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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kikai (Japan) Ash explosion on 29 April 2020

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

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

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

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



Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


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

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Kavachi

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Discolored water plumes seen using satellite imagery in 2018 and 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Soputan (Indonesia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Soputan

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor ash emissions during 23 March and 2 April 2020

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

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

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

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

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


Heard (Australia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kikai (Japan) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kikai

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash explosion on 29 April 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fuego (Guatemala) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing ash explosions, block avalanches, and intermittent lava flows

Fuego is a stratovolcano in Guatemala that has been erupting since 2002 with historical eruptions that date back to 1531. Volcanism is characterized by major ashfalls, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and lahars. The previous report (BGVN 44:10) detailed activity that included multiple ash explosions, ash plumes, ashfall, active lava flows, and block avalanches. This report covers this continuing activity from October 2019 through March 2020 and consists of ash plumes, ashfall, incandescent ejecta, block avalanches, and lava flows. The primary source of information comes from the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Summary of activity October 2019-March 2020. Daily activity persisted throughout October 2019-March 2020 (table 20) with multiple ash explosions recorded every hour, ash plumes that rose to a maximum of 4.8 km altitude each month drifting in multiple directions, incandescent ejecta reaching a 500 m above the crater resulting in block avalanches traveling down multiple drainages, and ashfall affecting communities in multiple directions. The highest rate of explosions occurred on 7 November with up to 25 per hour. Dominantly white fumaroles occurred frequently throughout this reporting period, rising to a maximum altitude of 4.5 km and drifting in multiple directions. Intermittent lava flows that reached a maximum length of 1.2 km were observed each month in the Seca (Santa Teresa) and Ceniza drainages (figure 128), but rarely in the Trinidad drainage. Thermal activity increased slightly in frequency and strength in late October and remained relatively consistent through mid-March as seen in the MIROVA analysis of MODIS satellite data (figure 129).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); Crelosa, 3ra. avenida. 8-66, Zona 14. Colonia El Campo, Guatemala Ciudad de Guatemala (URL: http://crelosa.com/, post at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1P4kWqxU2m0&feature=youtu.be).


Ebeko (Russia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

Geologic Background. The flat-topped summit of the central cone of Ebeko volcano, one of the most active in the Kuril Islands, occupies the northern end of Paramushir Island. Three summit craters located along a SSW-NNE line form Ebeko volcano proper, at the northern end of a complex of five volcanic cones. Blocky lava flows extend west from Ebeko and SE from the neighboring Nezametnyi cone. The eastern part of the southern crater contains strong solfataras and a large boiling spring. The central crater is filled by a lake about 20 m deep whose shores are lined with steaming solfataras; the northern crater lies across a narrow, low barrier from the central crater and contains a small, cold crescentic lake. Historical activity, recorded since the late-18th century, has been restricted to small-to-moderate explosive eruptions from the summit craters. Intense fumarolic activity occurs in the summit craters, on the outer flanks of the cone, and in lateral explosion craters.

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


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

Piton de la Fournaise

France

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, 14 route nationale 3, 27 ème km, 97418 La Plaine des Cafres, La Réunion, France (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); GEO Magazine (AFP story at URL: https://www.geo.fr/environnement/la-reunion-fin-deruption-au-piton-de-la-fournaise-200397); AFP (URL: https://twitter.com/AFP/status/1227140765106622464, Twitter: @AFP, https://twitter.com/AFP); Jeannie Curtis (Twitter: @VolcanoJeannie, https://twitter.com/VolcanoJeannie).


Sabancaya (Peru) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sabancaya

Peru

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Observatorio Volcanologico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico), Barrio Magisterial Nro. 2 B-16 Umacollo - Yanahuara Arequipa, Peru (URL: http://ovi.ingemmet.gob.pe); Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Meteorológico Nacional-Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 25 de mayo 658, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/inicio.php); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 24, Number 11 (November 1999)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Additional Reports (Unknown)

Japan: Hydro-acoustic signals of a possible eruption detected

Bezymianny (Russia)

Frequent fumarolic plumes, but no seismicity

Etna (Italy)

Vigorous eruptions at Bocca Nuova send lava flows 5 km down the W flank

False Reports (Unknown)

Turkey: UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

Gorely (Russia)

Shallow earthquake swarm in October

Guagua Pichincha (Ecuador)

Dome growth and explosive eruptions; dramatic increase in LP earthquakes

Karymsky (Russia)

Eruptive activity gradually decreases, then stops in late December

Klyuchevskoy (Russia)

Variable fumarolic plumes and episodes of increased seismicity

Lengai, Ol Doinyo (Tanzania)

Very active hornito in the N part of the crater

Negro, Cerro (Nicaragua)

Explosive eruptions starting on 5 August

San Salvador (El Salvador)

Minor volcano-tectonic seismicity detected

Sheveluch (Russia)

Intermittent explosions from the dome; fumarolic plumes

Tungurahua (Ecuador)

Explosions continue; 1998-99 summary; ~25,000 people displaced for months

Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand)

Fumarolic activity continues; new crater lake



Additional Reports (Unknown) — November 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Additional Reports

Unknown

Unknown, Unknown; summit elev. m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Japan: Hydro-acoustic signals of a possible eruption detected

Robert Dziak at the NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Newport, Oregon reported that the large-aperture hydrophone array deployed throughout the north Pacific Ocean basin has been detecting extremely loud, tremor-like signals since May 1998. The best preliminary estimates of the signal sources lie ~1,000 km S of Honshu Island, Japan along the Volcano Island chain (astride the Bonin trench, figure 1).

see figure caption Figure 1. A sketch map of part of the island of Honshu, and some of the historically active volcanoes of the Izu, Marianas, and Bonin arcs. Data from the NOAA large-aperture hydrophone array indicates a submarine volcano has been erupting in the area within the box shown. Two possible candidate sources for the eruption discussed in the text are Fukutoku-okanoba and Kita-Iwo-jima (Funka-asane). Courtesy of Robert Dziak and Yasuo Otani.

Dziak believes these tremors to be volcanic in origin. The signals are characterized by a high amplitude fundamental around 10 Hz and the next three harmonics (20, 30, and 40 Hz). Typically signals appear as discrete packets lasting 4-5 minutes, with a brief ~30 second quiescence period, followed by the beginning of the next signal packet. For the duration of each signal packet, the spectral peaks typically increase monotonically by 5-10 Hz while maintaining their harmonic spacing. Similar distinctive characteristics have been previously identified in volcanic tremor records from both seismic and airborne acoustic measurements at Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica (Garces et al., 1998) and at Pavlof Volcano, Alaska (Garces and Hansen, 1998).

Unfortunately, the source of these signals is outside the optimum coverage area for the NOAA array, so the estimated locations are not accurate; the best preliminary estimates place the signal source in a box at 22-27°N and 138-141°E that lies W of the Bonin arc (figure 1).

The tremor has been occurring intermittently since May 1998, and was still being recorded as of late December 1999. During this period, intense tremor activity was recorded on 30 different days. The signals have for the most part been occurring continuously (with quiet times ranging from several days to several weeks) since first detected. Specific periods of peak amplitude and duration in 1998 and 1999 are presented in table 1. Signals measured on 10-12 December 1999 were the loudest yet detected.

Table 1. Dates of the strongest hydro-acoustic signals registered on the NOAA large-aperture hydrophone array compared to observation dates of discolored seawater over Fukutoku-okanoba and the Funka-asane vent of Kita-Iwo-jima. Hydro-acoustic data courtesy of R. Dziak; seawater observations courtesy of Yasuo Otani, Japan Maritime Safety Agency and Japan Meteorological Agency.

Periods of peak tremors from hydro-acoustic data Discolored Seawater at Fukutoku-okanoba Discolored Seawater at Kita-Iwo-jima (Funka-asane)
16-18 Aug 1998 -- --
31 Aug 1998 -- --
-- 16 Oct 1998 --
-- 28 Oct 1998 --
-- 14 Dec 1998 --
-- 16 Dec 1998 --
-- 12-13 Jan 1999 --
22 Apr 1999 -- --
20-27 Aug 1999 -- --
-- -- 07 Sep 1999
-- 08 Sep 1999 --
10-11 Oct 1999 -- --
-- 22 Nov 1999 --
-- 10-12 Dec 1999 --

Yasuo Otani of the Hydrographic Department of Japan has provided subsequent information (courtesy of Yukio Hayakawa) regarding periods of discolored sea water seen over Fukutoku-okanoba (24.3°N, 141.5°E). The latter is a known volcanic area located S of Iwo-Jima (24.75°N, 141.33°E) on the fringes of the area delineated above by Dziak. These dates are also presented in the second column of table 1; however, there does not appear to be an obvious correlation between the two data sets. On the other hand, what is not yet known is the density of visual observations, in effect, the number of observations of these sites when surface discolorations were absent. Without such details, trying to correlate the two data sets could be biased by sampling density.

Japan Meteorological Agency reports provided one other case of sea surface discoloration, at Funka-asane, but this lone observation also failed to show any temporal correlation and has the same limitations of sampling bias mentioned above. Funka-asane, a submarine vent ~2 km NW of Kita-Iwo-jima (25.43°N, 141.23°E), is just E of the preliminary box delineated by the acoustical data.

Olivier Hyvernaud at the Geophysical Laboratory in Tahiti had found no evidence of volcanic T-waves from the region in question through the end of 1999.

The area of the preliminary box is large, and could include many other volcanic centers. Given all of the uncertainty, anyone having possibly related data or comments is urged to contact Robert Dziak or the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Network.

References. Garces, M.A., Hagerty, M.T., Schwartz, S.Y., 1998, Magma acoustics and time-varying melt properties at Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica: Geophysical Research Letters, v. 25, no. 13, p. 2293-6.

Garces, M.A., Hansen, R.A., 1998, Wave form analysis of seismoacoustic signals radiated during the fall 1996 eruption of Pavlof volcano, Alaska: Geophysical Research Letters, v. 25, no.7, p. 1051-4.

Geologic Background. Reports of floating pumice from an unknown source, hydroacoustic signals, or possible eruption plumes seen in satellite imagery.

Information Contacts: Robert P. Dziak, Oregon State University/NOAA, Hatfield Marine Science Center, 2115 SE OSU Drive, Newport, OR 97365 USA (URL: http://newport.pmel.noaa.gov/); Yasuo Otani, Coastal Surveys and Cartography Division, Hydrographic Department, Maritime Safety Agency, 3-1 Tsukiji, 5-Chome, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan; Olivier Hyvernaud, Laboratoire de Géophysique, BP 640 Pamatai, Tahiti, French Polynesia.


Bezymianny (Russia) — November 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent fumarolic plumes, but no seismicity

Fumarolic plumes generally rising 50-300 m above the volcano were often observed during clear weather in August-December 1999, but views were frequently obscured by meteorological clouds. Weak fumarolic activity without a significant plume was detected on a few other occasions during this period. Plumes were observed on the following days: 9-10, 16, and 20-23 August; 2, 12, 22, 26, and 28 September; 22-24, 25-27, and 29-31 October; 1, 5, 11-12, 19, 22-23, 26, and 29 November; 2-3, 24, 25, and 28 December. Depending on local conditions, the plumes often extended 5-10 km downwind, usually E and SE. Others were blown S, NW, or NE. The longest plume during this period was on 26 August when it extended 15 km NE. No seismicity was registered under the volcano from 10 August through the end of December 1999. On October 6, a shallow earthquake was registered under 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: Olga Chubarova, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia; Tom Miller, Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA.


Etna (Italy) — November 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Vigorous eruptions at Bocca Nuova send lava flows 5 km down the W flank

Following the gradual reactivation of the summit craters since June 1999 and eruptive episodes at the Voragine on 4 September and at the Bocca Nuova (BN) on 20 September, the activity shifted to the Northeast Crater (NEC) and then to the BN in early October. During the second half of October, the BN crater produced spectacular Strombolian activity, episodes of high lava fountaining, and lava overflows onto the W flank of the volcano, the first flows in that area since 1964. Lava flows on the W flank interrupted two dirt roads and burned a small portion of forest, but presented no threat to inhabited areas downslope. After 3 November, the activity declined to low levels.

The information for the following report, covering October-November 1999, was compiled by Boris Behncke at the University of Catania (DSGUC), Marco Fulle, Roberto Carniel, and Jürg Alean. Additional information was provided by Jean-Claude Tanguy. The compilation is based on personal visits to the summit, observations from Catania, and many other sources cited in the text.

Vigorous Strombolian activity occurred at the NEC during the first week of October. When the summit area was visited by Behncke, Roberto Scandone and Lisetta Giacomelli (Dipartimento di Fisica, Università "Roma Tre"), and Angelo Amara (Catania University) on 1 October, strong explosions ejected bombs up to 100 m above the crater rim, and ash emissions were frequent. Similar activity was observed during a summit visit by Behncke and others on 6 October. Brownish-gray ash plumes were frequent, and some of the Strombolian bursts were densely charged with small bombs.

Eruptive activity resumed within the BN on the afternoon of 5 October, after about two weeks of relative calm. After nightfall, Giuseppe Scarpinati (Italian correspondent of L'Association Volcanologique Européenne, LAVE) observed strong explosions from his home in Acireale (~18 km SE from the summit). Huge incandescent bombs were ejected to halfway down the S flank of the main summit cone. Scarpinati noted fluctuating glow at the NEC and increased effusion at the ESE base of the Southeast Crater (SEC) cone. Powerful explosions from the BN were continuing the next morning as Behncke and two students from the University of Trier visited Piano Provenzana on the N flank (~6 km from the BN). Explosions occurred at intervals of ~10 minutes, with minor activity between the explosions. Many bombs were ejected far beyond the crater rim. The source of this activity was probably at the SE eruptive center, which had been buried under lava on 20-21 September.

Vigorous eruptive activity continued at NEC and BN through 11 October. Dark ash-laden plumes commonly rose every few minutes from the NEC. Bombs were ejected from the BN to a distance of several hundred meters, and some bursts rose more than 300 m above the crater. Eruptive activity resumed within the Voragine and continued at least through the following day (information from Sandro Privitera, DSGUC, and Jean-Claude Tanguy).

On the afternoon of 12 October Behncke and Amara were ~250 m from the W rim of the BN, where activity was vigorous, with ejections of dense jets of bombs to hundreds of meters above the crater rim. Eruptive activity occurred from at least four locations within the crater. At 1830 there was the first in a series of powerful detonations that ejected abundant lithics along with incandescent bombs and a tephra-laden plume to ~500 m above the crater rim. The explosions initiated about 30 minutes of more intense activity from three locations in the W and NW part of the crater.

NEC emitted dark dense ash plumes almost continuously. After nightfall only ~10 percent of the emissions ejected incandescent bombs; other emissions appeared to eject mainly lithics. While near the front of the 22 July 1998 lava flow on the dirt road that connects the N and S routes to the summit (named "summit road" in the following paragraphs), several explosions from the Voragine were heard. At the ESE base of SEC cone lava was still issuing quietly after more than 8 months. The effusion rate was estimated at ~1 m3/s; during the previous four weeks, ~2.5 x 106 m3 had been added to the more than 40 x 106 m3 of lava emitted between 4 February and early September 1999.

Strong ash emission from the NEC on the morning of 13 October continued in a pulsating manner into the early afternoon of the following day. At the BN, however, near-continuous ejections of incandescent bombs caused rapid filling of the crater. On the evening of 15 October, vigorous eruptive activity occurred at the Voragine and loud detonations were audible as far as Catania.

Lava was fountaining in BN on the evening of 16 October, but strong explosions resumed the next morning (17 October). Fulle watched the activity from the summit road and reported that continuous lava jetting to several hundred meters above the crater rim occurred from several vents, and bombs dropped onto the outer flanks of the main summit cone. Sometime around 2015 a small portion of the W rim collapsed, allowing lava to move rapidly down the steep slope, crossing the summit road. On the early morning of 18 October, the farthest flow front had reached ~1,900 m elevation and stopped before reaching the Forestale dirt road (figure 82). Lava was reported to flow vigorously through the breach on the W side of the BN on the evening of 18 October, but the fronts did not extend as far downslope as the first major flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Sketch map of the lava flows emitted from the Bocca Nuova during October-November 1999, based on photographs taken after the end of the activity from various locations. Main vents of the Bocca Nova (BN) are shown as dots. The other summit craters are the Northeast Crater (NE), Voragine (V), and Southeast Crater (SE). Inset at upper left shows the entire Etna area with the location of the new lavas and the towns of Bronte and Catania. VDB in the inset is Valle del Bove. Courtesy of Boris Behncke.

At about noon on 19 October, Behncke and Scarpinati reached the summit area and observed near-continuous ejections of large bombs high above the rim of the BN. Movement of the lava flow on the W flank had slowed significantly, and only the central portion of the flow was moving. The lava field had many overlapping flow units with a total width of ~100 m at the summit road crossing. Between 1200 and 1230 activity increased until fountaining from the more southerly of the two vents became virtually continuous; frequent large blasts from the other vent dropped bombs up to 150 m beyond the crater rim. A short time later a new flow with a front ~3 m high advanced rapidly through the central flow channel, on top of the still-moving earlier lava. From points along the N margin of the lava field the summit of a pyroclastic cone growing within the BN could be seen rising above the crater rim. Explosive activity consisted of only a few ash-rich emissions between 1630 and 1730. After sunset the active flows were brightly incandescent over their entire length, and BN produced bursts of huge incandescent bombs every 2-10 seconds.

After continuing vigorously until the early morning of 20 October, the activity from the eruptive vents in the W and NW part of the BN ceased, and the lava overflow through the notch in the W crater rim stopped. Sometime near dawn, forceful expulsions of ash began from the SE vent, which had shown little activity the previous week. The low levels of activity permitted volcanologists from the U.K. to reach the rim of the BN and observe at least three vents with mild Strombolian activity and sizeable pyroclastic cones around them. On 21 October at 0300, intense eruptive activity apparently resumed, with renewed lava overflow onto the W flank. A new lobe on the S margin of the flow-field covered more of the summit road and extended to ~2,400 m elevation.

On the morning of 22 October, Scarpinati, from his home in Acireale, observed mild Strombolian activity (one explosion every 15-20 seconds) at the BN and more vigorous spattering at the vents on the ESE base of the SEC cone. By 1130 another episode of high lava fountaining and overflow from BN was in progress. From Catania jets of incandescent material to several hundred meters above the crater rim were visible, and a dense, ash-poor column of yellowish gas rose at least 4 km above the summit. Fulle witnessed the activity from a distance of a few hundred meters, and reported that a N-S fissure ~200 m long in the W part of the BN ejected a virtually continuous sheet of very fluid lava with jets rising up to 500 m high. A torrent of lava ran halfway down the W flank of the main summit cone at a speed of ~50 m/minute, carrying incandescent blocks more than 10 m across. An overflow may have also occurred on the NNW side of the BN. After 1230 the activity and the volume of overflowing lava diminished, but sporadic explosions threw large bombs hundreds of meters beyond the crater rim until 1700. Between 2000 and 2100 Behncke and Scarpinati visited the ESE base of the SEC cone where lava emission from at least three vents continued, and incandescent gas was emitted forcefully from two large hornitos that had grown earlier that day. Flowing lava was seen ~500 m NE and E from the active vents.

On 23 October another episode of high lava fountaining at the BN and overflow onto the W flank began at about 1000. This activity culminated at about 1045 but was less intense than the episode of the previous day. Relatively mild Strombolian activity persisted through the evening of 24 October, and small volumes of lava flowed onto the W flank. During the afternoon, Fulle and Carniel observed explosions (mostly ash) from four vents on the fissure in BN, and from a vent in the SE sector of the BN. During the night loud explosions at intervals of several minutes rattled windows and doors in towns 24 and 28 km NE.

On the morning of 25 October ash was emitted sporadically from BN until by about 1130 continuous fountaining was in progress. Broad jets of lava generally rose 100-200 m above the crater rim, but occasional jets soared to 500 m height. Lava again descended the W flank. A large pyroclastic cone near the vent that produced most of the fountaining (in the NW part of the BN) was ~30 m above the NW crater rim. Fulle and Carniel observed that the activity occurred from a number of vents along a N-S trending fissure in the W part of the BN. At 1145 Fulle observed that lava was overflowing the rim near the SW vent, covering the southern edge of the previous lava field.

From 1235 to 1300 the flank of the BN was affected by intense deformation, with the opening of several fractures and a series of collapses. Within a few minutes (peaking around 1320) a wide sector of the WNW crater rim was pushed up and out by lava within the crater. Minor collapses occurred for about 30 minutes while vigorous lava fountaining continued. The avalanches resulting from the collapses spilled several hundred meters down the W flank and produced brownish plumes. Movie clips taken by Carniel of the deformation and avalanches are available at Stromboli On-line. Lava flowing through the new breach was repeatedly covered with debris but continued to flow, carrying boulders up to 20 m in diameter. On the N side of the BN the mass of fluid bombs transformed into a rootless lava flow that advanced along the flow emplaced on 22 October, but extended farther downslope. The episode ended by about 1630, but was followed by a series of strong isolated explosions. By 1900, the main vent in the BN produced frequent Strombolian bursts, and lava flow through the breach in the crater rim continued at a reduced rate.

Observations made that evening revealed that a new lava flow with at least seven active branches had descended the W flank, and the farthest flow front had extended to ~1,900 m elevation. By about 1810 the front of the longest branch began moving through a small patch of forest a few hundred meters above the Forestale Road. The new lava flow was slightly N of the flows produced during the preceding week, with the longest branch extending almost 5 km from the BN, thus being one of the longest flows ever produced by a summit eruption.

On the morning of 26 October, the activity consisted mostly of isolated ash-rich explosions from the southernmost fissure vent in the W part of the BN. Towards the evening the activity became more continuous and there was mild Strombolian activity. Fulle and Carniel reported that up to five vents along the fissure were active. Explosions also occurred from two vents in the SE part of the BN where little activity had been observed the previous week.

On 27 October jets of lava rose tens of meters above two main vents in the W part of the BN, and a new large pyroclastic cone was growing around the northernmost vent. Lava continued to overflow on the W side of the crater, with active flow fronts to ~2,600 m elevation. Between 0015 and 1045, Fulle, Carniel, and Tom Pfeiffer (University of Arhus) observed intense activity, mostly in the NW sector of the BN. From 1230 onwards the explosions of the NW vent of the BN became increasingly stronger. Between 1400 and 1415 some of the largest explosions showered bombs over the whole main summit cone, and a scoria fall was noticed at the Torre del Filosofo mountain hut. At 1433 strong explosions of dark ash occurred at the NEC. The activity of the BN remained strong all afternoon. New lava spilled down the W flank, and at about 1700, the farthest flow front cut the Forestale road at about 1,800 m elevation, immediately S of Monte Nunziata (the main scoria cone of the 1843 eruption), and entered a patch of dense forest. Early the next morning the front of the main flow had extended ~200 m below the Forestale road, to ~1,730 m elevation; by 29 October the flow had stopped.

Vigorous lava jetting from the BN was observed at about 0600 on 29 October by Giovanni Sturiale (DSGUC). Activity observed by Sturiale, Behncke, Pfeiffer, and Vincenzo Polizotto (University of Catania) later that day included incandescent bombs from the NW vent, forceful ejections of dark gray ash and blocks from the SE vents, and vigorous Strombolian activity at the NW vent where the top of the new pyroclastic cone was projecting a few tens of meters above the crater rim. A variety of lava flows were seen on the W flank. Vigorous pulsating lava jetting from the NW vent was continuing at about 2230.

On 30 October, Pfeiffer revisited the summit area and reported that relatively mild Strombolian activity continued throughout the day. The entire Voragine area was covered with bombs, and the Voragine itself "had ceased to exist" because the 4 September 1999 crater was filled to within ~40 m of its rim. The active cone at the NW vent in the BN was very close to the location of the former "diaframma," of which no trace was visible. Emission of blocks and ash from the SE vents in the BN continued. During an overflight by Tanguy at about 1300, a bright red vent lay in the middle of the NW-trending BN fissure. Small lava flows were seen on the upper W slopes and a scoria cone was being built around the NW vent. NEC and SEC emitted a moderate white plume. After sunset a large red glow on the W flank indicated renewed strong effusive activity.

On the evening of 31 October, Scarpinati observed from Acireale that vigorous lava spattering had resumed at the ESE base of the SEC cone, while Strombolian activity at the BN was continuing. Scarpinati visited the area on 1 November and described voluminous lava flows running towards the Valle del Bove, and spattering from a group of hornitos. Effusive activity at the ESE base of the SEC cone showed a marked decrease after 2 November. On the 6th, Scarpinati observed trickles of lava flowing from these vents, but none thereafter.

On 1 November, Behncke and others climbed to the SW side of the BN where vigorous Strombolian activity continued from the NW vent, and occasional weak Strombolian bursts occurred from a vent farther S. Lava again extruded from below the uplifted block of 25 October. The southernmost of the three active lava lobes ran along the S margin of the lava field, cutting another 10 m of the summit road. Explosive activity at the NW vent produced jets up to 300 m high, but ~90 percent of the bombs fell back into the crater, enlarging the pyroclastic cone. On the evening of 3 November BN produced continuous jets of lava up to 300 m high, the last major eruptive episode of the sequence initiated on 5 October. Activity ceased after 0400 on 4 November, and after that the BN produced only weak intermittent Strombolian activity through about 15 November.

The volume of lava erupted from the BN between 17 October and 3 November is probably in the range of 15-20 x 106 m3. Tanguy estimated that the lava flows of 27 October alone amounted to ~5 x 106 m3, and similar flows were erupted on at least three other occasions. This places the October-November activity from the BN among the largest summit eruptions recorded at Etna during the past 200 years. The BN, which had been a 400-m-diameter pit about 150 m deep in 1995, was completely filled, and a sizeable pyroclastic cone was built in its N part, partly burying the "diaframma," the former wall separating this crater from the Voragine. Post-eruption collapse and subsidence caused the partial destruction of this cone and the formation of two pits at the main NW and SE vents of the BN, and the lava-covered plateau filling the former crater subsided by several meters towards its center. On the W side of the main summit cone, the accumulation of new lava caused a considerable buildup of this flank. The Voragine was largely filled by pyroclastics from the NW vent of the BN, with only a shallow depression remaining in its central part.

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

Information Contacts: Boris Behncke, Dipartimento di Scienze Geologiche, Palazzo delle Scienze, Università di Catania (DSGUC), Corso Italia 55, 95129 Catania, Italy; Roberto Carniel, Dipartimento di Georisorse e Territorio, Università di Udine, Via Cotonificio 114, 33100 Udine, Italy (URL: http://www.swisseduc.ch/stromboli/); Jürg Alean, Kantonsschule Zürcher Unterland, CH-8180 Bülach, Switzerland; Marco Fulle, Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, Via Tiepolo 11, 34131 Trieste, Italy; Jean-Claude Tanguy, Université Paris 6 and IPGP, Observatoire de Saint-Maur, 4, avenue de Neptune, 94107 Saint-Maur des Fossés Cedex, France.


False Reports (Unknown) — November 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

False Reports

Unknown

Unknown, Unknown; summit elev. m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Turkey: UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

Following the Ms 7.8 earthquake in Turkey on 17 August (BGVN 24:08) an Email message originating in Turkey was circulated, claiming that volcanic activity was observed coincident with the earthquake and suggesting a new (magmatic) volcano in the Sea of Marmara [40.683°N, 29.1°E]. For reasons outlined below, and in the absence of further evidence, editors of the Bulletin consider this a false report.

The report stated that fishermen near the village of Cinarcik, at the E end of the Sea of Marmara "saw the sea turned red with fireballs" shortly after the onset of the earthquake. They later found dead fish that appeared "fried." Their nets were "burned" while under water and contained samples of rocks alleged to look "magmatic."

No samples of the fish were preserved. A tectonic scientist in Istanbul speculated that hot water released by the earthquake from the many hot springs along the coast in that area may have killed some fish (although they would be boiled rather than fried).

The phenomenon called earthquake lights could explain the "fireballs" reportedly seen by the fishermen. Such effects have been reasonably established associated with large earthquakes, although their origin remains poorly understood. In addition to deformation-triggered piezoelectric effects, earthquake lights have sometimes been explained as due to the release of methane gas in areas of mass wasting (even under water). Omlin and others (1999), for example, found gas hydrate and methane releases associated with mud volcanoes in coastal submarine environments.

The astronomer and author Thomas Gold (Gold, 1998) has a website (Gold, 2000) where he presents a series of alleged quotes from witnesses of earthquakes. We include three such quotes here (along with Gold's dates, attributions, and other comments):

(A) Lima, 30 March 1828. "Water in the bay 'hissed as if hot iron was immersed in it,' bubbles and dead fish rose to the surface, and the anchor chain of HMS Volage was partially fused while lying in the mud on the bottom." (Attributed to Bagnold, 1829; the anchor chain is reported to be on display in the London Navy Museum.)

(B) Romania, 10 November 1940. ". . . a thick layer like a translucid gas above the surface of the soil . . . irregular gas fires . . . flames in rhythm with the movements of the soil . . . flashes like lightning from the floor to the summit of Mt Tampa . . . flames issuing from rocks, which crumbled, with flashes also issuing from non-wooded mountainsides." (Phrases used in eyewitness accounts collected by Demetrescu and Petrescu, 1941).

(C) Sungpan-Pingwu (China), 16, 22, and 23 August 1976. "From March of 1976, various large anomalies were observed over a broad region. . . . At the Wanchia commune of Chungching County, outbursts of natural gas from rock fissures ignited and were difficult to extinguish even by dumping dirt over the fissures. . . . Chu Chieh Cho, of the Provincial Seismological Bureau, related personally seeing a fireball 75 km from the epicenter on the night of 21 July while in the company of three professional seismologists."

Yalciner and others (1999) made a study of coastal areas along the Sea of Marmara after the Izmet earthquake. They found evidence for one or more tsunamis with maximum runups of 2.0-2.5 m. Preliminary modeling of the earthquake's response failed to reproduce the observed runups; the areas of maximum runup instead appeared to correspond most closely with several local mass-failure events. This observation together with the magnitude of the earthquake, and bottom soundings from marine geophysical teams, suggested mass wasting may have been fairly common on the floor of the Sea of Marmara.

Despite a wide range of poorly understood, dramatic processes associated with earthquakes (Izmet 1999 apparently included), there remains little evidence for volcanism around the time of the earthquake. The nearest Holocene volcano lies ~200 km SW of the report location. Neither Turkish geologists nor scientists from other countries in Turkey to study the 17 August earthquake reported any volcanism. The report said the fisherman found "magmatic" rocks; it is unlikely they would be familiar with this term.

The motivation and credibility of the report's originator, Erol Erkmen, are unknown. Certainly, the difficulty in translating from Turkish to English may have caused some problems in understanding. Erkmen is associated with a website devoted to reporting UFO activity in Turkey. Photographs of a "magmatic rock" sample were sent to the Bulletin, but they only showed dark rocks photographed devoid of a scale on a featureless background. The rocks shown did not appear to be vesicular or glassy. What was most significant to Bulletin editors was the report author's progressive reluctance to provide samples or encourage follow-up investigation with local scientists. Without the collaboration of trained scientists on the scene this report cannot be validated.

References. Omlin, A, Damm, E., Mienert, J., and Lukas, D., 1999, In-situ detection of methane releases adjacent to gas hydrate fields on the Norwegian margin: (Abstract) Fall AGU meeting 1999, Eos, American Geophysical Union.

Yalciner, A.C., Borrero, J., Kukano, U., Watts, P., Synolakis, C. E., and Imamura, F., 1999, Field survey of 1999 Izmit tsunami and modeling effort of new tsunami generation mechanism: (Abstract) Fall AGU meeting 1999, Eos, American Geophysical Union.

Gold, T., 1998, The deep hot biosphere: Springer Verlag, 256 p., ISBN: 0387985468.

Gold, T., 2000, Eye-witness accounts of several major earthquakes (URL: http://www.people.cornell.edu/ pages/tg21/eyewit.html).

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

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Gorely (Russia) — November 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Gorely

Russia

52.559°N, 158.03°E; summit elev. 1799 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Shallow earthquake swarm in October

At 1832 on 22 October, a 10-minute series of shallow earthquakes was recorded at the volcano. The last Gorely eruptive activity occurred in 1980-81 (SEAN 05:07) and 1984-86 (SEAN 10:01).

Geologic Background. Gorely volcano consists of five small overlapping stratovolcanoes constructed along a WNW-ESE line within a large 9 x 13.5 km caldera. The caldera formed about 38,000-40,000 years ago accompanied by the eruption of about 100 km3 of tephra. The massive complex includes 11 summit and 30 flank craters, some of which contain acid or freshwater crater lakes; three major rift zones cut the complex. Another Holocene stratovolcano is located on the SW flank. Activity during the Holocene was characterized by frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions along with a half dozen episodes of major lava extrusion. Early Holocene explosive activity, along with lava flows filled in much of the caldera. Quiescent periods became longer between 6000 and 2000 years ago, after which the activity was mainly explosive. About 600-650 years ago intermittent strong explosions and lava flow effusion accompanied frequent mild eruptions. Historical eruptions have consisted of moderate Vulcanian and phreatic explosions.

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


Guagua Pichincha (Ecuador) — November 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Guagua Pichincha

Ecuador

0.171°S, 78.598°W; summit elev. 4784 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dome growth and explosive eruptions; dramatic increase in LP earthquakes

This report covers 22 November through 24 December 1999, an interval when long-period earthquakes increased precipitously. The dome in the caldera's western sector continued to produce explosions, lava extrusions, and rockfalls. November 1999 marked the 32nd month since the unrest began; occasional ashfalls and associated disruptions (minor ashfall, airport closures, hundreds of evacuated refugees) have had a significant impact on Quito residents.

Seismicity. Earthquake hypocenter maps appearing on the Geophysical Institute's website showed the vast majority of earthquakes clustering beneath the crater area; in some cases these clusters also spread W with gradually decreasing density. The website also included a diagrammatic cross section through the crater (figure 20) illustrating the inferred plumbing system, including some typical depths for various kinds of earthquakes. On the inset, the diagram shows an inferred shallow aquifer within the edifice that intersects the active conduit and presumably contributes to the repeated phreatic eruptions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. A diagrammatic E-W cross-section through the crater at Guagua Pichincha. The cross-section is intended to show the overall internal structure and the zones where the main kinds of earthquakes seen during the crisis have typically originated. The scale across the bottom of the main diagram corresponds to a local coordinate system; the one along the left side of the main diagram indicates depth with respect to sea level (0 km). The inset contains an enlarged view of the crater area. Courtesy of the Geophysical Institute.

During November 1999 phreatic explosions took place 41 times. Many months during the crisis had fewer than 20 explosions per month, and the November 1999 value was the second highest of the crisis. The highest monthly total occurred during October 1999, a count of 53 explosions.

Seismicity had been escalating rapidly during September-October 1999 (see plot, BGVN 24:10). A precipitous climb in long-period (LP) earthquakes continued during November, reaching dramatic levels (table 7); in September long-period earthquakes occurred ~12,000 times, in October ~15,000 times, and in November ~44,000 times. For another comparison, LP counts earlier in the crisis (July 1998-August 1999) generally remained below 200 earthquakes per month. Thus, compared to this broader interval, the November 1999 count of LP events reflected more than a 200-fold increase. In addition, November's LP earthquakes exceeded the sum for LP events during the previous 16 months.

Table 7. Monthly earthquake counts at Guagua Pichincha representing two key time intervals. The "upper threshold" refers to the highest values registered during the earlier parts of the crisis, July 1998-August 1999. The next three columns indicate the monthly counts during September-November 1999, an interval with the highest numbers of earthquakes yet seen during the current crisis. Courtesy of the Geophysical Institute.

Earthquake Type Earlier upper threshold Sep 1999 Oct 1999 Nov 1999
Long-period (LP) 200 11,972 15,075 43,738
Multi-phase (MP) 2,099 130 15,024 6,182
Volcano-tectonic (VT) 160 1,331 1,701 104
Sum (LP + MP) 12,102 30,099 49,920 --

A change in the relative numbers of events appears to have occurred beginning in September 1999. From then on, LP events occurred with either similar abundance to MP events, or in some cases LP events became dominant. The total of MP plus LP events (table 2) continued to increase through November 1999.

On the other hand, the escalation in Multiphase (MP) and volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes has diminished since the anomalously high values seen in September and October 1999 (table 7, and BGVN 24:10). Compared to earlier in this crisis, MP earthquake counts underwent a sudden peak in October at ~15,000 events; in November there were ~6,000 MP events. VT earthquake counts underwent a less pronounced peak in September and October with ~1,300 and ~1,700 respective events. November VT earthquakes totaled only 104, a value still within the upper end of the monthly counts seen for the bulk of the crisis.

As a result of ongoing dome growth, rockfall-associated seismicity increased. The highest days in September-November had daily LP counts of 250-300 per day. Peaks in dome-growth events approached or exceeded 100 events/day for sustained intervals both during early October and late November 1999.

Daily observations. Tens of daily phreatic explosions were common. Counted seismically, these events appeared so numerous that generally only large ones received much mention in the daily reports (summarized in table 8). On many days visibility into the caldera remained limited because of clouds and fog.

Table 8. Summary of the more important explosions reported at Guagua Pichincha during 22 November-22 December 1999. The explosions discussed here were selected by choosing the Institute's daily reports where the seismically determined parameter of reduced displacement (RD) was reported. Courtesy of the Geophysical Institute.

Date Reduced displacement (RD) and related activity and impacts
24 Nov 1999 Two important explosions, the first of which at 0328 led to ashfall in N Quito visible on clean surfaces such as the exteriors of vehicles. The second explosion took place at 1233 with a RD of 17.7 cm2. The second sent a column to 10 km altitude blowing E (towards Quito). Ash fell (see text). The 1233 explosion vented from the W caldera margin; the associated seismic signal was shallow, 0.9 km. An additional four disturbances occurred between 0840 and 0906 associated with collapse of rocks and consequent emissions in the new dome's W sector; the plumes related to these events rose ~2 km. Still other explosions noted this day had variable RDs: 12.9, 11.8, 2.4, and 1.0 cm2.
25 Nov 1999 Ash fell on N Quito after explosions at 0528 and 2027 with respective RDs of 15 and 25 cm2.
26 Nov 1999 An emission with RD of 4.6 cm2 issued an ash-laden column that rose 2 km and dispersed to the SE.
27 Nov 1999 An emission at 2114 had a RD of 19.6 cm2 and sent an ash column more than 2 km upward; it blew to the W and SW. Heavy cloud cover made it hard to observe the plume, however. Some ash fall was reported in Quito.
29 Nov 1999 An eruption at 1134 had a RD of 18.9 cm2 and sent an ash column to ~8 km. The next day field crews found block-and-ash flows and mud flows deposited by this eruption on the W flank in the Rio Cristal.
02 Dec 1999 Two series of explosions took place, the first during 1723-1800 and the second, 2013-2200. An explosion at 2200 had the larger RD, 27.2 cm2. Although clouds obscured the crater, these explosions were thought to have been very destructive to the new dome.
09 Dec 1999 An eruption with RD of 12 cm2 was termed small; it followed a 10.5-hour interval with 15 eruption signals.
10 Dec 1999 An explosion with a RD of 26.6 cm2 and subsequent discovery of new pyroclastic flow deposits along the Rio Cristal. Later, at 1713, an explosion with RD of 18 cm2 sent a column to ~7.6 km altitude that was blown to the W and SW.
11 Dec 1999 Three RDs reported, 15, 16, and 12 cm2, produced by explosions in the early morning hours. Portions of the collapsed dome descended the Rio Cristal and there was some fracturing within the crater's older and newer domes.
14 Dec 1999 Several small explosions with RDs under 6 cm2. Rockfall seismic signals were common.
15-16 Dec 1999 Comparatively low-energy explosions with RDs under 4 cm2.
17 Dec 1999 Three morning explosions after 0730 with successive RDs of 15.5, 23, and 20 cm2. A white mushroom cloud rose to ~8 km altitude above the volcano. Beginning about 1000 a light rain of ash fell on Quito, particularly the north and central parts of the city. The airport shut down in the morning but reopened after 1310. On the W flank mudflows had been spotted carrying blocks up to 3 m in diameter. An additional press release noted a large eruption at 1504 with an RD of 24 cm2 and a resulting column to 8 km above the summit. This was followed by a larger eruption at 1627 with an RD of 28 cm2. By a small margin, this ranked as the largest RD of the reporting interval. After the former eruption close to 14 hours of continuous tremor began. Available wind data around the time of these eruptions suggested that some ash would fall on the Capital, and the next day's report noted light ashfall (thickness unstated but probably under a few millimeters) of fine pumiceous ash in Quito's northern and central zones; on the flanks of the edifice there were tephra clasts of 2-5 cm diameter.
19 Dec 1999 Minor explosions with RDs under 3 cm2.

Two explosions on 24 November resulted in significant ashfall on inhabited areas. The latter explosion, around noon, sent a plume to 10 km altitude. Fine ash fell in areas N of Quito, blanketing zones that included the airport, which closed. The ash also affected numerous settlements within a few tens of kilometers N to NE of the summit (including Carcelén, 14.5 km NE; Cotocollao, 9.4 km N; Quito Tenis, 13.5 km NE; and at locations not found on available maps, at la Roldós, La Carolina, Mariscal, and el Ejido). The greatest thicknesses of ash reportedly fell between Jipijapa (unlocated) and la Mariana de Jesús (20.9 km NE).

More events took place the next day, and in the morning ashfalls were reported in Quito's northwestern neighborhoods. The ash lingered in the air well into the next day as a result of disturbances by traffic and cleanup.

An inspection of the W flank on 24 November revealed that during the past week the Cristal river had been inundated by lahars 400 m wide and 10 m deep, although the point of measurement was at an unstated distance from the summit. They were still hot, at least in places, and contained some component of pyroclastic flows bearing carbonized tree-trunks in addition to blocks from the dome. On 30 November observers visiting the Cristal river noted a 1-day-old block-and-ashflow deposit. In the same sector on 8 and 10 December field crews again linked observed zones of burned and singed leaves to probable pyroclastic flows.

On 17 December a white mushroom cloud preceded a dark, ash-bearing one that rose 8-9 km above the volcano. On 18 December, light ash again fell on Quito landing mainly in its central and northern zones. Portions of the cone's flanks received pumice 2-5 cm in diameter. Strong sulfur smells were noted by S-flank residents in Lloa.

An overflight on 21 December enabled the dome height to be estimated at 50-100 m from the base of the caldera. On the dome's W side observers identified a spine, possibly the same one as seen in November. Dark coffee-colored rocks were observed along the E margin of the new dome.

GOES-8 satellite imagery captured plumes on several occasions. For example, it recorded an explosion at about 1140 on 29 November. NOAA analysts estimated the ash plume rose to an altitude of 10-12 km and drifted S toward Tungurahua volcano (which was also producing a faint ash plume). The same ash plume was noted using the "split window" technique, wherein infrared channel 5 (13 µm) is subtracted from infrared channel 4 (11 µm), which often discriminates airborne silicates such as dust and volcanic ash from other features in an image.

During comparatively passive intervals with adequate visibility, daily reports typically described several distinct plumes emitted from the following sources: a) the "aligned" fumaroles (in Spanish, "las alineadas"), b) the fumaroles on the caldera's W border near the head of the Cristal river, c) fumaroles escaping from the 1981 crater, and d) emissions from the top of the new dome. Fumaroles designated as "a" and "b" had plumes that typically reached several hundred meters from base to top; "c" fumaroles typically had plumes that reached tens of meter from base to top.

Radiosondes. According to the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center at NOAA's Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), during late 1999 and early 2000 authorities in Quito have been launching weather balloons twice a day. The resulting upper atmospheric air movements generally appear on the Geophysical Institute's website. Because these data have been occasionally internally inconsistent in azimuth, they have not yet been incorporated into the modeled data nor the plume trajectory modeling. The SAB has repeatedly seen highly variable winds in the region.

News reports. A brief review of news reports during the past few months revealed numerous stories, some of which were listed on an Ecuadorian Embassy website. ABC News discussed the effects on the explosions of 5-7 October (BGVN 24:09); previously unmentioned in the Bulletin was that the explosion of 5 October caused respiratory problems for many area residents and the death of one man. Four others were injured clearing ash from the roofs of their homes. Quito's Marshal Sucre airport closed for multiple days during the crisis. This not only causes travel problems, but inevitably some commercial aircraft that remain on the ground require cleaning to regain flight worthiness. ABC News also reported that the 24-26 November eruptions that forced one closure of the airport had also caused the Ministry of Education to shut down schools for a few days.

A series of 17-22 November articles in the online Diario Hoy newspaper discussed conditions confronted by 500 refugees from Lloa and neighboring areas living in the largest of several tent cities in a pass above their town. The tent city's amenities included electrical power, water, bathroom facilities, and trash collection; tents came equipped with stoves and beds. The city also provided medical and dental services. Other tent cities provided refuge for ~300 more people. Guards limited access into Lloa, and the town itself was patrolled by the military.

Hoy Digital reported that Quito's mayor, Roque Sevilla, delivered Motorola radios to each one of the leaders of the 35 neighborhoods located on the volcano's slopes as a means of maintaining constant communication with the emergency system locally referred to as "911." The article also mentioned a project developed with the support of the German embassy and the firm Siemens that consists of a system of warning sirens intended to alert citizens of impending danger.

Geologic Background. Guagua Pichincha and the older Pleistocene Rucu Pichincha stratovolcanoes form a broad volcanic massif that rises immediately to the W of Ecuador's capital city, Quito. A lava dome is located at the head of a 6-km-wide breached caldera that formed during a late-Pleistocene slope failure ~50,000 years ago. Subsequent late-Pleistocene and Holocene eruptions from the central vent in the breached caldera consisted of explosive activity with pyroclastic flows accompanied by periodic growth and destruction of the central lava dome. One of Ecuador's most active volcanoes, it is the site of many minor eruptions since the beginning of the Spanish era. The largest historical eruption took place in 1660, when ash fell over a 1000 km radius, accumulating to 30 cm depth in Quito. Pyroclastic flows and surges also occurred, primarily to then W, and affected agricultural activity, causing great economic losses.

Information Contacts: Geophysical Institute (Instituto Geofísico), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Apartado 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador; Embassy of Ecuador, 2535 15th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20009 USA (URL: http://www.ecuador.org/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, NOAA Satellite Services Division, NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center, Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/); ABC News (URL: http://abcnews.go.com/); Diario Hoy, Ecuador (URL: http://www.hoy.com.ec/).


Karymsky (Russia) — November 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptive activity gradually decreases, then stops in late December

The low-level strombolian eruptive activity that has characterized the volcano for more than three years gradually decreased after August until seismicity returned to background levels, and by late December there were no explosions. The eruption began on 2 January 1996 (BGVN 21:01) following an eruption from the Akademia Nauk caldera lake the previous day.

During the week of 9-15 August, steam-and-ash plumes were observed in satellite imagery extending as far as 75 km downwind at an altitude of 500-1,000 m above the crater. The number of gas-and-ash explosions was still more than 300/day the next week, with the plume rising 300-600 m above the volcano. During the last week of August through 5 September, the number of explosions was more than 75/day, with plumes to heights of 300-1,000 m above the volcano. Visual observations by KVERT staff on 1 and 5 September confirmed that explosive activity occurred every 10-20 minutes.

The number of gas-and-ash explosions decreased from 130 on 6 September to 80 on the 12th, but the plumes continued to rise 300-1,000 m above the volcano. That rate continued until the week of 20-26 September, when the average number of daily explosions decreased to 60. The number of explosions was 60-75/day during the next two-week reporting periods, through 10 October. During the week of 11-17 October the explosion rate decreased once again, to 20-35/day, although plume heights remained at 300-1,000 m. The number of explosions increased slightly, to 20-50/day, during 5-18 November, but then dropped the following week to 10-20/day and then only 2-5/day. During the week ending on 2 December, gas and ash explosions numbered 1-10/day.

The nearest seismic station (KRY) was out of order during 4-18 December. According to the regional seismic network, no strong events occurred during that period. The station was restored to operation on 19 December. As of 30 December seismicity at the volcano had decreased to background levels. About 1-2 local earthquakes occur every day and the volcano has returned to its normal state. At the end of December seismicity was at background levels of about 1-2 local earthquakes/day.

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

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


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — November 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Variable fumarolic plumes and episodes of increased seismicity

Highly variable activity continued throughout August-December 1999. Typical daily activity observed during clear weather consisted of a small fumarolic plume rising 50-200 m above the crater and extending a few kilometers downwind, usually E or SE. Seismicity was generally at background levels, consisting of shallow earthquakes with some periods of tremor. However, higher gas-and-steam plumes were frequently seen and two episodes of increased seismicity were detected. The volcano was frequently obscured by clouds.

Tremors and shallow earthquakes were registered during 9-15 August. Typical small fumarolic plumes were seen on 9-10, 13-14, 16, 21-26, and 28 August, and 2, 4-5, 7-8, and 12 September. On 30-31 August a gas-and-steam plume rose 500-1,500 m above the crater. On 15 September a gas-and-steam plume rose 600 m, and on 16 September the plume rose 200 m extending 5 km E. Mainly shallow earthquakes were registered from 19 September through 24 October. Gas-and-steam plumes rose up to 500 m during 19-26 and 28 September, and 3, 5, 7, 11, 20-21, and 24 October, extending as far as 5 km E or SE. During the afternoon of 15 October there was a 6.5-hour-long series of shallow earthquakes. On 22-23 October a fumarolic plume rose 700-1,000 m and extended 5-20 km to the E and SE.

Seismicity, consisting of shallow earthquakes and tremor, was above background levels during much of the period from 25 October until 17 December. Only small fumarolic plumes 50-300 m high were seen on 25 and 27 October, but on 26 October a plume rose 1,000 m above the volcano and extended 40 km NE. Small fumarolic plumes to 300 m extending 5 km SE were seen on 29-31 October and 4 November, with smaller typical plumes on 5, 7-8, and 10-11 November. Shallow earthquakes and volcanic tremor were recorded especially on 15, 21, and 25 November, when a gas-and-steam plume rose 1,000 m and extended more than 7 km NE. Typical smaller fumarolic plumes were seen on 12, 16, 18-19, 22-24, 26, and 28 November, and on 1, 3, and 10 December. On 29 November and 1 December gas-and-steam plumes rose 1,500 m above the volcano and extended more than 20 km SE. A fumarolic plume on 8 December rose 2,500 m.

During December 17-29 seismicity at the volcano returned to background levels. Small plumes were recorded on 17, 19-21, 25, and 28 December. Another plume on the 23rd rose 700 m.

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


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — November 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Very active hornito in the N part of the crater

The following report resulted from a visit to the crater of Ol Doinyo Lengai during 23 July-7 August. Prior to the visit and according to a local source (Burra Ami Gadiye), lava breaching the NW crater rim on 18 July flowed down the flank of the volcano and was visible at night from Ngare Sero village, ~10 km N. When the visitor's crater observations began at 1100 on 23 July, this lava flow from the NW crater rim breach had cooled and was becoming white from weathering, but it was clearly the most recent lava in the crater. Its source was hornito T40 (figure 63) based on comparisons of 1998 and 1999 photographs by C. Weber. From 2 to 6 August, an intermittent lava lake 3 m in diameter also existed inside T37N1 at a depth of 20 m.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. Sketch map of the crater at Ol Doinyo Lengai for the period 23 July-7 August 1999. Courtesy of Christoph Weber.

The conical part of T40 was 85 m around at its base and 12 m tall. The N side of the hornito's cone was walled by a low overhanging rim and its S side was covered by a high half-dome. The hornito also included a large, 6-m-deep crater. A small lava pond at the N end of the crater ejected 16-20 spatters per minute through 24-25 July. Twice on 26 July parts of the half-dome and the cone's summit collapsed into the crater.

During 27-28 July lava gradually rose inside the crater of T40 and formed a 4 x 6 m lake and several ponds. By 29 July the lake was ~12 m long and 7 m wide. In a pattern repeating every 15-20 minutes a surge of fresh lava boiled up from the NE corner of the lake, raising the level by 0.5 m. Lava flowed out of the lake to the NW through a subterranean tunnel but did not escape onto the main crater floor.

Although this pattern persisted for some time, at 1400 on 30 July an abrupt increase in activity produced high lava spatters that fell on the N flank of T40. Fresh lava swept into the lake from the N like breaking ocean waves and strong ground tremor shook the N flank of the cone. This activity continued through 31 July, when the lake rose to ~60 cm below the lowest point along the vent rim. Spatter gradually built up the N wall of the crater by more than 1 m and formed a large hood overhanging the area of most intense degassing.

At 0045 on 1 August, a hole developed in the hornito's new crater wall. Lava escaped and moved N as short aa flows up to 60 cm thick. Lava ceased to escape by 0600 but similar eruptions recurred through 1300 on 2 August. Intense degassing later destroyed the hood covering the N part of the lake, but splashing built a thick covering of spatter on the N flank of the cone and reconstructed the hood. Around 0300 on 3 August a new vent opened low on the NW flank of T40 where the strongest tremor had been during the previous few days. An aa lava flow 20 cm thick moved 73 m NW. By 0800 the eruption had ended and the lake level dropped by 2 m. By 0600 on 4 August the lake temporarily disappeared, leaving a solid crater floor 2.5 m below the rim. Lava reappeared about noon but only occupied a 2 m2 area at the crater's N end; the lava frequently overflowed from the pond and produced many small lava flows that covered most of the hornito's crater floor. At 2345 solid lava covering the new vent on the NW flank of T40 blew off; explosions occurred at a rate of 18-20/minute and constructed a new spatter cone. During repose periods, the activity shifted to the lava lake, creating high spatters that reached the summit of T40. After explosions ended at 0800 on 5 August, the new cone was 3 m tall with a circular summit vent 60 cm in diameter. Lava was bubbling in the vent at a depth of 1 m (figure 64).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. Photograph taken in the crater at Ol Doinyo Lengai showing a local guide in front of T40 during formation of the new spatter cone taken at about 0700 on 5 August 1999. Courtesy of Frederick Belton.

At 2000 on 5 August pahoehoe lava flowed rapidly across the NE rim of T40 and moved E for 55 m. At 0645 the next morning, more lava escaped the lake through a hole in the NE rim of T40 and covered much of the previous night's flow. Beginning at 1800 on 6 August the lake repeatedly overflowed the hornito's NE rim, later overflowing the NW rim. Around 0400 on 7 August a hole that opened 1 m below the NE rim of T40 gradually enlarged and drained ~60 m3 of lava from the lake forming an open NE-directed lava channel 60 cm wide. By 0800 on 7 August the hole was 1 m high and 0.5 m wide. When observations ended at 0815, lava was nearing the NE crater wall and subsequent reporting noted that lava never reached the breach in the E crater rim, stopping short by 70 m. It was later learned from Guillaume Delpech, a French geology student, that during his visit to T40 on 9 August, the lava lake level inside the hornito varied between 3 and 4 m below its rim. No lava flowed outside of T40 and the spatter cone was inactive.

Christoph Weber made temperature measurements using a digital thermometer (TM 914C with a stab feeler standard K-type) during the crater visit (table 2). The instrument was used in the 0-1200 Celsius mode, taking readings by inserting the feeler 15 cm into the lava. Calibration was made by the Delta-T method: values are ± 6°C in the 0-750°C range. Most values shown were maxima recorded from a series of at least five repeat measurements.

Table 2. Temperature estimates from 60 measurements at Ol Doinyo Lengai made during 23 July-7 August 1999. See text for method used. Courtesy of Christoph Weber.

Date Location Estimated temperature (°C)
28 Aug 1999 T40 lava lake 529
01 Sep 1999 Pahoehoe (in open channel, 3 m below the lava lake) 519
01 Sep 1999 End of a 60-cm-thick aa flow 516
28 Aug 1999 Fumarole near base of T49 82

Activity during early September 1999. Bruno Hermier visited the crater in early September and made the following observations. On the afternoon of 6 September only the northernmost hornito (T40) seemed to be active. A lava flow was estimated to be about two days old. Two E-W fissures cross the western half of the crater emitting fumaroles that deposit sulfur. The fissures are perpendicular to the N-S trend of the volcano and radiate from the hornitos. On 7 September at 0900 some spatter came from the top of the 7-m-high T40 hornito. The spatter became larger, creating a pond of lava visible at the top of the hornito. It began to overflow on all sides of the hornito for 15 minutes before the lava level dropped. This cycle repeated until 1300, after which only a low hissing noise was perceptible. Interestingly, a foam filled the hornito. The spatter that splashed on the sides of the chimney and the fluid that overflowed the rim instantaneously lost 75 percent of their volume as gas exsolved. The remaining 25 percent cooled or flowed as black carbonatite. The extremely fluid flows (consistency of oil or hot tar) were only a few centimeters thick, but extended 50-100 m. No additional activity was seen through the evening of 9 September.

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

Information Contacts: Frederick Belton, 3555 Philsdale Ave., Memphis, TN 38111 USA (URL: http://oldoinyolengai.pbworks.com/); Celia Nyamweru, Department of Anthropology, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617 USA (URL: http://blogs.stlawu.edu/lengai/); Christoph Weber, Friesenstrasse 20, 42107 Wuppertal, Germany; Bruno Hermier, France.


Cerro Negro (Nicaragua) — November 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Cerro Negro

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosive eruptions starting on 5 August

During the night of 4-5 August 1999, strong seismic activity occurred near Cerro Negro and the earthquakes with magnitudes up to 4.8 were felt throughout NW Nicaragua, especially in the big cities of León (20 km away, where many people could not sleep because of the seismic events) and Chinandega (40 km away). The strongest event was even felt 70 km away in Managua. The Nicaraguan seismic network recorded hundreds of earthquakes and strong seismic tremor at the seismic station at the volcano and at the MIRAMAR station (7 km away).

Three notices were received from the GOES alarm network concerning Cerro Negro. Distinct hot spots, indicating small plumes over the volcano, were detected on infrared satellite imagery at 0055, 0155, and 0235 on 5 August.

Explosive eruptions began at about 1000 on 5 August 1999. Ash clouds at heights of about 7,000 m were reported by aircraft. Ashfall was reported from some places SW of the volcano. The activity issued from four new vents outside the main crater, very near to the parasitic crater Cristo Rey, on the S flank of Cerro Negro. The vents formed cones ~40 m high during the day.

Wilfried Strauch visited the volcano that afternoon and observed explosions every few seconds, sometimes generating lava fountains ~300 m high. The activity alternated among the different new cones. No significant amounts of volcanic ash were emitted at this time. Local residents ~1 km from the volcano reported that seismicity was extremely strong during the night. Fissures appeared in the soil near their houses, releasing vapor.

INETER informed Civil Defense and other institutions on the night of 4 August about the seismic activity. Civil Defense officers visited the volcano early in the morning of 5 August, but could not yet detect signs of volcanic activity. When they got the information about the beginning of the eruption they proceeded with the evacuation of nearby villages, involving several hundreds of people.

Volcanic ash advisory statements on 6 August indicated that well-defined hot spots were still occasionally visible on GOES-8 multi-spectral imagery through 1615. No ash was visible in the imagery at that time, and thick clouds moved over the area later in the day. Imagery obtained under clear skies at 1015 on 7 August revealed no ash or hot spot.

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

Information Contacts: Wilfried Strauch, Instituto Nicaraguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Division of Geophysics, Apartado 2110, Managua, Nicaragua; Benjamin van Wyk de Vries, Magmas et volcans Observatoire du Physique du Globe, Departement des Sciences de la Terre, Université Blaise Pascal, 5 Rue Kessler, 63038 Clermont-Ferrand, France (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, NOAA Satellite Services Division, NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center, Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/).


San Salvador (El Salvador) — November 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

San Salvador

El Salvador

13.734°N, 89.294°W; summit elev. 1893 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor volcano-tectonic seismicity detected

In August, several stations of the seismic network at San Salvador volcano recorded a few volcano-tectonic events 5 km from the crater. Local scientists investigated a fumarolic field, but nothing abnormal was found.

Geologic Background. The massive compound San Salvador volcano dominates the landscape W of El Salvador's capital city of San Salvador. The dominantly andesitic Boquerón stratovolcano has grown within a 6-km-wide caldera whose rim is partially exposed at Picacho and Jabalí peaks, which themselves were formed by collapse of an older edifice about 40,000 years ago. The summit of Boquerón is truncated by a steep-walled crater 1.5 km wide and ~500 m deep that formed during a major eruption around 800 years ago. It contained a crater lake prior to an eruption during 1917 that formed a small cinder cone on the crater floor; a major N-flank lava flow also erupted in this year. Three fracture zones that extend beyond the base of the volcano have been the locus for numerous flank eruptions, including two that formed maars on the WNW and SE sides. Most of the four historical eruptions recorded since the 16th century have originated from flank vents, including two in the 17th century from the NW-flank cone of El Playón, during which explosions and a lava flow damaged inhabited areas.

Information Contacts: Douglas Hernandez, Centro de Investigaciones Geotecnicas, Apartado Postal 109, San Salvador, El Salvador.


Sheveluch (Russia) — November 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent explosions from the dome; fumarolic plumes

The volcano was frequently obscured by clouds during August-December 1999, but small fumarolic gas-and-steam plumes rising 50-200 m were often observed during clear weather. Higher fumarolic plumes were seen on three days in late November-early December. Four short explosions generated ash-bearing plumes during August-December that were confirmed visually. As many as five additional dome explosions were identified seismically.

On 11 and 13-14 August, fumarolic plumes rose 50-200 m above the crater. On 15 August a 5-minute ash explosion sent a plume to 800 m above the crater. On 17 and 23 August, fumarolic plumes rose 200-600 m; on the 30th a similar plume rose 1,200 m. On 4-5, 12, and 23-25 September, fumarolic plumes rose 50-200 m, extending 5 km E or SE. Similar plumes were seen on 7, 11, 23, and 25-26 October. On the morning of 27 October a short-lived ash explosion was observed, with an accompanying 20-minute burst of seismic activity. According to a Japanese satellite image taken about 3.5 hours later, an ash plume extended NE at an altitude of 6,900 m. Overall seismicity remained about at background levels until the end of October.

Seismicity was above background levels in late October through mid-November, when the hazard status was increased to "Yellow." On the morning of 31 October a 20-minute series of shallow earthquakes and tremor may have been associated with explosions on the dome; however, at daylight only a small fumarolic plume was seen. According to visual reports from Klyuchi town, on the late morning of 1 November a short explosive eruption sent an ash plume to an altitude of 5.5-6.0 km and extended S; an accompanying increase in seismicity occurred. On 2 November a fumarolic plume rose 50 m. On 8 and 10 November, three 20-50-minute-long series of shallow earthquakes and tremor were recorded that may have been associated with dome explosions. On 11 November a fumarolic plume rose 200 m.

A 5-minute-long series of shallow earthquakes and tremor was recorded on the morning of 17 November that may have been associated with an explosion on the dome. On 12, 16, 19, and 22 November fumarolic plumes rose 200 m. On the morning of 24 November a gas-and-ash plume rose 3 km above the crater. Plumes rising 1-2 km above the crater were also observed on the evening of 27 November and the afternoon of 2 December. All three of these larger plumes disappeared within one hour. Smaller fumarolic plumes, to 50-200 m above the crater, were seen again on 26 and 29-30 November, and 1-2, 10, 17, and 20-21 December. On the morning of 27 December a possible gas-and-ash plume was registered.

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


Tungurahua (Ecuador) — November 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Tungurahua

Ecuador

1.467°S, 78.442°W; summit elev. 5023 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions continue; 1998-99 summary; ~25,000 people displaced for months

Frequent explosive eruptions continued at Tungurahua volcano through 30 November (figure 1 and table 2). Ash plumes rose to maximum heights of about 5 km above the summit. Daily explosions increased during the month, reaching a peak during 16-25 November before decreasing slightly (figures 2 and 3). On 19 November 0.5 mm of ash fell on Baños, 9 km NNE of the summit at an elevation of ~1,850 m. Two millimeters of ash fell on the town of Runtún farther up slope at ~2,350 m elevation and ~6.2 km NE of the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. An aerial oblique photograph of Tungurahua taken from the W during July 1974 shows the morphology of the snow-and-ice-covered summit crater prior to the current eruption. Courtesy of the Geophysical Institute.

Table 2. Explosions and other activity at Tungurahua as described in daily reports, 31 October to 30 November 1999. Courtesy of the Geophysical Institute.

Date Number of Explosions Observations
31 Oct 1999 28 Night observations of incandescent emissions falling on upper cone; an ash-bearing plume rose ~3 km about the summit.
01 Nov 1999 21 A 3 km plume deposited ash in Banos and 31 km SW of the summit in Riobamba.
02 Nov 1999 22 On two occasions, plumes rose to ~5 km above the summit; windows vibrated 12 km from the summit.
03 Nov 1999 34 Ash deposited 32 km NW of the summit in Ambato.
04 Nov 1999 25 Plumes up to 5-km tall were produced; vibrations and explosions continued; sulfur smell noted in the city of Banos; harmonic tremor recorded.
05 Nov 1999 22 Weather clouds covered the plumes.
06 Nov 1999 32 Dense, 3-5 km plumes were seen during the day.
07 Nov 1999 27 ~1.5 km plume dispersed to the N and S.
08 Nov 1999 24 Blocky pyroclastic flows with over 1 km runout distances.
09 Nov 1999 19 --
10 Nov 1999 27 --
11 Nov 1999 29 Ash columns to 1.5 km height.
12 Nov 1999 28 Ash column to ~10 km altitude (~5 km above the summit); blowing E.
13 Nov 1999 15 Plume to about 2 km produced containing minor ash and directed NW.
14 Nov 1999 25 Plume heights unstated but plume visible to NNW on satellite imagery.
15 Nov 1999 37 Morning eruptions discharged ash plumes that moved NNW.
16 Nov 1999 43 Airborne observations of an ash-rich plume ascending to 5-km above the summit and blowing NW; a satellite image also showed the plume at ~5 km altitude.
17 Nov 1999 55 A consistent 1-km-tall ash plume directed to the N.
18 Nov 1999 83 Loud booming noises; continuous series of ~5-km-tall, W-directed plumes.
19 Nov 1999 64 Morning eruptions, plume blowing SW; in the past few days there was ~0.5 mm of ash deposited in Banos and up to ~2 mm deposited in Runtun (see text).
20 Nov 1999 47 A strong rain produced mud flows; some crossed roads; reports stated one mudflow was 20 m wide (see text).
21 Nov 1999 67 --
22 Nov 1999 55 A large quantity of blocks and incandescent material found on sides of volcano; 1-2 km plume produced and inclined to the NE.
23 Nov 1999 96 Emissions rose to 1 km over the summit.
24 Nov 1999 102 Up to ~2-km-tall plumes of vapor and ash directed to the E.
25 Nov 1999 97 Taller plumes reached 3-4 km height; ~3,300 tons/day SO2 emitted in an interval with a constant 1-km-tall plume.
26 Nov 1999 35 An explosion of vapor and ash rose 1 km above the summit of the volcano; a ~5-km-tall plume formed; 1 cm ash accumulated in one sector during the past weeks.
27 Nov 1999 16 4 km ash-bearing column rose after the explosion.
28 Nov 1999 13 A 500-m-tall vapor column was seen.
29 Nov 1999 46 An explosion produced a 4-km-tall column; loud noises heard.
30 Nov 1999 62 Observers noted strong thunder sounds; vibrations felt ~10 km away.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. A dark ash plume rises from Tungurahua's formerly snow-covered summit crater on 16 November 1999. Courtesy of the Geophysical Institute.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. A histogram indicating the number of daily explosions at Tungurahua during 24 October to 30 December 1999. Explosions were most frequent during 22-25 November. Courtesy of the Geophysical Institute.

A pronounced peak in monthly earthquakes during August-September diminished rapidly in October and still farther in November (figure 4). The greatest number of monthly earthquakes were volcano-tectonic, in a pattern that became prominent in September 1998 and prevailed until October 1999. The ratio of multiphase to long-period earthquakes showed significant variability. In some months (eg., February, March, May, June, and September 1999) the multiphase events dominated. August 1999 showed the extreme reversal of this pattern with 436 long-period and 58 multiphase events. The last two months shown on figure 4, October and November, portrayed a similar though less pronounced reversal in their relative abundance of the multiphase events. These months also displayed a comparative scarcity of volcano-tectonic events.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. A histogram for Tungurahua showing three types of monthly earthquakes occurring between April 1998 and November 1999. For any given month, from left to right the earthquakes shown are long-period (LP), hybrid or multiphase (MP), and volcano-tectonic (VT). All three types plot on the same scale, shown on the left side of the histogram. Courtesy of the Geophysical Institute.

SO2 flux during the crisis (figure 5) showed wide variability. Comparatively high fluxes were measured prior to the eruption. On the eruptions first day, 5 October, measured SO2-flux values reached 9,000-10,000 metric tons/day (t/d) (BGVN 24:09). The highest fluxes, seen during mid-September through early November, also showed rough, though inexact correlations with the seismic and explosion patterns.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. SO2 flux measured at Tungurahua during 11 July-8 December 1999. Although error bars were not provided they are typically on the order of plus or minus 10-20%. Courtesy of the Geophysical Institute.

Two mud flows were reported on 20 November. They occurred after a strong rain that washed large tree trunks and rocks into a main highway in Baños. One of these mudflows was 20 m wide; another earlier in the day blocked part of a different highway in Baños.

1998-99 activity divided into five stages. In January 2000 the Geophysical Institute issued a summary report that divided 1998-99 activity into five stages. The first stage, December-May 1998, included swarms of small predominantly volcano-tectonic earthquakes. Tremor also continued, presumably associated with a phreatic source; this kind of tremor has been detected since 1993 and is thus here referred to as persistent or long-lived tremor.

The second stage, May 1998-15 July 1999, was an interval when seismic swarms (including volcano-tectonic (VT), long period (LP), and hybrid or multiphase (MP) earthquakes) became more energetic. Small explosion signals began to register from greater-than-shallow depths. The preponderance of VT earthquakes was interpreted as a result of stress beneath the edifice due to intruding magma. Stable-frequency tremor at that time underwent a slight increase in amplitude.

In the third stage, which began after 15 July 1999, tremor included higher frequency signals. Geophysicists noted a series of many small earthquakes of all kinds that continued until mid-December. At the end of July came the first reports of strong sulfurous odors in the vicinity of the crater. In the meantime, SO2 fluxes rose from essentially zero to 3,200 t/d (figure 5).

During 24-28 July and 8-10 September LP earthquake swarms struck with significant energy. Seismicity continued to rise considerably during August and early September. An alert was declared on 8 September 1999.

The fourth stage began 14 September 1999 when low-frequency tremor appeared, presumably associated with degassing and ascending magma. The persistent tremor increased in amplitude. On 14 September a column of vapor 2 km tall was observed. On 15 September the alert status rose to yellow. Later and until 25 October tremor reached extraordinarily high amplitudes and contained three dominant frequencies: 1, 1.7, and 2-2.5 Hz.

The first explosive activity was reported on 5 October (BGVN 24:09), when blocks and ash were ejected at 0721, 0738, and 0743 hours. This emission was associated with a comparatively big explosive seismic signal with a reduced displacement of 25 cm2 and high SO2 fluxes. The next day an ash plume rose to 2 km above the summit; small airfall ash deposits were found in Quero, Bilbao (where the thickness was given as 2 mm), and probably in Ambato. Subsequent Geophysical Institute reports described small ash-bearing or "dark" plumes to 0.5-5 km above the summit.

On 13 October observers first noted incandescence. SO2 fluxes rose to over 10,000 t/d (figure 5). Deformation at one of the tilt stations on the SW underwent significant changes. Activity increased on 16 October when an ash plume reached ~5 km above the summit and blew W. During the previous night's darkness observers saw incandescent ash and blocks deposited on the upper flanks of the volcano. On 16 October the alert status was raised from yellow to orange, prompting evacuations of Baños and settlements along Tungurahua's W and SW flanks (see below).

During the fifth stage, which began after 25 October, the persistent tremor remained near the levels seen in the third stage. Low-frequency tremor also continued. SO2 fluxes dropped to 3,500-4,000 tons/day in mid-November. Magmatic explosions became common in this stage. At night observers saw pyroclasts descending 1-2 km below the summit. Ash-charged plumes rose 3-5 km above the summit. During 1999 the Geophysical Institute tallied 2,030 explosions and emissions, 2,542 VT earthquakes, 4,086 LP earthquakes, and 1,038 MP earthquakes.

Geography and hazards. Baños sits in a narrow valley on the N margin of the volcano 75 miles S of Quito and 9 km NE of Tungurahua's summit. Baños lies along the Pastaza river (draining the N flanks) below the Chambo river (draining the W flanks over the NW to SW sector). This geography leaves Baños open to "high hazard for directed blasts and fallback pyroclastic flows" as well as lahars (Hall and others, 1999). Within this hazard zone, ~4.5 km downstream, sits the Agoyan dam, an important source of hydroelectric power.

Tungurahua is very dangerous because it has 3 km of vertical relief, 30°slopes, a record of previous sector collapses and a comparatively high propensity for future collapses, a pre-evacuation at-risk population of ~25,000 people, a major hydroelectric dam on its NNE margin, and a record of relatively violent, sudden andesitic eruptions with pyroclastic flows (Hall and others, 1999). The same authors noted that the volume of magma emitted by Tungurahua during the last 2,300 years has been ~3.45 km3. This gives it a magma flux rate similar to that at Merapi during the last century and 2- to 3-fold larger than the estimated rates seen in the Central Andes during the Late Cenozoic.

Evacuations. The newspaper El Universo reported that on 16 October when Tungurahua's volcanic activity increased and its hazard status first rose to orange, evacuations followed at cities closest to the volcano, including Baños. On 21 October the United Nations (UN) reported that the evacuations relocated "22,000 persons from some 60 locations." El Universo noted that at one point nearing the end of the evacuation one hundred buses were used.

As of late October some of the residents had moved to Ambato, 32 km NW of the volcano. Official sources indicated that 1,200-1,500 evacuees went to temporary shelters in the provinces of Tungurahua, Chimborazo, and Pastaza. Besides Ambato, individual cities that took refugees included Puyo (45 km E of the summit) and Shell (41 km E). About 100 families found shelter in a religious foundation and 200 families on a farm belonging to the Polytechnic Institute of Chimborazo. The UN further reported that ~600 military police and personnel have been deployed to the affected region to protect abandoned property. Access into this area was to be strictly prohibited.

The UN reported that 4,000 livestock, 100,000 fowl, and the animals from the zoological garden in Baños had also been evacuated. According to the Associated Press, a government census found that 40,000 chickens died from respiratory infections during early October.

According to the Associated Press, Baños had been evacuated for two months when on 13 December a caravan of residents briefly returned. During this brief visit, one resident entered his home and found it intact, although most parts of the house lay covered in ash. Residents faced an uncertain future because they did not know exactly when they would be able to return. The governor of Tungurahua province, Ignacio Vargas said, "This won't be permanent. We will have to wait until the eruption ends so that everyone can return to his normal activities."

Because of economic problems associated with leaving their homes and livelihoods, Baños area residents have been bypassing the military to plant crops and tend their farms. According to early January ABC News reports there have even been skirmishes between residents and the military. The eruptions are occurring in the context of tension and conflict between the military and some Unions and other groups as the country's economy has worsened.

Reference.: Hall, M., Robin, C., Beate, B., Mothes, P., Monzier, M., 1999. Tungurahua Volcano, Ecuador: structure, eruptive history and hazards: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 91, p. 1-21.

Geologic Background. Tungurahua, a steep-sided andesitic-dacitic stratovolcano that towers more than 3 km above its northern base, is one of Ecuador's most active volcanoes. Three major edifices have been sequentially constructed since the mid-Pleistocene over a basement of metamorphic rocks. Tungurahua II was built within the past 14,000 years following the collapse of the initial edifice. Tungurahua II itself collapsed about 3000 years ago and produced a large debris-avalanche deposit and a horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the west, inside which the modern glacier-capped stratovolcano (Tungurahua III) was constructed. Historical eruptions have all originated from the summit crater, accompanied by strong explosions and sometimes by pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached populated areas at the volcano's base. Prior to a long-term eruption beginning in 1999 that caused the temporary evacuation of the city of Baños at the foot of the volcano, the last major eruption had occurred from 1916 to 1918, although minor activity continued until 1925.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Apartado 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador; Embassy of Ecuador, 2535 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009 USA (URL: http//www.ecuador.org/); United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Palais des Nations, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland; El Universo, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.eluniverso.com/); Associated Press, International Headquarters, 50 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10020 USA (URL: http://www.ap.org/); ABC News (URL: http://abcnews.go.com/).


Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand) — November 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Whakaari/White Island

New Zealand

37.52°S, 177.18°E; summit elev. 294 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic activity continues; new crater lake

No eruptions have occurred at White Island since the minor ash emissions in July-August 1999 from the PeeJay vent area. This report includes observations following a visit on 23 November to service the seismic installation, conduct a deformation survey, collect volcanic gas samples, and assess the general status of volcanic activity on the island.

During the visit a weak steam-and-gas plume was rising 300-500 m. This plume originated from fumarolic vents NW of the former PeeJay vents. Since the last surveillance visit in July a crater lake has developed on the floor of 1978/90 Crater Complex, inundating Metra Crater and parts of the PeeJay vent area. A series of strand lines around the crater lake edge indicated a recent drop in the lake level. Small collapse pits had recently formed near the lakeshore, below the Sag area, and may have accompanied the recent drop in lake level. The lake is a lime green color, with minor convection evident. A temperature of 45°C was measured, down slightly from the previous measurements.

The strongest fumarolic vents were on the NW side of the PeeJay vents area, emerging from the vent wall, which is ~10-15 m high. There were three prominent vents, which were emitting steam and gas that were weakly transparent at the vent. At times the steam and gas plume appeared a yellow color. The emissions were audible from 2-300 m distance. Temperatures of Main Crater fumaroles ranged from 103-115°C, and are similar to previous measurements this year.

A ground-deformation survey was also made. Eight pegs were replaced, as these were damaged during the April-July 1999 eruptions. The survey results showed that subsidence continued at the E-SE margin of the 1978/90 Crater Complex, but at a lesser rate than observed in 1998. Over the remainder of the Main Crater floor weak subsidence was also apparent at many of the marks.

Geologic Background. The uninhabited Whakaari/White Island is the 2 x 2.4 km emergent summit of a 16 x 18 km submarine volcano in the Bay of Plenty about 50 km offshore of North Island. The island consists of two overlapping andesitic-to-dacitic stratovolcanoes. The SE side of the crater is open at sea level, with the recent activity centered about 1 km from the shore close to the rear crater wall. Volckner Rocks, sea stacks that are remnants of a lava dome, lie 5 km NW. Descriptions of volcanism since 1826 have included intermittent moderate phreatic, phreatomagmatic, and Strombolian eruptions; activity there also forms a prominent part of Maori legends. The formation of many new vents during the 19th and 20th centuries caused rapid changes in crater floor topography. Collapse of the crater wall in 1914 produced a debris avalanche that buried buildings and workers at a sulfur-mining project. Explosive activity in December 2019 took place while tourists were present, resulting in many fatalities. The official government name Whakaari/White Island is a combination of the full Maori name of Te Puia o Whakaari ("The Dramatic Volcano") and White Island (referencing the constant steam plume) given by Captain James Cook in 1769.

Information Contacts: Brad Scott, Wairakei Research Center, Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (IGNS), Private Bag 2000, Wairakei, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/).

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