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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

Erta Ale (Ethiopia) Continued lava flow outbreaks and thermal anomalies during November 2019 to early April 2020

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) Weak phreatic explosions during August 2019-March 2020; ash and lahars reported in late January

Manam (Papua New Guinea) Minor explosive activity, continued thermal activity, and SO2 emissions, October 2019-March 2020.

Stromboli (Italy) Strombolian activity continues at both summit crater areas, September-December 2019

Semeru (Indonesia) Ash plumes and thermal anomalies continue during September 2019-February 2020

Popocatepetl (Mexico) Dome growth and destruction continues along with ash emissions and ejecta, September 2019-February 2020

Santa Maria (Guatemala) Daily explosions with ash plumes and block avalanches continue, September 2019-February 2020

Villarrica (Chile) Brief increase in explosions, mid-September 2019; continued thermal activity through February 2020

Semisopochnoi (United States) Intermittent small explosions detected in December 2019 through mid-March 2020

Ubinas (Peru) Explosions produced ash plumes in September 2019; several lahars generated in January and February 2020

Yasur (Vanuatu) Strombolian activity continues during June 2019 through February 2020

Cleveland (United States) Intermittent thermal anomalies and lava dome subsidence, February 2019-January 2020



Erta Ale (Ethiopia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Erta Ale

Ethiopia

13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued lava flow outbreaks and thermal anomalies during November 2019 to early April 2020

Erta Ale is a shield volcano located in Ethiopia and contains multiple active pit craters in the summit and southeastern caldera. Volcanism has been characterized by lava flows and large lava flow fields since 2017. Surficial lava flow activity continued within the southeastern caldera during November 2019 until early April 2020; source information was primarily from various satellite data.

The number of days that thermal anomalies were detected using MODIS data in MODVOLC and NASA VIIRS satellite data was notably higher in November and December 2019 (figure 96); the number of thermal anomalies in the Sentinel-2 thermal imagery was substantially lower due to the presence of cloud cover. Across all satellite data, thermal anomalies were identified for 29 days in November, followed by 30 days in December. After December 2019, the number of days thermal anomalies were detected decreased; hotspots were detected for 17 days in January 2020 and 20 days in February. By March, these thermal anomalies became rare until activity ceased. Thermal anomalies were identified during 1-4 March, with weak anomalies seen again during 26 March-8 April 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Graph comparing the number of thermal alerts using calendar dates using MODVOLC, NASA VIIRS, and Sentinel-2 satellite data for Erta Ale during November 2019-March 2020. Data courtesy of HIGP - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, NASA Worldview using the “Fire and Thermal Anomalies” layer, and Sentinel Hub Playground.

MIROVA (Middle Infrared Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed frequent strong thermal anomalies from 18 April through December 2019 (figure 97). Between early August 2019 and March 2020, these thermal signatures were detected at distances less than 5 km from the summit. In late December the thermal intensity dropped slightly before again increasing, while at the same time moving slightly closer to the summit. Thermal anomalies then became more intermittent and steadily decreased in power over the next two months.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Two time-series plots of thermal anomalies from Erta Ale from 18 April 2019 through 18 April 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system. The top plot (A) shows that the thermal anomalies were consistently strong (measured in log radiative power) and occurred frequently until early January 2020 when both the power and frequency visibly declined. The lower plot (B) shows these anomalies as a function of distance from the summit, including a sudden decrease in distance (measured in kilometers) in early August 2019, reflecting a change in the location of the lava flow outbreak. A smaller distance change can be identified at the end of December 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Unlike the obvious distal breakouts to the NE seen previously (BGVN 44:04 and 44:11), infrared satellite imagery during November-December 2019 showed only a small area with a thermal anomaly near the NE edge of the Southeast Caldera (figure 98). A thermal alert was seen at that location using the MODVOLC system on 28 December, but the next day it had been replaced by an anomaly about 1.5 km WSW near the N edge of the Southeast Caldera where the recent flank eruption episode had been centered between January 2017 and January 2018 (BGVN 43:04). The thermal anomaly that was detected in the summit caldera was no longer visible after 9 January 2020, based on Sentinel-2 imagery. The exact location of lava flows shifted within the same general area during January and February 2020 and was last detected by Sentinel-2 on 4 March. After about two weeks without detectable thermal activity, weak unlocated anomalies were seen in VIIRS data on 26 March and in MODIS data on the MIROVA system four times between 26 March and 8 April. No further anomalies were noted through the rest of April 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery of Erta Ale volcanism between November 2019 and March 2020 showing small lava flow outbreaks (bright yellow-orange) just NE of the southeastern calderas. A thermal anomaly can be seen in the summit crater on 15 November and very faintly on 20 December 2019. Imagery on 19 January 2020 showed a small thermal anomaly near the N edge of the Southeast Caldera where the recent flank eruption episode had been centered between January 2017 and January 2018. The last weak thermal hotspot was detected on 4 March (bottom right). Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — April 2020 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)


Weak phreatic explosions during August 2019-March 2020; ash and lahars reported in late January

Rincón de la Vieja is a remote volcanic complex in Costa Rica containing an acid lake that has regularly generated weak phreatic explosions since 2011 (BGVN 44:08). The most recent eruptive period occurred during late March-early June 2019, primarily consisting of small phreatic explosions, minor deposits on the N crater rim, and gas-and-steam emissions. The report period of August 2019-March 2020 was characterized by similar activity, including small phreatic explosions, gas-and-steam plumes, ash and lake sediment ejecta, and volcanic tremors. The most significant activity during this time occurred on 30 January, where a phreatic explosion ejected ash and lake sediment above the crater rim, resulting in a pyroclastic flow which gradually turned into a lahar. Information for this reporting period of August 2019-March 2020 comes from the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA) using weekly bulletins.

According to OVSICORI-UNA, a small hydrothermal eruption was recorded on 1 August 2019. The seismicity was low with a few long period (LP) earthquakes around 1 August and intermittent background tremor. No explosions or emissions were reported through 11 September; seismicity remained low with an occasional LP earthquake and discontinuous tremor. The summit’s extension that has been recorded since the beginning of June stopped, and no significant deformation was observed in August.

Starting again in September 2019 and continuing intermittently through the reporting period, some deformation was observed at the base of the volcano as well as near the summit, according to OVSICORI-UNA. On 12 September an eruption occurred that was followed by volcanic tremors that continued through 15 September. In addition to these tremors, vigorous sustained gas-and-steam plumes were observed. The 16 September weekly bulletin did not describe any ejecta produced as a result of this event.

During 1-3 October small phreatic eruptions were accompanied by volcanic tremors that had decreased by 5 October. In November, volcanism and seismicity were relatively low and stable; few LP earthquakes were reported. This period of low activity remained through December. At the end of November, horizontal extension was observed at the summit, which continued through the first half of January.

Small phreatic eruptions were recorded on 2, 28, and 29 January 2020, with an increase in seismicity occurring on 27 January. On 30 January at 1213 a phreatic explosion produced a gas column that rose 1,500-2,000 m above the crater, with ash and lake sediment ejected up to 100 m above the crater. A news article posted by the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) noted that this explosion generated pyroclastic flows that traveled down the N flank for more than 2 km from the crater. As the pyroclastic flows moved through tributary channels, lahars were generated in the Pénjamo river, Zanjonuda gorge, and Azufrosa, traveling N for 4-10 km and passing through Buenos Aires de Upala (figure 29). Seismicity after this event decreased, though there were still some intermittent tremors.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Photo of a lahar generated from the 30 January 2020 eruption at Rincon de la Vieja. Photo taken by Mauricio Gutiérrez, courtesy of UCR.

On 17, 24, and 25 February and 11, 17, 19, 21, and 23 March, small phreatic eruptions were detected, according to OVSICORI-UNA. Geodetic measurements observed deformation consisting of horizontal extension and inflation near the summit in February-March. By the week of 30 March, the weekly bulletin reported 2-3 small eruptions accompanied by volcanic tremors occurred daily during most days of the week. None of these eruptions produced solid ejecta, pyroclastic flows, or lahars, according to the weekly OVSICORI-UNA bulletins during February-March 2020.

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

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/, https://www.facebook.com/OVSICORI/); Luis Enrique Brenes Portuguéz, University of Costa Rica, Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo Facio Brenes, San José, San Pedro, Costa Rica (URL: https://www.ucr.ac.cr/noticias/2020/01/30/actividad-del-volcan-rincon-de-la-vieja-es-normal-segun-experto.html).


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — May 2020 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)


Minor explosive activity, continued thermal activity, and SO2 emissions, October 2019-March 2020.

Manam is a basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano that lies 13 km off the northern coast of mainland Papua New Guinea; it has a 400-year history of recorded evidence for recurring low-level ash plumes, occasional Strombolian activity, lava flows, pyroclastic avalanches, and large ash plumes from Main and South, the two active summit craters. The current eruption, ongoing since June 2014, produced multiple large explosive eruptions during January-September 2019, including two 15-km-high ash plumes in January, repeated SO2 plumes each month, and another 15.2 km-high ash plume in June that resulted in ashfall and evacuations of several thousand people (BGVN 44:10).

This report covers continued activity during October 2019 through March 2020. Information about Manam is primarily provided by Papua New Guinea's Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), part of the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM). This information is supplemented with aviation alerts from the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). MODIS thermal anomaly satellite data is recorded by the University of Hawai'i's MODVOLC thermal alert recording system, and the Italian MIROVA project; sulfur dioxide monitoring is done by instruments on satellites managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Satellite imagery provided by the Sentinel Hub Playground is also a valuable resource for information about this remote location.

A few modest explosions with ash emissions were reported in early October and early November 2019, and then not again until late March 2020. Although there was little explosive activity during the period, thermal anomalies were recorded intermittently, with low to moderate activity almost every month, as seen in the MODIS data from MIROVA (figure 71) and also in satellite imagery. Sulfur dioxide emissions persisted throughout the period producing emissions greater than 2.0 Dobson Units that were recorded in satellite data 3-13 days each month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. MIROVA thermal anomaly data for Manam from 17 June 2019 through March 2020 indicate continued low and moderate level thermal activity each month from August 2019 through February 2020, after a period of increased activity in June and early July 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume in visible satellite imagery moving NW at 3.1 km altitude on 2 October 2019. Weak ash emissions were observed drifting N for the next two days along with an IR anomaly at the summit. RVO reported incandescence at night during the first week of October. Visitors to the summit on 18 October 2019 recorded steam and fumarolic activity at both of the summit craters (figure 72) and recent avalanche debris on the steep slopes (figure 73).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Steam and fumarolic activity rose from Main crater at Manam on 18 October 2019 in this view to the south from a ridge north of the crater. Google Earth inset of summit shows location of photograph. Courtesy of Vulkanologische Gesellschaft and Claudio Jung, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Volcanic debris covered an avalanche chute on the NE flank of Manam when visited by hikers on 18 October 2019. Courtesy of Vulkanologische Gesellschaft and Claudio Jung, used with permission.

On 2 November, a single large explosion at 1330 local time produced a thick, dark ash plume that rose about 1,000 m above the summit and drifted NW. A shockwave from the explosion was felt at the Bogia Government station located 40 km SE on the mainland about 1 minute later. RVO reported an increase in seismicity on 6 November about 90 minutes before the start of a new eruption from the Main Crater which occurred between 1600 and 1630; it produced light to dark gray ash clouds that rose about 1,000 m above the summit and drifted NW. Incandescent ejecta was visible at the start of the explosion and continued with intermittent strong pulses after dark, reaching peak intensity around 1900. Activity ended by 2200 that evening. The Darwin VAAC reported a discrete emission observed in satellite imagery on 8 November that rose to 4.6 km altitude and drifted WNW, although ground observers confirmed that no eruption took place; emissions were only steam and gas. There were no further reports of explosive activity until the Darwin VAAC reported an ash emission in visible satellite imagery on 20 March 2020 that rose to 3.1 km altitude and drifted E for a few hours before dissipating.

Although explosive activity was minimal during the period, SO2 emissions, and evidence for continued thermal activity were recorded by satellite instruments each month. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite captured evidence each month of SO2 emissions exceeding two Dobson Units (figure 74). The most SO2 activity occurred during October 2019, with 13 days of signatures over 2.0 DU. There were six days of elevated SO2 each month in November and December, and five days in January 2020. During February and March, activity was less, with smaller SO2 plumes recording more than 2.0 DU on three days each month. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery recorded thermal anomalies at least once from one or both of the summit craters each month between October 2019 and March 2020 (figure 75).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. SO2 emissions at Manam exceeded 2 Dobson Units multiple days each month between October 2019 and March 2020. On 3 October 2019 (top left) emissions were also measured from Ulawun located 700 km E on New Britain island. On 30 November 2019 (top middle), in addition to a plume drifting N from Manam, a small SO2 plume was detected at Bagana on Bougainville Island, 1150 km E. The plume from Manam on 2 December 2019 drifted ESE (top right). On 26 January 2020 the plume drifted over 300 km E (bottom left). The plumes measured on 29 February and 4 March 2020 (bottom middle and right) only drifted a few tens of kilometers before dissipating. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, and 8a) showed thermal anomalies at one or both of Manam’s summit craters each month during October 2019-March 2020. On 17 October 2019 (top left) a bright anomaly and weak gas plume drifted NW from South crater, while a dense steam plume and weak anomaly were present at Main crater. On 25 January 2020 (top right) the gas and steam from the two craters were drifting E; the weaker Main crater thermal anomaly is just visible at the edge of the clouds. A clear image on 5 March 2020 (bottom left) shows weak plumes and distinct thermal anomalies from both craters; on 20 March (bottom right) the anomalies are still visible through dense cloud cover that may include steam from the crater vents as well. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; 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); Vulkanologische Gesellschaft (URL: https://twitter.com/vulkanologen/status/1194228532219727874, https://twitter.com/vulkanologen/status/1193788836679225344); Claudio Jung, (URL: https://www.facebook.com/claudio.jung.1/posts/10220075272173895, https://www.instagram.com/jung.claudio/).


Stromboli (Italy) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian activity continues at both summit crater areas, September-December 2019

Near-constant fountains of lava at Stromboli have served as a natural beacon in the Tyrrhenian Sea for at least 2,000 years. Eruptive activity at the summit consistently occurs from multiple vents at both a north crater area (N area) and a southern crater group (CS area) on the Terrazza Craterica at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a large scarp that runs from the summit down the NW side of the volcano-island (figure 168). Periodic lava flows emerge from the vents and flow down the scarp, sometimes reaching the sea; occasional large explosions produce ash plumes and pyroclastic flows. Thermal and visual cameras that monitor activity at the vents are located on the nearby Pizzo Sopra La Fossa, above the Terrazza Craterica, and at multiple locations on the flanks of the volcano. Detailed information for Stromboli is provided by Italy's Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) as well as other satellite sources of data; September-December 2019 is covered in this report.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 168. This shaded relief map of Stromboli’s crater area was created from images acquired by drone on 9 July 2019 (In collaboration with GEOMAR drone group, Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany). Inset shows Stromboli Island, the black rectangle indicates the area of the larger image, the black curved and the red hatched lines indicate, respectively, the morphological escarpment and the crater edges. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 50/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 02/12/2019 - 08/12/2019, data emissione 10/12/2019).

Activity was very consistent throughout the period of September-December 2019. Explosion rates ranged from 2-36 per hour and were of low to medium-high intensity, producing material that rose from less than 80 to over 150 m above the vents on occasion (table 7). The Strombolian activity in both crater areas often sent ejecta outside the crater rim onto the Terrazza Craterica, and also down the Sciara del Fuoco towards the coast. After the explosions of early July and late August, thermal activity decreased to more moderate levels that persisted throughout the period as seen in the MIROVA Log Radiative Power data (figure 169). Sentinel-2 satellite imagery supported descriptions of the constant glow at the summit, revealing incandescence at both summit areas, each showing repeating bursts of activity throughout the period (figure 170).

Table 7. Monthly summary of activity levels at Stromboli, September-December 2019. Low-intensity activity indicates ejecta rising less than 80 m, medium-intensity is ejecta rising less than 150 m, and high-intensity is ejecta rising over 200 m above the vent. Data courtesy of INGV.

Month Activity
Sep 2019 Explosion rates varied from 11-36 events per hour and were of low- to medium intensity (producing 80-120 m high ejecta). Lapilli and bombs were typical from the N area, and coarse and finer-grained tephra (lapilli and ash) were most common in the CS area. The Strombolian activity in both crater areas often sent ejecta outside the crater rim onto the terrace, and also down the Sciara del Fuoco towards the coast.
Oct 2019 Typical Strombolian activity and degassing continued. Explosions rates varied from 2-21 events per hour. Low intensity activity was common in the N area (ejecta less than 80 m high) and low to moderate intensity activity was typical in the CS area, with a few explosions rising over 150 m high. Lapilli and bombs were typical from the N area, and coarse and finer-grained tephra (lapilli and ash) were most common in the CS area. Some of the explosions sent ejecta down the Sciara del Fuoco.
Nov 2019 Typical Strombolian activity and degassing continued. Explosion rates varied from 11-23 events per hour with ejecta rising usually 80-150 m above the vents. Occasional explosions rose 250 m high. In the N area, explosions were generally low intensity with coarse material (lapilli and bombs). In many explosions, ejecta covered the outer slopes of the area overlooking the Sciara del Fuoco, and some blocks rolled for a few hundred meters before stopping. In the CS area, coarse material was mixed with fine and some explosions sent ejecta onto the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco.
Dec 2019 Strombolian activity and degassing continued. Explosion rates varied from 12-26 per hour. In the N area, explosion intensity was mainly medium-low (less than 150 m) with coarse ejecta while in the CS area it was usually medium-high (more than 150 m) with both coarse and fine ejecta. In many explosions, debris covered the outer slopes of the area overlooking the Sciara del Fuoco, and some blocks rolled for a few hundred meters before stopping. Spattering activity was noted in the southern vents of the N area.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 169. Thermal activity at Stromboli was high during July-August 2019, when two major explosions occurred. Activity continued at more moderate levels through December 2019 as seen in the MIROVA graph of Log Radiative Power from 8 June through December 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 170. Stromboli reliably produced strong thermal signals from both of the summit vents throughout September-December 2019 and has done so since long before Sentinel-2 satellite imagery was able to detect it. Image dates are (top, l to r) 5 September, 15 October, 20 October, (bottom l to r) 14 November, 14 December 2019, and 3 January 2020. Sentinel-2 imagery uses Atmospheric penetration rendering with bands 12, 11, and 8A, courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

After a major explosion with a pyroclastic flow on 28 August 2019, followed by lava flows that reached the ocean in the following days (BGVN 44:09), activity diminished in early September to levels more typically seen in recent times. This included Strombolian activity from vents in both the N and CS areas that sent ejecta typically 80-150 m high. Ejecta from the N area generally consisted of lapilli and bombs, while the material from the CS area was often finer grained with significant amounts of lapilli and ash. The number of explosive events remained high in September, frequently reaching 25-30 events per hour. The ejecta periodically landed outside the craters on the Terrazza Craterica and even traveled partway down the Sciara del Fuoco. An inspection on 7 September by INGV revealed four eruptive vents in the N crater area and five in the S crater area (figure 171). The most active vents in the N area were N1 with mostly ash emissions and N2 with Strombolian explosions rich in incandescent coarse material that sometimes rose well above 150 m in height. In the S area, S1 and S2 produced jets of lava that often reached 100 m high. A small cone was observed around N2, having grown after the 28 August explosion. Between 11 and 13 September aerial surveys with drones produced detailed visual and thermal imagery of the summit (figure 172).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 171. Video of the Stromboli summit taken with a thermal camera on 7 September 2019 from the Pizzo sopra la Fossa revealed four active vents in the N area and five active vents in the S area. Images prepared by Piergiorgio Scarlato, courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 37.2/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Giornaliero del 10/09/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 172. An aerial drone survey on 11 September 2019 at Stromboli produced a detailed view of the N and CS vent areas (left) and thermal images taken by a drone survey on 13 September (right) showed elevated temperatures down the Sciara del Fuoco in addition to the vents in the N and CS areas. Images by E. De Beni and M. Cantarero, courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 37.5/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Giornaliero del 13/09/2019).

Strombolian activity from the N crater on 28 September and 1 October 2019 produced blocks and debris that rolled down the Sciara del Fuoco and reached the ocean (figure 173). Explosive activity from the CS crater area sometimes produced ejecta over 150 m high (figure 174). A survey on 26 November revealed that a layer of ash 5-10 cm thick had covered the bombs and blocks that were deposited on the Pizzo Sopra la Fossa during the explosions of 3 July and 28 August (figure 175). On the morning of 27 December a lava flow emerged from the CS area and traveled a few hundred meters down the Sciara del Fuoco. The frequency of explosive events remained relatively constant from September through December 2019 after decreasing from higher levels during July and August (figure 176).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 173. Strombolian activity from vents in the N crater area of Stromboli produced ejecta that traveled all the way to the bottom of the Sciara del Fuoco and entered the ocean. Top images taken 28 September 2019 from the 290 m elevation viewpoint by Rosanna Corsaro. Bottom images captured on 1 October from the webcam at 400 m elevation. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 39.0/2019 and Rep. No. 40.3, Stromboli, Bollettino Giornaliero del 29/09/2019 and 02/10/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 174. Ejecta from Strombolian activity at the CS crater area of Stromboli rose over 150 m on multiple occasions. The webcam located at the 400 m elevation site captured this view of activity on 8 November 2019. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 45.5/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Giornaliero del 08/11/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 175. The Pizzo Sopra la Fossa area at Stromboli was covered with large blocks and pyroclastic debris on 6 September 2019, a week after the major explosion of 28 August (top). By 26 November, 5-10 cm of finer ash covered the surface; the restored webcam can be seen at the far right edge of the Pizzo (bottom). Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 49/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 25/11/2019 - 01/12/2019, data emissione 03/12/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 176. The average hourly frequency of explosive events at Stromboli captured by surveillance cameras from 1 June 2019 through 5 January 2020 remained generally constant after the high levels seen during July and August. The Total value (blue) is the sum of the average daily hourly frequency of all explosive events produced by active vents.

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

Information Contacts: Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy, (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/en/); 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).


Semeru (Indonesia) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes and thermal anomalies continue during September 2019-February 2020

Semeru is a stratovolcano located in East Java, Indonesia containing an active Jonggring-Seloko vent at the Mahameru summit. Common activity has consisted of ash plumes, pyroclastic flows and avalanches, and lava flows that travel down the SE flank. This report updates volcanism from September 2019 to February 2020 using primary information from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

The dominant activity at Semeru for this reporting period consists of ash plumes, which were frequently reported by the Darwin VAAC. An eruption on 10 September 2019 produced an ash plume rising 4 km altitude drifting WNW, as seen in HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery. Ash plumes continued to rise during 13-14 September. During the month of October the Darwin VAAC reported at least six ash plumes on 13, 14, 17-18, and 29-30 October rising to a maximum altitude of 4.6 km and moving primarily S and SW. Activity in November and December was relatively low, dominated mostly by strong and frequent thermal anomalies.

Volcanism increased in January 2020 starting with an eruption on 17 and 18 January that sent a gray ash plume up to 4.6 km altitude (figure 38). Eruptions continued from 20 to 26 January, producing ash plumes that rose up to 500 m above the crater that drifted in different directions. For the duration of the month and into February, ash plumes occurred intermittently. On 26 February, incandescent ejecta was ejected up to 50 m and traveled as far as 1000 m. Small sulfur dioxide emissions were detected in the Sentinel 5P/TROPOMI instrument during 25-27 February (figure 39). Lava flows during 27-29 February extended 200-1,000 m down the SE flank; gas-and-steam and SO2 emissions accompanied the flows. There were 15 shallow volcanic earthquakes detected on 29 February in addition to ash emissions rising 4.3 km altitude drifting ESE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Ash plumes rising from the summit of Semeru on 17 (left) and 18 (right) January 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia and via Ø.L. Andersen's Twitter feed (left).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Small SO2 plumes from Semeru were detected by the Sentinel 5P/TROPOMI instrument during 25 (left) and 26 (right) February 2020. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed relatively weak and intermittent thermal anomalies occurring during May to August 2019 (figure 40). The frequency and power of these thermal anomalies significantly increased during September to mid-December 2019 with a few hotspots occurring at distances greater than 5 km from the summit. These farther thermal anomalies to the N and NE of the volcano do not appear to be caused by volcanic activity. There was a brief break in activity during mid-December to mid-January 2020 before renewed activity was detected in early February 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Thermal anomalies were relatively weak at Semeru during 30 April 2019-August 2019, but significantly increased in power and frequency during September to early December 2019. There was a break in activity from mid-December through mid-January 2020 with renewed thermal anomalies around February 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The MODVOLC algorithm detected 25 thermal hotspots during this reporting period, which took place during 25 September, 18 and 21 October 2019, 29 January, and 11, 14, 16, and 23 February 2020. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery shows intermittent hotspots dominantly in the summit crater throughout this reporting period (figure 41).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery detected intermittent thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) at the summit of Semeru, which included some lava flows in late January to early February 2020. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com).


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dome growth and destruction continues along with ash emissions and ejecta, September 2019-February 2020

Frequent historical eruptions have been reported from Mexico's Popocatépetl going back to the 14th century. Activity increased in the mid-1990s after about 50 years of quiescence, and the current eruption, ongoing since January 2005, has included numerous episodes of lava-dome growth and destruction within the 500-m-wide summit caldera. Multiple emissions of steam and gas occur daily, rising generally 1-3 km above the summit at about 5,400 m elevation; many contain small amounts of ash. Larger, more explosive events with ash plumes and incandescent ejecta landing on the flanks occur frequently. Activity through August 2019 was typical of the ongoing eruption with near-constant emissions of water vapor, gas, and minor ash, as well as multiple explosions with ash plumes and incandescent blocks scattered on the flanks (BGVN 44:09). This report covers similar activity from September 2019 through February 2020. Information comes from daily reports provided by México's Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED); ash plumes are reported by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Satellite visible and thermal imagery and SO2 data also provide helpful observations of activity.

Activity summary. Activity at Popocatépetl during September 2019-February 2020 continued at the high levels that have been ongoing for many years, characterized by hundreds of daily low-intensity emissions that included steam, gas, and small amounts of ash, and periods with multiple daily minor and moderate explosions that produce kilometer-plus-high ash plumes (figure 140). The Washington VAAC issued multiple daily volcanic ash advisories with plume altitudes around 6 km for many, although some were reported as high as 8.2 km. Hundreds of minutes of daily tremor activity often produced ash emissions as well. Incandescent ejecta landed 500-1,000 m from the summit frequently. The MIROVA thermal anomaly data showed near-constant moderate to high levels of thermal energy throughout the period (figure 141).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 140. Emissions continued at a high rate from Popocatépetl throughout September 2019-February 2020. Daily low-intensity emissions numbered usually in the hundreds (blue, left axis), while less frequent minor (orange) and moderate (green) explosions, plotted on the right axis, occurred intermittently through November 2019, and increased again during February 2020. Data was compiled from CENAPRED daily reports.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 141. MIROVA log radiative power thermal data for Popocatépetl from 1 May 2019 through February 2020 showed a constant output of moderate energy the entire time. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Sulfur dioxide emissions were measured with satellite instruments many days of each month from September 2019 thru February 2020. The intensity and drift directions varied significantly; some plumes remained detectable hundreds of kilometers from the volcano (figure 142). Plumes were detected almost daily in September, and on most days in October. They were measured at lower levels but often during November, and after pulses in early and late December only small plumes were visible during January 2020. Intermittent larger pulses returned in February. Dome growth and destruction in the summit crater continued throughout the period. A small dome was observed inside the summit crater in late September. Dome 85, 210-m-wide, was observed inside the summit crater in early November. Satellite imagery captured evidence of dome growth and ash emissions throughout the period (figure 143).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 142. Sulfur dioxide emissions from Popocatépetl were frequent from September 2019 through February 2020. Plumes drifted SW on 7 September (top left), 30 October (top middle), and 21 February (bottom right). SO2 drifted N and NW on 26 November (top right). On 2 December (bottom left) a long plume of sulfur dioxide hundreds of kilometers long drifted SW over the Pacific Ocean while the drift direction changed to NW closer to the volcano. The SO2 plumes measured in January (bottom center) were generally smaller than during the other months covered in this report. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 143. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Popocatépetl during November 2019-February 2020 provided evidence for ongoing dome growth and explosions with ash emissions. Top left: a ring of incandescence inside the summit crater on 8 November 2019 was indicative of the growth of dome 85 observed by CENAPRED. Top middle: incandescence on 8 December inside the summit crater was typical of that observed many times during the period. Top right: a dense, narrow ash plume drifted N from the summit on 17 January 2020. Bottom left: Snow cover made ashfall on 6 February easily visible on the E flank. On 11 February, the summit crater was incandescent and nearly all the snow was covered with ash. Bottom right: a strong thermal anomaly and ash emission were captured on 21 February. Bottom left and top right images use Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); other images use Atmospheric penetration rendering to show infrared signal (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during September-November 2019. On 1 September 2019 minor ashfall was reported in the communities of Atlautla, Ozumba, Juchitepec, and Tenango del Aire in the State of Mexico. The ash plumes rose less than 2 km above the summit and incandescent ejecta traveled less than 100 m from the summit crater. Twenty-two minor and three moderate explosions were recorded on 4-5 September along with minor ashfall in Juchitepec, Tenango del Aire, Tepetlixpa, and Atlautla. During a flyover on 5 September, officials did not observe a dome within the crater, and the dimensions remained the same as during the previous visit (350 m in diameter and 150 m deep) (figure 144). Ashfall was reported in Tlalmanalco and Amecameca on 6 September. The following day incandescent ejecta was visible on the flanks near the summit and ashfall was reported in Amecameca, Ayapango, and Tenango del Aire. The five moderate explosions on 8 September produced ash plumes that rose as high as 2 km above the summit, and incandescent ejecta on the flanks. Explosions on 10 September sent ejecta 500 m from the crater. Eight explosions during 20-21 September produced ejecta that traveled up to 1.5 km down the flanks (figure 145). During an overflight on 27 September specialists from the National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED ) of the National Coordination of Civil Protection and researchers from the Institute of Geophysics of UNAM observed a new dome 30 m in diameter; the overall crater had not changed size since the overflight in early September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 144. CENAPRED carried out overflights of Popocatépetl on 5 (left) and 27 September (right) 2019; the crater did not change in size, but a new dome 30 m in diameter was visible on 27 September. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Sobrevuelo al volcán Popocatépetl, 05 y 27 de septiembre).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 145. Ash plumes at Popocatépetl on 19 (left) and 20 (right) September 2019 rose over a kilometer above the summit before dissipating. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 19 y 20 de septiembre).

Fourteen explosions were reported on 2 October 2019. The last one produced an ash plume that rose 2 km above the summit and sent incandescent ejecta down the E slope (figure 146). Ashfall was reported in the municipalities of Atlautla Ozumba, Ayapango and Ecatzingo in the State of Mexico. Explosions on 3 and 4 October also produced ash plumes that rose between 1 and 2 km above the summit and sent ejecta onto the flanks. Additional incandescent ejecta was reported on 6, 7, 15, and 19 October. The communities of Amecameca, Tenango del Aire, Tlalmanalco, Cocotitlán, Temamatla, and Tláhuac reported ashfall on 10 October; Amecameca reported more ashfall on 12 October. On 22 October slight ashfall appeared in Amecameca, Tenango del Aire, Tlalmanalco, Ayapango, Temamatla, and Atlautla.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 146. Incandescent ejecta at Popocatépetl traveled down the E slope on 2 October 2019 (left); an ash plume two days later rose 2 km above the summit (right). Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 2 y 4 de octubre).

During 2-3 November 2019 there was 780 minutes of tremor reported in four different episodes. The seismicity was accompanied by ash emissions that drifted W and NW and produced ashfall in numerous communities, including Amecameca, Juchitepec, Ozumba, Tepetlixpa, and Atlautla in the State of México, in Ayapango and Cuautla in the State of Morelos, and in the municipalities of Tlahuac, Tlalpan, and Xochimilco in Mexico City. A moderate explosion on 4 November sent incandescent ejecta 2 km down the slopes and produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km and drifted NW. Minor ashfall was reported in Tlalmanalco, Amecameca, and Tenango del Aire, State of Mexico. Similar ash plumes from explosions occurred the following day. Scientists from CENAPRED and the Institute of Geophysics of UNAM observed dome number 85 during an overflight on 5 November 2019. It had a diameter of 210 m and was 80 m thick, with an irregular surface (figure 147). Multiple explosions on 6 and 7 November produced incandescent ejecta; a moderate explosion late on 11 November produced ejecta that traveled 1.5 km from the summit and produced an ash plume 2 km high (figure 148). A lengthy period of constant ash emission that drifted E was reported on 18 November. A moderate explosion on 28 November sent incandescent fragments 1.5 km down the slopes and ash one km above the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 147. A new dome was visible inside the summit crater at Popocatépetl during an overflight on 5 November 2019. It had a diameter of 210 m and was 80 m thick. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Sobrevuelo al volcán Popocatépetl, 05 de noviembre).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 148. Ash emissions and explosions with incandescent ejecta continued at Popocatépetl during November 2019. The ash plume on 1 November changed drift direction sharply a few hundred meters above the summit (left). Incandescent ejecta traveled 1.5 km down the flanks on 11 November (right). Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 1 y 12 de noviembre).

Activity during December 2019-February 2020. Throughout December 2019 weak emissions of steam and gas were reported daily, sometimes with minor amounts of ash, and minor explosions were only reported on 21 and 27 December. On 21 December two new high-resolution webcams were installed around Popocatépetl, one 5 km from the crater at the Tlamacas station, and the second in San Juan Tianguismanalco, 20 km away. Ash emissions and incandescent ejecta 800 m from the summit were observed on 25 December (figure 149). Incandescence at night was reported during 27-29 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 149. Incandescent ejecta moved 800 m down the flanks of Popocatépetl during explosions on 25 December 2019 (left); weak emissions of steam, gas, and minor ash were visible on 27 December and throughout the month. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 25 y 27 de diciembre).

Continuous emissions of water vapor and gas with low ash content were typical daily during January 2020. A moderate explosion on 9 January produced an ash plume that rose 3 km from the summit and drifted NE. In addition, incandescent ejecta traveled 1 km from the crater rim. A minor explosion on 21 January produced a 1.5-km-high plume with low ash content and incandescent ejecta that fell near the crater (figure 150). The first of two explosions late on 27 January produced ejecta that traveled 500 m and a 1-km-high ash plume. Constant incandescence was observed overnight on 29-30 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 150. Although fewer explosions were recorded at Popocatépetl during January 2020, activity continued. An ash plume on 19 January rose over a kilometer above the summit (top left). A minor explosion on 21 January produced a 1.5-km-high plume with low ash content and incandescent ejecta that fell near the crater (top right). Smaller emissions with steam, gas, and ash were typical many days, including on 22 (bottom left) and 31 (bottom right) January 2019. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 19, 21, 22 y 31 de enero).

A moderate explosion on 5 February 2020 produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km and drifted NNE. Explosions on 10 and 13 February sent ejecta 500 m down the flanks (figure 151). During an overflight on 18 February scientists noted that the internal crater maintained a diameter of 350 m and its approximate depth was 100-150 m; the crater was covered by tephra. For most of the second half of February the volcano had a continuous emission of gases with minor amounts of ash. In addition, multiple explosions produced ash plumes that rose 400-1,200 m above the crater and drifted in several different directions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 151. Ash emissions and explosions continued at Popocatépetl during February 2020. Dense ash drifted near the snow-covered summit on 6 February (top left). Incandescent ejecta traveled 500 m down the flanks on 13 February (top right). Ash plumes billowed from the summit on 18 and 22 February (bottom row). Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl, 6, 15, 18 y 22 de febrero).

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

Information Contacts: Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México D.F. 04360, México (URL: http://www.cenapred.unam.mx/), Daily Report Archive http://www.cenapred.unam.mx:8080/reportesVolcanGobMX/BuscarReportesVolcan); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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).


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

14.757°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily explosions with ash plumes and block avalanches continue, September 2019-February 2020

The dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex on the W flank of Guatemala's Santa María volcano has been growing and actively erupting since 1922. Ash explosions, pyroclastic, and lava flows have emerged from Caliente, the youngest of the four vents in the complex, for more than 40 years. A lava dome that appeared within the summit crater of Caliente in October 2016 has continued to grow, producing frequent block avalanches down the flanks. Daily explosions with ash plumes and block avalanches continued during September 2019-February 2020, the period covered in this report, with information primarily from Guatemala's INSIVUMEH (Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meterologia e Hidrologia) and the Washington VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center).

Constant fumarolic activity with steam and gas persisted from the Caliente dome throughout September 2019-February 2020. Explosions occurred multiple times per day, producing ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 3.1-3.5 km and usually drifted a few kilometers before dissipating. Several lahars during September and October carried volcanic blocks, ash, and debris down major drainages. Periodic ashfall was reported in communities within 10 km of the volcano. An increase in thermal activity beginning in November (figure 101) resulted in an increased number of observations of incandescence visible at night from the summit of Caliente through February 2020. Block avalanches occurred daily on the flanks of the dome, often reaching the base, stirring up small clouds of ash that drifted downwind.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. The MIROVA project graph of thermal activity at Santa María from 12 May 2019 through February 2020 shows a gradual increase in thermal energy beginning in November 2019. This corresponds to an increase in the number of daily observations of incandescence at the summit of the Caliente dome during this period. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Constant steam and gas fumarolic activity rose from the Caliente dome, drifting W, usually rising to 2.8-3.0 km altitude during September 2019. Multiple daily explosions with ash plumes rising to 2.9-3.4 km altitude drifted W or SW over the communities of San Marcos, Loma Linda Palajunoj, and Monte Claro (figure 102). Constant block avalanches fell to the base of the cone on the NE and SE flanks. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery on 10 September at 3.1 km altitude drifting W. On 14 September another plume was spotted moving WSW at 4.6 km altitude which dissipated quickly; the webcam captured another plume on 16 September. Ashfall on 27 September reached about 1 km from the volcano; it reached 1.5 km on 29 September. Lahars descended the Rio Cabello de Ángel on 2 and 24 September (figure 102). They were about 15 m wide, and 1-3 m deep, carrying blocks 1-2 m in diameter.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. A lahar descended the Rio Cabello de Ángel at Santa Maria and flowed into the Rio Nima 1 on 24 September 2019. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 21 al 27 de septiembre de 2019).

Througout October 2019, degassing of steam with minor gases occurred from the Caliente summit, rising to 2.9-3.0 km altitude and generally drifting SW. Weak explosions took place 1-5 times per hour, producing ash plumes that rose to 3.2-3.5 km altitude. Ashfall was reported in Monte Claro on 2 October. Nearly constant block avalanches descended the SE and S flanks, disturbing recent layers of fine ash and producing local ash clouds. Moderate explosions on 11 October produced ash plumes that rose to 3.5 km altitude and drifted W and SW about 1.5 km towards Río San Isidro (figure 103). The following day additional plumes drifted a similar distance to the SE. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission visible in satellite imagery at 4.9 km altitude on 13 October drifting NNW. Ashfall was reported in Parcelamiento Monte Claro on 14 October. Some of the block avalanches observed on 14 October on the SE, S, and SW flanks were incandescent. Ash drifted 1.5 km W and SW on 17 October. Ashfall was reported near la finca Monte Claro on 25 and 28 October. A lahar descended the Río San Isidro, a tributary of the Río El Tambor on 7 October carrying blocks 1-2 m in diameter, tree trunks, and branches. It was about 16 m wide and 1-2 m deep. Additional lahars descended the rio Cabello de Angel on 23 and 24 October. They were about 15 m wide and 2 m deep, and carried ash and blocks 1-2 m in diameter, tree trunks, and branches.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. Daily ash plumes were reported from the Caliente cone at Santa María during October 2019, similar to these from 30 September (left) and 11 October 2019 (right). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 28 de septiembre al 04 de octubre de 2019; Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 05 al 11 de octubre de 2019).

During November 2019, steam plumes rose to 2.9-3.0 km altitude and generally drifted E. There were 1-3 explosions per hour; the ash plumes produced rose to altitudes of 3.1-3.5 km and often drifted SW, resulting in ashfall around the volcanic complex. Block avalanches descended the S and SW flanks every day. On 4 November ashfall was reported in the fincas (ranches) of El Faro, Santa Marta, El Viejo Palmar, and Las Marías, and the odor of sulfur was reported 10 km S. Incandescence was observed at the Caliente dome during the night of 5-6 November. Ash fell again in El Viejo Palmar, fincas La Florida, El Faro, and Santa Marta (5-6 km SW) on 7 November. Sulfur odor was also reported 8-10 km S on 16, 19, and 22 November. Fine-grained ash fell on 18 November in Loma Linda and San Marcos Palajunoj. On 29 November strong block avalanches descended in the SW flank, stirring up reddish ash that had fallen on the flanks (figure 104). The ash drifted up to 20 km SW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. Ash plumes rose from explosions multiple times per day at Santa Maria’s Santiaguito complex during November 2019, and block avalanches stirred up reddish clouds of ash that drifted for many kilometers. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH. Left, 11 November 2019, from Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 09 al 15 de noviembre de 2019. Right, 29 November 2019 from BOLETÍN VULCANOLÓGICO ESPECIAL BESTG# 106-2019, Guatemala 29 de noviembre de 2019, 10:50 horas (Hora Local).

White steam plumes rising to 2.9-3.0 km altitude drifted SE most days during December 2019. One to three explosions per hour produced ash plumes that rose to 3.1-3.5 km altitude and drifted W and SW producing ashfall on the flanks. Several strong block avalanches sent material down the SW flank. Ash from the explosions drifted about 1.5 km SW on 3 and 7 December. The Washington VAAC reported a small ash emission that rose to 4.9 km altitude and drifted WSW on 8 December, and another on 13 December that rose to 4.3 km altitude. Ashfall was reported up to 10 km S on 24 December. Incandescence was reported at the dome by INSIVUMEH eight times during the month, significantly more than during the recent previous months (figure 105).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Strong thermal anomalies were visible in Sentinel-2 imagery at the summit of the Caliente cone at Santa María’s Santiaguito’s complex on 19 December 2019. Image uses Atmospheric Penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during January 2020 was similar to that during previous months. White plumes of steam rose from the Caliente dome to altitudes of 2.7-3.0 km and drifted SE; one to three explosions per hour produced ash plumes that rose to 3.2-3.4 km altitude and generally drifted about 1.5 km SW before dissipating. Frequent block avalanches on the SE flank caused smaller plumes that drifted SSW often over the ranches of San Marcos and Loma Linda Palajunoj. On 28 January ash plumes drifted W and SW over the communities of Calaguache, El Nuevo Palmar, and Las Marías. In addition to incandescence observed at the crater of Caliente dome at least nine times, thermal anomalies in satellite imagery were detected multiple times from the block avalanches on the S flank (figure 106).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Incandescence at the summit and in the block avalanches on the S flank of the Caliente cone at Santa María’s Santiaguito’s complex was visible in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 8 and 13 January 2020. Atmospheric penetration rendering images (bands 12, 11, 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery at 4.6 km altitude drifting W on 3 February 2020. INSIVUMEH reported constant steam degassing that rose to 2.9-3.0 km altitude and drifted SW. In addition, 1-3 weak to moderate explosions per hour produced ash plumes to 3.1-3.5 km altitude that drifted about 1 km SW. Small amounts of ashfall around the volcano’s perimeter was common. The ash plumes on 5 February drifted NE over Santa María de Jesús. On 8 February the ash plumes drifted E and SE over the communities of Calaguache, El Nuevo Palmar, and Las Marías. Block avalanches on the S and SE flanks of Caliente dome continued, creating small ash clouds on the flank. Incandescence continued frequently at the crater and was also observed on the S flank in satellite imagery (figure 107).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. Incandescence at the summit and on the S flank of the Caliente cone at Santa María’s Santiaguito’s complex was frequent during February 2020, including on 2 (left) and 17 (right) February 2020 as seen in Sentinel-2 imagery. Atmostpheric Penetration rendering imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa María volcano is part of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rise above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The sharp-topped, conical profile is cut on the SW flank by a 1.5-km-wide crater. The oval-shaped crater extends from just below the summit to the lower flank, and was formed during a catastrophic eruption in 1902. The renowned Plinian eruption of 1902 that devastated much of SW Guatemala followed a long repose period after construction of the large basaltic-andesite stratovolcano. The massive dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex has been growing at the base of the 1902 crater since 1922. Compound dome growth at Santiaguito has occurred episodically from four vents, with activity progressing W towards the most recent, Caliente. Dome growth has been accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions, with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.

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


Villarrica (Chile) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Villarrica

Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Brief increase in explosions, mid-September 2019; continued thermal activity through February 2020

Historical eruptions at Chile's Villarrica, documented since 1558, have consisted largely of mild-to-moderate explosive activity with occasional lava effusion. An intermittently active lava lake at the summit has been the source of Strombolian activity, incandescent ejecta, and thermal anomalies for several decades; the current eruption has been ongoing since December 2014. Continuing activity during September 2019-February 2020 is covered in this report, with information provided by the Southern Andes Volcano Observatory (Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur, OVDAS), part of Chile's National Service of Geology and Mining (Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería, SERNAGEOMIN), and Projecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI), part of the Fundacion Volcanes de Chile, a research group that studies volcanoes across Chile.

A brief period of heighted explosive activity in early September 2019 caused SERNAGEOMIN to raise the Alert Level from Yellow to Orange (on a four-color scale of Green-Yellow-Orange-Red) for several days. Increases in radiative power were visible in the MIROVA thermal anomaly data during September (figure 84). Although overall activity decreased after that, intermittent explosions were observed at the summit, and incandescence continued throughout September 2019-February 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery indicated a strong thermal anomaly from the summit crater whenever the weather conditions permitted. In addition, ejecta periodically covered the area around the summit crater, and particulates often covered the snow beneath the narrow gas plume drifting S from the summit (figure 85).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Thermal activity at Villarrica from 28 May 2019 through February 2020 was generally at a low level, except for brief periods in August and September 2019 when larger explosions were witnessed and recorded in seismic data and higher levels of thermal activity were noted by the MIROVA project. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Natural-color (top) and Atmospheric penetration (bottom) renderings of three different dates during September 2019-February 2020 show typical continued activity at Villarica during the period. Dark ejecta periodically covered the snow around the summit crater, and streaks of particulate material were sometimes visible on the snow underneath the plumes of bluish gas drifting S from the volcano (top images). Persistent thermal anomalies were recorded in infrared satellite data on the same dates (bottom images). Dates recorded are (left to right) 28 September 2019, 20 December 2019, and 1 January 2020. Natural color rendering uses bands 4,3, and 2, and Atmospheric penetration rendering uses bands 12, 11, and 8a. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

SERNAGEOMIN raised the Alert Level from Green to Yellow in early August 2019 due to the increase in activity that included incandescent ejecta and bombs reaching 200 m from the summit crater (BGVN 44:09). An increase in seismic tremor activity on 8 September was accompanied by vigorous Strombolian explosions reported by POVI. The following day, SERNAGEOMIN raised the Alert Level from Yellow to Orange. Poor weather prevented visual observations of the summit on 8 and 9 September, but high levels of incandescence were observed briefly on 10 September. Incandescent ejecta reached 200 m from the crater rim late on 10 September (figure 86). Activity increased the next day with ejecta recorded 400 m from the crater, and the explosions were felt 12 km from the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. A new pulse of activity at Villarrica reached its maximum on 10 (left) and 11 (right) September 2019. Incandescent ejecta reached 200 m from the crater rim on 10 September and up to 400 m the following day. Courtesy of POVI (Volcan Villarrica, Resumen grafico del comportamiento, Septiembre 2019 a enero 2020).

Explosions decreased in intensity by 13 September, but avalanches of incandescent material were visible on the E flank in the early morning hours (figure 87). Small black plumes later in the day were interpreted by POVI as the result of activity from landslides within the crater. Fine ash deposited on the N and NW flanks during 16-17 September was attributed to wind moving ash from within the crater, and not to new emissions from the crater (figure 88). SERNAGEOMIN lowered the Alert Level to Yellow on 16 September as tremor activity decreased significantly. Activity continued to decrease during the second half of September; incandescence was moderate with no avalanches observed, and intermittent emissions with small amounts of material were noted. Degassing of steam plumes rose up to 120 m above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. By 13 September 2019, a decrease in activity at Villarrica was apparent. Incandescence (red arrow) was visible on the E flank of Villarrica early on 13 September (left). Fine ash, likely from small collapses of new material inside the vent, rose a short distance above the summit later in the day (right). Courtesy of POVI (Volcan Villarrica, Resumen grafico del comportamiento, Septiembre 2019 a Enero 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Fine-grained material covered the summit of Villarrica on 17 September 2019. POVI interpreted this as a result of strong winds moving fine ash-sized particles from within the crater and depositing them on the N and NW flanks. Courtesy of POVI (Volcan Villarrica, Resumen grafico del comportamiento, Septiembre 2019 a enero 2020).

Low-altitude degassing was typical activity during October-December 2019; occasionally steam and gas plumes rose 300 m above the summit, but they were generally less than 200 m high. Incandescence was visible at night when weather conditions permitted. Occasional Strombolian explosions were observed in the webcam (figure 89). During January and February 2020, similar activity was reported with steam plumes observed to heights of 300-400 m above the summit, and incandescence on nights where the summit was visible (figure 90). A drone overflight on 19 January produced a clear view into the summit crater revealing a 5-m-wide lava pit about 120 m down inside the crater (figure 91).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Activity continued at a lower level at the summit of Villarrica from October-December 2019. The 30-m-wide vent at the bottom of the summit crater (120 m deep) of Villarrica (left) was emitting wisps of bluish gas on 30 October 2019. Sporadic Strombolian explosions ejected material around the crater rim on 12 December (right). Courtesy of POVI (Volcan Villarrica, Resumen grafico del comportamiento, Septiembre 2019 a enero 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Small explosive events were recorded at Villarrica during January and February 2020, including these events on 4 (left) and 18 (right) January where ejecta reached about 50 m above the crater rim. Courtesy of POVI (Volcan Villarrica, Resumen grafico del comportamiento, Septiembre 2019 a Enero 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. An oblique view into the bottom of the summit crater of Villarrica on 19 January 2020 was captured by drone. The diameter of the lava pit was calculated at about 5 m and was about 120 m deep. Image copyright by Leighton M. Watson, used with permission; courtesy of POVI (Volcan Villarrica, Resumen grafico del comportamiento, Septiembre 2019 a Enero 2020).

Geologic Background. Glacier-clad Villarrica, one of Chile's most active volcanoes, rises above the lake and town of the same name. It is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes that trend perpendicular to the Andean chain. A 6-km-wide caldera formed during the late Pleistocene. A 2-km-wide caldera that formed about 3500 years ago is located at the base of the presently active, dominantly basaltic to basaltic-andesitic cone at the NW margin of the Pleistocene caldera. More than 30 scoria cones and fissure vents dot the flanks. Plinian eruptions and pyroclastic flows that have extended up to 20 km from the volcano were produced during the Holocene. Lava flows up to 18 km long have issued from summit and flank vents. Historical eruptions, documented since 1558, have consisted largely of mild-to-moderate explosive activity with occasional lava effusion. Glaciers cover 40 km2 of the volcano, and lahars have damaged towns on its flanks.

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); Proyecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI) (URL: http://www.povi.cl/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Leighton M. Watson, Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1272, USA (URL: https://earthsciences.uoregon.edu/).


Semisopochnoi (United States) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Semisopochnoi

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent small explosions detected in December 2019 through mid-March 2020

Semisopochnoi is a remote stratovolcano located in the western Aleutians dominated by an 8 km-wide caldera containing the small (100 m diameter) Fenner Lake and a three-cone cluster: a northern cone known as the North cone of Mount Cerberus, an eastern cone known as the East cone of Mount Cerberus, and a southern cone known as the South cone of Mount Cerberus. Previous volcanism has included small explosions, ash deposits, and gas-and-steam emissions. This report updates activity during September 2019 through March 2020 using information from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO). A new eruptive period began on 7 December 2019 and continued until mid-March 2020 with activity primarily focused in the North cone of Mount Cerberus.

During September-November 2019, low levels of unrest were characterized by intermittent weeks of elevated seismicity and gas-and-steam plumes visible on 8 September, 7-8 October, and 24 November. On 6 October an SO2 plume was visible in satellite imagery, according to AVO.

Seismicity increased on 5 December and was described as a strong tremor through 7 December. This tremor was associated with a small eruption on 7 December; intermittent explosions occurred and continued into the night. Increased seismicity was recorded throughout the rest of the month while AVO registered small explosions during 11-19 December. On 11-12 December, a gas-and-steam plume possibly containing some of ash extended 80 km (figure 2). Two more ash plumes were observed on 14 and 17 December, the latter of which extended 15 km SE. Sentinel-2 satellite images show gas-and-steam plumes rising from the North Cerberus crater intermittently at the end of 2019 and into early 2020 (figure 3).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Sentinel-2 satellite image showing a gray ash plume extending up to 17 km SE from the North Cerberus crater on 11 December 2019. Image taken by Hannah Dietterich; courtesy of AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Sentinel-2 satellite images of gas-and-steam plumes at Semisopochnoi from late November 2019 through mid-March 2020. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The month of January 2020 was characterized by low levels of unrest due to intermittent low seismicity. Small explosions were reported during 14-17 February and a gas-and-steam plume was visible on 26 February. Seismic unrest occurred between 18 February-7 March. Gas-and-steam plumes were visible on 1, 9, 14-17, 20, and 21 March (figure 4). During 15-17 March, small explosions occurred, according to AVO. Additionally, clear satellite images showed gas-and-steam emissions and minor ash deposits around North Cerberus’ crater rim. After 17 March the explosions subsided and ash emissions were no longer observed. However, intermittent gas-and-steam emissions continued and seismicity remained elevated through the end of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Satellite image of Semisopochnoi showing degassing within the North Cerberus crater on 22 March 2020. Image taken by Matt Loewen; courtesy of AVO.

Geologic Background. Semisopochnoi, the largest subaerial volcano of the western Aleutians, is 20 km wide at sea level and contains an 8-km-wide caldera. It formed as a result of collapse of a low-angle, dominantly basaltic volcano following the eruption of a large volume of dacitic pumice. The high point of the island is 1221-m-high Anvil Peak, a double-peaked late-Pleistocene cone that forms much of the island's northern part. The three-peaked 774-m-high Mount Cerberus volcano was constructed during the Holocene within the caldera. Each of the peaks contains a summit crater; lava flows on the northern flank of Cerberus appear younger than those on the southern side. Other post-caldera volcanoes include the symmetrical 855-m-high Sugarloaf Peak SSE of the caldera and Lakeshore Cone, a small cinder cone at the edge of Fenner Lake in the NE part of the caldera. Most documented historical eruptions have originated from Cerberus, although Coats (1950) considered that both Sugarloaf and Lakeshore Cone within the caldera could have been active during historical time.

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


Ubinas (Peru) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ubinas

Peru

16.355°S, 70.903°W; summit elev. 5672 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions produced ash plumes in September 2019; several lahars generated in January and February 2020

Ubinas, located 70 km from the city of Arequipa in Peru, has produced frequent eruptions since 1550 characterized by ash plumes, ballistic ejecta (blocks and bombs), some pyroclastic flows, and lahars. Activity is focused at the summit crater (figure 53). A new eruptive episode began on 24 June 2019, with an ash plume reaching 12 km altitude on 19 July. This report summarizes activity during September 2019 through February 2020 and is based on agency reports and satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. A PlanetScope satellite image of Ubinas on 16 December 2019. Courtesy of PlanetLabs.

Prior to September 2019 the last explosion occurred on 22 July. At 2145 on 1 September moderate, continuous ash emission occurred reaching nearly 1 km above the crater. An explosion produced an ash plume at 1358 on the 3rd that reached up to 1.3 km above the summit; six minutes later ashfall and lapilli up to 1.5 cm in diameter was reported 6 km away, with ashfall reported up to 8 km away (figure 54 and 55). Three explosions produced ash plumes at 0456, 0551, and 0844 on 4 September, with the two later ash plumes reaching around 2 km above the crater. The ash plume dispersed to the south and ashfall was reported in Ubinas, Tonohaya, San Miguel, Anascapa, Huatahua, Huarina, and Matalaque, reaching a thickness of 1 mm in Ubinas.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. An eruption at Ubinas produced an ash plume up to 1.3 km on at 1358 on 3 September 2019. Courtesy of INGEMMET.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Ash and lapilli fall up to 1.5 cm in diameter was reported 6 km away from Ubinas on 3 September 2019 (top) and an Ingemmet geologist collects ash samples from the last three explosions. Courtesy of INGEMMET.

During 8-9 September there were three explosions generating ash plumes to less than 2.5 km, with the largest occurring at 1358 and producing ashfall in the Moquegua region to the south. Following these events, gas and water vapor were continuously emitted up to 1 km above the crater. There was an increase in seismicity during the 10-11th and an explosion produced a 1.5 km high (above the crater) ash plume at 0726 on the 12th, which dispersed to the S and SE (figure 56). During 10-15 September there was continuous emission of gas (blue in color) and steam up to 1.5 km above the volcano. Gas emission, thermal anomalies, and seismicity continued during 16-29 September, but no further explosions were recorded.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. An explosion at Ubinas on 12 September 2019 produced an ash plume to 1.5 km above the volcano. The ash dispersed to the S and SE. Courtesy of IGP.

Throughout October activity consisted of seismicity, elevated temperatures within the crater, and gas emissions reaching 800 to 1,500 m above the crater. No explosions were recorded. Drone footage released in early October (figure 57) shows the gas emissions and provided a view of the crater floor (figure 58). On the 15th IGP reported that the likelihood of an eruption had reduced.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. IGP flew a fixed-wing drone over Ubinas as part of their monitoring efforts. This photograph shows gas emissions rising from the summit crater, published on 7 October 2019. Courtesy of IGP.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Drone image showing gas emissions and the summit crater of Ubinas. Image taken by IGP staff and released on 7 October 2019; courtesy of IGP.

Similar activity continued through early November with no reported explosions, and the thermal anomalies were no longer detected at the end of November (figure 59), although a faint thermal anomaly was visible in Sentinel-2 data in mid-December (figure 60). A rockfall occurred at 1138 on 13 November down the Volcanmayo gorge.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. This MIROA Log Radiative Power plot shows increased thermal energy detected at Ubinas during August through November 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image showing elevated temperatures in the Ubinas crater on 16 December 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

There were no explosions during January or February 2020, with seismicity and reduced gas emissions continuing. There was a small- to moderate-volume lahar generated at 1620 on 4 January down the SE flank. A second moderate- to high-volume lahar was generated at 1532 on 24 February, and three more lahars at 1325 and 1500 on 29 February, and at 1601 on 1 March, moved down the Volcanmayo gorge and the Sacohaya river channel. The last three lahars were of moderate to large volume.

Geologic Background. A small, 1.4-km-wide caldera cuts the top of Ubinas, Perú's most active volcano, giving it a truncated appearance. It is the northernmost of three young volcanoes located along a regional structural lineament about 50 km behind the main volcanic front. The growth and destruction of Ubinas I was followed by construction of Ubinas II beginning in the mid-Pleistocene. The upper slopes of the andesitic-to-rhyolitic Ubinas II stratovolcano are composed primarily of andesitic and trachyandesitic lava flows and steepen to nearly 45 degrees. The steep-walled, 150-m-deep summit caldera contains an ash cone with a 500-m-wide funnel-shaped vent that is 200 m deep. Debris-avalanche deposits from the collapse of the SE flank about 3,700 years ago extend 10 km from the volcano. Widespread Plinian pumice-fall deposits include one of Holocene age about 1,000 years ago. Holocene lava flows are visible on the flanks, but historical activity, documented since the 16th century, has consisted of intermittent minor-to-moderate explosive eruptions.

Information Contacts: Observatorio Volcanologico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico), Barrio Magisterial Nro. 2 B-16 Umacollo - Yanahuara Arequipa, Peru (URL: http://ovi.ingemmet.gob.pe); Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), Calle Badajoz N° 169 Urb. Mayorazgo IV Etapa, Ate, Lima 15012, Perú (URL: https://www.gob.pe/igp); 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/); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Yasur (Vanuatu) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

19.532°S, 169.447°E; summit elev. 361 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian activity continues during June 2019 through February 2020

Yasur has remained on Alert Level 2 (on a scale of 0-4) since 18 October 2016, indicating "Major Unrest; Danger Zone remains at 395 m around the eruptive vents." The summit crater contains several active vents that frequently produce Strombolian explosions and gas plumes (figure 60). This bulletin summarizes activity during June 2019 through February 2020 and is based on reports by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), visitor photographs and videos, and satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. The crater of Yasur contains several active vents that produce gas emissions and Strombolian activity. Photo taken during 25-27 October 2019 by Justin Noonan, used with permission.

A VMGD report on 27 June described ongoing Strombolian explosions with major unrest confined to the crater. The 25 July report noted the continuation of Strombolian activity with some strong explosions, and a warning that volcanic bombs may impact outside of the crater area (figure 61).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. A volcanic bomb (a fluid chunk of lava greater than 64 mm in diameter) that was ejected from Yasur. The pattern on the surface shows the fluid nature of the lava before it cooled into a solid rock. Photo taken during 25-27 October 2019 by Justin Noonan, used with permission.

No VMGD report was available for August, but Strombolian activity continued with gas emissions and explosions, as documented by visitors (figure 62). The eruption continued through September and October with some strong explosions and multiple active vents visible in thermal satellite imagery (figure 63). Strombolian explosions ejecting fluid lava from rapidly expanding gas bubbles were recorded during October, and likely represented the typical activity during the surrounding months (figure 64). Along with vigorous degassing producing a persistent plume there was occasional ash content (figure 65). At some point during 20-29 October a small landslide occurred along the eastern inner wall of the crater, visible in satellite images and later confirmed to have produced ashfall at the summit (figure 66).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Different views of the Yasur vents on 7-8 August 2019 taken from a video. Strombolian activity and degassing were visible. Courtesy of Arnold Binas, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images show variations in detected thermal energy emitting from the active Yasur vents on 18 September and 22 December 2019. False color (bands 12, 11, 4) satellite images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. Strombolian explosions at Yasur during 25-27 October 2019. Large gas bubbles rise to the top of the lava column and burst, ejecting volcanic bombs – fluid chunks of lava, out of the vent. Photos by Justin Noonan, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Gas and ash emissions rise from the active vents at Yasur between 25-27 October 2019. Photos by Justin Noonan, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Planet Scope satellite images of Yasur show a change in the crater morphology between 20 and 29 October 2019. Copyright of Planet Labs.

Continuous explosive activity continued in November-February with some stronger explosions recorded along with accompanying gas emissions. Gas plumes of sulfur dioxide were detected by satellite sensors on some days through this period (figure 67) and ash content was present at times (figure 68). Thermal anomalies continued to be detected by satellite sensors with varying intensity, and with a reduction in intensity in February, as seen in Sentinel-2 imagery and the MIROVA system (figures 69 and 70).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. SO2 plumes detected at Yasur by Aura/OMI on 21 December 2019 and 31 January 2020, drifting W to NW, and on 14 and 23 February 2020, drifting W and south, and NWW to NW. Courtesy of Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, NASA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. An ash plume erupts from Yasur on 20 February 2020 and drifts NW. Courtesy of Planet Labs.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images show variations in detected thermal energy in the active Yasur vents during January and February 2020. False color (bands 12, 11, 4) satellite images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. The MIROVA thermal detection system recorded persistent thermal energy emitted at Yasur with some variation from mid-May 2019 to May 2020. There was a reduction in detected energy after January. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. Yasur, the best-known and most frequently visited of the Vanuatu volcanoes, has been in more-or-less continuous Strombolian and Vulcanian activity since Captain Cook observed ash eruptions in 1774. This style of activity may have continued for the past 800 years. Located at the SE tip of Tanna Island, this mostly unvegetated pyroclastic cone has a nearly circular, 400-m-wide summit crater. The active cone is largely contained within the small Yenkahe caldera, and is the youngest of a group of Holocene volcanic centers constructed over the down-dropped NE flank of the Pleistocene Tukosmeru volcano. The Yenkahe horst is located within the Siwi ring fracture, a 4-km-wide, horseshoe-shaped caldera associated with eruption of the andesitic Siwi pyroclastic sequence. Active tectonism along the Yenkahe horst accompanying eruptions has raised Port Resolution harbor more than 20 m during the past century.

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory/); 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); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); 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/); Justin Noonan (URL: https://www.justinnoonan.com/, Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/justinnoonan_/); Doro Adventures (Twitter: https://twitter.com/DoroAdventures, URL: http://doroadventures.com/).


Cleveland (United States) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Cleveland

United States

52.825°N, 169.944°W; summit elev. 1730 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal anomalies and lava dome subsidence, February 2019-January 2020

Cleveland is a stratovolcano located in the western portion of Chuginadak Island, a remote island part of the east central Aleutians. Common volcanism has included small lava flows, explosions, and ash clouds. Intermittent lava dome growth, small ash explosions, and thermal anomalies have characterized more recent activity (BGVN 44:02). For this reporting period during February 2019-January 2020, activity largely consisted of gas-and-steam emissions and intermittent thermal anomalies within the summit crater. The primary source of information comes from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) and various satellite data.

Low levels of unrest occurred intermittently throughout this reporting period with gas-and-steam emissions and thermal anomalies as the dominant type of activity (figures 30 and 31). An explosion on 9 January 2019 was followed by lava dome growth observed during 12-16 January. Suomi NPP/VIIRS sensor data showed two hotspots on 8 and 14 February 2019, though there was no evidence of lava within the summit crater at that time. According to satellite imagery from AVO, the lava dome was slowly subsiding during February into early March. Elevated surface temperatures were detected on 17 and 24 March in conjunction with degassing; another gas-and-steam plume was observed rising from the summit on 30 March. Thermal anomalies were again seen on 15 and 28 April using Suomi NPP/VIIRS sensor data. Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions continued as the number of detected thermal anomalies slightly increased during the next month, occurring on 1, 7, 15, 18, and 23 May. A gas-and-steam plume was observed on 9 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity (log radiative power) at Cleveland during 4 February 2019 through January 2020 shows increased thermal anomalies between mid-April to late November 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) confirmed intermittent thermal signatures occurring in the summit crater during March 2019 through October 2019. Some gas-and-steam plumes were observed accompanying the thermal anomaly, as seen on 17 March 2019 and 8 May 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

There were 10 thermal anomalies observed in June, and 11 each in July and August. Typical mild degassing was visible when photographed on 9 August (figure 32). On 14 August, seismicity increased, which included a swarm of a dozen local earthquakes. The lava dome emplaced in January was clearly visible in satellite imagery (figure 33). The number of thermal anomalies decreased the next month, occurring on 10, 21, and 25 September. During this month, a gas-and-steam plume was observed in a webcam image on 6, 8, 20, and 25 September. On 3-6, 10, and 21 October elevated surface temperatures were recorded as well as small gas-and-steam plumes on 4, 7, 13, and 20-25 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Photograph of Cleveland showing mild degassing from the summit vent taken on 9 August 2019. Photo by Max Kaufman; courtesy of AVO/USGS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Satellite image of Cleveland showing faint gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit crater. High-resolution image taken on 17 August 2019 showing the lava dome from January 2019 inside the crater (dark ring). Image created by Hannah Dietterich; courtesy of AVO/USGS and DigitalGlobe.

Four thermal anomalies were detected on 3, 6, and 8-9 November. According to a VONA report from AVO on 8 November, satellite data suggested possible slow lava effusion in the summit crater; however, by the 15th no evidence of eruptive activity had been seen in any data sources. Another thermal anomaly was observed on 14 January 2020. Gas-and-steam emissions observed in webcam images continued intermittently.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows intermittent weak thermal anomalies within 5 km of the crater summit during mid-April through November 2019 with a larger cluster of activity in early June, late July and early October (figure 30). Thermal satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 also detected weak thermal anomalies within the summit crater throughout the reporting period, occasionally accompanied by gas-and-steam plumes (figure 31).

Geologic Background. The beautifully symmetrical Mount Cleveland stratovolcano is situated at the western end of the uninhabited Chuginadak Island. It lies SE across Carlisle Pass strait from Carlisle volcano and NE across Chuginadak Pass strait from Herbert volcano. Joined to the rest of Chuginadak Island by a low isthmus, Cleveland is the highest of the Islands of the Four Mountains group and is one of the most active of the Aleutian Islands. The native name, Chuginadak, refers to the Aleut goddess of fire, who was thought to reside on the volcano. Numerous large lava flows descend the steep-sided flanks. It is possible that some 18th-to-19th century eruptions attributed to Carlisle should be ascribed to Cleveland (Miller et al., 1998). In 1944 Cleveland produced the only known fatality from an Aleutian eruption. Recent eruptions have been characterized by short-lived explosive ash emissions, at times accompanied by lava fountaining and lava flows down the flanks.

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); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 21, Number 12 (December 1996)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Alaid (Russia)

Eruption sends a plume 5-6 km high on 3 December

Arenal (Costa Rica)

Ongoing vigorous eruptions the subject of visits, reports, and concerns

Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001) (Unknown)

Lidar data from Germany may suggest an aerosol layer centered at about 19 km

Bezymianny (Russia)

Fumarolic plumes seen

Fournaise, Piton de la (France)

November intrusion signaled by radon and geophysical measurements

Fuego (Guatemala)

A white-to-gray smoke column seen rising over the crater

Iliamna (United States)

Seismic swarm from 1 August continues into 1997

Karymsky (Russia)

Elevated seismicity persists; up to 300 explosions daily

Klyuchevskoy (Russia)

Above-background seismicity; ash-and-steam plumes up to 3 km tall

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Eruptions continue during October-December

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Paroxysmal eruptions on 3 December cause 13 deaths

Mutnovsky (Russia)

Fumarolic plume up to 1 km above the crater

Negro, Cerro (Nicaragua)

Fumarole temperatures decrease further

Pacaya (Guatemala)

Strombolian eruptions and lava flows from MacKenney crater

Pavlof (United States)

Intermittent eruptions from 15 September through [3] January

Poas (Costa Rica)

Fumarolic columns rise 500 m above the crater floor

Popocatepetl (Mexico)

Eruption on 25 December seen by airline pilots in satellite imagery

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Tavurvur's 4-5 October eruptions yield the largest lava flow in over 200 years

San Cristobal (Nicaragua)

December vapor plumes appear smaller than previous ones

Santa Maria (Guatemala)

Ash emissions and small collapses at Santiaguito dome

Sheveluch (Russia)

Typical fumarolic plumes

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Dramatic fracturing on SW wall as dome growth continues

Turrialba (Costa Rica)

Number of microseismic events continues to increase

Villarrica (Chile)

Crater observations for the interval 11 September 1996-13 January 1997



Alaid (Russia) — December 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Alaid

Russia

50.861°N, 155.565°E; summit elev. 2285 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption sends a plume 5-6 km high on 3 December

On 3 December, satellite imagery indicated a plume rising to a height of 5-6 km from Alaid. The nearest seismic station, located in the town of Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), 25 km E of Alaid, recorded the beginning of local seismic activity at about the same time as the satellite report. A large snow storm obscured the volcano, and no visual reports of eruptive activity were received from the coast guard, ships, or aircraft in the area.

Geologic Background. The highest and northernmost volcano of the Kuril Islands, 2285-m-high Alaid is a symmetrical stratovolcano when viewed from the north, but has a 1.5-km-wide summit crater that is breached widely to the south. Alaid is the northernmost of a chain of volcanoes constructed west of the main Kuril archipelago. Numerous pyroclastic cones dot the lower flanks of this basaltic to basaltic-andesite volcano, particularly on the NW and SE sides, including an offshore cone formed during the 1933-34 eruption. Strong explosive eruptions have occurred from the summit crater beginning in the 18th century. Reports of eruptions in 1770, 1789, 1821, 1829, 1843, 1848, and 1858 were considered incorrect by Gorshkov (1970). Explosive eruptions in 1790 and 1981 were among the largest in the Kuril Islands during historical time.

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 (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA; Vladimir Kirianov, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia; NOAA/NESDIS Satellite Analysis Branch; Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA.


Arenal (Costa Rica) — December 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)


Ongoing vigorous eruptions the subject of visits, reports, and concerns

During late 1996, Arenal's ongoing Strombolian eruptions continued. OVSICORI-UNA noted that late-1996 avalanches had traveled down the N and SW flanks. For example, one at 1109 on 11 December traveled down the N flank to ~1,300 m elevation. Acidic rainfall also continued to damage vegetation.

Some noteworthy September eruptions and their associated pyroclastic flows were mentioned in BGVN 21:09. Others also occurred late in 1996; one at 0926 on 11 December reached a point on the SW flank at 1,230 m elevation. Another pyroclastic flow occurred at 1630 on 30 December reaching 1,000 m elevation.

Observations during 19-24 November. Multiple pyroclastic flows with distinct pulses were reported by Steve O'Meara, Tippy D'Auria, and Robert Benward who watched Arenal for much of five days (19-24 November 1996) from 3.8 km due N of the summit (location determined by GPS); they found it very active with eruptions occurring intermittently from five distinct vents. The group noted long-duration fountaining and jetting; on 20 November these processes were continuous for over 30 minutes. The group saw multiple eruptions discharging plumes to heights >1 km, observed ashfall, and heard window-rattling explosion noises. They watched an advancing incandescent summit lava flow lobe whose front frequently calved off and produced spectacular incandescent rockfalls and avalanches. Also, they witnessed tumbling boulders and noted periodically strong snorting and huffing noises at the summit vents associated with the escape of incandescent gas.

Sheared from the lava flow front, some of the boulders were easily the size of small cars. As the boulders fell they made audible impact bursts and broke into smaller pieces as they rolled and bounced down the mountain (sometimes reaching the 700-m elevation). The scene of the falling and breaking boulders looked similar to a fireworks display.

The source of the lava lobe appeared to be the new spatter cone on the N side of Crater C, which the flow all but encompassed. The main lobe branched into three separate ones, each a source of rock falls. A lava lobe also appeared to be moving E into the saddle between craters C and D. A new lobe was moving down Crater C's NW side.

The source of the pyroclastic flows was unclear to the group, though they thought it might be the new spatter cone. On video footage some of the pyroclastic flows were very distinct. Many of the flows were also accompanied by a sluggish, reddish, small ash eruption from what appears to be one of the five vents, though these eruptions could also have issued from the spatter cone. Pyroclastic flows traveled 100-1000 m from the summit, but stayed within well-defined channels on the W side of the latest 1996 lava flow. O'Meara was somewhat concerned to encounter an active campsite at Laguna Cedeño--right in the path of some of the pyroclastic flows--and only 2 km from the summit.

Table 19 shows a sample of some of the kinds of observations recorded during the O'Meara group's stay. During their visit they also considered the positions of the sun and moon. The group suggested that the largest eruptions may have had a possible correlation to moon phase and tidal pulls as well as moon rise and set times. It appeared that the more violent eruptions of Vent 1 occurred at intervals of 6.5 hours. Using that hypothesis, the group claimed to have successfully and confidently estimated vent 1's major blasts to within 2 minutes of the events.

Table 19. A sample of the field notes, from 20 November 1996, describing Arenal activity during the O'Meara group's 5-day visit (complete observations available upon request). Courtesy of Steven O'Meara, Tippy D'Auria, and Robert Benward.

Time Observations
1206 Eruption; vent 2.
1258 Vents degassing.
0108 Vent 5 eruption with possible pyroclastic flow.
0113-0118 Small eruptions with sustained jetting combined with summit glow; jetting episodes appear to trigger lava flow surges.
0149 More degassing and summit glow.
0215-0245 Large eruption with continuous fountaining-jetting activity for 30 minutes; several bursts of intense activity (particularly vents 1 and 4, with a single blast from vent 2).
0255 A medium eruption from twin vents; 30 seconds later a small emission at vent 4.
0252 Degassing.
0328 Small explosion.
0333 Huffing noise at vent 2; D'Aurria likens it to the snorting of a bull getting ready to charge.
0338 Large discharge of blocks from vent 2 accompanied by snorting noises.
0339 Vents 3 and 4 spitting.
0345 Medium eruption from the center vent; heavy huffing; lots of gas escaping and boulders rolling from northerly flow.
0416 Explosion followed by degassing.
0442 Vent 4 spattering.
0448 Vent 2, small amounts of spattering.
0450 Vent 1, small silent eruption.
0451 Vent 1, larger and louder eruption.
0454 Medium-to-strong eruption noted from three different vents creating a large pyroclastic flow and discharging several large lava fragments. Saw the new lava flow area in the vicinity of vent 1, W of the large block lava flow.
0509 Medium eruption from center vent.
1000 Big explosions and noise.
1036 Big explosion and noise.
1045 Small eruption and big noise.
1110 Small eruption of reddish color observed from the settlement of Tabacón.

Behavior at the five vents during the group's visit were as follows. Vents 1 and 3 were twin summit vents that appeared to be centered in Crater C. Vent 1 was the stronger of the two when they erupted separately. Both sent plumes vertically and produced prolonged roars and blasts.

Vent 2, located on the E side of Crater C, was the strongest and loudest, producing most of the house- and window-shaking eruptions. Many times the ejecta would blow out of this vent at a 45° angle toward Crater D. Sometimes, E- and N-arcing ejecta fell about a quarter of the way down the volcano's slope. This vent may have been the eastern lava lobe's source.

Vent 4 was centered on the new summit spatter cone N of Crater C. The vent ejected occasional spatter, though some long-enduring fountaining-degassing episodes also took place. Whereas vent 4 had been active when the group arrived, it was almost inactive by 22 November, though the lava flow around it continued to advance.

Vent 5, on the W side of the summit, produced very strong ash eruptions, but these events were mostly associated with muffled blasts at the observation site. Variously directed eruptions sometimes sent ejecta E, at a 45° angle toward the W, and at other times vertically.

Seismic data, recent reports, and a hazards caution. During September and November OVSICORI-UNA noted that both tremor and earthquakes were common, though not in unusual abundance (tremor duration, 300 and 237 hours; number of earthquakes, 875 and 471; respectively). Earthquakes were more abundant during October, a month when 1,094 registered, more than at any time during 1996. At the OVSICORI-UNA station, tremor duration in the previous months of 1996 had ranged between 261 and 434 hours; during October it was also moderately high (381 hours).

Some Arenal reports and abstracts that may not appear in typical European and North American literature indexes have come out recently. Five technical reports on Arenal appeared in a volume in November 1996 (ICE, 1996). The reports include discussions of 1) the volcano's behavior during the year 1993, 2) the spectral character of seismic signals and the P-wave velocity in the upper part of the edifice, 3) possible eruptions in 1915 and 1922, 4) the hazards, costs, and hazard perceptions associated with a moderate eruption, and 5) how meta-igneous, granulite facies xenoliths in Arenal lavas could provide evidence for a mafic basement. In addition, at least one of about 50 papers at a recent conference in Perú discussed hazards from Arenal (Laurent, 1996).

As a caution to people visiting or acting as guides at the popular volcano it should be noted that Melson and others (1997) have looked at the frequency of eruptions in a sample of over 196 days between 1987 and 1994. They found that hazardous pyroclastic eruptions occurred at wide-ranging intervals, from as little as a minute to over a day apart. However, 96% had a recurrence interval of <100 minutes. During these eruptions, ballistic blocks and bombs and infrequent pyroclastic flows posed the greatest hazards.

References. ICE Boletín, 1996, año 6, no. 11-12, Dirección de Ingeniería Civil, Departamento de Ingeniería Geológica, 78 p.

Laurent, K., 1996, Impacto de los desastres ocasionados por los volcanes Arenal e Irazú sobre la infraestructura energética de Costa Rica y medidas actuales para mitigar sus efectos: El Segundo Seminario Latinamericano "Volcanes, Sismos Y Prevencion" en Lima-Arequipa, Perú, del 4 al 9 de noviembre de 1996, J-C Thouret (coodinator), 178 p.

Melson, W.G., O'Hearn, T., Funk, V., Barquero, J., Barboza, V., Saenz, R., Fernandez, E., McNutt, S., and Benoit, J., 1997, Probabilistic volcanic hazard assessment, Arenal volcano, Costa Rica, 1987-95: unpublished report, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, U.S.A., 10 p.

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

Information Contacts: E. Fernández, E. Duarte, V. Barboza, R. Van der Laat, E. Hernandez, M. Martinez, and R. Sáenz, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica; G.J. Soto and J.F. Arias, Oficina de Sismología y Vulcanología del Arenal y Miravalles (OSIVAM), Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Apartado 10032-1000, San José, Costa Rica; Steven O'Meara, PO Box 218, Volcano, HI 96785, USA.


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

Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001)

Unknown

Unknown, Unknown; summit elev. m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lidar data from Germany may suggest an aerosol layer centered at about 19 km

Lidar data for part of 1996 (mid-May through the month of September) over Germany (table 8) indicated a possible aerosol layer centered between 14.7 and 21.6 km altitude. The possible layer's center often resided at ~19 km. The "ci" in Table 9 stands for cirrus. Cirrus in the tropopause region usually obscures the lower boundary of the aerosol layer.

Table 8. Backscattering ratios from German lidar data for the Nd-YAG wavelength of 0.53 µm, 16 May-30 September 1996. The equivalent backscattering ratios for ruby are in parentheses (ruby wavelength, 0.69 µm). Courtesy of Horst Jäger.

DATE LAYER ALTITUDE (km) (peak) BACKSCATTERING RATIO BACKSCATTERING INTEGRATED
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (47.5°N, 11.0°E)
16 May 1996 11-30 (19.8) 1.11 (1.20) --
22 May 1996 ci-29 (14.7) 1.09 (1.20) --
24 May 1996 12-31 (17.9) 1.11 (1.20) --
31 May 1996 14-38 (20.1) 1.09 (1.20) --
08 Jun 1996 14-27 (19.6) 1.09 (1.20) --
19 Jun 1996 9-27 (18.8) 1.10 (1.20) --
03 Jul 1996 13-28 (19.7) 1.07 (1.20) --
31 Jul 1996 11-30 (19.4) 1.09 (1.20) --
06 Aug 1996 ci-26 (19.5) 1.07 (1.20) --
08 Aug 1996 ci-27 (18.5) 1.06 (1.10) --
18 Aug 1996 12-27 (21.6) 1.06 (1.10) --
23 Aug 1996 11-26 (16.4) 1.06 (1.10) --
26 Sep 1996 12-26 (19.1) 1.06 (1.10) --
30 Sep 1996 12-25 (15.6) 1.07 (1.20) --

Geologic Background. 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 thorugh 1989. Lidar data and other atmospheric observations were again published intermittently between 1995 and 2001; those reports are included here.

Information Contacts: Horst Jäger, Fraunhofer -- Institut für Atmosphärische Umweltforschung, Kreuzeckbahnstrasse 19, D-8100 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.


Bezymianny (Russia) — December 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic plumes seen

On 5-6 and 17 December and on 4, 9, and 14-15 January, fumarolic plumes were observed reaching as high as 100 m above the crater. The plumes extended 10 km downwind.

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 (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA; Vladimir Kirianov, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia.


Piton de la Fournaise (France) — December 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Piton de la Fournaise

France

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


November intrusion signaled by radon and geophysical measurements

During the last four years, quiet prevailed at Piton de la Fournaise (figure 35), with unusually low seismic activity and no eruptions. During late November, however, scientists at the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise noted an increase in radon flux followed a day later by an increase in seismicity. This also accompanied changes in tilt, local extension, and larger-scale distance movements. These observations led the scientists to infer that there had been a magma intrusion.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Sketch map of Piton de la Fournaise and vicinity showing the locations of observation stations. Notice that the topographic contour intervals on this map are uneven. Courtesy of OVPDLF.

Seismicity. In September a 16-km-deep swarm of earthquakes was recorded ~5 km NW of the summit. Seismicity continued to increase under the summit, and a M 2.3 event was registered on 18 October. A short but intense seismic crisis (figure 36), which began at 2126 on 26 November, consisted of 134 registered events. Among them, there were 37 earthquakes larger than M 1 and two in the range of M 2-2.4. The strongest one took place at 2149, an event nearly coincident with changes recorded by inclinometers and extensometers and inferred to correspond to the beginning of the principal magma movement. The seismic activity decreased at 2220 and ended with a final event of M 1.9 at 2310. After that, seismicity remained low. All events during this seismic crisis originated at about sea level ( ~2.5 km below the summit) at the Soufrière region, slightly N of the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Cumulative seismic moment during January-November 1996 at Piton de la Fournaise. Thin dotted line shows cumulative seismic moment under the summit; heavier line represents volcano-wide cumulative seismic moment minus the cumulative seismic moment under the summit. Courtesy of OVPDLF.

Tilt and extension.Although not shown in figure 37, a small amount of ground movement might have taken place prior to the prominent tilt event at about 2149 on 26 November. The tilt accompanied inflation of the summit region, and tilts of 16, 8, and 4 µrad were recorded at stations Soufrière, Dolomieu, and Bory, respectively. Stations Chapelle and Chateau Fort at the base of the cone tilted <1 µrad. Displacements of <0.1 mm were also recorded by extensometers at stations Magne, Chateau Fort, Soufrière, and Dolomieu.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Tilts at stations Bory, Soufriére, and Dolomieu at Piton de la Fournaise. "Rad" and "tgt" refer to radial and tangential components, respectively. Courtesy of OVPDLF.

Distance change. Distances between station Piton Partage and different prisms on the cone were measured automatically by a TM3000 instrument (figure 38). During 25-26 November, a decrease up to 10 mm occurred for prisms on the profile between Soufrière and Puy Mi-Cote (prisms 1M20, 2M54, 2M53, 2M52, 2M42, and 1M40). In addition, the distance decreased slightly for one prism at Magne (2M26); no distance change was observed for the prisms between Chapelle and Bory and for one prism at the E side of the cone (2M31).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Radon flux at stations Chateau Fort and Cratere Catherine at Piton de la Fournaise. Courtesy of OVPDLF.

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

Information Contacts: Thomas Staudacher; Patrick Bachèlery; Valéry Ferrazzini, and Kei Aki, Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPDLF), 14 RN3, le 27Km, 97418 La Plaine des Cafres, La Réunion, France.


Fuego (Guatemala) — December 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


A white-to-gray smoke column seen rising over the crater

During 12-19 November a white-to-gray column was observed rising 70-200 m above the crater; winds then dispersed it to the S over the volcano's flanks. On 20 November the column rose to 500 m and drifted E; the following day the column's height was 200 m and oriented SW. From 25 November to 12 December the column was again at 50-200 m height and blown toward the S and SW. During this observation period the Fuego-Acatenango seismic network recorded a few earthquakes up to M 1.

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

Information Contacts: Otoniel Matías, Seccion Vulcanologia, INSIVUMEH (Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia of the Ministerio de Communicaciones, Transporte y Obras Publicas), 7A Avenida 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala.


Iliamna (United States) — December 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Iliamna

United States

60.032°N, 153.09°W; summit elev. 3053 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismic swarm from 1 August continues into 1997

The seismic swarm that began on 1 August (BGVN 21:08-21:10) continued during December and the first half of January. There were 2-16 earthquakes recorded each day.

Geologic Background. Iliamna is a prominentglacier-covered stratovolcano in Lake Clark National Park on the western side of Cook Inlet, about 225 km SW of Anchorage. Its flat-topped summit is flanked on the south, along a 5-km-long ridge, by the prominent North and South Twin Peaks, satellitic lava dome complexes. The Johnson Glacier dome complex lies on the NE flank. Steep headwalls on the S and E flanks expose an inaccessible cross-section of the volcano. Major glaciers radiate from the summit, and valleys below the summit contain debris-avalanche and lahar deposits. Only a few major Holocene explosive eruptions have occurred from the deeply dissected volcano, which lacks a distinct crater. Most of the reports of historical eruptions may represent plumes from vigorous fumaroles E and SE of the summit, which are often mistaken for eruption columns (Miller et al., 1998). Eruptions producing pyroclastic flows have been dated at as recent as about 300 and 140 years ago, and elevated seismicity accompanying dike emplacement beneath the volcano was recorded in 1996.

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


Karymsky (Russia) — December 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Elevated seismicity persists; up to 300 explosions daily

Although no visual observations were made, during December and 1-20 January seismicity remained above background in a manner that suggested continued low-level Strombolian eruptions. Seismic data indicated that up to 300 explosions occurred each day.

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) — December 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Above-background seismicity; ash-and-steam plumes up to 3 km tall

The seismicity at Kliuchevskoi remained above background levels during December and 1-20 January. Fumarolic plumes were observed during December rising 100-1,200 m above the volcano and extending 5-15 km downwind. On 28 December and 4 January, gas-and-steam explosions rose to 200-300 m above the crater, and plumes extended 10-20 km to the NW.

An increase in eruptive activity was first noticed at 1740 on 7 January 1997 from the town of Kliuchi, ~30 km NE of the volcano. An ash-and-steam plume was observed rising 2,500-3,000 m above the crater and extending 20 km SE. Seismic activity, while still elevated, did not show an increase. An AVO analysis of a satellite image taken early on the morning of 8 January indicated that the plume had subsided. On 9 and 11 January, gas-and-steam explosions, possibly with minor ash, rose to 300-700 m above the crater, and the plumes traveled 10-15 km to the W or SW. On 13-14 and 16 January gas-and-steam plumes reached a height of 300-600 m and extended 10 km E. On 15 January, a gas-and-steam explosion rose 1,200 m above the crater, and its plume moved 15 km SE.

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 (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA; Vladimir Kirianov, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — December 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)


Eruptions continue during October-December

Eruptive activity at Crater 2 continued during October-December. The activity pattern of 7-26 October was similar to that during January-September. Emissions included thin, white to thick, gray vapor-and-ash clouds. The ash clouds rose ~1-2 km above the crater. Ashfall was observed on 8-22 October on the N, NW, and SE sides of the volcano. Weak, steady, red glows were seen on the nights of 7, 12-13, 20-21, and 26 October. Projections of red incandescent lava fragments occurred on the nights of 8-10 and 17 October. After 26 October eruptive activity declined to emissions of thin, weak, white vapor. During November and December, activity at Crater 2 consisted of emissions of thin, weak, white vapor, and, occasionally, moderate ash clouds. Light ashfall was observed on 5 and 11-12 November on the N, NW, and SE sides of the volcano.

Crater 3 remained quiet during October-December. Thin, weak, white vapor began to emit on 1 December. Seismic monitoring was conducted only between 11 November and 4 December. Seismicity was low during this period.

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

Information Contacts: B. Talai, I. Itikarai, and P. de Saint Ours, RVO.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — December 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)


Paroxysmal eruptions on 3 December cause 13 deaths

A series of large eruptions took place during October and November, and culminated with a paroxysmal phase on 3 December. The paroxysm accounted for 13 deaths in a coastal village called Budua Old near SW Valley (figure 7).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Sketch map of Manam Island, showing the distribution of the four valleys. After Palfreyman and Cooke, 1976.

After the last large eruption in 1992 (BGVN 17:09-17:11), Main Crater remained inactive with weak vapor emissions, while South Crater showed intermittent phases of weak to moderate, mainly Strombolian, activity. Mild Vulcanian explosions resumed at both craters in mid-September 1996 (BGVN 21:09), and Strombolian eruptions returned to both craters in October. During October and November, five strong phases of activity occurred at Main Crater at intervals of 7-12 days; four of them were preceded or accompanied by moderate activity at South Crater (figure 8). From early October to 10 November, the first four phases progressively increased in strength, and were accompanied by a large buildup in seismic amplitude (figure 9). Like the strongest phase of the 1992 eruption (BGVN 17:09-17:11), the first four phases of eruptions at Main Crater produced pyroclastic flows and lava flows in NE Valley.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. A rough (qualitative) estimate of the level of October-December volcanic activity at Manam. Activity is shown as a relative scale that is arbitrary, with the highest intensity artificially set at "100". Courtesy of RVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Relative seismic amplitude during October-December at Manam. Courtesy of RVO.

At South Crater, ash-laden emissions, roaring sounds, and fluctuating glows occurred on 19 November, and moderate Strombolian projections (200 m high) and ash-laden emissions (~700 m high) were observed on 20-21 November. The fifth phase of eruptions at Main Crater took place on 20-22 November. On 20 November, Main Crater produced frequent roaring sounds, bright fluctuating night glows, and up to ~800-m-high brown emissions, indicating deep-seated Strombolian activity. Strombolian eruptions were sub-continuous until 1800 on 21 November, with a 3-km high, dark, convoluting column. Several lava tongues traveled down the upper part of NE Valley, and reached an altitude of 600-700 m. On 22 November two lava flows moved down to an altitude of ~200 m in the central and N parts of the valley. On the afternoon of 22 November, the fifth eruptive phase declined, and the Strombolian activity changed to 2-3 km high, thick, gray emissions, which were accompanied by jet sounds. Frequency, volume, and height of the emissions progressively decreased during the next two days.

On 28 November, eruptive activity at South Crater increased with the emissions of weak to moderate, gray-brown plumes (up to 500 m high) and occasional Strombolian projections (~50 m high). On 29 November, emissions became sub-continuous. In the next two days Strombolian projections progressively rose as high as 100-200 m above the crater. At Main Crater, white to gray ash clouds were occasionally released, and glow was seen at night from two locations on the NE rim of the crater. On 30 November, emissions at Main Crater were thick and continuous, but no strong activity was observed.

Strombolian explosions at South Crater increased in strength (occasionally up to heights of 400 m) and frequency (at 1-2 minute intervals) on the morning of 2 December, died out in the afternoon, then resumed in the night. On the morning of 3 December, Strombolian explosions occurred at ~1 minute intervals with ~200-m-high projections, and light gray plumes rose ~500 m high. Seismicity increased but was still in the normal range. Strombolian projections were sub-continuous until 1300, and reached as high as 300 m above the crater. At 1430 explosions took place every a few seconds with heavy scoria falls on the upper cone, similar to the situations in the strongest phases of the 1984, 1987, and 1992 eruptions (SEAN 09:02, 09:03, 12:06, and BGVN 17:09-17:11), which sent pyroclastic flows and lava flows into the SE and SW Valleys.

Large pyroclastic flows started to move into SE Valley at about 1500, and into SW Valley around 1505. The central eruption column became thicker as it incorporated the ash cloud elutriated above the pyroclastic flows. At 1510 ash clouds that were generated by the pyroclastic flows moved down SE Valley and extended over the ground at 400-600 m above sea level. At 1515 the dark central billowing pillar reached an altitude of ~5 km, and spread W of the island. Dense ash and scoria falls caused darkness in the W part of the island for 90 minutes. Pyroclastic flows continuously moved into both SE and SW Valleys at short intervals. At 1520 one large pyroclastic flow in SW Valley reached the sea and was followed by many others. Approximately at that time, pyroclastic flows overran the village of Budua Old, resulting in 13 deaths. The devastated area extended ~1.5 km on either side of the central channel of SW Valley. In SE Valley, pyroclastic flows started to reach the sea around 1530. The overriding ash clouds progressed <100 m offshore. However, within ~10 minutes bubbles were seen piercing the water surface as far as 500 m offshore, indicating that underwater propagation of the hot pyroclastic flows reached quite a distance from the shoreline.

The central column was very dense. Eruption sounds were muffled to a continuous deep roar. Although emitted at South Crater, some pyroclastic flows moved into NE Valley and descended to mid-slope, but none was able to override the 100-m vertical valley walls that protect the cultivated and inhabited flanks of the island. At 1605 the pitch of the roaring sound slightly decreased, indicating the beginning of decline in eruptive activity. By 1615 pyroclastic flows no longer reached the sea, and at 1630 all pyroclastic flows stopped. At 1645-1700 ash began to fall again on the downwind (W-NW) side of the island. At night Strombolian activity continued at South Crater, with ~3 loud explosions every hour. At 0925 on 4 December, a large hot avalanche moved down SW Valley to an altitude of ~20 m. Explosions occurred at South Crater with decreasing strength and frequency until 7 December.

At Main Crater, two vents were active with intermittent, thick, dark, convoluting clouds on the morning of 3 December. Moderately thick, gray clouds were observed rising 500-1,000 m above the crater, with weak night glows until 15 December.

The paroxysmal eruption on 3 December changed the configuration of South Crater by sculpting a 100-m-deep, V-shaped crack NW-SE across the summit. There was an absence of high-frequency earthquakes during and after the paroxysm. This suggested that the crack, which had a similar alignment to one pair of valleys, may have pre-dated the eruption, having been covered by earlier eruption debris. Blocks up to 4 m in size from the crater wall were found in pyroclastic-flow deposits in the lower part of SW Valley.

Neither the start of the 1996 eruption nor its strong phases were anticipated by monitoring results. Ground deformation, monitored by the water tube tiltmeters at Tabele Observatory (figure 7), showed steady conditions between April and mid-September. Resumption of activity at both craters in mid-September accompanied a hardly discernible radial deflation (~0.5 µrad). From then to 8-12 November, the tiltmeters accumulated a barely significant ~1 µrad radial inflation, and thereafter a slight deflation (~1 µrad). However, a remarkable deflation of ~1.5 µrad was recorded during the paroxysm at South Crater.

Reference. Palfreyman, W.D., and Cooke, R.J.S., 1976, Eruptive history of Manam volcano, Papua New Guinea in Johnson R.W. (ed.), Volcanism in Australasia, Elsevier, Amsterdam, p. 117-131.

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

Information Contacts: B. Talai, I. Itikarai, and P. de Saint Ours, RVO; NOAA/NESDIS Satellite Analysis Branch; Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA.


Mutnovsky (Russia) — December 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Mutnovsky

Russia

52.449°N, 158.196°E; summit elev. 2288 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic plume up to 1 km above the crater

On 25 November, a fumarolic plume was observed rising to a height of 1 km above the crater.

Geologic Background. Massive Mutnovsky, one of the most active volcanoes of southern Kamchatka, is formed of four coalescing stratovolcanoes of predominately basaltic composition. Multiple summit craters cap the volcanic complex. Growth of Mutnovsky IV, the youngest cone, began during the early Holocene. An intracrater cone was constructed along the northern wall of the 1.3-km-wide summit crater. Abundant flank cinder cones were concentrated on the SW side. Holocene activity was characterized by mild-to-moderate phreatic and phreatomagmatic eruptions from the summit crater. Historical eruptions have been explosive, with lava flows produced only during the 1904 eruption. Geothermal development is planned at Mutnovsky, which has the highest heat capacity of any volcano in the Kuril-Kamchatka arc.

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 (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA; Vladimir Kirianov, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia.


Cerro Negro (Nicaragua) — December 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Cerro Negro

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarole temperatures decrease further

On 23 December a visit to the crater found that the maximum fumarole temperature was only 606°C, indicating a decrease by another 30°C since the previous measurements on 27 November (BGVN 21:11).

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

Information Contacts: Alain Creusot, Instituto Nicaraguense de Energía, Managua, Nicaragua.


Pacaya (Guatemala) — December 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian eruptions and lava flows from MacKenney crater

Reports by Otoniel Matías of INSIVUMEH described volcanic activity after the 11 November eruption (BGVN 21:11) until 12 December. Seismic data were registered at a local one-component station (exact location undisclosed).

Activity during 11-30 November 1996. Heightened explosive Strombolian activity from MacKenney crater on 11 November was accompanied by abundant lava flows that covered most of the SW flank and traveled as far as 2 km from the volcano. The ash column reached 2 km, and deposited a 7-cm-thick layer of coarse tephra (1-3 cm in size) over the village of El Caracol (~4 km SW of the summit). Ash transported SW by strong winds fell in Escuintla and, as some local newspapers reported, in the Mexican city of Tapachula (300 km NW). At 2010 of the same day the eruption started dying down.

For the remainder of the month there was continuous emission of white-blue "smoke" at variable heights (50-300 m) above the crater. After the 11 November eruption seismicity was dominated by type-A volcano-tectonic swarms. During the next few days the swarm's foci deepened from 0.2-1 km to 5-10 km and then to 15-20 km and finally on 18 November, to 25-35 km. On 12 November a lava tongue ~2.5 km long was flowing S toward Cerro Buena Vista. On 13 November another small lava flow ~450 m long was observed on the SW flank.

During 15-18 November there were explosions of variable intensity every 1-3 minutes; the strongest explosions lasted 25-50 seconds and had amplitudes of 35-40 mm (peak-to-peak) and frequencies of 3-5 Hz. These explosions expelled pyroclastic material 75-150 m above the crater, depositing most material inside the crater.

On 20 November the seismic activity became characterized by harmonic tremor and type-B earthquakes, indicating magma movement toward the crater. The same day an eyewitness reported a red glow inside the main crater. Early on 21 November the white-blue column rose >500 m above MacKenney crater, but later that day decreased to ~300 m.

During 26-28 November the seismicity became characterized by alternating periods of activity followed by quiet for about 12 hours. The seismic activity shifted between seismo-tectonic swarms (one event every 2-10 minutes) and continuous tremor, suggesting that magma was ascending from depth and the confining rock was adjusting to the new stress field. After 28 November the activity was again dominated by seismo-tectonic events. Originating at depths of 0.2-1 km and up to M 1, there were 467 such events during a 24-hour observation period.

Activity during 1-12 December 1996. The white-blue column observed during November was also reported throughout this period at heights of 70-250 m. On 2, 3, and 4 December small explosions every 1-8 minutes were accompanied by ejection of incandescent material up to 100 m above MacKenney crater. This Strombolian activity was associated with harmonic tremor, although such tremors had appeared since the night of 1 December.

On 5 December puffs of steam lasting 5-7 minutes built up a column that rose 400 m. On 6 December, steam-and-ash expulsions of variable intensity turned brown in color and were observed at intervals of 2-10 minutes.

During 7-10 December the seismicity was characterized by tremor (mean amplitude, 2-5 mm; frequency, 3-4 Hz; and duration, 2-15 minutes) and type-A seismic events at 0.3-1 km depth. On 10-11 December steaming was observed on the N, W, and SW flanks of the MacKenney cone.

On 12 December white-blue emissions reached 300 m above the crater and drifted slowly SW for 5 km. That day, low-amplitude, low-frequency (0.5-1 Hz) harmonic tremor alternated with pulses of disharmonious tremor with amplitude 3-10 mm and 4-6 Hz frequency. During these pulses, steam-and-ash emissions occurred in association with considerable mass wasting inside the crater.

Geologic Background. Eruptions from Pacaya, one of Guatemala's most active volcanoes, are frequently visible from Guatemala City, the nation's capital. This complex basaltic volcano was constructed just outside the southern topographic rim of the 14 x 16 km Pleistocene Amatitlán caldera. A cluster of dacitic lava domes occupies the southern caldera floor. The post-caldera Pacaya massif includes the ancestral Pacaya Viejo and Cerro Grande stratovolcanoes and the currently active Mackenney stratovolcano. Collapse of Pacaya Viejo between 600 and 1500 years ago produced a debris-avalanche deposit that extends 25 km onto the Pacific coastal plain and left an arcuate somma rim inside which the modern Pacaya volcano (Mackenney cone) grew. A subsidiary crater, Cerro Chino, was constructed on the NW somma rim and was last active in the 19th century. During the past several decades, activity has consisted of frequent strombolian eruptions with intermittent lava flow extrusion that has partially filled in the caldera moat and armored the flanks of Mackenney cone, punctuated by occasional larger explosive eruptions that partially destroy the summit of the growing young stratovolcano.

Information Contacts: Otoniel Matías, Seccion Vulcanologia, INSIVUMEH (Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia of the Ministerio de Communicaciones, Transporte y Obras Publicas), 7A Avenida 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala.


Pavlof (United States) — December 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Pavlof

United States

55.417°N, 161.894°W; summit elev. 2493 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent eruptions from 15 September through [3] January

The current episode of eruptive activity, which began on 15 September (BGVN 21:08-21:10), persisted [through 3 January]. On 2 December, infrared video taken by the Alaska State Troopers confirmed that the E summit vent was more active than the W vent. The source of intense steaming low on the N flank, which had been intermittently visible to aerial and ground observers for several weeks, was not a new flank vent, but simply a site where lava was in contact with ice or meltwater. Meltwater channels extended down to the low pass between Pavlof and Pavlof Sister, then to the NW into the Cathedral River drainage. On the early morning of 4 December, seismic activity abruptly declined to about background, the lowest level after the onset of the eruption. The substantial decrease in seismicity implied that eruptive activity probably abated.

After a few days of quiescence, seismicity sharply increased on 10 December, accompanying intense long eruption pulses. Steam plumes reached an altitude of 8,500 m, and ash plumes rose to 7,700 m. On 11 December, pilots reported a steam plume at 8,700 m altitude and an ash cloud at 5,200 m. Satellite imagery indicated that a thick 20-km-wide plume extended as far as 160 km SE and a thinner, more diffuse part of the plume then turned E, extending 105 km. Seismicity declined on 12 December. However, lava fountaining from the summit vents and intermittent bursts of steam and ash to below 6,100 m continued; two lava flows were still active on the N flank. Seismicity decreased to about background levels on the evening of 13 December, but observers in Cold Bay, 60 km SW, reported lava fountaining prior to the seismic decrease. There was no steam or ash visible on the morning of 15 December.

Seismic activity began to build again around midnight on 25 December. In the early morning of 27 December seismicity quickly and steadily increased, reaching the highest level to date in this eruption episode. Early morning satellite images and pilot observations showed a summit hot spot, an active lava flow, and an ash plume extending tens of kilometers downwind (NW). That afternoon observers reported discontinuous bursts of ash and steam rising several hundred meters above the summit. Ground observers in Nelson Lagoon, 80 km NE, reported vigorous fire fountaining and a lava flow visible at night. On 28 December, visual reports in the afternoon from pilots and ground observers in Cold Bay indicated plumes reaching altitudes of 3,700-4,900 m and extending for up to 32 km WNW.

Seismicity started to decline in the afternoon, and the volcano was quiet during the night. On the morning of 29 December, pilots and ground observers in Cold Bay reported no eruptive activity. On 2 January, a pilot report indicated steam and ash drifting S from the summit. On the morning of 3 January, an observer in Cold Bay spotted a small burst of ash rising just above the summit. The eruptive pause continued during the week of 11-17 January with very low levels of seismicity.

Geologic Background. The most active volcano of the Aleutian arc, Pavlof is a 2519-m-high Holocene stratovolcano that was constructed along a line of vents extending NE from the Emmons Lake caldera. Pavlof and its twin volcano to the NE, 2142-m-high Pavlof Sister, form a dramatic pair of symmetrical, glacier-covered stratovolcanoes that tower above Pavlof and Volcano bays. A third cone, Little Pavlof, is a smaller volcano on the SW flank of Pavlof volcano, near the rim of Emmons Lake caldera. Unlike Pavlof Sister, Pavlof has been frequently active in historical time, typically producing Strombolian to Vulcanian explosive eruptions from the summit vents and occasional lava flows. The active vents lie near the summit on the north and east sides. The largest historical eruption took place in 1911, at the end of a 5-year-long eruptive episode, when a fissure opened on the N flank, ejecting large blocks and issuing lava flows.

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


Poas (Costa Rica) — December 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)


Fumarolic columns rise 500 m above the crater floor

During the four-month interval of September-December 1996 OVSCICORI-UNA reported the following N crater lake temperatures: 40, 35, 31, and 29°C, respectively. There were also fluctuations in the N crater lake's surface height. Defining a lake surface height increase with respect to the height in August as positive (+), during the four-month interval the progressive shifts were as follows: +13 cm, -54 cm, -31 cm, and +144 cm. Figures 62 and 63 show temperature and pH for the N crater lake and some chemical data for rainfall during the first eleven months of 1996.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. The pH and temperature of the N crater lake at Poás. Data points show discrete values taken at the date shown. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. The chemistry of rainwater falling on Cerro Pelon at Poás. The ion concentration (for SO2+4 and Cl- in mg/liter) and pH (± 0.5 units) during the interval 26 January-28 November. Bars and points show discrete values taken at the date shown. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Also during September-October, the accessible fumaroles on the pyroclastic cone maintained a maximum temperature of 93-94°C. Gas columns in the interval rose 500 m above the crater floor.

The number of low-frequency Poás earthquakes registered as follows: 2,351 (September), 2,043 (October), 1,704 (November, adjusted because of 14 days without data). December earthquakes have not yet been reported.

September contained the largest number of earthquakes recorded in any month in 1996. Low-frequency tremor, not seen since May, appeared for ~8 hours in September, also the most seen up to that point in 1996. Continuing the trend, tremor occurred for 28 hours during October. No tremor was recorded in November. For comparison, tremor had reached over 300 hours in December 1995.

Deformation during August and September 1996 was very low. Two lines in the sector S of the crater contracted by an average of ~5 mm (2-3 ppm), a shift considered insignificant. Although electronic tilt measurements were absent for August-September, two leveling lines along the crater's S border have lacked significant tilt since 1995.

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

Information Contacts: E. Fernández, E. Duarte, V. Barboza, R. Van der Laat, E. Hernandez, M. Martinez, and R. Sáenz, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA).


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — December 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption on 25 December seen by airline pilots in satellite imagery

Popocatépetl erupted on 25 December 1996 beginning around 1145 as seen in satellite imagery and discussed in pilot reports from American Airlines. Comparison of satellite imagery at 1145 and 1215 suggested that the eruption was not continuous.

About 1145 on 25 December the ash cloud was bounded by the following points: 19.0°N, 98.6°W; 19.2°N, 98.8°W; 19.3°N, 98.6°W; and 19.1°N, 98.4°W. At around that time GOES-8 data indicated that the eruption's ash plume moved N and E while dispersing rather quickly in both infrared and visible imagery. At 1645 that day the ash plume appeared nearly linear. It formed a band ~50 km wide trending WNW-ESE (from 20.2°N, 99.2°W to 19.6°N, 97.1°W) and covering a distance of ~230 km.

The plume from the prior day's eruption was indistinguishable by 26 December, based on GOES-8 infrared imagery. A SIGMET valid during 2300-2400 on 25 December indicated only near-source ash, suggesting that by this time conditions had return to normal. No additional eruptions were seen around that time.

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

Information Contacts: NOAA/NESDIS Synoptic Analysis Branch, USA.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — December 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)


Tavurvur's 4-5 October eruptions yield the largest lava flow in over 200 years

Strong Strombolian eruptions occurred at Tavurvur on 4-5 October, but activity was generally low during November and December. Before the eruptions in October, activity consisted of weak to moderate emissions of white vapor and occasional ash clouds that rose ~600 m above the crater. Some of the ash emissions were accompanied by roaring noises. Light ashfall was observed to the N and NW. Three moderate explosions occurred at 1209 on 3 October, and at 0017 and 0219 on 4 October, producing dark gray ash clouds 3-4 km high.

Strombolian eruptions started with emissions of dark gray ash clouds at 1200 on 4 October. At that time, real-time seismic amplitude measurement (RSAM) values were 30-50. Eruptive activity gradually increased, with more frequent emissions of thick, dark gray ash clouds. The activity rapidly increased at 1430, and peaked at 1450 with an RSAM value of ~680. Activity quickly declined after only 20 minutes, to an RSAM value of 300 by about 1700. Activity soon increased again, and reached another peak at about 2000 with an RSAM value of 800. Frequent loud explosions rattled windows and doors 7-8 km from the crater, and were heard as far as 40 km away. Red incandescent lava fragments were frequently projected ~1 km above the crater. Some of the ejecta were 1-2 m in diameter during the peak eruptions. The hot and plastic ejecta were deformed during flight.

Beginning at 2000, the eruptive activity slightly decreased and RSAM values dropped to ~710 in two hours, then the activity increased again and peaked at about 2320. According to the RSAM data, activity remained almost unchanged from then until 0820 the next morning with a constant RSAM value of ~860. From 0820 on 5 October, the activity began to decline, accompanied by frequent explosions. The frequency of explosions peaked at 1700 on 5 October (~150 explosions/hour), and decreased exponentially, with only ~20 explosions/hour at 0700 on 6 October. The last relatively large explosion occurred on 25 October.

During the strong phase of Strombolian eruptions, a significant amount of lava was erupted. Effusive activity began around 0130 on 5 October. Lava flowed to the S of the vent, covering a large area of coconut plantation and burying two houses. Three lobes of the lava flow moved into the sea, ~1.6 km from the vent. The volume of lava was estimated at 4-5 x 106 m3, the largest amount produced at Tavurvur in more than 200 years. Effusive activity occurred at Tavurvur during the 1994 eruption (BGVN 19:08-19:10), with a lava flow of ~0.4 x 106 m3.

Ash clouds produced by the Strombolian eruptions and the subsequent large explosions rose 3-4 km above the crater. Light ash fell on the N, NW, W, SW, and SE areas of the caldera. Moderate, damp ashfall was observed on Matupit Island 1.5 km W of the vent.

A low level of eruptive activity occurred at Tavurvur during November and December, with very weak to moderate emissions of white vapor. However, emissions of small volumes of pale gray ash took place twice in December, the first on 6-7 December. Pale gray emissions with a very low ash content began on the morning of 6 December, then gradually changed to weak, white vapor the next day. The ash clouds rose ~3 km above the crater before being blown to the NE, NW, and W. Very light ashfall was observed on 7 December in Rabaul Town, ~5 km NW of the crater. The second ash emission began on 27 December and was continuing at the end of the month.

During October-December, 27 high-frequency earthquakes were recorded. Two events on 24 December were felt with an intensity of III. During November and December, seismicity was generally low; the only seismic increases were associated with the two ash-emission episodes.

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: B. Talai, I. Itikarai, and P. de Saint Ours, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.


San Cristobal (Nicaragua) — December 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

San Cristobal

Nicaragua

12.702°N, 87.004°W; summit elev. 1745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


December vapor plumes appear smaller than previous ones

Since the end of the last rainy season, the vapor plume continuously present over the volcano has reduced in size compared to recent years. Late in 1996, fumaroles outside the crater decreased significantly. Fumaroles inside the crater concentrated in the lower part of the S and SE walls and had temperatures estimated to be in the 650-700°C range.

During the night and early morning on 24 December several incandescent areas were observed in the crater. These areas were similar to those reported over the past 15 years. Incandescence was visible from the top of the volcano at 500 m distance, and from the rim of the 1976 crater, a feature 400 m in diameter and 100-150 m deep. During 1996 small local earthquakes were detected monthly.

Geologic Background. The San Cristóbal volcanic complex, consisting of five principal volcanic edifices, forms the NW end of the Marrabios Range. The symmetrical 1745-m-high youngest cone, named San Cristóbal (also known as El Viejo), is Nicaragua's highest volcano and is capped by a 500 x 600 m wide crater. El Chonco, with several flank lava domes, is located 4 km W of San Cristóbal; it and the eroded Moyotepe volcano, 4 km NE of San Cristóbal, are of Pleistocene age. Volcán Casita, containing an elongated summit crater, lies immediately east of San Cristóbal and was the site of a catastrophic landslide and lahar in 1998. The Plio-Pleistocene La Pelona caldera is located at the eastern end of the complex. Historical eruptions from San Cristóbal, consisting of small-to-moderate explosive activity, have been reported since the 16th century. Some other 16th-century eruptions attributed to Casita volcano are uncertain and may pertain to other Marrabios Range volcanoes.

Information Contacts: Alain Creusot, Instituto Nicaraguense de Energía, Managua, Nicaragua.


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — December 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

14.757°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions and small collapses at Santiaguito dome

Santa María's large SW-flank crater that formed in a major eruption in 1902 contains Santiaguito, a dacite dome active almost continuously since 1922. In accord with this pattern, a small explosion was observed on 14 October. During 19 November-12 December 1996 several explosions of moderate-to-high intensity occurred almost daily. These explosions, three per hour, expelled ash in columns that rose variably 300-1,000 m above the active Caliente cone. The ash plumes, white-to-dark-gray in color, remained 8-15 minutes above the volcano before being blown W or SW or both directions. Light ashfalls were reported in the Rosario Palajunoi Estate (15 km from the volcano), La Finca Estate (~7 km SSW of the cone), over the woods in Siete Orejos area, but mostly in the proximity of Caliente cone.

Some of the explosions triggered small collapses and avalanches of blocks and ash down the Nimà Segundo river (SE flank) and along a channel opened by lava flows on the E flank of the volcano.

Geologic Background. Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa María volcano is part of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rise above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The sharp-topped, conical profile is cut on the SW flank by a 1.5-km-wide crater. The oval-shaped crater extends from just below the summit to the lower flank, and was formed during a catastrophic eruption in 1902. The renowned Plinian eruption of 1902 that devastated much of SW Guatemala followed a long repose period after construction of the large basaltic-andesite stratovolcano. The massive dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex has been growing at the base of the 1902 crater since 1922. Compound dome growth at Santiaguito has occurred episodically from four vents, with activity progressing W towards the most recent, Caliente. Dome growth has been accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions, with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.

Information Contacts: Otoniel Matías, INSIVUMEH.


Sheveluch (Russia) — December 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Typical fumarolic plumes

On 5-6 December, and on 7 and 14-15 January, the usual fumarolic emissions were observed above the volcano.

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


Dramatic fracturing on SW wall as dome growth continues

The following condenses the daily Scientific Reports of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) for the period 9 December 1996-10 January 1997.

Visual observations during 9-31 December On 9 December it was noted that a crack on Galway's wall had opened 33 cm in five days. One side of the crack had moved by 7 cm, consistent with the wall being pushed outwards. Helicopter inspections on 10 December detected 20-m-deep cracks along and on top of this wall, making it very unstable. On 11 December a new dome appeared to the S of the 1 October dome, between Castle Peak and Galway's Wall (see map in BGVN 21:11). New fractures 100 m long and 1 m wide were seen at the E end of Galway's Wall.

On 14 December the new dome volume was estimated at 500,000 m3 ; having grown over a period of 2-3 days, its extrusion was comparable to the initial rates for the 1 October dome. On 15 December the new dome's top was at 910 m, higher than the October 1 dome at that time; growth had occurred along a linear structure oriented ESE. By 16 December the top of the dome was estimated at 920 m. Observations that day showed that the dome had nearly filled the scar left by the explosion in September and that a new spine had grown from its top.

On 17 December the new dome started to overflow the September explosion scar; this caused several moderate-sized rockfalls and small pyroclastic flows into the Tar River that traveled ~250 m from the dome. That day the new dome was 909 m high, its surface rubbly with coarse blocks, and its shape conical with a flat top and two spines. Comparison of recent dome surveys with previous results showed that older material near the new dome rose 80 m, a volume change of perhaps 7 x 106 m3 since the beginning of December. On 17 December several large steam clouds ascended above the volcano, probably caused by steam venting from the new dome.

On 19 December the new dome's E face was near-vertical and appeared very unstable. Discrete pulses of rockfalls and small pyroclastic flows from the dome occurred only a few minutes apart; these descended as far as 1 km along the gully on the S side of Castle Peak creating many small ash clouds that rose 300 m above the crater and drifted slowly W. A dome survey carried out using laser-ranging binoculars estimated the new dome's volume at approximately 800,000 m3, yielding an extrusion rate of 0.5 m3/s. That evening both the E side of the new dome and part of the pre-September dome failed, causing moderately large pyroclastic flows. These flows traveled down the Tar River and over its fan reaching to within 40 m of the sea; ash clouds rose 3 km and were carried SW. As the flows were generated observations from the airport suggested that fresh lava emerged into the dome nearly as quickly as it was lost in the flows. The next day, ground and helicopter observations indicated a reactivation of the 1 October dome growth. Many small rockfalls descended the 1 October dome's N side, fewer from its S side. Small pyroclastic flows generated ash clouds characterized by little convection, possibly suggesting that colder material was involved. This was confirmed by observations during the night using an infrared imaging system. This imaging system also showed that the entire 1 October dome was active.

During the following days, rockfalls and pyroclastic flows caused many more ash clouds which deposited ash in Plymouth; associated clouds displayed robust convection, suggesting that hot, fresh material was involved. A helicopter inspection on 22 December confirmed that the activity was restricted to the 1 October dome and that there was no sign of activity on the 11 December dome.

On 23 December heavy rain caused mudflows in Fort Ghaut that carried half-meter diameter boulders into the sea. On 25 December some uplift was observed on the N flank of the October 1 dome, perhaps due to an injection of fresh lava. On 26 December satellite imagery showed ash ~100 km WSW at a height of 1-2 km.

Ground and helicopter observations on 26 December showed a significant amount of new material on the top of the dome, darker in color and smoother than the older material. On 29 December, glowing all over the NE flank and avalanching of incandescent blocks were observed. Incandescence in daylight suggested that this dome lava may have been hotter than previous dome lavas. A considerable amount of material was observed on 31 December falling down the N flank of the pre-September dome towards Farrell's Wall. The new material at the top of the dome had changed texture, and looked more slabby than before.

Visual observations during 1-10 January 1997. The first seven days of January were characterized by numerous rockfalls and small pyroclastic flows from the 1 October dome, mainly down its NE and E sides. Much of this activity was channeled into the Tar River valley by way of either an erosion chute cutting across the top of Castle Peak or one to its N. At times of peak activity the pyroclastic flows occurred every few minutes and the largest traveled ~300 m past the Tar River Soufriere. Many of the rockfalls and flows generated ash clouds that drifted W and SW, forming a semi-continuous ash plume observed at altitudes of 1.3-1.6 km. On 3 January the plume was reported at 2 km altitude, and on 4 January satellite observations detected the plume 360 km W of Montserrat.

Theodolite measurements of the dome on 5 January showed that although the height had remained relatively constant at ~900 m since 1 January, a new lobe of lava at the top of the dome was ~50 m thick. It was calculated that 4.6 x 106 m3 of material was added between 25 December and 5 January, an extrusion rate of 4.4 m3/s. This was the highest sustained extrusion rate yet measured during this eruption. A helicopter inspection on 5 January revealed material slowly accumulating against the N crater wall; only 7 m of ridge remained above the divide to Tuitt's Ghaut. On 6 January the glowing dome appeared less steep in its upper part.

On 8 January several pyroclastic flows originating from behind Castle Peak moved down the Tar River Valley to reach beyond the Tar River Estate House; at least one pyroclastic flow reached the sea. Further growth was observed on the NW side of the 1 October dome, but was still contained inside the 17-18 September scar. Several new glowing channels eroded by the pyroclastic flows on the E side of the dome were visible. On 10 January a new, unstable-looking extrusion was observed in the middle of the heavily eroded chute crossing Castle Peak. This new extrusion was butterfly shaped and composed of slabs of fresh lava.

Seismicity and seismically detected mass wasting. Seismic activity during 9-11 December was characterized by swarms of shallow volcano-tectonic earthquakes, at times large enough to be felt close to the volcano. A few rockfalls from the dome and some landslides from the Galway's Wall were also detected by the seismic network, indicating that the wall became increasingly unstable during intense earthquake activity. However, a lack of seismicity on 12 December was accompanied by more landslides on Galway's Wall. During the following days rockfalls occurred sporadically, but their number slightly increased after 16 December, as the 11 December dome kept growing. Also, a few landslides from Galway's Wall suggested continued slow deformation. Seismicity increased on 20 December with a shallow volcano-tectonic earthquake swarm that reached the level of intensity of the early December swarms, although maximum magnitudes were not as large as before. Several rockfalls were also detected, mostly from the 1 October dome.

On 22 December the volcano-tectonic seismicity died out, rockfall signals continued, and hybrid seismicity reached April levels. This and increases in the quantity of ash and pyroclastic flows were taken as an indication that the dome growth rate had increased, but poor visibility prevented dome observations. By 24 December hybrid events and continuous tremor dominated the records, but by 27 December banded tremor reached a maximum. Banded tremor, which was last seen between late July and mid-September, had taken place associated with large pyroclastic flows and the 17-18 September explosion.

On 28 December large hybrid events and rockfall signals dominated, but regularly spaced bands of continuous seismic tremor returned on 30 December. Lower in amplitude than before, the banded tremor occurred at ~10-hour intervals. By 31 December the activity was again dominated by banded tremor episodes ~5 hours apart, and by hybrid earthquakes and rockfall signals. This pattern of seismicity continued during the first seven days of January. Volcano-tectonic earthquakes returned on 4 January with signals similar to the November and December events, but possibly from slightly greater depths (2-3 km). From 8 to 10 January, in correspondence with increased dome activity, the seismicity became dominated by rockfall and pyroclastic-flow signals.

COSPEC, EDM, and other measurements. COSPEC measurements were made on 27 and 28 December. The data from 27 December averaged 350 metric tons/day (t/d) but reached ~400 t/d shortly after one of the peaks in seismic tremor. The average fluxes on 28 December, and on 1, 4, 9, and 10 January were 325, 300, 400, 1,130, and 390 t/d, respectively. The increase in emission of SO2 measured on 9 January was probably due to a partial collapse of the dome.

EDM measurements carried out on the E triangle on 10 and 13 December suggested a continuation of the shortening trend started several weeks earlier. On 16 December, the S triangle had been unchanged since 4 December; on 18 December the lines N of the volcano had also not changed significantly since 5 November. The average shortening on the lines to Castle Peak during 20-22 December was 6 cm; such high rates of deformation had occasionally been seen in the past. In contrast, the shortening seen there during 26-28 December was small (2.4 mm). This drop in the deformation rate roughly coincided with the appearance of new material at the surface on the 1 October dome.

Gravity measurements on the E flank on 22 December showed no significant changes since July 1996. Changes at stations on the upper slope were consistent with the mass added to the dome.

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/).


Turrialba (Costa Rica) — December 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)


Number of microseismic events continues to increase

Microseismic events, which were only detected locally, appeared 540 times during September, leading to the largest monthly total yet seen in 1996. The totals for October and November were 308 and 220 (the latter was extrapolated from 17 days of recording). Monthly microearthquake totals were essentially zero for the first four months of 1996 and generally grew steadily through September. The seismic station (VTU) lies 0.5 km SW of the active crater. The cumulative dry-tilt for the first 10 months of 1996 measured 10 µrad. The temperature and pH, however, remained relatively stable for the two available measurements during 1996 (BGVN 21:08).

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: E. Fernández, E. Duarte, V. Barboza, R. Van der Laat, E. Hernandez, M. Martinez, and R. Sáenz, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica.


Villarrica (Chile) — December 1996 Citation iconCite this Report

Villarrica

Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Crater observations for the interval 11 September 1996-13 January 1997

The following summarizes observations of eruptive activity during 11 September 1996-13 January 1997, based on descriptions by volcano guides and a visit to the volcano by Werner Keller in January 1997.

On 11 September 1996 a group of mountain climbers observed intense degassing of water vapor and reported that the small lava pond on the crater floor was not visible. On 14 September (BGVN 21:09) there was emission of ash accompanied by a dull rumbling noise. Guide Claudio Marticorena of Pucon was close to the summit with a group of tourists at the time of the ash emissions and reported that lava blocks tens of centimeters in diameter were ejected above the rim of the summit crater.

October and November were characterized by a notable rise of the magma column within the central crater pit, which was almost completely filled to its rim. Mountain guides Victor Sepulveda and Claudio Marticorena reported a vigorously convecting lava lake 50 m in diameter with fountaining from several areas of the lake. Frequent bursts ejected spatter and incandescent bombs beyond the summit crater, onto the upper flanks of the cone every few seconds. This activity lasted until mid-November 1996, followed by a rapid subsidence of the magmatic column and accompanied by strong vapor emission later that month. In December, the characteristic nocturnal crater glow observed at Villarrica during the past years disappeared.

Fumarolic emissions from the summit crater diminished in early January 1997, and on 4 January Sepulveda noted that the inner crater pit was again completely visible, for the first time since late November 1996. At that date, the central pit was ~100 m deep, with two small degassing vents at the bottom. No incandescent lava was visible in either of the vents, but gas emissions produced a distinct noise. The S part of the intracrater platform left after the 1984-85 eruption had collapsed into the central pit. On 13 January, mountain guides noted incandescent lava within the central pit: this suggested a new rise of the magma column.

Geologic Background. Glacier-clad Villarrica, one of Chile's most active volcanoes, rises above the lake and town of the same name. It is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes that trend perpendicular to the Andean chain. A 6-km-wide caldera formed during the late Pleistocene. A 2-km-wide caldera that formed about 3500 years ago is located at the base of the presently active, dominantly basaltic to basaltic-andesitic cone at the NW margin of the Pleistocene caldera. More than 30 scoria cones and fissure vents dot the flanks. Plinian eruptions and pyroclastic flows that have extended up to 20 km from the volcano were produced during the Holocene. Lava flows up to 18 km long have issued from summit and flank vents. Historical eruptions, documented since 1558, have consisted largely of mild-to-moderate explosive activity with occasional lava effusion. Glaciers cover 40 km2 of the volcano, and lahars have damaged towns on its flanks.

Information Contacts: Boris Behncke, Geomar Research Center for Marine Geosciences, Wischhofstrasse 1-3, 24148 Kiel, Germany; Werner Keller, Wiesenstrasse 8, 86438 Kissing, Germany.

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