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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

Masaya (Nicaragua) Lava lake level drops but remains active through May 2020; weak gas plumes

Shishaldin (United States) Intermittent thermal activity and a possible new cone at the summit crater during February-May 2020

Krakatau (Indonesia) Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and crater incandescence during April 2020

Taal (Philippines) Eruption on 12 January with explosions through 22 January; steam plumes continuing into March

Unnamed (Tonga) Additional details and pumice raft drift maps from the August 2019 submarine eruption

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Strombolian activity November 2019 through May 2020; lava flow down the SE flank in April

Nyamuragira (DR Congo) Intermittent thermal anomalies within the summit crater during December 2019-May 2020

Nyiragongo (DR Congo) Activity in the lava lake and small eruptive cone persists during December 2019-May 2020

Kavachi (Solomon Islands) Discolored water plumes seen using satellite imagery in 2018 and 2020

Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) Eruption and ash plumes begin on 11 January 2020 and continue through April 2020

Soputan (Indonesia) Minor ash emissions during 23 March and 2 April 2020

Heard (Australia) Eruptive activity including a lava flow during October 2019-April 2020



Masaya (Nicaragua) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake level drops but remains active through May 2020; weak gas plumes

Masaya, which is about 20 km NW of the Nicaragua’s capital of Managua, is one of the most active volcanoes in that country and has a caldera that contains a number of craters (BGVN 43:11). The Santiago crater is the one most currently active and it contains a small lava lake that emits weak gas plumes (figure 85). This report summarizes activity during February through May 2020 and is based on Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) monthly reports and satellite data. During the reporting period, the volcano was relatively calm, with only weak gas plumes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Satellite images of Masaya from Sentinel-2 on 18 April 2020, showing and a small gas plume drifting SW (top, natural color bands 4, 3, 2) and the lava lake (bottom, false color bands 12, 11, 4). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

According to INETER, thermal images of the lava lake and temperature data in the fumaroles were taken using an Omega infrared gun and a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) SC620 thermal camera. The temperatures above the lava lake have decreased since November 2019, when the temperature was 287°C, dropping to 96°C when measured on 14 May 2020. INETER attributed this decrease to subsidence in the level of the lava lake by 5 m which obstructed part of the lake and concentrated the gas emissions in the weak plume. Convection continued in the lava lake, which in May had decreased to a diameter of 3 m. Many landslides had occurred in the E, NE, and S walls of the crater rim due to rock fracturing caused by the high heat and acidity of the emissions.

During the reporting period, the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system recorded numerous thermal anomalies from the lava lake based on MODIS data (figure 86). Infrared satellite images from Sentinel-2 regularly showed a strong signature from the lava lake through 18 May, after which the volcano was covered by clouds.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Thermal anomalies at Masaya during February through May 2020. The larger anomalies with black lines are more distant and not related to the volcano. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Measurements of sulfur dioxide (SO2) made by INETER in the section of the Ticuantepe - La Concepción highway (just W of the volcano) with a mobile DOAS system varied between a low of just over 1,000 metric tons/day in mid-November 2019 to a high of almost 2,500 tons/day in late May. Temperatures of fumaroles in the Cerro El Comalito area, just ENE of Santiago crater, ranged from 58 to 76°C during February-May 2020, with most values in the 69-72°C range.

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

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


Shishaldin (United States) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Shishaldin

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal activity and a possible new cone at the summit crater during February-May 2020

Shishaldin is located near the center of Unimak Island in Alaska, with the current eruption phase beginning in July 2019 and characterized by ash plumes, lava flows, lava fountaining, pyroclastic flows, and lahars. More recently, in late 2019 and into January 2020, activity consisted of multiple lava flows, pyroclastic flows, lahars, and ashfall events (BGVN 45:02). This report summarizes activity from February through May 2020, including gas-and-steam emissions, brief thermal activity in mid-March, and a possible new cone within the summit crater. The primary source of information comes from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) reports and various satellite data.

Volcanism during February 2020 was relatively low, consisting of weakly to moderately elevated surface temperatures during 1-4 February and occasional small gas-and-steam plumes (figure 37). By 6 February both seismicity and surface temperatures had decreased. Seismicity and surface temperatures increased slightly again on 8 March and remained elevated through the rest of the reporting period. Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions were also visible from mid-March (figure 38) through May. Minor ash deposits visible on the upper SE flank may have been due to ash resuspension or a small collapse event at the summit, according to AVO.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Photo of a gas-and-steam plume rising from the summit crater at Shishaldin on 22 February 2020. Photo courtesy of Ben David Jacob via AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. A Worldview-2 panchromatic satellite image on 11 March 2020 showing a gas-and-steam plume rising from the summit of Shishaldin and minor ash deposits on the SE flank (left). Aerial photo showing minor gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit crater on 11 March (right). Some erosion of the snow and ice on the upper flanks is a result of the lava flows from the activity in late 2019 and early 2020. Photo courtesy of Matt Loewen (left) and Ed Fischer (right) via AVO.

On 14 March, lava and a possible new cone were visible in the summit crater using satellite imagery, accompanied by small explosion signals. Strong thermal signatures due to the lava were also seen in Sentinel-2 satellite data and continued strongly through the month (figure 39). The lava reported by AVO in the summit crater was also reflected in satellite-based MODIS thermal anomalies recorded by the MIROVA system (figure 40). Seismic and infrasound data identified small explosions signals within the summit crater during 14-19 March.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images (bands 12, 11, 8A) show a bright hotspot (yellow-orange) at the summit crater of Shishaldin during mid-March 2020 that decreases in intensity by late March. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. MIROVA thermal data showing a brief increase in thermal anomalies during late March 2020 and on two days in late April between periods of little to no activity. Courtesy of MIROVA.

AVO released a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) stating that seismicity had decreased by 16 April and that satellite data no longer showed lava or additional changes in the crater since the start of April. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery continued to show a weak hotspot in the crater summit through May (figure 41), which was also detected by the MIROVA system on two days. A daily report on 6 May reported a visible ash deposit extending a short distance SE from the summit, which had likely been present since 29 April. AVO noted that the timing of the deposit corresponds to an increase in the summit crater diameter and depth, further supporting a possible small collapse. Small gas-and-steam emissions continued intermittently and were accompanied by weak tremors and occasional low-frequency earthquakes through May (figure 42). Minor amounts of sulfur dioxide were detected in the gas-and-steam emissions during 20 and 29 April, and 2, 16, and 28 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images (bands 12, 11, 8A) show occasional gas-and-steam emissions rising from Shishaldin on 26 February (top left) and 24 April 2020 (bottom left) and a weak hotspot (yellow-orange) persisting at the summit crater during April and early May 2020. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. A Worldview-1 panchromatic satellite image showing gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit of Shishaldin on 1 May 2020 (local time) (left). Aerial photo of the N flank of Shishaldin with minor gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit on 8 May (right). Photo courtesy of Matt Loewen (left) and Levi Musselwhite (right) via AVO.

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

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


Krakatau (Indonesia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and crater incandescence during April 2020

Krakatau, located in the Sunda Strait between Indonesia’s Java and Sumatra Islands, experienced a major caldera collapse around 535 CE, forming a 7-km-wide caldera ringed by three islands. On 22 December 2018, a large explosion and flank collapse destroyed most of the 338-m-high island of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) and generated a deadly tsunami (BGVN 44:03). The near-sea level crater lake inside the remnant of Anak Krakatau was the site of numerous small steam and tephra explosions. A larger explosion in December 2019 produced the beginnings of a new cone above the surface of crater lake (BGVN 45:02). Recently, volcanism has been characterized by occasional Strombolian explosions, dense ash plumes, and crater incandescence. This report covers activity from February through May 2020 using information provided by the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, also known as Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Activity during February 2020 consisted of dominantly white gas-and-steam emissions rising 300 m above the crater, according to PVMBG. According to the Darwin VAAC, a ground observer reported an eruption on 7 and 8 February, but no volcanic ash was observed. During 10-11 February, a short-lived eruption was detected by seismograms which produced an ash plume up to 1 km above the crater drifting E. MAGMA Indonesia reported two eruptions on 18 March, both of which rose to 300 m above the crater. White gas-and-steam emissions were observed for the rest of the month and early April.

On 10 April PVMBG reported two eruptions, at 2158 and 2235, both of which produced dark ash plumes rising 2 km above the crater followed by Strombolian explosions ejecting incandescent material that landed on the crater floor (figures 108 and 109). The Darwin VAAC issued a notice at 0145 on 11 April reporting an ash plume to 14.3 km altitude drifting WNW, however this was noted with low confidence due to the possible mixing of clouds. During the same day, an intense thermal hotspot was detected in the HIMAWARI thermal satellite imagery and the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide page showed a strong SO2 plume at 11.3 km altitude drifting W (figure 110). The CCTV Lava93 webcam showed new lava flows and lava fountaining from the 10-11 April eruptions. This activity was evident in the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) graph of MODIS thermal anomaly data (figure 111).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. Webcam (Lava93) images of Krakatau on 10 April 2020 showing Strombolian explosions, strong incandescence, and ash plumes rising from the crater. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. Webcam image of incandescent Strombolian explosions at Krakatau on 10 April 2020. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. Strong sulfur dioxide emissions rising from Krakatau and drifting W were detected using the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite on 11 April 2020 (top row). Smaller volumes of SO2 were visible in Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI maps on 13 (bottom left) and 19 April (bottom right). Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. Thermal activity at Anak Krakatau from 29 June-May 2020 shown on a MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph. The power and frequency of the thermal anomalies sharply increased in mid-April. After the larger eruptive event in mid-April the thermal anomalies declined slightly in strength but continued to be detected intermittently through May. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Strombolian activity rising up to 500 m continued into 12 April and was accompanied by SO2 emissions that rose 3 km altitude, drifting NW according to a VAAC notice. PVMBG reported an eruption on 13 April at 2054 that resulted in incandescence as high as 25 m above the crater. Volcanic ash, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions, continued intermittently through 18 April, many of which were observed by the CCTV webcam. After 18 April only gas-and-steam plumes were reported, rising up to 100 m above the crater; Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed faint thermal anomalies in the crater (figure 112). SO2 emissions continued intermittently throughout April, though at lower volumes and altitudes compared to the 11th. MODIS satellite data seen in MIROVA showed intermittent thermal anomalies through May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 112. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing the cool crater lake on 20 March (top left) followed by minor heating of the crater during April and May 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.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/); 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).


Taal (Philippines) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Taal

Philippines

14.002°N, 120.993°E; summit elev. 311 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption on 12 January with explosions through 22 January; steam plumes continuing into March

Taal volcano is in a caldera system located in southern Luzon island and is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. It has produced around 35 recorded eruptions since 3,580 BCE, ranging from VEI 1 to 6, with the majority of eruptions being a VEI 2. The caldera contains a lake with an island that also contains a lake within the Main Crater (figure 12). Prior to 2020 the most recent eruption was in 1977, on the south flank near Mt. Tambaro. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Philippines reports that over 450,000 people live within 40 km of the caldera (figure 13). This report covers activity during January through February 2020 including the 12 to 22 January eruption, and is based on reports by Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), satellite data, geophysical data, and media reports.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Annotated satellite images showing the Taal caldera, Volcano Island in the caldera lake, and features on the island including Main Crater. Imagery courtesy of Planet Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Map showing population totals within 14 and 17 km of Volcano Island at Taal. Courtesy of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The hazard status at Taal was raised to Alert Level 1 (abnormal, on a scale of 0-5) on 28 March 2019. From that date through to 1 December there were 4,857 earthquakes registered, with some felt nearby. Inflation was detected during 21-29 November and an increase in CO2 emission within the Main Crater was observed. Seismicity increased beginning at 1100 on 12 January. At 1300 there were phreatic (steam) explosions from several points inside Main Crater and the Alert Level was raised to 2 (increasing unrest). Booming sounds were heard in Talisay, Batangas, at 1400; by 1402 the plume had reached 1 km above the crater, after which the Alert Level was raised to 3 (magmatic unrest).

Phreatic eruption on 12 January 2020. A seismic swarm began at 1100 on 12 January 2020 followed by a phreatic eruption at 1300. The initial activity consisted of steaming from at least five vents in Main Crater and phreatic explosions that generated 100-m-high plumes. PHIVOLCS raised the Alert Level to 2. The Earth Observatory of Singapore reported that the International Data Center (IDC) for the Comprehensive test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in Vienna noted initial infrasound detections at 1450 that day.

Booming sounds were heard at 1400 in Talisay, Batangas (4 km NNE from the Main Crater), and at 1404 volcanic tremor and earthquakes felt locally were accompanied by an eruption plume that rose 1 km; ash fell to the SSW. The Alert Level was raised to 3 and the evacuation of high-risk barangays was recommended. Activity again intensified around 1730, prompting PHIVOLCS to raise the Alert Level to 4 and recommend a total evacuation of the island and high-risk areas within a 14-km radius. The eruption plume of steam, gas, and tephra significantly intensified, rising to 10-15 km altitude and producing frequent lightning (figures 14 and 15). Wet ash fell as far away as Quezon City (75 km N). According to news articles schools and government offices were ordered to close and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (56 km N) in Manila suspended flights. About 6,000 people had been evacuated. Residents described heavy ashfall, low visibility, and fallen trees.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Lightning produced during the eruption of Taal during 1500 on 12 January to 0500 on 13 January 2020 local time (0700-2100 UTC on 12 January). Courtesy of Chris Vagasky, Vaisala.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Lightning strokes produced during the first days of the Taal January 2020 eruption. Courtesy of Domcar C Lagto/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock via The Guardian.

In a statement issued at 0320 on 13 January, PHIVOLCS noted that ashfall had been reported across a broad area to the north in Tanauan (18 km NE), Batangas; Escala (11 km NW), Tagaytay; Sta. Rosa (32 km NNW), Laguna; Dasmariñas (32 km N), Bacoor (44 km N), and Silang (22 km N), Cavite; Malolos (93 km N), San Jose Del Monte (87 km N), and Meycauayan (80 km N), Bulacan; Antipolo (68 km NNE), Rizal; Muntinlupa (43 km N), Las Piñas (47 km N), Marikina (70 km NNE), Parañaque (51 km N), Pasig (62 km NNE), Quezon City, Mandaluyong (62 km N), San Juan (64 km N), Manila; Makati City (59 km N) and Taguig City (55 km N). Lapilli (2-64 mm in diameter) fell in Tanauan and Talisay; Tagaytay City (12 km N); Nuvali (25 km NNE) and Sta (figure 16). Rosa, Laguna. Felt earthquakes (Intensities II-V) continued to be recorded in local areas.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Ashfall from the Taal January 2020 eruption in Lemery (top) and in the Batangas province (bottom). Photos posted on 13 January, courtesy of Ezra Acayan/Getty Images, Aaron Favila/AP, and Ted Aljibe/AFP via Getty Images via The Guardian.

Magmatic eruption on 13 January 2020. A magmatic eruption began during 0249-0428 on 13 January, characterized by weak lava fountaining accompanied by thunder and flashes of lightning. Activity briefly waned then resumed with sporadic weak fountaining and explosions that generated 2-km-high, dark gray, steam-laden ash plumes (figure 17). New lateral vents opened on the N flank, producing 500-m-tall lava fountains. Heavy ashfall impacted areas to the SW, including in Cuenca (15 km SSW), Lemery (16 km SW), Talisay, and Taal (15 km SSW), Batangas (figure 18).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Ash plumes seen from various points around Taal in the initial days of the January 2020 eruption, posted on 13 January. Courtesy of Eloisa Lopez/Reuters, Kester Ragaza/Pacific Press/Shutterstock, Ted Aljibe/AFP via Getty Images, via The Guardian.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Map indicating areas impacted by ashfall from the 12 January eruption through to 0800 on the 13th. Small yellow circles (to the N) are ashfall report locations; blue circles (at the island and to the S) are heavy ashfall; large green circles are lapilli (particles measuring 2-64 mm in diameter). Modified from a map courtesy of Lauriane Chardot, Earth Observatory of Singapore; data taken from PHIVOLCS.

News articles noted that more than 300 domestic and 230 international flights were cancelled as the Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport was closed during 12-13 January. Some roads from Talisay to Lemery and Agoncillo were impassible and electricity and water services were intermittent. Ashfall in several provinces caused power outages. Authorities continued to evacuate high-risk areas, and by 13 January more than 24,500 people had moved to 75 shelters out of a total number of 460,000 people within 14 km.

A PHIVOLCS report for 0800 on the 13th through 0800 on 14 January noted that lava fountaining had continued, with steam-rich ash plumes reaching around 2 km above the volcano and dispersing ash SE and W of Main Crater. Volcanic lighting continued at the base of the plumes. Fissures on the N flank produced 500-m-tall lava fountains. Heavy ashfall continued in the Lemery, Talisay, Taal, and Cuenca, Batangas Municipalities. By 1300 on the 13th lava fountaining generated 800-m-tall, dark gray, steam-laden ash plumes that drifted SW. Sulfur dioxide emissions averaged 5,299 metric tons/day (t/d) on 13 January and dispersed NNE (figure 19).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Compilation of sulfur dioxide plumes from TROPOMI overlaid in Google Earth for 13 January from 0313-1641 UT. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page and Google Earth.

Explosions and ash emission through 22 January 2020. At 0800 on 15 January PHIVOLCS stated that activity was generally weaker; dark gray, steam-laden ash plumes rose about 1 km and drifted SW. Satellite images showed that the Main Crater lake was gone and new craters had formed inside Main Crater and on the N side of Volcano Island.

PHIVOLCS reported that activity during 15-16 January was characterized by dark gray, steam-laden plumes that rose as high as 1 km above the vents in Main Crater and drifted S and SW. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 4,186 t/d on 15 January. Eruptive events at 0617 and 0621 on 16 January generated short-lived, dark gray ash plumes that rose 500 and 800 m, respectively, and drifted SW. Weak steam plumes rose 800 m and drifted SW during 1100-1700, and nine weak explosions were recorded by the seismic network.

Steady steam emissions were visible during 17-21 January. Infrequent weak explosions generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1 km and drifted SW. Sulfur dioxide emissions fluctuated and were as high as 4,353 t/d on 20 January and as low as 344 t/d on 21 January. PHIVOLCS reported that white steam-laden plumes rose as high as 800 m above main vent during 22-28 January and drifted SW and NE; ash emissions ceased around 0500 on 22 January. Remobilized ash drifted SW on 22 January due to strong low winds, affecting the towns of Lemery (16 km SW) and Agoncillo, and rose as high as 5.8 km altitude as reported by pilots. Sulfur dioxide emissions were low at 140 t/d.

Steam plumes through mid-April 2020. The Alert Level was lowered to 3 on 26 January and PHIVOLCS recommended no entry onto Volcano Island and Taal Lake, nor into towns on the western side of the island within a 7-km radius. PHIVOLCS reported that whitish steam plumes rose as high as 800 m during 29 January-4 February and drifted SW (figure 20). The observed steam plumes rose as high as 300 m during 5-11 February and drifted SW.

Sulfur dioxide emissions averaged around 250 t/d during 22-26 January; emissions were 87 t/d on 27 January and below detectable limits the next day. During 29 January-4 February sulfur dioxide emissions ranged to a high of 231 t/d (on 3 February). The following week sulfur dioxide emissions ranged from values below detectable limits to a high of 116 t/d (on 8 February).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Taal Volcano Island producing gas-and-steam plumes on 15-16 January 2020. Courtesy of James Reynolds, Earth Uncut.

On 14 February PHIVOLCS lowered the Alert Level to 2, noting a decline in the number of volcanic earthquakes, stabilizing ground deformation of the caldera and Volcano Island, and diffuse steam-and-gas emission that continued to rise no higher than 300 m above the main vent during the past three weeks. During 14-18 February sulfur dioxide emissions ranged from values below detectable limits to a high of 58 tonnes per day (on 16 February). Sulfur dioxide emissions were below detectable limits during 19-20 February. During 26 February-2 March steam plumes rose 50-300 m above the vent and drifted SW and NE. PHIVOLCS reported that during 4-10 March weak steam plumes rose 50-100 m and drifted SW and NE; moderate steam plumes rose 300-500 m and drifted SW during 8-9 March. During 11-17 March weak steam plumes again rose only 50-100 m and drifted SW and NE.

PHIVOLCS lowered the Alert Level to 1 on 19 March and recommended no entry onto Volcano Island, the area defined as the Permanent Danger Zone. During 8-9 April steam plumes rose 100-300 m and drifted SW. As of 1-2 May 2020 only weak steaming and fumarolic activity from fissure vents along the Daang Kastila trail was observed.

Evacuations. According to the Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) there were a total of 53,832 people dispersed to 244 evacuation centers by 1800 on 15 January. By 21 January there were 148,987 people in 493 evacuation. The number of residents in evacuation centers dropped over the next week to 125,178 people in 497 locations on 28 January. However, many residents remained displaced as of 3 February, with DROMIC reporting 23,915 people in 152 evacuation centers, but an additional 224,188 people staying at other locations.

By 10 February there were 17,088 people in 110 evacuation centers, and an additional 211,729 staying at other locations. According to the DROMIC there were a total of 5,321 people in 21 evacuation centers, and an additional 195,987 people were staying at other locations as of 19 February.

The number of displaced residents continued to drop, and by 3 March there were 4,314 people in 12 evacuation centers, and an additional 132,931 people at other locations. As of 11 March there were still 4,131 people in 11 evacuation centers, but only 17,563 staying at other locations.

Deformation and ground cracks. New ground cracks were observed on 13 January in Sinisian (18 km SW), Mahabang Dahilig (14 km SW), Dayapan (15 km SW), Palanas (17 km SW), Sangalang (17 km SW), and Poblacion (19 km SW) Lemery; Pansipit (11 km SW), Agoncillo; Poblacion 1, Poblacion 2, Poblacion 3, Poblacion 5 (all around 17 km SW), Talisay, and Poblacion (11 km SW), San Nicolas (figure 21). A fissure opened across the road connecting Agoncillo to Laurel, Batangas. New ground cracking was reported the next day in Sambal Ibaba (17 km SW), and portions of the Pansipit River (SW) had dried up.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Video screenshots showing ground cracks that formed during the Taal unrest and captured on 15 and 16 January 2020. Courtesy of James Reynolds, Earth Uncut.

Dropping water levels of Taal Lake were first observed in some areas on 16 January but reported to be lake-wide the next day. The known ground cracks in the barangays of Lemery, Agoncillo, Talisay, and San Nicolas in Batangas Province widened a few centimeters by 17 January, and a new steaming fissure was identified on the N flank of the island.

GPS data had recorded a sudden widening of the caldera by ~1 m, uplift of the NW sector by ~20 cm, and subsidence of the SW part of Volcano Island by ~1 m just after the main eruption phase. The rate of deformation was smaller during 15-22 January, and generally corroborated by field observations; Taal Lake had receded about 30 cm by 25 January but about 2.5 m of the change (due to uplift) was observed around the SW portion of the lake, near the Pansipit River Valley where ground cracking had been reported.

Weak steaming (plumes 10-20 m high) from ground cracks was visible during 5-11 February along the Daang Kastila trail which connects the N part of Volcano Island to the N part of the main crater. PHIVOLCS reported that during 19-24 February steam plumes rose 50-100 m above the vent and drifted SW. Weak steaming (plumes up to 20 m high) from ground cracks was visible during 8-14 April along the Daang Kastila trail which connects the N part of Volcano Island to the N part of the main crater.

Seismicity. Between 1300 on 12 January and 0800 on 21 January the Philippine Seismic Network (PSN) had recorded a total of 718 volcanic earthquakes; 176 of those had magnitudes ranging from 1.2-4.1 and were felt with Intensities of I-V. During 20-21 January there were five volcanic earthquakes with magnitudes of 1.6-2.5; the Taal Volcano network (which can detect smaller events not detectable by the PSN) recorded 448 volcanic earthquakes, including 17 low-frequency events. PHIVOLCS stated that by 21 January hybrid earthquakes had ceased and both the number and magnitude of low-frequency events had diminished.

Geologic Background. Taal is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines and has produced some of its most powerful historical eruptions. Though not topographically prominent, its prehistorical eruptions have greatly changed the landscape of SW Luzon. The 15 x 20 km Talisay (Taal) caldera is largely filled by Lake Taal, whose 267 km2 surface lies only 3 m above sea level. The maximum depth of the lake is 160 m, and several eruptive centers lie submerged beneath the lake. The 5-km-wide Volcano Island in north-central Lake Taal is the location of all historical eruptions. The island is composed of coalescing small stratovolcanoes, tuff rings, and scoria cones that have grown about 25% in area during historical time. Powerful pyroclastic flows and surges from historical eruptions have caused many fatalities.

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/); Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) (URL: https://dromic.dswd.gov.ph/); United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Philippines (URL: https://www.unocha.org/philippines); James Reynolds, Earth Uncut TV (Twitter: @EarthUncutTV, URL: https://www.earthuncut.tv/, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TyphoonHunter); Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc., Louisville, Colorado, USA (URL: https://www.vaisala.com/en?type=1, Twitter: @COweatherman, URL: https://twitter.com/COweatherman); Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, 50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore (URL: https://www.earthobservatory.sg/); 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/); Relief Web, Flash Update No. 1 - Philippines: Taal Volcano eruption (As of 13 January 2020, 2 p.m. local time) (URL: https://reliefweb.int/report/philippines/flash-update-no-1-philippines-taal-volcano-eruption-13-january-2020-2-pm-local); Bloomberg, Philippines Braces for Hazardous Volcano Eruption (URL: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-12/philippines-raises-alert-level-in-taal-as-volcano-spews-ash); National Public Radio (NPR), Volcanic Eruption In Philippines Causes Thousands To Flee (URL: npr.org/2020/01/13/795815351/volcanic-eruption-in-philippines-causes-thousands-to-flee); Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/); Agence France-Presse (URL: http://www.afp.com/); Pacific Press (URL: http://www.pacificpress.com/); Shutterstock (URL: https://www.shutterstock.com/); Getty Images (URL: http://www.gettyimages.com/); Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/).


Unnamed (Tonga) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Unnamed

Tonga

18.325°S, 174.365°W; summit elev. -40 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Additional details and pumice raft drift maps from the August 2019 submarine eruption

In the northern Tonga region, approximately 80 km NW of Vava’u, large areas of floating pumice, termed rafts, were observed starting as early as 7 August 2019. The area of these andesitic pumice rafts was initially 195 km2 with the layers measuring 15-30 cm thick and were produced 200 m below sea level (Jutzeler et al. 2020). The previous report (BGVN 44:11) described the morphology of the clasts and the rafts, and their general westward path from 9 August to 9 October 2019, with the first sighting occurring on 9 August NW of Vava’u in Tonga. This report updates details regarding the submarine pumice raft eruption in early August 2019 using new observations and data from Brandl et al. (2019) and Jutzeler et al. (2020).

The NoToVE-2004 (Northern Tonga Vents Expedition) research cruise on the RV Southern Surveyor (SS11/2004) from the Australian CSIRO Marine National Facility traveled to the northern Tonga Arc and discovered several submarine basalt-to-rhyolite volcanic centers (Arculus, 2004). One of these volcanic centers 50 km NW of Vava’u was the unnamed seamount (volcano number 243091) that had erupted in 2001 and again in 2019, unofficially designated “Volcano F” for reference purposes by Arculus (2004) and also used by Brandl et al. (2019). It is a volcanic complex that rises more than 1 km from the seafloor with a central 6 x 8.7 km caldera and a volcanic apron measuring over 50 km in diameter (figures 19 and 20). Arculus (2004) described some of the dredged material as “fresh, black, plagioclase-bearing lava with well-formed, glassy crusts up to 2cm thick” from cones by the eastern wall of the caldera; a number of apparent flows, lava or debris, were observed draping over the northern wall of the caldera.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Visualization of the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano (marked “Volcano F”) using bathymetric data to show the site of the 6-8 August 2020 eruption and the rest of the cone complex. Courtesy of Philipp Brandl via GEOMAR.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Map of the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano using satellite imagery, bathymetric data, with shading from the NW. The yellow circle indicates the location of the August 2019 activity. Young volcanic cones are marked “C” and those with pit craters at the top are marked with “P.” Courtesy of Brandl et al. (2019).

The International Seismological Centre (ISC) Preliminary Bulletin listed a particularly strong (5.7 Mw) earthquake at 2201 local time on 5 August, 15 km SSW of the volcano at a depth of 10 km (Brandl et al. 2019). This event was followed by six slightly lower magnitude earthquakes over the next two days.

Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed two concentric rings originating from a point source (18.307°S 174.395°W) on 6 August (figure 21), which could be interpreted as small weak submarine plumes or possibly a series of small volcanic cones, according to Brandl et al. (2019). The larger ring is about 1.2 km in diameter and the smaller one measures 250 m. By 8 August volcanic activity had decreased, but the pumice rafts that were produced remained visible through at least early October (BGVN 44:11). Brandl et al. (2019) states that, due to the lack of continued observed activity rising from this location, the eruption was likely a 2-day-long event during 6-8 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Sentinel-2 satellite image of possible gas/vapor emissions (streaks) on 6 August 2019 drifting NW, which is the interpreted site for the unnamed Tongan seamount. The larger ring is about 1.2 km in diameter and the smaller one measures 250 m. Image using False Color (urban) rendering (bands 12, 11, 4); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The pumice was first observed on 9 August occurred up to 56 km from the point of origin, according to Jutzeler et al. (2020). By calculating the velocity (14 km/day) of the raft using three satellites, Jutzeler et al. (2020) determined the pumice was erupted immediately after the satellite image of the submarine plumes on 6 August (UTC time). Minor activity at the vent may have continued on 8 and 11 August (UTC time) with pale blue-green water discoloration (figure 22) and a small (less than 1 km2) diffuse pumice raft 2-5 km from the vent.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Sentinel-2 satellite image of the last visible activity occurring W of the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano on 8 August 2019, represented by slightly discolored blue-green water. Image using Natural Color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) and enhanced with color correction; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Continuous observations using various satellite data and observations aboard the catamaran ROAM tracked the movement and extent of the pumice raft that was produced during the submarine eruption in early August (figure 23). The first visible pumice raft was observed on 8 August 2019, covering more than 136.7 km2 between the volcanic islands of Fonualei and Late and drifting W for 60 km until 9 August (Brandl et al. 2019; Jutzeler 2020). The next day, the raft increased to 167.2-195 km2 while drifting SW for 74 km until 14 August. Over the next three days (10-12 August) the size of the raft briefly decreased in size to less than 100 km2 before increasing again to 157.4 km2 on 14 August; at least nine individual rafts were mapped and identified on satellite imagery (Brandl et al. 2019). On 15 August sailing vessels observed a large pumice raft about 75 km W of Late Island (see details in BGVN 44:11), which was the same one as seen in satellite imagery on 8 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Map of the extent of discolored water and the pumice raft from the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano between 8 and 14 August 2019 using imagery from NASA’s MODIS, ESA’s Sentinel-2 satellite, and observations from aboard the catamaran ROAM (BGVN 44:11). Back-tracing the path of the pumice raft points to a source location at the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano. Courtesy of Brandl et al. (2019).

By 17 August high-resolution satellite images showed an area of large and small rafts measuring 222 km2 and were found within a field of smaller rafts for a total extent of 1,350 km2, which drifted 73 km NNW through 22 August before moving counterclockwise for three days (figure f; Jutzeler et al., 2020). Small pumice ribbons encountered the Oneata Lagoon on 30 August, the first island that the raft came into contact (Jutzeler et al. 2020). By 2 September, the main raft intersected with Lakeba Island (460 km from the source) (figure 24), breaking into smaller ribbons that started to drift W on 8 September. On 19 September the small rafts (less than 100 m x less than 2 km) entered the strait between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, the two main islands of Fiji, while most of the others were stranded 60 km W in the Yasawa Islands for more than two months (Jutzeler et al., 2020).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Time-series map of the raft dispersal from the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano using multiple satellite images. A) Map showing the first days of the raft dispersal starting on 7 August 2019 and drifting SW from the vent (marked with a red triangle). Precursory seismicity that began on 5 August is marked with a white star. By 15-17 August the raft was entrained in an ocean loop or eddy. The dashed lines represent the path of the sailing vessels. B) Map of the raft dispersal using high-resolution Sentinel-2 and -3 imagery. Two dispersal trails (red and blue dashed lines) show the daily dispersal of two parts of the raft that were separated on 17 August 2019. Courtesy of Jutzeler et al. (2020).

References: Arculus, R J, SS2004/11 shipboard scientists, 2004. SS11/2004 Voyage Summary: NoToVE-2004 (Northern Tonga Vents Expedition): submarine hydrothermal plume activity and petrology of the northern Tofua Arc, Tonga. https://www.cmar.csiro.au/data/reporting/get file.cfm?eovpub id=901.

Brandl P A, Schmid F, Augustin N, Grevemeyer I, Arculus R J, Devey C W, Petersen S, Stewart M , Kopp K, Hannington M D, 2019. The 6-8 Aug 2019 eruption of ‘Volcano F’ in the Tofua Arc, Tonga. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2019.106695

Jutzeler M, Marsh R, van Sebille E, Mittal T, Carey R, Fauria K, Manga M, McPhie J, 2020. Ongoing Dispersal of the 7 August 2019 Pumice Raft From the Tonga Arc in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean. AGU Geophysical Research Letters: https://doi.orh/10.1029/2019GL086768.

Geologic Background. A submarine volcano along the Tofua volcanic arc was first observed in September 2001. The newly discovered volcano lies NW of the island of Vava'u about 35 km S of Fonualei and 60 km NE of Late volcano. The site of the eruption is along a NNE-SSW-trending submarine plateau with an approximate bathymetric depth of 300 m. T-phase waves were recorded on 27-28 September 2001, and on the 27th local fishermen observed an ash-rich eruption column that rose above the sea surface. No eruptive activity was reported after the 28th, but water discoloration was documented during the following month. In early November rafts and strandings of dacitic pumice were reported along the coast of Kadavu and Viti Levu in the Fiji Islands. The depth of the summit of the submarine cone following the eruption determined to be 40 m during a 2007 survey; the crater of the 2001 eruption was breached to the E.

Information Contacts: Jan Steffen, Communication and Media, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany; Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

56.056°N, 160.642°E; summit elev. 4754 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian activity November 2019 through May 2020; lava flow down the SE flank in April

Klyuchevskoy is part of the Klyuchevskaya volcanic group in northern Kamchatka and is one of the most frequently active volcanoes of the region. Eruptions produce lava flows, ashfall, and lahars originating from summit and flank activity. This report summarizes activity during October 2019 through May 2020, and is based on reports by the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) and satellite data.

There were no activity reports from 1 to 22 October, but gas emissions were visible in satellite images. At 1020 on 24 October (2220 on 23 October UTC) KVERT noted that there was a small ash component in the ash plume from erosion of the conduit, with the plume reaching 130 km ENE. The Aviation Colour Code was raised from Green to Yellow, then to Orange the following day. An ash plume continued on the 25th to 5-7 km altitude and extending 15 km SE and 70 km SW and reached 30 km ESE on the 26th. Similar activity continued through to the end of the month.

Moderate gas emissions continued during 1-19 November, but the summit was obscured by clouds. Strong nighttime incandescence was visible at the crater during the 10-11 November and thermal anomalies were detected on 8 and 10-13 November. Explosions produced ash plumes up to 6 km altitude on the 20-21st and Strombolian activity was reported during 20-22 November. Degassing continued from 23 November through 12 December, and a thermal anomaly was visible on the days when the summit was not covered by clouds. An ash plume was reported moving to the NW on the 13th, and degassing with a thermal anomaly and intermittent Strombolian activity then resumed, continuing through to the end of December with an ash plume reported on the 30th.

Gas-and-steam plumes continued into January 2020 with incandescence noted when the summit was clear (figure 33). Strombolian activity was reported again starting on the 3rd. A weak ash plume produced on the 6th extended 55 km E, and on the 21st an ash plume reached 5-5.5 km altitude and extended 190 km NE (figure 34). Another ash plume the next day rose to the same altitude and extended 388 km NE. During 23-29 Strombolian activity continued, and Vulcanian activity produced ash plumes up to 5.5 altitude, extending to 282 km E on the 30th, and 145 km E on the 31st.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Incandescence and degassing were visible at Klyuchevskoy through January 2020, seen here on the 11th. Courtesy of KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. A low ash plume at Klyuchevskoy on 21 January 2020 extended 190 km NE. Courtesy of KVERT.

Strombolian activity continued throughout February with occasional explosions producing ash plumes up to 5.5 km altitude, as well as gas-and-steam plumes and a persistent thermal anomaly with incandescence visible at night. Starting in late February thermal anomalies were detected much more frequently, and with higher energy output compared to the previous year (figure 35). A lava fountain was reported on 1 March with the material falling back into the summit crater. Strombolian activity continued through early March. Lava fountaining was reported again on the 8th with ejecta landing in the crater and down the flanks (figure 36). A strong persistent gas-and-steam plume containing some ash continued along with Strombolian activity through 25 March (figure 37), with Vulcanian activity noted on the 20th and 25th. Strombolian and Vulcanian activity was reported through the end of March.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. This MIROVA thermal energy plot for Klyuchevskoy for the year ending 29 April 2020 (log radiative power) shows intermittent thermal anomalies leading up to more sustained energy detected from February through March, then steadily increasing energy through April 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Strombolian explosions at Klyuchevskoy eject incandescent ash and gas, and blocks and bombs onto the upper flanks on 8 and 10 March 2020. Courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Weak ash emission from the Klyuchevskoy summit crater are dispersed by wind on 19 and 29 March 2020, with ash depositing on the flanks. Courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

Activity was dominantly Strombolian during 1-5 April and included intermittent Vulcanian explosions from the 6th onwards, with ash plumes reaching 6 km altitude. On 18 April a lava flow began moving down the SE flank (figures 38). A report on the 26th reported explosions from lava-water interactions with avalanches from the active lava flow, which continued to move down the SE flank and into the Apakhonchich chute (figures 39 and 40). This continued throughout April and May with sustained Strombolian and intermittent Vulcanian activity at the summit (figures 41 and 42).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Strombolian activity produced ash plumes and a lava flow down the SE flank of Klyuchevskoy on 18 April 2020. Courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. A lava flow descends the SW flank of Klyuchevskoy and a gas plume is dispersed by winds on 21 April 2020. Courtesy of Yu. Demyanchuk, IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images show the progression of the Klyuchevskoy lava flow from the summit crater down the SE flank from 19-29 April 2020. Associated gas plumes are dispersed in various directions. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Strombolian activity at Klyuchevskoy ejects incandescent ejecta, gas, and ash above the summit on 27 April 2020. Courtesy of D. Bud'kov, IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Klyuchevskoy show the progression of the SE flank lava flow through May 2020, with associated gas plumes being dispersed in multiple directions. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Klyuchevskoy (also spelled Kliuchevskoi) is Kamchatka's highest and most active volcano. Since its origin about 6000 years ago, the beautifully symmetrical, 4835-m-high basaltic stratovolcano has produced frequent moderate-volume explosive and effusive eruptions without major periods of inactivity. It rises above a saddle NE of sharp-peaked Kamen volcano and lies SE of the broad Ushkovsky massif. More than 100 flank eruptions have occurred during the past roughly 3000 years, with most lateral craters and cones occurring along radial fissures between the unconfined NE-to-SE flanks of the conical volcano between 500 m and 3600 m elevation. The morphology of the 700-m-wide summit crater has been frequently modified by historical eruptions, which have been recorded since the late-17th century. Historical eruptions have originated primarily from the summit crater, but have also included numerous major explosive and effusive eruptions from flank craters.

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


Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal anomalies within the summit crater during December 2019-May 2020

Nyamuragira (also known as Nyamulagira) is located in the Virunga Volcanic Province (VVP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and consists of a lava lake that reappeared in the summit crater in mid-April 2018. Volcanism has been characterized by lava emissions, thermal anomalies, seismicity, and gas-and-steam emissions. This report summarizes activity during December 2019 through May 2020 using information from monthly reports by the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) and satellite data.

According to OVG, intermittent eruptive activity was detected in the lava lake of the central crater during December 2019 and January-April 2020, which also resulted in few seismic events. MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows thermal anomalies within the summit crater that varied in both frequency and power between August 2019 and mid-March 2020, but very few were recorded afterward through late May (figure 88). Thermal hotspots identified by MODVOLC from 15 December 2019 through March 2020 were mainly located in the active central crater, with only three hotspots just outside the SW crater rim (figure 89). Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery also showed activity within the summit crater during January-May 2020, but by mid-March the thermal anomaly had visibly decreased in power (figure 90).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity (log radiative power) at Nyamuragira during 27 July through May 2020 shows variably strong, intermittent thermal anomalies with a variation in power and frequency from August 2019 to mid-March 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Map showing the number of MODVOLC hotspot pixels at Nyamuragira from 1 December 2019 t0 31 May 2020. 37 pixels were registered within the summit crater while 3 were detected just outside the SW crater rim. Courtesy of HIGP-MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) confirmed ongoing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) at Nyamuragira from February into April 2020. The strength of the thermal anomaly in the summit crater decreased by late March 2020, but was still visible. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


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

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Activity in the lava lake and small eruptive cone persists during December 2019-May 2020

Nyiragongo is located in the Virunga Volcanic Province (VVP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, part of the western branch of the East African Rift System and contains a 1.2 km-wide summit crater with a lava lake that has been active since at least 1971. Volcanism has been characterized by strong and frequent thermal anomalies, incandescence, gas-and-steam emissions, and seismicity. This report summarizes activity during December 2019 through May 2020 using information from monthly reports by the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) and satellite data.

In the December 2019 monthly report, OVG stated that the level of the lava lake had increased. This level of the lava lake was maintained for the duration of the reporting period, according to later OVG monthly reports. Seismicity increased starting in November 2019 and was detected in the NE part of the crater, but it decreased by mid-April 2020. SO2 emissions increased in January 2020 to roughly 7,000 tons/day but decreased again near the end of the month. OVG reported that SO2 emissions rose again in February to roughly 8,500 tons/day before declining to about 6,000 tons/day. Unlike in the previous report (BGVN 44:12), incandescence was visible during the day in the active lava lake and activity at the small eruptive cone within the 1.2-km-wide summit crater has since increased, consisting of incandescence and some lava fountaining (figure 72). A field survey was conducted on 3-4 March where an OVG team observed active lava fountains and ejecta that produced Pele’s hair from the small eruptive cone (figure 73). During this survey, OVG reported that the level of the lava lake had reached the second terrace, which was formed on 17 January 2002 and represents remnants of the lava lake at different eruption stages. There, the open surface lava lake was observed; gas-and-steam emissions accompanied both the active lava lake and the small eruptive cone (figures 72 and 73).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Webcam image of Nyiragongo in February 2020 showing an open lava lake surface and incandescence from the active crater cone within the 1.2 km-wide summit crater visible during the day, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions. Courtesy of OVG (Rapport OVG February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Webcam image of Nyiragongo on 4 March 2020 showing an open lava lake surface and incandescence from the active crater cone within the 1.2 km-wide summit crater visible during the day, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions. Courtesy of OVG (Rapport OVG Mars 2020).

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data continued to show frequent strong thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit crater through May 2020 (figure 74). Similarly, the MODVOLC algorithm reported multiple thermal hotspots almost daily within the summit crater between December 2019 and May 2020. These thermal signatures were also observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery within the summit crater (figure 75).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Thermal anomalies at Nyiragongo from 27 July through May 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were frequent and strong. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) showed ongoing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) in the summit crater at Nyiragongo during January through April 2020. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Kavachi (Solomon Islands) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kavachi

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Discolored water plumes seen using satellite imagery in 2018 and 2020

Kavachi is a submarine volcano located in the Solomon Islands south of Gatokae and Vangunu islands. Volcanism is frequently active, but rarely observed. The most recent eruptions took place during 2014, which consisted of an ash eruption, and during 2016, which included phreatomagmatic explosions (BGVN 42:03). This reporting period covers December 2016-April 2020 primarily using satellite data.

Activity at Kavachi is often only observed through satellite images, and frequently consists of discolored submarine plumes for which the cause is uncertain. On 1 January 2018 a slight yellow discoloration in the water is seen extending to the E from a specific point (figure 20). Similar faint plumes were observed on 16 January, 25 February, 2 March, 26 April, 6 May, and 25 June 2018. No similar water discoloration was noted during 2019, though clouds may have obscured views.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Satellite images from Sentinel-2 revealed intermittent faint water discoloration (yellow) at Kavachi during the first half of 2018, as seen here on 1 January (top left), 25 February (top right), 26 April (bottom left), and 25 June (bottom right). Images with “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity resumed in 2020, showing more discolored water in satellite imagery. The first instance occurred on 16 March, where a distinct plume extended from a specific point to the SE. On 25 April a satellite image showed a larger discolored plume in the water that spread over about 30 km2, encompassing the area around Kavachi (figure 21). Another image on 30 April showed a thin ribbon of discolored water extending about 50 km W of the vent.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Sentinel-2 satellite images of a discolored plume (yellow) at Kavachi beginning on 16 March (top left) with a significant large plume on 25 April (right), which remained until 30 April (bottom left). Images with “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption and ash plumes begin on 11 January 2020 and continue through April 2020

Kuchinoerabujima encompasses a group of young stratovolcanoes located in the northern Ryukyu Islands. All historical eruptions have originated from the Shindake cone, with the exception of a lava flow that originated from the S flank of the Furudake cone. The most recent previous eruptive period took place during October 2018-February 2019 and primarily consisted of weak explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall. The current eruption began on 11 January 2020 after nearly a year of dominantly gas-and-steam emissions. Volcanism for this reporting period from March 2019 to April 2020 included explosions, ash plumes, SO2 emissions, and ashfall. The primary source of information for this report comes from monthly and annual reports from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and advisories from the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Activity has been limited to Kuchinoerabujima's Shindake Crater.

Volcanism at Kuchinoerabujima was relatively low during March through December 2019, according to JMA. During this time, SO2 emissions ranged from 100 to 1,000 tons/day. Gas-and-steam emissions were frequently observed throughout the entire reporting period, rising to a maximum height of 1.1 km above the crater on 13 December 2019. Satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 showed gas-and-steam and occasional ash emissions rising from the Shindake crater throughout the reporting period (figure 7). Though JMA reported thermal anomalies occurring on 29 January and continuing through late April 2020, Sentinel-2 imagery shows the first thermal signature appearing on 26 April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed gas-and-steam and ash emissions rising from Kuchinoerabujima. Some ash deposits can be seen on 6 February 2020 (top right). A thermal anomaly appeared on 26 April 2020 (bottom right). Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

An eruption on 11 January 2020 at 1505 ejected material 300 m from the crater and produced ash plumes that rose 2 km above the crater rim, extending E, according to JMA. The eruption continued through 12 January until 0730. The resulting ash plumes rose 400 m above the crater, drifting SW while the SO2 emissions measured 1,300 tons/day. Ashfall was reported on Yakushima Island (15 km E). Minor eruptive activity was reported during 17-20 January which produced gray-white plumes that rose 300-500 m above the crater. On 23 January, seismicity increased, and an eruption produced an ash plume that rose 1.2 km altitude, according to a Tokyo VAAC report, resulting in ashfall 2 km NE of the crater. A small explosion was detected on 24 January, followed by an increase in the number of earthquakes during 25-26 January (65-71 earthquakes per day were registered). Another small eruptive event detected on 27 January at 0148 was accompanied by a volcanic tremor and a change in tilt data. During the month of January, some inflation was detected at the base on the volcano and a total of 347 earthquakes were recorded. The SO2 emissions ranged from 200-1,600 tons/day.

An eruption on 1 February 2020 produced an eruption column that rose less than 1 km altitude and extended SE and SW (figure 8), according to the Tokyo VAAC report. On 3 February, an eruption from the Shindake crater at 0521 produced an ash plume that rose 7 km above the crater and ejected material as far as 600 m away. As a result, a pyroclastic flow formed, traveling 900-1,500 m SW. The previous pyroclastic flow that was recorded occurred on 29 January 2019. Ashfall was confirmed in the N part of Yakushima Island with a large amount in Miyanoura (32 km ESE) and southern Tanegashima. The SO2 emissions measured 1,700 tons/day during this event.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Webcam images from the Honmura west surveillance camera of an ash plume rising from Kuchinoerabujima on 1 February 2020. Courtesy of JMA (Weekly bulletin report 509, February 2020).

Intermittent small eruptive events occurred during 5-9 February; field observations showed a large amount of ashfall on the SE flank which included lapilli that measured up to 2 cm in diameter. Additionally, thermal images showed 5-km-long pyroclastic flow deposits on the SW flank. An eruption on 9 February produced an ash plume that rose 1.2 km altitude, drifting SE. On 13 February a small eruption was detected in the Shindake crater at 1211, producing gray-white plumes that rose 300 m above the crater, drifting NE. Small eruptive events also occurred during 20-21 February, resulting in gas-and-steam emissions that rose 200 m above the crater. During the month of February, some horizontal extension was observed since January 2020 using GNSS data. The total number of earthquakes during this month drastically increased to 1225 compared to January. The SO2 emissions ranged from 300-1,700 tons/day.

By 2 March 2020, seismicity decreased, and activity declined. Gas-and-steam emissions continued infrequently for the duration of the reporting period. The SO2 emissions during March ranged from 700-2,100 tons/day, the latter of which occurred on 15 March. Seismicity increased again on 27 March. During 5-8 April 2020, small eruptive events were detected, generating ash plumes that rose 900 m above the crater (figure 9). The SO2 emissions on 6 April reached 3,200 tons/day, the maximum measurement for this reporting period. These small eruptive events continued from 13-20 and 23-25 April within the Shindake crater, producing gray-white plumes that rose 300-800 m above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Webcam images from the Honmura Nishi (top) and Honmura west (bottom) surveillance cameras of ash plumes rising from Kuchinoerabujima on 6 March and 5 April 2020. Courtesy of JMA (Weekly bulletin report 509, March and April 2020).

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Soputan (Indonesia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Soputan

Indonesia

1.112°N, 124.737°E; summit elev. 1785 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor ash emissions during 23 March and 2 April 2020

Soputan is a stratovolcano located in the northern arm of Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. Previous eruptive periods were characterized by ash explosions, lava flows, and Strombolian eruptions. The most recent eruption occurred during October-December 2018, which consisted mostly of ash plumes and some summit incandescence (BGVN 44:01). This report updates information for January 2019-April 2020 characterized by two ash plumes and gas-and-steam emissions. The primary source of information come from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Activity during January 2019-April 2020 was relatively low; three faint thermal anomalies were observed at the summit at Soputan in satellite imagery for a total of three days on 2 and 4 January, and 1 October 2019 (figure 17). The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) based on analysis of MODIS data detected 12 distal hotspots and six low-power hotspots within 5 km of the summit during August to early October 2019. A single distal thermal hotspot was detected in early March 2020. In March, activity primarily consisted of white to gray gas-and-steam plumes that rose 20-100 m above the crater, according to PVMBG. The Darwin VAAC issued a notice on 23 March 2020 that reported an ash plume rose to 4.3 km altitude; minor ash emissions had been visible in a webcam image the previous day (figure 18). A second notice was issued on 2 April, where an ash plume was observed rising 2.1 km altitude and drifting W.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery detected a total of three thermal hotspots (bright yellow-orange) at the summit of Soputan on 2 and 4 January and 1 October 2019. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Minor ash emissions were seen rising from Soputan on 22 March 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Geologic Background. The Soputan stratovolcano on the southern rim of the Quaternary Tondano caldera on the northern arm of Sulawesi Island is one of Sulawesi's most active volcanoes. The youthful, largely unvegetated volcano is located SW of Riendengan-Sempu, which some workers have included with Soputan and Manimporok (3.5 km ESE) as a volcanic complex. It was constructed at the southern end of a SSW-NNE trending line of vents. During historical time the locus of eruptions has included both the summit crater and Aeseput, a prominent NE-flank vent that formed in 1906 and was the source of intermittent major lava flows until 1924.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Heard (Australia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptive activity including a lava flow during October 2019-April 2020

Heard Island is located on the Kerguelen Plateau in the southern Indian Ocean and contains Big Ben, a snow-covered stratovolcano with intermittent volcanism reported since 1910. Due to its remote location, visual observations are rare; therefore, thermal anomalies and hotspots detected by satellite-based instruments are the primary source of information. This report updates activity from October 2019 to April 2020.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed three prominent periods of strong thermal anomaly activity during this reporting period: late October 2019, December 2019, and the end of April 2020 (figure 41). These thermal anomalies were relatively strong and occurred within 5 km of the summit. Similarly, the MODVOLC algorithm reported a total of six thermal hotspots during 28 October, 1 November 2019, and 26 April 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Thermal anomalies at Heard from 29 April 2019 through April 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were strong and frequent in late October, during December 2019, and at the end of April 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Six thermal satellite images ranging from late October 2019 to late March showed evidence of active lava at the summit (figure 42). These images show hot material, possibly a lava flow, extending SW from the summit; a hotspot also remained at the summit. Cloud cover was pervasive during the majority of this reporting period, especially in April 2020, though gas-and-steam emissions were visible on 25 April through the clouds.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Thermal satellite images of Heard Island’s Big Ben showing strong thermal signatures representing a lava flow in the SW direction from 28 October to 17 December 2019. These thermal anomalies are located NE from Mawson Peak. A faint thermal anomaly is also captured on 26 March 2020. Satellite images with atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, and 8A), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 21, Number 06 (June 1996)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Aira (Japan)

Explosive activity continues, but at decreased levels in June

Akutan (United States)

Low seismicity

Arenal (Costa Rica)

Sub-continuous Strombolian fountaining and lava flow details

Atka (United States)

Eruption of volcanic ash

Avachinsky (Russia)

Normal seismic activity and degassing

Bezymianny (Russia)

Degassing continues

Etna (Italy)

Crater glow, gas emissions, and mild Strombolian eruptions

Galeras (Colombia)

Degassing and low seismic activity continue

Karymsky (Russia)

Above background seismicity correlating to weak Strombolian eruptions

Klyuchevskoy (Russia)

Normal seismic activity, but degassing persists

La Palma (Spain)

No surface deformation detected

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Continued weak eruptions with increased seismicity in June

Lengai, Ol Doinyo (Tanzania)

Summary of activity July 1995-April 1996

Long Valley (United States)

Two S-moat earthquake swarms during June

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Emissions of ash clouds and increase of seismic activity

North Gorda Ridge Segment (Undersea Features)

Submarine plumes and a brief fissure eruption

Poas (Costa Rica)

Moderate seismicity during June

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Eruptions wane, stop, then resume

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica)

Six-fold seismic increase over previous months in 1996

Ruapehu (New Zealand)

Variable intensity eruptions continue

Semeru (Indonesia)

Eruptions form ash plumes

Sheveluch (Russia)

Normal seismic activity, but degassing continues

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Dome growth continues

St. Helens (United States)

Dwindling seismicity

Suwanosejima (Japan)

Strong eruptions produce volcanic ash clouds

Turrialba (Costa Rica)

Microseismicity escalates from 0 (background) to 246 events/month

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea)

Steam emissions continue

Vesuvius (Italy)

Seismicity during 1995-96 is the highest in the past 50 years



Aira (Japan) — June 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, but at decreased levels in June

An eruption on 16 May sent an ash plume 3,500 m above the summit, to ~4,600 m altitude (BGVN 21:05). This higher than usual ash plume was estimated at 4,880 m altitude in aviation notices from Tokyo. However, the eruption was not detected on GMS satellite imagery. Ths Volcano Research Center also noted that this explosion threw large cinders to 2 km NW of the crater.

According to the Sakura-jima Volcanological Observatory (SVO), Kyoto University, since March there has been a decrease in the amount of air-fall tephra, the frequency of explosions, and earthquakes (including BL, surface, and shallow types).

The Japanese Meterological Agency reported that Minami-dake crater produced four explosive eruptions during June. The highest ash plume of the month rose 900 m above the crater on 22 June. Ashfall measured at the Kagoshima Local Meteorological Station, 10 km from the crater, was 1 g/m2. The seismic station 2.3 km NW of the crater recorded 118 earthquakes and 63 tremors through 29 June. High seismicity began around 0800 on 30 June; 349 earthquakes were recorded that day, bringing the monthly total to 467.

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: Volcano Research Center, Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113, Japan (URL: http://www.eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp/VRC/index_E.html); NOAA/NESDIS Synoptic Analysis Branch (SAB), Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA; Volcanological Division, Japan Meteorological Agency, 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100, Japan.


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

Akutan

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Low seismicity

The daily number of recorded earthquakes continued to be low (at an average rate of a few events/day) in May and June, with some fluctuations. This rate was significantly lower than the rate measured during the seismic crisis of mid-March (BGVN 21:02-21:04).

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

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA, b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys.


Arenal (Costa Rica) — June 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)


Sub-continuous Strombolian fountaining and lava flow details

During June, Arenal continued its unbroken eruptive sequence lasting nearly 28 years. In the second half of the month, the active crater, Crater C, increased the volume of pyroclastic emissions above that seen in recent months. Some plumes ascended over 1 km above Crater C. Bombs and blocks landed as far down on the flanks as 1,100 m elevation.

Gerardo Soto (ICE) sketched how lava flows had advanced ~2 km into the N sector and then paused at this point on 17 June (figures 77 and 78). A new, parallel flow that developed on the W side of the older one reached 1,100 m elevation on 20 June. The estimated volume of these flows was 2.5 x 106 m3. They spawned occasional avalanches off their margins. The lava's source vent was the scene of sub-continuous fountaining that formed a 30-m tall, horse-shoe shaped spatter cone open towards the escaping flows. W-flank ashfalls have increased in mass during the course of 1996 (table 16).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Sketch map of Arenal and vicinity showing distribution of major lava flows, 1968-96. Courtesy of G. Soto (ICE).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Sketch of Arenal in an oblique view from the N flank, mid-June 1996. Courtesy of G. Soto and F. Arias (ICE).

Table 16. The mass of Arenal's ash accumulating per day (collected 1.8 km W of the active vent). Courtesy of ICE.

Collection Interval Avg daily ashfall (grams/m2) Ash % 300+µ Ash % less than 300µ
22 Dec-06 Mar 1996 33 50 50
06 Mar-15 Apr 1996 43 50 50
15 Apr-16 May 1996 48 56 44
16 May-20 Jun 1996 58 20 70

OVSCICORI-UNA reported that during June low-frequency (<3.5 HZ) seismicity totalled 781 events; the majority of these events were associated with eruptions; some events were also recorded at a station 30 km SW of the active crater. Tremor durations of over 23 hours took place on 4, 6, 7, and 11 June; the total for the month was 375 hours. This tremor's dominant frequency was 2.1-3.4 hz.

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

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


Atka (United States) — June 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Atka

United States

52.331°N, 174.139°W; summit elev. 1448 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption of volcanic ash

On 29 June, Japan Airlines reported volcanic ash erupting from Atka. In addition, GEOS-9 satellite images showed a possible small ash cloud in the immediate vicinity of Atka. In early May 1995 residents of Atka village observed a small plume-like cloud over Kliuchef and reported a strong sulfur smell (BGVN 20:05).

[The 1996 eruption described here was later discredited.]

Geologic Background. The largest volcanic center in the central Aleutians, Atka consists of a central shield and Pleistocene caldera with several post-caldera volcanoes. A major dacitic explosive eruption accompanied formation of the caldera about 500,000 to 300,000 years ago. The most prominent of the post-caldera stratovolcanoes are Kliuchef and Sarichef, both of which may have been active in historical time. Sarichef has a symmetrical profile, but the less eroded Kliuchef is the source of most if not all historical eruptions. Kliuchef may have been active on occasion simultaneously with Korovin volcano to the north. Hot springs and fumaroles are located on the flanks of Mount Kliuchef and in a glacial valley SW of Kliuchef.

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA, b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys; NOAA/NESDIS Synoptic Analysis Branch (SAB), Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA.


Avachinsky (Russia) — June 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Avachinsky

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Normal seismic activity and degassing

Seismicity remained slightly above or at normal levels in June and the first half of July. Normal fumarolic activity was seen above the crater. Regular reports from KVERT (via AVO) resumed in June after funding problems in Russia halted communications in December 1994 (BGVN 19:11).

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

Information Contacts: Tom Miller, Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO); Vladimir Kirianov, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Russia.


Bezymianny (Russia) — June 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Degassing continues

Seismicity remained at or a little above normal background levels from 26 May to 22 July. Gas-and-steam plumes rose 100-300 m above the crater and extended ~2-7 km downwind. On 30 June, seismicity increased slightly, possibly associated with processes inside the extrusive lava dome. Regular reports from KVERT (via AVO) resumed in June after funding problems in Russia halted communications in December 1994 (BGVN 19:11).

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: Tom Miller, Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA, b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA; Vladimir Kirianov, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia.


Etna (Italy) — June 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Crater glow, gas emissions, and mild Strombolian eruptions

Visiting scientists made observations of eruptive activity during late May and June. The observations revealed continued activity similar to that previously described for this eruptive phase (BGVN 20:06-20:11/12 and 21:02-20:03).

Observations during 26 May-3 June. Activity at the summit craters was described by Marco Fulle following visits on 26 and 30-31 May and on 1 and 3 June.

Bocca Nuova was filled by thick steam on the afternoon of 26 May, but there were many strong explosions. A vent on the SE side of the crater was emitting steam jets. A vent with a lava pond on the crater floor was ejecting meter-sized lava clots 20 m high. When the pond level was close to the bottom, Strombolian explosions rose 50 m. Northeast Crater (NEC) erupted thin ash and black bombs, but later produced Strombolian explosions every 10-50 seconds that sent a few bombs 50 m above the rim directed towards the E. No bombs fell outside the crater.

Observations of NEC beginning in the late afternoon of 30 May were made for 18 hours from Pizzi Deneri and the W rim of NEC. Strombolian explosions ejected black bombs 100-200 m above the rim at 1-40 second intervals. On the morning of 31 May many meter-sized incandescent bombs were ejected well beyond the SW crater rim due to a strong wind. After 30 minutes, this activity changed to predominantly ash eruptions. Eruption intensity soon increased again, ejecting lava clots and dark bombs well above the rim.

For two hours on the evening o f 1 June observers watched from the W rim of Bocca Nuova and Voragine. Bocca Nuova contained two vents with active lava ponds aligned N-S. The N vent produced Strombolian explosions 50 m high every 10-30 minutes. The S vent produced Strombolian explosions 10-30 m high every 5-20 seconds. A third vent in the SE side of the crater produced steam eruptions every 2-10 minutes with red glow during the steam ejections. Voragine produced steam jets when NEC was inactive. During five hours of observations at NEC from the W rim on 3 June, Strombolian explosions every 2-50 seconds rose 100-200 m.

Observations during 1-20 June. While making GPS measurement of a deformation network on the volcano's upper S flanks on 1-20 June, J.L. Moss and co-workers observed summit activity.

During 1-5 June, no explosions or ash clouds were observed, but the summit vents were vigorously steaming. On 6 June, local guides reported explosive activity at NEC. On 9 June steam degassed strongly from the summit craters, and yellowish fumes escaped from Southeast Crater.

On the night of 10 June Bocca Nuova exhibited two strongly glowing vents on the crater floor, each producing mild Strombolian explosions every 5-10 seconds and ejecting material to heights of a few meters. Larger explosions took place about every minute, but no material was ejected above the crater rim. At La Voragine crater (the Chasm), a single glowing vent on the crater floor produced mild, audible, Strombolian explosions every 5-30 seconds that ejected material a few meters high.

At NEC Moss's group felt radiant heat and saw intense heat shimmering above radial fractures around the crater rim. Very strong gas emissions prompted them to wear gas masks. The crater was filled with dark (non-glowing) solidified lava; it formed a fractured dome from which a dense gas/water mixture escaped. No Strombolian activity was observed.

During 13-17 June, loud explosions were heard in the Valle del Bove, up to 3 km from the summit. Black ash clouds periodically rose 100 m above NEC.

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

Information Contacts: Marco Fulle, Osservatorio Astronomico, Via Tiepolo 11, I-34131 Trieste, Italy; J.L. Moss, Centre for Volcanic Research, Cheltenham & Gloucester College, Francis Close Hall, Swindon Road, Cheltenham GL50 4AZ, United Kingdom; S.J. Saunders and V.A. Buck, Brunel University, Department of Geography & Earth Science, Borough Road, Isleworth, Middlesex TW7 5DU, United Kingdom.


Galeras (Colombia) — June 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Degassing and low seismic activity continue

Seismicity during May and June remained low, similar to previous months, and was characterized by fracture events centered 2-8 km NNE of the main crater, generally at 5-10 km depths. Surface degassing was still concentrated in craters, and fumaroles were located in the W sector of the active cone, mainly at the Chavas and La Joya sites. Correlation spectrophotometer (COSPEC) data indicated that SO2 was emitted around the volcano at rates of <100 tons/day. The deformation network did not show significant changes.

On 1 May, a M 1.6 event was felt. Moreover, on 20 May, an M 3.7 event occurred 10 km SE of the volcano that was felt by inhabitants of Pasto and in the epicentral zone.

In June, the coda magnitudes for seismic events had M < 1.7. High-frequency events with M < 2.3 were located near Rio Bobo, ~15 km SW of Galeras, at depths <14 km. In addition, during June the seismicity interpreted as related to dynamic fluids remained low, and the seismic network recorded 35 long-period events.

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

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


Karymsky (Russia) — June 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Above background seismicity correlating to weak Strombolian eruptions

Seismicity remained above background in June and the first half of July, and was indicative of continued low-level Strombolian eruptive activity. Gas-and-ash explosions occurred about every 5-20 minutes, generating ash-and-steam plumes to an altitude of 500-3,000 m. Regular reports from KVERT (via AVO) resumed in June after funding problems in Russia halted communications in December 1994 (BGVN 19:11).

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: Tom Miller, Alaska Volcano Observatory; Vladimir Kirianov, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry.


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — June 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

56.056°N, 160.642°E; summit elev. 4754 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Normal seismic activity, but degassing persists

During 26 May-22 July, seismicity remained at normal background levels. Gas and steam plumes rose 50-300 m above the crater and extended up to 15 km downwind. Regular reports from KVERT (via AVO) resumed in June after funding problems in Russia halted communications in December 1994 (BGVN 19:11).

Geologic Background. Klyuchevskoy (also spelled Kliuchevskoi) is Kamchatka's highest and most active volcano. Since its origin about 6000 years ago, the beautifully symmetrical, 4835-m-high basaltic stratovolcano has produced frequent moderate-volume explosive and effusive eruptions without major periods of inactivity. It rises above a saddle NE of sharp-peaked Kamen volcano and lies SE of the broad Ushkovsky massif. More than 100 flank eruptions have occurred during the past roughly 3000 years, with most lateral craters and cones occurring along radial fissures between the unconfined NE-to-SE flanks of the conical volcano between 500 m and 3600 m elevation. The morphology of the 700-m-wide summit crater has been frequently modified by historical eruptions, which have been recorded since the late-17th century. Historical eruptions have originated primarily from the summit crater, but have also included numerous major explosive and effusive eruptions from flank craters.

Information Contacts: Tom Miller, Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA, b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA; Vladimir Kirianov, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia.


La Palma (Spain) — June 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

La Palma

Spain

28.57°N, 17.83°W; summit elev. 2426 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


No surface deformation detected

A March 1996 EDM survey of the active Cumbre Vieja rift volcano indicated no significant surface deformation since installation of the network in October 1994. The network contains 11 benchmarks (incorporating two Spanish survey triangulation pillars) and was measured using the infrared EDM method. Together with one 3-component seismic station NE of the main rift, the network provides the only current means of monitoring activity on the island.

The deformation network covers the area affected by faulting associated with the July 1949 eruption (figure 1), a zone where W-facing normal faults showed a maximum vertical displacement of ~4 m. The Cumbre Vieja ridge lies between the two 1949 eruptive centers (Duraznero and San Juan). Eyewitness accounts (Bonnelli, 1950) and detailed mapping of the eruptive products showed that during the 1949 eruption, fault displacements also had westward components with downslope movement on the volcano's flanks. La Palma is comparable in form and structure to other Canary Islands that have undergone large-scale slope failure. Steep topography, together with the prospect of a future magma intrusion, cause concern for the long-term stability of the Cumbre Vieja ridge.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Sketch map of the Cumbre Vieja rift volcano showing the distribution of benchmarks, vents, and faults associated with the July 1949 eruption at La Palma. Courtesy of J.L. Moss and W.J. McGuire.

The wedge-shaped island of La Palma contains two large volcanic centers. The northern one is cut by the massive Caldera Taburiente. The southern Cumbre Vieja rift volcano, oriented N-S, has been the site of historical eruptions recorded since the 15th century. An eruption from the S tip of La Palma in 1971 produced the Teneguia cinder cone. Fissure-fed eruptions from vents ~1 km S of the 1677 San Antonio cone produced lava flows that reached the SW coast.

Reference. Bonnelli, R., 1950, Contribucion al estudio de la erupcion del volcan del Nambroque o San Juan (Isla de la Palma), 24 de Junio - Agosto de 1949: Instituto Geografico y Catastral, Madrid, Spain.

Geologic Background. The 47-km-long wedge-shaped island of La Palma, the NW-most of the Canary Islands, is composed of two large volcanic centers. The older northern one is cut by the massive steep-walled Caldera Taburiente, one of several massive collapse scarps produced by edifice failure to the SW. The younger Cumbre Vieja, the southern volcano, is one of the most active in the Canaries. The elongated volcano dates back to about 125,000 years ago and is oriented N-S. Eruptions during the past 7000 years have originated from the abundant cinder cones and craters along the axis of Cumbre Vieja, producing fissure-fed lava flows that descend steeply to the sea. Historical eruptions at La Palma, recorded since the 15th century, have produced mild explosive activity and lava flows that damaged populated areas. The southern tip of the island is mantled by a broad lava field produced during the 1677-1678 eruption. Lava flows also reached the sea in 1585, 1646, 1712, 1949, and 1971.

Information Contacts: J.L. Moss, W.J. McGuire, and S.J. Day, Center for Volcanic Research, Cheltenham & Gloucester College, Francis Close Hall, Swindon Road, Cheltenham GL50 4AZ, United Kingdom; S.J. Saunders, Brunel University, Department of Geography & Earth Science, Borough Road, Isleworth, Middlesex TW7 5DU, United Kingdom; J-C. Carracedo, Estacion Volcanologica de las Canarias, Tigua Carretera de la Esperanza 3, Apartado de Correos 195, 38206 La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — June 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)


Continued weak eruptions with increased seismicity in June

During June, white-gray or brown ash and vapor clouds emitted from Crater 2 rose to several hundred meters above the crater rim. Fine ash was mostly blown to the NW and occasionally to the SE and NE. Rumbling noises were heard throughout the month. During the first half of June, night glow was seen only on 5 June, but weak red glow was observed on most nights of the second half of the month. Weak to moderate projections of glowing lava fragments were observed on the nights of 17, 18, 19, and 21 June. Crater 3 remained quiet during June.

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

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


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — June 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Summary of activity July 1995-April 1996

The following report summarizes morphological changes in the summit crater seen in a series of visits between July 1995 and April 1996 (figures 38-41).

On 19 July 1995 a group of cones observed W of T5/T9 included T23, T20, T36, T35 (a small cone joined to the SE side of T20), and T34 (BGVN 20:10). The upper parts of T8, T14, and T15 were engulfed by younger flows. T37, a low mound at the base of the NW slope of T5/T9, was not active. Lavas escaped from small vents at the base of T36. At the same time two hornitos in the T36 cluster were emitting low sprays of gassy lava. Lava, coming probably from T23 and T36, had almost filled the depression W of T5/T9 described by Dawson in late 1993 (BGVN 17:10).

On 27 September 1995, Andy Johnson observed a slight growth of T37, which remained a broad open feature, 1.5 m tall (figure 38). T36 showed a more pointed summit, but it hadn't changed significantly. There was no other sign of activity. A visit on 17 October 1995 by Jorg Keller revealed that T37 had grown into a broad cone to half the height of T5/T9. Small clots of lava were erupted S of T37 (at T37S). T37S soon became taller that the rest of the cone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Ol Doinyo Lengai crater looking SW across the crater floor, 27 September 1995. Sketched by C. Nyamweru from a photo by A. Johnson.

Burra Ami Gadiye visited on 21 November 1995 and noted no drastic change for T37, but reported that the N and S parts were distinguishable. T37S was clearly higher and darker than the N part, with fresh lava on its W slope. Activity was observed from a vent on T36 (figure 39). On 1 December 1995, Gadiye reported that continued growth of T37 had resulted in a large cone (T37S) and an open vent on a low dome (T37N). Lava flowing copiously and rapidly N traveled past T15. The source, located W of T5/T9, was probably at the base of T37S.

During a 15-19 December 1995 visit, C. Oppenheimer and P. Vetsch observed emission of small amounts of carbonatitic lava coming from the cone cluster T36 (BGVN 20:11/12). On 18 December the E-flank of T37S collapsed followed by a NE-directed lava flow that covered a large part of the F35 flow and surrounded the E slope of T5/T9. Continued activity at T37S built a large cone with a vent high on its SE slope (figure 40). T37N remained small and formed a partial cone on the W side of an open vent.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Ol Doinyo Lengai crater looking E across the crater floor, 21 November 1995. Sketched by C. Nyamweru from a photo by B.A. Gadiye.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Ol Doinyo Lengai crater looking NNW from SE rim, 19 December 1995. Sketched by C. Nyamweru from a photo by B.A. Gadiye.

On 20 December Iris Saxer saw that the vent on the SE slope of T37S had been filled with lava and built a rim of spatter on its lip. This cone became almost as high as T5/T9 but much broader. A small summit vent was observed emitting puffs of steam and occasional clots of lava.

On 18 January 1996, H. Schabel observed small amounts of pahoehoe lava flowing N from vents near the base of T37S; the lavas surrounded T15. Few changes were noted in the shape of T37S but lava still spattered from its summit vent.

On 8 February, B. Saunders found that the top of T37S had collapsed (figure 41). Several flows originating from T37 had gone N and NE to reach the base of the crater wall. Some of these flows had crossed F35, around the E side of T5/T9. Other flows had reached farther E to separate F35 from the base of the E crater wall. Bubbling lava issued from a small vent at the SE base of T37S.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Ol Doinyo Lengai crater looking SW from the E rim, 8 February 1996. Sketched by C. Nyamweru from a photo by B. Saunders.

During 4-6 April, J.M. Bardintzeff observed a lava platform on the E side of T37S and a lava lake with asymmetrical overhang facing W. At that time lava was escaping the lake to the S and SW. Saunders also noted that a vent on the W side of the T36 cluster was a source of intermittent lava spattering.

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

Information Contacts: Celia Nyamweru, Department of Anthropology, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617, USA


Long Valley (United States) — June 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Long Valley

United States

37.7°N, 118.87°W; summit elev. 3390 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Two S-moat earthquake swarms during June

Moderate earthquake swarms on 14 and 19-21 June triggered a "D" alert status (moderate unrest) for the caldera. The D-status for the second swarm expired at 0600 on 28 June. The activity associated with these swarms is common in the caldera and poses little or no threat. Focal depths of both swarms centered around 5-6 km, and there was no significant ground deformation.

The first swarm, which began on the morning of 14 June, was centered at the SW margin of the resurgent dome (near the Highway 203/395 junction 5 km E of Mammoth Lakes). It included 17 M > 2 earthquakes and more than 150 events large enough to be located (M >0.5). The two largest events in this swarm were M 3.0 and 3.3 earthquakes at 0943 and 2154, respectively. This swarm gradually died out early the next morning.

The second swarm, centered 5 km to the E along the SE margin of the resurgent dome, began late in the evening of 18 June and gradually tailed off through the early morning of 21 June. This swarm included a M 3.3 earthquake at 0513 on 19 June, and over 33 events of M >2. The number of M >0.5 events detected and located through the morning of 21 June exceeded 400. This swarm was centered 2-3 km N of the 29 March-10 April S-moat swarm, which included three M > 4 earthquakes (BGVN 21:04).

This 17 x 32 km caldera formed about 730,000 years ago as a result of the Bishop Tuff eruption. Resurgent doming was followed by eruptions until ~50,000 years ago. Since then the caldera has remained thermally active, and in recent years, has undergone significant deformation. Although distinct from Long Valley Caldera, both Inyo Craters and Mammoth Mountain sit adjacent to it.

Geologic Background. The large 17 x 32 km Long Valley caldera east of the central Sierra Nevada Range formed as a result of the voluminous Bishop Tuff eruption about 760,000 years ago. Resurgent doming in the central part of the caldera occurred shortly afterwards, followed by rhyolitic eruptions from the caldera moat and the eruption of rhyodacite from outer ring fracture vents, ending about 50,000 years ago. During early resurgent doming the caldera was filled with a large lake that left strandlines on the caldera walls and the resurgent dome island; the lake eventually drained through the Owens River Gorge. The caldera remains thermally active, with many hot springs and fumaroles, and has had significant deformation, seismicity, and other unrest in recent years. The late-Pleistocene to Holocene Inyo Craters cut the NW topographic rim of the caldera, and along with Mammoth Mountain on the SW topographic rim, are west of the structural caldera and are chemically and tectonically distinct from the Long Valley magmatic system.

Information Contacts: David Hill, U.S. Geological Survey, MS 977, 345 Middlefield Rd., Menlo Park, CA 94025 USA (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/calvo/).


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — June 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)


Emissions of ash clouds and increase of seismic activity

Low-level activity persisted during June as in the previous months (BGVN 21:04 and 21:05). Both craters gently released white vapor with occasional whitish gray ash clouds from Southern Crater. There were no audible noises or night glow from either crater. Seismicity was low during the first half of June with daily totals of 350-850 small low-frequency earthquakes. Seismicity increased to 1,090-1,700 events per day after 17 June.

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

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


North Gorda Ridge Segment (Undersea Features) — June 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

North Gorda Ridge Segment

Undersea Features

42.67°N, 126.78°W; summit elev. -3000 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Submarine plumes and a brief fissure eruption

The following report describes preliminary results of investigations on the eruptive activity that began on 28 February along the Gorda Ridge (BGVN 21:02). On 10-11 March 1996 NOAA's RV MacArthur carried out a series of conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) casts to study the plume(s) activity.

Figure 2 shows a N-S cross section of the temperature anomaly through the event plume(s) discovered above the ridge. The temperature anomaly was defined as the increase of the water temperature above that expected for a given density horizon. The contours are based on five vertical casts evenly spaced between 42°36' and 42°43'N. A similar pattern was observed on an E-W transect. Since previous event plumes were characterized by symmetry about a central core, the structure in this anomaly suggested an agglomeration of two or more separate plumes. The events that caused the plumes could have been separated in space and time or both.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. N-S cross section of the temperature anomaly through the Gorda Ridge event plume(s), 18 March 1996. Courtesy of E. Baker, NOAA/PMEL.

Water samples taken from station 7 (42°37.9'N, 126°47.8'W) in mid-March showed a very high enrichment in Helium-3 (figure 3). The presence of this isotope, enriched in fresh oceanic volcanic rocks and in submarine hydrothermal fluids, suggested a hydrothermal input into the ocean. Station 7 was also characterized by an increase in temperature and in suspended particles (nephels).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Concentration of Helium-3 for station 7 along the Gorda Ridge. Courtesy of J. Lupton, R. Greene, L. Evans, and R. Kovar NOAA/PMEL.

The plot of Helium-3 concentration versus temperature anomaly at stations 7 and 13 (42°45.7'N, 126°44.8'W) suggested that each had sampled water columns with different plume characteristics (figure 4). The Helium-3/heat trend for station 7 (the event plume) had a flat slope of 0.34 x 10-12 cm3/cal, similar to other event plumes detected in 1986 and 1993 over the Juan de Fuca Ridge. In contrast, the plume detected at station 13 had a much higher helium-3/heat trend of 2.27 x 10-12 cm3/cal.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Plot of Helium-3 concentration vs. temperature difference for stations 5 and 7 along the Gorda Ridge. The y-axis shows 3He concentrations in units of cubic centimeters of gas at standard temperature and pressure per gram of seawater. Courtesy of J. Lupton, R. Greene, L. Evans, and R. Kovar NOAA/PMEL.

SEM analysis of the first sample from the megaplume site at GR-14 revealed the presence of Fe-oxides, Zn-sulfides, and bacterial aggregates. The Fe-oxides were found with and without phosphorus. It was suggested that Fe-oxides formed beneath the seafloor lacked phosphorus, whereas Fe-oxides formed within the megaplume were enriched in phosphorus. The Zn-sulfides were very pure (i.e., no Fe). This sample appeared similar to the plume samples collected over the flow site in 1993. Preliminary results from the dissolved concentrations of Mn and Fe suggested that the event plume had formed recently.

In April the RV Wecoma surveyed a new lava flow with five camera tows. Figure 5 is a digital camera image that shows the contact between the new lava flow at the ridge and the surrounding older lava. The eruption site was at least 3.5 km long and only ~100-200 m wide, based mainly on the distribution of near-bottom temperature anomalies above the cooling flow. With this shape, the flow was clearly the product of a brief fissure eruption, where a dike reached the surface. The lava flow was located directly under the event plume mapped by CTD casts during the RV MacArthur cruise. Figure 6 shows the new lava flow, the camera tows, the CTD casts, the event plume(s), and the epicenters detected in the area since 28 February (BGVN 21:02).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Contact between the new lava flow and the surrounding older lava. The image was taken by a Benthos digital camera developed for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Dan Fornari, P.I.) (scale of image was undisclosed).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Map showing an overview of the investigated area with the general location of the event plume. Courtesy of B. Embley and B. Chadwick. The T-wave epicenters appear as triangles; the RV McArthur CTD casts are shown as crosses.

Geologic Background. The northernmost of five segments of the Gorda Ridge lies immediately south of the Blanco Transform Fault that offsets the Gorda and Juan de Fuca oceanic spreading ridges. The 65-km-long segment is located about 200 km W of the southern Oregon coast and has deep 5- 10-km-wide valleys at either ends with a shallower narrow axial valley at the center. This morphology, which in plan view resembles an hourglass, is typical of magmatically active spreading segments. A submarine lava flow was erupted in late February and early March 1996, near the center of the segment. The eruption was initially detected through acoustic T-waves from a seismic swarm and the emission of large thermal plumes. In April submarine cameras revealed new lava flows about 100-200 m wide along a fissure that was at least 3.5 km long. A seismic swarm of uncertain origin also occurred at this location in January 1998.

Information Contacts: Chris Fox, Bob Dziak, Bob Embley, Bill Chadwick, Ed Baker, John Lupton, Dick Feely, and Gary Massoth, NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, 2115 SE Osu Drive, Newport, OR 97365 USA (URL: https://www.pmel.noaa.gov/eoi/).


Poas (Costa Rica) — June 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)


Moderate seismicity during June

During June the lake at Poás had a greenish-turquoise color, a temperature of 44°C, and bubbled constantly from points on its S, SW, and W sides. A gas plume rose to between 400 and 500 m. Small rockfalls continued along the crater's N and W walls and gas escape rates in the latter area appeared low. The main source of fumarolic discharge came from the pyroclastic cone; at an accessible point on this region the temperature measured 94°C. Fumaroles on the SE, S, and SW walls maintained temperatures of 90-95°C.

OVSCICORI-UNA reported that June seismicity totalled 2,043 events, chiefly of low frequency. During June, totals for medium- and high-frequency events were 115 and 11, respectively. The low-frequency events occurred 20-157 times/day, with the highest number of events at mid-month. The high- and medium-frequency events also both peaked mid-month (with daily highs of about 3 and 13 events, respectively). The peak in high-frequency daily events took place on the 15th and coincided with the appearance of new fumaroles in the active crater.

Mauricio Mora (UCR) described six months of seismicity at Poás (table 7). A seismic peak in January was characterized by harmonic tremor and low-frequency events (both below 2 Hz). Tremor decreased during the first half of the year but a small peak in seismicity appeared in June. Mora also discussed January-June activity in the three primary areas of fumaroles, including: 1) the S crater wall, which appeared to be growing SW (91°C); 2) the dome and crater's S border, which issued plumes to 30 m height (~90°C); and 3) the crater's W border, which in March was covered by a landslide of hydrothermally altered wall rock.

Table 7. Number of low-frequency and A-type seismic events at Poás (recorded at station VPS2, 1 km SW of the active crater), January-June 1996. Courtesy of Mauricio Mora.

Month Low-frequency events A-type events
Jan 1996 4,475 --
Feb 1996 1,651 2
Mar 1996 1,800 --
Apr 1996 1,214 --
May 1996 1,721 4
Jun 1996 2,994 6

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; Gerardo J. Soto, Guillermo E. Alvarado, and Francisco (Chico) Arias, Oficina de Sismología y Vulcanología, Departamento de Geología, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Apartado 10032-1000, San José, Costa Rica; Mauricio Mora F., Sección de Sismologia, Volcanologia y Exploración Geofisica, Escuala Centroamericana de Geología, Universidad de Costa Rica, Apdo. 35-2060, San José, Costa Rica


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — June 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)


Eruptions wane, stop, then resume

From December to April, Tavurvur continued fairly steady eruptive activity. During May emissions became more variable. In June Tavurvur's summit emissions waned, stopped for several days, then resumed.

On 1-2 June Tavurvur produced weak-to-moderate explosions at irregular intervals, but these became more frequent on 4-5 June. The explosions generated pale- to dark-gray ash-and-vapor clouds that rose 400-2,000 m above the crater rim. The clouds blew N and NW and produced ashfalls. Between 3 and 5 June, explosions were accompanied by roaring noises.

On 5 June, the number of earthquakes dropped rapidly, reaching the lowest level in six months and remaining low until 29 June (figure 27). During 5-29 June observers saw white- to pale-gray vapor clouds rising ~1 km; these clouds blew N, NW, and W. Moderate explosions 1-2 times/day caused regular warnings to aircraft in the vicinity. For example, on 10 June a SIGMET from Port Moresby noted volcanic ash to below 5,600 m altitude. For a period of six days (11-16 June), no emissions took place from the summit, but explosions resumed on 17 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Rabaul seismicity for the period November 1995-June 1996. Courtesy of RVO.

Ground deformation changes were low for the first half of June. After 13 June (figure 28), however, rapid radial inflation (to the N of Tavurvur) was recorded by the Matupit (MPT) electronic tiltmeter 2 km W of Tavurvur. Inflation was also recorded by a water-tube tiltmeter at Sulphur Creek (3.3 km NW). Sea-shore leveling measurements near Tavurvur have showed slow uplift since September 1995. The total inflation recorded at MPT was >52 µrad. Forty-two µrad were recorded in four days, the highest recorded rate since electronic tiltmeters were installed in October 1994.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Inflationary tilt at Rabaul in June 1996, recorded by the Matupit (MPT) electronic tiltmeter 2 km W of Tavurvur. Courtesy of RVO.

Following the rapid inflation indicated by the electronic tiltmeter, it was expected that a higher level of eruptive activity would commence. It did so later in the month when activity similar to that in the past six months resumed. Frequent explosions sent ash clouds to 400-1,000 m above the crater rim, some accompanied by loud roaring noises. These explosions continued through the end of June.

Seismicity in June consisted of 1,575 explosion earthquakes, 10 volcanic tremors, and 11 high-frequency earthquakes. The number of explosion earthquakes was the lowest since December 1995. Four high-frequency earthquakes were located to the NE of the caldera, four struck in the W part of the area delineated by the pre-1994 caldera seismicity, and the rest were scattered elsewhere.

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; Jim Lynch, NOAA/NESDIS Synoptic Analysis Branch (SAB), Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA.


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — June 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)


Six-fold seismic increase over previous months in 1996

The local seismic station (RIN3, located 5 km SW of the active crater) registered a total of 50 events, a 6-fold increase over any previous month in 1996. These events were only detected at this seismic station.

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

Information Contacts: Erick Fernández, Elicer Duarte, Vilma Barboza, Rodolfo Van der Laat, and Enrique Hernandez, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica.


Ruapehu (New Zealand) — June 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)


Variable intensity eruptions continue

Variable intensity eruptions continued at Ruapehu. Although during 15-16 June volcanic tremor reached the highest levels seen in the past six months (BGVN 21:05), tremor dropped to background levels early on 20 June. Tremor and local earthquakes both remained low until 26 June when they increased slightly. A more definite increase in the intensity of seismicity took place on 27 June. Ruapehu then began larger discrete eruptions (around 0400) followed by ash-bearing eruptions (around 1000).

Airborne observers saw the volcano at 1120-1140 on 27 June and reported weak emissions that rose ~100 m above the crater. There appeared to be two source vents in an area N of the former crater lake's outlet area (on the crater's E side). The westernmost vent produced vivid white fumes; the easternmost vent produced dark gray ash. Ashfall had accumulated on Mitre Peak. Variable eruptions continued and after 1310 they grew larger. A ~6-km-tall ash column developed and ash fell to the E and SE.

The eruption continued the next day (the 28th), but appeared in conjunction with less seismicity and as a relatively gas-rich plume carrying minor ash. Tremor then was described as 5-10% of that recorded during the mid- June peak. Later, at 1144 on 28 June, a dark gray plume rose to over 600 m. Associated seismicity at the Dome station was weak. Weak to moderate ash emissions were detected 100-150 km downwind. Concern was raised about the mobility of near-source ash deposits.

A substantial amount of SO2 escaped from the volcano. Correlation spectrometer (COSPEC) measurements of SO2 flux rose from 4,100 metric tons/day (t/d) on 19 June to 5,100 t/d on 28 June (revised from an original estimate of 3,800 t/d), and remained high on 10 July at 6,000 ± 1,500 t/d.

Predominantly gas-rich plumes were seen from the ground on 1 July. Low seismicity, similar to that of 28 June, prevailed until 0400 on 2 July. At that time there were increases in both low-amplitude, high-frequency emergent events (the sort previously correlated with small ash eruptions) and larger high-frequency impulsive (A-type) events (interpreted as located at shallow depths beneath the summit). Bad weather on 2 July prevented detailed ground observations, but commercial aircraft reported ash-bearing plumes rising up to 600 m above the summit and blowing E.

The next day (2 July) white plumes were seen to 300 m above the summit. The day after (4 July) pilots reported a dark ash plume at ~3 km altitude extending 40 km downwind. At 1520 on 4 July, clouds cleared from the summit and observers saw a dark ash column rising up to 300 m above the summit; it deposited ash on snow in the ski area. On the Dome seismograph a large number of impulsive seismic events (larger than seen in the past few days) appeared to coincide with the ash column.

A report on 5 July stated that only relatively minor emissions had taken place since the last moderate-sized ash eruption (the event of 27 June). Intermittent minor eruptions still continued on 5 and 6 July, but on the later day, calm weather conditions allowed relatively high ash-bearing columns to develop.

An interval of increased seismicity, reaching levels seen in mid-July, began at 2030 on 7 July and preceded discrete inferred eruptions at 0115-0730 on 8 July. These eruptions took place at 2 to 3 minute intervals. An hour-long, intense burst of shallow seismicity ending about 0830 was followed by another interval of discrete explosions that diminished after about 1300. A helicopter flight at 0950-1030 documented an ash-poor plume to about 4.6 km altitude; an afternoon flight at 1330 also took place. Together, these flights confirmed that Strombolian eruptions ejected lava bombs up to 500 m above the vent.

Although seismicity dropped and then fluctuated in the last hours of 8 July, it resumed for intervals on 9 July. Eruptions continued on 9 July but bad weather and decreased, typically low seismicity prevailed during most of the next week.

At 1435-1735 on 16 July the volcano discharged an ash column to over 6-km altitude. Other eruptions followed; from 1735 to 0516 the next day there were 15 large explosive events, most with well-recorded air-wave phases. Tremor of variable amplitude and several hours of elevated seismicity prevailed. Aviation reports noted plumes at 3.3-4.6 km.

On 17 [July] seismicity dropped beginning at about 0330 and remained low for the next several days. Despite the lull in seismicity, in the afternoon on 18 and 19 [July] plumes rose 100-300 m above the summit.

On 20 July Ruapehu produced the largest outbursts since those in mid-June. Early on 20 July the seismicity and tremor again increased significantly; by about 0700 that day the tremor was replaced by small eruption earthquakes with airwave signals. Although pilots noted ash rising to 6.1-7.5 km altitude, some sustained moderate eruptions rose as high as 10.7 km and included bombs thrown 1.4 km above the crater and fire fountaining. Continuing through the next day, the seismic signals included both episodes with 2 to 7 discrete events per hour and episodes with continuous tremor and fewer discrete events. On 21 July the eruption's E-blown plumes, which were brown in color and thought to contain ash but not be ash-rich, ascended as high as 4.3 km.

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 dominantly andesitic 110 km3 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 (Te Wai a-moe), 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 3,000 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: Colin Wilson, B.J. Scott, B.F. Houghton, C.J. Bryan, S. Sherburn, T. Thordarson, and I. Nairn, Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences (IGNS), Private Bag 2000, Wairakei, New Zealand.


Semeru (Indonesia) — June 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptions form ash plumes

A pilot report from Qantas Airlines on 5 May noted activity around 1800 generating a plume to ~10.5 km altitude. Eruptive activity was again observed from the same flight at 1745 on 7 May, but the ash cloud was only ~1 km above the summit and drifting NE.

Based on a report from Japan Air Lines, another aviation notice of volcanic ash from Semeru was posted at 0335 on 11 May. The report indicated that ash extended ~300 m above the peak and was moving SE at 18.5 km/hour. Lauda Air reported a low-level ash cloud around 1,300 m altitude on the early morning of 12 May, and a Qantas Airlines flight observed periodic emissions later that evening that did not rise above 6 km altitude. Satellite imagery throughout 5-12 May showed no ash plumes.

Geologic Background. Semeru, the highest volcano on Java, and one of its most active, lies at the southern end of a volcanic massif extending north to the Tengger caldera. The steep-sided volcano, also referred to as Mahameru (Great Mountain), rises above coastal plains to the south. Gunung Semeru was constructed south of the overlapping Ajek-ajek and Jambangan calderas. A line of lake-filled maars was constructed along a N-S trend cutting through the summit, and cinder cones and lava domes occupy the eastern and NE flanks. Summit topography is complicated by the shifting of craters from NW to SE. Frequent 19th and 20th century eruptions were dominated by small-to-moderate explosions from the summit crater, with occasional lava flows and larger explosive eruptions accompanied by pyroclastic flows that have reached the lower flanks of the volcano.

Information Contacts: Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, P.O. Box 735, Darwin, NT 0801, Australia; Jim Lynch, NOAA/NESDIS Synoptic Analysis Branch (SAB), Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA.


Sheveluch (Russia) — June 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Normal seismic activity, but degassing continues

During the period of 26 May-22 July, seismicity remained at normal background levels. Gas and steam plumes were observed above the volcano, rising to heights of 50-300 m above the crater and extending 2-8 km downwind. Regular reports from KVERT (via AVO) resumed in June after funding problems in Russia halted communications in December 1994 (BGVN 19:11).

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


Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — June 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 continues

The current eruption, which began on 18 July 1995 (BGVN 20:06), started extruding a lava dome on about 16 November 1995 (BGVN 20:11/12). What follows condenses Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) Scientific Reports for the weeks ending 5 and 12 June and Daily Reports for the rest of June.

On 31 May, and 1 and 15 June, pyroclastic flows progressed several kilometers E; one to within 300 m of the sea. Associated plumes reached up to 3 km altitude. Persistent dome growth continued in June. Its talus filled the W moat, allowing rockfalls to begin escaping the crater, but none reached farther than 100 m beyond the rim. Summaries are included for visual observations, seismic observations, daily seismic event counts, and SO2 flux (tables 5, 6, 7, and 8).

Table 5. Chronology of visual observations at Soufriere Hills, Montserrat, late May through early June 1996. Poor weather conditions often prevented observations. Dated events after 12 June refer to 24-hour intervals beginning at 1600 the previous day. Courtesy of MVO.

Date Visual Observations
30 May 1996 Rockfalls concentrated on N and NE; vigorous steaming from many parts of the dome.
31 May 1996 Rockfalls mainly concentrated on N and E, but some traveled into the S moat. Two pyroclastic flows down the Tar River; the first progressed to within 300 m of the sea; the second, to well past the Tar River Soufriere. Associated ash clouds rose to 2-3 km and were blown NW. A large S-directed rockfall escaped the S crater but progressed less than another 100 m.
01 Jun 1996 Rockfalls concentrated on the dome's NE, E, and S. Small pyroclastic flow to the E (into the upper Tar River Valley); the associated plume rose to ~2 km.
02 Jun 1996 Small "whale back" extruded on the dome's E flank, just N of Castle Peak.
04 Jun 1996 Although the E dome was quiet, growth was indicated on the S and W sides. No spines were observed; instead the dome's top appeared comparatively rounded.
09 Jun 1996 Intense incandescent spots coincided with the source areas for rockfalls. New spines in the W summit area. Night incandescence and associated rockfalls; rockfalls on the dome's NE flank to its W flank.
10 Jun 1996 One of the spines seen on 9 June had fallen over. The dome overtopped the W crater rim at Gages Wall and debris began to travel into the uppermost reaches of Fort Ghaut. Dome growth indicated on the NE.
11 Jun 1996 Dome growth indicated on the NW side.
12 Jun 1996 Estimated height of the new dome's summit was 943 m.
13 Jun 1996 Having filled the moat to ~25-m depth, talus spilled out of the partly buried crater for ~100 m into the upper Gages Valley.
14 Jun 1996 During heavy rainfall, ash erupted and fell NW of the volcano (in the St George's Hill, Cork Hill, and Old Towne areas). Rockfalls were abundant; one ash emission during the afternoon was semi-continuous and lasted about an hour.
15 Jun 1996 A small (~300-m-long) pyroclastic flow S of Castle Peak; fresh deposits from two others in the upper Tar River valley (on the dome's E and NE flanks).
16 Jun 1996 Rockfalls on the dome's NE, N, SE, and W sides. On the W it was unclear how much new material escaped the crater along the upper Fort Ghaut.
17 Jun 1996 Very little new material had traveled down the upper W slopes into the upper Fort Ghaut. Talus on the dome's N side had built up to ~15 m below the rim of Farells wall. A projection along the new dome's summit measured 942 m elevation.
26 Jun 1996 Dome appeared wet and issued heavy steam from the SE flank. A stubby spine was on the NE summit.
30 Jun 1996 Dome rockfalls relatively rare but considerable new material had been deposited on the dome's E sector, in the Tar river's upper S fork. The dome's most rapid growth appeared to be on the S. Little new mass wasting on the W (down Fort Ghaut); however, steam production was concentrated in the W moat area.
04 Jul 1996 Viewed a large slab of extruded lava at the top of the SE dome. A few blocks of fresh dome lava lay in the dome's new W drainage (the upper Fort Ghaut).

Table 6. Chronology of seismically derived observations of volcanic activity at Soufriere Hills, Montserrat, 30 May through July 1996. Dated events after 12 June refer to 24-hour intervals beginning at 1600 the previous day. Courtesy of MVO.

Date Seismic Observations
30 May-03 Jun 1996 Swarm of small hybrid earthquakes of variable amplitude, occurring at the rate of 0.5-2 events/minute.
30 May 1996 Volcano-tectonic earthquake 750 m beneath the crater.
31 May-03 Jun 1996 Somewhat elevated tremor; volcano-tectonic earthquake 1.5 km beneath the crater.
01 Jun 1996 Volcano-tectonic earthquake 2 km beneath the crater.
03 Jun 1996 One ~2-hour continuous tremor episode and a second 5-hour episode running into 4 June.
05 Jun 1996 Interpreted small, local mudflow in upper Fort Ghaut.
06 Jun 1996 Sediment-laden flood towards the W (Plymouth) down Fort Ghaut.
09 Jun 1996 Areas of incandescence seen associated with rockfalls.
13 Jun 1996 Very early in the morning the Gages and Chances Peak seismic stations started to record a few small repetitive hybrid events; these slowly increased in number and were occurring at a rate of ~1 every two minutes by the end of the reporting period.
15 Jun 1996 During sustained heavy rainfall, small hybrid events appeared prior to abundant rockfalls. These hybrid events grew from ~1/minute to 5/minute and their amplitudes doubled before they decreased in number and size. Larger rockfall signals looked similar to signals from small pyroclastic flows.

Table 7. Daily counts of seismic events at Soufriere Hills, Montserrat, 30 May-1 July 1996. The amount of tremor is described qualitatively (high-low) or using analysis from the Daily Reports (particularly after 12 June). Dated events after 12 June refer to 24-hour intervals beginning at 1600 the previous day. Courtesy of MVO.

Date Volcano-tectonic Long-period Hybrid Rockfall Amount of Tremor
30 May 1996 1 5 0 17 Low to intermediate (3 hours of continuous tremor)
31 May 1996 1 14 96 97 Intermediate to high
01 Jun 1996 1 0 307 116 Intermediate to high
02 Jun 1996 0 0 132 83 Intermediate to high
03 Jun 1996 0 1 19 32 Intermediate to high
04 Jun 1996 0 5 18 51 Low to intermediate
05 Jun 1996 0 17 8 57 Low to intermediate
06 Jun 1996 0 13 4 49 Low to intermediate
07 Jun 1996 0 0 1 13 Low to intermediate
08 Jun 1996 0 0 1 51 Low to intermediate
09 Jun 1996 0 3 1 54 Low to intermediate
10 Jun 1996 1 15 2 54 Low to intermediate
11 Jun 1996 0 12 5 87 Low to intermediate
12 Jun 1996 0 2 1 59 Intermediate
13 Jun 1996 1 2 (tab 4) 39 5.5 hours
14 Jun 1996 -- 12 25 34 --
15 Jun 1996 -- -- (tab 4) 198 --
16 Jun 1996 -- 15 21 149 1 hour
17 Jun 1996 -- 16 2 49 12 hours
18 Jun 1996 1 13 0 81 --
19 Jun 1996 -- 7 8 92 --
20 Jun 1996 -- 1 7 63 --
21 Jun 1996 -- 3 5 53 6.6 hours
22 Jun 1996 -- 5 0 28 Low
23 Jun 1996 -- 1 4 60 7 hours
24 Jun 1996 -- 29 3 62 Very low
25 Jun 1996 -- 7 2 37 Low
26 Jun 1996 -- 4 6 37 --
27 Jun 1996 -- 6 7 59 --
28 Jun 1996 2 14 11 66 --
29 Jun 1996 1 4 4 55 --
30 Jun 1996 -- -- ~55 -- --
01 Jul 1996 2 11 12 57 4 hours

Table 8. COSPEC measurements of SO2 flux at Soufriere Hills. Courtesy of MVO.

Date Number of measurements SO2 flux (metric tons/day)
30 May 1996 2 224
31 May 1996 2 88
01 Jun 1996 3 52
02 Jun 1996 6 193
03 Jun 1996 3 192
04 Jun 1996 4 240
05 Jun 1996 7 194
07 Jun 1996 3 84
08 Jun 1996 5 269
09 Jun 1996 4 126
10 Jun 1996 5 59
12 Jun 1996 5 168
15 Jun 1996 -- 135
17 Jun 1996 6 125
19 Jun 1996 -- 170
24 Jun 1996 -- 76
28 Jun 1996 -- 160

During the week ending 5 June gas measurements using a Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer showed substantial errors (50-100%), but did establish that at ground level on the lower slopes of the volcano (excluding Upper Amersham), the ambient concentrations of HCl and SO2 in the air were well below 100 ppb. The SO2:HCl ratio was generally well below 1.0. The only exception to this, on 24 May, was when the measurement errors were large. The SO2:HCl ratios could be used to make an argument about status of the magma chamber. Assuming that this ground-level SO2:HCl ratio was the same as in the plume, then the low ratios measured would indicate a moderately degassed magma chamber.

During 6-12 June, ash generation was generally low and few ash clouds emerged from the crater area; seismically detected rockfalls decreased with respect to the previous week and although no swarm of hybrid earthquakes occurred as in the previous week, the abundance of long-period earthquakes did appear similar to the previous few weeks.

EDM deformation measurements often detected an overall shortening rate along survey lines of ~1 mm/day during the interval from the beginning of December through the end of April. During 1 May-4 June there was a shortening rate of 2.4 and 2.1 mm/day in the volcano's N region (White's and Long Ground respectively); however, the shortening rate subsequently returned to ~1 mm/day.

On 12 June it was noted that during the previous 7-day interval, a ~12 mm/day shortening rate occurred on the N line (Long Ground to Castle Peak). In contrast, during this interval the W and N triangles continued to show no changes in line length above the error of the method.

On 13 June the E triangle was remeasured; its previous measurement was on 11 June: the Long Ground to Castle Peak line shortened by 9 mm and the Whites to Castle Peak line shortened by 6 mm. On 15 June it was reported that the W triangle's line lengths had recently shortened by ~1 mm/day. On 19 June it was found that NE sector (White's and Long Ground to Castle Peak) line lengths shortened by 2.5 cm over 5 days; this result extended a 3-week trend of 3-5 mm/day shortening here. Despite these larger than typical deformations in the NE sector during June, during the same month it was reported that the tiltmeters at Long Ground had remained stable for the past 10 months.

Scientists also noted that by June considerable new dome lava and talus had piled against the crater's W wall. Still, the June EDM surveys failed to show corresponding movement in this portion of the older edifice.

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/).


St. Helens (United States) — June 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

St. Helens

United States

46.2°N, 122.18°W; summit elev. 2549 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dwindling seismicity

No eruptive activity occurred during the first half of 1996, and a trend of declining seismicity since October 1995 continued. Thus far in 1996 monthly earthquake totals have been: January, 14; February, 13; March, 17; April, 16; May, 11; and June, 10 (figure 11). At 1651 on 21 February, an M 2.4 earthquake occurred ~4 km beneath the crater floor; this was followed by four locatable aftershocks and then by ~20 very small seismic events that resembled signals typical of rock or snow avalanches. These later events were shallow, apparently triggered by the M 2.4 earthquake that preceded them. Activity returned to normal within a few hours. Except for that on 21 February, the rest of the earthquakes from January to June did not exceed M 2.0. During the night of 9 June, a large seismic event from the volcano triggered an automated, 24-hour alarm system. The character of the signal suggested that the source was a rockfall from the crater wall. This interpretation was confirmed when a USGS crew working in the crater on 11 June observed a large fresh rockfall deposit that originated from the S crater wall. Rockfalls are a common occurrence in the crater during the summer, and generally do not indicate any increase in volcanic activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Plot of focal depth versus time for earthquakes at Mount St. Helens, July 1995-June 1996. Courtesy of the Cascades Volcano Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey.

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

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


Suwanosejima (Japan) — June 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong eruptions produce volcanic ash clouds

On 2 June, an aviation notice to airmen (NOTAM) indicated a volcanic ash cloud to 4,600 m emanating from Suwanose-jima. A second NOTAM at 1515 on 2 June noted that the ash cloud top was at 2,100 m. No discernible ash plume was evident in GMS satellite data from the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) through 1732 on 2 June.

The Kagoshima Prefectural Government confirmed to JMA that emissions on 1-2 June caused ashfall. Ashfall was also observed on the island on 4 June.

The Sakura-jima Volcanological Observatory of Kyushu University reported that activity has continued at the same level since 1994, with nearly constant A-type earthquakes. Ash emissions have occurred this year on 10-13 January, 23 February, 5-6 March, and 14 April. The eruption column in March rose 500 m above the volcano.

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

Information Contacts: Volcano Research Center, Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113, Japan (URL: http://www.eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp/VRC/index_E.html); Jim Lynch, NOAA/NESDIS Synoptic Analysis Branch (SAB), Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA; Volcanological Division, Japan Meteorological Agency, 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100, Japan.


Turrialba (Costa Rica) — June 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Turrialba

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Microseismicity escalates from 0 (background) to 246 events/month

After 23 May Turrialba's seismic station (VTU, located 0.5 km E of the active crater) registered a sudden increase in microseismicity. During the first four months of 1996 nearly no events were registered. In late May there were over 50 events; in June, 246 events. The dominant frequency of these events varied between 2.5 and 4.0 Hz.

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: 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.


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — June 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)


Steam emissions continue

The low-level activity of recent months persisted through June. Emissions consisted mainly of small to moderate volumes of white vapor. Seismic recording resumed on 28 June and showed low-level seismicity.

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.


Vesuvius (Italy) — June 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Vesuvius

Italy

40.821°N, 14.426°E; summit elev. 1281 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity during 1995-96 is the highest in the past 50 years

The Somma-Vesuvius volcanic complex is a central composite volcano formed by an older stratovolcano (Monte Somma) with a summit caldera partially filled by the composite cone of Vesuvius. The most noted eruption, in 79 A.D., destroyed the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Since the explosive sub-Plinian eruption of 1631, Vesuvius has erupted with both Strombolian and mixed effusive-explosive styles. For the past three centuries the volcanic activity has mainly focused inside the Somma caldera but occasionally lava issued outside it (i.e., 1760 eruption). The last cycle of activity ended with the 1944 eruption. Since then, the volcano has been characterized by moderate seismicity and intra-crater fumarolic activity.

The Osservatorio Vesuviano maintains an array of short-period seismographs (eight three-component and nine vertical-component instruments). Seismicity was monitored during 1995 and March-April 1996. The 1995-96 period was the most active of the past fifty years. Several hundred microearthqukes (M < 3.2) were recorded during 1995, many from sources within the volcanic edifice above sea level. An increase in strain release and in frequency of earthquakes was observed from August to October 1995. During this period 217 events were recorded. Three of these earthquakes had M > 3.0 and were felt by the local population (~600,000 people): the first event (M 3.1, focal depth 3.1 km) occurred on 2 August; the second (M 3.2, focal depth 4.2 km) on 16 September, and the third (M 3.1, focal depth 3.3 km) on 24 September.

During November 1995-February 1996 the seismicity decreased to

Hypocenter locations for the past two years have clustered in a small volume below the crater area, no deeper than 6 km below sea level (figure 1). Focal mechanisms of relevant events suggested that the cause of seismicity was crustal rupture. Harmonic tremor and monochromatic low-frequency events were not observed. No changes in ground deformation or fumarolic gas compositions were reported.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Locations of seismic events at Vesuvius (1995-May 1996). All events have at least five P and one S picks (RMS

A Reuters news story noted that a geophysical experiment is planned at the end of June to obtain a tomographic image of the volcano. The report said that the experiment, a joint-venture of Swiss, French, and Italian scientists, includes a series of controlled explosions at 14 boreholes on the volcano's slopes and as far away as the Sorrento peninsula. The explosions will be monitored by a network of 250 seismic stations. In addition, a marine seismic prospecting survey will be carried out in the Bay of Naples to investigate the volcano's submarine flanks.

Geologic Background. One of the world's most noted volcanoes, Vesuvius (Vesuvio) forms a dramatic backdrop to the Bay of Naples. The historically active cone of Vesuvius was constructed within a large caldera of the ancestral Monte Somma volcano, thought to have formed incrementally beginning about 17,000 years ago. The Monte Somma caldera wall has channeled lava flows and pyroclastic flows primarily to the south and west. Eight major explosive eruptions have taken place in the last 17,000 years, often accompanied by large pyroclastic flows and surges, such as during the well-known 79 CE Pompeii eruption. Intermittent eruptions since 79 CE were followed by a period of frequent long-term explosive and effusive eruptions beginning in 1631 and lasting until 1944. The 1631 eruption was the largest since 79 CE and produced devastating pyroclastic flows that reached as far as the coast and caused great destruction. Many towns are located on the volcano's flanks, and several million people live within areas potentially affected by eruptions of Vesuvius.

Information Contacts: Lucia Civetta, Francesca Bianco, Giuseppe Vilardo, and Mario Castellano, Osservatorio Vesuviano, Via Manzoni 249, 80123 Napoli, Italy; Paul Holmes, Reuters News Service.

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements  Obituaries

Misc Reports

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

Additional Reports  False Reports