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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

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

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

Dukono (Indonesia) Numerous ash explosions continue through March 2020

Etna (Italy) Strombolian explosions and ash emissions continue, October 2019-March 2020

Merapi (Indonesia) Explosions produced ash plumes, ashfall, and pyroclastic flows during October 2019-March 2020

Erta Ale (Ethiopia) Continued lava flow outbreaks and thermal anomalies during November 2019 to early April 2020

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) Weak phreatic explosions during August 2019-March 2020; ash and lahars reported in late January

Manam (Papua New Guinea) Minor explosive activity, continued thermal activity, and SO2 emissions, October 2019-March 2020.

Stromboli (Italy) Strombolian activity continues at both summit crater areas, September-December 2019

Semeru (Indonesia) Ash plumes and thermal anomalies continue during September 2019-February 2020

Popocatepetl (Mexico) Dome growth and destruction continues along with ash emissions and ejecta, September 2019-February 2020

Santa Maria (Guatemala) Daily explosions with ash plumes and block avalanches continue, September 2019-February 2020



Sabancaya (Peru) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sabancaya

Peru

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sheveluch (Russia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Dukono (Indonesia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Dukono

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Numerous ash explosions continue through March 2020

The ongoing eruption at Dukono is characterized by frequent explosions that send ash plumes to about 1.5-3 km altitude (0.3-1.8 km above the summit), although a few have risen higher. This type of typical activity (figure 13) continued through at least March 2020. The ash plume data below (table 21) were primarily provided by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC). During the reporting period of October 2019-March 2020, the Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4) and the public was warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

Table 21. Monthly summary of reported ash plumes from Dukono for October 2019-March 2020. The direction of drift for the ash plume through each month was highly variable; notable plume drift each month was only indicated in the table if at least two weekly reports were consistent. Data courtesy of the Darwin VAAC and PVMBG.

Month Plume Altitude (km) Notable Plume Drift
Oct 2019 1.8-3 Multiple
Nov 2019 1.8-2.3 E, SE, NE
Dec 2019 1.8-2.1 E, SE
Jan 2020 1.8-2.1 E, SE, SW, S
Feb 2020 2.1-2.4 S, SW
Mar 2020 1.5-2.3 Multiple
Figure (see Caption) Figure 13.Satellite image of Dukono from Sentinel-2 on 12 November 2019, showing an ash plume drifting E. Image uses natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During the reporting period, high levels of sulfur dioxide were only recorded above or near the volcano during 30-31 October and 4 November 2019. High levels were recorded by the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) instrument aboard the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite on 30 October 2019, in a plume drifting E. The next day high levels were also recorded by the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) aboard the Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite on 31 October (figure 14) and 4 November 2019, in plumes drifting SE and NE, respectively.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Sulfur dioxide emission on 31 October 2019 drifting E, probably from Dukono, as recorded by the TROPOMI instrument aboard the Sentinel-5P satellite. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Etna (Italy) — April 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 emissions continue, October 2019-March 2020

Mount Etna is a stratovolcano located on the island of Sicily, Italy, with historical eruptions that date back 3,500 years. The most recent eruptive period began in September 2013 and has continued through March 2020. Activity is characterized by Strombolian explosions, lava flows, and ash plumes that commonly occur from the summit area, 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 reporting period covers information from October 2019 through March 2020 and includes frequent explosions and ash plumes. The primary source of information comes from the Osservatorio Etneo (OE), part of the Catania Branch of Italy's Istituo Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologica (INGV).

Summary of activity during October 2019-March 2020. Strombolian activity and gas-and-steam and ash emissions were frequently observed at Etna throughout the entire reporting period, according to INGV and Toulouse VAAC notices. Activity was largely located within the main cone (Voragine-Bocca Nuova complex), the Northeast Crater (NEC), and the New Southeast Crater (NSEC). On 1, 17, and 19 October, ash plumes rose to a maximum altitude of 5 km. Due to constant Strombolian explosions, ground observations showed that a scoria cone located on the floor of the VOR Crater had begun to grow in late November and again in late January 2020. A lava flow was first detected on 6 December at the base of the scoria cone in the VOR Crater, which traveled toward the adjacent BN Crater. Additional lava flows were observed intermittently throughout the reporting period in the same crater. On 13 March, another small scoria cone had formed in the main VOR-BN complex due to Strombolian explosions.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows multiple episodes of thermal activity varying in power from 22 June 2019 to March 2020 (figure 286). The power and frequency of these thermal anomalies significantly decreased between August to mid-September. The pulse of activity in mid-September reflected a lava flow from the VOR Crater (BGVN 44:10). By late October through November, thermal anomalies were relatively weaker and less frequent. The next pulse in thermal activity reflected in the MIROVA graph occurred in early December, followed by another shortly after in early January, both of which were due to new lava flows from the VOR Crater. After 9 January the thermal anomalies remained frequent and strong; active lava flows continued through March accompanied by Strombolian explosions, gas-and-steam, SO2, and ash emissions. The most recent distinct pulse in thermal activity was seen in mid-March; on 13 March, another lava flow formed, accompanied by an increase in seismicity. This lava flow, like the previous ones, also originated in the VOR Crater and traveled W toward the BN Crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 286. Multiple episodes of varying activity at Etna from 22 June 2019 through March 2020 were reflected in the MIROVA thermal energy data (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during October-December 2019. During October 2019, VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) notices issued by INGV reported ash plumes rose to a maximum altitude of 5 km on 1, 17, and 19 October. Strombolian explosions occurred frequently. Explosions were detected primarily in the VOR-BN Craters, ejecting coarse pyroclastic material that fell back into the crater area and occasionally rising above the crater rim. Ash emissions rose from the VOR-BN and NEC while intense gas-and-steam emissions were observed in the NSEC (figure 287). Between 10-12 and 14-20 October fine ashfall was observed in Pedara, Mascalucia, Nicolosi, San Giovanni La Punta, and Catania. In addition to these ash emissions, the explosive Strombolian activity contributed to significant SO2 plumes that drifted in different directions (figure 288).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 287. Webcam images of ash emissions from the NE Crater at Etna from the a) CUAD (Catania) webcam on 10 October 2019; b) Milo webcam on 11 October 2019; c) Milo webcam on 12 October 2019; d) M.te Cagliato webcam on 13 October 2019. Courtesy of INGV (Report 42/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 07/10/2019 - 13/10/2019, data emissione 15/10/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 288. Strombolian activity at Etna contributed to significant SO2 plumes that drifted in multiple directions during the intermittent explosions in October 2019. Top left: 1 October 2019. Top right: 2 October 2019. Middle left: 15 October 2019. Middle right: 18 October 2019. Bottom left: 13 November 2019. Bottom right: 1 December 2019. Captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

The INGV weekly bulletin covering activity between 25 October and 1 November 2019 reported that Strombolian explosions occurred at intervals of 5-10 minutes from within the VOR-BN and NEC, ejecting incandescent material above the crater rim, accompanied by modest ash emissions. In addition, gas-and-steam emissions were observed from all the summit craters. Field observations showed the cone in the crater floor of VOR that began to grow in mid-September 2019 had continued to grow throughout the month. During the week of 4-10 November, Strombolian activity within the Bocca Nuova Crater was accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. The explosions in the VOR Crater occasionally ejected incandescent ejecta above the crater rim (figures 289 and 290). For the remainder of the month Strombolian explosions continued in the VOR-BN and NEC, producing sporadic ash emissions. Isolated and discontinuous explosions in the New Southeast Crater (NSEC) also produced fine ash, though gas-and-steam emissions still dominated the activity at this crater. Additionally, the explosions from these summit craters were frequently accompanied by strong SO2 emissions that drifted in different directions as discrete plumes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 289. Photo of Strombolian activity and crater incandescence in the Voragine Crater at Etna on 15 November 2019. Photo by B. Behncke, taken by Tremestieri Etneo. Courtesy of INGV (Report 47/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 11/11/2019 - 17/11/2019, data emissione 19/11/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 290. Webcam images of summit crater activity during 26-29 November and 1 December 2019 at Etna. a) image recorded by the high-resolution camera on Montagnola (EMOV); b) and c) webcam images taken from Tremestieri Etneo on the southern slope of Etna showing summit incandescence; d) image recorded by the thermal camera on Montagnola (EMOT) showing summit incandescence at the NSEC. Courtesy of INGV (Report 49/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 25/11/2019 - 01/12/2019, data emissione 03/12/2019).

Frequent Strombolian explosions continued through December 2019 within the VOR-BN, NEC, and NSEC Craters with sporadic ash emissions observed in the VOR-BN and NEC. On 6 December, Strombolian explosions increased in the NSEC; webcam images showed incandescent pyroclastic material ejected above the crater rim. On the morning of 6 December a lava flow was observed from the base of the scoria cone in the VOR Crater that traveled toward the adjacent Bocca Nuova Crater. INGV reported that a new vent opened on the side of the saddle cone (NSEC) on 11 December and produced explosions until 14 December.

Activity during January-March 2020. On 9 January 2020 an aerial flight organized by RAI Linea Bianca and the state police showed the VOR Crater continuing to produce lava that was flowing over the crater rim into the BN Crater with some explosive activity in the scoria cone. Explosive Strombolian activity produced strong and distinct SO2 plumes (figure 291) and ash emissions through March, according to the weekly INGV reports, VONA notices, and satellite imagery. Several ash emissions during 21-22 January rose from the vent that opened on 11 December. According to INGV’s weekly bulletin for 21-26 January, the scoria cone in the VOR crater produced Strombolian explosions that increased in frequency and contributed to rapid cone growth, particularly the N part of the cone. Lava traveled down the S flank of the cone and into the adjacent Bocca Nuova Crater, filling the E crater (BN-2) (figure 292). The NEC had discontinuous Strombolian activity and periodic, diffuse ash emissions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 291. Distinct SO2 plumes drifting in multiple directions from Etna were visible in satellite imagery as Strombolian activity continued through March 2020. Top left: 21 January 2020. Top right: 2 February 2020. Bottom left: 10 March 2020. Bottom right: 19 March 2020. Captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 292. a) A map of the lava field at Etna showing cooled flows (yellow) and active flows (red). The base of the scoria cone is outlined in black while the crater rim is outlined in red. b) Thermal image of the Bocca Nuova and Voragine Craters. The bright orange is the warmest temperature measure in the flow. Courtesy of INGV, photos by Laboratorio di Cartografia FlyeEye Team (Report 10/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 24/02/2020 - 01/03/2020, data emissione 03/03/2020).

Strombolian explosions continued into February 2020, accompanied by ash emissions and lava flows from the previous months (figure 293). During 17-23 February, INGV reported that some subsidence was observed in the central portion of the Bocca Nuova Crater. During 24 February to 1 March, the Strombolian explosions ejected lava from the VOR Crater up to 150-200 m above the vent as bombs fell on the W edge of the VOR crater rim (figure 294). Lava flows continued to move into the W part of the Bocca Nuova Crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 293. Webcam images of A) Strombolian activity and B) effusive activity fed by the scoria cone grown inside the VOR Crater at Etna taken on 1 February 2020. C) Thermal image of the lava field produced by the VOR Crater taken by L. Lodato on 3 February (bottom left). Image of BN-1 taken by F. Ciancitto on 3 February in the summit area (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV; Report 06/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 27/01/2020 - 02/02/2020, data emissione 04/02/2020 (top) and Report 07/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 03/02/2020 - 09/02/2020, data emissione 11/02/2020 (bottom).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 294. Photos of the VOR intra-crater scoria cone at Etna: a) Strombolian activity resumed on 25 February 2020 from the SW edge of BN taken by B. Behncke; b) weak Strombolian activity from the vent at the base N of the cone on 29 February 2020 from the W edge of VOR taken by V. Greco; c) old vent present at the base N of the cone, taken on 17 February 2020 from the E edge of VOR taken by B. Behncke; d) view of the flank of the cone, taken on 24 February 2020 from the W edge of VOR taken by F. Ciancitto. Courtesy of INGV (Report 10/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 24/02/2020 - 01/03/2020, data emissione 03/03/2020).

During 9-15 March 2020 Strombolian activity was detected in the VOR Crater while discontinuous ash emissions rose from the NEC and NSEC. Bombs were found in the N saddle between the VOR and NSEC craters. On 9 March, a small scoria cone that had formed in the Bocca Nuova Crater and was ejecting bombs and lava tens of meters above the S crater rim. The lava flow from the VOR Crater was no longer advancing. A third scoria cone had formed on 13 March NE in the main VOR-BN complex due to the Strombolian explosions on 29 February. Another lava flow formed on 13 March, accompanied by an increase in seismicity. The weekly report for 16-22 March reported Strombolian activity detected in the VOR Crater and gas-and-steam and rare ash emissions observed in the NEC and NSEC (figure 295). Explosions in the Bocca Nuova Crater ejected spatter and bombs 100 m high.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 295. Map of the summit crater area of Etna showing the active vents and lava flows during 16-22 March 2020. Black hatch marks indicate the crater rims: BN = Bocca Nuova, with NW BN-1 and SE BN-2; 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. The base is modified from a 2014 DEM created by Laboratorio di Aerogeofisica-Sezione Roma 2. Courtesy of INGV (Report 13/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 16/03/2020 - 22/03/2020, data emissione 24/03/2020).

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/); Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Météo-France, 42 Avenue Gaspard Coriolis, F-31057 Toulouse cedex, France (URL: http://www.meteo.fr/aeroweb/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Boris Behncke, Sonia Calvari, and Marco Neri, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: https://twitter.com/etnaboris, Image at https://twitter.com/etnaboris/status/1183640328760414209/photo/1).


Merapi (Indonesia) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions produced ash plumes, ashfall, and pyroclastic flows during October 2019-March 2020

Merapi is a highly active stratovolcano located in Indonesia, just north of the city of Yogyakarta. The current eruption episode began in May 2018 and was characterized by phreatic explosions, ash plumes, block avalanches, and a newly active lava dome at the summit. This reporting period updates information from October 2019-March 2020 that includes explosions, pyroclastic flows, ash plumes, and ashfall. The primary reporting source of activity comes from Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG, the Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology, a branch of PVMBG) and Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM).

Some ongoing lava dome growth continued in October 2019 in the NE-SW direction measuring 100 m in length, 30 m in width, and 20 m in depth. Gas-and-steam emissions were frequent, reaching a maximum height of 700 m above the crater on 31 October. An explosion at 1631 on 14 October removed the NE-SW trending section of the lava dome and produced an ash plume that rose 3 km above the crater and extended SW for about 2 km (figures 90 and 91). The plume resulted in ashfall as far as 25 km to the SW. According to a Darwin VAAC notice, a thermal hotspot was detected in HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery. A pyroclastic flow associated with the eruption traveled down the SW flank in the Gendol drainage. During 14-20 October lava flows from the crater generated block-and-ash flows that traveled 1 km SW, according to BPPTKG.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. An ash plume rising 3 km above Merapi on 14 October 2019.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Webcam image of an ash plume rising above Merapi at 1733 on 14 October 2019. Courtesy of BPPTKG via Jaime S. Sincioco.

At 0621 on 9 November 2019, an eruption produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater and drifted W. Ashfall was observed in the W region as far as 15 km from the summit in Wonolelo and Sawangan in Magelang Regency, as well as Tlogolele and Selo in Boyolali Regency. An associated pyroclastic flow traveled 2 km down the Gendol drainage on the SE flank. On 12 November aerial drone photographs were used to measure the volume of the lava dome, which was 407,000 m3. On 17 November, an eruption produced an ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater, resulting in ashfall as far as 15 km W from the summit in the Dukun District, Magelang Regency (figure 92). A pyroclastic flow accompanying the eruption traveled 1 km down the SE flank in the Gendol drainage. By 30 November low-frequency earthquakes and CO2 gas emissions had increased.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. An ash plume rising 1 km above Merapi on 17 November 2019. Courtesy of BPPTKG.

Volcanism was relatively low from 18 November 2019 through 12 February 2020, characterized primarily by gas-and-steam emissions and intermittent volcanic earthquakes. On 4 January a pyroclastic flow was recorded by the seismic network at 2036, but it wasn’t observed due to weather conditions. On 13 February an explosion was detected at 0516, which ejected incandescent material within a 1-km radius from the summit (figure 93). Ash plumes rose 2 km above the crater and drifted NW, resulting in ashfall within 10 km, primarily S of the summit; lightning was also seen in the plume. Ash was observed in Hargobinangun, Glagaharjo, and Kepuharjo. On 19 February aerial drone photographs were used to measure the change in the lava dome after the eruption; the volume of the lava had decreased, measuring 291,000 m3.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. Webcam image of an ash plume rising from Merapi at 0516 on 13 February 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia and PVMBG.

An explosion on 3 March at 0522 produced an ash plume that rose 6 km above the crater (figure 94), resulting in ashfall within 10 km of the summit, primarily to the NE in the Musuk and Cepogo Boyolali sub-districts and Mriyan Village, Boyolali (3 km from the summit). A pyroclastic flow accompanied this eruption, traveling down the SSE flank less than 2 km. Explosions continued to be detected on 25 and 27-28 March, resulting in ash plumes. The eruption on 27 March at 0530 produced an ash plume that rose 5 km above the crater, causing ashfall as far as 20 km to the W in the Mungkid subdistrict, Magelang Regency, and Banyubiru Village, Dukun District, Magelang Regency. An associated pyroclastic flow descended the SSE flank, traveling as far as 2 km. The ash plume from the 28 March eruption rose 2 km above the crater, causing ashfall within 5 km from the summit in the Krinjing subdistrict primarily to the W (figure 94).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Images of ash plumes rising from Merapi during 3 March (left) and 28 March 2020 (right). Images courtesy of BPPTKG (left) and PVMBG (right).

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

Information Contacts: Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG), Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology (URL: http://merapi.bgl.esdm.go.id/, Twitter: @BPPTKG); Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/, Twitter: https://twitter.com/BNPB_Indonesia); 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/); Jamie S. Sincioco, Phillipines (Twitter: @jaimessincioco, Image at https://twitter.com/jaimessincioco/status/1227966075519635456/photo/1).


Erta Ale (Ethiopia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Erta Ale

Ethiopia

13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued lava flow outbreaks and thermal anomalies during November 2019 to early April 2020

Erta Ale is a shield volcano located in Ethiopia and contains multiple active pit craters in the summit and southeastern caldera. Volcanism has been characterized by lava flows and large lava flow fields since 2017. Surficial lava flow activity continued within the southeastern caldera during November 2019 until early April 2020; source information was primarily from various satellite data.

The number of days that thermal anomalies were detected using MODIS data in MODVOLC and NASA VIIRS satellite data was notably higher in November and December 2019 (figure 96); the number of thermal anomalies in the Sentinel-2 thermal imagery was substantially lower due to the presence of cloud cover. Across all satellite data, thermal anomalies were identified for 29 days in November, followed by 30 days in December. After December 2019, the number of days thermal anomalies were detected decreased; hotspots were detected for 17 days in January 2020 and 20 days in February. By March, these thermal anomalies became rare until activity ceased. Thermal anomalies were identified during 1-4 March, with weak anomalies seen again during 26 March-8 April 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Graph comparing the number of thermal alerts using calendar dates using MODVOLC, NASA VIIRS, and Sentinel-2 satellite data for Erta Ale during November 2019-March 2020. Data courtesy of HIGP - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, NASA Worldview using the “Fire and Thermal Anomalies” layer, and Sentinel Hub Playground.

MIROVA (Middle Infrared Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed frequent strong thermal anomalies from 18 April through December 2019 (figure 97). Between early August 2019 and March 2020, these thermal signatures were detected at distances less than 5 km from the summit. In late December the thermal intensity dropped slightly before again increasing, while at the same time moving slightly closer to the summit. Thermal anomalies then became more intermittent and steadily decreased in power over the next two months.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Two time-series plots of thermal anomalies from Erta Ale from 18 April 2019 through 18 April 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system. The top plot (A) shows that the thermal anomalies were consistently strong (measured in log radiative power) and occurred frequently until early January 2020 when both the power and frequency visibly declined. The lower plot (B) shows these anomalies as a function of distance from the summit, including a sudden decrease in distance (measured in kilometers) in early August 2019, reflecting a change in the location of the lava flow outbreak. A smaller distance change can be identified at the end of December 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Unlike the obvious distal breakouts to the NE seen previously (BGVN 44:04 and 44:11), infrared satellite imagery during November-December 2019 showed only a small area with a thermal anomaly near the NE edge of the Southeast Caldera (figure 98). A thermal alert was seen at that location using the MODVOLC system on 28 December, but the next day it had been replaced by an anomaly about 1.5 km WSW near the N edge of the Southeast Caldera where the recent flank eruption episode had been centered between January 2017 and January 2018 (BGVN 43:04). The thermal anomaly that was detected in the summit caldera was no longer visible after 9 January 2020, based on Sentinel-2 imagery. The exact location of lava flows shifted within the same general area during January and February 2020 and was last detected by Sentinel-2 on 4 March. After about two weeks without detectable thermal activity, weak unlocated anomalies were seen in VIIRS data on 26 March and in MODIS data on the MIROVA system four times between 26 March and 8 April. No further anomalies were noted through the rest of April 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery of Erta Ale volcanism between November 2019 and March 2020 showing small lava flow outbreaks (bright yellow-orange) just NE of the southeastern calderas. A thermal anomaly can be seen in the summit crater on 15 November and very faintly on 20 December 2019. Imagery on 19 January 2020 showed a small thermal anomaly near the N edge of the Southeast Caldera where the recent flank eruption episode had been centered between January 2017 and January 2018. The last weak thermal hotspot was detected on 4 March (bottom right). Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Erta Ale is an isolated basaltic shield that is the most active volcano in Ethiopia. The broad, 50-km-wide edifice rises more than 600 m from below sea level in the barren Danakil depression. Erta Ale is the namesake and most prominent feature of the Erta Ale Range. The volcano contains a 0.7 x 1.6 km, elliptical summit crater housing steep-sided pit craters. Another larger 1.8 x 3.1 km wide depression elongated parallel to the trend of the Erta Ale range is located SE of the summit and is bounded by curvilinear fault scarps on the SE side. Fresh-looking basaltic lava flows from these fissures have poured into the caldera and locally overflowed its rim. The summit caldera is renowned for one, or sometimes two long-term lava lakes that have been active since at least 1967, or possibly since 1906. Recent fissure eruptions have occurred on the N flank.

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


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

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak phreatic explosions during August 2019-March 2020; ash and lahars reported in late January

Rincón de la Vieja is a remote volcanic complex in Costa Rica containing an acid lake that has regularly generated weak phreatic explosions since 2011 (BGVN 44:08). The most recent eruptive period occurred during late March-early June 2019, primarily consisting of small phreatic explosions, minor deposits on the N crater rim, and gas-and-steam emissions. The report period of August 2019-March 2020 was characterized by similar activity, including small phreatic explosions, gas-and-steam plumes, ash and lake sediment ejecta, and volcanic tremors. The most significant activity during this time occurred on 30 January, where a phreatic explosion ejected ash and lake sediment above the crater rim, resulting in a pyroclastic flow which gradually turned into a lahar. Information for this reporting period of August 2019-March 2020 comes from the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA) using weekly bulletins.

According to OVSICORI-UNA, a small hydrothermal eruption was recorded on 1 August 2019. The seismicity was low with a few long period (LP) earthquakes around 1 August and intermittent background tremor. No explosions or emissions were reported through 11 September; seismicity remained low with an occasional LP earthquake and discontinuous tremor. The summit’s extension that has been recorded since the beginning of June stopped, and no significant deformation was observed in August.

Starting again in September 2019 and continuing intermittently through the reporting period, some deformation was observed at the base of the volcano as well as near the summit, according to OVSICORI-UNA. On 12 September an eruption occurred that was followed by volcanic tremors that continued through 15 September. In addition to these tremors, vigorous sustained gas-and-steam plumes were observed. The 16 September weekly bulletin did not describe any ejecta produced as a result of this event.

During 1-3 October small phreatic eruptions were accompanied by volcanic tremors that had decreased by 5 October. In November, volcanism and seismicity were relatively low and stable; few LP earthquakes were reported. This period of low activity remained through December. At the end of November, horizontal extension was observed at the summit, which continued through the first half of January.

Small phreatic eruptions were recorded on 2, 28, and 29 January 2020, with an increase in seismicity occurring on 27 January. On 30 January at 1213 a phreatic explosion produced a gas column that rose 1,500-2,000 m above the crater, with ash and lake sediment ejected up to 100 m above the crater. A news article posted by the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) noted that this explosion generated pyroclastic flows that traveled down the N flank for more than 2 km from the crater. As the pyroclastic flows moved through tributary channels, lahars were generated in the Pénjamo river, Zanjonuda gorge, and Azufrosa, traveling N for 4-10 km and passing through Buenos Aires de Upala (figure 29). Seismicity after this event decreased, though there were still some intermittent tremors.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Photo of a lahar generated from the 30 January 2020 eruption at Rincon de la Vieja. Photo taken by Mauricio Gutiérrez, courtesy of UCR.

On 17, 24, and 25 February and 11, 17, 19, 21, and 23 March, small phreatic eruptions were detected, according to OVSICORI-UNA. Geodetic measurements observed deformation consisting of horizontal extension and inflation near the summit in February-March. By the week of 30 March, the weekly bulletin reported 2-3 small eruptions accompanied by volcanic tremors occurred daily during most days of the week. None of these eruptions produced solid ejecta, pyroclastic flows, or lahars, according to the weekly OVSICORI-UNA bulletins during February-March 2020.

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

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/, https://www.facebook.com/OVSICORI/); Luis Enrique Brenes Portuguéz, University of Costa Rica, Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo Facio Brenes, San José, San Pedro, Costa Rica (URL: https://www.ucr.ac.cr/noticias/2020/01/30/actividad-del-volcan-rincon-de-la-vieja-es-normal-segun-experto.html).


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

Manam

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor explosive activity, continued thermal activity, and SO2 emissions, October 2019-March 2020.

Manam is a basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano that lies 13 km off the northern coast of mainland Papua New Guinea; it has a 400-year history of recorded evidence for recurring low-level ash plumes, occasional Strombolian activity, lava flows, pyroclastic avalanches, and large ash plumes from Main and South, the two active summit craters. The current eruption, ongoing since June 2014, produced multiple large explosive eruptions during January-September 2019, including two 15-km-high ash plumes in January, repeated SO2 plumes each month, and another 15.2 km-high ash plume in June that resulted in ashfall and evacuations of several thousand people (BGVN 44:10).

This report covers continued activity during October 2019 through March 2020. Information about Manam is primarily provided by Papua New Guinea's Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), part of the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM). This information is supplemented with aviation alerts from the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). MODIS thermal anomaly satellite data is recorded by the University of Hawai'i's MODVOLC thermal alert recording system, and the Italian MIROVA project; sulfur dioxide monitoring is done by instruments on satellites managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Satellite imagery provided by the Sentinel Hub Playground is also a valuable resource for information about this remote location.

A few modest explosions with ash emissions were reported in early October and early November 2019, and then not again until late March 2020. Although there was little explosive activity during the period, thermal anomalies were recorded intermittently, with low to moderate activity almost every month, as seen in the MODIS data from MIROVA (figure 71) and also in satellite imagery. Sulfur dioxide emissions persisted throughout the period producing emissions greater than 2.0 Dobson Units that were recorded in satellite data 3-13 days each month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. MIROVA thermal anomaly data for Manam from 17 June 2019 through March 2020 indicate continued low and moderate level thermal activity each month from August 2019 through February 2020, after a period of increased activity in June and early July 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume in visible satellite imagery moving NW at 3.1 km altitude on 2 October 2019. Weak ash emissions were observed drifting N for the next two days along with an IR anomaly at the summit. RVO reported incandescence at night during the first week of October. Visitors to the summit on 18 October 2019 recorded steam and fumarolic activity at both of the summit craters (figure 72) and recent avalanche debris on the steep slopes (figure 73).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Steam and fumarolic activity rose from Main crater at Manam on 18 October 2019 in this view to the south from a ridge north of the crater. Google Earth inset of summit shows location of photograph. Courtesy of Vulkanologische Gesellschaft and Claudio Jung, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Volcanic debris covered an avalanche chute on the NE flank of Manam when visited by hikers on 18 October 2019. Courtesy of Vulkanologische Gesellschaft and Claudio Jung, used with permission.

On 2 November, a single large explosion at 1330 local time produced a thick, dark ash plume that rose about 1,000 m above the summit and drifted NW. A shockwave from the explosion was felt at the Bogia Government station located 40 km SE on the mainland about 1 minute later. RVO reported an increase in seismicity on 6 November about 90 minutes before the start of a new eruption from the Main Crater which occurred between 1600 and 1630; it produced light to dark gray ash clouds that rose about 1,000 m above the summit and drifted NW. Incandescent ejecta was visible at the start of the explosion and continued with intermittent strong pulses after dark, reaching peak intensity around 1900. Activity ended by 2200 that evening. The Darwin VAAC reported a discrete emission observed in satellite imagery on 8 November that rose to 4.6 km altitude and drifted WNW, although ground observers confirmed that no eruption took place; emissions were only steam and gas. There were no further reports of explosive activity until the Darwin VAAC reported an ash emission in visible satellite imagery on 20 March 2020 that rose to 3.1 km altitude and drifted E for a few hours before dissipating.

Although explosive activity was minimal during the period, SO2 emissions, and evidence for continued thermal activity were recorded by satellite instruments each month. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite captured evidence each month of SO2 emissions exceeding two Dobson Units (figure 74). The most SO2 activity occurred during October 2019, with 13 days of signatures over 2.0 DU. There were six days of elevated SO2 each month in November and December, and five days in January 2020. During February and March, activity was less, with smaller SO2 plumes recording more than 2.0 DU on three days each month. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery recorded thermal anomalies at least once from one or both of the summit craters each month between October 2019 and March 2020 (figure 75).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. SO2 emissions at Manam exceeded 2 Dobson Units multiple days each month between October 2019 and March 2020. On 3 October 2019 (top left) emissions were also measured from Ulawun located 700 km E on New Britain island. On 30 November 2019 (top middle), in addition to a plume drifting N from Manam, a small SO2 plume was detected at Bagana on Bougainville Island, 1150 km E. The plume from Manam on 2 December 2019 drifted ESE (top right). On 26 January 2020 the plume drifted over 300 km E (bottom left). The plumes measured on 29 February and 4 March 2020 (bottom middle and right) only drifted a few tens of kilometers before dissipating. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, and 8a) showed thermal anomalies at one or both of Manam’s summit craters each month during October 2019-March 2020. On 17 October 2019 (top left) a bright anomaly and weak gas plume drifted NW from South crater, while a dense steam plume and weak anomaly were present at Main crater. On 25 January 2020 (top right) the gas and steam from the two craters were drifting E; the weaker Main crater thermal anomaly is just visible at the edge of the clouds. A clear image on 5 March 2020 (bottom left) shows weak plumes and distinct thermal anomalies from both craters; on 20 March (bottom right) the anomalies are still visible through dense cloud cover that may include steam from the crater vents as well. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; 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); Vulkanologische Gesellschaft (URL: https://twitter.com/vulkanologen/status/1194228532219727874, https://twitter.com/vulkanologen/status/1193788836679225344); Claudio Jung, (URL: https://www.facebook.com/claudio.jung.1/posts/10220075272173895, https://www.instagram.com/jung.claudio/).


Stromboli (Italy) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

38.789°N, 15.213°E; summit elev. 924 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian activity continues at both summit crater areas, September-December 2019

Near-constant fountains of lava at Stromboli have served as a natural beacon in the Tyrrhenian Sea for at least 2,000 years. Eruptive activity at the summit consistently occurs from multiple vents at both a north crater area (N area) and a southern crater group (CS area) on the Terrazza Craterica at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a large scarp that runs from the summit down the NW side of the volcano-island (figure 168). Periodic lava flows emerge from the vents and flow down the scarp, sometimes reaching the sea; occasional large explosions produce ash plumes and pyroclastic flows. Thermal and visual cameras that monitor activity at the vents are located on the nearby Pizzo Sopra La Fossa, above the Terrazza Craterica, and at multiple locations on the flanks of the volcano. Detailed information for Stromboli is provided by Italy's Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) as well as other satellite sources of data; September-December 2019 is covered in this report.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 168. This shaded relief map of Stromboli’s crater area was created from images acquired by drone on 9 July 2019 (In collaboration with GEOMAR drone group, Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany). Inset shows Stromboli Island, the black rectangle indicates the area of the larger image, the black curved and the red hatched lines indicate, respectively, the morphological escarpment and the crater edges. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 50/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 02/12/2019 - 08/12/2019, data emissione 10/12/2019).

Activity was very consistent throughout the period of September-December 2019. Explosion rates ranged from 2-36 per hour and were of low to medium-high intensity, producing material that rose from less than 80 to over 150 m above the vents on occasion (table 7). The Strombolian activity in both crater areas often sent ejecta outside the crater rim onto the Terrazza Craterica, and also down the Sciara del Fuoco towards the coast. After the explosions of early July and late August, thermal activity decreased to more moderate levels that persisted throughout the period as seen in the MIROVA Log Radiative Power data (figure 169). Sentinel-2 satellite imagery supported descriptions of the constant glow at the summit, revealing incandescence at both summit areas, each showing repeating bursts of activity throughout the period (figure 170).

Table 7. Monthly summary of activity levels at Stromboli, September-December 2019. Low-intensity activity indicates ejecta rising less than 80 m, medium-intensity is ejecta rising less than 150 m, and high-intensity is ejecta rising over 200 m above the vent. Data courtesy of INGV.

Month Activity
Sep 2019 Explosion rates varied from 11-36 events per hour and were of low- to medium intensity (producing 80-120 m high ejecta). Lapilli and bombs were typical from the N area, and coarse and finer-grained tephra (lapilli and ash) were most common in the CS area. The Strombolian activity in both crater areas often sent ejecta outside the crater rim onto the terrace, and also down the Sciara del Fuoco towards the coast.
Oct 2019 Typical Strombolian activity and degassing continued. Explosions rates varied from 2-21 events per hour. Low intensity activity was common in the N area (ejecta less than 80 m high) and low to moderate intensity activity was typical in the CS area, with a few explosions rising over 150 m high. Lapilli and bombs were typical from the N area, and coarse and finer-grained tephra (lapilli and ash) were most common in the CS area. Some of the explosions sent ejecta down the Sciara del Fuoco.
Nov 2019 Typical Strombolian activity and degassing continued. Explosion rates varied from 11-23 events per hour with ejecta rising usually 80-150 m above the vents. Occasional explosions rose 250 m high. In the N area, explosions were generally low intensity with coarse material (lapilli and bombs). In many explosions, ejecta covered the outer slopes of the area overlooking the Sciara del Fuoco, and some blocks rolled for a few hundred meters before stopping. In the CS area, coarse material was mixed with fine and some explosions sent ejecta onto the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco.
Dec 2019 Strombolian activity and degassing continued. Explosion rates varied from 12-26 per hour. In the N area, explosion intensity was mainly medium-low (less than 150 m) with coarse ejecta while in the CS area it was usually medium-high (more than 150 m) with both coarse and fine ejecta. In many explosions, debris covered the outer slopes of the area overlooking the Sciara del Fuoco, and some blocks rolled for a few hundred meters before stopping. Spattering activity was noted in the southern vents of the N area.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 169. Thermal activity at Stromboli was high during July-August 2019, when two major explosions occurred. Activity continued at more moderate levels through December 2019 as seen in the MIROVA graph of Log Radiative Power from 8 June through December 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 170. Stromboli reliably produced strong thermal signals from both of the summit vents throughout September-December 2019 and has done so since long before Sentinel-2 satellite imagery was able to detect it. Image dates are (top, l to r) 5 September, 15 October, 20 October, (bottom l to r) 14 November, 14 December 2019, and 3 January 2020. Sentinel-2 imagery uses Atmospheric penetration rendering with bands 12, 11, and 8A, courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

After a major explosion with a pyroclastic flow on 28 August 2019, followed by lava flows that reached the ocean in the following days (BGVN 44:09), activity diminished in early September to levels more typically seen in recent times. This included Strombolian activity from vents in both the N and CS areas that sent ejecta typically 80-150 m high. Ejecta from the N area generally consisted of lapilli and bombs, while the material from the CS area was often finer grained with significant amounts of lapilli and ash. The number of explosive events remained high in September, frequently reaching 25-30 events per hour. The ejecta periodically landed outside the craters on the Terrazza Craterica and even traveled partway down the Sciara del Fuoco. An inspection on 7 September by INGV revealed four eruptive vents in the N crater area and five in the S crater area (figure 171). The most active vents in the N area were N1 with mostly ash emissions and N2 with Strombolian explosions rich in incandescent coarse material that sometimes rose well above 150 m in height. In the S area, S1 and S2 produced jets of lava that often reached 100 m high. A small cone was observed around N2, having grown after the 28 August explosion. Between 11 and 13 September aerial surveys with drones produced detailed visual and thermal imagery of the summit (figure 172).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 171. Video of the Stromboli summit taken with a thermal camera on 7 September 2019 from the Pizzo sopra la Fossa revealed four active vents in the N area and five active vents in the S area. Images prepared by Piergiorgio Scarlato, courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 37.2/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Giornaliero del 10/09/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 172. An aerial drone survey on 11 September 2019 at Stromboli produced a detailed view of the N and CS vent areas (left) and thermal images taken by a drone survey on 13 September (right) showed elevated temperatures down the Sciara del Fuoco in addition to the vents in the N and CS areas. Images by E. De Beni and M. Cantarero, courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 37.5/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Giornaliero del 13/09/2019).

Strombolian activity from the N crater on 28 September and 1 October 2019 produced blocks and debris that rolled down the Sciara del Fuoco and reached the ocean (figure 173). Explosive activity from the CS crater area sometimes produced ejecta over 150 m high (figure 174). A survey on 26 November revealed that a layer of ash 5-10 cm thick had covered the bombs and blocks that were deposited on the Pizzo Sopra la Fossa during the explosions of 3 July and 28 August (figure 175). On the morning of 27 December a lava flow emerged from the CS area and traveled a few hundred meters down the Sciara del Fuoco. The frequency of explosive events remained relatively constant from September through December 2019 after decreasing from higher levels during July and August (figure 176).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 173. Strombolian activity from vents in the N crater area of Stromboli produced ejecta that traveled all the way to the bottom of the Sciara del Fuoco and entered the ocean. Top images taken 28 September 2019 from the 290 m elevation viewpoint by Rosanna Corsaro. Bottom images captured on 1 October from the webcam at 400 m elevation. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 39.0/2019 and Rep. No. 40.3, Stromboli, Bollettino Giornaliero del 29/09/2019 and 02/10/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 174. Ejecta from Strombolian activity at the CS crater area of Stromboli rose over 150 m on multiple occasions. The webcam located at the 400 m elevation site captured this view of activity on 8 November 2019. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 45.5/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Giornaliero del 08/11/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 175. The Pizzo Sopra la Fossa area at Stromboli was covered with large blocks and pyroclastic debris on 6 September 2019, a week after the major explosion of 28 August (top). By 26 November, 5-10 cm of finer ash covered the surface; the restored webcam can be seen at the far right edge of the Pizzo (bottom). Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 49/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 25/11/2019 - 01/12/2019, data emissione 03/12/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 176. The average hourly frequency of explosive events at Stromboli captured by surveillance cameras from 1 June 2019 through 5 January 2020 remained generally constant after the high levels seen during July and August. The Total value (blue) is the sum of the average daily hourly frequency of all explosive events produced by active vents.

Geologic Background. Spectacular incandescent nighttime explosions at this volcano have long attracted visitors to the "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean." Stromboli, the NE-most of the Aeolian Islands, has lent its name to the frequent mild explosive activity that has characterized its eruptions throughout much of historical time. The small island is the emergent summit of a volcano that grew in two main eruptive cycles, the last of which formed the western portion of the island. The Neostromboli eruptive period took place between about 13,000 and 5,000 years ago. The active summit vents are located at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a prominent horseshoe-shaped scarp formed about 5,000 years ago due to a series of slope failures that extend to below sea level. The modern volcano has been constructed within this scarp, which funnels pyroclastic ejecta and lava flows to the NW. Essentially continuous mild Strombolian explosions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded for more than a millennium.

Information Contacts: Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy, (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/en/); 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).


Semeru (Indonesia) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes and thermal anomalies continue during September 2019-February 2020

Semeru is a stratovolcano located in East Java, Indonesia containing an active Jonggring-Seloko vent at the Mahameru summit. Common activity has consisted of ash plumes, pyroclastic flows and avalanches, and lava flows that travel down the SE flank. This report updates volcanism from September 2019 to February 2020 using primary information from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

The dominant activity at Semeru for this reporting period consists of ash plumes, which were frequently reported by the Darwin VAAC. An eruption on 10 September 2019 produced an ash plume rising 4 km altitude drifting WNW, as seen in HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery. Ash plumes continued to rise during 13-14 September. During the month of October the Darwin VAAC reported at least six ash plumes on 13, 14, 17-18, and 29-30 October rising to a maximum altitude of 4.6 km and moving primarily S and SW. Activity in November and December was relatively low, dominated mostly by strong and frequent thermal anomalies.

Volcanism increased in January 2020 starting with an eruption on 17 and 18 January that sent a gray ash plume up to 4.6 km altitude (figure 38). Eruptions continued from 20 to 26 January, producing ash plumes that rose up to 500 m above the crater that drifted in different directions. For the duration of the month and into February, ash plumes occurred intermittently. On 26 February, incandescent ejecta was ejected up to 50 m and traveled as far as 1000 m. Small sulfur dioxide emissions were detected in the Sentinel 5P/TROPOMI instrument during 25-27 February (figure 39). Lava flows during 27-29 February extended 200-1,000 m down the SE flank; gas-and-steam and SO2 emissions accompanied the flows. There were 15 shallow volcanic earthquakes detected on 29 February in addition to ash emissions rising 4.3 km altitude drifting ESE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Ash plumes rising from the summit of Semeru on 17 (left) and 18 (right) January 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia and via Ø.L. Andersen's Twitter feed (left).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Small SO2 plumes from Semeru were detected by the Sentinel 5P/TROPOMI instrument during 25 (left) and 26 (right) February 2020. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed relatively weak and intermittent thermal anomalies occurring during May to August 2019 (figure 40). The frequency and power of these thermal anomalies significantly increased during September to mid-December 2019 with a few hotspots occurring at distances greater than 5 km from the summit. These farther thermal anomalies to the N and NE of the volcano do not appear to be caused by volcanic activity. There was a brief break in activity during mid-December to mid-January 2020 before renewed activity was detected in early February 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Thermal anomalies were relatively weak at Semeru during 30 April 2019-August 2019, but significantly increased in power and frequency during September to early December 2019. There was a break in activity from mid-December through mid-January 2020 with renewed thermal anomalies around February 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The MODVOLC algorithm detected 25 thermal hotspots during this reporting period, which took place during 25 September, 18 and 21 October 2019, 29 January, and 11, 14, 16, and 23 February 2020. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery shows intermittent hotspots dominantly in the summit crater throughout this reporting period (figure 41).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery detected intermittent thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) at the summit of Semeru, which included some lava flows in late January to early February 2020. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dome growth and destruction continues along with ash emissions and ejecta, September 2019-February 2020

Frequent historical eruptions have been reported from Mexico's Popocatépetl going back to the 14th century. Activity increased in the mid-1990s after about 50 years of quiescence, and the current eruption, ongoing since January 2005, has included numerous episodes of lava-dome growth and destruction within the 500-m-wide summit caldera. Multiple emissions of steam and gas occur daily, rising generally 1-3 km above the summit at about 5,400 m elevation; many contain small amounts of ash. Larger, more explosive events with ash plumes and incandescent ejecta landing on the flanks occur frequently. Activity through August 2019 was typical of the ongoing eruption with near-constant emissions of water vapor, gas, and minor ash, as well as multiple explosions with ash plumes and incandescent blocks scattered on the flanks (BGVN 44:09). This report covers similar activity from September 2019 through February 2020. Information comes from daily reports provided by México's Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED); ash plumes are reported by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Satellite visible and thermal imagery and SO2 data also provide helpful observations of activity.

Activity summary. Activity at Popocatépetl during September 2019-February 2020 continued at the high levels that have been ongoing for many years, characterized by hundreds of daily low-intensity emissions that included steam, gas, and small amounts of ash, and periods with multiple daily minor and moderate explosions that produce kilometer-plus-high ash plumes (figure 140). The Washington VAAC issued multiple daily volcanic ash advisories with plume altitudes around 6 km for many, although some were reported as high as 8.2 km. Hundreds of minutes of daily tremor activity often produced ash emissions as well. Incandescent ejecta landed 500-1,000 m from the summit frequently. The MIROVA thermal anomaly data showed near-constant moderate to high levels of thermal energy throughout the period (figure 141).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 140. Emissions continued at a high rate from Popocatépetl throughout September 2019-February 2020. Daily low-intensity emissions numbered usually in the hundreds (blue, left axis), while less frequent minor (orange) and moderate (green) explosions, plotted on the right axis, occurred intermittently through November 2019, and increased again during February 2020. Data was compiled from CENAPRED daily reports.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 141. MIROVA log radiative power thermal data for Popocatépetl from 1 May 2019 through February 2020 showed a constant output of moderate energy the entire time. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Sulfur dioxide emissions were measured with satellite instruments many days of each month from September 2019 thru February 2020. The intensity and drift directions varied significantly; some plumes remained detectable hundreds of kilometers from the volcano (figure 142). Plumes were detected almost daily in September, and on most days in October. They were measured at lower levels but often during November, and after pulses in early and late December only small plumes were visible during January 2020. Intermittent larger pulses returned in February. Dome growth and destruction in the summit crater continued throughout the period. A small dome was observed inside the summit crater in late September. Dome 85, 210-m-wide, was observed inside the summit crater in early November. Satellite imagery captured evidence of dome growth and ash emissions throughout the period (figure 143).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 142. Sulfur dioxide emissions from Popocatépetl were frequent from September 2019 through February 2020. Plumes drifted SW on 7 September (top left), 30 October (top middle), and 21 February (bottom right). SO2 drifted N and NW on 26 November (top right). On 2 December (bottom left) a long plume of sulfur dioxide hundreds of kilometers long drifted SW over the Pacific Ocean while the drift direction changed to NW closer to the volcano. The SO2 plumes measured in January (bottom center) were generally smaller than during the other months covered in this report. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 143. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Popocatépetl during November 2019-February 2020 provided evidence for ongoing dome growth and explosions with ash emissions. Top left: a ring of incandescence inside the summit crater on 8 November 2019 was indicative of the growth of dome 85 observed by CENAPRED. Top middle: incandescence on 8 December inside the summit crater was typical of that observed many times during the period. Top right: a dense, narrow ash plume drifted N from the summit on 17 January 2020. Bottom left: Snow cover made ashfall on 6 February easily visible on the E flank. On 11 February, the summit crater was incandescent and nearly all the snow was covered with ash. Bottom right: a strong thermal anomaly and ash emission were captured on 21 February. Bottom left and top right images use Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); other images use Atmospheric penetration rendering to show infrared signal (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during September-November 2019. On 1 September 2019 minor ashfall was reported in the communities of Atlautla, Ozumba, Juchitepec, and Tenango del Aire in the State of Mexico. The ash plumes rose less than 2 km above the summit and incandescent ejecta traveled less than 100 m from the summit crater. Twenty-two minor and three moderate explosions were recorded on 4-5 September along with minor ashfall in Juchitepec, Tenango del Aire, Tepetlixpa, and Atlautla. During a flyover on 5 September, officials did not observe a dome within the crater, and the dimensions remained the same as during the previous visit (350 m in diameter and 150 m deep) (figure 144). Ashfall was reported in Tlalmanalco and Amecameca on 6 September. The following day incandescent ejecta was visible on the flanks near the summit and ashfall was reported in Amecameca, Ayapango, and Tenango del Aire. The five moderate explosions on 8 September produced ash plumes that rose as high as 2 km above the summit, and incandescent ejecta on the flanks. Explosions on 10 September sent ejecta 500 m from the crater. Eight explosions during 20-21 September produced ejecta that traveled up to 1.5 km down the flanks (figure 145). During an overflight on 27 September specialists from the National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED ) of the National Coordination of Civil Protection and researchers from the Institute of Geophysics of UNAM observed a new dome 30 m in diameter; the overall crater had not changed size since the overflight in early September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 144. CENAPRED carried out overflights of Popocatépetl on 5 (left) and 27 September (right) 2019; the crater did not change in size, but a new dome 30 m in diameter was visible on 27 September. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Sobrevuelo al volcán Popocatépetl, 05 y 27 de septiembre).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 145. Ash plumes at Popocatépetl on 19 (left) and 20 (right) September 2019 rose over a kilometer above the summit before dissipating. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 19 y 20 de septiembre).

Fourteen explosions were reported on 2 October 2019. The last one produced an ash plume that rose 2 km above the summit and sent incandescent ejecta down the E slope (figure 146). Ashfall was reported in the municipalities of Atlautla Ozumba, Ayapango and Ecatzingo in the State of Mexico. Explosions on 3 and 4 October also produced ash plumes that rose between 1 and 2 km above the summit and sent ejecta onto the flanks. Additional incandescent ejecta was reported on 6, 7, 15, and 19 October. The communities of Amecameca, Tenango del Aire, Tlalmanalco, Cocotitlán, Temamatla, and Tláhuac reported ashfall on 10 October; Amecameca reported more ashfall on 12 October. On 22 October slight ashfall appeared in Amecameca, Tenango del Aire, Tlalmanalco, Ayapango, Temamatla, and Atlautla.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 146. Incandescent ejecta at Popocatépetl traveled down the E slope on 2 October 2019 (left); an ash plume two days later rose 2 km above the summit (right). Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 2 y 4 de octubre).

During 2-3 November 2019 there was 780 minutes of tremor reported in four different episodes. The seismicity was accompanied by ash emissions that drifted W and NW and produced ashfall in numerous communities, including Amecameca, Juchitepec, Ozumba, Tepetlixpa, and Atlautla in the State of México, in Ayapango and Cuautla in the State of Morelos, and in the municipalities of Tlahuac, Tlalpan, and Xochimilco in Mexico City. A moderate explosion on 4 November sent incandescent ejecta 2 km down the slopes and produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km and drifted NW. Minor ashfall was reported in Tlalmanalco, Amecameca, and Tenango del Aire, State of Mexico. Similar ash plumes from explosions occurred the following day. Scientists from CENAPRED and the Institute of Geophysics of UNAM observed dome number 85 during an overflight on 5 November 2019. It had a diameter of 210 m and was 80 m thick, with an irregular surface (figure 147). Multiple explosions on 6 and 7 November produced incandescent ejecta; a moderate explosion late on 11 November produced ejecta that traveled 1.5 km from the summit and produced an ash plume 2 km high (figure 148). A lengthy period of constant ash emission that drifted E was reported on 18 November. A moderate explosion on 28 November sent incandescent fragments 1.5 km down the slopes and ash one km above the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 147. A new dome was visible inside the summit crater at Popocatépetl during an overflight on 5 November 2019. It had a diameter of 210 m and was 80 m thick. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Sobrevuelo al volcán Popocatépetl, 05 de noviembre).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 148. Ash emissions and explosions with incandescent ejecta continued at Popocatépetl during November 2019. The ash plume on 1 November changed drift direction sharply a few hundred meters above the summit (left). Incandescent ejecta traveled 1.5 km down the flanks on 11 November (right). Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 1 y 12 de noviembre).

Activity during December 2019-February 2020. Throughout December 2019 weak emissions of steam and gas were reported daily, sometimes with minor amounts of ash, and minor explosions were only reported on 21 and 27 December. On 21 December two new high-resolution webcams were installed around Popocatépetl, one 5 km from the crater at the Tlamacas station, and the second in San Juan Tianguismanalco, 20 km away. Ash emissions and incandescent ejecta 800 m from the summit were observed on 25 December (figure 149). Incandescence at night was reported during 27-29 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 149. Incandescent ejecta moved 800 m down the flanks of Popocatépetl during explosions on 25 December 2019 (left); weak emissions of steam, gas, and minor ash were visible on 27 December and throughout the month. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 25 y 27 de diciembre).

Continuous emissions of water vapor and gas with low ash content were typical daily during January 2020. A moderate explosion on 9 January produced an ash plume that rose 3 km from the summit and drifted NE. In addition, incandescent ejecta traveled 1 km from the crater rim. A minor explosion on 21 January produced a 1.5-km-high plume with low ash content and incandescent ejecta that fell near the crater (figure 150). The first of two explosions late on 27 January produced ejecta that traveled 500 m and a 1-km-high ash plume. Constant incandescence was observed overnight on 29-30 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 150. Although fewer explosions were recorded at Popocatépetl during January 2020, activity continued. An ash plume on 19 January rose over a kilometer above the summit (top left). A minor explosion on 21 January produced a 1.5-km-high plume with low ash content and incandescent ejecta that fell near the crater (top right). Smaller emissions with steam, gas, and ash were typical many days, including on 22 (bottom left) and 31 (bottom right) January 2019. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 19, 21, 22 y 31 de enero).

A moderate explosion on 5 February 2020 produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km and drifted NNE. Explosions on 10 and 13 February sent ejecta 500 m down the flanks (figure 151). During an overflight on 18 February scientists noted that the internal crater maintained a diameter of 350 m and its approximate depth was 100-150 m; the crater was covered by tephra. For most of the second half of February the volcano had a continuous emission of gases with minor amounts of ash. In addition, multiple explosions produced ash plumes that rose 400-1,200 m above the crater and drifted in several different directions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 151. Ash emissions and explosions continued at Popocatépetl during February 2020. Dense ash drifted near the snow-covered summit on 6 February (top left). Incandescent ejecta traveled 500 m down the flanks on 13 February (top right). Ash plumes billowed from the summit on 18 and 22 February (bottom row). Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl, 6, 15, 18 y 22 de febrero).

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: Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México D.F. 04360, México (URL: http://www.cenapred.unam.mx/), Daily Report Archive http://www.cenapred.unam.mx:8080/reportesVolcanGobMX/BuscarReportesVolcan); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); 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).


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

14.757°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily explosions with ash plumes and block avalanches continue, September 2019-February 2020

The dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex on the W flank of Guatemala's Santa María volcano has been growing and actively erupting since 1922. Ash explosions, pyroclastic, and lava flows have emerged from Caliente, the youngest of the four vents in the complex, for more than 40 years. A lava dome that appeared within the summit crater of Caliente in October 2016 has continued to grow, producing frequent block avalanches down the flanks. Daily explosions with ash plumes and block avalanches continued during September 2019-February 2020, the period covered in this report, with information primarily from Guatemala's INSIVUMEH (Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meterologia e Hidrologia) and the Washington VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center).

Constant fumarolic activity with steam and gas persisted from the Caliente dome throughout September 2019-February 2020. Explosions occurred multiple times per day, producing ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 3.1-3.5 km and usually drifted a few kilometers before dissipating. Several lahars during September and October carried volcanic blocks, ash, and debris down major drainages. Periodic ashfall was reported in communities within 10 km of the volcano. An increase in thermal activity beginning in November (figure 101) resulted in an increased number of observations of incandescence visible at night from the summit of Caliente through February 2020. Block avalanches occurred daily on the flanks of the dome, often reaching the base, stirring up small clouds of ash that drifted downwind.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. The MIROVA project graph of thermal activity at Santa María from 12 May 2019 through February 2020 shows a gradual increase in thermal energy beginning in November 2019. This corresponds to an increase in the number of daily observations of incandescence at the summit of the Caliente dome during this period. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Constant steam and gas fumarolic activity rose from the Caliente dome, drifting W, usually rising to 2.8-3.0 km altitude during September 2019. Multiple daily explosions with ash plumes rising to 2.9-3.4 km altitude drifted W or SW over the communities of San Marcos, Loma Linda Palajunoj, and Monte Claro (figure 102). Constant block avalanches fell to the base of the cone on the NE and SE flanks. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery on 10 September at 3.1 km altitude drifting W. On 14 September another plume was spotted moving WSW at 4.6 km altitude which dissipated quickly; the webcam captured another plume on 16 September. Ashfall on 27 September reached about 1 km from the volcano; it reached 1.5 km on 29 September. Lahars descended the Rio Cabello de Ángel on 2 and 24 September (figure 102). They were about 15 m wide, and 1-3 m deep, carrying blocks 1-2 m in diameter.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. A lahar descended the Rio Cabello de Ángel at Santa Maria and flowed into the Rio Nima 1 on 24 September 2019. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 21 al 27 de septiembre de 2019).

Througout October 2019, degassing of steam with minor gases occurred from the Caliente summit, rising to 2.9-3.0 km altitude and generally drifting SW. Weak explosions took place 1-5 times per hour, producing ash plumes that rose to 3.2-3.5 km altitude. Ashfall was reported in Monte Claro on 2 October. Nearly constant block avalanches descended the SE and S flanks, disturbing recent layers of fine ash and producing local ash clouds. Moderate explosions on 11 October produced ash plumes that rose to 3.5 km altitude and drifted W and SW about 1.5 km towards Río San Isidro (figure 103). The following day additional plumes drifted a similar distance to the SE. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission visible in satellite imagery at 4.9 km altitude on 13 October drifting NNW. Ashfall was reported in Parcelamiento Monte Claro on 14 October. Some of the block avalanches observed on 14 October on the SE, S, and SW flanks were incandescent. Ash drifted 1.5 km W and SW on 17 October. Ashfall was reported near la finca Monte Claro on 25 and 28 October. A lahar descended the Río San Isidro, a tributary of the Río El Tambor on 7 October carrying blocks 1-2 m in diameter, tree trunks, and branches. It was about 16 m wide and 1-2 m deep. Additional lahars descended the rio Cabello de Angel on 23 and 24 October. They were about 15 m wide and 2 m deep, and carried ash and blocks 1-2 m in diameter, tree trunks, and branches.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. Daily ash plumes were reported from the Caliente cone at Santa María during October 2019, similar to these from 30 September (left) and 11 October 2019 (right). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 28 de septiembre al 04 de octubre de 2019; Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 05 al 11 de octubre de 2019).

During November 2019, steam plumes rose to 2.9-3.0 km altitude and generally drifted E. There were 1-3 explosions per hour; the ash plumes produced rose to altitudes of 3.1-3.5 km and often drifted SW, resulting in ashfall around the volcanic complex. Block avalanches descended the S and SW flanks every day. On 4 November ashfall was reported in the fincas (ranches) of El Faro, Santa Marta, El Viejo Palmar, and Las Marías, and the odor of sulfur was reported 10 km S. Incandescence was observed at the Caliente dome during the night of 5-6 November. Ash fell again in El Viejo Palmar, fincas La Florida, El Faro, and Santa Marta (5-6 km SW) on 7 November. Sulfur odor was also reported 8-10 km S on 16, 19, and 22 November. Fine-grained ash fell on 18 November in Loma Linda and San Marcos Palajunoj. On 29 November strong block avalanches descended in the SW flank, stirring up reddish ash that had fallen on the flanks (figure 104). The ash drifted up to 20 km SW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. Ash plumes rose from explosions multiple times per day at Santa Maria’s Santiaguito complex during November 2019, and block avalanches stirred up reddish clouds of ash that drifted for many kilometers. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH. Left, 11 November 2019, from Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 09 al 15 de noviembre de 2019. Right, 29 November 2019 from BOLETÍN VULCANOLÓGICO ESPECIAL BESTG# 106-2019, Guatemala 29 de noviembre de 2019, 10:50 horas (Hora Local).

White steam plumes rising to 2.9-3.0 km altitude drifted SE most days during December 2019. One to three explosions per hour produced ash plumes that rose to 3.1-3.5 km altitude and drifted W and SW producing ashfall on the flanks. Several strong block avalanches sent material down the SW flank. Ash from the explosions drifted about 1.5 km SW on 3 and 7 December. The Washington VAAC reported a small ash emission that rose to 4.9 km altitude and drifted WSW on 8 December, and another on 13 December that rose to 4.3 km altitude. Ashfall was reported up to 10 km S on 24 December. Incandescence was reported at the dome by INSIVUMEH eight times during the month, significantly more than during the recent previous months (figure 105).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Strong thermal anomalies were visible in Sentinel-2 imagery at the summit of the Caliente cone at Santa María’s Santiaguito’s complex on 19 December 2019. Image uses Atmospheric Penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during January 2020 was similar to that during previous months. White plumes of steam rose from the Caliente dome to altitudes of 2.7-3.0 km and drifted SE; one to three explosions per hour produced ash plumes that rose to 3.2-3.4 km altitude and generally drifted about 1.5 km SW before dissipating. Frequent block avalanches on the SE flank caused smaller plumes that drifted SSW often over the ranches of San Marcos and Loma Linda Palajunoj. On 28 January ash plumes drifted W and SW over the communities of Calaguache, El Nuevo Palmar, and Las Marías. In addition to incandescence observed at the crater of Caliente dome at least nine times, thermal anomalies in satellite imagery were detected multiple times from the block avalanches on the S flank (figure 106).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Incandescence at the summit and in the block avalanches on the S flank of the Caliente cone at Santa María’s Santiaguito’s complex was visible in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 8 and 13 January 2020. Atmospheric penetration rendering images (bands 12, 11, 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery at 4.6 km altitude drifting W on 3 February 2020. INSIVUMEH reported constant steam degassing that rose to 2.9-3.0 km altitude and drifted SW. In addition, 1-3 weak to moderate explosions per hour produced ash plumes to 3.1-3.5 km altitude that drifted about 1 km SW. Small amounts of ashfall around the volcano’s perimeter was common. The ash plumes on 5 February drifted NE over Santa María de Jesús. On 8 February the ash plumes drifted E and SE over the communities of Calaguache, El Nuevo Palmar, and Las Marías. Block avalanches on the S and SE flanks of Caliente dome continued, creating small ash clouds on the flank. Incandescence continued frequently at the crater and was also observed on the S flank in satellite imagery (figure 107).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. Incandescence at the summit and on the S flank of the Caliente cone at Santa María’s Santiaguito’s complex was frequent during February 2020, including on 2 (left) and 17 (right) February 2020 as seen in Sentinel-2 imagery. Atmostpheric Penetration rendering imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa María volcano is part of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rise above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The sharp-topped, conical profile is cut on the SW flank by a 1.5-km-wide crater. The oval-shaped crater extends from just below the summit to the lower flank, and was formed during a catastrophic eruption in 1902. The renowned Plinian eruption of 1902 that devastated much of SW Guatemala followed a long repose period after construction of the large basaltic-andesite stratovolcano. The massive dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex has been growing at the base of the 1902 crater since 1922. Compound dome growth at Santiaguito has occurred episodically from four vents, with activity progressing W towards the most recent, Caliente. Dome growth has been accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions, with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/ ); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); 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/).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 26, Number 05 (May 2001)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Ahyi (United States)

Brief explosive activity on 24 April 2001 detected seismically

Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001) (Unknown)

Volcanic aerosol optical thicknesses derived from lunar eclipse observations

Colima (Mexico)

Surficial fractures preceded a light-colored dome emplaced aseismically

Deception Island (Antarctica)

Moderate seismicity; magnetic and geochemical studies gather new data

Etna (Italy)

Strombolian activity and lava flows during January-April 2001

Fournaise, Piton de la (France)

Eruptions during late March 2001 and on 11 June 2001

Galeras (Colombia)

Low-level seismicity and eruptive activity during April 2000-March 2001

Mayon (Philippines)

April 2000-May 2001 summary; dome growth beginning in January 2001

Niuafo'ou (Tonga)

New hot spring in caldera during May-June 1999

San Cristobal (Nicaragua)

Small gas-and-ash plumes during May and June 2001 cause ashfalls

Sturge Island (Antarctica)

Elongate cloud on 12 June possibly a result of volcanic emissions

Three Sisters (United States)

Radar interferometry suggests uplift during 1996-2000

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea)

Eruption on 30 April 2001 sends an ash cloud to a height of ~13.7 km



Ahyi (United States) — May 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Ahyi

United States

20.42°N, 145.03°E; summit elev. -75 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Brief explosive activity on 24 April 2001 detected seismically

A short episode of explosive submarine volcanism was recorded 24 April 2001 by the Laboratoire de Géophysique's (LDG) Pomariorio (PMO) seismic station on Rangiroa Atoll, Tuamotu Archipelago. This episode began at 1110 UTC, and ended at 1900 UTC, with more than 40 explosive T-waves at a fairly uniform rate. The wave forms were similar to those of December 1989 (from a source NW of Supply Reef, SEAN 14:12), and suggested a source in the Mariana Islands. LDG scientists identified these explosive events on records from some other IRIS and Freesia stations, and computed a well-constrained location at 20.34°N, 145.02°E with an error of 15 km (figure 1).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Map showing Ahyi and other volcanic edifices along part of the Mariana Arc just north of 20°N, 145°E. The location of the April 2001 activity is indicated, as well as activity reported between Farallon de Pajaros and Supply Reef in 1967, 1969, 1979, 1985, and 1989. Contour interval is 200 m; bathymetry is based on US Navy narrow-beam SASS data. Thick black bars show 1985 dredge locations. Scale and volcanic activity locations are approximate. Base map modified from Bloomer and others (1989).

The summit of Ahyi lies within this location uncertainty, approximately 10 km N. Ahyi seamount is a large conical submarine volcano that rises to within about 140 m of the sea surface about 18 km SE of Farallon de Pajaros. Water discoloration has been observed over the volcano, and in 1979 the crew of a fishing boat felt shocks over the summit area followed by upwelling of sulfur-bearing water (SEAN 04:11).

Regional volcanic activity. Most of the recent historical activity in this area is based on acoustic detection methods from great distances, making exact location determinations difficult. The following presents background information about other volcanoes close to the April 2001 event, with a description of recent volcanism.

The small 2-km-wide island of Farallon de Pajaros (also known as Uracas) is the northernmost and most active volcano of the Mariana Islands. Its relatively frequent historical eruptions dating back to the mid-19th century have caused it to be referred to as the "lighthouse of the western Pacific." Flank fissures have fed historical lava flows that form platforms along the coast. Summit vents have also been active during historical time, and eruptions have been observed from nearby submarine vents. Aerial observations of fuming were reported in July 1981 (with discolored water), August 1990, and May 1992. Makhahnas seamount, which rises to within 640 m of the sea surface, lies about 10 km SW. A possible eruption during March-April 1967 on the SW flank of this seamount was identified on the basis of T-phase recordings by Norris and Johnson (1969).

Supply Reef is a conical submarine volcano that rises to within 8 m of the sea surface. The seamount lies about 10 km NW of the Maug Islands, the emergent summit of a submarine volcano that is joined to Supply Reef by a low saddle at a depth of about 1,800 m. Several submarine eruptions have been detected by sonar signals originating from points very approximately located at distances of 15-25 km NW of Supply Reef. An event in March 1969 was detected using T-phase recordings and located by the crew of a fishing boat who heard explosion sounds and saw water discoloration (CSLP Cards 528 and 534). Activity in August-September 1985 (SEAN 10:09 and 10:11) and September and December 1989 (SEAN 14:10 and 14:12) were in the same approximate location, 30 km S of Farallon de Pajaros, about midway between Makhahnas and Supply Reef. Both of these events were identified and located using T-phase data, but discolored water was also observed during the 1985 event by an airline pilot.

References. Bloomer, S.H., Stern, R.J., and Smoot, N.C., 1989, Physical volcanology of the submarine Mariana and Volcano arcs: Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 51, p. 210-224.

Norris, R.A., and Johnson, R.H., 1969, Submarine volcanic eruptions recently located in the Pacific by Sofar hydrophones: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 74, no. 2, p. 650-664.

Geologic Background. Ahyi seamount is a large conical submarine volcano that rises to within 75 m of the sea surface about 18 km SE of the island of Farallon de Pajaros (Uracas) in the northern Marianas. Water discoloration has been observed there, and in 1979 the crew of a fishing boat felt shocks over the summit area of the seamount, followed by upwelling of sulfur-bearing water. On 24-25 April 2001 an explosive eruption was detected seismically by a station on Rangiroa Atoll, Tuamotu Archipelago. The event was well constrained (+/- 15 km) at a location near the southern base of Ahyi. An eruption in April-May 2014 was detected by NOAA divers, hydroacoustic sensors, and seismic stations.

Information Contacts: Olivier Hyvernaud, Laboratoire de Géophysique, PO Box 640, Pamatai, Tahiti, French Polynesia.


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

Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001)

Unknown

Unknown, Unknown; summit elev. m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Volcanic aerosol optical thicknesses derived from lunar eclipse observations

The following report, discussing volcanic aerosol optical thicknesses since 1960 as derived from lunar eclipse observations, was provided by Richard Keen. About once per year, on average, the moon is eclipsed as it passes into the Earth's shadow; at these times the moon can be used as a remote sensor of the global average optical depth of stratospheric aerosols of volcanic origin. Volcanic aerosols and lunar eclipses can be linked because the moon is visible during total lunar eclipses due to sunlight refracted into the shadow (umbra) by the Earth's atmosphere (primarily by the stratosphere), stratospheric aerosols reduce the transmission of sunlight into the umbra, and the path length of sunlight through a stratospheric aerosol layer is about 40 times the vertical thickness of the layer. Therefore, the brightness of the eclipsed moon is extremely sensitive to the amount of aerosols in the stratosphere.

Methodology and data reduction. Aerosol optical thicknesses can be calculated for the date of an eclipse from the difference between the observed brightness of the eclipse and a modeled brightness computed for an aerosol-free standard atmosphere, modified by assumed distributions of ozone and cloud. Details of this technique, applied to observations during 1960 through 1982, appear in Keen (1983); updates following the eruption of Pinatubo appeared in February 1993 (Bulletin v. 18, no. 2) and November 1997 (Bulletin v. 22, no. 11). This report updates the time series through the lunar eclipse of 9 January 2001, the last total lunar eclipse until May 2003.

Figure 12 plots the global optical thicknesses derived from 38 total or near-total lunar eclipses during 1960-2001. Results from eight eclipses during 1880-1888 have been added to figure 12 to allow comparison with the effects of Krakatau in 1883. The plotted values are actual derived optical depths, modified as follows: Due to the higher concentration of aerosols from Agung and El Chichón in the Southern and Northern Hemispheres, respectively, a sampling bias due to the moon's passing though the southern or northern portion of the umbra was removed by using an empirical adjustment factor of 0.8 (thus, if the moon passed S of the Earth's shadow axis during an eclipse following an Agung eruption, the derived optical thickness was multiplied by 0.8, while the derived value was divided by 0.8 if the moon passed N of the axis). Furthermore, no lunar eclipses occurred until 18 months following the Pinatubo eruption in June 1991, while results from Agung and El Chichón indicate that peak optical depths occurred about 9 months after those eruptions. Therefore, for plotting purposes on figure 12, the time series of optical thicknesses following Pinatubo was extrapolated backwards to a date 9 months after the eruption using a composite decay curve (with a time constant of 1.92 years) derived from the Agung and El Chichón eclipse data. Finally, the global optical depths were set to zero on the dates of the eruptions of Krakatau, Agung, Fuego, and Pinatubo; observed values were near zero for eclipses close to the dates of the eruptions of Fernandina and El Chichón.

Figure with caption Figure 12. Global optical thicknesses derived from 38 total or near-total lunar eclipses during 1880-1888 and 1960-2001. Details about the methodology and data reduction used to construct this figure are in the report text. Courtesy of Richard Keen.

The time series. The volcanic eruptions probably responsible for the major peaks in the times series are identified, although the identification of Fernandina with the 1968 peak is highly uncertain. Comparative maximum global optical thicknesses are: Pinatubo (1991), 0.15; Krakatau (1883), 0.13; Agung (1963), 0.10; El Chichón (1982), 0.09; Fernandina (1968), 0.06; Fuego (1974), 0.04.

The results indicate that the volcanic aerosol veil from Pinatubo disappeared between the eclipses of November 1993, and April 1996, with optical depth probably reaching zero sometime in 1995. Since 1995, optical depths have stayed near zero ( ± 0.01), indicating no further major injections of volcanic aerosols into the stratosphere. However, slight increases to observed values slightly above 0.01 in 1979 and in late 1997 are close to the noise level due to the uncertainty in the brightness observations; if real, they could indicate aerosols from the eruptions of Soufriere St. Vincent (1979) and Soufriere Hills on Montserrat (1997).

Acknowledgments. Thanks are due to the following observers who supplied observations of the three eclipses in the 2000-2001 series: C. Drescher, F. Farrell, M. Matiazzo, A. Pearce, and D. Seargent (Australia), W. de Souza and J. Aguiar (Brazil), J. Finn (Canada), K. Hornoch (Czech Republic), A. Shahin (Dubai, United Arab Emirates), G. Glitscher (Germany), N. Abanda, S. Abdo, W. Abu Alia, E. Al-Ashi, H. Al-Dalee', A. Al-Niamat,K. Al-Tell, and M. Odeh (Jordan), R. Bouma (Netherlands), B. Granslo and O. Skilbrei (Norway), A. Pereira and C. Vitorino (Portugal), J. Atanackov and J. Kac (Slovenia), T. Cooper (South Africa), T. Karhula and P. Schlyter (Sweden), R. Eberst and A. Pickup (UK), R. Keen, T. Mallama, and J. Marcus (USA).

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

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

Information Contacts: Richard A. Keen, Program for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (PAOS) , 311 UCB, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309 USA.


Colima (Mexico) — May 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Colima

Mexico

19.514°N, 103.62°W; summit elev. 3850 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Surficial fractures preceded a light-colored dome emplaced aseismically

This report describes two visits to the rim of Colima's main crater (17 March and 26 May 2001) and summarizes collateral data collected around that time. On the earlier visit, observers found an enlarged main crater, they noted the disappearance of an older (1994) crater, and they photographed a recent crater with a sulfur-encrusted, warped, and fractured floor. By the time of the later visit, an unusual new dome had appeared, composed of more fragmentary and lighter color clasts than typical for Colima's lava domes. Effusive activity was previously seen during November 1998-February 1999.

Crater rim observations. On 17 March 2001, Nick Varley and Juan Carlos Gavilanes ascended to Colima's crater rim (figures 40 and 41). It was the first visit there since January 1999. Circumnavigating the main crater, they prepared a map of the current crater and environs (figure 40). The main crater was 230-260 m in diameter, 15-40 m deep, and ~1.4 x 106 m3 in volume. Its diameter had grown two-fold larger than it was before the 1998-99 eruption, reaching its largest size since the early 1960s.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. A sketch map of Colima's crater zone showing the main summit crater geometry after the 1998-99 eruption, and the dome seen on 26 May 2001. The small triangles on the crater rim indicate GPS-surveyed points (way points obtained using various receivers on 17 March and 26 May 2001); values at the map margins are UTM coordinates. The photograph shown in figure 41 was shot from the vantage point indicated by the bold rectangle on the main crater's eastern rim. Historical lava flows traveled down the volcano along routes indicated by small arrows. Fumaroles Fa and Fb indicate areas with temperatures over 850°C and over 800°C during December 1995 and May 1998, respectively. The locations of the craters formed during the 1994 and 1987 explosions were based on an August 1996 survey by A. Cortés, J.C. Gavilanes, and J. Ramos. The current map was prepared by J.C. Gavilanes, N. Varley, A. Rivera, and J. Heredia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Pre-extrusion views of Colima's up-warped crater floor as seen from the point on the main crater rim indicated on the map (figure 40) on 17 March 2001. The upper photo provides an overview shot of the 22 February 2001 crater; the lower photo is zoomed in on the deformed crater floor. The crater floor displays both fractures and buckling of sufficient intensity to create a visibly undulatory surface. The color version of the photos shows bright yellow sulfur incrustations over extensive portions of the up-warped crater floor. Photo and caption provided courtesy of J.C. Gavilanes.

On their 17 March visit Varley and Gavilanes found a smaller crater located inside the main crater's N sector (figure 40). This inner crater was assumed to be formed by the 22 February 2001 explosion. The inner crater was then estimated to be 127 m in diameter, 15 m deep, and ~0.2 x 106 m3 in volume. In the NE sector of the inner crater they observed an inflated, buckled, and fractured surface (figure 41). They inferred that this inflated surface stemmed from an intrusion initiated sometime after the 22 February explosion.

Figure 42 records the scene Varley and Gavilanes found when they ascended to the crater rim on 26 May 2001. Close to the inflated surface observed on 17 March they found a new lava dome. It stood ~115 m across its base, ~57 m across its top, ~30 m high, and was ~0.15 x 106 m3 in volume. The two observers also noted that in comparison to conditions witnessed during the previous crater ascent, new and stronger fumarolic zones surrounded the new dome, mainly to its N, NE, and E (figure 40).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. A photo of the new dome shot from the Colima's E crater rim on 26 May 2001. The photo of the new dome was taken from the vantage point indicated by the rectangle on figure 40, ~ 135 m from the center of the dome. Courtesy of J.C. Gavilanes.

Collateral observations. Later review of seismic, deformation, and GOES radiation data (figure 43) showed that dome extrusion may have started on 8 May, a day with distinct increases in both thermal radiation and tilt. No increase in seismic activity was observed; the proposed explanation for this is that the lava was plastic enough to avoid the shear fracturing of surrounding structures. Assuming that the extrusion started on 8 May 2001, the resulting growth rate (for 8-26 May, 19 days) was ~0.1 m3 s-1. Fieldwork in the crater's vicinity took place over a 3-hour interval and included gas sampling. Only a small rockfall was heard.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Plots of four monitored parameters at Colima acquired during April-May 2001. The common time axis allows the comparison of seismic (RSAM) data (A), remotely sensed radiance (B), and tilt (C and D). The tilt data (C and D) were recorded at a station 1.02 km E of the dome. The arrow indicates the inferred date when the dome began extruding. Seismic data represent the cumulative amplitude of reduced seismic energy (RSAM) measured at station EZV4, 1.7 km from the crater. Seismicity remained relatively quiet (see text). The radiance plot (B) was made using mid-infrared (3.9 mm) data. This plot presents infrared volcanic radiance acquired by NOAA's geostationary GOES-8 satellite. The radiance values shown depict the hottest pixel within the 500 x 500 pixel box that lies centered on Colima. These data were made available by the Institute of Geophysics & Planetology of the University of Hawaii. The figure was compiled by V. M. Zobin using data processed by the University of Hawaii, and data collected and processed by T. Dominguez, C. Navarro, and H. Santiago.

The new dome appeared anomalous in certain ways. It was not composed of large dark-colored blocks (as observed for the effusive events that occurred during the last 40 years), but instead consisted mainly of smaller-sized blocks with a light-gray color. The new dome could be an example of endogenous dome growth, where no new molten material reaches the surface.

On 1 May 2001 the measured SO2 flux was 200 t/d, and on March 16 it was 145 t/d. These are only slightly higher than mean values recorded during the calm period of 1997, which were less than 100 t/d.

Geologic Background. The Colima volcanic complex is the most prominent volcanic center of the western Mexican Volcanic Belt. It consists of two southward-younging volcanoes, Nevado de Colima (the high point of the complex) on the north and the historically active Volcán de Colima at the south. A group of late-Pleistocene cinder cones is located on the floor of the Colima graben west and east of the complex. Volcán de Colima (also known as Volcán Fuego) is a youthful stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera, breached to the south, that has been the source of large debris avalanches. Major slope failures have occurred repeatedly from both the Nevado and Colima cones, producing thick debris-avalanche deposits on three sides of the complex. Frequent historical eruptions date back to the 16th century. Occasional major explosive eruptions have destroyed the summit (most recently in 1913) and left a deep, steep-sided crater that was slowly refilled and then overtopped by lava dome growth.

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanológico de la Universidad de Colima, Colima, Col., 28045, México; Facultad de Ciencias de la Universidad de Colima, Colima, Col., 28045, México (URL: http://www.ucol.mx/).


Deception Island (Antarctica) — May 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Deception Island

Antarctica

63.001°S, 60.652°W; summit elev. 602 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Moderate seismicity; magnetic and geochemical studies gather new data

During the most recent austral summer, December 2000-March 2001, the Spanish Antarctic Programme (SAP) carried out its yearly survey of Deception Island. Researchers from Spain, Italy, and México took part in the seismological, magnetic, and geochemical study of the entire island.

The seismic network's stations were deployed in a variety of configurations (figure 15). The instruments used were as follows: two dense seismic antennas each with 16 short-period seismometers, two small antennas each with four seismometers, three short-period seismometers, two broadband seismic stations, and four autonomous three-component short-period seismic stations.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Seismic instruments deployed in the December 2000-March 2001 field survey of Deception Island. Seismic arrays are detailed in large squares. Courtesy of SAP.

Seismicity is summarized in figure 16. Registered seismic events featured volcano-tectonic earthquakes (VT), a few episodes of volcanic tremor, long-period events (LP), and hybrid events (VT + LP). More than 75 VT, 500 LP, and 20 hybrid events were recorded; this constituted moderate activity compared to previous surveys. Hybrid events, which were difficult to detect in previous studies, peaked at the end of January 2001. Volcanic tremor episodes occurred with durations between hours and a few days; workers interpreted these events, together with the LP events, as a consequence of hydrothermal activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Histogram of the volcano-tectonic (VT), long period (LP), and hybrid events recorded during 20 December 2000-15 February 2001. Courtesy of SAP.

The magnetic field in the area was monitored using a proton magnetometer deployed near the Argentinean base, which is the position used in previous surveys (figure 17). The recorded values of the magnetic field are being processed and corrected according to external variations in order to observe whether volcano-magnetic effects produced variation in the local magnetic field.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Map showing morphological features, bases, and the sites selected to measure CO2 flux. Courtesy of the SAP.

Geochemical investigations consisted of recording gas composition and temperature of the fumaroles in Fumarole Bay and measuring CO2 flux at 26 points around the island (figure 16). The chemical analyses of the fumarolic samples are being processed. Fumarole temperatures averaged ~100°C, similar to values of previous years. The majority of points, including those bordering Fumarole Bay, had a very low flux of CO2. Two of them, however, Murature Point and Cerro Caliente hill (figure 17), had high fluxes. Future studies will conduct similar surveys in order to establish a CO2 flux map for the entire island.

Geologic Background. Ring-shaped Deception Island, one of Antarctica's most well known volcanoes, contains a 7-km-wide caldera flooded by the sea. Deception Island is located at the SW end of the Shetland Islands, NE of Graham Land Peninsula, and was constructed along the axis of the Bransfield Rift spreading center. A narrow passageway named Neptunes Bellows provides entrance to a natural harbor that was utilized as an Antarctic whaling station. Numerous vents located along ring fractures circling the low, 14-km-wide island have been active during historical time. Maars line the shores of 190-m-deep Port Foster, the caldera bay. Among the largest of these maars is 1-km-wide Whalers Bay, at the entrance to the harbor. Eruptions from Deception Island during the past 8700 years have been dated from ash layers in lake sediments on the Antarctic Peninsula and neighboring islands.

Information Contacts: Alicia García and Ramón Ortiz, Dpto. Volcanología, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC, José Gutierrez Abascal 2, 28006, Madrid, Spain; Jesús M. Ibáñez, Enrique Carmona, José Benito Martín, and Carmen Martínez, Instituto Andaluz de Geofísica, Apartado 2145, University of Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain; José Luis Pérez-Cuadrado, Universidad de Cartagena, 30202 Murcia, Spain; Mauricio Bretón, Universidad de Colima, Colima, Col., 28045, México; Mario La Rocca, Osservatorio Vesuviano, Via Diocleziano 328, 80124 Napoli, Italy.


Etna (Italy) — May 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian activity and lava flows during January-April 2001

As reported by Sistema Poseidon, activity at Etna (figure 85) during December 2000-8 April 2001 was characterized by episodic Strombolian blasts, steam and ash emissions, and lava flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Aerial photograph of Etna looking E towards the Bocca Nuova vent within the central crater on 6 December 2000. Northeast Crater is also partially visible (in the left background), as well as Southeast Crater (right). Courtesy of Sistema Poseidon.

Minor activity during December 2000 through mid-January 2001. Low-intensity gas emissions dominated activity during this period. Observations on 6 December revealed three distinct cavities in the interior of the Bocca Nuova (BN) vent. The two near the center of the crater trended NW, were deep and full of material, and were delineated by pit-craters. The smaller cavity to the SE was encircled by a high wall of scoria; it weakly emitted light brown ash, possibly due to internal collapse. White steam emissions from BN in early January were visible during the early morning hours, and became more evident as each day progressed due to increased humidity. Sporadic ash ejections also occurred.

At the end of December, adverse atmospheric conditions prevented detailed observations, but during rare periods of visibility observers saw snow covering the W flanks of the central crater and Southeast Crater (SEC). A weak intermittent fumarolic emission emerged from the base of the fracture that runs from the SEC to the lava cairn at its base. The SEC also produced weak fumarolic emissions in early January from the W edge of the crater's summit. On the evening of 14 January a weak, diffused illumination was observed at SEC, likely coming from the E edge of the crater, where during recent months there was visible night incandescence.

Increased activity during mid-late January 2001. The BN vent produced abundant steam during the middle of January. Brown ash was weakly emitted on 16 and 19 January; darker ash ejections occurred on the 18th and 21st. Ash fell on the E flank of the volcano for five hours during the morning of the 18th, and weak illumination was visible for 30 minutes that night coming from BN. Ash-and-gas emissions increased toward the end of January. Isolated night glow suggested weak explosive Strombolian activity confined to inside the central crater. Activity alternated between visible degassing and intense phases of ash emission; one particularly acute phase occurred on 31 January.

New activity initiated from SEC on the evening of 15 January. Low-energy Strombolian eruptions were seen at night by distant observers. Activity increased in frequency during 16-17 January, reaching a maximum on 18 January when explosions occurred every 3-4 minutes, interspersed with high-energy episodes that repeated at variable intervals of ~1-2 hours. Ejected material from these events reached ~50 m high on the edge of the SEC, falling back into the crater. Strombolian activity continued through 19 January. Lava began to flow from the radial fracture cutting the N flank of the SEC beginning during the day on 21 January and persisting discontinuously until the end of the month. Intermittent flows formed several finger-like fronts. The flow reached down to ~2,800 m elevation, and remained confined to the Valle del Leone.

Strombolian explosions at Bocca Nuova during February-April 2001. During the nights of 1 and 4 February, frequent illumination was observed in the BN vent. Strombolian activity continued from BN throughout February. As during January, strong degassing and dark gray ash emissions were sporadic. High ambient humidity during morning hours made gas plumes distinct, especially on 10 February; activity was particularly consistent during 20-22 February. The fixed Montagnola camera captured images of frequent flashes from the crater interior, but activity did not extend beyond the crater area.

The BN vent produced increased explosive activity during March from two vents (W and E) inside the depression. The W vent exhibited Strombolian explosions; during some periods these were continuous and sent incandescent material just above the crater rim. A small number of lava fragments fell outside of the crater and rolled down its flanks. Explosive activity at the E vent did not eject material above the crater rim. Alternating degassing and dark gray ash emission continued as in February. Fine-grained material blown by wind fell as far as 2 km from the summit. Activity was more intense on 6 and 28 March when BN emitted copious amounts of ash from the NW and SE sectors of the crater. The Montagnola camera detected almost continuous night illumination of the crater, suggesting Strombolian activity from multiple vents. Strombolian activity also occurred from Northeast Crater, although it was rarely visible.

Strombolian activity and ash emission from BN continued throughout April. On the evening of 4 April an intense phase at the S zone of the central crater included ejection of some incandescent material above the crater rim. During 7-8 April, a slight increase in the frequency of ash emissions was observed, while night-time incandescence was sporadic.

Lava flows from Southeast Crater during February-April 2001. Early in February lava emission from the N-flank of SEC diminished; it produced modest regular lava flows for the rest of the month. On 4 February observers saw intense flashes that indicated explosive lava ejection from the fracture. Flashes and illumination visible in camera footage evidenced erratic SEC effusive activity throughout February. One early February lava flow from a vent at 3,100 m continued for several days. Bubbles frequently burst from the lava, indicating high gas content within the magma. The lava flow was ~2 m wide near the source, grew to 5 m wide toward the base, and reached an elevation of 2,900 m. During mid-February a vent at 3,150 m elevation produced a flow down a 2-m-wide canal. The flow ran N initially, but ~100 m downslope it headed E and formed a lava tube about 20-25 m wide. The flow moved toward the Valle del Bove, in the direction of Monte Sinome; it continued through the end of the month and reached 2,600 m elevation.

Through mid-March lava continued to flow from the fracture at 3,080 m elevation on the SEC's N flank. Near the vent the flow was ~1 m wide and ~80 cm deep. After having flowed less than 2 m it divided into two forks that ran roughly parallel to each other. The principal flow retained a width of ~1 m and headed N for ~100 m before deviating toward the NE and reaching an elevation of ~2,800 m. The secondary flow was about half a meter in width; it traveled at ~4 m/s near the fork and ~2 m/hour near the flow front where it spread to ~5 m across at an elevation of about 2,970 m. Effusive activity appeared to diminish on 23 March. The vent observed three days before was no longer active. A single flow was fed by a new vent about 5 m below the previous vent. A steep slope at the vent's mouth produced flow velocities of ~6 m/minute. This flow reached down to an elevation of 2,950 m, where it traveled at 1 m/hour over the flows of three days before. The flow front measured 5 m wide and 1 m high. On 30 March conspicuous white vapor issued from the SEC.

A 4 April survey of the flows revealed a moderate flow from the N flank of SEC. The vent had built up a small cone ~6 m tall at 3,095 m elevation. Two flows, each ~1 m wide and 1-2 m deep, traveled away from the cone and joined together 20-25 m away, flowing E. The flows in the two channels moved at a speed of ~0.1 m/s and an estimated 0.2-0.4 m3 of molten material emerged each second. The maximum length of the overall flow was ~350 m. During the evening of 8 April strong, persistent illumination from the E base of SEC probably indicated a new lava flow. The incandescence was distinctly visible as it reflected off of a steam plume from the summit crater.

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) — May 2001 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)


Eruptions during late March 2001 and on 11 June 2001

In 1998, after 5.5 years of calm, Piton de la Fournaise erupted twice. Two eruptions occurred in 1999, while in 2000, three eruptions took place (BGVN 25:12). Only 4.5 months after the last eruption in October 2000, Piton de la Fournaise erupted once more on 27 March 2001 at 1320. As described below, precursor extensometer and tiltmeter measurements, in conjunction with historical data, provided an accurate forecast of an eruption sometime near the end of March. The March eruption was followed by another at 1350 on 11 June.

Geodetic measurements. After 1 January 2001, the Château Fort extensometer showed a significant, regular increase (figure 61), and, beginning 21 January, the Magne extensometer showed the same tendency. Plots of the measurements from these two stations show remarkably constant slopes of 0.0038 mm/day at Château Fort and 0.005 mm/day at Magne. In 1999 and 2000, such variations were observed 2-3 months before the eruptions of 19 July 1999, 23 June 2000, and 23 October 2000 on the E and SE flanks of the volcano. Using these historical data and the fact that the maximal variation of spread for all these eruptions was 0.25 to 0.35 mm for the Château Fort station and 0.3 to 0.5 mm for the Magne station, extrapolations of the deformation were used to forecast a late March eruption.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. Extensometer measurements from the Château Fort station at Piton de la Fournaise during mid-December 2000-early April 2001. Courtesy of T. Staudacher, OVPF.

Almost simultaneous with the extensometer-measured tilt increases, important variations were registered by the Dolomieu Sud and La Soufrière tiltmeters. The Dolomieu Sud radial tiltmeter measurements increased considerably after 6 January 2001 compared to those for the previous two years; similar variations were observed before the 12 October 2000 and 28 September 1999 eruptions (figure 62). The measured increase of ~110 µrad of radial tilt as observed at Dolomieu Sud between January and March 2001 could not be explained by temperature changes. Rather, it indicated a significant inflation of the summit prior to the eruption.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Tilt variation from the Dolomieu Sud station at Piton de la Fournaise compared between 1999, 2000, and 2001. Courtesy of T. Staudacher, OVPF.

Seismicity. Intense seismicity on Piton de la Fournaise increased early in 2001. During 20 January-10 February, 133 tremors were registered (generally M < 0.5). Then, after 13 days of calm, a new series of tremors began on 25 February that included 315 events. These events were weak (M < 1.5), but increased in intensity with respect to the events earlier in the year. On 3 March, 40 summit tremors occurred within one hour, and a total of 126 tremors were observed that day. All of these tremors took place beneath the Dolomieu crater at ~0.5 km below sea level.

The number of tremors increased again starting on 12 March and continuing until the eruption on 27 March. Tremor hypocenters measured on 23 March occurred 1.5 km below sea level, but rose the next day to 0.5 km below sea level. Seismometers recorded 145 tremors on 25 March. Tremor intensity increased gradually during the period with numerous events of M 1.0-1.9. In addition, precursory seismicity and deformation measurements were correlated as shown in figure 63. Figure 63 indicates that, in January, summit inflation preceded the first period of seismicity by about 10 days, while the second increase in inflation, which began on 24 January, occurred simultaneously with the second period of strong seismicity. The latter continued essentially until the eruption. On 27 March, 120 tremors were detected, including one at 1255 of M 2.0. At 1320, an eruption began on the SE flank. Tremor that began with the eruption on 27 March diminished regularly until 2 April; after eight days of activity, the eruption ended on 4 April at about 0700.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. Total number of earthquakes at Piton de la Fournaise compared with tilt variation during 1 January - mid-April 2001. Note that the total number of earthquakes exceeds the scale of the figure during and after the 27 March eruption. Courtesy of T. Staudacher, OVPF.

Ground observations. Ground observations were undertaken several hours after the eruption began. Five major fissures were active; their exact positions were determined later using GPS measurements. The first fissure, ~250 m long, began 100 m below the edge of Dolomieu Sud while the last ended between Piton Morgabim and the Signal de L'Enclos. The general trend of the fissures was ESE.

Three significant aa flows were observed. The first was fed by the highest fissure and descended along the S flank ending at about 1,800 m elevation. A second flow, which began at a lower altitude, wound around the Piton Morgabim toward the S and along the path of the previous flows from the June and October 2000 eruptions. The most significant flow was fed by the lowest fissure, which went N along the path of the June and October 2000 flows and came down the Grandes Pentes. By 27 March at 1700, this flow reached an elevation of 700 m, descending to 500 m on 28 March and continuing down to 350 m elevation on 29 March. These fissures were active for only several hours, and on 28 March the eruption became concentrated on the last fissure where the cone Piton Tourkal formed during the next few days. The cone was located midway between the Signal de l'Enclos and the Piton Morgabim (figure 64).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. Photograph showing lava flows and the future location of the soon-to-be-formed Piton Tourkal cone, between the Signal de l'Enclos (bottom left) and the Piton Morgabim (middle left). Courtesy of T. Staudacher, OVPF.

Between 27 March and 3 April, a total of nine samples were gathered for chemical analysis. On 3 April, the lava temperature was measured to be 1,150°C. No significant variation in the rates of radon emission was measured during 27 March - 3 April.

Continuous extensometer and tiltmeter variations occurred, and increased seismic activity was recorded beginning in late May. A short seismic crisis with 126 recorded events started on 11 June at 1327 and, at 1350, extensometer variations indicated that a new eruption had started on the SE flank in the same area as the 27 March eruption. En echelon fissures formed on the S flank at ~2,500 m elevation, 200 m below the Dolomieu summit crater. More fissures were located between 2,000 and 1,800 m elevation on the E flank at the southern base of crater Signal de l'Enclos and N of the Ducrot crater. Several lava flows descended the Grand Brûlé but progressed very slowly; at 1700 the front of the lava flow reached an elevation of 1,450 m. On the morning of 12 June, only the lower fissure at 1,800 m elevation was still active. It measured ~200 m long, with several lava fountains that sent material 20-30 m high. The lava flow followed the N border of the 27 March lava flow and reached about 400 m elevation on the Grand Brûlé.

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 and 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).


Galeras (Colombia) — May 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Low-level seismicity and eruptive activity during April 2000-March 2001

According to reports by the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Pasto (OVSP), volcanic unrest at Galeras continued during 16 April 2000-March 2001. However, OVSP reports for November-December 2000 were not available when this report went to press.

Two small eruptive episodes occurred on 22 April and 18 May 2000. The associated seismic records included long-period (LP) events and spasmodic tremor similar to those registered during eruptive episodes on 21 March and 5 April 2000 (BGVN 25:03). Elevated seismicity continued with two volcano-tectonic (VT) events on 30 July and 17 September 2001. These events were focused ENE of the active cone; previous activity initiating within this source region was sporadic. During January-March 2001 activity continued at low levels. VT events occurred during mid- to late-January, and were followed by similar events during late March.

New crater formation during April 2000. Spasmodic tremor starting on 22 April at 1558 lasted for 175 seconds, followed by three smaller tremor episodes with durations of 90, 320, and 170 seconds, respectively. Five small LP events also occurred; the final LP event was recorded at 1634. Peak frequency for the main event was ~5.0 Hz (figure 91), but at the nearest station to the active crater other frequencies ranging from 1 to 13 Hz were observed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Main event seismic signal from 22 April 2000 at 1558 and its spectrum recorded at Anganoy station, 0.9 km E of Galeras's crater. Courtesy of OVSP.

Field inspections on 27 April revealed that within the Chavas fumarole area, on the WSW edge of the main crater, a new crater approximately 8 x 4 m in area and 1.5 m deep had formed. Several gas-emitting fissures were observed along the crater wall. Temperatures recorded at the border of the new crater on 27 April and 1 May were 408°C and 393°C, respectively, which are not anomalously higher than those observed previously.

During 16 April-30 June 2000, radon-222 emissions from soil monitored at several stations around Galeras showed values of 78-2,966 picocuries/liter (pCi/l). These levels are similar to those found in previous months. The highest value corresponded to the Sismo 2 station, located 5 km NE of the summit.

Activity during May-October 2000. An eruptive event at 1411 on 18 May was seismically characterized by an initial LP event with a dominant frequency of ~2.1 Hz figure 92), followed by five spasmodic tremor episodes and nine more LP events. The last LP event was recorded at 1806 later that day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Main event seismic signal from 18 May 2000 at 1411 and its spectrum recorded at Anganoy station, 0.9 km E of Galeras's crater. Courtesy of OVSP.

On 30 July at 0935 an earthquake swarm occurred 9 km ENE of the active cone, in the suburban area adjacent to the city of Pasto. The main event (M 4.5) was distinctly felt inside the city and in other neighboring communities. Aftershocks of lesser magnitude (M 2.3-3.4) continued through 4 August.

On 17 September 2000 at 2246 residents of Pasto and neighboring communities felt a M 3.9 event. Seismographs also detected aftershocks of M 2.6. Figure 93 shows a map view of volcano-tectonic earthquakes that occurred during July-October 2000. According to a report, movement of fluids within volcanic conduits remained at low levels.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. Map view showing volcano-tectonic earthquakes registered at Galeras during July-October 2000. Courtesy of OVSP.

During 1 July-30 October 2000, radon-222 emission from soil monitored around Galeras showed average values lower than 3,000 pCi/l. Peak values at the Zanjón station, located 16 km NW of the summit, reached 9,620 pCi/l on 8 September. The highest values at the San Antonio 2 station, 14 km W of the summit, occurred on 13 July and 1 September with recorded values of 15,119 pCi/l and 11,587 pCi/l, respectively.

Activity during January-March 2001. A VT earthquake swarm located near the active crater occurred during 15-17 January. The swarm was composed of 17 quakes with depths less than 3.5 and M < 1.3. A single event on 24 January and two more on 26 January (M 2.3-2.7, depths of 6-8 km) followed. Seismometers recorded three further events (M 2.5-2.7, depths of 8-9 km) on 20, 21, and 23 March. The majority of the January-March 2001 earthquakes occurred NE of the summit and were felt in the neighboring communities of Pasto and Puyito. During the first quarter of 2001, instruments detected 52 events located within the active cone area (figures 94 and 95).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Map view showing volcano-tectonic earthquakes registered at Galeras during January-March 2001. Courtesy of OVSP.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Cross-sectional view (N-S) showing earthquakes registered at Galeras during January-March 2001. Courtesy of OVSP.

The occurrence of four tornillo ("screw-type") events with dominant frequencies of 3.2, 8.7, 12.8, and 18.7 Hz suggested that flow of volcanic material within interior conduits continued at low levels. Tremor episodes of short duration were also recorded. Spectral analysis of the registered tremor showed dominant frequencies of 2.3-3.5 Hz.

Field workers at Galeras near the Chavas fumarole (W of the active crater) reported hearing a sound similar to the rushing current of a river, which correlated with increased rates of gas emission.

During 2000 the temperature of the Deformes fumarole (S of the active crater) measured an average of 111°C and showed a slight cooling over time. The fumarole temperature averaged 100°C during the first three months of 2001.

During 1 January-31 March 2001, radon-222 emission from soil measured up to 4,000 pCi/l at most stations. The San Juan 1 station (10 km NE of the active cone) and Sismo 5 station (7 km N of the active cone) detected higher values of 6,754 pCi/l and 5,455 pCi/l, res

Geologic Background. Galeras, a stratovolcano with a large breached caldera located immediately west of the city of Pasto, is one of Colombia's most frequently active volcanoes. The dominantly andesitic complex has been active for more than 1 million years, and two major caldera collapse eruptions took place during the late Pleistocene. Long-term extensive hydrothermal alteration has contributed to large-scale edifice collapse on at least three occasions, producing debris avalanches that swept to the west and left a large horseshoe-shaped caldera inside which the modern cone has been constructed. Major explosive eruptions since the mid-Holocene have produced widespread tephra deposits and pyroclastic flows that swept all but the southern flanks. A central cone slightly lower than the caldera rim has been the site of numerous small-to-moderate historical eruptions since the time of the Spanish conquistadors.

Information Contacts: Patricia Ponce, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Pasto (OVSP), INGEOMINAS, Carrera 31, 18-07 Parque Infantil, P.O. Box 1795, Pasto, Colombia (URL: https://www2.sgc.gov.co/volcanes/index.html).


Mayon (Philippines) — May 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


April 2000-May 2001 summary; dome growth beginning in January 2001

Since the last report (BGVN 25:04), activity was variable at Mayon. The following report covers activity during April 2000-May 2001, but does not include the event that began on 24 June 2001; details of that eruption will appear in a subsequent issue. This report was compiled from reports posted on the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) website.

April-June 2000. Mayon's hazard status remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-5) as of 2 April. At that time, no entry was allowed within the 6-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) and the 7-km-radius Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) in the SE sector. Low-frequency (LF) and high-frequency (HF) earthquakes, and short-duration HF tremors, were recorded. Around this time, SO2 flux increased from 3,600 metric tons/day (t/d) to 6,210 t/d. The summit crater emitted a weak to moderate steam plume which drifted WSW. Faint crater glow was observed during the evening. Similar activity continued through the end of April, although the SO2 emission rate had decreased to 4,061 t/d as of 26 April.

Seismicity during 2-3 May included seven LF earthquakes with relative amplitudes of 55-56 mm, but there was no other variation in activity. On May 3 PHIVOLCS raised the Alert Level from 2 to 3. The next Mayon volcano bulletin, issued on 1 June, noted that SO2 flux on 21 May was 680 t/d, slightly above the baseline of 500 t/d.

By 1 June the hazard status had been decreased to Alert Level 0. Seismicity had also decreased markedly; only two HF events and two short- duration HF tremors were reported on 1 June. Crater illumination resumed the same day. SO2 flux readings were not available for the month.

July 2000. On 16 July at 0629 a phreatic explosion occurred that was visible only from the E due to thick clouds on the other sides. The explosion produced a small volume of gray ash as well as steam clouds that rose ~1 km above the summit before drifting NNE. Mayon Volcano Observatory at Ligñon Hill (MVO) seismographs recorded an explosion-type seismic signal that lasted for 1.5 minutes. Tiltmeters at Buang and Mayon Resthouse stations did not, however, detect significant ground movement, which suggested that the explosion was caused by shallow activity.

On 30 July at 1315, Mayon produced a mild ash ejection. MVO reported a small ash plume that rose 1 km. Seismicity associated with the event lasted for about 1 minute. As with the 16 July event, other monitoring, including SO2 flux readings, did not indicate further activity. Mayon's Alert Level was undisclosed for the month.

August-December 2000. A mild ash ejection at 1432 on 31 August sent a small gray ash cloud ~1 km above the summit. An activity update on 1 September noted that small explosions similar to those in July had occurred in the previous weeks. PHIVOLCS suggested that these shallow explosions were probably due to rainwater seepage into the February-March 2000 lava deposits (BGVN 25:04). No further reports were issued in 2000.

January 2001. A resurgence of activity was observed as of [8] January. MVO reported an apparently growing lava dome which emitted voluminous gases from its summit. During the previous week there had been increases in both the number of earthquakes and in tilt, presumably due to magma ascent. [These] events led PHIVOLCS to set the Alert Level to 2.

On 10 January aerial observers noted that the dome appeared to have a spiny, blocky surface, which resulted from the crater floor being pushed upward by rising magma. Slight incandescence was also emanating from the crater. Correlation spectrometer (COSPEC) measurements detected an elevated SO2 emission rate of 2,300 t/d. Seismicity also remained elevated. Ground deformation measured on the N flank continued to indicate tilting. Over the next week, activity remained high. Crater glow, however, was weak, and only visible from a distance with a telescope.

Activity escalated further after 19 January. Sixty seismic events occurred on 20 January, and a high number of earthquakes continued to occur. SO2 flux spiked up to ~8,070 t/d. A brown steam puff rose from the lava dome at 0932 on 22 January. This brief emission of ash-laden steam coincided with a volcanic earthquake. A second ash emission occurred later the same day. Alert Level 3 became effective as of 25 January. Five ash emissions rose from Mayon's summit on 28 January followed by two more the next day. Plumes rose ~500 m and generally drifted WNW or NW. The earthquakes associated with these late January events were noticeably larger than those in previous weeks. Inflation of the edifice was also detected.

February-May 2001. The Alert Level remained at 3 for the entire period; high seismicity and moderate steaming prevailed. Inflationary trends were shown by tiltmeter readings through the end of March, when uplift tapered off slightly. On 24 February a small ash-and-steam plume rose 250 m and was blown ENE. SO2 flux decreased through February with a reading of 2,889 t/d on the 28th. Crater glow was observed rarely during February, and not at all during March.

On 2 April the SO2 flux rose to 7,205 t/d, but then dropped to 444 t/d two days later. SO2 emission rates ranged from ~2,000 to 4,000 t/d during the rest of April. Low-intensity crater glow was observed sporadically during the month. On 7 May more intense crater glow was observed. A small ash emission occurred at 1752 on 11 May and sent material 50 m above the summit.

On 12 May a series of explosions were detected by a seismometer S of the summit. Ash ejection occurred, and late in the day the SE portion of the dome partially collapsed, causing a small lava avalanche that reached ~300 m down into Bonga Gully. Following the avalanche, MVO workers noted incandescence at the dome and continuing rockfalls into the gully. Workers speculated that active magma transport upward toward the crater was increasing.

Rockfalls due to molten lava fragments rolling down from the dome dominated activity during 13-14 May. When conditions cleared briefly on 14 May observers saw that the partial dome collapse had produced a V-shaped gash; this breach was the source of the outpouring lava. Avalanches had reached 500 m downslope as of this date.

Rockfalls and lava emissions ceased on 15 May but resumed the following day. Fresh lava began to refill the previously formed gash. SO2 flux remained high, and tiltmeters detected consistent inflation through 31 May. Similar activity, accompanied by elevated seismicity that included rockfall-induced signals, continued through the month.

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

Information Contacts: Raymundo S. Punongbayan and Ernesto Corpuz, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), C.P. Garcia Avenue, U.P. Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/).


Niuafo'ou (Tonga) — May 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Niuafo'ou

Tonga

15.6°S, 175.63°W; summit elev. 260 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New hot spring in caldera during May-June 1999

On 8 May 1999 a group of natives were traveling around the E shore of Vai Si'i, the smaller of the two lakes that occupy the caldera in the center of the island. The water level in the lake was reported to be noticeably higher (about 0.5 m) than usual. At a locality on the E shore of the lake, below the caldera wall (figure 3) a new hot spring had formed. At the time of this observation it was below the level of the lake. Bubbles were being produced from the site and the water was noticeably warmer than usual.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Map showing the location of the new hot spring adjacent to the Vai Si'i crater lake in the caldera of Niuafo'ou that was reported in May 1999 and observed in June 1999. Courtesy of Paul Taylor.

This report of the new hot spring was communicated to Paul Taylor, a volcanic geologist who was conducting a workshop on the island during the first week of June 1999. When Taylor visited the lake on 1 June the water level had returned to its normal level, but the hot spring was clearly present in a small embankment on the side of the track that followed the edge of the lake. A small amount of steam and a quantity of hot water were still being produced by the spring at that time. The temperature of the water was estimated to be about 70-80°C. A small stream of the warm water was flowing across the track and into Vai Si'i. A strong smell of sulfur was present in the immediate area of the spring. A large deposit of dark, sulfur-rich mud was present along the shore within Vai Si'i near the new hot spring. Vegetation had withered noticeably and a large number of dead fish were present along the shoreline. The new hot spring represents the first reported activity in the NE part of the central caldera, and the first activity reported on the island in more than a decade.

Geologic Background. Niuafo'ou ("Tin Can Island") is a low, 8-km-wide island that forms the summit of a largely submerged basaltic shield volcano. Niuafo'ou is an isolated volcanic island in the north central Lau Basin about 170 km west of the northern end of the Tofua volcanic arc. The circular island encloses a 5-km-wide caldera that is mostly filled by a lake whose bottom extends to below sea level. The inner walls of the caldera drop sharply to the caldera lake, named Big Lake (or Vai Lahi), which contains several small islands and pyroclastic cones on its NE shore. Historical eruptions, mostly from circumferential fissures on the west-to-south side of the island, have been recorded since 1814 and have often damaged villages on this small ring-shaped island. A major eruption at Niuafo'ou in 1946 forced evacuation of most of its 1200 inhabitants.

Information Contacts: Paul W. Taylor, Australian Volcanological Investigations, PO Box 291, Pymble, NSW 2073, Australia.


San Cristobal (Nicaragua) — May 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

San Cristobal

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small gas-and-ash plumes during May and June 2001 cause ashfalls

Beginning on 11 May 2001 volcanic activity increased above normal levels, with small eruptions producing gas-and-ash clouds that deposited small amounts of ash on a neighboring town. The previous report of anomalous volcanic activity at San Cristóbal was in May 2000 when a series of lahars occurred as a result of the remobilization of ash that had been deposited on the volcano from the 20 November eruption (BGVN 25:02 and 25:05).

On 22 July 2000, ten months prior to the May 2001 eruption, Alain Creusot visited the summit of the volcano. He reported that seismic activity during 18-19 July caused two lakes to empty that were observed during a previous trip. He also found that active fissures inside the crater were partially sealed, which caused the intensity of degassing to decrease.

INETER reported that on 11 May 2001 tremor began to rise at a seismic station on San Cristóbal (figure 9). The tremor reached a maximum level at noon and then slightly diminished, but stayed at relatively high levels for several days. Seismic activity during this period exceeded the maximum level of seismicity throughout the entire December 1999-February 2000 eruption (BGVN 25:02). Beginning on 11 May INETER personnel stationed near the summit of the volcano occasionally observed small plumes of volcanic gas with small amounts of ash emanating from the volcano. In contrast, on 10 May very low levels of gas were emitted from the crater. On 14 May observers noted that gas emissions with small amounts of ash continued. On 17 May the level of seismic activity significantly increased, and pulses of gas and ash rose ~100 m above the crater rim. Small amounts of ash fell in the town of Santa Barbara, 14 km SW of the volcano.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Seismic amplitude recorded at CRIN seismic station on San Cristóbal during 7-17 May 2001. Courtesy of INETER.

INETER noted that rain could mix with ash deposited on the flanks of the volcano and generate dangerous lahars. This occurred after the 1999-early 2000 eruption when rainfall in May 2000 mixed with ash that accumulated on the flanks of the volcano. The lahars were especially strong in the S part of the volcano.

According to news reports, on 21 June an explosion at San Cristóbal sent an ash cloud to a maximum height of 800 m. The cloud extended approximately 25 km downwind of the crater, and ash fell in the town of Chinandega, ~15 km SW of the volcano.

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

Information Contacts: Wilfried Strauch and Virginia Tenorio, Department of Geophysics, Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), P.O. Box 1761, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni/); Alain Creusot, Instituto Nicaraguense de Energía, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ine.gob.ni/); La Noticia (URL: http://www.lanoticia.com.ni/); El Nuevo Diario (URL: http://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/); La Prensa (URL: http://www.laprensa.com.ni/).


Sturge Island (Antarctica) — May 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Sturge Island

Antarctica

67.4°S, 164.83°E; summit elev. 1167 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Elongate cloud on 12 June possibly a result of volcanic emissions

An unusual cloud formation was spotted on 12 June satellite imagery from the Balleny Islands region by Petty Officer Eugenia Dowling, of the U.S. National Ice Center, while performing a weekly analysis of Ross Sea imagery. In addition to AVHRR (Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer), the National Ice Center uses OLS (Optical Line Scan) Imagery from a Defense Meteorological Satellite (visible/IR, 0.55 km resolution). The cloud was seen in OLS imagery and brought to the attention of Paul Seymour, who then forwarded it for further evaluation to Ralph Meiggs, Applied Technology Branch Chief and part of the NOAA Operational Significant Event Imagery team. From there it came to the attention of the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), who consulted with volcanologists and other international meteorologists familiar with identifying volcanic plumes from satellite data.

Preliminary interpretations based on satellite data were made by analysts in the United States (NOAA/Washington VAAC), Australia (Bureau of Meteorology/Darwin VAAC), and New Zealand (MetService NZ/Wellington VAAC). More detailed research and analysis was provided by Fred Prata of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Atmospheric Research Division. Thoughtful comments were also provided by Steve Pendelbury and Neil Adams of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

The feature was first seen on AVHRR imagery from 1352 UTC on 12 June 2001. It appeared to be almost detached from the island on AVHRR images at 1631 and 1652, but was still visible emanating from the island on MODIS imagery at 2245.

Preliminary interpretations from Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers. Based on analysis of NOAA-14, -15, and -16 AVHRR imagery by the Washington VAAC, the plume reached a size of ~20 x 200 km and an altitude of ~1,300 m (later analysis, below, showed the plume to be much higher); temperatures were estimated to be about -53°C (220 K). Channel differencing revealed no ash content, which suggests that the cloud was mainly steam. A short video was created from satellite imagery showing the progression of the plume.

During a discussion with Andrew Tupper (Darwin VAAC), Lance Cowled, a senior meteorologist in the Tasmania/Antarctic office of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, noted that at first sight it looked like a banner cloud shed by the island that developed with the onset of cirrus overcast thickening, but that it may have been caused by an interaction between the moisture field and any gas being emitted. The summit of Sturge Island has a lower elevation (1,167 m) than both nearby Young Island (1,340 m) and Buckle Island (1,239 m). With this in mind, Tupper stated that the chance of a banner cloud forming only on Sturge without some volcanic influence was less likely, but difficult to know without more topographical knowledge of the islands.

James Travers, Operations Manager for the Aviation Services Division of the MetService NZ and Wellington VAAC, stated that, based on his experience, the feature was more likely to be associated with volcanic activity rather than with an orographically induced cloud.

Analysis by Australian CSIRO Atmospheric Research. Fred Prata (CSIRO Atmospheric Research) obtained MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer), ATSR-2 (Along Track Scanning Radiometer), and AVHRR-2 LAC (Local Area Coverage) data for this mysterious plume seen on AVHRR GAC (Global Area Coverage) data. His analysis and interpretation follows. "My first impression was that it was volcanic in origin. However, the AVHRR LAC, MODIS and ATSR-2 data do not show an ash signature when processed using a technique that usually discriminates ash (figure 1). So, either there was no ash or it's not volcanic. The case for it being volcanic with no ash is sustainable as the MODIS 7.3 µm channel does give an indication of SO2, but this signal is weaker than normal (figure 2). It is also possible that the ash is there but the signal is concealed by ice coating the ash. We have seen a few instances of this in the past. The plume could also be mostly steam (and then ice or liquid water drops once in the atmosphere). The case for it not being volcanic relies on the observation that there were winds streaming over these islands which spawned a cloud (looking like a banner cloud) in the lee of Sturge Island. You can easily convince yourself that this is possible when looking at the NOAA animation. I have examined MODIS 250-m data (at different times of year) and found that when Sturge forms these clouds the other islands also form clouds (Buckle and Young) and more often the clouds are lee waves rather than banner clouds.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Satellite image of the Sturge Island plume from AVHRR LAC data acquired on 12 June 2001 at 1652 UTC showing the extent of the plume. The temperature difference image of the 11 µm channel - 12 µm channel (T4-T5) is usually negative for 'ash' plumes. This positive difference suggests that there is no ash content, or an undetectable amount. These data are at the edge of the satellite reception capability, resulting in many missing or bad lines. Courtesy of F. Prata, CSIRO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Satellite image of the Sturge Island plume showing MODIS 1-km data acquired on 12 June 2001 at 2245 UTC. This image of temperature difference between the 6.7 and 7.3 µm channels is an SO2 sensitive combination, giving some indication of SO2, but the interpretation is not clear in this case. Young and Buckle islands, to the NW, exhibit no plume. Courtesy of F. Prata, CSIRO.

"Looking at AVHRR temperatures I find that the thickest part of the plume (near the island) is at around 213 K (12 µm) and the surrounding scene temperatures are 250 K or higher. This puts the cloud top at around 6 km assuming a lapse rate of 6.5 K per km and the cloud is opaque (which it isn't quite). The cloud also extends a long way downwind (I calculate that it is visible for 300 km from Sturge) and there is no such cloud coming off Young or Buckle. Finally, looking at the AVHRR LAC it is apparent that there are regions in the plume that are more opaque - as if there were discrete pulses, possibly from several eruptions (figure 3). So my conclusion is that it is more likely to be an eruption cloud than a banner cloud, but there is a degree of doubt."

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Satellite image of the Sturge Island plume showing AVHRR LAC data acquired on 12 June 2001 at 1352 UTC. The image is an 11 µm brightness temperature (K) image with black as cold and white as warm, annotated to show the possible "puffs" or pulses of volcanic activity. Courtesy of F. Prata, CSIRO.

Further comments by Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Steve Pendelbury, a Supervisory Meteorologist in the Bureau of Meteorology and his colleague Neil Adams (Senior Meteorologist) identified the plume as a banner cloud, and noted that the "pulses" seen in AVHRR imagery seemed like lee wave activity. The plume was similar to one recorded on AVHRR imagery over Heard Island where orographic banner was suspected. Orographic influence is also suggested because the upwind part of the plume mirrors the breadth of the island. A reason for the plume only being off this island is the differences in island height and perhaps variations in the static stability with height. They noted that the estimated height of the plume top (6 km by Fred Prata's estimation) would mean that ejected volcanic material, albeit even steam, would have had to rise approximately 5 km; this might be difficult in the intrinsically stable atmosphere of high southern latitude waters, but orographic clouds can form that high via vertically propagating waves. Another possibility, assuming that the moisture could have risen to 6 km, is that volcanic venting provided moisture needed to produce a cloud in otherwise invisible lee waves that may be present downwind of all three islands. They agreed that the data are inconclusive.

AVHRR band 4 mosaics from the Casey HRPT ground station, reduced to 4 km resolution, showed a good banner cloud along with a wake cloud evident off Young Island, the northern island in the Balleny Island chain, at 0830 UTC on 5 July image. Another image at 2130 UTC still has evidence of a wake cloud but the banner cloud is no longer visible.

Seismicity. No earthquakes recorded within 100 km of the Balleny Islands during 6-20 June 2001 were present in the USGS National Earthquake Information Center's database as of 20 June.

Summary of interpretations. Basic observations about this cloud/plume are as follows: It is unlikely that this plume contained ash, but there may have been some SO2 content. This plume clearly originated above Sturge Island, but not above the two other Balleny Islands with higher elevations. The cloud was not consistent throughout the period it was observed, exhibiting variable opacity. Explanations can be constructed to explain all of these features that are based on orographic influences, volcanic emissions, or some combination of the two. Local static stability might have assisted cloud formation above this lower-elevation island, but not above the nearby higher islands. Water vapor provided by volcanic emissions may also have resulted in cloud formation, either directly or orographically. Likewise, the variable opacity of the cloud could be caused by pulses of emissions or orographic lee waves. Without independent evidence of volcanism, the satellite imagery is not conclusive.

Background. A 160-km-long chain of volcanic islands forms the Balleny Islands just off the coast of Antarctica's Victoria Land. The islands are located at the southern end of a submarine ridge system that extends north to New Zealand, but is offset by the Indian-Antarctic ridge system. No detailed geologic studies have been conducted in the inaccessible Balleny Islands.

Sturge is the largest and southernmost of the Balleny Islands. The 44-km-long island is completely mantled by an icecap and has a prominent summit, Russel Peak, at the northern end. "Volcanic activity" was reported on a U.S. Navy chart, but no indications of present or past activity were noted in 1959 (Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World).

Buckle Island is in the center of the Balleny Islands. The elongated, 21-km-long island is capped by a gently sloping icecap that descends steeply to the sea between rocky cliffs. Dark eruption columns were reported during 1839 and 1899.

Young Island is the northernmost and second largest of the Balleny Islands. Captain Balleny, the discoverer of the islands, reported "smoke" issuing from Freeman Peak on Young Island on 12 February 1839. The island has a broad plateau-like summit reaching 1,340 m and is almost completely mantled by ice.

Geologic Background. Sturge is the largest and southernmost of the Balleny Islands, which are located just off the coast of Antarctica's Victoria Land. The 44-km-long island is completely mantled by an icecap and has a prominent summit, Russel Peak, at the northern end. "Volcanic activity" was reported on a U.S. Navy chart, but no indications of present or past activity were noted in 1959 (Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World). No detailed geologic studies have been conducted in the inaccessible Balleny Islands.

Information Contacts: Grace Swanson, Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch, NOAA/NESDIS/E/SP23, NOAA Science Center Room 401, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/); Fred Prata, Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Atmospheric Research, PB 1 Aspendale, Victoria 3195, Australia (URL: https://www.cmar.csiro.au/); Steve Pendelbury and Lance Cowled, Weather Services, Bureau of Meteorology, GPO Box 727G, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia; Neil Adams, Antarctic Co-operative Research Centre and Bureau of Meteorology, PO Box 421, Kent Town, SA 5071, Australia; Andrew Tupper, Darwin VAAC, Northern Territory Regional Office, Bureau of Meteorology, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); National Ice Center, Federal Building 4, 4251 Suitland Road, Washington, DC 20395 USA (URL: http://www.natice.noaa.gov/); National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC), US Geological Survey, Mail Stop 967, Federal Center Box 25046, Denver, CO 80225, USA (URL: http://earthquakes.usgs.gov/).


Three Sisters (United States) — May 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Three Sisters

United States

44.133°N, 121.767°W; summit elev. 3159 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Radar interferometry suggests uplift during 1996-2000

United States Geological Survey (USGS) scientists detected a slight uplift of the ground surface over a broad region centered 5 km W of South Sister volcano in the Three Sisters region (figure 1). The area is located within the central Oregon Cascade range, 35 km W of Bend, and 100 km E of Eugene, Oregon. The measured uplift, which occurred during 1996-2000, covered an area ~15-20 km in diameter; the maximum amount of uplift at the region's center was ~10 cm. Several close aerial inspections of the area revealed no unusual surface features.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Radar interferogram showing ground uplift pattern centered ~ 5 km W of South Sister. Each shaded region represents ~ 2.8 cm of ground movement in the direction of the satellite. In this case, four concentric shaded bands show that the surface moved toward the satellite (close to vertical) by as much as 10 cm between August 1996 and October 2000. Data gaps occur where forest vegetation or other factors hinder the acquisition of useful radar data. A numerical model places the source of the uplift ~ 7 km beneath the ground surface. After a color version by Wicks and others (2001), which uses radar images from the European Space Agency's ERS satellites.

The uplift was detected by using satellite radar interferometry (InSAR), which uses satellite data to make radar images of the ground surface (figure 1). InSAR can detect even minor (down to a few centimeters) changes in ground elevation over time. Images from 1996 and 2000 were compared and revealed the rise in ground level. The exact timing of uplift between the two dates, or whether it will continue, is unknown, but is being studied further.

The specific cause of the uplift was also uncertain. Uplift in the Three Sisters region may reflect intrusion of a relatively small volume of magma at a possible depth of 7 km. If this is the result of intrusion, it indicates that the region remains active, but does not suggest eruptive activity without additional precursors. In the Three Sisters area, earthquake activity appeared to be at or near background levels and gas emissions were low as of May 2001. The USGS plans to enhance the existing monitoring network in the region to more accurately detect possible precursors and to better understand the uplift phenomenon. Installation of one or more additional seismometers, a global positioning system (GPS) receiver, a resurvey of existing benchmarks and installation of new ones, and periodic airborne and ground-based sampling of gases are all being considered.

References. Wicks, C., Jr., Dzurisin, D., Ingebritsen, S.E., Thatcher, W., and Lu, Z., 2001, Ground uplift near the Three Sisters volcanic center, central Oregon Cascade Range, detected by satellite radar interferometry: in prep.

Geologic Background. The north-south-trending Three Sisters volcano group dominates the landscape of the Central Oregon Cascades. All Three Sisters stratovolcanoes ceased activity during the late Pleistocene, but basaltic-to-rhyolitic flank vents erupted during the Holocene, producing both blocky lava flows north of North Sister and rhyolitic lava domes and flows south of South Sister volcano. Glaciers have deeply eroded the Pleistocene andesitic-dacitic North Sister stratovolcano, exposing the volcano's central plug. Construction of the main edifice ceased at about 55,000 yrs ago, but north-flank vents produced blocky lava flows in the McKenzie Pass area as recently as about 1600 years ago. Middle Sister volcano is located only 2 km to the SW and was active largely contemporaneously with South Sister until about 14,000 years ago. South Sister is the highest of the Three Sisters. It was constructed beginning about 50,000 years ago and was capped by a symmetrical summit cinder cone formed about 22,000 years ago. The late Pleistocene or early Holocene Cayuse Crater on the SW flank of Broken Top volcano and other flank vents such as Le Conte Crater on the SW flank of South Sister mark mafic vents that have erupted at considerable distances from South Sister itself, and a chain of dike-fed rhyolitic lava domes and flows at Rock Mesa and Devils Chain south of South Sister erupted about 2000 years ago.

Information Contacts: Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), 5400 MacArthur Blvd., Vancouver, WA 98661 USA (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/cvo/); Volcano Hazards Team, USGS, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025-3591 USA (URL: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/); Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network, University of Washington Geophysics Program, Box 351650, Seattle, WA 98195-1650 USA (URL: http://www.geophys.washington.edu/SEIS/PNSN/); Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, 800 NE Oregon St., Suite 965, Portland, OR 97232 USA (URL: http://www.oregongeology.org/sub/default.htm).


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — May 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Ulawun

Papua New Guinea

5.05°S, 151.33°E; summit elev. 2334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption on 30 April 2001 sends an ash cloud to a height of ~13.7 km

On 30 April 2001 a moderate-sized ash cloud from an eruption at Ulawun was visible on Geostationary Meteorological Satellite (GMS), U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather satellite, and Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) imagery. There had been no reports of anomalous volcanic activity at Ulawun since the 28 September-2 October 2000 eruption sent an ash cloud 12-15 km above the volcano (BGVN 25:11).

The Darwin VAAC received a pilot report that a "smoke" cloud had been emitted from Ulawun on 30 April at 0730. The Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) confirmed the report. The cloud reached an altitude of ~9 km and drifted NW and SW, expanding to 80-113 km in radius. GMS and NOAA weather satellite imagery indicated that the cloud may have reached a maximum height of ~13.7 km and that the eruption ceased by approximately 1530. By 3 May volcanic activity had decreased, but, because further ash emissions could occur, RVO placed the volcano at Stage 2 Alert. RVO reported that limited evacuations occurred. Ash was not observed on satellite imagery after the 30 April eruption, although ash clouds may have been obscured by meteorological clouds near the volcano.

On 30 April around noon, a few hours after reports of an eruption at Ulawun, the Earth Probe TOMS detected a SO2 cloud over SW New Britain,. A gap between successive TOMS swaths over the volcano unfortunately precluded measurement of the full extent of this cloud. Elevated levels of SO2 were recorded in a region bounded approximately by longitudes 147°E and 150°E (swath edge) and by latitudes 5°S and 7°S, at a maximum distance of ~400 km WSW from Ulawun. The highest SO2 concentrations (38 milli atm cm) were recorded in a NNW-SSE trending region ~300 km WSW of the volcano. Preliminary analysis indicates that the portion of the cloud visible in TOMS imagery contained ~5 kilotons of SO2.

Geologic Background. The symmetrical basaltic-to-andesitic Ulawun stratovolcano is the highest volcano of the Bismarck arc, and one of Papua New Guinea's most frequently active. The volcano, also known as the Father, rises above the N coast of the island of New Britain across a low saddle NE of Bamus volcano, the South Son. The upper 1,000 m is unvegetated. A prominent E-W escarpment on the south may be the result of large-scale slumping. Satellitic cones occupy the NW and E flanks. A steep-walled valley cuts the NW side, and a flank lava-flow complex lies to the south of this valley. Historical eruptions date back to the beginning of the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions were mildly explosive until 1967, but after 1970 several larger eruptions produced lava flows and basaltic pyroclastic flows, greatly modifying the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Darwin VAAC, Regional Director, Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, Northern Territory 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Simon Carn, Joint Center for Earth System Technology (NASA/UMBC), University of Maryland Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle Baltimore, MD 21250.

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