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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

Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) Multiple lava flows within the summit crater, September 2018-August 2019

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) Explosions on 26 June and 3 August 2019 send plumes above 19 km altitude

Sarychev Peak (Russia) Ash plume on 11 August; thermal anomalies from late May to early October 2019

Asamayama (Japan) Ashfall from phreatic eruptions on 7 and 25 August 2019

Villarrica (Chile) Strombolian activity continued during March-August 2019 with an increase in July

Reventador (Ecuador) Daily ash emissions and incandescent block avalanches continue, February-July 2019

Raikoke (Russia) Short-lived series of large explosions 21-23 June 2019; first recorded activity in 95 years

Sinabung (Indonesia) Large ash explosions on 25 May and 9 June 2019

Semisopochnoi (United States) Small explosions detected between 16 July and 24 August 2019

Krakatau (Indonesia) Repeated Surtseyan explosions with ash and steam during February-July 2019

Tengger Caldera (Indonesia) Ash emissions on 19 and 28 July 2019; lahar on the SW flank of Bromo

Unnamed (Tonga) Submarine eruption in early August creates pumice rafts that drifted west to Fiji



Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — September 2019 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)


Multiple lava flows within the summit crater, September 2018-August 2019

Frequent historical eruptions from Tanzania's Ol Doinyo Lengai have been recorded since the late 19th century. Located near the southern end of the East African Rift in the Gregory Rift Valley, the unique low-temperature carbonatitic lavas have been the focus of numerous volcanological studies; the volcano has also long been a cultural icon central to the Maasai people who live in the region. Following explosive eruptions in the mid-1960s and early 1980s the volcano entered a phase of effusive activity with the effusion of small, fluid, natrocarbonatitic lava flows within its active north summit crater. From 1983 to early 2007 the summit crater was the site of numerous often-changing hornitos (or spatter cones) and lava flows that slowly filled the crater. Lava began overflowing various flanks of the crater in 1993; by 2007 most flanks had been exposed to flows from the crater.

Seismic and effusive activity increased in mid-2007, and a new phase of explosive activity resumed in September of that year. The explosive activity formed a new pyroclastic cone inside the crater; repeated ash emissions reached altitudes greater than 10 km during March 2008, causing relocation of several thousand nearby villagers. Explosive activity diminished by mid-April 2008; by September new hornitos with small lava flows were again forming on the crater floor. Periodic eruptions of lava from fissures, spatter cones, and hornitos within the crater were witnessed throughout the next decade by scientists and others occasionally visiting the summit. Beginning in 2017, satellite imagery has become a valuable data source, providing information about both the thermal activity and the lava flows in the form of infrared imagery and the color contrast of black fresh lava and whiter cooled lava that is detectable in visible imagery (BGVN 43:10). The latest expeditions in 2018 and 2019 have added drone technology to the research tools. This report covers activity from September 2018 through August 2019 with data and images provided from satellite information and from researchers and visitors to the volcano.

Summary and data from satellite imagery. Throughout September 2018 to August 2019, evidence for repeated small lava flows was recorded in thermal data, satellite imagery, and from a few visits to or overflights of the summit crater by researchers. Intermittent low-level pulses of thermal activity appeared in MIROVA data a few times during the period (figure 187). Most months, Sentinel-2 satellite imagery generated six images with varying numbers of days that had a clear view of the summit and showed black and white color contrasts from fresh and cooled lava and/or thermal anomalies (table 27, figures 188-191). Lava flows came from multiple source vents within the crater, produced linear flows, and covered large areas of the crater floor. Thermal anomalies were located in different areas of the crater; multiple anomalies from different source vents were visible many months.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 187. Intermittent low-level pulses of thermal activity were recorded in the MIROVA thermal data a few times between 21 October 2018 and the end of August 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Table 27. The number of days each month with Sentinel-2 images of Ol Doinyo Lengai, days with clear views of the summit showing detectable color contrasts between black and white lava, and days with detectable thermal anomalies within the summit crater. A clear summit means more than half the summit visible or features identifiable through diffuse cloud cover. Information courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Month Sentinel-2 Images Clear Summit with Lava Color Contrasts Thermal anomalies
Sep 2018 6 5 5
Oct 2018 7 4 3
Nov 2018 6 2 0
Dec 2018 5 1 1
Jan 2019 6 5 3
Feb 2019 6 5 6
Mar 2019 6 5 5
Apr 2019 6 1 0
May 2019 6 3 2
Jun 2019 6 3 3
Jul 2019 6 5 5
Aug 2019 6 5 3
Figure (see Caption) Figure 188. Sentinel-2 imagery of Ol Doinyo Lengai from September 2018 showed examples of the changing color contrasts of fresh black lava which quickly cools to whitish-brown (top row) and varying intensities and numbers of thermal anomalies on the same days (bottom row). It is clear that the color and thermal patterns change several times during the month even with only a few days of available imagery. Dates of images from left to right are 11, 16, and 21 September. The summit crater is 300 m across and 100 m deep. The top row is with Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) and the bottom row is with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 189. Contrasting patterns of dark and light lava flows within the summit crater of Ol Doinyo Lengai on 1 (left) and 11 (right) October 2018 show how quickly new dark flows cool to a lighter color. The flow on 1 October appears to originate in the E part of the crater; the flow in the crater on 11 October has a source in the N part of the crater. These Sentinel-2 images use Natural color rendering (bands 4,3,2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 190. A large flow at Ol Doinyo Lengai on 3 February 2019 filled most of the summit crater with lobes of black lava (top left) and generated one of the strongest thermal signatures of the period (top right) in these Sentinel-2 satellite images. On 20 March 2019, a small dark area of fresh material contrasted sharply with the surrounding light-colored material (bottom left); the thermal image of the same data shows a small anomaly near the dark spot (bottom right). The left column is with Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) and the right column is with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 191. The dark lava spots at Ol Doinyo Lengai on 18 June 2019 (top left) and 28 July 2019 (top center) produced matching thermal anomalies in the Sentinal-2 imagery (bottom left and center). On days when the summit was partly obscured by clouds such as 27 August (top right), the strong thermal signal from the summit still confirmed fresh flow activity (bottom right). The top row is with Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) and the bottom row is with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Information from site visits and overflights. Minor steam and gas emissions were visible from the summit crater during an overflight on 29 September 2018. Geologist Cin-Ty Lee captured excellent images of the W flank on 20 October 2018 (figure 192). The large circular crater at the base of the flank is the 'Oldoinyo' Maar (Graettinger, 2018a and 2018b). A view into the crater from an overflight that day (figure 193) showed clear evidence of at least five areas of dark, fresh lava. An effusive eruption was visible on the crater floor on 2 March 2019 (figure 194).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 192. A large maar stands out at the base of the SW flank of Ol Doinyo Lengai on 20 October 2018. Courtesy of Cin-Ty Lee (Rice University).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 193. A view into the summit crater of Ol Doinyo Lengai on 20 October 2018 shows clear evidence of recent flow activity in the form of multiple dark spots of fresh lava that has recently emerged from hornitos and fissures. The lava cools to a pale color very quickly, forming the contrasting background to the fresh flows. The summit crater is 300 m across and 100 m deep. Courtesy of Cin-Ty Lee (Rice University).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 194. A view into the crater floor at Ol Doinyo Lengai on 2 March 2019 showed a vent with both fresh (dark brown) and cooled (gray-white) carbonatite lavas and hornitos on the floor of the crater. The darkest material on the crater floor is from recent flows. Courtesy of Aman Laizer, Tanzania.

Research expedition in July-August 2019. In late July and early August 2019 an expedition, sponsored by the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) and led by researchers Kate Laxton and Emma Liu (University College London), made gas measurements, collected lava samples for the first time in 12 years, and deployed drones to gather data and images. The Ol Doinyo Lengai sampling team included Papkinye Lemolo, Boni Kicha, Ignas Mtui, Boni Mawe, Amedeus Mtui, Emma Liu, Arno Van Zyl, Kate Laxton, and their driver, Baraka. They collected samples by lowering devices via ropes and pulleys into the crater and photographed numerous active flows emerging from vents and hornitos on the crater floor (figure 195). By analyzing the composition of the first lava samples collected since the volcano's latest explosive activity in 2007, they hope to learn about recent changes to its underground plumbing system. A comparison of the satellite image taken on 28 July with a drone image of the summit crater taken by them the next day (figure 196) confirms the effectiveness of both the satellite imagery in identifying new flow features on the crater floor, and the drone imagery in providing outstanding details of activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 195. Researchers Kate Laxton and Emma Liu collected gas and lava samples at the summit of Ol Doinyo Lengai during their 26 July-4 August 2019 expedition. They sent gas sampling devices (small white "hamster ball" in center of left image) and lava sampling devices (right) down into the crater via ropes and pulleys. The crater is 300 m across and 100 m deep. Courtesy of Kate Laxton (University College London).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 196. A clear view by drone straight down into the crater at Ol Doinyo Lengai on 29 July 2019 provides valuable information about ongoing activity at the remote volcano. N is to the top. The summit crater is 300 m across and 100 m deep. The same configuration of fresh and cooled lava can be seen in Sentinel-2 imagery taken on 28 July 2019 (inset, N to the top). Courtesy of Emma Liu (University College London) and Sentinel Hub Playground.

With the drone technology, they were able to make close-up observations of features on the north crater floor such as the large hornito on the inner W wall of the crater (figure 197), an active lava pond near the center of the crater (figure 198), and several flows resurfacing the floor of the crater while they were there (figure 199). A large crack that rings the base of the N cone had enlarged significantly since last measured in 2014 (figure 200).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 197. A closeup view of the large hornito in the W wall of the Ol Doinyo Lengai summit crater on 26 July 2019 shows recent activity from the vent (dark material). See figure 197 for location of hornito against W wall. View is to the NW. Courtesy of Emma Liu (University College London).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 198. Incandescence from the lava pond in the center of the crater was still visible at 0627 on 29 July 2019 at Ol Doinyo Lengai; incandescence from the large hornito in the NW quadrant (behind the lava pond) had been visible when the researchers arrived at the summit at about 0500 that morning. The crater floor is continually resurfaced by ultra-low viscosity natrocarbonatite lava flows. The lava hydrates on contact with air within hours, changing color from black to grey/white in a very short time. View towards the N. Courtesy of Kate Laxton (University College London).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 199. On 30 July 2019 a lava flow from a hornito cluster resurfaced the NE quadrant of the crater floor at Ol Doinyo Lengai. The initial outbreak occurred at 0819, was vigorous, and ended by 0823. Lava continued to flow out of the hornito cluster at intervals throughout the day. Image facing NE, courtesy of Kate Laxton (University College London).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 200. The circumferential crack near the base of the N cone of Ol Doinyo Lengai is seen here being inspected by Emma Liu on 30 July 2019 where it intersects the Western Summit Trail. View is to the S. Significant widening of the crack is seen when compared with a similar image of the same crack from March 2014 (figure 172, BGVN 39:07). Local observers reported that the crack continued to widen after July 2019. Courtesy of Kate Laxton (University College London).

The color of the flows on the crater floor changed from grays and browns to blues and greens after a night of rainfall on 31 July 2019 (figure 201). Much of the lava pond surface was crusted over that day, but the large hornito in the NW quadrant was still active (figure 202), and both the pond and another hornito produced flows that merged onto the crater floor (figure 203).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 201. The active crater at Ol Doinyo Lengai is on the north side of and slightly below the topographic summit of the mountain (in the background). After overnight rain, lava flows on the crater floor turned various shades of greys, whites, blues, and greens on 31 July 2019. View to the SW, drone image. Courtesy of Emma Liu (University College London).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 202. A closeup view to the NW of the Ol Doinyo Lengai north crater on 31 July 2019 shows the blue and green tones of the hydrated lavas after the previous night's rains. The lava pond is at high-stand with much of the surface crusted over. The adjacent hornito is still active and breached to the NE. Courtesy of Emma Liu (University College London).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 203. Two fresh lava flows merge over the hydrated crater floor of the north crater at Ol Doinyo Lengai on 31 July 2019. One comes from a small hornito just out of view to the SW (lower right) and the other from the overflowing lava pond (left), merging in the SE quadrant. The colors of the two flows differ; the pond lava appears jet black, and the hornito lava is a lighter shade of brown. View to the SE, courtesy of Emma Liu (University College London).

On 1 August 2019 much of the crater floor was resurfaced by a brown lava that flowed from a hornito E of the lava pond (figure 204). Images of unusual, ephemeral features such as "spatter pots," "frozen jets," and "frothy flows" (figure 205) help to characterize the unusual magmatic activity at this unique volcano (figure 206).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 204. On 1 August 2019 at Ol Doinyo Lengai brown lava flowed from a hornito directly E of the lava pond (above the pond in figure 203) and resurfaced much of the S portion of the crater floor. At the far left of the image, the white (hydrated) lava jet aimed away from the hornito was solidified in mid-flow. View to the SE, courtesy of Emma Liu (University College London).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 205. Frothy pale-brown lava flowed across the SE quadrant of the crater floor (right) at Ol Doinyo Lengai on 4 August 2019 from an uncertain source between the adjacent hornito and lava pond which appears nearly crusted over. Spattering from a "spatter pot" (inset) and a small flow also headed NE from the hornito cluster E of the pond (behind pond). Courtesy of Kate Laxton (University College London).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 206. A view from the summit peak of Ol Doinyo Lengai on 4 August 2019 looking at the entire N cone and the swale between it and the peak. The crack shown in figure 201 rings the base of cone; the main summit trail intersects the crack near the bottom center of the cone. The researcher's campsite on the W flank (left) shows the scale of the cone. The East African Rift wall and Lake Natron are visible in the background on the left and right, respectively. Courtesy of Kate Laxton (University College London).

References: Graettinger, A. H., 2018a, MaarVLS database version 1, (URL: https://vhub.org/resources/4365).

Graettinger, A. H., 2018b, Trends in maar crater size and shape using the global Maar Volcano Location and Shape (MaarVLS) database. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 357, p. 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2018.04.002.

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: Cin-Ty Lee, Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, Rice University, 6100 Main St., Houston, TX 77005-1827, USA (URL: https://twitter.com/CinTyLee1, images at https://twitter.com/CinTyLee1/status/1054337204577812480, https://earthscience.rice.edu/directory/user/106/); Emma Liu, University College London, UCL Hazards Centre (Volcanology), Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom (URL: https://twitter.com/EmmaLiu31, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/earth-sciences/people/academic/dr-emma-liu); Kate Laxton, University College London, UCL Earth Sciences, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom (URL: https://twitter.com/KateLaxton, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/earth-sciences/people/research-students/kate-laxton); Deep Carbon Observatory, Carnegie Institution for Science, 5251 Broad Branch Road NW, Washington, DC 20015-1305, USA (URL: https://deepcarbon.net/field-report-ol-doinyo-lengai-volcano-tanzania); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Aman Laizer, Volcanologist, Arusha, Tanzania (URL: https://twitter.com/amanlaizerr, image at https://twitter.com/amanlaizerr/status/1102483717384216576).


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — September 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ulawun

Papua New Guinea

5.05°S, 151.33°E; summit elev. 2334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions on 26 June and 3 August 2019 send plumes above 19 km altitude

Typical activity at Ulawun consists of occasional weak explosions with ash plumes. During 2018 explosions occurred on 8 June, 21 September, and 5 October (BGVN 43:11). The volcano is monitored primarily by the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) and Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC). This report describes activity from November 2018 through August 2019; no volcanism was noted during this period until late June 2019.

Activity during June-July 2019. RVO reported that Real-time Seismic-Amplitude Measurement (RSAM) values steadily increased during 24-25 June, and then sharply increased at around 0330 on 26 June. The RSAM values reflect an increase in seismicity dominated by volcanic tremor. An eruption began in the morning hours of 26 June with emissions of gray ash (figure 17) that over time became darker and more energetic. The plumes rose 1 km and caused minor ashfall to the NW and SW. Local residents heard roaring and rumbling during 0600-0800.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Photograph of a small ash plume rising from the summit crater of Ulawun taken by a helicopter pilot at 1030 local time on 26 June 2019. According to the pilot, the amount of ash observed was not unusual. Image has been color adjusted from original. Courtesy of Craig Powell.

The Darwin VAAC issued several notices about ash plumes visible in satellite data. These stated that during 1130-1155 ash plumes rose to altitudes of 6.7-8.5 km and drifted W, while ash plumes that rose to 12.8-13.4 km drifted S and SW. A new pulse of activity (figures 17 and 18) generated ash plumes that by 1512 rose to an altitude of 16.8 km and drifted S and SE. By 1730 the ash plume had risen to 19.2 km and spread over 90 km in all directions. Ash from earlier ejections continued to drift S at an altitude of 13.4 km and W at an altitude of 8.5 km. RVO stated that RSAM values peaked at about 2,500 units during 1330-1600, and then dropped to 1,600 units as the eruption subsided.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Photograph of Ulawun taken by a helicopter pilot at 1310 local time on 26 June 2019 showing a tall ash plume rising from the summit crater. Image has been color adjusted from original. Courtesy of Craig Powell.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Photograph of Ulawun taken by a helicopter pilot at 1350 local time on 26 June 2019 showing a close-up view of the ash plume rising from the summit crater along with an area of incandescent ejecta. According to the pilot, this was the most active phase. Image has been color adjusted from original. Courtesy of Craig Powell.

According to RVO, parts of the ash plume at lower altitudes drifted W, causing variable amounts of ashfall in areas to the NW and SW. A pyroclastic flow descended the N flank. Residents evacuated to areas to the NE and W; a news article (Radio New Zealand) noted that around 3,000 people had gathered at a local church. According to another news source (phys.org), an observer in a helicopter reported a column of incandescent material rising from the crater, residents noted that the sky had turned black, and a main road in the N part of the island was blocked by volcanic material. Residents also reported a lava flow near Noau village and Eana Valley. RVO reported that the eruption ceased between 1800 and 1900. Incandescence visible on the N flank was from either a lava flow or pyroclastic flow deposits.

On 27 June diffuse white plumes were reported by RVO as rising from the summit crater and incandescence was visible from pyroclastic or lava flow deposits on the N flank from the activity the day before. The seismic station 11 km NW of the volcano recorded low RSAM values of between 2 and 50. According to the Darwin VAAC a strong thermal anomaly was visible in satellite images, though not after 1200. Ash from 26 June explosions continued to disperse and became difficult to discern in satellite images by 1300, though a sulfur dioxide signal persisted. Ash at an altitude of 13.7 km drifted SW to SE and dissipated by 1620, and ash at 16.8 km drifted NW to NE and dissipated by 1857. RVO noted that at 1300 on 27 June satellite images captured an ash explosion not reported by ground-based observers, likely due to cloudy weather conditions. The Alert Level was lowered to Stage 1 (the lowest level on a four-stage scale).

RSAM values slightly increased at 0600 on 28 June and fluctuated between 80 to 150 units afterwards. During 28-29 June diffuse white plumes continued to rise from the crater (figure 20) and from the North Valley vent. On 29 June a ReliefWeb update stated that around 11,000 evacuated people remained in shelters.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Photograph of the steaming summit crater at Ulawun taken by a helicopter pilot at 0730 local time on 29 June 2019. Image has been color adjusted from original. Courtesy of Craig Powell.

According to RVO, diffuse white plumes rose from Ulawun's summit crater and the North Valley vent during 1-4 July and from the summit only during 5-9 July. The seismic station located 11 km NW of the volcano recorded three volcanic earthquakes and some sporadic, short-duration, volcanic tremors during 1-3 July. The seismic station 2.9 km W of the volcano was restored on 4 July and recorded small sub-continuous tremors. Some discrete high-frequency volcanic earthquakes were also recorded on most days. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 100 tonnes per day on 4 July. According to the United Nations in Papua New Guinea, 7,318 people remained displaced within seven sites because of the 26 June eruption.

Activity during August 2019. During 1-2 August RVO reported that white-to-gray vapor plumes rose from the summit crater and drifted NW. Incandescence from the summit crater was visible at night and jetting noises were audible for a short interval. RSAM values fluctuated but peaked at high levels. During the night of 2-3 August crater incandescence strengthened and roaring noises became louder around 0400. An explosion began between 0430 and 0500 on 3 August; booming noises commenced around 0445. By 0600 dense light-gray ash emissions were drifting NW, causing ashfall in areas downwind, including Ulamona Mission (10 km NW). Ash emissions continued through the day and changed from light to dark gray with time.

The eruption intensified at 1900 and a lava fountain rose more than 100 m above the crater rim. A Plinian ash plume rose 19 km and drifted W and SW, causing ashfall in areas downwind such as Navo and Kabaya, and as far as Kimbe Town (142 km SW). The Darwin VAAC reported that the ash plume expanded radially and reached the stratosphere, rising to an altitude of 19.2 km. The plume then detached and drifted S and then SE.

The Alert Level was raised to Stage 3. The areas most affected by ash and scoria fall were between Navo (W) and Saltamana Estate (NW). Two classrooms at the Navo Primary School and a church in Navo collapsed from the weight of the ash and scoria; one of the classroom roofs had already partially collapsed during the 26 June eruption. Evacuees in tents because of the 26 June explosion reported damage. Rabaul town (132 km NE) also reported ashfall. Seismicity declined rapidly within two hours of the event, though continued to fluctuate at moderate levels. According to a news source (Radio New Zealand, flights in and out of Hoskins airport in Port Moresby were cancelled on 4 August due to tephra fall. The Alert Level was lowered to Stage 1. Small amounts of white and gray vapor were emitted from the summit crater during 4-6 August. RVO reported that during 7-8 August minor emissions of white vapor rose from the summit crater.

Additional observations. Seismicity was dominated by low-level volcanic tremor and remained at low-to-moderate levels. RSAM values fluctuated between 400 and 550 units; peaks did not go above 700. Instruments aboard NASA satellites detected high levels of sulfur dioxide near or directly above the volcano on 26-29 June and 4-6 August 2019.

Thermal anomalies, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, were observed at Ulawun only on 26 June 2019 (8 pixels by the Terra satellite, 4 pixels by the Aqua satellite). The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected three anomalies during the reporting period, one during the last week of June 2019 and two during the first week of August, all three within 3 km of the volcano and of low to moderate energy.

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

Information Contacts: 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/); 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/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it); ReliefWeb (URL: https://reliefweb.int/); Radio New Zealand (URL: https://www.rnz.co.nz); phys.org (URL: https://phys.org); United Nations in Papua New Guinea (URL: http://pg.one.un.org/content/unct/papua_new_guinea/en/home.html).


Sarychev Peak (Russia) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sarychev Peak

Russia

48.092°N, 153.2°E; summit elev. 1496 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plume on 11 August; thermal anomalies from late May to early October 2019

Sarychev Peak, located on Matua Island in the central Kurile Islands of Russia, has had eruptions reported since 1765. Renewed activity began in October 2017, followed by a major eruption in June 2009 that included pyroclastic flows and ash plumes (BGVN 43:11 and 34:06). Thermal anomalies, explosions, and ash plumes took place between September and October 2018. A single ash explosion occurred in May 2019. Another ash plume was seen on 11 August, and small thermal anomalies were present in infrared imagery during June-October 2019. Information is provided by the Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT) and the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), with satellite imagery from Sentinel-2.

Satellite images from Sentinel-2 showed small white plumes from Sarychev Peak during clear weather on 4 and 14 August 2019 (figure 27); similar plumes were observed on a total of nine clear weather days between late June and October 2019. According to SVERT and the Tokyo VAAC, satellite data from HIMAWARI-8 showed an ash plume rising to an altitude of 2.7 km and drifting 50 km SE on 11 August. It was visible for a few days before dissipating. No further volcanism was detected by SVERT, and no activity was evident in a 17 August Sentinel-2 image (figure 27).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Small white plumes were visible at Sarychev Peak in Sentinel-2 satellite images on 4 and 14 August 2019 (left and center). No activity was seen on 17 August (right). All three Sentinel-2 images use the "Natural Color" (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Intermittent weak thermal anomalies were detected by the MIROVA system using MODIS data from late May through 7 October 2019 (figure 28). Sentinel-2 satellite imagery from 28 June, 13 and 23 July, 9 August, and 21 October showed a very small thermal anomaly, but on 28 September a pronounced thermal anomaly was visible (figure 29). No additional thermal anomalies were identified from any source after 7 October through the end of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Thermal anomalies detected at Sarychev Peak by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) using MODIS data for the year ending on 9 October 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Sentinel-2 satellite images of Sarychev Peak on 23 June and 28 September 2019. A small thermal anomaly is visible on the eastern side of the crater on 23 June (left, indicated by arrow), while the thermal anomaly is more pronounced and visible in the middle of the crater on 28 September (right). Both Sentinel-2 satellite images use the "False Color (Urban)" (bands 12, 11, 4) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Sarychev Peak, one of the most active volcanoes of the Kuril Islands, occupies the NW end of Matua Island in the central Kuriles. The andesitic central cone was constructed within a 3-3.5-km-wide caldera, whose rim is exposed only on the SW side. A dramatic 250-m-wide, very steep-walled crater with a jagged rim caps the volcano. The substantially higher SE rim forms the 1496 m high point of the island. Fresh-looking lava flows, prior to activity in 2009, had descended in all directions, often forming capes along the coast. Much of the lower-angle outer flanks of the volcano are overlain by pyroclastic-flow deposits. Eruptions have been recorded since the 1760s and include both quiet lava effusion and violent explosions. Large eruptions in 1946 and 2009 produced pyroclastic flows that reached the sea.

Information Contacts: Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT), Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Science, Nauki st., 1B, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia, 693022 (URL: http://www.imgg.ru/en/, http://www.imgg.ru/ru/svert/reports); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 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/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Asamayama (Japan) — September 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Asamayama

Japan

36.406°N, 138.523°E; summit elev. 2568 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ashfall from phreatic eruptions on 7 and 25 August 2019

Asamayama (also known as Asama), located in the Kanto-Chubu Region of Japan, previously erupted in June 2015. Activity included increased volcanic seismicity, small eruptions which occasionally resulted in ashfall, and SO2 gas emissions (BGVN 41:10). This report covers activity through August 2019, which describes small phreatic eruptions, volcanic seismicity, faint incandescence and commonly white gas plumes, and fluctuating SO2 emissions. The primary source of information for this report is provided by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

Activity during October 2016-May 2019. From October 2016 through December 2017, a high-sensitivity camera captured faint incandescence at night accompanied by white gas plumes rising above the crater to an altitude ranging 100-800 m (figure 44). A thermal anomaly and faint incandescence accompanied by a white plume near the summit was observed at night on 6-7 and 21 January 2017. These thermal anomalies were recorded near the central part of the crater bottom in January, February, and November 2017, and in May 2019. After December 2017 the faint incandescence was not observed, with an exception on 18 July 2018.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. A surveillance camera observed faint incandescence at Asamayama in February 2017. Left: Onimushi surveillance camera taken at 0145 on 5 February 2017. Right: Kurokayama surveillance camera taken at 0510 on 1 February 2017. Courtesy of JMA (Monthly Report for February 2017).

Field surveys on 6, 16, and 28 December 2016 reported an increased amount of SO2 gas emissions from November 2016 (100-600 tons/day) to March 2017 (1,300-3,200 tons/day). In April 2017 the SO2 emissions decreased (600-1,500 tons/day). Low-frequency shallow volcanic tremors decreased in December 2016; none were observed in January 2017. From February 2017 through June 2018 volcanic tremors occurred more intermittently. According to the monthly JMA Reports on February 2017 and December 2018 and data from the Geographical Survey Institute's Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), a slight inflation between the north and south baseline was recorded starting in fall 2016 through December 2018. This growth become stagnant at some of the baselines in October 2017.

Activity during August 2019. On 7 August 2019 a small phreatic eruption occurred at the summit crater and continued for about 20 minutes, resulting in an ash plume that rose to a maximum altitude of 1.8 km, drifting N and an associated earthquake and volcanic tremor (figure 45). According to the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory (VAAC), this plume rose 4.6 km, based on satellite data from HIMAWARI-8. A surveillance camera observed a large volcanic block was ejected roughly 200 m from the crater. According to an ashfall survey conducted by the Mobile Observation Team on 8 August, slight ashfall occurred in the Tsumagoi Village (12 km N) and Naganohara Town (19 km NE), Gunma Prefecture (figure 46 and 47). About 2 g/m2 of ash deposit was measured by the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Immediately after the eruption on 7 August, seismicity, volcanism, and SO2 emissions temporarily increased and then decreased that same day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Surveillance camera images of Asamayama showing the small eruption at the summit crater on 7 August 2019, resulting in incandescence and a plume rising 1.8 km altitude. Both photos were taken on 7 August 2019.Courtesy of JMA (Monthly Report for August 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. A photomicrograph of fragmented ejecta (250-500 µm) from Asamayama deposited roughly 5 km from the crater as a result of the eruption on 7 August 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Monthly Report for August 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Photos of ashfall in a nearby town NNE of Asamayama due to the 7 August 2019 eruption. Courtesy of JMA (Daily Report for 8 August 2019).

Another eruption at the summit crater on 25 August 2019 was smaller than the one on 7 August. JMA reported the resulting ash plume rose to an altitude of 600 m and drifted E. However, the Tokyo VAAC reported that the altitude of the plume up to 3.4 km, according to satellite data from HIMAWARI-8. A small amount of ashfall occurred in Karuizawa-machi, Nagano (4 km E), according to interview surveys and the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Geologic Background. Asamayama, Honshu's most active volcano, overlooks the resort town of Karuizawa, 140 km NW of Tokyo. The volcano is located at the junction of the Izu-Marianas and NE Japan volcanic arcs. The modern Maekake cone forms the summit and is situated east of the horseshoe-shaped remnant of an older andesitic volcano, Kurofuyama, which was destroyed by a late-Pleistocene landslide about 20,000 years before present (BP). Growth of a dacitic shield volcano was accompanied by pumiceous pyroclastic flows, the largest of which occurred about 14,000-11,000 BP, and by growth of the Ko-Asama-yama lava dome on the east flank. Maekake, capped by the Kamayama pyroclastic cone that forms the present summit, is probably only a few thousand years old and has an historical record dating back at least to the 11th century CE. Maekake has had several major plinian eruptions, the last two of which occurred in 1108 (Asamayama's largest Holocene eruption) and 1783 CE.

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/).


Villarrica (Chile) — September 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Villarrica

Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian activity continued during March-August 2019 with an increase in July

Villarrica is a frequently active volcano in Chile with an active lava lake in the deep summit crater. It has been producing intermittent Strombolian activity since February 2015, soon after the latest reactivation of the lava lake; similar activity continued into 2019. This report summarizes activity during March-August 2019 and is based on reports from the Southern Andes Volcano Observatory (Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur, OVDAS), part of Chile's National Service of Geology and Mining (Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería, SERNAGEOMIN), Projecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI), part of the Fundacion Volcanes de Chile research group, and satellite data.

OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that degassing continued through March with a plume reaching 150 m above the crater with visible incandescence through the nights. The lava lake activity continued to fluctuate and deformation was also recorded. POVI reported sporadic Strombolian activity throughout the month with incandescent ejecta reaching around 25 m above the crater on 17 and 24 March, and nearly 50 m above the crater on the 20th (figure 76).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. A webcam image of Villarrica at 0441 on 20 March 2019 shows Strombolian activity and incandescent ejecta reaching nearly 50 m above the crater. People are shown for scale in the white box to the left in the blue background image that was taken on 27 March. Photos taken about 6 km away from the volcano, courtesy of POVI.

There was a slight increase in Strombolian activity reported on 7-8 April, with incandescent ballistic ejecta reaching around 50 m above the crater (figure 77). Although seismicity was low during 14-15 April, Strombolian activity produced lava fountains up to 70 m above the crater over those two days (figure 78). Activity continued into May with approximately 12 Strombolian explosions recorded on the night of 5-6 May erupting incandescent ejecta up to 50 m above the crater rim. Another lava fountaining episode was observed reaching around 70 m above the crater on 14 May (figure 79). POVI also noted that while this was one of the largest events since 2015, no significant changes in activity had been observed over the last five months. Throughout May, OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that the gas plume height did not exceed 170 m above the crater and incandescence was sporadically observed when weather allowed. SWIR (short-wave infrared) thermal data showed an increase in energy towards the end of May (figure 80).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Strombolian activity at Villarrica on 7-8 April 2019 producing incandescent ballistic ejecta reaching around 50 m above the crater. Courtesy of POVI.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Images of Villarrica on 15 April show a lava fountain that reached about 70 m above the crater. Courtesy of POVI.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. These images of Villarrica taken at 0311 and 2220 on 14 May 2019 show lava fountaining reaching 70-73 m above the crater. Courtesy of POVI.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. This graph shows the variation in short-wave infrared (SWIR) energy with the vertical scale indicating the number of pixels displaying high temperatures between 23 June 2018 and 29 May 2019. Courtesy of POVI.

Ballistic ejecta were observed above the crater rim on 17 and 20 June 2019 (figure 81), and activity was heard on 20 and 21 June. Activity throughout the month remained similar to previous months, with a fluctuating lava lake and minor explosions. On 15 July a thermal camera imaged a ballistic bomb landing over 300 m from the crater and disintegrating upon impact. Incandescent material was sporadically observed on 16 July. Strombolian activity increased on 22 July with the highest intensity activity in four years continuing through the 25th (figure 82).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Ballistic ejecta is visible above the Villarrica crater in this infrared camera (IR940 nm) image taken on 17 June 2019. Courtesy of POVI.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Strombolian activity at Villarrica on 22, 23, and 24 July with incandescent ballistic ejecta seen here above the summit crater. Courtesy of POVI.

On 6 August the Alert Level was raised by SERNAGEOMIN from Green to Yellow (on a scale of Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red indicating the greatest level of activity) due to activity being above the usual background level, including ejecta confirmed out to 200 m from the crater with velocities on the order of 100 km/hour (figure 83). The temperature of the lava lake was measured at a maximum of 1,000°C on 25 July. POVI reported the collapse of a segment of the eastern crater rim, possibly due to snow weight, between 9 and 12 August. The MIROVA system showed an increase in thermal energy in August (figure 84) and there was one MODVOLC thermal alert on 24 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Observations during an overflight of Villarrica on 25 July 2019 showed that ballistic ejecta up to 50 cm in diameter had impacted out to 200 m from the crater. The velocities of these ejecta were likely on the order of 100 km/hour. The maximum temperature of the lava lake measured was 1,000°C, and 500°C was measured around the crater. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Thermal activity at Villarrica detected by the MIROVA system shows an increase in detected energy in August 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. Glacier-clad Villarrica, one of Chile's most active volcanoes, rises above the lake and town of the same name. It is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes that trend perpendicular to the Andean chain. A 6-km-wide caldera formed during the late Pleistocene. A 2-km-wide caldera that formed about 3500 years ago is located at the base of the presently active, dominantly basaltic to basaltic-andesitic cone at the NW margin of the Pleistocene caldera. More than 30 scoria cones and fissure vents dot the flanks. Plinian eruptions and pyroclastic flows that have extended up to 20 km from the volcano were produced during the Holocene. Lava flows up to 18 km long have issued from summit and flank vents. Historical eruptions, documented since 1558, have consisted largely of mild-to-moderate explosive activity with occasional lava effusion. Glaciers cover 40 km2 of the volcano, and lahars have damaged towns on its flanks.

Information Contacts: Proyecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI) (URL: http://www.povi.cl/); Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); 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/).


Reventador (Ecuador) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily ash emissions and incandescent block avalanches continue, February-July 2019

The andesitic Volcán El Reventador lies east of the main volcanic axis of the Cordillera Real in Ecuador and has historical eruptions with numerous lava flows and explosive events going back to the 16th century. An eruption in November 2002 generated a 17-km-high eruption cloud, pyroclastic flows that traveled 8 km, and several lava flows. Eruptive activity has been continuous since 2008. Daily explosions with ash emissions and ejecta of incandescent blocks rolling hundreds of meters down the flanks have been typical for many years. Alameida et al. (2019) provide an excellent summary of recent activity (2016-2018) and monitoring. Activity continued during February-July 2019, the period covered in this report, with information provided by Ecuador's Instituto Geofisico (IG-EPN), the Washington Volcano Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and infrared satellite data.

Persistent thermal activity accompanied daily ash emissions and incandescent block avalanches during February-July 2019 (figure 111). Ash plumes generally rose 600-1,200 m above the summit crater and drifted W or NW; incandescent blocks descended up to 800 m down all the flanks. On 25 February an ash plume reached 9.1 km altitude and drifted SE, causing ashfall in nearby communities. Pyroclastic flows were reported on 18 April and 19 May traveling 500 m down the flanks. Small but distinct SO2 emissions were detectible by satellite instruments a few times during the period (figure 112).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. The thermal energy at Reventador persisted throughout 4 November 2018 through July 2019, but was highest in April and May. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 112. Small SO2 plumes were released from Reventador and detected by satellite instruments only a few times during February-July 2019. Columbia's Nevada del Ruiz produced a much larger SO2 signal during each of the days shown here as well. Top left: 26 February; top right: 27 February; bottom left: 3 April; bottom right: 4 April. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Washington VAAC issued multiple daily ash advisories on all but two days during February 2019. IGEPN reported daily ash emissions rising from 400 to over 1,000 m above the summit crater. Incandescent block avalanches rolled 400-800 m down the flanks on most nights (figure 113). Late on 8 February the Washington VAAC reported an ash plume moving W at 5.8 km altitude extending 10 km from the summit. Plumes rising more than 1,000 m above the summit were reported on 9, 13, 16, 18, 19, and 25 February. On 25 February the Washington VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery drifting SE from the summit at 9.1 km altitude that dissipated quickly, and drifted SSE. It was followed by new ash clouds at 7.6 km altitude that drifted S. Ashfall was reported in San Luis in the Parish of Gonzalo Díaz de Pineda by UMEVA Orellana and the Chaco Fire Department.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 113. Emission of ash from Reventador and incandescent blocks rolling down the cone occurred daily during February 2019, and were captured by the COPETE webcam located on the S rim of the caldera. On 1 February (top left) incandescent blocks rolled 600 m down the flanks. On 13 February (top right) ash plumes rose 800 m and drifted W. On 16 February (bottom left) ash rose to 1,000 m and drifted W. On 18 February (bottom right) the highest emission exceeded 1,000 m above the crater and was clearly visible in spite of meteoric clouds obscuring the volcano. Courtesy of IGEPN (Daily reports 2019-32, 44, 47, and 49).

Ash plumes exceeded 1,000 m in height above the summit almost every day during March 2019 and generally drifted W or NW. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume visible above the cloud deck at 6.7 km altitude extending 25 km NW early on 3 March; there were no reports of ashfall nearby. Incandescent block avalanches rolled 800 m down all the flanks the previous night; they were visible moving 300-800 m down the flanks most nights throughout the month (figure 114).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 114. Ash plumes and incandescent block avalanches occurred daily at Reventador during March 2019 and were captured by the COPETE webcam on the S rim of the caldera. On 3 March (top left) a possible pyroclastic flow traveled down the E flank in the early morning. Ash plumes on 17 and 18 March (top right, bottom left) rose 900-1,000 m above the summit and drifted W. On 23 March (bottom right) ash plumes rose to 1,000 m and drifted N while incandescent blocks rolled 600 m down the flanks. Courtesy of IGEPN (Daily reports 2019 62, 76, 77, and 82).

During April 2019 ash plume heights ranged from 600 to over 1,000 m above the summit each day, drifting either W or NW. Incandescent avalanche blocks rolled down all the flanks for hundreds of meters daily; the largest explosions sent blocks 800 m from the summit (figure 115). On 18 April IGEPN reported that a pyroclastic flow the previous afternoon had traveled 500 m down the NE flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 115. Ash plumes and incandescent block avalanches occurred daily at Reventador during April 2019. On 3 April, ash emissions were reported drifting W and NW at 1,000 m above the summit (top left). On 14 April ash plumes rose over 600 m above the summit crater (top right). The 3 and 14 April images were taken from the LAVCAM webcam on the SE flank. Incandescent block avalanches descended 800 m down all the flanks on 15 April along with ash plumes rising over 1,000 m above the summit (bottom left), both visible in this image from the COPETE webcam on the S rim of the caldera. A pyroclastic flow descended 500 m down the NE flank on 17 April and was captured in the thermal REBECA webcam (bottom right) located on the N rim of the caldera. Courtesy of IGEPN (Daily reports 2019-93, 104, 105, and 108).

On most days during May 2019, incandescent block avalanches were observed traveling 700-800 m down all the flanks. Ash plume heights ranged from 600 to 1,200 m above the crater each day of the month (figure 116) they were visible. A pyroclastic flow was reported during the afternoon of 19 May that moved 500 m down the N flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 116. Even on days with thick meteoric clouds, ash plumes can be observed at Reventador. The ash plumes reached 1,000 m above the crater on 8 May 2019 (top left). The infrared webcam REBECA on the N rim of the caldera captured a pyroclastic flow on the N flank on the afternoon of 19 May (top right). Strong explosions on 23 May sent incandescent blocks and possible pyroclastic flows at least 800 m down all the flanks (bottom left). Ash plumes reached 1,000 m above the summit on 27 May and drifted W (bottom right). Images on 8, 23, and 27 May taken from the COPETE webcam on the S rim of the caldera. Courtesy of IGEPN (Daily Reports 2019-128, 140, 143, and 147).

Activity diminished somewhat during June 2019. Ash plumes reached 1,200 m above the summit early in June but decreased to 600 m or less for the second half of the month. Meteoric clouds prevented observation for most of the third week of June; VAAC reports indicated ash emissions rose to 5.2 km altitude on 19 June and again on 26 June (about 2 km above the crater). Incandescent blocks were reported traveling down all of the flanks, generally 500-800 m, during about half of the days the mountain was visible (figure 117). Multiple VAAC reports were also issued daily during July 2019. Ash plumes were reported by IGEPN rising over 600 m above the crater every day it was visible and incandescent blocks traveled 400-800 m down the flanks (figure 118). The Darwin VAAC reported an ash emission on 9 July that rose to 4.9 km altitude as multiple puffs that drifted W, extending about 35 km from the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. Activity diminished slightly at Reventador during June 2019. Incandescent material was visible on the N flank from infrared webcam REBECA on the N rim of the caldera on 6 June (top left). On 7 June ash rose over 1,000 m above the summit and drifted N and W (top right) as seen from the COPETE webcam on the S rim of the caldera. Incandescent block avalanches rolled 600 m down all the flanks on 8 June (bottom left) and were photographed by the LAVCAM webcam located on the SE flank. An ash plume rose to 1,000 m on 25 June and was photographed from the San Rafael waterfall (bottom right). Courtesy of IGEPN (Daily Reports 2019-157, 158, 159, and 176).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 118. Daily explosive activity was reported at Reventador during July 2019. On 9 and 10 July ash plumes rose over 600 m and drifted W and incandescent blocks descended 800 m down all the flanks (top row), as seen from the LAVCAM webcam on the SE flank. On 27 July many of the large incandescent blocks appeared to be several m in diameter as they descended the flanks (bottom left, LAVCAM). On 1 August, a small steam plume was visible on a clear morning from the CORTESIA webcam located N of the volcano. Courtesy of IGEPN Daily reports (2019-190, 191, 208, and 213).

References: Almeida M, Gaunt H E, and Ramón P, 2019, Ecuador's El Reventador volcano continually remakes itself, Eos, 100, https://doi.org/10.1029/2019EO117105. Published on 18 March 2019.

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: Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec ); 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/).


Raikoke (Russia) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Raikoke

Russia

48.292°N, 153.25°E; summit elev. 551 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Short-lived series of large explosions 21-23 June 2019; first recorded activity in 95 years

Raikoke in the central Kuril Islands lies 400 km SW of the southern tip of Russia's Kamchatcka Peninsula. Two significant eruptive events in historical times, including fatalities, have been recorded. In 1778 an eruption killed 15 people "under the hail of bombs" who were under the command of Captain Chernyi, returning from Matua to Kamchatka. This prompted the Russian military to order the first investigation of the volcanic character of the island two years later (Gorshkov, 1970). Tanakadate (1925) reported that travelers on a steamer witnessed an ash plume rising from the island on 15 February 1924, observed that the island was already covered in ash from recent activity, and noted that a dense steam plume was visible for a week rising from the summit crater. The latest eruptive event in June 2019 produced a very large ash plume that covered the island with ash and dispersed ash and gases more than 10 km high into the atmosphere. The volcano is monitored by the Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team, (SVERT) part of the Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IMGG FEB RAS) and the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) which is part of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS).

A brief but intense eruption beginning on 21 June 2019 sent major ash and sulfur dioxide plumes into the stratosphere (figures 1 and 2); the plumes rapidly drifted over 1,000 km from the volcano. Strong explosions with dense ash plumes lasted for less than 48 hours, minor emissions continued for a few more days; the SO2, however, continued to circulate over far eastern Russia and the Bering Sea for more than three weeks after the initial explosion. The eruption covered the island with centimeters to meters of ash and enlarged the summit crater. By the end of July 2019 only minor intermittent steam emissions were observed in satellite imagery.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. On the morning of 22 June 2019, astronauts on the International Space Station captured this image of a large ash plume rising from Raikoke in the Kuril Islands. The plume reached altitudes of 10-13 km and drifted E during the volcano's first known explosion in 95 years. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. A large and very dense SO2 plume (measuring over 900 Dobson Units (DU)) drifted E from Raikoke in the Kuril Islands on 22 June 2019, about 8 hours after the first known explosion in 95 years. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Summary of 2019 activity. A powerful eruption at Raikoke began at 1805 on 21 June 2019 (UTC). Volcano Observatory Notices for Aviation (VONA's) issued by KVERT described the large ash plume that rapidly rose to 10-13 km altitude and extended for 370 km NE within the first two hours (figure 3). After eight hours, the plume extended 605 km ENE; it had reached 1,160 km E by 13 hours after the first explosion (figure 4). The last strong explosive event, according to KVERT, producing an ash column as high as 10-11 km, occurred at 0540 UTC on 22 June. SVERT reported a series of nine explosions during the eruption. Over 440 lightning events within the ash plume were detected in the first 24 hours by weather-monitoring equipment. The Japanese Ministry of Transportation reported that almost 40 planes were diverted because of the ash plume (figure 5).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. A dense ash plume drifted E from Raikoke on 22 June 2019 from a series of large explosions that lasted for less than 24 hours, as seen in this Terra satellite image. The plume was detected in the atmosphere for several days after the end of the eruptive activity. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. The ash plume from Raikoke volcano that erupted on 21 June 2019 drifted over 1,000 km E by late in the day on 22 June, as seen in this oblique, composite view based on data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Numerous airplanes were traveling on flight paths near the Raikoke ash plume (black streak at center) early on 22 June 2019. The Japanese Ministry of Transportation reported that almost 40 planes were diverted because of the plume. Courtesy of Flightradar24 and Volcano Discovery.

On 23 June (local time) the cruise ship Athena approached the island; expedition member Nikolai Pavlov provided an eyewitness account and took remarkable drone photographs of the end of the eruption. The ship approached the W flank of the island in the late afternoon and they were able to launch a drone and photograph the shore and the summit. They noted that the entire surface of the island was covered with a thick layer of light-colored ash up to several tens of centimeters thick (figure 6). Fresh debris up to several meters thick fanned out from the base of the slopes (figure 7). The water had a yellowish-greenish tint and was darker brown closer to the shore. Dark-brown steam explosions occurred when waves flowed over hot areas along the shoreline, now blanketed in pale ash with bands of steam and gas rising from it (figure 8). A dense brown ash plume drifted W from the crater, rising about 1.5 km above the summit (figure 9).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. The entire surface of the island of Raikoke was covered with a thick layer of light-colored ash up to several tens of centimeters thick on 23 June 2019 when photographed by drone from the cruise ship Athena about 36 hours after the explosions began. View is of the W flank. Photo by Nik Pavlov; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Fresh ash and volcanic debris up to several meters thick coated the flanks of Raikoke on 23 June 2019 after the large explosive eruption two days earlier. View is by drone of the W flank. Photo by Nik Pavlov; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. The 21 June 2019 eruption of Raikoke covered the island in volcanic debris. The formerly vegetated areas (left, before eruption) were blanketed in pale ash with bands of steam and gas rising all along the shoreline (right, on 23 June 2019) less than two days after the explosions began. The open water area between the sea stack and the island was filled with tephra. Photos by Nik Pavlov; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. At the summit of Raikoke on 23 June 2019, a dense brown ash plume drifted W from the crater, rising about 1.5 km, two days after a large explosive eruption. Drone photo by Nik Pavlov; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS.

Early on 23 June, the large ash cloud continued to drift E and then NE at an altitude of 10-13 km. At that altitude, the leading edge of the ash cloud became entrained in a large low pressure system and began rotating from SE to NW, centered in the area of the Komandorskiye Islands, 1,200 km NE of Raikoke. By then the farthest edge of ash plume was located about 2,000 km ENE of the volcano. Meanwhile, at the summit and immediately above, the ash plume was drifting NW on 23 June (figures 9 and 10). Ashfall was reported (via Twitter) from a ship in the Pacific Ocean 40 km from Raikoke on 23 June. Weak ashfall was also reported in Paramushir, over 300 km NE the same day. KVERT reported that satellite data from 25 June indicated that a steam and gas plume, possibly with some ash, extended for 60 km NW. They also noted that the high-altitude "aerosol cloud" continued to drift to the N and W, reaching a distance of 1,700 km NW (see SO2 discussion below). By 27 June KVERT reported that the eruption had ended, but the aerosols continued to drift to the NW and E. They lowered the Aviation Alert Level to Green the following day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. The brown ash plume from Raikoke was drifting NW on 23 June 2019 (left), while the remnants of the ash from the earlier explosions continued to be observed over a large area to the NE on 25 June (right). The plume in the 23 June image extends about 30 km NW; the plume in the 25 June image extends a similar distance NE. Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) of Sentinel-2 imagery, courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Tokyo and Anchorage VAAC Reports. The Tokyo VAAC first observed the ash plume in satellite imagery at 10.4 km altitude at 1850 on 21 June 209, just under an hour after the explosion was first reported by KVERT. About four hours later they updated the altitude to 13.1 km based on satellite data and a pilot report. By the evening of 22 June the high-level ash plume was still drifting ESE at about 13 km altitude while a secondary plume at 4.6 km altitude drifted SE for a few more hours before dissipating. The direction of the high-altitude plume began to shift to the NNW by 0300 on 23 June. By 0900 it had dropped slightly to 12.2 km and was drifting NE. The Anchorage VAAC reported at 2030 that the ash plume was becoming obscured by meteorological clouds around a large and deep low-pressure system in the western Bering Sea. Ash and SO2 signals in satellite imagery remained strong over the region S and W of the Pribilof Islands as well as over the far western Bering Sea adjacent to Russia. By early on 24 June the plume drifted NNW for a few hours before rotating back again to a NE drift direction. By the afternoon of 24 June, the altitude had dropped slightly to 11.6 km as it continued to drift NNE.

The ash plume was still clearly visible in satellite imagery late on 24 June. An aircraft reported SO2 at 14.3 km altitude above the area of the ash plume. The plume then began to move in multiple directions; the northern part moved E, while the southern part moved N. The remainder was essentially stationary, circulating around a closed low-pressure zone in the western Bering Sea. The ash plume remained stationary and slowly dissipated as it circulated around the low through 25 June before beginning to push S (figure 11). By early on 26 June the main area of the ash plume was between 325 km WSW of St. Matthew Island and 500 km NNW of St. Lawrence Island, and moving slowly NW. The Anchorage VAAC could no longer detect the plume in satellite imagery shortly after midnight (UTC) on 27 June, although they noted that areas of aerosol haze and SO2 likely persisted over the western Bering Sea and far eastern Russia.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. This RGB image created from a variety of spectral channels from the GOES-17 (GOES-West) satellite shows the ash and gas plume from Raikoke on 25 June 2019. The brighter yellows highlight features that are high in SO2 concentration. Highlighted along the bottom of the image is the pilot report over the far southern Bering Sea; the aircraft was flying at an altitude of 11 km (36,000 feet), and the pilot remarked that there were multiple layers seen below that altitude which had a greyish appearance (likely volcanic ash). Courtesy of NOAA and Scott Bachmeier.

Sulfur dioxide emissions. A very large SO2 plume was released during the eruption. Preliminary total SO2 mass estimates by Simon Carn taken from both UV and IR sensors suggested around 1.4-1.5 Tg (1 Teragram = 109 Kg) that included SO2 columns within the ash plume with values as high as 1,000 Dobson Units (DU) (figure 12). As the plume drifted on 23 and 24 June, similar to the ash plume as described by the Tokyo VAAC, it moved in a circular flow pattern as a result of being entrained in a low-pressure system in the western Bering Sea (figure 13). By 25 June the NW edge of the SO2 had reached far eastern Russia, 1,700 km from the volcano (as described by KVERT), while the eastern edges reached across Alaska and the Gulf of Alaska to the S. Two days later streams of SO2 from Raikoke were present over far northern Siberia and northern Canada (figure 14). For the following three weeks high levels of SO2 persisted over far eastern Russia and the Bering Sea, demonstrating the close relationship between the prevailing weather patterns and the aerosol concentrations from the volcano (figure 15).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. A contour map showing the mass and density of SO2 released into the atmosphere from Raikoke on 22 June 2019. Courtesy of Simon Carn.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Streams of SO2 from Raikoke drifted around a complex flow pattern in the Bering Sea on 23 and 24 June 2019. Data from TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Simon Carn.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. SO2 plumes from Raikoke dispersed over a large area of the northern hemisphere in late June 2019. By 25 June (top) the SO2 plumes had dispersed to far eastern Russia, 1,700 km from the volcano, while the eastern edges reached across Alaska and the Gulf of Alaska to the S. By 27 June (bottom) streams of SO2 were present over far northern Siberia and northern Canada, and also continued to circulate in a denser mass over far eastern Russia. Data from TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Simon Carn.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. For the first two weeks of July 2019, high levels of SO2 from the 21 June 2019 eruption of Raikoke persisted over far eastern Russia and the Bering Sea entrained in a slow moving low-pressure system, demonstrating the close relationship between the prevailing weather patterns and the aerosol concentrations from the volcano. Data from TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Changes to the island. Since no known activity had occurred at Raikoke for 95 years, the island was well vegetated on most of its slopes and the inner walls of the summit crater before the explosion (figure 16). The first clear satellite image after the explosion, on 30 June 2019, revealed a modest steam plume rising from the summit crater, pale-colored ash surrounding the entire island, and new deposits of debris fans extending out from the NE, SW, and S flanks. Part of a newly enlarged crater was visible at the N edge of the old crater. Two weeks later only a small steam plume was present at the summit, making the outline of the enlarged crater more visible; the extensive shoreline deposits of fresh volcanic material remained. A clear view into the summit crater on 23 July revealed the size and shape of the newly enlarged summit crater (figure 17).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Changes at Raikoke before and after the 21 June 2019 eruption were clear in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery. The island was heavily vegetated on most of its slopes and the inner walls of the summit crater before the explosion (top left, 3 June 2019). The first clear satellite image after the explosion, on 30 June 2019 revealed a steam plume rising from the summit crater, pale-colored ash surrounding the entire island, and new deposits of debris fans extending out from the NE, SW, and S flanks (top right). Part of a newly enlarged crater was visible at the N edge of the old crater. Two weeks later only a small steam plume was present at the summit, making the outline of the enlarged crater more visible; the extensive shoreline deposits of fresh volcanic material remained (bottom right, 13 July 2019). A clear view into the summit crater on 23 July revealed the new size and shape of the summit crater (bottom left). Natural Color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of the summit crater of Raikoke before (left) and after (right) the explosions that began on 21 June 2019. The old crater rim is outlined in red in both images. The new crater rim is outlined in yellow in the 23 July image. Natural Color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

References: Gorshkov G S, 1970, Volcanism and the Upper Mantle; Investigations in the Kurile Island Arc, New York: Plenum Publishing Corp, 385 p.

Tanakadate H, 1925, The volcanic activity in Japan during 1914-1924, Bull Volc. v. 1, no. 3.

Geologic Background. A low truncated volcano forms the small barren Raikoke Island, which lies 16 km across the Golovnin Strait from Matua Island in the central Kuriles. The oval-shaped basaltic island is only 2 x 2.5 km wide and rises above a submarine terrace. An eruption in 1778, during which the upper third of the island was said to have been destroyed, prompted the first volcanological investigation in the Kuril Islands two years later. Incorrect reports of eruptions in 1777 and 1780 were due to misprints and errors in descriptions of the 1778 event (Gorshkov, 1970). Another powerful eruption in 1924 greatly deepened the crater and changed the outline of the island. Prior to a 2019 eruption, the steep-walled crater, highest on the SE side, was 700 m wide and 200 m deep. Lava flows mantle the eastern side of the island.

Information Contacts: Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT), Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Science, Nauki st., 1B, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia, 693022 (URL: http://www.imgg.ru/en/, http://www.imgg.ru/ru/svert/reports); 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/); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); 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); NOAA, Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1225 W. Dayton St. Madison, WI 53706, (URL: http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/); Simon Carn, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931, USA (URL: http://www.volcarno.com/, Twitter: @simoncarn); Scott Bachmeier, Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1225 W. Dayton St. Madison, WI 53706; Flightradar24 (URL: https://www.flightradar24.com/51,-2/6); Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/).


Sinabung (Indonesia) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sinabung

Indonesia

3.17°N, 98.392°E; summit elev. 2460 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Large ash explosions on 25 May and 9 June 2019

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 uninterrupted through June 2018. Ash plumes often rose several kilometers, avalanche blocks fell kilometers down the flanks, and deadly pyroclastic flows traveled more than 4 km repeatedly during the eruption. After a pause in eruptive activity from July 2018 through April 2019, explosions took place again during May and June 2019. This report covers activity from July 2018 through July 2019 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.

After the last ash emission observed on 5 July 2018, activity diminished significantly. Occasional thermal anomalies were observed in satellite images in August 2018, and February-March 2019. Seismic evidence of lahars was recorded almost every month from July 2018 through July 2019. Renewed explosions with ash plumes began in early May; two large events, on 24 May and 9 June, produced ash plumes observed in satellite data at altitudes greater than 15 km (table 9).

Table 9. Summary of activity at Sinabung during July 2018-July 2019. Steam plume heights from PVMBG daily reports. VONA reports issued by Sinabung Volcano Observatory, part of PVMBG. Satellite imagery from Sentinel-2. Lahar seismicity from PVMBG daily and weekly reports. Ash plume heights from VAAC reports. Pyroclastic flows from VONA reports.

Month Steam Plume Heights (m) Dates of VONA reports Satellite Thermal Anomalies (date) Seismicity indicating Lahars (date) Ash Plume Altitude (date and distance) Pyroclastic flows
Jul 2018 100-700 -- -- -- -- --
Aug 2018 50-700 -- 30 1, 20 -- --
Sep 2018 100-500 -- -- 1st week, 12, 29 -- --
Oct 2018 50-1,000 -- -- 1 -- --
Nov 2018 50-350 -- -- 14 -- --
Dec 2018 50-500 -- -- 30 -- --
Jan 2019 50-350 -- -- -- -- --
Feb 2019 100-400 -- 6, 21 -- -- --
Mar 2019 50-300 -- 3, 8 27 -- --
Apr 2019 50-400 -- -- 2, 4, 11 -- --
May 2019 200-700 7, 11, 12, 24, 26, 27 (2) -- 4, 14 7 (4.6 km), 24 (15.2 km), 25 (6.1 km) --
June 2019 50-600 9, 10 -- -- 9 (16.8 km), 10 (3.0 km) 9-3.5 km SE, 3.0 km S
July 2019 100-700 -- -- 10, 12, 14, 16, 4th week -- --

No eruptive activity was reported after 5 July 2018 for several months, however Sentinel-2 thermal imagery on 30 August indicated a hot spot at the summit suggestive of eruptive activity. The next distinct thermal signal appeared on 6 February 2019, with a few more in late February and early March (figure 66, see table 9).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 30 August 2018, 6 February, and 8 March 2019 showed distinct thermal anomalies suggestive of eruptive activity at Sinabung, although no activity was reported by PVMBG. Images rendered with Atmospheric Penetration, bands 12, 11, and 8A. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

PVMBG reported the first ash emission in 11 months early on 7 May 2019. They noted that an ash plume rose 2 km above the summit and drifted ESE. The Sinabung Volcano Observatory (SVO) issued a VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) that described an eruptive event lasting for a little over 40 minutes. Ashfall was reported in several villages. The Jakarta Post reported that Karo Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPDB) head Martin Sitepu said four districts were affected by the eruption, namely Simpang Empat (7 km SE), Namanteran (5 km NE), Kabanjahe (14 km SE), and Berastadi (12 km E). The Darwin VAAC reported the ash plume at 4.6 km altitude and noted that it dissipated about six hours later (figure 67). The TROPOMI SO2 instrument detected an SO2 plume shortly after the event (figure 68).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Images from the explosion at Sinabung on 7 May 2019. Left and bottom right photos by Kopi Cimbang and Kalak Karo Kerina, courtesy of David de Zabedrosky. Top right photo courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite captured an SO2 emission from Sinabung shortly after the eruption on 7 May 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

On 11 May 2019 SVO issued a VONA reporting a seismic eruption event with a 9 mm amplitude that lasted for about 30 minutes; clouds and fog prevented visual confirmation. Another VONA issued the following day reported an ash emission that lasted for 28 minutes but again was not observed due to fog. The Darwin VAAC did not observe the ash plumes reported on 11 or 12 May; they did report incandescent material observed in the webcam on 11 May. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho of BNPB reported that the 12 May eruption was accompanied by incandescent lava and ash, and the explosion was heard in Rendang (figure 69). The Alert Level had been at Level IV since 2 June 2015. Based on decreased seismicity, a decrease in visual activity (figure 70), stability of deformation data, and a decrease in SO2 flux during the previous 11 months, PVMBG lowered the Alert Level from IV to III on 20 May 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Incandescent lava and ash were captured by a webcam at Sinabung on 12 May 2019. Courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. The summit of Sinabung emitted only steam and gas on 18 May 2019, shortly before PVMBG lowered the Alert Level from IV to III. Courtesy of PVMBG (Decreased G. Sinabung activity level from Level IV (Beware) to Level III (Standby), May 20, 2019).

A large explosion was reported by the Darwin VAAC on 24 May 2019 (UTC) that produced a high-altitude ash plume visible in satellite imagery at 15.2 km altitude moving W; the plume was not visible from the ground due to fog. The Sinabung Volcano Observatory reported that the brief explosion lasted for only 7 minutes (figure 71), but the plume detached and drifted NW for about 12 hours before dissipating. The substantial SO2 plume associated with the event was recorded by satellite instruments a few hours later (figure 72, left). Another six-minute explosion late on 26 May (UTC) produced an ash plume that was reported by a ground observer at 4.9 km altitude drifting S (figure 72, right). About an hour after the event, the Darwin VAAC observed the plume drifting S at 6.1 km altitude; it had dissipated four hours later. Sumbul Sembiring, a resident of Kabanjahe, told news outlet Tempo.com that ash had fallen at the settlements. Two more explosions were reported on 27 May; the first lasted for a little over 12 minutes, the second (about 90 minutes later, 28 May local time) lasted for about 2.5 minutes. No ash plumes were visible from the ground or satellite imagery for either event.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. A brief but powerful explosion at Sinabung in the early hours of 25 May 2019 (local time) produced a seven-minute-long seismic signal and a 15.2-km-altitude ash plume. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia and Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Two closely spaced eruptive events occurred at Sinabung on 24 and 26 May UTC (25 and 27 May local time). The 24 May event produced a significant SO2 plume recorded by the TROPOMI instrument a few hours afterwards (left), and a 15.2-km-altitude ash plume only recorded in satellite imagery. The event on 26 May produced a visible ash plume that was reported at 6.1 km altitude and was faintly visible from the ground (right). SO2 courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, photograph courtesy of PVMBG and Øystein Lund Andersen.

An explosion on 9 June 2019 produced an ash plume, estimated from the ground as rising to 9.5 km altitude, that drifted S and E; pyroclastic flows traveled 3.5 km SE and 3 km S down the flanks (figure 73). The explosion was heard at the Sinabung Observatory. The Darwin VAAC reported that the eruption was visible in Himawari-8 satellite imagery, and reported by pilots, at 16.8 km altitude drifting W; about an hour later the VAAC noted that the detached plume continued drifting SW but lower plumes were still present at 9.1 km altitude drifting W and below 4.3 km drifting SE. They also noted that pyroclastic flows moving SSE were sending ash to 4.3 km altitude. Three hours later they reported that both upper level plumes had detached and were moving SW and W. After six hours, the lower altitude plumes at 4.3 and 9.1 km altitudes had dissipated; the higher plume continued moving SW at 12.2 km altitude until it dissipated within the next eight hours. Instruments on the Sentinel-5P satellite captured an SO2 plume from the explosion drifting W across the southern Indian Ocean (figure 74).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. A large explosion at Sinabung on 9 June 2019 produced an ash plume that rose to 16.8 km altitude and also generated pyroclastic flows (foreground) that traveled down the S and SE flanks. Left image courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Head of the BNPB Information and Public Relations Data Center. Right image photo source PVMBG/Mbah Rono/ Berastagi Nachelle Homestay, courtesy of Jaime Sincioco.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. An SO2 plume from the 9 June 2019 explosion at Sinabung drifted more than a thousand kilometers W across the southern Indian Ocean. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub and Annamaria Luongo.

The SVO reported continuous ash and gas emissions at 3.0 km altitude moving ESE early on 10 June; it was obscured in satellite imagery by meteoric clouds. There were no additional VONA's or VAAC reports issued for the remainder of June or July 2019. An image on social media from 20 June 2019 shows incandescent blocks near the summit (figure 75). PVMBG reported that emissions on 25 June were white to brownish and rose 200 m above the summit and drifted E and SE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Incandescent blocks at the summit of Sinabung were visible in this 20 June 2019 image taken from a rooftop terrace in Berastagi, 13 km E. Photo by Nachelle Homestay, courtesy of Jaime Sincioco.

PVMBG detected seismic signals from lahars several times during the second week of July 2019. News outlets reported lahars damaging villages in the Karo district on 11 and 13 July (figure 76). Detik.com reported that lahars cut off the main access road to Perbaji Village (4 km SW), Kutambaru Village (14 km S), and the Tiganderket connecting road to Kutabuluh (17 km WNW). In addition, Puskesmas Kutambaru was submerged in mud. Images from iNews Malam showed large boulders and rafts of trees in thick layers of mud covering homes and roads. No casualties were reported.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Lahars on 11 and 13 July 2019 caused damage in numerous villages around Sinabung, filling homes and roadways with mud, tree trunks, and debris. No casualties were reported. Courtesy of iNews Malam.

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/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); 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 (URL: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/05/07/mount-sinabung-erupts-again.html); Detikcom (URL: https://news.detik.com/berita/d-4619253/hujan-deras-sejumlah-desa-di-sekitar-gunung-sinabung-banjir-lahar-dingin); iNews Malam (URL: https://tv.inews.id/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAI4CpSb41k); Tempo.com (URL:https://en.tempo.co/read/1209667/mount-sinabung-erupts-on-monday-morning); David de Zabedrosky, Calera de Tango, Chile (Twitter: @deZabedrosky, URL: https://twitter.com/deZabedrosky/status/1125814504867160065/photo/1, https://twitter.com/deZabedrosky/status/1125814504867160065/photo/2); Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB (Twitter: @Sutopo_PN, URL: https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); Øystein Lund Andersen? (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, URL: https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com image at https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse/status/1132849458142572544); Jaime Sincioco, Phillipines (Twitter: @jaimessincioca, URL: https://twitter.com/jaimessincioco); Annamaria Luongo, University of Padua, Venice, Italy (Twitter: @annamaria_84, URL:https://twitter.com/annamaria_84).


Semisopochnoi (United States) — September 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Semisopochnoi

United States

51.93°N, 179.58°E; summit elev. 1221 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small explosions detected between 16 July and 24 August 2019

The remote island of Semisopochnoi in the western Aleutians is dominated by a caldera measuring 8 km in diameter that contains a small lake (Fenner Lake) and a number of post-caldera cones and craters. A small (100 m diameter) crater lake in the N cone of Semisopochnoi's Cerberus three-cone cluster has persisted since January 2019. An eruption at Sugarloaf Peak in 1987 included an ash plume (SEAN 12:04). Activity during September-October 2018 included increased seismicity and small explosions (BGVN 44:02). The primary source of information for this reporting period of July-August 2019 comes from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), when there were two low-level eruptions.

Seismicity rose above background levels on 5 July 2019. AVO reported that data from local seismic and infrasound sensors likely detected a small explosion on 16 July. A strong tremor on 17 July generated airwaves that were detected on an infrasound array 260 km E on Adak Island. In addition to this, a small plume extended 18 km WSW from the Cerberus vent, but no ash signals were detected in satellite data. Seismicity decreased abruptly on 18 July after a short-lived eruption. Seismicity increased slightly on 23 July and remained elevated through August.

On 24 July 2019 AVO reported that satellite data showed that the crater lake was gone and a new, shallow inner crater measuring 80 m in diameter had formed on the crater floor, though no lava was identified. Satellite imagery indicated that the crater of the Cerberus N cone had been replaced by a smooth, featureless area of either tephra or water at a level several meters below the previous floor. Satellite imagery detected faint steam plumes rising to 5-10 km altitude and minor SO2 emissions on 27 July. Satellite data showed a steam plume rising from Semisopochnoi on 18 August and SO2 emissions on 21-22 August. Ground-coupled airwaves identified in seismic data on 23-24 August was indicative of additional explosive activity.

Geologic Background. Semisopochnoi, the largest subaerial volcano of the western Aleutians, is 20 km wide at sea level and contains an 8-km-wide caldera. It formed as a result of collapse of a low-angle, dominantly basaltic volcano following the eruption of a large volume of dacitic pumice. The high point of the island is 1221-m-high Anvil Peak, a double-peaked late-Pleistocene cone that forms much of the island's northern part. The three-peaked 774-m-high Mount Cerberus volcano was constructed during the Holocene within the caldera. Each of the peaks contains a summit crater; lava flows on the northern flank of Cerberus appear younger than those on the southern side. Other post-caldera volcanoes include the symmetrical 855-m-high Sugarloaf Peak SSE of the caldera and Lakeshore Cone, a small cinder cone at the edge of Fenner Lake in the NE part of the caldera. Most documented historical eruptions have originated from Cerberus, although Coats (1950) considered that both Sugarloaf and Lakeshore Cone within the caldera could have been active during historical time.

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


Krakatau (Indonesia) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

6.102°S, 105.423°E; summit elev. 813 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Repeated Surtseyan explosions with ash and steam during February-July 2019

Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra, Indonesia experienced a major caldera collapse around 535 CE; it formed a 7-km-wide caldera ringed by three islands. Remnants of this volcano joined to create the pre-1883 Krakatau Island which collapsed during the major 1883 eruption. Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau), constructed beginning in late 1927 within the 1883 caldera (BGVN 44:03, figure 56), was the site of over 40 smaller episodes until 22 December 2018 when a large explosion and tsunami destroyed most of the 338-m-high edifice (BGVN 44:03). Subsequent activity from February-July 2019 is covered in this report with information provided by the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, referred to as Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG). Aviation reports are provided by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and photographs from several social media sources.

The cyclical nature of the growth and destruction of Krakatau was made apparent again in the explosive events of 22 December 2018-6 January 2019, when much of the island of Anak Krakatau was destroyed in a series of events that included a deadly tsunami from a flank collapse, a Vulcanian explosion, and several days of Surtseyan phreatomagmatic activity (figure 83) (Gouhier and Paris, 2019). Due to the location of the volcano in the middle of Sunda Strait, surrounded by coastal communities, damage from the tsunami was once again significant; over 400 fatalities and 30,000 injuries were reported along with damage to thousands of homes, businesses, and boats (figure 84) (BGVN 44:03). After a small explosion on 8 January 2019, the volcano remained quiet until 14 February when a new seismic event was recorded. Intermittent explosions increased in frequency and continued through July 2019; images of Surtseyan explosions with ejecta and steam rising a few hundred meters were occasionally captured by authorities patrolling the Krakatau Islands Nature Preserve and Marine Nature Reserve (KPHK), and by a newly installed webcam.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. The dramatic morphologic changes of Anak Krakatau before and after the explosive events of 22 December 2019-6 January 2019 were apparent in these Planet Labs, Inc. images published by the BBC. Left: Planet Lab's Dove satellite captured this clear image of the 338-m-high cone with a summit crater on 17 December 2018. Center: The skies cleared enough on 30 December to reveal the new crater in place of the former cone after the explosions and tsunami of 22-23 December, and multiple subsequent explosions. Right: Surtseyan explosions continued daily through 6 January; Planet Labs captured this event on 2 January 2019. Courtesy of BBC and Planet Labs, Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. The location of Anak Krakatau in the middle of Sunda Strait surrounded by populated coastal communities (left) places great risk on those communities from explosive events and tsunamis at the volcano, such as what occurred during the 22 December 2018-6 January 2019 destruction of Anak Krakatau. The village of Tanjung in South Lampung (right) was especially hard hit. Map courtesy of BBC News, and photo courtesy of Daily Mail.

Three explosions were reported on 14, 18, and 23 February. No ash plume was observed on 14 February. The event on 18 February produced a dense gray ash plume that rose 720 m and drifted SSW. On 23 February the plume was white and rose 500 m, drifting ENE. During most days, no emissions were observed; occasional plumes of steam rose 50-100 m above the crater. Authorities visited the island on 15 February and observed the new crater lake and ash-covered flank of the remnant cone (figure 85 and 86).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. The denuded slope and new crater at Anak Krakatau on 15 February 2019. Bright orange discoloration of the water on the W side of the volcano is from recent iron-rich discharge. The new summit was measured at 155 m high. Verlaten Island is in the background. Courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. The new crater at Anak Krakatau on 15 February 2019. Fumarolic activity is visible in the narrow strip between the crater and the bay; bright orange discoloration of the water on the W side of the volcano is from recent iron-rich discharge. Courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB.

Activity increased during March 2019 with 14 seismic events recorded. Four events on 14 March were reported, with durations ranging from 30 seconds to 4 minutes; neither ash nor steam plumes were reported from these events. Events on 16, 17, and 18 March produced N-drifting white steam plumes that were reported at altitudes of 1.2 km, 650 m, and 350 m, respectively (figure 87). Multiple additional explosions were reported on 24, 30, and 31 March; dense white plumes drifted NE on 30 and 31 March. Nearby rangers for the KPHK who witnessed the explosions on 30 March reported material rising 500-1,000 m above the crater (figure 88). The duration of the seismic events associated with the explosions ranged from 40 seconds to 5 minutes during the second half of March. PVMBG lowered the Alert Level from III to II on 25 March, noting that while explosions continued, the intensity and frequency had decreased; none of the explosions were heard at the Pasauran-Banten (SE) or Kalianda-Lampung (NE) stations that were each about 50 km away.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. An eruption at Krakatau on 18 March 2019 produced a steam plume that rose several hundred meters, barely visible from a community across the strait. Courtesy of Oystein Anderson and PVMBG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. White steam and dark ejecta were observed at Anak Krakatau during an explosion on 30 March 2019 by the local patrol team from BKSDA Bengkulu-Ministry of LHK, which manages the Krakatau Islands Nature Preserve and Marine Nature Reserve. Courtesy of Krakatau Islands KPHK.

Although the number of reported seismic events increased significantly during April and May 2019, with 22 VONA's issued during April and 41 during May, only a single event had witnessed evidence of ejecta on 3 April (figure 89). The KPHK patrol that monitors conditions on the islands observed the first plant life returning on Sertung Island (5 km W of Anak Krakatau) on 5 April 2019, emerging through the several centimeters of fresh ash from the explosions and tsunami in late December and early January (figure 90). A 200-m-high steam plume was observed on 14 April, and plumes drifted NE and E on 27 and 29 April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Rangers for KPHK photographed a Surtseyan explosion with tephra and steam at Anak Krakatau on 3 April 2019. Courtesy of Krakatau Islands KPHK.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. A new plant on nearby Sertung Island emerges on 5 April 2019 through several centimeters of fresh ash from the Anak Krakatau explosions of December 2018 and January 2019. Courtesy of Krakatau Islands KPHK.

Members of an expedition to the island on 4 May 2019 photographed the still-steaming lake inside the new crater and the eroding ash-covered slopes (figure 91). Only the explosions on 10 and 17 May produced visible steam plumes that month, to 300-350 m high. By 15 May 2019 a new station had been installed at Anak Krakatau by PVMBG (figure 92). Four separate seismic events were recorded that day. Fog covered the island on a daily basis, and very few visible steam plumes were reported throughout April and May. The durations of the explosion events ranged from 30 seconds to 13 minutes (on 10 May); most of the events lasted for 1-2 minutes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Members of an expedition photographed the water-filled crater and ash-laden slopes of Anak Krakatau on 4 May 2019. Top image is looking S with Rakata island in the background, bottom image is looking W from the flank of the cone remnant. Photo by Galih Jati, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. By 15 May 2019 a new seismic station had been installed at Anak Krakatau by PVMBG. Four separate seismic events were recorded on 15 May 2019. Courtesy of Krakatau Islands KPHK.

Nine explosive events were reported during June 2019, but none produced visible steam or ash plumes until 25 June when a PVMBG webcam placed on Anak Krakatau captured a video of a Surtseyan event that lasted for about one minute. Dark gray ejecta shot tens of meters into the air over the lake, accompanied by billowing steam plumes which soon engulfed the webcam (figure 93). The other explosive events during March-July were likely similar, but frequent fog and the short-lived nature of the events made visual evidence scarce from webcams located 50 km away. During July there were 21 VONAs issued reporting similar seismic events that lasted from 30 seconds to 5 minutes; no plumes or sounds were seen or heard.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. Dark gray ejecta and billowing steam plumes were captured by a newly installed PVMBG webcam during an explosion at Anak Krakatau on 25 June 2019. The water-laden ash rose tens of meters and scattered ejecta around the island. See Information Contacts for a link to the video. Courtesy of Devy Kamil Syahbana and PVMBG.

Satellite imagery provided solid evidence that activity at Anak Krakatau during February-July 2019 included underwater venting. Dark orange submarine plumes were visible drifting away from the SW flank of the volcano near the new crater multiple times each month (figure 94). The patterns of the plumes varied in size and intensity, suggesting repeated injections of material into the water. The thermal activity showed a marked decline from the period prior to the large explosions and tsunami on 22-23 December 2018. Very little thermal activity was reported during January-March 2019, it increased moderately during April-July 2019 (figure 95).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Dark orange plumes were visible in the seawater around Anak Krakatau during February-July 2019, strongly suggesting submarine discharges from the volcano. Top left: On 2 February 2019 the plume was discharging to the SW and visible in the water for nearly 10 km. Top center and right: on 29 March and 3 April the brightest areas of discharge were off the immediate SW flank; the plumes were drifting both NW and SE around the island. By 28 May (bottom left) the discharge was concentrated close to the SW flank with multiple underwater plumes suggesting several emission points. The only satellite image evidence suggesting a subaerial eruption appeared on 9 June (bottom center) when a dense steam plume rising and possible ejecta in the crater were visible. By 27 July (bottom right), discharge was still visible from the underwater vents on the SW flank, and the gradual filling in of the embayment on the W flank, when compared with the 2 February image, was clear. The island is about 2 km in diameter. Sentinel-2 satellite images with natural color rendering (bands 4,3,2) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Thermal activity dropped abruptly at Anak Krakatau after the major flank collapse, explosions, and tsunami on 22-23 December 2018; it remained quiet through March and increased modestly during April-July 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

References: Gouhier, M, and Paris, R, 2019, SO2 and tephra emissions during the December 22, 2018 Anak Krakatau flank-collapse eruption, Volcanica 2(2): 91-103. doi: 10.30909/vol.02.02.91103.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Krakatau Islands KPHK, Conservation Area Region III Lampung, BKSDA Bengkulu-Ministry of LHK, (URL: https://www.instagram.com/krakatau_ca_cal); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); BBC News, (URL: https://www.bbc.com, article at https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46743362); Planet Labs Inc. (URL: http://www.planet.com/); Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB (Twitter: @Sutopo_PN, URL: https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN, image at https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN/status/1101007655290589185/photo/1); Øystein Lund Andersen? (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com, image at https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse/status/1107479025126039552/photo/1); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/), images at https://www.volcanodiscovery.com/krakatau/news/80657/Krakatau-volcano-Indonesia-activity-update-and-field-report-increasing-unrest.html; Devy Kamil Syahbana, Volcanologist, Bandung, Indonesia, (URL: https://twitter.com/_elangtimur, video at https://twitter.com/_elangtimur/status/1143372011177033728); The Daily Mail (URL: https://www.dailymail.co.uk, article at https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6910895/FORTY-volcanoes-world-potential-Anak-Krakatoa-eruptions.html) published 11 April 2019.


Tengger Caldera (Indonesia) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Tengger Caldera

Indonesia

7.942°S, 112.95°E; summit elev. 2329 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions on 19 and 28 July 2019; lahar on the SW flank of Bromo

The Mount Bromo pyroclastic cone within the Tengger Caldera erupts frequently, typically producing gas-and-steam plumes, ash plumes, and explosions (BGVN 44:05). Information compiled for the reporting period of May-July 2019 is from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

The eruptive activity at Tengger Caldera that began in mid-February continued through late July 2019, including white-and-brown ash plumes, ash emissions, and tremors. During the months of May through June 2019, white plumes rose between 50 to 600 m above the summit. Satellite imagery captured a small gas-and-steam plume from Bromo on 5 June (figure 18). Low-frequency tremors were recorded by a seismograph from May through July 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Sentinel-2 satellite image showing a small gas-and-steam plume rising from the Bromo cone (center) in the Tengger Caldera on 5 June 2019. Thermal (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

According to PVMBG and a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA), an ash eruption occurred on 19 July 2019; however, no ash column was observed due to weather conditions. A seismograph recorded five earthquakes and three shallow volcanic tremors the same day. In addition, rainfall triggered a lahar on the SW flank of Bromo.

On 28 July the Darwin VAAC reported that ash plumes originating from Bromo rose to a maximum altitude of about 3.9 km and drifted NW from the summit, based on webcam images and pilot reports. PVMBG reported that lower altitude ash plumes (2.4 km) on the same day were also recorded by webcam images, satellite imagery (Himawari-8), and weather models.

Geologic Background. The 16-km-wide Tengger caldera is located at the northern end of a volcanic massif extending from Semeru volcano. The massive volcanic complex dates back to about 820,000 years ago and consists of five overlapping stratovolcanoes, each truncated by a caldera. Lava domes, pyroclastic cones, and a maar occupy the flanks of the massif. The Ngadisari caldera at the NE end of the complex formed about 150,000 years ago and is now drained through the Sapikerep valley. The most recent of the calderas is the 9 x 10 km wide Sandsea caldera at the SW end of the complex, which formed incrementally during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. An overlapping cluster of post-caldera cones was constructed on the floor of the Sandsea caldera within the past several thousand years. The youngest of these is Bromo, one of Java's most active and most frequently visited volcanoes.

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


Unnamed (Tonga) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Unnamed

Tonga

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Submarine eruption in early August creates pumice rafts that drifted west to Fiji

Large areas of floating pumice, termed rafts, were encountered by sailors in the northern Tonga region approximately 80 km NW of Vava'u starting around 9 August 2019; the pumice reached the western islands of Fiji by 9 October (figure 7). Pumice rafts are floating masses of individual clasts ranging from millimeters to meters in diameter. The pumice clasts form when silicic magma is degassing, forming bubbles as it rises to the surface, which then rapidly cools to form solid rock. The isolated vesicles formed by the bubbles provide buoyancy to the rock and in turn, the entire pumice raft. These rafts are spread and carried by currents across the ocean; rafts originating in the Tonga area can eventually reach Australia. This report summarizes the pumice raft eruption from early August 2019 using witness accounts and satellite images (acquisition dates are given in UTC). Pending further research, the presumed source is the unnamed Tongan seamount (volcano number 243091) about 45 km NW of Vava'u, the origin of an earlier pumice raft produced during an eruption in 2001.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. The path of the pumice from the unnamed Tongan seamount from 9 August to 9 October 2019 based on eye-witness accounts and satellite data discussed below, as well as additional Aqua/MODIS satellite images from NASA Worldview. Blue Marble MODIS/NASA Earth Observatory base map courtesy of NASA Worldview.

The first sighting of pumice was around 1430 on 9 August NW of Vava'u in Tonga (18° 22.068' S, 174° 50.800' W), when Shannon Lenz and Tom Whitehead on board SV Finely Finished initially encountered isolated rocks and smaller streaks of pumice clasts. The area covered by rock increasing to a raft with an estimated thickness of at least 15 cm that extended to the horizon in different directions, and which took 6-8 hours to cross (figure 8). There was no sulfur smell and the sound was described as a "cement mixer, especially below deck." There was also no plume or incandescence observed. Their video, posted to YouTube on 17 August, showed a thin surface layer of cohesive interconnected irregular streaks of pumice with the ocean surface still visible between them. Later footage showed a continuous, undulating mass of pumice entirely covering the ocean surface. Larger clasts are visible scattered throughout the raft. The pumice raft was visible in satellite imagery on this day NW of Late Island (figure 9). By 11 August the raft had evolved into a largely linear feature with smaller rafts to the SW (figure 10). Approximately four hours later, about 15 km to the WSW, Rachel Mackie encountered the pumice. Initially the pumice was "ribbons several hundred meters long and up to 20m wide. It was quite fine and like a slick across the surface of the water." By 2130 they were surrounded by the pumice, and around 25 km away the smell of sulfur was noted.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. The pumice raft from the unnamed Tongan seamount on 9 August 2019 taken by Shannon Lenz and Tom Whitehead on board SV Finely Finished. The photos show the pumice raft extending to the horizon in different directions. Scattered larger clasts protrude from the relatively smooth surface that entirely obscures the ocean surface. Courtesy of Shannon Lenz and Tom Whitehead via noonsite.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. The pumice raft from the unnamed Tongan seamount on 9 August 2019 (UTC) can be seen NW of Late Island of Tonga in this Aqua/MODIS satellite image. The dashed white line encompasses the visible pumice. The location of the pumice in this image is shown in figure 7. Courtesy of NASA WorldView.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. The Sentinel-2 satellite first imaged the pumice from the unnamed Tongan seamount on 11 August 2019 (UTC). This image indicates the pumice distribution with the main raft towards the W and the easternmost area of pumice approximately 45 km away. The eastern tip of the pumice area is located approximately 30 km WNW of Lake islands in Tonga. The location of the pumice in this image is shown in figure 7. Natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) Sentinel-2 satellite image courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Michael and Larissa Hoult aboard the catamaran ROAM encountered the raft on 15 August (figure 11). They initially saw isolated clasts ranging from marble to tennis ball size (15-70 mm) at 18° 46′S, 174° 55'W. At around 0700 UTC (1900 local time) they noted the smell of sulfur at 18° 55′S, 175° 21′W, and by 0800 UTC they were immersed in the raft with visible clasts ranging from marble to basketball (25 cm) sizes. At this point the raft was entirely obscuring the ocean surface. On 16 and 21 August the pumice continued to disperse and drift NW (figures 12 and 13). On 20 August Scott Bryan calculated an average drift rate of around 13 km/day, with the pumice on this date about 164 km W of the unnamed seamount.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Images of pumice from the unnamed Tongan seamount encountered by Michael and Larissa Hoult aboard the catamaran Roam on 15 August. Left: Larissa takes photographs with scale of pumice clasts; top right: a closeup of a pumice clast showing the vesicle network preserving the degassing structures of the magma; bottom left: Michael holding several larger pumice clasts. The location of their encounter with the pumice is shown in figure 7. Courtesy of SailSurfROAM.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. The pumice from the unnamed Tongan seamount (volcano number 243091) on 16 August 2019 UTC. The location of the pumice in this image is shown in figure 7. Natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) Sentinel-2 satellite image courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. On 21 August 2019 (UTC) the pumice from the unnamed Tongan seamount (volcano number 243091) had drifted at least 120 km WNW of Late Island in Tonga. The location of the pumice in this image is shown in figure 7. Natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) Sentinel-2 satellite image courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

An online article published by Brad Scott at GeoNet on 9 September reported the preliminary size of the raft to be 60 km2, significantly smaller than the 2012 Havre seamount pumice raft that was 400 km2. Satellite identification of pumice-covered areas by GNS scientists showed the material moving SSW through 14 August (figure 14).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. A compilation of mapped pumice raft extents from 9 August (red line) through to 14 August (dark blue) from Suomi NPP, Terra, Aqua, and Sentinel-2 satellite images. The progression of the pumice raft is towards the SW. Courtesy of Salman Ashraf, GNS Science.

On 5 September the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) issued a notice to mariners stating that the pumice was sighted in the vicinity of Lakeba, Oneata, and Aiwa Islands and was moving to the W. On 6 September a Planet Labs satellite image shows pumice encompassing the Fijian island of Lakeba over 450 km W of the Tongan islands (figure 15). The pumice entered the lagoon within the barrier reef and drifted around the island to continue towards the W. The pumice was imaged by the Landsat 8 satellite on 26 September as it moved through the Fijian islands, approximately 760 km away from its source (figure 16). The pumice is segmented into numerous smaller rafts of varying sizes that stretch over at least 140 km. On 12 September the Fiji Sun reported that the pumice had reached some of the Lau islands and was thick enough near the shore for people to stand on it.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Planet Labs satellite images show Lakeba Island to the E of the larger Viti Levu Island in the Fiji archipelago. The top image shows the island on 7 July 2019 prior to the pumice raft from the unnamed Tongan seamount. The bottom image shows pumice on the sea surface almost entirely encompassing the island on 6 September. The location of the pumice in this image is shown in figure 7. Courtesy of Planet Labs.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Landsat 8 satellite images show the visible extent of the unnamed seamount pumice on 26 September 2019 (UTC), up to approximately 760 km from the Tongan islands. The pumice seen here extends over a distance of 140 km. The top image shows the locations of the other three images in the white boxes, with a, b, and c indicating the locations. White arrows point to examples of the light brown pumice rafts in these images, seen through light cloud cover. The island in the lower right is Koro Island, the island to the lower left is Viti Levu, and the island to the top right is Vanua Levu. The location of the pumice in this image is shown in figure 7. Landsat 8 true color-pansharpened satellite images courtesy of Sentinel Hub.

Pumice had reached the Yasawa islands in western Fiji by 29 September and was beginning to fill the eastern bays (figure 17). By 9 October bays had been filled out to 500-600 m from the shore, and pumice had also passed through the islands to continue towards the W (figure 18). At this point the pumice beyond the islands had broken up into linear segments that continued towards the NW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. These Sentinel-2 satellite images show the pumice from the unnamed Tongan seamount drifting towards the Yasawa islands of Fiji. The 24 September 2019 (UTC) image shows the beaches without the pumice, the 29 September image shows pumice drifting westward towards the islands, and the 9 October image shows the bays partly filled with pumice out to a maximum of 500-600 m from the shore. These islands are approximately 850 km from the Tongan islands. The Yasawa islands coastline impacted by the pumice shown in these images stretches approximately 48 km. The location of the pumice in this image is shown in figure 7. Sentinel-2 natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) satellite images courtesy of Sentinel Hub.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. This Sentinel-2 satellite image acquired on 9 October 2019 (UTC) shows expanses of pumice from the unnamed Tongan seamount that passed through the Yasawa islands of Fiji and was continuing NWW, seen in the center of the image. The location of the pumice in this image is shown in figure 7. Sentinel-2 natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) satellite images courtesy of Sentinel Hub.

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

Information Contacts: GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/); Salman Ashraf, GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/, https://www.geonet.org.nz/news/8RnSKdhaWOEABBIh0bHDj); Brad Scott, New Zealand GeoNet Project, a collaboration between the Earthquake Commission and GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.geonet.org.nz/, https://www.geonet.org.nz/news/8RnSKdhaWOEABBIh0bHDj); Scott Bryan, School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences, Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, R Block Level 2, 204, Gardens Point (URL: https://staff.qut.edu.au/staff/scott.bryan); Shannon Lenz and Tom Whitehead, SV Finely Finished (URL: https://www.noonsite.com/news/south-pacific-tonga-to-fiji-navigation-alert-dangerous-slick-of-volcanic-rubble/, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEsHLSFFQhQ); Michael and Larissa Hoult, Sail Surf ROAM (URL: https://www.facebook.com/sailsurfroam/); Rachel Mackie, OLIVE (URL: http://www.oliveocean.com/, https://www.facebook.com/rachel.mackie.718); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Fiji Sun (URL: https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/09/12/pumice-menace-hits-parts-of-lau-group/).

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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

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. 3295 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 110 km3 dominantly andesitic 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, 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 3000 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.


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

White Island

New Zealand

37.52°S, 177.18°E; summit elev. 321 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. Uninhabited 2 x 2.4 km White Island, one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes, is the 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 summit crater appears to be breached to the SE, because the shoreline corresponds to the level of several notches in the SE crater wall. Volckner Rocks, four sea stacks that are remnants of a lava dome, lie 5 km NNE. Intermittent moderate phreatomagmatic and strombolian eruptions have occurred throughout the short historical period beginning in 1826, but its activity also forms a prominent part of Maori legends. Formation of many new vents during the 19th and 20th centuries has produced 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.

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

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


Central Chile and Argentina


Estero de Parraguirre


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

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

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

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



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

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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


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

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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