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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

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

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

Recently Published Bulletin Reports

Erta Ale (Ethiopia) Thermal anomalies persist in the summit crater during May-September 2020

Merapi (Indonesia) Eruptions in April and June 2020 produced ash plumes and ashfall

Semeru (Indonesia) Ash plumes, lava flows, avalanches, and pyroclastic flows during March-August 2020

Kavachi (Solomon Islands) Discolored water plumes observed in satellite imagery during early September 2020

Krakatau (Indonesia) Eruption ends in mid-April 2020, but intermittent thermal anomalies continue

Raung (Indonesia) Eruptions confirmed during 2012- 2013; lava fills inner crater in November 2014-August 2015

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Strombolian activity, gas-and-steam and ash plumes, and a lava flow during June-early July 2020

Fuego (Guatemala) Ongoing explosions, ash plumes, lava flows, and lahars during April-July 2020

Nishinoshima (Japan) Major June-July eruption of lava, ash, and sulfur dioxide; activity declines in August 2020

Turrialba (Costa Rica) New eruptive period on 18 June 2020 consisted of ash eruptions

Etna (Italy) Effusive activity in early April; frequent Strombolian explosions and ash emissions during April-July 2020

Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) Multiple lava flows within the summit crater; September 2019-August 2020



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

Erta Ale

Ethiopia

13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal anomalies persist in the summit crater during May-September 2020

Erta Ale is an active basaltic volcano in Ethiopia, containing multiple active pit craters in the summit and southeastern caldera. Volcanism has been characterized by lava flows and large lava flow fields since 2017. This report describes continued thermal activity in the summit caldera during May through September 2020 using information from various satellite data.

Volcanism at Erta Ale was relatively low from May to early August 2020. Across all satellite data, thermal anomalies were identified for a total of 2 days in May, 7 days in June, 4 days in July, 11 days in August, and 15 days in September. Beginning in early June and into September 2020 the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity graph provided by the MIROVA system identified a small cluster of thermal anomalies in the summit area after a brief hiatus from early January 2020 (figure 99). By mid-August, a small pulse of thermal activity was detected by the MIROVA (Middle Infrared Observation of Volcanic Activity) system. Many of these thermal anomalies were seen in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery on clear weather days from June to September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. A small cluster of thermal anomalies were detected in the summit area of Erta Ale (red dots) during June-September 2020 as recorded by the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity data (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of MIROVA.

On 12 June a minor thermal anomaly was observed in the S pit crater; a larger anomaly was detected on 17 June in the summit caldera where there had been a previous lava lake (figure 100). In mid-August, satellite data showed thermal anomalies in both the N and S pit craters, but by 5 September only the N crater showed elevated temperatures (figure 101). The thermal activity in the N summit caldera persisted through September, based on satellite data from NASA VIIRS and Sentinel Hub Playground.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery of Erta Ale on 17 June 2020 showing a strong thermal anomaly in the summit caldera. Sentinel-2 satellite image with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery of Erta Ale showing thermal anomalies in the N and S pit craters on 21 (top left), 26 (top right), and 31 (bottom left) August 2020. On 5 September (bottom right) only the anomaly in the N crater remained. Sentinel-2 satellite image with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Merapi (Indonesia) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptions in April and June 2020 produced ash plumes and ashfall

Merapi, located just north of the city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, is a highly active stratovolcano; the current eruption began in May 2018. Volcanism has recently been characterized by lava dome growth and collapse, small block-and-ash flows, explosions, ash plumes, ashfall, and pyroclastic flows (BGVN 44:10 and 45:04). Activity has recently consisted of three large eruptions in April and June, producing dense gray ash plumes and ashfall in June. Dominantly, white gas-and-steam emissions have been reported during April-September 2020. The primary reporting source of activity comes from Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG, the Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology, a branch of PVMBG), the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

Activity at Merapi dominantly consisted of frequent white gas-and-steam emissions that generally rose 20-600 m above the crater (figure 95). On 2 April an eruption occurred at 1510, producing a gray ash plume that rose 3 km above the crater, and accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions up to 600 m above the crater. A second explosion on 10 April at 0910 generated a gray ash plume rising 3 km above the crater and drifting NW, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions rising 300 m above the crater (figure 96). Activity over the next six weeks consisted primarily of gas-and-steam emissions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Gas-and-steam emissions were frequently observed rising from Merapi as seen on 3 April (left) and 4 August (right) 2020. Courtesy of BPPTKG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Webcam image showed an ash plume rising 3 km above the crater of Merapi at 0917 on 10 April 2020. Courtesy of BPPTKG and MAGMA Indonesia.

On 8 June PVMBG reported an increase in seismicity. Aerial photos from 13 June taken using drones were used to measure the lava dome, which had decreased in volume to 200,000 m3, compared to measurements from 19 February 2020 (291,000 m3). On 21 June two explosions were recorded at 0913 and 0927; the first explosion lasted less than six minutes while the second was less than two minutes. A dense, gray ash plume reached 6 km above the crater drifting S, W, and SW according to the Darwin VAAC notice and CCTV station (figure 97), which resulted in ashfall in the districts of Magelang, Kulonprogo, and as far as the Girimulyo District (45 km). During 21-22 June the gas-and-steam emissions rose to a maximum height of 6 km above the crater. The morphology of the summit crater had slightly changed by 22 June. Based on photos from the Ngepos Post, about 19,000 m3 of material had been removed from the SW part of the summit, likely near or as part of the crater rim. On 11 and 26 July new measurements of the lava dome were taken, measuring 200,000 m3 on both days, based on aerial photos using drones. Gas-and-steam emissions continued through September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Webcam image showed an ash plume rising 6 km above the crater of Merapi at 0915 on 21 June 2020. Courtesy of BPPTKG.

Geologic Background. Merapi, one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, lies in one of the world's most densely populated areas and dominates the landscape immediately north of the major city of Yogyakarta. It is the youngest and southernmost of a volcanic chain extending NNW to Ungaran volcano. Growth of Old Merapi during the Pleistocene ended with major edifice collapse perhaps about 2,000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequent growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent activity, began SW of the earlier collapse scarp. Pyroclastic flows and lahars accompanying growth and collapse of the steep-sided active summit lava dome have devastated cultivated lands on the western-to-southern flanks and caused many fatalities.

Information Contacts: Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG), Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology (URL: http://merapi.bgl.esdm.go.id/, Twitter: @BPPTKG); Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/).


Semeru (Indonesia) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes, lava flows, avalanches, and pyroclastic flows during March-August 2020

Semeru in eastern Java, Indonesia, has been erupting almost continuously since 1967 and is characterized by ash plumes, pyroclastic flows, lava flows and lava avalanches down drainages on the SE flanks. The Alert Level has remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4) since May 2012, and the public reminded to stay outside of the general 1-km radius from the summit and 4 km on the SSE flank. This report updates volcanic activity from March to August 2020, using primary information from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and satellite data.

Activity at Semeru consisted of dominantly dense white-gray ash plumes rising 100-600 m above the crater, incandescent material that was ejected 10-50 m high and descended 300-2,000 from the summit crater, and lava flows measuring 500-1,000 m long. Two pyroclastic flows were also observed, extending 2.3 km from the summit crater in March and 2 km on 17 April.

During 1-2 March gray ash plumes rose 200-500 m above the crater, accompanied by incandescent material that was ejected 10-50 m above the Jonggring-Seloko Crater. Lava flows reaching 500-1,000 m long traveled down the Kembar, Bang, and Kobokan drainages on the S flank. During 4-10 March ash plumes up to 200 m high were interspersed with 100-m-high white gas-and-steam plumes. At the end of a 750-m-long lava flow on the S flank, a pyroclastic flow that lasted 9 minutes traveled as far as 2.3 km. During 25-31 March incandescent material found at the end of the lava flow descended 700-950 m from the summit crater (figure 42).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed lava avalanches descending the SSE flank on 26 March 2020. Images using short-wave infrared (SWIR, bands 12, 8A, 4) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Incandescent material continued to be observed in April, rising 10-50 m above the Jonggring-Seloko Crater. Some incandescent material descended from the ends of lava flows as far as 700-2,000 m from the summit crater. Dense white-gray ash plumes rose 100-600 m above the crater drifting N, SE, and SW. During 15-21 April incandescent lava flows traveled 500-1,000 m down the Kembar, Bang, and Kobokan drainages on the S flank. On 17 April at 0608 a pyroclastic flow was observed on the S flank in the Bang drainage measuring 2 km (figure 43). During 22-28 April lava blocks traveled 300 m from the end of lava flows in the Kembar drainage.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. A pyroclastic flow at Semeru on 17 April 2020 moving down the S flank toward Besuk Bang. Photo has been color corrected. Courtesy of PVMBG.

Similar activity continued in May, with incandescent material from lava flows in the Kembar and Kobokan drainages descending a maximum distance of 2 km during 29 April-12 May, and 200-1,200 m in the Kembar drainage during 13-27 May, accompanied by dense white-gray ash plumes rising 100-500 m above the crater drifting in different directions. White gas-and-steam plumes rose 300 m above the crater on 26-27 May. Dense white-to-gray ash plumes were visible most days during June, rising 100-500 m above the crater and drifting in various directions. During 3-9 June incandescent material from lava flows descended 200-1,600 m in the Kembar drainage.

Activity in July had decreased slightly and consisted of primarily dense white-gray ash plumes that ranged from 200-500 m above the crater and drifted W, SW, N, and S. Weather conditions often prevented visual observations. On 7 July an ash plume at 0633 rose 400 m drifting W. Similar ash activity was observed in August rising 200-500 m above the crater. On 14 and 16 August a Darwin VAAC advisory stated that white-gray ash plumes rose 300-400 m above the crater, drifting W and WSW; on 16 August a thermal anomaly was observed in satellite imagery. MAGMA Indonesia reported ash plumes were visible during 19-31 August and rose 200-400 m above the crater, drifting S and SW.

Hotspots were recorded by MODVOLC on 11, 6, and 7 days during March, April, and May, respectively, with as many as four pixels in March. Thermal activity decreased to a single hotspot in July and none in August. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system recorded numerous thermal anomalies at the volcano during March-July; a lower number was recorded during August (figure 44). The NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide page showed high levels of sulfur dioxide above or near Semeru on 18, 24-25, and 29-31 March, and 9 April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Thermal anomalies at Semeru detected during March-June 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

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


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

Kavachi

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Discolored water plumes observed in satellite imagery during early September 2020

Kavachi is an active submarine volcano in the SW Pacific, located in the Solomon Islands south of Gatokae and Vangunu islands. Volcanism has been characterized by phreatomagmatic explosions that ejected steam, ash, and incandescent bombs. The previous report described discolored water plumes extending from a single point during early 2018 and April 2020 (BGVN 45:05); similar activity was recorded for this current reporting period covering May through September 2020 and primarily using satellite data.

Activity at Kavachi is most frequently observed through satellite images and typically consists of discolored submarine plumes. On 2 September 2020 a slight yellow discoloration in the water was observed extending E from a specific point (figure 22). Similar faint plumes continued to be recorded on 5, 7, 12, and 17 September, each of which seemed to be drifting generally E from a point source above the summit where previous activity has occurred. On 7 September the discolored plume was accompanied by white degassing and possibly agitated water on the surface at the origin point (figure 22).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Sentinel-2 satellite images of a discolored plume (light yellow) at Kavachi beginning on 2 September (top left) and continuing through 17 September 2020 (bottom right). The light blue circle on the 7 September image highlights the surface degassing and source of the discolored water plume. The white arrow on the bottom right image is pointing to the faint discolored plume. Images with “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Krakatau (Indonesia) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption ends in mid-April 2020, but intermittent thermal anomalies continue

Krakatau, located in the Sunda Strait between Indonesia’s Java and Sumatra Islands, experienced a major caldera collapse around 535 CE, forming a 7-km-wide caldera ringed by three islands. Presently, the caldera is underwater, except for three surrounding islands (Verlaten, Lang, and Rakata) and the active Anak Krakatau that was constructed within the 1883 caldera and has been the site of frequent eruptions since 1927. On 22 December 2018, a large explosion and flank collapse destroyed most of the 338-m-high island of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) and generated a deadly tsunami (BGVN 44:03). A larger explosion in December 2019 produced the beginnings of a new cone above the surface of crater lake (BGVN 45:02). The previous report (BGVN 45:06) described activity that included Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and crater incandescence. This report updates information from June through September 2020 using information primarily from Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, also known as Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) and satellite data.

A VONA notice from PVMBG reported that the last eruptive event at Krakatau was reported on 17 April 2020, though the eruptive column was not observed. Activity after that was relatively low through September 2020, primarily intermittent diffuse white gas-and-steam emissions, according to PVMBG. No activity was reported during June-August, except for minor seismicity. During 11-13, 16, and 18 September, the CCTV Lava93 webcam showed intermittent white gas-and-steam emissions rising 25-50 m above the crater.

The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) graph of MODIS thermal anomaly data showed intermittent hotspots within 5 km of the crater from May through September (figure 113). Some of these thermal hotspots were also detected in Suomi NPP/VIIRS sensor data. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed faint thermal anomalies in the crater during June; no thermal activity was detected after June (figure 114).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 113. Intermittent thermal activity at Anak Krakatau from 13 October 2019-September 2020 shown on a MIROVA Low Radiative Power graph. The power of the thermal anomalies decreased after activity in April but continued intermittently through September. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 114. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing a faint thermal anomaly in the crater during 1 (left) and 11 (right) June 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); 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/).


Raung (Indonesia) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Raung

Indonesia

8.119°S, 114.056°E; summit elev. 3260 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptions confirmed during 2012- 2013; lava fills inner crater in November 2014-August 2015

A massive stratovolcano in easternmost Java, Raung has over sixty recorded eruptions dating back to the late 16th Century. Explosions with ash plumes, Strombolian activity, and lava flows from a cinder cone within the 2-km-wide summit crater have been the most common activity. Visual reports of activity have often come from commercial airline flights that pass near the summit; Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM) has installed webcams to monitor activity in recent years. An eruption in 2015 produced a large volume of lava within the summit crater and formed a new pyroclastic cone in the same location as the previous one. Confirmation and details of eruptions in 2012, 2013, and 2014-2015 are covered in this report with information provided by PVMBG, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), several sources of satellite data, and visitors to the volcano.

Newly available visual and satellite information confirm eruptions at Raung during October 2012-January 2013, June-July 2013, and extend the beginning of the 2015 eruption back to November 2014. The 2015 eruption was the largest in several decades; Strombolian activity was reported for many months and fresh lava flows covered the crater floor. Raung was quiet after the 2015 eruption ended in August of that year until July 2020.

Eruption during October 2012-January 2013. A MODVOLC thermal alert appeared inside the summit crater of Raung on 14 October 2012, followed by another four alerts on 16 October. Multiple daily alerts were reported on many days through 8 November, most within the main crater. Single alerts appeared on 29 November and 1 December 2012 (figure 9). PVMBG raised the Alert Level on 17 October from 1 to 2 due to increased seismicity and raised it further to Level 3 on 22 October. A local news report by Aris Yanto indicted that a minor Strombolian eruption occurred inside the crater on 19 October. Strombolian activity was also observed inside the inner crater on 5 November 2012 by visitors (figure 10); they reported loud rumbling sounds that could be heard up to 15 km from the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Thermal activity at Raung during October and November 2012 included multiple days of multi-pixel anomalies, with almost all activity concentrated within the summit crater. Strombolian activity was observed on 5 November. Image shows all pixels from 23 September-1 December 2012. Courtesy of MODVOLC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Strombolian activity was observed inside the inner crater of Raung on 5 November 2012 by visitors. They reported loud rumbling sounds that could be heard up to 15 km from the crater. Photo by Galih, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

The Darwin VAAC issued an advisory of an eruption plume to 9.1 km altitude reported at 0237 UTC on 8 November 2012. In a second advisory about two hours later they noted that an ash plume was not visible in satellite imagery. A press article released by the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) indicated that gray ash plumes were observed on 6 January 2013 that rose 300 m above the summit crater rim. Incandescence was observed around the crater and thundering explosions were heard by nearby residents.

Eruption during June-July 2013. Two MODVOLC thermal alerts were measured inside the summit crater on 29 June 2013. A photo taken on 21 July showed minor Strombolian activity at the inner crater (figure 11). A weak SO2 anomaly was detected in the vicinity of Raung by the OMI instrument on the Aura satellite on 27 July. Thermal alerts were recorded on 29 and 31 July. When Google Earth imageryrom 14 March 2011 created by Maxar Technologies is compared with imagery from 29 July 2013 captured by Landsat/Copernicus, dark tephra is filling the inner crater in the 2013 image; it was not present in 2011 (figure 12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Strombolian activity was observed inside the inner crater at the summit of Raung on 21 July 2013. Photo by Agus Kurniawan, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Satellite imagery from Google Earth showing the eroded pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater of Raung on 14 March 2011 (left) and 29 July 2013 (right). Dark tephra deposits filling the inner crater in the 2013 image were not present in 2011. The crater of the pyroclastic cone is 200 m wide; N is to the top of the images. Courtesy of Google Earth.

Eruption during November 2014-August 2015. Information about this eruption was previously reported (BGVN 41:12), but additional details are provided here. Landsat-8 imagery from 28 October 2014 indicated clear skies and little activity within the summit crater. Local observers reported steam plumes beginning in mid-November (figure 13). MODVOLC thermal alerts within the summit crater were issued on 28 and 30 November, and then 15 alerts were issued on seven days in December. Thermal Landsat-8 imagery from cloudy days on 29 November and 15 December indicated an anomaly over the area of the pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater (figure 14).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Local observers reported steam plumes at Raung beginning in mid-November 2014; this one was photographed on 17 November 2014. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Satellite evidence of new eruptive activity at Raung first appeared on 29 November 2014. The true color-pansharpened Landsat-8 image of Raung from 28 October 2014 (left) shows the summit crater and an eroded pyroclastic cone with its own crater (the inner crater) with no apparent activity. Although dense meteoric clouds on 29 November (center) and 15 December 2014 (right) blocked true color imagery, thermal imagery indicated a thermal anomaly from the center of the pyroclastic cone on both dates. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

In January 2015 the MODVOLC system identified 25 thermal anomalies in MODIS data, with a peak of eight alerts on 8 January. Visitors to the summit crater on 6 January witnessed explosions from the inner crater approximately every 40 minutes that produced gas and small amounts of ash and tephra. They reported lava flowing continuously from the inner crater onto the larger crater floor, and incandescent activity was seen at night (figure 15). Landsat-8 images from 16 January showed a strong thermal anomaly covering an area of fresh lava (figure 16).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Visitors to the summit crater of Raung on 6 January 2015 witnessed explosions from the inner crater approximately every 40 minutes that produced abundant gas and small amounts of ash and tephra. Lava was flowing continuously from the inner crater onto the larger crater floor, and incandescent activity was observed at night. Photos by Sofya Klimova, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. On a clear 16 January 2015, Landsat-8 satellite imagery revealed fresh lava flows NW of the pyroclastic cone within the summit crater at Raung. A strong thermal anomaly matches up with the dark material, suggesting that it flowed NW from within the pyroclastic cone. Left image is true color-pansharpened rendering, right image is thermal rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Satellite images were obscured by meteoric clouds during February 2015, but PVMBG reported gray and brown plumes rising 300 m multiple times and incandescence and rumbling on 14 February. Visitors to the summit crater during the second half of February reported Strombolian activity with lava fountains from the inner crater, at times as frequently as every 15 minutes (figure 17). Loud explosions and rumbling were heard 10-15 km away. MODVOLC thermal alerts stopped on 25 February and did not reappear until late June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. A report issued on 25 February 2015 from visitors to the summit of Ruang noted large Strombolian explosions with incandescent ejecta and lava flowing across the crater floor. The fresh lava on the crater floor covered a noticeably larger area than that shown in early January (figure 15). Photo by Andi, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

PVMBG raised the Alert Level to 2 in mid-March 2015. Weak thermal anomalies located inside and NW of the pyroclastic cone were present in satellite imagery on 21 March. PVMBG reported gray and brown emissions during March, April, and May rising as high as 300 m above the crater. Landsat imagery from 22 April showed a small emission inside the pyroclastic cone, and on 8 May showed a clearer view of the fresh black lava NW and SW of the pyroclastic cone (figure 18).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Fresh lava was visible in Landsat-8 satellite imagery in April and May 2015 at Raung. A small emission was present inside the pyroclastic cone at the summit of Raung on 22 April 2015 (left). Fresh dark material is also evident in the SW quadrant of the summit crater that was not visible on 16 January 2015. A clear view on 8 May 2015 also shows the extent of the fresh black material around the pyroclastic cone (right). The summit crater is 2 km wide. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Nine MODVOLC thermal alerts appeared inside the summit crater on 21 June 2015 after no alerts since late February, suggesting an increase in activity. The Darwin VAAC issued the first ash advisory for 2015 on 24 June noting an aviation report of recent ash. The following day the Ujung Pandang Meteorological Weather Office (MWO) reported an ash emission drifting W at 3.7 km altitude. The same day, 25 June, Landsat-8 imagery clearly showed a new lava flow on the W side of the crater and a strong thermal anomaly. The thermal data showed a point source of heat widening SW from the center of the crater and a second point source of heat that appeared to be inside the pyroclastic cone. A small ash plume was visible over the cone (figure 19). Strombolian activity and ash plumes were reported by BNPB and PVMBG in the following days. On 26 June the Darwin VAAC noted the hotspot had remained visible in infrared imagery for several days. PVMBG reported an ash emission to 3 km altitude on 29 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. A new lava flow and strong thermal anomaly appeared inside the summit crater of Raung on 25 June 2015 in Landsat-8 imagery. The new flow was visible on the W side of the crater. The darker area extending SW from the rising ash plume is a shadow. The thermal data showed a point source of heat widening SW from the center of the crater and spreading out in the SW quadrant and a second point source of heat on the flank of the pyroclastic cone. Left image is True color-pansharpened rendering, and right image is thermal rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity increased significantly during July 2015 (BGVN 41:12). Ash plumes rose as high as 6.7 km altitude and drifted hundreds of kilometers in multiple directions, forcing multiple shutdowns at airports on Bali and Lombok, as well as Banyuwangi and Jember in East Java. The Darwin VAAC issued 152 ash advisories during the month. Ashfall was reported up to 20 km W during July and 20-40 km SE during early August. Visitors to the summit in early July observed a new pyroclastic cone growing inside the inner crater from incandescent ejecta and dense ash emissions (figure 20). Landsat-8 imagery from 11 July showed a dense ash plume drifting SE, fresh black lava covering the 2-km-wide summit caldera floor, and a very strong thermal anomaly most intense at the center near the pyroclastic cone and cooler around the inner edges of the crater (figure 21). On 12 July, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a view of an ash-and-gas plume drifting hundreds of kilometers SE from Raung (figure 22).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. A new pyroclastic cone was growing inside the inner crater at the summit of Raung when photographed by Aris Yanto in early July 2015. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Landsat-8 imagery of Raung during July 2015 indicated dense ash emissions and a large thermal anomaly caused by fresh lava. On 11 July a dense ash plume drifted SE and a strong thermal anomaly was centered inside the summit crater. The 2-km-wide crater floor was covered with fresh lava (compare with 25 June image in figure 19). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. On 12 July 2015 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a natural-color view of a plume of ash and volcanic gases drifting hundreds of kilometers SE from Raung. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

A satellite image on 20 July showed fresh incandescent lava covering the floor of the summit crater and a dense ash plume drifting N from the summit (figure 23). Incandescent ejecta emerged from two vents on the new pyroclastic cone inside the inner crater on 26 July (figure 24). On 27 July a dense ash plume was visible again in satellite imagery drifting NW and the hottest part of the thermal anomaly was in the SE quadrant of the crater (figure 25). Substantial SO2 plumes were recorded by the OMI instrument on the Aura satellite during July and early August 2015 (figure 26).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. A satellite image of the summit of Raung on 20 July 2015 showed fresh, incandescent lava covering the floor of the summit crater and a dense ash plume drifting N from the summit. Thermal activity on the NE flank was likely the result of incandescent ejecta from the crater causing a fire. Image created by DigitalGlobe, captured by WorldView3, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Incandescent ejecta emerged from two vents on the new pyroclastic cone growing inside the inner crater of Raung on 26 July 2015. Photo by Vianney Tricou, used with permission, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Landsat-8 imagery of Raung during July 2015 indicated dense ash emissions and large thermal anomalies from fresh lava. The 2-km-wide crater floor was fully covered with fresh lava by 11 July. On 27 July the dense ash plume was drifting NW and the highest heat was concentrated in the SE quadrant of the crater. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Substantial plumes of sulfur dioxide from Raung were measured by the OMI instrument on the AURA satellite during July and August 2015. The first plumes were measured in mid-June; they intensified during the second half of July and the first week of August, but had decreased by mid-August. Wind directions were highly variable throughout the period. The date is recorded above each image. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Page.

Significant ash emissions continued into early August 2015 with numerous flight cancellations. The Darwin VAAC reported ash plumes rising to 5.2 km altitude and extending as far as 750 km SE during the first two weeks in August (figure 27). Satellite imagery indicated a small ash plume drifting W from the center of the crater on 12 August and weak thermal anomalies along the E and S rim of the floor of the crater (figure 28). The summit crater was covered with fresh lava on 14 August when viewed by visitors, and ash emissions rose a few hundred meters above the crater rim from a vent in the SW side of the pyroclastic cone (figure 29). The visitors observed pulsating ash emissions rising from the SW vent on the large double-crater new cinder cone. The larger vent to the NE was almost entirely inactive except for two small, weakly effusive vents on its inner walls.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. A dense ash plume drifted many kilometers S from Raung on 2 August 2015 in this view from nearly 100 km W. Incandescence at the summit indicated ongoing activity from the major 2015 eruption. In the foreground is Lamongan volcano whose last known eruption occurred in 1898. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Landsat-8 satellite imagery of Raung indicated a small ash plume drifting W from the center of the crater on 12 August 2015. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. The summit crater of Raung on 14 August 2015 was filled with fresh lava from an eruption that began in November 2014. Ash emissions from a vent in the side of the newly grown pyroclastic cone within the crater rose a few hundred meters above the crater rim. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

The lengthy sequence of multiple daily VAAC reports that began in late June ended on 16 August 2015 with reports becoming more intermittent and ash plume heights rising to only 3.7-3.9 km altitude. Multiple discontinuous eruptions to 3.9 km altitude were reported on 18 August. The plumes extended about 100 km NW. The last report of an ash plume was from an airline on 22 August noting a low-level plume 50 km NW. Two MODVOLC alerts were issued that day. By 28 August only a very small steam plume was present at the center of the crater; the southern half of the edge of the crater floor still had small thermal anomalies (figure 30). The last single MODVOLC thermal alerts were on 29 August and 7 September. The Alert Level was lowered to 2 on 24 August 2015, and further lowered to 1 on 20 October 2016.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. By 28 August 2015 only a very small steam plume was present at the center of the summit crater of Raung, and the southern half of the edge of the crater floor only had weak thermal anomalies from cooling lava. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Raung, one of Java's most active volcanoes, is a massive stratovolcano in easternmost Java that was constructed SW of the rim of Ijen caldera. The unvegetated summit is truncated by a dramatic steep-walled, 2-km-wide caldera that has been the site of frequent historical eruptions. A prehistoric collapse of Gunung Gadung on the W flank produced a large debris avalanche that traveled 79 km, reaching nearly to the Indian Ocean. Raung contains several centers constructed along a NE-SW line, with Gunung Suket and Gunung Gadung stratovolcanoes being located to the NE and W, respectively.

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/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/);Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/, https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/86213/eruption-of-raung-volcano); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); Aris Yanto (URL: https://www.exploredesa.com/2012/11/mount-raung-produce-of-vulcanic-ash-plume-and-continue-eruption/); DigitalGlobe (URL: https://www.maxar.com/, https://twitter.com/Maxar/status/875449111398547457); Øystein Lund Andersen (URL: https://twitter.com/OysteinVolcano/status/1194879946042142726, http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian activity, gas-and-steam and ash plumes, and a lava flow during June-early July 2020

Klyuchevskoy is a frequently active stratovolcano located in northern Kamchatka. Historical eruptions dating back 3,000 years have included more than 100 flank eruptions with most lateral craters and cones occurring along radial fissures between the unconfined NE-to-SE flanks. The previous report (BGVN 45:06) described ash plumes, nighttime incandescence, and Strombolian activity. Strombolian activity, ash plumes, and a strong lava flow continued. This report updates activity from June through August 2020 using weekly and daily reports from the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT), the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory (VAAC), and satellite data.

Moderate explosive-effusive activity continued in June 2020, with Strombolian explosions, frequent gas-and-steam emissions that contained some amount of ash, and an active lava flow. On 1 June a gas-and-steam plume containing some ash extended up to 465 km SE and E. The lava flow descended the SE flank down the Apakhonchich chute (figure 43). Occasionally, phreatic explosions accompanied the lava flow as it interacted with snow. Intermittent ash plumes, reported throughout the month by KVERT using video and satellite data and the Tokyo VAAC using HIMAWARI-8 imagery, rose to 5.5-6.7 km altitude and drifted in different directions up to 34 km from the volcano. On 12 and 30 June ash plumes rose to a maximum altitude of 6.7 km. On 19 June, 28-30 June, and 1-3 July some collapses were detected alongside the lava flow as it continued to advance down the SE flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Gray ash plumes (left) and a lava flow descending the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank, accompanied by a dark ash plume and Strombolian activity (right) were observed at the summit of Klyuchevskoy on 10 June 2020. Courtesy of E. Saphonova, IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

During 1-3 July moderate Strombolian activity was observed, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions containing ash and a continuous lava flow traveling down the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank. On 1 July a Tokyo VAAC advisory reported an ash plume rising to 6 km altitude and extending SE. On 3 July the activity sharply decreased. KVERT reported there was some residual heat leftover from the lava flow and Strombolian activity that continued to cool through at least 13 July; KVERT also reported frequent gas-and-steam emissions, which contained a small amount of ash through 5 July, rising from the summit crater (figure 44). The weekly KVERT report on 16 July stated that the eruption had ended on 3 July 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Fumarolic activity continued in the summit crater of Klyuchevskoy on 7 July 2020. Courtesy of KSRS ME, Russia, KVERT.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows frequent and strong thermal activity within 5 km of the summit crater from March through June followed by a sharp and sudden decline in early July (figures 45). A total of six weak thermal anomalies were detected between July and August. According to the MODVOLC thermal algorithm, a total of 111 thermal alerts were detected at or near the summit crater from 1 June to 1 July, a majority of which were due to the active lava flow on the SE flank and Strombolian explosions in the crater. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery frequently showed the active lava flow descending the SE flank as a strong thermal anomaly, sometimes even through weather clouds (figure 46). These thermal anomalies were also recorded by the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity data on a MIROVA graph, showing a strong cluster during June to early July, followed by a sharp decrease and then a hiatus in activity (figure 47).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Thermal activity at Klyuchevskoy was frequent and strong during February through June 2020, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). Activity sharply decreased during July through August with six low-power thermal anomalies. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images show the strong and persistent lava flow (bright yellow-orange) originating from the summit crater at Klyuchevskoy from 1 June through 1 July 2020. The lava flow was active in the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Strong clusters of thermal anomalies were detected in the summit at Klyuchevskoy (red dots) during January through June 2020, as recorded by the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity data (bands 12, 11, 8A). Activity sharply decreased during July through August with few low-power thermal anomalies. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Fuego (Guatemala) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing explosions, ash plumes, lava flows, and lahars during April-July 2020

Fuego, located in Guatemala, is a stratovolcano that has been erupting since 2002 with historical eruptions dating back to 1531. Volcanism is characterized by major ashfalls, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and lahars. The previous report (BGVN 45:04) described recent activity that included multiple ash explosions, block avalanches, and intermittent lava flows. This report updates activity from April through July 2020 that consisted of daily explosions, ash plumes, block avalanches ashfall, intermittent lava flows, and lahars. The primary source of information comes from the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Summary of activity during April-July 2020. Daily activity throughout April-July 2020 was characterized by multiple hourly explosions, ash plumes that rose to a maximum of 4.9 km altitude, incandescent pulses that reached 600 m above the crater, block avalanches into multiple drainages, and ashfall affecting nearby communities (table 21). The highest rate of explosions occurred on 2 and 3 April and 2 May with up to 16 explosions per hour. White degassing occurred frequently during the reporting period, rising to a maximum altitude of 4.5 km and drifting in multiple directions. Intermittent lava flows were observed each month in the Seca (Santa Teresa) and Ceniza drainages (figure 132); the number of flows decreased in June through July, which is represented in the MIROVA analysis of MODIS satellite data, where the strength and frequency of thermal activity slightly decreased (figure 133). Occasional lahars were detected descending several drainages on the W and SE flanks, sometimes carrying tree branches and large blocks up to 1 m in diameter.

Table 21. Activity summary by month for Fuego with information compiled from INSIVUMEH daily reports.

Month Number of explosions per hour Ash plume heights (km) Ash plume distance (km) and direction Drainages affected by block avalanches Villages reporting ashfall
Apr 2020 5-16 4.3-4.9 km 8-20 km E, NE, SE, W, NW, SW, S, N Taniluyá, Ceniza, Las Lajas, Trinidad, Seca, Honda, and Santa Teresa Morelia, Panimaché I and II, Sangre de Cristo, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa, Las Cruces Quisache, La Rochela, Ceylan, and Osuna
May 2020 4-16 4.3-4.9 km 10-17 km S, SW, W, N, NE, E, SE Trinidad, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Las Lajas, Santa Teresa, Seca, and Honda Panimaché I, La Rochela, Ceilán, Morelia, San Andrés Osuna, Finca Palo Verde, Santa Sofía, Seilán, San Pedro Yepocapa, Alotenango, Ciudad Vieja, San Miguel Dueñas, and Antigua Guatemala
Jun 2020 3-15 4.2-4.9 km 10-25.9 km E, SE, S, N, NE, W, SW, NW Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Santa Teresa and Honda San Pedro Yepocapa, Sangre de Cristo, Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Finca Palo Verde, El Porvenir, Yucales, Santa Emilia, Santa Sofía
Jul 2020 1-15 4-4.9 km 10-24 km W, NW, SW, S, NE Trinidad, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Honda, Las Lajas, Seca, and Santa Teresa Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, and El Porvenir
Figure (see Caption) Figure 132. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Fuego between 9 April 2020 and 13 July 2020 showing lava flows (bright yellow-orange) traveling generally S and W from the summit crater. Some lava flows were accompanied by gas emissions (9 April, 9 May, and 24 May 2020). Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 133. Thermal activity at Fuego was persistent and strong from 16 September through late May 2020, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). From early to mid-June activity seemed to stop briefly before resuming again at a lower rate. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during April-May 2020. Activity in April 2020 consisted of 5-16 explosions per hour, generating ash plumes that rose 4.3-4.9 km altitude and drifted 8-20 km in multiple directions. Ashfall was reported in Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW), Las Cruces Quisache (8 km NW), La Rochela, Ceylan, Osuna (12 km SW). The Washington VAAC issued multiple aviation advisories for a total of six days in April. Intermittent white gas-and-steam emissions reached 4.1-4.5 km altitude drifting in multiple directions. Incandescent ejecta was frequently observed rising 75-400 m above the crater; material ejected up to 600 m above the crater on 11 April. These constant explosions produced block avalanches that traveled down the Taniluyá (SW), Ceniza (SSW), Las Lajas (SE), Trinidad (S), Seca (W), Honda, and Santa Teresa (W) drainages. Effusive activity was reported on 6-13 and 15 April from the summit vent, traveling 150-800 m down the Ceniza drainage, accompanied by block avalanches in the front of the flow up to 1 km. Crater incandescence was also observed.

On 19-20 April a new lava flow descended the Ceniza drainage measuring 200-400 long, generating incandescent block avalanches at the front of the flow that moved up to 1 km. On 22 April lahars descended the Honda, Las Lajas, El Juté (SE), Trinidad, Ceniza, Taniluyá, Mineral, and Seca drainages and tributaries in Guacalate, Achiguate, and Pantaleón. During the evening of 23 April the rate of effusive activity increased; observatory staff observed a second lava flow in the Seca drainage was 170 m long and incandescent blocks from the flow traveled up to 600 m. Two lava flows in the Ceniza (130-400 m) and Seca (150-800 m) drainages continued from 23-28 April and had stopped by 30 April. On 30 April weak and moderate explosions produced ash plumes that rose 4.5-4.7 km altitude drifting S and SE, resulting in fine ashfall in Panimaché I, Morelia, Santa Sofía (figure 134).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 134. Photo of a small ash plume rising from Fuego on 30 April 2020. Photo has been slightly color corrected. Courtesy of William Chigna, CONRED.

During May 2020, the rate of explosion remained similar, with 4-16 explosions per hour, which generated gray ash plumes that rose 4.3-4.9 km altitude and drifted 10-17 km generally W and E. Ashfall was observed in Panimaché I, La Rochela, Ceilán, Morelia, San Andrés Osuna, Finca Palo Verde, Santa Sofía, Seilán, San Pedro Yepocapa, Alotenango (8 km ENE), Ciudad Vieja (13.5 km NE), San Miguel Dueñas (10 km NE), and Antigua Guatemala (18 km NE). The Washington VAAC issued volcanic ash advisory notices on six days in May. White gas-and-steam emissions continued, rising 4-4.5 km altitude drifting in multiple directions. Incandescent ejecta rose 100-400 m above the crater, accompanied by some crater incandescence and block avalanches in the Trinidad, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Las Lajas, Santa Teresa, Seca, and Honda drainages that moved up to 1 km and sometimes reached vegetated areas.

During 8-11 May a new 400 m long lava flow was detected in the Ceniza drainage, accompanied by constant crater incandescence and block avalanches traveling up to 1 km, according to INSIVUMEH. On 8 and 17 May moderate to strong lahars descended the Santa Teresa and Mineral drainages on the W flank and on 21 May they descended the Las Lajas drainage on the E flank and the Ceniza drainage on the SW flank. During 20-24 May a 100-400 m long lava flow was reported in the Ceniza drainage alongside degassing and avalanches moving up to 1 km and during 25-26 May a 150 m long lava flow was reported in the Seca drainage.

Activity during June-July 2020. The rate of explosions in June 2020 decreased slightly to 3-15 per hour, generating gray ash plumes that rose 4.2-4.9 km altitude and drifted 10-26 km in multiple directions (figure 135). As a result, intermittent ashfall was reported in San Pedro Yepocapa, Sangre de Cristo, Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Finca Palo Verde, El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Yucales (12 km SW), Santa Emilia, Santa Sofia, according to INSIVUMEH. VAAC advisories were published on eight days in June. Degassing persisted in the summit crater that rose 4.1-4.5 km altitude extending in different directions. Crater incandescence was observed occasionally, as well as incandescent pulses that rose 100-300 m above the crater. Block avalanches were observed descending the Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Santa Teresa, and Honda drainages, which could sometimes carry blocks up to 1 km in diameter.

On 2 June at 1050 a weak to moderate lahar was observed in the Las Lajas drainage on the SE flank. On 5 June, more lahars were detected in the Seca and Mineral drainages on the W flanks. A new lava flow was detected on 12 June, traveling 250 m down the Seca drainage on the NW flank, and accompanied by constant summit crater incandescence and gas emissions. The flow continued into 14 June, lengthening up to 300 m long. On 24 June weak and moderate explosions produced ash plumes that rose 4.3-4.7 km altitude drifting W and SW (figure 135). On 29 June at 1300 a weak lahar was reported in the Seca, Santa Teresa, and Mineral drainages on the W flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 135. Examples of small ash plumes at Fuego on 15 (left) and 24 (right) June 2020. Courtesy of William Chigna, CONRED.

Daily explosions and ash plumes continued through July 2020, with 1-15 explosions per hour and producing consistent ash plumes 4-4.9 km altitude drifting generally W for 10-24 km. These explosions resulted in block avalanches that descended the Trinidad, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Honda, Las Lajas, Seca, and Santa Teresa drainages. The number of white gas emissions decrease slightly compared to previous months and 4-4.4 km altitude. VAAC advisories were distributed on twenty different days in July. Incandescent ejecta was observed rising 100-350 m above the crater. Occasional ashfall was observed in Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, and El Porvenir, according to INSIVUMEH.

On 4 July in the early morning, a lava flow began in the Seca drainage, which also produced some fine ash particles that drifted W. The lava flow continued into 5 July, measuring 150 m long. On the same day, weak to moderate lahars traveled only 20 m, carrying tree branches and blocks measuring 30 cm to 1 m. On 14, 24, and 29 July more lahars were generated in the Las Lajas drainages on the former date and both the Las Lajas and El Jute drainages on the two latter dates.

Geologic Background. Volcán Fuego, one of Central America's most active volcanoes, is also one of three large stratovolcanoes overlooking Guatemala's former capital, Antigua. The scarp of an older edifice, Meseta, lies between Fuego and Acatenango to the north. Construction of Meseta dates back to about 230,000 years and continued until the late Pleistocene or early Holocene. Collapse of Meseta may have produced the massive Escuintla debris-avalanche deposit, which extends about 50 km onto the Pacific coastal plain. Growth of the modern Fuego volcano followed, continuing the southward migration of volcanism that began at the mostly andesitic Acatenango. Eruptions at Fuego have become more mafic with time, and most historical activity has produced basaltic rocks. Frequent vigorous historical eruptions have been recorded since the onset of the Spanish era in 1524, and have produced major ashfalls, along with occasional pyroclastic flows and lava flows.

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


Nishinoshima (Japan) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nishinoshima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Major June-July eruption of lava, ash, and sulfur dioxide; activity declines in August 2020

Japan’s Nishinoshima volcano, located about 1,000 km S of Tokyo in the Ogasawara Arc, erupted above sea level in November 2013 after 40 years of dormancy. Activity lasted through November 2015 and returned during mid-2017, continuing the growth of the island with ash plumes, ejecta, and lava flows. A short eruptive event in July 2018 produced a small lava flow and vent on the side of the pyroclastic cone. The next eruption of ash plumes, incandescent ejecta, and lava flows began in early December 2019, resulting in significant growth of the island. This report covers the ongoing activity from March-August 2020 when activity decreased. Information is provided primarily from Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) monthly reports and the Japan Coast Guard (JCG), which makes regular overflights to make observations.

Renewed eruptive activity that began on 5 December 2019 continued during March-August 2020 but appeared to wane by the end of August. Major lava flows covered all sides of the island, with higher levels of activity during late June and early July. Ash emissions increased significantly during June and produced dense black ash plumes that rose up to 6 km altitude in early July. Explosive activity produced lightning and incandescent jets that rose 200 m and large bombs that fell to the base of the pyroclastic cone. Lava flow activity diminished at the end of July. Ash emissions decreased throughout August and appeared to cease after 27 August 2020. The MIROVA plot clearly reflects the high levels of thermal activity between December 2019 and August 2020 (figure 80); this event was reported by JMA as the largest eruption recorded to date. Sulfur dioxide emissions were very high during late June through early August, producing emissions that drifted across much of the western Pacific region.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. The MIROVA plot of thermal activity at Nishinoshima from 14 October 2019 through August 2020 indicates the high levels between early December 2019 and late July 2020 that resulted from the eruption of numerous lava flows on all flanks of the pyroclastic cone, significantly enlarging the island. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The Japan Coast Guard (JCG) conducted overflights of Nishinoshima on 9 and 15 March 2020 (figure 81). During both visits they observed eruptive activity from the summit crater, including ash emissions that rose to an altitude of approximately 1,000 m and lava flowing down the N and SE flanks (figure 82). Large ejecta was scattered around the base of the pyroclastic cone. The lava flowing north had reached the coast and was producing vigorous steam as it entered the water on 9 March; whitish gas emissions were visible on the N flank of the cone at the source of the lava flow (figure 83). On 9 March yellow-green discolored water was noted off the NE shore. The lava flow on the SE coast produced a small amount of steam at the ocean entry point and a strong signal in thermal imagery on 15 March (figure 84). Multiple daily MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued during 1-10, 17-24, and 27-30 March. Landsat-8 visual and thermal imagery on 30 March 2020 confirmed that thermal anomalies on the N and SE flanks of the volcano continued.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. The Japan Coast Guard conducted an overflight of Nishinoshima on 9 March 2020 and observed ash emissions rising 1,000 m above the summit and lava flowing into the ocean off the N flank of the island. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (JCG) and JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Lava flows at Nishinoshima during February and March 2020 were concentrated on the N and SE flanks. The areas in blue indicate topographical changes due to lava flows and pyroclastic deposits from the previous measurement. The growth of the SE-flank flow decreased during March while the N-flank flow rate increased significantly. Left image shows changes between 14 and 28 February and right image shows the differences between 28 February and 13 March. The correlated image analysis uses ALOS-2 / PALSAR-2 and is carried out with the cooperation of JAXA through the activities of the Satellite Analysis Group of the Volcano Eruption Prediction Liaison Committee. The software was developed by the Japan National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention and uses the technical data C1-No 478 of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. Courtesy of JAXA and JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Nishinoshima, March 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Vigorous steam emissions on the N flank of Nishinoshima on 9 March 2020 were caused by the active flow on the N flank. Whitish steam and gas midway up the flank indicated the outlet of the flow. Ash emissions rose from the summit crater and drifted E. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard and JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Infrared imagery from 15 March 2020 at Nishinoshima showed the incandescent lava flow on the SE flank (foreground), blocks of ejecta scattered around the summit and flanks of the pyroclastic cone, and the active N-flank flow (left). Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard and JMA.

Ash emissions were not observed at Nishinoshima during JCG overflights on 6, 16, and 19 April 2020, but gas-and-steam emissions were noted from the summit crater, and a yellow discoloration interpreted by JMA to be sulfur precipitation was observed near the top of the pyroclastic cone. The summit crater was larger than during previous visits. Steam plumes seen each of those days on the N and NE coasts suggested active ocean entry of lava flows (figure 85). A lava flow was observed emerging from the E flank of the cone and entering the ocean on the E coast on 19 and 29 April (figure 86). During the overflight on 29 April observers noted lava flowing southward from a vent on the E flank of the pyroclastic cone. A narrow, brown, ash plume was visible on 29 April at the summit crater rising to an altitude of about 1,500 m. Thermal observations indicated continued flow activity throughout the month. Multiple daily MODVOLC thermal alerts were recorded during 2-6, 10-11, 17-23, and 28-30 April. Significant growth of the pyroclastic cone occurred between early February and late April 2020 (figure 87).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Multiple entry points of lava flowed into the ocean producing jets of steam along the N flank of Nishinoshima on 6 April 2020. Courtesy of JCG and JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Lava flowed down the E flank of Nishinoshima from a vent below the summit on 19 April 2020. The ocean entry produced a vigorous steam plume (left). Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. The pyroclastic cone at Nishinoshima grew significantly in size between 4 February (left), 9 March (middle), and 19 April 2020 (right). View is to the E. Courtesy of JMA and JCG.

Infrared satellite imagery from 17 May 2020 showed a strong thermal anomaly at the summit and hot spots on the NW flank indicative of flows. Visible imagery confirmed emissions at the summit and steam plumes on the NW flank (figure 88). Gray ash plumes rose to about 1,800 m altitude on 18 May during the only overflight of the month made by the Japan Coast Guard. In addition, white gas emissions rose from around the summit area and large blocks of ejecta were scattered around the base of the pyroclastic cone (figure 89). Steam from ocean-entry lava on the N flank was reduced from previous months, but a new flow moving NW into the ocean was generating a steam plume and a strong thermal signature. Multi-pixel thermal alerts were measured by the MODVOLC system on 1-3, 9-10, 13-15, 18, and 26-30 May. Sulfur dioxide emissions had been weak and intermittent from March through early May 2020 but became more persistent during the second half of May. Although modest in size, the plumes were detectible hundreds of kilometers away from the volcano (figure 90).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Landsat-8 satellite imagery of Nishinoshima from 17 May 2020 confirmed continued eruptive activity. Visible imagery showed emissions at the summit and steam plumes on the NW flank (left) and infrared imagery showed a strong thermal anomaly at the summit and anomalies on the NW flank indicative of lava flows (right). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Lava continued to enter the ocean at Nishinoshima during May 2020. A new lava flow on the NW flank produced a strong steam plume at an ocean entry (left) on 18 May 2020. In addition to a light gray plume of gas and ash, steaming blocks of ejecta were visible on the flanks of the pyroclastic cone. The strong thermal signature of the NW-flank flow in infrared imagery that same day showed multiple new lobes flowing to the ocean (right). Courtesy of JCG and JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Small but distinct SO2 emissions from Nishinoshima were recorded by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite during the second half of May 2020. The plumes drifted tens to hundreds of kilometers away from the volcano in multiple directions as the wind directions changed. Nishinoshima is about 1,000 kilometers S of Tokyo. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Activity increased significantly during June 2020. Satellite imagery from 2 June revealed two intense thermal anomalies at the summit indicating a new crater, and lava flows active on the NW and NE flanks, all showing gas or steam emissions (figure 91). Dense brown and gray ash emissions were observed rising from the summit crater during JCG overflights on 7 and 15 June (figure 92). Plumes reached at least 1,500 m altitude, and ejecta reached the base of the pyroclastic cone. Between 5 and 19 June the lava flow on the WNW coast slowed significantly, while the flows to the N and E became significantly more active (figure 93). The Tokyo VAAC reported the first ash plume since mid-February on 12 June rose to 2.1 km and drifted NE. On 14 June they reported an ash plume extending E at 2.7 km altitude. Dense emissions continued to drift N and E at 2.1-2.7 km altitude until the last week of the month. The JCG overflight on 19 June observed darker ash emissions than two weeks earlier that drifted at least 180 km NE (figure 94) and incandescent tephra that exploded from the enlarged summit area where three overlapping craters trending E-W had formed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Landsat-8 satellite imagery on 2 June 2020 confirmed ongoing activity at Nishinoshima. Lava produced ocean-entry steam on the NE coast; a weak plume on the NW coast suggested reduced activity in that area (left). In addition, a dense steam plume drifted E from the summit, while a fainter plume adjacent to it also drifted E. The infrared image (right) indicated two intense anomalies at the summit, and weaker anomalies from lava flows on the NW and NE flanks. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Lava flows at Nishinoshima entered the ocean on the N and NE coasts (left) on 7 June 2020, and dense, gray ash emissions rose to at least 1,500 m altitude. Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. The lava flow on the WNW coast of Nishinoshima slowed significantly in early June 2020, while the flows to the N and E covered large areas of those flanks between 5 and 19 June. The areas in blue indicate topographical changes due to lava flows and pyroclastic deposits from the previous measurement. Left image shows the differences between 22 May and 5 June and right image shows changes between 5 and 19 June. The correlated image analysis uses ALOS-2 / PALSAR-2 and is carried out with the cooperation of JAXA through the activities of the Satellite Analysis Group of the Volcano Eruption Prediction Liaison Committee. The software was developed by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention and uses the technical data C1-No 478 of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. Courtesy of JAXA and JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Nishinoshima, June 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Ash emissions and explosive activity at Nishinoshima increased significantly during the second half of June. Dense black ash rose to 2.4 km altitude and drifted at least 180 km to the NE on 19 June 2020. Vigorous white steam plumes rose from the ocean on the E flank where a lava flow entered the ocean. Courtesy of JCG.

The Tokyo VAAC reported ash emissions that rose to 4.6 km altitude and drifted NE on 25 June. For the remainder of the month they rose to 2.7-3.9 km altitude and drifted N and NE. By the time of the JCG overflight on 29 June, the new crater that had opened on the SW flank had merged with the summit crater (figure 95). Dense black ash emissions rose to 3.4 km altitude and drifted NE, lava flowed down the SW flank into the ocean producing violent steam explosions, and incandescent tephra was scattered at least 200 m from the base of the pyroclastic cone from ongoing explosive activity (figure 96). Multiple layers of recent flow activity were visible along the SW coast (figure 97). Yellow-green discolored water encircled the entire island with a width of 1,000 m.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. The new crater on the SW flank of Nishinoshima had merged with the summit crater by 29 June 2020. Courtesy of JCG and JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Dense black ash emissions rose to 3.4 km altitude and drifted NE from the summit of Nishinoshima on 29 June 2020. Lava flowed down the SW flank into the ocean producing steam explosions, and incandescent tephra was scattered at least 200 m from the base of the pyroclastic cone from ongoing explosive activity at the summit (inset). Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Different textures of lava flows were visible along the SW flank of Nishinoshima on 29 June 2020. The active flow appeared dark brown and blocky, and produced steam explosions at the ocean entry site (right). Slightly older, brownish-red lava (center) still produced steam along the coastline. Courtesy of JCG.

MODVOLC thermal alerts reached their highest levels of the period during June 2020 with multi-pixel alerts recorded on most days of the month. Sulfur dioxide emissions increased steadily throughout June to the highest levels recorded for Nishinoshima; by the end of the month plumes of SO2 were drifting thousands of kilometers across the Pacific Ocean and being captured in complex atmospheric circulation currents (figure 98).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Sulfur dioxide emissions at Nishinoshima increased noticeably during the second half of June 2020 as measured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Atmospheric circulation currents produced long-lived plumes that drifted thousands of kilometers from the volcano. Nishinoshima is 1,000 km S of Tokyo. Courtesy of NASA Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

By early July 2020, satellite data indicated that the NE quadrant of the island was covered with ash, and a large amount of new lava had flowed down the SW flank, creating fans extending into the ocean (figure 99). The Tokyo VAAC reported ash emissions that rose to 3.7-4.9 km altitude and drifted N during 1-6 July. The altitude increased to 6.1 km during 8 and 9 July, and ranged from 4.6-6.1 km during 10-14 July while the drift direction changed to NE. The marine meteorological observation ship "Ryofu Maru" reported on 11 July that dense black ash was continuously erupting from the summit crater and drifting W at 1,700 m altitude or higher. They observed large volcanic blocks scattered around the base of the pyroclastic cone, and ash falling from the drifting plume. During the night of 11 July incandescent lava and volcanic lightning rose to about 200 m above the crater rim (figure 100).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. By early July 2020, satellite data from Nishinoshima indicated that the NE quadrant of the island was covered with ash, and a large amount of new lava had flowed down the SW flank creating fans extending into the ocean. The areas in blue indicate topographical changes due to lava flows and pyroclastic deposits from the previous measurement. Left image shows differences between 5 and 19 June and the right image shows changes between 19 June and 3 July that included abundant ashfall on the NE flank. The correlated image analysis uses ALOS-2 / PALSAR-2 and is carried out with the cooperation of JAXA through the activities of the Satellite Analysis Group of the Volcano Eruption Prediction Liaison Committee. The software was developed by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention and uses the technical data C1-No 478 of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. Courtesy of JAXA and JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Nishinoshima, June 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. High levels of activity were observed at Nishinoshima by crew members aboard the marine meteorological observation ship "Ryofu Maru” on 11 July 2020. Abundant ash emissions filled the sky and tephra fell out of the ash cloud for several kilometers downwind (left, seen from 6 km NE). Incandescent explosions rose as much as 200 m into the night sky (right, seen from 4 km E). Courtesy of JMA.

During 16-26 July 2020 the Tokyo VAAC reported ash emissions at 3.7-5.2 km altitude that drifted primarily N and NE. The vessel "Keifu Maru" passed Nishinoshima on 20 July and crewmembers observed continuing emissions from the summit of dense, black ash. JCG observed an ash plume rising to at least 2.7 km altitude during their overflight of 20 July. A large dome of fresh lava was visible on the SW flank of the island (figure 101). Lower ash emissions from 2.4-3.7 km altitude were reported by the Tokyo VAAC during 27-29 July, but the altitude increased to 5.5-5.8 km during the last two days of the month. During an overflight on 30 July by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention, dark and light gray ash emissions rose to 3.0 km altitude, but no flowing lava or large bombs were observed. They also noted thick deposits of brownish-gray ash on the N side of the island (figure 102).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. JCG observed an ash plume at Nishinoshima rising to at least 2.7 km altitude during their overflight of 20 July 2020. A large dome of fresh lava was visible on the SW flank of the island. Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. Ash emissions changed from dark to light gray on 30 July 2020 at Nishinoshima as seen during an overflight by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention. Thick brownish-gray ash was deposited over the lava on the N side of the island. Courtesy of JMA (Information on volcanic activity in Nishinoshima, July 2020).

JMA reported a sharp decrease in the lava eruption rate during July with thermal anomalies decreasing significantly mid-month. Multiple daily MODVOLC thermal alerts were recorded during the first half of the month but were reduced to two or three per day during the last third of July. Throughout July, SO2 emissions were the highest recorded in modern times for Nishinoshima. High levels of emissions were measured daily, producing streams with high concentrations of SO2 that were caught up in rotating wind currents and drifted thousands of kilometers across the Pacific Ocean (figure 103).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. Complex atmospheric wind patterns carried the largest SO2 plumes recorded from Nishinoshima thousands of kilometers around the western Pacific Ocean during July 2020. Nishinoshima is about 1,000 km S of Tokyo. Top and bottom left images both show 6 July but at different scales. Courtesy of NASA Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Thermal activity was greatly reduced during August 2020. Only one or two MODVOLC alerts were issued on 11, 18, 20, 21, 29, and 30 August, and no fresh lava flows were observed. The Tokyo VAAC reported ash emissions daily from 1-20 August. Plume heights were 4.9-5.8 km altitude during 1-4 August after which they dropped to 3.9 km altitude through 15 August. A brief pulse to 4.6 km altitude was recorded on 16 August, but then they dropped to 3.0 km or lower through the end of the month and became intermittent. The last ash emission was reported at 2.7 km altitude drifting W on 27 August.

No eruptive activity was observed during the Japan Coast Guard overflights on 19 and 23 August. High temperatures were measured on the inner wall of the summit crater on 19 August (figure 104). Steam plumes rose from the summit crater to about 2.5 km altitude during both visits (figure 105). Yellow-green discolored water was present on 23 August around the NW and SW coasts. No lava flows were observed, and infrared cameras did not measure any surface thermal anomalies outside of the crater. Very high levels of SO2 emissions were measured through 12 August when they began to noticeably decrease (figure 106). By the end of the month, only small amounts of SO2 were measured in satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. A strong thermal anomaly was still present inside the newly enlarged summit crater at Nishinoshima on 19 August 2020. Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Only steam plumes were observed rising from the summit crater of Nishinoshima during the 23 August 2020 overflight by the Japan Coast Guard. Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Sulfur dioxide emissions remained very high at Nishinoshima until 12 August 2020 when they declined sharply. Circulating air currents carried SO2 thousands of kilometers around the western Pacific region. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

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), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Japan Coast Guard (JCG), Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, 3-1-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8932, Japan (URL: https://www1.kaiho.mlit.go.jp/GIJUTSUKOKUSAI/kaiikiDB/kaiyo18-e1.htm); 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/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); 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/); 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/).


Turrialba (Costa Rica) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Turrialba

Costa Rica

10.025°N, 83.767°W; summit elev. 3340 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruptive period on 18 June 2020 consisted of ash eruptions

Turrialba is a stratovolcano located in Costa Rica that overlooks the city of Cartago. Three well-defined craters occur at the upper SW end of a broad 800 x 2,200 m summit depression that is breached to the NE. Activity described in the previous report primarily included weak ash explosions and minor ash emissions (BGVN 44:11). This reporting period updates information from November 2019-August 2020; volcanism dominantly consists of ash emissions during June-August, based on information from daily and weekly reports by the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA) and satellite data.

Volcanism during November 2019 through mid-June was relatively low, dominated by low SO2 emissions (100-300 tons/day) and typical low seismic tremors. A single explosion was recorded at 1850 on 7 December 2019, and two gas-and-steam plumes rose 800 m and 300 m above the crater on 25 and 27 December, respectively. An explosion was detected on 29 January 2020 but did not result in any ejecta. An overflight during the week of 10 February measured the depth of the crater (140 m); since the previous measurements made in February 2019 (220 m), the crater has filled with 80 m of debris due to frequent collapses of the NW and SE internal crater walls. Beginning around February and into at least early May 2020 the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity graph provided by the MIROVA system detected a small cluster of thermal anomalies (figure 52). Some of these anomalies were faintly registered in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery during 10 and 25 April, with a more distinct anomaly occurring on 15 May (figure 53).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. A small cluster of thermal anomalies were detected in the summit area of Turrialba (red dots) during February-May 2020 as recorded by the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity data (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery detected minor gas-and-steam emissions (left) and a weak thermal anomaly (right) in the summit crater at Turrialba on 11 January and 15 May 2020, respectively. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

On 18 June activity increased, which marked the start of a new eruptive period that produced ash emissions rising 100 m above the crater rim at 1714, 1723, and 1818. The next morning, 19 June, two more events at 1023 and 1039 resulted in ash emissions rising 100 m above the crater. During 23-26 June small ash emissions continued to occur each day, rising no higher than 100 m above the crater. A series of small ash eruptions that rose 100 m above the crater occurred during 28 and 29 June; four events were recorded at 0821, 1348, 1739, and 2303 on 28 June and five more were recorded at 0107, 0232, 0306, 0412, and 0818 on 29 June. The two events at 0107 and 0412 were accompanied by ballistics ejected onto the N wall of the crater, according to OVSICORI-UNA.

Almost daily ash emissions continued during 1-7 July, rising less than 100 m above the crater; no ash emissions were observed on 3 July. On 6 July, gas-and-steam and ash emissions rose hundreds of meters above the crater at 0900, resulting in local ashfall. Passive gas-and-steam emissions with minor amounts of ash were occasionally visible during 9-10 July. On 14 July an eruptive pulse was observed, generating brief incandescence at 2328, which was likely associated with a small ash emission. Dilute ash emissions at 1028 on 16 July preceded an eruption at 1209 that resulted in an ash plume rising 200 m above the crater. Ash emissions of variable densities continued through 20 July rising as high as 200 m above the crater; on 20 July incandescence was observed on the W wall of the crater. An eruptive event at 0946 on 29 July produced an ash plume that rose 200-300 m above the crater rim. During 30-31 July a series of at least ten ash eruptions were detected, rising no higher than 200 m above the crater, each lasting less than ten minutes. Some incandescence was visible on the SW wall of the crater during this time.

On 1 August at 0746 an ash plume rose 500 m above the crater. During 4-5 August a total of 19 minor ash emissions occurred, accompanied by ash plumes that rose no higher than 200 m above the crater. OVSICORI-UNA reported on 21 August that the SW wall of the crater had fractured; some incandescence in the fracture zone had been observed the previous month. Two final eruptions were detected on 22 and 24 August at 1253 and 2023, respectively. The eruption on 24 August resulted in an ash plume that rose to a maximum height of 1 km above the crater.

Geologic Background. Turrialba, the easternmost of Costa Rica's Holocene volcanoes, is a large vegetated basaltic-to-dacitic stratovolcano located across a broad saddle NE of Irazú volcano overlooking the city of Cartago. The massive edifice covers an area of 500 km2. Three well-defined craters occur at the upper SW end of a broad 800 x 2200 m summit depression that is breached to the NE. Most activity originated from the summit vent complex, but two pyroclastic cones are located on the SW flank. Five major explosive eruptions have occurred during the past 3500 years. A series of explosive eruptions during the 19th century were sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows. Fumarolic activity continues at the central and SW summit craters.

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/, https://www.facebook.com/OVSICORI/); 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).


Etna (Italy) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Effusive activity in early April; frequent Strombolian explosions and ash emissions during April-July 2020

Etna, located on the island of Sicily, Italy, is a stratovolcano that has had historical eruptions dating back 3,500 years. Its most recent eruptive period began in September 2013 and has continued through July 2020, characterized by Strombolian explosions, lava flows, and ash plumes. Activity has commonly originated from the summit areas, including the Northeast Crater (NEC), the Voragine-Bocca Nuova (or Central) complex (VOR-BN), the Southeast Crater (SEC, formed in 1978), and the New Southeast Crater (NSEC, formed in 2011). The newest crater, referred to as the "cono della sella" (saddle cone), emerged during early 2017 in the area between SEC and NSEC. Volcanism during this reporting period from April through July 2020 includes frequent Strombolian explosions primarily in the Voragine and NSEC craters, ash emissions, some lava effusions, and gas-and-steam emissions. Information primarily comes from weekly reports by the Osservatorio Etneo (OE), part of the Catania Branch of Italy's Istituo Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologica (INGV).

Summary of activity during April-July 2020. Degassing of variable intensity is typical activity from all summit vents at Etna during the reporting period. Intra-crater Strombolian explosions and ash emissions that rose to a maximum altitude of 5 km on 19 April primarily originated from the Voragine (VOR) and New Southeast Crater (NSEC) craters. At night, summit crater incandescence was occasionally visible in conjunction with explosions and degassing. During 18-19 April small lava flows were observed in the VOR and NSEC craters that descended toward the BN from the VOR Crater and the upper E and S flanks of the NSEC. On 19 April a significant eruptive event began with Strombolian explosions that gradually evolved into lava fountaining activity, ejecting hot material and spatter from the NSEC. Ash plumes that were produced during this event resulted in ashfall to the E of Etna. The flows had stopped by the end of April; activity during May consisted of Strombolian explosions in both the VOR and NSEC craters and intermittent ash plumes rising 4.5 km altitude. On 22 May Strombolian explosions in the NSEC produced multiple ash plumes, which resulted in ashfall to the S. INGV reported that the pit crater at the bottom of BN had widened and was accompanied by degassing. Explosions with intermittent ash emissions continued during June and July and were primarily focused in the VOR and NSEC craters; mild Strombolian activity in the SEC was reported in mid-July.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows multiple episodes of thermal activity throughout the reporting period (figure 296). In early April, the frequency and power of the thermal anomalies began to decrease through mid-June; in July, they had increased in power again but remained less frequent compared to activity in January through March. According to the MODVOLC thermal algorithm, a total of seven alerts were detected in the summit craters during 10 April (1), 17 April (1), 24 April (2), 10 July (1), 13 July (1), and 29 July (1) 2020. These thermal hotspots were typically registered during or after a Strombolian event. Frequent Strombolian activity contributed to distinct SO2 plumes that drifted in different directions (figure 297).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 296. Multiple episodes of varying thermal activity at Etna from 14 October 2019 through July 2020 were reflected in the MIROVA data (Log Radiative Power). In early April, the frequency and power of the thermal anomalies decreased through mid-June. In July, the thermal anomalies increased in power, but did not increase in frequency. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 297. Distinct SO2 plumes from Etna were detected on multiple days during April to July 2020 due to frequent Strombolian explosions, including, 24 April (top left), 9 May (top right), 25 June (bottom left), and 21 July (bottom right) 2020. Captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Activity during April-May 2020. During April, INGV reported Strombolian explosions that produced some ash emissions and intra-crater effusive activity within the Voragine Crater (VOR) and abundant degassing from the New Southeast Crater (NSEC), Northeast Crater (NEC), and from two vents on the cono della sella (saddle cone) that were sometimes accompanied by a modest amount of ash (figure 298). At night, summit crater incandescence was observed in the cono della salla. The Strombolian activity in the VOR built intra-crater scoria cones while lava flows traveled down the S flank of the largest, main cone. On 18 April effusive activity from the main cone in the VOR Crater traveled 30 m toward the Bocca Nuova (BN) Crater; the pit crater at the bottom of the BN crater had widened compared to previous observations. A brief episode of Strombolian explosions that started around 0830 on 19 April in the NSEC gradually evolved into modest lava fountaining activity by 0915, rising to 3 km altitude and ejecting bombs up to 100 m (figure 299). A large spatter deposit was found 50 m from the vent and 3-4 small lava flows were descending the NSEC crater rim; two of these summit lava flows were observed at 1006, confined to the upper E and S flanks of the cone. Around 1030, one or two vents in the cono della sella produced a gas-and-steam and ash plume that rose 5 km altitude and drifted E, resulting in ashfall on the E flank of Etna in the Valle del Bove, as well as between the towns of Zafferana Etnea (10 km SE) and Linguaglossa (17 km NE). At night, flashes of incandescence were visible at the summit. By 1155, the lava fountaining had gradually slowed, stopping completely around 1300. The NEC continued to produce gas-and-steam emissions with some intra-crater explosive activity. During the week of 20-26 April, Strombolian activity in the VOR intra-crater scoria cone ejected pyroclastic material several hundred meters above the crater rim while the lava flows had significantly decreased, though continued to travel on the E flank of the main cone. Weak, intra-crater Strombolian activity with occasional ash emissions and nightly summit incandescence were observed in the NSEC (figure 300). By 30 April there were no longer any active lava flows; the entire flow field had begun cooling. The mass of the SO2 emissions varied in April from 5,000-15,000 tons per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 298. Photos of Strombolian explosions at Etna in the Voragine Crater (top left), strong degassing at the Northeast Crater (NEC) (top right), and incandescent flashes and Strombolian activity in the New Southeast Crater (NSEC) seen from Tremestieri Etneo (bottom row) on 10 April 2020. Photos by Francesco Ciancitto (top row) and Boris Behncke (bottom row), courtesy of INGV.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 299. Strombolian activity at Etna’s “cono della sella” of the NSEC crater on 19 April 2020 included (a-b) lava fountaining that rose 3 km altitude, ejecting bomb-sized material and a spatter deposit captured by the Montagnola (EMOV) thermal camera. (c-d) An eruptive column and increased white gas-and-steam and ash emissions were captured by the Montagnola (EMOV) visible camera and (e-f) were also seen from Tremestieri Etneo captured by Boris Behncke. Courtesy of INGV (Report 17/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 13/04/2020 – 19/04/2020, data emissione 21/04/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 300. Webcam images showing intra-crater explosive activity at Etna in the Voragine (VOR) and New Southeast Crater (NSEC) on 24 April 2020 captured by the (a-b) Montagnola and (c) Monte Cagliato cameras. At night, summit incandescence was visible and accompanied by strong degassing. Courtesy of INGV (Report 18/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 20/04/2020 – 26/04/2020, data emissione 28/04/2020).

Strombolian explosions produced periodic ash emissions and ejected mild, discontinuous incandescent material in the VOR Crater; the coarse material was deposited onto the S flank of BN (figure 301). Pulsating degassing continued from the summit craters, some of which were accompanied by incandescent flashes at night. The Strombolian activity in the cono della sella occasionally produced reddish ash during 3-4 May. During 5 and 8 May, there was an increase in ash emissions at the NSEC that drifted SSE. A strong explosive event in the VOR Crater located E of the main cone produced a significant amount of ash and ejected coarse material, which included blocks and bombs measuring 15-20 cm, that fell on the W edge of the crater, as well as on the S terrace of the BN Crater (figure 302).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 301. Photos of Strombolian explosions and summit incandescence at Etna on 4 May (left) and during the night of 11-12 May. Photos by Gianni Pennisi (left) and Boris Behncke (right, seen from Tremestieri Etneo). Courtesy of INGV.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 302. A photo on 5 May (left) and thermal image on 8 May (right) of Strombolian explosions at Etna in the Voragine Crater accompanied by a dense, gray ash plume. Photo by Daniele Andronico. Courtesy of INGV (Report 20/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 04/05/2020 – 10/05/2020, data emissione 12/05/2020).

On 10 May degassing continued in the NSEC while Strombolian activity fluctuated in both the VOR and NSEC Craters, ejecting ballistics beyond the crater rim; in the latter, some of the blocks fell back in, accumulated on the edge, and rolled down the slopes (figure 303). During the week of 11-17 May, eruptive activity at the VOR Crater was the lowest observed since early March; there were 4-5 weak, low intensity pulses not accompanied by bombs or ashfall in the VOR Crater. Degassing continued in the BN Crater. The crater of the cono della sella had widened further N following collapses due to the Strombolian activity, which exposed the internal wall.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 303. Map of the summit craters of Etna showing the active vents, the area of cooled lava flows (light green), and the location of the widening pit crater in the Bocca Nuova (BN) Crater (light blue circle) updated on 9 May 2020. The base is modified from a 2014 DEM created by Laboratorio di Aerogeofisica-Sezione Roma 2. Black hatch marks indicate the crater rims: BN = Bocca Nuova, with NW BN-1 and SE BN-2; VOR = Voragine; NEC = North East Crater; SEC = South East Crater; NSEC = New South East Crater. Red circles indicate areas with ash emissions and/or Strombolian activity, yellow circles indicate steam and/or gas emissions only. Courtesy of INGV (Report 29/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 06/07/2020 – 12/07/2020, data emissione 14/07/2020).

On 18 May an ash plume from the NSEC rose 4.5 km altitude and drifted NE. Strombolian explosions on 22 May at the NSEC produced multiple ash plumes that rose 4.5 km altitude and drifted S and SW (figure 304), depositing a thin layer of ash on the S slope, and resulting in ashfall in Catania (27 km S). Explosions from the VOR Crater had ejected a deposit of large clasts (greater than 30 cm) on the NE flank, between the VOR Crater and NEC on 23 May. INGV reported that the pit crater in the BN continued to widen and degassing was observed in the NSEC, VOR Crater, and NEC. During the week of 25-31 May persistent visible flashes of incandescence at night were observed, which suggested there was intra-crater Strombolian activity in the SEC and NSEC. The mass of the SO2 plumes varied between 5,000-9,000 tons per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 304. Photo of repeated Strombolian activity and ash emissions rising from Etna above the New Southeast Crater (NSEC) on 22 May 2020 seen from Zafferana Etnea on the SE flank at 0955 local time. Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.

Activity during June-July 2020. During June, moderate intra-crater Strombolian activity with intermittent ash emissions continued in the NSEC and occurred more sporadically in the VOR Crater; at night, incandescence of variable intensity was observed at the summit. During the week of 8-14 June, Strombolian explosions in the cono della sella generated some incandescence and rare jets of incandescent material above the crater rim, though no ash emissions were reported. On the morning of 14 June a sequence of ten small explosions in the VOR Crater ejected incandescent material just above the crater rim and produced small ash emissions. On 25 June an overflight showed the developing pit crater in the center of the BN, accompanied by degassing along the S edge of the wall; degassing continued from the NEC, VOR Crater, SEC, and NSEC (figure 305). The mass of the SO2 plumes measured 5,000-7,000 tons per day, according to INGV.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 305. Aerial photo of Etna from the NE during an overflight on 25 June 2020 by the Catania Coast Guard (2 Nucleo Aereo della Guardia Costiera di Catania) showing degassing of the summit craters. Photo captured from the Aw139 helicopter by Stefano Branca. Courtesy of INGV (Report 27/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 22/06/2020 – 28/06/2020, data emissione 30/06/2020).

Similar modest, intra-crater Strombolian explosions in the NSEC, sporadic explosions in the VOR Crater, and degassing in the BN, VOR Crater, and NEC persisted into July. On 2 July degassing in the NEC was accompanied by weak intra-crater Strombolian activity. Intermittent weak ash emissions and ejecta from the NSEC and VOR Crater were observed during the month. During the week of 6-12 July INGV reported gas-and-steam emissions continued to rise from the vent in the pit crater at the bottom of BN (figure 306). On 11 July mild Strombolian activity, nighttime incandescence, and degassing was visible in the SEC (figure 307). By 15 July there was a modest increase in activity in the NSEC and VOR Craters, generating ash emissions and ejecting material over the crater rims while the other summit craters were dominantly characterized by degassing. On 31 July an explosion in the NSEC produced an ash plume that rose 4.5 km altitude.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 306. Photos of the bottom of the Bocca Nuova (BN) crater at Etna on 8 July 2020 showing the developing pit crater (left) and degassing. Minor ash emissions were visible in the background at the Voragine Crater (right). Both photos by Daniele Andronico. Courtesy of INGV (Report 29/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 06/07/2020 – 12/07/2020, data emissione 14/07/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 307. Mild Strombolian activity and summit incandescence in the “cono della sella” (saddle vent) at the Southeast crater (SEC) of Etna on 11 July 2020, seen from Piano del Vescovo (left) and Piano Vetore (right). Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.

Geologic Background. Mount Etna, towering above Catania, Sicily's second largest city, has one of the world's longest documented records of historical volcanism, dating back to 1500 BCE. Historical lava flows of basaltic composition cover much of the surface of this massive volcano, whose edifice is the highest and most voluminous in Italy. The Mongibello stratovolcano, truncated by several small calderas, was constructed during the late Pleistocene and Holocene over an older shield volcano. The most prominent morphological feature of Etna is the Valle del Bove, a 5 x 10 km horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the east. Two styles of eruptive activity typically occur, sometimes simultaneously. Persistent explosive eruptions, sometimes with minor lava emissions, take place from one or more summit craters. Flank vents, typically with higher effusion rates, are less frequently active and originate from fissures that open progressively downward from near the summit (usually accompanied by Strombolian eruptions at the upper end). Cinder cones are commonly constructed over the vents of lower-flank lava flows. Lava flows extend to the foot of the volcano on all sides and have reached the sea over a broad area on the SE flank.

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


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

2.764°S, 35.914°E; summit elev. 2962 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Multiple lava flows within the summit crater; September 2019-August 2020

Ol Doinyo Lengai, located near the southern end of the East African Rift in Tanzania, is a stratovolcano known for its unique low-temperature carbonatitic lava. Frequent eruptions have been recorded since the late 19th century. Activity primarily occurs in the crater offset to the N about 100 m below the summit where hornitos (small cones) and pit craters produce lava flows and spattering. Lava began overflowing various flanks of the crater in 1993. The eruption transitioned to significant explosive activity in September 2007, which formed a new pyroclastic cone inside the crater. Repeated ash emissions reached altitudes greater than 10 km during March 2008. By mid-April 2008 explosive activity had decreased. In September new hornitos with small lava flows formed on the crater floor. The most recent eruptive period began in April 2017 and has been characterized by spattering confined to the crater, effusive activity in the summit crater, and multiple lava flows (BGVN 44:09). Effusive activity continued in the summit crater during this reporting period from September 2019 through August 2020, based on data and images from satellite information.

Throughout September 2019 to August 2020, evidence for repeated small lava flows was recorded in thermal data and satellite imagery. A total of seven low-level pulses of thermal activity were detected within 5 km from the summit in MIROVA data during September 2019 (1), February (2), March (2), and August (2) 2020 (figure 207). Sentinel-2 satellite imagery also provided evidence of multiple lava flows within the summit crater throughout the reporting period. On clear weather days, intermittent thermal anomalies were observed in thermal satellite imagery within the summit crater; new lava flows were detected due to the change in shape, volume, and location of the hotspot (figure 208). During a majority of the reporting period, the thermal anomaly dominantly appeared in the center of the crater, though occasionally it would also migrate to the SE wall, as seen on 3 February, the E wall on 12 July, or the NE wall on 31 August. In Natural Color rendering, fresh lava flows appear black within the crater that quickly cools to a white-brown color. These satellite images showed the migration of new lava flows between February, March, and June (figure 209). The flow on 8 February occurs in the center and along the W wall of the crater; the flow on 9 March is slightly thinner and is observed in the center and along the E wall of the crater; finally, the flow on 17 June is located in the center and along the N wall of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 207. Seven low-level pulses of thermal activity within 5 km of the summit of Ol Doinyo Lengai were recorded in the MIROVA thermal data between September 2019 to August 2020; one in early September 2019, two in February, two in March, and two in August 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 208. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Ol Doinyo Lengai from November 2019 to August 2020 show intermittent thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) within the summit crater. The location of these anomalies occasionally changes, indicating new lava flows. Images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 209. Sentinel-2 satellite images of new lava flows within the summit crater at Ol Doinyo Lengai during 8 February (left), 9 March (middle), and 17 June (right) 2020. Lava flows appear black in the center of the crater that changes in volume and location from February to June. Images with “Natural Color” (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During August, multiple lava flows were detected in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery. On relatively clear days, lava flows were visible in the middle of the summit crater, occasionally branching out to one side of the crater (figure 210). On 6 August, a thin lava flow branched to the E flank, which became thicker by 11 August. On 16 and 21 August, the lava remained mostly in the center of the crater. A large pulse of fresh lava occurred on 31 August, extending to the NW and SE sides of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 210. Sentinel-2 images of multiple new lava flows at Ol Doinyo Lengai during August 2020. When visible in the first half of August, dark lava is concentrated in the center and E side of the crater; by the end of August the lava flows had reached the NW side of the crater. Images with “Natural Color” (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The symmetrical Ol Doinyo Lengai is the only volcano known to have erupted carbonatite tephras and lavas in historical time. The prominent stratovolcano, known to the Maasai as "The Mountain of God," rises abruptly above the broad plain south of Lake Natron in the Gregory Rift Valley. The cone-building stage ended about 15,000 years ago and was followed by periodic ejection of natrocarbonatitic and nephelinite tephra during the Holocene. Historical eruptions have consisted of smaller tephra ejections and emission of numerous natrocarbonatitic lava flows on the floor of the summit crater and occasionally down the upper flanks. The depth and morphology of the northern crater have changed dramatically during the course of historical eruptions, ranging from steep crater walls about 200 m deep in the mid-20th century to shallow platforms mostly filling the crater. Long-term lava effusion in the summit crater beginning in 1983 had by the turn of the century mostly filled the northern crater; by late 1998 lava had begun overflowing the crater rim.

Information Contacts: MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 27, Number 10 (October 2002)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Bezymianny (Russia)

A one-pixel thermal anomaly on 16-17 November 2002

Etna (Italy)

A flank eruption started on 27 October; lava vented at N- and S-flank fissures

Izu-Torishima (Japan)

Mid-August 2002 plumes, larger crater, and discolored water

Lengai, Ol Doinyo (Tanzania)

Lava exits crater at 3 points during January 2001-September 2002

Nyamuragira (DR Congo)

Multi-vent eruption, 25 July-27 September 2002; regional earthquake

Nyiragongo (DR Congo)

New fissure vents and lava fountains; largest regional earthquake in 30 years

Panarea (Italy)

Increased submarine fumarolic activity near Panarea Island

Popocatepetl (Mexico)

Small explosions, earthquakes, and tremor during July-October 2002

Ruang (Indonesia)

Eruption on 25 September 2002 sends ash to at least 5 km

Veniaminof (United States)

Volcanic unrest, uncertain low-level eruptive activity in September 2002



Bezymianny (Russia) — October 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


A one-pixel thermal anomaly on 16-17 November 2002

The last reported activity at Bezymianny included a 4-km plume and thermal anomalies visible on satellite imagery during December 2001 and January 2002 (BGVN 26:12). No further reports were issued until mid-November 2002.

On 18 November KVERT raised the Concern Color Code at Bezymianny from Green to Yellow after a 1-pixel thermal anomaly was observed on various satellite images on 16 and 17 November. The closest telemetered seismic stations, situated on Kliuchevskoi, 13.5 km from Bezymianny's lava dome, only recorded several shallow seismic events at Bezymianny: 13 in August and September, and 3 in October. High seismic activity at Kliuchevskoi made it difficult to separate Bezymianny's seismic events from Kliuchevskoi's. According to AVHRR satellite images the thermal anomaly had a temperature of 18°C in a background of -30°C.

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

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


Etna (Italy) — October 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


A flank eruption started on 27 October; lava vented at N- and S-flank fissures

At 2225 on 26 October 2002 a swarm of earthquakes was recorded by the seismic network of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) in the Catania sector. Three hours after the swarm began, Etna started a new flank eruption. Until 1 November, ~500 shocks registered. The seismic swarm preceded and accompanied explosive activity in the summit area.

A survey at 0400 on 27 October found that two eruptive fissures had opened on Etna's N and S flanks; they were still propagating up- and down-slope when observed. Fire fountains escaped at both fissures.

At that time, lava flows started to pour from the lower part of the N-flank fissure, causing concern on Etna's N flank around Piano Provenzana. At the lower end of this fissure, two major flows spread NE and E. The NE flow stopped on 31 October after having traveled 2 km, behavior congruent with an observed decline in the effusion rate.

The E flow slowed down until 1 November, but it continued moving and crusting over in the middle portion of the flow field until 3 November. Scientists from INGV-CT conducted a helicopter-based aerial survey, using helicopters from the Civil Protection, and deploying a FLIR TM 695 thermal camera. Survey results showed a few sectors of solid crust and suggested the initial formation of a lava tube on this lava flow, which completely stopped on 5 November. The ski station and tourist shops on Piano Provenzana were first destroyed by the earthquakes, and then surrounded by lava flows. The flows also caused fire that engulfed parts of the pine forest. Flow mapping (shown on the INGV website) was limited by both the presence of fire around the flow fronts and ash clouds masking most of the flow field, and only the use of the FLIR TM 695 thermal camera allowed views of the active lava flows.

The N fissure opened between 2,500 and 2,350 m elevation, an area close to the fissure developed in the year 1809. The current N-flank fissure is a few kilometers long and expanded NE following the NE Rift Zone.

A lava flow from the S-flank fissure started ~12 hours after the N one. It spread SW and split in two branches around Monte Nero, following the same path as one of the 2001 lava branches. The S flows stopped on 31 October, having reached a total length of about 2 km. Fire fountains and phreatomagmatic activity decreased in intensity with time and disappeared at the N fissure, but were still continuing on the S fissure.

The S fissure, which opened at 2700 m elevation, traveled N20°W, and occurred a few hundred meters W of the 2001 S-fissure field, between Monte Frumento Supino and Cisternazza (a map appears at the INGV website, see below). Spatter falling around the S-fissure's vents formed two cinder cones at about 2,030 m elevation. Fire fountains from these vents were initially 100-300 m high, producing an ash plume and abundant ashfall on Etna's S flank. In 3 days the city of Catania received ~2.5 kg/m2 of ash due to strong winds from the N. This disrupted the local airport and caused problems with travel.

The high amount of gas released by the summit vents and at the 2,750-m cone (up to 25,000 tons/day), and the continuing explosive activity at the S vent, suggest a long duration for this eruptive event (figure 96).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. SO2 released from Etna during January 2001-1 December 2002. Courtesy INGV.

Editor's note: Summaries of Etna activity from recent issues of the Bulletin have been prepared by our staff without the benefit of crafted summaries in English. As such, the contributors found them deficient in clarity of translation. For greater clarity and more technical details consult journal publications and the INGV website.

Geologic Background. Mount Etna, towering above Catania, Sicily's second largest city, has one of the world's longest documented records of historical volcanism, dating back to 1500 BCE. Historical lava flows of basaltic composition cover much of the surface of this massive volcano, whose edifice is the highest and most voluminous in Italy. The Mongibello stratovolcano, truncated by several small calderas, was constructed during the late Pleistocene and Holocene over an older shield volcano. The most prominent morphological feature of Etna is the Valle del Bove, a 5 x 10 km horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the east. Two styles of eruptive activity typically occur, sometimes simultaneously. Persistent explosive eruptions, sometimes with minor lava emissions, take place from one or more summit craters. Flank vents, typically with higher effusion rates, are less frequently active and originate from fissures that open progressively downward from near the summit (usually accompanied by Strombolian eruptions at the upper end). Cinder cones are commonly constructed over the vents of lower-flank lava flows. Lava flows extend to the foot of the volcano on all sides and have reached the sea over a broad area on the SE flank.

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


Izu-Torishima (Japan) — October 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Izu-Torishima

Japan

30.484°N, 140.303°E; summit elev. 394 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Mid-August 2002 plumes, larger crater, and discolored water

Following ship-based reports of activity at Tori-shima on 11 August 2002, scientists from the Japanese Meterological Agency overflew the area the next day when they observed and photographed ash plumes being erupted from the crater (BGVN 27:07). According to the Japan Coast Guard (via JMA), the activity continued as of 1200 on 14 August; the plume reached ~1.2-1.5 km above sea level on 13 August (figure 3), and ~900 m on 14 August. Emissions were observed from three active areas along the western inner-wall of the summit crater. The crater appeared to have widened. By 21 August, the Japan Coast Guard reported that Izu-Tori-shima no longer "smoked" and only weak steaming was seen in the southern portion of the crater. Faintly discolored sea surface was observed around the island.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Izu-Tori-Shima plume on 13 August 2002. Courtesy Air Force Weather Agency.

Geologic Background. The circular, 2.7-km-wide island of Izu-Torishima in the southern Izu Islands is capped by an unvegetated summit cone formed during an eruption in 1939. Fresh lava flows from this eruption form part of the northern coastline of the basaltic-to-dacitic edifice. The volcano is referred to as Izu-Torishima to distinguish it from the several other Japanese island volcanoes called Torishima ("Bird Island"). The main cone is truncated by a 1.5-km-wide caldera that contains two central cones, of which Ioyama is the highest. Historical eruptions have also occurred from flank vents near the north coast and offshore submarine vents. A submarine caldera 6-8 km wide lies immediately to the north.

Information Contacts: Tomonori Kannno and Hitoshi Yamasato, Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA), Volcanological Division, 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/); Volcano Research Center (VRC), Earthquake Research Institute (ERI), University of Tokyo (URL: http://www.eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp/VRC/index_E.html); U.S. Air Force Weather Agency, Offutt AFB, NE 68113-4039, USA.


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — October 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

2.764°S, 35.914°E; summit elev. 2962 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava exits crater at 3 points during January 2001-September 2002

In 2001-2002 the crater at Ol Doinyo Lengai has become filled with lava. The thin lava flows (nearly devoid of silica and extremely low viscosity) have begun to regularly spill over three points on the crater rim, descending hundreds of meters downslope. The crater, whose high ground was once considered suitable for camping, is no longer free from sudden inundation by lava. Activity through December 2000 was reported in BGVN 25:12.

This report chronicles many visits to the volcano between January 2001 and September 2002. Fred Belton compiled reports of multiple field parties during July 2001 and May-September 2002. Other visitors are noted in the text. Jörg Keller and Aoife McGrath contributed some observations, photos, a reference, and lab data on whole-rock chemistry.

Observations during January 2001. Paul Hloben contributed the following report. "We visited Lengai 15-17 January 2001. The place was very wet, and most of the soda coating the crater floor and cones had washed away or was in solution within the crater floor and cones. The entire crater was sandy brown and muddy (except recent lava flows, which were brown or gray and rock-hard). Older cones were just soil-brown in color, like gigantic termite mounds. [In contrast, in dry conditions, older lavas generally look white in color.] At that time only two cones were active . . . one nearest the camp site located at the path leading down the volcano."

"The [T51] cone was too high for lava flows (to escape) or for viewing what was happening inside, but we heard continuous blows every 10-20 seconds. Further on (towards the crater's center) there resided twin partially collapsed cones [newly developed features between T49 and T48, figure 71]. They harbored two active ponds (the lava level was ~1.5 m below the collapsed crust at the adjacent point of access and overview). The ponds were interconnected, with lava and gas surges occurring approximately every 20-30 seconds independently in each pond. The smaller pond (on the N) was ~1-2 m in diameter. The larger pond was about 4-5 m in diameter, but not easy to see due to heat blows that forced us to retreat; we could observe it best during the night as it was glowing."

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. A sketch map of the crater at Ol Doinyo Lengai reflecting conditions seen up to 9 August 2002. In the rapidly changing landscape of the crater, some of the features may have been short-lived; some labeled features may not have existed at the same times. The lava ponds seen by Hloben in January 2001 are not shown, although some of their locations may coincide with later features. The inset shows lava flows active during 4-9 August 2002 (areas with a vertical striped pattern in the crater's W and central sectors). Chris Weber provided the base map; Fred Belton compiled field observations by multiple workers and made revisions on this base map.

Comparison of field maps indicates that the larger of the two adjacent ponds stood in an area later identified as T55 (figure 71). Apparently fresh flows had recently cooled and stopped. They crossed the outflow on the NW crater rim and descended hundreds of meters down the flanks.

Observations during June 2001. Bob Carson and a group of 18 from Whitman College used the guide services of Burra Ami Gadiye to access the summit on 28 June. Carson's report follows. "We climbed on 28 June 2001 and spent from about 0800 to 1245 in the active southern crater. The crater floor was covered with about twenty steep-sided spatter cones and countless pahoehoe flows (some of the longer flows are aa-like near their toes). Radial cracks on the young surface of the crater floor penetrate the older rocks of the crater rim.

"Spatter cone T40B had been active on 27 June, sending ~10-cm-thick pahoehoe flows ~10 m from the vent; access to moisture was turning the edges of the still-warm black natrocarbonatite flows white. Later a slightly explosive eruption spewed tiny glassy spheres of tephra (1-2 mm in diameter) onto the surface of the 27 June pahoehoe flows. Spatter cone T40B sounded like a steam engine for the entire time we were near the volcano's summit. From about 1130 to 1200 on 28 June this cone erupted spatter, throwing blobs of tar-looking lava about 2 m into the air; the blobs landed on the side of the spatter cone making lava stalactites and short pahoehoe flows so that the cone looked like a giant sand castle."

Observations during July 2001. A visit by Fred Belton, Roberto Carniel, Marco Fulle, Andrew Locock, and four others during 23-30 July 2001 revealed that most of the previous year's morphologic changes occurred in the NW third of the crater. For example, T51 was 12 m tall, twice the previous year's height. T51B represented a new spatter cone just SE of T51, that contained a low rim overhanging a pit crater. Another new cone (T53) stood ~40 m NW of T40, but was inactive. Comprising a ~4 m tall rounded cone, T53 contained a hooded cave feeding a solidified open lava lake and lava channels that had flowed N. T40 had grown several meters toward the W. T40C, also new, was a white-to-gray 5-m-tall cone just SW of T40. T49B was white with a rounded summit, standing ~6 m tall. T49C was a broad cone of about the same height; it was first noted by C. Weber in October 2000. The new feature T49D was slightly lower than T49B and had vertical sides ringed with shallow grooves. T49E, probably the newest vent, formed an oval, 15 x 6 m low-rimmed crater just below the N flank of T49C.

On 23 July, T49E contained a frothy lava lake that drained N through a lava channel and frequently overflowed its E rim. By 0630 on 24 July the lava lake's surface had completely crusted over. During the day T49E inflated as lava entered and pushed up its solid surface. Early on 25 July the lake's solid surface had been lifted nearly 1 m above its position of the previous evening. It made continuous cracking and popping noises, and small rocks fell from its rim as it became increasingly engorged with lava. Cracks abruptly opened in its NW side and released copious flows of fluid lava. The filling/draining cycle was repeated twice more that day and several times on 26 July. The most interesting event occurred at 1710 on 25 July when a 3 m section of T49E's side collapsed, releasing a sudden flood of fluid lava that swept large blocks up to 9 m from their original positions (figure 72).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. On 25 July 2001 Lengai's ~ 2-m tall, spatter cone T49E underwent a flank collapse over a ~ 3-m-wide sector. This NE-looking photo captured the scene at a late stage of the failure. Lava can be seen escaping the cone through fractures in its disintegrating wall. The entire wall collapsed outward immediately after the photo was made. The volume of material involved in the collapse (both cooled rock wall and molten lava that swept away T49E's side) was on the order of 15-25 m3. Fred Belton, who took this picture, was standing on T49C. Standing on the crater floor just beyond T49E is Roby Carniel, who ran to safety as the failure took place. Courtesy of F. Belton.

During 27-28 July 2001 an eruption occurred that far exceeded the volume and duration of typical lava eruptions. Estimates of lava output were 5 m3/s during the greatest outflow and no less than 1 m3/s at anytime during the first 30 hours of the eruption. At 0630 on 27 July, pencil-wide streams of light gray, comparitively transparent lava flowed from T49E. T49E's lava output increased at 1113, and T49C erupted from its summit vent. At 1430 lava from those vents reached the NW crater rim overflow. Then, T49C ceased erupting, while T49D began to emit spatter from a small hole in its N side and T49B began to overflow from its summit vent. T49B developed a large dome fountain and T49D began ejecting a narrow fan of spatter at a 30° angle.

At 1510 the previously solid surface of T49E abruptly released fountains 1-2 m high, and T49C began erupting clots of spatter every 10 seconds. Thus, four vents were erupting simultaneously. Highly fluid lava flowed in meter-wide channels toward the NW, E, and S. Lava crossed the NW crater rim overflow and cascaded hundreds of meters down the NW flank of Lengai. Lava did not cross the E rim of Lengai because it flowed into a fissure in the crater floor ~25 m NW of the E rim overflow, at a rate of ~1 m3/s. About 1 hour later a vent opened on the E flank of Lengai ~12 m below the rim overflow area and released torrents of lava that flowed far down the flank and started brush fires. Destruction of a seismic station (established 4 m E of the fissure by Joshua Jones, Univ. of Washington) was narrowly averted thanks to the fissure's absorption of the lava flow and Carniel and Locock moving the equipment to a more secure location on the crater rim.

After sunset, spectacular orange fountains played steadily from T49B and T49D. Jets of incandescent gas appeared as flames 1-2 m high above the vent of T49C. By 0600 on 28 July the lava fountain from T49B was diminished but T49D continued to feed a large lava channel toward the E. Width of the channel exceeded 1 m, and depth of the fluid lava within it varied in the range 0.5-1 m. During all of 28 July lava flowed hundreds of meters down a gully on Lengai's E flank after emerging from the channel and the crater-floor fissure, both of which had been enlarged by thermal erosion. During the afternoon, the vigor of T49D's activity gradually diminished and its lava became increasingly frothy. Early on 29 July the eruption ceased and there was no further activity before observers left at 0715 on 30 July. J. Jones revisited the crater on 31 July and 6 August 2001 but saw no activity or fresh lava flows.

Observations during February-September 2002. During 3-7 February 2002, several members of the Societe de Volcanologie Geneve observed lava flows and strong fountains from the T49 complex and reported a new overflow of lava on the W crater rim (Bessard, 2002).

Aoife McGrath climbed the volcano on 26 May 2002 and reported continual small-scale eruptions at T49B. A new spatter cone had formed ~30 m SW of T49B and, according to mountain guide Burra Ami Gadiye, was about 4 months old.

During 18-22 June 2002, Christoph Weber, Jurgis Klaudius, and a film team observed the crater (figures 73 and 74). Fresh lava had flowed 120 m W from T49B and several recent 20-80 m flows originated from T46. Fresh lava was also seen on T37B, and fresh lapilli covered T48, a feature that was audibly active at depth. A new vent, designated T54, was visible between T46 and the W-rim overflow. It was an open solidified lava pond with a 40 m overflow to the W, which covered flows that had passed over the W rim in February 2002. Since August 2001, the diameter of the T49 complex had greatly increased, and there were more and hotter (>125°C) fumaroles in the crater. During this visit, spatter cones T49D, T51B, and T52C were no longer visible.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. N-looking view labeling key features in the central-western crater of Ol Doinyo Lengai, as photographed on an 18-22 June 2002 crater visit. Courtesy of Chris Weber and Jurgis Klaudius.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. View of Ol Doinyo Lengai's entire crater as seen from the summit region (looking N) during 18-22 June 2002. Courtesy of Chris Weber and Jurgis Klaudius.

During a five-hour period on 18 June lava spattered up to 3 m above the top of T49B (figure 75) and produced a 50-m lava flow to the NE. On 19 June spattering from T49B occurred several times until 1615, after which no further activity was seen through 22 June. On 22 June the team witnessed a ~10 m3 section of the crater wall in an area below the summit collapse into the crater. On each day there were 2-3 discrete tremors of about 1-cm amplitude, accompanied by gunshot sounds. They were distinctly different events from the continuous tremors caused by subsurface lava movement.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. A lone photographer with a tripod photographs Ol Doinyo Lengai's vent T49B as it emits spatter in June 2002. The zone of airborne spatter is not visible on the photograph. A fresh lava flows passes close to the photograher. Courtesy of Christoph Weber.

During the first half of July 2002 Jörg Keller was working near Lengai. He noted that until his departure on 14 July, a number of visitors returning from the summit reported either no activity or slight spattering from two cones.

During 4-9 August 2002, Fred Belton, Sven Dahlgren, Jeff Brown, and seven others observed four new spatter cones that had formed between 22 June and 4 August. One of these new cones was T55. Inactive when visited, T55 formed a white cone under 2 m tall containing a wide crater. T56, black and active, was ~7 m tall including a distinctive thin spire rising ~2 m above the summit. T57, ~4 m tall, was partly black but inactive. T57B stood ~7 m tall and was covered by fresh black lava. T54, documented by Weber on 21 June, had disappeared. Older cones such as T37B, T49B, and T49C had grown significantly since 2001 and towered above the N half of the crater rim.

Throughout the visit, T57B ejected clots of lava, expelled loud gas puffs, and produced thick clinkery aa flows. T56 spattered intermittently, T48 erupted pahoehoe lava from vents near its NW base, and T44 and T46 also produced spatter and a few short flows.

At around noon on 4 August a new vent, T49F, abruptly opened in rough, steaming ground near the W base of T49B. The eruption began with noisy ejection of spherical lapilli to a height of ~7 m and fluid lava to a height of 1 m. Throughout the day, the vent erupted at intervals of 1-2 hours, ejecting clouds of lapilli and forming aa lava flows that moved slowly W and NW to the crater rim area. Around 0200 on 5 August T49F eruptions dramatically increased in height and volume. Fountains played to at least 15 m and produced a flood of fluid pahoehoe that flowed W with great speed, destroying a supply camp. Similar eruptions continued for the next 28 hours, at first about two hours apart with gradually lengthening periods of repose between eruptions.

A typical T49F eruption consisted of lava first flowing or spattering from the low, open vent, then the abrupt onset of violent fountains that played for 2-4 minutes to a height of 10-15 m at a ~60° angle toward the W, and finally a decrease in fountain height and the draining of lava back into the vent. The final draining accompanied loud noises that to J. Brown sounded like "sheet metal being bent." By the afternoon of 5 August the site of the supply camp was under at least 1 m of thick pahoehoe slabs. The area just W of the vent was more than ankle deep in 2-8-mm-diameter spherical lapilli. Three vigorous fountaining episodes at T49F the night of 5 August started brush fires along the W crater rim. After dawn on 6 August, T49F's activity gradually waned, completely stopping by evening.

On 7 and 8 August T49F was completely inactive, thin pahoehoe lava flowed from T48, and T57B produced meter-thick clinkery aa flows. In the central crater there was an exceptionally strong smell of sulfur that at times made breathing uncomfortable, continuous low-pitched audible vibrations, and frequent hard bumps and tremors underfoot, especially near T57B and T56.

At about 2300 on 8 August a fissure ~12 m in length opened between T52B and T56 and began erupting a curtain of fire 6-8 m high with nearly continuous violent explosions. After midnight observers began to see an elongated spatter cone containing an extremely vigorous lava lake, whose surface rose ~0.3 m/hour. The new cone (T58) gradually merged with the flanks of T52B and T56. By 0830, T58 was over 2 m tall and its lava lake measured ~5 x 9 m. Lava bubbles over 2 m in diameter burst every 1-3 seconds and the activity showed no sign of abating when observers left at 0830 on 9 August. A photo from 17 August by Jean Bahr documented that T58 had grown to ~10 m in height and had a wide circular summit vent.

On 26 September 2002, Celia Nyamweru and twenty St. Lawrence University students visited the crater during 0630-0830. Lava spattered from T55 at 10-20 second intervals. Highly fluid pahoehoe lava emerged from the lower N slope of T49 and moved across other recent flows, probably from the previous night, which had passed between T40 and T40C and partially surrounded T53. Lava had accumulated against the N wall of the crater rim (then only 5 m high) and was heard flowing into a crack in the wall. The visitors could not see where the lava was going, but the next morning (27 September) as they were leaving the area by road a grass fire (started by lava?) was visible on the cone's upper NW slope. A local Maasai woman said that she had heard a loud noise from the volcano in the night. However, no activity was visible from the lowland N of Lengai.

Nyamweru's team observed one big crack, with steam, sulfur fumes, and black and yellow staining, running NW across the NW crater floor near T53. Other cracks on the NE floor were up to 30 or 40 cm wide and ran into cracks in the crater wall that were not steaming. The cones T26, T27, and T30 were still visible at the base of the S crater wall, surrounded by younger but deeply weathered lavas. The rim of T30 was less than 3 m above the lava surface, but its circular pit was still very well defined. In the NE segment of the crater floor a big blocky flow, brown and crumbly, bordered the NE wall for a considerable distance. It may have originated from T57 or T57B. Many cones from all parts of the crater were gently emitting steam, including T51, T45, T37, T30, and T47. The SE crater floor was very heavily weathered, with no sign of any fresh lava. There were a couple of patches of ground (each a shallow depression about 50 m2) that seemed to be the sites of former standing water. The depressions were floored with very fine pale brown clay/mud, which showed some fine layers and some areas with polygonal cracks. This seemed to be 'sediment' washed off the weathered lava by rain.

The most striking features of the topography were the extent to which the central crater floor has been built up. Except for the big wall to the S that rises to the summit, the topographic expression of the outer crater wall has diminished considerably (table 3). This impression was reinforced on 27 September when at a point about 10 km E of Lengai, they could look back and see the tops of several spatter cones showing above the eastern crater wall.

Table 3. Lava escaped Ol Doinyo Lengai's summit crater at three spots on the rim descending over the NW, E, and W sides. Visitors to the summit recorded these widths at each of the crater outlets. Courtesy of C. Nyamweru and F. Belton.

Date Location Overflow width (m)
30 Jul 2001 NW rim 106
30 Jul 2001 E rim 33
26 Sep 2002 NW rim 135
26 Sep 2002 E rim 39
26 Sep 2002 W rim 12

Jörg Keller provided photographs showing the evolution of the crater from 1988 through the present, emphasizing the progressive upward growth of the crater floor (figure 76). The sequence shows how the volcano has reached a critical stage where extremely fluid lavas can pour down the flanks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. A suite of photographs showing Lengai's crater evolution, 1988-2002. The photographs were taken from the same position with respect to the summit (looking toward the N). Courtesy Jörg Keller and Jurgis Klaudius.

Whole-rock chemistry. Lengai's lavas have been analyzed by several techniques. High-precision XRF (x-ray fluorescence) analyses (table 4) were cross-checked and confirmed with ICP and ICP-MS (inductively coupled plasma and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer) instruments. The geochemistry of these lavas are of interest because of their unusual low-silica natrocarbonatite compositions.

Table 4. Natrocarbonatite compositions at Ol Doinyo Lengai for lavas erupted in 1988, 1995, and 2000. Analyses were by XRF. * From Keller and Krafft, 1990. Courtesy of Jürg Keller and Aoife McGrath.

Sample OL 102* OL 122 OL 148
Eruption Date 1988 1995 2000
SiO2 0.16 0.53 0.24
TiO2 0.02 0.02 0.02
Al2O3 b.d. 0.13 0.01
Fe2O3t 0.28 0.91 0.37
MnO 0.38 0.39 0.46
MgO 0.38 0.39 0.46
CaO 14.02 16.25 14.61
SrO 1.42 1.4 1.42
BaO 1.6 1.25 1.71
Na2O 32.22 32.22 32.64
K2O 8.38 7.52 8.41
P2O5 0.85 0.93 0.72
CO2 31.55 32.7 30.9
Cl 3.4 3.16 4.53
SO3 3.72 2.23 2.35
F 2.5 2.57 3.47
H2O 0.56 0.01 0.01
- O = F, Cl -1.82 -1.91 -2.48
Total 99.62 100.7 99.85

Safety warnings. Deep radial cracks in the crater floor present a serious risk to visitors walking in the crater of Ol Doinyo Lengai, especially at night. Some of the cracks may be hidden by thin lava flows. Protective eyeglasses should be worn near any type of activity. In 2001 an observer without glasses was hit in one eye by spatter and escaped serious injury because his eye was closed at the moment of impact. He sustained second-degree burns on both eyelids.

Camping inside the active N crater has become much more dangerous due to increased crater floor steepness that allows lava from the central spatter cones to reach the crater rim very quickly. Around 0200 on 5 August 2002, fluid pahoehoe lava from the T49F vent destroyed a supply camp and injured Paul Mongi, a Tanzanian guide. One of Belton's websites gives credit to guides like Mongi, who have aided numerous visitors. (Mongi has recovered from second-degree burns on one foot, sustained when lava ignited his sleeping bag.) Lava invaded the camp in spite of a small ridge separating the camp from the crater floor. No location in the active crater is safe from lava flows. Sudden outbreaks of explosive lava fountains are also a serious risk. On 8 August 2002 two observers walked across the site of the T58 fissure eruption little more than an hour before the activity began. Contributors recommended that camps be set up in the inactive S crater, a 15 minute walk away.

References. Keller, J., and Krafft, M., 1990, Effusive natrocarbonatite activity of Oldoinyo Lengai, June 1988, Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 52, no. 8, p. 629-645.

Bessard, Yves, 2002, Ol Doinyo Lengai: Société de Volcanologie-Geneve (SVG), no. 22 (April 2002), p. 2-10 (URL: http://www.volcans.ch/).

Geologic Background. The symmetrical Ol Doinyo Lengai is the only volcano known to have erupted carbonatite tephras and lavas in historical time. The prominent stratovolcano, known to the Maasai as "The Mountain of God," rises abruptly above the broad plain south of Lake Natron in the Gregory Rift Valley. The cone-building stage ended about 15,000 years ago and was followed by periodic ejection of natrocarbonatitic and nephelinite tephra during the Holocene. Historical eruptions have consisted of smaller tephra ejections and emission of numerous natrocarbonatitic lava flows on the floor of the summit crater and occasionally down the upper flanks. The depth and morphology of the northern crater have changed dramatically during the course of historical eruptions, ranging from steep crater walls about 200 m deep in the mid-20th century to shallow platforms mostly filling the crater. Long-term lava effusion in the summit crater beginning in 1983 had by the turn of the century mostly filled the northern crater; by late 1998 lava had begun overflowing the crater rim.

Information Contacts: Fred Belton, Developmental Studies, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN 37132, USA (URL: http://oldoinyolengai.pbworks.com/); Paul Hloben, P.O. Box 71860, Bryanston 2021, South Africa; Bob Carson, Department of Geology, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA 99362, USA; Burra Ami Gadiye, c/o Sengo Safari Tours, P.O. Box 207, Arusha, Tanzania, Africa; Roberto Carniel, Dip. Georisorse e Territorio, Universita' di Udine Via Cotonificio, 114-33100 Udine, Italy (URL: http://www.swisseduc.ch/stromboli/); Sven Dahlgren, Fylkeshuset, Svend Foynsgt 9, 3126 Tonsberg, Norway; Marco Fulle, Osservatorio Astronomico, Via Tiepolo 11, I-34131 Trieste, Italy (URL: http://www.swisseduc.ch/stromboli/); Jörg Keller, Universitaet Freiburg, Albertstr. 23b, D-79104 Freiburg, Germany; Aoife McGrath, Senior Exploration Geologist, Geita Gold Mine, P.O. Box 532, Geita, Mwanza, Tanzania; Jurgis Klaudius, Institut für Mineralogie, Petrologie und Geochemie, Albertstr. 23 B, 79104 Freiburg, Germany; Andrew Locock, Dept. of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA; Celia Nyamweru, Dept. of Anthropology, St. Lawerence University, Canton, NY 13617, USA (URL: http://blogs.stlawu.edu/lengai/); Joshua Jones, Department of Earth & Space Sciences, Box 351310, Seattle, WA 98195-1310, USA; Jean M. Bahr, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dept. of Geology & Geophysics, 411 Weeks Hall, 1215 W Dayton St. Madison, WI 53706, USA (URL: http://geoscience.wisc.edu/geoscience/people/faculty/jean-bahr/); Christoph Weber, Volcano Expeditions International, Muehlweg 11, 74199 Untergruppenbach, Germany (URL: http://www.Vulkanexpeditionen.de/).


Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — October 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Multi-vent eruption, 25 July-27 September 2002; regional earthquake

An eruption began at Nyamuragira on 25 July 2002 (BGVN 27:07). Flights on 1 and 3 August confirmed that the eruption was continuing at a high rate, but another look on 27 September showed that the eruption had ceased. An unusually large earthquake (Mw 6.1-6.2) and its aftershock (Mw 5.5) struck the region on 24 October 2002.

During 6-8 August a team composed of scientists from the Goma Volcano Observatory (GVO) (Kaseraka Mahinda and François Lukaya) and a UN-OCHA consultant volcanologist (Jacques Durieux) made a survey trip to the active eruption site of Nyamuragira. The team landed by helicopter in the summit caldera, reached the eruption site by foot, and spent 24 hours on the scene.

The team saw the eruption at 0330 on 25 July with lava venting at 3 different fractures, or fracture systems. One fracture was open in the central caldera, and lava flows had covered a major part of the floor and partially filled the pit crater (Crater B). Another fracture was active on the S flank, with lava fountains and one lava flow traveling towards the SW. This fracture was active during the first hours of the eruption only.

N-flank fractures had opened and extended for ~2 km, reaching from the crater rim (2,959 m) down to an elevation of ~2,540 m. At the beginning of the activity, lava fountains appeared along the fractures and spatter accumulated around them. Numerous lava flows (pahoehoe and aa) were emitted from several points of the fracture system. Both the fountaining and the presence of multiple fissure vents followed Nyamuragira's usual eruptive pattern.

On 6 August only the lower part of the fracture was active; a cone (several hundreds meters long, ~70 m high) contained three very active lava fountains ejecting scoria to an altitude of ~100 m. From a breach in the lowest part of the cone (on the S), very fast moving lava flowed NE. At that time the lava extrusion rate was ~3 x 106 m3 per day, a typical value at this volcano. The activity of fountaining and lava emission regained some intensity at the beginning of the night but dropped dramatically during the early morning of 7 August. At that time, only one weak lava fountain remained active in the new crater. Decreasing tremor registered across GVO's seismic network, and low tremor prevailed on the morning of 8 August.

An overflight on 27 September confirmed the end of this eruptive episode when observers failed to see any still-active lava flow and the eruptive cones displayed only fumaroles. At that time, however, weak tremor still consistently registered, with slightly less at Nyamuragira (Katale station) than at Nyiragongo (Rusayo station). Nyamuragira also was the scene of a greater number of high frequency (HF) and long-period (LP) earthquakes.

A large tectonic earthquake (Mw 6.1-6.2; mb 5.8; Ms 6.3), one of the two largest in at least 30 years, occurred on 24 October. A second large-magnitude event (Mw 5.5) occurred about an hour later. For further details on these events, see the text and tables in the section "Regional seismicity" within the report on Nyiragongo in this Bulletin.

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

Information Contacts: Kasereka Mahinda and François Lukaya, Goma Volcano Observatory, Departement de Geophysique, Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles, Lwiro, D.S. Bukavu, DR Congo; Jacques Durieux, Resident Volcanologist, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), United Nations, New York, NY 10017 USA (URL: https://reliefweb.int/).


Nyiragongo (DR Congo) — October 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New fissure vents and lava fountains; largest regional earthquake in 30 years

An expedition visited the summit of Nyiragongo during 17-18 May 2002 to look for possible extrusive activity (BGVN 27:05). During the visit, a small lava fountain was observed on the floor of the crater.

A team ascended to the summit by foot during 16-17 July 2002. As they climbed the team first observed a gray-black plume at 2,700 m elevation, and began to clearly smell SO2 at 3,100 m. From the crater rim (3,425 m) the inner crater was only partially visible because of dense fog and the dark plume. Sounds of molten lava (fountains and spatters) falling on rocks were heard. Despite the extremely poor visibility, it was possible, around 0600, to witness some lava fountaining. The height was estimated as 100 m above the crater floor. During the night, a continuous and strong ashfall affected the upper part of the volcano. On the morning of 17 July the ashfall had ended and only a white plume exited the crater. It was clear that the lower and central part of the crater was extremely active and the presence of a new lava lake was suspected.

On 20 July, the Goma Volcano Observatory (GVO) reported that during the previous weeks, episodes of tremor (some lasting for 23 hours per day) were recorded on several seismic stations around the volcano. Because of poor atmospheric conditions, no helicopter flights were organized. From very limited views through clouds, a white to gray plume was suspected to rise above the crater.

A series of Nyiragongo crater observations were made in September and October of 2002. During 29-30 September the level of the bottom of the crater was stable and occupied by accumulated debris. The crater also contained several vents, the largest of which continued to eject gases at very high pressure. The red coloration of the plume at night was attributed by the GVO to Strombolian explosions and combustion of gases. Burned plants were seen on the crater's E side. An 8 October flight found the crater to be entirely filled by visible vapor as a result of magma degassing. An 11 October flight revealed a new crack at the top of Nyiragongo (at 01°36.840' S and 029°14.505' E), trending in an E-W direction. Scientists conducted gas measurements on 12 October on the ground at Kibunga (Binza); the sampled gases lacked indications of deep origin.

Dario Tedesco indicated that during the two nights preceding a large earthquake on 24 October (see "Regional seismicity" below), incandescence was visible above Nyiragongo's crater from Goma. Witnesses also reported that around this time they saw projections of incandescent lava rising above the crater's confines (perhaps signifying a particularly intense episode of lava fountaining).

Regional seismicity. During 29 September-5 October, GVO noted a slight decrease in high-frequency (HF) and a strong increase in long-period (LP) seismicity compared to mid-August. Specifically, a total of 260 HF and 1,024 LP earthquakes occurred during the week (compared to 290 HF and 287 LP events during 18-24 August). Volcanic tremor was registered at all seismic stations (except in Lwiro), consistent with the eruption at Nyamuragira and a gas plume at Nyiragongo. The tremor was slightly less significant at Nyamuragira (Katale station) than at Nyiragongo (Rusayo station). The spatial distribution of the epicenters revealed that the LP earthquakes were mostly located in the vicinity of Nyamuragira. In contrast, HF epicenters were dispersed, occurring both in the N, at Virunga and Masisi, and in the S, at Lake Kivu. Located magmatic and HF earthquakes tended to be distributed to the E of Nyamuragira and Nyiragongo, at depths of 5-15 km. Tremor, practically constant in amplitude, duration (several hours per day), and temporal distribution, registered at Katale and Rusayo stations. The tremor was taken to indicate great activity at Nyamuragira and Nyiragongo. At each volcano, there was a negative correlation between the abundance of tremor and presence of LP swarms.

During 6-12 October, GVO noted a total of 342 HF and 996 LP earthquakes. Magmatic and HF earthquakes at Nyamuragira and Nyiragongo yielded hypocenters at 5-20 km depths. Other observations of seismicity were similar to the previous week.

A tectonic earthquake was felt in Goma and surrounding areas on 8 October 2002. The region had been the scene of an unusual number of recent earthquakes (table 4). The U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) catalog for 2002 included an anomalously large swarm of tectonic earthquakes in the area, including many events over M 4 during January 2002. Epicenters in the January swarm were commonly within 50 km, and in one case 6 km, of Nyiragongo. The 8 October earthquake mentioned above is absent from table 4, perhaps because of insufficient magnitude or depth.

Table 4. A list containing all earthquakes of M 2 or greater within 200 km of Nyiragongo during 1 January 2002-26 November 2002. Data courtesy of US Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) catalog of historical and preliminary data; Bruce Presgrave (NEIC) first noted the anomalously large number of earthquakes in January 2002. Magnitudes include mb, Ms, Mw, and Mn; all are computed magnitudes (where available). Moment magnitude (Mw) is a preferred magnitude scale for large earthquakes; it is in common use, computed from a long-period body- and mantle-wave moment tensor-inversion method. Surface-wave magnitude (Ms) is computed from the vertical component of surface waves of 20-second period; Ms does not increase beyond magnitude 8, and thus indicates smaller values than some other magnitude scales for large earthquakes (not a big factor here). Body-wave magnitude (mb) is computed using short-period P waves; for large natural earthquakes it is generally less uniform and reliable than the moment magnitude. The Mn magnitude, sometimes labeled MbLg, is computed from the vertical component of 1-second Lg seismic-waves (short-period surface waves).

Date Coordinates (decimal degrees) mb Ms Other magnitude Radial distance (km)
04 Jan 2002 0.136°S, 29.758°E 4.8 4.5 -- 162
17 Jan 2002 1.629°S, 29.152°E 4.3 -- 4.30 Mn 16
17 Jan 2002 1.684°S, 29.077°E 4.7 -- 4.90 Mn 26
18 Jan 2002 1.578°S, 29.031°E 4.2 -- 4.70 Mn 25
18 Jan 2002 1.780°S, 29.076°E 4.3 -- 4.70 Mn 34
18 Jan 2002 1.662°S, 28.866°E 4.2 -- -- 45
19 Jan 2002 1.761°S, 28.969°E 3.9 -- 4.40 Mn 41
19 Jan 2002 1.931°S, 29.579°E 4.6 -- 4.70 Mn 58
19 Jan 2002 1.879°S, 29.059°E 4.2 -- 4.40 Mn 44
20 Jan 2002 1.681°S, 28.981°E 4.9 4.6 5.20 Mn 34
20 Jan 2002 1.641°S, 29.042°E 3.9 -- 4.40 Mn 26
20 Jan 2002 1.599°S, 29.050°E 4.2 -- 4.60 Mn 23
20 Jan 2002 1.726°S, 29.168°E 3.8 -- 4.20 Mn 24
21 Jan 2002 1.726°S, 28.854°E 4.6 -- 4.90 Mn 49
21 Jan 2002 1.505°S, 28.941°E 4.2 -- 4.50 Mn 34
21 Jan 2002 1.776°S, 29.041°E 4.9 4.5 5.10 Mn 36
21 Jan 2002 1.903°S, 29.117°E 4.7 -- 5.10 Mn 44
22 Jan 2002 1.787°S, 28.971°E 4.0 -- 4.30 Mn 42
22 Jan 2002 1.746°S, 29.095°E 3.9 -- 4.50 Mn 30
22 Jan 2002 1.515°S, 28.993°E 4.9 4.7 5.20 Mn 28
22 Jan 2002 1.551°S, 28.995°E 4.4 -- 4.70 Mn 28
22 Jan 2002 1.461°S, 29.249°E 4.2 -- 4.60 Mn 6
30 Jan 2002 1.633°S, 28.886°E -- -- 4.60 Mn 42
11 Feb 2002 1.386°S, 29.010°E 4.4 -- -- 30
09 Sep 2002 2.567°S, 28.867°E 4.5 -- -- 123
24 Oct 2002 1.899°S, 28.904°E 5.8 6.3 6.10-6.20 Mw 56
24 Oct 2002 1.988°S, 28.875°E 5.3 5.5 5.50 Mw 66

A violent earthquake (Mw 6.1-6.2), one of the two largest in at least 30 years in this area, occurred at 0808 on 24 October (table 4). GVO reported that it was felt in surrounding areas, including Rutshuru, Goma, Bukavu, Butare, Kigali, and Bujumbura. GVO's seven operating seismic stations (Lwiro, Goma, Kunene, Katale, Kubumba, Rusayo, and Bulengo) recorded the earthquake but the high amplitude of the signals caused saturations, thwarting attempts to use local data to obtain rapid, meaningful solutions for seismic parameters. A second large-magnitude event (Mw 5.5) occurred about an hour later. Both earthquakes struck SW of Nyiragongo, at distances of 56 and 66 km (tables 4 and 5).

Table 5. A list containing earthquakes of M 5 or greater located within 300 km of Nyiragongo during 1 January 1973-26 November 2002. Earthquake depths were typically ~10-33 km. Data courtesy of US Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) catalog of historical and preliminary data. See the previous table caption for a discussion of the magnitude types.

Date Coordinates (decimal degrees) mb Ms Other magnitude Radial distance (km)
21 Nov 1973 3.607°S, 28.186°E 5.1 -- -- 258
25 Apr 1974 0.995°N, 30.091°E 5.0 -- -- 292
06 Jan 1977 2.509°S, 28.702°E 5.3 -- -- 124
14 Apr 1977 2.456°S, 28.940°E 5.2 -- -- 108
29 Dec 1977 0.013°S, 29.683°E 4.8 5.4 -- 175
29 Jan 1978 3.929°S, 29.350°E 5.3 -- -- 266
25 Oct 1979 3.412°S, 29.070°E 5.2 -- -- 209
09 Jan 1980 3.445°S, 27.442°E 5.0 4.6 -- 292
21 May 1981 2.698°S, 28.661°E 5.0 -- -- 145
20 Jul 1981 2.709°S, 28.461°E 5.0 4.0 -- 157
09 Jan 1982 1.671°S, 28.338°E 5.0 -- -- 102
03 Jul 1982 3.737°S, 28.951°E 5.2 -- -- 246
04 Jul 1982 3.778°S, 28.917°E 5.0 -- -- 251
15 Jan 1983 0.513°N, 30.199°E 5.2 4.1 -- 247
24 Sep 1983 1.563°S, 28.381°E 5.2 -- -- 96
04 Sep 1990 0.479°S, 29.085°E 5.0 5.0 -- 116
18 Sep 1990 4.060°S, 29.483°E 5.0 4.3 -- 281
05 Feb 1994 0.593°S, 30.037°E 5.8 6.0 6.20 Mw 249
29 Apr 1995 1.315°S, 28.605°E 5.1 4.9 -- 75
24 Mar 1996 0.565°N, 30.169°E 5.0 -- 5.40 Mw 251
02 Mar 2000 2.582°S, 27.826°E 5.4 4.5 -- 196
02 Mar 2000 2.371°S, 28.026°E 5.0 4.1 -- 165
29 Jun 2001 0.292°N, 29.972°E 5.0 4.4 5.30 Mw 215
20 Jan 2002 1.681°S, 28.981°E 4.9 4.6 -- 34
21 Jan 2002 1.776°S, 29.041°E 4.9 4.5 5.10 Mn 36
21 Jan 2002 1.903°S, 29.117°E 4.7 -- 5.10 Mn 44
22 Jan 2002 1.515°S, 28.993°E 4.9 4.7 5.20 Mn 28
24 Oct 2002 1.899°S, 28.904°E 5.8 6.3 6.10-6.20 Mw 56
24 Oct 2002 1.988°S, 28.875°E 5.3 5.5 5.50 Mw 66

Soon after the earthquakes, a GVO team measured the temperature and composition of gas released from fractures on the S flank of Nyiragongo and along the N shore of Lake Kivu. No significant changes were found with respect to the measurements taken in the previous days.

Damage was reported at Bukavu (fissures in house walls), Lwiro (some houses destroyed, roof of the seismic station collapsed, and walls of laboratories fissured), Mugeri (a church destroyed), Goma (several house walls fissured, and a truck accident killed two people), and Kigali (walls of several houses fissured, and a school wall collapsed, causing panic).

Since earthquakes commonly occur and are expected to occur again in the future in the active rift, GVO recommended an education campaign discussing seismic hazards and response related to Africa's Great Lakes region.

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

Information Contacts: Kavotha Kalendi Sadaka, Celestin Kasereka, Jean-Pierre Bajope, Mathieu Yalire, and Paolo Papale, Goma Volcano Observatory, Departement de Geophysique, Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles, Lwiro, D.S. Bukavu, DR Congo; Jacques Durieux, Dario Tedesco, and Jack Lockwood, Groupe d'Etude des Volcans Actifs, 6, rue des Razes, 69320 Feyzin, France; Bruce Presgrave, National Earthquake Information Center, P.O. Box 25046, MS 966, Lakewood, CO 80225, USA (URL: https://earthquake.usgs.gov/); United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), United Nations, New York, NY 10017, USA (URL: https://reliefweb.int/).


Panarea (Italy) — October 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Panarea

Italy

38.638°N, 15.064°E; summit elev. 399 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Increased submarine fumarolic activity near Panarea Island

On 3 November 2002, fishermen reported strong exhalative phenomena in the Lisca Bianca-Bottaro-Lisca Nera area, E of Panarea Island (figure 1). They described boiling seawater, dead fish, and an intense sulfur smell. On 4 November, scientists of the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) carried out aerial and sea surveys between Panarea and the Lisca Bianca-Dattilo-Bottaro islets from a Civil Protection helicopter and a Coast Guard boat.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Bathymetric map of the Panarea Island area, showing the area of degassing in November 2002. Modified from Gabbianelli et. al. (1990); courtesy of INGV.

In three distinct areas between Lisca Bianca and Lisca Nera (figure 2), discolored water was visible, accompanied by intense gas bubbling. The first area, located W of Lisca Bianca, had three distinct degassing points in which bubbles with diameters of some meters reached the sea surface. A second area stretched SSE from W of Bottaro; on the sea surface there was only one point where vigorous outbursts of meter-sized bubbles were noted (figure 3). The third and smallest area was just SW of the second one. Water depths in all three areas are shallower than 30 m.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Bathymetric map and location of degassing points on 4 November 2002. Modified from Gabbianelli et. al. (1996); courtesy of INGV.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Aerial photo of the Lisca Bianca-Bottaro-Lisca Nera-Panarea Island area with evident water discoloration phenomena on 4 November 2002. Courtesy of INGV.

During the preliminary survey, INGV scientists recorded thermal images of the sea surface. Direct pH and temperature measurements were carried out at different depths, and seawater samples were collected. Neither temperature measurements nor thermal images identified appreciable thermal anomalies, because water temperatures (22-23°C) near the degassing points were similar to those close to the island's pier. Conversely, pH values were about 5.6-5.7, significantly lower than typical seawater values.

A field survey was also carried out in the Calcara Beach area, where fumarolic activity has been known since the Roman Age. No anomalies were detected in either the fumarolic flux or in the measured temperature (100°C). Finally, field and aerial surveys were performed in order to exclude the occurrence of ground fissuring or other related anomalous phenomena on Panarea Island.

On 5 November the aerial survey highlighted a remarkable decrease in the intensity of exhalation activity and a sharp reduction of the area affected by water discoloration. In particular, gas bubbling was restricted to the area W of Bottaro. Repeated thermal investigations did not find any significant anomaly. Vigorous bubbling and water discoloration further decreased in the following days.

Seismicity. In the early morning on 3 November the INGV seismic station PAN recorded a swarm of microseisms close to Panarea. PAN, in the E part of the island, is equipped with a 1-Hz vertical seismometer. Although isolated micro-events were recorded beginning at 0253 GMT, the most intense phase of the swarm, in terms of number of events, occurred between 0337 and 0500 GMT. During the swarm, geophysicists noted some hundreds of micro-events with average durations of 8 seconds and magnitudes generally less than 1. After the climax, isolated events continued. Overall, there were a few events with magnitudes between 1 and 1.5; it was impossible to locate their hypocenters because they were not detected at stations more distant from the island. According to S-P arrival time differences, the source could lay within a radius of 2-3 km from the island. The spectrum of the events analyzed shows a broad frequency content, with dominant peaks from 5 to 16 Hz.

Background. Panarea, the smallest island of the Aeolian volcanic arc in the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea, is located ~30 km SW of Stromboli. Panarea is a cone-shaped edifice rising from 1,700 m below sea level to 421 m at Punta del Corvo peak. The subaerial portion of the island was built by prevailing effusive activity and emplacement of domes from 149 to 124 Ka (Calanchi et al., 1999). A second stage, during which pyroclastic activity prevailed, occurred between 59 and 13 Ka (Losito, 1989). As of November 2002 the only volcanic activity consists of a broad fumarolic field in a submarine crater, whose rim is inferred by the semicircular distribution of the islets of Dattilo, Lisca Bianca, Bottaro, and Lisca Nera (Gabbianelli et al., 1990, Italiano and Nuccio, 1991). Panarea and the Aeolian Islands are monitored by the Istiuto Nazioanle di Geofisica e Vulcanologias, Sezz. Catania and Palermo.

References. Calanchi, N., Tranne, C.A., Lucchini, F., Rossi, P.L., and Villa, I.M., 1999, Explanatory notes to the geological map (1:10000) of Panarea and Basiluzzo islands (Aeolian arc. Italy): Acta Vulcanologica, v. 11, no. 2, p. 223-243.

Gabbianelli, G., Gillot, P.Y., Lanzafame, G., Romagnoli, C., and Rossi, P.L., 1990, Tectonic and volcanic evolution of Panarea (Aeolian Islands, Italy): Marine Geology, v. 92, p. 313-326.

Gabbianelli, G., Cortecci, G., Capra, A., Giacomelli, L., Pompilio, M., and Rossi, P.L., 1996, Lineamenti geo-vulcanologici ed ambientali del'area craterica sottomarina di Dattilo-Lisca Bianca (Isola di Panarea, Arcipelago Eoliano) in Caratterizzazione ambientale marina del sistema Eolie e dei bacini limitrofi di Cefalù e Gioia (EOCUMM 95) (edited by Faranda, F.M., and Povero, P.): Data Report, p. 455-462.

Italiano, F., and Nuccio, P.M., 1991, Geochemical investigation of submarine volcanic exhalations to the east of Panarea, Aeolian Islands, Italy: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 46, p. 125-141.

Losito, R., 1989, Stratigrafia, caratteri deposizionali e aree sorgenti dei Tufi Bruni delle Isole Eolie: Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Bari University, 92 p.

Geologic Background. The mostly submerged Panarea volcanic complex lies about midway between Stromboli and Lipari in the eastern part of the Aeolian Islands. Panarea, the smallest island in the Aeolian Archipelago, lies on the western side of a shallow platform whose shelf margin is at about 130 m depth. A series of small islands breach the surface to form the Central Reefs, the rim of a crater 2 km E of Panarea, whose shallow submerged floor contains Roman ruins. The submerged Secca dei Pesci lava dome lies at the SE end of the platform, and the rhyolitic Basiluzzo lava dome rises 165 m above the surface at the NE end, along a ridge trending towards Stromboli volcano. The complex was constructed in two main stages: an initial effusive activity phase that produced lava domes, and an explosive stage. The youngest subaerial airfall-tephra deposits are dated to about 20,000 years ago; a date of less then 10,000 BP on a lava flow is uncertain. Vigorous hydrothermal activity has continued at fumarolic fields at several locations on the submerged platform; submarine hydrothermal explosions have occurred in historical time.

Information Contacts: Susanna Falsaperla, Luigi Lodato, and Massimo Pompilio, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - Sezione di Catania (INGV), Piazza Roma, 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/en/).


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — October 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small explosions, earthquakes, and tremor during July-October 2002

During July-October 2002, volcanic activity at Popocatépetl consisted of small-to-moderate, but at times explosive, eruptions of steam, gas, and generally minor amounts of ash. Explosions on 1 and 2 July produced ash plumes that reached 2 km and 700 m above the crater, respectively. Volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes (M 1.8-2.9) occurred almost daily. The earthquakes were located mostly to the S and E at depths up to 8 km beneath the crater. Isolated episodes of low-amplitude harmonic tremor were registered, typically for a few hours daily.

The Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED) reported that during most of July through mid-August, up to 25 small-to-moderate emissions per day were accompanied by steam, gas, and sometimes small amounts of ash. The number of exhalations per day increased during 22-24 July (43, 80, and 55) and 15-17 August (68, 58, and 70). Around 25-45 exhalations occurred per day through the end of August. During September and October, no more than 26 exhalations were registered per day.

Activity reported by CENAPRED in July was probably related to changes in morphology of the intracrater dome (BGVN 27:02 and 27:06). Compared to an aerial photo taken on 29 April (figure 46), an image on 22 May 2002 (figure 47) showed that the dome had diminished in size.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Vertical aerial photo of Popocatépetl taken on 29 April 2002. The top of the image is generally towards the N. Courtesy CENAPRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Vertical aerial photo of Popocatépetl taken on 22 May 2002. The photo provided evidence that the dome was diminished in size compared to 29 April 2002 (figure 46). The top of the image is generally towards the NNW. Courtesy CENAPRED.

CENAPRED stated that future activity could consist of isolated minor explosions with emission of incandescent fragments out to short distances from the crater or emissions of variable quantities of ash. The Alert Level remained at 2, and CENAPRED recommended that people avoid the zone extending out to 12 km from the crater, although the road between Santiago Xalitzintla (Puebla) and San Pedro Nexapa (Mexico State), including Paso de Cortés, remained open for controlled traffic.

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

Information Contacts: Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED), Delfin Madrigal 665, Col. Pedregal de Santo Domingo, Coyoacan, 04360, Mexico D.F. (URL: https://www.gob.mx/cenapred/).


Ruang (Indonesia) — October 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Ruang

Indonesia

2.3°N, 125.37°E; summit elev. 725 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption on 25 September 2002 sends ash to at least 5 km

The last reported activity at Ruang occurred when Qantas Airlines pilots observed an eruption around 1600 on 27 June 1996 (BGVN 21:08). A resulting plume moved W and reached an altitude of ~6 km. However, the eruption was not visible in GMS satellite imagery. The last known confirmed eruption at Ruang occurred in 1949.

A drastic increase of seismic events - from 3 to 24 events/day - was observed on 24 September by the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI). The next day, people near the volcano reported hearing a noise, and ash eruptions began by 0100. By 0300 ash emissions were continuous, and ash began falling around Ruang island and the nearby island of Tagulandang. Observers reported that the sounds accompanying the eruption were weak. By 0400 more than 1,000 people living near the volcano were evacuated to a nearby island. Around 0800, the Alert Level advanced to the highest status (level 4).

The first strong eruption commenced at 1140 on 25 September, producing thick black clouds that rose 3 km. Ten minutes later, a second eruption sent ash clouds rising 5 km. At 1210 the activity subsided enough to observe glowing material on E flank. The specific eruption site has not been firmly established. It has been presumed by VSI that it originated from "Crater II" or "where the 1949 lava originated (E side of summit)." The eruption column was reported from ground-based observations as rising to at least 5 km, and by Darwin VAAC advisories as rising to about 17 km. According to the Darwin VAAC, satellite imagery revealed that the ash cloud drifted westward to Borneo and Sumatra. Satellite images from NOAA showed the plume drifting SW with other components drifting W (figure 1). By 30 September the volcano was quiet with only a thin white plume rising about 100 m. The Alert Level was reduced from 4 to 3 on 30 September 2002.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Satellite imagery on 25 September 2002 showed a large eruption plume from Ruang. The volcano's location is shown by the arrow. The plume appears to branch into SW- and W-drifting components. Courtesy NOAA.

Geologic Background. Ruang volcano, not to be confused with the better known Raung volcano on Java, is the southernmost volcano in the Sangihe Island arc, north of Sulawesi Island. The 4 x 5 km island volcano rises to 725 m across a narrow strait SW of the larger Tagulandang Island. The summit contains a crater partially filled by a lava dome initially emplaced in 1904. Explosive eruptions recorded since 1808 have often been accompanied by lava dome formation and pyroclastic flows that have damaged inhabited areas.

Information Contacts: Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI), Jalan Diponegoro No. 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, P.O. Box 735, Darwin, NT 0801 Australia; NOAA/NESDIS Satellite Analysis Branch, Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA.


Veniaminof (United States) — October 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Veniaminof

United States

56.17°N, 159.38°W; summit elev. 2507 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Volcanic unrest, uncertain low-level eruptive activity in September 2002

On 10 September 2002 the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) detected 1-minute-long pulses of low-frequency tremor arriving every 2-5 minutes on several seismic stations at Veniaminof. This type of seismicity is indicative of volcanic unrest. Retrospective analysis of seismic data suggested that tremor began as early as 8 September. The overall level of seismicity decreased through late September, but remained above the background level established during the summer of 2002.

On 24 September, residents of Perryville, 35 km S of the volcano, reported and photographed small bursts of steam, possibly containing minor amounts of ash, rising just above the historically active intracaldera cinder cone. Without additional observations, AVO could not determine if this indicated very low-level eruptive activity or vigorous steaming from the cone. On several occasions of relatively clear weather conditions, AVO observed no signs of elevated temperature or ash emission on satellite imagery.

A satellite image recorded on 2 October suggested an apparent gray, diffuse deposit extending across the caldera from the historically active intracaldera cinder cone. This could reflect a small explosion, vigorous steam emission, or redistribution of material on the cone by strong winds. No thermal anomalies were observed on satellite imagery. AVO considered the activity at Veniaminof to be minor, but the exact nature of the unrest remained unknown. Due to the continuing seismicity and reports of unusual steaming, the Concern Color Code remained at Yellow.

Geologic Background. Veniaminof, on the Alaska Peninsula, is truncated by a steep-walled, 8 x 11 km, glacier-filled caldera that formed around 3,700 years ago. The caldera rim is up to 520 m high on the north, is deeply notched on the west by Cone Glacier, and is covered by an ice sheet on the south. Post-caldera vents are located along a NW-SE zone bisecting the caldera that extends 55 km from near the Bering Sea coast, across the caldera, and down the Pacific flank. Historical eruptions probably all originated from the westernmost and most prominent of two intra-caldera cones, which rises about 300 m above the surrounding icefield. The other cone is larger, and has a summit crater or caldera that may reach 2.5 km in diameter, but is more subdued and barely rises above the glacier surface.

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA, 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.

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements  Obituaries

Misc Reports

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

Additional Reports  False Reports