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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

Sangay (Ecuador) Daily ash plumes and frequent pyroclastic flows produce ashfall and lahars, January-June 2020

Karangetang (Indonesia) Incandescent block avalanches through mid-January 2020; crater anomalies through May

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Sangay (Ecuador) — July 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangay

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily ash plumes and frequent pyroclastic flows produce ashfall and lahars, January-June 2020

Frequent activity at Ecuador's Sangay has included pyroclastic flows, lava flows, ash plumes, and lahars reported since 1628. Its remoteness on the east side of the Andean crest make ground observations difficult; remote cameras and satellites provide important information on activity. The current eruption began in March 2019 and continued through December 2019 with activity focused on the Cráter Central and the Ñuñurco (southeast) vent; they produced explosions with ash plumes, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows and block avalanches. In addition, volcanic debris was remobilized in the Volcan river causing significant damming downstream. This report covers ongoing similar activity from January through June 2020. Information is provided by Ecuador's Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), and a number of sources of remote data including the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), the Italian MIROVA Volcano HotSpot Detection System, and Sentinel-2 satellite imagery. Visitors also provided excellent ground and drone-based images and information.

Throughout January-June 2020, multiple daily reports from the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) indicated ash plumes rising from the summit, generally 500-1,100 m. Each month one or more plumes rose over 2,000 m. The plumes usually drifted SW or W, and ashfall was reported in communities 25-90 km away several times during January-March and again in June. In addition to explosions with ash plumes, pyroclastic flows and incandescent blocks frequently descended a large, deep ravine on the SE flank. Ash from the pyroclastic flows rose a few hundred meters and drifted away from the volcano. Incandescence was visible on clear nights at the summit and in the ravine. The MIROVA log radiative power graph showed continued moderate and high levels of thermal energy throughout the period (figure 57). Sangay also had small but persistent daily SO2 signatures during January-June 2020 with larger pulses one or more days each month (figure 58). IG-EPN published data in June 2020 about the overall activity since May 2019, indicating increases throughout the period in seismic event frequency, SO2 emissions, ash plume frequency, and thermal energy (figure 59).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. This graph of log radiative power at Sangay for 18 Aug 2018 through June 2020 shows the moderate levels of thermal energy through the end of the previous eruption in late 2018 and the beginning of the current one in early 2019. Data is from Sentinel-2, courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Small but persistent daily SO2 signatures were typical of Sangay during January-June 2020. A few times each month the plume was the same or larger than the plume from Columbia’s Nevado del Ruiz, located over 800 km NE. Image dates are shown in the header over each image. Courtesy of NASA’s Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. A multi-parameter graph of activity at Sangay from May 2019 to 12 June 2020 showed increases in many types of activity. a) seismic activity (number of events per day) detected at the PUYO station (source: IG-EPN). b) SO2 emissions (tons per day) detected by the Sentinel-5P satellite sensor (TROPOMI: red squares; source: MOUNTS) and by the IG-EPN (DOAS: green bars). c) height of the ash plumes (meters above crater) detected by the GOES-16 satellite sensor (source: Washington VAAC). d) thermal emission power (megawatt) detected by the MODIS satellite sensor (source: MODVOLC) and estimate of the accumulated lava volume (million M3, thin lines represent the error range). Courtesy of IG-EPN (Informe Especial del Volcán Sangay - 2020 - N°3, “Actualización de la actividad eruptiva”, Quito, 12 de junio del 2020).

Activity during January-March 2020. IG-EPN and the Washington VAAC reported multiple daily ash emissions throughout January 2020. Gas and ash emissions generally rose 500-1,500 m above the summit, most often drifting W or SW. Ashfall was reported on 8 January in the communities of Sevilla (90 km SSW), Pumallacta and Achupallas (60 km SW) and Cebadas (35 km WNW). On 16 January ash fell in the Chimborazo province in the communities of Atillo, Ichobamba, and Palmira (45 km W). Ash on 28 January drifted NW, with minor ashfall reported in Púngala (25 km NW) and other nearby communities. The town of Alao (20 km NW) reported on 30 January that all of the vegetation in the region was covered with fine white ash; Cebadas and Palmira also noted minor ashfall (figure 60).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. Daily ash plumes and repeated ashfall were reported from Sangay during January 2020. Top left: 1 January 2020 (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-2, JUEVES, 2 ENERO 2020). Top right: 20 January 2020 (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-21, MARTES, 21 ENERO 2020). Bottom left: 26 January-1 February 2020 expedition (Martes, 18 Febrero 2020 12:21, EXPEDICIÓN AL VOLCÁN SANGAY). Bottom right: 30 January 2020, minor ashfall was reported in the Province of Chimborazo (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 006, JUEVES, 30 ENERO 2020). Courtesy of IG-EPN.

A major ravine on the SE flank has been the site of ongoing block avalanches and pyroclastic flows since the latest eruption began in March 2019. The pyroclastic flows down the ravine appeared incandescent at night; during the day they created ash clouds that drifted SW. Satellite imagery recorded incandescence and dense ash from pyroclastic flows in the ravine on 7 January (figure 61). They were also reported by IG on the 9th, 13th, 26th, and 28th. Incandescent blocks were reported in the ravine several times during the month. The webcam captured images on 31 January of large incandescent blocks descending the entire length of the ravine to the base of the mountain (figure 62). Large amounts of ash and debris were remobilized as lahars during heavy rains on the 25th and 28th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Sangay from 7 January 2020 clearly showed a dense ash plume drifting W and ash and incandescent material from pyroclastic flows descending the SE-flank ravine. Left image uses natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering and right images uses atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Pyroclastic flows at Sangay produced large trails of ash down the SE ravine many times during January 2020 that rose and drifted SW. Top left: 9 January (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-9, JUEVES, 9 ENERO 2020). Top right: 13 January (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-14, MARTES, 14 ENERO 2020). On clear nights, incandescent blocks of lava and pyroclastic flows were visible in the ravine. Bottom left: 16 January (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-17, VIERNES, 17 ENERO 2020). Bottom right: 31 January (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 007, VIERNES, 31 ENERO 2020). Courtesy of IG-EPN.

Observations by visitors to the volcano during 9-17 January 2020 included pyroclastic flows, ash emissions, and incandescent debris descending the SE flank ravine during the brief periods when skies were not completely overcast (figure 63 and 64). More often there was ash-filled rain and explosions heard as far as 16 km from the volcano, along with the sounds of lahars generated from the frequent rainfall mobilizing debris from the pyroclastic flows. The confluence of the Rio Upano and Rio Volcan is 23 km SE of the summit and debris from the lahars has created a natural dam on the Rio Upano that periodically backs up water and inundates the adjacent forest (figure 65). A different expedition to Sangay during 26 January-1 February 2020 by IG personnel to repair and maintain the remote monitoring station and collect samples was successful, after which the station was once again transmitting data to IG-EPN in Quito (figure 66).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. Hikers near Sangay during 9-17 January 2020 witnessed pyroclastic flows and incandescent explosions and debris descending the SE ravine. Left: The view from 40 km SE near Macas showed ash rising from pyroclastic flows in the SE ravine. Right: Even though the summit was shrouded with a cap cloud, incandescence from the summit crater and from pyroclastic flows on the SE flank were visible on clear nights. Courtesy of Arnold Binas, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. The steep ravine on the SE flank of Sangay was hundreds of meters deep in January 2020 when these drone images were taken by members of a hiking trip during 9-17 January 2020 (left). Pyroclastic flows descended the ravine often (right), coating the sides of the ravine with fine, white ash and sending ash billowing up from the surface of the flow which resulted in ashfall in adjacent communities several times. Courtesy of Arnold Binas, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Debris from pyroclastic flows that descended the SE Ravine at Sangay was carried down the Volcan River (left) during frequent rains and caused repeated damming at the confluence with the Rio Upano (right), located 23 km SE of the summit. These images show the conditions along the riverbeds during 9-17 January 2020. Courtesy of Arnold Binas, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. An expedition by scientists from IG-EPN to one of the remote monitoring stations at Sangay during 26 January-1 February 2020 was successful in restoring communication to Quito. The remote location and constant volcanic activity makes access and maintenance a challenge. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Martes, 18 Febrero 2020 12:21, EXPEDICIÓN AL VOLCÁN SANGAY).

During February 2020, multiple daily VAAC reports of ash emissions continued (figure 67). Plumes generally rose 500-1,100 m above the summit and drifted W, although on 26 February emissions were reported to 1,770 m. Ashfall was reported in Macas (40 km SE) on 1 February, and in the communities of Pistishi (65 km SW), Chunchi (70 km SW), Pumallacta (60 k. SW), Alausí (60 km SW), Guamote (40 km WNW) and adjacent areas of the Chimborazo province on 5 February. The Ecuadorian Red Cross reported ash from Sangay in the provinces of Cañar and Azuay (60-100 km SW) on 25 February. Cebadas and Guamote reported moderate ashfall the following day. The communities of Cacha (50 km NW) and Punín (45 km NW) reported trace amounts of ashfall on 29 February. Incandescent blocks were seen on the SE flank multiples times throughout the month. A pyroclastic flow was recorded on the SE flank early on 6 February; additional pyroclastic flows were observed later that day on the SW flank. On 23 February a seismic station on the flank recorded a high-frequency signal typical of lahars.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Steam and ash could be seen drifting SW from the summit of Sangay on 11 February 2020 even though the summit was hidden by a large cap cloud. Ash was also visible in the ravine on the SE flank. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground, natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering.

A significant ash emission on 1 March 2020 was reported about 2 km above the summit, drifting SW. Multiple ash emissions continued daily during the month, generally rising 570-1,170 m high. An emission on 12 March also rose 2 km above the summit. Trace ashfall was reported in Cebadas (35 km WNW) on 12 March. The community of Huamboya, located 40 km ENE of Sangay in the province of Morona-Santiago reported ashfall on 17 March. On 19 and 21 March ashfall was seen on the surface of cars in Macas to the SE. (figure 68). Ash was also reported on the 21st in de Santa María De Tunants (Sinaí) located E of Sangay. Ash fell again in Macas on 23 March and was also reported in General Proaño (40 km SE). The wind changed direction the next day and caused ashfall on 24 March to the SW in Cuenca and Azogues (100 km SW).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Ashfall from Sangay was reported on cars in Huamboya on 17 March 2020 (left) and in Macas on 19 March (right). Courtesy IG-EPN, (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 024, MARTES, 17 MARZO 2020 and #IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 025, JUEVES, 19 MARZO 2020).

Incandescence from the dome at the crater and on the SE flank was noted by IG on 3, 4, and 13 March. Remobilized ash from a pyroclastic flow was reported drifting SW on 13 March. The incandescent path of the flow was still visible that evening. Numerous lahars were recorded seismically during the month, including on days 5, 6, 8, 11, 15, 30 and 31. Images from the Rio Upano on 11 March confirmed an increase from the normal flow rate (figure 69) inferred to be from volcanic debris. Morona-Santiago province officials reported on 14 March that a new dam had formed at the confluence of the Upano and Volcano rivers that decreased the flow downstream; by 16 March it had given way and flow had returned to normal levels.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Images from the Rio Upano on 11 March 2020 (left) confirmed an increase from the normal flow rate related to lahars from Sangay descending the Rio Volcan. By 16 March (right), the flow rate had returned to normal, although the large blocks in the river were evidence of substantial activity in the past. Courtesy of IG (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 018, MIÉRCOLES, 11 MARZO 2020 and #IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 023, LUNES, 16 MARZO 2020).

Activity during April-June 2020. Lahar activity continued during April 2020; they were reported seven times on 2, 5, 7, 11, 12, 19, and 30 April. A significant reduction in the flow of the Upano River at the entrance bridge to the city of Macas was reported 9 April, likely due to a new dam on the river upstream from where the Volcan river joins it caused by lahars related to ash emissions and pyroclastic flows (figure 70). The flow rate returned to normal the following day. Ash emissions were reported most days of the month, commonly rising 500-1,100 m above the summit and drifting W. Incandescent blocks or flows were visible on the SE flank on 4, 10, 12, 15-16, and 20-23 April (figure 71).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. A significant reduction in the flow of the Upano River at the entrance bridge to the city of Macas was reported on 9 April 2020, likely due to a new dam upstream from lahars related to ash emissions and pyroclastic flows from Sangay. Courtesy of IG-EPN (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 032, JUEVES, 9 ABRIL 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Incandescent blocks rolled down the SE ravine at Sangay multiple times during April 2020, including on 4 April (left). Pyroclastic flows left two continuous incandescent trails in the ravine on 23 April (right). Courtesy of IG-EPN (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-95, SÁBADO, 4 ABRIL 2020 and INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-114, JUEVES, 23 ABRIL 2020).

Activity during May 2020 included multiple daily ash emissions that drifted W and numerous lahars from plentiful rain carrying ash and debris downstream. Although there were only a few visible observations of ash plumes due to clouds, the Washington VAAC reported plumes visible in satellite imagery throughout the month. Plumes rose 570-1,170 m above the summit most days; the highest reported rose to 2,000 m above the summit on 14 May. Two lahars occurred in the early morning on 1 May and one the next day. A lahar signal lasted for three hours on 4 May. Two lahar signals were recorded on the 7th, and three on the 9th. Lahars were also recorded on 16-17, 20-22, 26-27, and 30 May. Incandescence on the SE flank was only noted three times, but it was cloudy nearly every day.

An increase in thermal and overall eruptive activity was reported during June 2020. On 1 and 2 June the webcam captured lava flows and remobilization of the deposits on the SE flank in the early morning and late at night. Incandescence was visible multiple days each week. Lahars were reported on 4 and 5 June. The frequent daily ash emissions during June generally rose to 570-1,200 m above the summit and drifted usually SW or W. The number of explosions and ash emissions increased during the evening of 7 June. IG interpreted the seismic signals from the explosions as an indication of the rise of a new pulse of magma (figure 72). The infrasound sensor log from 8 June also recorded longer duration tremor signals that were interpreted as resulting from the descent of pyroclastic flows in the SE ravine.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Seismic and infrasound signals indicated increased explosive and pyroclastic flow activity at Sangay on 7-8 June 2020. Left: SAGA station (seismic component) of 7 and 8 June. The signals correspond to explosions without VT or tremor signals, suggesting the rise of a new magma pulse. Right: SAGA station infrasound sensor log from 8 June. The sharp explosion signals are followed a few minutes later (examples highlighted in red) by emergent signals of longer duration, possibly associated with the descent of pyroclastic material in the SE flank ravine. Courtesy if IG-EPN (Informe Especial del Volcán Sangay - 2020 - N°3, “Actualización de la actividad eruptiva”, Quito, 12 de junio del 2020).

On the evening of 8 June ashfall was reported in the parish of Cebadas and in the Alausí Canton to the W and SW of Sangay. There were several reports of gas and ash emissions to 1,770 m above the summit the next morning on 9 June, followed by reports of ashfall in the provinces of Guayas, Santa Elena, Los Ríos, Morona Santiago, and Chimborazo. Ashfall continued in the afternoon and was reported in Alausí, Chunchi, Guamote, and Chillanes. That night, which was clear, the webcam captured images of pyroclastic flows down the SE-flank ravine; IG attributed the increase in activity to the collapse of one or more lava fronts. On the evening of 10 June additional ashfall was reported in the towns of Alausí, Chunchi, and Guamote (figure 73); satellite imagery indicated an ash plume drifting W and incandescence from pyroclastic flows in the SE-flank ravine the same day (figure 74).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Ashfall from Sangay was reported in Alausí (top left), Chunchi (top right) and Guamote (bottom) on 10 June 2020. Courtesy of IG-EPN (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 049, MIÉRCOLES, 10 JUNIO 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Incandescent pyroclastic flows (left) and ash plumes that drifted W (right) were recorded on 10 June 2020 at Sangay in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Ashfall continued on 11 June and was reported in Guayaquil, Guamote, Chunchi, Riobamba, Guaranda, Chimbo, Echandía, and Chillanes. The highest ash plume of the report period rose to 2,800 m above the summit that day and drifted SW. That evening the SNGRE (Servicio Nacional de Gestion de Riesgos y Emergencias) reported ash fall in the Alausí canton. IG noted the increase in intensity of activity and reported that the ash plume of 11 June drifted more than 600 km W (figure 75). Ash emissions on 12 and 13 June drifted SW and NW and resulted in ashfall in the provinces of Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, and Bolívar. On 14 June, the accumulation of ash interfered with the transmission of information from the seismic station. Lahars were reported each day during 15-17 and 19-21 June. Trace amounts of ashfall were reported in Macas to the SE on 25 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. The ash plume at Sangay reported on 11 June 2020 rose 2.8 km above the summit and drifted W according to the Washington VAAC and IG (left). Explosions and high levels of incandescence on the SE flank were captured by the Don Bosco webcam (right). Courtesy of IG-EPN (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 055, JUEVES, 11 JUNIO 2020 and INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-164, VIERNES, 12 JUNIO 2020).

During an overflight of Sangay on 24 June IG personnel observed that activity was characterized by small explosions from the summit vent and pyroclastic flows down the SE-flank ravine. The explosions produced small gas plumes with a high ash content that did not rise more than 500 m above the summit and drifted W (figure 76). The pyroclastic flows were restricted to the ravine on the SE flank, although the ash from the flows rose rapidly and reached about 200 m above the surface of the ravine and also drifted W (figure 77).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. A dense ash plume rose 500 m from the summit of Sangay on 24 June 2020 and drifted W during an overflight by IG-EPN personnel. The aerial photograph is taken from the SE; snow-covered Chimborazo is visible behind and to the right of Sangay. Photo by M Almeida, courtesy of IG EPN (Jueves, 02 Julio 2020 10:29, INFORME DEL SOBREVUELO AL VOLCÁN SANGAY EL 24 DE JUNIO DE 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Pyroclastic flows descended the SE flank ravine at Sangay during an overflight by IG-EPN personnel on 24 June 2020. Ash from the pyroclastic flow rose 200 m and drifted W, and infrared imagery identified the thermal signature of the pyroclastic flow in the ravine. Photo by M Almeida, IR Image by S Vallejo, courtesy of IG EPN (Jueves, 25 Junio 2020 12:24, SOBREVUELO AL VOLCÁN SANGAY).

Infrared imagery taken during the overflight on 24 June identified three significant thermal anomalies in the large ravine on the SE flank (figure 78). Analysis by IG scientists suggested that the upper anomaly 1 (125°C) was associated with explosive activity that was observed during the flight. Anomaly 2 (147°C), a short distance below Anomaly 1, was possibly related to effusive activity of a small flow, and Anomaly 3 (165°C) near the base of the ravine that was associated with pyroclastic flow deposits. The extent of the changes at the summit of Sangay and along the SE flank since the beginning of the eruption that started in March 2019 were clearly visible when images from May 2019 were compared with images from the 24 June 2020 overflight (figure 79). The upper part of the ravine was nearly 400 m wide by the end of June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. A thermal image of the SE flank of Sangay taken on 24 June 2020 indicated three thermal anomalies. Anomaly 1 was associated with explosive activity, Anomaly 2 was associated with effusive activity, and Anomaly 3 was related to pyroclastic-flow deposits. Image prepared by S Vallejo Vargas, courtesy of IG EPN (Jueves, 02 Julio 2020 10:29, INFORME DEL SOBREVUELO AL VOLCÁN SANGAY EL 24 DE JUNIO DE 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Aerial and thermal photographs of the southern flank of the Sangay volcano on 17 May 2019 (left: visible image) and 24 June 2020 (middle: visible image, right: visible-thermal overlay) show the morphological changes on the SE flank, associated with the formation of a deep ravine and the modification of the summit. Photos and thermal image by M Almeida, courtesy of IG EPN (Jueves, 02 Julio 2020 10:29, INFORME DEL SOBREVUELO AL VOLCÁN SANGAY EL 24 DE JUNIO DE 2020).

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

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


Karangetang (Indonesia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Incandescent block avalanches through mid-January 2020; crater anomalies through May

The Karangetang andesitic-basaltic stratovolcano (also referred to as Api Siau) at the northern end of the island of Siau, north of Sulawesi, Indonesia, has had more than 50 observed eruptions since 1675. Frequent explosive activity is accompanied by pyroclastic flows and lahars, and lava-dome growth has created two active summit craters (Main to the S and Second Crater to the N). Rock avalanches, observed incandescence, and satellite thermal anomalies at the summit confirmed continuing volcanic activity since the latest eruption started in November 2018 (BGVN 44:05). This report covers activity from December 2019 through May 2020. Activity is monitored by Indonesia's Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM, or the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation), and ash plumes are monitored by the Darwin VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center). Information is also available from MODIS thermal anomaly satellite data through both the University of Hawaii's MODVOLC system and the Italian MIROVA project.

Increased activity that included daily incandescent avalanche blocks traveling down the W and NW flanks lasted from mid-July 2019 (BGVN 44:12) through mid-January 2020 according to multiple sources. The MIROVA data showed increased number and intensity of thermal anomalies during this period, with a sharp drop during the second half of January (figure 40). The MODVOLC thermal alert data reported 29 alerts in December and ten alerts in January, ending on 14 January, with no further alerts through May 2020. During December and the first half of January incandescent blocks traveled 1,000-1,500 m down multiple drainages on the W and NW flanks (figure 41). After this, thermal anomalies were still present at the summit craters, but no additional activity down the flanks was identified in remote satellite data or direct daily observations from PVMBG.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. An episode of increased activity at Karangetang from mid-July 2019 through mid-January 2020 included incandescent avalanche blocks traveling down multiple flanks of the volcano. This was reflected in increased thermal activity seen during that interval in the MIROVA graph covering 5 June 2019 through May 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. An episode of increased activity at Karangetang from mid-July 2019 through mid-January 2020 included incandescent avalanche blocks traveling up to 1,500 m down drainages on the W and NW flanks of the volcano. Top left: large thermal anomalies trend NW from Main Crater on 5 December 2019; about 500 m N a thermal anomaly glows from Second Crater. Top center: on 15 December plumes of steam and gas drifted W and SW from both summit craters as seen in Natural Color rendering (bands 4,3,2). Top right: the same image as at top center with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a) shows hot zones extending WNW from Main Crater and a thermal anomaly at Second Crater. Bottom left: thermal activity seen on 14 January 2020 extended about 800 m WNW from Main Crater along with an anomaly at Second Crater and a hot spot about 1 km W. Bottom center: by 19 January the anomaly from Second Crater appeared slightly stronger than at Main Crater, and only small anomalies appeared on the NW flank. Bottom right: an image from 14 March shows only thermal anomalies at the two summit craters. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

A single VAAC report in early April noted a short-lived ash plume that drifted SW. Intermittent low-level activity continued through May 2020. Small SO2 plumes appeared in satellite data multiple times in December 2019 and January 2020; they decreased in size and frequency after that but were still intermittently recorded into May 2020 (figure 42).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Small plumes of sulfur dioxide were measured at Karangetang with the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite multiple times during December 2019 (top row). They were less frequent but still appeared during January-May 2020 (bottom row). Larger plumes were also detected from Dukono, located 300 km ESE at the N end of North Maluku. Courtesy of Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

PVMBG reported in their daily summaries that steam plumes rose 50-150 m above the Main Crater and 25-50 m above Second Crater on most days in December. The incandescent avalanche activity that began in mid-July 2019 also continued throughout December 2019 and January 2020 (figure 43). Incandescent blocks from the Main Crater descended river drainages (Kali) on the W and NW flanks throughout December. They were reported nearly every day in the Nanitu, Sense, and Pangi drainages, traveling 1,000-1,500 m. Incandescence from both craters was visible 10-25 m above the crater rim most nights.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Incandescent block avalanches descended the NW flank of Karangetang as far as 1,500 m frequently during December 2019 and January 2020. Left image taken 13 December 2019, right image taken 6 January 2020 by PVMBG webcam. Courtesy of PVMBG, Oystein Anderson, and Bobyson Lamanepa.

A few blocks were noted traveling 800 m down Kali Beha Barat on 1 December. Incandescence above the Main crater reached 50-75 m during 4-6 December. During 4-7 December incandescent blocks appeared in Kali Sesepe, traveling 1,000-1,500 m down from the summit. They were also reported in Kali Batang and Beha Barat during 4-14 December, usually moving 800-1,000 m downslope. Between 5 and 14 December, gray and white plumes from Second Crater reached 300 m multiple times. During 12-15 December steam plumes rose 300-500 m above the Main crater. Activity decreased during 18-26 December but increased again during the last few days of the month. On 28 December, incandescent blocks were reported 1,500 m down Kali Pangi and Nanitu, and 1,750 m down Kali Sense.

Incandescent blocks were reported in Kali Sesepi during 4-6 January and in Kali Batang and Beha Barat during 4-8 and 12-15 January (figure 44); they often traveled 800-1,200 m downslope. Activity tapered off in those drainages and incandescent blocks were last reported in Kali Beha Barat on 15 January traveling 800 m from the summit. Incandescent blocks were also reported traveling usually 1,000-1,500 m down the Nanitu, Sense, and Pangi drainages during 4-19 January. Blocks continued to occasionally descend up to 1,000 m down Kali Nanitu through 24 January. Pulses of activity occurred at the summit of Second Crater a few times in January. Steam plumes rose 25-50 m during 8-9 January and again during 16-31 January, with plumes rising 300-400 m on 20, 29, and 31 January. Incandescence was noted 10-25 m above the summit of Second Crater during 27-30 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Incandescent material descends the Beha Barat, Sense, Nanitu, and Pangi drainages on the NW flank of Karangetang in early January 2020. Courtesy of Bobyson Lamanepa; posted on Twitter on 6 January 2020.

Activity diminished significantly after mid-January 2020. Steam plumes at the Main Crater rose 50-100 m on the few days where the summit was not obscured by fog during February. Faint incandescence occurred at the Main Crater on 7 February, and steam plumes rising 25-50 m from Second Crater that day were the only events reported there in February. During March, steam plumes persisted from the Main Crater, with heights of over 100 m during short periods from 8-16 March and 25-30 March. Weak incandescence was reported from the Main Crater only once, on 25 March. Very little activity occurred at Second Crater during March, with only steam plumes reported rising 25-300 m from the 22nd to the 28th (figure 45).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Steam plumes at Karangetang rose over 100 m above both summit craters multiple times during March, including on 26 March 2020. Courtesy of PVMBG and Oystein Anderson.

The Darwin VAAC reported a continuous ash emission on 4 April 2020 that rose to 2.1 km altitude and drifted SW for a few hours before dissipating. Incandescence visible 25 m above both craters on 13 April was the only April activity reported by PVMBG other than steam plumes from the Main Crater that rose 50-500 m on most days. Steam plumes of 50-100 m were reported from Second Crater during 11-13 April. Activity remained sporadic throughout May 2020. Steam plumes from the Main Crater rose 50-300 m each day. Satellite imagery identified steam plumes and incandescence from both summit craters on 3 May (figure 46). Faint incandescence was observed at the Main Crater on 12 and 27 May. Steam plumes rose 25-50 m from Second Crater on a few days; a 200-m-high plume was reported on 27 May. Bluish emissions were observed on the S and SW flanks on 28 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Dense steam plumes and thermal anomalies were present at both summit craters of Karangetang on 3 May 2020. Sentinel 2 satellite image with Natural Color (bands 4, 3, 2) (left) and Atmospheric Penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a) (right); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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); 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/); 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/); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com); Bobyson Lamanepa, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, (URL: https://twitter.com/BobyLamanepa/status/1214165637028728832).


Masaya (Nicaragua) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Shishaldin

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Krakatau (Indonesia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Taal (Philippines) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Taal

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Unnamed (Tonga) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Unnamed

Tonga

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Kavachi

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Discolored water plumes seen using satellite imagery in 2018 and 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 31, Number 07 (July 2006)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Cleveland (United States)

Astronauts capture photo of 23 May eruption

Etna (Italy)

An upper E-flank fissure eruption lasting from 14 to 24 July 2006

Galeras (Colombia)

Ongoing dome growth and elevated seismicity, thousands evacuated in July 2006

Karthala (Comoros)

Seismic crisis on 28 May 2006 precedes lava lake eruption in Chahalé crater

Karymsky (Russia)

Ash plumes reaching 5 km; ongoing eruptions through at least mid-2006

Mayon (Philippines)

New eruptive pulse starting 13 July; lava flows; thousands evacuated

St. Helens (United States)

Eruption still extrudes dacitic dome lavas without energetic explosions

Sulu Range (Papua New Guinea)

Seismicity and emissions reported from volcano with no historical eruptions

Tungurahua (Ecuador)

14-15 July 2006 eruption, the strongest since onset of eruption in 1999



Cleveland (United States) — July 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Cleveland

United States

52.825°N, 169.944°W; summit elev. 1730 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Astronauts capture photo of 23 May eruption

On 23 May 2006, the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) received a report from the International Space Station indicating that a plume was observed moving W from Cleveland volcano at 2300 UTC (BGVN 31:06). A photograph of the plume taken from the International Space Station was released by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (figure 5).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Eruption of Mount Cleveland on 23 May 2006 as photographed from the International Space Station at an orbital altitude of ~ 400 km. The photograph (N at the top; Carlisle Island to the NW) shows the ash plume moving SW from the summit. Banks of fog (arcuate clouds at upper right) are common features around the Aleutian Islands. The event proved to be short-lived; ~ 2 hours later, the plume had completely detached from the volcano. Courtesy of Jeffrey N. Williams, Flight Engineer and NASA Science Officer, International Space Station Expedition 13 Crew, NASA Earth Observatory.

Starting at about 2300 UTC, just before this image was taken, Cleveland underwent a short eruption. The volcanic plume was seen in Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) polar-orbiting satellite data beginning from 2307 UTC. By 0100 UTC on 24 May the ash plume had detached from the vent and was approximately 130 kilometers SW of the volcano. Satellite data showed a cloud height of about 6.1 km asl (table 1). The plume was no longer detectable in satellite imagery by 0057 UTC on 25 May. In response to the event, AVO raised the Level of Concern Color Code to 'Yellow.'

Table 1. Satellite observations of ash plume from Cleveland volcano. Courtesy of the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Date and Time (UTC) Plume altitude Direction and speed
24 May 2006 (0200) 8.2 km SW at 55 km/hour
24 May 2006 (0800) 6.7 km SW at 37-46 km/hour
24 May 2006 (1400) 6.1 km W at 37-46 km/hour

The last eruption of Cleveland was 6 February 2006 (BGVN 31:01). Since 24 May 2006, no new information about ash emissions had been received, nor have indications of continuing activity been detected from satellite data for the volcano. This short-lived event was typical of recent Cleveland activity. On 7 August 2006, AVO downgraded the Level of Concern Color Code for Cleveland from 'Yellow' to 'Not Assigned." Because Cleveland is not monitored with real-time seismic instrumentation, during intervals of repose it does not receive an assignment of Color Code 'Green,' but instead is left 'Not Assigned.'

Geologic Background. The beautifully symmetrical Mount Cleveland stratovolcano is situated at the western end of the uninhabited Chuginadak Island. It lies SE across Carlisle Pass strait from Carlisle volcano and NE across Chuginadak Pass strait from Herbert volcano. Joined to the rest of Chuginadak Island by a low isthmus, Cleveland is the highest of the Islands of the Four Mountains group and is one of the most active of the Aleutian Islands. The native name, Chuginadak, refers to the Aleut goddess of fire, who was thought to reside on the volcano. Numerous large lava flows descend the steep-sided flanks. It is possible that some 18th-to-19th century eruptions attributed to Carlisle should be ascribed to Cleveland (Miller et al., 1998). In 1944 it produced the only known fatality from an Aleutian eruption. Recent eruptions have been characterized by short-lived explosive ash emissions, at times accompanied by lava fountaining and lava flows down the flanks.

Information Contacts: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/); Jeffery Williams, NASA, ISS Crew Earth Observations and the Image Science & Analysis Group, Johnson Space Center 2101 NASA Parkway, Houston, TX 77058, USA.


Etna (Italy) — July 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


An upper E-flank fissure eruption lasting from 14 to 24 July 2006

This report covers the new eruption from an E-flank fissure during mid July 2006. Previously, on 7 September 2004, an eruptive period began that lasted until March 2005 (BGVN 29:09, 30:01). From March 2005 until November quiet degassing took place at the summit craters; on 16 December 2005 an explosive sequence at the summit was accompanied by an ash emission from the Bocca Nuova crater (BGVN 30:12). This report is from Sonia Calvari of the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) and covers the interval through 26 July. Brief mention is made at the end of the report about another episode starting on 31 August and going into at least mid-September.

On 14 July 2006 at 2330 a fissure opened on the E flank of the Southeast Crater (SEC) summit cone. Two vents along the fissure produced a lava flow spreading E to the Valle del Bove (figure 110). A helicopter survey carried out on 16 July at 0730 showed a braided lava flow field up to 1.7 km long. Based on the surface area and approximate volume of this lava flow field, workers estimated a mean output rate of ~ 2.6 m3/s during the first 32 hours of eruption. During the opening phase of the eruptive fissure, moderate strombolian emissions occurred at a third upper vent, located at about 3,100 m on the E flank of the SEC, just below the wide depression that cuts its eastern flank. It produced minor ash fallout on Catania. The composition of the ash was 80% juvenile, with small amount of lithics probably due to the opening phase of the vents.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. Lava flows descending from vents near Etna's summit cone. Reuters photo.

On 17 July, the lava flow field was situated on the W wall of the Valle del Bove, and the two main flow fronts reached about 2,100 m elevation, spreading N of the Serra Giannicola Piccola ridge. The lava discharge peaked on 20 July (figure 111), when an effusion rate of ~ 10 m3/s drove the lava flow advance to a maximum distance of ~3 km within the Valle del Bove. The lava flow front widened at the base of Monte Centenari, at 1,800 m elevation, located at least 15 km from the closest villages. The effusion rate on 23 July decreased to ~3 m3/s. At that time the lava channels had narrowed and levees had partially collapsed. The eruption appeared to end on 24 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. On 21 July 2006, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying onboard NASA's Terra satellite captured this image as Etna emitted a faint ash plume that blew SW. MODIS also detected a hotspot near the summit, where surface temperatures were much higher than in the surrounding area (red outline). Courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC.

On 26 July, observers on the rim of the NE Crater heard strong explosions, and saw lapilli fall. This crater, together with the south pit within Bocca Nuova, showed significant thermal anomalies during a helicopter survey carried out on 24 July.

In the early morning of 31 August, Strombolian activity resumed at SEC's summit. In the next two weeks SEC was the scene of a series of dramatic events. By 11 September, lava from the SE flank of the SEC had advanced to reach ~3 km ESE. The resulting ribbon of lava was in places over 200 m wide. More details will follow in a subsequent report.

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

Information Contacts: Sonia Calvari, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/); Reuters (URL: http://today.reuters.com/).


Galeras (Colombia) — July 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing dome growth and elevated seismicity, thousands evacuated in July 2006

On 24 November 2005 an eruption began at Galeras that resulted in local ash fall (BGVN 31:01and 31:03). This report discusses behavior through mid-August 2006.

Through December 2005 to the end of March 2006, the lava dome in the main crater continued to grow and seismicity remained elevated. Because of an increase in tremor at Galeras on 28 March 2006, Instituto Colombiano de Geología y Minería (INGEOMINAS) raised the Alert Level from 3 (changes in the behavior of volcanic activity have been noted) to 2 (likely eruption in days or weeks). Although the seismic activity apparently decreased on 29 March, Galeras remained at Alert Level 2.

INGEOMINAS reported that Galeras remained at a critical state during April and May 2006, with a partially solidified lava dome in the main crater. Seismicity, deformation, gas emissions, and temperatures all decreased. During 10-17 April, there were small gas emissions from the volcano. During 9-15 May, there were small gas and sporadic ash emissions. During 12-19 June, ash columns reached heights of 0.6-1.4 km above the summit.

According to Reuters and BBC reports, an increase in volcanic activity 12 July prompted the Colombian government to order the evacuation of ~ 10,000 people living near Galeras. INGEOMINAS reported an increase in seismic activity and at least two explosive eruptions. Ash accumulated in the towns of La Florida and Nariño, about 10 km N, and in the town of Genoy, 5 km NE. The Alert Level was increased from 2 (likely eruption in days to weeks) to 1 (eruption imminent or occurring). On 13 July, because of decreased activity, the Alert Level was lowered from 1 to 3. Approximately 2,000 people had been taken to shelters.

On 17 July, INGEOMINAS reported that after the 12 July eruption of Galeras, seismic activity decreased considerably. Observations of the dome and secondary craters in the W sector after 12 July showed minor physical changes. Weak gas plumes were observed without associated seismic activity. Through the first two weeks of August 2006, seismic activity remained at low levels. Gas and steam emissions from the main crater continued. Galeras remained at Alert Level 3 (changes in the behavior of volcanic activity have been noted).

Geologic Background. Galeras, a stratovolcano with a large breached caldera located immediately west of the city of Pasto, is one of Colombia's most frequently active volcanoes. The dominantly andesitic complex has been active for more than 1 million years, and two major caldera collapse eruptions took place during the late Pleistocene. Long-term extensive hydrothermal alteration has contributed to large-scale edifice collapse on at least three occasions, producing debris avalanches that swept to the west and left a large horseshoe-shaped caldera inside which the modern cone has been constructed. Major explosive eruptions since the mid-Holocene have produced widespread tephra deposits and pyroclastic flows that swept all but the southern flanks. A central cone slightly lower than the caldera rim has been the site of numerous small-to-moderate historical eruptions since the time of the Spanish conquistadors.

Information Contacts: Diego Gomez Martinez, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Pasto (OVSP), INGEOMINAS, Carrera 31, 1807 Parque Infantil, PO Box 1795, Pasto, Colombia (URL: https://www2.sgc.gov.co/volcanes/index.html; Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/); El Pais (URL: http://elpais-cali.terra.com.co/paisonline/); Reuters; British Broadcasting Company (BBC) (URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/).


Karthala (Comoros) — July 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Karthala

Comoros

11.75°S, 43.38°E; summit elev. 2361 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismic crisis on 28 May 2006 precedes lava lake eruption in Chahalé crater

On 28 May 2006, a magmatic eruption occurred inside the Chahalé caldera of Karthala volcano. Information in the previous report (BGVN 31:06) was based on newspaper accounts. This report comes from Hamidou Nassor, Julie Morin, Christopher Gomez, Magali Smietana, François Sauvestre, and Christopher Gomez. They noted some key references relating to Karthala, including a 2001 dissertation (Bachèlery and others, 1995; Krafft, 1982; and Nassor, 2001).

The 28 May 2006 crisis began with a few hours of elevated seismic activity, beginning around 1230 (local time). Three hours later, seismic stations recorded a small crisis that lasted for 6 hours and produced both SP and LP signals. Around 2107 the magmatic eruption began. Seismographs recorded a tremor only a few seconds later.

From the coast of the island a red cloud was visible above the volcano. Scientists at the Karthala observatory met with government representatives and confirmed a magmatic eruption. It was not yet known if the eruption had occurred on the caldera floor or inside the main crater. A trip to the volcano was necessary in order to assess the volcanic activity and determine the exact location of the eruption. Two hypotheses were proposed: (1) If the eruption was located in the N part of the caldera, the lava could flow outside the caldera, towards populated areas; (2) If the eruption was located inside the main crater, to the S, lava would remain inside the crater. The Comorian authorities helped the scientific team to get assistance from the South African Army (AMISEC) to fly over the volcano.

On the morning of 29 May 2006, the scientific team and AMISEC personnel flew over the volcano. They saw that the eruption was contained inside the main (Chahalé) crater, where the past three eruptions had occurred. A lava fountain was observed in the middle of the lava lake (figure 25). No lava flow was observed outside the caldera. Seismic records showed a tremor caused by the lava fountain; the fountain was apparently spurting since the beginning of the eruption.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. This lava lake was seen in the main crater, Chahalé, on 29 May. The lava fountain was in the N part of the lake. Some lava blocks larger than 1 m in diameter are visible. The gas and vapor plume reached an altitude of about 3 km. Photo courtesy of Julie Morin.

On the morning of 31 May, the scientific team returned to Karthala with AMISEC forces. Part of the lake was still mobile and bubbling, but part had solidified on the surface in the SE and a few blocks were floating on the side of the lake (figure 26). No projectiles overshot the caldera rim.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Karthala's lava lake on 31 May. In the lake's NW, a lava fountain was active, while the lake's S part had started to solidify. Photo courtesy of Magali Smietana.

On 1 June 2006 seismic monitoring indicated the end of the tremor phase. On 2 June scientists returned to the summit with AMISEC forces. They observed that the surface of the lava lake was solidified, but the deeper portions of the lake remained hot (figure 27).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. The floor of Karthala's Chahalé crater remained filled by lava on 2 June, although a crust had formed covering much of the lava lake. Photo courtesy of Christopher Gomez.

References. Bachèlery, P., Damir, B.A., Desgrolard, F., Toutain, J.P, Coudray, J.P., Cheminée, J-L., Delmond, J.C., and Klein, J.L. 1995, L'éruption phréatique du Karthala (Grande Comore) en juillet 1991: C.R Acad. Sci. Paris, 320, série Iia, p. 691-698.

Krafft, M., 1982, L'éruption volcanique du Karthala en avril 1977 (Grande Comore, Océan Indien): C.R. Acad. Sci. Paris, t 294, série II, p. 753-758.

Nassor, H., 2001, Contribution ? l'étude du risque volcanique sur les grands volcans boucliers basaltiques: le Karthala et le Piton de la Fournaise: Ph.D. thesis, Univ. Reunion.

Geologic Background. The southernmost and largest of the two shield volcanoes forming Grand Comore Island (also known as Ngazidja Island), Karthala contains a 3 x 4 km summit caldera generated by repeated collapse. Elongated rift zones extend to the NNW and SE from the summit of the Hawaiian-style basaltic shield, which has an asymmetrical profile that is steeper to the S. The lower SE rift zone forms the Massif du Badjini, a peninsula at the SE tip of the island. Historical eruptions have modified the morphology of the compound, irregular summit caldera. More than twenty eruptions have been recorded since the 19th century from the summit caldera and vents on the N and S flanks. Many lava flows have reached the sea on both sides of the island. An 1860 lava flow from the summit caldera traveled ~13 km to the NW, reaching the W coast to the N of the capital city of Moroni.

Information Contacts: Hamidou Nassor (LSTUR) Université de la Réunion BP 7151, 15 Avenue, René Cassin, 97715 Saint-Denis; Julie Morin; Christopher Gomez, Laboratoire de géographie physique CNRS LGP; Magali Smietana, Universite de Rennes 1, France; Francois Sauvestre (CNDRS), BP 169, Moroni (URL: http://volcano.ipgp.jussieu.fr/karthala/stationkar.html).


Karymsky (Russia) — July 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes reaching 5 km; ongoing eruptions through at least mid-2006

During April, May and June 2006, intermittent eruptive activity at Karymsky continued. Pilots had previously reported ash emissions from Karymsky rising to 3-5 km altitude during January to April 2006, during which time Karymsky remained at Concern Color Code Orange (BGVN 31:04). The same color code stayed in effect through August 2006.

Based on interpretations of April-June 2006 seismic data, ash plumes rose to altitudes of between 3 and 8 km. Satellite imagery showed a large thermal anomaly at the volcano's crater from January to August 2006, and numerous ash plumes and deposits extended 10-200 km SE and E of the volcano.

During 10-16 June 2006, 400-600 shallow earthquakes occurred daily. Ash plumes up to 5 km altitude traveling SE were observed by pilots. On 19 June, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA's Terra satellite captured a false-color image of an ash plume from Karymsky (figure 12). During 21-27 June 200-700 shallow earthquakes occurred daily; during 23-30 June, 100-350 shallow earthquakes occurred daily.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Karymsky had been erupting several times a day for about a week prior to emitting this ash plume on 19 June 2006. The ASTER instrument on NASA's Terra satellite captured this false-color image. Red indicates vegetation, which is lush around the volcano but very sparse on its slopes. The water of Karymskoye Lake appears in blue. The volcano's barren sides are dark gray, and the volcanic plume and nearby haze appear in white or gray. Image courtesy of NASA; created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using expedited ASTER data provided the NASA/GSFC/MITI/ERSDAC/JAROS and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.

According to the Tokyo VAAC, the Kamchatkan Experimental and Methodical Seismological Department (KEMSD) reported that during July 2006 ash plumes reached altitudes between 3 and 7 km. Approximately 100-350 shallow earthquakes occurred daily during 29 June to 3 July, and increased to 1,000 per day during 4-5 July.

Activity at Karymsky continued during 8-14 July, with 250-1000 shallow earthquakes occurring daily. Based on interpretations of seismic data, ash plumes reached altitudes of 5 km.

During August 2006, 100-300 shallow earthquakes occurred daily. Based on interpretations of seismic data, ash plumes reached altitudes of 3-3.7 km.

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/).


Mayon (Philippines) — July 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

13.257°N, 123.685°E; summit elev. 2462 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruptive pulse starting 13 July; lava flows; thousands evacuated

Mayon was last reported on in March 2006 (BGVN 31:03), discussing an eruption in February 2006. Low-level activity and seismicity prevailed through early July. This report covers an eruptive pulse that began on 13 July 2006 and continued through August 2006. On 13 July there were phreatic eruptions that produced light ashfall in the areas of Calbayog and Malilipot. At 2200 on 14 July, authorities raised the Alert Level from 1 to 3 due to moderate white steam drifting NE and lava flows extending 0.7-1.0 km from the summit onto the SE slopes. On 15 July, the lava flow continued its SE progression towards Bonga gully.

On 16 July, the 6 km radius hazard zone known as the Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) established around the SE area, was extended to 7 km and during the period covered by this report the radius of the danger zone around the southern sector was extended to 8 km. On 18 July, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reported that the lava flow had reached 1 km in length and incandescent boulders had rolled 3 km towards the Bonga gully. Seismicity, reported SO2 fluxes, and posted alert levels appear in table 8.

Table 8. Mayon's reported seismicity, SO2 fluxes, and alert levels during 15 July 2006 to 24 August 2006. "?" indicates information not available. Courtesy of PHIVOLCS.

Date Volcanic earthquakes Tremor episodes SO2 flux (t/d) Alert Level
15 Jul 2006 -- 111 2,211 3
17 Jul 2006 -- 314 1,513 3
18 Jul 2006 -- -- -- 3
19 Jul 2006 -- 250 2,157 3
20 Jul 2006 -- -- -- --
21 Jul 2006 -- -- -- --
22 Jul 2006 -- -- -- --
23 Jul 2006 -- -- -- --
24 Jul 2006 11 324 7,020 3
25 Jul 2006 12 564 5,886 3
26 Jul 2006 7 316 9,275 3
27 Jul 2006 6 421 4,550 3
28 Jul 2006 8 423 8,724 3
29 Jul 2006 4 394 6,099 3
31 Jul 2006 -- 388 12,548 3
01 Aug 2006 -- 354 7,418 3
02 Aug 2006 16 450 7,050 3
03 Aug 2006 51 343 4,760 3
04 Aug 2006 18 354 2,965 3
05 Aug 2006 18 354 2,965 3
06 Aug 2006 12 371 1,919 3
07 Aug 2006 -- -- -- --
08 Aug 2006 109 344 12,745 4
09 Aug 2006 21 294 7,829 4
10 Aug 2006 3 501 6,573 4
11 Aug 2006 6 213 6,876 4
12 Aug 2006 6 191 3,423 4
13 Aug 2006 13 158 5,427 4
14 Aug 2006 16 152 3,493 4
16 Aug 2006 15 154 8,086 4
17 Aug 2006 5 130 2,937 4
18 Aug 2006 32 307 2,937 4
19 Aug 2006 22 240 2,712 4
20 Aug 2006 15 253 6,634 4
21 Aug 2006 15 274 5,390 4
22 Aug 2006 24 431 2,445 4
23 Aug 2006 10 316 5,215 4
24 Aug 2006 18 451 6,328 4

Pyroclastic flows on the SE slopes prompted approximately 100 families to evacuate on 20 July. On 22 July, lava flows advanced NE towards the Mabinit channel. By 24 July, lava flows had traveled SSE, ~4 km from the summit toward Bonga gully, and branched off to the W and E. Incandescent blocks shed from the toe and margins of the flows traveled SE and were visible at night. Additionally, on 24 July seismographs recorded more than 324 tremor episodes and 11 volcanic earthquakes. SO2 emissions from the summit crater reached 7,000 metric tons per day, several times larger than fluxes reported earlier.

PHIVOLCS reported lava flow advance in terms of straight-line distances, which progressed as follows: 26 July, 4.45 km; 27 July, 4.7 km; and 29 July, 5.4 km. During this time, SO2 rates remained high (table 8), suggesting fresh magma at shallow levels in the volcano. The number of tremor episodes and earthquakes also remained high. Tremor was thought to indicate near-continuous lava blocks detaching from the lava flows. Volcanic earthquakes were thought to reflect ascending magma. Figure 11 shows the lava flow front on 29 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Photograph taken on 29 July 2006 at Mayon showing the lava front as it continued to advance down the Mabinit channel. Courtesy of C. Sagution, PHIVOLCS.

On 29 July, light ash accumulation was reported about 12 km S and SE, in Daraga municipality and Legazpi City and vicinity, respectively. Emissions of sulfur-dioxide reached ~ 12,500 tons per day on 31 July, a record high for this reporting interval. By 1 August, in the SE sector of the Bonga gully, lava flows had advanced ~1.35 km, and in the SSE sector they had advanced a maximum distance of 5.8 km from the summit.

According to a Philippine Information Agency (PIA) press report, military and police checkpoints were set up on 2 August around the 6-km-radius PDZ to prohibit entry. A large lava deposit had grown on the SE flanks. The lava which faced Legazpi and Daraga, had piled up during the initial two weeks of the eruption and threatened to cross the PDZ. PHIVOLCS had reported that the advancing incandescent front of the lava flow was ~20 m high and 50 m wide (figure 12). PHIVOLCS estimated that the lava front could breach the 6-km-radius PDZ within two to three days.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. On the evening of 3 August 2006, lava advancing down the Mayon's Mabinit channel formed this impressive front. For scale, note tree at right. Although the government had issued an evacuation warning, many tourists flocked to the scene to watch the lava flows. Courtesy of Romeo Ranoco (Reuters).

An overflight of Mayon on 6 August revealed that lavas discharging from the summit crater extended along the Mabinit channel and spilled into the Bonga gully, E of the Mabinit channel. Due to the decreased supply of lava to the Mabinit channel, the flow there was expected to cease a short distance beyond the 6-km-radius PDZ. Six ash explosions sent ash columns up to 800 m above the summit, prompting PHIVOLCS to raise the alert level from 3 to 4, indicating an eruption is imminent. According to the Manila Bulletin Online, as many as 50,00 people in the Albay province were evacuated.

On 7 August, an advancing lava flow crossed 100 m beyond the 6-km-radius PDZ. According to the Manila Standard Today, authorities warned residents of more lava and fires as the lava flows crept along the Mabinit and Bonga gullies.

During 9-15 August, explosive activity continued at Mayon after a brief respite on 8 August. Based on interpretations of seismic data, minor explosions during 9-11 and 13-15 August were accompanied by lava extrusion and collapsing lava flow fronts that released blocks and small fragments. A drop in SO2 emissions on 9 August worried volcanologists that something had blocked the flow of magma in Mayon's conduit and could therefore cause a build up in pressure resulting in a larger eruption. Visual observations were commonly obscured by clouds. On 11 August an ash plume was seen drifting ESE. On 12 August, four explosions occurred; one produced a pyroclastic flow that traveled over the SE and E slopes and generated a plume that rose to an altitude of 500 m and then drifted NE. On 15 August, a brief break in the clouds allowed for a view and confirmed the presence of fresh pyroclastic deposits from activity in the previous days. Approximately 40,000 people remained in evacuation centers and authorities maintained an Extended Danger Zone at 8 km from the summit in the SE sector.

PHIVOLCS reported that explosions from Mayon continued during 16-19 August. On 17 August, ash-and-steam plumes drifted at least 5.3 km NE and reached the town Calbayog, where light ashfall was reported. Lava extrusion continued and on the SE slopes lava-flow fronts shed blocks and small fragments. On 18 August, the Mibinit and Bonga gully lava flows reached ~ 6.8 km SE from the summit. PHIVOLCS estimated the volume of erupted materials at between 36 and 41 million cubic meters.

Geologic Background. Beautifully symmetrical Mayon, which rises above the Albay Gulf NW of Legazpi City, is the Philippines' most active volcano. The structurally simple edifice has steep upper slopes averaging 35-40 degrees that are capped by a small summit crater. Historical eruptions date back to 1616 and range from Strombolian to basaltic Plinian, with cyclical activity beginning with basaltic eruptions, followed by longer term andesitic lava flows. Eruptions occur predominately from the central conduit and have also produced lava flows that travel far down the flanks. Pyroclastic flows and mudflows have commonly swept down many of the approximately 40 ravines that radiate from the summit and have often devastated populated lowland areas. A violent eruption in 1814 killed more than 1,200 people and devastated several towns.

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), PHIVOLCS Building, C.P. Garcia Avenue, U.P. Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, Reuters Alert Network (URL: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/MAN212904.htm); The Associated Press (URL: http://www.ap.org/); Manila Standard Today (URL: http://manilastandard.net/); Manila Bulletin Online (URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/).


St. Helens (United States) — July 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

St. Helens

United States

46.2°N, 122.18°W; summit elev. 2549 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption still extrudes dacitic dome lavas without energetic explosions

The current and ongoing eruption of the St. Helens started on 11 October 2004. Extrusion of the growing lava dome has continued in the same quiescent mode exhibited over the past year, and levels of seismicity remained generally low, with low emissions of steam and volcanic gases and minor production of ash. From 1830 hours on 26 October 2004 to 15 August 2006, a total of 13,841 seismic triggers have occurred. Figures 65 and 66 summarize seismicity over the past year. A decade-long time-depth plot clearly shows the start of the current eruption (figure 67).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Epicenters of St. Helens earthquakes between 1 July 2005 and 15 August 2006, a total of 1,768 well-located earthquakes. The circle with an "x" represents events on 15 August 2006, and filled circles represent events since 15 July 2006; open circles represent older events in the past year. Black triangles locate Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network (PNSN) seismic stations. Courtesy of the PNSN.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Plots of the number of well-located events and their main root of strain energy for St. Helens earthquakes between 1 July 2005 and 15 August 2006 describing a total of 1,768 earthquakes. Each point on the strain energy plot's curve represents the sum of energy released by all earthquakes in a 14-day period; energy is computed in 14-day time windows, every 7 days. Courtesy of the PNSN.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Time-depth plot of well-located earthquakes at St. Helens between 1996 and 14 September 2006, a total of 22,485 events. Courtesy of the PNSN.

Pictures and movies taken in August 2006 with the Brutus camera (located on the E rim of the 1980 Mount St. Helens crater) showed continued extrusion of spine 7 on the growing lava dome (figure 68) (photos and movies are also available on the CVO website). Between 4-5 and 7-8 August a segment of the middle part of spine 7 temporarily stopped moving. At 1310 on 5 August a magnitude 3.6 earthquake occurred, and subsequent photographs showed that the "stuck" segment became unstuck. Motion again stopped sometime after 1310 on 7 August and much of 8 August, when a M 3.3 earthquake occurred at 2001 on 8 August. Clouds obscured the volcano from view on 9 August, but parted enough on 10 August to show that once again the segment became unstuck. One explanation by CVO scientists for these observations is that the large earthquakes were caused by parts of the spine sticking and then slipping.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Spine 7 of the growing lava dome of Mount St. Helens taken 3 August 2006. Courtesy of CVO.

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

Information Contacts: U.S. Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory, Vancouver, WA (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/cvo/); The Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network, University of Washington Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences, Box 351310, Seattle, WA (URL: http://www.geophys.washington.edu/SEIS/PNSN/).


Sulu Range (Papua New Guinea) — July 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Sulu Range

Papua New Guinea

5.5°S, 150.942°E; summit elev. 610 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity and emissions reported from volcano with no historical eruptions

On 7 July 2006, observers reported the first historical indication of volcanic activity in the Sulu Range of New Britain (in the nation of Papua New Guinea (PNG)). As shown on figure 1, the Sulu Range lies near the N coast of New Britain Island. This spot sits in the Province of West New Britain but in terms of geometry, lies closer to the middle of the island ~100 km E of the prominent, N-trending Willaumez Peninsula and ~200 km SW of Rabaul at the island's E end.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Two maps indicating the context of the Sulu Range on New Britain Island. Volcanoes with currently listed Holocene activity are shown (solid triangles). (Top map) Covering all of New Britain and parts of neighboring islands New Guinea and New Ireland. Four volcanoes in this region have become active in the past few years: Garbuna, Pago, Sulu Range, and Bamus. In the cases of Garbuna and the Sulu Range, these were their first recorded historical eruptions. Beyond Bamus to the NE reside the better known Ulawun and Rabaul volcanoes. (Lower map) An enlargement of the area bounded to the W by the Willaumez Peninsula.

Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) noted that ground observations at the Sulu Range, confirmed by aerial inspection, indicated that the emissions were coming from an area initially incorrectly disclosed as Mount Karai. (Karai is reportedly equivalent to Mount Ruckenberg, mentioned below.) Later reports correcting the initial vent location, stated that the eruption took place 2 km SW of Mount Karai between Ubia and Ululu volcanoes.

Considerable light on the Sulu Range and other volcanoes in the vicinity is shed by an Australian Bureau of Mineral Resources report by Johnson (1971). The coordinates and summit elevation given in the header above apply to the highest point in the Sulu Range, Mount Malopu (synonyms include "Malutu" and "Malobu").

Changes in our nomenclature. We indicate Walo hot springs on the lower map of figure 1, the only feature in this vicinity previously identified in our database on active volcanoes. Walo was listed as a thermal feature in the Melanesian portion of the Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World (Fisher, 1957) and in Simkin and Siebert (1994). Walo rests in a low swampy area ~ 3 km W of the edge of the Sulu Range, which we apply broadly to a ~ 10 km diameter mountainous area with multiple peaks of ~ 500-600 m elevation. The highland areas associated with the Sulu Range's NE end contains a cone near the coast, which is labeled "Mount Ruckenberg (extinct volcano)" on the Bangula Sheet (Papua New Guinea 1:100,000 Topographic Survey, 1975).

The Sulu Range eruption has spurred restructuring of our naming conventions. Walo is now listed as a thermal feature associated with the larger volcanic field called the Sulu Range (and it preserves the Volcano Number that used to apply only to Walo, 0502-09=).

2006 eruption and earthquakes. RVO reported that there were indications as early as February 2006 that something was changing at Sulu Range because vegetation there was dying off. RVO noted that earthquakes began on 6 July and most river systems near Mount Karai had turned muddy due to the continuous shaking. Seismic activity was followed by the emission of puffs of white vapor from the area and loud booming and rumbling noises accompanied strong tremors.

Eruptions started with forceful dark emissions late on 7 and 8 July and decreased to moderate emissions by 10 July. At the settlement Bialla, ~20 km NE of the Sulu Range, tremors were felt. These were also picked up by the seismic stations at Garbuna and Ulawun (~100 km W and ENE, respectively).

In a report discussing 10-11 July, RVO reported that three villages N of Mount Karai had been evacuated. For the 10th, RVO described the activity as weak-to-moderate emission of white vapor with no evidence of ashfall and with occasional weak-to-moderate roaring noises accompanying the emissions. On the 11th, associated with earthquakes, white puffs discharged. Similar observations of white emissions prevailed through the 12th.

Earthquakes increased both in size and frequency of occurrence, and on 11 July at Bialla they took place every 10-20 minutes. Near Ubia volcano, seismicity was very elevated, with earthquakes every few minutes. At 0820 on 12 July a large earthquake of Modified Mercalli (MM) intensity VII or more occurred in the region. It disturbed the shoreline, which discolored the seawater; shaking also caused the sea surface to become choppy.

The USGS epicenter for the above-cited 12 July (local time) earthquake was listed at very nearly the same time (in UTC, on 11 July at 2222) with epicenter at 5.48°S, 150.83°E, a depth of 37 km and a body magnitude (mb) of 4.90. That spot lies 12 km NE of Sulu Range (using the coordinates listed in the header above). On a table of earthquakes the same day (11 July, UTC), seven others, mb 3.9-4.7 occurred within several hundred kilometers of Sulu Range. All took place earlier, but a pattern of substantial ongoing earthquakes also prevailed later as well.

RVO noted that from 1600 on 12 July to 0900 on 13 July high-frequency earthquakes occurring at the rate of one every minute were recorded on the seismograph deployed at Bialla. The earthquakes recorded were of varying (though unstated) magnitudes and towards 0900 decreased slightly to one every 30 minutes. Shortly afterwards, from 1000 to 1400 on 13 July, the seismograph was deployed in Kaiamu village on the small point immediately NW of the uplands portions of the Sulu Range, where it recorded continuous strings of high frequency earthquakes. Although the instrument was out of service after 1400 on the 13th, recording resumed that afternoon and seismic activity continued at a high level through 0900 on 15 July. During this time, the occurrence of felt earthquakes with maximum MM intensity V increased from one every 40-60 minutes to one every 2-3 minutes. Details of a subsequent decline in seismicity are sketchy.

The last reported visible emissions from the Sulu Range were on 12 July. By early August 2006 seismic activity had decreased to earthquakes of MM intensity I to II occurring at increasing intervals.

Again referring to USGS seismicity tables, the previously mentioned pattern of ongoing earthquakes on 11 July, generally mb 3.9-4.9, continued. An exception, the largest magnitude event during 9-18 July struck 31 km from Sulu Range, listed in UTC on 13 July at 2248; mb 5.1. It was at 39 km depth with epicenter ~12 km away. About 5 hours later a mb 4.7 event was recorded directly at volcano. On the 19th two larger earthquakes struck. One an Ms 6.4 centered 28 km away; the second, an Mw 5.90, 33 km away. These were the largest earthquakes within 50 km during 1 July to 11 September 2006.

References. Fisher N H, 1957, Melanesia: Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome, IAVCEI, v. 5, p. 1-105.

Johnson, R.W., 1971, Bamus volcano, Lake Hargy area, and Sulu Range, New Britain: Volcanic geology and petrology, Aust. Bur. Min. Res. Geol. Geophys. Rec, 1971/55, p. 1-36.

Papua New Guinea 1:100,000 Topographic Survey, 1975, Bangula Sheet, Sheet 9187, Series T601: Royal Australian Survey Corps (Reprinted by the National Mapping Bureau, 1985).

Simkin, T., and Siebert, L., 1994, Volcanoes of the World: Geoscience Press, Tucson, Arizona, 349 p. (ISBN 0-945005-12-1).

Geologic Background. The Sulu Range consists of a cluster of partially overlapping small stratovolcanoes and lava domes in north-central New Britain off Bangula Bay. The 610-m Mount Malopu at the southern end forms the high point of the basaltic-to-rhyolitic complex. Kaiamu maar forms a peninsula with a small lake extending about 1 km into Bangula Bay at the NW side of the Sulu Range. The Walo hydrothermal area, consisting of solfataras and mud pots, lies on the coastal plain west of the SW base of the Sulu Range. No historical eruptions are known from the Sulu Range, although some of the cones display a relatively undissected morphology. A vigorous new fumarolic vent opened in 2006, preceded by vegetation die-off, seismicity, and dust-producing landslides.

Information Contacts: Herman Patia and Steve Saunders, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.


Tungurahua (Ecuador) — July 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Tungurahua

Ecuador

1.467°S, 78.442°W; summit elev. 5023 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


14-15 July 2006 eruption, the strongest since onset of eruption in 1999

This report discusses Tungurahua's behavior during August 2005 through the end of July 2006. Material presented here was chiefly gleaned from a series of special reports issued in Spanish by the Instituto Geofísico of the Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IGEPN, hereafter IG). Daily reports for mid-2005 through early 2006 were dominated by descriptions of small plumes and minor ashfall; the reports also noted occasional small rain-generated lahars. For the most part 2005 was the quietest year since eruptions began in 1999, leading residents and volcanologists to ponder if emissions were terminating. This report omits much discussion of evacuations and hazard-status postings. Large eruptions with a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 3 that continued into at least late August 2006 will be the subject of the next Bulletin report.

During late December 2005 seismometers detected sudden clusters of tremor and earthquakes. Intervals of quiet were broken by the arrival of signals with energy over a broad frequency range (figures 26 and 27). These signals and later manifestations at the surface in late March-early April were thought to be related to a new injection of magma. As a consequence, IG began to produce a series of special reports (table 10). Beginning in February 2006 and particularly during May-June 2006, the volcano was the scene of particularly significant events, including the largest detonations heard and seen since eruptions renewed in 1999. Other observations included a shift in eruptive style, and generation of some pyroclastic flows during the 14 July (VEI 2) eruption. Notable also were constant "roars" and vibrations of such strength and duration that they keep residents awake at night and caused some to voluntarily evacuate.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Plots showing daily tallies of Tungurahua's seismicity-volcano-tectonic, long-period, emission, explosion, total number of earthquakes, and total energy release-from 1 January 2003 to end of July 2006. Courtesy of IG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. (Top) Summary of seismicity recorded at Tungurahua's station RETU during 1 January and into August 2006 (slightly different end points for two plots). Numbers of events appears on left-hand scale; RSAM (line), in appropriate units, on right-hand scale (peak value is ~ 9 x 1019). (Bottom) Total energy liberated from volcanic tremor and explosions during January 2003 to 1 August 2006. The left-hand scale applies to tremor; the right-hand scale, explosions (reduced displacement). The sharp ascents formed by the "failed eruption" in mid May and the 14 July event are the largest increases since the activity's onset in 1999. Note the pronounced rise in reduced displacement from explosions in months 5-8 (May to August) 2006. Courtesy of IG.

Table 10. A summary of special reports on Tungurahua issued by the IG during 2006 (reports numbered 1-8; See IG web page-Informes Especiales-Volcanicos).

Date Special Report Key observation(s)
18 Feb 2006 1 Moderate explosions and tephra falls in Puela (SW), Paillate (W), Ambato (NW) and Banos (N).
07 Apr 2006 2 Episodes of strong volcanic tremor and increase in number of long-period seismic events, indicating new magma injection.
25 Apr 2006 3 Notable banded tremor, the inferred product of new injected magma interacting with the hydrothermal system.
12 May 2006 4 10 May-start of major increase in number of explosions, long-period seismic events and tremor episodes. Very strong detonations (12 per hour). Peak of energy release on 14 May, then decline. Aborted eruption.
30 May 2006 5 Starting 16 May, significant decrease in activity and superficial manifestations. Explosions occur 2-3 times per day; columns of gases (water vapor mainly) with light ash content predominate.
14 Jul 2006 6 Advisory of intensified eruptive activity; notable increase in emissions and strong detonations (at 2210 & 2250 UTC). Incandescent lava flung from crater. Strong ground movements reported on W flank.
14 Jul 2006 8 Very strong detonations, period of calm, then ascent of 15-km-high, dark, ash-laden column. First pyroclastic flow (at 2250 UTC) and others to descend six valleys (quebradas) on the W-NW-N flanks. Intense lava fountaining; moderate ash and scoria fall to the W.
15 Jul 2006 8 Unusually large discharges with a detonation (at 0559 UTC), leading to the largest registered since 1999. Plume rose to ~15 km altitude. The eruptive style later shifted to periodic detonations with intervals of calm.

A map and table of commonly referred-to locations appeared in a previous issue (BGVN 29:01). Our last report on Tungurahua covered February 2004 to July 2005 (BGVN 30:06), during which time volcanic and seismic activity varied, but included some intervals with comparatively low activity and seismicity such as February to mid-July 2005.

Activity during June to mid-December 2005. From June 2005 through mid-December 2005, volcanic and seismic activity at Tungurahua was at relatively low levels. Low-energy plumes composed of gas, steam, and occasionally small amounts of ash were emitted frequently. Some noteworthy events during this interval follow.

On 7 June 2005, fine ash fell in the Puela sector, ~ 8 km SW. On 24 June, about an hour after an ash eruption, a narrow plume was identified in multispectral satellite imagery. The ash plume was at an altitude of ~ 5.5 km and extended 35-45 km W from the summit.

Ash plumes rose to an altitude of 5.8 km on 4 July. On 21 and 22 August, ash fell in the town of Bilbao, 8 km W of the volcano. On 25 August, ash fell NW of the volcano in the towns of Bilbao and Cusúa. On 1 September, ash fell ~ 8 km SW of the summit in the Puela sector.

On 10 September, a lahar affected an area near the new Baños-Penipe highway. On 14 September, a steam column with little ash reached ~ 300 m above the crater and drifted W; small amounts of ash fell in Puela. A small amount of ash fell in the towns of Cusúa and Bilbao during the morning of 21 September. Fumaroles on the outer edge of the crater were visible from Runtún (6 km NNE of the summit) after not being seen for 6 months. Steam-and-gas plumes rose ~ 1 km and drifted W. A pilot reported an ash plume on 29 September at an altitude of ~ 6.1 km.

During October, and November heavy rain caused lahars to travel down some of the gorges on the volcano's flanks. On 3 and 13 November lahars caused the temporary closure of the Baños-Riobamba highway, and a highway in Pampas. On 15 November ash plumes rose to ~ 9.1 km; on 23 November plumes rose to ~6.7 km.

On 13 December, lahars were generated at Tungurahua that traveled down the Juive (NNW) and Achupashal (W) gorges. On 14 December a steam-and-ash cloud rose ~ 1 km above the volcano. On 17 December, lahars were generated in the NW and W zone of the volcano. There were reports of lahars to the W in the Chontapamba sector that blocked the Baños-Penipe highway, in the Salado sector where the volume of water in the Vazcún increased by 70 percent, and in the NW (La Pampa) sector.

Return, incidence, and significance of broadband seismicity. An important variation in behavior was noted during late December 2005, with the appearance of long-period-earthquake swarms. The swarms preceded emissions and explosions. Such swarms were associated with mid-February 2006 ash-bearing explosions discussed below. After 21 March 2006, the swarms became yet more common and stronger. They were joined by low-frequency harmonic tremor.

Interpreted as related to the motion of magma, the tremor and swarms also seemed closely associated with lava fountains seen in the crater on 25 March 2006. Along with long-period earthquakes there were two episodes of high-amplitude tremor during 4-5 April 2006. Such seismicity had been absent for about a year. Small lava fountains witnessed on the night of 17 April 2006 were again preceded by long-period earthquakes and banded tremor.

As a result, IG distributed two special reports (##2 & 3). The latter contained a spectrogram for late April 2006, illustrating intervals of relative quiet (up to ~ 5 hours long) punctuated by broad-band signals (i.e. coincident earthquakes and tremor) sometimes in tight clusters lasting ~ 90 minutes.

January-May 2006. At the beginning of January 2006, explosions generated moderate amounts of ash, but seismicity remained low. Though clouds obscured the volcano during much of 18-24 January 2006, steam clouds with minor ash content were seen on 20 and 22 January. A discharge of muddy, sediment-laden water along W-flank valleys on 23-24 January blocked the highway. On 25 January light rain caused lahars to flow in the NW sector. The lahars descended a NNW-flank gorge from the village of Juive, causing the closure of the Baños-Penipe highway. Around 28 January, ash fell in the village of Puela. On 31 January, a steam-and-ash plume rose ~1 km above the volcano and drifted W. A small lahar closed a road in Pampas for 2 hours.

On 5 February at 0600, a moderate explosion sent a steam plume, with a small amount of ash, to ~ 1 km above the volcano; the plume drifted SW. Light rainfall on 7 February generated a lahar in the La Pampa area NW of the volcano.

During 6-14 February, several moderate-sized emissions of gas and ash occurred at Tungurahua, with plumes rising to ~ 500 m above the volcano. Long-period earthquakes increased in number on the 6th. An explosion around midnight on 12 February expelled incandescent volcanic material that traveled down the N flank of the volcano. A small amount of ash fell in the town of Puela, SW of the volcano.

IG issued a report (##1; Boletín Especial Volcán Tungurahua) on 18 February 2006 noting slight increases in activity that week. Explosions were moderate; however, ashfall occurred in some settlements bordering the volcano. IG summarized the week with a table similar to one below, with multiple cases of ash fall on local towns (table 11).

Table 11. A summary of Tungurahua's ash falls during an active interval, 13-18 February 2006, and the settlements affected. OVT stands for the Observatorio Volcán Tungurahua, a facility 13 km NW of the summit, down valley from the town of Patate. The report was issued at 1330 on the 18th, explaining why the entries only applied to the first half of that day. Courtesy of IG (special report ##1).

Date Number of explosions Location and comment
13 Feb 2006 1 Puela (~8 km SW of the summit), ashfall during the day.
14 Feb 2006 4 Puela, ashfall during the afternoon.
15 Feb 2006 4 No ashfall reported.
16 Feb 2006 9 Runtun, ashfall at dawn; Observatory (OVT), Pelileo, Banos, and Garcia Moreno subjected to light ashfall in the morning; Bilbao, Cusua, Puela, Humbalo, Bolivar, and Pillate subjected to strong ashfall in the morning.
17 Feb 2006 3 In Chacauco, Cusua, and Juive ash fell at dawn and part of the morning. In Pillate, Cotalo, Cusua, and Huambalo, ash in the morning. In Bilbao, ashfall all day; and Chogluntus, small ashfall during the afternoon.
18 Feb 2006 1 Observations until about 1200. In Banos, OVT, Salasaca, Pondoa, Bilbao, San Juan, and Pelileo, ashfall at dawn. In Banos and Ambato, ashfall in both the morning and afternoon.

Activity at Tungurahua during 28 February to 6 March consisted of low-level seismicity and emissions of steam and gas, with low ash content. An explosion on the 28th produced a plume composed of steam, gas, and some ash that reached ~ 3 km high.

In addition to the moderate explosions during 8-10 March, light drizzle produced muddy water in the gorges on the volcano's W flank. As a result the Baños-Penipe highway was closed for several hours. On 9 March, ash fell in the zone of Juive on the volcano's NW flank. On 10 March, ash fell in the towns of Pillate, Pondoa, Runtún, and Cusúa (on the W to NW to NNE flanks).

During 16-20 March, small-to-moderate explosions occurred at Tungurahua that consisted of gas, steam, and small amounts of ash. Plumes rose to ~ 3 km above the volcano. During 22-27 March, similar explosions consisted of gas, steam, and small amounts of ash. Plumes rose as high as ~ 1 km above the volcano on several days. An explosion on 26 March was accompanied by incandescent blocks that rolled down the volcano's NW flank.

On 18 February, small amounts of ashfall were reported at the observatory, Cotaló, Cusúa, and other settlements (table 11). On 19 February, rainfall generated a small mudflow SW of the volcano in the Quebrada Rea sector of Puela.

Table 12 summarizes observations associated with plumes and seismicity during 15 February to 8 May 2006. Many observations in that interval noted small-to-moderate explosions or other emissions. Ash plumes to 1-3 km above the volcano (6-8 km altitude) were typical.

Table 12. A compilation of some daily and weekly observations from Tungurahua during 15 February to 8 May 2006. Courtesy of IG.

Date range Description of activity (plume heights in kilometers above the summit)
15 Feb-19 Feb 2006 Ash plume as high as 3 km.
26 Feb-27 Feb 2006 Steam and gas with low ash content; on the 26th, 1 plume to ~3 km; on the 27th, to 1 km. Both plumes drifted NW.
28 Feb-06 Mar 2006 Steam and gas with low ash content; on the 28th, 1 plume to ~3 km. Low seismicity.
08 Mar-10 Mar 2006 Several explosions with low ash content resulting in plumes under 2 km.
16 Mar-20 Mar 2006 Small-to-moderate explosions consisting of gas, steam, and small amounts of ash. Plumes rose to ~3 km.
22 Mar-27 Mar 2006 Small-to-moderate explosions consisting of gas, steam, and small amounts of ash. Plumes rose as high as ~1 km above the volcano on several days.
29 Mar-02 Apr 2006 Small-to-moderate explosions consisting of gas, steam, and small amounts of ash.
04 Apr-10 Apr 2006 Small-to-moderate explosions at Tungurahua consisting of gas, steam, and small amounts of ash. On the 9th, plumes rose to ~3 km.
11 Apr-17 Apr 2006 Small-to-moderate explosions produced gas, steam, and small amounts of ash. On the 13th, plumes rose to ~2 km. High seismicity.
19 Apr-23 Apr 2006 Small-to-moderate explosions produced gas, steam, and small amounts of ash. On the 19th, plumes rose to ~3 km. High seismicity.
28 Apr-01 May 2006 Small-to-moderate explosions; gas, steam, and small amounts of ash. On the 28th, a plume rose to a maximum height of ~2 km. High seismicity.
04 May-08 May 2006 Small-to-moderate explosions; gas, steam, and small amounts of ash. High seismicity, dominated by explosions and long-period earthquakes.

During this 15 February to 8 May time interval ash affected localities as follows. During 29 March to 2 April, ash fell in the Bilbao, Choglontus, Puela, and Manzano sectors, and incandescent blocks rolled down the volcano's NW flank. Around 9 March, ash fell in the Baños, Guadalupe, Chogluntus, Bilbao, and Manzano sectors. Around 1500 on 9 March, several lahars traveled down W-flank gorges, disrupting traffic along the Baños-Penipe highway. An explosion on 26 March was accompanied by incandescent blocks that rolled down the NW flank. During 11-17 April, a small amount of ash fell in the Pondoa sector N of the volcano.

Increased activity starting 10 May 2006. Seismicity for mid-April 2006 to mid-August 2006 appears in figure 28. The figure shows the time sequence of hypocenters with various signal types given separate symbols. Between April and May there was a shallowing of event locations (indicated by the arrow on the left) from -4 km to +2 km. At that point, explosion signals suddenly began to dominate. Those explosion signals came from depths in the range from 0 to over +4 km depth. The 14 May seismic crisis seemingly ended without a large eruption. Explosion signals continued; however, they ceased dominating until around the time of the 14 July eruption when they again became the chief signal (circled area) just prior to the eruption breaking out at the surface.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Temporal evolution of depth for various kinds of hypocenters recorded at Tungurahua between April and August 2006. Left-hand scale, depth, is fixed to sea level (i.e. 0 is at mean sea level.). The legend shows the symbols for the various signal types shown: VT (volcano-tectonic earthquakes), LP (long-period earthquakes), EXP (explosion signals), and EMI (emission signals). Courtesy of IG.

IG put out special report ##4 with a cautionary tone. In the 48 hours starting around 10 May, there was a very important increase in activity. IG judged the anomalous, high-activity conditions as severe as previous ones during this crisis (specifically, equivalent to those of October-December 1999, August 2001, September 2002, and October 2003). The summary that follows largely omits the discussion of plausible scenarios aimed at public safety; however, the IG noted that if rapid escalation were to occur during the current unstable situation, they might not have time to issue alerts. They also noted that the eruption might calm.

During the roughly two-day interval, seismometers registered over 130 explosion signals, averaging about three explosions per hour, but with a maximum of 12 per hour. The general tendency was towards yet more increases in the number of explosion signals. The activity was accompanied by continuous signals described as harmonic tremor and emission-related tremor, and after 10 May these tremor signals were also more intense and frequent. In spite of the increase in explosion and tremor signals, emissions of magmatic gases (SO2) and ash stayed at relatively low levels.

First-hand observations during 10-12 May described extraordinarily loud explosions heard from 30-40 km away in Pillaro and from~ 31 km NW in Ambato, but absent 30 km SW in Riobamba. In settlements near the volcano, including Cusúa on the volcano's W foot, glass windows shattered. In some areas, roars were sufficiently intense that vibrations in windows and houses kept inhabitants awake at night. The intensities of eruptions from 10 May were reminiscent of the eruption's onset in 1999.

From the observatory in the Guadelupe sector (13 km NW of the cone) night observers saw the ejection and rolling descent of large glowing blocks of lava, and the crater gave off a permanent glow. However, ash emissions were considerably reduced; the chief component venting was steam with few other gases. The resulting outbursts were not continuous and they were too weak to form mushroom clouds. This was in contrast to other periods of high activity (e.g. August 2001, September 2002, and October 2003), when sustained ash-bearing eruption columns and ash falls were common.

IG special report ##4 noted that the tremor signals during a 48-hour interval after 10 May were the strongest recorded since the eruptions renewed in 1999. The number of explosions and their seismic energy were the highest recorded since the end of 2003, but was less than registered during November 1999 and mid-2000.

On 30 May IG issued its next special report (##5), which noted elevated eruptive activity during 8-14 May, but a clear decrease thereafter. During 10-21 May, the following instruments detected the stated numbers of explosions: seismometers, 801; and infrasonic recorders, 682. The peak in these explosions occurred on 14 May, a day when the instrument counts were as follows: seismometers, 221; infrasonic, 204. As in the previous report, inhabitants close to the volcano heard loud roars, and in some cases were sleepless due to vibrations heard or felt in their homes at night. These conditions convinced residents in Cusúa to move during the night. But starting the 16th, the number and intensity of explosions per day decreased drastically, with only 17 explosions recorded on the 16th, dropping in later days to 2 or 3 daily explosions. According to a local mayor, given the lack of noises and relative calm, evacuees from Cusúa returned home.

The lull in explosions coincided with ongoing fluctuations in seismicity. The IG interpreted this as a sign of continued instability linked to the motion of fluids at depth. The lull in explosion signals accompanied increased gas emissions, which gradually came to contain more and more ash. Small, local ash fall again began to occur. Starting 17 May it became common to see ash columns extending to 4 km above the summit, frequently blown NW.

Reports for the week following 17 May by the Washington VAAC also discussed the increasing ash plumes. On 18 May, an ash plume reached an altitude of 5.2 km above the crater and extended NW. The Washington VAAC also noted that on 19 May, the Instituto Geofísico observed an ash plume that reached an altitude of 12 km. On satellite imagery, ash plumes were visible on 20 and 23 May and extended SW. Hotspots were visible on satellite imagery 19, 20 and 23 May. The ash plume and incandescence on 23 May were also observed on the scene by Instituto Geofísico staff. On 25 May a significant meteorological advisory (SIGMET) indicated an ash plume to an altitude of 5 km. On 27 and 30 May, the VAAC reported that the Instituto Geofísico observed ash plumes at altitudes of 7.9 km and 5 km respectively. IG noted that behavior during the last few weeks of May seemed consistent with a gradual decrease from the state of elevated activity seen in mid-May.

Although satellite thermal data produced alerts during 8-14 May, these ceased later in the month. The reduced thermal flux was taken to suggest reduced manifestations in the crater during mid to late May. Coincident with that, deformation data suggested relative stability, particularly compared to the significant variations seen earlier in May.

During 28 June-4 July, small-to-moderate explosions at Tungurahua produced plumes composed of gas, steam, and small amounts of ash that reached 1.5 km above the summit. Light ashfall was reported in nearby localities during 29 June-2 July. On 29 June, reports of ground movement coincided with an explosive eruption that sent blocks of incandescent material as far as 1 km down the W flank.

During 5-11 July, seismic activity indicating explosions increased at Tungurahua. Incandescent blocks were ejected from the crater during 5 to 8 July, when blocks rolled approximately 1 km down the NW flank. Ash-and-steam plumes with moderate to no ash content were observed to reach maximum heights of 2.5 km above the summit and drifted to the W and NW.

Eruptive style changes after powerful discharges of mid-July 2006. On 14 and 15 July, IG issued its next special reports (##6, 7, and 8) documenting events surrounding the strongest eruption yet seen during the entire 1999-2006 eruptive process. The basis for the size assesment was made from the seismic record based on reduced displacement, sometimes called normalized or root-mean-square amplitude (a means to correct seismic data to a common reference point; McNutt, 2000) The largest discharge occurred at 0559 on 15 July.

On 14 July, seismicity was elevated above that seen in the previous several days. IG noted that at 1710 several large explosions were recorded on instruments, as well as heard by people. An eruption column formed, bearing moderate ash. It initially rose several kilometers but later was estimated to have attained ~ 15 km altitude. This was followed by 20 minutes of quiet. At 1733 a huge explosion presumably opened the conduit. Immediately local authorities were contacted and they evacuated people living on the lower NW-W flanks of the cone. Pyroclastic flows and explosion signals are notable in the seismic record (figure 29).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Consecutive records for 14-15 July 2006 (upper and lower panels, respectively) observed from the broadband seismic station Mson located on Tungurahua's SW flank at 3.2 km elevation. Time marks on the y-axis show hours (0 to 24) of the day, x-axis marks show minutes (0 to 60). Note the relative quiet on 14 July prior to eruption's onset at 1733. The latter was preceded by ~ 20 minutes of tremor. Courtesy of IG.

At 0050 on 14 July a pyroclastic flow poured down the NW flank (the Juive Grande drainage). An associated fine ashfall was noted 8 km SW in the town of Puela. Intense Strombolian activity ensued, including glowing blocks tossed 500 m above the crater that bounced downslope for considerable distances. Associated noises were particularly loud and heard widely, including in Ambato (30 km NW). Lookouts described these sounds as distinctive ("bramidos doble golpe;" roughly translated as 'double roars'), a new sound in the suite of those heard since 1999. In the Cusúa area, and up to 13 km NW in the sector of the Observatory of Guadelupe, residents felt intense ground movements.

At 1930 that day pumice fell on the W flank (the sector of Pillate) reaching a thickness of ~ 1 cm. About 10 minutes after the pumice fall, the IG issued the second special report (##7) on the 14 July events. It cautioned residents to remain away from the volcano's W side. The next special report (##8) noted that variations in activity prevailed through the end of 14 July, and that much of the first hour of 15 July brought decreased activity. Tremor continued on 15 July, often in episodes with durations of 4 to 5 minutes, separated by intervening calm intervals of similar duration.

After 0500 on 15 July the eruptive process changed, with the new regime characterized by sequences of abundant large explosions followed by intervals of calm lasting 30-40 minutes. A critical detonation occurred at 0559 on 15 July. On the basis of reduced displacement, it ranked as the largest since the eruption began in 1999. Other detonations with similar character followed the initial one. During 0500-0555 there were 20 large detonations. In assessing the 14-15 July eruptions, satellite analysis by both the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center and the U.S. Air Force Weather Agency confirmed the highest ash-plume tops to altitudes of 15-16 km.

At sunup on 15 July observers found signs that a pyroclastic flow had descended a W-flank drainage (Achupashal valley, between Cusúa and Bilbao). The deposits filled the valley (to 5- to 10-m thickness). Small fires had ignited in the vegetation. A rockfall was also seen in the Bilbao area. Ash falls were reported, containing both ash and scoria fragments, affecting the cities of Penipe, Quero, Cevallo, Mocha, Riobamba, and Guaranda.

Additional fieldwork revealed that pyroclastic flows had traveled down at least six quebradas around the volcano, including Achupasal, Cusúa, Mandur, Hacienda, Juive Grande, and Vascún valleys (the latter, upslope from the western part of the touristic city of Baños).

Figures 30-33 depict the distribution of fresh deposits as well as some photos taken during the 14-15 July eruptions. Tilt and SO2 monitored at Tungurahua appear on figures 34 and 35. Satellite photos from 25 June and 18 July appeared on the NASA Earth Observatory website.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. Paths where pyroclastic flows descended during Tungurahua's eruption of 14-15 July 2006. The associated ashfall deposits are identified at points W of the volcano's summit (thicknesses in mm). For scale, adjacent E-W grid lines are 4.44 km apart (and Cotalo, on the NW flank is ~8.5 km from the summit). Grid lines are latitude and longitude in degrees (heavy type) and decimal degrees (light type); lines are separated by 0.04 degrees N-S, and 0.05 degrees E-W. Courtesy of IG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Pyroclastic flow routes and deposits on Tungurahua's lower W flank (near Cusúa). Photographed 14 July 2006 Courtesy of IG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Three photos depicting the onset of strong pyroclastic flows on Tungurahua at about 1814 on 14 July 2006. This particular pyroclastic flow descended the Juive Grande river valley. Photo taken from Loma Grande, located about 9 km NNW of the crater. Photographed by L. Gomezjurado; courtesy of IG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. At Tungurahua, a pyroclastic flow descending the NW-trending Mandur valley at 0653 on 16 July 2006. Photo by P. Mothes, IG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Plot showing radial tilt (at station RETU located at 4 km elevation on the N flank), 13 April-11 August 2006. During mid-May to mid-June 2006, tilt at the instrument had been in an inflationary trend. Around 22 June the tilt shifted to deflation, which became strong for a few day just prior to the eruption. The eruption occurred after several hours of sudden inflation. After the eruption, the broad deflationary trend continued until around the beginning of August.Courtesy of IG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. SO2 flux at Tungurahua as measured by DOAS, July 2004-July 2006. Courtesy of IG.

Reference. McNutt, S., 2000, Seismic monitoring, in Encyclopedia of Volcanoes: Academic Press (editor-in-chief, Haraldur Sigurdsson), p. 1095-1119, ISBN 0-12-643140-X.

Geologic Background. Tungurahua, a steep-sided andesitic-dacitic stratovolcano that towers more than 3 km above its northern base, is one of Ecuador's most active volcanoes. Three major edifices have been sequentially constructed since the mid-Pleistocene over a basement of metamorphic rocks. Tungurahua II was built within the past 14,000 years following the collapse of the initial edifice. Tungurahua II itself collapsed about 3000 years ago and produced a large debris-avalanche deposit and a horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the west, inside which the modern glacier-capped stratovolcano (Tungurahua III) was constructed. Historical eruptions have all originated from the summit crater, accompanied by strong explosions and sometimes by pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached populated areas at the volcano's base. Prior to a long-term eruption beginning in 1999 that caused the temporary evacuation of the city of Baños at the foot of the volcano, the last major eruption had occurred from 1916 to 1918, although minor activity continued until 1925.

Information Contacts: Geophysical Institute (IG), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Apartado 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec/).

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements  Obituaries

Misc Reports

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

Additional Reports  False Reports