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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

Sangay (Ecuador) Ash plumes, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars during July-December 2020; larger explosions in September

Ebeko (Russia) Continued explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall; June-November 2020

Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) Intermittent thermal anomalies and small eruptions in May and August 2020

Nyamuragira (DR Congo) Numerous thermal anomalies and gas emissions from the lava lake through November 2020

Raung (Indonesia) Explosions with ash plumes and a thermal anomaly at the summit crater, July-October 2020

Sinabung (Indonesia) Explosions begin again on 8 August 2020; dome growth confirmed in late September

Heard (Australia) Persistent thermal anomalies in the summit crater from June through October 2020

Sabancaya (Peru) Daily explosions produced ash plumes, SO2 plumes, and thermal anomalies during June-September 2020

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) Frequent small phreatic explosions with intermittent ash plumes during April-September 2020

Fuego (Guatemala) Daily explosions, ash emissions, and block avalanches during August-November 2020

Kikai (Japan) Explosion on 6 October 2020 and thermal anomalies in the crater

Manam (Papua New Guinea) Intermittent ash plumes, thermal anomalies, and SO2 emissions in April-September 2020



Sangay (Ecuador) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangay

Ecuador

2.005°S, 78.341°W; summit elev. 5286 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars during July-December 2020; larger explosions in September

Sangay is one of the most active volcanoes in Ecuador with the current eruptive period continuing since 26 March 2019. Activity at the summit crater has been frequent since August 1934, with short quiet periods between events. Recent activity has included frequent ash plumes, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars. This report summarizes activity during July through December 2020, based on reports by Ecuador's Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), ash advisories issued by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), webcam images taken by Servicio Integrado de Seguridad ECU911, and various satellite data.

Overall activity remained elevated during the report period. Recorded explosions were variable during July through December, ranging from no explosions to 294 reported on 4 December (figure 80), and dispersing mostly to the W and SW. SO2 was frequently detected using satellite data (figure 81) and was reported several times to be emitting between about 770 and 2,850 tons/day. Elevated temperatures at the crater and down the SE flank were frequently observed in satellite data (figure 82), and less frequently by visual observation of incandescence. Seismic monitoring detected lahars associated with rainfall events remobilizing deposits emplaced on the flanks throughout this period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. A graph showing the daily number of explosions at Sangay recorded during July through December 2020. Several dates had no recorded explosions due to lack of seismic data. Data courtesy of IG-EPN (daily reports).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Examples of stronger SO2 plumes from Sangay detected by the Sentinel 5P/TROPOMI instrument, with plumes from Nevado del Ruiz detected to the north. The image dates from left to right are 31 August 2020, 17 September 2020, 1 October 2020 (top row), 22 November 2020, 3 December 2020, 14 December 2020 (bottom row). Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. This log radiative power MIROVA plot shows thermal output at Sangay during February through December 2020. Activity was relatively constant with increases and decreases in both energy output and the frequency of thermal anomalies detected. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during July-August 2020. During July activity continued with frequent ash and gas emission recorded through observations when clouds weren’t obstructing the view of the summit, and Washington VAAC alerts. There were between one and five VAAC alerts issued most days, with ash plumes reaching 570 to 1,770 m above the crater and dispersing mostly W and SE, and NW on two days (figure 83). Lahar seismic signals were recorded on the 1st, 7th, three on the 13th, and one on the 19th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Gas and ash plumes at Sangay during July 2020, at 0717 on the 17th, at 1754 on the 18th, and at 0612 on the 25th. Bottom picture taken from the Macas ECU 911 webcam. All images courtesy of IG-EPN daily reports.

During August there were between one and five VAAC alerts issued most days, with ash plumes reaching 600 to 2,070 m above the crater and predominantly dispersing W, SW, and occasionally to the NE, S, and SE (figure 84). There were reports of ashfall in the Alausí sector on the 24th. Using seismic data analysis, lahar signals were identified after rainfall on 1, 7, 11-14, and 21 August. A lava flow was seen moving down the eastern flank on the night of the 15th, resulting in a high number of thermal alerts. A pyroclastic flow was reported descending the SE flank at 0631 on the 27th (figure 85).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. This 25 August 2020 PlanetScope satellite image of Sangay in Ecuador shows an example of a weak gas and ash plume dispersing to the SW. Courtesy of Planet Labs.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. A pyroclastic flow descends the Sangay SE flank at 0631 on 27 August 2020. Webcam by ECU911, courtesy of courtesy of IG-EPN (27 August 2020 report).

Activity during September-October 2020. Elevated activity continued through September with two significant increases on the 20th and 22nd (more information on these events below). Other than these two events, VAAC reports of ash plumes varied between 1 and 5 issued most days, with plume heights reaching between 600 and 1,500 m above the crater. Dominant ash dispersal directions were W, with some plumes traveling SE, S, SE, NE, and NW. Lahar seismic signals were recorded after rainfall on 1, 2, 5, 8-10, 21, 24, 25, 27, and 30 September. Pyroclastic flows were reported on the 19th (figure 86), and incandescent material was seen descending the SE ravine on the 29th. There was a significant increase in thermal alerts reported throughout the month compared to the July-August period, and Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed a lava flow down the SE flank (figure 87).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Pyroclastic flows descended the flank of Sangay on 19 (top) and 20 (bottom) September 2020. Webcam images by ECU911 from the city of Macas, courtesy of IG-EPN (14 August 2018 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. The thermal signature of a lava flow is seen on SW flank of Sangay in this 8 September 2020 Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image, indicated by the white arrow. False color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Starting at 0420 on the morning of 20 September there was an increase in explosions and emissions recorded through seismicity, much more energetic than the activity of previous months. At 0440 satellite images show an ash plume with an estimated height of around 7 km above the crater. The top part of the plume dispersed to the E and the rest of the plume went W. Pyroclastic flows were observed descending the SE flank around 1822 (figure 88). Ash from remobilization of deposits was reported on the 21st in the Bolívar, Chimborazo, Los Ríos, Guayas and Santa Elena provinces. Ash and gas emission continued, with plumes reaching up to 1 km above the crater. There were seven VAAC reports as well as thermal alerts issued during the day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. An eruption of Sangay on 22 September 2020 produced a pyroclastic flow down the SE flank and an ash plume that dispersed to the SW. PlanetScope satellite image courtesy of Planet Labs.

Ash plumes observed on 22 September reached around 1 km above the crater and dispersed W to NW. Pyroclastic flows were seen descending the SE flank (figure 89) also producing an ash plume. A BBC article reported the government saying 800 km2 of farmland had experienced ashfall, with Chimborazo and Bolívar being the worst affected areas (figure 90). Locals described the sky going dark, and the Guayaquil was temporarily closed. Ash plume heights during the 20-22 were the highest for the year so far (figure 91). Ash emission continued throughout the rest of the month with another increase in explosions on the 27th, producing observed ash plume heights reaching 1.5 km above the crater. Ashfall was reported in San Nicolas in the Chimborazo Province in the afternoon of the 30th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. A pyroclastic flow descending the flank of Sangay on 22 September 2020. Webcam image by ECU911 from the city of Macas, courtesy of IG-EPN (Sangay Volcano Special Report - 2020 - No 5, 22 September 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Ashfall from an eruption at Sangay on 22 September 2020 affected 800 km2 of farmland and nearby communities. Images courtesy of EPA and the Police of Ecuador via Reuters (top-right), all via the BBC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Ash plume heights (left graph) at Sangay from January through to late September, with the larger ash plumes during 20-22 September indicated by the red arrow. The dominant ash dispersal direction is to the W (right plot) and the average speed is 10 m/s. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Sangay Volcano Special Report - 2020 - No 5, 22 September 2020).

Thermal alerts increased again through October, with a lava flow and/or incandescent material descending the SE flank sighted throughout the month (figure 92). Pyroclastic flows were seen traveling down the SE flank during an observation flight on the 6th (figure 93). Seismicity indicative of lahars was reported on 1, 12, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, and 28 October associated with rainfall remobilizing deposits. The Washington VAAC released one to five ash advisories most days, noting plume heights of 570-3,000 m above the crater; prevailing winds dispersed most plumes to the W, with some plumes drifting NW, N, E to SE, and SW. Ashfall was reported in Alausí (Chimborazo Province) on the 1st and in Chunchi canton on the 10th. SO2 was recorded towards the end of the month using satellite data, varying between about 770 and 2,850 tons on the 24th, 27th, and 29th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. A lava flow descends the SE flank of Sangay on 2 October 2020. Webcam images courtesy of ECU 911.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. A pyroclastic flow descends the Sangay SE flank was seen during an IG-EPN overflight on 6 October 2020. Photo courtesy of S. Vallejo, IG-EPN.

Activity during November-December 2020. Frequent ash emission continued through November with between one and five Washington VAAC advisories issued most days (figure 94). Reported ash and gas plume heights varied between 570 and 2,700 m above the crater, with winds dispersing plumes in all directions. Thermal anomalies were detected most days, and incandescent material from explosions was seen on the 26th. Seismicity indicating lahars was registered on nine days between 15 and 30 November, associated with rainfall events.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Examples of gas and ash plumes at Sangay during November 2020. Webcam images were published in IG-EPN daily activity reports.

Lahar signals associated with rain events continued to be detected on ten out of the first 18 days of November. Ash emissions continued through December with one to five VAAC alerts issued most days. Ash plume heights varied from 600 to 1,400 m above the crater, with the prevailing wind direction dispersing most plumes W and SW (figure 95). Thermal anomalies were frequently detected and incandescent material was observed down the SE flank on the 3rd, 14th, and 30th, interpreted as a lava flow and hot material rolling down the flank. A webcam image showed a pyroclastic flow traveling down the SE flank on the 2nd (figure 96). Ashfall was reported on the 10th in Capzol, Palmira, and Cebadas parishes, and in the Chunchi and Guamote cantons.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Examples of ash plumes at Sangay during ongoing persistent activity on 9, 10, and 23 December 2020. Webcam images courtesy of ECU 911.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. A nighttime webcam image shows a pyroclastic flow descending the SE flank of Sangay at 2308 on 2 December 2020. Image courtesy of ECU 911.

Geologic Background. The isolated Sangay volcano, located east of the Andean crest, is the southernmost of Ecuador's volcanoes and its most active. The steep-sided, glacier-covered, dominantly andesitic volcano grew within horseshoe-shaped calderas of two previous edifices, which were destroyed by collapse to the east, producing large debris avalanches that reached the Amazonian lowlands. The modern edifice dates back to at least 14,000 years ago. It towers above the tropical jungle on the east side; on the other sides flat plains of ash have been sculpted by heavy rains into steep-walled canyons up to 600 m deep. The earliest report of a historical eruption was in 1628. More or less continuous eruptions were reported from 1728 until 1916, and again from 1934 to the present. The almost constant activity has caused frequent changes to the morphology of the summit crater complex.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec); ECU911, Servicio Integrado de Seguridad ECU911, Calle Julio Endara s / n. Itchimbía Park Sector Quito – Ecuador. (URL: https://www.ecu911.gob.ec/; Twitter URL: https://twitter.com/Ecu911Macas/); 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/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); BBC News “In pictures: Ash covers Ecuador farming land” Published 22 September 2020 (URL: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-54247797).


Ebeko (Russia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall; June-November 2020

Volcanism at Ebeko, located on the N end of the Paramushir Island in the Kuril Islands, has been ongoing since October 2016, characterized by frequent moderate explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk (7 km ESE) (BGVN 45:05). Similar activity during this reporting period of June through November 2020 continues, consisting of frequent explosions, dense ash plumes, and occasional ashfall. Information for this report primarily comes from the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) and satellite data.

Activity during June was characterized by frequent, almost daily explosions and ash plumes that rose to 1.6-4.6 km altitude and drifted in various directions, according to KVERT reports and information from the Tokyo VAAC advisories using HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery and KBGS (Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Service) seismic data. Satellite imagery showed persistent thermal anomalies over the summit crater. On 1 June explosions generated an ash plume up to 4.5 km altitude drifting E and S, in addition to several smaller ash plumes that rose to 2.3-3 km altitude drifting E, NW, and NE, according to KVERT VONA notices. Explosions on 11 June generated an ash plume that rose 2.6 km altitude and drifted as far as 85 km N and NW. Explosions continued during 21-30 June, producing ash plumes that rose 2-4 km altitude, drifting up to 5 km in different directions (figure 26); many of these eruptive events were accompanied by thermal anomalies that were observed in satellite imagery.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Photo of a dense gray ash plume rising from Ebeko on 22 June 2020. Photo by L. Kotenko (color corrected), courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

Explosions continued in July, producing ash plumes rising 2-5.2 km altitude and drifting for 3-30 km in different directions. On 3, 6, 15 July explosions generated an ash plume that rose 3-4 km altitude that drifted N, NE, and SE, resulting in ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk. According to a Tokyo VAAC advisory, an eruption on 4 July produced an ash plume that rose up to 5.2 km altitude drifting S. On 22 July explosions produced an ash cloud measuring 11 x 13 km in size and that rose to 3 km altitude drifting 30 km SE. Frequent thermal anomalies were identified in satellite imagery accompanying these explosions.

In August, explosions persisted with ash plumes rising 1.7-4 km altitude drifting for 3-10 km in multiple directions. Intermittent thermal anomalies were detected in satellite imagery, according to KVERT. On 9 and 22 August explosions sent ash up to 2.5-3 km altitude drifting W, S, E, and SE, resulting in ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk. Moderate gas-and-steam activity was reported occasionally during the month.

Almost daily explosions in September generated dense ash plumes that rose 1.5-4.3 km altitude and drifted 3-5 km in different directions. Moderate gas-and-steam emissions were often accompanied by thermal anomalies visible in satellite imagery. During 14-15 September explosions sent ash plumes up to 2.5-3 km altitude drifting SE and NE, resulting in ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk. On 22 September a dense gray ash plume rose to 3 km altitude and drifted S. The ash plume on 26 September was at 3.5 km altitude and drifted SE (figure 27).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Photos of dense ash plumes rising from Ebeko on 22 (left) and 26 (right) September 2020. Photos by S. Lakomov (color corrected), IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

During October, near-daily ash explosions continued, rising 1.7-4 km altitude drifting in many directions. Intermittent thermal anomalies were identified in satellite imagery. During 7-8, 9-10, and 20-22 October ashfall was reported in Severo-Kurilsk.

Explosions in November produced dense gray ash plumes that rose to 1.5-5.2 km altitude and drifted as far as 5-10 km, mainly NE, SE, E, SW, and ENE. According to KVERT, thermal anomalies were visible in satellite imagery throughout the month. On clear weather days on 8 and 11 November Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed ashfall deposits SE of the summit crater from recent activity (figure 28). During 15-17 November explosions sent ash up to 3.5 km altitude drifting NE, E, and SE which resulted in ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk on 17 November. Similar ashfall was observed on 22-24 and 28 November due to ash rising to 1.8-3 km altitude (figure 29). Explosions on 29 November sent an ash plume up to 4.5 km altitude drifting E (figure 29). A Tokyo VAAC advisory reported that an ash plume drifting SSE on 30 November reached an altitude of 3-5.2 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of a gray-white gas-and-ash plume at Ebeko on 8 (left) and 11 (right) November 2020, resulting in ashfall (dark gray) to the SE of the volcano. Images using “Natural Color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Photos of continued ash explosions from Ebeko on 28 October (left) and 29 November (right) 2020. Photos by S. Lakomov (left) and L. Kotenko (right), courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows a pulse in low-power thermal activity beginning in early June through early August (figure 30). On clear weather days, the thermal anomalies in the summit crater are observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery, accompanied by occasional white-gray ash plumes (figure 31). Additionally, the MODVOLC algorithm detected a single thermal anomaly on 26 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. A small pulse in thermal activity at Ebeko began in early June and continued through early August 2020, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). The detected thermal anomalies were of relatively low power but were persistent during this period. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed gray ash plumes rising from Ebeko on 11 June (top left) and 16 July (bottom left) 2020, accompanied by occasional thermal anomalies (yellow-orange) within the summit crater, as shown on 24 June (top right) and 25 August (bottom right). The ash plume on 11 June drifted N from the summit. Images using “Natural Color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) on 11 June (top left) and 16 July (bottom left) and the rest have “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). 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/); Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Service, Russian Academy of Sciences (KB GS RAS) (URL: http://www.emsd.ru/); 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/); 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).


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal anomalies and small eruptions in May and August 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 current eruptive period began in January 2020 and has been characterized by small explosions, ash plumes, ashfall, a pyroclastic flow, and gas-and-steam emissions. This report covers activity from May to October 2020, which includes small explosions, ash plumes, crater incandescence, and gas-and-steam emissions. 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).

Volcanism at Kuchinoerabujima remained relatively low during May through October 2020, according to JMA. During this time, SO2 emissions ranged from 40 to 3,400 tons/day; occasional gas-and-steam emissions were reported, rising to a maximum of 900 m above the crater. Sentinel-2 satellite images showed a particularly strong thermal anomaly in the Shindake crater on 1 May (figure 10). The thermal anomaly decreased in power after 1 May and was only visible on clear weather days, which included 19 August and 3 and 13 October. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) observations identified continued slight inflation at the base of the volcano during the entire reporting period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed a strong thermal anomaly (bright yellow-orange) in the Shindake crater at Kuchinoerabujima on 1 May 2020 (top left). Weaker thermal anomalies were also seen in the Shindake crater during 19 August (top right) and 3 (bottom left) and 13 (bottom right) October 2020. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Three small eruptions were detected by JMA on 5, 6, and 13 May, which produced an ash plume rising 500 m above the crater on each day, resulting in ashfall on the downwind flanks. Incandescence was observed at night using a high-sensitivity surveillance camera (figure 11). On 5 and 13 May the Tokyo VAAC released a notice that reported ash plumes rising 0.9-1.2 km altitude, drifting NE and S, respectively. On 20 May weak fumaroles were observed on the W side of the Shindake crater. The SO2 emissions ranged from 700-3,400 tons/day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Webcam images of an eruption at Kuchinoerabujima on 6 May 2020 (top), producing a gray ash plume that rose 500 m above the crater. Crater incandescence was observed from the summit crater at night on 25 May 2020 (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Monthly bulletin report 509, May 2020).

Activity during June and July decreased compared to May, with gas-and-steam emissions occurring more prominently. On 22 June weak incandescence was observed, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions rising 700 m above the crater. Weak crater incandescence was also seen on 25 June. The SO2 emissions measured 400-1,400 tons/day. White gas-and-steam emissions were again observed on 31 July rising to 800 m above the crater. The SO2 emissions had decreased during this time to 300-700 tons/day.

According to JMA, the most recent eruptive event occurred on 29 August at 1746, which ejected bombs and was accompanied by some crater incandescence, though the eruptive column was not visible due to the cloud cover. However, white gas-and-steam emissions could be seen rising 1.3 km above the Shindake crater drifting SW. The SO2 emissions measured 200-500 tons/day. During August, the number of volcanic earthquakes increased significantly to 1,032, compared to the number in July (36).

The monthly bulletin for September reported white gas-and-steam emissions rising 900 m above the crater on 9 September and on 11 October the gas-and-steam emissions rose 600 m above the crater. Seismicity decreased between September and October from 1,920 to 866. The SO2 emissions continued to decrease compared to previous months, totaling 80-400 tons/day in September and 40-300 tons/day in October.

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

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


Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — December 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)


Numerous thermal anomalies and gas emissions from the lava lake through November 2020

Nyamuragira (also known as Nyamulagira) is a shield volcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with a 2 x 2.3 km caldera at the summit. A summit crater lies in the NE part of the caldera. In the recent past, the volcano has been characterized by intra-caldera lava flows, lava emissions from its lava lake, thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam emissions, and moderate seismicity (BGVN 44:12, 45:06). This report reviews activity during June-November 2020, based on satellite data.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed numerous thermal anomalies associated with the volcano during June-November 2020, although some decrease was noted during the last half of August and between mid-October to mid-November (figure 91). Between six and seven thermal hotspots per month were identified by MODVOLC during June-November 2020, with as many as 4 pixels on 11 August. In the MODVOLC system, two main hotspot groupings are visible, the largest being at the summit crater, on the E side of the caldera.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. MIROVA graph of thermal activity (log radiative power) at Nyamuragira during March 2020-January 2021. During June-November 2020, most were in the low to moderate range, with a decrease in power during November. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Sentinel-2 satellite images showed several hotspots in the summit crater throughout the reporting period (figure 92). By 26 July and thereafter, hotspots were also visible in the SW portion of the caldera, and perhaps just outside the SW caldera rim. Gas-and-steam emissions from the lava lake were also visible throughout the period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Sentinel-2 satellite images of Nyamuragira on 26 July (left) and 28 November (right) 2020. Thermal activity is present at several locations within the summit crater (upper right of each image) and in the SW part of the caldera (lower left). SWIR rendering (bands 12, 8A, 4). 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: 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).


Raung (Indonesia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Raung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions with ash plumes and a thermal anomaly at the summit crater, July-October 2020

A massive stratovolcano in easternmost Java, Raung has over sixty recorded eruptions dating back to the late 16th Century. Explosions with ash plumes, Strombolian activity, and lava flows from a cinder cone within the 2-km-wide summit crater have been the most common activity. Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM) has installed webcams to monitor activity in recent years. An eruption from late 2014 through August 2015 produced a large volume of lava within the summit crater and formed a new pyroclastic cone in the same location as the previous one. The eruption that began in July 2020 is covered in this report with information provided by PVMBG, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and several sources of satellite data.

The 2015 eruption was the largest in several decades; Strombolian activity was reported for many months and fresh lava flows covered the crater floor (BGVN 45:09). Raung was quiet after the eruption ended in August of that year until July of 2020 when seismicity increased on 13 July and brown emissions were first reported on 16 July. Tens of explosions with ash emissions were reported daily during the remainder of July 2020. Explosive activity decreased during August, but thermal activity didn’t decrease until mid-September. The last ash emissions were reported on 3 October and the last thermal anomaly in satellite data was recorded on 7 October 2020.

Eruption during July-October 2020. No further reports of activity were issued after August 2015 until July 2020. Clear Google Earth imagery from October 2017 and April 2018 indicated the extent of the lava from the 2015 eruption, but no sign of further activity (figure 31). By August 2019, many features from the 2015 eruption were still clearly visible from the crater rim (figure 32).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Little change can be seen at the summit of Raung in Google Earth images dated 19 October 2017 (left) and 28 April 2018 (right). The summit crater was full of black lava flows from the 2015 eruption. Courtesy of Google Earth.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. A Malaysian hiker celebrated his climbing to the summit of Raung on 30 August 2019. Weak fumarolic activity was visible from the base of the breached crater of the cone near the center of the summit crater, and many features of the lava flow that filled the crater in 2015 were still well preserved. Courtesy of MJ.

PVMBG reported that the number and type of seismic events around the summit of Raung increased beginning on 13 July 2020, and on 16 July the height of the emissions from the crater rose to 100 m and the emission color changed from white to brown. About three hours later the emissions changed to gray and white. The webcams captured emissions rising 50-200 m above the summit that included 60 explosions of gray and reddish ash plumes (figure 33). The Raung Volcano Observatory released a VONA reporting an explosion with an ash plume that drifted N at 1353 local time (0653 UTC). The best estimate of the ash cloud height was 3,432 m based on ground observation. They raised the Aviation Color Code from unassigned to Orange. About 90 minutes later they reported a second seismic event and ash cloud that rose to 3,532 m, again based on ground observation. The Darwin VAAC reported that neither ash plume was visible in satellite imagery. The following day, on 17 July, PVMBG reported 26 explosions between midnight and 0600 that produced brown ash plumes which rose 200 m above the crater. Based on these events, PVMBG raised the Alert Level of Raung from I (Normal) to II (Alert) on a I-II-III-IV scale. By the following day they reported 95 explosive seismic events had occurred. They continued to observe gray ash plumes rising 100-200 m above the summit on clear days and 10-30 daily explosive seismic events through the end of July; plume heights dropped to 50-100 m and the number of explosive events dropped below ten per day during the last few days of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. An ash plume rose from the summit of Raung on 16 July 2020 at the beginning of a new eruption. The last previous eruption was in 2015. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery and PVMBG.

After a long period of no activity, MIROVA data showed an abrupt return to thermal activity on 16 July 2020; a strong pulse of heat lasted into early August before diminishing (figure 34). MODVOLC thermal alert data recorded two alerts each on 18 and 20 July, and one each on 21 and 30 July. Satellite images showed no evidence of thermal activity inside the summit crater from September 2015 through early July 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery first indicated a strong thermal anomaly inside the pyroclastic cone within the crater on 19 July 2020; it remained on 24 and 29 July (figure 35). A small SO2 signature was measured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite on 25 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. MIROVA thermal anomaly data indicated renewed activity on 16 July 2020 at Raung as seen in this graph of activity from 13 October 2019 through September 2020. Satellite images indicated that the dark lines at the beginning of the graph are from a large area of fires that burned on the flank of Raung in October 2019. Heat flow remained high through July and began to diminish in mid-August 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Thermal anomalies were distinct inside the crater of the pyroclastic cone within the summit crater of Raung on 19, 24, and 29 July 2020. Data is from the Sentinel-2 satellite shown with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

After an explosion on 1 August 2020 emissions from the crater were not observed again until steam plumes were seen rising 100 m on 7 August. They were reported rising 100-200 m above the summit intermittently until a dense gray ash plume was reported by PVMBG on 11 August rising 200 m. After that, diffuse steam plumes no more than 100 m high were reported for the rest of the month except for white to brown emissions to 100 m on 21 August. Thermal anomalies of a similar brightness to July from the same point within the summit crater were recorded in satellite imagery on 3, 8, 13, 18, and 23 August. Single MODVOLC thermal alerts were reported on 1, 8, 12, and 19 August.

In early September dense steam plumes rose 200 m above the crater a few times but were mostly 50 m high or less. White and gray emissions rose 50-300 m above the summit on 15, 20, 27, and 30 September. Thermal anomalies were still present in the same spot in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 2, 7, 12, 17, and 27 September, although the signal was weaker than during July and August (figure 36). PVMBG reported gray emissions rising 100-300 m above the summit on 1 October 2020 and two seismic explosion events. Gray emissions rose 50-200 m the next day and nine explosions were recorded. On 3 October, emissions were still gray but only rose 50 m above the crater and no explosions were reported. No emissions were observed from the summit crater for the remainder of the month. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed a hot spot within the summit crater on 2 and 7 October, but clear views of the crater on 12, 17, and 22 October showed no heat source within the crater (figure 37).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. The thermal anomaly at Raung recorded in Sentinel-2 satellite data decreased in intensity between August and October 2020. It was relatively strong on 13 August (left) but had decreased significantly by 12 September (middle) and remained at a lower level into early October (right). Data shown with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. A small but distinct thermal anomaly was still present within the pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater of Raung on 7 October 2020 (left) but was gone by 12 October (middle) and did not reappear in subsequent clear views of the crater through the end of October. Satellite imagery of 7 and 12 October processed with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) from 17 October (right) shows no clear physical changes to the summit crater during the latest eruption. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); MJ (URL: https://twitter.com/MieJamaludin/status/1167613617191043072).


Sinabung (Indonesia) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sinabung

Indonesia

3.17°N, 98.392°E; summit elev. 2460 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions begin again on 8 August 2020; dome growth confirmed in late September

Indonesia’s Sinabung volcano in north Sumatra has been highly active since its first confirmed Holocene eruption during August and September 2010. It remained quiet after the initial eruption until September 2013, when a new eruptive phase began that continued through June 2018. A summit dome emerged in late 2013 and produced a large lava “tongue” during 2014. Multiple explosions produced ash plumes, block avalanches, and deadly pyroclastic flows during the eruptive period. A major explosion in February 2018 destroyed most of the summit dome. After a pause in eruptive activity from September 2018 through April 2019, explosions resumed during May and June 2019. The volcano was quiet again until an explosion on 8 August 2020 began another eruption that included a new dome. This report covers activity from July 2019 through October 2020 with information provided by Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), referred to by some agencies as CVGHM or the Indonesian Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and the Badan Nacional Penanggulangan Bencana (National Disaster Management Authority, BNPB). Additional information comes from satellite instruments and local news reports.

Only steam plumes and infrequent lahars were reported at Sinabung during July 2019-July 2020. A new eruption began on 8 August 2020 with a phreatic explosion and dense ash plumes. Repeated explosions were reported throughout August; ashfall was reported in many nearby communities several times. Explosions decreased significantly during September, but SO2 emissions persisted. Block avalanches from a new growing dome were first reported in early October; pyroclastic flows accompanied repeated ash emissions during the last week of the month. Thermal data suggested that the summit dome continued growing slowly during October.

Activity during July 2019-October 2020. After a large explosion on 9 June 2019, activity declined significantly, and no further emissions or incandescence was reported after 25 June (BGVN 44:08). For the remainder of 2019 steam plumes rose 50-400 m above the summit on most days, occasionally rising to 500-700 m above the crater. Lahars were recorded by seismic instruments in July, August, September, and December. During January-July 2020 steam plumes were reported usually 50-300 m above the summit, sometimes rising to 500 m. On 21 March 2020 steam plumes rose to 700 m, and a lahar was recorded by seismic instruments. Lahars were reported on 26 and 28 April, 3 and 5 June, and 11 July.

A swarm of deep volcanic earthquakes was reported by PVMBG on 7 August 2020. This was followed by a phreatic explosion with a dense gray to black ash plume on 8 August that rose 2,000 m above the summit and drifted E; a second explosion that day produced a plume that rose 1,000 m above the summit. According to the Jakarta Post, ash reached the community of Berastagi (15 km E) along with the districts of Naman Teran (5-10 km NE), Merdeka (15 km NE), and Dolat Rayat (20 km E). Continuous tremor events were first recorded on 8 August and continued daily until 26 August. Two explosions were recorded on 10 August; the largest produced a dense gray ash plume that rose 5,000 m above the summit and drifted NE and SE (figure 77). The Darwin VAAC reported the eruption clearly visible in satellite imagery at 9.7 km altitude and drifting W. Later they reported a second plume drifting ESE at 4.3 km altitude. After this large explosion the local National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB) reported significant ashfall in three districts: Naman Teran, Berastagi and Merdeka. Emissions on 11 and 12 August were white and gray and rose 100-200 m. Multiple explosions on 13 August produced white and gray ash plumes that rose 1,000-2,000 m above the summit. Explosions on 14 August produced gray and brown ash plumes that rose 1,000-4,200 m above the summit and drifted S and SW (figure 77). The Darwin VAAC reported that the ash plume was partly visible in satellite imagery at 7.6 km altitude moving W; additional plumes were moving SE at 3.7 km altitude and NE at 5.5 km altitude.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Numerous explosions were recorded at Sinabung during August 2020. An ash plume rose to 5,000 m above the summit on 10 August (left) and drifted both NE and SE. On 14 August gray and brown ash plumes rose 1,000-4,200 m above the summit and drifted S, SW, SE and NE (right) while ashfall covered crops SE of the volcano. Courtesy of PVMBG (Sinabung Eruption Notices, 10 and 14 August 2020).

White, gray, and brown emissions rose 800-1,000 m above the summit on 15 and 17 August. The next day white and gray emissions rose 2,000 m above the summit. The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume visible at 5.2 km altitude drifting SW. A large explosion on 19 August produced a dense gray ash plume that rose 4,000 above the summit and drifted S and SW. Gray and white emissions rose 500 m on 20 August. Two explosions were recorded seismically on 21 August, but rainy and cloudy weather prevented observations. White steam plumes rose 300 m on 22 August, and a lahar was recorded seismically. On 23 August, an explosion produced a gray ash plume that rose 1,500 m above the summit and pyroclastic flows that traveled 1,000 m down the E and SE flanks (figure 78). Continuous tremors were accompanied by ash emissions. White, gray, and brown emissions rose 600 m on 24 August. An explosion on 25 August produced an ash plume that rose 800 m above the peak and drifted W and NW (figure 79). During 26-30 August steam emissions rose 100-400 m above the summit and no explosions were recorded. Dense gray ash emissions rose 1,000 m and drifted E and NE after an explosion on 31 August. Significant SO2 emissions were associated with many of the explosions during August (figure 80).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. On 23 August 2020 an explosion at Sinabung produced a gray ash plume that rose 1,500 m above the summit and produced pyroclastic flows that traveled 1,000 m down the E and SE flanks. Courtesy of PVMBG (Sinabung Eruption Notice, 23 August 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. An explosion on 25 August 2020 at Sinabung produced an ash plume that rose 800 m above the peak and drifted W and NW. Courtesy of PVMBG (Sinabung Eruption Notice, 25 August 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Significant sulfur dioxide emissions were measured at Sinabung during August 2020 when near-daily explosions produced abundant ash emissions. A small plume was also recorded from Kerinci on 19 August 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Explosive activity decreased substantially during September 2020. A single explosion reported on 5 September produced a white and brown ash plume that rose 800 m above the summit and drifted NNE. During the rest of the month steam emissions rose 50-500 m above the summit before dissipating. Two lahars were reported on 7 September, and one each on 11 and 30 September. Although only a single explosion was reported, anomalous SO2 emissions were present in satellite data on several days.

The character of the activity changed during October 2020. Steam plumes rising 50-300 m above the summit were reported during the first week and a lahar was recorded by seismometers on 4 October. The first block avalanches from a new dome growing at the summit were reported on 8 October with material traveling 300 m ESE from the summit (figure 81). During 11-13 October block avalanches traveled 300-700 m E and SE from the summit. They traveled 100-150 m on 14 October. Steam plumes rising 50-500 m above the summit were reported during 15-22 October with two lahars recorded on 21 October. White and gray emissions rose 50-1,000 m on 23 October. The first of a series of pyroclastic flows was reported on 25 October; they were reported daily through the end of the month when the weather permitted, traveling 1,000-2,500 m from the summit (figure 82). In addition, block avalanches from the growing dome were observed moving down the E and SE flanks 500-1,500 m on 25 October and 200-1,000 m each day during 28-31 October (figure 83). Sentinel-2 satellite data indicated a very weak thermal anomaly at the summit in late September; it was slightly larger in late October, corroborating with images of the slow-growing dome (figure 84).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. A new lava dome appeared at the summit of Sinabung in late September 2020. Block avalanches from the dome were first reported on 8 October. Satellite imagery indicating a thermal anomaly at the summit was very faint at the end of September and slightly stronger by the end of October. The dome grew slowly between 30 September (top) and 22 October 2020 (bottom). Photos taken by Firdaus Surbakti, courtesy of Rizal.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Pyroclastic flows at Sinabung were accompanied ash emissions multiple times during the last week of October, including the event seen here on 27 October 2020. Courtesy of PVMBG and CultureVolcan.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Block avalanches from the growing summit dome at Sinabung descended the SE flank on 28 October 2020. The dome is visible at the summit. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. A very faint thermal anomaly appeared at the summit of Sinabung in Sentinel 2 satellite imagery on 28 September 2020 (left). One month later on 28 October the anomaly was bigger, corroborating photographic evidence of the growing dome. Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Gunung Sinabung is a Pleistocene-to-Holocene stratovolcano with many lava flows on its flanks. The migration of summit vents along a N-S line gives the summit crater complex an elongated form. The youngest crater of this conical andesitic-to-dacitic edifice is at the southern end of the four overlapping summit craters. The youngest deposit is a SE-flank pyroclastic flow 14C dated by Hendrasto et al. (2012) at 740-880 CE. An unconfirmed eruption was noted in 1881, and solfataric activity was seen at the summit and upper flanks in 1912. No confirmed historical eruptions were recorded prior to explosive eruptions during August-September 2010 that produced ash plumes to 5 km above the summit.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); 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/); 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/); The Jakarta Post, 3rd Floor, Gedung, Jl. Palmerah Barat 142-143 Jakarta 10270 (URL: https://www.thejakartapost.com/amp/news/2020/08/08/mount-sinabung-erupts-again-after-year-of-inactivity.html);Rizal (URL: https://twitter.com/Rizal06691023/status/1319452375887740930); CultureVolcan (URL: https://twitter.com/CultureVolcan/status/1321156861173923840).


Heard (Australia) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Persistent thermal anomalies in the summit crater from June through October 2020

The remote Heard Island is located in the southern Indian Ocean and contains the Big Ben stratovolcano, which has had intermittent activity since 1910. The island’s activity, characterized by thermal anomalies and occasional lava flows (BGVN 45:05), is primarily monitored by satellite instruments. This report updates activity from May through October 2020 using information from satellite-based instruments.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed frequent thermal activity in early June that continued through July (figure 43). Intermittent, slightly higher-power thermal anomalies were detected in late August through mid-October, the strongest of which occurred in October. Two of these anomalies were also detected in the MODVOLC algorithm on 12 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. A small pulse in thermal activity at Heard was detected in early June and continued through July 2020, according to the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power). Thermal anomalies appeared again starting in late August and continued intermittently through mid-October 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed a single thermal anomaly on 3 May. In comparison to the MIROVA graph, satellite imagery showed a small pulse of strong thermal activity at the summit of Big Ben in June (figure 44). Some of these thermal anomalies were accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. Persistent strong thermal activity continued through July. Starting on 2 July through at least 17 July two hotspots were visible in satellite imagery: one in the summit crater and one slightly to the NW of the summit (figure 45). Some gas-and-steam emissions were seen rising from the S hotspot in the summit crater. In August the thermal anomalies had decreased in strength and frequency but persisted at the summit through October (figure 45).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Thermal satellite images of Heard Island’s Big Ben volcano showed strong thermal signatures (bright yellow-orange) sometimes accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions drifting SE (top left) and NE (bottom right) during June 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Thermal satellite images of Heard Island’s Big Ben volcano showed persistent thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) near the summit during July through October 2020. During 14 (top left) and 17 (top right) July a second hotspot was visible NW of the summit. By 22 October (bottom right) the thermal anomaly had significantly decreased in strength in comparison to previous months. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; 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).


Sabancaya (Peru) — October 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 produced ash plumes, SO2 plumes, and thermal anomalies during June-September 2020

Sabancaya, located in Peru, is a stratovolcano that has been very active since 1986. The current eruptive period began in November 2016 and has recently been characterized by lava dome growth, daily explosions, ash plumes, ashfall, SO2 plumes, and ongoing thermal anomalies (BGVN 45:06). Similar activity continues into this reporting period of June through September 2020 using information from weekly reports from the Observatorio Vulcanologico INGEMMET (OVI), the Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), and various satellite data. The Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) issued a total of 520 reports of ongoing ash emissions during this time.

Volcanism during this reporting period consisted of daily explosions, nearly constant gas-and-ash plumes, SO2 plumes, and persistent thermal anomalies in the summit crater. Gas-and-ash plumes rose to 1.5-4 km above the summit crater, drifting up to 35 km from the crater in multiple directions; several communities reported ashfall every month except for August (table 7). Sulfur dioxide emissions were notably high and recorded almost daily with the TROPOMI satellite instrument (figure 83). The satellite measurements of the SO2 emissions exceeded 2 DU (Dobson Units) at least 20 days each month of the reporting period. These SO2 plumes sometimes persisted over multiple days and ranged between 1,900-10,700 tons/day. MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows frequent thermal activity through September within 5 km of the summit crater, though the power varied; by late August, the thermal anomalies were stronger compared to the previous months (figure 84). This increase in power is also reflected by the MODVOLC algorithm that detected 11 thermal anomalies over the days of 31 August and 4, 6, 13, 17, 18, 20, and 22 September 2020. Many of these thermal hotspots were visible in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery, occasionally accompanied by gas-and-steam and ash plumes (figure 85).

Table 7. Persistent activity at Sabancaya during June through September included multiple daily explosions that produced ash plumes rising several kilometers above the summit and drifting in multiple directions; this resulted in ashfall in communities within 35 km of the volcano. Satellite instruments recorded daily SO2 emissions. Data courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET, IGP, and the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Month Avg. daily explosions by week Max plume heights (km above the crater) Plume drift (km) and direction Communities reporting ashfall Minimum days with SO2 over 2 DU SO2 emissions per day (tons) by week
Jun 2020 20, 10, 9, 13 1.5-4 30 km, SE, S, SW, NE, W, E Chivay, Achoma, Ichupampa, Yanque, and Coporaque, Sallali, Madrigal, Lari, and Ichupampa 28 8,400, 2,200, 3,100, 7,600
Jul 2020 20, 15, 11, 12, 19 2-2.6 15-30 km E, NE, NW, SE, SW, S, W Achoma and Chivay 23 4,400, 6,000, 1,900, 2,100, 5,900
Aug 2020 18, 12, 9, 29 1.7-3.6 20-30 km W, SW, SE, S, E, NW - 20 2,300, 3,800, 5,300, 10,700
Sep 2020 39, 35, 33, 38, 40 1.8-3.5 25-35 km SE, S, SW, W, E, NE, N, NW, W Lari, Achoma, Maca, Chivay, Taya, Huambo, Huanca, and Lluta 28 9,700, 2,600, 8,800, 7,800, 4,100
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Sulfur dioxide plumes were captured almost daily from Sabancaya during June through September 2020 by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Some of the largest SO2 plumes occurred on 19 June (top left), 5 July (top right), 30 August (bottom left), and 10 September (bottom right) 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Thermal activity at Sabancaya varied in power from 13 October 2019 through September 2020, but was consistent in frequency, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). A pulse in thermal activity is shown in late August 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed frequent gas-and-steam and ash plumes rising from Sabancaya, accompanied by ongoing thermal activity from the summit crater during June through September 2020. On 23 June (top left) a dense gray-white ash plume was visible drifting E from the summit. On 3 July (top right) and 27 August (bottom left) a strong thermal hotspot (bright yellow-orange) was accompanied by some degassing. On 1 September (bottom right) the thermal anomaly persisted with a dense gray-white ash plume drifting SE from the summit. Images using “Natural Color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) on 23 June 2020 (top left) and the rest have “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

OVI detected slight inflation on the N part of the volcano, which continued to be observed throughout the reporting period. Persistent thermal anomalies caused by the summit crater lava dome were observed in satellite data. The average number of daily explosions during June ranged from 18 during 1-7 June to 9 during 15-21 June, which generated gas-and-ash plumes that rose 1.5-4 km above the crater and drifted 30 km SE, S, SW, NE, W, and E (figure 86). The strongest sulfur dioxide emissions were recorded during 1-7 June measuring 8,400 tons/day. On 20 June drone video showed that the lava dome had been destroyed, leaving blocks on the crater floor, though the crater remained hot, as seen in thermal satellite imagery (figure 85). During 22-28 June there were an average of 13 daily explosions, which produced ash plumes rising to a maximum height of 4 km, drifting NE, E, and SE. As a result, ashfall was reported in the districts of Chivay, Achoma, Ichupampa, Yanque, and Coporaque, and in the area of Sallali. Then, on 27 June ashfall was reported in several areas NE of the volcano, which included the districts of Madrigal, Lari, Achoma, Ichupampa, Yanque, Chivay, and Coporaque.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Multiple daily explosions at Sabancaya produced ash plumes that rose 1.5-4 km above the crater during June 2020. Images are showing 8 (left) and 27 (right) June 2020. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-24-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 08 al 14 de junio del 2020 and RSSAB-26-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 22 al 28 de junio del 2020).

Slight inflation continued to be monitored in July, occurring about 4-6 km N of the crater, as well as on the SE flank. Daily explosions continued, producing gas-and-ash plumes that rose 2-2.6 km above the crater and drifting 15-30 km E, NE, NW, SE, SW, S, and W (figure 87). The number of daily explosions increased slightly compared to the previous month, ranging from 20 during 1-5 July to 11 during 13-19 July. SO2 emissions that were measured each week ranged from 1,900 to 6,000 tons/day, the latter of which occurred during 6-12 July. Thermal anomalies continued to be observed in thermal satellite data over the summit crater throughout the month. During 6-12 July gas-and-ash plumes rose 2.3-2.5 km above the crater, drifting 30 km SE, E, and NE, resulting in ashfall in Achoma and Chivay.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Multiple daily explosions at Sabancaya produced ash plumes that rose 2-3.5 km above the crater during July 2020. Images are showing 7 (left) and 26 (right) July 2020. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-28-2020/INGEMMET Semanal: del 06 al 12 de julio del 2020 and RSSAB-30-2020/INGEMMET Semanal: del 20 al 26 de julio del 2020).

OVI reported continued slight inflation on the N and SE flanks during August. Daily explosive activity had slightly declined in the first part of the month, ranging from 18 during the 3-9 August to 9 during 17-23 August. Dense gray gas-and-ash plumes rose 1.7-3.6 km above the crater, drifting 20-30 km in various directions (figure 88), though no ashfall was reported. Thermal anomalies were observed using satellite data throughout the month. During 24-30 August a pulse in activity increased the daily average of explosions to 29, as well as the amount of SO2 emissions (10,700 tons/day); nighttime incandescence accompanied this activity. During 28-29 August higher levels of seismicity and inflation were reported compared to the previous weeks. The daily average of explosions increased again during 31 August-6 September to 39; nighttime incandescence remained.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Multiple daily explosions at Sabancaya produced ash plumes that rose 1.7-3.6 km above the crater during August 2020. Images are showing 1 (left) and 29 (right) August 2020. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-31-2020/INGEMMET Semanal del 27 de julio al 02 de agosto del 2020 and RSSAB-35-2020/INGEMMET Semanal del 24 al 30 de agosto del 2020).

Increased volcanism was reported during September with the daily average of explosions ranging from 33 during 14-20 September to 40 during 28 September-4 October. The resulting gas-and-ash plumes rose 1.8-3.5 km above the crater drifting 25-35 km in various directions (figure 89). SO2 flux was measured by OVI ranging from 2,600 to 9,700 tons/day, the latter of which was recorded during 31 August to 6 September. During 7-13 September an average of 35 explosions were reported, accompanied by gas-and-ash plumes that rose 2.6-3.5 km above the crater and drifting 30 km SE, SW, W, E, and S. These events resulted in ashfall in Lari, Achoma, and Maca. The following week (14-20 September) ashfall was reported in Achoma and Chivay. During 21-27 September the daily average of explosions was 38, producing ash plumes that resulted in ashfall in Taya, Huambo, Huanca, and Lluta. Slight inflation on the N and SE flanks continued to be monitored by OVI. Strong activity, including SO2 emissions and thermal anomalies over the summit crater persisted into at least early October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Multiple daily explosions at Sabancaya produced ash plumes that rose 1.8-2.6 km above the crater during September 2020. Images are showing 4 (left) and 27 (right) September 2020. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-36-2020/INGEMMET Semanal del 31 de agosto al 06 de septiembre del 2020 and RSSAB-39-2020/INGEMMET Semanal del 21 al 27 de septiembre 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); Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), Calle Badajoz N° 169 Urb. Mayorazgo IV Etapa, Ate, Lima 15012, Perú (URL: https://www.gob.pe/igp); 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); 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).


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

10.83°N, 85.324°W; summit elev. 1916 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent small phreatic explosions with intermittent ash plumes during April-September 2020

Rincón de la Vieja is a remote volcanic complex in Costa Rica that contains an acid lake. Frequent weak phreatic explosions have occurred since 2011 (BGVN 44:08). The most recent eruption period began in January 2020, which consisted of small phreatic explosions, gas-and-steam plumes, pyroclastic flows, and lahars (BGVN 45:04). This reporting period covers April through September 2020, with activity characterized by continued small phreatic explosions, three lahars, frequent gas-and-steam plumes, and ash plumes. The primary source of information for this report is the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA) using weekly bulletins and the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Small, frequent, phreatic explosions were common at Rincón de la Vieja during this reporting period. One to several eruptions were reported on at least 16 days in April, 15 days in May, 8 days in June, 10 days in July, 18 days in August, and 13 days in September (table 5). Intermittent ash plumes accompanied these eruptions, rising 100-3,000 m above the crater and drifting W, NW, and SW during May and N during June. Occasional gas-and-steam plumes were also observed rising 50-2,000 m above the crater rim.

Table 5. Monthly summary of activity at Rincón de la Vieja during April through September 2020. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Month Minimum total days of eruptions Ash plume height (m above the crater) Notable plume drift Gas-and-steam plume height (m above the crater)
Apr 2020 16 200-1,000 - 50-1,500
May 2020 15 200-3,000 W, NW, SW 200-2,000
Jun 2020 8 100-2,000 N -
Jul 2020 10 1,000 - -
Aug 2020 18 500-1,000 - 500
Sep 2020 13 700 - 50

During April small explosions were detected almost daily, some of which generated ash plumes that rose 200-1,000 m above the crater and gas-and-steam emissions that rose 50-1,500 m above the crater. On 4 April an eruption at 0824 produced an ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim. A small hydrothermal explosion at 0033 on 11 April, recorded by the webcam in Sensoria (4 km N), ejected water and sediment onto the upper flanks. On 15 April a phreatic eruption at 0306 resulted in lahars in the Pénjamo, Azufrada, and Azul rivers, according to local residents. Several small explosions were detected during the morning of 19 April; the largest phreatic eruption ejected water and sediment 300 m above the crater rim and onto the flanks at 1014, generated a lahar, and sent a gas-and-steam plume 1.5 km above the crater (figure 30). On 24 April five events were recorded by the seismic network during the morning, most of which produced gas-and-steam plumes that rose 300-500 m above the crater. The largest event on this day occurred at 1020, ejecting water and solid material 300 m above the crater accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume rising up to 1 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. Webcam image of small hydrothermal eruptions at Rincón de la Vieja on 19 April 2020. Image taken by the webcam in Dos Ríos de Upala; courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Similar frequent phreatic activity continued in May, with ash plumes rising 200-1,500 m above the crater, drifting W, NW, and SW, and gas-and-steam plumes rising up to 2 km. On 5 May an eruption at 1317 produced a gas-and-steam plume 200 m above the crater and a Washington VAAC advisory reported that an ash plume rose to 2.1 km altitude, drifting W. An event at 1925 on 9 May generated a gas-and-steam plume that rose almost 2 km. An explosion at 1128 on 15 May resulted in a gas-and-steam plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim, accompanied by a gray, sediment-laden plume that rose 400 m. On 21 May a small ash eruption at 0537 sent a plume 1 km above the crater (figure 31). According to a Washington VAAC advisory, an ash plume rose 3 km altitude, drifting NW on 22 May. During the early evening on 25 May an hour-long sequence of more than 70 eruptions and emissions, according to OVSICORI-UNA, produced low gas-and-steam plumes and tephra; at 1738, some ejecta was observed above the crater rim. The next day, on 26 May, up to 52 eruptive events were observed. An eruption at 2005 was not visible due to weather conditions; however, it resulted in a minor amount of ashfall up to 17 km W and NW, which included Los Angeles of Quebrada Grande and Liberia. A phreatic explosion at 1521 produced a gray plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater (figure 31). An eruption at 1524 on 28 May sent an ash plume 3 km above the crater that drifted W, followed by at least three smaller eruptions at 1823, 1841, and 1843. OVSICORI-UNA reported that volcanism began to decrease in frequency on 28-29 May. Sulfur dioxide emissions ranged between 100 and 400 tons per day during 28 May to 15 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Webcam images of gray gas-and-steam and ash emissions at Rincón de la Vieja on 21 (left), and 27 (right) May 2020. Both images taken by the webcam in Dos Ríos de Upala and Sensoria; courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

There were eight days with eruptions in June, though some days had multiple small events; phreatic eruptions reported on 1-2, 13, 16-17, 19-20, and 23 June generated plumes 1-2 km above the crater (figure 32). During 2-8 June SO2 emissions were 150-350 tons per day; more than 120 eruptions were recorded during the preceding weekend. Ashfall was observed N of the crater on 4 June. During 9-15 June the SO2 emissions increased slightly to 100-400 tons per day. During 16-17 June several small eruptive events were detected, the largest of which occurred at 1635 on 17 June, producing an ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Webcam images of gray gas-and-steam and ash plumes rising from Rincón de la Vieja on 1 (top left), 2 (top right), 7 (bottom left), and 13 (bottom right) June 2020. The ash plume on 1 June rose between 1.5 and 2 km above the crater. The ash plume on 13 June rose 1 km above the crater. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Explosive hydrothermal activity was lower in June-September compared to January-May 2020, according to OVSICORI-UNA. Sporadic small phreatic explosions and earthquakes were registered during 22-25 and 29 July-3 August, though no lahars were reported. On 25 July an eruptive event at 0153 produced an ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater. Similar activity continued into August. On 5 and 6 August phreatic explosions were recorded at 0546 and 0035, respectively, the latter of which generated a plume that rose 500 m above the crater. These events continued to occur on 10, 16, 19-20, 22-25, 27-28, and 30-31 August, generating plumes that rose 500 m to 1 km above the crater.

On 3 September geologists observed that the acid lake in the main crater had a low water level and exhibited strong gas emissions; vigorous fumaroles were observed on the inner W wall of the crater, measuring 120°C. Gas-and-steam emissions continued to be detected during September, occasionally accompanied by phreatic eruptions. On 7 September an eruption at 0750 produced an ash plume that rose 50 m above the crater while the accompanying gas-and-steam plume rose 500 m. Several low-energy phreatic explosions occurred during 8-17, 20, and 22-28 September, characterized primarily by gas-and-steam emissions. An eruption on 16 September ejected material from the crater and generated a small lahar. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 100 tons per day during 16-21 September. On 17 September an eruption at 0632 produced an ash plume that rose 700 m above the crater (figure 33). A relatively large eruptive event at 1053 on 22 September ejected material out of the crater and into N-flank drainages.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Webcam image of an eruption plume rising above Rincón de la Vieja on 17 September 2020. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

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

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/, https://www.facebook.com/OVSICORI/); 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).


Fuego (Guatemala) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily explosions, ash emissions, and block avalanches during August-November 2020

Guatemala's Volcán de Fuego has been erupting vigorously since 2002 with reported eruptions dating back to 1531. These eruptions have resulted in major ashfalls, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and damaging lahars, including a series of explosions and pyroclastic flows in early June 2018 that caused several hundred fatalities. Eruptive activity consisting of explosions with ash emissions, block avalanches, and lava flows began again after a short break and has continued; activity during August-November 2020 is covered in this report. Daily reports are provided by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH); aviation alerts of ash plumes are issued by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Satellite data provide valuable information about heat flow and emissions.

Summary of activity during August-November 2020. Eruptive activity continued at Fuego during August-November 2020, very similar to that during the first part of the year (table 22). Ash emissions were reported daily by INSIVUMEH with explosions often in the 6-12 per hour range. Most of the ash plumes rose to 4.5-4.7 km altitude and generally drifted SW, W, or NW, although rarely the wind direction changed and sent ash to the S and SE. Multiple daily advisories were issued throughout the period by the Washington VAAC warning aviators about ash plumes, which were often visible on the observatory webcam (figure 136). Some of the communities located SW of the volcano received ashfall virtually every day during the period. Block avalanches descended the major drainages daily as well. Sounds were heard and vibrations felt from the explosions most days, usually 7-12 km away. The stronger explosions could be felt and heard 20 km or more from the volcano. During late August and early September a lava flow was active on the SW flank, reaching 700 m in length during the second week of September.

Table 22. Eruptive activity was consistently high at Fuego throughout August – November 2020 with multiple explosions every hour, ash plumes, block avalanches, and near-daily ashfall in the communities in certain directions within 10-20 km of the volcano. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH daily reports.

Month Explosions per hour Ash Plume Heights (km) Ash plume distance (km) and direction Drainages affected by block avalanches Communities reporting ashfall
Aug 2020 2-15 4.3-4.8 SW, W, NW, S, N, 8-20 km Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, Santa Teresa Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Rochela, Finca Palo Verde, Yepocapa, Santa Sofia, El Porvenir, Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa
Sep 2020 3-16 4.3-4.9 W, SW, NW, N, S, 8-20 km Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, Santa Teresa Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, Yepocapa, Porvenir, Yucales, Ojo de Agua, Finca La Conchita
Oct 2020 3-19 4.1-4.8 SW, W, S, SE, N, E, 10-20 km Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, Santa Teresa Panimache I and II, Morelia, Sangre de Cristo, Yepocapa, La Rochela, El Porvenir, Ceilán, Santa Sofía, Yucales, Finca Palo Verde
Nov 2020 4-14 4.0-4.8 S, SW, SE, W, NW, 10-35 km Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, Santa Teresa El Jute Panimaché I and II, Sangre de Cristo, Morelia, Ceilan, La Rochela, El Zapote, Santa Sofía, Yucales, San Juan Alotenango, Ciudad Vieja, San Miguel Dueñas y Antigua Guatemala, Palo Verde, El Porvenir, San Pedro Yepocapa, Quisaché, Santa Emilia
Figure (see Caption) Figure 136. Consistent daily ash emissions produced similar looking ash plumes at Fuego during August-November 2020. Plumes usually rose to 4.5-4.8 km altitude and drifted SW. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

The frequent explosions, block avalanches, and lava flows produced a strong thermal signal throughout the period that was recorded in both the MIROVA project Log Radiative Power graph (figure 137) and in numerous Sentinel-2 satellite images (figure 138). MODVOLC data produced thermal alerts 4-6 days each month. At least one lahar was recorded each month; they were most frequent in September and October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 137. The MIROVA graph of activity at Fuego for the period from 15 January through November 2020 suggested persistent moderate to high-level heat flow for much of the time. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 138. Atmospheric penetration rendering of Sentinel-2 satellite images (bands 12, 11, 8A) of Fuego during August-November 2020 showed continued thermal activity from block avalanches, explosions, and lava flows at the summit and down several different ravines. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during August-November 2020. The number of explosions per hour at Fuego during August 2020 was most often 7-10, with a few days that were higher at 10-15. The ash plumes usually rose to 4.5-4.8 km altitude and drifted SW or W up to 15 km. Incandescence was visible 100-300 m above the summit crater on most nights. All of the major drainages including the Seca, Santa Teresa, Ceniza, Trinidad, Taniluyá, Las Lajas, and Honda were affected by block avalanches virtually every day. In addition, the communities of Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, El Porvenir, San Pedro Yepocapa, and Sangre de Cristo reported ashfall almost every day. Sounds and vibrations were reported multiple days every week, often up to 12 km from the volcano, but occasionally as far as 20 km away. Lahars carrying blocks of rocks and debris 1-2 m in diameter descended the SE flank in the Las Lajas and Honda ravines on 6 August. On 27 August a lava flow 150 m long appeared in the Ceniza ravine. It increased in length over the subsequent few days, reaching 550 m long on 30 August, with frequent block avalanches falling off the front of the flow.

The lava flow in the Ceniza ravine was reported at 100 m long on 5 September. It grew to 200 m on 7 September and reached 700 m long on 12 September. It remained 200-350 m long through 19 September, although instruments monitored by INSIVUMEH indicated that effusive activity was decreasing after 16 September (figure 139). A second flow was 200 m long in the Seca ravine on 19 September. By 22 September, active flows were no longer observed. The explosion rate varied from a low of 3-5 on 1 September to a high of 12-16 on 4, 13, 18, and 22-23 September. Ash plumes rose to 4.5-4.9 km altitude nearly every day and drifted W, NW, and SW occasionally as far as 20 km before dissipating. In addition to the active flow in the Ceniza ravine, block avalanches persisted in the other ravines throughout the month. Ashfall continued in the same communities as in August, but was also reported in Yucales on 4 September along with Ojo de Agua and Finca La Conchita on 17 September. The Las Lajas, Honda, and El Jute ravines were the sites of lahars carrying blocks up to 1.5 m in diameter on 8 and 18 September. On 19 and 24 September lahars again descended Las Lajas and El Jute ravines; the Ceniza ravine had a lahar on 19 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 139. Avalanche blocks descended the Ceniza ravine (left) and the Las Lajas ravine (right) at Fuego on 17 September 2020. The webcam that captured this image is located at Finca La Reunión on the SE flank. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (BOLETÍN VULCANOLÓGICO ESPECIAL BEVFGO # 76-2020, 18 de septiembre de 2020, 14:30 horas).

The same activity continued during October 2020 with regard to explosion rates, plume altitudes, distances, and directions of drift. All of the major ravines were affected by block avalanches and the same communities located W and SW of the summit reported ashfall. In addition, ashfall was reported in La Rochela on 2, 3, 7-9 and 30 October, in Ceilán on 3 and 7-9 October, and in Yucales on 5, 14, 18 and 19 October. Multiple strong explosions with abundant ash were reported in a special bulletin on 14 October; high levels of explosive activity were recorded during 16-23 October. Vibrations and sounds were often felt up to 15 km away and heard as far as 25 km from the volcano during that period. Particularly strong block avalanches were present in the Seca and Ceniza ravines on 20, 25, and 30 October. Abundant rain on 9 October resulted in lahars descending all of the major ravines. The lahar in the Las Lajas ravine overflowed and forced the closure of route RN-14 road affecting the community of San Miguel on the SE flank (figure 140). Heavy rains on 15 October produced lahars in the Ceniza, Las Lajas, and Hondas ravines with blocks up to 2 m in diameter. Multiple lahars on 27 October affected Las Lajas, El Jute, and Honda ravines.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 140. Heavy rains on 9 October 2020 at Fuego caused lahars in all the major ravines. Debris from Las Lajas ravine overflowed highway RN-14 near the community of San Miguel on the SE flank, the area devastated by the pyroclastic flow of June 2018. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (BEFGO #96 VOLCAN DE FUEGO- ZONA CERO RN-14, SAN MIGUEL LOS LOTES y BARRANCA LAS LAJAS, 09 de octubre de 2020).

On 8 November 2020 a lahar descended the Seca ravine, carrying rocks and debris up to 1 meter in diameter. During the second week of November 2020, the wind direction changed towards the SE and E and brought ashfall to San Juan Alotenango, Ciudad Vieja, San Miguel Dueñas, and Antigua Guatemala on 8 November. Especially strong block avalanches were noted in the Seca and Ceniza ravines on 14, 19, 24, and 29 November. During a period of stronger activity in the fourth week of November, vibrations were felt and explosions heard more than 20 km away on 22 November and more than 25 km away on 27 November. In addition to the other communities affected by ashfall during August-November, Quisaché and Santa Emilia reported ashfall on 30 November.

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);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/); 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).


Kikai (Japan) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kikai

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosion on 6 October 2020 and thermal anomalies in the crater

Kikai is a mostly submarine caldera, 19-km-wide, just S of the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. At the NW rim of the caldera lies the island of Satsuma Iwo Jima (also known as Satsuma-Iojima and Tokara Iojima), and the island’s highest peak, Iodake, a steep stratovolcano. Recent weak ash explosions at Iodake occurred on 2 November 2019 and 29 April 2020 (BGVN 45:02, 45:05). The volcano is monitored by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and satellite sensors. This report covers the period May-October 2020. During this time, the Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

Activity at Kikai has been relatively low since the previous eruption on 29 April 2020. During May through October occasional white gas-and-steam emissions rose 0.8-1.3 km above the Iodake crater, the latter of which was recorded in September. Emissions were intermittently accompanied by weak nighttime incandescence, according to JMA (figure 17).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. White gas-and-steam emissions rose 1 km above the crater at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 25 May (top) 2020. At night, occasional incandescence could be seen in the Iodake crater, as seen on 29 May (bottom) 2020. Both images taken by the Iwanoue webcam. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, May 2nd year of Reiwa [2020]).

A small eruption at 0757 on 6 October occurred in the NW part of the Iodake crater, which produced a grayish white plume rising 200 m above the crater (figure 18). Faint thermal anomalies were detected in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery in the days just before this eruption (28 September and 3 October) and then after (13 and 23 October), accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions (figures 19 and 20). Nighttime crater incandescence continued to be observed. JMA reported that sulfur dioxide emissions measured 700 tons per day during October, compared to the previous eruption (400-2,000 tons per day in April 2020).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Webcam images of the eruption at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 6 October 2020 that produced an ash plume rising 200 m above the crater (top). Nighttime summit crater incandescence was also observed (bottom). Images were taken by the Iwanoue webcam. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, October 2nd year of Reiwa [2020]).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Weak thermal hotspots (bright yellow-orange) were observed at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) during late September through October 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Webcam image of a white gas-and-steam plume rising 1.1 km above the crater at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 27 October 2020. Image was taken by the Iwanoue webcam. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, October 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).


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Manam

Papua New Guinea

4.08°S, 145.037°E; summit elev. 1807 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash plumes, thermal anomalies, and SO2 emissions in April-September 2020

Manam, located 13 km off the N coast of Papua New Guinea, is a basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano with historical eruptions dating back 400 years. Volcanism has been characterized by low-level ash plumes, occasional Strombolian activity, lava flows, pyroclastic avalanches, and large ash plumes from Main and South, the two active summit craters. The current eruption period has been ongoing since 2014, typically with minor explosive activity, thermal activity, and SO2 emissions (BGVN 45:05). This reporting period updates information from April through September 2020, consisting of intermittent ash plumes from late July to mid-September, persistent thermal anomalies, and SO2 emissions. Information comes from Papua New Guinea's Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), part of the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Explosive activity was relatively low during April through late July; SO2 emissions and low power, but persistent, thermal anomalies were detected by satellite instruments each month. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite recorded SO2 emissions, many of which exceeded two Dobson Units, that drifted generally W (figure 76). Distinct SO2 emissions were detected for 10 days in April, 4 days in May, 10 days in June, 4 days in July, 11 days in August, and 8 days in September.

Thermal anomalies recorded by the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system were sparse from early January through June 2020, totaling 11 low-power anomalies within 5 km of the summit (figure 77). From late July through September a pulse in thermal activity produced slightly stronger and more frequent anomalies. Some of this activity could be observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (figure 78). Occasionally, these thermal anomalies were accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions or ash plumes, as shown on 28 July. On 17 August a particularly strong hotspot was detected in the S summit crater. According to the MODVOLC thermal alert data, a total of 10 thermal alerts were detected in the summit crater over four days: 29 July (5), 16 August (1), and 3 (1) and 8 (3) September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Distinct sulfur dioxide plumes rising from Manam and drifting generally W were detected using data from the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite on 28 April (top left), 24 May (top right), 16 July (bottom left), and 12 September (bottom right) 2020. Courtesy of the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Intermittent thermal activity at Manam increased in power and frequency beginning around late July and continuing through September 2020, as shown on the MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing a persistent thermal anomaly (yellow-orange) at Manam’s summit craters (Main and South) each month during April through August; sometimes they were seen in both summit craters, as shown on 8 June (top right), 28 July (bottom left), and 17 August (bottom right). A particularly strong anomaly was visible on 17 August (bottom right). Occasional gas-and-steam emissions accompanied the thermal activity. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during mid-July slightly increased compared to the previous months. On 16 July seismicity increased, fluctuating between low and moderate RSAM values through the rest of the month. In Sentinel-2 satellite imagery a gray ash plume was visible rising from the S summit crater on 28 July (figure 78). RSAM values gradually increased from a low average of 200 to an average of 1200 on 30 July, accompanied by thermal hotspots around the summit crater; a ground observer reported incandescent material was ejected from the summit. On 31 July into 1 August ash plumes rose to 4.3 km altitude, accompanied by an incandescent lava flow visible at the summit, according to a Darwin VAAC advisory.

Intermittent ash plumes continued to be reported by the Darwin VAAC on 1, 6-7, 16, 20, and 31 August. They rose from 2.1 to 4.6 km altitude, the latter of which occurred on 31 August and drifted W. Typically, these ash plumes extended SW, W, NW, and WSW. On 11 September another ash plume was observed rising 2.4 km altitude and drifting W.

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

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 22, Number 11 (November 1997)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Ambrym (Vanuatu)

August visit reveals lava fountains, Strombolian explosions

Arenal (Costa Rica)

January-November tremor and earthquakes

Asosan (Japan)

Two tourists killed by volcanic gas on 23 November

Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001) (Unknown)

Volcanic aerosol optical thicknesses since 1960

Avachinsky (Russia)

Fumarolic plume on 22 December

Bezymianny (Russia)

Explosive eruption on 5 December

Campi Flegrei (Italy)

Increase in sulfate concentrations and fumarole temperatures

Chiginagak (United States)

Increased fumarolic activity in late October

Karymsky (Russia)

Low-level Strombolian activity continues

Kilauea (United States)

Bench collapse and pit formation; lava flows continue to reach the coast

Klyuchevskoy (Russia)

Elevated seismicity during 13 October-1 December; gas-and-steam plumes

Koryaksky (Russia)

Above-background seismicity in late December

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Increased eruptive activity at Crater 2

Long Valley (United States)

Summary of 1996 activity

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Moderate explosions in late November

Monowai (New Zealand)

Inferred eruption during 15-18 December

Obituary Notices (Unknown)

Death of Werner F. Giggenbach at Rabaul

Poas (Costa Rica)

June-November earthquakes; thermally stable fumaroles

Popocatepetl (Mexico)

Low activity through November; lava extrusion and explosion in December

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Slow ongoing inflation

Sheveluch (Russia)

Normal seismicity and fumarolic activity

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Explosions and dome growth

Vulcano (Italy)

Trends in fumarolic gas composition during 1996-97

Yasur (Vanuatu)

Strombolian eruptions; decreasing seismic activity since March 1997



Ambrym (Vanuatu) — November 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambrym

Vanuatu

16.25°S, 168.12°E; summit elev. 1334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


August visit reveals lava fountains, Strombolian explosions

During 5-13 August 1997, a team from the Société de Volcanologie Genève (SVG) observed Ambrym caldera and deployed an infrared (1.55 µm wavelength) optical pyrometer (Optix-G, Keller GMBH., Ibbenburen-Lagenbeck). Temperatures of lavas were estimated from the pyrometer by measuring emissivity factors of lavas heated to known temperatures in an oven. In some cases comparisons were also made with a thermocouple on the floor of Marum crater (contact the authors regarding procedures and results).

At Benbow cone, most activity, including lava fountaining, occurred inside the S part of the crater. A deep crater in the cone's N flank emitted a large amount of hot, very concentrated gas. The crater bottom was not visible; however, strong night glow revealed the proximity of magma.

At Marum cone, three different craters were active during the SVG visit. At Mbwelesu, the main crater, two closely spaced openings full of lava were visible from the rim. The lava surface was continuously overturned by fountains that were tens of meters high. The maximum temperature of the chimney opening was estimated with the optical pyrometer at 910°C. The pyrometer measurement was taken on the NNE side of the crater rim under conditions of good visibility and strong degassing.

At Niri Mbwelesu, a secondary crater close to Mbwelesu's rim, strong degassing was observed. Although the crater was often full of vapor, occasionally the bottom was visible. A small, elongated lake surrounded by fumaroles was seen in the crater near a glowing opening that was emitting pulses of hot gas; however, magma was not directly observed.

Inside Niri Mbwelesu Taten, a small collapse pit (169 x 185 m; 140 m deep) to the S of Niri Mbwelesu, Strombolian explosions were observed until 7 August. The explosions lasted a few hours, stopped, then resumed a few hours later. The explosions were caused by the bursting of magma bubbles 2-3 m in diameter as they reached the surface. The noise from the explosions could be heard a few kilometers away. Shock waves were sometimes observed in the cloud above the pit. The maximum temperature of liquid lava inside the pit was estimated with the optical pyrometer at 964°C. Pyrometer measurements were taken standing on the S border of the crater rim under conditions of good visibility. Maximum temperature estimates on liquid lava varied between ~935°C and 965°C.

In addition, the team measured rain acidity at different sites inside the caldera. A clear gradient was found: the rain had a pH of 2 on the Benbow crater rim and a pH of 4 close to the caldera's border.

Geologic Background. Ambrym, a large basaltic volcano with a 12-km-wide caldera, is one of the most active volcanoes of the New Hebrides Arc. A thick, almost exclusively pyroclastic sequence, initially dacitic then basaltic, overlies lava flows of a pre-caldera shield volcano. The caldera was formed during a major Plinian eruption with dacitic pyroclastic flows about 1,900 years ago. Post-caldera eruptions, primarily from Marum and Benbow cones, have partially filled the caldera floor and produced lava flows that ponded on the floor or overflowed through gaps in the caldera rim. Post-caldera eruptions have also formed a series of scoria cones and maars along a fissure system oriented ENE-WSW. Eruptions have apparently occurred almost yearly during historical time from cones within the caldera or from flank vents. However, from 1850 to 1950, reporting was mostly limited to extra-caldera eruptions that would have affected local populations.

Information Contacts: P. Vetch and S. Haefeli, Société de Volcanologie Genève (SVG), C.P. 298, CH-1225, Chene-bourg, Switzerland.


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

Arenal

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


January-November tremor and earthquakes

Seismicity for Arenal during January through November 1997 is shown on figure 83. The monthly earthquake count peaked in July at around 1,600 events, but many months had fewer than 600. Tremor reached durations of 250-300 hours during January, March, and June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Arenal's monthly earthquake count and tremor duration for the interval January-October 1997. Data were registered at station "VACR," 2.7 km NE of the main crater. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA

Arenal's first historical eruption, in mid-1968, began an unbroken sequence of Strombolian explosions and lava effusion from multiple vents. Since then the volcano has erupted material of basaltic-andesite composition.

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

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


Asosan (Japan) — November 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Two tourists killed by volcanic gas on 23 November

Tomoki Tsutsui (Aso Volcanological Laboratory, Kyoto University) reported that a new fumarolic vent ~10 m in diameter formed on the S wall of Crater 1 in early November; later, small mounds of mud formed around the vent. Although Crater 1 had been quiet since 1993, hot greenish-gray water remained in the crater. Videos of Crater 1 taken by the Aso Volcano Museum recorded emissions of mud fragments and white fumes from the new vent, as well as a bubbling noise; other instruments detected low-level volcanic tremors.

According to news reports, inhalation of volcanic gas killed two men, aged 62 and 51 years, after they collapsed ~100 m S of Crater 1's rim at 0945 and 1040 on 23 November. Volcanic gas concentration around the crater is monitored using a sensor installed by the Japan Meteorological Agency in April 1997. Due to high levels of SO2 (~5 ppm), the Crater 1 overlook was closed on the morning of 23 November, but re-opened at 0900 when the SO2 level dropped to2 levels rose to ~8 ppm. The weather station at Aso had recorded no abnormal volcanic conditions.

Seventy-one people have been hospitalized due to inhalation of volcanic gases at Aso since 1980; of those, seven were killed. In June 1994, five junior high school students on a field trip collapsed near Crater 1.

Aso, a 24-km wide caldera, produced Pleistocene pyroclastic-flow deposits that cover much of Kyushu. Fifteen central cones form an E-W line on the caldera floor. Naka-dake, one of the intra-caldera cones, has erupted more than 165 times since 553 AD. Naka-dake has a group of craters (1.1 km long) including Crater 1 at the summit. Strombolian, phreatic, and phreatomagmatic eruptions are common in Crater 1. The 4 km2 100-m-deep Crater 1 is accessible by cable car, automobile, and on foot.

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

Information Contacts: Tomoki Tsutsui, Aso Volcanological Laboratory, Kyoto University, Choyo, Aso, Kumamoto, 869-1404, Japan; Volcano Research Center, Earthquake Research Institute (ERI), University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113, Japan (URL: http://www.eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp/VRC/index_E.html).


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

Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001)

Unknown

Unknown, Unknown; summit elev. m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Volcanic aerosol optical thicknesses since 1960

Richard A. Keen submitted the following report. About once per year, on average, the moon is eclipsed as it passes into the earth's shadow; at these times it can be used a remote sensor of the globally averaged optical depth of stratospheric aerosols of volcanic origin. Conceptually, the linkage between volcanic aerosols and lunar eclipses is as follows: 1) The moon is visible during total lunar eclipses due to sunlight refracted into the shadow (umbra) by the earth's atmosphere (primarily the stratosphere); 2) Stratospheric aerosols reduce the transmission of sunlight into the umbra; and 3) The path length of sunlight through a stratospheric aerosol layer is ~40x the vertical thickness of the layer. Therefore, the brightness of the eclipsed moon is extremely sensitive to the amount of aerosols in the stratosphere.

Methodology and data reduction. Aerosol optical thicknesses can be calculated for the date of an eclipse from the difference between the observed brightness of the eclipse and a modeled brightness computed for an aerosol-free standard atmosphere, modified by assumed distributions of ozone and cloud. A report on this technique, applied to observations during 1960 through 1982, appeared in Keen (1983); an update following the eruption of Pinatubo was reported in February 1993 (Bulletin v. 18, no. 2).

This report updates the time series from 1960 through the lunar eclipse of 16 September 1997 (figure 4), the last total lunar eclipse until January 2001. Plotted values are actual derived optical depths, modified as described below. Due to the higher concentration of Agung and El Chichón aerosols in the southern and northern hemispheres, respectively, a sampling bias due to the moon's passing though the southern or northern portion of the umbra was removed by using an empirical adjustment factor of 0.8 (thus, if the moon passed south of the earth's shadow axis during an eclipse following Agung, the derived optical thickness was multiplied by 0.8, while the derived value was divided by 0.8 if the moon passed north of the axis).

Figure with caption Figure 4. Volcanic aerosol optical thicknesses derived from 35 total or near-total lunar eclipses during 1960-97. Courtesy of Richard Keen.

No lunar eclipses occurred until 18 months after the June 1991 Pinatubo eruption, while results from Agung and El Chichón indicate that peak optical depths occurred about 9 months after those eruptions. Therefore, for plotting purposes, the time series of optical thicknesses following Pinatubo was extrapolated backwards to a date 9 months after the eruption using a composite decay curve derived from the Agung and El Chichón data. Finally, the global optical depths were set to zero on the dates of the eruptions of Agung, Fuego, and Pinatubo; observed values were near zero for eclipses close to the eruption dates of Fernandina and El Chichón.

Time series. The volcanic eruptions probably responsible for the major peaks in the time series are identified, although the correlation of Fernandina with the 1968 peak is highly uncertain. Comparative maximum global optical thicknesses are: Pinatubo (1991), 0.15; Agung (1963), 0.10; El Chichón (1982), 0.09; Fernandina (1968), 0.06; Fuego (1974), 0.04. The results indicate that the volcanic aerosol veil from Pinatubo disappeared between the eclipses of November 1993 and April 1996, with optical depth probably reaching zero sometime in 1995. A slight increase to an observed value of 0.01 for the September 1997 eclipse is close to the noise level due to the uncertainty in the brightness observations; if real, it could indicate aerosols from the eruption of Soufriere Hills. Interestingly, a similarly slight increase in optical depth in 1979 may have been due to the eruption of Soufriere of St. Vincent.

Acknowledgments. Thanks are due to the following who supplied observations of the four eclipses in 1996-97: K. Hornoch and M. Plsek (Czech Republic), G. Glitscher (Germany), K. Yoshimoto (Japan), K. Al-Tell, N. Abanda, M. Odeh, S. Abdo (Jordan), R. Bouma, G. Comello, H. Feijth, and E. van Dijk (Netherlands), B. Granslo and O. Skilbrei (Norway), C. Vitorino and A. Pereira (Portugal), P. Schlyter (Sweden), R. Pickard, A. Moss, J. Shanklin, and W. Worraker (UK), and D. Green (USA).

Reference. Keen, R., 1983, Volcanic aerosols and lunar eclipses: Science, v. 222, p. 1011- 1013.

Geologic Background. The enormous aerosol cloud from the March-April 1982 eruption of Mexico''s El Chichón persisted for years in the stratosphere, and led to the Atmospheric Effects section becoming a regular feature of the Bulletin thorugh 1989. Lidar data and other atmospheric observations were again published intermittently between 1995 and 2001; those reports are included here.

Information Contacts: Richard A. Keen, 34296 Gap Road, Golden, CO 80403 USA.


Avachinsky (Russia) — November 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Avachinsky

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic plume on 22 December

Seismicity continued at normal background levels during November 1996-December 1997. On 22 December, a fumarolic plume rose ~200 m above the crater.

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

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


Bezymianny (Russia) — November 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosive eruption on 5 December

An explosive eruption began on 5 December. Seismic and fumarolic activity had mainly been normal since May 1997 (BGVN 22:09). Seismicity was at background level during 13 October-2 November with normal fumarolic activity (plumes 50-100 m tall) observed during 21-26 October. During 3-9 November seismicity increased and plumes up to 1 km high were seen; the plume extended 10-15 km SSE on 8-9 November. Normal low plumes were again seen on 12, 14-15, 18, 27, and 30 November.

A growing hot spot was monitored on satellite images by Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) remote sensing specialists during 3-4 December. The hot spot was not accompanied by unusual activity; it was assumed to be related to small debris avalanches at the dome. Visual observations during that period indicated that a fumarolic plume rose 500 m above the volcano and extended 15-20 km SW.

An explosive eruption began at about 0630 on 5 December. No preliminary seismicity was detected; however, the eruption's onset was indicated by an abrupt increase in seismicity. By 0830, the eruption plume reached a height of 6 km and had traveled ~20 km NE. By 1200 observers in the towns of Kozyrevsky and Klyuchi reported an increase in the eruption's intensity; at 1215, the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) estimated the plume height at ~9 km dispersing >50 km NE . . . . Seismicity remained elevated until 1400, but eruptive activity declined.

Several volcanic ash advisories were issued to warn aviators about the ash plume during 5-7 December. For example, an advisory at 1015 on 5 December reported an ash plume extending 15 km NE at an altitude of ~6 km. Another advisory cited a GMS infrared image taken at [0932] showing a plume 55 km wide extending NE (figure 4). [Satellite imagery at 1332 showed the plume rising to ~9-10 km; it was 63 km wide and extended 211 km E. Pilot reports later in the day estimated the ash plume at altitudes of ~12-13 km.] . . . .

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. [Sketches showing Bezymianny's ash plume on 5 December 1997 at 0932 (2132 GMT on 4 December) and 1332 (0132 GMT) based on GMS infrared satellite imagery. Courtesy of SAB.]

. . . [Judging from] satellite imagery, activity declined during the night of 5-6 December. At 0800 on 6 December, a small steam plume with little to no ash rose ~3.5-4 km and moved ~20 km NE. By 1030 decreased eruptive activity led KVERT to downgrade the hazard status to yellow (during the eruption it was red). Local seismicity was masked by intense aftershocks following a M 7.8 earthquake off the E coast of Kamchatka during the night of 5-6 December.

On 7 December, a gas-and-steam plume rose 500 m above the volcano and extended as far as 1 km SE. A fumarolic plume on 8-9 December rose 50-100 m and extended SE. By 9 December, the hazard status had returned to green and seismicity was at background. During 15-21 December, the volcano was obscured by clouds but seismicity remained normal. A fumarolic plume on 24 December rose 50-100 m above the volcano.

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, IVGG, Piip Blvd, 9 Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, 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; NOAA/NESDIS Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Spring, MD 20746, USA.


Campi Flegrei (Italy) — November 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Campi Flegrei

Italy

40.827°N, 14.139°E; summit elev. 458 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Increase in sulfate concentrations and fumarole temperatures

Since the ground upheaval events of 1982-84, systematic geochemical surveillance has been performed at Campi Flegrei. Fumarolic gases, crater lakes, and thermal springs have been monitored; since 1984, no significant physical or chemical changes have occurred.

However, two characteristics showed a statistically significant change; the temperature in the Bocca Grande fumarole increased (figure 19) and the sulfate concentration in crater lakes and thermal springs increased sharply during 1995-97 (figure 20). These increases may have resulted from a perturbation in the area caused by increased permeability; thus the interaction of confined, hot, sulfate-rich aquifers may have increased.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Temperature of Bocca Grande fumarole at Campi Flegrei during 1988-97. Courtesy of M. Martini.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Sulfate concentration in crater lakes and thermal springs at Campi Flegrei, 1988-97. Courtesy of M. Martini.

Geologic Background. Campi Flegrei is a large 13-km-wide caldera on the outskirts of Naples that contains numerous phreatic tuff rings and pyroclastic cones. The caldera margins are poorly defined, and on the south lie beneath the Gulf of Pozzuoli. Episodes of dramatic uplift and subsidence within the dominantly trachytic caldera have occurred since Roman times. The earliest known eruptive products are dated 47,000 yrs BP. The caldera formed following two large explosive eruptions, the massive Campanian ignimbrite about 36,000 BP, and the over 40 km3 Neapolitan Yellow Tuff (NYT) about 15,000 BP. Following eruption of the NYT a large number of eruptions have taken place from widely scattered subaerial and submarine vents. Most activity occurred during three intervals: 15,000-9500, 8600-8200, and 4800-3800 BP. Two eruptions have occurred in historical time, one in 1158 at Solfatara and the other in 1538 that formed the Monte Nuovo cinder cone.

Information Contacts: Marino Martini, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Firenze, Via La Pira 4, 50125, Firenze, Italy.


Chiginagak (United States) — November 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Chiginagak

United States

57.135°N, 156.99°W; summit elev. 2221 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Increased fumarolic activity in late October

Beginning 22 October, the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) received several reports of increased steaming, snowmelt, and sulfur smells at Chiginagak volcano. Residents of the area, including the community of Pilot Point (60 km NW), noticed increased steam emissions as early as mid-summer 1997. Possible new thermal anomalies were detected on AVHRR satellite imagery in late October. According to AVO, this change in fumarolic activity may have reflected increased heat flux at the volcano.

On 30 October, observers on an AVO flight reported an enlarged area of fumarolic activity directly above previously known sites, including new fumaroles at approximately 1,920 m. However, there were no signs of recently erupted ash, large-scale melting, or mud flows. Observers at Pilot Point reported vigorous steam emissions over the following weeks. During the first week of December, persistent poor weather conditions obscured observations; however, steam was observed on 2 and 3 December. No thermal anomalies were observed on satellite images during the first week of December.

Chiginagak is not monitored by scientific instrumentation; however, satellite imagery and observers in Pilot Point provide information. In addition, Chiginagak is located in a National Wildlife Refuge; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service frequently overflies the area, especially when activity persists or intensifies.

Geologic Background. The symmetrical, calc-alkaline Chiginagak stratovolcano located about 15 km NW of Chiginagak Bay contains a small summit crater, which is breached to the south, and one or more summit lava domes. Satellitic lava domes occur high on the NW and SE flanks of the glacier-mantled volcano. An unglaciated lava flow and an overlying pyroclastic-flow deposit extending east from the summit are the most recent products of Chiginagak. They most likely originated from a lava dome at 1687 m on the SE flank, 1 km from the summit of the volcano, which has variably been estimated to be from 2075 to 2221 m high. Brief ash eruptions were reported in July 1971 and August 1998. Fumarolic activity occurs at 1600 m elevation on the NE flank of the volcano, and two areas of hot-spring travertine deposition are located at the NW base of the volcano near Volcano Creek.

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


Karymsky (Russia) — November 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Low-level Strombolian activity continues

During 13 October-24 November seismicity remained above background level; low-level Strombolian eruptive activity that has continued since January 1996 (BGVN 21:01) consisted of gas and ash explosions occurring every 20 minutes, sending ash and steam 200-400 m above the crater. During 24 November- 29 December there was elevated seismicity and explosions every 20-30 minutes that sent ash and steam 300-400 m above the crater. On 14 December, the level of concern was downgraded to yellow from orange, indicating that the volcano's activity was less indicative of a major eruption.

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.


Kilauea (United States) — November 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Bench collapse and pit formation; lava flows continue to reach the coast

Activity within the Pu`u `O`o crater was at a diminished level during late October-23 November 1997. Lava in the crater was visible only from the crater walls. The Pu`u `O`o vent rarely effused lava onto the crater floor during November; the magma column remained 10-20 m below the rim. Magma in the vent circulated below the crusted lava surface, where it was not visible except from the air.

Lava from the S shield continued to travel ~10 km to the coast in tubes; travel time was estimated at ~3 hours from the vent to the ocean. The eruption rate was 500,000-600,000 m3/day. Although lava continued to flow into the ocean at East Kamokuna and Waha'ula, no breakouts of lava from the tubes onto the coastal plain occurred after the 18-19 October event (BGVN 22:09).

At East Kamokuna, a bench collapse in the first week of November removed 1.9 hectares of recent deposits and created a new cliff a few meters high and ~50 m long; after the collapse, lava began building a shelf at the foot of the new cliff. Curtain-like steam plumes rose continuously from the 500-m-long edge of the lava flow. A smaller lava bench collapse (0.26 hectares) occurred on 24 November.

Sulfur dioxide emissions from Pu`u `O`o remained high during November. Although during late October the emission rate had been 1,500-2,000 metric tons/day (t/d), during November it increased to 2,800 t/d and occasionally reached 5,000 t/d. On 16 November, eastern Hawaii, especially Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, was engulfed in one of 1997's worst volcanic-smog episodes. Elevated levels of volcanic smog were detected as far away as Oahu (~330 km NW). Gentle winds from the SE pushed SO2 emissions from Kilauea's E rift zone inland, resulting in levels of airborne SO2 that exceeded Environmental Protection Agency standards; the National Park Service thus closed headquarters at the Kilauea summit for the day. On 7 December, SO2 emissions were 4,300 t/d.

Although visible activity within Pu`u `O`o crater remained diminished, visitors and nearby residents heard roaring sounds during 24 November-5 December. Tephra fell up to 10 km from the vents and included "Pele's hair" (thin strings of solidified lava ~2.5 cm in length). During 28-30 November, a particularly active period of tephra deposition occurred; the associated emission events were detected on seismic instruments near the Pu`u `O`o vent.

On 7 December the SW flank of Pu`u `O`o cone collapsed, creating a funnel-shaped pit ~50 m in diameter at the surface midway between the S base and rim. A small glowing hole on the floor of the pit revealed that the pit intersected the magma supply system underlying the cone and flank vents. The new collapse pit resembled the Great Pit that formed on the cone's W slope in early 1993 (BGVN 18:02 and 18:03); the Great Pit later enlarged, causing the cone's W wall to collapse in January 1997 (BGVN 22:01). Pits of this type form when Pu`u `O`o is undermined by magma feeding the on-going eruption.

Lava output inside Pu`u `O`o crater visibly increased during 7-8 December; flows from the crater vent filled the crater's E side. The increased activity may have been related to the formation of the new collapse pit.

Kilauea is one of five coalescing volcanoes that comprise the island of Hawaii. Historically its eruptions originated primarily from the summit caldera or along one of the lengthy E and SW rift zones that extend from the summit caldera to the sea. This latest Kilauea eruption began in January 1983 along the E rift zone. The eruption's early phases, or episodes, occurred along a portion of the rift zone that extends from Napau Crater on the uprift end to ~8 km E on the downrift end. Activity eventually centered on what was later named Pu`u `O`o. Between January 1983 and December 1996 the volume of erupted lava totaled ~1.45 km3.

Geologic Background. Kilauea, which overlaps the E flank of the massive Mauna Loa shield volcano, has been Hawaii's most active volcano during historical time. Eruptions are prominent in Polynesian legends; written documentation extending back to only 1820 records frequent summit and flank lava flow eruptions that were interspersed with periods of long-term lava lake activity that lasted until 1924 at Halemaumau crater, within the summit caldera. The 3 x 5 km caldera was formed in several stages about 1500 years ago and during the 18th century; eruptions have also originated from the lengthy East and SW rift zones, which extend to the sea on both sides of the volcano. About 90% of the surface of the basaltic shield volcano is formed of lava flows less than about 1100 years old; 70% of the volcano's surface is younger than 600 years. A long-term eruption from the East rift zone that began in 1983 has produced lava flows covering more than 100 km2, destroying nearly 200 houses and adding new coastline to the island.

Information Contacts: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), U.S. Geological Survey, PO Box 51, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI 96718, USA (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/); Ken Rubin and Mike Garcia, Hawaii Center for Volcanology, University of Hawaii, Dept. of Geology & Geophysics, 2525 Correa Rd., Honolulu, HI 96822 USA (URL: http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/GG/hcv.html).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — November 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Elevated seismicity during 13 October-1 December; gas-and-steam plumes

During 13 October-29 December, seismicity under Kliuchevskoi was above background level. During 13 October- 2 November the activity occurred at depths of 20-30 km, but during 3-16 November, hypocenters were concentrated both near the summit crater and at depths of 25-30 km. Volcanic tremor recorded on 10-16 November was followed by tremor under the volcano and earthquake hypocenters 25-30 km deep during 17 November-14 December.

Gas-and-steam plumes rose 100 m above the crater on 18, 25, and 30 October, and on 1-2, 17-18, 23, and 28 November. A gas-and-steam plume rose 70 m above the summit crater on 6-7 November; by 8 November the plume rose 1 km above the crater and extended 5 km NW. By 9 November, the plume returned to a more typical height of 50-100 m. On 11-12 and 14-16 November, gas-and-steam plumes rose 100-200 m. During 2-6 December a gas-and- steam plume rose 300-1,000 m and extended 5-10 km SE to SW. On 7 December, a fumarolic plume rose less than 300 m above the summit crater. A gas-and-steam plume rose 300-700 m above the summit crater and extended 3-10 km NE and SW on 8-9 and 12 December. On 23, 24, and 28 December, a gas- and-steam plume rose 100-300 m and extended 3-5 km SE to SW. A fumarolic plume rose 2 km above the volcano on 25 December.

The level of concern was upgraded to yellow from green during 3-16 November, indicating that normal activity could possibly change into an eruption. During 17-23 November, although seismicity continued above background, the level of concern returned to green. On 1 December, the level of concern was again upgraded to yellow but returned to green as of 15 December.

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

Information Contacts: Vladimir Kirianov, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk- Kamchatskiy 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.


Koryaksky (Russia) — November 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Koryaksky

Russia

53.321°N, 158.712°E; summit elev. 3430 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Above-background seismicity in late December

Seismicity was at normal background levels from September 1996 through mid-December 1997; the period of normal activity began in July 1996 (BGVN 21:09). However, during 22-29 December, seismicity was reported above background level.

Geologic Background. The large symmetrical Koryaksky stratovolcano is the most prominent landmark of the NW-trending Avachinskaya volcano group, which towers above Kamchatka's largest city, Petropavlovsk. Erosion has produced a ribbed surface on the eastern flanks of the 3430-m-high volcano; the youngest lava flows are found on the upper W flank and below SE-flank cinder cones. Extensive Holocene lava fields on the western flank were primarily fed by summit vents; those on the SW flank originated from flank vents. Lahars associated with a period of lava effusion from south- and SW-flank fissure vents about 3900-3500 years ago reached Avacha Bay. Only a few moderate explosive eruptions have occurred during historical time, but no strong explosive eruptions have been documented during the Holocene. Koryaksky's first historical eruption, in 1895, also produced a lava flow.

Information Contacts: Vladimir Kirianov, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk- Kamchatskiy 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.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — November 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)


Increased eruptive activity at Crater 2

Since 20 October, increased activity was noticeable at Crater 2; emissions were thicker, occasional roaring or rumbling sounds were heard, and Vulcanian explosions produced dark black clouds that rose ~2 km above the crater. Occasional loud Vulcanian activity occurred throughout November. A bright fluctuating glow and occasional incandescent projections were visible during 15-25 November. Weak fumarolic vapor was released from Crater 3. Seismic levels remained moderate.

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

Information Contacts: Patrice de Saint-Ours, RVO.


Long Valley (United States) — November 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Long Valley

United States

37.7°N, 118.87°W; summit elev. 3390 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Summary of 1996 activity

This report summarizes 1996 activity (Hill, 1996). More recent activity will be presented in subsequent reports.

During early 1996, a series of small earthquake swarms occurred in the S moat of the caldera between Convict Lake moraine and the SE margin of the resurgent dome. Swarm activity in the area gradually increased in intensity during February-March 1996, culminating with an earthquake swarm during 29 March-10 April, the most energetic in the caldera since January 1983 (SEAN 07:12); the swarm included 24 earthquakes of M 3 or greater. On 30 March two M 4.0 events occurred; on 1 April there was a M 4.1 event, the largest in the sequence. Altogether the swarm included over 1,600 locatable earthquakes (M >0.5) and had a cumulative seismic moment of ~5 x 1022 dyne-cm, the equivalent of a single M 4.8 earthquake. Instruments showed no unusual ground deformation associated with the swarm.

Earthquake activity within the caldera gradually slowed following the 29 March-10 April swarm through the remainder of April and May. Activity increased again in June with four bursts of seismicity at 5-day intervals during 9-25 June. Swarms on 9, 14, and 25 June were located near the SW margin of the resurgent dome (figure 19), near the junction of Highways 203 and 395; the swarm on 19-20 June was located at the SE margin of the resurgent dome (~2 km N of the airport). The largest earthquakes in these swarms were a M 2.6 event on 9 June, M 3.2 and M 3.5 events on 14 June, and a M 3.3 event on 19 June. The long-base tiltmeter, centered 1 km SE of the 19-20 June swarm, showed a 0.3 µrad tilt down to the NW coincident with that swarm.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Earthquake epicenters in the Long Valley region during 1996. Courtesy of USGS.

Small earthquake swarms on 30 July, and 7 and 9 August, were the last to occur within the caldera for the remainder of 1996; all were located near the SW margin of the resurgent dome. The caldera was relatively quiet during the last half of 1996 (figure 20), producing only occasional small earthquakes, all less than M 3.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Daily number of earthquakes (M > 1.0) measured in 1996 at Long Valley Caldera. Courtesy of the USGS.

Occasional long-period volcanic earthquakes continued to occur during 1996 at depths of 10-20 km beneath the Devils Postpile area SW of Mammoth Mountain. These events have become more frequent since their 1989 onset during a swarm beneath Mammoth Mountain (SEAN14:06).  Minor volcano- tectonic earthquake activity in the shallow crust (<10 km depth) beneath Mammoth Mountain showed no significant change in rate or spatial distribution since 1989.

Long-term uplift and extensional deformation of the resurgent dome gradually slowed through the last half of 1996; this was defined by 2-color geodimeter measurements. The decrease in the resurgent dome's deformation rate and intra-caldera earthquake activity during the last half of 1996 was similar to the relative seismic quiescence and low deformation rates during 1984 to mid-1989. Continuous deformation monitoring showed no significant changes during 1996, with the exception of the 0.3 µrad tilt accompanying the 19-20 June earthquake swarm.

Dominant variations in carbon dioxide soil-gas concentrations in the tree-kill areas around Mammoth Mountain reflected the blanketing effect of snow during the winter months. Continuous CO2 monitors at Horseshoe Lake showed increased concentrations from early February through the end of April. Concentrations gradually returned to minimum values by mid-summer. The areas showing evidence of high CO2 soil-gas concentrations around the flank of Mammoth Mountain changed relatively slowly since 1991. In the late summer of 1995, there were seven areas of CO2-induced tree-kill scattered around the S, W, and N flanks of the mountain covering ~150 acres. A series of small collapse pits extending from the S-most tree-kill area at Horseshoe Lake merged with a crack in the bottom of Horseshoe Lake that was first detected in late September. Whether this system of shallow fractures is related to the anomalously high CO2 soil-gas concentration in the adjacent Horseshoe Lake tree-kill area has not been determined; however, the fracture system explained Horseshoe Lake's tendency to drain internally. A survey around Horseshoe Lake was planned in order to determine if the fracture system was associated with local deformation.

The 17 x 32 km Long Valley caldera lies E of the central Sierra Nevada, ~320 km E of San Francisco. The caldera formed ~730,000 years ago as a result of the Bishop Tuff eruption. Resurgent doming was followed by eruptions of rhyolite from the caldera moat and rhyodacite from the outer ring-fracture vents until ~50,000 years ago. Since then the caldera has remained thermally active, and in recent years has undergone significant deformation. Although distinct from Long Valley Caldera, both Inyo Craters and Mammoth Mountain are adjacent to it.

Reference. Hill, David P., 1996, Long Valley Caldera monitoring report (October- December 1996): U.S. Geological Survey, Volcano Hazards Program.

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

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


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — November 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)


Moderate explosions in late November

Moderate activity dominated during November except for the last week, when Vulcanian explosions occurred at Main Crater. The mild level of activity at Main Crater that began in late August continued until mid- November. Beginning on 23 November, the crater released thicker white and gray emissions. Moderate Vulcanian explosions (~700 m above the crater) started on 27 November and produced fine ashfalls. South Crater noiselessly and gently released thin to thick white vapor; a weak steady glow was visible on most nights during November.

Instrumental observation revealed no significant change in seismicity (~1,200 to 1,400 low-frequency events/day of small amplitude). Steady radial inflation of 1 µrad was detected at the Tabele observatory (4 km SW).

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

Information Contacts: Patrice de Saint-Ours, RVO.


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

Monowai

New Zealand

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Inferred eruption during 15-18 December

A cluster of high-amplitude acoustic signals from Monowai was recorded during 15-17 December (figure 4). During the activity, 171 acoustic waves of varying duration were recorded. Of the waves, nine were interpreted as explosive, determined according to seismic signal characteristics. The explosive waves occurred during the first episode of heightened activity on 15 December. The signals indicated that an eruptive event stronger than those of September 1996 (BGVN 21:11) and April 1997 (BGVN 22:05) was occurring. However, infrared and visible GOES-9 imagery showed no evidence of near-surface activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Acoustic signals from Monowai Seamount during 13-18 December. Courtesy of O. Hyvernaud.

Three small acoustic waves on 12 and 14 December preceded the heightened activity. The first high- amplitude acoustic wave was generated at 2330 GMT on 14 December; the last was generated at 2021 GMT on 17 December. The acoustic activity stopped suddenly after a sequence of weak, very long acoustic waves. The strongest wave, generated at 0021 GMT on 16 December, had a peak-to-peak amplitude of 0.46 mm/s but was not explosive.

Monowai Seamount lies midway between the Kermadec and Tonga Islands, ~1,400 km NE of New Zealand. The adjacent trench is significantly shallower (~4 km) than the Tonga and Kermadec trenches (9-11 km deep). A T-wave swarm was detected in November 1995 (BGVN 20:11/12). Other noteworthy recent activity at Monowai included a possible eruption in 1944, and about seven documented eruptions during 1977-90 (BGVN 16:03).

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

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


Obituary Notices (Unknown) — November 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Obituary Notices

Unknown

Unknown, Unknown; summit elev. m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Death of Werner F. Giggenbach at Rabaul

We are saddened to report that Dr. Werner F. Giggenbach died on 7 November 1997 while conducting field research at Rabaul volcano. He was a Senior Scientist with the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, Lower Hutt, New Zealand, and was nearing his 60th birthday. Werner was a leading geochemist in the study of volcanic and geothermal systems, and developed many of the techniques used to sample volcanic gases and geothermal fluids in the field and to analyze them in the laboratory. The international standard bottle for collecting volcanic gases is called the Giggenbach bottle. Moreover, he was known and respected for his integrated physical and geochemical models of how volcanic and geothermal systems work. He assisted New Zealand and more than a dozen other countries in developing their geothermal energy potential. During his career Werner contributed reports to the GVN Bulletin concerning White Island, Rumble III, Raoul Island, Ngauruhoe, Erebus, and Lonquimay. He left the world a legacy of exceptionally innovative and practical contributions to the volcanological and geothermal sciences, and will be deeply missed.

Geologic Background. Obituary notices for volcanologists are sometimes written when scientists are killed during an eruption or have had a special relationship with the Global Volcanism Program.

Information Contacts:


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

Poas

Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2708 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


June-November earthquakes; thermally stable fumaroles

This report focuses on June-November 1997 but includes histograms of monthly earthquake counts for the period January-November (figures 65 and 66). On these plots, earthquakes are grouped into three frequencies. ... Tremor was absent at Poás during November 1996 through October 1997; during November 1997 tremor prevailed for 22 hours. The previous high was in October 1996 (28 hours).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Monthly count of low-frequency earthquakes (
Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Monthly counts of medium- and high-frequency earthquakes detected at Poás during January-November 1997. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Compared to its level in May, the lake surface in the northernmost crater rose during June-November. The greenish-turquoise lake's temperatures were as follows: June, 32°C; July, 31°C; September, 35°C; October, 34°C; November, 35°C. Deformation measurements in June disclosed no significant change.

During June-November a fumarole on the N terrace had a temperature of 91-92°C; sulfur was deposited at this fumarole even though gas emissions appeared low. During June-July, and again in October, colorless gas columns were conspicuous above the pyroclastic cone in the crater's center; the columns rose 300 m above the crater floor. Later, during September and November, these columns rose ~400 m. During June-September, escaping steam made a loud noise that was audible from the crater rim; during June-November, at a point where scientists could gain access, the steam's temperature remained at 92-93°C.

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

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


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — November 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Low activity through November; lava extrusion and explosion in December

Low levels of eruptive and seismic activity characterized Popocatépetl through most of November. Typically, a few events occurred each day, including short episodes of low-amplitude harmonic tremor and gas- and-steam venting in plumes that drifted to the NE or SE. Tiltmeters showed little variation in November but indicated a slight increasing trend. Bad weather and poor visibility occurred frequently.

Table 9 lists type-A seismic events recorded during November. Two episodes of harmonic tremor were recorded on 1 November. A 2 November lightning strike disabled video monitoring until the 5th. Poor weather impeded observation on 11-12 November during a slight increase in activity. On 15 November, a slight increase in the number of events was accompanied by minor ash emission. Some ash was also emitted in conjunction with seismic events on 21 November.

Table 9. Type-A seismic events recorded at Popocatépetl in November 1997. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

Date Time Magnitude Depth (km) Flank
01 Nov 1997 0250 2.0 4.0 --
01 Nov 1997 0311 2.1 10.2 NE
01 Nov 1997 1849 2.8 6.1 SE
02 Nov 1997 1600 2.1 2.8 S
04 Nov 1997 0019 2.1 5.4 SE
04 Nov 1997 0036 2.2 5.5 --
05 Nov 1997 1538 1.9 6.0 NE
06 Nov 1997 0001 2.5 5.5 --
08 Nov 1997 1255 1.7 6.6 --
10 Nov 1997 1420 2.2 6.6 NE
22 Nov 1997 2204 2.3 2.1 SE
25 Nov 1997 0457 2.4 4.9 --
25 Nov 1997 0826 2.6 5.0 --
25 Nov 1997 0837 2.4 2.4 SE
26 Nov 1997 1517 2.9 3.6 N

On 24 November, seismic and associated eruptive activity began to increase. Thirty-six low- to moderate- intensity seismic events were recorded, including significant exhalations at 0823, 0829, 0857, and 0953; during these events, ash plumes rose to 1 km and drifted NE. Low-amplitude harmonic tremor 3-5 minutes in duration occurred in the afternoon. On 25 November, 42 seismic events were recorded; some were accompanied by ash emissions and periods of tremor lasting 2-8 minutes. No significant deformation was observed. During a 25 November helicopter flight, increased gas and steam from fumaroles obstructed views of the crater and dome. By 27 November, activity was subsiding; 29 seismic events and tremor 2-3 minutes long were recorded. Levels of seismic activity continued to decline until the end of the month.

The last of several flow-detection monitoring stations (BGVN 22:10) was installed on 7 November; also, a temporary high-gain broad-band seismograph was installed at the Canario station to study the N flank in more detail. The Canario station's instrumentation included a triaxial short-period seismograph, a triaxial broad-band seismograph, a digital inclinometer, a flow detector, and a rain gage. To reinforce the seismic and geodetic monitoring system, a new station was installed on 28 November on the W flank just under Ventorrillo peak near the Nexpayantla ravine at 4,452 m elevation. The instrumentation includes a triaxial short- period seismograph and a biaxial tiltmeter.

Two important eruption episodes highlighted activity in December. Both eruptions involved extrusion of lava into the crater, creating a dome that sealed fumaroles.

Small- and moderate-intensity emissions of gas and steam characterized activity at the volcano for most of December. Small type-A tectonic events occurred regularly along with incidents of tremor. The first increase in activity began 5 December with 15 small gas-and-steam emissions, tremor of 90 minutes duration beginning at 1335, and two type-A seismic events in the late afternoon. At 0315 on 6 December activity increased considerably and continued throughout the day. A moderately large high-frequency tremor accompanied by continuous gas, steam, and ash exhalations lasted until 1700. Early in the morning of the 6th a faint glow at the fumarole was observed through the video monitor, indicating the presence of incandescent material in the crater interior. In the late afternoon the gas emission abruptly stopped, possibly due to obstructions of the vents. Observers speculated that these phenomena indicated the extrusion of new lava in the bottom of the crater. No significant changes of the other measured parameters could be observed.

The following day saw a considerable decrease in activity: only six moderate emissions including some short ash puffs. Continuing very low emissions over several days indicated the vents were partially closed. On the morning of 9 December personnel from CENAPRED and the Instituto de Geof¡sica, UNAM, made a helicopter overflight during which the presence of a large lava dome, spread across almost over the entire crater floor, was seen. This observation confirmed the assumption of a new lava extrusion on 5-6 December. No important changes on the volcano flanks or the glacier could be observed. SO2 measurements made the afternoon of 9 December gave preliminary values of 6,100 tons/day. The other parameters that are continuously monitored showed little variation. Popocatépetl returned to characteristic low levels of activity, although some earthquakes of M 2.2 occurred at a depth of ~4.7 km during 14-15 December. On 13 December strong winds and low temperatures caused damage to monitoring equipment, including the video transmission link.

After several weeks of very low activity an eruption clearly observed from neighboring towns started at 1930 on 24 December. The activity began with a 2-minute explosion followed by 15 smaller volcano-tectonic events and several moderate emissions. According to reports from the nearby towns of San Nicolas de los Ranchos and Amecameca, during the first event observed brightness around the summit was produced by the expulsion of incandescent materials, and an associated shock wave was felt. From Puebla grass fires were reported on the E flank of the volcano. Ashfalls were reported starting at 2045 in towns E of the volcano (Atlixco, Calpan, and San Nicolas de los Ranchos). The whole episode lasted a total of 30 minutes. All monitored parameters except for seismicity then returned to normal levels. This eruption was probably associated with the reopening of conduits inside the crater, obstructed since 6 December by lava extrusion. This obstruction was carefully monitored because pressurization of the system raised the possibility of explosive events. Following the eruption of 24 December activity returned to very low, stable levels for the remainder of the month. The volcanic- alert system remained on "yellow" (caution) through all of December.

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

Information Contacts: Roberto Meli, Roberto Quaas Weppen, Alejandro Mirano, Bertha López Najera, Alicia Martinez Bringas, A. Montalvo, G. Fregoso, and F. Galicia, Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED); J.L. Macias, Instituto de Geofisica, UNAM, Circuito Cientifico.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — November 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)


Slow ongoing inflation

Slow caldera inflation continued throughout November. Weak emissions of white vapor were produced by Tavurvur cone. The volume of emissions increased at the end of the month in response to rainfall. On 26 November, weak night glow was visible and a brief rumbling sound was heard.

Slow, ongoing inflation has occurred since the last significant lava-producing eruption at Tavurvur on 14 March (BGVN 22:03), despite subsequent minor Strombolian and Vulcanian eruptions on 12 April, 1 June, 11 July, and 17 August (BGVN 22:04, 22:05, 22:07, and 22:08). The inflation mainly affected areas within ~3 km of Tavurvur and the Greet Harbour shallow magma reservoir. Maximum rates of tilt were no more than 4 µrad /month; maximum monthly uplift was no more than 1 cm.

One high-frequency event from the NW was recorded on 14 November; no low-frequency events occurred during the month. SO2 output measured by COSPEC decreased in mid-November from ~800 to ~300 tons/day. Soil CO2 flux, monitored at 14 locations around the bay, was relatively low (<=200 mg/(m2 day)).

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: Patrice de Saint-Ours, Rabaul Volcano Observatory, P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.


Sheveluch (Russia) — November 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Normal seismicity and fumarolic activity

Background seismicity prevailed during 13 October-29 December. Normal fumarolic activity was seen during 30 October-2 November and 6-7 November. No fumarolic activity was observed during 10 November-14 December. For the period 15-29 December, Shiveluch was usually obscured by clouds; however, on 22 December, a gas-and-steam plume rising 100 m above the volcano was seen.

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- Kamchatskiy 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) — November 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)


Explosions and dome growth

The following summarizes Scientific Reports of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) during 12 October-23 November 1997.

General. During September, activity was dominated by collapses with simultaneous pyroclastic flows down ghauts (BGVN 22:10). Particular events differed in magnitude, column height, or pyroclastic runout, possibly due to time elapsed between events. During 12-21 October, 29 explosions were recorded for a total of 61 since the latest episode began on 28 September. After the last explosion on 21 October, a new dome was seen in the crater, extruding at a rate of up to 8 m3/s. The new dome grew during the following week on the S side, weakening the crater wall on the Galway's side (figure 33) and creating two large vertical cracks on the outside of the wall by 2 November. Further growth in the weakened area led to a 4 November collapse, which removed much of the pre-explosion dome complex material. A subsequent collapse on the 6th removed a significant portion of the new dome and old material. Pyroclastic flows from these collapses reached the sea and a fan deposit at the mouth of White River was significantly extended. Dome growth coincided with large swarms of hybrid earthquakes. After the 6 November collapse, the swarms subsided yet seismicity remained relatively high. Low levels of eruptive activity prevailed for the rest of November. Although bad weather limited observation of the dome, the lobe in the Galway's area was seen as the focus of growth during 9-23 November but at a slower rate. Seismicity included rockfall signals and small-amplitude hybrid earthquakes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Map of Montserrat showing selected towns and features around the Soufriere Hills volcano.

Visual observations. Vulcanian explosions up to 21 October resulted in pyroclastic flows into surrounding ghauts. Intervals between explosions averaged 8.5 hours with a range of 2.75 to 20.5 hours. During 14-16 October, 12 explosions occurred; intervals between single events lengthened towards the end of the period. Three vigorous explosions on 20-21 October sent plumes to 9,100 m, pumice to Salem and Olveston, and ash to the N. Pumice from Cork's Hill measured up to 10 cm in diameter and ballistics fell 2 km N from the vent. Pyroclastic flows were generally radial for larger explosions; however, the N ghauts were preferred routes because the crater is open to the N. Some flows had relatively small runouts (<1 km) in only one or two ghauts. Pyroclastic flows over the past month have left thin (0.3-1 m) deposits on all flanks, accumulating and infilling the topography. Fort Ghaut in Plymouth and Mosquito Ghaut were completely filled, and Tuitt's and White's Ghauts were partially filled, resulting in fans advancing into towns. Gage's Soufriere was significantly filled with material stacked in front of St. George's hill.

A new dome was first recorded as an incandescence inside the scar during the evening of 22 October. The next day, fresh lava overspilled the tephra rampart between the scar and crater and, by 25 October, occupied a substantial portion of the scar. The lava appeared to be blocky, coarse material, which, due to oxidation at the top of the conduit, is darker than normal (similar to last October; BGVN 21:10). By 25 October the dome's peak had risen to 910 m, 40 m below the crater rim. Growth to the N and vertical infilling of the scar caused rockfalls that traveled a few hundred meters down Tuitt's Ghaut; however, rockfalls were few in number considering the rate and blockiness of the extrusion as well as the steepness of the ghaut. Dome growth continued over the next few weeks with vigorous ash-and-steam venting. Rockfalls from the new dome and old crater coincided with hybrid earthquake swarms.

An overflight on 2 November revealed two large vertical cracks on the Galway's side of the crater; by the next day, these had evolved to deep gullies. Rockfalls on the dome's S side occurred on the morning of 4 November. At 1206 on 4 November, a wide section of the crater in the Galway's area collapsed and caused an hour of pyroclastic flows. Some of the flows reached the sea at O'Garra's and formed a delta. Ash clouds rose to 3000 m. The collapse removed a large part of the old dome but left the 22 October dome mostly intact. Observations on 6 November included two distinct lobes of the new dome separated by a small crater venting ash; the N lobe remained at its 2 November height of 937 m while the S lobe grew. Following 18 hours of high- amplitude tremor a second collapse in the Galway's area began at 1430 on 6 November and lasted 35 minutes. More material was removed than in the previous collapse, rockfalls occurred in Tar River valley and Gage's areas, and an ash plume reaching 4,500 m drifted W.

After a few days of poor visibility, growth of the new dome in the collapse area was revealed. A fin-shaped lobe had grown almost vertically in the old crater wall position; it had a coarse, blocky outer face but a smooth appearance on the inner surface where it extruded out of a cleft in the dome center that exhibited vigorous degassing and venting of ash. The distinct N and S lobes divided by a central cleft or vent were similar to earlier structures (BGVN 21:08 and 22:05), although in this case the N lobe extruded first to reach a certain size then relaxed while growth shifted to the S lobe; this in turn lead to a catastrophic collapse of the old crater wall. Overflight observation on 11 November showed that the S lobe had doubled in size in 3 days to fill the collapse scar of 4-6 November; however, it was extruding at a slower rate. Ash and steam continued to vent from the central cleft. Ash clouds rose to 1800 m drifting W and fell out over Plymouth. Rockfall spalling off the S lobe eroded chutes S of the dome and accumulated in thick deposits in Galway's Soufriere.

Seismicity. Figures 34, 35, and 36 show seismicity during 12 October-23 November. The sequence that began on 22 September (BGVN 22:10) continued until 21 October. Seventy-six explosions at intervals of 3-34 hours were recorded. The explosions appeared as 1-Hz signals of varying relative amplitude and were followed by pyroclastic-flow signals; long-period energy continued through the flow duration and persisted as lower-amplitude tremor of 0.5 to 3 hours duration. Signals coincided with ash venting but there was little or no precursor activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Daily events at Soufriere Hills triggering the broadband network system, 12 October-23 November 1997. Event counts are from 1600 on the previous day to 1600 on the date indicated. Data courtesy of MVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Seismic swarms at Soufriere Hills during 20 October-13 November 1997. Data courtesy of MVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Explosions from Soufriere Hills measured at the Windy Hill broadband station during 12-23 October 1997. Amplitudes are peak-to-peak in counts. Data courtesy of MVO.

The second explosion of 20 October and the first of 21 October were accompanied by swarms of hybrid and volcano-tectonic earthquakes. The second explosion of 21 October initiated 24 hours of hybrid and volcano- tectonic earthquakes and rockfalls down Tuitt's ghaut before ending in a long, sparse swarm on 23 October, although a high level of long-period earthquakes lingered thereafter. Volcano-tectonic earthquakes typically occurred 2-4 km from the top of the dome.

During late October and early November, intense swarms sometimes merged with tremor having frequencies similar to individual hybrids. Hybrid swarms during 1-2 November produced the highest amplitudes since 24 June, reported from stations in Antigua, Dominica, and Nevis. Large pyroclastic-flow signals were recorded on 4 and 6 November. During 6-8 November, particularly high levels of tremor occurred. Individual hybrids were detected on paper but not on the networks due to high background noise; thus low numbers of events did not reflect low activity. Tremor and hybrids were associated with ash venting at the dome. Small pyroclastic flows were recorded on 9 November, but otherwise hybrid earthquakes did not generate external activity. Amplitudes became progressively smaller later in November; from 14 November to the end of the month, rockfall signals dominated, although a significant number of low-amplitude hybrids not grouped in swarms occurred but were not detected by the network.

Ground deformation. On 20 October, a GPS survey was taken; however, the only sites accessible were White's, Harris, and Windy Hill due to thick ash cover. Measurement from Harris to White's showed a 2-cm increase since 20 September, closer to the pre-June 1997 level. Although less than two standard deviations below the mean, this single measurement did not indicate an acceleration in deformation. The line from Harris to Windy Hill showed slight shortening since 12 August. EDM measurements to Lee's Yard from MVO on 14 October revealed an increase of 1 cm since July.

Volume measurements. Gross morphology of the pre-21 September dome was unchanged since the collapse on that day (BGVN 22:10) until 22 October with some exceptions (see Visual observations). The volume of the 22 October dome was measured by geometric calculation until a survey was taken. Assuming the dome completely filled the explosion crater by 23 October (when overspilling was observed), the volume was approximately 1.7 x 106 m3 resulting in an extrusion rate of 8-10 m3/s, depending on the time of first appearance. A detailed survey was made on 6 November, before the collapse, from several points; theodolite points from Jackboy Hill, Center Hills, and Flemings, a GPS point at Center Hills (to be used in future surveys as an additional static photo point), and helicopter survey photographs of most areas around the dome except the Galway's side. Good coverage of the N lobe of the 22 October dome was obtained. Since this area had not changed since 3 November, the volume was calculated at 5 x 106 m3. Collapse volumes were calculated separately for an average extrusion rate of 5 m3/s over the first 11 days of the "22 October" dome growth. Visual observation revealed that the 4 November collapse involved less material than the 6 November collapse. The latest estimates of collapse volumes were 1.8 x 106 m3 from 4 November and 3.4 x 106 m3 from 6 November. The bulk of the collapse material was deposited in fans at the end of valleys that will be surveyed when the ash subsides. A 17 November survey of the White River valley fan revealed total deposits of 13.6 x 106 m3, an increase of 5.5 x 106 m3 since 15 May, resulting mostly from the 4 and 6 November collapses. The survey did not include recent deposits in the upper valley still covered in ash.

Environmental monitoring. Dust Trak sampling to measure airborne particulates was carried out at four fixed sites. The values at the fixed sites were low (3) during 12 October-23 November, except for the Catholic school site, which sometimes recorded elevated levels (0.05-0.1 mg/m3). This effect is caused by the large amount of human activity at this site and its location near a main road. Towards the end of this reporting period the three sites (not including the school) all had remarkably similar average concentrations each day. A new Dust Trak site was established at Mango Drive in Woodlands on 16 November to replace the Runaway site.

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/).


Vulcano (Italy) — November 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Vulcano

Italy

38.404°N, 14.962°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Trends in fumarolic gas composition during 1996-97

Periodic observations of the chemical composition of fumarolic gases have been made at Vulcano since 1977. Several fumaroles with different temperatures but similar chemical compositions were observed. Differing trends in fumarolic gas composition at different locations on Vulcano have been observed during 1996-97.

Table 5 shows the trend in chemical composition of gases emitted by fumaroles on the rim and inside the crater during 1996-97. For fumaroles on the rim, percentages of typical magmatic species such as SO2, H2, and CO increased during 1996-97; percentages decreased for fumaroles inside the crater. Scientists estimated that the magmatic system was opening on the rim and closing inside the crater. This evolution pattern revealed that the stability of the system was affected by deformation of the Fossa cone produced by increased vapor pressures at depth.

Table 5. Fumarolic gas composition (percentages) on the rim (A) and inside the crater (B) of Vulcano, 1996-97. Courtesy of M. Martini.

Component A (rim) 1996 A (rim) 1997 B (crater) 1996 B (crater) 1997
Temperature 348°C 328°C 399°C 426°C
H2O (vol.) 84.41 88.86 81.50 85.38
CO2 (dry) 93.90 92.37 97.40 97.13
H2S 2.66 3.10 0.41 0.40
SO2 1.46 2.11 1.11 0.99
HCl 0.97 1.26 0.54 0.78
HF 0.52 0.46 0.077 0.029
B 0.017 0.023 0.014 0.017
NH4 0.010 0.010 0.006 0.017
H2 0.041 0.121 0.081 0.048
N2 0.525 0.547 0.580 0.513
CO 0.00047 0.00072 0.0038 0.0024

Correction: Boris Behncke (Istituto di Geologia e Geofisica at Università di Catania) noted that during a visit in late April 1997 (BGVN 22:07) steam emissions from the Fossa Grande crater appeared slightly more voluminous than during visits in 1995 and 1996. This statement may have created a false impression of renewed increase in fumarolic activity when it was actually due to the relative humidity of the air. Fieldwork by other scientists during spring 1997 revealed low fumarole temperatures and less abundant emissions. This was confirmed by Behncke during June-July and 10-12 October when fumarolic emissions were the lowest since 1989.

Geologic Background. The word volcano is derived from Vulcano stratovolcano in Italy's Aeolian Islands. Vulcano was constructed during six stages during the past 136,000 years. Two overlapping calderas, the 2.5-km-wide Caldera del Piano on the SE and the 4-km-wide Caldera della Fossa on the NW, were formed at about 100,000 and 24,000-15,000 years ago, respectively, and volcanism has migrated to the north over time. La Fossa cone, active throughout the Holocene and the location of most of the historical eruptions, occupies the 3-km-wide Caldera della Fossa at the NW end of the elongated 3 x 7 km island. The Vulcanello lava platform forms a low, roughly circular peninsula on the northern tip of Vulcano that was formed as an island beginning in 183 BCE and was connected to Vulcano in about 1550 CE. Vulcanello is capped by three pyroclastic cones and was active intermittently until the 16th century. The latest eruption from Vulcano consisted of explosive activity from the Fossa cone from 1898 to 1900.

Information Contacts: Marino Martini, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Firenze, Via La Pira 4, 50125, Firenze, Italy; Boris Behncke, Istituto di Geologia e Geofisica, Universitá di Catania, Corso Italia 55, 95129 Catania, Italy.


Yasur (Vanuatu) — November 1997 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian eruptions; decreasing seismic activity since March 1997

ORSTOM reported in late November that there has been little change in the appearance of Yasur's crater since February 1997. During this interval only craters B and C (figure 11) were active; crater A was quiet. Crater B produced a few explosions and small ash plumes; occasionally small lava bombs (a few tens of centimeter in diameter) reached the lip of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Sketch of the summit crater area at Yasur. Labels A, B, and C correspond to named craters. The sketch was based on photographs taken on 28 February 1997. Drawn by Alfreda Mabonlala; provided courtesy of P. Gineste, ORSTOM.

Seismic signals in 1997 (figure 12), with frequencies of 1-7 Hz, were related to Strombolian explosions and correlated with surface phenomena (Nabyl and others, 1997). All signals were recorded 2 km from the crater (figure 13), relayed to an ARGOS satellite, and then to the receiving station. Regional seismicity accounted for a small percentage of signals and thus had negligible effect on event counts.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Daily seismicity and smoothed average seismicity recorded at Yasur during January through early November 1997. The solid line depicts smoothed averages of 25 recording periods; the averages were made to the number of events with vertical displacements reaching over 12 µm. The histogram shows the number of events with vertical displacements over 60 µm; these stronger events were absent during October and early November 1997. Such quiet intervals were common during early 1996 and much of 1995. Courtesy of ORSTOM.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. The ARGOS-linked monitoring station with Yasur to the N in the background, 2 November 1997. Courtesy of Pascal Gineste, ORSTOM.

Continuous seismic monitoring since March 1997 (figure 12) revealed a general decrease in Strombolian activity over time. Still, some powerful explosions were recorded during August 1997 (BGVN 22:08). These powerful events occurred only a few times per day and had vertical displacements greater than 60 µm; their scarcity was taken as a further indication of decreased activity. Since October 1993, seismic monitors recorded periods of high activity during December 1993-March 1995 and during May 1996-April 1997; slightly elevated activity occurred during August-October 1995. It was also reported by ORSTOM that an undisclosed radiometric technique suggested that fresh magma entered the system in May 1996.

During 29 July-4 August 1997 a team from the Soci't' de Volcanologie GenŠve (SVG) visited Yasur and made visual and other observations, including some temperature estimates of lavas using an optical pyrometer. The team saw small but almost continuous Strombolian activity in the N vents area. The continuous activity was interrupted by stronger explosions every 1-1.5 hours; the explosions threw lava fragments in all directions. The fragments fell mainly inside the crater but sometimes fell on the NE part of the outside rim; in one instance, a bomb ~1 m in diameter was found still hot on the rim. The stronger phases of the eruption were accompanied by ground vibrations. Small convulsing ash clouds sometimes issued from another part of the vent area, indicating that at least two separate vents were active.

At the S vents area, the SVG team observed gas, ash, and old material suddenly and noisily emitting from different vents during the beginning of their visit; a few to no red lava fragments were projected during these emissions. The activity sounded like a jet engine and caused gases to ignite. Towards the end of their visit, the team observed that the quantity of ash emitted had increased; the eruptions created ash clouds that were easily seen from the volcano's foot.

The SVG team measured temperatures with an infrared (1.55 µm wavelength) optical pyrometer (Optix-G, Keller GMBH., Ibbenburen-Lagenbeck). At an opening in the N vents area, a maximum temperature of 581°C was obtained on a weakly incandescent area. Strong degassing was present around the target at the time of the measurement (2 August).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Photograph of Yasur looking N on 2 November 1997. Courtesy of Pascal Gineste, ORSTOM.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Photograph looking N towards Yasur with a dry lake bed in the foreground, 2 November 1997. In 1975 there was a landslide of 50,000 m3 of material, leaving a detachment scar 100 m wide that can be seen in this photo. Courtesy of Pascal Gineste, ORSTOM.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Photograph looking S at the crater rim of Yasur during a period of quiet activity, 2 November 1997. Courtesy of Pascal Gineste, ORSTOM.

Reference. Nabyl, A., J. Dorel, and M. Lardy, 1997, A comparative study of low frequency seismic signals recorded at Stromboli (Italy) and Yasur (Vanuatu), New Zealand Journal of Geol. and Geophys. (December issue).

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

Information Contacts: M. Lardy, D. Charley, and P. Gineste, Centre ORSTOM, BP 76, Port Vila, Vanuatu, and Départment des Mines et de la Géologie et des Resources en Eaux; J. Tabbagh, Centre de Téléobservation Informatisé des Volcans, CNRS-CRG, Garchy, France; A. Nabyl and J. Dorel, OPG, Centre de recherches volcaniques (CRV), Clermont Ferrand, France; Mf. le Cloarec, Centre des faibles radioactivités CFR, Gif sur Yvette, France; P. Vetch and S. Haefeli, Société de Volcanologie Genève (SVG), C.P. 298, CH-1225, Chene-bourg, Switzerland.

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