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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

Sheveluch (Russia) Renewed activity with lava dome growth and ash explosions starting in late December 2018

Mayon (Philippines) Intermittent ash emissions; persistent summit incandescence, October 2018-April 2019

Tinakula (Solomon Islands) Thermal anomalies in satellite data December 2018-June 2019; ship visit January 2019

Piton de la Fournaise (France) Eruptive episodes in February-March and June 2019; multiple fissures and lava flows

Heard (Australia) Thermal hotspots continue during October 2018-March 2019 at the summit and on the upper flanks

Semeru (Indonesia) Decreased activity after October 2018

Dukono (Indonesia) Numerous ash explosions from October 2018 through March 2019

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) Occasional weak phreatic explosions continue through February 2019

Turrialba (Costa Rica) Frequent passive ash emissions continue through February 2019

San Cristobal (Nicaragua) Weak ash explosions in January and March 2019

Semisopochnoi (United States) Minor ash explosions during September and October 2018

Asosan (Japan) Multiple brief ash emission events during April and May 2019; minor ashfall in adjacent villages



Sheveluch (Russia) — May 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Renewed activity with lava dome growth and ash explosions starting in late December 2018

Volcanism at Sheveluch has been ongoing for the past 20 years. Previous activity consisted of pyroclastic flows, explosions, moderate gas-and-steam emissions, and lava dome growth, according to the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT). Between May 2018 and mid-December 2018 activity levels were low, with intermittent low-power thermal anomalies and gas-and-steam emissions. Activity increased in the second half of December 2018, remaining high through at least April 2019.

Activity intensified beginning in late December through April 2019, which included increased and more frequent thermal anomalies, according to KVERT and the MIROVA system (figure 50). On 30 December 2018, video data from KVERT showed explosions producing an ash cloud that rose up to 11 km altitude and drifted 244 km WSW and 35 km NE. Eruptive activity included incandescent lava flows and hot avalanches. The ash cloud that drifted WSW resulted in ashfall over Klyuchi Village (50 km SW) and Kozyrevsk (100 km SW).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Thermal anomalies at Sheveluch increased in late December 2018, as seen on this MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph for the year ending 5 April 2019. The elevated thermal activity continued through March 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Beginning in early January and going through April 2019, the lava dome at the northern part of the volcano continued to grow, extruding incandescent, viscous lava blocks (figure 51). Throughout these months, KVERT reported that satellite imagery and video data showed strong fumarolic activity, as well as strong gas-and-steam plumes containing some amount of ash; gas-and-steam plumes rose as high as 7 km. According to the KVERT Daily Reports on 3 and 4 January 2019, a gas-and-steam plume containing ash drifted NE up to about 600 and 400 km, respectively. Gas-and-steam plumes noted in the KVERT Daily Report, Weekly Releases, and Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA), drifted 50-263 km in different directions. On 9 November 2018, the KVERT Daily Report recorded an ash plume drifting 461 km E from the volcano and on 26 December 2018, the KVERT Weekly Information Release recorded an ash cloud drifting 300 km NW. The KVERT Weekly Information Release reported that on 10 April 2019 an ash cloud drifted up to 1,300 km SE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Incandescent avalanches from the lava dome and an ash plume can be seen in this photo of Sheveluch on 22 February 2019. Photo by Yu. Demyanchuk; courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT.

Thermal anomalies based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm were frequent beginning on 28 December 2018. In just three days in late December (28-31 December 2018) there were 34 thermal alerts. Hotspots were detected 21-27 days each month between January-April 2019. A majority of these hotspot pixels occurred within the summit crater.

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/).


Mayon (Philippines) — May 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

13.257°N, 123.685°E; summit elev. 2462 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash emissions; persistent summit incandescence, October 2018-April 2019

Steep-sloped and symmetrical Mayon has recorded historical eruptions back to 1616 that range from Strombolian fountaining to basaltic and andesitic flows, as well as large ash plumes, and devastating pyroclastic flows and lahars. A phreatic explosion with an ash plume in mid-January 2018 began the latest eruptive episode which included the growth of a lava dome with pyroclastic flows down the flanks and lava fountaining (BGVN 43:04). Activity tapered off during March; occasional ash emissions continued through August 2018. Minor ash emissions and summit incandescence were intermittent from October 2018-April 2019, the period covered in this report. Information is provided primarily by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

Pyroclastic density currents were reported in early November 2018; ash plumes were produced from phreatic events a few times during both November and December 2018. Emissions produced SO2 anomalies during January-March 2019; a series of events in early March generated several small ash plumes. Satellite images showing a thermal anomaly at the summit were recorded multiple times each month from October 2018-April 2019 (figure 44).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Small but distinct persistent thermal anomalies were recorded in satellite imagery from the summit of Mayon during October 2018-April 2019. Top left: 12 October 2018. Top right: 26 November 2018. Middle left: 11 December 2018. Middle right: 30 January 2019. Bottom left: 14 February 2019. Bottom right: 25 April 2019. All images are using the "Atmospheric penetration" filter (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Very little activity was reported at Mayon during October 2018. Steam plumes rose daily from 250-750 m above the summit before drifting with the prevailing winds and dissipating. Incandescence was observed at the summit most nights during the month, and seismicity remained low with only a few earthquakes reported. Leveling data obtained during 30 August-3 September indicated significant short-term deflation of the volcano relative to 17-24 July 2018. New leveling data obtained on 22-31 October indicated inflation of the SE quadrant and short-term deflation on the N flank relative to the 30 August-3 September data. The volcano remained inflated compared with 2010 baseline data. Electronic tilt data showed pronounced inflation of the mid-slopes beginning 25 June 2018.

Activity increased during November 2018. In addition to steam plumes rising to 750 m and an incandescent glow at the summit most nights, pyroclastic density currents and ash plumes were reported. The seismic monitoring network recorded pyroclastic density currents on 5 and 6 November. On 8 November around noontime, a small, short-lived brownish ash plume, associated with degassing, drifted WSW from the summit. A seismic event on the morning of 11 November was associated with a short-lived fountaining event that produced a brownish-gray ash plume that drifted SW. Another similar plume was reported on the morning of 12 November, also drifting SW before dissipating. Two phreatic events were observed on the morning of 26 November. They produced grayish to grayish-white ash plumes that rose 300-500 m above the summit before drifting SW. The following morning, another event produced a grayish ash plume 500 m above the summit that drifted SW. On 30 November a 1-minute-long ash emission event produced a grayish white plume that also drifted SW.

Steam plume emissions and incandescence at night continued at Mayon during December 2018. The seismic network recorded a four-minute-long event shortly after noon on 9 December that produced a grayish-brown ash plume which drifted W. Precise leveling data obtained on 8-13 December 2018 indicated a slight inflation of the volcano relative to 22-31 October 2018. A 30-second-long ash emission event in the afternoon on 18 December produced a brownish ash plume. Two phreatic events were observed on the morning of 27 December. They produced grayish to grayish-white ash plumes that rose 600 and 200 m above the summit, before drifting SW (figure 45).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Ash plumes rose a few hundred m from the summit of Mayon on 27 December 2018. Courtesy of Twitter users "k i t" (left) and "georgianne" (right).

Very little surface activity except for white steam-laden plumes that crept downslope and drifted NW or SW was noted during January 2019. Incandescence at the summit, visible with the naked eye, became more frequent during February 2019, along with continued steam plumes. Precise leveling data obtained on 25 January-3 February 2019 indicated a slight deflation relative to 8-13 December 2018. However, continuous GPS and electronic tilt data showed inflation of the mid-slopes since June 2018. Small SO2 plumes were detected by the TROPOMI satellite instrument a few times during January-March 2019 (figure 46).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Emissions of SO2 that exceeded 2 DU (Dobson Units) occurred a few times at Mayon during January-March 2019. Top left: 25 January. Top right: 16 February. Lower left: 4 March. Lower right: 15 March. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Steam plumes rose 250-500 m above the summit and drifted generally W in early March 2019; incandescence continued daily at the summit. Phreatic events occurred on 7 and 8 March, producing ash plumes that rose 500 and 300 m from the summit before drifting SW (figure 47). Three more phreatic events occurred on the afternoon of 12 March; they produced light brown to grayish ash plumes that rose 500, 1,000, and 500 m, respectively, and drifted SW. Six phreatic events occurred throughout the day on 13 March, producing ash plumes that rose 200-700 m above the summit and drifted W. A single explosion the next day produced a 500-m-tall ash plume. The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume visible for several hours in satellite imagery drifting W at 3.7 km altitude on 13 March (UTC). An increase in the daily number of rockfall events from 1-2 per day to 5-10 per day was noted during the second half of March. Precise leveling data obtained on 20-26 March 2019 indicated a slight inflation relative to 25 January-3 February 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. A small ash emission at Mayon was reported by PHIVOLCS on 8 March 3019; the plume rose 300 m from the summit and drifted SW. Courtesy of PHOVOLCS.

Steam plumes drifted SW or NW throughout April, rising 200-400 m from the summit. Incandescence could be observed at night for the first half of the month. Leveling data obtained during 9-17 April 2019 indicated a slight inflation relative to 20-26 March 2019. Seismicity remained low during the month with only occasional volcanic earthquakes and rockfall events. Lenticular clouds around the summit were observed (figure 48), but these are an unusual meteorological occurrence caused by weather conditions not related to volcanic activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. A double lenticular cloud surrounded the summit of Mayon early in the morning on 23 April 2019 and was captured by a local observer; it was not related to volcanic activity. Courtesy of Twitter user Ivan.

Geologic Background. Beautifully symmetrical Mayon, which rises above the Albay Gulf NW of Legazpi City, is the Philippines' most active volcano. The structurally simple edifice has steep upper slopes averaging 35-40 degrees that are capped by a small summit crater. Historical eruptions date back to 1616 and range from Strombolian to basaltic Plinian, with cyclical activity beginning with basaltic eruptions, followed by longer term andesitic lava flows. Eruptions occur predominately from the central conduit and have also produced lava flows that travel far down the flanks. Pyroclastic flows and mudflows have commonly swept down many of the approximately 40 ravines that radiate from the summit and have often devastated populated lowland areas. A violent eruption in 1814 killed more than 1,200 people and devastated several towns.

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/); 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/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Twitter user "Ivan", Naga City, Philippines (URL: https://twitter.com/ivanxlcsn); Twitter user "k i t", Legazpi City, Philippines (URL: https://twitter.com/jddmgc); Twitter user "georgianne", Costa Leona, Philippines (URL: https://twitter.com/xolovesgia_).


Tinakula (Solomon Islands) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Tinakula

Solomon Islands

10.386°S, 165.804°E; summit elev. 796 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal anomalies in satellite data December 2018-June 2019; ship visit January 2019

Remote Tinakula lies 100 km NE of the Solomon Trench at the N end of the Santa Cruz Islands, which are part of the country of the Solomon Islands located 400 km to the W. It has been uninhabited since an eruption with lava flows and ash explosions in 1971 when the small population was evacuated (CSLP 87-71). The nearest communities live on Te Motu (Trevanion) Island (about 30 km S), Nupani (40 km N), and the Reef Islands (60 km E); residents occasionally report noises from explosions at Tinakula. Ashfall from larger explosions has historically reached these islands. The most recent eruptive episode was a large ash explosion and substantial SO2 plume during 21-26 October 2017; satellite imagery suggested that a flow of some type traveled down the scarp on the W flank. Renewed thermal activity that was recognized in satellite imagery beginning in December 2018 continued intermittently through June 2019 and is covered in this report. Satellite imagery and thermal data are the primary sources of information for this volcano. It is occasionally visited by members of the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) of the Solomon Islands Government, tourists, and research vessels who are able to capture ground-based information.

Satellite images from December 2018 to February 2019 show thermal anomalies at the summit vent. Excellent ship-based photographs of the island on 24-25 January 2019 provided by a crewmember from the R/V Petrel identify numerous volcanic features and show a steam-and-gas plume at the vent. Satellite images from April and May 2019 show thermal anomalies at both the summit vent and along the W flank scarp suggesting flow activity during that time.

A stream of incandescence on the NW flank of Tinakula in a Sentinel 2 satellite image on 24 October 2017 confirmed that some type of high-temperature flow accompanied the explosions and eruptive activity of 21-25 October 2017 (BGVN 43:02). Satellite imagery during most of 2018 recorded steam plumes drifting in several directions from the summit, but no thermal activity (figure 24). There was no further evidence of activity in satellite visible or thermal data until almost exactly one year later when the MIROVA project recorded two thermal alerts in the third week of October 2018 (figure 25). Satellite images from that week were cloudy and did not confirm any surface activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Tinakula provides valuable information about activity at this remote volcano in the South Pacific. A large explosion with ash plumes and flows occurred during 21-26 October 2017. Top left: a strong E-W linear thermal anomaly suggesting a flow event from the summit was evident on the NW flank on 24 October 2017. Top right: a small steam plume rose from the summit vent on a cloudless 11 February 2018. Bottom left: a dense steam plume drifted SE from the summit vent on 4 September 2018. Bottom right: clouds and dense steam obscure the summit on 24 October 2018, about the same time that MIROVA reported a thermal anomaly. Top left image uses bands 12, 11, 8A, others use 12, 4, 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. The MIROVA project recorded the first thermal anomaly in a year from Tinakula during the third week of October 2018. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The first satellite imagery confirming renewed thermal activity appeared on 8 December 2018, around the same time as a small MIROVA anomaly. After that, several images during January and February 2019 confirmed moderately strong thermal activity at the summit (figure 26). Whether the anomalies were the result of active lava effusion or strong incandescent gases from the summit vent is uncertain.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Thermal anomalies at the summit vent of Tinakula were recorded six times between early December 2018 and early February 2019 with Sentinel-2 satellite images. Top row: 8 December 2018 and 2 January 2019. Middle row: 12 (anomaly is just below date) and 27 January 2019. Bottom row: 1 and 6 February 2019. All images are bands 12, 4, 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Visual confirmation of activity at Tinakula is rare, but the research vessel R/V Petrel sailed past the volcano on 24 and 25 January 2019 and a crewmember provided detailed images of the W flank and vent area. The summit vent is located at the top of a W facing scarp, and steam is frequently observed rising from the vent (figures 27). Recent flows and volcaniclastic deposits were visible in the ravine on the W flank (figures 28 and 29). Fresh-looking lava was also visible near the summit vent on top of older deposits (figure 30). Eroded volcaniclastic deposits near the base of the scarp on the W flank were visible on top of older veined and layered volcanic rocks (figure 31). Crewmembers on the vessel R/V Petrel could clearly see an incandescent glow from the summit crater at night (figure 32).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. A view from the SW of the W flank of Tinakula on 24-25 January 2019. The summit vent is at the top of a W facing scarp, the steam plume drifted E. Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. The W flank of Tinakula as seen from the W on 24-25 January 2019. The steam plume drifted E. Recent flows and volcaniclastic deposits appeared dark in the steep ravine on the W face (left side). Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Steam and gas rose from the summit vent at Tinakula on 24-25 January 2019. Recent lava deposits are visible in front of the plume and in the ravine on the left (the W flank). Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. The edge of the summit vent of Tinakula on 24-25 January 2019 had recent lava on older deposits; steam and gas is rising from the vent in the background. Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. The W flank of Tinakula on 24-25 January 2019. Eroded volcaniclastic deposits overlie older veined and layered volcanic rocks. Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Incandescence was clearly visible from the summit vent at Tinakula on 24-25 January 2019. Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.

During April and May 2019, both the MIROVA project and MODVOLC measured a number of thermal anomalies (figure 33) using MODIS satellite data. MODVOLC alerts were issued on 4 and 20 April, and 11, 18, and 27 May. Sentinel-2 satellite images during the period confirmed that a flow on the W flank was a likely source of the thermal energy in addition to the summit vent (figure 34). Thermal anomalies appeared again at the end of June in MIROVA data, but no satellite images showed anomalies at that time.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. The number and intensity of MIROVA thermal anomalies increased at Tinakula during April and May 2019. After a short pause, they returned at the end of June. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Sentinel-2 satellite images captured thermal anomalies at the summit and on the W flank of Tinakula during April and May 2019 suggesting the presence of an incandescent flow down the W scarp. Top row: 7 and 22 April 2019 (bands 12, 8, 4). Bottom row: 27 April and 12 May 2019 (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The small 3.5-km-wide island of Tinakula is the exposed summit of a massive stratovolcano at the NW end of the Santa Cruz islands. Similar to Stromboli, it has a breached summit crater that extends from the summit to below sea level. Landslides enlarged this scarp in 1965, creating an embayment on the NW coast. The satellitic cone of Mendana is located on the SE side. The dominantly andesitic volcano has frequently been observed in eruption since the era of Spanish exploration began in 1595. In about 1840, an explosive eruption apparently produced pyroclastic flows that swept all sides of the island, killing its inhabitants. Frequent historical eruptions have originated from a cone constructed within the large breached crater. These have left the upper flanks and the steep apron of lava flows and volcaniclastic debris within the breach unvegetated.

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); Vulcan Inc. (URL: https://www.vulcan.com/), additional details about the R/V Petrel (URL: https://www.paulallen.com/).


Piton de la Fournaise (France) — July 2019 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)


Eruptive episodes in February-March and June 2019; multiple fissures and lava flows

Short pulses of intermittent eruptive activity have characterized Piton de la Fournaise, the large basaltic shield volcano on La Réunion Island in the western Indian Ocean, for several thousand years. For the last 20 years, frequent effusive basaltic eruptions have occurred on average twice per year. The activity is characterized by lava fountains and lava flows, and occasional explosive eruptions that shower blocks over the summit area and produce ash plumes. Almost all of the recent activity has occurred within the Enclos Fouqué caldera, although past eruptions in 1977, 1986, and 1998 have occurred at vents outside of the caldera. Four separate eruptive episodes were reported during 2018; from 3-4 April, 27 April-1 June, 13 July, and 15 September-1 November (BGVN 43:12, 43:09). Two episodes from 2019 during February-March and June are covered in this report, with information provided primarily by the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF) as well as satellite instruments.

Piton de la Fournaise experienced two eruptions during November 2018-June 2019. The first lasted from 18 February to 10 March 2019, and the second episode was 11-13 June. The episode in February-March started consisted of multiple fissures opening on the E flank of the Dolomieu crater on 18 February with lava flows that traveled several hundred meters. After a brief pause, one new fissure opened nearby on 19 February and produced up to 3 million m3 of lava in a little over four days. Although the flow rate then declined, the eruption continued until 10 March. During the last three days, 7-10 March, two new fissures opened nearby and produced large volumes of lava, bringing the total eruptive volume to about 14.5 million m3. After little activity during April and May, a small eruption occurred on the SSE outer slope of Dolomieu crater that lasted for about 48 hours on 11-13 June; multiple small flows traveled about 1,000 m down the steep flank before ceasing. The MIROVA thermal anomaly graph of log radiative power clearly showed the abruptness of the beginning and ends of the last three eruptive episodes at Piton de la Fournaise from August 2018 through June 2019 (figure 165).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 165. The MIROVA graph of thermal energy from Piton de la Fournaise from 30 July 2018 through June 2019 shows the last three eruptive episodes at the volcano. From 15 September through 1 November 2018 fissures and flows were active on the SW flank of Dolomieu crater near Rivals crater (BGVN 43:12). Fissures opened on the E flank of the crater on 18 February 2019, and after a brief pause resumed on 19 February at the foot of Piton Madoré. Lava flows remained active until 10 March 2019. A short episode of lava effusion occurred on 11-12 June 2019 on the SSE outer slope of Dolomieu crater. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during November 2018-March 2019. Following the end of the 15 September-1 November 2018 eruption, seismic activity immediately below the summit remained low (with only 20 shallow and two deep earthquakes during November). The inflationary signal recorded since the beginning of September stopped, and the OVPF deformation networks did not record any significant deformation. There were 35 shallow earthquakes (0-2 km depth) below the summit crater during December, and one deep earthquake. Only 12 shallow earthquakes and one deep earthquake (greater than 2 km below the surface) were reported in January.

OVPF reported an increase in CO2 concentrations beginning in December 2018, and noted the beginning of inflation on 13 February 2019. A seismic swarm of 379 earthquakes accompanied by minor but rapid deformation (less than 1 cm) was reported on 16 February 2019. A new seismic swarm of 208 earthquakes began early on 18 February with a much larger ground deformation (10 cm of elongation of the summit zone). A volcanic tremor indicative of the arrival of magma near the surface began at 0948 that morning. Webcams indicated that eruptive fissures had opened in the NE part of the Enclos Fouqué caldera. The onset of the eruption was marked by a sudden drop in CO2 flux which then stabilized. The eruptive sites were confirmed visually around 1130. Three fissures with actively flowing lava opened on the E flank of Dolomieu Crater; the fountains of lava were less than 30 m high. The front of the longest flow had reached 1,900 m elevation after one hour. The eruption lasted a little over 12 hours and was over by 2200 that evening; it covered about 150-200 m of the hiking trail to the summit.

Seismicity remained high after the event ended, and at 1500 on 19 February 2019 another seismic swarm of 511 deep earthquakes located under the E flank at about 2.5 km depth occurred. It was not accompanied by a significant amount of deformation. At 1710 tremor signals appeared on the observatory seismographs and the first gas plumes and lava ejection were observed at 1750 and 1912, respectively. During an overflight the next day (20 February), OVPF team members observed the new eruptive site at an elevation of 1,800 m at the foot of Piton Madoré. One fissure and one fountain were active at 0620 on 20 February and the flow front was at 1,300 m elevation (figure 166). During the night of 20-21 February the flow front crossed over the "Grandes Pentes" area in the eastern half of the Enclos Fouque (figure 167).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 166. The eruption which began on 19 February 2019 on the E flank of Dolomieu crater at Piton de la Fournaise produced a lava fountain and flow which traveled down at least 500 m of elevation by the next morning when this photo was taken at 0620 local time. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du mercredi 20 février 2019 à 11h00, Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 167. The active fissure at Piton de la Fournaise was producing lava fountains and an active flow during the evening of 20 February 2019. Overnight the flow crossed over the "Grandes Pentes" area of the caldera. Photo courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du jeudi 21 février 2019 à 14H00, Heure locale).

OVPF reported on 22 February 2019 that 22 shallow earthquakes had been reported since the eruption began on 19 February. Surface flow rates estimated from satellite data, via the HOTVOLC system (OPGC - University of Auvergne), were between 2.5 and 15 m3/s. The quantity of lava emitted between 19 and 22 February was between 1 and 3 million m3. OVPF observed the growth of an eruptive cone that was filled with a small lava lake producing ejecta during a morning overflight on 22 February. A channelized flow moved downstream from the cone and split into two lobes about 1 km from (and 200 m below) the cone (figure 168). The split in the flow occurred near the Guyanin crater. The N flowing lobe, about 50 m wide, had an actively flowing front located at 1,320 m elevation; the incandescent flow was travelling over a recent flow (likely from the previous night). The S-flowing lobe spread to 200 m wide and split into two tongues 300 m SE of Guyanin crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 168. During an overflight on the morning of 22 February 2019 scientists from OVPF observed a growing spatter cone with a small lava lake at Piton de la Fournaise. A channelized flow moved downstream from the fissure and split into two flows. Photo courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du vendredi 22 février 2019 à 13h30, Heure locale).

Incandescent ejecta from the cone was captured in a webcam image overnight on 22-23 February 2019 (figure 169). The rate of advance of the flow slowed significantly by 24 February, but the intensity of the eruptive tremor remained relatively constant. Mapping of the lava flow on 28 February carried out by the OI2 platform (OPGC - University Clermont Auvergne) from satellite data confirmed the slow progress of the flow after 24 February (300 m in 5 days) (figure 170). The flow front was located at 1,200 m elevation, and only the N arm was active; the lava had traveled about 2.2 km from the vent by 28 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 169. Incandescent ejecta from the eruptive cone at Piton de la Fournaise was captured in the webcam in the early hours of 23 February 2019. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du samedi 23 février 2019 à 13h30, Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 170. Contours of the lava flows at Piton de la Fournaise from 18-28 February 2019 were determined from satellite data by the OI2 platform (Université Clermont Auvergne), dated 18 (red) and 19 (blue) February (top image); 20 (green), 21 (red), 22 (blue), 27 (turquoise), and 28 (pink) February (bottom image). Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP. Top: Bulletin d'activité du vendredi 22 février 2019 à 13h30 (Heure locale); bottom: Bulletin d'activité du jeudi 28 février 2019 à 16h30 (Heure locale).

Between 28 February and 1 March 2019 a third lobe of lava appeared flowing NE from the vent on the N side of the new flow area; it split into two lobes sometime on 1 March. Very little new lava was recorded on the other lobes. By 4 March the flow rate estimated by satellite data was about 7.5 m3/s. During a site visit on the morning of 5 March OVPF scientists sampled the N lobe of the flow and bombs and tephra near the cone, and acquired infrared and visible images. They noted the continued growth of the cone which still had an open vent at the summit and a base 100 m in diameter. It was 25 m high with a 50-m-wide eruptive vent at the top (figure 171). High-temperature gas emissions and strong Strombolian activity issued from the vent. Steam emissions were present around the base of the cone, suggesting the presence of lava tunnels. A single lobe of lava flowed N from the cone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 171. The eruptive cone at Piton de la Fournaise on 5 March 2019 had a 100-m-diameter base, 25 m of vertical height, and 50-m-wide vent at the summit. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP, (Bulletin d'activité du mardi 5 mars 2019 à 17h30, Heure locale).

A new fissure that opened about 150 m from the main vent on the NW flank of Piton Madoré was first observed on the morning of 6 March (figure 172); OVPF concluded that it had opened late on 5 March. A small cone was forming and a new flow traveled N from the main eruptive site. At least six new emission points were noted the following morning (7 March) around the Piton Madoré. Poor weather prevented confirmation by aerial reconnaissance that day, but in a site visit on 8 March OVPF scientists determined that the new fissure from 5 March remained active; a small cone about 10 m high had two flow lobes on the W and N sides (figure 173). A fissure that opened on 7 March was located 300 m S of the 19 February vent and oriented E-W. It was very active on the morning of 8 March with two 50-m-high lava fountains (figure 174). Samples collected by OVPF indicated that the vents of 5 and 7 March produced lava of different compositions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 172. A new fissure that opened about 150 m from the main vent on the NW flank of Piton Madoré at Piton de la Fournaise was first observed on the morning of 6 March 2019; OVPF concluded that it had opened late on 5 March. A small cone was forming on the flank of an old one and a new flow traveled N from the main eruptive site. Courtesy of OVPF/IPGP, copyright by Helicopter Coral (Bulletin d'activité du jeudi 7 mars 2019 à 15h00 Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 173. The 5 March 2019 fissure at Piton de la Fournaise on the NW flank of Piton Madoré still had two active flow lobes emerging from it and heading N and W on 8 March 2019. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, March 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 174. A fissure that opened on 7 March 2019 at Piton de la Fournaise was located 300 m S of the 19 February vent and oriented E-W. It was very active on the morning of 8 March 2019 with two 50-m-high lava fountains. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, March 2019).

There was a strong increase in the eruptive tremor intensity on 7 March, related to the opening of the two new fissures on 5 and 7 March (figure 175). As a result, the surface flow estimates made from satellite data increased significantly to high values greater than 50 m3/s, with the average values on 7-8 March of around 20-25 m3/s. The increased flow rates resulted in the flows traveling much greater distances. By the morning of 9 March the active flow had reached 650-700 m above sea level. The flow front had traveled about 1 km in 24 hours. Strong seismicity had been increasing under the summit zone for the previous 48 hours. After a phase of very strong surface activity observed overnight on 9-10 March that included lava fountains 50-100 m high (figure 176), surface activity ceased around 0630 on 10 March, and seismic activity decreased significantly. OVPF noted that sudden increases in seismicity and flow rates near the end of an eruption have occurred at about half of the eruptions at Piton de la Fournaise in recent years. Lava volumes emitted on the surface between 18 February and 10 March 2019 were estimated at about 14.5 million m3 (figure 177).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 175. An infrared view of the eruptive site on the E flank of Dolomieu crater at Piton de la Fournaise on 8 March 2019 clearly showed the original fissure from 19 February (bottom right of center), the fissure on Piton Madore that opened on 5 March (right) and the fissures that opened on 7 March (upper, right of center). The combined activity produced significant thermal and seismic activity at the volcano. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du vendredi 8 mars 2019 à 17h00, Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 176. Lava fountains 50-100 m high were the result of very strong surface activity observed overnight on 9-10 March 2019 at Piton de la Fournaise. Surface activity ceased around 0630 on 10 March, and seismic activity decreased significantly. Photo taken on 9 March 2019 around midnight from the RN2. Courtesy of OVPF/IPGP, copyright by A. Finizola LGSR/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du dimanche 10 mars 2019 à 19h30 Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 177. A sudden increase in the flow rate at the end of the 18 February-10 March 2019 eruption at Piton de la Fournaise was recorded by researchers at the Université Clermont Auvergne. OVPF noted this was typical of about half of the eruptions at Piton de la Fournaise. Courtesy of OVPF/IPGP, copyright by HOTVOLC, Université Clermont Auvergne (OVPF Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, March 2019).

Significant SO2 plumes were captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5-P satellite throughout the 18 February-10 March eruption (figure 178). After the surface eruption ceased, shallow seismicity continued at a lower rate of about 12 earthquakes per day. The end of the eruption (7-10 March) was accompanied by a marked deflation, interpreted by OVPF as the rapid emptying of the magma reservoir. Following the end of the eruption, inflation resumed for the rest of March but then ceased. Seismicity continued at a lower level during April with an average of six shallow earthquakes per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 178. Multiple days of high DU value SO2 plumes were recorded by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5-P satellite during the 18 February-10 March 2019 eruption at Piton de la Fournaise. Top row: during 18, 21, and 22 February SO2 plumes drifted SE. Middle row: during 23, 24, and 25 February the wind direction changed from SE through S to SW and left a curling trail of SO2. Bottom row: 5, 7, and 8 March showed an increase in SO2 emissions that corresponded with increased seismicity and lava flow output before the eruption ceased.

Activity during May-June 2019. OVPF reported slight inflation near the summit beginning in early May, and an increase in CO2 concentration in the soil near Plaine des Cafres and Plaine des Palmistes. Strong shallow seismicity reappeared on 27 May 2019 and recurred on 30 and 31 May. Two small seismic swarms were measured on 31 May in the early morning. A new seismic swarm beginning at 0603 on 11 June accompanied by rapid deformation suggested a new eruption was imminent. A tremor near the summit area was first noted at 0635 local time; the webcams indicated a plume of gas, but poor visibility prevented evidence of fresh lava. Around 0930 that morning OVPF confirmed that five fissures had opened on the outer SSE slope of Dolomieu crater at elevations ranging from 2480 to 2025 m (figure 179). The flow fronts were not visible due to weather. Lava fountains under 30 m in height and lava flows were present in the three lowest fissures. The flows traveled rapidly down the steep flank of the crater (figure 180).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 179. Around 0930 on the morning of 11 June 2019 OVPF confirmed that five fissures had opened on the outer SSE slope of Dolomieu crater at Piton de la Fournaise at elevations ranging from 2480 to 2025 m. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF-IPGP and Imazpress (Bulletin d'activité du mardi 11 juin 2019 à 11h00).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 180. Thermal imaging of the 11-12 June 2019 eruptive site at Piton de la Fournaise showed multiple streams of lava traveling rapidly down the steep flank from several fissures on 11 June 2019. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF-IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du mardi 11 juin 2019 à 11h00).

The intensity of the eruptive tremor decreased throughout the day, and by 1530 only the lowest elevation fissure was still active (figure 181). The next afternoon (12 June) images in the OVPF webcam located in Piton des Cascades indicated the flow front was at about 1,200-1,300 m elevation. Seismographs indicated that the eruption stopped around 1200 on 13 June. Poor weather obscured visibility of the flow activity. Seismic activity decreased following the eruption, but appeared to increase again beginning on 21 June, with 10 events detected on 30 June. SO2 plumes were recorded in satellite data on 11 and 12 June 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 181. The intensity of the eruptive activity at Piton de la Fournaise on 11 June 2019 decreased throughout the day, and by 1530 only the lowest elevation fissure was still active. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF-IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du mardi 11 juin 2019 à 17h45 Heure locale).

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/); 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/).


Heard (Australia) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal hotspots continue during October 2018-March 2019 at the summit and on the upper flanks

Heard Island, in the Southern Indian Ocean, includes the large Big Ben stratovolcano and the smaller, apparently inactive, Mt. Dixon. Because of the island's remoteness, satellites are the primary monitoring tool. Big Ben has been active intermittently since 1910, and was active during October 2017-September 2018 (BGVN 43:10). Activity continued during October 2018-March 2019.

Satellite photos using Sentinel Hub showed hotspots every month between October 2018 and March 2019. Because the area was frequently covered by a heavy cloud layer, most of the hotspot signals were partially obscured. Though thermal anomalies are usually seen at summit vents, on 18 October 2018 an anomaly was present about 300 m down the E flank. Similarly, on 1 January 2019, a weak anomaly beginning about 200 m down the NW flank was about 300 m long (figure 40).

The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected three hotspots, two in October and one in early November 2018, all of low radiative power. There were no MODVOLC alert pixels during this period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Sentinel-2 L1C image of Heard Island's Big Ben volcano on 1 January 2019 one summit hotspot and an elongated thermal anomaly to the NW. Scale bar (bottom right) is 200 m. The photo was taken in atmospheric penetration view (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 volcano lies at the NW tip of the island across a narrow isthmus. Little is known about the structure of Big Ben volcano because of its extensive ice cover. The historically active Mawson Peak forms the island's 2745-m 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 in historical time at this isolated volcano, but observations are infrequent and additional activity may have occurred.

Information Contacts: Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); 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/).


Semeru (Indonesia) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Decreased activity after October 2018

The ongoing eruption at Semeru has been characterized by numerous ash explosions and thermal anomalies, but activity apparently diminished in 2018 (BGVN 43:01 and 43:09); this decreased activity continued through at least February 2019. The current report summarizes activity from 24 August 2018 to 28 February 2019.

The Indonesian volcano monitoring agency, Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), reported ongoing daily seismicity, dominated by explosion earthquakes and emission-related events from late November through February (figure 35). Ash plumes resulting in aviation advisories by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) were reported on 4, 6-7, and 19 September, and 12 October 2018. The next significant ash plume reported by the VAAC wasn't until 24 February 2019 (table 23).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Seismicity recorded at Semeru during 28 November 2018-26 February 2019. Plot shows explosion earthquakes ('Letusan'), emission-related events ('Hembusan'), felt earthquakes ('Gempa Terasa'), local tectonic events ('Tektonic Lokal'), and distant tectonic events ('Tektonic Jauh'). Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.

Table 23. Summary of ash plumes at Semeru during 25 August 2018 through February 2019. The summit is at 3,657 m elevation. Data courtesy of Darwin VAAC.

Date Plume altitude (km) Plume drift Remarks
04 Sep 2018 4.3 W --
06-07 Sep 2018 4.3 SW --
19 Sep 2018 4 SSW Possible ash-and-steam plume.
12 Oct 2018 4.5 W Discrete eruption.
24 Feb 2019 4.3 W Discrete volcanic ash eruption.

Thermal anomalies using MODIS satellite instruments processed by the MODVOLC algorithm were only recorded on 26, 28, and 30 August 2018, and 22 and 31 October 2018. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected numerous hotspots within 5 km of the volcano during August and early September, with a significant decrease in frequency through October (figure 36); only a few scattered hotspots were recorded from November 2018 through February 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. MIROVA plot of thermal anomalies (Log Radiative Power) at Semeru during July 2018-February 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).


Dukono (Indonesia) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Dukono

Indonesia

1.693°N, 127.894°E; summit elev. 1229 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Numerous ash explosions from October 2018 through March 2019

The eruption at Dukono that began in 1933 has showered the area with ash from frequent explosions (BGVN 43:04, 43:12). The Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), also known as the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), is responsible for monitoring this volcano.

This long-term pattern of intermittent ash explosions continued during October 2018-March 2019, with ash plumes rising to between 1.5 and 2.7 km altitude, or about 300-1,500 m above the summit (table 19). Although meteorological clouds often obscured views, satellite imagery captured typical ash plumes on 28 September 2018 (figure 10) and 5 February 2019 (figure 11). Instruments aboard NASA satellites (TROPOMI and OMPS) detected high levels of sulfur dioxide near or directly above the volcano on multiple days during January-March 2019. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and visitors were warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

Table 19. Monthly summary of reported ash plumes from Dukono for October 2018-March 2019. The direction of drift for the ash plume through each month was highly variable. Data courtesy of the Darwin VAAC and PVMBG.

Month Plume Altitude (km) Notable Plume Drift
Oct 2018 1.5-2.1 --
Nov 2018 1.5-2.1 --
Dec 2018 1.5-2.4 --
Jan 2019 1.8-2.1 --
Feb 2019 1.8-2.7 --
Mar 2019 1.5-2.4 --
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Satellite image from Sentinel-2 (LC1 natural color) of an ash plume at Dukono on 28 September 2018 with the plume blowing towards the NE. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Satellite image from Sentinel-2 (LC1 natural color) of an ash plume at Dukono on 5 February 2019, with the plume blowing SW. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Reports from this remote volcano in northernmost Halmahera are rare, but Dukono has been one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes. More-or-less continuous explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, occurred from 1933 until at least the mid-1990s, when routine observations were curtailed. During a major eruption in 1550, a lava flow filled in the strait between Halmahera and the north-flank cone of Gunung Mamuya. This complex volcano presents a broad, low profile with multiple summit peaks and overlapping craters. Malupang Wariang, 1 km SW of the summit crater complex, contains a 700 x 570 m crater that has also been active during historical time.

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/); 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/); 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).


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional weak phreatic explosions continue through February 2019

Intermittent small phreatic explosions from the acid lake of Rincón de la Vieja's active crater has most recently occurred since 2011 (BGVN 42:08, 43:03, and 43:09). This activity continued through at least February 2019. The volcano is monitored by the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), and the information below comes from its weekly bulletins between 18 August 2018 and 28 February 2019. Weather conditions often prevented webcam views and estimates of plume heights. The volcano was in Activity Level 3 throughout the reporting period (volcano erupting, steady state).

According to OVSICORI-UNA, two distinct, 2-minute-long explosions occurred on 31 August 2018 beginning at 0434 and 1305. Several hours after the eruption tremor became continuous but low-frequency long-period (LP) earthquakes ceased. OVSICORI-UNA reported a gas emission late on 7 September. An unconfirmed small phreatic explosion occurred on 11 September at 0634, and another on 17 September at 1014. The seismic record showed continuous background tremor and very sporadic LP earthquakes.

Intermittent background tremor was recorded during the first half of October, along with a few emissions and phreatic explosions. Deformation measurements during October showed a contraction between the N and S of the volcano, with subsidence. On 17 October there was another phreatic explosion, and thereafter tremor disappeared and seismicity decreased. On 23 and 27 October seismic stations signaled additional possible phreatic explosions.

OVSICORI-UNA reported that a series of explosions began at 1945 on 4 November and consisted of at least three 2-minute-long episodes. The next day at 1511 a plume of water vapor and diffuse gas, recorded by a webcam and visible to residents to the N, rose about 100 m above the crater rim and drifted W. On 9 November a 2-minute-long explosion began at 1703. Another explosion on 27 November at 0237 produced a plume of water vapor and gas that rose 600 m above the crater rim and drifted SW. A short 1-minute explosion began at 1054 on 3 December.

Based on OVSICORI-UNA weekly bulletins, activity remained stable in January 2019 with small-amplitude phreatic explosions on 11, 12, and 14 January. More energetic phreatomagmatic explosions on 17 and 20 January produced lahars. Several small-amplitude explosions were detected at the end of the month. During January, a few LPs, no VTs, and intermittent tremor were recorded.

OVSICORI-UNA reported that two small-scale explosions occurred on 1 February, along with possible events at 1906 and 1950 on 5 February and at 0120 on 6 February. An event at 0000 on 6 February was also recorded; the report noted that poor weather conditions prevented visual observations of the crater. On 16 and 17 February strong degassing was observed. No LPs were recorded, but two significant VTs were detected on 17 and 22 February near or under the crater.

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

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


Turrialba (Costa Rica) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Turrialba

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent passive ash emissions continue through February 2019

This report summarizes activity at Turrialba during September 2018-February 2019. During this period there was similar activity as described earlier in 2018 (BGVN 43:09), with occasional ash explosions and numerous, sometimes continuous, periods of gas-and-ash emissions (table 8). Data were provided by the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA).

Table 8. Ash emissions at Turrialba, September 2018-February 2019. Cloudy weather sometimes obscured observations. Maximum plume height is above the crater rim. Information courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Date Time Max plume height Plume drift Remarks
27 Aug-05 Sep 2018 -- 100 m SW, W Continuous gas-and-ash emissions.
06 Sep 2018 -- -- -- Mostly gas, punctuated by small sporadic ash plumes.
10 Sep 2018 1210 300 m NW --
01-13 Sep 2018 -- -- -- Continuous gas-and-ash emissions.
17-18 Sep 2018 -- 300 m SW, NW --
27 Sep 2018 0915 200 m NW --
30 Sep-01 Oct 2018 -- 500 m NW, NE --
03 Oct 2018 -- -- -- Incandescence.
08 Oct 2018 0800 500 m N --
10-16 Oct 2018 -- 1,000 m Various Intermittent emissions; some explosions, including an energetic one on 14 Oct at 1712. Clouds prevented estimate of plume height.
17-23 Oct 2018 -- 200-500 m E, NW, SW Periodic gas-and-ash emissions. Frequent Strombolian events since 5 Oct.
25-30 Oct 2018 -- -- -- Periodic ash emissions when weather conditions allowed observations.
26 Oct 2018 0134 500 m NE Ashfall in neighborhoods of Coronado (San José, 35 km WSW) and San Isidro de Heredia (Heredia, 38 km W).
29 Oct 2018 0231 500 m NW --
30 Oct 2018 1406 500 m W --
24 Oct-01 Nov 2018 -- 500 m -- Continuous emissions.
01-06 Nov 2018 0530-0640 500 m SW --
02 Nov 2018 1523, 1703 500 m -- --
03 Nov 2018 0109 500 m -- Short (2-3 minutes) duration events. Ashfall reported in Coronado.
05 Nov 2018 0620 600 m NW --
06-11 Nov 2018 -- 500 m -- Low-level, continuous gas-and-ash emissions occasionally punctuated by energetic explosions that sent plumes as high as 500 m and caused ashfall in several areas downwind, including Cascajal de Coronado, Desamparados (35 km WSW), San Antonio, Guadalupe (32 km WSW), Sabanilla, San Pedro Montes de Oca, Moravia (31 km WSW), Heredia, and Coronado (San José, 35 km WSW). Weather prevented observations on 12 Nov.
13-19 Nov 2018 -- -- -- Periodic, passive ash emissions visible in webcam images or during cloudy conditions inferred from the seismic data.
22 Nov 2018 0710 100 m W --
23 Nov 2018 -- -- -- Frequent pulses of ash.
23-25 Nov 2018 -- 500 m -- Occasional Strombolian explosions ejected lava bombs deposited near the crater; residents of Cascajal de Coronado reported hearing several booming sounds.
26-27 Nov 2018 -- -- -- Passive emissions with small quantities of ash visible. Minor ashfall in San Jose (Cascajal de Coronado and Dulce Nombre), San Pedro Montes de Oca, and neighborhoods of Heredia.
28 Nov-03 Dec 2018 -- 500 m N, NW, SW Ashfall in Santo Domingo (36 km WSW) on 2 Dec.
05 Dec 2018 -- -- -- Minor emission.
06 Dec 2018 -- -- S Emission.
08 Dec 2018 0749 500 m NW --
09 Dec 2018 -- 1,000 m -- Ashfall in areas of Valle Central.
10 Dec 2018 -- -- -- Emissions periodically observed during periods of clear viewing. Ashfall in Moravia (31 km WSW) and Santa Ana, and residents of Heredia noted a sulfur odor.
11-12 Dec 2018 -- 500 m NW, SW The Tico Times stated some flights were delayed at San Jose airport, 67 km away.
13 Dec 2018 -- -- -- Pulsing ash emissions; ashfall in Guadalupe (32 km WSW) and Valle Central.
14-16 Dec 2018 -- -- W, SW Emissions with diffuse amounts of ash.
05-06 Jan 2019 0815 -- -- Increased after midnight on 6 Jan.
28 Jan-04 Feb 2019 -- -- -- Minor, sporadic ash emissions rose to low heights during most days.
01 Feb 2019 0640 1,500 m NW --
08 Feb 2019 0540 200 m -- Sporadic ash emissions for more than one hour.
11 Feb 2019 -- -- -- Very small ash emission.
13-15 Feb 2019 200-300 m NW, W, SW Almost continuous gas emissions with minor ash content.
15 Feb 2019 1330 1,000 m W --
18 Feb 2019 1310 500 m W --
21 Feb 2019 -- 300 m NW Frequent ash pulses.
22-24 Feb 2019 -- 300 m NW, SW Frequent ash emissions of variable intensity and duration. On 22 Feb ash fell in Santa Cruz (31 km WSW) and Santa Ana, and a sulfur odor was evident in Moravia.
28 Feb 2019 1050 500 m SW Ash pulses.

According to OVSICORI-UNA's annual summary for 2018, a slow decline in activity occurred after the volcano reached its highest emission rate during 2016. Activity during 2018 was consistent with an open system, generating frequent passive ash emissions. The volcano emitted ash on 58% of the days during the year. Some explosions were large enough to eject ballistics more than 400 m around the crater. Typical activity can be seen in a photo from 11 September 2018 (figure 50) and satellite imagery on 7 November 2018 (figure 51).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Photo of an ash explosion at Turrialba taken on 11 September 2018. Courtesy of Red Sismologica Nacional (RSN: UCR-ICE), Universidad de Costa Rica.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Sentinel-2 satellite image of an ash emission from Turrialba on 7 November 2018, taken in natural color (gamma adjusted). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During January into early February 2019, passive ash emissions continued irregularly and with less intensity and duration. Emissions sometimes lacked ash. In their report of 4 February 2019, OVSICORI-UNA indicated that passive ash emissions were weak and slow. For the rest of February, they characterized ash emissions as frequent, but of low intensity.

Seismic activity. On 1 November 2018 OVSICORI-UNA reported that seismicity remained high, and involved low-amplitude banded volcanic tremor along with long-period (LP) and volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes. In late January-early February 2019, OVSICORI-UNA reported that seismicity remained relatively stable, although a small increase was associated with the hydrothermal system. VT earthquakes were absent, and tremors had decreased in both energy and duration. The number of low-frequency LP volcanic earthquakes remained stable, although they had decreasing amplitudes. No explosions were documented, and emissions were weak and had short durations and very dilute ash content.

Thermal anomalies. No thermal anomalies were recorded during the reporting period using MODIS satellite instruments processed by MODVOLC algorithm. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected five scattered hotspots during September-October 2018, none during November-December 2018, and two during January-February 2019. All were within 2 km of the volcano and of low radiative power.

Gas measurements. Significant sulfur dioxide levels near the volcano were recorded by NASA's satellite-borne ozone instruments only on 29 September 2018 (both NPP/OMPS and Aura/OMI instruments) and on 11 February 2019 (Sentinel 5P/TROPOMI instrument). OVSICORI-UNA's gas measuring instruments were compromised in September 2018 through January 2019 due to vandalism. In early February, however, they detected hydrogen sulfide for the first time since 2016.

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

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/); Red Sismologica Nacional (RSN) a collaboration between a) the Sección de Sismología, Vulcanología y Exploración Geofísica de la Escuela Centroamericana de Geología de la Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), and b) the Área de Amenazas y Auscultación Sismológica y Volcánica del Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Costa Rica (URL: https://rsn.ucr.ac.cr/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://hotspot.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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/); Costa Rica Star (URL: https://news.co.cr); The Tico Times (URL: https://ticotimes.net).


San Cristobal (Nicaragua) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

San Cristobal

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak ash explosions in January and March 2019

San Cristóbal has produced occasional weak explosions since 1999, with intermittent gas-and-ash emissions. The only reported explosion during the first half of 2018 was on 22 April, the first since November 2017 (BGVN 43:03). The current report covers activity between 1 August 2018 and 1 May 2019. The volcano is monitored by the Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER).

According to INETER, a series of explosions occurred on 9 January 2019 that lasted several hours. INETER stated that one explosion occurred at 1643; the Washington VAAC's first advisory stated that an explosion occurred at 1145 (local time). The weak explosions, which occurred after a period of heightened seismic activity, generated an ash plume that reached 200 m above the edge of the crater and drifted W. The Washington VAAC reported volcanic ash plumes on 10-11 January extending about 92 km SW, and on 24-25 January extending about 185 km WSW. A low-energy explosion was detected by the seismic network at 1550 on 4 March 2019. The event produced a gas-and-ash plume that rose 400 m above the crater rim and drifted SW.

Monitoring data reported by INETER (table 6) showed elevated levels of seismicity during October 2018 through January 2019. Sulfur dioxide was also measured at higher levels in January 2019.

Table 6. Monthly sulfur dioxide measurements and seismicity reported at San Cristóbal during August 2018-March 2019. "Most" indicates that type of seismicity was dominant that month. Data courtesy of INETER.

Month Average SO2 Total earthquakes Degassing-type earthquakes Volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes
Aug 2018 461 t/d 6,464 6,147 251
Sep 2018 893 t/d 9,659 9,586 73
Oct 2018 269 t/d 11,698 3,509 8,189
Nov 2018 -- 19,593 19,586 7
Dec 2018 -- 30,901 -- Most
Jan 2019 1,286 t/d 11,504 Most Very few
Feb 2019 695 t/d 3,470 Most Very few
Mar 2019 -- 3,882 Most Very few

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://webserver2.ineter.gob.ni/vol/dep-vol.html); 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).


Semisopochnoi (United States) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Semisopochnoi

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor ash explosions during September and October 2018

The remote Semisopochnoi comprises the uninhabited volcanic island of the same name, ~20 km in diameter, in the Rat Islands group of the western Aleutians (figure 1). Plumes had been reported several times in the 18th and 19th centuries, and most recently observed in April 1987 from Sugarloaf Peak (SEAN 12:04). The volcano is dominated by an 8-km diameter caldera that contains a small lake (Fenner Lake) and a number of post-caldera cones and craters. Monitoring is done by the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) using an on-island seismic network along with satellite observations and lightning sensors. An infrasound array on Adak Island, about 200 km E, may detect explosive emissions with a 13 minute delay if atmospheric conditions permit.

On 16 September 2018 increased seismicity was detected at 0831, prompting AVO to raise the Aviation Color Code (ACC) to Yellow and Volcano Alert Level (VAL) to Advisory. Retrospective analysis of satellite data acquired on 10 September revealed small ash deposits on the N flank of Mount Cerberus, possibly associated with two bursts of tremor recorded on 8 September (figure 5). This new information, coupled with intensifying seismicity and a strong tremor signal recorded at 1249 on 17 September, resulted in AVO raising the ACC to Orange and the VAL to Watch. Seismicity remained elevated on 18 September with nearly constant tremor recorded by local sensors. At the same time, no ash emissions were observed in cloudy satellite images and no eruptive activity was recorded on regional pressure sensors at Adak.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Minor ash deposits can be seen on the south and west flanks of the N cone of Mount Cerberus, Semisopochnoi Island, in this ESA Sentinel-2 image from 1200 on 10 September 2018. Also note probable minor steam emissions obscuring the crater of the N cone. Image courtesy of AVO.

During 19-25 September 2018 seismicity remained elevated, alternating between periods of continuous and intermittent bursts of tremor. Tremor bursts at 1319 on 21 September and at 1034 on 22 September produced airwaves detected on a regional infrasound array on Adak Island; no ash emissions were identified above the low cloud deck in satellite data, and the infrasound detections likely reflected an atmospheric change instead of volcanic activity.

Seismicity remained elevated during 3-9 October 2018, with intermittent bursts of tremor. No volcanic activity was detected in infrasound or satellite data. On 11 October satellite data indicated partial erosion of a tephra cone in the crater of Cerberus's N cone. A crater lake about 90 m in diameter filled the vent. The data also suggested that the vent had not erupted since 1 October. Seismicity remained elevated and above background levels. The next day AVO lowered the Aviation Color Code to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level to Advisory, noting the recent satellite data results and lack of tremor recorded during the previous week. AVO reported that unrest continued during 11-24 October.

An eruptive event began at 2047 on 25 October 2018, identified based on seismic data; strong volcanic tremor lasted about 20 minutes and was followed by 40 minutes of weak tremor pulses. A weak infrasound signal was detected by instruments on Adak Island. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) and Volcano Alert Level was raised to Watch (the second highest level on a four-level scale). A dense meteorological cloud deck prevented observations below 3 km, but a diffuse cloud was observed in satellite data rising briefly above the cloud deck, though it was unclear if it was related to eruptive activity. Tremor ended after the event, and seismicity returned to low levels.

Small explosions were detected by the seismic network at 2110 and 2246 on 26 October 2018, and 0057 and 0603 on 27 October. No ash clouds were identified in satellite data, but the volcano was obscured by high meteorological clouds. Additional small explosions were detected in seismic and infrasound data during 28-29 October; no ash clouds were observed in partly-cloudy-to-cloudy satellite images.

AVO reported on 31 October 2018 that unrest continued. Two small explosions were detected, one just before 0400 and the other around 1000. Satellite views were obscured by clouds at the time, and no ash clouds were observed. Unrest continued through 1 November, at which time the satellite link and the seismic line failed. On 21 November the ACC was lowered to Yellow and the VAL was lowered to Advisory.

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

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


Asosan (Japan) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Multiple brief ash emission events during April and May 2019; minor ashfall in adjacent villages

Japan's 24-km-wide Asosan caldera on the island of Kyushu has been active throughout the Holocene. Nakadake has been the most active of 17 central cones within the caldera for 2,000 years. Historical eruptions have been primarily basaltic to basaltic-andesitic ash eruptions, with periodic Strombolian activity, all from Nakadake Crater 1. The most recent major eruptive episode began in late November 2014 and continued through 1 May 2016. Another eruption, with the largest ash plume in 20 years, occurred on 8 October 2016. Asosan remained quiet until renewed activity from Crater 1 began in mid-April 2019; it is covered in this report, through the end of June 2019. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) provides monthly reports of activity; the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) issues aviation alerts reporting on possible ash plumes.

Asosan remained quiet during 2017 and 2018 with steam plumes rising a few hundred meters from Crater 1 and low levels of SO2 emissions; a warm acidic lake was present within the crater. Fumarolic activity from two areas on the S and SW wall of the crater rim generated occasional thermal anomalies in satellite data and incandescence at night. A brief period of increased seismicity was reported in mid-March 2019. An increase in seismic amplitude on 14 April 2019 preceded a small explosion on 16 April; it produced an ash plume which rose 200 m above the crater rim and drifted NW. It was followed by additional small explosions on 19 April. A new explosion on 3 May produced minor ashfall in adjacent communities; ash emissions were reported multiple times during May with plumes reaching 1,400 m above the crater rim. No additional ash emissions were reported in June.

Activity during 2017 and 2018. JMA reported that no eruptions occurred during 2017. Amplitudes of volcanic tremor increased somewhat during March but were generally low for the rest of the year. The earthquake hypocenters were mostly located near the active crater at around sea level. SO2 emissions were slightly less than 1,000 tons per day (t/d) from January through April; for the rest of the year they ranged from 600 to 2,500 t/d. The Alert Level had been lowered from 2 to 1 on 7 February 2017 where it remained throughout the year. Steam plumes generally rose no more than 600 m above the active crater rim (figure 42). JMA noted that from January to June they often observed crater incandescence at night with a high-sensitivity surveillance camera; Sentinel-2 satellite images also captured thermal anomalies a few times (figure 43). The green lake inside the crater persisted throughout the year with water temperatures of 50-60°C. Two fumaroles were present with high-temperature gas emissions on the SW and S crater walls. Temperatures at the S crater wall were over 600°C from February to May; they decreased to 320-560°C during the rest of the year (figure 44). Sulfur deposits were visible around the SW crater wall fumarole during July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Steam plumes that rose around 600 m above Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan were typical activity throughout 2017. Images taken with JMA webcam on 9 June (top left), 22 August (top right), 12 November (bottom left), and 20 December (bottom right) 2017. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Sentinel-2 images captured thermal anomalies at the S rim of the green lake at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 on 16 February (left) and 27 May 2017 (right). JMA reported that incandescence was occasionally visible during the night from January-June from the same area. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. High-temperature gas and steam from fumaroles on the S wall of the Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan on 24 August (top) and 17 November 2017 (bottom) were persistent all year, with temperatures ranging from 300 to over 600°C. The green lake inside the crater persisted throughout the year as well with water temperatures of 50-60°C. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).

The Alert Level did not change at Asosan during 2018, and no eruptions were reported. Sulfur dioxide emissions fluctuated between 400 and 1,800 t/d throughout the year. Steam plumes generally rose less than 500 m above the active crater (figure 45); incandescence was observed at night during May-October and sometimes observed in satellite imagery as thermal anomalies (figure 46). The temperature of the green lake inside the crater ranged from 58 to 75°C throughout the year. The thermal anomaly on the S wall of the crater was consistently in the 300-500°C range, and had a high temperature in April of 580°C; in December the high temperature had risen to 738°C (figure 47). A brief increase in the number of isolated tremors occurred during March, with 1,044 reported on 4 March, exceeding the previous maximum of 1,000 on 27 October 2014. Seismicity also increased briefly during June, with more than 400 events reported each day on 8, 18, and 20 June. The Minami Aso village Yoshioka fumarole zone, located about 5 km W of Nakadake Crater 1, continued to produce modest steam plumes throughout 2017 and 2018 (figure 48).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Typical steam plumes at Asosan during 2018 rose around 500 m above the Nakadake Crater 1. Images are from 4 March (top left), 22 July (top right), 17 August (lower left), and 13 September 2018 (lower right). Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Nighttime incandescence was reported by JMA during May-October 2018 from the S rim of Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan; Sentinel-2 satellite images (bands 12, 4, 2) captured thermal anomalies from the same area numerous times during 2018 including on 16 June (top left), 26 July and 19 September (middle row), and 18 and 23 November (bottom row). JMA photographed incandescence at night on 17 July 2018 at the S fumarole area (top right). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground and JMA (Aso volcano Monthly Report for July 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. The "Green Tea Pond" inside Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan had temperatures that ranged from 58 to 75°C during 2018 (top row, 26 March 2018); the thermal anomaly on the S wall of the crater consistently had temperatures measured in the 300-500°C range and the SW fumarole area had somewhat lower temperatures (bottom row, 22 June 2018). Courtesy of JMA (monthly Asosan reports for March, May, and June 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. The Minami Aso village Yoshioka fumarole zone, located about 5 km W of Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan, continued to produce modest steam plumes throughout 2017 and 2018. It is shown here on 20 December 2017 (top) and 12 March 2018 (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (December 2017 and March 2018 monthly volcano reports).

Activity during 2019. Steam plumes rose to 800 m above the crater rim during January 2019. Overall activity increased slightly during February; SO2 emissions peaked at 2,200 t/d early in the month; they ranged from 800 to 1,800 t/d for most of the month. The amplitude of volcanic tremor also increased slightly during February. A further increase in tremor amplitude on 11 March 2019 prompted JMA to raise the Alert Level from 1 to 2 the following morning. Volcanic tremor amplitude decreased on 15 March; JMA determined that activity had decreased, and the Alert Level was lowered back to 1 on 29 March 2019. The amount of water in the crater decreased significantly between 27 February and 20 March, exposing part of the crater floor.

The surface temperature of the lake rose during the first part of 2019; it was 78°C in February and 84°C in March. Steam plumes rose to 1,200 m above the crater rim during March and April. SO2 emissions rose to 4,500 t/d on 12 March but dropped to a lower range of 1,300-2,400 for the rest of the month. Another surge in SO2 emissions on 12 April 2019 to 3,600 t/d prompted a special report from JMA the following day. SO2 emissions varied from about 1,700 to 4,100 t/d during the month; values remained high during the second half of the month. JMA noted that the color of the water in the lake inside Nakadake Crater 1 changed from green to gray after 4 April. Fountains of muddy water were periodically observed; they reached 15 m high on 9 April. The temperatures of both the lake (82°C) and around the two fumarole areas (S area about 530°C, SW area about 310°C) remained constant during April and similar to March.

A large increase in the amplitude of volcanic tremor early on 14 April 2019 prompted JMA to raise the Alert Level from 1 to 2 later in the day. The epicenters of the earthquakes were very shallow, located within 1 km beneath the crater. A small eruption occurred at 1828 on 16 April at Nakadake Crater 1; it produced a gray and white plume that rose 200 m above the crater rim and was the first eruption since 8 October 2016 (figure 49). Incandescence was observed inside the crater on 3 and 17 April. The amplitude of seismic tremors decreased on 18 April. Three very small eruptions on 19 April produced ash and steam plumes that rose 500 m above the crater rim. During a site visit that day JMA measured a high-temperature area that produced incandescence from the bottom of the crater at night (figure 50).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. The first eruption since October 2016 at Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan on 16 April 2019 sent an ash plume 200 m above the crater rim (top). Incandescent gas appeared on the crater floor the next day (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, April 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Three small explosions on 19 April 2019 at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 produced small ash emissions that rose 500 m above the crater rim (top). A strong thermal signal also appeared from the bottom of the crater. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, April 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).

A new eruption began at 1540 on 3 May that lasted until 0620 on 5 May (figure 51). Initially the ash plume rose 600 m above the crater rim, but a few hours later the volume of ash increased, and the plume reached 2 km above the crater rim for a brief period. Incandescence was visible from the webcam. The Tokyo VAAC reported the ash plume at 3 km altitude drifting SE on 3 May. Later in the day it rose to 3.7 km altitude and drifted SW. During a field survey the following day (4 May) JMA reported a steam and ash plume rising from the center of the active crater. The infrared thermal imaging camera recorded the temperature of the plume at about 500°C (figure 52).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. An explosion at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 on 3 May 2019 produced an ash plume that reached 2 km above the crater rim (top) and incandescence visible from the webcam (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, April 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. During a site visit on 4 May 2019, staff from JMA witnessed an ash and steam plume rising from the bottom of Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan (top). The infrared thermal imaging camera recorded the temperature of the plume at about 500°C (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, May 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).

Ash fell on the S flank, and a small amount of ashfall on 4 May was confirmed by evidence on a car windshield in Takamori Town (6 km S), Kumamoto Prefecture (figure 53). Ashfall was also reported in Takamori-machi, Minami Aso village (9 km SW), and part of Yamato-cho (25 km SW), also in the Kumamoto Prefecture. SO2 emissions were measured as high as 4,000 t/d on 4 May. Additional explosions with ash plumes were reported from Asosan on 9, 12-16, 29, and 31 May; the plumes rose from 200 to 1,400 m above the crater rim but were not visible in satellite imagery. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5 satellite captured SO2 plumes on 3 and 26 May 2019 (figure 54).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Ashfall was reported on 4 May 2019 in Takamori Town, Kumamoto Prefecture, from the eruption at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 on 3 May 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, May 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Plumes of SO2 from Asosan were recorded by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite on 3 (left) and 26 (right) May 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Steam plumes rose to 1,700 m above the crater rim during June 2019 (figure 55). During field visits on 6 and 25 June diffuse ash emissions were observed rising from the center of the active crater, but they did not extend significantly above the crater rim (figure 56). The maximum temperature of the plume was measured at about 340°C with a thermal imaging camera. Almost all of the water in the crater bottom had evaporated since early May; incandescence continued to be observed within the crater at night with the high-resolution webcam (figure 57).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Steam plumes rose to 1,700 m above the crater rim at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 on 10 June 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, June 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Plumes of gas and minor ash were visible at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 during site visits by JMA on 6 (left) and 25 (right) June 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, June 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Incandescent gas was visible from the vent at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 on 18 (left) and 25 (right) June 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, June 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, 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, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 25, Number 04 (April 2000)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Ambrym (Vanuatu)

Vapor emissions observed in February; pilots report seeing lava in vents

Bezymianny (Russia)

Volcanic tremor in mid-February and mid-March, ash clouds in mid-March

Karymsky (Russia)

Low-level eruptive activity; intense ash-and-gas explosions in April

Kavachi (Solomon Islands)

Scientists aboard a research vessel observe a new submarine eruption

Kilauea (United States)

An eruptive pause occurred in September; intrusion of magma in February

Klyuchevskoy (Russia)

Frequent fumarolic plumes, one to 10 km altitude on 30 January

Lopevi (Vanuatu)

Intermittent ash eruptions October 1999-April 2000; pyroclastic flow in February

Mayon (Philippines)

Decreasing activity; small eruptions, lava flows, secondary pyroclastic flows

Mutnovsky (Russia)

Two short-lived gas-and-ash explosions on 17 March

Sheveluch (Russia)

Intermittent ash explosions from January through March

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Dome growth continues through May; Vulcanian eruption 20 March

Tungurahua (Ecuador)

Frequent early-2000 explosions with loud reports; ash plumes to 10 km altitude

White Island (New Zealand)

Continuous ash emissions in April; high SO2 and fluctuating tremor

Yasur (Vanuatu)

Typical explosive activity observed in February



Ambrym (Vanuatu) — April 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambrym

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Vapor emissions observed in February; pilots report seeing lava in vents

Ambrym was observed during an aircraft overflight on 25 February 2000. Pilot reports indicated that lava was beginning to reappear in some vents. As previously reported (BGVN 25:02), the long-standing lava lakes in Benbow and Mbwelesu craters had disappeared after the 26 November 1999 earthquake. Activity increased slightly from January indicating the magma column may be rising again.

Brown vapor was being emitted from Mbwelesu crater. The bottom of the crater could be seen but no lava was observed. Four craters, each ~8 m in diameter, were located on a 40 x 10 m section of the sill on the E rim of the crater. This rim had been weakened by the November 1999 earthquake and appeared ready to fall. Both vents inside Benbow crater emitted white vapor, which rose 1.5 km as one plume. The bottom of the vents could not be seen.

Geologic Background. Ambrym, a large basaltic volcano with a 12-km-wide caldera, is one of the most active volcanoes of the New Hebrides arc. A thick, almost exclusively pyroclastic sequence, initially dacitic, then basaltic, overlies lava flows of a pre-caldera shield volcano. The caldera was formed during a major plinian eruption with dacitic pyroclastic flows about 1900 years ago. Post-caldera eruptions, primarily from Marum and Benbow cones, have partially filled the caldera floor and produced lava flows that ponded on the caldera floor or overflowed through gaps in the caldera rim. Post-caldera eruptions have also formed a series of scoria cones and maars along a fissure system oriented ENE-WSW. Eruptions have apparently occurred almost yearly during historical time from cones within the caldera or from flank vents. However, from 1850 to 1950, reporting was mostly limited to extra-caldera eruptions that would have affected local populations.

Information Contacts: John Seach, PO Box 16, Chatsworth Island, N.S.W. 2469, Australia.


Bezymianny (Russia) — April 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Volcanic tremor in mid-February and mid-March, ash clouds in mid-March

This report covers the period January-April 2000. As of 28 April 2000, KVERT (Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team) temporarily suspended operations because of a lack of funding. Except for brief episodes of volcanic and seismic activity in mid-February and mid-March, little to no seismicity was registered beneath the volcano through the remainder of the period. Occasional, weak fumarolic activity was frequently accompanied by fumarolic plumes rising 50-800 m above the volcano and extending up to 50 km away. The volcano frequently was obscured by clouds, which prevented both visual and satellite observations.

During the week of 11-17 February seven shallow earthquakes were registered beneath the volcano. Seismic activity increased above background levels during 10-13 March, and on 14 March the hazard level color code was raised to Red due to continuous volcanic tremor after 0425, which occasionally registered at distances 100 km. At 0430, a satellite image showed a 4-pixel thermal anomaly with a temperature of 50°C and a small ash cloud. At 0742, the ash cloud rose to 5 km altitude and spread to the W; at 0815 ashfall was recorded in Kozirevsk; and at 1100 the ash cloud covered Kozirevsk and spread up to the Sredinny Range, a distance of 225 km. After 1000, the level of volcanic activity decreased and on 15 March the hazard status was reduced to Yellow after seismicity decreased to background levels. Analysis by the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) of a satellite image taken at 0630 on 15 March revealed a 6-pixel thermal anomaly but no ash cloud. According to GMS-5 satellite data (Tokyo VAAC), between 0932 and 2032 on 15 March the ash cloud drifted across Shelekhov Bay and moved NW at an altitude of ~7 km.

At 0500 on the morning of 16 March the volcano erupted again, prompting a hazard status change to Orange. AVO reported that a satellite image taken at 0530 showed an 8-pixel thermal anomaly and a detached ash cloud drifting SW with the leading edge ~140 km from the volcano. The size of the cloud was estimated to be ~100 km E-W by 60 km N-S, but no height estimate was available. KVERT detected increased seismic activity under the volcano with volcanic tremor beginning around 2350 on 15 March and continuing until 0930 the next morning.

Visual reports at 2106 on 18 March from the village of Kozirevsk indicated that a dark dense plume rose to 5,000 m altitude and extended more than 150 km SW. The base of the cloud was not distinct and ashfall may have occurred. Seismicity returned to background levels after 19 March. Rock avalanches continued, although no volcanic tremor was recorded. On 19-22 March, a steam-and-gas plume rose 1-2 km above the volcano and extended up to 10 km NE and E. On 23 March, a plume rose 200 m above the volcano and satellite images analyzed by AVO continued to show a thermal anomaly, but of decreased intensity.

During the last week in March and throughout April seismicity returned to background levels and occasional fumarolic activity and shallow earthquakes were typical of the activity during the earlier part of the year.

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.


Karymsky (Russia) — April 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Low-level eruptive activity; intense ash-and-gas explosions in April

This report covers the period from January-April 2000. As of 28 April 2000, KVERT (Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team) temporarily suspended operations because of a lack of funding. Throughout January and early February, seismicity was at background levels with about 1-5 small local earthquakes each day. However, after two months of quiescence, seismic activity beneath the volcano renewed at 0635 on 12 February; seismic data indicated the occurrence of a probable, short-lived gas-and-ash (or gas) explosion as a 5-minute-long seismic signal was recorded by the nearest seismic station (KRY). As a result of this activity, the hazard level was raised to Yellow.

Following this event, an average of 5-10 seismic events/hour occurred, mainly corresponding to explosions along with a few blowouts and pyroclastic flow (?) signals. After 1200 on 15 February, seismicity increased to 40 events/hour. A continuous series of seismic events (pyroclastic flows?) were registered from 1620 to 1810 on 15 February, but satellite images at 1715 and 1855 that day did not show a plume rising above the weather clouds at ~4 km altitude. From 1800 on 15 February to 1340 on 16 February, activity varied from 40-60 events/hour at the end of which a new 80-minute-long series of seismic events was registered. Subsequently, during 1500-1750, 200 events occurred and, at 1750, strong low-frequency, 4-minute-long events were registered. Activity decreased from 40 to 20 events/hour from 1800 on 16 February until 1200 on 17 February. A satellite image from 0630 on 17 February, the first clear image that the Alaska Volcano Observatory had received since the increase of activity on 12 February, showed no plume, but a thermal anomaly covered at least four pixels with a maximum temperature of 40°C.

The low-level Strombolian eruptive activity that has characterized the volcanism for much of the past four years continued for the remainder of February and throughout March. The number of gas-and-ash explosions decreased from 600/day to 25/day during late February. From 1230 to 1620 on 18 February weak volcanic tremor was registered. According to pilot reports on 20 and 21 February, these explosions sent material up to 1,500 m above the volcano. The number of gas-and-ash explosions varied from 5 to 300/day (although 5-50/day was most typical) through March; suspected small pyroclastic flows were occasionally detected.

At 0625 and 2336 on 3 April and 0743 on 4 April, seismic data indicated short-lived ash-and-gas explosions more intense than those previously recorded. These explosions probably occurred during 3-6-minute-long seismic events recorded by the nearest seismic station (KRY). However, during the following week, no more than three small events/day were recorded and the hazard level was returned to Green. This level of activity continued through April with occasional 2-15-minute-long seismic events, related rock avalanches, and possible short-lived explosions.

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.


Kavachi (Solomon Islands) — April 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Kavachi

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Scientists aboard a research vessel observe a new submarine eruption

On 14 May 2000 Australian research vessel Franklin visited Kavachi seamount to discover that . . . a new eruption was underway (figure 6). The vessel was supporting an Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) research cruise (FR04/00) entitled Project SHAARC (Submarine Hydrothermally Active Arc Volcanoes). Upon arrival at 0600 hours observers saw waves breaking on the peak of the volcano. Every 5-7 minutes the scientists on the CSIRO vessel witnessed violent eruptions that lasted 2-3 minutes each, prevailing for the approximately 20 hours that they observed the volcano. The position of the eruption column was fixed specifically at 8.99°S, 157.97°E, and the volcano's peak was estimated at 2-5 m below the water surface. The eruptions ejected ash and incandescent blocks of lava up to 70 m above the sea surface and sulfurous steam plumes rose to heights of 500 m.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Photograph showing an eruption at Kavachi Seamount, 14 May 2000. Courtesy of CSIRO.

The science team aboard Franklin documented the apparent new phase of island-building eruptive activity. A bathymetric map was produced that differed significantly from the previous map of the volcano made in 1984. Hydrocast/CTD (conductivity-temperature-depth) surveys were undertaken; these detected numerous chemical and particle plumes in the water column; the plumes extended at least 5 km from the eruptive center. Systematic sampling of rocks and ash from the flanks of the volcano returned glassy, vesicular basalts and hydrothermally altered sulfide-rich volcanic breccias. In addition, approximately 500 photographs and 2 hours of digital video captured ~20 eruptions during daylight.

The scientific participants on the CSIRO-led cruise were: Brent McInnes, CSIRO Exploration & Mining Chief Scientist; Richard Arculus, Principal Investigator, and Cromwell Qopoto, Australian National University (ANU); Gary Massoth, Principal Investigator, and Cornel DeRonde, New Zealand Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Ltd (IGNS); Ed Baker, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); Pamela Brodie, Dan Conwell, Tim MacConachy, and Ron Plaschke, CSIRO; John Chadwick, University of Florida; and Philip Pousai, University of Papua New Guinea.

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: Brent McInnes, Chieft Scientist (FRO4/00), Division of Exploration & Mining, Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Organization (CSIRO), PO Box 136, North Ryde, NSW 1670, Australia (URL: http://www.csiro.au/).


Kilauea (United States) — April 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


An eruptive pause occurred in September; intrusion of magma in February

The period of activity at Kilauea between 13 September 1999 and May 2000 was marked by multiple lava breakouts that were caused by damming of the lava-tube system. The lava flows traveled from Pu`u `O`o crater, down Pulama pali, and along the coastal plain towards the sea, covering an area several kilometers wide (figure 145).

On 12 September 1999 magma intruded into the upper rift zone of the volcano (BGVN 25:01), with most of it draining underground afterwards leaving a small lava lake near the center of Pu`u `O`o crater. By 16 September the lake was 50-60 m in diameter and ~92 m below the E rim of the crater. From September to mid-October the level of the lava lake was ~63 m below the E rim of the crater with periods of episodic ascent by 10-15 m. During the intrusion and withdrawal of the lava lake a new collapse pit, termed the West Gap Pit, formed in the W gap of the crater. The pit is 30-50 m wide and 12-15 m deep.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 145. Distribution of lava flows from Kilauea's E rift zone during January 1983-May 2000. Contours are in meters and the contour interval is ~ 150 m. Courtesy of HVO.

After the intrusion of magma, the 25th eruptive pause of the current eruptive episode (55) occurred when the supply of lava to a well-established lava-tube system, that ended near Kamokuna, stopped. Activity recommenced 23 September when lava erupted from a new spatter cone termed the 'mini-vent,' in Puka Nui collapse pit. Puka Nui is located on the S side of Pu`u `O`o crater. The pit formed in December 1997 and has been growing ever since by the collapse of tephra from the north wall of the pit and by engulfing other cones and smaller pits. Lava had not previously erupted from Puka Nui.

From 12 September through 22 October the lava-tube system was blocked by dams made up of debris that fell from the roof and walls of the tube. After the lava drained from the tube following intrusion, the walls cooled, shrank, and broke, causing the roof to collapse in places and the walls to crumble forming piles of debris. When lava re-entered the system it was blocked by a dam at 530 m elevation and reached the surface through cracks and holes in the tube upstream of the dam. Upslope breakout points were originally thought to be perched ponds (low shield-shaped structures with a pond of lava on top), but because the features were not vents and there was no ponded lava at the sites, they are referred to as breakout points from the lava tube. The lava traveled down Pulama pali towards the sea, but did not reach it. By 16 October activity occurred at the West Gap Pit with spattering from a vent in the floor of the pit, and by 18 or 19 October it filled with lava and overflowed, producing a shelly pahoehoe flow 160 m long.

Over the next several months the lava continued to flow down Pulama pali and just after sunset on 13 December lava reached the sea for the first time since the September intrusion. This took place at Highcastle entry and continued until 17-18 December. On 19 December lava reached the sea at the Lae`apuki lava bench, which had not been active since January 1997. As the lava flowed to the sea, it traveled down the sea cliff with some of it eventually cooling and solidifying to form wonderful examples of lava drapery (structures resembling the drips of wax down a candle). Throughout January lava continued to flow towards the sea causing the Lae`apuki bench to grow. On 3 February a second ocean entry became active at Waha`ula, 4 km E of Lae`apuki. Waha`ula was last active in July 1997 to late 1998.

On 23 February at 0142 tiltmeters at the summit showed a downward tilt toward the caldera (figure 146). The downward tilt indicated that magma was moving out of the summit reservoir; data from two other tiltmeters on the east rift zone indicated that the magma was moving into the rift zone. Concurrently, seismometers recorded a swarm of shallow earthquakes at the upper rift zone of the volcano. The swarm was centered near Pauahi Crater, ~7 km SE of Halema`uma`u Crater along the Chain of Craters Road. Hawaii Volcano Observatory staff believed that the swarm probably recorded the movement of magma intruding to within 1-2 km of the ground surface. Such swarms commonly precede new fissure eruptions, but they more often record intrusions rather than eruptions. The reversal of the summit tilt a few hours later indicated when the intrusion stopped and magma once again moved into the summit reservoir. No new ground cracks were noted. The intrusion caused minor, but noticeable, changes in the ongoing eruption. Lava continued to enter the tube system at Pu`u `O`o, but blockages in the lava-tube system above the Pulama pali resulted in many breakouts on the active flow field. Lava stopped flowing to Lae`apuki entry on 25 March and intermittent ocean entries began along 2 km of coast centered on Waha`ula, which is currently the main entry.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 146. Kilauea tiltmeter record for 22-24 February 2000 at Uwekahuna (tilt along an azimuth of N50W). Courtesy of HVO.

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

Information Contacts: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), U.S. Geological Survey, PO Box 51, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718, USA (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — April 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent fumarolic plumes, one to 10 km altitude on 30 January

This report covers the period January-April 2000. As of 28 April 2000, KVERT (Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team) temporarily suspended operations because of a lack of funding. During most of this four-month period, seismicity at the volcano was at background levels, with shallow earthquakes and weak fumarolic activity accompanied frequently by fumarolic plumes. The plumes rose from 50 to 1,500 m above the volcano and extended in various directions as far as 10 km from the vent. The volcano frequently was obscured by clouds.

Twice during the reporting period, however, the activity level increased sufficiently so that the hazard level was raised from Green to Yellow. The first of these events occurred during 29 January-3 February when seismicity was above background levels with shallow earthquakes and tremor registered. On 29 January, a fumarolic plume rose 1,500 m above the crater extending 30 km to the SE. On 30 January and 1 February, a plume rose 50-500 m above the crater and extended up to 15 km S. According to reports from pilots of Northwest and Reeve Aleutian Airlines, and an observer from Alaska Volcano Observatory on the Reeve flight, a gas-and-steam plume was observed at 1440 on 30 January rising as high as 8-10 km altitude. On the morning of 3 February the volcano was quiet. According to visual reports from from Kliuchi (~30 km NE of the volcano) and pilot reports, a short-lived eruption at 1708 on 3 February sent an ash-poor plume to altitudes of 8-9 km; instruments measured an accompanying increase in seismicity. According to analysis of a satellite image at 1825 on 3 February the plume extended 40 km SSE and contained a large amount of water or ice.

During the subsequent week (4-10 February), seismicity continued above background levels and shallow earthquakes and tremor were registered. At 1815 on 8 February, seismic data indicated that a short-lived explosion probably occurred, because a series of shallow events were recorded. On 4-5 February, a fumarolic plume rose 200-500 m above the crater and extended 3-40 km W and SW.

During the period 11 February to 2 March, seismicity at the volcano returned to near background level accompanied by typical events noted earlier. But during 3-9 March, seismicity at the volcano increased again and the hazard level was raised again to Yellow. During this period, shallow earthquakes were registered. On 3-4 March a steam-and-gas plume rose 1,500 m above the volcano. On 5-7 March, a fumarolic plume rose 100-300 m above the crater. On 8 March, a steam-and-gas plume rose 1,000 m above the volcano extending 5 km to the NW.

Seismicity returned to background levels on 13 March and the hazard level was reduced to Green. This situation prevailed throughout the remainder of March and April. Shallow earthquakes, fumarolic activity, and plumes continued as in the earlier portion of the reporting period.

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.


Lopevi (Vanuatu) — April 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Lopevi

Vanuatu

16.507°S, 168.346°E; summit elev. 1413 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash eruptions October 1999-April 2000; pyroclastic flow in February

Intermittent activity in October and December 1999 and February-March 2000 was reported by pilots flying near the island. Reports sent to the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center and the Port Vila control tower resulted in aviation advisories that formed the basis for this summary. Additional information about February activity was provided by John Seach, who visited the volcano (figure 7) during 23-24 February and talked to local residents.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Photograph of Lopevi volcano with Epi Island in the distance, February 2000. Courtesy of John Seach.

During 1963-82, ash emissions, lava flows, lava fountains, and Strombolian explosions occurred intermittently. This twenty-year pattern ended on 24 October 1982. Eruptive activity resumed in July 1998. A series of Strombolian explosions in the main 1963 crater (just NW of the central crater) was observed during November-December 1998 (BGVN 24:02). Lava extrusion in December 1998 produced a small intracrater flow from a cone at the NW end of the 1963 crater (BGVN 24:07). Sporadic eruptive activity observed between the end of December 1998 and March 1999 was confined to the 1963 crater at ~1,000 m elevation on the NW flank.

Ground observers reported on 15 October 1999 that a minor eruption approximately one week earlier consisted of a continuous ash plume rising to an altitude of 300-600 m. An ash cloud up to 2,700 m altitude was reported by pilots on 9-10 December.

Activity during February 2000. At 1422 on 3 February an ash cloud was reported up to 4,500 m over the island. Between 0507 and 0520 on 18 February a Vanair pilot reported an ash cloud initially as high as 9 km and then around 4.8 km altitude. A plume was identified on infrared and early morning visible satellite imagery, but there was considerable cloudiness in the area. Activity was continuing as of 0602 on 19 February, with an ash plume to ~5.5 km altitude. Convective activity through the day rapidly obscured any traces of the ash plume on satellite imagery. Analyses indicated that the plume may have contained significant ash that was expected to move ESE-SE and extend to 370 km. Due to the convective activity pilots were advised to respond as though the plume was rising to ~9 km altitude. However, another pilot report at 0621 indicated that activity had ceased.

According to John Seach, around midday on 19 February villagers on the neighboring island of Paama heard two loud explosions from the volcano; the second was the loudest heard in two years. This was followed by a brown ash cloud rising to ~4.5 km altitude visible from an aircraft en route from Sydney to Hawaii. Ashfalls occurred on Paama. A pyroclastic flow from the NW-flank crater (figure 8) traveled 2.5 km SW and reached the sea along a 300-m-wide front, where it created a delta. Blocks of 4 m in diameter were carried down to sea level. A 3-m-diameter block 50 m from the sea had a surface temperature of 170°C.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. View of the 19 February pyroclastic flow path from summit of Lopevi to the sea, 23 February 2000. Courtesy of John Seach.

Trees buried in the ash were only visible as circular, black smoking areas when observed on 23 February. On the edge of the pyroclastic-flow deposit trees 0.5 m in diameter were snapped off 2 m from the ground (figure 9); some were upturned and redeposited in the ash. Standing devastated trees were burnt to a height of 18 m and debris was lodged in the canopy. Some fallen trees were still burning. Within 20 m of the edge of the pyroclastic-flow deposit were fallen devastated trees, and standing burnt trees were present for another 10 m beyond that. Observers were forced back when ground temperatures (over 200°C) melted boots. The air was filled with the smell of burnt trees and sulfur. Coconuts superheated and exploded. Sap in smaller branches boiled and formed bubbles on the outside of the branch.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Devastated trees at the edge of a pyroclastic flow from Lopevi, 23 February 2000. Courtesy of John Seach.

The active NW crater (figure 10) was climbed by Seach and Geoff Mackley on 23 and 24 February 2000. A lava dome was present on the SW crater rim from where the pyroclastic flow had originated along a 100-m-wide front. Lighter colored deposits marked its track down the volcano. On the N edge of the pyroclastic-flow deposit and 200 m below the NW crater was the source of a debris avalanche. A debris volume on the order of a million cubic meters had moved, exposing a large hole and producing two branching flows that moved ~250 m SW towards the sea. A new 150-m-high cinder cone formed inside the old crater was smoking with blue and white vapor being emitted. Ground temperature was 81°C at the base of the cinder cone. A two-week-old flank lava flow was observed to have traveled 1.5 km WNW to an elevation 250 m below the NW crater, burning trees and vegetation.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Aerial view of the active NW crater at Lopevi, February 2000. Courtesy of John Seach.

Additional eruptions during March and April 2000. Another minor eruption on 15 March sent ash to 1,500 m, where it mixed with meteorological clouds. A stronger eruption began on 21 March with ash reported to 2,700 m altitude along with steam to 450 m. Activity increased the next day, when the plume was reported to be at levels of 4,200-4,500 m. The eruption continued during 23-24 March with plumes rising to altitudes of about 2,400 m.

A pilot report around 1100 on 24 April indicated a very dark-brown ash cloud rising from the volcano to an altitude of ~4,800 m and drifting NW. The report also noted that a new vent on the W side was emitting lava. A notice to aviators stated that they should expect ash to 5,400 m altitude within 550 km in the NW quadrant of the volcano. Ash warnings to aviators in the late morning and night of 25 April indicated that ash and lava continued to be emitted from the W vent. Pilot reports indicated that the height of the ash cloud was difficult to determine due to cloud cover, but was at least to 600 m altitude. The ash appeared to be thinning out beyond 18 km W of the volcano, but the extent of the plume could not be determined from satellite imagery. A notice at 2155 on 26 April stated that no further visual activity reports had been received since 25 April.

Geologic Background. The small 7-km-wide conical island of Lopevi, known locally as Vanei Vollohulu, is one of Vanuatu's most active volcanoes. A small summit crater containing a cinder cone is breached to the NW and tops an older cone that is rimmed by the remnant of a larger crater. The basaltic-to-andesitic volcano has been active during historical time at both summit and flank vents, primarily along a NW-SE-trending fissure that cuts across the island, producing moderate explosive eruptions and lava flows that reached the coast. Historical eruptions at the 1413-m-high volcano date back to the mid-19th century. The island was evacuated following major eruptions in 1939 and 1960. The latter eruption, from a NW-flank fissure vent, produced a pyroclastic flow that swept to the sea and a lava flow that formed a new peninsula on the western coast.

Information Contacts: Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), MetService, PO Box 722, Wellington, New Zealand (URL: http://www.metservice.co.nz/); John Seach, PO Box 16, Chatsworth Island, N.S.W. 2469, Australia.


Mayon (Philippines) — April 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

13.257°N, 123.685°E; summit elev. 2462 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Decreasing activity; small eruptions, lava flows, secondary pyroclastic flows

Volcanic unrest that began at Mayon during May 1999 led to growth of the lava dome beginning on 12 February 2000, and continued in the form of explosive eruptions from 23 February through 1 March (BGVN 25:02). Since the 1 March 2000 eruption, observations have indicated that activity is declining.

After 1 March activity was relatively quiet with the largest event being an ash puff that was produced on 12 March when hot lava at the summit came in contact with surface water. The ash puff rose to a height of ~1 km and drifted to the NW. After 1 March there was moderate seismicity, high volcanic gas outputs, no increase in ground deformation, continuing glow of the summit, and new lava effusion. These conditions were associated with very gradual return to repose. Therefore on 16 March PHIVOLCS reduced the alert status of Mayan volcano from Alert Level 4 (hazardous eruption imminent, possible within days) to alert Level 3 (less probability of a hazardous eruption).

On 17 March at 1254, 1350, 1609, and 1619 partial collapse of the new lava flow on the volcano's upper middle slopes produced voluminous secondary pyroclastic flows, with the associated ash clouds blown to the SW. On 19 March at 0138, 0203, and 0300 similar secondary pyroclastic flows occurred with ash clouds that blew NE. The billowing ash clouds did not originate from the crater, but from the side of the lava flow that failed on the volcano's upper slope, and from descending detached lava fragments along Bonga Gully. Scientists expected the series of secondary pyroclastic flows due to the instability of volcanic material deposited on steep ground.

After 25 March the number of low-frequency volcanic earthquakes was relatively high (up to 40 per day), presumably due to strong jetting of hot gases emanating from the crater. In addition, relatively high levels of SO2 emissions (up to 9,000 metric tons per day) also occurred after 1 March that were associated with degassing of residual magma. Since the volcano showed no signs of an imminent eruption, on 1 April PHIVOLCS reduced the Alert Level to 2 (the probability of hazardous explosive eruption is minimal). The volcanic system is expected to continue producing earthquakes and to vent a large amount of gas because fresh magma still resides along the whole length of the volcanic conduit and near the summit. Due to the possibility of sudden explosions caused by the release of gas from localized pockets within the magmatic system, and the threat of secondary pyroclastic flows, rockfalls, and ash fallout, PHIVOLCS maintains off-limit zones around the volcano up to 7 km in radius.

Geologic Background. Beautifully symmetrical Mayon, which rises above the Albay Gulf NW of Legazpi City, is the Philippines' most active volcano. The structurally simple edifice has steep upper slopes averaging 35-40 degrees that are capped by a small summit crater. Historical eruptions date back to 1616 and range from Strombolian to basaltic Plinian, with cyclical activity beginning with basaltic eruptions, followed by longer term andesitic lava flows. Eruptions occur predominately from the central conduit and have also produced lava flows that travel far down the flanks. Pyroclastic flows and mudflows have commonly swept down many of the approximately 40 ravines that radiate from the summit and have often devastated populated lowland areas. A violent eruption in 1814 killed more than 1,200 people and devastated several towns.

Information Contacts: Raymundo S. Punongbayan and Ernesto Corpuz, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), C.P. Garcia St. Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost. gov.ph/).


Mutnovsky (Russia) — April 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Mutnovsky

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Two short-lived gas-and-ash explosions on 17 March

Prior to 24 March 2000, KVERT (Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team) had not included Mutnovsky in any activity reports this year. As of 28 April 2000, KVERT temporarily suspended operations because of a lack of funding.

After more precise analysis of visual reports from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and a comparison of signals from several seismic stations, KVERT determined that at 0700 on 17 March, a short-lived explosion sent a gas-and-steam plume to heights of ~1,000 m above the volcano; the plume disappeared within 30 minutes. At 1300 on 17 March, another gas-and-steam plume rose to about the same altitude and extended to the SE; activity ended by 1700. A corresponding shallow seismic event was registered at 1856, followed by a low-frequency (1 Hz) volcanic tremor. The hazard level was originally Yellow but was returned to Green later in the month, although episodes of low-level, low-frequency volcanic tremor continued. The volcano occasionally was obscured by clouds.

An increase in volcanic tremor occurred on 1 April from 1300-2100 and again at 0930-1700 on 13 April. The volcano remained quiet through the rest of April.

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

Information Contacts: 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.


Sheveluch (Russia) — April 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash explosions from January through March

This report covers the period January-April 2000. As of 28 April 2000, KVERT (Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team) temporarily suspended operations because of a lack of funding. Seismic activity was at or near background level throughout this period. Occasional weak fumarolic activity occurred, accompanied by fumarolic plumes that rose from 50 m to several hundred meters above the volcano and extended to 10 km in various directions. The volcano frequently was obscured by clouds, which prevented both visual and satellite observations. The hazard level was Green throughout most of the period except for a few days in late January and a period in March when seismic events caused the level to be raised to Yellow.

At 0329 on 9 January, seismic data indicated that a short-lived ash explosion may have occurred. An 81-minute-long series of shallow events was recorded. However, no ash plume was seen on the satellite images at 0513. At 0100 on 23 January, and again at 0428 on 26 January, 20-minute episodes of shallow earthquakes and tremor indicated that brief gas-and-ash explosions may have occurred. The hazard level was raised to Yellow. The volcano was obscured by clouds on 23-26 January; however, on the morning of the 27th the volcano was quiet but its W flanks were covered with gray ash, perhaps from dome explosions. The hazard level was returned to Green.

During the first week of February, seismicity under the volcano was mainly at background levels with occasional fumarolic plumes. At 1653 on 7 February, visual sightings from Klyuchi town reported short-lived, explosive eruptions that sent an ash-poor plume to heights of 1,500 m above the dome. An accompanying increase in seismic activity occurred. At 1800 a plume rose 700 m above the dome and extended 5 km to the NW.

On 9 March, there was a possible ash-gas plume and the nature of the seismicity suggested that this plume may have risen 3-4 km above the crater, but the volcano was obscured by clouds. Again during the week ending on 17 March, seismic data suggested a short-lived explosive eruption sending a plume to 3-4 km above the dome. On 11-13 March, shallow earthquakes and volcanic tremor were registered, but the volcano was obscured by clouds the entire week. During 17-23 March, a steam-and-gas plume rose 500-1,000 m above the volcano, spreading up to 10 km to the NE and E. Visual sightings from Klyuchi at 1752 on 17 March revealed that a short-lived explosive eruption sent an ash-poor plume to about 1,000 m above the dome; it drifted 7 km to the W. This event was accompanied by increased seismicity. At 1345 on 18 March, seismic data indicated another short-lived weak explosive eruption. At 0249 on 24 March, in contrast, seismic data indicated a short-lived but vigorous explosive eruption. The hazard level was raised to Yellow during most of this two-week period but was returned to Green after the seismicity returned to background levels, where it remained throughout April.

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.


Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — April 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Soufriere Hills

United Kingdom

16.72°N, 62.18°W; summit elev. 915 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dome growth continues through May; Vulcanian eruption 20 March

Volcanism at Soufriere Hills volcano between 5 February and 26 May 2000 consisted of tremor, continuous dome growth, dome collapses, several pyroclastic flows, and a Vulcanian eruption.

Dome growth that began in November 1999 (BGVN 25:01) continued this report period with growth concentrated in the NE and E portion of the dome through February 2000. On 7 March a switch in the focus of dome growth was marked by a small swarm of earthquakes recorded from 1530 to 1730. The swarm consisted of a mixture of volcano-tectonic, long-period, and hybrid earthquakes with a total of 25 recorded events. Between 2342 on 7 March and 0349 on 8 March a second swarm of different types of earthquakes occurred. The appearance of spiny material in the summit area on 7 March suggested that some growth occurred to the W of the new dome towards Gages wall. Further observations on 9 and 10 March showed a large spine, ~30 m high in the S part of the new dome.

A magmatic explosion occurred at 1530 on 20 March, which was the largest event of this report period. According to MVO, a series of pyroclastic-flow signals started shortly after 1530. These were probably triggered by heavy rainfall and gradually built up in size. Between 1800 and 1900, there were several large pulses of activity with each pulse successively larger. At about 1915, a very large pyroclastic flow traveled out across the sea. This was followed by at least one, and probably more, vulcanian explosions from the volcano's summit. Lightning was seen, and near-continuous thunder was heard during this eruption. Satellite imagery suggested that the ash cloud reached over 9 km and mostly traveled E and SE. However, all of Montserrat received some light ashfall as part of the ash cloud spread to the N. Reports of ashfall in Guadeloupe and Antigua were also received. The following night, heavy rain washed away most of the ash in Montserrat. Observations of the lava dome after the explosion showed that virtually all of the new dome, growing since November 1999, had collapsed and some of the interior of the old dome had been eroded.

On 24 March observations of the scar confirmed that a new spine of lava had been extruded over the vent area. In addition, excellent views of the lava dome on 31 March showed blocky growth in the base of the scar with abundant steaming from around the dome. The new dome was estimated to be 150 m wide and about 100 m high; three small spiny lobes could be seen on top of the new growth. By 20 April the dome's volume was estimated to be 12 to 15 million m3. The average growth rate was 5-6 m3/s, which was higher than the rate in December and July (above ~3 m3/s: BGVN 25:01). Two areas of active growth were noted; one on the dome's S side, and another on its E side. The highest point on the new lava dome was measured at 848 m above sea level, which means the new lava dome had a total height of ~120 m.

Between 28 April and 5 May there was a significant increase in both hybrid and long-period earthquakes. About half of the long-period earthquakes recorded immediately preceded rockfalls, and visual observations confirmed that these events comprised powerful, vertical ash emissions immediately prior to the start of the rockfall. The nature of the seismicity indicated increased levels of pressure within the upper conduit and lava dome. The main dome growth area was on the dome's NE flank. The increased activity culminated on 6 May when there was a moderate collapse of several million m3 of rock from the dome's NE flank. The pyroclastic flows generated from the collapse traveled down Tar River Valley and the longest flows just reached the sea. Observations on 12 May revealed refilling of the small scar created by the 6 May collapse. As of 26 May growth was concentrated in the dome's NE side, with indications that it may move towards the SE. Also, between 19 and 26 May a continuous, low-level ash plume visible in GOES 8 imagery emanated from the volcano.

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

Information Contacts: Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), Mongo Hill, Montserrat, West Indies (URL: http://www.mvomrat.com/).


Tungurahua (Ecuador) — April 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Tungurahua

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent early-2000 explosions with loud reports; ash plumes to 10 km altitude

This report covers the interval from 1 January to 18 February 2000. What follows are excerpts of the Geophysical Institute's daily reports. Basically, they disclose a pattern of noisy ash-bearing eruptions, tremor, and elevated seismicity. The alert status remained at Orange. As noted on table 3, some ash columns rose as high as 5-10 km; the sounds from one explosion were heard 75 km N in Quito. Tephra frequently blew towards the W (the major population center, Baños, lies N of the summit).

Table 3. Tungurahua plumes and other activity during 1 January-18 February 2000. Plume composition was further described as follows: dominantly ash plumes (a), dominantly steam plumes (s); and direction blown (e.g., N, S, E, W). Where available, selected comments on active processes also follow. Courtesy of the Geophysical Institute.

Date Plume height (km) and Observations
01 Jan 2000 2a, W. Banded tremor.
02 Jan 2000 0.5 a, W (fines fell on Rio Bamba). Banded tremor.
03 Jan 2000 "Significant explosions"a, W. Following the explosions there was high-amplitude tremor for 30 minutes.
04 Jan 2000 5a, W.
05 Jan 2000 2a, N.
06 Jan 2000 3a, NE.
07 Jan 2000 Poor visibility, 1-2 a.
08 Jan 2000 Poor visibility, 3-4a, SW.
10 Jan 2000 6,700-7,000 t/d SO2. High tremor.
11 Jan 2000 1.5s, NW.
12 Jan 2000 ~ 8a, with two plumes seen in satellite imagery, trailing off S and W. 8,400 t/d SO2.
13 Jan 2000 Restricted visibility but incandescent ash seen falling on upper slopes. 5,000 t/d SO2.
14 Jan 2000 ~ 0.2a; the plume was highly concentrated in ash, thus the column collapsed soon after it began discharging; later, incandescent tephra fell over the upper sides.
15 Jan 2000 2a, strong detonation heard 10 km away; incandescent blocks seen.
16 Jan 2000 Poor visibility and no explosions detected.
17 Jan 2000 Small explosion detected.
18 Jan 2000 One audible explosion heard during poor visibility.
19 Jan 2000 1a, continuous discharge blown W to NW.
20 Jan 2000 Small ash columns.
21 Jan 2000 Bad weather, falling rocks heard; mudflows noted.
23 Jan 2000 Observers saw a short, hazy column with a moderate concentration of ash.
24 Jan 2000 1a, blown W and SW.
25 Jan 2000 Seismically detected explosions with 5-8 cm2 reduced displacements.
26 Jan 2000 Bad weather; small explosions.
27 Jan 2000 Seismically detected explosions with 8 cm2 reduced displacements.
28 Jan 2000 Small to moderate explosions.
29 Jan 2000 Moderate to large explosions; cannon-like sounds reported; two mudflows crossing roads.
30 Jan 2000 ~ 1a, but American Airlines also reported a plume to ~10 km; moderate-to-large seismically detected explosions, plume blowing NW to W.
01 Feb 2000 Slight decrease in the number of explosions with respect to previous days.
02 Feb 2000 2a, W; 20 min. of tremor.
03 Feb 2000 1a, W and SW; incandescent materials descended 0.5 km down flanks.
04 Feb 2000 ~2.5a, some dense columns; W, NW, and SW.
05 Feb 2000 0.6a, W; rains caused mudflows.
06 Feb 2000 Continued outbursts consisting of sporadic low energy explosions. Tremor episode(s) associated with gas emissions.
07 Feb 2000 Continual ash emission; S- and W-directed winds.
08 Feb 2000 3a, N and NW; explosion at 0438 heard by residents of Quito; ashfall closed airports in Ambato and Riobamba.
12 Feb 2000 ~8-10a (aviation report); W and SW.
13 Feb 2000 Cloudy weather; roaring noises heard; fine ash in NW sector of volcano; at 0743, an Avianca flight en-route to Lima-Bogota reported a 7-km-radius cloud of ash over the volcano at 8 km altitude.
14 Feb 2000 2a, SW; small amount of ash in Riobamba.
15 Feb 2000 2a, W.
16 Feb 2000 Plumes and emissions not discussed.
17 Feb 2000 3a.
18 Feb 2000 3a.

Histograms and plots on the Institute's web site tell a story of increased activity during late 1999, but the data for 2000 were generally absent. For example, BGVN 24:11 included their plot of daily explosions during 24 October-3 December 1999. This plot showed 1 event on 24 October 1999 and 1-39 events during the first half of November. A prominent peak in the latter half of November reached 105 events. The number of daily events subsequently declined for the last data shown, ending with 39 events on 3 December 1999.

Based on a reading of the daily reports for early 2000 this decline continued. An approximate tally of daily explosions suggests 300 during the month of January, an average of about 10/day. Similarly, for the first eighteen days of February, explosions again averaged about 10/day. In addition, a regional earthquake of M 3.3 took place on 12 January centered below the volcano's S flanks.

One of the Institute's plots disclosed a positive correlation between near-term rainfall and tremor during 1993-1999. Notwithstanding that longer-term observation, rainfall decreased during the course of 1999 while tremor escalated strongly, ultimately undergoing more than a 15-fold increase over background by the latter part of 1999.

Epicenters and foci mapped for August 1999 clustered near the summit and also occurred with a much lesser density along a radial band trending NW-SE extending out on either side of the summit. Thus, the main cluster of the August 1999 earthquake swarm lay directly below the summit at less than 10 km depth; with close approach to the surface the cluster appears directed toward the volcano's SE side. A plot of measured SO2 fluxes for the interval July-8 December 1999 peaked in September-October at ~9,000-10,000 tons/day (BGVN 24:11).

On 21 and 29 January, and 6 February, rainy weather caused mudflows to descend drainages blanketed by ash deposits. On many days, explosions caused unusually strong acoustical signals; the most powerful signal was generated on 8 February when the sound of an explosion was heard 75 km N in Quito.

Some of the other noteworthy events and ideas discussed in the daily reports follow. At 1544 on 3 January significant explosions occurred, followed by high-amplitude tremor lasting about 30 minutes. The emissions continued and the columns again blew W. On the 4th, undisclosed satellite images showed a column of ash 5 km tall, again blown W. The daily report for 7 January mentioned two possible eruption scenarios involving escalating eruptive vigor and increased hazards.

At 0614 on 12 January ground observers noted a dark gray column rose 3-5 km over the summit. Thereafter, NOAA satellite technicians noted two ash clouds. One cloud extended from the volcano toward the W reaching a length of 16 km and a width of 15 km; it rose to 3 km over the summit (i.e., ~8 km altitude). A larger ash cloud extended toward the S reaching a length of 75 km; it also reached ~8 km altitude (table 1).

Ash clouds remained obscure from the ground on 13 January but in the morning roars were heard associated with the continual emission of gases and ash. A light rain of fine ash fell in the NW sector of the volcano. Peculiar, very dense clouds vented on 14 January, rising only 200 m before rapidly collapsing.

At 0743 on 13 February, an Avianca flight in route to Lima-Bogotá reported an ash cloud over the volcano at 8 km altitude (table 1). In the morning on 14 February some loud explosions foretold of ash columns; they rose 2-3 km above the summit and blew SW. In the morning the next day satellite images showed an ash cloud that had reached a length of 100-150 km and width of 15 km. This cloud was directed from Tungurahua toward the NNW, passing over the towns of Píllaro, Latacunga, and Salcedo. At 10 km distance, falling ash reached a thickness of 1 mm.

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: Geophysical Institute (Instituto Geofísico), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Apartado 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador.


White Island (New Zealand) — April 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

White Island

New Zealand

37.52°S, 177.18°E; summit elev. 321 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuous ash emissions in April; high SO2 and fluctuating tremor

Starting on 7 March, White Island displayed minor eruptive activity, elevated seismicity, and higher than normal SO2 gas flux (BGVN 25:03). Staff from the Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences (GNS) who visited on 18 April observed a gas plume, comprised of steam and small amounts of ash, being erupted to 1,300-1,700 m before being blown S. At distances of more than a few kilometers from the island no ash was visible in the plume, although reports from Whakatane indicated that trace amounts of ash fell during the night of 17-18 April. The erupting vent, named MH vent, is ~10 m across. The seismograph at White Island recorded volcanic tremor starting on 6 April 2000, the first significant tremor since April 1999. In addition, recent measurements of the SO2 flux were well above typical background levels at White Island. This eruptive activity was sufficient to increase the Alert Level from 1 to 2.

Ash was erupted almost continuously during the weekend of 22-23 April, although there was no evidence that any larger blocks were erupted. During another visit by scientists on 26 April the activity level was much reduced from that of the previous two weeks, but minor eruptive activity continued. A weak gas plume, comprised almost totally of steam, was being erupted to 1,500 m before being blown NE. The plume was not visible more than a few kilometers from the island. The seismograph continued to record moderate to strong volcanic tremor, although the level fluctuated with time. It is unclear if there was a direct relationship between the intensity of the eruptive activity and the level of volcanic tremor. COSPEC measurements on 28 April recorded a SO2 flux of 927 metric tons/day, down from previous measurements, but consistent with the activity.

Activity was similar during a monitoring visit on 2 May, with a weak gas and ash plume from MH vent. The ash plume was rising to 500 m, while the steam-and-gas plume rose to 760-900 m before being blown NNE. The plume was visible more than 10-15 km from the island. Ash emission was occurring continuously. The seismograph continued to record fluctuating moderate to strong volcanic tremor.

Geologic Background. Uninhabited 2 x 2.4 km White Island, one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes, is the 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 summit crater appears to be breached to the SE, because the shoreline corresponds to the level of several notches in the SE crater wall. Volckner Rocks, four sea stacks that are remnants of a lava dome, lie 5 km NNE. Intermittent moderate phreatomagmatic and strombolian eruptions have occurred throughout the short historical period beginning in 1826, but its activity also forms a prominent part of Maori legends. Formation of many new vents during the 19th and 20th centuries has produced 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.

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


Yasur (Vanuatu) — April 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Typical explosive activity observed in February

Yasur volcano was visited during 18-20 February by John Seach, Geoff Mackley, and a film crew from the United Kingdom. There was a lower level of activity than in June and July 1999 (BGVN 24:07). "Level 1" activity predominated, defined as normal activity where bombs generally fall within the cone area. The three main craters within the cone, A, B, and C, are aligned S to N.

On 18 February Crater A silently emitted small amounts of white vapor tinged with blue. The following day observers saw emission of brown ash but again heard no noise from the crater. Crater B was also silent and only emitted a small amount of white vapor. Two smaller craters E of Craters A and B were continually full of vapor. Crater C exhibited the main activity. There were two active vents at the N and S ends of the crater. The inside crater wall was strongly fumarolic. Over a 2-hour period Crater C produced four explosions from the N vent and three from the S vent. Incandescent bombs were thrown to a height of 120 m. Some bombs glowed for 30 minutes after dark.

On 19 February observers lowered themselves 50 m to the floor of the Yasur cone from the SE using ropes. Ground temperature 15 m S of Crater C was 96°C. The floor was littered with black bombs up to 1.5 m in diameter and covered with ash. Explosions threw lava to a height of 250 m. Bombs were either thrown straight up or directed towards the NW edge of the cone. Explosions occurred ten times per hour and were accompanied by ground shaking and sometimes shockwaves. Degassing was heard every few seconds between explosions. Inside the cone a number of earthquakes were felt which were not accompanied by explosions or degassing; these earthquakes were not felt by observers on the crater rim, 100 m away. Inside the cone there was a strong sulfur smell and fumes irritated eyes.

On 20 February activity increased. Incandescent lava was ejected every few seconds. Larger explosions about 8 times per hour sent lava to 300 m elevation and 100 m away from the vent. The active vents glowed orange after dark.

The NW flanks of Yasur cone down to Lake Siwi were littered with large bombs from the 1999 activity. Black bombs to 3 m in diameter were observed at the base of the cone. Approaching Yasur remains dangerous at any time for visitors. Vehicles can be driven to within 20 m of the cone and this encourages tourists to visit the crater edge. Unpredictable trajectories of bombs and variable eruptive activity pose threats to visitors. It should be noted that three deaths occurred on Yasur in 1994-95 during a period of low activity (BGVN 20:08).

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

Information Contacts: John Seach, PO Box 16, Chatsworth Island, N.S.W. 2469, Australia.

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

Additional 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 subregion and subject.

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


Central Chile and Argentina


Estero de Parraguirre


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

08/1997 (BGVN 22:08) False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

False report of volcanism intended to exclude would-be gold miners

12/1997 (BGVN 22:12) False Report of Somalia Eruption

Press reports of Somalia's first historical eruption were likely in error

11/1999 (BGVN 24:11) False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

05/2003 (BGVN 28:05) Har-Togoo

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

False report of activity; confusion caused by burning dung in a lava tube



False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption (Philippines) — August 1997

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

7.975°N, 123.23°E; summit elev. 1510 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


False report of volcanism intended to exclude would-be gold miners

In discussing the week ending on 12 September, "Earthweek" (Newman, 1997) incorrectly claimed that a volcano named "Mount Pinukis" had erupted. Widely read in the US, the dramatic Earthweek report described terrified farmers and a black mushroom cloud that resembled a nuclear explosion. The mountain's location was given as "200 km E of Zamboanga City," a spot well into the sea. The purported eruption had received mention in a Manila Bulletin newspaper report nine days earlier, on 4 September. Their comparatively understated report said that a local police director had disclosed that residents had seen a dormant volcano showing signs of activity.

In response to these news reports Emmanuel Ramos of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) sent a reply on 17 September. PHIVOLCS staff had initially heard that there were some 12 alleged families who fled the mountain and sought shelter in the lowlands. A PHIVOLCS investigation team later found that the reported "families" were actually individuals seeking respite from some politically motivated harassment. The story seems to have stemmed from a local gold rush and an influential politician who wanted to use volcanism as a ploy to exclude residents. PHIVOLCS concluded that no volcanic activity had occurred. They also added that this finding disappointed local politicians but was much welcomed by the residents.

PHIVOLCS spelled the mountain's name as "Pinokis" and from their report it seems that it might be an inactive volcano. There is no known Holocene volcano with a similar name (Simkin and Siebert, 1994). No similar names (Pinokis, Pinukis, Pinakis, etc.) were found listed in the National Imagery and Mapping Agency GEOnet Names Server (http://geonames.nga.mil/gns/html/index.html), a searchable database of 3.3 million non-US geographic-feature names.

The Manila Bulletin report suggested that Pinokis resides on the Zamboanga Peninsula. The Peninsula lies on Mindanao Island's extreme W side where it bounds the Moro Gulf, an arm of the Celebes Sea. The mountainous Peninsula trends NNE-SSW and contains peaks with summit elevations near 1,300 m. Zamboanga City sits at the extreme end of the Peninsula and operates both a major seaport and an international airport.

[Later investigation found that Mt. Pinokis is located in the Lison Valley on the Zamboanga Peninsula, about 170 km NE of Zamboanga City and 30 km NW of Pagadian City. It is adjacent to the two peaks of the Susong Dalaga (Maiden's Breast) and near Mt. Sugarloaf.]

References. Newman, S., 1997, Earthweek, a diary of the planet (week ending 12 September): syndicated newspaper column (URL: http://www.earthweek.com/).

Manila Bulletin, 4 Sept. 1997, Dante's Peak (URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/).

Simkin, T., and Siebert, L., 1994, Volcanoes of the world, 2nd edition: Geoscience Press in association with the Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program, Tucson AZ, 368 p.

Information Contacts: Emmanuel G. Ramos, Deputy Director, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Department of Science and Technology, PHIVOLCS Building, C. P. Garcia Ave., University of the Philippines, Diliman campus, Quezon City, Philippines.


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Press reports of Somalia's first historical eruption were likely in error

Xinhua News Agency filed a news report on 27 February under the headline "Volcano erupts in Somalia" but the veracity of the story now appears doubtful. The report disclosed the volcano's location as on the W side of the Gedo region, an area along the Ethiopian border just NE of Kenya. The report had relied on the commissioner of the town of Bohol Garas (a settlement described as 40 km NE of the main Al-Itihad headquarters of Luq town) and some or all of the information was relayed by journalists through VHF radio. The report claimed the disaster "wounded six herdsmen" and "claimed the lives of 290 goats grazing near the mountain when the incident took place." Further descriptions included such statements as "the volcano which erupted two days ago [25 February] has melted down the rocks and sand and spread . . . ."

Giday WoldeGabriel returned from three weeks of geological fieldwork in SW Ethiopia, near the Kenyan border, on 25 August. During his time there he inquired of many people, including geologists, if they had heard of a Somalian eruption in the Gedo area; no one had heard of the event. WoldeGabriel stated that he felt the news report could have described an old mine or bomb exploding. Heavy fighting took place in the Gedo region during the Ethio-Somalian war of 1977. Somalia lacks an embassy in Washington DC; when asked during late August, Ayalaw Yiman, an Ethiopian embassy staff member in Washington DC also lacked any knowledge of a Somalian eruption.

A Somalian eruption would be significant since the closest known Holocene volcanoes occur in the central Ethiopian segment of the East African rift system S of Addis Ababa, ~500 km NW of the Gedo area. These Ethiopian rift volcanoes include volcanic fields, shield volcanoes, cinder cones, and stratovolcanoes.

Information Contacts: Xinhua News Agency, 5 Sharp Street West, Wanchai, Hong Kong; Giday WoldeGabriel, EES-1/MS D462, Geology-Geochemistry Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545; Ayalaw Yiman, Ethiopian Embassy, 2134 Kalorama Rd. NW, Washington DC 20008.


False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption (Turkey) — November 1999

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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. 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).

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

48.831°N, 101.626°E; summit elev. 1675 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

In December 2002 information appeared in Mongolian and Russian newspapers and on national TV that a volcano in Central Mongolia, the Har-Togoo volcano, was producing white vapors and constant acoustic noise. Because of the potential hazard posed to two nearby settlements, mainly with regard to potential blocking of rivers, the Director of the Research Center of Astronomy and Geophysics of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Bekhtur, organized a scientific expedition to the volcano on 19-20 March 2003. The scientific team also included M. Ulziibat, seismologist from the same Research Center, M. Ganzorig, the Director of the Institute of Informatics, and A. Ivanov from the Institute of the Earth's Crust, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Geological setting. The Miocene Har-Togoo shield volcano is situated on top of a vast volcanic plateau (figure 1). The 5,000-year-old Khorog (Horog) cone in the Taryatu-Chulutu volcanic field is located 135 km SW and the Quaternary Urun-Dush cone in the Khanuy Gol (Hanuy Gol) volcanic field is 95 km ENE. Pliocene and Quaternary volcanic rocks are also abundant in the vicinity of the Holocene volcanoes (Devyatkin and Smelov, 1979; Logatchev and others, 1982). Analysis of seismic activity recorded by a network of seismic stations across Mongolia shows that earthquakes of magnitude 2-3.5 are scattered around the Har-Togoo volcano at a distance of 10-15 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Photograph of the Har-Togoo volcano viewed from west, March 2003. Courtesy of Alexei Ivanov.

Observations during March 2003. The name of the volcano in the Mongolian language means "black-pot" and through questioning of the local inhabitants, it was learned that there is a local myth that a dragon lived in the volcano. The local inhabitants also mentioned that marmots, previously abundant in the area, began to migrate westwards five years ago; they are now practically absent from the area.

Acoustic noise and venting of colorless warm gas from a small hole near the summit were noticed in October 2002 by local residents. In December 2002, while snow lay on the ground, the hole was clearly visible to local visitors, and a second hole could be seen a few meters away; it is unclear whether or not white vapors were noticed on this occasion. During the inspection in March 2003 a third hole was seen. The second hole is located within a 3 x 3 m outcrop of cinder and pumice (figure 2) whereas the first and the third holes are located within massive basalts. When close to the holes, constant noise resembled a rapid river heard from afar. The second hole was covered with plastic sheeting fixed at the margins, but the plastic was blown off within 2-3 seconds. Gas from the second hole was sampled in a mechanically pumped glass sampler. Analysis by gas chromatography, performed a week later at the Institute of the Earth's Crust, showed that nitrogen and atmospheric air were the major constituents.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Photograph of the second hole sampled at Har-Togoo, with hammer for scale, March 2003. Courtesy of Alexei Ivanov.

The temperature of the gas at the first, second, and third holes was +1.1, +1.4, and +2.7°C, respectively, while air temperature was -4.6 to -4.7°C (measured on 19 March 2003). Repeated measurements of the temperatures on the next day gave values of +1.1, +0.8, and -6.0°C at the first, second, and third holes, respectively. Air temperature was -9.4°C. To avoid bias due to direct heating from sunlight the measurements were performed under shadow. All measurements were done with Chechtemp2 digital thermometer with precision of ± 0.1°C and accuracy ± 0.3°C.

Inside the mouth of the first hole was 4-10-cm-thick ice with suspended gas bubbles (figure 5). The ice and snow were sampled in plastic bottles, melted, and tested for pH and Eh with digital meters. The pH-meter was calibrated by Horiba Ltd (Kyoto, Japan) standard solutions 4 and 7. Water from melted ice appeared to be slightly acidic (pH 6.52) in comparison to water of melted snow (pH 7.04). Both pH values were within neutral solution values. No prominent difference in Eh (108 and 117 for ice and snow, respectively) was revealed.

Two digital short-period three-component stations were installed on top of Har-Togoo, one 50 m from the degassing holes and one in a remote area on basement rocks, for monitoring during 19-20 March 2003. Every hour 1-3 microseismic events with magnitude <2 were recorded. All seismic events were virtually identical and resembled A-type volcano-tectonic earthquakes (figure 6). Arrival difference between S and P waves were around 0.06-0.3 seconds for the Har-Togoo station and 0.1-1.5 seconds for the remote station. Assuming that the Har-Togoo station was located in the epicentral zone, the events were located at ~1-3 km depth. Seismic episodes similar to volcanic tremors were also recorded (figure 3).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Examples of an A-type volcano-tectonic earthquake and volcanic tremor episodes recorded at the Har-Togoo station on 19 March 2003. Courtesy of Alexei Ivanov.

Conclusions. The abnormal thermal and seismic activities could be the result of either hydrothermal or volcanic processes. This activity could have started in the fall of 2002 when they were directly observed for the first time, or possibly up to five years earlier when marmots started migrating from the area. Further studies are planned to investigate the cause of the fumarolic and seismic activities.

At the end of a second visit in early July, gas venting had stopped, but seismicity was continuing. In August there will be a workshop on Russian-Mongolian cooperation between Institutions of the Russian and Mongolian Academies of Sciences (held in Ulan-Bator, Mongolia), where the work being done on this volcano will be presented.

References. Devyatkin, E.V. and Smelov, S.B., 1979, Position of basalts in sequence of Cenozoic sediments of Mongolia: Izvestiya USSR Academy of Sciences, geological series, no. 1, p. 16-29. (In Russian).

Logatchev, N.A., Devyatkin, E.V., Malaeva, E.M., and others, 1982, Cenozoic deposits of Taryat basin and Chulutu river valley (Central Hangai): Izvestiya USSR Academy of Sciences, geological series, no. 8, p. 76-86. (In Russian).

Geologic Background. The Miocene Har-Togoo shield volcano, also known as Togoo Tologoy, is situated on top of a vast volcanic plateau. The 5,000-year-old Khorog (Horog) cone in the Taryatu-Chulutu volcanic field is located 135 km SW and the Quaternary Urun-Dush cone in the Khanuy Gol (Hanuy Gol) volcanic field is 95 km ENE. Analysis of seismic activity recorded by a network of seismic stations across Mongolia shows that earthquakes of magnitude 2-3.5 are scattered around the Har-Togoo volcano at a distance of 10-15 km.

Information Contacts: Alexei V. Ivanov, Institute of the Earth Crust SB, Russian Academy of Sciences, Irkutsk, Russia; Bekhtur andM. Ulziibat, Research Center of Astronomy and Geophysics, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Ulan-Bator, Mongolia; M. Ganzorig, Institute of Informatics MAS, Ulan-Bator, Mongolia.


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

1.136°N, 34.559°E; summit elev. 3885 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


False report of activity; confusion caused by burning dung in a lava tube

An eruption at Mount Elgon was mistakenly inferred when fumes escaped from this otherwise quiet volcano. The fumes were eventually traced to dung burning in a lava-tube cave. The cave is home to, or visited by, wildlife ranging from bats to elephants. Mt. Elgon (Ol Doinyo Ilgoon) is a stratovolcano on the SW margin of a 13 x 16 km caldera that straddles the Uganda-Kenya border 140 km NE of the N shore of Lake Victoria. No eruptions are known in the historical record or in the Holocene.

On 7 September 2004 the web site of the Kenyan newspaper The Daily Nation reported that villagers sighted and smelled noxious fumes from a cave on the flank of Mt. Elgon during August 2005. The villagers' concerns were taken quite seriously by both nations, to the extent that evacuation of nearby villages was considered.

The Daily Nation article added that shortly after the villagers' reports, Moses Masibo, Kenya's Western Province geology officer visited the cave, confirmed the villagers observations, and added that the temperature in the cave was 170°C. He recommended that nearby villagers move to safer locations. Masibo and Silas Simiyu of KenGens geothermal department collected ashes from the cave for testing.

Gerald Ernst reported on 19 September 2004 that he spoke with two local geologists involved with the Elgon crisis from the Geology Department of the University of Nairobi (Jiromo campus): Professor Nyambok and Zacharia Kuria (the former is a senior scientist who was unable to go in the field; the latter is a junior scientist who visited the site). According to Ernst their interpretation is that somebody set fire to bat guano in one of the caves. The fire was intense and probably explains the vigorous fuming, high temperatures, and suffocated animals. The event was also accompanied by emissions of gases with an ammonia odor. Ernst noted that this was not surprising considering the high nitrogen content of guano—ammonia is highly toxic and can also explain the animal deaths. The intense fumes initially caused substantial panic in the area.

It was Ernst's understanding that the authorities ordered evacuations while awaiting a report from local scientists, but that people returned before the report reached the authorities. The fire presumably prompted the response of local authorities who then urged the University geologists to analyze the situation. By the time geologists arrived, the fuming had ceased, or nearly so. The residue left by the fire and other observations led them to conclude that nothing remotely related to a volcanic eruption had occurred.

However, the incident emphasized the problem due to lack of a seismic station to monitor tectonic activity related to a local triple junction associated with the rift valley or volcanic seismicity. In response, one seismic station was moved from S Kenya to the area of Mt. Elgon so that local seismicity can be monitored in the future.

Information Contacts: Gerald Ernst, Univ. of Ghent, Krijgslaan 281/S8, B-9000, Belgium; Chris Newhall, USGS, Univ. of Washington, Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences, Box 351310, Seattle, WA 98195-1310, USA; The Daily Nation (URL: http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/); Uganda Tourist Board (URL: http://www.visituganda.com/).