Logo link to homepage

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

Sarychev Peak (Russia) Ash eruption in March 2020; lava extrusion in August filled and then overflowed the crater in January 2021

Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) Small lava flows in the summit crater during September 2020-February 2021

Manam (Papua New Guinea) Ash plumes, SO2 plumes, and thermal anomalies continued during October 2020-March 2021

Dukono (Indonesia) Ash and sulfur dioxide plumes during October 2020-March 2021

Sinabung (Indonesia) Block avalanches, pyroclastic flows, and ash explosions continue through February 2021

Barren Island (India) Ash emissions in November and December 2020, then thermal anomalies through February 2021

Merapi (Indonesia) New domes appear in January and February 2021; large explosion on 27 January

Yasur (Vanuatu) Gas-and-ash emissions, SO2 plumes, and thermal anomalies during September 2020-February 2021

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) Frequent small phreatic explosions through 13 December 2020

Kilauea (United States) New eruption in December 2020 with an active lava lake, lava flows, spattering, and a dome fountain

Pacaya (Guatemala) Increasing activity with ash emissions, explosions, and lava flows on multiple flanks during December 2020-February 2021

Villarrica (Chile) Explosions, ash plumes, crater incandescence, and an active lava lake during September 2020-February 2021



Sarychev Peak (Russia) — May 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Sarychev Peak

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash eruption in March 2020; lava extrusion in August filled and then overflowed the crater in January 2021

Sarychev Peak forms the surface of Matua Island in the Kurile Islands with reported activity dating back to around 1765. Recent activity that started in May 2019 included ash and gas emission and elevated temperatures within the summit crater detected by satellite sensors, with the last reported activity being an ash plume reaching 2.7 km altitude on 10 August and thermal anomalies present until 7 October 2019 (BGVN 44:11). This bulletin summarizes activity during November 2019-April 2021 using reports by the Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT) and the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), along with satellite data.

No cloud-free satellite images were found of the summit in November 2019, but Sentinel-2 satellite images showed weak gas-and-steam emissions on 2 and 20 December. Cloud-free Sentinel-2 images showed gas-and-steam emission through January 2020, and a thermal anomaly was detected in the crater on the 29th (figure 30). No clear satellite images of the summit area were found, but there is evidence of gas emission in February. Evidence of a new eruption is seen in satellite imagery of thin linear ash deposits across the snow on 1, 19, and 30 March 2020, all extending SE from the crater (figure 31). The crater was obscured by gas emissions on the 19th and a clear view of the crater floor showed no thermal anomaly on the 31st.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. These thermal satellite images show the Sarychev Peak summit area in December 2019 and January 2020. The images from 2 December 2019, 6 January, and 19 January 2020 show gas emissions (solid arrows). The 29 January image shows a small area with an elevated temperature on the crater floor (dashed arrow). Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images with false color (urban) (bands 12, 11, 4) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Three ashfall deposits are visible SW of the Sarychev Peak summit through March 2020. Based on satellite images, the deposit at the top was emplaced during an event that occurred during 28 February (ash-free image) and 1 March, the middle during 17 (ash-free image) and 19, and the bottom during 26 (ash-free image) and 29 March. Gas-and-steam emissions are obscuring the view into the crater. All images are at the same scale. Sentinel-2 satellite image with natural (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering. Courtesy of Planet Labs.

The MIROVA system began detecting elevated temperatures in early April 2020, which corresponded to the Sentinel-2 thermal sensor detecting high temperatures on the crater floor (figures 32 and 33). Satellite images also showed continued gas emissions, some days obscuring the view of the crater floor.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. This plot shows thermal energy detected at Sarychev Peak by the MIROVA system during March 2020-March 2021. there was an increase in energy detected in April 2020, which was intermittent through to October. After a few months the system detected thermal energy again in mid-January through to early February with a higher output. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Satellite images showing the Sarychev Peak summit crater on 4, 5, 18, and 20 April 2020. The first (top left) PlanetScope image shows the snow-covered summit area with a darker snow-free area on the crater floor. The other three images are Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images with the yellow to red colors indicating high temperatures on the crater floor. There is gas and steam in the crater on the 18th. The high temperature areas correlate to the darker snow-free area in NW part of the crater in the first image; blue colors in the thermal images are snow. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images have false color (urban) (bands 12, 11, 4) rendering. Courtesy of Planet Labs and Sentinel Hub Playground.

The thermal anomaly on the crater floor continued through May and June, with cloud-free images showing the same area of elevated temperature as the previous months. By 20 May 2019 data from Sentinel-1 Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) showed morphological change in the crater associated with the area of high temperature, and this change continued through June. The TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) detected sulfur dioxide (SO2) content within the plume on 27 May (figure 34). Gas-and-steam emission also continued in June, with more substantial plumes visible on 22 and 27 June (figure 35). TROPOMI again detected SO2 on 24 and 25 June; the plume on 24 June was also visible in Sentinel-2 imagery (figure 36).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. This image shows a weak gas plume from Sarychev Peak dispersing to the SE on 27 May 2020, as well as other volcanoes in Kamchatka. TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) data showing sulfur dioxide (SO2) in Dobson Units (DU). Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. These Planet Scope satellite scenes show gas-and-steam plumes emanating from the Sarychev Peak summit crater and dispersing SSW (left) and NW (right) on 22 and 27 June 2020, respectively. Courtesy of Planet Labs.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Weak gas emission at Sarychev Peak detected by satellite sensors on 25 and 26 June 2020. The top image and the bottom-left images were acquired on the 25th and show the plume being redirected by a meteorological vortex northward before curving to the W and N. Top: Sentinel-2 satellite image with natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering. Courtesy of Planet Labs. Bottom: TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) data showing sulfur dioxide (SO2) in Dobson Units (DU). Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Throughout July satellite data show thermal emission and gas-and-steam emission, mostly within plumes dispersing from the summit crater in different directions and sometimes restricted to within the crater (figure 37). On 18 July a PlanetScope image showed lava extrusion in the crater, at the location of the elevated temperature. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed weak thermal energy detected in the same location during August, and degassing continued (figure 38). By 12 August the deformation on the crater floor was clear in SAR data (figure 39), matching the PlanetScope and Sentinel-2 data. From 21 August through to 12 October there was a reduction in thermal energy detected in Sentinel-2 TIR data, with many days not having clear views of the crater floor. Plume emission continued throughout this time. There were no images showing elevated temperatures during November and December when clouds frequently covered the crater area, and there were also no anomalies detected by the MIROVA system.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. The PlanetScope natural color (top) and Sentinel-2 thermal (bottom) satellite images indicate lava in the crater during July 2020. Gas emission is also visible in the images. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images have false color (urban) (bands 12, 11, 4) rendering. Courtesy of Planet Labs and Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. PlanetScope and Sentinel-2 satellite images acquired during August 2020 show lava in the crater and gas-and-steam plumes being dispersed in different directions by winds. Sentinel-2 satellite image with natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering. Courtesy of Planet Labs and Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. These satellite images show the morphological change in the Sarychev Peak summit crater between 10 November 2019 and 12 August 2020. The three gray-scale images use Sentinel-1 Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data acquired on 10 November 2019, 20 May, and 12 August 2020. The color image in the lower left is a Sentinel-2 thermal image acquired on 22 June 2020. The SAR images show morphological changes in the crater in the same location as the elevated temperatures in the thermal images, indicating lava extrusion. Sentinel-1 SAR images are VV, decibel gamma0, and orthorectified. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images have false color (urban) (bands 12, 11, 4) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

On 11 January 2021 KVERT released a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) with an elevation of the Aviation Color Code from Green to Yellow. The temperature within the crater had increased above background levels by 79.8°?, indicating that renewed lava extrusion had begun in the crater on the 10th. A gas-and-steam plume extended 36 km NE on the 12th. On 15 January KVERT reported that moderate activity continued, including a gas-and-steam plume that extended 40 km NE. SAR data through January shows the lava volume increasing before flowing over the NW rim and down a preexisting channel on the flank (figure 40). KVERT reported that a lava flow on the northern flank had reached 400 m by the 20th. Lava extrusion with associated moderate gas and steam emission continued throughout the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. These SAR images of Sarychev Peak during 3 January to 20 February 2021 show lava extrusion filling the summit crater and descending a channel on the NW flank. Note that the 6 January image has a different look angle to the other images, and this alters how the surface appears. Sentinel-1 SAR images are VV, decibel gamma0, and orthorectified. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

A 3 February satellite image of the NW flank showed that the lava flow front had reached approximately 1.9 km from the crater rim where it had overflowed (figure 41). The Aviation Color Code was lowered to Green on the 18th with KVERT reporting that the eruption had ended, though thermal anomalies and gas-and-steam emission continued.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Satellite image scenes show the lava flow at Sarychev Peak on 3 and 14 February 2021. Top: PlanetScope image from 3 February showing the lobate lava flow front approximately 1.9 km from the NW crater rim. Bottom: Sentinel-2 satellite scenes from 14 February (thermal infrared to the left and natural color to the right) showing the summit crater area with lava extrusion and the lava flow overtopping the NW rim. Sentinel-2 satellite images have natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering, and thermal false color (urban) (bands 12, 11, 4) rendering. Courtesy of Planet Labs and Sentinel Hub Playground.

Satellite images of the lava flow acquired during March and April show the narrow lava lobe with pressure ridges and levees (figure 42). A comparison between a September 2019 satellite image and a clear 29 April 2021 image shows the change to the crater after the lava emplacement. The last Sentinel-2 image acquired within this period showing elevated temperatures within the crater was on 19 March and there was no more thermal energy detected by the MIROVA system by early February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. The PlanetScope satellite images across the top of this figure show the lava flow on the NW flank of Sarychev Peak during March-April 2021. The different degrees of snow cover show different surface morphological aspects like pressure ridges and levees. The bottom images show the crater on 7 September 2019 for comparison (left) and the lava within the summit crater on 29 April 2021 (right). Fumaroles are also visible around the crater walls in the 2019 image. The top images and bottom right image are PlanetScope satellite images and the lower left image is by CNES/Airbus through Google Earth. Courtesy of Planet Labs and U.S. Dept. of State Geographer Data via Google Earth, ©2019 Google.

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

Information Contacts: Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT), Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Science, Nauki st., 1B, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia, 693022 (URL: http://www.imgg.ru/en/, http://www.imgg.ru/ru/svert/reports); Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); 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/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/).


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — April 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small lava flows in the summit crater during September 2020-February 2021

Ol Doinyo Lengai is located near the southern end of the East African Rift in Tanzania. It is known for its unique low-temperature carbonatitic lava. Activity primarily occurs in the crater offset to the N about 100 m below the summit where hornitos (small cones) and pit craters produce lava flows and spattering. Eruptions have been recorded since the late 19th century; the current eruptive period began in April 2017 and has recently been characterized by small lava flows in the crater (BGVN 45:09). This report covers similar activity during September 2020 through February 2021 using information primarily from satellite data.

During September 2020 to February 2021 both thermal and natural color satellite imagery showed small lava flows in the summit crater. A total of six weak thermal anomalies were identified in MIROVA data during September (2), October (3), and November (1) 2020 (figure 211). No thermal anomalies were detected after late November, according to the MIROVA graph. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed small lava flows within the summit crater throughout the reporting period. On clear weather days, infrequent and faint thermal anomalies were observed in thermal satellite imagery within the crater; new lava flows were identified due to the change in shape, volume, and location of the thermal anomaly (figure 212). On 31 August a faint thermal anomaly was visible in the NW side of the summit crater. On 15 September fresh black lava was observed in the center of the summit crater spreading to the NW and E. Two small thermal anomalies were present on the W and E side of the crater on 20 September. On 24 December both thermal and Natural Color images showed the location of a lava flow as a thermal anomaly and as fresh lava in the center and W side of the crater. On 7 February a gas-and-steam plume was observed drifting E from the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 211. Intermittent low-level thermal anomalies were recorded at Ol Doinyo Lengai, based on the MIROVA thermal data graph (Log Radiative Power) during late August through late November 2020; a total of six weak thermal anomalies were detected between September through November 2020. The black lines are distant anomalies (more than 5 km from the summit) not related to volcanism. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 212. Sentinel-2 thermal and natural color imagery of Ol Doinyo Lengai from 31 August 2020 to 7 February 2021. On clear weather days, thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) were faintly visible in the summit crater on 31 August (top left) on the NW side. On 15 September (top right) fresh black lava, which quickly cools to a whitish-brown color, was seen in the crater, reflecting the position of the anomalies visible in the thermal image. Two anomalies were visible on 20 September (middle left) on the W and E side. Two black dots which represent cooled lava and thermal anomalies on the W side of the crater were visible in both 24 December (bottom left) thermal and Natural Color images. A small lava flow was observed in the center of the crater on 7 February (bottom right) 2021. Images are marked with “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A) and “Natural Color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — April 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Manam

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes, SO2 plumes, and thermal anomalies continued during October 2020-March 2021

Manam is located 13 km off the N coast of mainland Papua New Guinea and has had eruptions documented since 1616. It contains two active summit craters, Main and South, which have been characterized by occasional Strombolian activity, lava flows, pyroclastic avalanches, and ash plumes. The current eruption period has been ongoing since 2014 with more recent activity consisting of intermittent ash plumes, thermal anomalies, and sulfur dioxide emissions (BGVN 45:10). This report describes similar activity and covers October 2020 through March 2021 using information primarily from the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) and various satellite data.

Explosive and thermal activity was relatively low during this reporting period. Three ash plumes were reported by the Darwin VAAC based on imagery from the HIMIWARI-8 satellite. On 6 December 2020 an ash plume rose to 2.4 km altitude and drifted SW. The next VAAC notice was for ash detected on 23 January 2021 rising to 4.9 km and drifting SE and N. Then on 21 February an ash plume rose to a maximum altitude of 6 km and drifted W. Intermittent sulfur dioxide plumes were detected using the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite, some of which reached at least two Dobson Units (DU) and drifted in multiple directions (figure 79). On 6 December and 23 January, the ash plume that was described in the Darwin VAAC advisory was accompanied by an SO2 plume. SO2 plumes that reached a minimum of two DU were recorded for at least 12 days during October, 13 days during November, 15 days during December, 10 days during January, 3 days during February, and 6 days during March.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Distinct sulfur dioxide plumes rising from Manam and drifting in different directions were detected using data from the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite on 9 October (top left), 3 November (top right), 6 December (middle left) 2020, 13 January (middle right), 18 February (bottom left), and 18 March (bottom right) 2021. Courtesy of the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Thermal activity during October 2020 through March 2021 was relatively low in power and frequency compared to August and September, as recorded by the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system. Two brief pulses of activity were detected during mid-November and late December to mid-January (figure 80). A total of 14 low-power anomalies were recorded: one in early October, three in mid-November, two in December, a maximum number of six in January, one in late February, and one in late March. Some of this activity was captured in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery on clear weather days in both the Main and South summit craters (figure 81).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Thermal activity at Manam was low to moderate in power during October 2020 through March 2021, with notable brief pulses during mid-November and late December through mid-January, as shown on this MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph. One anomaly was detected in early October, three in mid-November, two in December, six in January, one in late February, and one in late March. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images show a persistent thermal anomaly (bright yellow-orange) at both of Manam’s summit craters (Main and South) on clear weather days during November 2020 through March 2021. Occasional gas-and-steam emissions accompanied the thermal anomalies as seen on 25 November 2020 (top left), 29 January (top right), 8 February (bottom left), and 20 March (bottom right) 2021. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); NASA 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).


Dukono (Indonesia) — April 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Dukono

Indonesia

1.693°N, 127.894°E; summit elev. 1229 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash and sulfur dioxide plumes during October 2020-March 2021

Dukono, located in northernmost Halmahera, Indonesia, has been erupting continuously since 1933. Volcanism has recently been characterized by frequent ash explosions, ash plumes, and sulfur dioxide plumes (BGVN 45:10). This report updates activity consisting of white-and-gray plumes and sulfur dioxide plumes during October 2020-March 2021 using information primarily from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and satellite data.

Volcanism at Dukono has been characterized by dominantly white-and-gray plumes, accompanied by intermittent ash plumes that drifted in multiple directions. On clear weather days, the ash plumes rose to 1.5-2.4 km altitude, or about 270-1,200 m above the crater, according to PVMBG and the Darwin VAAC advisories (table 23).

Table 23. Monthly summary of reported ash plumes from Dukono during October 2020-March 2021. The direction of drift for the ash plumes was highly variable; notable plume drifts each month were only indicated in the table if at least two weekly reports were consistent. Data courtesy of PVMBG and the Darwin VAAC.

Month Plume altitude (km) Notable plume drift
Oct 2020 1.8-2.4 W, N, NE, E, SW
Nov 2020 1.5-2.1 Multiple directions
Dec 2020 1.5-2.4 SE, E
Jan 2021 1.5-2.1 SW, E
Feb 2021 1.5-2.1 Multiple directions
Mar 2021 1.5-2.4 Multiple directions

Activity during October 2020 primarily consisted of near daily white-and-gray plumes that rose 100-700 m above the crater and drifted in multiple directions (figure 19). Ash plumes during this month rose between 1.8 and 2.4 km altitude and drifted W, N, NE, E, SW, according to PVMBG VONA notices and the Darwin VAAC advisories. Frequent white gas-and-steam emissions were also observed in webcam images. Similar activity continued in November, with almost daily white-and-gray plumes rising 100-800 m above the crater and drifting in multiple directions. On clear weather days ash plumes were observed up to 2.1 km altitude; on 12 November the ash plume rose up to 2.1 km altitude and drifted SW (figure 19).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Webcam images of white-and-gray plumes rising from Dukono on 8 October (left) and an ash plume on 12 November (right) 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

In December and January 2021, white-and-gray plumes were 100-700 m above the crater and drifted in multiple directions, dominantly E and W in December and SW in January. According to Darwin VAAC advisories during these two months, ash plumes were seen rising to 2.4 km altitude and drifted notably SE, E, and SW.

Activity in February persisted with white-and gray plumes rising 100-600 m above the crater and drifting dominantly SW and E (figure 20). Intermittent ash plumes rose to 2.1 km altitude during February and 2.4 km altitude during March, drifting in multiple directions. Gas-and-steam plumes were also frequent. During March, almost daily white-and-gray plumes rose 100-800 m above the crater and drifted in multiple directions (figure 20).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Webcam images of white-and-gray plumes rising from Dukono on 25 February (left) and 22 March (right) 2021. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

The NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide page, using data from the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite, showed strong SO2 plumes rising from Dukono and drifting in various directions (figure 21). In addition to SO2 plumes, Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed thermal anomalies of variable intensities on clear weather days (figure 22). Intermittent thermal anomalies recorded by the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system during early December 2020 through mid-March 2021 were low in power (figure 23). A brief break in thermal activity occurred during mid- to late-February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Strong sulfur dioxide emissions rose from Dukono and drifted in multiple directions were detected using the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. SO2 plumes drifted N on 10 October (top left), generally E on 28 November (top right), 13 December (middle left) 2020, and 11 February 2021 (bottom left), SE on 9 January (middle right) 2021, and W on 4 March (bottom right) 2021. Courtesy of the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showing a thermal anomaly in the summit crater on 1 November (top left) 2020, 10 January (middle right), 1 March (bottom left), and 16 March (bottom right) 2021, frequently accompanied by gas-and-steam and ash plumes. On 11 November (top right) and 6 December (middle left) 2020 a Natural Color image showed a grayish white ash plume drifting SW and SE, respectively. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Natural Color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) on 11 November and 6 December 2020, all other images use “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. MIROVA (Log Radiative Power) thermal data for Dukono from 3 June 2020 through March 2021 showed intermittent low power thermal activity during early December 2020 through mid-March 2020. A brief break in activity occurred during mid- to late-February. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. Reports from this remote volcano in northernmost Halmahera are rare, but Dukono has been one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes. More-or-less continuous explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, occurred from 1933 until at least the mid-1990s, when routine observations were curtailed. During a major eruption in 1550, a lava flow filled in the strait between Halmahera and the north-flank cone of Gunung Mamuya. This complex volcano presents a broad, low profile with multiple summit peaks and overlapping craters. Malupang Wariang, 1 km SW of the summit crater complex, contains a 700 x 570 m crater that has also been active during historical time.

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.esdm.go.id/v1); 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/); NASA 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).


Sinabung (Indonesia) — March 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Sinabung

Indonesia

3.17°N, 98.392°E; summit elev. 2460 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Block avalanches, pyroclastic flows, and ash explosions continue through February 2021

Indonesia’s Sinabung volcano in north Sumatra had its first confirmed Holocene eruption during August and September 2010. It remained quiet until September 2013 when a new eruptive phase began that continued through mid-2018. Dome growth and destruction resulted in block avalanches, multiple explosions with ash plumes, and deadly pyroclastic flows during the period. After a pause in activity from September 2018 through April 2019, explosions resumed during May and June 2019. Dome growth began again with an explosion on 8 August 2020, and similar activity continued through October 2020. This report covers ongoing activity from November 2020 through February 2021 with information provided by Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), referred to by some agencies as CVGHM or the Indonesian Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC). Additional information comes from satellite instruments and local news reports.

Activity at Sinabung during November 2020-February 2021 was characterized by tens of daily rock avalanches, periodic pyroclastic flows, and ash-bearing explosions. The rock avalanches traveled up to 1,000 m down the E and SE flanks. The pyroclastic flows also traveled down the E and SE flanks, and the largest reached 2.5 km from the summit. Periodic explosions produced ash plumes that rose up to 2 km above the summit and drifted in multiple directions. Although cloudy much of the time, intermittent satellite images showing two thermal anomalies at the summit suggested that the dome remained active (figure 85).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Two thermal anomalies were present at the summit of Sinabung several times during the report period from November 2020-February 2021, including on 2 December 2020 and 10 February 2021, suggesting ongoing dome activity. In addition, frequent pyroclastic flows produced incandescent anomalies on the E flank multiple times including on 10 February 2021. Sentinel-2 images use Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

White steam emissions rose 50-500 m above the summit of Sinabung during most days in November 2020. Block avalanches were frequent during the first half of the month, traveling 200-1,000 m down the S and SE flanks. The Darwin VAAC reported small ash plumes from block avalanches on 1 and 2 November that rose to 3 km altitude and quickly dissipated. Clouds prevented observations during the last week of the month, but tens of seismic events interpreted by PVMBG as block avalanches were detected. Pyroclastic flows were either observed visually or measured seismically on 2-7, 10, 12, 16, 18 and 19 November (figure 86). They most often occurred on the E or SE flanks and traveled 1,500-2,500 m. Seismic signals indicating lahars were recorded on 26, 27, and 30 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. A pyroclastic flow descended the S flank of Sinabung on 7 November 2020. Courtesy of Rizal.

Nine explosions with ash plumes were reported during November 2020. On 2 November a gray ash plume rose 1,500 m above the summit, to about 3.9 km altitude, and drifted E. The next day the Darwin VAAC reported an explosion to 3.7 km altitude that drifted E. An ash explosion on 4 November was recorded seismically for 117 seconds but was not seen due to fog. An explosion on 10 November produced an ash plume that rose 2 km above the summit and drifted E, along with pyroclastic flows that traveled 1,500-2,500 m down the E and SE flanks. On 18 November an explosion created an ash plume that rose to 3.7 km altitude and drifted SW; it was measured seismically as a continuous volcanic tremor that lasted for 160 seconds. Seismic activity confirmed an explosion on 21 November, but meteoric clouds obscured observations of ash. An ash plume drifting SW at 3 km altitude, about 500 m above the summit, was reported on 25 November. On 29 November an explosion produced an ash plume to the same altitude that drifted E (figure 87). The next day seismic activity indicated another explosion, but it was not observed due to cloudy weather.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. An ash plume at Sinabung rose to 3 km altitude and drifted E on 29 November 2020. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.

Explosive activity decreased during December 2020. Steam plumes rose 50-500 m and tens of rock avalanches were recorded seismically every day. On 6 December block avalanches rolled 300-500 m down the E and SE flanks; they traveled 500-1,000 m down the SE flank on 8 December. During 12-14 December they traveled 1,000-1,500 m down the E and S flanks. On 30 and 31 December they were seen moving 500-1,000 m down the same flanks. Lahars were measured seismically on 4 and 5 December with no reports of damage.

An explosion on 2 December produced an ash plume that rose about 500 m above the summit and drifted ESE. Clouds and rain prevented views of the summit on 5 December, but the seismogram recorded an explosive event that lasted for 168 seconds (figure 88). The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume moving ESE at 3 km altitude on 13 December. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery captured a thermal anomaly on the E flank on 17 December that was likely from a pyroclastic flow (figure 89). Two explosions were recorded each day on 28 and 29 December. On the first day the ash plume from the first explosion rose to 500 m and drifted S. The second explosion was not observed due to weather, but a thermal anomaly was intermittently visible. The explosions on 29 December were only recorded seismically, as was one explosion on 30 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. The KESDM seismogram at Sinabung recorded an explosive event on 5 December 2020 that lasted for 168 seconds. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. A thermal anomaly on the E flank of Sinabung on 17 December 2020 was likely from a pyroclastic flow. The summit is obscured by clouds. Sentinel-2 image with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, and 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Tens of daily rock avalanches continued to be recorded during January 2021, although most were not observed. During 2-5 January they traveled 500-1,200 m down the E and SE flanks, and on 14 January they fell 700-1,000 m down the SE flank. The number of explosions with ash plumes increased significantly from December. On 3 January two explosions were recorded seismically; an ash plume from the first rose 1,000 m above the summit and drifted NW in the morning. A few hours later a second explosion was recorded but not observed due to clouds. Three explosions were recorded each day on 4 and 5 January. The first on 4 January produced a 700-m-high ash plume, the second and third sent ash 1,000 m above the summit to the W and NW (figure 90). The next day, the first explosion sent an ash plume 800 m above the summit that drifted E and SE; the other two were recorded seismically but not observed due to weather. One or two explosions were recorded daily during 6-10 January; most were obscured by clouds. One of the explosions on 8 January produced an ash plume that rose to 700 m and drifted N, and the explosion on 9 January rose to 1,000 m and drifted N and NE. Two explosions were recorded on 12 January, and two or three explosions were reported daily during 16-18 January. Explosions were also recorded on 20-21, 23, 25-27, and 29 January. The three ash plumes on 17 January all rose 500 m above the summit and drifted E, NE, or SE; the plumes on 21 and 27 January rose 500 m and drifted E and SE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. An explosion at Sinabung on 4 January 2021 produced an ash emission that rose 1,000 m above the summit and drifted W and NW. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.

Steam emissions rose 50-700 m above the summit throughout February 2021. Over 100 seismic events from rock avalanches were reported daily; on 6 February a maximum of 231 events were recorded. Numerous explosions, many with pyroclastic flows, were only detected seismically on 5-12, 14, 17, 22, 25, and 28 February. On 6 February the Darwin VAAC reported a continuous ash eruption identified in satellite imagery at 3.1 km altitude drifting NW. PVMBG also reported a pyroclastic flow that traveled 2,500 m down the S flank that day. The Antara News Agency reported an ash plume rising 1,000 m above the summit from a pyroclastic flow and drifting E, SE, and S on 7 February, and another pyroclastic flow on 9 February that traveled 1,000 m down the SE flank (figure 91). Cloudy weather obscured views on most days, but during 12-14 February blocks traveled 500-1,500 m down the S, SE, and E flanks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. A pyroclastic flow traveled 1,000 m down the SE flank of Sinabung on 9 February 2021. Courtesy of Anadolu Agency.

The Darwin VAAC received a report on 10 February of an ash plume at 4.6 km altitude moving E; it was not identifiable in satellite imagery due to meteoric clouds. Two pyroclastic flows on 12 February moved as far as 2,000 m down the E and SE flanks. On 17 February an ash plume rose 1,000 m above the summit and drifted S and W and a pyroclastic flow was reported. A lahar was reported on 21 February. A pyroclastic flow on 22 February traveled 2,000 m down the E and SE flanks. The ash plume from the 25 February event rose to 1,500 m above the summit to about 3.9 km altitude and drifted E and SE (figure 92) and was accompanied by four pyroclastic flows that traveled 500-1,000 m down the E and SE flanks. A discrete ash plume was reported by the Darwin VAAC on 28 February that rose to 3.1 km altitude and drifted SW, dissipating withing six hours. Pyroclastic flow were observed that day moving 1,000-1,250 m down the S, SE, and E flanks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. The ash plume at Sinabung from a 25 February 2021 explosion rose to 1,500 m above the summit and drifted E and SE. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.

Geologic Background. Gunung Sinabung is a Pleistocene-to-Holocene stratovolcano with many lava flows on its flanks. The migration of summit vents along a N-S line gives the summit crater complex an elongated form. The youngest crater of this conical andesitic-to-dacitic edifice is at the southern end of the four overlapping summit craters. The youngest deposit is a SE-flank pyroclastic flow 14C dated by Hendrasto et al. (2012) at 740-880 CE. An unconfirmed eruption was noted in 1881, and solfataric activity was seen at the summit and upper flanks in 1912. No confirmed historical eruptions were recorded prior to explosive eruptions during August-September 2010 that produced ash plumes to 5 km above the summit.

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.esdm.go.id/v1); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Rizal (URL: https://twitter.com/Rizal06691023/status/1324972883634917376); Antara News Agency (URL: https://www.antaranews.com/berita/1986704/guguran-abu-gunung-sinabung-teramati-setinggi-1000-meter); Anadolu Agency (URL: https://www.aa.com.tr/ba/svijet/indonezija-u-vulkanu-sinabung-odjeknula-eksplozija/2138389).


Barren Island (India) — March 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Barren Island

India

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions in November and December 2020, then thermal anomalies through February 2021

Barren Island, an uninhabited possession of India in the Andaman Sea, had numerous historical eruptions observed during 1787-1832. No further evidence of activity was found until 1991 when ash plumes, Strombolian explosions, and lava flows that reached the ocean were observed. Intermittent similar eruptions since 2005 have lasted for months to years. Its remoteness makes ground observations rare, but satellite data and reports from the Darwin VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center) suggest that the most recent eruption which began in September 2018 with lava fountaining, lava flows, and ash emissions has continued with intermittent thermal anomalies at the summit and minor ash emissions since early 2019. This report covers activity from July 2020-February 2021.

The MIROVA thermal anomaly data from April 2020 through February 2021 indicate low levels of thermal activity from April through October 2020. Pulses of activity in early November and late January-early February 2021 correspond to increased thermal activity seen in satellite images during that time (figure 47). Ash emissions were reported by the Darwin VAAC in early November and early December 2020. A strong thermal anomaly was present in satellite imagery on 11 November, and moderate anomalies appeared during February 2021. In addition, during November-February faint thermal anomalies and/or small ash emissions were present in one or more satellite images each month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. The MIROVA thermal anomaly data from April 2020 through February 2021 indicate low levels of thermal activity from April through October 2020. Pulses of activity in early November and late January-early February 2021 corresponded to increased thermal activity seen in satellite images. Courtesy of MIROVA.

After a small ash plume was observed on 24 June 2020 in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery (BGVN 45:08), the only evidence of further activity was a very weak thermal anomaly present inside the summit crater of the pyroclastic cone on 19 July 2020. Satellite images were mostly cloudy during August-October 2020, although the few clear images each month showed no sign of thermal anomalies or ash emissions. Single MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued for Barren Island on 2 and 4 November 2020. The Darwin VAAC reported continuous ash emissions drifting SW at 1.5 km altitude on 5 November. A very faint thermal anomaly was present inside the summit of the pyroclastic cone the next day. A large thermal anomaly and small ash plume were captured in satellite images on 11 November (figure 48). The bright anomaly at the center of the cone was surrounded by a weaker anomaly suggesting incandescent ejecta on the flanks of the cone. A smaller thermal anomaly and similar ash plume were visible in the 16 November 2020 Sentinel-2 satellite images (figure 49).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. A large thermal anomaly and small ash plume at Barren Island were captured in Sentinel-2 satellite images on 11 November 2020. In the left image the bright anomaly at the center of the cone was surrounded by a weaker anomaly suggesting incandescent ejecta on the flanks of the cone. Image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). The ash emission immediately W of the summit crater is more visible in the Natural color rendering (right, bands 4,3,2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. A thermal anomaly at the summit and a discrete ash emission slightly W of the summit of Barren Island were captured in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 16 November 2020. Left image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a) and right image shows a closeup of the summit and ash plume in Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The Darwin VAAC issued an ash advisory on 8 December 2020 of an ash plume drifting W at 1.8 km altitude. It was only visible in satellite imagery for about two hours before dissipating. A small thermal anomaly appeared at the summit on 21 December. During January 2021 faint thermal anomalies were visible on 5, 20, and 25 January, and ash plumes could be seen on 15 and 25 January in Sentinel-2 images (figure 50). The strength of the thermal activity increased during February 2021, with satellite evidence recorded on 4, 9, 19, and 24 February; an ash emission was visible on 9 February (figure 51).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Ash plumes and thermal anomalies at Barren Island were present in Sentinel-2 satellite images several times during January 2021. The left image from 15 January shows an ash plume drifting W from the summit using Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). The right image shows a weak thermal anomaly at the summit on 25 January with an ash plume drifting S using Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, and 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Sentinel-2 satellite images showed thermal anomalies at Barren Island several times during February 2020 including on 4 (left) and 9 (right) February. An ash emission drifted S from the summit on 9 February. Images use Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).


Merapi (Indonesia) — March 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New domes appear in January and February 2021; large explosion on 27 January

Merapi volcano in central Java, Indonesia, has a lengthy history of major eruptive episodes. Activity has included lava flows, pyroclastic flows, lahars, Plinian explosions with heavy ashfall, incandescent block avalanches, block-and-ash flows, and dome growth and destruction. Fatalities from these events were reported in 1994, 2006, and in 2010 when hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated. Renewed phreatic explosions in May 2018 cancelled airline fights and generated significant SO2 plumes. A new lava dome appeared in early August 2018; gradual dome growth and then destruction was accompanied by rockfalls, block-and-ash flows, periodic explosions, and pyroclastic flows through June 2020. The period from October 2020 through February 2021 is covered in this report and includes the growth of two new domes in early 2021. Information is provided primarily by Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG), the Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology, a branch of PVMBG, which monitors activity specifically at Merapi, the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

Measurements in late July 2020 showed no change in the dome (BGVN 45:10), though satellite evidence for weak thermal activity near the NW crater rim persisted during August-October 2020 (figure 98). A significant increase in the deformation rate and the appearance of numerous rock avalanches at the end of October led PVMBG to raise the Alert Level from II to III and evacuate hundreds of local residents. During November and December 2020 the deformation rate continued to increase and numerous rock avalanches were reported. Incandescent block avalanches were first reported on 4 January 2021. Block-and-ash flows began on 7 January and increased in frequency throughout the month; a new dome was confirmed that day. The deformation rate decreased significantly as the dome grew in size during January. Hundreds of incandescent block avalanches were recorded through the end of the month. A large explosion on 27 January produced a 12.2-km-high ash plume and a large pyroclastic flow; ashfall was reported in numerous communities. Incandescent block avalanches and block-and-ash flows continued frequently during February 2021; a second dome was reported growing near the center of the summit crater on 17 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. A very small thermal anomaly was recorded in Sentinel-2 satellite data near the NW crater rim at the summit of Merapi during August-October 2020, along with gas emissions. Images are from 21 August 2020 (top left), 15 September 2020 (top right), 20 October 2020 (bottom left), and 13 January 2021 (bottom right). The January anomaly was much larger, noticeable even through cloud cover, six days after PBBTKG scientists confirmed the presence of a new dome growing near the SW crater rim. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The deformation rate at the summit, shortening determined by Electronic Distance Measurements (EDM) interpreted by PBBTK as inflation related to magma moving towards the surface, remained between 1-2 cm per week during August through early -October with just steam-and-gas plumes rising 150-250 m. During the week of 9-15 October PBBTKG reported a deformation rate of 1 cm/day. Drone photographs confirmed no change in the size or shape of the dome on 18 October 2020. The shortening rate increased to 2 cm/day during 16-22 October and the steam-and-gas plumes rose up to 500 m above the summit; the shortening rate increased to 4 cm/day during 23-29 October. PVMBG reported on 28 October that rock avalanches were heard twice in Babadan and Jrakah over the previous 24 hours, but fog prevented observations.

PVMBG raised the Alert Level from II to III on 5 November 2020 based on an increase in both seismicity and the deformation rate. Rock avalanches were heard that day from Babadan. Analyses of the crater area based on photographs from 30 October and 3 November did not show any morphological changes at the dome. The shortening rate, however, increased to 9-10 cm/day during the first three weeks of the month. Rock avalanches were observed on 8 November on the W flank moving as far as 3 km downslope and moving 2 km on 14 November. Photos comparing the SE flank on 11 and 19 November showed that part of the 2018 lava dome had collapsed. Drone images on 16 November also showed a collapse of part of the crater wall. On 22 November rock avalanches from the crater rim moved 1 km down the W flank. Steam and gas emissions were observed from the Babadan Observation Post rising 200-750 m above the summit during the second half of November (figure 99. A photo analysis on 26 November indicated that part of the 1954 lava dome had collapsed since 19 November. The deformation rate had increased to 11 cm/day by the last week of the month. During overflights on 26 and 27 November BNPB and BPPTKG observers noted many new avalanche deposits on the NW, W, and SW flanks. As of 27 November, there were 2,318 people who had been evacuated from the area around the volcano.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. Steam and gas emissions at Merapi were observed from the Babadan Observation Post rising 200-750 m above the summit during the second half of November, including on 25 November 2020 shown here. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia Volcano Photo Gallery.

Steam and gas plumes rose 150-400 m above the summit throughout December 2020. Rock avalanches were heard but not seen due to foggy weather during the first few days of the month. On 8 December they were seen falling 200 m upstream of Kali Lamat on the W flank and on 14 December they were observed moving downslope 1.5 km on the NW flank upstream of the Senowo River. Rock avalanches were also observed on 23 December moving 1.5 km down the W flank above Kali Sat ravine and on 31 December moving the same distance above the Senowo River. The deformation rate remained high during December, ranging from 9-11 cm/day through 24 December; it rose to 14 cm/day during the last week. Minor changes were seen in photographs of the summit area, but drone data on 5 and 14 December showed no new lava dome. No lava dome was visible in a clear view of the upper part of the SW flank on 20 December (figure 100); the head of BPPTKG-PVMBG noted that the first observed incandescence in that area was on 31 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. No lava dome was visible in a clear view of the upper part of the SW flank of Merapi on 20 December 2020, although rock avalanches had occurred a number of times during the month; the head of BPPTKG-PVMBG noted that the first observed incandescence in that area was on 31 December. Courtesy of BPPTKG and MAGMA Indonesia Volcano Photo Gallery.

The deformation rate remained very high at 15 cm/day during the first week of January 2021. Rock avalanches were observed on 1 and 3 January that moved 1.5 km from the summit towards Kali Lamat and Kali Senowo on the W and NW flanks. On 4 January incandescent material was observed with a thermal webcam, and rock avalanches were heard at the Babadan Observation Post (figure 101). Incandescent block avalanches were observed 19 times during 4-7 January, traveling 800 m to the upper reaches of Kali Krasak (figure 102). Four block-and-ash flows occurred on 7 January, moving less than 1 km downslope. Comparison of images between 24 December and 7 January revealed a new lava dome. Hanik Humaida, the head of BPPTKG-PVMBG concluded that incandescent lava had appeared at the bottom of the 1997 dome and noted that incandescence had first been observed late on 31 December. PVMBG issued VONAs on 7 and 9 January reporting block-and-ash flows that produced ash plumes which rose to 3.2 km altitude and drifted SW and NW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. Incandescence from the growth of a new dome at Merapi on the SW flank appeared in a thermal webcam image on 4 January 20201. Courtesy of BPPTKG (Terjadi Peningkatan Aktivitas Vulkanik, Teramati Guguran Lava Pijar di Gunung Merapi, 5 January 2021).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. Numerous incandescent blocks fell down the SW flank of Merapi from the new lava dome, seen here on 6 January 2021. Courtesy of BPPTKG and MAGMA Indonesia Volcano Photo Gallery.

Incandescent block avalanches were observed 128 times during the second week of January moving as far as 900 m down the SW flank to the upper reaches of Kali Krasak. Two block-and-ash flows were also reported. On 14 January 2021, the measured volume of the new dome was 46,766 m3 with a growth rate of about 8,500 m3/day. Deformation decreased significantly to a shortening rate of 6 cm/day during the second week of the month. Incandescent avalanches continued at a high rate and were reported 282 times during the third week of January (figure 103); they traveled as far as 1,000 m to the upper reaches of the Kali Krasak and Kali Boyong. Block-and-ash flows were recorded 19 times during 15-21 January moving 1,800 m downslope to the SW (figure 104). Compared to the previous week, as measured on 21 January, the new dome had more than doubled in size to 104,000 m3 with an average growth rate of 8,600 m3/day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. There were 20 incandescent block avalanches that fell up to 1,000 m down the SW flank of Merapi from the new dome on 16 January 2021. Courtesy of BPPTKG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. PVMBG reported a block-and-ash flow (referred to as Awan Panas Guguran or APG) at Merapi that traveled approximately 1,000 m down the SW flank towards Kali Krasak on 18 January 2021. Courtesy of BPPTKG and BNPB (Gunung Merapi Kembali Keluarkan Awan Panas Guguran Sejauh 1.000 Meter, 18 January 2021).

The deformation rate decreased further to less than 1 cm/day by the end of the third week of January. A substantial block-and-ash flow on 19 January that moved 1,800 m down the Krasak and Boyong rivers produced a 500-m-high ash plume that drifted E. According to detikNews, ash fell on 19 January in several villages in Musuk and Tamansari Districts in the Boyolali Regency, and in the Kemalang District in the Klaten Regency (figure 105). The Darwin VAAC reported ash visible in the webcam on 20 and 26 January that drifted downwind close to the summit. Over 200 incandescent block avalanches were observed during the last week of January; the maximum distance traveled was 1,500 m down the SW flank. Block-and-ash flow activity increased significantly during 25-27 January with four flows on 25 January and 13 flows on 26 January which produced ash plumes that rose 300-400 m above the summit and traveled 600-1,500 m down the SW flank. PVMBG reported 31 block-and-ash flows on 27 January that traveled as far as 3 km down the SW flank (figure 106).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Ash from Merapi covered plants in Tegalmulyo Village, in the Klaten Regency on 19 January 2021. Photo by Achmad Syauqi, courtesy of detik.com.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. A block-and-ash flow at Merapi with it’s associated ash plume seen here on 27 January 2021 was one of 36 such events reported by BPPTKG that day; they traveled up to 3 km from the summit down the SW flank. Courtesy of BNPB (Gunung Merapi Erupsi Besar, Begini Penjelasan BPPTKG, 27 January 2021).

The volume of the 2021 lava dome on 25 January 2021 was 157,000 m3, but by 28 January it was only 62,000 m3 as a result of block-and-ash flows, explosions, and pyroclastic flows that occurred on 26-27 January. An explosion on 27 January was reported by the Darwin VAAC, based on multiple ground reports of a significant eruption, although meteoric clouds obscured most ground observations. The ash plume rose to 12.2 km altitude, drifted NW, and was visible in satellite images. Ash emissions from a superheated pyroclastic flow rose to 6.1 km altitude and drifted NE (figure 107). Satellite imagery and pilot reports indicated that the 12.2 km ash plume dissipated after about five hours, while the plumes generated by the pyroclastic flow continued moving E at 3.7 km altitude for several more hours. Sand-sized ash was reported in several villages in the Tamansari District in Boyolali Regency on the E flank including the Dukuh Beling area, Sudimoro (Sangup Village), Lanjaran Village, Mriyan and in Boyolali City, Central Java on 27 January. Dense ash was also reported in Tegalmulyo Village; Sruni Village and Cluntang in the Musuk District also reported ashfall.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. A significant explosion at Merapi on 27 January 2021 produced an ash plume to 12.2 km altitude that drifted NW and a pyroclastic flow that sent ash to 6.1 km altitude and drifted NE. The pyroclastic flow is seen here from Ngrangkah, Umbulharjo, Cangkringan, Sleman Regency. Photo by Jauh Hari Wawan S, courtesy of detik.com.

Multiple incandescent rock avalanches were observed during the first week of February 2021. They traveled 500-1,200 m down the SW flank. On 4 February the volume of the 2021 lava dome on the SW flank was measured at 117,400 m3; the growth rate since 28 January was 12,600 m3/day. On 8 February, 23 incandescent block avalanches were reported that traveled as far as 1,500 m from the summit down the SW flank upstream of Kali Krasak and Kali Boyong. Six incandescent avalanches were reported on 9 February; webcams indicated multiple daily incandescent block avalanches for the rest of the month. When measured on 11 February, the dome had grown significantly to 295,000 m3 at a growth rate of 48,900 m3/day (figure 108).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. The 2021 lava dome at Merapi was located at the head of the SW flank, and was almost 300,000 m3 in size on 11 February, two days before this image taken on 13 February 2021. Courtesy of PVMBG and Rizal.

A drone observation on 17 February noted two lava domes at the summit. The first (the 2021 lava dome) was located on the SW flank and was attached to the 1997 lava dome, and a second new dome had appeared more in the center of the summit crater. Based on calculations from aerial photographs, the dome on the SW flank was 258 m long, 133 m wide, and 30 m high, with a volume of 397,500 m3 and growth rate of 25,200 m3/day. The lava dome in the center of the summit crater was 160 m long, 120 m wide, and 50 m high, with a volume of 426,000 m3 and an average growth rate of 10,000 m3/day. Deformation data showed no changes during February. During 24-27 February one or two block-and-ash flows occurred each day, the largest travelled 1,900 m SW (figure 109). The block-and-ash flow on 25 February 2021 at 1652 local time (WIB) produced traces of ashfall in Kali Tengah Lor, Kali Tengah Kidul, Deles, and Tlukan. The volume of the lava dome on the SW flank on 25 February was 618,700 m3 with a growth rate of 13,600 m3/day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. A block-and-ash flow at Merapi on 27 February 2021 descended hundreds of meters down the SW flank and sent ash drifting E mostly below the level of the summit. Courtesy of BPPTKG and MAGMA Indonesia Volcano Photo Gallery.

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

Information Contacts: 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.esdm.go.id/v1, https://magma.esdm.go.id/v1/gunung-api/gallery); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG), Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology (URL: http://merapi.bgl.esdm.go.id/, https://twitter.com/BPPTKG/status/1350508928740675584); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); 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/); Detik news (URL: https://news.detik.com/, https://news.detik.com/berita-jawa-tengah/d-5339832/hujan-abu-gunung-merapi-jangkau-desa-di-wilayah-krb-ii-klaten, https://news.detik.com/berita-jawa-tengah/d-5350542/gunung-merapi-erupsi-sirene-bahaya-meraung-warga-turun-ke-tempat-aman, https://news.detik.com/berita-jawa-tengah/d-5350625/gunung-merapi-erupsi-besar-boyolali-diguyur-hujan-abu-campur-pasir?_ga=2.230047007.2076450499.1612195171-14950811.1611700211); Rizal (URL: https://twitter.com/Rizal06691023/status/1360488059649757191).


Yasur (Vanuatu) — April 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Gas-and-ash emissions, SO2 plumes, and thermal anomalies during September 2020-February 2021

Yasur, located at the SE tip of Tanna Island, contains a 400-m-wide summit crater within the small Yenkahe caldera. Its current eruption has been ongoing since at least 1774 and has consisted of Strombolian and Vulcanian activity. More recently, Strombolian activity and gas-and-ash explosions have been reported (BGVN 45:03 and 45:09). This report covers activity from September 2020 through February 2021 that is characterized by ongoing explosions, gas-and-ash emissions, SO2 plumes, and thermal anomalies. Information primarily comes from monthly bulletins of the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) and various satellite data.

VMGD reported that ongoing explosions and gas-and-ash emissions continued at an elevated level throughout this reporting period, based on ground observations and seismic data. On clear weather days these emissions were captured by Sentinel-2 satellite imagery (figure 75). Some of the more intense explosions may result in larger ejecta falling in or around the summit crater. On 18 January 2021 a webcam image captured a gas-and-ash emission rising above the crater rim at 1500 (figure 76).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Sentinel-2 satellite images showing gas-and-ash emissions rising from the summit crater of Yasur on clear weather days. Ash is visible during 17 October (left) and 21 December 2020 (middle), while white gas-and-steam emissions are observed on 14 February 2021 (right). Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Natural Color” (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Webcam photo of a gas-and-ash emission rising from Yasur on 18 January 2021 taken at 1500. Courtesy of VMGD.

Sulfur dioxide emissions were measured using the Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite instrument for multiple days each month from September through February 2021 (figure 77). The density and drift direction of these SO2 plumes varied. During 17-19 January relatively dense SO2 plumes were detected consecutively, and drifted SE (figure 78).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Occasional SO2 plumes of varying densities were observed from Yasur during each month of September 2020 through February 2021. Plumes drifted generally W on 28 September (top left), 29 October (top right), 6 December (middle right), 25 December 2020 (bottom left), slightly N on 14 November (middle left), and SW on 19 February 2021 (bottom right). Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Relatively high-density SO2 plumes from Yasur during 17 (left), 18 (middle), and 19 (right) January 2021 were observed consecutively using the TROPOMI imaging spectrometer on the Sentinel-5P satellite. The plumes drifted SE on each of the days. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Intermittent thermal anomalies recorded by the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system during September 2020 through February 2021 were low to moderate in power (figure 79). Brief noticeable break in activity occurred during early December 2020 and for much of January 2021. The MODVOLC thermal alert data recorded 41 thermal signatures primarily within the summit crater over a total of 25 different days during September 2020-February 2021. Some of these thermal anomalies were also captured in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery; thermal anomalies were visible in the N and S vents in the summit crater (figure 80).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. MIROVA (Log Radiative Power) thermal data for Yasur from 26 May 2020 through February 2021 showed persistent low to moderate thermal activity. A brief but noticeable break in activity occurred during early December, early January, and late January. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing strong thermal anomalies (yellow-orange) in the N and S vents of the summit crater at Yasur each month from September 2020 through February 2021. During 22 September (top left), 17 October (top right), and 26 November (middle left), the two thermal anomalies in the crater were roughly the same intensity. On 21 December (middle right) the anomaly was accompanied by a small, gray ash plume. On 15 January (bottom left) and 24 February (bottom right) the intensity of the anomaly in the N vent and then the S vent had decreased slightly. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory/); 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/); NASA 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).


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — March 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

10.83°N, 85.324°W; summit elev. 1916 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent small phreatic explosions through 13 December 2020

Recent activity at Rincón de la Vieja has been dominated by frequent weak phreatic explosions, with an occasional ash plume, along with gas-and-steam emissions. Sporadic lahars have also been recently reported (BGVN 45:10). The volcano has a hot, churning, acid lake in its main crater. The current report describes activity during October 2020-February 2021, a continuation of the most recent eruptive period that began in January 2020. The primary information source for this report is weekly bulletin from the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA).

According to OVSICORI-UNA, small but frequent hydrothermal explosions continued in October through mid-December 2020, although less energetic than during previous months (figure 34). During the first half of October there were 1-2 daily small explosions. Plumes often rose 500-800 m above the crater rim, but on 1 and 6 October they rose 1 km. Then the number briefly increased to 5-7 small daily explosions before decreasing during the latter part of October; one explosion seen in webcam images on 24 October sent a plume to 1 km above the crater (figure 35).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Graph showing the number of daily eruptions at Rincón de la Vieja during 2020. Following frequent phreatic explosions during April-June, weak intermittent explosions were detected again starting in late July and continuing through December 2020. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Webcam photo of Rincón de la Vieja taken on 24 October 2020 at 0808 local time. According to OVSICORI-UNA, the explosion lasted for about a minute and the resulting plume rose to 1 km above the crater. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA, as reported by The Nacion.

OVSICORI-UNA reported that in November small-to-moderate hydrothermal explosions increased in amplitude, but became more sporadic and by the end of the month had decreased to only one per day. An explosion at 0835 on 3 November produced a plume that rose 800 m above the crater rim. According to OVSICORI’s weekly bulletin for 23 November, there had been 1,437 explosions since the beginning of 2020. A large explosion on 13 December was the last through at least February 2021. During the week of 18 January OVSICORI changed the Alert Level from 3 to 2 due to the low level of activity.

Geodesic monitoring at the summit by GPS indicated no deformation trend in October, significant contraction in November, some extension in December, but then no significant changes through at least February 2021. Aerial observations on 13 February indicated that the crater lake was at a low water level and had sustained convection. The lake level had dropped 15-20 m since February 2020, and 5-10 m since May 2020. Gas monitoring during October 2020-February 2021 was carried out at the Ojo de Agua Santuarium (4 km N of the active crater); sulfur dioxide in the plume was not detected in significant quantities.

Geologic Background. Rincón de la Vieja, the largest volcano in NW Costa Rica, is a remote volcanic complex in the Guanacaste Range. The volcano consists of an elongated, arcuate NW-SE-trending ridge constructed within the 15-km-wide early Pleistocene Guachipelín caldera, whose rim is exposed on the south side. Sometimes known as the "Colossus of Guanacaste," it has an estimated volume of 130 km3 and contains at least nine major eruptive centers. Activity has migrated to the SE, where the youngest-looking craters are located. The twin cone of Santa María volcano, the highest peak of the complex, is located at the eastern end of a smaller, 5-km-wide caldera and has a 500-m-wide crater. A Plinian eruption producing the 0.25 km3 Río Blanca tephra about 3,500 years ago was the last major magmatic eruption. All subsequent eruptions, including numerous historical eruptions possibly dating back to the 16th century, have been from the prominent active crater containing a 500-m-wide acid lake located ENE of Von Seebach crater.

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


Kilauea (United States) — March 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruption in December 2020 with an active lava lake, lava flows, spattering, and a dome fountain

Kilauea, which overlaps the E flank of the Mauna Loa shield volcano, is the southeastern-most volcano in Hawaii. It’s East Rift Zone (ERZ) has been intermittently active for at least 2,000 years; the most recent eruption period began in January 1983 and was characterized by open lava lakes and lava flows from the summit caldera and the East Rift Zone. During May 2018 lava migrated into the Lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) and opened 24 fissures along a 6-km-long NE-trending fracture zone that produced lava flows traveling in multiple directions. Lava fountaining was reported in these fissures and the lava lake in the Halema’uma’u crater drained (BGVN 43:10).

September 2018 marked the end of the previous eruption period after 36 years of continuous activity. A new eruption began during December 2020 in the Halema’uma’u crater, characterized by a new lava lake, lava flows, lava fountaining, and gas-and-steam emissions. This report covers the activity from December 2020 through January 2021 using information provided from the US Geological Survey's (USGS) Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) in the form of daily reports, volcanic activity notices, and abundant photo, map, and video data.

Monitoring through mid-December 2020. Monitoring data from HVO since the end of the previous eruption in September 2018 included variable rates of seismicity and ground deformation, low rates of sulfur dioxide emissions, and minor morphological changes. Areas of elevated ground temperatures and minor gas emissions persisted in the vicinity of the 2018 LERZ fissures. Since March 2019, GPS stations and tiltmeters at the summit had detected deformation consistent with slow magma accumulation approximately 1-2 km below ground level. In addition, GPS stations in the upper ERZ recorded increased rates of uplift beginning in September. The HVO seismic network recorded 1,450 earthquakes in September, a significant increase over previous months, followed by another increase to 2,100 events in October. The pond at the bottom of the Halema’uma’u crater, which appeared on 25 July 2019, continued to collect water over time, slowly expanding and deepening from 23 m in early January 2020 to 48 m by 3 November 2020 (figure 467).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 467. Photos comparing the growth of the water lake in the Halema’uma’u crater at Kilauea on 18 December 2019 (left) and 23 September 2020 (right). During this time, the lake had risen approximately 25 m and had a surface area of 0.033 km2, compared to December 2019 (0.011 km2). Photos taken from the E rim of Halema’uma’u by K. Mulliken and M. Patrick; courtesy of USGS HVO.

The number of earthquakes detected in November was 1,350, less than what was recorded in October. By late November seismic stations recorded an average of at least 480 shallow, small-magnitude, earthquakes per week underneath the summit and upper ERZ; during 29-30 November HVO recorded over 80 earthquakes beneath the summit, beginning at 2300 on 29 November and continuing for 11 hours. On 2 December, spikes in seismicity were reported, consistent with a small dike intrusion under the S part of the caldera; tiltmeters at the summit detected about 8 cm of caldera floor uplift. At 1745 earthquakes intensified and another spike occurred after 0000 to an average rate of 10-12 earthquakes per hour. Within 24 hours, up to 220 earthquakes were recorded, occurring in clusters under the caldera and upper ERZ, according to HVO. By the afternoon of 3 December, seismicity and ground deformation rates at the summit had decreased and returned to near background levels. On 17 December, the number and duration of long-period seismic signals increased.

Eruptive activity during 20-21 December 2020. On the evening of 20 December at 2030 an earthquake swarm was recorded, accompanied by ground deformation detected by tiltmeters. Shortly after 2130 HVO reported an orange glow within the Halema’uma’u crater at Kilauea’s summit caldera, observed on an infrared monitoring camera, as well as a vigorous gas-and-steam plume, which marked the beginning of the eruption. At 2236 an M 4.4 earthquake was detected below the S flank. The Volcano Alert Level (VAL) was raised to Warning and the Aviation Color Code was raised to Red.

An HVO Volcanic Activity Notice issued on 21 December at 1014 stated that the water lake in the summit crater had boiled away due to new effusive activity, producing a large gas-and-steam emission (figure 468). Three vents in the N, NW, and W walls of the Halema’uma’u crater generated lava flows that fed a growing lava lake at the base of the crater (figure 469). Minor lava fountaining at these vents rose 25 m high; the highest fountain reached 50 m high in the N fissure. The lava lake began rising several meters per hour since the start of the eruption and exhibited a circulating perimeter, but a stagnant center (figure 470). Occasional blasts originated from the ponded lava in the crater. The eruption was confined to the Halema’uma’u crater. On 21 December the VAL was lowered to Warning and the Aviation Color Code decreased to Orange. Sulfur dioxide emission rates remained high at around 30,000 tons/day. In comparison, the emission rates from the pre-2018 lava lake ranged between 3,000-6,500 tons/day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 468. Webcam image of the summit of Kilauea at 0630 on 21 December 2020. The water lake had been replaced by a lava lake as fissure vents in the wall of Halema’uma’u effused lava into the crater. Strong gas-and-steam emissions were visible. Courtesy of HVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 469. Map of the Halema’uma’u crater at Kilauea showing the location of volcanic activity shortly after 2130 on 20 December 2020. The red spots are the approximate locations of the three initial fissure vents effusing lava into the bottom of the Halema’uma’u crater. The water lake at the base of the crater had been replaced with a growing lava lake. The lava is deeper by at least 10 m compared to the water lake in this base map. The base map is from imagery collected on 23 September 2020. The eastern-most vent was characterized by lava fountains up to 50 m high with minor fountaining on the W side. Courtesy of HVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 470. Aerial view of the summit of Kilauea during an overflight at 1120 on 21 December 2020 showing two active fissure vents that effused lava into the growing lava lake in the Halema’uma’u crater. The N fissure (right-most) is the dominant stream of lava. The fresh cooling lava appears black, surrounding the center of the lake, which was described as stagnant. Courtesy of HVO.

Activity during 22-25 December 2020. The effusive eruption continued on 22 December from at least two vents on the N and W sides of Halema’uma’u; the third vent between the N and W vents paused between 0730 and 0800. The middle and W vents became inundated by the growing lava lake, while the northern-most vent remained vigorous. As of 1151 the crater lake had grown to 487 m below the crater rim, which suggests that the lake had filled 134 m from the crater floor; the rate at which the lake rose was more than 1 m per hour. Measurements made on 22 December showed that approximately 10-12 million cubic meters of lava had been erupted to that point, with a surface area of about 0.13-0.22km2 (figure 471). Another measurement made during the afternoon showed that the volume of the lava lake grew an additional two million cubic meters. The dimensions of the lake were 690 m E-W and 410 m N-S. Overflights were made on 21 and 22 December to obtain natural color and thermal infrared images of the growing lava lake (figure 472).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 471. Location map showing the activity from the new eruption at the summit of Kilauea in the Halema’uma’u crater updated on 22 December 2020 at 1400. Two active fissure vents (orange dots) on the N and W side of the crater fed lava into the growing lava lake (red). The blue dashed line represents the extent of the former water lake (July 2019 to December 2020) that was present in the crater before the eruption and the black dashed line represents the extent of the lava lake that was present during 2008-2018. The current lava lake is larger than both the previous lakes and has formed slightly more N compared to the former lava lake. Map created by M. Zoeller; courtesy of USGS HVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 472. Comparison of thermal images taken on 21 December at 1120 (top) and 22 December 2020 at 1130 (bottom) showing the rise and infilling of the lava lake from wall vents in the Halema’uma’u crater at Kilauea’s summit. Images by M. Patrick; courtesy of HVO.

By 23 December the lava lake had deepened to 155 m (figure 473). Two fissure vents on the N and W walls remained active; the W vent fed two narrow channels into the lake and the N vent remained the most vigorous. An island of cooler, solidified, lava within the lava lake that measured 115 x 260 m was drifting slowly eastward, based on a thermal map. During an overflight made later in the day, the approximate surface area was 0.25 km2, with dimensions of 460 x 715 m. High SO2 emissions were an estimated 30,000-40,000 tons/day, based on measurements made on 21 and 23 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 473. Plot showing the increasing depth in Kilauea’s summit lava lake since the beginning of the eruption on 20 December 2020 at 2130. A laser rangefinder was used to take measurements of the lava lake surface about 2-3 times per day. The depth of the lake was about 155 m on 23 December at 0630 (top right) compared to 87 m on 21 December at 0630 (bottom right). In comparison, the water lake that was observed in Halema’uma’u before the start of the eruption was 51 m at its deepest. Plot by H. Dietterich; courtesy of HVO.

Measurements taken on 24 and 25 December showed a continuously growing lava lake that was 169 and 176 m deep, respectively, and the volume of the lake had reached 21 million cubic meters. By 25 December the vigorously erupting N fissure vent was starting to become inundated and the W vent displayed intermittent spattering (figure 474). Around 1400 the lake level had dropped by 2 m to reveal a narrow black ledge around the N edge of the crater. The rate of SO2 emissions decreased to 16,000-20,000 tons/day during 25 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 474. Photo of the Halema’uma’u crater at the summit of Kilauea at 0230 on 25 December 2020 showing lava flows and lava fountaining feeding the lake. The main N vent started to become inundated by the growing lava lake. Intermittent activity continued at the W vent. Photo taken from the S rim of the crater by J. Schmith and C. Parcheta; courtesy of HVO.

Activity during 26-31 December 2020. During the morning of 26 December, at 0240, the N vent continued to erupt lava into the lake while the W vent began to effuse more vigorously with up to three narrow lava flows feeding the lake (figure 475). The depth and volume of the lake remained the same as on 25 December: 176 m deep and 21 million cubic meters. Lava fountaining was visible up to 10 m high above the W vent. After 0300, the N vent declined in activity and started to drain lava from the lake. Summit tiltmeters continued to record some deformation. Effusive activity remained confined to Halema’uma’u; the lava lake was 177 m deep as of 0700 m on 27 December. The SO2 emissions continued to decrease to about 3,300-5,500 tons/day during 27-28 December. Summit tiltmeters continued to record weak inflation.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 475. Photo of the W vent in Halema’uma’u at Kilauea’s summit shows the effusive activity increased on 26 December 2020. Some lava fountaining in this vent was visible while lava flows continued to feed the lake from the N vent. The lava fountaining in the W vent rose at least 10 m high. Photo was taken at 0515 by H. Dietterich; courtesy of HVO.

On 28 December the volume of the lava lake had grown to 21.5 million cubic meters and a thermal map updated on 26 December showed the new dimensions of the lava lake were 520 x 790 m, covering a surface area of 0.29 km2. The narrow black ledge visible above the N edge of the crater was about 1-2 m above the lake surface. During 27-28 December the main central island of cooler, solidified, lava drifted slowly W and measured about 110 x 225 m. The island surface was about 6 m above the lake surface and was covered in tephra, possibly remnants of explosive activity generated when lava first reached the water lake. Reduced, but still elevated, SO2 emissions were 3,300 tons/day; the emission plume carried Pele’s Hair and Pele’s Tears SW, depositing the tephra in areas downwind.

Effusive activity continued, with the lava lake measuring 179-180 m deep with a narrow black ledge around it as of 0400 on 29 December. Multiple narrow lava channels from the W vent fed into the crater. The lava lake volume was slightly more than 22 million cubic meters. The central 135 x 250 m island of solidified lava had drifted slowly W until 2200 on 28 December, then during the morning of 29 December it stalled and began rotating. There were about 10 smaller islands to the E.

On the morning of 30 December, at 0345, the lava lake was 181 m deep with the narrow black ledge around it; the lava lake was an estimated volume of 23 million cubic meters. A spatter cone built around the W vent, while lava effused through crusted-over channels. The main central island was about 6-8 m above the surface of the lake. The rate of SO2 emissions were 3,800 tons/day.

Similar observations were made during 31 December; the lava lake continued to grow, with the depth of the lake measuring 181-186 m and dimensions of 530 x 800 m, based on thermal mapping. The total surface area was 0.33 km2. Spattering continued in the W vent while lava flowed through crusted-over channels into the lake (figure 476). The main island in the lake continued to drift slowly W while roughly 10 smaller islands were observed around the E end of the crater (figure 477). The SO2 emission rate increased to 4,500-6,300 tons/day, compared to the previous day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 476. Photo of the active W vent in Halema’uma’u at the summit of Kilauea, viewed from the W crater rim on 31 December 2020 with incandescence, spattering, and a prominent spatter cone; the lava lake is visible in the right background. Photo by B. Carr; courtesy of HVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 477. Annotated photo taken from the S rim of Halema’uma’u at the summit of Kilauea at 1700 on 30 December 2020 showing the location of the main central island and the smaller islands located on the eastern part of the crater. The W vent continued to effuse lava, as well as some spattering, while the N vent was inactive. Photo by K. Lynn; courtesy of HVO.

Activity during January 2021. Effusive activity continued within Halema’uma’u during January 2021. Lava originated from the NW side of the crater, with the W vents exhibiting spattering and lava effusions through crusted-over channels into the lava lake. A levee had also begun to develop around the perimeter of the lake (figure 478), creating what is known as a “perched” lake. According to HVO, this is common in lava lakes at Kilauea, and is due to repeated small overflows and the rafting and piling of surface crust that fuses together to form a barrier. During 31 December and 1 January the main island of solidified lava (135 x 250 m) had moved W while the other 10 smaller islands remained near the E side of the lake. Summit tiltmeters recorded weak deflation during 1-2 January. Both SO2 emission rates and seismicity remained elevated; the SO2 emission rate was 4,400 tons/day on 1 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 478. Photo of the lava lake in Halema’uma’u at Kilauea on 1 January 2021 that has developed a levee (darker black) around the perimeter, allowing the lake to be slightly perched above its base. Photo by M. Patrick; courtesy of HVO.

During 2-3 January the depth of the lake had grown to 189-190 m, had a volume of 26 million cubic meters, and still maintained the narrow black ledge around its perimeter. Measurements on 3 January showed that the lake was perched about a meter above its E and W edges, and discontinuously on the N edge. A thermal webcam showed spatter originating from two places in the W vents and a small dome fountain above the lake crust in front of the W vents (figure 479). The dome fountain had formed where lava was entering the lake from a submerged inlet at the base of the W vent. The height of the dome fountain reached 5 m and the width was an estimated 10 m. The main island, about 6 m above the lake surface, continued to drift W in front of the W vents while the 10 smaller islands remained relatively stationary near the E end of the lake.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 479. Video data showed the lava at Kilauea’s summit crater formed a dome fountain at the inlet to the lava lake in Halema’uma’u during 2-3 January 2021. The fountain is located near the base of the W vents where the inlet had become partially submerged. The 5-m-high dome fountain was about 10 m wide. Video by H. Dietterich; courtesy of HVO.

Lava effusion continued during 4-5 January from vents on the NW side of the crater. The lava lake was perched 1-2 m above its edge and had deepened to 191-192 m (figure 480). A thermal map from 5 January showed the perched lake dimensions had slightly decreased in size to 520 x 760 m, with a volume of about 27 million cubic meters. Summit tiltmeters continued to record weak deflation. Spatter in the W vents was visible from the top of a small cone on the NW wall of Halema’uma’u; the dome fountain persisted in front of the W vents (figure 481). The main island was rotating counterclockwise in front of the W vent while the now 11 smaller islands had generally stayed in the E side of the crater. Measurements on 4 January showed that the island was 7-8 m above the lake surface.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 480. A comparison of the Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and topographic profiles of the Halema’uma’u crater at Kilauea created from aerial imagery collected during helicopter overflights, showing the change in depth and elevation of the lava lake between 26 December 2020 (left) and 5 January 2021 (right). The N vent remained inactive as it became inundated by the rising lava. The central island had migrated W and rotated by 5 January. The depth of the lava lake was 192 m on 5 January. DEMs created by B. Carr, graphic created by K. Mulliken; courtesy of USGS HVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 481. Photo of the Halema’uma’u crater at Kilauea at 0545 on 5 January 2021 showing ongoing activity at the W vent, generating a lava flow that feeds both the lake and the dome fountain. Photo by K. Lynn; courtesy of USGS HVO.

HVO continued to monitor the changes in the active lava lake on 6 January, which was 194 m deep and remained perched 1-2 m above its edge. At 1500 rapid deflationary tilt was recorded overnight into 7 January. Lava from the W vents continued to feed the dome fountain through crusted-over channels on the W side of the crater. During the morning of 7 January the dome fountain weakened giving way to spattering at the top of the vent and the formation of a second cone. A thermal map on 7 January showed that the lake size had decreased to 470 x 760 m, covering 0.28 km2; more of the E part appeared to be stagnant while solidified lava was being progressively pulled beneath the molten surface (figure 482). SO2 emissions were still elevated at 3,400 tons/day on 6 January, but had decreased to 2,700 tons/day the next day. During 7-8 January incandescence was visible from two small cones on the NW wall of Halema’uma’u while lava flowed into the lake through a crusted channel. The main island remained 135 x 250 m; it had moved slightly E while the 11 smaller islands remained stationary.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 482. Thermal image (top) and photo (bottom) of the lava lake at Kilauea showing the larger central island on the W side of the Halema’uma’u crater and 11 smaller islands on the E side of the crater, taken on 7 and 9 January 2021, respectively. The lake is slightly perched and surrounded by a lower ledge of cooler lava along the perimeter (appears pink-purple in the thermal image along the perimeter). The lava effusion at the W vent has become less intense and much of the E half of the lake has stagnated completely, likely because the lake level has not changed significantly in the last three days. Image by M. Patrick (top) and photo by H. Dietterich (bottom); courtesy of HVO.

Incandescence and spatter continued on 9 January at the two W vents as lava descended through a crusted channel into the lake. Summit tiltmeters recorded weak deflation since 1 January, but on the evening of 9 January weak inflation was detected. A newly installed instrument during 9-10 January showed that the lake had risen about a meter since the switch to inflationary tilt. The depth of the lake slightly increased to 196 m below the W vents on the morning of 10 January. The W vents exhibited strong lava flows during the afternoon with spattering and spatter-fed lava flows from the top of the small cones on the NW wall of Halema’uma’u; lava also flowed through crusted-over channels into the lake. Low lava fountaining was also visible during 10-11 January. The SO2 emission rates were 2,300 tons/day and 2,500 tons/day on 10 and 11 January, respectively.

During the morning of 12 January the lava lake remained at a depth of 196 m below the W vents; the stagnant E half of the lake was about 4 m shallower and had subsided below its perched rims. Low lava fountaining and flows through channels from the top of the small cones were visible. Measurements of the main island on 12 January showed that it was 8 m above the surface, with the highest point at 23 m. By 13 January, the depth of the lake had increased to 198 m. On 13 January a small portion of the active cone had collapsed, causing a second vent to open adjacent to the main vent and effuse lava for less than 20 minutes.

Activity continued in Halema’uma’u with low fountaining, lava flows, and spattering from the W vent through 22 January (figure 483). The depth of the lake continued to increase slowly to 204 m on 22 January. The entire lake was perched 1-2 m above the crust between the levees along the perimeter and the crater wall. All of the islands of solidified lava within the lake were stagnant; the dimensions of the main island were unchanged since 10 January. On 14 January the SO2 emissions increased to 4,700 tons/day, then decreased to 2,500 tons/day on 16 January. On 19 January at 1746 field crews observed a minor collapse event from the spatter cone on its N rim and open channel margins at the W vent (figure 484). Summit tiltmeters began to detect some deflation on 20 January; the rate of which began to slow by 21 January. Measurements on 22 January showed that the S end of the main island was 12 m above the lava lake surface, with the highest point still around 23 m.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 483. Photo of low fountaining and an accompanying lava flow at the W vent of Halema’uma’u at Kilauea on 15 January 2021. The vent formed a spatter cone around the fountaining as the flow moved through an open channel into the lake. Photo by M. Patrick; courtesy of HVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 484. Series of photos showing the W vent at Kilauea (seen from the S rim looking NW) that continued to feed the growing lava lake in Halema’uma’u through an open channel. At 1746 on 19 January field crews observed a minor collapse on the N rim of the spatter cone and channel margins. The photo at 1731 (top left) shows the vent just before the collapse; the photo at 1746 (top right) shows just after the collapse; the photos at 1749 (bottom left) and at 1811 (bottom right) show the destabilization and movement of the portion of the remaining cone flank surrounded by incandescence. Photos by H. Dietterich; courtesy of HVO.

During the morning of 23-25 January the lava lake was about 205 m deep; the W half remained active with low fountaining and a lava flow while the E half was stagnant (figure 485). The E side of the lake was elevated about 1-2 m and the W half was elevated about 4 m above the solidified lava adjacent to the crater wall. HVO reported that summit tiltmeters continued to record variable inflation and deflation. On 23 January SO2 emission rates were 2,200 tons/day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 485. Map of the Halema’uma’u crater at the summit of Kilauea on 25 January 2021 showing the locations of the active lava lake (red), the extent of the lava lake (light red), the major islands of solidified lava (yellow), the active W vent (orange), and the inactive N vent (maroon). The depth of the lake is 205 m, the size of the lake is 0.1 km2, and the total lake volume is 31 million cubic meters. In comparison, the dashed blue line represents the final extent of the water lake that evaporated on 20 December 2020 and the dashed black line represents the extent of the 2008-2018 lava lake. Courtesy of USGS HVO.

The depth of the lava lake continued to deepen, and by the evening of 27 January it was 209 m, while the stagnant E half remained up to 5 m lower. The active lake surface no longer extended around the E side of the central island; surface circulation was limited to the W, N, and S sides of the island. Activity in the W vents consisted of slow surface movements at the base of the lava flow and overturning of the crust near its margins. The E side of the lake was elevated approximately 1 m while the W was 3 m above the solidified lava adjacent to the crater wall. All the islands within the lake were stationary. By 28 January only the W part of the lava lake was active. On 29 January, measurements made on the main island showed its edges were 7-8 m above the lake surface.

On the morning of 30 and 31 January, the active W part of the lava lake was 211 and 212 m deep, respectively; the W vent had crusted over except for a single (possibly two) openings that were mostly obscured by degassing, though several incandescent areas on the cone were visible. Surface lava continued to effuse into the central part of Halema’uma’u from the base of the cone (figure 486). A series of surface cracks separated the active and stagnant parts of the lake. During 30-31 January tiltmeters recorded inflation at the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 486. Photo showing the leading edge of an active lava lobe moving S into the central part of Halema’uma’u at Kilauea on 31 January 2021. Photo by M. Patrick; courtesy of HVO.

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

Information Contacts: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), U.S. Geological Survey, PO Box 51, Hawai'i National Park, HI 96718, USA (URL: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/).


Pacaya (Guatemala) — March 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Increasing activity with ash emissions, explosions, and lava flows on multiple flanks during December 2020-February 2021

Extensive lava flows, bomb-laden Strombolian explosions, and ash plumes emerging from Mackenney crater have characterized the persistent activity at Pacaya since 1961. The latest eruptive episode began with intermittent ash plumes and incandescence in June 2015; the growth of a new pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater was confirmed later that year. The cone has continued to grow, producing frequent loud Strombolian explosions rising above the crater rim and ongoing ash emissions. In addition, fissures on the flanks of the summit crater have been the source of an increasing number of lava flows traveling distances of over one kilometer down multiple flanks during 2019 and into 2021. Increasing explosive and effusive activity during December 2020-February 2021 is covered in this report with information provided by Guatemala's Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), multiple sources of satellite data, and numerous photographs from observers on the ground.

Eruptive activity increased substantially during December 2020-February 2021. During December, ash emissions were reported fewer than half the days of the month; by February, dense ash emissions drifted many kilometers most days, and ashfall was reported numerous times in the surrounding communities. Strombolian explosions in December generally rose 50-125 m above the summit of the pyroclastic cone; by February they were commonly rising 300 m or more and sending ejecta 500 m from the summit. Numerous lava flows were reported on the NW, W, and S flanks during the period; a flow that emerged on the SSW flank on 7 January 2021 persisted through the end of February and was 800-1,200 m long. Strombolian activity also occurred at the fissure where the flow emerged, and incandescent blocks rolled hundreds of meters beyond the front of the flow. A steady increase in thermal activity was recorded with the MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph during December 2020 – February 2021 (figure 145). This corresponded to the persistent lava flows on multiple flanks and constant Strombolian activity. Multiple MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued many days each month during the period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 145. The MIROVA graph of thermal anomalies at Pacaya from 13 May 2020 through February 2021 shows activity increasing in frequency and intensity beginning in late August 2020. Multiple lava flows from fissures on the flanks and Strombolian activity from the pyroclastic cone inside Mackenney crater were reported throughout the period. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission at Pacaya that rose to 3.0 km altitude and drifted WSW on 3 December 2020; it dissipated within a few hours. INSIVUMEH reported daily gas and steam plumes that rose a few hundred meters and sometimes drifted as far as 10 km. They also reported ash emissions along with the gas and steam on 10, 12-14, 16-18, 24-25, and 28 December. The ash plumes usually rose 300-400 m and drifted a few kilometers with the wind. On the evening of 28 December ash reached populated places including San José El Rodeo. Strombolian explosions at the summit occurred daily and rose 50-125 m above the Mackenney crater rim (figure 146). Ejecta was reported to heights of 250 m on 13 December and 200 m on 21 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 146. Explosions sent ejecta up to 125 meters above the Mackenney cone crater at Pacaya on 29 December 2020. In addition, lava flows with multiple branches were active on the W flank. Courtesy of CONRED (LAVA FLOWS IN PACAYA VOLCANO CONTINUE ACTIVE, 29 December 2020, Informative Bulletin No. 582-2020).

Lava flow activity continued on the SW flank throughout December 2020 and high winds remobilized ash on the flanks a number of times during the month. On 1 December the flow was about 675 m long and moving to the SW. Two branches were active the next day and three were reported on 6 December. A second flow appeared on the NW flank on 9 December on the plateau near Cerro Chino and grew to 250 m long (figure 147). Both flows had incandescent block avalanches spalling off their fronts and rolling at least 100 m. The SW-flank flow remained 450-550 m long through 11 December, and then grew to around 700 m the next day. Branches from both flows extended 700-1,000 m by 15 December and were moving NW, W, and SW. The NW-flank flow was growing through 16 December. Three 600-m-long branches were active on the SW-flank flow on 21 December. In a special bulletin released on 23 December, INSIVUMEH noted that the SW-flank flow was still active from the same mid-flank fissure where it originated on 20 October 2020, and consisted of 5-7 branches with lengths varying from 600-750 m (figure 148). For the remainder of December, multiple branches of the active SW-flank flow were between 525 and 650 m long, with block avalanches falling off the front that generated ash clouds.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 147. Sentinel 2 satellite imagery of Pacaya from 10 December 2020 revealed a thermal anomaly at the summit (lower right of center image), a multi-branch flow 550 meters long on the W flank (left of center image), and a small anomaly from the beginning of a new flow on the NW flank. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (BOLETÍN VULCANOLÓGICO ESPECIAL BEPAC # 119-2020, Guatemala, 10 de diciembre de 2020, 19:30 horas (Hora Local), “ACTUALIZACIÓN DE LA ACTIVIDAD VOLCÁNICA”).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 148. Sentinel 2 satellite imagery of Pacaya on 20 (left) and 30 (right) December 2020 indicated thermal activity at the summit and on the NW and W flanks. The NW-flank lava flow was active from 9-16 December, and still cooling in the 20 December image. The WSW-flank lava flow had multiple branches between 525 and 650 m long for the last half of the month. Images use Atmospheric Penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

In a special bulletin issued on 1 January 2021 INSIVUMEH reported an increase in eruptive activity that produced Strombolian explosions which sent ejecta 300 m high and up to 100 m from the summit. Constant rumblings like a train and shock waves were heard and felt in nearby communities. Strombolian explosions continued to rise 75-200 m above the rim throughout the month, and numerous gas emissions rose 100-300 m and drifted as far as 10 km (figure 149). Ash emissions were noted on 1, 6, 7, 11, 13, 18, 19, 21-23, 25, 27, and 31 January. On 7 January ash drifted SW at 3 km altitude and ejecta was reported 300 m from the summit. INSIVUMEH noted that the columns of ash reached 300-500 m above the crater that day, generating loud rumbling and shock waves that vibrated roofs and windows in nearby villages. On 12 January explosions sent material 300 m high. A VAAC report on 22 January noted an ash plume drifting NW from the summit at 3.4 km altitude. INSIVUMEH remarked in a special report that day that ash fell in San Vicente Pacaya and in San Francisco de Sales. The ash emissions on 25 January were brown to gray, sporadic overnight and more continuous in the early morning, drifting 1-4 km W. On 27 and 31 January ash drifted 10 km W.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 149. Strombolian explosions rose 75-200 m above the summit of the pyroclastic cone inside Pacaya’s Mackenney crater on 7 January 2020 and throughout the month. On the NW flank, multiple branches of lava appeared as red to white areas in this thermal image. Thermal image courtesy of INSIVUMEH (BOLETÍN VULCANOLÓGICO ESPECIAL BEPAC002-2021, 12:00 horas (Hora Local), EXPLOSIONES CON CENIZA).

Multiple lava flows emerged from the flanks of Pacaya during January 2021. The lava flow that began on 20 October 2020 on the W flank continued to be active through about 8 January with branches flowing 400-600 m W and SW. A flow on the SSW flank began on 2 January from a vent 200 m below the rim of Mackenney crater. By 6 January it was feeding 3-4 flows from the same point, each 400 m long with block avalanches falling off the fronts and moving W, SW, and S down the flanks (figure 150). In the morning of 7 January two flows were seen on the N flank, 200 and 50 m long. Later that night another flow appeared on the SSW flank that lengthened rapidly, reaching 425 m the next day, and was 1,200 m long on 9 January (figure 151). High temperatures were still present on the W and SW flanks from the earlier flows. The SSW flow reached 1,500 m in length on 10 January and fluctuated between 1,200 and 1,600 m through 17 January when Strombolian activity ejecting material 5-10 m high was reported from the fissure. More Strombolian activity at the fissure was noted on 22 January, and the flow remained 800-1,150 m long through the 23rd. The flow reached 1,700 m in length on 25 January; for the rest of the month, it was reported as 800-1,000 m long, with block avalanches traveling an additional 200-400 m from the flow front. Strombolian activity reached 65 m high from the fissure at the head of the flow on 28 January. On 30 January multiple branches of the SSW flow were visible from a vantage point south of the volcano (figure 152).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 150. Multiple flows emerged from a single vent at Pacaya on 5 January 2021. The fissure was located about 300 m below the rim of Mackenney crater on the SSW flank. Incandescent debris falls from the front of the flow generated an ash plume seen at the bottom center of the image. Copyrighted photo by Deybin Fotografia, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 151. A lava flow at Pacaya that first emerged on 7 January 2021 on the SSW flank grew quickly to over a kilometer long by 9 January and remained 800-1,000 m long for the rest of the month, often with incandescent blocks falling several hundred meters beyond the front of the flow. A thermal anomaly persisted at the summit of the pyroclastic cone inside Mackenney crater as well from constant Strombolian activity. A weak anomaly was also visible on the NW flank from earlier activity. Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a) of Sentinel 2 images. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 152. Multiple branches of Pacaya’s SSW-flank-flow that began on 7 January 2021 were visible from a vantage point S of the volcano on 30 January. The branches were at least 700 m long with incandescent blocks falling several hundred meters farther down the flanks. The white lights below the flow are from people approaching the flow. Courtesy of David Rojas, used with permission.

Increased Strombolian activity during February 2021 was accompanied by frequent ash emissions that rose to 3.0-3.5 km altitude. The explosions often reached 225 m above the crater rim, and higher during pulses of increased activity. On 5 February ash drifted W, NW, and SW about 4 km and ashfall was reported in San Francisco de Sales, Concepcion el Cedro, and Calderas. A pulse of increased Strombolian activity on 6 February sent ejecta 400-500 m around the pyroclastic cone and columns of ash drifted 6 km NW and N. Ashfall was reported in the same areas as the day before, plus in El Bejucal, Mesías Altas and other communities in that region. Abundant ash emissions were reported by INSIVUMEH overnight on 7-8 February; variable winds dispersed the ash 30 km to the NW and W and 10 km N (figure 153). The ash emissions were accompanied by ejecta that landed 300 m from the summit. By the next day, ash had drifted as far as 66 km W and NW and ashfall was reported in El Patrocinio, El Rodeo, and El Caracol. Prolonged rumbling as loud as an airplane engine was reported from strong degassing. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions in satellite imagery on 9 February at 3.8 km altitude drifting NW about 65 km from the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 153. Dense ash emissions increased in frequency at Pacaya during February 2021. Ash emissions on 6 (left) and 8 (right) February resulted in ashfall in multiple communities around the volcano and were accompanied by incandescent ejecta falling hundreds of meters from the summit. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (BOLETÍN VULCANOLÓGICO ESPECIAL BEPAC 006-2021, 009-2021).

High levels of similar activity continued through 10 February when 500-m-high ejecta was observed inside Mackenney crater. An increase in the seismic amplitude on 11 February was accompanied by ash plumes rising to 3.0-3.2 km altitude and drifting 15-20 km W and SW. Ashfall was reported in Patrocinio and El Rodeo. The next day ashfall was reported in San Francisco de Sales, San Jose Calderas, and Concepción el Cedro. On 13 February the Washington VAAC reported ash plumes visible in satellite imagery at 4.3 km altitude moving ENE, and ash fell in Santa Elena Barillas, Mesillas Bajas, and Mesillas Altas as the wind carried ash 6 km W, N, and NE; ash on 14 February drifted 5 km E. A new pulse of activity late on 16 February, the third in a week, produced incandescent material 400 m high; high-pressure gas also created plane engine noises, with roofs and windows rattled in nearby communities. Ashfall from the event was reported in Los Llanos, Los Pocitos, El Cedro, and other communities within 4 km. Another pulse on 18 February sent ejecta 200 m high, variable winds sent ash primarily NE and S. Two more pulses of activity on the morning of 19 February were recorded as increases in seismic amplitude by the PCG5 seismic station (figure 154). The first pulse was accompanied by a new lava flow appearing on the NW flank. The second pulse coincided with ash emissions that rose 500 m above the crater and drifted 8 km S, producing ashfall in Los Pocitos and plantations in that vicinity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 154. Two increases in seismic amplitude at Pacaya were recorded during the morning of 19 February 2021 at seismic station PCG5. The first corresponded to the effusion of a new lava flow on the NW flank (left), and the second coincided with a pulse of ash plumes that drifted S (right). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (BOLETÍN VULCANOLÓGICO ESPECIAL BEPAC 31-2021, Incremento de actividad por emission de ceniza y surgimiento de nuevo flujo de lava).

Ash emissions from explosions on 20 February drifted 10-25 km S and SW, resulting in ashfall in El Rodeo and El Patrocinio. That evening incandescent material rose 300-400 m above the summit and ejecta reached 500 m down the flanks of the cone (figure 155). The next day ash plumes rose to 2.8-3.2 km altitude and drifted SW with ashfall reported in San Francisco de Sales, El Cedro, and other plantations in the area (figure 156). During 22-24 February ash emissions rose as high as 800 m above the summit and drifted 3-5 km W, SW, and S. Ashfall drifted over 30 km S and SW on 24 February with ashfall reported in the villages of Los Pocitos, Pacaya, El Rodeo, and El Patrocinio. Pulses of increased activity on 26 February produced an ash plume 2.5 km above the summit. With variable wind directions at different altitudes, the ash drifted both N and S. The Washington VAAC reported the plume drifting N at 3.9 km altitude. This activity was accompanied by incandescent explosions that rose 500 m above the Mackenney crater, and noises as loud as an airplane engine. Similar pulses of activity continued through the end of the month, producing ash plumes that rose to 3.5 km altitude and drifted W and SW; ashfall was reported in El Patrocinio on 28 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 155. During the weekend of 20-21 February 2021 when this photo was taken, Strombolian explosions at Pacaya sent ejecta 400 m above the summit of the cone and 500 m down the flanks, while a lava flow remained active on the SSW flank. Copyrighted photo by David Rojas, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 156. On 21 February 2021, ash plumes at Pacaya rose to 2.8-3.2 km altitude and drifted SW with ashfall reported in San Francisco de Sales, El Cedro, and other plantations in the area. Courtesy of Luis Figueroa.

The lava flow on the SSW flank was about 900 m long at the beginning of February with block avalanches falling about 100 m from the front of the flow, and Strombolian explosions active at the fissure at the head of the flow. Two distinct branches of the flow were visible on 6 February, one 1,200 and one 800 m long; multiple branches were active throughout the month (figure 157). High levels of activity continued; during 10-12 February the flow was 1,200-1,300 m long and loose blocks were descending an additional 200 m. During 13-18 February high temperature zones were still present on the N and NW flanks from earlier flows. From 14-18 February the S-flank flow was 900-1,100 m long with multiple branches and Strombolian activity at the vent (figure 158). A new flow appeared briefly on the NW flank during 19-20 February. High-temperature zones remained on the NW flank during 22-24 February. The S-flank flow remained active throughout the rest of February and was 800-1,100 m long, with incandescent blocks traveling up to 600 m beyond the flow fronts (figure 159).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 157. Multiple branches of the S-flank lava flow at Pacaya were active throughout February 2021. Strombolian activity was observed at the fissure where the flow emerged, and incandescent blocks rolled hundreds of meters beyond the flow front. The fissure was located about 300 m below the crater rim. The thermal anomaly from the Strombolian activity at the summit of the pyroclastic cone inside Mackenney crater was also visible in most satellite images. Atmospheric penetration rendering of Sentinel 2 image uses bands 12, 11, 8a. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 158. A lava flow about 1 km long on the S flank of Pacaya was active throughout the month; on 16 February 2021 Strombolian activity at the summit and at the head of the flow were visible. Multiple branches of the flow sent incandescent blocks hundreds of meters beyond the flow front. Copyrighted image by Berner Villela, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 159. The lava flow on the S flank of Pacaya had several active branches as seen in this thermal image on 21 February 2021. The source fissure vent was about 300 m below the rim of Mackenney crater. Incandescent blocks fell hundreds of meters beyond the fronts of the flows. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH and Roberto Iboy.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/ ); 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/); 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); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Deybin Fotografía (URL: https://www.facebook.com/Deybin-fotografía-2316704905277353, https://twitter.com/UniversoNews1/status/1347037016324792327); David Rojas (URL: https://twitter.com/DavidRojasGt/status/1360789438545149957); Luis Figueroa (URL: https://twitter.com/luisficarpediem/status/1363664541318598657); Berner Villela (URL: https://bernervillela.com/galerias/naturaleza, https://twitter.com/soy_502/status/1362846917743366146); Roberto Iboy (URL: https://twitter.com/IboyRoberto/status/1363688900401709057).


Villarrica (Chile) — March 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Villarrica

Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions, ash plumes, crater incandescence, and an active lava lake during September 2020-February 2021

Villarrica, located in Chile, has had historical eruptions dating back to 1558. The current eruption period began in December 2014 and more recently has been characterized by summit crater incandescence, Strombolian explosions, and ash emissions (BGVN 45:09). This report covers activity during September 2020 through February 2021, which consists of an active lava lake, explosions, ash plumes, and nighttime crater incandescence. Information is provided by the Southern Andes Volcano Observatory (Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur, OVDAS), part of Chile's National Service of Geology and Mining (Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería, SERNAGEOMIN), the Projecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI), part of the Fundacion Volcanes de Chile, a private research group that studies volcanoes across Chile, the Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Activity during September 2020 was characterized by an active lava lake, white gas-and-steam plumes that rose 500 m above the crater, nighttime crater incandescence that could be observed on clear days, and sporadic ash emissions produced by minor explosions. During 5 and 7 September tephra deposits extended up to 36 m on the E and SE flanks, according to satellite data. On 25 September the seismic network recorded a long-period earthquake associated with a moderate explosion at 1350, which produced an ash plume that rose 800 m above the crater and drifted ENE (figure 104); blocks of ejecta were deposited around the crater. A second explosion was recorded at 1829 in conjunction with another long-period event, which generated an ash plume that rose 450 m above the crater (figure 104). Sentinel L2 A satellite images were used to determine that ashfall extended 3.8 km SSE, 865 m SE, and 275 m N as a result of the explosions during the day. The POVI webcam captured incandescent ejecta at night on 27 September (figure 105).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. Explosions at Villarrica on 25 September 2020 at 1350 (top) and 1829 (bottom) produced a long-period seismic signal and ash plumes that rose 800 m and 450 m above the crater, respectively and drifted ENE. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN (Reporte Especial de Actividad Volcanica (REAV), Region De La Araucania y Los Rios, Volcan Villarrica, 25 de septiembre de 2020, 14:35 Hora local y 25 de septiembre de 2020, 19:20 Hora local).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Incandescent ejecta up to 100 m above the summit of Villarrica was captured in the POVI webcam at night on 27 September 2020. Courtesy of POVI.

Intermittent white gas-and-steam plumes, ash explosions, and nighttime crater incandescence continued during October. On 4 October SERNAGEOMIN reported a long-period event accompanied by a moderate explosion at 1130, generating an ash plume that rose 450 m above the crater and drifted NE. The next day on 5 October two long-period events were recorded at 1343 and 1347 associated with explosions, resulting in ash plumes that rose to 400 m above the crater and drifted SE (figure 106). On 12 October a satellite image showed an ash plume drifting 2.5 km NE and a strip of tephra deposits measuring 200 m wide and 3 km long on the NE flank, as a result of two eruptive events on 9 October, according to POVI and Sentinel-2 satellite imagery.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Explosions at Villarrica on 5 October 2020 produced a long-period seismic signal and an ash plume that rose 400 m above the crater and drifted SE. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN (Reporte Especial de Actividad Volcanica (REAV), Region De La Araucania y Los Rios, Volcan Villarrica, 5 de octubre de 2020, 14:20 Hora local).

Moderate explosions were detected at 0534 and 0804 on 15 October, associated with two long-period earthquakes. As a result, ash plumes rose as high as 900 m above the crater and gas-and-steam plumes rose to 450 m, according to SERNAGEOMIN. The explosion at 0534 was accompanied by crater incandescence and incandescent ejecta that were deposited on the E flank as far as 3 km. An analysis of Planet Scope and Sentinel-2 satellite images showed that ash deposits extended 4.4 km NE. On 20 October an explosion and long-period event were recorded at 1722 that resulted in an ash plume 240 m above the crater that drifted S (figure 107). Explosions recorded during 22-23 October produced ash plumes that rose 780 m and 180 m above the crater, respectively, according to a Buenos Aires VAAC report and SERNAGEOMIN. The event on 22 October deposited tephra up to 3.8 km on the E flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. An explosion at Villarrica on 20 October 2020 at 1722 was characterized by a long-period earthquake and a dense, gray ash plume that rose 240 m above the crater and drifted S. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN (Reporte Especial de Actividad Volcanica (REAV), Region De La Araucania y Los Rios, Volcan Villarrica, 20 de octubre de 2020, 18:00 Hora local).

Ash explosions continued in November, accompanied by intermittent nighttime crater incandescence and white gas-and-steam plumes. On 5 November a pulse of ash was observed at 1442 that rose 350 m above the crater and drifted NW. Similar activity was noted on 6 November at 0757 and 0808 when ash rose 350 m above the crater and at 1412 when ash rose 250 m above the crater, both of which drifted NW (figure 108). According to a Buenos Aires VAAC report on 7 November, an isolated ash plume was detected in satellite images up to 4.3 km altitude, drifted ESE. A Differential Absorption Optical Spectroscopy Unit (DOAS) showed average values of SO2 totaling 140 tons/day during 7-8 and 15 November with a maximum daily value of 168 tons/day on 7 November. An explosive event at 0051 on 8 November ejected incandescent material and produced an ash plume that rose 220 m above the crater (figure 108). On 10 November OVDAS reported an ash plume rose 320 m above the crater and drifted SSW, accompanied by continuous seismic tremor at 1514. Ash continued to be reported during 16-17 November rising 160 m above the crater and to 3.7 km altitude, respectively. Data from the DOAS showed that SO2 emissions had slightly increased to an average of 166 tons/day during 16-30 November, with a maximum daily value of 549 tons/day on 22 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. Explosions that generated ash and incandescent ejecta at the summit of Villarrica were captured by the POVI webcam during 6-8 November 2020 (left to right). Courtesy of POVI.

The number of ash events decreased in December compared to the previous months, though similar activity persisted. On clear nights, crater incandescence was visible, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions. SERNAGEOMIN reported a single long-period earthquake associated with a moderate explosion at 1844 on 5 December with a resulting ash plume that rose 160 m above the crater and drifted SSE; some ashfall was detected within 500 m of the crater, based on Sentinel-2, Pleiades, and SkySat data, and incandescent material was deposited on the SSE flanks (figure 109). According to POVI, during an overflight on 9 December scientists observed a lava lake 10-15 m in diameter that was partially covered by solidified floating black lava. Small pulses of gas and ash were observed in the lava lake. Additionally, ballistic blocks and pyroclasts that measured a maximum of 20 cm in diameter had been ejected up to 800 m from the crater during previous eruptive events. The average SO2 value was 178 tons/day with a maximum daily value of 353 tons/day on 7 December 2020, according to DOAS data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. An explosion at Villarrica on 5 December 2020 at 1844 produced a long-period seismic signal along with an ash plume that rose 160 m crater and drifted SSE. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN (Reporte Especial de Actividad Volcanica (REAV), Region De La Araucania y Los Rios, Volcan Villarrica, 5 de diciembre de 2020, 19:50 Hora local).

On 16 December at both 1146 and 1156 SERNAGEOMIN reported two ash pulses associated with long-period events. The first ash emission rose 160 m above the crater and drifted NW; the second rose 280 m above the crater and drifted 500 m NE. On 17 December at 1716 another ash plume associated with a long-period event rose 720 m above the crater and drifted ESE (figure 110). Pyroclastic deposits were reported up to 1.3 km N, 3.3 km E, 5 km SE, and 1.8 km SW from the crater, according to data obtained from Sentinel-2 and SkySat. During 18-19 December seismicity increased, intense crater incandescence was visible, and a notable sulfur odor was noted, according to POVI reports. Minor ash emissions rose to low heights on 22 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. An explosion at Villarrica on 17 December 2020 at 1716 produced an ash plume that rose 720 m above the crater and drifted ESE. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN (Reporte Especial de Actividad Volcanica (REAV), Region De La Araucania y Los Rios, Volcan Villarrica, 17 de diciembre de 2020, 17:50 Hora local).

During January 2021, the number of explosions with ash plumes continued to decrease compared to the previous months. On clear weather days, occasional nighttime crater incandescence was observed, as well as white gas-and-steam emissions of variable intensities. During an overflight on 2 January scientists observed an incandescent vent at the bottom of the crater that had a solidified lava bridge connecting across a partially crusted-over top (figure 111). DOAS data showed that the average mass of SO2 plumes had increased compared to November and December to 318 tons/day with a maximum daily value of 789 tons/day on 12 January. During 1-15 January, the highest ash plume reported rose 700 m above the crater, though it was mostly composed of gas-and-steam emissions. During 16-31 January gas-and-steam emissions continued, rising to 1.3 km above the crater on 20 January. The average value of SO2 plumes increased again to 430 tons/day with a maximum daily value of 789 tons/day on 22 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. Webcam image of two incandescent vents at Villarrica on 2 January 2021. A bridge of solidified lava separates the two sections and extends across the active lava lake. Courtesy of POVI.

Activity during February continued to decrease compared to the previous months and consisted of primarily white gas-and-steam plumes, nighttime crater incandescence, and SO2 plumes. On 10 February dense, white gas-and-steam plumes rose 700 m above the crater. During 1-15 February, the average value of SO2 plumes was 181 tons/day with a maximum daily value of 369 tons/day on 2 February. Long-period earthquakes were recorded by the seismic network at 1146 and 1156 on 16 February with an associated explosion that generated ash plumes 160 m above the crater that drifted NW and 280 m that drifted NE, respectively. During 16-28 February white gas-and-steam plumes rose to a high of 780 m above the crater; SO2 plumes were an average value of 402 tons/day with a maximum daily value of 1,026 tons/day on 21 February.

Low-power thermal activity was detected during September 2020 through January 2021, according to the MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph using MODIS infrared satellite information (figure 112). Three thermal anomalies were recorded in September, one in October, and four in November; a single stronger anomaly was observed in early November. The number of anomalies increased in late December through late January 2021, though they remained low in power. On clear weather days, a strong thermal anomaly in the summit crater was visible in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery during each month of the reporting period; in February, the strength of the anomaly had slightly decreased compared to previous months (figure 113).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 112. Low-power thermal anomalies were detected in the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power) at Villarrica during September 2020 through late January 2021. A pulse of thermal anomalies was recorded during late December 2020 through late January 2021 compared to the previous month but remained low in power. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 113. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing strong thermal anomalies on clear weather days in the summit crater of Villarrica each month from September 2020 through February 2021. The strength of the thermal anomaly in February decreased slightly compared to previous months. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); Proyecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI) (URL: http://www.povi.cl/); Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Meteorológico Nacional-Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 25 de mayo 658, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/inicio.php); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).

Search Bulletin Archive by Publication Date

Select a month and year from the drop-downs and click "Show Issue" to have that issue displayed in this tab.

   

The default month and year is the latest issue available.

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 31, Number 08 (August 2006)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Etna (Italy)

Changes in morphology of SE Crater and the emission of lava flows to the SSE

Kilauea (United States)

Lava entering the sea at E Lae`apuki; small bench collapse on 30 July 2006

Loihi (United States)

Overview of ~8 years' seismicity; bathymetric images and submarine volcanology

Mayon (Philippines)

Lava extruding but with less vigor

Poas (Costa Rica)

Minor phreatic eruptions on 25-26 September 2006

Taal (Philippines)

Ongoing seismic unrest

Veniaminof (United States)

Low seismicity with minor plumes through 15 September 2006; 13 June ash emission

Villarrica (Chile)

Nearly continuous satellite thermal anomalies observed since 2005



Etna (Italy) — August 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Changes in morphology of SE Crater and the emission of lava flows to the SSE

Strombolian eruptions, which had resumed in late August 2006, continued into September and took place in conjunction with lava flows escaping towards the ESE and reaching over 1 km in length by mid-September. A large circular depression had grown along the SE side of the cone at Southeast Crater (SEC) during 2004-5. The wall between the depression and the SEC's established central crater became increasingly eroded. On 10 September 2006 that weak zone failed. Lava erupted in the SEC's central crater soon filled the depression and then moved SSE.

The following report was supplied by Sonia Calvari and other members of the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV). The INGV website featured several reports on this time interval (including Lodato and Consoli, 2006; and Neri and others, 2006).

After the short eruptive phase of 14-24 July 2006 (BGVN 31:07) and the renewal of explosive activity at the Northeast Crater at the end of July, Strombolian activity resumed at SEC's summit in the early morning of 31 August. This activity was mild, with fallout of lapilli and bombs mainly within the crater. The ejecta eventually filled the SEC, and between 1900 and 2000 on 5 September an overflow from the summit formed spectacular lava falls along the breached E side. The descending lava accumulated within the prominent circular depression (figure 112) on the SEC's eastern flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 112. A view of the E side of Etna's SEC with Bocca Nuova (crater) in the background, 5 September 2006. The frame is drawn around the area that failed on 10 September. The depression, larger in diameter than the central SEC crater, had carved away material backing the eventual zone of failure. Photo taken from the report of Lodato and Consoli (2006).

Figure 113 presents plan views of Etna's SEC and vicinity, indicating the large depression that grew on the cone's SE side. The scene during July 2006 (left panel) provides a size comparison between the SEC's established central crater and the recent depression immediately to its SE. The 12 September 2006 scene (figure 113, right) shows the lava's eventual path. After lava flows escaped the central crater, they ponded in the adjacent depression. They later crossed the rim of the depression, and went on to advance over 1 km E.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 113. (Left) 2005 digital elevation map at Etna, including two key features: the established SEC crater and the adjacent (larger, circular) depression that grew to its SE during the 2004-05 eruption. This was the scene prior to the collapse of the wall between the two features. (Right) A schematic map discussing eruptive activity during July through 12 September 2006. Base map from M.T. Pareschi (INGV- Sezione di Pisa) and right-hand panel from Neri and others (2006).

The overflow from the SEC's central crater that began on 5 September continued to spread within the depression until about 0645 on 7 September, when it overflowed the SEC's eastern rim and started to spread on the outer E flank and from there towards the Valle del Bove rim. The flow was extremely viscous, slow, thin, and cold, mainly propagating through collapses and breaching of the `a`a flow front. Explosive activity continued at the SEC summit with variable intensity and lava blocks falling as far down as the base of the SEC's cone.

The failure of the SEC's upper wall (figure 112) took place late in the evening of 10 September, due to the pressure of magma accumulating within the summit crater. A new rock fall occurred at the wall dividing the SEC summit crater from the eastern depression, and was suddenly covered by the lava flow spilling from the summit crater. An ash plume rose from the failed material and blew W. No significant ash fallout was observed on the ground, but a lava flow spread E, advancing slowly towards the Valle del Bove rim. After the wall had fallen Strombolian emissions continued at the SEC (figure 114).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 114. Etna's SEC seen during the evening of 11 September 2006. Note the large breach of the SE side of the SEC's wall, permitting a direct view of strombolian eruptions within the summit crater in the SEC and channeling of the lava flow toward the SSE (towards the viewer and in the direction of the observatory). From the report by Neri and others (2006).

On 12 September the lava-flow length reached ~1.5 km E of the vent at SEC's crater. Both lava effusion and explosive Strombolian activity continued until 27 September, when both stopped following a sudden decrease in volcanic tremor.

References. Neri, M., Behncke, B., and Norini, G., 12 September 2006, Forma e strutture del Cratere Sud-Est (Etna) tra l'eruzione di luglio 2006 e l'attivit? eruttiva in corso, aggiornata al 12 settembre 2006 ['Forms and structures of the SEC from the eruption of July 2006 and ongoing eruptive activity, updated 12 September 2006']: Prot. int., WKRVGFTR20060913.pdf [UFVG2006/107].

Lodato, L., and Consoli, O., 11 September 2006, Aggiornamento attivit? Etna ['Etna activity update']: INGV, Catania, U.F. Vulcanologia e Geochimica, 20060911.pdf [UFVG2006/107].

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, Marco Neri, Luigi Lodato, Boris Behncke, Gianluca Norini, and Orazio Consoli, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy.


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

Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava entering the sea at E Lae`apuki; small bench collapse on 30 July 2006

Much of the activity at Kilauea has remained the same since last reported in BGVN 31:04. This report covers the time interval 8 February through most of July 2006. Lava continued to enter the sea at the East Lae`apuki area with volcanic tremor near normal background levels at Kilauea's summit. Numerous shallow earthquakes continued to occur at the summit and upper E rift zone. Volcanic tremor reached moderate levels at Pu`u `O`o. Slow, steady inflation continued at Kilauea's summit as it has more or less since mid-January 2006. A 4-hectare (10 acre) bench collapse occurred 30 July 2006 (figure 178).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 178. An aerial view of the E Lae`apuki entry at Kilauea showing the area of the 30 July bench collapse. A four-hectare chunk of the W side of the bench broke off and fell into the water. The black line marks approximate edge of the bench before the collapse. Courtesy of USGS-HVO.

Beginning on 8 February, surface lava flows were not visible on the Pulama pali scarp due to lava traveling underground through the PKK lava tube.

On 1 March, lava emerged from the PKK lava tube at elevations between 45 and 75 m, and proceeded in lava streams extending 200-400 m to the coast. The lava streams continued to flow off of the lava delta and into the ocean throughout this reporting period.

Inflation on 16 May was accompanied by an abrupt drop in volcanic tremor at Kilauea's summit. Volcanic tremor reached moderate levels at Pu`u `O`o. Small lava flows were visible on 19 May and minor incandescence was observed on 21-22 May at Kilauea's East Lae`apuki lava delta. Incandescence was visible from East Pond vent, January vent, and Drainhole during 24-30 May, and from the South Wall complex on 24 and 30 May and throughout June.

On 24 June, lava that flowed over a sea cliff was fed from a breakout point about 50 m inland from the cliff. The area of East Lae`apuki lava delta was estimated to be approximately 21 hectares (52 acres). The floor of Drainhole vent in Pu`u `O`o's crater collapsed and produced a 30 x 25 m lava pond with dynamically active lava on the SE side of the pit. Lava from the Campout flow and tube, located on the E margin of the PKK shield, advanced 1.2 km towards the Pulama pali during about 19-24 June.

On 30 June, surface lava flows originating from the Campout lava tube were visible on the upper part of the Pulama pali fault scarp, which had not been seen since 8 February. Incandescence was visible from Drainhole vent in Pu`u `O`o's crater and tremor remained at moderate level at Pu`u `O`o. By the end of July, the Campout flow was ~ 1.7 km from the sea at Ka`ili`ili, about 440 m from the observed terminus on 14 July.

A 4-hectare (10-acre) area of the lava delta at Kilauea's East Lae`apuki collapsed into the ocean at 1247 on 30 July. The collapse represented less than 15% of the delta's total area (figures 178 and 179). During the collapse, explosive activity bombarded the older lava delta and sea cliff on the western side of the bench, sending spatter and rock debris up to about 40 m inland—nearly half the distance to the rope barricade.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 179. A view of the East Lae`apuki bench from the W photographed at unstated date and published on 4 August 2006. The dashed line shows the approximate seaward extent of the area lost to the bench collapse on 30 July 2006. Photo courtesy of Greg Santos, Honolulu Advertiser.

During 2-8 August, lava from the PKK lava tube flowed into the ocean at two entries on the SE flank, East Lae`apuki and about 3.5 km E at East Ka`ili`ili. Tilt at the Pu`u `O`o cone displayed a saw-tooth pattern and tremor remained at a moderate level. A leveling survey revealed an inflationary trend at the summit of Kilauea, in areas S of Halema`uma`u crater. Elevations have increased 11 cm in the past 6 months and continued to increase during the reporting period.

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

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


Loihi (United States) — August 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Loihi

United States

18.92°N, 155.27°W; summit elev. -975 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Overview of ~8 years' seismicity; bathymetric images and submarine volcanology

Our previous report (BGVN 26:09) discussed an earthquake swarm in September 2001; this report lists larger earthquakes near Loihi during 1998-2006. In addition, it presents graphics depicting Loihi morphology and makes reference to some recent research there.

An M 4.7 earthquake occurred with epicenter 24 km NW of Loihi seamount at a focal depth of 40 km at about 1600 hours on 18 January 2006 (according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earthquake Information Center (NEIC)). Such a depth would rule out the signal representing an eruption of the volcano. No damage occurred on land. Head scientist Jim Kauahikaua at the Hawaii Volcano Observatory (HVO) said the earthquake was felt as far as Pepeekeo, 16 km N of Hilo.

Table 1 gives a summary of earthquakes of M 4 or greater reported near Loihi since 1998.

Table 1. Summary of earthquakes of M 4 or greater reported near Loihi (within a radius of 25 km from the summit) during 1998 to September 2006. Magnitudes: mb = body wave, MD = duration (coda-length) magnitude, ML = local magnitude. Distance is from the center point of Loihi (18.92°N, 155.27°W) to the epicenter. See BGVN 26:09 for additional details about the 11-13 September 2001 events. The events on 7 December 2005 are the three largest from a swarm of ~100 earthquakes. There were no earthquakes larger than M 4 during 1999-2000 or 2002-2004. Courtesy of USGS-NEIC.

Date (UTC) Origin time (UTC) Latitude Longitude Depth (km) Magnitude Distance (km)
27 Dec 1998 2140 18.79°N 155.23°W 10 4.70 MD 14
 
21 Jul 2001 1801 18.91°N 155.25°W 13 4.10 MD 2
11 Sep 2001 0009 18.85°N 155.24°W 12 4.90 mb 7
13 Sep 2001 1311 18.86°N 155.24°W 12 5.20 mb 7
13 Sep 2001 1839 18.87°N 155.18°W 12 4.40 mb 10
 
08 Mar 2005 1726 19.01°N 155.36°W 18 4.20 mb 13
23 Apr 2005 1301 18.80°N 155.19°W 44 4.30 ML 15
13 May 2005 1006 18.87°N 155.20°W 44 5.10 MD 9
17 Jul 2005 1915 18.78°N 155.45°W 32 5.4 MD 24
07 Dec 2005 0902 18.92°N 155.26°W 13 4.00 mb 0
07 Dec 2005 1142 18.92°N 155.18°W 28 4.70 MD 9
07 Dec 2005 1158 18.87°N 155.18°W 12 4.00 MD 10
19 Jan 2006 0204 19.05°N 155.43°W 40 4.70 MD 22

From mid-July through August 1996, instruments had recorded a swarm of thousands of earthquakes (BGVN 21:07 and 21:09). For this period, 84 earthquakes of M 4 or greater were recorded; the largest event, M 4.9 MD, occurred at 0930 UTC on 28 July (2330 local time on 27 July). Observers in a submersible during a cruise from 6-10 August 1996 determined that the swarm was associated with the collapse of Loihi's summit and an eruption (figure 10 and 11).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Bathymetry of Loihi seamount indicating the locations of Pele's Pit (the pit crater formed during the 1996 earthquake swarm) and Pisces Peak. To the N and NE of Pele's Pit are two older pit craters, West Pit and East Pit. Contour interval is 100 m; illumination is from the NE. From Caplan-Auerbach and Duennebier (2001).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Three-dimensional bathymetric map of the southernmost two-thirds of the Loihi summit platform. Courtesy of HVO web site.

Investigators at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have been studying Loihi. When lava comes in contact with seawater, it cools so rapidly that it shatters into glass sand and rubble. When lava enters the sea under confined mixing conditions such as those within a lava tube, rapid expansion of seawater to steam in the tube can produce large basalt glass bubbles that shatter into curved, paper-thin, bubble-wall fragments known as "limu o Pele" (Pele's seaweed, figure 12). Such bubble-wall fragments and thin strands of volcanic glass, known as Pele's hair, have been recovered from Loihi seamount and other deep-sea locations around Hawaii. Layered volcaniclastic deposits up to 11 m thick crop out along faults at the caldera's edge on Loihi's summit. The layers include unconsolidated volcanic gravel, sand, silt, and mud. Fragments in volcaniclastic units include fluidal clasts, limu o Pele, highly vesicular to scoriaceous fragments, and Pele's hair (Clague and others, 2003; Clague and others, 2000).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Fragments of limu o Pele (upper photo, largest diameters ~ 0.5 mm) and Pele's hair (lower photo, longest specimen is slightly over 1 cm), formed from lava bubbles during eruption (Clague, Davis, Bischoff, Dixon, and Geyer, 2000). Courtesy of MBARI, 2001.

The high sulfur and carbon-dioxide contents of these basaltic glass shards suggest that they were erupted at great depth. These fragments indicate that submarine eruptions can be more violent than previously thought, and can produce features to depths of at least 4 km similar to those observed in shallow-water environments.

A December 2000 NOAA Research article (Malahoff, 2000) noted that "Three pit craters occupy the summit of Loihi. The southernmost crater, Pele's Pit, formed during a two-week seismic swarm in 1996 that collapsed the hydrothermally active cone Pele's Vents. The new pit has steep walls with the floor located 200 meters below the rim of the crater. The crater floor and north slope are sites of spectacular and extensive hydrothermal venting with water temperatures ranging from 30°C to nearly 200°C. Diverse microbial mats surround the vents and cover the near vertical slopes of Pele's Pit."

New organisms identified at Loihi include the bacteria, L2TR and Idiomarina loihiensis (a halophilic g-Proteobacterium (Donachie and others, 2003) and a shrimp, Opaepele loihi (Williams and Dobbs, 1995).

Embodying both the topic of limu o Pele and marine organisms, David Clague and colleagues at MBARI have identified foraminifera that incorporated volcanic bubble walls in their tests (figure 13). These were discussed on the MBARI website. "Benthic foraminifera often glue particles to their tests, perhaps for protection from predators. These particles may be sponge spicules, sand grains, or other detritus, depending on the materials available and the 'specialty' of the foram. In sediment cores from the Gorda Ridge, we found forams that 'specialized' in volcanic glass grains and others that 'specialized' in limu o Pele. They effectively concentrated the glass samples for us!"

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Benthic foraminifera with agglutinated limu o Pele (foram ~ 2 mm across). Image © MBARI 2003.

References. Caplan-Auerbach, J., and Duennebier, F., 2001, Seismicity and velocity structure of Loihi seamount from the 1996 earthquake swarm: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 91, no. 2, p. 178-190.

Clague, D.A., Baiza, R., Head, J.W., III, and Davis, A.S., 2003, Pyroclastic and hydroclastic deposits on Loihi Seamount, Hawaii, in Explosive Subaqueous Volcanism, White, J.D.L., Smellie, J.L., and Clague, D.A. (eds.): Geophysical Monograph 140, American Geophysical Union, p. 73-95.

Clague, D.A., Davis, A.S., Bischoff, J.L., Dixon, J.E., and Geyer, R., 2000, Lava bubble-wall fragments formed by submarine hydrovolcanic explosions on Lo'ihi Seamount and Kilauea Volcano: Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 61, no. 7. p. 437-449.

Davis, A.S., Clague, D.A., Zierenberg, R.A., Wheat, C.G., and Cousens, B.L., 2003, Sulfide formation related to changes in the hydrothermal system on Loihi Seamount, Hawai'i, following the seismic event in 1996: The Canadian Mineralogist, v. 41, p. 457-472.

Donachie, S.P., Shaobin, H., Todd, S.G., Malahoff, A., and Alam, M., 2003, Idiomarina loihiensis sp. nov., a halophilic ?-Proteobacterium from the Lo'ihi submarine volcano, Hawai'i: Int J Syst Evol Microbiol, v. 53, p. 1873-1879, DOI 10.1099/ijs.0.02701-0 (International Union of Microbiological Societies).

Malahoff, A., 2000, Loihi submarine volcano: a natural extremeophile laboratory: U.S. Dept of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (http://www.oar.noaa.gov/spotlite/archive/spot_loihi.html), 12 October 2006.

Williams, A.B, and Dobbs, F.C, 1995, A new genus and species of caridean shrimp (Crustacea: Decapoda: Bresiliidae) from hydrothermal vents on Loihi Seamount, Hawaii: Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, v. 108, p. 228-237.

Geologic Background. Loihi seamount, the youngest volcano of the Hawaiian chain, lies about 35 km off the SE coast of the island of Hawaii. Loihi (which is the Hawaiian word for "long") has an elongated morphology dominated by two curving rift zones extending north and south of the summit. The summit region contains a caldera about 3 x 4 km wide and is dotted with numerous lava cones, the highest of which is about 975 m below the sea surface. The summit platform includes two well-defined pit craters, sediment-free glassy lava, and low-temperature hydrothermal venting. An arcuate chain of small cones on the western edge of the summit extends north and south of the pit craters and merges into the crests prominent rift zones. Deep and shallow seismicity indicate a magmatic plumbing system distinct from that of Kilauea. During 1996 a new pit crater was formed at the summit, and lava flows were erupted. Continued volcanism is expected to eventually build a new island; time estimates for the summit to reach the sea surface range from roughly 10,000 to 100,000 years.

Information Contacts: Hawaii Center for Volcanology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI (URL: http://www/soest.hawaii.edu/GG/HCV/loihi.html); U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) (URL: https://earthquake.usgs.gov/neis); Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Marine EM Laboratory (URL: http://marineemlab.ucsd.edu); Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), 7700 Sandholdt Road, Moss Landing, CA 95039-9664, USA (URL: http://www.mbari.org/); Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), U.S. Geological Survey, PO Box 51, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718, USA (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/); Alexander Malahoff, Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Ltd. (GNS), Avalon, Lower Hutt, P.O. Box 30 368, New Zealand.


Mayon (Philippines) — August 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava extruding but with less vigor

During 6 September to 3 October 2006, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) described lava extrusion and associated rockfalls on Mayon's SE slopes. This continued the previous pattern seen during 23 August-5 September 2006 (BGVN 31:07). Mayon's eruptive vigor generally declined by mid-September into October. Background on Mayon's geography follows (figures 13-15 and table 9).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Satellite image of the SE area of the Philippine island of Luzon showing Mayon volcano and surrounding volcanoes and towns. Courtesy of Google Earth.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Oblique aerial image of Mayon, looking from the N at an eye altitude of 1.78 km. Courtesy of Google Earth.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Contour map of Mayon volcano showing surrounding towns (see table 9 for more detailed list of names of nearby settlements) . The prominent circle around the volcano delineates the 6-km Permanent Danger Zone. Scale is 1:50,000. Courtesy of PHIVOLCS.

Table 9. An alphabetical list including some of the settlements and other place names on and surrounding Mayon volcano, and their bearings and distances from the summit. Taken from the PHIVOLCS map referenced below.

Town Name Bearing Distance (km)
Alcala SSE 9.6
Amtic NW 7.7
Anoling SSW 6.1
Arimbay SE 10.9
Bacacay ENE 12
Baligang WNW 6.2
Banadero S 8
Bantayan NNW 9.5
Baranghawon NNE 11.4
Basag W 9.6
Basagan N 8.8
Bigaa ESE 10.1
Binanowan W 10.7
Binitayan NE 10.5
Binogsacan SW 12.5
Bonga SE 8.5
Bongabong NNE 9.3
Bono? NNW 7.8
Boring N 8.2
Buang NW 7.4
Bubulusan WSW 10.3
Budiao S 8.1
Buhian NNW 8.3
Burabod SE 9.9
Buyuan SE 8.1
Cabangan SSW 8.1
Cagsawa S 10
Calbayog NE 6.5
Camalig S 8.8
Canaway NNE 7.6
Comon N 6.8
Daraga SSE 12.2
Dita SE 10.3
Dona Tomasa WSW 8.5
Fidel Surtida E 9.9
Guinobat N 11
Guinobatan SW 11.8
Hindi NE 10.4
Ilawod SW 11.5
Kilicao SSE 10.3
Legaspi City SSE 13.5
Libod SSW 10
Lidong ESE 8.7
Ligao W 14
Lower Bonga ENE 8.1
Mabinet SSE 8.5
Magapo NW 5.7
Maipon SW 10
Malilipot NE 9
Maninila SW 8.1
Mariroc N 9.7
Masarawag SW 8.1
Matagbac N 11
Matanag SE 8.4
Matnog SSE 8.4
Mayon Rest House Observatory NW 3.6
Miisi S 6
Muladbucad Grande W 8.9
Muladbucad Pequeno W 8.8
Nabonton W 10.3
Nasisi W 10.8
Oson N 7.3
Padang ESE 9.4
Pingabobong N 8.3
Quinastillohan N 10
Quirangay SSW 7.3
Rawis SSE 11.7
Sabinitayan NE 10.5
Salugan SSW 7.8
Salvacion S 8.6
San Andres E 10.4
San Antonio N 10.2
San Fernando E 8.2
San Francisco NE 8.8
San Isidro NNE 9.3
San Joaquin SE 11
San Lorenzo NNE 11.7
San Rafael SW 10.8
San Roque E 8.8
San Vincente N 11.4
Sta. Misericordia E 8.2
Sta. Misericordia Observatory E 7.9
Sta. Cruz NNE 8.7
Sto. Domingo ESE 10
Sua SSW 8.1
Sugod NE 10.6
Tabaco NNE 12.5
Tabiguian NW 8.8
Tagas NNE 11.2
Tambo WNW 7.9
Tandarora SW 9.4
Travesia SW 10.8
Tumpa SW 8
Upper Bongo ENE 8.3

Seismicity and lava extrusion generally decreased during 6-26 September. SO2 fluxes broadly declined, generally ranging between 1,200 and 3,000 tons per day, although the 25 August and 2 September readings were outliers, ~ 5,400 and ~ 6,600 tons per day, respectively. Ground-deformation measurements showed an overall deflation. On 11 September, the Alert Level was lowered from 4 to 3 (on a scale of 0-5, with 0 referring to No Alert status).

During late September surface activity was characterized by intermittent spalling of incandescent lava fragments and glow from the summit crater. Steaming at the summit was moderate with white plumes drifting NNE and SE. Low-frequency tremor continued to indicate elevated unrest. Alert Level 3 remained in effect, meaning that the new Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) of 7 km from the summit crater in the SE sector and the normal 6 km-radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) for other areas continued. Table 10 lists Mayon's reported seismicity from 25 August-27 September 2006, continuing the list developed in BGVN 31:07.

Table 10. Summary of 25 August-3 October 2006 events observed at Mayon volcano for 24-hour periods ending at 0800 hours on the date indicated. The SO2 emission rates apply to the gas within the volcanic plume. No data was available for 10, 28, or 29 September. Courtesy of PHIVOLCS.

Date Volcanic Earthquakes Tremor Episodes Low-frequency Harmonic Tremor SO2 Emission Rate (tons/day) Comments
25 Aug 2006 17 303 -- 5401 (magma degassing) Mild state of eruption, Alert Level 4.
01 Sep 2006 25 277 -- -- Lava extrusion, four explosions.
02 Sep 2006 31 248p -- 6585 (high) Small explosion.
03 Sep 2006 9 high -- 2021 --
04 Sep 2006 -- 305 -- 2961 --
05 Sep 2006 0 455 -- 1447 --
06 Sep 2006 13 295 -- 2032 --
07 Sep 2006 10 315 -- -- --
08 Sep 2006 26 333 -- 1841 --
09 Sep 2006 2 300 -- 1701 --
11 Sep 2006 6 206 -- 1500 --
12 Sep 2006 0 253 -- 1500 Begin Alert Level 3.
13 Sep 2006 8 108 -- 1500 --
14 Sep 2006 18 111 -- 1500 --
15 Sep 2006 12 104 continuous 1600 --
16 Sep 2006 2 31 continuous 1400 --
17 Sep 2006 -- 57 -- 1800 --
18 Sep 2006 2 57 continuous 1500 --
19 Sep 2006 -- 47 -- 1500 --
20 Sep 2006 1 33 continuous 1200 --
21 Sep 2006 3 20 continuous 2200 --
22 Sep 2006 2 80 continuous 1600 Lava extrusion.
23 Sep 2006 1 14 continuous 1599 Decline in lava extrusion.
24 Sep 2006 6 21 continuous -- Intense crater glow.
25 Sep 2006 14 114 -- 1300 Crater glow, lava extrusion.
26 Sep 2006 12 65 -- 1200 --
27 Sep 2006 7 18 -- None measured due to rain. Crater glow, lava fragments.
30 Sep 2006 0 3 -- None measured due to weather. White plumes drifting ENE.
01 Oct 2006 0 0 -- None measured due to weather. White plumes drifting ENE.
02 Oct 2006 0 0 -- None measured due to weather. --
03 Oct 2006 0 0 -- -- --

Reference. PHIVOLCS, (date unknown), Geologic map of the deposits and features of the 1984 eruption of Mayon Volcano: PHIVOLCS, prepared by H.B. Ruelo, scale 1:50,000.

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), University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/).


Poas (Costa Rica) — August 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Poas

Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2708 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor phreatic eruptions on 25-26 September 2006

At least two phreatic eruptions took place at the crater lake in the main crater at Poás volcano on 25-26 September 2006. Prior to the eruption, the warm hyper-acid crater lake (figure 81 (A)) was a weak turquoise color. It later turned milky gray.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Three photos depicting changes in the active crater at Poás during late September 2006. A) The scene looking into the crater on 24 September. B) The deposit left by the minor, subaqueous events of 26 September, which left a raft of scum floating on the lake's surface. C) A closer look at the material left floating on the lake after the minor eruption on the 26th. Courtesy of Red Sismologica Nacional (RSN: UCR-ICE).

The first eruption, during the night of 25 September, sent material to a height of at least 350 m above the crater lake. It deposited hydrothermally altered rock fragments, mud, and water in the S sector of the inner crater and outside the W part of the crater. Mud was found deposited ~ 500 m from the main crater. Sulfur chunks up to 35 cm in diameter and rock, including old pieces of andesite, failed to travel father than the confines of the crater. Ash erupted the night of 25 September reached ~ 10 km SW (to Trojas de Sarchí).

Observers noted another, smaller, minor eruption at 1038 on 26 September. That eruption had effects limited to the area of the crater lake (figure 81 (B)), where it formed spots of black and green-yellow mud and sulfur spread across a zone up to 75 m long. The process was interpreted to correspond with material coming from subaquatic pools of molten sulfur rising to the lake surface (figure 81 (C)).

A visit into the crater on the 27th determined the lake temperature and pH, 45°C and 0, respectively. The visitors also measured the temperatures of fumaroles ( > 95°C) and an orange fumarole, over 200°C. Samples of lake water and erupted mud were obtained.

Geologic Background. The broad, well-vegetated edifice of Poás, one of the most active volcanoes of Costa Rica, contains three craters along a N-S line. The frequently visited multi-hued summit crater lakes of the basaltic-to-dacitic volcano, which is one of Costa Rica's most prominent natural landmarks, are easily accessible by vehicle from the nearby capital city of San José. A N-S-trending fissure cutting the 2708-m-high complex stratovolcano extends to the lower northern flank, where it has produced the Congo stratovolcano and several lake-filled maars. The southernmost of the two summit crater lakes, Botos, is cold and clear and last erupted about 7500 years ago. The more prominent geothermally heated northern lake, Laguna Caliente, is one of the world's most acidic natural lakes, with a pH of near zero. It has been the site of frequent phreatic and phreatomagmatic eruptions since the first historical eruption was reported in 1828. Eruptions often include geyser-like ejections of crater-lake water.

Information Contacts: Raul Mora and Carlos Ramírez, Red Sismologica Nacional (RSN: UCR-ICE); Universidad de Costa Rica, Escuela Centroamericana de Geología, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, Apto 35-2060, Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo Facio, San José, Costa Rica (URL: http://rsn.ucr.ac.cr/).


Taal (Philippines) — August 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Taal

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing seismic unrest

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) notified the public on 26 September 2006 of ongoing seismic unrest at Taal. The Main Crater Seismic Station recorded 29 volcanic earthquakes during the 24-hour period from 0600 hours on 25 September. Five of these earthquakes, at 0233, 0234, 0242, 0247, and 0249 hours on 26 September, were felt at Modified Mercalli Intensities II to III by residents on Volcano Island. The earthquakes were accompanied by rumbling sounds. Initial locations showed epicenters generally dispersed in the vicinity of Daang Kastila (NE), Tibag (N), Tablas (NE), Mataas na Gulod (NE), and Panikihan (NW). This seismic activity was notably higher than the usual levels, generally only five or less events detected in 24 hours.

Surface thermal observations, however, did not indicate significant change in the thermal and steam emission manifestations of the Main Crater lake area. The increase in seismicity at Taal reflects a low-level episode of unrest. However, there is still no indication of an impending eruption. Possible precursors, such as increased steam emission, increased temperatures of steam vents at the Main Crater lake waters and adjacent areas are being monitored continuously. The ongoing seismic unrest could intensify in the coming days or weeks so that PHIVOLCS recommends appropriate vigilance by the public when visiting the island.

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), University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/).


Veniaminof (United States) — August 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Veniaminof

United States

56.17°N, 159.38°W; summit elev. 2507 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Low seismicity with minor plumes through 15 September 2006; 13 June ash emission

Intermittent, very small-volume steam and ash bursts from the intra-caldera cone have been typical of this volcano intermittently over the past few years, and this pattern continued. The previous report mentions several minor bursts of ash, particularly on 13 June 2006 and 7 September, and minor white plumes through mid-September. This report discusses the interval 8 April through 15 September. Seismicity during this interval was nearly always low, although it often rose above background.

Clouds obstructed visibility during 7-14 April. For the duration of April and June, activity remained low with few steam plumes containing minor amounts of ash. On 30 May a weak daytime thermal anomaly was recorded, possibly due to solar heating inside the dark intra-caldera cone. Intermittent clear weather on the week ending 9 June indicated weak steam plumes.

On 13 June an ash emission rose to a height estimated at ~ 600 m above the summit area, as reported by a passing aircraft. Transient plumes were seen on satellite imagery during the week ending 21 July.

During the week ending 28 July, an AVO field party flew over the summit and observed typical steaming from the intra-caldera cone with no signs of recent ash emissions. Satellite and web camera views during occasional clear periods showed no other signs of activity. Occasional satellite views during clear weather failed to disclose new ash emissions during 28 July through 15 September.

AVO noted a slight increase in seismicity starting 2 August but in the subsequent weeks it again returned to low levels. Available satellite and camera views continued to reveal occasional small white plumes through 15 September.

Geologic Background. Veniaminof, on the Alaska Peninsula, is truncated by a steep-walled, 8 x 11 km, glacier-filled caldera that formed around 3,700 years ago. The caldera rim is up to 520 m high on the north, is deeply notched on the west by Cone Glacier, and is covered by an ice sheet on the south. Post-caldera vents are located along a NW-SE zone bisecting the caldera that extends 55 km from near the Bering Sea coast, across the caldera, and down the Pacific flank. Historical eruptions probably all originated from the westernmost and most prominent of two intra-caldera cones, which rises about 300 m above the surrounding icefield. The other cone is larger, and has a summit crater or caldera that may reach 2.5 km in diameter, but is more subdued and barely rises above the glacier surface.

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA; Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA; and Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/).


Villarrica (Chile) — August 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Villarrica

Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Nearly continuous satellite thermal anomalies observed since 2005

During 29 March to 3 April 2005, the lava lake inside Villarrica's crater remained active, with Strombolian explosions occurring. Some gas explosions were observed to hurl volcanic bombs as far as ~ 300 m. According to a news report, the Oficina Nacional de Emergencia reported that unusual seismicity was recorded during early April 2005. Fresh ash deposits were seen outside of the crater. Visitors were banned from climbing the volcano.

Since the beginning of 2005, relatively consistent and continuous MODIS/MODVOLC thermal anomalies were recorded during 1 January through 25 March, 7-21 July, 31 August through 26 September, 17 October through 25 December 2005, and 23 January through 4 September 2006 (figure 21). The gaps between these periods are probably artificial, due to such interference as cloud cover or other phenomena that obscured satellite observations. For example, the activity reported above for late March through early April 2005 did not generate MODIS/MODVOLC thermal anomalies.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Thermal anomalies at Villarrica from the MODIS/MODVOLC satellite observations, January 2005 to 18 September 2006. Anomalies are from both the Aqua and Terra satellites. Courtesy of the HIGP MODIS Thermal Alert System.

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

Information Contacts: HIGP MODIS Thermal Alert System, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), University of Hawaii and Manoa, 168 East-West Road, Post 602, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).

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