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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

Asosan (Japan) Intermittent ash plumes and elevated SO2 emissions continue during July-December 2019

Tinakula (Solomon Islands) Intermittent thermal activity suggests ongoing eruption, July-December 2019

Ibu (Indonesia) Frequent ash plumes and small lava flows in the crater through December 2019

Lateiki (Tonga) Eruption 13-22 October 2019 creates new island, which disappears by mid-January 2020

Aira (Japan) Ongoing explosions with ejecta and ash plumes, along with summit incandescence, during July-December 2019

Suwanosejima (Japan) Explosions, ash emissions, and summit incandescence in July-December 2019

Barren Island (India) Thermal anomalies and small ash plumes during February-April 2019 and September 2019-January 2020

Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand) Explosion producing an ash plume and pyroclastic surge resulted in fatalities and injuries on 9 December 2019

Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) Frequent gas and some ash emissions during May-December 2019 with some hot avalanches

Nyiragongo (DR Congo) Lava lake persists during June-November 2019

Ebeko (Russia) Frequent moderate explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall continue through November 2019

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) Intermittent ash plumes with significant gas and steam emissions during January 2016-December 2017



Asosan (Japan) — January 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash plumes and elevated SO2 emissions continue during July-December 2019

The large Asosan caldera reaches around 23 km long in the N-S direction and contains a complex of 17 cones, of which Nakadake is the most active (figure 58). A recent increase in activity prompted an alert level increase from 1 to 2 on 14 April 2019. The Nakadake crater is the site of current activity (figure 59) and contains several smaller craters, with the No. 1 crater being the main source of activity during July-December 2019. The activity during this period is summarized here based on reports by the Japan Meteorological Agency and satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Asosan is a group of cones and craters within a larger caldera system. January 2010 Monthly Mosaic images copyright Planet Labs 2019.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Hot gas emissions from the Nakadake No. 1 crater on 25 June 2019 reached around 340°C. Courtesy of the Japan Meteorological Agency (July 2019 monthly report).

Small explosions were observed at the No. 1 vent on the 4, 5, 9, 13-16, and 26 July. There was an increase in thermal energy detected near the vent leading to a larger event on the 26th (figures 60 and 61), which produced an ash plume up to 1.6 km above the crater rim and continuing from 0757 to around 1300 with a lower plume height of 400 m after 0900. Light ashfall was reported downwind. Elevated activity was noted during 28-29 July, and an ash plume was seen in webcam footage on the 30th. Incandescence was visible in light-sensitive cameras during 4-17 and after the 26th. A field survey on 5 July measured 1,300 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) per day. This had increased to 2,300 tons per day by the 12th, 2,500 on the 24th, and 2,400 by the 25th. A sulfur dioxide plume was detected in Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite data acquired on 28 July (figure 62).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. Thermal images taken at Asosan on 26 July 2019 show the increasing temperature of emissions leading to an explosion. Courtesy of the Japan Meteorological Agency (July 2019 monthly report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. An eruption from the Nakadake crater at Asosan on 26 July 2019. Courtesy of the Japan Meteorological Agency (July 2019 monthly report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. A sulfur dioxide plume was detected from Asosan (to the left) on 28 July 2019. The larger plume (red) to the right is not believed to be associated with volcanism in this area. NASA Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite image courtesy of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

The increased eruptive activity that began on 5 July continued to 16 August. There were 24 eruptions recorded throughout the month, with eruptions occurring on 18-23, 25, and 29-31 August. An ash plume at 2100 on 4 August reached 1.5 km above the crater rim. Detected SO2 increased to extremely high levels from late July to early August with 5,200 tons per day recorded on 9 August, but which then reduced to 2,000 tons per day. Ashfall occurred out to around 7 km NW on the 10th (figure 63). Activity continued to increase at the Nakadake No. 1 crater, producing incandescence. High-temperature gas plumes were detected at the No. 2 crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. Ashfall from Asosan on 10 August 2019 near Otohime, Aso city, which is about 7 km NW of the Nakadake No. 1 crater that produced the ash plume. The ashfall was thick enough that the white line in the parking lot was mostly obscured (lower photo). Courtesy of the Japan Meteorological Agency (August 2019 monthly report).

Thermal activity continued to increase, and incandescence was observed at the No. 1 crater throughout September. There were 24 eruptions recorded throughout August. Light ashfall occurred out to around 8 km NE on the 3rd and ash plumes reached 1.6 km above the crater rim during 10-13, and again during 25-30 (figures 64 and 65). During the later dates ashfall was reported to the NE and NW. The SO2 levels were back down to 1,600 tons per day by 11 September and increased to 2,600 tons per day by the 26th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. Ash plumes at Asosan on 29 September 2019. Courtesy of Volcanoverse.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Activity at Asosan in late September 2019. Left: incandescence and a gas plume at the Nakadake No. 1 crater on the 28th. Right: an eruption produced an ash plume at 0839 on the 30th. Aso Volcano Museum surveillance camera image (left) and Kusasenri surveillance camera image (right) courtesy of the Japan Meteorological Agency (September 2019 monthly report).

Similar elevated activity continued through October with ash plumes reaching 1.3 km above the crater and periodic ashfall reported at the Kumamoto Regional Meteorological Observatory, and out to 4 km S to SW on the 19th and 29th. Temperatures up to 580°C were recorded at the No. 1 crater on 23 October and incandescence was occasionally visible at night through the month (figure 66). Gas surveys detected 2,800 tons per day of SO2 on 7 October, which had increased to 4,000 tons per day by the 11th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Drone images of the Asosan Nakadake crater area on 23 October 2019. The colored boxes show the same vents and the photographs on the left correlate to the thermal images on the right. The yellow box is around the No. 1 crater, with temperature measurements reaching 580°C. The emissions in the red box reached 50°C, and up to 100°C on the southwest crater wall (blue box). Courtesy of the Japan Meteorological Agency (October 2019 monthly report).

Ash plume emission continued through November (figure 67 and 68). Plumes reached 1.5 to 2.4 km above sea level during 13-18 November and ashfall occurred downwind, with a maximum of 1.4 km above the crater rim for the month. Ashfall was reported near Aso City Hall on the 27th. Incandescence was observed until 6 November. During the first half of October sulfur dioxide emissions were slightly lower than the previous month, with measurements detecting under 3,000 tons per day. In the second half of the month emissions increased to 2,000 to 6,300 tons per day. This was accompanied by an increase in volcanic tremor.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Examples of ash plumes at Asosan on 2, 8, 9, and 11 November 2019. The plume on 2 November reached 1.3 km above the crater rim. Kusasenri surveillance camera images courtesy of the Japan Meteorological Agency.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Ash emissions from the Nakadake crater at Asosan on 15 and 17 November 2019. The continuous ash emission is weak and is being dispersed by the wind. Copyright Mizumoto, used with permission.

Throughout December activity remained elevated with ash plumes reaching 1.1 km above the Nakadake No. 1 crater and producing ashfall. The maximum gas plume height was 1.8 km above the crater. A total of 23 eruptions were recorded, and incandescence at the crater was observed through the month. Sulfur dioxide emissions continued to increase with 5,800 tons per day recorded on the 27th, and 7,400 tons per day recorded on the 31st.

Overall, eruptive activity has continued intermittently since 26 July and SO2 emissions have increased through the year. Incandescence was seen at the crater since 2 October and this is consistent with an increase in thermal energy detected by the MIROVA algorithm around that time (figure 69).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Thermal anomalies were low through 2019 with a notable increase around October to November. Log radiative power plot courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Mizumoto, Kumamoto, Kyushu, Japan (Twitter: https://twitter.com/hepomodeler); Volcanoverse (URL: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi3T_esus8Sr9I-3W5teVQQ).


Tinakula (Solomon Islands) — January 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Tinakula

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal activity suggests ongoing eruption, July-December 2019

Remote Tinakula lies 100 km NE of the Solomon Trench at the N end of the Santa Cruz Islands, which are part of the South Pacific country of the Solomon Islands located 400 km to the W. It has been uninhabited since an eruption with lava flows and ash explosions in 1971 when the small population was evacuated (CSLP 87-71). The nearest communities live on Te Motu (Trevanion) Island (about 30 km S), Nupani (40 km N), and the Reef Islands (60 km E); residents occasionally report noises from explosions at Tinakula. Ashfall from larger explosions has historically reached these islands. A large ash explosion during 21-26 October 2017 was a short-lived event; renewed thermal activity was detected beginning in December 2018 and intermittently throughout 2019. This report covers the ongoing activity from July-December 2019. Since ground-based observations are rarely available, satellite thermal and visual data are the primary sources of information.

MIROVA thermal anomaly data indicated intermittent but ongoing thermal activity at Tinakula during July-December 2019 (figure 35). It was characterized by pulses of multiple alerts of varying intensities for several days followed by no activity for a few weeks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. The MIROVA project plot of Radiative Power at Tinakula from 2 March 2019 through the end of the year indicated repeated pulses of thermal energy each month except for August 2019. It was characterized by pulses of multiple alerts for several days followed by no activity for a few weeks. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Observations using Sentinel-2 satellite imagery were often prevented by clouds during July, but two MODVOLC thermal alerts on 2 July 2019 corresponded to MIROVA thermal activity on that date. No thermal anomalies were reported by MIROVA during August 2019, but Sentinel-2 satellite images showed dense steam plumes drifting away from the summit on four separate dates (figure 36). Two distinct thermal anomalies appeared in infrared imagery on 9 September, and a dense steam plume drifted about 10 km NW on 14 September (figure 37).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery for Tinakula recorded ongoing steam emissions on multiple days during August 2019 including 10 August (left) and 20 August (right). The island is about 3 km in diameter. Left image is natural color rendering with bands 4,3,2, right image is atmospheric penetration with bands 12, 11, and 8a. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. A bright thermal anomaly at the summit and a weaker one on the nearby upper W flank of Tinakula on 9 September 2019 (left) indicated ongoing eruptive activity in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery. While no thermal anomalies were visible on 14 September (right), a dense steam plume originating from the summit drifted more than 10 km NW. Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During October 2019 steam emissions were captured in four clear satellite images; a weak thermal anomaly was present on the W flank on 9 October (figure 38). MODVOLC recorded a single thermal alert on 9 November. Stronger thermal anomalies appeared twice during November in satellite images. On 13 November a strong anomaly was present at the summit in Sentinel-2 imagery; it was accompanied by a dense steam plume drifting NE from the hotspot. On 28 November two thermal anomalies appeared part way down the upper NW flank (figure 39). Thermal imagery on 3 December suggested that a weak anomaly remained on the NW flank in a similar location; a dense steam plume rose above the summit, drifting slightly SW on 18 December (figure 40). A thermal anomaly at the summit on 28 December was accompanied by a dense steam plume and corresponded to multiple MIROVA thermal anomalies at the end of December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. A weak thermal anomaly was recorded on the upper W flank of Tinakula on 9 October 2019 in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery (left). Dense steam drifted about 10 km NW from the summit on 29 October (right). Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. On 13 November 2019 a strong anomaly was present at the summit of Tinakula in Sentinel-2 imagery; it was accompanied by a dense steam plume drifting NE from the hotspot (left). On 28 November two thermal anomalies appeared part way down the upper NW flank (right). Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Thermal imagery on 3 December 2019 from Tinakula suggested that a weak anomaly remained in a similar location to one of the earlier anomalies on the NW flank (left); a dense steam plume rose above the summit, drifting slightly SW on 18 December (center). A thermal anomaly at the summit on 28 December was accompanied by a dense steam plume (right) and corresponded to multiple MIROVA thermal anomalies at the end of December. Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Ibu (Indonesia) — January 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ibu

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent ash plumes and small lava flows in the crater through December 2019

Heightened continuing activity at Ibu since March 2018 has been dominated by frequent ash explosions with weak ash plumes, and numerous thermal anomalies reflecting one or more weak lava flows (BGVN 43:05, 43:12, and 44:07). This report summarizes activity through December 2019, and is based on data from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and various satellites.

Typical ash plumes during the reporting period of July-December 2019 rose 800 m above the crater, with the highest reported to 1.4 km in early October (table 5). They were usually noted a few times each month. According to MAGMA Indonesia, explosive activity caused the Aviation Color Code to be raised to ORANGE (second highest of four) on 14, 22, and 31 August, 4 and 30 September, and 15 and 20 October.

Table 5. Ash plumes and other volcanic activity reported at Ibu during December 2018-December 2019. Plume heights are reported above the crater rim. Data courtesy of PVMBG and Darwin VAAC.

Date Time Ash Plume Height Plume Drift Remarks
11 Dec 2018 -- 500 m -- Weather clouds prevented views in satellite data.
12 Jan 2019 1712 800 m S --
13 Jan 2019 0801 800 m S --
05-12 Feb 2019 -- 200-800 m E, S, W Weather conditions occasionally prevented observations.
25-26 Feb 2019 -- 1.1-1.7 km NE, ENE Thermal anomaly.
28 Feb 2019 -- 800 m N --
18 Mar 2019 -- 1.1 km E Plume drifted about 17 km NE.
23 Mar 2019 -- 1.1 km E --
28 Mar 2019 -- 800 m SE --
10 Apr 2019 -- 800 m N --
15-16 Apr 2019 -- 1.1 km N, NE --
18 Apr 2019 -- 800 m E --
07 May 2019 -- 1.1 km ESE --
08 May 2019 -- 1.1 km ESE --
09 May 2019 1821 600 m S Seismicity characterized by explosions, tremor, and rock avalanches.
10 May 2019 -- 500 m ESE --
14 May 2019 1846 800 m N --
14-16, 18-19 May 2019 -- 0.8-1.7 km NW, N, ENE --
23-24 May 2019 -- 1.1-1.4 km SE --
31 May 2019 -- 800 m W --
02 Jun 2019 -- 1.7 km W --
21 Jun 2019 -- 500 m N, NE --
24-25 Jun 2019 -- 0.2-1.1 km SE, ESE --
06 Jul 2019 -- 800 m N Intermittent thermal anomaly.
15 Jul 2019 -- 800 m NE --
07-12 Aug 2019 -- 200-800 m -- Plumes were white-to-gray.
14 Aug 2019 1107 800 m N Seismicity characterized by explosions and rock avalanches.
22 Aug 2019 0704 800 m W Seismicity characterized by explosions and rock avalanches.
31 Aug 2019 1847 800 m N Seismicity characterized by explosions and rock avalanches.
04 Sep 2019 0936 300 m S --
28 Sep 2019 -- 500-800 m WNW --
30 Sep 2019 1806 800 m N --
06-07 Oct 2019 -- 0.8-1.4 km S, N --
15 Oct 2019 0707 400 m S --
20 Oct 2019 0829 400 m W --
01-05 Nov 2019 -- 200-800 m E, N Plumes were white-and-gray.
20-21, 23-25 Nov 2019 -- 500-800 m Multiple Thermal anomaly on 21 Nov.
03 Dec 2019 -- 800 m NE Thermal anomaly.
26 Dec 2019 -- 800 m S Discrete ash puffs in satellite imagery.

Thermal anomalies were sometimes noted by PVMBG, and were also frequently obvious in infrared satellite imagery suggesting lava flows and multiple active vents, as seen on 22 November 2019 (figure 19). Thermal anomalies using MODIS satellite instruments processed by the MODVOLC algorithm were recorded 2-4 days every month from July to December 2019. In contrast, the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected numerous hotspots on most days (figure 20).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Example of thermal activity in the Ibu crater on 22 November 2019, along with a plume drifting SE. One or more vents in the crater are producing small lava flows, an observation common throughout the reporting period. Sentinel-2 false color (urban) images (bands 12, 11, 4), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Thermal anomalies recorded at Ibu by the MIROVA system using MODIS infrared satellite data for the year 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Lateiki (Tonga) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Lateiki

Tonga

19.18°S, 174.87°W; summit elev. 43 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption 13-22 October 2019 creates new island, which disappears by mid-January 2020

Lateiki (Metis Shoal) is one of several submarine and island volcanoes on the W side of the Tonga trench in the South Pacific. It has produced ephemeral islands multiple times since the first confirmed activity in the mid-19th century. Two eruptions, in 1967 and 1979, produced islands that survived for a few months before eroding beneath the surface. An eruption in 1995 produced a larger island that persisted, possibly until a new eruption in mid-October 2019 destroyed it and built a new short-lived island. Information was provided by the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Natural Resources of the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga, and from satellite information and news sources.

Review of eruptions during 1967-1995. The first reported 20th century eruption at this location was observed by sailors beginning on 12 December 1967 (CSLP 02-67); incandescent ejecta rose several hundred meters into the air and "steam and smoke" rose at least 1,000 m from the ocean surface. The eruption created a small island that was reported to be a few tens of meters high, and a few thousand meters in length and width. Eruptive activity appeared to end in early January 1968, and the island quickly eroded beneath the surface by the end of February (figure 6). When observed in April 1968 the island was gone, with only plumes of yellowish water in the area of the former island.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Waves break over Lateiki on 19 February 1968, more than a month after the end of a submarine eruption that began in December 1967 and produced a short-lived island. Photo by Charles Lundquist, 1968 (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory).

A large steam plume and ejecta were observed on 19 June 1979, along with a "growing area of tephra" around the site with a diameter of 16 km by the end of June (SEAN 04:06). Geologists visited the site in mid-July and at that time the island was about 300 m long, 120 m wide, and 15 m high, composed of tephra ranging in size from ash to large bombs (SEAN 04:07); ash emissions were still occurring from the E side of the island. It was determined that the new island was located about 1 km E of the 1967-68 island. By early October 1979 the island had nearly disappeared beneath the ocean surface.

A new eruption was first observed on 6 June 1995. A new island appeared above the waves as a growing lava dome on 12 June (BGVN 20:06). Numerous ash plumes rose hundreds of meters and dissipated downwind. By late June an elliptical dome, about 300 x 250 m in size and 50 m high, had stopped growing. The new island it formed was composed of hardened lava and not the tuff cones of earlier islands (figure 7) according to visitors to the island; pumice was not observed. An overflight of the area in December 2006 showed that an island was still present (figure 8), possibly from the June 1995 eruption. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery confirming the presence of Lateiki Island and discolored water was clearly recorded multiple times between 2015 and 2019. This suggests that the island created in 1995 could have lasted for more than 20 years (figure 9).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. An aerial view during the 1995 eruption of Lateiki forming a lava dome. Courtesy of the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Lateiki Island as seen on 7 December 2006; possibly part of the island that formed in 1995. Courtesy of the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga and the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery confirmed the existence of an island present from 2015 through 2019 with little changes to its shape. This suggests that the island created in 1995 could have lasted for more than 20 years. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

New eruption in October 2019. The Kingdom of Tonga reported a new eruption at Lateiki on 13 October 2019, first noted by a ship at 0800 on 14 October. NASA satellite imagery confirmed the eruption taking place that day (figure 10). The following morning a pilot from Real Tonga Airlines photographed the steam plume and reported a plume height of 4.6-5.2 km altitude (figure 11). The Wellington VAAC issued an aviation advisory report noting the pilot's observation of steam, but no ash plume was visible in satellite imagery. They issued a second report on 22 October of a similar steam plume reported by a pilot at 3.7 km altitude. The MODVOLC thermal alert system recorded three thermal alerts from Lateiki, one each on 18, 20, and 22 October 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. NASA's Worldview Aqua/MODIS satellite imagery taken on 14 October 2019 over the Ha'apai and Vava'u region of Tonga showing the new eruption at Lateiki. Neiafu, Vava'u, is at the top right and Tofua and Kao islands are at the bottom left. The inset shows a closeup of Late Island at the top right and a white steam plume rising from Lateiki. Courtesy of the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga and NASA Worldview.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Real Tonga Airline's Captain Samuela Folaumoetu'I photographed a large steam plume rising from Lateiki on the morning of 15 October 2019. Courtesy of the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga.

The first satellite image of the eruption on 15 October 2019 showed activity over a large area, much bigger than the preexisting island that was visible on 10 October (figure 12). Although the eruption produced a steam plume that drifted several tens of kilometers SW and strong incandescent activity, no ash plume was visible, similar to reports of dense steam with little ash during the 1968 and 1979 eruptions (figure 13). Strong incandescence and a dense steam plume were still present on 20 October (figure 14).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. The first satellite image of the eruption of Lateiki on 15 October 2019 showed activity over a large area, much bigger than the preexisting island that was visible on 10 October (inset). The two images are the same scale; the island was about 100 m in diameter before the eruption. Image uses Natural Color Rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. The steam plume from Lateiki on 15 October 2019 drifted more than 20 km SE from the volcano. A strong thermal anomaly from incandescent activity was present in the atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a) closeup of the same image (inset). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. A dense plume of steam drifted NW from Lateiki on 20 October 2019, and a strong thermal signal (inset) indicated ongoing explosive activity. Courtesy of Annamaria Luongo and Sentinel Hub Playground.

A clear satellite image on 30 October 2019 revealed an island estimated to be about 100 m wide and 400 m long, according to geologist Taaniela Kula of the Tonga Geological Service of the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Natural Resources as reported by a local news source (Matangitonga). There was no obvious fumarolic steam activity from the surface, but a plume of greenish brown seawater swirled away from the island towards the NE (figure 15). In a comparison of the location of the old Lateiki island with the new one in satellite images, it was clear that the new island was located as far as 250 m to the NW (figure 16) on 30 October. Over the course of the next few weeks, the island's size decreased significantly; by 19 November, it was perhaps one-quarter the size it had been at the end of October. Lateiki Island continued to diminish during December 2019 and January 2020, and by mid-month only traces of discolored sea water were visible beneath the waves over the eruption site (figure 17).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. The new Lateiki Island was clearly visible on 30 October 2019 (top left), as was greenish-blue discoloration in the surrounding waters. It was estimated to be about 100 m wide and 400 m long that day. Its size decreased significantly over subsequent weeks; ten days later (top right) it was about half the size and two weeks later, on 14 November 2019 (bottom left), it was about one-third its original size. By 19 November (bottom right) only a fraction of the island remained. Greenish discolored water continued to be visible around the volcano. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. The location of the new Lateiki Island (Metis Shoal), shown here on 30 October 2019 in red, was a few hundred meters to the NW of the old position recorded on 5 September 2019 (in white). Courtesy of Annamaria Luongo and Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Lateiki Island disappeared beneath the waves in early January 2020, though plumes of discolored water continued to be observed later in the month. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Lateiki, previously known as Metis Shoal, is a submarine volcano midway between the islands of Kao and Late that has produced a series of ephemeral islands since the first confirmed activity in the mid-19th century. An island, perhaps not in eruption, was reported in 1781 and subsequently eroded away. During periods of inactivity following 20th-century eruptions, waves have been observed to break on rocky reefs or sandy banks with depths of 10 m or less. Dacitic tuff cones formed during the first 20th-century eruptions in 1967 and 1979 were soon eroded beneath the ocean surface. An eruption in 1995 produced an island with a diameter of 280 m and a height of 43 m following growth of a lava dome above the surface.

Information Contacts: Government of the Kingdom of Tonga, PO Box 5, Nuku'alofa, Tonga (URL: http://www.gov.to/ ); Royal New Zealand Air Force (URL: http://www.airforce.mil.nz/); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/); 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); Annamaria Luongo, Brussels, Belgium (Twitter: @annamaria_84, URL: https://twitter.com/annamaria_84 ); Taaniela Kula, Tonga Geological Service, Ministry of Lands, Survey and Natural Resources; Matangi Tonga Online (URL: https://matangitonga.to/2019/11/06/eruption-lateiki).


Aira (Japan) — January 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

31.593°N, 130.657°E; summit elev. 1117 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing explosions with ejecta and ash plumes, along with summit incandescence, during July-December 2019

Sakurajima is a highly active stratovolcano situated in the Aira caldera in southern Kyushu, Japan. Common volcanism for this recent eruptive episode since March 2017 includes frequent explosions, ash plumes, and scattered ejecta. Much of this activity has been focused in the Minamidake crater since 1955; the Showa crater on the E flank has had intermittent activity since 2006. This report updates activity during July through December 2019 with the primary source information from monthly reports by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and various satellite data.

During July to December 2019, explosive eruptions and ash plumes were reported multiple times per week by JMA. November was the most active, with 137 eruptive events, seven of which were explosive while August was the least active with no eruptive events recorded (table 22). Ash plumes rose between 800 m to 5.5 km above the crater rim during this reporting period. Large blocks of incandescent ejecta traveled as far as 1.7 km from the Minamidake crater during explosions in September through December. The Kagoshima Regional Meteorological Observatory (11 km WSW) reported monthly amounts of ashfall during each month, with a high of 143 g/m2 during October. Occasionally at night throughout this reporting period, crater incandescence was observed with a highly sensitive surveillance camera. All explosive activity originated from the Minamidake crater; the adjacent Showa crater produced mild thermal anomalies and gas-and-steam plumes.

Table 22. Monthly summary of eruptive events recorded at Sakurajima's Minamidake crater in the Aira caldera, July through December 2019. The number of events that were explosive in nature are in parentheses. No events were recorded at the Showa crater during this time. Ashfall is measured at the Kagoshima Local Meteorological Observatory (KLMO), 10 km W of Showa crater. Data courtesy of JMA (July to December 2019 monthly reports).

Month Ash emissions (explosive) Max plume height above crater Max ejecta distance from crater Total amount of ashfall (g/m2)
Jul 2019 9 (5) 3.8 km 1.1 km --
Aug 2019 -- 800 m -- 2
Sep 2019 32 (11) 3.4 km 1.7 km 115
Oct 2019 62 (41) 3.0 km 1.7 km 143
Nov 2019 137 (77) 5.5 km 1.7 km 69
Dec 2019 71 (49) 3.3 km 1.7 km 54

An explosion that occurred at 1044 on 4 July 2019 produced an ash plume that rose up to 3.2 km above the Minamidake crater rim and ejected material 1.1 km from the vent. Field surveys conducted on 17 and 23 July measured SO2 emissions that were 1,200-1,800 tons/day. Additional explosions between 19-22 July generated smaller plumes that rose to 1.5 km above the crater and ejected material 1.1 km away. On 28 July explosions at 1725 and 1754 produced ash plumes 3.5-3.8 km above the crater rim, which resulted in ashfall in areas N and E of Sakurajima (figure 86), including Kirishima City (20 km NE), Kagoshima Prefecture (30 km SE), Yusui Town (40 km N), and parts of the Kumamoto Prefecture (140 km NE).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Photo of the Sakurajima explosion at 1725 on 28 July 2019 resulting in an ash plume rising 3.8 km above the crater (left). An on-site field survey on 29 July observed ashfall on roads and vegetation on the N side of the island (right). Photo by Moto Higashi-gun (left), courtesy of JMA (July 2019 report).

The month of August 2019 showed the least activity and consisted of mainly small eruptive events occurring up to 800 m above the crater; summit incandescence was observed with a highly sensitive surveillance camera. SO2 emissions were measured on 8 and 13 August with 1,000-2,000 tons/day, which was slightly greater than the previous month. An extensometer at the Arimura Observation Tunnel and an inclinometer at the Amida River recorded slight inflation on 29 August, but continuous GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) observations showed no significant changes.

In September 2019 there were 32 eruptive events recorded, of which 11 were explosions, more than the previous two months. Seismicity also increased during this month. An extensometer and inclinometer recorded inflation at the Minamidake crater on 9 September, which stopped after the eruptive events. On 16 September, an eruption at 0746 produced an ash plume that rose 2.8 km above the crater rim and drifted SW; a series of eruptive events followed from 0830-1110 (figure 87). Explosions on 18 and 20 September produced ash plumes that rose 3.4 km above the crater rim and ejecting material as far as 1.7 km from the summit crater on the 18th and 700 m on the 20th. Field surveys measured an increased amount of SO2 emissions ranging from 1,100 to 2,300 tons/day during September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Webcam image of an ash plume rising 2.8 km from the Minamidake crater at Sakurajima on 16 September 2019. Courtesy of Weathernews Inc.

Seismicity, SO2 emissions, and the number of eruptions continued to increase in October 2019, 41 of which were explosive. Field surveys conducted on 1, 11, and 15 October reported that SO2 emissions were 2,000-2,800 tons/day. An explosion at 0050 on 12 October produced an ash plume that traveled 1.7 km from the Minamidake crater. Explosions between 16 and 19 October produced an ash plume that rose up to 3 km above the crater rim (figure 88). The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force 1st Air group observed gas-and-steam plumes rising from both the Minamidake and Showa craters on 25 October. The inflation reported from 16 September began to slow in late October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Photos taken from the E side of Sakurajima showing gas-and-steam emissions with some amount of ash rising from the volcano on 16 October 2019 after an explosion around 1200 that day (top). At night, summit incandescence is observed (bottom). Courtesy of Bradley Pitcher, Vanderbilt University.

November 2019 was the most active month during this reporting period with increased seismicity, SO2 emissions, and 137 eruptive events, 77 of which were explosive. GNSS observations indicated that inflation began to slow during this month. On 8 November, an explosion at 1724 produced an ash plume up to a maximum of 5.5 km above the crater rim and drifted E. This explosion ejected large blocks as far as 500-800 m away from the crater (figure 89). The last time plumes rose above 5 km from the vents occurred on 26 July 2016 at the Showa crater and on 7 October 2000 at the Minamidake crater. Field surveys on 8, 21, and 29 November measured increased SO2 emissions ranging from 2,600 to 3,600 tons/day. Eruptions between 13-19 November produced ash plumes that rose up to 3.6 km above the crater and ejected large blocks up 1.7 km away. An onsite survey on 29 November used infrared thermal imaging equipment to observe incandescence and geothermal areas near the Showa crater and the SE flank of Minamidake (figure 90).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Photos of an ash plume rising 5.5 km above Sakurajima on 8 November 2019 and drifting E. Photo by Moto Higashi-gun (top left), courtesy of JMA (November 2019 report) and the Geoscientific Network of Chile.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Webcam image of nighttime incandescence and gas-and-steam emissions with some amount of ash at Sakurajima on 29 November 2019. Courtesy of JMA (November 2019 report).

Volcanism, which included seismicity, SO2 emissions, and eruptive events, decreased during December 2019. Explosions during 4-10 December produced ash plumes that rose up to 2.6 km above the crater rim and ejected material up to 1.7 km away. Field surveys conducted on 6, 16, and 23 December measured SO2 emissions around 1,000-3,000 tons/day. On 24 December, an explosion produced an ash plume that rose to 3.3 km above the crater rim, this high for this month.

Sentinel-2 natural color satellite imagery showed dense ash plumes in late August 2019, early November, and through December (figure 91). These plumes drifted in different directions and rose to a maximum 5.5 km above the crater rim on 8 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Natural color Sentinel-2 satellite images of Sakurajima within the Aira caldera from late August through December 2019 showed dense ash plumes rising from the Minamidake crater. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed intermittent thermal anomalies beginning in mid-August to early September 2019 after a nearly two-month hiatus (figure 92). Activity increased by early November and continued through December. Three Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images between late July and early October showed distinct thermal hotspots within the Minamidake crater, in addition to faint gas-and-steam emissions in July and September (figure 93).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Thermal anomalies at Sakurajima during January-December 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) started up in mid-August to early September after a two-month break and continued through December. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing small thermal anomalies and gas-and-steam emissions (left and middle) at Sakurajima within the Minamidake crater between late July and early October 2019. All images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The Aira caldera in the northern half of Kagoshima Bay contains the post-caldera Sakurajima volcano, one of Japan's most active. Eruption of the voluminous Ito pyroclastic flow accompanied formation of the 17 x 23 km caldera about 22,000 years ago. The smaller Wakamiko caldera was formed during the early Holocene in the NE corner of the Aira caldera, along with several post-caldera cones. The construction of Sakurajima began about 13,000 years ago on the southern rim of Aira caldera and built an island that was finally joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kitadake summit cone ended about 4850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minamidake. Frequent historical eruptions, recorded since the 8th century, have deposited ash on Kagoshima, one of Kyushu's largest cities, located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km from the summit. The largest historical eruption took place during 1471-76.

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Weathernews Inc. (Twitter: @wni_jp, https://twitter.com/wni_jp, URL: https://weathernews.jp/s/topics/201608/210085/, photo posted at https://twitter.com/wni_jp/status/1173382407216652289); Bradley Pitcher, Vanderbilt University, Nashville. TN, USA (URL: https://bradpitcher.weebly.com/, Twitter: @TieDyeSciGuy, photo posted at https://twitter.com/TieDyeSciGuy/status/1185191225101471744); Geoscientific Network of Chile (Twitter: @RedGeoChile, https://twitter.com/RedGeoChile, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RedGeoChile/, photo posted at https://twitter.com/RedGeoChile/status/1192921768186515456).


Suwanosejima (Japan) — January 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions, ash emissions, and summit incandescence in July-December 2019

Suwanosejima, located south of Japan in the northern Ryukyu Islands, is an active andesitic stratovolcano that has had continuous activity since October 2004, typically producing ash plumes and Strombolian explosions. Much of this activity is focused within the Otake crater. This report updates information during July through December 2019 using monthly reports from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

White gas-and-steam plumes rose from Suwanosejima on 26 July 2019, 30-31 August, 1-6, 10, and 20-27 September, reaching a maximum altitude of 2.4 km on 10 September, according to Tokyo VAAC advisories. Intermittent gray-white plumes were observed rising from the summit during October through December (figure 40).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Surveillance camera images of white gas-and-steam emissions rising from Suwanosejima on 10 December 2019 (left) and up to 1.8 km above the crater rim on 28 December (right). At night, summit incandescence was also observed on 10 December. Courtesy of JMA.

An explosion that occurred at 2331 on 1 August 2019 ejected material 400 m from the crater while other eruptions on 3-6 and 26 August produced ash plumes that rose up to a maximum altitude of 2.1 km and drifted generally NW according to the Tokyo VAAC report. JMA reported eruptions and summit incandescence in September accompanied by white gas-and-steam plumes, but no explosions were noted. Eruptions on 19 and 29 October produced ash plumes that rose 300 and 800 m above the crater rim, resulting in ashfall in Toshima (4 km SW), according to the Toshima Village Office, Suwanosejima Branch Office. Another eruption on 30 October produced a similar gray-white plume rising 800 m above the crater rim but did not result in ashfall. Similar activity continued in November with eruptions on 5-7 and 13-15 November producing grayish-white plumes rising 900 m and 1.5 km above the crater rim and frequent crater incandescence. Ashfall was reported in Toshima Village on 19 and 20 November; the 20 November eruption ejected material 200 m from the Otake crater.

Field surveys on 14 and 18 December using an infrared thermal imaging system to the E of Suwanose Island showed hotspots around the Otake crater, on the N slope of the crater, and on the upper part of the E coastline. GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) observations on 15 and 17 December showed a slight change in the baseline length. After 2122 on 25-26 and 31 December, 23 eruptions, nine of which were explosive were reported, producing gray-white plumes that rose 800-1,800 m above the crater rim and ejected material up to 600 m from the Otake crater. JMA reported volcanic tremors occurred intermittently throughout this reporting period.

Incandescence at the summit crater was occasionally visible at night during July through December 2019, as recorded by webcam images and reported by JMA (figure 41). MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed weak thermal anomalies that occurred dominantly in November with little to no activity recorded between July and October (figure 42). Two Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images in early November and late December showed thermal hotspots within the summit crater (figure 43).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Surveillance camera image of summit incandescence at Suwanosejima on 31 October 2019. Courtesy of JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Weak thermal anomalies at Suwanosejima during January-December 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) dominantly occurred in mid-March, late May to mid-June, and November, with two hotspots detected in late September and late December. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing small thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) within the Otake crater at Suwanosejima on 8 November 2019 (left) and faintly on 23 December 2019 behind clouds (right). Both images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Barren Island (India) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Barren Island

India

12.278°N, 93.858°E; summit elev. 354 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal anomalies and small ash plumes during February-April 2019 and September 2019-January 2020

Barren Island is a remote stratovolcano located east of India in the Andaman Islands. Its most recent eruptive episode began in September 2018 and has included lava flows, explosions, ash plumes, and lava fountaining (BGVN 44:02). This report updates information from February 2019 through January 2020 using various satellite data as a primary source of information.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed intermittent thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit from mid-February 2019 through January 2020 (figure 41). There was a period of relatively low to no discernible activity between May to September 2019. The MODVOLC algorithm for MODIS thermal anomalies in comparison with Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery and Suomi NPP/VIIRS sensor data, registered elevated temperatures during late February 2019, early March, sparsely in April, late October, sparsely in November, early December, and intermittently in January 2020 (figure 42). Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery shows these thermal hotspots differing in strength from late February to late January 2020 (figure 43). The thermal anomalies in these satellite images are occasionally accompanied by ash plumes (25 February 2019, 23 October 2019, and 21 January 2020) and gas-and-steam emissions (26 April 2019).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Intermittent thermal anomalies at Barren Island for 20 February 2019 through January 2020 occurred dominantly between late March to late April 2019 and late September 2019 through January 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Timeline summary of observed activity at Barren Island from February 2019 through January 2020. For Sentinel-2, MODVOLC, and VIIRS data, the dates indicated are when thermal anomalies were detected. White areas indicated no activity was observed, which may also be due to meteoric clouds. Data courtesy of Darwin VAAC, Sentinel Hub Playground, HIGP, and NASA Worldview using the "Fire and Thermal Anomalies" layer.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Sentinel-2 thermal images show ash plumes, gas-and-steam emissions, and thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) at Barren Island during February 2019-January 2020. The strongest thermal signature was observed on 23 October while the weakest one is observed on 26 January. Sentinel-2 False color (bands 12, 11, 4) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported ash plumes rising from the summit on 7, 14, and 16 March 2019. The maximum altitude of the ash plume occurred on 7 March, rising 1.8 km altitude, drifting W and NW and 1.2 km altitude, drifting E and ESE, based on observations from Himawari-8. The VAAC reports for 14 and 16 March reported the ash plumes rising 0.9 km and 1.2 km altitude, respectively drifting W and W.

Geologic Background. Barren Island, a possession of India in the Andaman Sea about 135 km NE of Port Blair in the Andaman Islands, is the only historically active volcano along the N-S volcanic arc extending between Sumatra and Burma (Myanmar). It is the emergent summit of a volcano that rises from a depth of about 2250 m. The small, uninhabited 3-km-wide island contains a roughly 2-km-wide caldera with walls 250-350 m high. The caldera, which is open to the sea on the west, was created during a major explosive eruption in the late Pleistocene that produced pyroclastic-flow and -surge deposits. Historical eruptions have changed the morphology of the pyroclastic cone in the center of the caldera, and lava flows that fill much of the caldera floor have reached the sea along the western coast.

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/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/).


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

Whakaari/White Island

New Zealand

37.52°S, 177.18°E; summit elev. 294 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosion producing an ash plume and pyroclastic surge resulted in fatalities and injuries on 9 December 2019

Whakaari/White Island has been New Zealand's most active volcano since 1976. Located 48 km offshore, the volcano is a popular tourism destination with tours leaving the town of Whakatane with approximately 17,500 people visiting the island in 2018. Ten lives were lost in 1914 when part of the crater wall collapsed, impacting sulfur miners. More recently, a brief explosion at 1411 on 9 December 2019 produced an ash plume and pyroclastic surge that impacted the entire crater area. With 47 people on the island at the time, the death toll stood at 21 on 3 February 2019. At that time more patients were still in hospitals within New Zealand or their home countries.

The island is the summit of a large underwater volcano, with around 70% of the edifice below the ocean and rising around 900 m above sea level (figure 70). A broad crater opens to the ocean to the SE, with steep crater walls and an active Main Crater area to the NW rear of the crater floor (figure 71). Although the island is privately owned, GeoNet continuously monitors activity both remotely and with visits to the volcano. This Bulletin covers activity from May 2017 through December 2019 and is based on reports by GeoNet, the New Zealand Civil Defence Bay of Plenty Emergency Management Group, satellite data, and footage taken by visitors to the island.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. The top of the Whakaari/White Island edifice forms the island in the Bay of Plenty area, New Zealand, while 70% of the volcano is below sea level. Courtesy of GeoNet.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. This photo from 2004 shows the Main Crater area of Whakaari/White Island with the vent area indicated. The crater is an amphitheater shape with the crater floor distance between the vent and the ocean entry being about 700 m. The sediment plume begins at the area where tour boats dock at the island. Photo by Karen Britten, graphic by Danielle Charlton at University of Auckland; courtesy of GeoNet (11 December 2019 report).

Nearly continuous activity occurred from December 1975 to September 2000, including the formation of collapse and explosion craters producing ash emissions and explosions that impacted all of the Main Crater area. More recently, it has been in a state of elevated unrest since 2011. Renewed activity commenced with an explosive eruption on 5 August 2012 that was followed by the extrusion of a lava dome and ongoing phreatic explosions and minor ash emissions through March 2013. An ash cone was seen on 4 March 2013, and over the next few months the crater lake reformed. Further significant explosions took place on 20 August and 4, 8, and 11 October 2013. A landslide occurred in November 2015 with material descending into the lake. More recent activity on 27 April 2016 produced a short-lived eruption that deposited material across the crater floor and walls. A short period of ash emission later that year, on 13 September 2016, originated from a vent on the recent lava dome. Explosive eruptions occur with little to no warning.

Since 19 September 2016 the Volcanic Alert Level (VAL) was set to 1 (minor volcanic unrest) (figure 72). During early 2017 background activity in the crater continued, including active fumaroles emitting volcanic gases and steam from the active geothermal system, boiling springs, volcanic tremor, and deformation. By April 2017 a new crater lake had begun to form, the first since the April 2016 explosion when the lake floor was excavated an additional 13 m. Before this, there were areas where water ponded in depressions within the Main Crater but no stable lake.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. The New Zealand Volcanic Alert Level system up to date in February 2020. Courtesy of GeoNet.

Activity from mid-2017 through 2018. In July-August 2017 GeoNet scientists carried out the first fieldwork at the crater area since late 2015 to sample the new crater lake and gas emissions. The crater lake was significantly cooler than the past lakes at 20°C, compared to 30-70°C that was typical previously. Chemical analysis of water samples collected in July showed the lowest concentrations of most "volcanic elements" in the lake for the past 10-15 years due to the reduced volcanic gases entering the lake. The acidity remained similar to that of battery acid. Gas emissions from the 2012 dome were 114°C, which were over 450°C in 2012 and 330°C in 2016. Fumarole 0 also had a reduced temperature of 152°C, reduced from over 190°C in late 2016 (figure 73). The observations and measurements indicated a decline in unrest. Further visits in December 2017 noted relatively low-level unrest including 149°C gas emissions from fumarole 0, a small crater lake, and loud gas vents nearby (figures 74 and 75). By 27 November the lake had risen to 10 m below overflow. Analysis of water samples led to an estimate of 75% of the lake water resulting from condensing steam vents below the lake and the rest from rainfall.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. A GeoNet scientists conducting field work near Fumarole 0, an accessible gas vent on Whakaari/White Island in August 2017. Courtesy of GeoNet (23 August 2017 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. GeoNet scientists sample gas emissions from vents on the 2012 Whakaari/White Island dome. The red circle in the left image indicates the location of the scientists. Courtesy of GeoNet (23 August 2017 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Active fumaroles and vents in the Main Crater of Whakaari/White Island including Fumarole 0 (top left). The crater lake formed in mid-2017 and gas emissions rise from surrounding vents (right). Courtesy of GeoNet (22 December 2017 report).

Routine fieldwork by GeoNet monitoring teams in early March 2018 showed continued low-level unrest and no apparent changes after a recent nearby earthquake swarm. The most notable change was the increase in the crater lake size, likely a response from recent high rainfall (figure 76). The water remained a relatively cool 27°C. Temperatures continued to decline at the 2012 dome vent (128°C) and Fumarole 0 (138°C). Spring and stream flow had also declined. Deformation was observed towards the Active Crater of 2-5 mm per month and seismicity remained low. The increase in lake level drowned gas vents along the lake shore resulting in geyser-like activity (figure 77). GeoNet warned that a new eruption could occur at any time, often without any useful warning.

In mid-April 2018 visitors reported loud sounds from the crater area as a result of the rising lake level drowning vents on the 2012 dome (in the western side of the crater) and resulting in steam-driven activity. There was no notable change in volcanic activity. The sounds stopped by July 2018 as the geothermal system adjusted to the rising water, up to 17 m below overfill and filling at a rate of about 2,000 m3 per day, rising towards more active vents (figure 78). A gas monitoring flight taken on 12 September showed a steaming lake surrounded by active fumaroles along the crater wall (figure 79).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. The increase in the Whakaari/White Island crater lake size in early March 2018 with gas plumes rising from vents on the other side. Courtesy of GeoNet (19 March 2018 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. The increasing crater lake level at Whakaari/White Island produced geyser-like activity on the lake shore in March 2018. Courtesy of Brad Scott, GeoNet.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Stills taken from a drone video of the Whakaari/White Island Main Crater lake and active vents producing gas emissions. Courtesy of GeoNet.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Photos taken during a gas monitoring flight with GNS Science at Whakaari/White Island show gas and steam emissions, and a steaming crater lake on 12 September 2018. Note the people for scale on the lower-right crater rim in the bottom photograph. Copyright of Ben Clarke, University of Leicester, used with permission.

Activity during April to early December 2019. A GeoNet volcanic alert bulletin in April 2019 reported that steady low-level unrest continued. The level of the lake had been declining since late January and was back down to 13 m below overflow (figure 80). The water temperature had increased to over 60°C due to the fumarole activity below the lake. Fumarole 0 remained steady at around 120-130°C. During May-June a seismic swarm was reported offshore, unrelated to volcanic activity but increasing the risk of landslides within the crater due to the shallow locations.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Planet Labs satellite images from March 2018 to April 2019 show fluctuations in the Whakaari/White Island crater lake level. Image copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.

On 26 June the VAL was raised to level 2 (moderate to heightened volcanic unrest) due to increased SO2 flux rising to historically high levels. An overflight that day detected 1,886 tons/day, nearly three times the previous values of May 2019, the highest recorded value since 2013, and the second highest since measurements began in 2003. The VAL was subsequently lowered on 1 July due to a reduction in detected SO2 emissions of 880 tons/day on 28 June and 693 tons/day on 29 June.

GeoNet reported on 26 September that there was an increase in steam-driven activity within the active crater over the past three weeks. This included small geyser-like explosions of mud and steam with material reaching about 10 m above the lake. This was not attributed to an increase in volcanic activity, but to the crater lake level rising since early August.

On 30 October an increase in background activity was reported. An increasing trend in SO2 gas emissions and volcanic tremor had been ongoing for several months and had reached the highest levels since 2016. This indicated to GeoNet that Whakaari/White Island might be entering a period where eruptive activity was more likely. There were no significant changes in other monitoring parameters at this time and fumarole activity continued (figure 81).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. A webcam image taken at 1030 on 30 October 2019 from the crater rim shows the Whakaari/White Island crater lake to the right of the amphitheater-shaped crater and gas-and-steam plumes from active fumaroles. Courtesy of GeoNet.

On 18 November the VAL was raised to level 2 and the Aviation Colour Code was raised to Yellow due to further increase in SO2 emissions and volcanic tremor. Other monitoring parameters showed no significant changes. On 25 November GeoNet reported that moderate volcanic unrest continued but with no new changes. Gas emissions remained high and gas-driven ejecta regularly jetting material a few meters into the air above fumaroles in the crater lake (figure 82).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. A webcam image from the Whakaari/White Island crater rim shows gas-driven ejecta rising above a fumarole within the crater lake on 22 November 2019. Courtesy of GeoNet.

GeoNet reported on 3 December that moderate volcanic unrest continued, with increased but variable explosive gas and steam-driven jetting, with stronger events ejecting mud 20-30 m into the air and depositing mud around the vent area. Gas emissions and volcanic tremor remained elevated and occasional gas smells were reported on the North Island mainland depending on wind direction. The crater lake water level remained unchanged. Monitoring parameters were similar to those observed in 2011-2016 and remained within the expected range for moderate volcanic unrest.

Eruption on 9 December 2019. A short-lived eruption occurred at 1411 on 9 December 2019, generating a steam-and-ash plume to 3.6 km and covering the entire crater floor area with ash. Video taken by tourists on a nearby boat showed an eruption plume composed of a white steam-rich portion, and a black ash-rich ejecta (figure 83). A pyroclastic surge moved laterally across the crater floor and up the inner crater walls. Photos taken soon after the eruption showed sulfur-rich deposits across the crater floor and crater walls, and a helicopter that had been damaged and blown off the landing pad (figure 84). This activity caused the VAL to be raised to 4 (moderate volcanic eruption) and the Aviation Colour Code being raised to Orange.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. The beginning of the Whakaari/White Island 9 December 2019 eruption viewed from a boat that left the island about 20-30 minutes prior. Top: the steam-rich eruption plume rising above the volcano and a pyroclastic surge beginning to rise over the crater rim. Bottom: the expanded steam-and-ash plume of the pyroclastic surge that flowed over the crater floor to the ocean. Copyright of Michael Schade, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. This photo of Whakaari/White Island taken after the 9 December 2019 eruption at around 1424 shows ash and sediment coating the crater floor and walls. The helicopter in this image was blown off the landing pad and damaged during the eruption. Copyright of Michael Schade, used with permission.

A steam plume was visible in a webcam image taken at 1430 from Whakatane, 21 minutes after the explosion (figure 85). Subsequent explosions occurred at 1630 and 1749. Search-and-Rescue teams reached the island after the eruption and noted a very strong sulfur smell that was experienced through respirators. They experienced severe stinging of any exposed skin that came in contact with the gas, and were left with sensitive skin and eyes, and sore throats. Later in the afternoon the gas-and-steam plume continued and a sediment plume was dispersing from the island (figure 86). The VAL was lowered to level 3 (minor volcanic eruption) at 1625 that day; the Aviation Colour Code remained at Orange.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. A view of Whakaari/White Island from Whakatane in the North Island of New Zealand. Left: there is no plume visible at 1410 on 9 December 2019, one minute before the eruption. Right: A gas-and-steam plume is visible 21 minutes after the eruption. Courtesy of GeoNet.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. A gas-and-steam plume rises from Whakaari/White Island on the afternoon of 9 December 2019 as rescue teams visit the island. A sediment plume in the ocean is dispersing from the island. Courtesy of Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust.

During or immediately after the eruption an unstable portion of the SW inner crater wall, composed of 1914 landslide material, collapsed and was identified in satellite radar imagery acquired after the eruption. The material slid into the crater lake area and left a 12-m-high scarp. Movement in this area continued into early January.

Activity from late 2019 into early 2020. A significant increase in volcanic tremor began at around 0400 on 11 December (figure 87). The increase was accompanied by vigorous steaming and ejections of mud in several of the new vents. By the afternoon the tremor was at the highest level seen since the 2016 eruption, and monitoring data indicated that shallow magma was driving the increased unrest.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. This RSAM (Real-Time Seismic Amplitude) time series plot represents the energy produced at Whakaari/White Island from 11 November to 11 December 2019 with the Volcanic Activity Levels and the 9 December eruption indicated. The plot shows the sharp increase in seismic energy during 11 December. Courtesy of GeoNet (11 December 2019 report).

The VAL was lowered to 2 on the morning of 12 December to reflect moderate to heightened unrest as no further explosive activity had occurred since the event on the 9th. Volcanic tremor was occurring at very high levels by the time a bulletin was released at 1025 that day. Gas emissions increased since 10 January, steam and mud jetting continued, and the situation was interpreted to be highly volatile. The Aviation Colour Code remained at Orange. Risk assessment maps released that day show the high-risk areas as monitoring parameters continued to show an increased likelihood of another eruption (figure 88).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Risk assessment maps of Whakaari/White Island show the increase in high-risk areas from 2 December to 12 December 2019. Courtesy of GeoNet (12 December 2019 report).

The volcanic activity bulletin for 13 December reported that volcanic tremor remained high, but had declined overnight. Vigorous steam and mud jetting continuing at the vent area. Brief ash emission was observed in the evening with ashfall restricted to the vent area. The 14 January bulletin reported that volcanic tremor had declined significantly over night, and nighttime webcam images showed a glow in the vent area due to high heat flow.

Aerial observations on 14 and 15 December revealed steam and gas emissions continuing from at least three open vents within a 100 m2 area (figure 89). One vent near the back of the crater area was emitting transparent, high-temperature gas that indicated that magma was near the surface, and produced a glow registered by low-light cameras (figure 90). The gas emissions had a blue tinge that indicated high SO2 content. The area that once contained the crater lake, 16 m below overflow before the eruption, was filled with debris and small isolated ponds mostly from rainfall, with different colors due to the water reacting with the eruption deposits. The gas-and-steam plume was white near the volcano but changed to a gray-brown color as it cooled and moved downwind due to the gas content (figure 91). On 15 December the tremor remained at low levels (figure 92).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. The Main Crater area of Whakaari/White Island showing the active vent area and gas-and-steam emissions on 15 December 2019. Gas emissions were high within the circled area. Before the eruption a few days earlier this area was partially filled by the crater lake. Courtesy of GeoNet (15 December 2019 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. A low-light nighttime camera at Whakaari/White Island imaged "a glow" at a vent within the active crater area on 13 December 2019. This glow is due to high-temperature gas emissions and light from external sources like the moon. Courtesy of GeoNet (15 December 2019 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. A gas-and-steam plume at Whakaari/White Island on 15 December 2019 is white near the crater and changes to a grey-brown color downwind due to the gas content. Courtesy of GeoNet (15 December 2019 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. The Whakaari/White Island seismic drum plot showing the difference in activity from 12 December (top) to 15 December (bottom). Courtesy of GeoNet (15 December 2019 report).

On 19 December tremor remained low (figure 93) and gas and steam emission continued. Overflight observations confirmed open vents with one producing temperatures over 650°C (figure 94). SO2 emissions remained high at around 15 kg/s, slightly lower than the 20 kg/s detected on 12 December. Small amounts of ash were produced on 23 and 26 December due to material entering the vents during erosion.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. This RSAM (Real-Time Seismic Amplitude) time series plot represents the energy produced at Whakaari/White Island from 1 November to mid-December 2019. The Volcanic Alert Levels and the 9 December eruption are indicated. Courtesy of GeoNet.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. A photograph and thermal infrared image of the Whakaari/White Island crater area on 19 December 2019. The thermal imaging registered temperatures up to 650°C at a vent emitting steam and gas. Courtesy of GeoNet.

The Aviation Colour Code was reduced to Yellow on 6 January 2020 and the VAL remained at 2. Strong gas and steam emissions continued from the vent area through early January and the glow persisted in nighttime webcam images. Short-lived episodes of volcanic tremor were recorded between 8-10 January and were accompanied by minor explosions. A 15 January bulletin reported that the temperature at the vent area remained very hot, up to 440°C, and SO2 emissions were within normal post-eruption levels.

High temperatures were detected within the vent area in Sentinel-2 thermal data on 6 and 16 January (figure 95). Lava extrusion was confirmed within the 9 December vents on 20 January. Airborne SO2 measurements on that day recorded continued high levels and the vent temperature was over 400°C. Observations on 4 February showed that no new lava extrusion had occurred, and gas fluxes were lower than two weeks ago, but still elevated. The temperatures measured in the crater were 550-570°C and no further changes to the area were observed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Sentinel-2 thermal infrared satellite images show elevated temperatures in the 9 December 2019 vent area on Whakaari/White Island. False color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: New Zealand GeoNet Project, a collaboration between the Earthquake Commission and GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.geonet.org.nz/); GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/); Bay of Plenty Emergency Management Group Civil Defense, New Zealand (URL: http://www.bopcivildefence.govt.nz/); Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, Auckland, New Zealand (URL: https://www.rescuehelicopter.org.nz/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Ben Clarke, The University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, United Kingdom (URL: https://le.ac.uk/geology, Twitter: https://twitter.com/PyroclasticBen); Michael Schade, San Francisco, USA (URL: https://twitter.com/sch).


Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) — January 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kadovar

Papua New Guinea

3.608°S, 144.588°E; summit elev. 365 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent gas and some ash emissions during May-December 2019 with some hot avalanches

Kadovar is an island volcano north of Papua New Guinea and northwest of Manam. The first confirmed historical activity began in January 2018 and resulted in the evacuation of residents from the island. Eruptive activity through 2018 changed the morphology of the SE side of the island and activity continued through 2019 (figure 36). This report summarizes activity from May through December 2019 and is based largely on various satellite data, tourist reports, and Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reports.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. The morphological changes to Kadovar from 2017 to June 2019. Top: the vegetated island has a horseshoe-shaped crater that opens towards the SE; the population of the island was around 600 people at this time. Middle: by May 2018 the eruption was well underway with an active summit crater and an active dome off the east flank. Much of the vegetation has been killed and ashfall covers a lot of the island. Bottom: the bay below the SE flank has filled in with volcanic debris. The E-flank coastal dome is no longer active, but activity continues at the summit. PlanetScope satellite images copyright Planet Labs 2019.

Since this eruptive episode began a large part of the island has been deforested and has undergone erosion (figure 37). Activity in early 2019 included regular gas and steam emissions, ash plumes, and thermal anomalies at the summit (BGVN 44:05). On 15 May an ash plume originated from two vents at the summit area and dispersed to the east. A MODVOLC thermal alert was also issued on this day, and again on 17 May. Elevated temperatures were detected in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite data on 20, 21, and 30 May (figure 38), with accompanying gas-and-steam plumes dispersing to the NNW and NW. On 30 May the area of elevated temperature extended to the SE shoreline, indicating an avalanche of hot material reaching the water.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. The southern flank of Kadovar seen here on 13 November 2019 had been deforested by eruptive activity and erosion had produced gullies down the flanks. Copyrighted photo by Chrissie Goldrick, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images show elevated temperatures at the summit area, and down to the coast in the top image. Gas-and-steam plumes are visible dispersing towards the NW. Sentinel-2 false color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel-Hub Playground.

Throughout June cloud-free Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed elevated temperatures at the summit area and extending down the upper SE flank (figure 38). Gas-and-steam plumes were persistent in every Sentinel-2 and NASA Suomi NPP / VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) image. MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on 4 and 9 June. Similar activity continued through July with gas-and-steam emissions visible in every cloud-free satellite image. Thermal anomalies appeared weaker in late-July but remained at the summit area. An ash plume was imaged on 17 July by Landsat 8 with a gas-and-ash plume dispersing to the west (figure 39). Thermal anomalies continued through August with a MODVOLC thermal alert issued on the 14th. Gas emissions also continued and a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) was issued on the 19th reporting an ash plume to an altitude of 1.5 km and drifting NW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. An ash plume rising above Kadovar and a gas plume dispersing to the NW on 17 July 2019. Truecolor pansharpened Landsat 8 satellite image courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

An elongate area extending from the summit area to the E-flank coastal dome appears lighter in color in a 7 September Sentinel-2 natural color satellite image, and as a higher temperature area in the correlating thermal bands, indicating a hot avalanche deposit. These observations along with the previous avalanche, persistent elevated summit temperatures, and persistent gas and steam emissions from varying vent locations (figure 40) suggests that the summit dome has remained active through 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Sentinel-2 visible and thermal satellite images acquired on 7 September 2019 show fresh deposits down the east flank of Kadovar. They appear as a lighter colored area in visible, and show as a hot area (orange) in thermal data. Sentinel-2 natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) and false color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel-Hub Playground.

Thermal anomalies and emissions continued through to the end of 2019 (figure 41). A tour group witnessed an explosion producing an ash plume at around 1800 on 13 November (figure 42). While the ash plume erupted near-vertically above the island, a more diffuse gas plume rose from multiple vents on the summit dome and dispersed at a lower altitude.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. The summit area of Kadovar emitting gas-and-steam plumes in August, September, and November 2019. The plumes are persistent in satellite images throughout May through December and there is variation in the number and locations of the source vents. PlanetScope satellite images copyright Planet Labs 2019.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. An ash plume and a lower gas plume rise during an eruption of Kadovar on 13 November 2019. The summit lava dome is visibly degassing to produce the white gas plume. Copyrighted photos by Chrissie Goldrick, used with permission.

While gas plumes were visible throughout May-December 2019 (figure 43), SO2 plumes were difficult to detect in NASA SO2 images due to the activity of nearby Manam volcano. The MIROVA thermal detection system shows continued elevated temperatures through to early December, with an increase during May-June (figure 44). Sentinel-2 thermal images showed elevated temperatures through to the end of December but at a lower intensity than previous months.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. This photo of the southeast side Kadovar on 13 November 2019 shows a persistent low-level gas plume blowing towards the left and a more vigorous plume is visible near the crater. This is an example of the persistent plume visible in satellite imagery throughout July-December 2019. Copyrighted photo by Chrissie Goldrick, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. The MIROVA plot of radiative power at Kadovar shows thermal anomalies throughout 2019 with some variations in frequency. Note that while the black lines indicate that the thermal anomalies are greater than 5 km from the vent, the designated summit location is inaccurate so these are actually a the summit crater and on the E flank. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. The 2-km-wide island of Kadovar is the emergent summit of a Bismarck Sea stratovolcano of Holocene age. It is part of the Schouten Islands, and lies off the coast of New Guinea, about 25 km N of the mouth of the Sepik River. Prior to an eruption that began in 2018, a lava dome formed the high point of the andesitic volcano, filling an arcuate landslide scarp open to the south; submarine debris-avalanche deposits occur in that direction. Thick lava flows with columnar jointing forms low cliffs along the coast. The youthful island lacks fringing or offshore reefs. A period of heightened thermal phenomena took place in 1976. An eruption began in January 2018 that included lava effusion from vents at the summit and at the E coast.

Information Contacts: 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/); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov); Chrissie Goldrick, Australian Geographic, Level 7, 54 Park Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia (URL: https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/).


Nyiragongo (DR Congo) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake persists during June-November 2019

Nyiragongo is a stratovolcano with a 1.2 km-wide summit crater containing an active lava lake that has been present since at least 1971. It is located the Virunga Volcanic Province (VVP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, part of the western branch of the East African Rift System. Typical volcanism includes strong and frequent thermal anomalies, primarily due to the lava lake, incandescence, gas-and-steam plumes, and seismicity. This report updates activity during June through November 2019 with the primary source information from monthly reports by the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) and satellite data.

In the July 2019 monthly report, OVG stated that the lava lake level had dropped during the month, with incandescence only visible at night (figure 68). In addition, the small eruptive cone within the crater, which has been active since 2014, decreased in activity during this timeframe. A MONUSCO (United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) helicopter overflight took photos of the lava lake and observed that the level had begun to rise on 27 July. Seismicity was relatively moderate throughout this reporting period; however, on 9-16 July and 21 August strong seismic swarms were recorded.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Webcam images of Nyiragongo on 20 July 2019 where incandescence is not visible during the day (left) but is observed at night (right). Incandescence is accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. Courtesy of OVG.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data continued to show frequent and strong thermal anomalies within 5 km of the crater summit through November 2019 (figure 69). Similarly, the MODVOLC algorithm reported almost daily thermal hotspots (more than 600) within the summit crater between June 2019 through November. These data are corroborated with Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery and a photo from OVG on 19 December 2019 showing the active lava lake (figures 70 and 71).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Thermal anomalies at Nyiragongo from 3 January through November 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were frequent and strong. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) showed ongoing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) at Nyiragongo during June through November 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Photo of the active lava lake in the summit crater at Nyiragongo on 19 December 2019. Incandescence is accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume. Courtesy of OVG via Charles Balagizi.

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

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


Ebeko (Russia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

50.686°N, 156.014°E; summit elev. 1103 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent moderate explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall continue through November 2019

Activity at Ebeko includes frequent explosions that have generated ash plumes reaching altitudes of 1.5-6 km over the last several years, with the higher altitudes occurring since mid-2018 (BGVN 43:03, 43:06, 43:12, 44:07). Ash frequently falls in Severo-Kurilsk (7 km ESE), which is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT). This activity continued during June through November 2019; the Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Explosive activity during December 2018 through November 2019 often sent ash plumes to altitudes between 2.2 to 4.5 km, or heights of 1.1 to 3.4 km above the crater (table 8). Eruptions since 1967 have originated from the northern crater of the summit area (figure 20). Webcams occasionally captured ash explosions, as seen on 27 July 2019(figure 21). KVERT often reported the presence of thermal anomalies; particularly on 23 September 2019, a Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image showed a strong thermal signature at the crater summit accompanied by an ash plume (figure 22). Ashfall is relatively frequent in Severo-Kurilsk (7 km ESE) and can drift in different direction based on the wind pattern, which can be seen in satellite imagery on 30 October 2019 deposited NE and SE from the crater(figure 23).

Table 8. Summary of activity at Ebeko, December 2018-November 2019. S-K is Severo-Kurilsk (7 km ESE of the volcano). TA is thermal anomaly in satellite images. Data courtesy of KVERT.

Date Plume Altitude (km) Plume Distance Plume Directions Other Observations
30 Nov-07 Dec 2018 3.6 -- E Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 1, 4 Dec.
07-14 Dec 2018 3.5 -- E Explosions.
25 Jan-01 Feb 2019 2.3 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 27 Jan.
02-08 Feb 2019 2.3 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 4 Feb.
08-15 Feb 2019 2.5 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 11 Feb.
15-22 Feb 2019 3.6 -- -- Explosions.
22-26 Feb 2019 2.5 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 23-26 Feb.
01-02, 05 Mar 2019 -- -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 1, 5 Mar.
08-10 Mar 2019 4 30 km ENE Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 9-10 Mar.
15-19, 21 Mar 2019 4.5 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 15-16, 21 Mar.
22, 24-25, 27-28 Mar 2019 4.2 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 24-25, 27 Mar.
29-31 Mar, 01, 04 Apr 2019 3.2 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 31 Mar. TA on 31 Mar.
09 Apr 2019 2.2 -- -- Explosions.
12-15 Apr 2019 3.2 -- -- Explosions. TA on 13 Apr.
21-22, 24 Apr 2019 -- -- -- Explosions.
26 Apr-03 May 2019 3 -- -- Explosions.
04, 06-07 May 2019 3.5 -- -- Explosions. TA on 6 May.
12-13 May 2019 2.5 -- -- Explosions. TA 12-13 May.
16-20 May 2019 2.5 -- -- Explosions. TA on 16-17 May.
25-28 May 2019 3 -- -- Explosions. TA on 27-28 May.
03 Jun 2019 3 -- E Explosions.
12 Jun 2019 -- -- -- TA.
14-15 Jun 2019 2.5 -- NW, NE Explosions.
21-28 Jun 2019 -- -- -- TA on 23 June.
28 Jun-05 Jul 2019 4.5 -- Multiple Explosions. TA on 29 Jun, 1 Jul.
05-12 Jul 2019 3.5 -- S Explosions. TA on 11 Jul.
15-16 Jul 2019 2 -- S, SE Explosions. TA on 13-16, 18 Jul.
20-26 Jul 2019 4 -- Multiple Explosions. TA on 18, 20, 25 Jul
25-26, 29 Jul, 01 Aug 2019 2.5 -- Multiple Explosions.
02, 04 Aug 2019 3 -- SE Explosions. TA on 2, 4 Aug.
10-16 Aug 2019 3 -- SE Explosions. TA on 10, 12 Aug.
17-23 Aug 2019 3 -- SE Explosions. TA on 16 Aug.
23, 27-28 Aug 2019 3 -- E Explosions. TA on 23 Aug.
30-31 Aug, 03-05 Sep 2019 3 -- E, SE Explosions on 30 Aug, 3-5 Sep. TA on 30-31 Aug.
07-13 Sep 2019 3 -- S, SE, N Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 6 Sep. TA on 8 Sep.
13-15, 18 Sep 2019 2.5 -- E Explosions. TA on 15 Sep.
22-23 Sep 2019 3 -- E, NE Explosions. Ashfall in S-K.
27 Sep-04 Oct 2019 4 -- SE, E, NE Explosions.
07-08, 10 Oct 2019 2.5 -- E, NE Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 4-5 Oct. Weak TA on 8 Oct.
11-18 Oct 2019 4 -- NE Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 15 Oct. Weak TA on 12 Oct.
18, 20-21, 23 Oct 2019 3 -- N, E, SE Explosions. Weak TA on 20 Oct.
25-26, 29-30 Oct 2019 2.5 -- E, NE Explosions. Weak TA on 29 Oct.
02-06 Nov 2019 3 -- N, E, SE Explosions.
11-12, 14 Nov 2019 3 -- E, NE Explosions.
15-17, 20 Nov 2019 3 -- SE, NE Explosions.
22-23, 28 Nov 2019 2.5 -- SE, E Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 23 Nov.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Satellite image showing the summit crater complex at Ebeko, July 2019. Monthly mosaic image for July 2019, copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Webcam photo of an explosion and ash plume at Ebeko on 27 July 2019. Videodata by IMGG FEB RAS and KB GS RAS (color adjusted and cropped); courtesy of Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Satellite images showing an ash explosion from Ebeko on 23 September 2019. Top image is in natural color (bands 4, 3, 2). Bottom image is using "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A) to show a thermal anomaly in the northern crater visible around the rising plume. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. A satellite image of Ebeko from Sentinel-2 (LC1 natural color, bands 4, 3, 2) on 30 October 2019 showing previous ashfall deposits on the snow going in multiple directions. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data detected four low-power thermal anomalies during the second half of July, and one each in the months of June, August, and October; no activity was recorded in September or November MODVOLC thermal alerts observed only one thermal anomaly between June through November 2019.

Geologic Background. The flat-topped summit of the central cone of Ebeko volcano, one of the most active in the Kuril Islands, occupies the northern end of Paramushir Island. Three summit craters located along a SSW-NNE line form Ebeko volcano proper, at the northern end of a complex of five volcanic cones. Blocky lava flows extend west from Ebeko and SE from the neighboring Nezametnyi cone. The eastern part of the southern crater contains strong solfataras and a large boiling spring. The central crater is filled by a lake about 20 m deep whose shores are lined with steaming solfataras; the northern crater lies across a narrow, low barrier from the central crater and contains a small, cold crescentic lake. Historical activity, recorded since the late-18th century, has been restricted to small-to-moderate explosive eruptions from the summit craters. Intense fumarolic activity occurs in the summit craters, on the outer flanks of the cone, and in lateral explosion craters.

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); 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/).


Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevado del Ruiz

Colombia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash plumes with significant gas and steam emissions during January 2016-December 2017

Nevado del Ruiz is a glaciated volcano in Colombia (figure 86). It is known for the 13 November 1985 eruption that produced an ash plume and associated pyroclastic flows onto the glacier, triggering a lahar that approximately 25,000 people in the towns of Armero (46 km west) and Chinchiná (34 km east). Since 1985 activity has intermittently occurred at the Arenas crater. The eruption that began on 18 November 2014 included ash plumes dominantly dispersed to the NW of Arenas crater (BGVN 42:06). This bulletin summarizes activity during January 2016 through December 2017 and is based on reports by Servicio Geologico Colombiano and Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales, Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) notices, and satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. A satellite image of Nevado del Ruiz showing the location of the active Arenas crater. September 2019 Monthly Mosaic image copyright Planet Labs 2019.

Activity during 2016. Throughout January 2016 ash and steam plumes were observed reaching up to a few kilometers. Significant water vapor and volcanic gases, especially SO2, were detected throughout the month. Thermal anomalies were detected in the crater on the 27th and 31st. Significant water vapor and volcanic gas plumes, in particular SO2, were frequently detected by the SCAN DOAS (Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy) station and satellite data (figure 87). A M3.2 earthquake was felt in the area on 18 January. Similar activity continued through February with notable ash plumes up to 1 km, and a M3.6 earthquake was felt on the 6th. Ash and gas-and-steam plumes were reported throughout March with a maximum of 3.5 km on the 31st (figure 88). Significant water vapor and gas plumes continued from the Arenas crater throughout the month, and a thermal anomaly was noted on the 28th. An increase in seismicity was reported on the 29th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Examples of SO2 plumes from Nevado del Ruiz detected by the Aura/OMI instrument on 10, 26, and 31 January 2019. Courtesy of Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Ash plumes at Nevado del Ruiz during March. Webcam images courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano, various 2016 reports.

The activity continued into April with a M 3.0 earthquake felt by nearby inhabitants on the 8th, an increase in seismicity reported in the week of 12-18, and another significant increase on the 28th with earthquakes felt around Manizales. Thermal anomalies were noted during 12-18 April with the largest on the 16th. Ash plumes continued through the month as well as significant steam-and-gas plumes. Ashfall was reported in Murillo on the 29th.

The elevated activity continued through May with significant steam plumes up to 1.7 km above the crater during the week of 10-16. Thermal anomalies were reported on the 11th and 12th. Steam, gas, and ash plumes reached 2.5 km above the crater and dispersed to the W and NW. Ashfall was reported in La Florida on the 20th (figure 89) and multiple ash plumes on the 22nd reached 2.5 km and resulted in the closure of the La Nubia airport in Manizales. Ash and gas-and-steam emission continued during June (figure 90).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Ash plumes at Nevado del Ruiz on 17, 18, and 20 May 2016 with fine ash deposited on a car in La Florida, Manizales on the 20th. Webcams located in the NE Guali sector of the volcano, courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano 20 May 2016 report.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Examples of gas-and-steam and ash plumes at Nevado del Ruiz during June and July 2016. Courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano (7 July 2016 report).

Similar activity was reported in July with gas-and-steam and ash plumes often dispersing to the NW and W. Ashfall was reported to the NW on 16 July (figure 91). Drumbeat seismicity was detected on 13, 15, 16, and 17 July, with two hours on the 16th being the longest duration episode do far. Drumbeat seismicity was noted by SGC as indicating dome growth. Significant water vapor and gas emissions continued through August. Ash plumes were reported through the month with plumes up to 1.3 km above the crater on 28 and 2.3 km on 29. Similar activity was reported through September as well as a thermal anomaly and ash deposition apparent in satellite data (figure 92). Drumbeat seismicity was noted again on the 17th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. The location of ashfall resulting from an explosion at Nevado del Ruiz on 16 July 2016 and a sample of the ash under a microscope. The ash is composed of lithics, plagioclase and pyroxene crystals, and minor volcanic glass. Courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano (16 July 2016 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. This Sentinel-2 thermal infrared satellite image shows elevated temperatures in the Nevado del Ruiz Arenas crater (yellow and orange) on 16 September 2016. Ash deposits are also visible to the NW of the crater. In this image blue is snow and ice. False color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During the week of 4-10 October it was noted that activity consisting of regular ash plumes had been ongoing for 22 months. Ash plumes continued with reported plumes reaching 2.5 above the crater throughout October (figure 93), accompanied by significant steam and water vapor emissions. A M 4.4 earthquake was felt nearby on the 7th. Similar activity continued through November and December 2016 with plumes consisting of gas and steam, and sometimes ash reaching 2 km above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. An ash plume rising above Nevado del Ruiz on 27 October 2016. Courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano.

Activity during 2017. Significant steam and gas emissions, especially SO2, continued into early 2017. Ash plumes detected through seismicity were confirmed in webcam images and through local reports; the plumes reached a maximum height of 2.5 km above the volcano on the 6th (figure 94). Drumbeat seismicity was recorded during 3-9, and on 22 January. Inflation was detected early in the month and several thermal anomalies were noted.

Intermittent deformation continued into February. Significant steam-and-gas emissions continued with intermittent ash plumes reaching 1.5-2 km above the volcano. Thermal anomalies were noted throughout the month and there was a significant increase in seismicity during 23-26 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Ash plumes at Nevado del Ruiz on 6 January 2017. Courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano.

Thermal anomalies continued to be detected through March. Ash plumes continued to be observed and recorded in seismicity and maximum heights of 2 km above the volcano were noted. Deflation continued after the intermittent inflation the previous month. On 10-11 April a period of short-duration and very low-energy drumbeat seismicity was recorded. Significant gas and steam emission continued through April with intermittent ash plumes reaching 1.5 km above the volcano. Thermal anomalies were detected early in the month.

Unrest continued through May with elevated seismicity, significant steam-and-gas emissions, and ash plumes reaching 1.7 km above the crater. Five episodes of drumbeat seismicity were recorded on 29 May and intermittent deformation continued. There were no available reports for June and July.

Variable seismicity was recorded during August and deflation was measured in the first week. Gas-and-steam plumes were observed rising to 850 m above the crater on the 3rd, and 450 m later in the month. A thermal anomaly was noted on the 14th. There were no available reports for September through December.

On 18 December 2017 the Washington VAAC issued an advisory for an ash plume to 6 km that was moving west and dispersing. The plume was described as a "thin veil of volcanic ash and gasses" that was seen in visible satellite imagery, NOAA/CIMSS, and supported by webcam imagery.

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

Information Contacts: Servicio Geologico Colombiano (SGC), Diagonal 53 No. 34-53 - Bogotá D.C., Colombia (URL: https://www2.sgc.gov.co/volcanes/index.html); Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales (URL: https://www.facebook.com/ovsmanizales); 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); 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).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 27, Number 01 (January 2002)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Chikurachki (Russia)

Several January-February ash clouds observed; small crater formed

Kanlaon (Philippines)

Increased seismicity during January 2002 may be precursor to eruption

Karangetang (Indonesia)

Lahars cause damage in January; explosions and lava flows in February

Marapi (Indonesia)

Explosions during 2001; April ash plume reaches 2.0 km above the summit

Soputan (Indonesia)

Avalanche earthquakes, white plumes to 100 m through mid-July 2001

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Small-scale dome collapses and pyroclastic flows through February 2002

Stromboli (Italy)

Fallout from 23 January explosion carpets popular tourist area

Tungurahua (Ecuador)

Powerful tremor, plumes, 600-m-high lava fountains, and lahars during 2001

Unnamed (Tonga)

Submarine center identified S of Fonualei may be the source of T-waves and pumice

Yasur (Vanuatu)

Mild eruptive phase ends and leads to a vigorous phase in December 2001; seismic data



Chikurachki (Russia) — January 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Chikurachki

Russia

50.324°N, 155.461°E; summit elev. 1781 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Several January-February ash clouds observed; small crater formed

The last report of volcanism at Chikurachki on Paramushir Island in the northern Kuriles (figure 3) was made by crews on fishing boats near the volcano on 19 November 1986; activity consisted of lava flows, ash clouds, and pyroclastic flows (SEAN 11:11, 11:12, and 12:01). Chikurachki is not seismically monitored, and therefore the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) does not use a Color Concern Code to label the level of activity. The volcano is not visible from the closest town from which KVERT receives ashfall reports from, Severo-Kurilsk (~55 km NE of the volcano). Information about volcanism comes from crews on vessels and pilots passing Paramushir Island.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Map of Paramushir Island showing Chikurachki volcano on the SW part of the island, Fuss Peak volcano forming a peninsula to the SW, Ebeko volcano at the N end of the island, and the town of Severo-Kurilsk on the NE side of the island. This map is a segment from the Tactical Pilotage Chart E-10C of the NOAA Sectional Aeronautical Chart Series. Compiled in October 1984 by the Defense Mapping Agency Aerospace Center. Courtesy of NOAA.

An eruption began at Chikurachki on 25 January. The start time of the eruption is not known, but between 1200 and 1500 ash fell to the NE in Severo-Kurilsk. The ash mixed with snow and formed a layer ~1.5 mm thick; the thickness of the ash alone was probably ~10-30% less. On 2 February an eruption was seen by a helicopter pilot. At 1200 that day an ash column rose 300 m above the volcano's crater and drifted more than 70 km to the SE.

The next report of volcanism at Chikurachki was made by a hunter on 7 February. He heard thunder and saw a persistent ash column rising to ~2.5 km altitude. The upper portion of the ash cloud was obscured by low cloud cover, so the ash cloud's exact height and direction of movement were not known.

Reports of activity at Chikurachki also prompted news reports stating that Ebeko, ~60 km NE of Chikurachki, was erupting (figure 3). The reports were found to be false; Chikurachki was the only volcano on Paramushir Island to be active in January.

According to reports from Severo-Kurilsk, by mid-February volcanism at Chikurachki had decreased. Visual observations from a helicopter on 18 February revealed that a small new crater had formed on the SSE part of the volcano's summit crater. In addition, a gas-and-steam plume rose 150 m above the crater and extended to the ESE. A stripe of fresh ash was seen on the volcano's E slope. A satellite image, taken on 18 February at 1649, provided a relatively clear view of Chikurachki; no thermal anomaly or volcanic plume was visible. Although the level of volcanic activity decreased, KVERT stated that ash explosions could still occur. According to the Tokyo VAAC, possible eruptions on 21 February at 0325 and 24 February at 1232 may have produced ash clouds that rose to ~6 and 5.8 km, respectively.

Geologic Background. Chikurachki, the highest volcano on Paramushir Island in the northern Kuriles, is actually a relatively small cone constructed on a high Pleistocene volcanic edifice. Oxidized basaltic-to-andesitic scoria deposits covering the upper part of the young cone give it a distinctive red color. Frequent basaltic plinian eruptions have occurred during the Holocene. Lava flows from 1781-m-high Chikurachki reached the sea and form capes on the NW coast; several young lava flows also emerge from beneath the scoria blanket on the eastern flank. The Tatarinov group of six volcanic centers is located immediately to the south of Chikurachki, and the Lomonosov cinder cone group, the source of an early Holocene lava flow that reached the saddle between it and Fuss Peak to the west, lies at the southern end of the N-S-trending Chikurachki-Tatarinov complex. In contrast to the frequently active Chikurachki, the Tatarinov volcanoes are extensively modified by erosion and have a more complex structure. Tephrochronology gives evidence of only one eruption in historical time from Tatarinov, although its southern cone contains a sulfur-encrusted crater with fumaroles that were active along the margin of a crater lake until 1959.

Information Contacts: Olga Chubarova, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT); Thomas P. Miller, Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); National Oceanic and Air Administration (NOAA), 14th Street & Constitution Avenue, NW, Room 6013, Washington, DC 20230 (URL: http://www.noaa.gov).


Kanlaon (Philippines) — January 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Kanlaon

Philippines

10.412°N, 123.132°E; summit elev. 2435 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Increased seismicity during January 2002 may be precursor to eruption

As of late May 2001, seismicity at Canlaon was low, and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) relaxed its no-entry advisory into the crater (BGVN 26:10). No further reports were issued through 2001.

On 30 January 2002 PHIVOLCS reported that during the previous month, the seismic network around the volcano detected a higher number of earthquakes, observations that may indicate a reactivation of the volcano. Seismicity was dominated by high-frequency earthquakes located around the crater, from shallow depth to 8.5 km deep. These earthquakes may represent episodes of subsurface fracturing due to magma intrusion. During mid-January, PHIVOLCS further noted the occurrence of several low-frequency earthquakes, which supports the idea that some fluid migration, possibly magma ascent, was occurring. PHIVOLCS noted that if this idea was confirmed by forthcoming surveys, then the Alert Level may be raised.

Increased activity at Canlaon was recognized as early as January 2001 with occurrences of earthquake clusters. At the time PHIVOLCS issued a similar notice but activity quieted down. This year's reactivation seems more intense in terms of the number of earthquakes. They could foretell of impending phreatic eruptions. Several teams were sent to augment the Canlaon Volcano Observatory with additional seismometers and deployment of a GPS-based ground-deformation monitoring network. Because sudden phreatic or steam-driven explosions may occur at any time, PHIVOLCS urged the public to strictly observe the 4-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) around the volcano and recommended the suspension of all treks within this zone until further notice. As of 30 January, PHIVOLCS reported that volcanic activity did not require any kind of evacuation except for areas within the PDZ.

Geologic Background. Kanlaon volcano (also spelled Canlaon), the most active of the central Philippines, forms the highest point on the island of Negros. The massive andesitic stratovolcano is dotted with fissure-controlled pyroclastic cones and craters, many of which are filled by lakes. The largest debris avalanche known in the Philippines traveled 33 km SW from Kanlaon. The summit contains a 2-km-wide, elongated northern caldera with a crater lake and a smaller, but higher, historically active vent, Lugud crater, to the south. Historical eruptions, recorded since 1866, have typically consisted of phreatic explosions of small-to-moderate size that produce minor ashfalls near the volcano.

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, 5th & 6th Floors, Hizon Building, 29 Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines.


Karangetang (Indonesia) — January 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lahars cause damage in January; explosions and lava flows in February

During 5 November 2001 through 24 February 2002, seismicity continued at Karangetang, and plumes were observed rising above the summit (table 3). The lava flows that began during late April and early May 2001 (see BGVN 26:10) stopped around 25 October. Multiphase earthquakes, associated with lava dome growth, had not been registered since September but began again during early November.

Table 3. Seismicity and plumes observed at Karangetang during 5 November through 24 February. The Alert Level remained at 2 throughout this period. Courtesy VSI.

Date Deep volcanic (A-type) Shallow volcanic (B-type) Tectonic Multiphase Observation (plume heights are above summit)
05 Nov-11 Nov 2001 7 -- 51 11 White medium-thick plume rose 100 m above N crater, 50 m above crater II; incandescence to 20 m
12 Nov-18 Nov 2001 14 4 49 -- White medium-thick plume rose 600 m; incandescence to 25-50 m
19 Nov-25 Nov 2001 12 9 36 -- --
26 Nov-02 Dec 2001 14 2 66 5 White medium-thick plume rose 300 m above main crater, 150 m above crater II
03 Dec-09 Dec 2001 13 9 45 11 White thin-medium plume rose 50-250 m above main crater, 100 m above crater II
17 Dec-30 Dec 2001 17 16 60 12 White medium-thick plume rose 500 m above main (S) crater, 50 m above crater II
30 Dec-06 Jan 2002 10 5 9 7 Lahars on 3 January
07 Jan-13 Jan 2002 18 8 56 9 White medium-thick plume rose 400 m above summit, incandescence inside the plume to 50 m
14 Jan-20 Jan 2002 4 7 44 1 --
21 Jan-27 Jan 2002 4 6 29 6 --
28 Jan-03 Feb 2002 8 1 36 12 White medium-thick plume rose 100 m above main (S) crater, 75 m above N crater; incandescence to 25 m
04 Feb-10 Feb 2002 407 215 967 23 Incandescence to 25 m
11 Feb-17 Feb 2002 281 73 102 3 Ash to WSW, lava flows, incandescence to 25 m
18 Feb-24 Feb 2002 113 16 100 1 Incandescence to 25 m

During the first days of 2002 heavy rains near the summit resulted in cold lahars along the Kahetang river on the E flank. On 3 January around 1200 a lahar traveled ~260 m and was ~10-125 cm thick near Terminal and Pelabuhan Ulu Siau. The volume of the lahar was estimated to reach 40,000 m3. In this area, a total of 52 houses were destroyed. Near Bebali village, a lahar traveled ~60 m and covered the road along Ulu Siau city to Ondong village to a thickness of ~75 cm. The volume of the lahar was estimated at 600 m3. In this area, 9 houses and a church were damaged.

Seismicity increased during early February, and a thundering sound was heard frequently coming from the main (S) crater, often accompanied by a sulfur smell. During a 3-day period in early February, 82 earthquakes occurred with magnitudes of 1-3. The earthquakes often caused sliding of the unstable 2001 lava. On 11 February, an explosion occurred that produced ash falls 0.5-1 mm thick to the WSW, reaching the Kanawong, Lehi, Mimi, Kinali, and Pehe villages. Incandescent lava flows traveled up to 1.5 km down the Beha river (W slope) and Kahetang river (E slope). Seismicity was still high but decreased after the 11 February explosion. Loud noises, sulfur smells, and incandescence were observed through at least 24 February.

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

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


Marapi (Indonesia) — January 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Marapi

Indonesia

0.38°S, 100.474°E; summit elev. 2885 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions during 2001; April ash plume reaches 2.0 km above the summit

On 11 March 2000, an explosion at Marapi ejected thick black ash that rose 1.4 km above the summit (BGVN 25:11). Explosive activity occurred again in 2001, peaking during 13-18 April, when a total of 150 explosions occurred that sent ash plumes to 2 km above the summit.

From January to February 2001, monthly A-type earthquakes had decreased from 15 to 8, and B-type earthquakes had decreased from 24 to 14. Gas-and-steam emissions, however, had increased from 11 events during January to 41 times during February. B-type earthquakes were registered on 7 April and continuous volcanic tremor occurred on 9 April.

On 14 April at 1600 a thick dark ash plume was visible from Bukittinggi, 15 km NW of Marapi's summit. On 16 April at 0600 an explosion sent a thick black ash plume to 700 m above the summit. At 0814 the same day a loud explosion was heard 8 km from the volcano, and a black mushroom-shaped ash plume rose to 2 km above the summit. Ejected incandescent fragments were seen clearly from Bukittinggi and then fell back to the crater rim. Ash fell over the villages of Sungai Puah, Air Angeh, and Andala, and in District X Koto, District Batipuh, District V Koto, Tanah Datar Regency, and Padang Panjang City in the zone S and SW of the summit. Ash deposits 1-4 km from the summit were 2-3 cm thick.

The Marapi Volcano Observatory increased the Alert Level from 1 to 2 following the activity that began on 13 April and a recommendation was issued by the local government to prevent people from traveling to the summit area.

Volcanic activity at Marapi continued through at least June 2001 (table 1). On 8 May at 2240, an explosion was accompanied by a moderate booming sound heard from the Tandikat observatory. Ash from the explosion spread to the NW, to Kota Bary, Padangpanjang, Lo Koto, and around the Tandikat observatory.

Table 1. Earthquakes and plumes reported at Marapi during 23 April-10 June 2001. Courtesy of VSI.

Date Deep volcanic (A-type) Shallow volcanic (B-type) Explosion Tectonic Observation (plume heights are above summit)
23 Apr-29 Apr 2001 58 -- 30 -- Gray-black plume to 3.0 km; volcanic materials fell 4.0 km from volcano. Five explosion earthquakes were accompanied by loud noise.
30 Apr-06 May 2001 27 22 4 -- Gray plume to 1.2 km above summit.
07 May-13 May 2001 16 46 14 1 Whitish-gray thick plume to 1.5 km above summit.
04 Jun-10 Jun 2001 2 -- 2 2 Explosion earthquakes had 33.6 mm maximum amplitudes.

An explosion that began at 0445 on 5 June sent ash to the SSW. The ash was 0.5-2 mm thick in places. Merapi remained at Alert Level 2 through at least 10 June 2001.

Geologic Background. Gunung Marapi, not to be confused with the better-known Merapi volcano on Java, is Sumatra's most active volcano. This massive complex stratovolcano rises 2,000 m above the Bukittinggi Plain in the Padang Highlands. A broad summit contains multiple partially overlapping summit craters constructed within the small 1.4-km-wide Bancah caldera. The summit craters are located along an ENE-WSW line, with volcanism migrating to the west. More than 50 eruptions, typically consisting of small-to-moderate explosive activity, have been recorded since the end of the 18th century; no lava flows outside the summit craters have been reported in historical time.

Information Contacts: Dali Ahmad, Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI) (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/).


Soputan (Indonesia) — January 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Soputan

Indonesia

1.112°N, 124.737°E; summit elev. 1785 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Avalanche earthquakes, white plumes to 100 m through mid-July 2001

During 13 February through 15 July 2001, seismicity at Soputan was dominated by avalanche earthquakes (see table 3). Discontinuous tremor (0.5- 4 mm amplitude) was reported through most of the report period. Plumes, generally white and thin, were visible reaching 50-100 m above the summit. The Alert Level remained at 2 through at least mid-July 2001. No further reports were issued through February 2002.

Table 3. Earthquakes registered at Soputan during 13 February through 15 July 2001. No reports were issued for missing weeks. Courtesy of VSI.

Date Deep volcanic (A-type) Shallow volcanic (B-type) Avalanche Tectonic
13 Feb-19 Feb 2001 7 -- 57 8
20 Feb-26 Feb 2001 4 1 23 36
27 Feb-05 Mar 2001 -- 1 7 --
06 Mar-12 Mar 2001 6 -- 30 12
12 Mar-18 Mar 2001 4 -- 30 15
19 Mar-23 Mar 2001 5 1 56 18
02 Apr-09 Apr 2001 4 1 73 51
09 Apr-15 Apr 2001 1 1 51 17
16 Apr-23 Apr 2001 9 -- 37 30
23 Apr-29 Apr 2001 1 17 36 --
07 May-13 May 2001 -- 1 148 29
14 May-20 May 2001 1 -- 69 14
28 May-03 Jun 2001 6 -- 85 27
04 Jun-10 Jun 2001 5 -- 75 20
11 Jun-17 Jun 2001 0 0 86 18
18 Jun-24 Jun 2001 1 -- 59 14
25 Jun-01 Jul 2001 3 -- 146 18
02 Jul-08 Jul 2001 2 -- 123 34
09 Jul-15 Jul 2001 3 -- 201 48

Geologic Background. The Soputan stratovolcano on the southern rim of the Quaternary Tondano caldera on the northern arm of Sulawesi Island is one of Sulawesi's most active volcanoes. The youthful, largely unvegetated volcano is located SW of Riendengan-Sempu, which some workers have included with Soputan and Manimporok (3.5 km ESE) as a volcanic complex. It was constructed at the southern end of a SSW-NNE trending line of vents. During historical time the locus of eruptions has included both the summit crater and Aeseput, a prominent NE-flank vent that formed in 1906 and was the source of intermittent major lava flows until 1924.

Information Contacts: Dali Ahmad, Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI) (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/).


Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — January 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Soufriere Hills

United Kingdom

16.72°N, 62.18°W; summit elev. 915 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small-scale dome collapses and pyroclastic flows through February 2002

The Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) reported that during 17 August 2001 through at least 1 February 2002 at Soufriere Hills, a new lava dome continued to grow within the scar produced from the 29 July 2001 partial dome collapse (BGVN 26:07). Activity generally increased at Soufriere Hills during mid-September through November 2001, and remained at a high level through at least 1 February 2002 (table 38).

Table 38. Seismic and SO2-flux data from Soufriere Hills during 17 August 2001 to 1 February 2002. Courtesy of MVO.

Date Rockfall Long-period / Rockfall Long-period Hybrid Volcano-tectonic SO2 flux (metric tons/day)
17 Aug-24 Aug 2001 189 1 36 149 0 Not Reported
24 Aug-31 Aug 2001 200 1 6 19 11 25 Aug: 68; 28 Aug: 151
31 Aug-07 Sep 2001 218 2 31 8 4 31 Aug: 242; 01 Sep: 86
07 Sep-14 Sep 2001 228 0 28 65 1 13 Sep: 543
14 Sep-21 Sep 2001 211 4 36 522 3 avg 200-2000
21 Sep-28 Sep 2001 297 7 16 326 12 100-600; avg 250
28 Sep-05 Oct 2001 202 2 26 451 0 01 Oct: 418
05 Oct-12 Oct 2001 285 7 34 20 1 10 Oct: 388
12 Oct-19 Oct 2001 207 2 6 9 1 18 Oct: 320
19 Oct-26 Oct 2001 208 2 3 46 0 22 Oct: 574; 23 Oct: 48424 Oct: 292; 25 Oct: 200
26 Oct-02 Nov 2001 284 -- 8 46 2 77-385; avg 233; 26 Oct: 611
02 Nov-09 Nov 2001 314 8 5 174 4 05 Nov: 134
09 Nov-16 Nov 2001 149 4 20 116 2 13 Nov: 521; 15 Nov: 450
16 Nov-23 Nov 2001 251 45 115 413 -- 19 Nov: 140; 20 Nov: 119
23 Nov-30 Nov 2001 435 82 145 193 -- <100 avg
30 Nov-07 Dec 2001 363 37 58 128 -- Not Reported
07 Dec-14 Dec 2001 551 97 95 80 -- 11 Dec: 158
14 Dec-21 Dec 2001 858 42 57 25 -- 19 Dec: 181
21 Dec-28 Dec 2001 1012 45 75 75 -- 27 Dec: 851
28 Dec-04 Jan 2002 911 69 103 21 -- 250-1000, avg 457
04 Jan-11 Jan 2002 939 81 87 24 -- 08 Jan: 898; 10 Jan: 1122
11 Jan-18 Jan 2002 741 29 52 7 -- Not Reported
18 Jan-25 Jan 2002 471 68 70 9 -- 22 Jan: 700
25 Jan-01 Feb 2002 610 67 140 8 -- Not Reported

Throughout the report period, the new dome produced pyroclastic flows and rockfalls that traveled E to the upper and middle reaches of the Tar River Valley. Small-scale lava dome collapses generated pyroclastic flows almost continuously, with flows entering the sea on 4, 5, and 14 October, 2 and 28 December 2001, and 5 and 12 January 2002. Dense ash plumes associated with sea entry and ash venting from the summit generally drifted W and reached up to 3.0 km altitude (table 39). During mid-October ash clouds drifted to the W and NW and occasionally deposited small amounts of ash on inhabited areas to the N of the island. A new event began on 28 December at 1330 that produced a large area of dense ash observed on satellite imagery below ~3 km a.s.l. Incandescence was observed at the dome on 3 September, during 2-9 and 16-23 November, and on the E and W sides of dome on 26 and 27 December. Mudflows occurred in the Belham Valley on several days during periods of torrential rainfall.

Table 39. Summary of ash emissions at Soufriere Hills seen on satellite imagery during 26 August 2001- 5 February 2002. Courtesy of Washington VAAC.

Date Altitude (km) Direction Size
26 Aug 2001 ~2.1 SW 28 km long, 9 km wide
05 Sep 2001 ~1 W 160 km long, 28 km wide
07 Sep 2001 ~summit level S --
16 Sep 2001 ~summit level -- --
21 Sep 2001 <1 WNW --
22 Sep 2001 <1.2 WNW 115 km long
24 Sep 2001 ~1.5 W --
25 Sep 2001 ~1.5 W --
26 Sep 2001 ~1.5 WSW --
30 Sep 2001 <3.0 W --
03 Oct 2001 ~summit level WSW --
04 Oct 2001 <1.5 W 36 km long, 23 km wide
04 Oct 2001 <2.4 WNW 28 km wide
05 Oct 2001 <1.5 -- --
06 Oct 2001 <1.8 W 168 km long, 17 km wide
07 Oct 2001 <1.8 -- --
10 Oct 2001 ~1.8 vertically, possibly E --
11 Oct 2001 <1.8 W --
11 Oct 2001 >2.1 NW --
12 Oct 2001 <1.8 W --
14 Oct 2001 ~1.8 -- --
26 Oct 2001 <2.1 W --
07 Nov 2001 <1.8 NW 32 km long, 7 km wide
07 Nov 2001 <6.0 ENE --
17 Nov 2001 <5.2 NE --
18 Nov 2001 <3.0 NE 42 km long, 11 km wide
03 Dec 2001 ~2.4 W --
08 Dec 2001 ~1.8 W 139 km long
13 Dec 2001 ~4.0 WSW 60 km long, 13 km wide
14 Dec 2001 -- WSW --
21 Dec 2001 <2.4 W 28 km long, 7 km wide
27 Dec 2001 2.1-3.0 SSE 22 km wide
27 Dec 2001 <3.0 SW --
28 Dec 2001 <3.0 WNW 47 km long, 11 km wide
29 Dec 2001 ~3.0 WNW 70 km wide
29 Dec 2001 <3.0 W 129 km long, 16 km wide
01 Jan 2002 <1.5 W 133 km long, 10-24 km wide
02 Jan 2002 <1.5 WNW 125 km long, 10 km wide
05 Jan 2002 <2.4 W --
08 Jan 2002 ~1.5, bursts to 2.4 W 140 km long
11 Jan 2002 -- W 41 km long, 9 km wide
12 Jan 2002 <3.0 WNW --
13 Jan 2002 <2.4 W 149 km long
29 Jan 2002 ~2.4 W --
05 Feb 2002 2.4-3.0 W --
05 Feb 2002 1.5 NW 23 km wide
05 Feb 2002 3.0 W 17 km wide

The daytime entry zone (DTEZ), closed after 4 July when two small pyroclastic flows passed down the W flank of the volcano in the Amersham area, reopened on 29 August. However, the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) warned that activity could still increase quite suddenly, with a dangerous situation developing very quickly. Ash masks were to be worn in ashy conditions, and the Belham Valley was to be avoided during and after heavy rainfall due to the possibility of mudflows. The DTEZ was closed again during 4-11 October due to increased activity.

Morphology of the new lava dome. Observations during August 2001 revealed that the new dome appeared to be growing rapidly and had steep sides and a rugged summit area. During mid-September, MVO reported that the volume of the dome was estimated to be approximately 12 x 106 m3, indicating an average growth rate of ~2.6 m3 per second since the partial dome collapse on 29 July.

On 31 October and 1 November observations revealed that the active lava dome had grown substantially and appeared to switch growth direction from the NE to the E, where a massive, near-vertical headwall had developed. Observations from a helicopter on 8 November revealed that a shallow, circular depression was located over the summit area of the dome, with ash vigorously venting from it. The lava dome's highest point during mid-November was measured on 9 November at 876 m elevation.

During mid-November, lava-dome growth shifted from the E to the W, and the summit area was crowned by spines with an average elevation of 940 m. An elevation of 968 meters was measured on one spine, although one other stood higher. By the end of November, MVO reported these elevations: the dome complex consisting of the stagnant E lobe (870 m), an inactive central lobe (930 m), and the active W lobe (960 m on 27 November). The W lobe had produced several small spines, which collapsed and were replaced by new spines.

Observations of the lava dome on 16 December revealed that although it had not increased noticeably in height, it had increased in volume since November. The top of the dome had developed a broadly rounded and blocky appearance. Most of the growth appeared to occur on the W side of the dome, but rockfalls and small pyroclastic flows also occurred on the E and S flanks.

Observations on 10 January revealed that the summit dome had increased in volume considerably during the previous several weeks and that it was broad with several spines projecting upward. The highest spine reached 1,015 m elevation on 12 January. A large lobe was again active on the upper E flank of the dome, just below the summit level. The W side of the dome appeared to have been inactive for some time, judging from the general weathered appearance and deposits of sulphur. Survey measurements also indicated that the saddle area between the NE and central buttresses lowered by about 20 m during the previous weeks due to rockfall and pyroclastic-flow activity.

On 21 January the dome was crowned by a large 40- to 50-m tall spine inclined steeply upwards towards the E. Although the number of rockfalls gradually decreased over the previous 3 weeks, their size and duration significantly increased during 18-25 January. Rockfalls during that interval yielded seismic signals whose total energy rates exceeded those seen during the previous few months.

Activity of the new lava dome. Lava-dome collapses consisting of 10-15% of the dome's volume occurred on the N side of the dome on 4 and 5 October. On 14 October, after a day of torrential rainfall, several million cubic meters of unconsolidated talus was destabilized on the SE flank of the pre-July 29 dome. Seismic data suggested that the event began at about 1715, peaked at 2245, and ended at about 2300. Ash from the event fell in residential areas on Montserrat to the NW.

On the morning of 16 October a collapse occurred on the S flank of the dome complex, producing numerous pyroclastic flows that traveled W down the White River and reached about two-thirds of the distance to the sea. This collapse involved a substantial amount of unconsolidated talus flanking the pre-July 29 dome; but the actual volume was unknown because clouds prevented observation of the summit region. Small pyroclastic flows also occurred on 2, 4, and 6 December in the upper reaches of White River, originating from the old dome material closest to Chances Peak.

On 31 October and 1 November several small pyroclastic flows were generated by material avalanching off the E flank of the dome. By mid-November, activity had shifted to be mainly concentrated on the W side of the active area. On 2 December pyroclastic flows again originated in several places along the E face of the new lava dome.

A large pyroclastic flow occurred on the night of 14 November; it traveled E and reached the lower parts of the Tar River Valley, stopping a few hundred meters short of the delta. During 1330-1500 on 28 December, several million cubic meters of volcanic material collapsed down the volcano's NE flank, generating a dense W-drifting ash plume that deposited up to a centimeter of ash in the vicinity of Plymouth (~4 km W of the summit).

Seismicity. Weak banded tremor, which indicates rapid magma ascent, began in the early hours of 14 August and continued to strengthen through 22 August. Bands of tremor continued at irregular intervals through mid-November, appearing with periodicities generally ranging between 10 and 27 hours. During these banded-tremor events, rockfall activity and ash venting increased. On 26 August, a particularly vigorous period of ash venting lasted for ~1 hour and sent W-drifting ash up to ~2 km above the volcano. A weak swarm of volcano-tectonic earthquakes (less than M 1) occurred during 29-31 August. During mid-September the bands of tremor occurred about every 13 hours and were slightly more intense when compared with those of the previous week. In addition, the number and strength of hybrid events associated with these tremor episodes increased, which is a pattern consistent with the moderate rate of dome-growth and periods of vigorous degassing.

Continuous low-amplitude tremor was accompanied by increased rockfall activity during 12-14 September. Ash clouds produced from rockfalls rose slightly above the summit and were visible in satellite imagery. Rockfall signals were intense on 9 and 10 November, but then declined significantly and remained low after 12 November. A swarm of hybrid and long-period earthquakes began on 14 November and reached a peak on 21 November, before declining slightly, although the swarm continued to be moderately energetic through the end of the month. An M 3.6 earthquake located just off the NW coast of Montserrat occurred on 29 November at 1248 and was felt throughout the island.

Rockfalls continued through December, and many were preceded by a few seconds of long-period earthquakes. Continuous, weak tremor recorded on 13 December was associated with ash venting, and produced columns that rose to at least 4 km. Periods of intense cyclical rockfalls occurred on 27 December and coincided with weak swarms of hybrid earthquakes. These hybrids were too small to trigger the seismic-event-detection system, and are therefore not included in the count of hybrid earthquakes given in table 39.

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

Information Contacts: Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), Mongo Hill, Montserrat, West Indies (URL: http://www.mvo.ms/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/).


Stromboli (Italy) — January 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fallout from 23 January explosion carpets popular tourist area

On 23 January at 2054 a large explosion occurred at Stromboli. The explosion was accompanied by a loud noise that was heard at all of the villages on the island and ashfall that lasted for several minutes.

On 24 January, staff from Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - Sezione di Catania (INGV-CT) visited the area SE of the summit craters near Il Pizzo Sopra la Fossa between the Bastimento and La Fossetta. They found the area covered with ash and blocks, mostly comprised of lithic material, with some clasts up to 60 cm in diameter, and with minor amounts of spatter up to 1.7 m long. No golden-colored pumice was found, which typically characterizes the most energetic events of Stromboli (Bertagnini and others, 1999). The greatest density of lithics on the ground was found in a ~200-m-wide belt between the craters and Il Pizzo. Spatter was more frequent NE of Il Pizzo. Fine-grained material covered the crater zone and the volcano's NE flank to the village of Stromboli, ~2 km to the NE. A continuous carpet of fallout material covered the zone of Il Pizzo, a spot where many tourists visit. The explosion would have posed a serious threat to tourists had it occurred during a visit. Fallout from the eruption also damaged equipment located near the summit.

During the 2.5 hours of the survey observers recorded only five weak explosions from Crater 1 and none from Craters 2 and 3. This activity was much weaker than that observed after the major explosion of 20 October 2001 (BGVN 26:10), when 15 explosions were recorded from Crater 1 and 8 from Crater 3 during a 1-hour period.

Thermal images on 24 January showed that Crater 2 had a higher temperature than the other active craters. Maximum temperatures recorded at this crater were 320°C averaged over a pixel area of 40 cm, much higher than the 200°C recorded on 20 October 2001. The high temperatures were due to spatter coating the crater's inner walls following the 23 January explosion. Measurements also revealed that the diameter of Crater 2 had grown from an estimated 10 m in October to ~26 m after the January explosion.

From the type and distribution of erupted products and the morphological changes observed at the craters, observers suggested that the eruptive event of 23 January could be related to the obstruction of the conduit of one of the craters. Gas pressure within the conduit probably built up until a major explosion occurred, ejecting mostly lithics. Conduit opening was followed by intense magmatic explosions and spatter fallout. During the present phase, observers were concerned by the lack of explosive activity at Crater 3. This may suggest an obstruction of this crater, which might be followed by a new violent episode similar to the one on 23 January.

Reference. Bertagnini A., Coltelli M., Landi P., Pompilio M., and Rosi M., 1999, Violent explosions yield new insights into dynamics of Stromboli volcano: EOS Transactions, AGU, v. 80, n. 52, p. 633-636.

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: Sonia Calvari, Massimo Pompilio and Daniele Andronico, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - Sezione di Catania (INGV-CT) Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy.


Tungurahua (Ecuador) — January 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Tungurahua

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Powerful tremor, plumes, 600-m-high lava fountains, and lahars during 2001

The first portion of this report discusses some geophysical and geochemical aspects of Tungurahua's behavior during 2001, including further descriptions through August 2001 (BGVN 26:07). The latter portion of this report contains a log of behavioral data for 24 August-30 December 2001 in tabular form, and finally includes field notes from a visitor who watched the summit crater for several weeks in the later months of the year.

Instituto Geofísico (IG) scientists estimated that 10-15 million metric tons of ash were deposited during the 4-26 August 2001 eruption. By the end of 2001 the current eruptive crisis had included 8 inferred intrusive episodes. Some eruptions, including those during 2001, displayed fountaining with jets of lava rising over 500 m. Since 5 September 2000 through at least January 2002, Alert Levels have been set at Yellow for the town of Baños and at Orange for the rest of the high-risk zone.

Seismicity and SO2 flux. Long-period (LP) earthquakes dominated the seismic record since December 1999 (figure 12). Except for the anomalous month of February 2001, this trend continued in 2001, with the number of LP earthquakes largely swamping other kinds. Specifically, at the scale of the histogram hybrid (H) earthquakes are only visible during February and August; volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes, only during January, August, September, and December; explosion (EXP) earthquakes, only during June, July, August, and September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Number of Tungurahua earthquakes recorded monthly during 1999-2001. LP earthquakes clearly dominated since December 1999, except for the anomalous month of February 2001. During the year 2001, the peaks seen around May, August, and December may have corresponded to magmatic intrusions. Courtesy of IG.

During 2001 both the seismicity and SO2 flux underwent intervals of relative quiet and intervals with elevated signals. The most dramatic quiet interval, from late 2000 into May 2001, appears on a plot of reduced displacements (RDs) from explosive events (figure 13). A comparative lull also appeared in overall seismicity (figure 12), provisionally in SO2 flux (figure 15), and to a lesser extent, in tremor energy (figure 14). Although the lull appears more equivocal on figure 14, the peaks in tremor energy during July and August, following the lull, were the largest recorded since the spike seen in January 2000. Elevated SO2 flux values appeared around about the same times as the peaks in tremor energy (figure 15).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Explosion earthquakes at Tungurahua during 26 November 1999-14 January 2002 were quantified as reduced displacements (RDs, unit, cm2) and plotted at roughly 2-day intervals. RDs can be computed from seismic records; larger values indicate larger events. The record used came from station Patacocha. The largest RD shown, ~19 cm2, corresponds to an explosion that took place in December 1999 (upper left-hand corner). Courtesy of IG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. At Tungurahua, the energy contained in tremor (including both harmonic and hydrothermal types) during 14 September 1999-30 September 2001. The two largest peaks in tremor energy yet recorded occurred in mid-2001 (July and August). Horizontal axis is labeled as day/month/year. Courtesy of IG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. SO2 flux measured by COSPEC at Tungurahua during July 1999-November 2001. During 2001, flux highs were measured during May and August. Courtesy of IG.

During 2001, instruments recorded two pronounced seismic peaks (figures 6 and 7). These swarms of LP events had focal depths of 5-7 km and a wide range of dominant frequencies, 308-1066 Hz. The first peak in LP events took place during May-June and was accompanied by emissions at the summit.

The second peak in LP events took place during August-September and also corresponded to increases in the number of hybrid (HB) and volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes, and to summit explosions. This second peak differed from seismicity during September 1998 and October 1999 (see plot, BGVN 26:07). During those earlier times, instruments recorded higher numbers of HB and VT events. More recently, both HB and VT events had been decreasing: the former since July 2000, and the latter since October 2000.

Although during early December comparatively few earthquakes occurred, the type of events recorded, tornillos, merit special discussion (see below). Beginning on 20 December the number of LP events increased from an average of 20 events per day in the first days of the month, to an average of 200 events per day. The LPs maintained that level until 26 December.

The two prominent seismic peaks of 2001 were considered as related to intruding magma. Thus, the intrusion associated with the first peak can be divided into three pulses, the first occurring during 19-20 March, the second, 17-18 May, and the third, 6-7 June (and perhaps into July).

The second intrusion occurred in two pulses, the first during 4-20 August, and the second during 4-25 September. The events related to the second intrusion produced the largest RDs (figure 13). For comparison, in 1999-2000 LP events had larger RDs, 12-19 cm2 (figure 13).

In the first inferred intrusion, the discharge of SO2 amounted to 2,900-3,600 metric tons/day (t/d), decreasing to 677 t/d by the end of June. SO2 fluxes associated with the second inferred intrusion reached 3,585 t/d by mid-August, decreasing to 175 t/d by the end of August (figure 15). The peaks in SO2 flux closely corresponded to the increases in tremor energy (figure 14). Incandescence visible during the end of March and July, during early and mid-August, and during early September confirmed that magma then lay at or near the surface.

The pulses of activity of each intrusion preceded, and in some cases accompanied, the emission of vapor and ash during explosive Strombolian activity. For example, for the first intrusion, the second pulse of seismic activity preceded the explosion of 28 May. In that pulse there was ~1 explosion per day with RDs of 1-3 cm2. During the third pulse, aboutone explosion per day had RDs of 1-7 cm2.

For the second, more energetic intrusion, the first pulse of activity had 7 explosions per day with RDs of 1-13 cm2. The next (second) pulse had ~1 explosion per day with RDs of 1-9 cm2 (figure 13). The last intrusion, during mid-June through July, was preceded by "LP de Juive", events so-named because residents in Juive felt them. These signals could have been caused by clearing of nearby subsurface passages that transport magma.

At the beginning of December the previously mentioned tornillos appeared. Tornillos ("Screw-type" events) are monochromatic LP events characterized by a long, slowly decaying coda. On a seismogram they appear similar to a screw. They may arise from fluid resonance in a cavity. It is noteworthy that they showed up for the first time in December 2001, and arrived with considerable intensity. Where defined farther N in the Andes at Galeras, have been recognized as eruptive precursors.

Although relatively small in number, the tornillo events were considered important. During 3-9 December, 43 occurred, the largest number recognized in the history of monitoring at Tungurahua. During 4-12 December the duration of these event's increased. During 4-10 December they underwent a decrease in their dominant frequency. The latter could stem from increased gas in the fluid. The tornillo signals may thus disclose physical changes in the volcano during early December. For example, the tornillos could be related to shifts in internal pressure.

The LP events began to register on 20 December, suggesting magma ascent. A lack of significant ash emissions or SO2 flux suggested that the conduit was sealed. This could allow internal pressure to rise, resulting in a series of explosions.

Deformation. During 2001, inclinometer data from station RETU, located above the Refuge, showed a drift in the positive direction of 10-15 µrad. These values are not highly anomalous considering the large diurnal variations stemming from effects such as temperature and humidity changes in the air and ground surface. On the other hand, measurements of points on the W flank lacked significant distance changes.

EDM measurements from a fixed base (the El Salado base station) were conducted periodically. They aim at two distinct points on the NE flank (in a region above the Refuge). A gradual decrease in the distance between the base and the two points began during July 2000 and implies a slight inflation of the NE flank of the volcano.

During the course of field studies, new NE-flank fumaroles were sighted at ~4,400 m elevation along fractures. Topographic movements were suspected in this sector.

Chronological observations, August-December 2001. Table 5 summarizes seismicity, and visual and satellite observations of eruptions and explosions and their ash clouds.

Table 5. Summary of activity at Tungurahua during August through December 2001. These data mainly came from IG reports. Some of the higher plume heights came from the Washington VAAC and were based on satellite imagery and local aviation reports. Courtesy of IG.

Date Long-period earthquakes Tremor signals Observations
24 Aug 2001 -- -- An eruption at 1755 produced an ash cloud that rose ~6-8 km and drifted E to SE.
29 Aug 2001 20 several A gas-and-ash eruption at 1530.
03 Sep 2001 44 36 Ash cloud rose to ~ 5.8 km and drifted W.
05 Sep 2001 77 46 Weak emissions with low ash content.
08 Sep 2001 -- -- Ash cloud at 0828 rose ~10.5 km altitude and drifted SW.
11 Sep 2001 -- -- Ashfall to N in Pondoa, Runtun, Banos; ashfall to S in Quero and Penipe; mudflows between Puela and Bilbao.
12 Sep 2001 19 5 An explosion at 1632 produced an ash-bearing emission that reached 2 km above the summit and drifted W; an explosion at 1830 produced an emission that reached 0.5 km above the summit and drifted W.
13 Sep 2001 63 11 A small explosion at 1106; continuous steam emission with ash reached 0.8-1 km above the summit and drifted W; ashfall to the W in Juive, Cotalo, and Bilbao.
15 Sep 2001 -- -- Incandescent material observed along with ash emissions; ashfall to the SW in Riobamba and Penipe.
16 Sep 2001 123 37 Small explosion at 1631; moderate explosion at 1750 (3-km-high column that drifted NW); 2 VT earthquakes.
17 Sep 2001 56 12 --
20 Sep 2001 62 49 Moderate explosion at 1044 generated an ash column 2 km high that drifted W-SW; the explosion was preceded by three hours of tremor; ashfall in Pillate, Juive, and Runtun; columns of gas and ash drifted W.
21 Sep 2001 -- -- Moderate explosion at 1625 (3-km-high ash column drifted NW); incandescence observed in the crater.
22 Sep 2001 212 139 --
24 Sep 2001 104 159 Moderate explosion at 1500 (ash column drifted WSW); flank rockfalls heard in Juive, Runtun, Pillate, Pondoa.
25 Sep 2001 108 41 An explosion at 1230 produced an ash column 5 km high that drifted NW; Strombolian activity, incandescence, and rockfalls observed on the W and NW flanks; ashfall in Cotalo; 2 VT earthquakes registered.
26 Sep 2001 36 37 Some ashfall to the S in Quero.
11 Oct 2001 30 -- --
14 Oct 2001 -- -- Ash visible ~1 km above the summit at 1736.
20 Oct 2001 108 6 Fumarolic activity on the NE side of the crater with intermittent emissions of white clouds that reached 20-500 m.
22 Oct 2001 7 7 Fumarolic activity produced clouds with low ash content that reached 0.5 km; at 1758 a gas-and-ash emission reached 0.7 km and drifted W.
23 Oct 2001 7 1 Fumarolic activity on the N flank (near Vazcun); ash emissions reached 1 km above the summit.
24 Oct 2001 42 13 --
26 Oct 2001 -- -- Hot spot visible at summit on thermal satellite imagery.
29 Oct 2001 24 3 --
01 Nov 2001 42 3 Gas-and-ash emissions reached 1-2 km above the summit and drifted ENE.
03 Nov 2001 38 1 --
06 Nov 2001 12 1 --
11 Nov 2001 34 22 Gas-and-ash emissions at 1050 and 1352 reached 1 and 3 km, respectively, both drifted W.
14 Nov 2001 10 3 Incandescence and sporadic gas columns observed.
15 Nov 2001 38 11 At 1420 a gas-and-ash emission reached 1 km high and drifted W.
19 Nov 2001 73 15 Emissions followed by 10-30 minutes of tremor; ash columns rose to 2 km and drifted WNW.
22 Nov 2001 30 -- New fumarole observed on the W flank; EDM measurements showed swelling of the N flank.
24 Nov 2001 21 4 Gas-and-ash column rose to 100 m.
26 Nov 2001 28 1 --
27 Nov 2001 18 -- --
01 Dec 2001 21 1 Constant gas-and-ash emission reached a few hundred meter's above the summit.
02 Dec 2001 -- -- A small ash emission at 1140 remained near the summit level.
03 Dec 2001 23 2 --
08 Dec 2001 42 -- --
10 Dec 2001 33 2 --
12 Dec 2001 4 -- --
14 Dec 2001 12 -- Lahars traveled down the flanks of the volcano.
16 Dec 2001 17 -- Lahars traveled down the flanks of the volcano; 1 VT earthquake registered.
18 Dec 2001 -- -- A gas-and-ash column reached 1 km above the summit.
19 Dec 2001 16 -- --
20 Dec 2001 62 -- Gas-and-ash columns reached 100-200 m above the summit.
26 Dec 2001 82 11 At 1500 a gas-and-ash column reached ~0.3 km above the summit; the continuous gas transmission was accompanied by sporadic pulses of gas and ash.
27 Dec 2001 186 12 At 0900 and 1500 white gas-and-ash columns reached ~0.2 km above the summit. At 1006 and 1427 gray gas-and-ash columns reached 2 and 1 km, respectively; 1 VT earthquake registered.
29 Dec 2001 -- -- A mudflow at 2342 in the Juive Grande gorge affected La Pampa and Los Pajaros.
30 Dec 2001 202 -- An explosion at 0023; at 0027 ash from the explosion rose to ~15 km; until 1500 ashfall was reported in Guadalupe and Patate and other areas W of the volcano.

IG scientists estimated that 10-15 million tons of ash fell during 4-26 August eruptions. During 6-14 August ash clouds reached the Pacific Ocean, and on 9 August falling ash affected towns 100 km W of the volcano. The Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported that nearly continuous ash emissions had occurred at Tungurahua beginning on 6 August, but extensive cloudiness prohibited ash-cloud detection in satellite imagery. Officials reported that over 23,000 people were affected by ashfall. The Civil Defense of Ecuador reported that the ashfall reached ~5 cm deep in places. Volcanism also increased during mid-September. Ashfall was reported in adjacent communities during 11-13 September.

The IG reported that on 14 December heavy rain on the upper flanks of Tungurahua resulted in dangerous lahars (table 7). The rain lasted for ~3 hours and the road into Baños was blocked for more than 12 hours in the zone of La Pampa (NW lowermost flank), where the lahars are usually deposited. An emergency bridge was necessary so that traffic could continue to pass. A few cars were almost buried under the flows. Local authorities were alerted within several minutes prior to the event because of an acoustic flow-monitor instrument in the zone.

The minimum total volume of the lahar was ~55,000 m3, making it the seventh-largest recorded by the acoustic flow-monitor since April 2000. The deposit was mainly composed of coarse ash and small pebbles, but it removed blocks up to 2 m in diameter. Similar lahars were reported elsewhere, mostly on the western flank. On 16 December another short rain on the lower flanks removed part of the previous day's lahar in La Pampa, and formed another small flow that again blocked the road for awhile.

Watching the crater during parts of September-December. Jean-Luc Le Pennec of the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement and a collaborator at the IG visited Tungurahua during 10-18 September, 15-22 October, and 26 November-3 December. He made the following observations.

The volcano remained extremely quite, without visible gas escaping the crater, during the day on 10 September. Without clear premonitory signal, at 1915 a powerful lava fountain began. The first pulses of the fountain reached 700 m and progressively declined to 300 m above the crater, before stopping abruptly about 6 minutes after starting. The summit crater then resumed complete quiescence.

In a second episode at 2147, fountaining reached ~600 m above crater and decreased rapidly to ~300 m during the next 5-6 minutes. The crater returned to quiescence and was later obscured by clouds. A seismic swarm of LP events took place during the following hours. During 11-16 September activity was characterized by fluctuating but almost continuous gas-and-ash emissions. Plume height varied between 0.6 to 2 km, depending on gas pressure and wind speed above the crater. The plume usually drifted W (SW to NW). Ashfalls were reported in Guaranda (morning of 11 September), Riobamba (16 September), Pelileo (12 September), and in other localities closer to the volcano. In addition, short-lived explosions occurred at a rate of 0-2 per day, producing ballistic fallouts on the terminal cone, and ash columns reaching ~2-4 km above the crater. They were sometimes accompanied with cannon-like sounds heard 15 km away.

The ejected lava's brightness was particularly intense during the night of 16 September, and a few glowing blocks fell outside of the crater. Periods of rumbling noises were frequently heard all week long, but their intensity increased on 16-17 September. During the night of 17 September lava projections reached 100-300 m above the crater rim. This activity took place around 0300 and started declining very slowly 90 minutes later. The activity continued to decline during the day on 18 September, ending at about 1400 when no sounds were audible as close as 2.5 km from the crater. On 25 September, the volcano produced 1 explosion and Strombolian activity.

During 15-22 October, good weather conditions allowed for frequent observations of the crater. Extremely low activity prevailed, with almost no degassing from the summit crater (except for the permanently active fumaroles of the N crater rim and of the N flank at 4,400 m elevation). Light degassing was observed during the morning of 19 October, after 2 days of increased seismic activity (from ~10 to ~100 events/day). The same day, at 1327, a short-lived outburst sent an ash cloud to ~1 km above the crater. The cloud drifted rapidly to the NNE. Interestingly, the outburst occurred when seismic waves from a regional earthquake arrived at the volcano. Two small ash emissions also occurred, reaching 500-600 m above the crater. In the latter case, a lapse time of 42 seconds was measured between the onset of the seismic signal and the appearance of the ash cloud at the crater level. Light vapor venting was occasionally seen on 20 October. Four ash emissions were witnessed during 2000-2200, with ash columns reaching 0.5-1.0 km above the crater. Few other emissions occurred during the night of 21 October.

During 26 November-3 December activity was low. A fairly continuous pulsating gas plume was emitted from the summit crater. During a 70-minute period on 2 December, five small ash emissions occurred. They rose 0.5-1 km and drifted N. For the third emission, the delay between the onset of the seismic agitation and the appearance of the ash cloud at the crater was 25 seconds, perhaps indicating the release of magma relatively deep in the system.

Geologic Background. Tungurahua, a steep-sided andesitic-dacitic stratovolcano that towers more than 3 km above its northern base, is one of Ecuador's most active volcanoes. Three major edifices have been sequentially constructed since the mid-Pleistocene over a basement of metamorphic rocks. Tungurahua II was built within the past 14,000 years following the collapse of the initial edifice. Tungurahua II itself collapsed about 3000 years ago and produced a large debris-avalanche deposit and a horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the west, inside which the modern glacier-capped stratovolcano (Tungurahua III) was constructed. Historical eruptions have all originated from the summit crater, accompanied by strong explosions and sometimes by pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached populated areas at the volcano's base. Prior to a long-term eruption beginning in 1999 that caused the temporary evacuation of the city of Baños at the foot of the volcano, the last major eruption had occurred from 1916 to 1918, although minor activity continued until 1925.

Information Contacts: Patty Mothes and Daniel Andrade, Geophysical Institute (Instituto Geofísico, IG), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Apartado 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador; Jean-Luc Le Pennec, "Volcanic processes and hazards" research unit, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), Whymper 442 y Coruña, A.P. 17-12-857 Quito, Ecuador (URL: http:/www.ird.fr); Washington VAAC, Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/); United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), United Nations, New York, NY 10017 (URL: https://reliefweb.int/); Associated Press.


Unnamed (Tonga) — January 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Unnamed

Tonga

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Submarine center identified S of Fonualei may be the source of T-waves and pumice

The following was largely condensed from a report by Paul Taylor submitted to the Tongan government (Taylor, 2002). Our previous report on the topic appeared under the heading "Fonualei" (BGVN 26:11). The bulk of that report described T-wave signals on 28-29 September 2001 traced to near Fonualei and fresh pumice found along beaches in Fiji (hundreds of kilometers W of Tonga) during 9-25 November 2001. The T-wave signals and pumice sightings both relate to the activity discussed here.

During September through early November 2001, submarine volcanic activity was observed ~33 km S of Fonualei (figure 3). This same spot lies ~30 km NW of the Vava'u Group of the Tongan islands. This volcanic center lacked prior historical activity, although Taylor and Ewart (1997) indicated that a number of submarine structures were present between Late and Fonualei islands.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Map of the Vava'u region, with the Tonga Platform (to the E) and the active volcano belt (to the W), showing the site of the recent (September-October 2001) submarine volcanic activity. The symbols indicate active centers (white stars within black circles), i.e. those with recorded eruptions; inactive centers (solid black stars ), i.e. those with no recorded activity, and probable submarine centers (open stars). Bathymetric contours are in kilometers below sea level. Courtesy of Paul Taylor.

Form, structure, and depth. Although no details are available concerning the form and structure of this eruptive site, it is likely to be the summit of a submarine stratovolcano that rises from a NNE-SSW trending topographic high. A shoal has not been reported at the site during historical times. No surveys of this area have been conducted; however, its bathymetry suggests that several submarine structures rise from a depth of about 1 km to probably within 200-300 m of the surface. No shoal or island was observed when the site was visited by the Tonga Defense Services during early and mid-October 2001.

Volcanic activity. The activity appears to have been submarine and explosive in character. Known reports relating to this eruption are given in table 1. A plot of the seismic activity from stations in the Cook Islands and French Polynesia during 28-29 September 2001 were provided in Figure 1 of BGVN 26:11.

Table 1. A summary of observations relating to an unnamed submarine volcano (NW of Vava'u, Tonga). Latitudes and longitudes appear in degrees and decimal degrees; the original used degrees-minutes-seconds. Other significant revisions and substitutions to the original appear as text in brackets. Courtesy of Paul Taylor.

Date Activity
27-28 Sep 2001 T-phase seismic waves from a probable volcanic source recorded in French Polynesia. Approximate coordinates of 18.39°S; 174.6°W, are located near the Vava'u Group.
27 Sep 2001 1800 - Reports of submarine activity were received from near Vava'u. A local fisherman experienced "an abnormal disturbance from the deep ocean." Shortly after an ash-rich eruption column rose from the sea at 18.325°S, 174.365°W.
28 Sep 2001 1300 - An "island" was reported to have formed during the explosive activity with an ash-rich eruption column still being produced. The "island" was estimated to be about 2 miles [~ 3 km] long. The sea was "highly disturbed and silky" at this time.
01 Oct 2001 0930 - Royal Tongan Airlines flights 801 and 802 reported that activity above the surface had ceased. A huge underwater bank, about 1.5 miles [2.4 km] across, was observed at 18.358°S, 174.346°W, [3.8 km SW] of the initial location. The water was reported as "boiling bubbles of seawater oozing out from the area to the sea surface".
03 Oct 2001 A Tonga Defense Services patrol boat visited the area, but due to heavy seas observations were restricted. The surface of the sea in the region was discolored a "dark whitish color". The discolored area was estimated to be 3 miles [~ 5 km] long (N-S direction) and 1.5-2 miles[2.4-3 km] wide. Near the reported location, the sea appeared to contain a mixture of whitish and yellow-brownish substances although no pumice was observed floating on the surface. A local Notice to Mariners (NTM 15/01) was issued, warning shipping to stay away from the area.
09 Oct 2001 1600 - A Tonga Defense Services aircraft flew over the site and reported that an area of discolored water was present. No eruption column or pumice was observed and the island reported earlier was not present.
26 Oct 2001 A Tonga Defense Services patrol boat visited the site and observed an area of discolored water 300 m long (NE-SW direction) centered on a position of 18.303°S, 174.377°W, [a spot 2.7 km NE of the initial position]. The discoloration was light-brownish in the center and light greenish toward the outside. The charted depth of the shoal at this location was 298 meters. No depth was recorded by the boat's echo sounder and no attempt was made to take a sounding over the discolored water.
early Nov 2001 Pumice strandings were reported along the coast of Kadavu and on the S coast of Viti Levu, Fiji. Rafts reported to be over 100 m in diameter with pumice fragments ranging in size from under 1 cm to ~20 cm.

Comments. As noted above, the charted depth prior to the eruption was ~200-300 m and the syn-eruptive depth was not determined. Further, Taylor learned that post-eruptive depths had not been taken at the site. He goes on to state, "The initial activity was the result of submarine explosions, producing what was reported as 'an island' and an eruption column." In his report, Taylor concluded that the island was essentially a floating pumice raft and ". . . was more likely the effect of gases and pyroclastic material produced by the explosions breaking the surface, which appeared land-like. An eruption column of predominantly volcanic gas, steam, and pyroclastic material was then ejected above the surface."

Taylor (2002) goes on to discuss relevant volcanic hazards. Regarding approaching the volcano, he recommended that access be prohibited within 2 km, access restricted within the interval 2 to 4 km, and extreme care be taken when approaching or within the interval 4 to 5 km.

References. Taylor, P.W., 2002, Volcanic hazards assessment following the September-October 2001 eruption of a previously unrecognized submarine volcano W of Vava'u, kingdom of Tonga: Australian Volcanological Investigations, AVI Occasional Report No. 02/01

Taylor, P.W., 1999, A volcanic hazards assessment following the January 1999 eruption of Submarine Volcano III Tofua Volcanic Arc, Kingdom of Tonga: Australian Volcanological Investigations, AVI Occasional Report No. 99/01.

Taylor, P.W., and Ewart, A., 1997, The Tofua Volcanic Arc, Tonga, SW Pacific: A review of historic volcanic activity: Australian Volcanological Investigations, AVI Occasional Report No. 97/01.

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

Information Contacts: Paul Taylor, Australian Volcanological Investigations, PO Box 291, Pymble NSW 2073, Australia; Olivier Hyvernaud, Laboratoire de Geophysique, Papeete Tahiti, French Polynesia; Dan Shackelford, 3124 E. Yorba Linda Blvd., Apt. H-33, Fullerton, CA 92831-2324, USA.


Yasur (Vanuatu) — January 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Mild eruptive phase ends and leads to a vigorous phase in December 2001; seismic data

Following 22 months of mild eruptive activity (BGVN 26:11), at the end of October 2001 on-site volcanologists observed the beginning of a more vigorous eruptive phase. The phase's progressive onset was also monitored seismically, which revealed an initial cycle of substantial activity that developed during the first half of December (figure 27). This was followed by a calmer interval, 14-25 December, after which a new burst of activity took place.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Seismicity recorded at Yasur during 1 October 2001 through 31 January 2002. Levels 1-5 have been defined by a signal-processing algorithm (see text). The units on the vertical axes are counts at the various levels. The two level-5 events correspond to large tectonic earthquakes. Courtesy of Michel Lardy, IRD.

The seismic counts at Yasur (figure 27) can be explained as follows. A geophone is connected to an amplifier that generates signals in response to rapid vertical ground-movements. When the system's output signal (1-20 Hz) crosses a predefined threshold 8 times, the contents of the memory of the counter keyed to that particular threshold are increased by one. For a new count to begin, there has to be an interruption of the signal of at least 2 seconds. The permanent apparatus installed at Yasur for measurement of seismic variation is set to measure across 5 such thresholds, corresponding to an amplitude of just a few micrometers (level 1) to over 300 µm (level 5). The first four thresholds (levels) variously reflect Yasur's state of Strombolian activity.

At levels 1 and 2, one can observe hundreds, sometimes thousands, of seismic counts per day. During periods of high activity, paradoxically, one notes a lessening of the number of these counts, either because the counters are saturated, or because the background noise remains above the set threshold. In contrast, level 3, gives a representative idea of the volcano's daily activity: A count in the two-digit range indicates low activity; a daily count in the hundreds indicates high or even very high activity. For level 4, a few counts per day indicates high activity (a status of type 2 on the local hazard map), and when in excess of 10 counts per day, very high activity.

Regarding level 5-from the time since recording began in October 1993 to date-only major regional earthquakes have generated such high-amplitude signals. The counts for large earthquakes do not fully represent the assigned momement-magnitudes. That is the case here, for the main shock of the large tectonic earthquake on 2 January (M 7.2) attained fewer counts than the aftershock (M 6.6, figure 27).

A visit to the crater area on 31 December revealed that the majority of ash emission and ballistic projectiles were limited to area C (see map in BGVN 26:11) and that a vent of 20-30 m diameter, dormant at the time of earlier visits, had formed in area A (figure 28).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. A picture taken of the area within Yasur's main crater showing smaller inner craters ("areas") A, B, C, and a new crater, as seen 31 December 2001. Note the small plumes coming from crater C. Copyrighted photo by S. Wallez.

Observers witnessed Strombolian eruptions on 29, 30, and 31 December 2001 (figure 29). This activity was accompanied by considerable ash falling in a narrow band over the NE coastal area of the island. Close to a thousand residents suffered the effects of the ashfall, which also negatively impacted subsistence agriculture and the local collection of rainfall as a source of fresh water.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Details of an explosion in Yasur's area C on 31 December 2001. This photo is one of a series taken at half-second intervals. Copyrighted photo by S. Wallez.

High-magnitude earthquakes. On 2 and 3 January 2002 large tectonic earthquakes struck over 200 km N of Tanna Island (Mw 7.2 and 6.6 respectively). They were felt by the population of Tanna, and recorded by the seismic monitoring station at level 5 (figure 27). Subsequent records showed a considerable weakening of volcanic activity a few days following the earthquake, similar to the pattern observed after the (1-14 December 2001 cycle). It is common for high-magnitude earthquakes (M > 6) near the center of the Vanuatu island group to be felt in Tanna, over 200 km away. To date, after 8 years of continuous monitoring (BGVN 26:11), no connection has been observed between such earthquakes and shifts towards more hazardous behavior at Yasur.

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: Janette Tabbagh, Université Paris VI, UMR 7619, Coordination des Rechershes Volcanologiques (CRV), 4 Place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France; Michel Lardy, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), CRV, BP A 5 Nouméa, Nouvelle Calédonie; Sandrine Wallez and Douglas Charley, Department of Geology, Mines and Water Resources, PMB 01, Port-Vila, Vanuatu.

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

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

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

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



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

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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


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

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

Following the Ms 7.8 earthquake in Turkey on 17 August (BGVN 24:08) an Email message originating in Turkey was circulated, claiming that volcanic activity was observed coincident with the earthquake and suggesting a new (magmatic) volcano in the Sea of Marmara. For reasons outlined below, and in the absence of further evidence, editors of the Bulletin consider this a false report.

The report stated that fishermen near the village of Cinarcik, at the E end of the Sea of Marmara "saw the sea turned red with fireballs" shortly after the onset of the earthquake. They later found dead fish that appeared "fried." Their nets were "burned" while under water and contained samples of rocks alleged to look "magmatic."

No samples of the fish were preserved. A tectonic scientist in Istanbul speculated that hot water released by the earthquake from the many hot springs along the coast in that area may have killed some fish (although they would be boiled rather than fried).

The phenomenon called earthquake lights could explain the "fireballs" reportedly seen by the fishermen. Such effects have been reasonably established associated with large earthquakes, although their origin remains poorly understood. In addition to deformation-triggered piezoelectric effects, earthquake lights have sometimes been explained as due to the release of methane gas in areas of mass wasting (even under water). Omlin and others (1999), for example, found gas hydrate and methane releases associated with mud volcanoes in coastal submarine environments.

The astronomer and author Thomas Gold (Gold, 1998) has a website (Gold, 2000) where he presents a series of alleged quotes from witnesses of earthquakes. We include three such quotes here (along with Gold's dates, attributions, and other comments):

(A) Lima, 30 March 1828. "Water in the bay 'hissed as if hot iron was immersed in it,' bubbles and dead fish rose to the surface, and the anchor chain of HMS Volage was partially fused while lying in the mud on the bottom." (Attributed to Bagnold, 1829; the anchor chain is reported to be on display in the London Navy Museum.)

(B) Romania, 10 November 1940. ". . . a thick layer like a translucid gas above the surface of the soil . . . irregular gas fires . . . flames in rhythm with the movements of the soil . . . flashes like lightning from the floor to the summit of Mt Tampa . . . flames issuing from rocks, which crumbled, with flashes also issuing from non-wooded mountainsides." (Phrases used in eyewitness accounts collected by Demetrescu and Petrescu, 1941).

(C) Sungpan-Pingwu (China), 16, 22, and 23 August 1976. "From March of 1976, various large anomalies were observed over a broad region. . . . At the Wanchia commune of Chungching County, outbursts of natural gas from rock fissures ignited and were difficult to extinguish even by dumping dirt over the fissures. . . . Chu Chieh Cho, of the Provincial Seismological Bureau, related personally seeing a fireball 75 km from the epicenter on the night of 21 July while in the company of three professional seismologists."

Yalciner and others (1999) made a study of coastal areas along the Sea of Marmara after the Izmet earthquake. They found evidence for one or more tsunamis with maximum runups of 2.0-2.5 m. Preliminary modeling of the earthquake's response failed to reproduce the observed runups; the areas of maximum runup instead appeared to correspond most closely with several local mass-failure events. This observation together with the magnitude of the earthquake, and bottom soundings from marine geophysical teams, suggested mass wasting may have been fairly common on the floor of the Sea of Marmara.

Despite a wide range of poorly understood, dramatic processes associated with earthquakes (Izmet 1999 apparently included), there remains little evidence for volcanism around the time of the earthquake. The nearest Holocene volcano lies ~200 km SW of the report location. Neither Turkish geologists nor scientists from other countries in Turkey to study the 17 August earthquake reported any volcanism. The report said the fisherman found "magmatic" rocks; it is unlikely they would be familiar with this term.

The motivation and credibility of the report's originator, Erol Erkmen, are unknown. Certainly, the difficulty in translating from Turkish to English may have caused some problems in understanding. Erkmen is associated with a website devoted to reporting UFO activity in Turkey. Photographs of a "magmatic rock" sample were sent to the Bulletin, but they only showed dark rocks photographed devoid of a scale on a featureless background. The rocks shown did not appear to be vesicular or glassy. What was most significant to Bulletin editors was the report author's progressive reluctance to provide samples or encourage follow-up investigation with local scientists. Without the collaboration of trained scientists on the scene this report cannot be validated.

References. Omlin, A, Damm, E., Mienert, J., and Lukas, D., 1999, In-situ detection of methane releases adjacent to gas hydrate fields on the Norwegian margin: (Abstract) Fall AGU meeting 1999, Eos, American Geophysical Union.

Yalciner, A.C., Borrero, J., Kukano, U., Watts, P., Synolakis, C. E., and Imamura, F., 1999, Field survey of 1999 Izmit tsunami and modeling effort of new tsunami generation mechanism: (Abstract) Fall AGU meeting 1999, Eos, American Geophysical Union.

Gold, T., 1998, The deep hot biosphere: Springer Verlag, 256 p., ISBN: 0387985468.

Gold, T., 2000, Eye-witness accounts of several major earthquakes (URL: http://www.people.cornell.edu/ pages/tg21/eyewit.html).

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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