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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

Nishinoshima (Japan) Eruption ends in late August 2020; lengthy cooling from extensive lava flows and large crater

Nyiragongo (DR Congo) Strong thermal anomalies and gas emission from lava lake through November 2020

Kerinci (Indonesia) Intermittent ash plumes and gas-and-steam emissions during June-November 2020

Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand) Gas-and-steam emissions with some re-suspended ash in November 2020

Suwanosejima (Japan) Explosion rate increases during July-December 2020, bomb ejected 1.3 km from crater on 28 December

Karangetang (Indonesia) Hot material on the NW flank in November 2020; intermittent crater thermal anomalies

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) Dome growth and ash emissions continue during July-December 2020

Ibu (Indonesia) Persistent daily ash emissions and thermal anomalies, July-December 2020

Etna (Italy) Strombolian explosions and ash plumes persist from multiple craters during August-November 2020

Copahue (Chile-Argentina) New eruption in June-October 2020 with crater incandescence, ash plumes, and local ashfall

Masaya (Nicaragua) Lava lake continues accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions during June-November 2020

Nevados de Chillan (Chile) Frequent explosions, a lava flow on the N flank, and lava dome growth during July-October 2020



Nishinoshima (Japan) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Nishinoshima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption ends in late August 2020; lengthy cooling from extensive lava flows and large crater

Japan’s Nishinoshima volcano, located about 1,000 km S of Tokyo in the Ogasawara Arc, erupted above sea level in November 2013 after 40 years of dormancy. Activity lasted for two years followed by two brief eruptions in 2017 and 2018. The next eruption, from early December 2019 through August 2020, included ash plumes, incandescent ejecta, and lava flows; it produced a large pyroclastic cone with a wide summit crater and extensive lava flows that significantly enlarged the island. This report covers the end of the eruption and cooling during September 2020-January 2021. Information is provided primarily from Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) monthly reports and the Japan Coast Guard (JCG), which makes regular observation overflights.

Ash emissions were last reported on 27 August 2020. The very high levels of thermal energy from numerous lava flows, ash, and incandescent tephra that peaked during early July decreased significantly during August and September. Continued cooling of the fresh lava and the summit crater lasted into early January 2021 (figure 107). Monthly overflights and observations by scientists confirmed areas of steam emissions at the summit and on the flanks and discolored water around the island, but no eruptive activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. High levels of thermal activity at Nishinoshima during June and July 2020 resulted from extensive lava flows and explosions of incandescent tephra. Although the last ash emission was reported on 27 August 2020, cooling of new material lasted into early January 2021. The MIROVA log radiative power graph of thermal activity covers the year ending on 3 February 2021. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Thermal activity declined significantly at Nishinoshima during August 2020 (BGVN 45:09). Only two days had two MODVOLC alerts (11 and 30), and four other days (18, 20, 21, 29) had single alerts. During JCG overflights on 19 and 23 August there were no ash emissions or lava flows observed, although steam plumes rose over 2 km above the summit crater during both visits. The last ash emission was reported by the Tokyo VAAC on 27 August 2020. No eruptive activity was observed by JMA during an overflight on 5 September, but steam plumes were rising from the summit crater (figure 108). No significant changes were observed in the shape of the pyroclastic cone or the coastline. Yellowish brown discolored water appeared around the western half of the island, and high temperature was still measured on the inner wall of the crater. Faint traces of SO2 plumes were present in satellite images in early September; the last plume identified was on 18 September. Six days with single MODVOLC alerts were recorded during 3-19 September, and the final thermal alert appeared on 1 October 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. No eruptive activity was observed during a JMA overflight of Nishinoshima on 5 September 2020, but steam rose from numerous places within the enlarged summit crater (inset). Courtesy of JMA and JCG (Monthly report of activity at Nishinoshima, September 2020).

Steam plumes and high temperatures were noted at the summit crater on 28 October, and brown discolored water was present around the S coast of the island (figure 109), but there were no other signs of volcanic activity. Observations from the sea conducted on 2 November 2020 by researchers aboard the Maritime Meteorological Observatory marine weather observation ship "Ryofu Maru" confirmed there was no ongoing eruptive activity. In addition to steam plumes at the summit, they also noted steam rising from multiple cracks on the cooling surface of the lava flow area on the N side of the pyroclastic cone (figure 110). Only steam plumes from inside the summit crater were observed during an overflight on 24 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. On a JCG overflight above Nishinoshima on 28 October 2020 there were no signs of eruptive activity; steam plumes were present in the summit crater and brown discolored water was visible around the S coast of the island. Courtesy of JMA and JCG (Monthly report of activity at Nishinoshima, October 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. Observations of Nishinoshima by staff aboard the Maritime Meteorological Observatory ship "Ryofu Maru" on 2 November 2020 showed a steam plume rising from the lava flow area on the N side of the pyroclastic cone (arrow) and minor steam above the cone. Courtesy of JMA (Monthly report of activity at Nishinoshima, November 2020).

JMA reduced the warning area around the crater on 18 December 2020 from 2.5 to 1.5 km due to decreased activity. On 7 December a steam plume rose from the inner wall of the summit crater and thermal imaging indicated the area was still hot. Brown discolored water was observed on the SE and SW coasts. Researchers aboard a ship from the Earthquake Research Institute at the University of Tokyo and the Marine Research and Development Organization reported continued steam plumes in the summit crater, around the lava flows on the N flank, and along the S coast during 15-29 December (figure 111). Steam plumes and elevated temperatures were still measured inside the summit crater during an overflight by the Japan Coast Guard on 25 January 2021, and discolored water persisted on the SE and SW coasts; there was no evidence of eruptive activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. Observations of Nishinoshima from the sea by researchers from the Earthquake Research Institute (University of Tokyo) and the Marine Research and Development Organization, which took place from 15-29 December 2020, showed fumarolic acitivity not only inside the summit crater, but also in the lava flow area on the N side of the pyroclastic cone (left, 20 December) and in places along the southern coast (right, 23 December). (Monthly report of activity at Nishinoshima, December 2020).

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Japan Coast Guard (JCG) Volcano Database, Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, 3-1-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8932, Japan (URL: http://www.kaiho.mlit.go.jp/info/kouhou/h29/index.html); Volcano Research Center (VRC-ERI), Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113, Japan (URL: http://www.eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp/topics/ASAMA2004/index-e.html); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); NASA 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/).


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

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong thermal anomalies and gas emission from lava lake through November 2020

Nyiragongo is a stratovolcano in the DR Congo with a deep summit crater containing a lava lake and a small active cone. During June 2018-May 2020, the volcano exhibited strong thermal signals primarily due to the lava lake, along with incandescence, seismicity, and gas-and-steam plumes (BGVN 44:05, 44:12, 45:06). The volcano is monitored by the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG). This report summarizes activity during June-November 2020, based on satellite data.

Infrared MODIS satellite data showed almost daily strong thermal activity during June-November 2020 from MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), consistent with a large lava lake. Numerous hotspots were also identified every month by MODVOLC. Although clouds frequently obscured the view from space, a clear Sentinel-2 image in early June showed a gas-and-steam plume as well as a strong thermal anomaly (figure 76).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Nyiragongo on 1 June 2020. A gas-and-steam is visible in the natural color image (bands 4, 3, 2) rising from a pit in the center of the crater (left), while the false color image (bands 12, 11, 4) reveals a strong thermal signal from a lava lake (right). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During the first half of June 2020, OVG reported that SO2 levels had decreased compared to levels in May (7,000 tons/day); during the second half of June the SO2 flux began to increase again. High levels of sulfur dioxide were recorded almost every day in the region above or near the volcano by the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) aboard the Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite (figure 77). According to OVG, SO2 flux ranged from 819-5,819 tons/day during June. The number of days with a high SO2 flux decreased somewhat in July and August, with high levels recorded during about half of the days. The volume of SO2 emissions slightly increased in early July, based on data from the DOAS station in Rusayo, measuring 6,787 tons/day on 8 July (the highest value reported during this reporting period), and then declined to 509 tons/day by 20 July. The SO2 flux continued to gradually decline, with high values of 5,153 tons/day in August and 4,468 tons/day in September. The number of days with high SO2 decreased further in September and October but returned to about half of the days in November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. TROPOMI image of SO2 plume on 27 June 2020 in the Nyiragongo-Nyamulagira area. The plume drifted SSE. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

During 12-13 July a multidisciplinary team of OVG scientists visited the volcano to take measurements of the crater using a TCRM1102 Plus2 laser. They noted that the crater had expanded by 47.3 mm in the SW area, due to the rise in the lava lake level since early 2020. The OVG team took photos of the small cone in the lava lake that has been active since 2014, recently characterized by white gas-and-steam emissions (figure 78). OVG noted that the active lava lake had subsided roughly 20 m (figure78).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Photos (color corrected) of the crater at Nyiragongo showing the small active cone generating gas-and-steam emissions (left) and the active lava lake also characterized by white gas-and-steam emissions on 12 July 2020 (right). Courtesy of OVG (Rapport OVG Juillet 2020).

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

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


Kerinci (Indonesia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

1.697°S, 101.264°E; summit elev. 3800 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash plumes and gas-and-steam emissions during June-November 2020

Kerinci, located in Sumatra, Indonesia, has had numerous explosive eruptions since 1838, with more recent activity characterized by gas-and-steam and ash plumes. The current eruptive episode began in April 2018 and has recently consisted of intermittent brown ash emissions and white gas-and-steam emissions (BGVN 45:07); similar activity continued from June through November 2020. Information primarily comes from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM, or the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation), MAGMA Indonesia, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and satellite data.

Activity has been characterized by dominantly white and brown gas-and-steam emissions and occasional ash plumes, according to PVMBG. Near daily gas-and-steam emissions were observed rising 50-6,400 m above the crater throughout the reporting period: beginning in late July and continuing intermittently though November. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed frequent brown emissions rising above the summit crater at varying intensities and drifting in different directions from July to November (figure 21).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of brown emissions at Kerinci from July through November 2020 drifting in multiple directions. On 27 July (top left) the brown emissions drifted SW. On 31 August (top right) the brown emissions drifted W. On 2 September (bottom left) slightly weaker brown emissions drifting W. On 4 November (bottom right) weak brown emissions mostly remained within the crater, some of which drifted E. Images using “Natural Color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During June through July the only activity reported by PVMBG consisted of white gas-and-steam emissions and brown emissions. On 4 June white gas-and-steam emissions rose to a maximum height of 6.4 km above the crater. White-and-brown emissions rose to a maximum height of 700 m above the crater on 2 June and 28 July.

Continuous white-and-brown gas-and-steam emissions were reported in August that rose 50-1,000 m above the crater. The number of ash plumes reported during this month increased compared to the previous months. In a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) issued on 7 August at 1024, PVMBG reported an ash plume that rose 600 m above the crater and drifted E, SE, and NE. In addition, the Darwin VAAC released two notices that described continuous minor ash emissions rising to 4.3 km altitude and drifting E and NE. On 9 August an ash plume rose 600 m above the crater and drifted ENE at 1140. An ash plume was observed rising to a maximum of 1 km above the crater, drifting E, SE, and NE on 12 August at 1602, according to a PVMBG VONA and Darwin VAAC advisory. The following day, brown emissions rose to a maximum of 1 km above the crater and were accompanied by a 600-m-high ash plume that drifted ENE at 1225. Ground observers on 15 August reported an eruption column that rose to 4.6 km altitude; PVMBG described brown ash emissions up to 800 m above the crater drifting NW at 0731 (figure 22). During 20-21 August pilots reported an ash plume rising 150-770 m above the crater drifting NE and SW, respectively.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Webcam image of an ash plume rising above Kerinci on 15 August 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Activity in September had decreased slightly compared to the previous month, characterized by only white-and-brown gas-and-steam emissions that rose 50-300 m above the crater; solely brown emissions were observed on 30 September and rose 50-100 m above the crater. This low level of activity persisted into October, with white gas-and-steam emissions to 50-200 m above the crater and brown emissions rising 50-300 m above the crater. On 16 October PVMBG released a VONA at 0340 that reported an ash plume rising 687 m above the crater and drifting NE. On 17 October white, brown, and black ash plumes that rose 100-800 m above the crater drifted NE according to both PVMBG and a Darwin VAAC advisory (figure 23). During 18-19 October white, brown, and black ash emissions rose up to 400 m above the crater and drifted NE and E.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Webcam image of a brown ash emission from Kerinci on 17 October 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Geologic Background. Gunung Kerinci in central Sumatra forms Indonesia's highest volcano and is one of the most active in Sumatra. It is capped by an unvegetated young summit cone that was constructed NE of an older crater remnant. There is a deep 600-m-wide summit crater often partially filled by a small crater lake that lies on the NE crater floor, opposite the SW-rim summit. The massive 13 x 25 km wide volcano towers 2400-3300 m above surrounding plains and is elongated in a N-S direction. Frequently active, Kerinci has been the source of numerous moderate explosive eruptions since its first recorded eruption in 1838.

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


Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Whakaari/White Island

New Zealand

37.52°S, 177.18°E; summit elev. 294 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Gas-and-steam emissions with some re-suspended ash in November 2020

Whakaari/White Island, located in the Bay of Plenty 50 km offshore of North Island, has been New Zealand’s most active volcano since 1976. Activity has been previously characterized by phreatic activity, explosions, and ash emissions (BGVN 42:05). The most recent eruption occurred on 9 December 2019, which consisted of an explosion that generated an ash plume and pyroclastic surge that affected the entire crater area, resulting in 21 fatalities and many injuries (BGVN 45:02). This report updates information from February through November 2020, which includes dominantly gas-and-steam emissions along with elevated surface temperatures, using reports from the New Zealand GeoNet Project, the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and satellite data.

Activity at Whakaari/White Island has declined and has been dominated by white gas-and-steam emissions during the reporting period; no explosive eruptive activity has been detected since 9 December 2019. During February through 22 June, the Volcanic Activity Level (VAL) remained at a 2 (moderate to heightened volcanic unrest) and the Aviation Color Code was Yellow. GeoNet reported that satellite data showed some subsidence along the W wall of the Main Crater and near the 1914 landslide scarp, though the rate had reduced compared to previous months. Thermal infrared data indicated that the fumarolic gases and five lobes of lava that were first observed in early January 2020 in the Main Crater were 550-570°C on 4 February and 660°C on 19 February. A small pond of water had begun to form in the vent area and exhibited small-scale gas-and-steam-driven water jetting, similar to the activity during September-December 2019. Gas data showed a steady decline in SO2 and CO2 levels, though overall they were still slightly elevated.

Similar activity was reported in March and April; the temperatures of the fumaroles and lava in the Main Crater were 746°C on 10 March, the highest recorded temperature to date. SO2 and CO2 gas emissions remained elevated, though had overall decreased since December 2019. Small-scale water jetting continued to be observed in the vent area. During April, public reports mentioned heightened gas-and-steam activity, but no eruptions were detected. A GeoNet report issued on 16 April stated that high temperatures were apparent in the vent area at night.

Whakaari remained at an elevated state of unrest during May, consisting of dominantly gas-and-steam emissions. Monitoring flights noted that SO2 and CO2 emissions had increased briefly during 20-27 May. On 20 May, the lava lobes remained hot, with temperatures around 500°C; a nighttime glow from the gas emissions surrounding the lava was visible in webcam images. Tremor levels remained low with occasional slightly elevated episodes, which included some shallow-source volcanic earthquakes. Satellite-based measurements recorded several centimeters of subsidence in the ground around the active vent area since December 2019. During a gas observation flight on 28 May there was a short-lived gas pulse, accompanied by an increase in SO2 and CO2 emissions, and minor inflation in the vent area (figure 96).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Photo of a strong gas-and-steam plume rising above Whakaari/White Island on 28 May 2020. Courtesy of GeoNet.

An observation flight made on 3 June reported a decline in gas flux compared to the measurements made on 28 May. Thermal infrared images taken during the flight showed that the lava lobes were still hot, at 450°C, and continued to generate incandescence that was visible at night in webcams. On 16 June the VAL was lowered to 1 (minor volcanic unrest) and on 22 June the Aviation Color Code had decreased to Green.

Minor volcanic unrest continued in July; the level of volcanic tremors has remained generally low, with the exception of two short bursts of moderate volcanic tremors in at the beginning of the month. Temperatures in the active vents remained high (540°C) and volcanic gases persisted at moderate rate, similar to those measured since May, according to an observation flight made during the week of 30 July. Subsidence continued to be observed in the active vent area, as well as along the main crater wall, S and W of the active vents. Recent rainfall has created small ponds of water on the crater floor, though they did not infiltrate the vent areas.

Gas-and-steam emissions persisted during August through October at relatively high rates (figures 97 and 98). A short episode of moderate volcanic tremor was detected in early August, but otherwise seismicity remained low. Updated temperatures of the active vent area were 440°C on 15 September, which had decreased 100°C since July. Rain continued to collect at the crater floor, forming a small lake; minor areas of gas-and-steam emissions can be seen in this lake. Ongoing subsidence was observed on the Main Crater wall and S and W of the 2019 active vents.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Photo of an observation flight over Whakaari/White Island on 8 September 2020 showing white gas-and-steam emissions from the vent area. Photo courtesy of Brad Scott, GeoNet.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Image of Whakaari/White Island from Whakatane in the North Island of New Zealand showing a white gas-and-steam plume on 26 October 2020. Courtesy of GeoNet.

Activity during November was primarily characterized by persistent, moderate-to-large gas-and-steam plumes that drifted downwind for several kilometers but did not reach the mainland. The SO2 flux was 618 tons/day and the CO2 flux was 2,390 tons/day. New observations on 11 November noted some occasional ash deposits on the webcams in conjunction with mainland reports of a darker than usual plume (figure 99). Satellite images provided by MetService, courtesy of the Japan Meteorological Agency, confirmed the ash emission, but later images showed little to no apparent ash; GNS confirmed that no eruptive activity had occurred. Initial analyses indicated that the ash originated from loose material around the vent was being entrained into the gas-and-steam plumes. Observations from an overflight on 12 November showed that there was no substantial change in the location and size of the active vents; rainfall continued to collect on the floor of the 1978/90 Crater, reforming the shallow lake. A small sequence of earthquakes was detected close to the volcano with several episodes of slightly increased volcanic tremors.

During 12-14 November the Wellington VAAC issued multiple advisories noting gas, steam, and ash plumes that rose to 1.5-1.8 km altitude and drifted E and SE, based on satellite data, reports from pilots, and reports from GeoNet. As a result, the VAL was increased to 2 and the Aviation Color Code was raised to Yellow. Scientists on another observation flight on 16 November reported that small amounts of ash continued to be present in gas-and-steam emissions, though laboratory analyses showed that this ash was resuspended material and not from new eruptive or magmatic activity. The SO2 and CO2 flux remained above background levels but were slightly lower than the previous week’s measurements: 710 tons/day and 1,937 tons/day. Seismicity was similar to the previous week, characterized by a sequence of small earthquakes, a larger than normal volcanic earthquake located near the volcano, and ongoing low-level volcanic tremors. During 16-17 November plumes with resuspended ash were observed rising to 460 m altitude, drifting E and NE, according to a VAAC advisory (figure 99). During 20-24 November gas-and-steam emissions that contained a minor amount of resuspended ash rose to 1.2 km altitude and drifted in multiple directions, based on webcam and satellite images and information from GeoNet.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. Left: Photo of a gas observation flight over Whakaari/White Island on 11 November 2020 showing some dark particles in the gas-and-steam plumes, which were deposited on some webcams. Photo has been color corrected and straightened. Courtesy of GeoNet. Right: Photo showing gas, steam, and ash emissions rising above the 2019 Main Crater area on 16 November 2020. Courtesy of GNS Science (17 November 2020 report).

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows a total of eleven low-power thermal anomalies during January to late March 2020; a single weak thermal anomaly was detected in early July (figure 100). The elevated surface temperatures during February-May 2020 were detected in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images in the Main Crater area, occasionally accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions (figure 101). Persistent white gas-and-steam emissions rising above the Main Crater area were observed in satellite imagery on clear weather days and drifting in multiple directions (figure 102). The small lake that had formed due to rainfall was also visible to the E of the active vents.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. Low-power, infrequent thermal activity at Whakaari/White Island was detected during January through late March 2020, as reflected in the MIROVA data (Log Radiative Power). A single thermal anomaly was shown in early July. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images in the Main Crater area of Whakaari/White Island show residual elevated temperatures from the December 2019 eruption, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions and drifting in different directions during February-May 2020. Images using “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. Sentinel-2 images showing persistent white gas-and-steam plumes rising from Main Crater area of Whakaari/White Island during March-November 2020 and drifting in multiple directions. A small pond of water (light blue-green) is visible in the vent area to the E of the plumes. On 11 November (bottom right), the color of the plume is gray and contains a small amount of ash. Images using “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: New Zealand GeoNet Project, a collaboration between the Earthquake Commission and GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.geonet.org.nz/); GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/); Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd (MetService), PO Box 722, Wellington, New Zealand (URL: http://www.metservice.com/vaac/, http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/OTH/NZ/messages.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Brad Scott, GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: https://twitter.com/Eruptn).


Suwanosejima (Japan) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosion rate increases during July-December 2020, bomb ejected 1.3 km from crater on 28 December

Suwanosejima, an andesitic stratovolcano in Japan's northern Ryukyu Islands, was intermittently active for much of the 20th century, producing ash plumes, Strombolian explosions, and ashfall. Continuous activity since October 2004 has included intermittent explosions which generate ash plumes that rise hundreds of meters above the summit to altitudes between 1 and 3 km. Incandescence is often observed at night and ejecta periodically reaches over a kilometer from the summit. Ashfall is usually noted several times each month in the nearby community on the SW flank of the island. Ongoing activity for the second half of 2020, which includes significantly increased activity in December, is covered in this report with information provided by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and several sources of satellite data.

A steady increase in activity was reported during July-December 2020. The number of explosions recorded increased each month from only six during July to 460 during December. The energy of the explosions increased as well; ejecta was reported 600 m from the crater during August, but a large bomb reached 1.3 km from the crater at the end of December. After an increased period of explosions late in December, JMA raised the Alert Level from 2 to 3 on a 5-level scale. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity indicated intermittent anomalies from July through December 2020, with a pulse of activity in the second half of December (figure 48).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. MIROVA thermal activity for Suwanosejima for the period from 3 February through December 2020 shows pulses of activity in February and April, with intermittent anomalies until another period of frequent stronger activity in December. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Six explosions were recorded during July 2020, compared with only one during June. According to JMA, the tallest plume rose 2,000 m above the crater rim. Incandescent ejecta was occasionally observed at night. The Tokyo VAAC reported a number of ash plumes that rose to 1.2-2.7 km altitude and drifted NW and W during the second half of the month (figure 49). Activity increased during August 2020 when thirteen explosions were reported. The Tokyo VAAC reported a few ash plumes during 1-6 August that rose to 1.8-2.4 km altitude and drifted NW; a larger pulse of activity during 18-22 August produced plumes that rose to altitudes ranging from 1.8 to over 2.7 km. Ashfall was reported on 19 and 20 August in the village located 4 km SSW of the crater; incandescence was visible at the summit and ash plumes drifted SW in satellite imagery on 19 August (figure 50). A MODVOLC thermal alert was issued on 19 August. On 21 August a large bomb was ejected 600 m from the Otake crater in an explosion early in the day; later that afternoon, an ash plume rose to more than 2,000 m above the crater rim. During 19-22 August, SO2 emissions were recorded each day by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite (figure 51).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. An ash emission at Suwanosejima rose to 2.7 km altitude and drifted NW on 27 July 2020. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Suwanosejima, July 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Ash drifted SW from the summit crater of Suwanosejima on 19 August 2020 and a bright thermal anomaly was present at the summit. Residents of the village 4 km SW reported ashfall that day and the next. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. A period of increased activity at Suwanosejima during 19-22 August 2020 produced SO2 emissions that were measured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Nishinoshima, was also producing significant SO2 at the same time. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Thirteen explosions were recorded during September 2020, with the highest ash plumes reaching 2,000 m above the crater rim, and bombs falling 400 m from the crater. Ashfall was recorded on 20 September in the community located 4 km SSW. The Tokyo VAAC reported intermittent ash plumes during the month that rose to 1.2-2.1 km altitude and drifted in several directions. Incandescence was frequently observed at night (figure 52). Explosive activity increased during October with 22 explosions recorded. Ash plumes rose over 2,000 m above the crater rim, and bombs reached 700 m from the crater. Steam plumes rose 2,300 m above the crater rim. Ashfall and loud noises were confirmed several times between 2 and 14 October in the nearby village. A MODVOLC thermal alert was issued on 6 October. The Tokyo VAAC reported multiple ash plumes throughout the month; they usually rose to 1.5-2.1 km altitude and drifted in many directions. The plume on 28 October rose to over 2.7 km altitude and was stationary.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Incandescence at night and ash emissions were observed multiple times at Suwanosejima during September and October 2020 including on 21 and 26 September (top) and 29 October 2020. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Suwanosejima, September and October 2020).

Frequent explosions occurred during November 2020, with a sharp increase in the number of explosions to 105 events compared with October. Ash plumes rose to 1,800 m above the crater rim and bombs were ejected 700 m. Occasional ashfall and loud noises were reported from the nearby community throughout the month. Scientists measured no specific changes to the surface temperature around the volcano during an overflight early on 5 November compared with the previous year. At 0818 on 5 November a small ash explosion at the summit crater was photographed by the crew during an observation flight (figure 53). On 12 and 13 November, incandescent ejecta fell 600 m from the crater and ash emissions rose 1,500 m above the crater rim (figure 54).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. A minor explosion produced a small ash plume at Suwanosejima during an overflight by JMA on the morning of 5 November 2020. The thermal activity was concentrated at the base of the explosion (inset). Image taken from off the E coast. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Suwanosejima, November 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. On 12 and 13 November 2020 incandescent ejecta from Suwanosejima reached 600 m from the crater (top) and ash emissions rose 1,500 m above the crater rim (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Suwanosejima, November 2020).

During December 2020 there were 460 explosions reported, a significant increase from the previous months. Ash plumes reached 1,800 m above the summit. Three MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on 25 December and two were issued the next day. The number of explosions increased substantially at the Otake crater between 21 and 29 December, and early on 28 December a large bomb was ejected to 1.3 km SE of the crater (figure 55). A second explosion a few hours later ejected another bomb 1.1 km SE. An overflight later that day confirmed the explosion, and ash emissions were still visible (figure 56), although cloudy weather prevented views of the crater. Ashfall was noted and loud sounds heard in the nearby village. A summary graph of observations throughout 2020 indicated that activity was high from January through May, quieter during June, and then increased again from July through the end of the year (figure 57).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Early on 28 December 2020 a large explosion at Suwanosejima sent a volcanic bomb 1.3 km SE from the summit (bright spot on left flank in large photo). Thermal imaging taken the same day showed the heat at the eruption site and multiple fragments of warm ejecta scattered around the crater area (inset). Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Suwanosejima, December 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Ash emissions were still visible midday on 28 December 2020 at Suwanosejima during a helicopter overflight by the 10th Regional Coast Guard. Image taken from the SW flank of the volcano. Two large explosions earlier in the day had sent ejecta more than a kilometer from the crater. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Suwanosejima, December 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Activity summary for Suwanosejima for January-December 2020 when 764 explosions were recorded. Black bars represent the height of steam, gas, or ash plumes in meters above the crater rim, gray volcano icons represent explosions, usually accompanied by an ash plume, red icons represent large explosions with ash plumes, orange diamonds indicate incandescence observed in webcams. Courtesy of JMA (Suwanosejima volcanic activity annual report, 2020).

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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); NASA 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/).


Karangetang (Indonesia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

2.781°N, 125.407°E; summit elev. 1797 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Hot material on the NW flank in November 2020; intermittent crater thermal anomalies

Karangetang (also known as Api Siau) is located on the island of Siau in the Sitaro Regency, North Sulawesi, Indonesia and consists of two active summit craters: a N crater (Kawah Dua) and a S crater (Kawah Utama, also referred to as the “Main Crater”). More than 50 eruptions have been observed since 1675. The current eruption began in November 2018 and has recently been characterized by frequent incandescent block avalanches, thermal anomalies in the crater, and gas-and-steam plumes (BGVN 45:06). This report covers activity from June through November 2020, which includes dominantly crater anomalies, few ash plumes, and gas-and-steam emissions. Information primarily comes from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM, or the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation), MAGMA Indonesia, and various satellite data.

Activity decreased significantly after mid-January 2020 and has been characterized by dominantly gas-and-steam emissions and occasional ash plumes, according to PVMBG. Daily gas-and-steam emissions were observed rising 25-600 m above the Main Crater (S crater) during the reporting period and intermittent emissions rising 25-300 m above Kawah Dua (N crater).

The only activity reported by PVMBG in June, August, and October was daily gas-and-steam emissions above the Main Crater and Kawah Dua (figure 47). MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows intermittent low-power thermal anomalies during June through late July, which includes a slight increase in power during late July (figure 48). During 14-15 July strong rumbling from Kawah Dua was accompanied by white-gray emissions that rose 150-200 m above the crater. Crater incandescence was observed up to 10 m above the crater. According to webcam imagery from MAGMA Indonesia, intermittent incandescence was observed at night from both craters through 25 July. In a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) issued on 5 September, PVMBG reported an ash plume that rose 800 m above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Webcam image of gas-and-steam plumes rising above the two summit craters at Karangetang on 16 June 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Intermittent low-power thermal anomalies at Karangetang were reported during June through July 2020 with a slight increase in power in late July, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). No thermal activity was detected during August to late October; in mid-November a short episode of increased activity occurred. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Thermal activity increased briefly during mid-November when hot material was reported extending 500-1,000 m NW of the Main Crater, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions rising 200 m above the crater. Corresponding detection of MODIS thermal anomalies was seen in MIROVA graphs (see figure 48), and the MODVOLC system showed alerts on 13 and 15 November. On 16 November blue emissions were observed above the Main Crater drifting W. Sentinel-2 thermal images showed elevated temperatures in both summit craters throughout the reporting period, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions and movement of hot material on the NW flank on 19 November (figure 49). White gas-and-steam emissions rose to a maximum height of 300 m above Kawah Dua on 22 November and 600 m above the Main Crater on 28 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Persistent thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) at Karangetang were detected in both summit craters using Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery during June through November 2020. Gas-and-steam emissions were also occasionally detected in both craters as seen on 17 June (top left) and 20 September (bottom left) 2020. On 19 November (bottom right) the Main Crater (S) showed a hot thermal signature extending NW. Images using “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Karangetang (Api Siau) volcano lies at the northern end of the island of Siau, about 125 km NNE of the NE-most point of Sulawesi island. The stratovolcano contains five summit craters along a N-S line. It is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, with more than 40 eruptions recorded since 1675 and many additional small eruptions that were not documented in the historical record (Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World: Neumann van Padang, 1951). Twentieth-century eruptions have included frequent explosive activity sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows and lahars. Lava dome growth has occurred in the summit craters; collapse of lava flow fronts have produced pyroclastic flows.

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/); 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).


Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevado del Ruiz

Colombia

4.892°N, 75.324°W; summit elev. 5279 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dome growth and ash emissions continue during July-December 2020

Colombia’s broad, glacier-capped Nevado del Ruiz has an eruption history documented back 8,600 years, including documented observations since 1570. Ruiz remained quiet for 20 years after the deadly September 1985-July 1991 eruption until a period of explosive activity from February 2012 into 2013. Renewed activity beginning in November 2014 included ash and gas-and-steam plumes, ashfall, and the appearance of a slowly growing lava dome inside the Arenas crater in August 2015. Additional information has caused a revision to earlier reporting that eruptive activity ended in May 2017 and began again that December (BGVN 44:12); activity appears to have continued throughout 2017 with intermittent ash emissions and thermal evidence of dome growth. Periods of increased thermal activity alternated with periods of increased explosive activity during 2018-2019 and into 2020; SO2 emissions persisted at significant levels. The lava dome has continued to grow through 2020. This report covers ongoing activity from July-December 2020 using information from reports by the Servicio Geologico Colombiano (SGC) and the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales, the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) notices, and various sources of satellite data.

Gas and ash emissions continued throughout July-December 2020; they generally rose to 5.8-6.1 km altitude with the highest reported plume at 6.7 km altitude on 7 December. SGC interpreted repeated episodes of “drumbeat seismicity” as an indication of continued dome growth throughout the period. Satellite thermal anomalies also suggested that dome growth continued. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity suggests that the dome was quiet in July and early August, but small pulses of thermal energy were recorded every few weeks for the remainder of 2020 (figure 115). Plots of the cumulative number and magnitude of seismic events at Nevado del Ruiz between January 2010 and November 2020 show a stable trend with periodic sharp increases in activity or magnitude throughout that time. SGC has adjusted the warning levels over time according to changes in the slope of the curves (figure 116).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 115. Thermal energy shown in the MIROVA graph of log radiative power at Nevado del Ruiz from 3 February 2020 through the end of the year indicates that higher levels of thermal energy lasted through April 2020; a quieter period from late May-early August was followed by low-level persistent anomalies through the end of the year. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 116. Changes in seismic frequency and energy at Nevado del Ruiz have been monitored by SGC for many years. Left: the cumulative number of daily VT, LP-VLP, TR, and HB seismic events, recorded between 1 January 2010 and 30 November 2020. The arrows highlight the days with the highest number of seismic events; the number and type of event is shown under the date. Right: The cumulative VT and HB seismic energy recorded between 1 January 2010 and 30 November 2020. The arrows highlight the days with the highest energy; the local magnitude of the event is shown below the date. SGC has adjusted the warning levels over time (bar across the bottom of each graph) according to changes in the slope of the curves. Courtesy of SGC (INFORME TÉCNICO – OPERATIVO DE LA ACTIVIDAD VOLCÁNICA, SEGMENTO VOLCÁNICO NORTE DE COLOMBIA – NOVIEMBRE DE 2020).

Activity during July-December 2020. Seismic energy increased during July compared to June 2020 with events localized around the Arenas crater. The depth of the seismicity varied from 0.3-7.8 km. Some of these signals were associated with small emissions of gas and ash, which were confirmed through webcams and by reports from officials of the Los Nevados National Natural Park (NNNP). The Washington VAAC reported a possible ash emission on 8 July that rose to 6.1 km altitude and drifted NW. On 21 July a webcam image showed an ash emission that rose to the same altitude and drifted W; it was seen in satellite imagery possibly extending 35 km from the summit but was difficult to confirm due to weather clouds. Short- to moderate-duration (less than 40 minutes) episodes of drumbeat seismicity were recorded on 5, 13, 17, and 21 July. SCG interprets this type of seismic activity as related to the growth of the Arenas crater lava dome. Primarily WNW drifting plumes of steam and SO2 were observed in the webcams daily. The gas was occasionally incandescent at night. The tallest plume of gas and ash reached 1,000 m above the crater rim on 30 July and was associated with a low-energy tremor pulse; it produced ashfall in parts of Manizales and nearby communities (figure 117).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. Images captured by a traditional camera (top) and a thermal camera (bottom) at Nevado del Ruiz showed a small ash emission in the early morning of 30 July 2020. Ashfall was reported in Manizales. The cameras are located 3.7 km W of the Arenas crater. Courtesy of SGC (Emisión de ceniza Volcan Nevado del Ruiz Julio 30 de 2020).

Seismicity increased in August 2020 with respect to July. Some of the LP and TR (tremor) seismicity was associated with small emissions of gas and ash, confirmed by web cameras, park personnel, and the Washington VAAC. The Washington VAAC received a report from the Bogota MWO of an ash emission on 1 August that rose to 6.1 km altitude and drifted NW; it was not visible in satellite imagery. Various episodes of short duration drumbeat seismicity were recorded during the month. The tallest steam and gas plume reached 1,800 m above the rim on 31 August. Despite the fact that in August the meteorological conditions made it difficult to monitor the surface activity of the volcano, three ash emissions were confirmed by SGC.

Seismicity decreased during September 2020 with respect to August. Some of the LP and TR (tremor) seismicity was associated with small emissions of gas and ash, confirmed by web cameras, park personnel and the Washington VAAC. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission on 16 September that rose to 6.1 km altitude and drifted NW. A minor ash emission on 20 September drifted W from the summit at 5.8 km altitude. A possible emission on 23 September drifted NW at 6.1 km altitude for a brief period before dissipating. Two emissions were reported drifting WNW of the summit on 26 September at 5.8 and 5.5 km altitude. Continuous volcanic tremors were registered throughout September, with the higher energy activity during the second half of the month. One episode of drumbeat seismicity on 15 September lasted for 38 minutes and consisted of 25 very low energy earthquakes. Steam and gas plumes reached 1,800 m above the crater rim during 17-28 September (figure 118). Five emissions of ash were confirmed by the webcams and park officials during the month, in spite of difficult meteorological conditions; three of them occurred between 15 and 20 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 118. A dense plume of steam rose from Nevado del Ruiz in the morning of 17 September 2020. Courtesy of Gonzalo.

Seismicity increased during October with respect to September. A few of the LP and tremor seismic events were associated with small emissions of gas and ash, confirmed by web cameras, park personnel, and the Washington VAAC. The Washington VAAC issued advisories of possible ash emissions on 2, 6, 9, 11, 15, 17, 18, and 21 October. The plumes rose to 5.6-6.4 km altitude and drifted primarily W and NW. Steam plumes were visible most days of the month (figure 119). Only a few were visible in satellite data, but most were visible in the webcams. Several episodes of drumbeat seismicity were recorded on 13, 22-25, and 27 October, which were characterized by being of short duration and consisting of very low energy earthquakes. The tallest plume during the month rose about 2 km above the crater rim on 18 October. Ash emissions were recorded eight times during the month by SGC.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. A steam plume mixed with possible ash drifted SE from Nevado del Ruiz on 7 October 2020. Courtesy of vlucho666.

During November 2020, the number of seismic events decreased relative to October, but the amount of energy released increased. Some of the seismicity was associated with small emissions of gas and ash, confirmed by webcams around the volcano. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions on 22 and 30 November; the 22 November event was faintly visible in satellite images and was also associated with an LP seismic event. They rose to 5.8-6.1 km altitude and drifted W. Various episodes of drumbeat seismicity registered during November were short- to moderate-duration, very low energy, and consisted of seismicity associated with rock fracturing (VT). Multiple steam plumes were visible from communities tens of kilometers away (figure 120).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. Multiple dense steam plumes were photographed from communities around Nevado del Ruiz during November 2020, including on 18 (top) and 20 (bottom) November. Top image courtesy of Jose Fdo Cuartas, bottom image courtesy of Efigas Oficial.

Seismic activity increased in December 2020 relative to November. It was characterized by continuous volcanic tremor, tremor pulses, long-period (LP) and very long-period (VLP) earthquakes. Some of these signals were associated with gas and ash emissions, one confirmed through the webcams. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions on 5 and 7 December. The first rose to 5.8 km altitude and drifted NW. The second rose to 6.7 km altitude and drifted W. A single discrete cloud was observed 35 km W of the summit; it dissipated within six hours. Drumbeat seismic activity increased as well in December; the episode on 3 December was the most significant. Steam and gas emissions continued throughout the month; a plume of gas and ash reached 1,700 m above the summit on 20 December, and drifted NW.

Sentinel-2 satellite data showed at least one thermal anomaly inside the Arenas crater each month during August-December 2020, corroborating the seismic evidence that the dome continued to grow throughout the period (figure 121). Sulfur dioxide emissions were persistent, with many days every month recording DU values greater than two with the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5-P satellite (figure 122).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. Thermal anomalies at Nevado del Ruiz were recorded at least once each month during August-December 2020 suggesting continued growth of the dome within the Arenas crater at the summit. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 122. Sulfur dioxide emissions were persistent at Nevado del Ruiz during August-December 2020, with many days every month recording DU values greater than two with the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5-P satellite. Ecuador’s Sangay had even larger SO2 emissions throughout the period. Dates are at the top of each image. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Additional reports of activity during 2017. Activity appears to have continued during June-December 2017. Ash emissions were reported by the Bogota Meteorological Weather Office (MWO) on 13 May, and by SGC on 28 May. During June, some of the recorded seismic events were associated with minor emissions of ash; these were confirmed by webcams and by field reports from both the staff of SGC and the Los Nevados National Natural Park (PNNN). Ash emissions were confirmed in webcams by park officials on 3, 16, and 17 June. Gas emissions from the Arenas crater during July 2017 averaged 426 m above the crater rim, generally lower than during June. The emissions were mostly steam with small amounts of SO2. Emissions were similar during August, with most steam and gas plumes drifting NW. No ash emissions were reported during July or August.

SGC reported steam and gas plumes during September that rose as high as 1,650 m above the crater rim and drifted NW. On 21 September the Washington VAAC received a report of an ash plume that rose to 6.4 km altitude and drifted NNW, although it was not visible in satellite imagery. Another ash emission rising to 6.7 km altitude was reported on 7 October; weather clouds prevented satellite observation. An episode of drumbeat seismicity was recorded on 9 October, the first since April 2017. While SGC did not explicitly mention ash emissions during October, several of the webcam images included in their report show plumes described as containing ash and gas (figure 123).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 123. Plumes of steam, gas, and ash rose from Arenas crater at Nevado del Ruiz most days during October 2017. Photographs were captured by the webcams installed in the Azufrado Canyon and Cerro Gualí areas. Courtesy of SGC (INFORME DE ACTIVIDAD VOLCANICA SEGMENTO NORTE DE COLOMBIA, OCTUBRE DE 2017).

The Washington VAAC received a report from the Bogota MWO of an ash emission that rose to 6.1 km altitude and drifted NE on 8 November 2017. A faint plume was visible in satellite imagery extending 15 km NE from the summit. SGC reported that plumes rose as high as 2,150 m above the rim of Arenas crater during November. The plumes were mostly steam, with minor amounts of SO2. A diffuse plume of ash was photographed in a webcam on 24 November. SGC did not report any ash emissions during December 2017, but the Washington VAAC reported “a thin veil of volcanic ash and gases” visible in satellite imagery and webcams on 18 December that dissipated within a few hours. In addition to the multiple reports of ash emissions between May and December 2017, Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery recorded at least one image each month during June-December showing a thermal anomaly at the summit consistent with the slowly growing dome first reported in August 2015 (figure 124).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 124. Thermal anomalies from the growing dome inside Arenas crater at the summit of Nevado del Ruiz appeared at least once each month from June-December 2017. A strong anomaly was slightly obscured by clouds on 3 June (top left). On 2 August, a steam plume obscured most of the crater, but a small thermal anomaly is visible in its SE quadrant (top right). Strong anomalies on 30 November and 20 December (bottom) have a ring-like form suggestive of a growing dome. Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Nevado del Ruiz is a broad, glacier-covered volcano in central Colombia that covers more than 200 km2. Three major edifices, composed of andesitic and dacitic lavas and andesitic pyroclastics, have been constructed since the beginning of the Pleistocene. The modern cone consists of a broad cluster of lava domes built within the caldera of an older edifice. The 1-km-wide, 240-m-deep Arenas crater occupies the summit. The prominent La Olleta pyroclastic cone located on the SW flank may also have been active in historical time. Steep headwalls of massive landslides cut the flanks. Melting of its summit icecap during historical eruptions, which date back to the 16th century, has resulted in devastating lahars, including one in 1985 that was South America's deadliest eruption.

Information Contacts: MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); 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/); Gonzalo (URL: https://twitter.com/chaloc22/status/1306581929651843076); Jose Fdo Cuartas (URL: https://twitter.com/JoseFCuartas/status/1329212975434096640); Vlucho666 (URL: https://twitter.com/vlucho666/status/1313791959954268161); Efigas Oficial (URL: https://twitter.com/efigas_oficial/status/1329780287920873472).


Ibu (Indonesia) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Ibu

Indonesia

1.488°N, 127.63°E; summit elev. 1325 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Persistent daily ash emissions and thermal anomalies, July-December 2020

Mount Ibu is an active stratovolcano located along the NW coast of Halmahera Island in Indonesia. After a two-day eruption in 1911, Ibu was quiet until 1998-1999 when explosions produced ash emissions, a lava flow and dome growth began inside the summit crater. Although possible dome growth occurred in 2001 and 2004, little activity was reported until ash emissions began in April 2008. These were followed by thermal anomalies beginning the next month; ash emissions and dome growth have continued for 12 years and the dome now fills the summit crater (BGVN 45:07). Activity continued throughout 2020, consisting of frequent white-and-gray emissions, ash explosions, ash plumes, and small lava flows. This report updates activity through December 2020, using data from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and various satellite instruments.

Activity throughout July-December 2020 was very consistent and similar to activity reported earlier in the year. Tens of daily explosions produced white and gray ash emissions that rose 200-800 m above the summit (figure 25). Occasional larger explosions were reported in VONAs and VAAC notices. The MIROVA graph of log radiative power for the period shows consistent thermal anomalies the entire time (figure 26). Satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 identified thermal anomalies inside the summit crater every month, usually a larger central one and a smaller one to the NW, suggesting continued dome growth and lava flow activity (figure 27).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Between 60 and 90 explosions occurred most days at Ibu during 1 July-31 December 2020. White and gray plumes rose 200-800 m above the summit crater every day. Data courtesy of PVMBG daily reports.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. The MIROVA graph of Log Radiative Power at Ibu from 3 February through December 2020 indicated a constant ongoing heat source from the summit of the crater. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Thermal anomalies persisted at the summit of Ibu throughout July-December 2020. One central anomaly was usual accompanied by a smaller one slightly NW of the central spot. Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11a, and 8), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The Darwin VAAC observed multiple minor ash emissions in satellite imagery drifting W on 6 July 2020 at 1.8 km altitude. A series of discrete puffs of ash were observed on 15 July also at 1.8 km altitude drifting W. Ongoing minor emissions were discernible on visible and RGB imagery at 2.1 km altitude drifting W on 20 July. On 30 July ash plumes rose to 1.8 km altitude drifted NW and a hotspot was present at the summit. A single MODVOLC alert was issued on 8 July. Single MODVOLC alerts were also issued on 11, 18, and 27 August 2020. PVMBG issued a VONA on 5 August, reporting an ash cloud that rose to 1.8 km altitude and drifted N (figure 28). The Darwin VAAC reported an ash emission later that day that rose to 4.3 km altitude and drifted NW for several hours before dissipating. Multiple discrete emissions were identified in satellite imagery drifting N at 2.1 km altitude on 11 August; they dissipated quickly. During 22-25 August intermittent ash emissions rose to 1.5-1.8 km altitude and drifted NW and W. Minor continuous emissions were again reported on 28 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Ash plumes rose from the summit of Ibu many days during July and August 2020, including on 8 July (top) and 5 August (bottom). Courtesy of PVMBG.

Many ash emissions during September and October 2020 were not accompanied by VONAs or VAAC advisories (figure 29). PVMBG issued a VONA on 20 September for an ash emission that rose to 1.5 km altitude and drifted N. Continuous discrete ash emissions over several days drifted SW to NW during 25-29 September at 1.8-2.1 km altitude, as reported in multiple VONAs and VAAC advisories. Single MODVOLC alerts were issued on 26 and 30 September. The Darwin VAAC issued an ash advisory on 8 October for intermittent ash emissions rising to 2.1 km altitude and drifting NW. A single MODVOLC alert was issued the next day. On 20 October ash emissions again rose to 2.1 km altitude and drifted NE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Ash emissions at Ibu were photographed in webcams on 6 September (left) and 12 October (right) 2020. Courtesy of PVMBG.

The Darwin VAAC reported intermittent ash emissions to 1.8 km altitude during 3-5, 12-13, 18-19, and 22 November 2020 that drifted SSW for several hours before dissipating. PVMBG also issued a VONA for an ash cloud on 27 November that rose to 2.1 km altitude and drifted W. They reported faint rumbling at the PGA Ibu station on 10 November and loud rumbling on 16 and 18 November. During December, minor ash emissions rose to 1.8-2.1 km altitude and drifted E on 4 and 6 December, SW on 11 December, and SE on 12-13 December. PVMBG issued a VONA on 19 December for a white to gray ash cloud drifting N at 1.7 km altitude. Single MODVOLC alerts were issued on 10, 13, and 22 December. Numerous ash emissions were captured by the webcams (figure 30).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. Ash emissions at Ibu were recorded in webcams on 17 November (top) and 5 December (bottom) 2020. Courtesy of PVMBG.

Geologic Background. The truncated summit of Gunung Ibu stratovolcano along the NW coast of Halmahera Island has large nested summit craters. The inner crater, 1 km wide and 400 m deep, contained several small crater lakes through much of historical time. The outer crater, 1.2 km wide, is breached on the north side, creating a steep-walled valley. A large parasitic cone is located ENE of the summit. A smaller one to the WSW has fed a lava flow down the W flank. A group of maars is located below the N and W flanks. Only a few eruptions have been recorded in historical time, the first a small explosive eruption from the summit crater in 1911. An eruption producing a lava dome that eventually covered much of the floor of the inner summit crater began in December 1998.

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


Etna (Italy) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian explosions and ash plumes persist from multiple craters during August-November 2020

Etna, on the island of Sicily, Italy, and has had documented eruptions dating back 3,500 years. Its most recent eruptive period began in September 2013 and has continued through November 2020, characterized by frequent Strombolian explosions, effusive activity, and ash plumes. Activity has commonly originated from the summit areas, including the Northeast Crater (NEC), the Voragine-Bocca Nuova (or Central) complex (VOR-BN), the Southeast Crater (SEC, formed in 1978), and the New Southeast Crater (NSEC, formed in 2011). The newest crater, referred to as the "cono della sella" (saddle cone), emerged during early 2017 in the area between SEC and NSEC. This report from August through November 2020 updates activity consisting of frequent Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, summit crater incandescence, degassing, and some ashfall based on information primarily from weekly reports by the Osservatorio Etneo (OE), part of the Catania Branch of Italy's Istituo Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologica (INGV).

Summary of activity during August-November 2020. Intra-crater Strombolian explosions that varied in frequency and intensity throughout the reporting period, and the accompanying ash emissions that rose to a maximum altitude of 4.5 km, primarily originated from the Northeast Crater (NEC), the New Southeast Crater (NSEC), and intermittently from the Voragine Crater (VOR). Degassing of variable intensity typically occurred at the VOR and the Bocca Nuova (BN) Crater. At night, occasional summit crater incandescence was visible in webcam images, accompanied by explosions and gas-and-ash emissions. On 14 August strong Strombolian explosions produced an ash plume that rose to 4.5 km altitude and drifted SE, resulting in ashfall between Pedara, Trecastagni, and Viagrande. INGV reported that the central pit crater at the bottom of BN continued to widen, and on 9 September scientists observed that a new pit crater had formed NW of the central depression and was widening due to crater wall collapses. During late October to 1 November, INGV reported that small lava flows originated from scoria cones in the NEC and were visible from the edge of the crater but did not spill over.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows frequent thermal activity of varying strength throughout the reporting period (figure 308). In late October, the frequency of the thermal anomalies increased, and continued through November. According to the MODVOLC thermal algorithm, a total of 31 alerts were detected in the summit craters during August through November; thermal anomalies were reported for five days in August, four days in September, four days in October, and eight days in November. Frequent Strombolian activity contributed to distinct SO2 plumes that drifted in multiple directions (figure 309).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 308. Strong and frequent thermal activity at Etna was detected during August through November 2020, as reflected in the MIROVA data (Log Radiative Power). Beginning in late October, the frequency of the thermal anomalies increased compared to the previous months. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 309. Distinct SO2 plumes from Etna were detected on multiple days during August to November 2020 due to frequent Strombolian explosions, including 29 August (top left), 8 September (top right), 1 October (bottom left), and 11 November (bottom right) 2020. SO2 plumes were observed drifting in multiple directions. Captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Activity during August-September 2020. During August, INGV reported intra-crater Strombolian explosions in the NEC, VOR, and NSEC (including the cono della sella) craters, which produced discontinuous ash emissions rising above each crater (figure 310). Gas-and-steam emissions were the dominant activity in the BN crater. INGV noted that the central pit crater on the floor of BN had been gradually widening since April. On 2 August a slight increase in explosivity resulted in minor ashfall in Trecastagni and Acicastello. Explosive activity occasionally ejected material above the crater rim up to several tens of meters. On the morning of 7 August incandescent Strombolian activity was visible in the NSEC (figure 311). During the evening of 10-11 August surveillance cameras showed the explosions ejecting incandescent material on the surrounding flanks. On 14 August intense Strombolian activity in the saddle cone of the NSEC produced an ash plume that rose to 4-4.5 km altitude and drifted SE, resulting in ashfall between Pedara, Trecastagni, and Viagrande. By the evening activity had sharply declined, according to a VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) report, though sporadic ash emissions continued. A new series of ash emissions associated with explosions of varying intensity began on 15 August in the NSEC. A resulting ash plume rose to 4-4.5 km altitude and drifted ESE. On 17 August gas-and-steam emissions were seen rising above the VOR crater, accompanied by persistent Strombolian explosions. Between the afternoon and early morning of 20-21 August surveillance cameras showed an increased intensity and frequency of ash emissions above the NSEC and NEC that rose to 4-4.5 km altitude and drifted SSE. INGV-OE scientists reported minor ashfall in Trecastagni, Viagrande, and Catania. During 24-30 August ground observers reported that the intra-crater explosions in the NEC originated from two explosive vents; the BN crater exhibited gas-and-steam emissions from the central pit crater, which continued to widen. During 25-26 August explosive activity increased at the NSEC with ash emissions rising to 4.5 km and drifting SSE, which resulted in modest ashfall in Catania, Viagrande, and Trecastagni; by morning, the volume of ash emissions had decreased, though explosions persisted. During 28-29 August discontinuous and modest ash emissions originating from the NSEC rose 4.5 km altitude drifting E and ENE but did not result in ashfall. Emissions had stopped by 1747 on 29 August, though intense gas-and-steam emissions continued, occasionally accompanied by mild explosive activity (figure 312).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 310. An ash plume accompanied Strombolian explosions at Etna on 3 August (top left) and 4 August (top right) and as seen from the Montagnola (EMOV) thermal camera in the NSEC. Continuous Strombolian activity and summit crater incandescence was observed on 7 August (bottom left); an ash plume was visible in the Monte Cagliato surveillance camera during the day on 9 August (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 33/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 03/08/2020 – 09/08/2020, data emissione 11/08/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 311. Strombolian explosions and summit crater incandescence was observed at Etna’s New Southeast Crater (NSEC “cono della sella”) during the early morning of 7 August 2020 seen from Tremestieri Etneo. Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 312. Photo of the S edge of the Bocca Nuova Crater at Etna on 29 August 2020 showing degassing in the pit crater. The main scoria cone within the Voragine Crater is visible in the background. Courtesy of INGV (Report 36/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 24/08/2020 – 30/08/2020, data emissione 01/09/2020).

Strombolian activity of varying intensity continued in the NSEC and NEC during September, producing sporadic ash emissions (figure 313). The BN and VOR craters were characterized by gas-and-steam emissions. Explosions in the NSEC ejected coarse pyroclastic material above the crater rim several tens of meters, some of which were deposited on the S flank, and accompanied by sporadic ash emissions; these explosions continued to widen the depression in the saddle cone of the NSEC. Intermittent nighttime crater incandescence was observed in the NSEC. Sporadic and weak ash emissions were observed in the VOR. On 9 September INGV scientists reported intense degassing from the center pit crater in the BN. To the NW of this center depression, a new pit crater had formed and began to widen due to the collapse of the crater walls (figure 314). On 26 September explosions in the NSEC produced an ash plume that rose to 4 km altitude and drifted E, though no ashfall was reported.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 313. Webcam image showing explosions in the New Southeast Crater and resulting ash emissions on 1 September 2020. Courtesy of INGV (Report 37/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 31/08/2020 – 06/09/2020, data emissione 08/09/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 314. Photos of the bottom of the W edge of the Bocca Nuova Crater at Etna on 9 September 2020. Gas-and-steam emissions are visible rising above the pit crater in the background. In the foreground a new pit crater had formed to the NW of the central pit crater (yellow dotted line). Photo was taken from the S edge of the BN crater. Courtesy of INGV (Report 38/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 07/09/2020 – 13/09/2020, data emissione 15/09/2020).

Activity during October-November 2020. Similar variable Strombolian activity continued into October in the NSEC (cono della sella) and NEC; isolated and weak ash emissions were visible in the VOR crater and gas-and-steam emissions continued in both the VOR and BN craters. On 1 October an increase in explosive activity in the NSEC occurred around 0800, which produced an ash plume rising to 4.5 km altitude, drifting E. Ash emissions on 3 October were mostly confined to the summit crater, but some drifted toward the Valle del Bove. On 7 October Strombolian explosions in the NSEC generated an ash plume that rose to 4.5 km altitude drifting E and ESE. INGV personnel reported ashfall as a result in the Citelli Refuge. On 9 October drone observations showed at least three active scoria cones on the floor of the NEC with diameters of 30-40 m and heights of 10 m; a fourth vent was later reported in November (figure 315). INGV reported that activity characterized by Strombolian explosions and spatter was fed by these vents, accompanied by intense intra-crater fumarolic activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 315. Map of the summit craters of Etna showing the active vents and the area of cooled lava flows (light green) updated on 9 October 2020. The base is modified from a 2014 DEM created by Laboratorio di Aerogeofisica-Sezione Roma 2. The hatch marks indicate the crater rims: BN = Bocca Nuova; VOR = Voragine; NEC = North East Crater; SEC = South East Crater; NSEC = New South East Crater. Red circles indicate areas with ash emissions and/or Strombolian activity, yellow circles indicate steam and/or gas emissions only. Courtesy of INGV (Report 44/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 19/10/2020 – 25/10/2020, data emissione 27/10/2020).

During 12-18 October surveillance cameras captured incandescence in the NEC and pyroclastic material seen during more intense explosions. During the week of 19-25 October several thermal anomalies were detected on the NEC and BN crater floor. Particularly at night, thermal and surveillance cameras observed incandescent ejecta rising above the NSEC (figure 316). On 23 October a helicopter overflight along the W side of Etna showed continued explosions at the NSEC, which produced both ash emissions and incandescent shreds of lava. An associated ash plume rose to 4.5 km altitude and drifted SSE. Sporadic ash emissions were also observed in the BN crater (figure 316). During 26 October to 1 November occasional Strombolian activity resumed in the VOR which ejected material over the crater rim. The BN crater activity was characterized by small intra-crater collapses and consequent ash emissions. In the NEC, similar explosive activity persisted with the addition of small lava flows from the scoria cones, which were visible from the crater edge, though activity remained confined to the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 316. Photos showing Strombolian activity at the New Southeast Crater at Etna on 25 October 2020 (top left); ash emissions were observed during 22 October 2020 (top right). Ash emissions rose above the Bocca Nuova Crater on 22 October (bottom left) and weak ash emissions were seen above the Voragine Crater on 22 October (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 44/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 19/10/2020 – 25/10/2020, data emissione 27/10/2020).

Activity in November continued with variable Strombolian explosions accompanied by discontinuous ash emissions from the NSEC, NEC, and BN. During more intense explosions, ejecta reached several tens of meters above the crater, sometimes falling just outside the crater rim. Intensive degassing in the BN crater revealed occasional reddish ash in the new W pit crater that formed in September. The central pit crater was primarily characterized by intense gas-and-steam emissions and intra-crater wall collapses. Four vents were observed on the bottom of the NEC during 2-8 November, though only three of them produced Strombolian explosions, the fourth was quiet. On 5 November Strombolian explosions in BN originated from the W pit crater; coarser material was ejected above the pit crater rim. By 12 November Strombolian activity had decreased, explosions in the BN had deposited material on the S flank. Out of the three active NEC scoria cones, only one was continuously exploding, the second had discontinuous explosions, and the third was primarily emitting gas-and-steam. On 15 November faint ash emissions from the E side of the NSEC were observed (figure 317). On 20 November sporadic explosive activity continued from the NSEC and BN, the former of which occasionally ejected material above the crater rim (figure 318).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 317. Webcam images of the New Southeast Crater at Etna on 14 (left) and 15 (right) November 2020 showing Strombolian activity in the cono della sella (left) and the E vent shown by the black arrow (right). Images were taken by the Montagnola webcam. Courtesy of INGV (Report 47/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 09/11/2020 – 15/11/2020, data emissione 17/11/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 318. Drone image of the New Southeast Crater at Etna on 21 November 2020 showing an ash plume rising above the inner crater rim (black line). Fallout is visible within the crater rim (small red circles). Courtesy of INGV (Report 48/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 16/11/2020 – 21/11/2020, data emissione 24/11/2020).

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

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


Copahue (Chile-Argentina) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Copahue

Chile-Argentina

37.856°S, 71.183°W; summit elev. 2953 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruption in June-October 2020 with crater incandescence, ash plumes, and local ashfall

Copahue is an elongated composite cone located along the Chile-Argentina border. The E summit crater consists of an acidic 300-m-wide crater lake which is characterized by intense fumarolic activity. Previous activity consisted of continuous gas-and-ash emissions during early November 2019, accompanied by nighttime incandescence, minor SO2 plumes, and the reappearance of the lake in the El Agrio crater during early December 2019 (BGVN 45:03). This report, covering March-November 2020, describes an eruption with gas-and-ash plumes from mid-June through late October, accompanied by thermal anomalies visible in satellite imagery and small SO2 plumes. Primary information for this report comes from the Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN) Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), the Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Activity during March-May 2020 was relatively low and consisted primarily of seismicity, sulfur dioxide emissions, and occasional white gas-and-steam emissions rising 300-900 m above the El Agrio crater. On 20 March a series of volcano-tectonic seismic events were detected SSW of the volcano; satellite images showed a decrease in the size of the crater lake. SO2 emissions had daily averages of 487-636 tons, with the highest value reaching 1,884 tons/day on 16 May. During April slight subsidence was reported in the crater, occurring at a maximum rate of 0.3 cm/month.

Activity during most of June and July consisted of occasional white gas-and-steam emissions rising 350-500 m above the El Agrio crater and SO2 emissions averaging 592-1,950 tons/day; a high value of 1,897 tons/day was reported on 13 June. However, on 16 June a period of increased seismicity was accompanied by crater incandescence and gas emissions containing some ash. SO2 plumes increased slightly in July with values of 2,100 and 1,713 tons/day on 2 and 4 July, respectively. Another ash plume was observed by local residents on 16 July, accompanied by elevated seismicity and SO2 emissions of 4,684 tons/day. On 20 July residents of La Araucanía described an odor that indicated hydrogen sulfide gas emissions. A photo on 23 July showed an ash plume rising above the crater (figure 55).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Photo of a gas-and-ash plume rising from Copahue on 23 July 2020. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina.

Beginning in early August, and continuing through September 2020, the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity graph provided by the MIROVA system identified a small cluster of thermal anomalies in the summit area (figure 56). Thermal anomalies during this time were also captured in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery, showing a persistent hotspot of varying strength in the summit crater (figure 57). This thermal activity was accompanied by small sulfur dioxide plumes identified by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite, which exceeded two Dobson Units (DU). Distinct SO2 emissions greater than two DUs were detected on 6, 11, 21, 22, and 29 August, 1 and 6 September, and 4 and 15 October (figure 58).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. A small cluster of thermal anomalies were detected in the summit area of Copahue (red dots) during early August through September 2020 as recorded by the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity data (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed a thermal anomaly (bright yellow-orange) at Copahue during August-October 2020. Images using “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Small SO2 plumes were recorded at Copahue during August-October 2020. Top row: 11 August and 1 September 2020. Bottom row: 6 September and 15 October 2020. Courtesy of the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

During August, approximately 133 explosive events were detected, in addition to the gas-and-steam and SO2 emissions (figure 59). On 3 August pulses of ash emissions were reported by SERNAGEOMIN, which resulted in a 2.2-km-long tephra deposit estimated to have a volume of 1 km3. Gray gas-and-ash emissions were observed on 6 August, followed by a thermal anomaly detected in satellite imagery beginning on 8 August. Sulfur dioxide emissions were elevated compared to previous months, measuring an average of 2,641 tons/day with high values of 4,498 tons/day on 12 August that increased to 4,627 tons/day by 27 August. During 16-31 August webcams recorded gas-and-ash plumes rising as high as 1.7 km altitude and were sometimes accompanied by nighttime crater incandescence. Plumes drifted in multiple directions as far as 4.3 km N, 9 km NE, 8 km E, 4 km SE, 4 km SW, 9 km W, and 4.4 km NW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Photo of a white gas-and-steam plume rising from Copahue on 12 August 2020. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina.

Elevated activity continued into September with 2-10 explosive events detected during the month; during 1-15 September webcams recorded gas-and-ash plumes rising to 1.1 km altitude, drifting 6-15 km SW and SE, which were sometimes accompanied by nighttime crater incandescence (figure 60). On 7 September a Buenos Aires VAAC advisory reported an ash plume rising to 3.7 km altitude drifting SE. On 11 September a webcam showed a weak gas emission, possibly containing some ash. Three episodes of gas-and-steam plumes were reported, rising 100-1,040 m above the crater, sometimes accompanied by incandescence. SO2 emissions were in the 1,499-1,714 tons/day range, with a high value of 4,522 tons/day on 28 September. SERNAGEOMIN reported repetitive explosions in the acid lake area alongside fumarolic activity, ejecting some material 1.7 km N, 1.2 km SE, and 4 km E of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. Photos of gas-and-steam plumes rising from Copahue on 6 September (top) and 28 September (bottom) 2020. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina.

Persistent activity in October consisted of gas-and-steam plumes, ash emissions, and SO2 emissions. The gas-and-steam plumes rose 1.4 km above the crater, occasionally accompanied by nighttime incandescence. On 5 October the SO2 emissions were at a high value of 3,824 tons/day. During 12-15 October ash emissions resulted in a wide distribution of ashfall that reached 6.8 km NE, 7 km SE, and 6.7 km SW (figure 61). A pilot reported an ash plume rose to 3.7 km altitude drifting SE, according to a VAAC advisory, though the plume was not visible in satellite data. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery recorded strong gas-and-ash plumes during August-October, drifting generally S and E, which resulted in ash deposits on the nearby flanks (figure 62). Continued emissions had covered all of the flanks with ash by late October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. Photos of a gas-and-ash plume rising from Copahue on 13 October (top) and 15 October (bottom) 2020. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Sentinel-2 images showing ash gas-and-ash plumes rising from Copahue during August-October 2020, resulting in some ashfall in the nearby areas. The ash plume on 31 August (top left) is drifting S with ashfall observed on the N and S flanks. The ash plume on 7 September (top right) is drifting SE with ashfall on the E and S flanks. The ash plume on 27 September (bottom left) is drifting E and N with ashfall on the NE flanks. The ash plume on 20 October (bottom right) is drifting S with ashfall on all the flanks due to continued activity. Images using “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Similar activity during November decreased, primarily characterized by gas-and-steam plumes and SO2 emissions. White gas-and-steam emissions, possibly with some ash content, were observed with a webcam on 9 and 12 November, accompanied by low but continuous seismicity. During 11-12 November SO2 emissions were at a high value of 904 tons/day. A white gas-and-steam plume was observed on 15 November rising 760 m above the crater; typical degassing rose 200-300 m above the crater, according to SERNAGEOMIN. The daily average of SO2 emissions ranged 366-582 tons.

Geologic Background. Volcán Copahue is an elongated composite cone constructed along the Chile-Argentina border within the 6.5 x 8.5 km wide Trapa-Trapa caldera that formed between 0.6 and 0.4 million years ago near the NW margin of the 20 x 15 km Pliocene Caviahue (Del Agrio) caldera. The eastern summit crater, part of a 2-km-long, ENE-WSW line of nine craters, contains a briny, acidic 300-m-wide crater lake (also referred to as El Agrio or Del Agrio) and displays intense fumarolic activity. Acidic hot springs occur below the eastern outlet of the crater lake, contributing to the acidity of the Río Agrio, and another geothermal zone is located within Caviahue caldera about 7 km NE of the summit. Infrequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions from the crater lake have ejected pyroclastic rocks and chilled liquid sulfur fragments.

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); 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/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue, Caviahue, Argentina (URL: https://twitter.com/valecaviahue, Twitter: @valecaviahue).


Masaya (Nicaragua) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake continues accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions during June-November 2020

Masaya, located in Nicaragua, includes the Nindirí, San Pedro, and San Juan craters, as well as the currently active Santiago crater. The Santiago crater has contained an active lava lake since December 2015 (BGVN 41:08), and often produces gas-and-steam emissions. Similar activity is described in this report which updates information from June through November 2020 using reports from the Instituto Nicareguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) and various satellite data.

Volcanism at Masaya has been relatively quiet and primarily characterized by an active lava lake and gas-and-steam emissions. From January to November 2020 there were 8,551 seismic events recorded. A majority of these events were described as low-frequency earthquakes, though a few were classified as volcano-tectonic. MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed few low-power thermal anomalies during June through November (figure 87). A small cluster of low-power thermal activity was detected in July and consisted of seven thermal anomalies out of a total of thirteen thermal anomalies recorded during the reporting period. Thermal activity was also observed in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery, which showed a constant thermal anomaly in the Santiago crater at the lava lake during July through October, occasionally accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume (figure 88). Small and intermittent sulfur dioxide emissions appeared in satellite data during each month of the reporting period, excluding July, some of which exceeded two Dobson Units (DU) (figure 89). On 6 July, 11 and 13 August, 7 September, during October, and 9 and 13 November, INETER scientists took SO2 measurements by making several transects using a mobile DOAS spectrometer that sampled for gases downwind of the volcano. Average values during these months were 1,202 tons/day (t/d), 1,383 t/d, 2,089 t/d, 950 t/d, and 819 t/d, respectively, with the highest average reported in September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Few thermal anomalies were detected at Masaya between June and November 2020 with a small cluster of thermal activity in July. A total of thirteen low-power thermal anomalies were shown on the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power) during the reporting period. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed the active lava lake at the summit crater of Masaya during July through October 2020, occasionally accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions, as seen on 27 July (top left) and 30 September (bottom left). Images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Intermittent sulfur dioxide emissions were captured from Masaya during June through November 2020 by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. These images show SO2 emissions reaching up to 2 Dobson Units (DU). Top left: 9 June 2020. Top right: 23 August 2020. Bottom left: 7 September 2020. Bottom right: 15 November 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

During June and July persistent gas-and-steam emissions were reported rising above the open lava lake in the Santiago crater (figure 90). On 20 June INETER scientists measured the gases on the S side, inside the Nindirí crater (SW side), and La Cruz (NW side). A perceptible gas-and-steam plume was noted rising above the Nindirí crater and drifting W. Crater wall collapses were observed on the E wall of the Santiago crater; the lava lake remained, but the level of the lake had decreased compared to previous months. During July, thermal measurements were taken of the fumaroles and near the lava lake using a FLIR SC620 thermal camera. INETER reported that the temperature measured 576°C, which had significantly increased from 163°C noted in the previous month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Images of the lava lake at Masaya during June 2020, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions (left) and a gas-and-steam plume rising above the Santiago crater (right). Courtesy of INETER (Boletín Sismológico, Vulcanológico y Geológico Junio, 2020).

Small crater wall collapses were detected on the NW and E wall of the Santiago crater, accompanied by abundant gas-and-steam emissions during August (figure 91). On 7 August thermal measurements were taken of the fumaroles and near the lava lake, which showed another temperature increase to 771°C. Continuous collapse of the crater walls began to excavate depressions in the crater floor and along the walls. Similar activity was observed in September with abundant gas-and-steam emissions in the Santiago crater, as well as collapses of the E wall (figure 91). Temperature measurements taken during this month had decreased slightly compared to August, to 688°C.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Photos of the Santiago crater at Masaya during August (left) and September (right) 2020 showing a) an internal collapse on the N wall of the crater floor; b) an internal collapse on the S wall of the crater floor, forming a depression; c) newly excavated crater floor due to wall collapses; and d) an internal collapse on the S wall. In September a significant amount of gas-and-steam emissions originating from the N side of the crater were observed compared to the previous months. Courtesy of INETER (Boletín Sismológico, Vulcanológico y Geológico Agosto and Septiembre, 2020).

Activity in October and November remained consistent with continued wall collapses in the Santiago crater, particularly on the S and E wall, due to fractures in the rocks and erosion, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. INETER reported that the level of the lava lake had decreased due to continuous internal wall collapses, which had caused some obstruction in the lava lake and allowed for material to accumulate within the crater. On 9 October thermal measurements were taken of the fumaroles and near the lava lake using a FLIR SC620 thermal camera (figure 92). The temperature had increased again compared to September, to 823°C. By 26 November, the temperature had decreased slightly to 800°C, though activity remained similar.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Thermal measurements of the active lava lake and fumaroles taken in the Santiago crater at Masaya on 1 October 2020 with a FLIR SC620 thermal camera. Temperatures reached up to 823°C. Courtesy of INETER (Boletín Sismológico, Vulcanológico y Geológico Octubre, 2020).

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni/); 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/); NASA 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).


Nevados de Chillan (Chile) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevados de Chillan

Chile

36.868°S, 71.378°W; summit elev. 3180 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent explosions, a lava flow on the N flank, and lava dome growth during July-October 2020

Nevados de Chillán, located in the Chilean Central Andes, is a volcanic complex composed of late-Pleistocene to Holocene stratovolcanoes. On 8 January 2016 an explosion created the Nicanor Crater on the NW flank of Volcán Viejo. Recent activity consists of explosions, ash plumes, pyroclastic flows, and a new lava dome in the Nicanor Crater (BGVN 45:07). This report covers July through October 2020; activity is characterized by frequent explosions, ash plumes, a lava flow on the N flank, and continued lava dome growth. The primary source of information comes from the Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)-Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), the Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and satellite data.

Since 27 June webcams have showed an active lava flow that originated from the Nicanor Crater and descended the N flank. Activity during July consisted of 210-473 volcano-tectonic seismic events and 565-614 explosive events. Ash plumes rising 1.1-1.2 km above the crater and were accompanied by day and nighttime incandescence on the E edge of the Nicanor Crater. Due to these explosions, SERNAGEOMIN reported that tephra and other pyroclastic deposits were deposited within 400 m to the E of the crater. On 1 July a Buenos Aires VAAC advisory reported that a webcam showed ash emissions rising to 4.3 km altitude. Continuous explosions the next day produced ash plumes that rose 500 m above the crater. During 1-2 July the active lava flow had reached 40 m long and descended at a rate of 0.2 m3 per second. On 6 July an explosion at 0837 generated a gas-and-ash plume that rose 1.2 km above the crater and drifted SE; sporadic ash emissions were also observed on 7 July, according to a VAAC advisory. SERNAGEOMIN webcams showed that the lava flow that began on 27 June continued down the N flank, while a new lobe 55-194 m long moved toward the NE flank of Nicanor Crater. Gas plumes were also observed rising above the active crater, as noted on 20 July (figure 63). On 29 July weak ash emissions rose 3.9 km altitude and drifted SE, according to a VAAC report. During that day, the volume of the lava dome measured 400,000 m3 and grew at a rate of 0.1 m3 per second. Throughout the month, the lava flow continued to descend the N flank of the Nicanor Crater, reaching 520 m at a rate of 0.7-0.6 m per hour. Some unconsolidated blocks up to a meter in size detached from the front of the flow and moved up to 240 m. Sulfur dioxide emissions during the month averaged 823 tons/day with a high value of 1,815 tons/day reported on 29 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. A white gas-and-steam plume was observed at Nevados de Chillán on 20 July 2020. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN webcam, posted by Volcanology Chile.

During August SERNAGEOMIN reported 68-75 volcano-tectonic seismic events and 497-578 explosive events, the latter of which ejected material as far as 300 m E and NE from Nicanor Crater. Associated ash plumes rose 800-980 m above the crater and were accompanied by day and nighttime crater incandescence. The lava dome continued to grow during the month, reaching a thickness of 41 m, according to SERNAGEOMIN. SO2 emissions were an average value of 134-205 tons/day with a high value of 245 tons/day reported on 3 August. On 15 August a VAAC advisory reported weak and sporadic gas-and-ash emissions at the summit; on 20 August a hotspot was detected in satellite imagery, though an ash plume was not observed. The active lava flow on the N flank extended 490-495 m and moved at a rate of 0.07-0.06 m per hour. On 31 August a webcam showed an ash plume rising above the volcano, accompanied by the advancing lava flow on the N flank (figure 64).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. An explosion at Nevados de Chillán produced an ash plume on 31 August 2020. A lava flow accompanies the ash plume on the N flank. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

Similar activity continued into September, with 45-48 volcano-tectonic and 591-621 explosive events. Ash plumes rose to 1.5 km above the crater and were accompanied by day and nighttime incandescence on the E edge of Nicanor Crater. During 1-15 September explosions at the lava dome produced ash plumes that rose to less than 1.5 km altitude, resulting in ashfall within 300 m E and NE of the crater; ejecta from larger explosions was also observed to the ESE. Satellite images showed partial destruction of the lava dome as well as loss of some material due to successive explosions at the beginning of the month. Overall, the dome continued to increase in size, reaching a volume of 180,000 m3 and a thickness of 45 m since August (41 m). The lava dome measured 93 m NW-SE and 104 m SW-NE. By 15 September the 500-m-long lava flow had descended the NNE flank and continued to advance at a rate of 1.7 m per hour. The W levee of the flow channel had ruptured, which caused the toe of the lava flow to thicken. On 20 September ash emissions rose to 3.7 km altitude and drifted NE and ENE, according to a VAAC advisory. On 22 September gas emissions, weak and sporadic ash emissions, and occasional explosions accompanied the lava flow. Through the remainder of the month, the lava flow persisted, measuring 615 m, and advancing at a rate of 0.4 m per hour; its volume was 487,000 m3 (figure 65). SO2 emissions were an average value of 111-358 tons/day with a high value of 503 tons/day reported on 22 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Photo (color corrected) of the incandescent lava flow at night descending the NNE flank of Nevados de Chillán on 21 September 2020. Photo by Jose Fauna, courtesy of Volcanology Chile.

During October there were 34-61 volcano-tectonic seismic events reported, as well as 607-644 explosive events, seven of which generated ash plumes that rose 1-1.5 km above the crater. Day and nighttime incandescence in the E edge of Nicanor Crater remained. Ash deposits associated with the explosive activity were distributed to the E and NE as far as 300 m from the crater; denser pyroclastic deposits from stronger explosions were located to the N and NE. The lava flow on the N slope persisted, extending 614-683 m from the crater rim at a rate of 0.1-0.82 m per hour with a width of 80.2 m near the crater rim and up to 112.8 m near the toe. The lava dome also continued to grow since it was last measured in September; it was 115 m wide at the base by 107 m high. SO2 emissions were an average value of 167-355 tons/day with a high value of 588 tons/day reported on 26 October. On 29 October an ash plume was detected in satellite imagery and rose to 3.7 km altitude and drifted W, according to a VAAC advisory (figure 66). SERNAGEOMIN reported that a 25-m-diameter subcrater had formed on the E inner edge of Nicanor Crater at the top of the lava dome. On 30 October, intermittent gas-and-ash emissions were visible at the summit in satellite imagery, rising to 3.9 km altitude and drifting SE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Webcam image of an explosion at Nevados de Chillán on 29 October 2020 that produced an ash plume that rose 360 m above the crater and drifted SW. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows frequent low-power thermal activity beginning in early June and continuing through October 2020 due to frequent explosions, the continued lava dome growth in Nicanor Crater, and the lava flow that descended the N flank (figure 67). On clear weather days, two thermal anomalies in the summit craters are observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery; one represents the growing lava dome and the other is the lava flow on the N flank (figure 68). On 25 September an ash plume was observed drifting S.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Frequent low-power thermal activity at Nevados de Chillán continued during July through October 2020, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed a persistent thermal anomaly (bright yellow-orange) in the summit crater of Nevados de Chillán during July through October 2020. On 29 July (top left), a third faint thermal anomaly was detected on the N flank, indicating a lava flow. On 25 September (bottom left) an ash plume was visible drifting S. Images using “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The compound volcano of Nevados de Chillán is one of the most active of the Central Andes. Three late-Pleistocene to Holocene stratovolcanoes were constructed along a NNW-SSE line within three nested Pleistocene calderas, which produced ignimbrite sheets extending more than 100 km into the Central Depression of Chile. The largest stratovolcano, dominantly andesitic, Cerro Blanco (Volcán Nevado), is located at the NW end of the group. Volcán Viejo (Volcán Chillán), which was the main active vent during the 17th-19th centuries, occupies the SE end. The new Volcán Nuevo lava-dome complex formed between 1906 and 1945 between the two volcanoes and grew to exceed Volcán Viejo in elevation. The Volcán Arrau dome complex was constructed SE of Volcán Nuevo between 1973 and 1986 and eventually exceeded its height.

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Meteorológico Nacional-Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 25 de mayo 658, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/inicio.php); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Volcanology Chile (URL: https://twitter.com/volcanologiachl); Jose Fauna, Caracol sector, San Fabián de Alicom, Chile (URL: https://twitter.com/josefauna).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 25, Number 12 (December 2000)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Dawson Strait Group (Papua New Guinea)

Occasional seismic swarms 1989-99; no eruptive activity

Etna (Italy)

Summary of July to November 2000 notes small lava flows, Strombolian eruptions

Fournaise, Piton de la (France)

12 October-13 November eruption near July eruption site

Inielika (Indonesia)

Explosions eject tephra in first eruption since 1905

Karangetang (Indonesia)

Explosions generate ash plumes, ashfall, lava flows and avalanches

Kelut (Indonesia)

Inflation and increase in crater lake's temperature and surface height

Lengai, Ol Doinyo (Tanzania)

Continued intermittent eruptive activity; scientist burned by lava

Merapi (Indonesia)

Dome failure and growth during January 2001; over 30 pyroclastic flows

Momotombo (Nicaragua)

Previously unreported low activity during March and April 2000

Popocatepetl (Mexico)

December set records in tremor, dome extrusion rates, SO2 flux, and tilt



Dawson Strait Group (Papua New Guinea) — December 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Dawson Strait Group

Papua New Guinea

9.62°S, 150.88°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional seismic swarms 1989-99; no eruptive activity

During August-October 2000 there were no reports of unusual volcanic activity occurring at Esa'ala (also called the Dawson Strait group). RVO had a 1960s-vintage seismic recorder at Esa'ala until 1994. Since then, maintenance and funding problems have meant it has neither functioned nor been replaced. Discussion with Professor Abe following a seismic survey in the area in the second part of 1999 revealed that he had seen continued seismicity at the Esa'ala base station.

The last notable seismic swarm at Esa'ala before the RVO instrument broke down was in November-December 1992. Another prior swarm of earthquakes took place in mid-December 1989 (BGVN 15:01). RVO maintains a part-time observer at Esa'ala who keeps track of felt earthquakes. He typically reports that no felt earthquakes have occurred.

General References. Davies, H.L., 1973, Fergusson Island, Papua New Guinea-1:250,000 Geological Series: Bur. Miner. Resour. Aust. explan. Notes, SC/56-5.

Smith, I.E.M., 1976, Peralkaline rhyolites from the D'Entrecasteaux Islands, Papua New Guinea, in Johnson, R.W., ed., Volcanism in Australasia: Elsevier, Amsterdam, p. 275-285.

Smith, I.E.M., 1981, Young volcanoes in eastern Papua in Johnson, R.W., ed., Cooke-Ravian Volume of Volcanological Papers: Geological Survey of Papua New Guinea Memoir 10, p. 257-265.

Geologic Background. The Dawson Straits, located between eastern Fergusson and western Normanby Islands in the D'Entrecasteaux island group, contains a volcanic field with several centers that define a possible partly submerged caldera. There have been no historical eruptions, but morphology suggests an extremely young age for some lava flows, and the area displays vigorous thermal activity. The most prominent volcanic centers are Mounts Lamonai and Oiau, located about 10 km apart on the SW tip of Fergusson Island. The summit of Lamonai is capped by a steep-walled crater, and rhyolitic lava flows are exposed on the NE side of the cone. The dominantly volcaniclastic Oiau cone has also produced obsidian lava flows. Dobu Island to the south is formed of coalescing volcanic centers and likewise has produced youthful rhyolitic obsidian flows.

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


Etna (Italy) — December 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Summary of July to November 2000 notes small lava flows, Strombolian eruptions

This summary of Sistema Poseidon reports covers the period from July to November 2000. The summit craters discharged several minor lava flows, some Strombolian eruptions, and frequent degassing. The Bocca Nuova (BN) vent was particularly active.

During July and well into August the summit craters displayed comparatively low activity. During July at BN three different vents were degassing. During July at NEC emissions came from one primary vent. Emissions were robust on 18 August, and commonly bore light-brown ash.

During late August, Southeast Crater (SEC) renewed emission of a weak lava flow from a fracture on the N side. The lava stream, which flowed into the Valle de Bove, persisted throughout 27 August, and increased progressively on the night of 27-28 August.

At 0135 on 28 August fairly sustained degassing occurred at SEC with initially violent Strombolian emissions. Beginning at about 0600, the explosive Strombolian activity changed rapidly to violent lava fountains, which generated an eruptive cloud rising thousands of meters above the summit. Ash and lapilli fell on the Etna's E slopes. This phase lasted about one hour, and was analogous to what had been observed during episodes in the first half of 2000.

The lava flow, despite appearing larger during the more violent degassing phase, moved little on its farthest-advanced fronts, which along the W face of the Valle del Bove reached to about 2,200-2,300 m elevation. Rather, the flow tended to widen in the zone between 2,800 and 2,700 m. The lava emission rate at the vent appeared to be drastically reduced at the end of this degassing phase.

A new degassing episode was confirmed on 29 August. This was characterized by its brevity and by the way in which it manifested itself, producing explosive Strombolian blasts (rhythmic expulsion of pyroclastics) rather than true lava fountains.

As frequently observed for the last episode, this one also started with a glimmer of light on the N flank of the SEC announcing the beginning of a new lava emission. Eruptive activity increased between 22 and 28 August, while the volcanic tremor first showed a modest increase at 0339 on 29 August, when sporadic explosions from the SEC summit crater began. Only after 0530 did the explosive activity reach a continuous intensity. It concluded at about 0610. Peak activity did not reach the same levels as the preceding phase, but ejected pyroclastics ~200 m above the crater rim. The finer portions were carried several hundred meters and dispersed E, without reaching residential areas.

Observations at the conclusion of the late-August explosive phase showed the new lava flow still spreading over the N flank of the SEC, but new lava had ceased venting. This new flow overrode the one from 28 August, and descended to ~2,100 m on the W face of the Valle del Bove.

The other craters in the volcano's summit area chiefly slowly emitted gas vapors, with the exception of one of BN's vents, which frequently ejected brown ash. The emission of ash from this vent intensified during the week. As September began, BN continued to produce abundant steam and ash emissions, which at times seemed aided by elevated atmospheric humidity and by infiltration of recent precipitation. This effect continued later into September.

In mid-September, BN produced generally mild degassing. During 19, 22, and 23 September nearly continuous ash emission took place. Primarily dark gray and sometimes brownish colored plumes were visible for many kilometers. For the preceding weeks these plumes had vented at two distinct crater cavities on the inside of the BN. The larger cavity lies in BN's center and discharged gaseous blue-white emissions. The smaller cavity lay near BN's internal SW wall, and it expelled ash. During this same time, as in past weeks during the month, the Voragine and Northeast Crater continued to emit abundant steam. The SEC weakly degassed from fumaroles.

October activity continued as in past months with ash emissions at the BN. These were particularly visible on 3-6 October. At night it was possible to observe light coming from the crater cavity on the inside of the BN, suggesting weak Strombolian activity. Mid-October behavior included explosive Strombolian eruptions from both crater cavities; incandescent bombs occasionally fell outside of the crater. Milder episodes occurred on 17 and 21 October. Between 24 and 29 October two stronger episodes took place.

At the Voragine and the NEC, the early days of October showed rather sustained steam emissions, in part accentuated by the first snowfalls and by the elevated humidity on the summit. The SEC displayed mostly fumarolic activity. Later, the Voragine gave off copious steam, but at the SEC and NEC weak degassing occurred.

The last days of October and the early days of November were distinguished by a decline of the explosive Strombolian activity from the two emission points within BN. Strombolian activity sent tephra ~100-150 m high, which still frequently fell outside of the BN crater.

During November, BN continued to produce modest explosive Strombolian activity that sometime spewed incandescent material of moderate size outside the crater walls. Observers continued to note two distinct cavities in BN.

In the early hours of 29 November observers noted the presence of a small lava flow at the base of the SEC. Upon close viewing, observers found that the flow gushed from the base of a fracture on the N sector of the cone at the SEC and continued downslope for ~200 m. Although lava continued to flow in the succeeding days, atmospheric conditions obscured later views of this area. No relevant activity aside from a constant steam emission occurred either at the Voragine or at the NEC during this time.

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

Information Contacts: Sistema Poseidon, a cooperative project supported by both the Italian and the Sicilian regional governments, and operated by several scientific institutions (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/en/chi-siamo/la-sezione.html).


Piton de la Fournaise (France) — December 2000 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)


12 October-13 November eruption near July eruption site

Piton de la Fournaise erupted several times during 2000; 14 February to 4 March (BGVN 25:01), 23 June to 30 July (BGVN 25:07), and in October. The last eruption in 2000 began on 12 October after two periods of inflation, high pre-eruptive radon emissions, and three weeks of increased seismicity beneath the volcano.

During the two months prior to the eruption, two tiltmeter stations, "Dolomieu Sud," located at the volcano's summit and "Château Fort" on its southern base, showed tilt variations of up to 50 µrad, which indicated a clear inflation of the S flank. In addition, extensometer data at Château Fort showed that fissure openings had significantly increased since the preceding eruption in June 2000. The fissure expansions confirmed that inflation was occurring.

Three weeks prior to the eruption high seismicity occurred under the volcano, with 10 to 20 earthquakes per day. A small seismic crises that consisted of 57 earthquakes occurred on 6 October (figure 56). Thereafter, the number of seismic events returned to the high levels that had been recorded during the previous 3 weeks until the number of earthquakes significantly increased on 12 October, marking the beginning of the eruption. All of the 278 seismic events that occurred between the end of September and 12 October were of very low energy, usually with magnitudes less than 0.7. Only seven earthquakes were recorded with higher magnitudes, ranging between 0.9 and 1.7.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. The number of daily seismic events recorded at seismic stations at Piton de la Fournaise during 10 September through 21 October 2000. Courtesy of OVPDLF.

In addition to increased seismicity, high radon activity was measured at the volcano. Three different probes in soil and old eruption vents at the "Bory" station on the W rim of the summit crater showed a high mean level of radon activity. The "Bory 3" radon probe showed about 40 counts per day, which was 2.7 times higher than during January-May 2000. OVPDLF scientists determined that the high counting rates indicated a general increase in volcanic gas emissions from the volcano, reflecting the presence of degassing magma.

At 0401 on 12 October a seismic crisis began that consisted of 201 low-energy events (figure 56). All but five events had magnitudes less than or equal to 1.1, with the largest being 1.6. The seismic crisis lasted 64 minutes and at 0505 a strong eruption tremor, which was localized on the E flank of the volcano, appeared at the summit stations. Visual observations helped to constrain the eruption site between "Signal de l'Enclos" and "Le Langlois" craters, and above "Piton Pârvédi" crater, which formed during the previous eruption in June 2000 (figure 57). Field observations conducted with a hand-held GPS receiver allowed scientists to precisely locate the two fissures where lava was emitted during the eruption. The smaller fissure (fissure 1) was several tens of meters long, located at 2,260 m in altitude, and emitted a small, 50-100 m long aa lava flow. The other fissure (fissure 2) was 680 m long and ran continuously between 2,220 m and 2,000 m in altitude.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Sketch map showing the location of craters of the 12 October activity and fissures where lava flows were emitted. PDN (Piton de Neiges) is a coordinate system used on Reunion Island by IGN and other scientists. In general, IGN maps include both PDN and international ellipsoid coordinates. Courtesy of OVPDLF.

Almost all of the lava-flow activity occurred at fissure 2. At 1100 on 12 October, lava fountaining still occurred within the lower 350 m of fissure 2, and lava output was relatively high. A large network of numerous aa lava flows of up to 200 m width traveled down the SE flank of the volcano towards "Piton Pârvédi" and continued in a single, large lava flow for 5.5 km on the southern border of the June lava flow until reaching 400 m in altitude. At 2100 on 13 October, about 40 hours after the eruption began, the rate of lava emission was still high with an estimated rate of 40-60 m3/s. A continuous incandescent lava flow, at least 2 km long, was visible.

The following day volcanic activity was focused on the lower end of fissure 2, and a crater began to build up. It was named "Piton Morgabim." Initially the crater was U-shaped with an opening towards the ESE. Throughout the entire period of activity a permanent lava lake was present within the crater, and lava flows were observed on the downhill (SE) side of the crater. During the first week of November the crater closed so that the lava lake was no longer visible, and the upper crater walls were high and sub-vertical. Several tunnels began to form and a tumulus that was several tens of meters high piled up in front of "Piton Morgabim" (figure 58). Since the end of October pahoehoe lava flows appeared in the upper part of the initial aa lava flows and surrounded "Piton Pârvédi" crater to the N and S.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Photograph of the eruption, taken from the SW at 0943 on 9 November from a helicopter. The photograph shows the initial crater ("Piton Morgabim") and the new vent (circled to the left) and an active incandescent lava flow channel. The pahoehoe lava flows above "Piton Pârvédi" that began in late October can be distinguished (gray area), as well as the tumulus in front of "Piton Morgabim." Courtesy of OVPDLF.

Since 29 October, tremor began to increase until it reached the same high value as during the first minutes of the eruption. Tremor remained at high levels for the following 5 days. Beginning on 5 November strong degassing and liberation of H2S occurred just above "Piton Morgabim." On 8 November the upper crater walls collapsed and the [lava] lake, which was ~40 m in diameter, was visible again. On 9 November an intense explosion occurred ~50 m NW of "Piton Morgabim" crater, and rocks and lava were ejected up to 200 m in altitude. A second vent formed in this area and both it and "Piton Morgabim" were simultaneously active for several tens of hours (figure 58 and 59). From 12 November, explosions and black ash were observed at the upper vent, which were most likely phreatomagmatic features. Lava bombs were ejected up to 250 m away from the vent. Both vents fused together, and the initial crater raised up, finally forming one single large crater named "Piton Morgabim" (figure 59). Figures 16 and 17 show different stages of the vents growing together. During the period of increased tremor, new several-km-long pahoehoe flows formed. Again they surrounded Piton Pârvédi to the N and S and covered large parts of the June 2000 lava flow. In particular, one pahoehoe lava flow extended beyond the front of the June eruption in the "Grand Brûlé" by ~500 m length down to 370 m elevation.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Photograph of "Piton Morgabim" and a second crater coalescing at Piton de la Fournaise. The photograph was taken on 11 November from the E flank of the volcano. The saddle-shaped separation between the two craters disappeared during the next days. Bright spots to the left and right of the craters were emanations from the lava flow and fissure 2, respectively. Courtesy of P. Morin.

The high level of tremor suddenly disappeared at 2310 on 13 November, marking the end of the eruption. By this time the remaining crater, "Piton Morgabim," was ~100 x 75 m across and 30-40 m deep (figure 60). On 15 November, the lava flow SE of the crater was still hot; a temperature of ~800°C was measured 40 cm below the surface.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. Photograph of the surface of the affected area of Piton de la Fournaise after the eruption. The black line shows the outline of the lava flow. Courtesy of OVPDLF.

Basalt samples were collected throughout the eruption. The initial basalt was apheric, near the end of October olivine crystals appeared, and near the end of the eruption the basalt had numerous centimeter-sized olivine crystals.

Digital photos were analyzed in order to map the lava flow and to obtain an estimate of it's erupted volume. The total erupted volume was estimated to be on the order of 5 x 106 m3, which is a typical value for eruptions at Piton de la Fournaise.

Correction. In BGVN 25:07 the area of the entire lava flow from the 23 June-30 July 2000 eruption of Piton de la Fournaise was reported as being 3 x 102 m2, when it was actually 3 x 106 m2.

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: Thomas Staudacher, Jean Louis Cheminée, Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers, 14 RN3 - Km 27, 97418 La Plaine des Cafres, Réunion, France (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr/ovpf/observatoire-volcanologique-piton-de-fournaise).


Inielika (Indonesia) — December 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Inielika

Indonesia

8.73°S, 120.98°E; summit elev. 1559 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions eject tephra in first eruption since 1905

A minor explosion occurred at 1915 on 11 January 2001. The explosion ejected ash that coated Bajawa (~8 km from the summit) with an ash layer less than 0.5 mm thick. Increased activity after 11 January prompted the VSI to set the volcano's hazard status to 3 (on a scale of 1-4). Three explosions occurred at about 0700 on 13 January, sending ash 300-1,000 m above the crater rim. Workers at the volcano's observatory post, located ~7.5 km from the summit, subsequently heard thundering sounds. Ash, which appeared dense and light in color, blew E to Toa and S to Boya, Bolodio, and Bajawa. By 15 January, a seismograph recorded continuous tremor with an amplitude of 2 mm in addition to 59 explosion earthquakes with amplitudes of 2-14 mm.

Ash emission was ongoing as of 16 January, and ranged from 100 to 1,000 m above the summit. VSI workers observed two new large craters trending SE-NW. The top of the SE crater measured 50 m in diameter, narrowed to 25 m at its base, and was 10 m deep. It emitted an audible sound and ejected an ash plume from its N wall with variable pressure. Winds tended to blow ash toward the S. The NW crater was 20 m in diameter and 1.1 m deep. The temperature of a fumarole measured 95°C, and nearby ground temperature measured 89°C.

During 16-22 January, explosions produced both ash and lapilli. Light gray ash fell around the main crater within a 10-20 m radius. Lapilli, which had a maximum size of 50 cm, fell up to 500 m from the main crater.

Geologic Background. Inielika is a broad, low volcano in central Flores Island that was constructed within the Lobobutu caldera. The complex summit contains ten craters, some of which are lake filled, in a 5 km2 area north of the city of Bajawa. The largest of these, Wolo Runu and Wolo Lega North, are 750 m wide. A phreatic explosion in 1905 formed a new crater, and was the volcano's only eruption during the 20th century. Another eruption took place about a century later, in 2001. A chain of Pleistocene cinder cones, the Bajawa cinder cone complex, extends southward to Inierie.

Information Contacts: Dali Ahmad, Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI), Jalan Diponegoro No. 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/).


Karangetang (Indonesia) — December 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

2.781°N, 125.407°E; summit elev. 1797 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions generate ash plumes, ashfall, lava flows and avalanches

Heightened activity continued at Karangetang in late December 2000-late January 2001, following a year of frequent activity in 2000 (BGVN 25:11). The main crater and Crater II sent a white, variably-thick ash plume up to 600 m above the summit during 19-25 December. Plume illumination up to 150 m above the craters was visible at night. Lava flows occurred on 21-22 December and reached as far as 1,250 m laterally along the SW flank. The seismic record also showed increased activity with multi-phase earthquakes predominating.

Activity, however, tailed off during 26 December-1 January before increasing again with renewed vigor from 2 to 8 January. At 1258 on 2 January an explosion produced a white-gray ash plume that rose ~500 m above the summit. At 1845 on the same day, workers observed a glowing lava avalanche issuing from the main crater and moving 50 m from the summit down toward the Naitu River. A larger explosion on 7 January sent gray ash 1,500 m above Karangetang. A coeval Strombolian eruption cloud rose 200 m. Ashfall occurred W of the volcano, coating Pahe, Lehi, Mini, and Kinali villages. Lava flowed down to the Tanitu River as far a 1 km from the summit. Tectonic earthquakes dominated seismicity during the week, and a significant number of tremor earthquakes also occurred.

A minor explosion occurred on 10 January; ash rose and subsequently fell back into the crater. Tectonic earthquakes again overshadowed all other types during 9-15 January. At 0845 on 17 January an explosion generated a small ash plume and a lava avalanche. Ash fell on Salili and Beong villages; lava flowed down both the E and W flanks of the volcano. Seismicity remained elevated with earthquake distributions similar to the previous week. The VSI maintained a hazard status of 2 (on a scale of 1-4) for Karangetang throughout the report period.

Geologic Background. Karangetang (Api Siau) volcano lies at the northern end of the island of Siau, about 125 km NNE of the NE-most point of Sulawesi island. The stratovolcano contains five summit craters along a N-S line. It is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, with more than 40 eruptions recorded since 1675 and many additional small eruptions that were not documented in the historical record (Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World: Neumann van Padang, 1951). Twentieth-century eruptions have included frequent explosive activity sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows and lahars. Lava dome growth has occurred in the summit craters; collapse of lava flow fronts have produced pyroclastic flows.

Information Contacts: Dali Ahmad, Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI), Jalan Diponegoro No. 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/).


Kelut (Indonesia) — December 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Kelut

Indonesia

7.93°S, 112.308°E; summit elev. 1731 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Inflation and increase in crater lake's temperature and surface height

Increasing crater lake temperature, water level, and inflation have been observed since 19 January 2001. Water temperature in the crater lake rose to 47.5-49.1°C. On 21 January water level rose 5 cm. Leveling measurement showed 5.5-6 mm of inflation. During 16-22 January, seismographs recorded 20 tectonic earthquake events. These observations prompted the VSI to increase Kelut's hazard status from 1 to 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Geologic Background. The relatively inconspicuous Kelut stratovolcano contains a summit crater lake that has been the source of some of Indonesia's most deadly eruptions. A cluster of summit lava domes cut by numerous craters has given the summit a very irregular profile. Satellitic cones and lava domes are also located low on the E, W, and SSW flanks. Eruptive activity has in general migrated in a clockwise direction around the summit vent complex. More than 30 eruptions have been recorded from Gunung Kelut since 1000 CE. The ejection of water from the crater lake during the typically short but violent eruptions has created pyroclastic flows and lahars that have caused widespread fatalities and destruction. After more than 5000 people were killed during an eruption in 1919, an ambitious engineering project sought to drain the crater lake. This initial effort lowered the lake by more than 50 m, but the 1951 eruption deepened the crater by 70 m, leaving 50 million cubic meters of water after repair of the damaged drainage tunnels. After more than 200 deaths in the 1966 eruption, a new deeper tunnel was constructed, and the lake's volume before the 1990 eruption was only about 1 million cubic meters.

Information Contacts: Dali Ahmad, Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI), Jalan Diponegoro No. 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/).


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — December 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued intermittent eruptive activity; scientist burned by lava

Activity has continued intermittently since early August 1999 (BGVN 24:11). Celia Nyamweru compiled a report based on observations and interpretations of photographs taken of the crater on various dates between 2 September 1999 and 29 July 2000, and observations made during a 23-26 July 2000 visit to the summit crater. Observations and photos during this period are from the mountain guide Burra Ami Gadiye unless otherwise noted. The report for July 2000 also includes the observations of Fred Belton. A report of fieldwork performed in early October 2000 was prepared by Christoph Weber.

Some cones have been renumbered according to the system agreed on by Nyamweru, Belton, and Weber in October 2000. Under the revised system a new eruption center is assigned a new T-number (e.g. T49). New cones at the flank of an existing cone, and clearly fed by this, will be identified with letters appended to the T-number (e.g T49B, T49C, etc.). This leads to the following renumbering: T52 (formerly T52C), T52B (formerly T52W), T52C (formerly T52E), T37 (formerly T37S), T37B (formerly T37N1), T37C (formerly T37N2), and T37D (formerly T37E and also formerly T5/9). This report reflects the new cone names.

Activity during September-December 1999. Reports and photographs from Gadiye on 2 and 10 September 1999 showed no eruptive activity, almost no dark lava visible, and steaming from cone T47. Colors of the crater floor ranged from white to light gray and light brown, with a slightly darker (chestnut brown) patch of lava around the lower slopes of T45. Small dark patches on the upper slopes of T40 might have been fresh spatter. There were no new cones or significant changes since July 1999. On 10 October Gadiye reported similar activity, plus steam from T37 and T47. A small flat-topped cone W of T37 and T45 may be new, though it is pale gray.

Gadiye's notes from 9 November refer to a cone (most likely T40) throwing out lava. The eruption appeared to be small, with lava bubbling at the top of a hornito on the lower slope of the cone. Some small flows appeared to have come from the central part of the slopes of one or two of the large cones, so possibly there had been some minor activity since 10 October 1999. Joerg Keller reported about a 23 December visit to the crater by Michael Kraml, Ralf Gertisser, Marika Vespa, and Andrea Bull. Patches of relatively fresh looking lava were seen around cones T48 and T49. Between cones T48 and T49 there was a 30-cm-thick layer of natrocarbonatite tear-drop lapilli, relatively fresh in appearance and about a week old. No new cone was present on the W side of the crater floor.

Activity during January-20 July 2000. Gadiye's notes from 2 January refer to "a completely new cone that appeared in December 1999" shown in several photos. In one, he describes it as "throwing out lava violently" although this is not entirely clear from the photograph. This cone, towards the W side of the crater, has been named T51. Most of the crater floor was white to light gray and light brown, with pahoehoe lobes and other well-defined structures. Located close to the W wall, T51 had regular, rather steep slopes and was surrounded with fresh lava. These flows are pahoehoe but appear rather thick in comparison to their length, possibly 10-20 cm thick rather than the 2-5 cm layers observed elsewhere. Emission of steam occurred from several cones in the central cluster.

On 6 January Gadiye noted that very dark fresh-looking lava seemed to originate from a small vent between the E (T37-T45) and W (T47-T49) cone clusters. This may be the beginning of the activity that produced the T52 group described in July 2000. Overall the colors of the crater floor ranged from white to light gray and light brown. The lower slopes of T45 look significantly darker than the pale gray lava surrounding them.

Gadiye's photographs from 24 January showed continued activity from the area between the E and W cone clusters. The source of four long narrow tongues of lava seemed to be a low flat-topped cone between T48 and T37B. Other photographs show a large patch of dark lava between the older cone clusters and possibly a small flow from it towards the NE. Colors of the crater floor ranged from white to light gray, except for the dark patches around T52 and the new flows. The lava at the E overflow was white and showed little or no change since 1999.

Aerial photographs taken on 8 February by Benoit Wangermez showed no visible eruptive activity. No significant changes seemed to have occurred since late January 2000. Gadiye noted no eruptive activity on 12 March. T40 showed little change, there was a small pale brown hornito between T40 and the NW overflow, and T51 was rather pale brown with no sign of dark lava flows around it. Photographs by David Bressler in late April/early May revealed a cone with fresh lava on its slopes, probably T49B. No eruptive activity could be seen on an aerial photograph taken by Nigel Pavitt on 2 May (figure 65). Gadiye also did not report any activity on 7 May. No fresh lava flows were visible in his photographs; the flows originating from the T52 vent(s) were mid-brown in color.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. An aerial photograph of Ol Doinyo Lengai taken on 2 May 2000 from the W showing the upper part of the cone with Ketumbeine mountain in the background. The summit crater is white, with no details of individual cones visible. The outer walls on the NW and W side are clearly visible, along with the NW overflow, the breakout lava flow of June 1993 on the W wall, and the numerous erosional gullies that expose white ash. The similarity of color between the weathered lava and the weathered ash in the gullies makes it very difficult to determine how far down the slopes the lava flows have extended. Photograph by Nigel Pavitt; courtesy of Celia Nyamweru.

No activity was obvious in 20 July aerial photographs from Luigi Cantamessa (Geo-Decouverte SA), though some very fresh lava may have been present around T51. A near-vertical view of the crater floor and outer W and NW slopes showed the NW overflow clearly, with very pale brown seeming to extend several hundred meters down the outer slope. The breakout lava flow of June 1993 was also visible on the W slope, and seemed shorter than the NW overflow. A photo taken from over the summit looking N revealed a variety of colors on the crater floor, evidence of many lava flows. One medium-sized brown flow extended S from T46, ending in a broad front of rounded lobes. A near-vertical view with the NW wall in the foreground showed several flows of pale brown and pale gray lava that had moved across the crater rim. The darkest patches on the crater floor were NNW of T49B and W of T51. The patch near T51 was small with very narrow lava tongues radiating outwards. These appeared to be very recent, as such small very narrow flows would not remain dark for very long once the eruption ended.

Activity during 23-30 July 2000. Observations and photographs were made during summit visits by C. Nyamweru (23-26 July) and F. Belton (23-30 July).

Observations made by Nyamweru of the crater floor on 24 July (figure 66) showed that the N part was mostly pale gray, pale brown, or white in color, with no sign of recent lava flows. The youngest lava flows were in the S and E parts of the crater floor. Flow 1, originating from a small vent on the slopes of T46, was probably several weeks old; it still retained its form, pahoehoe surface texture, and a slightly darker brown color than its surroundings. It had recently been partly covered by Flow 2, which was probably less than 24 hours old when Nyamweru's group arrived at the summit on 23 July. On the morning of 23 July it could just be touched with a bare hand; most of the flow was very dark brown with a small amount of whitening around the edges of the slabs. It retained significant warmth and cracking sounds could frequently be heard from within this flow. Flow 2 was ~1.5 m thick with a rough surface composed of broken, tilted pahoehoe slabs, covering much of the S crater floor. It appeared to have originated from the small T37D vent. The lava flowed S and E, surrounding two remnant slabs of the old crater wall and pouring down in a 'lava fall' between T24 and the crater wall to the lower level of the S crater floor. It flowed into T24 and partly buried it, and also flowed around T26, T27, and T30. 'Lava strandlines' were visible around the crater wall E of T24 where the lava lake had been held at a higher level. Flow 3 moved from the N slope of T37B to the N and E to within a few meters of the E overflow. It was still very hot about 1330 on 23 July. Several large blocks of older lava on the upper part of Flow 3 had probably been part of the top of T37B.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. A sketch of crater features at Ol Doinyo Lengai made from the summit on 24 July 2000. Notable features include three recent lava flows, large cracks in the crater floor and walls, and a lapilli field. Courtesy of C. Nyamweru.

The N and W crater floor were crossed by radiating cracks, some of which continued from the floor up through the crater wall. Some of them emitted steam and sulfur fumes, and in places the ground along the cracks was bright yellow with sulfur crystals. Such cracks have long been features of the crater floor, but compared with earlier years there were more of them and they were wider. Nyamweru estimated one crack on the N wall as being ~1 m wide; Belton measured a crack between T40 and T49 and obtained a width of 60 cm and a depth of 4.1 m. Four or five big cracks continued from the floor up onto the N crater wall; this was not something that had been obvious in earlier years. A deep crack extended from T51 across the SW crater floor and up onto the crater wall.

At the NW overflow a photograph taken from the road N of the cone showed what may be a very narrow tongue of white lava (?), not present in July 1999. It appeared to have flowed down a gully in which whitish patches of ash are visible lower down. There is no evidence of major lava flows spilling out of the crater during the last few months, possibly even during the last year. The most recent flows to have crossed the rim may be towards the S end of the overflow, and are small, discolored pahoehoe flows that may have emerged from T51 since January 2000. A crack over 20 cm wide emitting sulfur fumes and steam ran from T49B NW towards the crater rim at the overflow.

In a photograph of the E overflow taken from the road E of the cone no changes were evident since July 1999. However in July 1999 Nyamweru measured the width of this overflow as 22 m, whereas in July 2000 it was 38 m. In July 2000 there was no sign of any fresh lava approaching the overflow apart from Flow 3, which reached within 20 m of the N side of the overflow on 23 July. The low point on the SW rim had changed little since July 1999; small pahoehoe flows from T51 had reached the SW crater wall, but not close to this low point.

T51 was the new cone on the W side of the crater, probably formed in late December 1999. T47/T36/T39 showed little or no change. T46/T44 showed little or no change, but was the source of Flow 1. T48 had collapsed. T49 has been joined by a well-defined cone to its W, called T49B. Three new cones (T52 group) formed E of T48; the western one was a jagged brown cone with no signs of recent activity; the two eastern ones were younger, with smoother shapes and dark gray to black in color, possibly the source of some small lava flows within the last few days. T37B's big open vent had collapsed. The small T37D cone, visible in 1999 photographs, seemed to have been very active in the few days preceding the visit, in particular as the source of Flow 2.

The lapilli field covered an area some tens of meters across, S of T45 and E of T37D. Here the lapilli, well-formed spheres and ovals less than 2 mm in diameter, were black and still warm on 23 July, forming a layer ~8 cm thick. In this area the lapilli overlay some recent lava but in turn were overlain by small pahoehoe flows. Nearby the surface layer of lapilli had already turned white, but below 1-cm depth they were still warm and black. Elsewhere, smaller quantities of lapilli very similar in appearance occurred on the crater floor and on the E crater wall. Lapilli extended ~130 m across the crater floor from the N end of the E overflow, lying in small depressions. In this area the lapilli were pale gray on the afternoon of 23 July. Small amounts of similar gray lapilli were seen on the surface to about a quarter to a third of the way up the SE crater rim.

Belton provided detailed descriptions of the activity at the cones during this period. Activity was nearly continuous at T49B, but varied considerably in nature and intensity. The cone degassed frequently, sometimes emitting loud jets of steam and lava fragments, other times producing a steady output of invisible gases. The degassing alternated with lava splashes that coated the sides of the cone. Eruptions usually occurred 4-5 times per minute. On the night of 23 July cone T49B produced several short aa flows. Rockfall from the top of T49B was also common, with some lava boulders 30 cm in diameter rolling up to 7 m from the base. Throughout the week the summit vent(s) of T49B frequently changed size and location.

The T51 cone built up a low shield in the WNW part of the crater. Lava overflowed from the summit vent of T51 several times during the early morning of 23 July. In a much larger eruption at 1130, lava of very low viscosity cascaded down the N flank and formed pahoehoe flows at its base. A similar but smaller eruption occurred at 1900. From 24 through 27 July cone T51 contained lava at depth (5 m). At 0600 on 28 July a lava pond was 2 m below the rim of the 1-m-diameter summit vent. The pond degassed with increasing vigor and gradually rose closer to the top of the vent. At 1645 lava overflowed the N side, forming channel-fed pahoehoe flows (figure 67). Similar activity continued through the night and into 29 July. Numerous small cones formed above the lava tubes and erupted highly vesicular lava, really nothing more than brown foam. Around 1300 on 29 July surges about once per minute caused the pond to overflow. The eruption continued through 0800 on 30 July (figure 68). One flow traveled 75 m NW to within 16 m of the NW crater rim breach. During the 39 hours of activity, T51 grew in height by at least 1.5 m and its summit vent was reduced in size by ~75%.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Cone T51 in the Ol Doinyo Lengai summit crater overflowed at 1645 on 28 July, sending lava flows down the N and NW slopes. The shape of the small lava shield that T51 has constructed is apparent here. The summit of Ol Doinyo Lengai is just behind the hornito. Courtesy of F. Belton.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Photograph showing the summit area of cone T51 in the crater of Ol Doinyo Lengai on the morning of 29 July. After erupting through the night of 28 July, the lava dropped to a lower level inside T51 by 0800 on the 29th. A climb to the top revealed beautiful lava stalactites around the interior rim of the ~ 1-m-diameter summit vent. Courtesy of F. Belton.

At around 1300 on 23 July a short (about one minute) unusually violent eruption from T37B sprayed ejecta ~25 m above the cone. It is probable that this activity also created Flow 3, a fast moving 15-cm-thick flow of ropy lava that moved to the E. Minor activity also occurred in this part of the crater on 25 July between about 1500 and 1600 when a 10-m-long pahoehoe flow emerged from a small ground-level vent just E of T37D.

Activity during October 2000. An expedition organized by Chris Weber from 3 to 11 October 2000 consisted of a film team and four scientists, led by Joerg Keller. Observations were made by J. Keller, A. Zaytsev, D. Wiedenmann, J. Klaudius, D. Szczepanski, M. Szeglat, and C. Weber. The best-known track is on the WNW flank. Two other different routes were taken during descents following the visit (figure 69). The track down the NE flank (named Dorobo-Route) and a second track starting halfway between the W crater wall and the summit and descending the WSW flank to pass the Kirurum crater (named Reck-Route) were followed by different expedition members. An overnight camp was made at the Kirurum crater to give time for fieldwork. GPS data and barometric measurements gave new information about the elevations of various points on Ol Doinyo Lengai. The summit peak is approximately 2,955 m (2,950-2,960 m) elevation, cone C on the N crater rim is approximately 2,835 m, and the crater floor was approximately 2,925 m at the NW and E overflows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Sketch map of the Ol Doinyo Lengai area showing nearby geographic features and climbing routes, October 2000. Courtesy of C. Weber.

Flow 1 (figure 70) still had a brown appearance, but continued to weather and was lighter in color than on 30 July. The younger Flow 2 was partly black to gray in the joints and cracks of the aa flow field. Some smaller flows around T49 and T49B were slightly black, though probably only a few hours old. Hydration of fresh lava flows (especially under high humidity) can cause a black surface to turn white within 24 hours. NW of T49B another cone appeared after 30 July and was named T49C. T51 was surrounded by flat pahoehoe flows and had grown since 30 July. There was a new cone in the collapsed T48 with some small light gray lava flows close to the cone. During this year many new cracks (at maximum up to 1 m wide and 5 m deep) had opened all across the crater floor. Most of the V-shaped cracks pointed to the T52 and T49 clusters, roughly the center of the major cone concentration. Some of the cracks broke through the crater rim. Other cracks were filled or covered by young lava flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. Sketch maps of the Ol Doinyo Lengai crater, October 2000, showing cracks (left) and recent lava flows (right). Courtesy of C. Weber.

Between 1200 and 1350 on 3 October spattering occurred from a small vent in the saddle between T49 and T49B. Two small lava flows were observed at the N and S flank of T49 during that time. At 1350 the W side of T49B collapsed, creating a ~6-m-wide and 5-m-high opening from which a sudden flash flood of lava was released. Parts of the collapsed wall of T49B were washed towards the W as big blocks. Within a few seconds the flow had reached halfway between the cone and the NW overflow. After 5 minutes the flow (Flow 4A) had reached its final extent ~40 m short of the NW overflow (figure 70). The lava flow was up to 5 cm thick and later aa flows were several decimeters thick. Until 8 October lava spattering and small lava flows had nearly closed the gap in the W wall of T49B. On the morning of 9 October at 1035 the W flank again collapsed in the same manner as on 3 October, leaving a 7-m-wide and 7-m-high gap. A flash flood of lava moved NW (Flow 4B) within seconds and stopped just 10 m from the NW overflow, covering Flow 4A. During the afternoon of 9 October T48 had strong degassing and for 10 minutes ejected tear-drop lapilli; no further activity was seen. Right after sunset of 9 October a crack opened at the SSW base of T49C with a noisy gas jet followed by a 10-minute spray of lava droplets and spherical lapilli up to ~10 m high. Small lava flows (Flow 4C) were emitted and moved NW. No more flows were observed through 11 October, but the lava lake inside T49B was splashing and degassing.

Between 3 and 9 October 2000 temperature measurements were made by three different instruments and gave consistent values. A digital thermometer (TM 914C with a K-type stab feeler) was used in the 0-1,200°C mode, taking readings by inserting the feeler 10 cm into still-moving and liquid lavas (10 times on various days) and as deep as possible into the fumaroles (five times on various days). Calibration was by the Delta-T method: values are ± 6°C in the 0-750°C range. All values were recorded by four repeat measurements at one spot. The pahoehoe lava flow (15 m below outflow from the T49B lava pond in an closed lava tube) was at 507°C. An aa flow front in slow motion (shortly after escaping an enclosed lava tube near T49B, 25 cm thick) was 496°C. The fumarole 25 m NNW of T49C in a crater crack towards the rim was at 75°C. The fumarole at the NW overflow inside the old crater rim was at 69°C. The fumarole on the NW flank of T48 was at 95°C.

On the evening of 3 October, one of the scientists (Jurgis Klaudius) accidentally stepped in a fresh but already solid-looking lava flow (~25 cm thick) at the W slope of T49B. This can easily happen in the dark when it is difficult to discern between solid and fresh black flows. In this case it caused a serious second-degree burn around his left ankle up to his lower leg. The lava, at a temperature of about 500°C, burned away all of the light plastic parts of his sport shoe, leaving the leather parts and the sole. On 6 October evacuation was necessary because of the risk of infection. He managed to slide down the steep slopes on his hands and right foot for most of the steep upper track, but was finally carried the rest of the way down in a seat on the shoulders of four porters. He was brought to a hospital in Arusha and then flown to Germany 24 hours later. Klaudius is recovering very well following skin grafts and will not suffer lasting damage.

Lengai is as dangerous as any other active volcano. Activity includes explosive eruptions, suddenly appearing lava fountains, several cone collapses, lava flash floods, and flows of enormous quantity. A lava temperature of 500°C is hot enough to burn someone seriously and because of the very low viscosity, this natrocarbonatite lava is extremely fluid and can flow very fast. Visits are not recommend without a guide.

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

Information Contacts: Celia Nyamweru, Department of Anthropology, St. Lawrence University, Canton NY 13617 USA (URL: http://blogs.stlawu.edu/lengai/); Joerg Keller, IMPG, Albert-Ludwig-University Freiburg, Albertstrasse 23b, 79104 Freiburg, Germany; Christoph Weber, Volcano Expeditions International, Friesenstrasse 20, 42107 Wuppertal, Germany (URL: http://www.Vulkanexpeditionen.de); Frederick Belton, 3555 Philsdale Ave., Memphis, TN 38111 USA (URL: http://oldoinyolengai.pbworks.com/); Marc Szeglat (contact for video-film clips), Duelmenerstrasse 11, 46117 Oberhausen, Germany (URL: http://www.vulkane.net).


Merapi (Indonesia) — December 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dome failure and growth during January 2001; over 30 pyroclastic flows

Eruptive activity increased markedly at Merapi during the period of 26 December 2000-22 January 2001. Instrumental monitoring first recorded a significant increase in seismicity, expressed in both shallow and deep volcanic earthquakes, during 26 December-1 January. Visual observations were hindered during this time because of hazy conditions, and VSI maintained a hazard status of 2 (on a scale of 1-4) for Merapi.

Activity continued to increase during 2-8 January. Atmospheric conditions were clearer, allowing observation of a 1,500-m-high plume above the summit. Lava avalanches flowed ~1 km from the summit down to the Sat River. Seismicity remained high, again with a significant number of shallow and deep volcanic earthquakes, and was dominated by multi-phase and avalanche earthquakes.

During 9-15 January, activity again increased with respect to the previous week. Accordingly, VSI elevated Merapi's hazard status to 3. Observers noted a light-colored, variable-density, low-pressure ash plume that rose 500 m above the summit. Glowing lava avalanches flowed into the headwaters of the Lamat, Sat, and Senowo Rivers, up to 2 km from the summit. On 14 January, 29 pyroclastic flows traveled down the volcano's flanks into the three above-mentioned rivers and reached up to 4 km from their source. During the week, lava avalanches and pyroclastic flows occurred with an average interval of 0.5-1 hours.

Visual observations from several post observatories during 16-22 January revealed ash eruptions, glowing lava flows and avalanches, and pyroclastic flows. Merapi ejected a dense, light-colored ash plume under medium to high pressure. Ash rose 850-1,300 m above the summit, with an estimated emission volume of 95 metric tons/day. Ashfall occurred on the surrounding areas of Babadan, Kaliurang, and Ngepos. Glowing lava avalanches, with more than 150 occurring per day, reached as far as 3.5 km from the summit into the Bebeng, Sat, and Senowo Rivers. Observers suggested more than one source vent for these flows. More than 20 pyroclastic flows occurred daily during the week, sending ash and gas a maximum of 3 km down the Bebeng River, 4.5 km down the Sat River, and an unreported distance down the Senowo River.

The Darwin VAAC issued an ash advisory on 19 January to advise pilots of ash emanating from Merapi. The advisory reported an ash plume up to an altitude of ~3,400 m. Prevailing winds were projected to carry ash to the E or SE; cloud cover prevented any further descriptions.

A new lava dome, termed "2001," grew on top of the 1998 dome that had collapsed around 16 January. Growth appeared continuous with the glowing dome visible at night. Researchers speculated that the failure of the 1998 dome and the instability of the new dome accounted for the high frequency and volume of pyroclastic flows.

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

Information Contacts: Dali Ahmad, Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI), Jalan Diponegoro No. 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/).


Momotombo (Nicaragua) — December 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Momotombo

Nicaragua

12.423°N, 86.539°W; summit elev. 1270 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Previously unreported low activity during March and April 2000

This report discusses previously unreported information about the activity during March and April 2000. This interval of low activity occurred prior to one with heightened seismicity during May and June 2000 (BGVN 25:06).

The seismic swarm that began in May 2000 reached its peak during 9-11 June when the INETER seismic network registered over 500 earthquakes (BGVN 25:06). Many of the earthquake magnitudes were between 3.4 and 4.1, and the small epicentral area was directly under a geothermal plant on the S slope of the volcano. INETER reported that prior to the seismic activity, in March 2000, seismicity was low, with only two seismic events during the month. They did not visit the volcano during March.

On 9 April, Pierre Delmelle of the Université de Montréal along with local guides visited the volcano's crater. According to Delmelle, the crater was horseshoe-shaped and recent landslides had occurred down the crater's walls. He also noted that the majority of the fumarolic activity took place in the bottom of the crater. Gas was released from the fumaroles with very weak pressure, and temperatures ranged from 100 to 460°C. INETER personnel made a previous trip to the crater interior in September 1998 and found a lack of fresh landslides down the crater walls; fumarolic gas temperatures were 79 to 235°C.

Geologic Background. Momotombo is a young stratovolcano that rises prominently above the NW shore of Lake Managua, forming one of Nicaragua's most familiar landmarks. Momotombo began growing about 4500 years ago at the SE end of the Marrabios Range and consists of a somma from an older edifice that is surmounted by a symmetrical younger cone with a 150 x 250 m wide summit crater. Young lava flows extend down the NW flank into the 4-km-wide Monte Galán caldera. The youthful cone of Momotombito forms an island offshore in Lake Managua. Momotombo has a long record of Strombolian eruptions, punctuated by occasional stronger explosive activity. The latest eruption, in 1905, produced a lava flow that traveled from the summit to the lower NE base. A small black plume was seen above the crater after a 10 April 1996 earthquake, but later observations noted no significant changes in the crater. A major geothermal field is located on the south flank.

Information Contacts: Wilfried Strauch and Virginia Tenorio, Dirección General de Geofísica, Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado 1761, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni/); Pierre Delmelle, Département de Géologie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec H3C 3J7, Canada.


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — December 2000 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


December set records in tremor, dome extrusion rates, SO2 flux, and tilt

Around the end of the year 2000 and in January 2001 Popocatépetl extruded dome lavas at record-setting rates and amassed the largest active dome ever recorded on the volcano. The seismic energy released in one 25-hour interval in mid-December was greater than the accumulated energy for any entire year for which measurements are available. The highest plume of the interval rose to ~8 km above the summit crater.

During late 2000 into January 2001, but particularly in December, tremor reached the biggest amplitudes yet recorded during this multi-year crisis; it was felt by people 12-14 km distant, and one tremor episode prevailed for ~10 hours. Another episode saturated instruments to the point of damage and drove tiltmeters in dramatic oscillations.

Although impressive plumes had been seen before in this crisis, for the first time hot ash and gases began escaping the summit crater regularly, accompanied by pyroclastic flows and mudflows. The longest pyroclastic flow reached a runout distance of ~8 km. Preliminary photo analysis made during episodes of harmonic tremor in mid-December led to lava extrusion-rate estimates that were more than an order of magnitude higher than those typically seen at stratovolcanoes. During mid-December, sulfur dioxide (SO2) fluxes reached ten to twenty times larger than the volcano's typical ~5,000 tons/day.

Although later Bulletin reports will provide more details, what follows here are critical highlights for assessing the behavior through 29 January. The report was provided by Servando de la Cruz-Reyna, Carlos Valdés-Gonzalez, Roberto Quaas-Weppen, and affiliated CENAPRED scientists noted below.

Relative quiet followed by unrest. The previous episode of dome growth took place in February 2000, resulting in the smallest of all domes grown since 1996 (see BGVN 25:01). After a period of relative quiescence, unrest followed at Popocatépetl in early September 2000 (BGVN 25:10). This marked the beginning of a new episode.

September unrest was marked by two seismic observations. First, harmonic tremor appeared in the peak of the exhalation signals. Second, tectono-volcanic earthquakes below the crater were followed by long-duration explosive eruptions that generated higher-altitude plumes. GOES satellite imagery depicted strong thermal anomalies in the crater. Still, only comparatively minor dome growth was detected in mid-September, and this same pattern continued during early November. A variable, somewhat reduced level of activity continued into early December.

Escalation in December 2000. As discussed below, RSAM values climbed precipitously during a 7-day interval in mid-December. Prior to that, on 2 December an ash emission of moderate-to-large size lasted about 90 minutes. On 6 December, nine low-magnitude earthquakes (M ~1.7-2.4) occurred followed by a similar swarm on 8-9 December. These earthquakes, in turn, were followed by a period of low-frequency harmonic tremor that lasted about 5 minutes. Although brief, this tremor had the largest amplitude recorded since this eruptive period began in 1994.

Particularly during December, tiltmeters, for the first time since their installation, registered all of the large tremor signals (figure 30). Tilt oscillation amplitudes were typically in the range of 100 µrad, reaching peak-to-peak values near 200 µrad. Seismicity during 11-18 December was extremely high (figures 31 and 32).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. Tilt at Popocatépetl recorded by various stations for 11-20 December 2000. The large tilt displacements occurred in conjunction with high-amplitude tremor. The x and y directions are neither radial nor strictly tangential in orientation. The two axes lie at right angles on a horizontal plane such that a line 45 degrees away and bisecting both these axes trends through the center of the volcano. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

Eruptive activity increased on 12 December 2000 with frequent ash-bearing emissions (up to 200 per day), some of them reaching about 5-6 km above the volcano's summit. During the following night observers saw incandescence and small amounts of hot debris. Similar activity and longer-duration eruptions during 13-15 December produced light ashfalls on towns around the volcano.

Early on 15 December more episodes of high-amplitude, low-frequency harmonic tremor were detected, lasting a few minutes. At 1404, the low-frequency harmonic tremor grew to a continuous signal, with amplitudes peaking on all the monitoring stations, including the most distant one. These signals were strong enough to be felt by residents 12-14 km away, and to be detected at stations of the Mexican Seismological Network as far as 150 km from the volcano. This tremor episode remained at constant intensity for about 10 hours, and may have stemmed from very high rates of lava extrusion.

Starting early on 16 December activity underwent a dramatic drop that was reversed 16 hours later by a return of low-frequency harmonic tremor of increasing amplitude. This tremor again saturated all monitoring stations; it lasted about 9.5 hours. The amplitudes of the signals were so high that pen drivers and several styli of the paper-drum recorders were damaged. A still-larger tremor episode took place on 18-19 December.

Figures 31 and 32 illustrate the seismic traces and cumulative RSAM data. RSAM peaked during an interval of slightly over 7 days in mid-December, when low-frequency tremor prevailed for ~25 hours and the seismic energy released exceeded that of the rest of the year 2000. Actually, the peak surpassed that accumulated during any previous entire year for which records exist (including 1997, see figure 32).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Paper-drum records from Popocatépetl photographed while laid out on a flat surface. The records depict the record-setting seismic signals at Canario station (PPPN) on 30 June 1997 (labeled "a") and on 18-19 December 2000 (labeled "b"). Some of the records in the latter set (b, central to upper left) were re-scaled when the maximum pen displacement was shifted from 8 cm to 4 cm in order to stop damaging pens and motors during ongoing saturating oscillations. It is clear that the amplitude and duration of the 18-19 December 2000 events greatly exceeded those from 30 June 1997. Prior to mid-December, the 30 June 1997 events represented the largest amplitude tremor seen since 1994. Courtesy of CENAPRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Real-time seismic amplitude measurement (RSAM) plots for two Popocatépetl stations for the years 1997-8 and 2000, illustrating the extremely high seismic energy release seen in a time interval just over 7 days long (11-18 December 2000). This interval includes the acute increase seen on 18 December 2000. This ~7-day interval's energy release was eightfold larger than the total annual release in 1997. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

The episodes of quiescence and high-amplitude, low-frequency harmonic tremors occurred in such a pattern that they could be described as a load-and-discharge model, as suggested by the time-predictable model of Shimazaki and Nagata (1980). Using this paradigm, workers forecast the onset of the 18 December eruption and tremor episode.

Aerial photos taken on 16 December showed significant dome growth inside the crater (figure 33) and allowed correlation of the episodes of high amplitude, low-frequency harmonic tremor with periods of lava extrusion at very high rates. Analysis of the photos indicated that the dome grew at an average rate of ~180-200 m3/s during the episodes of intense harmonic tremor. This rate, which was not sustained, was about two orders of magnitude higher than any other previously observed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. A photograph taken looking into the crater at Popocatépetl, as viewed from the N on 16 December 2000. The substantial glacier on the N side lies covered by ash. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

At Popocatépetl, correlation spectrometer (COSPEC) measurements of SO2 flux have had yearly averages on the order of 5,000 metric tons/day (t/d). In contrast, during 13-19 December the estimates were in excess of 50,000 t/d. On 19 December the reported value was near 100,000 t/d.

Civil authorities were made aware of the high magnitude of the monitoring signals, the very high rate of lava production, and the growth of the largest dome yet observed. This motivated them to constitute, on 15-16 December, an emergency board. They declared a further increase in the alert level and defined a security radius of 13 km. This radius was suggested to include at least some of the most vulnerable towns, like Santiago Xalitzintla (centered ~15 km NE of the crater) and San Pedro Benito Juarez (with a few residences 10 km SE of the crater, but the main town at 12 km from it). Santiago Xalitzintla sits downstream of the E side of the largest glacier along one of the main N-flank drainages. San Pedro Benito Juarez lies on a fracture zone on the SE flank, an area where many of the largest tectono-volcanic earthquakes were located. Additionally, increased deformation was also detected using the geodetic network located on that fault. San Pedro Benito Juarez is an isolated town closest to a notch in the SE crater rim. This notch is believed to have formed by collapse on 24 February 1664 during an eruption similar to the current one.

Preventive evacuation of Santiago Xalitzintla, San Pedro Benito Juarez, and other towns began on late 15 December and early 16 December. The decisions regarding which other towns should be evacuated were made by authorities at the state and municipal level. This caused some towns, well outside the security radius of 13 km, to also be evacuated by decision of their mayors. About 41,000 people left the area. Around half left the region by their own will and means. The other half used resources provided by local civil protection authorities. Of these, ~14,000 accepted transportation to shelters where they remained for about 10 days. Others moved to stay with relatives or friends.

The total volume of fresh lava accumulated within the crater of Popocatépetl was estimated to be between 15 and 19 million cubic meters on 18 December, exceeding the combined volume of all the previous domes (figures 33 and 35). The estimated vertical growth rate of the dome was such that another 20 or 30 hours of tremor associated with the above-mentioned lava production rate could potentially have enabled the dome to begin escaping the confines of the crater. The rate slowed, however, and the dome's upper surface remained well within the crater (figures 33 and 35).

As anticipated by the applying the above-mentioned model, after a three-day period of relative quiescence, on the afternoon of 18 December, a new eruption began. The relatively low-explosivity, yet long-lasting eruption of 18-19 December (figure 34) ejected large amounts of hot debris on the flanks of the volcano in three episodes of incandescent fountaining. Ejected hot debris is believed to have ultimately flowed a maximum distance of 5-6 km from the crater. Some images of these eruptions were distributed by some news media, which had installed cameras around the volcano and broadcast images in real time. After 19 December activity decreased noticeably. The next expected period of unrest, suggested by the time-predictable model to ensue near 23 December (figure 35), did not occur, likely indicating that the rate of magma supply had changed. What was believed to be the first dome-destruction explosion of this episode occurred on 24 December, ejecting incandescent debris to a distance of 3.5 km from the volcano, and producing an ash plume estimated to reach 5 km above the crater. When the nature and size of this event was understood, authorities reduced the security radius to 12 km. No towns lie within that radius, and accordingly many people returned to their homes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. An ash-bearing eruption column rises from Popocatépetl on 19 December 2000, viewed from the N. This kind of activity was common during the energetic mid-December time interval and stimulated international attention (e.g. the media and websites of Reuters, Stromboli Online, and others). Courtesy of CENAPRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Aerial photograph taken looking into the crater at Popocatépetl, as seen from the NE on 23 December. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

Later explosive events failed to excavate substantial portions of the new dome. The current estimate as of 16 January 2001 was that ~10-20% of the new dome volume has been blown out by explosions recorded after 18 December 2000. In many of the previous dome growth-and-destruction episodes since 1996, most of the dome mass has been removed by small to moderate (VEI <= 2) explosions; a similar scenario may play out in the near future.

After several weeks of relative calm, significant activity resumed at Popocatépetl on 22 January. At 1458 a M 2.8 volcano-tectonic earthquake occurred on the E flank. This event was possibly a precursor to a large ash emission that started at 1615, and initially produced an ash plume several kilometers in height. Eight minutes later observers saw a more explosive phase throwing incandescent fragments around the crater. After several more minutes, pyroclastic flows were generated and moved 4-6 km down several ravines on the N flank. Ash emission from the crater was continuous and punctuated by intermittent explosions. By 1640, the ash plume towered more than 8 km above the summit crater. At 1800 fluctuating harmonic tremor, similar to that of December, was registered. At times the signals again reached saturation amplitudes; the tremor could have been associated with magma intrusion into the base of the crater, an idea also suggested to explain previous tremor events. Harmonic tremor lasted for ~30 minutes. Ashfall was documented in Santiago Xalitzintla, Atlixico, and parts of Puebla and Tetela del Volcán. At 2200 it was possible to see ejected incandescent fragments that fell up to 1 km from the crater. On 29 January (figure 36), pyroclastic flows caused some glacial melting. The pyroclastic flows initially reached up to 8 km from their source, halting in the drainage upstream of Santiago Xalitzintla. They triggered some glacial melting and in early February their deposits were remobilized and came to rest about 15 km from the crater, about 2 km upstream of Santiago Xalitzintla. As of 29 January Popocatépetl remained at a Stage 3 Yellow alert.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Popocatépetl on 29 January photographed looking S. The image captured the forceful ejection of an ash-laden cloud. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

Reference. Shimazaki and Nagata,1980, Time-predictable recurrence model for large earthquakes: Geophys Res. Lett. 7, p. 279-282.

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

Information Contacts: Carlos Valdés-Gonzalez, Roberto Quaas-Weppen, E. Guevara, A. Martinez, G. Castelán, S. Alcocer, C. Gutiérrez, G. Espitia, F. Galicia, M. Galicia, A. Gomez, G. Jiménez, C. Morquecho, J. Ortiz, E. Ramos, H. Romero, Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED), Delfin Madrigal 665, Col. Pedregal de Santo Domingo, Coyoacán, 04360, México D.F. (URL: https://www.gob.mx/cenapred/); Servando de la Cruz-Reyna, Instituto de Geofisica, UNAM, Coyoacán 04510, México D.F., México.

Atmospheric Effects

The enormous aerosol cloud from the March-April 1982 eruption of Mexico's El Chichón persisted for years in the stratosphere, and led to the Atmospheric Effects section becoming a regular feature of the Bulletin. Descriptions of the initial dispersal of major eruption clouds remain with the individual eruption reports, but observations of long-term stratospheric aerosol loading will be found in this section.

Atmospheric Effects (1980-1989)  Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001)

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements  Obituaries

Misc Reports

Reports are sometimes published that are not related to a Holocene volcano. These might include observations of a Pleistocene volcano, earthquake swarms, or floating pumice. Reports are also sometimes published in which the source of the activity is unknown or the report is determined to be false. All of these types of additional reports are listed below by subject.

Additional Reports  False Reports