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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

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

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

Recently Published Bulletin Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kikai (Japan) Ash explosion on 29 April 2020

Fuego (Guatemala) Ongoing ash explosions, block avalanches, and intermittent lava flows

Ebeko (Russia) Frequent moderate explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall continue, December 2019-May 2020

Piton de la Fournaise (France) Fissure eruptions in February and April 2020 included lava fountains and flows

Sabancaya (Peru) Daily explosions with ash emissions, large SO2 flux, ongoing thermal anomalies, December 2019-May 2020

Sheveluch (Russia) Lava dome growth and thermal anomalies continue through April 2020, but few ash explosions



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

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Kavachi

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Discolored water plumes seen using satellite imagery in 2018 and 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Geologic Background. Named for a sea-god of the Gatokae and Vangunu peoples, Kavachi is one of the most active submarine volcanoes in the SW Pacific, located in the Solomon Islands south of Vangunu Island about 30 km N of the site of subduction of the Indo-Australian plate beneath the Pacific plate. Sometimes referred to as Rejo te Kvachi ("Kavachi's Oven"), this shallow submarine basaltic-to-andesitic volcano has produced ephemeral islands up to 1 km long many times since its first recorded eruption during 1939. Residents of the nearby islands of Vanguna and Nggatokae (Gatokae) reported "fire on the water" prior to 1939, a possible reference to earlier eruptions. The roughly conical edifice rises from water depths of 1.1-1.2 km on the north and greater depths to the SE. Frequent shallow submarine and occasional subaerial eruptions produce phreatomagmatic explosions that eject steam, ash, and incandescent bombs. On a number of occasions lava flows were observed on the ephemeral islands.

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


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Soputan (Indonesia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Soputan

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor ash emissions during 23 March and 2 April 2020

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

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

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

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

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


Heard (Australia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kikai (Japan) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kikai

Japan

30.793°N, 130.305°E; summit elev. 704 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash explosion on 29 April 2020

The Kikai caldera is located at the N end of Japan’s Ryukyu Islands and has been recently characterized by intermittent ash emissions and limited ashfall in nearby communities. On Satsuma Iwo Jima island, the larger subaerial fragment of the Kikai caldera, there was a single explosion with gas-and-steam and ash emissions on 2 November 2019, accompanied by nighttime incandescence (BGVN 45:02). This report covers volcanism from January 2020 through April 2020 with a single-day eruption occurring on 29 April based on reports from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

Since the last one-day eruption on 2 November 2019, volcanism at Kikai has been relatively low and primarily consisted of 107-170 earthquakes per month and intermittent white gas-and-steam emissions rising up to 1.3 km above the crater summit. Intermittent weak hotspots were observed at night in the summit in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery and webcams, according to JMA (figures 14 and 15).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Weak thermal hotspots (bright yellow-orange) were observed on 7 January (top) and 6 April 2020 (bottom) at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai). Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Incandescence at night on 10 January 2020 was observed at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) in the Iodake crater with the Iwanogami webcam. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, January 2nd year of Reiwa [2020]).

Weak incandescence continued in April 2020. JMA reported SO2 measurements during April were 400-2000 tons/day. A brief eruption in the Iodake crater on 29 April 2020 at 0609 generated a gray-white ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater (figure 16). No ashfall or ejecta was observed after the eruption on 29 April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. The Iwanogami webcam captured a brief gray-white ash and steam plume rising above the Iodake crater rim on Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 29 April 2020 at 0609 local time. The plume rose 1 km above the crater summit. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, April 2nd year of Reiwa [2020]).

Geologic Background. Kikai is a mostly submerged, 19-km-wide caldera near the northern end of the Ryukyu Islands south of Kyushu. It was the source of one of the world's largest Holocene eruptions about 6,300 years ago when rhyolitic pyroclastic flows traveled across the sea for a total distance of 100 km to southern Kyushu, and ashfall reached the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The eruption devastated southern and central Kyushu, which remained uninhabited for several centuries. Post-caldera eruptions formed Iodake lava dome and Inamuradake scoria cone, as well as submarine lava domes. Historical eruptions have occurred at or near Satsuma-Iojima (also known as Tokara-Iojima), a small 3 x 6 km island forming part of the NW caldera rim. Showa-Iojima lava dome (also known as Iojima-Shinto), a small island 2 km E of Tokara-Iojima, was formed during submarine eruptions in 1934 and 1935. Mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have occurred during the past few decades from Iodake, a rhyolitic lava dome at the eastern end of Tokara-Iojima.

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


Fuego (Guatemala) — April 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 ash explosions, block avalanches, and intermittent lava flows

Fuego is a stratovolcano in Guatemala that has been erupting since 2002 with historical eruptions that date back to 1531. Volcanism is characterized by major ashfalls, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and lahars. The previous report (BGVN 44:10) detailed activity that included multiple ash explosions, ash plumes, ashfall, active lava flows, and block avalanches. This report covers this continuing activity from October 2019 through March 2020 and consists of ash plumes, ashfall, incandescent ejecta, block avalanches, and lava flows. 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 October 2019-March 2020. Daily activity persisted throughout October 2019-March 2020 (table 20) with multiple ash explosions recorded every hour, ash plumes that rose to a maximum of 4.8 km altitude each month drifting in multiple directions, incandescent ejecta reaching a 500 m above the crater resulting in block avalanches traveling down multiple drainages, and ashfall affecting communities in multiple directions. The highest rate of explosions occurred on 7 November with up to 25 per hour. Dominantly white fumaroles occurred frequently throughout this reporting period, rising to a maximum altitude of 4.5 km and drifting in multiple directions. Intermittent lava flows that reached a maximum length of 1.2 km were observed each month in the Seca (Santa Teresa) and Ceniza drainages (figure 128), but rarely in the Trinidad drainage. Thermal activity increased slightly in frequency and strength in late October and remained relatively consistent through mid-March as seen in the MIROVA analysis of MODIS satellite data (figure 129).

Table 20. Activity summary by month for Fuego with information compiled from INSIVUMEH daily reports.

Month Ash plume heights (km) Ash plume distance (km) and direction Drainages affected by avalanche blocks Villages reporting ashfall
Oct 2019 4.3-4.8 km 10-25 km, W-SW-S-NW Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, El Jute, Honda, and Las Lajas Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Porvenir, Finca Palo Verde, La Rochela, San Andrés Osuna, Sangre de Cristo, and San Pedro Yepocapa
Nov 2019 4.0-4.8 km 10-20 km, W-SW-S-NW Seca, Taniluyá, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, and Ceniza Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Porvenir, Sangre de Cristo, Finca Palo Verde, and San Pedro Yepocapa
Dec 2019 4.2-4.8 km 10-25 km, W-SW-S-SE-N-NE Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, and Las Lajas Morelia, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, El Porvenir, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, Panimaché I and II, La Rochela, and San Andrés Osuna
Jan 2020 4.3-4.8 km 10-25 km, W-SW-S-N-NE-E Seca, Ceniza, Taniluyá, Trinidad, Honda, and Las Lajas Morelia, Santa Sofía, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, Panimaché I and II, El Porvenir, Finca Palo Verde, Rodeo, La Rochela, Alotenango, El Zapote, Trinidad, La Reina, Ceilán
Feb 2020 4.3-4.8 km 8-25 km, W-SW-S-SE-E-NE-N-NW Seca, Ceniza, Taniluya, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, La Rochela, El Zapote, and San Andrés Osuna Panimache I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofia, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, Rodeo, La Reina, Alotenango, Yucales, Siquinalá, Santa Lucia, El Porvenir, Finca Los Tarros, La Soledad, Buena Vista, La Cruz, Pajales, San Miguel Dueñas, Ciudad Vieja, San Miguel Escobar, San Pedro las Huertas, Antigua, La Rochela, and San Andrés Osuna
Mar 2020 4.3-4.8 km 10-23 km, W-SW-S-SE-N-NW Seca, Ceniza, Trinidad, Taniluyá, Las Lajas, Honda, La Rochela, El Zapote, San Andrés Osuna, Morelia, Panimache, and Santa Sofia San Andrés Osuna, La Rochela, El Rodeo, Chuchu, Panimache I and II, Santa Sofia, Morelia, Finca Palo Verde, El Porvenir, Sangre de Cristo, La Cruz, San Pedro Yepocapa, La Conchita, La Soledad, Alotenango, Aldea la Cruz, Acatenango, Ceilan, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Las Lajas, Trinidad, Seca, and Honda
Figure (see Caption) Figure 128. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Fuego between 21 November 2019 and 20 March 2020 showing lava flows (bright yellow-orange) traveling generally S and W from the crater summit. An ash plume can also be seen on 21 November 2019, accompanying the lava flow. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 129. Thermal activity at Fuego increased in frequency and strength (log radiative power) in late October 2019 and remained relatively consistent through February 2020. In early March, there is a small decrease in thermal power, followed by a short pulse of activity and another decline. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during October-December 2019. Activity in October 2019 consisted of 6-20 ash explosions per hour; ash plumes rose to 4.8 km altitude, drifting up to 25 km in multiple directions, resulting in ashfall in Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Finca Palo Verde, La Rochela and San Andrés Osuna. The Washington VAAC issued multiple aviation advisories for a total of nine days in October. Continuous white gas-and-steam plumes reached 4.1-4.4 km altitude drifting generally W. Weak SO2 emissions were infrequently observed in satellite imagery during October and January 2020 (figure 130) Incandescent ejecta was frequently observed rising 200-400 m above the summit, which generated block avalanches that traveled down the Seca (W), Taniluyá (SW), Ceniza (SSW), Trinidad (S), El Jute, Honda, and Las Lajas (SE) drainages. During 3-7 October lahars descended the Ceniza, El Mineral, and Seca drainages, carrying tree branches, tree trunks, and blocks 1-3 m in diameter. During 6-8 and 13 October, active lava flows traveled up to 200 m down the Seca drainage.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 130. Weak SO2 emissions were observed rising from Fuego using the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Top left: 17 October 2019. Top right: 17 November 2019. Bottom left: 20 January 2020. Bottom right: 22 January 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

During November 2019, the rate of explosions increased to 5-25 per hour, the latter of which occurred on 7 November. The explosions resulted in ash plumes that rose 4-4.8 km altitude, drifting 10-20 km in the W direction. Ashfall was observed in Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Porvenir, Sangre de Cristo, Finca Palo Verde, and San Pedro Yepocapa. Multiple Washington VAAC notices were issued for 11 days in November. Continuous white gas-and-steam plumes rose up to 4.5 km altitude drifting generally W. Incandescent ejecta rose 100-500 m above the crater, generating block avalanches in Seca, Taniluyá, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, and Ceniza drainages. Lava flows were observed for a majority of the month into early December measuring 100-900 m long in the Seca and Ceniza drainages.

The number of explosions in December 2019 decreased compared to November, recording 8-19 per hour with incandescent ejecta rising 100-400 m above the crater. The explosions generated block avalanches that traveled in the Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, and Las Lajas drainages throughout the month. Ash plumes continued to rise above the summit crater to 4.8 km drifting up to 25 km in multiple directions. The Washington VAAC issued multiple daily notices almost daily in December. A continuous lava flow observed during 6-15, 21-22, 24, and 26 November through 9 December measured 100-800 m long in the Seca and Ceniza drainages.

Activity during January-March 2020. Incandescent Strombolian explosions continued daily during January 2020, ejecting material up to 100-500 m above the crater. Ash plumes continued to rise to a maximum altitude of 4.8 km, resulting in ashfall in all directions affecting Morelia, Santa Sofía, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, Panimaché I and II, El Porvenir, Finca Palo Verde, Rodeo, La Rochela, Alotenango, El Zapote, Trinidad, La Reina, and Ceilán. The Washington VAAC issued multiple notices for a total of 12 days during January. Block avalanches resulting from the Strombolian explosions traveled down the Seca, Ceniza, Taniluyá, Trinidad, Honda, and Las Lajas drainages. An active lava flow in the Ceniza drainage measured 150-600 m long during 6-10 January.

During February 2020, INSIVUMEH reported a range of 4-16 explosions per hour, accompanied by incandescent material that rose 100-500 m above the crater (figure 131). Block avalanches traveled in the Santa Teresa, Seca, Ceniza, Taniluya, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, La Rochela, El Zapote, and San Andrés Osuna drainages. Ash emissions from the explosions continued to rise 4.8 km altitude, drifting in multiple directions as far as 25 km and resulting in ashfall in the communities of Panimache I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofia, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, Rodeo, La Reina, Alotenango, Yucales, Siquinalá, Santa Lucia, El Porvenir, Finca Los Tarros, La Soledad, Buena Vista, La Cruz, Pajales, San Miguel Dueñas, Ciudad Vieja, San Miguel Escobar, San Pedro las Huertas, Antigua, La Rochela, and San Andrés Osuna. Washington VAAC notices were issued almost daily during the month. Lava flows were active in the Ceniza drainage during 13-20, 23-24, and 26-27 February measuring as long as 1.2 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 131. Incandescent ejecta rose several hundred meters above the crater of Fuego on 6 February 2020, resulting in block avalanches down multiple drainages. Courtesy of Crelosa.

Daily explosions and incandescent ejecta continued through March 2020, with 8-17 explosions per hour that rose up to 500 m above the crater. Block avalanches from the explosions were observed in the Seca, Ceniza, Trinidad, Taniluyá, Las Lajas, Honda, Santa Teresa, La Rochela, El Zapote, San Andrés Osuna, Morelia, Panimache, and Santa Sofia drainages. Accompanying ash plumes rose 4.8 km altitude, drifting in multiple directions mostly to the W as far as 23 km and resulting in ashfall in San Andrés Osuna, La Rochela, El Rodeo, Chuchu, Panimache I and II, Santa Sofia, Morelia, Finca Palo Verde, El Porvenir, Sangre de Cristo, La Cruz, San Pedro Yepocapa, La Conchita, La Soledad, Alotenango, Aldea la Cruz, Acatenango, Ceilan, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Las Lajas, Trinidad, Seca, and Honda. Multiple Washington VAAC notices were issued for a total of 15 days during March. Active lava flows were observed from 16-21 March in the Trinidad and Ceniza drainages measuring 400-1,200 m long and were accompanied by weak to moderate explosions. By 23 March, active lava flows were no longer observed.

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/); 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/); 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); Crelosa, 3ra. avenida. 8-66, Zona 14. Colonia El Campo, Guatemala Ciudad de Guatemala (URL: http://crelosa.com/, post at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1P4kWqxU2m0&feature=youtu.be).


Ebeko (Russia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

50.686°N, 156.014°E; summit elev. 1103 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent moderate explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall continue, December 2019-May 2020

The current moderate explosive eruption of Ebeko has been ongoing since October 2016, with frequent ash explosions that have reached altitudes of 1.3-6 km (BGVN 42:08, 43:03, 43:06, 43:12, 44:12). Ashfall is common in Severo-Kurilsk, a town of about 2,500 residents 7 km ESE, where the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) monitor the volcano. During the reporting period, December 2019-May 2020, the Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

During December 2019-May 2020, frequent explosions generated ash plumes that reached altitudes of 1.5-4.6 km (table 9); reports of ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk were common. Ash explosions in late April caused ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk during 25-30 April (figure 24), and the plume drifted 180 km SE on the 29th. There was also a higher level of activity during the second half of May (figure 25), when plumes drifted up to 80 km downwind.

Table 9. Summary of activity at Ebeko, December 2019-May 2020. S-K is Severo-Kurilsk (7 km ESE of the volcano). TA is thermal anomaly in satellite images. In the plume distance column, only plumes that drifted more than 10 km are indicated. Dates based on UTC times. Data courtesy of KVERT.

Date Plume Altitude (km) Plume Distance Plume Directions Other Observations
30 Nov-05 Dec 2019 3 -- NE, E Intermittent explosions.
06-13 Dec 2019 4 -- E Explosions all week. Ashfall in S-K on 10-12 Dec.
15-17 Dec 2019 3 -- E Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 16-17 Dec.
22-24 Dec 2019 3 -- NE Explosions.
01-02 Jan 2020 3 30 km N N Explosions. TA over dome on 1 Jan.
03, 05, 09 Jan 2020 2.9 -- NE, SE Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 8 Jan.
11, 13-14 Jan 2020 3 -- E Explosions. Ashfall in S-K.
19-20 Jan 2020 3 -- E Ashfall in S-K on 19 Jan.
24-31 Jan 2020 4 -- E Explosions.
01-07 Feb 2020 3 -- E, S Explosions all week.
12-13 Feb 2020 1.5 -- E Explosions. Ashfall in S-K.
18-19 Feb 2020 2.3 -- SE Explosions.
21, 25, 27 Feb 2020 2.9 -- S, SE, NE Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 22 Feb.
01-02, 05 Mar 2020 2 -- S, E Explosions.
08 Mar 2020 2.5 -- NE Explosions.
13, 17 Mar 2020 2.5 -- NE, SE Bursts of gas, steam, and small amount of ash.
24-25 Mar 2020 2.5 -- NE, W Explosions.
29 Mar-02 Apr 2020 2.2 -- NE, E Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 1 Apr. TA on 30-31 Mar.
04-05, 09 Apr 2020 1.5 -- NE Explosions. TA on 5 Apr.
13 Apr 2020 2.5 -- SE Explosions.
18, 20 Apr 2020 -- -- -- TA on 18, 20 Apr.
24 Apr-01 May 2020 3.5 180 km SE on 29 Apr E, SE Explosions all week. Ashfall in S-K on 25-30 Apr.
01-08 May 2020 2.6 -- E Explosions all week. Ashfall in S-K on 3-5 May. TA on 3 May.
08-15 May 2020 4 -- E Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 8-12 May. TA during 12-14 May.
14-15, 19-21 May 2020 3.6 80 km SW, S, SE during 14, 20-21 May -- Explosions. TA on same days.
22-29 May 2020 4.6 60 km SE E, SE Explosions all week. Ashfall in S-K on 22, 24 May.
29-31 May 2020 4.5 -- E, S Explosions. TA on 30 May.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Photo of ash explosion at Ebeko at 2110 UTC on 28 April 2020, as viewed from Severo-Kurilsk. Courtesy of KVERT (L. Kotenko).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Satellite image of Ebeko from Sentinel-2 on 27 May 2020, showing a plume drifting SE. Image using natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The flat-topped summit of the central cone of Ebeko volcano, one of the most active in the Kuril Islands, occupies the northern end of Paramushir Island. Three summit craters located along a SSW-NNE line form Ebeko volcano proper, at the northern end of a complex of five volcanic cones. Blocky lava flows extend west from Ebeko and SE from the neighboring Nezametnyi cone. The eastern part of the southern crater contains strong solfataras and a large boiling spring. The central crater is filled by a lake about 20 m deep whose shores are lined with steaming solfataras; the northern crater lies across a narrow, low barrier from the central crater and contains a small, cold crescentic lake. Historical activity, recorded since the late-18th century, has been restricted to small-to-moderate explosive eruptions from the summit craters. Intense fumarolic activity occurs in the summit craters, on the outer flanks of the cone, and in lateral explosion 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/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Piton de la Fournaise (France) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Piton de la Fournaise

France

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fissure eruptions in February and April 2020 included lava fountains and flows

Piton de la Fournaise is a massive basaltic shield volcano on the French island of Réunion in the western Indian Ocean. Recent volcanism is characterized by multiple fissure eruptions, lava fountains, and lava flows (BGVN 44:11). The activity during this reporting period of November 2019-April 2020 is consistent with the previous eruption, including lava fountaining and lava flows. Information for this report comes from the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF) and various satellite data.

Activity during November 2019-January 2020 was relatively low; no eruptive events were detected, according to OVPF. Edifice deformation resumed during the last week in December and continued through January. Seismicity significantly increased in early January, registering 258 shallow earthquakes from 1-16 January. During 17-31 January, the seismicity declined, averaging one earthquake per day.

Two eruptive events took place during February-April 2020. OVPF reported that the first occurred from 10 to 16 February on the E and SE flanks of the Dolomieu Crater. The second took place during 2-6 April. Both eruptive events began with a sharp increase in seismicity accompanied by edifice inflation, followed by a fissure eruption that resulted in lava fountains and lava flows (figure 193). MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed the two eruptive events occurring during February-April 2020 (figure 194). Similarly, the MODVOLC algorithm reported 72 thermal signatures proximal to the summit crater from 12 February to 6 April. Both of these eruptive events were accompanied by SO2 emissions that were detected by the Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI instrument (figures 195 and 196).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 193. Location maps of the lava flows on the E flank at Piton de la Fournaise on 10-16 February 2020 (left) and 2-6 April 2020 (right) as derived from SAR satellite data. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP, OPGC, LMV (Monthly bulletins of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, February and April 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 194. Two significant eruptive events at Piton de la Fournaise took place during February-April 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 195. Images of the SO2 emissions during the February 2020 eruptive event at Piton de la Fournaise detected by the Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite. Top left: 10 February 2020. Top right: 11 February 2020. Bottom left: 13 February 2020. Bottom right: 14 February 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 196. Images of the SO2 emissions during the April 2020 eruptive event at Piton de la Fournaise detected by the Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite. Left: 4 April 2020. Middle: 5 April 2020. Right: 6 April 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

On 10 February 2020 a seismic swarm was detected at 1027, followed by rapid deformation. At 1050, volcanic tremors were recorded, signaling the start of the eruption. Several fissures opened on the E flank of the Dolomieu Crater between the crater rim and at 2,000 m elevation, as observed by an overflight during 1300 and 1330. These fissures were at least 1 km long and produced lava fountains that rose up to 10 m high. Lava flows were also observed traveling E and S to 1,700 m elevation by 1315 (figures 197 and 198). The farthest flow traveled E to an elevation of 1,400 m. Satellite data from HOTVOLC platform (OPGC - University of Auvergne) was used to estimate the peak lava flow rate on 11 February at 10 m3/s. By 13 February only one lava flow that was traveling E below the Marco Crater remained active. OVPF also reported the formation of a cone, measuring 30 m tall, surrounded by three additional vents that produced lava fountains up to 15 m high. On 15 February the volcanic tremors began to decrease at 1400; by 16 February at 1412 the tremors stopped, indicating the end of the eruptive event.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 197. Photo of a lava flow and degassing at Piton de la Fournaise on 10 February 2020. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 198. Photos of the lava flows at Piton de la Fournaise taken during the February 2020 eruption by Richard Bouchet courtesy of AFP News Service.

Volcanism during the month of March 2020 consisted of low seismicity, including 21 shallow volcanic tremors and near the end of the month, edifice inflation was detected. A second eruptive event began on 2 April 2020, starting with an increase in seismicity during 0815-0851. Much of this seismicity was located on the SE part of the Dolomieu Crater. A fissure opened on the E flank, consistent with the fissures that were active during the February 2020 event. Seismicity continued to increase in intensity through 6 April located dominantly in the SE part of the Dolomieu Crater. An overflight on 5 April at 1030 showed lava fountains rising more than 50 m high accompanied by gas-and-steam plumes rising to 3-3.5 km altitude (figures 199 and 200). A lava flow advanced to an elevation of 360 m, roughly 2 km from the RN2 national road (figure 199). A significant amount of Pele’s hair and clusters of fine volcanic products were produced during the more intense phase of the eruption (5-6 April) and deposited at distances more than 10 km from the eruptive site (figure 201). It was also during this period that the SO2 emissions peaked (figure 196). The eruption stopped at 1330 after a sharp decrease in volcanic tremors.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 199. Photos of a lava flow (left) and lava fountains (right) at Piton de la Fournaise during the April 2020 eruption. Left: photo taken on 2 April 2020 at 1500. Right: photo taken on 5 April 2020 at 1030. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, April 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 200. Photo of the lava fountains erupting from Piton de la Fournaise on 4 April 2020. Photo taken by Richard Bouchet courtesy of Geo Magazine via Jeannie Curtis.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 201. Photos of Pele’s hair deposited due to the April 2020 eruption at Piton de la Fournaise. Samples collected near the Gîte du volcan on 7 April 2020 (left) and a cluster of Pele’s hair found near the Foc-Foc car park on 9 April 2020 (right). Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, April 2020).

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

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, 14 route nationale 3, 27 ème km, 97418 La Plaine des Cafres, La Réunion, France (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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); GEO Magazine (AFP story at URL: https://www.geo.fr/environnement/la-reunion-fin-deruption-au-piton-de-la-fournaise-200397); AFP (URL: https://twitter.com/AFP/status/1227140765106622464, Twitter: @AFP, https://twitter.com/AFP); Jeannie Curtis (Twitter: @VolcanoJeannie, https://twitter.com/VolcanoJeannie).


Sabancaya (Peru) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sabancaya

Peru

15.787°S, 71.857°W; summit elev. 5960 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily explosions with ash emissions, large SO2 flux, ongoing thermal anomalies, December 2019-May 2020

Although tephrochronology has dated activity at Sabancaya back several thousand years, renewed activity that began in 1986 was the first recorded in over 200 years. Intermittent activity since then has produced significant ashfall deposits, seismic unrest, and fumarolic emissions. A new period of explosive activity that began in November 2016 has been characterized by pulses of ash emissions with some plumes exceeding 10 km altitude, thermal anomalies, and significant SO2 plumes. Ash emissions and high levels of SO2 continued each week during December 2019-May 2020. The Observatorio Vulcanologico INGEMMET (OVI) reports weekly on numbers of daily explosions, ash plume heights and directions of drift, seismicity, and other activity. The Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) issued three or four daily reports of ongoing ash emissions at Sabancaya throughout the period.

The dome inside the summit crater continued to grow throughout this period, along with nearly constant ash, gas, and steam emissions; the average number of daily explosions ranged from 4 to 29. Ash and gas plume heights rose 1,800-3,800 m above the summit crater, and multiple communities around the volcano reported ashfall every month (table 6). Sulfur dioxide emissions were notably high and recorded daily with the TROPOMI satellite instrument (figure 75). Thermal activity declined during December 2019 from levels earlier in the year but remained steady and increased in both frequency and intensity during April and May 2020 (figure 76). Infrared satellite images indicated that the primary heat source throughout the period was from the dome inside the summit crater (figure 77).

Table 6. Persistent activity at Sabancaya during December 2019-May 2020 included multiple daily explosions with ash plumes that rose several kilometers above the summit and drifted in many directions; this resulted in ashfall in communities within 30 km of the volcano. Satellite instruments recorded SO2 emissions daily. Data courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET.

Month Avg. Daily Explosions by week Max plume Heights (m above crater) Plume drift (km) and direction Communities reporting ashfall Min Days with SO2 over 2 DU
Dec 2019 16, 13, 5, 5 2,600-3,800 20-30 NW Pinchollo, Madrigal, Lari, Maca, Achoma, Coporaque, Yanque, Chivay, Huambo, Cabanaconde 27
Jan 2020 10, 8, 11, 14, 4 1,800-3,400 30 km W, NW, SE, S Chivay, Yanque, Achoma 29
Feb 2020 8, 11, 20, 19 2,000-2,200 30 km SE, E, NE, W Huambo 29
Mar 2020 14, 22, 29, 18 2,000-3,000 30 km NE, W, NW, SW Madrigal, Lari, Pinchollo 30
Apr 2020 12, 12, 16, 13, 8 2,000-3,000 30 km SE, NW, E, S Pinchollo, Madrigal, Lari, Maca, Ichupampa, Yanque, Chivay, Coporaque, Achoma 27
May 2020 15, 14, 6, 16 1,800-2,400 30 km SW, SE, E, NE, W Chivay, Achoma, Maca, Lari, Madrigal, Pinchollo 27
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Sulfur dioxide anomalies were captured daily from Sabancaya during December 2019-May 2020 by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Some of the largest SO2 plumes are shown here with dates listed in the information at the top of each image. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Thermal activity at Sabancaya declined during December 2019 from levels earlier in the year but remained steady and increased slightly in frequency and intensity during April and May 2020, according to the MIROVA graph of Log Radiative Power from 23 June 2019 through May 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Sabancaya confirmed the frequent ash emissions and ongoing thermal activity from the dome inside the summit crater during December 2019-May 2020. Top row (left to right): On 6 December 2019 a large plume of steam and ash drifted N from the summit. On 16 December 2019 a thermal anomaly encircled the dome inside the summit caldera while gas and possible ash drifted NW. On 14 April 2020 a very similar pattern persisted inside the crater. Bottom row (left to right): On 19 April an ash plume was clearly visible above dense cloud cover. On 24 May the infrared glow around the dome remained strong; a diffuse plume drifted W. A large plume of ash and steam drifted SE from the summit on 29 May. Infrared images use Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a), other images use Natural Color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The average number of daily explosions during December 2019 decreased from a high of 16 the first week of the month to a low of five during the last week. Six pyroclastic flows occurred on 10 December (figure 78). Tremors were associated with gas-and-ash emissions for most of the month. Ashfall was reported in Pinchollo, Madrigal, Lari, Maca, Achoma, Coporaque, Yanque, and Chivay during the first week of the month, and in Huambo and Cabanaconde during the second week (figure 79). Inflation of the volcano was measured throughout the month. SO2 flux was measured by OVI as ranging from 2,500 to 4,300 tons per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Multiple daily explosions at Sabancaya produced ash plumes that rose several kilometers above the summit. Left image is from 5 December and right image is from 11 December 2019. Note pyroclastic flows to the right of the crater on 11 December. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-49-2019/INGEMMET Semana del 2 al 8 de diciembre de 2019 and RSSAB-50-2019/INGEMMET Semana del 9 al 15 de diciembre de 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Communities to the N and W of Sabancaya recorded ashfall from the volcano the first week of December and also every month during December 2019-May 2020. The red zone is the area where access is prohibited (about a 12-km radius from the crater). Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-22-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 25 al 31 de mayo del 2020).

During January and February 2020 the number of daily explosions averaged 4-20. Ash plumes rose as high as 3.4 km above the summit (figure 80) and drifted up to 30 km in multiple directions. Ashfall was reported in Chivay, Yanque, and Achoma on 8 January, and in Huambo on 25 February. Sulfur dioxide flux ranged from a low of 1,200 t/d on 29 February to a high of 8,200 t/d on 28 January. Inflation of the edifice was measured during January; deformation changed to deflation in early February but then returned to inflation by the end of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Ash plumes rose from Sabancaya every day during January and February 2020. Left: 11 January. Right: 28 February. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-02-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 06 al 12 de enero del 2020 and RSSAB-09-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 24 de febrero al 01 de marzo del 2020).

Explosions continued during March and April 2020, averaging 8-29 per day. Explosions appeared to come from multiple vents on 11 March (figure 81). Ash plumes rose 3 km above the summit during the first week of March and again the first week of April; they were lower during the other weeks. Ashfall was reported in Madrigal, Lari, and Pinchollo on 27 March and 5 April. On 17 April ashfall was reported in Maca, Ichupampa, Yanque, Chivay, Coporaque, and Achoma. Sulfur dioxide flux ranged from 1,900 t/d on 5 March to 10,700 t/d on 30 March. Inflation at depth continued throughout March and April with 10 +/- 4 mm recorded between 21 and 26 April. Similar activity continued during May 2020; explosions averaged 6-16 per day (figure 82). Ashfall was reported on 6 May in Chivay, Achoma, Maca, Lari, Madrigal, and Pinchollo; heavy ashfall was reported in Achoma on 12 May. Additional ashfall was reported in Achoma, Maca, Madrigal, and Lari on 23 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Explosions at Sabancaya on 11 March 2020 appeared to originate simultaneously from two different vents (left). The plume on 12 April was measured at about 2,500 m above the summit. Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-11-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 9 al 15 de marzo del 2020 and RSSAB-15-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 6 al 12 de abril del 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Explosions dense with ash continued during May 2020 at Sabancaya. On 11 and 29 May 2020 ash plumes rose from the summit and drifted as far as 30 km before dissipating. Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya , RSSAB-20-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 11 al 17 de mayo del 2020 and RSSAB-22-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 25 al 31 de mayo del 2020).

Geologic Background. Sabancaya, located in the saddle NE of Ampato and SE of Hualca Hualca volcanoes, is the youngest of these volcanic centers and the only one to have erupted in historical time. The oldest of the three, Nevado Hualca Hualca, is of probable late-Pliocene to early Pleistocene age. The name Sabancaya (meaning "tongue of fire" in the Quechua language) first appeared in records in 1595 CE, suggesting activity prior to that date. Holocene activity has consisted of Plinian eruptions followed by emission of voluminous andesitic and dacitic lava flows, which form an extensive apron around the volcano on all sides but the south. Records of historical eruptions date back to 1750.

Information Contacts: Observatorio Volcanologico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico), Barrio Magisterial Nro. 2 B-16 Umacollo - Yanahuara Arequipa, Peru (URL: http://ovi.ingemmet.gob.pe); Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Meteorológico Nacional-Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 25 de mayo 658, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/inicio.php); 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/); 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).


Sheveluch (Russia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava dome growth and thermal anomalies continue through April 2020, but few ash explosions

The eruption at Sheveluch has continued for more than 20 years, with strong explosions that have produced ash plumes, lava dome growth, hot avalanches, numerous thermal anomalies, and strong fumarolic activity (BGVN 44:05). During this time, there have been periods of greater or lesser activity. The most recent period of increased activity began in December 2018 and continued through October 2019 (BGVN 44:11). This report covers activity between November 2019 to April 2020, a period during which activity waned. The volcano is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) and Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

During the reporting period, KVERT noted that lava dome growth continued, accompanied by incandescence of the dome blocks and hot avalanches. Strong fumarolic activity was also present (figure 53). However, the overall eruption intensity waned. Ash plumes sometimes rose to 10 km altitude and drifted downwind over 600 km (table 14). The Aviation Color Code (ACC) remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale), except for 3 November when it was raised briefly to Red (the highest level).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Fumarolic activity of Sheveluch’s lava dome on 24 January 2020. Photo by Y. Demyanchuk; courtesy of KVERT.

Table 14. Explosions and ash plumes at Sheveluch during November 2019-April 2020. Dates and times are UTC, not local. Data courtesy of KVERT and the Tokyo VAAC.

Dates Plume Altitude (km) Drift Distance and Direction Remarks
01-08 Nov 2019 -- 640 km NW 3 November: ACC raised to Red from 0546-0718 UTC before returning to Orange.
08-15 Nov 2019 9-10 1,300 km ESE
17-27 Dec 2019 6.0-6.5 25 km E Explosions at about 23:50 UTC on 21 Dec.
20-27 Mar 2020 -- 45 km N 25 March: Gas-and-steam plume containing some ash.
03-10 Apr 2020 10 km 526 km SE 8 April: Strong explosion at 1910 UTC.
17-24 Apr 2020 -- 140 km NE Re-suspended ash plume.

KVERT reported thermal anomalies over the volcano every day, except for 25-26 January, when clouds obscured observations. During the reporting period, thermal anomalies, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm recorded hotspots on 10 days in November, 13 days in December, nine days in January, eight days in both February and March, and five days in April. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, detected numerous hotspots every month, almost all of which were of moderate radiative power (figure 54).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Thermal anomalies at Sheveluch continued at elevated levels during November 2019-April 2020, as seen on this MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph for July 2019-April 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

High sulfur dioxide levels were occasionally recorded just above or in the close vicinity of Sheveluch by the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) aboard the Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite, but very little drift was observed.

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 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); 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/).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 22, Number 06 (June 1997)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Apoyo (Nicaragua)

On 8 June, a M 3.7 tectonic earthquake struck this reposing caldera

Bezymianny (Russia)

Tracking 9 May plumes; ash eruption on 15 May

Etna (Italy)

Summary of April-June 1997 activity

Hakkodasan (Japan)

Volcanogenic carbon dioxide kills soldiers in a topographic depression

Ijen (Indonesia)

Late-June interval of increased seismicity; lake color changes

Karymsky (Russia)

Elevated seismicity indicating continued Strombolian activity

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

June ash plumes to 2 km above summit

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Mild ash emissions and low seismicity during June

Masaya (Nicaragua)

Stable and non-eruptive during May-June

Merapi (Indonesia)

Pyroclastic flows and vigorous plumes noted in first half of 1997

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Diminished eruptions after 1 June but strong tilt follows

Raung (Indonesia)

Aviators report April ash plume to 5 km and June "smoke" plume to 6 km altitude

San Cristobal (Nicaragua)

Seismicity, thin tephra falls, crop damage, and evacuation plans

Semeru (Indonesia)

Pilots saw April-June ash at 3- to 7-km altitudes

Sheveluch (Russia)

July gas-and-steam plumes to 1.5 km height

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Deadly N-directed pyroclastic flows on 25 June; cyclical eruptive behavior

Suwanosejima (Japan)

Ashfall in March and continued ash emissions in April

Telica (Nicaragua)

June increase in both earthquakes and the extent of fumaroles



Apoyo (Nicaragua) — June 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Apoyo

Nicaragua

11.92°N, 86.03°W; summit elev. 600 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


On 8 June, a M 3.7 tectonic earthquake struck this reposing caldera

A swarm of seismic events was observed in June 1997, centered on the E flank of the Laguna de Apoyo. The strongest event was M 3.7 on 8 June. This and many other events were felt with maximum modified Mercalli intensity of IV in nearby villages and Granada city (10 km from Apoyo). The events were of tectonic character.

Geologic Background. The scenic 7-km-wide, lake-filled Apoyo caldera is a large silicic volcanic center immediately SE of Masaya caldera. The surface of Laguna de Apoyo lies only 78 m above sea level; the steep caldera walls rise about 100 m to the eastern rim and up to 500 m to the western rim. An early shield volcano constructed of basaltic-to-andesitic lava flows and small rhyodacitic lava domes collapsed following two major dacitic explosive eruptions. The caldera-forming eruptions have been radiocarbon dated between about 21,000-25,000 years before present. Post-caldera ring-fracture eruptions of uncertain age produced lava flows below the scalloped caldera rim. The slightly arcuate, N-S-trending La Joya fracture system that cuts the eastern flank of the caldera only 2 km east of the caldera rim is a younger regional fissure system structurally unrelated to Apoyo caldera.

Information Contacts: Wilfried Strauch, Department of Geophysics, and Marta Navarro C., Department of Volcanoes, Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), P.O. Box 1761, Managua, Nicaragua.


Bezymianny (Russia) — June 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Tracking 9 May plumes; ash eruption on 15 May

The previous report on Bezymianny (BGVN 22:04) described an early May eruption. That event spawned aviation reports, including ash-cloud dispersion observations and forecasts that showed the 9 May plume moving hundreds of kilometers ENE- NE.

In one case (at 0832 GMT), satellite imagery disclosed two clouds at different altitudes. One cloud was still attached to the volcano; it reached ~500 km E-W; it spread both E and W from the volcano but was offset slightly to the N. The other cloud was detached and higher; it lay over the Bering Sea centered ~600 km NE of the summit.

About an hour later (at 0932 GMT), the lower cloud detached and moved N. The higher cloud covered a larger area and moved NE to assume a position with its N margin overlying the mainland. The lower cloud shifted N and detached from the source.

An aviation report on 15 May mentioned ash erupted from the volcano before 2015 GMT. This was confirmed by AVO and satellite imagery. Ash, however, was not detected the next day on satellite images.

Several gas-and-steam plumes were noted in July. On the 14th one rose to 1 km above the crater and moved 25 km E. During 15-20 July, others rose 100-400 m above the crater and blew 5-10 km to the E and SE. On 21 July one rose 50 m above the crater; yet another on 27 July rose 300 m above the crater and moved 20 km to the W.

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

Information Contacts: Vladimir Kirianov, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia; Tom Miller, Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA; Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, P.O. Box 735, Darwin NT 0801, Australia; NOAA/NESDIS Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA.


Etna (Italy) — June 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Summary of April-June 1997 activity

During April the mild Strombolian activity of Southeast Crater (SEC) continued at the same level as in previous months (BGVN 22:02). Every night the surveillance video camera at "La Montagnola" recorded episodes of Strombolian activity that lasted from a few minutes to an hour, with some isolated explosions. Direct observations on 11 April revealed that the small SEC cinder cone had changed its shape and was still producing new lava flows from the breaks on its flanks. Strombolian activity occurred also at Bocca Nuova (BN) with spattering as high as the crater rim. On the N side of the crater floor a cone was spattering from one of its numerous vents. On the SE side a new vent opened near an older one; both were strongly degassing and mildly spattering. Strong degassing was observed both at Voragine and Northeast Crater (NEC). In addition, the collapse of NEC's floor was indicated by debris in the crater. Field surveys during the second half of April revealed no variations in the volcanic activity or in the craters' appearance.

During May, Strombolian activity at the N and S vents of BN varied daily in intensity from low-level degassing and minor eruptive activity to magma boiling on the crater floor and almost continuous Strombolian explosions. Volcanic bombs were thrown as high as the crater rim, but none fell out of the crater. SEC continued to produce minor, almost continuous gas explosions and some spattering from the dome-shaped cone. Lava emissions generally lasted for a few hours. This hornito-style activity was eventually interrupted by sudden vigorous explosions caused by temporary blockage of the conduit. Examination of bombs and lava blocks that had fallen beyond the SEC rim confirmed that the magma was more crystal-rich and viscous compared to the scoriaceous material erupted by BN. No explosive activity was reported at NEC except a few small brown ash emissions, probably caused by collapse of the degassing vent's walls. Enlargement of the pit-shaped vent was seen during a survey with a Civil Protection helicopter.

During June the explosive activity gradually increased at both BN and SEC. In particular SEC's hornito-style activity was frequently interrupted by intense explosions, but there was no appreciable variation in lava emission. BN activity remained within the crater boundaries with minor lava flows; eventually bombs thrown out of the crater fell on the cone's upper N slope.

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

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


Hakkodasan (Japan) — June 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Hakkodasan

Japan

40.659°N, 140.877°E; summit elev. 1585 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Volcanogenic carbon dioxide kills soldiers in a topographic depression

On 14 July press reports noted that a party of the Ground Self Defense Force (Japanese army) on a training mission at the N foot of Hakkoda volcano without gas masks accidentally inhaled dangerous gases. In the darkness, some members of the party slipped into a depression (18 m long, 11 m wide, and 8 m deep), as did those who first tried to rescue them. The men were hospitalized on the evening of 12 July, but three lost their lives. There were no plants within the depression, and leaves on plants around it were dead. The fire station of the Aomori Prefecture mentioned that many holes and depressions emitting sulfurous acidic gases were located around this volcano. Local farmers reported dead animals in these depressions.

According to J. Hirabayashi, who inspected the depression on 13 July, its gases contained as much as 15-20 volume percent CO2 (much higher than the normal value of 0.035%), but no hydrogen sulfide. Delta 13C values were -5.7 for CO2 in the gas from the depression collected on 13 July, -6.1 for CO2 dissolved in water samples from the Hakkoda hotsprings, and -6.0 in the springwater from near the depression, collected on 14 July. These results indicated a magmatic origin for the CO2-rich gas because delta 13C of CO2 in volcanic gas in Japan ranges from -10 to 0 , whereas that in CO2 gas of organic origin ranges from -30 to -20 .

Geologic Background. The basaltic-to-rhyolitic Hakkodasan volcano includes 14 stratovolcanoes and lava domes south of Mutsu Bay at the northern end of Honshu. The NE rim of an 8-km-wide Pleistocene caldera forms an arcuate ridge across a flat caldera-floor moat NE of the Hakkoda group volcanoes, which bury the SE caldera wall. A northern group of volcanoes, constructed within the caldera, appears to be younger than the southern group. Hakkoda-Odake, Ido-dake, and Tsurugi-dake have well-preserved craters. Akakura-dake has a 1-km-wide explosion crater breached to the north. No historical eruptions are known, although an active solfatara occurs at Ido-dake, and hot springs are found at several locations within the caldera. Three minor phreatic eruptions were documented from Jigoku-numa on the SW flank of Odake volcano from the 13th-17th centuries. Three soldiers on a training mission in July 1997 were killed by inhalation of volcanic gas.

Information Contacts: Takeshi Ohba and Jun-ichi Hirabayashi, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 2-12-1 O-okayama,Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152, Japan; Setsuya Nakada, Volcano Research Center, Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1- 1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113, Japan (URL: http://www.eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp/VRC/index_E.html).


Ijen (Indonesia) — June 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Ijen

Indonesia

8.058°S, 114.242°E; summit elev. 2769 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Late-June interval of increased seismicity; lake color changes

Not long after a Jakarta newspaper reported increased fumarolic activity and a large number of earthquakes, Dali Ahmad of the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI) reported that seismic activity had been on the rise since about 27 June. He also noted that the color of the water in Kawah Ijen crater lake had changed, and one or more workers near the summit reported dizziness and headaches. Ahmad closed by saying that seismicity later returned to normal.

Geologist Steve Mattox, visiting around late June, reported seeing gas bubbles and areas of upwelling in the lake. He noted that on 29 June the summit area was closed to public access after birds were seen falling into the water.

Reference. Pasternack, G.I., and Varekamp, J.C., 1994, The geochemistry of Keli Mutu volcanic lakes, Flores, Indonesia: Geochem. Journal 28, p. 243- 262.

Geologic Background. The Ijen volcano complex at the eastern end of Java consists of a group of small stratovolcanoes constructed within the large 20-km-wide Ijen (Kendeng) caldera. The north caldera wall forms a prominent arcuate ridge, but elsewhere the caldera rim is buried by post-caldera volcanoes, including Gunung Merapi, which forms the high point of the complex. Immediately west of the Gunung Merapi stratovolcano is the historically active Kawah Ijen crater, which contains a nearly 1-km-wide, turquoise-colored, acid lake. Picturesque Kawah Ijen is the world's largest highly acidic lake and is the site of a labor-intensive sulfur mining operation in which sulfur-laden baskets are hand-carried from the crater floor. Many other post-caldera cones and craters are located within the caldera or along its rim. The largest concentration of cones forms an E-W zone across the southern side of the caldera. Coffee plantations cover much of the caldera floor, and tourists are drawn to its waterfalls, hot springs, and volcanic scenery.

Information Contacts: Dali Ahmad, Volcanological Survey of Indonesia, Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung, Indonesia; Steve Mattox, 44 Robinson St., Nedlands, WA 60009 Australia; Johan C. Varekamp, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences 265 Church Street, Wesleyan University Middletown, CT 06459-0139 USA.


Karymsky (Russia) — June 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Elevated seismicity indicating continued Strombolian activity

Seismicity remained above background for the three-week interval ending on 27 July. Although visual observations were absent, seismicity indicated continued low-level Strombolian eruptive activity of the kind that has characterized the volcano for more than a year.

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

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


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — June 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)


June ash plumes to 2 km above summit

Mild Vulcanian activity prevailed at Crater 2 in late May and this continued in June. Except for 5-9 June, throughout the rest of the month Crater 2 emitted moderate, pale to dark- gray ash clouds. Some rose ~2.0 km above the summit. Fine ash fell on the N and NW parts of the volcano on the 10, 12 and 18 June. Occasional low rumbling noises were heard on 13, 15, 16, 19, 20, 22, 28, and 30 June. No glow was observed. As has been typical, Crater 3 remained quiet. Seismographs remained inoperative during June.

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

Information Contacts: Ben Talai, RVO.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — June 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)


Mild ash emissions and low seismicity during June

At Manam's Main Crater, mild activity prevailed during June. In the first few days of the month emissions consisted of occasional small-moderate ash clouds to several hundred meters above the summit and very fine ashfall in the NW part of the island. Weak white vapor came from the volcano during 5-19 June. On the 19th viewers began seeing occasional small to moderate ash clouds; these continued until the 22nd. During this time fine ash again fell on the NW part of the island. During 23-30 June Main Crater chiefly emitted thin vapor. Throughout June, audible noises and summit glow remained absent.

At Southern Crater during June there were mainly weak emissions of thin white vapor. On the 28th, however, occasional white-gray ash clouds were observed.

Seismic activity was low. The daily number of low-frequency events was 140-1,600 per day. The lower daily totals took place during a period of very low summit activity (8-17 June). Data taken by the water-tube tiltmeter lacked clear trends.

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

Information Contacts: Ben Talai, RVO.


Masaya (Nicaragua) — June 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Stable and non-eruptive during May-June

Besides the strong degassing and high tremor, which are normal for this volcano, Masaya lacked signs of abnormal activity during May and June 1997.

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

Information Contacts: Wilfried Strauch, Department of Geophysics, and Marta Navarro C., Department of Volcanoes, Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), P.O. Box 1761, Managua, Nicaragua.


Merapi (Indonesia) — June 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Pyroclastic flows and vigorous plumes noted in first half of 1997

The Societe Volcanologique de Geneve (SVG) reported that on 11 January a member of the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI) noticed the emplacement of ~ 400,000 m3 of material on the dome. On 14 January, at 0930 the first of many pyroclastic flows was observed. During the following 10 hours 81 pyroclastic flows ran down the flanks, reaching as far as 4 km. Tremors and volcano-tectonic earthquakes were recorded. On 17 January a strong explosion threw a 4,000-m-high column above the crater and another pyroclastic flow raced down the slopes at 1040.

The National Coordinating Board for Disaster Management (BAKORNAS PB) of the Indonesian Government later announced that an eruption took place at 1035 on 17 January. Heavy rains on 17 and 18 January in surrounding areas could have caused mudflows. Reuters reported that about 5,000 people living near Merapi were evacuated from their villages after the volcano started spewing burning ash and hot lava. By 18 January the volcanic activity started decreasing. On 24 January the volcano began spewing hot clouds again; many of the evacuees returned home despite the warnings. According to local newspapers, six people were missing, several were injured, and many had been blinded by the heat clouds, but none were dead. Damage included hundreds of hectares of crops burned.

SVG also reported that a new crater had formed within the 1992 lavas and the early- 1997 lavas. A new dome was growing inside this crater; its volume was estimated to be 160,000 m3. On 22 March and 29 June 1997 Qantas flights over Merapi reported ash at ~ 6.1 and 10 km altitude, respectively. In both cases, however, satellite imagery failed to confirm the plumes because of high clouds.

From 12 to 15 April a field party from the European Volcanological Society (SVE) observed the volcano, from Kaliungarang village, ~6 km from the dome; later they moved to closer positions. They reported pyroclastic flows and rockfalls with frequencies of 5-10 events/hour; the longest runout distances were 2 km from the summit. Of these rockfalls, only a few were made of incandescent materials, indicating that the others involved remobilized older material. A plume was almost always present at the summit.

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

Information Contacts: M. Vigny and P. Vetsch, Societe de Volcanologie Geneve (SVG), B.P. 298, CH-1225, Chenebourg, Switzerland; Reuters; Department of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations, Palais de Nations 1211 Geneva, Switzerland; Henry Gaudru and Patrick Barons, European Volcanological Society (SVE), C.P. 1, 1211 Geneva 17, Switzerland; Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, P.O. Box 735, Darwin NT 0801, Australia.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — June 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)


Diminished eruptions after 1 June but strong tilt follows

Tavurvur's activity subsided following the Strombolian eruption of 1 June (BGVN 22:05). The eruption's main episode peaked at about 1452 on 1 June, achieving a RSAM value of 645 units. Activity then dropped briefly but picked up again. The second RSAM peak at about 1612 on 1 June did not get higher than the first one; afterwards, activity decayed exponentially and at about 2300 on 1 June reached a background low of 30 RSAM units.

As the activity decayed there were loud explosions that sent dark ash clouds ~ 2 km above the summit. Explosions decreased in number and intensity until 14 June. For the remaining part of the month, Tavurvur both continuously and gently emitted thin white with blue vapors.

During the month a total of nine high-frequency earthquakes occurred. Only one of them was reliably located in the caldera's SE quadrant, a common zone of epicenters. The other events were not reliably located (due to a lack of operating seismic stations), but probably occurred outside the caldera to the E (1 event), NW (6), and W (1). Harmonic tremor with durations of a few minutes to about an hour occurred in June. These followed the main eruption episode of 1 June and on 4, 6, 9, 10,11, and 21 June.

The electronic tiltmeter at Matupit Island indicated WSW-directed tilt in the latter half of May. At the beginning of June, the tilt direction drifted to the SW, suggesting inflation to Tavurvur's N. This inflation continued until the 14th; tilt during this interval amounted to 34 microrad. After the 14th, the tilt direction drifted back to WSW, radial to Tavurvur; in this orientation the tilt changed by 20 microrad. Tilt changed little during 19-30 June.

During June, the water-tube tiltmeter at Sulphur Creek (near Rabaul Town's S margin, 3.5 km NW of Tavurvur) suggested inflation centered to Tavurvur's N. During June, the electronic tiltmeter on the S part of the Vulcan headland indicated inflation in the central caldera (S of Matupit Island). Similar observations preceded the last few Strombolian eruption episodes.

Reference. Lauer, S.E., 1995, Pumice and ash: a personal account of the 1994 Rabaul volcanic eruptions: Quality Plus Printers Pty. Ltd., Ballina, Australia, 80 p.

Geologic Background. The low-lying Rabaul caldera on the tip of the Gazelle Peninsula at the NE end of New Britain forms a broad sheltered harbor utilized by what was the island's largest city prior to a major eruption in 1994. The outer flanks of the 688-m-high asymmetrical pyroclastic shield volcano are formed by thick pyroclastic-flow deposits. The 8 x 14 km caldera is widely breached on the east, where its floor is flooded by Blanche Bay and was formed about 1400 years ago. An earlier caldera-forming eruption about 7100 years ago is now considered to have originated from Tavui caldera, offshore to the north. Three small stratovolcanoes lie outside the northern and NE caldera rims. Post-caldera eruptions built basaltic-to-dacitic pyroclastic cones on the caldera floor near the NE and western caldera walls. Several of these, including Vulcan cone, which was formed during a large eruption in 1878, have produced major explosive activity during historical time. A powerful explosive eruption in 1994 occurred simultaneously from Vulcan and Tavurvur volcanoes and forced the temporary abandonment of Rabaul city.

Information Contacts: Ben Talai, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.


Raung (Indonesia) — June 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Raung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Aviators report April ash plume to 5 km and June "smoke" plume to 6 km altitude

On 10 April an ash cloud was reported drifting to the E at 5 km altitude. The Bureau of Meteorology had learned from the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia that the volcano had been erupting continuously, but ash was ejected only ~ 150 m above the crater. On 1 June a Qantas pilot described "smoke" at 6.1 km, drifting W. Similar reports were received on 18 and 22 June, but heavy clouds hampered the detection of ash in satellite imagery.

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: Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, P.O. Box 735, Darwin NT 0801, Australia.


San Cristobal (Nicaragua) — June 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)


Seismicity, thin tephra falls, crop damage, and evacuation plans

Additional information has come to light regarding the eruption that began on the night of 19-20 May 1997 (BGVN 22:05). On the morning of 20 May, fine ash was found on cars in the town of Chinandega (18 km W of the volcano) and the same day people from Hacienda Las Rojas (~3 km SW of the crater) reported 1 mm of ashfall.

The 20 May explosions sometimes occurred nearly continuously for intervals of a few minutes, and at other times stopped for minutes or even hours. Yet, around that time the amount of ash expelled remained very low. The plumes typically moved to the SW, though on some occasions shifting winds carried them N or NE.

INETER volcanologists who visited Hacienda Las Rojas on 8 May prior to the eruption, noticed that the vegetation had been strongly affected by volcanic gases. As time passed, nearby people feared that continued eruptions would threaten local coffee plantations. Moreover, by an undisclosed date thirteen banana growers in Chinandega estimated damage at 40,000 boxes, a loss with an estimated value of US $160,000.

Small eruptions recurred, though in June the rainy season brought decreased visibility. As a result, both observation points at Casita volcano and San Cristóbal crater were frequently cloud-covered. Although during June ash only fell in small amounts and very near the volcano, starting on 3 July ash accumulated at a village 2 km W of the volcano (Las Rojas) and by an undisclosed time it reached 2-mm thickness. Also, starting on 7 July residents reported new ash in Chinandega, this time in greater amounts and composed of coarser particles than the May ash. The concern at INETER was that these coarser and thicker ashes could indicate the ascent of magma to shallower levels.

To prepare for outbursts of increased intensity the local administration together with the Civil Defense Organization took some preventive measures. Immediately after the 14 May alert information submitted by INETER, they organized meetings with local residents to explain evacuation plans. In Chinandega a meeting was organized that included high-ranking government officials and INETER volcanologists who explained the volcanic risk. Key roads in the populated area near the volcano were repaired to facilitate rapid evacuation if necessary.

Seismic data. The RSAM (Real-time Seismic Amplitude Measurement) index of seismicity was computed from the 10-minute mean of seismic amplitude at station CRIN (figure 3). This station, which lies near Hacienda Las Rojas (3 km SW of the crater) contains an L-4 seismometer and a 60-dB amplifier. The available time series contained occasional artifacts of telemetry or system interruptions. Some RSAM interruptions resulted from low batteries due to clouded skies and ash on solar panels. These artifacts were removed and then the data were filtered with an ~3-hour-long gliding mean that effectively removed the short time-interval maxima. Prior to this processing some maxima had reached 140 RSAM units.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. RSAM data from San Cristóbal, May-July 1997. Courtesy of Wilfried Strauch, INETER.

The RSAM index reached a maximum on 14-15 May (figure 2) and remained stable until 23 May. It then declined to a minimum on 26 May. RSAM again reached ~60 at the beginning of June where it remained until early July, when it climbed to a maximum near 95 units.

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, Department of Geophysics, and Marta Navarro C., Department of Volcanoes, Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), P.O. Box 1761, Managua, Nicaragua.


Semeru (Indonesia) — June 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Pilots saw April-June ash at 3- to 7-km altitudes

Aviation ash advisories were issued on 21-23 March, 16-19, and 30 May, and 6 June following reports by Qantas pilots who encountered ash at altitudes of 3.5-7 km. Another Qantas report on 10 July described light ash as high as 10 km altitude. Lower level (3-6.1 km) ash was encountered again by Qantas flights on 10, 13, 20, 23 and 24 July. Neither BOM nor SAB observed ash in satellite imagery because of clouds over the mountains.

A pyroclastic flow and minor ashfall was reported in October 1996, along with explosions and avalanches earthquakes (BGVN 21:11). Semeru is the highest and one of the most active volcanoes of Java. It lies at the S end of a volcanic massif extending N to the Tengger Caldera and has been in almost continuous eruption since 1967.

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

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


Sheveluch (Russia) — June 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


July gas-and-steam plumes to 1.5 km height

On 13 July a steam-and-gas plume rose 100 m above the crater and drifted 5 km W; another rose to 800 m and drifted 10 km SE. One the next day rose up to 1,000 m above the crater and drifted 10 km W. On 15-20 July, more gas-and-steam plumes rose 100-400 m above the crater and drifted 5-10 km to the E and SE. On 21 and 27 July, incandescent gas emissions with temperatures of 200-500°C rose 300-400 m above the extrusive dome inside the crater. Gas explosions rose 1-1.5 km and drifted 15-50 km W-SW. During 22-26 July, gas explosions (on 23 July these included minor ash) sent plumes 700-1,500 m above the crater and moved 20-60 km N and NE.

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

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


Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — June 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)


Deadly N-directed pyroclastic flows on 25 June; cyclical eruptive behavior

The following condenses reports from the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) and stated sources for the period ending 30 June. Although N-flank pyroclastic flows became increasingly common during late May-June (figure 23), the most lethal and destructive eruption in the volcano's historical record traveled N on 25 June (figure 24). That eruption, discussed in MVO Special Report 03 (29 June 1997 draft), sent a plume to ~10-km altitude and produced pyroclastic flows that overran both vacated and partly inhabited NE-flank settlements in the officially evacuated zone. Some flows stopped near the edge of Bramble airport; it has remained closed since that time. Risk associated with repeated pyroclastic flows to the N and W led to a new risk map (figure 25). Early August pyroclastic flows destroyed structures in central Plymouth; details will be provided next month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Soufriere Hills map showing the runouts of pyroclastic flows during 30 May-25 June 1997. Labels "A," "B," and "C" designate peaks with the same names. Modified from MVO Special Report 03 (29 June 1997).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Sketch map of the pyroclastic flow and surge deposits laid down at Soufriere Hills on 25 June. Note the arrows showing transport directions and the narrow band of deposits spreading W into the Belham Valley. Modified from MVO Special Report 03 (29 June 1997).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Risk map for Montserrat as of 4 July 1997. Arrows show distal ends of small pyroclastic flows that occurred through 25 June. Modified from MVO Special Report 03 (29 June 1997).

During June NOAA's Satellite Analysis Branch repeatedly noted light plumes from the volcano. The plumes were typically "cigar-shaped" and attached to the source; in GOES-8 satellite imagery they frequently remained discernible 50-100 km W to WNW. Two days after the [25] June outburst, an ash cloud to over 10 km moved N-NW to ~200 km from the volcano.

Key events. Table 21 summarizes events during 14 May-25 June 1997. The 14 May rockfalls followed about two-and-a-half months of relative stability; by 19 May the intensity of rockfalls increased and they spilled N into Tuitt's Ghaut. On 29 May, Tuitt's Ghaut was also the scene of a minor pyroclastic flow. Subsequent pyroclastic flows increased during early June; during mid-June they reached into Mosquito Ghaut and Gages Valley (figure 23).

Table 21. Time line summary for Soufriere Hills leading up to the destructive 25 June 1997 outburst. Where unspecified, pyroclastic flow runout distances are measured from the crater. Modified from MVO Special Report 03 (29 June 1997).

Date Description of Activity
14 May 1997 Beginning of rock falls on dome's N face.
19 May 1997 First rockfall spills N into Tuitt's Ghaut.
29 May 1997 First pyroclastic flows enter northern ghauts.
02 Jun 1997 Pyroclastic flow down Tuitt's Ghaut travels 1 km from the crater.
03 Jun 1997 Pyroclastic flow in Tuitt's Ghaut travels 1.4 km.
04 Jun 1997 Pyroclastic flow in Tuitt's Ghaut travels 1.8 km.
05 Jun 1997 Pyroclastic flow in Tuitt's Ghaut travels 2.9 km, 250 m from intersection with the Paradise River.
07-14 Jun 1997 Rockfalls and pyroclastic flows concentrated in Tuitt's Ghaut.
15 Jun 1997 Pyroclastic flow material advanced 500 m down Mosquito Ghaut. Gage's Valley was the scene of a small rockfall.
16 Jun 1997 Pyroclastic flows in Gage's Valley travel 1.6 km from the crater rim. Smaller pyroclastic flows in Mosquito and Tuitt's Ghaut.
17 Jun 1997 Strong deflation on tiltmeters preceded a dome collapse at 2330; pyroclastic flows traveled 2 km down Gages Valley (200 m further than previous ones) and 3.5 km down Mosquito Ghaut. Many of the rock samples collected from the pyroclastic flow into Mosquito Ghaut were moderately vesicular and were therefore interpreted as juvenile (not dome material).
22 Jun 1997 Inflation and subsequent deflation were pronounced and rapid; the latter coincided with pyroclastic flows that traveled ~1 km E down the Tar River Valley. After this event, inflation-deflation cycles shortened and their amplitudes increased. The pyroclastic flows were also followed by a short volcano-tectonic earthquake swarm and the return of hybrid swarms.
24 Jun 1997 For the first time since 17 June, small pyroclastic flows moved down Mosquito Ghaut; they reached 1 km from the crater rim. Dome growth seen at the top of Mosquito Ghaut.

Limited visibility during June led to the poorly defined, but relatively high extrusion rate of ~3.5 m3/s. The dome's additional bulk furnished less-impeded access to the volcano's N slopes.

Eruption of 25 June. During 1255 to 1320 on 25 June pyroclastic flows sweeping over the volcano's N flanks followed paths down Mosquito Ghaut and the Paradise River almost to the sea (figure 24). Pyroclastic flows and associated surge clouds damaged or destroyed 100-150 houses (severely affecting the villages of Streatham, Dyers, Harris, Bethel, Bramble, Trants, Farm, and Spanish Point). A mid-July official statement confirmed ten people dead and another nine missing and presumed dead. An earlier report mentioned five people who suffered serious burns.

The pyroclastic flows were the largest since the eruption began in 1995; the eruption's intensity exceeded that of the explosion of 17 September 1996. An estimated 4-7 million cubic meters of the lava dome was unloaded during the event, and the resulting flow and surge deposits covered 4 km2 (figure 24). The ash fell over W and NW Montserrat. Maximum accumulations reached 2 mm. The event left a steeply-dipping, circular scar ~200 m across in the dome's NNW face.

Table 22 and figures 26, 27, and 28 summarize events on a variety of time scales, the latter two covering intervals just before and during the 25 June outburst. The previously mentioned hybrid earthquake swarm at 0300 had up to 4-5 events/minute, similar to swarms seen during the previous four days. Earthquakes were of moderate amplitude; they caused saturations on the Gages and Windy Hill drum records.

Table 22. Timeline for the destructive 25 June 1997 outburst at Soufriere Hills. Modified from MVO Special Report 03 (29 June 1997).

Date Time Event
25 Jun 1997 0300 Start of hybrid earthquake swarm
25 Jun 1997 0600-0800 Deflation accompanied by small pyroclastic flows in Mosquito Ghaut
25 Jun 1997 1050 Start of hybrid earthquake swarm
25 Jun 1997 1200 Crater inflation peaked
25 Jun 1997 1245 Volcanic tremor; steam and ash production
25 Jun 1997 1255 Start of pyroclastic flow activity
25 Jun 1997 1257 First seismic pulse
25 Jun 1997 1300 Second seismic pulse
25 Jun 1997 1300 First pyroclastic flow observed in Mosquito Ghaut from MVO
25 Jun 1997 1302 First flow seen from airport
25 Jun 1997 1303 Loss of seismic signals from eastern stations
25 Jun 1997 1308 Third seismic pulse
25 Jun 1997 1315 Second flow seen from airport
25 Jun 1997 1320 End of seismic activity
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Seismicity at Soufriere Hills during 11-29 May 1997. The term "rockfalls" refers to seismically detected rockfalls. Modified from MVO Special Report 03 (29 June 1997).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Four studies of Soufriere Hills deformation for stated dates. Modified from MVO Special Report 03 (29 June 1997). A) (top left) Map view showing the relative location of GPS site FT3 on the crater wall, January-May 1997; values in parentheses are local map coordinates and directions. Site FT3 lies near the "C" in figure 23. B) (top right) Plot of the change in EDM baseline length, 6 October 1995-27 June 1997; Y-axis lengths (in meters) correspond to the change in distances between Windy Hill and Farrells. The points were plotted using a 5-point moving average. C) (bottom left) Plot of GPS baseline length, 1 June 1996-26 July 1997; Y-axis lengths correspond to the (absolute) distances measured between Harris and Farrells. D) (bottom right) Shear length of Chances Peak crack II illustrating progressive offset, 1 December 1996-15 June 1997.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Tilt (upper plots) and seismicity (lower plots) at Soufriere Hills during 22-25 June 1997 showed a high degree of in-phase cyclical behavior. The tilt at Chances Peak was acquired along two orthogonal axes: "x" refers to an axis oriented nearly E-W (099-degree bearing) and "y", to an axis nearly N-S (009-degree bearing). St. George's Hill and Gages seismic data (lower two plots) include the amplitude of all detected earthquakes. At Gages, "triggers" refer to the number of events above an unstated threshold. The tick marks above stated dates indicate the start of indicated day (0000 hours); time between adjacent tick marks is 4 hours. Modified from MVO Special Report 03 (29 June 1997).

Tilt peaked at 0520 and the volcano started to deflate at about 0610 (figure 28). The hybrid earthquake swarm diminished gradually after about 0615. At 0705 the earthquakes gave way to low tremor. Rock falls and minor pyroclastic flows commenced, fitting the established pattern. Between 0600 and 0800 semi-continuous pyroclastic flows ran down Mosquito Ghaut to ~1 km. There were also simultaneous rockfalls and small pyroclastic flows from the dome's SE and E faces. Re-inflation of the dome area began at approximately 0900 and a second hybrid swarm started at 1050 and escalated rapidly, reaching ~6 events/minute between 1130 and 1230. The earthquake amplitudes were uniform, and similar to those in the earlier swarm. At 1200 the inflation trend peaked. By 1245 the seismic record was dominated by tremor, and hybrid earthquakes were barely discernible. A dilute steam and ash cloud blew W at the altitude of ~1.5 km.

Between 1240 and 1250 the tiltmeter registered the start of a sharp deflation. At 1255 a strong seismic signal began and at 1257 and 1300 intense pulses occurred. The latter pulse was roughly coincident with eruption of a dense, dark ash cloud that rose vertically from the N flank of dome above Mosquito Ghaut. This was considered the main event, and sent an ash cloud to 10 km in minutes.

At 1303 the eastern stations of the seismic network stopped transmitting data due to the destruction of either the telephone exchange or the line across the central corridor by a pyroclastic flow down Mosquito Ghaut. Available stations registered a third seismic pulse at 1308.

MVO staff positioned N of the airport witnessed the front of the flow coming around the bend at Pea Ghaut, just up-slope of Trant's village (figure 24). At 1315 MVO observers flying over the airport found that the initial pulse had overrun the lower parts of local settlements (Harris, Farm, and Trant's), and came to within 50 m of the sea. They also reported a final pulse coming down Paradise Ghaut and surges continuing to spread slowly westward in the Spanish Point area. The final pulse advanced at ~30 m/s across flat land near Trants; this was captured on film by a time-lapse video recorder at the airport control tower.

Deposits and destruction. In Mosquito Ghaut, the main part of the flow caused intense scouring to the top (but not over) the steep valley walls; scouring was particularly intense on the outside of bends. The deposits, not extensive in the upper part, generally thickened towards the lower end where Mosquito meets Paradise Ghaut.

Flow deposits completely filled Pea Ghaut and formed a thick, broad fan emerging NW from Paradise Ghaut just N of Bethel (figure 24). Houses 200 m from the edge of the fan were completely buried. A separate lobe of coarse material ran over the lip of Paradise Ghaut immediately W of Bethel. Blocks within this lobe were up to 5 m in size and caused widespread destruction to houses in Bethel village. This was the only area where a high concentration of coarse material spilled from the main ghauts.

As the pyroclastic flows emerged from between peaks B and C (figure 23) and progressed into Mosquito Ghaut, fine-grained pyroclastic surges spread laterally onto the ridges on either side. These surges extended as far E as Paradise Estate, went northward to within 250 m of Windy Hill, inundated the entire village of Streatham, and spread W as far as Gun Hill. They broke and flattened trees on the ridges in the Farrell's and Paradise area. The surges did not spill into Tuitt's Ghaut to the E, but at one or two points they drained into the unnamed ghaut to the W. In Streatham, charring of trees and telegraph poles was limited to the E-SE sides. The orientation of charring, shadow zones behind a few of the houses, and the transport of a water tank indicated that surge movement in this area was WNW.

In the Farrell's area, blocks above 1 m across were rare; occasional blocks ~0.5 m across were present on Farrell's road. The deposits indicated that drainage of flow material into the Dyers river occurred largely in the narrow area S of Gun Hill and W of Riley's Yard. Samples collected in the Farm River area and Spanish Point included both dense and moderately vesicular lithologies.

Pyroclastic flows extended into the Belham valley as far as the last of the tight bends before Cork Hill. The flow-front was marked by a pile of logs aligned cross-valley; still, most trees remained standing, even near the base of the valley. Deposits along the whole length of the Belham valley were fine-grained with a near absence of coarse blocks. In addition, two small concrete bridges were left intact at the base of the valley. The fine grained deposits were interpreted as originating from pyroclastic surges that diverged NW from the main flow in Mosquito Ghaut.

Elevated seismic signals persisted until 1318, and the large deflation recorded by the tiltmeter bottomed out at 1430. Low amplitude tremor with hybrid earthquakes continued until 1500, at which time the seismicity dropped to background levels. The RSAM peak for the event, which lasted for 30 minutes, indicated shorter but more intense activity relative to the explosion of 17 September 1996.

Seismicity overview. Hybrid earthquake swarms occurred during 13 to 27 May (~100 earthquakes/day, figure 26). Rockfalls immediately followed each swarm of earthquakes, and in addition, after the earthquake swarms ended, the rockfall events continued (figure 26).

On the morning of 22 June, after a moderate pyroclastic flow and associated deformation, hybrid earthquakes suddenly restarted (table 23, figure 26). A small swarm of volcano-tectonic earthquakes also appeared; such earthquakes had been rare in recent months, usually occurring in single swarms. Between 22 and 25 June MVO noted seven hybrid swarms; both the duration and number of component events in these swarms increased (figure 26). Within a given swarm, the earthquakes generally had similar magnitudes and the few larger earthquakes were of relatively small magnitude; much larger ones had been recorded previously. Nevertheless, the swarms on 24 and 25 June increased in intensity, reaching a state where repetitive events merged into continuous tremor that was difficult to distinguish from rockfall signals on the drum records.

Long-period earthquakes became more numerous following the 5 June pyroclastic flows (table 23). The number of these earthquakes remained low, not exceeding 40/day, and returned to normal levels after 13 June.

Deformation studies. Figure 27 shows examples of monitored deformation, which includes both Total Station (combined electronic distance measurement (EDM) and theodolite) and global positioning system (GPS) techniques. Cracks in the crater walls were monitored by frequent measurements between fixed points across them. Telemetry links to two tiltmeters and one extensometer at Chances Peak and one tiltmeter at Long Ground.

In early March 1997 GPS surveys detected deformation of the northern crater walls (figure 27a). GPS station FT3 was installed on the crater wall adjacent to Peak C (figure 23); during 13 January-3 March it had moved ~15 cm NW; it continued moving NW with a total displacement by 12 May of 21.5 cm (after which the site was considered too dangerous to visit). Since July 1996, GPS on Chances Peak showed sustained motion away from the dome. By 29 June this site had a total displacement of 16 cm.

In the eruption's early stages, an EDM/GPS station on the N-flank (at Farrells) moved slowly N, away from the dome complex. Thus, by 30 November 1995 a shortening of 9 cm occurred. Although two cycles of lengthening and shortening occurred during 1996, since December 1996 only sustained shortening occurred along certain baselines (Windy Hill and Harris). This shortening continued at an increasing rate until the last measurement on 10 June.

Prior to 16 June, the Chances Peak tiltmeter showed a cyclical pattern of inflation and deflation, centered at the dome, with 12- to 16-hour periods and 16- to 18-µrad amplitudes. During 16-17 June the inflation-deflation cycle flattened to 5- to 10-µrad amplitudes.

At approximately 1600 on 17 June inflation increased steeply, peaking at 2100; rapid deflation followed. This deflation preceded a dome collapse at 2330 that sent pyroclastic flows down Gages and Mosquito drainages. For the next day and a half there was a return of the pronounced inflation-deflation pattern seen prior to 16 June.

In contrast, during 19 June until the early morning of 22 June there prevailed a flattened inflation-deflation pattern. Then, at 0530 on 22 June, a rapid inflation occurred; subsequent sharp deflation at 0630 was coincident with sustained pyroclastic flows.

This event marked the beginning of inflation-deflation cycles with periods shortened to 8 hours and amplitudes increased to ~40 µrad. As previously mentioned, the change was accompanied by a short volcano-tectonic earthquake swarm that preceded the hybrid earthquakes. The number of hybrid earthquakes varied in-phase with the inflation-deflation cycle (i.e. the maximum number of hybrid earthquakes occurred at peak inflation, figure 28).

Following the 25 June pyroclastic flows, the inflation-deflation cycle continued with the same period and amplitude that began 22 June. Prior to 25 June, tiltmeters indicated inflation on the N flank (or deflation on the S); after 25 June, tiltmeters indicated inflation at the dome's center.

Post-event activity and interpretations. After the episode of pyroclastic flows, seismicity remained low for several hours. However, starting at 2000 more inflation was accompanied by a small swarm of hybrid earthquakes. In subsequent days, the inflation and deflation pattern continued, earthquake swarms became more intense, and there were pyroclastic flows in Mosquito Ghaut and Gages valley.

Two small explosions on 27 June caused concern that the activity was still escalating, and the chance of significant explosive activity was judged to have increased. Brief views of the dome on 28 June indicated that a large part had been removed during the pyroclastic flows and rapid growth was occurring within the scar.

The large event was not a surprise because in the weeks prior to 25 June repetitive hybrid earthquake swarms and inflation-deflation cycles suggested that the rate of dome growth and conduit pressure were elevated. The effects of the pyroclastic flow were largely anticipated by the hazard zonation and warnings issued in MVO reports throughout June. The surge into Dyer's Ghaut and the Belham River valley was remarkable in that a relatively fine-grained flow traveled a significant distance off the main flow path.

In the days after 25 June, high activity levels and inflation at the Chances Peak tiltmeter prevailed. Earlier in the eruption significant events were normally followed by a respite in activity and a change in the eruption pattern. This was taken as a sign of further intense activity.

Risk map. During June 1997 MVO published four successive risk maps. With the advent of each map, the A-B zone (with no access) gradually increased in size to cover most of the S part of the island. Seven zones and six possible alert levels produced 42 different options; a new map could simplify the previous system.

The new map in early July (figure 25) contained three zones: the northern, central, and exclusion zones, and only one alert level, "volcanic alert." To decide where the boundaries between risk zones should lie, the distal margins of pyroclastic flows and surges through June 1997 were indicated. There was potential for flows to reach much of the S of Montserrat; thus MVO decided that an exclusion zone should include these areas. The line across the island's center was controlled primarily by topography.

North of the exclusion zone MVO considered that the risk of pyroclastic flows and surges was low enough to allow people to live and work as normal; however, in the case of increased activity it was thought that people in the area directly N of the exclusion should be ready to move at short notice. Therefore, a central zone was designated in which people should be on increased alert. The further that people moved away from the exclusion zone, the safer. Thus, the northern boundary of the central zone was marked as a dotted line. During an increase in alert level, citizens were advised to move uphill and away from the Belham River Valley. To announce an evacuation of the central zone the plan included deployment of wailing sirens and maroons (explosive fireworks).

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 Springs, MD 20746, USA.


Suwanosejima (Japan) — June 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ashfall in March and continued ash emissions in April

An ash column 500-600 m high above the summit resulted in ashfall starting at about noon on 24 March and continuing until the evening of the following day. Ash emissions on 16-17 April sent a column 500-700 m high. Seismicity was characterized by numerous B-type earthquakes in March (~50/month), and by volcanic tremors during April (~ 200/month).

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

Information Contacts: Sakurajima Volcanological Observatory (SVO), Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University, Sakurajima-cho, Kagoshima 89114, Japan; Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100, Japan.


Telica (Nicaragua) — June 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Telica

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


June increase in both earthquakes and the extent of fumaroles

Seismicity and the extent of fumaroles increased slightly in June. Whereas in April and May the number of volcano-seismic events was near 160/day, during June this rose to ~220/day. Still, crater degassing remained very small. INETER volcanologists observed that NW-flank fissures had grown in number, extent, and apparent depth.

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, and Marta Navarro C., Department of Volcanoes, Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), P.O. Box 1761, Managua, Nicaragua.

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