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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

Bagana (Papua New Guinea) Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions and thermal anomalies during June-November 2019

Kerinci (Indonesia) Intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes during June-early November 2019

Bezymianny (Russia) Lava dome growth, ongoing thermal anomalies, moderate gas-steam emissions, June-November 2019

Mayon (Philippines) Gas-and-steam plumes and summit incandescence during May-October 2019

Merapi (Indonesia) Low-volume dome growth continues during April-September 2019 with rockfalls and small block-and-ash flows

Manam (Papua New Guinea) Significant eruption on 28 June produced an ash plume up to 15.2 km and pyroclastic flows

Tangkuban Parahu (Indonesia) Phreatic eruption on 27 July followed by intermittent explosions through to 17 September 2019

Sheveluch (Russia) Frequent ash explosions and lava dome growth continue through October 2019

Piton de la Fournaise (France) Three brief eruptive events in July, August, and October 2019

Agung (Indonesia) Quiet returns after explosions on 10 and 13 June 2019

Copahue (Chile-Argentina) New ash emissions begin in early August; intermittent and ongoing through October 2019

Turrialba (Costa Rica) Activity diminishes during March-October 2019, but small ash emissions continue



Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Bagana

Papua New Guinea

6.137°S, 155.196°E; summit elev. 1855 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions and thermal anomalies during June-November 2019

Bagana volcano is found in a remote portion of central Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea. The most recent eruptive phase that began in early 2000 has produced ash plumes and thermal anomalies (BGVN 44:06, 50:01). Activity has remained low between January-July 2019 with rare thermal anomalies and occasional steam plumes. This reporting period updates information for June-November 2019 and includes thermal anomalies and intermittent gas-and-steam emissions. Thermal data and satellite imagery are the primary sources of information for this report.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed an increased number of thermal anomalies within 5 km from the summit beginning in late July-early August (figure 38). Two Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed faint, roughly linear thermal anomalies, indicative of lava flows trending EW and NS on 7 July 2019 and 6 August, respectively (figure 39). Weak thermal hotspots were briefly detected in late September-early October after a short hiatus in September. No thermal anomalies were recorded in Sentinel-2 past August due to cloud cover; however, gas-and-steam emissions were visible on 7 July and in September (figures 39, 40, and 41).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Thermal anomalies near the crater summit at Bagana during February-November 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) increased in frequency and power in early August. A small cluster was detected in early October after a brief pause in activity in early September. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showing small thermal anomalies at Bagana between July-August 2019. Left: A very faint thermal anomaly and a gas-and-steam plume is seen on 7 July 2019. Right: Two small thermal anomalies are faintly seen on 6 August 2019. Both Sentinel-2 satellite images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. A gas-and-steam plume rising from the summit of Bagana on 18 September 2019. Courtesy of Brendan McCormick Kilbride (University of Manchester).

The Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) scientific team partnered with the Rabaul Volcano Observatory and the Bougainville Disaster Office to observe activity at Bagana and collect gas data using drone technology during two weeks of field work in mid-September 2019. For this field work, the major focus was to understand the composition of the volcanic gas emitted at Bagana and measure the concentration of these gases. Since Bagana is remote and difficult to climb, research about its gas emissions has been limited. The recent advancements in drone technology has allowed for new data collection at the summit of Bagana (figure 41). Most of the emissions consisted of water vapor, according to Brendan McCormick Kilbride, one of the volcanologists on this trip. During 14-19 September there was consistently a strong gas-and-steam plume from Bagana (figure 42).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Degassing plumes seen from drone footage 100 m above the summit of Bagana. Top: Zoomed out view of the summit of Bagana degassing. Bottom: Closer perspective of the gases emitted from Bagana. Courtesy of Kieran Wood (University of Bristol) and the Bristol Flight Laboratory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Photos of gas-and-steam plumes rising from Bagana between 14-19 September 2019. Courtesy of Brendan McCormick Kilbride (University of Manchester).

Geologic Background. Bagana volcano, occupying a remote portion of central Bougainville Island, is one of Melanesia's youngest and most active volcanoes. This massive symmetrical cone was largely constructed by an accumulation of viscous andesitic lava flows. The entire edifice could have been constructed in about 300 years at its present rate of lava production. Eruptive activity is frequent and characterized by non-explosive effusion of viscous lava that maintains a small lava dome in the summit crater, although explosive activity occasionally producing pyroclastic flows also occurs. Lava flows form dramatic, freshly preserved tongue-shaped lobes up to 50 m thick with prominent levees that descend the flanks on all sides.

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); Brendan McCormick Kilbride, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, United Kingdom (URL: https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/brendan.mccormickkilbride.html, Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrendanVolc); Kieran Wood, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1QU, United Kingdom (URL: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/engineering/people/kieran-t-wood/index.html, Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrKieranWood, video posted at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7Hx645v0eU); University of Bristol Flight Laboratory, Bristol BS8 1QU, United Kingdom (Twitter: https://twitter.com/UOBFlightLab).


Kerinci (Indonesia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes during June-early November 2019

Kerinci, located in Sumatra, Indonesia, is a highly active volcano characterized by explosive eruptions with ash plumes and gas-and-steam emissions. The most recent eruptive episode began in April 2018 and included intermittent explosions with ash plumes. Volcanism continued from June-November 2019 with ongoing intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes. The primary source of information for this report comes from Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and MAGMA Indonesia.

Brown- to gray-colored ash clouds drifting in different directions were reported by PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC, and MAGMA Indonesia between June and early November 2019. Ground observations, satellite imagery, and weather models were used to monitor the plume, which ranged from 4.3 to 4.9 km altitude, or about 500-1,100 m above the summit. On 7 June 2019 at 0604 a gray ash emission rose 800 m above the summit, drifting E, according to a ground observer. An ash plume on 12 July rose to 4 km altitude and drifted SW, as determined by satellite imagery and weather models. An eruption produced a gray ash cloud on 31 July that rose to 4.6 km altitude and drifted NE and E, according to PVMBG and the Darwin VAAC (figure 17). Another ash cloud rose up to 4.3 km altitude on 3 August. On 2 September a possible ash plume rose to a maximum altitude of 4.9 km and drifted WSW, according to the Darwin VAAC advisory.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. A gray ash plume at Kerinci rose roughly 800 m above the summit on 31 July 2019 and drifted NE and E. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Brown ash emissions rose to 4.4 km altitude at 1253 on 6 October, drifting WSW. Similar plumes reached 4.6 km altitude twice on 30 October and moved NE, SE, and E at 0614 and WSW at 1721, based on ground observations. On 1-2 November, ground observers saw brown ash emissions rising up to 4.3 km drifting ESE. Between 3 and 5 November the brown ash plumes rose 100-500 m above the summit, according to PVMBG.

Gas emissions continued to be observed through November, as reported by PVMBG and identified in satellite imagery (figure 18). Seismicity that included volcanic earthquakes also continued between June and early November, when the frequency decreased.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showing a typical white gas-and-steam plume at Kerinci on 9 August 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite image with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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/); 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/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Bezymianny (Russia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava dome growth, ongoing thermal anomalies, moderate gas-steam emissions, June-November 2019

The long-term activity at Bezymianny has been dominated by almost continuous thermal anomalies, moderate gas-steam emissions, dome growth, lava flows, and an occasional ash explosion (BGVN 44:06). The volcano is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT. Throughout the reporting period of June to November 2019, the Aviation Colour Code remained Yellow (second lowest of four levels).

According to KVERT weekly reports, lava dome growth continued in June through mid-July 2019. Thereafter the reports did not mention dome growth, but indicated that moderate gas-and-steam emissions (figure 32) continued through November. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, based on analysis of MODIS data, detected hotspots within 5 km of the summit almost every day. KVERT also reported a thermal anomaly over the volcano almost daily, except when it was obscured by clouds. Infrared satellite imagery often showed thermal anomalies generated by lava flows or dome growth (figure 33).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Photo of Bezymianny showing fumarolic activity on 4 July 2019. Photo by O. Girina (IVS FEB RAS, KVERT); courtesy of KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Typical infrared satellite images of Bezymianny showing thermal anomalies in the summit crater, including a lava flow to the WNW. Top: 21 August 2019 with SWIR filter (bands 12, 8A, 4). Bottom: 17 September 2019 with Atmospheric Penetration filter (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); 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).


Mayon (Philippines) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

13.257°N, 123.685°E; summit elev. 2462 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Gas-and-steam plumes and summit incandescence during May-October 2019

Mayon, located in the Philippines, is a highly active stratovolcano with recorded historical eruptions dating back to 1616. The most recent eruptive episode began in early January 2018 that consisted of phreatic explosions, steam-and-ash plumes, lava fountaining, and pyroclastic flows (BGVN 43:04). The previous report noted small but distinct thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam plumes, and slight inflation (BGVN 44:05) that continued to occur from May into mid-October 2019. This report includes information based on daily bulletins from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and Sentinel-2 satellite imagery.

Between May and October 2019, white gas-and-steam plumes rose to a maximum altitude of 800 m on 17 May. PHIVOLCS reported that faint summit incandescence was frequently observed at night from May-July and Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed weaker thermal anomalies in September and October (figure 49); the last anomaly was identified on 12 October. Average SO2 emissions as measured by PHIVOLCS generally varied between 469-774 tons/day; the high value of the period was on 25 July, with 1,171 tons/day. Small SO2 plumes were detected by the TROPOMI satellite instrument a few times during May-September 2019 (figure 50).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery of Mayon between May-October 2019. Small thermal anomalies were recorded in satellite imagery from the summit and some white gas-and-steam plumes are visible. Top left: 30 May 2019. Top right: 9 June 2019. Bottom left: 22 September 2019. Bottom right: 12 October 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Small SO2 plumes rising from Mayon during May-September 2019 recorded in DU (Dobson Units). Top left: 28 May 2019. Top right: 26 July 2019. Bottom left: 16 August 2019. Bottom right: 23 September 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Continuous GPS data has shown slight inflation since June 2018, corroborated by precise leveling data taken on 9-17 April, 16-25 July, and 23-30 October 2019. Elevated seismicity and occasional rockfall events were detected by the seismic monitoring network from PHIVOLCS from May to July; recorded activity decreased in August. Activity reported by PHIVOLCS in September-October 2019 consisted of frequent gas-and-steam emissions, two volcanic earthquakes, and no summit incandescence.

Geologic Background. Beautifully symmetrical Mayon, which rises above the Albay Gulf NW of Legazpi City, is the Philippines' most active volcano. The structurally simple edifice has steep upper slopes averaging 35-40 degrees that are capped by a small summit crater. Historical eruptions date back to 1616 and range from Strombolian to basaltic Plinian, with cyclical activity beginning with basaltic eruptions, followed by longer term andesitic lava flows. Eruptions occur predominately from the central conduit and have also produced lava flows that travel far down the flanks. Pyroclastic flows and mudflows have commonly swept down many of the approximately 40 ravines that radiate from the summit and have often devastated populated lowland areas. A violent eruption in 1814 killed more than 1,200 people and devastated several towns.

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/); 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/).


Merapi (Indonesia) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Low-volume dome growth continues during April-September 2019 with rockfalls and small block-and-ash flows

Merapi is an active volcano north of the city of Yogyakarta (figure 79) that has a recent history of dome growth and collapse, resulting in block-and-ash flows that killed over 400 in 2010, while an estimated 10,000-20,000 lives were saved by evacuations. The edifice contains an active dome at the summit, above the Gendol drainage down the SE flank (figure 80). The current eruption episode began in May 2018 and dome growth was observed from 11 August 2018-onwards. This Bulletin summarizes activity during April through September 2019 and is based on information from Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG, the Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology, a branch of PVMBG), Sutopo of Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), MAGMA Indonesia, along with observations by Øystein Lund Andersen and Brett Carr of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Merapi volcano is located north of Yogyakarta in Central Java. Photo courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. A view of the Gendol drainage where avalanches and block-and-ash flows are channeled from the active Merapi lava dome. The Gendol drainage is approximately 400 m wide at the summit. Courtesy of Brett Carr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

At the beginning of April the rate of dome growth was relatively low, with little morphological change since January, but the overall activity of Merapi was considered high. Magma extrusion above the upper Gendol drainage resulted in rockfalls and block-and-ash flows out to 1.5 km from the dome, which were incandescent and visible at night. Five block-and-ash flows were recorded on 24 April, reaching as far as 1.2 km down the Gendol drainage. The volume of the dome was calculated to be 466,000 m3 on 9 April, a slight decrease from the previous week. Weak gas plumes reached a maximum of 500 m above the dome throughout April.

Six block-and-ash flows were generated on 5 May, lasting up to 77 seconds. Throughout May there were no significant changes to the dome morphology but the volume had decreased to 458,000 by 4 May according to drome imagery analysis. Lava extrusion continued above the Gendol drainage, producing rockfalls and small block-and-ash flows out to 1.2 km (figure 81). Gas plumes were observed to reach 400 m above the top of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. An avalanche from the Merapi summit dome on 17 May 2019. The incandescent blocks traveled down to 850 m away from the dome. Courtesy of Sutopo, BNPB.

There were a total of 72 avalanches and block-and-ash flows from 29 January to 1 June, with an average distance of 1 km and a maximum of 2 km down the Gendol drainage. Photographs taken by Øystein Lund Andersen show the morphological change to the lava dome due to the collapse of rock and extruding lava down the Gendol drainage (figures 82 and 83). Block-and-ash flows were recorded on 17 and 20 June to a distance of 1.2 km, and a webcam image showed an incandescent flow on 26 June (figure 84). Throughout June gas plumes reached a maximum of 250 m above the top of the crater

Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. The development of the Merapi summit dome from 2 June 2018 to 17 June 2019. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Photos taken of the Merapi summit lava dome in June 2019. Top: This nighttime time-lapse photograph shows incandescence at the south-facing side of the dome on the 16 June. Middle: A closeup of a small rockfall from the dome on 17 June. Bottom: A gas plume accompanying a small rockfall on 17 June. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Blocks from an incandescent rockfall off the Merapi dome reached out to 1 km down the Gendol drainage on 26 June 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Analysis of drone images taken on 4 July gave an updated dome volume of 475,000 m3, a slight increase but with little change in the morphology (figure 85). Block-and-ash flows traveled 1.1 km down the Gendol drainage on 1 July, 1 km on the 13th, and 1.1 km on the 14th, some of which were seen at night as incandescent blocks fell from the dome (figure 86). During the week of 19-25 July there were four recorded block-and-ash flows reaching 1.1 km, and flows traveled out to around 1 km on the 24th, 27th, and 31st. The morphology of the dome continued to be relatively stable due to the extruding lava falling into the Gendol drainage. Gas plumes reached 300 m above the top of the crater during July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. The Merapi dome on 30 July 2019 producing a weak plume. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Incandescent rocks from the hot lava dome at the summit of Merapi form rockfalls down the Gendol drainage on 14 July 2019. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.

During the week of 5-11 August the dome volume was calculated to be 461,000 m3, a slight decrease from the week before with little morphological changes due to the continued lava extrusion collapsing into the Gendol drainage. There were five block-and-ash flows reaching a maximum of 1.2 km during 2-8 August. Two flows were observed on the 13th and 14th reaching 950 m, out to 1.9 km on the 20th and 22nd, and to 550 m on the 24th. There were 16 observed flows that reached 500-1,000 m on 25-27 August, with an additional flow out to 2 km at 1807 on the 27th (figure 87). Gas plumes reached a maximum of 350 m through the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. An incandescent rockfall from the Merapi dome that reached 2 km down the Gendol drainage on 27 August 2019. Courtesy of BPPTKG.

Brett Carr was conducting field work at Merapi during 12-26 September. During this time the lava extrusion was low (below 1 m3 per second). He observed small rockfalls with blocks a couple of meters in size, traveling about 50-200 m down the drainage every hour or so, producing small plumes as they descended and resulting in incandescence on the dome at night. Small dome collapse events produced block-and-ash flows down the drainage once or twice per day (figure 88) and slightly larger flows just over 1 km long a couple of times per week.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. A rockfall on the Merapi dome, towards the Gendol drainage at 0551 on 20 September 2019. Courtesy of Brett Carr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

The dome volume was 468,000 m3 by 19 September, a slight increase from the previous calculation but again with little morphological change. Two block-and-ash flows were observed out to 600 m on 9 September and seven occurred on the 9th out to 500-1,100 m. Two occurred on the 14th down to 750-900 m, three occurred on 17, 20, and 21 September to a maximum distance of 1.2 km, and three more out to 1.5 km through the 26th. A VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) was issued on the 22nd due to a small explosion producing an ash plume up to approximately 3.8 km altitude (about 800 m above the summit) and minor ashfall to 15 km SW. This was followed by a block-and-ash flow reaching as far as 1.2 km and lasting for 125 seconds (figure 89). Preceding the explosion there was an increase in temperature at several locations on the dome. Weak gas plumes were observed up to 100 m above the crater throughout the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. An explosion at Merapi on 22 September 2019 was followed by a block-and-ash flow that reached 1.2 km down the Gendol drainage. Courtesy of BPPTKG.

Geologic Background. Merapi, one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, lies in one of the world's most densely populated areas and dominates the landscape immediately north of the major city of Yogyakarta. It is the youngest and southernmost of a volcanic chain extending NNW to Ungaran volcano. Growth of Old Merapi during the Pleistocene ended with major edifice collapse perhaps about 2000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequently growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent eruptive activity, began SW of the earlier collapse scarp. Pyroclastic flows and lahars accompanying growth and collapse of the steep-sided active summit lava dome have devastated cultivated lands on the western-to-southern flanks and caused many fatalities during historical time.

Information Contacts: Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG), Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology (URL: http://merapi.bgl.esdm.go.id/, Twitter: @BPPTKG); Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/, Twitter: https://twitter.com/BNPB_Indonesia); Øystein Lund Andersen? (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com); Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB (Twitter: @Sutopo_PN, URL: https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN); Brett Carr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY, USA (URL: https://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/user/bcarr).


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Manam

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Significant eruption on 28 June produced an ash plume up to 15.2 km and pyroclastic flows

Manam is a frequently active volcano forming an island approximately 10 km wide, located 13 km north of the main island of Papua New Guinea. At the summit are the Main Crater and South Crater, with four valleys down the NE, SE, SW, and NW flanks (figure 57). Recent activity has occurred at both summit craters and has included gas and ash plumes, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows. Activity in December 2018 prompted the evacuation of nearby villages and the last reported activity for 2018 was ashfall on 8 December. Activity from January through September 2019 summarized below is based on information from the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), the University of Hawai'i's MODVOLC thermal alert system, Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI and NASA Aqua/AIRS SO2 data, MIROVA thermal data, Sentinel-2 satellite images, and observations by visiting scientists. A significant eruption in June resulted in evacuations, airport closure, and damage to local crops and infrastructure.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. A PlanetScope image of Manam showing the two active craters with a plume emanating from the South Crater and the four valleys at the summit on 29 August 2019. Image copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.

Activity during January-May 2019. Several explosive eruptions occurred during January 2019 according to Darwin VAAC reports, including an ash plume that rose to around 15 km and dispersed to the W on the 7th. RVO reported that an increase in seismic activity triggered the warning system shortly before the eruption commenced (figure 58). Small explosions were observed through to the next day with ongoing activity from the Main Crater and a lava flow in the NE valley observed from around 0400. Intermittent explosions ejected scoria after 0600, depositing ejecta up to 2 cm in diameter in two villages on the SE side of the island. Incandescence at both summit craters and hot deposits at the terminus of the NE valley are visible in Sentinel-2 TIR data acquired on the 10th (figure 59).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Real-Time Seismic-Amplitude Measurement graph representing seismicity at Manam over 7-9 January 2019, showing the increase during the 7-8 January event. Courtesy of RVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Sentinel-2 thermal infrared (TIR) imagery shows incandescence in the two Manam summit craters and at the terminus of the NE valley near the shoreline on 10 January 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel-Hub Playground.

Another explosion generated an ash plume to around 15 km on the 11th that dispersed to the SW. An explosive eruption occurred around 4 pm on the 23rd with the Darwin VAAC reporting an ash plume to around 16.5 km altitude, dispersing to the E. Activity continued into the following day, with satellites detecting SO2 plumes on both 23 and 24 January (figure 60). Activity declined by February with one ash plume reported up to 4.9 km altitude on 15 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. SO2 plumes originating from Manam detected by NASA Aqua/AIRS (top) on 23 January 2019 and by Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI on 24 January (bottom). Images courtesy of Simon Carn, Michigan Technological University.

Ash plumes rose up to 3 km between 1 and 5 March, and dispersed to the SE, ESE, and E. During 5-6 March the plumes moved E, and the events were accompanied by elevated seismicity and significant thermal anomalies detected in satellite data. During 19-22 March explosions produced ash plumes up to 4.6 km altitude, which dispersed to the E and SE. Simon Carn of the Michigan Technological University noted a plume in Aqua/AIRS data at around 15 km altitude at 0400 UTC on 23 January with approximately 13 kt measured, similar to other recent eruptions. Additional ash plumes were detected on 29 March, reaching 2.4-3 km and drifting to the E, NE, and N. Multiple SO2 plumes were detected throughout April (figure 61).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. Examples of elevated SO2 (sulfur dioxide) emissions from Manam during April 2019, on 9 April (top left), 21 April (top right), 22 April (bottom left), 28 April (bottom right). Courtesy of the NASA Space Goddard Flight Center.

During 19-28 May the Deep Carbon Observatory ABOVE (Aerial-based Observations of Volcanic Emissions) scientific team observed activity at Manam and collected gas data using drone technology. They recorded degassing from the South Crater and Main Crater (figure 63 and 64), which was also detected in Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI data (figure 65). Later in the day the plumes rose vertically up to 3-4 km above sea level and appeared stronger due to condensation. Incandescence was observed each night at the South Crater (figure 66). The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume on 10 May, reaching 5.5 km altitude and drifting to the NE. Smaller plumes up to 2.4 km were noted on the 11th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Degassing plumes from the South Crater of Manam, seen from Baliau village on the northern coast on 24 May 2019. Courtesy of Emma Liu, University College London.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. A strong gas-and-steam plume from Manam was observed moving tens of kilometers downwind on 19 May 2019, viewed here form the SSW at dusk. Photo courtesy of Julian Rüdiger, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI SO2 data acquired on 22 May 2019 during the field observations of the Deep Carbon Observatory ABOVE team. Image courtesy of Simon Carn, Michigan Technological University.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Incandescence at the South Crater of Manam was visible during 19-21 May 2019 from the Baliau village on the northern coast of the island. Photos courtesy of Tobias Fischer, University of New Mexico (top) and Matthew Wordell (bottom).

Activity during June 2019. Ash plumes rose to 4.3 km and drifted SW on 7-8 June, and up to 3-3.7 km and towards the E and NE on 18 June. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite data show hot material around the Main Crater on 24 June (figure 66). On 27 June RVO reported that RSAM (Real-time Seismic Amplitude Measurement, a measure of seismic activity through time) increased from 540 to over 1,400 in 30 minutes. "Thundering noise" was noted by locals at around 0100 on the 28th. An ash plume drifting SW was visible in satellite images acquired after 0620, coinciding with reported sightings by nearby residents (figure 67). The Darwin VAAC noted that by 0910 the ash plume had reached 15.2 km altitude and was drifting SW. When seen in satellite imagery at 1700 that day the large ash plume had detached and remained visible extending SW. There were 267 lightning strokes detected within 75 km during the event (figure 68) and pyroclastic flows were generated down the NE and W flanks. At 0745 on 29 June an ash plume reached up to 4.8 km.

Villages including Dugulava, Yassa, Budua, Madauri, Waia, Dangale, and Bokure were impacted by ashfall and approximately 3,775 people had evacuated to care centers. Homes and crops were reportedly damaged due to falling ash and scoria. Flights through Madang airport were also disrupted due to the ash until they resumed on the 30th. The Office of the Resident Coordinator in Papua New Guinea reported that as many as 455 homes and gardens were destroyed. Humanitarian resources were strained due to another significant eruption at nearby Ulawun that began on 26 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite data show hot material around the Main Crater and a plume dispersing SE through light cloud cover on 24 June 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Himawari-8 satellite image showing the ash plume rising above Manam and drifting SW at 0840 on 28 June. Satellite image courtesy of NCIT ScienceCloud.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. There were 267 lightning strokes detected within 75 km of Manam between 0729 on 27 June and 0100 on 29 June 2019. Sixty of these occurred within the final two hours of this observation period, reflecting increased activity. Red dots are cloud to ground lightning strokes and black dots are in-cloud strokes. Courtesy of Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc.

Activity during July-September 2019. Activity was reduced through July and September. The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume to approximately 6 km altitude on 6 July that drifted W and NW, another plume that day to 3.7 km that drifted N, and a plume on the 21st that rose to 4.3 km and drifted SW and W. Diffuse plumes rose to 2.4-2.7 km and drifted towards the W on 29 September. Thermal anomalies in the South Crater persisted through September.

Fresh deposits from recent events are visible in satellite deposits, notably in the NE after the January activity (figure 69). Satellite TIR data reflected elevated activity with increased energy detected in March and June-July in MODVOLC and MIROVA data (figure 70).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Sentinel-2 thermal infrared images acquired on 12 October 2018, 20 May 2019, and 12 September 2019 show the eruption deposits that accumulated during this time. A thermal anomaly is visible in the South Crater in the May and September images. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. MIROVA log radiative power plot of MODIS thermal infrared at Manam during February through September 2019. Increases in activity were detected in March and June-July. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://SO2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); 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/); Office of the Resident Coordinator, United Nations, Port Moresby, National Capital District, Papua New Guinea (URL: https://papuanewguinea.un.org/en/about/about-the-resident-coordinator-office, https://reliefweb.int/report/papua-new-guinea/papua-new-guinea-volcanic-activity-office-resident-coordinator-flash-2); Himawari-8 Real-time Web, developed by the NICT Science Cloud project in NICT (National Institute of Information and Communications Technology), Japan, in collaboration with JMA (Japan Meteorological Agency) and CEReS (Center of Environmental Remote Sensing, Chiba University) (URL: https://himawari8.nict.go.jp/); Simon Carn, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931, USA (URL: http://www.volcarno.com/, Twitter: @simoncarn); Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc., Louisville, Colorado, USA (URL: https://www.vaisala.com/en?type=1, Twitter: @COweatherman, URL: https://twitter.com/COweatherman); Emma Liu, University College London Earth Sciences, London WC1E 6BS (URL: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/earth-sciences/people/academic/dr-emma-liu); Matthew Wordell, Boise, ID, USA (URL: https://www.matthhew.com/biocontact); Julian Rüdiger, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Saarstr. 21, 55122 Mainz, Germany (URL: https://www.uni-mainz.de/).


Tangkuban Parahu (Indonesia) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Tangkuban Parahu

Indonesia

6.77°S, 107.6°E; summit elev. 2084 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Phreatic eruption on 27 July followed by intermittent explosions through to 17 September 2019

Tangkuban is located in the West Bandung and Subang Regencies in the West Java Province and has two main summit craters, Ratu and Upas (figure 3). Recent activity has largely consisted of phreatic explosions and gas-and-steam plumes at the Ratu crater. Prior to July 2019, the most recent activity occurred in 2012-2013, ending with a phreatic eruption on 5 October 2013 (BGVN 40:04). Background activity includes geothermal activity in the Ratu crater consisting of gas and steam emission (figure 4). This area is a tourist destination with infrastructure, and often people, overlooking the active crater. This report summarizes activity during 2014 through September 2019 and is based on official agency reports. Monitoring is the responsibility of Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Map of Tangkuban Parahu showing the Sunda Caldera rim and the Ratu, Upas, and Domas craters. Basemap is the August 2019 mosaic, copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Background activity at the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu is shown in these images from 1 May 2012. The top image is an overview of the crater and the bottom four images show typical geothermal activity. Copyrighted photos by Øystein Lund Andersen, used with permission.

The first reported activity in 2014 consisted of gas-and-steam plumes during October-December, prompting PVMBG to increase the alert level from I to II on 31 December 2014. These white plumes reached a maximum of 50 m above the Ratu crater (figure 5) and were accompanied by elevated seismicity and deformation. This prompted the implementation of an exclusion zone with a radius of 1.5 km around the crater. The activity decreased and the alert level was lowered back to I on 8 January 2015. There was no further reported activity from January 2015 through mid-2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Changes at the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu during 25 December 2014 to 8 January 2015. Rain water accumulated in the crater in December and intermittent gas-and-steam plumes were observed. Courtesy of PVMBG (8 January 2015 report).

From 27 June 2019 an increase in activity was recorded in seismicity, deformation, gas chemistry, and visual observations. By 24 July the responsible government agencies had communicated that the volcano could erupt at any time. At 1548 on 26 July a phreatic (steam-driven) explosion ejected an ash plume that reached 200 m; a steam-rich plume rose to 600 m above the Ratu crater (figures 6, and 7). People were on the crater rim at the time and videos show a white plume rising from the crater followed by rapid jets of ash and sediment erupting through the first plume. Deposition of eruption material was 5-7 cm thick and concentrated within a 500 m radius from the point between the Rata and Upas craters, and wider deposition occurred within 2 km of the crater (figures 8 and 9). According to seismic data, the eruption lasted around 5 minutes and 30 seconds (figure 10). Videos show several pulses of ash that fell back into the crater, followed by an ash plume moving laterally towards the viewers.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. These screenshots are from a video taken from the Ratu crater rim at Tangkuban Parahu on 26 July 2019. Initially there is a white gas-and-steam plume rising from the crater, then a high-velocity black jet of ash and sediment rises through the plume. This video was widely shared across multiple social media platforms, but the original source could not be identified.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. The ash plume at Tangkuban Parahu on 26 July 2019. Courtesy of BNPB.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Volcanic ash and lapilli was deposited around the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu during a phreatic eruption on 26 July 2019. Note that the deposits have slumped down the window and are thicker than the actual ashfall. Courtesy of BNPB.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Ash was deposited on buildings that line the Ratu crater at Tangkuban Parahu during a phreatic eruption on 26 July 2019. Photo courtesy of Novrian Arbi/via Reuters.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. A seismogram showing the onset of the 26 July 2019 eruption of Tangkuban Parahu and the elevated seismicity following the event. Courtesy of PVMBG via Øystein Lund Andersen.

On 27 July, the day after the eruption, Øystein Lund Andersen observed the volcano using a drone camera, operated from outside the restricted zone. Over a period of two hours the crater produced a small steam plume; ashfall and small blocks from the initial eruption are visible in and around the crater (figure 11). The ashfall is also visible in satellite imagery, which shows that deposition was restricted to the immediate vicinity to the SW of the crater (figure 12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Photos of the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu on 27 July 2019, the day after a phreatic eruption. A small steam plume continued through the day. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. PlanetScope satellite images showing the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu before (17 July 2019) and after (28 July 2019) the explosion that took place on 26 July 2019. Natural color PlanetScope Imagery, copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.

Another eruption occurred at 2046 on 1 August 2019 and lasted around 11 minutes, producing a plume up to 180 m above the vent. Additional explosions occurred at 0043 on 2 August, lasting around 3 minutes according to seismic data, but were not observed. Explosions continued to be recorded at 0145, 0357, and 0406 at the time of the PVMBG report when the last explosion was ongoing, and a photo shows an explosion at 0608 (figure 13). The explosions produced plumes that reached between 20 and 200 m above the vent. Due to elevated activity the Alert Level was increased to II on 2 August. Ash emission continued through the 4th. During 5-11 August events ejecting ash continued to produce plumes up to 80 m, and gas-and-steam plumes up to 200 m above the vent. Ashfall was localized around Ratu crater. The following week, 12-18 August, activity continued with ash and gas-and-steam plumes reaching 100-200 m above the vent. During 19-25 August, similar activity sent ash to 50-180 m, and gas-and-steam plumes to 200 m. A larger phreatic explosion occurred at 0930 on 31 August with an ash plume reaching 300 m, and a gas-and-steam plume reaching 600 m above the vent, depositing ash and sediment around the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. A small ash plume below a white gas-and-steam plume erupting from the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu on 2 August 2019 at 0608. Courtesy of PVBMG (2 August 2019 report).

In early September activity consisted of gas-and-steam plumes up to 100-180 m above the vent with some ash plumes observed (figure 14). Two larger explosions occurred at 1657 and 1709 on 7 September with ash reaching 180 m, and gas-and-steam up to 200 m above the vent. Ash and sediment deposited around the crater. Due to strong winds to the SSW, the smell of sulfur was reported around Cimahi City in West Bandung, although there was no detected increase in sulfur emissions. A phreatic explosion on 17 September produced an ash plume to 40 m and a steam plume to 200 m above the crater. Weak gas-and-steam emissions reaching 200 m above the vent continued through to the end of September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. A phreatic explosion at Tangkuban Parahu in the Ratu crater at 0724 on 4 September 2019, lasting nearly one minute. The darker ash plume reached around 100 m above the vent. Courtesy of PVGHM (4 September 2019 report).

Geologic Background. Gunung Tangkuban Parahu is a broad shield-like stratovolcano overlooking Indonesia's former capital city of Bandung. The volcano was constructed within the 6 x 8 km Pleistocene Sunda caldera, which formed about 190,000 years ago. The volcano's low profile is the subject of legends referring to the mountain of the "upturned boat." The Sunda caldera rim forms a prominent ridge on the western side; elsewhere the rim is largely buried by deposits of the current volcano. The dominantly small phreatic eruptions recorded since the 19th century have originated from several nested craters within an elliptical 1 x 1.5 km summit depression.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: https://www.oysteinlundandersen.com/tangkuban-prahu/tangkuban-prahu-volcano-west-java-one-day-after-the-26th-july-phreatic-eruption/); Reuters (URL: https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/editors-choice-pictures-idUSRTX71F3E).


Sheveluch (Russia) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent ash explosions and lava dome growth continue through October 2019

After a lull in activity at Sheveluch, levels intensified again in mid-December 2018 and remained high through April 2019, with lava dome growth, strong explosions that produced ash plumes, incandescent lava flows, hot avalanches, numerous thermal anomalies, and strong fumarolic activity (BGVN 44:05). This report summarizes activity between May and October 2019. The volcano is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT).

According to KVERT, explosive activity continued to generate ash plumes during May-October 2019 (table 13). Strong fumarolic activity, incandescence and growth of the lava dome, and hot avalanches accompanied this process. There were also reports of plumes caused by re-suspended ash rather than new explosions. Plumes frequently extended a few hundred kilometers downwind, with the longest ones remaining visible in imagery as much as 1,000-1,400 km away. One of the larger explosions, on 1 October (figure 52), also generated a pyroclastic flow. Some of the stronger explosions sent the plume to an altitude of 10-11 km, or more than 7 km above the summit. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) throughout the reporting period, except for several hours on 6 October when it was raised to Red (the highest level).

Table 13. Explosions and ash plumes at Sheveluch during May-October 2019. Dates and times are UTC, not local. Data courtesy of KVERT.

Dates Plume altitude (km) Drift Distance and Direction Remarks
30 Apr-02 May 2019 -- 200 km SE Resuspended ash.
03-10 May 2019 -- 50 km SE, SW Gas-and-steam plumes containing some ash.
13 May 2019 -- 16 km SE Resuspended ash.
11-12 Jun 2019 -- 60 km WNW Explosions and hot avalanches seen in video and satellite images.
24, 27 Jun 2019 4.5 E, W Ash plumes.
05 Aug 2019 2.5 40 km NW Diffuse ash plume.
25 Aug 2019 4.5-5 500 km NW Ash plumes.
29 Aug 2019 10 Various; 550 km N Explosions at 1510 produced ash plumes.
30 Aug 2019 7-7.5 50 km SSE Explosions at 1957 produced ash plumes.
03 Sep 2019 5.5 SE --
02-03, 05 Sep 2019 10 660 km SE Ash plumes seen in satellite images.
05 Sep 2019 -- -- Resuspended ash.
11-12 Sep 2019 -- 250 km ESE Resuspended ash plumes. Satellite and webcam data recorded ash emissions and a gas-and-steam plume with some ash drifting 50 km ESE on 12 Sep.
12-15, 17, 19 Sep 2019 -- 200 km SW, SE, NE Ash plumes.
20-21, 23, 26 Sep 2019 7 580 km ESE Explosions produced ash plumes.
29 Sep, 01-02 Oct 2019 9 1,400 km SE, E Explosions produced ash plumes. Notable pyroclastic flow traveled SE on 1 Oct.
04 Oct 2019 -- 170 km E Resuspended ash.
06 Oct 2019 10 430 km NE; 1,080 km ENE Ash plumes. Aviation Color Code raised to Red for several hours.
08 Oct 2019 -- 170 km E Resuspended ash.
06, 09 Oct 2019 6.5-11 1,100 km E --
11-13, 15 Oct 2019 6.5-7 620 km E, SE Explosions produced ash plumes.
16-17 Oct 2019 -- 125 km E Resuspended ash.
19-20 Oct 2019 -- 110 km SE Resuspended ash.
21 Oct 2019 10-11 1,300 km SE Explosions produced ash plumes.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. An explosion of Sheveluch on 1 October 2019. A pyroclastic flow was also reported by KVERT this day. Courtesy of Yu. Demyanchuk, IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

Numerous thermal anomalies, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, were observed every month. Consistent with this, the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system recorded thermal anomalies almost daily. According to KVERT, a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during the entire reporting period, although cloudy weather sometimes obscured observations.

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); 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/).


Piton de la Fournaise (France) — November 2019 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)


Three brief eruptive events in July, August, and October 2019

Short pulses of intermittent eruptive activity have been common at Piton de la Fournaise, the large basaltic shield volcano on La Réunion Island in the western Indian Ocean, for several thousand years. Over the last 20 years effusive basaltic eruptions have occurred on average twice per year. The activity is characterized by lava fountains and lava flows, and occasional explosive eruptions that shower blocks over the summit area and produce ash plumes. Almost all of the recent activity has occurred within the Enclos Fouqué caldera around the flanks of the central cone which has the Dolomieu Crater at its summit, although past eruptions in 1977, 1986, and 1998 have occurred at vents outside the caldera. Two eruptive episodes were reported during January-June 2019; from 18 February to 10 March, and from 11 to 13 June (BGVN 44:07). Three episodes during July-October 2019 are covered in this report, with information provided primarily by the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF) as well as satellite instruments.

Three brief eruptive episodes took place during July-October 2019. In each case, slow ground inflation in the weeks leading up to the eruption was followed by sudden inflation at the time of the fissure opening and lava flow event. This was followed by a resumption of inflation days or weeks later. The first event took place during 29-30 July and consisted of three fissures opening on the N flank of the Dolomieu cone. It lasted for less than 24 hours, and the maximum flow length was about 730 m. The second event began on 11 August with two fissures opening on the S flank of the Dolomieu cone. The flows traveled downhill almost 3 km; activity ended on 15 August. Two new fissures opened during 25-27 October on the SSE flank of the cone; one was active only briefly while the second created a 3.6-km-long flow that stopped a few hundred meters before the major highway. The sudden surges of thermal energy from the eruptions are clearly visible in the MIROVA thermal data (figure 182). Each of the eruptive episodes was also accompanied by SO2 emissions that were detected by satellite instruments (figure 183).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 182. Three eruptive events took place at Piton de la Fournaise during July-October 2019 and appear as spikes in thermal activity during 29-30 July, 11-15 August, and 25-27 October. Additional events in late February-early March and mid-June are also visible in this MIROVA graph of thermal energy from 12 December 2018 through October 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 183. Sulfur dioxide emissions were measured from Piton de la Fournaise during each of the eruptive events that occurred in July (top left), August (top right and bottom left), and October (bottom right) 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Activity during July 2019. The last eruption, a series of flows from several fissures on the SSE flank of Dolomieu Crater near the crater rim (at the center of the Enclos Fouqué caldera), lasted from 11 to 13 June 2019 (figure 184). Ground deformation after the eruption indicated renewed inflation of the edifice which had been ongoing since May. OVPF reported an increase in seismicity beginning on 21 June which continued throughout July; the earthquakes were located near the NW rim of the Dolomieu Crater and on its NW flank. Four centimeters of elongation were recorded between two GNSS stations within the Enclos during late June and July prior to the next eruption. The next short-lived eruption took place during 29-30 July, near the location of the seismicity on the NW flank of the Dolomieu cone about 600 m E of the Formica Leo cone. The onset of the eruption was accompanied by rapid ground deformation of about 12-13 cm, recorded at a station that is located west of the Dolomieu Crater (figure 185).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 184. Location maps of lava flows formed during the 11-13 June 2019 (left) and 29-30 July 2019 (right) eruptions at Piton de la Fournaise. Information derived from satellite data via the OI2 platform and aerial photos. Lava flows from June are shown as red polygons and eruptive fissures are shown as white lines. For the July event, the flows are shown in white. Courtesy of OVPF, OI2 and Université Clermont Auvergne (Monthly bulletins of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, June and July 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 185. Horizontal surface displacements indicating inflation of Piton de la Fournaise of about four centimeters were gradual between 14 June and 28 July 2019 (left). Just prior to and at the onset of the eruption on 29 July, a much greater displacement of about 12 cm occurred, associated with the subsurface ascent of magma (right). Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, July 2019).

The late July eruption began around 1200 local time on 29 July 2019 with the opening of three fissures over a distance of about 450 m on the N flank of Dolomieu cone, close to the tourist trail to the summit (figure 186). Lava fountains 20-30 m high were reported. Thermal measurements indicated flow temperatures of about 1,100°C at the base of the lava fountains; samples were collected for analysis (figure 187). Average discharge rates of 11.6 m3s were estimated for the eruption which ended less than 24 hours later, around 0430 on 30 July. The maximum flow length was about 730 m.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 186. Three fissures opened at Piton de la Fournaise on 29 July 2019 and flows traveled 730 m downslope before stopping the next day. The fissures were located on the N flank of Dolomieu cone. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP, Imaz PressRéunion, and Réunion La 1ère (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, July 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 187. Samples were collected for analysis by OVPF from the 29 July 2019 flow at Piton de la Fournaise. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, July 2019).

Eruption of 11-15 August 2019. During 1-10 August there were 33 shallow volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes located under the SE flank of Dolomieu cone; a new eruption began over this area on 11 August (figure 188). Two centimeters of inflation were recorded between the 29-30 July eruption and the 11-15 August event; this was followed by a rapid burst of inflation (tens of centimeters) at the onset of the eruption. Inflation resumed shortly after the eruption ended. The eruption began around 1620 local time on 11 August. Two fissures opened, one at 1,700 m elevation, and one at 1,500 m elevation on the SE flank, about 1,400 m apart (figure 189). Due to the steep slopes in the area, the lava flow quickly reached the "Grande Pentes" area before slowing down at the flatter "Piton Tremblet" area. The farthest traveled flow was cooling at an elevation of about 560 m, about 2 km from the National Road (RN2) on 14 August. The maximum effusion rate was measured at 9 m3/s. The eruption stopped on 15 August 2019 at 2200 local time after more than 6 hours of "piston gas" activity, and a brief pause in flow activity earlier in the day. About 3 million m3of lava were emitted, according to OVPF-IPGP. The flows from the 1,700 m and 1500 m altitude fissures reached maximum lengths of 2.9 and 2.7 km, respectively.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 188. Locations of eruptive fissures that opened on 11 August 2019 on the SE flank of Dolomieu cone at Piton de la Fournaise, and the approximate locations of the associated flows. Courtesy of IVPF-IPGP / OPGC-LMV (Bulletin d'activité du mercredi 14 août 2019 à 15h30, Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 189. Lava flows from the Piton de la Fournaise eruption of 11-15 August 2019 emerged from two fissures on the SE flank of Dolomieu cone. The flows were both active on 13 August (left) at around 0930 local time. Visual and thermal images of the lava flows on 14 August at around 2100 local time (center and right) showed them continuing down the steep slope of the cone and spreading out over the shallower area below. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP, LMV-OPGC (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, August 2019).

Activity during September-October 2019. Very little activity was reported during September 2019. Seismicity remained low with only 32 earthquakes reported during the month, and inflation, which had continued after the 11-15 August eruption, stopped at the beginning of September. Inflation resumed on 11 October. Two seismic swarms were recorded during October 2019. The first, on 21 October (207 events), lasted for about 40 minutes, and did not result in an eruption. The second began on 25 October and consisted of 827 events. It was followed by an eruption during 25-27 October located on the SSE flank of the Dolomieu cone. Deformation followed a similar pattern as it had during and prior to the eruptive events of July and August. Inflation of a few centimeters between 11 and 24 October was followed by rapid inflation of about 10 cm at the onset of the new eruption. Inflation resumed again after this eruption as well.

Two fissures opened during the 25-27 October eruption, one at 1,060 m elevation and one at 990 m. The first fissure was no longer active when viewed during an overflight 2.5 hours after it had opened. The flows moved rapidly until reaching the lower slope areas of the Grand Brule about 1.5-2 km downstream of the "Piton Tremblet" area. On 26 October only one vent was active with fountains 10-20 m high (figure 190). The lava discharge rates during the eruption averaged about 14 m3/s. The eruption ended at 1630 local time on 27 October after one hour of "gas piston" activity (figure 191). A total of about 1.8 million m3 of lava was emitted. The flows from the 990 m elevation site reached a maximum length of 3.6 km, and the lava flow front stopped about 230 m before reaching the RN2 National road (figure 192).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 190. On 25 October 2019 the front of the active flow at Piton de la Fournaise had reached the level of the Piton Tremblet by 1700 local time (left). Image by PGHM (Bulletin d'activité du 25 octobre 2019 à 18h00, Heure locale). The following day, the active vent had lava fountains 10-20 m high (right) (Bulletin d'activité du samedi 26 octobre 2019 à 11h00, Heure locale). Courtesy of OVPF/IPGP.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 191. The eruptive site of the 25-27 October 2019 eruption at Piton de la Fournaise had one flow still active on 27 October with 10-20 m high lava fountains (left). The flow front stopped that day a few hundred meters before the National Road (right). Courtesy of OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du dimanche 27 octobre 2019 à 12h00, Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 192. The location of the 25-27 October 2019 lava flow at Piton de la Fournaise started at the very base of the SSE flank of Dolomieu cone and traveled 3.6 km E towards the Highway and the coast. Basemap from Google Earth, fissures (red) and flows (in white) derived from aerial photos. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, October 2019).

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, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (OVPF-IPGP), 14 route nationale 3, 27 ème km, 97418 La Plaine des Cafres, La Réunion, France (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Agung (Indonesia) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Agung

Indonesia

8.343°S, 115.508°E; summit elev. 2997 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Quiet returns after explosions on 10 and 13 June 2019

After a large, deadly explosive and effusive eruption during 1963-64, Indonesia's Mount Agung on Bali remained quiet until a new eruption began in November 2017 (BGVN 43:01). Activity continued throughout 2018 with explosions that produced ash plumes rising multiple kilometers above the summit, and the slow effusion of the lava within the summit crater. Increasingly frequent and intense explosions with ash emissions and incandescent ejecta characterized activity during February through May 2019 (BGVN 44:06). Two more explosions in June 2019 produced significant ash plumes; no further explosive activity occurred through October 2019. Information about Agung comes from Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), also known as the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and multiple sources of satellite data. This report covers the end of the eruption in June and observations through October 2019.

After a large explosion on 31 May 2019, a smaller event occurred on 10 June. Another large explosion with an ash plume that rose to 9.1 km altitude was recorded on 13 June (local time). It drifted hundreds of kilometers before dissipating. No further explosive activity was reported through October 2019, only diffuse white steam plumes rising at most a few hundred meters above the summit. The Alert Level remained at III (of four levels) throughout the period. The record of thermal activity showed an increase during the explosive events of late May and June, but then decreased significantly (figure 57). There was no obvious thermal signature in satellite images that explained the small increase in thermal energy recorded by the MIROVA data at the end of August 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. The thermal energy at Agung increased significantly during the explosive events of late May and early June 2019, and then decreased substantially as seen in this MIROVA graph from 23 January through October 2019. There was no obvious satellite thermal signature to explain the brief increase in thermal energy in late August. Courtesy of MIROVA.

On 31 May 2019 a large explosion produced an ash plume that rose more than 2 km above the summit (BGVN 44:06, figure 56). The Darwin VAAC reported that it split into two plumes, one drifted E at 8.2 km and the other ESE at 6.1 km altitude, dissipating after about 20 hours early on 1 June. A small eruption with an ash plume that rose to 3.9 km altitude was reported the next day by the Darwin VAAC. It was detected in the webcam and pilot reports confirmed that it drifted E for a few hours before dissipating. PVMBG reported gray emissions to 300 m above the peak on 1 June and 100 m above the summit on 2 June. By 6 June the emissions were white, rising only 50 m above the summit. For several subsequent days, the summit was covered in fog with no observations of emissions.

On 10 June 2019 an explosion lasting 90 seconds was reported at 1212 local time; PVMBG noted a gray ash plume 1,000 m above the summit (figure 58). The Darwin VAAC confirmed the emission in satellite imagery and by pilot report; it was moving SW at 4.3 km altitude and then drifted S before dissipating by the end of the day. Early on 13 June local time (12 June UTC) a new explosion that was clearly visible in the webcam produced a large ash plume that drifted W and SW (figure 59). The explosion was recorded on the seismogram for almost four minutes and sent incandescent ejecta in all directions up to 700 m from the summit. The first satellite imagery of the plume reported by the Darwin VAAC suggested the altitude to be 9.1 km. A secondary plume was drifting W from the summit at 5.5 km altitude a few hours later. By six hours after the eruption, the 9.1 km altitude plume was about 90 km SSW of the Denpassar airport and the 5.5 km altitude plume was about 110 km W of the airport. By the time the higher altitude plume dissipated after about 14 hours, it had reached 300 km S of the airport. For the remainder of June, only diffuse white steam plumes were reported, rising generally 30-50 m above the summit, with brief pulses to 150-200 m during 27-29 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. An ash plume rose 1,000 m above the summit of Agung on 10 June 2019. Top image courtesy of Rita Bauer (Volcano Verse), bottom image courtesy of PVMBG (Information on G. Agung Eruption, 10 June 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. A large eruption at Agung at 0138 local time on 13 June 2019 sent an ash plume to 9.1 km altitude and incandescent ejecta 700 m in all directions. Courtesy of Jaime S. Sincioco, screenshot from volcano YT webcam.

Although no further surface activity was reported at Agung during July through October 2019, PVMBG kept the Alert Level at III throughout the period. Only steam plumes were reported from the summit usually rising 50 m before dissipating. Steam emissions rose to 150 m a few times each month. Plumes were reported at 300 m above the summit on 6 July and 15 August. No thermal anomalies were visible in Sentinel 2 satellite images during the period.

Geologic Background. Symmetrical Agung stratovolcano, Bali's highest and most sacred mountain, towers over the eastern end of the island. The volcano, whose name means "Paramount," rises above the SE caldera rim of neighboring Batur volcano, and the northern and southern flanks extend to the coast. The summit area extends 1.5 km E-W, with the high point on the W and a steep-walled 800-m-wide crater on the E. The Pawon cone is located low on the SE flank. Only a few eruptions dating back to the early 19th century have been recorded in historical time. The 1963-64 eruption, one of the largest in the 20th century, produced voluminous ashfall along with devastating pyroclastic flows and lahars that caused extensive damage and many fatalities.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Rita Bauer, Volcano Verse (Twitter @wischweg, URL: https://twitter.com/wischweg/status/1137956367258570752); Jamie S. Sincioco, Philippines (Twitter @jaimessincioco, URL: https://twitter.com/jaimessincioco/status/1139109685796020224).


Copahue (Chile-Argentina) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Copahue

Chile-Argentina

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New ash emissions begin in early August; intermittent and ongoing through October 2019

Most of the large edifice of Copahue lies high in the central Chilean Andes, but the active, acidic-lake filled El Agrio crater lies on the Argentinian side of the border at the W edge of the Pliocene Caviahue caldera. Infrequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 18th century. The most recent eruptive episode with ash plumes lasted from early June 2017 to early December 2018. After 8 months of quiet, renewed phreatic explosions and ash emissions began in August 2019 and were ongoing through October 2019. This report summarizes activity from January through October 2019 and is based on reports issued by Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN) Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), satellite data, and photographs from nearby residents.

Intermittent steam plumes were reported from the El Agrio crater at the summit during January-July 2019, but no ash emissions were seen. An increase in seismicity and changes in the crater lake level during March led SERNAGEOMIN to increase the Alert Level from Green to Yellow at the beginning of April. Fluctuating tremor signals in the first week of August coincided with satellite imagery that showed the appearance of dark material, possibly ash, on the snow around the summit crater. The first thermal anomaly appeared on 3 September and the first clear ash explosions were recorded on 11 September. Eruptive activity was intermittent through the end of the month; a series of larger explosions beginning on 30 September caused SERNAGEOMIN to raise the Alert Level from Yellow to Orange. A period of more intense explosive activity lasted through the first week of October. The larger explosions then ceased, but during the rest of October there were continuing observations of seismicity, ash emissions, and incandescent ejecta, along with multiple thermal anomalies in the summit area.

Observations during January-April 2019. Copahue remained at Alert Level Yellow with a 1-km exclusion radius during January 2019 after ash emission in December 2018. Ongoing degassing was reported with white plumes from El Agrio crater rising to 355 m (figure 25). The Alert Level was lowered to Green at the end of the month, and the exclusion radius was reduced to 500 m, although intermittent low-level seismicity in the region continued. SERNAGEOMIN reported a M 3.2 earthquake about 10 km NE of the summit, 2 km deep, on 29 January 2019. The acidic lake inside El Agrio crater was quiet at the end of the month (figure 26).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Degassing of steam from Copahue on 10 and 17 (inset) January 2019. Courtesy of OPTIC Neuquén (10 January) and SERNAGEOMIN (17 January).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. El Agrio crater at Copahue on 31 January 2019. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.

Steam plumes occasionally rose to 180 m above the crater during February 2019. A swarm of 117 volcano-tectonic (VT) seismic events on 22-23 February 2019 was located about 14 km NE of the volcano, with the largest events around a M 3.5. Steam plumes rose to about 280 m above the crater during March. SERNAGEOMIN noted an increase in seismicity during the month, and a decrease in the lake level within El Agrio crater. This led them to increase the Alert Level to Yellow (second on a four-level scale) at the beginning of April. Emissions remained minimal during April (figure 27); an 80 m high steam plume was reported on 4 April. The lake level continued to fall, based on satellite imagery, and a M 3.1 earthquake was reported on 29 April located about 10 km NE of the summit about 10 km deep.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Clear skies revealed no activity from the summit of Copahue on 7 or April 2019. The volcano was quiet throughout the month, although the Alert Level remained at Yellow. Image taken near Caviahue, 10 km E in Argentina. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.

Observations during May-July 2019. Sporadic episodes of low-altitude steam plume degassing were noted during May 2019, but otherwise very little surface activity was reported (figure 28). On 13 May, a steam plume reached 160 m above the crater rim, and on 28 May, the tallest plume rose 200 m above the crater. Hybrid-type earthquakes were recorded early in the month, followed by a slow increase in the amplitude of the tremor signal. Seismicity increased slightly during the second half of the month with activity concentrated closer to the summit crater. A weak SO2 plume was recorded by satellite instruments on 23 May. The level of the lake began increasing during the second half of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. No surface activity was visible at Copahue on 5 May 2019, but seismicity increased slowly during the month. Image taken near Caviahue. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.

SERNAGEOMIN reported tremor signals with fluctuating amplitude throughout June 2019. Repeated episodes of low-altitude white degassing occurred around the El Agrio crater. On 7 June, a 300 m plume was observed above the crater; the level of the crater lake was variable. On 17 June a 400-m-tall white plume was observed above the crater. Seismicity, although low, increased during the second half of the month. Multiple episodes of low-altitude white degassing occurred around the active crater all during July 2019 (figure 29). On 9 July a plume rose about 450 m above the crater. On 16 July a white plume rose 250 m above the crater. SENAGEOMIN noted a rise in the rate of seismicity during the first half of the month; the tremor signal continued with fluctuating amplitude. Satellite instruments detected small SO2 plumes on 4 and 9 July (figure 30).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. A steam plume rose a few hundred meters above the summit of Copahue on 23 July 2019. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite detected small SO2 plumes at Copahue on 4 and 9 July 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Activity during August-October 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery from 2, 4, 7, and 9 August suggested the ejection of particulate material (figure 31), with dark streaks in the snow extending a few hundred meters E and SE from the crater. Images from the community of Caviahue on 3 and 4 August show distinct discoloration of the snow around the E side of the summit crater (figures 32 and 33). Small but discernible SO2 plumes were detected by satellite instruments on 2, 3, 16, 19, 30, and 31 August. Fluctuating tremor signals continued during August with several episodes of low-altitude white degassing from the El Agrio crater; a white plume on 5 August rose 380 m above the crater. The lake level continued to drop and the Alert Level remained at Yellow.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Sentinel 2 satellite imagery of Copahue from late July and early August 2019 show fresh dark material deposited over the fresh winter snow, suggesting recent ejecta from the El Agrio crater. Top left: The summit was covered with fresh snow on 25 July 2019. Top right: A dark streak extends E then N from the El Agrio crater on 2 August. Bottom left: A streak of dark material trends SE from the crater over the snow on 4 August. Bottom Right: On 7 August a different streak extends E from the crater while fresh snow has covered the earlier streak. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. At sunset on 3 August 2019, darker material was visible on the snow on the E side of the summit of Copahue; a dense steam plume rose from El Agrio crater. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Particulates covered the fresh snow near the summit of Copahue on 4 August 2019, as seen from the community of Caviahue, about 10 km E. A steam plume rose from El Agrio crater. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.

Distinct SO2 plumes were again captured by satellite instruments on 1, 3, and 5-7 September 2019 (figure 34). The first thermal signature in nine months also appeared in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 3 September (figure 35). Midday on 9 September, seismometers recorded an increase in the amplitude of a continuous tremor. High clouds prevented clear views of the crater and no ash emissions were observed. Beginning on 11 September, low-energy long-period (LP) events were associated with infrasound signals and low-energy explosions that produced small ash plumes. The largest explosion produced a plume 250 m above the crater. Incandescence and high-temperature ejecta were observed around the emission point. The ash drifted ESE about 3 km. Ten explosions were reported between 11 and 12 September, associated with low-intensity acoustic signals and ash emissions. Plumes reached 430 m above the crater rim on 12 September. Ash deposits on the snow were visible in in Sentinel-2 images on 11 and 13 September, extending about 6 km E from El Agrio crater (figure 35). Images from the ground on 12 September indicated fresh ash on the E flank (figure 36).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Small but distinct SO2 plumes from Copahue were measured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite on 1 and 3 September 2019, and additionally on 5-7 September. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Sentinel-2 satellite images indicated thermal activity and ash emissions at Copahue on 3, 11, and 13 September 2019. Left: The first thermal anomaly in nine months appeared on 3 September. Middle: An ash streak trended E across the snow from El Agrio crater on 11 September. On 13 September, the streak was a wider cone that extended ESE for about 6 km. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Ash deposits coated snow on the E flank of Copahue on 12 September 2019, while a steam plume drifted SE from the crater, as seen from the community of Caviahue about 10 km E in Argentina. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.

Although fresh snow had covered any ash deposits by 16 September 2019 (figure 37), small thermal anomalies appeared in Sentinel-2 imagery on 16 and 21 September. SO2 plumes were measured by satellite instruments on 21 and 25 September. Photos from Caviahue on 25 September showed ash on the E flank and a steam-and-ash plume drifting NE (figure 38). Ashfall on the snow was visible in satellite imagery on 26 September, and covered a larger area on 28 September; there was also a substantial thermal anomaly that day (figure 39).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Fresh snow had covered over recent ash emissions at Copahue by 16 September 2019; thermal anomalies were detected in satellite data from the summit crater the same day. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. On a clear 25 September 2019 fresh ash covered snow on the E flank of Copahue, and an ash and steam plume was drifting NE from the El Agrio crater. The mountains are reflected in Lago Caviahue located about 12 km E in Argentina. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Sentinel-2 imagery of Copahue on 28 September showed ashfall in a large area around the summit and a small ash plume (left); a substantial thermal anomaly was also visible within the El Agrio crater (right). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During the late afternoon of 30 September, three high-energy LP earthquakes were reported located 5.8 km NE of the El Agrio crater. They were accompanied by abundant lower energy earthquakes in the same area. The VT earthquakes were equivalent to a M 3.5. Inhabitants of Caviahue (12 km E) reported feeling several of the events; atmospheric conditions prevented observation of the summit. This sudden increase in seismicity prompted SERNGEOMIN to raise the Alert Level to Orange and increase the radius of the area of potential impact to 5 km. Seismicity (VT, LP and tremor earthquakes) continued at a high rate into 1 October. Argentina's geologic hazards and mining agency, Servicio Geologico Minero Argentino (SEGEMAR) also issued a notice of the increased warning level on 30 September (figure 40).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. A dense steam plume rises from the active crater at Copahue in this image looking due E towards Caviahue and Lago Caviahue, 12 km E. The rim of the Caviahue caldera is in the distance. Argentina's SEGEMAR posted this photograph (undated) with their notice of the increase in warning level on 30 September 2019. Courtesy of SEGEMAR.

Cameras near the volcano detected ash plumes associated with explosions around the crater at 0945 on 1 October 2019 which continued throughout the first week of the month. Satellite imagery showed streaks of dark ash over snow trending SE and E and from the summit on 1 and 8 October (figure 41). Five separate explosions were recorded during 1-2 October. Persistent degassing was accompanied by episodes of ash emissions and incandescence at night. Seismicity continued during 2-3 October, but poor weather mostly obscured visual evidence of activity; a few pulses of white and gray emissions were observed. Seismic events were located 5-7 km NE at a depths of 0.7-1.7 km, and continued for several days. Clearer skies on 4 October revealed steam plumes and pulses of ash rising from El Agrio crater. Incandescence was visible at night. A ground-based image showed ash covering the E flank and an ash plume drifting NE down the flank (figure 42). The Buenos Aires VAAC reported weak ash emissions on 4 October moving NE at 3.4 km altitude. The webcam showed continuous ash emission from the summit during 4-5 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Copahue showed dark streaks trending SE and E from the summit in early October. On 1 October 2019 (left) there was a narrow streak of ash to the SE and a steam plume drifting the same direction. On 8 Octobe0r (right), a wide cone of ashfall covered the E flank, and a plume of gray ash drifted NE over the edge of the deposit. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Gray ash covered areas of Copahue's E flank on 4 October 2019 and an ash plume drifted NE down the flank. Image from Caviahue, about 10 km E. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.

White steam plumes with pulses of ash and incandescence at night were observed on 5 and 6 October. Seismic activity decreased on 6 October. The following day, SERNAGEOMIN lowered the Alert Level to Yellow and reduced the restricted zone to 1,000 m around the summit crater. While seismicity had decreased, ash emissions continued from low-level pulsating explosions which produced ash plumes that drifted E (figure 43). They observed that the total area to that date affected by ashfall was about 24.5 km2, extending up to 5 km W and 6 km E from the summit. They also noted that a pyroclastic cone about 130 m across had appeared inside the crater. Ash emissions and explosions with incandescent ejecta continued during the second week of October (figure 44). A change in wind direction created a several-kilometer-long streak of ash trending SW from the summit by 13 October; a strong thermal anomaly that day indicated continued activity (figure 45). SO2 plumes were recorded by satellite instruments on 1, 3, 4, and 13 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Ash and steam drifted E from the summit of Copahue on 7 October 2019, the day that SERNAGEOMIN lowered the Alert Level from Orange to Yellow. Courtesy of SEGEMAR.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Incandescent ejecta was visible at the summit of Copahue overnight on 11 October 2019 in the image from a local webcam. Courtesy of Culture Volcan.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. A new dark streak of ash on snow trended SW from the El Agrio crater at Cophahue on 13 October 2019. The strong thermal anomaly the same day indicated the level of eruptive activity was still high. Natural color image based on bands 4,3, and 2; Atmospheric penetration rendering based on bands 12, 11, and 8a. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Seismicity continued for the rest of October, but no explosions were recorded. Sulfur dioxide emissions were recorded by satellite instruments on 18, 22, 23, and 30 October (figure 46). When weather permitted, constant degassing with episodes of ash emissions from the crater were visible during the day and incandescence appeared at night. Satellite imagery on 18, 23, and 28 October showed substantial ash plumes drifting in different directions from the summit. A large area around the summit crater was covered with dark ash on 18 and 23 October. Fresh snowfall had covered most of the area by 28 October, and the narrow dark streak trending SE underneath the ongoing ash plume was the only surface covered with material (figure 47). Distinct thermal anomalies appeared in satellite images on 16, 18, 23, and 31 October. A number of thermal alerts were recorded by the MIROVA system as well during the second half of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite recorded SO2 emissions from Copahue on 18, 22, 23, and 30 October 2019. Satellite imagery on also showed ash plumes on 18 and 23 October. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Distinct ash plumes and dark ashfall over snow on 18, 23, and 28 October 2019 at Copahue indicated ongoing eruptive activity (top row) through the end of the month. The large area of ash-covered snow visible on 18 and 23 October was covered with fresh snowfall by 28 October when the dense ash plume drifting SE left only a narrow dark trail of ashfall in the fresh snow underneath (right). Strong thermal anomalies were apparent on 18 and 23 October but obscured by dense ash on 28 October (bottom row). Natural color image based on bands 4, 3, and 2; atmospheric penetration rendering based on bands 12, 11, and 8a. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The highest plume noted by SERNAGEOMIN during the second half of the month rose 1,200 m above the crater on 22 October 2019 (figure 48). The Buenos Aires VAAC reported ash emissions from the summit visible in webcams almost every day in October. On 16 October, an ash plume was seen in satellite imagery moving SE at 3.4 km altitude under mostly clear skies; the webcam showed continuous ash emission. A faint plume was barely seen moving S in satellite imagery at 3.4 km altitude on 18 October; the webcam revealed continuous emission of gases and possible dilute volcanic ash. The VAAC reported ash emissions daily from 18-25 October. Drift directions varied from SE, moving to NE on 21-23 October, and back to E and SE the following days. The altitudes ranged from 3.0 to 4.3 km. On 20 October, the plume extended about 80 km SE. The ash appeared as pulses moving NE on 22 and 23 October at 4.3 km altitude. Emissions reappeared in satellite imagery on 28 and 30-31 October, drifting SE and NE at 3.4-3.7 km altitude; incandescence was visible overnight on 30-31 October from the webcam.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. A plume of ash and steam from Copahue rose 1,200 m above the summit on 22 October 2019 and drifted NE. It was clearly visible from 25 km SW of the volcano in the El Barco Indigenous community of Alto Biobío, Chile, along with ash-covered snow on the SW flank. Courtesy of EveLyN.

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

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); OPTIC Neuquén, Oficina Provincial de Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación- Gobierno de la Provincia del Neuquén, Neuquén, Argentina (URL: https://www.neuqueninforma.gob.ar/tag/optic/, Twitter: @OPTIC_Nqn, https://twitter.com/OPTIC_Nqn); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue, Caviahue, Argentina (URL: https://twitter.com/valecaviahue, Twitter:@valecaviahue); Cultur Volcan, Journal d'un volcanophile, (URL: https://laculturevolcan.blogspot.com, Twitter: @CulturVolcan); EveLyn, Twitter: @EveCaCid (URL: https://twitter.com/EveCaCid/status/1186663015271321601).


Turrialba (Costa Rica) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Turrialba

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Activity diminishes during March-October 2019, but small ash emissions continue

This report summarizes activity at Turrialba during March-October 2019. Typical activity similar to that reported in late 2018 and early 2019 (BGVN 44:04) included periodic weak ash explosions and numerous emissions containing some ash. However, during this period activity appeared to diminish with time. Data were provided by weekly reports by the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA).

According to OVSICORI-UNA, only highly diluted ash emissions were recorded from 22 April to 27 May (note that no reports were available online from the last week of March until 22 April). Weak ash explosions were again noted on 28 July, 4 August, and possibly on 20 October. OVSICORI-UNA reported more explosions or emissions containing ash on 25 and 28 October (table 9).

Table 9. Summary of reported activity at Turrialba, March-October 2019. Cloudy weather sometimes obscured observations. Maximum plume height is above the crater rim. Information courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Date Time Max plume height Plume drift Remarks
01 Mar 2019 0444 200 m NE --
02-04 Mar 2019 -- 200-300 m -- Continuous emissions with minor amounts of ash.
09-12 Mar 2019 -- 1,000 m -- Gas plumes containing minor amounts of ash.
16-17 Mar 2019 -- -- -- Frequent and discontinuous emissions, but no visual confirmation due to poor visibility.
20-22 Mar 2019 -- 300 m W, SW Continuous emissions of steam with periodic pulses of diffuse ash; sulfur odor noted in Tierra Blanca de Cartago on 22 March.
23-26 Mar 2019 -- -- -- Steam plumes with low concentration of magmatic gases.
24 Mar 2019 0503 500 m -- Series of four pulses with ash.
31 Mar 2019 0735 -- -- Explosion followed by passive emissions with low concentration of magmatic gases. Seismicity dominated by low-frequency events.
08 Apr 2019 -- -- -- Minor ash emissions.
24 Apr 2019 -- -- -- Diffuse ash emission.
26 Apr 2019 -- -- N Emission with low ash content.
27 Apr 2019 0722 below 100 m -- Weak, brief explosion with ash plume.
04 May 2019 0524 -- -- Emission of very diluted ash.
12-19 May 2019 -- -- -- Passive, short-duration emissions with small amounts of ash occurred sporadically.
19-20 May 2019 -- -- -- Prolonged and intermittent periods of emissions with minor amounts of ash.
28 Jul 2019 1441 -- -- Weak explosion and ash emission after 30 minutes of heavy rain. Inclement weather prevented visual confirmation. Ashfall in La Picada (N) and El Retiro farms.
03-04 Aug 2019 -- -- -- Two small explosions, with some ash in the second.
11 Aug 2019 -- -- -- Weak emission during night, identified by its seismic signal. No ash emission observed.
05 Aug-19 Oct 2019 -- -- -- No ash detected.
20 Oct 2019 2100 -- -- Explosion identified with seismicity; weather conditions prevented visual observation. No ashfall reported.
25 Oct 2019 0400, 0700 -- -- Weak explosion at 0400, with ash. Ash at 0700 not associated with seismic signal, so could be a small intra-crater collapse.
28 Oct 2019 1500 -- -- Weak emission containing ash.

A report from Red Sismologica Nacional (RSN) about the 28 October ash explosion noted that it occurred at 1501 local time and lasted about 5 minutes. There were no reports of ashfall, but the crater webcam captured the small plume rising from the active vent. Incandescence in the active crater continued to be seen on the monitoring cameras.

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

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/); Red Sismologica Nacional (RSN) a collaboration between a) the Sección de Sismología, Vulcanología y Exploración Geofísica de la Escuela Centroamericana de Geología de la Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), and b) the Área de Amenazas y Auscultación Sismológica y Volcánica del Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Costa Rica (URL: https://rsn.ucr.ac.cr/).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 27, Number 12 (December 2002)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Ambrym (Vanuatu)

Lava lakes remain active in Mbwelesu and Benbow craters through December 2002

Cotopaxi (Ecuador)

First anomalous seismicity since 1975 begins in October 2001

Etna (Italy)

Late October 2002 earthquake swarm signals start of new flank eruption

Karangetang (Indonesia)

500-m plumes and ~ 1.5-km glowing lava avalanche; Alert Level increased

Kerinci (Indonesia)

Continuous emissions through December 2002

Krakatau (Indonesia)

Seismicity dominated by volcanic earthquakes through at least December 2002

Lokon-Empung (Indonesia)

Higher-than-normal activity continues through at least December 2002

Lopevi (Vanuatu)

Anomalous SO2 emissions detected by satellite in December 2002 and January 2003

McDonald Islands (Australia)

Significant morphological changes due to eruptive activity

Pinatubo (Philippines)

Likely 2001 overflow controled by cross-rim trenching

Semeru (Indonesia)

Elevated explosive activity continues; evacuation on 30 December 2002

Stromboli (Italy)

Landslides on 30 December cause two tsunamis; damage in nearby villages

Tungurahua (Ecuador)

Summary of 2002 activity includes several episodes of intense seismicity

Witori (Papua New Guinea)

Dacite lava flows, flattened forest, deformation, and faulting



Ambrym (Vanuatu) — December 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambrym

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lakes remain active in Mbwelesu and Benbow craters through December 2002

Observations of Ambrym were made by John Seach during a climb to the caldera during 11-15 December 2002. Lava lakes were visible in both Mbwelesu and Benbow craters that had been absent during a visit in February 2000 (BGVN 25:02) . Reports from local guides indicated that two lava lakes appeared in Mbwelesu crater during February 2001 and joined to form a single lava lake in August 2001. A lava lake reappeared in Benbow crater during June 2002. During November 2002 acid rain, for the third consecutive year, destroyed the mango crops between Sanesup and Lalinda on the W coast of Ambrym.

Activity at Mbwelesu Crater, 12 December 2002. Perfect visibility into the crater enabled detailed observations of the lava lake over 5 hours from the S side of the crater at an elevation of 950 m and over 300 m above the lava lake. The lava lake, located at the bottom of Mbwelesu Crater inside a circular pit (figures 6 and 7), had a diameter of 40-50 m, was in constant motion, and made continuous loud crashing sounds like waves at the beach. The lava lake was much more active than during previous visits in 1998 and 1999. Pele's hair littered the observation area, and white lithic blocks up to 30 cm in diameter were scattered on the rim.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Photo of the lava lake inside a circular pit within Mbwelesu Crater at Ambrym, 12 December 2002. The diameter of the lava lake is 40-50 m. Courtesy of John Seach.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Photo showing the violent degassing from the lava lake in Mbwelesu Crater at Ambrym, 12 December 2002. Courtesy of John Seach.

The surface of the lava lake was continuously disrupted by degassing. Bubbles caused the lake surface to blister and finally burst, splashing lava into the air. Up to eight large bubbles formed at any one time and covered over 80% of the lake surface. The cycle of bubble formation and rupture took about 3 seconds. Waves up to 10 m high formed due to the degassing and crashed onto the side of the pit. After lava waves hit the side of the pit there was a drain-back of lava into the main lake much like ocean waves receding off a beach. Jets of lava were regularly expelled from the lake surface and directed both vertically and at an angle towards the pit side. Fountains reached up to 40 m high. Blobs of molten lava spattered onto the side of the pit up to 20 m from the lava lake edge. This spatter was more erratic than lava fountains and sprayed over a greater area. When large amounts of lava were thrown onto the pit wall, some would cascade back into the lake via a lava stream, lava fall, or a wide curtain of orange flowing lava.

Crusting of the surface was observed when parts of the lake had a lower level of activity, most often in the NE part of the pit opposite the area of most vigorous degassing. Sometimes a lava fountain would burst through the crust, throwing darker pieces of lava high into the air. At times the orange lava lake surface was covered with black pieces of broken crust. Crusting lasted for only a few minutes at a time before it was disrupted by fountains or waves. Lava disappeared into the lava lake surface by subducting under layers of other lava. Some lava disappeared into overhangs on the side of the pit. Lava lake activity continued out of view for an unknown distance past these overhangs.

The lava lake level rose and fell over a period of less than an hour in response to changes in the surface degassing rate. When the rate of degassing was high the lake level was raised by 10 m. The changes appeared to be caused by inflation of the lake due to gas rather than any change in lava eruption rate. During a period of low lava lake activity, the whole lake surface tilted 5 m towards the N and then back to the S over a two-second period. Violent intra-crater winds were observed around the lava lake as reflected in their effects on gas emissions. These were also felt beside the lava lake in Benbow crater. Vapors emitted from the lake surface were white tinged with blue.

Two 15-m-diameter vents 100 m N of the lava lake and 60 m higher were separated by a thin wall. The W vent did not show any activity. The E vent made almost continuous loud degassing noises, and larger explosions ejected black ash 50 m into the air. Mbwelesu was approached again on 15 December, but rain the previous day and low clouds had filled the crater with white vapor, allowing only brief views of the still constantly active lava lake.

Activity at Mbogon Niri Mbwelesu, 12 December 2002. This small collapse pit has been re-named (formerly Niri Mbwelesu Taten) after a request by local residents. The new name comes from the local Port Vato language of W Ambrym, as did the previous name, but is more culturally appropriate. The translation of the new name is " mouth of the wild young pig" (Mbogon = mouth, Niri = son, Mbwelesu = wild pig).

On 12 December excellent visibility enabled detailed observations into Mbogon Niri Mbwelesu. Observations were made from the N side of the pit. Loud crashing, degassing sounds were heard inside the pit, and a 10-m-diameter vent was observed on the floor about 180 m below. The pit glowed bright orange, but lava was not directly observed. This was the first time in 2002 that guides had observed the presence of lava in this pit. Loud degassing occurred every few seconds, and the larger explosions were accompanied by light brown emissions and ground shaking. Pungent sulfurous fumes were emitted from the pit, forcing the observer to use a respirator at times. Strong degassing of brown vapors was coming from the E side of the pit, 50 m below the rim. The W inside wall of the pit was coated with red and yellow deposits.

Activity at Niri Mbwelesu Crater, 12 December 2002. On 12 December excellent views were obtained into Niri Mbwelesu. A recent large landslide on the W wall of the crater had covered the previously lava-filled vent. Rockfalls were heard regularly inside the crater and degassing occurred about every 30 seconds. About every 20 minutes larger explosions were heard at the crater; some were audible over 3 km away.

Activity at Benbow Crater, 13 December 2002. Benbow was climbed from the S on 13 December. The observer free-climbed 165 m down to the floor of the first level, and then another 45 m further down to the edge of the lava lake pit in the N of the crater. Inside Benbow there were two active pits. The larger pit, in the middle of the crater, contained a crusted lava lake and two active vents. The SW vent was 25 m in diameter and was full of vapor but emitted no sounds. The NW vent was 10 m in diameter, glowed red, and loudly degassed. The N crater in Benbow contained an active lava lake. The observer climbed to the rim and was able to view the lake surface, ~50 m below, for a few seconds before retreating. The lava lake was in constant motion and lava was ejected in to the air. Violent winds (over 80 km/hour) were generated inside the pit and made observations on the edge dangerous. At times the pit was filled with white and blue-tinged vapors which made breathing difficult. The lava lake made continuous rumbling and sloshing noises. On a wall next to the lava lake pit there was dripping water with a pH of 3.5 and 700 ppm total dissolved solids.

Visit to Ambrym, 15-20 August 2001. Jeff and Raine Williams, sailing aboard the S/Y Gryphon, visited Ambrym Island during 15-20 August 2001. One day was spent hiking to the Mbwelesu crater with a guide from the village of Ranvetlam. Their report has been reduced here to basic observations; a more poetic and complete description of their hike can be found on their website. After leaving Ranvetlam, they began a steep climb through jungle and gardens, continuing through coconut groves and thick woods of breadfruit trees and wild nut trees. After an hour they were still passing through the garden plots of villagers. At higher altitudes the vegetation changed to bananas, kava, and lap-lap plants; wild tree ferns and palm trees were abundant.

After about 90 minutes they emerged from the jungle onto a lava flow at the lower limit of the high central 'ash plain' plateau. They climbed along this "50-yard wide, black gravel road," also described as a "wild orchid-lined highway," through the jungle to the ash plain itself, where the tops of Marum and Benbow could be seen shrouded in clouds and mist. The hike continued across ~1.5 km of the ash plain before passing along a lava gully onto the final ridge, a 1-m-wide path of loose cinders and stone. They climbed to the rim and looked down the sheer, nearly vertical cliffs into the crater, where they heard rumbling and splashing sounds of the active lava lake. Although the weather was cold and windy, the fog cleared enough for the visitors to briefly observe bright red lava in the crater three times within 30 minutes. The 11-km-long hike to the crater took four hours, and another 3 hours to return.

Geologic Background. Ambrym, a large basaltic volcano with a 12-km-wide caldera, is one of the most active volcanoes of the New Hebrides arc. A thick, almost exclusively pyroclastic sequence, initially dacitic, then basaltic, overlies lava flows of a pre-caldera shield volcano. The caldera was formed during a major plinian eruption with dacitic pyroclastic flows about 1900 years ago. Post-caldera eruptions, primarily from Marum and Benbow cones, have partially filled the caldera floor and produced lava flows that ponded on the caldera floor or overflowed through gaps in the caldera rim. Post-caldera eruptions have also formed a series of scoria cones and maars along a fissure system oriented ENE-WSW. Eruptions have apparently occurred almost yearly during historical time from cones within the caldera or from flank vents. However, from 1850 to 1950, reporting was mostly limited to extra-caldera eruptions that would have affected local populations.

Information Contacts: John Seach, PO Box 16, Chatsworth Island, NSW, 2469, Australia (URL: http://www.volcanolive.com/); Jeff and Raine Williams, P.O. Box 729, Funkstown, MD 21734, USA.


Cotopaxi (Ecuador) — December 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Cotopaxi

Ecuador

0.677°S, 78.436°W; summit elev. 5911 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


First anomalous seismicity since 1975 begins in October 2001

The last Cotopaxi report (SEAN 01:03) described a decline in activity during December 1975. Beginning in October 2001, anomalous seismic activity was registered. Seismicity increased further during November 2001-January 2002, and at times was up to seven times the normal level (tables 1 and 2). During this period, other seismic signals were registered that were distinct from those during the 13 previous years of monitoring, including: tornillos, explosion events, bands of harmonic tremor sometimes lasting a few minutes, and deep, high-energy long-period (LP) events registered away from the volcano (at the Antisana and Guagua Pichincha stations). Seismic observations and statistics were compiled using station "VCl," located ~4 km NE of the volcano. Earthquake locations were determined using records from the seven seismic stations on different flanks of Cotopaxi, and for higher-energy events with stations of the National network.

Table 1. Monthly seismicity at Cotopaxi during 2001-2002. Data includes Total and Daily averages for long-period (LP) events, hybrid events, volcano-tectonic (VT) events, tornillo events, and all earthquakes. Courtesy IG.

Date LP Total LP Daily Avg Hybrid Total Hybrid Daily Avg VT Total VT Daily Avg Tornillo Total Tornillo Daily Avg All Earthquakes Total All Earthquakes Daily Avg
Jan 2001 336 10.8 0 0.0 18 0.6 0 0.0 354 11.4
Feb 2001 185 6.6 0 0.0 4 0.1 0 0.0 189 6.8
Mar 2001 319 10.3 1 0.0 10 0.3 0 0.0 320 10.3
Apr 2001 280 9.3 0 0.0 26 0.9 0 0.0 306 10.2
May 2001 241 7.8 7 0.2 10 0.3 0 0.0 248 8.0
Jun 2001 243 8.1 11 0.4 53 1.8 0 0.0 307 10.2
Jul 2001 262 8.5 2 0.1 9 0.3 0 0.0 273 8.8
Aug 2001 241 7.8 0 0.0 9 0.3 0 0.0 250 8.1
Sep 2001 394 13.1 9 0.3 9 0.3 0 0.0 412 13.7
Oct 2001 555 17.9 0 0.0 7 0.2 0 0.0 562 18.1
Nov 2001 432 14.4 57 1.9 400 13.3 4 0.1 893 29.8
Dec 2001 516 16.6 169 5.5 729 23.5 0 0.0 1423 45.9
Jan 2002 595 19.2 5 0.2 363 11.7 3 0.1 966 31.2
Feb 2002 532 19.0 4 0.1 157 5.6 0 0.0 693 24.8
Mar 2002 504 16.3 1 0.0 191 6.2 0 0.0 696 22.5
Apr 2002 310 10.3 7 0.2 63 2.1 0 0.0 380 12.7
May 2002 431 13.9 8 0.3 53 1.7 0 0.0 453 14.6
Jun 2002 429 14.3 41 1.4 45 1.5 3 0.1 474 15.8
Jul 2002 445 14.4 181 5.8 92 3.0 2 0.1 720 23.2
Aug 2002 455 14.7 91 2.9 32 1.0 12 0.4 590 19.0
Sep 2002 509 17.0 184 6.1 140 4.7 19 0.6 852 28.4
Oct 2002 322 10.4 219 7.1 62 2.0 13 0.4 616 19.9
Nov 2002 295 9.8 142 4.7 64 2.1 2 0.1 503 16.8
Dec 2002 233 9.0 120 4.6 48 1.5 1 0.0 402 16.1

Table 2. Comparison of average seismicity at Cotopaxi during 2001 and 2002. Courtesy IG.

Year Daily average Monthly average Total
2001 15.4 461.4 5537
2002 20.4 612.1 7345

On 5 and 29 January 2002, two seismic clusters lasted an average of 2 hours and were composed mainly of LP and VT earthquakes. Most of the earthquakes were located at depths of 1-10 km beneath the summit. On 5 and 13 January small fumaroles were reported in the crater, and visible defrosting occurred on the upper E flank. A visit to the summit on 13 January revealed increased fumarolic activity compared to previous months. On 19 and 20 January observers reported gray plumes rising as high as 1,000 m.

During February and March activity diminished, and no seismic clusters were registered. Most of the earthquakes were located 1-10 km beneath the volcano. On 5 February roaring noises were heard from Mulaló and the refuges located on the flanks of the volcano. Strong fumarolic activity was also reported. On 6 February steam plumes rose ~300 m above the summit. On 27 February a small steam plume was reported exiting from the NW side of the crater. On 7 and 10 March small steam plumes originated from the W side of the crater. On 28 March harmonic tremor lasted for ~10 minutes.

Activity remained low during April-June. On 17 April a band of harmonic tremor lasted ~6 minutes with a maximum frequency of 4.3 Hz. During the first days of April small steam plumes were reported. During May LP earthquakes lasted up to a minute and saturated the seismometer for several seconds. On 20 May a seismic cluster of LP earthquakes lasted ~2 hours. On 8 and 14 May a white steam plume from the NE side of the volcano reached up to 200 m high. During June VT events mostly occurred ~10 km N of the crater. On 30 June a band of harmonic tremor lasted ~7 minutes with a maximum frequency of 1.7-5.2 Hz. Visits to the summit on 1 and 2 June revealed that fumarolic activity had diminished ~40% since January.

During July seismicity was at a moderate level with respect to the rest of 2002. During the first days of the month a series of LP events were registered that were large enough to be detected at distant stations, such as Antisana and Guagua Pichincha. The earthquakes had maximum frequencies of ~2.1 Hz and were generally 1-2 km beneath the summit. However, some events were located at depths of ~10 km. On 18 July at 2000 a band of low-frequency tremor lasted ~4 minutes. About 5 hours later a seismic cluster began that lasted for ~8 hours. The cluster consisted of ~110 total events, mostly hybrid (HB) and volcano-tectonic (VT). The earthquakes were located 1-4 km beneath the summit, and 2 LP events were located ~10 km deep.

Visitors to the summit on 6 July reported fumarolic activity in the zone of Yanasacha, a slight sulfur smell on the NE side, and noise generated by an avalanche on the E side. At the end of July reports indicated defrosting in the W zone. During August moderate seismicity was dominated by LP events at a depth of ~10 km.

Seismicity was again high in September 2002. A small cluster of VT earthquakes on 15 September lasted ~7 hours. During the first days of the month a visit to the crater revealed new fumaroles in the E and S zones. Defrosting continued in the W zone and left 40% of the W wall open.

During October seismic activity was low but the number of hybrid events increased compared to the previous months. Tectonic events were registered in the S and N zones up to ~7 km from the summit. Deep LP events decreased by ~50% compared to previous months.

Seismicity remained low during November and December. Less than 10% of VT events were registered in the N sector. No fumarolic or other surface activity was observed. During December seismic events were located 1-7 km beneath the summit. On 7 December people in Yanahurco reported dark brown plumes rising from the crater.

Seismicity since 1989 clearly shows an increase in recent months (figure 1). The 2001 seismic events were registered at 1-10 km beneath the volcano, but ~90% occurred at 2-4 km and showed little migration. The 2002 activity was variable, from a high of 966 events in January to a low of 420 events in April. Mostly LP events occurred with some VT events during the first half of the year, and later mostly LP events with hybrids during the second half of the year. On the basis of 2002 seismic activity, a new injection of magma did not occur, and the anomalies in July and September were the result of the movement of gas from magma intrusion that occurred during the last months of 2001.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Graph of the total registered monthly events at Cotopaxi during 1989-2002. The activity increased beginning in November 2001 and has since remained above background levels. Courtesy of IG.

Geologic Background. Symmetrical, glacier-clad Cotopaxi stratovolcano is Ecuador's most well-known volcano and one of its most active. The steep-sided cone is capped by nested summit craters, the largest of which is about 550 x 800 m in diameter. Deep valleys scoured by lahars radiate from the summit of the andesitic volcano, and large andesitic lava flows extend to its base. The modern conical edifice has been constructed since a major collapse sometime prior to about 5000 years ago. Pyroclastic flows (often confused in historical accounts with lava flows) have accompanied many explosive eruptions, and lahars have frequently devastated adjacent valleys. The most violent historical eruptions took place in 1744, 1768, and 1877. Pyroclastic flows descended all sides of the volcano in 1877, and lahars traveled more than 100 km into the Pacific Ocean and western Amazon basin. The last significant eruption took place in 1904.

Information Contacts: Geophysical Institute (IG), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Apartado 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador.


Etna (Italy) — December 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3295 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Late October 2002 earthquake swarm signals start of new flank eruption

On 26 October 2002 at 2225 a swarm of earthquakes was recorded by the seismic network of the Catania Section of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV-CT). This signaled the start of a new flank eruption that has formed fissures on the N and S sides of the volcano.

The lava supply from the main vents were cut off by 3 November. At that time both the N and S fissues stopped producing lava flows, although the S fissure continued to discharge fire fountains. After that, 20 m of downslope movement was observed at the most advanced flow front near Piano Provenzana on 5 November. This late movement was caused by channel emptying, and occurred when lava emerging at the main vent, ~5 km upstream, was completely crusted over. No further advancement of the lava flows was observed on the S or N flanks of the volcano after this date. However, while explosive and effusive activity stopped at the N fissure by 5 November, as of 11 November fire fountaining continued at the S vent located at 2,750 m elevation, near Torre del Filosofo. All data (gas emission, volcanic tremor, composition of the ash) suggested a steady state at this vent. Ash fallout caused intermittent disruption at the Catania airport and damage to buildings.

The eruption continued into December 2002. Lava flows and Strombolian activity continued on the S flank from vents at 2,750 m elevation. Ash emission from the 2,750 m cinder cone significantly declined on 17 December, allowing the local airport of Catania to reopen.

The two vents, which opened at the SE base of the 2,750 m cinder cone on 9-10 December, fed four major lava flows spreading S and SW. A lava flow spreading S on 13 December approached the Rifugio Sapienza and eventually crossed a road on 17 December. An overflow from the main lava channel covered a building and caused a strong explosion in the Rifugio Sapienza area during the night of 17 December, injuring 32 people. The explosion was not directly caused by the eruption, but by vaporization of oil or water inside the building while it was covered by the expanding lava flow. The effusion rate from the two vents gradually decreased, eventually causing the closure of the western vent and then the lack of supply to the lava flows spreading SW towards Monte Nero.

A new vent opened on 17 December at the S base of the 2,750 m cinder cone, a few meters W of the previous vents. A lava flow soon started from this vent, spreading SW towards Monte Nero. The new vent cut supply to the flows expanding S towards Rifugio Sapienza and formed a fan of thin lava flows spreading S, SSW and SW. The lower lava output produced shorter flows, which spread up to 2.5 km from the vent, without threatening the tourist facilities at Rifugio Sapienza. Lava flows spreading from the 17 December vent slowed down and crusted over on 22 December, when a new vent opened at the SW base of the 2,750 m cinder cone. A flow, again directed SW towards Monte Nero, originated from this vent and was expanding in this direction on 23 December.

SO2 emission measured daily during the eruption had significantly decreased as of 1 December, when the previous values of about 20,000 tons per day decreased to about 7,000 tons per day (figure 101). The lower gas output, the decrease in effusion rate, and the lower emission of ash from the summit, suggested a declining stage of the eruption.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. A plot of SO2 flux at Etna during September-December 2002. Courtesy of INGV-CT.

Updated maps of the lava flows, and reports of the eruptive activity, gas emission and ash composition (in Italian), can be found on the INGV-CT website.

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

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


Karangetang (Indonesia) — December 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


500-m plumes and ~ 1.5-km glowing lava avalanche; Alert Level increased

During September-29 December 2002, seismicity at Karangetang was dominated by emission, multiphase and tectonic earthquakes (table 6). The S crater nearly always issued "white, thin ash plumes" that reached up to 500 m above the rim. At night, a light plume was visible rising 25-100 m. Loud noises were heard frequently, and the N crater emitted a "thin white ash plume" to 50 m. No ashfall was reported.

Table 6. Earthquakes recorded at Karangetang during 9 September-29 December 2002. No reports were issued for Karangetang during 25 November-22 December. Courtesy VSI.

Date Deep volcanic (A-type) Shallow volcanic (B-type) Explosion Multiphase Emission Tectonic Avalanche
09 Sep-15 Sep 2002 14 24 0 94 299 46 --
16 Sep-22 Sep 2002 28 27 0 82 246 39 --
23 Sep-29 Sep 2002 22 26 1 20 116 75 --
30 Sep-06 Oct 2002 14 4 0 38 88 54 98
07 Oct-13 Oct 2002 19 13 -- 30 67 89 43
14 Oct-20 Oct 2002 7 22 1 30 146 34 10
21 Oct-27 Oct 2002 12 34 -- 23 114 65 --
28 Oct-03 Nov 2002 18 154 -- 147 49 24 --
04 Nov-10 Nov 2002 15 29 -- 90 21 69 --
11 Nov-18 Nov 2002 12 40 1 75 28 70 --
19 Nov-24 Nov 2002 15 116 -- 94 1 46 --
23 Dec-29 Dec 2002 10 26 1 168 17 25 --

During 9 September-13 October glowing avalanches flowed 25-250 m toward Nanitu river (West Siau), and toward Beha river as far as 400 m from the crater rim. By the week of 14-20 October, the lava avalanches extended ~1.5 km toward the Nanitu river, 1.0 km toward the Beha river (West Siau), and 750 m toward the Kahetang river.

On 12 September loud noises were accompanied by a 50-m-high gray ash plume. During 5-6 October, there were 2 volcanic tremor events. On 19 October at 1759 an explosion ejected glowing material to a height of 500 m; it landed inside the crater. A gray-black ash plume reached up to 750 m, drifted to the N, and fell on the sea.

Activity decreased during November, and loud sounds were rarely heard. On 15 November at 0248 an ash explosion produced glowing material up to ~200 m that fell around the crater. Some of the material entered the Batang, Beha, and Keting rivers, located 300-350 m away. Ash fell around Salili, Beong, Hiu, Ondong, Pehe, and Paniki villages to the SW. The Alert Level remained at level 3 through at least 29 December (on a scale of 1 to 4).

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


Kerinci (Indonesia) — December 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuous emissions through December 2002

Emissions were continuous through at least late October 2002 (table 4). During most of the period 9 September-27 October a "white-thin ash plume" rose 50-400 m and drifted toward the W or SW. No ashfall was reported. Kerinci remained at Alert Level 2 (on a scale of 1-4). No further reports were issued during 2002.

Table 4. Earthquakes registered at Kerinci during 9 September-27 October 2002. Courtesy VSI.

Date B-type volcanic Emission Tectonic
09 Sep-15 Sep 2002 3 Continuous 7
16 Sep-22 Sep 2002 4 Continuous 8
23 Sep-29 Sep 2002 1 Continuous 5
30 Sep-06 Oct 2002 1 Continuous 4
07 Oct-13 Oct 2002 2 Continuous 16
14 Oct-20 Oct 2002 -- Continuous 2
21 Oct-27 Oct 2002 -- Continuous --

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


Krakatau (Indonesia) — December 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity dominated by volcanic earthquakes through at least December 2002

During 9 September through at least late December 2002, seismicity at Krakatau was dominated by A-and B-type volcanic earthquakes (table 2). Throughout the report period, clouds obscured the view of the summit. Krakatau remained at Alert Level 2.

Table 2. Earthquakes registered at Krakatau during 9 September-29 December 2002. No data were available during 16-29 September. Courtesy VSI.

Date A-type volcanic B-type volcanic Tectonic
09 Sep-15 Sep 2002 2 6 3
30 Sep-06 Oct 2002 8 31 6
07 Oct-13 Oct 2002 30 109 6
14 Oct-20 Oct 2002 18 64 3
21 Oct-27 Oct 2002 7 55 5
28 Oct-03 Nov 2002 8 54 11
04 Nov-10 Nov 2002 28 56 5
11 Nov-18 Nov 2002 2 31 5
02 Dec-08 Dec 2002 16 50 5
09 Dec-15 Dec 2002 13 53 13
16 Dec-22 Dec 2002 6 32 1
23 Dec-29 Dec 2002 11 59 2

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

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


Lokon-Empung (Indonesia) — December 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Lokon-Empung

Indonesia

1.358°N, 124.792°E; summit elev. 1580 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Higher-than-normal activity continues through at least December 2002

Higher-than-normal activity continued at Lokon-Empung during August-December 2002. Throughout the report period a "white-thin ash plume" rose 25-75 m above the crater rim. No ashfall was reported. Seismicity was dominated by shallow volcanic and tectonic earthquakes (table 4).

Table 4. Earthquakes recorded at Lokon during 5 August-29 December 2002. No reports were issued during 11 November-22 December. Courtesy VSI.

Date Deep volcanic (A-type) Shallow volcanic (B-type) Tectonic
05 Aug-11 Aug 2002 19 42 32
12 Aug-18 Aug 2002 9 11 35
19 Aug-25 Aug 2002 14 51 42
26 Aug-01 Sep 2002 19 53 28
02 Sep-08 Sep 2002 14 39 32
09 Sep-15 Sep 2002 18 50 33
16 Sep-22 Sep 2002 16 37 39
23 Sep-29 Sep 2002 2 18 46
30 Sep-06 Oct 2002 9 17 39
07 Oct-13 Oct 2002 5 7 35
14 Oct-20 Oct 2002 5 4 29
21 Oct-27 Oct 2002 6 25 44
28 Oct-03 Nov 2002 0 1 35
04 Nov-10 Nov 2002 1 4 26
23 Dec-29 Dec 2002 29 74 31

During the week of 4-10 November, the hazard status was reduced from Alert Level 2 to 1 (on a scale of 1-4). On 23 December a "white-thick ash plume" rose 100-250 m over Tompaluan crater. No ashfall was reported. [A later report did note ashfall.] The same day, volcanic tremor with an amplitude of 0.5-2 mm occurred. A total of 42 emissions were reported during 23-29 December. The Alert Level returned to 2 by the end of the report period.

Geologic Background. The twin volcanoes Lokon and Empung, rising about 800 m above the plain of Tondano, are among the most active volcanoes of Sulawesi. Lokon, the higher of the two peaks (whose summits are only 2 km apart), has a flat, craterless top. The morphologically younger Empung volcano to the NE has a 400-m-wide, 150-m-deep crater that erupted last in the 18th century, but all subsequent eruptions have originated from Tompaluan, a 150 x 250 m wide double crater situated in the saddle between the two peaks. Historical eruptions have primarily produced small-to-moderate ash plumes that have occasionally damaged croplands and houses, but lava-dome growth and pyroclastic flows have also occurred. A ridge extending WNW from Lokon includes Tatawiran and Tetempangan peak, 3 km away.

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


Lopevi (Vanuatu) — December 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Lopevi

Vanuatu

16.507°S, 168.346°E; summit elev. 1413 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Anomalous SO2 emissions detected by satellite in December 2002 and January 2003

Satellite data interpreted by Simon Carn indicate that anomalous degassing may have begun from a volcano in Vanuatu in mid-December 2002. SO2 signals were noted in data from both the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) on the ERS-2 satellite and the Earth Probe Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS). Although GOME is more sensitive to SO2 than TOMS, its spatial resolution is very poor, so distinguishing the source of emissions between Ambrym and Lopevi is impossible using the available imagery.

However, on 14 December John Seach noted a strong sulfurous smell on the W side of Ambrym caldera. The wind was blowing from the direction of Lopevi at the time, and white emissions were noticed on Lopevi's active crater on the NW flank of the volcano. Seach did not note unusual emissions from Ambrym during his 11-15 December 2002 visit, so the editors are attributing this activity to Lopevi unless other data are found that identify Ambrym as the source.

GOME data indicate SO2 emissions over Vanuatu on 13, 19, 22, and 25 December 2002, then again during 4, 7, 11, 14, 17, and 20 January 2003. Data are only collected every third day, so degassing could be continuous, with a possible lull in late December. After 11 January GOME signals became very weak. TOMS data also indicated SO2 originating from the region on 19, 21, and 25 December, and again during 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 January, with nothing really evident since then. On a couple of days, particularly 4 January, the anomaly seen in TOMS imagery seemed to be originating from Ambrym.

The SO2 mass detected by TOMS immediately E of Lopevi and Ambrym on 8 January was estimated at less than 5,000 tons, a low value. Combining the two datasets indicates that the most significant SO2 emissions occurred around 25 December 2002 and 4-11 January 2003. After mid-January the activity seemed to be tapering off.

Geologic Background. The small 7-km-wide conical island of Lopevi, known locally as Vanei Vollohulu, is one of Vanuatu's most active volcanoes. A small summit crater containing a cinder cone is breached to the NW and tops an older cone that is rimmed by the remnant of a larger crater. The basaltic-to-andesitic volcano has been active during historical time at both summit and flank vents, primarily along a NW-SE-trending fissure that cuts across the island, producing moderate explosive eruptions and lava flows that reached the coast. Historical eruptions at the 1413-m-high volcano date back to the mid-19th century. The island was evacuated following major eruptions in 1939 and 1960. The latter eruption, from a NW-flank fissure vent, produced a pyroclastic flow that swept to the sea and a lava flow that formed a new peninsula on the western coast.

Information Contacts: Simon A. Carn, TOMS Volcanic Emissions Group, Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (NASA/UMBC), University of Maryland Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA (URL: https://jcet.umbc.edu/); John Seach, PO Box 16, Chatsworth Island, NSW 2469, Australia (URL: http://www.volcanolive.com/).


McDonald Islands (Australia) — December 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

McDonald Islands

Australia

53.03°S, 72.6°E; summit elev. 230 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Significant morphological changes due to eruptive activity

Accounts from ship-based observers and satellite imagery have revealed significant morphological changes to McDonald Island due to volcanic activity prior to 6 November 2001. A comparison of November 2001 satellite imagery with 1980 aerial photographs was described in AUSGEO News 68 (December 2002). Tourist reports were published in the Australian Antarctic Division's Antarctic Non-government Activity News (ANAN), no. 89 (January 2003). Geoscience Australia's National Mapping reports the elevation of McDonald Island as 230 m, but the activity described below has most likely increased this value.

A photograph taken on 9 November 2000 (BGVN 26:02) was similar to previous photos and descriptions. In addition, thermal alerts for nearby Heard Island occurred frequently in November and December 2000, an indication not only of eruptive activity there, but clear weather during which any significant activity at McDonald would likely have been detected in infrared satellite imagery. Combined, these observations place the eruptive activity after 9 November 2000, and probably after 30 December 2000.

Analysis of 6 November 2001 satellite imagery. A routine check of Australia's maritime boundaries in the Southern Ocean by Geoscience Australia showed that the McDonald Islands had doubled in size, and it appears that the separate islands of McDonald Island and Flat Island are now one. Geoscience Australia's Bill Hirst was comparing an aerial photograph of the McDonald Islands taken on 11 March 1980, with satellite imagery from Landsat 7 EGM data acquired on 6 November 2001, when he noticed that the islands had changed shape (figure 6). The islands earlier combined area of 1.13 km2 is now thought to have changed to 2.45 km2. Some features have disappeared.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Aerial photograph of the McDonald Islands taken on 11 March 1980 from a helicopter (left) and satellite imagery from Landsat 7 EGM data acquired on 6 November 2001 (right). The outline of the islands in 1980 is superimposed on the satellite image. Courtesy of Geoscience Australia.

The senior surveyor onshore during a 6-day visit in 1980 was Geoscience Australia's John Manning, who named many features of the McDonald Islands. He noted that "Thelander Point doesn't appear to be an appropriate name now, Williams Bay seems to be filled in, and The Needle may be gone . . . Windward Point is no longer a point because there are about 400 m of new land in front of it. The tumultuous bay I called Cauldron is now full of rock, and Flat Island is probably joined to McDonald Island by a shingle comprising gravel and pumice." Other new features appear to be a volcanic hill and a spit to the E of the island similar to one on Heard Island. Macaroni Hill was once the highest point.

Observations in late November 2002. Experienced observers noted changes to the McDonald Island group in late November 2002 from on board the Akademic Shokalskiy, which was visiting the Heard Island region on a voyage organized by the New Zealand-based tour company Heritage Expeditions. A comparison of old and new photographs of the area shows that the N part of the island is much higher than before, and 75% of the land area that is now there may be completely new. During the last five years Australian national program vessels that have observed the McDonald group have reported seeing steam issuing from vents at various locations.

Three of the passengers on the Akademic Shokalskiy had worked on Heard Island in the 1950's and 1960's, and one of them, Graham Budd, was one of the first two people to set foot on McDonald Island, in 1971. When the ship was travelling towards Heard Island en route from Crozet early on the morning of 26 November, Budd noticed the changed profile of the McDonald islands and expedition leader Rodney Russ decided to take a closer look after the end of the visit to Heard Island. It was not possible to sail too close to the islands because the water around them is uncharted. Under Australian management plans for McDonald Island, landings cannot be made there without a permit and only then for "compelling scientific reasons."

On the second sail past the island, passengers observed steaming slopes and "two types of lava dome." The highest part of the islands was now at the N end, not in the S at Maxwell Hill as it had been previously. Analysis of enlarged digital photographs taken by passengers indicates that considerable sedimentation has occurred along the coastline, such that the formerly separate Flat Island is now joined to the main island. It also appears that several meters of ash have blanketed the N half of McDonald Island, and Macaroni Hill at its N end has disappeared. A low-lying spit and reef now extend over 1 km E of McDonald Island.

Although it is not certain when the activity occurred, wildlife did not appear to have been affected. Penguins were still nesting up to the top of Maxwell Hill and on ash-covered remnants of the old land inshore of the new spit. The birds appear to have deserted Flat Island. There were a large number of penguins and seals on the beaches, and several dozen fur seals swimming offshore.

The two geologists on the voyage, Australian Jon Stephenson and New Zealander Margaret Bradshaw, believe that a scientific visit should be made so that the sequence of the new volcanic events and the composition of the lavas can be determined. The Australian national program currently plans to conduct a scientific program on Heard Island during the 2003-04 austral summer, but currently has no plans to do land-based research on McDonald Island.

MODVOLC Thermal Alerts. Following the distribution of the above reports via the Volcano Listserv, David Rothery and Diego Coppola (The Open University) searched for "thermal alerts" at McDonald Island using the MODIS Thermal Alerts website (http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/). This system is the first truly global high-temperature thermal monitoring system. It is capable of detecting and documenting changes in active lava flows, lav domes, lava lakes, strongly incandescent vents, and hot pyroclastic flows. No alert is likely to be triggered by an ash cloud.

As described by Flynn et al. (2001) and Wright et al. (2002), the MODIS Thermal Alerts website provides a series of maps updated every 24 hours to show "thermal alerts" based on night-time (approximately 2230 local time) infrared data from a 1-km-resolution instrument called MODIS that is carried by NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites. Thermal alerts are based on an "alert ratio" (3.9 µm radiance - 12 µm radiance) / (3.9 µm radiance + 12 µm radiance), and an alert is triggered whenever this ratio has a value more positive than -0.8. This threshold value was chosen empirically by inspection of images containing known volcanic sites at high temperature, and is the most negative value that avoids numerous false alarms. There are also some daytime (approximately 1030 local time) alerts that are based on the same algorithm but incorporating a correction for estimated solar reflection and a more stringent threshold whereby the alert ratio is required to be more positive than -0.6 in order to trigger an alert.

Thermal alert data are available for the region including McDonald Island from 13 May 2000 onwards (with a gap 26 May-2 June 2000). No thermal alert occurred at McDonald Island from 13 May 2000 through 30 January 2003. This null result does not prove that the activity must have occurred before 13 May 2000, because MODIS cannot see through cloud, which is common in that region. However, there were multiple thermal alerts for nearby Heard Island during the same period (24 May; 3, 5, and 6 June; 25 September; 29 October; 5, 15, 19, and 24 November; 16, 17, 26, and 30 December 2000; 2 February 2001). Had McDonald been active on the same dates, it is highly likely that this activity would have been detected at least once.

Climate and Biology. The following is taken from the AUSGEO News report. The McDonald Islands are remote, and people have landed on the islands only twice since a British sealer sighted them in November 1833. The islands have cliff-lined coasts and are surrounded by rocky shoals and reefs that are treacherous for boats and landing parties. They lie in stormy seas where temperate water from the Indian Ocean meets icy Antarctic water. Most days are cloudy, making it very difficult to obtain satellite imagery and photographs of the islands. Maximum temperatures average 3°C, and wind gusts can reach 210 km/hour. Two Australian scientists looking for fur seals made the first landing in 1970, a 20-minute visit, by helicopter from the French Antarctic ship Gallieni. The second landing, in March 1980, was from the Cape Pillar, chartered by National Mapping to survey the Heard Island-Kerguelen region. The small shore party, which included a botanist, biologist, geologist, and surveyor, landed by helicopter and amphibious vehicle. They stayed ashore for six days while the ship sailed its survey lines.

The McDonald Islands were designated a World Heritage site in December 1997 because of their pristine sub-Antarctic ecosystems and geological activity. Local waters are teaming with Patagonian toothfish, Mackerel icefish, Grey rockcod, and Unicorn icefish. Colonies of Macaroni and Gentoo penguins breed and feed from these islands.

References. Flynn, L.P., Wright R., Garbeil, H., Harris, A.J.L., and Pilger, E., 2001, A global thermal alert system using MODIS: initial results from 2000-2001: Advances in Environmental Monitoring and Modelling, no. 3, Monitoring volcanic hotspots using thermal remote sensing, edited by Harris, A.J.L., Wooster, M.J. and Rothery, D. A. (Http://www.kcl.ac.uk/ kis/schools/hums/geog/advemm/vol1no3.html).

Wright, R., Flynn, L., Garbeil, H., Harris, A., and Pilger, E., 2002, Automated volcanic eruption detection using MODIS: Remote Sensing of Environment, v. 82, p. 135-155.

Geologic Background. Historical eruptions have greatly modified the morphology of the McDonald Islands, located on the Kerguelen Plateau about 75 km W of Heard Island. The largest island, McDonald, is composed of a layered phonolitic tuff plateau cut by phonolitic dikes and lava domes. A possible nearby active submarine center was inferred from phonolitic pumice that washed up on Heard Island in 1992. Volcanic plumes were observed in December 1996 and January 1997 from McDonald Island. During March of 1997 the crew of a vessel that sailed near the island noted vigorous steaming from a vent on the N side of the island along with possible pyroclastic deposits and lava flows. A satellite image taken in November 2001 showed the island to have more than doubled in area since previous reported observations in November 2000. The high point of the island group had shifted to the McDonald's N end, which had merged with Flat Island.

Information Contacts: Bruce Hull, Senior Environment Officer, Environmental Management & Audit Unit, Australian Antarctic Division, Environment Australia, Channel Highway, Kingston, Tasmania 7050, Australia (URL: http://www.antarctica.gov.au/environment); AUSGEO News and National Mapping, Geoscience Australia, GPO Box 378, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia (URL: http://www.ga.gov.au/); David A. Rothery and Diego Coppola, Department of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes MK 6AA, United Kingdom.


Pinatubo (Philippines) — December 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Pinatubo

Philippines

15.13°N, 120.35°E; summit elev. 1486 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Likely 2001 overflow controled by cross-rim trenching

Pinatubo's catastrophic 1991 eruption left the volcano with a 2.5-km-wide summit caldera that eventually came to contain a lake (table 8). During 2001 a crisis occurred as the lake's surface neared the low point on the caldera's rim. PHIVOLCS provided a detailed report on trenching and release of lake water to avoid catastrophic breakout of the crater lake. The report that is summarized here was authored and contributed by Ma. Antonia V. Bornas and the Quick Response Team. The brief version given here omits the lengthy list of Team members as well as several figures and the references.

Table 8. Pinatubo crater-lake-water surface level through time and computed monthly and average lake-rise increments. See the original report for data sources. Courtesy PHIVOLCS.

Date Elevation Maraunot freeboard Monthly average Cumulative monthly average Annual average
June 1991 780.0 180.00 -- -- --
June 1995 830.0 130.00 1.042 -- 12.50
June 1997 855.0 105.00 1.042 2.083 12.50
07 May 1998 915.0 45.00 5.455 7.538 65.45
27 Apr 1999 933.0 27.00 1.589 9.127 19.06
10 May 2000 942.0 18.00 0.726 9.853 8.72
28 Jun 2000 944.0 16.00 1.250 11.103 --
05 Aug 2000 945.7 14.30 1.339 12.442 --
16 Aug 2000 945.9 14.10 0.541 12.982 --
16 Sep 2000 948.4 11.60 2.500 15.482 --
13 Oct 2000 948.7 11.35 0.278 15.760 --
23 Nov 2000 949.2 10.78 0.432 16.192 --
27 Dec 2000 949.7 10.33 0.500 16.692 --
27 Jun 2001 953.5 6.50 0.638 17.330 --
11 Jul 2001 955.0 5.00 1.327 18.657 15.17
Average -- -- 1.166 -- 13.23

Mount Pinatubo's summit caldera lake surface rose 40 m between May 1998 and July 2001. By July 2001 lake water approached the caldera rim's lowest point, the Maraunot Notch (~960 m elevation). Its surface then stood at 955 m elevation, 5 m below the notch.

The record of the crater lake's rise implied overtopping of Maraunot Notch in the last quarter of 2001. A breach at Maraunot could lead to rapid escape of lake water into an area of abundant unconsolidated pyroclastic deposits (figure 35). Such an event would threaten upriver towns as well as the larger Botolan, Zambales (population ~40,000).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Digital terrain map of the NW Pinatubo quadrant, showing the Maraunot Notch and the contiguous Maraunot-Balin-Baquero-Bucau river system. Botolan town proper and upriver villages are shown. Digital elevations are from the PHIVOLCS-GIS lab. Sources include USGS (1991), Philippine Bureau of Mines (1983), and Fire and Mud (1996). Courtesy PHIVOLCS.

The beheaded upper Maraunot river sits on the NW flank (figure 36) and flows 15 km NW into the Balin-Baquero river. Lahars have long threatened to inundate Botolan town proper. As with the 1991 pyroclastic flows, lahars obliterated villages in the Balin-Baquero and Bucao valleys (e.g. Villar, Burgos, and Poonbato).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Oblique aerial photograph showing the Pinatubo crater, the Maraunot Notch, and the Maraunot-Bucao river system (looking NW) as seen in 2000. Photo courtesy of S. Suto, PHIVOLCS.

Notch and dam characteristics. The valley of the Maraunot Notch contains 150-m-high walls composed of dome rocks and lithified block-and-ash deposits, cut by steep NW- and E-trending faults. Dome rocks also crop out within the first kilometer-long reach of the Maraunot channel and are inferred to form its bedrock. Less competent deposits fill the valley floor and edge off abruptly at the crater, damming the crater lake. This dam is approximately 85 m wide at the edge or crest but narrows as it slopes 8° down-valley to its toe at a prominence of dome rock 70 m away and 10 m below the crest (the nose).

Comprising the dam are a lower pre-1991 terrace of three boulder-rich breccia units and an upper sequence of 1991 deposits. Pre-1991 breccia units are poorly indurated and contain dense dacite-andesite clasts (median diameter, 10-15 cm) in coarse (B1) or fine (B2) ash or coarse sand (B3) matrix. Exposures of the dam in 1998 indicated that pre-1991 breccia may be as much as 14 m thick at the crest. The units also occur as in-channel terraces along the first 700-m reach of the Maraunot River. An overlying 1991 eruption sequence also occurs. It is unconsolidated and up to several meters thick, but has been gullied down to a meter thick along the channel thalweg, creating a 5 m-wide natural spillway at the dam's axis. Thus, unconsolidated 1991 eruption deposits at the dam's upper part left it vulnerable to rapid erosion and possible catastrophic breach.

A potential breach was expected on the occasion of intense rainfall. Dam failure was thought to be potentially initiated by erosion or headcutting of 1991 deposits where the valley narrows or "noses" and the channel drops. The removal of material would lead to increasing flow perimeter and head, which would increase discharge and weaken the dam. Discharge would escalate into a tremendous rush of water, accelerating erosion headward in a runaway process that culminated in dam failure. This same process has been documented in numerous cases of overtopped natural and man-made dams that have breached.

In the worst case, a 10- to 20-m-depth of the channel dam corresponding to the vertical gap between the crest and shallow channel bedrock could have been breached, releasing lake volumes of 28 x 106 to 55 x 106 m3. For a 10- to 20-m-deep breach, estimated peak discharges at the breach in such a circumstance are 3,000 and 11,000 m3/s. The breakout flow would be expected to erode and incorporate pyroclastic-flow and lahar sediments at the mid- to lower reaches of the Maraunot River, causing it to bulk up 3-6 times. Resulting large lahars could reach 3- to 7-fold larger distances than in previous typhoons (e.g. 1993). Faced with this hazard, PHIVOLCS proposed in early August 2001 to trench across the channel dam. This formed the core element of a rapid mitigation plan that included information drives, evacuation of risk areas, and lahar watches.

Trenching took place during 23 August-5 September 2001. The bulk of the trench was manually dug by an 80-man crew using pick axes and shovels and, later, by sluicing with a portable 50 m-long pressure hose. Excavation followed the channel thalweg or the natural spillway from crest to toe of the dam. The fully-excavated trench was 70 m long, 4 m wide, and nearly 3.5 m deep. It contained a 1-m-wide and 1.5-m-deep inner terrace that resulted from belated prioritization of depth over width (figures 37 and 38). Its bottom was originally graded ~2%. At the mouth it sloped steeply into 5 m-long plug that confined the lake until its release. In the end, about 700 m3 of material was excavated. On 4 September, observers were stationed at four sites. Evacuation of Botolan began the following day in anticipation of potential lahars.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Oblique photo of Pinatubo's Maraunot Trench looking NE, taken the day before the channel was opened. Inset shows the mouth on 1 September 2001, ~ 2 m above the lake level; bottom lefthand inset is the profile of the trench. Courtesy PHIVOLCS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. View showing of the mouth and the terraced inner geometry of the Pinatubo's Maraunot Trench, 6 September 2001. Courtesy PHIVOLCS.

On 6 September, with a 10-cm-head of water, the plug was removed by sluicing. At 0653, after less than 1.25 hours of sluicing, lake water spill into the trench commenced, but discharge remained sluggish in the first four hours (~0.03 m3/s). Political developments led to the trench being left in a state that thwarted rapid, planned breaching.

Monitoring the newly opened trench. From 6 September to 5 November, local rainfall and outflow conditions and changes in configuration of the Maraunot trench were monitored. An estimated 4.4 x 106 m3 (~86,000 m3/day) of rainwater entered the crater between 6 September and 5 November. In response, discharge across the trench fluctuated but rarely exceeded 1 m3/s under a lake head generally under 1 m. The total water output at the trench was roughly 3 x 106 m3 (~59,000 m3/day) for the same period.

Time-series profiles of the trench floor revealed a total 1.5 m of downcutting in the period 8 September-21 October, an average of ~3.5 cm/day. As the terminus lowered close to bedrock and precipitation waned, however, the floor more or less stabilized, as did the trench's mouth-to-terminus elevation drop of 2.2 m. No substantial lateral erosion occurred at the 5-15 reach or in the first 30 m reach between 6 September and 5 November. Nevertheless, there was significant lateral erosion of as much as 2 m at the 55-65 m reaches and beyond. Erosion was attributed largely to the steeper channel and more turbulent flow at the trench's terminal reaches.

The pre-1991 breccia matrix eroded with vertical scour experienced uniformly across the entire floor and lateral scour (sidecutting) confined to the terminal reaches. Matrix erosion resulted in armoring of the trench floor with dense boulders. This partly accounted for restrained vertical scouring.

Trenching impacts to the lake breakout problem. Although the trench did not trigger a rapid breach as PHIVOLCS originally intended, the monitoring determined that the armoring provided by coarse pre-1991 breccia limited vertical scouring of the dam. Lateral matrix erosion and bank collapse were considered to deliver even further armor to the trench bed, as well as some sideways expansion of the channel.

Trenching by itself had significantly reduced the breakout hazard. The lake was averted from growing an extra 11 x 106 m3 and relieved of another 3 x 106 m3 with a trench now draining it. This minimized the magnitude of lake breakout. Had natural overtopping been allowed to occur under sustained intense rainfall, initial outflow could have easily scoured a wider channel across the loose 1991 deposits, attaining discharge rates possibly too high for pre-1991 breccia to counteract with armoring.

Geologic Background. Prior to 1991 Pinatubo volcano was a relatively unknown, heavily forested lava dome complex located 100 km NW of Manila with no records of historical eruptions. The 1991 eruption, one of the world's largest of the 20th century, ejected massive amounts of tephra and produced voluminous pyroclastic flows, forming a small, 2.5-km-wide summit caldera whose floor is now covered by a lake. Caldera formation lowered the height of the summit by more than 300 m. Although the eruption caused hundreds of fatalities and major damage with severe social and economic impact, successful monitoring efforts greatly reduced the number of fatalities. Widespread lahars that redistributed products of the 1991 eruption have continued to cause severe disruption. Previous major eruptive periods, interrupted by lengthy quiescent periods, have produced pyroclastic flows and lahars that were even more extensive than in 1991.

Information Contacts: Ma. Antonia V. Bornas and theQuick Response Team, Geology and Geophysics Research and Development Division, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, C.P. Garcia Ave., University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman 1101, Quezon City, Philippines.


Semeru (Indonesia) — December 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Elevated explosive activity continues; evacuation on 30 December 2002

Higher-than-normal seismic and explosive activity occurred at Semeru during June-September 2002 (BGVN 27:09). During 9 September-29 December, activity continued to be higher than normal. Seismicity was dominated by explosions and avalanche earthquakes (table 10). Throughout the report period, a white-gray ash plume rose 400-500 m high above the Jonggring Seloko crater rim. There were eight explosions on 23 December, one explosion on 25 December, seven explosions on 26 December, eight explosions on 27 December, and another seven explosions on 29 December.

Table 10. Earthquakes recorded at Semeru during 9 September 2002-1 January 2003. "*" indicates that the report was part of a special report issued by VSI and may break the sequence of weekly reports. Courtesy VSI.

Date Volcanic A-type Volcanic B-type Explosion Avalanche Tremor Tectonic Pyroclastic Flow Flood/lahar
09 Sep-15 Sep 2002 1 -- 640 57 0 2 -- --
16 Sep-22 Sep 2002 1 -- 527 32 4 6 -- --
23 Sep-29 Sep 2002 0 -- 483 24 13 2 -- --
30 Sep-06 Oct 2002 0 -- 602 13 1 7 -- --
07 Oct-13 Oct 2002 -- -- 548 27 1 4 -- --
14 Oct-20 Oct 2002 1 -- 493 20 2 4 -- --
21 Oct-27 Oct 2002 -- 1 561 27 -- 6 -- --
28 Oct-03 Nov 2002 -- -- 430 3 -- -- -- --
04 Nov-10 Nov 2002 -- -- 528 34 2 2 -- --
11 Nov-18 Nov 2002 -- -- 273 27 -- 1 -- --
02 Dec-08 Dec 2002 -- -- 474 13 7 3 3 --
09 Dec-15 Dec 2002 -- -- 513 6 1 1 1 --
16 Dec-22 Dec 2002 -- -- 606 6 1 -- 1 --
03 Dec-16 Dec 2002* 0 0 967 19 8 3 4 0
17 Dec-30 Dec 2002* 0 1 1085 49 2 6 6 3
23 Dec-29 Dec 2002 -- 1 479 43 2 6 3 4
31 Dec 2002* -- -- 83 (47 mm max. amp.) 30 (2 mm max. amp.) 1 (3 mm amp., 80-sec. duration) -- -- 1
01 Jan 2003* -- 3 (2-6 mm amp., 11-12 sec. duration) 88 (36 mm max. amp.) 18 (4 mm max. amp.) 1 (1 mm max. Amp., 60 sec. duration) -- -- --

On 25 December, a pyroclastic flow traveled 2.5 km and entered the Besuk Kembar river. On 27 December lava avalanches traveled 250 m toward Besuk Kembar. On 29 December a 5 km pyroclastic flow occurred. The same day during 1700-2015 a lahar flowed along Besuk Kembar closer to Supit village. Early on the morning of 30 December residents of Supit village were evacuated. The same day at 0720 a pyroclastic flow traveled 2.0 km toward Besuk Kembar and at 1000 a pyroclastic flow traveled 4.0 km, approaching Supit village. Semeru remained at Alert Level 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

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

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


Stromboli (Italy) — December 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Landslides on 30 December cause two tsunamis; damage in nearby villages

Following heightened seismicity during June-July 2002 that culminated in an explosion on 24 July (BGVN 27:07), major activity lessened until late December.

On 28 December, an effusive eruption started at the base of Crater 1 of the NE Crater in the summit area. This eruption ended on 29 December and a helicopter-borne thermal camera survey that day revealed three lava flows that had spread in the eastern Sciara del Fuoco and had reached the sea. Along the coast, the joined flows were ~300 m wide, but were no longer being fed.

Visibility improved on 30 December, when a new survey found an eruptive fissure running NE. The fissure started from the base of Crater 1 at ~700 m elevation and spread down to ~600 m elevation, along a length of ~200 m. On 30 December observers saw a ~200-m-long lava flow emitted from the base of the fissure, spreading in the upper Sciara del Fuoco into a small depression.

Landslides and tsunami. On 30 December at 1315 and 1322 two landslides formed along the Sciara del Fuoco. They reached the sea accompanied by fine (0.1 mm grain-size) wet dust falling on the SE flank of the island (from rock collisions during the landslides). The volume of the first landslide was estimated at ~6 x 106 m3 of rock while the second was smaller at ~5 x 106 m3 of rock. These landslides detached the lava from the 28 December eruption along the slope together with a large portion of the ground below.

The large volume of rock crashing into the sea caused two tsunamis, each with waves several meters high. The waves spread onto the villages of Stromboli and Ginostra damaging buildings and boats and injuring several people (according to news reports, six people were evacuated by helicopter and taken to two hospitals on Sicily). Large waves were reported on the northern coast of Sicily, 60 km S of Stromboli. The two separate landslides were formed from two distinct bodies of rock, and left a ridge on the Sciara del Fuoco wall between them. This ridge may collapse in the future; its volume is estimated to be similar to that of the first landslide.

As of 6 January 2003, the effusive eruption and thin lava flows continued along the Sciara del Fuoco. Two vents located at ~500 m and ~300 m elevation in the middle of the Sciara del Fuoco were feeding two narrow flows that merged and reached the sea. Occasional small landslides from the unstable walls of the Sciara covered the lava flows with a thin talus. Concern over another major landslide had diminished due to several small-volume rockfalls from the walls of the depression. The summit craters had not shown any explosive activity since the start of the eruption on 28 December, and no earthquakes were recorded by the indigenous seismic network. Two shocks recorded by INGV seismic stations were directly related to the spreading of the two landslides on the Sciara del Fuoco.

Previous tsunamis at Stromboli occurred in 1930, 1944, and 1954. These were related either to paroxysmal eruptive activity, to landslides along the Sciara del Fuoco, or to pyroclastic flows, but not associated with lava flow venting.

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

Information Contacts: Sonia Calvari, Instituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV); Sezione di Catania (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/); Stromboli On-Line (URL: http://www.stromboli.net/).


Tungurahua (Ecuador) — December 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Tungurahua

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Summary of 2002 activity includes several episodes of intense seismicity

This report presents a summary of activity throughout 2002. During 2002 several episodes of intense seismic activity occurred that shared certain characteristics: clusters of long-period (LP) earthquakes, tremor related to ash emissions, and an increase in VT events on some occasions. Magmatic intrusions during January-March 2002, were generally preceded by LP clusters with dominate frequencies of 3.8 Hz with some oscillating around 1.5-1.6 Hz. Following these clusters, increased tremor occurred, some related to the emission of gas and ash. Eruptive activity included explosions and Strombolian blasts.

In April, activity changed, LP clusters ceased including events with a dominant frequency of 3.8 Hz and began to contain frequencies of ~6 Hz. Since June, VT events seemed to precede LP events or tremor episodes. Precursors of magmatic activity changed slightly. In almost every case, fewer precursory events were registered. Instituto Geofisica (IG) stated that the present eruptive process could be more uncertain than before. In September, the acceleration of processes seemed to indicate variations in internal conditions, such as changes in magma within the conduit, increased temperatures, diminishing percentages of crystals, lower SiO2, and addition of new gases.

During October-November there was none of the intense tremor activity that usually accompanies new magma injections. Energy remained at very low levels. IG stated that a large number of VT events and their decreased influence on volcanic activity could indicate a low contribution of magmatic gases that could be mobilized and released outside the volcano by means of explosions, continuous ash emissions, or Strombolian activity as previously observed. Further details of 2002 activity follow.

Detailed activity. During the first 2 weeks of January 2002 a high number of low-energy LP earthquakes took place. Some of the LP's were associated with emissions of mainly steam with a moderate magmatic gas concentration. During the last 2 weeks of the month the number of LP's increased remarkably. The LP's occurred in clusters, most of which were preceded by VT events at depths of 4-11 km beneath the summit. Beginning on 15 January it was possible to see a glow coming from the crater, accompanied by the emission of gases. While the emissions diminished during the last week of January, explosions increased in number and magnitude. By the end of January sporadic episodes of tremor and light ashfall occurred in Ambato and Baños. These seismic characteristics, along with frequent roaring noises that occurred with the explosions, indicated possible degassing of a small volume of magma that entered the conduit beginning on 15 January.

During February magma injection apparently disturbed the system, and new gases ascended. Steam and ash emissions occurred, as well as the possible formation of a lava lake. Strombolian activity during 4-18 February was so strong that pyroclastic flows (PF's) descended the WNW flank along the Juive and Cusua valleys. Seismicity was characterized by LP's, tremor related to emissions, a few volcano-tectonic events (VT's), and small explosions.

During the first 3 weeks of March there was Strombolian activity with emissions of lava, gas, and ash, and almost-continuous roaring noises. During the third week of March, activity diminished in intensity until it disappeared almost completely by the last week of the month. Although incandescence was observed at night, it was not as intense as that observed in previous months. Ashfall occurred in Ambato, Quero, Latacunga, Cusua, Chacauco, Penipe, Peula, Patate, Pelileo, Cotaló, and Pillate.

Most of the LP's registered during April were small and rather sporadic, but frequency content changed on 17 April from 4-4.8 Hz to 6-8 Hz. On 22 and 23 April, VT events at 6-8 km depths were followed by strong gas-and-ash emissions. These became quite intense during 24-30 April.

Activity was quite intense during 12-13 and 28-30 May. On 13 May a total of 8 explosions took place, preceded by an increase in the number of LP events. The same day ashfall occurred in Ambato and Baños. On 24 May VT activity took place just before an increase in explosive activity. During 17-26 May explosions were preceded by VT events, and by 30 and 31 May were preceded by LP events. As of the second week of May Strombolian activity, roaring noises, and incandescence in the crater was intense and almost constant. Lava was present in the crater, accompanied by tremor and ongoing emissions. During the last week of the month a continuous gas-ash column drifted mainly W.

During the last week of June intense tremor registered. The tremor occurred for 3 days and contained dominant frequencies of 2.2-2.7 and 1.5 Hz. Tremor lasted up to an hour with an amplitude that saturated seismographs. Many LP's and explosions accompanied the tremor. During June VT events (4-7 km deep) occurred just before tremor and LP events. Several LP's and tremor episodes preceded explosive events. On average the LP's and tremor occurred 2-4 hours before an explosion.

Explosions occurred during the first week of July. During the first 2 weeks, deep VT earthquakes (5-10 km deep) occurred at a rate of ~1 per day and there was an increase in the number of LP's and hybrid earthquakes. VT and LP events preceded new cycles of explosions, not immediately as had previously been noticed, but in this case by about 15 days. After the new cycle of explosive activity began, most of the LP events had frequencies of 1.5-2.5 Hz. Some VT's preceded the LP's and had frequencies of 3.8 and 1.5 Hz. During the second week intense roars were heard, and increasing ash emissions mainly drifted W. There was strong persistent incandescence, and frequent explosions produced loud noises and ash columns 2-4 km above the crater.

During the first 2 weeks of July, several episodes of Strombolian activity were observed, along with continuous but light ash emissions that were accompanied by roaring noises. Ash was deposited in a thin N-S strip between Hualcango and San Pedro de Sabañag (S of Quero), extending toward the W and Igualata. Ash accumulated up to 2.5 mm thick in "El Mirador" at Cerro Arrayán. Activity decreased toward the end of the month, when small plumes were emitted.

During 5-13 September, 8-10 VT earthquakes registered. These preceded the harmonic tremor seen during 13-21 September. Strong explosions and ash emissions also occurred. Ashfalls were noted in distant cities such as Píllaro and Riobamba, located ~30 km NW and SW, respectively.

During the first week of October explosions with reduced displacements greater than 10 cm2 took place and ashfall occurred in Pillate, Ambato, Cusua, Penipe, Altar, Bayusig, Matus Alto, and Matus Bajo. During the second and last week of the month VT events preceded explosions. During the last week of the month incandescence and roaring noises were heard. Three ashfalls were noted, two in Guadalupe and one (on 29 October) in Baños (up to 1 mm), Runtún, Pondoa, and Pintitin.

On 10 and 26 November, two peaks of LP activity occurred that were very close to the peaks of VT activity. The first LP peak preceded the first VT peak by two days. This was unusual because the VT peak normally preceded the LP peak. The second LP peak took place around the same time as the VT peak, indicating that the circulation of fluids was almost simultaneous. Incandescence was observed before the VT activity on 26 November. An increase of LP activity seemed to be correlated with the increase of sounds emitted by the volcano. Frequent incandescence in the crater preceded a VT peak.

Magmatic intrusions during 2002. Five magmatic intrusions (figure 18) apparently occurred during (1) 15-29 January, (2) 15-30 April, 12-13, 24-30 May, (3) 28-30 June, (4) 3-13 July, and (5) 5-13 September. Two periods of intense activity also occurred during 8-13 and 21-27 October, and on 10 and 26 November. During April-June magmatic intrusions did not occur along with a peak of seismic activity, but VT's, hybrids, and emissions all occurred, though in smaller numbers than registered in previous years.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Monthly earthquakes at Tungurahua during January 1999-November 2002. Peaks indicated with arrows correspond to periods of inferred magmatic intrusion. Courtesy IG.

Tremor activity was an essential indicator of these magmatic intrusions (figure 19). Later peaks of tremor activity were always during periods of seismicity related to magmatic intrusions, although it was not clear whether the June peak was related to a possible intrusion. Tremor energy was quite variable.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Tremor energy at Tungurahua, 14 September 1999 through 14 November 2002. Many of these tremor episodes were related to small emissions of gas or ash. Arrows indicate 2002 peaks. Courtesy IG.

Deformation measurements. During 2002 EDM measurements on the N flank showed a slight tendency of inflation. This inflation was first noticed during the first half of 2000. During 2002 a shortening of the distance occurred between prisms and reference bases, between -2 and -6 cm with respect to values observed before the reactivation of the volcano. Although there were variations in measurements taken during the year, the overall tendency has been inflation of 4 to 6 cm with respect to that during 1998-2000.

Data from inclinometers RETU and JUIV show a positive drift of the radial axis of station RETU (elevation 4,000 m). The drift would mean a deflation in the NW sector. During September 2002, when numerous explosions occurred, inclinometer movements changed.

During 2002 measurements of the inclinometer at station JUIV5 were stable until October 2002, when there were disturbances in the radial axis and to a greater degree in the tangential axis. Since 10 November both axes showed significant changes of up to 200 µrad. The negative tendency indicated a progressive inflation. This change agreed exactly with the first LP peak on 10 November. The change lasted until 20 November and included the greater peak of VT activity during 2002. After 20 November, both axes became stabilized. The oscillations seen in this slope between September and October occurred simultaneously with other activity, possibly representing slow but continuous magma movement in the lower parts of the volcano.

Geochemistry. SO2 flux measurements determined by COSPEC during 1999-2002 were generally less than 2,000 tons/day (figure 20). The peaks took place during March and October, with values reaching 3,000-5,000 tons/day. These high values seemed to correspond with the magma injections of December 2001and January and September 2002. Other episodes of seismic activity related to magmatic injection seemed to precede the peaks in SO2 emission. The high point in August ("3 y 4" on figure 14), followed increased seismicity during June and July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. COSPEC-measured SO2 emissions at Tungurahua during 1999-2002. The arrows indicate the peaks of SO2 that occurred during May and August 2002.

Thermal waters generally increased in temperature ~0.5°C. A small reduction in pH occurred, with a tendency toward alkaline values. During 1998-99, when the seismicity increased, pH also increased, probably because of the magmatic unrest at the time. Conductivity did not change, and neither did geochemical characteristics such as abundances of sulfates, chlorides, and bicarbonates. IG stated that it could not yet be explained how an increase in seismicity seemed to shift the pH of thermal waters (figure 21).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Temperature and pH of thermal waters at Tungurahua during 1994-2002. Courtesy IG.

Future scenarios. Since 1999 Tungurahua has shown frequent, moderate volcanism with occasional lava emissions. This period can be divided into 13 magmatic intrusions of similar characteristics, although the last three injections displayed slight differences. Starting in 1916 Tungurahua displayed intermittent activity until 1918, with periods of tranquility and greater activity than at present.

The present process has been characterized by LP clusters just before and during eruptions. During October and November 2002, VT events usually preceded cycles of increased activity. Strong incandescence on 2 December was not accompanied by strong explosions, Strombolian activity, or lava emissions.

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

Information Contacts: Patty Mothes and Indira Molina, Geophysical Institute (Instituto Geofísico, IG), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Apartado 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador.


Witori (Papua New Guinea) — December 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Witori

Papua New Guinea

5.576°S, 150.516°E; summit elev. 724 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dacite lava flows, flattened forest, deformation, and faulting

Additional information about Mt. Pago's recent eruption (BGVN 27:07-27:09) has been provided by members of the U.S. Geological Survey's Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP). The team donated to the GVP archives an extensive suite of digital photographs (still and video) taken during August-October 2002. The photographers included the helicopter pilot Alan Cameron (Heli Niugini), and VDAP members Andy Lockhart, Jeff Marso, and Elliot Endo.

In terms of the basic distribution of eruptive products, the August-October 2002 photos (figures 7-16) appeared similar to those shown in earlier reports (BGVN 27:07-27:09). All photos were taken from a helicopter, often during routine observation flights provided by the West New Britain Provincial Government. For scale on some of the photos, Cameron estimated that tree heights ranged from 5-30 m, with the taller trees in the low-lying areas and most of the ones in the photos at the shorter end of that range.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. A false-color Landsat satellite image labeling some key features at Mt. Pago and its vicinity. N is upwards (parallel to the grid lines) and, for scale, Pago lies ~20 km S of the coast at Cape Hoskins. Although the settlement at Hoskins is labeled, several others also lie along the coast, including some E of Lolo volcano. Taken by LANDSAT 7 on 26 May 2002 (path 94, row 64) and provided courtesy of USGS-VDAP.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. An overview of Pago's N sector taken on 7 October 2002 and showing middle to lower flanks and caldera. The shot was taken from the NW, sighting cross-wise to the aligned chain of recent eruptive vents. Freshly erupted lavas have thus far remained confined within the caldera. The extruded massive dacitic lavas include two lava tongues flowing towards the viewer and a larger lava flow ponded in the distance, banked up against older (1911-18) intra-caldera lavas and the caldera's topographic margins. The wide zone of discolored vegetation continues well beyond both the caldera's topographic margin and the photo's left-hand edge. This and several other features such as a zone of deformation and faulting (lower center) appear less distinct here but are highlighted on later figures. Courtesy of USGS-VDAP.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Upper NE flanks of Pago highlighting the broad zone of denuded and knocked-down vegetation there. Most of the trees have been laid flat, and there exist occasional cleared-out gullies resembling avalanche chutes, washouts, and lahar paths. Courtesy of the USGS-VDAP.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. A 16 September 2002 view of Pago, as seen looking SSE towards the summit along the aligned, radial-trending chain of vents. Massive lava flows lie in the foreground. Their extrusive vent sits along the main fissure below the lowest cone, in an area of local degassing and conspicuous yellow deposits. Provided courtesy of USGS-VDAP.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. A 13 September 2002 photo of Pago's middle-to-upper flanks, including the summit crater and the higher-elevation radial-vent areas. This photo was taken from the NW; in many other photos taken during August-October 2002 white steam plumes tended to obscure the ground. Note the sub-linear swaths of denuded vegetation, particularly two swaths in the left foreground, and the broad area of discolored vegetation in the background behind the fresh lava. The swaths denote the surface traces of recent faults with significant offset, places where existing trees had fallen over. Observation flights in mid- to late September disclosed still further visible, meter-length deformations in this area. Observers inferred that these features reflected a graben formed in the upper portion of a cryptodome. Courtesy of USGS-VDAP.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. A close-up photo of Pago's ravaged summit crater taken from the N on 16 September 2002. Despite their proximity to the crater, some portions of the cone's flanks appear relatively undisturbed. Although difficult to see at the limited scale and resolution of this rendition, the original image clearly shows that a band of denuded trees remained standing within the highly disturbed zone along the breach. Many trees in a zone farther downslope were knocked flat. Courtesy of USGS-VDAP.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. A closer view of a portion of Pago's NW outer flanks (seen in figure 3 and part of figure 5) centered on Pago's zone of intense deformation and faulting. The traces of two sub-parallel faults offset the intervening area (D) downward, forming a graben, which crosses the steep sides of older, tree-covered lavas. Farther upslope, the two faults intersect the steaming, lowermost cone (C) at several points (D'' and D'''). Downslope, the two faults join a larger system, which seems to curve back towards the massive lavas (E and E'). The massive lavas (A) discharge at the surface at a point just below A'. Courtesy of USGS-VDAP.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Preliminary structural interpretation by Elliot Endo of Pago's zone of intense faulting and deformation. In this interpretation, the upslope area contains a graben; the downslope area a thrust or a region of mass wasting. Courtesy of Elliot Endo, USGS-VDAP.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. A closer view showing Pago's graben deformation feature. Earliest photographs available (~ August 15) show this feature in the early stage of development. The photo was taken looking E on 16 September 2002. For scale, mature trees midway along the fault are 10-15 m in length. Courtesy of the USGS-VDAP.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Closeup showing the extreme surface roughness of the recent Pago dacite extrusions appearing in an area near the lower vent. Large fractures sub-parallel to the vent developed during extrusion. Offsets along fractures were estimated to be as much as 5-7 m and the height of numerous adjacent points on the lava flow's surface easily varied by a meter. Courtesy of the USGS-VDAP.
Figure (see Caption) Movie 1. Digital movie of Pago filmed from a helicopter on 6 October 2002 showing the zone of deformation and faulting followed by a views of the lava flows and vents with the summit crater in the distance towards the SSE. Courtesy of the USGS-VDAP. (30 seconds, 10.7 MB MPEG)

During all or part of this August-October 2002 interval, lavas erupted at high rates: 10-20 m3/s. The crystal-poor dacitic lavas were roughly the same as those produced during the ancestral caldera-forming eruption. The same composition had also been consistent for the intervening lavas. By or before the end of October the current eruption had emitted ~60 x 106 m3 to ~100 x 106 m3 of magma. There was some evidence of magma mixing. Available evidence suggested that the magma rose in a dike from source depths of 6-8 km. A vital question was whether a gas-rich eruptive phase might start.

Highlighted in the August-October photos were recent faults and associated surface deformation. These had been documented by Chris McKee (Geophysical Observatory, PNG) who found that these features covered an area on Pago's mid-to-lower NW flanks. In many cases the faults left conspicuous trails marked by swaths of fallen trees across the rainforest (figures 5 and 8). Despite their clear expressions and documentation, a thermal-imaging device found that the faults and adjacent areas generally lacked anomalous high-temperature signals (Steve Saunders, RVO). The obvious exceptions to this occurred where faults cut across either vent areas and their cones or across massive lava flows in the caldera (figure 7). The inferred cause of the faulting and associated deformation was a shallow magmatic intrusion.

The USGS contributors expressed gratitude to their colleagues affiliated with Rabaul Volcano Observatory in Papua New Guinea and the West New Britain Provincial Government who had helped them with field and logistical support.

At the close of 2002 Alan Cameron (Heli Niugini) wrote Endo the following brief note. "Since you left, interest in Mt. Pago seems to have diminished; I have not flown over it for some time. Yesterday I flew a [medical evacution] past it, and smoke, etc. was still rising but the weather was bad and I did not get closer than about a half mile [(~1 km)], so I don't know what it is doing. Hoskins [airport] is still closed to aircraft, and the Talasea [air]strip is often closed due to water over it and the soft surface, so air travel is somewhat unreliable from here."

In the first week of February, Cameron sent another message. "The last time I had a close look at Pago was about a month ago. It still looked to be fairly active in most respects, however there is not much emission of ash now and the lava seems to have slowed, but I think this is on account of the flow being restricted in its exit to the [S]. To my eye it seems that the lava deposit may be increasing in height due to that restriction . . . . I do recall that there is still a great deal of heat from the lava ( I could feel its effect on the helicopter), which supports my feeling that it is building vertically and the lava is still flowing."

Reference. Cooke, R.J.S., 1981, Eruptions at Pago volcano, 1911-1933 (Compiled by R.W. Johnson), in Cooke-Ravian Volume of Volcanological Papers (editor, R.W. Johnson) Geological Survey of Papua New Guinea Memoir 10, 135-46; Printed in Hong Kong by Libra Press Ltd.

Geologic Background. The 5.5 x 7.5 km Witori caldera on the northern coast of central New Britain contains the young historically active cone of Pago. The Buru caldera cuts the SW flank of Witori volcano. The gently sloping outer flanks of Witori volcano consist primarily of dacitic pyroclastic-flow and airfall deposits produced during a series of five major explosive eruptions from about 5600 to 1200 years ago, many of which may have been associated with caldera formation. The post-caldera Pago cone may have formed less than 350 years ago. Pago has grown to a height above that of the Witori caldera rim, and a series of ten dacitic lava flows from it covers much of the caldera floor. The youngest of these was erupted during 2002-2003 from vents extending from the summit nearly to the NW caldera wall.

Information Contacts: Elliot Endo, John Ewert, C. Dan Miller, Andy Lockhart, Jeff Marso, and Chris Newhall, U.S. Geological Survey, David A. Johnston Cascades Volcano Observatory, Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP), 1300 SE Cardinal Ct, Building 10, Suite 100, Vancouver, WA 98683, USA; Alan Cameron, Chief Pilot, Heli Niugini Kimbe, Box 404, Kimbe WNB, Papua New Guinea; Ima Itikarai and Steve Saunders, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Papua New Guinea; Chris Mckee, Port Moresby Geophysical Observatory, PO Box 323, Port Moresby NCD, Papua New Guinea; Hugh Davies, Earth Sciences, University of Papua New Guinea, PO Box 414, University Post Office NCD, Papua New Guinea.

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


Central Chile and Argentina


Estero de Parraguirre


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

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

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

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



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

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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


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

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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