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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 02 (February 2003)

Managing Editor: Edward Venzke

Barren Island (India)

Fumarolic activity noted during fieldwork in February

Deception Island (Antarctica)

Fumarole temperatures stable during 2000-2002; sulfur dioxide detected

Etna (Italy)

Petrographic and geochemical comparison of 2001 and 2002 lavas

Fournaise, Piton de la (France)

Infrared data from November-December 2002 eruption

Galeras (Colombia)

Phreatic explosion in June 2002; increased long-period seismicity in late 2002

Klyuchevskoy (Russia)

Seismicity above background levels; explosion and thermal anomaly

Lengai, Ol Doinyo (Tanzania)

Continuing lava flows and vent activity in late December 2002

Monowai (New Zealand)

Volcanic earthquake swarm during 1-24 November eruption

Montagu Island (United Kingdom)

Satellite data provide first evidence of Holocene eruptive activity

Nyiragongo (DR Congo)

Aftershocks, lava lake, SO2 fumes, acidic rains, and highly fluorinated water

Popocatepetl (Mexico)

Cycles of dome growth and destruction; continuing explosive activity

Reventador (Ecuador)

Ashfall in January, mudflows in February-March; additional data from November

Ruapehu (New Zealand)

Volcanic tremor episodes and Crater Lake temperature variations

Saunders (United Kingdom)

Lava lake detected in satellite imagery during 1995-2002

Sheveluch (Russia)

Continued lava dome growth, short-lived explosions, and seismicity

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Continued dome growth, rockfalls, and pyroclastic flows

Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand)

Increased SO2 emissions since December, mud ejections in February



Barren Island (India) — February 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Barren Island

India

12.278°N, 93.858°E; summit elev. 354 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic activity noted during fieldwork in February

A team of scientists from India and Italy carried out detailed geological, volcanological, geochemical, and geothermal investigations on Barren Island (figures 4 and 5) during 3-6 February 2003. The scientific team, led by Dornadula Chandrasekharam, included Piero Manetti, Orlando Vaselli, Bruno Capaccioni, and Mohammad Ayaz Alam. The Indian Coast Guard vessel CGS Lakshmi Bai carried the team from Port Blair on 3 February 2003; the journey takes ~5-6 hours depending on sea conditions. Because of the great depths around the island, it is not possible to anchor, so the team was ferried to the island in a small rubber boat. After the ship returned on the morning of 6 February, a trip around the island was made to see the steep seaward face of the prehistoric caldera wall.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Barren Island as seen from the vessel CGS Lakshmi Bai on 3 February 2003. Courtesy of D. Chandrasekharam and others.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Preliminary sketch map of Barren Island. Courtesy of D. Chandrasekharam and others.

The volcano consists of a caldera, which opens towards the W, with a central polygenetic vent enclosing at least five nested tuff cones. Two spatter cones are located on the W and SE flanks of the central cone (figure 6).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. A spatter cone on the SW flank of the central cinder cone at Barren Island around 3 February 2003. Courtesy of D. Chandrasekharam and others.

An eruption in 1991 ended more than 200 years of quiescence. Another eruption in 1994-95 left two spatter cones on its SE and W flanks. From these vents two aa lava flows poured out, both reaching the sea, during two distinct eruptive phases separated by ashfall. The lava flow created a delta into the sea (figure 7). There has been no documented eruptive activity since 1995, but Indian Coast Guards informed the team of renewed activity (strong gas and possible lava emission) in January 2000. The volcano currently exhibits continuing fumarolic activity. Steaming ground was visible at numerous places on the island.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Lava from the 1994-95 eruptions on Barren Island formed a tongue that reached the sea. Courtesy of D. Chandrasekharam and others.

On 5 February the team climbed the summit of the central cinder cone that showed strongly fumarolic (but not presently active) areas with layers of sulfur deposits (figure 8). The ascent to the crater was relatively difficult since the material on the very steep slope was loose (figure 9). Neither magma nor gas emissions were observed within the craters of the different cones. From the middle to the upper part of the W cone, the ground temperature was relatively high (>40°C), and steaming ground was visible at different sites. Fumarolic activity, with temperatures up to 101°C, was mainly concentrated along the upper crater wall of the SW cone. Blue fumes (indicative of SO2) and the aroma of acidic gases such as HCl were not recorded.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Fumarolic deposit on top of the central cinder cone at Barren Island on 5 February 2003. Courtesy of D. Chandrasekharam and others.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Central cinder cone showing steep slopes at Barren Island on 5 February 2003. Courtesy of D. Chandrasekharam and others.

The pre-caldera deposits were characterized by more than five lava flows (prehistoric?) separated by scoria-fall beds and minor ash, tuff, and cinder deposits. The lava flows varied in thickness from 2 to 3 m, whereas the pyroclastic layers vary in thickness from 1 to 4 m. These lava flows could be clearly seen towards the N part of the main caldera. Towards the SE part of the inner caldera a 5-m-wide, NNE-SSW trending dike was observed. This feeder dike was fine-to-medium grained and contains buff-colored olivine, green pyroxene, and plagioclase phenocrysts. The N and NW part of the caldera has been mantled by a ~50-m-thick sequence of breccias and tuff representing syn/post-caldera phreatic and hydromagmatic activity, whereas the products of a small littoral cone occured mainly towards the W side. The lava flows of the main caldera were highly porphyritic with phenocrysts of green pyroxene (~3 cm) and plagioclase feldspars. Several steam vents could be seen within the 1994-95 lava flows. Some of these vents exhibited a lack of steam emanations at the time of the visit.

The outer and part of the inner caldera contains thick vegetation, which escaped the fury of the recent eruptions. Feral goats and rats dominate the island. Two fresh-water springs were discovered towards the SE part of the caldera. This is possibly the fresh water source for the goats living in this island. Chemical analysis indicates that the water from the springs is potable.

Geologic Background. Barren Island, a possession of India in the Andaman Sea about 135 km NE of Port Blair in the Andaman Islands, is the only historically active volcano along the N-S volcanic arc extending between Sumatra and Burma (Myanmar). It is the emergent summit of a volcano that rises from a depth of about 2250 m. The small, uninhabited 3-km-wide island contains a roughly 2-km-wide caldera with walls 250-350 m high. The caldera, which is open to the sea on the west, was created during a major explosive eruption in the late Pleistocene that produced pyroclastic-flow and -surge deposits. Historical eruptions have changed the morphology of the pyroclastic cone in the center of the caldera, and lava flows that fill much of the caldera floor have reached the sea along the western coast.

Information Contacts: Dornadula Chandrasekharam, Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay 400076, India (URL: http://www.geos.iitb.ac.in/index.php/dc); Piero Manetti, Italian National Science Council (CNR), Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources (CNR-IGG), Viale Moruzzi, 1, 56124 Pisa, Italy; Orlando Vaselli, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Florence, Via G. La Pira, 4 - 50121 Florence, Italy; Bruno Capaccioni, Institute of Volcanology and Geochemistry, University of Urbino, Loc. La Crocicchia, 61029 Urbino, Italy; Mohammad Ayaz Alam, Research Scholar, Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay 400076, India.


Deception Island (Antarctica) — February 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Deception Island

Antarctica

63.001°S, 60.652°W; summit elev. 602 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarole temperatures stable during 2000-2002; sulfur dioxide detected

The Deception Volcano Observatory has monitored the volcano every austral summer since 1993. Investigations of fumarole geochemistry, thermal anomalies, and volcanic activity were made during the summer survey of 2000 and 2002 by the Argentina Research Group. Compared to measurements made during the latest surveys, temperatures of fumaroles and hot soils remained stable at 99-101°C in Fumarole Bay, 97°C on Caliente Hill, 65°C in Whalers Bay, 41°C in Telefon Bay, and 70°C in Pendulum Cove (figure 18).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Map of Deception Island showing the area of geothermal anomalies during austral summer 2002. Courtesy of A.T.Caselli, M. dos Santos Afonso, and M. Agusto.

Following a possible magma intrusion during the summer of 1999 (BGVN 24:05), the composition of gases from fumarolic vents at Fumarole Bay changed compared to previous surveys. The chemical composition of the fumarolic gases was mainly H2O (70-95 vol. %), CO2 (5-30%), H2S (0.1-0.3%), and SO2 (0.01-0.08%). For the first time, SO2 was detected. Elemental sulfur and iron sulfide coatings on lapilli were found around the vent outlets and at a few centimeters of depth, respectively. Elemental sulfur and iron sulfide occurrences were intermittent during the 2000 and 2002 summer surveys.

Geologic Background. Ring-shaped Deception Island, one of Antarctica's most well known volcanoes, contains a 7-km-wide caldera flooded by the sea. Deception Island is located at the SW end of the Shetland Islands, NE of Graham Land Peninsula, and was constructed along the axis of the Bransfield Rift spreading center. A narrow passageway named Neptunes Bellows provides entrance to a natural harbor that was utilized as an Antarctic whaling station. Numerous vents located along ring fractures circling the low, 14-km-wide island have been active during historical time. Maars line the shores of 190-m-deep Port Foster, the caldera bay. Among the largest of these maars is 1-km-wide Whalers Bay, at the entrance to the harbor. Eruptions from Deception Island during the past 8700 years have been dated from ash layers in lake sediments on the Antarctic Peninsula and neighboring islands.

Information Contacts: A.T.Caselli, M. dos Santos Afonso, and M. Agusto, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Instituto Antártico Argentino, Ciudad Universitaria, Pabellón 2, C1428EHA Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Etna (Italy) — February 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Petrographic and geochemical comparison of 2001 and 2002 lavas

On 27 October 2002 Mount Etna opened on both its northern and southern sides (BGVN 27:10-27:12), erupting lava from vents about 2,500-1,800 m elevation on the NNE flank and 2,800-2,700 m on the S flank. The N vents emitted two flows that stopped after a few days, the longer of which stretched ~5 km. The S vents erupted lighter intermittent lava flows, but showed much stronger and sustained explosive activity that developed two large cinder cones at 2,750 and 2,850 m elevation.

The northern lavas are similar to the tephra erupted from Northeast Crater during the summer of 2002 and, more generally, to the trachybasalts that characterized Etna's activity during the past centuries (Tanguy and others 1997, and references therein). They are typically porphyritic (30-40% phenocryts), containing numerous millimeter-sized crystals of plagioclase (An 86-65/Or 0.4-2.1), clinopyroxene (En 42.3-37/Fs 11.7-15.5), and fewer ones of olivine (Fo 76-71) and titanomagnetite (Usp 35-43). The silica content is about 47-48% with a "normal" MgO content of about 5% and "low" CaO/Al2O3.

The southern lavas are significantly higher in MgO (~6.5%) and CaO/Al2O3 with fewer phenocrysts that comprise barely 10% of the rock. Olivine crystals are decidedly more magnesian (Fo 82-76), although other minerals are much like those described above, with plagioclase An 80.8-63.8/Or 0.8-1.3, clinopyroxene En 42-34/Fs 12-15.7, and titanomagnetite Usp 37-42.7. It must be pointed out, however, that plagioclase and titanomagnetite are here almost entirely confined within the groundmass, a characteristic that is uncommon in Etnean lavas and characterizes some of the most basaltic samples.

A particularity of the southern 2002 lavas is the presence of destabilized amphibole crystals, together with quartz-bearing inclusions (sandstones) surrounded by a reaction rim of pyroxene and embedded in a rhyolitic matrix. These characteristics are quite similar to those already found in the 2001 lavas emitted at 2,100 m elevation on this same flank (BGVN 26:10). The 2002 amphibole is present in rarer and smaller "megacrysts" that do not exceed 2 cm in length and display a reaction rim composed of rhonite, anorthitic plagioclase, and olivine within a silicic and potassic glass. Its chemical composition is similar to that of the 2001 amphibole.

Orthopyroxene was found in a southern flow emitted at the very beginning of the eruption (27 October). The average of 16 microprobe analyses is as follows (Centre de microanalyse Camparis, University of Paris 6): SiO2, 53.18; TiO2, 0.23; Al2O3, 0.79; Cr2O3, 0.04; FeO, 19.43; MnO, 0.80; MgO, 23.52; CaO, 1.72; Na2O, 0.05; Total, 99.75. The composition is thus hypersthene close to bronzite, typical of basalts or basaltic andesites. Hypersthene here occurs as crystals 0.5-0.7 mm in length, always surrounded by clinopyroxene. The two minerals are not in equilibrium as indicated by their different Mg values (0.69 for Opx, 0.71 to 0.78 for Cpx). This is the first time that such large crystals of orthopyroxene have been observed in lavas of the last tens of thousand years. Orthopyroxene is very rare at Etna, being previously found on only two or three occasions in pre-Etnean basalts about 200,000 years old.

Olivine separates from both N and S lavas (~100 crystals each) were microprobed, showing a single distribution for the N flank of Fo 69-70 for 65% of the crystals. The S lavas have a twofold behavior with Fo 78-81 for 37% of the crystals and Fo 73-75 for 45% of them. These results are similar to what was found between the upper southern 2001 lavas (including the NE flank below Pizzi Deneri) and those emitted at lower elevation (S 2,600 m and S 2,100 m). It is worth noting that the 2,600 m S vent of the 2001 eruption is close (~1 km) to the 2,700 m S vent of the 2002 eruption.

Based on these preliminary results, the low porphyritic index added to the whole rock chemical composition and that of the olivine crystals, a common origin is suggested for the southern 2002 lavas and those emitted low on the S flank during the 2001 eruption.

Reference. Tanguy, J.C., Condomines, M., and Kieffer, G., 1997, Evolution of the Mount Etna magma: Constraints on the present feeding system and eruptive mechanism: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 75, p. 221-250.

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: Roberto Clocchiatti, CNRS-CEN Saclay, Lab. Pierre Süe, 91191 Gif sur Yvette, France; Jean-Claude Tanguy, Univ. Paris 6 & Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Observatoire de St. Maur, 94107 St. Maur des Fossés, France.


Piton de la Fournaise (France) — February 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Piton de la Fournaise

France

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Infrared data from November-December 2002 eruption

Following the 16 November-3 December 2002 eruption (BGVN 27:11), the Observatoire volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise reported on 19 December that very strong seismicity had continued at a rate of more than 1,000 earthquakes per day. The earthquakes were located a few hundred meters below Dolomieu crater.

MODIS tracking of effusive activity during 2000-2002. The November-December 2002 eruption was detected by the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology MODIS thermal alert system (http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/). The eruption was apparent as a major hot spot in the SW sector of Reunion (figure 66). The first image on which activity was flagged was that of 1030 (0630 UTC) on 16 November 2002. At that point the flagged anomaly was six 1-km pixels (E-W) by 2-3 pixels (N-S). The hot spot attained roughly the same locations and dimensions on all subsequent images, where hot pixels were flagged on 16 images during November 16-3 December 2002. The exception was an image acquired at 2255 (1855 UTC) on 30 November (figure 66), on which the hot spot attained its largest dimensions of ~12 x 5 pixels. The increase in hot spot dimensions towards the end of November is also apparent in the radiance trace (figure 67). However, without examination of the raw images HIGP scientists cannot determine from the hot spot data alone whether this recovery was due to an increase in activity or an improvement in cloud conditions. This was the 6th eruption of Piton de la Fournaise tracked by the MODIS thermal alert (Flynn et al., 2002; Wright et al., 2002) since its inception during April 2000 (figure 68).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Hot-spot pixels flagged at Piton de la Fournaise by the MODIS thermal alert at 0630 UTC on 16 November 2002 (top) and 1855 UTC on 30 November 2002 (bottom). Courtesy of the HIGP Thermal Alerts Team.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Piton de la Fournaise hot spot radiance detected by MODIS during 15 November-5 December 2002. Courtesy of the HIGP Thermal Alerts Team.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Piton de la Fournaise hot spot radiance detected by MODIS during April 2000-December 2002. Courtesy of the HIGP Thermal Alerts Team.

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

Flynn, L.P., Wright, R., Garbeil, H., Harris, A.J.L., and Pilger, E, 2002, A global thermal alert using MODIS: initial results from 2000-2001: Advances in Environmental Monitoring and Modeling (http://www.kcl.ac.uk/kis/ schools/hums/geog/advemm.html), v. 1, no. 3, p. 5-36.

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

Information Contacts: Observatoire volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise, 14 RN3, le 27Km, 97418 La Plaine des Cafres, La Réunion, France; Andy Harris, Luke Flynn, Harold Garbeil, Eric Pilger, Matt Patrick, and Robert Wright, HIGP Thermal Alerts Team, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) / School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).


Galeras (Colombia) — February 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Phreatic explosion in June 2002; increased long-period seismicity in late 2002

A slight increase in the number of volcano-tectonic (VT) and long-period (LP) events occurred during April through September 2002, although the energy levels diminished. Between October and December 2002, scientists noted a small decrease in VT seismicity and a considerable increase in seismic activity related to fluid-movement. An increase in LP signals, difficult to classify due to their non-typical signatures, coincided with strong rainfall over Pasto and the volcano. The geothermal system at Galeras, with fumarolic zones having temperatures between 100 and 370°C, easily interacts with rainwater, producing exothermic reactions with seismic and near-surface manifestations.

During April-June, there were 191 VT events with a seismic energy release of 1.08 x 1016 erg. Both the number of events and the total energy increased during July-September, when 209 VT events with a seismic energy release of 5.64 x 1015 erg were recorded. In comparison, there were 197 VT events with an energy release of 2.86 x 1015 erg during October-December. The vast majority of the events occurred close to the active crater and in the volcanic edifice. Other earthquakes occurred at depths of 0.2-16 km beneath the summit throughout the second half of 2002.

Volcano-tectonic earthquakes were felt in Pasto on 8 April (2 km deep, ML 3.6), 17 April (2 km deep, ML 4.2), 28 April (12 km deep, ML 3.2), 24 May (8 km deep, ML 2.3), 21 June (9 km deep, ML 3.0), 22 July (5 km deep, ML 2.7), and 1 November (5 km depth, ML 3.2, 3.8 km from the crater). The 17 April event was followed by 12 aftershocks from the main crater area; the strongest was ML 2.6. In Consacá, two events were felt on 12 August within 4 minutes of each other (5 km deep, ML 2.9 and 3.4). The strongest 12 August earthquake was located ~6 km SW of the crater. A strong event on 20 December (4 km deep, ML 3.6) was felt in the town of Yacuanquer and was centered ~5 km SW of the active crater.

During April-June, 111 LP events and 82 spasmodic tremor episodes were registered with a total energy release of 2.89 x 1014 erg. Some spasmodic tremor episodes were harmonic, with dominant frequencies of 2.5-2.7 Hz. Seismic events related to fluid movements during July through September had low frequencies between 2 and 3 Hz and high frequencies of 10.5, 12.1, 13.7, and 14.1 Hz. These frequencies appeared all over the local reporting stations. In total, there were 161 registered LP events and 17 spasmodic tremor episodes with a total energy release of 1.1 x 1014 erg. In addition, some spasmodic tremor episodes were of the harmonic type with dominant frequencies of 2.5 and 3.0 Hz. During October-December the frequencies exhibited spikes between 10 and 16 Hz. Sometimes these events showed one or more precursor signals with very short amplitude and appeared in doubles or triplets. The frequencies kept on time over many stations indicating a processes more directly related to the source rather than the path or station site. Overall, there were 1,541 LP events and 209 spasmodic tremor episodes in October-December with a total energy release of 2.65 x 1015 erg.

Reactivation of El Pinta Crater. Slight gas emissions were observed at the end of May from the El Pinta crater (E of the main crater), inactive since 1991. On 5 June 2002 began the number of daily seismic events increased. A team visiting the summit on 7 June noted an increase in the quantity and pressure of gas emissions at different points of the main crater and in El Pinta. However, temperatures did not show significant variations compared to previous months. Elevated temperatures were observed toward the SW sector of the active cone with values of 340°C at the Las Chavas fumarole field. Also on 7 June spasmodic tremor was registered at the observatory that signified a hydrothermal event. A subsequent field inspection observed a fine layer of ash and precipitate sulfur, besides great gas emission from El Pinta. The material emitted by El Pinta consisted of lapilli, ash, and clay; a high percentage of the sample was pre-existing material. Some reports of gas emissions coincide with spasmodic tremor records at the Galeras observatory site. After 11 June this activity began to decrease. The VT earthquakes that accompanied this activity were located in the main crater zone with depths to 3 km.

Geologic Background. Galeras, a stratovolcano with a large breached caldera located immediately west of the city of Pasto, is one of Colombia's most frequently active volcanoes. The dominantly andesitic complex has been active for more than 1 million years, and two major caldera collapse eruptions took place during the late Pleistocene. Long-term extensive hydrothermal alteration has contributed to large-scale edifice collapse on at least three occasions, producing debris avalanches that swept to the west and left a large horseshoe-shaped caldera inside which the modern cone has been constructed. Major explosive eruptions since the mid-Holocene have produced widespread tephra deposits and pyroclastic flows that swept all but the southern flanks. A central cone slightly lower than the caldera rim has been the site of numerous small-to-moderate historical eruptions since the time of the Spanish conquistadors.

Information Contacts: Marta Calvache, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Pasto (OVSP), INGEOMINAS, Carrera 31, 18-07 Parque Infantil, P.O. Box 1795, Pasto, Colombia (URL: https://www2.sgc.gov.co/volcanes/index.html).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — February 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity above background levels; explosion and thermal anomaly

Seismicity was above background levels at Kliuchevskoi during 29 November 2002 through at least 4 March 2003. Tens of earthquakes per day were recorded, mostly at depths of ~30 km (table 8), and intermittent spasmodic volcanic tremor occurred. During December through February, gas-and-steam plumes generally rose up to 2 km above the crater. The Concern Color Code fluctuated between Yellow and Orange, but by the end of the report period remained at Yellow.

Table 8. Earthquakes recorded at Kliuchevskoi during 29 November 2002-28 February 2003. Courtesy KVERT.

Date Earthquakes per day
29 Nov-04 Dec 2002 Up to 33
06 Dec-13 Dec 2002 12-24
13 Dec-20 Dec 2002 6-12
19 Dec-25 Dec 2002 6-9
26 Dec-03 Jan 2003 3-11
06 Jan-09 Jan 2003 10-23
10 Jan-12 Jan 2003 12-28
13 Jan-15 Jan 2003 33-35
31 Jan-07 Feb 2003 16-39
07 Feb-14 Feb 2003 17-30
13 Feb-19 Feb 2003 14-81
21 Feb-28 Feb 2003 10-14

Visual observations and video recordings from the town of Klyuchi revealed that a plume from an explosion on 24 December 2002 rose 4 km above the crater and drifted WSW. On 5 January 2003 a faint thermal anomaly, and probable mud flow down the SSE slope were visible on satellite imagery. According to KVERT, the thermal anomaly and mud flow indicated that a lava flow may have begun to travel down the SSE slope. A probable mudflow, seen on the SE slope on 7 January, may have emerged after a short explosion to the SE or E, or after powerful fumarolic activity in the crater. During the week of 26 February-4 March, gas-and-steam plumes rose to low levels and possible ash deposits on the volcano's SE summit were visible on satellite imagery.

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

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


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — February 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuing lava flows and vent activity in late December 2002

Claude Grandpey visited Ol Doinyo Lengai on 29-30 December 2002 during a trip organized by the French agency Aventure et Volcans. The group arrived on the crater rim late in the morning and noted a very active lava lake in the T49 vent that began to overflow a few minutes later. The resulting lava flow was ~10-15 m wide and reached a length of ~50 m before stopping when the overflow ended after a few minutes. The temperature inside the solid flow, measured some 2 hours after it had stopped, was 462°C.

The T49 lake, roughly circular and ~5 m in diameter, was extremely active and noisily ejecting blobs of fluid lava (figure 77). This type of activity lasted all day, without additional lava flows. After several hours of careful observations, Grandpey climbed the cone and stood a few meters from the lava lake. He noted that the lake was being fed in an oblique way from a vent on its SW side; the lava would flow to the E inner side before being projected back to the W and splashing out. The pressure of the lava as it splashed against the E side could be felt, and the whole cone was vibrating. In the evening the activity decreased at the lake, and a small vent opened a few meters to the E, emitting occasional vertical squirts of lava. All the time they stayed in the crater, cone T40 kept roaring, but no lava emissions were seen.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Photograph of activity at Ol Doinyo Lengai vent T49, 29 December 2002. Courtesy of Claude Grandpey.

After a night of heavy rain, the group visited the crater one more time. No lava flow had occurred during the night. Another lake was still bubbling at T49, at the exact spot were lava was squirting vertically the day before. It was violently throwing blobs of lava on its outer slopes.

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

Information Contacts: Claude Grandpey, L'Association Volcanologique Européenne (LAVE), 7, rue de la Guadeloupe, 75018, Paris, France.


Monowai (New Zealand) — February 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Monowai

New Zealand

25.887°S, 177.188°W; summit elev. -132 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Volcanic earthquake swarm during 1-24 November eruption

Numerous eruptions of Monowai Seamount (also known as Orion Seamount), an active volcano located in the Kermadec Island arc, were detected by the Polynesian Seismic Research (Reseau Sismique Polynesien, RSP) seismic network in Tahiti (figure 8). Strong T-phase waves were recorded at all of the stations in the RSP network (figure 9). The last reports of Monowai eruption activities were in January 1998 (BGVN 23:01), June 1999 (BGVN 24:06), and May 2002 (BGVN 27:05).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Map of the South Pacific Ocean showing the location of some RSP (Reseau Sismique Polynesien) seismic network stations (circles indicate area of island group with labeled stations) and Monowai Seamount (star). All seismic stations are inland; there are no hydrophones in the network. Stations shown include VAH and PMOR (Tuamotu archipelago), PAE, PPT, TVO, and TIAR (Society Islands), TBI (Austral Islands), and RKT (Gambier archipelago). Courtesy of Laboratoire de Geophysique, Tahiti.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Example of strong T-phase waves detected by the RSP from Monowai, 18 November 2002 (times are UTC). All the seismic stations in the network recorded the wave generated during eruption of the volcano. Note the good signal coherency between most stations. The record at the PMOR station, located in the north of Rangiroa, was masked for the T waves. Courtesy of Laboratoire de Geophysique, Tahiti.

Geophysical network. The Polynesian Seismic Network is composed of short-period seismic stations on Rangiroa atoll in the Tuamotu archipelago (stations VAH and PMOR), on Tahiti in the Society Islands (stations PAE, PPT, TVO, and TIAR), on Tubuai in the Austral Islands (station TBI), and on Rikitea in the Gambier archipelago (station RKT). There are also three long-period seismic stations in Tahiti, Tubuai, and Rikitea. In addition, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) instruments located in Tahiti include a mini-array of micro-barographs, a primary seismic station (station PS18 at Papeete), and a radionuclide station.

Earthquake swarm. A volcanic earthquake swarm started on 1 November 2002 at 1200 UTC with strong explosive T-phase waves recorded by the RSP network (figure 10). The swarm stopped temporarily between 8 and 17 November; a second, very intense swarm started on 17 November (figure 11) and ended on 24 November. From inversion of T-phase wave arrival times, it was deduced that the swarm was located around Monowai Seamount. Because of the small aperture of the RSP network, the location is poorly constrained in longitude, but well constrained in latitude (figure 12). The source of the T-phase waves is most probably at Monowai.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Daily history of the Monowai swarm. The maximum number of daily events was on 21 November, but the higher amplitude T-phase waves were detected during 17-19 November. Courtesy of Laboratoire de Geophysique, Tahiti.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Daily history of amplitude (in nanometers) of Monowai swarm T-phase waves recorded at TVO station on Tahiti. The maximum intensity was between 17 and 19 November. These amplitudes should correlate to ground vibrations generated by the volcanic eruptions. Courtesy of Laboratoire de Geophysique, Tahiti.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Map showing the best source locations of the swarms using the entire seismic network. The star is Monowai Seamount, and the dots are possible source epicenters. The effect of linearity observed on the epicenters is due essentially to the aperture size of the network, but note that the latitude is well constrained. Courtesy of Laboratoire de Geophysique, Tahiti.

Regarding T-Phase waves. A short-period wave group from a seismic source that has propagated in part through the ocean is called T-phase or T(ertiary)-wave (Linehan, 1940; Tolstoy and Ewing, 1950; Walker and Hammond, 1998). The wave group propagates with low attenuation as hydro-acoustic (compressional) waves in the ocean, constrained within a low sound speed wave guide (the sound fixing and ranging - SOFAR - channel) formed by the sound speed structure in the ocean. The T-phase signal may be picked up by hydrophones in the ocean or by land seismometers. Upon incidence with the continental shelf/slope, the wave group is transformed into ordinary seismic waves that arrive considerably later than seismic wave groups from the same source that propagated entirely through the solid earth.

References. Brothers, R.N., Heming, R.F., Hawke, M.M., and Davey, F.J., 1980, Tholeiitic basalt from the Monowai seamount, Tonga-Kermadec ridge (Note): New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, v. 23, p. 537-539.

Davey, F.J., 1980, The Monowai Seamount: an active submarine volcanic centre of the Tonga-Kermadec Ridge (Note): New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, v. 23, p. 533-536.

Linehan, D, 1940, Earthquakes in the West Indian region: Transactions, American Geophysical Union, Pt. II, p. 229-232.

Tolstoy, I., and Ewing, M., 1950, The T phase of shallow-focus earthquakes: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 40, p. 25-51.

Walker, D.A., and Hammond, S.R., 1998, Historical Gorda Ridge T-phase swarms; relationships to ridge structure and the tectonic and volcanic state of the ridge during 1964-1966: Deep-Sea Research Part II, v. 45, n. 12, p. 2531-2545.

Geologic Background. Monowai, also known as Orion seamount, rises to within 100 m of the sea surface about halfway between the Kermadec and Tonga island groups. The volcano lies at the southern end of the Tonga Ridge and is slightly offset from the Kermadec volcanoes. Small parasitic cones occur on the N and W flanks of the basaltic submarine volcano, which rises from a depth of about 1500 m and was named for one of the New Zealand Navy bathymetric survey ships that documented its morphology. A large 8.5 x 11 km wide submarine caldera with a depth of more than 1500 m lies to the NNE. Numerous eruptions from Monowai have been detected from submarine acoustic signals since it was first recognized as a volcano in 1977. A shoal that had been reported in 1944 may have been a pumice raft or water disturbance due to degassing. Surface observations have included water discoloration, vigorous gas bubbling, and areas of upwelling water, sometimes accompanied by rumbling noises.

Information Contacts: Dominique Reymond and Olivier Hyvernaud, Laboratoire de Geophysique, CEA/DASE/LDG, Tahiti, PO Box 640, Papeete, French Polynesia.


Montagu Island (United Kingdom) — February 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Montagu Island

United Kingdom

58.445°S, 26.374°W; summit elev. 1370 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Satellite data provide first evidence of Holocene eruptive activity

Although previous eruptions have been recorded elsewhere in the South Sandwich Islands (Coombs and Landis, 1966), ongoing volcanic activity has only recently been detected and studied. These islands (figure 1) are all volcanic in origin, but sufficiently distant from population centers and shipping lanes that eruptions, if and when they do occur, currently go unnoticed. Visual observations of the islands probably do not occur on more than a few days each year (LeMasurier and Thomson, 1990). Satellite data have recently provided observations of volcanic activity in the group, and offer the only practical means to regularly characterize activity in these islands. These observations are especially significant because there has previously been no evidence of Holocene activity on Montagu Island (LeMasurier and Thomson, 1990).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. The South Sandwich Island archipelago, located in the Scotia Sea. The South Sandwich Trench lies approximately 100 km E, paralleling the trend of the islands, where the South American Plate subducts westward beneath the Scotia Plate. Courtesy Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology and British Antarctic Survey.

Using Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data, Lachlan-Cope and others (2001) observed apparent plumes and unreported single anomalous pixels intermittently on images of Montagu Island during March 1995 to February 1998. However, field investigations in January 1997 revealed that Montagu Island, as viewed from Saunders Island, was apparently inactive, with the summit region entirely covered in snow and ice. Hand-held photographs of the island obtained in September 1992 also showed the summit to be wholly inactive.

Significant volcanic activity may have begun on Montagu Island in late 2001 based upon analysis of thermal satellite imagery (1 km pixel size) from NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument. Using the automated MODIS Thermal Alert system (Wright and others, 2002), image pixels containing volcanic activity were detected and analyzed to characterize the eruption. From its location, the erupting center may be associated with a small hill on the NW edge of the ice-filled summit caldera, ~6 km from Mount Belinda (figure 2).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Map of Montagu Island with circles showing the location of all anomalous MODIS pixels detected since October 2001. Stippled areas show rock outcrop, the remainder is snow or ice covered. Relief is shown by form lines that should not be interpreted as fixed-interval contours. Map adapted from Holdgate and Baker (1979); courtesy Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology and British Antarctic Survey.

The first thermal alert on Montagu occurred on 20 October 2001 with a single anomalous pixel on the N side of the island. Subsequent anomalies generally involved 1-2 pixels, with the exception of several images in August and September 2002 that peaked at four pixels in size (figures 3 and 4). Visual inspection of the images revealed that the anomalies were all located between the summit of Mount Belinda and the N shore, changing in position either due to satellite viewing geometry or actual migration of hot material. We can generally discount other possible explanations for the anomalies, the most likely being solar reflectance influencing the short-wave bands, due to the presence of clear anomalies in nighttime imagery and the concomitance of apparent low-level ash plumes in several of the images. The persistence of the anomaly, and the lack of large ash plumes, suggests that activity here may involve a lava lake.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Selected MODIS images showing thermal anomalies on Montagu Island. Band 20 (3.7 µm) is shown here. The thermal anomalies appear to be located between the summit of Mount Belinda and the N shore. Images are not georeferenced for purposes of radiance integrity, therefore coastlines are approximate. Courtesy Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology and British Antarctic Survey.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Summed radiance of anomalous pixels in each image. Band 21 (3.9 µm) was used for these plots. Points show the result for each image, and the line is a three point running mean of values. Courtesy Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology and British Antarctic Survey.

References. Coombs, D.S., and Landis, C.A., 1966, Pumice from the South Sandwich eruption of March 1962 reaches New Zealand: Nature, v. 209, p. 289-290.

Holdgate, M.W., and Baker, P.E., 1979, The South Sandwich Islands, I, General description: British Antarctic Survey Science Report, v. 91, 76 p.

Lachlan-Cope, T., Smellie, J.L., and Ladkin, R., 2001, Discovery of a recurrent lava lake on Saunders Island (South Sandwich Islands) using AVHRR imagery: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 112, p. 105-116.

LeMasurier, W.E., and Thomson, J.W. (eds), 1990, Volcanoes of the Antarctic Plate and Southern Oceans: American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C., AGU Monograph, Antarctic Research Series, v. 48.

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

Geologic Background. The largest of the South Sandwich Islands, Montagu consists of a massive shield volcano cut by a 6-km-wide ice-filled summit caldera. The summit of the 10 x 12 km wide island rises about 3000 m from the sea floor between Bristol and Saunders Islands. Around 90% of the island is ice-covered; glaciers extending to the sea typically form vertical ice cliffs. The name Mount Belinda has been applied both to the high point at the southern end of the summit caldera and to the young central cone. Mount Oceanite, an isolated 900-m-high peak with a 270-m-wide summit crater, lies at the SE tip of the island and was the source of lava flows exposed at Mathias Point and Allen Point. There was no record of Holocene or historical eruptive activity until MODIS satellite data, beginning in late 2001, revealed thermal anomalies consistent with lava lake activity that has been persistent since then. Apparent plumes and single anomalous pixels were observed intermittently on AVHRR images during the period March 1995 to February 1998, possibly indicating earlier unconfirmed and more sporadic volcanic activity.

Information Contacts: Matt Patrick, Luke Flynn, Harold Garbeil, Andy Harris, Eric Pilger, Glyn Williams-Jones, and Rob Wright, HIGP Thermal Alerts Team, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) / School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); John Smellie, British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingly Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, United Kingdom (URL: https://www.bas.ac.uk/).


Nyiragongo (DR Congo) — February 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Aftershocks, lava lake, SO2 fumes, acidic rains, and highly fluorinated water

Nyiragongo was last reported on through late October 2002 (BGVN 27:10). This report covers through 21 December, an interval in which the hazard status remained high, with the population asked to exercise vigilance (code Yellow). Included here are reports from the Goma Volcano Observatory (GVO), and from Dario Tedesco and Simon Carn on geochemistry and atmospheric SO2. Several episodes of strong SO2 outgassing and unfavorable wind directions caused elevated concentrations of the gas to enter cities and acid rain to damage vegetation and water supplies. High fluorine was found in some rainwater samples. The 24 October 2002 earthquake's aftershocks and the state of the volcano led to significant stress on the regional inhabitants, including those in Goma.

During the October-December reporting interval, the GVO reports noted that their roughly weekly Nyiragongo observational climbs disclosed considerable changes on the crater's floor, a spot ~700 m down inside the summit crater. Comparisons between photos taken on 24 November and 9 December 2002 revealed the merging of two adjacent molten-surfaced lakes and the birth of another similar, though smaller, lava lake at a point well over 100 m away from the merged ones. The deep crater is often filled with fumes too dense to clearly see the crater floor, and in the above-mentioned cases photographers had just 5 to 10 seconds of moderate visibility to capture their photos. This helps explain why the status and behavior of the lava lakes is often ambiguous (see BGVN 26:03). Adequate visibility during a climb on 18 December revealed that the sole lava lake seen then stood ~45 m in diameter, its surface restless and agitated.

In accord with one or more dynamic and molten-surfaced lava lakes on 20 December, SO2 gas blew into Goma, causing residents to panic. Scoria falls were noted in late October, and in one particular case by residents of the SW-flank settlement of Rusayo at around 1100 on 15 November. It was noted in October that vegetation surrounding the crater's perimeter, particularly on the W flank, had sustained acid burns from abundant degassing. During October-21 December vapors over the crater frequently glimmered red at night. The 15 November visit disclosed the escape of high-temperature gases and the existence of fissures cutting across the residual platform of 17 January 2002 deposits. Fumaroles along fissures discharged gases. SW-flank fissures were also seen.

GVO summarized the volcano observations for the interval 15-28 December 2002, noting a permanent strong gas plume at 4,200-6,000 m altitudes. They again confirmed a permanent small lava lake, about 50 m in diameter with a central active lava fountain sending molten material to ~40 m heights. Minor amounts of Pelé's-hair ash fell in both Rusayo and Kibati villages. Residents of those villages and Kibumba reported seeing incandescence in the crater.

Residents of Kibati and Kibumba were greatly concerned the night of 27-28 November due to visible glimmer that appeared be coming toward them from Nyiragongo. The glimmer was benign activity in the crater rather than lava flows descending the flanks. This behavior was associated with lava-lake degassing.

Other observatory projects in late October to late December included the installation and maintenance of lake-level sensors on Lake Kivu, installation of thermal sensors at selected spots, and improved seismic telemetry.

Deformation surveys on 31 October, 2 November, and 13 November 2002 measured the distance between cross-fracture survey points (nails) along the scarps of Monigi, Lemera, and Shaheru. The results indicated that offsets remained comparatively stable, with little change compared to previous measurements (table 6). New cross-fracture measurements were also initiated at the Mapendo station. Data collected in late December continued to lack evidence of new deformation.

Table 6. Nyiragongo deformation measured along scarps on 2 and 13 November. These reportedly showed strong consistency with preceding measurements. New measurements were initiated at newly established survey points on 13 November. These were in the Mapendo neighborhood (a site towards Gift Bosco) on a revived fracture there. Courtesy of OVG.

Date Monigi Lemera Virunga Shaheru Mapendo
02 Nov 2002 8.31 m 7.55 m 93.4 cm 14.72 m --
13 Nov 2002 8.31 m 7.55 m 93.4 cm -- 15.4 cm

Geochemistry. SO2 fluxes increased during October and November 2002, rising from below detection limits to a few thousands metric tons per day (t/d), then to up to ~20,000 t/d. Dario Tedesco suggested that the increase might be due to a more efficient conduit geometry allowing gases access to the surface. The process may have accompanied upward movement of magma or its arrival at the surface.

During the last half of November through 2 December the TOMS SO2 estimates were under reliable detection limits due low concentrations. After that, on 7 and 11 December, respectively, TOMS data measured considerable SO2, ~12,000 and ~11,000 metric tons per day (t/d) (table 7).

Table 7. SO2 fluxes at Nyiragongo based on the TOMS instrument. Courtesy of Simon Carn.

Date Daily SO2 flux (t/d)
16 Nov-02 Dec 2002 Not significant
03 Dec 2002 Less than 5,000 (weak signal)
04 Dec 2002 Data gap - no data over Nyiragongo
05 Dec 2002 ~6,000
06 Dec 2002 Data gap - no data over Nyiragongo
07 Dec 2002 ~12,000
08 Dec 2002 Data gap - no data over Nyiragongo
09 Dec 2002 Less than 5,000 (weak signal)
10 Dec 2002 Data gap - no data over Nyiragongo
11 Dec 2002 Less than 5,000 (very weak signal)
12 Dec 2002 Data gap - no data over Nyiragongo
13 Dec 2002 ~11,000

Thus the degassing had not risen to peak October-November levels, but increased since early December, either in terms of plume altitude, SO2 concentration, or both. Simon Carn noted that "We are also sometimes seeing discrete SO2 clouds to the W of the volcano, rather than SO2 plumes emerging from the volcano, perhaps suggesting discontinuous degassing."

Tedesco also pointed out that the higher SO2 fluxes accompanied acid rain falling on Goma and surroundings, with some rain samples also containing up to 15 parts per million (ppm) fluorine ion. (For comparison, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended a standard in drinking water at 0.7-1.2 ppm, a level that provides a means of preventing tooth decay without compromising public safety.) In December 2002, Goma residents complained about the acid rain, which besides affecting drinking water, put area crops in danger. Accordingly, scientists began collecting rainwater samples with the intent of carrying out regular analyses.

SO2 blew towards the S on 4 and 5 November exposing people on the upper S flanks. Researchers measured gas concentrations in Goma on 20 November at 20 selected points. They found CO2 concentrations of 0-4%, and much lower concentrations of CH4, H2S, and CO. On 4-5 December the wind carried SO2 gas into S-flank settlements. During the December, analysis of fumaroles at Sake, Mupambiro, Bulengo, and Himbi revealed similar concentrations to those seen in earlier visits (including the elevated values at Sake/Birere, which in October 2002 measured 35.1% CO2, and Mupambiro, which on 7 December measured 63.1% CO2). It was expected that the current rainy season favored enhanced CO2 flow from the ground.

Nyiragongo summit geochemical surveys in mid-November found temperature elevations of 1°C (except one summit site with a 5.7°C rise). CO2 concentrations had then risen to 3%. In a fissure called Shaheru, CO2 concentrations stood at 53%. Methane was found at all sites in dilute concentrations, ~0.1 %. H2S was below the limit of detection at all the visited sites.

The human side of January 2002 volcanism and the 24 October earthquake. Aftershocks to the unusually large earthquake of 24 October 2002 continued to be felt in the epicentral area through December. For example, Goma residents felt an M 4 tectonic earthquake with a 13 km focal depth on 13 December.

Field excursions in the reporting period revealed that the 24 October 2002 earthquake and aftershocks damaged towns in the Kitembo and Minova areas (including the towns Lwiro and Nyabibwe). The visits suggested that no lives were lost but about ten houses sustained cracks. Residents there still remained in need of humanitarian assistance, including safe housing, food, and medicine.

The December aftershocks were not reported to have caused significant damage; however, an earlier Reuters news article, published on 24 January 2002, described how about six days after the volcanism ceased in Goma, residents there had "flocked to receive aid" at distribution points, many having then gone about a week without food supplies. The news article went on to say, "the UN aims to distribute about 260 tonnes of food, which it says is enough to feed 70,000 people for a week. Each family-of an assumed seven people on average-will receive 26 kg of highly nutritious supplies including maize meal, beans, vegetable oil, and corn soya blend." The aid groups also distributed clean drinking water. The intensity of the volcanic and earthquake disasters had clearly left residents weakened and with reduced food security.

Previous Bulletin reports have included relatively few photographs of the scene in Goma due to the January 2002 eruption when lava flows overran the city. Figures 23-26, all sent to us by Wafula Mifundi, are intended to help make up for this deficiency. In many cases within Goma intense fires accompanied the lava flows. Several of the photos provided by Wafula captured these fires, including a devastating fire at a fuel depot, which accompanied an explosion that was widely discussed in the news. The photos presented here omit those of the larger fires and instead illustrate other important aspects of the crisis and its aftermath.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. During Nyiragongo's January 2002 eruption lavas transected Goma, a city of about a half-million people. The summit of Nyiragongo lies ~ 20 km to the N. In the foreground, middle-ground, and central background lie destroyed buildings and gardens, and what has now become a field of rubble atop the rapidly cooled, thin lava flows of the January eruption. Note that the rubble contains abundant light-colored building material, such as concrete chunks dispersed from downed buildings. Unburned wood and some leaves may represent unburned portions of trees that came into contact with cooler lava surfaces at temperatures below their kindling point. Leaves and other fallen and wind-blown plant debris may have accumulated later. Date of photo is undisclosed. Courtesy of Wafula.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Nyiragongo lavas inundated these structures on 17 January 2002. A family took refuge in the lower portion of the building in the center. Trapped there by lava flows, one or more people died, including an infant. Provided courtesy of Wafula.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. This photo shows some of the remarkably thin and mobile lava flows pouring through a narrow chute (behind the car and in line with the left-most opening in the low structure's wall). Below that, the lava spreads and descends across a lawn. Provided courtesy of Wafula.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Nyiragongo's January 2002 lavas slowly advancing across a road at an intersection. This area of Goma is called Signers rotary point. The sign advertises the Ishango Guest House. Note the lava-immersed but still-standing tree, which at this stage, may have only had substantial burns near the base of its trunk. Provided courtesy of Wafula.

Seismicity. The late October-early November 2002 earthquakes that were interpreted as magmatic, were relatively deep, at 10-25 km. Most of these earthquakes occurred in an elliptical area, although some struck ten's of kilometers W of Goma beneath the Bay of Sake in Lake Kivu, an area where previous earthquakes have sometimes occurred.

During the first half of November seismicity dropped significantly. It was noted that the operational seismic network then consisted of seven stations (table 8); an eighth station was not functioning. During November tectonic seismicity returned to normal; however, magmatic seismicity continued. In the week ending on the 9th, magmatic seismicity centered on the N side of Nyamuragira, a zone adjacent its recent eruption. In contrast, during this same interval earthquakes were rare at Nyiragongo, although gas escaping the crater remained visible from Goma, certifying ongoing intra-crater activity. During the week ending on the 16th, some earthquakes were centered about Nyiragongo. During the latter half of December most of the region's high-frequency and volcano- tectonic earthquakes were associated with an epicentral zone stretching from the 24 October major earthquake near Kalehe to W of Nyamuragira. Some HF events also occurred in the Nyiragongo vicinity too.

Table 8. Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira earthquakes and tremor recorded at Katale and Rusayo stations during November-December 2002. The Katale station sits on the E flank of Nyamuragira; the Rusayo station, on the SW flank of Nyiragongo. The dates on the left are for weekly intervals, except the last entry, which is for a 2-week interval (a fortnight). In the last entry, the elevated high-frequency earthquake count at Katale station was due to a swarm to N of Nyamuragira on 27-28 December. Courtesy of GVO.

 

End of week (or fortnight) Type A High-Freq Type C Low-Freq Total Tremor - described or minutes with amplitude >= 1 mm
Rusayo seismic station
09 Nov 2002 86 178 264 5838
16 Nov 2002 78 185 263 3956
23 Nov 2002 79 207 286 1435
30 Nov 2002 33 160 193 2508
07 Dec 2002 42 137 179 --
14 Dec 2002 57 124 181 --
(28 Dec 2002) (88) (270) (358) ("Several hours per day")
 
Katale seismic station
09 Nov 2002 137 231 368 3998
16 Nov 2002 114 328 442 7713
23 Nov 2002 118 356 474 Feeble (1 mm)
30 Nov 2002 92 239 331 2248
07 Dec 2002 107 348 455 --
14 Dec 2002 120 169 289 --
(28 Dec 2002) (253) (513) (766) ("Several hours per day") Type A swarm to N of Nyamuragira

The seismic reference stations Katale and Rusayo both registered sub-continuous volcanic tremor during much of the reporting interval (table 8). Rusayo station's tremor was attributed primarily to Nyiragongo, and except for one week in November, it registered the larger share of tremor.

During the week ending 23 November seismicity stayed about the same and tremor dropped considerably, particularly at neighboring volcano Nyamuragira where it was described as feeble (table 8). Banded tremor registered 29 November at the stations of Kunene, Rusayo, Bulengo, Kibumba, and Katale (during 0630-0745 UTC), with the highest amplitude at Katale station, implying Nyamuragira as their source, plausibly a reactivation associated with the 24 October earthquake. Many epicenters also concentrated in the vicinity of that neighboring volcano. On the other hand, epicenters for long-period earthquakes appeared to come from Nyiragongo. The epicenters were determined to a margin of error of ± 2 km.

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

Information Contacts: Kasereka Mahinda, Kavotha Kalendi Sadaka, Celestin Kasereka, Jean-Pierre Bajope, Mathieu Yalire, Arnaud Lemarchand, Jean-Christophe Komorowski, and Paolo Papale, Goma Volcano Observatory (GVO), Departement de Geophysique, Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles, Lwiro, D.S. Bukavu, DR Congo; Dario Tedesco, Environmental Sciences Department, Via Vivaldi 43, 81100 Caserta, Italy; Jacques Durieux, Groupe d'Etude des Volcans Actifs (GEVA), 6, Rue des Razes 69320 Feyzin, France; Simon Carn, TOMS Volcanic Emissions Group, Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (NASA/UMBC), University of Maryland Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250 USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Reuters News Service; BBC News (URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/).


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — February 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Cycles of dome growth and destruction; continuing explosive activity

From November 2002 through mid-February 2003, volcanic activity at Popocatépetl was similar to that during July-October 2002 (BGVN 27:10). Activity consisted principally of small-to-moderate eruptions of steam, gas, and minor amounts of ash, and occasional explosions that ejected incandescent fragments for short distances. Larger explosions on 6 November, 18 and 23 December 2003, 9 January, and during 4-10 February 2003 produced ash plumes that reached approximate heights of 4, 2, 2, 3, and 2 km above the crater, respectively. Volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes (M 2.0-3.2) occurred frequently, most located to the SE, N, and E at depths up to 7.5 km beneath the crater. Episodes of harmonic and low-amplitude tremor were registered almost daily, typically for a few hours.

Until November, the daily emissions reported by the Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED) typically numbered from as few as 5 to as many as 20. In late November, this number increased markedly with 78 detected on 24 November and 40 the following day. Subsequently the daily number of these small-to-moderate emissions occasionally exceeded 30 through mid-February 2003.

New episodes of low-frequency tremor, beginning on 19 November, signaled the growth of a new lava dome within the crater. Aerial photographs obtained by the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transportation on 2 December confirmed the presence of a fresh lava dome with a base diameter of 180 m, and a height of ~52 m. CENAPRED reported that the explosive activity reported on 18 and 23 December was related to the destruction of the lava dome. Photographs of the lava dome taken on 9 January revealed that the dome's inner crater had subsided. The volume of dome material ejected during the December explosions was calculated to be ~500,000 m3.

CENAPRED stated that explosive activity beginning in mid-January was related to the growth of a new lava dome in the crater. On 22 January a significant increase in volcanic microseismicity was recorded. According to the Washington Volcano Ash Advisory Center, on 25 January an ash emission reached ~10.7 km altitude. The explosion on 4 February ejected incandescent volcanic material that fell as far as ~2 km down the volcano's flanks. Similar emissions continued and were related to partial destruction of the lava dome. According to CENAPRED, as long as there are remains of a lava dome in the crater, a significant chance of further explosive activity remains, including ash emissions and incandescent ejections around the crater. The Alert Level remained at Yellow (second on a scale of three colors) and CENAPRED recommended that people avoid entering the restricted zone that extends 12 km from the crater. However, the road between Santiago Xalitzintla (Puebla) and San Pedro Nexapa (Mexico State), including Paso de Cortés, remained open for controlled traffic.

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

Information Contacts: Alicia Martinez Bringas, Angel Gómez Vázquez, Roberto Quass Weppen, Enrique Guevara Ortiz, Gilberto Castelan, Gerardo Jímenez and Javier Ortiz, Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México D.F. 04360, Mexico (URL: https://www.gob.mx/cenapred/); Servando De la Cruz-Reyna, Instituto de Geofísica, UNAM. Cd. Universitaria. Circuito Institutos. Coyoácan. México, D.F. 04510 (URL: http://www.geofisica.unam.mx/); Washington Volcano Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/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/); Associated Press.


Reventador (Ecuador) — February 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ashfall in January, mudflows in February-March; additional data from November

On 3 November 2002, an unexpected eruption occurred at Reventador (BGVN 27:11). The following report provides an update on recent activity and additional information about the November eruption, including discussion of a site visit after the eruption and satellite data.

Recent activity. Seismicity was low during mid-December 2002. On 10 January, Instituto Geofísico (IG) reported that several lahars occurred that day in the Marquer and Reventador rivers. Ashfall was reported in the N sector of Quito, ~90 km to the WSW. In the afternoon a bluish gas column was observed exiting the crater. IG personnel stated that lava was slowly advancing and that 80-90% of the 3 November 2002 pyroclastic-flow deposits were covered by lahars.

During late February, rain generated mudflows that ended near the Montana River and disrupted traffic on a highway. White steam exited the volcano. Seismicity remained low, and was characterized by bands of harmonic tremor and volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes.

Intense rains during the first few days of March caused mudflows and again disrupted traffic. A gas column reached 300-500 m above the summit. Low-level seismicity was characterized by bands of harmonic tremor and a few isolated earthquakes. The seismic station in Copete registered high-frequency signals associated with lahars.

Site visit during 17-19 November 2002. The following report of an investigation of the 3 November 2002 explosion (BGVN 27:11) was submitted by Claus Siebe (Instituto Geofísico (IG), UNAM). Siebe, Jesús Manuel Macías, and Aurelio Fernández were able to fly to Quito on 17 November. On 18 November they interviewed Ing. Marcelo Riaño (general manager of the Trans-Equatorian Oil-Pipeline) as well as Patricia Mothes, Minard Hall, and Hugo Yepes (IG).

On 19 November they arrived in El Chaco (~34 km from Reventador) and traveled to the confluences of the Ríos Marker and Montana with the Río Coca (both are located 8 km from the crater). A small apron of fresh lahar deposits ~300 m wide covered the area adjacent to the Río Marker where the road had been before the 3 November eruption. Several dozens of workers with heavy machinery were trying to make a temporary passage over the gravel and boulder surface for the waiting trucks. For a few minutes they could see for the first and only time a ~1-km-high brownish ash column rising from the crater before incoming clouds hindered further visual contact.

"At the time of our visit, the Río Marker was diminished to such an extent that we could jump from boulder to boulder from one side to the other of the stream without getting wet. The vegetation around the confluence of the rivers was completely destroyed, and surviving trees were scorched and defoliated. The base layer of the fresh deposits consisted of up to 2.5-m-thick, partly matrix-supported, partly clast-supported pyroclastic-flow deposit with abundant wood and charcoal fragments (abundant scoriaceous boulder- and gravel-sized clasts were subrounded while dense clasts were angular). This was overlain by a sequence of several sandy-gravelly lahar units with abundant charcoal supporting larger boulders as well as clasts from the underlying pyroclastic-flow deposit.

About 400 m from the Río Marker, after passing a narrow zone of unaffected vegetation, we were able to reach the Río Montana, where a similar situation was encountered (figure 7). Here, at places the lahar deposits were still steaming with a sulfurous smell. The bridge over the river was destroyed, but the oil pipeline was still basically intact (figure 8). Since the area did not seem safe (the last lahar had been emplaced less than 24 hours prior) the team returned to El Chaco, where they interviewed several people and obtained photographs of the pyroclastic flow and its deposits taken on 3 November 2002 (figures 9-11).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Fresh lahar deposits at Reventador near the confluence of Río Montana with Río Coca on 19 November 2002. According to workers trying to repair the road the still-warm and steaming surface of the lahar deposit shown in the photo was produced during the afternoon of 18 November after heavy rain. This was the 10th lahar event since 3 November. Courtesy of Claus Siebe.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Photo looking downstream near the confluence of Río Montana with Río Coca on the ESE flank of Reventador. In the foreground are the fresh lahar deposits. In the middle ground is the destroyed concrete bridge over the Río Montana as well as the oil-pipeline immediately behind. The bulldozer is trying to built a temporary passage for hundreds of trucks waiting on both sides of the road. In the background is the Río Coca with distal-debris avalanche deposit (19,000 Y BP) forming the vegetated hills behind the river. Photo taken on 19 November shortly after 1300 by Claus Siebe. Courtesy of Claus Siebe.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Pyroclastic flow descending Reventador's SE slopes during the morning of 3 November 2002. Photo was taken from the E (Transoceanic road in the foreground). This anonymous photo was purchased at a small hotel in El Chaco. Courtesy of Claus Siebe.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Fresh pyroclastic-flow deposits from Reventador, produced on 3 November 2002, ponding against the bridge over the Río Montana. This anonymous photo was purchased at a small hotel in El Chaco. Courtesy of Claus Siebe.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Distal pyroclastic-flow deposits from Reventador and scorched vegetation along the Transandean oil-pipeline near the confluence of the Río Montana with the Río Coca. This anonymous photo was purchased at a small hotel in El Chaco. Courtesy of Claus Siebe.

At about 2200 we drove to the summit of a hill (2,959 m elevation) N of Sta. Rosa, 27.5 km from the summit of Reventador. Although the night was clear and we had a good view, the summit was covered by clouds and no incandescence from an advancing lava flow could be seen.

From conversations with personnel from PETROECUADOR, road workers, peasants, etc., the team obtained the following information. Workers from TECHINT, an Argentinian company building a second pipeline parallel to the existing one, were at their campsite near the Río Montana when the eruption started in the early hours of 3 November (it was still dark). The eruption came without prior warning, but they were able to evacuate before strong explosions around 0900 sent pyroclastic flows along the Ríos Montana and Marker. These flows destroyed the road and parts of the new pipeline still under construction. The old pipeline was displaced several meters horizontally but never broke. At places the pyroclastic-flow deposits came to rest in direct contact with the tube. Temperature measurements at points of contact yielded values of 80°C. In subsequent days several lahars came down the Ríos Montana and Marker after heavy rains, further damaging the road (but not the pipeline). The pipeline has continued its operation; it delivers more than 400,000 barrels of oil per day to the Pacific coast.

Inhabitants of the small village of El Reventador, located ~12 km downstream from the confluence of the Ríos Montana and Coca voluntarily evacuated their homes when they heard the explosions around 0900.

One of the scoriaceous juvenile rock samples collected near the confluence of Río Marker with Río Coca was analyzed by X-ray fluorescence and thin sections were made of the same sample. The results revealed that the rock is an andesite (SiO2= 58.1%) similar in composition to those erupted in 1976 (55-58% SiO2).

Satellite data. Simon Carn (NASA/UMBC) reported that TOMS observations of the Reventador eruption clouds during 3-4 November suggest modest SO2 burdens and spatial separation of the emitted SO2 and ash. Carn, with input from Andy Harris, also constructed a timeline of notable events during 3-6 November along with potentially useful satellite images and overpasses (table 2).

Table 2. Preliminary timeline of the November 2002 eruption of Reventador, compiled using satellite imagery and information from IG and the Washington VAAC. Courtesy of Simon Carn and Andy Harris.

Date Time (UTC) Satellite Event
3 Nov 2002 0700 -- Seismic events recorded
3 Nov 2002 0945 GOES-8 Clear - no hot spot
3 Nov 2002 1000 -- Eruption begins; 3 km ash column, incandescent ejecta
3 Nov 2002 1015, 1045, 1115 GOES-8 Clear - no hot spot
3 Nov 2002 1245, 1315, 1345 GOES-8 Ash
3 Nov 2002 1400 -- Main eruption phase; pyroclastic flows reported
3 Nov 2002 1415 GOES-8 Ash, ring-shaped cloud?
3 Nov 2002 1445 GOES-8 Ash
3 Nov 2002 1510 MODIS Terra Ash
3 Nov 2002 1515 GOES-8 Ash
3 Nov 2002 1530 GOME SO2
3 Nov 2002 1543 EP TOMS SO2, ash
3 Nov 2002 1545, 1615, 1645 GOES-8 Ash
3 Nov 2002 1707 NOAA-16 AVHRR Ash
3 Nov 2002 1715 GOES-8 Ash
3 Nov 2002 1722 SeaWiFS Ash
3 Nov 2002 1745 GOES-8 Ash
3 Nov 2002 1810 -- Ash begins to fall in Quito
3 Nov 2002 1815, 1845, 1915, 1945 GOES-8 Ash
3 Nov 2002 2000 -- Ash covers large area of Ecuador, reaching coast
3 Nov 2002 2015 GOES-8 Ash, gravity waves?
3 Nov 2002 2045, 2115, 2145, 2215 GOES-8 Ash, gravity waves
4 Nov 2002 0345, 0415, 0445, 0515, 0545, 0615 GOES-8 Cloud-covered
4 Nov 2002 0625 MODIS Aqua Ash, SO2
4 Nov 2002 0645 GOES-8 Cloud clearing- possible hot spot
4 Nov 2002 0710 NOAA-16 AVHRR Ash
4 Nov 2002 0715, 0745 GOES-8 Hot spot
4 Nov 2002 0815, 0845 GOES-8 Strong hot spot and plume
4 Nov 2002 0915 GOES-8 Strong hot spot and minor plume
4 Nov 2002 0945, 1015 GOES-8 Strong hot and detached minor plume
4 Nov 2002 1045 GOES-8 Hot spot
4 Nov 2002 1115 GOES-8 Ash, strong hot spot and main plume
4 Nov 2002 1145, 1215, 1245, 1315, 1345, 1415 GOES-8 Ash, main plume extends W
4 Nov 2002 1445 GOES-8 Ash, main plume (N arm) reaches coast
4 Nov 2002 1515 GOES-8 Ash
4 Nov 2002 1530 GOME SO2
4 Nov 2002 1555 MODIS Terra SO2
4 Nov 2002 1632 EP TOMS SO2, ash
4 Nov 2002 1715 GOES-8 Plume still attached to hot spot
4 Nov 2002 1835 NOAA-16 AVHRR Ash
4 Nov 2002 1845 MODIS Aqua SO2
5 Nov 2002 1645, 1715, 1745 GOES-8 Low-level ash
5 Nov 2002 1815, 1845, 1915 GOES-8 Low-level ash
6 Nov 2002 1530 GOME SO2
6 Nov 2002 1544, 1634, 1545, 1634, 1546 EP TOMS SO2

The TOMS overpass at 1543 UTC on 3 November captured the early phase of the eruption. An ash signal was localized over the volcano and a more extensive SO2 cloud containing ~12 kilotons SO2 was spreading E and W.

At 1632 UTC on 4 November, TOMS detected several distinct cloud masses. A cloud containing no detectable ash and ~11 kilotons SO2 was situated E of Ecuador on the Perú/Colombia border, a maximum distance of ~600 km from Reventador beyond which a data gap intervened. A second cloud containing ~42 kilotons SO2 and a weak ash signal was observed over the Pacific Ocean around 700 km from the volcano. The highest ash concentrations were detected in a cloud straddling the coast of Ecuador ~260 km W of the volcano that covered ~70,000 km2. This cloud contained little SO2. It is assumed that these clouds (total ~53 kilotons SO2) were erupted on 3 November.

A plume was also detected extending ~200 km W of Reventador, containing ~10 kilotons SO2. Based on high temporal resolution GOES imagery this plume first appeared sometime between 1045 UTC and 1115 UTC on 4 November. Nearby Guagua Pichincha was also reported active at this time by the Washington VAAC, and may have contributed some SO2; the highest SO2 concentrations in the Reventador plume were measured in the TOMS pixel covering Guagua Pichincha.

On 5 November neither SO2 nor ash were detected by TOMS, although a ~700-km-wide data gap occurred off the coast of Ecuador. The TOMS orbit was better placed on 6 November but no SO2 or ash were apparent. However, renewed SO2 emissions were detected on 7 November.

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

Information Contacts: P. Ramon, M. Hall, P. Mothes, and H. Yepes, Instituto Geofísico (IG), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Quito (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec/); Simon A. Carn, Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (NASA/UMBC), University of Maryland-Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD (URL: https://jcet.umbc.edu/); Andy Harris, HIGP/SOEST, University of Hawaii at Manoa, HI 96822 USA (URL: http://goes.higp.hawaii.edu/); Claus Siebe and Gabriel Valdez Moreno, Instituto de Geofísica, UNAM, Mexico, D.F.; Jesús Manuel Macías, CIESAS-Mexico, Juarez 87, Tlalpan, DF. CP14000; Aurelio Fernández Fuentes, Centro Universitario de Prevencion de Desastres, Universidad de Puebla, Mexico; Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/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/).


Ruapehu (New Zealand) — February 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Ruapehu

New Zealand

39.28°S, 175.57°E; summit elev. 2797 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Volcanic tremor episodes and Crater Lake temperature variations

Between 6 and 16 September 2002 the Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences (IGNS) reported that there were four short-lived episodes of volcanic tremor at Ruapehu. The duration of these episodes ranged from 8 to more than 40 hours. Episodes with similar characteristics were recorded previously in 2002 on 21 February (~12 hours duration), 17 May (~24 hours), 29 May (~18 hours), 17 June (~24 hours), and 15 July (~8 hours). The September events were unusual because there were four tremor episodes in a ten-day period. Another IGNS report on 8 October noted that there had been five short-lived episodes of moderate-strong volcanic tremor since 6 September, with durations of 8 hours to more than 2 days (figure 25). Tremor levels were generally higher than normal background levels starting on 22 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Plot of volcanic tremor amplitudes at Ruapehu, 10 September-8 October 2002. Courtesy of IGNS.

The temperature of Crater Lake during two visits between 16 September and 8 October remained around 19°C, similar to the 19.4°C value measured on 30 August. Intermittent weak seismic tremor continued during November, along with a small number of volcanic earthquakes early in the month. Water temperature of Crater Lake measured during 22-29 November was 24°C, an increase of 5°C from the previous month. Weak tremor continued as of 13 December, accompanied by a small number of minor volcanic earthquakes. Volcanic tremor and earthquakes continued through 19 December, and the water temperature of Crater Lake was reported to be 35°C.

The water temperature measured at Crater Lake at the end of January was 32°C, down 8°C from two weeks earlier (40°C). Minor volcanic tremor continued through February, then steadily declined during 21-28 February to low background levels. On 5 March the temperature measured at Crater Lake had decreased another 2°C to 30°C. The lake was a uniform light gray color with some surface sulfur slicks. Seismic tremor remained at normal levels as of 21 March, but there were periods of moderate tremor on the nights of 14 and 15 March. The temperature of Crater Lake rose to 35°C on 15 March; there were sulfur slicks on the lake surface.

Geologic Background. Ruapehu, one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes, is a complex stratovolcano constructed during at least four cone-building episodes dating back to about 200,000 years ago. The dominantly andesitic 110 km3 volcanic massif is elongated in a NNE-SSW direction and surrounded by another 100 km3 ring plain of volcaniclastic debris, including the Murimoto debris-avalanche deposit on the NW flank. A series of subplinian eruptions took place between about 22,600 and 10,000 years ago, but pyroclastic flows have been infrequent. A single historically active vent, Crater Lake (Te Wai a-moe), is located in the broad summit region, but at least five other vents on the summit and flank have been active during the Holocene. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have occurred in historical time from the Crater Lake vent, and tephra characteristics suggest that the crater lake may have formed as early as 3,000 years ago. Lahars produced by phreatic eruptions from the summit crater lake are a hazard to a ski area on the upper flanks and to lower river valleys.

Information Contacts: Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences (IGNS), Private Bag 2000, Wairakei, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/).


Saunders (United Kingdom) — February 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Saunders

United Kingdom

57.8°S, 26.483°W; summit elev. 843 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake detected in satellite imagery during 1995-2002

Although previous eruptions have been recorded in the South Sandwich Islands (Coombs and Landis, 1966), ongoing volcanic activity has only recently been detected and studied. These islands (figure 1) are all volcanic in origin, but sufficiently distant from population centers and shipping lanes that eruptions, if and when they do occur, currently go unnoticed. Visual observations of the islands probably do not occur on more than a few days each year (LeMasurier and Thomson, 1990). Satellite data have recently provided observations of volcanic activity in the group, and offer the only practical means to regularly characterize activity in these islands.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. The South Sandwich Island archipelago, located in the Scotia Sea. The South Sandwich Trench lies approximately 100 km E, paralleling the trend of the islands, where the South American Plate subducts westward beneath the Scotia Plate. Courtesy Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology and British Antarctic Survey.

Using Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data, Lachlan-Cope and others (2001) discovered and analyzed an active lava lake on the summit of Saunders Island (figure 2) that was continuously present for intervals of several months between March 1995 and February 1998; plumes originating from the island were observed on 77 images during April 1995-February 1998. J.L. Smellie noted that during helicopter overflights on 23 January 1997 (Lachlan-Cope and others, 2001) "dense and abundant white steam was emitted from the crater in large conspicuous puffs at intervals of a few seconds alternating with episodes of less voluminous, more transparent vapour." Smellie also observed that the plume commonly extended ~8-10 km downwind.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Map of Saunders Island, adapted from Holdgate and Baker (1979). Lighter shaded stippled areas show rock outcrop, the remainder is snow or ice covered. Relief is shown by form lines that should not be interpreted as fixed-interval contours. Courtesy Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology and British Antarctic Survey.

The MODIS Thermal Alert system also detected repeated thermal anomalies throughout 2000-2002 in the summit area (figure 3), indicating that activity at the lava lake has continued. Anomalous pixels (1 km pixel size) were detected intermittently and were all 1-2 pixels in size, consistent with the relatively small confines of the crater. The timing of anomalous images in this study likely has more to do with the viewing limitations imposed by weather (persistent cloud cover masks any emitted surface radiance in the majority of images) than it has to do with fluctuations in activity levels, so this plot of radiance (figure 4) should not be used as a proxy for lava lake vigor.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Selected MODIS images showing thermal anomalies on Saunders Island. Band 20 (3.7 µm) is shown here. Anomalous pixels on Saunders Island correspond to the lava lake in the summit crater of Mt. Michael volcano. Images are not georeferenced for purposes of radiance integrity, therefore coastlines are approximate. Courtesy Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology and British Antarctic Survey.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Summed radiance of anomalous pixels in each image. Band 21 (3.9 µm) was used for these plots. Points show the result for each image, and the line is a three point running mean of values. Courtesy Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology and British Antarctic Survey.

References. Coombs, D.S., and Landis, C.A., 1966, Pumice from the South Sandwich eruption of March 1962 reaches New Zealand: Nature, v. 209, p. 289-290.

Holdgate, M.W., and Baker, P.E., 1979, The South Sandwich Islands, I, General description: British Antarctic Survey Science Report, v. 91, 76 p.

Lachlan-Cope, T., Smellie, J.L., and Ladkin, R., 2001, Discovery of a recurrent lava lake on Saunders Island (South Sandwich Islands) using AVHRR imagery: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 112, p. 105-116.

LeMasurier, W.E., and Thomson, J.W. (eds), 1990, Volcanoes of the Antarctic Plate and Southern Oceans: American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C., AGU Monograph, Antarctic Research Series, v. 48.

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

Geologic Background. Saunders Island is a volcanic structure consisting of a large central edifice intersected by two seamount chains, as shown by bathymetric mapping (Leat et al., 2013). The young constructional Mount Michael stratovolcano dominates the glacier-covered island, while two submarine plateaus, Harpers Bank and Saunders Bank, extend north. The symmetrical Michael has a 500-m-wide summit crater and a remnant of a somma rim to the SE. Tephra layers visible in ice cliffs surrounding the island are evidence of recent eruptions. Ash clouds were reported from the summit crater in 1819, and an effusive eruption was inferred to have occurred from a N-flank fissure around the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. A low ice-free lava platform, Blackstone Plain, is located on the north coast, surrounding a group of former sea stacks. A cluster of parasitic cones on the SE flank, the Ashen Hills, appear to have been modified since 1820 (LeMasurier and Thomson, 1990). Analysis of satellite imagery available since 1989 (Gray et al., 2019; MODVOLC) suggests frequent eruptive activity (when weatehr conditions allow), volcanic clouds, steam plumes, and thermal anomalies indicative of a persistent, or at least frequently active, lava lake in the summit crater. Due to this observational bias, there has been a presumption when defining eruptive periods that activity has been ongoing unless there is no evidence for at least 10 months.

Information Contacts: Matt Patrick, Luke Flynn, Harold Garbeil, Andy Harris, Eric Pilger, Glyn Williams-Jones, and Rob Wright, HIGP Thermal Alerts Team, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) / School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); John Smellie, British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingly Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, United Kingdom (URL: https://www.bas.ac.uk/).


Sheveluch (Russia) — February 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued lava dome growth, short-lived explosions, and seismicity

During mid-September 2002 through February 2003 at Shiveluch, a lava dome continued to grow in the active crater. Short-lived explosions generally sent gas-steam plumes tens of meters to ~3 km above the dome. Seismicity remained above background levels. Earthquakes with magnitudes of ~2-2.7, as well as many smaller ones, occurred at depths of 0-6 km (table 5). Thermal anomalies were visible on satellite imagery (table 6). Intermittent spasmodic tremor with amplitudes of 0.3-1.3 x 106 mps occurred throughout the report period.

Table 5. Earthquakes, explosions, and plumes at Shiveluch during 26 September 2002 through February 2003. Courtesy KVERT.

Date Earthquakes Magnitude Explosions Plume height above dome
26 Sep-04 Oct 2002 11 2-2.7 38 1-2.5 km
04 Oct-11 Oct 2002 7 2-2.4 16 1-2 km
11 Oct-18 Oct 2002 4 2-2.2 13 1-2.5 km
18 Oct-25 Oct 2002 -- -- 10 1.0 km
25 Oct-01 Nov 2002 -- -- 8 2 km
01 Nov-08 Nov 2002 -- -- 7 2-3 km
11 Nov 2002 6 2.0-2.4 -- --
11 Nov-14 Nov 2002 5 2.0-2.4 7 2-3 km
14 Nov-20 Nov 2002 6 2.0 19 2-3 km
22 Nov-29 Nov 2002 2 1.9 8 1-2 km
29 Nov-06 Dec 2002 -- -- 9 1-2 km
06 Dec-13 Dec 2002 3 1.7-2.3 8 1-2 km
13 Dec-20 Dec 2002 1 1.8 7 1-2 km
20 Dec-27 Dec 2002 -- -- 6 2-3 km
27 Dec-03 Jan 2003 -- -- 25 2 km
03 Jan-10 Jan 2003 -- -- 11 1.5 km
10 Jan-17 Jan 2003 -- -- 12 2 km
17 Jan-24 Jan 2003 -- -- 11 2 km
31 Jan-07 Feb 2003 6 1.6-2.5 -- 1.5 km
07 Feb-14 Feb 2003 -- -- 10 1.0 km
14 Feb-21 Feb 2003 -- -- 17 1.5 km
21 Feb-28 Feb 2003 1 2.1 14 3.0 km

Table 6. Plumes at Shiveluch visible on satellite imagery during October 2002 through February 2003. Courtesy KVERT.

Date Number of pixels Max band-3 temp. (°C) Background (°C) Comment
02 Oct 2002 2-3 40.46-45.48 ~-10 to -3 A 15 km faint plume extended to the SE
27 and 30 Sep, 01-03 Oct 2002 2-4 -- -- On 2 October, an 80-km plume extending to the SE was observed in a NOAA16 image
05 Oct-07 Oct 2002 2-8 36.81-49.35 ?-14-0 On 6 October, a 111-km plume extended to the SE
09 Oct-10 Oct 2002 2-8 -- -- --
11 Oct-13 Oct 2002 2 15-49 -19 to -6 --
12 Oct-14 Oct 2002 2-3 -- -- --
21-22, 24-25 Oct 2002 1-8 33-49 -20 to -1 On 22 October a faint plume extended 125 km to the SE
21 Oct-24 Oct 2002 1-5 -- -- NOAA12, NOAA16, and MODIS imagery
27 Oct-30 Oct 2002 2-6 17-36 -22 to -6 AVHRR
27 Oct-30 Oct 2002 2-6 -- -- NOAA12, NOAA16, MODIS
08 Nov-09 Nov 2002 2-4 34-49 -20 to -4 AVHRR; On 8 November a faint ~11-km-long plume extended to the SE, visible on band-3
08 Nov and 09 Nov 2002 4, 9 -- -- MODIS
08 Nov-11 Nov 2002 2-4 -- -- NOAA12 and NOAA16
11 and 13 Nov 2002 4-5 40-49 -18 to -10 AVHRR
11-13 Nov 2002 2-5 -- -- NOAA12 and NOAA16
13 Nov 2002 4 -- -- MODIS from Sakhalin
16-19, 22 Nov 2002 2-6 2-49 -26 to -20 AVHRR and MODIS; On 17-18 November, 20-km and 70-km-long gas-steam plumes extended to the WNW and SSE, respectively
23, 25-27 Nov 2002 1-5 1-49 -27 to -20 AVHRR and MODIS; on 27 November a 150-km-long gas-steam plume extended to the NE
29 Nov-05 Dec 2002 2-5 -1 to 49 -31 to -20 AVHRR and MODIS; on 29 November, a possible steam-gas plume extended 80 km to the SSE
01 and 05 Dec 2002 -- -- -- Gas-and-steam plumes extended 40 km and 45 km to the ENE and NNW
09 Dec-12 Dec 2002 2-6 3-39 -29 to -20 AVHRR and MODIS
13-17 and 19-20 Dec 2002 1-6 -15 to 49 -34 to -25 AVHRR and MODIS
19-20 and 23-25 Dec 2002 1-6 10-40 -27 to -23 --
27, 29, 31 Dec and 01-02 Jan 2003 2-4 -7 to 34 -38 to -30 On 1 January, a 10+ km plume extending ESE was visible on MODIS imagery
03 Jan-10 Jan 2003 1-6 -8 to 47.5 -30 to -13 --
10-13 and 15 Jan 2003 1-7 12-47.5 -33 to -20 --
17-22 and 24 Jan 2003 1-4 -2 to 19 -27 to -20 --
25-29 Jan 2003 2-7 -2 to 46 -25 to -15 --
01-06 Feb 2003 2-6 3-49 -24 to -9 Gas-steam plumes extended ~40 km to the W and NNE from the dome on 1 and 3 Feb, respectively
07-13 Feb 2003 1-7 -12 to 49 -30 to -12 Gas-steam plume extended ~35 km NNW from the dome on 9 Feb
14-20 Feb 2003 1-6 26-49 -33 to 5 On 15 Feb a wide gas-steam plume extended > 25 km E; on 16 Feb a narrow plume extended 110 km N; during 16-17 Feb ash and pyroclastic deposits were noted from the S to E slopes; a gas-steam plume extended 30 km W on 19 Feb; a gas-steam plume extended up to 96 km SSW on 20 Feb
21-28 Feb 2003 2-6 21-49 -30 to -8 Gas-steam plumes extended up to 50 km to the SSW, SE, and NE during 24-27 Feb

Incandescence was observed at the lava dome on 6 October. On 11 November, seismic data indicated possible hot avalanches sending clouds up to 5.5 km above the dome.

During late November and early December, gas-and-steam plumes extended >10 km to the E and W. On 19 December, short-lived explosions at 1238 and 1514 sent gas-ash plumes to ~5.5 km and 5.0 km altitude, respectively. In the first case, pyroclastic flows moved to the SE; in the second, to the S, inside the Baidarnaya river. The runout of both pyroclastic flows was 3 km.

On 28 December 2002, a small amount of light-gray ash was observed on the surface of snow. During early January 2003, plumes extended >5-10 km to the W and NW. During late February, plumes extended 10-40 km to the SW, S, and SE. Ash was noted in plumes on 24 October, 1, 11, 15, 19, and 20 November, 1, 19, and 24 December, 4 and 25 January, and 15, 17, 25, and 26 February. The Concern Color Code remained at Yellow.

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

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


Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — February 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Soufriere Hills

United Kingdom

16.72°N, 62.18°W; summit elev. 915 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued dome growth, rockfalls, and pyroclastic flows

During mid-September 2002 through February 2003 at Soufrière Hills, the dome continued to grow, producing numerous rockfalls and small-to-moderate pyroclastic flows. Most of the activity was concentrated on the NE and N flanks, producing numerous pyroclastic flows in White's Ghaut, the Tar River Valley, and Tuitt's Ghaut. Pyroclastic flows and rockfalls also traveled down the W and NW flanks. Ashfall affected surrounding areas, accumulating in thicknesses up to 9 mm. The Washington VAAC issued notices to the aviation community almost daily. Seismicity was dominated by rockfalls (table 42).

Table 42. Seismicity at Soufrière Hills during 13 September 2002-28 February 2003. *During some weeks, the number of seismic events was under-represented because of problems with the seismic stations. Courtesy MVO.

Date Rockfall Hybrid Long-period Long-period / Rockfall Volcano-tectonic
13 Sep-20 Sep 2002 689 67 162 41 1
20 Sep-27 Sep 2002 680 36 260 55 0
27 Sep-04 Oct 2002 811 15 223 51 2
04 Oct-11 Oct 2002* 468 3 77 42 0
11 Oct-18 Oct 2002* 650 2 98 80 1
18 Oct-25 Oct 2002 536 6 120 27 1
25 Oct-01 Nov 2002 670 9 148 72 0
01 Nov-08 Nov 2002 694 3 60 38 0
08 Nov-15 Nov 2002* 409 0 29 8 1
15 Nov-22 Nov 2002 592 2 88 37 1
22 Nov-29 Nov 2002 586 0 44 32 0
29 Nov-06 Dec 2002 354 0 33 43 0
06 Dec-13 Dec 2002 427 6 47 30 0
13 Dec-20 Dec 2002 742 2 50 50 0
20 Dec-27 Dec 2002 760 5 45 30 0
27 Dec-03 Jan 2003 863 3 86 41 1
03 Jan-10 Jan 2003 789 0 120 54 0
10 Jan-17 Jan 2003 606 7 67 42 2
17 Jan-24 Jan 2003 566 0 58 24 1
24 Jan-31 Jan 2003 745 2 177 62 1
31 Jan-07 Feb 2003 882 6 148 114 0
07 Feb-14 Feb 2003 840 3 117 78 1
14 Feb-21 Feb 2003 905 8 87 80 1
21 Feb-28 Feb 2003 1078 1 92 85 0

Activity during September 2002. Lava-dome growth was directed to the NE during 13-20 September, with frequent rockfalls and small pyroclastic flows sending material to a sector extending from the central Tar River Valley on the E flank to the NE flanks above Tuitt's Ghaut. Some material tumbled through a notch onto the N flank. A major change in direction of extrusion followed a hybrid earthquake swarm between 0703 and 1515 on 19 September. Growth of the previously active NE lobe stagnated during 21-22 September. A near-vertical spine was extruded in the central area around the 21st, possibly indicating a switch in growth direction. On 26 September a swarm of 36 hybrid events occurred between 0330 and 1112. The same day observations revealed a large new dome lobe that had extruded towards the W in the area previously known as Gages Wall. Material spalling off of this lobe produced rockfalls and small pyroclastic flows down Gages Valley that reached up to 1 km.

Notable pyroclastic flows occurred on the evening of 25 September and the morning of the 27th. Growth and rockfall activity then changed towards the N flanks, suggesting a possible stagnation of the recently extruded western lobe. Spectacular incandescence and semi-continuous rockfall activity were observed on the NE and N flanks of the dome on the night of 26-27 September.

On 27 September a 4-hour-period of heightened activity occurred in the afternoon and evening, with small semi-continuous pyroclastic flows traveling down the N flanks and eastwards into the upper portions of Tuitt's Ghaut and then into White's Bottom Ghaut. A newly extruded lobe was visible on 28 September almost directly to the NW with a broad headwall over the N, NW, and W flanks. On the evening of 29 September there was another period of heightened activity on the N flanks that lasted 1.5 hours, with pyroclastic flows just reaching the sea along White's Bottom Ghaut. It was estimated that during this event only 2-3 x 106 m3 of the N edge of the active NW lobe was shed.

The Washington VAAC reported that a low-level ash cloud from an emission at 1510 on 29 September was visible over eastern Puerto Rico on satellite imagery through the following day. On 30 September a light dusting of white ash fell in eastern Puerto Rico at Roosevelt Roads Naval Air Station.

Activity during October 2002. Observations on 1 October revealed that re-growth of the collapsed area had occurred. A brief period of heavy rain on 2 October triggered a moderate-sized mudflow down the Belham Valley. Analysis of seismic data suggested that pyroclastic-flow activity on 2 October began at 1310, and sustained dome collapse continued for 6 hours. Low-energy pyroclastic flows were observed reaching the sea on the Tar River's flanks throughout the collapse, and ash clouds were produced that drifted to the NW. Heavy ashfall occurred in the residential areas of Salem, Old Towne, and Olveston, with deposits up to 9 mm thick. Subsequent observations revealed that this collapse was confined to the E flanks, and that this was again a relatively small event (less than 5 x 106m3 of material was shed off of the E side of the dome complex).

According to the Washington VAAC, after daybreak on 3 October there were several reports of ashfall in Puerto Rico, and visible satellite imagery at 1115 confirmed that an ash cloud around 2.4 km altitude covered most of the island. At 1615 the area of very thin ash was not visible on satellite imagery. By the next day, ash from the previous day's emissions had drifted W, and around 0902 it was located over southern Puerto Rico. A thin plume of ash also extended SSW of St. Croix island.

Early in October the NW extrusion lobe of the lava dome grew to the NW, but later growth remained more centralized and there was noticeable bulking up of the lobe's summit area. Talus continued to accumulate behind the NW buttress and in the head of Tyre's Ghaut. Minor mudflow activity occurred on 9 October. The growth of the lava dome towards the NW prompted the evacuation of populated areas along the fringes of the lower part of the Belham Valley (~300 people) on 8 and 9 October, and the area was declared part of the Exclusion Zone. A relatively small pyroclastic flow traveled NNE down the flanks on 13 October.

On the afternoon of 22 October intense rainfall at midday produced large mudflows NW in the Belham Valley. At the peak of flow, the entire width of the valley floor at Belham Bridge was flooded and standing waves up to 2.5 m high were observed. By 1430, pyroclastic-flow activity began. For several hours, pyroclastic flows from the N flank of the dome were channeled NE into the upper parts of Tuitt's Ghaut, from where they crossed over into White's Bottom Ghaut. Flows also occurred on the dome's E flank in the Tar River Valley.

The volcano was observed using a remote camera and during a flight on 31 October. The active extruded lobe in the NW continued to steadily grow, bulking out on the N and W sides. Rockfalls and pyroclastic flows traveled down the E and N flanks, particularly within Tuitt's Ghaut and the Tar River Valley. A considerable amount of debris also spalled off the W flank of the active extruded lobe and accumulated in the upper parts of Fort Ghaut.

Activity during November 2002. During early November lava-dome growth on the N part of the dome was less directed, with rockfalls dispersed over the summit and flanks. The lobe shed rockfall debris predominately down Tuitt's Ghaut and Tar River Valley, although also onto the NW flank and into the top of Gage's Valley. According to the Washington VAAC, on 8 November strong pyroclastic flows produced ash-and-gas clouds to a height of ~1.5 km.

On 8 and 9 November pyroclastic flows traveled 900-1,000 m NW into Tyer's Ghaut at the headwaters of the Belham Valley. During 12-15 November, the size and energy of the pyroclastic flows increased slightly. During 15-19 November, small pyroclastic flows traveled 1-1.5 km from the dome every few hours in Tuitt's Ghaut to the NE and in the Tar River Valley to the E. On 29 November the active lobe had a broad whaleback-shaped upper surface, which was oriented towards the NNE.

During 29 November-6 December a number of small, short-lived spines formed at the base of the active lobe in the N part of the dome complex, shedding material E into White's Ghaut and the Tar River Valley. Lava blocks continued to spall off the front of the lobe, shedding material NE into Tuitt's Ghaut and onto the northern talus slope. An average of one moderate-sized pyroclastic flow occurred per day and traveled no farther than 1-1.5 km from the lava dome into Tuitt's and White's ghauts and into the Tar River Valley. During 5-6 December, rockfalls and small pyroclastic flows occurred more frequently on the northern talus slope and on the NW, at the top of Tyer's Ghaut.

Activity during December 2002. A sustained dome collapse began on 8 December at 2045, producing energetic pyroclastic flows down White's Ghaut to the sea at Spanish Point. Ash clouds rose to ~3 km altitude and drifted WNW. In Plymouth and Richmond Hill 4 mm of ash was deposited. Seismicity returned to background levels on 9 December by 0045, and several days of weak tremor occurred.

The collapse scar on the dome's NNE flank, estimated to have had a volume of 4-5 x 106 m3, was being filled rapidly with freshly extruded lava. Observations on 13 December revealed a large amount of fragmental lava extruded in a northerly direction on the summit. A large spine was also extruded on the NW side of the summit.

During late December spectacular incandescence of the dome was observed on most nights. Activity increased during 18-20 December, and on 19 December mudflows occurred in White River, Tar River Valley, and Fort Ghaut. During 20-27 December extrusion occurred on the N, and occassionally NW, sides of the summit. A large spine was pushed up at the back of the active extruded lobe during the night of 26-27 December, but was not visible by 2 January. The Washington VAAC reported that on 28 December around 1130 a 3-km-high ash cloud generated from pyroclastic flows drifted over the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Activity during January-February 2003. Activity escalated to very high levels on the night of 27 December. During 27 December-10 January continuous rockfalls and numerous pyroclastic flows spalled off the active extruded lobe on the NNE side of the lava dome. Activity decreased on the night of 2 January to moderate levels on the 3rd.

During mid-January, activity generally declined to a moderate level. During 15-17 January almost all pyroclastic flows occurred in the Tar River Valley, with only minor rockfalls traveling down the dome's NE and N sides. Lava extrusion occurred NE of the lava-dome complex that was associated with rockfalls and small pyroclastic flows down Tar River Valley, White's Ghaut, Tuitt's Ghaut, and on the northern talus slopes. On 18, 20, and 24 January small pyroclastic flows traveled ~1 km down Tyer's Ghaut.

Activity increased during late January. Growth of the active extrusion lobe continued on the N side of the lava dome. The direction of growth was generally towards the NNE, although the focus of rockfall and pyroclastic-flow activity varied from day to day. A pulse of activity occurred at midday on 30 January, during which pyroclastic flows simultaneously descended several flanks of the lava dome traveling to the Tar River Valley, White's Ghaut, Tuitt's Ghaut, and W to Fort Ghaut.

During 31 January-14 February activity remained moderate. Growth of the lava dome was focused on a large, steep lobe directed to the NE. A small amount of rockfall material was directed W towards Fort Ghaut. Rockfalls and small pyroclastic flows also occurred off the N flank of the dome onto the area of Riley's Estate.

During 19-25 February pyroclastic flows and rockfalls were concentrated more on the E flank of the lava dome and in the Tar River Valley, although there were several periods of activity on the N flank, with pyroclastic flows in Tuitt's Ghaut and at the top of Farrell's Plain.

Activity increased slightly during 21-28 February. During an observation flight on 27 February lava-dome growth was concentrated towards the NE. Pyroclastic flows and rockfalls traveled down the lava dome's E and NE flanks via the Tar River Valley and Tuitt's Ghaut. There were also several periods of activity on the N flank, with pyroclastic flows at the top of Farrell's Plain.

SO2 emission rates varied throughout the report period (table 43), and were especially high following the dome-collapse event on 9 December (2,350 tons per day average).

Table 43. SO2 emission rates at Soufrière Hills during 13 September 2002 through 28 February 2003. Courtesy MVO.

Date SO2 emissions (tons/day)
13 Sep-20 Sep 2002 85-518
11 Oct-12 Oct 2002 260-520, average of 302
13 Oct 2002 430-860, average of 691
16 Oct 2002 43-173
17 Oct-18 Oct 2002 346-518
19 Oct-21 Oct 2002 85-300
23 Oct-25 Oct 2002 430-500, peak of 1000
25 Oct-27 Oct 2002 45-260
27 Oct 2002 520
27 Oct-01 Nov 2002 25-260
01 Nov 2002 240
02 Nov 2002 208
03 Nov 2002 200
04 Nov 2002 508
06 Nov-07 Nov 2002 220
08 Nov-15 Nov 2002 520-560
15 Nov 2002 160
16 Nov 2002 340
17 Nov 2002 380
18 Nov 2002 180
19 Nov 2002 173
22 Nov-29 Nov 2002 520-1040
24 Nov 2002 170-350
29 Nov-06 Dec 2002 Average 400
29 Nov-01 Dec 2002 Average 280
06 Dec-08 Dec 2002 280
09 Dec 2002 Average 2,350
10 Dec 2002 620
06 Jan 2003 130
07 Jan 2003 200
09 Jan 2003 430
10-17 Jan 2003 ~86-1209
10 Jan 2003 ~170-520, average ~260
11 Jan 2003 Emissions of ~430 were recorded until mid-morning, but then decreased to ~86 for several hours. In the afternoon they reached ~860-1210 before dropping to ~430-518
12 Jan 2003 ~345-605, average ~354
13 Jan 2003 ~430-780, average ~490
15 Jan 2003 ~430-605, average ~527
18 Jan 2003 300
19 Jan 2003 165
20 Jan 2003 700
21 Jan-24 Jan 2003 270
24 Jan 2003 480
25 Jan-28 Jan 2003 290
29 Jan 2003 560
30 Jan 2003 620
31 Jan-07 Feb 2003 90-170
14 Feb-21 Feb 2003 170-350
21 Feb-28 Feb 2003 400-460
22 Feb 2003 840
23 Feb 2003 1120

Geologic Background. The complex, dominantly andesitic Soufrière Hills volcano occupies the southern half of the island of Montserrat. The summit area consists primarily of a series of lava domes emplaced along an ESE-trending zone. The volcano is flanked by Pleistocene complexes to the north and south. English's Crater, a 1-km-wide crater breached widely to the east by edifice collapse, was formed about 2000 years ago as a result of the youngest of several collapse events producing submarine debris-avalanche deposits. Block-and-ash flow and surge deposits associated with dome growth predominate in flank deposits, including those from an eruption that likely preceded the 1632 CE settlement of the island, allowing cultivation on recently devegetated land to near the summit. Non-eruptive seismic swarms occurred at 30-year intervals in the 20th century, but no historical eruptions were recorded until 1995. Long-term small-to-moderate ash eruptions beginning in that year were later accompanied by lava-dome growth and pyroclastic flows that forced evacuation of the southern half of the island and ultimately destroyed the capital city of Plymouth, causing major social and economic disruption.

Information Contacts: Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), Mongo Hill, Montserrat, West Indies (URL: http://www.mvo.ms/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/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/); Associated Press.


Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand) — February 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Whakaari/White Island

New Zealand

37.52°S, 177.18°E; summit elev. 294 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Increased SO2 emissions since December, mud ejections in February

Minor volcanic tremor continued, and the plume of steam and gases from the vent remained unchanged through the end of November 2002, according to the Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences (IGNS). The output of SO2 measured on 10 December was 112 ± 36 metric tons per day (t/d); in October the value was 63 t/d. Volcanic tremor continued and was accompanied by minor booming and explosions in the second week of December. After a brief period of increased activity at the start of the next week, volcanic tremor dropped to the weaker levels of tremor observed previously. Weak steam and gas emissions continued through 19 December, along with weak volcanic tremor.

An IGNS report on 7 February 2002 noted continuing minor volcanic tremor and a weak plume of steam and gases from the active vent. Activity increased slightly during 9-16 February. On 12 February mud was being thrown some tens of meters in the air, and ground vibrations could be felt. This corresponded to a period of slightly stronger volcanic tremor. Seismograph readings returned to normal by the 13th. Minor hydrothermal activity continued as of 21 February, and the output of SO2 had increased to 269 t/d. Seismic tremor steadily declined to low background levels in the last week of the month, though a weak plume of steam and gases was still being emitted.

Seismic tremor levels at White Island remained low on 7 March, but mud was being ejected to low levels around the active vent and a steam plume remained. There were intermittent periods of weak tremor the next week, and SO2 output was reported to be 267 t/d. Seismic tremor was at a very low level during the week ending on 21 March.

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

Information Contacts: Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences (IGNS), Private Bag 2000, Wairakei, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/).

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