Logo link to homepage

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

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

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

Recently Published Bulletin Reports

Merapi (Indonesia) Eruptions in April and June 2020 produced ash plumes and ashfall

Semeru (Indonesia) Ash plumes, lava flows, avalanches, and pyroclastic flows during March-August 2020

Kavachi (Solomon Islands) Discolored water plumes observed in satellite imagery during early September 2020

Krakatau (Indonesia) Eruption ends in mid-April 2020, but intermittent thermal anomalies continue

Raung (Indonesia) Eruptions confirmed during 2012- 2013; lava fills inner crater in November 2014-August 2015

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Strombolian activity, gas-and-steam and ash plumes, and a lava flow during June-early July 2020

Fuego (Guatemala) Ongoing explosions, ash plumes, lava flows, and lahars during April-July 2020

Nishinoshima (Japan) Major June-July eruption of lava, ash, and sulfur dioxide; activity declines in August 2020

Turrialba (Costa Rica) New eruptive period on 18 June 2020 consisted of ash eruptions

Etna (Italy) Effusive activity in early April; frequent Strombolian explosions and ash emissions during April-July 2020

Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) Multiple lava flows within the summit crater; September 2019-August 2020

Yasur (Vanuatu) Ash and gas explosions continue through August 2020



Merapi (Indonesia) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptions in April and June 2020 produced ash plumes and ashfall

Merapi, located just north of the city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, is a highly active stratovolcano; the current eruption began in May 2018. Volcanism has recently been characterized by lava dome growth and collapse, small block-and-ash flows, explosions, ash plumes, ashfall, and pyroclastic flows (BGVN 44:10 and 45:04). Activity has recently consisted of three large eruptions in April and June, producing dense gray ash plumes and ashfall in June. Dominantly, white gas-and-steam emissions have been reported during April-September 2020. The primary reporting source of activity comes from Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG, the Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology, a branch of PVMBG), 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).

Activity at Merapi dominantly consisted of frequent white gas-and-steam emissions that generally rose 20-600 m above the crater (figure 95). On 2 April an eruption occurred at 1510, producing a gray ash plume that rose 3 km above the crater, and accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions up to 600 m above the crater. A second explosion on 10 April at 0910 generated a gray ash plume rising 3 km above the crater and drifting NW, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions rising 300 m above the crater (figure 96). Activity over the next six weeks consisted primarily of gas-and-steam emissions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Gas-and-steam emissions were frequently observed rising from Merapi as seen on 3 April (left) and 4 August (right) 2020. Courtesy of BPPTKG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Webcam image showed an ash plume rising 3 km above the crater of Merapi at 0917 on 10 April 2020. Courtesy of BPPTKG and MAGMA Indonesia.

On 8 June PVMBG reported an increase in seismicity. Aerial photos from 13 June taken using drones were used to measure the lava dome, which had decreased in volume to 200,000 m3, compared to measurements from 19 February 2020 (291,000 m3). On 21 June two explosions were recorded at 0913 and 0927; the first explosion lasted less than six minutes while the second was less than two minutes. A dense, gray ash plume reached 6 km above the crater drifting S, W, and SW according to the Darwin VAAC notice and CCTV station (figure 97), which resulted in ashfall in the districts of Magelang, Kulonprogo, and as far as the Girimulyo District (45 km). During 21-22 June the gas-and-steam emissions rose to a maximum height of 6 km above the crater. The morphology of the summit crater had slightly changed by 22 June. Based on photos from the Ngepos Post, about 19,000 m3 of material had been removed from the SW part of the summit, likely near or as part of the crater rim. On 11 and 26 July new measurements of the lava dome were taken, measuring 200,000 m3 on both days, based on aerial photos using drones. Gas-and-steam emissions continued through September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Webcam image showed an ash plume rising 6 km above the crater of Merapi at 0915 on 21 June 2020. Courtesy of BPPTKG.

Geologic Background. Merapi, one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, lies in one of the world's most densely populated areas and dominates the landscape immediately north of the major city of Yogyakarta. It is the youngest and southernmost of a volcanic chain extending NNW to Ungaran volcano. Growth of Old Merapi during the Pleistocene ended with major edifice collapse perhaps about 2,000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequent growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent activity, began SW of the earlier collapse scarp. Pyroclastic flows and lahars accompanying growth and collapse of the steep-sided active summit lava dome have devastated cultivated lands on the western-to-southern flanks and caused many fatalities.

Information Contacts: Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG), Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology (URL: http://merapi.bgl.esdm.go.id/, Twitter: @BPPTKG); Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); 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/).


Semeru (Indonesia) — October 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, lava flows, avalanches, and pyroclastic flows during March-August 2020

Semeru in eastern Java, Indonesia, has been erupting almost continuously since 1967 and is characterized by ash plumes, pyroclastic flows, lava flows and lava avalanches down drainages on the SE flanks. The Alert Level has remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4) since May 2012, and the public reminded to stay outside of the general 1-km radius from the summit and 4 km on the SSE flank. This report updates volcanic activity from March to August 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), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and satellite data.

Activity at Semeru consisted of dominantly dense white-gray ash plumes rising 100-600 m above the crater, incandescent material that was ejected 10-50 m high and descended 300-2,000 from the summit crater, and lava flows measuring 500-1,000 m long. Two pyroclastic flows were also observed, extending 2.3 km from the summit crater in March and 2 km on 17 April.

During 1-2 March gray ash plumes rose 200-500 m above the crater, accompanied by incandescent material that was ejected 10-50 m above the Jonggring-Seloko Crater. Lava flows reaching 500-1,000 m long traveled down the Kembar, Bang, and Kobokan drainages on the S flank. During 4-10 March ash plumes up to 200 m high were interspersed with 100-m-high white gas-and-steam plumes. At the end of a 750-m-long lava flow on the S flank, a pyroclastic flow that lasted 9 minutes traveled as far as 2.3 km. During 25-31 March incandescent material found at the end of the lava flow descended 700-950 m from the summit crater (figure 42).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed lava avalanches descending the SSE flank on 26 March 2020. Images using short-wave infrared (SWIR, bands 12, 8A, 4) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Incandescent material continued to be observed in April, rising 10-50 m above the Jonggring-Seloko Crater. Some incandescent material descended from the ends of lava flows as far as 700-2,000 m from the summit crater. Dense white-gray ash plumes rose 100-600 m above the crater drifting N, SE, and SW. During 15-21 April incandescent lava flows traveled 500-1,000 m down the Kembar, Bang, and Kobokan drainages on the S flank. On 17 April at 0608 a pyroclastic flow was observed on the S flank in the Bang drainage measuring 2 km (figure 43). During 22-28 April lava blocks traveled 300 m from the end of lava flows in the Kembar drainage.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. A pyroclastic flow at Semeru on 17 April 2020 moving down the S flank toward Besuk Bang. Photo has been color corrected. Courtesy of PVMBG.

Similar activity continued in May, with incandescent material from lava flows in the Kembar and Kobokan drainages descending a maximum distance of 2 km during 29 April-12 May, and 200-1,200 m in the Kembar drainage during 13-27 May, accompanied by dense white-gray ash plumes rising 100-500 m above the crater drifting in different directions. White gas-and-steam plumes rose 300 m above the crater on 26-27 May. Dense white-to-gray ash plumes were visible most days during June, rising 100-500 m above the crater and drifting in various directions. During 3-9 June incandescent material from lava flows descended 200-1,600 m in the Kembar drainage.

Activity in July had decreased slightly and consisted of primarily dense white-gray ash plumes that ranged from 200-500 m above the crater and drifted W, SW, N, and S. Weather conditions often prevented visual observations. On 7 July an ash plume at 0633 rose 400 m drifting W. Similar ash activity was observed in August rising 200-500 m above the crater. On 14 and 16 August a Darwin VAAC advisory stated that white-gray ash plumes rose 300-400 m above the crater, drifting W and WSW; on 16 August a thermal anomaly was observed in satellite imagery. MAGMA Indonesia reported ash plumes were visible during 19-31 August and rose 200-400 m above the crater, drifting S and SW.

Hotspots were recorded by MODVOLC on 11, 6, and 7 days during March, April, and May, respectively, with as many as four pixels in March. Thermal activity decreased to a single hotspot in July and none in August. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system recorded numerous thermal anomalies at the volcano during March-July; a lower number was recorded during August (figure 44). The NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide page showed high levels of sulfur dioxide above or near Semeru on 18, 24-25, and 29-31 March, and 9 April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Thermal anomalies at Semeru detected during March-June 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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


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

Kavachi

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Discolored water plumes observed in satellite imagery during early September 2020

Kavachi is an active submarine volcano in the SW Pacific, located in the Solomon Islands south of Gatokae and Vangunu islands. Volcanism has been characterized by phreatomagmatic explosions that ejected steam, ash, and incandescent bombs. The previous report described discolored water plumes extending from a single point during early 2018 and April 2020 (BGVN 45:05); similar activity was recorded for this current reporting period covering May through September 2020 and primarily using satellite data.

Activity at Kavachi is most frequently observed through satellite images and typically consists of discolored submarine plumes. On 2 September 2020 a slight yellow discoloration in the water was observed extending E from a specific point (figure 22). Similar faint plumes continued to be recorded on 5, 7, 12, and 17 September, each of which seemed to be drifting generally E from a point source above the summit where previous activity has occurred. On 7 September the discolored plume was accompanied by white degassing and possibly agitated water on the surface at the origin point (figure 22).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Sentinel-2 satellite images of a discolored plume (light yellow) at Kavachi beginning on 2 September (top left) and continuing through 17 September 2020 (bottom right). The light blue circle on the 7 September image highlights the surface degassing and source of the discolored water plume. The white arrow on the bottom right image is pointing to the faint discolored plume. Images with “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Krakatau (Indonesia) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption ends in mid-April 2020, but intermittent thermal anomalies continue

Krakatau, located in the Sunda Strait between Indonesia’s Java and Sumatra Islands, experienced a major caldera collapse around 535 CE, forming a 7-km-wide caldera ringed by three islands. Presently, the caldera is underwater, except for three surrounding islands (Verlaten, Lang, and Rakata) and the active Anak Krakatau that was constructed within the 1883 caldera and has been the site of frequent eruptions since 1927. On 22 December 2018, a large explosion and flank collapse destroyed most of the 338-m-high island of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) and generated a deadly tsunami (BGVN 44:03). A larger explosion in December 2019 produced the beginnings of a new cone above the surface of crater lake (BGVN 45:02). The previous report (BGVN 45:06) described activity that included Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and crater incandescence. This report updates information from June through September 2020 using information primarily from Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, also known as Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) and satellite data.

A VONA notice from PVMBG reported that the last eruptive event at Krakatau was reported on 17 April 2020, though the eruptive column was not observed. Activity after that was relatively low through September 2020, primarily intermittent diffuse white gas-and-steam emissions, according to PVMBG. No activity was reported during June-August, except for minor seismicity. During 11-13, 16, and 18 September, the CCTV Lava93 webcam showed intermittent white gas-and-steam emissions rising 25-50 m above the crater.

The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) graph of MODIS thermal anomaly data showed intermittent hotspots within 5 km of the crater from May through September (figure 113). Some of these thermal hotspots were also detected in Suomi NPP/VIIRS sensor data. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed faint thermal anomalies in the crater during June; no thermal activity was detected after June (figure 114).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 113. Intermittent thermal activity at Anak Krakatau from 13 October 2019-September 2020 shown on a MIROVA Low Radiative Power graph. The power of the thermal anomalies decreased after activity in April but continued intermittently through September. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 114. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing a faint thermal anomaly in the crater during 1 (left) and 11 (right) June 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Raung (Indonesia) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Raung

Indonesia

8.119°S, 114.056°E; summit elev. 3260 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptions confirmed during 2012- 2013; lava fills inner crater in November 2014-August 2015

A massive stratovolcano in easternmost Java, Raung has over sixty recorded eruptions dating back to the late 16th Century. Explosions with ash plumes, Strombolian activity, and lava flows from a cinder cone within the 2-km-wide summit crater have been the most common activity. Visual reports of activity have often come from commercial airline flights that pass near the summit; Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM) has installed webcams to monitor activity in recent years. An eruption in 2015 produced a large volume of lava within the summit crater and formed a new pyroclastic cone in the same location as the previous one. Confirmation and details of eruptions in 2012, 2013, and 2014-2015 are covered in this report with information provided by PVMBG, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), several sources of satellite data, and visitors to the volcano.

Newly available visual and satellite information confirm eruptions at Raung during October 2012-January 2013, June-July 2013, and extend the beginning of the 2015 eruption back to November 2014. The 2015 eruption was the largest in several decades; Strombolian activity was reported for many months and fresh lava flows covered the crater floor. Raung was quiet after the 2015 eruption ended in August of that year until July 2020.

Eruption during October 2012-January 2013. A MODVOLC thermal alert appeared inside the summit crater of Raung on 14 October 2012, followed by another four alerts on 16 October. Multiple daily alerts were reported on many days through 8 November, most within the main crater. Single alerts appeared on 29 November and 1 December 2012 (figure 9). PVMBG raised the Alert Level on 17 October from 1 to 2 due to increased seismicity and raised it further to Level 3 on 22 October. A local news report by Aris Yanto indicted that a minor Strombolian eruption occurred inside the crater on 19 October. Strombolian activity was also observed inside the inner crater on 5 November 2012 by visitors (figure 10); they reported loud rumbling sounds that could be heard up to 15 km from the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Thermal activity at Raung during October and November 2012 included multiple days of multi-pixel anomalies, with almost all activity concentrated within the summit crater. Strombolian activity was observed on 5 November. Image shows all pixels from 23 September-1 December 2012. Courtesy of MODVOLC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Strombolian activity was observed inside the inner crater of Raung on 5 November 2012 by visitors. They reported loud rumbling sounds that could be heard up to 15 km from the crater. Photo by Galih, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

The Darwin VAAC issued an advisory of an eruption plume to 9.1 km altitude reported at 0237 UTC on 8 November 2012. In a second advisory about two hours later they noted that an ash plume was not visible in satellite imagery. A press article released by the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) indicated that gray ash plumes were observed on 6 January 2013 that rose 300 m above the summit crater rim. Incandescence was observed around the crater and thundering explosions were heard by nearby residents.

Eruption during June-July 2013. Two MODVOLC thermal alerts were measured inside the summit crater on 29 June 2013. A photo taken on 21 July showed minor Strombolian activity at the inner crater (figure 11). A weak SO2 anomaly was detected in the vicinity of Raung by the OMI instrument on the Aura satellite on 27 July. Thermal alerts were recorded on 29 and 31 July. When Google Earth imageryrom 14 March 2011 created by Maxar Technologies is compared with imagery from 29 July 2013 captured by Landsat/Copernicus, dark tephra is filling the inner crater in the 2013 image; it was not present in 2011 (figure 12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Strombolian activity was observed inside the inner crater at the summit of Raung on 21 July 2013. Photo by Agus Kurniawan, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Satellite imagery from Google Earth showing the eroded pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater of Raung on 14 March 2011 (left) and 29 July 2013 (right). Dark tephra deposits filling the inner crater in the 2013 image were not present in 2011. The crater of the pyroclastic cone is 200 m wide; N is to the top of the images. Courtesy of Google Earth.

Eruption during November 2014-August 2015. Information about this eruption was previously reported (BGVN 41:12), but additional details are provided here. Landsat-8 imagery from 28 October 2014 indicated clear skies and little activity within the summit crater. Local observers reported steam plumes beginning in mid-November (figure 13). MODVOLC thermal alerts within the summit crater were issued on 28 and 30 November, and then 15 alerts were issued on seven days in December. Thermal Landsat-8 imagery from cloudy days on 29 November and 15 December indicated an anomaly over the area of the pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater (figure 14).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Local observers reported steam plumes at Raung beginning in mid-November 2014; this one was photographed on 17 November 2014. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Satellite evidence of new eruptive activity at Raung first appeared on 29 November 2014. The true color-pansharpened Landsat-8 image of Raung from 28 October 2014 (left) shows the summit crater and an eroded pyroclastic cone with its own crater (the inner crater) with no apparent activity. Although dense meteoric clouds on 29 November (center) and 15 December 2014 (right) blocked true color imagery, thermal imagery indicated a thermal anomaly from the center of the pyroclastic cone on both dates. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

In January 2015 the MODVOLC system identified 25 thermal anomalies in MODIS data, with a peak of eight alerts on 8 January. Visitors to the summit crater on 6 January witnessed explosions from the inner crater approximately every 40 minutes that produced gas and small amounts of ash and tephra. They reported lava flowing continuously from the inner crater onto the larger crater floor, and incandescent activity was seen at night (figure 15). Landsat-8 images from 16 January showed a strong thermal anomaly covering an area of fresh lava (figure 16).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Visitors to the summit crater of Raung on 6 January 2015 witnessed explosions from the inner crater approximately every 40 minutes that produced abundant gas and small amounts of ash and tephra. Lava was flowing continuously from the inner crater onto the larger crater floor, and incandescent activity was observed at night. Photos by Sofya Klimova, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. On a clear 16 January 2015, Landsat-8 satellite imagery revealed fresh lava flows NW of the pyroclastic cone within the summit crater at Raung. A strong thermal anomaly matches up with the dark material, suggesting that it flowed NW from within the pyroclastic cone. Left image is true color-pansharpened rendering, right image is thermal rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Satellite images were obscured by meteoric clouds during February 2015, but PVMBG reported gray and brown plumes rising 300 m multiple times and incandescence and rumbling on 14 February. Visitors to the summit crater during the second half of February reported Strombolian activity with lava fountains from the inner crater, at times as frequently as every 15 minutes (figure 17). Loud explosions and rumbling were heard 10-15 km away. MODVOLC thermal alerts stopped on 25 February and did not reappear until late June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. A report issued on 25 February 2015 from visitors to the summit of Ruang noted large Strombolian explosions with incandescent ejecta and lava flowing across the crater floor. The fresh lava on the crater floor covered a noticeably larger area than that shown in early January (figure 15). Photo by Andi, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

PVMBG raised the Alert Level to 2 in mid-March 2015. Weak thermal anomalies located inside and NW of the pyroclastic cone were present in satellite imagery on 21 March. PVMBG reported gray and brown emissions during March, April, and May rising as high as 300 m above the crater. Landsat imagery from 22 April showed a small emission inside the pyroclastic cone, and on 8 May showed a clearer view of the fresh black lava NW and SW of the pyroclastic cone (figure 18).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Fresh lava was visible in Landsat-8 satellite imagery in April and May 2015 at Raung. A small emission was present inside the pyroclastic cone at the summit of Raung on 22 April 2015 (left). Fresh dark material is also evident in the SW quadrant of the summit crater that was not visible on 16 January 2015. A clear view on 8 May 2015 also shows the extent of the fresh black material around the pyroclastic cone (right). The summit crater is 2 km wide. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Nine MODVOLC thermal alerts appeared inside the summit crater on 21 June 2015 after no alerts since late February, suggesting an increase in activity. The Darwin VAAC issued the first ash advisory for 2015 on 24 June noting an aviation report of recent ash. The following day the Ujung Pandang Meteorological Weather Office (MWO) reported an ash emission drifting W at 3.7 km altitude. The same day, 25 June, Landsat-8 imagery clearly showed a new lava flow on the W side of the crater and a strong thermal anomaly. The thermal data showed a point source of heat widening SW from the center of the crater and a second point source of heat that appeared to be inside the pyroclastic cone. A small ash plume was visible over the cone (figure 19). Strombolian activity and ash plumes were reported by BNPB and PVMBG in the following days. On 26 June the Darwin VAAC noted the hotspot had remained visible in infrared imagery for several days. PVMBG reported an ash emission to 3 km altitude on 29 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. A new lava flow and strong thermal anomaly appeared inside the summit crater of Raung on 25 June 2015 in Landsat-8 imagery. The new flow was visible on the W side of the crater. The darker area extending SW from the rising ash plume is a shadow. The thermal data showed a point source of heat widening SW from the center of the crater and spreading out in the SW quadrant and a second point source of heat on the flank of the pyroclastic cone. Left image is True color-pansharpened rendering, and right image is thermal rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity increased significantly during July 2015 (BGVN 41:12). Ash plumes rose as high as 6.7 km altitude and drifted hundreds of kilometers in multiple directions, forcing multiple shutdowns at airports on Bali and Lombok, as well as Banyuwangi and Jember in East Java. The Darwin VAAC issued 152 ash advisories during the month. Ashfall was reported up to 20 km W during July and 20-40 km SE during early August. Visitors to the summit in early July observed a new pyroclastic cone growing inside the inner crater from incandescent ejecta and dense ash emissions (figure 20). Landsat-8 imagery from 11 July showed a dense ash plume drifting SE, fresh black lava covering the 2-km-wide summit caldera floor, and a very strong thermal anomaly most intense at the center near the pyroclastic cone and cooler around the inner edges of the crater (figure 21). On 12 July, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a view of an ash-and-gas plume drifting hundreds of kilometers SE from Raung (figure 22).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. A new pyroclastic cone was growing inside the inner crater at the summit of Raung when photographed by Aris Yanto in early July 2015. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Landsat-8 imagery of Raung during July 2015 indicated dense ash emissions and a large thermal anomaly caused by fresh lava. On 11 July a dense ash plume drifted SE and a strong thermal anomaly was centered inside the summit crater. The 2-km-wide crater floor was covered with fresh lava (compare with 25 June image in figure 19). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. On 12 July 2015 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a natural-color view of a plume of ash and volcanic gases drifting hundreds of kilometers SE from Raung. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

A satellite image on 20 July showed fresh incandescent lava covering the floor of the summit crater and a dense ash plume drifting N from the summit (figure 23). Incandescent ejecta emerged from two vents on the new pyroclastic cone inside the inner crater on 26 July (figure 24). On 27 July a dense ash plume was visible again in satellite imagery drifting NW and the hottest part of the thermal anomaly was in the SE quadrant of the crater (figure 25). Substantial SO2 plumes were recorded by the OMI instrument on the Aura satellite during July and early August 2015 (figure 26).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. A satellite image of the summit of Raung on 20 July 2015 showed fresh, incandescent lava covering the floor of the summit crater and a dense ash plume drifting N from the summit. Thermal activity on the NE flank was likely the result of incandescent ejecta from the crater causing a fire. Image created by DigitalGlobe, captured by WorldView3, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Incandescent ejecta emerged from two vents on the new pyroclastic cone growing inside the inner crater of Raung on 26 July 2015. Photo by Vianney Tricou, used with permission, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Landsat-8 imagery of Raung during July 2015 indicated dense ash emissions and large thermal anomalies from fresh lava. The 2-km-wide crater floor was fully covered with fresh lava by 11 July. On 27 July the dense ash plume was drifting NW and the highest heat was concentrated in the SE quadrant of the crater. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Substantial plumes of sulfur dioxide from Raung were measured by the OMI instrument on the AURA satellite during July and August 2015. The first plumes were measured in mid-June; they intensified during the second half of July and the first week of August, but had decreased by mid-August. Wind directions were highly variable throughout the period. The date is recorded above each image. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Page.

Significant ash emissions continued into early August 2015 with numerous flight cancellations. The Darwin VAAC reported ash plumes rising to 5.2 km altitude and extending as far as 750 km SE during the first two weeks in August (figure 27). Satellite imagery indicated a small ash plume drifting W from the center of the crater on 12 August and weak thermal anomalies along the E and S rim of the floor of the crater (figure 28). The summit crater was covered with fresh lava on 14 August when viewed by visitors, and ash emissions rose a few hundred meters above the crater rim from a vent in the SW side of the pyroclastic cone (figure 29). The visitors observed pulsating ash emissions rising from the SW vent on the large double-crater new cinder cone. The larger vent to the NE was almost entirely inactive except for two small, weakly effusive vents on its inner walls.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. A dense ash plume drifted many kilometers S from Raung on 2 August 2015 in this view from nearly 100 km W. Incandescence at the summit indicated ongoing activity from the major 2015 eruption. In the foreground is Lamongan volcano whose last known eruption occurred in 1898. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Landsat-8 satellite imagery of Raung indicated a small ash plume drifting W from the center of the crater on 12 August 2015. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. The summit crater of Raung on 14 August 2015 was filled with fresh lava from an eruption that began in November 2014. Ash emissions from a vent in the side of the newly grown pyroclastic cone within the crater rose a few hundred meters above the crater rim. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

The lengthy sequence of multiple daily VAAC reports that began in late June ended on 16 August 2015 with reports becoming more intermittent and ash plume heights rising to only 3.7-3.9 km altitude. Multiple discontinuous eruptions to 3.9 km altitude were reported on 18 August. The plumes extended about 100 km NW. The last report of an ash plume was from an airline on 22 August noting a low-level plume 50 km NW. Two MODVOLC alerts were issued that day. By 28 August only a very small steam plume was present at the center of the crater; the southern half of the edge of the crater floor still had small thermal anomalies (figure 30). The last single MODVOLC thermal alerts were on 29 August and 7 September. The Alert Level was lowered to 2 on 24 August 2015, and further lowered to 1 on 20 October 2016.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. By 28 August 2015 only a very small steam plume was present at the center of the summit crater of Raung, and the southern half of the edge of the crater floor only had weak thermal anomalies from cooling lava. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Raung, one of Java's most active volcanoes, is a massive stratovolcano in easternmost Java that was constructed SW of the rim of Ijen caldera. The unvegetated summit is truncated by a dramatic steep-walled, 2-km-wide caldera that has been the site of frequent historical eruptions. A prehistoric collapse of Gunung Gadung on the W flank produced a large debris avalanche that traveled 79 km, reaching nearly to the Indian Ocean. Raung contains several centers constructed along a NE-SW line, with Gunung Suket and Gunung Gadung stratovolcanoes being located to the NE and W, respectively.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/);Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/, https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/86213/eruption-of-raung-volcano); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); Aris Yanto (URL: https://www.exploredesa.com/2012/11/mount-raung-produce-of-vulcanic-ash-plume-and-continue-eruption/); DigitalGlobe (URL: https://www.maxar.com/, https://twitter.com/Maxar/status/875449111398547457); Øystein Lund Andersen (URL: https://twitter.com/OysteinVolcano/status/1194879946042142726, http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian activity, gas-and-steam and ash plumes, and a lava flow during June-early July 2020

Klyuchevskoy is a frequently active stratovolcano located in northern Kamchatka. Historical eruptions dating back 3,000 years have included more than 100 flank eruptions with most lateral craters and cones occurring along radial fissures between the unconfined NE-to-SE flanks. The previous report (BGVN 45:06) described ash plumes, nighttime incandescence, and Strombolian activity. Strombolian activity, ash plumes, and a strong lava flow continued. This report updates activity from June through August 2020 using weekly and daily reports from the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT), the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory (VAAC), and satellite data.

Moderate explosive-effusive activity continued in June 2020, with Strombolian explosions, frequent gas-and-steam emissions that contained some amount of ash, and an active lava flow. On 1 June a gas-and-steam plume containing some ash extended up to 465 km SE and E. The lava flow descended the SE flank down the Apakhonchich chute (figure 43). Occasionally, phreatic explosions accompanied the lava flow as it interacted with snow. Intermittent ash plumes, reported throughout the month by KVERT using video and satellite data and the Tokyo VAAC using HIMAWARI-8 imagery, rose to 5.5-6.7 km altitude and drifted in different directions up to 34 km from the volcano. On 12 and 30 June ash plumes rose to a maximum altitude of 6.7 km. On 19 June, 28-30 June, and 1-3 July some collapses were detected alongside the lava flow as it continued to advance down the SE flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Gray ash plumes (left) and a lava flow descending the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank, accompanied by a dark ash plume and Strombolian activity (right) were observed at the summit of Klyuchevskoy on 10 June 2020. Courtesy of E. Saphonova, IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

During 1-3 July moderate Strombolian activity was observed, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions containing ash and a continuous lava flow traveling down the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank. On 1 July a Tokyo VAAC advisory reported an ash plume rising to 6 km altitude and extending SE. On 3 July the activity sharply decreased. KVERT reported there was some residual heat leftover from the lava flow and Strombolian activity that continued to cool through at least 13 July; KVERT also reported frequent gas-and-steam emissions, which contained a small amount of ash through 5 July, rising from the summit crater (figure 44). The weekly KVERT report on 16 July stated that the eruption had ended on 3 July 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Fumarolic activity continued in the summit crater of Klyuchevskoy on 7 July 2020. Courtesy of KSRS ME, Russia, KVERT.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows frequent and strong thermal activity within 5 km of the summit crater from March through June followed by a sharp and sudden decline in early July (figures 45). A total of six weak thermal anomalies were detected between July and August. According to the MODVOLC thermal algorithm, a total of 111 thermal alerts were detected at or near the summit crater from 1 June to 1 July, a majority of which were due to the active lava flow on the SE flank and Strombolian explosions in the crater. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery frequently showed the active lava flow descending the SE flank as a strong thermal anomaly, sometimes even through weather clouds (figure 46). These thermal anomalies were also recorded by the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity data on a MIROVA graph, showing a strong cluster during June to early July, followed by a sharp decrease and then a hiatus in activity (figure 47).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Thermal activity at Klyuchevskoy was frequent and strong during February through June 2020, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). Activity sharply decreased during July through August with six low-power thermal anomalies. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images show the strong and persistent lava flow (bright yellow-orange) originating from the summit crater at Klyuchevskoy from 1 June through 1 July 2020. The lava flow was active in the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Strong clusters of thermal anomalies were detected in the summit at Klyuchevskoy (red dots) during January through June 2020, as recorded by the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity data (bands 12, 11, 8A). Activity sharply decreased during July through August with few low-power thermal anomalies. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Fuego (Guatemala) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing explosions, ash plumes, lava flows, and lahars during April-July 2020

Fuego, located in Guatemala, is a stratovolcano that has been erupting since 2002 with historical eruptions dating back to 1531. Volcanism is characterized by major ashfalls, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and lahars. The previous report (BGVN 45:04) described recent activity that included multiple ash explosions, block avalanches, and intermittent lava flows. This report updates activity from April through July 2020 that consisted of daily explosions, ash plumes, block avalanches ashfall, intermittent lava flows, and lahars. The primary source of information comes from the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Summary of activity during April-July 2020. Daily activity throughout April-July 2020 was characterized by multiple hourly explosions, ash plumes that rose to a maximum of 4.9 km altitude, incandescent pulses that reached 600 m above the crater, block avalanches into multiple drainages, and ashfall affecting nearby communities (table 21). The highest rate of explosions occurred on 2 and 3 April and 2 May with up to 16 explosions per hour. White degassing occurred frequently during the reporting period, rising to a maximum altitude of 4.5 km and drifting in multiple directions. Intermittent lava flows were observed each month in the Seca (Santa Teresa) and Ceniza drainages (figure 132); the number of flows decreased in June through July, which is represented in the MIROVA analysis of MODIS satellite data, where the strength and frequency of thermal activity slightly decreased (figure 133). Occasional lahars were detected descending several drainages on the W and SE flanks, sometimes carrying tree branches and large blocks up to 1 m in diameter.

Table 21. Activity summary by month for Fuego with information compiled from INSIVUMEH daily reports.

Month Number of explosions per hour Ash plume heights (km) Ash plume distance (km) and direction Drainages affected by block avalanches Villages reporting ashfall
Apr 2020 5-16 4.3-4.9 km 8-20 km E, NE, SE, W, NW, SW, S, N Taniluyá, Ceniza, Las Lajas, Trinidad, Seca, Honda, and Santa Teresa Morelia, Panimaché I and II, Sangre de Cristo, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa, Las Cruces Quisache, La Rochela, Ceylan, and Osuna
May 2020 4-16 4.3-4.9 km 10-17 km S, SW, W, N, NE, E, SE Trinidad, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Las Lajas, Santa Teresa, Seca, and Honda Panimaché I, La Rochela, Ceilán, Morelia, San Andrés Osuna, Finca Palo Verde, Santa Sofía, Seilán, San Pedro Yepocapa, Alotenango, Ciudad Vieja, San Miguel Dueñas, and Antigua Guatemala
Jun 2020 3-15 4.2-4.9 km 10-25.9 km E, SE, S, N, NE, W, SW, NW Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Santa Teresa and Honda San Pedro Yepocapa, Sangre de Cristo, Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Finca Palo Verde, El Porvenir, Yucales, Santa Emilia, Santa Sofía
Jul 2020 1-15 4-4.9 km 10-24 km W, NW, SW, S, NE Trinidad, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Honda, Las Lajas, Seca, and Santa Teresa Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, and El Porvenir
Figure (see Caption) Figure 132. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Fuego between 9 April 2020 and 13 July 2020 showing lava flows (bright yellow-orange) traveling generally S and W from the summit crater. Some lava flows were accompanied by gas emissions (9 April, 9 May, and 24 May 2020). Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 133. Thermal activity at Fuego was persistent and strong from 16 September through late May 2020, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). From early to mid-June activity seemed to stop briefly before resuming again at a lower rate. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during April-May 2020. Activity in April 2020 consisted of 5-16 explosions per hour, generating ash plumes that rose 4.3-4.9 km altitude and drifted 8-20 km in multiple directions. Ashfall was reported in Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW), Las Cruces Quisache (8 km NW), La Rochela, Ceylan, Osuna (12 km SW). The Washington VAAC issued multiple aviation advisories for a total of six days in April. Intermittent white gas-and-steam emissions reached 4.1-4.5 km altitude drifting in multiple directions. Incandescent ejecta was frequently observed rising 75-400 m above the crater; material ejected up to 600 m above the crater on 11 April. These constant explosions produced block avalanches that traveled down the Taniluyá (SW), Ceniza (SSW), Las Lajas (SE), Trinidad (S), Seca (W), Honda, and Santa Teresa (W) drainages. Effusive activity was reported on 6-13 and 15 April from the summit vent, traveling 150-800 m down the Ceniza drainage, accompanied by block avalanches in the front of the flow up to 1 km. Crater incandescence was also observed.

On 19-20 April a new lava flow descended the Ceniza drainage measuring 200-400 long, generating incandescent block avalanches at the front of the flow that moved up to 1 km. On 22 April lahars descended the Honda, Las Lajas, El Juté (SE), Trinidad, Ceniza, Taniluyá, Mineral, and Seca drainages and tributaries in Guacalate, Achiguate, and Pantaleón. During the evening of 23 April the rate of effusive activity increased; observatory staff observed a second lava flow in the Seca drainage was 170 m long and incandescent blocks from the flow traveled up to 600 m. Two lava flows in the Ceniza (130-400 m) and Seca (150-800 m) drainages continued from 23-28 April and had stopped by 30 April. On 30 April weak and moderate explosions produced ash plumes that rose 4.5-4.7 km altitude drifting S and SE, resulting in fine ashfall in Panimaché I, Morelia, Santa Sofía (figure 134).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 134. Photo of a small ash plume rising from Fuego on 30 April 2020. Photo has been slightly color corrected. Courtesy of William Chigna, CONRED.

During May 2020, the rate of explosion remained similar, with 4-16 explosions per hour, which generated gray ash plumes that rose 4.3-4.9 km altitude and drifted 10-17 km generally W and E. Ashfall was observed in Panimaché I, La Rochela, Ceilán, Morelia, San Andrés Osuna, Finca Palo Verde, Santa Sofía, Seilán, San Pedro Yepocapa, Alotenango (8 km ENE), Ciudad Vieja (13.5 km NE), San Miguel Dueñas (10 km NE), and Antigua Guatemala (18 km NE). The Washington VAAC issued volcanic ash advisory notices on six days in May. White gas-and-steam emissions continued, rising 4-4.5 km altitude drifting in multiple directions. Incandescent ejecta rose 100-400 m above the crater, accompanied by some crater incandescence and block avalanches in the Trinidad, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Las Lajas, Santa Teresa, Seca, and Honda drainages that moved up to 1 km and sometimes reached vegetated areas.

During 8-11 May a new 400 m long lava flow was detected in the Ceniza drainage, accompanied by constant crater incandescence and block avalanches traveling up to 1 km, according to INSIVUMEH. On 8 and 17 May moderate to strong lahars descended the Santa Teresa and Mineral drainages on the W flank and on 21 May they descended the Las Lajas drainage on the E flank and the Ceniza drainage on the SW flank. During 20-24 May a 100-400 m long lava flow was reported in the Ceniza drainage alongside degassing and avalanches moving up to 1 km and during 25-26 May a 150 m long lava flow was reported in the Seca drainage.

Activity during June-July 2020. The rate of explosions in June 2020 decreased slightly to 3-15 per hour, generating gray ash plumes that rose 4.2-4.9 km altitude and drifted 10-26 km in multiple directions (figure 135). As a result, intermittent ashfall was reported in San Pedro Yepocapa, Sangre de Cristo, Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Finca Palo Verde, El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Yucales (12 km SW), Santa Emilia, Santa Sofia, according to INSIVUMEH. VAAC advisories were published on eight days in June. Degassing persisted in the summit crater that rose 4.1-4.5 km altitude extending in different directions. Crater incandescence was observed occasionally, as well as incandescent pulses that rose 100-300 m above the crater. Block avalanches were observed descending the Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Santa Teresa, and Honda drainages, which could sometimes carry blocks up to 1 km in diameter.

On 2 June at 1050 a weak to moderate lahar was observed in the Las Lajas drainage on the SE flank. On 5 June, more lahars were detected in the Seca and Mineral drainages on the W flanks. A new lava flow was detected on 12 June, traveling 250 m down the Seca drainage on the NW flank, and accompanied by constant summit crater incandescence and gas emissions. The flow continued into 14 June, lengthening up to 300 m long. On 24 June weak and moderate explosions produced ash plumes that rose 4.3-4.7 km altitude drifting W and SW (figure 135). On 29 June at 1300 a weak lahar was reported in the Seca, Santa Teresa, and Mineral drainages on the W flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 135. Examples of small ash plumes at Fuego on 15 (left) and 24 (right) June 2020. Courtesy of William Chigna, CONRED.

Daily explosions and ash plumes continued through July 2020, with 1-15 explosions per hour and producing consistent ash plumes 4-4.9 km altitude drifting generally W for 10-24 km. These explosions resulted in block avalanches that descended the Trinidad, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Honda, Las Lajas, Seca, and Santa Teresa drainages. The number of white gas emissions decrease slightly compared to previous months and 4-4.4 km altitude. VAAC advisories were distributed on twenty different days in July. Incandescent ejecta was observed rising 100-350 m above the crater. Occasional ashfall was observed in Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, and El Porvenir, according to INSIVUMEH.

On 4 July in the early morning, a lava flow began in the Seca drainage, which also produced some fine ash particles that drifted W. The lava flow continued into 5 July, measuring 150 m long. On the same day, weak to moderate lahars traveled only 20 m, carrying tree branches and blocks measuring 30 cm to 1 m. On 14, 24, and 29 July more lahars were generated in the Las Lajas drainages on the former date and both the Las Lajas and El Jute drainages on the two latter dates.

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: 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); 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); William Chigna, CONRED (URL: https://twitter.com/william_chigna).


Nishinoshima (Japan) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nishinoshima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Major June-July eruption of lava, ash, and sulfur dioxide; activity declines in August 2020

Japan’s Nishinoshima volcano, located about 1,000 km S of Tokyo in the Ogasawara Arc, erupted above sea level in November 2013 after 40 years of dormancy. Activity lasted through November 2015 and returned during mid-2017, continuing the growth of the island with ash plumes, ejecta, and lava flows. A short eruptive event in July 2018 produced a small lava flow and vent on the side of the pyroclastic cone. The next eruption of ash plumes, incandescent ejecta, and lava flows began in early December 2019, resulting in significant growth of the island. This report covers the ongoing activity from March-August 2020 when activity decreased. Information is provided primarily from Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) monthly reports and the Japan Coast Guard (JCG), which makes regular overflights to make observations.

Renewed eruptive activity that began on 5 December 2019 continued during March-August 2020 but appeared to wane by the end of August. Major lava flows covered all sides of the island, with higher levels of activity during late June and early July. Ash emissions increased significantly during June and produced dense black ash plumes that rose up to 6 km altitude in early July. Explosive activity produced lightning and incandescent jets that rose 200 m and large bombs that fell to the base of the pyroclastic cone. Lava flow activity diminished at the end of July. Ash emissions decreased throughout August and appeared to cease after 27 August 2020. The MIROVA plot clearly reflects the high levels of thermal activity between December 2019 and August 2020 (figure 80); this event was reported by JMA as the largest eruption recorded to date. Sulfur dioxide emissions were very high during late June through early August, producing emissions that drifted across much of the western Pacific region.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. The MIROVA plot of thermal activity at Nishinoshima from 14 October 2019 through August 2020 indicates the high levels between early December 2019 and late July 2020 that resulted from the eruption of numerous lava flows on all flanks of the pyroclastic cone, significantly enlarging the island. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The Japan Coast Guard (JCG) conducted overflights of Nishinoshima on 9 and 15 March 2020 (figure 81). During both visits they observed eruptive activity from the summit crater, including ash emissions that rose to an altitude of approximately 1,000 m and lava flowing down the N and SE flanks (figure 82). Large ejecta was scattered around the base of the pyroclastic cone. The lava flowing north had reached the coast and was producing vigorous steam as it entered the water on 9 March; whitish gas emissions were visible on the N flank of the cone at the source of the lava flow (figure 83). On 9 March yellow-green discolored water was noted off the NE shore. The lava flow on the SE coast produced a small amount of steam at the ocean entry point and a strong signal in thermal imagery on 15 March (figure 84). Multiple daily MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued during 1-10, 17-24, and 27-30 March. Landsat-8 visual and thermal imagery on 30 March 2020 confirmed that thermal anomalies on the N and SE flanks of the volcano continued.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. The Japan Coast Guard conducted an overflight of Nishinoshima on 9 March 2020 and observed ash emissions rising 1,000 m above the summit and lava flowing into the ocean off the N flank of the island. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (JCG) and JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Lava flows at Nishinoshima during February and March 2020 were concentrated on the N and SE flanks. The areas in blue indicate topographical changes due to lava flows and pyroclastic deposits from the previous measurement. The growth of the SE-flank flow decreased during March while the N-flank flow rate increased significantly. Left image shows changes between 14 and 28 February and right image shows the differences between 28 February and 13 March. The correlated image analysis uses ALOS-2 / PALSAR-2 and is carried out with the cooperation of JAXA through the activities of the Satellite Analysis Group of the Volcano Eruption Prediction Liaison Committee. The software was developed by the Japan National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention and uses the technical data C1-No 478 of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. Courtesy of JAXA and JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Nishinoshima, March 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Vigorous steam emissions on the N flank of Nishinoshima on 9 March 2020 were caused by the active flow on the N flank. Whitish steam and gas midway up the flank indicated the outlet of the flow. Ash emissions rose from the summit crater and drifted E. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard and JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Infrared imagery from 15 March 2020 at Nishinoshima showed the incandescent lava flow on the SE flank (foreground), blocks of ejecta scattered around the summit and flanks of the pyroclastic cone, and the active N-flank flow (left). Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard and JMA.

Ash emissions were not observed at Nishinoshima during JCG overflights on 6, 16, and 19 April 2020, but gas-and-steam emissions were noted from the summit crater, and a yellow discoloration interpreted by JMA to be sulfur precipitation was observed near the top of the pyroclastic cone. The summit crater was larger than during previous visits. Steam plumes seen each of those days on the N and NE coasts suggested active ocean entry of lava flows (figure 85). A lava flow was observed emerging from the E flank of the cone and entering the ocean on the E coast on 19 and 29 April (figure 86). During the overflight on 29 April observers noted lava flowing southward from a vent on the E flank of the pyroclastic cone. A narrow, brown, ash plume was visible on 29 April at the summit crater rising to an altitude of about 1,500 m. Thermal observations indicated continued flow activity throughout the month. Multiple daily MODVOLC thermal alerts were recorded during 2-6, 10-11, 17-23, and 28-30 April. Significant growth of the pyroclastic cone occurred between early February and late April 2020 (figure 87).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Multiple entry points of lava flowed into the ocean producing jets of steam along the N flank of Nishinoshima on 6 April 2020. Courtesy of JCG and JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Lava flowed down the E flank of Nishinoshima from a vent below the summit on 19 April 2020. The ocean entry produced a vigorous steam plume (left). Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. The pyroclastic cone at Nishinoshima grew significantly in size between 4 February (left), 9 March (middle), and 19 April 2020 (right). View is to the E. Courtesy of JMA and JCG.

Infrared satellite imagery from 17 May 2020 showed a strong thermal anomaly at the summit and hot spots on the NW flank indicative of flows. Visible imagery confirmed emissions at the summit and steam plumes on the NW flank (figure 88). Gray ash plumes rose to about 1,800 m altitude on 18 May during the only overflight of the month made by the Japan Coast Guard. In addition, white gas emissions rose from around the summit area and large blocks of ejecta were scattered around the base of the pyroclastic cone (figure 89). Steam from ocean-entry lava on the N flank was reduced from previous months, but a new flow moving NW into the ocean was generating a steam plume and a strong thermal signature. Multi-pixel thermal alerts were measured by the MODVOLC system on 1-3, 9-10, 13-15, 18, and 26-30 May. Sulfur dioxide emissions had been weak and intermittent from March through early May 2020 but became more persistent during the second half of May. Although modest in size, the plumes were detectible hundreds of kilometers away from the volcano (figure 90).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Landsat-8 satellite imagery of Nishinoshima from 17 May 2020 confirmed continued eruptive activity. Visible imagery showed emissions at the summit and steam plumes on the NW flank (left) and infrared imagery showed a strong thermal anomaly at the summit and anomalies on the NW flank indicative of lava flows (right). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Lava continued to enter the ocean at Nishinoshima during May 2020. A new lava flow on the NW flank produced a strong steam plume at an ocean entry (left) on 18 May 2020. In addition to a light gray plume of gas and ash, steaming blocks of ejecta were visible on the flanks of the pyroclastic cone. The strong thermal signature of the NW-flank flow in infrared imagery that same day showed multiple new lobes flowing to the ocean (right). Courtesy of JCG and JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Small but distinct SO2 emissions from Nishinoshima were recorded by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite during the second half of May 2020. The plumes drifted tens to hundreds of kilometers away from the volcano in multiple directions as the wind directions changed. Nishinoshima is about 1,000 kilometers S of Tokyo. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Activity increased significantly during June 2020. Satellite imagery from 2 June revealed two intense thermal anomalies at the summit indicating a new crater, and lava flows active on the NW and NE flanks, all showing gas or steam emissions (figure 91). Dense brown and gray ash emissions were observed rising from the summit crater during JCG overflights on 7 and 15 June (figure 92). Plumes reached at least 1,500 m altitude, and ejecta reached the base of the pyroclastic cone. Between 5 and 19 June the lava flow on the WNW coast slowed significantly, while the flows to the N and E became significantly more active (figure 93). The Tokyo VAAC reported the first ash plume since mid-February on 12 June rose to 2.1 km and drifted NE. On 14 June they reported an ash plume extending E at 2.7 km altitude. Dense emissions continued to drift N and E at 2.1-2.7 km altitude until the last week of the month. The JCG overflight on 19 June observed darker ash emissions than two weeks earlier that drifted at least 180 km NE (figure 94) and incandescent tephra that exploded from the enlarged summit area where three overlapping craters trending E-W had formed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Landsat-8 satellite imagery on 2 June 2020 confirmed ongoing activity at Nishinoshima. Lava produced ocean-entry steam on the NE coast; a weak plume on the NW coast suggested reduced activity in that area (left). In addition, a dense steam plume drifted E from the summit, while a fainter plume adjacent to it also drifted E. The infrared image (right) indicated two intense anomalies at the summit, and weaker anomalies from lava flows on the NW and NE flanks. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Lava flows at Nishinoshima entered the ocean on the N and NE coasts (left) on 7 June 2020, and dense, gray ash emissions rose to at least 1,500 m altitude. Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. The lava flow on the WNW coast of Nishinoshima slowed significantly in early June 2020, while the flows to the N and E covered large areas of those flanks between 5 and 19 June. The areas in blue indicate topographical changes due to lava flows and pyroclastic deposits from the previous measurement. Left image shows the differences between 22 May and 5 June and right image shows changes between 5 and 19 June. The correlated image analysis uses ALOS-2 / PALSAR-2 and is carried out with the cooperation of JAXA through the activities of the Satellite Analysis Group of the Volcano Eruption Prediction Liaison Committee. The software was developed by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention and uses the technical data C1-No 478 of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. Courtesy of JAXA and JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Nishinoshima, June 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Ash emissions and explosive activity at Nishinoshima increased significantly during the second half of June. Dense black ash rose to 2.4 km altitude and drifted at least 180 km to the NE on 19 June 2020. Vigorous white steam plumes rose from the ocean on the E flank where a lava flow entered the ocean. Courtesy of JCG.

The Tokyo VAAC reported ash emissions that rose to 4.6 km altitude and drifted NE on 25 June. For the remainder of the month they rose to 2.7-3.9 km altitude and drifted N and NE. By the time of the JCG overflight on 29 June, the new crater that had opened on the SW flank had merged with the summit crater (figure 95). Dense black ash emissions rose to 3.4 km altitude and drifted NE, lava flowed down the SW flank into the ocean producing violent steam explosions, and incandescent tephra was scattered at least 200 m from the base of the pyroclastic cone from ongoing explosive activity (figure 96). Multiple layers of recent flow activity were visible along the SW coast (figure 97). Yellow-green discolored water encircled the entire island with a width of 1,000 m.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. The new crater on the SW flank of Nishinoshima had merged with the summit crater by 29 June 2020. Courtesy of JCG and JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Dense black ash emissions rose to 3.4 km altitude and drifted NE from the summit of Nishinoshima on 29 June 2020. Lava flowed down the SW flank into the ocean producing steam explosions, and incandescent tephra was scattered at least 200 m from the base of the pyroclastic cone from ongoing explosive activity at the summit (inset). Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Different textures of lava flows were visible along the SW flank of Nishinoshima on 29 June 2020. The active flow appeared dark brown and blocky, and produced steam explosions at the ocean entry site (right). Slightly older, brownish-red lava (center) still produced steam along the coastline. Courtesy of JCG.

MODVOLC thermal alerts reached their highest levels of the period during June 2020 with multi-pixel alerts recorded on most days of the month. Sulfur dioxide emissions increased steadily throughout June to the highest levels recorded for Nishinoshima; by the end of the month plumes of SO2 were drifting thousands of kilometers across the Pacific Ocean and being captured in complex atmospheric circulation currents (figure 98).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Sulfur dioxide emissions at Nishinoshima increased noticeably during the second half of June 2020 as measured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Atmospheric circulation currents produced long-lived plumes that drifted thousands of kilometers from the volcano. Nishinoshima is 1,000 km S of Tokyo. Courtesy of NASA Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

By early July 2020, satellite data indicated that the NE quadrant of the island was covered with ash, and a large amount of new lava had flowed down the SW flank, creating fans extending into the ocean (figure 99). The Tokyo VAAC reported ash emissions that rose to 3.7-4.9 km altitude and drifted N during 1-6 July. The altitude increased to 6.1 km during 8 and 9 July, and ranged from 4.6-6.1 km during 10-14 July while the drift direction changed to NE. The marine meteorological observation ship "Ryofu Maru" reported on 11 July that dense black ash was continuously erupting from the summit crater and drifting W at 1,700 m altitude or higher. They observed large volcanic blocks scattered around the base of the pyroclastic cone, and ash falling from the drifting plume. During the night of 11 July incandescent lava and volcanic lightning rose to about 200 m above the crater rim (figure 100).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. By early July 2020, satellite data from Nishinoshima indicated that the NE quadrant of the island was covered with ash, and a large amount of new lava had flowed down the SW flank creating fans extending into the ocean. The areas in blue indicate topographical changes due to lava flows and pyroclastic deposits from the previous measurement. Left image shows differences between 5 and 19 June and the right image shows changes between 19 June and 3 July that included abundant ashfall on the NE flank. The correlated image analysis uses ALOS-2 / PALSAR-2 and is carried out with the cooperation of JAXA through the activities of the Satellite Analysis Group of the Volcano Eruption Prediction Liaison Committee. The software was developed by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention and uses the technical data C1-No 478 of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. Courtesy of JAXA and JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Nishinoshima, June 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. High levels of activity were observed at Nishinoshima by crew members aboard the marine meteorological observation ship "Ryofu Maru” on 11 July 2020. Abundant ash emissions filled the sky and tephra fell out of the ash cloud for several kilometers downwind (left, seen from 6 km NE). Incandescent explosions rose as much as 200 m into the night sky (right, seen from 4 km E). Courtesy of JMA.

During 16-26 July 2020 the Tokyo VAAC reported ash emissions at 3.7-5.2 km altitude that drifted primarily N and NE. The vessel "Keifu Maru" passed Nishinoshima on 20 July and crewmembers observed continuing emissions from the summit of dense, black ash. JCG observed an ash plume rising to at least 2.7 km altitude during their overflight of 20 July. A large dome of fresh lava was visible on the SW flank of the island (figure 101). Lower ash emissions from 2.4-3.7 km altitude were reported by the Tokyo VAAC during 27-29 July, but the altitude increased to 5.5-5.8 km during the last two days of the month. During an overflight on 30 July by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention, dark and light gray ash emissions rose to 3.0 km altitude, but no flowing lava or large bombs were observed. They also noted thick deposits of brownish-gray ash on the N side of the island (figure 102).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. JCG observed an ash plume at Nishinoshima rising to at least 2.7 km altitude during their overflight of 20 July 2020. A large dome of fresh lava was visible on the SW flank of the island. Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. Ash emissions changed from dark to light gray on 30 July 2020 at Nishinoshima as seen during an overflight by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention. Thick brownish-gray ash was deposited over the lava on the N side of the island. Courtesy of JMA (Information on volcanic activity in Nishinoshima, July 2020).

JMA reported a sharp decrease in the lava eruption rate during July with thermal anomalies decreasing significantly mid-month. Multiple daily MODVOLC thermal alerts were recorded during the first half of the month but were reduced to two or three per day during the last third of July. Throughout July, SO2 emissions were the highest recorded in modern times for Nishinoshima. High levels of emissions were measured daily, producing streams with high concentrations of SO2 that were caught up in rotating wind currents and drifted thousands of kilometers across the Pacific Ocean (figure 103).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. Complex atmospheric wind patterns carried the largest SO2 plumes recorded from Nishinoshima thousands of kilometers around the western Pacific Ocean during July 2020. Nishinoshima is about 1,000 km S of Tokyo. Top and bottom left images both show 6 July but at different scales. Courtesy of NASA Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Thermal activity was greatly reduced during August 2020. Only one or two MODVOLC alerts were issued on 11, 18, 20, 21, 29, and 30 August, and no fresh lava flows were observed. The Tokyo VAAC reported ash emissions daily from 1-20 August. Plume heights were 4.9-5.8 km altitude during 1-4 August after which they dropped to 3.9 km altitude through 15 August. A brief pulse to 4.6 km altitude was recorded on 16 August, but then they dropped to 3.0 km or lower through the end of the month and became intermittent. The last ash emission was reported at 2.7 km altitude drifting W on 27 August.

No eruptive activity was observed during the Japan Coast Guard overflights on 19 and 23 August. High temperatures were measured on the inner wall of the summit crater on 19 August (figure 104). Steam plumes rose from the summit crater to about 2.5 km altitude during both visits (figure 105). Yellow-green discolored water was present on 23 August around the NW and SW coasts. No lava flows were observed, and infrared cameras did not measure any surface thermal anomalies outside of the crater. Very high levels of SO2 emissions were measured through 12 August when they began to noticeably decrease (figure 106). By the end of the month, only small amounts of SO2 were measured in satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. A strong thermal anomaly was still present inside the newly enlarged summit crater at Nishinoshima on 19 August 2020. Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Only steam plumes were observed rising from the summit crater of Nishinoshima during the 23 August 2020 overflight by the Japan Coast Guard. Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Sulfur dioxide emissions remained very high at Nishinoshima until 12 August 2020 when they declined sharply. Circulating air currents carried SO2 thousands of kilometers around the western Pacific region. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Japan Coast Guard (JCG), Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, 3-1-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8932, Japan (URL: https://www1.kaiho.mlit.go.jp/GIJUTSUKOKUSAI/kaiikiDB/kaiyo18-e1.htm); 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/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency-Earth Observation Research Center (JAXA-EORC), 7-44-1 Jindaiji Higashi-machi, Chofu-shi, Tokyo 182-8522, Japan (URL: http://www.eorc.jaxa.jp/); 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/).


Turrialba (Costa Rica) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Turrialba

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruptive period on 18 June 2020 consisted of ash eruptions

Turrialba is a stratovolcano located in Costa Rica that overlooks the city of Cartago. Three well-defined craters occur at the upper SW end of a broad 800 x 2,200 m summit depression that is breached to the NE. Activity described in the previous report primarily included weak ash explosions and minor ash emissions (BGVN 44:11). This reporting period updates information from November 2019-August 2020; volcanism dominantly consists of ash emissions during June-August, based on information from daily and weekly reports by the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA) and satellite data.

Volcanism during November 2019 through mid-June was relatively low, dominated by low SO2 emissions (100-300 tons/day) and typical low seismic tremors. A single explosion was recorded at 1850 on 7 December 2019, and two gas-and-steam plumes rose 800 m and 300 m above the crater on 25 and 27 December, respectively. An explosion was detected on 29 January 2020 but did not result in any ejecta. An overflight during the week of 10 February measured the depth of the crater (140 m); since the previous measurements made in February 2019 (220 m), the crater has filled with 80 m of debris due to frequent collapses of the NW and SE internal crater walls. Beginning around February and into at least early May 2020 the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity graph provided by the MIROVA system detected a small cluster of thermal anomalies (figure 52). Some of these anomalies were faintly registered in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery during 10 and 25 April, with a more distinct anomaly occurring on 15 May (figure 53).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. A small cluster of thermal anomalies were detected in the summit area of Turrialba (red dots) during February-May 2020 as recorded by the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity data (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery detected minor gas-and-steam emissions (left) and a weak thermal anomaly (right) in the summit crater at Turrialba on 11 January and 15 May 2020, respectively. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

On 18 June activity increased, which marked the start of a new eruptive period that produced ash emissions rising 100 m above the crater rim at 1714, 1723, and 1818. The next morning, 19 June, two more events at 1023 and 1039 resulted in ash emissions rising 100 m above the crater. During 23-26 June small ash emissions continued to occur each day, rising no higher than 100 m above the crater. A series of small ash eruptions that rose 100 m above the crater occurred during 28 and 29 June; four events were recorded at 0821, 1348, 1739, and 2303 on 28 June and five more were recorded at 0107, 0232, 0306, 0412, and 0818 on 29 June. The two events at 0107 and 0412 were accompanied by ballistics ejected onto the N wall of the crater, according to OVSICORI-UNA.

Almost daily ash emissions continued during 1-7 July, rising less than 100 m above the crater; no ash emissions were observed on 3 July. On 6 July, gas-and-steam and ash emissions rose hundreds of meters above the crater at 0900, resulting in local ashfall. Passive gas-and-steam emissions with minor amounts of ash were occasionally visible during 9-10 July. On 14 July an eruptive pulse was observed, generating brief incandescence at 2328, which was likely associated with a small ash emission. Dilute ash emissions at 1028 on 16 July preceded an eruption at 1209 that resulted in an ash plume rising 200 m above the crater. Ash emissions of variable densities continued through 20 July rising as high as 200 m above the crater; on 20 July incandescence was observed on the W wall of the crater. An eruptive event at 0946 on 29 July produced an ash plume that rose 200-300 m above the crater rim. During 30-31 July a series of at least ten ash eruptions were detected, rising no higher than 200 m above the crater, each lasting less than ten minutes. Some incandescence was visible on the SW wall of the crater during this time.

On 1 August at 0746 an ash plume rose 500 m above the crater. During 4-5 August a total of 19 minor ash emissions occurred, accompanied by ash plumes that rose no higher than 200 m above the crater. OVSICORI-UNA reported on 21 August that the SW wall of the crater had fractured; some incandescence in the fracture zone had been observed the previous month. Two final eruptions were detected on 22 and 24 August at 1253 and 2023, respectively. The eruption on 24 August resulted in an ash plume that rose to a maximum height of 1 km above the crater.

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

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/, https://www.facebook.com/OVSICORI/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Etna (Italy) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Effusive activity in early April; frequent Strombolian explosions and ash emissions during April-July 2020

Etna, located on the island of Sicily, Italy, is a stratovolcano that has had historical eruptions dating back 3,500 years. Its most recent eruptive period began in September 2013 and has continued through July 2020, characterized by Strombolian explosions, lava flows, and ash plumes. Activity has commonly originated from the summit areas, including the Northeast Crater (NEC), the Voragine-Bocca Nuova (or Central) complex (VOR-BN), the Southeast Crater (SEC, formed in 1978), and the New Southeast Crater (NSEC, formed in 2011). The newest crater, referred to as the "cono della sella" (saddle cone), emerged during early 2017 in the area between SEC and NSEC. Volcanism during this reporting period from April through July 2020 includes frequent Strombolian explosions primarily in the Voragine and NSEC craters, ash emissions, some lava effusions, and gas-and-steam emissions. Information primarily comes from weekly reports by the Osservatorio Etneo (OE), part of the Catania Branch of Italy's Istituo Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologica (INGV).

Summary of activity during April-July 2020. Degassing of variable intensity is typical activity from all summit vents at Etna during the reporting period. Intra-crater Strombolian explosions and ash emissions that rose to a maximum altitude of 5 km on 19 April primarily originated from the Voragine (VOR) and New Southeast Crater (NSEC) craters. At night, summit crater incandescence was occasionally visible in conjunction with explosions and degassing. During 18-19 April small lava flows were observed in the VOR and NSEC craters that descended toward the BN from the VOR Crater and the upper E and S flanks of the NSEC. On 19 April a significant eruptive event began with Strombolian explosions that gradually evolved into lava fountaining activity, ejecting hot material and spatter from the NSEC. Ash plumes that were produced during this event resulted in ashfall to the E of Etna. The flows had stopped by the end of April; activity during May consisted of Strombolian explosions in both the VOR and NSEC craters and intermittent ash plumes rising 4.5 km altitude. On 22 May Strombolian explosions in the NSEC produced multiple ash plumes, which resulted in ashfall to the S. INGV reported that the pit crater at the bottom of BN had widened and was accompanied by degassing. Explosions with intermittent ash emissions continued during June and July and were primarily focused in the VOR and NSEC craters; mild Strombolian activity in the SEC was reported in mid-July.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows multiple episodes of thermal activity throughout the reporting period (figure 296). In early April, the frequency and power of the thermal anomalies began to decrease through mid-June; in July, they had increased in power again but remained less frequent compared to activity in January through March. According to the MODVOLC thermal algorithm, a total of seven alerts were detected in the summit craters during 10 April (1), 17 April (1), 24 April (2), 10 July (1), 13 July (1), and 29 July (1) 2020. These thermal hotspots were typically registered during or after a Strombolian event. Frequent Strombolian activity contributed to distinct SO2 plumes that drifted in different directions (figure 297).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 296. Multiple episodes of varying thermal activity at Etna from 14 October 2019 through July 2020 were reflected in the MIROVA data (Log Radiative Power). In early April, the frequency and power of the thermal anomalies decreased through mid-June. In July, the thermal anomalies increased in power, but did not increase in frequency. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 297. Distinct SO2 plumes from Etna were detected on multiple days during April to July 2020 due to frequent Strombolian explosions, including, 24 April (top left), 9 May (top right), 25 June (bottom left), and 21 July (bottom right) 2020. Captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Activity during April-May 2020. During April, INGV reported Strombolian explosions that produced some ash emissions and intra-crater effusive activity within the Voragine Crater (VOR) and abundant degassing from the New Southeast Crater (NSEC), Northeast Crater (NEC), and from two vents on the cono della sella (saddle cone) that were sometimes accompanied by a modest amount of ash (figure 298). At night, summit crater incandescence was observed in the cono della salla. The Strombolian activity in the VOR built intra-crater scoria cones while lava flows traveled down the S flank of the largest, main cone. On 18 April effusive activity from the main cone in the VOR Crater traveled 30 m toward the Bocca Nuova (BN) Crater; the pit crater at the bottom of the BN crater had widened compared to previous observations. A brief episode of Strombolian explosions that started around 0830 on 19 April in the NSEC gradually evolved into modest lava fountaining activity by 0915, rising to 3 km altitude and ejecting bombs up to 100 m (figure 299). A large spatter deposit was found 50 m from the vent and 3-4 small lava flows were descending the NSEC crater rim; two of these summit lava flows were observed at 1006, confined to the upper E and S flanks of the cone. Around 1030, one or two vents in the cono della sella produced a gas-and-steam and ash plume that rose 5 km altitude and drifted E, resulting in ashfall on the E flank of Etna in the Valle del Bove, as well as between the towns of Zafferana Etnea (10 km SE) and Linguaglossa (17 km NE). At night, flashes of incandescence were visible at the summit. By 1155, the lava fountaining had gradually slowed, stopping completely around 1300. The NEC continued to produce gas-and-steam emissions with some intra-crater explosive activity. During the week of 20-26 April, Strombolian activity in the VOR intra-crater scoria cone ejected pyroclastic material several hundred meters above the crater rim while the lava flows had significantly decreased, though continued to travel on the E flank of the main cone. Weak, intra-crater Strombolian activity with occasional ash emissions and nightly summit incandescence were observed in the NSEC (figure 300). By 30 April there were no longer any active lava flows; the entire flow field had begun cooling. The mass of the SO2 emissions varied in April from 5,000-15,000 tons per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 298. Photos of Strombolian explosions at Etna in the Voragine Crater (top left), strong degassing at the Northeast Crater (NEC) (top right), and incandescent flashes and Strombolian activity in the New Southeast Crater (NSEC) seen from Tremestieri Etneo (bottom row) on 10 April 2020. Photos by Francesco Ciancitto (top row) and Boris Behncke (bottom row), courtesy of INGV.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 299. Strombolian activity at Etna’s “cono della sella” of the NSEC crater on 19 April 2020 included (a-b) lava fountaining that rose 3 km altitude, ejecting bomb-sized material and a spatter deposit captured by the Montagnola (EMOV) thermal camera. (c-d) An eruptive column and increased white gas-and-steam and ash emissions were captured by the Montagnola (EMOV) visible camera and (e-f) were also seen from Tremestieri Etneo captured by Boris Behncke. Courtesy of INGV (Report 17/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 13/04/2020 – 19/04/2020, data emissione 21/04/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 300. Webcam images showing intra-crater explosive activity at Etna in the Voragine (VOR) and New Southeast Crater (NSEC) on 24 April 2020 captured by the (a-b) Montagnola and (c) Monte Cagliato cameras. At night, summit incandescence was visible and accompanied by strong degassing. Courtesy of INGV (Report 18/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 20/04/2020 – 26/04/2020, data emissione 28/04/2020).

Strombolian explosions produced periodic ash emissions and ejected mild, discontinuous incandescent material in the VOR Crater; the coarse material was deposited onto the S flank of BN (figure 301). Pulsating degassing continued from the summit craters, some of which were accompanied by incandescent flashes at night. The Strombolian activity in the cono della sella occasionally produced reddish ash during 3-4 May. During 5 and 8 May, there was an increase in ash emissions at the NSEC that drifted SSE. A strong explosive event in the VOR Crater located E of the main cone produced a significant amount of ash and ejected coarse material, which included blocks and bombs measuring 15-20 cm, that fell on the W edge of the crater, as well as on the S terrace of the BN Crater (figure 302).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 301. Photos of Strombolian explosions and summit incandescence at Etna on 4 May (left) and during the night of 11-12 May. Photos by Gianni Pennisi (left) and Boris Behncke (right, seen from Tremestieri Etneo). Courtesy of INGV.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 302. A photo on 5 May (left) and thermal image on 8 May (right) of Strombolian explosions at Etna in the Voragine Crater accompanied by a dense, gray ash plume. Photo by Daniele Andronico. Courtesy of INGV (Report 20/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 04/05/2020 – 10/05/2020, data emissione 12/05/2020).

On 10 May degassing continued in the NSEC while Strombolian activity fluctuated in both the VOR and NSEC Craters, ejecting ballistics beyond the crater rim; in the latter, some of the blocks fell back in, accumulated on the edge, and rolled down the slopes (figure 303). During the week of 11-17 May, eruptive activity at the VOR Crater was the lowest observed since early March; there were 4-5 weak, low intensity pulses not accompanied by bombs or ashfall in the VOR Crater. Degassing continued in the BN Crater. The crater of the cono della sella had widened further N following collapses due to the Strombolian activity, which exposed the internal wall.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 303. Map of the summit craters of Etna showing the active vents, the area of cooled lava flows (light green), and the location of the widening pit crater in the Bocca Nuova (BN) Crater (light blue circle) updated on 9 May 2020. The base is modified from a 2014 DEM created by Laboratorio di Aerogeofisica-Sezione Roma 2. Black hatch marks indicate the crater rims: BN = Bocca Nuova, with NW BN-1 and SE BN-2; VOR = Voragine; NEC = North East Crater; SEC = South East Crater; NSEC = New South East Crater. Red circles indicate areas with ash emissions and/or Strombolian activity, yellow circles indicate steam and/or gas emissions only. Courtesy of INGV (Report 29/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 06/07/2020 – 12/07/2020, data emissione 14/07/2020).

On 18 May an ash plume from the NSEC rose 4.5 km altitude and drifted NE. Strombolian explosions on 22 May at the NSEC produced multiple ash plumes that rose 4.5 km altitude and drifted S and SW (figure 304), depositing a thin layer of ash on the S slope, and resulting in ashfall in Catania (27 km S). Explosions from the VOR Crater had ejected a deposit of large clasts (greater than 30 cm) on the NE flank, between the VOR Crater and NEC on 23 May. INGV reported that the pit crater in the BN continued to widen and degassing was observed in the NSEC, VOR Crater, and NEC. During the week of 25-31 May persistent visible flashes of incandescence at night were observed, which suggested there was intra-crater Strombolian activity in the SEC and NSEC. The mass of the SO2 plumes varied between 5,000-9,000 tons per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 304. Photo of repeated Strombolian activity and ash emissions rising from Etna above the New Southeast Crater (NSEC) on 22 May 2020 seen from Zafferana Etnea on the SE flank at 0955 local time. Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.

Activity during June-July 2020. During June, moderate intra-crater Strombolian activity with intermittent ash emissions continued in the NSEC and occurred more sporadically in the VOR Crater; at night, incandescence of variable intensity was observed at the summit. During the week of 8-14 June, Strombolian explosions in the cono della sella generated some incandescence and rare jets of incandescent material above the crater rim, though no ash emissions were reported. On the morning of 14 June a sequence of ten small explosions in the VOR Crater ejected incandescent material just above the crater rim and produced small ash emissions. On 25 June an overflight showed the developing pit crater in the center of the BN, accompanied by degassing along the S edge of the wall; degassing continued from the NEC, VOR Crater, SEC, and NSEC (figure 305). The mass of the SO2 plumes measured 5,000-7,000 tons per day, according to INGV.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 305. Aerial photo of Etna from the NE during an overflight on 25 June 2020 by the Catania Coast Guard (2 Nucleo Aereo della Guardia Costiera di Catania) showing degassing of the summit craters. Photo captured from the Aw139 helicopter by Stefano Branca. Courtesy of INGV (Report 27/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 22/06/2020 – 28/06/2020, data emissione 30/06/2020).

Similar modest, intra-crater Strombolian explosions in the NSEC, sporadic explosions in the VOR Crater, and degassing in the BN, VOR Crater, and NEC persisted into July. On 2 July degassing in the NEC was accompanied by weak intra-crater Strombolian activity. Intermittent weak ash emissions and ejecta from the NSEC and VOR Crater were observed during the month. During the week of 6-12 July INGV reported gas-and-steam emissions continued to rise from the vent in the pit crater at the bottom of BN (figure 306). On 11 July mild Strombolian activity, nighttime incandescence, and degassing was visible in the SEC (figure 307). By 15 July there was a modest increase in activity in the NSEC and VOR Craters, generating ash emissions and ejecting material over the crater rims while the other summit craters were dominantly characterized by degassing. On 31 July an explosion in the NSEC produced an ash plume that rose 4.5 km altitude.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 306. Photos of the bottom of the Bocca Nuova (BN) crater at Etna on 8 July 2020 showing the developing pit crater (left) and degassing. Minor ash emissions were visible in the background at the Voragine Crater (right). Both photos by Daniele Andronico. Courtesy of INGV (Report 29/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 06/07/2020 – 12/07/2020, data emissione 14/07/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 307. Mild Strombolian activity and summit incandescence in the “cono della sella” (saddle vent) at the Southeast crater (SEC) of Etna on 11 July 2020, seen from Piano del Vescovo (left) and Piano Vetore (right). Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.

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

Information Contacts: Sezione di Catania - Osservatorio Etneo, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/it/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Boris Behncke, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy.


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Multiple lava flows within the summit crater; September 2019-August 2020

Ol Doinyo Lengai, located near the southern end of the East African Rift in Tanzania, is a stratovolcano known for its unique low-temperature carbonatitic lava. Frequent eruptions have been recorded since the late 19th century. Activity primarily occurs in the crater offset to the N about 100 m below the summit where hornitos (small cones) and pit craters produce lava flows and spattering. Lava began overflowing various flanks of the crater in 1993. The eruption transitioned to significant explosive activity in September 2007, which formed a new pyroclastic cone inside the crater. Repeated ash emissions reached altitudes greater than 10 km during March 2008. By mid-April 2008 explosive activity had decreased. In September new hornitos with small lava flows formed on the crater floor. The most recent eruptive period began in April 2017 and has been characterized by spattering confined to the crater, effusive activity in the summit crater, and multiple lava flows (BGVN 44:09). Effusive activity continued in the summit crater during this reporting period from September 2019 through August 2020, based on data and images from satellite information.

Throughout September 2019 to August 2020, evidence for repeated small lava flows was recorded in thermal data and satellite imagery. A total of seven low-level pulses of thermal activity were detected within 5 km from the summit in MIROVA data during September 2019 (1), February (2), March (2), and August (2) 2020 (figure 207). Sentinel-2 satellite imagery also provided evidence of multiple lava flows within the summit crater throughout the reporting period. On clear weather days, intermittent thermal anomalies were observed in thermal satellite imagery within the summit crater; new lava flows were detected due to the change in shape, volume, and location of the hotspot (figure 208). During a majority of the reporting period, the thermal anomaly dominantly appeared in the center of the crater, though occasionally it would also migrate to the SE wall, as seen on 3 February, the E wall on 12 July, or the NE wall on 31 August. In Natural Color rendering, fresh lava flows appear black within the crater that quickly cools to a white-brown color. These satellite images showed the migration of new lava flows between February, March, and June (figure 209). The flow on 8 February occurs in the center and along the W wall of the crater; the flow on 9 March is slightly thinner and is observed in the center and along the E wall of the crater; finally, the flow on 17 June is located in the center and along the N wall of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 207. Seven low-level pulses of thermal activity within 5 km of the summit of Ol Doinyo Lengai were recorded in the MIROVA thermal data between September 2019 to August 2020; one in early September 2019, two in February, two in March, and two in August 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 208. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Ol Doinyo Lengai from November 2019 to August 2020 show intermittent thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) within the summit crater. The location of these anomalies occasionally changes, indicating new lava flows. Images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 209. Sentinel-2 satellite images of new lava flows within the summit crater at Ol Doinyo Lengai during 8 February (left), 9 March (middle), and 17 June (right) 2020. Lava flows appear black in the center of the crater that changes in volume and location from February to June. Images with “Natural Color” (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During August, multiple lava flows were detected in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery. On relatively clear days, lava flows were visible in the middle of the summit crater, occasionally branching out to one side of the crater (figure 210). On 6 August, a thin lava flow branched to the E flank, which became thicker by 11 August. On 16 and 21 August, the lava remained mostly in the center of the crater. A large pulse of fresh lava occurred on 31 August, extending to the NW and SE sides of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 210. Sentinel-2 images of multiple new lava flows at Ol Doinyo Lengai during August 2020. When visible in the first half of August, dark lava is concentrated in the center and E side of the crater; by the end of August the lava flows had reached the NW side of the crater. Images with “Natural Color” (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: 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).


Yasur (Vanuatu) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash and gas explosions continue through August 2020

Recent activity at Yasur, which has been erupting since July 1774, includes frequent Strombolian explosions, along with ash and gas plumes from several vents in the summit crater (BGVN 44:02, 45:03). This report summarizes activity during March through August 2020, using information from monthly bulletins of the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) and various satellite data. The volcano has remained on Alert Level 2 (major unrest state, on a scale of 0-5), where it has been since 18 October 2016, according to VMGD.

During the current reporting period, VMGD reported that explosive activity continued at an elevated level, with ongoing ash and gas emissions (figure 71). Some of the more intense explosions ejected bombs outside the summit crater. During 2-3, 13, and 17 March, 2-3 April, and 19 July, the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) identified low-level ash plumes that reached an altitude of 1.5 km and drifted in multiple directions; the ash plume during 2-3 April resulted in ashfall on the SSW part of the island. On 19 May an ash plume rose to a maximum altitude of 2.1 km and drifted SE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Webcam photos of ash emissions from Yasur on 18 March (left)and gas-and-steam emissions on 2 April (right) 2020. Courtesy of VMGD.

During the reporting period, the MODVOLC thermal algorithm using MODIS satellite data detected a total of 55 thermal hotspots during three days in April, nine days in May, six days in June and August, and four days in July. A maximum of four pixels were recorded on a single day during 26 May, 6 June, and 20 July. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data detected numerous hotspots from 16 September 2019 through August 2020, with a slight increase in power and frequency during May (figure 72). Satellite images from Sentinel-2 detected a strong thermal anomaly within the summit crater on 10 May, accompanied by ash and gas emissions (figure 73).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Persistent low to moderate thermal activity at Yasur occurred from the summit area from 16 September 2019 through August 2020, as shown in this MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Sentinel-2 images of Yasur on 10 May 2020 showing a strong thermal anomaly from the summit crater (left) and a gas emission that appears to contain some ash (right). The thermal anomaly in the S vent area was stronger than in the N vent, an observation also noted in March and April 2019 (BGVN 44:06). The volcano was usually obscured by clouds during March through August. The left image is in false color (bands 12, 11, 4) rendering, the right image is in natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

High-resolution satellite sensors commonly recorded moderate sulfur dioxide levels drifting in multiple directions from the volcano. High sulfur dioxide levels were also occasionally observed, especially during March (figure 74).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. High-density SO2 emissions streaming from Yasur during 8 (left) and 13 (middle) March and 21 April (right) 2020, were observed using the TROPOMI imaging spectrometer on the Sentinel-5P satellite. The plume drifted W on 8 March and E on both 13 March and 21 April. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

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/); Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd (MetService), PO Box 722, Wellington, New Zealand (URL: http://vaac.metservice.com/index.html); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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/).

Search Bulletin Archive by Publication Date

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

   

The default month and year is the latest issue available.

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 22, Number 05 (May 1997)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Akita-Yakeyama (Japan)

Landslide, explosion, mud- and debris-flows, and tephra

Arenal (Costa Rica)

New pyroclastic cone noted in May

Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001) (Unknown)

German lidar data from early 1991 through mid-1997

Etna (Italy)

New map of the craters Voragine and Bocca Nuova

False Reports (Unknown)

Mexico: Rumors of new volcano prove false; methane combustion implicated

Irazu (Costa Rica)

Comparatively high numbers of earthquakes in April and May

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Late-May eruptions send plumes up to 4.5 km elevation

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Continued outbursts and light ashfalls

Monowai (New Zealand)

Seismically inferred eruption during 17-20 April

Poas (Costa Rica)

Number of monthly earthquakes high in April, lower in May

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Inflation precedes 1 June eruption at Tavurvur

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica)

Conspicuous fumaroles and plumes persist

San Cristobal (Nicaragua)

Eruptions cause ashfall on the slopes; plumes to 2,500 m

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Pyroclastic flows no longer confined by the crater's N wall

Special Announcements (Unknown)

Aviator's observation form

Stromboli (Italy)

New map of the crater terrace

Telica (Nicaragua)

Continued high levels of seismicity

Turrialba (Costa Rica)

Fumarolic temperatures near 90°C; two M 2 earthquakes in May



Akita-Yakeyama (Japan) — May 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Akita-Yakeyama

Japan

39.964°N, 140.757°E; summit elev. 1366 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Landslide, explosion, mud- and debris-flows, and tephra

On 11 May, rapid movement of an older landslide was followed by a steam explosion that triggered mud flows and a small tephra emission. The event occurred at Sumikawa-Onsen (a hot spring resort) at the foot of Akita-Yakeyama, ~4 km NE of the summit. The following is based on a report by Shintaro Hayashi.

Although the landslide began moving a few days before 11 May, the sliding accelerated 20 minutes before the explosion. A field party saw the fast-moving landslide and took refuge prior to 0800 on 11 May. The explosion was witnessed at 0800 by a pilot flying over the area; he saw a water-and-steam column rising like a geyser, followed within seconds by black smoke emissions.

The explosion, heard as far as 1.4 km away, triggered a mudflow along the Akagawa River and eventually developed into a debris flow downstream. The field party noticed a thin coat of ash covering the mudflow deposits; they concluded that the tephra had issued from the explosion site.

Hayashi suggested that the explosion was triggered by sudden depressurization of a hot water reservoir under the hot spring due to removal of the overlying debris. The depressurization led to sudden boiling, generating sufficient steam pressure to explode. The volume of erupted material was estimated to be between 1,000 and 10,000 m3.

According to Hiroyuri Hamaguchi the precursory vibration and tremor were recorded by a short-period seismometer 1 km NNE of the hot spring. The landslide was as large as 500 m wide, 150 m long, and 500 m deep. After 2000 on 10 May, tremors of increasing amplitude built up. They declined by midnight and then returned at 0400 on 11 May. A maximum amplitude was reached at 0732, followed by a hiatus during 0753-0757. Short- and long-period events took place at 0757 and 0758, respectively.

Hayakawa reported that two hotels at the foot of Akita Yakeyama were completely destroyed by the landslide and lahar; however, there were no casualties because the staff and guests had evacuated. Air photos taken on 12 May by Asia Air Survey Co. can be seen on the internet.

Geologic Background. One of several Japanese volcanoes named Yakeyama ("Burning Mountain"), Akita-Yakeyama is the most recently active of a group of coalescing volcanoes in NW Honshu immediately west of Hachimantai volcano. The main volcano, Yakeyama, contains a small lava dome in its 600-m-wide summit crater. Tsugamori volcano to the east is a stratovolcano of roughly the same height and has a 2-km-wide crater breached to the NE. The flat-topped parasitic lava dome of Kuroshimori lies 4 km south of Yakedake. Tamagawa Spa at the western foot, one of several thermal areas, is strongly radioactive. The last magmatic eruption formed the Onigajo lava dome in the summit crater about 5000 years ago. The only known historical activity has consisted of somewhat uncertain 19th-century eruptions and mild phreatic eruptions in the 20th century.

Information Contacts: Shintaro Hayashi, Faculty of Education, Akita University, 1-1 Tegata-Gakuen-Cho, Akita 010, Japan; Hiroyuki Hamaguchi, Faculty of Science, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-77, Japan; Yukio Hayakawa, Faculty of Education, Gunma University, 4-2 Aramaki-machi, Mae-bashi-chi, Gunma 371, Japan (URL: http://www.hayakawayukio.jp/); Tatsuro Chiba, Dept of Disaster Prevention, Asia Air Survey Co., 4-2-18 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160, Japan (URL: http://www.ajiko.co.jp/en/).


Arenal (Costa Rica) — May 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Arenal

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New pyroclastic cone noted in May

During April OVSICORI-UNA scientists noted a decrease in eruptive vigor and seismicity at Arenal compared to the previous month. Lavas erupted beginning in January 1997 advanced during April to reach an elevation of ~800 m on the N flank; lavas erupted in March advanced during April to reach an elevation of 1,150 m. During mid-May some advancing lava fronts had reached an elevation of about 1000 m. As has been typical during recent years, Crater D showed only fumarolic activity. Crater C erupted about 288 times during May.

Tremor occurred for as much as 15 hours/day during April, but both tremor and earthquake counts dropped by about a third compared to March, and further still during May. Nonetheless, on 16 May there were 8 hours of continuous tremor (amplitude, 18 mm; dominant frequency, 2.0-3.9 Hz). This tremor accompanied venting of new lava that traveled down the NNW flank. At least through April, the OVSICORI-UNA distance network continued to undergo radial contraction of ~22 ppm/year.

During 10-14 May, Gerardo Soto saw mild Strombolian eruptions tens of minutes apart, with ash columns up to 500 m above the crater. Although this seemed comparatively quiet, the usual vigorous summit fumarolic outgassing prevailed. A new pyroclastic cone was noted in Crater C (figure 82); it stood tens of meters high. Although the volcano lacked pyroclastic flows while he was watching, well developed pyroclastic-flow fans existed on the N and W flanks and summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. A rough sketch of Arenal as seen from the NW during 10-14 May 1997. Courtesy of Gerardo Soto, ICE.

Arenal's first chronicled eruption, in 1968, began an unbroken sequence of Strombolian explosions and basaltic andesite discharges from multiple vents. The volcano can be seen from a lodge 2.8 km S of the vent that enables visitors to hear, to see, and occasionally to smell its dynamism.

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

Information Contacts: E. Fernandez, R. Van der Laat, F. de Obaldia, T. Marino, V. Barboza, W. Jimenez, R. Saenz, E. Duarte, M. Martinez, E. Hernandez, and F. Vega, Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica; G.J. Soto, Oficina de Sismologia y Vulcanologia del Arenal y Miravalles (OSIVAM), Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Apartado 10032-1000, San José, Costa Rica.


Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001) (Unknown) — May 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001)

Unknown

Unknown, Unknown; summit elev. m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


German lidar data from early 1991 through mid-1997

The Pinatubo aerosol layer at Garmisch-Partenkirchen declined to a minimum in the summer of 1996 (figure 3 and table 11). Since then no further decay was observed. The January-June 1997 average value of the integrated backscatter represents ~70% of 1991 pre-Pinatubo value. It is too early, however, to establish the aerosol load observed since mid-1996 as a new stratospheric background.

Figure with caption Figure 3. Graph showing the log of the lidar backscatter versus time at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany for the latter two-thirds of 1991 through mid-1997. The plotted data are preliminary 532 nm integral values of stratospheric aerosol backscatter (integrated from the tropopause or cirrus to the top of the aerosol layer) versus time. Labeled arrows indicate the eruptions of Pinatubo and Kliuchevskoi. Courtesy of Horst Jager.

Table 11. Lidar data from Germany (October 1996-June 1997) and Hawaii (July-December 1996) showing altitudes of aerosol layers. Backscattering rations are for the Nd-YAG wavelength of 0.53 um, with equivalent ruby values in parentheses for data from Germany; those from Mauna Loa are for the ruby wavelength of 0.69 um. The integrated value shows total backscatter, expressed in steradians-1, integrated over 300-m intervals from the tropopause to 30 km at Garmisch-Partenkirchen and 15.8-33 km at Hawaii. The "ci" stands for cirrus clouds; their presence in the tropopause region usually obscures the lower boundary of the aerosol layer. Courtesy of Horst Jager and John Barnes.

DATE LAYER ALTITUDE (km) (peak) BACKSCATTERING RATIO BACKSCATTERING INTEGRATED
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (47.5°N, 11.0°E)
03 Oct 1996 13-28 (16.3) 1.08 (1.15) --
24 Oct 1996 9-27 (19.8) 1.08 (1.16) --
31 Oct 1996 Ci-26 (15.2) 1.06 (1.12) --
03 Nov 1996 Ci-30 (14.4) 1.06 (1.12) --
09 Nov 1996 12-27 (15.1) 1.08 (1.15) --
22 Nov 1996 9-32 (15.2) 1.08 (1.15) --
04 Dec 1996 Ci-30 (16.7) 1.08 (1.16) --
26 Dec 1996 10-30 (23.3) 1.07 (1.14) --
29 Dec 1996 9-26 (22.5) 1.07 (1.13) --
12 Jan 1997 12-29 (17.5) 1.09 (1.17) --
15 Jan 1997 12-29 (22.1) 1.09 (1.17) --
17 Jan 1997 10-28 (19.8) 1.08 (1.15) --
30 Jan 1997 10-27 (18.7) 1.09 (1.17) --
06 Feb 1997 14-28 (22.5) 1.09 (1.17) --
10 Feb 1997 11-29 (20.3) 1.07 (1.13) --
22 Feb 1997 13-27 (19.8) 1.08 (1.15) --
01 Mar 1997 12-26 (20.9) 1.08 (1.16) --
09 Mar 1997 11-28 (20.1) 1.10 (1.20) --
12 Mar 1997 16-26 (20.6) 1.07 (1.15) --
02 Apr 1997 13-26 (22.7) 1.07 (1.14) --
07 Apr 1997 12-27 (18.7) 1.10 (1.20) --
17 Apr 1997 12-26 (15.9) 1.06 (1.13) --
24 Apr 1997 13-30 (18.5) 1.10 (1.20) --
14 May 1997 Ci-28 (19.7) 1.08 (1.16) --
06 Jun 1997 Ci-25 (19.9) 1.08 (1.16) --
Mauna Loa, Hawaii (19.5°N, 155.6°W) (corrected data)
03 Jul 1996 16-28 (24.7) 1.22 0.48 x 10-4
10 Jul 1996 16-33 (24.1) 1.34 0.99 x 10-4
17 Jul 1996 16-34 (22.0) 1.29 0.83 x 10-4
01 Aug 1996 16-27 (25.3) 1.18 0.51 x 10-4
07 Aug 1996 16-32 (24.7) 1.36 0.88 x 10-4
20 Aug 1996 17-31 (24.4) 1.34 0.91 x 10-4
28 Aug 1996 16-31 (25.9) 1.28 0.67 x 10-4
04 Sep 1996 17-29 (23.5) 1.24 0.76 x 10-4
11 Sep 1996 17-30 (28.0) 1.40 0.88 x 10-4
18 Sep 1996 17-32 (24.1) 1.29 0.78 x 10-4
27 Sep 1996 17-32 (24.4) 1.28 0.73 x 10-4
02 Oct 1996 17-34 (25.3) 1.36 0.84 x 10-4
10 Oct 1996 16-34 (28.0) 1.38 0.97 x 10-4
17 Oct 1996 16-33 (25.0) 1.38 0.93 x 10-4
31 Oct 1996 16-32 (22.1) 1.30 0.95 x 10-4
27 Nov 1996 15-30 (24.4) 1.40 1.19 x 10-4
04 Dec 1996 17-34 (23.8) 1.28 0.63 x 10-4
10 Dec 1996 16-34 (25.0) 1.37 1.00 x 110-4
18 Dec 1996 16-34 (21.7) 1.45 1.20 x 10-4

Correction: Lidar data from Mauna Loa, Hawaii, for July-December 1996 (Bulletin v. 22, no. 3) was incorrect by a factor of 1,000. Corrected data is presented in this issue (table 11).

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 Jager, Fraunhofer-Institut fur Atmospharische Umweltforschung, Kreuzeckbahnstrasse 19, D-8100 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.


Etna (Italy) — May 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New map of the craters Voragine and Bocca Nuova

A map prepared from observations carried out on 11 April of Voragine and Bocca Nuova craters is presented in figure 66. The position and altitude of the points shown by stars were measured with ranging binoculars (model 1500 DAES; on loan courtesy Leica-France) from two observation points (circles) on the rim of the craters. Photos of the crater interior were also used to draw the map.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Map of the Etna craters prepared using LEICA binoculars. Courtesy of P. Briole, O. Consoli, C. Deplus, and J-L. Froger, IPGP.

Bocca Nuova crater measured ~170 m deep and had two active cones on the crater floor. The N cone, 25 m above the crater floor, was the most active. Its Strombolian activity threw ejecta close to Monumento, a spot on the crater's N rim. The S cone, 35-40 m above the crater floor, appeared composed of two coalescent cones, and was less active then the N one.

The depth of the Voragine crater measured ~150 m. Quiet steam emission was observed escaping from the large hole on the lower part of the crater floor.

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

Information Contacts: Pierre Briole, Orazio Consoli, Christine Deplus, and Jean-Luc Froger, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Case 89, 4 place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France.


False Reports (Unknown) — May 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

False Reports

Unknown

Unknown, Unknown; summit elev. m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Mexico: Rumors of new volcano prove false; methane combustion implicated

Although mid-May speculations suggested that a new volcano might be developing in the SE part of the State of Zacatecas, the incident has been attributed to methane combustion unrelated to volcanism. The event took place near the town of Jerez, ~50 km SW of Zacatecas city. Hugo Delgado received a video made by local residents, asked officials about the event, and provided the following report.

"The place where this phenomena is happening is a flat area (a square area [~20 m on each side]) where the ground is smoking (combustion-like blue smoke). There are several cracks on the ground and inside the cracks the earth looks reddish and hot. The people who sent me the video show how a piece of wood burns [when] they put it inside the crack. The area was isolated from the curious people (crowds of families who want to see what is happening visit the place) [by] digging a furrow around the hot site and posting policemen in order to [prevent] children [from falling] into the hot cracks.

"People from the University of Zacatecas and from the SEMARNAP (Ministry of the Environment, Natural Resources, and Fisheries) have visited the area and concluded that microbial activity on concentrated organic material in the area has produced methane and this started to burn since the beginning of May. Burning of methane has [caused] the ground to glow. According to their report, no deformation of the ground has been detected, nor [were] ashes or sulfuric odors detected during their visit. Samples taken from the ground were chemically analyzed [revealing] mainly organic material in them. This kind of [incident] has occurred before in other [parts] of Zacatecas, according to SEMARNAP.

"[It] seems that somebody (unidentified, but according to the local people, it was a retired scientist [transporting] equipment) came to the region to see the phenomena, and commented that it was the birth of a volcano. Thus, the inhabitants became alarmed. Local newspapers have also published that methane is burning there according to the researchers of the University of Zacatecas.

"Officials from the National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED) knew about this event, and have received the reports from SEMARNAP and the University of Zacatecas. This has been treated not as a volcanic problem but [an] environmental [one].

"A year ago, there was a similar event in the region. Carlos Gutierrez from CENAPRED visited the zone in order to deploy seismic equipment to observe this event. It was determined that organic material (sedimentary carbon[aceous] deposit[s] in a lacustrine environment during the Pleistocene) was burning underground after the local people incinerated dry grass (a common practice in Mexico to fertilize the land before the rainy season)."

Luca Ferrari provided geological insight into the area. It is on the E flank of the Sierra Madre Occidental, a huge mid-Tertiary volcanic pile related to subduction of the Farallon Plate. Volcanic rocks in the area include extensive silicic ashflow tuffs of late Oligocene to early Miocene age; these are sometimes capped by small volumes of andesitic and basaltic lavas ~20 Ma old. The incident took place more than 200 km N of the active volcanic arc (the Mexican Volcanic Belt, related to the ongoing subduction of the Rivera and Cocos plates). Quaternary intra-plate basalts are absent within a 200 km radius of the site of the incident. From a tectonic point of view, the village of Jerez lies at the N end of the Tlaltenango graben, which formed during Basin and Range extension in the early Miocene. Tectonic activity appears to have slowed since then and no Quaternary faulting is reported in the region.

Geologic Background. False or otherwise incorrect reports of volcanic activity.

Information Contacts: Hugo Delgado, Instituto de Geofisica, U.N.A.M.Circuito Cientifico, C.U. 04510, Mexico D.F., Mexico; Luca Ferrari, Instituto de Geologia, UNAM, Apdo. Postal 376, 36000 Guanajuato, Gto., Mexico.


Irazu (Costa Rica) — May 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Irazu

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Comparatively high numbers of earthquakes in April and May

In April and May there were 107 and 136 earthquakes, respectively, a higher number than is typical. These were mainly detected locally. One M 1.9 earthquake centered 4 km SW of the active crater at a depth of 3.8 km took place at 0054 on 6 April. A M 2.2 earthquake struck at 0437 the same day at 5.2 km depth centered 11 km NW of the crater. On 19 May the station 5 km SW (IRZ2) registed a swarm consisting of 23 high-frequency earthquakes.

Irazú lies along a fault zone shaken by repeated earthquakes in the past 6 years. It was estimated that ~40 of May's 136 earthquakes were associated with faulting. Earlier summaries of monthly earthquakes for December 1996, and January and March 1997 reported 51, 82, and 92 events, respectively.

Irazú's ashfalls frequently reached San Jose, 25 km to the E, during its historically most active period in 1963- 65. That period of intermittent, weak-to-moderate explosive activity severely affected agricultural areas over much of central Costa Rica, causing major economic problems. During the same interval, 46 secondary mudflows swept down the Rio Reventado valley.

Geologic Background. Irazú, one of Costa Rica's most active volcanoes, rises immediately E of the capital city of San José. The massive volcano covers an area of 500 km2 and is vegetated to within a few hundred meters of its broad flat-topped summit crater complex. At least 10 satellitic cones are located on its S flank. No lava flows have been identified since the eruption of the massive Cervantes lava flows from S-flank vents about 14,000 years ago, and all known Holocene eruptions have been explosive. The focus of eruptions at the summit crater complex has migrated to the W towards the historically active crater, which contains a small lake of variable size and color. Although eruptions may have occurred around the time of the Spanish conquest, the first well-documented historical eruption occurred in 1723, and frequent explosive eruptions have occurred since. Ashfall from the last major eruption during 1963-65 caused significant disruption to San José and surrounding areas.

Information Contacts: E. Fernandez, R. Van der Laat, F. de Obaldia, T. Marino, V. Barboza, W. Jimenez, R. Saenz, E. Duarte, M. Martinez, E. Hernandez, and F. Vega, Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — May 1997 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)


Late-May eruptions send plumes up to 4.5 km elevation

Vulcanian explosions resumed in late May. During the first 3 weeks of the month Crater 2 released moderate volumes of steam. Then, an explosion on the 22nd at 1510 produced dark gray ash clouds that rose to about 4.5 km above the crater rim. Explosions on the following days of May generated ash clouds to heights of between 2 and 3.5 km. Low rumbling sounds on the 27th presumably accompanied other explosions. Only weak vapor vented at Crater 3 during May. Seismographs remained inoperative.

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

Information Contacts: B. Talai, D. Lolok, P. de Saint-Ours, and C. McKee, RVO.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — May 1997 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)


Continued outbursts and light ashfalls

During the first week of May, Main Crater gently emitted small to moderate ash clouds, similar to those in late April. On 9 May, activity increased slightly and ash clouds were ejected to 500-1,000 m above the summit resulting in light ashfall downwind. Forceful emissions and light ashfalls at Main Crater occurred on the 13th; there were also two loud explosions during 1500-1600. After that, there were weak-moderate ash emissions accompanied by roaring noises and infrequent rumblings. Rumblings on the 6th and 28th were attributed to rocks cascading into Southwest Valley. Activity increased again on the 29th. South Crater weakly emitted steam during May.

Seismicity showed an irregular rise during May (growing from 800 to 1,700 low-frequency events/day). Wave amplitudes, although low, doubled. Water-tube tiltmeters at Manam Volcano Observatory (4 km SW of the summit) showed a very small inflationary change (0.5 µrad), which may be significant because it continues the inflationary pattern evident since early March.

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

Information Contacts: B. Talai, D. Lolok, P. de Saint-Ours, and C. McKee, RVO.


Monowai (New Zealand) — May 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Monowai

New Zealand

25.887°S, 177.188°W; summit elev. -132 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismically inferred eruption during 17-20 April

Between 17 and 20 April the seismic network of the French Laboratoire de Geophysique in Tahiti recorded an acoustic swarm from Monowai seamount (figure 3). The swarm ended on 20 April at 2058 GMT. It was very similar to the swarm of September 1996, with similar amplitudes and overall duration.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. The 17-20 April 1997 acoustic swarm at Monawai seamount shown as a plot of wave amplitude versus time. Courtesy of Olivier Hyvernaud.

The signals for the 17 April acoustic swarm that started at 2007 GMT consisted of strong acoustic waves with a maximum peak-to-peak amplitude of 1.01 m/s. These and later signals were interpreted as an indication of explosive phenomena. The subsequent acoustic waves were weaker, with amplitudes between 50 and 450 millimicrons/second. Overall, the laboratory recorded 136 acoustic waves. Most of the signals clustered into two episodes. The first took place on 18 April during 0013-1911 GMT and included 46 acoustic waves. The second occurred on 19 April during 0308-0810 GMT and included 81 acoustic waves. In addition to including more waves in a shorter time interval, the second episode was stronger.

The above-cited coordinates (25.89°S, 177.19°W) are for the summit of the volcano. A bubbling area was discovered on 17 October 1977 at 25.917°S, 177.233°W. The exact coordinates of the acoustic source discussed here are not well known, and can not be located precisely using currently available T-wave selections.

Proceeding NNE from the Rumble (I, II, III, and IV) seamounts (New Zealand), the next known active volcanoes lie in the Southern Kermadec Islands. From S to N, these consist of Curtis (submarine), Brimstone Island (submarine), Macauley Island (a sub-aerial caldera), Raoul Island (a vigorously active stratovolcano), an unnamed center (submarine), and then Monowai (submarine). Monowai was the source of over six inferred eruptions; in some cases these eruption reports were also based on collateral visual observations such as discolored water and bubbles.

Geologic Background. Monowai, also known as Orion seamount, rises to within 100 m of the sea surface about halfway between the Kermadec and Tonga island groups. The volcano lies at the southern end of the Tonga Ridge and is slightly offset from the Kermadec volcanoes. Small parasitic cones occur on the N and W flanks of the basaltic submarine volcano, which rises from a depth of about 1500 m and was named for one of the New Zealand Navy bathymetric survey ships that documented its morphology. A large 8.5 x 11 km wide submarine caldera with a depth of more than 1500 m lies to the NNE. Numerous eruptions from Monowai have been detected from submarine acoustic signals since it was first recognized as a volcano in 1977. A shoal that had been reported in 1944 may have been a pumice raft or water disturbance due to degassing. Surface observations have included water discoloration, vigorous gas bubbling, and areas of upwelling water, sometimes accompanied by rumbling noises.

Information Contacts: Olivier Hyvernaud, BP 640, Laboratoire de Geophysique, Tahiti, French Polynesia.


Poas (Costa Rica) — May 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Poas

Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2708 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Number of monthly earthquakes high in April, lower in May

During April, fumarolic degassing and weak bubbling continued in the 29°C, green-turquoise-colored crater lake. On the N crater floor there appeared a new 80-m-long fracture with fumaroles depositing sulfur; weakly escaping gases there had temperatures of 94°C. The same temperature was measured at the accessible part of the pyroclastic cone, and other fumaroles reached temperatures of 92-93°C. A steam plume rose 300 m above the crater floor.

April seismicity increased to 2,532 events (2,192 low-frequency and 339 medium-frequency). Only one month in the previous year had more events: during January 1996 there were 4,045 events. The high seismicity was not sustained, May 1997 earthquakes only numbered 1,020. In conjunction with medium-frequency earthquakes, people watching the volcano noticed new fumaroles. The distance net showed no significant changes during 1997.

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

Information Contacts: E. Fernandez, R. Van der Laat, F. de Obaldia, T. Marino, V. Barboza, W. Jimenez, R. Saenz, E. Duarte, M. Martinez, E. Hernandez, and F. Vega, Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA).


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — May 1997 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)


Inflation precedes 1 June eruption at Tavurvur

Inflation recorded since late April culminated in a Strombolian eruption on 1 June. Unlike most of the earlier Strombolian eruptions, this one escalated slowly and sustained moderate-to-high intensities briefly before declining.

Activity during May. The lead-up to June's Strombolian eruption, like that of the April eruption, was characterized by relatively low-pressure, but voluminous gas-rich emissions. Occasionally, these very pale gray emissions produced light ashfalls from columns with heights of 0.6-1 km altitude. Roaring sounds were heard throughout May; loud explosions occurred on the 2nd (at 0105), 12th (1526), 14th (0759), 15th (0052), and 31st (2201). Weak night glows were seen above the crater on the 1, 2, 16, and 25 May.

Twenty-one low-frequency earthquakes (mostly associated with explosions) were recorded during May; most in the first two weeks. The highest numbers of daily earthquakes reached four on the 7th and three on the 8th. There were six high-frequency earthquakes on the 18th. Two of these were located immediately NE of the caldera and one was just outside the SE part of the caldera. Background seismicity remained low at ~20 RSAM units.

The Sulphur Creek water-tube tiltmeters registered N-down tilt in early May, continuing the inflationary pattern seen since late April. About 5 µrad of inflationary tilt had accumulated by mid-May, a time when the tilting seemed to cease or perhaps reverse slightly. At Sulphur Creek, the total inflation since the March eruption was ~10 µrad.

A new electronic tiltmeter was installed at Matupit Island on 8 May and soon indicated WNW-down tilt, suggesting inflation of the magma reservoir. About 18 µrad of this tilting had accumulated by 15 May when tilt changed to WSW-down, a direction radial to Tavurvur. This change was consistent with the behavior of the tiltmeters at Sulphur Creek in mid May. The WSW-down tilt continued through the remainder of the month, amounting to ~20 µrad. The pattern of tilting registered by the electronic tiltmeter on the S part of the Vulcan headland (Vulcan Island) was complicated during the first half of May, but during the second half of the month ~10 µrad of SW-down tilt took place, consistent with the inflation in the central or eastern part of the caldera.

During May the water-tube tiltmeters at Tavuiliu (on Rabaul caldera's SW rim) continued to shift in a SW- down direction. Since the April eruption this tilting had amounted to about 6 µrad. The only late-stage precursor to the 1 June eruption was an unusual E-down tilt of a few microradians recorded at the Matupit Island electronic tiltmeter beginning about midday on 31 May.

Activity during June. Apart from the tilt, through the early morning of 1 June there was little indication of the impending Strombolian eruption. The eruption's early phase began when low-pressure, hazy, white-and-blue emissions rose a few hundred meters above Tavurvur.

Starting about 0700 at Matupit Island, a N-down shift in tilt began at ~1 µrad/hour accompanied by discontinuous tremor (recorded at the nearest seismic station, KPTH, ~1 km away on Matupit Island). By about 0830 on 1 June, the seismicity had climbed to ~50 RSAM units from a normal background of about 20. At 0837, a moderate explosion sent a low-density ash cloud ~1.3 km above the vent. Seismicity briefly reached 200 RSAM units and then declined to ~90 RSAM units by 0900. The column remained at ~1.3 km and seismicity fluctuated between about 60 and 150 RSAM units until 1030 when activity intensified.

Later, at about 1030, the column rose to ~2.5 km and seismicity increased to 250 RSAM units. The column was a pale gray-brown color, with moderate ash content. A strong S wind blew the plume over the E side of Rabaul Town. Then, between 1100 and 1145, eruptive vigor declined and seismicity fell (to 120 RSAM units).

From 1130 until 1930, the eruption was observed at comparatively close range, at 0.5-1.5 km distances. Although the explosions were initially, around 1130, almost continuous, the column only rose to ~0.5 km above the vent. There were multiple active vents within Tavurvur's summit crater, but the principal one was near the crater's S rim. The explosions produced broad, dense, and moderately dark gray emission clouds that assumed the shape of cock's tails. The activity began increasing again at 1145 and lightning was seen in the column at 1200. The N-down tilt that had been in progress since 0700 reversed at 1200 after accumulating ~5 µrad.

A change in the column was noticed at about 1240 as the emissions became distinctly depleted in ash and the sounds grew louder and sharper. By this time seismicity had increased to about 250 RSAM units, where it stayed until 1400. Tavurur's principal vent (on the S side of the crater) started ejecting incandescent lava fragments, including some very large ones. For brief intervals, other vents in the crater issued dark, dense clouds.

The noisy explosions from the principal vent carried brightly incandescent lava fragments with little ash. In contrast, the dense ash-rich explosions from other vents escaped were accompanied by little or no sound.

During a brief lull between about 1400 and 1425 seismicity fell to ~200 RSAM units. Then, at about 1425, distinctly louder explosions began. It appeared that fluid lava had almost reached the crater rim and the explosions were akin to bubbles bursting. The explosions usually involved sustained jetting for periods of over 10 seconds. Intervals between events were typically only a few seconds.

Beginning about 1440, visible shock waves were observed. At about 1451 the explosions were very loud and the eruption column was about 0.5 km high. At 1450, seismicity peaked at 645 RSAM units.

A prolonged period of dense, dark ash emission commenced at about 1500 and seismicity fell sharply. While dark ash clouds billowed upwards from vents in the W part of the crater, the principal vent continued producing nearly ash-free explosions bearing larger incandescent fragments. The dense, dark ash emission had ceased by 1519, and by then seismicity had dropped to 300 RSAM units. Seismicity during 1520-1600 increased to ~500 RSAM units; after that it declined slowly so that by 1800 it reached 300 RSAM units. After 1830 seismicity declined more quickly, so that by 2030 it reached only 90 RSAM units.

For most of the remainder of the eruption the only vent to emit much solid material was the principal vent, which continued to eject nearly ash-free, incandescent lava fragments. Although the bulk of the column remained only ~0.5 km above the vent, beginning in the mid-afternoon some fragments rose ~100 m higher. Explosions throughout the afternoon tended to sustain stronger jets of gas and lava fragments. By about 1800 some of the explosions were more than 1-minute long. In one 5-minute period at about 1800 there were eight explosions.

Witnesses on a boat sailing past Tavurvur's S and W flanks at about 1910-1930 noticed considerably more ejecta landing N of the vent. Some ejecta blew in the strong prevailing S wind as far as Tavurvur's N flank. Between 1200 and 2000 the tiltmeter at Matupit Island had accumulated ~5 µrad of predominantly S-down tilt. Then, at 2000, the tilt shifted to SW down, changing by 0.3 µrad/hour.

During the night of 1 June there were episodes of rhythmic degassing; in addition some very loud detonations shook buildings. Background seismicity fell slowly after 2030 on June 1, descending by midnight to 30 RSAM units. Sustained increases in seismicity returned on 2 June during two intervals: the first, 0100-0145, and the second, 0300-0500. During these intervals, seismicity reached 300 and 250 RSAM units, respectively. In addition, a brief (10 minute) peak in seismicity occurred around 0330 on 2 June; it reached 750 RSAM units.

Overview. Unlike some previous eruptions, no lava flows were generated by the 1-2 June event. Ejected lava fragments showed textural evidence of moderate expansion but lacked evidence of post-emplacement flow. Additionally, the bombs were considerably smaller.

The volume of material erupted on 1 June was very small, possibly only 1 x 105 m3. There was no off- set in tilt as had been seen with the earlier, larger eruptions. Thus, after the 1 June eruption, Tavurvur remained inflated 10 µrad over the tilt encountered after the March eruption (BGVN 22:03). Accordingly, scientists believe that Tavurvur could erupt with similar intensity again in coming weeks.

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, D. Lolok, P. de Saint-Ours, and C. McKee, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — May 1997 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)


Conspicuous fumaroles and plumes persist

During April, fumarolic activity remained in the E and S parts of the main crater. In the latter location, escaping gases hissed like a pressure cooker and were audible from the crater rim. Gas columns rose up to 200 m high. Adjacent to the crater, visitors smelled sulfur gases and their throats, eyes, and skin became irritated. Some of the plants damaged during November 1995 showed new signs of recovery. Although the seismic station (RIN3, located 5 km SW of the active crater) remained out of service during May, earthquake counts numbered five events in December 1996 and 24 in January 1997.

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

Information Contacts: E. Fernandez, R. Van der Laat, F. de Obaldia, T. Marino, V. Barboza, W. Jimenez, R. Sáenz, E. Duarte, M. Martinez, E. Hernandez, and F. Vega, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica.


San Cristobal (Nicaragua) — May 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

San Cristobal

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptions cause ashfall on the slopes; plumes to 2,500 m

According to press reports quoting an official from the Instituto Nicaraguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), an eruptive phase began at San Cristóbal during the night of 19-20 May. Because of the possibility of ashfall, authorities declared a state of alert in the city of Chinandega, one of the largest cities in Nicaragua, situated 20 km WSW, the main downwind direction. A report about precursory seismicity was provided by INETER on 18 May. Observations after the start of eruptive activity were sent by Benjamin van Wyk de Vries (Open University), and include information from INETER scientists.

Precursory activity as of 18 May. Strong seismic activity was detected starting in May, by far the strongest seismicity observed since the new seismic station (CRIN, ~3 km NW of the crater at the base of the volcano), was installed at the end of 1992. As of 18 May CRIN was recording 500 volcano-seismic events/day, with frequencies of 1-6 Hz and durations of ~1 minute or more. Sometimes roughly mono-frequency wavetrains of ~3 Hz were observed. RSAM values climbed from2 odor. INETER volcanologists visited the volcano on 17 May, but could not climb to the crater because of high gas concentrations.

On 18 May INETER was preparing an observation point at Casita volcano, ~4 km SE of San Cristóbal. At the seismic station, CRIN, additional channels with low amplification were switched to be transmitted to the Managua data center. The installation of additional seismic stations is planned. INETER volcanologists took gas and water samples for analysis, and local residents were being interviewed to obtain information about recent changes at the volcano. INETER informed the Nicaraguan Government and the Civil Defense Organization about the situation.

Activity during 21-26 May. B. van Wyk de Vries visited the volcano during 21-23 May, setting up the base for a deformation network, and checking the general state of the cone and crater. RSAM levels stayed fairly constant during this period, but began a slow decline at the end of May. Eruptions through 26 May produced light gray clouds of ash that normally rose 50-200 m above the crater. There were a few notable large eruptions, including one at about 0245 on 22 May that reached 800 m. The height differences were partly due to how quickly the plume was pulled over by the wind. One pulse made a noise that was heard 3 km away at the Casita observation post. Pedro Perez (contracted to The Open University), who was at the crater edge on the morning of the 22nd, noted dull noises before each ejection of ash. Sounds were not heard the next day, when the ejections were less powerful. There were periods of up to a few hours with very weak gas release, then equally long periods of eruptions every 5-10 minutes, or a constant plume. If the wind was strong the plume was dragged down the cone to ~900 m, after which it rose to 1,000-1,200 m; during calmer periods the plume rose to 2,500 m.

Summit visit on 23 May. There was no activity when the crater was reached at 1200 on 23 May. Volcanologists stayed for an hour installing a GPS station on the edge of the outer crater. They made a very quick descent into the crater and saw a new vent. Before the start of activity in early May, San Cristóbal was generally the same as when van Wyk de Vries first saw it in 1986. The main change has been the slow progressive growth of the inner pit crater (figure 2). There is an old outer crater ledge on the S side, then the main crater (10-50 m deep); a small inner cone has been gradually hollowed out by a pit crater. The cone has now mostly fallen in, and only a small part to the S and W still exists. The pit is ~80 m deep and Pedro Perez reported that in early May it had a flat bottom. At that time there was little degassing: a few fumaroles on the SW side and a few fumarole mounds on the SE part of the main crater floor. There had been a vigorous fumarole on the edge of the pit crater, with a temperature of ~600°C, but this part had fallen in. On 23 May there was a 4-m-wide vent in the SW part of the pit crater floor; looking in at 45° no bottom could be seen, and in shadow it was not glowing. On the walls of the pit were dark patches of wet rock, where water seepage or fumarolic emanations had discolored the new ash. The whole of the crater was covered by ash. On the crater floor it was 10 cm deep and around the edges 1-2 cm. The upwind crater rim (SE-N) had a slight dusting. On the downwind rim ash had been stripped off the top of rocks but was accumulating in fine layers on the vertical upwind surfaces. The ash was being continually blown around and formed some beautiful ripples.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Summit maps showing crater features at San Cristóbal in 1957 and May 1997. The 1957 map is based on an aerial photo from the INETER collections. Courtesy of B. van Wyk de Vries, The Open University.

Ash covered the W side of the mountain, giving it a light-gray appearance down to ~800 m. Although vegetation hid the ash layer from distant viewers, it continued down to ~600 m where a 1-3 mm thick layer coated the ground and dusted the leaves. Gas masks were worn during the descent from the summit because the ash billowed up. Down at the farm of Las Rojas (500 m elevation) there was a slight dusting of ash; other farms reported heavier falls. Vegetation damage was not observed, possibly because everything is so dry in the area. Very light ashfall was occurring 10-15 km downwind.

No tremor was felt at the crater, though there were ~600 events/day being recorded. Campesinos living on the pass between San Cristóbal and Casita felt shocks on the night of 21-22 May. The only significant deformation features noted on 23 May were several fissures around the edge of the inner pit crater, which indicate that it is still enlarging. The fractures on the main crater floor were covered in ash, which was not fractured, indicating that there was no movement over the previous few days. Pedro Perez noted some rockfalls during explosive activity on the morning of the 22nd, from the N side of the pit crater.

Deformation network.The new GPS network consists of two triangles. The outer triangle is centered on a point on the pass between Casita and San Cristóbal, with one position on Casita, one 2 km SE of Chinandega, and one 10 km NE of Chinandega. The lines are ~10 km long. The center point should form one corner of an inner triangle, the other points being at Las Rojas farm to the W and one as yet undecided on the N flank. These lines are <5 km long. Within the inner triangle, points were placed at ~1,500 m elevation on the SE flank and on the W side of the crater edge at ~1,700 m; both are 1-2 km from the center point. Simultaneous measurements at all four of the outer triangle points were taken with the Open University GPS and the INETER GPS. Two points on the volcano were fixed, and will be re-occupied by INETER personnel. Although the whole of the network is not in place, at least three points on the volcano have been fixed and will indicate any major movement.

Volcanic history. San Cristóbal is a stratovolcano 100 km NW of Managua that has erupted about nine times since the Spanish conquest. Its previous most recent confirmed eruption was a 45-minute ash emission in October 1977 (SEAN 02:10), but a small ash emission may have occurred in November 1987 (SEAN 13:01). The San Cristóbal complex comprises San Cristóbal cone, El Chonco cone, Cerro Montoso, Casita volcano, and La Pelona Caldera (Hazlet, 1987; Van Wyk de Vries and Borgia, 1996). San Cristóbal proper is the youngest feature of the complex. Casita was probably active in the 16th century, and has several active fumarole fields. La Pelona looks as though it was once a large stratocone that underwent a caldera-forming eruption in the Quaternary. El Chonco is an 800-m-high andesite-dacite cone. Cerro Montoso is a 600-m-high andesitic scoria cone cut by large faults.

The complex as a whole has a tendency to produce significant amounts of dacitic magma. Examples include the Chonco cone and Loma La Teta (a dacite dome associated with El Chonco), recent pyroclastic-flow and tephra deposits on San Cristóbal and Casita, and the La Pelona Caldera ignimbrite. This type of magma contrasts with the predominant basalt-basaltic andesite of the other nearby volcanoes, such as Telica, Rota, and El Hoyo/Cerro Negro. Martha Navarro (INETER), who has done geological and hazard mapping at San Cristóbal, noted that the dacitic pyroclastic-flow deposits of San Cristóbal are similar in composition to a thick tephra-fall deposit that the forms subsoil over much of the west side of the cone. On the cone itself, these deposits are covered by more recent andesitic scoriae and bombs, some or all of which come from the historical eruptions in the 17th century and the 1970's. There have not been any historical lava flows, but several lava flows are still only partially vegetated.

References. Hazlett, R.W., 1987, Geology of the San Cristóbal volcanic complex, Nicaragua, in Williams, S.N. and Carr, M.J. (eds.), Richard E. Stoiber 75th Birthday Volume: J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., v. 33, p. 223-230.

Van Wyk de Vries, B., and Borgia, A., 1996, The role of basement in volcano deformation, in McGuire, W.J., Jones, A.P., and Neuberg, J. (eds.), Volcano Instability on the Earth and Other Planets: Geological Society Special Publication 110, London, p. 95-110.

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: Wilfried Strauch and Pedro Perez, Department of Geophysics, Instituto Nicaraguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), P.O. Box 1761, Managua, Nicaragua; Benjamin van Wyk de Vries, Department of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, United Kingdom; Reuters.


Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — May 1997 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)


Pyroclastic flows no longer confined by the crater's N wall

On 25 June, unusually large pyroclastic flows swept down drainages on the volcano's NNE side reaching almost as far as the airport. Settlements along their path sustained serious damage. Amid rescue efforts on 27 June, MVO reported at least nine people dead, six injured, and 14 missing. Additional information will be provided in next month's Bulletin.

The following summarizes weekly Scientific Reports of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory for the period 11 May-7 June 1997 and NOAA/NESDIS satellite observations during 12 May-6 June. Many of the places mentioned in this report appear on available maps (e.g. BGVN 22:02; Williams, 1997).

A new risk map was released on 6 June (figure 22). Zone A was expanded from the crater to the N as far as Harris, Bramble, and Bethel villages. Areas designated as Zone B included Tuitt's and Spanish Point on the E and Streatham and Farrell's on the W. Bramble Airport, ~5 km NE of the volcano, was moved into zone C.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Map showing the volcanic risk zones for Soufriere Hills Volcano, updated on 6 June 1997.

At the beginning of this reporting period, dome growth (estimated at 2 m3/s) was concentrated on the crater's S side, above the Galway's area. Rockfalls and a few small pyroclastic flows were shed into both the White River and down the S side of the Tar River valley. After 12 May loud roaring sounds caused by vigorous venting of ash and gas from the dome were heard at Whites, Harris, and Farrell's. These were taken to indicate increased gas pressures within the dome. Furthermore, on 12 May an airplane pilot reported ash between 1,830 and 2,440 m altitude.

On 13 May at 0755 a moderate-size pyroclastic flow from the summit region eroded a narrow channel on the E flank of the dome, a spot underlain by the ancestral Castle Peak. The flow went down the Tar River valley, splitting into two branches that traveled down either side of the upper break in slope, and eventually reached the delta at the coast. The ash cloud from this flow reached 3.3 km altitude and later formed a plume conspicuous in visible satellite imagery for 220 km WNW of the summit.

On 14 and 15 May, small, nearly continuous rockfalls and some small pyroclastic flows occurred on the NE and SE flanks of the dome; these traveled either towards the E (Tar River valley) or S (down Galway's side). Beginning at about 2040 on 15 May a 70-minute-long outburst generated moderate-size pyroclastic flows down the E side, creating a small scar ~40 m N of the one formed on 13 May.

Events on 16 May included small-to-moderate pyroclastic flows from the dome's summit. These traveled down the dome's N and NW sides, towards Farrell's wall, which deflected them E toward the Tar River valley. In addition erosion occurred on the dome's N face: talus continued piling up against the N and NNE crater rim.

During the following days activity was concentrated on the N and E flanks of the dome, with three major rockfall chutes developed on the dome's E, NE, and N sides. At the base of one of these chutes rockfall material piled up against the crater's N wall (Farrell's). Several small rockfalls were also heard on the crater's S side (Galway's wall), where new, relatively fine-grained rockfall deposits had blanketed the entire talus slopes.

On 18 May at 0820 the largest pyroclastic flow of this reporting period occurred. First, a large long-period earthquake took place; observers at Whites reported that the entire dome was being shaken just before the flow started. This pyroclastic flow traveled from the summit down both the 15 May chute and the NE chute. Then it passed down the N side of the Tar River valley to stop a few hundred meters from the delta. During that night intense glows were observed over the dome's entire NW face. There were also some incandescent rockfalls and small pyroclastic flows.

Clear visibility on 19 May revealed a new dark extrusion at the top of the NW dome. This area discharged ash and steam and ejected 5- to 20-cm diameter fragments up to ~60 m above the dome. The source of continuous rockfalls with small pyroclastic flows extended from the 15 May chute on the E to the margin of the September 1996 scar on the NW. The remnant wall of the scar prevented material from reaching the rim of Gages wall. The N side of the crater had filled up, with small amounts of dome material falling into the top of Tuitt's Ghaut, the N- flank drainage.

On 21 and 22 May a few small spines toppled, sending rockfalls down the E, NE, and NW flanks. On 22 May at 1300, after a rockfall on the N flank, some blocks reached ~100 m down the N flank (Tuitt's Ghaut). At 1430 a pyroclastic flow on the same flank produced an almost continuous ash plume; lapilli up to 4 mm in diameter were collected at Dyers and ash fragments ~1 mm in size were reported at Farrell's and from Salem up to St. John's.

Observations on 23 May from Chances Peak revealed several small spines and large blocks in the summit area with vigorous venting and gas emissions in the growth area; there was also a cleft in the middle separating the S lobe from the new extrusion in the N.

On 27 May, a large pyroclastic flow generated high on the E side of the dome traveled down the Tar River valley at a speed of 230 km/h , the fastest flow yet documented during the eruption. In the lower part of the valley the flow slowed considerably, and it stopped ~150 m from the sea. That same day, for the first time, moderate-size pyroclastic flows reached Tuitt's Ghaut; later on 29 May discernible material was deposited 400 m down this drainage.

By 31 May, talus slopes over the dome's E and NE flanks had covered the chutes formed by mid-May pyroclastic flows. The upper part of the dome's E face looked more blocky and relatively inactive. When visibility was good, the presence of ash below ~1,600 m was reported almost daily in satellite imagery.

Small pyroclastic flows down Tuitt's Ghaut on 2 June left fresh deposits ~1 km from the crater rim. By 3 June they reached 1.4 km, and by 4 June, 1.8 km. At 1207 on 5 June a pyroclastic flow extended ~2.9 km from the crater rim; a shorter flow followed to ~2 km. All of these pyroclastic flows were confined to the narrow valley and comparatively slow moving, taking about three minutes to descend it. In the first 500 m of the upland portion of the valley all vegetation was stripped from the valley walls. Farther down, some trees were left standing within the deposits. In the upper 1 km of the deposits there was evidence of several small, lobate flows. In general the thermal effects remained confined to 10 m from the deposit's edge, but on bends it rode up the banks of the ghaut (the so- called "bobsled" effect). The front of the flow was marked by a pile of burned logs and coarse debris, and a finer-grained surge had traveled ~100-200 m farther down the ghaut. A pyroclastic flow at 1845 on 6 June traveled ~2 km down from the crater rim; its front carried particularly large boulders. The flow significantly widened the notch in the crater wall through which it traveled; by this time the domes talus created a smooth slope down the ghaut.

NOAA reported ash clouds on 3, 4, and 5 June in visible satellite imagery up to 2,150 m altitude and crossing over the Virgin Islands, 400 km NW.

Seismicity. The shifting focus of dome growth and rising vigor of emission were reflected in a general decline in the number of long-period earthquakes and an increase in the number of hybrid earthquake swarms. Each swarm lasted for a few hours; some intense swarms during 19-21 May reached up to 35 events/hour. Rockfalls remained common and were concentrated during periods of minor dome collapse. The ratio of maximum rockfall amplitudes measured at Galway's Estate Station and Long Ground station served to differentiate between Tar River and White River pyroclastic flows.

Toward the end of May there was a significant reduction in the number of hybrid and long-period earthquakes, and rockfalls. The hybrid earthquake swarms continued until 27 May; although less frequent, they lasted longer.

The number of long-period earthquakes dropped to the normal background (0-4 events/day), the lowest levels since mid-March. The number of rockfalls increased from 1 June, and for the rest of the period were concentrated on the N and E sides of the dome. Periods of enhanced rockfall and pyroclastic-flow activity occurred every 16-20 hours and lasted ~4 hours. In the lulls, rockfalls continued at greatly reduced levels.

After 4 June the number of both long-period and hybrid earthquakes increased again. Over 50% of these shocks triggered rockfalls.

Ground deformation. GPS measurements at station FT3 (Farrell's wall) on 12 May showed continued movement to the NW, consistent with the total 20 cm of displacement noted since January 1997. Data were somewhat equivocal on 17 and 21 May. A GPS occupation at Chances Peak on 23 May suggested that it had moved 3.5 cm WNW since 28 April. Prior to that date, the movement was toward the NW. The change in direction was thought to reflect the dome's northward shift in activity.

Telemetered electronic tiltmeters installed at Chances Peak on 18 and 21 May (stations CP2 and CP3, W and E of the summit, respectively) registered cycles of inflation and deflation, each lasting ~12-18 hours. Progressive intervals and magnitudes of inflation were greater than those of deflation. Inflation occurred with hybrid earthquake swarms, and deflation correlated with peak rockfall/pyroclastic-flow events. RSAM patterns showed a strong correlation with tilt, with the higher spikes reflecting rockfalls, and the lower intensity patterns reflecting the sum of hybrid events and lesser rockfall activity. Thus tilt and RSAM combined provided a predictive capability. Accordingly, when it was possible, missions to close-in areas were scheduled during early inflation, when the likelihood of pyroclastic flows was considered minimal.

Crack 2, which developed into a zone of broad fracture on Chances Peak, was measured on 23 May, and on 4 and 8 June. The shear along the crack was dextral (E block moving S relative to W block) and reached 6 cm. The shear during 23 May-4 June was 2.5 cm. On 23 May a telemetered extensometer installed across part of Crack 2 that day showed almost 5 mm of diurnal change.

Dome volume, COSPEC, and other measurements. Using a combination of theodolite, GPS, and ranging binoculars, scientists on 19 May estimated the summit at 991 m elevation. One major change since the previous survey (15 April) was the inflation of the highest part of the dome above Galway's wall. Another change was the growth of the new extrusion in the N summit area and the talus accumulation in a 300-m-wide zone against the back of Farrell's wall, due to the activity on the N and NE faces. The volume of the dome from this survey was estimated at 60.1 x 106 m3; this established an average extrusion rate during 15 April-19 May of 2.7 x 105 m3/day (3.1 m3/s).

Later dome-volume surveys were severely hampered by poor visibility; however, brief clear windows allowed photos to be taken for both 31 May and 1 June, documenting continued growth of the dome's N side and summit. On the basis of these photos, the dome's volume was 64.6 x 106 m3, a mean growth rate of 3.5 m3/s during 19 May-1 June. As with the last survey this represented a rate considerably above the mean extrusion rate of 2.1 m3/s.

Mini-COSPEC runs that were completed daily, often both in the morning and afternoon, gave results substantially higher than the usual background flux of 200-300 t/d. May and June SO2 fluxes were as follows: 24 May, 950 metric tons per day (t/d); 26 May, 940 t/d; 27 May, 971 t/d; 28 May, 616 t/d; 29 May, 770 t/d; 30 May, 510 t/d; 2 and 3 June, 475 t/d; 4 June, 2,129 t/d; 5 June, 2,242 t/d; 6 June, 642 t/d; and 7 June, 505 t/d. The high values on 4-5 June correlated with increased pyroclastic flow activity during 4-6 June. Sulfur diffusion tubes collected on 20 April and 4 May mainly showed values similar to those of previous weeks (table 19). The results from Upper Amersham on 17 May presumably increased because of the increase in the level of eruptive activity.

Table 19. SO2 concentrations in part per billion (ppb) from diffusion tubes at sites around the volcano. Recommended action level is 100 ppb. Courtesy of MVO.

Location 20 Apr 1997 04 May 1997 17 May 1997
Plymouth Police HQ 7.3 7.8 17.1
Upper Amersham 45.0 53.2 81.1
Lower Amersham 12.1 16.9 32.0
Weekes 0.0 0.0 4.3
Whites landfill 0.8 1.2 1.2

Rainwater collected W and NW of the volcano on 17 May was more acidic than samples from the previous week and chlorides and sulfates were present at substantially higher levels (table 20). After heavy rainfall and continued winds from the S and SE, a rainwater sample collected on 28 May from Lawyers, 2 km north of Salem, had a pH of 3.3. On those same days, new sites to the N of the volcano were also monitored and showed very low pH values. During this period the fluoride content of the rainwater was also elevated. The pH and fluoride returned to normal values when the wind direction changed to WNW at the end of May. Piped ground water had remained unaffected by the low pH of the rainwater.

Table 20. Rainwater geochemistry from 17 May to 1 June. For comparison, WHO guideline values are as follows: pH, 6.5- 8.5; TDS, 1.0 g/l; fluorides, 1.5 mg/l; chlorides, 250 mg/l; sulfates, 250 mg/l. Courtesy of MVO.

Date Location pH Conductivity (mS/cm) Total Dissolved Solids (g/l) Sulfates (mg/l) Chlorides (mg/l) Fluorides (mg/l)
17 May 1997 Weekes 3.8 0.272 0.136 37 50 0.65
17 May 1997 Plymouth Police HQ 2.7 3.51 1.75 560 710 --
17 May 1997 Upper Amersham 2.4 2.45 1.22 107 315 --
17 May 1997 Lower Amersham 2.8 4.26 2.13 97 760 --
25 May 1997 Weekes 2.6 1.286 0.644 5 133 1.50
25 May 1997 Upper Amersham 2.0 7.24 3.62 93 1000 0.20
25 May 1997 Am. cattle trough 7.72 0.335 0.168 -- 56 0.55
25 May 1997 Trial's reservoir 7.9 0.827 0.414 42 112 0.35
27 May 1997 Hope 2.8 0.789 0.37 -- 70 1.50
28 May 1997 Weekes 2.5 1.557 0.778 -- 126 1.50
28 May 1997 Molyneux 2.6 1.312 0.657 7 94 1.50
28 May 1997 Dyer's 2.8 0.702 0.351 3 80 1.40
28 May 1997 Lawyer's 3.0 0.46 0.23 -- 52 1.25
28 May 1997 M.V.O. 2.8 0.863 0.432 -- 80 1.50
31 Jun 1997 Weekes 3.4 0.257 0.128 3 -- 1.20
31 Jun 1997 M.V.O. 5.3 0.066 0.033 -- -- 0.35
31 Jun 1997 Dyer's 6.7 0.092 0.046 3 -- 0.20
31 Jun 1997 Upper Amersham 2.8 0.914 0.458 12 -- 1.50
31 Jun 1997 Lower Amersham 3.1 0.533 0.267 18 -- 1.15
31 Jun 1997 Am. cattle trough 8.89 0.32 0.16 -- -- 0.35
31 Jun 1997 Trial's res. Overflow(from the tap) 7.8 0.845 0.423 38 -- 0.30

Ash was collected on 17 May following several days of increased volcanic activity. The ash was at least 6 mm thick at Upper Amersham, and 4 mm at Lower Amersham, the Plymouth Police Headquarters, and Dagenham. Ash collected on 1 June was noticeably fine and widely distributed from Brodericks to Dyers with the thickest ash fall (2 mm) at Upper Amersham, Dagenham, and Plymouth Police HQ.

Reference. Williams, A.R., 1997, Montserrat, under the Volcano: National Geographic, v. 192, no. 1 (July 1997), p. 58-77.

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

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


Special Announcements (Unknown) — May 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Special Announcements

Unknown

Unknown, Unknown; summit elev. m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Aviator's observation form

Tens of commercial jet aircraft, which are not designed to fly through particulate and corrosive gases, have suffered damage from inadvertently encountering ash clouds that had drifted tens to hundreds of kilometers from erupting volcanoes; in one case, a plane descended more than 6 km before the engines could be restarted (Casadevall, 1994). As a result of this vulnerability, there have been new and evolving strategies for alerting aviators as to the presence, location, and movement of eruption plumes. Conversely, pilots often see aspects of volcanism that merit preservation in the Bulletin. In order to solicit and register these observations, a form for pilots relates a series of key questions (plate 1, back page).

Aviation Reporting Form Plate 1. A form developed to help pilots record and submit their observations related to volcanism. Courtesy of Ed Miller, ALPA.

The form, called the "Volcanic Activity Reporting Form," is now included in the US Aeronautical Information Manual (FAA, 1995), a reference used by all large US carriers. A similar form is in use by members of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The form is divided into two parts. The critical upper part (numbers 1-8) gets radioed to air traffic control immediately. Most of the form's lower part provides stated choices on topics such as ash density and color, continuousness of the eruption, as well as the effects on the aircraft and atmosphere (numbers 9-15). The last block (number 16) allows pilots to provide further written information.

The forms are ultimately to be sent (via mail or fax) to GVN for archiving. Expenses for postage or connections by fax can be reimbursed by the GVN.

In addition to the form itself, we wish to receive other aviation observations. These may include eyewitness accounts or photos made by passengers or crew, descriptions of damage, or ash collected by mechanics, as well as relevant weather details from meteorologists. These can (and already do) complement volcanological and atmospheric studies of eruptive activity. Ideally, such multiple perspectives can build a much more comprehensive picture of volcanic processes than can result from any one vantage point.

Every day thousands of people fly across potentially ash-contaminated airspace--to some degree, the people in these planes are just as vulnerable as villages perched on a volcano's flanks. Conventional planes still lack on- board instruments to warn pilots if hazardous atmospheric ash lies ahead. Such plumes are relatively rare, but to consistently avoid them requires interdisciplinary communication and cooperation between both aviators and scientists.

References. Casadevall, T.J. (ed.), 1994, Volcanic ash and aviation safety, Proceeding of the First International Symposium on Volcanic Ash and Aviation Safety (Seattle, Washington, July 1991): U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 2047, 450 p.

Federal Aviation Administration, 1995, Volcanic Activity Reporting Form: US Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), 1995 (June), Appendix 2 (1 May 1997), p. A2-1, Superintendent of Documents, US Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

Further Reference. Casadevall, T.J., and Thompson, T.B., 1995, Volcanoes and principal aeronautical features, Geophysical Investigation Map GP-1011: U.S. Geological Survey, prepared in cooperation with Jeppesen Sanderson, Inc.

Geologic Background. Special announcements or information of general interest not linked to any specific volcano.

Information Contacts: Captain Ed Miller (Retired), Air Line Pilots Association, 535 Herndon Parkway, P.O. Box 1169, Herndon, VA 20172-1169 USA; Tom Fox, Air Navigation Bureau, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), 999 University St., Montreal H3C 5H7, Canada.


Stromboli (Italy) — May 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New map of the crater terrace

A 7-hour visit on 23 May led to the construction of a crater terrace map (figure 55). The Crater 2 pit mapped in 1994 and 1995 had filled in and was occupied by an inactive lava flow fed from a small truncated cone. From information by Jürg Alean (BGVN 22:03) it was inferred that this flow was emplaced between 25 April and 19 September 1996. A new subsidence bowl was forming to the SE of the former Crater 2 pit. This was occupied by a pit crater and three vents (2/1, 2/2, and 2/3), none of which exhibited explosive activity. Vent 2/1, ~4 m in diameter, was the source of regular (~1/s) gas puffs and occasional gas release, and also showed night incandescence.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Sketch map of Stromboli's crater terrace drawn on 23 May 1997 and fitted to the map from the September 1995 EDM survey (BGVN 20:11/12). Label A indicates the pit in Crater 2 mapped in both 1994 (BGVN 19:10) and 1995. Label B designates a new subsidence bowl. Label C indicates the location of a vent and small lava flow erupted sometime between 25 April and 19 September 1996. Label D indicates the spot where hornitos existed in 1994 and 1995. Courtesy of Andy Harris.

Activity during the 23 May visit was at lower levels than seen in either October 1994 (BGVN 19:10) or September 1995 (BGVN 20:11/12). However, excellent viewing conditions revealed that major changes had occurred since the 1994 and 1995 surveys (BGVN 22:03).

During the intervals 1100-1400 and 1900-2200, no eruptions were observed from Crater 3. However, at about1400 on 24 May, an explosion from Crater 3 fed a brown ash cloud that rose ~200 m above the crater rim. This was observed from the sea.

Night-time temperature measurements obtained from Pizzo Sopra la Fossa using a Minolta/Land 152 infrared thermometer (corrected for an emissivity of 0.956) gave 2/1 vent temperatures of 670-699°C. Vents 2/2 and 2/3 (~3 x 1 m and <1 m wide, respectively) were actively degassing without incandescence. The site of hornitos in 1994 and 1995 was occupied by a pit, with a wall on the NE side.

Crater 1 was occupied by two active vents (1/1 and 1/2). Between 1055 and 1155 on 23 May eight explosions occurred from these two vents. The first two explosions sent bombs 100-200 m above the crater rim with ~20% of the ejecta landing on the upper Sciara. The following six explosions sent ejecta up to 50 m above the vent.

For the next two hours, Crater 1 exploded ~1-2 times/hour, but additional sloshing and gas release sounds were occasionally audible from Pizzo Sopra la Fossa. By the evening of 23 May, Crater 1 activity had escalated to levels similar to the 1055-1155 period. As darkness fell, an intense pulsating glow visible over Crater 1 could have been due to a small, active lava pond on the crater floor. This may have accounted for the sloshing sounds heard earlier in the day.

Stromboli, a small island N of Sicily, has been in almost continuous eruption for over 2,000 years. Its small Strombolian explosions, which hurl incandescent scoriae above the crater rim, occur several times a day, but larger eruptions are less frequent.

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: Andy Harris, HIGP/SOEST, University of Hawaii, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822 USA.


Telica (Nicaragua) — May 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Telica

Nicaragua

12.606°N, 86.84°W; summit elev. 1036 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued high levels of seismicity

Seismicity as of mid-May remained at a high level, similar to recent months. There have been ~160 daily volcano-seismic events detected, with little variation. During March there were ~150 seismic signals/day recorded; in December 1996 there were <100 signals/day (BGVN 22:03).

An eruption on 31 July 1994 produced a gas-and-ash column and detectable ash fell as far as 17 km from the summit (BGVN 19:07). Phreatic explosions continued until 12 August 1994 when seismicity began decreasing (BGVN 19:09).

Geologic Background. Telica, one of Nicaragua's most active volcanoes, has erupted frequently since the beginning of the Spanish era. This volcano group consists of several interlocking cones and vents with a general NW alignment. Sixteenth-century eruptions were reported at symmetrical Santa Clara volcano at the SW end of the group. However, its eroded and breached crater has been covered by forests throughout historical time, and these eruptions may have originated from Telica, whose upper slopes in contrast are unvegetated. The steep-sided cone of Telica is truncated by a 700-m-wide double crater; the southern crater, the source of recent eruptions, is 120 m deep. El Liston, immediately E, has several nested craters. The fumaroles and boiling mudpots of Hervideros de San Jacinto, SE of Telica, form a prominent geothermal area frequented by tourists, and geothermal exploration has occurred nearby.

Information Contacts: Wilfried Strauch, Department of Geophysics, Instituto Nicaraguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), P.O. Box 1761, Managua, Nicaragua.


Turrialba (Costa Rica) — May 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Turrialba

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic temperatures near 90°C; two M 2 earthquakes in May

Fumaroles emitted comparatively little gas but remained active in the main crater's NE, N, NW, and W parts, with temperatures in the range 89-90°C. In the N and S parts of the crater, small areas of mass-wasting covered some fumaroles. Seismicity at a station 500 m E of the active crater (station VTU) has been measured consistently since May 1996; reported local earthquake counts included 72 in December 1996, 146 in January 1997, 194 in February, 182 in March, and 137 in April. During May, seismic station VTU registered a total of 72 earthquakes. On 10-11 May, four of these were located at 5-6 km depths at 8-9 km distances NE of the crater, with magnitudes of 2.1-2.6. Their origin was possibly related to a local fault.

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. Fernandez, R. Van der Laat, F. de Obaldia, T. Marino, V. Barboza, W. Jimenez, R. Saenz, E. Duarte, M. Martinez, E. Hernandez, and F. Vega, Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica.

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