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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

Sangay (Ecuador) Ash plumes, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars during July-December 2020; larger explosions in September

Ebeko (Russia) Continued explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall; June-November 2020

Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) Intermittent thermal anomalies and small eruptions in May and August 2020

Nyamuragira (DR Congo) Numerous thermal anomalies and gas emissions from the lava lake through November 2020

Raung (Indonesia) Explosions with ash plumes and a thermal anomaly at the summit crater, July-October 2020

Sinabung (Indonesia) Explosions begin again on 8 August 2020; dome growth confirmed in late September

Heard (Australia) Persistent thermal anomalies in the summit crater from June through October 2020

Sabancaya (Peru) Daily explosions produced ash plumes, SO2 plumes, and thermal anomalies during June-September 2020

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) Frequent small phreatic explosions with intermittent ash plumes during April-September 2020

Fuego (Guatemala) Daily explosions, ash emissions, and block avalanches during August-November 2020

Kikai (Japan) Explosion on 6 October 2020 and thermal anomalies in the crater

Manam (Papua New Guinea) Intermittent ash plumes, thermal anomalies, and SO2 emissions in April-September 2020



Sangay (Ecuador) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangay

Ecuador

2.005°S, 78.341°W; summit elev. 5286 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars during July-December 2020; larger explosions in September

Sangay is one of the most active volcanoes in Ecuador with the current eruptive period continuing since 26 March 2019. Activity at the summit crater has been frequent since August 1934, with short quiet periods between events. Recent activity has included frequent ash plumes, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars. This report summarizes activity during July through December 2020, based on reports by Ecuador's Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), ash advisories issued by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), webcam images taken by Servicio Integrado de Seguridad ECU911, and various satellite data.

Overall activity remained elevated during the report period. Recorded explosions were variable during July through December, ranging from no explosions to 294 reported on 4 December (figure 80), and dispersing mostly to the W and SW. SO2 was frequently detected using satellite data (figure 81) and was reported several times to be emitting between about 770 and 2,850 tons/day. Elevated temperatures at the crater and down the SE flank were frequently observed in satellite data (figure 82), and less frequently by visual observation of incandescence. Seismic monitoring detected lahars associated with rainfall events remobilizing deposits emplaced on the flanks throughout this period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. A graph showing the daily number of explosions at Sangay recorded during July through December 2020. Several dates had no recorded explosions due to lack of seismic data. Data courtesy of IG-EPN (daily reports).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Examples of stronger SO2 plumes from Sangay detected by the Sentinel 5P/TROPOMI instrument, with plumes from Nevado del Ruiz detected to the north. The image dates from left to right are 31 August 2020, 17 September 2020, 1 October 2020 (top row), 22 November 2020, 3 December 2020, 14 December 2020 (bottom row). Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. This log radiative power MIROVA plot shows thermal output at Sangay during February through December 2020. Activity was relatively constant with increases and decreases in both energy output and the frequency of thermal anomalies detected. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during July-August 2020. During July activity continued with frequent ash and gas emission recorded through observations when clouds weren’t obstructing the view of the summit, and Washington VAAC alerts. There were between one and five VAAC alerts issued most days, with ash plumes reaching 570 to 1,770 m above the crater and dispersing mostly W and SE, and NW on two days (figure 83). Lahar seismic signals were recorded on the 1st, 7th, three on the 13th, and one on the 19th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Gas and ash plumes at Sangay during July 2020, at 0717 on the 17th, at 1754 on the 18th, and at 0612 on the 25th. Bottom picture taken from the Macas ECU 911 webcam. All images courtesy of IG-EPN daily reports.

During August there were between one and five VAAC alerts issued most days, with ash plumes reaching 600 to 2,070 m above the crater and predominantly dispersing W, SW, and occasionally to the NE, S, and SE (figure 84). There were reports of ashfall in the Alausí sector on the 24th. Using seismic data analysis, lahar signals were identified after rainfall on 1, 7, 11-14, and 21 August. A lava flow was seen moving down the eastern flank on the night of the 15th, resulting in a high number of thermal alerts. A pyroclastic flow was reported descending the SE flank at 0631 on the 27th (figure 85).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. This 25 August 2020 PlanetScope satellite image of Sangay in Ecuador shows an example of a weak gas and ash plume dispersing to the SW. Courtesy of Planet Labs.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. A pyroclastic flow descends the Sangay SE flank at 0631 on 27 August 2020. Webcam by ECU911, courtesy of courtesy of IG-EPN (27 August 2020 report).

Activity during September-October 2020. Elevated activity continued through September with two significant increases on the 20th and 22nd (more information on these events below). Other than these two events, VAAC reports of ash plumes varied between 1 and 5 issued most days, with plume heights reaching between 600 and 1,500 m above the crater. Dominant ash dispersal directions were W, with some plumes traveling SE, S, SE, NE, and NW. Lahar seismic signals were recorded after rainfall on 1, 2, 5, 8-10, 21, 24, 25, 27, and 30 September. Pyroclastic flows were reported on the 19th (figure 86), and incandescent material was seen descending the SE ravine on the 29th. There was a significant increase in thermal alerts reported throughout the month compared to the July-August period, and Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed a lava flow down the SE flank (figure 87).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Pyroclastic flows descended the flank of Sangay on 19 (top) and 20 (bottom) September 2020. Webcam images by ECU911 from the city of Macas, courtesy of IG-EPN (14 August 2018 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. The thermal signature of a lava flow is seen on SW flank of Sangay in this 8 September 2020 Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image, indicated by the white arrow. False color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Starting at 0420 on the morning of 20 September there was an increase in explosions and emissions recorded through seismicity, much more energetic than the activity of previous months. At 0440 satellite images show an ash plume with an estimated height of around 7 km above the crater. The top part of the plume dispersed to the E and the rest of the plume went W. Pyroclastic flows were observed descending the SE flank around 1822 (figure 88). Ash from remobilization of deposits was reported on the 21st in the Bolívar, Chimborazo, Los Ríos, Guayas and Santa Elena provinces. Ash and gas emission continued, with plumes reaching up to 1 km above the crater. There were seven VAAC reports as well as thermal alerts issued during the day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. An eruption of Sangay on 22 September 2020 produced a pyroclastic flow down the SE flank and an ash plume that dispersed to the SW. PlanetScope satellite image courtesy of Planet Labs.

Ash plumes observed on 22 September reached around 1 km above the crater and dispersed W to NW. Pyroclastic flows were seen descending the SE flank (figure 89) also producing an ash plume. A BBC article reported the government saying 800 km2 of farmland had experienced ashfall, with Chimborazo and Bolívar being the worst affected areas (figure 90). Locals described the sky going dark, and the Guayaquil was temporarily closed. Ash plume heights during the 20-22 were the highest for the year so far (figure 91). Ash emission continued throughout the rest of the month with another increase in explosions on the 27th, producing observed ash plume heights reaching 1.5 km above the crater. Ashfall was reported in San Nicolas in the Chimborazo Province in the afternoon of the 30th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. A pyroclastic flow descending the flank of Sangay on 22 September 2020. Webcam image by ECU911 from the city of Macas, courtesy of IG-EPN (Sangay Volcano Special Report - 2020 - No 5, 22 September 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Ashfall from an eruption at Sangay on 22 September 2020 affected 800 km2 of farmland and nearby communities. Images courtesy of EPA and the Police of Ecuador via Reuters (top-right), all via the BBC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Ash plume heights (left graph) at Sangay from January through to late September, with the larger ash plumes during 20-22 September indicated by the red arrow. The dominant ash dispersal direction is to the W (right plot) and the average speed is 10 m/s. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Sangay Volcano Special Report - 2020 - No 5, 22 September 2020).

Thermal alerts increased again through October, with a lava flow and/or incandescent material descending the SE flank sighted throughout the month (figure 92). Pyroclastic flows were seen traveling down the SE flank during an observation flight on the 6th (figure 93). Seismicity indicative of lahars was reported on 1, 12, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, and 28 October associated with rainfall remobilizing deposits. The Washington VAAC released one to five ash advisories most days, noting plume heights of 570-3,000 m above the crater; prevailing winds dispersed most plumes to the W, with some plumes drifting NW, N, E to SE, and SW. Ashfall was reported in Alausí (Chimborazo Province) on the 1st and in Chunchi canton on the 10th. SO2 was recorded towards the end of the month using satellite data, varying between about 770 and 2,850 tons on the 24th, 27th, and 29th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. A lava flow descends the SE flank of Sangay on 2 October 2020. Webcam images courtesy of ECU 911.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. A pyroclastic flow descends the Sangay SE flank was seen during an IG-EPN overflight on 6 October 2020. Photo courtesy of S. Vallejo, IG-EPN.

Activity during November-December 2020. Frequent ash emission continued through November with between one and five Washington VAAC advisories issued most days (figure 94). Reported ash and gas plume heights varied between 570 and 2,700 m above the crater, with winds dispersing plumes in all directions. Thermal anomalies were detected most days, and incandescent material from explosions was seen on the 26th. Seismicity indicating lahars was registered on nine days between 15 and 30 November, associated with rainfall events.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Examples of gas and ash plumes at Sangay during November 2020. Webcam images were published in IG-EPN daily activity reports.

Lahar signals associated with rain events continued to be detected on ten out of the first 18 days of November. Ash emissions continued through December with one to five VAAC alerts issued most days. Ash plume heights varied from 600 to 1,400 m above the crater, with the prevailing wind direction dispersing most plumes W and SW (figure 95). Thermal anomalies were frequently detected and incandescent material was observed down the SE flank on the 3rd, 14th, and 30th, interpreted as a lava flow and hot material rolling down the flank. A webcam image showed a pyroclastic flow traveling down the SE flank on the 2nd (figure 96). Ashfall was reported on the 10th in Capzol, Palmira, and Cebadas parishes, and in the Chunchi and Guamote cantons.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Examples of ash plumes at Sangay during ongoing persistent activity on 9, 10, and 23 December 2020. Webcam images courtesy of ECU 911.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. A nighttime webcam image shows a pyroclastic flow descending the SE flank of Sangay at 2308 on 2 December 2020. Image courtesy of ECU 911.

Geologic Background. The isolated Sangay volcano, located east of the Andean crest, is the southernmost of Ecuador's volcanoes and its most active. The steep-sided, glacier-covered, dominantly andesitic volcano grew within horseshoe-shaped calderas of two previous edifices, which were destroyed by collapse to the east, producing large debris avalanches that reached the Amazonian lowlands. The modern edifice dates back to at least 14,000 years ago. It towers above the tropical jungle on the east side; on the other sides flat plains of ash have been sculpted by heavy rains into steep-walled canyons up to 600 m deep. The earliest report of a historical eruption was in 1628. More or less continuous eruptions were reported from 1728 until 1916, and again from 1934 to the present. The almost constant activity has caused frequent changes to the morphology of the summit crater complex.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec); ECU911, Servicio Integrado de Seguridad ECU911, Calle Julio Endara s / n. Itchimbía Park Sector Quito – Ecuador. (URL: https://www.ecu911.gob.ec/; Twitter URL: https://twitter.com/Ecu911Macas/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); 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/); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); BBC News “In pictures: Ash covers Ecuador farming land” Published 22 September 2020 (URL: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-54247797).


Ebeko (Russia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

50.686°N, 156.014°E; summit elev. 1103 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall; June-November 2020

Volcanism at Ebeko, located on the N end of the Paramushir Island in the Kuril Islands, has been ongoing since October 2016, characterized by frequent moderate explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk (7 km ESE) (BGVN 45:05). Similar activity during this reporting period of June through November 2020 continues, consisting of frequent explosions, dense ash plumes, and occasional ashfall. Information for this report primarily comes from the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) and satellite data.

Activity during June was characterized by frequent, almost daily explosions and ash plumes that rose to 1.6-4.6 km altitude and drifted in various directions, according to KVERT reports and information from the Tokyo VAAC advisories using HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery and KBGS (Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Service) seismic data. Satellite imagery showed persistent thermal anomalies over the summit crater. On 1 June explosions generated an ash plume up to 4.5 km altitude drifting E and S, in addition to several smaller ash plumes that rose to 2.3-3 km altitude drifting E, NW, and NE, according to KVERT VONA notices. Explosions on 11 June generated an ash plume that rose 2.6 km altitude and drifted as far as 85 km N and NW. Explosions continued during 21-30 June, producing ash plumes that rose 2-4 km altitude, drifting up to 5 km in different directions (figure 26); many of these eruptive events were accompanied by thermal anomalies that were observed in satellite imagery.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Photo of a dense gray ash plume rising from Ebeko on 22 June 2020. Photo by L. Kotenko (color corrected), courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

Explosions continued in July, producing ash plumes rising 2-5.2 km altitude and drifting for 3-30 km in different directions. On 3, 6, 15 July explosions generated an ash plume that rose 3-4 km altitude that drifted N, NE, and SE, resulting in ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk. According to a Tokyo VAAC advisory, an eruption on 4 July produced an ash plume that rose up to 5.2 km altitude drifting S. On 22 July explosions produced an ash cloud measuring 11 x 13 km in size and that rose to 3 km altitude drifting 30 km SE. Frequent thermal anomalies were identified in satellite imagery accompanying these explosions.

In August, explosions persisted with ash plumes rising 1.7-4 km altitude drifting for 3-10 km in multiple directions. Intermittent thermal anomalies were detected in satellite imagery, according to KVERT. On 9 and 22 August explosions sent ash up to 2.5-3 km altitude drifting W, S, E, and SE, resulting in ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk. Moderate gas-and-steam activity was reported occasionally during the month.

Almost daily explosions in September generated dense ash plumes that rose 1.5-4.3 km altitude and drifted 3-5 km in different directions. Moderate gas-and-steam emissions were often accompanied by thermal anomalies visible in satellite imagery. During 14-15 September explosions sent ash plumes up to 2.5-3 km altitude drifting SE and NE, resulting in ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk. On 22 September a dense gray ash plume rose to 3 km altitude and drifted S. The ash plume on 26 September was at 3.5 km altitude and drifted SE (figure 27).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Photos of dense ash plumes rising from Ebeko on 22 (left) and 26 (right) September 2020. Photos by S. Lakomov (color corrected), IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

During October, near-daily ash explosions continued, rising 1.7-4 km altitude drifting in many directions. Intermittent thermal anomalies were identified in satellite imagery. During 7-8, 9-10, and 20-22 October ashfall was reported in Severo-Kurilsk.

Explosions in November produced dense gray ash plumes that rose to 1.5-5.2 km altitude and drifted as far as 5-10 km, mainly NE, SE, E, SW, and ENE. According to KVERT, thermal anomalies were visible in satellite imagery throughout the month. On clear weather days on 8 and 11 November Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed ashfall deposits SE of the summit crater from recent activity (figure 28). During 15-17 November explosions sent ash up to 3.5 km altitude drifting NE, E, and SE which resulted in ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk on 17 November. Similar ashfall was observed on 22-24 and 28 November due to ash rising to 1.8-3 km altitude (figure 29). Explosions on 29 November sent an ash plume up to 4.5 km altitude drifting E (figure 29). A Tokyo VAAC advisory reported that an ash plume drifting SSE on 30 November reached an altitude of 3-5.2 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of a gray-white gas-and-ash plume at Ebeko on 8 (left) and 11 (right) November 2020, resulting in ashfall (dark gray) to the SE of the volcano. Images using “Natural Color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Photos of continued ash explosions from Ebeko on 28 October (left) and 29 November (right) 2020. Photos by S. Lakomov (left) and L. Kotenko (right), courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows a pulse in low-power thermal activity beginning in early June through early August (figure 30). On clear weather days, the thermal anomalies in the summit crater are observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery, accompanied by occasional white-gray ash plumes (figure 31). Additionally, the MODVOLC algorithm detected a single thermal anomaly on 26 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. A small pulse in thermal activity at Ebeko began in early June and continued through early August 2020, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). The detected thermal anomalies were of relatively low power but were persistent during this period. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed gray ash plumes rising from Ebeko on 11 June (top left) and 16 July (bottom left) 2020, accompanied by occasional thermal anomalies (yellow-orange) within the summit crater, as shown on 24 June (top right) and 25 August (bottom right). The ash plume on 11 June drifted N from the summit. Images using “Natural Color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) on 11 June (top left) and 16 July (bottom left) and the rest have “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The flat-topped summit of the central cone of Ebeko volcano, one of the most active in the Kuril Islands, occupies the northern end of Paramushir Island. Three summit craters located along a SSW-NNE line form Ebeko volcano proper, at the northern end of a complex of five volcanic cones. Blocky lava flows extend west from Ebeko and SE from the neighboring Nezametnyi cone. The eastern part of the southern crater contains strong solfataras and a large boiling spring. The central crater is filled by a lake about 20 m deep whose shores are lined with steaming solfataras; the northern crater lies across a narrow, low barrier from the central crater and contains a small, cold crescentic lake. Historical activity, recorded since the late-18th century, has been restricted to small-to-moderate explosive eruptions from the summit craters. Intense fumarolic activity occurs in the summit craters, on the outer flanks of the cone, and in lateral explosion craters.

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


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal anomalies and small eruptions in May and August 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 current eruptive period began in January 2020 and has been characterized by small explosions, ash plumes, ashfall, a pyroclastic flow, and gas-and-steam emissions. This report covers activity from May to October 2020, which includes small explosions, ash plumes, crater incandescence, and gas-and-steam emissions. 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).

Volcanism at Kuchinoerabujima remained relatively low during May through October 2020, according to JMA. During this time, SO2 emissions ranged from 40 to 3,400 tons/day; occasional gas-and-steam emissions were reported, rising to a maximum of 900 m above the crater. Sentinel-2 satellite images showed a particularly strong thermal anomaly in the Shindake crater on 1 May (figure 10). The thermal anomaly decreased in power after 1 May and was only visible on clear weather days, which included 19 August and 3 and 13 October. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) observations identified continued slight inflation at the base of the volcano during the entire reporting period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed a strong thermal anomaly (bright yellow-orange) in the Shindake crater at Kuchinoerabujima on 1 May 2020 (top left). Weaker thermal anomalies were also seen in the Shindake crater during 19 August (top right) and 3 (bottom left) and 13 (bottom right) October 2020. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Three small eruptions were detected by JMA on 5, 6, and 13 May, which produced an ash plume rising 500 m above the crater on each day, resulting in ashfall on the downwind flanks. Incandescence was observed at night using a high-sensitivity surveillance camera (figure 11). On 5 and 13 May the Tokyo VAAC released a notice that reported ash plumes rising 0.9-1.2 km altitude, drifting NE and S, respectively. On 20 May weak fumaroles were observed on the W side of the Shindake crater. The SO2 emissions ranged from 700-3,400 tons/day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Webcam images of an eruption at Kuchinoerabujima on 6 May 2020 (top), producing a gray ash plume that rose 500 m above the crater. Crater incandescence was observed from the summit crater at night on 25 May 2020 (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Monthly bulletin report 509, May 2020).

Activity during June and July decreased compared to May, with gas-and-steam emissions occurring more prominently. On 22 June weak incandescence was observed, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions rising 700 m above the crater. Weak crater incandescence was also seen on 25 June. The SO2 emissions measured 400-1,400 tons/day. White gas-and-steam emissions were again observed on 31 July rising to 800 m above the crater. The SO2 emissions had decreased during this time to 300-700 tons/day.

According to JMA, the most recent eruptive event occurred on 29 August at 1746, which ejected bombs and was accompanied by some crater incandescence, though the eruptive column was not visible due to the cloud cover. However, white gas-and-steam emissions could be seen rising 1.3 km above the Shindake crater drifting SW. The SO2 emissions measured 200-500 tons/day. During August, the number of volcanic earthquakes increased significantly to 1,032, compared to the number in July (36).

The monthly bulletin for September reported white gas-and-steam emissions rising 900 m above the crater on 9 September and on 11 October the gas-and-steam emissions rose 600 m above the crater. Seismicity decreased between September and October from 1,920 to 866. The SO2 emissions continued to decrease compared to previous months, totaling 80-400 tons/day in September and 40-300 tons/day in October.

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).


Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — December 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)


Numerous thermal anomalies and gas emissions from the lava lake through November 2020

Nyamuragira (also known as Nyamulagira) is a shield volcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with a 2 x 2.3 km caldera at the summit. A summit crater lies in the NE part of the caldera. In the recent past, the volcano has been characterized by intra-caldera lava flows, lava emissions from its lava lake, thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam emissions, and moderate seismicity (BGVN 44:12, 45:06). This report reviews activity during June-November 2020, based on satellite data.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed numerous thermal anomalies associated with the volcano during June-November 2020, although some decrease was noted during the last half of August and between mid-October to mid-November (figure 91). Between six and seven thermal hotspots per month were identified by MODVOLC during June-November 2020, with as many as 4 pixels on 11 August. In the MODVOLC system, two main hotspot groupings are visible, the largest being at the summit crater, on the E side of the caldera.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. MIROVA graph of thermal activity (log radiative power) at Nyamuragira during March 2020-January 2021. During June-November 2020, most were in the low to moderate range, with a decrease in power during November. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Sentinel-2 satellite images showed several hotspots in the summit crater throughout the reporting period (figure 92). By 26 July and thereafter, hotspots were also visible in the SW portion of the caldera, and perhaps just outside the SW caldera rim. Gas-and-steam emissions from the lava lake were also visible throughout the period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Sentinel-2 satellite images of Nyamuragira on 26 July (left) and 28 November (right) 2020. Thermal activity is present at several locations within the summit crater (upper right of each image) and in the SW part of the caldera (lower left). SWIR rendering (bands 12, 8A, 4). 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: 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).


Raung (Indonesia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Raung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions with ash plumes and a thermal anomaly at the summit crater, July-October 2020

A massive stratovolcano in easternmost Java, Raung has over sixty recorded eruptions dating back to the late 16th Century. Explosions with ash plumes, Strombolian activity, and lava flows from a cinder cone within the 2-km-wide summit crater have been the most common activity. Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM) has installed webcams to monitor activity in recent years. An eruption from late 2014 through August 2015 produced a large volume of lava within the summit crater and formed a new pyroclastic cone in the same location as the previous one. The eruption that began in July 2020 is covered in this report with information provided by PVMBG, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and several sources of satellite data.

The 2015 eruption was the largest in several decades; Strombolian activity was reported for many months and fresh lava flows covered the crater floor (BGVN 45:09). Raung was quiet after the eruption ended in August of that year until July of 2020 when seismicity increased on 13 July and brown emissions were first reported on 16 July. Tens of explosions with ash emissions were reported daily during the remainder of July 2020. Explosive activity decreased during August, but thermal activity didn’t decrease until mid-September. The last ash emissions were reported on 3 October and the last thermal anomaly in satellite data was recorded on 7 October 2020.

Eruption during July-October 2020. No further reports of activity were issued after August 2015 until July 2020. Clear Google Earth imagery from October 2017 and April 2018 indicated the extent of the lava from the 2015 eruption, but no sign of further activity (figure 31). By August 2019, many features from the 2015 eruption were still clearly visible from the crater rim (figure 32).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Little change can be seen at the summit of Raung in Google Earth images dated 19 October 2017 (left) and 28 April 2018 (right). The summit crater was full of black lava flows from the 2015 eruption. Courtesy of Google Earth.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. A Malaysian hiker celebrated his climbing to the summit of Raung on 30 August 2019. Weak fumarolic activity was visible from the base of the breached crater of the cone near the center of the summit crater, and many features of the lava flow that filled the crater in 2015 were still well preserved. Courtesy of MJ.

PVMBG reported that the number and type of seismic events around the summit of Raung increased beginning on 13 July 2020, and on 16 July the height of the emissions from the crater rose to 100 m and the emission color changed from white to brown. About three hours later the emissions changed to gray and white. The webcams captured emissions rising 50-200 m above the summit that included 60 explosions of gray and reddish ash plumes (figure 33). The Raung Volcano Observatory released a VONA reporting an explosion with an ash plume that drifted N at 1353 local time (0653 UTC). The best estimate of the ash cloud height was 3,432 m based on ground observation. They raised the Aviation Color Code from unassigned to Orange. About 90 minutes later they reported a second seismic event and ash cloud that rose to 3,532 m, again based on ground observation. The Darwin VAAC reported that neither ash plume was visible in satellite imagery. The following day, on 17 July, PVMBG reported 26 explosions between midnight and 0600 that produced brown ash plumes which rose 200 m above the crater. Based on these events, PVMBG raised the Alert Level of Raung from I (Normal) to II (Alert) on a I-II-III-IV scale. By the following day they reported 95 explosive seismic events had occurred. They continued to observe gray ash plumes rising 100-200 m above the summit on clear days and 10-30 daily explosive seismic events through the end of July; plume heights dropped to 50-100 m and the number of explosive events dropped below ten per day during the last few days of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. An ash plume rose from the summit of Raung on 16 July 2020 at the beginning of a new eruption. The last previous eruption was in 2015. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery and PVMBG.

After a long period of no activity, MIROVA data showed an abrupt return to thermal activity on 16 July 2020; a strong pulse of heat lasted into early August before diminishing (figure 34). MODVOLC thermal alert data recorded two alerts each on 18 and 20 July, and one each on 21 and 30 July. Satellite images showed no evidence of thermal activity inside the summit crater from September 2015 through early July 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery first indicated a strong thermal anomaly inside the pyroclastic cone within the crater on 19 July 2020; it remained on 24 and 29 July (figure 35). A small SO2 signature was measured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite on 25 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. MIROVA thermal anomaly data indicated renewed activity on 16 July 2020 at Raung as seen in this graph of activity from 13 October 2019 through September 2020. Satellite images indicated that the dark lines at the beginning of the graph are from a large area of fires that burned on the flank of Raung in October 2019. Heat flow remained high through July and began to diminish in mid-August 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Thermal anomalies were distinct inside the crater of the pyroclastic cone within the summit crater of Raung on 19, 24, and 29 July 2020. Data is from the Sentinel-2 satellite shown with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

After an explosion on 1 August 2020 emissions from the crater were not observed again until steam plumes were seen rising 100 m on 7 August. They were reported rising 100-200 m above the summit intermittently until a dense gray ash plume was reported by PVMBG on 11 August rising 200 m. After that, diffuse steam plumes no more than 100 m high were reported for the rest of the month except for white to brown emissions to 100 m on 21 August. Thermal anomalies of a similar brightness to July from the same point within the summit crater were recorded in satellite imagery on 3, 8, 13, 18, and 23 August. Single MODVOLC thermal alerts were reported on 1, 8, 12, and 19 August.

In early September dense steam plumes rose 200 m above the crater a few times but were mostly 50 m high or less. White and gray emissions rose 50-300 m above the summit on 15, 20, 27, and 30 September. Thermal anomalies were still present in the same spot in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 2, 7, 12, 17, and 27 September, although the signal was weaker than during July and August (figure 36). PVMBG reported gray emissions rising 100-300 m above the summit on 1 October 2020 and two seismic explosion events. Gray emissions rose 50-200 m the next day and nine explosions were recorded. On 3 October, emissions were still gray but only rose 50 m above the crater and no explosions were reported. No emissions were observed from the summit crater for the remainder of the month. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed a hot spot within the summit crater on 2 and 7 October, but clear views of the crater on 12, 17, and 22 October showed no heat source within the crater (figure 37).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. The thermal anomaly at Raung recorded in Sentinel-2 satellite data decreased in intensity between August and October 2020. It was relatively strong on 13 August (left) but had decreased significantly by 12 September (middle) and remained at a lower level into early October (right). Data shown with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. A small but distinct thermal anomaly was still present within the pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater of Raung on 7 October 2020 (left) but was gone by 12 October (middle) and did not reappear in subsequent clear views of the crater through the end of October. Satellite imagery of 7 and 12 October processed with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) from 17 October (right) shows no clear physical changes to the summit crater during the latest eruption. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); 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/); Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); MJ (URL: https://twitter.com/MieJamaludin/status/1167613617191043072).


Sinabung (Indonesia) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sinabung

Indonesia

3.17°N, 98.392°E; summit elev. 2460 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions begin again on 8 August 2020; dome growth confirmed in late September

Indonesia’s Sinabung volcano in north Sumatra has been highly active since its first confirmed Holocene eruption during August and September 2010. It remained quiet after the initial eruption until September 2013, when a new eruptive phase began that continued through June 2018. A summit dome emerged in late 2013 and produced a large lava “tongue” during 2014. Multiple explosions produced ash plumes, block avalanches, and deadly pyroclastic flows during the eruptive period. A major explosion in February 2018 destroyed most of the summit dome. After a pause in eruptive activity from September 2018 through April 2019, explosions resumed during May and June 2019. The volcano was quiet again until an explosion on 8 August 2020 began another eruption that included a new dome. This report covers activity from July 2019 through October 2020 with information provided by Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), referred to by some agencies as CVGHM or the Indonesian Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and the Badan Nacional Penanggulangan Bencana (National Disaster Management Authority, BNPB). Additional information comes from satellite instruments and local news reports.

Only steam plumes and infrequent lahars were reported at Sinabung during July 2019-July 2020. A new eruption began on 8 August 2020 with a phreatic explosion and dense ash plumes. Repeated explosions were reported throughout August; ashfall was reported in many nearby communities several times. Explosions decreased significantly during September, but SO2 emissions persisted. Block avalanches from a new growing dome were first reported in early October; pyroclastic flows accompanied repeated ash emissions during the last week of the month. Thermal data suggested that the summit dome continued growing slowly during October.

Activity during July 2019-October 2020. After a large explosion on 9 June 2019, activity declined significantly, and no further emissions or incandescence was reported after 25 June (BGVN 44:08). For the remainder of 2019 steam plumes rose 50-400 m above the summit on most days, occasionally rising to 500-700 m above the crater. Lahars were recorded by seismic instruments in July, August, September, and December. During January-July 2020 steam plumes were reported usually 50-300 m above the summit, sometimes rising to 500 m. On 21 March 2020 steam plumes rose to 700 m, and a lahar was recorded by seismic instruments. Lahars were reported on 26 and 28 April, 3 and 5 June, and 11 July.

A swarm of deep volcanic earthquakes was reported by PVMBG on 7 August 2020. This was followed by a phreatic explosion with a dense gray to black ash plume on 8 August that rose 2,000 m above the summit and drifted E; a second explosion that day produced a plume that rose 1,000 m above the summit. According to the Jakarta Post, ash reached the community of Berastagi (15 km E) along with the districts of Naman Teran (5-10 km NE), Merdeka (15 km NE), and Dolat Rayat (20 km E). Continuous tremor events were first recorded on 8 August and continued daily until 26 August. Two explosions were recorded on 10 August; the largest produced a dense gray ash plume that rose 5,000 m above the summit and drifted NE and SE (figure 77). The Darwin VAAC reported the eruption clearly visible in satellite imagery at 9.7 km altitude and drifting W. Later they reported a second plume drifting ESE at 4.3 km altitude. After this large explosion the local National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB) reported significant ashfall in three districts: Naman Teran, Berastagi and Merdeka. Emissions on 11 and 12 August were white and gray and rose 100-200 m. Multiple explosions on 13 August produced white and gray ash plumes that rose 1,000-2,000 m above the summit. Explosions on 14 August produced gray and brown ash plumes that rose 1,000-4,200 m above the summit and drifted S and SW (figure 77). The Darwin VAAC reported that the ash plume was partly visible in satellite imagery at 7.6 km altitude moving W; additional plumes were moving SE at 3.7 km altitude and NE at 5.5 km altitude.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Numerous explosions were recorded at Sinabung during August 2020. An ash plume rose to 5,000 m above the summit on 10 August (left) and drifted both NE and SE. On 14 August gray and brown ash plumes rose 1,000-4,200 m above the summit and drifted S, SW, SE and NE (right) while ashfall covered crops SE of the volcano. Courtesy of PVMBG (Sinabung Eruption Notices, 10 and 14 August 2020).

White, gray, and brown emissions rose 800-1,000 m above the summit on 15 and 17 August. The next day white and gray emissions rose 2,000 m above the summit. The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume visible at 5.2 km altitude drifting SW. A large explosion on 19 August produced a dense gray ash plume that rose 4,000 above the summit and drifted S and SW. Gray and white emissions rose 500 m on 20 August. Two explosions were recorded seismically on 21 August, but rainy and cloudy weather prevented observations. White steam plumes rose 300 m on 22 August, and a lahar was recorded seismically. On 23 August, an explosion produced a gray ash plume that rose 1,500 m above the summit and pyroclastic flows that traveled 1,000 m down the E and SE flanks (figure 78). Continuous tremors were accompanied by ash emissions. White, gray, and brown emissions rose 600 m on 24 August. An explosion on 25 August produced an ash plume that rose 800 m above the peak and drifted W and NW (figure 79). During 26-30 August steam emissions rose 100-400 m above the summit and no explosions were recorded. Dense gray ash emissions rose 1,000 m and drifted E and NE after an explosion on 31 August. Significant SO2 emissions were associated with many of the explosions during August (figure 80).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. On 23 August 2020 an explosion at Sinabung produced a gray ash plume that rose 1,500 m above the summit and produced pyroclastic flows that traveled 1,000 m down the E and SE flanks. Courtesy of PVMBG (Sinabung Eruption Notice, 23 August 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. An explosion on 25 August 2020 at Sinabung produced an ash plume that rose 800 m above the peak and drifted W and NW. Courtesy of PVMBG (Sinabung Eruption Notice, 25 August 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Significant sulfur dioxide emissions were measured at Sinabung during August 2020 when near-daily explosions produced abundant ash emissions. A small plume was also recorded from Kerinci on 19 August 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Explosive activity decreased substantially during September 2020. A single explosion reported on 5 September produced a white and brown ash plume that rose 800 m above the summit and drifted NNE. During the rest of the month steam emissions rose 50-500 m above the summit before dissipating. Two lahars were reported on 7 September, and one each on 11 and 30 September. Although only a single explosion was reported, anomalous SO2 emissions were present in satellite data on several days.

The character of the activity changed during October 2020. Steam plumes rising 50-300 m above the summit were reported during the first week and a lahar was recorded by seismometers on 4 October. The first block avalanches from a new dome growing at the summit were reported on 8 October with material traveling 300 m ESE from the summit (figure 81). During 11-13 October block avalanches traveled 300-700 m E and SE from the summit. They traveled 100-150 m on 14 October. Steam plumes rising 50-500 m above the summit were reported during 15-22 October with two lahars recorded on 21 October. White and gray emissions rose 50-1,000 m on 23 October. The first of a series of pyroclastic flows was reported on 25 October; they were reported daily through the end of the month when the weather permitted, traveling 1,000-2,500 m from the summit (figure 82). In addition, block avalanches from the growing dome were observed moving down the E and SE flanks 500-1,500 m on 25 October and 200-1,000 m each day during 28-31 October (figure 83). Sentinel-2 satellite data indicated a very weak thermal anomaly at the summit in late September; it was slightly larger in late October, corroborating with images of the slow-growing dome (figure 84).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. A new lava dome appeared at the summit of Sinabung in late September 2020. Block avalanches from the dome were first reported on 8 October. Satellite imagery indicating a thermal anomaly at the summit was very faint at the end of September and slightly stronger by the end of October. The dome grew slowly between 30 September (top) and 22 October 2020 (bottom). Photos taken by Firdaus Surbakti, courtesy of Rizal.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Pyroclastic flows at Sinabung were accompanied ash emissions multiple times during the last week of October, including the event seen here on 27 October 2020. Courtesy of PVMBG and CultureVolcan.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Block avalanches from the growing summit dome at Sinabung descended the SE flank on 28 October 2020. The dome is visible at the summit. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. A very faint thermal anomaly appeared at the summit of Sinabung in Sentinel 2 satellite imagery on 28 September 2020 (left). One month later on 28 October the anomaly was bigger, corroborating photographic evidence of the growing dome. Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Gunung Sinabung is a Pleistocene-to-Holocene stratovolcano with many lava flows on its flanks. The migration of summit vents along a N-S line gives the summit crater complex an elongated form. The youngest crater of this conical andesitic-to-dacitic edifice is at the southern end of the four overlapping summit craters. The youngest deposit is a SE-flank pyroclastic flow 14C dated by Hendrasto et al. (2012) at 740-880 CE. An unconfirmed eruption was noted in 1881, and solfataric activity was seen at the summit and upper flanks in 1912. No confirmed historical eruptions were recorded prior to explosive eruptions during August-September 2010 that produced ash plumes to 5 km above the summit.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); 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/); The Jakarta Post, 3rd Floor, Gedung, Jl. Palmerah Barat 142-143 Jakarta 10270 (URL: https://www.thejakartapost.com/amp/news/2020/08/08/mount-sinabung-erupts-again-after-year-of-inactivity.html);Rizal (URL: https://twitter.com/Rizal06691023/status/1319452375887740930); CultureVolcan (URL: https://twitter.com/CultureVolcan/status/1321156861173923840).


Heard (Australia) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Persistent thermal anomalies in the summit crater from June through October 2020

The remote Heard Island is located in the southern Indian Ocean and contains the Big Ben stratovolcano, which has had intermittent activity since 1910. The island’s activity, characterized by thermal anomalies and occasional lava flows (BGVN 45:05), is primarily monitored by satellite instruments. This report updates activity from May through October 2020 using information from satellite-based instruments.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed frequent thermal activity in early June that continued through July (figure 43). Intermittent, slightly higher-power thermal anomalies were detected in late August through mid-October, the strongest of which occurred in October. Two of these anomalies were also detected in the MODVOLC algorithm on 12 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. A small pulse in thermal activity at Heard was detected in early June and continued through July 2020, according to the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power). Thermal anomalies appeared again starting in late August and continued intermittently through mid-October 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed a single thermal anomaly on 3 May. In comparison to the MIROVA graph, satellite imagery showed a small pulse of strong thermal activity at the summit of Big Ben in June (figure 44). Some of these thermal anomalies were accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. Persistent strong thermal activity continued through July. Starting on 2 July through at least 17 July two hotspots were visible in satellite imagery: one in the summit crater and one slightly to the NW of the summit (figure 45). Some gas-and-steam emissions were seen rising from the S hotspot in the summit crater. In August the thermal anomalies had decreased in strength and frequency but persisted at the summit through October (figure 45).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Thermal satellite images of Heard Island’s Big Ben volcano showed strong thermal signatures (bright yellow-orange) sometimes accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions drifting SE (top left) and NE (bottom right) during June 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Thermal satellite images of Heard Island’s Big Ben volcano showed persistent thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) near the summit during July through October 2020. During 14 (top left) and 17 (top right) July a second hotspot was visible NW of the summit. By 22 October (bottom right) the thermal anomaly had significantly decreased in strength in comparison to previous months. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; 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).


Sabancaya (Peru) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sabancaya

Peru

15.787°S, 71.857°W; summit elev. 5960 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily explosions produced ash plumes, SO2 plumes, and thermal anomalies during June-September 2020

Sabancaya, located in Peru, is a stratovolcano that has been very active since 1986. The current eruptive period began in November 2016 and has recently been characterized by lava dome growth, daily explosions, ash plumes, ashfall, SO2 plumes, and ongoing thermal anomalies (BGVN 45:06). Similar activity continues into this reporting period of June through September 2020 using information from weekly reports from the Observatorio Vulcanologico INGEMMET (OVI), the Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), and various satellite data. The Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) issued a total of 520 reports of ongoing ash emissions during this time.

Volcanism during this reporting period consisted of daily explosions, nearly constant gas-and-ash plumes, SO2 plumes, and persistent thermal anomalies in the summit crater. Gas-and-ash plumes rose to 1.5-4 km above the summit crater, drifting up to 35 km from the crater in multiple directions; several communities reported ashfall every month except for August (table 7). Sulfur dioxide emissions were notably high and recorded almost daily with the TROPOMI satellite instrument (figure 83). The satellite measurements of the SO2 emissions exceeded 2 DU (Dobson Units) at least 20 days each month of the reporting period. These SO2 plumes sometimes persisted over multiple days and ranged between 1,900-10,700 tons/day. MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows frequent thermal activity through September within 5 km of the summit crater, though the power varied; by late August, the thermal anomalies were stronger compared to the previous months (figure 84). This increase in power is also reflected by the MODVOLC algorithm that detected 11 thermal anomalies over the days of 31 August and 4, 6, 13, 17, 18, 20, and 22 September 2020. Many of these thermal hotspots were visible in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery, occasionally accompanied by gas-and-steam and ash plumes (figure 85).

Table 7. Persistent activity at Sabancaya during June through September included multiple daily explosions that produced ash plumes rising several kilometers above the summit and drifting in multiple directions; this resulted in ashfall in communities within 35 km of the volcano. Satellite instruments recorded daily SO2 emissions. Data courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET, IGP, and the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Month Avg. daily explosions by week Max plume heights (km above the crater) Plume drift (km) and direction Communities reporting ashfall Minimum days with SO2 over 2 DU SO2 emissions per day (tons) by week
Jun 2020 20, 10, 9, 13 1.5-4 30 km, SE, S, SW, NE, W, E Chivay, Achoma, Ichupampa, Yanque, and Coporaque, Sallali, Madrigal, Lari, and Ichupampa 28 8,400, 2,200, 3,100, 7,600
Jul 2020 20, 15, 11, 12, 19 2-2.6 15-30 km E, NE, NW, SE, SW, S, W Achoma and Chivay 23 4,400, 6,000, 1,900, 2,100, 5,900
Aug 2020 18, 12, 9, 29 1.7-3.6 20-30 km W, SW, SE, S, E, NW - 20 2,300, 3,800, 5,300, 10,700
Sep 2020 39, 35, 33, 38, 40 1.8-3.5 25-35 km SE, S, SW, W, E, NE, N, NW, W Lari, Achoma, Maca, Chivay, Taya, Huambo, Huanca, and Lluta 28 9,700, 2,600, 8,800, 7,800, 4,100
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Sulfur dioxide plumes were captured almost daily from Sabancaya during June through September 2020 by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Some of the largest SO2 plumes occurred on 19 June (top left), 5 July (top right), 30 August (bottom left), and 10 September (bottom right) 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Thermal activity at Sabancaya varied in power from 13 October 2019 through September 2020, but was consistent in frequency, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). A pulse in thermal activity is shown in late August 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed frequent gas-and-steam and ash plumes rising from Sabancaya, accompanied by ongoing thermal activity from the summit crater during June through September 2020. On 23 June (top left) a dense gray-white ash plume was visible drifting E from the summit. On 3 July (top right) and 27 August (bottom left) a strong thermal hotspot (bright yellow-orange) was accompanied by some degassing. On 1 September (bottom right) the thermal anomaly persisted with a dense gray-white ash plume drifting SE from the summit. Images using “Natural Color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) on 23 June 2020 (top left) and the rest have “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

OVI detected slight inflation on the N part of the volcano, which continued to be observed throughout the reporting period. Persistent thermal anomalies caused by the summit crater lava dome were observed in satellite data. The average number of daily explosions during June ranged from 18 during 1-7 June to 9 during 15-21 June, which generated gas-and-ash plumes that rose 1.5-4 km above the crater and drifted 30 km SE, S, SW, NE, W, and E (figure 86). The strongest sulfur dioxide emissions were recorded during 1-7 June measuring 8,400 tons/day. On 20 June drone video showed that the lava dome had been destroyed, leaving blocks on the crater floor, though the crater remained hot, as seen in thermal satellite imagery (figure 85). During 22-28 June there were an average of 13 daily explosions, which produced ash plumes rising to a maximum height of 4 km, drifting NE, E, and SE. As a result, ashfall was reported in the districts of Chivay, Achoma, Ichupampa, Yanque, and Coporaque, and in the area of Sallali. Then, on 27 June ashfall was reported in several areas NE of the volcano, which included the districts of Madrigal, Lari, Achoma, Ichupampa, Yanque, Chivay, and Coporaque.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Multiple daily explosions at Sabancaya produced ash plumes that rose 1.5-4 km above the crater during June 2020. Images are showing 8 (left) and 27 (right) June 2020. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-24-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 08 al 14 de junio del 2020 and RSSAB-26-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 22 al 28 de junio del 2020).

Slight inflation continued to be monitored in July, occurring about 4-6 km N of the crater, as well as on the SE flank. Daily explosions continued, producing gas-and-ash plumes that rose 2-2.6 km above the crater and drifting 15-30 km E, NE, NW, SE, SW, S, and W (figure 87). The number of daily explosions increased slightly compared to the previous month, ranging from 20 during 1-5 July to 11 during 13-19 July. SO2 emissions that were measured each week ranged from 1,900 to 6,000 tons/day, the latter of which occurred during 6-12 July. Thermal anomalies continued to be observed in thermal satellite data over the summit crater throughout the month. During 6-12 July gas-and-ash plumes rose 2.3-2.5 km above the crater, drifting 30 km SE, E, and NE, resulting in ashfall in Achoma and Chivay.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Multiple daily explosions at Sabancaya produced ash plumes that rose 2-3.5 km above the crater during July 2020. Images are showing 7 (left) and 26 (right) July 2020. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-28-2020/INGEMMET Semanal: del 06 al 12 de julio del 2020 and RSSAB-30-2020/INGEMMET Semanal: del 20 al 26 de julio del 2020).

OVI reported continued slight inflation on the N and SE flanks during August. Daily explosive activity had slightly declined in the first part of the month, ranging from 18 during the 3-9 August to 9 during 17-23 August. Dense gray gas-and-ash plumes rose 1.7-3.6 km above the crater, drifting 20-30 km in various directions (figure 88), though no ashfall was reported. Thermal anomalies were observed using satellite data throughout the month. During 24-30 August a pulse in activity increased the daily average of explosions to 29, as well as the amount of SO2 emissions (10,700 tons/day); nighttime incandescence accompanied this activity. During 28-29 August higher levels of seismicity and inflation were reported compared to the previous weeks. The daily average of explosions increased again during 31 August-6 September to 39; nighttime incandescence remained.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Multiple daily explosions at Sabancaya produced ash plumes that rose 1.7-3.6 km above the crater during August 2020. Images are showing 1 (left) and 29 (right) August 2020. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-31-2020/INGEMMET Semanal del 27 de julio al 02 de agosto del 2020 and RSSAB-35-2020/INGEMMET Semanal del 24 al 30 de agosto del 2020).

Increased volcanism was reported during September with the daily average of explosions ranging from 33 during 14-20 September to 40 during 28 September-4 October. The resulting gas-and-ash plumes rose 1.8-3.5 km above the crater drifting 25-35 km in various directions (figure 89). SO2 flux was measured by OVI ranging from 2,600 to 9,700 tons/day, the latter of which was recorded during 31 August to 6 September. During 7-13 September an average of 35 explosions were reported, accompanied by gas-and-ash plumes that rose 2.6-3.5 km above the crater and drifting 30 km SE, SW, W, E, and S. These events resulted in ashfall in Lari, Achoma, and Maca. The following week (14-20 September) ashfall was reported in Achoma and Chivay. During 21-27 September the daily average of explosions was 38, producing ash plumes that resulted in ashfall in Taya, Huambo, Huanca, and Lluta. Slight inflation on the N and SE flanks continued to be monitored by OVI. Strong activity, including SO2 emissions and thermal anomalies over the summit crater persisted into at least early October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Multiple daily explosions at Sabancaya produced ash plumes that rose 1.8-2.6 km above the crater during September 2020. Images are showing 4 (left) and 27 (right) September 2020. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-36-2020/INGEMMET Semanal del 31 de agosto al 06 de septiembre del 2020 and RSSAB-39-2020/INGEMMET Semanal del 21 al 27 de septiembre del 2020).

Geologic Background. Sabancaya, located in the saddle NE of Ampato and SE of Hualca Hualca volcanoes, is the youngest of these volcanic centers and the only one to have erupted in historical time. The oldest of the three, Nevado Hualca Hualca, is of probable late-Pliocene to early Pleistocene age. The name Sabancaya (meaning "tongue of fire" in the Quechua language) first appeared in records in 1595 CE, suggesting activity prior to that date. Holocene activity has consisted of Plinian eruptions followed by emission of voluminous andesitic and dacitic lava flows, which form an extensive apron around the volcano on all sides but the south. Records of historical eruptions date back to 1750.

Information Contacts: Observatorio Volcanologico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico), Barrio Magisterial Nro. 2 B-16 Umacollo - Yanahuara Arequipa, Peru (URL: http://ovi.ingemmet.gob.pe); Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), Calle Badajoz N° 169 Urb. Mayorazgo IV Etapa, Ate, Lima 15012, Perú (URL: https://www.gob.pe/igp); Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Meteorológico Nacional-Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 25 de mayo 658, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/inicio.php); 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).


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

10.83°N, 85.324°W; summit elev. 1916 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent small phreatic explosions with intermittent ash plumes during April-September 2020

Rincón de la Vieja is a remote volcanic complex in Costa Rica that contains an acid lake. Frequent weak phreatic explosions have occurred since 2011 (BGVN 44:08). The most recent eruption period began in January 2020, which consisted of small phreatic explosions, gas-and-steam plumes, pyroclastic flows, and lahars (BGVN 45:04). This reporting period covers April through September 2020, with activity characterized by continued small phreatic explosions, three lahars, frequent gas-and-steam plumes, and ash plumes. The primary source of information for this report is the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA) using weekly bulletins and the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Small, frequent, phreatic explosions were common at Rincón de la Vieja during this reporting period. One to several eruptions were reported on at least 16 days in April, 15 days in May, 8 days in June, 10 days in July, 18 days in August, and 13 days in September (table 5). Intermittent ash plumes accompanied these eruptions, rising 100-3,000 m above the crater and drifting W, NW, and SW during May and N during June. Occasional gas-and-steam plumes were also observed rising 50-2,000 m above the crater rim.

Table 5. Monthly summary of activity at Rincón de la Vieja during April through September 2020. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Month Minimum total days of eruptions Ash plume height (m above the crater) Notable plume drift Gas-and-steam plume height (m above the crater)
Apr 2020 16 200-1,000 - 50-1,500
May 2020 15 200-3,000 W, NW, SW 200-2,000
Jun 2020 8 100-2,000 N -
Jul 2020 10 1,000 - -
Aug 2020 18 500-1,000 - 500
Sep 2020 13 700 - 50

During April small explosions were detected almost daily, some of which generated ash plumes that rose 200-1,000 m above the crater and gas-and-steam emissions that rose 50-1,500 m above the crater. On 4 April an eruption at 0824 produced an ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim. A small hydrothermal explosion at 0033 on 11 April, recorded by the webcam in Sensoria (4 km N), ejected water and sediment onto the upper flanks. On 15 April a phreatic eruption at 0306 resulted in lahars in the Pénjamo, Azufrada, and Azul rivers, according to local residents. Several small explosions were detected during the morning of 19 April; the largest phreatic eruption ejected water and sediment 300 m above the crater rim and onto the flanks at 1014, generated a lahar, and sent a gas-and-steam plume 1.5 km above the crater (figure 30). On 24 April five events were recorded by the seismic network during the morning, most of which produced gas-and-steam plumes that rose 300-500 m above the crater. The largest event on this day occurred at 1020, ejecting water and solid material 300 m above the crater accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume rising up to 1 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. Webcam image of small hydrothermal eruptions at Rincón de la Vieja on 19 April 2020. Image taken by the webcam in Dos Ríos de Upala; courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Similar frequent phreatic activity continued in May, with ash plumes rising 200-1,500 m above the crater, drifting W, NW, and SW, and gas-and-steam plumes rising up to 2 km. On 5 May an eruption at 1317 produced a gas-and-steam plume 200 m above the crater and a Washington VAAC advisory reported that an ash plume rose to 2.1 km altitude, drifting W. An event at 1925 on 9 May generated a gas-and-steam plume that rose almost 2 km. An explosion at 1128 on 15 May resulted in a gas-and-steam plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim, accompanied by a gray, sediment-laden plume that rose 400 m. On 21 May a small ash eruption at 0537 sent a plume 1 km above the crater (figure 31). According to a Washington VAAC advisory, an ash plume rose 3 km altitude, drifting NW on 22 May. During the early evening on 25 May an hour-long sequence of more than 70 eruptions and emissions, according to OVSICORI-UNA, produced low gas-and-steam plumes and tephra; at 1738, some ejecta was observed above the crater rim. The next day, on 26 May, up to 52 eruptive events were observed. An eruption at 2005 was not visible due to weather conditions; however, it resulted in a minor amount of ashfall up to 17 km W and NW, which included Los Angeles of Quebrada Grande and Liberia. A phreatic explosion at 1521 produced a gray plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater (figure 31). An eruption at 1524 on 28 May sent an ash plume 3 km above the crater that drifted W, followed by at least three smaller eruptions at 1823, 1841, and 1843. OVSICORI-UNA reported that volcanism began to decrease in frequency on 28-29 May. Sulfur dioxide emissions ranged between 100 and 400 tons per day during 28 May to 15 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Webcam images of gray gas-and-steam and ash emissions at Rincón de la Vieja on 21 (left), and 27 (right) May 2020. Both images taken by the webcam in Dos Ríos de Upala and Sensoria; courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

There were eight days with eruptions in June, though some days had multiple small events; phreatic eruptions reported on 1-2, 13, 16-17, 19-20, and 23 June generated plumes 1-2 km above the crater (figure 32). During 2-8 June SO2 emissions were 150-350 tons per day; more than 120 eruptions were recorded during the preceding weekend. Ashfall was observed N of the crater on 4 June. During 9-15 June the SO2 emissions increased slightly to 100-400 tons per day. During 16-17 June several small eruptive events were detected, the largest of which occurred at 1635 on 17 June, producing an ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Webcam images of gray gas-and-steam and ash plumes rising from Rincón de la Vieja on 1 (top left), 2 (top right), 7 (bottom left), and 13 (bottom right) June 2020. The ash plume on 1 June rose between 1.5 and 2 km above the crater. The ash plume on 13 June rose 1 km above the crater. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Explosive hydrothermal activity was lower in June-September compared to January-May 2020, according to OVSICORI-UNA. Sporadic small phreatic explosions and earthquakes were registered during 22-25 and 29 July-3 August, though no lahars were reported. On 25 July an eruptive event at 0153 produced an ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater. Similar activity continued into August. On 5 and 6 August phreatic explosions were recorded at 0546 and 0035, respectively, the latter of which generated a plume that rose 500 m above the crater. These events continued to occur on 10, 16, 19-20, 22-25, 27-28, and 30-31 August, generating plumes that rose 500 m to 1 km above the crater.

On 3 September geologists observed that the acid lake in the main crater had a low water level and exhibited strong gas emissions; vigorous fumaroles were observed on the inner W wall of the crater, measuring 120°C. Gas-and-steam emissions continued to be detected during September, occasionally accompanied by phreatic eruptions. On 7 September an eruption at 0750 produced an ash plume that rose 50 m above the crater while the accompanying gas-and-steam plume rose 500 m. Several low-energy phreatic explosions occurred during 8-17, 20, and 22-28 September, characterized primarily by gas-and-steam emissions. An eruption on 16 September ejected material from the crater and generated a small lahar. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 100 tons per day during 16-21 September. On 17 September an eruption at 0632 produced an ash plume that rose 700 m above the crater (figure 33). A relatively large eruptive event at 1053 on 22 September ejected material out of the crater and into N-flank drainages.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Webcam image of an eruption plume rising above Rincón de la Vieja on 17 September 2020. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Geologic Background. Rincón de la Vieja, the largest volcano in NW Costa Rica, is a remote volcanic complex in the Guanacaste Range. The volcano consists of an elongated, arcuate NW-SE-trending ridge constructed within the 15-km-wide early Pleistocene Guachipelín caldera, whose rim is exposed on the south side. Sometimes known as the "Colossus of Guanacaste," it has an estimated volume of 130 km3 and contains at least nine major eruptive centers. Activity has migrated to the SE, where the youngest-looking craters are located. The twin cone of Santa María volcano, the highest peak of the complex, is located at the eastern end of a smaller, 5-km-wide caldera and has a 500-m-wide crater. A Plinian eruption producing the 0.25 km3 Río Blanca tephra about 3,500 years ago was the last major magmatic eruption. All subsequent eruptions, including numerous historical eruptions possibly dating back to the 16th century, have been from the prominent active crater containing a 500-m-wide acid lake located ENE of Von Seebach crater.

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/, https://www.facebook.com/OVSICORI/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html).


Fuego (Guatemala) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily explosions, ash emissions, and block avalanches during August-November 2020

Guatemala's Volcán de Fuego has been erupting vigorously since 2002 with reported eruptions dating back to 1531. These eruptions have resulted in major ashfalls, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and damaging lahars, including a series of explosions and pyroclastic flows in early June 2018 that caused several hundred fatalities. Eruptive activity consisting of explosions with ash emissions, block avalanches, and lava flows began again after a short break and has continued; activity during August-November 2020 is covered in this report. Daily reports are provided by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH); aviation alerts of ash plumes are issued by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Satellite data provide valuable information about heat flow and emissions.

Summary of activity during August-November 2020. Eruptive activity continued at Fuego during August-November 2020, very similar to that during the first part of the year (table 22). Ash emissions were reported daily by INSIVUMEH with explosions often in the 6-12 per hour range. Most of the ash plumes rose to 4.5-4.7 km altitude and generally drifted SW, W, or NW, although rarely the wind direction changed and sent ash to the S and SE. Multiple daily advisories were issued throughout the period by the Washington VAAC warning aviators about ash plumes, which were often visible on the observatory webcam (figure 136). Some of the communities located SW of the volcano received ashfall virtually every day during the period. Block avalanches descended the major drainages daily as well. Sounds were heard and vibrations felt from the explosions most days, usually 7-12 km away. The stronger explosions could be felt and heard 20 km or more from the volcano. During late August and early September a lava flow was active on the SW flank, reaching 700 m in length during the second week of September.

Table 22. Eruptive activity was consistently high at Fuego throughout August – November 2020 with multiple explosions every hour, ash plumes, block avalanches, and near-daily ashfall in the communities in certain directions within 10-20 km of the volcano. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH daily reports.

Month Explosions per hour Ash Plume Heights (km) Ash plume distance (km) and direction Drainages affected by block avalanches Communities reporting ashfall
Aug 2020 2-15 4.3-4.8 SW, W, NW, S, N, 8-20 km Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, Santa Teresa Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Rochela, Finca Palo Verde, Yepocapa, Santa Sofia, El Porvenir, Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa
Sep 2020 3-16 4.3-4.9 W, SW, NW, N, S, 8-20 km Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, Santa Teresa Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, Yepocapa, Porvenir, Yucales, Ojo de Agua, Finca La Conchita
Oct 2020 3-19 4.1-4.8 SW, W, S, SE, N, E, 10-20 km Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, Santa Teresa Panimache I and II, Morelia, Sangre de Cristo, Yepocapa, La Rochela, El Porvenir, Ceilán, Santa Sofía, Yucales, Finca Palo Verde
Nov 2020 4-14 4.0-4.8 S, SW, SE, W, NW, 10-35 km Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, Santa Teresa El Jute Panimaché I and II, Sangre de Cristo, Morelia, Ceilan, La Rochela, El Zapote, Santa Sofía, Yucales, San Juan Alotenango, Ciudad Vieja, San Miguel Dueñas y Antigua Guatemala, Palo Verde, El Porvenir, San Pedro Yepocapa, Quisaché, Santa Emilia
Figure (see Caption) Figure 136. Consistent daily ash emissions produced similar looking ash plumes at Fuego during August-November 2020. Plumes usually rose to 4.5-4.8 km altitude and drifted SW. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

The frequent explosions, block avalanches, and lava flows produced a strong thermal signal throughout the period that was recorded in both the MIROVA project Log Radiative Power graph (figure 137) and in numerous Sentinel-2 satellite images (figure 138). MODVOLC data produced thermal alerts 4-6 days each month. At least one lahar was recorded each month; they were most frequent in September and October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 137. The MIROVA graph of activity at Fuego for the period from 15 January through November 2020 suggested persistent moderate to high-level heat flow for much of the time. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 138. Atmospheric penetration rendering of Sentinel-2 satellite images (bands 12, 11, 8A) of Fuego during August-November 2020 showed continued thermal activity from block avalanches, explosions, and lava flows at the summit and down several different ravines. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during August-November 2020. The number of explosions per hour at Fuego during August 2020 was most often 7-10, with a few days that were higher at 10-15. The ash plumes usually rose to 4.5-4.8 km altitude and drifted SW or W up to 15 km. Incandescence was visible 100-300 m above the summit crater on most nights. All of the major drainages including the Seca, Santa Teresa, Ceniza, Trinidad, Taniluyá, Las Lajas, and Honda were affected by block avalanches virtually every day. In addition, the communities of Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, El Porvenir, San Pedro Yepocapa, and Sangre de Cristo reported ashfall almost every day. Sounds and vibrations were reported multiple days every week, often up to 12 km from the volcano, but occasionally as far as 20 km away. Lahars carrying blocks of rocks and debris 1-2 m in diameter descended the SE flank in the Las Lajas and Honda ravines on 6 August. On 27 August a lava flow 150 m long appeared in the Ceniza ravine. It increased in length over the subsequent few days, reaching 550 m long on 30 August, with frequent block avalanches falling off the front of the flow.

The lava flow in the Ceniza ravine was reported at 100 m long on 5 September. It grew to 200 m on 7 September and reached 700 m long on 12 September. It remained 200-350 m long through 19 September, although instruments monitored by INSIVUMEH indicated that effusive activity was decreasing after 16 September (figure 139). A second flow was 200 m long in the Seca ravine on 19 September. By 22 September, active flows were no longer observed. The explosion rate varied from a low of 3-5 on 1 September to a high of 12-16 on 4, 13, 18, and 22-23 September. Ash plumes rose to 4.5-4.9 km altitude nearly every day and drifted W, NW, and SW occasionally as far as 20 km before dissipating. In addition to the active flow in the Ceniza ravine, block avalanches persisted in the other ravines throughout the month. Ashfall continued in the same communities as in August, but was also reported in Yucales on 4 September along with Ojo de Agua and Finca La Conchita on 17 September. The Las Lajas, Honda, and El Jute ravines were the sites of lahars carrying blocks up to 1.5 m in diameter on 8 and 18 September. On 19 and 24 September lahars again descended Las Lajas and El Jute ravines; the Ceniza ravine had a lahar on 19 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 139. Avalanche blocks descended the Ceniza ravine (left) and the Las Lajas ravine (right) at Fuego on 17 September 2020. The webcam that captured this image is located at Finca La Reunión on the SE flank. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (BOLETÍN VULCANOLÓGICO ESPECIAL BEVFGO # 76-2020, 18 de septiembre de 2020, 14:30 horas).

The same activity continued during October 2020 with regard to explosion rates, plume altitudes, distances, and directions of drift. All of the major ravines were affected by block avalanches and the same communities located W and SW of the summit reported ashfall. In addition, ashfall was reported in La Rochela on 2, 3, 7-9 and 30 October, in Ceilán on 3 and 7-9 October, and in Yucales on 5, 14, 18 and 19 October. Multiple strong explosions with abundant ash were reported in a special bulletin on 14 October; high levels of explosive activity were recorded during 16-23 October. Vibrations and sounds were often felt up to 15 km away and heard as far as 25 km from the volcano during that period. Particularly strong block avalanches were present in the Seca and Ceniza ravines on 20, 25, and 30 October. Abundant rain on 9 October resulted in lahars descending all of the major ravines. The lahar in the Las Lajas ravine overflowed and forced the closure of route RN-14 road affecting the community of San Miguel on the SE flank (figure 140). Heavy rains on 15 October produced lahars in the Ceniza, Las Lajas, and Hondas ravines with blocks up to 2 m in diameter. Multiple lahars on 27 October affected Las Lajas, El Jute, and Honda ravines.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 140. Heavy rains on 9 October 2020 at Fuego caused lahars in all the major ravines. Debris from Las Lajas ravine overflowed highway RN-14 near the community of San Miguel on the SE flank, the area devastated by the pyroclastic flow of June 2018. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (BEFGO #96 VOLCAN DE FUEGO- ZONA CERO RN-14, SAN MIGUEL LOS LOTES y BARRANCA LAS LAJAS, 09 de octubre de 2020).

On 8 November 2020 a lahar descended the Seca ravine, carrying rocks and debris up to 1 meter in diameter. During the second week of November 2020, the wind direction changed towards the SE and E and brought ashfall to San Juan Alotenango, Ciudad Vieja, San Miguel Dueñas, and Antigua Guatemala on 8 November. Especially strong block avalanches were noted in the Seca and Ceniza ravines on 14, 19, 24, and 29 November. During a period of stronger activity in the fourth week of November, vibrations were felt and explosions heard more than 20 km away on 22 November and more than 25 km away on 27 November. In addition to the other communities affected by ashfall during August-November, Quisaché and Santa Emilia reported ashfall on 30 November.

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

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


Kikai (Japan) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kikai

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosion on 6 October 2020 and thermal anomalies in the crater

Kikai is a mostly submarine caldera, 19-km-wide, just S of the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. At the NW rim of the caldera lies the island of Satsuma Iwo Jima (also known as Satsuma-Iojima and Tokara Iojima), and the island’s highest peak, Iodake, a steep stratovolcano. Recent weak ash explosions at Iodake occurred on 2 November 2019 and 29 April 2020 (BGVN 45:02, 45:05). The volcano is monitored by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and satellite sensors. This report covers the period May-October 2020. During this time, the Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

Activity at Kikai has been relatively low since the previous eruption on 29 April 2020. During May through October occasional white gas-and-steam emissions rose 0.8-1.3 km above the Iodake crater, the latter of which was recorded in September. Emissions were intermittently accompanied by weak nighttime incandescence, according to JMA (figure 17).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. White gas-and-steam emissions rose 1 km above the crater at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 25 May (top) 2020. At night, occasional incandescence could be seen in the Iodake crater, as seen on 29 May (bottom) 2020. Both images taken by the Iwanoue webcam. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, May 2nd year of Reiwa [2020]).

A small eruption at 0757 on 6 October occurred in the NW part of the Iodake crater, which produced a grayish white plume rising 200 m above the crater (figure 18). Faint thermal anomalies were detected in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery in the days just before this eruption (28 September and 3 October) and then after (13 and 23 October), accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions (figures 19 and 20). Nighttime crater incandescence continued to be observed. JMA reported that sulfur dioxide emissions measured 700 tons per day during October, compared to the previous eruption (400-2,000 tons per day in April 2020).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Webcam images of the eruption at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 6 October 2020 that produced an ash plume rising 200 m above the crater (top). Nighttime summit crater incandescence was also observed (bottom). Images were taken by the Iwanoue webcam. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, October 2nd year of Reiwa [2020]).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Weak thermal hotspots (bright yellow-orange) were observed at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) during late September through October 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Webcam image of a white gas-and-steam plume rising 1.1 km above the crater at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 27 October 2020. Image was taken by the Iwanoue webcam. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, October 2nd year of Reiwa [2020]).

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

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


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — October 2020 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)


Intermittent ash plumes, thermal anomalies, and SO2 emissions in April-September 2020

Manam, located 13 km off the N coast of Papua New Guinea, is a basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano with historical eruptions dating back 400 years. Volcanism has been characterized by low-level ash plumes, occasional Strombolian activity, lava flows, pyroclastic avalanches, and large ash plumes from Main and South, the two active summit craters. The current eruption period has been ongoing since 2014, typically with minor explosive activity, thermal activity, and SO2 emissions (BGVN 45:05). This reporting period updates information from April through September 2020, consisting of intermittent ash plumes from late July to mid-September, persistent thermal anomalies, and SO2 emissions. Information comes from Papua New Guinea's Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), part of the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Explosive activity was relatively low during April through late July; SO2 emissions and low power, but persistent, thermal anomalies were detected by satellite instruments each month. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite recorded SO2 emissions, many of which exceeded two Dobson Units, that drifted generally W (figure 76). Distinct SO2 emissions were detected for 10 days in April, 4 days in May, 10 days in June, 4 days in July, 11 days in August, and 8 days in September.

Thermal anomalies recorded by the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system were sparse from early January through June 2020, totaling 11 low-power anomalies within 5 km of the summit (figure 77). From late July through September a pulse in thermal activity produced slightly stronger and more frequent anomalies. Some of this activity could be observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (figure 78). Occasionally, these thermal anomalies were accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions or ash plumes, as shown on 28 July. On 17 August a particularly strong hotspot was detected in the S summit crater. According to the MODVOLC thermal alert data, a total of 10 thermal alerts were detected in the summit crater over four days: 29 July (5), 16 August (1), and 3 (1) and 8 (3) September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Distinct sulfur dioxide plumes rising from Manam and drifting generally W were detected using data from the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite on 28 April (top left), 24 May (top right), 16 July (bottom left), and 12 September (bottom right) 2020. Courtesy of the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Intermittent thermal activity at Manam increased in power and frequency beginning around late July and continuing through September 2020, as shown on the MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing a persistent thermal anomaly (yellow-orange) at Manam’s summit craters (Main and South) each month during April through August; sometimes they were seen in both summit craters, as shown on 8 June (top right), 28 July (bottom left), and 17 August (bottom right). A particularly strong anomaly was visible on 17 August (bottom right). Occasional gas-and-steam emissions accompanied the thermal activity. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during mid-July slightly increased compared to the previous months. On 16 July seismicity increased, fluctuating between low and moderate RSAM values through the rest of the month. In Sentinel-2 satellite imagery a gray ash plume was visible rising from the S summit crater on 28 July (figure 78). RSAM values gradually increased from a low average of 200 to an average of 1200 on 30 July, accompanied by thermal hotspots around the summit crater; a ground observer reported incandescent material was ejected from the summit. On 31 July into 1 August ash plumes rose to 4.3 km altitude, accompanied by an incandescent lava flow visible at the summit, according to a Darwin VAAC advisory.

Intermittent ash plumes continued to be reported by the Darwin VAAC on 1, 6-7, 16, 20, and 31 August. They rose from 2.1 to 4.6 km altitude, the latter of which occurred on 31 August and drifted W. Typically, these ash plumes extended SW, W, NW, and WSW. On 11 September another ash plume was observed rising 2.4 km altitude and drifting W.

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

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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