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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

San Miguel (El Salvador) Small ash emissions during 22 February 2020

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

Ambrym (Vanuatu) Fissure eruption in December 2018 produces an offshore pumice eruption after lava lakes drain

Copahue (Chile-Argentina) Ash emissions end on 12 November; lake returns to El Agrio Crater in December 2019

Nishinoshima (Japan) Ongoing activity enlarges island with lava flows, ash plumes, and incandescent ejecta, December 2019-February 2020

Krakatau (Indonesia) Tephra and steam explosions in the crater lake; explosions in December 2019 build a tephra cone

Mayotte (France) Seismicity and deformation, with submarine E-flank volcanism starting in July 2018

Fernandina (Ecuador) Fissure eruption produced lava flows during 12-13 January 2020

Masaya (Nicaragua) Lava lake persists with lower temperatures during August 2019-January 2020

Reventador (Ecuador) Nearly daily ash emissions and frequent incandescent block avalanches August 2019-January 2020

Pacaya (Guatemala) Continuous explosions, small cone, and lava flows during August 2019-January 2020

Kikai (Japan) Single explosion with steam and minor ash, 2 November 2019



San Miguel (El Salvador) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

San Miguel

El Salvador

13.434°N, 88.269°W; summit elev. 2130 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash emissions during 22 February 2020

San Miguel, locally known as Chaparrastique, is a stratovolcano located in El Salvador. Recent activity has consisted of occasional small ash explosions and ash emissions. Infrequent gas-and-steam and ash emissions were observed during this reporting period of June 2018-March 2020. The primary source of information for this report comes from El Salvador's Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET) and special reports from the Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN) in addition to various satellite data.

Based on Sentinel-2 satellite imagery and analyses of infrared MODIS data, volcanism at San Miguel from June 2018 to mid-February was relatively low, consisting of occasional gas-and-steam emissions. During 2019, a weak thermal anomaly in the summit crater was registered in thermal satellite imagery (figure 27). This thermal anomaly persisted during a majority of the year but was not visible after September 2019; faint gas-and-steam emissions could sometimes be seen rising from the summit crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of a faint but consistent thermal anomaly at San Miguel during 2019. Images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Volcanism was prominent beginning on 13-20 February 2020 when SO2 emissions exceeded 620 tons/day (typical low SO2 values are less than 400 tons/day). During 20-21 February the amplitude of microearthquakes increased and minor emissions of gas-and-steam and SO2 were visible within the crater (figure 28). According to SNET and special reports from MARN, on 22 February at 1055 an ash cloud was visible rising 400 m above the crater rim (figure 29), resulting in minor ashfall in Piedra Azul (5 km SW). That same day RSAM values peaked at 550 units as recorded by the VSM station on the upper N flank, which is above normal values of about 150. Seismicity increased the day after the eruptive activity. Minor gas-and-steam emissions continued to rise 400 m above the crater rim during 23-24 February; the RSAM values fell to 33-97 units. Activity in March was relatively low; some seismicity, including small magnitude earthquakes, occurred during the month in addition to SO2 emissions ranging from 517 to 808 tons/day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Minor gas-and-steam emissions rising from the crater at San Miguel on 21 February 2020. Courtesy of Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Gas-and-steam and ash emissions rising from the crater at San Miguel on 22 February 2020. Courtesy of Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN).

Geologic Background. The symmetrical cone of San Miguel volcano, one of the most active in El Salvador, rises from near sea level to form one of the country's most prominent landmarks. The unvegetated summit rises above slopes draped with coffee plantations. A broad, deep crater complex that has been frequently modified by historical eruptions (recorded since the early 16th century) caps the truncated summit, also known locally as Chaparrastique. Radial fissures on the flanks of the basaltic-andesitic volcano have fed a series of historical lava flows, including several erupted during the 17th-19th centuries that reached beyond the base of the volcano on the N, NE, and SE sides. The SE-flank flows are the largest and form broad, sparsely vegetated lava fields crossed by highways and a railroad skirting the base of the volcano. The location of flank vents has migrated higher on the edifice during historical time, and the most recent activity has consisted of minor ash eruptions from the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET), Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN), Km. 5½ Carretera a Nueva San Salvador, Avenida las Mercedes, San Salvador, El Salvador (URL: http://www.snet.gob.sv/ver/vulcanologia); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


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

Cleveland

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667 USA (URL: https://avo.alaska.edu/), b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA (URL: http://dggs.alaska.gov/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/).


Ambrym (Vanuatu) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambrym

Vanuatu

16.25°S, 168.12°E; summit elev. 1334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fissure eruption in December 2018 produces an offshore pumice eruption after lava lakes drain

Ambrym is an active volcanic island in the Vanuatu archipelago consisting of a 12 km-wide summit caldera. Benbow and Marum are two currently active craters within the caldera that have produced lava lakes, explosions, lava flows, ash, and gas emissions, in addition to fissure eruptions. More recently, a submarine fissure eruption in December 2018 produced lava fountains and lava flows, which resulted in the drainage of the active lava lakes in both the Benbow and Marum craters (BGVN 44:01). This report updates information from January 2019 through March 2020, including the submarine pumice eruption during December 2018 using information from the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (VMGD) and research by Shreve et al. (2019).

Activity on 14 December 2018 consisted of thermal anomalies located in the lava lake that disappeared over a 12-hour time period; a helicopter flight on 16 December confirmed the drainage of the summit lava lakes as well as a partial collapse of the Benbow and Marum craters (figure 49). During 14-15 December, a lava flow (figure 49), accompanied by lava fountaining, was observed originating from the SE flank of Marum, producing SO2 and ash emissions. A Mw 5.6 earthquake on 15 December at 2021 marked the beginning of a dike intrusion into the SE rift zone as well as a sharp increase in seismicity (Shreve et al., 2019). This intrusion extended more than 30 km from within the caldera to beyond the east coast, with a total volume of 419-532 x 106 m3 of magma. More than 2 m of coastal uplift was observed along the SE coast due to the asymmetry of the dike from December, resulting in onshore fractures.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Ambrym before the December 2018 eruption (left), and during the eruption (right). Before the eruption, the thermal signatures within both summit craters were strong and after the eruption, the thermal signatures were no longer detected. A lava flow was observed during the eruption on 15 December. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Shreve et al. (2019) state that although the dike almost reached the surface, magma did not erupt from the onshore fractures; only minor gas emissions were detected until 17 December. An abrupt decrease in the seismic moment release on 17 December at 1600 marked the end of the dike propagation (figure 50). InSAR-derived models suggested an offshore eruption (Shreve et al., 2019). This was confirmed on 18-19 December when basaltic pumice, indicating a subaqueous eruption, was collected on the beach near Pamal and Ulei. Though the depth and exact location of the fissure has not been mapped, the nature of the basaltic pumice would suggest it was a relatively shallow offshore eruption, according to Shreve et al. (2019).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Geographical timeline summary of the December 2018 eruptive events at Ambrym. The lava lake level began to drop on 14 December, with fissure-fed lava flows during 14-15 December. After an earthquake on 15 December, a dike was detected, causing coastal uplift as it moved E. As the dike continued to propagate upwards, faulting was observed, though magma did not breach the surface. Eventually a submarine fissure eruption was confirmed offshore on 18-19 December. Image modified from Shreve et al. (2019).

In the weeks following the dike emplacement, there was more than 2 m of subsidence measured at both summit craters identified using ALOS-2 and Sentinel-1 InSAR data. After 22 December, no additional large-scale deformation was observed, though a localized discontinuity (less than 12 cm) measured across the fractures along the SE coast in addition to seismicity suggested a continuation of the distal submarine eruption into late 2019. Additional pumice was observed on 3 February 2019 near Pamal village, suggesting possible ongoing activity. These surveys also noted that no gas-and-steam emissions, lava flows, or volcanic gases were emitted from the recently active cracks and faults on the SE cost of Ambrym.

During February-October 2019, onshore activity at Ambrym declined to low levels of unrest, according to VMGD. The only activity within the summit caldera consisted of gas-and-steam emissions, with no evidence of the previous lava lakes (figure 51). Intermittent seismicity and gas-and-steam emissions continued to be observed at Ambrym and offshore of the SE coast. Mével et al. (2019) installed three Trillium Compact 120s posthole seismometers in the S and E part of Ambrym from 25 May to 5 June 2019. They found that there were multiple seismic events, including a Deep-Long Period event and mixed up/down first motions at two stations near the tip of the dike intrusion and offshore of Pamal at depths of 15-20 km below sea level. Based on a preliminary analysis of these data, Mével et al. (2019) interpreted the observations as indicative of ongoing volcanic seismicity in the region of the offshore dike intrusion and eruption.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Aerial photograph of Ambrym on 12 August 2019 showing gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit caldera. Courtesy of VMGD.

Seismicity was no longer reported from 10 October 2019 through March 2020. Thermal anomalies were not detected in satellite data except for one in late April and one in early September 2019, according to MODIS thermal infrared data analyzed by the MIROVA system. The most recent report from VMGD was issued on 27 March 2020, which noted low-level unrest consisting of dominantly gas-and-steam emissions.

References:

Shreve T, Grandin R, Boichu M, Garaebiti E, Moussallam Y, Ballu V, Delgado F, Leclerc F, Vallée M, Henriot N, Cevuard S, Tari D, Lebellegard P, Pelletier B, 2019. From prodigious volcanic degassing to caldera subsidence and quiescence at Ambrym (Vanuatu): the influence of regional tectonics. Sci. Rep. 9, 18868. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-55141-7.

Mével H, Roman D, Brothelande E, Shimizu K, William R, Cevuard S, Garaebiti E, 2019. The CAVA (Carnegie Ambrym Volcano Analysis) Project - a Multidisciplinary Characterization of the Structure and Dynamics of Ambrym Volcano, Vanuatu. American Geophysical Union, Fall 2019 Meeting, Abstract and Poster V43C-0201.

Geologic Background. Ambrym, a large basaltic volcano with a 12-km-wide caldera, is one of the most active volcanoes of the New Hebrides Arc. A thick, almost exclusively pyroclastic sequence, initially dacitic then basaltic, overlies lava flows of a pre-caldera shield volcano. The caldera was formed during a major Plinian eruption with dacitic pyroclastic flows about 1,900 years ago. Post-caldera eruptions, primarily from Marum and Benbow cones, have partially filled the caldera floor and produced lava flows that ponded on the floor or overflowed through gaps in the caldera rim. Post-caldera eruptions have also formed a series of scoria cones and maars along a fissure system oriented ENE-WSW. Eruptions have apparently occurred almost yearly during historical time from cones within the caldera or from flank vents. However, from 1850 to 1950, reporting was mostly limited to extra-caldera eruptions that would have affected local populations.

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); 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/).


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

Copahue

Chile-Argentina

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions end on 12 November; lake returns to El Agrio Crater in December 2019

Most of the large edifice of Copahue lies high in the central Chilean Andes, but the active El Agrio crater lies on the Argentinian side of the border at the W edge of the Pliocene Caviahue caldera. Infrequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 18th century. The most recent eruptive episode began with phreatic explosions and ash emissions on 2 August 2019 that continued until mid-November 2019. This report summarizes activity from November 2019 through February 2020 and is based on reports issued by Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN) Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), satellite data, and photographs from nearby residents.

MIROVA data indicated a few weak thermal anomalies during mid-October to mid-November 2019. Multiple continuous ash emissions were reported daily until mid-November when activity declined significantly. By mid-December the lake inside El Agrio crater had reappeared and occasional steam plumes were the only reported surface activity at Copahue through February 2020.

The Buenos Aires VAAC and SERNAGEOMIN both reported continuous ash emissions during 1-9 November 2019 that were visible in the webcam. Satellite imagery recorded the plumes drifting generally E or NE at 3.0-4.3 km altitude (figure 49). Most of the emissions on 10 November were steam (figure 50). The last pulse of ash emissions occurred on 12 November with an ash plume visible moving SE at 3 km altitude in satellite imagery and a strong thermal anomaly (figure 51). The following day emissions were primarily steam and gas. SERNAGEOMIN noted the ash emissions rising around 800 m above El Agrio crater and also reported incandescence visible during most nights through mid-November. During the second half of November the constant degassing was primarily water vapor with occasional nighttime incandescence. Steam plumes rose 450 m above the crater on 27 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Continuous ash emissions at Copahue during 1-9 November 2019 were visible in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 2 and 7 November 2019 drifting NE. Natural color rendering uses bands 4,3, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Most of the emissions from Copahue on 10 November 2019 were steam. Left image courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina. Right image courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground, natural color rendering using bands 4, 3, and 2.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. A strong thermal anomaly and an ash plume at Copahue were visible in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 12 November 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground, Atmospheric penetration rendering bands 12, 11, and 8A.

Nighttime incandescence was last observed in the SERNAGEOMIN webcam on 1 December; SERNAGEOMIN lowered the alert level from Yellow to Green on 15 December 2019. Throughout December degassing consisted mainly of minor steam plumes (figure 52), the highest plume rose to 300 m above the crater on 18 December, and minor SO2 plumes persisted through the 21st (figure 53),. By mid-December the El Agrio crater lake was returning and satellite images clearly showed the increase in size of the lake through February (figure 54). The only surface activity reported during January and February 2020 was occasional white steam plumes rising near El Agrio crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Small wisps of steam were the only emissions from Copahue on 3 December 2019. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Small plumes of SO2 were recorded at Copahue during November and December 2019. Top row: 7, 9, and 30 November. Bottom row: 1, 20, and 21 December. Courtesy of Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, NASA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. The lake within El Agrio crater reappeared between 5 and 12 December 2019 and continued to grow in size through the end of January 2020. Top row (left to right): There was no lake inside the crater on 5 December 2019, only a small steam plume rising from the vent. The first water was visible on 12 December and was slightly larger a few days later on 17 December. Bottom row (left to right): the lake was significantly larger on 4 January 2020 filling an embayment close to the steam vent. Fingers of water filled in areas of the crater as the water level rose on 24 and 29 January. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue, Caviahue, Argentina (URL: https://twitter.com/valecaviahue, Twitter:@valecaviahue).


Nishinoshima (Japan) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nishinoshima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing activity enlarges island with lava flows, ash plumes, and incandescent ejecta, December 2019-February 2020

After 40 years of dormancy, Japan’s Nishinoshima volcano, located about 1,000 km S of Tokyo in the Ogasawara Arc, erupted above sea level in November 2013. Lava flows were active through November 2015, emerging from a central pyroclastic cone. A new eruption in mid-2017 continued the growth of the island with ash plumes, ejecta, and lava flows. A short eruptive event in July 2018 produced a new lava flow and vent on the side of the pyroclastic cone. The next eruption of ash plumes, incandescent ejecta, and lava flows, covered in this report, began in early December 2019 and was ongoing through February 2020. Information is provided primarily from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) monthly reports.

Nishinoshima remained quiet after a short eruptive event in July 2018 until MODVOLC thermal alerts appeared on 5 December 2019. Multiple near-daily alerts continued through February 2020. The intermittent low-level thermal anomalies seen in the MIROVA data beginning in May and June 2019 may reflect areas with increased temperatures and fumarolic activity reported by the Japan Coast Guard during overflights in June and July. The significant increase in thermal anomalies in the MIROVA data on 5 December correlates with the beginning of extrusive and explosive activity (figure 63). Eruptive activity included ash emissions, incandescent ejecta, and numerous lava flows from multiple vents that flowed into the sea down several flanks, significantly enlarging the island.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. The MIROVA graph of thermal energy from Nishinoshima from 13 April 2019 through February 2020 shows low-level thermal activity beginning in mid-2019; there were reports of increased temperatures and fumarolic activity during that time. Eruptive activity including ash emissions, incandescent ejecta, and numerous lava flows began on 5 December 2019 and was ongoing through February 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

A brief period of activity during 12-21 July 2018 produced explosive activity with blocks and bombs ejected 500 m from a new vent on the E flank of the pyroclastic cone, and a 700-m-long lava flow that stopped about 100 m before reaching the ocean (BGVN 43:09). No further activity was reported during 2018. During overflights on 29 and 31 January, and 7 February 2019, white steam plumes drifted from the E crater margin and inner wall of the pyroclastic cone and discolored waters were present around the island, but no other signs of activity were reported. A survey carried out by the Japan Coast Guard during 7-8 June 2019 reported minor fumarolic activity from the summit crater, and high-temperature areas were noted on the hillsides, measured by infrared thermal imaging equipment. Sulfur dioxide emissions were below the detection limit. In an overflight on 12 July 2019, Coast Guard personnel noted a small white plume rising from the E edge of the summit crater of the pyroclastic cone (figure 64).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. The Japan Coast Guard noted a small white plume at the summit of Nishinoshima during an overflight on 12 July 2019, but no other signs of activity. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, July 2019).

The white plume was still present during an overflight on 14 August 2019. Greenish yellow areas of water about 500 m wide were distributed around the island, and a plume of green water extended 1.8 km from the NW coast. Similar conditions were observed on 15 October 2019; pale yellow-green discolored water was about 100 m wide and concentrated on the N shore of Nishinoshima. No steam plume from the summit was present during a visit on 19 November 2019, but yellow-white discolored water on the N shore was about 100 m wide and 700 m long. Along the NE and SE coasts, yellow-white water was 100-200 m wide and about 1,000 m long.

A MODVOLC thermal alert appeared at Nishinoshima on 5 December 2019. An eruption was observed by the Japan Coast Guard the following day. A pulsating light gray ash plume rose from the summit crater accompanied by tephra ejected 200 m above the crater rim every few minutes (figure 65). In addition, ash and tephra rose intermittently from a crater on the E flank of the pyroclastic cone, from which lava also flowed down towards the E coast (figure 66). By 1300 on 7 December the lava was flowing into the sea (figure 67).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. The eruption observed at Nishinoshima on 6 December 2019 included ash and tephra emissions from the summit vent, and ash, tephra, and a lava flow from the vent on the E flank of the pyroclastic cone. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, November 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Thermal infrared imagery revealed incandescent ejecta from the summit crater and lava flowing from the E flank vent at Nishinoshima on 6 December 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, November 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. By 1300 on 7 December 2019 lava from the E-flank vent at Nishinoshima was flowing into the sea. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, November 2019).

Observations by the Japan Coast Guard on 15 December 2019 confirmed that vigorous eruptive activity was ongoing; incandescent ejecta and ash plumes rose 300 m above the summit crater rim (figure 68). A new vent had opened on the N flank of the cone from which lava flowed NW to the sea (figure 69). The lava flow from the E-flank crater also remained active and continued flowing into the sea. The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash emission on 24 December that rose to 1,000 m altitude and drifted S. On 31 December, explosions at the summit continued every few seconds with ash and ejecta rising 300 m high. In addition, lava from the NE flank of the pyroclastic cone flowed NE to the sea (figure 70).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Incandescent ejecta and ash rose 300 m above the summit crater rim at Nishinoshima on 15 December 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, December 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Lava from a new vent on the NW flank of Nishinoshima was entering the sea on 15 December 2019, producing vigorous steam plumes. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, December 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. At Nishinoshima on 31 December 2019 lava flowed down the NE flank of the pyroclastic cone into the sea, and incandescent ejecta rose 300 m above summit. Courtesy of JMA and the Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, December 2019).

Satellite data from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) made it possible for JMA to produce maps showing the rapid changes in topography at Nishinoshima resulting from the new lava flows. The new E-flank lava flow was readily seen when comparing imagery from 22 November with 6 December 2019 (figure 71a). An image from 6 December compared with 20 December 2019 shows the flow on the E flank splitting and entering the sea at two locations (figure 71b), the flow on the NW flank traveling briefly N before turning W and forming a large fan into the ocean on the W flank, and a new flow heading NE from the summit area of the pyroclastic cone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Satellite data from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) made it possible to produce maps showing the changes in topography at Nishinoshima resulting from the new lava flows (shown in blue). In comparing 22 November with 6 December 2019 (A, left), the new lava flow on the E flank was visible. A new image from 20 December compared with 6 December (B, right) showed the flow on the E flank splitting and entering the sea at two locations, the NW-flank flow building a large fan into the ocean on the W flank, and a new flow heading NE from the summit area of the pyroclastic cone. Courtesy of JMA and the Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, December 2019).

The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery on 15 January 2020 that rose to 1.8 km altitude and drifted SE. The Japan Coast Guard conducted an overflight on 17 January that confirmed the continued eruptions of ash, incandescent ejecta, and lava. Dark gray ash plumes were observed at 1.8 km altitude, with ashfall and tephra concentrated around the pyroclastic cone (figure 72). Plumes of steam were visible where the NE lava flow entered the ocean; the E and NW lava entry areas did not appear active but were still hot. Satellite data from ALOS-2 prepared by JAXA confirmed ongoing activity around the summit vent and on the NE flank, while activity on the W flank had ceased (figure 73). An ash plume was reported by the Tokyo VAAC on 25 January; it rose to 1.5 km altitude and drifted SW for most of the day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Dense, dark gray ash plumes rose from the summit of Nishinoshima on 17 January 2020. Small plumes of steam from lava-seawater interactions were visible on the NE shore of the island as well (far right). Courtesy of JMA and the Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, January 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. JAXA satellite data from 3 January 2020 (left) showed the growth of a new lava delta on the NE flank of Nishinoshima and minor activity occuring on the W flank compared with the previous image from 20 December 2019. By 17 January 2020 (right), the lava flow activity was concentrated on the NE flank with multiple deltas extending out into the sea. The ‘low correlation areas’ shown in blue represent changes in topography caused by new material from lava flows and ejecta added between the dates shown above the images. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, January 2020).

On 3 Feburary 2020 the Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery that rose to 2.1 km altitude and drifted E. The following day the Japan Coast Guard observed eruptions from the summit crater at five minute intervals that produced grayish white plumes. The plumes rose to 2.7 km altitude (figure 74). Large bombs were scattered around the pyroclastic cone, and the summit crater appeared filled with lava except for the active vent. The lava deltas on the NE flank were only active at the tips of the flows producing a few steam jets where lava entered the sea. The active flows were on the SE flank, and a new 200-m-long lava flow was flowing down the N flank of the pyroclastic cone (figure 75). The lava flowing from the E flank of the pyroclastic cone to the SE into the sea, produced larger jets of steam (figure 76). Yellow-brown discolored water appeared around the island in several places.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Ash emissions at Nishinoshima rose to 2.7 km altitude on 4 February 2020; steam jets from lava entering the ocean were active on the SE flank (far side of the island, right). Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. The lava deltas on the NE flank of Nishinoshima (bottom center) were much less active on 4 February 2020 than the lava flow and growing delta on the SE flank (left). The newest flow headed N from the summit and was 200 m long (right of center). Courtesy of JMA and the Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. The most active lava flows at Nishinoshima on 4 February 2020 were on the E flank; significant steam plumes rose in multiple locations along the coast where they entered the sea. Intermittent ash plumes also rose from the summit crater. Courtesy of JMA and Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).

JAXA satellite data confirmed that the flow activity was concentrated on the NE flank and shore during the second half of January 2020, but also recorded the new flow down the SE flank that was observed by the Coast Guard in early February. By mid-February the satellite topographic data indicated the decrease in activity in the NE flank flows, the increased activity on the SE and E flank, and the extension of the flow moving due N to the coast (figure 77). Observations on 17 February 2020 by the Japan Coast Guard revealed eruptions from the summit crater every few seconds, and steam-and-ash plumes rising about 600 m. Vigorous white emissions rose from fractures near the top of the W flank of the pyroclastic cone, but thermal data indicated the area was no hotter than the surrounding area (figure 78). The lava flow on the SE coast still had steam emissions rising from the ocean entry point, but activity was weaker than on 4 February. The newest flow moving due N from the summit produced steam emissions where the flow front entered the ocean.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Constantly changing lava flows at Nishinoshima reshaped the island during late January and February 2020. During the second half of January, flows were active on the NE flank, creating deltas into the sea off the NE coast and also on the SE flank into the sea at the SE coast (left). The ‘low correlation areas’ shown in blue represent changes in topography caused by new material from lava flows and ejecta added between the dates shown above the images. By 14 February (right) activity had slowed on the NE flank and expanded on the SE flank and N flank. Data is from the Land Observing Satellite-2 "Daichi-2" (ALOS-2). Courtesy of JMA and JAXA (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Vigorous white emissions rose from fractures near the top of the W flank of the pyroclastic cone at Nishinoshima on 17 February 2020, but thermal data indicated the area was no hotter than the surrounding area. Courtesy of JMA and Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).

Sulfur dioxide plumes from Nishinoshima have been small and infrequent in recent years, but the renewed and increased eruptive activity beginning in December 2019 produced several small SO2 plumes that were recorded in daily satellite data (figure 79).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Small sulfur dioxide plumes from Nishinoshima were captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite a few times during December 2019-February 2020 as the eruptive activity increased. The large red streak in the 3 February 2020 image is SO2 from an eruption of Kuchinoerabujima volcano (Ryukyu Islands) on the same day. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Simon Carn.

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency-Earth Observation Research Center (JAXA-EORC), 7-44-1 Jindaiji Higashi-machi, Chofu-shi, Tokyo 182-8522, Japan (URL: http://www.eorc.jaxa.jp/); Japan Coast Guard (JCG) Volcano Database, Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, 3-1-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8932, Japan (URL: http://www.kaiho.mlit.go.jp/info/kouhou/h29/index.html); 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, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); 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/); Simon Carn, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931, USA (URL: http://www.volcarno.com/, Twitter: @simoncarn).


Krakatau (Indonesia) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Tephra and steam explosions in the crater lake; explosions in December 2019 build a tephra cone

Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Strait between Indonesia’s Java and Sumatra Islands experienced a major caldera collapse around 535 CE; it formed a 7-km-wide caldera ringed by three islands. Remnants of this volcano joined to create the pre-1883 Krakatau Island which collapsed during the major 1883 eruption. Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau), constructed beginning in late 1927 within the 1883 caldera (BGVN 44:03, figure 56), was the site of over 40 eruptive episodes until 22 December 2018 when a large explosion and flank collapse destroyed most of the 338-m-high edifice and generated a deadly tsunami (BGVN 44:03). The near-sea level crater lake inside the remnant of Anak Krakatau was the site of numerous small steam and tephra explosions from February (BGVN 44:08) through November 2019. A larger explosion in December 2019 produced the beginnings of a new cone above the surface of crater lake. Activity from August 2019 through January 2020 is covered in this report with information provided by the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, referred to as Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG). Aviation reports are provided by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and photographs are from the PVMBG webcam and visitors to the island.

Explosions were reported on more than ten days each month from August to October 2019. They were recorded based on seismicity, but webcam images also showed black tephra and steam being ejected from the crater lake to heights up to 450 m. Activity decreased significantly after the middle of November, although smaller explosions were witnessed by visitors to the island. After a period of relative quiet, a larger series of explosions at the end of December produced ash plumes that rose up to 3 km above the crater; the crater lake was largely filled with tephra after these explosions. Thermal activity persisted throughout the period of August 2019-January 2020. The wattage of Radiative Power increased from August through mid-October, and then decreased through January 2020 (figure 96).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Thermal activity persisted at Anak Krakatau from 20 March 2019-January 2020. The wattage of Radiative Power increased from August through mid-October, and then decreased through January 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during August-November 2019. The new profile of Anak Krakatau rose to about 155 m elevation as of August 2019, almost 100 m less than prior to the December 2018 explosions and flank collapse (figure 97). Smaller explosions continued during August 2019 and were reported by PVMBG in 12 different VONAs (Volcano Observatory Notice to Aviation) on days 1, 3, 6, 17, 19, 22, 23, 25, and 28. Most of the explosions lasted for less than two minutes, according to the seismic data. PVMBG reported steam plumes of 25-50 m height above the sea-level crater on 20 and 21 August. They reported a visible ash cloud on 22 August; it rose to an altitude of 457 m and drifted NNE according to the VONA. In their daily update, they noted that the eruption plume of 250-400 m on 22 August was white, gray, and black. The Darwin VAAC reported that the ash plume was discernable on HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery for a short period of time. PVMBG noted ten eruptions on 24 August with white, gray, and black ejecta rising 100-300 m. A webcam installed at month’s end provided evidence of diffuse steam plumes rising 25-150 m above the crater during 28-31 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Only one tree survived on the once tree-covered spit off the NE end of Sertung Island after the December 2018 tsunami from Anak Krakatau covered it with ash and debris. The elevation of Anak Krakatau (center) was about 155 m on 8 August 2019, almost 100 m less than before the explosions and flank collapse. Panjang Island is on the left, and 746-m-high Rakata, the remnant of the 1883 volcanic island, is behind Anak Krakatau on the right. Courtesy of Amber Madden-Nadeau.

VONAs were issued for explosions on 1-3, 11, 13, 17, 18, 21, 24-27 and 29 September 2019. The explosion on 2 September produced a steam plume that rose 350 m, and dense black ash and ejecta which rose 200 m from the crater and drifted N. Gray and white tephra and steam rose 450 m on 13 and 17 September; ejecta was black and gray and rose 200 m on 21 September (figure 98). During 24-27 and 29 September tephra rose at least 200 m each day; some days it was mostly white with gray, other days it was primarily gray and black. All of the ejecta plumes drifted N. On days without explosions, the webcam recorded steam plumes rising 50-150 m above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Explosions of steam and dark ejecta were captured by the webcam on Anak Krakatau on 21 (left) and 26 (right) September 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia and PVMBG.

Explosions were reported daily during 12-14, 16-20, 25-27, and 29 October (figure 99). PVMBG reported eight explosions on 19 October and seven explosions the next day. Most explosions produced gray and black tephra that rose 200 m from the crater and drifted N. On many of the days an ash plume also rose 350 m from the crater and drifted N. The seismic events that accompanied the explosions varied in duration from 45 to 1,232 seconds (about 20 minutes). The Darwin VAAC reported the 12 October eruption as visible briefly in satellite imagery before dissipating near the volcano. The first of four explosions on 26 October also appeared in visible satellite imagery moving NNW for a short time. The webcam recorded diffuse steam plumes rising 25-150 m above the crater on most days during the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. A number of explosions at Anak Krakatau were captured by the webcam and visitors near the island during October 2019, shown here on the 12th, 14th, 17th, and 29th. Black and gray ejecta and steam plumes jetted several hundred meters high from the crater lake during the explosions. Webcam images courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia, with 12 October 2019 (top left) via VolcanoYT. Bottom left photo on 17 October courtesy of Christoph Sator.

Five VONAs were issued for explosions during 5-7 November, and one on 13 November 2019. The three explosions on 5 November produced 200-m-high plumes of steam and gray and black ejecta and ash plumes that rose 200, 450, and 550 m respectively; they all drifted N (figure 100). The Darwin VAAC reported ash drifting N in visible imagery for a brief period also. A 350-m-high ash plume accompanied 200-m-high ejecta on 6 November. Tephra rose 150-300 m from the crater during a 43 second explosion on 7 November. The explosion reported by PVMBG on 13 November produced black tephra and white steam 200 m high that drifted N. For the remainder of the month, when not obscured by fog, steam plumes rose daily 25-150 m from the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. PVMBG’s KAWAH webcam captured an explosion with steam and dark ejecta from the crater lake at Anak Krakatau on 5 November 2019. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.

A joint expedition with PVMBG and the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) installed geophysical equipment on Anak Krakatau and Rakata during 12 and 13 November 2019 (figure 101). Visitors to the island during 19-23 and 22-24 November recorded the short-lived landscape and continuing small explosions of steam and black tephra from the crater lake (figures 102 and 103).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. A joint expedition to Anak Krakatau with PVMBG and the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) installed geophysical equipment on Anak Krakatau and Rakata (background, left) during 12 and 13 November 2019. Images of the crater lake from the same spot (left) in December and January show the changes at the island (figure 108). Monitoring equipment installed near the shore sits over the many layers of ash and tephra that make up the island (right). Courtesy of Anna Perttu.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 102.The crater lake at Anak Krakatau during a 19-23 November 2019 visit was the site of continued explosions with jets of steam and tephra that rose as high as 30 m. Courtesy of Andrey Nikiforov and Volcano Discovery, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. The landscape of Anak Krakatau recorded the rapidly evolving sequence of volcanic events during November 2019. Fresh ash covered recent lava near the shoreline on 22 November 2019 (top left). Large blocks of gray tephra (composed of other tephra fragments) were surrounded by reddish brown smaller fragments in the area between the crater and the ocean on 23 November 2019 (top right). Explosions of steam and black tephra rose tens of meters from the crater lake on 23 November 2019 (bottom). Courtesy of and copyright by Pascal Blondé.

Activity during December 2019-January 2020. Very little activity was recorded for most of December 2019. The webcam captured daily images of diffuse steam plumes rising 25-50 m above the crater which occasionally rose to 150 m. A new explosion on 28 December produced black and gray ejecta 200 m high that drifted N; the explosion was similar to those reported during August-November. A new series of explosions from 30 December 2019 to 1 January 2020 produced ash plumes which rose significantly higher than the previous explosions, reaching 2.4-3.0 km altitude and drifting S, E, and SE according to PVMBG (figure 104). They were initially visible in satellite imagery and reported drifting SW by the Darwin VAAC. By 31 December meteorological clouds prevented observation of the ash plume but a hotspot remained visible for part of that day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104.The KAWAH webcam at Anak Krakatau captured this image of incandescent ejecta exploding from the crater lake on 30 December 2019 near the start of a new sequence of large explosions. Courtesy of PVMBG and Alex Bogár.

The explosions on 30 and 31 December 2019 were captured in satellite imagery (figure 105) and appeared to indicate that the crater lake was largely destroyed and filled with tephra from a new growing cone, according to Simon Carn. This was confirmed in both satellite imagery and ground-based photography in early January (figures 106 and 107).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Satellite imagery of the explosions at Anak Krakatau on 30 and 31 December 2019 showed dense steam rising from the crater (left) and a thermal anomaly visible through moderate cloud cover (right). Left image courtesy of Simon Carn, and copyright by Planet Labs, Inc. Right image uses Atmospheric Penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, and 8a) to show the thermal anomaly at the base of the steam plume, courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Sentinel-2 images of Anak Krakatau before (left, 21 December 2019) and after (right, 13 January 2020) explosions on 30 and 31 December 2019 show the filling in of the crater lake with new volcanic material. Natural color rendering based on bands 4,3, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. The crater lake at Anak Krakatau changed significantly between the first week of December 2019 (left) and 8 January 2020 (right) after explosions on 30 and 31 December 2019. Compare with figure 101, taken from the same location in mid-November 2019. Left image courtesy of Piotr Smieszek. Right image courtesy of Peter Rendezvous.

Steam plumes rose 50-200 m above the crater during the first week of January 2020. An explosion on 7 January produced dense gray ash that rose 200 m from the crater and drifted E. Steam plume heights varied during the second week, with some plumes reaching 300 m above the crater. Multiple explosions on 15 January produced dense, gray and black ejecta that rose 150 m. Fog obscured the crater for most of the second half of the month; for a brief period, diffuse steam plumes were observed 25-1,000 m above the crater.

General Reference: Perttu A, Caudron C, Assink J D, Metz D, Tailpied D, Perttu B, Hibert C, Nurfiani D, Pilger C, Muzli M, Fee D, Andersen O L, Taisne B, 2020, Reconstruction of the 2018 tsunamigenic flank collapse and eruptive activity at Anak Krakatau based on eyewitness reports, seismo-acoustic and satellite observations, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 541:116268. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2020.116268.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.esdm.go.id/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Amber Madden-Nadeau, Oxford University (URL: https://www.earth.ox.ac.uk/people/amber-madden-nadeau/, https://twitter.com/AMaddenNadeau/status/1159458288406151169); Anna Perttu, Earth Observatory of Singapore (URL: https://earthobservatory.sg/people/anna-perttu); Simon Carn, Michigan Tech University (URL: https://www.mtu.edu/geo/department/faculty/carn/; https://twitter.com/simoncarn/status/1211793124089044994); VolcanoYT, Indonesia (URL: https://volcanoyt.com/, https://twitter.com/VolcanoYTz/status/1182882409445904386/photo/1; Christoph Sator (URL: https://twitter.com/ChristophSator/status/1184713192670281728/photo/1); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); Pascal Blondé, France (URL: https://pascal-blonde.info/portefolio-krakatau/, https://twitter.com/rajo_ameh/status/1199219837265960960); Alex Bogár, Budapest (URL: https://twitter.com/AlexEtna/status/1211396913699991557); Piotr (Piter) Smieszek, Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia (URL: http://www.lombok.pl/, https://twitter.com/piotr_smieszek/status/1204545970962231296); Peter Rendezvous (URL: https://www.facebook.com/peter.rendezvous ); Wulkany swiata, Poland (URL: http://wulkanyswiata.blogspot.com/, https://twitter.com/Wulkany1/status/1214841708862693376).


Mayotte (France) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayotte

France

12.83°S, 45.17°E; summit elev. 660 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity and deformation, with submarine E-flank volcanism starting in July 2018

Mayotte is a volcanic island in the Comoros archipelago between the eastern coast of Africa and the northern tip of Madagascar. A chain of basaltic volcanism began 10-20 million years ago and migrating W, making up four principal volcanic islands, according to the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP) and Cesca et al. (2020). Before May 2010, only two seismic events had been felt by the nearby community within recent decades. New activity since May 2018 consists of dominantly seismic events and lava effusion. The primary source of information for this report through February 2020 comes from semi-monthly reports from the Réseau de Surveillance Volcanologique et Sismologique de Mayotte (REVOSIMA), a cooperative program between the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP), the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), and the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF-IPGP); Lemoine et al. (2019), the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and the Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER).

Seismicity was the dominant type of activity recorded in association with a new submarine eruption. On 10 May 2018, the first seismic event occurred at 0814, detected by the YTMZ accelerometer from the French RAP Network, according to BRGM and Lemoine et al. (2019). Seismicity continued to increase during 13-15 May 2018, with the strongest recorded event for the Comoros area occurring on 15 May at 1848 and two more events on 20-21 May (figure 1). At the time, no surface effusion were directly observed; however, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) instruments were deployed to monitor any ground motion (Lemoine et al. 2019).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. A graph showing the number of daily seismic events greater than M 3.5 occurring offshore of Mayotte from 10 May 2018 through 15 February 2020. Seismicity significantly decreased in July 2018, but continued intermittently through February 2020, with relatively higher seismicity recorded in late August and mid-September 2018. Courtesy of IPGP and REVOSIMA.

Seismicity decreased dramatically after June 2018, with two spikes in August and September (see figure 1). Much of this seismicity occurred offshore 50 km E of Mayotte Island (figure 2). The École Normale Supérieure, the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF-IPGP), and the REVOSIMA August 2019 bulletin reported that measurements from the GNSS stations and Teria GPS network data indicated eastward surface deformation and subsidence beginning in July 2018. Based on this ground deformation data Lemoine et al. (2019) determined that the eruptive phase began fifty days after the initial seismic events occurred, on 3 July 2018.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Maps of seismic activity offshore near Mayotte during May 2019. Seismic swarms occurred E of Mayotte Island (top) and continued in multiple phases through October 2019. New lava effusions were observed 50 km E of Petite Terre (bottom). Bottom image has been modified with annotations; courtesy of IPGP, BRGM, IFREMER, CNRS, and University of Paris.

Between 2 and 18 May 2019, an oceanographic campaign (MAYOBS 1) discovered a new submarine eruption site 50 km E from the island of Mayotte (figure 2). The director of IPGP, Marc Chaussidon, stated in an interview with Science Magazine that multibeam sonar waves were used to determine the elevation (800 m) and diameter (5 km) of the new submarine cone (figure 3). In addition, this multibeam sonar image showed fluid plumes within the water column rising from the center and flanks of the structure. According to REVOSIMA, these plumes rose to 1 km above the summit of the cone but did not breach the ocean surface. The seafloor image (figure 3) also indicated that as much as 5 km3 of magma erupted onto the seafloor from this new edifice during May 2019, according to Science Magazine.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Seafloor image of the submarine vent offshore of Mayotte created with multibeam sonar from 2 to 18 May 2019. The red line is the outline of the volcanic cone located at approximately 3.5 km depth. The blue-green color rising from the peak of the red outline represents fluid plumes within the water column. Courtesy of IPGP.

On 17 May 2019, a second oceanographic campaign (MAYOBS 2) discovered new lava flows located 5 km S of the new eruptive site. BRGM reported that in June a new lava flow had been identified on the W flank of the cone measuring 150 m thick with an estimated volume of 0.3 km3 (figure 4). According to REVOSIMA, the presence of multiple new lava flows would suggest multiple effusion points. Over a period of 11 months (July 2018-June 2019) the rate of lava effusion was at least 150-200 m3/s; between 18 May to 17 June 2019, 0.2 km3 of lava was produced, and from 17 June to 30 July 2019, 0.3 km3 of lava was produced. The MAYOBS 4 (19 July 2019-4 August 2019) and SHOM (20-21 August 2019) missions revealed a new lava flow formed between 31 July and 20 August to the NW of the eruptive site with a volume of 0.08 km3 and covering 3.25 km2.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Bathymetric map showing the location of the new lava flow on the W flank of the submarine cone offshore to the E of Mayotte Island. The MAYOBS 2 campaign was launched in June 2019 (left) and MAYOBS 4 was launched in late July 2019 (right). Courtesy of BRGM.

During the MAYOBS 4 campaign in late July 2019, scientists dredged the NE flank of the cone for samples and took photographs of the newly erupted lava (figure 5). Two dives found the presence of pillow lavas. When samples were brought up to the surface, they exploded due to the large amount of gas and rapid decompression.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Photographs taken using the submersible interactive camera system (SCAMPI) of newly formed pillow lavas (top) and a vesicular sample (bottom) dredged near the new submarine eruptive site at Mayotte in late July 2019. Courtesy of BRGM.

During April-May 2019 the rate of ground deformation slowed. Deflation was also observed up to 90 km E of Mayotte in late October 2019 and consistently between August 2019 and February 2020. Seismicity continued intermittently through February 2020 offshore E of Mayotte Island, though the number of detected events started to decrease in July 2018 (see figure 1). Though seismicity and deformation continued, the most recent observation of new lava flows occurred during the MAYOBS 4 and SHOM campaigns on 20 August 2019, as reported in REVOSIMA bulletins.

References: Cesca S, Heimann S, Letort J, Razafindrakoto H N T, Dahm T, Cotton F, 2020. Seismic catalogues of the 2018-2019 volcano-seismic crisis offshore Mayotte, Comoro Islands. Nat. Geosci. 13, 87-93. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-019-0505-5.

Lemoine A, Bertil D, Roulle A, Briole P, 2019. The volcano-tectonic crisis of 2018 east of Mayotte, Comoros islands. Preprint submitted to EarthArXiv, 28 February 2019. https://doi.org/10.31223/osf.io/d46xj.

Geologic Background. Mayotte, located in the Mozambique Channel between the northern tip of Madagascar and the eastern coast of Africa, consists two main volcanic islands, Grande Terre and Petite Terre, and roughly twenty islets within a barrier-reef lagoon complex (Zinke et al., 2005; Pelleter et al., 2014). Volcanism began roughly 15-10 million years ago (Pelleter et al., 2014; Nougier et al., 1986), and has included basaltic lava flows, nephelinite, tephrite, phonolitic domes, and pyroclastic deposits (Nehlig et al., 2013). Lavas on the NE were active from about 4.7 to 1.4 million years and on the south from about 7.7 to 2.7 million years. Mafic activity resumed on the north from about 2.9 to 1.2 million years and on the south from about 2 to 1.5 million years. Several pumice layers found in cores on the barrier reef-lagoon complex indicate that volcanism likely occurred less than 7,000 years ago (Zinke et al., 2003). More recent activity that began in May 2018 consisted of seismicity and ground deformation occurring offshore E of Mayotte Island (Lemoine et al., 2019). One year later, in May 2019, a new subaqueous edifice and associated lava flows were observed 50 km E of Petite Terre during an oceanographic campaign.

Information Contacts: Réseau de Surveillance Volcanologique et Sismologique de Mayotte (REVOSIMA), a cooperative program of a) Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP), b) Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), c) Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF-IPGP); (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr/reseau-de-surveillance-volcanologique-sismologique-de-mayotte); Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, 14 route nationale 3, 27 ème km, 97418 La Plaine des Cafres, La Réunion, France (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr); Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), 3 avenue Claude-Guillemin, BP 36009, 45060 Orléans Cedex 2, France (URL: https://www.brgm.fr/); Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER), 1625 route de Sainte-Anne, CS 10070, 29280 Plouzané, France (URL: https://wwz.ifremer.fr/); Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), 3 rue Michel-Ange, 75016 Paris, France (URL: http://www.cnrs.fr/); École Normale Supérieure, 45 rue d'Ulm, F-75230 Paris Cedex 05, France (URL: https://www.ens.psl.eu/); Université de Paris, 85 boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris, France (URL: https://u-paris.fr/en/498-2/); Roland Pease, Science Magazine (URL: https://science.sciencemag.org/, article at https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/05/ship-spies-largest-underwater-eruption-ever) published 21 May 2019.


Fernandina (Ecuador) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Fernandina

Ecuador

0.37°S, 91.55°W; summit elev. 1476 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fissure eruption produced lava flows during 12-13 January 2020

Fernandina is a volcanic island in the Galapagos islands, around 1,000 km W from the coast of mainland Ecuador. It has produced nearly 30 recorded eruptions since 1800, with the most recent events having occurred along radial or circumferential fissures around the summit crater. The most recent previous eruption, starting on 16 June 2018, lasted two days and produced lava flows from a radial fissure on the northern flank. Monitoring and scientific reports come from the Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN).

A report from IG-EPN on 12 January 2020 stated that there had been an increase in seismicity and deformation occurring during the previous weeks. On the day of the report, 11 seismic events had occurred, with the largest magnitude of 4.7 at a depth of 5 km. Shortly before 1810 that day a circumferential fissure formed below the eastern rim of the La Cumbre crater, at about 1.3-1.4 km elevation, and produced lava flows down the flank (figure 39). A rapid-onset seismic swarm reached maximum intensity at 1650 on 12 January (figure 40); a second increase in seismicity indicating the start of the eruption began around 70 minutes later (1800). A hotspot was observed in NOAA / CIMSS data between 1800 and 1810, and a gas plume rising up to 2 km above the fissure dispersed W to NW. The eruption lasted 9 hours, until about 0300 on 13 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Lava flows erupting from a circumferential fissure on the eastern flank of Fernandina on 12 January 2020. Photos courtesy of Parque Nacional Galápagos.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Graph showing the Root-Mean-Square (RMS) amplitude of the seismic signals from the FER-1 station at Fernandina on 12-13 January 2020. The graph shows the increase in seismicity leading to the eruption on the 12th (left star), a decrease in the seismicity, and then another increase during the event (right star). Courtesy of S. Hernandez, IG-EPN (Report on 13 January 2020).

A report issued at 1159 local time on 13 January 2020 described a rapid decrease in seismicity, gas emissions, and thermal anomalies, indicating a rapid decline in eruptive activity similar to previous events in 2017 and 2018. An overflight that day confirmed that the eruption had ended, after lava flows had extended around 500 m from the crater and covered an area of 3.8 km2 (figures 41 and 42). Seismicity continued on the 14th, with small volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes occurring less than 500 m below the surface. Periodic seismicity was recorded through 13-15 January, though there was an increase in seismicity during 17-22 January with deformation also detected (figure 43). No volcanic activity followed, and no additional gas or thermal anomalies were detected.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. The lava flow extents at Fernandina of the previous two eruptions (4-7 September 2017 and 16-21 June 2018) and the 12-13 January 2020 eruption as detected by FIRMS thermal anomalies. Thermal data courtesy of NASA; figure prepared by F. Vásconez, IG-EPN (Report on 13 January 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. This fissure vent that formed on the E flank of Fernandina on 12 January 2020 produced several lava flows. A weak gas plume was still rising when this photo was taken the next day, but the eruption had ceased. Courtesy of Parque Nacional Galápagos.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Soil displacement map for Fernandina during 10 and 16 January 2020, with the deformation generated by the 12 January eruption shown. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Report on 23 January 2020).

Geologic Background. Fernandina, the most active of Galápagos volcanoes and the one closest to the Galápagos mantle plume, is a basaltic shield volcano with a deep 5 x 6.5 km summit caldera. The volcano displays the classic "overturned soup bowl" profile of Galápagos shield volcanoes. Its caldera is elongated in a NW-SE direction and formed during several episodes of collapse. Circumferential fissures surround the caldera and were instrumental in growth of the volcano. Reporting has been poor in this uninhabited western end of the archipelago, and even a 1981 eruption was not witnessed at the time. In 1968 the caldera floor dropped 350 m following a major explosive eruption. Subsequent eruptions, mostly from vents located on or near the caldera boundary faults, have produced lava flows inside the caldera as well as those in 1995 that reached the coast from a SW-flank vent. Collapse of a nearly 1 km3 section of the east caldera wall during an eruption in 1988 produced a debris-avalanche deposit that covered much of the caldera floor and absorbed the caldera lake.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec/); Dirección del Parque Nacional Galápagos (DPNG), Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos, Ecuador (URL: http://www.galapagos.gob.ec/).


Masaya (Nicaragua) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake persists with lower temperatures during August 2019-January 2020

Masaya is a basaltic caldera located in Nicaragua and contains the Nindirí, San Pedro, San Juan, and Santiago craters. The currently active Santiago crater hosts a lava lake, which has remained active since December 2015 (BGVN 41:08). The primary source of information for this August 2019-January 2020 report comes from the Instituto Nicareguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) and satellite -based imagery and thermal data.

On 16 August, 13 September, and 11 November 2019, INETER took SO2 measurements by making a transect using a mobile DOAS spectrometer that sampled for gases downwind of the volcano. Average values during these months were 2,095 tons/day, 1,416 tons/day, and 1,037 tons/day, respectively. August had the highest SO2 measurements while those during September and November were more typical values.

Satellite imagery showed a constant thermal anomaly in the Santiago crater at the lava lake during August 2019 through January 2020 (figure 82). According to a news report, ash was expelled from Masaya on 15 October 2019, resulting in minor ashfall in Colonia 4 de Mayo (6 km NW). On 21 November thermal measurements were taken at the fumaroles and near the lava lake using a FLIR SC620 thermal camera (figure 83). The temperature measured 287°C, which was 53° cooler than the last time thermal temperatures were taken in May 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed the consistent presence of an active lava lake within the Santiago crater at Masaya during August 2019 through January 2020. Images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Thermal measurements taken at Masaya on 21 November 2019 with a FLIR SC620 thermal camera that recorded a temperature of 287°C. Courtesy of INETER (Boletin Sismos y Volcanes de Nicaragua, Noviembre, 2019).

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed intermittent low-power thermal anomalies compared to the higher-power ones before May 2019 (figure 84). The thermal anomalies were detected during August 2019 through January 2020 after a brief hiatus from early may to mid-June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Thermal anomalies occurred intermittently at Masaya during 21 February 2019 through January 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); La Jornada (URL: https://www.lajornadanet.com/, article at https://www.lajornadanet.com/index.php/2019/10/16/volcan-masaya-expulsa-cenizas/#.Xl6f8ahKjct).


Reventador (Ecuador) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

0.077°S, 77.656°W; summit elev. 3562 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Nearly daily ash emissions and frequent incandescent block avalanches August 2019-January 2020

Reventador is an andesitic stratovolcano located in the Cordillera Real, Ecuador. Historical eruptions date back to the 16th century, consisting of lava flows and explosive events. The current eruptive activity has been ongoing since 2008 with previous activity including daily explosions with ash emissions, and incandescent block avalanches (BGVN 44:08). This report covers volcanism from August 2019 through January 2020 using information primarily from the Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), the Washington Volcano Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various infrared satellite data.

During August 2019 to January 2020, IG-EPN reported almost daily explosive eruptions and ash plumes. September had the highest average of explosive eruptions while January 2020 had the lowest (table 11). Ash plumes rose between a maximum of 1.2 to 2.5 km above the crater during this reporting period with the highest plume height recorded in December. The largest amount of SO2 gases produced was during the month of October with 502 tons/day. Frequently at night during this reporting period, crater incandescence was observed and was occasionally accompanied by incandescent block avalanches traveling as far as 900 m downslope from the summit of the volcano.

Table 11. Monthly summary of eruptive events recorded at Reventador from August 2019 through January 2020. Data courtesy of IG-EPN (August to January 2020 daily reports).

Month Average Number of Explosions Max plume height above the crater Max SO2
Aug 2019 26 1.6 km --
Sep 2019 32 1.7 km 428 tons/day
Oct 2019 29 1.3 km 502 tons/day
Nov 2019 25 1.2 km 432 tons/day
Dec 2019 25 2.5 km 331 tons/day
Jan 2020 12 1.7 km --

During the month of August 2019, between 11 and 45 explosions were recorded every day, frequently accompanied by gas-and-steam and ash emissions (figure 119); plumes rose more than 1 km above the crater on nine days. On 20 August the ash plume rose to a maximum 1.6 km above the crater. Summit incandescence was seen at night beginning on 10 August, continuing frequently throughout the rest of the reporting period. Incandescent block avalanches were reported intermittently beginning that same night through 26 January 2020, ejecting material between 300 to 900 m below the summit and moving on all sides of the volcano.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. An ash plume rising from the summit of Reventador on 1 August 2019. Courtesy of Radio La Voz del Santuario.

Throughout most of September 2019 gas-and-steam and ash emissions were observed almost daily, with plumes rising more than 1 km above the crater on 15 days, according to IG-EPN. On 30 September, the ash plume rose to a high of 1.7 km above the crater. Each day, between 18 and 72 explosions were reported, with the latter occurring on 19 September. At night, crater incandescence was commonly observed, sometimes accompanied by incandescent material rolling down every flank.

Elevated seismicity was reported during 8-15 October 2019 and almost daily gas-and-steam and ash emissions were present, ranging up to 1.3 km above the summit. Every day during this month, between 13 and 54 explosions were documented and crater incandescence was commonly observed at night. During November 2019, gas-and-steam and ash emissions rose greater than 1 km above the crater except for 10 days; no emissions were reported on 29 November. Daily explosions ranged up to 42, occasionally accompanied by crater incandescence and incandescent ejecta.

Washington VAAC notices were issued almost daily during December 2019, reporting ash plumes between 4.6 and 6 km altitude throughout the month and drifting in multiple directions. Each day produced 5-52 explosions, many of which were accompanied by incandescent blocks rolling down all sides of the volcano up to 900 m below the summit. IG-EPN reported on 11 December that a gas-and-steam and ash emission column rose to a maximum height of 2.5 km above the crater, drifting SW as was observed by satellite images and reported by the Washington VAAC.

Volcanism in January 2020 was relatively low compared to the other months of this reporting period. Explosions continued on a nearly daily basis early in the month, ranging from 20 to 51. During 5-7 January incandescent material ejected from the summit vent moved as block avalanches downslope and multiple gas-and-steam and ash plumes were produced (figures 120, 121, and 122). After 9 January the number of explosions decreased to 0-16 per day. Ash plumes rose between 4.6 and 5.8 km altitude, according to the Washington VAAC.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. Night footage of activity on 5 (top) and 6 (bottom) January 2020 at the summit of Reventador, producing a dense, dark gray ash plume and ejecting incandescent material down multiple sides of the volcano. This activity is not uncommon during this reporting period. Courtesy of Martin Rietze, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. An explosion at Reventador on 7 January 2020, which produced a dense gray ash plume. Courtesy of Martin Rietze, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 122. Night footage of the evolution of an eruption on 7 January 2020 at the summit of Reventador, which produced an ash plume and ejected incandescent material down multiple sides of the volcano. Courtesy of Martin Rietze, used with permission.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed frequent and strong thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit during 21 February 2019 through January 2020 (figure 123). In comparison, the MODVOLC algorithm reported 24 thermal alerts between August 2019 and January 2020 near the summit. Some thermal anomalies can be seen in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery throughout this reporting period, even with the presence of meteorological clouds (figure 124). These thermal anomalies were accompanied by persistent gas-and-steam and ash plumes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 123. Thermal anomalies at Reventador persisted during 21 February 2019 through January 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 124. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Reventador from August 2019 to January 2020 showing a thermal hotspot in the central summit crater summit. In the image on 7 January 2020, the thermal anomaly is accompanied by an ash plume. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Reventador is the most frequently active of a chain of Ecuadorian volcanoes in the Cordillera Real, well east of the principal volcanic axis. The forested, dominantly andesitic Volcán El Reventador stratovolcano rises to 3562 m above the jungles of the western Amazon basin. A 4-km-wide caldera widely breached to the east was formed by edifice collapse and is partially filled by a young, unvegetated stratovolcano that rises about 1300 m above the caldera floor to a height comparable to the caldera rim. It has been the source of numerous lava flows as well as explosive eruptions that were visible from Quito in historical time. Frequent lahars in this region of heavy rainfall have constructed a debris plain on the eastern floor of the caldera. The largest historical eruption took place in 2002, producing a 17-km-high eruption column, pyroclastic flows that traveled up to 8 km, and lava flows from summit and flank vents.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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); Radio La Voz del Santuario (URL: https://www.facebook.com/Radio-La-Voz-del-Santuario-126394484061111/, posted at: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2630739100293291&id=126394484061111); Martin Rietze, Taubenstr. 1, D-82223 Eichenau, Germany (URL: https://mrietze.com/, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5LzAA_nyNWEUfpcUFOCpJw/videos).


Pacaya (Guatemala) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

14.382°N, 90.601°W; summit elev. 2569 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuous explosions, small cone, and lava flows during August 2019-January 2020

Pacaya is a highly active basaltic volcano located in Guatemala with volcanism consisting of frequent lava flows and Strombolian explosions originating in the Mackenney crater. The previous report summarizes volcanism that included multiple lava flows, Strombolian activity, avalanches, and gas-and-steam emissions (BGVN 44:08), all of which continue through this reporting period of August 2019 to January 2020. The primary source of information comes from reports by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH) in Guatemala and various satellite data.

Strombolian explosions occurred consistently throughout this reporting period. During the month of August 2019, explosions ejected material up to 30 m above the Mackenney crater. These explosions deposited material that contributed to the formation of a small cone on the NW flank of the Mackenney crater. White and occasionally blue gas-and-steam plumes rose up to 600 m above the crater drifting S and W. Multiple incandescent lava flows were observed traveling down the N and NW flanks, measuring up to 400 m long. Small to moderate avalanches were generated at the front of the lava flows, including incandescent blocks that measured up to 1 m in diameter. Occasionally incandescence was observed at night from the Mackenney crater.

In September 2019 seismicity was elevated compared to the previous month, registering a maximum of 8,000 RSAM (Realtime Seismic Amplitude Measurement) units. White and occasionally blue gas-and-steam plumes that rose up to 1 km above the crater drifted generally S as far as 3 km from the crater. Strombolian explosions continued, ejecting material up to 100 m above the crater rim. At night and during the early morning, crater incandescence was observed. Incandescent lava flows traveled as much as 600 m down the N and NW flanks toward the Cerro Chino crater (figure 116). On 21 September two lava flows descended the SW flank. Constant avalanches with incandescent blocks measuring 1 m in diameter occurred from the front of many of these lava flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 116. Webcam image of Pacaya on 25 September 2019 showing thermal signatures and the point of emission on the NNW flank at night using Landsat 8 (Nocturnal) imagery (left) and a daytime image showing the location of these lava effusions (right) along with gas-and-steam emissions from the active crater. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

Weak explosions continued through October 2019, ejecting material up to 75 m above the crater and building a small cone within the crater. White and occasionally blue gas-and-steam plumes rose 400-800 m above the crater, drifting W and NW and extending up to 4 km from the crater during the week of 26 October-1 November. Lava flows measuring up to 250 m long, originating from the Mackenney crater were descending the N and NW flanks (figure 117). Avalanches carrying large blocks 1 m in diameter commonly occurred at the front of these lava flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. Photo of lava flows traveling down the flanks of Pacaya taken between 28 September 2019 and 4 October. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (28 September 2019 to 4 October Weekly Report).

Continuing Strombolian explosions in November 2019 ejected material 15-75 m above the crater, which then contributed to the formation of the new cone. White and occasionally blue gas-and-steam plumes rose 100-600 m above the crater drifting in different directions and extending up to 2 km. Multiple lava flows from the Mackenney crater moving down all sides of the volcano continued, measuring 50-700 m long. Avalanches were generated at the front of the lava flows, often moving blocks as large as 1 m in diameter. The number of lava flows decreased during 2-8 November and the following week of 9-15 November no lava flows were observed, according to INSIVUMEH. During the week of 16-22 November, a small collapse occurred in the Mackenney crater and explosive activity increased during 16, 18, and 20 November, reaching RSAM units of 4,500. At night and early morning in late November crater incandescence was visible. On 24 November two lava flows descended the NW flank toward the Cerro Chino crater, measuring 100 m long.

During December 2019, much of the activity remained the same, with Strombolian explosions originating from two emission points in the Mackenney crater ejecting material 75-100 m above the crater; white and occasionally blue gas-and-steam plumes to 100-300 m above the crater drifted up to 1.5 km downwind to the S and SW. Lava flows descended the S and SW flanks reaching 250-600 m long (figure 118). On 29 December seismicity increased, reaching 5,000 RSAM units.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 118. Lava flows moving to the S and SW at Pacaya on 31 December 2019. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (28 December 2019 to 3 January 2020 Weekly Report).

Consistent Strombolian activity continued into January 2020 ejecting material 25-100 m above the crater. These explosions deposited material inside the Mackenney crater, contributing to the formation of a small cone. White and occasionally blue fumaroles consisting of mostly water vapor were observed drifting in different directions. At night, summit incandescence and lava flows were visible descending the N, NW, and S flanks with the flow on the NW flank traveling toward the Cerro Chino crater.

During August 2019 through January 2020, multiple lava flows and bright thermal anomalies (yellow-orange) within the crater were seen in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (figures 119 and 120). In addition, constant strong thermal anomalies were detected by the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system during 21 February 2019 through January 2020 within 5 km of the summit (figure 121). A slight decrease in energy was seen from May to June and August to September. Energy increased again between November and December. According to the MODVOLC algorithm, 37 thermal alerts were recorded during August 2019 through January 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Pacaya showing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) during August 2019 to November. All images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Pacaya showing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) during December 2019 through January 2020. All images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. The MIROVA thermal activity graph (log radiative power) at Pacaya during 21 February 2019 to January 2020 shows strong, frequent thermal anomalies through January with a slight decrease in energy between May 2019 to June 2019 and August 2019 to September 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. Eruptions from Pacaya, one of Guatemala's most active volcanoes, are frequently visible from Guatemala City, the nation's capital. This complex basaltic volcano was constructed just outside the southern topographic rim of the 14 x 16 km Pleistocene Amatitlán caldera. A cluster of dacitic lava domes occupies the southern caldera floor. The post-caldera Pacaya massif includes the ancestral Pacaya Viejo and Cerro Grande stratovolcanoes and the currently active Mackenney stratovolcano. Collapse of Pacaya Viejo between 600 and 1500 years ago produced a debris-avalanche deposit that extends 25 km onto the Pacific coastal plain and left an arcuate somma rim inside which the modern Pacaya volcano (Mackenney cone) grew. A subsidiary crater, Cerro Chino, was constructed on the NW somma rim and was last active in the 19th century. During the past several decades, activity has consisted of frequent strombolian eruptions with intermittent lava flow extrusion that has partially filled in the caldera moat and armored the flanks of Mackenney cone, punctuated by occasional larger explosive eruptions that partially destroy the summit of the growing young stratovolcano.

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); 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).


Kikai (Japan) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kikai

Japan

30.793°N, 130.305°E; summit elev. 704 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Single explosion with steam and minor ash, 2 November 2019

The 19-km-wide submerged Kikai caldera at the N end of Japan’s Ryukyu Islands was the source of one of the world's largest Holocene eruptions about 6,300 years ago, producing large pyroclastic flows and abundant ashfall. During the last century, however, only intermittent minor ash emissions have characterized activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima island, the larger subaerial fragment of the Kikai caldera; several events have included limited ashfall in communities on nearby islands. The most recent event was a single day of explosions on 4 June 2013 that produced ash plumes and minor ashfall on the flank. A minor episode of increased seismicity and fumarolic activity was reported in late March 2018, but no ash emissions were reported. A new single-day event on 2 November 2019 is described here with information provided by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

JMA reduced the Alert Level to 1 on 27 April 2018 after a brief increase in seismicity during March 2018 (BGVN 45:05); no significant changes in volcanic activity were observed for the rest of the year. Steam plumes rose from the summit crater to heights around 1,000 m; the highest plume rose 1,800 m. Occasional nighttime incandescence was recorded by high-sensitivity surveillance cameras. SO2 measurements made during site visits in March, April, and May indicated amounts ranging from 300-1,500 tons per day, similar to values from 2017 (400-1,000 tons per day). Infrared imaging devices indicated thermal anomalies from fumarolic activity persisted on the N and W flanks during the three site visits. A field survey of the SW flank on 25 May 2018 confirmed that the crater edge had dropped several meters into the crater since a similar survey in April 2007. Scientists on a 19 December 2018 overflight had observed fumarolic activity.

There were no changes in activity through October 2019. Weak incandescence at night continued to be periodically recorded with the surveillance cameras (figure 9). A brief eruption on 2 November 2019 at 1735 local time produced a gray-white plume that rose slightly over 1,000 m above the Iodake crater rim (figure 10). As a result, JMA raised the Alert Level from 1 to 2. During an overflight the following day, a steam plume rose a few hundred meters above the summit, but no further activity was observed. No clear traces of volcanic ash or other ejecta were found around the summit (figure 11). Infrared imaging also showed no particular changes from previous measurements. Discolored seawater continued to be observed around the base of the island in several locations.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Incandescence at night on 25 October 2019 was observed at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) with the Iwanogami webcam. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, October 1st year of Reiwa [2019]).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. The Iwanogami webcam captured a brief gray-white ash and steam emission rising above the Iodake crater rim on Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 2 November 2019 at 1738 local time. The plume rose slightly over 1,000 m before dissipating. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, October 1st year of Reiwa [2019]).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. During an overflight of Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 3 November 2019 no traces of ash were seen from the previous day’s explosion; only steam plumes rose a few hundred meters above the summit, and discolored water was present in a few places around the shoreline. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, October 1st year of Reiwa [2019]).

For the remainder of November 2019, steam plumes rose up to 1,300 m above the summit, and nighttime incandescence was occasionally observed in the webcam. Seismic activity remained low and there were no additional changes noted through January 2020.

Geologic Background. Kikai is a mostly submerged, 19-km-wide caldera near the northern end of the Ryukyu Islands south of Kyushu. It was the source of one of the world's largest Holocene eruptions about 6,300 years ago when rhyolitic pyroclastic flows traveled across the sea for a total distance of 100 km to southern Kyushu, and ashfall reached the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The eruption devastated southern and central Kyushu, which remained uninhabited for several centuries. Post-caldera eruptions formed Iodake lava dome and Inamuradake scoria cone, as well as submarine lava domes. Historical eruptions have occurred at or near Satsuma-Iojima (also known as Tokara-Iojima), a small 3 x 6 km island forming part of the NW caldera rim. Showa-Iojima lava dome (also known as Iojima-Shinto), a small island 2 km E of Tokara-Iojima, was formed during submarine eruptions in 1934 and 1935. Mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have occurred during the past few decades from Iodake, a rhyolitic lava dome at the eastern end of Tokara-Iojima.

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html).

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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/).