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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

Masaya (Nicaragua) Lava lake level drops but remains active through May 2020; weak gas plumes

Shishaldin (United States) Intermittent thermal activity and a possible new cone at the summit crater during February-May 2020

Krakatau (Indonesia) Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and crater incandescence during April 2020

Taal (Philippines) Eruption on 12 January with explosions through 22 January; steam plumes continuing into March

Unnamed (Tonga) Additional details and pumice raft drift maps from the August 2019 submarine eruption

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Strombolian activity November 2019 through May 2020; lava flow down the SE flank in April

Nyamuragira (DR Congo) Intermittent thermal anomalies within the summit crater during December 2019-May 2020

Nyiragongo (DR Congo) Activity in the lava lake and small eruptive cone persists during December 2019-May 2020

Kavachi (Solomon Islands) Discolored water plumes seen using satellite imagery in 2018 and 2020

Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) Eruption and ash plumes begin on 11 January 2020 and continue through April 2020

Soputan (Indonesia) Minor ash emissions during 23 March and 2 April 2020

Heard (Australia) Eruptive activity including a lava flow during October 2019-April 2020



Masaya (Nicaragua) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake level drops but remains active through May 2020; weak gas plumes

Masaya, which is about 20 km NW of the Nicaragua’s capital of Managua, is one of the most active volcanoes in that country and has a caldera that contains a number of craters (BGVN 43:11). The Santiago crater is the one most currently active and it contains a small lava lake that emits weak gas plumes (figure 85). This report summarizes activity during February through May 2020 and is based on Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) monthly reports and satellite data. During the reporting period, the volcano was relatively calm, with only weak gas plumes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Satellite images of Masaya from Sentinel-2 on 18 April 2020, showing and a small gas plume drifting SW (top, natural color bands 4, 3, 2) and the lava lake (bottom, false color bands 12, 11, 4). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

According to INETER, thermal images of the lava lake and temperature data in the fumaroles were taken using an Omega infrared gun and a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) SC620 thermal camera. The temperatures above the lava lake have decreased since November 2019, when the temperature was 287°C, dropping to 96°C when measured on 14 May 2020. INETER attributed this decrease to subsidence in the level of the lava lake by 5 m which obstructed part of the lake and concentrated the gas emissions in the weak plume. Convection continued in the lava lake, which in May had decreased to a diameter of 3 m. Many landslides had occurred in the E, NE, and S walls of the crater rim due to rock fracturing caused by the high heat and acidity of the emissions.

During the reporting period, the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system recorded numerous thermal anomalies from the lava lake based on MODIS data (figure 86). Infrared satellite images from Sentinel-2 regularly showed a strong signature from the lava lake through 18 May, after which the volcano was covered by clouds.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Thermal anomalies at Masaya during February through May 2020. The larger anomalies with black lines are more distant and not related to the volcano. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Measurements of sulfur dioxide (SO2) made by INETER in the section of the Ticuantepe - La Concepción highway (just W of the volcano) with a mobile DOAS system varied between a low of just over 1,000 metric tons/day in mid-November 2019 to a high of almost 2,500 tons/day in late May. Temperatures of fumaroles in the Cerro El Comalito area, just ENE of Santiago crater, ranged from 58 to 76°C during February-May 2020, with most values in the 69-72°C range.

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

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


Shishaldin (United States) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Shishaldin

United States

54.756°N, 163.97°W; summit elev. 2857 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal activity and a possible new cone at the summit crater during February-May 2020

Shishaldin is located near the center of Unimak Island in Alaska, with the current eruption phase beginning in July 2019 and characterized by ash plumes, lava flows, lava fountaining, pyroclastic flows, and lahars. More recently, in late 2019 and into January 2020, activity consisted of multiple lava flows, pyroclastic flows, lahars, and ashfall events (BGVN 45:02). This report summarizes activity from February through May 2020, including gas-and-steam emissions, brief thermal activity in mid-March, and a possible new cone within the summit crater. The primary source of information comes from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) reports and various satellite data.

Volcanism during February 2020 was relatively low, consisting of weakly to moderately elevated surface temperatures during 1-4 February and occasional small gas-and-steam plumes (figure 37). By 6 February both seismicity and surface temperatures had decreased. Seismicity and surface temperatures increased slightly again on 8 March and remained elevated through the rest of the reporting period. Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions were also visible from mid-March (figure 38) through May. Minor ash deposits visible on the upper SE flank may have been due to ash resuspension or a small collapse event at the summit, according to AVO.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Photo of a gas-and-steam plume rising from the summit crater at Shishaldin on 22 February 2020. Photo courtesy of Ben David Jacob via AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. A Worldview-2 panchromatic satellite image on 11 March 2020 showing a gas-and-steam plume rising from the summit of Shishaldin and minor ash deposits on the SE flank (left). Aerial photo showing minor gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit crater on 11 March (right). Some erosion of the snow and ice on the upper flanks is a result of the lava flows from the activity in late 2019 and early 2020. Photo courtesy of Matt Loewen (left) and Ed Fischer (right) via AVO.

On 14 March, lava and a possible new cone were visible in the summit crater using satellite imagery, accompanied by small explosion signals. Strong thermal signatures due to the lava were also seen in Sentinel-2 satellite data and continued strongly through the month (figure 39). The lava reported by AVO in the summit crater was also reflected in satellite-based MODIS thermal anomalies recorded by the MIROVA system (figure 40). Seismic and infrasound data identified small explosions signals within the summit crater during 14-19 March.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images (bands 12, 11, 8A) show a bright hotspot (yellow-orange) at the summit crater of Shishaldin during mid-March 2020 that decreases in intensity by late March. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. MIROVA thermal data showing a brief increase in thermal anomalies during late March 2020 and on two days in late April between periods of little to no activity. Courtesy of MIROVA.

AVO released a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) stating that seismicity had decreased by 16 April and that satellite data no longer showed lava or additional changes in the crater since the start of April. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery continued to show a weak hotspot in the crater summit through May (figure 41), which was also detected by the MIROVA system on two days. A daily report on 6 May reported a visible ash deposit extending a short distance SE from the summit, which had likely been present since 29 April. AVO noted that the timing of the deposit corresponds to an increase in the summit crater diameter and depth, further supporting a possible small collapse. Small gas-and-steam emissions continued intermittently and were accompanied by weak tremors and occasional low-frequency earthquakes through May (figure 42). Minor amounts of sulfur dioxide were detected in the gas-and-steam emissions during 20 and 29 April, and 2, 16, and 28 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images (bands 12, 11, 8A) show occasional gas-and-steam emissions rising from Shishaldin on 26 February (top left) and 24 April 2020 (bottom left) and a weak hotspot (yellow-orange) persisting at the summit crater during April and early May 2020. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. A Worldview-1 panchromatic satellite image showing gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit of Shishaldin on 1 May 2020 (local time) (left). Aerial photo of the N flank of Shishaldin with minor gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit on 8 May (right). Photo courtesy of Matt Loewen (left) and Levi Musselwhite (right) via AVO.

Geologic Background. The beautifully symmetrical Shishaldin is the highest and one of the most active volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands. The glacier-covered volcano is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes along an E-W line in the eastern half of Unimak Island. The Aleuts named the volcano Sisquk, meaning "mountain which points the way when I am lost." A steam plume often rises from its small summit crater. Constructed atop an older glacially dissected volcano, it is largely basaltic in composition. Remnants of an older ancestral volcano are exposed on the W and NE sides at 1,500-1,800 m elevation. There are over two dozen pyroclastic cones on its NW flank, which is blanketed by massive aa lava flows. Frequent explosive activity, primarily consisting of Strombolian ash eruptions from the small summit crater, but sometimes producing lava flows, has been recorded since the 18th century.

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


Krakatau (Indonesia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and crater incandescence during April 2020

Krakatau, located in the Sunda Strait between Indonesia’s Java and Sumatra Islands, experienced a major caldera collapse around 535 CE, forming a 7-km-wide caldera ringed by three islands. On 22 December 2018, a large explosion and flank collapse destroyed most of the 338-m-high island of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) and generated a deadly tsunami (BGVN 44:03). The near-sea level crater lake inside the remnant of Anak Krakatau was the site of numerous small steam and tephra explosions. A larger explosion in December 2019 produced the beginnings of a new cone above the surface of crater lake (BGVN 45:02). Recently, volcanism has been characterized by occasional Strombolian explosions, dense ash plumes, and crater incandescence. This report covers activity from February through May 2020 using information provided by the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, also known as Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Activity during February 2020 consisted of dominantly white gas-and-steam emissions rising 300 m above the crater, according to PVMBG. According to the Darwin VAAC, a ground observer reported an eruption on 7 and 8 February, but no volcanic ash was observed. During 10-11 February, a short-lived eruption was detected by seismograms which produced an ash plume up to 1 km above the crater drifting E. MAGMA Indonesia reported two eruptions on 18 March, both of which rose to 300 m above the crater. White gas-and-steam emissions were observed for the rest of the month and early April.

On 10 April PVMBG reported two eruptions, at 2158 and 2235, both of which produced dark ash plumes rising 2 km above the crater followed by Strombolian explosions ejecting incandescent material that landed on the crater floor (figures 108 and 109). The Darwin VAAC issued a notice at 0145 on 11 April reporting an ash plume to 14.3 km altitude drifting WNW, however this was noted with low confidence due to the possible mixing of clouds. During the same day, an intense thermal hotspot was detected in the HIMAWARI thermal satellite imagery and the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide page showed a strong SO2 plume at 11.3 km altitude drifting W (figure 110). The CCTV Lava93 webcam showed new lava flows and lava fountaining from the 10-11 April eruptions. This activity was evident in the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) graph of MODIS thermal anomaly data (figure 111).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. Webcam (Lava93) images of Krakatau on 10 April 2020 showing Strombolian explosions, strong incandescence, and ash plumes rising from the crater. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. Webcam image of incandescent Strombolian explosions at Krakatau on 10 April 2020. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. Strong sulfur dioxide emissions rising from Krakatau and drifting W were detected using the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite on 11 April 2020 (top row). Smaller volumes of SO2 were visible in Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI maps on 13 (bottom left) and 19 April (bottom right). Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. Thermal activity at Anak Krakatau from 29 June-May 2020 shown on a MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph. The power and frequency of the thermal anomalies sharply increased in mid-April. After the larger eruptive event in mid-April the thermal anomalies declined slightly in strength but continued to be detected intermittently through May. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Strombolian activity rising up to 500 m continued into 12 April and was accompanied by SO2 emissions that rose 3 km altitude, drifting NW according to a VAAC notice. PVMBG reported an eruption on 13 April at 2054 that resulted in incandescence as high as 25 m above the crater. Volcanic ash, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions, continued intermittently through 18 April, many of which were observed by the CCTV webcam. After 18 April only gas-and-steam plumes were reported, rising up to 100 m above the crater; Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed faint thermal anomalies in the crater (figure 112). SO2 emissions continued intermittently throughout April, though at lower volumes and altitudes compared to the 11th. MODIS satellite data seen in MIROVA showed intermittent thermal anomalies through May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 112. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing the cool crater lake on 20 March (top left) followed by minor heating of the crater during April and May 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Taal (Philippines) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Taal

Philippines

14.002°N, 120.993°E; summit elev. 311 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption on 12 January with explosions through 22 January; steam plumes continuing into March

Taal volcano is in a caldera system located in southern Luzon island and is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. It has produced around 35 recorded eruptions since 3,580 BCE, ranging from VEI 1 to 6, with the majority of eruptions being a VEI 2. The caldera contains a lake with an island that also contains a lake within the Main Crater (figure 12). Prior to 2020 the most recent eruption was in 1977, on the south flank near Mt. Tambaro. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Philippines reports that over 450,000 people live within 40 km of the caldera (figure 13). This report covers activity during January through February 2020 including the 12 to 22 January eruption, and is based on reports by Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), satellite data, geophysical data, and media reports.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Annotated satellite images showing the Taal caldera, Volcano Island in the caldera lake, and features on the island including Main Crater. Imagery courtesy of Planet Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Map showing population totals within 14 and 17 km of Volcano Island at Taal. Courtesy of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The hazard status at Taal was raised to Alert Level 1 (abnormal, on a scale of 0-5) on 28 March 2019. From that date through to 1 December there were 4,857 earthquakes registered, with some felt nearby. Inflation was detected during 21-29 November and an increase in CO2 emission within the Main Crater was observed. Seismicity increased beginning at 1100 on 12 January. At 1300 there were phreatic (steam) explosions from several points inside Main Crater and the Alert Level was raised to 2 (increasing unrest). Booming sounds were heard in Talisay, Batangas, at 1400; by 1402 the plume had reached 1 km above the crater, after which the Alert Level was raised to 3 (magmatic unrest).

Phreatic eruption on 12 January 2020. A seismic swarm began at 1100 on 12 January 2020 followed by a phreatic eruption at 1300. The initial activity consisted of steaming from at least five vents in Main Crater and phreatic explosions that generated 100-m-high plumes. PHIVOLCS raised the Alert Level to 2. The Earth Observatory of Singapore reported that the International Data Center (IDC) for the Comprehensive test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in Vienna noted initial infrasound detections at 1450 that day.

Booming sounds were heard at 1400 in Talisay, Batangas (4 km NNE from the Main Crater), and at 1404 volcanic tremor and earthquakes felt locally were accompanied by an eruption plume that rose 1 km; ash fell to the SSW. The Alert Level was raised to 3 and the evacuation of high-risk barangays was recommended. Activity again intensified around 1730, prompting PHIVOLCS to raise the Alert Level to 4 and recommend a total evacuation of the island and high-risk areas within a 14-km radius. The eruption plume of steam, gas, and tephra significantly intensified, rising to 10-15 km altitude and producing frequent lightning (figures 14 and 15). Wet ash fell as far away as Quezon City (75 km N). According to news articles schools and government offices were ordered to close and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (56 km N) in Manila suspended flights. About 6,000 people had been evacuated. Residents described heavy ashfall, low visibility, and fallen trees.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Lightning produced during the eruption of Taal during 1500 on 12 January to 0500 on 13 January 2020 local time (0700-2100 UTC on 12 January). Courtesy of Chris Vagasky, Vaisala.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Lightning strokes produced during the first days of the Taal January 2020 eruption. Courtesy of Domcar C Lagto/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock via The Guardian.

In a statement issued at 0320 on 13 January, PHIVOLCS noted that ashfall had been reported across a broad area to the north in Tanauan (18 km NE), Batangas; Escala (11 km NW), Tagaytay; Sta. Rosa (32 km NNW), Laguna; Dasmariñas (32 km N), Bacoor (44 km N), and Silang (22 km N), Cavite; Malolos (93 km N), San Jose Del Monte (87 km N), and Meycauayan (80 km N), Bulacan; Antipolo (68 km NNE), Rizal; Muntinlupa (43 km N), Las Piñas (47 km N), Marikina (70 km NNE), Parañaque (51 km N), Pasig (62 km NNE), Quezon City, Mandaluyong (62 km N), San Juan (64 km N), Manila; Makati City (59 km N) and Taguig City (55 km N). Lapilli (2-64 mm in diameter) fell in Tanauan and Talisay; Tagaytay City (12 km N); Nuvali (25 km NNE) and Sta (figure 16). Rosa, Laguna. Felt earthquakes (Intensities II-V) continued to be recorded in local areas.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Ashfall from the Taal January 2020 eruption in Lemery (top) and in the Batangas province (bottom). Photos posted on 13 January, courtesy of Ezra Acayan/Getty Images, Aaron Favila/AP, and Ted Aljibe/AFP via Getty Images via The Guardian.

Magmatic eruption on 13 January 2020. A magmatic eruption began during 0249-0428 on 13 January, characterized by weak lava fountaining accompanied by thunder and flashes of lightning. Activity briefly waned then resumed with sporadic weak fountaining and explosions that generated 2-km-high, dark gray, steam-laden ash plumes (figure 17). New lateral vents opened on the N flank, producing 500-m-tall lava fountains. Heavy ashfall impacted areas to the SW, including in Cuenca (15 km SSW), Lemery (16 km SW), Talisay, and Taal (15 km SSW), Batangas (figure 18).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Ash plumes seen from various points around Taal in the initial days of the January 2020 eruption, posted on 13 January. Courtesy of Eloisa Lopez/Reuters, Kester Ragaza/Pacific Press/Shutterstock, Ted Aljibe/AFP via Getty Images, via The Guardian.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Map indicating areas impacted by ashfall from the 12 January eruption through to 0800 on the 13th. Small yellow circles (to the N) are ashfall report locations; blue circles (at the island and to the S) are heavy ashfall; large green circles are lapilli (particles measuring 2-64 mm in diameter). Modified from a map courtesy of Lauriane Chardot, Earth Observatory of Singapore; data taken from PHIVOLCS.

News articles noted that more than 300 domestic and 230 international flights were cancelled as the Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport was closed during 12-13 January. Some roads from Talisay to Lemery and Agoncillo were impassible and electricity and water services were intermittent. Ashfall in several provinces caused power outages. Authorities continued to evacuate high-risk areas, and by 13 January more than 24,500 people had moved to 75 shelters out of a total number of 460,000 people within 14 km.

A PHIVOLCS report for 0800 on the 13th through 0800 on 14 January noted that lava fountaining had continued, with steam-rich ash plumes reaching around 2 km above the volcano and dispersing ash SE and W of Main Crater. Volcanic lighting continued at the base of the plumes. Fissures on the N flank produced 500-m-tall lava fountains. Heavy ashfall continued in the Lemery, Talisay, Taal, and Cuenca, Batangas Municipalities. By 1300 on the 13th lava fountaining generated 800-m-tall, dark gray, steam-laden ash plumes that drifted SW. Sulfur dioxide emissions averaged 5,299 metric tons/day (t/d) on 13 January and dispersed NNE (figure 19).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Compilation of sulfur dioxide plumes from TROPOMI overlaid in Google Earth for 13 January from 0313-1641 UT. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page and Google Earth.

Explosions and ash emission through 22 January 2020. At 0800 on 15 January PHIVOLCS stated that activity was generally weaker; dark gray, steam-laden ash plumes rose about 1 km and drifted SW. Satellite images showed that the Main Crater lake was gone and new craters had formed inside Main Crater and on the N side of Volcano Island.

PHIVOLCS reported that activity during 15-16 January was characterized by dark gray, steam-laden plumes that rose as high as 1 km above the vents in Main Crater and drifted S and SW. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 4,186 t/d on 15 January. Eruptive events at 0617 and 0621 on 16 January generated short-lived, dark gray ash plumes that rose 500 and 800 m, respectively, and drifted SW. Weak steam plumes rose 800 m and drifted SW during 1100-1700, and nine weak explosions were recorded by the seismic network.

Steady steam emissions were visible during 17-21 January. Infrequent weak explosions generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1 km and drifted SW. Sulfur dioxide emissions fluctuated and were as high as 4,353 t/d on 20 January and as low as 344 t/d on 21 January. PHIVOLCS reported that white steam-laden plumes rose as high as 800 m above main vent during 22-28 January and drifted SW and NE; ash emissions ceased around 0500 on 22 January. Remobilized ash drifted SW on 22 January due to strong low winds, affecting the towns of Lemery (16 km SW) and Agoncillo, and rose as high as 5.8 km altitude as reported by pilots. Sulfur dioxide emissions were low at 140 t/d.

Steam plumes through mid-April 2020. The Alert Level was lowered to 3 on 26 January and PHIVOLCS recommended no entry onto Volcano Island and Taal Lake, nor into towns on the western side of the island within a 7-km radius. PHIVOLCS reported that whitish steam plumes rose as high as 800 m during 29 January-4 February and drifted SW (figure 20). The observed steam plumes rose as high as 300 m during 5-11 February and drifted SW.

Sulfur dioxide emissions averaged around 250 t/d during 22-26 January; emissions were 87 t/d on 27 January and below detectable limits the next day. During 29 January-4 February sulfur dioxide emissions ranged to a high of 231 t/d (on 3 February). The following week sulfur dioxide emissions ranged from values below detectable limits to a high of 116 t/d (on 8 February).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Taal Volcano Island producing gas-and-steam plumes on 15-16 January 2020. Courtesy of James Reynolds, Earth Uncut.

On 14 February PHIVOLCS lowered the Alert Level to 2, noting a decline in the number of volcanic earthquakes, stabilizing ground deformation of the caldera and Volcano Island, and diffuse steam-and-gas emission that continued to rise no higher than 300 m above the main vent during the past three weeks. During 14-18 February sulfur dioxide emissions ranged from values below detectable limits to a high of 58 tonnes per day (on 16 February). Sulfur dioxide emissions were below detectable limits during 19-20 February. During 26 February-2 March steam plumes rose 50-300 m above the vent and drifted SW and NE. PHIVOLCS reported that during 4-10 March weak steam plumes rose 50-100 m and drifted SW and NE; moderate steam plumes rose 300-500 m and drifted SW during 8-9 March. During 11-17 March weak steam plumes again rose only 50-100 m and drifted SW and NE.

PHIVOLCS lowered the Alert Level to 1 on 19 March and recommended no entry onto Volcano Island, the area defined as the Permanent Danger Zone. During 8-9 April steam plumes rose 100-300 m and drifted SW. As of 1-2 May 2020 only weak steaming and fumarolic activity from fissure vents along the Daang Kastila trail was observed.

Evacuations. According to the Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) there were a total of 53,832 people dispersed to 244 evacuation centers by 1800 on 15 January. By 21 January there were 148,987 people in 493 evacuation. The number of residents in evacuation centers dropped over the next week to 125,178 people in 497 locations on 28 January. However, many residents remained displaced as of 3 February, with DROMIC reporting 23,915 people in 152 evacuation centers, but an additional 224,188 people staying at other locations.

By 10 February there were 17,088 people in 110 evacuation centers, and an additional 211,729 staying at other locations. According to the DROMIC there were a total of 5,321 people in 21 evacuation centers, and an additional 195,987 people were staying at other locations as of 19 February.

The number of displaced residents continued to drop, and by 3 March there were 4,314 people in 12 evacuation centers, and an additional 132,931 people at other locations. As of 11 March there were still 4,131 people in 11 evacuation centers, but only 17,563 staying at other locations.

Deformation and ground cracks. New ground cracks were observed on 13 January in Sinisian (18 km SW), Mahabang Dahilig (14 km SW), Dayapan (15 km SW), Palanas (17 km SW), Sangalang (17 km SW), and Poblacion (19 km SW) Lemery; Pansipit (11 km SW), Agoncillo; Poblacion 1, Poblacion 2, Poblacion 3, Poblacion 5 (all around 17 km SW), Talisay, and Poblacion (11 km SW), San Nicolas (figure 21). A fissure opened across the road connecting Agoncillo to Laurel, Batangas. New ground cracking was reported the next day in Sambal Ibaba (17 km SW), and portions of the Pansipit River (SW) had dried up.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Video screenshots showing ground cracks that formed during the Taal unrest and captured on 15 and 16 January 2020. Courtesy of James Reynolds, Earth Uncut.

Dropping water levels of Taal Lake were first observed in some areas on 16 January but reported to be lake-wide the next day. The known ground cracks in the barangays of Lemery, Agoncillo, Talisay, and San Nicolas in Batangas Province widened a few centimeters by 17 January, and a new steaming fissure was identified on the N flank of the island.

GPS data had recorded a sudden widening of the caldera by ~1 m, uplift of the NW sector by ~20 cm, and subsidence of the SW part of Volcano Island by ~1 m just after the main eruption phase. The rate of deformation was smaller during 15-22 January, and generally corroborated by field observations; Taal Lake had receded about 30 cm by 25 January but about 2.5 m of the change (due to uplift) was observed around the SW portion of the lake, near the Pansipit River Valley where ground cracking had been reported.

Weak steaming (plumes 10-20 m high) from ground cracks was visible during 5-11 February along the Daang Kastila trail which connects the N part of Volcano Island to the N part of the main crater. PHIVOLCS reported that during 19-24 February steam plumes rose 50-100 m above the vent and drifted SW. Weak steaming (plumes up to 20 m high) from ground cracks was visible during 8-14 April along the Daang Kastila trail which connects the N part of Volcano Island to the N part of the main crater.

Seismicity. Between 1300 on 12 January and 0800 on 21 January the Philippine Seismic Network (PSN) had recorded a total of 718 volcanic earthquakes; 176 of those had magnitudes ranging from 1.2-4.1 and were felt with Intensities of I-V. During 20-21 January there were five volcanic earthquakes with magnitudes of 1.6-2.5; the Taal Volcano network (which can detect smaller events not detectable by the PSN) recorded 448 volcanic earthquakes, including 17 low-frequency events. PHIVOLCS stated that by 21 January hybrid earthquakes had ceased and both the number and magnitude of low-frequency events had diminished.

Geologic Background. Taal is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines and has produced some of its most powerful historical eruptions. Though not topographically prominent, its prehistorical eruptions have greatly changed the landscape of SW Luzon. The 15 x 20 km Talisay (Taal) caldera is largely filled by Lake Taal, whose 267 km2 surface lies only 3 m above sea level. The maximum depth of the lake is 160 m, and several eruptive centers lie submerged beneath the lake. The 5-km-wide Volcano Island in north-central Lake Taal is the location of all historical eruptions. The island is composed of coalescing small stratovolcanoes, tuff rings, and scoria cones that have grown about 25% in area during historical time. Powerful pyroclastic flows and surges from historical eruptions have caused many fatalities.

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/); Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) (URL: https://dromic.dswd.gov.ph/); United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Philippines (URL: https://www.unocha.org/philippines); James Reynolds, Earth Uncut TV (Twitter: @EarthUncutTV, URL: https://www.earthuncut.tv/, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TyphoonHunter); Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc., Louisville, Colorado, USA (URL: https://www.vaisala.com/en?type=1, Twitter: @COweatherman, URL: https://twitter.com/COweatherman); Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, 50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore (URL: https://www.earthobservatory.sg/); 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/); Relief Web, Flash Update No. 1 - Philippines: Taal Volcano eruption (As of 13 January 2020, 2 p.m. local time) (URL: https://reliefweb.int/report/philippines/flash-update-no-1-philippines-taal-volcano-eruption-13-january-2020-2-pm-local); Bloomberg, Philippines Braces for Hazardous Volcano Eruption (URL: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-12/philippines-raises-alert-level-in-taal-as-volcano-spews-ash); National Public Radio (NPR), Volcanic Eruption In Philippines Causes Thousands To Flee (URL: npr.org/2020/01/13/795815351/volcanic-eruption-in-philippines-causes-thousands-to-flee); Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/); Agence France-Presse (URL: http://www.afp.com/); Pacific Press (URL: http://www.pacificpress.com/); Shutterstock (URL: https://www.shutterstock.com/); Getty Images (URL: http://www.gettyimages.com/); Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/).


Unnamed (Tonga) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Unnamed

Tonga

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Additional details and pumice raft drift maps from the August 2019 submarine eruption

In the northern Tonga region, approximately 80 km NW of Vava’u, large areas of floating pumice, termed rafts, were observed starting as early as 7 August 2019. The area of these andesitic pumice rafts was initially 195 km2 with the layers measuring 15-30 cm thick and were produced 200 m below sea level (Jutzeler et al. 2020). The previous report (BGVN 44:11) described the morphology of the clasts and the rafts, and their general westward path from 9 August to 9 October 2019, with the first sighting occurring on 9 August NW of Vava’u in Tonga. This report updates details regarding the submarine pumice raft eruption in early August 2019 using new observations and data from Brandl et al. (2019) and Jutzeler et al. (2020).

The NoToVE-2004 (Northern Tonga Vents Expedition) research cruise on the RV Southern Surveyor (SS11/2004) from the Australian CSIRO Marine National Facility traveled to the northern Tonga Arc and discovered several submarine basalt-to-rhyolite volcanic centers (Arculus, 2004). One of these volcanic centers 50 km NW of Vava’u was the unnamed seamount (volcano number 243091) that had erupted in 2001 and again in 2019, unofficially designated “Volcano F” for reference purposes by Arculus (2004) and also used by Brandl et al. (2019). It is a volcanic complex that rises more than 1 km from the seafloor with a central 6 x 8.7 km caldera and a volcanic apron measuring over 50 km in diameter (figures 19 and 20). Arculus (2004) described some of the dredged material as “fresh, black, plagioclase-bearing lava with well-formed, glassy crusts up to 2cm thick” from cones by the eastern wall of the caldera; a number of apparent flows, lava or debris, were observed draping over the northern wall of the caldera.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Visualization of the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano (marked “Volcano F”) using bathymetric data to show the site of the 6-8 August 2020 eruption and the rest of the cone complex. Courtesy of Philipp Brandl via GEOMAR.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Map of the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano using satellite imagery, bathymetric data, with shading from the NW. The yellow circle indicates the location of the August 2019 activity. Young volcanic cones are marked “C” and those with pit craters at the top are marked with “P.” Courtesy of Brandl et al. (2019).

The International Seismological Centre (ISC) Preliminary Bulletin listed a particularly strong (5.7 Mw) earthquake at 2201 local time on 5 August, 15 km SSW of the volcano at a depth of 10 km (Brandl et al. 2019). This event was followed by six slightly lower magnitude earthquakes over the next two days.

Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed two concentric rings originating from a point source (18.307°S 174.395°W) on 6 August (figure 21), which could be interpreted as small weak submarine plumes or possibly a series of small volcanic cones, according to Brandl et al. (2019). The larger ring is about 1.2 km in diameter and the smaller one measures 250 m. By 8 August volcanic activity had decreased, but the pumice rafts that were produced remained visible through at least early October (BGVN 44:11). Brandl et al. (2019) states that, due to the lack of continued observed activity rising from this location, the eruption was likely a 2-day-long event during 6-8 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Sentinel-2 satellite image of possible gas/vapor emissions (streaks) on 6 August 2019 drifting NW, which is the interpreted site for the unnamed Tongan seamount. The larger ring is about 1.2 km in diameter and the smaller one measures 250 m. Image using False Color (urban) rendering (bands 12, 11, 4); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The pumice was first observed on 9 August occurred up to 56 km from the point of origin, according to Jutzeler et al. (2020). By calculating the velocity (14 km/day) of the raft using three satellites, Jutzeler et al. (2020) determined the pumice was erupted immediately after the satellite image of the submarine plumes on 6 August (UTC time). Minor activity at the vent may have continued on 8 and 11 August (UTC time) with pale blue-green water discoloration (figure 22) and a small (less than 1 km2) diffuse pumice raft 2-5 km from the vent.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Sentinel-2 satellite image of the last visible activity occurring W of the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano on 8 August 2019, represented by slightly discolored blue-green water. Image using Natural Color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) and enhanced with color correction; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Continuous observations using various satellite data and observations aboard the catamaran ROAM tracked the movement and extent of the pumice raft that was produced during the submarine eruption in early August (figure 23). The first visible pumice raft was observed on 8 August 2019, covering more than 136.7 km2 between the volcanic islands of Fonualei and Late and drifting W for 60 km until 9 August (Brandl et al. 2019; Jutzeler 2020). The next day, the raft increased to 167.2-195 km2 while drifting SW for 74 km until 14 August. Over the next three days (10-12 August) the size of the raft briefly decreased in size to less than 100 km2 before increasing again to 157.4 km2 on 14 August; at least nine individual rafts were mapped and identified on satellite imagery (Brandl et al. 2019). On 15 August sailing vessels observed a large pumice raft about 75 km W of Late Island (see details in BGVN 44:11), which was the same one as seen in satellite imagery on 8 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Map of the extent of discolored water and the pumice raft from the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano between 8 and 14 August 2019 using imagery from NASA’s MODIS, ESA’s Sentinel-2 satellite, and observations from aboard the catamaran ROAM (BGVN 44:11). Back-tracing the path of the pumice raft points to a source location at the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano. Courtesy of Brandl et al. (2019).

By 17 August high-resolution satellite images showed an area of large and small rafts measuring 222 km2 and were found within a field of smaller rafts for a total extent of 1,350 km2, which drifted 73 km NNW through 22 August before moving counterclockwise for three days (figure f; Jutzeler et al., 2020). Small pumice ribbons encountered the Oneata Lagoon on 30 August, the first island that the raft came into contact (Jutzeler et al. 2020). By 2 September, the main raft intersected with Lakeba Island (460 km from the source) (figure 24), breaking into smaller ribbons that started to drift W on 8 September. On 19 September the small rafts (less than 100 m x less than 2 km) entered the strait between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, the two main islands of Fiji, while most of the others were stranded 60 km W in the Yasawa Islands for more than two months (Jutzeler et al., 2020).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Time-series map of the raft dispersal from the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano using multiple satellite images. A) Map showing the first days of the raft dispersal starting on 7 August 2019 and drifting SW from the vent (marked with a red triangle). Precursory seismicity that began on 5 August is marked with a white star. By 15-17 August the raft was entrained in an ocean loop or eddy. The dashed lines represent the path of the sailing vessels. B) Map of the raft dispersal using high-resolution Sentinel-2 and -3 imagery. Two dispersal trails (red and blue dashed lines) show the daily dispersal of two parts of the raft that were separated on 17 August 2019. Courtesy of Jutzeler et al. (2020).

References: Arculus, R J, SS2004/11 shipboard scientists, 2004. SS11/2004 Voyage Summary: NoToVE-2004 (Northern Tonga Vents Expedition): submarine hydrothermal plume activity and petrology of the northern Tofua Arc, Tonga. https://www.cmar.csiro.au/data/reporting/get file.cfm?eovpub id=901.

Brandl P A, Schmid F, Augustin N, Grevemeyer I, Arculus R J, Devey C W, Petersen S, Stewart M , Kopp K, Hannington M D, 2019. The 6-8 Aug 2019 eruption of ‘Volcano F’ in the Tofua Arc, Tonga. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2019.106695

Jutzeler M, Marsh R, van Sebille E, Mittal T, Carey R, Fauria K, Manga M, McPhie J, 2020. Ongoing Dispersal of the 7 August 2019 Pumice Raft From the Tonga Arc in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean. AGU Geophysical Research Letters: https://doi.orh/10.1029/2019GL086768.

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

Information Contacts: Jan Steffen, Communication and Media, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany; Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian activity November 2019 through May 2020; lava flow down the SE flank in April

Klyuchevskoy is part of the Klyuchevskaya volcanic group in northern Kamchatka and is one of the most frequently active volcanoes of the region. Eruptions produce lava flows, ashfall, and lahars originating from summit and flank activity. This report summarizes activity during October 2019 through May 2020, and is based on reports by the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) and satellite data.

There were no activity reports from 1 to 22 October, but gas emissions were visible in satellite images. At 1020 on 24 October (2220 on 23 October UTC) KVERT noted that there was a small ash component in the ash plume from erosion of the conduit, with the plume reaching 130 km ENE. The Aviation Colour Code was raised from Green to Yellow, then to Orange the following day. An ash plume continued on the 25th to 5-7 km altitude and extending 15 km SE and 70 km SW and reached 30 km ESE on the 26th. Similar activity continued through to the end of the month.

Moderate gas emissions continued during 1-19 November, but the summit was obscured by clouds. Strong nighttime incandescence was visible at the crater during the 10-11 November and thermal anomalies were detected on 8 and 10-13 November. Explosions produced ash plumes up to 6 km altitude on the 20-21st and Strombolian activity was reported during 20-22 November. Degassing continued from 23 November through 12 December, and a thermal anomaly was visible on the days when the summit was not covered by clouds. An ash plume was reported moving to the NW on the 13th, and degassing with a thermal anomaly and intermittent Strombolian activity then resumed, continuing through to the end of December with an ash plume reported on the 30th.

Gas-and-steam plumes continued into January 2020 with incandescence noted when the summit was clear (figure 33). Strombolian activity was reported again starting on the 3rd. A weak ash plume produced on the 6th extended 55 km E, and on the 21st an ash plume reached 5-5.5 km altitude and extended 190 km NE (figure 34). Another ash plume the next day rose to the same altitude and extended 388 km NE. During 23-29 Strombolian activity continued, and Vulcanian activity produced ash plumes up to 5.5 altitude, extending to 282 km E on the 30th, and 145 km E on the 31st.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Incandescence and degassing were visible at Klyuchevskoy through January 2020, seen here on the 11th. Courtesy of KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. A low ash plume at Klyuchevskoy on 21 January 2020 extended 190 km NE. Courtesy of KVERT.

Strombolian activity continued throughout February with occasional explosions producing ash plumes up to 5.5 km altitude, as well as gas-and-steam plumes and a persistent thermal anomaly with incandescence visible at night. Starting in late February thermal anomalies were detected much more frequently, and with higher energy output compared to the previous year (figure 35). A lava fountain was reported on 1 March with the material falling back into the summit crater. Strombolian activity continued through early March. Lava fountaining was reported again on the 8th with ejecta landing in the crater and down the flanks (figure 36). A strong persistent gas-and-steam plume containing some ash continued along with Strombolian activity through 25 March (figure 37), with Vulcanian activity noted on the 20th and 25th. Strombolian and Vulcanian activity was reported through the end of March.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. This MIROVA thermal energy plot for Klyuchevskoy for the year ending 29 April 2020 (log radiative power) shows intermittent thermal anomalies leading up to more sustained energy detected from February through March, then steadily increasing energy through April 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Strombolian explosions at Klyuchevskoy eject incandescent ash and gas, and blocks and bombs onto the upper flanks on 8 and 10 March 2020. Courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Weak ash emission from the Klyuchevskoy summit crater are dispersed by wind on 19 and 29 March 2020, with ash depositing on the flanks. Courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

Activity was dominantly Strombolian during 1-5 April and included intermittent Vulcanian explosions from the 6th onwards, with ash plumes reaching 6 km altitude. On 18 April a lava flow began moving down the SE flank (figures 38). A report on the 26th reported explosions from lava-water interactions with avalanches from the active lava flow, which continued to move down the SE flank and into the Apakhonchich chute (figures 39 and 40). This continued throughout April and May with sustained Strombolian and intermittent Vulcanian activity at the summit (figures 41 and 42).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Strombolian activity produced ash plumes and a lava flow down the SE flank of Klyuchevskoy on 18 April 2020. Courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. A lava flow descends the SW flank of Klyuchevskoy and a gas plume is dispersed by winds on 21 April 2020. Courtesy of Yu. Demyanchuk, IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images show the progression of the Klyuchevskoy lava flow from the summit crater down the SE flank from 19-29 April 2020. Associated gas plumes are dispersed in various directions. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Strombolian activity at Klyuchevskoy ejects incandescent ejecta, gas, and ash above the summit on 27 April 2020. Courtesy of D. Bud'kov, IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Klyuchevskoy show the progression of the SE flank lava flow through May 2020, with associated gas plumes being dispersed in multiple directions. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal anomalies within the summit crater during December 2019-May 2020

Nyamuragira (also known as Nyamulagira) is located in the Virunga Volcanic Province (VVP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and consists of a lava lake that reappeared in the summit crater in mid-April 2018. Volcanism has been characterized by lava emissions, thermal anomalies, seismicity, and gas-and-steam emissions. This report summarizes activity during December 2019 through May 2020 using information from monthly reports by the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) and satellite data.

According to OVG, intermittent eruptive activity was detected in the lava lake of the central crater during December 2019 and January-April 2020, which also resulted in few seismic events. MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows thermal anomalies within the summit crater that varied in both frequency and power between August 2019 and mid-March 2020, but very few were recorded afterward through late May (figure 88). Thermal hotspots identified by MODVOLC from 15 December 2019 through March 2020 were mainly located in the active central crater, with only three hotspots just outside the SW crater rim (figure 89). Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery also showed activity within the summit crater during January-May 2020, but by mid-March the thermal anomaly had visibly decreased in power (figure 90).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity (log radiative power) at Nyamuragira during 27 July through May 2020 shows variably strong, intermittent thermal anomalies with a variation in power and frequency from August 2019 to mid-March 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Map showing the number of MODVOLC hotspot pixels at Nyamuragira from 1 December 2019 t0 31 May 2020. 37 pixels were registered within the summit crater while 3 were detected just outside the SW crater rim. Courtesy of HIGP-MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) confirmed ongoing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) at Nyamuragira from February into April 2020. The strength of the thermal anomaly in the summit crater decreased by late March 2020, but was still visible. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


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

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Activity in the lava lake and small eruptive cone persists during December 2019-May 2020

Nyiragongo is located in the Virunga Volcanic Province (VVP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, part of the western branch of the East African Rift System and contains a 1.2 km-wide summit crater with a lava lake that has been active since at least 1971. Volcanism has been characterized by strong and frequent thermal anomalies, incandescence, gas-and-steam emissions, and seismicity. This report summarizes activity during December 2019 through May 2020 using information from monthly reports by the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) and satellite data.

In the December 2019 monthly report, OVG stated that the level of the lava lake had increased. This level of the lava lake was maintained for the duration of the reporting period, according to later OVG monthly reports. Seismicity increased starting in November 2019 and was detected in the NE part of the crater, but it decreased by mid-April 2020. SO2 emissions increased in January 2020 to roughly 7,000 tons/day but decreased again near the end of the month. OVG reported that SO2 emissions rose again in February to roughly 8,500 tons/day before declining to about 6,000 tons/day. Unlike in the previous report (BGVN 44:12), incandescence was visible during the day in the active lava lake and activity at the small eruptive cone within the 1.2-km-wide summit crater has since increased, consisting of incandescence and some lava fountaining (figure 72). A field survey was conducted on 3-4 March where an OVG team observed active lava fountains and ejecta that produced Pele’s hair from the small eruptive cone (figure 73). During this survey, OVG reported that the level of the lava lake had reached the second terrace, which was formed on 17 January 2002 and represents remnants of the lava lake at different eruption stages. There, the open surface lava lake was observed; gas-and-steam emissions accompanied both the active lava lake and the small eruptive cone (figures 72 and 73).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Webcam image of Nyiragongo in February 2020 showing an open lava lake surface and incandescence from the active crater cone within the 1.2 km-wide summit crater visible during the day, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions. Courtesy of OVG (Rapport OVG February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Webcam image of Nyiragongo on 4 March 2020 showing an open lava lake surface and incandescence from the active crater cone within the 1.2 km-wide summit crater visible during the day, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions. Courtesy of OVG (Rapport OVG Mars 2020).

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data continued to show frequent strong thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit crater through May 2020 (figure 74). Similarly, the MODVOLC algorithm reported multiple thermal hotspots almost daily within the summit crater between December 2019 and May 2020. These thermal signatures were also observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery within the summit crater (figure 75).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Thermal anomalies at Nyiragongo from 27 July through May 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were frequent and strong. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) showed ongoing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) in the summit crater at Nyiragongo during January through April 2020. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


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

Kavachi

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Discolored water plumes seen using satellite imagery in 2018 and 2020

Kavachi is a submarine volcano located in the Solomon Islands south of Gatokae and Vangunu islands. Volcanism is frequently active, but rarely observed. The most recent eruptions took place during 2014, which consisted of an ash eruption, and during 2016, which included phreatomagmatic explosions (BGVN 42:03). This reporting period covers December 2016-April 2020 primarily using satellite data.

Activity at Kavachi is often only observed through satellite images, and frequently consists of discolored submarine plumes for which the cause is uncertain. On 1 January 2018 a slight yellow discoloration in the water is seen extending to the E from a specific point (figure 20). Similar faint plumes were observed on 16 January, 25 February, 2 March, 26 April, 6 May, and 25 June 2018. No similar water discoloration was noted during 2019, though clouds may have obscured views.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Satellite images from Sentinel-2 revealed intermittent faint water discoloration (yellow) at Kavachi during the first half of 2018, as seen here on 1 January (top left), 25 February (top right), 26 April (bottom left), and 25 June (bottom right). Images with “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity resumed in 2020, showing more discolored water in satellite imagery. The first instance occurred on 16 March, where a distinct plume extended from a specific point to the SE. On 25 April a satellite image showed a larger discolored plume in the water that spread over about 30 km2, encompassing the area around Kavachi (figure 21). Another image on 30 April showed a thin ribbon of discolored water extending about 50 km W of the vent.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Sentinel-2 satellite images of a discolored plume (yellow) at Kavachi beginning on 16 March (top left) with a significant large plume on 25 April (right), which remained until 30 April (bottom left). Images with “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

30.443°N, 130.217°E; summit elev. 657 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption and ash plumes begin on 11 January 2020 and continue through April 2020

Kuchinoerabujima encompasses a group of young stratovolcanoes located in the northern Ryukyu Islands. All historical eruptions have originated from the Shindake cone, with the exception of a lava flow that originated from the S flank of the Furudake cone. The most recent previous eruptive period took place during October 2018-February 2019 and primarily consisted of weak explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall. The current eruption began on 11 January 2020 after nearly a year of dominantly gas-and-steam emissions. Volcanism for this reporting period from March 2019 to April 2020 included explosions, ash plumes, SO2 emissions, and ashfall. The primary source of information for this report comes from monthly and annual reports from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and advisories from the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Activity has been limited to Kuchinoerabujima's Shindake Crater.

Volcanism at Kuchinoerabujima was relatively low during March through December 2019, according to JMA. During this time, SO2 emissions ranged from 100 to 1,000 tons/day. Gas-and-steam emissions were frequently observed throughout the entire reporting period, rising to a maximum height of 1.1 km above the crater on 13 December 2019. Satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 showed gas-and-steam and occasional ash emissions rising from the Shindake crater throughout the reporting period (figure 7). Though JMA reported thermal anomalies occurring on 29 January and continuing through late April 2020, Sentinel-2 imagery shows the first thermal signature appearing on 26 April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed gas-and-steam and ash emissions rising from Kuchinoerabujima. Some ash deposits can be seen on 6 February 2020 (top right). A thermal anomaly appeared on 26 April 2020 (bottom right). Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

An eruption on 11 January 2020 at 1505 ejected material 300 m from the crater and produced ash plumes that rose 2 km above the crater rim, extending E, according to JMA. The eruption continued through 12 January until 0730. The resulting ash plumes rose 400 m above the crater, drifting SW while the SO2 emissions measured 1,300 tons/day. Ashfall was reported on Yakushima Island (15 km E). Minor eruptive activity was reported during 17-20 January which produced gray-white plumes that rose 300-500 m above the crater. On 23 January, seismicity increased, and an eruption produced an ash plume that rose 1.2 km altitude, according to a Tokyo VAAC report, resulting in ashfall 2 km NE of the crater. A small explosion was detected on 24 January, followed by an increase in the number of earthquakes during 25-26 January (65-71 earthquakes per day were registered). Another small eruptive event detected on 27 January at 0148 was accompanied by a volcanic tremor and a change in tilt data. During the month of January, some inflation was detected at the base on the volcano and a total of 347 earthquakes were recorded. The SO2 emissions ranged from 200-1,600 tons/day.

An eruption on 1 February 2020 produced an eruption column that rose less than 1 km altitude and extended SE and SW (figure 8), according to the Tokyo VAAC report. On 3 February, an eruption from the Shindake crater at 0521 produced an ash plume that rose 7 km above the crater and ejected material as far as 600 m away. As a result, a pyroclastic flow formed, traveling 900-1,500 m SW. The previous pyroclastic flow that was recorded occurred on 29 January 2019. Ashfall was confirmed in the N part of Yakushima Island with a large amount in Miyanoura (32 km ESE) and southern Tanegashima. The SO2 emissions measured 1,700 tons/day during this event.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Webcam images from the Honmura west surveillance camera of an ash plume rising from Kuchinoerabujima on 1 February 2020. Courtesy of JMA (Weekly bulletin report 509, February 2020).

Intermittent small eruptive events occurred during 5-9 February; field observations showed a large amount of ashfall on the SE flank which included lapilli that measured up to 2 cm in diameter. Additionally, thermal images showed 5-km-long pyroclastic flow deposits on the SW flank. An eruption on 9 February produced an ash plume that rose 1.2 km altitude, drifting SE. On 13 February a small eruption was detected in the Shindake crater at 1211, producing gray-white plumes that rose 300 m above the crater, drifting NE. Small eruptive events also occurred during 20-21 February, resulting in gas-and-steam emissions that rose 200 m above the crater. During the month of February, some horizontal extension was observed since January 2020 using GNSS data. The total number of earthquakes during this month drastically increased to 1225 compared to January. The SO2 emissions ranged from 300-1,700 tons/day.

By 2 March 2020, seismicity decreased, and activity declined. Gas-and-steam emissions continued infrequently for the duration of the reporting period. The SO2 emissions during March ranged from 700-2,100 tons/day, the latter of which occurred on 15 March. Seismicity increased again on 27 March. During 5-8 April 2020, small eruptive events were detected, generating ash plumes that rose 900 m above the crater (figure 9). The SO2 emissions on 6 April reached 3,200 tons/day, the maximum measurement for this reporting period. These small eruptive events continued from 13-20 and 23-25 April within the Shindake crater, producing gray-white plumes that rose 300-800 m above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Webcam images from the Honmura Nishi (top) and Honmura west (bottom) surveillance cameras of ash plumes rising from Kuchinoerabujima on 6 March and 5 April 2020. Courtesy of JMA (Weekly bulletin report 509, March and April 2020).

Geologic Background. A group of young stratovolcanoes forms the eastern end of the irregularly shaped island of Kuchinoerabujima in the northern Ryukyu Islands, 15 km W of Yakushima. The Furudake, Shindake, and Noikeyama cones were erupted from south to north, respectively, forming a composite cone with multiple craters. All historical eruptions have occurred from Shindake, although a lava flow from the S flank of Furudake that reached the coast has a very fresh morphology. Frequent explosive eruptions have taken place from Shindake since 1840; the largest of these was in December 1933. Several villages on the 4 x 12 km island are located within a few kilometers of the active crater and have suffered damage from eruptions.

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Soputan (Indonesia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Soputan

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor ash emissions during 23 March and 2 April 2020

Soputan is a stratovolcano located in the northern arm of Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. Previous eruptive periods were characterized by ash explosions, lava flows, and Strombolian eruptions. The most recent eruption occurred during October-December 2018, which consisted mostly of ash plumes and some summit incandescence (BGVN 44:01). This report updates information for January 2019-April 2020 characterized by two ash plumes and gas-and-steam emissions. The primary source of information come from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Activity during January 2019-April 2020 was relatively low; three faint thermal anomalies were observed at the summit at Soputan in satellite imagery for a total of three days on 2 and 4 January, and 1 October 2019 (figure 17). The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) based on analysis of MODIS data detected 12 distal hotspots and six low-power hotspots within 5 km of the summit during August to early October 2019. A single distal thermal hotspot was detected in early March 2020. In March, activity primarily consisted of white to gray gas-and-steam plumes that rose 20-100 m above the crater, according to PVMBG. The Darwin VAAC issued a notice on 23 March 2020 that reported an ash plume rose to 4.3 km altitude; minor ash emissions had been visible in a webcam image the previous day (figure 18). A second notice was issued on 2 April, where an ash plume was observed rising 2.1 km altitude and drifting W.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery detected a total of three thermal hotspots (bright yellow-orange) at the summit of Soputan on 2 and 4 January and 1 October 2019. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Minor ash emissions were seen rising from Soputan on 22 March 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

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

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


Heard (Australia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

53.106°S, 73.513°E; summit elev. 2745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptive activity including a lava flow during October 2019-April 2020

Heard Island is located on the Kerguelen Plateau in the southern Indian Ocean and contains Big Ben, a snow-covered stratovolcano with intermittent volcanism reported since 1910. Due to its remote location, visual observations are rare; therefore, thermal anomalies and hotspots detected by satellite-based instruments are the primary source of information. This report updates activity from October 2019 to April 2020.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed three prominent periods of strong thermal anomaly activity during this reporting period: late October 2019, December 2019, and the end of April 2020 (figure 41). These thermal anomalies were relatively strong and occurred within 5 km of the summit. Similarly, the MODVOLC algorithm reported a total of six thermal hotspots during 28 October, 1 November 2019, and 26 April 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Thermal anomalies at Heard from 29 April 2019 through April 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were strong and frequent in late October, during December 2019, and at the end of April 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Six thermal satellite images ranging from late October 2019 to late March showed evidence of active lava at the summit (figure 42). These images show hot material, possibly a lava flow, extending SW from the summit; a hotspot also remained at the summit. Cloud cover was pervasive during the majority of this reporting period, especially in April 2020, though gas-and-steam emissions were visible on 25 April through the clouds.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Thermal satellite images of Heard Island’s Big Ben showing strong thermal signatures representing a lava flow in the SW direction from 28 October to 17 December 2019. These thermal anomalies are located NE from Mawson Peak. A faint thermal anomaly is also captured on 26 March 2020. Satellite images with atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, and 8A), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Heard Island on the Kerguelen Plateau in the southern Indian Ocean consists primarily of the emergent portion of two volcanic structures. The large glacier-covered composite basaltic-to-trachytic cone of Big Ben comprises most of the island, and the smaller Mt. Dixon lies at the NW tip of the island across a narrow isthmus. Little is known about the structure of Big Ben because of its extensive ice cover. The historically active Mawson Peak forms the island's high point and lies within a 5-6 km wide caldera breached to the SW side of Big Ben. Small satellitic scoria cones are mostly located on the northern coast. Several subglacial eruptions have been reported at this isolated volcano, but observations are infrequent and additional activity may have occurred.

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

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 28, Number 01 (January 2003)

Managing Editor: Edward Venzke

Ambrym (Vanuatu)

Infrared data indicate continued lava lake activity during 2001-2002

Bagana (Papua New Guinea)

Infrared data show nearly continuous activity during 2001-2002

Etna (Italy)

Flank eruption that began in October ends on 28 January

Fuego (Guatemala)

Explosive eruptions from September 2002 through January 2003

Heard (Australia)

Infrared data show previously unknown activity during May-June 2000

Lamington (Papua New Guinea)

Rumors of volcanism in April 2002 were false

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Infrared data indicate activity during May-October 2002

Lopevi (Vanuatu)

Infrared data corroborate and refine timing of known activity

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Low-moderate seismicity after May eruption; plume on 31 October

Nyamuragira (DR Congo)

Infrared satellite data from the 25 July 2002 eruption

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Continued ash eruptions from three vents at Tavurvur

Special Announcements (Unknown)

Global high-temperature thermal monitoring system (MODIS Thermal Alerts)

Stromboli (Italy)

Lava emissions continue into January; crater morphology changes

Tinakula (Solomon Islands)

Observers and infrared data indicate eruptive activity since 1989

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea)

Intermittent ash plumes from August through early November 2002

Veniaminof (United States)

Minor ash emissions in early October 2002; increased seismicity in December

Witori (Papua New Guinea)

Slow lava effusion within the caldera continues through January 2003

Yasur (Vanuatu)

Eruptive activity from the summit crater continued through 2002



Ambrym (Vanuatu) — January 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambrym

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Infrared data indicate continued lava lake activity during 2001-2002

Although the current period of activity at Ambrym has been ongoing since June 1996, direct observations have been intermittent. Most recently, there have been reports of visits during January and February 2000 (BGVN 25:02 and 25:04), August-October 2000 (BGVN 26:02), and August 2001 and December 2002 (BGVN 27:12). Another report of scientific investigations from July 2000 is presented below. These observations are supplemented by MODIS data that indicate continued lava lake activity through much of 2001 and 2002.

Observations during July 2000. During 8-11 July 2000, David Nakedau and Douglas Charley reached Ambrym and camped in the caldera, after the necessary authorizations from local chiefs. On 11 July, French and Italian scientists joined the group. During the following days two stations were installed, one close to the village of Lalinda, the other on the E flank of Benbow cone. The first station, composed of a broadband STS2 seismometer, was installed on a basaltic lava flow with the aim of recording local volcano-related seismicity and tectonic earthquakes. The summit station was equipped with a short-period Mark seismometer to record the activity of the lava lake that used to be visible at Benbow until 1999 and now has drained back at a greater depth due to the Ms 7.1 earthquake of 26 November 1999. The first results from the analysis of these data are currently in press (Carniel and others, 2003).

On 11 July 2000 a visit was made to the Niri Taten Mbwelesu crater, where only fumarolic activity could be observed. The crater name means "the son of the female pig," given after its birth in 1989 near the existing Mbwelesu (the pig) and Niri Mbwelesu (the female pig). At the request of local residents, this crater was renamed Mbogon Niri Mbwelesu in December 2002 (BGVN 27:12). After more than a day of continuous rain, on 13 July the installation of the station on the Benbow rim was accomplished. During 13 July strong degassing noises were heard only sporadically from the Southern crater, which was otherwise showing low degassing rates and low-level noises. The southern crater has been observed since the first visits of Douglas Charley, and was the site where the lava lake was observed until 1999. The Northern crater, on the contrary, was not observed by Charley before 1997. Another small vent used to be present on its W side, but was completely buried by 1999 collapses. During 13 July, from the rim observations, this crater appeared to be the source of the strongest noises.

During the following days, two descents were made into Benbow using ropes, one on 14 July by Carniel and Fulle with local guides Jimmy and Isaac; the other was made on 16 July by Charley, Garaebiti, Wallez, and Jimmy. The Southern, older crater, was obstructed and conical in shape. From it's central part, significant blueish-colored degassing was observed, indicating sulfur dioxide. On 14 July visible degassing activity was not accompanied by noticeable sound. On 16 July some small explosions were observed at this vent, which ejected centimeter-sized fragments. On the N side, a fault full of sulfur deposits was visible. Numerous concentric faults were also visible around the vent on the n, E, and W sides. A significant zone of fumarolic activity was concentrated on the N flank of the vent, mainly composed of water vapor. Other small fumaroles were located around the vent. A number of pits were aligned in the W and S border, with the most significant fumarolic activity at the S side, where blueish sulfurous gas escaped continuously.

The Northern crater emitted significant water vapor plumes. To the N and to the S of the vent, two deep tracks were created by water runoff during strong rainfalls. To the E, the border of the vent was formed by rock debris, which, according to the guide Jimmy, was emplaced as a consequence of the strong 26 November 1999 earthquake. Both on 14 July and on 16 July the sound from the N crater appeared to be much lower than from the S crater, an observation opposite to the one made from the Benbow rim on 13 July. On 14 July scientists observed several more dense water vapor clouds, some of them accompanied by the fall of very small (less than 1 cm) light lithic fragments.

Marum, and the surrounding vents of Mbwelesu, Niri Mbwelesu, and Niri Taten Mbwelesu, were visited again on 16 July. Mbwelesu was intensely degassing, which often precluded direct observation of the crater. On the SE side, where a lava lake used to be, only a static mud pond could be seen. Also Taten Mbwelesu crater was showing intense degassing accompanied by strong noise, which made observation difficult. Niri Taten Mbwelesu showed intense degassing but no noise. The dropping of rocks into the pit confirmed the presence of a mud pond at the bottom, at an approximate depth of 200 m.

On 17 July the scientists left the volcano for the village of Lalinda, where they met with the custom chief and the population in order to inform them about the activity of the volcano and about the research. On the early morning of 19 July the two eruptive plumes from Ambrym's main cones were clearly visible at a distance from the island of Paama. However, only the plume produced by Marum was colored pink-orange; this observation suggests the presence of lava at shallow depth in one of its vents, although such a feature was not observed directly during the previous days.

MODVOLC Thermal Alerts, 2001-2002. MODIS detected quasi-continuous thermal alerts for Ambrym throughout 2001 and 2002 (figure 8). Moreover, these occur fairly equally in two clusters interpreted as representing Benbow and Marum (figure 9). These data provide strong evidence in favor of continued lava lake activity. The highest alert ratios for the period of -0.107 on 9 April 2001 in Marum and -0.116 on 3 November 2001 in Benbow may represent episodes of overturn. Marum appears to have been particularly active also during January-February 2002 when the anomaly usually consisted of either 4 or 6 alert-pixels (figure 9). Anomalies continued in January-February 2003.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. MODIS thermal alerts on Ambrym during 2001-2002. Courtesy of Diego Coppola and David Rothery, The Open University.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Locations of alert-pixels on Ambrym during 2001-2002. The intracaldera craters are Benbow (B) and Marum (M). The base map is not independently geolocated, so the alert-pixel overlay has been migrated to place the two clusters over the likely active craters. Base map is from SEAN 14:04, modified from geological (New Hebrides Geological Survey, 1976) and pedomorphological (Quantin, 1978) maps. Courtesy of Diego Coppola and David Rothery, The Open University.

References. Quantin, P., 1978, Archipel des Nouvelles-Hébrides: Atlas des Sols et de quelques Données du Milieu: Cartes Pédologiques, des Formes du Relief, Géologiques et de la Végétation; ORSTOM (18 sheets).

Carniel, R., Di Cecca, M., Rouland, D., accepted Feb 2003, Ambrym, Vanuatu (July-August 2000): Spectral and dynamical transitions on the hours-to-days timescale: JVGR.

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

Information Contacts: Diego Coppola and David A. Rothery, Department of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom; Roberto Carniel, Università di Udine, Italy (URL: http://www.swisseduc.ch/stromboli/); Douglas Charley, Sandrine Wallez, and David Nakedau, Département de la Géologie, des Mines et des Ressources en eau, Vanuatu; Marco Fulle, Osservatorio Astronomico, Trieste, Italy (URL: http://www.swisseduc.ch/stromboli/); Esline Garaebiti, Université de Clermont-Ferrand, France; Daniel Rouland, E.O.S.T., Strasbourg, France; Geneviève Roult, I.P.G., Paris, France.


Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — January 2003 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)


Infrared data show nearly continuous activity during 2001-2002

Throughout 2001 and 2002, MODIS detected quasi-continuous thermal alerts at Bagana (figure 1). The most recent report is from August 1995 (BGVN 20:08). The MODIS data are presented here as valuable objective evidence of more recent activity. MODIS thermal alerts were recorded on 16 September, 3, 19, and 26 November, and 10, 12, 28, and 30 December 2000. The 2001-2002 MODIS anomalies were relatively stable with an average alert ratio of -0.63 and generally they consisted of 1 or 2 alert pixels. The maximum alert ratio detected (-0.51) occurred on 21 November 2002 when the number of alert-pixels was at its two-year maximum of 5. This is likely to indicate a higher degree of activity than usual, in which case it is likely to represent effusion of a new lava flow or a pyroclastic flow in the act of emplacement. Coordinates of alert pixels generally clustered tightly around the summit, with a slight preference towards the NW (figure 2). Activity may be genuinely concentrated on this part of the cone, but another explanation would be a 300-m error in the supposed location of the summit relative to the MODIS geocoding. However, the 5-pixel alert of 21 November 2002 is strung out towards the E, which is likely to represent an eastward-flowing lava (or pyroclastic) flow ~2 km long.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. MODIS thermal alerts on Bagana during 2001-2002. Courtesy of Diego Coppola and David Rothery, The Open University.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Locations of MODIS alert-pixels on Bagana during 2001-2002. Courtesy of Diego Coppola and David Rothery, The Open University.

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: Diego Coppola and David A. Rothery, Department of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom.


Etna (Italy) — January 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Flank eruption that began in October ends on 28 January

After three months of activity, the flank eruption at Etna that began on 27 October 2002 finished on 28 January 2003. Lava flows and Strombolian explosions in January were confined to the S-flank vent located at 2,750 m elevation. Lava flows formed a fan and covered the previous lava flow field. A decrease in effusion during January was suggested by the shorter lava flow lengths of less than 2 km, which formed a complex flow field with small lava tubes. Strombolian activity from the 2,750-m cinder cone significantly declined on 27 January and disappeared on 29 January. Lava flows slowed on 27 January, and were no longer fed by the 29th, and thus cooled down. At this time SO2 output decreased significantly, reaching the lowest value of 2,000 tons/day on 29 January 2003. Volcanic tremor amplitude showed a marked decrease on 27 January, and on 28 January at 2240 it returned to background levels, signaling the end of the eruption.

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


Fuego (Guatemala) — January 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosive eruptions from September 2002 through January 2003

Explosions, ash emission, and lava flows took place during January-February and July 2002 (BGVN 27:08). MODIS thermal alerts were recorded monthly throughout 2002. CONRED reported that during the last 3 months of 2002, a change in behavior at Fuego was characterized by an increase in Strombolian activity. Ash emission and pyroclastic flows threatened communities to the SW, which prepared for evacuation (figure 5). This report covers the period of 26 December 2002 through mid-January 2003.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. This condensed-format map of Fuego hazards was intended as a poster when created by the Guatemalan agency CONRED. North is towards the top; the original map key and credits are truncated from this version. The map shows six different hazard zones with a gradation of expected hazards, as well as some of the critical close-in population centers and their suggested departure routes. The large population center Antigua lies off the map, 17 km NE of Fuego's summit. Courtesy of CONRED.

According to news reports, an explosive eruption and partial crater collapse occurred on 26 December 2002 around 0905. An ash cloud was generated that reached ~2 km above the volcano and drifted W toward the Yepocapa region. Neither damage nor injuries were reported.

The Washington VAAC reported that an eruption began at Fuego on 8 January 2003 around 0500. According to INSIVUMEH, as of 1100 that day the eruption continued with ash explosions and lava flow emission. A steam-and-ash column rose to 5.7 km altitude and drifted to the W. In addition, two small-to-moderate pyroclastic flows traveled down the Santa Teresa river valley. Seismic signals continued to show evidence of magma ascent, but fewer in number with 15-25 explosions per minute recorded. This suggested continued effusive emissions for a number of hours. During the eruption, ash fell in an elliptical area chiefly W of Fuego; other events included rumbling, and fumarolic activity. CONRED stated that the Alert Level was raised to Orange and several people were evacuated from the town of Sangre de Cristo. According to a news report volcanism decreased the following day, so the Alert Level was lowered from Orange to Yellow.

INSIVUMEH reported that as of 19 January moderate eruptions continued at Fuego that produced ash clouds to 1.5-3 km altitude. Ash drifted to the S and SW, depositing fine ash in the areas of Rocela, Panimache, and Palo Verde. In addition, incandescent avalanches traveled down canyons on the volcano's flanks. Table 2 shows ash advisories issued for Fuego by the Washington VAAC during January.

Table 2. Volcanic ash advisories issued for Fuego during January 2003. Courtesy Washington VAAC.

Date Time (UTC) Observation
08 Jan 2003 1640 Satellite imagery showed a vivid hot spot. A possible ash plume was observed moving W from the summit at 1545Z. By 1615Z the narrow plume extended ~18 km to the W of the summit.
08 Jan 2003 2010 Satellite imagery through 1945Z showed a larger eruption occurring with ash estimated to FL200 (6 km). The bulk of the ash was moving N but some moved W. The initial ash plume had detached and was moving W toward the coast.
09 Jan 2003 0200 Ash was not visible in nighttime infrared or multispectral imagery. The last visible image of the day showed ash to the W and NW of the summit moving at 18-28 km/hour. Guatemala City airport reported continuing eruptions.
09 Jan 2003 0755 Ash was not visible in infrared of multispectral imagery through 0715Z. Imagery showed a strong and persistent hot spot. Guatemala City airport reported continuous eruptions.
09 Jan 2003 1400 Ash was not visible in infrared or multispectral imagery through 1315Z. A persistent strong hot spot continued in shortwave imagery.
09 Jan 2003 1915 Ash too thin to be detected in satellite imagery. An occasional hot spot was detected in short wave imagery.
11 Jan 2003 1610 Thin faint ash plume seen in satellite imagery extending W from the volcano ~83 km.
11 Jan 2003 2150 Ash not identifiable in satellite imagery. Surface reports from Guatemala city through 2100Z continued to indicate that the volcano was active. A hot spot continued to be observed in satellite imagery.
12 Jan 2003 0400 Ash not identifiable in satellite imagery. No further reports from Guatemala. Hot spot continued to be observed in satellite imagery.
12 Jan 2003 1030 Ash not identifiable in satellite imagery. Surface reports from Guatemala City indicated that Fuego was active. An intermittent hot spot was seen in satellite imagery.
12 Jan 2003 1615 Ash not identified in satellite imagery and no hotspot was seen at the summit. Surface reports indicated continuing activity.
20 Jan 2003 0430 A report from the Guatemala Volcano Institute indicated that ongoing activity produced an ash cloud to 2 km above the summit (~5.8 km altitude) moving S and SW. Multi-spectral imagery showed the ash in a 18-km-wide line extending ~33 km from the summit. The report also indicated that ash was falling in the areas of La Rochela, Panimache, and Palo Verde.
20 Jan 2003 1030 Ash plume became diffuse and difficult to see on multi-spectral imagery. Around 530Z another puff of ash was seen moving to the SW and an intermittent hotspot was visible for the past few hours.
20 Jan 2003 1630 Exhalation of ash and steam at 0615Z. Ash plume diffuse and difficult to see on satellite imagery.

Observations during 3-13 January 2003. Craig Chesner and Sid Halsor reported continuous low-level volcanic activity and one larger event at Fuego during a 10-day site visit. Nearly continuous Strombolian-type spattering and fountaining were observed during the night of 3 January. Bombs and blocks, ejected up to several tens of meters above the summit vent, fell on the upper flanks. No ash was observed during this activity, although ashy trails were generated from ejecta tumbling down the steep southern and eastern slopes of the volcano. On 4 January, no lava fountaining was observed, and activity was characterized by steady and passive emission of a gas plume.

Energetic fountaining and spattering were observed during the night of 5 January from a vantage point on the summit of nearby Agua volcano. Fourteen Strombolian explosions occurred at intervals of 5-61 minutes during 5 hours of continuous observation. These explosions ejected incandescent material ~100 m above the cone, showering the upper flanks with blocks and bombs. Typically, each explosion was accompanied by a loud detonation and an ash plume, and led to several minutes of vigorous fountaining. This activity continued during the morning of 6 January, but by evening, no incandescent activity was apparent at the summit vent.

On the morning of 7 January, a new lava flow was noted on the southern flank, and ash trails generated from spalling blocks suggested that it was active. In the evening, vigorous lava fountaining and spattering had resumed, and the lava flow was seen descending from the summit area to the S. A nearly continuous cascade of pyroclasts produced incandescent rock falls on the upper flanks of the cone.

At 1030 on 8 January, an expansive plume of ash had developed over the summit area. Concurrent fountaining and pulsating eruptions of ash were observed from a vantage point near Alotenango, a few kilometers NE of the volcano. By 1100, the eruption column was broadening at its base, darkening in color, and extending to considerable height above the summit. The most intense phase of the eruption occurred roughly between 1145 and 1215 (figure 6). During this time, loud rumbling and swashing-like sounds accompanied continuous fountaining and frequent, energetic eruptions of ash. A bright incandescent fire fountain, several tens of meters high, was clearly observed at the base of the ash column. Twice during this time period, lateral ash columns, presumably associated with pyroclastic flows, were noted descending towards the W. A convective column engulfed the summit area and appeared to rise several kilometers to an altitude of ~2-3 times the height of the cone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Image of Fuego eruption taken on 8 January around 1200. View looking W from about 10 km away. The eruption cloud was dispersed westward and the ground-hugging smaller cloud just W from the summit area may have been associated with reported pyroclastic flows. Courtesy Sid Halsor.

By 1245, eruptive activity appeared to subside with eruptions becoming less frequent and gradual lightening in color of the ash cloud. Throughout the afternoon, the ash cloud drifted westward and dispersed ash-laden air over a broad region. A circumnavigation of the volcano during the afternoon indicated no detectable ash fall along the dispersal axis at a distance of ~9 km. However, a slight discoloration of vegetation was noted to the E of Yepocapa. Intermittent low to moderate ash eruptions continued throughout the day and summit fountaining was observed at night. The following morning (9 January), no visible activity was noted over a brief observational period. However, the summit area surrounding the vent had clearly changed, being asymmetrically higher to the NW. From 10-13 January, activity was characterized by periodic low-level Strombolian explosions and associated ash plumes. These plumes could be seen from as far away as western El Salvador.

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

Information Contacts: Gustavo Chigna M. and Otoniel Matías, Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), Ministero de Communicaciones, Transporto, Obras Públicas y Vivienda, 7a. Av. 14-57, zona 13, Guatemala City 01013, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); Juan Pablo Ligorria, Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala; Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, NOAA Satellite Services Division, NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center, Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/); Craig A. Chesner, Geology/Geography Department, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL 61920, USA; Sid P. Halsor, GeoEnvironmental Science and Engineering, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766; EFE via COMTEX, Prensa Libre, Siglo XXI.


Heard (Australia) — January 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

53.106°S, 73.513°E; summit elev. 2745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Infrared data show previously unknown activity during May-June 2000

Between 13 May 2000 and 30 January 2003, thermal alerts on Heard Island occurred on the following dates: 24 May; 3, 5, and 6 June; 25 September; 29 October; 5, 15, 19, and 24 November; 16, 17, 26, and 30 December 2000; and 2 February 2001 (figure 7). Since then no further thermal alerts have been recorded. There have been no reports of May-June 2000 activity on Heard Island published in the Bulletin. However, Rothery and Coppola are confident that the MODIS data prove high-temperature volcanic activity at these times. The late-2000 period of MODIS thermal alerts is substantiated by reports from ships and helicopters. The first of these, "fumarolic activity" on 19 October (BGVN 25:11), is 24 days later than the first MODIS thermal alert in this period. A fresh lava flow was suspected but unproven on 3 February (BGVN 26:02), and two incandescent vents were photographed on the same day (BGVN 26:03). The interpretation of the MODIS data is that lava effusion is likely. The locations of the alert pixels (figure 8) suggest that activity was on the WSW side of the summit, and may have extended about halfway to the shore.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. MODIS detected alerts on Heard during January 2000-March 2001. Courtesy of Diego Coppola and David Rothery, The Open University.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Locations of alert-pixels on Heard during 2001-2002. Grid squares are 1 km on a side. Base map from BGVN 17:05 (after Barling, 1990). Courtesy of Diego Coppola and David Rothery, The Open University.

Reference. Barling, J., 1990, Heard and McDonald Islands, in Le Masurier, W., and Thomson, J., eds., Volcanoes of the Antarctic Plate and southern Oceans: American Geophysical Union, Washington DC, p. 435-441.

Geologic Background. Heard Island on the Kerguelen Plateau in the southern Indian Ocean consists primarily of the emergent portion of two volcanic structures. The large glacier-covered composite basaltic-to-trachytic cone of Big Ben comprises most of the island, and the smaller Mt. Dixon lies at the NW tip of the island across a narrow isthmus. Little is known about the structure of Big Ben because of its extensive ice cover. The historically active Mawson Peak forms the island's high point and lies within a 5-6 km wide caldera breached to the SW side of Big Ben. Small satellitic scoria cones are mostly located on the northern coast. Several subglacial eruptions have been reported at this isolated volcano, but observations are infrequent and additional activity may have occurred.

Information Contacts: David A. Rothery and Diego Coppola, Department of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes MK 6AA, United Kingdom.


Lamington (Papua New Guinea) — January 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Lamington

Papua New Guinea

8.95°S, 148.15°E; summit elev. 1680 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Rumors of volcanism in April 2002 were false

During most of April 2002, residents of Popondetta Town, ~21 km NNE of Lamington, and villages near the volcano were besieged by rumors of the volcano showing signs of renewed activity. Later investigations found no evidence of volcanism. Some of the rumors included fire and "smoke" from the volcano, felt earthquakes, and noises. As a result of the rumors, a couple of schools closed, some residents buried their belongings for safekeeping, and others prepared to evacuate. At the time it was difficult for the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) to confirm or deny the reports because the monitoring equipment for Lamington had not been operating since October 2001.

Based on information from Geoscience Australia and satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that an E-drifting ash cloud from Lamington seemed to be evident on satellite imagery on 22 April at 1711. The height of the cloud was not known due to thunderstorms in the area making it difficult to detect ash. However, on 23 April at 1105 a flight service reported that no volcanic activity was evident at Lamington. By 26 April Darwin VAAC had concluded that the suspicious cloud was not related to volcanism.

Investigations by the Geological Survey of PNG (RVO and PMGO) of the Department of Mining were carried out during 21-25 April (courtesy of funding from AusAID). On 28 April 2002, RVO reported that, after 3-4 weeks of rumor and speculation suggesting Lamington was showing signs of renewed volcanic activity, none had occurred. Monitoring equipment was restored during the trip, and seismic recordings during those few days showed no seismicity. A very brief aerial inspection of the summit area showed no concrete evidence of renewed volcanic activity. There were no changes in the topographical features or vegetation to indicate recent activity. Small amounts of vapor were being emitted from a few fumarole locations, but that activity was not a new development. There have been no additional reports of unusual activity or increased seismicity through February 2003.

Geologic Background. Lamington is an andesitic stratovolcano with a 1.3-km-wide breached summit crater containing a lava dome. Prior to its renowned devastating eruption in 1951, the forested peak had not been recognized as a volcano. Mount Lamington rises above the coastal plain north of the Owen Stanley Range. A summit complex of lava domes and crater remnants tops a low-angle base of volcaniclastic deposits dissected by radial valleys. A prominent broad "avalanche valley" extends northward from the breached crater. Ash layers from two early Holocene eruptions have been identified. After a long quiescent period, the volcano suddenly became active in 1951, producing a powerful explosive eruption during which devastating pyroclastic flows and surges swept all sides of the volcano, killing nearly 3000 people. The eruption concluded with growth of a 560-m-high lava dome in the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Ima Itikarai, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — January 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Langila

Papua New Guinea

5.525°S, 148.42°E; summit elev. 1330 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Infrared data indicate activity during May-October 2002

Based on information from a pilot report, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported that an ash cloud from Langila was observed on 11 July 2002 at about 0900 and rose to a height of ~3.4 km. No ash was identifiable on satellite imagery. This was the first reported activity since October 2000 (BGVN 25:11). RVO noted that the observatory at Langila was broken into in 2000 and had its radio stolen. There are no telephones nearby, and since then they have had to rely on mailed reports (very infrequent), reports from pilots, and the Darwin VAAC.

MODVOLC Thermal Alerts, 2001-2002. MODIS thermal alerts occurred on 25 May, 19 and 26 June, 12-15, 24, and 26 August, and 13 October 2002; there were no alerts in 2001. The largest number of alert pixels was 3 on 14 August. The highest alert ratio was -0.648 on 24 August. Putting these two together suggests the most intense activity in mid-late August, but this could be severely biased by cloudy days. Available maps do not allow an accurate location of the summit, and are not of a scale to provide accurate registration. However, all but one of the alert pixels are within ~1 km of each other so there appears to be a spatially restricted event consistent with a short flow (less than a few hundred meters long) or a small dome or incandescent vent a few tens of meters across, which would affect more than one pixel when the pixel boundary fell across, or very close to, the flow, dome, or vent. Both recently active craters (Crater 1 and Crater 2) are also within a 1-km area, along a NE-SW trend, similar to the orientation of the alert pixels.

Geologic Background. Langila, one of the most active volcanoes of New Britain, consists of a group of four small overlapping composite basaltic-andesitic cones on the lower E flank of the extinct Talawe volcano in the Cape Gloucester area of NW New Britain. A rectangular, 2.5-km-long crater is breached widely to the SE; Langila was constructed NE of the breached crater of Talawe. An extensive lava field reaches the coast on the N and NE sides of Langila. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded since the 19th century from three active craters at the summit. The youngest and smallest crater (no. 3 crater) was formed in 1960 and has a diameter of 150 m.

Information Contacts: Diego Coppola and David A. Rothery, Department of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom; Darwin VAAC, Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Steve Saunders, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.


Lopevi (Vanuatu) — January 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Lopevi

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Infrared data corroborate and refine timing of known activity

During 2001-2002, MODIS alerts occurred only in June 2001 (figure 18). The first anomaly was detected on 9 June at 2210. This consisted of three alert-pixels with a maximum alert ratio of -0.299, and can be attributed to lava flows from a new vent 200 m above sea level on the NW side of the cone, which appeared in association with a plume-forming eruption on 8 June at around 1100 (BGVN 26:08). The only other MODIS alert was 14 June at 2225 local time, and consisted of two pixels closer to the summit (figure 6). According to a local guide (BGVN 26:08), a new flow was erupted in roughly this location on 15 June. MODIS alert data provide evidence that emplacement of this flow actually began during the previous night.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Locations of alert-pixels on Lopevi during 2001-2002. Courtesy of Diego Coppola and David Rothery, The Open University. Base map is from BGVN 26:08; courtesy of Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), Vanuatu.

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: Diego Coppola and David A. Rothery, Department of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — January 2003 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)


Low-moderate seismicity after May eruption; plume on 31 October

The Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) reported that the Strombolian eruption from Southern Crater of Manam on 20 May (BGVN 27:05) ended the next day after the last ash-laden clouds were released. Activity then declined to emissions of very small amounts of thin white vapor. A seismograph was installed at Warisi village on the SE side of the island on 22 May 2002. This is the first seismograph to be deployed since Manam Observatory was shut down on 16 January 2001. During 22-24 May seismicity was at a moderate level, mainly associated with many low-frequency volcanic earthquakes. During 25 May-2 June seismicity declined and fluctuated at a low level. At 1351 on 31 October 2002 a pilot reported "light brown dust/smoke" from Manam drifting S toward the main coastline at an estimated height of ~3.0 km. A possible thin low-level plume was seen on satellite imagery extending ~18.5 km N at 1425 that day, but was not seen on later imagery.

MODVOLC Thermal Alerts, 2001-2002. Throughout 2001 and 2002, thermal alerts for Manam occurred only in April and May 2002. The first alert occurred on 7 April and may reflect the tail end of 14-31 March activity reported by RVO when ejection of red incandescent lava fragments was observed (BGVN 27:05). MODIS detected no thermal alerts during that period, which could be a result of cloud cover or because activity was too slight or too intermittent to have triggered an alert.

The number of alert pixels and the value of the alert ratio both increased to a peak on 20 May, the date of a moderate-sized Strombolian eruption reported by RVO. The eruption continued until about 1400 on 20 May. Subsequently, activity declined and consisted of forceful ash emission in moderate volumes (BGVN 27:05). The biggest MODIS anomaly on 20 May was detected at 1015 with 10 alert-pixels and a maximum ratio of 0.178. This is five hours after the first known report of activity. After 12 hours the anomaly was smaller with seven alert-pixels and a maximum alert ratio of -0.322. On 21 May the decreasing thermal anomaly was represented by one alert-pixel with a ratio of -0.783.

During the earlier part of May, MODIS alerts suggested noteworthy activity at Manam that has not, to our knowledge, been reported elsewhere. The anomaly dropped briefly to a minimum on 16 May, which could reflect a lull in activity or partial cloud cover.

The centers of most alert-pixels for Manam lie systematically NW of the summit (figure 11). Bearing in mind that the strongest anomaly should occur at the summit and that ejecta appears to have gone mostly to the SE (BGVN 27:05), there is likely a systematic error in geolocation for this volcano on the MODIS thermal alerts site. The shift between the reported daytime and nighttime alert locations on 20 May could be a related effect, attributable to a 20° difference in satellite zenith angle between these two passes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Locations of alert-pixels on Manam during 2001-2002. Grid squares are 1 km. Base map is from BGVN 21:12 (after Palfreyman and Cooke, 1976). Courtesy of Diego Coppola and David Rothery, The Open University.

Reference. Palfreyman, W.D., and Cooke, R.J.S., 1976, Eruptive history of Manam volcano, Papua New Guinea in Johnson R.W. (ed.), Volcanism in Australasia, Elsevier, Amsterdam, p. 117-131.

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 basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano to its lower flanks. These 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 observed eruptions have originated from the southern crater, concentrating eruptive products during much of the past century into the SE valley. Frequent 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: Ima Itikarai, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea; Darwin VAAC, Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina Northern Territory 0811 Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Diego Coppola and David A. Rothery, Department of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom.


Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — January 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Infrared satellite data from the 25 July 2002 eruption

An eruption began at Nyamuragira on 25 July 2002 (BGVN 27:07). Flights on 1 and 3 August confirmed that the eruption was continuing at a high rate, but another look on 27 September showed that the eruption had ceased (BGVN 27:10). The eruption was observed in MODIS thermal satellite imagery (1-km2 pixel size).

Initial activity was detected on 25 July at 2040 UTC, with a large (57-pixel) thermal anomaly on the S and N flanks of the volcano. The anomaly grew in size, with an image on 27 July showing a large anomaly on the N flank and a subordinate anomaly on the S flank. On all subsequent days the anomaly was limited to the N flank. The anomaly reached a maximum size of 78 pixels on 1 August, at which point it extended approximately 12-15 pixels (or around 12-15 km) along its longest dimension (figure 22). After this point the size and intensity of the anomaly rapidly diminished (detected anomalies after mid-August were no more than 8 pixels in size). The last detected anomaly at Nyamuragira occurred on 1 October. Figures 23 and 24 show the number of anomalous pixels and the sum of the radiance for the entire eruptive event.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. MODIS imagery on 1 August 2002 showed the maximum number of anomalous pixels (78) for the July-August eruption at Nyamuragira. Courtesy HIGP/SOEST.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Total number of anomalous pixels visible on MODIS imagery during and following the July-August 2002 eruption of Nyamuragira. Courtesy HIGP/SOEST.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Sum of the radiance values for bands 21 and 32 on MODIS imagery during and following the July-August 2002 eruption of Nyamuragira. Courtesy HIGP/SOEST.

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

Information Contacts: Matt Patrick, Andy Harris, Luke Flynn, Robert Wright, Harold Garbiel, and Eric Pilger, HIGP/SOEST, University of Hawaii at Manoa, HI 96822 USA.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — January 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Rabaul

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued ash eruptions from three vents at Tavurvur

During mid-December 2002 through early February 2003, eruptions at Tavurvur continued from three vents at different times. The eruptions were characterized by slow, thick convoluted ash plumes occurring at irregular intervals and rising about several hundred to thousands of meters above the summit. Occasionally they became forceful. Throughout the report period light to pale gray ash plumes drifted in various directions, resulting in ashfall in the town of Rabaul, Matupit Island, Malaguna village, and other areas. During 20-27 January ash emissions were associated with discrete short-duration seismic events and slightly longer duration events. The former event types were pronounced during 20-27 January, but on 26 and 27 January seismicity changed to the low-amplitude medium-to-long duration type.

Generally, the seismicity fluctuated at low-to-moderate levels. A period of harmonic tremor was recorded on the morning of 18 December 2002. That day, the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) reported that the gaps between emissions seemed to have lengthened over the previous 24 hours. During 19-20 December, occasional larger explosions showered the flanks with rocks. Following the explosions ash-poor plumes were gently emitted from the whole area of the Northern Crater. During 20-23 December there was a slight increase in the number of volcanic earthquakes due to more ash emissions. The increase in volcanic earthquakes tapered off over the next few days.

Ground deformation measurements from real-time GPS showed no significant changes. On 24 January RVO reported that the electronic tiltmeter had been showing a slow inflation during the previous 2 months. That trend ceased by 27 January, when ground-deformation measurements from real-time GPS changed to show an inflationary trend through 2 February. Long-duration, low-amplitude earthquakes occurred through at least 10 February.

MODVOLC Thermal Alerts, 2001-2002. During 2001 and 2002, MODIS alerts occurred only during April-September 2001 and June-December 2002. These anomalies were always represented by a single alert-pixel, except for 26 May 2001, 4 July 2001, and 22 October 2002, which each had two alert-pixels. The maximum alert ratio was on 4 July 2001 when it reached -0.26. The center coordinates of all the alert-pixels plot within 1 km of each other, in a cluster centered ~1 km W of Tavurvur (figure 37), which is the only site of known activity during this period. This high degree of repeatability offset from the likely seat of the anomaly at the summit vent suggests a systematic error in geolocation.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Locations of alert-pixels at Rabaul during 2001-2002. Base map from BGVN 25:07 (modified from Almond and McKee, 1982). Courtesy of Diego Coppola and David Rothery, The Open University.

The first alert was detected on 26 April 2001, and can be related to a change in activity on Tavurvur from occasional sub-continuous ash emissions to frequent, short-duration ash expulsions on 25 April (BGVN 26:06). From 21 May to 2 June MODIS detected a series of anomalies characterized by a single pixel (two pixels on 26 May) with a low alert ratio averaging -0.774. For this period RVO reported incandescent explosions that lessened in frequency and vigor towards the end of May but picked up again on 30 May when explosions produced dark ash clouds that rose to 1-1.5 km above the vent. On 1-2 June activity was dominated by strong discrete explosions. At night, red incandescent lava fragments were visible (BGVN 26:10). On 4 July 2001 MODIS detected a moderate anomaly coincident with Tavurvur cone, characterized by two alert-pixels with a maximum alert ratio of -0.263. The anomaly was much smaller on 6 July. Reports by RVO (BGVN 26:10) indicated a quiet period from 20 June through July and most of August marked by emission of thin, white vapor. Activity remained low throughout September and October (BGVN 26:10). MODIS detected a single alert-pixel on 17 September, possibly corresponding to the last ash-producing activity in early September 2001.

The next MODIS alerts were in 2002 on 14 June, 19 September, 22 October, 21 November, and 25 December. These were single pixels except for the 22 October anomaly, which was 2 pixels in size. This may represent the aftermath of a large explosion on 20 October that produced a thick, dark ash plume that rose 3 km (BGVN 27:11).

Reference. Almond, R.A., and McKee, C.O., 1982, Location of volcano-tectonic earthquakes within the Rabaul Caldera: Geological Survey of Papua New Guinea Report 82/19.

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

Information Contacts: Ima Itikarai, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea; Diego Coppola and David A. Rothery, Department of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom.


Special Announcements (Unknown) — January 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Special Announcements

Unknown

Unknown, Unknown; summit elev. m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Global high-temperature thermal monitoring system (MODIS Thermal Alerts)

The MODIS Thermal Alerts website (http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/) is the first truly global high-temperature thermal monitoring system for volcanic activity. This system is capable of detecting and documenting changes in active lava flows, lava domes, lava lakes, strongly incandescent vents, and hot pyroclastic flows. No alert is likely to be triggered by an ash cloud. MODIS cannot see through weather clouds and is also liable to miss events of less than several hours duration. Nevertheless, MODIS is capable of adding significant information to the record of global volcanic activity.

As described by Flynn and others (2001), Wright and others (2002), and Rothery and others (2003), 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 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument 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 day-time alerts (at approximately 1030 local time) based on the same algorithm. These incorporate a correction for estimated solar reflection and a more stringent threshold, whereby the alert ratio must be more positive than -0.6 to trigger an alert.

In order to bring this valuable tool to the attention of a wider community, Dave Rothery and Diego Coppola have provided an analysis of volcanic activity detected by MODIS in Melanesia from January 2001 to December 2002, which they relate as fully as possible to conventional observations in the Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network. In the cases of Manam, Rabaul, Ulawun, and Pago there is a high degree of correspondence between MODIS alerts and independently derived observations. In the cases of Bagana, Tinakula, and Ambrym the MODIS alerts represent the only hitherto reported evidence of activity during 2001-2002. Lopevi and Yasur are intermediate cases, where MODIS adds significantly to what has previously been reported. All the 'new' activity is not necessarily unknown to local volcanologists (though this may be so in some cases), and in fact additional information from local sources would help to refine the MODIS interpretation. However, the MODIS Thermal Alerts provide a useful source of near real-time information that is openly available for the benefit of the global volcanism community.

Graphs of the 'alert ratio' and number of alerted pixels indicate the magnitude of every anomaly detected during the period. In some cases these are accompanied by maps indicating the center coordinates of the alerted pixels. The original pixels are 1 x 1 km squares, which means that the true site of a spatially small anomaly that has triggered an alert can be anywhere within a 1-km box surrounding the center point. The geolocational accuracy of MODIS pixel coordinates is generally reckoned to be better than 1 km, but may become worse for high volcanoes, especially when seen close to the edge of an imaging swath (when the satellite can be more than 45 degrees away from the zenith). Furthermore, for some of the more remote volcanoes MODIS scientists believe there may remain significant map-location errors.

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.

Rothery, D.A., Thorne, M.T., and Flynn, L., 2003, MODIS thermal alerts in Britain and the North Sea during the first half of 2001: International Journal of Remote Sensing, v. 24, p. 817-826.

Geologic Background. Special announcements or information of general interest not linked to any specific volcano.

Information Contacts:


Stromboli (Italy) — January 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava emissions continue into January; crater morphology changes

The effusive eruption at Stromboli, which began 28 December 2002, continued into January 2003. Effusion of lava occurred at a main vent located at 500 m elevation in the middle of the Sciara del Fuoco, within the scar remaining after the 30 December 2002 landslide. The position of this vent has been rather stable since its opening, also on 30 December. Another vent, located at 600 m elevation at the NE base of Crater 1, has been active several times during the eruption, forming low-effusion rate, short lava flows lasting from a few hours to a few days. Effusion rates along the Sciara del Fuoco from the 500 m vent were very variable. During peaks in effusion rate, aa lava flows were reaching the sea causing phreatic explosions at the front. A decrease in effusion rate formed a fan of thin, narrow lava flows spreading on the upper flow field without reaching the sea.

Activation of the 600 m vent occurred each time the 500 m vent showed a marked decrease in effusion rate, suggesting a temporary magma level rise within the feeder conduit of the volcano. This observation was confirmed by an approximately 50°C increase in temperature at the bottom of the craters during activation of the 600 m vent, recorded during daily thermal mapping from a helicopter.

Lava flow emission along the Sciara del Fuoco formed a very thick flow field within the landslide scar of 30 December. Occasional small landslides from the unstable walls of the Sciara cover the lava flows with talus, increasing the thickness and instability of the flow field.

During a helicopter-borne thermal survey carried out on 12 January, arcuate cracks were detected around the southern base of the summit craters of the volcano. Other fractures, oriented NE-SW, cut through the craters. These probably result from drainage of magma in the upper part of the conduit. Collapse of the crater floor in early January significantly changed the morphology of the upper part of the volcano. Crater 2 (the middle crater) has disappeared, and Crater 1 (NE) and Crater 3 (SW) were joined together to form a unique, elongate depression. No explosive activity has been detected at the summit craters of the volcano since the start of the effusion within the Sciara del Fuoco.

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


Tinakula (Solomon Islands) — January 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Tinakula

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Observers and infrared data indicate eruptive activity since 1989

Following an eruption and tsunami from Tinakula (figure 1) during September-December 1971 (CSLP Cards 1297, 1300, and 1301), there were brief reports of large steam plumes and ash plumes in June 1984 (SEAN 09:06) and June 1985 (SEAN 10:06). This report includes observations from a variety of sources. John Seach has provided information about activity during 1989-90 and 1995, as well as some insight into hazards faced by island residents in the area. Passengers on tour expedition ships noted continuing activity in May 1999 and November 2002. MODIS thermal alerts were triggered on three occasions during January-April 2001. In April 2002 excellent observations of eruptive activity were made by scientists on an Australian research vessel.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Sketch map of Tinakula island based on work and publications by G.W. Hughes (1972) and colleagues and summarized by Eissen and others (1991).

Observations in 1989-90 and 1995. John Seach observed Tinakula volcano from the Reef Islands (54 km ENE) from August 1989 to February 1990. Typical activity consisted of Vulcanian eruptions and ash emission to 200-400 m above the summit. Eruptions occurred in distinct bursts separated by intervals ranging from minutes to hours. Reports from sailors indicated that lava bombs frequently rolled down to the sea on the NW side of the volcano, and glowing avalanches were observed at night.

Tinakula was approached by motorized canoe on two occasions in 1995, but dangerous seas made landing impossible. Ongoing ash emissions originated from the summit area. The upper slopes of the volcano were bare and exposed to gas emissions. Regions of mass wasting on the flanks were common, and blocks of lava and rubble were found at sea level at various locations around the island. However, some of the lower flanks were covered with thick vegetation. During a Solair flight from Santa Cruz to Honiara in late September 1995, activity was observed at the summit crater with ash emissions drifting several kilometers towards the W.

The island has not been inhabited since the tsunami in 1971, but islanders from the outer Reef Islands occasionally travel to tend gardens on the SE flank. The ocean between Santa Cruz Island and Reef Islands is dangerous, with many currents and high seas regularly capsizing boats. Landing on the island is always dangerous due to prevailing swells and the lack of a suitable beach. The dominant SE trade winds blow ash and gases away from inhabited islands for most of the year, but a large eruption occurring in westerly winds may affect populations in the Reef Islands. Volcanic bombs (5 cm in diameter) of an unknown age located in villages on the Reef Islands (over 50 km away) were reported to have fallen from the sky.

Observations during May 1999. On the morning of 16 May 1999, Matthew Mumford, on a sailing expedition aboard the Akademik Shuleykin, noted as they approached Tinakula that ". . . a cloud of darkness was blown skyward before our bow. As the ash moved across the sky, the contrast of gray against the white pillows of cloud gave a clear indication of how active this volcano continues to be."

MODVOLC Thermal Alerts, 2000-2002. MODIS alerts for Tinakula on 15 January 2001, 6 March 2001, and 16 April 2001 provide objective evidence of continued volcanic activity. The maximum alert ratio was low (-0.75), indicating small-scale activity. The absence of alerts since April 2001 was judged more likely to be because the level of activity has dipped below the -0.8 alert-ratio threshold rather than because of a genuine cessation of activity.

Observations during April 2002. Scientists from the RV Franklin briefly investigated Tinakula during the SOLAVENTS expedition, 26 March-21 April 2002. A vent high up on the W flank was actively expelling gas/steam, which could be heard as a low roar 50 m from shore. Small avalanches down the steep W side were common, and one larger eruption observed from the vessel's bridge lasted about 5 minutes. Small optical transmission anomalies were detected in the water column and are probably turbidity induced-particulate plumes. A weak methane anomaly was also recorded ~2.8 km off the NW coast of Tinakula. The following is based on extracts from the daily narrative section of the cruise report (McConachy and others, 2002).

The Franklin arrived ~3.2 km off the W coast of Tinakula at 0705 on 6 April 2002 (figures 2-5) and in perfect conditions the Zodiac rescue boat was deployed with Able Seaman Graham and scientists Richard Arculus and Donn Tolia to commence water sampling. The zodiac was safely back on deck by 0815. The scientists reported a roaring noise from Tinakula's active crater heard when the boat was 50 m offshore.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Photo showing the N coast of Tinakula as viewed from the zodiac boat off the R/V Franklin, 6 April 2002. The landslide scarp descends to the sea on the NW side of the island. Ndeni Island can be seen in the background S of Tinakula. Photographed by Donn Tolia, Director, Geological Survey of the Solomon Islands; courtesy of CSIRO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Close-up view of Tinakula showing the landslide scarp and embayment on the NW coast. The breached summit crater is mostly hidden by steam emissions. Photographed by Donn Tolia, Director, Geological Survey of the Solomon Islands; courtesy of CSIRO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Photo of Tinakula taken from the RV Franklin, 6 April 2002. Photographed by Susan Belford; courtesy of CSIRO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Photo of Tinakula in the distance taken from the RV Franklin, 6 April 2002. Photographed by Susan Belford; courtesy of CSIRO.

From virtually the same location a grab sample collected material from the 1971 eruption at around 950 m depth. An excellent, 75%-full load of exceptionally well-sorted black volcanic sand was recovered, consisting of plagioclase, pyroxene and red-brown fragments; no foraminifera were visible. A CTD-Hydrocast followed at around 0910. During this operation, smoke came from a vent 2/3 way up the summit on the W side of the sector collapse, and minor avalanches came down scree slopes on the N side of the collapse area. A number of light transmission anomalies were observed on the down cast and sampled on the upcast. They are most likely particle plumes following isopycnals (constant density surfaces) sloughing off the main slope.

Observations during November 2002. Passengers on the Zegrahm Expeditions cruise ship Clipper Odyssey observed that Tinakula was "active" on the morning of 18 November 2002, but no description of the activity was provided.

References. McConachy, T.F., Yeats, C.J., Arculus, R.J., Beattie, R., Belford, S., Holden, J., Kim, J., MacDonald, L., Schardt, C., Sestak, S., Stevens, B., and Tolia, D., 2002, SOLAVENTS-2002: Solomons Australia Vents Expedition Aboard the RV Franklin, 26 March-21 April 2002, edited by C.J. Yeats, CSIRO Exploration and Mining Report 1026F, 456 p.

Hughes, G.W., 1972, Geological map of Tinakula: Nendö sheet EOI 1, Soloman Geol. Survey, Honiara.

Eissen, J-P., Blot, C., and Louat, R., 1991, Chronology of the historic volcanic activity of the New Hebrides island arc from 1595 to 1991: Rapports Scientifiques et Technique, Sciences de la Terre, No. 2, ORSTOM, France.

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

Information Contacts: Timothy F. McConachy, CSIRO Exploration and Mining, PO Box 136, North Ryde, NSW 1670, Australia (URL: http://mnf.csiro.au/); Diego Coppola and David A. Rothery, Department of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom; John Seach, PO Box 16, Chatsworth Island, NSW 2469, Australia (URL: http://www.volcanolive.com/); Jeff and Cynthia Gneiser, Zegrahm & Eco Expeditions, 192 Nickerson Street ##200, Seattle, WA 98109, USA (URL: https://www.zegrahm.com/); Matthew Mumford, Unit 1.02, 26 Kippax Street, Surrey Hills, NSW 2010, Australia.


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — January 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Ulawun

Papua New Guinea

5.05°S, 151.33°E; summit elev. 2334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash plumes from August through early November 2002

During mid-March 2002 through at least early February 2003, activity from the main crater and the N valley vents of Ulawun were unchanged and generally remained low. The vent in the main crater released weak-to-moderate volumes of white and white-gray vapor. The N valley vents sometimes produced very weak traces of thin white vapor. Seismicity returned to background levels after volcanic tremors ceased on 18 March 2002. Discrete low-frequency earthquakes continued to occur in small numbers. During 15-28 April the seismicity level was low, however from 29 April seismicity increased to a moderate level following an episode of continuous volcanic tremor. The tremor ceased on 25 May. In June, RVO reported that the electronic tiltmeter continued to show long-term deflation of the summit area, but the amount of change was smaller than in the previous 1-3 months. Small continuous volcanic tremors became more prominent beginning on 21 January 2003 and ceased on 27 January.

Satellite imagery showed eruption plumes on 22 and 28 August (news reports indicated continued activity that entire week), and 6-7 September 2002 (BGVN 27:08). The Darwin VAAC issued advisories about low-level ash plumes on 12 and 19 September, and an ash-and-steam cloud to ~3.7 km on 28 September. Low-level ash plumes were noted again on 2 and 16 October, with another higher plume (~3.6 km) on the 22nd. At 0630 on 3 November an Air Niugini pilot reported ash drifting ESE from the volcano at ~3 km altitude.

MODVOLC Thermal Alerts, 2001-2002. Throughout 2001 and 2002, thermal alerts for Ulawun occurred only during 26-28 April 2001. The first detected anomaly was at 2225 on 26 April and consisted of four alert-pixels with a maximum alert ratio of -0.095. By the following day the anomaly had increased in spatial dimension to eight alert-pixels although the maximum alert ratio was lower (-0.224). On 28 April at 2215 the anomaly had increased to 15 alert-pixels with a higher maximum alert ratio of -0.053. After that no more anomalies were detected.

This sequence can be related to events reported by the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (BGVN 26:06) On 26 April 2001 at 0530 a small Strombolian eruption began. This was characterized by glowing lava fragments ejected by frequent explosions followed by small pyroclastic flows. During the day activity decreased but on 27 April at 0530 another phase of Strombolian activity began. A small pyroclastic flow occurred followed by a lava flow that descended to about 500-600 m above sea-level. This is presumably the cause of the 15-pixel alert on 28 April (figure 8). A third phase of Strombolian activity began at about 0600 on 29 April. This phase was slower and more gradual, peaking at about 1800-2200 on 29 April, and did not produce a MODIS thermal alert.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Locations of MODIS alert-pixels on Ulawun during 2001-2002. Courtesy of Diego Coppola and David Rothery, The Open University.

Geologic Background. The symmetrical basaltic-to-andesitic Ulawun stratovolcano is the highest volcano of the Bismarck arc, and one of Papua New Guinea's most frequently active. The volcano, also known as the Father, rises above the N coast of the island of New Britain across a low saddle NE of Bamus volcano, the South Son. The upper 1,000 m is unvegetated. A prominent E-W escarpment on the south may be the result of large-scale slumping. Satellitic cones occupy the NW and E flanks. A steep-walled valley cuts the NW side, and a flank lava-flow complex lies to the south of this valley. Historical eruptions date back to the beginning of the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions were mildly explosive until 1967, but after 1970 several larger eruptions produced lava flows and basaltic pyroclastic flows, greatly modifying the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Ima Itikarai, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Diego Coppola and David A. Rothery, Department of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom.


Veniaminof (United States) — January 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Veniaminof

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor ash emissions in early October 2002; increased seismicity in December

Uncertain low-level eruptive activity occurred at Veniaminof in September 2002 (BGVN 27:10). During October 2002, seismicity was lower than when it was first noted in early September, although it was still above background levels. Visual observations were intermittent and inconclusive. The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) received reports ranging from minor-steam and possible ash emissions, to no signs of activity. Satellite imagery on 2 October suggested an apparent gray, diffuse deposit extending across the caldera from the historically active intracaldera cinder cone. This could reflect a small explosion, vigorous steam emission, or redistribution of material by strong winds; no thermal anomalies were observed on satellite imagery. Footage obtained later, but recorded in early October, showed minor ash emission from the intracaldera cone rising ~100-200 m above the cone and drifting a short distance before dispersing. A faint covering of ash was visible on the caldera ice field extending from the base of the cone.

On 18 November AVO lowered the Concern Color Code from Yellow to Green. Since early October they had received no pilot reports or other observations of activity at the volcano. Also, they had not detected thermal anomalies in any clear satellite images. Though seismicity remained above levels recorded during summer of 2002, it remained roughly constant during the previous month at a level notably lower than in September.

Seismicity began to increase in mid-December, and on 6 January AVO raised the Concern Color Code from Green to Yellow. No thermal anomalies were detected on satellite imagery. Elevated seismicity continued through February 2003, with discrete seismic events occurring at a rate of 1-2 per minute during 21-28 February. Nearly constant periods of seismicity were recorded during the report week. Discrete seismic events occurred at rates up to 1-2 events per minute, along with moderate levels of volcanic tremor. Satellite imagery did not reveal increased surface temperatures, ash emission, or ash deposits. Visual observations on 22 January from the village of Perryville, located 35 km SSW of the volcano, revealed that white steam was rising from the intracaldera cone. The steaming was similar to that observed over the previous several months. The Concern Color Code remained at Yellow.

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

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA, b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA.


Witori (Papua New Guinea) — January 2003 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)


Slow lava effusion within the caldera continues through January 2003

The eruption that began at Pago on 3 August 2002 (BGVN 27:07-27:09 and 27:12) continued through at least early February 2003. The Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) reported that slow effusion of the lava flow from the northwestern-most vent continued. The flow was still contained within the Witori Caldera. An aerial inspection on 10 December confirmed that the lava was still moving. Besides the continuing lava flow, a weak glow was observed on the night of 28 December and rumbling noises were heard for a very short period on 9 January. Rumblings noises were also reported on 4 and 9 February.

Small volcano-tectonic earthquakes continued at background levels. Variable amounts of white vapor were released from the vents. During late December and January the northwestern-most vent was releasing some bluish vapor, indicative of continuing eruption of lava from the same vent. Some booming noises were reported on 22 January from the summit area. As of 24 January 2003, reports of browning vegetation on the S part of the volcano had not been investigated due to logistical problems. However, RVO stated that a likely cause was volcanic plumes containing sulfur gases blowing to the S and SE and affecting vegetation. Ground deformation showed a lack of significant changes during December. This contrasts with the period between the start of the eruption on 3 August and the beginning of November when complex and significant movements were recorded.

MODVOLC Thermal Alerts, 2001-2002. Throughout 2001 and 2002, thermal alerts for Pago occurred only during August-December 2002 (figure 17). This period was characterized by continuous thermal anomalies first detected on 6 August at 1030 and growing to several pixels in size. At this time the anomaly consisted of a single alert-pixel with an alert ratio of -0.31. At 2250 MODIS detected five alert-pixels with a maximum alert ratio of -0.35. The alert ratio of the anomaly rose to a peak on 8 August at 1015 when a single alert-pixel had an alert ratio of -0.035.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. MODIS detected alerts on Pago during 2001-2002. Courtesy of Diego Coppola and David Rothery, The Open University.

After that, during August detected alerts on Pago gradually decreased. On 15 August the anomaly consisted of three alert-pixels with a maximum alert ratio of -0.077, and on 22 August two alert-pixels were detected with maximum alert ratio of -0.167. The RVO reported that the eruption continued with low levels of activity during August and was characterized by the ejection of ash clouds (BGVN 27:08). The earliest date reported for lava effusion is 9 August (BGVN 27:07).

On 26 August MODIS detected five alert-pixels with a maximum alert ratio of -0.291. The anomaly decreased on 29 August when only one alert-pixel was detected (alert ratio -0.318), but had expanded by 31 August to two alert-pixels with a maximum alert ratio of -0.382, and by 2 September to four alert-pixels with a maximum alert ratio of -0.345. This series of anomalies is evidently related to lava erupted from the craters NW of the central cone during 25 August to 3 September (BGVN 27:08), during which lava flowed NE and then SW after reaching the caldera wall. The coordinates of the alert-pixels throughout the eruption were dispersed between the active vent and the caldera wall in a pattern consistent with this description (figure 18).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Locations of alert-pixels on Pago during 2001-2002. Courtesy of Diego Coppola and David Rothery, The Open University.

On 9 September MODIS detected a single pixel anomaly with an alert ratio of -0.275. This anomaly was probably related to the explosion(s) that produced a 1.5-km-high ash-and-steam plume visible on satellite images on 7 and 8 September (BGVN 27:08). During September and October the alert ratio became lower and varied between one and five pixels. The relatively high alert ratio of -0.441 on 2 October was probably related to continuous lava flows in the NE portion of a fissure system inside the caldera, reported by the RVO (BGVN 27:09). MODIS detected continuous anomalies during October-December 2002, attributed to continuing lava effusion. Another alert was recorded on 15 January 2003.

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: Ima Itikarai, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), PO Box 386, Rabaul, E.N.B.P., Papua New Guinea; Diego Coppola and David A. Rothery, Department of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom.


Yasur (Vanuatu) — January 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptive activity from the summit crater continued through 2002

Eruptive activity has continued at Yasur since a more vigorous phase began in October 2001 that lasted at least into January 2002 (BGVN 27:01). This report includes details for a period of mild activity during 24-28 July 2000 (not previously included in the Bulletin). Since that time visitors noted activity continuing in October 2000 and September 2001 (BGVN 26:11), as well as October and December 2001 (BGVN 27:01). Accounts are provided below of activity during January, August, November, and December 2002. Finally, MODIS thermal-alert data confirm intermittent lower level activity in 2001, and an increase in vigor beginning in August 2002.

Observations during July 2000. Roberto Carniel, Douglas Charley, and Marco Fulle arrived on Tanna Island on 24 July 2000 and camped at the base of the E slope of the cone. The lake that used to fill part of the surrounding Ash Plain had disappeared after heavy rains during the rainy season caused the overflow of the lake, damaging several houses in the village of Sulphur Bay. In the active crater, three smaller craters were distinguished, named A, B, and C, from left to right as seen from the E rim, where local guides bring tourists. This spot lies no more than 150 m from the most active C vents (figure 30). During the visit Crater B was slightly active, while Crater A appeared dormant.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. Photo showing the three subcraters within the active summit crater of Yasur, 24 July 2000. The N end of the island of Tanna and the Pacific Ocean can be seen in the right background. Courtesy of Marco Fulle.

On the afternoon of 24 July the activity was moderate to high. Between 1620 and 1640 frequent spattering was observed by Carniel at the C/1 and C/2 vents. Between 1640 and 1820 eight eruptions were observed at vent C/0, with another 10 eruptions at vent C/1. On average the latter vent exhibited the bigger eruptions, in one case accompanied by gray emissions.

During the morning of 25 July the activity was again quite intense; observations were sometimes disturbed by a strong wind. Between 0825 and 0910 the explosions were mostly concentrated in the C/0 vent (six eruptions). Some of them were accompanied by the emission of brown ash at the end. During this period three silent explosions with only brown ash emitted were observed at vent B/1, completely inactive the previous day. C/1 showed only one eruption. After 20 minutes with no eruptions, from 0930 to 1130 the activity was mostly concentrated in the C/1 vent, where 17 eruptions were observed, some ended by a brown ash emission. The vent also showed about ten minutes of frequent spattering around 1120; during the same period B/1 vent produced two more silent ash eruptions and a brief spattering was observed at a vent, C/2, that looked different from C/1 but did not show any other activity after this. After 0930 vent C/0 did not show any activity.

During the afternoon, new visual observations were made by Carniel. From 1700 to 1725 very low activity was observed. Two successive silent brown ash eruptions from vent B/1 accompanied the start of a more intense phase for vent C/1. This vent erupted 15 times between 1725 and 1855, sometimes also showing continuous spattering and glow. Again no activity was seen at vent C/0.

During the morning of 26 July visual observations were made between 0835 and 1125. The first ten minutes were characterized by continuous and loud spattering at vent C/1, which showed a total of 18 explosions, some of them extremely loud and/or accompanied by the emission of gray ash. Vent C/0 showed only three eruptions, but all very loud and followed by a brown ash emission. One single silent ash eruption was observed at vent B/1 at 0945.

Carniel made other visual observations between 1700 and 1750 on the afternoon of 26 July, when the activity was characterized by a variable level of continuous spattering from vent C/1, which also showed 10 eruptions. During this period vent C/0 showed a single eruption at 1736. No activity was observed in crater B.

After a morning characterized by rain, Carniel and Fulle climbed the volcano again on the afternoon of 27 July. The air was still humid and gas stayed over the craters. The volcano was very quiet between the eruptions, with no sounds and no spattering at any vent. Between 1630 and 1730 there were 14 eruptions observed at vent C/1, but most of them were gas-rich emissions with very few bombs reaching the vent rim. Only two eruptions slightly bigger than spattering were observed at vent C/0.

On the morning of 28 July 2000, before leaving the volcano, the team made their last visual observations. Activity was moderate and visibility not very good. Many eruptions were very loud and they could be ascribed to C/1 from the sound alone, even when not visible. At 0920 a rockfall was heard from the S side of the caldera rim.

Observations during January 2002. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies noted on 16 January 2002 that scientists were on alert for heightened volcanic activity at Yasur following a M 7.2 earthquake on 3 January. The earthquake produced landslides in Vanuatu's capital, Port Vila on Efate Island, and damaged buildings and bridges in the city, but there were no deaths or serious injuries. During 5 January to at least 16 January ash fell on Tanna Island, polluting water sources. The week of 6 January the Vanuatu government restricted access to the volcano's crater citing an increased risk of an eruption since the 3 January earthquake.

The Volcanic Ash Advisory Center in Wellington notified aviators of an eruption on 25 January around 1300. A pilot reported that the ash cloud rose to ~2 km altitude and slowly drifted S. The ash cloud was not visible on satellite imagery, possibly due to heavy meteorological cloud cover.

Observations during August 2002. The European Volcanological Society posted a report from the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) on 3 September 2002. At that time the increasing level of activity at Yasur since October 2001 and the M 6 earthquake of 29 August 2002 had prompted IRD to upgrade the hazard status to Alarm Level 3, closing access to the volcano. The earthquake was strongly felt by residents of the entire district around the volcano. This was the first time since the seismic station was installed in October 1992 that a shock of such magnitude was recorded. Elders of the Yasur district confirmed that such an earthquake had not been experienced within living memory. The installation of two new seismological monitoring stations is planned, to complement the existing alarm system installed 2 km from Yasur and the Isangel station.

Observations during November 2002. On 22 November 2002 a group of passengers from the Zegrahm Expeditions cruise ship Clipper Odyssey visited the summit area. They observed Strombolian activity from one crater and heard thunderous whooshing sounds followed by thick yellow and white smoke from another.

Observations during December 2002. John Seach visited to the volcano on 7 December 2002, approaching by 4WD vehicle across the dry bed of Lake Siwi, which drained in 2000 after a collapse of the natural dam on the N end of the ash plain. Reports from Sulphur Bay village indicated that many houses were destroyed by the flooding. Flowing water from the lake eroded a 5-m-deep section of ground at the location of the dam (figure 31).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Erosion channel at the N end of the ash plain at Yasur caused by draining of Lake Siwi. Courtesy of John Seach.

Three fumaroles were active on the caldera wall near the parking area at the summit. The crater rim was climbed from the SE and observations made from 1700 to 1930. Yasur showed a high level of activity with up to three vents erupting simultaneously inside the main crater. Eruptions occurred every one or two seconds during the 2.5-hour stay at the summit. Most eruptions were Strombolian with glowing bombs sent up to 150 m above the crater (figure 32). Projectiles generally fell back inside the crater, but the northern-most vent occasionally sent glowing lava bombs over the N and NE crater rims. Mild Vulcanian eruptions occurred at times with ash ejected to 100 m above the crater. Bombs were ejected as either glowing orange blobs of lava or black crusted material. Eruptions were accompanied by loud explosions and ground shaking. Bombs impacting on the ash made a sound like raindrops.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Time-lapse nigh photo of a Strombolian eruption from Yasur (southern vent) on 7 December 2002. Courtesy of John Seach.

Seismic counts made by the Institute of Research and Development (Noumea) showed an increase in eruptive activity at Yasur in the beginning of December 2002 with Level 3 events increasing from 10 to 40 per hour (see BGVN 27:01 for description of seismic count data). Seismic counts remained elevated until the end of January 2003 when activity reduced to pre-December 2002 levels.

MODVOLC Thermal Alerts, 2001-2002. MODIS alerts occurred only three times in 2001 but increased in frequency, size, and alert ratio during 2002 (figure 33). The alerts that occurred in 2001, on 10 March, 4 April, and 31 August, were characterized by a single alert-pixel with very low alert ratio. Ground reports for this period noted mild eruptive activity, with vigorous Strombolian activity beginning in late December 2001 (BGVN 26:11 and 27:01). From 31 January 2002 MODIS indicates quasi-continuous activity throughout the year, which was at its most intense in the two months beginning 29 August 2002 (2210 local time). This followed the M 6 volcanic earthquake at 1500. A map of alert-pixel coordinates places them consistently E of the crater, but this may be a geolocation error rather than being indicative of a new vent.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. MODIS thermal alerts on Yasur during 2001-2002. Courtesy of Diego Coppola and David Rothery, The Open University.

Geologic Background. Yasur, the best-known and most frequently visited of the Vanuatu volcanoes, has been in more-or-less continuous Strombolian and Vulcanian activity since Captain Cook observed ash eruptions in 1774. This style of activity may have continued for the past 800 years. Located at the SE tip of Tanna Island, this mostly unvegetated pyroclastic cone has a nearly circular, 400-m-wide summit crater. The active cone is largely contained within the small Yenkahe caldera, and is the youngest of a group of Holocene volcanic centers constructed over the down-dropped NE flank of the Pleistocene Tukosmeru volcano. The Yenkahe horst is located within the Siwi ring fracture, a 4-km-wide, horseshoe-shaped caldera associated with eruption of the andesitic Siwi pyroclastic sequence. Active tectonism along the Yenkahe horst accompanying eruptions has raised Port Resolution harbor more than 20 m during the past century.

Information Contacts: Roberto Carniel, Università di Udine, Italy (URL: http://www.swisseduc.ch/stromboli/); Douglas Charley, Département de la Géologie, des Mines et des Ressources en eau, Vanuatu; Marco Fulle, Osservatorio Astronomico, Trieste, Italy (URL: http://www.swisseduc.ch/stromboli/); Diego Coppola and David A. Rothery, Department of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom; John Seach, PO Box 16, Chatsworth Island, NSW 2469, Australia (URL: http://www.volcanolive.com/); Jeff and Cynthia Gneiser, Zegrahm & Eco Expeditions, 192 Nickerson Street ##200, Seattle, WA 98109, USA (URL: https://www.zegrahm.com/); International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, PO Box 372, CH-1211 Geneva 19, Switzerland (URL: http://www.ifrc.org/); Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), MetService, PO Box 722, Wellington, New Zealand (URL: http://vaac.metservice.com/); Michel Lardy, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), CRV, BP A 5 Nouméa, Nouvelle Calédonie; Société Volcanologique Européenne, C.P. 1, 1211 Geneva 17, Switzerland (URL: http://www.sveurop.org/).

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements  Obituaries

Misc Reports

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

Additional Reports  False Reports