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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Villarrica (Chile) Brief increase in explosions, mid-September 2019; continued thermal activity through February 2020

Semisopochnoi (United States) Intermittent small explosions detected in December 2019 through mid-March 2020

Ubinas (Peru) Explosions produced ash plumes in September 2019; several lahars generated in January and February 2020

Yasur (Vanuatu) Strombolian activity continues during June 2019 through February 2020

Cleveland (United States) Intermittent thermal anomalies and lava dome subsidence, February 2019-January 2020



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

Erta Ale

Ethiopia

13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Manam

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Vulkanologische Gesellschaft (URL: https://twitter.com/vulkanologen/status/1194228532219727874, https://twitter.com/vulkanologen/status/1193788836679225344); Claudio Jung, (URL: https://www.facebook.com/claudio.jung.1/posts/10220075272173895, https://www.instagram.com/jung.claudio/).


Stromboli (Italy) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy, (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/en/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Semeru (Indonesia) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com).


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México D.F. 04360, México (URL: http://www.cenapred.unam.mx/), Daily Report Archive http://www.cenapred.unam.mx:8080/reportesVolcanGobMX/BuscarReportesVolcan); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


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

Santa Maria

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/ ); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/).


Villarrica (Chile) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Villarrica

Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Brief increase in explosions, mid-September 2019; continued thermal activity through February 2020

Historical eruptions at Chile's Villarrica, documented since 1558, have consisted largely of mild-to-moderate explosive activity with occasional lava effusion. An intermittently active lava lake at the summit has been the source of Strombolian activity, incandescent ejecta, and thermal anomalies for several decades; the current eruption has been ongoing since December 2014. Continuing activity during September 2019-February 2020 is covered in this report, with information provided by the Southern Andes Volcano Observatory (Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur, OVDAS), part of Chile's National Service of Geology and Mining (Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería, SERNAGEOMIN), and Projecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI), part of the Fundacion Volcanes de Chile, a research group that studies volcanoes across Chile.

A brief period of heighted explosive activity in early September 2019 caused SERNAGEOMIN to raise the Alert Level from Yellow to Orange (on a four-color scale of Green-Yellow-Orange-Red) for several days. Increases in radiative power were visible in the MIROVA thermal anomaly data during September (figure 84). Although overall activity decreased after that, intermittent explosions were observed at the summit, and incandescence continued throughout September 2019-February 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery indicated a strong thermal anomaly from the summit crater whenever the weather conditions permitted. In addition, ejecta periodically covered the area around the summit crater, and particulates often covered the snow beneath the narrow gas plume drifting S from the summit (figure 85).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Thermal activity at Villarrica from 28 May 2019 through February 2020 was generally at a low level, except for brief periods in August and September 2019 when larger explosions were witnessed and recorded in seismic data and higher levels of thermal activity were noted by the MIROVA project. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Natural-color (top) and Atmospheric penetration (bottom) renderings of three different dates during September 2019-February 2020 show typical continued activity at Villarica during the period. Dark ejecta periodically covered the snow around the summit crater, and streaks of particulate material were sometimes visible on the snow underneath the plumes of bluish gas drifting S from the volcano (top images). Persistent thermal anomalies were recorded in infrared satellite data on the same dates (bottom images). Dates recorded are (left to right) 28 September 2019, 20 December 2019, and 1 January 2020. Natural color rendering uses bands 4,3, and 2, and Atmospheric penetration rendering uses bands 12, 11, and 8a. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

SERNAGEOMIN raised the Alert Level from Green to Yellow in early August 2019 due to the increase in activity that included incandescent ejecta and bombs reaching 200 m from the summit crater (BGVN 44:09). An increase in seismic tremor activity on 8 September was accompanied by vigorous Strombolian explosions reported by POVI. The following day, SERNAGEOMIN raised the Alert Level from Yellow to Orange. Poor weather prevented visual observations of the summit on 8 and 9 September, but high levels of incandescence were observed briefly on 10 September. Incandescent ejecta reached 200 m from the crater rim late on 10 September (figure 86). Activity increased the next day with ejecta recorded 400 m from the crater, and the explosions were felt 12 km from the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. A new pulse of activity at Villarrica reached its maximum on 10 (left) and 11 (right) September 2019. Incandescent ejecta reached 200 m from the crater rim on 10 September and up to 400 m the following day. Courtesy of POVI (Volcan Villarrica, Resumen grafico del comportamiento, Septiembre 2019 a enero 2020).

Explosions decreased in intensity by 13 September, but avalanches of incandescent material were visible on the E flank in the early morning hours (figure 87). Small black plumes later in the day were interpreted by POVI as the result of activity from landslides within the crater. Fine ash deposited on the N and NW flanks during 16-17 September was attributed to wind moving ash from within the crater, and not to new emissions from the crater (figure 88). SERNAGEOMIN lowered the Alert Level to Yellow on 16 September as tremor activity decreased significantly. Activity continued to decrease during the second half of September; incandescence was moderate with no avalanches observed, and intermittent emissions with small amounts of material were noted. Degassing of steam plumes rose up to 120 m above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. By 13 September 2019, a decrease in activity at Villarrica was apparent. Incandescence (red arrow) was visible on the E flank of Villarrica early on 13 September (left). Fine ash, likely from small collapses of new material inside the vent, rose a short distance above the summit later in the day (right). Courtesy of POVI (Volcan Villarrica, Resumen grafico del comportamiento, Septiembre 2019 a Enero 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Fine-grained material covered the summit of Villarrica on 17 September 2019. POVI interpreted this as a result of strong winds moving fine ash-sized particles from within the crater and depositing them on the N and NW flanks. Courtesy of POVI (Volcan Villarrica, Resumen grafico del comportamiento, Septiembre 2019 a enero 2020).

Low-altitude degassing was typical activity during October-December 2019; occasionally steam and gas plumes rose 300 m above the summit, but they were generally less than 200 m high. Incandescence was visible at night when weather conditions permitted. Occasional Strombolian explosions were observed in the webcam (figure 89). During January and February 2020, similar activity was reported with steam plumes observed to heights of 300-400 m above the summit, and incandescence on nights where the summit was visible (figure 90). A drone overflight on 19 January produced a clear view into the summit crater revealing a 5-m-wide lava pit about 120 m down inside the crater (figure 91).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Activity continued at a lower level at the summit of Villarrica from October-December 2019. The 30-m-wide vent at the bottom of the summit crater (120 m deep) of Villarrica (left) was emitting wisps of bluish gas on 30 October 2019. Sporadic Strombolian explosions ejected material around the crater rim on 12 December (right). Courtesy of POVI (Volcan Villarrica, Resumen grafico del comportamiento, Septiembre 2019 a enero 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Small explosive events were recorded at Villarrica during January and February 2020, including these events on 4 (left) and 18 (right) January where ejecta reached about 50 m above the crater rim. Courtesy of POVI (Volcan Villarrica, Resumen grafico del comportamiento, Septiembre 2019 a Enero 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. An oblique view into the bottom of the summit crater of Villarrica on 19 January 2020 was captured by drone. The diameter of the lava pit was calculated at about 5 m and was about 120 m deep. Image copyright by Leighton M. Watson, used with permission; courtesy of POVI (Volcan Villarrica, Resumen grafico del comportamiento, Septiembre 2019 a Enero 2020).

Geologic Background. Glacier-clad Villarrica, one of Chile's most active volcanoes, rises above the lake and town of the same name. It is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes that trend perpendicular to the Andean chain. A 6-km-wide caldera formed during the late Pleistocene. A 2-km-wide caldera that formed about 3500 years ago is located at the base of the presently active, dominantly basaltic to basaltic-andesitic cone at the NW margin of the Pleistocene caldera. More than 30 scoria cones and fissure vents dot the flanks. Plinian eruptions and pyroclastic flows that have extended up to 20 km from the volcano were produced during the Holocene. Lava flows up to 18 km long have issued from summit and flank vents. Historical eruptions, documented since 1558, have consisted largely of mild-to-moderate explosive activity with occasional lava effusion. Glaciers cover 40 km2 of the volcano, and lahars have damaged towns on its flanks.

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); Proyecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI) (URL: http://www.povi.cl/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Leighton M. Watson, Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1272, USA (URL: https://earthsciences.uoregon.edu/).


Semisopochnoi (United States) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Semisopochnoi

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent small explosions detected in December 2019 through mid-March 2020

Semisopochnoi is a remote stratovolcano located in the western Aleutians dominated by an 8 km-wide caldera containing the small (100 m diameter) Fenner Lake and a three-cone cluster: a northern cone known as the North cone of Mount Cerberus, an eastern cone known as the East cone of Mount Cerberus, and a southern cone known as the South cone of Mount Cerberus. Previous volcanism has included small explosions, ash deposits, and gas-and-steam emissions. This report updates activity during September 2019 through March 2020 using information from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO). A new eruptive period began on 7 December 2019 and continued until mid-March 2020 with activity primarily focused in the North cone of Mount Cerberus.

During September-November 2019, low levels of unrest were characterized by intermittent weeks of elevated seismicity and gas-and-steam plumes visible on 8 September, 7-8 October, and 24 November. On 6 October an SO2 plume was visible in satellite imagery, according to AVO.

Seismicity increased on 5 December and was described as a strong tremor through 7 December. This tremor was associated with a small eruption on 7 December; intermittent explosions occurred and continued into the night. Increased seismicity was recorded throughout the rest of the month while AVO registered small explosions during 11-19 December. On 11-12 December, a gas-and-steam plume possibly containing some of ash extended 80 km (figure 2). Two more ash plumes were observed on 14 and 17 December, the latter of which extended 15 km SE. Sentinel-2 satellite images show gas-and-steam plumes rising from the North Cerberus crater intermittently at the end of 2019 and into early 2020 (figure 3).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Sentinel-2 satellite image showing a gray ash plume extending up to 17 km SE from the North Cerberus crater on 11 December 2019. Image taken by Hannah Dietterich; courtesy of AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Sentinel-2 satellite images of gas-and-steam plumes at Semisopochnoi from late November 2019 through mid-March 2020. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The month of January 2020 was characterized by low levels of unrest due to intermittent low seismicity. Small explosions were reported during 14-17 February and a gas-and-steam plume was visible on 26 February. Seismic unrest occurred between 18 February-7 March. Gas-and-steam plumes were visible on 1, 9, 14-17, 20, and 21 March (figure 4). During 15-17 March, small explosions occurred, according to AVO. Additionally, clear satellite images showed gas-and-steam emissions and minor ash deposits around North Cerberus’ crater rim. After 17 March the explosions subsided and ash emissions were no longer observed. However, intermittent gas-and-steam emissions continued and seismicity remained elevated through the end of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Satellite image of Semisopochnoi showing degassing within the North Cerberus crater on 22 March 2020. Image taken by Matt Loewen; courtesy of AVO.

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

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


Ubinas (Peru) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ubinas

Peru

16.355°S, 70.903°W; summit elev. 5672 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions produced ash plumes in September 2019; several lahars generated in January and February 2020

Ubinas, located 70 km from the city of Arequipa in Peru, has produced frequent eruptions since 1550 characterized by ash plumes, ballistic ejecta (blocks and bombs), some pyroclastic flows, and lahars. Activity is focused at the summit crater (figure 53). A new eruptive episode began on 24 June 2019, with an ash plume reaching 12 km altitude on 19 July. This report summarizes activity during September 2019 through February 2020 and is based on agency reports and satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. A PlanetScope satellite image of Ubinas on 16 December 2019. Courtesy of PlanetLabs.

Prior to September 2019 the last explosion occurred on 22 July. At 2145 on 1 September moderate, continuous ash emission occurred reaching nearly 1 km above the crater. An explosion produced an ash plume at 1358 on the 3rd that reached up to 1.3 km above the summit; six minutes later ashfall and lapilli up to 1.5 cm in diameter was reported 6 km away, with ashfall reported up to 8 km away (figure 54 and 55). Three explosions produced ash plumes at 0456, 0551, and 0844 on 4 September, with the two later ash plumes reaching around 2 km above the crater. The ash plume dispersed to the south and ashfall was reported in Ubinas, Tonohaya, San Miguel, Anascapa, Huatahua, Huarina, and Matalaque, reaching a thickness of 1 mm in Ubinas.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. An eruption at Ubinas produced an ash plume up to 1.3 km on at 1358 on 3 September 2019. Courtesy of INGEMMET.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Ash and lapilli fall up to 1.5 cm in diameter was reported 6 km away from Ubinas on 3 September 2019 (top) and an Ingemmet geologist collects ash samples from the last three explosions. Courtesy of INGEMMET.

During 8-9 September there were three explosions generating ash plumes to less than 2.5 km, with the largest occurring at 1358 and producing ashfall in the Moquegua region to the south. Following these events, gas and water vapor were continuously emitted up to 1 km above the crater. There was an increase in seismicity during the 10-11th and an explosion produced a 1.5 km high (above the crater) ash plume at 0726 on the 12th, which dispersed to the S and SE (figure 56). During 10-15 September there was continuous emission of gas (blue in color) and steam up to 1.5 km above the volcano. Gas emission, thermal anomalies, and seismicity continued during 16-29 September, but no further explosions were recorded.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. An explosion at Ubinas on 12 September 2019 produced an ash plume to 1.5 km above the volcano. The ash dispersed to the S and SE. Courtesy of IGP.

Throughout October activity consisted of seismicity, elevated temperatures within the crater, and gas emissions reaching 800 to 1,500 m above the crater. No explosions were recorded. Drone footage released in early October (figure 57) shows the gas emissions and provided a view of the crater floor (figure 58). On the 15th IGP reported that the likelihood of an eruption had reduced.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. IGP flew a fixed-wing drone over Ubinas as part of their monitoring efforts. This photograph shows gas emissions rising from the summit crater, published on 7 October 2019. Courtesy of IGP.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Drone image showing gas emissions and the summit crater of Ubinas. Image taken by IGP staff and released on 7 October 2019; courtesy of IGP.

Similar activity continued through early November with no reported explosions, and the thermal anomalies were no longer detected at the end of November (figure 59), although a faint thermal anomaly was visible in Sentinel-2 data in mid-December (figure 60). A rockfall occurred at 1138 on 13 November down the Volcanmayo gorge.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. This MIROA Log Radiative Power plot shows increased thermal energy detected at Ubinas during August through November 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image showing elevated temperatures in the Ubinas crater on 16 December 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

There were no explosions during January or February 2020, with seismicity and reduced gas emissions continuing. There was a small- to moderate-volume lahar generated at 1620 on 4 January down the SE flank. A second moderate- to high-volume lahar was generated at 1532 on 24 February, and three more lahars at 1325 and 1500 on 29 February, and at 1601 on 1 March, moved down the Volcanmayo gorge and the Sacohaya river channel. The last three lahars were of moderate to large volume.

Geologic Background. A small, 1.4-km-wide caldera cuts the top of Ubinas, Perú's most active volcano, giving it a truncated appearance. It is the northernmost of three young volcanoes located along a regional structural lineament about 50 km behind the main volcanic front. The growth and destruction of Ubinas I was followed by construction of Ubinas II beginning in the mid-Pleistocene. The upper slopes of the andesitic-to-rhyolitic Ubinas II stratovolcano are composed primarily of andesitic and trachyandesitic lava flows and steepen to nearly 45 degrees. The steep-walled, 150-m-deep summit caldera contains an ash cone with a 500-m-wide funnel-shaped vent that is 200 m deep. Debris-avalanche deposits from the collapse of the SE flank about 3,700 years ago extend 10 km from the volcano. Widespread Plinian pumice-fall deposits include one of Holocene age about 1,000 years ago. Holocene lava flows are visible on the flanks, but historical activity, documented since the 16th century, has consisted of intermittent minor-to-moderate explosive eruptions.

Information Contacts: Observatorio Volcanologico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico), Barrio Magisterial Nro. 2 B-16 Umacollo - Yanahuara Arequipa, Peru (URL: http://ovi.ingemmet.gob.pe); Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), Calle Badajoz N° 169 Urb. Mayorazgo IV Etapa, Ate, Lima 15012, Perú (URL: https://www.gob.pe/igp); 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/); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Yasur (Vanuatu) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian activity continues during June 2019 through February 2020

Yasur has remained on Alert Level 2 (on a scale of 0-4) since 18 October 2016, indicating "Major Unrest; Danger Zone remains at 395 m around the eruptive vents." The summit crater contains several active vents that frequently produce Strombolian explosions and gas plumes (figure 60). This bulletin summarizes activity during June 2019 through February 2020 and is based on reports by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), visitor photographs and videos, and satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. The crater of Yasur contains several active vents that produce gas emissions and Strombolian activity. Photo taken during 25-27 October 2019 by Justin Noonan, used with permission.

A VMGD report on 27 June described ongoing Strombolian explosions with major unrest confined to the crater. The 25 July report noted the continuation of Strombolian activity with some strong explosions, and a warning that volcanic bombs may impact outside of the crater area (figure 61).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. A volcanic bomb (a fluid chunk of lava greater than 64 mm in diameter) that was ejected from Yasur. The pattern on the surface shows the fluid nature of the lava before it cooled into a solid rock. Photo taken during 25-27 October 2019 by Justin Noonan, used with permission.

No VMGD report was available for August, but Strombolian activity continued with gas emissions and explosions, as documented by visitors (figure 62). The eruption continued through September and October with some strong explosions and multiple active vents visible in thermal satellite imagery (figure 63). Strombolian explosions ejecting fluid lava from rapidly expanding gas bubbles were recorded during October, and likely represented the typical activity during the surrounding months (figure 64). Along with vigorous degassing producing a persistent plume there was occasional ash content (figure 65). At some point during 20-29 October a small landslide occurred along the eastern inner wall of the crater, visible in satellite images and later confirmed to have produced ashfall at the summit (figure 66).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Different views of the Yasur vents on 7-8 August 2019 taken from a video. Strombolian activity and degassing were visible. Courtesy of Arnold Binas, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images show variations in detected thermal energy emitting from the active Yasur vents on 18 September and 22 December 2019. False color (bands 12, 11, 4) satellite images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. Strombolian explosions at Yasur during 25-27 October 2019. Large gas bubbles rise to the top of the lava column and burst, ejecting volcanic bombs – fluid chunks of lava, out of the vent. Photos by Justin Noonan, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Gas and ash emissions rise from the active vents at Yasur between 25-27 October 2019. Photos by Justin Noonan, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Planet Scope satellite images of Yasur show a change in the crater morphology between 20 and 29 October 2019. Copyright of Planet Labs.

Continuous explosive activity continued in November-February with some stronger explosions recorded along with accompanying gas emissions. Gas plumes of sulfur dioxide were detected by satellite sensors on some days through this period (figure 67) and ash content was present at times (figure 68). Thermal anomalies continued to be detected by satellite sensors with varying intensity, and with a reduction in intensity in February, as seen in Sentinel-2 imagery and the MIROVA system (figures 69 and 70).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. SO2 plumes detected at Yasur by Aura/OMI on 21 December 2019 and 31 January 2020, drifting W to NW, and on 14 and 23 February 2020, drifting W and south, and NWW to NW. Courtesy of Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, NASA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. An ash plume erupts from Yasur on 20 February 2020 and drifts NW. Courtesy of Planet Labs.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images show variations in detected thermal energy in the active Yasur vents during January and February 2020. False color (bands 12, 11, 4) satellite images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. The MIROVA thermal detection system recorded persistent thermal energy emitted at Yasur with some variation from mid-May 2019 to May 2020. There was a reduction in detected energy after January. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory/); 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); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); 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/); Justin Noonan (URL: https://www.justinnoonan.com/, Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/justinnoonan_/); Doro Adventures (Twitter: https://twitter.com/DoroAdventures, URL: http://doroadventures.com/).


Cleveland (United States) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Cleveland

United States

52.825°N, 169.944°W; summit elev. 1730 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal anomalies and lava dome subsidence, February 2019-January 2020

Cleveland is a stratovolcano located in the western portion of Chuginadak Island, a remote island part of the east central Aleutians. Common volcanism has included small lava flows, explosions, and ash clouds. Intermittent lava dome growth, small ash explosions, and thermal anomalies have characterized more recent activity (BGVN 44:02). For this reporting period during February 2019-January 2020, activity largely consisted of gas-and-steam emissions and intermittent thermal anomalies within the summit crater. The primary source of information comes from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) and various satellite data.

Low levels of unrest occurred intermittently throughout this reporting period with gas-and-steam emissions and thermal anomalies as the dominant type of activity (figures 30 and 31). An explosion on 9 January 2019 was followed by lava dome growth observed during 12-16 January. Suomi NPP/VIIRS sensor data showed two hotspots on 8 and 14 February 2019, though there was no evidence of lava within the summit crater at that time. According to satellite imagery from AVO, the lava dome was slowly subsiding during February into early March. Elevated surface temperatures were detected on 17 and 24 March in conjunction with degassing; another gas-and-steam plume was observed rising from the summit on 30 March. Thermal anomalies were again seen on 15 and 28 April using Suomi NPP/VIIRS sensor data. Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions continued as the number of detected thermal anomalies slightly increased during the next month, occurring on 1, 7, 15, 18, and 23 May. A gas-and-steam plume was observed on 9 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity (log radiative power) at Cleveland during 4 February 2019 through January 2020 shows increased thermal anomalies between mid-April to late November 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) confirmed intermittent thermal signatures occurring in the summit crater during March 2019 through October 2019. Some gas-and-steam plumes were observed accompanying the thermal anomaly, as seen on 17 March 2019 and 8 May 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

There were 10 thermal anomalies observed in June, and 11 each in July and August. Typical mild degassing was visible when photographed on 9 August (figure 32). On 14 August, seismicity increased, which included a swarm of a dozen local earthquakes. The lava dome emplaced in January was clearly visible in satellite imagery (figure 33). The number of thermal anomalies decreased the next month, occurring on 10, 21, and 25 September. During this month, a gas-and-steam plume was observed in a webcam image on 6, 8, 20, and 25 September. On 3-6, 10, and 21 October elevated surface temperatures were recorded as well as small gas-and-steam plumes on 4, 7, 13, and 20-25 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Photograph of Cleveland showing mild degassing from the summit vent taken on 9 August 2019. Photo by Max Kaufman; courtesy of AVO/USGS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Satellite image of Cleveland showing faint gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit crater. High-resolution image taken on 17 August 2019 showing the lava dome from January 2019 inside the crater (dark ring). Image created by Hannah Dietterich; courtesy of AVO/USGS and DigitalGlobe.

Four thermal anomalies were detected on 3, 6, and 8-9 November. According to a VONA report from AVO on 8 November, satellite data suggested possible slow lava effusion in the summit crater; however, by the 15th no evidence of eruptive activity had been seen in any data sources. Another thermal anomaly was observed on 14 January 2020. Gas-and-steam emissions observed in webcam images continued intermittently.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows intermittent weak thermal anomalies within 5 km of the crater summit during mid-April through November 2019 with a larger cluster of activity in early June, late July and early October (figure 30). Thermal satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 also detected weak thermal anomalies within the summit crater throughout the reporting period, occasionally accompanied by gas-and-steam plumes (figure 31).

Geologic Background. The beautifully symmetrical Mount Cleveland stratovolcano is situated at the western end of the uninhabited Chuginadak Island. It lies SE across Carlisle Pass strait from Carlisle volcano and NE across Chuginadak Pass strait from Herbert volcano. Joined to the rest of Chuginadak Island by a low isthmus, Cleveland is the highest of the Islands of the Four Mountains group and is one of the most active of the Aleutian Islands. The native name, Chuginadak, refers to the Aleut goddess of fire, who was thought to reside on the volcano. Numerous large lava flows descend the steep-sided flanks. It is possible that some 18th-to-19th century eruptions attributed to Carlisle should be ascribed to Cleveland (Miller et al., 1998). In 1944 Cleveland produced the only known fatality from an Aleutian eruption. Recent eruptions have been characterized by short-lived explosive ash emissions, at times accompanied by lava fountaining and lava flows down the flanks.

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); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 26, Number 12 (December 2001)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001) (Unknown)

Multi-year lidar from Hampton, VA, USA shows peaks and current low

Bezymianny (Russia)

Dark mid-December 2001 plume reaches 4 km above dome

Erta Ale (Ethiopia)

Dynamic, molten lava lake in S crater during November 2000-February 2001

Fournaise, Piton de la (France)

Erupting fissures on 5-16 January 2002 in l'Enclos Fouqué caldera

Ijen (Indonesia)

Higher-than-normal seismic activity from October 2001 through at least 6 January 2002

Kerinci (Indonesia)

Minor explosions, ash plumes, and seismicity from May 2001 through early 2002

Kilauea (United States)

Low-to-moderate tremor, surface lava flows and ocean entry through early 2002

Nyamuragira (DR Congo)

MODIS data for February 2001 eruption; no January 2002 eruption

Nyiragongo (DR Congo)

Mid-January 2002 lavas bury ~ 4.5 km2 of Goma's city center

Sheveluch (Russia)

Through January 2002, elevated seismicity, and an unstable, growing lava dome

Tofua (Tonga)

Typical fumarolic emissions continue; geologic mapping of cinder-cone complexes



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

Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001)

Unknown

Unknown, Unknown; summit elev. m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Multi-year lidar from Hampton, VA, USA shows peaks and current low

Despite their infrequent recent reporting in the Bulletin, lidar measurements remain relevant when discussing the atmospheric impact of volcanic eruptions. As discussed below, following the large-scale atmospheric perturbation caused by Pinatubo, smaller atmospheric perturbations have been infrequent, but the eruption of Shishaldin in April 1999 produced aerosol layers that were detected in North America and Europe (Bulletin v. 24, no. 4).

Reports about atmospheric effects of volcanic activity were last provided as follows: Bulletin v. 26, no. 5, "Volcanic aerosol optical thicknesses derived from lunar eclipse observations;" Bulletin v. 24, no. 4, "Tracing recent ash by satellite-borne sensors and ground-based lidar;" Bulletin v. 23, no. 12, "Lidar data from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany;" and Bulletin v. 23, no. 11, "Lidar data from Hampton, Virginia, USA."

NASA lidar measurements at Virginia, USA. Mary Osborn provided measurements from the 48-inch ground-based lidar system at NASA Langley Research Center (table 18) since May 1999. All measurements were taken at a wavelength of 694 nm. Their 48-inch lidar system was out of commission for ~8 months in late 1999 and early 2000, as they used some of its components to conduct the SAGE III Ozone Loss Validation Experiment (SOLVE). That campaign took place during November 1999-March 2000 based out of Kiruna, Sweden.

Table 18. Lidar data from Virginia, USA, for May 1999-December 2001 showing altitudes of aerosol layers. Backscattering ratios are for the ruby wavelength of 0.69 µm. The integrated values show total backscatter, expressed in steradians-1, integrated over 300-m intervals from the tropopause to 30 km. Courtesy of Mary Osborn.

DATE LAYER ALTITUDE (km) (peak) BACKSCATTERING RATIO BACKSCATTERING INTEGRATED
Hampton, Virginia (37.1°N, 76.3°W)
28 May 1999 15-26 (11.0) 1.14 5.28 x 10-5
24 Sep 1999 12-28 (20.3) 1.09 2.93 x 10-5
09 May 2000 16-27 (20.5) 1.08 2.65 x 10-5
08 Sep 2000 14-30 (20.5) 1.08 2.06 x 10-5
12 Oct 2000 15-28 (17.5) 1.08 2.72 x 10-5
20 Oct 2000 14-30 (17.5) 1.12 5.65 x 10-5
30 Oct 2000 12-30 (28.6) 1.12 6.31 x 10-5
27 Feb 2001 12-28 (22.1) 1.12 4.97 x 10-5
01 May 2001 15-27 (19.4) 1.09 2.26 x 10-5
24 May 2001 17-28 (21.8) 1.09 3.28 x 10-5
07 Sep 2001 15-28 (17.0) 1.11 2.88 x 10-5
04 Oct 2001 15-30 (16.9) 1.08 2.38 x 10-5
16 Oct 2001 15-30 (17.5) 1.08 2.36 x 10-5
07 Nov 2001 12-29 (18.5) 1.08 3.56 x 10-5
22 Nov 2001 13-30 (18.8) 1.10 5.01 x 10-5
04 Dec 2001 12-28 (24.8) 1.12 4.85 x 10-5

Figure 13 presents an overview of stratospheric integrated aerosol backscatter since 1974. A slight increase in stratospheric integrated backscatter occurred during late 1998-99, at least partly attributed to the Shishaldin event and several smaller eruptions. After that, the stratospheric integrated backscatter returned to the "background" aerosol loading measured in 1978-1979. Although the current level of stratospheric aerosol loading remains low, another major volcanic eruption could change the situation quite suddenly.

Figure with caption Figure 13. A plot of the 48-inch lidar data versus time showing the stratospheric integrated aerosol backscatter measured since 1974. Important volcanic eruptions that may have led to increased northern mid-latitude aerosol loading are noted on the time axis. Courtesy of Mary Osborn.

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

Information Contacts: Mary Osborn, NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC), MS 475, Hampton, VA 23681, USA.


Bezymianny (Russia) — December 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dark mid-December 2001 plume reaches 4 km above dome

During September 2001 through early January 2002, seismicity at Bezymianny remained at or near background levels, although one mid-December outburst was striking. Weak fumarolic activity was observed on 15, 18, and 20 September, on 8, 12, 27, and 29 October, on 1 November, and during 1-2, 6, and 8-10 January. Weak shallow earthquakes were registered under the volcano beginning on 10 November. The earthquakes became stronger beginning on 22 November, but seismicity remained near background levels. Gas-and-steam plumes were observed throughout the report period reaching 50-800 m above the dome and extending up to 60 km from the volcano.

On 16 December, a plume reached 4 km above the dome and extended 60 km NW. The plume appeared dark from 20 km away. Plumes on 8-10 January extended 5-20 km S and NW. On 10 and 12-13 December, gas-and-steam plumes rose to 300 m above the volcano and extended 40 km W, SW, and SE.

Thermal anomalies were observed on satellite imagery several times during December 2001 and early January 2002 (table 1). On 10 December, a four-pixel thermal anomaly was visible, along with a faint, ash-poor plume that extended 87 km SE from the volcano.

Table 1. Thermal anomalies visible on satellite imagery at Bezymianny during December 2001 through 6 January 2002. The anomaly was centered over the dome on 12-13 December 2001. Courtesy KVERT.

Date Local Time Pixels Recovery pixels Maximum band-3 temperature Background temperature
10 Dec 2001 0617 4 -- 10.3°C -29°C
12 Dec 2001 1658 4 2-3 ~49°C -27 to -28°C
13 Dec 2001 0644 4 2-3 ~49°C -27 to -28°C
13 Dec 2001 1635 10 -- 33.8°C -14°C
14 Dec 2001 0622 10 2 48.2°C -22°C
14 Dec 2001 1611 14 -- 49.5°C -13°C
15 Dec 2001 0559 5 1 48.5°C -36°C
21 Dec 2001 0446 1 -- 9.8°C -28.3°C
21 Dec 2001 1834 1 -- -3.44°C -30°C
22 Dec 2001 1810 1 -- -14.03°C -30°C
25 Dec 2001 morning 1 -- -8°C -30°C
31 Dec 2001 0621 1 -- -14°C -26°C
01 Jan 2002 1703 1 -- -7.3°C -24°C
06 Jan 2002 1707 1 -- -6°C -23°C

The Concern Color Code was raised from Green ("volcano is dormant" ) to Yellow ("volcano is restless"). Activity increased during 14-21 December, when many weak shallow earthquakes occurred within the edifice and other local shallow seismic events (possible avalanches) were registered. The Concern Color Code was increased to Orange ("eruption may occur at any time") until around 25 December, when seismicity decreased again. The Concern Color Code was reduced to Green by the end of 2001 and remained there through at least 25 January.

Geologic Background. Prior to its noted 1955-56 eruption, Bezymianny had been considered extinct. The modern volcano, much smaller in size than its massive neighbors Kamen and Kliuchevskoi, was formed about 4700 years ago over a late-Pleistocene lava-dome complex and an ancestral edifice built about 11,000-7000 years ago. Three periods of intensified activity have occurred during the past 3000 years. The latest period, which was preceded by a 1000-year quiescence, began with the dramatic 1955-56 eruption. This eruption, similar to that of St. Helens in 1980, produced a large horseshoe-shaped crater that was formed by collapse of the summit and an associated lateral blast. Subsequent episodic but ongoing lava-dome growth, accompanied by intermittent explosive activity and pyroclastic flows, has largely filled the 1956 crater.

Information Contacts: Olga Chubarova, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Tom Miller, Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) (URL: https://www.avo.alaska.edu/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, Tokyo, Japan (URL: https://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/).


Erta Ale (Ethiopia) — December 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Erta Ale

Ethiopia

13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dynamic, molten lava lake in S crater during November 2000-February 2001

The Afar National Regional State has approved a program to grant access to Erta Ale volcano by either land or air transportation. The program, which will precede the formation of a "National Park of Volcanoes," enables visitation by natural science field workers. It also allows for traditional mining and salt transportation by caravans and seeks to protect the traditional life of the region's inhabitants.

Observations during 14 November 2000. Luigi Cantamessa (Géo-Découverte), accompanied by government representatives, visited the N part of the elliptical summit caldera (figure 7) on 14 November 2000. Little had changed since last described in December 1995 (BGVN 20:11/12), but continued collapse of the N crater wall was noted. Dense smoke came from the S rim of the crater, with a very strong smell of sulfur, as in the past. GPS measurements of elevation indicated that the E wall of the N crater was ~600 m high and the N rim, the highest point of the volcano, was ~15 m higher.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Aerial photograph showing the N part of the Erta Ale caldera. In this view looking generally W, the inactive northern crater (with fumarolic emissions) is on the right and the southern crater with an active lava lake is on the left. Courtesy of L. Cantamessa, Géo-Découverte.

The S crater (figure 8), in the central part of the caldera, contained a molten lava lake and had undergone some changes since the 1995 visit. A portion (1-2 m thick) of the NE wall had collapsed. The level of the lava lake, still in the W part of the crater, showed significant variations. The terraces on the E side of the crater appear to have been swamped by lava, after which the lake level apparently receded. The present level appeared to be lower than in 1995. A terrace of 2-3 m width now surrounds the lake at the foot of the crater walls. Intense activity was observed at the lake's surface. There were rapid movements of the surface from S to N. Many lava fountains reached ~10-15 m high.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Aerial photograph looking down into the southern crater of Erta Ale. The crater is about 145 m in diameter, with an active lava lake. Courtesy of L. Cantamessa, Géo-Découverte.

Observations during 29-30 January 2001. An expedition sponsored by Aventure et Volcansmade crater observations for 48 hours during 29-30 January 2001. Because of the extremely dry and hot climate that prevails in this region, smoke or vapor rarely obscured visual observations. The N crater exhibited only fumarolic activity, but due to thick fumes from its southern portion, gas masks were necessary for those who climbed into the crater.

The S crater was determined to be ~170 x 130 m, with the active lava lake (figure 9) on the W side having a diameter of ~121 m. The lava lake was located, based on GPS measurements, at 13° 36' 11" N, 40° 39' 49" E. Cyclic activity, approximately every 4 hours, consisted of the thin, dark crust on the lake surface splitting and causing a "fantastic" bubbling of the liquid lava across the entire ~12,000 m2 of the lake surface. Vigorous degassing created lava fountains 10-20 m high. Several times local collapses were seen which mainly affected the vertical walls in the SE part of the crater. The level of the lava lake remained stable.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Evening photograph showing the active lava lake in the southern crater of Erta Ale during 29-30 January 2001. Molten lava can be seen around the edges and through fractures in the cooled surface of the lake. Courtesy of Guy de Saint-Cyr, Aventure et Volcans.

Observations during 13-18 February 2001. Between 13 and 18 February 2001 two groups from the Société de Volcanologie (SVG), in an expedition organized by Géo-Découverte, reached the volcano by land and by helicopter (3 days later). The principal topographic elements in the N part of the caldera were the subject of GPS and telemetric measurements. The active S crater contained an elliptical lake (80 x 100 m) with a surface level 80 m below the rim and lava fountains rising 5-10 m high.

The relative absence of gas in the active crater allowed excellent observations. Over a period of 14 hours, Yves Bessard and Alain de Chambrier recorded details of the activity occurring at the lava lake, including lake movements and lava fountains. The surface of the lake was renewed approximately every 10 minutes. A continuous video recording over a period of 77 minutes was also taken from the edge of the lava lake at the bottom of the crater.

Systematic measurements of fumarole temperatures were made, primarily on the edge of the N crater and the external N edge of the caldera; values ranged from 60°C to more than 260°C at the strongly active N-crater fumaroles.

The last previous thermal measurements at Erta Ale were carried out in the 1970s by a team led by Haroun Tazieff; the most recent temperatures reported in the literature were obtained from infra-red satellite data (work mainly carried out by Oppenheimer, Francis, and Rothery). The thermal measurements collected by Marc Caillet, Steven Haefeli, and Pierre-Yves Burgi during 13-15 February 2001 are summarized below; more details on this fieldwork will be published in a journal paper.

The SVG team used a pyrometer, which works by remotely measuring the infrared radiations emitted by the lava, for the temperature measurements. Temperature calculations need an emissivity factor, the determination of which required an approach to the lava lake. For the temperature measurement of the crust, the only accessible part of the lake, the following protocol was followed. Using a steel wire, a steel sheet of 18 x 18 cm (8 mm thickness) containing a hole in which the thermocouple was inserted was deposited on the crust of the lake. Because of the distance separating the terrace from the lake (estimated at 15 m), this required the coordination of three people (Marc Caillet, Steven Haefeli, and Pierre-Yves Burgi). Caillet, standing where the ambient temperature reached 300°C, was equipped with a reflective cloth and used a large 8-m steel pole to move the thermocouple away from the wall.

Once the steel sheet was in contact with the lake's crust, temperature measurements were carried out every 30 seconds for 10 minutes, then each minute during the next 20 minutes, until the temperature stabilized. The temperature recorded at this time was 350°C. A pyrometric measurement in the same area of the thermocouple indicated a temperature of 342°C (with an emissivity index set to 0.9 on the pyrometer). By combining the temperatures obtained with the thermocouple and the pyrometer, and knowing the wavelength used by the pyrometer, an emissivity factor of 0.74 was determined. By collecting a sample of basalt, it was possible to confirm this value by the use of a furnace.

Acquisition of temperatures at various lake locations was carried out by pyrometry. Continuous pyrometric measurements were taken over periods of several tens of minutes (with a measurement each second) and were collected on a portable computer. The crust, many faults, and lava fountains were the three types of areas considered. These measurements were made from the edge of the pit and from the lower terrace. The measurements made near the lake were of primary importance because both the absorption of radiation by magmatic gases between the source and the observer and the enlarging of the pyrometer field of view with distance are two factors which tend to distort measurements. A difference of about 25°C was observed between the maxima measured from the edge and the bottom of the pit. In addition, the temperature measurements were taken at night in order to avoid any pollution due to the solar radiation (which can distort values up to 90%). The highest recorded temperature, 1,217°C, was found in a lava fountain. The temperature of the crust of the lake was very variable, 290°C near the cliffs to 520°C in the center of the lake, with an average of 474°C.

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

Information Contacts: Luigi Cantamessa, Geó-Découverte, 12-14 rue de Cendrier, CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland (URL: http://geo-decouverte.ch/); Annie Buard, Christophe Toussaint, Jean Claude Boissonnet, Philippe Roy, and Guy de Saint-Cyr, Aventure et Volcans, 73 cours de la Liberté, 69003 Lyon, France; P. Vetsch, Marc Caillet, Steven Haefeli, and Pierre-Yves Burgi, Société de Volcanologie (SVG), PO Box 6423, CH-1211 Geneva 6, Switzerland (URL: http://www.volcan.ch/).


Piton de la Fournaise (France) — December 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Piton de la Fournaise

France

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Erupting fissures on 5-16 January 2002 in l'Enclos Fouqué caldera

An eruption began on 5 January 2002 and continued until 16 January. The eruption, which sent lava to the sea, followed several months of increased seismicity. The most recent previous eruption occurred during 11 June-7 July 2001 (BGVN 26:07).

Seismicity during October 2001-January 2002. During 3-9 October the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPDLF) reported that, beginning in early September, seismicity increased to ~10 events per day. Seismic activity further increased during early October, with up to 40 daily earthquakes. In the first half of October an average of 16 earthquakes per day occurred; in the second half the daily average increased to 26 events. On 5 November seismometers registered 129 earthquakes, an anomalously large number. Their hypocenters plotted at 0.62 km under the N edge of Bory Crater. In November, ~30-50 earthquakes occurred per day.

During late September through mid-October, the volcano was at Alert Level 1, and significant tilt variations were detected S of Dolomieu Crater. These events occurred simultaneously with the widening of fissures at two extensometer stations on the N and S flanks, suggesting slight summit inflation. The extensometer variations were ~3-4 times smaller than those during previous eruptions. Seismicity disappeared until the end of December, but increased again during 26-30 December when the daily earthquake counts were 17, 49, 62, and 70.

On 26 January 2002 a total of 17 earthquakes occurred, including two M 1.8 events. The earthquakes were mostly located 0.5-1.5 km below sea level, and their epicenters were beneath the N edge of Bory to Dolomieu craters. Extensometers at Magne and Chateau Fort continued to reveal slow opening of cracks, reaching 0.27 mm on 27 January.

On that same day 49 earthquakes were recorded, including events of M 2.2, 2.0, and 1.8. On 28 December during 0400-1000 a total of 48 earthquakes registered. The extensometers at Magnes and Château Fort continued to show a slow opening of the cracks. The tiltmeters, which had remained stable since the beginning of December, showed a resumption of inflation. On 29 January seismometers recorded 62 earthquakes, including an M 2.3 event. On 30 January a total of 70 earthquakes included M 2.2 and 2.0 events. Opening of the cracks at Magnes and Chateau Fort continued to progress and reached 0.28 mm.

New eruption during 5-16 January 2002. An eruption began at 2300 on 5 January and ended at 1615 on 16 January. On 5 January fire fountaining occurred and lava flowed from four cracks that opened in the NE part of l'Enclos Fouqué caldera and continued towards the foot of the Nez Coupé de Sainte Rose, a feature located on the E side of the active field of lava flows (see map showing the location of previous fissures there in BGVN 23:09). By 6 January only two cracks remained active and lava flows reached ~1,100 m elevation on the projecting ledge of the Plaine des Osmondes.

On 6 January at 2100 the eruption was visible from Piton Sainte Rose and from the National Road RN2. During 7-9 January, the eruption continued but tremor progressively decreased. On 9 January the tremor was half that of the previous day and almost no fire-fountaining was visible. Other seismicity persisted, although on 7 January only four low-magnitude earthquakes were detected. By 8 January the reading on the Château Fort extensometer had decreased only slightly since the eruption began. Readings at the Magnes extensometer continued to increase slightly.

A field excursion around this time found no further incandescent lava visibly flowing at distance from the vent areas. Observers noted that the initial flow did not extend beyond the Plaine des Osmondes. On the other hand, the interior of the eruption cone was still hot, strong degassing was audible, and small, nearly continuous projections of molten material took place, although the emitted volume was negligible.

Tremor decreased during 7-11 January. As few as 8 small shallow earthquakes were recorded per day. On 12 January tremor started to increase almost continually in comparison to the previous day, and numerous earthquakes were recorded ~4 km beneath the Plaine des Osmondes, near the N caldera wall.

During the evening of 12 January, a new fissure opened at the base of the rampart in the lower part of the Plaine des Osmondes. Lava flowed from a lava tunnel down into the Grand Brûlé close to the northern rampart. On 14 January lava flowed across the highway on its way to the ocean, entering it at 1540. By 15 January tremor was stable and 160 earthquakes were recorded over a 24-hour period on the N side of the volcano. At 0600 a swarm of low-frequency earthquakes was recorded in the NE rift zone.

After 12 days of lava emission and associated tremor, the eruption ended on 16 January, marked by a sudden, large decrease in lava emission at 1610 and the termination of tremor at 1910. After the eruption ended a large number of long-period earthquakes were recorded below the summit and the Plaine des Osmondes, indicating the continued presence of magma beneath the NE rift zone. The total lava volume emitted was estimated to be 10-15 x 106 m3.

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

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPDLF), 14 RN3, le 27Km, 97418 La Plaine des Cafres, La Réunion, France.


Ijen (Indonesia) — December 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Ijen

Indonesia

8.058°S, 114.242°E; summit elev. 2769 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Higher-than-normal seismic activity from October 2001 through at least 6 January 2002

During 1 October 2001 through at least 6 January 2002, activity at Ijen was higher than normal, though low visibility often restricted visual observation of the summit. Activity included heightened continuous tremor, shallow volcanic (B-type) earthquakes, and one small explosion earthquake (table 2). No deep volcanic (A-type) earthquakes were reported.

Table 2. Summary of seismicity at Ijen during 1 October 2001- 6 January 2002. The left-hand column shows time intervals; the other columns indicate the number of earthquakes or maximum tremor amplitudes seen during the time intervals. Courtesy of the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI).

Date Shallow volcanic earthquakes (B-type) Small explosion earthquakes Tectonic earthquakes Continuous tremor (max. amp.)
01 Oct-07 Oct 2001 10 -- 1 0.5-6 mm
15 Oct-21 Oct 2001 4 -- 2 0.5-3 mm
22 Oct-28 Oct 2001 5 -- 7 0.5-5 mm
29 Oct-04 Nov 2001 6 -- -- 0.5-6 mm
05 Nov-11 Nov 2001 2 -- 2 0.5-2 mm
12 Nov-18 Nov 2001 1 1 1 0.5-4 mm
19 Nov-25 Nov 2001 4 -- -- 0.5-5 mm
26 Nov-02 Dec 2001 3 -- -- 0.5-6 mm
03 Dec-09 Dec 2001 3 -- -- 0.5-3 mm
17 Dec-30 Dec 2001 5 -- 3 0.5-4 mm
31 Dec-06 Jan 2002 3 -- 1 0.5-4 mm

During 1-7 October a thin, white, low-pressure plume was observed reaching ~50-100 m above the summit. Ijen volcano remained at Alert Level 2 (on a scale of 1-4) through at least 6 January 2002.

Geologic Background. The Ijen volcano complex at the eastern end of Java consists of a group of small stratovolcanoes constructed within the large 20-km-wide Ijen (Kendeng) caldera. The north caldera wall forms a prominent arcuate ridge, but elsewhere the caldera rim is buried by post-caldera volcanoes, including Gunung Merapi, which forms the high point of the complex. Immediately west of the Gunung Merapi stratovolcano is the historically active Kawah Ijen crater, which contains a nearly 1-km-wide, turquoise-colored, acid lake. Picturesque Kawah Ijen is the world's largest highly acidic lake and is the site of a labor-intensive sulfur mining operation in which sulfur-laden baskets are hand-carried from the crater floor. Many other post-caldera cones and craters are located within the caldera or along its rim. The largest concentration of cones forms an E-W zone across the southern side of the caldera. Coffee plantations cover much of the caldera floor, and tourists are drawn to its waterfalls, hot springs, and volcanic scenery.

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


Kerinci (Indonesia) — December 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor explosions, ash plumes, and seismicity from May 2001 through early 2002

During May 2001 through at least early January 2002, seismic activity at Kerinci was dominated by small explosion earthquakes. Plumes were visible above the summit and generally drifted E throughout most of the report period (table 1). Minor explosions occurred and on 9 August an explosion was accompanied by a booming sound heard by people working in rice fields around the volcano. At 0925 the same day a brown, high-pressure plume was observed reaching 700 m above the summit. The plume was visible drifting NNE for ~5 minutes.

Table 1. Seismicity at Kerinci during 7 May 2001 through 6 January 2002. The left-hand column shows time intervals; the adjacent four columns indicate the number of earthquakes or maximum tremor amplitudes seen during the time intervals; the right-hand column adds comments about plume heights. Courtesy VSI.

Date Deep volcanic Shallow volcanic Small explosion Tectonic Plume color and height
07 May-13 May 2001 1 1 436 4 White-thick; 800 m
14 May-20 May 2001 2 3 973 6 --
28 May-03 Jun 2001 -- 7 47 12 Gray; 100-800 m
04 Jun-10 Jun 2001 4 -- 24 7 Gray; 100-300 m
11 Jun-17 Jun 2001 -- 4 continuous 6 Gray; 100-500 m
18 Jun-24 Jun 2001 2 1 continuous 9 Gray; 100-1000 m
25 Jun-01 Jul 2001 1 3 continuous 10 White; 500 m
02 Jul-08 Jul 2001 -- -- 360 10 --
30 Jul-12 Aug 2001 6 6 990 16 Brown; 700 m
13 Aug-26 Aug 2001 1 6 2252 10 White-brown; 500 m
27 Aug-02 Sep 2001 1 2 971 9 Gray; 400 m
03 Sep-09 Sep 2001 1 1 1128 9 Gray; 500 m
10 Sep-16 Sep 2001 5 6 2281 5 Gray; 600 m
17 Sep-23 Sep 2001 3 4 920 6 Gray; 300 m
24 Sep-30 Sep 2001 2 6 1162 6 White-thick; 500 m
01 Oct-07 Oct 2001 2 1 1187 3 White-thick; 400 m
08 Oct-14 Oct 2001 -- 6 219 7 White-thick; 700 m
15 Oct-21 Oct 2001 1 1 continuous 7 White-thick; 700 m
22 Oct-28 Oct 2001 1 11 continuous 4 White-thick; 300 m
29 Oct-04 Nov 2001 4 6 continuous 3 White-thick; 400 m
05 Nov-11 Nov 2001 1 2 310 3 White-thick; 50-300 m
12 Nov-18 Nov 2001 1 3 329 9 White-thick; 50-300 m
19 Nov-25 Nov 2001 3 1 continuous 4 White-thick; 50-500 m
26 Nov-02 Dec 2001 1 -- 664 3 White-thick; 50-300 m
03 Dec-09 Dec 2001 -- -- 736 10 50-400 m
17 Dec-30 Dec 2001 6 4 continuous 9 Gray; 100-800 m
30 Dec-06 Jan 2002 1 -- 341 13 White; 50-100 m

Eruptive activity stopped briefly during mid-August. During 0800-1200 on 9 September, explosive activity produced a brown ash plume that rose 500 m above the summit. Gas pressure was low in early November and seismic activity decreased slightly. The volcano remained at Alert Level 2 (on a scale of 1-4) throughout the report period.

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

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


Kilauea (United States) — December 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Low-to-moderate tremor, surface lava flows and ocean entry through early 2002

During September 2001 through at least early 2002, minor seismic events occurred and tremor remained low to moderate at Kilauea's summit and at Pu`u `O`o. Tiltmeters across the volcano showed some deformation, which is normal for Kilauea. A significant tilt event occurred on 9 December, but was not accompanied by unusual seismicity or change in eruptive activity. A survey of vertical and horizontal movement concluded that during 2001 Kilauea's summit continued to subside at a maximum rate of 7cm/year as magma moved from the summit reservoir to the Pu`u `O`o vent; the S flank moved seaward at a maximum rate of 7cm/year. Lava broke out of the tube system and continued to flow down the Paluma Pali slope, resulting in bench growth at the new Kamoamoa ocean entry.

Geophysical activity. Small deflation events occurred at Kilauea's summit on 12, 13, and 28 September, a large decrease followed by tremor on 17 October. By 21 October tremor at Pu`u `O`o became rather continuous; however, short bursts of higher amplitude tremor returned by 24 October. During 1-8 November weak, long-period earthquakes occurred frequently at the summit. On 8 December rapid deflation (~2.4 µrad) took place at Kilauea's summit, followed shortly thereafter by deflation (~1.9 µrad) at Pu`u `O`o cone. On 9 December abrupt inflation (6 µrad) at Kilauea's summit was followed by much weaker inflation at Pu`u `O`o. Strong earthquakes and tremor accompanied the inflation. A shallow M 3.4 earthquake was registered beneath the SE corner of the caldera. The end of summit inflation and beginning of deflation were notably abrupt. By 10 December, seismicity had returned to normal levels at the summit and tremor at Pu`u `O`o remained moderate.

On 1 January during 1200-2300, deflation occurred at Kilauea's summit (~2.3 µrad), followed shortly thereafter by deflation (~2.5 µrad) at Pu`u `O`o cone. On 3 January during 1210-1950, inflation (~1.6 µrad) was again recorded at Kilauea's summit. A small deflation followed on 11 January.

Through mid-January numerous small, long-period earthquakes with bursts of tremor registered at Kilauea's summit and tilt across the volcano showed no significant deformation.

Lava flow. On 6 September a surface lava flow broke out in the E part of the flow field at an elevation of ~ 600 m on the Pulama Pali slope. The lava followed the route of the E tube from the top to the base of the slope, across the coastal flat and into the ocean at the E Kupapa`u ocean entry. On 13 September two surface flows were active along the W tube system of the Pulama Pali slope. During 28-29 September, a lava flow located W of the active flow field began to enter the ocean at a new area S of an old Kamoamoa camping area. The new W flow developed a tube system by 30 September that could reroute lava from East Kupapa'u to the Kamoamoa entry.

Throughout October lava broke out of the Kamoamoa tube system and flowed on the surface along the entire Puluma Pali slope. Flows increased along the main tube and E Kupapa'u. Around 13 November the Kamoamoa flow was confined to the tube system with at least five points of sea entry. Through the end of November, lava was mostly confined to the tube systems with a few surface flows that broke out of the tubes and produced patches of incandescence.

During December, surface flows and breakouts occurred along all tube systems from just below Pu`u `O`o to the coast. On 10 December, major breakouts were in progress just below Pu`u `O`o. On 18 December two parallel flows moved down Pulama Pali, both along the track of the Kamoamoa tube. The flows, which were sluggish and more than half crusted over, broke out from the tube in the upper half of the slope and descended to the lower third before becoming entirely crusted over. On 20 December a 3-m tall hornito formed at an elevation of ~700 m from a break in the roof of the main lava tube (figure 153).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 153. On 20 December at Kilauea a 3-m tall hornito formed at an elevation of ~ 700 m from a break in the roof of the main lava tube. Incandescence was observed at the base of the hornito. Courtesy HVO.

During early January 2002, surface lava flows were visible on Pulama Pali coming from the Kamoamoa lava tube system. A surface flow reached 1.5-2 km down the upper portion of the flow field above the Pulama Pali slope.

Ocean entry. Through most of September lava generally continued to flow down the Pulama Pali slope, across the coastal flat, and into the ocean at the E Kupapa'u ocean entry. The ocean entry tube and the W tube carried lava that broke out on the coastal flat, and the E Kupapa'u bench remained active. Field mapping on 18 September revealed that the relatively larger W flow was within ~ 625 m of the coastline about 1.8 km W of the entry location at East Kupapa`u. Lava flows located W of the active flow field began to enter the ocean at a new area on 28-29 September. By 30 September a new lava bench and an adjacent black sand beach began to form. The new entry, fed by the W flow, was located 500-600 m seaward of the old site of Kamoamoa, 3.7 km from Chain of Craters road.

By 2 October the Kamoamoa bench had widened ten's of meters. The E bench was no longer active and showed signs of rapid erosion under heavy surf. The W bench extended 70 m farther W, reaching a length of about 190 m parallel to the shoreline and extending 60-70 m out from the old sea cliff. The feeding tube, called the Kamoamoa tube, remained small, with supply estimated to be about 15% of the total flux coming from Pu`u `O`o. By mid-October, lava continued to enter the ocean at both E Kupapa'u entries.

On 14 October surf erosion was gradually claiming the eastern part of the bench. Several small-to-moderate littoral explosions were observed at the point where lava entered the sea. By 28 October activity had decreased at the Kamoamoa entry and its bench reached 120 m from the old sea cliff. Surface flow had ended and all lava reached the bench through tubes. On 31 October a new entry point was observed roughly midway between E Kupapa'u and Kamoamoa.

Lava continued to flow into the sea at the Kamoamoa, Kupapa'u, and E Kupapa'u entries through November and December. By 18 November the Kupapa'u entry was inactive, and by 5 December much of the Kupapa'u bench had fallen into the ocean. By 20 December, the Kamoamoa bench was 360 m long, 130 m wide, and was littered with blocks and black sand.

During early January 2002, lava flowed into the ocean at the Kamoamoa entry from multiple locations, mostly at the tip of the bench and especially in the western third or quarter of the bench. The amount of lava entering the ocean at the E Kupapa'u entry was very small.

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

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


Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — December 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


MODIS data for February 2001 eruption; no January 2002 eruption

The eruption that began on 6 February 2001 (BGVN 26:03) continued through at least early April. An update from the Goma Volcanological Observatory since our last report stated that the February eruption was preceded by swarm of low-frequency earthquakes that began on 16 December 2000. The eruption started from the summit caldera of Nyamuragira and formed four cones: two on the N flank, one on the S flank, and one inside the caldera. The two main cones were symmetrical and located on the N (Amani) and S (Tumayhini) flanks, along the fissure connecting Nyamuragira and Nyiragongo. Lava flows extended up to 15 km from the two main cones. Ash fell up to 20 km away, damaging farmland and causing health problems.

The Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology at the School of Ocean and Earth Science Technology (HIGP/SOEST) tracked the eruption using MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) global hot-spot data. No hot spots were seen at Nyamuragira until 7 February 2001. Figures 19 and 20 show examples of the hot spot maps for Nyamuragira during 7-12 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. On 7 February 2001 at Nyamuragira the first-detected hot spot, a ~ 7 x 5 km anomaly, was seen on MODIS satellite imagery on the N flank of the volcano centered 7-10 km due N of the summit. The rectangle indicates the area shown in the following figure. Courtesy HIGP/SOEST.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. MODIS satellite imagery over Nyamuragira and vicinity revealed a series of hot-spot anomalies on 8, 11, and 12 February 2001. Compared to the anomaly seen on the previous day, on the 8th, the similarly situated N flank anomaly had increased in size. In addition, a second anomaly (~ 13 x 6 km) was conspicuous just SSE of the summit. On 11and 12 February the two anomalies remained similar to each other and to those on the 8 February image, though the anomalies become less circular than those of the 7 and 8 February images. The 11-12 February images contained a N-flank anomaly that trended NNE for ~ 22 km and the S-flank anomaly trended E for ~ 17 km. Courtesy HIGP/SOEST.

As of 10 March, no lava fountains were observed and all flows had stopped. Only very dense "smoke" was observed coming from the cones. Unlike previous eruptions at Nyamuragira, no significant high-frequency earthquakes were observed; these usually signal the end of the eruption.

After 15 March through at least July 2001, the same seismic patterns that preceded the February eruption were observed. During the end of June, the Goma Volcanological Observatory reported that the magnitude of the low-frequency earthquakes and the amplitude of volcanic tremor had increased significantly. Scientists believed this increased activity could signal a large eruption sometime in the near future. The high seismic activity could also be related to regeneration of the Nyamuragira lava lake or to activity of the Nyiragongo lava lake.

False eruption report, January 2002. Rumors of a new eruption at Nyamuragira circulated soon after a 17 January eruption at Nyiragongo (see this Bulletin). Ash was allegedly ejected from the N flank of Nyamuragira on 22 January, but the reports could not be confirmed because of poor visibility. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), volcanologists determined that ash observed in Goma on 22 January originated from the collapse of Nyiragongo's inner crater and not from a new eruption at Nyamuragira.

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: Dieudonné Wafula, Observatore Volcanologie de Goma (RDC-E), Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo; Andy Harris, Eric Pilger and Luke Flynn, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology at the School of Ocean and Earth Science Technology (HIGP/SOEST), University of Hawaii, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822; United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), United Nations, New York, NY 10017 USA (URL: https://reliefweb.int/).


Nyiragongo (DR Congo) — December 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Mid-January 2002 lavas bury ~ 4.5 km2 of Goma's city center

An eruption began at Nyiragongo on 17 January 2002 with some lava flows and possibly their feeding fissure vents entering the city of Goma (~18 km S of the volcano, population ~400,000) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and threatening refugee camps (figure 10). Encroaching lava spurred massive evacuations of the city. A great deal of conflicting information exists concerning the numbers of people killed or displaced, the amount of property destroyed, the specific paths of the lava flows, etc.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Sketch map showing the location of Nyiragongo and other nearby volcanoes. The boundary between the Democratic Republic of Congo (NW) and Rwanda (SE) is shown as a yellow line; roads are red, and the national park boundary is black. National park areas are lighter shades of green (in DR Congo) and blue (in Rwanda). Modified from a base map courtesy of Wheeling Jesuit University/ NASA Classroom of the Future.

The following is taken primarily from reports by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the U.S. Agency for International Development - Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), and the aid organization Oxfam International.

Numerous dramatic press reports showed multiple lava flows engulfing Goma; city streets became paths for rough-surfaced lava flows, and numerous buildings collapsed, burned, or both. In the end, one of the flows passed completely through Goma to enter Lake Kivu and proceeded to build a lava delta. The lava flows damaged or destroyed agricultural areas around Goma, covered the N part of the runway at the airport, and cut off access to parts of the town. Lava flows destroyed both residential and business districts as well as a cathedral.

Authorities in Goma reported that more than 150,000 people remained there during the peak of the lava flow activity. A report from the UN and USAID/OFDA on 23 January estimated that 147 people were killed because of lava flows and seismically induced building collapses. According to Oxfam International, ~60,000 people lost their homes.

The UN report stated that up to ~250,000 people were displaced as a result of the eruption. These and possibly other displaced people were concentrated in the following places: Goma, DRC (62,500); Sake, DRC (5,000); Rutshuru, DRC (5,000); in camps along the eastern DRC frontier near Gisenyi, Rwanda (6,000-10,000); in Ruhengeri, Rwanda (4,000); in Bukavu, DRC (15,000); in surrounding areas (30,000), in six sites near the NW shore of Lake Kivu (up to 60,000) and in area villages (60,000).

17-21 January 2002 eruption. The start time of the 17 January eruption is uncertain. According to Agence France-Presse, Nyiragongo began to erupt at about 0500. USAID/OFDA reported that the eruption began at about 0930. Most reports stated that three lava flows moved down the E, W, and S flanks. During a 17 January phone conversation with BGVN editors, Richard McDonald, a missionary in the Congo region, noted that his sources had suggested that lava flows traveled to the E, N, and S. Two flows traveled directly S through Goma and divided the city in three. One of these flows continued into Lake Kivu.

MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) images from 17 January at 1050 showed a substantial ash plume moving W from Nyiragongo (figure 11).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. An annotated MODIS satellite image showing the region surrounding Nyiragongo as captured at 1050 on 17 January 2002. Lava flows are not yet conspicuous at this stage of the eruption. Instead, a W-trending ash plume is visible extending more than 150 km from the volcano. Courtesy NASA.

OCHA stated that at 1100 on 17 January observers flew over the volcano in a helicopter and reported a large lava flow approaching Goma. The lava flow cut the road between Goma and Rutshuru (to the N, figure 10). By 1430, with a small hill slowing its progress, the lava flow had reached 2 km N of the airport and was still progressing southward. The lava flow had reached a width of 2 km, and its velocity was estimated at 2-3 m/minute (0.2 km/hour), a very slow flow rate compared to those reported for the very high velocity 1977 eruption which reached up to 60-100 km/hour (see SEAN 02:03). The smaller of the two lava flows heading toward Goma cut the road leading in from the W (figure 12). OCHA reported that a fourth fissure opened during the afternoon of 17 January. A total of 14 neighboring villages were affected by the lava flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Map of Goma showing lavas from the 17-21 January 2002 eruption of Nyiragongo. Lavas from the eruption ultimately trisected Goma and one branch entered Lake Kivu. Courtesy OCHA Humanitarian Information Center (HIC).

News reports made much about fires in Goma. Fuel depots exploded and kerosene storage facilities at the airport burned. On 21 January a petrol station exploded killing ten's of people (~50 according to news reports). A UN worker in Goma reported that the air was full of ash and dust during the eruption. News reports also emphasized the fires' smoke and soot.

On 18 January, OCHA reported that tremors occurred every hour, and some were strong enough to damage buildings in Gisenyi (figure 10). Several tremors were felt as far away as at the S end of Lake Kivu in Bukavu (~125 km SE). As of 24 January, earthquakes and tremors up to M 4.7 continued in the vicinity of Nyiragongo.

Representatives from OCHA reported on 20 January that a new crater had opened on the NW side of Nyiragongo, and the temperature of some parts of Lake Kivu reached up to 40°C.

By 21 January, the rapid advance of new lava flows appeared to be over, but residual molten lava still slowly seeped into Lake Kivu, where it formed a ~100-m-wide delta. Although no new lava flows threatened the city, some scientists feared that lava entering the lake or seismic activity could disturb the lake sufficiently to release significant amounts of carbon dioxide and methane gas lying at the lake bottom. News and other scientific sources suggested a gas release was unlikely.

OCHA reported that a 22 January a flight over the volcano confirmed a lack of new activity, including the crater where only a few fumaroles were present. A system of fractures was visible along the southern slope of the volcano, starting from the eastern flank of Shaheru crater (close to the main Nyiragongo cone) and propagating down close to the outskirts of Goma. The fractures were generally meters wide, and during the eruption lava poured out from different locations and altitudes along the fracture system. The lowest lava emission point in this fracture system, as estimated from the helicopter, was at least ~2 km from Goma.

According to OCHA, volcanologists determined that ash observed in Goma on 23 January originated from the collapse of Nyiragongo's inner crater and not from a Nyamuragira eruption, as was originally (incorrectly) stated in several news reports. During a visit to Nyiragongo's main crater on 28 January, the UN Volcano Surveillance Team found that the crater floor had collapsed more than 600 m. In addition, they reported no ongoing volcanism nor any fumaroles at the bottom of the crater, although they could smell SO2. A few weak steam vents were visible on the inner crater wall and a small gas plume was seen above the crater rim to the NE. On 28 January the volcano was at Alert Level Yellow (second on a four-color scale).

Regional seismicity. On 4 January 2002, an M 4.8 earthquake occurred near Nyiragongo. Local volcanologists had planned to visit Nyiragongo on 19 January to observe its activity, but the volcano erupted before the visit.

According to Bruce W. Presgrave of the USGS National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC), there was an unusual number of tectonic earthquakes in the Goma-Nyiragongo region starting ~9 hours after Nyiragongo's alleged initial lavas at 0500. The sequence included ~100 earthquakes M 3.5 or larger. Tectonic swarms of this size occasionally appear in conjunction with volcanism. For example, seismologists noted intense protracted swarms during Miyake-jima's intrusions and eruptions during the year 2000 (BGVN 25:05, 25:07, and 25:09).

The largest earthquake to date in the sequence was M 5; it struck at 0214 on 20 January at 1.76°S, 29.08°E. The second largest, M 4.8, struck at 2201 on 17 January at 1.74°S, 29.08°E, about 17 hours after the estimated onset of the lava flows according to news reports. Though imprecisely fixed, these estimated epicenter locations are just a few ten's of kilometers WSW of Goma; and the probable uncertainty could place them closer to Goma and Nyiragongo.

In addition to registering at the two closest stations in Mbarara, Uganda (MBAR, 0.602°S, 30.738°E) and Kilima Mbogo, Kenya (KMBO, 1.127°S, 37.252°E), the earthquakes also left clear signatures on instruments at great distances, for example in China and at the South Pole, Antarctica. The earthquakes contained sharp P- and S-wave arrivals. Also, as would be expected of tectonic events at teleseismic distances, the associated signals at even the closest stations MBAR and KMBO lacked tremor. The signals were not the sort that could be expected to arise from surficial processes like sudden mass wasting, fuel explosions, building collapses, etc. First motion or minimal tensor results are not yet available.

Comparatively few news accounts discussed the seismic activity or seismically induced damage, perhaps because residents were concerned with more pressing aspects of Nyiragongo's eruption. However, NEIC has received email messages indicating that numerous earthquakes were felt near Kigali, Rwanda (~100 km E of Nyiragongo, table 2).

Table 2. Summary of earthquakes felt near Kigali, Rwanda (~ 100 km E of Nyiragongo) during 10-22 January 2002. The earthquakes were all recorded instrumentally as well. Courtesy Bruce Presgrave (NEIC) and Fr. Stephen Yavorsky, S.J.

Date Local Time Estimated Location Magnitude Comment
~10 Jan 2002 ~1530-1600 -- 4.0 --
17 Jan 2002 2201 1.75°S, 29.07°E, ~115 km W of Kigali 4.8 15 km depth
18 Jan 2002 1008 -- 4.0 --
18 Jan 2002 2309 -- 4.0 --
19 Jan 2002 ~1606 -- ~4.0 --
19 Jan 2002 ~2233 -- ~4.0 --
19 Jan 2002 ~1912 -- ~4.0 --
20 Jan 2002 0214 1.76°S, 29.08°E 5.0 --
21 Jan 2002 ~0130-0530 -- ~4.0 Numerous tremors felt during 4-hour period
21 Jan 2002 0640 -- ~4.7 --
21 Jan 2002 1553 -- ~4.0 --
21 Jan 2002 1630 -- ~4.0 --
22 Jan 2002 1732 1.72°S, 20.10°W, ~15 km WSW of Gisenyi 4.9 --
22 Jan 2002 1822 -- 4.4-4.7 --

As a result of the seismicity, many buildings collapsed in Goma. At least 25 buildings in Gisenyi were also destroyed. By 28 January seismicity had decreased and earthquakes were not large enough to be felt by the population.

Humanitarian crisis. According to OCHA and various news reports, refugees began to return to Goma just a few days after the eruption, despite the dangers that still existed in the area. USAID/OFDA reported that on the morning of 20 January, more than 15,000 people per hour were returning to Goma from points E of the city, while simultaneously 3,000 people per hour were fleeing the city to locations W. Aid workers reported that the refugees would rather return to Goma and risk another eruption than stay in displacement camps in Rwanda, which they perceived to be a hostile country. On 21 January, continuing seismic activity caused buildings to collapse, resulting in more deaths.

Poor access to people in affected parts of Goma was a problem for relief efforts. Several humanitarian groups, along with news agencies, reported that aid workers, along with returning refugees, crossed freshly crusted lava flows to access certain areas. On 18 January two out of three water pumping stations were not working.

Eye irritation and breathing difficulties were reported as a result of the ash and fumes in Goma. Health care centers were provided with medication, and all health care has been free thus far. A few suspected cases of cholera have been reported, but OCHA reported that relief agencies felt prepared for possible disease outbreaks.

According to Oxfam International, the major problems facing the people of Goma were water supply and sanitation facilities, shelter, food, medical care, and damage to schools. A qualitative helicopter assessment on 23 January indicated that ~30% of Goma was destroyed by the lava flows and that up to 50,000-60,000 people in the E of the town lost their homes. On the other hand, the 27 January map-based assessment illustrated by figure 12 concluded that lava flows had affected 4.5 km2 of the city's 35 km2 populated area. Thus, this analysis suggested that ~13% of Goma had been affected.

Figure 12 shows that the E portion of Goma had been cut off from the rest of the town by lava. During the first four days of the eruption, speedboats transported relief workers between the E and W parts of Goma.

On 23 January, 11 sites (in Goma and Sake) operated by the World Food Program began to distribute food and non-food items to refugees (several of these sites appear on figure 12). Other NGO's had collaborated to purchase food locally to provide food for refugees prior to this distribution, but many people had not received food since the eruption began.

A report from OCHA on 25 January confirmed that two access roads into Goma had been cut through the hardened lava and that a third would soon be completed. They reported that 50% of the water network in Goma was operational and that aid agencies had positioned bladders in areas not served by the network. Agencies planned to have the entire water network operational by 4 February. On 25 January, Oxfam reported that the operational portion of the water network still mainly serviced the western part of Goma, and that in the eastern part an estimated 100,000 people remained in dire need of drinking water. Water from Lake Kivu was determined to be potable for adults if filtered. About 22 water purification points were established for residents withdrawing lakewater.

The Goma airport reopened to small aircraft on 25 January. However, the tower was considered inoperable due to the risk of gas explosion.

As of 25 January, seismic activity continued, and monitoring in Goma suggested that some epicenters were at shallow depth beneath the city. OCHA warned that further eruptions were still possible near Goma and Lower Gisenyi. Several humanitarian efforts continued to help the people in Goma through the ongoing crisis. Further information will be forthcoming in future Bulletin reports, including more technical information from volcanologists on the scene.

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: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), United Nations, New York, NY 10017 USA (URL: https://reliefweb.int/); Oxfam International, Suite 20, 266 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 7DL, United Kingdom (URL: https://www.oxfam.org/); Richard McDonald, c/o Independent Missionaries, Box 42, Cyangugu, Rwanda; U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)/Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), Ronald Reagan Building, Washington, DC 20523-1000, USA (URL: https://www.usaid.gov/); Bruce Presgrave, USGS National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC), MS 967, Denver Federal Center, Box 25046, Denver, CO 802225, USA (URL: https://earthquake.usgs.gov/); Fr. Stephen Yavorsky, S.J., Maison Régionale Jésuite, B.P. 6039, Kigali, Rwanda; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Washington, DC 20456-0001, USA (URL: https://www.nasa.gov/).


Sheveluch (Russia) — December 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Through January 2002, elevated seismicity, and an unstable, growing lava dome

In mid-July 2001, the level of concern for Shiveluch was raised from Yellow to Orange (BGVN 26:08) and remained at that level until the end of November 2001 when it was returned to Yellow. During a very active period, 30 September through 1 October, the level of concern was set to Red. The level of concern remained at Yellow through early January 2002, rising briefly to Orange in mid-January and returning to Yellow at the end of the report period, 25 January 2002.

During mid-July through at least 25 January 2002, seismicity was above background levels. The lava dome, now with a summit at ~2,500 m, continued to grow. Typical activities throughout the period included explosions, some producing pyroclastic flows, ash and/or gas-and-steam plumes typically rising 1-2 km (3,500-4,500 m altitude) above the dome, and localized ash falls. Plumes drifted in various directions depending upon local wind conditions and extended from several to as much as 80 km from the volcano. As many as 60 or more earthquakes over M 1.7 (including some over M 2.0) occurred weekly, with many other weak, shallow earthquakes occurring within the volcano's edifice. Other local, shallow seismic events (possible collapses, avalanches, weak gas-ash explosions), and episodes of weak, volcanic tremor also were registered. In mid-January the earthquake rate decreased but the energy of individual events increased (maximum magnitude, 2.7).

The AVHRR satellite images of the active dome area showed thermal anomalies almost daily throughout the period. Anomalies ranged from 1 to 10 pixels in size with maximum temperatures from a few degrees C to 49°C on numerous occasions. Background temperatures typically ranged from -14 to -29° C.

Activities from the end of August to late-January 2002 include visual reports on 4 September of a gas-and-steam plume rising 1,200 m above the dome and extending 10 km E, and a pyroclastic flow ~1 km long later that day. On 11 September, several hot avalanches from the summit of the dome were observed. An explosive eruption began at 1323 on 30 September and, at 2010, another explosion sent an ash plume 9,000 m above the dome. A small circular cloud ~25 km in diameter located directly over the volcano was reported later. On 1 October, ash plumes were observed to be as high as 7,500 m above the dome with localized ashfall thicknesses in the millimeter range. This eruption was the beginning of a very active period that extended into the first week of October, e.g., eleven M 2 and nine M 1.7 earthquakes were registered during 1-4 October. On 19 November a 10-pixel thermal anomaly was observed with temperatures ranging from 0 to 49°C. A steam plume observed on 7 January extended ~100 km SE. On 14 January, continuous rock avalanches were reported by observers in Klyuchi town. Gas-and-steam plumes that week rose 1,000-1,500 m above the dome and extended 10 km SE. Seismicity decreased during 19-25 January compared to the previous week. Several gas-and-steam plumes were observed, one extending 75 km to the SE on 21 January. Thermal anomalies continued but no ash was detected in any image.

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

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


Tofua (Tonga) — December 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Tofua

Tonga

19.75°S, 175.07°W; summit elev. 515 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Typical fumarolic emissions continue; geologic mapping of cinder-cone complexes

On 1 August 2000, Jeff and Raine Williams, aboard the sailing yacht Gryphon, reported that they spent a couple nights at Uanukuhahaki island, approximately 48 km E of the volcanic islands of Kao and Tofua. They noted that "steam can be seen rising from Tofua almost continuously." They also observed that pumice stones were scattered all along the beach at Uanukuhahaki.

Tim Worthington (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel) notes that the activity seen on 1 August 2000 is the normal state of Tofua. In September 1999, Worthington mapped a thick compound ash layer (with three distinct units) containing abundant pumice clasts that is widespread on Kotu, Ha'afeva, Matuku, and other islands in the group 30-50 km E of Tofua and Kao. The ash represents the distal part of the pyroclastic flow sequence associated with a pre-historic caldera-forming eruption on Tofua. Other workers, including Shane Cronin (GEOMAR), are looking at these units in more detail with a view to dating the eruption. The "pumice stones" seen on Uanukuhahaki may be blocks of andesitic pumice eroded from this ash sequence.

Geologic mapping and observations, November 2000. Worthington was part of a group that spent 8 days mapping and sampling at Tofua in late November 2000. Tofua is a nearly circular island 9.5 x 7.1 km in diameter. The flanks rise steeply to a well-defined caldera rim reaching 515 m elevation in the NW and SE. The inner caldera walls are precipitous, and the caldera is occupied by a large, cold, fresh-water lake standing at 30 m elevation. The most recent volcanism took place from vents within the N half of the caldera, where there are three cinder-cone complexes.

The westernmost cinder-cone complex is densely forested and rather degraded. The easternmost complex consists of four distinct but intergrown small cinder cones with well-formed craters (two have sub-craters). A series of young rubble-topped basaltic andesite lavas were erupted from these cones and flowed towards (and into) the lake. Different degrees of vegetation on each flow suggest a recurrence interval of about 50 years, and the youngest may have been emplaced during the 1958-60 eruptions. It was mapped by visiting geologists in the early 1970s.

The northernmost cinder cone is the large and vigorously degassing Lofia, with a basal diameter of ~500 m and a summit at 380 m elevation. Lofia has a summit crater 70 m in diameter with vertical inner walls, which was completely filled by dense brownish-blue SO2-rich steam during the visit. Intermittent chugging sounds resembling a train starting to move could be heard from the crater rim. From the yacht, occasional dull orange reflections were observed in clouds above the caldera rim on two nights. However, there was no evidence of recent spatter around the crater rim, nor any indication of significant volcanic activity since the 1958-60 eruptions.

On calm days the plume from Lofia rose above the caldera rim and was visible from nearby islands and to passing ships; more commonly it dispersed in the wind before passing the caldera rim. Numerous breadcrust bombs were plastered onto the NW caldera wall downwind from Lofia, and had welded to form a sparsely vegetated 20-m-thick rootless lava flow on the NW caldera rim. The region of sparse vegetation on the outer NW caldera wall extended from 300 to 515 m elevation, gaving the NW summit of Tofua a "burnt" appearance to passing ships. The spatter testifies to vigorous fire-fountaining at Lofia, whose summit is 130 m below and 700 m S of the caldera rim. The latest episode of this activity may have taken place during the 1958-60 eruptions, but the spatter almost certainly represents the accumulated result of many such episodes.

Geologic Background. The low, forested Tofua Island in the central part of the Tonga Islands group is the emergent summit of a large stratovolcano that was seen in eruption by Captain Cook in 1774. The summit contains a 5-km-wide caldera whose walls drop steeply about 500 m. Three post-caldera cones were constructed at the northern end of a cold fresh-water caldera lake, whose surface lies only 30 m above sea level. The easternmost cone has three craters and produced young basaltic-andesite lava flows, some of which traveled into the caldera lake. The largest and northernmost of the cones, Lofia, has a steep-sided crater that is 70 m wide and 120 m deep and has been the source of historical eruptions, first reported in the 18th century. The fumarolically active crater of Lofia has a flat floor formed by a ponded lava flow.

Information Contacts: Tim J. Worthington, Institut für Geowissenschaften, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Olshausenstr. 40, D-24118 Kiel, Germany; Jeff and Raine Williams, P.O. Box 729, Funkstown, MD 21734, USA.

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