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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

Ibu (Indonesia) Frequent ash plumes and small lava flows active in the crater through June 2019

Ebeko (Russia) Continuing frequent moderate explosions though May 2019; ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Weak thermal anomalies and moderate Strombolian-type eruptions in September 2018-June 2019

Yasur (Vanuatu) Strong thermal activity with incandescent ejecta continues, February-May 2019

Bagana (Papua New Guinea) Infrequent thermal anomalies, no ash emissions, February-May 2019

Ambae (Vanuatu) Declining thermal activity and no explosions during February-May 2019

Sangay (Ecuador) Explosion on 26 March 2019; activity from 10 May through June produced ash plumes, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows

Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) Ash emissions and thermal anomalies during October 2018-April 2019; lava emissions at the E flank coast and summit area

Sarychev Peak (Russia) Brief ash emission reported on 16 May 2019

Nyiragongo (DR Congo) Lava lake remains active through May 2019; three new vents around the secondary cone

Bezymianny (Russia) Ongoing thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam plumes, and lava dome growth during February-May 2019; strong explosion in mid-March

Nevados de Chillan (Chile) Small ash explosions and dome growth during December 2018-May 2019; ballistic ejecta deposited around the crater, with a pyroclastic flow in May



Ibu (Indonesia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ibu

Indonesia

1.488°N, 127.63°E; summit elev. 1325 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent ash plumes and small lava flows active in the crater through June 2019

Ibu volcano on Halmahera island in Indonesia began the current eruption episode on 5 April 2008. Since then, activity has largely consisted of small ash plumes with less frequent lava flows, lava dome growth, avalanches, and larger ash plumes up to 5.5 km above the crater. This report summarizes activity during December 2018 through June 2019 and is based on Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) reports by MAGMA Indonesia, reports by Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) and Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), and various satellite data.

During December PVMBG reported ash plumes ranging from 200 to 800 m above the crater. There were 11 MODVOLC thermal alerts that registered during 1-12 December. An explosion on 12 January 2019 produced an ash plume that reached 800 m above the crater and dispersed to the S (figure 15). A report released for this event by Sutopo at BNPB said that Ibu had erupted almost every day over the past three months; an example given was of activity on 10 January consisting of 80 explosions. There were four MODVOLC thermal alerts through the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. An eruption at Ibu at 1712 on 21 January 2019 produced an ash plume that rose to 800 m above the crater. Courtesy of BNPB (color adjusted).

Throughout February explosions frequently produced ash plumes as high as 800 m above the crater, and nine MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued. Daily reports showed variable plume heights of 200-800 m most days throughout the month. Wind directions varied and dispersed the plumes in all directions. A VONA released at 1850 on 6 February reported an ash plume that rose to 1,925 m altitude (around 600 m above the summit) and dispersed S. Activity continued through March with the Darwin VAAC and PVMBG reporting explosions producing ash plumes to heights of 200-800 m above the crater and dispersing in various directions. There were ten MODVOLC alerts through the month.

Similar activity continued through April, May, and June, with ash plumes reaching 200-800 m above the crater. There were 12, 6, and 15 MODVOLC Alerts in April, May, and June, respectively.

Planet Scope satellite images show activity at a two vents near the center of the crater that were producing small lava flows from February through June (figure 16). Thermal anomalies were frequent during December 2018 through June 2019 across MODVOLC, MIROVA, and Sentinel-2 infrared data (figures 17 and 18). Sentinel-2 data showed minor variation in the location of thermal anomalies within the crater, possibly indicating lava flow activity, and MIROVA data showed relatively constant activity with a few reductions in thermal activity during January and February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Planet Scope natural color satellite images showing activity in the Ibu crater during January through June 2019, with white arrows indicating sites of activity. One vent is visible in the 21 February image, and a 330-m-long (from the far side of the vent) lava flow with flow ridges had developed by 24 March. A second vent was active by 12 May with a new lava flow reaching a maximum length of 520 m. Activity was centered back at the previous vent by 23-27 June. Natural color Planet Scope Imagery, copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Examples of thermal activity in the Ibu crater during January through May 2019. These Sentinel-2 satellite images show variations in hot areas in the crater due to a vent producing a small lava flow. Sentinel-2 false color (urban) images (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. MIROVA log radiative power plot of MODIS thermal infrared at Ibu from September 2018 through June 2019. The registered energy was relatively stable through December, with breaks in January and February. Regular thermal anomalies continued with slight variation through to the end of June. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. The truncated summit of Gunung Ibu stratovolcano along the NW coast of Halmahera Island has large nested summit craters. The inner crater, 1 km wide and 400 m deep, contained several small crater lakes through much of historical time. The outer crater, 1.2 km wide, is breached on the north side, creating a steep-walled valley. A large parasitic cone is located ENE of the summit. A smaller one to the WSW has fed a lava flow down the W flank. A group of maars is located below the N and W flanks. Only a few eruptions have been recorded in historical time, the first a small explosive eruption from the summit crater in 1911. An eruption producing a lava dome that eventually covered much of the floor of the inner summit crater began in December 1998.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); 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/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/).


Ebeko (Russia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuing frequent moderate explosions though May 2019; ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk

The Ebeko volcano, located on the northern end of the Paramushir Island in the Kuril Islands, consists of many craters, lakes, and thermal features and has been frequently erupting since late February 2017. Typical activity includes ash plumes, explosive eruptions, and gas-and-steam activity. The previous report through November 2018 (BGVN 43:12) described frequent ash explosions that sometimes caused ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk (7 km E). The primary source of information is the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT). This report updates the volcanic activity at Ebeko for December 2018 through May 2019.

Frequent moderate explosive activity continued after November 2018. Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk observed explosions sending up ash, which drifted N, NE, and E, resulting in ash falls on Severo-Kurilsk on 28 different days between December 2018 and March 2019. On 25 December 2018 an explosion sent ash up to a maximum altitude of 4.5 km and then drifted N for about 5 km. Explosions occurring on 8-10 March 2019 sent ash up to an altitude of 4 km, resulting in ashfall on Severo-Kurilsk on 9-10 March 2019. An ash plume from these explosions rose to a height of 2.5 km and drifted to a maximum distance of 30 km ENE.

Satellite data analyzed by KVERT registered 12 thermal anomalies from December 2018 through May 2019. According to satellite data analyzed by MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), only one thermal anomaly was recorded from December 2018-May 2019, and no hotspot pixels were recognized using satellite thermal data from the MODVOLC algorithm.

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

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


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak thermal anomalies and moderate Strombolian-type eruptions in September 2018-June 2019

Klyuchevskoy has had alternating eruptive and less active periods since August 2015. Activity has included lava flows, a growing cinder cone, thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam plumes, and ash explosions. Though some eruptions occur near the summit crater, major explosive and effusive eruptions have also occurred from flank craters (BGVN 42:04 and 43:05). Intermittent moderate gas-and-steam and ash emissions were previously reported from mid-February to mid-August 2018. The Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) is the primary source of information for this September 2018-June 2019 reporting period.

KVERT reported that moderate gas-and-steam activity, some of which contained a small amount of ash, and weak thermal anomalies occurred intermittently from the beginning of September 2018 through mid-April 2019. On 21-22 April 2019 webcam data showed a gas-and-steam plume extending about 160 km SE (figure 31). Moderate Strombolian-type volcanism began late April 2019 and continued intermittently through June 2019. On 11-12 June webcam data showed explosions that sent ash up to a maximum altitude of 6 km, with the resulting ash plume extending about 200 km WNW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Gas-and-steam plume containing some amount of ash rising from the summit of Klyuchevskoy on 22 April 2019. Photo by A. Klimova, courtesy of Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (IVS FEB RAS).

Thermal anomalies were noted by KVERT during two days in September 2018, six days in April 2019, eleven days in May 2019, and six days in June 2019. MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed infrequent weak thermal anomalies December 2018 through early May 2019.

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/).


Yasur (Vanuatu) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong thermal activity with incandescent ejecta continues, February-May 2019

Yasur volcano on Tanna Island has been characterized by Strombolian activity with large incandescent bombs, frequent explosions, lava fountaining, and ash emissions for much of its known eruptive history. Melanesians from nearby islands are believed to have settled Tanna in about 400 BCE; it is now part of the nation of Vanuatu, independent since 1980. The Kwamera language (or Tannese) spoken on the SE coast of the island is thought to be the source of the name of the island. No known oral history describes volcanic activity; the first written English-language documentation of activity dates to 5 August 1774, when Captain James Cook saw "a great fire" on Tanna Island. Cook realized that it "was a Volcano which threw up vast quantities of fire and smoak and made a rumbling noise which was heard at a good distance" (The Captain Cook Society) (figure 51).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Incandescence, steam, and dark ash from Yasur fill the sky in this sketch representing Captain James Cook's landing in the 'Resolution' at Tanna Island on 5 August 1774. The form of the volcano is behind the ship, the incandescence is in the upper right next to the ship's masts. "Landing at Tanna" by William Hodges, 1775-1776, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. The Maritime Museum noted that this is one of a group of panel paintings produced by Hodges of encounters with islanders during the voyage, in which the European perception of each society at the time is portrayed. Image taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Based on numerous accounts from ships logs and other sources, volcanic activity has been continuous since that time. During periods of higher activity, multiple vents within the summit crater send ejecta 100 m or more above the crater rim, with large bombs occasionally landing hundreds of meters away. Continued activity during February-May 2019 is covered in this report with information provided by the Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) which monitors the volcano and satellite data; photographs from tourists also provide valuable information about this remote location.

VMGD has maintained Alert Level 2 at Yasur since October 2016, indicating that it is in a major state of unrest. There is a permanent exclusion zone within 395 m of the eruptive vents where access is prohibited due to multiple hazards, primarily from large incandescent bombs up to 4 m in diameter which have been ejected from the vents onto the crater rim in the past, resulting in fatalities (BGVN 20:08).

Satellite and ground based information all support high levels of thermal activity during February -May 2019. MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued 11 times in February, 27 times in March, and 20 times each in April and May. The MIROVA graph also indicated the ongoing consistently high levels of thermal energy throughout the period (figure 52). Plumes of SO2 emissions are common from Vanuatu's volcanoes; newer higher resolution data available beginning in 2019 reveal a persistent stream of SO2 from Yasur on a near-daily basis (figure 53).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. The MIROVA graph of thermal energy at Yasur from 3 September 2018 through May 2019 indicates the ongoing activity at the volcano. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. The SO2 plumes from Yasur were persistent during January-May 2019 when they were visible many days of each week throughout the period. Top left: On 12 January plumes were visible drifting E from both Ambrym (top) and Yasur (bottom). Top right: Plumes drifted W from three Vanuatu volcanoes on 7 February, Gaua (top), Ambrym (middle) and Yasur (bottom). Bottom left: On 12 March N drifting plumes could be seen from Ambae (top) and Yasur (bottom). On 27 April, only Yasur had an SO2 plume drifting W. Courtesy of Goddard Space Flight Center.

Satellite imagery confirmed that the heat sources from Yasur were vents within the summit crater of the pyroclastic cone. Both northern and southern vent areas were active. On 7 March 2019 the N vent area had a strong thermal signal. Ten days later, on 17 March, similar intensity thermal anomalies were present in both the N and S vent areas (figure 54). On 6 April the S vent area had a stronger signal, and gas emissions from both vents were drifting N (figure 55). Satellite imagery from 21 May 2019 indicated a strong thermal signal inside the crater in the area of the vents, and included a weaker signal clearly visible on the inside E crater rim. Strong Strombolian activity or spatter sending large incandescent bombs as far as the crater rim are a likely explanation for the signal (figure 56), underscoring the hazardous nature of approaching the crater rim.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Strong thermal anomalies from the crater of Yasur's pyroclastic cone seen in satellite images confirmed the ongoing high level of activity. Left: 7 March 2019, a strong thermal anomaly from the N vent area, shown with "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2). Right: 17 March 2019, thermal anomalies at both the N and S vent areas, shown with "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). The crater is about 500 m in diameter. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Strong thermal anomalies (left) and gas emissions (right) at Yasur were captured with different bands in the same Sentinel-2 satellite image on 6 April 2019. Left: The thermal anomaly in the S vent area was stronger than in the N vent area, "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Right: Gas plumes drifted N from both vent areas, "Natural color" rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). The crater is about 500 m in diameter. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Thermal activity from the crater of Yasur on 21 May 2019 produced a strong thermal signal from the center of the crater and a weaker signal on the inside E crater rim, likely the result of hazardous incandescent bombs and ejecta, frequent products of the activity at Yasur. Left: "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Right: "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2). The crater is about 0.5 km in diameter. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Tourists visit Yasur on a regular basis. A former lake on the N side of Yasur has left ripples in the sand deposits over older volcanic rocks on the N side of the volcano (figure 57) since it drained in 2000 (BGVN 28:01). Visitors are allowed to approach the S rim of the crater where incandescence from both the N and S vents is usually visible (figure 58). Incandescent spatter from the convecting lava in the vents is highly dangerous and unpredictable and often covers the inner slopes of the rim as well as sending bombs outside the crater (figure 59).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. The pyroclastic cone of Yasur viewed from the north on 6 May 2019. Ripples in volcaniclastic sand in the foreground are remnants of a lake that was present on the N side of the volcano until a natural dam breached in 2000. Copyrighted photo by Nick Page, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Two glowing vents were visible from the south rim of Yasur on 6 May 2019. The S vent area is in the foreground, the N vent area is in the upper left. Copyrighted by Nick Page, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Incandescent spatter at Yasur on 6 May 2019 sent fragments of lava against the inside crater wall and onto the rim. The convecting lava in the vent can be seen in the lower foreground. Copyrighted photo by Nick Page, used with permission.

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

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); The Captain Cook Society (URL: https://www.captaincooksociety.com/home/detail/225-years-ago-july-september-1774); Royal Museums Greenwich (URL: https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/13383.html); Wikimedia Commons, (URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Landing_at_Tana_one_of_the_New_Hebrides,_by_William_Hodges.jpg); Nick Page, Australia,Flickr: (URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/152585166@N08/).


Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Bagana

Papua New Guinea

6.137°S, 155.196°E; summit elev. 1855 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Infrequent thermal anomalies, no ash emissions, February-May 2019

With historical eruptions reported back to 1842, Papua New Guinea's Bagana volcano on the island of Bougainville has been characterized by viscous andesitic lava flows down the steep flanks of its cone, along with intermittent ash plumes and pyroclastic flows. Ongoing thermal anomalies and frequent ash plumes have been typical of activity during the current eruption since it began in early 2000. Activity declined significantly in December 2018 and remained low through May 2019, the period covered in this report (figure 33). Information for this report comes primarily from satellite images and thermal data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. The MIROVA plot of radiative power at Bagana from 1 September 2018 through May 2019 shows a marked decline in thermal activity during December 2018 after ash explosions and satellite observations of flows during the previous months. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The last ash emission at Bagana was reported on 1 December 2018 by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). A Sentinel-2 satellite image showed a linear thermal anomaly trending NW from the summit on 14 December (BGVN 50:01). On 8 January 2019, an image contained a dense steam plume drifting E and a very faint thermal anomaly on the N flank a few hundred meters from the summit. A more distinct thermal anomaly at the summit appeared on 22 February 2019 (figure 34). A visitor to the region photographed incandescence on the flank, likely from the volcano, at dawn around 19 February 2019 (figure 35).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery revealed thermal anomalies at Bagana in January and February 2019. Left: a very faint thermal anomaly was N of the summit at the edge of the E-drifting steam plume on 8 January 2019. Right: A thermal anomaly was located at the summit, at the base of the NE-drifting steam plume on 22 February 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite images with "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. A visitor near Bagana spotted incandescence on the flank at dawn, possibly from a lava flow. Posted online 19 February 2019. Courtesy of Emily Stanford.

Two faint thermal anomalies were visible at the summit in satellite imagery on 19 March; a single one appeared on 29 March 2019 (figure 36). No thermal anomalies were recorded in Sentinel-2 images during April or May, but steam plumes and gas emissions were visible through cloud cover on multiple occasions (figure 37).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Faint thermal anomalies at Bagana were recorded in satellite imagery twice during March 2019. Left: 19 March, two anomalies appear right of the date label. Right: 29 March, a small anomaly appears right of the date label. Sentinel-2 image rendered with "Atmospheric Penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Steam and gas emissions at Bagana were recorded in satellite imagery during April and May 2019. Left: A steam plume drifted NW from the summit on 23 April, visible through dense cloud cover. Right: A gas plume drifted SW from the summit on 18 May. Sentinel-2 image with "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Bagana volcano, occupying a remote portion of central Bougainville Island, is one of Melanesia's youngest and most active volcanoes. This massive symmetrical cone was largely constructed by an accumulation of viscous andesitic lava flows. The entire edifice could have been constructed in about 300 years at its present rate of lava production. Eruptive activity is frequent and characterized by non-explosive effusion of viscous lava that maintains a small lava dome in the summit crater, although explosive activity occasionally producing pyroclastic flows also occurs. Lava flows form dramatic, freshly preserved tongue-shaped lobes up to 50 m thick with prominent levees that descend the flanks on all sides.

Information Contacts: 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/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Emily Stanford (Twitter: https://twitter.com/NerdyBatLady, image posted at https://twitter.com/NerdyBatLady/status/1098052063009792001/photo/1).


Ambae (Vanuatu) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambae

Vanuatu

15.389°S, 167.835°E; summit elev. 1496 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Declining thermal activity and no explosions during February-May 2019

Ambae (Aoba) is a large basaltic shield volcano in the New Hebrides arc, part of the multi-island country of Vanuatu. Its periodic phreatic and pyroclastic explosions originating in the summit crater lakes have been recorded since the 16th century. A pyroclastic cone appeared in Lake Voui during November 2005-February 2006 (BGVN 31:12, figure 30); an explosive eruption from a new pyroclastic cone in the lake began in mid-September 2017 (BGVN 43:02). Activity included high-altitude ash emissions (9.1 km), lava flows, and Strombolian activity. Intermittent pulses of ash emissions during the following months resulted in extensive ashfall and evacuations; multiple communities were affected by lahars. The most recent episode of the eruption from July to September 2018 (BGVN 44:02) resulted in 11-km-altitude ash plumes and the evacuation of the entire island due to heavy ashfall and lahars. This report covers activity from February to May 2019, with information provided by the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory of the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) and satellite data from multiple sources.

Activity diminished after the extensive eruptive phase of July-September 2018 when substantial ash plumes and ashfall resulted in evacuations. An explosion with an ash plume on 30 October 2018 was the last activity reported for 2018. Thermal alerts were reported by the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) MODVOLC thermal alerts system through January 2019, and the Log Radiative Power graph prepared by the MIROVA project showed decreasing thermal anomalies into June 2019 (figure 92). Satellite images recorded in April and May 2019 (figure 93) showed the configuration of the summit lakes to be little changed from the previous November except for the color (BGVN 44:02, figure 89). No ash emissions or SO2 plumes were reported during the period. VMGD noted that the volcano remained at Alert Level 2 through May 2019 with a 2-km-radius exclusion zone around the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. The MIROVA log radiative power plot for Ambae showed ongoing intermittent thermal anomalies from early September 2018 through May 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. Satellite imagery in April and May 2019 showed little change in the configuration of lakes at the summit of Ambae since November 2018 (see BGVN 44:02, figure 89). Left: 24 April 2019. Right: 29 May 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery with "Natural Color" rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The island of Ambae, also known as Aoba, is a massive 2500 km3 basaltic shield that is the most voluminous volcano of the New Hebrides archipelago. A pronounced NE-SW-trending rift zone dotted with scoria cones gives the 16 x 38 km island an elongated form. A broad pyroclastic cone containing three crater lakes (Manaro Ngoru, Voui, and Manaro Lakua) is located at the summit within the youngest of at least two nested calderas, the largest of which is 6 km in diameter. That large central edifice is also called Manaro Voui or Lombenben volcano. Post-caldera explosive eruptions formed the summit craters about 360 years ago. A tuff cone was constructed within Lake Voui (or Vui) about 60 years later. The latest known flank eruption, about 300 years ago, destroyed the population of the Nduindui area near the western coast.

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Sangay (Ecuador) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangay

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosion on 26 March 2019; activity from 10 May through June produced ash plumes, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows

Sangay is the southernmost active volcano in Ecuador, with confirmed historical eruptions going back to 1628. The previous eruption occurred during August and December and was characterized by ash plumes reaching 2,500 m above the crater. Lava flows and pyroclastic flows descended the eastern and southern flanks. This report summarizes activity during January through July 2019 and is based on reports by Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

After the December 2018 eruption there was a larger reduction in seismicity, down to one event per day. During January, February, and most of March there was no recorded activity and low seismicity until the Washington VAAC reported an ash plume at 0615 on 26 March. The ash plume rose to a height of around 1 km and dispersed to the SW as seen in GOES 16 satellite imagery as a dark plume within white meteorological clouds. There was no seismic data available due to technical problems with the station.

More persistent eruptive activity began on 10 May with thermal alerts (figure 30) and an ash plume at 0700 that dispersed to the W. An explosion was recorded at 1938 on 11 May, producing an ash plume and incandescent material down the flank (figure 31). Two M 2 earthquakes were detected between 3.5 and 9 km below the crater on 10 May, possibly corresponding to explosive activity. By 17 May there were two active eruptive centers, the central crater and the Ñuñurcu dome (figure 32).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. MIROVA log radiative power plot of MODIS thermal infrared at Sangay for the year ending June 2019. The plot shows the August to December 2018 eruption, a break in activity, and resumed activity in May 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. An explosion at Sangay on 10 May 2019 sent ballistic projectiles up to 650 m above the crater at a velocity of over 400 km/hour, an ash plume that rose to over 600 m, and incandescent blocks that traveled over 1.5 km from the crater at velocities of around 150 km/hour. Screenshots are from video by IG-EPN.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. A photograph of the southern flank of Sangay on 17 May 2019 with the corresponding thermal infrared image in the top right corner. The letters correspond to: a) a fissure to the W of the lava flow; b) an active lava flow from the Ñuñurcu dome; c) the central crater producing a volcanic gas plume; d) a pyroclastic flow deposit produced by collapsing material from the front of the lava flow. Prepared by M. Almeida; courtesy of IG-EPN (special report No. 3 – 2019).

Activity at the central crater by 21 May was characterized by sporadic explosive eruptions that ejected hot ballistic ejecta (blocks) with velocities over 400 km/hour; after landing on the flanks the blocks travelled out to 2.5 km from the crater. Ash plumes reached heights between 0.9-2.3 km above the crater and dispersed mainly to the W and NW; gas plumes also dispersed to the W. The Ñuñurcu dome is located around 190 m SSE of the central crater and by 21 May had produced a lava flow over 470 m long with a maximum width of 175 m and an estimated minimum volume of 300,000 to 600,000 m3. Small pyroclastic flows and rockfalls resulted from collapse of the lava flow front, depositing material over a broad area on the E-SE flanks (figure 33). One pyroclastic flow reached 340 m and covered an area of 14,300 m2. During the 17 May observation flight the lava flow surface reached 277°C.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. A view of the ESE flanks of Sangay on 17 May 2019. The area within the black dotted line is the main area of pyroclastic flow deposition from the Ñuñurco Dome. Photo by M. Almeida; courtesy of IG-EPN (special report No. 4 – 2019).

At the end of June activity was continuing at the central crater and Ñuñurco Dome. At least three lava flows had been generated from the dome down the SE flank and pyroclastic flows continued to form from the flow fronts (figure 34). Pyroclastic material had been washed into the Upano river and steam was observed in the Volcán River possibly due to the presence of hot rocks. Ash plumes continued through June reaching heights of 800 m above the crater (figure 35), but no ashfall had been reported in nearby communities.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Sentinel-2 natural color (left) and thermal (center) images (bands 12, 11, 4), and 1:50 000 scale maps (right) of Sangay with interpretation on the background of a 30 m numerical terrain model (WGS84; Zone 17S) (Prepared by B. Bernard). The dates from top to bottom are 17 May, 22 May, 27 May, 16 June, and 26 June 2019. Prepared by B. Bernard; courtesy IG-EPN (special report No. 4 – 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Plots giving the heights and dispersal direction of ash plumes at Sangay during May and June 2019. Top: Ash plume heights measures in meters above the crater. Bottom: A plot showing that the dominant dispersal direction of ash plumes is to the W during this time. Courtesy of IG-EPN (special report No. 4 – 2019).

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) — May 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kadovar

Papua New Guinea

3.608°S, 144.588°E; summit elev. 365 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions and thermal anomalies during October 2018-April 2019; lava emissions at the E flank coast and summit area

Steeply-sloped Kadovar Island is located about 25 km NNE from the mouth of the Sepik River on the mainland of Papua New Guinea. The first confirmed historical eruption with ash plumes and lava extrusion began in early January 2018, resulting in the evacuation of around 600 residents from the N side of the approximately 1.4-km-diameter island (BGVN 43:03); continuing activity from October 2018 through April 2019 is covered in this report. Information was provided by the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), satellite sources, and photos from visiting tourists.

Activity during March-September 2018. After the first recorded explosions with ash plumes in early January 2018, intermittent ash plumes continued through March 2018. A lava flow on the E flank extended outward from the island, extruding from a vent low on the E flank and forming a dome just offshore. The dome collapsed and regrew twice during February 2018; the growth rate slowed somewhat during March. A satellite image from 21 March 2018 was one of the first showing the new dome growing off the E flank with a thermal anomaly and sediment plumes in the water drifting N and E from the area. Thermal anomalies were visible at both the summit vent and the E-flank coastal dome in in April and May 2018, along with steam and gas rising from both locations (figure 19).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Kadovar provided clear evidence of thermal activity at the new E-flank coastal dome during March-May 2018. Sediment plumes were visible drifting N and E in the water adjacent to the coastal dome. The summit crater also had a persistent steam plume and thermal anomaly in April and May 2018. Left: 21 March 2018. Middle 10 April 2018. Right: 15 May 2018. Images all shown with "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

A trip to Kadovar by tourists in mid-May 2018 provided close-up views of the dense steam plumes at the summit and the growing E-flank coastal dome (figures 20 and 21). The thermal anomaly was still strong at the E-flank coastal dome in a mid-June satellite image, but appeared diminished in late July. Intermittent puffs of steam rose from both the summit and the coastal dome in mid-June; the summit plume was much denser on 29 July (figure 22). Ash emissions were reported by the Darwin VAAC and photographed by tourists during June (figure 23) and September 2018 (BGVN 43:10), but thermal activity appeared to decline during that period (figure 24).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. A tourist photographed Kadovar and posted it online on 19 May 2018. Steam plumes rose from both the summit and the E-flank coastal dome in this view taken from the SE. Courtesy of Tico Liu.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. A closeup view of the E-flank coastal dome at Kadovar posted online on 19 May 2018 showed steam rising from several places on the dome, and dead trees on the flank of the volcano from recent eruptive activity. Courtesy of Tico Liu.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. The thermal anomaly was still strong at the E-flank coastal dome of Kadovar in a 14 June 2018 satellite image (left), but appeared diminished on 29 July 2018 (right). Intermittent puffs of steam rose from both the summit and the coastal dome on 14 June; the summit plume was much denser on 29 July. Sentinel-2 images both show "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. An ash plume rose from the summit of Kadovar and drifted W while steam and gas rose from the E-flank coastal dome, posted online 27 June 2018. Courtesy of Shari Kalt.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Thermal activity at Kadovar for the year ending on 26 April 2019 was consistent from late April 2018 through mid-June 2018; a quiet period afterwards through late September ended with renewed and increased thermal activity beginning in October 2018. All distances are actually within 1 km of the summit of Kadovar, a DEM georeferencing error makes some locations appear further away. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Multiple satellite images during August and early September 2018 showed little or no sign of thermal activity at the E-flank coastal dome, with only intermittent steam plumes from the summit. A new steam plume on the eastern slope appeared in a 22 September 2018 image (figure 25). The Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) reported explosive activity on the afternoon of 21 September. Noises of explosions were accompanied by dark gray and brown ash clouds that rose several hundred meters above the summit crater and drifted NW. Local reports indicated that the activity continued through 26 September and ashfall was reported on Blupblup island during the period. Ground observers noted incandescence visible from both the summit and the E-flank coastal dome.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Steam plumes were seen in satellite images of Kadovar during August and early September 2018, but no thermal anomalies. Intermittent steam plumes rose from the summit vent on 28 August (left). A new dense steam plume originating mid-way down the E flank appeared on 22 September 2018 (right). Sentinel-2 images both show "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during October-December 2018. Evidence of both thermal and explosive activity reappeared in October 2018 (figure 24). The Darwin VAAC reported intermittent ash plumes rising to 2.7 km altitude and drifting W on 1 October 2018. Low-level continuous ash emissions rising less than a kilometer and drifting W were reported early on 3 October. A higher plume drifted WNW at 2.4 km altitude on 7 October. Intermittent discrete emissions of ash continued daily at that altitude through 16 October, drifting NW or W. Ash emissions drifting NW and thermal anomalies at the summit were visible in satellite imagery on 2 and 12 October (figure 26). A brief ash emission was reported on 21 October 2018 at 2.4 km altitude drifting NE for a few hours. Intermittent ash emissions also appeared on 29 October moving SE at 1.8 km altitude. For the following three days ash drifted SW, W, then NW at 2.1 km altitude, finally dissipating on 1 November; the thermal anomaly at the summit was large and intense in satellite images on 27 October and 1 November compared with previous images (figure 27).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Ash emissions drifting NW and thermal anomalies at the summit of Kadovar were visible in satellite imagery on 2 and 12 October 2018; no thermal activity was noted at the E-flank coastal dome. Sentinel-2 images both show "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Strong thermal anomalies at the summit of Kadovar on 27 October and 1 November 2018 were not concealed by the steam plumes drifting SW and NW from the summit. Sentinel-2 images both show "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

An ash explosion was photographed by tourists on a cruise ship on the afternoon of 6 November 2018 (figure 28). After the explosion, a dense steam plume rose from a large dome of lava near the summit at the top of the E flank (figure 29). Continuous ash emissions rising to 1.8 km altitude were reported by the Darwin VAAC beginning on 9 November 2018 moving WNW and lasting about 24 hours. A new ash plume clearly identifiable on satellite imagery appeared on 13 November at 2.4 km altitude moving E, again visible for about 24 hours. Another shipboard tourist photographed an ash plume on 18 November rising a few hundred meters above the summit (figure 30).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. An explosion at Kadovar photographed on the afternoon of 6 November 2018 sent a dense gray ash plume hundreds of meters above the summit drifting W; blocks of volcanic debris descended the flanks as well. View is from the S. Courtesy of Coral Expeditions, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Tourists on a cruise ship passed by Kadovar on 6 November 2018 and witnessed a steam plume drifting W from a large dome of lava near the summit at the top of the E flank after an ash explosion. Smaller steam plumes were visible in the middle and at the base of the E flank, but no activity was visible at the coastal dome off the E flank (lower right). View is from the SE. Courtesy of Coral Expeditions, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. An ash plume rose at dusk from the summit of Kadovar and was witnessed by a cruise ship tourist on 18 November 2018. View is from the E; the E-flank coastal dome is a lighter area in the lower foreground. Courtesy of Philip Stern.

Low-level ash emissions were reported briefly on 28 November at about 1 km altitude moving SE. Intermittent puffs of ash were seen drifting WSW on 2 and 3 December at about 1.2 km altitude. They were the last VAAC reports for 2018. Two thermal anomalies were visible at the summit in satellite imagery on 26 November, they grew larger and more intense through 16 December when multiple anomalies appeared at the summit and on the E flank (figure 31).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Multiple thermal anomalies near the summit of Kadovar grew larger and more intense between 26 November and 16 December 2018. Sentinel-2 images show "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during January-April 2019. Multiple thermal anomalies were still visible at the summit in satellite imagery on 5 January 2019 as regular puffs of steam drifted SE from the summit, leaving a long trail in the atmosphere (figure 32). Additional imagery on 10 and 30 January showed a single anomaly at the summit, even through dense meteorologic clouds. A short-lived ash emission rose to 2.4 km altitude on 11 January 2019 and drifted E; it dissipated the next day. Multiple minor intermittent discrete ash plumes extended WNW at 3.0 km altitude on 18 January; they dissipated within six hours.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Multiple thermal anomalies were visible in satellite imagery of Kadovar on 5 January 2019 as regular puffs of steam drifted SE from the summit. Sentinel-2 image shows "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force released images of eruptive activity on 10 February 2019 (figure 33). Satellite imagery in February was largely obscured by weather; two thermal anomalies were barely visible through clouds at the summit on 14 February. The Darwin VAAC reported an ash emission at 1.8 km altitude drifting ESE on 16 February; a similar plume appeared on 21 February that also dissipated in just a few hours.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. The Royal New Zealand Air Force released images of an ash plume at Kadovar on 10 February 2019. Courtesy of Brad Scott.

Satellite imagery on 1 March 2019 confirmed a strong thermal anomaly from the summit and down the E flank almost to the coast. A month later on 5 April the anomaly was nearly as strong and a dense ash and steam plume drifted N from the summit (figure 34). A tourist witnessed a dense steam plume rising from the summit on 4 April (figure 35). Multiple discrete eruptions were observed in satellite imagery by the Darwin VAAC on 9 April at 1.2-1.5 km altitude drifting SE. The thermal anomaly at the summit persisted in satellite imagery taken on 15 April 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. A strong thermal anomaly appeared from the summit down the E flank of Kadovar on 1 March 2019 (left). A month later on 5 April the strong anomaly was still present beneath a dense plume of ash and steam (right). Sentinel-2 imagery shows "Geology" rendering with bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. A dense steam plume is shown here rising from the summit area of Kadovar, posted online on 4 April 2019. View is from the N. Courtesy of Chaiyasit Saengsirirak.

Geologic Background. The 2-km-wide island of Kadovar is the emergent summit of a Bismarck Sea stratovolcano of Holocene age. Kadovar is part of the Schouten Islands, and lies off the coast of New Guinea, about 25 km N of the mouth of the Sepik River. The village of Gewai is perched on the crater rim. A 365-m-high lava dome forming the high point of the andesitic volcano fills an arcuate landslide scarp that is open to the south, and submarine debris-avalanche deposits occur in that direction. Thick lava flows with columnar jointing forms low cliffs along the coast. The youthful island lacks fringing or offshore reefs. No certain historical eruptions are known; the latest activity was a period of heightened thermal phenomena in 1976.

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Tico Liu, Hong Kong (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tico.liu. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155389178192793&set=pcb.10155389178372793&type=3&theater); Shari Kalt (Instagram user LuxuryTravelAdvisor: https://www.instagram.com/luxurytraveladviser/, https://www.instagram.com/p/BkhalnuHu2j/); Coral Expeditions, Australia (URL: https://www.coralexpeditions.com/, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/coralexpeditions); Philip Stern (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sternph, https://www.facebook.com/sternph/posts/2167501866616908); Brad Scott, GNS Science Volcanologist at GNS Science, New Zealand (Twitter: https://twitter.com/Eruptn); Chaiyasit Saengsirirak, Bangkok, Thailand (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chaiyasit.saengsirirak, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2197513186969355).


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

Sarychev Peak

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Brief ash emission reported on 16 May 2019

Located on Matua Island in the central Kurile Islands of Russia, Sarychev Peak has historical observations of eruptions dating back to 1765. Thermal activity in October 2017 (BGVN 43:11) was the first sign of renewed activity since a major eruption with ash plumes and pyroclastic flows in June 2009 (BGVN 34:06). The following month (November 2017) there was fresh dark material on the NW flank that appeared to be from a flow of some kind. After that, intermittent thermal anomalies were the only activity reported until explosions with ash plumes took place that lasted for about a week in mid-September 2018 (figure 24). Additional explosions in mid-October were the last reported for 2018. A single ash explosion in May 2019 was the only reported activity from November 2018 to May 2019, the period covered in this report. Information is provided by the Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT) and the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), members of the Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (FEB RAS), and from satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Multiple ash plumes were observed at Sarychev Peak during September 2018. Left: 13 September. Right: 18 September. Photos by S. A. Tatarenkov, courtesy of IMGG FEB RAS.

Satellite imagery in mid-September and early October 2018 showed gas emissions from the summit vent, and a weak thermal anomaly in October (figure 25). KVERT lowered the Aviation Color Code from Orange to Yellow on 1 November 2018, and SVERT released a VONA on 12 November 2018 lowering the Aviation Color Code from Yellow to Green after the ash emissions in October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Minor gas emissions were visible at Sarychev Peak in satellite imagery in mid-September and early October 2018; a possible weak thermal anomaly appeared in the summit vent in October. Top left: 13 September. Top right: 18 September. Bottom left: 8 October. Bottom right: 11 October. The 13 September image uses "Natural Color" rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) and the other images use "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2). Sentinel-2 satellite imagery courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Sentinel-2 satellite instruments in March, April, and May 2019 acquired images that showed dark streaks in the snow-covered peak radiating out from the summit vent in various directions. As the spring snows melted, more dark streaks appeared. It is unclear whether the streaks represent fresh ash, particulates from gas emissions in the snow, or concentrated material from earlier emissions that were exposed during the spring melting (figure 26). No further activity was reported until the Tokyo VAAC noted an eruption on 16 May 2019 that produced an ash plume which rose to 2.4 km altitude and drifted S. It was visible in satellite imagery for 3 or 4 hours before dissipating. SVERT reported the ash plume visible up to 50 km SE of the island. They also noted that weak thermal anomalies had been seen in satellite data on 10, 12, and 17 May 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Streaks of brown radiate outward from the summit vent at Sarychev Peak in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery taken during March-May 2019. The exact material and timing of deposition is unknown. Top left: 17 March. Top middle: 14 April. Top right: 19 April. Bottom left: 29 April, Bottom middle: 6 May. Bottom right: 26 May 2019. Sentinel-2 images with "Natural Color" rendering using bands 4,3, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, (FEB RAS IMGG), 693 022 Russia, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, ul. Science 1B (URL: http://imgg.ru/ru); Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT), Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Science, Nauki st., 1B, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia, 693022 (URL: http://www.imgg.ru/en/, http://www.imgg.ru/ru/svert/reports); Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Nyiragongo (DR Congo) — May 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake remains active through May 2019; three new vents around the secondary cone

Since at least 1971 scientists and tourists have observed a lava lake within the Nyiragongo summit crater. Lava flows have been a hazard in the past for the nearby city of Goma (15 km S). The previous report (BGVN 43:06) of activity between November 2017 and May 2018 described nearly daily record of thermal anomalies due to the active lava lake and lava fountaining, gas-and-steam plumes, and the opening of a new vent within the crater in February 2016. Monthly reports from the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) disseminate information regarding the volcano's activity. This report updates the activity during June 2018-May 2019.

OVG noted that the level of the lava lake changes frequently, and was lower when observed on October 2018, 12 April 2019, and 12 May 2019. According to data from the OVG, on 15 April 2019 the secondary cone that formed in February 2016 produced lava flows and ejecta. In addition, at least three other vents formed surrounding this secondary cone. During most of April 2019 the lava lake was still active; however, beginning on 12 April 2019, seismic and lava lake activity both declined.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data continues to show almost daily, strong thermal anomalies every month from June 2018 through 24 May 2019 (figure 66). Similarly, the MODVOLC algorithm reports a majority of the hotspot pixels (2,406) occurring within the lava lake at the summit crater (figure 67).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Thermal anomalies at Nyiragongo for June 2018 through 24 May 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were frequent and strong. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Map showing the number of MODVOLC hotspot pixels at Nyiragongo from 1 June 2018 to 31 May 2019. Nyiragongo (2,423 pixels) is at the bottom center; Nyamuragira volcano (342 pixels) is about 13 km NW. Courtesy of HIGP-MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

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), Goma, North Kivu, DR Congo (URL: https://www.facebook.com/Observatoire-Volcanologique-de-Goma-OVG-180016145663568/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/).


Bezymianny (Russia) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

55.972°N, 160.595°E; summit elev. 2882 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam plumes, and lava dome growth during February-May 2019; strong explosion in mid-March

Volcanism at Bezymianny has been frequent since 1955. During the last reporting period, observations primarily consisted of moderate gas-and-steam emissions and thermal anomalies. Lava dome growth has been reported, as well as the effusion of several lava flows onto the dome flanks. Monitoring is the responsibility of the Kamchatka Volcano Eruptions Response Team (KVERT). Activity during February to mid-March 2019 consisted of predominantly moderate gas-and-steam emissions. Incandescent, hot avalanches from the lava dome, strong fumarolic activity, and a thermal anomaly began to occur in mid-March 2019. This reporting period includes activity from February-May 2019.

One explosion occurred during this reporting period. According to video data from KVERT and seismic data from the Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Service, on 15 March 2019 an explosion sent ash up to an altitude of 15 km. According to the KVERT Weekly Reports, satellite data showed large ash clouds from this eruption drifting several thousands of kilometers east from the volcano. The Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) issued by KVERT for this event described ash clouds to a distance of about 870 km. Ashfall was reported in Ust'-Kamchatsk (115 km E) on 15 March and Nikolskoe (350 km E) on 15-16 March 2019.

Beginning 15 March and continuing through May 2019, the number of hot avalanches from the lava dome top significantly increased, as well as the temperature of the thermal anomalies as reported by KVERT based on satellite data. Incandescent lava dome growth with extruding, viscous lava flows accompanying strong fumarolic activity and thermal anomalies continued in late April-May 2019 (figure 30).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. Fumarolic plume rising above at Bezymianny on 14 April 2019. Photo by A. Klimova, courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT.

MODIS infrared data processed by MIROVA showed stronger and more frequent thermal anomalies in mid-March 2019 compared to the typical thermal activity since late January and afterwards through May (figure 31). According to the MODVOLC algorithm, 11 hotspot pixels were recorded between February and May 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Thermal anomalies at Bezymianny for September 2018 through May 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. Prior to its noted 1955-56 eruption, Bezymianny had been considered extinct. The modern volcano, much smaller in size than its massive neighbors Kamen and Kliuchevskoi, was formed about 4700 years ago over a late-Pleistocene lava-dome complex and an ancestral edifice built about 11,000-7000 years ago. Three periods of intensified activity have occurred during the past 3000 years. The latest period, which was preceded by a 1000-year quiescence, began with the dramatic 1955-56 eruption. This eruption, similar to that of St. Helens in 1980, produced a large horseshoe-shaped crater that was formed by collapse of the summit and an associated lateral blast. Subsequent episodic but ongoing lava-dome growth, accompanied by intermittent explosive activity and pyroclastic flows, has largely filled the 1956 crater.

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/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Service, Russian Academy of Sciences (KB GS RAS) (URL: http://www.emsd.ru/); 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/).


Nevados de Chillan (Chile) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevados de Chillan

Chile

36.868°S, 71.378°W; summit elev. 3180 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash explosions and dome growth during December 2018-May 2019; ballistic ejecta deposited around the crater, with a pyroclastic flow in May

The current Nevados de Chillán eruption period began on 8 January 2018 with a phreatic explosion from the new Nicanor crater, within the Nuevo crater; a new dome was observed within this crater the next day. Dome growth continues with explosions that eject ash plumes and incandescent ejecta. This bulletin summarizes activity from December 2018 through May 2019 and is based on reports by Chile's Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)-Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS) and satellite imagery.

Throughout December 2018 pulsating emissions from the Nicanor crater produced white plumes predominantly composed of water vapor, with occasional ash ejections giving the plume a gray appearance. Incandescence was frequently observed during the night due to the ejection of hot ballistic ejecta emplaced around the crater during explosions. After 11 months of observations, the dacite dome in the crater maintained a semi-stable extrusion rate of around 345 m3/day. Explosions were reported on 7, 17, 28, and 29 December.

Similar background activity continued through January with pulsating gas-and-steam plumes occasionally including ash, and incandescence observed during the nights due to hot ejecta around the crater. Explosions were recorded at 0500 and 1545 on 11 January, and on 13, 21, and 31 January (figures 33 and 34). During the night explosions and incandescent ejecta were observed impacting the area around the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. An explosion at Nevados de Chillán on 11 January 2019. The explosion ejected incandescent blocks that impacted the flanks. The timestamp is at the top left of each image; screenshots are of footage courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. An explosion at Nevados de Chillán on 31 January 2019 produced an ash plume from the Nicanor crater. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

Activity continued through February similar to previous months. The dome in the crater maintained a low extrusion, and activity alternated between dome growth and partial destruction during explosions. Steam-and-gas plumes with occasional ash content continued, with plumes reaching 1 km and drifting in multiple directions. Incandescence was observed during the night. Explosions were reported on 15 February.

During March through May, typical activity consisting of pulsating emission of steam plumes with occasional ash content, and incandescence at night, continued. Intermittent explosions associated with the partial destruction of the dome continued, with events reported on 1 March at 2323, and on 4, 7, and 8 March. Several explosions were reported during 8-9 and 23-30 April. Three explosions were reported on 3 May with one of them producing a 2-km-high ash plume and a pyroclastic flow on 10 May (figure 35). Additional explosions occurred on the 12 and 18 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. An explosion at Nevados de Chillán on 10 May 2019 produced an ash plume that rose to 2 km above the crater and a pyroclastic flow. The white plume in the bottom two images is steam from the interaction of the hot pyroclastic material and the snow. Screenshots are of a video courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN with timestamps indicated in the top left of each image.

Satellite data from December 2018 through May 2019 recorded intermittent thermal energy, with an increase after February 2019 (figure 36). Thermal anomalies from MODIS instruments were detected by the MODVOLC system on 29 March and 17 May 2019 (two anomalies). A thermal anomaly in the Nicanor crater was persistent in Sentinel-2 data throughout this period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Thermal anomalies at the active Nicanor crater of the Nevados de Chillán complex. Top: Sentinel-2 thermal image of showing the location of the thermal anomaly (orange). Bottom: MIROVA log radiative power plot of MODIS thermal infrared data from September 2018 through May 2019. Thermal signatures are intermittent and increase after February 2019. Note that the black lines are not from the crater and are unlikely to be related to volcanic activity. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground and MIROVA.

Geologic Background. The compound volcano of Nevados de Chillán is one of the most active of the Central Andes. Three late-Pleistocene to Holocene stratovolcanoes were constructed along a NNW-SSE line within three nested Pleistocene calderas, which produced ignimbrite sheets extending more than 100 km into the Central Depression of Chile. The largest stratovolcano, dominantly andesitic, Cerro Blanco (Volcán Nevado), is located at the NW end of the group. Volcán Viejo (Volcán Chillán), which was the main active vent during the 17th-19th centuries, occupies the SE end. The new Volcán Nuevo lava-dome complex formed between 1906 and 1945 between the two volcanoes and grew to exceed Volcán Viejo in elevation. The Volcán Arrau dome complex was constructed SE of Volcán Nuevo between 1973 and 1986 and eventually exceeded its height.

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); 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 10 (October 2004)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Asamayama (Japan)

Pumice and lithic samples from September eruption chemically similar to older lavas

Awu (Indonesia)

Volcanic seismicity ends in early August; weak plumes

Grimsvotn (Iceland)

Subglacial eruption penetrates ice cover and sends ash far as Finland

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Eruption from Southern Crater on 24 October; pyroclastic flows and ashfall

Montagu Island (United Kingdom)

Higher-resolution image shows abundant ash, not lava, on the N-flank

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Heavy rains cause frequent mudflows and increased seismicity

Spurr (United States)

Elevated seismicity, increased carbon dioxide emissions, and melting of the ice cap

St. Helens (United States)

Swelling dome rises ~250 m; minor plumes and few earthquakes

Taftan (Iran)

October 2003 visit found passive degassing; petrography of andesite lava sample



Asamayama (Japan) — October 2004 Citation iconCite this Report

Asamayama

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Pumice and lithic samples from September eruption chemically similar to older lavas

An explosive eruption occurred from the summit crater of Asama at 2002 on 1 September 2004 (BGVN 29:08). Most of the initial reporting was in Japanese, although many of those reports had segments in English. Setsuya Nakada and Yukio Hayakawa provided links to initially available reports. In initial assessments of the eruption, investigators identified several distinct suites of ejecta, including darker- and lighter-colored groups. The ERI report also discussed a breadcrust bomb sampled at Kromamegawara 3.5 km NE of Asama's crater, which contained a vitric outer film and vesicular interior. ERI compiled some initial major element compositions on the of products of the 1 September eruption, including those taken on both fresh pumices (bombs) and lithics. Both types of materials were chemically close to lavas erupted in the years 1783, 1973, and 1108.

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

Information Contacts: Geological Survey of Japan, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (GSJ AIST) (URL: http://www.aist.go.jp/); Yukio Hayakawa, Faculty of Education, Gunma University, Aramaki 4-2, Maebashi Gunma 371-8510, Japan (URL: http://www.hayakawayukio.jp/English.html); Setsuya Nakada, Volcano Research Center, Earthquake Research Institute (ERI), University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113, Japan (URL: http://www.eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp/VRC/index_E.html).


Awu (Indonesia) — October 2004 Citation iconCite this Report

Awu

Indonesia

3.689°N, 125.447°E; summit elev. 1318 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Volcanic seismicity ends in early August; weak plumes

Awu extruded a new dome in its crater by 2 June 2004 (BGVN 29:05). Several photos received from the Directorate of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (DVGHM) taken from the crater's upper S side illustrate the crater prior to and just after the 2004 dome emplacement (figures 4-6). Elevated seismicity continued into the week ending on 8 August 2004 (table 2). During 12-25 July, observers saw white thin-medium plumes gently rising to 50 m above the summit. A report covering 9-15 August, noted that the Awu observation post documented a weak plume 200 m tall. They also reported nine type-B earthquakes. A brief message from DVGHM on 7 December noted that Awu was then quiet.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. A N-looking photo of the Awu's crater taken in September 1995. Note the large ephemeral pond on the crater floor. Courtesy of DVGHM; photo by Kristianto.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. A N-looking photo from 25 May 2003 showing the active crater at Awu. Compared to the photo from 1995 (figure 7, above), the pond on the crater floor had shrunken. A photo from 8 December 2002 (not included in this report) showed that at that time the pond was largely gone. Courtesy of DVGHM; photo by Endi T. Bina.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. A N-looking photo of Awu's crater on 14 June 2004 showing the newly emplaced intra-crater dome and associated deposits. Disruption in the crater is also apparent, for example, the burial and heavy damage to vegetation . Thick steam made it difficult to see the distinctive rim on the crater's far side. Courtesy of DVGHM; photo by Agus Solihin.

Table 2. Summary of volcanic type-A earthquakes and tectonic earthquakes at Awu during 22 June through 15 August 2004. Volcanic type-B volcanic earthquakes also occurred occasionally, perhaps once a week, except in the 9-15 August interval, when they occurred nine times. Data for several days and time intervals (eg., 6 and 11 July, and 26 July-1 August) was not available. Courtesy of DVGHM.

Date Deep Volcanic (A-type) Tectonic
22 Jun-28 Jun 2004 5 84
29 Jun-05 Jul 2004 6 74
07 Jul-12 Jul 2004 3 93
13 Jul-18 Jul 2004 2 74
19 Jul-25 Jul 2004 25 110
26 Jul-01 Aug 2004 -- --
02 Aug-08 Aug 2004 7 92
09 Aug-15 Aug 2004 0 75

Aviation reports. The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre at Darwin, Australia, issued 15 reports (Volcanic Ash Advisories) regarding Awu during June 2004. These were the first and only Awu reports available in their archive of reports going back to 1998. The first message (on 8 June) was "Major eruption possible, but no eruption yet." Similar terminology accompanied Advisories until 12 June. The 9 June report noted "continuous small eruptions" and "four larger explosions in past two days." A plume also seen on satellite imagery was estimated by pilots to be at ~ 4.5-6 km. Later it became difficult to see the plume with satellite imagery. On 10 June two Advisories noted thin plumes directed NE extending ~ 37 km. The plumes were seen on imagery at 2325 and 0220 UTC (in aerospace shorthand, the imagery came from DVGHM, DMSP, GOES, and NOAA 17 satellites). The final Advisory, on 14 June, noted "Eruption details: Nil obs[erved] ash." That notice also commented that the alert status had dropped and no significant activity had been recorded, but a white plume rose ~ 100 m above the summit in the last 24 hours.

Geologic Background. The massive Gunung Awu stratovolcano occupies the northern end of Great Sangihe Island, the largest of the Sangihe arc. Deep valleys that form passageways for lahars dissect the flanks of the volcano, which was constructed within a 4.5-km-wide caldera. Powerful explosive eruptions in 1711, 1812, 1856, 1892, and 1966 produced devastating pyroclastic flows and lahars that caused more than 8000 cumulative fatalities. Awu contained a summit crater lake that was 1 km wide and 172 m deep in 1922, but was largely ejected during the 1966 eruption.

Information Contacts: Dali Ahmad, Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI), Directorate of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), United Nations, New York, NY 10017, USA; 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/).


Grimsvotn (Iceland) — October 2004 Citation iconCite this Report

Grimsvotn

Iceland

64.416°N, 17.316°W; summit elev. 1719 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Subglacial eruption penetrates ice cover and sends ash far as Finland

According to scientists from the Institute of Earth Sciences at the University of Iceland and the Icelandic Meteorological Office, an eruption began at the subglacial Grímsvötn volcano in the Vatnajökull ice cap, Iceland, on 1 November 2004 around 2100, and was declining by 5 November. The eruption, preceded by both long- and short-term precursors, was triggered by the release of overburden pressure associated with a glacial-outburst flood (jökulhlaup) originating from the subglacial caldera lake. The jökulhlaup reached a maximum on the afternoon of 2 November. At that time the peak discharge from affected rivers on the coastal plain at Skeidararsandur was 3,000-4,000 m3/s (based on information from the Icelandic Hydrological Service). Discharge declined quickly after the peak. No damage occurred to roads or bridges. The total volume of the jökulhlaup was ~ 0.5 km3.

Seismicity increased at the volcano in mid-2003, about the same time that uplift exceeded a maximum reached in 1998. Tthe last eruption at Grímsvötn occurred within the caldera beginning on 18 December 1998 and resulted in a catastrophic flood. Additional uplift and expansion of the volcano since mid-2003 heralded the latest activity. Seismicity further increased in late October 2004, and on 26 October high-frequency tremor indicated increased water flow from the caldera lake and suggested that a glacial outburst flood was about to begin. On 29 October, the amount of discharge increased in the Skeidara River. About 3 hours before the eruption an intense swarm of volcanic earthquakes started, changing to continuous low-frequency tremor at the onset of the eruption.

The release in overburden pressure associated with the outburst flood triggered the eruption. The amount of drop in water level in the caldera at the onset of the eruption was uncertain, but was probably on the order of 10-20 m, corresponding to a pressure change of 0.1-0.2 MPa at the volcano's surface. This modest pressure change triggered the eruption because pressure in the shallow magma chamber was high after continuous inflow of magma since 1998.

Figure 5 shows the epicenters from 18 October to 1 November 2004, along with preliminary locations of the eruption site. In the early morning of 1 November, an earthquake swarm began beneath Grímsvötn. By 1400 there were 12 earthquakes; at 0651 the largest, an event of M 3 occurred. At 2010 on 1 November an eruption warning was sent to the Civil Defense, earthquake magnitudes had increased and around that time the swarm intensified. About 160 earthquakes with magnitudes up to 2.8 were recorded during the next 2 hours.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. A map of the Grímsvötn area (top) showing epicenters registered from 18 October to 1 November 2004 (circles) and approximate locations of vents through the glacier (two diamonds), which lie just inside the caldera's SE margin. Seismic stations are denoted by triangles, and a continuous GPS (Global Positioning System) station by a square. A larger-scale map (bottom, base map by Magnús Tumi Gudmundsson) provides a closer look at the 2004 eruption site, locating the two ice cauldrons and cracks, as well as the margins of the ash dispersal patterns. Contours reflect 2003 ice-surface contours. A separate set of boldly hachured lines indicates the lobate form of the subglacial caldera's topographic margins. Courtesy of the Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Initially under ice 150-200 m thick, the eruption melted its way through to the surface in about 1 hour. An eruption plume was detected by radar around midnight on 1 November. Radar estimates of plume altitude stood at 12-13 km numerous times during 2-3 November. A plot of altitude versus time showed two cases where plume heights were almost 13 km; each occurred about 0200 on 2 and 3 November. The weather radar used to make the plot was located at Keflavik-Airport, 260 km from Grímsvötn.

Lightning. Early on 2 November and through most of the morning on 3 November, numerous lightning strikes were detected by instruments, and their computed locations largely centered over Grímsvötn. The ash plume was driven to the N by southerly winds during the whole eruption. Accordingly, both the scatter and SE extension of the lightning were judged likely artifacts of imprecision in estimates of lighning locations (figure 6).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Map view of lightning in Iceland located by the UK Met Office's ATD sferics system during the first 36 hours of the Grímsvötn eruption (posted on the website of the Icelandic Meteorological Office). The inset graph shows a time-series of lightning strikes and their currents in kA (thousands of amps) recorded in conjunction with the Grímsvötn eruption during 2-3 November 2004. The plot was produced with data from the Syxri-Neslönd station, an LLP lightning direction-finder.

Regarding the lightning data, geophysicist Pordur Arason described the three systems used. First, the Icelandic lightning location system consists of three LLP direction finder stations, each measuring time, direction, polarity, intensity and multiplicity. The stations discriminate lightning and record only cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning. The location system is old (produced pre-1980) and unfortunately only one station (Sydri-Neslond) gave useful measurements. By assuming distance from the station to Grímsvötn, Arason calculated the current in the lightning. He noted that almost all of this CG lightning showed negative polarity (lightning polarity is determined by the charge of the cloud compared to Earth).

A second lightning system results from cooperation with the UK Met Office, and one of their ATD sferics stations in Iceland. Arason had access to their data. The locations on figure 2 are those of the ATD system, which gives times and locations but does not discriminate between cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning and cloud-to-cloud (CC) lightning, although it is biased towards CG, since its antennas only measure vertical electric-field variations.

The third system was a one-station recording system of vertical electric field variations (EFMS) in Reykjavik that records the vertical component of the electric field every 200 ns for a period of a 1 ms. During the eruption it recorded the waveforms of about 150 lightning events. About half of these show characteristics of a negative polarity CG and half CC.

Magma-water interactions lead to explosions, emission of ash and steam, and to charge separation. Erupted ash becomes negatively charged and the steam positively charged. Almost all of the CG lightning had negative polarity, indicating its origin in the ash, and not the steam.

Other observations. The initial inspection of the eruption from an airplane took place around 0800 UTC on 2 November. It confirmed that a phreatomagmatic eruption was in progress from a short (less than 1-km-long) eruptive fissure at 64.40°N, 17.23°W. At that time a continuous plume rose to ~ 9 km altitude. Observations throughout the day revealed periods of high explosive activity, with maximum plume heights of 12-14 km. The strength of the eruption correlated with the seismically recorded volcanic tremor. Some explosive activity had occurred in a second ice cauldron near the SE edge of Grímsvötn, 8 km to the E of the main crater. This ice cauldron issued steam when first detected after noon on 2 November.

The London VAAC reported that the ash plume produced from the eruption reached a height of ~ 12.2 km a.s.l. According to news articles, the eruption occurred in an unpopulated region so no evacuations were needed, but air traffic was diverted away from the region.

Observation flights later on 2 November photographed and videoed the vent that had opened through in the ice (figures 7-9). Plumes were sometimes nearly white and steam dominated, at other times black and ash dominated, and in some cases visible portions of the plumes simultaneously reflected both of these extremes (figure 7, 8, and 9). A 2 November view of the jökulhlaup appears as figure 10.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. A view looking NW at the Grímsvötn eruption across an expanse of the Vatnajökull glacier. This photo was taken between 1530 and 1615 on 2 November 2004. Courtesy of the Icelandic Meteorological Office; photo credit, Matthew J. Roberts.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. An E-looking aerial photograph showing ash falling from the Grímsvötn eruption plume, which at the time was far from vertical. The shot was taken between 1530 and 1615 on 2 November 2004. Courtesy of the Icelandic Meteorological Office; photo credit, Matthew J. Roberts.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Close-up aerial view of the Grímsvötn eruption, taken from the S between 1530 and 1615 on 2 November 2004. Courtesy of the Icelandic Meteorological Office; photo credit, Matthew J. Roberts.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. An aerial photo of the jökulhlaup from the Grímsvötn eruption, taken at 1630 on 2 November 2004 (at Skeidarar) looking inland towards the glacier (left, mid-background). The swollen, sediment-charged river system has locally inundated the coastal plains and challenged the roadway system engineered to cope with such occurrences. Courtesy of the Icelandic Meteorological Office; photo credit, Matthew J. Roberts.

On 3 November, eruptive activity occurred in pulses, resulting in changing eruption column heights from 8-9 km to 13-14 km above the volcano. During the course of the eruption, ash plumes and tephra distributions imaged by satellites typically showed trends to the NE; in some cases plumes remained visible at least 150 km from the eruption site. A distal ash plume was observed in Norway, Finland, and Sweden.

On 9 November from 0630 to 1330 a tremor pulse was recorded, and on 11 November, from a little past 0900 and again around 1100, the seismic station at the volcano showed what the Iceland Meteorological Office called "increased jökulhlaup tremor." This tremor decreased after midnight on 12 November, increased from 0500 to 0830, then decreased again. The eruption followed a pattern similar to previous eruptions in 1983 and 1998, with probably less than 0.1 km3 of magma erupted.

According to scientists at the Iceland Meteorological Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland, these eruptions, together with the 1996 Gjalp eruption N of Grímsvötn reflect much higher activity at Grímsvötn than during the middle part of last century, and may indicate that Grímsvötn is entering into a new period of high volcanism that may last for decades. Such a high activity period had been predicted on the basis of the observed cyclic volcanism in the area in the preceding millennium.

Geologic Background. Grímsvötn, Iceland's most frequently active volcano in historical time, lies largely beneath the vast Vatnajökull icecap. The caldera lake is covered by a 200-m-thick ice shelf, and only the southern rim of the 6 x 8 km caldera is exposed. The geothermal area in the caldera causes frequent jökulhlaups (glacier outburst floods) when melting raises the water level high enough to lift its ice dam. Long NE-SW-trending fissure systems extend from the central volcano. The most prominent of these is the noted Laki (Skaftar) fissure, which extends to the SW and produced the world's largest known historical lava flow during an eruption in 1783. The 15-cu-km basaltic Laki lavas were erupted over a 7-month period from a 27-km-long fissure system. Extensive crop damage and livestock losses caused a severe famine that resulted in the loss of one-fifth of the population of Iceland.

Information Contacts: Freysteinn Sigmundsson, Pall Einarsson, Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson, Thordis Hognadottir, Anette Mortensen, and Fredrik Holm, Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland (URL: http://nordvulk.hi.is/, http://raunvisindastofnun.hi.is/); Steinunn Jakobsdottir, Matthew J. Roberts, Kristin Vogfjord, Ragnar Stefansson, and Pordur Arason, Icelandic Meteorological Office, Reykjavik, Iceland (URL: http://www.vedur.is/); London Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, Met Office, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, Devon EX1 3PB, United Kingdom (URL: http://www.metoffice.com/).


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — October 2004 Citation iconCite this Report

Manam

Papua New Guinea

4.08°S, 145.037°E; summit elev. 1807 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption from Southern Crater on 24 October; pyroclastic flows and ashfall

The Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) issued a series of information bulletins on Manam, describing conditions and hazard status recommendations associated with a strong eruption that started on 24 October 2004. That eruption was preceded by a clear buildup in seismicity, leading to a felt earthquake the day prior to the eruption. The eruption generated pyroclastic flows which traveled down the valley SE of the volcano and into the sea. The aviation color code rose to Red, the highest value.

The eruption's plume was imaged from space. Ash and condensed water vapor in the form of ice reached a maximum height of ~ 15 km altitude, intersecting the base of the tropopause but not entering the stratosphere. Low-level eruptive activity persisted after the 24 October eruption.

Lead-up to the 24 October eruption. RVO noticed increased low-frequency earthquakes at Manam beginning 15 October 2004. Its reports suggested the volcanic system had changed to a dynamic mode from its previously stable state. The escalation in low-frequency earthquakes during that interval was described as a "steady rise." But overall, the level was portrayed as low to moderate. In retrospect, RVO reports noted that seismicity increased steadily after 16 October; moreover, it rose further after a felt earthquake at about 1845 on the 23rd.

During 15-21 October RVO noted occasional weak roaring and rumbling noises from the Main Crater. The noises prevailed on 15, 16, and 17 October, becoming more frequent on the 18th, but reduced again on the 19th. The noises continued at a level similar to the 16th and 17th on the 20th and 21st. Noise from Southern Crater began on the 19th, consisting of the sound of a single low explosion. After the 20th, occasional low roaring and rumbling noises continued from both craters. Observers saw night glow from the Main Crater on the 18th and 19th. Occasionally the glow fluctuated at 3-5 minute intervals. Glow remained absent over Southern Crater. Both Craters released weak white-gray vapor.

Occasional ash-laden vapor was seen on the 21st from Southern Crater. In their report for 15-21 October, RVO recommended Alert Level 1. They said "Whilst no official public warning is required under this Alert Level, people living in and near the four main valleys of the Island should be informed to refrain from venturing into them unnecessarily." RVO later stressed the presence of NW winds at altitude, warning residents on that flank of possible ashfall.

Eruption on 24 October 2004. The eruption came from Southern Crater, beginning after 0800 on the 24th; it persisted throughout the morning and the early part of the afternoon, peaking between 1000 and 1100. At 1400 the eruption's intensity decreased slightly. Later that day it continued at a reduced level with moderate explosions and sub-continuous low rumbling and roaring noises.

The eruption produced a pyroclastic flow channeled into the SE valley, that eventually reached the sea. The NW part of the island, including villages between Tabele Mission and Baliau, were affected by ash and scoria falls. Some of the scoriae were fist-size and punched holes through the thatched-roofing of houses. The greatest impact occurred at Kuluguma and the surrounding villages. Casualties remained unreported. Between the hours of 0300 and 0500, residents of Wewak town called RVO, advising that fine ash had reached them.

Seismicity reflected the eruptive activity, with events peaking between the hours of 1000 and 1100, after which event counts reverted to low to moderate levels. Ongoing seismicity suggested that the volcano has not reached a completely quiet state. Still, the eruption level had declined as it continued. It was recommended that the Alert Level be upgraded from 1 to 2 (Stage 2 Alert Level does not call for evacuation from the Island). Authorities called for community information exchange ("toksave") on volcano status; for avoiding the four main valleys; for the population to stay prepared and organized, including village efforts.

The 24 October eruption caused the aviation color code to rise to Red, the highest value. According to RVO, low-level eruptive activity persisted after the 24 October eruption, decreasing further by 26 October. A RVO report issued at 0800 on 27 October noted that activity had subsided significantly since late on the 24th. An aerial inspection confirmed pyroclastic flows had gone down the SE- and upper part of the SW-trending valleys. A lava flow traveled 600 m down the SE valley. Tephra fall most affected the area from Kuluguma to Boda villages, including the Bieng Catholic mission on the island's NW side. Numerous food gardens were destroyed by the tephra deposit, which had an average thickness of 7 cm measured at the Bieng mission. RVO recommended that the Alert Level be downgraded to 1.

On 27-28 October occasional ash emissions still escaped from Southern Crater. Brown ash clouds rose several hundred meters above the summit before drifting to the NW and SW, resulting in fine ashfall. The ash emissions were accompanied by weak roaring and rumbling noises. Weak night-time glows were visible. Although earthquakes were few, tremor persisted. Low seismicity was coupled with a decline in eruptive vigor.

During 28-29 October, comparatively mild eruptions continued. Southern Crater continued to eject occasional emissions of dark, moderately thick, ash-laden clouds. The ash clouds were again blown NW, traversing the area between Yassa and Baliau villages. Low roaring and rumbling noises accompanied some of the activity. It was difficult to observe Main Crater due to cloud cover. Glow was difficult to observe due to cloud cover as well. Few earthquakes occurred, but volcanic tremor continued.

Media reports. News articles reported that authorities advised evacuation of ~ 3,000 people to safer parts of the island. Some of those articles revealed that the island's current population stood at 7,000, and that the government had helped provide food and shelter for those displaced.

According to the online version of the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Post-Courier, the Inter-Government Relations Minister, Sir Peter Barter, flew over the eruption. He allegedly saw large volumes of lava discharging into the sea, but judging from RVO observations, the term "lava" was mistakenly used for pyroclastic flows. In the news report Peter Barter had also stated that the entire SE side of the mountain, ~ 1 km wide, blew out, forcing lava (or other hot pyroclastic material) to flow down the SE valley to the sea. He was also reported as saying that at Bien (sometimes spelled Bieng, on the island's NW coast) his helicopter was hit by rocks (or other volcanic particles) that damaged its windscreen. Also, the Bien mission station lay beneath a heavy layer of ash. The damage to his helicopter kept him from flying completely around the island, missing the western segment between Bien, Yassa, Jorai, and the SW-flank settlement of Tabele, areas hit hardest by dust and rocks. He commented that much of the SE side of the island was relatively ash-free and safe, apart from the S-coast area between Dugulava (on the S coast) to Warisi.

A 27 October article by Dominic Krau in PNG's The National noted that the 24 October eruption had included a forceful outburst at 0800 on the 24th, and then climaxed during 1100-1400 that day, but had since been emitting only "smoke" and ash. It noted that prime minister Michael Somare had flown to Manam for a first-hand look at the damage. The same article mentioned that Peter Barter had assured that functioning radios were available at the settlements of Bien, Tabele, Warisis, Dugalava, Abereia, Bukure, and Kolang. It reported that volcanic ash fell in Wewak (on the main island's coast, 120 km NW), resulting in the civil aviation authority temporarily closing down the Boram airport for safety reasons.

Andrew Tupper of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) posted satellite images of the 24 October eruption's ash cloud, which occurred just before the Terra and Aqua satellites passed over. They also captured AVHRR and GOES data of a very ice-rich volcanic cloud. The coldest temperature measured by BOM from the high-level cloud was about 204 K (a couple of hours after the eruption), which translates to an altitude of ~ 15 km. This altitude was in harmony with the cloud's subsequent dispersion pattern and wind-velocity models. Pilot reports have been generally lower, as is usual for large eruptions. There was no evidence of significant stratospheric penetration (the tropopause height was 15-16 km).

Geologic Background. The 10-km-wide island of Manam, lying 13 km off the northern coast of mainland Papua New Guinea, is one of the country's most active volcanoes. Four large radial valleys extend from the unvegetated summit of the conical 1807-m-high basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano to its lower flanks. These "avalanche valleys" channel lava flows and pyroclastic avalanches that have sometimes reached the coast. Five small satellitic centers are located near the island's shoreline on the northern, southern, and western sides. Two summit craters are present; both are active, although most historical eruptions have originated from the southern crater, concentrating eruptive products during much of the past century into the SE valley. Frequent historical eruptions, typically of mild-to-moderate scale, have been recorded since 1616. Occasional larger eruptions have produced pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached flat-lying coastal areas and entered the sea, sometimes impacting populated areas.

Information Contacts: Andrew Tupper, Australian Bureau of Meteorology; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, Australian Bureau of Meteorology (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac); Rabaul Volcanological Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea; Papua New Guinea Post-Courier Online (URL: http://www.postcourier.com.pg).


Montagu Island (United Kingdom) — October 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)


Higher-resolution image shows abundant ash, not lava, on the N-flank

Matt Patrick of the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology reviewed our previous report on Montagu Island (BGVN 29:09) and noted some erroneous interpretations. These had relied on imagery from 1 October 2004. Patrick generated a significantly improved, scaled, higher (4-m) resolution IKONOS image from the same time frame (figure 8), and offered some refinements and important corrections.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. A 1 October 2004 image of Montagu Island taken with the IKONOS satellite (N towards the top; distance from summit vent to N coast is ~3 km). A lower higher resolution image appeared in BGVN 29:09. This new image indicates that tephra—not lava flows as previously reported—covers much of the ice over a sector on the island's N side. Courtesy of Space Imaging, NASA, and Matt Patrick.

First, the previous report noted that "the area of apparently continuous flows seems to have reached the island's N margin (a distance of 3 km)." Over the entire new image there doesn't seem to be any new vents nor lava. The darkened area N of the Belinda summit cone contains clear crevasses indicating a region of ice entirely covered in ash.

A second erroneous statement was, "Another visible feature, the black area to the NNW . . . presumably reveals lava flows emerging from beneath the ice." Patrick points out that on the new image this area is seen to contain some of the island's rocky cliffs contrasting against the ice cover. He attributed the darkness around this area mainly to shadow. The presence of rocky cliffs negates another statement in the previous issue: "The black area to the NNW may thus be a new vent area."

The previous report commented that, "Another such [dark, presumably lava-covered] area may reside on the NNE flanks, midway from the summit area and the coast." Patrick noted that on the new image this area appears chaotic and can easily be misidentified as recent volcanics. He goes on to say, "We made a similar mistake earlier on, thinking there were concentric fractures related to subglacial melting. But it turned out from pre-eruption images that this area is just covered in topographic crevasses. Looking at the [improved] IKONOS image, one can see this more clearly."

Patrick offered interpretations of some features on the new image, the first high-resolution image since February 2004. It shows continued steaming from Mount Belinda as well as tephra cover on the surrounding ice field, activity very similar to that seen on all the previous imagery. Although the new IKONOS image lacks any evidence of new lava since the 2003 lava flow, that particular lava field lies hidden under the steam plume in the IKONOS image. Thus, there could be newer material in that small region. The IKONOS image appears devoid of new vents, and emissions come solely from the summit area.

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

Information Contacts: Matt Patrick, HIGP Thermal Alerts Team, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) / School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).


Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — October 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)


Heavy rains cause frequent mudflows and increased seismicity

Table 58, taken from reports of the Monserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), summarizes activity at Soufrière Hills between 1 October and 26 November. The activity level remained elevated during much of this time period due to increases in seismicity, gas emission, rainfall, and mudflows.

Table 58. Activity recorded at Soufrière Hills, 1 October to 26 November 2004. One of the gas-monitoring sites only functioned on 18 November. Courtesy of Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO).

Date Activity Level Hybrid EQ's Mixed EQ's Volcano-tectonic EQ's Long-period EQ's SO2 emissions (tons/day) Rockfalls
01 Oct-08 Oct 2004 elevated 8 -- -- 2 187-1144 1
08 Oct-15 Oct 2004 elevated 9 -- -- -- 156- 553 1
15 Oct-22 Oct 2004 elevated 49 -- 1 -- 250-1100 4
22 Oct-29 Oct 2004 elevated 40 -- 1 -- 320-370 --
29 Oct-05 Nov 2004 elevated 33 -- 39 -- 140- 440 1
05 Nov-12 Nov 2004 -- 21 -- 14 -- 147- 225 3
12 Nov-19 Nov 2004 -- 12 -- 40 5 1111 3
19 Nov-26 Nov 2004 -- 25 -- 5 1 125-330 3

Heavy rains during the first six weeks of the reporting period led to steam venting, which triggered an increase in hybrid and volcanic-tectonic earthquakes. A large number of hybrid and volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes was recorded during most of October and early November. The most intense seismicity occurred during 2106-2216 on 12 November and 1335-1436 on 14 November.

Following the rains of 5-12 November, several fumaroles developed along the former Tuitt's Bottom and Pea Ghauts, but by 12 November, drier conditions prevailed and fumaroles diminished. Sulfur dioxide emissions remained low throughout most of the reporting period, however two surges in SO2 flux occurred during the weeks of 1 October and 15 October. Mudflows occurred since May. As heavy rainfall continued during October and November, more mudflows occurred. Nine separate mudflow events were recorded for this reporting period. The flows of 15, 19, 21, 22-29 October and 1, 3, 9, and 11 November were minor, though one of the flows, which traveled down the NW flank, reached the Belham River. A much heavier flow began around 0620 on 19 November, with a pulse occurring at 1138.

One MVO scientist deemed mudflows the "ongoing legacy of this [the 1995] eruption." Montserrat's rainy season typically continues until December, and more mudflows may occur in coming months. Mudflows have proven to be destructive, whether they have arisen from short, intense downpours or from a buildup over several rains. The example was given of mudflows after two hours of heavy rain on the afternoon of 21 May, which led to burial of the gateway to the Radio Antilles' offices.

MVO personnel made two observation flights during the reporting period (on 28 October and 4 November). Both flights confirmed the presence of the pond seen 30 August in the pit formed by the 3 March dome collapse. Looking into the crater, MVO scientists found no evidence of ongoing dome-building.

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/).


Spurr (United States) — October 2004 Citation iconCite this Report

Spurr

United States

61.299°N, 152.251°W; summit elev. 3374 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Elevated seismicity, increased carbon dioxide emissions, and melting of the ice cap

Spurr, ~ 125 km W of Anchorage across Cook Inlet, became restless in recent months. This activity consisted of increased seismicity beginning in February 2004, melting of the summit ice cap, and substantial emission rates of carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Scientists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) recorded hundreds of small earthquakes centered 4.8-6.4 km beneath the summit. Elevated levels of seismicity continued through early November 2004 (table 2). Although the rate of seismicity is greater than typical background levels, AVO has found no indication that an eruption is imminent.

Table 2. Weekly seismicity within 30 km of the summit at Spurr, with magnitudes over 1.5 and depths of 1-6 km. Courtesy of AVO.

Dates Average earthquakes per day
24 Jul-30 Jul 2004 10-20
31 Jul-06 Aug 2004 10-20
07 Aug-13 Aug 2004 10-20
14 Aug-20 Aug 2004 15 (70 events on 14 Aug)
21 Aug-27 Aug 2004 12
28 Aug-03 Sep 2004 14
04 Sep-10 Sep 2004 13
11 Sep-17 Sep 2004 12
18 Sep-24 Sep 2004 10
25 Sep-01 Oct 2004 13
02 Oct-08 Oct 2004 8
09 Oct-15 Oct 2004 9
16 Oct-22 Oct 2004 2-14
23 Oct-29 Oct 2004 12-24 (3 per hour on 26 Oct)
30 Oct-05 Nov 2004 0-24 (10 per hour on 4 Nov)

Aerial reconnaissance in mid-July and early August documented recent small flows of mud and rock and a depression in the icecap (an "ice cauldron") just NE of the summit that was ~ 50 x 75 m in size and ~ 25 m deep. The floor of the depression contained an icy pond, with small areas of open water. No steam or volcanic emissions were observed. The ice cauldron is a collapse feature possibly caused by an increase in heat coming from deep beneath the summit. Using sensitive instruments, scientists flying around the volcano on 7 August detected small amounts of the volcanic gases in a plume from the summit.

Observations and photography during the week ending 10 September revealed that the ice cauldron had enlarged substantially (to ~ 150 x 170 m), presumably as the roof of the meltwater basin continued to subside and collapse. AVO scientists measured gases being emitted by the summit vent and Crater Peak, a flank vent, during a fixed-wing flight on 15 September 2004. The combined output of CO2 from the two vents was ~ 2,300 tons/day, an increase from the ~ 760 tons/day measured 7-8 August 2004. The gray color of the lake at the bottom of the ice cauldron is typical of crater lakes containing dissolved SO2.

AVO staff took an overflight of the volcano on 18 October and reported that the summit ice cauldron persisted without appreciable change of its geometry or of the surrounding crevasses. The ice cauldron continued to contain standing water, no steam or sulfur scent was observed from the summit, and steam issuing from Crater Peak had not changed from previous observations.

References. Power, J., 2004, Renewed unrest at Mount Spurr Volcano, Alaska: Eos (Transactions, American Geophysical Union), v. 85, no. 43, p. 2.

Waythomas, C.F., and Nye, C.J., 2002, Preliminary volcano-hazard assessment for Mount Spurr Volcano, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 01.482, Alaska Volcano Observatory, Anchorage, Alaska, 39 pp.

Geologic Background. The summit of Mount Spurr, the highest volcano of the Aleutain arc, is a large lava dome constructed at the center of a roughly 5-km-wide horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the south. The volcano lies 130 km W of Anchorage and NE of Chakachamna Lake. The caldera was formed by a late-Pleistocene or early Holocene debris avalanche and associated pyroclastic flows that destroyed an ancestral edifice. The debris avalanche traveled more than 25 km SE, and the resulting deposit contains blocks as large as 100 m in diameter. Several ice-carved post-caldera cones or lava domes lie in the center of the caldera. The youngest vent, Crater Peak, formed at the breached southern end of the caldera and has been the source of about 40 identified Holocene tephra layers. Spurr's two historical eruptions, from Crater Peak in 1953 and 1992, deposited ash on the city of Anchorage.

Information Contacts: U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of the USGS, University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/).


St. Helens (United States) — October 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)


Swelling dome rises ~250 m; minor plumes and few earthquakes

At St. Helens, rapid dome growth and pronounced uplift continued. Although this report covers 9 October-12 November 2004, there are several photos and comments on prior events. Figure 47, for example, contains a satellite image from 5 October. R. Scott Ireland photographically documented the 4 and 5 October eruptions, starting from the smallest plumes and including later wind-blown ash-bearing plumes. Digital copies of Ireland's set will be preserved in the Smithsonian's archives. Much of this report came from information posted by the Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Image of St. Helens on 5 October 2004 from a Geostationery Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-10) showing a consistent ash-bearing plume extending NE for ~ 40 km. Courtesy of NOAA.

Figure 48 presents four aerial views into the crater, taken on 8 August and 7, 10, and 14 October. They portray the southern part of the crater containing a broad area of uplift and deformation associated with a more restricted zone of dome emergence. On 7 October the broad area of uplift on the S side of the 1980-86 lava dome stood ~ 400 m (N-S) by ~500 m (E-W), with a maximum uplift of about 100-120 m. For perspective on this growth, CVO's 11 November estimate noted an expanded area of uplift and some parts of the dome rising ~250 m above the glacier.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Four aerial photos depicting the southern portion of St. Helens's crater, an area of rapid uplift and dome emergence, from the S on 8 August and 7 October, and from the E on 10 and 14 October. The photos include an older dome lobe that was recently uplifted (Opus), steam releases, faulting (with upwards displacement towards the center), and the emergence of fresh dome lavas. Courtesy of USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory.

Table 5 summarizes CVO's observations. The terminology of numbered days for this eruption began at Day 1 (23 September), when precursory earthquakes began (BGVN 29:09). In contrast to those initial several weeks, during the current reporting interval seismicity generally remained low, an observation consistent with the slow rise of gas-poor magma. The emerging magma drove uplift of the glacier within the crater but did not yield large explosive discharges and tall plumes.

Table 5. A simplified chronology of the events at St. Helens from 23 September to 12 November 2004. Regarding the Hazard Status column, the colors in parentheses represent an informal aviation hazard status (low to high; green, yellow, orange, and red). Taken from material posted by the USGS.

Day Date Hazard Status Comment
DAY 17 09 Oct 2004 2 - Advisory (Orange) Moderate seismic activity-earthquakes up to M 2 at one event every two or three minutes.
DAY 18 10 Oct 2004 2 - Advisory (Orange) Earthquakes up to M 1 every minute.
DAY 19 11 Oct 2004 2 - Advisory (Orange) Low seismicity. Thermal imaging of the uplifted area (last seen on the 7th) found it had grown. The W portion of the uplift was steaming over a large diffuse area. Maximum measured surface temperatures were 200-300°C. Uplifting area discharged a brief emission at about 1600. Dusting of ash on new snow disclosed minor ash emissions the previous night.
DAY 20 12 Oct 2004 2 - Advisory (Orange) Low seismicity (earthquakes up to M 1 every 5-10 minutes). Thermal imaging of the W part of the uplifting area revealed temperatures of 500-600°C on a large pinkish-gray fin of rock and in nearby fumaroles and cracks.
DAY 21 13 Oct 2004 2 - Advisory (Orange) Hot (600°C) area both confirmed and appeared to have increased in size. Low seismicity; abundant steaming; SO2 and H2S detected; CO2 undetected; temperature and flow rate of water in streams similar to that measured in September.
DAY 22 14 Oct 2004 2 - Advisory (Orange) A zone approaching 700°C and in places reaching 761°C was measured on the new lobe, which emitted ash-rich jets rising ten's of meters. Abundant steam continued to rise from the area of lava extrusion to the crater rim. Low seismicity.
DAY 23-40 15-31 Oct 2004 2 - Advisory (Orange) Slight increase noted in area of uplift and new lobe of lava. On the 22nd a new protrusion of lava registered ~ 650°C. Slight increase in seismicity on 17th, but storm noise as well as rainfall triggering a small debris flow had also occurred; otherwise, seismicity was low.
DAY 41-53 01-12 Nov 2004 2 - Advisory (Orange) On the 5th there was an ash plume to ~ 3 km altitude; on the 9th, a steam plume rose to similar altitude. Also, a new extrusion was noted on the 5th (see text). By the 11th the dome's highest point stood ~ 250 m above the height of the glacier's surface prior to the eruption. On the 11th the hottest lava registered ~700°C. Low seismicity generally prevailed.

Thermal images of the exposed dome revealed elevated temperatures there. This confirmed that new lava had reached the surface of the uplift.

Other details. The weather enabled clear views on 10 October. A photo of the scene at dawn showed an orange-colored plume. Field observers noted fresh snow over the crater floor contained a thin SE-directed ash deposit stretching to just beyond the crater rim. A steam plume rose to crater rim level or slightly above all day on 10 October and continued to blow SE. USGS field workers described the plume as "lazy," emphasing the absence of gas thrusts or notably vigorous convection. When the field crew visited the volcano, the plume appeared clean, with no noticeable ash nor blue nor orange haze. The odor of H2S was noted at the crater's breach, but not elsewhere.

On 14 October observers noted an increase in the deforming and uplifting area on the S side of the 1980-1986 lava dome and the new lobe of lava in the W part of that area. The maximum temperature of 761°C was measured in parts of the new lobe from which ash rich jets rose ten's of meters. Magma extruded onto the surface, forming a new lobe of the lava dome. Instruments detected low levels of H2S and SO2, but no CO2.

Crews collected samples and documented clear dome growth on 20-21 October. The new lava extrusion had horizontal dimensions of ~ 300 x 75 m and a thickness of ~ 70 m. The fin-shaped lava spine had collapsed. The 21 October volume estimate was almost 2 x 106 m3. By 21 October the area of uplift and intense deformation had advanced S, nearing the crater wall. That day, ~ 30 cm of new snow with a light dusting of ash covered much of the uplift, except for the new lava extrusion, which steamed heavily. A vigorous steam plume rose to 3 km. Fluxes of gaseous H2S, SO2, and CO2 were low. Samples of the new dome were scooped up by a container slung on a line beneath a helicopter.

Atmospheric conditions on 27 October and 7 November again gave airborne observers clear views into the crater (figures 49, 50, and 51). The N-looking photo in figure 12 documents how the new dome and area of uplift had achieved substantial size, standing topographically above what was previously the moat to the S of the older dome. In plan view, the margin of the dome complex shifted from a circle to a figure-eight.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. An aerial photo looking downward and N-ward into the crater of Mt. St. Helens on 27 October 2004. The old (1980-86) dome is in the background and the new one, steaming, is in the foreground. Note uplifted, fractured ice around the margins of the 2004 intrusion. Some areas of ice and snow have gray color indicative of ashfall. The ridge along the inner crater wall intersects the rim at the approximate point where Ivan Savov stood when taking the photo presented in BGVN 29:09. Courtesy of CVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. A simplified map of the St. Helens crater, based on the scene on 27 October 2004. More complex maps appeared in early November. Courtesy of CVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. A photogeologic map depicting the southern end of the crater at St. Helens on 7 November 2004 and serving to identify and interpret recent deposits and features there. The map is centered on the new dome (N towards bottom, see arrow; for approximate scale, photo is ~ 1 km wide). The 1980-86 dome lies largely off the bottom of the photo. Courtesy of CVO.

In addition to photos documenting crater changes, a CVO report on 29 October discussed rapid movement at a new GPS station on the southern part of the new dome (an area of uplifted glacial ice, rock debris, and new lava). The station showed continued southward motion of ~6 m in the previous 36 hours. A station near the summit of the old dome showed continued, slow northward motion.

Analysis of aerial photographs taken on 4 November led to an estimate of the volume of the uplifted area and new lava dome at ~ 20 x 106 m3. This followed other preliminary estimates made for 4 and 13 October of ~5 x 106 m3 and ~12 x 106 m3, respectively. This most recent volume estimate (20 x 106 m3) amounted to more than 25% of the 1980-86 lava dome volume.

On 5 November the SO2 emission rates remained low. No H2S was detected and CO2 emission rates were not measurable. On that day viewers noted that a new mass of dacite had extruded, forming a spine rising ~100 m. Exposed rock faces had temperatures of 400-500°C. The steep new faces on the dome generated small hot rockfalls and avalanches. The finer particulate material rose to about 3 km altitude, a height ~900 m above the crater rim.

A sample of the new dome collected on 4 November established that the new dacite lava contained visible crystals of plagioclase, hornblende, and hypersthene. A comparison of the 1986 and 2004 dacites (table 6) shows that the new lava lacks augite, distinctive reaction rims on hornblende, and large plagioclase with sieve-textured cores.

Table 6. A comparison of the dome dacites extruded at St. Helens in 1986 and 2004. Courtesy of CVO.

Year Rock type Mineralogy description
1986 Augite-hornblende-hypersthene dacite 63.5 weight percent SiO2. Hypersthene is the dominant mafic mineral. Hornblende contains distinctive reaction rims. Accessory augite. Large plagioclase phenocrysts, commonly with sieve-textured cores.
2004 Hypersthene-hornblende dacite (collected 4 November) 65.3 weight percent SiO2. Hornblende is the dominant mafic mineral, but it lacks significant reaction rims. Hypersthene is smaller and less abundant. Augite absent. Plagioclase phenocrysts, but absent large ones with sieve-textured cores.

On 11 November the dome had reached ~ 250 m in height; it lay within a broad area of deformation that was ~ 600 m in diameter. Within this area, the new lava dome continued to occupy the E-central segment (broadly similar to the situation on figures 13 and 14). In plan view, the new dome stood 400 x 180 m. Regarding its height, the 11 November report noted that the highest point on the new lava dome was ~ 250 m "above the former surface of the glacier that occupied that point in mid-September."

Aviation Advisories. The first sentence of this section in BGVN 29:09 should be corrected to read, "The Washington VAAC issued advisories beginning on 29 September" (not 29 October).

The Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center issued one Ash Advisory each day during 9-18 October, noting elevated seismicity but a lack of explosive eruptions and substantial plumes. On 18 October the VAAC mentioned GOES-10 and -12 infrared and multispectral imagery of the volcano but concluded that "...after discussion with authorities at [CVO] we are discontinuing the Watch.... There continues to be low level [activity] ... not posing an [imminent] threat to aviation. A Notice to Aviation within ~9 km and below FL 130 should continue [Note: FL130, Flight Level 130, is the aviation community's shorthand for 13,000 feet; an altitude equivalent to 3,962 m, but typically rounded in the Bulletin to the nearest hundred meters]. If threat conditions rise[,] a Watch will again be issued. The Washington VAAC will continue to monitor the area and if ash is observed or reported a Volcanic Ash Advisory will be issued as soon as possible."

As of 12 November, the last Ash Advisory on St. Helens was issued on 6 November. It was in response to a minor ash emission that day. The emission was too small to detect with available satellite imagery. The local webcamera showed a weak, passively rising plume that barely rose above the crater rim.

Geologic Background. Prior to 1980, Mount St. Helens formed a conical, youthful volcano sometimes known as the Fuji-san 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 2200 years ago, tephra, lava domes, and pyroclastic flows were erupted, forming the older St. Helens edifice, but few lava flows extended beyond the base of the volcano. The modern edifice was constructed during the last 2200 years, when the volcano produced 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/); 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/); R. Scott Ireland, 1660 NW 101 Way, Plantation, FL 33322, USA (URL: http://rsiphotos.com/); Stephen and Donna O'Meara, Volcano Watch International, PO Box 218, Volcano, HI 96785, USA.


Taftan (Iran) — October 2004 Citation iconCite this Report

Taftan

Iran

28.6°N, 61.13°E; summit elev. 3940 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


October 2003 visit found passive degassing; petrography of andesite lava sample

When visited in October 2003, Taftan's behavior was similar to that reported in July 1999 (BGVN 24:10), consisting of a fumarolic zone on the SE cone's W side, ~ 10 m2 in area, emitting steam and SO2 gas, and depositing sulfur. Degassing was clearly visible from the refuge at 3,250 m elevation. A mixture of sulfur and clay derived from highly altered lavas gave a snowy appearance to the summit. This snowy appearance was also noted in July 1999 (BGVN 24:10). Close to the refuge, a warm acid spring generated deep yellow deposits along the ditch down the valley for more than 1 km. A chemical analysis showed that the deposits were predominantly iron salts.

A surface lava sample, taken on 30 October 2003 from just below the refuge on the volcano's W slopes, was judged to be relatively young. George Morris analyzed the sample by X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) and described the sample as andesite. This was the first known chemical analysis for Taftan rocks. In addition to the sampled lava flow, thick deposits of ignimbrite appeared in the walls of a deep gorge followed by the trail ascending to the refuge (at ~ 2,500 m elevation). It looked fresh and was judged to be Holocene in age.

Petrography of the lava sample. The sample is phenocryst rich (by volume, ~ 40-50% phenocrysts) in a microcrystalline to cryptocrystalline groundmass. Plagioclase is the predominant phenocryst phase (30-40%) with hornblende (< 5%), pyroxene (< 1%), opaque Fe-Ti oxide phases (< 1%), and trace amounts of biotite. Microxenoliths (1-3 mm in size) were observed, contributing < 2% volume to the whole rock.

Plagioclase phenocrysts invariably show complex zoning, but can be roughly divided into four groups. Euhedral plagioclase (0.5-1 mm long) show fine oscillatory zoning as well as internal dissolution and overgrowth surfaces. They are invariably euhedral but show no sieve-textured zones or dissolution channeling. Sieve-texture mantled plagioclase (0.5-5 mm long) can either have an un-zoned anhedral or an oscillatory zoned core. This is mantled with a zone of fine sieve-textured plagioclase of variable width, then overgrown by an un-sieved rim that may be oscillatory zoned. Inclusion-rich zones were observed running parallel to the sieve-textured zones within the cores of larger phenocrysts. Sieve-cored plagioclase (0.3-1 mm long) contain a completely sieve-textured core overgrown (normally) with an oscillatory zoned rim. These are generally smaller than the sieve-texture mantled plagioclase; however, the thicker un-sieved rims suggest that they form a distinct group rather than being a smaller version of the above. Small euhedral lath shaped plagioclase (< 0.3 mm) are common in the groundmass.

Hornblende occurs as lozenge-shaped crystals 0.2-1.5 mm long. These are invariably rimmed by thick reaction zones dominated by opaque oxides. These reaction zones can sometimes completely replace the original phenocryst.

Rare euhedral crystals of clinopyroxene were observed as phenocrysts. Similar pyroxenes were observed both in clots (with plagioclase) and in microxenoliths. Opaque oxide phases were observed as euhedral to anhedral phenocrysts 0.2-0.3 mm in diameter but account for less than 1% of the whole rock. Trace amounts of biotite were also observed; similar biotite was seen in microxenoliths. Most microphenocrysts contained a microcrystalline mass dominated by opaque oxides. Where less altered examples survive, the mineralogy is dominated by subhedral plagioclase and euhedral clinopyroxene, the pyroxene often partially altered to biotite and oxide phases. Crystal faces on feldspar in contact with the groundmass show sieve-textured reaction mantles, which is absent on crystal faces internal to the microxenoliths.

Interpretation. The phenocryst assemblage of the lava sample suggests multiple phenocryst sources and disequilibrium between mineral phases and groundmass, typical of stratovolcanoes. The correspondence of some phenocryst phases with mineral phases in microxenoliths suggest that at least some of the phenocrysts were inherited during the assimilation of country rock, while the oscillatory zoning, sieve-textured cores and mantles, and multiple dissolution surfaces in feldspars indicates that other phenocrysts have undergone long and complex magmatic histories.

Setting and summit elevation. Taftan is in eastern Iran, 100 km SSE of the city of Zahedan and 50 km W of the Pakistan border. Several necks, representing erosional remnants of cinder cones, rise from the plain W from Taftan, as well as a second stratovolcano, Buzman (~ 3,500 m summit elevation), which remains largely unknown.

The summit elevation is listed in the Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World (Gansser, 1964) as 4,050 m. Jean Sesiano found (presumably more current) Iranian maps with the volcanically active SE summit shown as 3,940 m, and the dissected NW summit, as 3,840 m.

Reference. Gansser, A., 1964, Catalog of the Active Volcanoes and Solfatara Fields of Iran; Rome, IAVCEI, part XVII-Appendix, p. 1-20.

Geologic Background. Taftan is a strongly eroded andesitic stratovolcano with two prominent summits. The volcano was constructed along a volcanic zone in Beluchistan, SE Iran, that extends into northern Pakistan. The higher SE summit cone is well preserved and has been the source of very fresh-looking lava flows, as well as of highly active, sulfur-encrusted fumaroles. The deeply dissected NW cone is of Pleistocene age. In January 1902 the volcano was reported to be smoking heavily for several days, with occasional strong night-time glow. A lava flow was reported in 1993, but may have been a mistaken observation of a molten sulfur flow.

Information Contacts: Jean Sesiano and George Morris, Earth Sciences Section, Mineralogy Dept, University of Geneva, 13 rue des Maraîchers, 1205 Genève, Switzerland

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


Central Chile and Argentina


Estero de Parraguirre


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

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

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

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



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

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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


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

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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