around 0945, 0952, 1105 and 1153. The ones at 0945 and 1105 advanced more than 30 m over the sea; the one at 1153 stopped just short of the sea. Activity declined after about 1220 but small-to-moderate rockfalls continued intermittently.

The 12 May pyroclastic flows did not damage any structures but trees were set ablaze in the Tar River Valley area. Excellent views were obtained of the pyroclastic flows.

On 13 May, light ashfalls blew across the volcano's W and SW sectors. On 15 May small ash clouds again blew W; views then suggested that most of the rockfalls producing the ash came from the NE flank of the dome. In addition, on 15 May moderate amounts of steam escaped from the base of the dome's N side; at other times during the second week of May steam mainly escaped from the SW moat.

Rockfalls were especially abundant on 16 and 22 May. In addition, one on 19 May generated an ash plume that reportedly reached an altitude of about 1.2 km. Another on 20 May was associated with a small pyroclastic flow that traveled ~2 km NE of Chances Peak down the Upper Tar River Valley (as far as Hermitage).

Visibility was generally poor for most of the third week of May allowing only brief views into the crater to establish the dome's main areas of growth on the N and NE flanks. When visibility improved on 20 May, nine days after the previous observation on 11 May, the dome contained several smaller spines and a large broad spine at the top. The large spine rose ~20 m and leaned slightly NE. Observers saw no morphological clues for the source of the 12 May pyroclastic flows, possibly because any topographic signs may have been erased by mass wasting during the intervening week. During brief observations from a helicopter, rockfalls mainly cascaded down the dome's N and NE flanks; fewer came down the vigorously steaming SE flank. Very poor visibility returned on 21 and 22 May.

During the week ending on 29 May, visibility gradually improved allowing remote measurement of 200-250°C dome surface temperatures. Observers on 24 May saw at least three spines on top of the dome (none more than 15 m high) and vigorous steaming from both the NW moat and several areas of the dome. A mudflow that descended the Upper Tar River Valley had apparently formed due to heavy rainfall on the previous night (23-24 May). Also noted was a clear scar on the dome's lower NE flank. About a meter deep and perhaps 5- to 10-m wide, the scar provided a path for ongoing rockfalls.

Observations on 26 May indicated dome growth focused on the dome's E, NE, S, and W parts. Also during the week ending on 29 May, the absence of strong wind allowed the development of near vertical ash plumes, some of which ascended up to 2-km altitude. On 29 May observers saw several small pyroclastic flows that started near the upper dome and flowed E down the Tar River Valley, stopping no farther than the Tar River Soufriere.

Seismicity during May is summarized in table 3. Intense hybrid seismicity took place on 2-3 May; otherwise seismic activity for late April through May was dominated by near-continuous broadband tremor, in some cases lasting up to several days. Tremor duration remained qualitative because it was saved on analog recorders; the gains and filters on these recorders were periodically changed in order to look at other types of seismicity, leaving no consistent record for quantitative analysis. In addition to tremor, rockfall signals were also common.

Table 3. Seismic data from Soufriere Hills, May 1996. Courtesy of MVO.

Date Volcano-tectonic Long-period Hybrid Rockfall Amount of tremor
02 May 1996 0 32 52 46 Intermediate
03 May 1996 1 2 345 50 Intermediate to high
04 May 1996 0 5 11 27 Intermediate
05 May 1996 0 11 1 67 Intermediate to high
06 May 1996 0 2 6 55 Intermediate
07 May 1996 0 7 5 50 Low
08 May 1996 0 21 5 64 Low
09 May 1996 0 21 0 73 Low
10 May 1996 1 16 0 97 Low
11 May 1996 1 4 0 62 Low
12 May 1996 0 6 0 109 Low
13 May 1996 0 15 0 127 None
14 May 1996 0 18 0 147 None
15 May 1996 2 50 67 103 None
16 May 1996 0 2 12 80 Low to intermediate
17 May 1996 0 4 8 33 Low to intermediate
18 May 1996 1 12 2 25 Low
19 May 1996 1 9 13 34 Low to intermediate
20 May 1996 0 7 8 43 Intermediate
21 May 1996 0 4 0 32 Intermediate to high
22 May 1996 0 7 0 60 Intermediate to high
23 May 1996 0 12 0 64 Intermediate to high
24 May 1996 0 19 0 50 Low
25 May 1996 0 17 1 104 Low
26 May 1996 0 12 8 114 Intermediate
27 May 1996 1 13 5 85 Intermediate
28 May 1996 1 13 4 86 Intermediate to high
29 May 1996 0 12 3 83 Low to intermediate
30 May 1996 1 5 0 17 Low to intermediate
31 May 1996 1 14 96 97 Intermediate to high

Some of the deformation measurements made during May were taken on the E and S triangles on 26 May. The line lengths on the southern triangle had shortened by 8 to 9 mm since 21 April, while the eastern triangle had shortened by ~1 cm since 20 May. These data obtained by the EDM technique were consistent with recent GPS measurements conducted by the Alan Smith and colleagues from the University of Puerto Rico.

The bulk of the SO2 flux measurements were made with a car-mounted COSPEC driven under the plume (between Cork Hill and St. Patrick's) at ~20 km/hr (table 4). Wind speeds were measured with a hand-held annemometer before and after each day's runs at Windy Hill (3.4 km N of Chances Peak), the windiest spot accessible by road. Typical SO2 fluxes were in the range of 25-205 metric tons/day (t/d). An exception was the 13 May measurement of 357 t/d.

Table 4. Correlation spectrometer (COSPEC) SO2 flux measurements at Soufriere Hills, 28 April-22 May 1996. Courtesy of MVO.

Date Number of measurements Mean (t/d) Sigma
28 Apr 1996 4 26 5
29 Apr 1996 3 86 10
01 May 1996 5 97 29
02 May 1996 3 177 29
03 May 1996 5 89 11
04 May 1996 5 76 17
05 May 1996 3 54 10
09 May 1996 4 138 11
10 May 1996 5 123 46
11 May 1996 4 96 30
13 May 1996 3 357 119
17 May 1996 5 130 29
18 May 1996 5 129 39
19 May 1996 5 203 54
20 May 1996 4 164 31
21 May 1996 5 205 56
22 May 1996 -- 130 --

Resettlement. Since 3 April shelters have housed 1,381 residents. About another 3,000 people rented or shared accommodations in the homes of friends and relatives. The W. H. Bramble airport remained open. Pre-fabricated buildings were erected and church and school buildings were converted to temporary shelters; in addition, the government prepared an ancillary hospital and a power station in the safe area; it made road repairs, upgraded fuel storage, relocated livestock on farms, and established programs for sport, culture, counselling, and guidance.

As of 24 April no plan for mass off-island evacuation for the island's 10,000 inhabitants had been implemented; instead the British and CARICOM governments favored voluntary evacuation. Some residents could remain on Montserrat at the N end of the island, in the area considered comparatively safe by Wadge and Isaacs (1988) and by scientists at MVO. Participants who go to the U.K. could be eligible for employment, income support, housing, and the enrollment of children in British schools for two years.

Reference. Wadge, G., and Isaacs, M.C., 1988, Mapping the volcanic hazards from Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat, West Indies using an image processor: Journal of the Geological Society of London, v. 145, no. 4, p. 541-551.

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/); Alan L. Smith, Univ. Puerto Rico, Dept. of Geology, Mayaguez, PR 00680 USA.


Stromboli (Italy) — May 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued high levels of activity through mid-June; two larger explosions

Seismicity began slowly increasing in mid-March before a sudden jump in tremor intensity on 15-16 April (BGVN 21:04). Observations made by Marco Fulle confirmed that the elevated seismicity corresponded to increased eruptive activity. During the night of 15-16 April about 100 explosions occurred. Continuous fountains from the N part of vent 1/2 (see sketch in BGVN 21:04) rose 50 m and lasted 1-2 hours. The S part of vent 1/2 produced large explosions to heights of 150-200 m that deposited bombs on the terrace beyond vent 3/2. Activity from vent 3/1 consisted of continuous pulsing of incandescent gas and explosions every 2-3 hours. Vent 3/2 produced simultaneous explosions every 10-30 minutes from two vents. Similar activity and ~50 explosions were seen the night of 20-21 April. Additional observations included glowing ex-hornitos in vent 1/3 with regular steam pulses. Vent 3/2 explosions covered the terrace S of Crater 3 with bombs.

Observations of summit activity made during 21-28 April by Alean, Carniel, and Iacop revealed similar activity consisting of continuous spattering and intermittent explosions from Crater 1 (BGVN 21:04). Seismicity remained at high levels through mid-May (BGVN 21:04).

IIV report of 1 and 6 June explosions. At 2147 on 1 June, local seismic stations maintained by the Istituto Internazionale di Vulcanologia (IIV) recorded a powerful event lasting ~3 minutes. Eyewitnesses at Stromboli village reported a single strong blast followed by the fallout of red bombs on the upper N slope. Incandescent bombs fell on vegetation, causing a fire that was extinguished by Civil Protection aircraft in the late morning of 2 June. More than twenty tourists were visiting the summit at the time of the explosion. Some of them reported light burns caused by hot lapilli fallout and minor injuries made while escaping on the steep slope.

A field survey early on 2 June revealed that the explosion occurred at Crater 1. The chain of hornitos inside Crater 1 was blown out, leaving a large deep depression in the N side of the crater floor. The ejected material completely covered the summit, falling more than 500 m to the S and E, and reaching ~1,000 m on the N sector, where it fell on the vegetation. The deposit was made of black scoriaceous bombs, covered by Pele's hair, reddish blocks, and a small amount of fine material. On the Pizzo area, where people usually stay to observe the activity (250 m SE from the vent), the falling bombs ranged between 10 and 50 cm in size, and they covered the area with a density of 3-4/m2.

Strombolian activity after this event shortly returned to a medium intensity and a normal frequency (3-4 events/hour). In the days after there were several hours without any activity alternating to mild Strombolian activity and after 5 June spattering activity lasting several minutes was occasionally observed.

At 0452 on 6 June another strong seismic event from Crater 1 was smaller than the 1 June event and lasted ~1 minute. The eruption was recorded by the surveillance video camera on the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa, 120 m above the vent and 250 m away; the camera had been restored two days earlier. A few people observed the explosion and reported an ash column to a few hundred meters high and bomb fallout on the Sciara del Fuoco. The video showed a very fast gray-brown jet that ascended at ~30 m/second at the upper limit of the camera view; most of the bomb and block fallout was behind the camera. The ash emission lasted ~2 minutes, but at the end only overpressured steam was emitted.

After the explosion, Strombolian activity continued at Crater 1. During fieldwork that afternoon, activity was characterized by low-intensity explosions with emission of bombs and brown ash, interrupted by sporadic strong explosions that produced a larger amount of bombs followed by an almost continuous spattering for 5-15 minutes. All pyroclastic materials fell close to the craters but during the larger explosion some bombs were thrown a few hundred meters from the vents. The Strombolian activity continued through at least 10 June, showing periods of mild explosions interrupted by strong explosions and short periods of continuous spattering.

Observations on 8-9 and 11-12 June. Marco Fulle made observations from Pizzo sopra la Fossa for six hours on the night of 8-9 June. Vent 1/2 exhibited continuous fountaining 50 m high with larger pulses every 5-10 minutes and ejection of meter-sized lava clots. The vent also produced 35 explosions 100-200 m high, with bombs over the Sciara del Fuoco and the terrace up to Crater 2, and meter-sized lava clots inside Crater 1. Vent 3/1 was inactive, but vent 3/2 produced 20 explosions 50 m high with a lot of ash and bombs ejected inside the crater.

Observations from Pizzo sopra la Fossa were again made for six hours on the night of 11-12 June. Vent 1/2 again produced continuous fountaining and 46 explosions. Vent 3/1 remained inactive. Vent 3/2 generated 37 explosions 100-250 m high with minor ash. Fountaining occurred during the explosions and near-vertical jets of bombs fell S of the crater rim and over vent 3/1.

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

Information Contacts: Mauro Coltelli, CNR Istituto Internazionale di Vulcanologia (IIV), Piazza Roma 2, Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ingv.it/en/); Marco Fulle, Osservatorio Astronomico, Via Tiepolo 11, I-34131 Trieste, Italy.


Tokachidake (Japan) — May 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Tokachidake

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismic activity increases

High seismicity during 18-22 May included 50 events on the 19th. Neither volcanic tremor nor any geophysical changes were observed. A seismicity increase also occurred in December 1995 (BGVN 20:11/12).

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

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


Toya (Japan) — May 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Toya

Japan

42.544°N, 140.839°E; summit elev. 733 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismic activity increases

The number of earthquakes gradually increased to 18 during the first half of May.

The latest eruptive activity consisted of major explosions in August 1977 that were followed by rapid cryptodome growth. More explosions took place in November 1977, became more vigorous and frequent the following summer, and ended in October 1978. Dome growth and seismicity continued for several years and ceased abruptly in 1982 (SEAN 08:12).

Geologic Background. Usuzan, one of Hokkaido's most well-known volcanoes, is a small stratovolcano located astride the southern topographic rim of the 110,000-year-old Toya caldera. The center of the 10-km-wide, lake-filled caldera contains Nakajima, a group of forested Pleistocene andesitic lava domes. The summit of the basaltic-to-andesitic edifice of Usu is cut by a somma formed about 20-30,000 years ago when collapse of the volcano produced a debris avalanche that reached the sea. Dacitic domes erupted along two NW-SE-trending lines fill and flank the summit caldera. Three of these domes, O-Usu, Ko-Usu and Showashinzan, along with seven crypto-domes, were erupted during historical time. The 1663 eruption of Usu was one of the largest in Hokkaido during historical time. The war-time growth of Showashinzan from 1943-45 was painstakingly documented by the local postmaster, who created the first detailed record of growth of a lava dome.

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


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — May 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)


Low to moderate emission of steam continues

The low-level activity of previous months persisted through April and May. White vapor continued to be released in small to moderate volumes, but the rate decreased in May. Seismic activity remained at low levels. The seismograph became non-operational on 23 May.

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: D. Lolok and C. McKee, RVO.


Unzendake (Japan) — May 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Unzendake

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Partial dome collapse triggers a pyroclastic flow

On 1 May a pyroclastic flow was triggered by the partial collapse of an unstable lava dome. Dome collapse causing pyroclastic flows was a common occurrence during the 1990-1995 eruption. Pyroclastic flows began again in February, and tremor was recorded in March. The large Unzen volcanic complex covers much of the Shimabara Peninsula E of Nagasaki. Mayu-yama lava dome was the source of a devastating 1792 avalanche and tsunami.

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

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


Central Chile and Argentina


Estero de Parraguirre


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

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

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

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



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

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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


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

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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