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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

All reports of volcanic activity published by the Smithsonian since 1968 are available through a monthly table of contents or by searching for a specific volcano. Until 1975, reports were issued for individual volcanoes as information became available; these have been organized by month for convenience. Later publications were done in a monthly newsletter format. Links go to the profile page for each volcano with the Bulletin tab open.

Information is preliminary at time of publication and subject to change.

Recently Published Bulletin Reports

Sangay (Ecuador) Daily ash plumes and frequent pyroclastic flows produce ashfall and lahars, January-June 2020

Karangetang (Indonesia) Incandescent block avalanches through mid-January 2020; crater anomalies through May

Masaya (Nicaragua) Lava lake level drops but remains active through May 2020; weak gas plumes

Shishaldin (United States) Intermittent thermal activity and a possible new cone at the summit crater during February-May 2020

Krakatau (Indonesia) Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and crater incandescence during April 2020

Taal (Philippines) Eruption on 12 January with explosions through 22 January; steam plumes continuing into March

Unnamed (Tonga) Additional details and pumice raft drift maps from the August 2019 submarine eruption

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

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

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

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

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



Sangay (Ecuador) — July 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangay

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily ash plumes and frequent pyroclastic flows produce ashfall and lahars, January-June 2020

Frequent activity at Ecuador's Sangay has included pyroclastic flows, lava flows, ash plumes, and lahars reported since 1628. Its remoteness on the east side of the Andean crest make ground observations difficult; remote cameras and satellites provide important information on activity. The current eruption began in March 2019 and continued through December 2019 with activity focused on the Cráter Central and the Ñuñurco (southeast) vent; they produced explosions with ash plumes, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows and block avalanches. In addition, volcanic debris was remobilized in the Volcan river causing significant damming downstream. This report covers ongoing similar activity from January through June 2020. Information is provided by Ecuador's Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), and a number of sources of remote data including the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), the Italian MIROVA Volcano HotSpot Detection System, and Sentinel-2 satellite imagery. Visitors also provided excellent ground and drone-based images and information.

Throughout January-June 2020, multiple daily reports from the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) indicated ash plumes rising from the summit, generally 500-1,100 m. Each month one or more plumes rose over 2,000 m. The plumes usually drifted SW or W, and ashfall was reported in communities 25-90 km away several times during January-March and again in June. In addition to explosions with ash plumes, pyroclastic flows and incandescent blocks frequently descended a large, deep ravine on the SE flank. Ash from the pyroclastic flows rose a few hundred meters and drifted away from the volcano. Incandescence was visible on clear nights at the summit and in the ravine. The MIROVA log radiative power graph showed continued moderate and high levels of thermal energy throughout the period (figure 57). Sangay also had small but persistent daily SO2 signatures during January-June 2020 with larger pulses one or more days each month (figure 58). IG-EPN published data in June 2020 about the overall activity since May 2019, indicating increases throughout the period in seismic event frequency, SO2 emissions, ash plume frequency, and thermal energy (figure 59).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. This graph of log radiative power at Sangay for 18 Aug 2018 through June 2020 shows the moderate levels of thermal energy through the end of the previous eruption in late 2018 and the beginning of the current one in early 2019. Data is from Sentinel-2, courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Small but persistent daily SO2 signatures were typical of Sangay during January-June 2020. A few times each month the plume was the same or larger than the plume from Columbia’s Nevado del Ruiz, located over 800 km NE. Image dates are shown in the header over each image. Courtesy of NASA’s Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. A multi-parameter graph of activity at Sangay from May 2019 to 12 June 2020 showed increases in many types of activity. a) seismic activity (number of events per day) detected at the PUYO station (source: IG-EPN). b) SO2 emissions (tons per day) detected by the Sentinel-5P satellite sensor (TROPOMI: red squares; source: MOUNTS) and by the IG-EPN (DOAS: green bars). c) height of the ash plumes (meters above crater) detected by the GOES-16 satellite sensor (source: Washington VAAC). d) thermal emission power (megawatt) detected by the MODIS satellite sensor (source: MODVOLC) and estimate of the accumulated lava volume (million M3, thin lines represent the error range). Courtesy of IG-EPN (Informe Especial del Volcán Sangay - 2020 - N°3, “Actualización de la actividad eruptiva”, Quito, 12 de junio del 2020).

Activity during January-March 2020. IG-EPN and the Washington VAAC reported multiple daily ash emissions throughout January 2020. Gas and ash emissions generally rose 500-1,500 m above the summit, most often drifting W or SW. Ashfall was reported on 8 January in the communities of Sevilla (90 km SSW), Pumallacta and Achupallas (60 km SW) and Cebadas (35 km WNW). On 16 January ash fell in the Chimborazo province in the communities of Atillo, Ichobamba, and Palmira (45 km W). Ash on 28 January drifted NW, with minor ashfall reported in Púngala (25 km NW) and other nearby communities. The town of Alao (20 km NW) reported on 30 January that all of the vegetation in the region was covered with fine white ash; Cebadas and Palmira also noted minor ashfall (figure 60).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. Daily ash plumes and repeated ashfall were reported from Sangay during January 2020. Top left: 1 January 2020 (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-2, JUEVES, 2 ENERO 2020). Top right: 20 January 2020 (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-21, MARTES, 21 ENERO 2020). Bottom left: 26 January-1 February 2020 expedition (Martes, 18 Febrero 2020 12:21, EXPEDICIÓN AL VOLCÁN SANGAY). Bottom right: 30 January 2020, minor ashfall was reported in the Province of Chimborazo (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 006, JUEVES, 30 ENERO 2020). Courtesy of IG-EPN.

A major ravine on the SE flank has been the site of ongoing block avalanches and pyroclastic flows since the latest eruption began in March 2019. The pyroclastic flows down the ravine appeared incandescent at night; during the day they created ash clouds that drifted SW. Satellite imagery recorded incandescence and dense ash from pyroclastic flows in the ravine on 7 January (figure 61). They were also reported by IG on the 9th, 13th, 26th, and 28th. Incandescent blocks were reported in the ravine several times during the month. The webcam captured images on 31 January of large incandescent blocks descending the entire length of the ravine to the base of the mountain (figure 62). Large amounts of ash and debris were remobilized as lahars during heavy rains on the 25th and 28th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Sangay from 7 January 2020 clearly showed a dense ash plume drifting W and ash and incandescent material from pyroclastic flows descending the SE-flank ravine. Left image uses natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering and right images uses atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Pyroclastic flows at Sangay produced large trails of ash down the SE ravine many times during January 2020 that rose and drifted SW. Top left: 9 January (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-9, JUEVES, 9 ENERO 2020). Top right: 13 January (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-14, MARTES, 14 ENERO 2020). On clear nights, incandescent blocks of lava and pyroclastic flows were visible in the ravine. Bottom left: 16 January (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-17, VIERNES, 17 ENERO 2020). Bottom right: 31 January (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 007, VIERNES, 31 ENERO 2020). Courtesy of IG-EPN.

Observations by visitors to the volcano during 9-17 January 2020 included pyroclastic flows, ash emissions, and incandescent debris descending the SE flank ravine during the brief periods when skies were not completely overcast (figure 63 and 64). More often there was ash-filled rain and explosions heard as far as 16 km from the volcano, along with the sounds of lahars generated from the frequent rainfall mobilizing debris from the pyroclastic flows. The confluence of the Rio Upano and Rio Volcan is 23 km SE of the summit and debris from the lahars has created a natural dam on the Rio Upano that periodically backs up water and inundates the adjacent forest (figure 65). A different expedition to Sangay during 26 January-1 February 2020 by IG personnel to repair and maintain the remote monitoring station and collect samples was successful, after which the station was once again transmitting data to IG-EPN in Quito (figure 66).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. Hikers near Sangay during 9-17 January 2020 witnessed pyroclastic flows and incandescent explosions and debris descending the SE ravine. Left: The view from 40 km SE near Macas showed ash rising from pyroclastic flows in the SE ravine. Right: Even though the summit was shrouded with a cap cloud, incandescence from the summit crater and from pyroclastic flows on the SE flank were visible on clear nights. Courtesy of Arnold Binas, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. The steep ravine on the SE flank of Sangay was hundreds of meters deep in January 2020 when these drone images were taken by members of a hiking trip during 9-17 January 2020 (left). Pyroclastic flows descended the ravine often (right), coating the sides of the ravine with fine, white ash and sending ash billowing up from the surface of the flow which resulted in ashfall in adjacent communities several times. Courtesy of Arnold Binas, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Debris from pyroclastic flows that descended the SE Ravine at Sangay was carried down the Volcan River (left) during frequent rains and caused repeated damming at the confluence with the Rio Upano (right), located 23 km SE of the summit. These images show the conditions along the riverbeds during 9-17 January 2020. Courtesy of Arnold Binas, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. An expedition by scientists from IG-EPN to one of the remote monitoring stations at Sangay during 26 January-1 February 2020 was successful in restoring communication to Quito. The remote location and constant volcanic activity makes access and maintenance a challenge. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Martes, 18 Febrero 2020 12:21, EXPEDICIÓN AL VOLCÁN SANGAY).

During February 2020, multiple daily VAAC reports of ash emissions continued (figure 67). Plumes generally rose 500-1,100 m above the summit and drifted W, although on 26 February emissions were reported to 1,770 m. Ashfall was reported in Macas (40 km SE) on 1 February, and in the communities of Pistishi (65 km SW), Chunchi (70 km SW), Pumallacta (60 k. SW), Alausí (60 km SW), Guamote (40 km WNW) and adjacent areas of the Chimborazo province on 5 February. The Ecuadorian Red Cross reported ash from Sangay in the provinces of Cañar and Azuay (60-100 km SW) on 25 February. Cebadas and Guamote reported moderate ashfall the following day. The communities of Cacha (50 km NW) and Punín (45 km NW) reported trace amounts of ashfall on 29 February. Incandescent blocks were seen on the SE flank multiples times throughout the month. A pyroclastic flow was recorded on the SE flank early on 6 February; additional pyroclastic flows were observed later that day on the SW flank. On 23 February a seismic station on the flank recorded a high-frequency signal typical of lahars.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Steam and ash could be seen drifting SW from the summit of Sangay on 11 February 2020 even though the summit was hidden by a large cap cloud. Ash was also visible in the ravine on the SE flank. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground, natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering.

A significant ash emission on 1 March 2020 was reported about 2 km above the summit, drifting SW. Multiple ash emissions continued daily during the month, generally rising 570-1,170 m high. An emission on 12 March also rose 2 km above the summit. Trace ashfall was reported in Cebadas (35 km WNW) on 12 March. The community of Huamboya, located 40 km ENE of Sangay in the province of Morona-Santiago reported ashfall on 17 March. On 19 and 21 March ashfall was seen on the surface of cars in Macas to the SE. (figure 68). Ash was also reported on the 21st in de Santa María De Tunants (Sinaí) located E of Sangay. Ash fell again in Macas on 23 March and was also reported in General Proaño (40 km SE). The wind changed direction the next day and caused ashfall on 24 March to the SW in Cuenca and Azogues (100 km SW).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Ashfall from Sangay was reported on cars in Huamboya on 17 March 2020 (left) and in Macas on 19 March (right). Courtesy IG-EPN, (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 024, MARTES, 17 MARZO 2020 and #IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 025, JUEVES, 19 MARZO 2020).

Incandescence from the dome at the crater and on the SE flank was noted by IG on 3, 4, and 13 March. Remobilized ash from a pyroclastic flow was reported drifting SW on 13 March. The incandescent path of the flow was still visible that evening. Numerous lahars were recorded seismically during the month, including on days 5, 6, 8, 11, 15, 30 and 31. Images from the Rio Upano on 11 March confirmed an increase from the normal flow rate (figure 69) inferred to be from volcanic debris. Morona-Santiago province officials reported on 14 March that a new dam had formed at the confluence of the Upano and Volcano rivers that decreased the flow downstream; by 16 March it had given way and flow had returned to normal levels.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Images from the Rio Upano on 11 March 2020 (left) confirmed an increase from the normal flow rate related to lahars from Sangay descending the Rio Volcan. By 16 March (right), the flow rate had returned to normal, although the large blocks in the river were evidence of substantial activity in the past. Courtesy of IG (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 018, MIÉRCOLES, 11 MARZO 2020 and #IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 023, LUNES, 16 MARZO 2020).

Activity during April-June 2020. Lahar activity continued during April 2020; they were reported seven times on 2, 5, 7, 11, 12, 19, and 30 April. A significant reduction in the flow of the Upano River at the entrance bridge to the city of Macas was reported 9 April, likely due to a new dam on the river upstream from where the Volcan river joins it caused by lahars related to ash emissions and pyroclastic flows (figure 70). The flow rate returned to normal the following day. Ash emissions were reported most days of the month, commonly rising 500-1,100 m above the summit and drifting W. Incandescent blocks or flows were visible on the SE flank on 4, 10, 12, 15-16, and 20-23 April (figure 71).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. A significant reduction in the flow of the Upano River at the entrance bridge to the city of Macas was reported on 9 April 2020, likely due to a new dam upstream from lahars related to ash emissions and pyroclastic flows from Sangay. Courtesy of IG-EPN (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 032, JUEVES, 9 ABRIL 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Incandescent blocks rolled down the SE ravine at Sangay multiple times during April 2020, including on 4 April (left). Pyroclastic flows left two continuous incandescent trails in the ravine on 23 April (right). Courtesy of IG-EPN (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-95, SÁBADO, 4 ABRIL 2020 and INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-114, JUEVES, 23 ABRIL 2020).

Activity during May 2020 included multiple daily ash emissions that drifted W and numerous lahars from plentiful rain carrying ash and debris downstream. Although there were only a few visible observations of ash plumes due to clouds, the Washington VAAC reported plumes visible in satellite imagery throughout the month. Plumes rose 570-1,170 m above the summit most days; the highest reported rose to 2,000 m above the summit on 14 May. Two lahars occurred in the early morning on 1 May and one the next day. A lahar signal lasted for three hours on 4 May. Two lahar signals were recorded on the 7th, and three on the 9th. Lahars were also recorded on 16-17, 20-22, 26-27, and 30 May. Incandescence on the SE flank was only noted three times, but it was cloudy nearly every day.

An increase in thermal and overall eruptive activity was reported during June 2020. On 1 and 2 June the webcam captured lava flows and remobilization of the deposits on the SE flank in the early morning and late at night. Incandescence was visible multiple days each week. Lahars were reported on 4 and 5 June. The frequent daily ash emissions during June generally rose to 570-1,200 m above the summit and drifted usually SW or W. The number of explosions and ash emissions increased during the evening of 7 June. IG interpreted the seismic signals from the explosions as an indication of the rise of a new pulse of magma (figure 72). The infrasound sensor log from 8 June also recorded longer duration tremor signals that were interpreted as resulting from the descent of pyroclastic flows in the SE ravine.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Seismic and infrasound signals indicated increased explosive and pyroclastic flow activity at Sangay on 7-8 June 2020. Left: SAGA station (seismic component) of 7 and 8 June. The signals correspond to explosions without VT or tremor signals, suggesting the rise of a new magma pulse. Right: SAGA station infrasound sensor log from 8 June. The sharp explosion signals are followed a few minutes later (examples highlighted in red) by emergent signals of longer duration, possibly associated with the descent of pyroclastic material in the SE flank ravine. Courtesy if IG-EPN (Informe Especial del Volcán Sangay - 2020 - N°3, “Actualización de la actividad eruptiva”, Quito, 12 de junio del 2020).

On the evening of 8 June ashfall was reported in the parish of Cebadas and in the Alausí Canton to the W and SW of Sangay. There were several reports of gas and ash emissions to 1,770 m above the summit the next morning on 9 June, followed by reports of ashfall in the provinces of Guayas, Santa Elena, Los Ríos, Morona Santiago, and Chimborazo. Ashfall continued in the afternoon and was reported in Alausí, Chunchi, Guamote, and Chillanes. That night, which was clear, the webcam captured images of pyroclastic flows down the SE-flank ravine; IG attributed the increase in activity to the collapse of one or more lava fronts. On the evening of 10 June additional ashfall was reported in the towns of Alausí, Chunchi, and Guamote (figure 73); satellite imagery indicated an ash plume drifting W and incandescence from pyroclastic flows in the SE-flank ravine the same day (figure 74).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Ashfall from Sangay was reported in Alausí (top left), Chunchi (top right) and Guamote (bottom) on 10 June 2020. Courtesy of IG-EPN (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 049, MIÉRCOLES, 10 JUNIO 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Incandescent pyroclastic flows (left) and ash plumes that drifted W (right) were recorded on 10 June 2020 at Sangay in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Ashfall continued on 11 June and was reported in Guayaquil, Guamote, Chunchi, Riobamba, Guaranda, Chimbo, Echandía, and Chillanes. The highest ash plume of the report period rose to 2,800 m above the summit that day and drifted SW. That evening the SNGRE (Servicio Nacional de Gestion de Riesgos y Emergencias) reported ash fall in the Alausí canton. IG noted the increase in intensity of activity and reported that the ash plume of 11 June drifted more than 600 km W (figure 75). Ash emissions on 12 and 13 June drifted SW and NW and resulted in ashfall in the provinces of Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, and Bolívar. On 14 June, the accumulation of ash interfered with the transmission of information from the seismic station. Lahars were reported each day during 15-17 and 19-21 June. Trace amounts of ashfall were reported in Macas to the SE on 25 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. The ash plume at Sangay reported on 11 June 2020 rose 2.8 km above the summit and drifted W according to the Washington VAAC and IG (left). Explosions and high levels of incandescence on the SE flank were captured by the Don Bosco webcam (right). Courtesy of IG-EPN (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 055, JUEVES, 11 JUNIO 2020 and INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-164, VIERNES, 12 JUNIO 2020).

During an overflight of Sangay on 24 June IG personnel observed that activity was characterized by small explosions from the summit vent and pyroclastic flows down the SE-flank ravine. The explosions produced small gas plumes with a high ash content that did not rise more than 500 m above the summit and drifted W (figure 76). The pyroclastic flows were restricted to the ravine on the SE flank, although the ash from the flows rose rapidly and reached about 200 m above the surface of the ravine and also drifted W (figure 77).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. A dense ash plume rose 500 m from the summit of Sangay on 24 June 2020 and drifted W during an overflight by IG-EPN personnel. The aerial photograph is taken from the SE; snow-covered Chimborazo is visible behind and to the right of Sangay. Photo by M Almeida, courtesy of IG EPN (Jueves, 02 Julio 2020 10:29, INFORME DEL SOBREVUELO AL VOLCÁN SANGAY EL 24 DE JUNIO DE 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Pyroclastic flows descended the SE flank ravine at Sangay during an overflight by IG-EPN personnel on 24 June 2020. Ash from the pyroclastic flow rose 200 m and drifted W, and infrared imagery identified the thermal signature of the pyroclastic flow in the ravine. Photo by M Almeida, IR Image by S Vallejo, courtesy of IG EPN (Jueves, 25 Junio 2020 12:24, SOBREVUELO AL VOLCÁN SANGAY).

Infrared imagery taken during the overflight on 24 June identified three significant thermal anomalies in the large ravine on the SE flank (figure 78). Analysis by IG scientists suggested that the upper anomaly 1 (125°C) was associated with explosive activity that was observed during the flight. Anomaly 2 (147°C), a short distance below Anomaly 1, was possibly related to effusive activity of a small flow, and Anomaly 3 (165°C) near the base of the ravine that was associated with pyroclastic flow deposits. The extent of the changes at the summit of Sangay and along the SE flank since the beginning of the eruption that started in March 2019 were clearly visible when images from May 2019 were compared with images from the 24 June 2020 overflight (figure 79). The upper part of the ravine was nearly 400 m wide by the end of June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. A thermal image of the SE flank of Sangay taken on 24 June 2020 indicated three thermal anomalies. Anomaly 1 was associated with explosive activity, Anomaly 2 was associated with effusive activity, and Anomaly 3 was related to pyroclastic-flow deposits. Image prepared by S Vallejo Vargas, courtesy of IG EPN (Jueves, 02 Julio 2020 10:29, INFORME DEL SOBREVUELO AL VOLCÁN SANGAY EL 24 DE JUNIO DE 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Aerial and thermal photographs of the southern flank of the Sangay volcano on 17 May 2019 (left: visible image) and 24 June 2020 (middle: visible image, right: visible-thermal overlay) show the morphological changes on the SE flank, associated with the formation of a deep ravine and the modification of the summit. Photos and thermal image by M Almeida, courtesy of IG EPN (Jueves, 02 Julio 2020 10:29, INFORME DEL SOBREVUELO AL VOLCÁN SANGAY EL 24 DE JUNIO DE 2020).

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); 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); Arnold Binas (URL: https://www.doroadventures.com).


Karangetang (Indonesia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Incandescent block avalanches through mid-January 2020; crater anomalies through May

The Karangetang andesitic-basaltic stratovolcano (also referred to as Api Siau) at the northern end of the island of Siau, north of Sulawesi, Indonesia, has had more than 50 observed eruptions since 1675. Frequent explosive activity is accompanied by pyroclastic flows and lahars, and lava-dome growth has created two active summit craters (Main to the S and Second Crater to the N). Rock avalanches, observed incandescence, and satellite thermal anomalies at the summit confirmed continuing volcanic activity since the latest eruption started in November 2018 (BGVN 44:05). This report covers activity from December 2019 through May 2020. Activity is monitored by Indonesia's Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM, or the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation), and ash plumes are monitored by the Darwin VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center). Information is also available from MODIS thermal anomaly satellite data through both the University of Hawaii's MODVOLC system and the Italian MIROVA project.

Increased activity that included daily incandescent avalanche blocks traveling down the W and NW flanks lasted from mid-July 2019 (BGVN 44:12) through mid-January 2020 according to multiple sources. The MIROVA data showed increased number and intensity of thermal anomalies during this period, with a sharp drop during the second half of January (figure 40). The MODVOLC thermal alert data reported 29 alerts in December and ten alerts in January, ending on 14 January, with no further alerts through May 2020. During December and the first half of January incandescent blocks traveled 1,000-1,500 m down multiple drainages on the W and NW flanks (figure 41). After this, thermal anomalies were still present at the summit craters, but no additional activity down the flanks was identified in remote satellite data or direct daily observations from PVMBG.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. An episode of increased activity at Karangetang from mid-July 2019 through mid-January 2020 included incandescent avalanche blocks traveling down multiple flanks of the volcano. This was reflected in increased thermal activity seen during that interval in the MIROVA graph covering 5 June 2019 through May 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. An episode of increased activity at Karangetang from mid-July 2019 through mid-January 2020 included incandescent avalanche blocks traveling up to 1,500 m down drainages on the W and NW flanks of the volcano. Top left: large thermal anomalies trend NW from Main Crater on 5 December 2019; about 500 m N a thermal anomaly glows from Second Crater. Top center: on 15 December plumes of steam and gas drifted W and SW from both summit craters as seen in Natural Color rendering (bands 4,3,2). Top right: the same image as at top center with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a) shows hot zones extending WNW from Main Crater and a thermal anomaly at Second Crater. Bottom left: thermal activity seen on 14 January 2020 extended about 800 m WNW from Main Crater along with an anomaly at Second Crater and a hot spot about 1 km W. Bottom center: by 19 January the anomaly from Second Crater appeared slightly stronger than at Main Crater, and only small anomalies appeared on the NW flank. Bottom right: an image from 14 March shows only thermal anomalies at the two summit craters. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

A single VAAC report in early April noted a short-lived ash plume that drifted SW. Intermittent low-level activity continued through May 2020. Small SO2 plumes appeared in satellite data multiple times in December 2019 and January 2020; they decreased in size and frequency after that but were still intermittently recorded into May 2020 (figure 42).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Small plumes of sulfur dioxide were measured at Karangetang with the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite multiple times during December 2019 (top row). They were less frequent but still appeared during January-May 2020 (bottom row). Larger plumes were also detected from Dukono, located 300 km ESE at the N end of North Maluku. Courtesy of Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

PVMBG reported in their daily summaries that steam plumes rose 50-150 m above the Main Crater and 25-50 m above Second Crater on most days in December. The incandescent avalanche activity that began in mid-July 2019 also continued throughout December 2019 and January 2020 (figure 43). Incandescent blocks from the Main Crater descended river drainages (Kali) on the W and NW flanks throughout December. They were reported nearly every day in the Nanitu, Sense, and Pangi drainages, traveling 1,000-1,500 m. Incandescence from both craters was visible 10-25 m above the crater rim most nights.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Incandescent block avalanches descended the NW flank of Karangetang as far as 1,500 m frequently during December 2019 and January 2020. Left image taken 13 December 2019, right image taken 6 January 2020 by PVMBG webcam. Courtesy of PVMBG, Oystein Anderson, and Bobyson Lamanepa.

A few blocks were noted traveling 800 m down Kali Beha Barat on 1 December. Incandescence above the Main crater reached 50-75 m during 4-6 December. During 4-7 December incandescent blocks appeared in Kali Sesepe, traveling 1,000-1,500 m down from the summit. They were also reported in Kali Batang and Beha Barat during 4-14 December, usually moving 800-1,000 m downslope. Between 5 and 14 December, gray and white plumes from Second Crater reached 300 m multiple times. During 12-15 December steam plumes rose 300-500 m above the Main crater. Activity decreased during 18-26 December but increased again during the last few days of the month. On 28 December, incandescent blocks were reported 1,500 m down Kali Pangi and Nanitu, and 1,750 m down Kali Sense.

Incandescent blocks were reported in Kali Sesepi during 4-6 January and in Kali Batang and Beha Barat during 4-8 and 12-15 January (figure 44); they often traveled 800-1,200 m downslope. Activity tapered off in those drainages and incandescent blocks were last reported in Kali Beha Barat on 15 January traveling 800 m from the summit. Incandescent blocks were also reported traveling usually 1,000-1,500 m down the Nanitu, Sense, and Pangi drainages during 4-19 January. Blocks continued to occasionally descend up to 1,000 m down Kali Nanitu through 24 January. Pulses of activity occurred at the summit of Second Crater a few times in January. Steam plumes rose 25-50 m during 8-9 January and again during 16-31 January, with plumes rising 300-400 m on 20, 29, and 31 January. Incandescence was noted 10-25 m above the summit of Second Crater during 27-30 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Incandescent material descends the Beha Barat, Sense, Nanitu, and Pangi drainages on the NW flank of Karangetang in early January 2020. Courtesy of Bobyson Lamanepa; posted on Twitter on 6 January 2020.

Activity diminished significantly after mid-January 2020. Steam plumes at the Main Crater rose 50-100 m on the few days where the summit was not obscured by fog during February. Faint incandescence occurred at the Main Crater on 7 February, and steam plumes rising 25-50 m from Second Crater that day were the only events reported there in February. During March, steam plumes persisted from the Main Crater, with heights of over 100 m during short periods from 8-16 March and 25-30 March. Weak incandescence was reported from the Main Crater only once, on 25 March. Very little activity occurred at Second Crater during March, with only steam plumes reported rising 25-300 m from the 22nd to the 28th (figure 45).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Steam plumes at Karangetang rose over 100 m above both summit craters multiple times during March, including on 26 March 2020. Courtesy of PVMBG and Oystein Anderson.

The Darwin VAAC reported a continuous ash emission on 4 April 2020 that rose to 2.1 km altitude and drifted SW for a few hours before dissipating. Incandescence visible 25 m above both craters on 13 April was the only April activity reported by PVMBG other than steam plumes from the Main Crater that rose 50-500 m on most days. Steam plumes of 50-100 m were reported from Second Crater during 11-13 April. Activity remained sporadic throughout May 2020. Steam plumes from the Main Crater rose 50-300 m each day. Satellite imagery identified steam plumes and incandescence from both summit craters on 3 May (figure 46). Faint incandescence was observed at the Main Crater on 12 and 27 May. Steam plumes rose 25-50 m from Second Crater on a few days; a 200-m-high plume was reported on 27 May. Bluish emissions were observed on the S and SW flanks on 28 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Dense steam plumes and thermal anomalies were present at both summit craters of Karangetang on 3 May 2020. Sentinel 2 satellite image with Natural Color (bands 4, 3, 2) (left) and Atmospheric Penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a) (right); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); 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/); 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/); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com); Bobyson Lamanepa, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, (URL: https://twitter.com/BobyLamanepa/status/1214165637028728832).


Masaya (Nicaragua) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake level drops but remains active through May 2020; weak gas plumes

Masaya, which is about 20 km NW of the Nicaragua’s capital of Managua, is one of the most active volcanoes in that country and has a caldera that contains a number of craters (BGVN 43:11). The Santiago crater is the one most currently active and it contains a small lava lake that emits weak gas plumes (figure 85). This report summarizes activity during February through May 2020 and is based on Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) monthly reports and satellite data. During the reporting period, the volcano was relatively calm, with only weak gas plumes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Satellite images of Masaya from Sentinel-2 on 18 April 2020, showing and a small gas plume drifting SW (top, natural color bands 4, 3, 2) and the lava lake (bottom, false color bands 12, 11, 4). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

According to INETER, thermal images of the lava lake and temperature data in the fumaroles were taken using an Omega infrared gun and a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) SC620 thermal camera. The temperatures above the lava lake have decreased since November 2019, when the temperature was 287°C, dropping to 96°C when measured on 14 May 2020. INETER attributed this decrease to subsidence in the level of the lava lake by 5 m which obstructed part of the lake and concentrated the gas emissions in the weak plume. Convection continued in the lava lake, which in May had decreased to a diameter of 3 m. Many landslides had occurred in the E, NE, and S walls of the crater rim due to rock fracturing caused by the high heat and acidity of the emissions.

During the reporting period, the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system recorded numerous thermal anomalies from the lava lake based on MODIS data (figure 86). Infrared satellite images from Sentinel-2 regularly showed a strong signature from the lava lake through 18 May, after which the volcano was covered by clouds.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Thermal anomalies at Masaya during February through May 2020. The larger anomalies with black lines are more distant and not related to the volcano. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Measurements of sulfur dioxide (SO2) made by INETER in the section of the Ticuantepe - La Concepción highway (just W of the volcano) with a mobile DOAS system varied between a low of just over 1,000 metric tons/day in mid-November 2019 to a high of almost 2,500 tons/day in late May. Temperatures of fumaroles in the Cerro El Comalito area, just ENE of Santiago crater, ranged from 58 to 76°C during February-May 2020, with most values in the 69-72°C range.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Shishaldin (United States) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Shishaldin

United States

54.756°N, 163.97°W; summit elev. 2857 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal activity and a possible new cone at the summit crater during February-May 2020

Shishaldin is located near the center of Unimak Island in Alaska, with the current eruption phase beginning in July 2019 and characterized by ash plumes, lava flows, lava fountaining, pyroclastic flows, and lahars. More recently, in late 2019 and into January 2020, activity consisted of multiple lava flows, pyroclastic flows, lahars, and ashfall events (BGVN 45:02). This report summarizes activity from February through May 2020, including gas-and-steam emissions, brief thermal activity in mid-March, and a possible new cone within the summit crater. The primary source of information comes from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) reports and various satellite data.

Volcanism during February 2020 was relatively low, consisting of weakly to moderately elevated surface temperatures during 1-4 February and occasional small gas-and-steam plumes (figure 37). By 6 February both seismicity and surface temperatures had decreased. Seismicity and surface temperatures increased slightly again on 8 March and remained elevated through the rest of the reporting period. Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions were also visible from mid-March (figure 38) through May. Minor ash deposits visible on the upper SE flank may have been due to ash resuspension or a small collapse event at the summit, according to AVO.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Photo of a gas-and-steam plume rising from the summit crater at Shishaldin on 22 February 2020. Photo courtesy of Ben David Jacob via AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. A Worldview-2 panchromatic satellite image on 11 March 2020 showing a gas-and-steam plume rising from the summit of Shishaldin and minor ash deposits on the SE flank (left). Aerial photo showing minor gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit crater on 11 March (right). Some erosion of the snow and ice on the upper flanks is a result of the lava flows from the activity in late 2019 and early 2020. Photo courtesy of Matt Loewen (left) and Ed Fischer (right) via AVO.

On 14 March, lava and a possible new cone were visible in the summit crater using satellite imagery, accompanied by small explosion signals. Strong thermal signatures due to the lava were also seen in Sentinel-2 satellite data and continued strongly through the month (figure 39). The lava reported by AVO in the summit crater was also reflected in satellite-based MODIS thermal anomalies recorded by the MIROVA system (figure 40). Seismic and infrasound data identified small explosions signals within the summit crater during 14-19 March.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images (bands 12, 11, 8A) show a bright hotspot (yellow-orange) at the summit crater of Shishaldin during mid-March 2020 that decreases in intensity by late March. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. MIROVA thermal data showing a brief increase in thermal anomalies during late March 2020 and on two days in late April between periods of little to no activity. Courtesy of MIROVA.

AVO released a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) stating that seismicity had decreased by 16 April and that satellite data no longer showed lava or additional changes in the crater since the start of April. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery continued to show a weak hotspot in the crater summit through May (figure 41), which was also detected by the MIROVA system on two days. A daily report on 6 May reported a visible ash deposit extending a short distance SE from the summit, which had likely been present since 29 April. AVO noted that the timing of the deposit corresponds to an increase in the summit crater diameter and depth, further supporting a possible small collapse. Small gas-and-steam emissions continued intermittently and were accompanied by weak tremors and occasional low-frequency earthquakes through May (figure 42). Minor amounts of sulfur dioxide were detected in the gas-and-steam emissions during 20 and 29 April, and 2, 16, and 28 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images (bands 12, 11, 8A) show occasional gas-and-steam emissions rising from Shishaldin on 26 February (top left) and 24 April 2020 (bottom left) and a weak hotspot (yellow-orange) persisting at the summit crater during April and early May 2020. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. A Worldview-1 panchromatic satellite image showing gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit of Shishaldin on 1 May 2020 (local time) (left). Aerial photo of the N flank of Shishaldin with minor gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit on 8 May (right). Photo courtesy of Matt Loewen (left) and Levi Musselwhite (right) via AVO.

Geologic Background. The beautifully symmetrical Shishaldin is the highest and one of the most active volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands. The glacier-covered volcano is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes along an E-W line in the eastern half of Unimak Island. The Aleuts named the volcano Sisquk, meaning "mountain which points the way when I am lost." A steam plume often rises from its small summit crater. Constructed atop an older glacially dissected volcano, it is largely basaltic in composition. Remnants of an older ancestral volcano are exposed on the W and NE sides at 1,500-1,800 m elevation. There are over two dozen pyroclastic cones on its NW flank, which is blanketed by massive aa lava flows. Frequent explosive activity, primarily consisting of Strombolian ash eruptions from the small summit crater, but sometimes producing lava flows, has been recorded since the 18th century.

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


Krakatau (Indonesia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

6.102°S, 105.423°E; summit elev. 155 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and crater incandescence during April 2020

Krakatau, located in the Sunda Strait between Indonesia’s Java and Sumatra Islands, experienced a major caldera collapse around 535 CE, forming a 7-km-wide caldera ringed by three islands. On 22 December 2018, a large explosion and flank collapse destroyed most of the 338-m-high island of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) and generated a deadly tsunami (BGVN 44:03). The near-sea level crater lake inside the remnant of Anak Krakatau was the site of numerous small steam and tephra explosions. A larger explosion in December 2019 produced the beginnings of a new cone above the surface of crater lake (BGVN 45:02). Recently, volcanism has been characterized by occasional Strombolian explosions, dense ash plumes, and crater incandescence. This report covers activity from February through May 2020 using information provided by the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, also known as Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Activity during February 2020 consisted of dominantly white gas-and-steam emissions rising 300 m above the crater, according to PVMBG. According to the Darwin VAAC, a ground observer reported an eruption on 7 and 8 February, but no volcanic ash was observed. During 10-11 February, a short-lived eruption was detected by seismograms which produced an ash plume up to 1 km above the crater drifting E. MAGMA Indonesia reported two eruptions on 18 March, both of which rose to 300 m above the crater. White gas-and-steam emissions were observed for the rest of the month and early April.

On 10 April PVMBG reported two eruptions, at 2158 and 2235, both of which produced dark ash plumes rising 2 km above the crater followed by Strombolian explosions ejecting incandescent material that landed on the crater floor (figures 108 and 109). The Darwin VAAC issued a notice at 0145 on 11 April reporting an ash plume to 14.3 km altitude drifting WNW, however this was noted with low confidence due to the possible mixing of clouds. During the same day, an intense thermal hotspot was detected in the HIMAWARI thermal satellite imagery and the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide page showed a strong SO2 plume at 11.3 km altitude drifting W (figure 110). The CCTV Lava93 webcam showed new lava flows and lava fountaining from the 10-11 April eruptions. This activity was evident in the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) graph of MODIS thermal anomaly data (figure 111).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. Webcam (Lava93) images of Krakatau on 10 April 2020 showing Strombolian explosions, strong incandescence, and ash plumes rising from the crater. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. Webcam image of incandescent Strombolian explosions at Krakatau on 10 April 2020. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. Strong sulfur dioxide emissions rising from Krakatau and drifting W were detected using the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite on 11 April 2020 (top row). Smaller volumes of SO2 were visible in Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI maps on 13 (bottom left) and 19 April (bottom right). Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. Thermal activity at Anak Krakatau from 29 June-May 2020 shown on a MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph. The power and frequency of the thermal anomalies sharply increased in mid-April. After the larger eruptive event in mid-April the thermal anomalies declined slightly in strength but continued to be detected intermittently through May. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Strombolian activity rising up to 500 m continued into 12 April and was accompanied by SO2 emissions that rose 3 km altitude, drifting NW according to a VAAC notice. PVMBG reported an eruption on 13 April at 2054 that resulted in incandescence as high as 25 m above the crater. Volcanic ash, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions, continued intermittently through 18 April, many of which were observed by the CCTV webcam. After 18 April only gas-and-steam plumes were reported, rising up to 100 m above the crater; Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed faint thermal anomalies in the crater (figure 112). SO2 emissions continued intermittently throughout April, though at lower volumes and altitudes compared to the 11th. MODIS satellite data seen in MIROVA showed intermittent thermal anomalies through May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 112. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing the cool crater lake on 20 March (top left) followed by minor heating of the crater during April and May 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The renowned volcano Krakatau (frequently misstated as Krakatoa) lies in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra. Collapse of the ancestral Krakatau edifice, perhaps in 416 or 535 CE, formed a 7-km-wide caldera. Remnants of this ancestral volcano are preserved in Verlaten and Lang Islands; subsequently Rakata, Danan, and Perbuwatan volcanoes were formed, coalescing to create the pre-1883 Krakatau Island. Caldera collapse during the catastrophic 1883 eruption destroyed Danan and Perbuwatan, and left only a remnant of Rakata. This eruption, the 2nd largest in Indonesia during historical time, caused more than 36,000 fatalities, most as a result of devastating tsunamis that swept the adjacent coastlines of Sumatra and Java. Pyroclastic surges traveled 40 km across the Sunda Strait and reached the Sumatra coast. After a quiescence of less than a half century, the post-collapse cone of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) was constructed within the 1883 caldera at a point between the former cones of Danan and Perbuwatan. Anak Krakatau has been the site of frequent eruptions since 1927.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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).


Taal (Philippines) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Taal

Philippines

14.002°N, 120.993°E; summit elev. 311 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption on 12 January with explosions through 22 January; steam plumes continuing into March

Taal volcano is in a caldera system located in southern Luzon island and is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. It has produced around 35 recorded eruptions since 3,580 BCE, ranging from VEI 1 to 6, with the majority of eruptions being a VEI 2. The caldera contains a lake with an island that also contains a lake within the Main Crater (figure 12). Prior to 2020 the most recent eruption was in 1977, on the south flank near Mt. Tambaro. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Philippines reports that over 450,000 people live within 40 km of the caldera (figure 13). This report covers activity during January through February 2020 including the 12 to 22 January eruption, and is based on reports by Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), satellite data, geophysical data, and media reports.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Annotated satellite images showing the Taal caldera, Volcano Island in the caldera lake, and features on the island including Main Crater. Imagery courtesy of Planet Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Map showing population totals within 14 and 17 km of Volcano Island at Taal. Courtesy of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The hazard status at Taal was raised to Alert Level 1 (abnormal, on a scale of 0-5) on 28 March 2019. From that date through to 1 December there were 4,857 earthquakes registered, with some felt nearby. Inflation was detected during 21-29 November and an increase in CO2 emission within the Main Crater was observed. Seismicity increased beginning at 1100 on 12 January. At 1300 there were phreatic (steam) explosions from several points inside Main Crater and the Alert Level was raised to 2 (increasing unrest). Booming sounds were heard in Talisay, Batangas, at 1400; by 1402 the plume had reached 1 km above the crater, after which the Alert Level was raised to 3 (magmatic unrest).

Phreatic eruption on 12 January 2020. A seismic swarm began at 1100 on 12 January 2020 followed by a phreatic eruption at 1300. The initial activity consisted of steaming from at least five vents in Main Crater and phreatic explosions that generated 100-m-high plumes. PHIVOLCS raised the Alert Level to 2. The Earth Observatory of Singapore reported that the International Data Center (IDC) for the Comprehensive test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in Vienna noted initial infrasound detections at 1450 that day.

Booming sounds were heard at 1400 in Talisay, Batangas (4 km NNE from the Main Crater), and at 1404 volcanic tremor and earthquakes felt locally were accompanied by an eruption plume that rose 1 km; ash fell to the SSW. The Alert Level was raised to 3 and the evacuation of high-risk barangays was recommended. Activity again intensified around 1730, prompting PHIVOLCS to raise the Alert Level to 4 and recommend a total evacuation of the island and high-risk areas within a 14-km radius. The eruption plume of steam, gas, and tephra significantly intensified, rising to 10-15 km altitude and producing frequent lightning (figures 14 and 15). Wet ash fell as far away as Quezon City (75 km N). According to news articles schools and government offices were ordered to close and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (56 km N) in Manila suspended flights. About 6,000 people had been evacuated. Residents described heavy ashfall, low visibility, and fallen trees.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Lightning produced during the eruption of Taal during 1500 on 12 January to 0500 on 13 January 2020 local time (0700-2100 UTC on 12 January). Courtesy of Chris Vagasky, Vaisala.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Lightning strokes produced during the first days of the Taal January 2020 eruption. Courtesy of Domcar C Lagto/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock via The Guardian.

In a statement issued at 0320 on 13 January, PHIVOLCS noted that ashfall had been reported across a broad area to the north in Tanauan (18 km NE), Batangas; Escala (11 km NW), Tagaytay; Sta. Rosa (32 km NNW), Laguna; Dasmariñas (32 km N), Bacoor (44 km N), and Silang (22 km N), Cavite; Malolos (93 km N), San Jose Del Monte (87 km N), and Meycauayan (80 km N), Bulacan; Antipolo (68 km NNE), Rizal; Muntinlupa (43 km N), Las Piñas (47 km N), Marikina (70 km NNE), Parañaque (51 km N), Pasig (62 km NNE), Quezon City, Mandaluyong (62 km N), San Juan (64 km N), Manila; Makati City (59 km N) and Taguig City (55 km N). Lapilli (2-64 mm in diameter) fell in Tanauan and Talisay; Tagaytay City (12 km N); Nuvali (25 km NNE) and Sta (figure 16). Rosa, Laguna. Felt earthquakes (Intensities II-V) continued to be recorded in local areas.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Ashfall from the Taal January 2020 eruption in Lemery (top) and in the Batangas province (bottom). Photos posted on 13 January, courtesy of Ezra Acayan/Getty Images, Aaron Favila/AP, and Ted Aljibe/AFP via Getty Images via The Guardian.

Magmatic eruption on 13 January 2020. A magmatic eruption began during 0249-0428 on 13 January, characterized by weak lava fountaining accompanied by thunder and flashes of lightning. Activity briefly waned then resumed with sporadic weak fountaining and explosions that generated 2-km-high, dark gray, steam-laden ash plumes (figure 17). New lateral vents opened on the N flank, producing 500-m-tall lava fountains. Heavy ashfall impacted areas to the SW, including in Cuenca (15 km SSW), Lemery (16 km SW), Talisay, and Taal (15 km SSW), Batangas (figure 18).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Ash plumes seen from various points around Taal in the initial days of the January 2020 eruption, posted on 13 January. Courtesy of Eloisa Lopez/Reuters, Kester Ragaza/Pacific Press/Shutterstock, Ted Aljibe/AFP via Getty Images, via The Guardian.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Map indicating areas impacted by ashfall from the 12 January eruption through to 0800 on the 13th. Small yellow circles (to the N) are ashfall report locations; blue circles (at the island and to the S) are heavy ashfall; large green circles are lapilli (particles measuring 2-64 mm in diameter). Modified from a map courtesy of Lauriane Chardot, Earth Observatory of Singapore; data taken from PHIVOLCS.

News articles noted that more than 300 domestic and 230 international flights were cancelled as the Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport was closed during 12-13 January. Some roads from Talisay to Lemery and Agoncillo were impassible and electricity and water services were intermittent. Ashfall in several provinces caused power outages. Authorities continued to evacuate high-risk areas, and by 13 January more than 24,500 people had moved to 75 shelters out of a total number of 460,000 people within 14 km.

A PHIVOLCS report for 0800 on the 13th through 0800 on 14 January noted that lava fountaining had continued, with steam-rich ash plumes reaching around 2 km above the volcano and dispersing ash SE and W of Main Crater. Volcanic lighting continued at the base of the plumes. Fissures on the N flank produced 500-m-tall lava fountains. Heavy ashfall continued in the Lemery, Talisay, Taal, and Cuenca, Batangas Municipalities. By 1300 on the 13th lava fountaining generated 800-m-tall, dark gray, steam-laden ash plumes that drifted SW. Sulfur dioxide emissions averaged 5,299 metric tons/day (t/d) on 13 January and dispersed NNE (figure 19).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Compilation of sulfur dioxide plumes from TROPOMI overlaid in Google Earth for 13 January from 0313-1641 UT. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page and Google Earth.

Explosions and ash emission through 22 January 2020. At 0800 on 15 January PHIVOLCS stated that activity was generally weaker; dark gray, steam-laden ash plumes rose about 1 km and drifted SW. Satellite images showed that the Main Crater lake was gone and new craters had formed inside Main Crater and on the N side of Volcano Island.

PHIVOLCS reported that activity during 15-16 January was characterized by dark gray, steam-laden plumes that rose as high as 1 km above the vents in Main Crater and drifted S and SW. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 4,186 t/d on 15 January. Eruptive events at 0617 and 0621 on 16 January generated short-lived, dark gray ash plumes that rose 500 and 800 m, respectively, and drifted SW. Weak steam plumes rose 800 m and drifted SW during 1100-1700, and nine weak explosions were recorded by the seismic network.

Steady steam emissions were visible during 17-21 January. Infrequent weak explosions generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1 km and drifted SW. Sulfur dioxide emissions fluctuated and were as high as 4,353 t/d on 20 January and as low as 344 t/d on 21 January. PHIVOLCS reported that white steam-laden plumes rose as high as 800 m above main vent during 22-28 January and drifted SW and NE; ash emissions ceased around 0500 on 22 January. Remobilized ash drifted SW on 22 January due to strong low winds, affecting the towns of Lemery (16 km SW) and Agoncillo, and rose as high as 5.8 km altitude as reported by pilots. Sulfur dioxide emissions were low at 140 t/d.

Steam plumes through mid-April 2020. The Alert Level was lowered to 3 on 26 January and PHIVOLCS recommended no entry onto Volcano Island and Taal Lake, nor into towns on the western side of the island within a 7-km radius. PHIVOLCS reported that whitish steam plumes rose as high as 800 m during 29 January-4 February and drifted SW (figure 20). The observed steam plumes rose as high as 300 m during 5-11 February and drifted SW.

Sulfur dioxide emissions averaged around 250 t/d during 22-26 January; emissions were 87 t/d on 27 January and below detectable limits the next day. During 29 January-4 February sulfur dioxide emissions ranged to a high of 231 t/d (on 3 February). The following week sulfur dioxide emissions ranged from values below detectable limits to a high of 116 t/d (on 8 February).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Taal Volcano Island producing gas-and-steam plumes on 15-16 January 2020. Courtesy of James Reynolds, Earth Uncut.

On 14 February PHIVOLCS lowered the Alert Level to 2, noting a decline in the number of volcanic earthquakes, stabilizing ground deformation of the caldera and Volcano Island, and diffuse steam-and-gas emission that continued to rise no higher than 300 m above the main vent during the past three weeks. During 14-18 February sulfur dioxide emissions ranged from values below detectable limits to a high of 58 tonnes per day (on 16 February). Sulfur dioxide emissions were below detectable limits during 19-20 February. During 26 February-2 March steam plumes rose 50-300 m above the vent and drifted SW and NE. PHIVOLCS reported that during 4-10 March weak steam plumes rose 50-100 m and drifted SW and NE; moderate steam plumes rose 300-500 m and drifted SW during 8-9 March. During 11-17 March weak steam plumes again rose only 50-100 m and drifted SW and NE.

PHIVOLCS lowered the Alert Level to 1 on 19 March and recommended no entry onto Volcano Island, the area defined as the Permanent Danger Zone. During 8-9 April steam plumes rose 100-300 m and drifted SW. As of 1-2 May 2020 only weak steaming and fumarolic activity from fissure vents along the Daang Kastila trail was observed.

Evacuations. According to the Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) there were a total of 53,832 people dispersed to 244 evacuation centers by 1800 on 15 January. By 21 January there were 148,987 people in 493 evacuation. The number of residents in evacuation centers dropped over the next week to 125,178 people in 497 locations on 28 January. However, many residents remained displaced as of 3 February, with DROMIC reporting 23,915 people in 152 evacuation centers, but an additional 224,188 people staying at other locations.

By 10 February there were 17,088 people in 110 evacuation centers, and an additional 211,729 staying at other locations. According to the DROMIC there were a total of 5,321 people in 21 evacuation centers, and an additional 195,987 people were staying at other locations as of 19 February.

The number of displaced residents continued to drop, and by 3 March there were 4,314 people in 12 evacuation centers, and an additional 132,931 people at other locations. As of 11 March there were still 4,131 people in 11 evacuation centers, but only 17,563 staying at other locations.

Deformation and ground cracks. New ground cracks were observed on 13 January in Sinisian (18 km SW), Mahabang Dahilig (14 km SW), Dayapan (15 km SW), Palanas (17 km SW), Sangalang (17 km SW), and Poblacion (19 km SW) Lemery; Pansipit (11 km SW), Agoncillo; Poblacion 1, Poblacion 2, Poblacion 3, Poblacion 5 (all around 17 km SW), Talisay, and Poblacion (11 km SW), San Nicolas (figure 21). A fissure opened across the road connecting Agoncillo to Laurel, Batangas. New ground cracking was reported the next day in Sambal Ibaba (17 km SW), and portions of the Pansipit River (SW) had dried up.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Video screenshots showing ground cracks that formed during the Taal unrest and captured on 15 and 16 January 2020. Courtesy of James Reynolds, Earth Uncut.

Dropping water levels of Taal Lake were first observed in some areas on 16 January but reported to be lake-wide the next day. The known ground cracks in the barangays of Lemery, Agoncillo, Talisay, and San Nicolas in Batangas Province widened a few centimeters by 17 January, and a new steaming fissure was identified on the N flank of the island.

GPS data had recorded a sudden widening of the caldera by ~1 m, uplift of the NW sector by ~20 cm, and subsidence of the SW part of Volcano Island by ~1 m just after the main eruption phase. The rate of deformation was smaller during 15-22 January, and generally corroborated by field observations; Taal Lake had receded about 30 cm by 25 January but about 2.5 m of the change (due to uplift) was observed around the SW portion of the lake, near the Pansipit River Valley where ground cracking had been reported.

Weak steaming (plumes 10-20 m high) from ground cracks was visible during 5-11 February along the Daang Kastila trail which connects the N part of Volcano Island to the N part of the main crater. PHIVOLCS reported that during 19-24 February steam plumes rose 50-100 m above the vent and drifted SW. Weak steaming (plumes up to 20 m high) from ground cracks was visible during 8-14 April along the Daang Kastila trail which connects the N part of Volcano Island to the N part of the main crater.

Seismicity. Between 1300 on 12 January and 0800 on 21 January the Philippine Seismic Network (PSN) had recorded a total of 718 volcanic earthquakes; 176 of those had magnitudes ranging from 1.2-4.1 and were felt with Intensities of I-V. During 20-21 January there were five volcanic earthquakes with magnitudes of 1.6-2.5; the Taal Volcano network (which can detect smaller events not detectable by the PSN) recorded 448 volcanic earthquakes, including 17 low-frequency events. PHIVOLCS stated that by 21 January hybrid earthquakes had ceased and both the number and magnitude of low-frequency events had diminished.

Geologic Background. Taal is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines and has produced some of its most powerful historical eruptions. Though not topographically prominent, its prehistorical eruptions have greatly changed the landscape of SW Luzon. The 15 x 20 km Talisay (Taal) caldera is largely filled by Lake Taal, whose 267 km2 surface lies only 3 m above sea level. The maximum depth of the lake is 160 m, and several eruptive centers lie submerged beneath the lake. The 5-km-wide Volcano Island in north-central Lake Taal is the location of all historical eruptions. The island is composed of coalescing small stratovolcanoes, tuff rings, and scoria cones that have grown about 25% in area during historical time. Powerful pyroclastic flows and surges from historical eruptions have caused many fatalities.

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/); Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) (URL: https://dromic.dswd.gov.ph/); United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Philippines (URL: https://www.unocha.org/philippines); James Reynolds, Earth Uncut TV (Twitter: @EarthUncutTV, URL: https://www.earthuncut.tv/, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TyphoonHunter); Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc., Louisville, Colorado, USA (URL: https://www.vaisala.com/en?type=1, Twitter: @COweatherman, URL: https://twitter.com/COweatherman); Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, 50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore (URL: https://www.earthobservatory.sg/); 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/); Relief Web, Flash Update No. 1 - Philippines: Taal Volcano eruption (As of 13 January 2020, 2 p.m. local time) (URL: https://reliefweb.int/report/philippines/flash-update-no-1-philippines-taal-volcano-eruption-13-january-2020-2-pm-local); Bloomberg, Philippines Braces for Hazardous Volcano Eruption (URL: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-12/philippines-raises-alert-level-in-taal-as-volcano-spews-ash); National Public Radio (NPR), Volcanic Eruption In Philippines Causes Thousands To Flee (URL: npr.org/2020/01/13/795815351/volcanic-eruption-in-philippines-causes-thousands-to-flee); Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/); Agence France-Presse (URL: http://www.afp.com/); Pacific Press (URL: http://www.pacificpress.com/); Shutterstock (URL: https://www.shutterstock.com/); Getty Images (URL: http://www.gettyimages.com/); Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/).


Unnamed (Tonga) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Unnamed

Tonga

18.325°S, 174.365°W; summit elev. -40 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Additional details and pumice raft drift maps from the August 2019 submarine eruption

In the northern Tonga region, approximately 80 km NW of Vava’u, large areas of floating pumice, termed rafts, were observed starting as early as 7 August 2019. The area of these andesitic pumice rafts was initially 195 km2 with the layers measuring 15-30 cm thick and were produced 200 m below sea level (Jutzeler et al. 2020). The previous report (BGVN 44:11) described the morphology of the clasts and the rafts, and their general westward path from 9 August to 9 October 2019, with the first sighting occurring on 9 August NW of Vava’u in Tonga. This report updates details regarding the submarine pumice raft eruption in early August 2019 using new observations and data from Brandl et al. (2019) and Jutzeler et al. (2020).

The NoToVE-2004 (Northern Tonga Vents Expedition) research cruise on the RV Southern Surveyor (SS11/2004) from the Australian CSIRO Marine National Facility traveled to the northern Tonga Arc and discovered several submarine basalt-to-rhyolite volcanic centers (Arculus, 2004). One of these volcanic centers 50 km NW of Vava’u was the unnamed seamount (volcano number 243091) that had erupted in 2001 and again in 2019, unofficially designated “Volcano F” for reference purposes by Arculus (2004) and also used by Brandl et al. (2019). It is a volcanic complex that rises more than 1 km from the seafloor with a central 6 x 8.7 km caldera and a volcanic apron measuring over 50 km in diameter (figures 19 and 20). Arculus (2004) described some of the dredged material as “fresh, black, plagioclase-bearing lava with well-formed, glassy crusts up to 2cm thick” from cones by the eastern wall of the caldera; a number of apparent flows, lava or debris, were observed draping over the northern wall of the caldera.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Visualization of the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano (marked “Volcano F”) using bathymetric data to show the site of the 6-8 August 2020 eruption and the rest of the cone complex. Courtesy of Philipp Brandl via GEOMAR.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Map of the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano using satellite imagery, bathymetric data, with shading from the NW. The yellow circle indicates the location of the August 2019 activity. Young volcanic cones are marked “C” and those with pit craters at the top are marked with “P.” Courtesy of Brandl et al. (2019).

The International Seismological Centre (ISC) Preliminary Bulletin listed a particularly strong (5.7 Mw) earthquake at 2201 local time on 5 August, 15 km SSW of the volcano at a depth of 10 km (Brandl et al. 2019). This event was followed by six slightly lower magnitude earthquakes over the next two days.

Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed two concentric rings originating from a point source (18.307°S 174.395°W) on 6 August (figure 21), which could be interpreted as small weak submarine plumes or possibly a series of small volcanic cones, according to Brandl et al. (2019). The larger ring is about 1.2 km in diameter and the smaller one measures 250 m. By 8 August volcanic activity had decreased, but the pumice rafts that were produced remained visible through at least early October (BGVN 44:11). Brandl et al. (2019) states that, due to the lack of continued observed activity rising from this location, the eruption was likely a 2-day-long event during 6-8 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Sentinel-2 satellite image of possible gas/vapor emissions (streaks) on 6 August 2019 drifting NW, which is the interpreted site for the unnamed Tongan seamount. The larger ring is about 1.2 km in diameter and the smaller one measures 250 m. Image using False Color (urban) rendering (bands 12, 11, 4); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The pumice was first observed on 9 August occurred up to 56 km from the point of origin, according to Jutzeler et al. (2020). By calculating the velocity (14 km/day) of the raft using three satellites, Jutzeler et al. (2020) determined the pumice was erupted immediately after the satellite image of the submarine plumes on 6 August (UTC time). Minor activity at the vent may have continued on 8 and 11 August (UTC time) with pale blue-green water discoloration (figure 22) and a small (less than 1 km2) diffuse pumice raft 2-5 km from the vent.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Sentinel-2 satellite image of the last visible activity occurring W of the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano on 8 August 2019, represented by slightly discolored blue-green water. Image using Natural Color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) and enhanced with color correction; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Continuous observations using various satellite data and observations aboard the catamaran ROAM tracked the movement and extent of the pumice raft that was produced during the submarine eruption in early August (figure 23). The first visible pumice raft was observed on 8 August 2019, covering more than 136.7 km2 between the volcanic islands of Fonualei and Late and drifting W for 60 km until 9 August (Brandl et al. 2019; Jutzeler 2020). The next day, the raft increased to 167.2-195 km2 while drifting SW for 74 km until 14 August. Over the next three days (10-12 August) the size of the raft briefly decreased in size to less than 100 km2 before increasing again to 157.4 km2 on 14 August; at least nine individual rafts were mapped and identified on satellite imagery (Brandl et al. 2019). On 15 August sailing vessels observed a large pumice raft about 75 km W of Late Island (see details in BGVN 44:11), which was the same one as seen in satellite imagery on 8 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Map of the extent of discolored water and the pumice raft from the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano between 8 and 14 August 2019 using imagery from NASA’s MODIS, ESA’s Sentinel-2 satellite, and observations from aboard the catamaran ROAM (BGVN 44:11). Back-tracing the path of the pumice raft points to a source location at the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano. Courtesy of Brandl et al. (2019).

By 17 August high-resolution satellite images showed an area of large and small rafts measuring 222 km2 and were found within a field of smaller rafts for a total extent of 1,350 km2, which drifted 73 km NNW through 22 August before moving counterclockwise for three days (figure f; Jutzeler et al., 2020). Small pumice ribbons encountered the Oneata Lagoon on 30 August, the first island that the raft came into contact (Jutzeler et al. 2020). By 2 September, the main raft intersected with Lakeba Island (460 km from the source) (figure 24), breaking into smaller ribbons that started to drift W on 8 September. On 19 September the small rafts (less than 100 m x less than 2 km) entered the strait between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, the two main islands of Fiji, while most of the others were stranded 60 km W in the Yasawa Islands for more than two months (Jutzeler et al., 2020).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Time-series map of the raft dispersal from the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano using multiple satellite images. A) Map showing the first days of the raft dispersal starting on 7 August 2019 and drifting SW from the vent (marked with a red triangle). Precursory seismicity that began on 5 August is marked with a white star. By 15-17 August the raft was entrained in an ocean loop or eddy. The dashed lines represent the path of the sailing vessels. B) Map of the raft dispersal using high-resolution Sentinel-2 and -3 imagery. Two dispersal trails (red and blue dashed lines) show the daily dispersal of two parts of the raft that were separated on 17 August 2019. Courtesy of Jutzeler et al. (2020).

References: Arculus, R J, SS2004/11 shipboard scientists, 2004. SS11/2004 Voyage Summary: NoToVE-2004 (Northern Tonga Vents Expedition): submarine hydrothermal plume activity and petrology of the northern Tofua Arc, Tonga. https://www.cmar.csiro.au/data/reporting/get file.cfm?eovpub id=901.

Brandl P A, Schmid F, Augustin N, Grevemeyer I, Arculus R J, Devey C W, Petersen S, Stewart M , Kopp K, Hannington M D, 2019. The 6-8 Aug 2019 eruption of ‘Volcano F’ in the Tofua Arc, Tonga. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2019.106695

Jutzeler M, Marsh R, van Sebille E, Mittal T, Carey R, Fauria K, Manga M, McPhie J, 2020. Ongoing Dispersal of the 7 August 2019 Pumice Raft From the Tonga Arc in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean. AGU Geophysical Research Letters: https://doi.orh/10.1029/2019GL086768.

Geologic Background. A submarine volcano along the Tofua volcanic arc was first observed in September 2001. The newly discovered volcano lies NW of the island of Vava'u about 35 km S of Fonualei and 60 km NE of Late volcano. The site of the eruption is along a NNE-SSW-trending submarine plateau with an approximate bathymetric depth of 300 m. T-phase waves were recorded on 27-28 September 2001, and on the 27th local fishermen observed an ash-rich eruption column that rose above the sea surface. No eruptive activity was reported after the 28th, but water discoloration was documented during the following month. In early November rafts and strandings of dacitic pumice were reported along the coast of Kadavu and Viti Levu in the Fiji Islands. The depth of the summit of the submarine cone following the eruption determined to be 40 m during a 2007 survey; the crater of the 2001 eruption was breached to the E.

Information Contacts: Jan Steffen, Communication and Media, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany; Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Kavachi

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Discolored water plumes seen using satellite imagery in 2018 and 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 26, Number 06 (June 2001)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Etna (Italy)

9 April-13 May activity punctuated by Strombolian eruption on 9 May

Hood (United States)

Late-1999 mass wasting; January 2001 earthquake swarm

Lamington (Papua New Guinea)

Big eruption's 50th anniversary passed amid continued slumber

Lopevi (Vanuatu)

2000 activity documented in visit reports and sketch map

Makushin (United States)

Slight increase in small earthquakes during July 2000-June 2001

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

False report of 25 June lava flows; low-level ash emissions continue

Mayon (Philippines)

Eruption escalates; pyroclastic flow on 24 June

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Intermittent ash eruptions continue during January-May

Sheveluch (Russia)

Eruptions in late June sent plumes to ~8 km altitude

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea)

New vent opens during April-May eruption

Vailulu'u (United States)

Description of submarine volcano at the end of the Samoan chain



Etna (Italy) — June 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


9 April-13 May activity punctuated by Strombolian eruption on 9 May

As reported by Sistema Poseidon, activity at Etna during 9 April-13 May 2001 was chiefly characterized by typical episodic Strombolian blasts, ash emissions, and modest lava flows. The larger lava flows that emerged from new vents and grew during June and July will be discussed in later reports.

Activity during mid- to late-April 2001. During this time interval ash escaped at the Bocca Nuova (BN) vent. The weather thwarted direct observations of summit activity; however, later information was obtained through outings to intermediate elevations and from La Montagnola surveillance camera.

Lava continued to flow from a vent low on the NNE flank of the Southeast Crater (SEC) cone, as it has since approximately 20 January 2001. This lava flowed down the SEC's NE flank. During the nights of 18 and 21 April observers noted that the SEC produced flashing, denoting effusive activity. The SEC also continued to give off gray-colored gas from both the fumarole on the crater's edge and from the pit-crater in the crater's interior. Later in April the SEC's N flank vent continued to emit lava variably, but generally weakly, and beginning 26 April, the flow became visible principally from the volcano's NE quadrant. During 26-28 April degassing increased at SEC, yielding abundant clouds of white steam that diminished on 29 April.

Observations on 27 April revealed two hornitos (at 3,085 m, ~3 m high, and aligned N-S). They produced steady emissions, sounds of pressurized gas, and discontinuous expulsion of vitreous and blistering lava fragments which fell within a few meters of the vents. The more northerly hornito produced a lava flow within a confined channel. At about 3,000 m elevation, this lava river divided into two branches before rejoining just above 2,900 m. In late April, the flow rate was estimated at 2-3 m3/s.

A party viewing the base of BN's crater saw two prominent, steep-sided fissures that were ~100 m in length and at least 30-50 m deep. At a shelf inside the N fissure a small pyroclastic cone gave off dense brown and reddish clouds visible from the slopes of the volcano. The fissure in the SW quadrant also degassed intensely, and both fissures gave off almost continuous noise associated with magma inferred to reside at depth. A field of semi-circular fissures was observed nearby running S and W from this depression. Observers also noted fumaroles emitting bluish gas. Until at least early May, Voragine and Northeast craters continued weak degassing.

When seen on 3 May SEC's N hornitos had grown by almost 1.5 m compared with the preceding week. The lava canal had also widened to about 2 m, corresponding to a significantly increased flow rate, 5-10 m3/s. Two small lava flows developed on the E and W sides of the hornitos.

Strombolian eruptions starting on 7 May. Strombolian activity began again at the SEC late on the morning of 7 May. When seen on 9 May these eruptions were almost continuous, as frequent as about 45-50 explosions per minute, including some strong ones that sent lava fragments 20-30 m above the crater. Lava fragments as big as a meter in diameter were thrown up to 50 m above the crater rim.

Beginning at 1400, along with a new increase in tremor, the Strombolian activity evolved into a more violent phase at 1520-1540. Ballistics landed at elevations as low as ~3,000 m, reaching the spatter rampart at the S base of the cone. At about 1630 modest lava fountaining was observed from the fracture on the N flank of the SEC. Jets of magma reached ~100 m high. The fragments emitted from the lava fountain fell mostly in the SW sector of the volcano.

At the same time, the Montagnola camera began to register frequent ash emissions from the cone's summit; Strombolian activity and ash emissions continued until midnight in a discontinuous manner and with variable intensity. Observations on 10 May showed a substantial decrease in the activity at the SEC summit. Weak explosive activity was observed from the N fracture.

The lava emission from the fracture cutting the N flank of SEC continued with more or less intense phases. On 9 May, the cessation of lava fountaining was followed by a repeat of effusive activity, still within the same area of emission, which gave rise to finger-like flows ~1.5-2 km long. On 10 and 13 May, short lengths of the active branches of the flows were observed. The outburst led to a considerable plume that impacted local air traffic.

Bocca Nuova continued to issue brown-reddish ash emissions, presumably ongoing ash-bearing eruptions from one of the fissures described above. On 9 May a new fumarolic field was seen in the S part of the Bocca Nuova, extending from the rim to half way down the cone.

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).


Hood (United States) — June 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Hood

United States

45.374°N, 121.695°W; summit elev. 3426 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Late-1999 mass wasting; January 2001 earthquake swarm

After the earthquake swarms in January 1999 (BGVN 24:01), two reports of anomalous activity at Hood were received; in September and October of 2000 landslides and debris flows traveled down the flanks of the volcano, and in January 2001 small earthquake swarms occurred.

The Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO) reported that intense rainfall during 30 September to 1 October 2000 triggered a series of landslides and debris flows in several of Hood's drainages. The largest flows occurred in White River Valley on the S flank and Newton Creek Valley on the E flank. Both streams were diverted from their channels and severely damaged two sections of Oregon Highway 35; one section is an important link between I-84 and US 26, and the other is a recreational highway that provides access to Mount Hood Meadows Ski Area. The landslides and debris flows caused more than $1 million in damage. The Oregon Department of Transportation reopened the highway on 27 October.

According to CVO, a small earthquake swarm occurred at Hood during 10-19 January 2001. During this period a swarm of 13 earthquakes, with magnitudes ranging from 0.2-2.0, occurred in an area ~4-8 km SSE of the summit at a depth of 4-7 km. This area is frequently a source of earthquake swarms, but this swarm consisted of fewer and smaller events than is typical. The last similar type of swarm occurred in May 2000. On average, 1-2 swarms of small earthquakes occur at Hood each year.

Geologic Background. Mount Hood, Oregon's highest peak, forms a prominent backdrop to the state's largest city, Portland. The eroded summit area consists of several andesitic or dacitic lava domes. Major Pleistocene edifice collapse produced a debris avalanche and lahar that traveled north down the Hood River valley and crossed the Columbia River. The glacially eroded volcano has had at least three major eruptive periods during the past 15,000 years. The last two occurred within the past 1800 years from the central vent high on the SW flank and produced deposits that were distributed primarily to the south and west along the Sandy and Zigzag rivers. The last major eruptive period took place beginning in 1781, when growth of the Crater Rock lava dome was accompanied by pyroclastic flows and lahars down the White and Sandy rivers. The Sandy River lahar deposits extended to the west as far as the Columbia River and were observed by members of the 1804-1805 Lewis and Clark expedition shortly after their emplacement. Minor 19th-century eruptions were witnessed from Portland.

Information Contacts: Cascades Volcano Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey, 5400 MacArthur Blvd., Vancouver, WA 98661 USA (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/cvo/).


Lamington (Papua New Guinea) — June 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Lamington

Papua New Guinea

8.95°S, 148.15°E; summit elev. 1680 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Big eruption's 50th anniversary passed amid continued slumber

The instrumented, yet now-quiet Mount Lamington resides on the SE peninsula of the main island of Papua New Guinea. It lies roughly across that peninsula from the capital city of Port Moresby and 40 km inland from the Solomon Sea. Lamington's summit contains ragged peaks and a U-shaped crater open to the N. The volcano is ~21 km SSW of Popondetta Town, the provincial center for Oro Province. Lamington does not erupt frequently like Manam and Ulawun, but had a single historical eruption of such magnitude that, if repeated, could be catastrophic for the more than 30,000 people who live nearby.

About fifty years ago, on 21 January 1951, a major explosive eruption at Lamington killed ~3,000 people, the most of all historical volcanic eruptions in Papua New Guinea. Before the 1951 eruption, Lamington was not known to be a volcano. The group of mountains where the volcano stands was covered in thick jungle and there were no stories to suggest that eruptions had occurred before. As documented in a classic study by Taylor (1958), the paroxysmal eruption was not a sudden happening, but had begun several days earlier when nearby residents started to see changes in the summit area. The pyroclastic flow from the eruption devastated an area of ~200 km2, forming a radial pattern around the volcano that extended slightly farther on the N side. Two photos illustrating aspects of the eruption appear in figures 1 and 2. One of the hallmarks of Taylor's study was his well-developed timelines that clearly stated the sequence of events.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. In an area devastated by a Lamington nuée ardente (pyroclastic flow) on 21 January 1951; this motor vehicle was left suspended in two truncated trees. The person shown for scale is staff member Leslie ToPue, who worked at RVO until 1992. The spot shown lies on the N flank, 9-10 km from the summit dome (in the N end of the settlement of Higaturu), an area directly in front of the summit crater's prominent opening. This photo is cropped from one included in Taylor (1958, 1983) as his figure 69 (page 56). Courtesy of RVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Photograph of Lamington taken on 8 February 1951 looking northward into the summit crater's prominent opening and onto the adjacent area immediately downslope of the crater, called Avalanche Valley. The crater contains the steaming dome that grew after the paroxysmal eruption. The mid- to fore-ground shows the ash-mantled NNE slopes (the subject of most of this part of the photo) and mudflow deposits (dark zones, sweeping across limited areas in the right center). This photo came from Taylor (1958, 1983 figure 118 on page 84).

Hastily arranged monitoring commenced immediately after the 1951 eruption but only operated during the active phase of the eruption. A more permanent monitoring program began in 1970 with the installation of a seismograph. In October 1996, a modern seismic station and an electronic tiltmeter were installed on Lamington.

Currently RVO has permanent, smaller observatories at Lamington, as well as at Ulawun, Langila, Karkar, Manam, and Esa'ala. Each is equipped with a recording seismograph. In addition, the stations at Lamington, Ulawun, Karkar, and Manam contain real-time high-frequency data-transmission systems that allow RVO volcanologists to remotely monitor those sites.

Since the 1951 eruption, seismic activity has been absent to rare. Seismic records on 21 December 2000 and 17 February 2001 showed several hours of very high seismicity, but it was difficult to ascertain the cause.

Reference. Taylor, G.A.M., 1958 (2nd ed., 1983), The 1951 eruption of Mount Lamington, Papua: BMR (Australia) Bulletin 38, Australian Government publishing service, Canberra (ISBN 0 644 01969 7; ISSN 0084-7089).

Geologic Background. Lamington is an andesitic stratovolcano with a 1.3-km-wide breached summit crater containing a lava dome. Prior to its renowned devastating eruption in 1951, the forested peak had not been recognized as a volcano. Mount Lamington rises above the coastal plain north of the Owen Stanley Range. A summit complex of lava domes and crater remnants tops a low-angle base of volcaniclastic deposits dissected by radial valleys. A prominent broad "avalanche valley" extends northward from the breached crater. Ash layers from two early Holocene eruptions have been identified. After a long quiescent period, the volcano suddenly became active in 1951, producing a powerful explosive eruption during which devastating pyroclastic flows and surges swept all sides of the volcano, killing nearly 3000 people. The eruption concluded with growth of a 560-m-high lava dome in the summit crater.

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


Lopevi (Vanuatu) — June 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Lopevi

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


2000 activity documented in visit reports and sketch map

From 1963 to 1982 ash emissions, lava flows, lava fountains, and Strombolian explosions were intermittent. Eruptive activity resumed in July 1998. In December 1998, lava extruded but remained confined to the W-flank craters (BGVN 24:07). Sporadic eruptive activity again took place in March and October 1999. Ash clouds were noted through the end of April 2000 (BGVN 25:04).

This report focuses on field observations of activity during 2000. In mid-February 2000 a pyroclastic flow from the NW-flank crater traveled towards the W and was followed by a smaller debris avalanche that only extended ~250 m in length (BGVN 24:07).

July 2000 visit. A group visited Lopevi on 18-21 July 2000. The following was derived from reports provided by Sandrine Wallez, Douglas Charley, Roberto Carniel, Marco Fulle, and student Esline Garaebiti. Wallez and Charley's sketch map summarizes year 2000 activity (figure 11).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. A sketch map of Lopevi emphasizing deposits during 1939-2000. Produced from an original map by A-J. Warden including observations by A-J. Warden and R. Priam (Archive Service de Mines); revised and updated by S. Wallez and D. Charley; drafted by A. Mabonlala. Courtesy of IRD.

The July visitors observed significant deposits on the WSW flank (heavy slash pattern, figure 6) from the February 2000 activity. These visitors found few clear remnants of the pyroclastic-flow deposit. Instead the entire swath was overlain by a debris avalanche and possibly other mass-wasting deposits (figure 6).

Two lava flows came down the W-flank zone impacted by the pyroclastic flow and the debris avalanche. The area lies constrained by a near-vertical topographic discontinuity that reaches 800 m elevation.

The longer lava flow (N2) vented at the SE boundary of a 1963 crater. Overlying one of these lavas, the group found a field overlain by large bombs. The flow accumulated over the intracrater flow of December 1998, and moved in a westerly direction. Another smaller lava flow erupted nearer to the sea on the NW flank. Judging from the map, it reached the sea along a front ~1 km wide.

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

Information Contacts: Sandrine Wallez and Douglas Charley, Département de la Géologie, des Mines et des Resources en eau (IRD), Vanuatu; Roberto Carniel, Dipartmento di Georisorse e Territorio, Università di Udine, Via Cotonificio 114, 33100 Udine, Italy; Marco Fulle, Osservatorio Astronomico, Vai Tiepolo 11, 34131 Trieste, Italy.


Makushin (United States) — June 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Makushin

United States

53.891°N, 166.923°W; summit elev. 1800 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Slight increase in small earthquakes during July 2000-June 2001

The last eruption of Makushin occurred on 30 January 1995 and produced an ash cloud that rose to ~2.5 km altitude (BGVN 20:01). The Alaska Volcano Observatory reported that during July 2000 to June 2001 they detected a slight increase in the number of small earthquakes beneath Makushin. The volcano is located 25 km W of the city of Unalaska/Dutch Harbor in the eastern Aleutian Islands. Hypocenters of the earthquakes generally ranged between 0 and 8 km depth. The events had magnitudes of 0-1.5, so they were too small to be felt by humans. The earthquakes were not thought to be immediate precursors to eruptive activity because similar fluctuations in seismic activity have been observed at a number of Aleutian volcanoes and were not followed by eruptions. The level of concern color code remained at Green.

Geologic Background. The ice-covered Makushin volcano on northern Unalaska Island west of the town of Dutch Harbor is capped by a 2.5-km-wide caldera. Its broad, dome-like structure contrasts with the steep-sided profiles of most other Aleutian stratovolcanoes. Much of the volcano was formed during the Pleistocene, but the caldera (which formed about 8,000 years ago), Sugarloaf cone on the ENE flank, and a cluster of about a dozen explosion pits and cinder cones at Point Kadin on the WNW flank, are of Holocene age. A broad band of NE-SW-trending satellitic vents cuts across the volcano. The composite Pakushin cone, with multiple summit craters, lies 8 km to the SW. Frequent explosive eruptions have occurred during the past 4,000 years, sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows and surges. Geothermal areas are found in the summit caldera and on the SE and E flanks. Small-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded at Makushin since 1786.

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


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — June 2001 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)


False report of 25 June lava flows; low-level ash emissions continue

Activity remained low following the 4 June 2000 eruption of Southern Crater. A pilot's report of multiple lava flows traveling from Manam on 25 June along with an ash cloud to 4.5 km was determined to be false. The Rabaul Volcano Observatory reported that the volcano had been quiet for many months and that the only observed activity occurred on 14 June when fine ash was produced from a small emission, and on 26 June when weak roaring/rumbling noises were heard. After 26 June only occasional low-level ash emissions took place. There have been no instrumental recordings since 16 January 2001.

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

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


Mayon (Philippines) — June 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption escalates; pyroclastic flow on 24 June

The following report covers activity during 28 May through most of June 2001, and discusses the high-energy event that began 24 June. This report was compiled from those posted on the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) website. Until the evening of 23 June the five-step PHIVOLCS hazard status system for Mayon stood at Alert Level 3, a status that implies a rapid rate of magma supply and that an explosive eruption may occur within weeks. This projection proved true as both the monitored parameters and the vigor or eruptive events rose significantly in late June. A pyroclastic flow on 24 June stimulated the rise to Alert Level 5, and this status remained for all or most of the month. Tables 3 and 5 summarize SO2 flux and seismic data; table 4 describes the qualitative scale of crater glow intensity.

Table 3. SO2 fluxes for Mayon during 28 May through June 2001; questionable values that were ambiguously referred to in the daily report appear in parentheses. Mayon's stated baseline values have been ~ 500 metric tons per day (tons/day). Values were measured by COSPEC. Taken from reports posted on the PHIVOLCS website.

Date SO2 flux (metric tons/day)
30 May 2001 2,406
31 May 2001 2,924
01 Jun 2001 (2,900)
08 Jun 2001 4,312
10 Jun 2001 4,115
11 Jun 2001 2,358
13 Jun 2001 1,956
14 Jun 2001 936
18 Jun 2001 4,664
19 Jun 2001 5,978
20 Jun 2001 5,652
21 Jun 2001 9,448
25 Jun 2001 (4,640)
26 Jun 2001 3,620
27 Jun 2001 4,002
29 Jun 2001 1,674

Table 4. Qualitative scale of the intensity of crater glow used at Mayon. Through mid-June, crater glow fell into one of the first three categories; heightened activity led to stronger glow and Intensity IV was introduced; it was first reported for the evening of 23 June. Crater glow was often mentioned in daily reports, sometimes with descriptions of the incandescent part(s) of the dome or lava flows. Courtesy of PHIVOLCS.

Intensity Crater glow
I Faint crater glow
II Fairly visible with naked eye
III Bright
IV Intense

Table 5. Mayon seismic data at Upper Anoling station as posted on daily reports in June, with the relative amplitudes shown in parentheses where clearly stated. Dashes are used to represent undisclosed values. "Tremor" refers to short-duration high-frequency harmonic tremor linked to rockfalls. Some intervals of continuous tremor appeared in late June as noted in the comments. Courtesy of PHIVOLCS.

Date High-frequency earthquake Low-frequency earthquake Tremor Comment
01 Jun 2001 1 (4 mm) 5 (16 mm) 48 (19 mm) --
02 Jun 2001 4 7 42 --
03 Jun 2001 1 (23.0 mm) 2 (2.2 mm) 45 (8.0 mm) --
04 Jun 2001 4 (42 mm) 11 (28 mm) 57 (maximum deflection) --
05 Jun 2001 -- 6 (5.5 mm) 118 (maximum deflection) --
06 Jun 2001 -- 5 (6.2 mm) 65 (44 mm) --
07 Jun 2001 -- 4 (10 mm) 118 (13 mm) --
08 Jun 2001 2 (14 mm) 8 (21 mm) 116 (14 mm) --
09 Jun 2001 -- 18 (15 mm) 82 (19 mm) --
10 Jun 2001 -- 10 (10 mm) 126 (19 mm) --
11 Jun 2001 -- 6 (1.5 mm) 143 (14 mm) --
12 Jun 2001 -- 6 (3.0 mm) 103 (15 mm) --
13 Jun 2001 -- -- 198 (12 mm) --
14 Jun 2001 -- 3 (10 mm) 232 (12 mm) --
15 Jun 2001 -- 1 (28 mm) 172 (16 mm) --
16 Jun 2001 -- -- 157 (20 mm) --
17 Jun 2001 1 (7 mm) -- 230 (13 mm) --
18 Jun 2001 2 (32 mm) -- 196 (9 mm) --
19 Jun 2001 -- -- 200 (24 mm) --
20 Jun 2001 -- -- 76 (14 mm) Continuous high-frequency harmonic tremor (1.5-3.0 mm)
21 Jun 2001 -- -- 265 (21 mm) Continuous high-frequency harmonic tremor (1.5 mm)
22 Jun 2001 -- -- 216 (23 mm) One explosion earthquake (23 mm)
23 Jun 2001 -- 8 (13 mm) 211 (23 mm) --
24 Jun 2001 -- 14 (17 mm) 132 (50 mm) 12 additional low-frequency tremors (34 mm) and continuous harmonic tremor (3 mm)
25 Jun 2001 -- -- -- --
26 Jun 2001 -- 24 84 --
27 Jun 2001 -- -- -- --
28 Jun 2001 -- 9 67 --
29 Jun 2001 -- 6 10 --
30 Jun 2001 -- 10 24 --

Activity during 1-8 June 2001. During this time period, seismic instruments registered generally increasing numbers of tremors (table 5). Many of these tremors were of high frequency but short duration and inferred to be associated with mass-wasting of lava-dome fragments that descended from the volcano's SE rim. Other kinds of tremor were seen later in the month (see table 5).

The summit lava dome glowed brightly (Intensity III, table 4) during cloud breaks on the night of 1 June. During 2-8 June crater glow held steady at a Level II intensity except for 4 and 6 June when it varied between Level II and Level III. Incandescent materials occasionally rolled down from Mayon's summit, traveling along the SE slopes in the upper Bonga Gully. Glow came from detached zones of extruding, pasty lava at the dome's W base and SE face. On 3 and 6 June moderate to weak steaming issued from the summit crater.

Activity during 9-16 June 2001. As observed from Legazpi City and vicinity, lava fragments frequently detached from the summit dome and slid or rolled into the Bonga Gully to the SE and deposited a pyroclastic fan on Mayon's middle to upper slopes. Nearly continuous rockfalls produced distinct ground tremor with high-frequency spectra. PHIVOLCS noted that recordings of these multiple rockfall events from the reference station in Upper Anoling graded into each other, indicating more vigorous extrusions and rockfall events than those recorded by the station.

Ground-deformation surveys using EDM (Electronic Distance Meter) instruments were unable to make readings due to weather during 2-8 June. The previous reading, made on 28-29 May 2001, found universal inflation (i.e. displacements along the line LHO-Lower Slope measured -9 mm and the line Buan-MRHO, -6 mm). Ground deformation recorded on 10 June again indicated a minor degree of inflation (the line Buang-MRHO, -1 mm).

At 1819 on 12 June, part of the summit lava dome collapsed and heralded a period of vigorous rockfalls from the lava dome; however, no lava flow formed. Bright glow (Intensity III) occurred at a point in the mid-portion of the dome where extruding pasty lava squeezed out.

On 10 June moderate steam emission at the summit correlated with an SO2 flux of 4,115 metric tons/day (t/d) (table 3). At this point in time, Mayon was still considered to be in a mild state of eruption with magma only slowly intruding the summit. On 11 June PHIVOLCS noticed an increase in the overall tempo of unrest, including days with elevated numbers of rockfall-induced tremor.

At 1347 on 11 June the dome partially collapsed and produced a small pyroclastic flow that descended along the Bonga Gully. The flow reached about 1,480 m elevation and produced a thin ash cloud, which drifted E. Similarly, on 12 June at about 1819 the summit lava dome again partly collapsed, spawning vigorous, continuous emissions of lava fragments until about 1930.

Activity during 17-23 June 2001. On 23 June mild explosive activity and lava fountaining took place. Prior to that, a significant change in the pace of unrest was indicated by the appearance of tremor at 0405 on 19 June. A lava flow spotted during a cloud break from 1008-0152 enabled observers to see an intense glow emitted by the dome and the margins of a newly emplaced lava flow, which extended to about 500 m below the summit dome (to ~1,800-1,900 m elevation). The tremor so dominated the seismic record that discrete rockfall counts dropped. Only 76 rockfall-related tremors were registered, although extrusive activity had clearly increased. The lava flow signified that hotter, more fluid, and more voluminous lavas were being extruded. The new lava corresponded to a sudden increase in sulfur dioxide emissions from 1,700 metric tons/day (t/d) the previous week to nearly 6,000 t/d on 19 June.

By 20 June the volcanic edifice had inflated slightly as recorded by ground-deformation surveys. Tiltmeters midway up on the NE edifice, at the Buan-Mayon Resthouse station, registered accelerating inflation. During 1209-1218 on 20 June a portion of the lava dome collapsed, generating brownish dust clouds along the Bonga Gully.

On 21 June lavas were seen exiting from two points of the dome. Two lobes descended, both on the SE side (in the general direction of the settlements of Buyuan and Mabinit). Magma ascent through the uppermost levels of the volcano's conduit appeared to be associated with high-frequency harmonic tremor at all five seismic stations in the vicinity of the volcano. Magma intruding the summit area also exerted pressure on the edifice and influenced ground tiltmeters. The COSPEC instrument measured the highest SO2 flux of the June episode: ~9,000 t/d.

The main lava flow moved SE in the general direction of Mabinit on 21 June, and the lowermost toe of the lava flow descended 300 m farther, to ~1,500 m elevation. On 22 June the lava flow reached 1,200 m elevation; by 23 June, it had descended 3.4 km from the summit to reach 600 m elevation.

At 1909 on 23 June, lava fountaining in the summit crater ejected material at least 50 m above the rim, with the bulk of pyroclasts falling to the SE (into the upper Bonga Gully). As lava flows continued to travel SE they generated high-frequency tremor. Activity was still dominated by relatively rapid but quiet effusion of lava. At this point the seismicity lacked clear explosion signals and deformation measurements lacked inflation signals; it was believed that such signals would presumably accompany a major explosive eruption (if one were to occur).

Activity during 24-30 June 2001. At 2000 on 23 June the Alert Level was raised from 3 to 4 when the already substantial lava extrusions changed from quiet effusions to more explosive, but nonetheless non-destructive, Strombolian outbursts. The latter were first observed in the crater at 1909 on 23 June. Small explosions in the crater sent molten lava up to 50 m above the rim.

At 0317 on 24 June, a series of strong explosions were audible as far as Lignon Hill Observatory, 12 km SSE of the volcano. Accompanying ash columns reached 1 km above the summit. Visible molten lava fragments were thrown to 300 m in height. Lofted ash blew N and ash fell in the barangays (settlements) Amtic and Tambo of Ligao City and barangays San Vicente, San Antonio, Quinastillojan, Bantayan, Tabiguian, and Buang of Tabaco City.

At 1245 on 24 June a pyroclastic flow descended the Bonga and Buyuan Gullies to ~600 m elevation, about 4 km from the summit. An explosion from the crater also produced a 5-km-high column. Ash associated with the pyroclastic flow ascended to ~2.4 km altitude. The two ash-laden clouds then drifted NE, in the general direction of Malilipot (a town 10 km away on the coast).

The 24 June pyroclastic flows signaled the start of explosive eruptions with tall columns. At 1300 the hazard status was raised from 4 ("Hazardous Eruption Possible Within Days") to 5 ("Hazardous Eruption in Progress"). Concomitant with Alert Level 5, the previously delineated 7-km-radius Extended Danger Zone in the SE sector was extended to a radius of 8 km. People within these new zones evacuated. Areas to the E and NE of the volcano were considered prone to heavy ashfall due to prevailing winds.

Another major eruption sequence began at 1444 on 24 June, characterized by strong explosions, multiple pyroclastic flows around the volcano, and lava flows into SE-flank gullies. Following drainages, the pyroclastic flows passed the settlements of Basud, Buyuan, Mabinit-Bonga, Miisi, Anoling, Maninila, Nabonton, and Buang, all within the 6-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ).

The main eruption cloud discharged from the crater rose to about 10 km altitude and moderate-to-heavy ash blew mainly NE towards Malilipot. Residents ~5 km N of Malipot (in Tabaco) along the coast also experienced light ashfalls. Lava flows and dilute ash clouds dominated activity after 1541. Activity waned in the early morning of 25 June. Beginning at 0037 on 25 June seismicity diminished from continuous tremors into discrete events.

On 26 June Mayon lapsed into an apparently quiet state; however, SO2 flux remained high at 4,640 t/d and reflected active degassing from both the crater as well as from newly extruded lavas covering the summit area. Lava still flowed SE from the summit area along Bonga Gully on the 26th, but its lowermost portions moved slowly. The lava by then extended ~4.3 km from the summit. Its flow front constantly shed incandescent boulders that released gases and ash, burning vegetation along its path. However, the crater's diminished extrusion rate led PHIVOLCS scientists to conclude that the lava flow was unlikely to reach populated areas.

Although outward quiet prevailed for most of 24-30 June, several explosion signals occurred during 26-27 June. One explosion sent an ash cloud to about a kilometer above the summit and caused small lava avalanches in the upper Bonga Gully. Lava continued to trickle from the summit towards the SE along the Bonga Gully. From this time through at least 29 June crater glow stood at Intensity II and lava continued to descend from the summit crater.

Heavy rains fell on the night of 27 June. A team dispatched to the Padang area watched the river channel for lahars. Only a muddy stream flow was observed and rains eventually abated after about an hour. The swollen, muddy streams after this time meant that smaller amplitude volcanic earthquakes were often obscured by the seismic noise produced by the streams. Ground deformation measurements employing EDM instruments and electronic tiltmeters continued to indicate inflation of the edifice. Observers also noticed small rockfalls, and vigorous steaming of the hot lava deposits.

At 1605 and 1702 on 30 June, explosions generated pyroclastic flows that swept the upper and middle slopes within the Bonga Gully and produced billowing ash clouds to about 4 km altitude. Their runout distance reached ~3 km from the summit (in the general direction of Matanag). During the eruption an undisclosed portion of the volcano's E sector also collapsed along the Upper Basud Gully.

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/).


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — June 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Rabaul

Papua New Guinea

4.271°S, 152.203°E; summit elev. 688 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash eruptions continue during January-May

This report covers the period from November 2000 through May 2001. Activity at Rabaul was relatively low through this period until 14 March, when low-frequency earthquakes resumed and continued to increase in number and amplitude throughout that month. These earthquakes were apparently precursors to an ash eruption at Tavurvur on 2 April after several months of relative quiet.

Occasional ash-laden clouds resulting from mild explosions occurred in January and February. White vapors were released in varying amounts from Tavurvur. Two large explosions occurred on 12 and 26 January producing a dark gray, billowing ash cloud that rose to ~1,000-2,000 m above the summit before dispersing W and NW. The explosions showered the flank of the volcano with rock fragments and deposited significant amounts of ash on Rabaul Town. For short periods during these months H2S was smelled downwind of Tavurvur.

Seventeen high-frequency earthquakes were recorded in March, only five of which were determined as having originated from NE and ESE of the caldera. No high-frequency earthquakes have been recorded on the once-active ring-fault seismic zone since 1995. Between February and the end of March, GPS recorded ~1.5 cm of uplift in the central part of the caldera, while an electronic tiltmeter measured ~3-4 µrad of inflation.

The caldera had previously subsided about 4 cm on 16 November 2000, associated with earthquakes N of Rabaul. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), two earthquakes, M 7-8, occurred in Papua New Guinea about 3 hours apart on 16 November. The first earthquake was ~50 km N of Rabaul and just S of New Ireland. The second earthquake struck ~100-150 km from Rabaul and N of New Ireland, near the Lihir, Tabar, and Tanga Islands. Both earthquakes occurred about 50 km below sea level. Tsunami of 1-2.5 m height caused damage on New Britain, New Ireland, and Bougainville, leaving thousands homeless; no casualties were reported. At least four other M ~6.5 aftershocks were reported in the following days. According to the BBC, recent tectonic activity has caused subsidence of coral islands between New Ireland and New Britain. As many as 40,000 people may need to be evacuated.

At 1300 on 2 April the number and amplitude of the low-frequency earthquakes increased again, culminating in the first ash clouds between 2100 and 2200. Figure 36 shows an ash eruption on 4 April 2001. Similar low-frequency earthquakes were noted a few days before the 28 November 1995 eruption. High-frequency earthquakes, another good indicator of eruptive activity, continued to occur on the NE side of the volcano during April 2001. Other parameters indicating signs of likely renewed eruptive activity were 3-4 months of slow inflation in the central part of Rabaul Caldera, GPS measurements that showed ~3-4 cm of uplift, and tiltmeter measurements near the GPS benchmark and ~2 km from Tavurvur that also indicted inflation. The smell of sulfuric gas was noted occasionally.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Ash eruption on 4 April 2001 at the Tavurvur cone. This photo was taken looking from the NW and shows the SE side of the cone. Courtesy of RVO.

From 2 to 24 April Tavurvur's ash emissions fluctuated between white to pale-gray ash clouds and sub-continuous ejection of pale- to dark-gray ash clouds. Beginning at about 1400 on 25 April, activity changed to short explosions that produced white to pale-gray mushroom-shaped ash columns and were usually accompanied by roaring noises. During the month ash clouds rose from a few hundred to ~1,000 m above the summit area. Variable winds blew the ash N and NW. Similar eruptive activity continued through the end of April.

During April, 1,089 low-frequency (LF) earthquakes were registered by the trigger system. Daily LF totals ranged between 0 and 291. High LF totals occurred on the 25th (172), 26th (291), 27th (228), and 28th (212). This period corresponded to the time when the mode of Tavurvur's eruptive activity changed from occasional sub-continuous ash cloud emissions to frequent, short-duration ash cloud expulsions. The totals for April 2001 were substantially higher than for the previous months of January (22), February (31), and March (13). During April, short duration, non-harmonic volcanic tremors were also recorded and were usually associated with the sub-continuous ash cloud emissions. On the other hand, during April the system recorded only six high-frequency earthquakes, fewer than in January (15), February (8), and March (17). Moreover, in April, half of the high-frequency earthquakes struck to the NE and outside the caldera.

During May, Tavurvur emitted pale gray to white ash clouds, sometimes accompanied by 0.5-2 minute periods of roaring. The ash clouds typically reached as high as several hundred meters above the vent. During the first half of May incandescent explosions were observed at night, but towards the end of May these explosions lessened in frequency and vigor. The roaring noises also lessened. On 30 May the roaring noises were replaced by stronger, discrete explosions. These produced dark ash clouds that rose to 1-1.5 km above the vent. In general, intra-caldera seismicity was low in frequency and associated with explosions. Almost 2,000 seismic events were recorded.

The unambiguous inflationary trend observed over the previous six months slowed in early May, and a period of relative stability occurred until the end of the month. The start of the darker emissions heralded a period of small-scale rapidly fluctuating vertical movements, but no overall inflationary or deflationary trend predominated.

Geologic Background. The low-lying Rabaul caldera on the tip of the Gazelle Peninsula at the NE end of New Britain forms a broad sheltered harbor utilized by what was the island's largest city prior to a major eruption in 1994. The outer flanks of the 688-m-high asymmetrical pyroclastic shield volcano are formed by thick pyroclastic-flow deposits. The 8 x 14 km caldera is widely breached on the east, where its floor is flooded by Blanche Bay and was formed about 1400 years ago. An earlier caldera-forming eruption about 7100 years ago is now considered to have originated from Tavui caldera, offshore to the north. Three small stratovolcanoes lie outside the northern and NE caldera rims. Post-caldera eruptions built basaltic-to-dacitic pyroclastic cones on the caldera floor near the NE and western caldera walls. Several of these, including Vulcan cone, which was formed during a large eruption in 1878, have produced major explosive activity during historical time. A powerful explosive eruption in 1994 occurred simultaneously from Vulcan and Tavurvur volcanoes and forced the temporary abandonment of Rabaul city.

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


Sheveluch (Russia) — June 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptions in late June sent plumes to ~8 km altitude

Shiveluch erupted at 0209 on 22 May (BGVN 26:04) and produced a mushroom-shaped ash column to an estimated altitude of ~20 km. According to reports from Klyuchi, the event destroyed both the new dome (first observed on 12 May) and the W part of the old dome. GMS satellite imagery at 1432 on 22 May showed the eruption cloud as it continued to diffuse over the Kliuchevskoi volcanoes; at that time the estimated plume area reached ~50,000 km2. The hazard status remained at Red as of 22 May.

On May 23, an approximately 10-pixel anomaly with temperatures at 30-49°C was observed on satellite images. The anomaly was large and elongated to the S. It may signify a new pyroclastic-flow deposit.

By 24 May the hazard status had been lowered to Orange and, by 31 May, to Yellow. The hazard status was unchanged until 29 June, when a short-lived explosion sent an ash plume to a height of 1,200 m above the dome; associated pyroclastic flows had runouts of ~2.5-3.0 km. During the period from the end of May to the end of June, gas-and-steam plumes were observed rising 500-1,200 m above the dome. Seismic activity remained above background with earthquakes of M 2-3, and many small earthquakes within the edifice. On 8 June a short-lived explosion sent an ash plume 2,000 m above the dome accompanied by 2- and 3-minute-long, shallow seismic events.

During the week of 22-28 June, instruments registered seven M 2 earthquakes, many small earthquakes within the volcano's edifice, local seismic signals (explosions, avalanches, collapses), and episodes of weak spasmodic volcanic tremor. Based on seismicity, a possible increase in eruptive vigor occurred at 1500 on 28 June, a time when tremor and the number of shallow earthquakes increased.

At 1150 on 29 June, the aforementioned short-lived explosion occurred. The hazard status was again raised to Orange. Seismic data recorded on 29 June suggested possible explosion plumes that ascended to ~6 km above the dome (~8.5 km altitude). According to a Tokyo VAAC report, at 0300 on 30 June the ash plume attained 7.3 km altitude.

At 1250 on June 30 another short-lived explosion sent an ash plume to ~8.0 km altitude. The top part of a mushroom-like plume slowly extended to the E. Pyroclastic flows passed 5 km down the Baidarnaya River. Weak volcanic tremor and local seismic signals (avalanches) continued. Starting at 0100 on 2 July, earthquakes occurred in greater number, larger magnitudes, and at greater depth (~5 km). By 6 July the hazard status was returned to Yellow.

Subsequently, seismic activity continued above background levels. A magnitude 2 earthquake accompanied many smaller ones within the edifice, some 3-minute-long shallow seismic events, a variety of local seismic signals, and episodes of weak tremor. In mid-July this spasmodic tremor increased. At 1900 on 14 July it reached velocity-characterized amplitudes of 1.7 x 10-6 m/s; at 2020 that day it reached 2.0 x 10-6 m/s; at 0300 on 16 July it increased to 2.5 x 10-6 m/s and finally, after 2300 on July 15, it attained 4.0 x 10-6 m/s. Accordingly, the hazard status was set to Orange and visual observations from Klyuchi at 2100 on 15 July indicated that a gas plume rose 1,500 m above the dome. Seismic data suggested the plume was accompanied by explosions.

An AVHRR image (number 12.01196.05:03) at 1803 on 15 July revealed a 3-pixel thermal anomaly near the SW flank of Shiveluch. The maximum band-3 temperature was 44°C within a background near 22°C. No associated ash was observed in the imagery.

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

Information Contacts: Olga Chubarova, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia; Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA; Anchorage Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), NOAA Alaska Aviation Weather Unit, 6930 Sand Lake Road, Anchorage, AK 99502-1845, USA (URL: http://vaac.arh.noaa.gov/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/).


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — June 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)


New vent opens during April-May eruption

A previous report about the eruption plumes of late April-early May was based on information received from satellites (e.g., TOMS, which disclosed 5 ktons of SO2) and the Darwin VAAC (BGVN 26:05). This follow-up recounts ground-based reports from the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO). It covers the new flank-vent eruption and its preceding events. Ulawun's prior eruption was about 7 months earlier (BGVN 25:11).

On 25 April, Ulawun began what appeared to ground-based observers as a relatively small eruption that lasted about 6 days (ending the 30th). Activity had been low from the beginning of April until the 24th, with the summit venting mainly small, occasionally moderate volumes of steam. Seismicity consisted mainly of low-frequency earthquakes, which had been present for many months, even before the September 2000 eruption. The low-frequency earthquakes were slightly larger than the usual earthquakes recorded when Ulawun is quiet, but no particular pattern indicated that these earthquakes were forerunners to an eruption. Earthquakes such as these were rare before the build-up to the September eruption, but they have continued since then.

Ashfall from the 25-30 April eruption blew mainly N and NW during the second and third Strombolian episodes, 27-29 April. Most ash fell along a NW-trending axis (270-300° from the summit). Nearby residents were evacuated, and as of 14 June were allowed to return home. No damage or casualties were reported.

Behavior in months prior to the 25 April eruption. Ongoing sporadic tremors followed the 28 September 2000 eruption for most of October-January. A swarm of earthquakes occurred between 31 January and 1 February 2001. The only break in activity was in February, March, and the first part of April.

The high seismicity on 31 January was followed the next day by occasional deep roaring and rumbling noises. On 2 February thick dark-gray and gray-brown emissions caused ashfall to the NW around Ubili village. Poor visibility after 0800 prevented further observations. The next day weak-to-moderate thin white vapor was observed. Similar summit activity was reported on 4 February with occasional booming noises between 1300 and 1400. After the 5th, thin white vapor was present on most days in February.

Seismicity during 31 January-2 February was characterized by B-type volcanic events, which occurred at irregular intervals. During the last week of January, continuous background volcanic tremor was recorded. On the morning of 31 January the seismicity suddenly changed to distinct B-type events. Within a few hours the events intensified and became hard to distinguish due to signal overlap on the analog records. The intense seismic activity lasted for several hours and then declined to a low level. It remained relatively low, with distinct B-type events, until the morning of 2 February, when the B-type events intensified again. Afterwards, seismicity declined to a very low level. Distinct B-type events continued, but in very low numbers. A-type volcanic events also occurred throughout February, but the month was generally quiet.

Most of March was also quiet, characterized by thin white vapor emission, except on 2-4 March when occasional weak puffs of gray-brown ash were produced. Villagers on the N, NW, and SW sides of the volcano reported rumbling and booming noises associated with the ash puffs. A weak, steady glow was observed on 27 March. Low-frequency earthquakes continued throughout the month with an average of 60 per day. Some high-frequency earthquakes also occurred, but no volcanic tremors were recorded during March.

The highest seismicity outside of the eruption took place between 31 January and 1 February. It was followed by a rapid inflation of 3-4 µrad in a few days. This was followed by deflation of about 10 times less. The September 2000 and April 2001 eruptions occurred during deflationary periods preceded by a few months of inflation. In retrospect one might speculate that the seismic swarm and inflation were signs of rapid intrusion of significant volumes of magma to a shallow depth.

Behavior in the days prior to the 25 April eruption. The eruption was preceded by volcanic tremors commencing at about 0600 on 22 April. The tremors were initially small, but at about 2100 the they increased in amplitude and became sub-continuous. On 24 April at 1400 the tremors increased again, making it hard to detect patterns in the analog records.

This was when RSAM (Real-time Seismic Amplitude Measurement) data became useful. According to the RSAM, after 1400 tremor levels increased exponentially until about 1800 on the 25th, when it began to fluctuate. The start of the fluctuations coincided with the beginning of a steady weak glow from the summit vent. Earlier, occasional forceful emissions of weak to moderate gray ash clouds had begun at about 0600 on the 25th, and occasional low rumbling noises began at about 1600. Activation of Stage 1 of the Ulawun Volcano Stage of Alert system was recommended to authorities at 0200 on the 25th.

Phases of the 25-30 April eruption. Volcanism on 25 April consisted of a steady weak red glow, occasional rumbling noises, and thick ash clouds. This lasted until about 0530 on 26 April, when a small Strombolian eruption began. Glowing lava fragments ejected by frequent explosions were restricted to the summit's N and NE sides. Small pyroclastic flows occurred, but also failed to progress beyond the summit area. Ash clouds blew NW dropping very fine ash. The Strombolian activity lasted about an hour. Activity then subsided and noises became infrequent; but forceful ash-bearing emissions continued.

Activity reached a low at about 0300 on the 27th before another phase of Strombolian eruption began at about 0530. The build-up to the second phase was very rapid. Stage 2 hazard status was recommended at 1630 on the 27th. Activity was sustained at an intense level for about 30 hours from 0530 on the 27th to about 1130 on the 28th. Incandescent lava fragments (visible in the early morning) and other rock material from the intense activity rolled almost a third of the way down the slopes. Eruptive material was seen on all sides of the volcano, but most went N and NE, suggesting emissions came from near Vent B (BGVN 25:11) at 1,600-1,800 m elevation. In this interval a pyroclastic flow traveled N-NE following the path of the pyroclastic flow of 28-29 September 2000. The run-out distance of the pyroclastic flow exceeded that of the flow from the September eruption. A lava flow also followed the same path. The distal end of the lava flow reached about 500-600 m elevation.

Another period of slightly lower activity followed the second phase of the eruption. The third phase of Strombolian eruption began at about 0600 on the 29th. This phase was slower and more gradual, peaking at about 1800-2000 on the 29th.

Early in this phase, local people reported ash emissions from a site in a gully where the pyroclastic and lava flows had passed. It was later confirmed that a dike had reached the surface, resulting in a fissure where ash emissions were released. A lava lobe protruded from the new vent and extended about 20 m downslope. Figure 4 shows a mild explosion from this vent on 3 May. Dike intrusions were also observed during the 1978 eruption at Ulawun, and resulted in surface fissure activity on the higher SE slopes and farther down on the E slope, which produced a lava flow.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. A mild explosion on 3 May 2001 from the new vent on Ulawun's NNE flank. The photo was taken just three days after the 25-30 April eruption ended. This fortuitous view of the small ash cloud helped fixed the new vent's location. Courtesy of Ima Itikara, RVO.

The last phase of this Strombolian eruption fluctuated before it began to decline at about 1130 on 30 April; the eruption stopped at about 2400. Although the 25 April eruption was comparatively small, the development of radial fissures from dike intrusions in the upper interior of the volcanic system might contribute to weaknesses in the structure of the volcano (figure 5).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. The summit and NNE flanks of Ulawun taken 23 May 2001 showing the whereabouts of the new vent near the head of a ravine and a notch in the summit crater's wall at a point upslope from the ravine and vent. The new fissure-shaped vent is not directly visible in this shot; it lies in shadow at the ravine's bottom, and it is not degassing. Courtesy of Ima Itikara, RVO.

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


Vailulu'u (United States) — June 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Vailulu'u

United States

14.215°S, 169.058°W; summit elev. -592 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Description of submarine volcano at the end of the Samoan chain

Recent work by Hart and others (2000) has described this volcano and identified it as the source of acoustic signals noted in July 1973 and an earthquake swarm during January 1995 (BGVN 20:01 and 20:02). The following is from Hart and others (2000) except where noted.

Vailulu'u Seamount is located 45 km east of Ta'u island, the easternmost island of the Samoan chain, and defines the leading edge of the Samoan swell (figure 2). Mapped in March 1999 with SeaBeam aboard the RV Melville during AVON cruises 2 and 3 (figures 2 and 3), Vailulu'u rises from an ocean depth of 4,800 m to its crater rim within 590 m of the sea surface, with a total volume of ~1,050 km3. The summit includes a 400-m-deep, 2-km-wide crater (figure 4). These cruises were motivated by the 1973 and 1995 acoustic and seismic events in this region, and were a direct attempt to find the current location of the Samoan hotspot.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Bathymetry of Vailulu'u and nearby Ta'u Island, based on a SeaBeam bathymetric survey performed during R/V Melville's AVON 2 and 3 cruises, augmented with satellite-derived bathymetry from Smith and Sandwell (1996). The inset shows the general location of Vailulu'u with respect to the Samoan Archipelago; two other newly mapped and dredged seamounts (Malumalu and Muli, AVON 3 cruise) are shown as well. Scale: 10' = 18 km. From Hart and others (2000).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Perspective view of Vailulu'u seamount looking NW, displaying three major rifts toward the E, SE, and W. The lower slopes of Vailulu'u and Ta'u merge along the western ridge, with a saddle at 3,200 m. Vailulu'u is ~ 35 km in diameter at its base. Scale: 10' = 18 km. From Hart and others (2000).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. SeaBeam bathymetry map of the summit crater of Vailulu'u, showing the crater rim with three peaks and three breaches, the location of CTDO (conductivity, temperature, depth, optical) casts 1 and 4, and the tow-yo track circumnavigated around the summit. Dotted azimuth lines are given every 30° along the track. Scale: 1' = 1.8 km. From Hart and others (2000).

The overall shape of Vailulu'u is dominated by two rift zones extending E and W from the summit, defining a lineament parallel to the Samoan hotspot track. A third, slightly less well-developed rift extends SE from the summit, and several minor ridges extend out from the lower slopes, making an overall asymmetric, star-like pattern. Rift zones and ridges in the southern sector are more strongly developed than those on the N flank, giving Vailulu'u a stunning similarity to a juvenile Ta'u island (figure 2). The three major rift zones define three high points of the crater rim. The crater and rim are oval-shaped (figure 3), with two well-developed pit craters defining the northern two-thirds of the crater and two minor depressions on a bench in the southern third of the crater.

Several historical events suggest volcanic activity. There was a series of acoustically detected explosions on 10 July 1973 (Johnson, 1984), and during 9-29 January 1995 the global seismic network recorded a strong (M 4.2-4.9) earthquake swarm in the vicinity (BGVN 20:01 and 20:02). While most of the 1995 earthquakes were formally located NW of the volcano, their uncertainty ellipses include Vailulu'u; a SeaBeam survey within the apparent earthquake area did not reveal any volcano-tectonic features. Dredges, especially those from the summit area, are dominated by fresh volcanic rock, with pristine volcanic glass, many original glassy surfaces, unaltered olivine phenocrysts, and a virtual lack of vesicle fillings. Extremely "bright" SeaBeam sidescan returns suggest that fresh volcanic rocks occur ubiquitously throughout the slopes of Vailulu'u and that sediment cover is largely absent.

A detailed nephelometry survey of the water column shows clear evidence for hydrothermal plume activity in the summit crater. The water inside the crater is very turbid, and a halo of "smog" several hundred meters thick encircles and extends away from the summit for at least 7 km (see Hart and others, 2000, for details).

During the DeepFreeze 2000 cruise in March 2000, aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Icebreaker Polar Star, conductivity temperature depth optical (CTDO)/Niskin stations were occupied at three places within the summit crater and two outside the crater; in addition, the summit area was circumnavigated in tow-yo mode along the ~1,000-m contour (figure 4). Particulate distribution in the water column was studied using a light backscattering sensor (LBSS) attached to a CTD/Niskin water sampling rosette. At 600-m depth in the crater turbidity increased sharply and continued to do so in a stepwise fashion to the bottom of the crater at 996 m. Turbidity near the bottom was greater than that associated with active venting and plume formation on ridge crests. At station 1, outside the crater, the LBSS "smog" layer starts at about the same depth (610 m) but returns to background values at 850 m. This depth interval is comparable to the elevation range of the crater rim, which has peaks at 590 m and a deepest breach at ~780 m (figure 4). At station 5, 7.5 km E of the crater rim, a small turbidity anomaly was observed at a depth of 600-720 m.

During a complete 360° circumnavigation of the summit crater, the plume was mapped from 500 to 900 m depth in tow-yo mode (figure 4). Overall, the hydrothermal plume was confined to a narrow depth interval bracketed between the breaches and summits of the crater wall. Its upper, neutral buoyancy, level corresponds closely with the heights of the peaks on the crater rim. Virtually no particulate matter appears to be ejected from the crater to heights above the peaks on the crater rim nor does any settle below the breach depth during its dispersion laterally away from the summit. Particulates are being generated within the crater and are subsequently carried away by ocean currents.

Vailulu'u is clearly a young and active submarine volcano. Its activity is reflected in acoustic/seismic events in 1973 and 1995, the lack of any sediment cover, fresh basalt and pristine glass in dredges from all levels, and radiometric ages ranging from 5 to 50 years. The summit is marked by a sharply delineated crater over 400 m deep, filled with highly turbid water. This smog layer extends out as a halo for many kilometers in all directions, in a narrow depth interval defined by the range in depths of the rim of the summit crater.

During another cruise to Vailulu'u in April 2001, on the USCG Icebreaker Polar Sea, Hart and colleagues retrieved five hydrophones and temperature loggers that had been deployed the year before. A lot of minor seismic activity was still occurring, but detailed analyses have not been completed. The crater was still full of "smog," indicating that the crater remains hydrothermally active.

Previous work by Rockne Johnson. This seamount was discovered on 18 October 1975 by Rockne Johnson (Johnson, 1984) using an echosounder and a proton magnetometer aboard the 19-m ketch Kawamee while searching for the source of explosions detected on 10 July 1973. Those explosions, 26 within a 30-minute period, were identified in records from SOFAR (sound-fixing and ranging) stations at Wake and Midway Islands. The signals were calculated to have been from a source along a line that fell 15 km E of Ta'u Island, and were distinct from signals recorded a few hours later caused by a submarine eruption south of Curacao Reef 500 km W at the north end of the Tonga Ridge (CSLP Cards 1679, 1685, and 1694). Depths near 600 m were found around the summit, and a large magnetic anomaly was centered 4 km NW of the summit. Johnson (1984) believed that the seamount, which he named "Rockne Volcano," was the most likely source for the July 1973 activity, but noted that there was some doubt because of its distance from the line of position calculated from the acoustic data.

Selection of a volcano name. As reported by the Samoa News, the Samoa Department of Education's Science Department held a "Name that Volcano" contest in the high schools to come up with a permanent name for this volcano. Previously the volcano had been catalogued as "Unnamed" (Simkin and Siebert, 1994), and named "Rockne" (Johnson, 1984) and "Fa'afafine" (Hart and others, 1999). Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist Stan Hart urged that the name endorsed by American Samoa be adopted by the scientific community. The winning entry, announced on 8 May 2000, came from Taulealo Vaofusi, a sophomore at Samoana High School. "Because of the location of the volcano being very close to the Manu'a Islands village of Ta'u," Vaofusi explained to the Samoa News, "I would like to rename that volcano 'Vailulu'u Volcano.' According to legend, Vailulu'u was the sacred sprinkling of gentle rain that fell just before the gatherings of the great King Tuimanu'a. The Manu'a group is also call the sacred islands or the Motu Sa, and the name 'Vailulu'u' is given to the fountain owned by King Tuimanu'a," said Vaofusi in his entry form.

References. Hart, S.R., Staudigel, H., Koppers, A.A.P, Blusztajn, J., Baker, E.T., Workman, R., Jackson, M., Hauri, E., Kurz, M., Sims, K., Fornari, D., Saal., A., and Lyons, S., 2000, Vailulu'u undersea volcano: The New Samoa: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems (G3), American Geophysical Union, v. 1, December 8, 2000.

Hart, S.R., Staudigel, H., Kurz, M.D., Blusztajn, J., Workman, R., Saal, A., Koppers, A., Hauri, E.H., and Lyons, S., 1999, Fa'afafine volcano: The active Samoan hotspot: EOS Transactions, American Geophysical Union, v. 80, 1999 Fall Meeting Supplement, p. F1102.

Johnson, R.H., 1984, Exploration of three submarine volcanos in the South Pacific: National Geographic Society Research Reports, National Geographic Society, v. 16, p. 405-420.

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

Smith, W.H.F., and Sandwell, D., 1996, Predicted bathymetry, new global seafloor topography from satellite altimetry: EOS Transactions, American Geophysical Union, v. 77, no. 46, p. 315.

Stice, G.D., and McCoy, F.W., Jr., 1968, The geology of the Manu'a Islands, Samoa: Pacific Science, v. 22, p. 427-457.

Geologic Background. Vailulu'u, a massive basaltic seamount not discovered until 1975, rises 4,200 m from the sea floor to a depth of 590 m about one-third of the way between Ta'u and Rose islands at the E end of the American Samoas. It is considered to mark the current location of the Samoan hotspot. The summit contains a 2-km-wide, 400-m-deep oval-shaped caldera. Two principal rift zones extend E and W from the summit, parallel to the trend of the hotspot. A third less prominent rift extends SE of the summit. The rift zones and escarpments produced by mass wasting phenomena give the seamount a star-shaped pattern. On 10 July 1973, explosions were recorded by SOFAR (hydrophone records of underwater acoustic signals). An earthquake swarm in 1995 may have been related to an eruption. Turbid water above the summit shows evidence of ongoing hydrothermal plume activity.

Information Contacts: Stanley R. Hart, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543 USA (URL: http://www.whoi.edu/); Samoa News, P.O. Box 909, Pago Pago, AS 96799 (URL: http://www.samoanews.com/).

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