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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

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

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


Recently Published Bulletin Reports

Masaya (Nicaragua) Lava lake persists with decreased thermal output, November 2018-February 2019

Santa Maria (Guatemala) Daily explosions cause steam-and-ash plumes and block avalanches, November 2018-February 2019

Reventador (Ecuador) Multiple daily explosions with ash plumes and incandescent blocks rolling down the flanks, October 2018-January 2019

Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) Weak explosions and ash plumes beginning 21 October 2018

Kerinci (Indonesia) A persistent gas-and-steam plume and intermittent ash plumes occurred from July 2018 through January 2019

Yasur (Vanuatu) Eruption continues with ongoing explosions and multiple active crater vents, August 2018-January 2019

Ambae (Vanuatu) Ash plumes and lahars in July 2018 cause evacuation of the island; intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes through January 2019

Agung (Indonesia) Ongoing intermittent ash plumes and frequent gas-and-steam plumes during August 2018-January 2019

Erebus (Antarctica) Lava lakes persist through 2017 and 2018

Villarrica (Chile) Intermittent Strombolian activity ejects incandescent bombs around crater rim, September 2018-February 2019

Popocatepetl (Mexico) Explosions with ash plumes and incandescent ejecta continue during September 2018-February 2019

Pacaya (Guatemala) Continuous activity from the cone in Mackenney crater; daily lava flows on the NW flank during October 2018-January 2019



Masaya (Nicaragua) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

11.984°N, 86.161°W; summit elev. 635 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake persists with decreased thermal output, November 2018-February 2019

Nicaragua's Volcan Masaya has an intermittent lava lake that has attracted visitors since the time of the Spanish Conquistadores; tephrochronology has dated eruptions back several thousand years. The unusual basaltic caldera has had historical explosive eruptions in addition to lava flows and an actively circulating lava lake. An explosion in 2012 ejected ash to several hundred meters above the volcano, bombs as large as 60 cm fell around the crater, and ash fell to a thickness of 2 mm in some areas of the park. The reemergence of the lava lake inside Santiago crater was reported in December 2015. By late March 2016 the lava lake had grown and intensified enough to generate a significant thermal anomaly signature which has varied in strength but continued at a moderate level into early 2019. Information for this report, which covers the period from November 2018 through February 2019, is provided by the Instituto Nicareguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) and satellite -based imagery and thermal data.

The lava lake in Santiago Crater remained visible and active throughout November 2018 to February 2019 with little change from the previous few months (figure 70). Seismic amplitude RSAM values remained steady, oscillating between 10 and 40 RSAM units during the period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. A small area of the lava lake inside Santiago Crater at Masaya was visible from the rim on 25 November 2018 (left) and 17 January 2019 (right). Left image courtesy of INETER webcam; right image courtesy of Alun Ebenezer.

Every few months INETER carries out SO2 measurements by making a transect using a mobile DOAS spectrometer that samples for gases downwind of the volcano. Transects were done on 9-10 October 2018, 21-24 January 2019, and 18-21 February 2019 (figure 71). Average values during the October transect were 1,454 tons per day, in January they were 1,007 tons per day, and in February they averaged 1,318 tons per day, all within a typical range of values for the last several months.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. INETER carries out periodic transects to measure SO2 from Masaya with a mobile DOAS spectrometer. Transects taken along the Ticuantepe-La Concepcion highway on 9-10 October 2018 (left) and 21-24 January 2019 (right) showed modest levels of SO2 emissions downwind of the summit. Courtesy of INETER (Boletín Sismos y Volcanes de Nicaragua. Octubre 2018 and Enero 2019).

During a visit by INETER technicians in early November 2018, the lens of the Mirador 1 webcam, that had water inside it and had been damaged by gases, was cleaned and repaired. During 21-24 January 2019 INETER made a site visit with scientists from the University of Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany, to measure halogen species in gas plumes, and to test different sampling techniques for volcanic gases, including through spectroscopic observations with DOAS equipment, in-situ gas sampling (MultiGAS, denuders, alkaline traps), and using a Quadcopter UAV (drone) sampling system.

Periodic measurements of CO2 from the El Comalito crater have been taken by INETER for many years. The most recent observations on 19 February 2019 indicated an emission rate of 46 +/- 3 tons per day of CO2, only slightly higher than the average value over 16 measurements between 2008 and 2019 (figure 72).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. CO2 measurements taken at Masaya on 19 February 2019 were very close to the average value measured during 2008-2019. Courtesy of INETER (Boletín Sismos y Volcanes de Nicaragua, Febrero 2019).

Satellite imagery (figure 73) and in-situ thermal measurements during November 2018-February 2019 indicated constant activity at the lava lake and no significant changes during the period. On 14 January 2019 temperatures were measured with the FLIR SC620 thermal camera, along with visual observations of the crater; abundant gas was noted, and no explosions from the lake were heard. The temperature at the lava lake was measured at 107°C, much cooler than the 340°C measured in September 2018 (figure 74).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery (geology, bands 12, 4, and 2) clearly indicated the presence of the active lava lake inside Santiago crater at Masaya during November 2018-February 2019. North is to the top, and the Santigo crater is just under 1 km in diameter for scale. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Thermal measurements were made at Masaya on 14 January 2019 with a FLIR SC620 thermal camera that indicated temperatures over 200°C cooler than similar measurements made in September 2018.

Thermal anomaly data from satellite instruments also confirmed moderate levels of ongoing thermal activity. The MIROVA project plot indicated activity throughout the period (figure 75), and a plot of the number of MODVOLC thermal alerts by month since the lava lake first appeared in December 2015 suggests constant activity at a reduced thermal output level from the higher values in early 2017 (figure 76).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Thermal anomalies remained constant at Masaya during November 2018-February 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA project. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. The number of MODVOLC thermal alerts each month at Masaya since the lava lake first reappeared in late 2015 reached its peak in early 2017 and declined to low but persistent levels by early 2018 where they have remained for a year. Data courtesy of MODVOLC.

Geologic Background. Masaya is one of Nicaragua's most unusual and most active volcanoes. It lies within the massive Pleistocene Las Sierras pyroclastic shield volcano and is a broad, 6 x 11 km basaltic caldera with steep-sided walls up to 300 m high. The caldera is filled on its NW end by more than a dozen vents that erupted along a circular, 4-km-diameter fracture system. The twin volcanoes of Nindirí and Masaya, the source of historical eruptions, were constructed at the southern end of the fracture system and contain multiple summit craters, including the currently active Santiago crater. A major basaltic Plinian tephra erupted from Masaya about 6500 years ago. Historical lava flows cover much of the caldera floor and have confined a lake to the far eastern end of the caldera. A lava flow from the 1670 eruption overtopped the north caldera rim. Masaya has been frequently active since the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, when an active lava lake prompted attempts to extract the volcano's molten "gold." Periods of long-term vigorous gas emission at roughly quarter-century intervals cause health hazards and crop damage.

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


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

14.757°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily explosions cause steam-and-ash plumes and block avalanches, November 2018-February 2019

The dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex on the W flank of Guatemala's Santa María volcano has been growing and actively erupting since 1922. The youngest of the four vents in the complex, Caliente, has been erupting with ash explosions, pyroclastic, and lava flows for more than 40 years. A lava dome that appeared within the summit crater of Caliente in October 2016 has continued to grow, producing frequent block avalanches down the flanks. Daily explosions of steam and ash also continued during November 2018-February 2019, the period covered in this report, with information primarily from Guatemala's INSIVUMEH (Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meterologia e Hidrologia) and the Washington VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center).

Activity at Santa Maria continued with little variation from previous months during November 2018-February 2019. Plumes of steam with minor magmatic gases rose continuously from the Caliente crater 100-500 m above the summit, generally drifting SW or SE before dissipating. In addition, daily explosions with varying amounts of ash rose to altitudes of around 2.8-3.5 km and usually extended 20-30 km before dissipating. Most of the plumes drifted SW or SE; minor ashfall occurred in the adjacent hills almost daily and was reported at the fincas located within 15 km in those directions several times each month. Continued growth of the Caliente lava dome resulted in daily block avalanches descending its flanks. The MIROVA plot of thermal energy during this time shows a consistent level of heat flow with minor variations throughout the period (figure 89).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Persistent thermal activity was recorded at Santa Maria from 6 June 2018 through February 2019 as seen in the MIROVA plot of thermal energy derived from satellite thermal data. Daily explosions produced ash plumes and block avalanches that were responsible for the continued heat flow at the volcano. Courtesy of MIROVA.

During November 2018 steam plumes rose to altitudes of 2.8-3.2 km from Caliente summit, usually drifting SW, sometimes SE. Several ash-bearing explosions were reported daily, rising to 3-3.2 km altitude and also drifting SW or SE. The highest plume reported by INSIVUMEH rose to 3.4 km on 25 November and drifted SW. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission on 9 November that rose to 4.3 km altitude and drifted W; it dissipated within a few hours about 35 km from the summit. On 11 November another plume rose to 4.9 km altitude and drifted NW. INSIVUMEH issued a special report on 2 November noting an increase in block avalanches on the S and SE flanks, many of which traveled from the crater dome to the base of the volcano. Nearly constant avalanche blocks descended the SE flank of the dome and occasionally traveled down the other flanks as well throughout the month. They reached the bottom of the cone again on 29 November. Ashfall was reported around the flanks more than once every week and at Finca Florida on 12 November. Finca San Jose reported ashfall on 11, 13, and 23 November, and Parcelamiento Monte Claro reported ashfall on 15, 24, 25, and 27 November.

Constant degassing from the Caliente dome during December 2018 formed white plumes of mostly steam that rose to 2.6-3.0 km altitude during the month. Weak explosions averaging 9-13 per day produced gray ash plumes that rose to 2.8-3.4 km altitude. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission on 4 December that extended 25 km SW of the summit at 3.0 km altitude and dissipated quickly. Small ash plumes were visible in satellite imagery a few kilometers WNW on 8, 12, 30, and 31 December at 4.3 km altitude; they each dissipated within a few hours. Ashfall was reported in Finca Monte Claro on 1 and 4 December, and in San Marcos Palajunoj on 26 and 30 December along with Loma Linda. On 28 December ashfall on the E flank affected the communities of Las Marías, Calahuache, and El Nuevo Palmar. Block avalanches occurred daily, sending large blocks to the base of the volcano that often stirred up small plumes of ash in the vicinity (figure 90).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Activity during December 2018 at Santa Maria included constant degassing of steam plumes, weak explosions with ash plumes, and block avalanches rolling down the flanks to the base of the cone. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Diciembre 2018).

Multiple explosions daily during January 2019 produced steam-and-ash plumes (figure 91). Constant degassing rising 10-500 m emerged from the SSE part of the Caliente dome, and ashfall, mainly on the W and SW rim of the cone, was a daily feature. Seismic station STG-3 detected 10-18 explosions per day that produced ash plumes, which rose to between 2.7 and 3.5 km altitude. The Washington VAAC noted a faint ash emission in satellite imagery on 1 January that was about 25 km W of the summit at 4.3 km altitude. A new emission appeared at the same altitude on 4 January about 15 km NW of the summit. A low-density emission around midday on 5 January produced an ash plume that drifted NNE at 4.6 km altitude. Ash plumes drifted W at 4.3 km altitude on 11 and 14 January for short periods of time before dissipating.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Explosions during January produced numerous steam-and-ash plumes at the Santiaguito complex of Santa Maria. A moderate explosion on 31 January 2019 produced an ash plume that rose to about 3.1 km altitude (top). A thermal image and seismograph show another moderate explosion on 18 January 2019 that also rose nearly vertically from the summit of Caliente. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe mensual de actividad Volcanica enero 2019, Volcan Santiaguito).

Ash drifted mainly towards the W, SW, and S, causing ashfall in the villages of San Marcos Palajunoj, Loma Linda, Monte Bello, El Patrocinio, La Florida, El Faro, Patzulín and a few others several times during the month. The main places where daily ashfall was reported were near the complex, in the hilly crop areas of the El Faro and San José Patzulín farms (figure 92). Blocks up to 3 m in diameter reached the base of the complex, stirring up ash plumes that settled on the immediate flanks. Juvenile material continued to appear at the summit of the dome during January; the dome had risen above the edge of the crater created by the explosions of 2016. Changes in the size and shape of the dome between 23 November 2018 and 13 January 2019 showed the addition of material on the E and SE side of the dome, as well as a new effusive flow that travelled 200-300 m down the E flank (figure 93).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Near-daily ashfall affected the coffee plants at the El Faro and San José Patzulín farms (left) at Santiaguito during January 2019. Large avalanche blocks descending the flanks, seen here on 23 January 2018, often stirred up smaller ash plumes that settled out next to the cone. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe mensual de actividad Volcanica enero 2019, Volcan Santiaguito).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. A comparison of the growth at the Caliente dome of the Santiaguito complex at Santa Maria between 23 November 2018 (top) and 13 January 2019 (bottom) shows the emergence of juvenile material and a 200-300 m long effusive flow that has moved slowly down the E flank. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe mensual de actividad Volcanica enero 2019, Volcan Santiaguito).

Persistent steam rising 50-150 m above the crater was typical during February 2019 and accompanied weak and moderate explosions that averaged 12 per day throughout the month. White and gray ash plumes from the explosions rose to 2.8-3.3 km altitude; daily block avalanches usually reached the base of the dome (figure 94). Ashfall occurred around the complex, mainly on the W, SW, and NE flanks on a daily basis, but communities farther away were affected as well. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume on 7 February in visible satellite imagery moving SW from the summit at 4.9 km altitude. The next day a new ash plume was located about 20 km W of the summit, dissipating rapidly, at 4.3 km altitude. Ashfall drifting SW affected Palajuno Monte Claro on 5, 9, 15, and 16 February. Ash drifting E and SE affected Calaguache, Las Marías and surrounding farms on 14 and 17 February, and fine-grained ash drifting SE was reported at finca San José on 21 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Activity at the Caliente dome of the Santiaguito complex at Santa Maria included daily ash-and-steam explosions and block avalanches descending the sides of the dome in February 2019. A typical explosion on 2 February 2019 produced an ash plume that rose to about 3 km altitude and drifted SW (left). A block avalanche on 14 February descended the SE flank and stirred up small plumes of ash in the vicinity (right, top); the avalanche lasted for 88 seconds and registered with seismic frequencies between 3.46 and 7.64 Hz (right bottom). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 01 al 08 de febrero de 2019).

Geologic Background. Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa María volcano is one of the most prominent of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rises dramatically above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The stratovolcano has a sharp-topped, conical profile that is cut on the SW flank by a 1.5-km-wide crater. The oval-shaped crater extends from just below the summit to the lower flank and was formed during a catastrophic eruption in 1902. The renowned Plinian eruption of 1902 that devastated much of SW Guatemala followed a long repose period after construction of the large basaltic-andesite stratovolcano. The massive dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex has been growing at the base of the 1902 crater since 1922. Compound dome growth at Santiaguito has occurred episodically from four westward-younging vents, the most recent of which is Caliente. Dome growth has been accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions, with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.

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/).


Reventador (Ecuador) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Multiple daily explosions with ash plumes and incandescent blocks rolling down the flanks, October 2018-January 2019

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

Multiple daily reports were issued from the Washington VAAC throughout the entire October 2018-January 2019 period. Plumes of ash and gas usually rose to altitudes of 4.3-6.1 km and drifted about 20 km in prevailing wind directions before either dissipating or being obscured by meteoric clouds. The average number of daily explosions reported by IG-EPN for the second half of 2018 was more than 20 per day (figure 104). The many explosions during the period originated from multiple vents within a large scarp that formed on the W flank in mid-April (BGVN 43:11, figure 95) (figure 105). Incandescent blocks were observed often in the IG webcams; they traveled 400-1,000 m down the flanks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. The number of daily seismic events at El Reventador for 2018 indicated high activity during the first and last thirds of the year; more than 20 explosions per day were recorded many times during October-December 2018, the period covered in this report. LP seismic events are shown in orange, seismic tremor in pink, and seismic explosions with ash are shown in green. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Informe Anual del Volcán El Reventador – 2018, Quito, 29 de marzo del 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Images from IG's REBECA thermal camera showed the thermal activity from multiple different vents at different times during the year (see BGVN 43:11, figure 95 for vent locations). Courtesy if IG (Informe Anual del Volcán El Reventador – 2018, Quito, 29 de marzo del 2019).

Activity during October 2018-January 2019. During most days of October 2018 plumes of gas, steam, and ash rose over 1,000 m above the summit of Reventador, and most commonly drifted W or NW. Incandescence was observed on all nights that were not cloudy; incandescent blocks rolled 400-800 m down the flanks during half of the nights. During episodes of increased activity, ash plumes rose over 1,200 m (8, 10-11, 18-19 October) and incandescent blocks rolled down multiple flanks (figure 106).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Ash emissions rose over 1,000 m above the summit of Reventador numerous times during October 2018, and large incandescent blocks traveled hundreds of meters down multiple flanks. The IG-EPN COPETE webcam that captured these images is located on the S caldera rim. Courtesy of IG Daily Reports (Informe diario del estado del Volcan Reventador, numbers 2018-282, 292, 295, 297).

Similar activity continued during November. IG reported 17 days of the month with steam, gas, and ash emissions rising more than 1,000 m above the summit. The other days were either cloudy or had emissions rising between 500 and 1,000 m. Incandescent blocks were usually observed on the S or SE flanks, generally travelling 400-600 m down the flanks. The Washington VAAC reported a discrete ash plume at 6.1 km altitude drifting WNW about 35 km from the summit on 15 November. The next day, intermittent puffs were noted moving W, and a bright hotspot at the summit was visible in satellite imagery. During the most intense activity of the month, incandescent blocks traveled 800 m down all the flanks (17-19 November) and ash plumes rose over 1,200 m (23 November) (figure 107).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. Ash plumes rose over 1,000 m above the summit on 17 days during November 2018 at Reventador, and incandescent blocks traveled 400-800 m down the flanks on many nights. Courtesy of IG Daily Reports (Informe diario del estado del Volcan Reventador, numbers 2018-306, 314, 318, 324).

Steam, gas, and ash plumes rose over 1,200 m above the summit on 1 December. The next day, there were reports of ashfall in San Rafael and Hosteria El Hotelito, where they reported an ash layer about 1 mm thick was deposited on vehicles during the night. Ash emissions exceeded 1,200 m above the summit on 5 and 6 December as well. Incandescent blocks traveled 800 m down all the flanks on 11, 22, 24, and 26 December, and reached 900 m on 21 December. Ash emissions rising 500 to over 1,000 m above the summit were a daily occurrence, and incandescent blocks descended 500 m or more down the flanks most days during the second half of the month (figure 108).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. Ash plumes that rose 500 to over 1,000 m were a daily occurrence at Reventador during December 2018. Incandescent blocks traveled as far as 900 m down the flanks as well. Courtesy of IG Daily Reports (Informe diario del estado del Volcan Reventador, numbers 2018-340, 351, 353, 354, 358, 359).

During the first few days of January 2019 the ash and steam plumes did not rise over 800 m, and incandescent blocks were noted 300-500 m down the S flank. An increase in activity on 6 January sent ash-and-gas plumes over 1,000 m, drifting W, and incandescent blocks 1,000 m down many flanks. For multiple days in the middle of the month the volcano was completely obscured by clouds; only occasional observations of plumes of ash and steam were made, incandescence seen at night through the clouds confirmed ongoing activity. The Washington VAAC reported continuous ash emissions moving SE extending more than 100 km on 12 January. A significant explosion late on 20 January sent incandescent blocks 800 m down the S flank; although it was mostly cloudy for much of the second half of January, brief glimpses of ash plumes rising over 1,000 m and incandescent blocks traveling up to 800 m down numerous flanks were made almost daily (figure 109).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. Even during the numerous cloudy days of January 2019, evidence of ash emissions and significant explosions at Reventador was captured in the Copete webcam located on the S rim of the caldera. Courtesy of IG Daily Reports (Informe diario del estado del Volcan Reventador, number 2019-6, 21, 26, 27).

Visual evidence from the webcams supports significant thermal activity at Reventador. Atmospheric conditions are often cloudy and thus the thermal signature recorded by satellite instruments is frequently diminished. In spite of this, the MODVOLC thermal alert system recorded seven thermal alerts on three days in October, four alerts on two days in November, six alerts on two days in December and three alerts on three days in January 2019. In addition, the MIROVA system measured moderate levels of radiative power intermittently throughout the period; the most intense anomalies of 2018 were recorded on 15 October and 6 December (figure 110).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. Persistent thermal activity at Reventador was recorded by satellite instruments for the MIROVA system from 5 April 2018 through January 2019 in spite of frequent cloud cover over the volcano. The most intense anomalies of 2018 were recorded on 15 October and 6 December. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

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


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak explosions and ash plumes beginning 21 October 2018

Activity at Kuchinoerabujima is exemplified by interim explosions and periods of high seismicity. A weak explosion occurred on 3 August 2014, the first since 1980, and was followed by several others during 29 May-19 June 2015 (BGVN 42:03). This report describes events through February 2019. Information is based on monthly and annual reports from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and advisories from the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Activity has been limited to Kuchinoerabujima's Shindake Crater.

Activity during 2016-2018. According to JMA, between July 2016 and August 2018, the volcano was relatively quiet. Deflation had occurred since January 2016. On 18 April 2018 the Alert Level was lowered from 3 to 2 (on a scale of 1-5). A low-temperature thermal anomaly persisted near the W fracture in Shindake crater. During January-March 2018, both the number of volcanic earthquakes (generally numerous and typically shallow) and sulfur dioxide flux remained slightly above baselines levels in August 2014 (60-500 tons/day compared tp generally less than 100 tons/day in August 2014).

JMA reported that on 15 August 2018 a swarm of deep volcanic earthquakes was recorded, prompting an increase in the Alert Level to 4. The earthquake hypocenters were about 5 km deep, below the SW flanks of Shindake, and the maximum magnitude was 1.9. They occurred at about the same place as the swarm that occurred just before the May 2015 eruption. Sulfur dioxide emissions had increased since the beginning of August; they were 1,600, 1,000, and 1,200 tons/day on 11, 13, and 17 August, respectively. No surficial changes in gas emissions or thermal areas were observed during 16-20 August. On 29 August, JMA downgraded the Alert Level to 3, after no further SO2 flux increase had occurred in recent days and GNSS measurements had not changed.

A very weak explosion was recorded at 1831 on 21 October, with additional activity between 2110 on 21 October and 1350 on 22 October; plumes rose 200 m above the crater rim. During an overflight on 22 October, observers noted ash in the emissions, though no morphological changes to the crater nor ash deposits were seen. Based on satellite images and information from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported that during 24-28 October ash plumes rose to altitudes of 0.9-1.5 km and drifted in multiple directions. During a field observation on 28 October, JMA scientists did not observe any changes in the thermal anomalies at the crater.

JMA reported that during 31 October-5 November 2018, very small events released plumes that rose 500-1,200 m above the crater rim. On 6 November, crater incandescence began to be periodically visible. During 12-19 November, ash plumes rose as high as 1.2 km above the crater rim and, according to the Tokyo VAAC, drifted in multiple directions. Observers doing fieldwork on 14 and 15 November noted that thermal measurements in the crater had not changed. Intermittent explosions during 22-26 November generated plumes that rose as high as 2.1 km above the crater rim. During 28 November-3 December the plumes rose as high as 1.5 km above the rim.

JMA reported that at 1637 on 18 December an explosion produced an ash plume that rose 2 km and then disappeared into a weather cloud. The event ejected material that fell in the crater area, and generated a pyroclastic flow that traveled 1 km W and 500 m E of the crater. Another weak explosion occurred on 28 December, scattering large cinders up to 500 m from the crater.

The Tokyo VAAC did not issue any ash advisories for aviation until 21 October 2018, when it issued at least one report every day through 13 December. It also issued advisories on 18-20 and 28 December.

Activity during January-early February 2019. JMA reported that at 0919 local time on 17 January 2019 an explosion generated a pyroclastic flow that reached about 1.9 km NW and 1 km E of the crater. It was the strongest explosion since October 2018. In addition, "large cinders" fell about 1-1.8 km from the crater.

Tokyo VAAC ash advisories were issued on 1, 17, 20, and 29 January 2018. An explosion at 1713-1915 on 29 January produced an ash plume that rose 4 km above the crater rim and drifted E, along with a pyroclastic flow. Ash fell in parts of Yakushima. During 30 January-1 February and 3-5 February, white plumes rose as high as 600 m. On 2 February, an explosion at 1141-1300 generated a plume that rose 600 m. No additional activity during February was reported by JMA. The Alert Level remained at 3.

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

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


Kerinci (Indonesia) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

1.697°S, 101.264°E; summit elev. 3800 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


A persistent gas-and-steam plume and intermittent ash plumes occurred from July 2018 through January 2019

Kerinci is a frequently active volcano in Sumatra, Indonesia. Recent activity has consisted of intermittent explosions, ash, and gas-and-steam plumes. The volcano alert has been at Level II since 9 September 2007. This report summarizes activity during July 2018-January 2019 based on reports by The Indonesia volcano monitoring agency, Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), MAGMA Indonesia, notices from the Darwin Volcano Ash Advisory Center (Darwin VAAC), and satellite data.

Throughout this period dilute gas-and-steam plumes rising about 300 m above the summit were frequently observed and seismicity continued (figure 6). During July through January ash plumes were observed by the Darwin VAAC up to 4.3 km altitude and dispersed in multiple directions (table 7 and figure 7).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Graph showing seismic activity at Kerinci from November 2018 through February 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Table 7. Summary of ash plumes (altitude and drift direction) for Kerinci during July 2018 through January 2019. The summit is at 3.5 km altitude. Data courtesy of the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) and MAGMA Indonesia.

Date Ash plume altitude (km) Ash plume drift direction
22 Jul 2018 4.3 SW
28-30 Sep 2018 4.3 SW, W
02 Oct 2018 4.3 SW, W
18-22 Oct 2018 4.3 N, W, WSW, SW
19 Jan 2019 4 E to SE
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Dilute ash plumes at Kerinci during July 2018-January 2019. Sentinel-2 natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) satellite images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Based on satellite data, a Darwin VAAC advisory reported an ash plume to 4.3 km altitude on 22 July that drifted to the SW and S. Only one day with elevated thermal emission was noted in Sentinel-2 satellite data for the entire reporting period, on 13 September 2018 (figure 8). No thermal signatures were detected by MODVOLC. On 28-29 September there was an ash plume observed to 500-600 m above the peak that dispersed to the W. Several VAAC reports on 2 and 18-22 October detected ash plumes that rose to 4.3 km altitude and drifted in different directions. On 19 January from 0734 to 1000 an ash plume rose to 200 m above the crater and dispersed to the E and SE (figure 9).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Small thermal anomaly at Kerinci volcano on 13 September 2018. False color (urban) image (band 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Small ash plume at Kerinci on 19 January 2018 that reached 200 m above the crater and traveled west. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Geologic Background. Gunung Kerinci in central Sumatra forms Indonesia's highest volcano and is one of the most active in Sumatra. It is capped by an unvegetated young summit cone that was constructed NE of an older crater remnant. There is a deep 600-m-wide summit crater often partially filled by a small crater lake that lies on the NE crater floor, opposite the SW-rim summit. The massive 13 x 25 km wide volcano towers 2400-3300 m above surrounding plains and is elongated in a N-S direction. Frequently active, Kerinci has been the source of numerous moderate explosive eruptions since its first recorded eruption in 1838.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Yasur (Vanuatu) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption continues with ongoing explosions and multiple active crater vents, August 2018-January 2019

According to the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), which monitors Yasur, the volcano has been in essentially continuous Strombolian activity since Captain Cook observed ash eruptions in 1774, and undoubtedly before that time. VMGD reported that, based on visual observations and seismic data, activity continued through January 2019, with ongoing, sometimes strong, explosions. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-4). VMGD reminded residents and tourists to remain outside the 395-m-radius permanent exclusion zone and warned that volcanic ash and gas could reach areas influenced by trade winds.

Thermal anomalies, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, were recorded 6-15 days per month during the reporting period, sometimes with multiple pixels. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, detected numerous hotspots every month. Active crater vents were also frequently visible in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery (figure 50).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Sentinel-2 satellite color infrared image (bands 8, 4, 3) of Yasur on 17 November 2018 showing at least three distinct heat sources in the crater. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Ambae (Vanuatu) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambae

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes and lahars in July 2018 cause evacuation of the island; intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes through January 2019

Ambae is one of the active volcanoes of Vanuatu in the New Hebrides archipelago. Recent eruptions have resulted in multiple evacuations of the local population due to ashfall. The current eruption began in September 2017, with the initial episode ending in November that year. The second episode was from late December 2017 to early February 2018, and the third was during February-April 2018. The Alert Level was raised to 3 in March, then lowered to Level 2 again on 2 June 2018. Eruptive activity began again on 1 July and produced thick ash deposits that significantly impacted the population, resulting in the full evacuation of the Island of Ambae. This report summarizes activity from July 2018 through January 2019 and is based on reports by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department (VMGD), The Vanuatu Red Cross, posts on social media, and various satellite data.

On 1 July Ambae entered a new eruption phase, marked by an ash plume that resulted in ashfall on communities in the W to NW parts of Ambae Island and the NE part of Santo Island (figure 78). On 9-10 July VMGD reported that a small eruption continued with activity consisting of ongoing gas-and-steam emissions. An observation flight on 13 July confirmed that the eruption was centered at Lake Voui and consisted of explosions that ejected hot blocks with ongoing gas-and-steam and ash emissions. Populations on Ambae and a neighboring island could hear the eruption, smell the volcanic gases, and see incandescence at night.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Ash plume at Ambae on 1 July 2018 that resulted in ashfall on the W to NW parts of the island, and on the NE part of Santo Island. Courtesy of VMGD.

On 16 July the Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume to 9.1 km that drifted to the NE. During 16-24 July daily ash plumes from the Lake Voui vent rose to altitudes of 2.3-9.1 km and drifted N, NE, E, and SE (figure 79 and 80). Radio New Zealand reported that on the 16th significant ash emission blocked out sunlight, making the underlying area dark at around 1600 local time. Much of E and N Ambae Island experienced heavy ashfall and the eruption could be heard over 30 km away. The Vanuatu Red Cross Society reported worsening conditions in the south on 24 July with ashfall resulting in trees falling and very poor visibility of less than 2 m (figures 81, 82, and 83). The Daily Post reported that by 19 July lahars had washed away two roads and other roads were blocked to western Ambae. Volcanologists who made their way to the area reported widespread damage (figure 84). The Alert Level was raised from level 2 to 3 (on a scale of 0-5) on 21 July due to an increase in ash emission and more sustained plumes, similar to March 2018 activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Ash plumes produced by the Ambae eruption in July 2018 as seen in Terra/MODIS visible satellite images. Images courtesy of NASA Worldview.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Sentinel-2 satellite image of an ash plume from Ambae in Vanuatu on 23 July 2018 with the inset showing the ash plume at the vent. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Ashfall at Ambae, posted on 25 July 2018. Courtesy of the Vanuatu Red Cross Society.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. An ash plume at Ambae in July during a day and a half of constant ashfall, looking towards the volcano. Courtesy of Michael Rowe.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Ashfall from the eruption at Ambae blocked out the sun near the volcano on 24 July 2018. Courtesy of the Vanuatu Red Cross Society.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Impacts of ashfall near Ambae in July 2018. Photos by Nicholson Naki, courtesy of the Vanuatu Red Cross (posted on 22 July 2018).

At 2100 on 26 July the ongoing explosions produced an ash plume that rose to 12 km and spread NE, E, SE. A state of emergency was announced by the Government of Vanuatu with a call for mandatory evacuations of the island. Ash emissions continued through the next day (figure 85 and 86) with two episodes producing volcanic lightning at 1100-1237 and 1522-2029 on 27 July (figure 87). The Darwin VAAC reported ash plumes up to 2.4-6.4 km, drifting SE and NW, and pilots reported heavy ashfall in Fiji. Large SO2 plumes were detected accompanying the eruptions and moving towards the E (figure 88).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Ash plumes at Ambae at 0830 and 1129 local time on 27 July 2018. The ash plume is significantly larger in the later image. Webcam images from Saratamata courtesy of VMGD.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Two ash plumes from Ambae at 1200 on 27 July 2018 as seen in a Himawari-8 satellite image. Courtesy of Himawari-8 Real-time Web.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Lightning strokes detected at Ambae on 27 July 2018. There were two eruption pulses, 1100-1237 (blue) and 1522-2029 local time (red) that produced 185 and 87 lightning strokes, respectively. Courtesy of William A. Brook, Ronald L. Holle, and Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Aura/OMI data showing the large SO2 plumes produced by Ambae in Vanuatu during 22-31 July 2018. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Video footage showed a lahar blocking a road around 2 August. The government of Vanuatu told reporters that the island had been completely evacuated by 14 August. A VMGD bulletin on 22 August reported that activity continued with ongoing gas-and-steam and sometimes ash emissions; residents on neighboring islands could hear the eruption, smell volcanic gases, and see the plumes.

On 1 September at 2015 an explosion sent an ash plume to 4-11 km altitude, drifting E. Later observations in September showed a decrease in activity with no further explosions and plumes limited to white gas-and-steam plumes. On 21 September VMGD reported that the Lake Voui eruption had ceased and the Alert Level was lowered to 2.

Observed activity through October and November dominantly consisted of white gas-and-steam plumes. An explosion on 30 October at 1832 produced an ash plume that rose to 4-5 km and drifted E and SE. Satellite images acquired during July-November show the changing crater area and crater lake water color (figure 89). VMGD volcano alert bulletins on 6, 7, and 21 January 2019 reported that activity continued with gas-and-steam emissions (figure 90). Thermal energy continued to be detected by the MIROVA system through January (figure 91).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. The changing lakes of Ambae during volcanic activity in 2018. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. A steam plume at Ambae on 21 January 2019. Courtesy of VMGD.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Log radiative power MIROVA plot of MODIS infrared data at Ambae for April 2018 through January 2019 showing the increased thermal energy during the July 2018 eruption and continued activity. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory/); Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd (MetService), PO Box 722, Wellington, New Zealand (URL: http://www.metservice.com/vaac/, http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/OTH/NZ/messages.html); 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/); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Himawari-8 Real-time Web, developed by the NICT Science Cloud project in NICT (National Institute of Information and Communications Technology), Japan, in collaboration with JMA (Japan Meteorological Agency) and CEReS (Center of Environmental Remote Sensing, Chiba University) (URL: https://himawari8.nict.go.jp/); Vanuatu Red Cross Society (URL: https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuRedCross); William A. Brooks and Ronald L. Holle, Vaisala Inc., Tucson, Arizona, and Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc., Louisville, Colorado (URL: https://www.vaisala.com/); Michael Rowe, The University of Auckland, 23 Symonds Street, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand (URL: https://unidirectory.auckland.ac.nz/profile/michael-rowe); Radio New Zealand, 155 The Terrace, Wellington 6011, New Zealand (URL: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/359231/vanuatu-provincial-capital-moves-due-to-volcano); Vanuatu Daily Post (URL: http://dailypost.vu/).


Agung (Indonesia) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Agung

Indonesia

8.343°S, 115.508°E; summit elev. 2997 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing intermittent ash plumes and frequent gas-and-steam plumes during August 2018-January 2019

Agung is an active volcano in Bali, Indonesia, that began its current eruptive episode in September 2017. During this time activity has included ash plumes, gas-and-steam plumes, explosions ejecting ballistic blocks onto the flanks, and lava extrusion within the crater.

This report summarizes activity from August 2018 through January 2019 based on information from Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), also known as the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), MAGMA Indonesia, the National Board for Disaster Management - Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and satellite data.

During August 2018 through January 2019 observed activity was largely gas-and steam plumes up to 700 m above the crater (figures 39 and 40). In late December and January there were several explosions that produced ash plumes up to 5.5 km altitude, and ejected ballistic blocks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Graph showing the observed white gas-and-steam plumes and gray ash plumes at Agung during August 2018 through January 2019. The dates showing no data points coincided with cloudy days where the summit was not visible. Data courtesy of PVMBG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. A white gas-and-steam plume at Agung on 21 December 2018. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume on 8-9 August based on satellite data, webcam footage, and ground report information. The ash plume rose to 4.3 km and drifted to the W. They also reported a diffuse ash plume to 3.3 km altitude on 16-17 August based on satellite and webcam data. During September through November there were no ash plumes observed at Agung; activity consisted of white gas-and-steam plumes ranging from 10-500 m above the crater.

Throughout December, when observations could be made, activity mostly consisted of white gas-and-steam plumes up to 400 m above the crater. An explosion occurred at 0409 on 30 December that lasted 3 minutes 8 seconds produced an ash plume rose to an altitude of 5.5 km and moved to the SE and associated incandescence was observed at the crater. Light Ashfall was reported in the Karangasem regency to the NE, including Amlapura City and several villages such as in Seraya Barat Village, Seraya Tengah Village, and Tenggalinggah Village (figure 41).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. A webcam image of an explosion at Agung that began at 0409 on 30 December 2018. Light Ashfall was reported in the Karangasem regency. Courtesy of PVMBG.

White gas-and-steam plumes continued through January 2019 rising as much as 600 m above the crater. Several Volcano Observatory Notices for Aviation (VONAs) were issued during 18-22 January. An explosion was recorded at 0245 on 19 January that produced an ash plume to 700 m above the crater and ejected incandescent blocks out to 1 km from the crater. On 21 January another ash plume rose to an estimated plume altitude of 5.1 km. The next morning, at 0342 on the 22nd, an ash plume to an altitude of 2 km that dispersed to the E and SE.

Satellite data shows continued low-level thermal activity in the crater throughout this period. MIROVA thermal data showed activity declining after a peak in July, and a further decline in energy in September (figure 42). Low-level thermal activity continued through December. Sentinel-2 thermal data showed elevated temperatures within the ponded lava in the crater (figure 43).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Log radiative power MIROVA plot of MODIS infrared data for May 2018 through January 2019 showing thermal anomalies at Agung. The black data lines indicate anomalies more than 10 km from the crater, which are likely due to fires. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing areas of elevated temperatures within the lava ponded in the Agung crater during August 2018 through January 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Symmetrical Agung stratovolcano, Bali's highest and most sacred mountain, towers over the eastern end of the island. The volcano, whose name means "Paramount," rises above the SE caldera rim of neighboring Batur volcano, and the northern and southern flanks extend to the coast. The summit area extends 1.5 km E-W, with the high point on the W and a steep-walled 800-m-wide crater on the E. The Pawon cone is located low on the SE flank. Only a few eruptions dating back to the early 19th century have been recorded in historical time. The 1963-64 eruption, one of the largest in the 20th century, produced voluminous ashfall along with devastating pyroclastic flows and lahars that caused extensive damage and many fatalities.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); 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).


Erebus (Antarctica) — January 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Erebus

Antarctica

77.53°S, 167.17°E; summit elev. 3794 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lakes persist through 2017 and 2018

Between the early 1980's through 2016, activity at Erebus was monitored by the Mount Erebus Volcano Observatory (MEVO), using seismometers, infrasonic recordings to measure eruption frequency, and annual scientific site visits. MEVO recorded occasional explosions propelling ash up to 2 km above the summit of this Antarctic volcano and the presence of two, sometimes three, lava lakes (figure 26). However, MEVO closed in 2016 (BGVN 42:06).

Activity at the lava lakes in the summit crater can be detected using MODIS infrared detectors aboard the Aqua and Terra satellites and analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm. A compilation of thermal alert pixels during 2017-2018 (table 4, a continuation of data in the previous report) shows a wide range of detected activity, with a high of 182 alert pixels in April 2018. Although no MODVOLC anomalies were recorded in January 2017, detectors on the Sentinel-2 satellite imaged two active lava lakes on 25 January.

Table 4. Number of MODVOLC thermal alert pixels recorded per month from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2018 for Erebus by the University of Hawaii's thermal alert system. Table compiled by GVP from data provided by MODVOLC.

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec SUM
2017 0 21 9 0 0 1 11 61 76 52 0 3 234
2018 0 21 58 182 55 17 137 172 103 29 0 0 774
SUM 0 42 67 182 55 18 148 233 179 81 0 3 1008
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Sentinel-2 images of the summit crater area of Erebus on 25 January 2017. Top: Natural color filter (bands 4, 3, 2). Bottom: Atmospheric penetration filter (bands 12, 11, 8A) in which two distinct lava lakes can be observed. The main crater is 500 x 600 m wide. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Mount Erebus, the world's southernmost historically active volcano, overlooks the McMurdo research station on Ross Island. The 3794-m-high Erebus is the largest of three major volcanoes forming the crudely triangular Ross Island. The summit of the dominantly phonolitic volcano has been modified by one or two generations of caldera formation. A summit plateau at about 3200 m elevation marks the rim of the youngest caldera, which formed during the late-Pleistocene and within which the modern cone was constructed. An elliptical 500 x 600 m wide, 110-m-deep crater truncates the summit and contains an active lava lake within a 250-m-wide, 100-m-deep inner crater. The glacier-covered volcano was erupting when first sighted by Captain James Ross in 1841. Continuous lava-lake activity with minor explosions, punctuated by occasional larger strombolian explosions that eject bombs onto the crater rim, has been documented since 1972, but has probably been occurring for much of the volcano's recent history.

Information Contacts: 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).


Villarrica (Chile) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Villarrica

Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent Strombolian activity ejects incandescent bombs around crater rim, September 2018-February 2019

Historical eruptions at Chile's Villarrica, documented since 1558, have consisted largely of mild-to-moderate explosive activity with occasional lava effusion. An intermittently active lava lake at the summit has been the source of explosive activity, incandescence, and thermal anomalies for several decades. Sporadic Strombolian activity at the lava lake and small ash emissions have continued since the last large explosion on 3 March 2015. Similar continuing activity during September 2018-February 2019 is covered in this report, with information provided primarily by the Southern Andes Volcano Observatory (Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur, OVDAS), part of Chile's National Service of Geology and Mining (Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería, SERNAGEOMIN), and Projecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI), part of the Fundacion Volcanes de Chile, a research group that studies volcanoes across Chile.

After ash emissions during July 2018 and an increase in of thermal activity from late July through early September 2018 (BGVN 43:10), Villarrica was much quieter through February 2019. Steam plumes rose no more than a few hundred meters above the summit and the number of thermal alerts decreased steadily. Intermittent Strombolian activity sent ejecta a few tens of meters above the summit crater, with larger bombs landing outside the crater rim. A small pyroclastic cone appeared at the surface of the lava lake, about 70 m below the rim, in November. The largest lava fountain rose 35 m above the crater rim in late January 2019.

Steam plumes rose no more than 300 m above the crater during September 2018 and were less than 150 m high in October; incandescence at the summit was visible during clear nights, although a gradual decrease in activity suggested a lowering of the lake level to SERNAGEOMIN. SERNAGEOMIN attributed an increase in LP seismic events from 1,503 in September to 5,279 in October to dynamics of the lava lake inside the summit crater; counts decreased gradually in the following months.

POVI reported webcam evidence of Strombolian activity with ejecta around the crater several times during November 2018. On 5 November the webcam captured an image of an incandescent bomb, more than a meter in diameter, that landed on the NW flank. The next day, explosions sent ejecta 50 m above the edge of the crater, and pyroclastic debris landed around the perimeter. Significant Strombolian explosions on 16 November sent incandescent bombs toward the W rim of the crater (figure 71). The POVI webcam in Pucón captured incandescent ejecta landing on the crater rim on 23 November. POVI scientists observed a small pyroclastic cone, about 10-12 m in diameter, at the bottom of the summit crater on 19 November (figure 72); it was still visible on 25 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Strombolian activity at the summit of Villarrica was captured several times in the POVI webcam located in Pucón. An explosion on 5 November 2018 ejected a meter-sized bomb onto the NW flank (left). On 16 November, incandescent bombs were thrown outside the W rim of the crater (right). Courtesy of POVI (Volcán Villarrica, Resumen Gráfico del Comportamiento, November 2017 a Febrero 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. A small pyroclastic cone was visible at the bottom of the summit crater at Villarrica (about 70 m deep) on 19 November 2018 (left); it was still visible on 25 November (right). Courtesy of POVI (Volcán Villarrica, Resumen Gráfico del Comportamiento, November 2017 a Febrero 2019).

During December 2018 webcam images showed steam plumes rising less than 350 m above the crater. Infrasound instruments identified two small explosions related to lava lake surface activity. SERNAGEOMIN noted a minor variation in the baseline of the inclinometers; continued monitoring indicated the variation was seasonal. A compilation by POVI of images of the summit crater during 2018 showed the evolution of the lava lake level during the year. It had dropped out of sight early in the year, rose to its highest level in July, and then lowered slightly, remaining stable for the last several months of the year (figure 73).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Evolution of the lava pit at Villarrica during 2018. During July the lava lake level increased and for November and December no significant changes were observed. Courtesy of POVI (Volcán Villarrica, Resumen Gráfico del Comportamiento, November 2017 a Febrero 2019).

Between 25 December 2018 and 15 January 2019, financed with funds contributed by the Fundación Volcanes de Chile, POVI was able to install new HD webcams with continuous daily image recording, greatly improving the level of detail data available of the activity at the summit. POVI reported that after a five-week break, Strombolian explosions resumed on 3 January 2019; the lava fountains rose 20 m above the crater rim, and pyroclastic ejecta fell to the E. On 24 January the Strombolian explosions ejected ash, lapilli, and bombs up to 15 cm in diameter; the lava fountain was about 35 m high.

An explosion on 7 February reached about 29 m above the crater's edge; on 9 February a lava fountain three meters in diameter rose 17 m above the crater rim. Sporadic explosions were imaged on 12 February as well (figure 74). During a reconnaissance overflight on 24 February 2019, POVI scientists observed part of the lava pit at the bottom of the crater (figure 75). As of 28 February they noted a slight but sustained increase in the energy of the explosions. SERNAGEOMIN noted that steam plumes rose 400 m in January and 150 m during February, and incandescence was visible on clear nights during both months.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Strombolian activity at Villarrica in January and February 2019 was imaged with a new HD webcam on several occasions. On 24 January 2019 explosions ejected ash, lapilli, and bombs up to 15 cm in diameter; the lava fountain was about 35 m high (left); on 12 February 2019 explosions rose about 19 m above the crater rim (right). Courtesy of POVI (Volcán Villarrica, Resumen Gráfico del Comportamiento, November 2017 a Febrero 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. During a reconnaissance overflight on 24 February 2019, POVI scientists observed part of the lava pit at the bottom of the crater at Villarrica; gas and steam emissions and incandescence from small explosions were noted. Courtesy of POVI (Volcán Villarrica, Resumen Gráfico del Comportamiento, November 2017 a Febrero 2019).

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

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


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions with ash plumes and incandescent ejecta continue during September 2018-February 2019

Frequent historical eruptions have been reported from Mexico's Popocatépetl going back to the 14th century. Activity increased in the mid-1990s after about 50 years of quiescence, and the current eruption, ongoing since January 2005, has included numerous episodes of lava-dome growth and destruction within the 500-m-wide summit caldera. Multiple emissions of steam and gas occur daily, rising generally 1-3 km above the 5.4-km-elevation summit; many contain small amounts of ash. Larger, more explosive events with ash plumes and incandescent ejecta landing on the flanks usually occur several times every week.

Activity through August 2018 was typical of the ongoing eruption with near-constant emissions of water vapor, gas, and minor ash, as well as multiple explosions every week with ash-plumes and incandescent blocks scattered on the flanks (BGVN 43:11). This report covers similar activity from September 2018 through February 2019. Information about Popocatépetl comes from daily reports provided by México's Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED); ash emissions are also reported by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Satellite visible and thermal imagery and SO2 data also provide helpful observations of activity.

Near-constant emissions of steam and gas, often with minor ash content, were typical activity throughout September 2018-February 2019. Intermittent larger explosions with plumes of moderate ash content that generated ashfall in nearby communities were reported each month except November. Periods with increased explosive activity that consisted of multiple daily explosions included all of September into early October, early December 2018, and the second half of February 2019 (figure 116). Increased observations of incandescence at the summit generally coincided with increases in explosive activity. Increases in thermal anomalies measured by the MIROVA project during this time also correlated with times of increased explosive activity as reported by CENAPRED (figure 117).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 116. The numbers of low intensity emissions of steam and gas, often with minor amounts of ash ranged from a few tens to several hundred per day throughout September 2018-February 2019 (blue, left axis). Increases in the daily numbers of larger ash-bearing explosions occurred during September-early October 2018, early December, and the second half of February 2019 (orange, right axis). Data courtesy of CENEPRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. Thermal anomalies registered by the MIROVA project from 5 April 2018 through February 2019 had periods of increased frequency and intensity during September-early October, early December 2018, and in the second half of February 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during September 2018. Multiple explosions with ash plumes were reported nearly every day in September (figure 118). The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery 15 km NW of the summit at 7.6 km altitude on 4 September. Most plumes reported by the VAAC during the month rose to 6.1-7.6 km and drifted up to 40 km in multiple directions. Two small episodes of ash emissions with tremor on 16 September were followed the next day by a series of emissions, explosions, and tremor that lasted for over six hours; incandescent blocks were visible on the flanks in the early morning. An increase in activity late on 18 September produced Strombolian eruptions that lasted for nearly eight hours along with ash emissions and incandescent blocks on the flanks. A plume on 19 September still had detectable ash 150 km NE of the summit; a smaller plume drifting E was responsible for ashfall reported in Tlaxcala.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 118. Multiple explosions with ash plumes were reported nearly every day in September at Popocatépetl, generating ash plumes that rose from 1.5-3 km above the crater and drifted in multiple directions. The CENAPRED webcams captured images of ash plumes on 8, 11, and 19 September, and the Sentinel-2 satellite (rendering is Atmospheric penetration, based on bands 12, 11 and 8A) imaged ash plumes from two of seven reported explosions on 24 September 2018. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 9, 11, y 20 de septiembre de 2018) and Sentinel Hub Playground (lower image).

Discrete puffs of ash were observed by the Washington VAAC on 20 September moving WSW extending around 200 km from the summit. Three explosions on 21 September ejected incandescent blocks onto the NE flank. During an overflight on 21 September, CENAPRED observed dome number 80, partly destroyed by the recent explosions (figure 119). The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume at 8.8 km altitude on 21 September 30 km WSW from the summit. Ashfall was reported by CENACOM (Mexican National Communications Center) on 29 September in Atlautla, Tehuixtitlan, and Cuecuecuautitla in the State of Mexico, and in the Tláhuac Delegation, Iztapalapa, and Xochimilco in Mexico City.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. During an overflight on 21 September 2018, CENAPRED observed dome number 80 at Popocatépetl, partly destroyed by the recent explosions. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Sobrevuelo al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 21 de septiembre de 2018).

Activity during October and November 2018. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume at 7 km altitude on 2 October, 35 km W of the summit. Numerous smaller plumes were reported by the VAAC during both months at about 6 km altitude drifting in multiple directions. Two larger explosions on 8 October produced ash plumes that rose to 3.5 and 2.4 km, respectively, above the summit, and drifted NE (figure 120). As a result, ashfall was reported at the Puebla airport. On 10 and 12 October, extended periods of LP tremor were accompanied by gas emissions, but otherwise lower levels of activity were noted for much of the month. An ash plume extended over 80 km NE at 7.6 km altitude on 10 November. An explosion on 13 November produced incandescent fragments on the flanks. During 19-21 November episodes of LP seismicity and tremors produced gas and ash emissions; some of the episodes lasted for as long as 13 hours; incandescent fragments were observed on the upper slopes during the more intense periods. On 22 November scientists on an overflight by CENAPRED observed dome 81 with a diameter of 175 m and an estimated depth of 30 m (figure 121).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. A large explosion early on 8 October 2018 at Popocatépetl sent an ash plume to 3.5 km above the summit crater that drifted NE. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 9 de Octubre de 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. On 22 November 2018 scientists on an overflight by CENAPRED observed dome 81 at Popocatépetl with a diameter of 175 m and an estimated depth of 30 m. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Sobrevuelos, herramienta útil para el monitoreo volcánico del Popocatépetl, jueves, 22 de noviembre de 2018).

Activity during December 2018. Increased ash emissions were reported in early December 2018, producing ash plumes that rose at least 1 km above the crater and drifted mostly E; incandescent blocks ejected on 5 December fell mostly back into the crater. Multiple explosions on 6 and 7 December produced ash plumes that rose as high as 2.5 km above the crater and resulted in ashfall in Amecameca and Tlalmanalco; they also produced incandescent blocks that traveled as far at 2.5 km from the crater, according to CENAPRED. An explosion on 9 December produced a 2-km-high ash plume that drifted NE (figure 122). Satellite images captured during clear skies on 18 December showed incandescence at the dome inside the summit crater, and dark ash and ejecta covering much of the upper flanks (figure 123). An ash plume was centered about 100 km NE of the summit on 24 December at 7.6 km altitude, and dissipating rapidly, according to the Washington VAAC. Incandescent blocks were ejected onto the flanks on 26 December during an evening explosion.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 122. An explosion on 9 December 2018 produced a 2-km-high ash plume at Popocatépetl that drifted NE. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 9 de diciembre de 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 123. Clear skies on 18 December 2018 resulted in a Sentinel-2 satellite image of Popocatépetl that showed incandescence on the dome inside the summit crater, and dark tephra surrounding all the upper flanks. Rendering is Atmospheric penetration, based on bands 12, 11 and 8A. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during January 2019. An explosion in the early morning of 16 January 2019 produced incandescent blocks that traveled 1.5 km down the slopes. It also produced an ash emission that lasted for 25 minutes; the seismic signal associated with the event was a mixture of harmonic tremor and high-frequency low-amplitude earthquakes. In the first minutes the height of the column reached 1,000 m above the crater, later it decreased to 500 m; ash was dispersed ENE. Late on 22 January a large explosion produced an ash plume that rose 3.5 km above the crater and numerous incandescent blocks that were observed as far as 2 km from the summit (figure 124); ashfall was reported in Santa Isabel Cholula, Santa Ana Xalmimilulco, Domingo Arenas, San Martin Texmelucan, Tlalancaleca, San Salvador el Verde, San Andres Calpan, San Nicolás de los Ranchos, and Huejotzingo, all in the state of Puebla. A large discrete ash plume was observed in satellite imagery by the Washington VAAC on 24 January at 6.7 km altitude moving NE to about 35 km distance before dissipating. In an overflight on 27 January CENAPRED noted that the internal crater remained about 300 m wide and 150 m deep, and no dome was visible (figure 125).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 124. Late on 22 January 2019 a large explosion at Popocatépetl produced an ash plume that rose 3.5 km above the crater and produced numerous incandescent blocks that were observed as far as 2 km from the summit. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Actualización de Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 22 de enero de 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 125. During an overflight of Popocatépetl on 27 January 2019 observers from CENAPRED noted that the internal crater remained about 300 m wide and 150 m deep, and no dome was visible. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 27 de enero de 2019).

Activity during February 2019. Several days of increased activity of harmonic tremor and explosions were reported during 14-19 February 2019 (figure 126). Incandescent blocks from Strombolian activity appeared on the flanks late on 14 February traveling as far as 1.5 km, along with a continuous stream of ash and gas that drifted SW for seven hours. The initial ash plume rose 800 m, but by early the next day had risen to 2 km. Ashfall was reported in the communities of Hueyapan, Tetela del Volcán, Zacualpan, Temoac, Jantetelco, Cuautla, Ocuituco, and Yecapixtla, in the state of Morelos, and in Tochimilco, Puebla, on 15 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 126. Several days of increased activity at Popocatépetl, including harmonic tremor and explosions, were reported during 14-19 February 2019. Incandescent blocks from Strombolian activity appeared on the flanks late on 14 February traveling as far as 1.5 km, along with a continuous stream of ash and gas that drifted SW for seven hours (left). Steam and gas streamed continuously from the summit for many hours on 17 February (right); the plume drifted NNE at 1-1.5 km altitude. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 14 y 18 de febrero de 2019).

A new episode of Strombolian activity early on 16 February lasted for six hours and produced 2-km-high ash plumes that drifted SE. Later that afternoon, a new harmonic tremor episode, again lasting about six hours, was accompanied by water vapor and gas emissions that drifted NE and incandescent blocks ejected 400 m down the flanks. A Sentinel-2 satellite image that day recorded a significant thermal signature from the summit dome (figure 127).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 127. A Sentinel-2 satellite image on a clear 16 February 2019 recorded a significant thermal signature from the summit dome of Popocatépetl. Rendering is Atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Satellite instruments recorded a strong SO2 signature from the volcano during 15-18 February (figure 128). Multi-hour periods of harmonic tremor were recorded during 17-19 February, accompanied by gas-and-ash emissions. Ash plume heights were between 1 and 2 km above the crater, and minor ashfall was reported in Tlaxco and Xalostoc in Nativitas, and Hueyotlipan, Amaxac de Guerrero, Tepetitla de Lardizábal, and Texoloc in Tlaxcala, on 18 February. Two overflights on 18 and 19 February confirmed the formation of dome 82 inside the summit crater, estimated to be 200 m in diameter (figure 129).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 128. Significant SO2 plumes were measured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite during 15-18 February 2019 at Popocatépetl. The plume initially drifted SW (top left, 15 February); changes in the wind direction carried the plume to the N (top right, 16 February), then to the NE (bottom left, 17 February), and back to the N on 18 February (bottom right). Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 129. An overflight on 19 February by CENAPRED confirmed the formation of dome 82 inside the summit crater at Popocatépetl, estimated to be 200 m in diameter. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Actualización del reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl, 19 de febrero de 2019).

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

Information Contacts: Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México D.F. 04360, México (URL: http://www.cenapred.unam.mx/); 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); 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/).


Pacaya (Guatemala) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

14.382°N, 90.601°W; summit elev. 2569 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuous activity from the cone in Mackenney crater; daily lava flows on the NW flank during October 2018-January 2019

Extensive lava flows, bomb-laden Strombolian explosions, and ash plumes emerging from MacKenney crater have characterized the persistent activity at Pacaya since 1961. The latest eruptive episode began with intermittent ash plumes and incandescence in June 2015; the growth of a new pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater was confirmed in mid-December 2015. The pyroclastic cone has continued to grow, rising above the crater rim in late 2017 and sending numerous flows down the flanks of the crater throughout 2018 (BGVN 43:11). Similar activity continued during October 2018-January 2019, covered in this report, with information provided primarily by Guatemala's Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH).

There were few variations in the eruptive activity at Pacaya during October 2018-January 2019. Virtually constant Strombolian activity from the summit of the pyroclastic cone within Mackenney crater produced ejecta that rose 5-30 m daily. Periods of increased activity occasionally increased the height of the ejecta to 50 m. Lava flows descended the NW flank of Mackenney cone towards Cerro Chino crater, usually one or two a day, sometimes three or four. They travelled 50-300 m down the flank; the longest reached 600 m in mid-October and 500 m at the end of January. Steam and gas plumes persisted from the summit; a single VAAC report mentioned dilute ash in mid-October. Plumes generally rose a few hundred meters above the summit, occasionally reaching 700-800 m. Incandescent avalanche blocks at the heads of the flows were sometimes as large as a meter in diameter and traveled far down the flanks.

Constant Strombolian activity during October 2018 from the pyroclastic cone within Mackenney crater was ejected up to 30 m above the summit of the cone throughout the month, with occasional more intense episodes rising 50 m. Lava flows were reported daily by INSIVUMEH on the NW flank from 50 to 300 m long. White and blue gas-and-steam emissions generally rose a few hundred meters from the summit of the pyroclastic cone and usually drifted S or N. The highest rose 800 m on 26 and 27 October. In a special report issued late on 12 October INSIVUMEH noted that seismicity had increased during the day; Strombolian explosions also increased and ejected material 25-50 m above the summit, producing block avalanches in the vicinity of the flows (figure 103). The cone within Mackenney crater continued to grow, reaching 75 m above the rim and nearly filling the crater at its base. According to the Washington VAAC, on 14 October a pilot reported minor ash emissions moving W at an estimated 650 m above the summit. Multi-spectral imagery showed a faint ash plume moving W at 3.4 km altitude, and a well-defined hotspot was seen in short-wave infrared imagery.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. Strombolian activity sent ejecta 25-50 m above the summit of Pacaya on 12 October 2018, and lava flows traveled 600 m down the NW flank towards Cerro Chino, as seen from the community of Escuintla located about 20 km W. Courtesy of Carlos Barrios and INSIVUMEH.

Similar activity persisted throughout November 2018 (figures 104 and 105). The Strombolian activity usually rose 5-30 m high; on 24 November INSIVUMEH reported ejecta 75 m high and the presence of four lava flows on the NW flank that traveled distances ranging from 50 to 200 m. Steam-and-gas emissions rose no more than 500 m above the summit. On 24 and 28 November incandescent avalanche blocks were observed at the fronts of the lava flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. Constant Strombolian activity rising 25-50 m above the summit of Pacaya was reported on 12 November 2018. In addition, a lava flow 150 m long traveled down the NW flank towards Cerro Chino, as seen in this image with incandescent blocks below the flow. A diffuse plume of mostly gas and steam rose 350 m above the crater. Courtesy of CONRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Continuous lava flows up to 300 m long were observed during the last week of November 2018 at Pacaya. They traveled down the NW flank and often had large incandescent blocks that descended the flank beneath the flow. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Pacaya (1402-11), Semana del 24 al 30 de noviembre de 2018).

During December 2018, continuous Strombolian activity was observed 25 m high. Incandescent avalanche blocks were noted at the fronts of the lava flows more frequently than in previous months. One to three lava flows extending 50-300 m down the NW flank towards Cerro Chino were reported every day that the flanks were visible (figure 106). Late on 13 December INSIVUMEH released a special bulletin noting that explosions were heard as far as 8 km from Mackenney crater, and Strombolian activity rose 25-50 m. Constant tremor activity had been produced from the ongoing lava flows descending the flank; the incandescent avalanche blocks up to 1 m in diameter were falling from the front of the flows. By the end of December, the growing pyroclastic cone had filled the inside of Mackenney crater, reaching 75-100 m above the crater rim. In a special information report on 28 December, INSIVUMEH noted that changes in the eruptive patterns included an increase in seismic tremor along with more persistent and higher energy Strombolian activity from the active cone, which frequently sent material outside of the crater onto the flanks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Lava flows traveled down the NW flank of Pacaya on 7 December 2018. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe mensual de la actividad volcanica, diciembre 2018, Volcan de Pacaya).

There were no significant changes in activity during January 2019. Constant Strombolian activity rose 5-30 m above the summit; INSIVUMEH reported the height at 50 m on 7 January. Large incandescent avalanche blocks were noted at the front of the lava flows several times; one or two flows daily reached lengths of 100-300 m. The flow reported on 29 January reached 500 m, traveling down the NW flank towards Cerro Chino. Steam plumes, sometimes with bluish gas, rose generally to around 100 m above the summit, occasionally higher. Growth and destruction of the pyroclastic cone inside Mackenney crater continued as it had for the previous several months. The persistent Strombolian and lava flow activity was responsible for a strong thermal signature recorded in satellite data and plotted by the MIROVA project during the period (figure 107).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. A MIROVA graph of thermal radiative power at Pacaya from 5 April 2018 through January 2019 showed little change during the period from October 2018-January 2019 covered in this report. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. Eruptions from Pacaya, one of Guatemala's most active volcanoes, are frequently visible from Guatemala City, the nation's capital. This complex basaltic volcano was constructed just outside the southern topographic rim of the 14 x 16 km Pleistocene Amatitlán caldera. A cluster of dacitic lava domes occupies the southern caldera floor. The post-caldera Pacaya massif includes the ancestral Pacaya Viejo and Cerro Grande stratovolcanoes and the currently active Mackenney stratovolcano. Collapse of Pacaya Viejo between 600 and 1500 years ago produced a debris-avalanche deposit that extends 25 km onto the Pacific coastal plain and left an arcuate somma rim inside which the modern Pacaya volcano (Mackenney cone) grew. A subsidiary crater, Cerro Chino, was constructed on the NW somma rim and was last active in the 19th century. During the past several decades, activity has consisted of frequent strombolian eruptions with intermittent lava flow extrusion that has partially filled in the caldera moat and armored the flanks of Mackenney cone, punctuated by occasional larger explosive eruptions that partially destroy the summit of the growing young stratovolcano.

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/); Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://conred.gob.gt/www/index.php); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Carlos Barrios (Twitter: @shekano, URL: https://twitter.com/shekano).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 31, Number 04 (April 2006)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Augustine (United States)

Dome building eruptions continuing through late March 2006 and later

Bezymianny (Russia)

Pyroclastic flows on 9 May extend 7-8 km; plumes over 500 km long

Bulusan (Philippines)

Eruptions and earthquakes in March and April 2006 after years of little activity

Karymsky (Russia)

During April 2006, emerging ash plumes remained visible for up to 145 km

Kilauea (United States)

Maps of past year's surface lava flows and photos of lava entering the sea

Lascar (Chile)

Five-day eruption sequence in April 2006; plume seen 220 km away

Masaya (Nicaragua)

Intermittent ash eruptions November 2003-March 2005; continuing incandescence

Sangay (Ecuador)

Some conspicuous plumes during 2004-2005; climber's photos from January 2006

Santa Maria (Guatemala)

During October 2005 to January 2006, occasional ash plumes

Saunders (United Kingdom)

Lack of new thermal signals suggesting any eruption since October 2005

Soputan (Indonesia)

Late 2005 phreatic and Strombolian eruptions; ash plume to ~ 5.8 km altitude



Augustine (United States) — April 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Augustine

United States

59.363°N, 153.43°W; summit elev. 1252 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dome building eruptions continuing through late March 2006 and later

Although the previous report (BGVN 31:01) noted Augustine's events through 22 February 2006, this one overlaps and further discusses some aspects of behavior during late January through 1 February 2006. This report then continues with summaries of Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) reports during 24 February to 26 March 2006.

After eight months of increasing seismicity, gas-and-steam emissions, and phreatic eruptions in December 2005, Augustine began magmatic eruptions on 11 January 2006 (BGVN 30:12). Eruptions continued throughout January, producing ash clouds up to ~ 9 km altitude. The eruption was described by Jon Dehn (University of Alaska Fairbanks, personal communication) as occurring in the following three phases: I) 11-28 January; II) 29 January-4 February; and III) 5 February and into at least late March.

During 11 January to 21 March 2006 (70 days), the Anchorage Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) issued text reports (Volcanic Activity Advisories) on Augustine 567 times (averaging 8.1 reports per day). These alerted the aviation community to the ongoing airborne-ash hazards.

Augustine lies ~ 277 km SW of Anchorage's airport, a key hub for flights across the North Pacific. According to the US Department of Transportation, during 2003 Anchorage's airport supported the largest tonnage of any in the US, and functioned as the 8th busiest in the US by value of shipments. Augustine's eruptions can potentially impact aviation and operations at the airport, and more generally, they complicate North Pacific air travel.

Plumes, 28 January-1 February. AIRS SO2 retrievals for Augustine plumes on 28 and 29 January were provided by Fred Prata (figure 27). He commented that the SO2 "blobs" seem to spread out rather than elongate into a plume shape, possibly because of calm winds or intermittent ejections.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Atmospheric SO2 from the AIRS instrument for Augustine plumes on 28 and 29 January 2006. Details of the processing and resulting analysis are included on the four panels, which correspond to these dates and times (UTC): a) 12:11:25 on 28 January, b) 21:47:25 on 28 January, c) 23:29:25 on 28 January, and d) 12:53:25 on 29 January. All images provided courtesy of Fred Prata (Norwegian Institute for Air Research).

Shortly after the 28-29 January plumes mentioned above, on 30 January, an overflight by AVO confirmed a ~ 5-km-tall volcanic cloud and small explosions and associated pyroclastic flows. The airborne observations indicated that a considerable amount of ash was being produced during this time period from small explosions and associated pyroclastic flows. Figures 28 and 29 show images from 30 January. AVO also presented 31 January thermal infrared images similarly indicative of vigorous eruptions and fresh pyroclastic flows (figure 30).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Aerial view of Augustine during an eruption on 30 January 2006. The volcano was shrouded in ash cloud. The plume blew NE. Courtesy of Pavel Izbekov, AVO/UAF-GI.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. A MODIS satellite image for 30 January at 12:30:00 showing an Augustine ash and steam plume. This image was collected at approximately the same time as an AVO overflight, and shows the volcanic cloud moving NE at ~ 4.8 km altitude. Processing and interpretation courtesy of Dave Schneider, USGS-AVO. Image courtesy of MODIS Rapid Response Project at NASA/GSFC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. Two 31 January 2006 (at 22:50:44 AST; 1 February 2006 UTC) night-time ASTER thermal infrared (TIR) images showing hot pyroclastic flow deposits on Augustine's N flank. The image on the left also shows a broad ash and SO2 plume extending ENE. Image processing and interpretation courtesy of Rick Wessels (AVO-USGS); ASTER data courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and US/Japan ASTER Science Team.

René Servranckx looked at several images from 1 February 2006 and sent associated messages and links to the Volcanicclouds listserv. He found a hotspot at Augustine and identified various cloud features from plumes. Using a NOAA-12 IR image taken at 1542 UTC, Servranckx could not detect an ash signature in the split window.

On 4 February, Ken Dean (UAF) posted a message on the Volcanicclouds listserv discussing Augustine for 28 January-1 February. He noted that, regarding SO2 detection in northern Alaska, they had been monitoring the atmospheric transport direction using Puff, a modeling routine for predicting the atmospheric dispersal of ash clouds. Generally speaking, trajectories were to the N and over Fairbanks. Accordingly, lidar systems at both the UAF's Geophysical Institute and ~ 50 km N of Fairbanks at the Poker Flat Rocket Range were turned on to see if they could detect volcanic aerosols from the eruption. Lidar uses laser energy to probe the atmosphere, where it can detect suspended material such as volcanic aerosols in identifiable regions. Preliminary results indicated volcanic aerosols at 4.6-6.6 km altitude in the atmosphere above both Fairbanks and Poker Flats. There could also have been volcanic aerosols at lower altitudes in the weather clouds.

Dean also noted that ground-based event-monitoring collectors set out by Cathy Cahill (UAF) sampled volcanic aerosols and possible traces of ash at Fairbanks. He noted that these observations and trajectories were consistent with Prata's SO2 observations and Servranckx's back trajectories.

24 February-26 March 2006. On 24 February, AVO noted repeated and ongoing unrest during the past week. This included relatively low but above-background seismicity that indicated small, intermittent rockfalls and avalanches from the lava dome. Satellites detected a persisting thermal anomaly in the summit area. These data, along with a 20 February visit to the island, indicated continued slow growth at the summit lava dome. A veil of fresh, light ash dressed Augustine's flanks. The ongoing AVO reports into March noted similar processes and observations, and soon included mention of ash plumes, a lava flow, and a pyroclastic flow.

An overflight of the volcano on 1 March revealed a short, stubby lava flow that extended NE from the dome, terminating at ~ 1 km elevation. AVO noted a small dilute ash plume as well as a 20-minute interval of elevated seismicity at 1010 on 5 March, interpreted as a small explosion with associated ash emission, although low clouds obscured web-camera views. On 6 March AVO reported seismic signals and the low-light camera in Homer suggested rockfalls and avalanches. Although Augustine's plumes in this time frame were generally characterized as local, dilute, and under ~ 1 km above the summit, pyroclastic flows were also seen on 6 March.

Early on the morning of 8 March, AVO's seismometers began recording periods of discrete, repetitive, small events. These signals were taken to indicate ongoing dome growth, observations consistent with those from web cameras, which revealed minor ash emissions and mass wasting. Reports on 8 and 9 March discussed seismicity sufficiently elevated as to sometimes saturate several instruments. In addition, cameras portrayed two areas of high thermal flux. AVO initially interpreted these observations as including elevated rates of lava extruding into the dome, possibly with vigorous lava movement, and block-and-ash flows.

Later reports disclosed further details from around 9 March. AVO's 8-10 March reports noted that the summit was steaming more vigorously than the previous 3-4 weeks. A brownish-orange plume rose from the top of the summit lava dome. Fumaroles on the S and W side of the dome were the source of the most vigorous steaming. Areas of bare ground on the upper W and S flanks had substantially enlarged since 1 March. The greatest amounts of steam came from bare areas on the upper NW flank. Web-camera images and observations from overflights on 8 and 9 March indicated regular small-scale collapses of the summit lava dome. Usually these collapse events produce block-and-ash flows and small diffuse ash clouds. Block-and-ash flows to the E to NE sectors extended to within about 1 km of the coastline. Dilute ash clouds were observed rising from the block-and-ash flows to about the level of the summit and drifting away with the wind.

10 March seismicity included prolonged volcanic tremor and an increase in the frequency of small volcano-tectonic earthquakes. Block-and-ash flows, rock avalanches, and rockfalls originating from the summit lava dome continue to be recorded by the seismic network, particularly at the E flank station.

The 10 March report stated that "Satellite and low-light camera images obtained intermittently throughout the week show that thermal anomalies in the summit area and on the upper NE flank persist. On several evenings this past week, a low-light camera at the AVO site in Homer captured hot avalanches in progress and prolonged periods of incandescence. AVO also received several reports from observers in Homer and Nanwalek of summit glow in the evening hours. Airborne measurements of gas emissions made on March 9 indicate both SO2 and CO2 gas in the plume. This is the first time since the fall of 2005 that CO2 has been a component of the gas plume and likely indicates the presence of new magma entering the volcanic system."

The AVO report for 17 March chronicled low-level eruptive activity. It said that the past week's seismicity changed from periods of prolonged tremor and closely spaced discreet events to episodic short-duration events. Observers interpreted the change as indicating that steady effusion of lava and dome growth had given way to slower effusion of lava and intermittent block-and-ash flows, rock avalanches, and rock-falls from the summit lava dome. On several evenings during the week, clear atmospheric conditions enabled low-light cameras at the AVO site in Homer to capture hot avalanches and prolonged periods of incandescence in both the summit area and on the upper NE flank. Satellite images also showed thermal anomalies.

The 17 March report said that overflights indicated two lava flows were seen on the N and NE flanks. They advanced slowly. Occasional collapses of the lava flow fronts shed hot blocks and produce minor ash emissions. Estimates using photographs indicated that the new lava dome stood ~ 70 m higher than the one formed in 1986.

Little new information was discussed in AVO reports issued on 20-26 March. The 26 March report included the remark that satellite views were then obscured by cloud cover; however, vigorous steaming from the summit was visible with the on-island web camera.

Correction. A previous Augustine report (BGVN 30:12; issued in early 2006) had a typographic error in the title: "Eruptions begin 11 January 2005 and eight outbursts occur by late January)." The year has since been changed on our website to 11 January 2006.

Geologic Background. Augustine volcano, rising above Kamishak Bay in the southern Cook Inlet about 290 km SW of Anchorage, is the most active volcano of the eastern Aleutian arc. It consists of a complex of overlapping summit lava domes surrounded by an apron of volcaniclastic debris that descends to the sea on all sides. Few lava flows are exposed; the flanks consist mainly of debris-avalanche and pyroclastic-flow deposits formed by repeated collapse and regrowth of the volcano's summit. The latest episode of edifice collapse occurred during Augustine's largest historical eruption in 1883; subsequent dome growth has restored the volcano to a height comparable to that prior to 1883. The oldest dated volcanic rocks on Augustine are more than 40,000 years old. At least 11 large debris avalanches have reached the sea during the past 1800-2000 years, and five major pumiceous tephras have been erupted during this interval. Historical eruptions have typically consisted of explosive activity with emplacement of pumiceous pyroclastic-flow deposits followed by lava dome extrusion with associated block-and-ash flows.

Information Contacts: Jon Dehn, Cathy Cahill, Ken Dean, and Pavel E. Izbekov, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 903 Koyukuk Drive, PO Box 757320 Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA; Anchorage VAAC, Alaska Aviation Weather Unit, National Weather Service, 6930 Sand Lake Road, Anchorage, AK 99502, USA (URL: http://aawu.arh.noaa.gov/vaac.php); Fred Prata, Norwegian Institute for Air Research, P.O. Box 100, 2027 Kjeller, Norway; René Servranckx, Montreal Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, Canadian Meteorological Centre, Meteorological Service of Canada, 2121 North Service Road, Trans-Canada Highway, Dorval, Quebec, H9P 1J3 Canada; Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA.


Bezymianny (Russia) — April 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Pyroclastic flows on 9 May extend 7-8 km; plumes over 500 km long

This report describes a substantial eruption on 9 May 2006, and events before and shortly afterwards. Bezymianny was last reported on in BGVN 30:11, covering a series of events during mid-January through late December 2005.

An explosive eruption occurred on 30 November 2005. Seismicity decreased subsequently and from January to the end of April 2006, Bezymianny remained comparatively calm; fumarolic activity and a small thermal anomaly were observed during periods of good visibility. A 1 April aerial photo of the summit area appears as figure 6.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Bezymianny aerial photo taken on 1 April 2006, showing the large dome within the breached summit crater. Labels indicate both a fissure on the dome's flank and a large extrusive block (or spine) on the dome's top. Considerable areas discharged light steam. Photo by Yu. Demyanchuk and provided courtesy of KVERT.

During 28 April to 5 May, Bezymianny's lava dome continued to grow. Seismicity was above background levels during 30 April to 3 May. Incandescent avalanches were visible on 4 May. At the lava dome, fumarolic activity occurred and thermal anomalies were visible on satellite imagery. Bezymianny was at Yellow on the four stage Concern Color Code (low to high–Green, Yellow, Orange, Red).

On 7 May the Concern Color Code was raised to Orange due to an increase in seismicity and the number of incandescent avalanches (14 occurred on 6 May in comparison to 4-6 during the previous 2 days). Intense fumarolic activity occurred, with occasional small amounts of ash. KVERT reported that an explosive eruption was possible in the next 1 or 2 weeks.

9 May eruption. On 9 May around 1935, the Concern Color Code was raised to Red, the highest level, due to increased seismicity and incandescent avalanches. A gas plume rose higher than 7 km altitude and a strong thermal anomaly was visible on satellite imagery.

An explosive eruption occurred on 9 May during 2121 to 2145. The explosion produced an ash column that rose to a height of ~ 15 km altitude. A co-ignimbrite ash plume was about 40 km in diameter and mainly extended NE of the volcano. Ash plumes extended more than 500 km ENE from the volcano. Pyroclastic flows deposits extended 7-8 km from the volcano.

On 10 May around 0100, seismicity returned to background levels and the Concern Color Code was reduced to Orange. Small fumarolic plumes were observed during the early morning of the 10th and lava probably began to flow at the lava dome.

By 11 May seismic activity was still at background levels. Gas and steam plumes were visible above the volcano. A thermal anomaly was noted at the volcano on 10-11 May. Lava effusion was probably occurring at the lava dome. This was interpreted to mean that the likelihood of a large, ash-producing eruption had diminished.

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

Information Contacts: Olga Girina, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), a cooperative program of the Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia, the Kamchatka Experimental and Methodical Seismological Department (KEMSD), GS RAS (Russia), and the Alaska Volcano Observatory (USA); Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA.


Bulusan (Philippines) — April 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Bulusan

Philippines

12.769°N, 124.056°E; summit elev. 1535 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptions and earthquakes in March and April 2006 after years of little activity

Bulusan, after remaining relatively quiet since 1995, erupted multiple times during March and April 2006. There were no casualties or damage from these eruptions. On 21 March at 1044 the summit crater erupted, sending a column of ash 1.5 km into the sky accompanied by lightning and rumbling noises. Ash drifted N, W, and SW of the volcano and an hour after the event light ash fell on neighborhoods such as Barangays Cogon, Tinampo, Gulang-Gulang, and Bolos in the town of Irosin, as well as Barangays Puting Sapa and Bura-Buran in the town of Juban.

Ash ejected at 1058 on 22 March coincided with an explosion-type earthquake. Three other earthquakes were recorded at 2330, 2332, and 2337. The hazard status had been raised to Alert Level 1; the area within a 4 km radius of the summit is a Permanent Danger Zone.

On 29 April the volcano erupted in a similar fashion, emitting ash nearly 1.6 km into the air. There was no sign of lava and no reports of rumbling noises. It was reported that ash rained on nearby communities.

Geologic Background. Luzon's southernmost volcano, Bulusan, was constructed along the rim of the 11-km-diameter dacitic-to-rhyolitic Irosin caldera, which was formed about 36,000 years ago. It lies at the SE end of the Bicol volcanic arc occupying the peninsula of the same name that forms the elongated SE tip of Luzon. A broad, flat moat is located below the topographically prominent SW rim of Irosin caldera; the NE rim is buried by the andesitic complex. Bulusan is flanked by several other large intracaldera lava domes and cones, including the prominent Mount Jormajan lava dome on the SW flank and Sharp Peak to the NE. The summit is unvegetated and contains a 300-m-wide, 50-m-deep crater. Three small craters are located on the SE flank. Many moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the mid-19th century.

Information Contacts: R.U. Solidum and E. Corpuz, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, PHIVOLCS Building, C.P. Garcia Avenue, Univ. of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/); Inq7.net, a venture between The Philippine Daily Inquirer Inc., and GMANetwork Inc. (URL: http://news.inq7.net/).


Karymsky (Russia) — April 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

54.049°N, 159.443°E; summit elev. 1513 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


During April 2006, emerging ash plumes remained visible for up to 145 km

Karymsky was last reported on in BGVN 30:11. After frequent explosions from December 2004 to June 2005 (BGVN 30:06) a brief decrease in seismic and volcanic activity took place but this ended in late June when ash and gas plumes rose to 3 km above the crater. Seismicity remained above background levels throughout August-December 2005. During this period, ash and gas plumes and thermal anomalies were observed at the volcano.

Seismic activity indicated that ash explosions from the summit crater of Karymsky continued during 14-20 January 2006. Ash plumes extending 6-9 km S from the volcano were observed on 12 January and a thermal anomaly over the dome was observed during 13-15 January. According to seismic data, two possible ash plumes rose to 3.0-3.4 km altitude on 14-15 January.

According to reports from pilots of local airlines, ash emissions from Karymsky rose to 4-5 km altitude during 30-31 January. The ash plumes extended 13-29 km to the SW and SE, respectively. A thermal anomaly was visible at the lava dome during 27 January to 3 February, except when the volcano was obscured by clouds on 28 January. KVERT warned that activity from the volcano could affect nearby low-flying aircraft.

Strombolian activity continued through April 2006. During 10 February to 10 March, a large thermal anomaly was visible at the crater and numerous ash plumes were visible on satellite imagery extending as far as 140 km. On 9 March, a pilot reported an ash plume at a height of ~ 3 km altitude.

During 17-24 March, several ash plumes were visible on satellite imagery at a height of ~ 4 km altitude and extending SE and E. A thermal anomaly was seen at the volcano during periods of visibility. About 40-450 small earthquakes occurred daily.

During 7-14 April satellite imagery showed ash plumes extending ~ 40-145 km E and SE of the volcano, and a large thermal anomaly at the crater. Karymsky remained at Concern Color Code Orange from January to April 2006.

Geologic Background. Karymsky, the most active volcano of Kamchatka's eastern volcanic zone, is a symmetrical stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera that formed during the early Holocene. The caldera cuts the south side of the Pleistocene Dvor volcano and is located outside the north margin of the large mid-Pleistocene Polovinka caldera, which contains the smaller Akademia Nauk and Odnoboky calderas. Most seismicity preceding Karymsky eruptions originated beneath Akademia Nauk caldera, located immediately south. The caldera enclosing Karymsky formed about 7600-7700 radiocarbon years ago; construction of the stratovolcano began about 2000 years later. The latest eruptive period began about 500 years ago, following a 2300-year quiescence. Much of the cone is mantled by lava flows less than 200 years old. Historical eruptions have been vulcanian or vulcanian-strombolian with moderate explosive activity and occasional lava flows from the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Olga Girina, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), a cooperative program of the Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia, the Kamchatka Experimental and Methodical Seismological Department (KEMSD), GS RAS (Russia), and the Alaska Volcano Observatory (USA); Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA; Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) (URL: https://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/).


Kilauea (United States) — April 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Maps of past year's surface lava flows and photos of lava entering the sea

This report covers the interval 31 January 2005 to 7 February 2006 and is drawn exclusively from U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcanic Observatory (USGS HVO) sources. During this interval, active lava flows during tended to remain along the W to central portions of the existing field (figures 173 and 174). On 31 January 2005, lava from Kilauea began pouring into the ocean at two entry points. The Ka`ili`ili entry to the E of the flow field was the largest and was fed by the large W arm of the Prince Kuhio Kalaniana (PKK) lava flow. The West Highcastle ocean entry was supplied by the W branch of the W arm of the PKK lava flow.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 173. A series of maps portraying Kilauea's surface lava flows at various times during 31 January 2005 to 7 February 2006. New vents opened at the southern base of Pu`u `O`o on 19 January 2004. Map panels are as follows: a) A map with features as of February 2005, b) as of April 2005, c) as of May 2005, d) as of 31 July 2005, and e) as of 30 September 2005. Courtesy of Christina Heliker, USGS HVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 174. Map portraying Kilauea's near-shore and coastal lava flows areas in the vicinity of East Lae'apuki and East Kamoamoa as of 23 September 2005. Courtesy of Christina Heliker, USGS HVO.

From 7 February 2005 to 20 February 2005, lava flows were visible on the Pulama pali fault scarp and on the coastal flat. Instruments recorded a few small earthquakes and no tremor at Kilauea's summit. At Pu`u `O`o, volcanic tremor remained moderate. Small amounts of deformation were recorded.

On 21 February 2005 a new ocean entry formed, named E Lae`apuki. The entry was located between the other two ocean entries (Ka`ili`ili and West Highcastle) that had been active since 31 January 2005. This was the first time there had been three ocean entries active since early 2003 (figures 173-175).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 175. Photos of Kilauea activity taken along the coast on 21 February 2005. (A) A photo showing the walls of a large crack into which lava pours at E Lae`apuki. Sea cliff is to the right, at shelf's edge beyond the glow. (B and C, respectively) The top and bottom of lava falls at E Lae`apuki ocean entry looking W. (D) A closer view focused on showing the base of the lava falls. The sea cliff's height is ~ 12 m. Courtesy of HVO.

During 23-26 February 2005, lava from Pu`u `O`o entered the sea at three ocean entries–West Highcastle, East Lae'apuki, and Ka`ili`ili–spots along 4.7 km of the island's SE coast (figure 176). Lava may have stopped flowing into the sea at the W entry (West Highcastle) on 26 February 2005. The number of surface lava flows diminished in comparison to the previous weeks, and small earthquakes continued to occur at Kilauea's summit without accompanying tremor. Tremor remained at moderate levels at Pu`u `O`o, and as of 28 February 2005, deflation had occurred at Pu`u `O`o for more than a week and at the summit since 24 February 2005.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 176. A Kilauea photograph taken on 23 February 2005 depicting active lava delta construction at E Lae`apuki ocean entry. Note the fan building outward from the sea cliff and the person (upper right) for scale. Courtesy of USGS HVO.

During the month of March 2005, lava from Kilauea continued to enter the ocean at the Ka`ili`ili and E Lae`apuki, but there were no signs of activity at the West Highcastle entry. Surface lava flowed down the Pulami pali fault scarp and the coastal flat. Small earthquakes occurred at Kilauea's summit, and no tremor was recorded. Tremor remained at moderate levels at Pu`u `O`o.

On 29 March 2005, lava from Kilauea entered the ocean at five areas. The largest, named Kamoamoa, consisted of six or more places where lava entered the water along the front of a growing lava delta (figure 177). At one of the two Highcastle entries, a cascade of lava streamed down the old sea cliff. A bright glow came from Ka`ili`ili entry, and a weak glow from E Highcastle entry. Seismicity remained above background levels at Kilauea's summit, consisting mainly of tremor and some long-period earthquakes. Surface waves from an M 8.7 earthquake on 28 March 2005 off Sumatra, Indonesia disturbed tilt measurements at Kilauea but otherwise the tilt change was small.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 177. A photo taken 25 March 2005 showing Kilauea's new Kamoamoa ocean entry, located just NE of East Lae'apuki. Descending lava poured over an old sea cliff to land upon, and flow across, an old delta; it then dropped into the sea, forming a new delta. Courtesy of USGS HVO.

Lava from Kilauea continued to flow into the ocean at several points during 1-13 April 2005. Seismicity remained above background levels at Kilauea's summit, consisting mainly of tremor and some long-period earthquakes. Volcanic tremor was at moderate levels at Pu`u `O`o. During 14-19 April, surface lava flows from Kilauea were visible on the Pulama pali fault scarp but lava was not seen entering the ocean.

Seismicity remained above background levels at Kilauea's summit during 14-19 April 2005, consisting mainly of tremor and some long-period earthquakes. Volcanic tremor was at moderate levels at Pu`u `O`o. Episodes of inflation and deflation occurred during the week.

During 21-25 April, there were fewer surface lava flows visible at Kilauea than during the previous week. On 24 April a small amount of lava again began to enter the sea. Seismicity remained above background levels at Kilauea's summit, consisting mainly of tremor and some long-period earthquakes.

During 27 April-3 May 2005, lava entered the ocean at the Kamoamoa entry. Numerous surface lava flows were visible on the coastal flat. Seismicity remained above background levels at Kilauea's summit, consisting of both tremor and long-period earthquakes.

A third ocean entry, in the E Lae`apuki area, became active on 5 May 2005. That entry and the Far E Lae`apuki entry were both being fed by lava falls down the old sea cliff and were relatively small. Based on the brighter glow, the Kamoamoa entry was thought to be more substantial. By the morning of 9 May lava was streaming over the old sea cliff in four locations: two falls went into the sea and two other falls landed on an old delta. The branch of the PKK flow feeding E Lae`apuki sprung numerous new lava flows on 9 May. The next day, the middle branch of the PKK flow developed an open-channel stream on the Pulama pali; it was 10-20 m wide, 500-600 m long, and moving rapidly.

Ocean entries remained active during 11-17 May 2005 in the E Lae`apuki and Kamoamoa areas. By 16 May the E Lae`apuki and E Kamoamoa entries both had benches ~ 350 m long and up to 75 m wide. A large plume from West Highcastle on 10 May probably recorded a collapse of part of that lava delta, which has been inactive for the past several weeks following growth in March and April. The middle branch of the PKK flow remained active and extended down Pulama Pali. The E branch reached out farther but was narrower and contained fewer breakouts. The W branch was reduced to a cluster of breakouts about halfway down the pali. Glow was seen from all of the Pu`u `O`o crater vents, as well as the MLK vent at the SW foot of the cone.

During 18-31 May 2005, lava from Kilauea continued to enter the sea at three areas. Surface lava flows were visible on the coastal plain and on the Pulama pali fault scarp. During 1-4 June 2005 lava entered the sea at three points along the S flank of Kilauea, and then at only two points through 7 June. Small surface lava flows were visible on the Pulama pali fault scarp and the coastal flat.

Lava again entered the sea at three points on 13 June. During the 14-21 June lava continued to enter the sea and there was a small number of lava flows on the Pulama pali fault scarp. On 22 June lava in the W branch of the current flow descended onto the coastal flat for the first time in several months. On 24 June it was noted that Kilauea's summit continued its inflation, while Pu`u `O`o was deflating during the same period.

On 27 June part of the active E Lae`apuki lava delta collapsed. Lava stored within the delta gushed out onto the surface and into the water. Fountains of lava reported to be about 25 m high spurted from the central part of the delta soon afterward. Lava also entered the sea during 4-5 July and a few surface flows were on Pulama pali.

During 6-19 July 2005, lava continued to enter the sea at E Kamoamoa and E Lae`apuki. The latter entry was much larger, with several entry points. E Kamoamoa barely glowed. Surface lava was visible along the PKK lava flow throughout the month of July. Background volcanic tremor remained above normal levels at Kilauea's summit and at moderate levels at Pu`u `O`o. Slight inflation and deflation occurred at the volcano. An M 4.5 earthquake occurred on 25 July at 2209 along the SE edge of Kilauea's SW rift zone at a depth of ~ 30 km.

Up to seven ocean-entry points were visible off the W-facing front of the E Lae`apuki lava delta during 3-9 August; still others were hidden from view off the E-facing front. On Pulama pali, the W branch of the PKK flow reached its greatest extent of the week on 5 August, when it broadened to include hundreds of meters of scattered breakouts and reached from 460 m down to 260 m elevation. During 15-16 August 2005, surface lava at Kilauea was again visible on the W and E branches of the PKK lava flow. Lava continued to enter the sea at the E Lae`apuki entry through 5 September. Background volcanic tremor was near normal levels at Kilauea's summit and at moderate levels at Pu`u `O`o cone. There were small periods of inflation and deflation at Kilauea's summit and Pu`u `O`o. By 22 August, surface lava on the W branch of the PKK lava flow was no longer visible. On 27 August, part of a lava-bench collapsed.

Throughout September, lava entered the sea at the E Lae`apuki area with surface lava flows visible on the Pulama Pali fault scarp. Lava filled a scar left by the lava-bench collapse on 27 August. Background volcanic tremor continued to remain around normal levels at the summit. Volcanic tremor was at moderate levels at Pu`u `O`o. On 11 September, substantial deflation at the volcano was followed by sharp inflation. On 19 September, several small shallow earthquakes occurred along the Kao`iki fault system with small amounts of inflation and deflation.

In October 2005, lava from Kilauea continued to enter the sea at the E Lae`apuki area, and surface lava flows were visible along the PKK lava flow. Lava flows continued to enter the sea at E Lae`apuki area, mostly NE of the point of the lava delta. On 18 October, weak surface lava flows were visible at Kilauea and one cascade of lava flowed off of the western front of the E Lae`apuki delta.

Activity during November 2005 was similar to the previous month. Lava continued to enter the sea at the E Lae`apuki area and surface lava flows were visible on the Pulama pali fault scarp. Background volcanic tremor was near normal levels at Kilauea's summit.

A lava-bench collapse in the E Lae`apuki area on 29 November 2005 was the largest bench collapse of the current eruption, which began in January 1983. The collapse lasted several hours, sending the 137,588 m2 of bench and an additional 40,467 m2 of adjacent cliff, into the sea. The collapse left a 20-m-high cliff, from which a 2 m thick stream of lava was emitted from an open lava tube. Cracks had been observed on the inland portion of the bench several months earlier; visitors were not allowed near the bench, but a viewing area was provided ~ 3 km away. Growth of the new delta at E Lae`apuki was continuing as of 6 December 2005. At that time breakouts were also active on Pulama Pali.

During December, lava from Kilauea continued to enter the sea at the E Lae`apuki area and surface lava flows were visible on the Pulama pali fault scarp.

From 28 December 2005 to 9 January 2006, lava from Kilauea continued to enter the sea at the E Lae`apuki area building a new lava delta with surface lava flows visible on the Pulama pali fault scarp. Background volcanic tremor was near normal levels at Kilauea's summit. Volcanic tremor reached moderate levels at Pu`u `O`o. Small amounts of deformation occurred. On 10 January, the summit deflation switched abruptly to inflation after a loss of 5.2 µrad. Relatively high tremor occurred at this time. The tremor quickly dropped, becoming weak to moderate when deflation ended, with seismicity punctuated by a few small earthquakes. By 13 January, background volcanic tremor was near normal levels at Kilauea's summit and reached moderate levels at Pu`u `O`o. On 14 January, the lava delta was about 500 m long (parallel to shore) and still 140 m wide. By the end of the month the lava delta was 615 m long and 140 m wide. Background volcanic tremor was near normal levels at Kilauea's summit, with numerous shallow earthquakes occurring at the summit and upper E rift zone during several days.

During 2-7 February 2006, lava from Kilauea continued to enter the sea at the E Lae`apuki area and surface lava flows were visible on the Pulama pali fault scarp. Background volcanic tremor was near normal levels at Kilauea's summit, with numerous shallow earthquakes continuing to occur at the summit and upper E rift zone. Volcanic tremor reached moderate levels at Pu`u `O`o. Small amounts of inflation and deflation were reported. From mid-to-late February, surface lava flows were not visible on Kilauea's Pulama pali fault scarp due to lava traveling underground through the PKK lava tube until reaching E Lae`apuki lava delta and flowing into the sea. Observations on 7 February 2006 revealed that the lava delta had broadened 120 m W since 30 January 2006.

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

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


Lascar (Chile) — April 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Lascar

Chile

23.37°S, 67.73°W; summit elev. 5592 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Five-day eruption sequence in April 2006; plume seen 220 km away

Lascar's eruption on 4 May 2005 (BGVN 30:05) was followed by a new eruptive cycle, which began on 18 April 2006 and lasted 5 days. Observers familiar with Lascar judged this eruptive episode unusual compared to those observed previously in terms of eruptive character, frequency, and duration time. The Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) in Buenos Aires and Servicio Metererológico Nacional of Argentina detected the eruption from satellite images, and aircraft warnings were posted. All of the times cited are in UTC (local time = UTC - 4 hours).

Eruptions start, 18 April. Four explosions registered (at 1520, 1722, 1900, and 2100 hours UTC). The first explosion, the largest of four, was visible from El Abra cooper mine (220 km NW) and reached ~ 10 km above the summit crater (figure 33). The shape of the eruptive column suggested that it reached the tropopause (~ 15 km altitude in this region). The white to gray plume, containing little ash but a large amount of water, dispersed to the NNE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Lascar's first explosion of 18 April 2006 as photographed from El Abra copper mine, 220 km NW from volcano. Courtesy of personnel at the El Abra copper mine.

The second explosion reached 3 km above the summit crater, while the third and fourth explosions reached 800 m. These latter eruptive plumes were gray colored, had higher contents of ash than the first explosion, and were dispersed NNE. Only slight ash fall was registered on the N side of the volcano. No seismic activity or eruption noises were registered. Analysis of GOES satellite images (figure 34) indicated that for the first and second eruptive plumes the mean horizontal velocities were 70 and 85 km/hour, respectively, while the maximum plume areas were ~ 8,240 and 1,074 km2, respectively. Minimum volumes erupted were ~ 4.1 x 106 and ~ 0.54 x 106 m3 assuming a hypothetical ash fall deposit of 0.5 mm over the stated areas. The third and fourth explosions were not detected by satellite.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. GOES satellite image capturing Lascar's first and second eruptive plumes. Rivers and international borders are also shown. Image is for 1829 UTC on the 18 April 2006. The first plume (oblong black area labeled 'cloud' in Spanish?'nube') stretched over N Argentina and S Bolivia. A second plume appears as a much smaller dark area between Lascar and the first plume. It lay over the NE Chilean border. Courtesy of Comisión Nacional de Asuntos Espaciales (CONAE), Argentina.

19-22 April eruptions and comparative calm that followed. On 19 April 2006 at 1504 hours (UTC) an explosion generated a gray-colored eruptive column that reached 3 km above the summit crater and was dispersed NNE. Slight ash fall was noted on the N side of the volcano. Neither seismic activity nor eruption noises were reported. Two explosions were recorded 20 April at 1505 and 1739 hours (UTC). The first eruptive plume reached 2.5 km above the summit crater and contained a small amount of ash. The plume from the second explosion, the larger of the pair, reached 7 km above the crater. The eruption lasted 1 hour and 50 min. Both plumes were dispersed N and slight ash fall was registered on the N side of the volcano. No seismic activity or eruption noises were registered.

Analysis of satellite data from the sequence of GOES images (figure 35) indicated that the first and second eruptive plumes had mean horizontal velocities of 40 km/h, while the maximum areas were ~ 430 and ~ 800 km2, respectively. Minimal volumes erupted were ~ 0.4 x 106 and ~ 0.2 x 106 m3, again assuming a hypothetical 0.5 mm ash-fall deposit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. GOES satellite image of Lascar showing the second eruptive plume (black circle) at 1807 hours (UTC) of 20 April eruption dispersed to NE. Courtesy of Servicio Meteorológico Nacional and Comisión Nacional de Asuntos Espaciales (CONAE), Argentina.

Two explosions were recorded on 21 April 2006 at 1248 and 1547 UTC, each lasting ~ 15 minutes. Their eruptive columns reached 3 km above the summit crater and rapidly dispersed ESE. Seismic activity and eruption noises were not noted.

On 22 April at 1518 UTC an explosion generated an eruptive column that reached 3 km above the summit crater; it was blown SE. Local inhabitants heard subterranean noises. On 23 April at 1600 UTC an explosion generated a gray-colored eruptive column that reached 2.5 km above the summit crater and dispersed NNW (figure 36). Seismic activity and eruption noises were not registered. During the following 2 days, the color of the plume was white and it's top remained ~ 1.5 km above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Photograph of Lascar taken 23 April 2006 from the SW border of the Atacama salar (salt pan), ~ 40 km SW of the volcano. Courtesy of Gabriel González.

Other studies. After the 4 May 2005 eruption (BGVN 30:05), a team of scientists from Universidad Católica del Norte (UCN) carried out a gas sampling campaign on new fumaroles around the S edge of the central active crater. They used the direct sampling of fumaroles technique described by Giggenbach (1975) and Giggenbach and Goguel (1989). Gas data showed increasing amounts of H2O, H2S, and CH4 with respect to samples taken in 2002 from inside the active crater (Tassi et al., 2004). However, acid gases also displayed very high values. During December 2005 a team of scientists from UCN and Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM) carried out field investigations to generate hazard maps.

Scientists from Universit? degli Studi di Firenze (Italy) and Universidad Católica del Norte (Chile) are conducting a systematic gas sample campaign at Lascar and other active volcanoes in the Central Volcanic Zone (e.g. Putana, Lastarria, and Isluga). Finally, scientists from the Universidad Católica del Norte, the Universidad Nacional de Salta and SEGEMAR (Argentina) are processing data from Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) images, with the objective of understanding the behavior of Lascar volcano during the 1998-2004 period.

References. Giggenbach, W., 1975, A simple method for the collection and analysis of volcanic gas sample: Bulletin of Volcanology, 39, 132?145.

Giggenbach, W., and Goguel, R., 1989, Collection and analysis of geothermal and volcanic water and gas discharges: DSIR Chemistry, Rept. No. 2401.

Matthews, S., Gardeweg, M., and Sparks, R., 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.

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

Viramonte, J., Aguilera, F., Delgado, H., Rodríguez, L., Guzman, K., Jiménez, J., and Becchio, R., 2006, A new eruptive cycle of Lascar Volcano (Chile): The risk for the aeronavigation in northern Argentina. Garavolcan 2006, Tenerife, Spain.

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: Felipe Aguilera, Eduardo Medina, and Karen Guzmán, Programa de Doctorado en Ciencias mención Geología and Departamento de Ciencias Geológicas, Universidad Católica del Norte, Avenida Angamos 0610, Antofagasta, Chile (URL: http://www.geodoctorado.cl, http://www.ucn.cl/); José G. Viramonte, Raúl Becchio, and Marcelo J. Arnosio, Instituto GEONORTE and CONICET, Universidad Nacional de Salta, Buenos Aires 177, Salta 4400, Argentina (URL: http://www.unsa.edu.ar/); Ricardo Valenti and Sergio Haspert, Servicio Metereológico Nacional, Argentina; Hugo G. Delgado, Instituto de Geofísica, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Coyoacán 04510, México, D.F.; Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Meteorológico Nacional-Fuerza Aérea Argentina, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/productos.php).


Masaya (Nicaragua) — April 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

11.984°N, 86.161°W; summit elev. 635 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash eruptions November 2003-March 2005; continuing incandescence

Previously reported behavior at Masaya through 22 September 2003 consisted primarily of incandescence from Santiago crater (BGVN 28:10). Monthly reports prepared by the Instituto Nicarag?ense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) since that time noted continuing seismicity and incandescence through March 2005. A small explosions was reported on 29 November 2003. Masaya Volcano National Park workers also reported two ash-and-gas explosions at 0121 on 12 December 2003. A collapse event within the crater was noted on 22 June 2004. A report from the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) noted that on 4 July 2004 at 0015 local time, a narrow plume of steam and/or ash from Masaya was visible on satellite imagery extending to the SW. An hour later the plume had extended ~ 12 km from the summit. The report below notes changes induced in Santiago crater after a landslide in early March 2005. A magnitude 1.9 earthquake at a depth of 2.2 km below Masaya on 30 March 2005 was followed by rumbling noises and gas-and-ash emissions.

Field work during February-March 2005. Patricia Nadeau and Glyn Williams-Jones sent us a report of an intensive, multi-component field campaign conducted at Masaya from 16 February 2005 to 12 March 2005. Two FLYSPEC ultraviolet spectrometers were used in tandem with two Microtops sun photometers to constrain passive SO2 and aerosol fluxes and also to evaluate potential downwind loss of SO2 by conversion to aerosols. Additionally, self-potential geophysical measurements were performed at Masaya's summit in a preliminary attempt to delineate the hydrothermal system of the volcano.

On the morning of 3 March, Park workers reported that a landslide had occurred within Santiago crater the previous night. A visibly diminished plume from the crater's active vent suggested that the landslide may have caused a blockage that reduced the escape of SO2 (figures 20 and 21).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. A photo taken from the tourist parking lot on 1 March 2005 showing the inner crater at Masaya emitting a large plume prior to the 2-3 March 2005 landslide. The diameter of the crater in this view is estimated to be 150-200 m. Courtesy of Patricia Nadeau and Glyn Williams-Jones.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. A view into the Santiago Crater at Masaya and its diminished plume rising from the inner crater, as taken from the tourist parking lot on 3 March 2005. The diameter of the outer crater is approximately 500 m; the inner crater is about 200 m across. Courtesy of Patricia Nadeau and Glyn Williams-Jones.

The visual observations were supported by subsequent SO2-flux measurements, which confirmed a significant drop in SO2 emissions from an average of ~ 300 tons/day prior to the landslide to an average of ~ 80 tons/day following the landslide (figure 22). This decrease in emissions led to concerns over the possibility of a small vent-clearing explosion such as the one that occurred on 23 April 2001 (BGVN 26:04). That explosion was preceded by a similar drop in SO2 emissions for several weeks due to a blockage of the vent that was active at the time. The 2001 explosion resulted in the opening of a new vent, which has since been the site of Masaya's degassing. After the 2001 explosion, the previously active vent no longer degassed and was assumed to be completely inactive.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Graph showing Masaya's daily SO2 fluxes during 25 February 2005-17 April 2005 (normalized to a wind speed of 1 m/s) before and after the landslide during the night of 2-3 March 2005. Courtesy of Patricia Nadeau and Glyn Williams-Jones.

In the days following the 2 March 2005 landslide, gas output was monitored closely, both visually and with the FLYSPEC, for any further decreases, which could have been indicative of further blockage and possible pressurization. Visual observations of the crater on the nights of 4 March and 11 March revealed that while the currently degassing vent was not incandescent, the older vent (believed to be inactive after the April 2001 explosion) was indeed incandescent, though not degassing (figure 23).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. A photo taken from the second parking lot overlooking Masaya's Santiago Crater captured the scene at two vents within the inner crater on 10 March 2005. The younger, actively degassing vent and plume are in the foreground; the older, non-degassing vent is in the background. The latter vent was incandescent at night. The diameter of the active vent in this view is estimated to be 30-40 m. Courtesy of Patricia Nadeau and Glyn Williams-Jones.

As of 10 March, the visible gas emissions were the lowest seen, despite the apparent open conduit, as indicated by incandescence in the old vent. Rumbling and sloshing sounds from within the crater had increased from sporadic to nearly constant. However, the days following were marked by a decrease in acoustical noise, as well as the apparent beginning of a climb back to higher SO2 emission rates (~ 120 tons/day on 16 March). These observations were consistent with devlopments in the upper conduit.

References. Williams-Jones, G., Horton, K. A., Elias, T., Garbeil, H., Mouginis-Mark, P. J., Sutton, A. J., and Harris, A. J. L., Accurately measuring volcanic plume velocity with multiple UV spectrometers: Bulletin of Volcanology, in press.

Williams-Jones, G., Delmelle, P., Baxter, P., Beaulieu, A., Burton, M., Garcia-Alvarez, J., Gaonac'h, H., Horrocks, L., Oppenheimer, C., Rymer, H., Rothery, D., St-Amand, K., Stix, J., Strauch, W., and van Wyk de Vries, B., (2001?), Projecto Laboratorio Geofisico-Geoquimico Volcán Masaya, Geochemical, geophysical, and petrological studies at Masaya volcano (1997-2000), on INETER website at.

Geologic Background. Masaya is one of Nicaragua's most unusual and most active volcanoes. It lies within the massive Pleistocene Las Sierras pyroclastic shield volcano and is a broad, 6 x 11 km basaltic caldera with steep-sided walls up to 300 m high. The caldera is filled on its NW end by more than a dozen vents that erupted along a circular, 4-km-diameter fracture system. The twin volcanoes of Nindirí and Masaya, the source of historical eruptions, were constructed at the southern end of the fracture system and contain multiple summit craters, including the currently active Santiago crater. A major basaltic Plinian tephra erupted from Masaya about 6500 years ago. Historical lava flows cover much of the caldera floor and have confined a lake to the far eastern end of the caldera. A lava flow from the 1670 eruption overtopped the north caldera rim. Masaya has been frequently active since the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, when an active lava lake prompted attempts to extract the volcano's molten "gold." Periods of long-term vigorous gas emission at roughly quarter-century intervals cause health hazards and crop damage.

Information Contacts: Patricia Nadeau and Glyn Williams-Jones, Department of Earth Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada; Kirstie Simpson, Geological Survey of Canada, Vancouver, Canada; Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/); Wilfried Strauch and Martha Navarro, Instituto Nicaraguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua.


Sangay (Ecuador) — April 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangay

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Some conspicuous plumes during 2004-2005; climber's photos from January 2006

Our previous report was in 1996 (BGVN 21:03); this report covers the time interval January 2004 to January 2006. According to a 2004 annual summary on the Instituto Geofísico (IG) website, Sangay was one of the most active volcanoes in Ecuador, and has been in eruption for ~ 80 years. Its isolated location (figure 6) has meant it has been thought of as a relatively small hazard risk. For this reason, monitoring has been less than for other Ecuadorian volcanoes. Thermal, visual, and satellite monitoring during 2002-2004 confirmed the central crater as the source of frequent explosions and continuing steam-and-gas emissions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Satellite imagery showing the region around the city of Riobamba (center) in Ecuador), including Sangay (lower right), Chimborazo (upper left), Tungurahua (upper right), and Licto (center) volcanoes. An eruption plume can be discerned coming from Tungurahua, but the date of the image is unknown. The city of Riobamba is about 50 km NW of Sangay. Courtesy of Google Earth.

During 2004 observers did not see lava flows or pyroclastic flows. An abnormally large eruption cloud was detected on 14 January 2004; it contained dominantly steam and gases, with minor ash content. Although only clearly detected and reported then, such events are thought to occur with considerable frequency.

Ramon and others (2006) summarized Sangay's activity as continuously erupting since 1934. Thermal images taken during the last three years showed that only one of the three summit craters was active and documented a lack of new, visible lava flows.

On 14 January 2004 a plume from Sangay was observed around 0500. The plume extended about 45 km E and most likely contained ash. During this time a hotspot was also visible on the satellite imagery. On 27 January 2004 a narrow ash plume emitted by Sangay rose to 6 km altitude and drifted SW.

On 1 May 2004, based on a pilot's report, the Washington VAAC noted that ash from an eruption at Sangay produced a plume to a height of ~ 6 km altitude at 1750. Ash was not visible on satellite imagery.

On 28 December 2004 around 0715 a plume from Sangay, most likely composed of steam with little ash, was detected. The plume was E of the volcano's summit at a height of ~ 6.4 km altitude. A hotspot was prominent on satellite imagery, but ash was more difficult to distinguish.

On 16 October 2005 around 0645 Sangay emitted an ash plume. The plume moved SSW very slowly, corresponding to a possible height of ~ 6.7 km altitude. By 0900 the plume was too thin to be visible on satellite imagery and thunderstorms developed in the area, further obscuring the ash cloud. Based on information from the IG, on 26 October 2005 the Washington VAAC noted that ash was seen over Sangay at 0758. No ash was visible on satellite imagery.

Climber's photo journal. Climbers Thorsten Boeckel and Martin Rietze created a website briefly describing a trek to Sangay's summit during 4-12 January 2006. Several of their posted photos from that trip appear here (figures 7-10; unfortunately, the photos, which are strikingly beautiful, were generally presented without much geographic context). The team included at least one local guide and was aided by horses. Settlements on the approach and return included the mountain village St. Eduardo, which they described as ~ 50 km S of Riobamba.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. A vista of Sangay at nightfall in early January 2006. Direction of view is approximately WNW. Photo credit to Boeckel and Rietze.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Photograph documenting the climbers tent camp high on the snowbound slopes of Sangay during their descent. Exact location on Sangay unknown; this was labeled "day 4/5," and should correspond to 7 or 8 January 2006. Photo credit to Boeckel and Rietze.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. A topographic high forming part of the Sangay structure, gently steaming, apparently seen from the summit. This corresponds to 7 or 8 January 2006. Photo credit to Boeckel and Rietze.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. A crater on Sangay as seen by the climbers from the summit or upper flanks, described by them as the "snow covered east crater." This photo corresponds to 7 or 8 January 2006. Photo credit to Boeckel and Rietze.

Except for some degassing, the group saw no other activity. Although local residents indicated that the last eruption had occurred about 2 months prior to their visit, intermittent eruptions pose hazards to climbers; in 1976 two climbers were killed by explosions from Sangay (SEAN 01:10).

Reference. Ramón, P., Rivero, D., Böker, F., and Yepes, H., 2006, Thermal monitoring using a portable IR camera: results on Ecuadorian volcanoes in "Cities on Volcanoes IV"; 23-27 January 2006.

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

Information Contacts: P. Ramón, Instituto Geofísico-Departamento de Geofísica (IG), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador; Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/); Thorsten Boeckel and Martin Rietze, c/o Kermarstr.10, Germerswang, D-82216, Germany (URL: http://www.tboeckel.de/).


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — April 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

14.757°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


During October 2005 to January 2006, occasional ash plumes

This summary of activity at Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex, taken largely from Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH) reported for October 2005 to January 2006. During this interval Santa María continued to emit occasional ash plumes.

During 26-31 October 2005, several explosions took place and plumes rose to a maximum of ~ 5 km altitude on 28 October. In early November, several explosions occurred producing ash plumes to an altitude of ~ 5 km. A few weak avalanches of volcanic material were observed SW of the lava dome.

Explosions produced several ash plumes to ~ 5 km altitude during 11-14 November 2005. Several small pyroclastic flows traveled down the SW, NE, and S flanks of Caliente dome. Frequent avalanches of volcanic material occurred off of the fronts of active lava flows mostly to the W of Caliente dome, and less frequently to the S and NE. An ash-and-gas emission on 14 November produced a cloud that was visible on satellite imagery.

During 17-21 November, Santa María produced weak-to-moderate explosions, sending ash plumes to an altitude of ~ 4.6 km. Several small pyroclastic flows traveled down the SW and NE flanks of Caliente dome, stopping at the base of the dome. Avalanches spalled off of the fronts of active lava flows and traveled SW.

On 24 November at 0955, an eruption produced an ash cloud to an altitude of ~ 4 km accompanied by a pyroclastic flow to the S. Fine ash fell 6-7 km S of the volcano, impacting properties in the area.

Moderate-to-strong explosions in December produced ash plumes that rose ~ 1.5-2.5 km. Pyroclastic flows occasionally accompanied explosions and traveled towards the SW. Several avalanches of volcanic material also occurred during the report period.

Throughout January 2006, explosions continued to occur sending resultant ash emissions to the SW. Lava avalanches originated from the SW edge of the Caliente dome and from the fronts of active lava flows on the SW flank. An explosion on the morning of 11 January 2006 generated a small pyroclastic flow that traveled down Caliente dome to the NE. INSIVUMEH reported on 16 January that a slight decrease in explosive activity was observed during the previous month. On 16 January there were reports of a small amount of ashfall 25 km SW in the urban area of San Felipe Retalhuleu.

During 1-3 February, weak-to-moderate explosions took place at Santiaguito's lava-dome complex, producing plumes that rose to a maximum height of 1 km above the volcano. On 1 February at 0657 and 0708, moderate explosions were accompanied by pyroclastic flows. Lava extrusion at Caliente dome produced block-and-ash flows that descended the dome's S, E, and W sides. Several explosions on 9 February also produced small pyroclastic flows that traveled down the SW and SE sides of Caliente dome. On 15-17 February, pyroclastic flows traveled SW and NE, associated with avalanches of incandescent volcanic material spalled off of active lava-flow fronts.

On 4, 6, and 7 March, satellite imagery showed small ash plumes emitted from the lava-dome complex. The plumes reached ~ 3 km above the volcano. On 6 March around 0733, a moderate explosion produced an ash plume and pyroclastic flows. A strong explosion later that day, at 1025, sent an ash plume ~ 3 km above the volcano that deposited ash throughout the volcanic complex. The explosion was accompanied by pyroclastic flows down the NE and SW flanks. Fine ash drifted S falling on properties in that area. On 12 March, there were avalanches of volcanic blocks and ash. On 13 March, a pyroclastic flow traveled down the S flank of Caliente dome.

Geologic Background. Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa María volcano is one of the most prominent of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rises dramatically above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The stratovolcano has a sharp-topped, conical profile that is cut on the SW flank by a 1.5-km-wide crater. The oval-shaped crater extends from just below the summit to the lower flank and was formed during a catastrophic eruption in 1902. The renowned Plinian eruption of 1902 that devastated much of SW Guatemala followed a long repose period after construction of the large basaltic-andesite stratovolcano. The massive dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex has been growing at the base of the 1902 crater since 1922. Compound dome growth at Santiaguito has occurred episodically from four westward-younging vents, the most recent of which is Caliente. Dome growth has been accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions, with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hidrologia (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/).


Saunders (United Kingdom) — April 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Saunders

United Kingdom

57.8°S, 26.483°W; summit elev. 843 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lack of new thermal signals suggesting any eruption since October 2005

The last reported activity of Mount Michael was noted in the SI/USGS Weekly Report of 12-18 October 2005. At that time the first MODVOLC alerts for the volcano since May 2003 indicated an increased level of activity in the island's summit crater and a presumed semi-permanent lava lake that appeared confined to the summit crater. Those alerts occurred on 3, 5, and 6 October 2005. Since that time there has been no additional information concerning Mount Michael and presumably little to no activity.

Geologic Background. Saunders Island is a volcanic structure consisting of a large central edifice intersected by two seamount chains, as shown by bathymetric mapping (Leat et al., 2013). The young constructional Mount Michael stratovolcano dominates the glacier-covered island, while two submarine plateaus, Harpers Bank and Saunders Bank, extend north. The symmetrical Michael has a 500-m-wide summit crater and a remnant of a somma rim to the SE. Tephra layers visible in ice cliffs surrounding the island are evidence of recent eruptions. Ash clouds were reported from the summit crater in 1819, and an effusive eruption was inferred to have occurred from a N-flank fissure around the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. A low ice-free lava platform, Blackstone Plain, is located on the north coast, surrounding a group of former sea stacks. A cluster of parasitic cones on the SE flank, the Ashen Hills, appear to have been modified since 1820 (LeMasurier and Thomson, 1990). Vapor emission is frequently reported from the summit crater. Recent AVHRR and MODIS satellite imagery has revealed evidence for lava lake activity in the summit crater.

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


Soputan (Indonesia) — April 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Soputan

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Late 2005 phreatic and Strombolian eruptions; ash plume to ~ 5.8 km altitude

Our last report covered events through July 2005 (BGVN 30:08); this report includes activity that took place in late December 2005 and also presents a discussion of the wide discrepancy of cloud-height estimates between ground, aircraft, and satellite remote-sensing observations.

Activity during 21-27 December 2005. A phreatic eruption began at Soputan on 26 December 2005 around 1230 following heavy rain. Observers concluded that rainwater contacted lava at the volcano's summit. On 27 December at 0400, a Strombolian eruption began that lasted about 50 minutes. Incandescent material was ejected ~ 35 m, and avalanches spalling off the margins of the summit traveled as far as 750 m E. Booming noises were heard 5 km from the summit. The Darwin VAAC reported that an ash plume reached a height of ~ 5.8 km altitude and drifted SE.

As of 28 December, eruptive activity continued, producing ash plumes to a height of ~ 1 km above the volcano. Strombolian eruptions ejected incandescent material up to 200 m above the summit. Pyroclastic avalanches traveled ~ 500 m E and SW. This was Soputan's fourth event in 2005, with previous activity on 14 and 20 April, and on 12 September. The Alert Level remained at 2, since the volcano is about 11 km from the nearest settlement. Visitors were prohibited from climbing Soputan's summit and from camping around Kawah Masem.

October 2005 eruption plume height discussion. The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre and the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) at the University of Wisconsin – Madison collaborated to compare various estimates for the height of the 27 December cloud (BGVN 30:08). The eruption height had been initially reported at less than 6 km altitude on the 27th by an airline pilot, and 1 km above the summit (~ 2.8 km altitude) by ground observers on the 28th. Darwin VAAC, on reviewing hourly MTSAT imagery on the 27th, estimated the plume top at 15 km altitude operationally and then 12.5 km altitude in post-analysis studies.

Michael Richards of CIMSS used an established remote-sensing technique known as "CO2 slicing" (Menzel et al., 1983, Richards et al., 2006), to obtain heights of the cloudscape around Soputan after the eruption. The technique takes advantage of the fact that the emissive infrared CO2 bands available on the MODIS satellite become more transmissive with decreasing wavelength, as the bands move away from the peak wavelength of CO2 absorption at 15 µm. There were two good MODIS images obtained over the eruption on the 27th, with the first, at 0210 UTC or 1010 local time. These images were taken at close to the time of the peak cloud height observed on MTSAT imagery, and the CO2 slicing technique appears to validate the post-analyzed VAAC height of ~ 12.5 km altitude.

The different results for the height of the eruption cloud illustrate the difficulty that observers would have had viewing the cloud from any angle. Weather clouds in the tropics typically extend up to 16 km or more altitude. Cirrus cloud from a storm complex can obscure the view of a satellite for hours. On the other hand, middle-level clouds, such as altostratus, will typically lie between aircraft cruising altitudes and the ground, meaning that pilots at cruising altitude may not associate any eruption cloud with a volcano on the ground, unless the cloud is obviously volcanic. Ground observers are completely unable to view the full height of the cloud if it is penetrating through the middle-level clouds.

The appearance of the cloud on true-color, near-infrared and infrared imagery is consistent with an ice-rich (glaciated) volcanic cloud, in-line with the CVGHM account of water interactions at the ground, and also with a high water loading in the atmosphere. The extensive areas of cloud in the area hindered satellite detection of the eruption until after the pilot report of the eruption had been received.

References. Menzel, W. P., Smith, W. L., and Stewart, T. R., 1983, Improved cloud motion wind vector and altitude assignment using VAS: Journal of Applied Meteorology, v. 22, p. 377-384.

Richards, M. S., Ackerman, S. A., Pavolonis, M. J., Feltz, W. F., and Tupper, A.C., 2006, Volcanic ash cloud heights using the MODIS CO2-slicing algorithm: AMS 12th, conference on aerospace and range meteorology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA (http://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/104055.pdf).

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

Information Contacts: Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Andrew Tupper and Rebecca Patrick, Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Australian Bureau of Meteorology (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/soputan.shtml); Michael Richards and Wayne Feltz, Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), University of Wisconsin, 1225 West Dayton Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA.

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.

View Atmospheric Effects Reports

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

View Special Announcements Reports

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


Central Chile and Argentina


Estero de Parraguirre


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

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

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

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



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

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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


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

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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