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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

All reports of volcanic activity published by the Smithsonian since 1968 are available through a monthly table of contents or by searching for a specific volcano. Until 1975, reports were issued for individual volcanoes as information became available; these have been organized by month for convenience. Later publications were done in a monthly newsletter format. Links go to the profile page for each volcano with the Bulletin tab open.

Information is preliminary at time of publication and subject to change.

Recently Published Bulletin Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Masaya (Nicaragua) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Shishaldin

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Krakatau (Indonesia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Taal (Philippines) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Taal

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/); Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) (URL: https://dromic.dswd.gov.ph/); United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Philippines (URL: https://www.unocha.org/philippines); James Reynolds, Earth Uncut TV (Twitter: @EarthUncutTV, URL: https://www.earthuncut.tv/, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TyphoonHunter); Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc., Louisville, Colorado, USA (URL: https://www.vaisala.com/en?type=1, Twitter: @COweatherman, URL: https://twitter.com/COweatherman); Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, 50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore (URL: https://www.earthobservatory.sg/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Relief Web, Flash Update No. 1 - Philippines: Taal Volcano eruption (As of 13 January 2020, 2 p.m. local time) (URL: https://reliefweb.int/report/philippines/flash-update-no-1-philippines-taal-volcano-eruption-13-january-2020-2-pm-local); Bloomberg, Philippines Braces for Hazardous Volcano Eruption (URL: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-12/philippines-raises-alert-level-in-taal-as-volcano-spews-ash); National Public Radio (NPR), Volcanic Eruption In Philippines Causes Thousands To Flee (URL: npr.org/2020/01/13/795815351/volcanic-eruption-in-philippines-causes-thousands-to-flee); Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/); Agence France-Presse (URL: http://www.afp.com/); Pacific Press (URL: http://www.pacificpress.com/); Shutterstock (URL: https://www.shutterstock.com/); Getty Images (URL: http://www.gettyimages.com/); Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/).


Unnamed (Tonga) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Unnamed

Tonga

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


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

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Kavachi

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Discolored water plumes seen using satellite imagery in 2018 and 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Soputan (Indonesia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Soputan

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor ash emissions during 23 March and 2 April 2020

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Heard (Australia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 29, Number 09 (September 2004)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Etna (Italy)

New effusive eruption begins on 7 September and spreads to several fissure vents

Kilauea (United States)

June-October 2004 period has lava entering ocean and ample lava flows

Mauna Loa (United States)

Deep, long-period earthquake swarm and contraction in July and August 2004

Montagu Island (United Kingdom)

1 October 2004 satellite image suggests a complex and ongoing eruption

Negra, Sierra (Ecuador)

12 June-29 August 2004, GPS data indicate 77 cm of caldera-floor uplift

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Generally low activity; small lake forms in summit crater

St. Helens (United States)

New eruption starts suddenly—first dome-growth in 18 years



Etna (Italy) — September 2004 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New effusive eruption begins on 7 September and spreads to several fissure vents

At about 1030 on 7 September 2004 a new effusive eruption started from the summit of Mount Etna. A N110°E-trending eruptive fissure about 230 m long opened at the base of the SE Crater without any significant seismic activity. A degassed lava flow poured from the base of the fissure, spreading towards the Valle del Bove. The lava flow had very low output rate (between 0.2 and 0.5 m3/s), and was ~ 1 m thick, 10 m wide, and up to 250 m long. On the morning of 8 September the lava flow appeared to lack new input from its source, but the eruptive fissure continued to advance down slope. These events were not accompanied by seismicity or explosive activity.

After two days of slow expansion of the fracture field, a new effusive vent opened at a lower elevation, 2,650 m, on the upper western flank of the Valle del Bove. This occurred between 0600 and 0700 on 10 September. Lava poured from this vent, spreading over the upper wall of the Valle del Bove. No explosive activity accompanied the emission of lava, but some phreatic explosions were triggered by lava intersecting a thick cover of snow. The lava flow was degassed and flowed out at a rate of about 2-4 m3/s. It spread E to the Serra Giannicola Piccola before splitting in two branches. At about 0930 the longest branch was about 300 m long and 50 m wide. Due to the high slope-angle, the front of the N lava flow breached. Hot blocks rolled down slope, causing the flow front to expand due to the collapse of hot debris rather than by flowage. At 1400 the lowest elevation of the lava flow front was about 2,250 m elevation within the upper Valle del Bove. At that time, no villages were threatened by the lava flows since they had spread out over a deserted zone at least 10 km away from the nearest village.

Activity appeared similar on 14-15 September 2004, when Mike Burton, Enza Longo, and Margherita Polacci had clear views of the Valle Del Bove in fair weather. Their first observations were carried out at the Southeast Crater (SEC), where the team saw a conspicuous plume emitted from a fumarole field on the SEC's SE rim. This activity, not seen prior to the eruption, had been consistently observed during the previous 3-4 days.

A visit to a vent at 2,830 m elevation revealed behavior similar to previous days, consisting of continuous high-pressure degassing in the absence of explosive activity (figure 104). At this vent, in contrast to the one at 2,630 m (which emitted lava), incandescence was limited to a circular zone at the vent area. No recent scoria were observed near the degassing vent. At this degassing vent the peak temperature, measured with a thermal camera, was ~ 900°C (see thermal image, figure 8).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. A vent emitting high-pressure gas at 2,830 m on Etna, 15 September 2004, with thermal image of the vent's mouth (at right). Courtesy of Mike Burton, Enza Longo, and Margherita Polacci.

The team also visited the lava flow at 2,630 m (figure 105). Fresh scoria had fallen along the path leading to the lava flow, and samples were collected. The estimated flux rate of the lava flow was between 2 and 4 m3/s, using an estimated flow velocity of 1 m/s, a width of 2 m, and a depth of 1-2 m. Estimates were obtained by observing the lava flow just above the rock island seen in figure 9. This flux was roughly equal to that seen on 13 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Lava flow witnessed at 2,630 m elevation on Etna on 15 September 2004. The image at right is a closer view of the indicated area taken with a thermal camera. The thermal image shows the lava flow splitting and skirting around a small rock island. Courtesy of Mike Burton, Enza Longo, and Margherita Polacci.

A pair of hornitos lay up slope of the lava flow originating at 2,630 m elevation. One hornito sat just behind the spot where lava was first observed on the surface. The second hornito was larger and resided about 20-30 m farther up slope (figure 106). It released gas at high pressure, creating noise. No scoria were emitted during their observation.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. A hornito seen at Etna on 14-15 September up slope from the lava flow at 2,630 m elevation. The indicated area appears in an enlarged thermal image at right. Courtesy Mike Burton, Enza Longo, and Margherita Polacci.

Polacci and Burton then walked down to the lava flow that began on 13 September (figure 107). The lava flow's flux rate was low. The team estimated an outflow rate of ~ 1 m3/s, using a width of 2 m, a flow velocity of 0.5 m/s, and a depth of 1 m, dimensions noted near the lava flow's source. The lava flow emanated from a small depression; no scoria deposits were seen nearby. GPS established the flow's source at 2,340 m elevation. The team observed several distinct overflows escaping from the principal lava flow, which originated at 2,630 m elevation (figure 108).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. The source of an Etna lava flow at 2,340 m elevation, as seen in two photographs taken on 14 or 15 September. Courtesy of Mike Burton, Enza Longo, and Margherita Polacci.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. The lava flow that originated at 2,630 m elevation as seen in a thermal image on 14 or 15 September. The advancing lava flow broke into a series of branches. Courtesy of Mike Burton, Enza Longo, and Margherita Polacci.

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

Information Contacts: Sonia Calvari, Mike Burton, Enza Longo, and Margherita Polacci, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy.


Kilauea (United States) — September 2004 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


June-October 2004 period has lava entering ocean and ample lava flows

Scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) noted that throughout June and July 2004, lava from Kilauea continued to enter the ocean at several points, culminating in several new lava deltas. Some small littoral explosions were reported, but otherwise the ocean entry was passive. Many small lava flows were observed in the area of the ocean entries, on the coastal flat, in the Paliuli area, and in the Kuhio area. Incandescence and some minor spattering was observed at Pu`u `O`o throughout the week. On 13 June, two collapses occurred at Kilauea's western lava delta, sending sizable chunks of the delta into the sea.

On 14 June, most lava was being supplied to the ocean through lava tubes, but several surface lava flows were visible on the delta and traveling down the old sea cliff behind the Wilipe`a delta. The larger eastern lava delta had several active lava entries into the ocean, mostly larger than those on the western delta. Seismicity at Pu`u `O`o was moderate to high, but the overall seismicity at Kilauea was low. Several episodes of inflation and deflation were recorded. Relatively large deflation events occurred on 29 June and 11 July, with no obvious accompanying changes in eruptive activity. An episode of deformation consisting of deflation, inflation, then deflation began at Kilauea on the morning of 27 July. It was accompanied by increased surface activity at several places. During inflation, seismicity greatly increased below Kilauea's caldera. Field observers reported that deformation may have occurred at the S flank of Pu`u `O`o. Aside from the deflation-inflation-deflation event, seismicity was weak beneath Kilauea's summit and tremor at Pu`u `O`o was at moderate-to-high levels.

During August and September 2004, no lava entered the sea. Surface lava flows were active on the coastal flat and the Pulama pali fault scarp, and the vents in the crater of Pu`u `O`o were incandescent. Seismicity was weak beneath Kilauea's summit and tremor was at moderate-to-high levels at Pu`u `O`o. In addition, there were small periods of inflation and deflation. HVO scientists reported that all vents in Pu`u `O`o's crater were incandescent during parts of both August and September.

From 30 September to 18 October 2004, patches of incandescence were visible at the PKK lava flow on the Pulama pali scarp, and all vents in the crater of Pu`u `O`o were incandescent. Seismicity was weak at Kilauea's summit, with essentially no tremor recorded. An M 4.0 earthquake occurred on 11 October. It was focused ~ 32 km beneath Kilauea's summit and affected tilt meters. Taking earthquake- and rainfall-induced tilts into account, the volcanic tilt was minor. On 13 October 2004 an M 4.5 earthquake occurred at 1318 ~ 6 km S of Pu`u `O`o at a depth of ~ 9 km. The earthquake permanently offset the Pu`u `O`o tiltmeter and several others on the volcano. Tremor was moderate at Pu`u `O`o. In addition, small amounts of inflation and deflation occurred.

On the morning of 24 October 2004 HVO scientists noted activity at that the three arms of the PKK flow (the Kuhio flow, named for Prince Kuhio Kalaniana`ole). Largest and most vigorous, the W arm descended down to an elevation of ~ 200 m, well out onto the gentle slope below Pulama pali. A series of channels and incandescent fingers were visible along a 600-m-long stretch, and tiny spots marked the upstream course of the arm, roughly following the E side of the Mother's Day flow.

The middle arm had advanced 100-200 m since the previous morning (23 October) and reached down to an elevation of ~ 335 m. It was the smallest of the three active arms.

The E arm was quite active that morning, its front also located on the gentle slope below Pulama pali at ~ 300 m elevation; it was nearly continuously incandescent up to ~ 440 m elevation. The distance between the W and middle arms was about 400 m and between the middle and E arms, about 600 m. These distances changed constantly as flows widen and narrow. Figures 167 and 168 show lava flows since 1983 to aid the reader in locating features discussed in this Bulletin report.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 167. Map of lava flows from Pu`u `O`o and Kupaianaha from 1983 to 24 August 2004. Features shown include the Mother's Day flow field, which began erupting on 12 May 2002 and continues to the present. Lava flows erupted during November 2003-24 August 2004 include the Banana flow, which developed gradually starting in the middle of April. The MLK flow, located just S of the Pu`u `O`o vent, erupted in January and, in brief subsequent spurts. The Kuhio (PKK) flow was active most of the time from 20 March to 24 August 2004. As of 24 August, most activity was located in the Banana flow, fed by the Banana branch of the Mother's Day tube. The PKK flow also remained active. Courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 168. Map of Pu`u `O`o and vicinity as of 24 August 2004 showing vents, lava flows, and other features near Pu`u `O`o. The West Gap cones are just outside the boundary of the crater—the oval-shaped depression containing the seven numbered vents (now down to six after Humble Vent was buried by lava flows erupted from Dave's Pit/Vent in March). The Mother's Day flows in the lower left have been erupted since 12 May 2002. Other flow areas are labeled accordingly with names and dates of activity. Light shading indicates episode-55 flows erupted between March 1997 and August 2002. Courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Moderately bright glow came from the 640- to 670-m elevations farther upstream in the PKK flow. All vents in Pu`u `O`o's crater were incandescent on 24 October, creating a glow visible from several distant places. Seismicity was weak at Kilauea's summit, with essentially no tremor recorded. Tremor was moderate at Pu`u `O`o. Kilauea's summit deflated moderately during 23 October and then took a plunge during the middle of the night. It lost about 0.3 microradians before the plunge began just before midnight, and it lost another 0.5 microradians thereafter. Pu`u `O`o, too, was deflating rapidly, shifting up and down a little but maintaining an overall flat tilt until the plunge began. It also lost about 0.5 microradians after midnight.

Geologic Background. Kilauea, which overlaps the E flank of the massive Mauna Loa shield volcano, has been Hawaii's most active volcano during historical time. Eruptions are prominent in Polynesian legends; written documentation extending back to only 1820 records frequent summit and flank lava flow eruptions that were interspersed with periods of long-term lava lake activity that lasted until 1924 at Halemaumau crater, within the summit caldera. The 3 x 5 km caldera was formed in several stages about 1500 years ago and during the 18th century; eruptions have also originated from the lengthy East and SW rift zones, which extend to the sea on both sides of the volcano. About 90% of the surface of the basaltic shield volcano is formed of lava flows less than about 1100 years old; 70% of the volcano's surface is younger than 600 years. A long-term eruption from the East rift zone that began in 1983 has produced lava flows covering more than 100 km2, destroying nearly 200 houses and adding new coastline to the island.

Information Contacts: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), U.S. Geological Survey, PO Box 51, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718, USA (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/).


Mauna Loa (United States) — September 2004 Citation iconCite this Report

Mauna Loa

United States

19.475°N, 155.608°W; summit elev. 4170 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Deep, long-period earthquake swarm and contraction in July and August 2004

After a swarm of deep earthquakes centered just S of Mauna Loa's summit caldera in late April 2002, seismicity remained barely elevated until July 2004. In other words, seismicity during late April 2002-July 2004 stood far lower than it did in the months prior to the 1975 and 1984 eruptions.

Starting in July 2004, a swarm of small (M < 3), deep (> 40 km), mostly long-period (LP) earthquakes occurred just S of the caldera and adjacent areas. Neither the depth nor the magnitude of the earthquakes changed significantly. Through 13 October 2004 more than 730 related earthquakes occurred beneath the summit caldera and the adjacent part of the SW rift zone.

The location and magnitude of earthquakes making up the recent swarm (seismicity from 24 April-15 October 2004, a 6-month interval) are shown in figure 23. Such a concentration of deep LP earthquakes from this part of Mauna Loa was unprecedented in the modern earthquake record dating back to the 1960s. In contrast, more typical seismicity over a 6-month period at Mauna Loa is shown in a figure in a previous issue (BGVN 27:09). By comparison to the interval 24 April-15 October 2004, earthquakes in a typical 6 month interval are relatively sparse.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Seismicity for Mauna Loa for the 6-month period 24 April-15 October 2004. Courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Inflation continued at the summit through the start of the earthquake swarm. In late August 2004, however, distances across the summit caldera began to contract significantly, apparently caused by the center of inflation shifting slightly to the S, rather than by deflation. This was the first contraction since inflation started in late April or early May 2002. Toward the end of September, the contraction ended and the line once again began to lengthen. During 2004, the inflation had been at a fairly steady to slightly increasing rate until the contraction in late August. When present, the lengthening, uplift, and tilting were taken to indicate swelling of the magma reservoir within the volcano.

Geologic Background. Massive Mauna Loa shield volcano rises almost 9 km above the sea floor to form the world's largest active volcano. Flank eruptions are predominately from the lengthy NE and SW rift zones, and the summit is cut by the Mokuaweoweo caldera, which sits within an older and larger 6 x 8 km caldera. Two of the youngest large debris avalanches documented in Hawaii traveled nearly 100 km from Mauna Loa; the second of the Alika avalanches was emplaced about 105,000 years ago (Moore et al. 1989). Almost 90% of the surface of the basaltic shield volcano is covered by lavas less than 4000 years old (Lockwood and Lipman, 1987). During a 750-year eruptive period beginning about 1500 years ago, a series of voluminous overflows from a summit lava lake covered about one fourth of the volcano's surface. The ensuing 750-year period, from shortly after the formation of Mokuaweoweo caldera until the present, saw an additional quarter of the volcano covered with lava flows predominately from summit and NW rift zone vents.

Information Contacts: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), U.S. Geological Survey, PO Box 51, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718, USA (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/).


Montagu Island (United Kingdom) — September 2004 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)


1 October 2004 satellite image suggests a complex and ongoing eruption

A high-resolution image of Montagu island and volcano of the same name suggests the earlier recognized, ongoing eruption (BGVN 28:02; v. 29, no. 1 ) continued through at least 1 October 2004. On a NASA website, scientist James Garvin posted an image of the 1 October scene (figure 7). Imagery taken prior to late 2001 showed the island as entirely white. The new image deserves and requires considerable study, but some initial observations from James Garvin and Bulletin editors follow.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Montagu Island as imaged on 1 October 2004 by the IKONOS satellite. N is towards the top. The apex of the black zone of lava flows near the island's center presumably represents a vent within the summit crater. The distance from that spot to the coast is ~ 3 km. This image depicts numerous recent volcanogenic features. Montagu Island lies in the South Sandwich islands at the E edge of the Scotia plate, 2,600 km E of Cape Horn, ~ 1,000 km from the Antarctic circle, and ~ 3,500 km from the S pole. Courtesy of Space Imaging and James B. Garvin, NASA.

The 1 October 2004 image shows the N flank of the central cone, Mount Belinda, emitting a NNE-drifting steam plume. Much of Montagu island sat amid a mosaic of floating ice. In contrast, on the previous image taken 7 December 2003 (BGVN 29:01), icebergs were sparse. Several square kilometers of sea ice on the island's lower right appears comparatively coherent and tightly butted against the island's margin. These changes may reflect sea-ice abundance during the S-hemisphere winter.

In addition, the higher detail in the new higher resolution image portrays a variety of patterns and features of volcanological significance that were absent or at least less clearly visible on earlier images. In the new image, the area of apparently continuous lava flows seems to have reached the island's N margin (a distance of ~ 3 km). On the 7 December 2003 image these flows had reached little more than 1 km in length and were considerably narrower, and stood alongside broad, dark swaths of SE- to E-directed ash deposits (BGVN 29:01). These latter ash deposits have become less apparent on the newer image, conceivably due to cover beneath winter's snowfall.

The newer image depicts the S-flank's upper slopes as containing much broader areas of darkened snow and ice. Some of the sea ice N of the previously mentioned lava flows also appears darkened. To the S of the Belinda summit lies a previously unseen, sinuously shaped 'beard,' presumably composed of darkened snow. Another newly visible feature, the black area to the NNW (upper left), presumably reveals lava flows emerging from beneath the ice. This zone of lava flows resides without clear connection to the conspicuous, larger, previously mentioned one flowing from higher up-slope. The black area to the NNW may thus be a new vent area. Alternatively, the black area may represent the spot where a longer sub-glacial lava flow transited some unknown distance beneath the ice and here melted its way to the surface. Another such area may reside on the NNE flanks, midway from the summit area and the coast. On the island's W (left) side exists a newly imaged network of broken ice. It could suggest an episode of fresh crevassing there.

Although the version shown in figure 7 has reduced resolution for print and web distribution, the full-resolution version of the IKONOS color image distributed by NASA has a resolution of 4 m per pixel and another version, 1 m per pixel (creating a 3.20 Mb image). James Garvin noted that dynamic processes such as those on remote, uninhabited islands, can be monitored from orbit, thereby serving to target more intensive field studies when they are justified. As such, IKONOS imaging of localities such as active eruptions involving ice-lava interactions, represents a new form of scientific exploration of planet Earth. The eruption has produced a 'natural laboratory' for studying lava-ice interactions relevant to the biology of extreme environments as well as to processes believed to be important on the planet Mars.

The IKONOS earth-imaging satellite launched in September 1999. IKONOS includes optical, radar, and infrared sensors. These can be combined in a variety of ways to accommodate a wide range of imagery applications (including stereo images).

Geographic terminology. The nomenclature of volcanic features on Montagu Island, particularly in regard to Mount Belinda, has been quite variable. Although the name Montagu has been applied to the major volcanic edifice forming the island (LeMasurier and Thomson, 1990), the name Mount Belinda has been variously applied to the entire volcano, the currently active young cone on the northern side of the island, the 6-km-wide summit caldera, and a peak on the southern caldera rim that is the island's high point. In consultation with John Smellie of the British Antarctic Survey, we have used Montagu to refer to the volcano forming the island and Mount Belinda for the currently active cone.

Reference. LeMasurier, W.E., and Thomson, J.W. (eds.), 1990, Volcanoes of the Antarctic Plate and Southern Oceans: Washington, D C: American Geophysical Union, 487 p.

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: James B. Garvin, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Code 921, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA (URL: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); John Smellie, British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingly Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, United Kingdom (URL: https://www.bas.ac.uk/).


Sierra Negra (Ecuador) — September 2004 Citation iconCite this Report

Sierra Negra

Ecuador

0.83°S, 91.17°W; summit elev. 1124 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


12 June-29 August 2004, GPS data indicate 77 cm of caldera-floor uplift

Sierra Negra volcano contains a six-station, continuously monitored GPS network. The instruments were installed in collaboration with a research consortium (UNAVCO) in May 2002 (figure 2).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. The summit of Sierra Negra has this dedicated GPS system continuously monitoring deformation. The shading reflects ground surface elevations; although a key to elevations was not provided, the map makes evident the caldera's broad floor and circular form. Courtesy of Geist, Chadwick, and Johnson.

Starting on 12 June 2004 and continuing through at least 29 August 2004, the rate of uplift of the caldera floor, as measured by this network, had accelerated to 77 cm/year (table 1). This rate was comparable to that inferred from InSAR data in the late 1990s (Amelung and others, 2000). That late 1990's uplift was attributed to trap-door faulting of the caldera floor along its southern margin, a process presumably driven by a shallow (< 2 km) intrusion of magma. Deflation occurred during 2001-2002, and slower uplift of about 12 cm/y prevailed during March 2003-May 2004 (table 1). The 12 June-29 August interval was noteworthy for the high rates of uplift (table 1).

Table 1. A summary of the geophysically derived movement of the caldera floor at Sierra Negra. Courtesy of Dennis Geist, William Chadwick, and Dan Johnson.

Interval Comments Measurement Technique
1992-1998 240 cm of uplift punctuated by trapdoor uplift in 1997 or 1998 InSAR (Amelung and others, 2000)
1998-1999 Inflation at 65 cm/year InSAR (Amelung and others, 2000)
2000-2001 Deceleration of uplift to 7 cm/year Campaign GPS (Geist and others, submitted)
2001-Feb 2003 Deflation of ~9 cm/year Campaign and continuous GPS
Mar 2003-May 2004 Inflation at ~12 cm/year Continuous GPS
12 Jun-29 Aug 2004 Inflation at 77 cm/year Continuous GPS

The Instituto Geofísico in Quito, Ecuador monitors seismic activity in the Galápagos, using a network that includes a single station on Sierra Negra. Unfortunately, that network was down for the past year, in need of a variety of hardware, including the seismometer at Sierra Negra. Thus, for the interval of interest, seismic data were absent. Hugo Yepes estimated that to repair the Galápagos system would require about $9,000 (USD) in equipment and $4,000 (USD) in personnel transport and field expenses. He also said that the region requires more stable long-term logistical support.

The 12 June-29 August 2004 uplift was symmetrical about the caldera's center. The pattern and rate of uplift was well modeled as a 2.1 km deep sill intruded by about 12 x 106 m3 of magma since June 2004.

Sierra Negra last erupted in 1979, when nearly 1 km3of lava erupted from a circumferential fissure near the summit, covering its N flank./p>

References. Amelung, F., Jonsson, S., Zebker, H., Segall, P., 2000. Widespread uplift and "trapdoor" faulting on Galápagos volcanoes observed with radar interferometry. Nature 407, 993-998.

Geist, D., Chadwick, W.W., and Johnson, D., Results from new GPS and gravity monitoring networks at Fernandina and Sierra Negra volcanoes, Galápagos, 2000-2002 (submitted to the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research in 2004).

Geologic Background. The broad shield volcano of Sierra Negra at the southern end of Isabela Island contains a shallow 7 x 10.5 km caldera that is the largest in the Galápagos Islands. Flank vents abound, including cinder cones and spatter cones concentrated along an ENE-trending rift system and tuff cones along the coast and forming offshore islands. The 1124-m-high volcano is elongated in a NE direction. Although it is the largest of the five major Isabela volcanoes, it has the flattest slopes, averaging less than 5 degrees and diminishing to 2 degrees near the coast. A sinuous 14-km-long, N-S-trending ridge occupies the west part of the caldera floor, which lies only about 100 m below its rim. Volcán de Azufre, the largest fumarolic area in the Galápagos Islands, lies within a graben between this ridge and the west caldera wall. Lava flows from a major eruption in 1979 extend all the way to the north coast from circumferential fissure vents on the upper northern flank. Sierra Negra, along with Cerro Azul and Volcán Wolf, is one of the most active of Isabela Island volcanoes.

Information Contacts: Dennis J. Geist, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho 83844-3022 USA; William W. Chadwick, Jr., Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies (CIMRS), NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL), 2115 SE OSU Drive, Newport, OR 97365 USA; Daniel J. Johnson, University of Puget Sound, Department of Geology, 1500 N. Warner, Tacoma, WA 98416, USA; Hugo Yepes, Geophysical Institute (IG), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Apartado 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec/).


Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — September 2004 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)


Generally low activity; small lake forms in summit crater

According to reports issued by the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), activity at Soufrière Hills volcano remained low during 21 May-10 September 2004, becoming slightly elevated from 10 September-15 October 2004. Minor events during this period included mudflows, rockfalls, and several small, shallow earthquakes originating at upper regions of the lava dome and conduit.

On 21 May 2004, heavy rainfall caused large mudflows for about two hours (1420 to 1636). The mudflows traveled into the Belham Valley, an area within the exclusion zone on the volcano's NW side, flooding the entire width of the valley floor at Belham bridge. Scientists from MVO noted that at the peak of flow, standing waves of mud reached 2 m high. Intense rains on 25 July, 14 September, and 16 September again caused up-slope erosion and mudflows descended into the Belham Valley.

Surface water from the intense rain of 21 May percolated into the subsurface of the hot dome and vent complex, converting into steam. Steam venting may have initiated the 44 mixed earthquakes recorded the week of 21-28 May (table 56). The earthquakes were short in duration (~ 30 seconds each), and their amplitude decay characteristics suggested that they originated at shallow depths within the remnant dome and at the top of the conduit. The term 'remnant dome' refers to the fact that the late May 2004 dome was considerably reduced in size compared to the dome of about a year before, in large part because of major collapse events on 12 July 2003 and 3 March 2004.

Table 56. Seismicity recorded at Soufrière Hills, 21 May to 15 October 2004. Courtesy of Montserrat Volcano Observatory.

Date Activity Level Hybrid Mixed Volcano-tectonic Long-period Rockfall
21 May-28 May 2004 Low 7 44 -- -- --
28 May-04 Jun 2004 Low 4 16 -- -- --
04 Jun-11 Jun 2004 Low 3 9 -- -- --
11 Jun-18 Jun 2004 Low 5 -- -- -- 10
18 Jun-25 Jun 2004 Low 5 -- 6 -- 15
25 Jun-02 Jul 2004 Low 5 -- 6 2 8
02 Jul-09 Jul 2004 Low 8 -- 4 -- 10
09 Jul-16 Aug 2004 Low 6 -- 1 1 5
16 Jul-23 Jul 2004 Low 7 -- -- -- 7
23 Jul-30 Jul 2004 Low 2 -- -- -- 8
30 Jul-06 Aug 2004 Low 1 -- -- -- 8
06 Aug-13 Aug 2004 Low 1 -- -- -- 3
13 Aug-20 Aug 2004 Low 1 -- 1 -- 1
20 Aug-27 Aug 2004 Low 1 -- -- -- 1
27 Aug-03 Sep 2004 Low 2 -- -- -- --
03 Sep-10 Sep 2004 Low -- -- 1 -- 2
10 Sep-17 Sep 2004 slightly elevated 14 -- -- 1 1
17 Sep-24 Sep 2004 slightly elevated 8 -- -- 2 2
24 Sep-01 Oct 2004 slightly elevated 8 -- -- 1 3

During 18-25 June, winds blew the volcanic plume NE, and the clouds over the volcano's summit lifted, making the tallest remnants of the dome complex visible for the first time since 7 May. Observers noted a loss of material from the upper regions of the dome due to rockfalls.

Later, on 30 August, MVO personnel on an observation flight discovered a small brown pond within the dome complex (figure 5). This pond was the first seen on the volcano since the beginning of its eruption in 1995. The pond lies in a small crater formed by an explosion and dome collapse on 3 March 2004 (figure 57). It probably developed following the cooling of deposits within the crater, and after recent heavy rainfall.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. A view looking NW into English's crater during the week of 27 August 2004. Water collected in an explosion pit formed on 3 March 2004. The small brown water body became known as 'Chances pond.' Photo courtesy of Montserrat Volcano Observatory.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions typically remained low throughout the period. Measured fluxes ranged between about 90 and 1,100 metric tons per day (table 57). Moderate fluctuations occurred during 21-24 May (225-922 metric tons/day) and 7-11 June (169-788 metric tons/day). During 2-9 July, SO2 emissions dropped to the lowest levels since the collapse event of 12-13 July 2003, and fell even lower during the weeks of 30 July and 17 September.

Table 57. SO2 gas flux estimates made at Soufrière Hills, 21 May to 15 October 2004. Courtesy of Montserrat Volcano Observatory.

Date SO2 emissions (tons/day)
21 May-28 May 2004 225-922
28 May-04 Jun 2004 179-496
04 Jun-11 Jun 2004 169-788
11 Jun-18 Jun 2004 240-477
18 Jun-25 Jun 2004 --
25 Jun-02 Jul 2004 177-364
02 Jul-09 Jul 2004 120-160
09 Jul-16 Aug 2004 222-243
16 Jul-23 Jul 2004 170-400
23 Jul-30 Jul 2004 175-300
30 Jul-06 Aug 2004 90-280
06 Aug-13 Aug 2004 126-296
13 Aug-20 Aug 2004 200-622
20 Aug-27 Aug 2004 175-311
27 Aug-03 Sep 2004 240-456
03 Sep-10 Sep 2004 175-405
10 Sep-17 Sep 2004 130-250
17 Sep-24 Sep 2004 87-454
24 Sep-01 Oct 2004 200-540
01 Oct-08 Oct 2004 187-1144
08 Oct-15 Oct 2004 156-553

Measurements of expansion made by dilatometers embedded on either side of the Soufriere Hills edifice suggested that in July, the volcano changed from contraction to slight expansion.

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), Fleming, Montserrat, West Indies (URL: http://www.mvo.ms/).


St. Helens (United States) — September 2004 Citation iconCite this Report

St. Helens

United States

46.2°N, 122.18°W; summit elev. 2549 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruption starts suddenly—first dome-growth in 18 years

After a hiatus of over 13 years, following phreatic eruptions during November 1990 to February 1991, a new eruption began in the crater at Mount St. Helens. Some shallow seismicity preceded the eruption, but this came only 9 days prior to the first ash emission. There was no progression of deep earthquakes propagating upward with time during the preceding months. Also apparently absent were other classical monitored parameters (deformation, gas emissions, geochemical or thermal anomalies) that could help foretell of an eruption several weeks or months ahead.

The eruption extruded a two-pyroxene, hornblende dacite of low vesicularity. The initial extrusions and uplift affected the S dome area and adjacent crater floor to the S. The intrusion included uplift and deformation of glacial ice, as well as some melting of ice, forming a small, short-lived bubbling lake (nicknamed 'the Jacuzzi') and a minor lahar out of the crater.

This report discusses the first 16 days of the eruption, from the first sign, shallow earthquakes, which began on 23 September 2004. This report was chiefly put together from reports posted by the Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO), but also benefitted from personal communications with James Quick, Marianne Guffanti (both at USGS, Reston, Virginia), and James Vallance (USGS-CVO).

Synopsis. A photograph of the scene several weeks before the eruption came from climbers on the S rim. They visited during the last week of August 2004, a time when all still seemed quiet (figure 46). A chronology of events in the first 16 days (table 4) includes the dates and times of the events, the hazard status to people on the ground and to aviation traffic, and some brief comments on the seismicity and volcanism taking place.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Photographs looking N from the crater rim at Mount St. Helens during clear, hot weather in the last week of August 2004. Much of the lower half of the top photo shows the S side of the 1980-1986 dome, the flat area arcing around it called the moat, and parts of the engulfing crater walls. In the upper half of the photo lie (from right to left) Spirit Lake, a large open area called the pumice plain, and some ridges, including the one directly across the pumice plain, Johnson Ridge. Glacial ice covers the moat and portions of the lower dome and lower crater walls. Debris from mass wasting covers parts of the glacier.The bottom photo is the same image with shading added by James Vallance to indicate the approximate locations of the extruding dome and the larger region of uplift. Those events took place between 27 September and the present, one to two months after this photograph, dramatically altering the surface morphology between the dome and the southern crater wall. Photo courtesy of Ivan Savov, taken on the S crater rim ~ 200 m W of the upper end of the Monitor Ridge trail.

Table 4. A simplified chronology of the events at Mt. St. Helens from 23 September to 8 October 2004. Taken from material posted by the Cascades Volcano Observatory.

Day Date Hazard Status Comment
DAY 1-3 23-25 Sep 2004 None posted Swarm of small, shallow earthquakes (less than M 1) began on morning of the 23rd, peaked mid-day on the 24th, then declined through the afternoon of the 25th.
DAY 4 26 Sep 2004 1 - Notice (green) Seismicity increased; ten M 2-2.8 events; volcanic unrest at 1500 hours. First Yellow alert since Oct. 1986.
DAY 7 29 Sep 2004 2 - Advisory (yellow) Higher advisory issued at 1040 hours.
DAY 8 30 Sep 2004 2 - Advisory (yellow) Deformation S of dome; fissures on ~200 m of ice.
DAY 9 01 Oct 2004 2 - Advisory (yellow) Ash emission rose to 3 km altitude.
DAY 10 02 Oct 2004 3 - Alert (red) Increased fumaroles, CO2 and H2S detected.
DAY 11 03 Oct 2004 3 - Alert (red) Tremor episode; no eruptive plume. Continued detection of CO2 and H2S. Small steam and ash emission with plume to the crater rim. Temporary flight restriction within 9 km radius of summit.
DAY 12 04 Oct 2004 3 - Alert (red) Large-scale glacial uplift. Steam and ash emission with plume to 3 km.
DAY 13 05 Oct 2004 3 - Alert (red) Most vigorous ash/steam emission from both vent areas. Ash to 5 km.
DAY 14 06 Oct 2004 2 - Advisory (yellow) Seismicity and tremor low.
DAY 15 07 Oct 2004 2 - Advisory (yellow) Seismic activity low. Weak puffs of steam and a new vigorously erupting vent were observed.
DAY 16 08 Oct 2004 2 - Advisory (yellow) Light seismic activity continued (1-2 events/hour; largest ~M 1.5).

The CVO website contains a complete discussion of the 3-level hazard-status scheme used there during this reporting interval. In brief form, the status rises from 1 - Notice, to 2 - Advisory, to 3 - Alert. (These are short-hand for Notice of Volcanic Unrest: Alert Level One, Volcano Advisory: Alert Level Two, and Volcano Alert: Alert Level Three.) These respective levels of hazard status correspond to an informal color code, rising from green, to yellow, to red (shown in parentheses on table 1). A type of announcement, the Information Statement, discusses events that are unusual or short-lived, or both. On days 1-3, at the start of this crisis, a specific volcanic hazard was not specified.

Description of activity. At about 0200 on the morning of 23 September 2004, an earthquake swarm began at Mount St. Helens. Through 1700 hours on that date about 200 small (less than M 1) earthquakes had been located at the volcano, and many smaller events were recorded throughout the morning. The earthquakes occurred at shallow depths (less than 1 km) mostly under the lava dome that formed between 1980 and 1986.

Such earthquakes are common for the volcano. But a swarm with this many earthquakes has not been recorded for several years. The most recently case was on 3-4 November 2001. By 25 September 2004 seismicity had declined significantly. However it remained elevated above background. On 26 September the character of the swarm changed to include more than ten larger earthquakes (M 2-2.8), the most in a 24-hour period since the eruption of October 1986. Some of the earthquake types suggested pressurized fluids (water and steam) or perhaps magma. As a consequence, CVO and the University of Washington's Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network released the first Notice of Volcanic Unrest at this site in 18 years. The earthquakes occurred at shallow depths (less than 2 km) below the 1980-1986 lava dome.

On 27 September seismicity increased very slowly throughout the day. All earthquake locations were still shallow and beneath the dome. The largest earthquake recorded in the prior 24 hours was about M 1.5. Preliminary results from a gas flight late in the afternoon of 27 September did not indicate any magmatic gas.

Throughout the day of 28 September seismic activity remained at a fairly constant, but high rate of about two small (less than M 2) earthquakes per minute. All earthquake locations were still shallow and in or below the lava dome. That night seismic activity increased significantly. Throughout the day the seismicity remained elevated at 3-4 events per minute. A number of these events were between M 2 and 3. All earthquakes remained in or below the dome. By 30 September and 1 October the seismicity level had increased slightly, including events as large as M 3.3.

Around noon on 1 October a small 25-minute-long eruption occurred from a vent just S of the lava dome. The vent opened in a portion of the glacier that had become increasingly crevassed and uplifted over the past few days. The eruption sent a steam and minor ash plume to an altitude of about 3 km that drifted SW, accompanied by minor, local ashfall. Seismicity dropped several hours after the eruption, but gradually increased with earthquakes (maximum M 3) occurring 1- to 2-times per minute.

A 40-minute steam-and-ash emission started on 2 October at 0943. Steam clouds carrying minor ash billowed out of the crater to an altitude of 3 to 4 km. The emission occurred during a time of gradually increasing seismicity, which dropped slightly after the emission, but continued to increase gradually through the afternoon. CVO's preliminary reports indicated that despite this increase, the event did not generate diagnostic earthquakes or explosion signals. Scientists inferred that hot rock was pushed up into the glacier, which then melted ice and generated the steam.

An interval of tremor lasting 50 minutes occurred immediately after a small steam emission at 1215 on 2 October. When the tremor stopped, the seismic character changed back to the earlier mode with shallow earthquakes under about maximum magnitude M 3 occurring 1- to 2-times per minute. Another period of smaller steam and ash bursts occurred between 1410 and 1440. Visual observations showed that the area of uplift, which includes part of the glacier and a nearby segment of the S flank of the lava dome, continued to rise. Part of the vent for the steam and ash emissions of the past few days was discovered to be covered by a boiling lake.

A gas flight on 3 October found slightly lower concentrations of carbon dioxide. On the other hand, for the first time hydrogen sulfide was detected. The 4 October gas flight detected carbon dioxide, often in association with hydrogen sulfide and occasional sulphur dioxide.

On 5 October at 0943 a 30-minute-long steam-and-ash emission started, and at 1410 a 10-minute-long steam-and-ash emission began. Ashfall on roads SE of the volcano achieved a maximum thickness of 0.2 mm at 8 km from the source. Neither emissions generated diagnostic earthquakes or explosion signals. As on 4 October, steam and ash emissions were associated with sightings of a bubbling lake. After the 4 October emissions, earthquake energy slowly increased to previous high values.

On 5 October continued uplift included part of the glacier and a nearby segment of the dome's S flank. Cracks opened in the dome. Portions of the cracks reached temperatures of 40-50°C (above ambient temperatures at the dome and glacier's surface, but far below the minimum magmatic temperature of ~ 800°C). Rocks avalanched off the dome, falling into the lake and onto the S crater floor. The dome's N flank appeared thermally stable.

The most vigorous steam and ash emission of the reporting period began on 5 October amid an interval with high seismicity shortly after 0900. Steam clouds billowed from the crater for over an hour, with variable ash content. For the first time, the ash content was sufficient to be detected by National Weather Service Doppler Radar. Steam and ash clouds reached about 3 km high and drifted NNE. A light dusting of ash fell in Morton, Randle, and Packwood, Washington, towns about 50 km from the volcano. Seismicity dropped during the emission and stayed relatively low the next day.

On 6 October the low-level tremor observed following the eruption gradually declined. Brief crater observations from Coldwater Visitor Center noted weak steam emissions. Small lahars from the crater traveled N onto the pumice plain during a rainstorm in the early morning of 6 October. Lahars flowed a short distance toward both Spirit Lake and the North Fork of the Toutle river.

The GPS station on the dome's N flank showed a trend of northward displacement totaling 2 cm over the last three days. This is the same sense of movement recorded by the nearby station that was destroyed by the first steam-and-ash emission on 1 October. In contrast, GPS instruments on the outer flanks of the volcano showed no movement.

Additional analysis based on lidar (LIght Detection And Ranging) and photographs of the intensely uplifting area suggested that the total volume change represented by the deformation between late September and 6 October was about 16-20 million cubic meters. The average rate of change was about 2 million cubic meters per day. If this value represents the rate of intrusion of magma into shallow levels of the dome and underlying crater floor, or both, it was an intrusion rate about twice that measured during dome-building eruptions at Mount St. Helens in the 1980s.

The 7 October report noted that a new steam vent opened overnight to join the two that had been present for several days. Steaming from the vents generated a cloud that rose above the lava dome's S side and extended toward the crater rim. Seismic activity was low to moderate with earthquakes of M 1 to 2 occurring about once per minute. Seismicity increased slightly during 7 October. Earthquakes up to M 1 occurred at a rate of ~ 1-1.5 per minute.

Reports issued on 8 October noted seismic activity continued to be low to moderate. Earthquakes occurred at a rate of 1 to 2 per minute with the largest magnitudes about M 1.5. That day field crews reported that there had not been noticeable additional uplift of the S part of the dome and adjacent glacier in the past 24 hours. Measurements from the recent photographs and lidar showed that the intensely deformed and uplifted area on the S side of the lava dome was then about 400 m (N-S) x 500 m (E-W) with a maximum uplift of about 100-130 m.

Seismicity rose gradually for most of 8 October and leveled off overnight. Earthquakes of M 2.4 occurred about once every two minutes. During 10 October seismicity decreased slightly, to levels similar to those observed during the evening hours of 7 October. Earthquakes of 1.0 M or less continued to occur at a rate of about 1 per minute, but most had magnitudes of M 1.0 or less.

On 12 October seismicity remained low. Small earthquakes (maximum about M 1) continued to occur every 5-10 minutes. Thermal imaging around 12 October of the W part of the uplifting area revealed temperatures of 500-600°C, by far the highest yet reported. They were greatest on a large pinkish-gray fin of rock and in nearby fumaroles and cracks. These observations were consistent with new lava having reached the ground surface. Later sampling of adjacent fresh talus using a metal trash can on a line below a helicopter confirmed it's dacitic composition.

Aviation advisories. The Washington VAAC issued advisories beginning on 29 September. Between then and through 8 October, they issued 23 Volcanic Ash Advisories. Some of these were also 'volcano watches.' Most of these were cautionary in nature, and actual plumes were generally minor, frequently steam dominated rather than heavily ash laden.

Geologic Background. Prior to 1980, Mount St. Helens formed a conical, youthful volcano sometimes known as the Fujisan of America. During the 1980 eruption the upper 400 m of the summit was removed by slope failure, leaving a 2 x 3.5 km horseshoe-shaped crater now partially filled by a lava dome. Mount St. Helens was formed during nine eruptive periods beginning about 40-50,000 years ago and has been the most active volcano in the Cascade Range during the Holocene. Prior to 2,200 years ago, tephra, lava domes, and pyroclastic flows were erupted, forming the older edifice, but few lava flows extended beyond the base of the volcano. The modern edifice consists of basaltic as well as andesitic and dacitic products from summit and flank vents. Historical eruptions in the 19th century originated from the Goat Rocks area on the north flank, and were witnessed by early settlers.

Information Contacts: Cascades Volcano Observatory (USGS/CVO), U.S. Geological Survey, 1300 SE Cardinal Court, Building 10, Suite 100, Vancouver, WA 98683-9589, USA (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/cvo/); Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network (PNSN), Seismology Lab, University of Washington, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Box 351310, Seattle, WA 98195-1310, USA (URL: http://www.pnsn.org/); Ivan Savov, Department of Mineral Sciences, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560-0119, USA; 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/).

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements  Obituaries

Misc Reports

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

Additional Reports  False Reports