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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

Erta Ale (Ethiopia) Thermal anomalies persist in the summit crater during May-September 2020

Merapi (Indonesia) Eruptions in April and June 2020 produced ash plumes and ashfall

Semeru (Indonesia) Ash plumes, lava flows, avalanches, and pyroclastic flows during March-August 2020

Kavachi (Solomon Islands) Discolored water plumes observed in satellite imagery during early September 2020

Krakatau (Indonesia) Eruption ends in mid-April 2020, but intermittent thermal anomalies continue

Raung (Indonesia) Eruptions confirmed during 2012- 2013; lava fills inner crater in November 2014-August 2015

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Strombolian activity, gas-and-steam and ash plumes, and a lava flow during June-early July 2020

Fuego (Guatemala) Ongoing explosions, ash plumes, lava flows, and lahars during April-July 2020

Nishinoshima (Japan) Major June-July eruption of lava, ash, and sulfur dioxide; activity declines in August 2020

Turrialba (Costa Rica) New eruptive period on 18 June 2020 consisted of ash eruptions

Etna (Italy) Effusive activity in early April; frequent Strombolian explosions and ash emissions during April-July 2020

Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) Multiple lava flows within the summit crater; September 2019-August 2020



Erta Ale (Ethiopia) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Erta Ale

Ethiopia

13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal anomalies persist in the summit crater during May-September 2020

Erta Ale is an active basaltic volcano in Ethiopia, containing multiple active pit craters in the summit and southeastern caldera. Volcanism has been characterized by lava flows and large lava flow fields since 2017. This report describes continued thermal activity in the summit caldera during May through September 2020 using information from various satellite data.

Volcanism at Erta Ale was relatively low from May to early August 2020. Across all satellite data, thermal anomalies were identified for a total of 2 days in May, 7 days in June, 4 days in July, 11 days in August, and 15 days in September. Beginning in early June and into September 2020 the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity graph provided by the MIROVA system identified a small cluster of thermal anomalies in the summit area after a brief hiatus from early January 2020 (figure 99). By mid-August, a small pulse of thermal activity was detected by the MIROVA (Middle Infrared Observation of Volcanic Activity) system. Many of these thermal anomalies were seen in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery on clear weather days from June to September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. A small cluster of thermal anomalies were detected in the summit area of Erta Ale (red dots) during June-September 2020 as recorded by the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity data (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of MIROVA.

On 12 June a minor thermal anomaly was observed in the S pit crater; a larger anomaly was detected on 17 June in the summit caldera where there had been a previous lava lake (figure 100). In mid-August, satellite data showed thermal anomalies in both the N and S pit craters, but by 5 September only the N crater showed elevated temperatures (figure 101). The thermal activity in the N summit caldera persisted through September, based on satellite data from NASA VIIRS and Sentinel Hub Playground.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery of Erta Ale on 17 June 2020 showing a strong thermal anomaly in the summit caldera. Sentinel-2 satellite image with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery of Erta Ale showing thermal anomalies in the N and S pit craters on 21 (top left), 26 (top right), and 31 (bottom left) August 2020. On 5 September (bottom right) only the anomaly in the N crater remained. Sentinel-2 satellite image with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Erta Ale is an isolated basaltic shield that is the most active volcano in Ethiopia. The broad, 50-km-wide edifice rises more than 600 m from below sea level in the barren Danakil depression. Erta Ale is the namesake and most prominent feature of the Erta Ale Range. The volcano contains a 0.7 x 1.6 km, elliptical summit crater housing steep-sided pit craters. Another larger 1.8 x 3.1 km wide depression elongated parallel to the trend of the Erta Ale range is located SE of the summit and is bounded by curvilinear fault scarps on the SE side. Fresh-looking basaltic lava flows from these fissures have poured into the caldera and locally overflowed its rim. The summit caldera is renowned for one, or sometimes two long-term lava lakes that have been active since at least 1967, or possibly since 1906. Recent fissure eruptions have occurred on the N flank.

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


Merapi (Indonesia) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

7.54°S, 110.446°E; summit elev. 2910 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptions in April and June 2020 produced ash plumes and ashfall

Merapi, located just north of the city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, is a highly active stratovolcano; the current eruption began in May 2018. Volcanism has recently been characterized by lava dome growth and collapse, small block-and-ash flows, explosions, ash plumes, ashfall, and pyroclastic flows (BGVN 44:10 and 45:04). Activity has recently consisted of three large eruptions in April and June, producing dense gray ash plumes and ashfall in June. Dominantly, white gas-and-steam emissions have been reported during April-September 2020. The primary reporting source of activity comes from Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG, the Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology, a branch of PVMBG), the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

Activity at Merapi dominantly consisted of frequent white gas-and-steam emissions that generally rose 20-600 m above the crater (figure 95). On 2 April an eruption occurred at 1510, producing a gray ash plume that rose 3 km above the crater, and accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions up to 600 m above the crater. A second explosion on 10 April at 0910 generated a gray ash plume rising 3 km above the crater and drifting NW, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions rising 300 m above the crater (figure 96). Activity over the next six weeks consisted primarily of gas-and-steam emissions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Gas-and-steam emissions were frequently observed rising from Merapi as seen on 3 April (left) and 4 August (right) 2020. Courtesy of BPPTKG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Webcam image showed an ash plume rising 3 km above the crater of Merapi at 0917 on 10 April 2020. Courtesy of BPPTKG and MAGMA Indonesia.

On 8 June PVMBG reported an increase in seismicity. Aerial photos from 13 June taken using drones were used to measure the lava dome, which had decreased in volume to 200,000 m3, compared to measurements from 19 February 2020 (291,000 m3). On 21 June two explosions were recorded at 0913 and 0927; the first explosion lasted less than six minutes while the second was less than two minutes. A dense, gray ash plume reached 6 km above the crater drifting S, W, and SW according to the Darwin VAAC notice and CCTV station (figure 97), which resulted in ashfall in the districts of Magelang, Kulonprogo, and as far as the Girimulyo District (45 km). During 21-22 June the gas-and-steam emissions rose to a maximum height of 6 km above the crater. The morphology of the summit crater had slightly changed by 22 June. Based on photos from the Ngepos Post, about 19,000 m3 of material had been removed from the SW part of the summit, likely near or as part of the crater rim. On 11 and 26 July new measurements of the lava dome were taken, measuring 200,000 m3 on both days, based on aerial photos using drones. Gas-and-steam emissions continued through September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Webcam image showed an ash plume rising 6 km above the crater of Merapi at 0915 on 21 June 2020. Courtesy of BPPTKG.

Geologic Background. Merapi, one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, lies in one of the world's most densely populated areas and dominates the landscape immediately north of the major city of Yogyakarta. It is the youngest and southernmost of a volcanic chain extending NNW to Ungaran volcano. Growth of Old Merapi during the Pleistocene ended with major edifice collapse perhaps about 2,000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequent growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent activity, began SW of the earlier collapse scarp. Pyroclastic flows and lahars accompanying growth and collapse of the steep-sided active summit lava dome have devastated cultivated lands on the western-to-southern flanks and caused many fatalities.

Information Contacts: Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG), Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology (URL: http://merapi.bgl.esdm.go.id/, Twitter: @BPPTKG); Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/).


Semeru (Indonesia) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

8.108°S, 112.922°E; summit elev. 3657 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes, lava flows, avalanches, and pyroclastic flows during March-August 2020

Semeru in eastern Java, Indonesia, has been erupting almost continuously since 1967 and is characterized by ash plumes, pyroclastic flows, lava flows and lava avalanches down drainages on the SE flanks. The Alert Level has remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4) since May 2012, and the public reminded to stay outside of the general 1-km radius from the summit and 4 km on the SSE flank. This report updates volcanic activity from March to August 2020, using primary information from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and satellite data.

Activity at Semeru consisted of dominantly dense white-gray ash plumes rising 100-600 m above the crater, incandescent material that was ejected 10-50 m high and descended 300-2,000 from the summit crater, and lava flows measuring 500-1,000 m long. Two pyroclastic flows were also observed, extending 2.3 km from the summit crater in March and 2 km on 17 April.

During 1-2 March gray ash plumes rose 200-500 m above the crater, accompanied by incandescent material that was ejected 10-50 m above the Jonggring-Seloko Crater. Lava flows reaching 500-1,000 m long traveled down the Kembar, Bang, and Kobokan drainages on the S flank. During 4-10 March ash plumes up to 200 m high were interspersed with 100-m-high white gas-and-steam plumes. At the end of a 750-m-long lava flow on the S flank, a pyroclastic flow that lasted 9 minutes traveled as far as 2.3 km. During 25-31 March incandescent material found at the end of the lava flow descended 700-950 m from the summit crater (figure 42).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed lava avalanches descending the SSE flank on 26 March 2020. Images using short-wave infrared (SWIR, bands 12, 8A, 4) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Incandescent material continued to be observed in April, rising 10-50 m above the Jonggring-Seloko Crater. Some incandescent material descended from the ends of lava flows as far as 700-2,000 m from the summit crater. Dense white-gray ash plumes rose 100-600 m above the crater drifting N, SE, and SW. During 15-21 April incandescent lava flows traveled 500-1,000 m down the Kembar, Bang, and Kobokan drainages on the S flank. On 17 April at 0608 a pyroclastic flow was observed on the S flank in the Bang drainage measuring 2 km (figure 43). During 22-28 April lava blocks traveled 300 m from the end of lava flows in the Kembar drainage.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. A pyroclastic flow at Semeru on 17 April 2020 moving down the S flank toward Besuk Bang. Photo has been color corrected. Courtesy of PVMBG.

Similar activity continued in May, with incandescent material from lava flows in the Kembar and Kobokan drainages descending a maximum distance of 2 km during 29 April-12 May, and 200-1,200 m in the Kembar drainage during 13-27 May, accompanied by dense white-gray ash plumes rising 100-500 m above the crater drifting in different directions. White gas-and-steam plumes rose 300 m above the crater on 26-27 May. Dense white-to-gray ash plumes were visible most days during June, rising 100-500 m above the crater and drifting in various directions. During 3-9 June incandescent material from lava flows descended 200-1,600 m in the Kembar drainage.

Activity in July had decreased slightly and consisted of primarily dense white-gray ash plumes that ranged from 200-500 m above the crater and drifted W, SW, N, and S. Weather conditions often prevented visual observations. On 7 July an ash plume at 0633 rose 400 m drifting W. Similar ash activity was observed in August rising 200-500 m above the crater. On 14 and 16 August a Darwin VAAC advisory stated that white-gray ash plumes rose 300-400 m above the crater, drifting W and WSW; on 16 August a thermal anomaly was observed in satellite imagery. MAGMA Indonesia reported ash plumes were visible during 19-31 August and rose 200-400 m above the crater, drifting S and SW.

Hotspots were recorded by MODVOLC on 11, 6, and 7 days during March, April, and May, respectively, with as many as four pixels in March. Thermal activity decreased to a single hotspot in July and none in August. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system recorded numerous thermal anomalies at the volcano during March-July; a lower number was recorded during August (figure 44). The NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide page showed high levels of sulfur dioxide above or near Semeru on 18, 24-25, and 29-31 March, and 9 April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Thermal anomalies at Semeru detected during March-June 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. Semeru, the highest volcano on Java, and one of its most active, lies at the southern end of a volcanic massif extending north to the Tengger caldera. The steep-sided volcano, also referred to as Mahameru (Great Mountain), rises above coastal plains to the south. Gunung Semeru was constructed south of the overlapping Ajek-ajek and Jambangan calderas. A line of lake-filled maars was constructed along a N-S trend cutting through the summit, and cinder cones and lava domes occupy the eastern and NE flanks. Summit topography is complicated by the shifting of craters from NW to SE. Frequent 19th and 20th century eruptions were dominated by small-to-moderate explosions from the summit crater, with occasional lava flows and larger explosive eruptions accompanied by pyroclastic flows that have reached the lower flanks of the volcano.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia (Multiplatform Application for Geohazard Mitigation and Assessment in Indonesia), PVMBG, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


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

Kavachi

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Discolored water plumes observed in satellite imagery during early September 2020

Kavachi is an active submarine volcano in the SW Pacific, located in the Solomon Islands south of Gatokae and Vangunu islands. Volcanism has been characterized by phreatomagmatic explosions that ejected steam, ash, and incandescent bombs. The previous report described discolored water plumes extending from a single point during early 2018 and April 2020 (BGVN 45:05); similar activity was recorded for this current reporting period covering May through September 2020 and primarily using satellite data.

Activity at Kavachi is most frequently observed through satellite images and typically consists of discolored submarine plumes. On 2 September 2020 a slight yellow discoloration in the water was observed extending E from a specific point (figure 22). Similar faint plumes continued to be recorded on 5, 7, 12, and 17 September, each of which seemed to be drifting generally E from a point source above the summit where previous activity has occurred. On 7 September the discolored plume was accompanied by white degassing and possibly agitated water on the surface at the origin point (figure 22).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Sentinel-2 satellite images of a discolored plume (light yellow) at Kavachi beginning on 2 September (top left) and continuing through 17 September 2020 (bottom right). The light blue circle on the 7 September image highlights the surface degassing and source of the discolored water plume. The white arrow on the bottom right image is pointing to the faint discolored plume. Images with “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Krakatau (Indonesia) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption ends in mid-April 2020, but intermittent thermal anomalies continue

Krakatau, located in the Sunda Strait between Indonesia’s Java and Sumatra Islands, experienced a major caldera collapse around 535 CE, forming a 7-km-wide caldera ringed by three islands. Presently, the caldera is underwater, except for three surrounding islands (Verlaten, Lang, and Rakata) and the active Anak Krakatau that was constructed within the 1883 caldera and has been the site of frequent eruptions since 1927. On 22 December 2018, a large explosion and flank collapse destroyed most of the 338-m-high island of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) and generated a deadly tsunami (BGVN 44:03). A larger explosion in December 2019 produced the beginnings of a new cone above the surface of crater lake (BGVN 45:02). The previous report (BGVN 45:06) described activity that included Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and crater incandescence. This report updates information from June through September 2020 using information primarily from Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, also known as Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) and satellite data.

A VONA notice from PVMBG reported that the last eruptive event at Krakatau was reported on 17 April 2020, though the eruptive column was not observed. Activity after that was relatively low through September 2020, primarily intermittent diffuse white gas-and-steam emissions, according to PVMBG. No activity was reported during June-August, except for minor seismicity. During 11-13, 16, and 18 September, the CCTV Lava93 webcam showed intermittent white gas-and-steam emissions rising 25-50 m above the crater.

The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) graph of MODIS thermal anomaly data showed intermittent hotspots within 5 km of the crater from May through September (figure 113). Some of these thermal hotspots were also detected in Suomi NPP/VIIRS sensor data. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed faint thermal anomalies in the crater during June; no thermal activity was detected after June (figure 114).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 113. Intermittent thermal activity at Anak Krakatau from 13 October 2019-September 2020 shown on a MIROVA Low Radiative Power graph. The power of the thermal anomalies decreased after activity in April but continued intermittently through September. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 114. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing a faint thermal anomaly in the crater during 1 (left) and 11 (right) June 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); 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); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/).


Raung (Indonesia) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Raung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptions confirmed during 2012- 2013; lava fills inner crater in November 2014-August 2015

A massive stratovolcano in easternmost Java, Raung has over sixty recorded eruptions dating back to the late 16th Century. Explosions with ash plumes, Strombolian activity, and lava flows from a cinder cone within the 2-km-wide summit crater have been the most common activity. Visual reports of activity have often come from commercial airline flights that pass near the summit; Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM) has installed webcams to monitor activity in recent years. An eruption in 2015 produced a large volume of lava within the summit crater and formed a new pyroclastic cone in the same location as the previous one. Confirmation and details of eruptions in 2012, 2013, and 2014-2015 are covered in this report with information provided by PVMBG, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), several sources of satellite data, and visitors to the volcano.

Newly available visual and satellite information confirm eruptions at Raung during October 2012-January 2013, June-July 2013, and extend the beginning of the 2015 eruption back to November 2014. The 2015 eruption was the largest in several decades; Strombolian activity was reported for many months and fresh lava flows covered the crater floor. Raung was quiet after the 2015 eruption ended in August of that year until July 2020.

Eruption during October 2012-January 2013. A MODVOLC thermal alert appeared inside the summit crater of Raung on 14 October 2012, followed by another four alerts on 16 October. Multiple daily alerts were reported on many days through 8 November, most within the main crater. Single alerts appeared on 29 November and 1 December 2012 (figure 9). PVMBG raised the Alert Level on 17 October from 1 to 2 due to increased seismicity and raised it further to Level 3 on 22 October. A local news report by Aris Yanto indicted that a minor Strombolian eruption occurred inside the crater on 19 October. Strombolian activity was also observed inside the inner crater on 5 November 2012 by visitors (figure 10); they reported loud rumbling sounds that could be heard up to 15 km from the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Thermal activity at Raung during October and November 2012 included multiple days of multi-pixel anomalies, with almost all activity concentrated within the summit crater. Strombolian activity was observed on 5 November. Image shows all pixels from 23 September-1 December 2012. Courtesy of MODVOLC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Strombolian activity was observed inside the inner crater of Raung on 5 November 2012 by visitors. They reported loud rumbling sounds that could be heard up to 15 km from the crater. Photo by Galih, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

The Darwin VAAC issued an advisory of an eruption plume to 9.1 km altitude reported at 0237 UTC on 8 November 2012. In a second advisory about two hours later they noted that an ash plume was not visible in satellite imagery. A press article released by the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) indicated that gray ash plumes were observed on 6 January 2013 that rose 300 m above the summit crater rim. Incandescence was observed around the crater and thundering explosions were heard by nearby residents.

Eruption during June-July 2013. Two MODVOLC thermal alerts were measured inside the summit crater on 29 June 2013. A photo taken on 21 July showed minor Strombolian activity at the inner crater (figure 11). A weak SO2 anomaly was detected in the vicinity of Raung by the OMI instrument on the Aura satellite on 27 July. Thermal alerts were recorded on 29 and 31 July. When Google Earth imageryrom 14 March 2011 created by Maxar Technologies is compared with imagery from 29 July 2013 captured by Landsat/Copernicus, dark tephra is filling the inner crater in the 2013 image; it was not present in 2011 (figure 12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Strombolian activity was observed inside the inner crater at the summit of Raung on 21 July 2013. Photo by Agus Kurniawan, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Satellite imagery from Google Earth showing the eroded pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater of Raung on 14 March 2011 (left) and 29 July 2013 (right). Dark tephra deposits filling the inner crater in the 2013 image were not present in 2011. The crater of the pyroclastic cone is 200 m wide; N is to the top of the images. Courtesy of Google Earth.

Eruption during November 2014-August 2015. Information about this eruption was previously reported (BGVN 41:12), but additional details are provided here. Landsat-8 imagery from 28 October 2014 indicated clear skies and little activity within the summit crater. Local observers reported steam plumes beginning in mid-November (figure 13). MODVOLC thermal alerts within the summit crater were issued on 28 and 30 November, and then 15 alerts were issued on seven days in December. Thermal Landsat-8 imagery from cloudy days on 29 November and 15 December indicated an anomaly over the area of the pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater (figure 14).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Local observers reported steam plumes at Raung beginning in mid-November 2014; this one was photographed on 17 November 2014. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Satellite evidence of new eruptive activity at Raung first appeared on 29 November 2014. The true color-pansharpened Landsat-8 image of Raung from 28 October 2014 (left) shows the summit crater and an eroded pyroclastic cone with its own crater (the inner crater) with no apparent activity. Although dense meteoric clouds on 29 November (center) and 15 December 2014 (right) blocked true color imagery, thermal imagery indicated a thermal anomaly from the center of the pyroclastic cone on both dates. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

In January 2015 the MODVOLC system identified 25 thermal anomalies in MODIS data, with a peak of eight alerts on 8 January. Visitors to the summit crater on 6 January witnessed explosions from the inner crater approximately every 40 minutes that produced gas and small amounts of ash and tephra. They reported lava flowing continuously from the inner crater onto the larger crater floor, and incandescent activity was seen at night (figure 15). Landsat-8 images from 16 January showed a strong thermal anomaly covering an area of fresh lava (figure 16).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Visitors to the summit crater of Raung on 6 January 2015 witnessed explosions from the inner crater approximately every 40 minutes that produced abundant gas and small amounts of ash and tephra. Lava was flowing continuously from the inner crater onto the larger crater floor, and incandescent activity was observed at night. Photos by Sofya Klimova, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. On a clear 16 January 2015, Landsat-8 satellite imagery revealed fresh lava flows NW of the pyroclastic cone within the summit crater at Raung. A strong thermal anomaly matches up with the dark material, suggesting that it flowed NW from within the pyroclastic cone. Left image is true color-pansharpened rendering, right image is thermal rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Satellite images were obscured by meteoric clouds during February 2015, but PVMBG reported gray and brown plumes rising 300 m multiple times and incandescence and rumbling on 14 February. Visitors to the summit crater during the second half of February reported Strombolian activity with lava fountains from the inner crater, at times as frequently as every 15 minutes (figure 17). Loud explosions and rumbling were heard 10-15 km away. MODVOLC thermal alerts stopped on 25 February and did not reappear until late June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. A report issued on 25 February 2015 from visitors to the summit of Ruang noted large Strombolian explosions with incandescent ejecta and lava flowing across the crater floor. The fresh lava on the crater floor covered a noticeably larger area than that shown in early January (figure 15). Photo by Andi, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

PVMBG raised the Alert Level to 2 in mid-March 2015. Weak thermal anomalies located inside and NW of the pyroclastic cone were present in satellite imagery on 21 March. PVMBG reported gray and brown emissions during March, April, and May rising as high as 300 m above the crater. Landsat imagery from 22 April showed a small emission inside the pyroclastic cone, and on 8 May showed a clearer view of the fresh black lava NW and SW of the pyroclastic cone (figure 18).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Fresh lava was visible in Landsat-8 satellite imagery in April and May 2015 at Raung. A small emission was present inside the pyroclastic cone at the summit of Raung on 22 April 2015 (left). Fresh dark material is also evident in the SW quadrant of the summit crater that was not visible on 16 January 2015. A clear view on 8 May 2015 also shows the extent of the fresh black material around the pyroclastic cone (right). The summit crater is 2 km wide. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Nine MODVOLC thermal alerts appeared inside the summit crater on 21 June 2015 after no alerts since late February, suggesting an increase in activity. The Darwin VAAC issued the first ash advisory for 2015 on 24 June noting an aviation report of recent ash. The following day the Ujung Pandang Meteorological Weather Office (MWO) reported an ash emission drifting W at 3.7 km altitude. The same day, 25 June, Landsat-8 imagery clearly showed a new lava flow on the W side of the crater and a strong thermal anomaly. The thermal data showed a point source of heat widening SW from the center of the crater and a second point source of heat that appeared to be inside the pyroclastic cone. A small ash plume was visible over the cone (figure 19). Strombolian activity and ash plumes were reported by BNPB and PVMBG in the following days. On 26 June the Darwin VAAC noted the hotspot had remained visible in infrared imagery for several days. PVMBG reported an ash emission to 3 km altitude on 29 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. A new lava flow and strong thermal anomaly appeared inside the summit crater of Raung on 25 June 2015 in Landsat-8 imagery. The new flow was visible on the W side of the crater. The darker area extending SW from the rising ash plume is a shadow. The thermal data showed a point source of heat widening SW from the center of the crater and spreading out in the SW quadrant and a second point source of heat on the flank of the pyroclastic cone. Left image is True color-pansharpened rendering, and right image is thermal rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity increased significantly during July 2015 (BGVN 41:12). Ash plumes rose as high as 6.7 km altitude and drifted hundreds of kilometers in multiple directions, forcing multiple shutdowns at airports on Bali and Lombok, as well as Banyuwangi and Jember in East Java. The Darwin VAAC issued 152 ash advisories during the month. Ashfall was reported up to 20 km W during July and 20-40 km SE during early August. Visitors to the summit in early July observed a new pyroclastic cone growing inside the inner crater from incandescent ejecta and dense ash emissions (figure 20). Landsat-8 imagery from 11 July showed a dense ash plume drifting SE, fresh black lava covering the 2-km-wide summit caldera floor, and a very strong thermal anomaly most intense at the center near the pyroclastic cone and cooler around the inner edges of the crater (figure 21). On 12 July, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a view of an ash-and-gas plume drifting hundreds of kilometers SE from Raung (figure 22).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. A new pyroclastic cone was growing inside the inner crater at the summit of Raung when photographed by Aris Yanto in early July 2015. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Landsat-8 imagery of Raung during July 2015 indicated dense ash emissions and a large thermal anomaly caused by fresh lava. On 11 July a dense ash plume drifted SE and a strong thermal anomaly was centered inside the summit crater. The 2-km-wide crater floor was covered with fresh lava (compare with 25 June image in figure 19). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. On 12 July 2015 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a natural-color view of a plume of ash and volcanic gases drifting hundreds of kilometers SE from Raung. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

A satellite image on 20 July showed fresh incandescent lava covering the floor of the summit crater and a dense ash plume drifting N from the summit (figure 23). Incandescent ejecta emerged from two vents on the new pyroclastic cone inside the inner crater on 26 July (figure 24). On 27 July a dense ash plume was visible again in satellite imagery drifting NW and the hottest part of the thermal anomaly was in the SE quadrant of the crater (figure 25). Substantial SO2 plumes were recorded by the OMI instrument on the Aura satellite during July and early August 2015 (figure 26).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. A satellite image of the summit of Raung on 20 July 2015 showed fresh, incandescent lava covering the floor of the summit crater and a dense ash plume drifting N from the summit. Thermal activity on the NE flank was likely the result of incandescent ejecta from the crater causing a fire. Image created by DigitalGlobe, captured by WorldView3, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Incandescent ejecta emerged from two vents on the new pyroclastic cone growing inside the inner crater of Raung on 26 July 2015. Photo by Vianney Tricou, used with permission, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Landsat-8 imagery of Raung during July 2015 indicated dense ash emissions and large thermal anomalies from fresh lava. The 2-km-wide crater floor was fully covered with fresh lava by 11 July. On 27 July the dense ash plume was drifting NW and the highest heat was concentrated in the SE quadrant of the crater. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Substantial plumes of sulfur dioxide from Raung were measured by the OMI instrument on the AURA satellite during July and August 2015. The first plumes were measured in mid-June; they intensified during the second half of July and the first week of August, but had decreased by mid-August. Wind directions were highly variable throughout the period. The date is recorded above each image. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Page.

Significant ash emissions continued into early August 2015 with numerous flight cancellations. The Darwin VAAC reported ash plumes rising to 5.2 km altitude and extending as far as 750 km SE during the first two weeks in August (figure 27). Satellite imagery indicated a small ash plume drifting W from the center of the crater on 12 August and weak thermal anomalies along the E and S rim of the floor of the crater (figure 28). The summit crater was covered with fresh lava on 14 August when viewed by visitors, and ash emissions rose a few hundred meters above the crater rim from a vent in the SW side of the pyroclastic cone (figure 29). The visitors observed pulsating ash emissions rising from the SW vent on the large double-crater new cinder cone. The larger vent to the NE was almost entirely inactive except for two small, weakly effusive vents on its inner walls.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. A dense ash plume drifted many kilometers S from Raung on 2 August 2015 in this view from nearly 100 km W. Incandescence at the summit indicated ongoing activity from the major 2015 eruption. In the foreground is Lamongan volcano whose last known eruption occurred in 1898. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Landsat-8 satellite imagery of Raung indicated a small ash plume drifting W from the center of the crater on 12 August 2015. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. The summit crater of Raung on 14 August 2015 was filled with fresh lava from an eruption that began in November 2014. Ash emissions from a vent in the side of the newly grown pyroclastic cone within the crater rose a few hundred meters above the crater rim. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

The lengthy sequence of multiple daily VAAC reports that began in late June ended on 16 August 2015 with reports becoming more intermittent and ash plume heights rising to only 3.7-3.9 km altitude. Multiple discontinuous eruptions to 3.9 km altitude were reported on 18 August. The plumes extended about 100 km NW. The last report of an ash plume was from an airline on 22 August noting a low-level plume 50 km NW. Two MODVOLC alerts were issued that day. By 28 August only a very small steam plume was present at the center of the crater; the southern half of the edge of the crater floor still had small thermal anomalies (figure 30). The last single MODVOLC thermal alerts were on 29 August and 7 September. The Alert Level was lowered to 2 on 24 August 2015, and further lowered to 1 on 20 October 2016.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. By 28 August 2015 only a very small steam plume was present at the center of the summit crater of Raung, and the southern half of the edge of the crater floor only had weak thermal anomalies from cooling lava. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); 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/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/);Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/, https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/86213/eruption-of-raung-volcano); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); Aris Yanto (URL: https://www.exploredesa.com/2012/11/mount-raung-produce-of-vulcanic-ash-plume-and-continue-eruption/); DigitalGlobe (URL: https://www.maxar.com/, https://twitter.com/Maxar/status/875449111398547457); Øystein Lund Andersen (URL: https://twitter.com/OysteinVolcano/status/1194879946042142726, http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian activity, gas-and-steam and ash plumes, and a lava flow during June-early July 2020

Klyuchevskoy is a frequently active stratovolcano located in northern Kamchatka. Historical eruptions dating back 3,000 years have included more than 100 flank eruptions with most lateral craters and cones occurring along radial fissures between the unconfined NE-to-SE flanks. The previous report (BGVN 45:06) described ash plumes, nighttime incandescence, and Strombolian activity. Strombolian activity, ash plumes, and a strong lava flow continued. This report updates activity from June through August 2020 using weekly and daily reports from the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT), the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory (VAAC), and satellite data.

Moderate explosive-effusive activity continued in June 2020, with Strombolian explosions, frequent gas-and-steam emissions that contained some amount of ash, and an active lava flow. On 1 June a gas-and-steam plume containing some ash extended up to 465 km SE and E. The lava flow descended the SE flank down the Apakhonchich chute (figure 43). Occasionally, phreatic explosions accompanied the lava flow as it interacted with snow. Intermittent ash plumes, reported throughout the month by KVERT using video and satellite data and the Tokyo VAAC using HIMAWARI-8 imagery, rose to 5.5-6.7 km altitude and drifted in different directions up to 34 km from the volcano. On 12 and 30 June ash plumes rose to a maximum altitude of 6.7 km. On 19 June, 28-30 June, and 1-3 July some collapses were detected alongside the lava flow as it continued to advance down the SE flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Gray ash plumes (left) and a lava flow descending the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank, accompanied by a dark ash plume and Strombolian activity (right) were observed at the summit of Klyuchevskoy on 10 June 2020. Courtesy of E. Saphonova, IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

During 1-3 July moderate Strombolian activity was observed, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions containing ash and a continuous lava flow traveling down the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank. On 1 July a Tokyo VAAC advisory reported an ash plume rising to 6 km altitude and extending SE. On 3 July the activity sharply decreased. KVERT reported there was some residual heat leftover from the lava flow and Strombolian activity that continued to cool through at least 13 July; KVERT also reported frequent gas-and-steam emissions, which contained a small amount of ash through 5 July, rising from the summit crater (figure 44). The weekly KVERT report on 16 July stated that the eruption had ended on 3 July 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Fumarolic activity continued in the summit crater of Klyuchevskoy on 7 July 2020. Courtesy of KSRS ME, Russia, KVERT.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows frequent and strong thermal activity within 5 km of the summit crater from March through June followed by a sharp and sudden decline in early July (figures 45). A total of six weak thermal anomalies were detected between July and August. According to the MODVOLC thermal algorithm, a total of 111 thermal alerts were detected at or near the summit crater from 1 June to 1 July, a majority of which were due to the active lava flow on the SE flank and Strombolian explosions in the crater. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery frequently showed the active lava flow descending the SE flank as a strong thermal anomaly, sometimes even through weather clouds (figure 46). These thermal anomalies were also recorded by the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity data on a MIROVA graph, showing a strong cluster during June to early July, followed by a sharp decrease and then a hiatus in activity (figure 47).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Thermal activity at Klyuchevskoy was frequent and strong during February through June 2020, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). Activity sharply decreased during July through August with six low-power thermal anomalies. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images show the strong and persistent lava flow (bright yellow-orange) originating from the summit crater at Klyuchevskoy from 1 June through 1 July 2020. The lava flow was active in the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Strong clusters of thermal anomalies were detected in the summit at Klyuchevskoy (red dots) during January through June 2020, as recorded by the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity data (bands 12, 11, 8A). Activity sharply decreased during July through August with few low-power thermal anomalies. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); 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).


Fuego (Guatemala) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing explosions, ash plumes, lava flows, and lahars during April-July 2020

Fuego, located in Guatemala, is a stratovolcano that has been erupting since 2002 with historical eruptions dating back to 1531. Volcanism is characterized by major ashfalls, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and lahars. The previous report (BGVN 45:04) described recent activity that included multiple ash explosions, block avalanches, and intermittent lava flows. This report updates activity from April through July 2020 that consisted of daily explosions, ash plumes, block avalanches ashfall, intermittent lava flows, and lahars. The primary source of information comes from the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Summary of activity during April-July 2020. Daily activity throughout April-July 2020 was characterized by multiple hourly explosions, ash plumes that rose to a maximum of 4.9 km altitude, incandescent pulses that reached 600 m above the crater, block avalanches into multiple drainages, and ashfall affecting nearby communities (table 21). The highest rate of explosions occurred on 2 and 3 April and 2 May with up to 16 explosions per hour. White degassing occurred frequently during the reporting period, rising to a maximum altitude of 4.5 km and drifting in multiple directions. Intermittent lava flows were observed each month in the Seca (Santa Teresa) and Ceniza drainages (figure 132); the number of flows decreased in June through July, which is represented in the MIROVA analysis of MODIS satellite data, where the strength and frequency of thermal activity slightly decreased (figure 133). Occasional lahars were detected descending several drainages on the W and SE flanks, sometimes carrying tree branches and large blocks up to 1 m in diameter.

Table 21. Activity summary by month for Fuego with information compiled from INSIVUMEH daily reports.

Month Number of explosions per hour Ash plume heights (km) Ash plume distance (km) and direction Drainages affected by block avalanches Villages reporting ashfall
Apr 2020 5-16 4.3-4.9 km 8-20 km E, NE, SE, W, NW, SW, S, N Taniluyá, Ceniza, Las Lajas, Trinidad, Seca, Honda, and Santa Teresa Morelia, Panimaché I and II, Sangre de Cristo, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa, Las Cruces Quisache, La Rochela, Ceylan, and Osuna
May 2020 4-16 4.3-4.9 km 10-17 km S, SW, W, N, NE, E, SE Trinidad, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Las Lajas, Santa Teresa, Seca, and Honda Panimaché I, La Rochela, Ceilán, Morelia, San Andrés Osuna, Finca Palo Verde, Santa Sofía, Seilán, San Pedro Yepocapa, Alotenango, Ciudad Vieja, San Miguel Dueñas, and Antigua Guatemala
Jun 2020 3-15 4.2-4.9 km 10-25.9 km E, SE, S, N, NE, W, SW, NW Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Santa Teresa and Honda San Pedro Yepocapa, Sangre de Cristo, Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Finca Palo Verde, El Porvenir, Yucales, Santa Emilia, Santa Sofía
Jul 2020 1-15 4-4.9 km 10-24 km W, NW, SW, S, NE Trinidad, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Honda, Las Lajas, Seca, and Santa Teresa Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, and El Porvenir
Figure (see Caption) Figure 132. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Fuego between 9 April 2020 and 13 July 2020 showing lava flows (bright yellow-orange) traveling generally S and W from the summit crater. Some lava flows were accompanied by gas emissions (9 April, 9 May, and 24 May 2020). Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 133. Thermal activity at Fuego was persistent and strong from 16 September through late May 2020, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). From early to mid-June activity seemed to stop briefly before resuming again at a lower rate. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during April-May 2020. Activity in April 2020 consisted of 5-16 explosions per hour, generating ash plumes that rose 4.3-4.9 km altitude and drifted 8-20 km in multiple directions. Ashfall was reported in Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW), Las Cruces Quisache (8 km NW), La Rochela, Ceylan, Osuna (12 km SW). The Washington VAAC issued multiple aviation advisories for a total of six days in April. Intermittent white gas-and-steam emissions reached 4.1-4.5 km altitude drifting in multiple directions. Incandescent ejecta was frequently observed rising 75-400 m above the crater; material ejected up to 600 m above the crater on 11 April. These constant explosions produced block avalanches that traveled down the Taniluyá (SW), Ceniza (SSW), Las Lajas (SE), Trinidad (S), Seca (W), Honda, and Santa Teresa (W) drainages. Effusive activity was reported on 6-13 and 15 April from the summit vent, traveling 150-800 m down the Ceniza drainage, accompanied by block avalanches in the front of the flow up to 1 km. Crater incandescence was also observed.

On 19-20 April a new lava flow descended the Ceniza drainage measuring 200-400 long, generating incandescent block avalanches at the front of the flow that moved up to 1 km. On 22 April lahars descended the Honda, Las Lajas, El Juté (SE), Trinidad, Ceniza, Taniluyá, Mineral, and Seca drainages and tributaries in Guacalate, Achiguate, and Pantaleón. During the evening of 23 April the rate of effusive activity increased; observatory staff observed a second lava flow in the Seca drainage was 170 m long and incandescent blocks from the flow traveled up to 600 m. Two lava flows in the Ceniza (130-400 m) and Seca (150-800 m) drainages continued from 23-28 April and had stopped by 30 April. On 30 April weak and moderate explosions produced ash plumes that rose 4.5-4.7 km altitude drifting S and SE, resulting in fine ashfall in Panimaché I, Morelia, Santa Sofía (figure 134).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 134. Photo of a small ash plume rising from Fuego on 30 April 2020. Photo has been slightly color corrected. Courtesy of William Chigna, CONRED.

During May 2020, the rate of explosion remained similar, with 4-16 explosions per hour, which generated gray ash plumes that rose 4.3-4.9 km altitude and drifted 10-17 km generally W and E. Ashfall was observed in Panimaché I, La Rochela, Ceilán, Morelia, San Andrés Osuna, Finca Palo Verde, Santa Sofía, Seilán, San Pedro Yepocapa, Alotenango (8 km ENE), Ciudad Vieja (13.5 km NE), San Miguel Dueñas (10 km NE), and Antigua Guatemala (18 km NE). The Washington VAAC issued volcanic ash advisory notices on six days in May. White gas-and-steam emissions continued, rising 4-4.5 km altitude drifting in multiple directions. Incandescent ejecta rose 100-400 m above the crater, accompanied by some crater incandescence and block avalanches in the Trinidad, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Las Lajas, Santa Teresa, Seca, and Honda drainages that moved up to 1 km and sometimes reached vegetated areas.

During 8-11 May a new 400 m long lava flow was detected in the Ceniza drainage, accompanied by constant crater incandescence and block avalanches traveling up to 1 km, according to INSIVUMEH. On 8 and 17 May moderate to strong lahars descended the Santa Teresa and Mineral drainages on the W flank and on 21 May they descended the Las Lajas drainage on the E flank and the Ceniza drainage on the SW flank. During 20-24 May a 100-400 m long lava flow was reported in the Ceniza drainage alongside degassing and avalanches moving up to 1 km and during 25-26 May a 150 m long lava flow was reported in the Seca drainage.

Activity during June-July 2020. The rate of explosions in June 2020 decreased slightly to 3-15 per hour, generating gray ash plumes that rose 4.2-4.9 km altitude and drifted 10-26 km in multiple directions (figure 135). As a result, intermittent ashfall was reported in San Pedro Yepocapa, Sangre de Cristo, Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Finca Palo Verde, El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Yucales (12 km SW), Santa Emilia, Santa Sofia, according to INSIVUMEH. VAAC advisories were published on eight days in June. Degassing persisted in the summit crater that rose 4.1-4.5 km altitude extending in different directions. Crater incandescence was observed occasionally, as well as incandescent pulses that rose 100-300 m above the crater. Block avalanches were observed descending the Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Santa Teresa, and Honda drainages, which could sometimes carry blocks up to 1 km in diameter.

On 2 June at 1050 a weak to moderate lahar was observed in the Las Lajas drainage on the SE flank. On 5 June, more lahars were detected in the Seca and Mineral drainages on the W flanks. A new lava flow was detected on 12 June, traveling 250 m down the Seca drainage on the NW flank, and accompanied by constant summit crater incandescence and gas emissions. The flow continued into 14 June, lengthening up to 300 m long. On 24 June weak and moderate explosions produced ash plumes that rose 4.3-4.7 km altitude drifting W and SW (figure 135). On 29 June at 1300 a weak lahar was reported in the Seca, Santa Teresa, and Mineral drainages on the W flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 135. Examples of small ash plumes at Fuego on 15 (left) and 24 (right) June 2020. Courtesy of William Chigna, CONRED.

Daily explosions and ash plumes continued through July 2020, with 1-15 explosions per hour and producing consistent ash plumes 4-4.9 km altitude drifting generally W for 10-24 km. These explosions resulted in block avalanches that descended the Trinidad, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Honda, Las Lajas, Seca, and Santa Teresa drainages. The number of white gas emissions decrease slightly compared to previous months and 4-4.4 km altitude. VAAC advisories were distributed on twenty different days in July. Incandescent ejecta was observed rising 100-350 m above the crater. Occasional ashfall was observed in Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, and El Porvenir, according to INSIVUMEH.

On 4 July in the early morning, a lava flow began in the Seca drainage, which also produced some fine ash particles that drifted W. The lava flow continued into 5 July, measuring 150 m long. On the same day, weak to moderate lahars traveled only 20 m, carrying tree branches and blocks measuring 30 cm to 1 m. On 14, 24, and 29 July more lahars were generated in the Las Lajas drainages on the former date and both the Las Lajas and El Jute drainages on the two latter dates.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); 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); 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); William Chigna, CONRED (URL: https://twitter.com/william_chigna).


Nishinoshima (Japan) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nishinoshima

Japan

27.247°N, 140.874°E; summit elev. 25 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Major June-July eruption of lava, ash, and sulfur dioxide; activity declines in August 2020

Japan’s Nishinoshima volcano, located about 1,000 km S of Tokyo in the Ogasawara Arc, erupted above sea level in November 2013 after 40 years of dormancy. Activity lasted through November 2015 and returned during mid-2017, continuing the growth of the island with ash plumes, ejecta, and lava flows. A short eruptive event in July 2018 produced a small lava flow and vent on the side of the pyroclastic cone. The next eruption of ash plumes, incandescent ejecta, and lava flows began in early December 2019, resulting in significant growth of the island. This report covers the ongoing activity from March-August 2020 when activity decreased. Information is provided primarily from Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) monthly reports and the Japan Coast Guard (JCG), which makes regular overflights to make observations.

Renewed eruptive activity that began on 5 December 2019 continued during March-August 2020 but appeared to wane by the end of August. Major lava flows covered all sides of the island, with higher levels of activity during late June and early July. Ash emissions increased significantly during June and produced dense black ash plumes that rose up to 6 km altitude in early July. Explosive activity produced lightning and incandescent jets that rose 200 m and large bombs that fell to the base of the pyroclastic cone. Lava flow activity diminished at the end of July. Ash emissions decreased throughout August and appeared to cease after 27 August 2020. The MIROVA plot clearly reflects the high levels of thermal activity between December 2019 and August 2020 (figure 80); this event was reported by JMA as the largest eruption recorded to date. Sulfur dioxide emissions were very high during late June through early August, producing emissions that drifted across much of the western Pacific region.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. The MIROVA plot of thermal activity at Nishinoshima from 14 October 2019 through August 2020 indicates the high levels between early December 2019 and late July 2020 that resulted from the eruption of numerous lava flows on all flanks of the pyroclastic cone, significantly enlarging the island. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The Japan Coast Guard (JCG) conducted overflights of Nishinoshima on 9 and 15 March 2020 (figure 81). During both visits they observed eruptive activity from the summit crater, including ash emissions that rose to an altitude of approximately 1,000 m and lava flowing down the N and SE flanks (figure 82). Large ejecta was scattered around the base of the pyroclastic cone. The lava flowing north had reached the coast and was producing vigorous steam as it entered the water on 9 March; whitish gas emissions were visible on the N flank of the cone at the source of the lava flow (figure 83). On 9 March yellow-green discolored water was noted off the NE shore. The lava flow on the SE coast produced a small amount of steam at the ocean entry point and a strong signal in thermal imagery on 15 March (figure 84). Multiple daily MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued during 1-10, 17-24, and 27-30 March. Landsat-8 visual and thermal imagery on 30 March 2020 confirmed that thermal anomalies on the N and SE flanks of the volcano continued.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. The Japan Coast Guard conducted an overflight of Nishinoshima on 9 March 2020 and observed ash emissions rising 1,000 m above the summit and lava flowing into the ocean off the N flank of the island. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (JCG) and JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Lava flows at Nishinoshima during February and March 2020 were concentrated on the N and SE flanks. The areas in blue indicate topographical changes due to lava flows and pyroclastic deposits from the previous measurement. The growth of the SE-flank flow decreased during March while the N-flank flow rate increased significantly. Left image shows changes between 14 and 28 February and right image shows the differences between 28 February and 13 March. The correlated image analysis uses ALOS-2 / PALSAR-2 and is carried out with the cooperation of JAXA through the activities of the Satellite Analysis Group of the Volcano Eruption Prediction Liaison Committee. The software was developed by the Japan National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention and uses the technical data C1-No 478 of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. Courtesy of JAXA and JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Nishinoshima, March 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Vigorous steam emissions on the N flank of Nishinoshima on 9 March 2020 were caused by the active flow on the N flank. Whitish steam and gas midway up the flank indicated the outlet of the flow. Ash emissions rose from the summit crater and drifted E. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard and JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Infrared imagery from 15 March 2020 at Nishinoshima showed the incandescent lava flow on the SE flank (foreground), blocks of ejecta scattered around the summit and flanks of the pyroclastic cone, and the active N-flank flow (left). Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard and JMA.

Ash emissions were not observed at Nishinoshima during JCG overflights on 6, 16, and 19 April 2020, but gas-and-steam emissions were noted from the summit crater, and a yellow discoloration interpreted by JMA to be sulfur precipitation was observed near the top of the pyroclastic cone. The summit crater was larger than during previous visits. Steam plumes seen each of those days on the N and NE coasts suggested active ocean entry of lava flows (figure 85). A lava flow was observed emerging from the E flank of the cone and entering the ocean on the E coast on 19 and 29 April (figure 86). During the overflight on 29 April observers noted lava flowing southward from a vent on the E flank of the pyroclastic cone. A narrow, brown, ash plume was visible on 29 April at the summit crater rising to an altitude of about 1,500 m. Thermal observations indicated continued flow activity throughout the month. Multiple daily MODVOLC thermal alerts were recorded during 2-6, 10-11, 17-23, and 28-30 April. Significant growth of the pyroclastic cone occurred between early February and late April 2020 (figure 87).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Multiple entry points of lava flowed into the ocean producing jets of steam along the N flank of Nishinoshima on 6 April 2020. Courtesy of JCG and JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Lava flowed down the E flank of Nishinoshima from a vent below the summit on 19 April 2020. The ocean entry produced a vigorous steam plume (left). Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. The pyroclastic cone at Nishinoshima grew significantly in size between 4 February (left), 9 March (middle), and 19 April 2020 (right). View is to the E. Courtesy of JMA and JCG.

Infrared satellite imagery from 17 May 2020 showed a strong thermal anomaly at the summit and hot spots on the NW flank indicative of flows. Visible imagery confirmed emissions at the summit and steam plumes on the NW flank (figure 88). Gray ash plumes rose to about 1,800 m altitude on 18 May during the only overflight of the month made by the Japan Coast Guard. In addition, white gas emissions rose from around the summit area and large blocks of ejecta were scattered around the base of the pyroclastic cone (figure 89). Steam from ocean-entry lava on the N flank was reduced from previous months, but a new flow moving NW into the ocean was generating a steam plume and a strong thermal signature. Multi-pixel thermal alerts were measured by the MODVOLC system on 1-3, 9-10, 13-15, 18, and 26-30 May. Sulfur dioxide emissions had been weak and intermittent from March through early May 2020 but became more persistent during the second half of May. Although modest in size, the plumes were detectible hundreds of kilometers away from the volcano (figure 90).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Landsat-8 satellite imagery of Nishinoshima from 17 May 2020 confirmed continued eruptive activity. Visible imagery showed emissions at the summit and steam plumes on the NW flank (left) and infrared imagery showed a strong thermal anomaly at the summit and anomalies on the NW flank indicative of lava flows (right). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Lava continued to enter the ocean at Nishinoshima during May 2020. A new lava flow on the NW flank produced a strong steam plume at an ocean entry (left) on 18 May 2020. In addition to a light gray plume of gas and ash, steaming blocks of ejecta were visible on the flanks of the pyroclastic cone. The strong thermal signature of the NW-flank flow in infrared imagery that same day showed multiple new lobes flowing to the ocean (right). Courtesy of JCG and JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Small but distinct SO2 emissions from Nishinoshima were recorded by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite during the second half of May 2020. The plumes drifted tens to hundreds of kilometers away from the volcano in multiple directions as the wind directions changed. Nishinoshima is about 1,000 kilometers S of Tokyo. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Activity increased significantly during June 2020. Satellite imagery from 2 June revealed two intense thermal anomalies at the summit indicating a new crater, and lava flows active on the NW and NE flanks, all showing gas or steam emissions (figure 91). Dense brown and gray ash emissions were observed rising from the summit crater during JCG overflights on 7 and 15 June (figure 92). Plumes reached at least 1,500 m altitude, and ejecta reached the base of the pyroclastic cone. Between 5 and 19 June the lava flow on the WNW coast slowed significantly, while the flows to the N and E became significantly more active (figure 93). The Tokyo VAAC reported the first ash plume since mid-February on 12 June rose to 2.1 km and drifted NE. On 14 June they reported an ash plume extending E at 2.7 km altitude. Dense emissions continued to drift N and E at 2.1-2.7 km altitude until the last week of the month. The JCG overflight on 19 June observed darker ash emissions than two weeks earlier that drifted at least 180 km NE (figure 94) and incandescent tephra that exploded from the enlarged summit area where three overlapping craters trending E-W had formed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Landsat-8 satellite imagery on 2 June 2020 confirmed ongoing activity at Nishinoshima. Lava produced ocean-entry steam on the NE coast; a weak plume on the NW coast suggested reduced activity in that area (left). In addition, a dense steam plume drifted E from the summit, while a fainter plume adjacent to it also drifted E. The infrared image (right) indicated two intense anomalies at the summit, and weaker anomalies from lava flows on the NW and NE flanks. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Lava flows at Nishinoshima entered the ocean on the N and NE coasts (left) on 7 June 2020, and dense, gray ash emissions rose to at least 1,500 m altitude. Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. The lava flow on the WNW coast of Nishinoshima slowed significantly in early June 2020, while the flows to the N and E covered large areas of those flanks between 5 and 19 June. The areas in blue indicate topographical changes due to lava flows and pyroclastic deposits from the previous measurement. Left image shows the differences between 22 May and 5 June and right image shows changes between 5 and 19 June. The correlated image analysis uses ALOS-2 / PALSAR-2 and is carried out with the cooperation of JAXA through the activities of the Satellite Analysis Group of the Volcano Eruption Prediction Liaison Committee. The software was developed by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention and uses the technical data C1-No 478 of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. Courtesy of JAXA and JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Nishinoshima, June 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Ash emissions and explosive activity at Nishinoshima increased significantly during the second half of June. Dense black ash rose to 2.4 km altitude and drifted at least 180 km to the NE on 19 June 2020. Vigorous white steam plumes rose from the ocean on the E flank where a lava flow entered the ocean. Courtesy of JCG.

The Tokyo VAAC reported ash emissions that rose to 4.6 km altitude and drifted NE on 25 June. For the remainder of the month they rose to 2.7-3.9 km altitude and drifted N and NE. By the time of the JCG overflight on 29 June, the new crater that had opened on the SW flank had merged with the summit crater (figure 95). Dense black ash emissions rose to 3.4 km altitude and drifted NE, lava flowed down the SW flank into the ocean producing violent steam explosions, and incandescent tephra was scattered at least 200 m from the base of the pyroclastic cone from ongoing explosive activity (figure 96). Multiple layers of recent flow activity were visible along the SW coast (figure 97). Yellow-green discolored water encircled the entire island with a width of 1,000 m.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. The new crater on the SW flank of Nishinoshima had merged with the summit crater by 29 June 2020. Courtesy of JCG and JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Dense black ash emissions rose to 3.4 km altitude and drifted NE from the summit of Nishinoshima on 29 June 2020. Lava flowed down the SW flank into the ocean producing steam explosions, and incandescent tephra was scattered at least 200 m from the base of the pyroclastic cone from ongoing explosive activity at the summit (inset). Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Different textures of lava flows were visible along the SW flank of Nishinoshima on 29 June 2020. The active flow appeared dark brown and blocky, and produced steam explosions at the ocean entry site (right). Slightly older, brownish-red lava (center) still produced steam along the coastline. Courtesy of JCG.

MODVOLC thermal alerts reached their highest levels of the period during June 2020 with multi-pixel alerts recorded on most days of the month. Sulfur dioxide emissions increased steadily throughout June to the highest levels recorded for Nishinoshima; by the end of the month plumes of SO2 were drifting thousands of kilometers across the Pacific Ocean and being captured in complex atmospheric circulation currents (figure 98).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Sulfur dioxide emissions at Nishinoshima increased noticeably during the second half of June 2020 as measured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Atmospheric circulation currents produced long-lived plumes that drifted thousands of kilometers from the volcano. Nishinoshima is 1,000 km S of Tokyo. Courtesy of NASA Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

By early July 2020, satellite data indicated that the NE quadrant of the island was covered with ash, and a large amount of new lava had flowed down the SW flank, creating fans extending into the ocean (figure 99). The Tokyo VAAC reported ash emissions that rose to 3.7-4.9 km altitude and drifted N during 1-6 July. The altitude increased to 6.1 km during 8 and 9 July, and ranged from 4.6-6.1 km during 10-14 July while the drift direction changed to NE. The marine meteorological observation ship "Ryofu Maru" reported on 11 July that dense black ash was continuously erupting from the summit crater and drifting W at 1,700 m altitude or higher. They observed large volcanic blocks scattered around the base of the pyroclastic cone, and ash falling from the drifting plume. During the night of 11 July incandescent lava and volcanic lightning rose to about 200 m above the crater rim (figure 100).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. By early July 2020, satellite data from Nishinoshima indicated that the NE quadrant of the island was covered with ash, and a large amount of new lava had flowed down the SW flank creating fans extending into the ocean. The areas in blue indicate topographical changes due to lava flows and pyroclastic deposits from the previous measurement. Left image shows differences between 5 and 19 June and the right image shows changes between 19 June and 3 July that included abundant ashfall on the NE flank. The correlated image analysis uses ALOS-2 / PALSAR-2 and is carried out with the cooperation of JAXA through the activities of the Satellite Analysis Group of the Volcano Eruption Prediction Liaison Committee. The software was developed by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention and uses the technical data C1-No 478 of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. Courtesy of JAXA and JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Nishinoshima, June 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. High levels of activity were observed at Nishinoshima by crew members aboard the marine meteorological observation ship "Ryofu Maru” on 11 July 2020. Abundant ash emissions filled the sky and tephra fell out of the ash cloud for several kilometers downwind (left, seen from 6 km NE). Incandescent explosions rose as much as 200 m into the night sky (right, seen from 4 km E). Courtesy of JMA.

During 16-26 July 2020 the Tokyo VAAC reported ash emissions at 3.7-5.2 km altitude that drifted primarily N and NE. The vessel "Keifu Maru" passed Nishinoshima on 20 July and crewmembers observed continuing emissions from the summit of dense, black ash. JCG observed an ash plume rising to at least 2.7 km altitude during their overflight of 20 July. A large dome of fresh lava was visible on the SW flank of the island (figure 101). Lower ash emissions from 2.4-3.7 km altitude were reported by the Tokyo VAAC during 27-29 July, but the altitude increased to 5.5-5.8 km during the last two days of the month. During an overflight on 30 July by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention, dark and light gray ash emissions rose to 3.0 km altitude, but no flowing lava or large bombs were observed. They also noted thick deposits of brownish-gray ash on the N side of the island (figure 102).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. JCG observed an ash plume at Nishinoshima rising to at least 2.7 km altitude during their overflight of 20 July 2020. A large dome of fresh lava was visible on the SW flank of the island. Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. Ash emissions changed from dark to light gray on 30 July 2020 at Nishinoshima as seen during an overflight by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention. Thick brownish-gray ash was deposited over the lava on the N side of the island. Courtesy of JMA (Information on volcanic activity in Nishinoshima, July 2020).

JMA reported a sharp decrease in the lava eruption rate during July with thermal anomalies decreasing significantly mid-month. Multiple daily MODVOLC thermal alerts were recorded during the first half of the month but were reduced to two or three per day during the last third of July. Throughout July, SO2 emissions were the highest recorded in modern times for Nishinoshima. High levels of emissions were measured daily, producing streams with high concentrations of SO2 that were caught up in rotating wind currents and drifted thousands of kilometers across the Pacific Ocean (figure 103).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. Complex atmospheric wind patterns carried the largest SO2 plumes recorded from Nishinoshima thousands of kilometers around the western Pacific Ocean during July 2020. Nishinoshima is about 1,000 km S of Tokyo. Top and bottom left images both show 6 July but at different scales. Courtesy of NASA Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Thermal activity was greatly reduced during August 2020. Only one or two MODVOLC alerts were issued on 11, 18, 20, 21, 29, and 30 August, and no fresh lava flows were observed. The Tokyo VAAC reported ash emissions daily from 1-20 August. Plume heights were 4.9-5.8 km altitude during 1-4 August after which they dropped to 3.9 km altitude through 15 August. A brief pulse to 4.6 km altitude was recorded on 16 August, but then they dropped to 3.0 km or lower through the end of the month and became intermittent. The last ash emission was reported at 2.7 km altitude drifting W on 27 August.

No eruptive activity was observed during the Japan Coast Guard overflights on 19 and 23 August. High temperatures were measured on the inner wall of the summit crater on 19 August (figure 104). Steam plumes rose from the summit crater to about 2.5 km altitude during both visits (figure 105). Yellow-green discolored water was present on 23 August around the NW and SW coasts. No lava flows were observed, and infrared cameras did not measure any surface thermal anomalies outside of the crater. Very high levels of SO2 emissions were measured through 12 August when they began to noticeably decrease (figure 106). By the end of the month, only small amounts of SO2 were measured in satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. A strong thermal anomaly was still present inside the newly enlarged summit crater at Nishinoshima on 19 August 2020. Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Only steam plumes were observed rising from the summit crater of Nishinoshima during the 23 August 2020 overflight by the Japan Coast Guard. Courtesy of JCG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Sulfur dioxide emissions remained very high at Nishinoshima until 12 August 2020 when they declined sharply. Circulating air currents carried SO2 thousands of kilometers around the western Pacific region. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Geologic Background. The small island of Nishinoshima was enlarged when several new islands coalesced during an eruption in 1973-74. Another eruption that began offshore in 2013 completely covered the previous exposed surface and enlarged the island again. Water discoloration has been observed on several occasions since. The island is the summit of a massive submarine volcano that has prominent satellitic peaks to the S, W, and NE. The summit of the southern cone rises to within 214 m of the sea surface 9 km SSE.

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Japan Coast Guard (JCG), Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, 3-1-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8932, Japan (URL: https://www1.kaiho.mlit.go.jp/GIJUTSUKOKUSAI/kaiikiDB/kaiyo18-e1.htm); 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/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency-Earth Observation Research Center (JAXA-EORC), 7-44-1 Jindaiji Higashi-machi, Chofu-shi, Tokyo 182-8522, Japan (URL: http://www.eorc.jaxa.jp/); 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/).


Turrialba (Costa Rica) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Turrialba

Costa Rica

10.025°N, 83.767°W; summit elev. 3340 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruptive period on 18 June 2020 consisted of ash eruptions

Turrialba is a stratovolcano located in Costa Rica that overlooks the city of Cartago. Three well-defined craters occur at the upper SW end of a broad 800 x 2,200 m summit depression that is breached to the NE. Activity described in the previous report primarily included weak ash explosions and minor ash emissions (BGVN 44:11). This reporting period updates information from November 2019-August 2020; volcanism dominantly consists of ash emissions during June-August, based on information from daily and weekly reports by the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA) and satellite data.

Volcanism during November 2019 through mid-June was relatively low, dominated by low SO2 emissions (100-300 tons/day) and typical low seismic tremors. A single explosion was recorded at 1850 on 7 December 2019, and two gas-and-steam plumes rose 800 m and 300 m above the crater on 25 and 27 December, respectively. An explosion was detected on 29 January 2020 but did not result in any ejecta. An overflight during the week of 10 February measured the depth of the crater (140 m); since the previous measurements made in February 2019 (220 m), the crater has filled with 80 m of debris due to frequent collapses of the NW and SE internal crater walls. Beginning around February and into at least early May 2020 the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity graph provided by the MIROVA system detected a small cluster of thermal anomalies (figure 52). Some of these anomalies were faintly registered in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery during 10 and 25 April, with a more distinct anomaly occurring on 15 May (figure 53).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. A small cluster of thermal anomalies were detected in the summit area of Turrialba (red dots) during February-May 2020 as recorded by the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity data (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery detected minor gas-and-steam emissions (left) and a weak thermal anomaly (right) in the summit crater at Turrialba on 11 January and 15 May 2020, respectively. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

On 18 June activity increased, which marked the start of a new eruptive period that produced ash emissions rising 100 m above the crater rim at 1714, 1723, and 1818. The next morning, 19 June, two more events at 1023 and 1039 resulted in ash emissions rising 100 m above the crater. During 23-26 June small ash emissions continued to occur each day, rising no higher than 100 m above the crater. A series of small ash eruptions that rose 100 m above the crater occurred during 28 and 29 June; four events were recorded at 0821, 1348, 1739, and 2303 on 28 June and five more were recorded at 0107, 0232, 0306, 0412, and 0818 on 29 June. The two events at 0107 and 0412 were accompanied by ballistics ejected onto the N wall of the crater, according to OVSICORI-UNA.

Almost daily ash emissions continued during 1-7 July, rising less than 100 m above the crater; no ash emissions were observed on 3 July. On 6 July, gas-and-steam and ash emissions rose hundreds of meters above the crater at 0900, resulting in local ashfall. Passive gas-and-steam emissions with minor amounts of ash were occasionally visible during 9-10 July. On 14 July an eruptive pulse was observed, generating brief incandescence at 2328, which was likely associated with a small ash emission. Dilute ash emissions at 1028 on 16 July preceded an eruption at 1209 that resulted in an ash plume rising 200 m above the crater. Ash emissions of variable densities continued through 20 July rising as high as 200 m above the crater; on 20 July incandescence was observed on the W wall of the crater. An eruptive event at 0946 on 29 July produced an ash plume that rose 200-300 m above the crater rim. During 30-31 July a series of at least ten ash eruptions were detected, rising no higher than 200 m above the crater, each lasting less than ten minutes. Some incandescence was visible on the SW wall of the crater during this time.

On 1 August at 0746 an ash plume rose 500 m above the crater. During 4-5 August a total of 19 minor ash emissions occurred, accompanied by ash plumes that rose no higher than 200 m above the crater. OVSICORI-UNA reported on 21 August that the SW wall of the crater had fractured; some incandescence in the fracture zone had been observed the previous month. Two final eruptions were detected on 22 and 24 August at 1253 and 2023, respectively. The eruption on 24 August resulted in an ash plume that rose to a maximum height of 1 km above the crater.

Geologic Background. Turrialba, the easternmost of Costa Rica's Holocene volcanoes, is a large vegetated basaltic-to-dacitic stratovolcano located across a broad saddle NE of Irazú volcano overlooking the city of Cartago. The massive edifice covers an area of 500 km2. Three well-defined craters occur at the upper SW end of a broad 800 x 2200 m summit depression that is breached to the NE. Most activity originated from the summit vent complex, but two pyroclastic cones are located on the SW flank. Five major explosive eruptions have occurred during the past 3500 years. A series of explosive eruptions during the 19th century were sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows. Fumarolic activity continues at the central and SW summit craters.

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/, https://www.facebook.com/OVSICORI/); 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).


Etna (Italy) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Effusive activity in early April; frequent Strombolian explosions and ash emissions during April-July 2020

Etna, located on the island of Sicily, Italy, is a stratovolcano that has had historical eruptions dating back 3,500 years. Its most recent eruptive period began in September 2013 and has continued through July 2020, characterized by Strombolian explosions, lava flows, and ash plumes. Activity has commonly originated from the summit areas, including the Northeast Crater (NEC), the Voragine-Bocca Nuova (or Central) complex (VOR-BN), the Southeast Crater (SEC, formed in 1978), and the New Southeast Crater (NSEC, formed in 2011). The newest crater, referred to as the "cono della sella" (saddle cone), emerged during early 2017 in the area between SEC and NSEC. Volcanism during this reporting period from April through July 2020 includes frequent Strombolian explosions primarily in the Voragine and NSEC craters, ash emissions, some lava effusions, and gas-and-steam emissions. Information primarily comes from weekly reports by the Osservatorio Etneo (OE), part of the Catania Branch of Italy's Istituo Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologica (INGV).

Summary of activity during April-July 2020. Degassing of variable intensity is typical activity from all summit vents at Etna during the reporting period. Intra-crater Strombolian explosions and ash emissions that rose to a maximum altitude of 5 km on 19 April primarily originated from the Voragine (VOR) and New Southeast Crater (NSEC) craters. At night, summit crater incandescence was occasionally visible in conjunction with explosions and degassing. During 18-19 April small lava flows were observed in the VOR and NSEC craters that descended toward the BN from the VOR Crater and the upper E and S flanks of the NSEC. On 19 April a significant eruptive event began with Strombolian explosions that gradually evolved into lava fountaining activity, ejecting hot material and spatter from the NSEC. Ash plumes that were produced during this event resulted in ashfall to the E of Etna. The flows had stopped by the end of April; activity during May consisted of Strombolian explosions in both the VOR and NSEC craters and intermittent ash plumes rising 4.5 km altitude. On 22 May Strombolian explosions in the NSEC produced multiple ash plumes, which resulted in ashfall to the S. INGV reported that the pit crater at the bottom of BN had widened and was accompanied by degassing. Explosions with intermittent ash emissions continued during June and July and were primarily focused in the VOR and NSEC craters; mild Strombolian activity in the SEC was reported in mid-July.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows multiple episodes of thermal activity throughout the reporting period (figure 296). In early April, the frequency and power of the thermal anomalies began to decrease through mid-June; in July, they had increased in power again but remained less frequent compared to activity in January through March. According to the MODVOLC thermal algorithm, a total of seven alerts were detected in the summit craters during 10 April (1), 17 April (1), 24 April (2), 10 July (1), 13 July (1), and 29 July (1) 2020. These thermal hotspots were typically registered during or after a Strombolian event. Frequent Strombolian activity contributed to distinct SO2 plumes that drifted in different directions (figure 297).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 296. Multiple episodes of varying thermal activity at Etna from 14 October 2019 through July 2020 were reflected in the MIROVA data (Log Radiative Power). In early April, the frequency and power of the thermal anomalies decreased through mid-June. In July, the thermal anomalies increased in power, but did not increase in frequency. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 297. Distinct SO2 plumes from Etna were detected on multiple days during April to July 2020 due to frequent Strombolian explosions, including, 24 April (top left), 9 May (top right), 25 June (bottom left), and 21 July (bottom right) 2020. Captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Activity during April-May 2020. During April, INGV reported Strombolian explosions that produced some ash emissions and intra-crater effusive activity within the Voragine Crater (VOR) and abundant degassing from the New Southeast Crater (NSEC), Northeast Crater (NEC), and from two vents on the cono della sella (saddle cone) that were sometimes accompanied by a modest amount of ash (figure 298). At night, summit crater incandescence was observed in the cono della salla. The Strombolian activity in the VOR built intra-crater scoria cones while lava flows traveled down the S flank of the largest, main cone. On 18 April effusive activity from the main cone in the VOR Crater traveled 30 m toward the Bocca Nuova (BN) Crater; the pit crater at the bottom of the BN crater had widened compared to previous observations. A brief episode of Strombolian explosions that started around 0830 on 19 April in the NSEC gradually evolved into modest lava fountaining activity by 0915, rising to 3 km altitude and ejecting bombs up to 100 m (figure 299). A large spatter deposit was found 50 m from the vent and 3-4 small lava flows were descending the NSEC crater rim; two of these summit lava flows were observed at 1006, confined to the upper E and S flanks of the cone. Around 1030, one or two vents in the cono della sella produced a gas-and-steam and ash plume that rose 5 km altitude and drifted E, resulting in ashfall on the E flank of Etna in the Valle del Bove, as well as between the towns of Zafferana Etnea (10 km SE) and Linguaglossa (17 km NE). At night, flashes of incandescence were visible at the summit. By 1155, the lava fountaining had gradually slowed, stopping completely around 1300. The NEC continued to produce gas-and-steam emissions with some intra-crater explosive activity. During the week of 20-26 April, Strombolian activity in the VOR intra-crater scoria cone ejected pyroclastic material several hundred meters above the crater rim while the lava flows had significantly decreased, though continued to travel on the E flank of the main cone. Weak, intra-crater Strombolian activity with occasional ash emissions and nightly summit incandescence were observed in the NSEC (figure 300). By 30 April there were no longer any active lava flows; the entire flow field had begun cooling. The mass of the SO2 emissions varied in April from 5,000-15,000 tons per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 298. Photos of Strombolian explosions at Etna in the Voragine Crater (top left), strong degassing at the Northeast Crater (NEC) (top right), and incandescent flashes and Strombolian activity in the New Southeast Crater (NSEC) seen from Tremestieri Etneo (bottom row) on 10 April 2020. Photos by Francesco Ciancitto (top row) and Boris Behncke (bottom row), courtesy of INGV.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 299. Strombolian activity at Etna’s “cono della sella” of the NSEC crater on 19 April 2020 included (a-b) lava fountaining that rose 3 km altitude, ejecting bomb-sized material and a spatter deposit captured by the Montagnola (EMOV) thermal camera. (c-d) An eruptive column and increased white gas-and-steam and ash emissions were captured by the Montagnola (EMOV) visible camera and (e-f) were also seen from Tremestieri Etneo captured by Boris Behncke. Courtesy of INGV (Report 17/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 13/04/2020 – 19/04/2020, data emissione 21/04/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 300. Webcam images showing intra-crater explosive activity at Etna in the Voragine (VOR) and New Southeast Crater (NSEC) on 24 April 2020 captured by the (a-b) Montagnola and (c) Monte Cagliato cameras. At night, summit incandescence was visible and accompanied by strong degassing. Courtesy of INGV (Report 18/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 20/04/2020 – 26/04/2020, data emissione 28/04/2020).

Strombolian explosions produced periodic ash emissions and ejected mild, discontinuous incandescent material in the VOR Crater; the coarse material was deposited onto the S flank of BN (figure 301). Pulsating degassing continued from the summit craters, some of which were accompanied by incandescent flashes at night. The Strombolian activity in the cono della sella occasionally produced reddish ash during 3-4 May. During 5 and 8 May, there was an increase in ash emissions at the NSEC that drifted SSE. A strong explosive event in the VOR Crater located E of the main cone produced a significant amount of ash and ejected coarse material, which included blocks and bombs measuring 15-20 cm, that fell on the W edge of the crater, as well as on the S terrace of the BN Crater (figure 302).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 301. Photos of Strombolian explosions and summit incandescence at Etna on 4 May (left) and during the night of 11-12 May. Photos by Gianni Pennisi (left) and Boris Behncke (right, seen from Tremestieri Etneo). Courtesy of INGV.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 302. A photo on 5 May (left) and thermal image on 8 May (right) of Strombolian explosions at Etna in the Voragine Crater accompanied by a dense, gray ash plume. Photo by Daniele Andronico. Courtesy of INGV (Report 20/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 04/05/2020 – 10/05/2020, data emissione 12/05/2020).

On 10 May degassing continued in the NSEC while Strombolian activity fluctuated in both the VOR and NSEC Craters, ejecting ballistics beyond the crater rim; in the latter, some of the blocks fell back in, accumulated on the edge, and rolled down the slopes (figure 303). During the week of 11-17 May, eruptive activity at the VOR Crater was the lowest observed since early March; there were 4-5 weak, low intensity pulses not accompanied by bombs or ashfall in the VOR Crater. Degassing continued in the BN Crater. The crater of the cono della sella had widened further N following collapses due to the Strombolian activity, which exposed the internal wall.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 303. Map of the summit craters of Etna showing the active vents, the area of cooled lava flows (light green), and the location of the widening pit crater in the Bocca Nuova (BN) Crater (light blue circle) updated on 9 May 2020. The base is modified from a 2014 DEM created by Laboratorio di Aerogeofisica-Sezione Roma 2. Black hatch marks indicate the crater rims: BN = Bocca Nuova, with NW BN-1 and SE BN-2; VOR = Voragine; NEC = North East Crater; SEC = South East Crater; NSEC = New South East Crater. Red circles indicate areas with ash emissions and/or Strombolian activity, yellow circles indicate steam and/or gas emissions only. Courtesy of INGV (Report 29/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 06/07/2020 – 12/07/2020, data emissione 14/07/2020).

On 18 May an ash plume from the NSEC rose 4.5 km altitude and drifted NE. Strombolian explosions on 22 May at the NSEC produced multiple ash plumes that rose 4.5 km altitude and drifted S and SW (figure 304), depositing a thin layer of ash on the S slope, and resulting in ashfall in Catania (27 km S). Explosions from the VOR Crater had ejected a deposit of large clasts (greater than 30 cm) on the NE flank, between the VOR Crater and NEC on 23 May. INGV reported that the pit crater in the BN continued to widen and degassing was observed in the NSEC, VOR Crater, and NEC. During the week of 25-31 May persistent visible flashes of incandescence at night were observed, which suggested there was intra-crater Strombolian activity in the SEC and NSEC. The mass of the SO2 plumes varied between 5,000-9,000 tons per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 304. Photo of repeated Strombolian activity and ash emissions rising from Etna above the New Southeast Crater (NSEC) on 22 May 2020 seen from Zafferana Etnea on the SE flank at 0955 local time. Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.

Activity during June-July 2020. During June, moderate intra-crater Strombolian activity with intermittent ash emissions continued in the NSEC and occurred more sporadically in the VOR Crater; at night, incandescence of variable intensity was observed at the summit. During the week of 8-14 June, Strombolian explosions in the cono della sella generated some incandescence and rare jets of incandescent material above the crater rim, though no ash emissions were reported. On the morning of 14 June a sequence of ten small explosions in the VOR Crater ejected incandescent material just above the crater rim and produced small ash emissions. On 25 June an overflight showed the developing pit crater in the center of the BN, accompanied by degassing along the S edge of the wall; degassing continued from the NEC, VOR Crater, SEC, and NSEC (figure 305). The mass of the SO2 plumes measured 5,000-7,000 tons per day, according to INGV.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 305. Aerial photo of Etna from the NE during an overflight on 25 June 2020 by the Catania Coast Guard (2 Nucleo Aereo della Guardia Costiera di Catania) showing degassing of the summit craters. Photo captured from the Aw139 helicopter by Stefano Branca. Courtesy of INGV (Report 27/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 22/06/2020 – 28/06/2020, data emissione 30/06/2020).

Similar modest, intra-crater Strombolian explosions in the NSEC, sporadic explosions in the VOR Crater, and degassing in the BN, VOR Crater, and NEC persisted into July. On 2 July degassing in the NEC was accompanied by weak intra-crater Strombolian activity. Intermittent weak ash emissions and ejecta from the NSEC and VOR Crater were observed during the month. During the week of 6-12 July INGV reported gas-and-steam emissions continued to rise from the vent in the pit crater at the bottom of BN (figure 306). On 11 July mild Strombolian activity, nighttime incandescence, and degassing was visible in the SEC (figure 307). By 15 July there was a modest increase in activity in the NSEC and VOR Craters, generating ash emissions and ejecting material over the crater rims while the other summit craters were dominantly characterized by degassing. On 31 July an explosion in the NSEC produced an ash plume that rose 4.5 km altitude.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 306. Photos of the bottom of the Bocca Nuova (BN) crater at Etna on 8 July 2020 showing the developing pit crater (left) and degassing. Minor ash emissions were visible in the background at the Voragine Crater (right). Both photos by Daniele Andronico. Courtesy of INGV (Report 29/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 06/07/2020 – 12/07/2020, data emissione 14/07/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 307. Mild Strombolian activity and summit incandescence in the “cono della sella” (saddle vent) at the Southeast crater (SEC) of Etna on 11 July 2020, seen from Piano del Vescovo (left) and Piano Vetore (right). Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.

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

Information Contacts: Sezione di Catania - Osservatorio Etneo, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/it/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Boris Behncke, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy.


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Multiple lava flows within the summit crater; September 2019-August 2020

Ol Doinyo Lengai, located near the southern end of the East African Rift in Tanzania, is a stratovolcano known for its unique low-temperature carbonatitic lava. Frequent eruptions have been recorded since the late 19th century. Activity primarily occurs in the crater offset to the N about 100 m below the summit where hornitos (small cones) and pit craters produce lava flows and spattering. Lava began overflowing various flanks of the crater in 1993. The eruption transitioned to significant explosive activity in September 2007, which formed a new pyroclastic cone inside the crater. Repeated ash emissions reached altitudes greater than 10 km during March 2008. By mid-April 2008 explosive activity had decreased. In September new hornitos with small lava flows formed on the crater floor. The most recent eruptive period began in April 2017 and has been characterized by spattering confined to the crater, effusive activity in the summit crater, and multiple lava flows (BGVN 44:09). Effusive activity continued in the summit crater during this reporting period from September 2019 through August 2020, based on data and images from satellite information.

Throughout September 2019 to August 2020, evidence for repeated small lava flows was recorded in thermal data and satellite imagery. A total of seven low-level pulses of thermal activity were detected within 5 km from the summit in MIROVA data during September 2019 (1), February (2), March (2), and August (2) 2020 (figure 207). Sentinel-2 satellite imagery also provided evidence of multiple lava flows within the summit crater throughout the reporting period. On clear weather days, intermittent thermal anomalies were observed in thermal satellite imagery within the summit crater; new lava flows were detected due to the change in shape, volume, and location of the hotspot (figure 208). During a majority of the reporting period, the thermal anomaly dominantly appeared in the center of the crater, though occasionally it would also migrate to the SE wall, as seen on 3 February, the E wall on 12 July, or the NE wall on 31 August. In Natural Color rendering, fresh lava flows appear black within the crater that quickly cools to a white-brown color. These satellite images showed the migration of new lava flows between February, March, and June (figure 209). The flow on 8 February occurs in the center and along the W wall of the crater; the flow on 9 March is slightly thinner and is observed in the center and along the E wall of the crater; finally, the flow on 17 June is located in the center and along the N wall of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 207. Seven low-level pulses of thermal activity within 5 km of the summit of Ol Doinyo Lengai were recorded in the MIROVA thermal data between September 2019 to August 2020; one in early September 2019, two in February, two in March, and two in August 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 208. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Ol Doinyo Lengai from November 2019 to August 2020 show intermittent thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) within the summit crater. The location of these anomalies occasionally changes, indicating new lava flows. Images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 209. Sentinel-2 satellite images of new lava flows within the summit crater at Ol Doinyo Lengai during 8 February (left), 9 March (middle), and 17 June (right) 2020. Lava flows appear black in the center of the crater that changes in volume and location from February to June. Images with “Natural Color” (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During August, multiple lava flows were detected in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery. On relatively clear days, lava flows were visible in the middle of the summit crater, occasionally branching out to one side of the crater (figure 210). On 6 August, a thin lava flow branched to the E flank, which became thicker by 11 August. On 16 and 21 August, the lava remained mostly in the center of the crater. A large pulse of fresh lava occurred on 31 August, extending to the NW and SE sides of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 210. Sentinel-2 images of multiple new lava flows at Ol Doinyo Lengai during August 2020. When visible in the first half of August, dark lava is concentrated in the center and E side of the crater; by the end of August the lava flows had reached the NW side of the crater. Images with “Natural Color” (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: 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).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 30, Number 05 (May 2005)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Ambrym (Vanuatu)

Steady emissions of SO2 create health problems, destroy crops, and contaminate water

Barren Island (India)

Lava flow and ash discharges seen by Coast Guard personnel on 28 May 2005

Egon (Indonesia)

Three eruptions in February 2005 eject ash and gas

Karangetang (Indonesia)

Ongoing seismicity during January-February 2005; lava avalanche in January

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Ash emissions and lava flow during April-June 2005

Lascar (Chile)

Further analysis of 4 May 2005 event indicates a phreato-Vulcanian eruption

Long Valley (United States)

Minor seismicity throughout 2004

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Aircraft encounters airborne gas from 27 January 2005 eruption; infrasonics

Reventador (Ecuador)

Lava flow reaches 4 km from summit, approaching road and petroleum pipeline

Rotorua (New Zealand)

Hydrothermal eruption of 19 April 2005—one of the area's largest since 1948

Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand)

Seismic and hydrothermal activity remain low through June 2005



Ambrym (Vanuatu) — May 2005 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambrym

Vanuatu

16.25°S, 168.12°E; summit elev. 1334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Steady emissions of SO2 create health problems, destroy crops, and contaminate water

Jenifer Piatt, a meteorologist with the Air Force Weather Agency in the Satellite Applications Branch, notified Bulletin staff on 17 June 2005 that haze had appeared near Ambrym on MODIS imagery over the past few days. Over the past several months, this volcano had been emitting SO2 and sometimes light ash. She informed us of several recent news articles that addressed this event and provided several satellite images (figure 14).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Images for 0250 UTC 15 June 2005 (top), and 0240 UTC 17 June 2005 (bottom) disclosing the area around Vanuatu including Ambryn. The images came from NASA's AQUA MODIS satellite with a resolution of 500 m. SO2 plumes from Ambrym are labeled. NASA image courtesy of USAF Weather Agency.

Tony Ligo wrote on 1 June 2005 in the Port Villa Presse that acid rain continued to fall in W Ambrym Island in Vanuatu, even after ash from the volcano had stopped falling. This prompted the provincial secretary general to discuss the need for new water sources. The Vanuatu government, through the department of Rural Water Supply, agreed to provide a drilling rig to the Malampa provincial government to drill on W Ambrym as soon as possible.

The government also recognized the value of scientific and technical data; in order to effectively respond to such environmental problems the government needs to get more young people studying in this area. The article noted that Vanuatu only has one volcanologist, Charley Douglas, with enough background to give accurate data on current activity.

Aid and food have been sent to affected areas on the western coast of the island, and a contingency evacuation plan is required for resettling people should this be necessary in the future. Health issues have been raised regarding hygiene, respiratory problems, asthma, and malnutrition over the past couple of months. Of great concern are health problems particular to children, including exposure to excess fluoride and the consequent risk of bone disease.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Earth Observatory web site reported that Ambrym volcano was the strongest point source of SO2 on the planet for the first months of 2005; it had been steadily emitting SO2 for at least 6 months, and satellite images produced using data collected by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's Aura satellite during the first 10 days of March 2005 show high concentrations of SO2 drifting NW.

The web site article noted that "Ambrym is not erupting in the traditional sense with thick ash plumes and explosive bursts of lava, rather it is leaking SO2 gas from active lava lakes in what scientists call 'passive' or 'non-eruptive' emissions. Despite these gentle names, the volcano still threatens the local population. SO2 has a strong smell and can irritate the eyes and nose and make breathing difficult. Higher in the atmosphere, SO2 combines with water to create rain laced with sulfuric acid. On Ambrym, acid rain has destroyed staple crops and contaminated the water supply, leaving communities in need of food aid." In the past, satellites have been able to monitor SO2 emissions only from large eruptions or the most powerful passive degassing. All other SO2 emissions remain at low altitudes and have low SO2 concentrations that were hard to see from space.

On 15 July 2004, NASA launched its Aura satellite carrying the OMI, which is part of a collaboration between the Netherlands' Agency for Aerospace Programs, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, and NASA. With greater spatial resolution (the ability to "zoom-in" to see greater detail) and higher sensitivity to SO2 than any previous space-borne sensor, OMI allows scientists to study passive volcanic degassing on a daily basis for the first time.

The image in figure 15 is an example of the instrument's preliminary, uncalibrated, and unvalidated data. This new view of passive volcanic emissions could lead to significant advances in understanding both volcanic eruptions and the impact of SO2 on climate. Changes in passive emissions can be a precursor to explosive eruptions, and thus provide a warning signal that activity may be changing.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. A zone of elevated atmospheric SO2 from Ambrym during the interval 1-10 March 2005. The units on the scale bar reflect SO2 in terms of Dobson Units (DU). (A Dobson Unit represents the physical thickness of the SO2 gas if a 1 cm2 column of the atmosphere were brought to 0EC and 1 atmosphere pressure. A value of 300 Dobson Units equals three millimeters.) To process the OMI spectrometer data, two different pairs of measured UV wavelengths are averaged. The mean of pairs 1 and 2 is written as "P1-P2 mean" on the scale bar. Courtesy of Simon Carn.

Geologic Background. Ambrym, a large basaltic volcano with a 12-km-wide caldera, is one of the most active volcanoes of the New Hebrides Arc. A thick, almost exclusively pyroclastic sequence, initially dacitic then basaltic, overlies lava flows of a pre-caldera shield volcano. The caldera was formed during a major Plinian eruption with dacitic pyroclastic flows about 1,900 years ago. Post-caldera eruptions, primarily from Marum and Benbow cones, have partially filled the caldera floor and produced lava flows that ponded on the floor or overflowed through gaps in the caldera rim. Post-caldera eruptions have also formed a series of scoria cones and maars along a fissure system oriented ENE-WSW. Eruptions have apparently occurred almost yearly during historical time from cones within the caldera or from flank vents. However, from 1850 to 1950, reporting was mostly limited to extra-caldera eruptions that would have affected local populations.

Information Contacts: Jenifer E. Piatt, HQ Air Force Weather Agency Satellite Applications Branch; Simon Carn, TOMS Volcanic Emissions Group, University of Maryland, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); NASA Earth Observatory Natural Hazards web page (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/).


Barren Island (India) — May 2005 Citation iconCite this Report

Barren Island

India

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava flow and ash discharges seen by Coast Guard personnel on 28 May 2005

Members of the Indian Coast Guard observed a new eruption on the morning of 28 May 2005. An ash plume originated from a vent on the W side of the summit of the central cone; fresh black lava flows did not reach the sea (figure 10). The eruption continued through at least 6 June. Fresh lava emissions had been noted by Indian Coast Guard personnel who patrol the area regularly. A large amount of steam was emitted due to heavy rainfall onto the hot lava surfaces. Heavy monsoon rains prevented access to the island. However, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) was planning a monitoring program and field expedition to the island.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Photograph of Barren Island erupting on 28 May 2005 taken from a helicopter. The black lava in the foreground is of 1994-95 eruption. A lava flow that did not reach the sea issues from a steaming flank vent. View is towards the ESE. Courtesy of the Indian Coast Guard.

Dornadula Chandrasekharam (Indian Institute of Technology) noted on 6 July that by that date the eruption had ceased, with only steam emissions continuing after three weeks of heavy monsoon rains. The Indian Coast Guard also confirmed to Chandrasekharam that the eruption was first noticed on 28 May, contrary to some press reports indicating that activity was seen on the 27th. Patrol helicopters saw no activity on 25 and 26 May, and did not observe the island on the 27th.

Press reports. A report in the 31 May edition of The Hindu stated that defense forces witnessed intermittent billowing smoke and "flame" from the volcano. The same article referenced a Press Trust of India (PTI) report that military forces that landed on the island "experienced a hot breeze and found themselves stepping on fresh lava" where earlier patrol teams had been able to reach the crater. Another article from The Hindu reported that on 2 June teams of the Indian Coast Guard vessel CG Sagar landed on the island in an inflatable raft while a helicopter hovered overhead. The report described eruptive activity consisting of lava and "fireballs" from the crater every few seconds. The purpose of the expedition was to "collect samples of the lava flowing into the rough sea" that would be given to scientists. Coast Guard members and various other government officials made an aerial survey of the island on 3 June according to a PTI report published in The Hindu the next day. The Lt. Governor of Andaman, Ram Kapse, saw "smoke and lava rising from the crater." Coast Guard sources stated that the volume of "smoke" had increased and lava was still flowing out of the crater.

A report in The Daily Telegrams on 17 February 2005 quoted K.N. Mathur, Director General of the GSI, regarding a scientific visit to Barren Island on 16 February. At that time, Mathur noted, the team observed "no serious volcanic activities on the island." A similar report in the 18 February edition of the Trinity Mirror carried a quote from Mathur that "There is no activity in the crater and it remained as it was found during GSI's last visit in 2003." These media reports were reproduced on the GSI website.

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

Information Contacts: Dornadula Chandrasekharam, Department of Earth Sciences, Centre of Studies in Resources Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay 400076, India (URL: http://www.geos.iitb.ac.in/index.php/dc); Geological Survey of India, 27 Jawaharlal Nehru road, Kolkata 700016, India (URL: https://www.gsi.gov.in/); The Daily Telegrams, India; Trinity Mirror, Chennai, India; The Hindu, 859 and 860 Anna Salai, Chennai 600002, Tamil Nadu, India (URL: http://www.hinduonnet.com/); Press Trust of India, PTI Building, 4, Parliament Street, New Delhi 110001, India (URL: http://www.ptinews.com/); Indian Coast Guard, National Stadium Complex, New Delhi 110 001, India.


Egon (Indonesia) — May 2005 Citation iconCite this Report

Egon

Indonesia

8.676°S, 122.455°E; summit elev. 1661 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Three eruptions in February 2005 eject ash and gas

Table 2 below tabulates the seismic activity by date of the volcano prior to and subsequent to its eruption on 6 February 2005, but little was reported concerning that event. The volcano erupted again on 7 February. That eruption was accompanied by a strong smell of SO2 or H2S in the villages of Hebing and Hale and apparently rendered a villager unconscious.

Table 2. A summary of counts for different earthquake types (type B volcanic, type A volcanic, emission, low frequency, and tectonic), tremor, amplitude, and Alert Level at Egon volcano. Unreported data indicated by "--". Courtesy of the Directorate of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (DVGHM) DVGHM.

Date Volcanic B Volcanic A Emission Low-frequency Tectonic Tremor amplitude Alert Level
05 Jan 2005 16 1 7 6 8 2-3 mm 3
06 Jan 2005 48 -- 3 -- 7 1-2 mm 3
Week of 24 Jan 2005 48 1 1 53 18 -- 3
Week of 01 Feb 2005 152 3 -- 109 76 -- --
14 Feb 2005 32 17 -- -- 5 30 mm 4
25-27 Feb 2005 61 4 24 2 19 1 mm 4

On 8 February 2005 a fissure about 1 km long appeared along the southern slope. Vegetation along the fissure's margins had died, indicating that a gas blow out had occurred there. On 14 February 2005 at 1830 another explosion occurred. It was accompanied by significant seismic activity (see table 2). This latest eruption ejected ash and glowing material as high as 50 m above the summit. Volcanic earthquakes were frequent.

Distances increased for electronic distance measurements (EDM) during April, July, and October 2004 and during February 2005 (the last four measurements). During 25-27 February 2005 ash plumes rose to 50 m high. Volcano status remained at alert level 4 (the highest hazard status).

Geologic Background. Gunung Egon, also known as Namang, sits within the narrow section of eastern Flores Island. The barren, sparsely vegetated summit region has a 350-m-wide, 200-m-deep crater that sometimes contains a lake. Other small crater lakes occur on the flanks. A lava dome forms the southern summit. Solfataric activity occurs on the crater wall and rim and on the upper S flank. Reports of eruptive activity prior to explosive eruptions beginning in 2004 are unconfirmed. Emissions were often observed above the summit during 1888-1892. Strong emissions in 1907 reported by Sapper (1917) was considered by the Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World (Neumann van Padang, 1951) to be an historical eruption, but Kemmerling (1929) noted that this was likely confused with an eruption on the same date and time from Lewotobi Lakilaki.

Information Contacts: Dali Ahmad, Hetty Triastuty, Nia Haerani, and Sri Kisyati, Directorate of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (DVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro No. 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/).


Karangetang (Indonesia) — May 2005 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

2.781°N, 125.407°E; summit elev. 1797 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing seismicity during January-February 2005; lava avalanche in January

Ongoing seismicity continued at Karangetang during January-February 2005. Lava avalanches were noted on 3 January and during the week of 17-23 January. The volcano was last discussed in a report on thermal alerts and a pilot's report of an ash plume to 7.5 km altitude (BGVN 29:03, which updated through May 2004). Table 11 presents a summary of the reported seismic and other data during January and February 2005.

Table 11. A summary of observations made at Karangatang during 3 January-February 2005. Courtesy of DVGHM.

Date Deep volcanic (A-type) Shallow volcanic (B-type) Multiphase Emission Tremor Amplitude Avalanches Tectonic Alert Level
03 Jan 2005 3 10 2 2 0.5-3 mm 5 8 3
04 Jan 2005 9 4 -- -- 0.5-1 mm -- 7 3
05 Jan 2005 2 11 1 -- -- -- 3 3
17-23 Jan 2005 61 125 6 -- -- 36 36 3

Geologic Background. Karangetang (Api Siau) volcano lies at the northern end of the island of Siau, about 125 km NNE of the NE-most point of Sulawesi island. The stratovolcano contains five summit craters along a N-S line. It is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, with more than 40 eruptions recorded since 1675 and many additional small eruptions that were not documented in the historical record (Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World: Neumann van Padang, 1951). Twentieth-century eruptions have included frequent explosive activity sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows and lahars. Lava dome growth has occurred in the summit craters; collapse of lava flow fronts have produced pyroclastic flows.

Information Contacts: Directorate of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (DVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/).


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — May 2005 Citation iconCite this Report

Langila

Papua New Guinea

5.525°S, 148.42°E; summit elev. 1330 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions and lava flow during April-June 2005

Langila was last reported on in BGVN 29:06, as part of a MODIS data summary, although the last prominent event there was on 18 January 2003, when a large explosion produced a thick dark ash column that penetrated the weather clouds over the summit area (BGVN 28:03).

A plume from Langila was visible on satellite imagery on 17 December 2004 according to the Darwin VAAC. The plume reached an unknown height and extended NW.

Between 28 April 2005 and 4 May 2005 the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) received reports of activity at Langila characterized by forceful emissions of thick white to gray ash-laden clouds rising ~ 700-800 m above the summit crater. Occasional continuous rumbling and explosive noises were heard and incandescence was visible at night. During early May, incandescent lava fragments were ejected. Activity increased at about 1300 on 4 May 2005, when white-to-gray ash emissions changed to dark ash clouds. Explosions became frequent, with incandescent lava fragments ejected again, and very bright glow was visible during the night. Around 1200 on 5 May 2005 the color of the ash emissions changed from dark gray to white-to-gray. A lava flow was produced but no further detail is available. Based on information from RVO, the Darwin VAAC reported that ash emissions from Langila rose to ~ 2.1 km altitude on 3 May. A very small plume and a hot spot were visible on satellite imagery. Ash clouds from the eruption were blown generally NW towards Kilenge ~ 100 km away, where light to moderate ashfall was reported.

According to the Darwin VAAC, low-level ash plumes emitted from Langila were visible on satellite imagery during 8-13 June 2005. RVO reported to the Darwin VAAC that moderate eruptive activity was expected to continue.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) reported that eruptive activity occurred at Langila on 2 June with more ash than normal being emitted from the volcano. Prevailing winds carried most of the initial ashfall to the sea, but lower-level winds redirected the ash back onto the island. About 10,000 people live near the volcano, and there were reports of increased cases of respiratory problems and eye irritation. During an aerial inspection of the area on 6 June 2005, IFRC determined that ~ 3,490 people had been affected by the eruption, mainly in the villages of Aitavala, Masele, Kilenge, Ongaea, Potne, and Sumel, but also to a lesser extent in Vem, Galegale, Tauale, and Laut. Ashfall damaged small food gardens and contaminated some water sources. The provincial government encouraged voluntary evacuation of affected areas.

During 16-17 June 2005, ash plumes from Langila were visible on satellite imagery (figure 4). The heights of the plumes were not reported.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. On 21 June 2005 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), flying on NASA's Aqua satellite, captured this image of Langila, Ulawun, and Rabaul. At the time MODIS captured this image, Langila showed the biggest plume of volcanic ash, followed by Ulawun. In all cases, winds pushed the ash clouds NW over the ocean. NASA image courtesy Jesse Allen, based on data from the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA.

Geologic Background. Langila, one of the most active volcanoes of New Britain, consists of a group of four small overlapping composite basaltic-andesitic cones on the lower E flank of the extinct Talawe volcano in the Cape Gloucester area of NW New Britain. A rectangular, 2.5-km-long crater is breached widely to the SE; Langila was constructed NE of the breached crater of Talawe. An extensive lava field reaches the coast on the N and NE sides of Langila. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded since the 19th century from three active craters at the summit. The youngest and smallest crater (no. 3 crater) was formed in 1960 and has a diameter of 150 m.

Information Contacts: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, Northern Territory 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea; International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Langila Volcano Information Bulletin No. 1 (URL: https://reliefweb.int/).


Lascar (Chile) — May 2005 Citation iconCite this Report

Lascar

Chile

23.37°S, 67.73°W; summit elev. 5592 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Further analysis of 4 May 2005 event indicates a phreato-Vulcanian eruption

The 4 May 2005 early morning eruption of Lascar was described in BGVN 30:04. Note that the time conversion in that issue was in error by 1 hour. The following information is based on a report prepared for Bulletin staff by Jose Viramonte of the Universidad Nacional de Salta, and Lizzette Rodriguez of Michigan Technological University.

Viramonte and Rodriguez estimated that the 4 May 2005 eruption column rose to a height of ~ 10-11 km, based on numerical models of temperature and wind measurements from the Servicio Metereológico Nacional, Argentina at different altitudes at the time of the eruption. The column traveled rapidly to the SE under the influence of the strong tropospheric winds with predominant direction from the NW to the SE.

Residents of the towns of Talabre (located 15 km W of the volcano) and Jama (located 60 km ENE of the volcano) did not report earthquakes or explosions. The Instituto GEONORTE of the Universidad Nacional de Salta reported very fine ashfall at 0545 in the city of Salta, located ~ 285 km SSE of the volcano. Ash sample collection, carried out by GEONORTE personnel for 2.5 hours, measured a rate of 0.4 g/ (m2 h). Grain size analyses of the ash showed a strong mode at diameters of 4-8 phi (0.062-0.003 mm) (figure 29); the ash was composed predominantly of andesitic lithic fragments and broken crystals of two pyroxenes (hyperstene and augite) and plagioclase, with very scarce glass shards.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Histogram of the grain size of ash deposited at the city of Salta by the 4 May 2005 Lascar eruption. Courtesy of Jose Viramonte and Lizzette Rodriguez.

The Buenos Aires VAAC and the Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (CONAE) processed different bands from MODIS data: b29-b32 for SO2, b31-b32 for ash, and b30-b32 for SO4. The first two band combinations showed the Lascar plume in coincidence with the b5-b4 band combination from NOAA-17 (figure 30).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. NOAA-17 image of a SE-directed plume from Lascar at 1440 UTC (1040 local time), obtained with the difference of channels 4 and 5 from the AVHRR sensor. The plume can be better identified withing the ellipse on higher resolution reproductions. Courtesy of Jose Viramonte and Lizzette Rodriguez.

The grain size and shape of the ash, its composition, and the interpretation of the satellite data, suggest that Lascar volcano had a short phreato-vulcanian eruption.

On May 25, Felipe Aguilera of the Universidad Católica del Norte, Antofagasta, Chile, climbed up to the crater of Lascar volcano (figure 31). He reported three new strong fumaroles a few meters from the S border of the crater, and sampled the sulfur sublimates (figure 32). No new bombs or blocks were seen around the crater area.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. View of Lascar's NE crater, looking NE (see arrow, upper left) with fumaroles present along a number of fractures to the N and E sides. The active crater is just out of view in the image foreground. Picture taken by Felipe Aguilera on 25 May 2005. Courtesy of Jose Viramonte and Lizzette Rodriguez.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Schematic diagram showing the position of fumaroles on Lascar after the eruption on 4 May 2005. Also indicated are several new post-eruption fumaroles that developed on the S crater margin. Courtesy of Jose Viramonte and Lizzette Rodriguez.

Recent and future work. A team of scientists from Michigan Technological University, the University of Hawaii, the Universidad Nacional de Salta, the Universidad de Chile, and the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, conducted a field campaign at Lascar from 29 November to 8 December 2004. During this period, SO2 emissions were measured using two mini-UV spectrometers; aerosols were measured using two Microtops II sun photometers, and temperatures of the vent fumaroles were measured using a Forward Looking IR Radiometer (FLIR). Preliminary processing of the gas data showed a decrease since 2003 in the emissions, with SO2 fluxes around 500 tons/day (Rodríguez et al., 2005). This contrasts with the fluxes determined by Mather et al. (2004) on January 2003, which were on the order of 2,300 tons/day. Observations of the SO2 index, using ASTER TIR images, have shown a decrease in the size of the SO2 anomaly from 2000 to the first half of 2004 (Castro Godoy and Viramonte, 2004).

Temperature measurements made at the crater on 2 December 2004 by University of Hawaii scientists using a FLIR indicated low temperatures for the fumarole field, which represented a decrease when compared with the results of direct measurements conducted in October 2002 by Franco Tassi and others (Tassi et al., 2004; BGVN 28:03). Similar observations have been made using ASTER SWIR and TIR images (Silvia Castro, GEOSAR-AR program), which have shown a decrease in the absolute temperatures and the size of the thermal anomaly since October 2002 (Castro Godoy and Viramonte, 2004). Images during the month of April 2005 showed a slight increase in the area and maximum temperature of the anomaly at the beginning of the month, followed by a decrease at the end of April, prior to the eruption. Decreases in the thermal activity have been observed in previous eruptive cycles, prior to explosive events (Oppenheimer et al., 1993; Matthews et al., 1997).

The data collected during the 2004 field campaign will help in the understanding of the pre-eruptive conditions at Lascar. SO2 emission rates on 7 December 2004 will be used to ground truth the satellite data from an ASTER overpass at 1436 UTC (1036 local time), and recently acquired ASTER data will be used to investigate SO2 emissions during the period close to the 4 May 2005 eruption. Scientists from Università degli studi di Firenze (Italy), Universidad Católica del Norte (Chile), and Universidad Nacional de Salta (Argentina) are conducting a systematic gas sample campaign at Lascar and other active volcanoes on the Central Volcanic Zone. Finally, scientists from the Universidad Católica del Norte and the Universidad Nacional de Salta are processing data from Landsat TM and ETM+ images, with the objective of understanding the behavior of Lascar volcano during the 1998-2004 period.

References. Castro Godoy, S. and Viramonte, J.G., 2004, Micro FTIR field measurement for volcanic mapping, SO2 and temperature monitoring using ASTER images in Lascar Volcano, southern central Andes: IAVCEI General Assembly, Book of Abstracts, Pucón, Chile, 14-20 November.

Mather, T.A., Tsanev, V.I., Pyle, D.M., McGonigle, A.J.S., Oppenheimer, C., and Allen, A.G., 2004, Characterization and evolution of tropospheric plumes from Lascar and Villarrica volcanoes, Chile: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 109.

Matthews, S.J., Gardeweg, M.C., and Sparks, R.S.J., 1997, The 1984 to 1996 cyclic activity of Lascar volcano, northern Chile: cycles of dome growth, dome subsidence, degassing and explosive eruptions: Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 59, p.72-82.

Oppenheimer, C., Francis, P., Rothery, D., Carlton, D., and Glaze, L., 1993, Interpretation and comparison of volcanic thermal anomalies in Landsat Thematic Mapper infrared data: Volcán Lascar, Chile, 1984-1991: Journal of Geophysical Research, 98, p. 4269-4286.

Rodríguez, L.A., Watson, I.M., Viramonte, J., Hards, V., Edmonds, M., Cabrera, A., Oppenheimer, C., Rose, W.I., and Bluth, G.J.S., 2005, SO2 conversion rates at Lascar and Soufriere Hills volcanoes: 9th Gas Workshop, Palermo, Italy, May 1-10.

Tassi, F., Viramonte, J., Vaselli, O., Poodts, M., Aguilera, F., Martínez, C., Rodríguez, L.A., and Watson, I.M., 2004, First geochemical data from fumarolic gases at Lascar volcano, Chile: 32nd International Geological Congress, Florence, August 20-28, 2004.

Geologic Background. Láscar is the most active volcano of the northern Chilean Andes. The andesitic-to-dacitic stratovolcano contains six overlapping summit craters. Prominent lava flows descend its NW flanks. An older, higher stratovolcano 5 km E, Volcán Aguas Calientes, displays a well-developed summit crater and a probable Holocene lava flow near its summit (de Silva and Francis, 1991). Láscar consists of two major edifices; activity began at the eastern volcano and then shifted to the western cone. The largest eruption took place about 26,500 years ago, and following the eruption of the Tumbres scoria flow about 9000 years ago, activity shifted back to the eastern edifice, where three overlapping craters were formed. Frequent small-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the mid-19th century, along with periodic larger eruptions that produced ashfall hundreds of kilometers away. The largest historical eruption took place in 1993, producing pyroclastic flows to 8.5 km NW of the summit and ashfall in Buenos Aires.

Information Contacts: Raúl Becchio and José G. Viramonte, Instituto GEONORTE and CONICET, Universidad Nacional de Salta, Buenos Aires 177, Salta 4400, Argentina (URL: http://www.unsa.edu.ar/); Lizzette A. Rodríguez and Matthew Watson, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA (URL: http://www.geo.mtu.edu/volcanoes/); Felipe Aguilera, Universidad Católica del Norte, Avenida Angamos 0610, Antofagasta, Chile (URL: http://www.ucn.cl/en/carrera/geology/); Silvia Castro Godoy, GEOSAT-AR Project, SEGEMAR, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.segemar.gov.ar/); Matt Patrick and Rob Wright, HIGP-University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://www.higp.hawaii.edu/volcanology.html); Sergio Haspert and Ricardo Valenti, VAAC Buenos Aires - Div. VMSR, Servicio Meteorologico Nacional, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/productos.php).


Long Valley (United States) — May 2005 Citation iconCite this Report

Long Valley

United States

37.7°N, 118.87°W; summit elev. 3390 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor seismicity throughout 2004

The relative quiescence in Long Valley caldera that began in early 1999 persisted through 2004 according to the U.S. Geological Survey's weekly reports and the 2004 annual summary of the Long Valley Observatory. Those manuscripts provide the basis for this synopsis. Seismicity in the adjacent Sierra Nevada block S of the caldera gradually died away over the same period, although background levels remained somewhat higher than within the caldera.

The resurgent dome continued to undergo minor fluctuations in deformation as reflected in changes in the lengths of baselines onto the dome. Over the past 6 years, the center of the resurgent dome has sustained the roughly 75-cm uplift that accumulated during the recurring unrest from 1979 through 1999.

Seismicity within both the caldera and the Sierra Nevada block to the S remained low through 2004. The two most notable earthquake sequences within the caldera were a minor swarm at the end of January and the first few days of February in the S moat, and a M 3.0 earthquake on 20 September located at the S margin of the caldera just N of Convict Lake. The latter was the first earthquake greater than M 3.0 within the caldera since the cluster of earthquakes on 4 November 2002, events centered beneath the S moat just S of the Highway 395-203 junction. The swarm in early February 2004 was located in the same general area of the S moat, but the epicenters fell along a SW trend in contrast to the WNW trend shown by most earthquake sequences in that area.

Seismicity within the adjacent Sierra Nevada block continued to be somewhat elevated compared to that in the caldera through 2004. The Sierra Nevada activity included about seven earthquakes over M 3, the largest of which was an M 3.7 earthquake on 12 January 2004 located 2 km E of Red Slate Mountain (19 km S of the caldera and 15 km WSW of Tom's Place). Most of the activity remained concentrated in the NNE-trending aftershock zone associated with the three earthquakes over M 5 during June and July 1998 and May 1999.

The most noteworthy seismic activity in the general vicinity of Long Valley caldera during 2004 was the prolonged earthquake swarm in the Adobe Hills centered roughly 20 km E of Mono Lake and 20 km NNE of Long Valley caldera (figure 30). Its onset was marked by a M 2.3 earthquake at 0002 on 18 September, followed by M 3.2 and 4.1 earthquakes at 0007 and 0008, respectively. Activity intensified through mid-afternoon of 18 September, with M 5.5 and M 5.4 earthquakes at 1602 and 1643, respectively. These produced widely felt shaking in the area from Bridgeport to Bishop. Seismicity declined gradually through the remainder of the year and into early 2005. By the end of December 2004, this Adobe Hill swarm had produced well over 1,000 detectable earthquakes including ~ 48 over M 3 and 6 equal or over M 4.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. All earthquake epicenters detected in the Long Valley region for 2004. Courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey, Long Valley Observatory (2005).

The mid-crustal long-period (LP) volcanic earthquakes, which began beneath the SW flank of Mammoth Mountain during the 1989 Mammoth Mountain earthquake swarm, continued through 2004 but at a much reduced rate compared with the peak in LP activity from early 1997 through mid-1998.

In early 2005 seismicity was generally minor (up to M 2.5) in and around the caldera. An M 4.2 earthquake occurred S of Long Valley caldera on 13 March 2005 at 1409. The event, which produced light shaking in Mammoth Lakes and Bishop was located in the Sierra Nevada ~ 12 miles SW of Toms Place near Grinnell Lake. It was followed by a series of 18 aftershocks, the largest which were M 2.8 and M 2.3. The last earthquake of similar magnitude in this area occurred in 1999 on 17 May. In addition to the M 4.2 main shock/aftershock sequence, two other significant earthquakes occurred in the Adobe Hills area E of Mono Lake, and a third occurred on 13 March in the Sierra Nevada S of the caldera, near Mount Baldwin. All three had magnitudes under M 2.0. From that time to mid-June 2005, seismicity was generally in the range of M 1-2, with a very few occurring to M 3.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations measured in the Horseshoe Lake tree-kill area on the S flank of Mammoth Mountain showed no significant changes for 2004 with respect to the past several years. A survey of scattered areas of vegetation die-off and diffuse CO2 flux on the resurgent dome completed in 2004 indicated anomalous CO2 emissions from the kill areas were ~9 metric tons/day (compared with ~ 300 tons/day from Mammoth Mountain). The d13C-CO2 values of the diffuse emissions were similar to values previously reported for CO2 from hot springs and thermal wells around Long Valley, indicating a common source. The areas of elevated CO2 flux tend to be associated with locally elevated soil temperatures. Some of the older areas near the Casa Diablo power plant are likely related to geothermal power production, but development of new areas may reflect a delayed response of the hydrothermal system to the 1997 unrest episode (including an additional 10-cm uplift of the resurgent dome accompanied by intense earthquake swarm activity in the S moat).

Thermal spring discharge in Hot Creek Gorge, which had dropped by about 20% in the last half of 2003, followed by a recovery beginning in January 2004, reached normal discharge values by June 2004. Fluid levels in key monitoring wells continued to decline, with some wells reaching their lowest values since records began in 1985.

Reference. U.S. Geological Survey—Long Valley Observatory, 2005, Long Valley Observatory Quarterly Report, October-December 2004 and Annual Summary for 2004 (URL: http://lvo.wr.usgs.gov/).

Geologic Background. The large 17 x 32 km Long Valley caldera east of the central Sierra Nevada Range formed as a result of the voluminous Bishop Tuff eruption about 760,000 years ago. Resurgent doming in the central part of the caldera occurred shortly afterwards, followed by rhyolitic eruptions from the caldera moat and the eruption of rhyodacite from outer ring fracture vents, ending about 50,000 years ago. During early resurgent doming the caldera was filled with a large lake that left strandlines on the caldera walls and the resurgent dome island; the lake eventually drained through the Owens River Gorge. The caldera remains thermally active, with many hot springs and fumaroles, and has had significant deformation, seismicity, and other unrest in recent years. The late-Pleistocene to Holocene Inyo Craters cut the NW topographic rim of the caldera, and along with Mammoth Mountain on the SW topographic rim, are west of the structural caldera and are chemically and tectonically distinct from the Long Valley magmatic system.

Information Contacts: Long Valley Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Rd., MS 977, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/calvo/).


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — May 2005 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)


Aircraft encounters airborne gas from 27 January 2005 eruption; infrasonics

Manam erupted several times during October to December 2004 and January 2005. A strong eruption on 24 October 2004, preceded by a buildup in seismicity and a felt earthquake, was described in BGVN 29:10. This eruption generated pyroclastic flows, and its plume was imaged from space. The eruption sent ash and condensed water in the form of ice to a maximum height of ~ 15 km altitude. On 10-11 November 2004, a Strombolian eruption occurred; the ash column was estimated to have risen ~ 5-6 km above the crater. On 23-24 November 2004 Manam's main crater ejected glowing lava and discharged an ash cloud that rose ~ 10 km high. A lava flow was also reported to be heading for two villages on the island. Details and reports of eruptions in November and December 2004 were included in BGVN 29:11.

The eruption at Manam on the evening of 27 January 2005 (BGVN 30:02) was more severe than the previous ones during the current eruptive period. During 27-28 January 2005 there were 14 people injured and one person killed at Warisi village. The reports of the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) and the Darwin VAAC, and an analysis of the Manam eruption clouds by Andrew Tupper of the Darwin VAAC, were summarized in BGVN 30:02. In late January, five commercial flights were cancelled from Rabaul, East New Britain, delaying about 100 passengers.

Documented occurrence of olfactory fatigue. A report received from Andrew Tupper discussed an encounter of an aircraft with an airborne gas plume that took place about 2300 UTC on 29 January (0800 on the 30th, East Timor time) reported to him by a pilot. The encounter took place at a considerable distance from Manam, and a map is helpful to visualize the region's geography (figure 21). The incident involved entry into a visibly anomalous, hazy-blue cloud that turned out to contain sulfurous odor (figure 22). Although Tupper and the pilot discussed other possibilities for the cloud's origin, Tupper came to the conclusion that the cloud was volcanic fog (vog) erupted from Manam.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. The airport at Dili, East Timor (Indonesia), located about 2,200 km WSW of Manam.

Key portions of the pilot's message conveyed to us by Tupper follow.

"On descent into Dili, approaching 10,000 feet at 12 nautical miles [~ 3 km altitude and ~ 22 km from the airport] aircraft control levers were pulled back to flight idle just prior to entering a thin layer of smooth stratus cloud [figure 22].

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. The hazy blue cloud that produced a sulfur smell in the cockpit of the plane approaching Dili. The photo was taken by the air crew (names not given).

"Shortly after passing into the cloud, a strange smell was soon noticed in the cockpit; once the accusations of responsibility had passed, it quickly became apparent that the smell was not the result of a bodily function. The smell became very strong, with high sulfur content. As a precaution the Captain directed the First Officer to don his oxygen mask. The smell persisted but began to weaken on descent, and landing was accomplished without incident. After landing, First Officer removed the oxygen mask and noted the smell had remained. The captain had by this time become desensitized to the smell. Upon shutdown, unloading was halted, until such time as the cargo hold could be examined for a source of the smell. No smell remained."

Tupper and the pilot discussed possible sources for the smell. The cloud displayed a distinct blue haze (Tupper commented that "it's difficult to tell from the attached photo whether the blue is all that out-of-the-ordinary, but obviously they thought it interesting enough to take a photo!"). The cloud sat on the hills and appeared to have fog-like characteristics. The pilot described the odor as sharper and more metallic than the smell of H2S (a description consistent with SO2, the odor of which is sometimes described as metallic or akin to a struck-match.

What caused the sulfurous-smelling stratus cloud? The sulfur content may have come from either nearby volcanoes, none of which have been reported as active, or from industrial production (possibly Kupang). Due to a serious dengue outbreak in East Timor, it may have been the result of chemical mosquito control. Many chemical methods of mosquito control are based on sulfur products. Malathion is one such product; it contains mercaptan, which has a strong noxious odor. (Organic compounds with HS bound to carbon are called mercaptans or thiols and those of low molecular weight have strong smells. Small doses of mercaptan are often used to give natural gas a distinctive odor.) One possible way to explain the sulfurous gases was morning fog moving up the hills of Dili in response to anabatic (upslope-blowing) winds, which also carried residual insecticide.

Tupper spoke to or emailed the pilot several more times to get the following other details. The aircraft was an Embraer E120, a 30 seat turbo prop, with 20-25 people on board. The cabin attendant also noticed the smell, but no passengers commented. Despite the speculation about chemicals above, this was the only trip on which the smells had been noticed by the pilot.

According to Claire Witham, human perception of SO2 odor varies depending on the individual's sensitivity, but SO2 is generally perceived between 0.3-1.4 ppm and is easily noticeable at 3 ppm. This is generally below the level where health effects (e.g. respiratory response) might be noted. In general an exposure limit of 1-5 ppm is the threshold for respiratory response in healthy individuals upon exercise or deep breathing, whilst at 3-5 ppm the gas is easily noticeable and may cause a fall in lung function in persons at rest, and increased airway resistance. Asthmatic individuals may respond at much lower concentrations, and prolonged exposure to low concentrations carries increased risk for those with pre-existing heart and lung diseases. A more detailed review of gas hazards and guidelines has just gone online on the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network.

Significant in this event is that the flight crew thought that the smell had dissipated. The First Officer, who was wearing an oxygen mask, remained able to detect that the smell persisted. This indicates that the others in the crew lost their ability recognize that the sulfurous odors remained, a well-know effect of sulfurous gases called olfactory fatigue ('bombarded nerve receptors'), a potentially confusing situation for pilots focused on escaping from a volcanic plume (Wunderman, 2004).

Tupper conducted dispersion modeling of the 27 January 2005 Manam eruption (figure 23). The results suggested that the SO2 cloud from the volcano probably passed over East Timor on the night before the incident and at higher altitudes. This is supported to a limited extent by the preliminary ozone and SO2 monitoring results (figure 24), which suggest that the bulk of the cloud went N, but that part of the cloud traveled over the Banda Sea and passed over East Timor. The low level winds are highly unlikely to have carried the SO2 to East Timor, but there was significant storm activity on the night when the cloud would have passed over. Excluding other explanations on the grounds that the eruption / encounter timing are unlikely to be mere coincidence, the most likely explanation for the flight crew's experience is that some eruption products from Manam were rained out over East Timor on the night of 29 January 2005. If SO2 had been incorporated into ice particles, which then rained out, the particles would have melted and released SO2 at about the level of the encounter, where the temperature was a bit above freezing. According to this scenario, the plane then flew through the resultant vog/stratus the next morning.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. An ash dispersion model for the eruption cloud associated with the eruption of Manam on 27 January 2005. The model takes into account wind at various altitudes and other meteorological data, and predicts the movement of material injected in the atmosphere. The model used, NOAA hysplit, adopted the boundary condition that material was above the volcano between 10 and 24 km altitude starting at 1400 on 27 January. The results shown predict the dispersal for the interval 1200-1400 on 29 January. The model indicates that some material from Manam's 27 January eruption traveled WSW to where the aircraft-gas plume encounter took place. The model is a product of the NOAA Air Resources Lab with this particular run provided by Andrew Tupper.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. A satellite image of atmospheric SO2 burden from Manam made about 12 hours after the 27-28 January 2005 eruption. The image resulted from the NASA Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI), which flew over the region on NASA's new Aura satellite. This image was produced from preliminary, uncalibrated data provided by the OMI. The OMI detected a large cloud of SO2 drifting W over the island of New Guinea. The gas is measured in Dobson Units (DU), a reflection of the number of molecules in a square centimeter of the atmosphere. Darker pixels cover the areas of highest concentration, while the lowest concentrations are represented by lighter ones (red and pink, respectively, on the colored electronic version of the Bulletin). If you were to compress all of the SO2 in a column of the atmosphere into a flat layer at standard temperature and pressure, one Dobson Unit would be 0.01 mm (millimeters) thick and would contain 0.0285 grams of SO2 per m2. On January 28, the atmosphere over New Guinea contained up to 50 Dobson Units (red regions), or 1.425 grams of SO2 per square meter. NASA image and caption courtesy Simon Carn, Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology.

Infrasound reports. The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) is installing a world-wide network of 60 infrasound stations as part of the International Monitoring System (IMS) for detection of nuclear tests. The stations, some of which are already functioning, use microbarographs (acoustic pressure sensors) to detect very low-frequency (0.01-10 Hz) sound waves in the atmosphere produced by natural and anthropogenic events.

The eruption at Manam on 27 January at about 1400 UTC was detected at several infrasound stations around the Pacific (table 3). In one case a signal was received at a distance exceeding 10,000 km. The sound of the explosion took more than ten hours to reach that most distant station, located in Washington state (USA). The difference in the calculated and measured signal azimuths is likely caused by high atmosphere winds, and is reasonable given the great distances that the signal traveled.

Table 3. Arrival times and great circle paths for infrasound signal from Manam eruption on 27 January 2005 received at CTBTO infrasound stations. Azimuth and Distance data are for the calculated great circle path from the station to the volcano. Courtesy of Robert North.

CTBTO Infrasound Station Azimuth (°E of N) Distance (km) Measured signal azimuth (°E of N) Date Arrival time
I07AU Warramunga, Central Australia 35 2079 32 27 Jan 2005 16:00 UTC
I22FR New Caledonia 311 3091 -- -- --
I05AU Tasmania, Australia 356 4270 350 27 Jan 2005 18:30 UTC
I55US Windless Bight, Antarctica 336 8303 335 27 Jan 2005 22:07 UTC
I53US Fairbanks, Alaska 247 9358 252 27 Jan 2005 23:12 UTC
I56US Newport, Washington 273 10920 276 28 Jan 2005 00:34 UTC

Subsequent RVO observations. Although it remained active, Manam calmed considerably during February-May 2005. During the first two weeks of February 2005, emissions from Manam continued. On 15 February 2005, the alert level was reduced from 3 to 2. Mild eruptive activity was observed from Manam's Southern crater during the third week of February. Weak-to-moderate ash explosions rose a few hundred meters above the crater and drifted E and SE, depositing fine ash in areas downwind. Throughout February, seismicity was at low levels, with small low-frequency earthquakes occurring and no volcanic tremor. Throughout March, weak-to-moderate emissions from both the Main and Southern craters continued to produce occasional ash clouds during most days. On 15 March, a thin plume from Manam was visible on satellite imagery. On 24 March, emissions from Main crater rose to ~ 1 km above the summit. On 28 March, a moderate explosion produced an ash plume to a height of ~ 1.2 km above the summit. Ash plumes drifted N, depositing ash on the island. Seismic activity fluctuated between low and moderate, with low-frequency earthquakes recorded.

During April and May 2005, mild eruptive activity continued at the volcano. Manam remained at alert level 2 from February 2005 through at least late May. A thin plume extending 55 km NW on 4 May was seen on satellite imagery by the Darwin VAAC. The ash cloud remained below 3 km altitude.

Reference. Wunderman, R., 2004, Sulfurous odors: A signal of entry into an ash plume—perhaps less reliable for escape, Second International Conference on Volcanic Ash and Aviation Safety (Alexandria, Virginia, USA), 21-24 June 2004 (Plenary Session 1: Encounters, Damage, and Socioeconomic Consequences, poster P 1.2, Socioeconomic consequences) (http://www.ofcm.gov/ICVAAS/Proceedings2004/ICVAAS2004-Proceedings.htm).

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

Information Contacts: Andrew Tupper, Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, Australian Bureau of Meteorology (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac); Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea; David Innes, Flight Safety Office, Air Niugini, PO Box 7186, Boroko, Port Moresby, National Capital District, Papua New Guinea (URL: http://www.airniugini.com.pg/); International Volcanic Health Hazard Network (URL: http://www.ivhhn.org/); Simon Carn, TOMS Volcanic Emissions Group, Univ. of Maryland, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Claire Witham, Meteorology Office, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, EX1 3PB, UK; Robert North, SAIC Monitoring Systems Division, 1953 Gallows Rd., Vienna, VA 22182, USA; NOAA Air Resources Lab (ARL), Room 3316, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA (URL: http://www.arl.noaa.gov/ready/).


Reventador (Ecuador) — May 2005 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava flow reaches 4 km from summit, approaching road and petroleum pipeline

Crisis escalates. Instituto Geofísico (IG) members noted that eruptions at Reventador in Ecuador's eastern cordillera continued into at least early July 2005. Observers documented thick blocky lava flows, occasional Vulcanian explosions, new fumarolic activity on the N flank of the cone, and venting of vapor, gases, and fine ash. This followed a spate of increased seismicity during April to early June 2005. Lava flows had extended 4 km from the summit vent toward the SE, in the direction of the main highway across this region, a route that links the important oilfields in the Amazon basin with Quito, the capital. The lava flows were sequentially numbered (Lava ##3, ##4, etc.).

Lava ##3, a flow that began in November 2004 (BGVN 29:11), advanced slowly and ceased movement by early January 2005. Following relatively low seismic activity in late 2004 and early 2005, the IG monitoring network began to register bands of harmonic tremor starting 1 April (figure 18). Through 8 April 2005, instruments recorded 45 tremor episodes, each lasting 10 to 60 minutes. Dominant frequency peaks were between 1 and 1.5 Hz. Given that strong incandescence was observed by a guard of PetroEcuador from 14 km away, the tremor was interpreted to signal the rise of magma into the upper part of the cone through an open conduit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Seismic events registered at Reventador since August 2004. Courtesy of IG.

Lava ##4 erupted coincident with this strong tremor and was the most important surface manifestation. It was first observed in an overflight on 12 April, escaping from a summit crater conduit that had formed a carapace. It was seen flowing down the SW crater notch onto the cone's flanks and then onto the SW and SE caldera floor. The flow partially covered Lava ##3 (figure 19), resulting in layers of recent lava in some places reaching more than 50 m thick. This emplacement was observed during several days of work on the seismic instrumentation and sampling within the caldera carried out by IG personnel during 19-22 April. During the same overflights, a new fumarole field was observed on the lower S flank of the cone, a spot very close to the upper Reventador River, in the same place where thermal anomalies were observed on 11 March 2005.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Location of lava flows related to eruptive activity within the Reventador caldera since 2002. Photo taken looking at the SE flank on 6 May 2005 by P. Ramón. Provided courtesy of IG.

Starting on 15 May there was an important increase in the intensity of harmonic tremor, often preceded by low frequency (< 1 Hz) long-period events, a conspicuous aspect of behavior that was absent in April. Many of the long-period events, particularly those occurring during 17-21 May, were of such magnitude that they registered at seismic stations on other volcanoes (e.g., Cerro Negro and Guagua Pichincha) more than 100 km distant.After this elevated activity in mid May, there was a decrease in the number of events, dropping to an average of 88 per day. During this period Lava ##4 continued to flow, moving at the rate of about 20 m/day, advancing particularly strongly along the caldera's S wall in a stream channel (Rió Marker) cut through the 2002 pyroclastic deposits. Lava reached 25 meters thick when seen during a 22-23 May visit, during which time strong roars and the sounds of 'many jet planes' blared from the vent. These sounds indicated a strong gas flux, although little vapor was observed. At this time, there was an absence of both explosions and incandescence in the summit crater.

An overflight on 25 May confirmed the emergence of a new flow (Lava ##5). It followed the same route as ##4, but was comprised of three principal lobes. The middle lobe, which represented the most conspicuous and largest volume, advanced down the Río Marker's channel (figure 20).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Lavas 4 and 5 flowing down the Marker's stream channel along the SE margin of Reventador's caldera. Photo taken on 17 June 2005 by P. Ramón. Provided courtesy of IG.

Reventador's activity in June 2005 began with an important swarm of volcano-tectonic and hybrid seismic events—starting on the 2nd and continuing through the 3rd. Of particular note, tremor continued for more than 10 hours, and provided background to the discrete volcano-tectonic and hybrid events Hybrid events had not been registered since November 2004. Following these important swarms, instruments registered strong, full-amplitude bands of spasmodic tremor, comprised to some extent by packages of long-period events lasting for hours to days on end.

During these early days of June, there was an intensification of incandescence in the crater and later, the emission of gases and slight ash. On 8 June, a 100 km long vapor/ash column extended from the volcano into the S part of Quito at ~ 7 km altitude and caused a very slight powdering of ash, which was brought down by a gentle rain and left cars dappled with circular spots.

A trip by IG volcanologists into the caldera on 11-12 June disclosed strong Strombolian fountaining in the summit crater. Lava ##5 continued to flow atop the stalled Lava ##4. Measurements of SO2 flux with a mini-DOAS (differential optical absorption spectroscopy) resulted in an estimate of ~ 2,500 metric tons/day.

Three other seismic stations were installed around the caldera with the helicopter help of the petroleum company OCP during 16-19 June. One broad-band seismograph and infrasound system was also installed, thanks to collaboration with Jeff Johnson of the University of New Hampshire. During this period no Strombolian activity was observed, but Vulcanian explosions (figure 21) occurred with little warning. A 24-hour period during 18-19 June included at least seven discrete explosions, producing strong infrasound and seismic responses. Many of these explosions discharged columns that rose 2-3 km above the summit (and some, up to as high as ~ 6 km above the summit) and were clearly heard within the caldera. Large incandescent blocks could be seen thrown several hundreds of meters into the air, falling on the cone's upper slopes. Ash content in the columns was moderate. Explosions were discrete and often terminated within 4 minutes. Thermal alerts were identified by the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP). Observations on 30 June and 1 July noted recent lava flows in the upper Marker river valley (figure 22).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. One of Reventador's discrete Vulcanian explosions observed during a 19 June 2005 helicopter flight. The view is from the E of Reventador caldera looking toward the W. Photo taken on by P. Ramón; provided courtesy of IG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. A photo of Reventador's Lava ##4 flow front (which had reddish hues) overtopped by Lava ##5 (more nearly white). The shot was taken in the Río Marker at 1100 on 30 June 2005. By 1 July, Lava ##5 had still not advanced beyond the terminus of Lava ##4. Photo by P. Ramón, provided courtesy of IG.

The 4-6 discrete explosive degassing events/day observed in June led the IG authors to surmise that there were a series of temporary plugs in the upper part of the conduit. This behavior was thought to reflect magma becoming more crystal rich.

As of 6 July, harmonic tremor, occasional explosions, and long-period and volcano-tectonic signals all continued to register at Reventador on the IG's telemetered monitoring network. Strong Strombolian fountaining was observed from distances of 6.5 and 14 km during the evening and one of the lobes of Lava ##5 was advancing down the caldera wall (following the Río Marker), but abruptly slowed to perhaps only ~ 20 m/day. In comparison, this flow-front velocity had earlier attained ~ 70 m/day (during 19-23 June) and ~ 50 m/day (during 23-30 June). The diminished rate of advance and continuing high-amplitude tremor suggested that perhaps a new lava flow (Lava ##6) had broken out high on the flanks, a conjecture yet to be confirmed by press time. Lava ##5 was still 1.2 km from the steep incline, a point where it could begin rapid descent to the alluvial fan where the highway and petroleum pipeline are located.

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

Information Contacts: Patricia Mothes, Patricio Ramón, Pete Hall, Daniel Andrade, and Liliana Troncoso, Geophysical Institute (IG), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Apartado 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec/); Jeffrey B. Johnson, Dept. of Earth Sciences, James Hall University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USA.


Rotorua (New Zealand) — May 2005 Citation iconCite this Report

Rotorua

New Zealand

38.08°S, 176.27°E; summit elev. 757 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Hydrothermal eruption of 19 April 2005—one of the area's largest since 1948

BGVN 26:03 reported hydrothermal activity at Rotorua on 26 January 2001 involving the ejection of mud and ballistic blocks. BGVN 28:12 reported that the New Zealand Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences reported two subsequent hydrothermal eruptions in Rotorua caldera at Kuirau Park around 1100 on 6 November 2003 (figure 5). The eruptions occurred just meters from the site of the large blowout in 2001. The area is known for this kind of geothermal activity. The following information is primarily from Ashley Cody.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Rotorua is the NW-most caldera of the Taupo volcanic zone, in the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand's North Island. Courtesy of UNAVCO.

In late May 2004 a geothermal well ~ 40 m deep at Tokaanu on Lake Taupo (~ 100 km S of Rotorua) blew out suddenly, erupting mud and scalding waters to ~ 15 m high and flooding surrounding properties for several days until it could be quenched and a new headworks fitted. This well may have been standing open and just suddenly began boiling, since its casing seemed to be intact.

About 0100 on Saturday 29 June 2004 the blowout of a geothermal well in Rotorua blew muddy water and rubbly debris to ~ 15 m high and showered muck over houses and cars to a radius of ~ 100 m accompanied by noise "like a jet aircraft." It went on until about 0400 on 30 June 2004 when it was quenched with a pumped cold water supply. It was cement-grouted shut a few days later. The well was 100 m deep and cased to 47.5 m.

Starting 18 July 2004 in the early afternoon, many earthquakes were strongly felt by many people in the area ~30 km N of Rotorua and ~20 km NW from Kawerau, in the northern North Island, or central Bay of Plenty. By 23 July more than 200 earthquakes were recorded in this area, most at less than 10 km depth.

In Lake Rotoehu, about 20 km N of Rotorua city, eyewitnesses reported a water column 100 m high that occurred at the same time as a strongly-felt ML 5.4 earthquake at about 1600 on 18 July 2004 at ~5 km depth. Shortly afterward a big series of waves occurred on the lake, and swept up beaches much higher than ever seen before.

Ground rupturing was reported at several sites along southern shores of Lake Rotoehu. Many houses were evacuated due to damage such as walls breaking apart and houses shifting off their foundations. The main road was blocked in many places and more than 200 houses were evacuated due to their becoming unsafe to live in. Several people were killed by trees falling down banks onto cars and houses during the earthquakes.

On Thursday 17 March 2005 at about 1435, a blowout was observed from the northern end of Ruapeka Bay on Lake Rotorua, at Ohinemutu. It shot dark grey muddy waters and steam to ~ 6 m for 3-4 minutes. An eyewitness called the council safety inspector, Peter Brownbridge. On 18 March at about 1500, the safety inspector saw two more shots each ~ 1 m high from the same spot in the lake. This previously unknown vent is ~ 25 m NW from a clear flowing hot spring known simply as S1233, in the bed of the lake just 10 m W of the tip of Muruika Point. This is where a prehistoric account relates of a sunken village, where a sudden disturbance occurred one night and many people were killed. From verbal genealogy records, this event may have occurred about early 1700s-1720s. Today rows of timber posts are still standing below water level in the lake here.

According to a report in The Dominion Post by Mike Watson on 21 April 2005, one of the largest hydrothermal eruptions in the Rotorua area since 1948 took place about 1030 on 19 April 2005 and was witnessed by two farmers (figure 6).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. The geothermal eruption roughly midway between Rotorua and Taupo on 19 April 2005 left a 50-m wide crater. Courtesy of Ashley Cody.

A huge column of hot steam, mud and rocks was thrown 200 m in the air. The eruption happened in an inaccessible area at Ngatamariki scenic reserve, close to the Waikato River, and about 8 km from Orakei Korako geothermal springs, roughly halfway between Taupo and Rotorua. The column was visible 10 km away and left a 50 m-wide crater and two hectares of debris. With the energy now taken out of the vent, no further eruption was expected.

The major part of the eruption lasted about two hours but it was still spewing steam up to 10 m high five hours later. The eruption sent out 7,000-10,000 m3 of material. Mud and 50 cm-diameter rocks covered a 70-100 m radius from the crater site, which had previously been covered by 2 m-high blackberry bushes and fallen trees (figure 7). The ground may take months to cool. According to Ashley Cody, the site had been heating up in the past year, with three new hot springs forming.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. The hydrothermal eruption roughly halfway between Taupo and Rotorua left ash and mud covering the surrounding area to a depth of 4 m (light-colored material on ground surface, coating some trees, and choking the stream). Courtesy of Ashley Cody.

Geologic Background. The 22-km-wide Rotorua caldera is the NW-most caldera of the Taupo volcanic zone. It is the only single-event caldera in the Taupo Volcanic Zone and was formed about 220,000 years ago following eruption of the more than 340 km3 rhyolitic Mamaku Ignimbrite. Although caldera collapse occurred in a single event, the process was complex and involved multiple collapse blocks. The major city of Rotorua lies at the south end of the lake that fills much of the caldera. Post-collapse eruptive activity, which ceased during the Pleistocene, was restricted to lava dome extrusion without major explosive activity. The youngest activity consisted of the eruption of three lava domes less than 25,000 years ago. The major thermal areas of Takeke, Tikitere, Lake Rotokawa, and Rotorua-Whakarewarewa are located within the caldera or outside its rim, and the city of Rotorua lies within and adjacent to active geothermal fields.

Information Contacts: Ashley Cody, Consulting Geologist, 10 McDowell Street, Rotorua, New Zealand; Ron Keam, Physics Department, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92-019, Auckland, New Zealand; Mike Watson, The Dominion Post.


Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand) — May 2005 Citation iconCite this Report

Whakaari/White Island

New Zealand

37.52°S, 177.18°E; summit elev. 294 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismic and hydrothermal activity remain low through June 2005

White Island was last reported on in BGVN 29:03, covering the period to March 2004. At that time, approximately two years had passed since any significant eruption, but the New Zealand Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS) continues to monitor White Island. This report is a summary of their brief reports.

From April 2004 until June 2005, seismicity and hydrothermal activity at White Island remained at low levels, with some brief periods of weak to moderate volcanic tremor recorded during September to November of 2004. The level of the crater lake has risen significantly over this period, from 12-13 m below the overflow level in April 2004 to only 3-4 m below overflow level in June 2005 (figure 46). Some of this increase was caused by landslides in July 2004 and by heavy rains in May 2005. Steam and gas emissions have been minor, with the exception of a large plume visible from the mainland on 15 October 2004. The alert level remained at 1 (on a scale of 0-5), indicating some degree of unrest but no threat of eruption.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. The crater lake on White Island, taken 9 January 2005, when the lake level was about 5 m below the overflow level and rising. Courtesy of Franz Jeker.

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

Information Contacts: Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS), Private Bag 2000, Wairakwi, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns/cri.nz); GeoNet, a project sponsored by the New Zealand Government through these agencies:Earthquake Commission (E.C.), Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS), and Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (FAST). Geonet can be contacted at the above GNS address (URL: http://www.geonet.org.nz/contact.htm); Franz Jeker, Rigistrasse 10, 8173 Neerach, 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  Obituaries

Misc Reports

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

Additional Reports  False Reports