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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

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Renewed activity in October 2020 with explosions, lava flows, and ash plumes

Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) Occasional ash and gas-and-steam plumes along with summit thermal anomalies

Tinakula (Solomon Islands) Intermittent gas-and-steam plumes and weak thermal anomalies during July-December 2020

Erebus (Antarctica) Fewer thermal anomalies during 2020 compared to recent years

Aira (Japan) Intermittent explosions continue during July through December 2020

Nishinoshima (Japan) Eruption ends in late August 2020; lengthy cooling from extensive lava flows and large crater

Nyiragongo (DR Congo) Strong thermal anomalies and gas emission from lava lake through November 2020

Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand) Gas-and-steam emissions with some re-suspended ash in November 2020

Kerinci (Indonesia) Intermittent ash plumes and gas-and-steam emissions during June-November 2020

Suwanosejima (Japan) Explosion rate increases during July-December 2020, bomb ejected 1.3 km from crater on 28 December

Karangetang (Indonesia) Hot material on the NW flank in November 2020; intermittent crater thermal anomalies

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) Dome growth and ash emissions continue during July-December 2020



Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Renewed activity in October 2020 with explosions, lava flows, and ash plumes

Klyuchevskoy, located in northern Kamchatka, has had historical eruptions dating back 3,000 years characterized by major explosive and effusive eruptions from the flank craters. The current eruption began in April 2019 and has recently consisted of Strombolian activity, ash plumes, and an active lava flow descending the SE flank (BGVN 45:09). This report covers September-December 2020 and describes similar activity of Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and active lava flows beginning in early October. Information primarily comes from weekly and daily reports from the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT), the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory (VAAC), and satellite data.

Activity from July through September was relatively low, with no thermal activity detected during August-September. On 2 October renewed Strombolian explosions began at 1003, ejecting ash 300-400 m above the summit and producing gas-and-steam plumes with some ash that drifted down the E flank (figure 48). That night, crater incandescence was visible. On 5 October KVERT reported that a lava flow began to effuse along the Apakhonchich chute at 0100. During 7-8 October activity intensified and was characterized by strong explosions, collapses of the sides of the drainage, strong thermal anomalies, and ash plumes that extended over 200 km SE from the crater; the lava flow remained active and continued to descend the SE flank. A Tokyo VAAC advisory issued on 7 October reported that an ash plume rose to 8.8 km altitude and drifted E and SE; during 8-9 October ash plumes rose to 5.5 km altitude and drifted as far as 270 km SE. A strong, bright, thermal anomaly was observed daily in satellite imagery, which represented the new lava flow. Strombolian explosions continued throughout the month, accompanied by gas-and-steam plumes containing some ash and an active lava flow advancing down the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank (figure 49).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Photos of a gray ash plume (left) and the beginning of the lava flow (right), represented as summit crater incandescence at Klyuchevskoy on 2 October 2020 at 1030 and 2100, respectively. Photos by Y. Demyanchuk; courtesy of Volkstat.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Photo of Strombolian explosions at the summit of Klyuchevskoy accompanied by ash emissions and a lava flow advancing down the SE-flank Apakhonchich chute on 25 October 2020. Photo by Y. Demyanchuk (color corrected); courtesy of Volkstat.

Similar activity continued to be reported in November, consisting of Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and a lava flow advancing down the SE flank. A bright thermal anomaly was observed in thermal satellite imagery each day during the month. During 16-19 November explosions recorded in satellite and video data showed ash plumes rising to 7.5 km altitude and drifting as far as 108 km to the NE, E, SE, and S (figure 50). On 19 November an ash cloud 65 x 70 km in size drifted 50 km SE, according to a KVERT VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation). During 26-30 November video and satellite data showed that gas-and-steam plumes containing some ash rose to 7 km altitude and extended as far as 300 km NW and E, accompanied by persistent moderate explosive-effusive activity (figure 51).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Photo of the Strombolian and Vulcanian explosions at Klyuchevskoy on 18 November 2020 which produced a dense gray ash plume. Photo by Yu. Demyanchuk, IVS FEB RAS, KVERT
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Photo of the summit of Klyuchevskoy (right foreground) showing incandescent Strombolian explosions, the lava flow descending the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank, and a gray ash plume on 29 November 2020. Kamen volcano is the cone at back left. Photo by Y. Demyanchuk (color corrected); courtesy of Volkstat.

Moderate explosive-effusive activity continued through December; a strong daily thermal anomaly was visible in satellite images. During 2-3 December gas-and-steam plumes containing some ash rose to 7 km altitude and extended 300 km NW and E. Intermittent gas-and-ash plumes continued through the month. On 7 December KVERT reported that a new lava flow began to advance down the Kozyrevsky chute on the S flank, while the flow on the SE flank continued. Strombolian explosions in the crater ejected incandescent material up to 300 m above the crater on 8 December while hot material was deposited and traveled 350 m below the crater. A cinder cone was observed growing in the summit crater and measured 75 m tall.

Strombolian and Vulcanian activity continued during 11-25 December, accompanied by the lava flow on the S flank; according to Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images, the effusion on the SE flank had stopped around 13 December and had begun to cool. The lava flow in the Kozyrevsky chute spalled off incandescent material that continued to travel an additional 350 m. Gas-and-steam plumes that contained some ash rose to 6 km altitude and drifted up to 350 km generally E. On 24 December the Kamchatka Volcanological Station field team visited Klyuchevskoy to do work on the field stations. The scientists observed explosions that ejected incandescent material 300 m above the crater and the S-flank lava flow (figure 52). On 28 December KVERT reported that the moderate explosive-effusive eruption continued, but the intensity of the explosions had significantly decreased. The lava flow on the S flank continued to effuse, but its flow rate had already decreased.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Photos of a dense ash plume (left) and a color corrected photo of the lava flow advancing on the S flank (right) of Klyuchevskoy on 24 December 2020, accompanied by incandescent Strombolian explosions and a gray ash plume. Photos by Y. Demyanchuk; courtesy of Volkstat.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows frequent and strong thermal activity beginning in early October and continuing through December 2020, which is represented by the active lava flows reported in the summit crater (figure 53). According to the MODVOLC thermal algorithm, a total of 615 thermal alerts were detected at or near the summit crater from 1 October to 31 December; none were reported in September. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery frequently showed the progression of the active lava flows as a strong thermal anomaly descending the SE flank during October through late November and the SW flank during December, sometimes even through weather clouds (figure 54). The thermal anomalies were commonly accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume that drifted mainly E and NE. A total of 164 VAAC advisories were issued from 2 October through 31 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Strong and frequent thermal anomalies were detected in early October at Klyuchevskoy and continued through December 2020, as recorded by the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing the progression of two lava flows (bright yellow-orange) originating from the summit crater at Klyuchevskoy from 4 October through December 2020. Crater incandescence was visible on 4 October (top left), which marked the beginning of the lava flow. By 31 October (top right) the active flow had traveled down the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank, accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume that drifted NE. On 10 November (bottom left) the lava flow continued down the SE flank; the darker black color represents parts of the lava flow that began to cool. The gas-and-steam plume drifted E from the summit. On 25 December (bottom right) a new lava flow was observed descending the SW flank, also accompanied by a strong gas-and-steam plume. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Kamchatka Volcanological Station, Klyuchi, Kamchatka Krai, Russia (URL: http://volkstat.ru/); 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/); 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).


Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Kadovar

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional ash and gas-and-steam plumes along with summit thermal anomalies

Kadovar is located in the Bismark Sea offshore from the mainland of Papua New Guinea about 25 km NNE from the mouth of the Sepik River. Its first confirmed eruption began in early January 2018, characterized by ash plumes and a lava extrusion that resulted in the evacuation of around 600 residents from the N side of the island (BGVN 43:03). Activity has recently consisted of intermittent ash plumes, gas-and-steam plumes, and thermal anomalies (BGVN 45:07). Similar activity continued during this reporting period of July-December 2020 using information from the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

RVO issued an information bulletin on 15 July reporting minor eruptive activity during 1-5 July with moderate light-gray ash emissions rising a few hundred meters above the Main Crater. On 5 July activity intensified; explosions recorded at 1652 and 1815 generated a dense dark gray ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater and drifted W. Activity subsided that day, though fluctuating summit crater incandescence was visible at night. Activity increased again during 8-10 July, characterized by explosions detected on 8 July at 2045, on 9 July at 1145 and 1400, and on 10 July at 0950 and 1125, each of which produced a dark gray ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater. According to Darwin VAAC advisories issued on 10, 16, and 30 July ash plumes were observed rising to 1.5-1.8 km altitude and drifting NW.

Gas-and-steam emissions and occasional ash plumes were observed in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on clear weather days during August through December (figure 56). Ash plumes rose to 1.2 and 1.5 km altitude on 3 and 16 August, respectively, and drifted NW, according to Darwin VAAC advisories. On 26 August an ash plume rose to 2.1 km altitude and drifted WNW before dissipating within 1-2 hours. Similar activity was reported during September-November, according to several Darwin VAAC reports; ash plumes rose to 0.9-2.1 km altitude and drifted mainly NW. VAAC notices were issued on 12 and 22 September, 4, 7-8, and 18 October, and 18 November. A single MODVOLC alert was issued on 27 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Sentinel-2 satellite data showing a consistent gas-and-steam plume originating from the summit of Kadovar during August-December 2020 and drifting NW. On 21 September (top right) a gray plume was seen drifting several kilometers from the island to the NW. Images with “Natural color” (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows intermittent low-power anomalies during July through December 2020 (figure 57). Some of this thermal activity in the summit crater was observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions that drifted primarily NW (figure 58).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Intermittent low-power thermal anomalies at Kadovar were detected in the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power) during July through December 2020. The island location is mislocated in the MIROVA system by about 5.5 km SE due to older mis-registered imagery; the anomalies are all on the island. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Sentinel-2 satellite data showing thermal anomalies at the summit of Kadovar on 23 July (top left), 7 August (top right), 1 September (bottom left), and 21 September (bottom right) 2020, occasionally accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume drifting dominantly NW. Two thermal anomalies were visible on the E rim of the summit crater on 23 July (top left) and 7 August (top right). Images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Tinakula (Solomon Islands) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Tinakula

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent gas-and-steam plumes and weak thermal anomalies during July-December 2020

Tinakula is located 100 km NE of the Solomon Trench at the N end of the Santa Cruz. The current eruption began in December 2018 and has recently been characterized by intermittent small thermal anomalies and gas-and-steam plumes (BGVN 45:07), which continued into the current reporting period of July-December 2020. Information primarily comes from various satellite data, as ground observations are rarely available.

Infrared MODIS satellite data processed by MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) showed a total of ten low-power thermal anomalies during July through December; one anomaly was detected in early July, two in late August, three in November, and four in December (figure 44). A single MODVOLC alert was issued on 16 December, which was visible in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery on 17 December (figure 45). Though clouds often obscured the view of the summit crater, Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed intermittent dense gas-and-steam plumes rising from the summit that drifted in different directions (figure 45).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Low-power thermal anomalies at Tinakula were detected intermittently during April-December 2020 by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery shows ongoing gas-and-steam plumes rising from Tinakula during July-December 2020. A small thermal anomaly (bright yellow-orange) is visible on 17 December (bottom right) using “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8a) rendering. All other images using “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Erebus (Antarctica) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Erebus

Antarctica

77.53°S, 167.17°E; summit elev. 3794 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fewer thermal anomalies during 2020 compared to recent years

Erebus, located on Ross Island, Antarctica, and overlooking the McMurdo research station, is the southernmost active volcano in the world. The stratovolcano, which frequently has active lava lakes in its 250-m wide summit crater, is primarily monitored by satellite.

Thermal activity during 2020 was at lower levels than in recent years. The total number of thermal pixels, as recorded by MODIS thermal emission instruments aboard NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites, was 76 (table 6), similar to low totals recorded in 2000 and 2015.

Table 6. Number of monthly MODIS-MODVOLC thermal alert pixels recorded at Erebus during 2017-2020. See BGVN 42:06 for data from 2000 through 2016. The table was compiled using data provided by the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec SUM
2017 0 21 9 0 0 1 11 61 76 52 0 3 234
2018 0 21 58 182 55 17 137 172 103 29 0 0 774
2019 2 21 162 151 55 56 75 53 29 19 1 0 624
2020 0 2 16 18 4 4 1 3 18 3 1 6 76

Sentinel-2 satellite images showed two lava lakes, with one diminishing in size during the year (figure 29). Occasionally a gas plume could be observed. The volcano was frequently covered by atmospheric clouds on days when the satellite passed over.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Infrared Sentinel-2 thermal images of the summit crater area of Erebus in 2020. Left: Image on 28 February 2020 showing two lava lakes in the summit crater. Right: Image on 4 October 2020 showing a single primary lake, with a much diminished second lake immediately SW. The main crater is 500 x 600 m wide. Both images are using the Atmospheric Penetration filter (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Mount Erebus, the world's southernmost historically active volcano, overlooks the McMurdo research station on Ross Island. It is the largest of three major volcanoes forming the crudely triangular Ross Island. The summit of the dominantly phonolitic volcano has been modified by one or two generations of caldera formation. A summit plateau at about 3,200 m elevation marks the rim of the youngest caldera, which formed during the late-Pleistocene and within which the modern cone was constructed. An elliptical 500 x 600 m wide, 110-m-deep crater truncates the summit and contains an active lava lake within a 250-m-wide, 100-m-deep inner crater; other lava lakes are sometimes present. The glacier-covered volcano was erupting when first sighted by Captain James Ross in 1841. Continuous lava-lake activity with minor explosions, punctuated by occasional larger Strombolian explosions that eject bombs onto the crater rim, has been documented since 1972, but has probably been occurring for much of the volcano's recent history.

Information Contacts: Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Aira (Japan) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent explosions continue during July through December 2020

Sakurajima is the active volcano within the Aira Caldera in Kyushu, Japan. With several craters historically active, the current activity is concentrated in the Minamidake summit crater. Activity usually consists of small explosions producing ashfall and ballistic ejecta, with occasional pyroclastic flows and lahars. The current eruption has been ongoing since 25 March 2017, but activity has been frequent over the past few hundred years. This bulletin summarizes activity that occurred during July through December 2020 and is largely based on reports by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and satellite data. The Alert Level remains at 3 on a 5-level scale. There was no activity at the Showa crater in 2020.

The number of recorded explosive and ash eruptions for 2020 at the Minamidake crater were 221 and 432, respectively (228 and 393 the previous year). Activity declined in July and remained low through the end of December. There was ash reported on 79 days of the year, most frequently in January, and only 26 of those days during August-December (table 24 and figure 104). The largest ash plumes during this time reached 5 km at 0538 on 9 August, 3 km at 1959 on 17 December, and 3.5 km at 1614 on 29 December. The decline in events was reflected in thermal data, with a decline in energy detected during June through October (figure 105). Recorded SO2 was generally high in the first half of the year then began to decrease from April to around 1,000 tons/day until around late May. Emissions increased after August and were extremely high in October. There were no notable changes in the geothermal areas around the craters.

Table 24. Number of monthly total eruptions, explosive eruptions, days of ashfall, and ashfall amounts from Sakurajima's Minamidake crater at Aira during 2020. Note that smaller events that did not reach the threshold of explosions or eruptions also occurred. Ashfall was measured at Kagoshima Local Meteorological Observatory; ash weights are rounded down to the nearest 0.5 g/m2 and zero values indicate that less than this amount was recorded. Data courtesy of JMA.

MonthExplosive EruptionsAsh EruptionsDays of AshfallAshfall Amount (g/m2)
Jan 2020 65 104 12 75
Feb 2020 67 129 14 21
Mar 2020 10 26 8 3
Apr 2020 14 51 2 0
May 2020 24 51 8 19
Jun 2020 16 28 9 71
Jul 2020 0 0 0 0
Aug 2020 1 1 1 0
Sep 2020 0 7 4 2
Oct 2020 0 2 6 2
Nov 2020 6 8 11 5
Dec 2020 18 25 4 14
Total 2020 221 432 79 212
Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. The total calculated observed ash erupted from Aira's Sakurajima volcano. Top: Annual values from January 1980 to November 2020. Bottom: the monthly values during January 2009 through November 2020. Courtesy of JMA (January 2021 Sakurajima monthly report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Thermal data detected at Aira's Sakurajima volcano during February through December 2020 by the MIROVA thermal detection system that uses MODIS satellite middle infrared data. There was a decline in activity during June-September, with energy emitted in November-December remaining lower than earlier in the year. Courtesy of MIROVA.

During July "very small" explosions were observed on the 1st, 2nd, and 8th, with the last explosion producing a plume up to 600 m above the crater. These events didn't generate enough of an ash plume to be counted as either a quiet or explosive eruption, leaving no eruptions reported during July. No incandescence was observed at the crater since 3 June. Field surveys on 2, 13, and 21 July detected 600 to 1,300 tons of SO2 per day.

An explosion occurred at 0538 on 9 August, producing an ash plume to 5 km above the crater, dispersing NE (figure 106). This was the largest explosion observed through the Sakurajima surveillance camera since 8 November 2019. Ashfall was reported in Kagoshima City, Aira City, Kirishima City, Yusui Town, and parts of Miyazaki and Kumamoto Prefectures. Ashfall measured to be 300 g/m2 in Shirahama on Sakurajima island (figure 106). No ballistic ejecta were observed due to clouds at the summit, but very small explosions were occasionally observed afterwards.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. An explosion at Aira's Sakurajima volcano at 0538 on 9 August 2020 (top, taken from the Ushine surveillance camera in Kagoshima) produced ashfall in Shirahama on Sakurajima (bottom). The plume contains a white steam-rich portion on the left, and a darker relatively ash-rich portion on the right. Images courtesy of JMA (Sakurajima August 2020 monthly report).

A small lake or pond in the eastern Minamidake crater was first observed in PlanetScope satellite imagery on 1 August (through light cloud cover) and intermittently observed when the summit was clear through to the 22nd (figure 107). The summit is obscured by cloud cover in many images before this date. An observation flight on 14 August confirmed weak gas emission from the inner southern wall of the Showa crater, and a 200-m-high gas plume rose from the Minamidake crater, dispersing SE (figure 108). Thermal imaging showed elevated temperatures within the crater. SO2 measurements were conducted during field surveys on the 3rd, 13th, 24th and 31st, with amounts similar to July at 600 to 1,400 tons per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. A crater lake is visible in the eastern part of the Minamidake summit crater at Aira's Sakurajima volcano on 5, 18, and 22 August 2020. Four-band PlanetScope satellite images courtesy of Planet Labs.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. Gas emissions from the Minamidake and Showa craters at Sakurajima in the Aira caldera on 14 August 2020. Photos taken from the from Kagoshima Prefecture disaster prevention helicopter at 1510-1513. Courtesy of JMA (Sakurajima August monthly report).

Activity continued at Minamidake crater throughout September with seven observed eruptions sending plumes up to 1.7 km above the crater, and additional smaller events (figure 109). An ash plume reached 1 km at 0810 on the 15th. Ashfall was reported on four days through the month with a total of 2 g/m2 measured. Incandescence was observed in nighttime surveillance cameras from the 9-10th for the first time since 2 June, then continued through the month. There was an increase in detected SO2, with measurements on the 11th and 25th ranging from 1,300 to 2,000 tons per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. Examples of activity at Aira's Sakurajima volcano on 4, 10, and 14 September 2020. The images show an ash plume reaching 1.7 km above the crater (top left), a gas-and-steam plume (bottom left), and incandescence at night visible in a gas-and steam plume (right). Images courtesy of JMA (September 2020 Sakurajima monthly report).

During October two eruptions and occasional smaller events occurred at the Minamidake crater and there were six days where ashfall occurred at the Kagoshima Local Meteorology Observatory (including remobilized ash). An ash plume rose to 1.7 km above the crater at 1635 on the 3rd and 1 km on the 30th. Incandescence was observed at night through the month (figure 110). Gas surveys on the 20th, 21st, 23rd, and 26th recorded 2,200-6,600 tons of SO2 per day, which are high to very high levels and a large increase compared to previous months. An observation flight on the 13th confirmed lava in the bottom of the Minamidake crater (figure 111). Gas emissions were rising to 300 m above the Minamidake crater, but no emissions were observed at the Showa crater (figure 112).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. Gas emissions and incandescence seen above the Sakurajima Minamidake crater at Aira on 10 and 23 October 2020. Courtesy of JMA (Sakurajima October 2020 monthly report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. Lava was observed on the floor of the Minamidake summit crater at Aira's Sakurajima volcano on 13 October 2020, indicated by the yellow dashed line. Courtesy of JMA (Sakurajima October 2020 monthly report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 112. An observation flight on 13 October 2020 noted gas emissions up to 300 m above the Minamidake crater at Sakurajima, but no emissions from the Showa crater. Courtesy of JMA (Sakurajima October 2020 monthly report).

Eight ash eruptions and six explosive eruptions occurred during November as well as additional very small events. At 1551 on the 3rd an ash plume reached 1.8 km above the crater and an event at 1335 on the 10th produced large ballistic ejecta out to 600-900 m from the crater (figure 113). Ashfall was reported on 11 days this month (including remobilized ash). Incandescence was observed at night and elevated temperatures in the Minamidake crater were detected by satellites (figure 114). Detected SO2 was lower this month, with amounts ranging between 1,300 and 2,200 on the 9th, 18th and 24th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 113. Ash plumes at Aira's Sakurajima volcano rise from the Minamidake crater in November 2020. Left: an ash plume rose to 1.8 km above the crater at 1551 on the 3rd and drifted SE. on 3 (left) and 10 (right) November 2020. Right: An explosion at 1335 on the 10th produced an ash plume to 1.6 km above the crater and ballistic ejecta out to 600-900 m, with one projectile indicated by the red arrow. Courtesy of JMA (Sakurajima November 2020 monthly report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 114. An ash plume drifts SE from the Minamidake crater at Aira's Sakurajima volcano on 8 November 2020. This thermal image also shows elevated temperatures in the crater. Sentinel-2 False color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During December there were 25 ash eruptions and 18 explosive eruptions recorded, with large ballistic ejecta reaching 1.3-1.7 km from the crater (figure 115). An explosion on the 2nd sent an ash plume up to 1 km above the crater and ballistic ejecta out to 1-1.3 km, and an event at 0404 on the 12th produced incandescent ballistic ejecta reached out to 1.3-1.7 km from the crater. At 1959 on 17 December an explosion generated an ash plume up to 3 km above the crater and ejecta out to 1.3-1.7 km. A photograph that day showed an ash plume with volcanic lightning and incandescent ejecta impacting around the crater (figure 116). On the 18th an ash plume reached 1.8 km and ejecta impacted out to 1-1.3 km. An event at 1614 on the 29th produced an ash plume reaching 3.5 km above the crater. Elevated temperatures within the Minamidake crater and plumes were observed intermittently in satellite data through the month (figure 117). This month there were four days where ashfall was recorded with a total of 14 g/m2. Incandescence continued to be observed at night through the month. High levels of gas emission continued, with field surveys on 2nd, 7th, 16th and 21st recording values ranging from 1,500 to 2,900 tons per day at the Observatory located 11 km SW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 115. Explosions at Aira's Sakurajima volcano from the Minamidake summit crater in December 2020. Top: An explosion recorded at 0404 on the 12th produced incandescent ballistic ejecta out to 1.3-1.7 km from the crater, with an example indicated in the red circle. Bottom: An explosion at 1614 on the 29th produced an ash plume up to 3.5 km above the crater, and ballistic ejecta out to 1.3-1.7 km. Courtesy of JMA (top, from Sakurajima December 2020 monthly report) and Volcano Time Lapse (bottom).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 116. An explosion from Sakurajima's Minamidake crater at Aira produced an ash plume with volcanic lightning on 17 December 2020. Photograph taken from Tarumizu city, courtesy of Kyodo/via Reuters.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. Activity at Aira's Sakurajima volcano during December 2020. Top: Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image showing a diffuse gas-and-steam plume dispersing to the SE with elevated temperatures within the Minamidake summit crater on the 22nd. PlanetScope satellite image showing an ash plume dispersing between the N and E on the 26th. Sentinel-2 False color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground. PlanetScope satellite image courtesy of Planet Labs.

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); 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/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Kyodo/via REUTERS, "Photos of the Week" (URL: https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/photos-of-the-week-idUSRTX8HYLR); Volcano Time-Lapse, YouTube (URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTgd152oGVo).


Nishinoshima (Japan) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Nishinoshima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption ends in late August 2020; lengthy cooling from extensive lava flows and large crater

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 for two years followed by two brief eruptions in 2017 and 2018. The next eruption, from early December 2019 through August 2020, included ash plumes, incandescent ejecta, and lava flows; it produced a large pyroclastic cone with a wide summit crater and extensive lava flows that significantly enlarged the island. This report covers the end of the eruption and cooling during September 2020-January 2021. Information is provided primarily from Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) monthly reports and the Japan Coast Guard (JCG), which makes regular observation overflights.

Ash emissions were last reported on 27 August 2020. The very high levels of thermal energy from numerous lava flows, ash, and incandescent tephra that peaked during early July decreased significantly during August and September. Continued cooling of the fresh lava and the summit crater lasted into early January 2021 (figure 107). Monthly overflights and observations by scientists confirmed areas of steam emissions at the summit and on the flanks and discolored water around the island, but no eruptive activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. High levels of thermal activity at Nishinoshima during June and July 2020 resulted from extensive lava flows and explosions of incandescent tephra. Although the last ash emission was reported on 27 August 2020, cooling of new material lasted into early January 2021. The MIROVA log radiative power graph of thermal activity covers the year ending on 3 February 2021. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Thermal activity declined significantly at Nishinoshima during August 2020 (BGVN 45:09). Only two days had two MODVOLC alerts (11 and 30), and four other days (18, 20, 21, 29) had single alerts. During JCG overflights on 19 and 23 August there were no ash emissions or lava flows observed, although steam plumes rose over 2 km above the summit crater during both visits. The last ash emission was reported by the Tokyo VAAC on 27 August 2020. No eruptive activity was observed by JMA during an overflight on 5 September, but steam plumes were rising from the summit crater (figure 108). No significant changes were observed in the shape of the pyroclastic cone or the coastline. Yellowish brown discolored water appeared around the western half of the island, and high temperature was still measured on the inner wall of the crater. Faint traces of SO2 plumes were present in satellite images in early September; the last plume identified was on 18 September. Six days with single MODVOLC alerts were recorded during 3-19 September, and the final thermal alert appeared on 1 October 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. No eruptive activity was observed during a JMA overflight of Nishinoshima on 5 September 2020, but steam rose from numerous places within the enlarged summit crater (inset). Courtesy of JMA and JCG (Monthly report of activity at Nishinoshima, September 2020).

Steam plumes and high temperatures were noted at the summit crater on 28 October, and brown discolored water was present around the S coast of the island (figure 109), but there were no other signs of volcanic activity. Observations from the sea conducted on 2 November 2020 by researchers aboard the Maritime Meteorological Observatory marine weather observation ship "Ryofu Maru" confirmed there was no ongoing eruptive activity. In addition to steam plumes at the summit, they also noted steam rising from multiple cracks on the cooling surface of the lava flow area on the N side of the pyroclastic cone (figure 110). Only steam plumes from inside the summit crater were observed during an overflight on 24 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. On a JCG overflight above Nishinoshima on 28 October 2020 there were no signs of eruptive activity; steam plumes were present in the summit crater and brown discolored water was visible around the S coast of the island. Courtesy of JMA and JCG (Monthly report of activity at Nishinoshima, October 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. Observations of Nishinoshima by staff aboard the Maritime Meteorological Observatory ship "Ryofu Maru" on 2 November 2020 showed a steam plume rising from the lava flow area on the N side of the pyroclastic cone (arrow) and minor steam above the cone. Courtesy of JMA (Monthly report of activity at Nishinoshima, November 2020).

JMA reduced the warning area around the crater on 18 December 2020 from 2.5 to 1.5 km due to decreased activity. On 7 December a steam plume rose from the inner wall of the summit crater and thermal imaging indicated the area was still hot. Brown discolored water was observed on the SE and SW coasts. Researchers aboard a ship from the Earthquake Research Institute at the University of Tokyo and the Marine Research and Development Organization reported continued steam plumes in the summit crater, around the lava flows on the N flank, and along the S coast during 15-29 December (figure 111). Steam plumes and elevated temperatures were still measured inside the summit crater during an overflight by the Japan Coast Guard on 25 January 2021, and discolored water persisted on the SE and SW coasts; there was no evidence of eruptive activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. Observations of Nishinoshima from the sea by researchers from the Earthquake Research Institute (University of Tokyo) and the Marine Research and Development Organization, which took place from 15-29 December 2020, showed fumarolic acitivity not only inside the summit crater, but also in the lava flow area on the N side of the pyroclastic cone (left, 20 December) and in places along the southern coast (right, 23 December). (Monthly report of activity at Nishinoshima, December 2020).

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) Volcano Database, Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, 3-1-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8932, Japan (URL: http://www.kaiho.mlit.go.jp/info/kouhou/h29/index.html); Volcano Research Center (VRC-ERI), Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113, Japan (URL: http://www.eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp/topics/ASAMA2004/index-e.html); 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/); NASA 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/).


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

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong thermal anomalies and gas emission from lava lake through November 2020

Nyiragongo is a stratovolcano in the DR Congo with a deep summit crater containing a lava lake and a small active cone. During June 2018-May 2020, the volcano exhibited strong thermal signals primarily due to the lava lake, along with incandescence, seismicity, and gas-and-steam plumes (BGVN 44:05, 44:12, 45:06). The volcano is monitored by the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG). This report summarizes activity during June-November 2020, based on satellite data.

Infrared MODIS satellite data showed almost daily strong thermal activity during June-November 2020 from MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), consistent with a large lava lake. Numerous hotspots were also identified every month by MODVOLC. Although clouds frequently obscured the view from space, a clear Sentinel-2 image in early June showed a gas-and-steam plume as well as a strong thermal anomaly (figure 76).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Nyiragongo on 1 June 2020. A gas-and-steam is visible in the natural color image (bands 4, 3, 2) rising from a pit in the center of the crater (left), while the false color image (bands 12, 11, 4) reveals a strong thermal signal from a lava lake (right). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During the first half of June 2020, OVG reported that SO2 levels had decreased compared to levels in May (7,000 tons/day); during the second half of June the SO2 flux began to increase again. High levels of sulfur dioxide were recorded almost every day in the region above or near the volcano by the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) aboard the Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite (figure 77). According to OVG, SO2 flux ranged from 819-5,819 tons/day during June. The number of days with a high SO2 flux decreased somewhat in July and August, with high levels recorded during about half of the days. The volume of SO2 emissions slightly increased in early July, based on data from the DOAS station in Rusayo, measuring 6,787 tons/day on 8 July (the highest value reported during this reporting period), and then declined to 509 tons/day by 20 July. The SO2 flux continued to gradually decline, with high values of 5,153 tons/day in August and 4,468 tons/day in September. The number of days with high SO2 decreased further in September and October but returned to about half of the days in November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. TROPOMI image of SO2 plume on 27 June 2020 in the Nyiragongo-Nyamulagira area. The plume drifted SSE. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

During 12-13 July a multidisciplinary team of OVG scientists visited the volcano to take measurements of the crater using a TCRM1102 Plus2 laser. They noted that the crater had expanded by 47.3 mm in the SW area, due to the rise in the lava lake level since early 2020. The OVG team took photos of the small cone in the lava lake that has been active since 2014, recently characterized by white gas-and-steam emissions (figure 78). OVG noted that the active lava lake had subsided roughly 20 m (figure78).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Photos (color corrected) of the crater at Nyiragongo showing the small active cone generating gas-and-steam emissions (left) and the active lava lake also characterized by white gas-and-steam emissions on 12 July 2020 (right). Courtesy of OVG (Rapport OVG Juillet 2020).

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

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


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

Whakaari/White Island

New Zealand

37.52°S, 177.18°E; summit elev. 294 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Gas-and-steam emissions with some re-suspended ash in November 2020

Whakaari/White Island, located in the Bay of Plenty 50 km offshore of North Island, has been New Zealand’s most active volcano since 1976. Activity has been previously characterized by phreatic activity, explosions, and ash emissions (BGVN 42:05). The most recent eruption occurred on 9 December 2019, which consisted of an explosion that generated an ash plume and pyroclastic surge that affected the entire crater area, resulting in 21 fatalities and many injuries (BGVN 45:02). This report updates information from February through November 2020, which includes dominantly gas-and-steam emissions along with elevated surface temperatures, using reports from the New Zealand GeoNet Project, the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and satellite data.

Activity at Whakaari/White Island has declined and has been dominated by white gas-and-steam emissions during the reporting period; no explosive eruptive activity has been detected since 9 December 2019. During February through 22 June, the Volcanic Activity Level (VAL) remained at a 2 (moderate to heightened volcanic unrest) and the Aviation Color Code was Yellow. GeoNet reported that satellite data showed some subsidence along the W wall of the Main Crater and near the 1914 landslide scarp, though the rate had reduced compared to previous months. Thermal infrared data indicated that the fumarolic gases and five lobes of lava that were first observed in early January 2020 in the Main Crater were 550-570°C on 4 February and 660°C on 19 February. A small pond of water had begun to form in the vent area and exhibited small-scale gas-and-steam-driven water jetting, similar to the activity during September-December 2019. Gas data showed a steady decline in SO2 and CO2 levels, though overall they were still slightly elevated.

Similar activity was reported in March and April; the temperatures of the fumaroles and lava in the Main Crater were 746°C on 10 March, the highest recorded temperature to date. SO2 and CO2 gas emissions remained elevated, though had overall decreased since December 2019. Small-scale water jetting continued to be observed in the vent area. During April, public reports mentioned heightened gas-and-steam activity, but no eruptions were detected. A GeoNet report issued on 16 April stated that high temperatures were apparent in the vent area at night.

Whakaari remained at an elevated state of unrest during May, consisting of dominantly gas-and-steam emissions. Monitoring flights noted that SO2 and CO2 emissions had increased briefly during 20-27 May. On 20 May, the lava lobes remained hot, with temperatures around 500°C; a nighttime glow from the gas emissions surrounding the lava was visible in webcam images. Tremor levels remained low with occasional slightly elevated episodes, which included some shallow-source volcanic earthquakes. Satellite-based measurements recorded several centimeters of subsidence in the ground around the active vent area since December 2019. During a gas observation flight on 28 May there was a short-lived gas pulse, accompanied by an increase in SO2 and CO2 emissions, and minor inflation in the vent area (figure 96).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Photo of a strong gas-and-steam plume rising above Whakaari/White Island on 28 May 2020. Courtesy of GeoNet.

An observation flight made on 3 June reported a decline in gas flux compared to the measurements made on 28 May. Thermal infrared images taken during the flight showed that the lava lobes were still hot, at 450°C, and continued to generate incandescence that was visible at night in webcams. On 16 June the VAL was lowered to 1 (minor volcanic unrest) and on 22 June the Aviation Color Code had decreased to Green.

Minor volcanic unrest continued in July; the level of volcanic tremors has remained generally low, with the exception of two short bursts of moderate volcanic tremors in at the beginning of the month. Temperatures in the active vents remained high (540°C) and volcanic gases persisted at moderate rate, similar to those measured since May, according to an observation flight made during the week of 30 July. Subsidence continued to be observed in the active vent area, as well as along the main crater wall, S and W of the active vents. Recent rainfall has created small ponds of water on the crater floor, though they did not infiltrate the vent areas.

Gas-and-steam emissions persisted during August through October at relatively high rates (figures 97 and 98). A short episode of moderate volcanic tremor was detected in early August, but otherwise seismicity remained low. Updated temperatures of the active vent area were 440°C on 15 September, which had decreased 100°C since July. Rain continued to collect at the crater floor, forming a small lake; minor areas of gas-and-steam emissions can be seen in this lake. Ongoing subsidence was observed on the Main Crater wall and S and W of the 2019 active vents.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Photo of an observation flight over Whakaari/White Island on 8 September 2020 showing white gas-and-steam emissions from the vent area. Photo courtesy of Brad Scott, GeoNet.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Image of Whakaari/White Island from Whakatane in the North Island of New Zealand showing a white gas-and-steam plume on 26 October 2020. Courtesy of GeoNet.

Activity during November was primarily characterized by persistent, moderate-to-large gas-and-steam plumes that drifted downwind for several kilometers but did not reach the mainland. The SO2 flux was 618 tons/day and the CO2 flux was 2,390 tons/day. New observations on 11 November noted some occasional ash deposits on the webcams in conjunction with mainland reports of a darker than usual plume (figure 99). Satellite images provided by MetService, courtesy of the Japan Meteorological Agency, confirmed the ash emission, but later images showed little to no apparent ash; GNS confirmed that no eruptive activity had occurred. Initial analyses indicated that the ash originated from loose material around the vent was being entrained into the gas-and-steam plumes. Observations from an overflight on 12 November showed that there was no substantial change in the location and size of the active vents; rainfall continued to collect on the floor of the 1978/90 Crater, reforming the shallow lake. A small sequence of earthquakes was detected close to the volcano with several episodes of slightly increased volcanic tremors.

During 12-14 November the Wellington VAAC issued multiple advisories noting gas, steam, and ash plumes that rose to 1.5-1.8 km altitude and drifted E and SE, based on satellite data, reports from pilots, and reports from GeoNet. As a result, the VAL was increased to 2 and the Aviation Color Code was raised to Yellow. Scientists on another observation flight on 16 November reported that small amounts of ash continued to be present in gas-and-steam emissions, though laboratory analyses showed that this ash was resuspended material and not from new eruptive or magmatic activity. The SO2 and CO2 flux remained above background levels but were slightly lower than the previous week’s measurements: 710 tons/day and 1,937 tons/day. Seismicity was similar to the previous week, characterized by a sequence of small earthquakes, a larger than normal volcanic earthquake located near the volcano, and ongoing low-level volcanic tremors. During 16-17 November plumes with resuspended ash were observed rising to 460 m altitude, drifting E and NE, according to a VAAC advisory (figure 99). During 20-24 November gas-and-steam emissions that contained a minor amount of resuspended ash rose to 1.2 km altitude and drifted in multiple directions, based on webcam and satellite images and information from GeoNet.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. Left: Photo of a gas observation flight over Whakaari/White Island on 11 November 2020 showing some dark particles in the gas-and-steam plumes, which were deposited on some webcams. Photo has been color corrected and straightened. Courtesy of GeoNet. Right: Photo showing gas, steam, and ash emissions rising above the 2019 Main Crater area on 16 November 2020. Courtesy of GNS Science (17 November 2020 report).

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows a total of eleven low-power thermal anomalies during January to late March 2020; a single weak thermal anomaly was detected in early July (figure 100). The elevated surface temperatures during February-May 2020 were detected in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images in the Main Crater area, occasionally accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions (figure 101). Persistent white gas-and-steam emissions rising above the Main Crater area were observed in satellite imagery on clear weather days and drifting in multiple directions (figure 102). The small lake that had formed due to rainfall was also visible to the E of the active vents.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. Low-power, infrequent thermal activity at Whakaari/White Island was detected during January through late March 2020, as reflected in the MIROVA data (Log Radiative Power). A single thermal anomaly was shown in early July. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images in the Main Crater area of Whakaari/White Island show residual elevated temperatures from the December 2019 eruption, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions and drifting in different directions during February-May 2020. Images using “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. Sentinel-2 images showing persistent white gas-and-steam plumes rising from Main Crater area of Whakaari/White Island during March-November 2020 and drifting in multiple directions. A small pond of water (light blue-green) is visible in the vent area to the E of the plumes. On 11 November (bottom right), the color of the plume is gray and contains a small amount of ash. Images using “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: New Zealand GeoNet Project, a collaboration between the Earthquake Commission and GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.geonet.org.nz/); GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/); Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd (MetService), PO Box 722, Wellington, New Zealand (URL: http://www.metservice.com/vaac/, http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/OTH/NZ/messages.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); Brad Scott, GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: https://twitter.com/Eruptn).


Kerinci (Indonesia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash plumes and gas-and-steam emissions during June-November 2020

Kerinci, located in Sumatra, Indonesia, has had numerous explosive eruptions since 1838, with more recent activity characterized by gas-and-steam and ash plumes. The current eruptive episode began in April 2018 and has recently consisted of intermittent brown ash emissions and white gas-and-steam emissions (BGVN 45:07); similar activity continued from June through November 2020. Information primarily comes from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM, or the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation), MAGMA Indonesia, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and satellite data.

Activity has been characterized by dominantly white and brown gas-and-steam emissions and occasional ash plumes, according to PVMBG. Near daily gas-and-steam emissions were observed rising 50-6,400 m above the crater throughout the reporting period: beginning in late July and continuing intermittently though November. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed frequent brown emissions rising above the summit crater at varying intensities and drifting in different directions from July to November (figure 21).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of brown emissions at Kerinci from July through November 2020 drifting in multiple directions. On 27 July (top left) the brown emissions drifted SW. On 31 August (top right) the brown emissions drifted W. On 2 September (bottom left) slightly weaker brown emissions drifting W. On 4 November (bottom right) weak brown emissions mostly remained within the crater, some of which drifted E. Images using “Natural Color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During June through July the only activity reported by PVMBG consisted of white gas-and-steam emissions and brown emissions. On 4 June white gas-and-steam emissions rose to a maximum height of 6.4 km above the crater. White-and-brown emissions rose to a maximum height of 700 m above the crater on 2 June and 28 July.

Continuous white-and-brown gas-and-steam emissions were reported in August that rose 50-1,000 m above the crater. The number of ash plumes reported during this month increased compared to the previous months. In a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) issued on 7 August at 1024, PVMBG reported an ash plume that rose 600 m above the crater and drifted E, SE, and NE. In addition, the Darwin VAAC released two notices that described continuous minor ash emissions rising to 4.3 km altitude and drifting E and NE. On 9 August an ash plume rose 600 m above the crater and drifted ENE at 1140. An ash plume was observed rising to a maximum of 1 km above the crater, drifting E, SE, and NE on 12 August at 1602, according to a PVMBG VONA and Darwin VAAC advisory. The following day, brown emissions rose to a maximum of 1 km above the crater and were accompanied by a 600-m-high ash plume that drifted ENE at 1225. Ground observers on 15 August reported an eruption column that rose to 4.6 km altitude; PVMBG described brown ash emissions up to 800 m above the crater drifting NW at 0731 (figure 22). During 20-21 August pilots reported an ash plume rising 150-770 m above the crater drifting NE and SW, respectively.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Webcam image of an ash plume rising above Kerinci on 15 August 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Activity in September had decreased slightly compared to the previous month, characterized by only white-and-brown gas-and-steam emissions that rose 50-300 m above the crater; solely brown emissions were observed on 30 September and rose 50-100 m above the crater. This low level of activity persisted into October, with white gas-and-steam emissions to 50-200 m above the crater and brown emissions rising 50-300 m above the crater. On 16 October PVMBG released a VONA at 0340 that reported an ash plume rising 687 m above the crater and drifting NE. On 17 October white, brown, and black ash plumes that rose 100-800 m above the crater drifted NE according to both PVMBG and a Darwin VAAC advisory (figure 23). During 18-19 October white, brown, and black ash emissions rose up to 400 m above the crater and drifted NE and E.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Webcam image of a brown ash emission from Kerinci on 17 October 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

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

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


Suwanosejima (Japan) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosion rate increases during July-December 2020, bomb ejected 1.3 km from crater on 28 December

Suwanosejima, an andesitic stratovolcano in Japan's northern Ryukyu Islands, was intermittently active for much of the 20th century, producing ash plumes, Strombolian explosions, and ashfall. Continuous activity since October 2004 has included intermittent explosions which generate ash plumes that rise hundreds of meters above the summit to altitudes between 1 and 3 km. Incandescence is often observed at night and ejecta periodically reaches over a kilometer from the summit. Ashfall is usually noted several times each month in the nearby community on the SW flank of the island. Ongoing activity for the second half of 2020, which includes significantly increased activity in December, is covered in this report with information provided by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and several sources of satellite data.

A steady increase in activity was reported during July-December 2020. The number of explosions recorded increased each month from only six during July to 460 during December. The energy of the explosions increased as well; ejecta was reported 600 m from the crater during August, but a large bomb reached 1.3 km from the crater at the end of December. After an increased period of explosions late in December, JMA raised the Alert Level from 2 to 3 on a 5-level scale. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity indicated intermittent anomalies from July through December 2020, with a pulse of activity in the second half of December (figure 48).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. MIROVA thermal activity for Suwanosejima for the period from 3 February through December 2020 shows pulses of activity in February and April, with intermittent anomalies until another period of frequent stronger activity in December. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Six explosions were recorded during July 2020, compared with only one during June. According to JMA, the tallest plume rose 2,000 m above the crater rim. Incandescent ejecta was occasionally observed at night. The Tokyo VAAC reported a number of ash plumes that rose to 1.2-2.7 km altitude and drifted NW and W during the second half of the month (figure 49). Activity increased during August 2020 when thirteen explosions were reported. The Tokyo VAAC reported a few ash plumes during 1-6 August that rose to 1.8-2.4 km altitude and drifted NW; a larger pulse of activity during 18-22 August produced plumes that rose to altitudes ranging from 1.8 to over 2.7 km. Ashfall was reported on 19 and 20 August in the village located 4 km SSW of the crater; incandescence was visible at the summit and ash plumes drifted SW in satellite imagery on 19 August (figure 50). A MODVOLC thermal alert was issued on 19 August. On 21 August a large bomb was ejected 600 m from the Otake crater in an explosion early in the day; later that afternoon, an ash plume rose to more than 2,000 m above the crater rim. During 19-22 August, SO2 emissions were recorded each day by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite (figure 51).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. An ash emission at Suwanosejima rose to 2.7 km altitude and drifted NW on 27 July 2020. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Suwanosejima, July 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Ash drifted SW from the summit crater of Suwanosejima on 19 August 2020 and a bright thermal anomaly was present at the summit. Residents of the village 4 km SW reported ashfall that day and the next. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. A period of increased activity at Suwanosejima during 19-22 August 2020 produced SO2 emissions that were measured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Nishinoshima, was also producing significant SO2 at the same time. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Thirteen explosions were recorded during September 2020, with the highest ash plumes reaching 2,000 m above the crater rim, and bombs falling 400 m from the crater. Ashfall was recorded on 20 September in the community located 4 km SSW. The Tokyo VAAC reported intermittent ash plumes during the month that rose to 1.2-2.1 km altitude and drifted in several directions. Incandescence was frequently observed at night (figure 52). Explosive activity increased during October with 22 explosions recorded. Ash plumes rose over 2,000 m above the crater rim, and bombs reached 700 m from the crater. Steam plumes rose 2,300 m above the crater rim. Ashfall and loud noises were confirmed several times between 2 and 14 October in the nearby village. A MODVOLC thermal alert was issued on 6 October. The Tokyo VAAC reported multiple ash plumes throughout the month; they usually rose to 1.5-2.1 km altitude and drifted in many directions. The plume on 28 October rose to over 2.7 km altitude and was stationary.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Incandescence at night and ash emissions were observed multiple times at Suwanosejima during September and October 2020 including on 21 and 26 September (top) and 29 October 2020. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Suwanosejima, September and October 2020).

Frequent explosions occurred during November 2020, with a sharp increase in the number of explosions to 105 events compared with October. Ash plumes rose to 1,800 m above the crater rim and bombs were ejected 700 m. Occasional ashfall and loud noises were reported from the nearby community throughout the month. Scientists measured no specific changes to the surface temperature around the volcano during an overflight early on 5 November compared with the previous year. At 0818 on 5 November a small ash explosion at the summit crater was photographed by the crew during an observation flight (figure 53). On 12 and 13 November, incandescent ejecta fell 600 m from the crater and ash emissions rose 1,500 m above the crater rim (figure 54).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. A minor explosion produced a small ash plume at Suwanosejima during an overflight by JMA on the morning of 5 November 2020. The thermal activity was concentrated at the base of the explosion (inset). Image taken from off the E coast. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Suwanosejima, November 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. On 12 and 13 November 2020 incandescent ejecta from Suwanosejima reached 600 m from the crater (top) and ash emissions rose 1,500 m above the crater rim (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Suwanosejima, November 2020).

During December 2020 there were 460 explosions reported, a significant increase from the previous months. Ash plumes reached 1,800 m above the summit. Three MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on 25 December and two were issued the next day. The number of explosions increased substantially at the Otake crater between 21 and 29 December, and early on 28 December a large bomb was ejected to 1.3 km SE of the crater (figure 55). A second explosion a few hours later ejected another bomb 1.1 km SE. An overflight later that day confirmed the explosion, and ash emissions were still visible (figure 56), although cloudy weather prevented views of the crater. Ashfall was noted and loud sounds heard in the nearby village. A summary graph of observations throughout 2020 indicated that activity was high from January through May, quieter during June, and then increased again from July through the end of the year (figure 57).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Early on 28 December 2020 a large explosion at Suwanosejima sent a volcanic bomb 1.3 km SE from the summit (bright spot on left flank in large photo). Thermal imaging taken the same day showed the heat at the eruption site and multiple fragments of warm ejecta scattered around the crater area (inset). Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Suwanosejima, December 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Ash emissions were still visible midday on 28 December 2020 at Suwanosejima during a helicopter overflight by the 10th Regional Coast Guard. Image taken from the SW flank of the volcano. Two large explosions earlier in the day had sent ejecta more than a kilometer from the crater. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Suwanosejima, December 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Activity summary for Suwanosejima for January-December 2020 when 764 explosions were recorded. Black bars represent the height of steam, gas, or ash plumes in meters above the crater rim, gray volcano icons represent explosions, usually accompanied by an ash plume, red icons represent large explosions with ash plumes, orange diamonds indicate incandescence observed in webcams. Courtesy of JMA (Suwanosejima volcanic activity annual report, 2020).

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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 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/).


Karangetang (Indonesia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Hot material on the NW flank in November 2020; intermittent crater thermal anomalies

Karangetang (also known as Api Siau) is located on the island of Siau in the Sitaro Regency, North Sulawesi, Indonesia and consists of two active summit craters: a N crater (Kawah Dua) and a S crater (Kawah Utama, also referred to as the “Main Crater”). More than 50 eruptions have been observed since 1675. The current eruption began in November 2018 and has recently been characterized by frequent incandescent block avalanches, thermal anomalies in the crater, and gas-and-steam plumes (BGVN 45:06). This report covers activity from June through November 2020, which includes dominantly crater anomalies, few ash plumes, and gas-and-steam emissions. Information primarily comes from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM, or the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation), MAGMA Indonesia, and various satellite data.

Activity decreased significantly after mid-January 2020 and has been characterized by dominantly gas-and-steam emissions and occasional ash plumes, according to PVMBG. Daily gas-and-steam emissions were observed rising 25-600 m above the Main Crater (S crater) during the reporting period and intermittent emissions rising 25-300 m above Kawah Dua (N crater).

The only activity reported by PVMBG in June, August, and October was daily gas-and-steam emissions above the Main Crater and Kawah Dua (figure 47). MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows intermittent low-power thermal anomalies during June through late July, which includes a slight increase in power during late July (figure 48). During 14-15 July strong rumbling from Kawah Dua was accompanied by white-gray emissions that rose 150-200 m above the crater. Crater incandescence was observed up to 10 m above the crater. According to webcam imagery from MAGMA Indonesia, intermittent incandescence was observed at night from both craters through 25 July. In a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) issued on 5 September, PVMBG reported an ash plume that rose 800 m above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Webcam image of gas-and-steam plumes rising above the two summit craters at Karangetang on 16 June 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Intermittent low-power thermal anomalies at Karangetang were reported during June through July 2020 with a slight increase in power in late July, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). No thermal activity was detected during August to late October; in mid-November a short episode of increased activity occurred. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Thermal activity increased briefly during mid-November when hot material was reported extending 500-1,000 m NW of the Main Crater, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions rising 200 m above the crater. Corresponding detection of MODIS thermal anomalies was seen in MIROVA graphs (see figure 48), and the MODVOLC system showed alerts on 13 and 15 November. On 16 November blue emissions were observed above the Main Crater drifting W. Sentinel-2 thermal images showed elevated temperatures in both summit craters throughout the reporting period, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions and movement of hot material on the NW flank on 19 November (figure 49). White gas-and-steam emissions rose to a maximum height of 300 m above Kawah Dua on 22 November and 600 m above the Main Crater on 28 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Persistent thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) at Karangetang were detected in both summit craters using Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery during June through November 2020. Gas-and-steam emissions were also occasionally detected in both craters as seen on 17 June (top left) and 20 September (bottom left) 2020. On 19 November (bottom right) the Main Crater (S) showed a hot thermal signature extending NW. Images using “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevado del Ruiz

Colombia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dome growth and ash emissions continue during July-December 2020

Colombia’s broad, glacier-capped Nevado del Ruiz has an eruption history documented back 8,600 years, including documented observations since 1570. Ruiz remained quiet for 20 years after the deadly September 1985-July 1991 eruption until a period of explosive activity from February 2012 into 2013. Renewed activity beginning in November 2014 included ash and gas-and-steam plumes, ashfall, and the appearance of a slowly growing lava dome inside the Arenas crater in August 2015. Additional information has caused a revision to earlier reporting that eruptive activity ended in May 2017 and began again that December (BGVN 44:12); activity appears to have continued throughout 2017 with intermittent ash emissions and thermal evidence of dome growth. Periods of increased thermal activity alternated with periods of increased explosive activity during 2018-2019 and into 2020; SO2 emissions persisted at significant levels. The lava dome has continued to grow through 2020. This report covers ongoing activity from July-December 2020 using information from reports by the Servicio Geologico Colombiano (SGC) and the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales, the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) notices, and various sources of satellite data.

Gas and ash emissions continued throughout July-December 2020; they generally rose to 5.8-6.1 km altitude with the highest reported plume at 6.7 km altitude on 7 December. SGC interpreted repeated episodes of “drumbeat seismicity” as an indication of continued dome growth throughout the period. Satellite thermal anomalies also suggested that dome growth continued. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity suggests that the dome was quiet in July and early August, but small pulses of thermal energy were recorded every few weeks for the remainder of 2020 (figure 115). Plots of the cumulative number and magnitude of seismic events at Nevado del Ruiz between January 2010 and November 2020 show a stable trend with periodic sharp increases in activity or magnitude throughout that time. SGC has adjusted the warning levels over time according to changes in the slope of the curves (figure 116).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 115. Thermal energy shown in the MIROVA graph of log radiative power at Nevado del Ruiz from 3 February 2020 through the end of the year indicates that higher levels of thermal energy lasted through April 2020; a quieter period from late May-early August was followed by low-level persistent anomalies through the end of the year. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 116. Changes in seismic frequency and energy at Nevado del Ruiz have been monitored by SGC for many years. Left: the cumulative number of daily VT, LP-VLP, TR, and HB seismic events, recorded between 1 January 2010 and 30 November 2020. The arrows highlight the days with the highest number of seismic events; the number and type of event is shown under the date. Right: The cumulative VT and HB seismic energy recorded between 1 January 2010 and 30 November 2020. The arrows highlight the days with the highest energy; the local magnitude of the event is shown below the date. SGC has adjusted the warning levels over time (bar across the bottom of each graph) according to changes in the slope of the curves. Courtesy of SGC (INFORME TÉCNICO – OPERATIVO DE LA ACTIVIDAD VOLCÁNICA, SEGMENTO VOLCÁNICO NORTE DE COLOMBIA – NOVIEMBRE DE 2020).

Activity during July-December 2020. Seismic energy increased during July compared to June 2020 with events localized around the Arenas crater. The depth of the seismicity varied from 0.3-7.8 km. Some of these signals were associated with small emissions of gas and ash, which were confirmed through webcams and by reports from officials of the Los Nevados National Natural Park (NNNP). The Washington VAAC reported a possible ash emission on 8 July that rose to 6.1 km altitude and drifted NW. On 21 July a webcam image showed an ash emission that rose to the same altitude and drifted W; it was seen in satellite imagery possibly extending 35 km from the summit but was difficult to confirm due to weather clouds. Short- to moderate-duration (less than 40 minutes) episodes of drumbeat seismicity were recorded on 5, 13, 17, and 21 July. SCG interprets this type of seismic activity as related to the growth of the Arenas crater lava dome. Primarily WNW drifting plumes of steam and SO2 were observed in the webcams daily. The gas was occasionally incandescent at night. The tallest plume of gas and ash reached 1,000 m above the crater rim on 30 July and was associated with a low-energy tremor pulse; it produced ashfall in parts of Manizales and nearby communities (figure 117).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. Images captured by a traditional camera (top) and a thermal camera (bottom) at Nevado del Ruiz showed a small ash emission in the early morning of 30 July 2020. Ashfall was reported in Manizales. The cameras are located 3.7 km W of the Arenas crater. Courtesy of SGC (Emisión de ceniza Volcan Nevado del Ruiz Julio 30 de 2020).

Seismicity increased in August 2020 with respect to July. Some of the LP and TR (tremor) seismicity was associated with small emissions of gas and ash, confirmed by web cameras, park personnel, and the Washington VAAC. The Washington VAAC received a report from the Bogota MWO of an ash emission on 1 August that rose to 6.1 km altitude and drifted NW; it was not visible in satellite imagery. Various episodes of short duration drumbeat seismicity were recorded during the month. The tallest steam and gas plume reached 1,800 m above the rim on 31 August. Despite the fact that in August the meteorological conditions made it difficult to monitor the surface activity of the volcano, three ash emissions were confirmed by SGC.

Seismicity decreased during September 2020 with respect to August. Some of the LP and TR (tremor) seismicity was associated with small emissions of gas and ash, confirmed by web cameras, park personnel and the Washington VAAC. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission on 16 September that rose to 6.1 km altitude and drifted NW. A minor ash emission on 20 September drifted W from the summit at 5.8 km altitude. A possible emission on 23 September drifted NW at 6.1 km altitude for a brief period before dissipating. Two emissions were reported drifting WNW of the summit on 26 September at 5.8 and 5.5 km altitude. Continuous volcanic tremors were registered throughout September, with the higher energy activity during the second half of the month. One episode of drumbeat seismicity on 15 September lasted for 38 minutes and consisted of 25 very low energy earthquakes. Steam and gas plumes reached 1,800 m above the crater rim during 17-28 September (figure 118). Five emissions of ash were confirmed by the webcams and park officials during the month, in spite of difficult meteorological conditions; three of them occurred between 15 and 20 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 118. A dense plume of steam rose from Nevado del Ruiz in the morning of 17 September 2020. Courtesy of Gonzalo.

Seismicity increased during October with respect to September. A few of the LP and tremor seismic events were associated with small emissions of gas and ash, confirmed by web cameras, park personnel, and the Washington VAAC. The Washington VAAC issued advisories of possible ash emissions on 2, 6, 9, 11, 15, 17, 18, and 21 October. The plumes rose to 5.6-6.4 km altitude and drifted primarily W and NW. Steam plumes were visible most days of the month (figure 119). Only a few were visible in satellite data, but most were visible in the webcams. Several episodes of drumbeat seismicity were recorded on 13, 22-25, and 27 October, which were characterized by being of short duration and consisting of very low energy earthquakes. The tallest plume during the month rose about 2 km above the crater rim on 18 October. Ash emissions were recorded eight times during the month by SGC.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. A steam plume mixed with possible ash drifted SE from Nevado del Ruiz on 7 October 2020. Courtesy of vlucho666.

During November 2020, the number of seismic events decreased relative to October, but the amount of energy released increased. Some of the seismicity was associated with small emissions of gas and ash, confirmed by webcams around the volcano. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions on 22 and 30 November; the 22 November event was faintly visible in satellite images and was also associated with an LP seismic event. They rose to 5.8-6.1 km altitude and drifted W. Various episodes of drumbeat seismicity registered during November were short- to moderate-duration, very low energy, and consisted of seismicity associated with rock fracturing (VT). Multiple steam plumes were visible from communities tens of kilometers away (figure 120).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. Multiple dense steam plumes were photographed from communities around Nevado del Ruiz during November 2020, including on 18 (top) and 20 (bottom) November. Top image courtesy of Jose Fdo Cuartas, bottom image courtesy of Efigas Oficial.

Seismic activity increased in December 2020 relative to November. It was characterized by continuous volcanic tremor, tremor pulses, long-period (LP) and very long-period (VLP) earthquakes. Some of these signals were associated with gas and ash emissions, one confirmed through the webcams. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions on 5 and 7 December. The first rose to 5.8 km altitude and drifted NW. The second rose to 6.7 km altitude and drifted W. A single discrete cloud was observed 35 km W of the summit; it dissipated within six hours. Drumbeat seismic activity increased as well in December; the episode on 3 December was the most significant. Steam and gas emissions continued throughout the month; a plume of gas and ash reached 1,700 m above the summit on 20 December, and drifted NW.

Sentinel-2 satellite data showed at least one thermal anomaly inside the Arenas crater each month during August-December 2020, corroborating the seismic evidence that the dome continued to grow throughout the period (figure 121). Sulfur dioxide emissions were persistent, with many days every month recording DU values greater than two with the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5-P satellite (figure 122).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. Thermal anomalies at Nevado del Ruiz were recorded at least once each month during August-December 2020 suggesting continued growth of the dome within the Arenas crater at the summit. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 122. Sulfur dioxide emissions were persistent at Nevado del Ruiz during August-December 2020, with many days every month recording DU values greater than two with the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5-P satellite. Ecuador’s Sangay had even larger SO2 emissions throughout the period. Dates are at the top of each image. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Additional reports of activity during 2017. Activity appears to have continued during June-December 2017. Ash emissions were reported by the Bogota Meteorological Weather Office (MWO) on 13 May, and by SGC on 28 May. During June, some of the recorded seismic events were associated with minor emissions of ash; these were confirmed by webcams and by field reports from both the staff of SGC and the Los Nevados National Natural Park (PNNN). Ash emissions were confirmed in webcams by park officials on 3, 16, and 17 June. Gas emissions from the Arenas crater during July 2017 averaged 426 m above the crater rim, generally lower than during June. The emissions were mostly steam with small amounts of SO2. Emissions were similar during August, with most steam and gas plumes drifting NW. No ash emissions were reported during July or August.

SGC reported steam and gas plumes during September that rose as high as 1,650 m above the crater rim and drifted NW. On 21 September the Washington VAAC received a report of an ash plume that rose to 6.4 km altitude and drifted NNW, although it was not visible in satellite imagery. Another ash emission rising to 6.7 km altitude was reported on 7 October; weather clouds prevented satellite observation. An episode of drumbeat seismicity was recorded on 9 October, the first since April 2017. While SGC did not explicitly mention ash emissions during October, several of the webcam images included in their report show plumes described as containing ash and gas (figure 123).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 123. Plumes of steam, gas, and ash rose from Arenas crater at Nevado del Ruiz most days during October 2017. Photographs were captured by the webcams installed in the Azufrado Canyon and Cerro Gualí areas. Courtesy of SGC (INFORME DE ACTIVIDAD VOLCANICA SEGMENTO NORTE DE COLOMBIA, OCTUBRE DE 2017).

The Washington VAAC received a report from the Bogota MWO of an ash emission that rose to 6.1 km altitude and drifted NE on 8 November 2017. A faint plume was visible in satellite imagery extending 15 km NE from the summit. SGC reported that plumes rose as high as 2,150 m above the rim of Arenas crater during November. The plumes were mostly steam, with minor amounts of SO2. A diffuse plume of ash was photographed in a webcam on 24 November. SGC did not report any ash emissions during December 2017, but the Washington VAAC reported “a thin veil of volcanic ash and gases” visible in satellite imagery and webcams on 18 December that dissipated within a few hours. In addition to the multiple reports of ash emissions between May and December 2017, Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery recorded at least one image each month during June-December showing a thermal anomaly at the summit consistent with the slowly growing dome first reported in August 2015 (figure 124).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 124. Thermal anomalies from the growing dome inside Arenas crater at the summit of Nevado del Ruiz appeared at least once each month from June-December 2017. A strong anomaly was slightly obscured by clouds on 3 June (top left). On 2 August, a steam plume obscured most of the crater, but a small thermal anomaly is visible in its SE quadrant (top right). Strong anomalies on 30 November and 20 December (bottom) have a ring-like form suggestive of a growing dome. Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Gonzalo (URL: https://twitter.com/chaloc22/status/1306581929651843076); Jose Fdo Cuartas (URL: https://twitter.com/JoseFCuartas/status/1329212975434096640); Vlucho666 (URL: https://twitter.com/vlucho666/status/1313791959954268161); Efigas Oficial (URL: https://twitter.com/efigas_oficial/status/1329780287920873472).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 27, Number 11 (November 2002)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Colima (Mexico)

New lava flows emitted during February through at least December 2002

Etna (Italy)

Witnesses saw N- and S-flank eruptions begin at around 0200 on 27 October

Fournaise, Piton de la (France)

Fissure eruption 16 November-3 December sent lava to the sea

Ijen (Indonesia)

Above-background seismicity through at least 8 December 2002

Kilauea (United States)

Inflation-deflation episodes and lava flows through 2 December 2002

Klyuchevskoy (Russia)

Above-background seismicity June-November 2002

Lewotobi (Indonesia)

Explosion on 12 October 2002, the first reported activity since July 1999

Miyakejima (Japan)

High SO2 fluxes, minor ash eruptions continue through November 2002

Papandayan (Indonesia)

Large explosive eruption with landslide and lahars begins 11 November 2002

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

May-June quiet; late 2002 explosions send ash to ~4 km altitude

Reventador (Ecuador)

Strong, sudden 3 November eruption; 8-km-long pyroclastic flow



Colima (Mexico) — November 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Colima

Mexico

19.514°N, 103.62°W; summit elev. 3850 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New lava flows emitted during February through at least December 2002

New lava flows began at Colima on 14 February 2002 (BGVN 27:05). The lavas traveled from the central crater proceeding down the SW flank until May (areas 1 and 2 on figure 62). During June-December 2002, three small lava flows developed (areas 3-5 on figure 62). The latter three flows were first noted on 21 June; the mean rate of lava emission was very low, ~0.1 m3/s. Flow 3 stopped on 12 July; flows 4 and 5 continued their activity into at least mid-December. Pulses of higher lava emission occurred during the eruption of flows 4 and 5 (19 July and 10 November 2002, respectively).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Sketch of the February-December 2002 lava flows (1-5) on Colima's SW flanks. Three new lava flows (3-5) are shown by dashed lines. Courtesy of Observatorio Vulcanológico de la Universidad de Colima.

Seismicity varied significantly during January-December 2002 (figure 63). June-December pulses in emission and lava-flow velocity were associated with numerous rockfalls and elevated seismicity. Periods of elevated seismicity and lava emission took place on 14 February (pulse I), 21 June (II), 19 July (III), and 10 November (IV).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. Colima's inferred daily number of rockfalls and pyroclastic flows (upper curves, labeled R) and small explosions (lower curve, dashed and labeled E). Both these estimates were based on seismic data received 1.7 km from the crater (at station Soma). Strong seismic noise occurred during 18 March to 14 May, preventing accurate rockfall estimation. Arrows with Roman numerals (I-IV) identify pulses in seismicity and lava emission. Intervals labeled T1-T3 indicate periods when tremor continued 12 to 24 hours per day. Courtesy of Observatorio Vulcanológico de la Universidad de Colima.

With the appearance of lava flows on 21 June, the number of rockfalls sharply increased, and then stabilized at 250-300 per day after the July pulse (lava pulse III). The June-December stage of the eruption was accompanied by numerous small gas explosions and periods of low-amplitude volcanic tremor. Tremor episodes lasting 12-24 hours/day are marked as T2 and T3 on figure 63. These tremor episodes were not associated with observable changes in volcanic activity.

Geologic Background. The Colima volcanic complex is the most prominent volcanic center of the western Mexican Volcanic Belt. It consists of two southward-younging volcanoes, Nevado de Colima (the high point of the complex) on the north and the historically active Volcán de Colima at the south. A group of late-Pleistocene cinder cones is located on the floor of the Colima graben west and east of the complex. Volcán de Colima (also known as Volcán Fuego) is a youthful stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera, breached to the south, that has been the source of large debris avalanches. Major slope failures have occurred repeatedly from both the Nevado and Colima cones, producing thick debris-avalanche deposits on three sides of the complex. Frequent historical eruptions date back to the 16th century. Occasional major explosive eruptions have destroyed the summit (most recently in 1913) and left a deep, steep-sided crater that was slowly refilled and then overtopped by lava dome growth.

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanológico de la Universidad de Colima, Colima, Col., 28045, México.


Etna (Italy) — November 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Witnesses saw N- and S-flank eruptions begin at around 0200 on 27 October

After the violent flank eruption of July-August 2001, Mount Etna was rather calm for more than 10 months, except for usual fumes from the four summit craters [and minor ash emissions]. In the first days of July 2002 weak magmatic activity resumed sporadically at the NE Crater with ejection of bombs that fell on the outer slopes of the cone. On 12 September explosions occurred every 2 or 3 minutes and were violent enough to throw large spatter as far as the northern rim of the Voragine (Central Crater). However, there were many days without explosive activity and, at other times, the NE Crater emitted large clouds of brownish ash. Although a magnitude 3.7 earthquake had struck the northern flank of the volcano on 22 September, subsequent days were so calm that, to these contributors, the following events came as quite a surprise.

As the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) previously reported (BGVN 27:10), a seismic swarm began to shake Etna late during the evening of 26 October 2002. One observer, Maurice Aubert, happened to be in a hotel on the northern flank (at Piano Provenzana, 1,816 m elevation). There the seismic shocks were distinctly felt after midnight and rapidly reached hazardous levels. Hours later, at 0205 on 27 October, lava fountains began to play along a fissure 1-2 km up slope, but decreased at 0220 when lava flows expanded downwards.

The seismic intensity of earthquakes felt the night of the 26th ranged from II to VII or perhaps VIII. The approximate timing and seismic intensity was recorded as follows at 0030, II; at 0140, VI; at 0200, VI; at 0320, VII; and at 0343, VII or VIII. Maurice Aubert and his group hastily retreated shortly after 0320, exiting while cracks were developing through the mountain road. The last of the above-reported intensities was felt during their departure, when a strong earthquake shook their car.

Vents at ~2,700 m elevation on the southern flank (on the Piano del Lago) are here called the S2700 vents. These new S-flank vents lay just SE of the ancient cone of Monte Frumento Supino and ~800 m NW of the Laghetto cone, which appeared in 2001.

Watching the S2700 vents, Giuseppe Scarpinati saw two lava fountains develop after 0200, together with a large ash plume that drifted S. The eruptive phenomena were accompanied by strong detonations and rumblings together with continuous earthquakes that were felt in Acireale, a town at Etna's southeastern foot.

Lava flows from the northern vents invaded and over ran the flat area containing tourist facilities at Piano Provenzana and proceeded as two branches downwards through the pine trees towards Linguaglossa, a village ~10 km to the NE. The greatest damage was not the loss of all tourist facilities at Piano Provenzana, but was instead due to heavy ashfall S of the volcano, which led to closing of the Catania airport on the afternoon of 27 October.

On the morning of 28 October the S fissure had developed at least three explosive vents. A 100-to-200-m-high lava fountain, ~200 m downslope, fed lava flows that extended by more than 2 km toward the uninhabited area of Monte Nero degli Zappini (figures 97 and 98). During the day, however, the effusive activity significantly decreased, and on 29 October the lava fronts virtually stopped on the southern side, although violent degassing at the upper end of the fissure continued unabated. Sustained release of high pressure gas fed a voluminous SE-directed ash plume that reached to more than 5 km altitude. At the same time on the 29th, a large plume of white vapor was emitted at the summit from the central crater vents (Bocca Nuova, Voragine) and the NE Crater. The SE crater, the main site of the 2001 eruption, remained entirely calm.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Southern vents of Etna at 2,700 m elevation as seen during daylight on the morning of 28 October 2002 (taken from 2,500 m elevation looking N). The white plume on the right comes from the lava vent, and the plume in the left background is from the summit craters. Courtesy of J.C. Tanguy.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Southern vents of Etna as photographed from the SW in the early afternoon of 28 October 2002. From left to right the image shows the summit craters emitting white vapor, the cone of Mt. Frumento Supino, the S2700 explosive vents giving off a dark column, the lower lava vent emitting a faint white plume, new lava flows (dark narrow band), 2001 cone, and Montagnola cone. Courtesy of J.C. Tanguy.

Strong earthquakes on 29 October caused damage on the lower E flank of the mountain, particularly at Santa Venerina where some 1,000 people were left homeless. The main shock was recorded by Jean-Claude Tanguy in the SE region of the volcano (Trecastagni) at 17 seconds after 1102 (± 5 sec). Horizontal ground motions there lasted 7 to 8 seconds. The INGV reported the seismic event as M 4.4, located 8-9 km beneath Santa Venerina. Other strong shocks at 1739 and 1814 (M 4.0 and 4.1) caused walls to collapse along the road between Zafferana and Milo.

On 30 October soon after midday the Bocca Nuova vent began to emit large clouds of brownish ash. This activity culminated between 1310 and 1320, and the ash cloud merged into the still large, dark ash plume from the southern lateral vents. However, Strombolian explosive activity was still vigorous at the main explosive center, which included a group of about six vents near 2,000 m elevation (called the N2000 vents). These vents, which produced photogenic activity into the night (figure 99), lie just to the E of an old cinder cone known as Monte Ponte di Ferro (at 2,040 m elevation). Here the accumulation of pyroclasts had built a spatter rampart ~200 m long and 30 to 40 m high, the upper part of which reached 2,035 m elevation (± 5 m, measured from Mt. Ponte di Ferro using both altimeter and inclinometer).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. A night photograph of Etna's N2000 vents showing the brilliant glow of lava fountains and associated spatter. Taken on 30 October 2002 from Mt. Ponte di Ferro looking E. Courtesy of J.C. Tanguy.

On 31 October the wind gradually shifted from the N to the W and then SW, so that ashfall from S2700 vents affected localities NE of the volcano including Reggio di Calabria, whose airport also had to be closed. At the northern vents the lava effusion was on a waning stage, but violent explosions from the two upper vents of the N2000 group threw blocks of ancient material amid juvenile tephra (figure 100).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. Outbursts began to wane at Etna's N2000 vents on the evening of 31 October 2002, but substantial explosions continued at the upper two N2000 vents. The photograph was taken looking southward, towards Etna's summit, from the lower NE rift zone at the eastern base of the northern Monte Nero (crater of the 1646 eruption at 2,049 m elevation; but easily confused with the S-flank feature of the same name). On the photo's right-center area lies a more brightly lit uplands region that leads to the summit of NE Crater, which is emitting a dense plume of white smoke. From left to right in the darker foreground lie the new spatter ramparts, with incandescent lava lumps at the middle vent, and dark ash and block explosions at the two upper vents, and the upper part of the eruptive fissure (small white fumes, far right) located between about 2200 and 2500 m elevation. Courtesy of J.C. Tanguy.

On 1 November all activity ceased on the northern side except for very small residual lava flows, but the S2700 upper vent appeared to enter a phase of sustained explosive activity resembling a small subplinian column that continued to cause disruptions around the volcano. It was not until 12 November at 1340 that the activity abruptly changed to typical Strombolian explosions of liquid lava clots with loud detonations. On 13 November at about 1600 a small lava flow began to trickle from the lower base of the S2700 cone. The lava effusion increased on 14 November, expanding downwards along the 27-28 October flows. Meanwhile ash emission recommenced at the S2700 crater.

This kind of eruption style is quite unusual at Mount Etna. The authors suggest that it could indicate that a considerable amount of magma has intruded into the S rift zone, which would account for strong degassing without any significant lava effusion between 2 and 13 November.

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: Jean-Claude Tanguy, University of Paris 6 & Institut de Physique du Globe, 94107 St. Maur des Fossés, France; Maurice Aubert, University of Clermont-Ferrand, Department of Geology, 63038 Clermont-Ferrand, France; Roberto Clocchiatti, CNRS-CEN Saclay, Lab. Pierre Süe, 91191 Gif sur Yvette, France; Santo La Delfa and Giuseppe Patané, University of Catania, Department of Geological Sciences, Corso Italia 55, 95129 Catania, Italy; Giuseppe Scarpinati,via Muggia 7, 95024 Acireale, Italy.


Piton de la Fournaise (France) — November 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Piton de la Fournaise

France

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fissure eruption 16 November-3 December sent lava to the sea

After 3 months of high seismicity at Piton de la Fournaise and three small seismic crises, a strong seismic crisis with several hundreds of earthquakes started on 15 November at 2336. The earthquakes were accompanied by strong deformation at the summit, including tilt of up to 300 µrad. An eruption began on 16 November at 0433 with the appearance of eruption tremor. Fissures opened on the volcano's E flank between elevations of 1,900 and 1,600 m and lava flowed down the E flank. A small cone formed on one of the most active fissures at ~1,600 m elevation. On 18 November, continuous emissions from the cone rose up to 1,600 m above the crater rim.

During 20-26 November, visual observations were largely hampered by inclement weather. Eruptive tremor was constant on the 20th and 21st, and fluctuated on the 22nd. Tremor showed short-term variations during 23-26 November. Lava flows traveled in lava tubes between the active cone and 1,200 m elevation and traveled on the land surface at elevations between about 1,200 and 500 m.

On 27 November, eruptive tremor had decreased to 25% of that seen since this eruption's start. On that day the fissures located on the S at ~1,850 m and at ~1750 m elevation were no longer active. Instead, two fissures at ~1,600 m elevation were active. The smallest and lowest produced a small lava flow. The largest fissure was located 100 m higher and slightly to the N; it emitted a significant lava flow. Sprays of lava there on 16 November reached up to 80 m high. On 17 November they reached only up to 30 m high, at least in part owing to drag imposed by a small lava lake that had then developed within the cone's interior.

On 29 November eruptive tremor increased by a factor of two, and there were 89 seismic events recorded that day. On the 30th, 329 seismic events were recorded, all located about 1 km above sea level, beneath the floor of Dolomieu crater. A lava flow in the Grand Brûlé area approached the national road, crossing it around 2300. By about 0500 on 1 December the lava flow had reached the sea. At this time almost constant seismicity occurred, with more than 1,500 earthquakes recorded with magnitudes up to 2.8. Eruption tremor was stable; numerous long-period earthquakes were also recorded, indicating the presence of magma beneath the summit. On the morning of 2 December seismicity increased by about a factor of about three, but decreased the next day.

Lava emissions from Piton de la Fournaise ended on 3 December. Permanent tremor decreased significantly that day, although seismic events beneath the summit continued at a rate of 1 per minute. Seismicity continued to decline over the next two days. Poor weather conditions prevented helicopter observations during 3-5 December. Inspection on 6 December revealed some collapses between Bory and Dolomieu craters, and white fumes were being released from the new Guanyin cone, but there was no evidence of surface activity coincident with larger seismic events that occurred while scientists from the OVPDLF were on the edge of Dolomieu.

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

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


Ijen (Indonesia) — November 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Ijen

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Above-background seismicity through at least 8 December 2002

During 9 September through at least 8 December 2002 at Ijen, activity was above background levels. Seismicity was dominated by shallow volcanic (B-type) and tectonic earthquakes (table 5). During the week of 14-20 October, 1 deep-volcanic (A-type) earthquake was registered. Continuous tremor occurred, typically with a maximum amplitude of 0.5-3 mm.

Table 5. Earthquakes reported at Ijen during 9 September-8 December 2002. Courtesy VSI.

Date Shallow volcanic (B-type) Tectonic
09 Sep-15 Sep 2002 51 4
16 Sep-22 Sep 2002 72 5
23 Sep-29 Sep 2002 71 6
30 Sep-06 Oct 2002 67 5
07 Oct-13 Oct 2002 48 6
14 Oct-20 Oct 2002 96 2
21 Oct-27 Oct 2002 28 2
28 Oct-03 Nov 2002 73 2
04 Nov-10 Nov 2002 29 1
11 Nov-18 Nov 2002 29 17
02 Dec-08 Dec 2002 3 1

During 2-8 December VSI reported that tremor had a maximum peak-to-peak amplitudes of 0.5-12 mm. Throughout the report period, a "white-thin ash plume" [steam plume] was reported to rise 50-100 m above the volcano. Ijen remained at Alert Level 2.

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

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


Kilauea (United States) — November 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Inflation-deflation episodes and lava flows through 2 December 2002

Surface activity and seismicity continued at Kilauea during mid-September through early December 2002. At times lava was visible flowing on the coastal flat, and farther upslope on steep slopes and cliffs (at Paliuli, a steep zone just above the coastal flat, and Pulama Pali, a larger steep zone farther upslope). Seismicity was generally at normal levels. There were short periods of inflation and deflation at Uwekahuna and Pu`u `O`o.

Lava flows. During 11-30 September, lava continued to travel SE down Pulama pali and Paliuli, and many surface lava flows were visible on the coastal flat. Lava flowed onto the Wilipe'a bench directly seaward of the end of the Chain of Craters Road. Lava entered the sea at several points on the NE portion of the front of the bench. A great, elongate tumulus was forming directly above the buried pavement of the Chain of Craters Road, near the end of the exposed pavement. On 16 September, it was 3-5 m high, very steep sided, and elongate along the direction of the old road. Also on 16 September, two flows on either side of the West Highcastle lobe threatened to enter the sea. Both flows sent lava onto an old bench. One flow was more or less along the W edge of the West Highcastle lobe, and the other was split into two fingers near the old sea cliff forming the back side of the old bench; one finger was along the E side of the West Highcastle lobe, and the other midway between the Highcastle and West Highcastle lobes. The two flows were fed by the burgeoning West Highcastle lobe, supplied mainly by lava coming over the eastern part of Paliuli. On 22 September, the Highcastle and West Highcastle lobes of the Mother's Day flows were filled in by active lava. A new delta (bench) was being built seaward of the 1995 delta; on 22 September, the new addition was about 20 m beyond the old coastline. During late September visitors saw several sudden collapses of the front of the bench. Lava entered the sea at several points along the two active lava deltas (Middle Highcastle and Wilipe`a) during 1-23 October. No surface flows were visible on the deltas; lava either entered the water via lava tubes or inflated the delta underneath the surface. Several surface flows were visible on the coastal flat, and sporadically on Paliuli and Pulama pali. During late October and early November, surface lava flows were not visible on the coastal flat, but were occasionally seen near Paliuli and Pulama pali. Similar activity continued through mid-November, when spots of incandescence were visible on Paliuli, on the gentle slope below Pulama pali, and above Pulama pali.

From 21 November through 2 December lava continued to flow into the ocean at low-to-moderate levels at the West Highcastle and Wilipe`a entries. West Highcastle was the more active of the two lava deltas, with sporadic explosions coming from one of its entry points. Several surface lava flows were visible on the coastal flat (figure 157).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 157. Map of lava flows erupted during 1983 through 25 November 2002 from Pu`u `O`o and Kupaianaha. Lava renewed draining into the sea at the Wilipe`a ocean entry on 3 September, and continued as of 25 November. Lavas also renewed draining into the sea at the West Highcastle entry during 16-17 September; they died away during the night of 18-19 September, but returned soon thereafter to continue through at least 25 November. The E arm of the Mother's Day flow branched from Highcastle lobe in late October. After that, this arm of lava sent three fingers into the ocean: at Highcastle on 15 November, at West Lae`apuki on 19 November, and at Lae`apuki on 20 November. Of these, only Lae`apuki (the eastern of the two entries labeled "Lae`apuki") was still active on 25 November, but it had stopped by 29 November. Courtesy HVO.

Geophysical activity. During mid-September seismicity was generally at normal levels. There were short periods of inflation and deflation at Uwekahuna and Pu`u `O`o. For several days before 18 September, there was a period of repetitive inflation and deflation at Uwekahuna and Pu`u `O`o. After the 18th no significant deformation was recorded. The swarm of long-period earthquakes and tremor beneath Kilauea's caldera that originally began in June was fairly weak.

On 3 October the swarm of long-period earthquakes and tremor picked up strongly, with numerous long-period events persisting for about a day. Elsewhere there was no unusual seismicity. Around the time of increased seismicity, small periods of inflation and deflation occurred at Pu`u `O`o and Uwekahuna. Otherwise, tiltmeters recorded no unusual deformation.

Small swarms of long-period earthquakes and tremor occurred beneath the caldera during mid-October through at least 2 December. Periods of deflation and inflation continued to occur at Pu`u `O`o and Uwekahuna. A small deflation event began on 28 October that was recorded at the Uwekahuna and Pu`u `O`o tiltmeters. Small deflation may have occurred at the Uwekahuna and Pu`u `O`o tiltmeters on 10 November. Gentle deflation occurred at Pu`u `O`o during 13-24 November.

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

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


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — November 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Above-background seismicity June-November 2002

During late June through early December 2002 seismicity fluctuated at Kliuchevskoi, but remained above background levels. Plumes were occasionally visible reaching up to 2.0 km above the crater (table 6).

Table 6. Plumes visible at Kliuchevskoi during mid-August through early December 2002. Plume heights are above the crater. Courtesy KVERT.

Date Time Plume details
16-18 Aug 2002 -- A gas-and-steam plume rose 500-1500 m, extended 10 km to the W and NW on 16 and 18 August.
19 and 21 Aug 2002 -- A gas-and-steam plume rose 50-150 m, extended 10 km to the SW on 19 August.
22 Aug 2002 0700 and 0820 According to visual observations from Klyuchi town, a gas-and-steam plume with ash rose 100 m.
22 Aug 2002 0830 Observers from Kozyrevsk village reported a gas-steam plume that rose 100 m and extended 15 km to the S.
22 Aug 2002 0718 An AVHRR image (band 2) showed a steam-gas (?) plume extending S.
01 Nov 2002 -- A gas-and-steam plume rose ~800 m and extended 10 km to the SE.
08, 09, 13 Nov 2002 -- A gas-and-steam plume rose ~100-900 m and extended 10 km to the E and SE.
17-18 Nov 2002 -- Gas-and-steam plumes rose ~1,000-2,000 m and extended 10-20 km to the W.
19-21 Nov 2002 -- Gas-and-steam plumes rose ~100-200 m.
03 Dec 2002 -- According to visual observations from Klyuchi, gas-and-steam plumes rose ~1,300 m and extended N and NE.
30 Nov and 01, 02, 04 Dec 2002 -- Gas-and-steam plumes rose 100-400 m and extended 10 km to the SE, E, W, and N.
03 Dec 2002 -- According to satellite data, a ~15 km gas-and-steam plume extended NNE.

Increased seismicity during November 2001 and May 2002 (BGVN 27:06) prompted KVERT to increase the Concern Color Code to Yellow. The Code was reduced to Green on 21 June. On 30 August KVERT reported that during the previous week ~10 earthquakes occurred at depths of ~30 km beneath the volcano. Small shallow earthquakes and weak spasmodic tremor were also registered during the week. No further reports were issued until early November 2002.

On 8 November 2002, KVERT reported that seismicity had reached above-background levels several times per month during 2002. Specifically, they reported high seismicity as follows: 8 days each month during June, September and October; 4 days in July; 7 days in August, and an unspecified number of times during early November.

The Concern Color Code was increased to Yellow on 14 November. Seismicity was above background levels during 8 November through at least 5 December (table 7).

Table 7. Earthquakes and intermittent spasmodic volcanic tremor measured at Kliuchevskoi during late August through early December 2002. Courtesy KVERT.

Date Earthquakes per day (~30 km depth) Intermittent tremor (in terms of geophone velocity)
30 Aug 2002 ~10 --
01 Nov-07 Nov 2002 5-13 Up to 1.1-1.4 x 10-6 m/s.
08 Nov-10 Nov 2002 5-9 --
11 Nov-13 Nov 2002 33-56 Slowly decreased from 1.6 x 10-6 m/s to 0.75 x 10-6 m/s during 8-12 November.
14 Nov-17 Nov 2002 Decreased from 26 to 9 0.6-0.7 x 10-6 m/s during 14-16 November.
17 Nov-20 Nov 2002 9 1.1-1.3 x 10-6 m/s.
28 Nov-01 Dec 2002 8-13 --
02 Dec-04 Dec 2002 24-33 --
28 Nov-05 Dec 2002 -- ~0.8 x 10-6 m/s.

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


Lewotobi (Indonesia) — November 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Lewotobi

Indonesia

8.542°S, 122.775°E; summit elev. 1703 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosion on 12 October 2002, the first reported activity since July 1999

On 12 October 2002 at 2330, an explosion at Lewotobi Lakilaki (a twin stratovolcano of Lewotobi Perempuan) was accompanied by a weak thundering sound that was heard at Hokeng village, 5 km from the summit. An ash column rose ~500 m above the volcano and drifted NW. Ash fell as far as 5 km away, accumulating to thicknesses of less than 0.5 mm. No seismic data were available. Following the eruption, the Alert Level was raised to 2 (on a scale of 1-4). According to VSI, eruptions at Lewotobi usually occur over an extended time, therefore more explosions were expected in the following weeks to months. VSI reported no increase in volcanism in the weeks following the 12 October eruption. Through at least 24 November, a thin white low-pressure ash plume was frequently visible rising 150-250 m above the summit. Lewotobi remained at Alert Level 2.

Geologic Background. The Lewotobi "husband and wife" twin volcano (also known as Lewetobi) in eastern Flores Island is composed of the Lewotobi Lakilaki and Lewotobi Perempuan stratovolcanoes. Their summits are less than 2 km apart along a NW-SE line. The conical Lakilaki has been frequently active during the 19th and 20th centuries, while the taller and broader Perempuan has erupted only twice in historical time. Small lava domes have grown during the 20th century in both of the crescentic summit craters, which are open to the north. A prominent flank cone, Iliwokar, occurs on the E flank of Perampuan.

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


Miyakejima (Japan) — November 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Miyakejima

Japan

34.094°N, 139.526°E; summit elev. 775 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


High SO2 fluxes, minor ash eruptions continue through November 2002

Volcanic activity that began at Miyake-jima during June and July 2000 was still ongoing as of November 2002. The current activity included a large amount of discharging volcanic gas. SO2 flux remained high (about 5,000-10,000 tons/day) as of October 2002. All residents of Miyake-jima island have been evacuated since September 2000.

During the 2000 activity, for several weeks the crater expanded in both depth and diameter (BGVN 25:09) and by September 2000 its diameter reached ~1.6 km. As of November 2002, the crater diameter remained at ~1.6 km. Several phreatomagmatic eruptions had occurred during July and August 2000 (e.g., July 14-15; August 10, 13, 18, and 29). The largest eruption occurred on 18 August 2000 (BGVN 25:09). It produced an eruption column to a height of ~15 km. Large amounts of ash and bombs ejected, the latter frequently rich in juvenile material and in a cauliflower shape (figure 16). About 30-40% of the ash consisted of juvenile fragments containing many micro-bubbles and microlites (figure 16).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Cauliflower-shaped bomb from the 18 August 2000 eruption of Miyake-jima. Courtesy GSJ.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. A polished section of 18 August 2000 ash showing a 100 µm scale bar. The specimen is riddled with microlites and sub-circular micro-bubbles. Courtesy GSJ.

During the 29 August 2000 eruption (BGVN 25:07), a low-temperature pyroclastic flow occurred. The flow was weak, however, it reached the sea and sent an ash cloud to 8.0 km. Following the largest eruption on 18 August 2000, a large amount of volcanic gas, especially SO2, began to discharge. The mean flux during September-December 2000 was ~40,000 tons/day.

Table 2 compiles recent minor eruptions during 2001-2002. A major eruption had not occurred at Miyake-jima since 29 August 2000. However, small explosions with minor ash emission sometimes occurred. As of 15 November 2002, the last such explosion was on 8 October 2002.

Table 2. Occasional small, typically ash-bearing explosions took place at Miyake-jima during January 2001 through 15 November 2002. All of the eruptions since 2001 were small with minor ash emission; however, some plume observations following outbursts were thwarted by weather or other limitations (situations indicated by question marks). In several cases, the ash columns rose to heights of 1 to 1.5 km above the crater rim. Data from JMA and provided courtesy GSJ.

Date Time (approximate) Plume height above rim
11 Jan 2001 1040 800 m
19 Mar 2001 0700-0740 800 m
27 May 2001 0604 1,200 m
03 Jun 2001 0634 700 m
10 Jun 2001 1925 500 m
10 Jun 2001 0638 and 0823 500 m
18 Jul 2001 1742 ??
26 Sep 2001 1132 1,000 m
27 Sep 2001 2128 1,000 m
27 Sep 2001 2304 800 m
28 Sep 2001 0528 800 m
11 Oct 2001 0445 and 0900 ??
16 Oct 2001 0722 1,500 m
01 Nov 2001 1232 800 m
23 Jan 2002 1234 200 m
21 Feb 2002 1737 300 m
02 Mar 2002 0553 and 0612 ??
31 Mar 2002 0604 200 m
02 Apr 2002 1002 300 m
16 Apr 2002 0600 ??
15 Jun 2002 1619 500 m
01 Aug 2002 1742 ??
16 Sep 2002 0510 ??
08 Oct 2002 1451 200 m

Satellite imagery on 5-6 August showed a plume from Miyake-jima drifting ~185 km (100 nautical miles; figure 18). A wind profile taken at a nearby Hachijo-jima island was used to infer that the plume was below ~1,500 m.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Satellite imagery on 6 August 2002 showed a plume drifting to the ENE from Miyake-jima. Courtesy Charles Holliday, U.S. AFWA.

Geologic Background. The circular, 8-km-wide island of Miyakejima forms a low-angle stratovolcano that rises about 1,100 m from the sea floor in the northern Izu Islands about 200 km SSW of Tokyo. The basaltic volcano is truncated by small summit calderas, one of which, 3.5 km wide, was formed during a major eruption about 2,500 years ago. Parasitic craters and vents, including maars near the coast and radially oriented fissure vents, dot the flanks of the volcano. Frequent historical eruptions have occurred since 1085 CE at vents ranging from the summit to below sea level, causing much damage on this small populated island. After a three-century-long hiatus ending in 1469, activity has been dominated by flank fissure eruptions sometimes accompanied by minor summit eruptions. A 1.6-km-wide summit caldera was slowly formed by subsidence during an eruption in 2000; by October of that year the crater floor had dropped to only 230 m above sea level.

Information Contacts: Akihiko Tomiya, Geological Survey of Japan (GSJ), National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tsukuba Central 7, Tsukuba 305-8567, Japan (URL: http://staff.aist.go.jp/a.tomiya/miyakeE.html); Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Volcanological Division, 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/); Charles Holliday, U.S. Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA),106 Peacekeeper Dr., Ste 2NE; Offutt AFB, NE 68113-4039 USA.


Papandayan (Indonesia) — November 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Papandayan

Indonesia

7.32°S, 107.73°E; summit elev. 2665 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Large explosive eruption with landslide and lahars begins 11 November 2002

On 11 November 2002 a substantial eruption began at Papandayan. The last reported activity here, during June 1998, consisted of increased seismicity and minor phreatic explosions that ejected mud and gas (BGVN 23:07). The volcano lies ~50 km SE of Bandung.

The Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI) reported that the seismograph recorded a deep volcanic earthquake in early October 2002. During mid-October, hypocenters of shallow volcanic earthquakes were migrating toward the surface. Volcanic earthquakes continued until the eruption.

One or more earthquakes at 0452 and 0454 on 11 November were felt with a Modified Mercalli intensity of II. The shaking is thought to have triggered instability at Papandayan. Associated tremor signals during 1200-1506 had ~6 mm amplitudes (peak-to-peak).

At 1530 on 11 November a phreatic eruption vented from the 1942 crater, Kawah Baru. An hour and 20 minutes later, a landslide began. The landslide, which occurred at the W wall of the old crater complex, advanced into the Cibeureum Gede river where it became a lahar and flood.

Figures 1, 2, and 3 show some of the near-source effects and processes seen two days after the 11 November eruption. The Cibeureum river is a tributary of the major, NNE-flowing Cimanuk river, which empties on Java's N coast. The lahar and flood destroyed eight houses, two bridges, and rice fields. News and web articles also mentioned some evacuations, damage to tea farms, and the reduced water-storage capacity of some impacted reservoirs. There were no reported deaths.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. A photo showing Papandayan's phreatomagmatic eruption at Kawah Baru on 13 November 2002. For scale, note several people in open areas in the center foreground and beyond. Photo taken by Mas Atje Purbawinata (VSI).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. On 11 November 2002, Papandayan's cone Gunung Nangklak underwent slope failure at the old crater complex's W wall, leaving behind a fresh landslide scarp (right). The large cloud in the background consists of a modest background-level ash emission from Kawah Baru. Photograph taken on 13 November 2002 by R. D. Hadisantono (VSI).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Papandayan's November eruption and landslide resulted in a lahar and flood on the Cibeureum Gede river. This is a view looking across a portion of that river as seen several days after the 11 November 2002 lahar and flood started. Downstream is towards the left. This photo taken on 13 November 2002 by Mas Atje Purbawinata (VSI).

The eruption progressed into a phreatomagmatic (or magmatic) eruption until 14 November (figure 4). During this interval there were seven eruptive vents inside Kawah Baru; four of these discharged only sporadic magmatic eruptions, while three produced continuous ash eruptions. On the 14th, a total of 17 magmatic eruptions occurred between 0017 and 1150. The eruptions produced thick gray ash that reached 500-1,000 m above the vent.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Papandayan discharges one of its many 14 November 2002 eruptions. Courtesy VSI.

On 15 November at 0630 a larger eruption produced thick dark ash that reached 5.0 km above the summit. The Alert Level was raised to 4 (on a scale of 1-4).

On 16 November during 0600-1800 a thick white ash plume rose 300 m and drifted W. The seismograph recorded signals interpreted as intervals of continuous explosion, and continuous emission. The seismicity of that interval was also characterized by earthquakes (six volcanic, and one tectonic) and continuous tremor.

VSI reported that during 1800-0600 on 17-18 November, volcanic activity at Papandayan was dominated by ash emissions, while medium-pressure ash explosions occurred continuously. A thin white ash plume rose ~200-700 m above the crater and drifted W. The seismograph recorded explosion and tectonic earthquakes, along with continuous tremor and 2 volcanic earthquakes. Seismic signals also disclosed continuous emissions. The Alert Level was reduced to 3 at 1200 on 18 November.

On 19 November, a thick white ash plume of weak to medium pressure rose 200-500 m above the crater and drifted W. The seismograph recorded 11 shallow volcanic and 3 tectonic earthquakes, along with continuous tremor.

On 20 November a thick white ash plume reached 100-1,500 m above the crater and drifted W. Heavy rain occurred at 0502. An eruption from Nangklak crater produced a `dark-gray ash plume that reached 1.5 km above the crater and drifted NE, then N and NW. Ashfall reached a thickness up to 2 cm within a 2-km radius, directed towards the NW.

Earthquakes recorded on 20 November included 17 shallow volcanic, 1 deep volcanic, 2 tectonic, and 1 low frequency. Continuous tremor and continuous emissions of medium intensity also occurred.

A visit to the crater the next day confirmed that energetic eruptions had taken place on 20 November (figures 5, 6, and 7). Scientists found that a directed lateral blast had traveled NE as far as 2 km, stripping all trees growing along the inside of the horseshoe-shaped crater. Within this crater, the blast left blocks and smaller fragments of altered rocks and a 4-8 cm thick deposit of wet ash. Within a 500 m radius of the crater, the sides of some trees had charred due to contact with passing high-temperature gases from the blast, which had discharged from Nangklak crater (figure 6). Breadcrust bombs with maximum diameters of 50 cm were found around Nangklak crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. This 21 November 2002 photo documents Papandayan's multiple active vents. All the vents resided in craters within the volcano's larger horseshoe-shaped crater. Three white plumes issued from Baru crater (left), and one, more substantial plume came from the then very active Nangklak crater (right). Photographed by Igan S. Sutawidjaja (VSI).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. This photo was taken a day after Papandayan's 20 November eruption at a spot ~ 300 m from Nangklak crater. The area appears to be covered by an unspecified thickness of tephra. Widespread damage seen in the photo includes the near absence of smaller vegetation on the present ground surface, and the denuded, scorched, and splintered remnants of the larger vegetation. The charred sides of remaining tree stumps faced towards Nangklak crater. For scale, note the open jack-knife perched in the broken end of the closest tree. Photographed on 21 November 2002 by Igan S. Sutawidjaja (VSI).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. At Papandayan, ash explosions at Kawah Nangklak on 21 November 2002. Photographed by Igan S.Sutawidjaja (VSI).

On 21 November, volcanism was dominated by explosions and ash emissions of medium-high intensity. Crater wall collapse also occurred, mostly at Kawah Baru. Through 0745 there were 98 explosions; they produced white gray ash that rose 200-600 m high and drifted W. The seismograph recorded a total of 10 shallow volcanic and 1 low-frequency earthquake, along with continuous tremor and emission (medium-high intensity). Citizens were asked to stay at least 4 km from the vent.

On 22 November there was a low level of continuous ash-and-gas explosions. A thick white plume with ash rose 300-600 m above Nangklak crater. Seismicity was dominated by explosion earthquakes (maximum amplitude, 23 mm) and also included shallow volcanic, deep volcanic, and tectonic earthquakes. A medium-intensity ash explosion along with lahars occurred along the Cibeureum Gede, and the Ciparugpug rivers.

During 23-25 November activity at Papandayan was dominated by ash explosions reaching more than 600 m above Nangklak crater. Six other craters emitted a white plume up to 200-400 m.

Geologic Background. Papandayan is a complex stratovolcano with four large summit craters, the youngest of which was breached to the NE by collapse during a brief eruption in 1772 and contains active fumarole fields. The broad 1.1-km-wide, flat-floored Alun-Alun crater truncates the summit of Papandayan, and Gunung Puntang to the north gives a twin-peaked appearance. Several episodes of collapse have created an irregular profile and produced debris avalanches that have impacted lowland areas. A sulfur-encrusted fumarole field occupies historically active Kawah Mas ("Golden Crater"). After its first historical eruption in 1772, in which collapse of the NE flank produced a catastrophic debris avalanche that destroyed 40 villages and killed nearly 3000 people, only small phreatic eruptions had occurred prior to an explosive eruption that began in November 2002.

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


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — November 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Rabaul

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


May-June quiet; late 2002 explosions send ash to ~4 km altitude

During February-March 2002, the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory (RVO) reported that volcanic and seismic activity remained low, with some low-frequency earthquakes recorded. The active vent emitted weak-to-moderate amounts of white vapor, and ground-deformation measurements showed no significant changes (BGVN 27:03).

RVO reported that Tavurvur was quiet during 20 May-2 June. The active vent continued to release variable amounts of white vapor. Occasionally, the emission changed to very thick volumes of white vapor. The smell of SO2 was evident on some days. Seismic activity remained low and a few small, low-frequency earthquakes were recorded beneath Tavurvur. Ground-deformation measurements showed a small amount of inflation, however, the long-term trend showed no significant changes.

On 20 October at 1347 an eruption took place at Tavurvur cone. News reports indicated that rocks were thrown 700 m from the summit, and no lava was erupted. They also noted that the eruption produced a thick, dark, ash plume that rose to ~3 km before dispersing to the N and NW. No ash was visible on satellite imagery due to meteorological clouds in the vicinity. News reports also stated that ash caused Tokua airport flights to be suspended on 22 October. On 23 October ash was visible at ~3.6 km altitude. The airport reopened on 27 October, with two flights permitted during the day. Reopening the airport was possible because erupted ash ceased to blow towards it.

Several small explosions occurred after the 20 October eruption, sending ash clouds to 4 km altitude. On 28 October RVO stated that a major increase in volcanic activity seemed unlikely. Low-level activity continued in early November. Ash emissions occurred at long, irregular intervals and associated ash remained below ~3 km altitude.

Very heavy ash emission was observed on 24 November. A low-level plume was produced, and no ash was visible on satellite imagery. Observations during 20-26 November revealed that the ash content in the emissions was generally decreasing, and erupted ash clouds remained below ~1.5 km altitude. The intensity of ash emission changed on 30 November from very slow to slightly forceful, and the interval between eruptions increased. Occasional moderate eruptions produced ash clouds that reached heights of 1-1.5 km above the crater. Two moderate explosions on the night of 30 November emitted visible incandescent lava fragments that showered the volcano's N and NE slopes and ash plumes that rose 100-1,200 m above the crater. During 29 November-1 December, ash plumes were blown to the E and SE. Seismicity was at a low-to-moderate level, and the signature of events changed from short to long duration. Ground deformation measurements lacked significant changes, however, the electronic tiltmeter showed slow inflation.

On 3 December RVO reported that the eruption pattern varied between sustained ash emissions lasting 1-2 minutes to discrete short duration ash emissions lasting less than 1 minute. Ash plumes ascended several hundred to 1,200 m above the summit. On the evening of 3 December ash plumes were blown N and NW, causing fine ashfall in parts of Rabaul Town.

During late November through at least 16 December, the eruption was characterized by slow, convoluted ash plumes that rose several hundred meters above the summit. There was a small amount of ash in the plumes, and minor ashfall affected areas close to the cone. Seismicity was generally at low-to-moderate levels. There was a ~2.5-minute-long period of harmonic tremor on the morning of 11 December accompanied by a pulsating noise from the volcano. Another period of harmonic tremor occurred on 13 December. Ground-deformation measurements from real-time GPS and electronic tilt showed no significant changes.

During mid-December, although the NE vent was still dominant, some plumes rose from the W side of the N crater. The eruptions at Tavurvur continued as of 16 December, with light gray or brown plumes with little ash rising several hundred to more than a thousand meters above the summit. Winds from the SE led to moderate ashfall in Rabaul, although RVO reported that variable winds made it difficult to be specific about which areas were being affected by ash.

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

Information Contacts: Ima Itikarai, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea; Darwin VAAC, Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina Northern Territory 0811 Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Reuters; Pacific Island Report.


Reventador (Ecuador) — November 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong, sudden 3 November eruption; 8-km-long pyroclastic flow

After a 26 year repose without signs of unusual activity, Reventador burst unexpectedly into a VEI 4 eruption on 3 November 2002. Seismometers, including some located 15 and 24 km away, only began to detect anomalous seismicity 4 hours prior to the eruption's visual confirmation. A preliminary evaluation implies that this was one of Ecuador's most powerful eruptions of the past 100 years.

A vertical aerial photograph of Reventador's edifice taken in 1983 (figure 2) has been annotated by Minard (Pete) Hall to show the age and distribution of lava flows. During the 2002 eruption onlookers took a series of photos; a side view captured at an early stage appears in figure 3.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Aerial photo of Reventador caldera taken in 1983. Top of photo lies to the N; the walls of the E-breached caldera are 3-4 km apart. The bottom image is the same photo with map overlays of lava flows and key features. Although cut off in this cropped figure, the caldera's W wall is intact. Courtesy of Instituto Geografico Militar de Quito and Instituto Geofisico, Escuela Politecnica Nacional, Quito, Ecuador (IG).

The following tentative chronology of the eruption is based upon IG seismic and NOAA data, as well as eyewitness accounts and photos. The chronology of the events on 3 November is detailed in table 1. At press time editors were unable to learn the latest details regarding timing but these will appear in a subsequent report.

Table 1. Chronology of events that took place at Reventador on 3 November 2002. Courtesy IG and NOAA.

Time Activity
0300 Beginning of seismic swarm of 100 events, most of a hybrid tendency characterized by frequencies of 1.8 to 4.2 Hz and seismic tremor of low frequency (0.7-1.0 Hz). Workers at base camp located 8 km from cone were awakened by earthquakes.
0530 At daylight workers reported a steam column 2-3 km high above cone.
0715 Pilots from TAME Airline reported ash plume in the direction of Reventador.
0715-0745 NOAA GOES images first show eruption cloud.
0745 Witnesses reported increased intensity of eruptive column, now reaching ~6 km above the cone and drifting to the SW.
0803 Photos show that eruption column had reached 7,300 m above cone and suggest small pyroclastic flows. Successive explosions and a constant roar were heard at 8 km distance, but not at closest town at 15 km distance.
0815 GOES images show eruption cloud beginning to travel to SW.
0912 Main eruption begins. Column soon rises to 16-17 km above cone.
1415 and 1615-1715 Other important pulses of the eruption.
1300 approx. Ash cloud reaches InterAndean Valley and Quito, ~100 km from the volcano, causing almost total obscurity by late afternoon. It left a layer up to 3-5 mm thick of fine gray ash everywhere. Some closer towns received up to 3 cm of ash. Most residents of the region complained about the strong odor of both SO2 and H2S.
2005 Another intensification of eruptive activity (which continued until 0100 on 4 November).

On 6 October 2002 a M 4.1 seismic event occurred beneath the volcano, accompanied by nine smaller VT events; the tentative epicenter was slightly SW and W of the cone. Around 20 October a local guide with tourists reached the top of the cone and saw only normal fumarolic activity. No anomalous activity was detected by satellite monitoring during this period.

Table 1 summarizes seismic, visual, and satellite observations of the initial eruptions on 3 November that led to the main eruption's starting at 0912. In that energetic phase a column rose 16-17 km above the intracaldera cone. At least five significant pyroclastic flows (PFs) were produced. A photo sequence showed PFs descending SE along the southern caldera floor and obliquely overriding the 200-400-m-high southern caldera rim (figure 3).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. A photo showing the young intracaldera cone and main eruption column (on right) of Reventador at 0912 (local time) on 3 November 2002. The view is looking SW from the town of Reventador, 14 km to the volcano's NE. The shot captured a pyroclastic flow traveling along the S side of the caldera floor and overtopping the caldera rim; a topographic boundary 200-400 m high. Note the expansive ash cloud above the pyroclastic flow. Photo taken by R. Saca; provided courtesy IG.

The longest PF traveled 8 km; it flowed out of the breached caldera and down steep slopes to reach the Quijos river. In doing so, it crossed important oil and gas pipelines, pushing them ~20 m downslope without inducing failure. It destroyed an oil pipeline still under construction, and carried away small bridges on the main dirt highway leading to the oilfields. The PF buried one small house and 20 head of cattle. No casualties were reported.

Two segments of the ash column took different paths. The segment of the column that rose up to 16 km high blew to the SW and WSW toward Quito and the populated InterAndean Valley, traveling at 30-45 km/hour. The ash cloud above 16 km moved E and reached southern Colombia and northwestern Brazil. J.L. LePennec (IRD) estimated that ~282 x 106 m3 of pyroclastic material was erupted.

This eruptive event largely destroyed the old summit crater in the intracaldera cone. It was left with two deep notches in its uppermost NNW and SSW sides. These notches apparently served as the source of both the PFs and lava flow number 1. An eyewitness observed rock ejection during this episode. The eruptive event that began at 0912 lasted ~45 minutes, but eyewitnesses indicated that most of the PF activity lasted only 10 minutes.

Throughout the day on 3 November seismic activity was pronounced and included seismic tremor (1-2 Hz), long-period (LP) events (1.5-1.7 Hz), a few volcano-tectonic (VT) events (2-4 Hz and 12-14 Hz), but mainly hybrid events (with initial phases at 2-8 Hz, followed by a main phase at 1-2 Hz).

On 4 November, during 1200-1300, explosions continued but with much less intensity. Ash and steam continued to rise. During the day, TOMS satellite measured up to 60,000 metric tons/day of SO2 (figure 4). In subsequent days, TOMS estimates remained around 5,000 to 20,000 metric tons/day through 21 November (figure 4).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Reventador's SO2 output based upon TOMS satellite data reflecting the interval 4-26 November 2002. Courtesy of Simon Carn and Arlin Krueger.

The next day, on 5 November, small explosions continued, but at 1300 a significant explosion may have generated PFs. Debris flows formed in the days following the PF emplacement mainly covered parts of the PF deposits and also reached the Quijos river, ~8 km from the crater.

During 6-7 November the volcano continued to emit ash, gases, and steam, but at reduced levels. Lava flow number 1 was presumed to have begun during this time, which was later confirmed by NOAA thermal images to have begun at 1900 on 7 November. The lava flow, several hundred meters wide, left the crater area and cone, and traveled SE down the caldera floor near the S caldera wall. An 8 November overflight by Jorge Anhalzer visually confirmed a 4-km-long lava flow, overriding the PF deposits and lahar plain. By 3 December it had traveled 5 km, but it was advancing at only ~1-3 m/day. Through late December observers confirmed that the lava flow continued to move.

During 8-21 November a short eruption column continued, but with increasingly more steam and gas relative to ash. No clear explosions were heard. Variable debris-flow activity occurred, depending upon the intensity of local rainfall. Sulfur gases were occassionally noted in the InterAndean Valley and in Quito.

On 21 November a second lava flow broke out on the lower SE foot of the cone at ~2,600 m elevation and descended to the ESE. By 3 December it had traveled 2 km and was accumulating against the side of the first lava flow.

From 21 November until 3 December there was no additional explosive or PF activity, the steam-rich plume rose to only 1-2 km, and the two lava flows continued moving at a rate of a few meters/day. Debris flows remained a threat to the workers repairing the pipelines and travelers along the main highway.

Setting and sketch map. Reventador stratovolcano is on the E flank of the Ecuadorian Andes in jungles of the western Amazon basin. It contains a 3-km-wide caldera with a young, unvegetated cone that rises ~1,300 m above the caldera floor. The caldera is breached to the E and frequent lahars in this region of heavy rainfall have constructed a debris plain on the E caldera floor. No population centers exist nearby; however, the principal oil and gas pipelines and an important highway cross the lower flanks of the volcano, precisely where most flows exited the caldera (figure 5).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Sketch map showing deposits resulting from the November 2002 eruption of Reventador. PF signifies pyroclastic-flow deposits; stippled area shows downed trees and burned vegetation caused by PF's. The map shows the lava flow's advance as of 25 November. Note the oil and gas pipeline near the terminal ends of the PFs. This map omits the debris-flow deposits, which largely covered the PF deposits. Courtesy M. Hall.

The young andesitic cone is within an older caldera (figures 2 and 5). The caldera's interior walls reach heights of 200-400 m, especially at its higher W end. Traces of an older somma rim lie concentrically outside the present W walls of the caldera. The caldera contains older lava flows and pyroclastic-flow and debris-flow deposits; the resulting caldera floor is higher in its W corner, slopes downward to the SE, and drains into the Quijos river.

The symmetrical composite cone of Reventador is presently at an elevation of ~3,500 m, 1,500 m above the lowest point at the SE end of the caldera. The slopes of the young cone average 34 degrees. The cone is slightly higher than the adjacent caldera rim, although a 1931 report stated that it was lower than the rim. Prior to this eruption the summit crater had a diameter of ~200 m and typically displayed mild fumarolic activity. Recent magmas are typically 56-58% SiO2 and carry olivine, two pyroxenes, and plagioclase.

Some 14 eruptions of sufficient magnitude to have been detected at appreciable distances occurred between 1541 and 1926 (Hall, 1977). The volcano was first visited in 1931, following its 1926-1929 eruption period. K.T. Goldschmid, a Shell Oil Company geologist, visited the volcano during its 1944 eruption. Eruptive activity occurred in 1960. Another cycle began in July 1972 and lasted until 1976, during which lava flows, small PFs, and debris flows were generated in four eruptive episodes; however, neither ashfalls nor strong sulfur gases were noted in the InterAndean Valley. A detailed listing of past eruptions is available from IG upon request.

Monitoring. Just months prior to the eruption, in April 2002, IG staff installed two new seismic stations (1 Hz, vertical, telemetered). With respect to the crater, the new stations sit 15 km ENE and at 24 km SW. They were operating during the November 2002 crisis (figure 6). After 3 November two similar stations were installed 7.5 km SE and 8 km E of the crater. Older stations important in monitoring the eruption include the two Cayambe stations, located ~40 km NW of Reventador, and Pino station on Guagua Pichincha, located about 100 km WSW. Most locatable earthquakes had shallow hypocenters beneath either the caldera's outer western flanks or under the young cone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. A histogram showing the daily number of all types of earthquakes registered at Reventador during November 2002. Courtesy Instituto Geofisico.

Daily numbers of seismic events detected in November are show graphically on figure 6. Prior to the current eruption, the volcano averaged ~7 events/day. During the eruption, the average stood at ~142 events/day, chiefly hybrid earthquakes that began with higher frequencies and after a few seconds dropped to lower frequencies.

The eruption's first day was associated with more than 188 events, while the 2nd thru 5th days had only 50-100 events. By 8 November, the number of events generally remained above 200/day, dropping on 17 November to under 150/day, and dropping still further by 20 November. This abrupt decline was possibly associated with the eventual breakout of the second lava flow on 21 November.

No deformation or chemical monitoring was being carried out on the volcano prior to this eruption. TOMS SO2 monitoring as well as thermal monitoring by satellite have been extremely important, given the remoteness and inaccessibility of Reventador. Flights by an UltraLight and light planes have resulted in some photographic coverage and thermal imaging with a FLIR camera.

Effects of the 2002 eruption. Widespread ashfall to the W and SW caused visibility problems, respiratory ailments, some roof collapses, an undisclosed number of deaths and injuries to people attempting to clean their roofs of ash, crop damages, cattle illnesses, closure of Quito's airport for eight days, and power outages in some areas for up to four days. Legally enforced cleaning of all public streets and sidewalks by broom-wielding residents limited the amount of ash entering sewer systems. Lower speed limits were put in place to reduce airborne ash kicked up by passing vehicles. Ecuador's principal crude oil pipeline, although not severed, remained threatened by daily debris flows. One approach to this problem may be to bury the pipeline where it traverses the volcano's vulnerable E slopes.

References. Belloni, L.C., 1989, Slope failures on the volcano "El Reventador" in eastern Ecuador (discussions on volcanic debris), in Proceedings of the Twelfth international conference on Soil mechanics and foundation engineering—Comptes rendus du douzieme congres international de Mechanique des sols et des travaux de foundations, no. 12, v. 5, p. 2851.

Hall, M.L., 1980, El Reventador, Ecuador; un volcan activo de los Andes Septentrionales (El Reventador, Ecuador; an active volcano in the northern Andes): Politecnica 5, p. 123-136.

Hall, M.L., 1979, Volcan Reventador, Ecuador.Volcano News, v. 1, p. 1-3.

Hoyt, D.V., 1978, An explosive volcanic eruption in the Southern Hemisphere in 1928. Nature (London). 275; 5681, Pages 630-632.

Salazar, M.E., 1983, Expedicion vulcanologica el Volcan Reventador (Volcanologic expedition to Reventador Volcano): Flysch, v. 4, p. 1-4.

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

Information Contacts: P. Ramon, M. Hall, P. Mothes, and H. Yepes, Instituto Geofísico (IG), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Quito (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec/); J.P. Eissen and Jean-Luc LePennec, French IRD (Institut de recherche pour le Développement) Representatives, Mission IRD-Whimper 442 y Corúa-Apartado Postal 17-12-857, Quito, Ecuador; Franz Böker, BGR (Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe), Alfred-Bentz-Haus, Stilleweg 2, D-30655 Hannover, Germany; George Stephens, Operational Significant Event Imagery (OSEI) team, World Weather Bldg., 5200 Auth Rd Rm 510 (E/SP 22), NOAA/NESDIS, Camp Springs, MD 20748USA; Arlin Krueger and Simon A. Carn, Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (NASA/UMBC), University of Maryland-Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD.

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