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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

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

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

Recently Published Bulletin Reports

Sabancaya (Peru) Daily explosions with ash emissions, large SO2 flux, ongoing thermal anomalies, December 2019-May 2020

Sheveluch (Russia) Lava dome growth and thermal anomalies continue through April 2020, but few ash explosions

Dukono (Indonesia) Numerous ash explosions continue through March 2020

Etna (Italy) Strombolian explosions and ash emissions continue, October 2019-March 2020

Merapi (Indonesia) Explosions produced ash plumes, ashfall, and pyroclastic flows during October 2019-March 2020

Erta Ale (Ethiopia) Continued lava flow outbreaks and thermal anomalies during November 2019 to early April 2020

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) Weak phreatic explosions during August 2019-March 2020; ash and lahars reported in late January

Manam (Papua New Guinea) Minor explosive activity, continued thermal activity, and SO2 emissions, October 2019-March 2020.

Stromboli (Italy) Strombolian activity continues at both summit crater areas, September-December 2019

Semeru (Indonesia) Ash plumes and thermal anomalies continue during September 2019-February 2020

Popocatepetl (Mexico) Dome growth and destruction continues along with ash emissions and ejecta, September 2019-February 2020

Santa Maria (Guatemala) Daily explosions with ash plumes and block avalanches continue, September 2019-February 2020



Sabancaya (Peru) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sabancaya

Peru

15.787°S, 71.857°W; summit elev. 5960 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily explosions with ash emissions, large SO2 flux, ongoing thermal anomalies, December 2019-May 2020

Although tephrochronology has dated activity at Sabancaya back several thousand years, renewed activity that began in 1986 was the first recorded in over 200 years. Intermittent activity since then has produced significant ashfall deposits, seismic unrest, and fumarolic emissions. A new period of explosive activity that began in November 2016 has been characterized by pulses of ash emissions with some plumes exceeding 10 km altitude, thermal anomalies, and significant SO2 plumes. Ash emissions and high levels of SO2 continued each week during December 2019-May 2020. The Observatorio Vulcanologico INGEMMET (OVI) reports weekly on numbers of daily explosions, ash plume heights and directions of drift, seismicity, and other activity. The Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) issued three or four daily reports of ongoing ash emissions at Sabancaya throughout the period.

The dome inside the summit crater continued to grow throughout this period, along with nearly constant ash, gas, and steam emissions; the average number of daily explosions ranged from 4 to 29. Ash and gas plume heights rose 1,800-3,800 m above the summit crater, and multiple communities around the volcano reported ashfall every month (table 6). Sulfur dioxide emissions were notably high and recorded daily with the TROPOMI satellite instrument (figure 75). Thermal activity declined during December 2019 from levels earlier in the year but remained steady and increased in both frequency and intensity during April and May 2020 (figure 76). Infrared satellite images indicated that the primary heat source throughout the period was from the dome inside the summit crater (figure 77).

Table 6. Persistent activity at Sabancaya during December 2019-May 2020 included multiple daily explosions with ash plumes that rose several kilometers above the summit and drifted in many directions; this resulted in ashfall in communities within 30 km of the volcano. Satellite instruments recorded SO2 emissions daily. Data courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET.

Month Avg. Daily Explosions by week Max plume Heights (m above crater) Plume drift (km) and direction Communities reporting ashfall Min Days with SO2 over 2 DU
Dec 2019 16, 13, 5, 5 2,600-3,800 20-30 NW Pinchollo, Madrigal, Lari, Maca, Achoma, Coporaque, Yanque, Chivay, Huambo, Cabanaconde 27
Jan 2020 10, 8, 11, 14, 4 1,800-3,400 30 km W, NW, SE, S Chivay, Yanque, Achoma 29
Feb 2020 8, 11, 20, 19 2,000-2,200 30 km SE, E, NE, W Huambo 29
Mar 2020 14, 22, 29, 18 2,000-3,000 30 km NE, W, NW, SW Madrigal, Lari, Pinchollo 30
Apr 2020 12, 12, 16, 13, 8 2,000-3,000 30 km SE, NW, E, S Pinchollo, Madrigal, Lari, Maca, Ichupampa, Yanque, Chivay, Coporaque, Achoma 27
May 2020 15, 14, 6, 16 1,800-2,400 30 km SW, SE, E, NE, W Chivay, Achoma, Maca, Lari, Madrigal, Pinchollo 27
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Sulfur dioxide anomalies were captured daily from Sabancaya during December 2019-May 2020 by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Some of the largest SO2 plumes are shown here with dates listed in the information at the top of each image. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Thermal activity at Sabancaya declined during December 2019 from levels earlier in the year but remained steady and increased slightly in frequency and intensity during April and May 2020, according to the MIROVA graph of Log Radiative Power from 23 June 2019 through May 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Sabancaya confirmed the frequent ash emissions and ongoing thermal activity from the dome inside the summit crater during December 2019-May 2020. Top row (left to right): On 6 December 2019 a large plume of steam and ash drifted N from the summit. On 16 December 2019 a thermal anomaly encircled the dome inside the summit caldera while gas and possible ash drifted NW. On 14 April 2020 a very similar pattern persisted inside the crater. Bottom row (left to right): On 19 April an ash plume was clearly visible above dense cloud cover. On 24 May the infrared glow around the dome remained strong; a diffuse plume drifted W. A large plume of ash and steam drifted SE from the summit on 29 May. Infrared images use Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a), other images use Natural Color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The average number of daily explosions during December 2019 decreased from a high of 16 the first week of the month to a low of five during the last week. Six pyroclastic flows occurred on 10 December (figure 78). Tremors were associated with gas-and-ash emissions for most of the month. Ashfall was reported in Pinchollo, Madrigal, Lari, Maca, Achoma, Coporaque, Yanque, and Chivay during the first week of the month, and in Huambo and Cabanaconde during the second week (figure 79). Inflation of the volcano was measured throughout the month. SO2 flux was measured by OVI as ranging from 2,500 to 4,300 tons per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Multiple daily explosions at Sabancaya produced ash plumes that rose several kilometers above the summit. Left image is from 5 December and right image is from 11 December 2019. Note pyroclastic flows to the right of the crater on 11 December. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-49-2019/INGEMMET Semana del 2 al 8 de diciembre de 2019 and RSSAB-50-2019/INGEMMET Semana del 9 al 15 de diciembre de 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Communities to the N and W of Sabancaya recorded ashfall from the volcano the first week of December and also every month during December 2019-May 2020. The red zone is the area where access is prohibited (about a 12-km radius from the crater). Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-22-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 25 al 31 de mayo del 2020).

During January and February 2020 the number of daily explosions averaged 4-20. Ash plumes rose as high as 3.4 km above the summit (figure 80) and drifted up to 30 km in multiple directions. Ashfall was reported in Chivay, Yanque, and Achoma on 8 January, and in Huambo on 25 February. Sulfur dioxide flux ranged from a low of 1,200 t/d on 29 February to a high of 8,200 t/d on 28 January. Inflation of the edifice was measured during January; deformation changed to deflation in early February but then returned to inflation by the end of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Ash plumes rose from Sabancaya every day during January and February 2020. Left: 11 January. Right: 28 February. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-02-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 06 al 12 de enero del 2020 and RSSAB-09-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 24 de febrero al 01 de marzo del 2020).

Explosions continued during March and April 2020, averaging 8-29 per day. Explosions appeared to come from multiple vents on 11 March (figure 81). Ash plumes rose 3 km above the summit during the first week of March and again the first week of April; they were lower during the other weeks. Ashfall was reported in Madrigal, Lari, and Pinchollo on 27 March and 5 April. On 17 April ashfall was reported in Maca, Ichupampa, Yanque, Chivay, Coporaque, and Achoma. Sulfur dioxide flux ranged from 1,900 t/d on 5 March to 10,700 t/d on 30 March. Inflation at depth continued throughout March and April with 10 +/- 4 mm recorded between 21 and 26 April. Similar activity continued during May 2020; explosions averaged 6-16 per day (figure 82). Ashfall was reported on 6 May in Chivay, Achoma, Maca, Lari, Madrigal, and Pinchollo; heavy ashfall was reported in Achoma on 12 May. Additional ashfall was reported in Achoma, Maca, Madrigal, and Lari on 23 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Explosions at Sabancaya on 11 March 2020 appeared to originate simultaneously from two different vents (left). The plume on 12 April was measured at about 2,500 m above the summit. Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-11-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 9 al 15 de marzo del 2020 and RSSAB-15-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 6 al 12 de abril del 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Explosions dense with ash continued during May 2020 at Sabancaya. On 11 and 29 May 2020 ash plumes rose from the summit and drifted as far as 30 km before dissipating. Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya , RSSAB-20-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 11 al 17 de mayo del 2020 and RSSAB-22-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 25 al 31 de mayo del 2020).

Geologic Background. Sabancaya, located in the saddle NE of Ampato and SE of Hualca Hualca volcanoes, is the youngest of these volcanic centers and the only one to have erupted in historical time. The oldest of the three, Nevado Hualca Hualca, is of probable late-Pliocene to early Pleistocene age. The name Sabancaya (meaning "tongue of fire" in the Quechua language) first appeared in records in 1595 CE, suggesting activity prior to that date. Holocene activity has consisted of Plinian eruptions followed by emission of voluminous andesitic and dacitic lava flows, which form an extensive apron around the volcano on all sides but the south. Records of historical eruptions date back to 1750.

Information Contacts: Observatorio Volcanologico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico), Barrio Magisterial Nro. 2 B-16 Umacollo - Yanahuara Arequipa, Peru (URL: http://ovi.ingemmet.gob.pe); 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); 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).


Sheveluch (Russia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

56.653°N, 161.36°E; summit elev. 3283 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava dome growth and thermal anomalies continue through April 2020, but few ash explosions

The eruption at Sheveluch has continued for more than 20 years, with strong explosions that have produced ash plumes, lava dome growth, hot avalanches, numerous thermal anomalies, and strong fumarolic activity (BGVN 44:05). During this time, there have been periods of greater or lesser activity. The most recent period of increased activity began in December 2018 and continued through October 2019 (BGVN 44:11). This report covers activity between November 2019 to April 2020, a period during which activity waned. The volcano is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) and Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

During the reporting period, KVERT noted that lava dome growth continued, accompanied by incandescence of the dome blocks and hot avalanches. Strong fumarolic activity was also present (figure 53). However, the overall eruption intensity waned. Ash plumes sometimes rose to 10 km altitude and drifted downwind over 600 km (table 14). The Aviation Color Code (ACC) remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale), except for 3 November when it was raised briefly to Red (the highest level).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Fumarolic activity of Sheveluch’s lava dome on 24 January 2020. Photo by Y. Demyanchuk; courtesy of KVERT.

Table 14. Explosions and ash plumes at Sheveluch during November 2019-April 2020. Dates and times are UTC, not local. Data courtesy of KVERT and the Tokyo VAAC.

Dates Plume Altitude (km) Drift Distance and Direction Remarks
01-08 Nov 2019 -- 640 km NW 3 November: ACC raised to Red from 0546-0718 UTC before returning to Orange.
08-15 Nov 2019 9-10 1,300 km ESE
17-27 Dec 2019 6.0-6.5 25 km E Explosions at about 23:50 UTC on 21 Dec.
20-27 Mar 2020 -- 45 km N 25 March: Gas-and-steam plume containing some ash.
03-10 Apr 2020 10 km 526 km SE 8 April: Strong explosion at 1910 UTC.
17-24 Apr 2020 -- 140 km NE Re-suspended ash plume.

KVERT reported thermal anomalies over the volcano every day, except for 25-26 January, when clouds obscured observations. During the reporting period, thermal anomalies, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm recorded hotspots on 10 days in November, 13 days in December, nine days in January, eight days in both February and March, and five days in April. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, detected numerous hotspots every month, almost all of which were of moderate radiative power (figure 54).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Thermal anomalies at Sheveluch continued at elevated levels during November 2019-April 2020, as seen on this MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph for July 2019-April 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

High sulfur dioxide levels were occasionally recorded just above or in the close vicinity of Sheveluch by the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) aboard the Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite, but very little drift was observed.

Geologic Background. The high, isolated massif of Sheveluch volcano (also spelled Shiveluch) rises above the lowlands NNE of the Kliuchevskaya volcano group. The 1300 km3 volcano is one of Kamchatka's largest and most active volcanic structures. The summit of roughly 65,000-year-old Stary Shiveluch is truncated by a broad 9-km-wide late-Pleistocene caldera breached to the south. Many lava domes dot its outer flanks. The Molodoy Shiveluch lava dome complex was constructed during the Holocene within the large horseshoe-shaped caldera; Holocene lava dome extrusion also took place on the flanks of Stary Shiveluch. At least 60 large eruptions have occurred during the Holocene, making it the most vigorous andesitic volcano of the Kuril-Kamchatka arc. Widespread tephra layers from these eruptions have provided valuable time markers for dating volcanic events in Kamchatka. Frequent collapses of dome complexes, most recently in 1964, have produced debris avalanches whose deposits cover much of the floor of the breached caldera.

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); 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/).


Dukono (Indonesia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Dukono

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Numerous ash explosions continue through March 2020

The ongoing eruption at Dukono is characterized by frequent explosions that send ash plumes to about 1.5-3 km altitude (0.3-1.8 km above the summit), although a few have risen higher. This type of typical activity (figure 13) continued through at least March 2020. The ash plume data below (table 21) were primarily provided by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC). During the reporting period of October 2019-March 2020, the Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4) and the public was warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

Table 21. Monthly summary of reported ash plumes from Dukono for October 2019-March 2020. The direction of drift for the ash plume through each month was highly variable; notable plume drift each month was only indicated in the table if at least two weekly reports were consistent. Data courtesy of the Darwin VAAC and PVMBG.

Month Plume Altitude (km) Notable Plume Drift
Oct 2019 1.8-3 Multiple
Nov 2019 1.8-2.3 E, SE, NE
Dec 2019 1.8-2.1 E, SE
Jan 2020 1.8-2.1 E, SE, SW, S
Feb 2020 2.1-2.4 S, SW
Mar 2020 1.5-2.3 Multiple
Figure (see Caption) Figure 13.Satellite image of Dukono from Sentinel-2 on 12 November 2019, showing an ash plume drifting E. Image uses natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During the reporting period, high levels of sulfur dioxide were only recorded above or near the volcano during 30-31 October and 4 November 2019. High levels were recorded by the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) instrument aboard the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite on 30 October 2019, in a plume drifting E. The next day high levels were also recorded by the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) aboard the Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite on 31 October (figure 14) and 4 November 2019, in plumes drifting SE and NE, respectively.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Sulfur dioxide emission on 31 October 2019 drifting E, probably from Dukono, as recorded by the TROPOMI instrument aboard the Sentinel-5P satellite. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

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/); 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/); 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).


Etna (Italy) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian explosions and ash emissions continue, October 2019-March 2020

Mount Etna is a stratovolcano located on the island of Sicily, Italy, with historical eruptions that date back 3,500 years. The most recent eruptive period began in September 2013 and has continued through March 2020. Activity is characterized by Strombolian explosions, lava flows, and ash plumes that commonly occur from the summit area, including the Northeast Crater (NEC), the Voragine-Bocca Nuova (or Central) complex (VOR-BN), the Southeast Crater (SEC, formed in 1978), and the New Southeast Crater (NSEC, formed in 2011). The newest crater, referred to as the "cono della sella" (saddle cone), emerged during early 2017 in the area between SEC and NSEC. This reporting period covers information from October 2019 through March 2020 and includes frequent explosions and ash plumes. The primary source of information comes from the Osservatorio Etneo (OE), part of the Catania Branch of Italy's Istituo Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologica (INGV).

Summary of activity during October 2019-March 2020. Strombolian activity and gas-and-steam and ash emissions were frequently observed at Etna throughout the entire reporting period, according to INGV and Toulouse VAAC notices. Activity was largely located within the main cone (Voragine-Bocca Nuova complex), the Northeast Crater (NEC), and the New Southeast Crater (NSEC). On 1, 17, and 19 October, ash plumes rose to a maximum altitude of 5 km. Due to constant Strombolian explosions, ground observations showed that a scoria cone located on the floor of the VOR Crater had begun to grow in late November and again in late January 2020. A lava flow was first detected on 6 December at the base of the scoria cone in the VOR Crater, which traveled toward the adjacent BN Crater. Additional lava flows were observed intermittently throughout the reporting period in the same crater. On 13 March, another small scoria cone had formed in the main VOR-BN complex due to Strombolian explosions.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows multiple episodes of thermal activity varying in power from 22 June 2019 to March 2020 (figure 286). The power and frequency of these thermal anomalies significantly decreased between August to mid-September. The pulse of activity in mid-September reflected a lava flow from the VOR Crater (BGVN 44:10). By late October through November, thermal anomalies were relatively weaker and less frequent. The next pulse in thermal activity reflected in the MIROVA graph occurred in early December, followed by another shortly after in early January, both of which were due to new lava flows from the VOR Crater. After 9 January the thermal anomalies remained frequent and strong; active lava flows continued through March accompanied by Strombolian explosions, gas-and-steam, SO2, and ash emissions. The most recent distinct pulse in thermal activity was seen in mid-March; on 13 March, another lava flow formed, accompanied by an increase in seismicity. This lava flow, like the previous ones, also originated in the VOR Crater and traveled W toward the BN Crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 286. Multiple episodes of varying activity at Etna from 22 June 2019 through March 2020 were reflected in the MIROVA thermal energy data (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during October-December 2019. During October 2019, VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) notices issued by INGV reported ash plumes rose to a maximum altitude of 5 km on 1, 17, and 19 October. Strombolian explosions occurred frequently. Explosions were detected primarily in the VOR-BN Craters, ejecting coarse pyroclastic material that fell back into the crater area and occasionally rising above the crater rim. Ash emissions rose from the VOR-BN and NEC while intense gas-and-steam emissions were observed in the NSEC (figure 287). Between 10-12 and 14-20 October fine ashfall was observed in Pedara, Mascalucia, Nicolosi, San Giovanni La Punta, and Catania. In addition to these ash emissions, the explosive Strombolian activity contributed to significant SO2 plumes that drifted in different directions (figure 288).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 287. Webcam images of ash emissions from the NE Crater at Etna from the a) CUAD (Catania) webcam on 10 October 2019; b) Milo webcam on 11 October 2019; c) Milo webcam on 12 October 2019; d) M.te Cagliato webcam on 13 October 2019. Courtesy of INGV (Report 42/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 07/10/2019 - 13/10/2019, data emissione 15/10/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 288. Strombolian activity at Etna contributed to significant SO2 plumes that drifted in multiple directions during the intermittent explosions in October 2019. Top left: 1 October 2019. Top right: 2 October 2019. Middle left: 15 October 2019. Middle right: 18 October 2019. Bottom left: 13 November 2019. Bottom right: 1 December 2019. Captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

The INGV weekly bulletin covering activity between 25 October and 1 November 2019 reported that Strombolian explosions occurred at intervals of 5-10 minutes from within the VOR-BN and NEC, ejecting incandescent material above the crater rim, accompanied by modest ash emissions. In addition, gas-and-steam emissions were observed from all the summit craters. Field observations showed the cone in the crater floor of VOR that began to grow in mid-September 2019 had continued to grow throughout the month. During the week of 4-10 November, Strombolian activity within the Bocca Nuova Crater was accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. The explosions in the VOR Crater occasionally ejected incandescent ejecta above the crater rim (figures 289 and 290). For the remainder of the month Strombolian explosions continued in the VOR-BN and NEC, producing sporadic ash emissions. Isolated and discontinuous explosions in the New Southeast Crater (NSEC) also produced fine ash, though gas-and-steam emissions still dominated the activity at this crater. Additionally, the explosions from these summit craters were frequently accompanied by strong SO2 emissions that drifted in different directions as discrete plumes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 289. Photo of Strombolian activity and crater incandescence in the Voragine Crater at Etna on 15 November 2019. Photo by B. Behncke, taken by Tremestieri Etneo. Courtesy of INGV (Report 47/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 11/11/2019 - 17/11/2019, data emissione 19/11/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 290. Webcam images of summit crater activity during 26-29 November and 1 December 2019 at Etna. a) image recorded by the high-resolution camera on Montagnola (EMOV); b) and c) webcam images taken from Tremestieri Etneo on the southern slope of Etna showing summit incandescence; d) image recorded by the thermal camera on Montagnola (EMOT) showing summit incandescence at the NSEC. Courtesy of INGV (Report 49/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 25/11/2019 - 01/12/2019, data emissione 03/12/2019).

Frequent Strombolian explosions continued through December 2019 within the VOR-BN, NEC, and NSEC Craters with sporadic ash emissions observed in the VOR-BN and NEC. On 6 December, Strombolian explosions increased in the NSEC; webcam images showed incandescent pyroclastic material ejected above the crater rim. On the morning of 6 December a lava flow was observed from the base of the scoria cone in the VOR Crater that traveled toward the adjacent Bocca Nuova Crater. INGV reported that a new vent opened on the side of the saddle cone (NSEC) on 11 December and produced explosions until 14 December.

Activity during January-March 2020. On 9 January 2020 an aerial flight organized by RAI Linea Bianca and the state police showed the VOR Crater continuing to produce lava that was flowing over the crater rim into the BN Crater with some explosive activity in the scoria cone. Explosive Strombolian activity produced strong and distinct SO2 plumes (figure 291) and ash emissions through March, according to the weekly INGV reports, VONA notices, and satellite imagery. Several ash emissions during 21-22 January rose from the vent that opened on 11 December. According to INGV’s weekly bulletin for 21-26 January, the scoria cone in the VOR crater produced Strombolian explosions that increased in frequency and contributed to rapid cone growth, particularly the N part of the cone. Lava traveled down the S flank of the cone and into the adjacent Bocca Nuova Crater, filling the E crater (BN-2) (figure 292). The NEC had discontinuous Strombolian activity and periodic, diffuse ash emissions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 291. Distinct SO2 plumes drifting in multiple directions from Etna were visible in satellite imagery as Strombolian activity continued through March 2020. Top left: 21 January 2020. Top right: 2 February 2020. Bottom left: 10 March 2020. Bottom right: 19 March 2020. Captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 292. a) A map of the lava field at Etna showing cooled flows (yellow) and active flows (red). The base of the scoria cone is outlined in black while the crater rim is outlined in red. b) Thermal image of the Bocca Nuova and Voragine Craters. The bright orange is the warmest temperature measure in the flow. Courtesy of INGV, photos by Laboratorio di Cartografia FlyeEye Team (Report 10/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 24/02/2020 - 01/03/2020, data emissione 03/03/2020).

Strombolian explosions continued into February 2020, accompanied by ash emissions and lava flows from the previous months (figure 293). During 17-23 February, INGV reported that some subsidence was observed in the central portion of the Bocca Nuova Crater. During 24 February to 1 March, the Strombolian explosions ejected lava from the VOR Crater up to 150-200 m above the vent as bombs fell on the W edge of the VOR crater rim (figure 294). Lava flows continued to move into the W part of the Bocca Nuova Crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 293. Webcam images of A) Strombolian activity and B) effusive activity fed by the scoria cone grown inside the VOR Crater at Etna taken on 1 February 2020. C) Thermal image of the lava field produced by the VOR Crater taken by L. Lodato on 3 February (bottom left). Image of BN-1 taken by F. Ciancitto on 3 February in the summit area (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV; Report 06/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 27/01/2020 - 02/02/2020, data emissione 04/02/2020 (top) and Report 07/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 03/02/2020 - 09/02/2020, data emissione 11/02/2020 (bottom).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 294. Photos of the VOR intra-crater scoria cone at Etna: a) Strombolian activity resumed on 25 February 2020 from the SW edge of BN taken by B. Behncke; b) weak Strombolian activity from the vent at the base N of the cone on 29 February 2020 from the W edge of VOR taken by V. Greco; c) old vent present at the base N of the cone, taken on 17 February 2020 from the E edge of VOR taken by B. Behncke; d) view of the flank of the cone, taken on 24 February 2020 from the W edge of VOR taken by F. Ciancitto. Courtesy of INGV (Report 10/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 24/02/2020 - 01/03/2020, data emissione 03/03/2020).

During 9-15 March 2020 Strombolian activity was detected in the VOR Crater while discontinuous ash emissions rose from the NEC and NSEC. Bombs were found in the N saddle between the VOR and NSEC craters. On 9 March, a small scoria cone that had formed in the Bocca Nuova Crater and was ejecting bombs and lava tens of meters above the S crater rim. The lava flow from the VOR Crater was no longer advancing. A third scoria cone had formed on 13 March NE in the main VOR-BN complex due to the Strombolian explosions on 29 February. Another lava flow formed on 13 March, accompanied by an increase in seismicity. The weekly report for 16-22 March reported Strombolian activity detected in the VOR Crater and gas-and-steam and rare ash emissions observed in the NEC and NSEC (figure 295). Explosions in the Bocca Nuova Crater ejected spatter and bombs 100 m high.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 295. Map of the summit crater area of Etna showing the active vents and lava flows during 16-22 March 2020. Black hatch marks indicate the crater rims: BN = Bocca Nuova, with NW BN-1 and SE BN-2; VOR = Voragine; NEC = North East Crater; SEC = South East Crater; NSEC = New South East Crater. Red circles indicate areas with ash emissions and/or Strombolian activity, yellow circles indicate steam and/or gas emissions only. The base is modified from a 2014 DEM created by Laboratorio di Aerogeofisica-Sezione Roma 2. Courtesy of INGV (Report 13/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 16/03/2020 - 22/03/2020, data emissione 24/03/2020).

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

Information Contacts: Sezione di Catania - Osservatorio Etneo, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/it/); Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Météo-France, 42 Avenue Gaspard Coriolis, F-31057 Toulouse cedex, France (URL: http://www.meteo.fr/aeroweb/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/); 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); Boris Behncke, Sonia Calvari, and Marco Neri, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: https://twitter.com/etnaboris, Image at https://twitter.com/etnaboris/status/1183640328760414209/photo/1).


Merapi (Indonesia) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions produced ash plumes, ashfall, and pyroclastic flows during October 2019-March 2020

Merapi is a highly active stratovolcano located in Indonesia, just north of the city of Yogyakarta. The current eruption episode began in May 2018 and was characterized by phreatic explosions, ash plumes, block avalanches, and a newly active lava dome at the summit. This reporting period updates information from October 2019-March 2020 that includes explosions, pyroclastic flows, ash plumes, and ashfall. The primary reporting source of activity comes from Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG, the Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology, a branch of PVMBG) and Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM).

Some ongoing lava dome growth continued in October 2019 in the NE-SW direction measuring 100 m in length, 30 m in width, and 20 m in depth. Gas-and-steam emissions were frequent, reaching a maximum height of 700 m above the crater on 31 October. An explosion at 1631 on 14 October removed the NE-SW trending section of the lava dome and produced an ash plume that rose 3 km above the crater and extended SW for about 2 km (figures 90 and 91). The plume resulted in ashfall as far as 25 km to the SW. According to a Darwin VAAC notice, a thermal hotspot was detected in HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery. A pyroclastic flow associated with the eruption traveled down the SW flank in the Gendol drainage. During 14-20 October lava flows from the crater generated block-and-ash flows that traveled 1 km SW, according to BPPTKG.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. An ash plume rising 3 km above Merapi on 14 October 2019.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Webcam image of an ash plume rising above Merapi at 1733 on 14 October 2019. Courtesy of BPPTKG via Jaime S. Sincioco.

At 0621 on 9 November 2019, an eruption produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater and drifted W. Ashfall was observed in the W region as far as 15 km from the summit in Wonolelo and Sawangan in Magelang Regency, as well as Tlogolele and Selo in Boyolali Regency. An associated pyroclastic flow traveled 2 km down the Gendol drainage on the SE flank. On 12 November aerial drone photographs were used to measure the volume of the lava dome, which was 407,000 m3. On 17 November, an eruption produced an ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater, resulting in ashfall as far as 15 km W from the summit in the Dukun District, Magelang Regency (figure 92). A pyroclastic flow accompanying the eruption traveled 1 km down the SE flank in the Gendol drainage. By 30 November low-frequency earthquakes and CO2 gas emissions had increased.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. An ash plume rising 1 km above Merapi on 17 November 2019. Courtesy of BPPTKG.

Volcanism was relatively low from 18 November 2019 through 12 February 2020, characterized primarily by gas-and-steam emissions and intermittent volcanic earthquakes. On 4 January a pyroclastic flow was recorded by the seismic network at 2036, but it wasn’t observed due to weather conditions. On 13 February an explosion was detected at 0516, which ejected incandescent material within a 1-km radius from the summit (figure 93). Ash plumes rose 2 km above the crater and drifted NW, resulting in ashfall within 10 km, primarily S of the summit; lightning was also seen in the plume. Ash was observed in Hargobinangun, Glagaharjo, and Kepuharjo. On 19 February aerial drone photographs were used to measure the change in the lava dome after the eruption; the volume of the lava had decreased, measuring 291,000 m3.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. Webcam image of an ash plume rising from Merapi at 0516 on 13 February 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia and PVMBG.

An explosion on 3 March at 0522 produced an ash plume that rose 6 km above the crater (figure 94), resulting in ashfall within 10 km of the summit, primarily to the NE in the Musuk and Cepogo Boyolali sub-districts and Mriyan Village, Boyolali (3 km from the summit). A pyroclastic flow accompanied this eruption, traveling down the SSE flank less than 2 km. Explosions continued to be detected on 25 and 27-28 March, resulting in ash plumes. The eruption on 27 March at 0530 produced an ash plume that rose 5 km above the crater, causing ashfall as far as 20 km to the W in the Mungkid subdistrict, Magelang Regency, and Banyubiru Village, Dukun District, Magelang Regency. An associated pyroclastic flow descended the SSE flank, traveling as far as 2 km. The ash plume from the 28 March eruption rose 2 km above the crater, causing ashfall within 5 km from the summit in the Krinjing subdistrict primarily to the W (figure 94).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Images of ash plumes rising from Merapi during 3 March (left) and 28 March 2020 (right). Images courtesy of BPPTKG (left) and PVMBG (right).

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 2000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequently growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent eruptive 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 during historical time.

Information Contacts: Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG), Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology (URL: http://merapi.bgl.esdm.go.id/, Twitter: @BPPTKG); Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); 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/, Twitter: https://twitter.com/BNPB_Indonesia); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Jamie S. Sincioco, Phillipines (Twitter: @jaimessincioco, Image at https://twitter.com/jaimessincioco/status/1227966075519635456/photo/1).


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

Erta Ale

Ethiopia

13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued lava flow outbreaks and thermal anomalies during November 2019 to early April 2020

Erta Ale is a shield volcano located in Ethiopia and contains multiple active pit craters in the summit and southeastern caldera. Volcanism has been characterized by lava flows and large lava flow fields since 2017. Surficial lava flow activity continued within the southeastern caldera during November 2019 until early April 2020; source information was primarily from various satellite data.

The number of days that thermal anomalies were detected using MODIS data in MODVOLC and NASA VIIRS satellite data was notably higher in November and December 2019 (figure 96); the number of thermal anomalies in the Sentinel-2 thermal imagery was substantially lower due to the presence of cloud cover. Across all satellite data, thermal anomalies were identified for 29 days in November, followed by 30 days in December. After December 2019, the number of days thermal anomalies were detected decreased; hotspots were detected for 17 days in January 2020 and 20 days in February. By March, these thermal anomalies became rare until activity ceased. Thermal anomalies were identified during 1-4 March, with weak anomalies seen again during 26 March-8 April 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Graph comparing the number of thermal alerts using calendar dates using MODVOLC, NASA VIIRS, and Sentinel-2 satellite data for Erta Ale during November 2019-March 2020. Data courtesy of HIGP - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, NASA Worldview using the “Fire and Thermal Anomalies” layer, and Sentinel Hub Playground.

MIROVA (Middle Infrared Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed frequent strong thermal anomalies from 18 April through December 2019 (figure 97). Between early August 2019 and March 2020, these thermal signatures were detected at distances less than 5 km from the summit. In late December the thermal intensity dropped slightly before again increasing, while at the same time moving slightly closer to the summit. Thermal anomalies then became more intermittent and steadily decreased in power over the next two months.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Two time-series plots of thermal anomalies from Erta Ale from 18 April 2019 through 18 April 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system. The top plot (A) shows that the thermal anomalies were consistently strong (measured in log radiative power) and occurred frequently until early January 2020 when both the power and frequency visibly declined. The lower plot (B) shows these anomalies as a function of distance from the summit, including a sudden decrease in distance (measured in kilometers) in early August 2019, reflecting a change in the location of the lava flow outbreak. A smaller distance change can be identified at the end of December 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Unlike the obvious distal breakouts to the NE seen previously (BGVN 44:04 and 44:11), infrared satellite imagery during November-December 2019 showed only a small area with a thermal anomaly near the NE edge of the Southeast Caldera (figure 98). A thermal alert was seen at that location using the MODVOLC system on 28 December, but the next day it had been replaced by an anomaly about 1.5 km WSW near the N edge of the Southeast Caldera where the recent flank eruption episode had been centered between January 2017 and January 2018 (BGVN 43:04). The thermal anomaly that was detected in the summit caldera was no longer visible after 9 January 2020, based on Sentinel-2 imagery. The exact location of lava flows shifted within the same general area during January and February 2020 and was last detected by Sentinel-2 on 4 March. After about two weeks without detectable thermal activity, weak unlocated anomalies were seen in VIIRS data on 26 March and in MODIS data on the MIROVA system four times between 26 March and 8 April. No further anomalies were noted through the rest of April 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery of Erta Ale volcanism between November 2019 and March 2020 showing small lava flow outbreaks (bright yellow-orange) just NE of the southeastern calderas. A thermal anomaly can be seen in the summit crater on 15 November and very faintly on 20 December 2019. Imagery on 19 January 2020 showed a small thermal anomaly near the N edge of the Southeast Caldera where the recent flank eruption episode had been centered between January 2017 and January 2018. The last weak thermal hotspot was detected on 4 March (bottom right). Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — April 2020 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)


Weak phreatic explosions during August 2019-March 2020; ash and lahars reported in late January

Rincón de la Vieja is a remote volcanic complex in Costa Rica containing an acid lake that has regularly generated weak phreatic explosions since 2011 (BGVN 44:08). The most recent eruptive period occurred during late March-early June 2019, primarily consisting of small phreatic explosions, minor deposits on the N crater rim, and gas-and-steam emissions. The report period of August 2019-March 2020 was characterized by similar activity, including small phreatic explosions, gas-and-steam plumes, ash and lake sediment ejecta, and volcanic tremors. The most significant activity during this time occurred on 30 January, where a phreatic explosion ejected ash and lake sediment above the crater rim, resulting in a pyroclastic flow which gradually turned into a lahar. Information for this reporting period of August 2019-March 2020 comes from the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA) using weekly bulletins.

According to OVSICORI-UNA, a small hydrothermal eruption was recorded on 1 August 2019. The seismicity was low with a few long period (LP) earthquakes around 1 August and intermittent background tremor. No explosions or emissions were reported through 11 September; seismicity remained low with an occasional LP earthquake and discontinuous tremor. The summit’s extension that has been recorded since the beginning of June stopped, and no significant deformation was observed in August.

Starting again in September 2019 and continuing intermittently through the reporting period, some deformation was observed at the base of the volcano as well as near the summit, according to OVSICORI-UNA. On 12 September an eruption occurred that was followed by volcanic tremors that continued through 15 September. In addition to these tremors, vigorous sustained gas-and-steam plumes were observed. The 16 September weekly bulletin did not describe any ejecta produced as a result of this event.

During 1-3 October small phreatic eruptions were accompanied by volcanic tremors that had decreased by 5 October. In November, volcanism and seismicity were relatively low and stable; few LP earthquakes were reported. This period of low activity remained through December. At the end of November, horizontal extension was observed at the summit, which continued through the first half of January.

Small phreatic eruptions were recorded on 2, 28, and 29 January 2020, with an increase in seismicity occurring on 27 January. On 30 January at 1213 a phreatic explosion produced a gas column that rose 1,500-2,000 m above the crater, with ash and lake sediment ejected up to 100 m above the crater. A news article posted by the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) noted that this explosion generated pyroclastic flows that traveled down the N flank for more than 2 km from the crater. As the pyroclastic flows moved through tributary channels, lahars were generated in the Pénjamo river, Zanjonuda gorge, and Azufrosa, traveling N for 4-10 km and passing through Buenos Aires de Upala (figure 29). Seismicity after this event decreased, though there were still some intermittent tremors.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Photo of a lahar generated from the 30 January 2020 eruption at Rincon de la Vieja. Photo taken by Mauricio Gutiérrez, courtesy of UCR.

On 17, 24, and 25 February and 11, 17, 19, 21, and 23 March, small phreatic eruptions were detected, according to OVSICORI-UNA. Geodetic measurements observed deformation consisting of horizontal extension and inflation near the summit in February-March. By the week of 30 March, the weekly bulletin reported 2-3 small eruptions accompanied by volcanic tremors occurred daily during most days of the week. None of these eruptions produced solid ejecta, pyroclastic flows, or lahars, according to the weekly OVSICORI-UNA bulletins during February-March 2020.

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 that was 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 1916-m-high 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 3500 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/); Luis Enrique Brenes Portuguéz, University of Costa Rica, Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo Facio Brenes, San José, San Pedro, Costa Rica (URL: https://www.ucr.ac.cr/noticias/2020/01/30/actividad-del-volcan-rincon-de-la-vieja-es-normal-segun-experto.html).


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — May 2020 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)


Minor explosive activity, continued thermal activity, and SO2 emissions, October 2019-March 2020.

Manam is a basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano that lies 13 km off the northern coast of mainland Papua New Guinea; it has a 400-year history of recorded evidence for recurring low-level ash plumes, occasional Strombolian activity, lava flows, pyroclastic avalanches, and large ash plumes from Main and South, the two active summit craters. The current eruption, ongoing since June 2014, produced multiple large explosive eruptions during January-September 2019, including two 15-km-high ash plumes in January, repeated SO2 plumes each month, and another 15.2 km-high ash plume in June that resulted in ashfall and evacuations of several thousand people (BGVN 44:10).

This report covers continued activity during October 2019 through March 2020. Information about Manam is primarily provided by Papua New Guinea's Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), part of the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM). This information is supplemented with aviation alerts from the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). MODIS thermal anomaly satellite data is recorded by the University of Hawai'i's MODVOLC thermal alert recording system, and the Italian MIROVA project; sulfur dioxide monitoring is done by instruments on satellites managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Satellite imagery provided by the Sentinel Hub Playground is also a valuable resource for information about this remote location.

A few modest explosions with ash emissions were reported in early October and early November 2019, and then not again until late March 2020. Although there was little explosive activity during the period, thermal anomalies were recorded intermittently, with low to moderate activity almost every month, as seen in the MODIS data from MIROVA (figure 71) and also in satellite imagery. Sulfur dioxide emissions persisted throughout the period producing emissions greater than 2.0 Dobson Units that were recorded in satellite data 3-13 days each month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. MIROVA thermal anomaly data for Manam from 17 June 2019 through March 2020 indicate continued low and moderate level thermal activity each month from August 2019 through February 2020, after a period of increased activity in June and early July 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume in visible satellite imagery moving NW at 3.1 km altitude on 2 October 2019. Weak ash emissions were observed drifting N for the next two days along with an IR anomaly at the summit. RVO reported incandescence at night during the first week of October. Visitors to the summit on 18 October 2019 recorded steam and fumarolic activity at both of the summit craters (figure 72) and recent avalanche debris on the steep slopes (figure 73).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Steam and fumarolic activity rose from Main crater at Manam on 18 October 2019 in this view to the south from a ridge north of the crater. Google Earth inset of summit shows location of photograph. Courtesy of Vulkanologische Gesellschaft and Claudio Jung, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Volcanic debris covered an avalanche chute on the NE flank of Manam when visited by hikers on 18 October 2019. Courtesy of Vulkanologische Gesellschaft and Claudio Jung, used with permission.

On 2 November, a single large explosion at 1330 local time produced a thick, dark ash plume that rose about 1,000 m above the summit and drifted NW. A shockwave from the explosion was felt at the Bogia Government station located 40 km SE on the mainland about 1 minute later. RVO reported an increase in seismicity on 6 November about 90 minutes before the start of a new eruption from the Main Crater which occurred between 1600 and 1630; it produced light to dark gray ash clouds that rose about 1,000 m above the summit and drifted NW. Incandescent ejecta was visible at the start of the explosion and continued with intermittent strong pulses after dark, reaching peak intensity around 1900. Activity ended by 2200 that evening. The Darwin VAAC reported a discrete emission observed in satellite imagery on 8 November that rose to 4.6 km altitude and drifted WNW, although ground observers confirmed that no eruption took place; emissions were only steam and gas. There were no further reports of explosive activity until the Darwin VAAC reported an ash emission in visible satellite imagery on 20 March 2020 that rose to 3.1 km altitude and drifted E for a few hours before dissipating.

Although explosive activity was minimal during the period, SO2 emissions, and evidence for continued thermal activity were recorded by satellite instruments each month. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite captured evidence each month of SO2 emissions exceeding two Dobson Units (figure 74). The most SO2 activity occurred during October 2019, with 13 days of signatures over 2.0 DU. There were six days of elevated SO2 each month in November and December, and five days in January 2020. During February and March, activity was less, with smaller SO2 plumes recording more than 2.0 DU on three days each month. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery recorded thermal anomalies at least once from one or both of the summit craters each month between October 2019 and March 2020 (figure 75).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. SO2 emissions at Manam exceeded 2 Dobson Units multiple days each month between October 2019 and March 2020. On 3 October 2019 (top left) emissions were also measured from Ulawun located 700 km E on New Britain island. On 30 November 2019 (top middle), in addition to a plume drifting N from Manam, a small SO2 plume was detected at Bagana on Bougainville Island, 1150 km E. The plume from Manam on 2 December 2019 drifted ESE (top right). On 26 January 2020 the plume drifted over 300 km E (bottom left). The plumes measured on 29 February and 4 March 2020 (bottom middle and right) only drifted a few tens of kilometers before dissipating. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, and 8a) showed thermal anomalies at one or both of Manam’s summit craters each month during October 2019-March 2020. On 17 October 2019 (top left) a bright anomaly and weak gas plume drifted NW from South crater, while a dense steam plume and weak anomaly were present at Main crater. On 25 January 2020 (top right) the gas and steam from the two craters were drifting E; the weaker Main crater thermal anomaly is just visible at the edge of the clouds. A clear image on 5 March 2020 (bottom left) shows weak plumes and distinct thermal anomalies from both craters; on 20 March (bottom right) the anomalies are still visible through dense cloud cover that may include steam from the crater vents as well. 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 1807-m-high basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano to its lower flanks. These "avalanche valleys" channel lava flows and pyroclastic avalanches that have sometimes reached the coast. Five small satellitic centers are located near the island's shoreline on the northern, southern, and western sides. Two summit craters are present; both are active, although most historical eruptions have originated from the southern crater, concentrating eruptive products during much of the past century into the SE valley. Frequent historical eruptions, typically of mild-to-moderate scale, have been recorded since 1616. Occasional larger eruptions have produced pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached flat-lying coastal areas and entered the sea, sometimes impacting populated areas.

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Vulkanologische Gesellschaft (URL: https://twitter.com/vulkanologen/status/1194228532219727874, https://twitter.com/vulkanologen/status/1193788836679225344); Claudio Jung, (URL: https://www.facebook.com/claudio.jung.1/posts/10220075272173895, https://www.instagram.com/jung.claudio/).


Stromboli (Italy) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

38.789°N, 15.213°E; summit elev. 924 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian activity continues at both summit crater areas, September-December 2019

Near-constant fountains of lava at Stromboli have served as a natural beacon in the Tyrrhenian Sea for at least 2,000 years. Eruptive activity at the summit consistently occurs from multiple vents at both a north crater area (N area) and a southern crater group (CS area) on the Terrazza Craterica at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a large scarp that runs from the summit down the NW side of the volcano-island (figure 168). Periodic lava flows emerge from the vents and flow down the scarp, sometimes reaching the sea; occasional large explosions produce ash plumes and pyroclastic flows. Thermal and visual cameras that monitor activity at the vents are located on the nearby Pizzo Sopra La Fossa, above the Terrazza Craterica, and at multiple locations on the flanks of the volcano. Detailed information for Stromboli is provided by Italy's Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) as well as other satellite sources of data; September-December 2019 is covered in this report.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 168. This shaded relief map of Stromboli’s crater area was created from images acquired by drone on 9 July 2019 (In collaboration with GEOMAR drone group, Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany). Inset shows Stromboli Island, the black rectangle indicates the area of the larger image, the black curved and the red hatched lines indicate, respectively, the morphological escarpment and the crater edges. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 50/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 02/12/2019 - 08/12/2019, data emissione 10/12/2019).

Activity was very consistent throughout the period of September-December 2019. Explosion rates ranged from 2-36 per hour and were of low to medium-high intensity, producing material that rose from less than 80 to over 150 m above the vents on occasion (table 7). The Strombolian activity in both crater areas often sent ejecta outside the crater rim onto the Terrazza Craterica, and also down the Sciara del Fuoco towards the coast. After the explosions of early July and late August, thermal activity decreased to more moderate levels that persisted throughout the period as seen in the MIROVA Log Radiative Power data (figure 169). Sentinel-2 satellite imagery supported descriptions of the constant glow at the summit, revealing incandescence at both summit areas, each showing repeating bursts of activity throughout the period (figure 170).

Table 7. Monthly summary of activity levels at Stromboli, September-December 2019. Low-intensity activity indicates ejecta rising less than 80 m, medium-intensity is ejecta rising less than 150 m, and high-intensity is ejecta rising over 200 m above the vent. Data courtesy of INGV.

Month Activity
Sep 2019 Explosion rates varied from 11-36 events per hour and were of low- to medium intensity (producing 80-120 m high ejecta). Lapilli and bombs were typical from the N area, and coarse and finer-grained tephra (lapilli and ash) were most common in the CS area. The Strombolian activity in both crater areas often sent ejecta outside the crater rim onto the terrace, and also down the Sciara del Fuoco towards the coast.
Oct 2019 Typical Strombolian activity and degassing continued. Explosions rates varied from 2-21 events per hour. Low intensity activity was common in the N area (ejecta less than 80 m high) and low to moderate intensity activity was typical in the CS area, with a few explosions rising over 150 m high. Lapilli and bombs were typical from the N area, and coarse and finer-grained tephra (lapilli and ash) were most common in the CS area. Some of the explosions sent ejecta down the Sciara del Fuoco.
Nov 2019 Typical Strombolian activity and degassing continued. Explosion rates varied from 11-23 events per hour with ejecta rising usually 80-150 m above the vents. Occasional explosions rose 250 m high. In the N area, explosions were generally low intensity with coarse material (lapilli and bombs). In many explosions, ejecta covered the outer slopes of the area overlooking the Sciara del Fuoco, and some blocks rolled for a few hundred meters before stopping. In the CS area, coarse material was mixed with fine and some explosions sent ejecta onto the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco.
Dec 2019 Strombolian activity and degassing continued. Explosion rates varied from 12-26 per hour. In the N area, explosion intensity was mainly medium-low (less than 150 m) with coarse ejecta while in the CS area it was usually medium-high (more than 150 m) with both coarse and fine ejecta. In many explosions, debris covered the outer slopes of the area overlooking the Sciara del Fuoco, and some blocks rolled for a few hundred meters before stopping. Spattering activity was noted in the southern vents of the N area.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 169. Thermal activity at Stromboli was high during July-August 2019, when two major explosions occurred. Activity continued at more moderate levels through December 2019 as seen in the MIROVA graph of Log Radiative Power from 8 June through December 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 170. Stromboli reliably produced strong thermal signals from both of the summit vents throughout September-December 2019 and has done so since long before Sentinel-2 satellite imagery was able to detect it. Image dates are (top, l to r) 5 September, 15 October, 20 October, (bottom l to r) 14 November, 14 December 2019, and 3 January 2020. Sentinel-2 imagery uses Atmospheric penetration rendering with bands 12, 11, and 8A, courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

After a major explosion with a pyroclastic flow on 28 August 2019, followed by lava flows that reached the ocean in the following days (BGVN 44:09), activity diminished in early September to levels more typically seen in recent times. This included Strombolian activity from vents in both the N and CS areas that sent ejecta typically 80-150 m high. Ejecta from the N area generally consisted of lapilli and bombs, while the material from the CS area was often finer grained with significant amounts of lapilli and ash. The number of explosive events remained high in September, frequently reaching 25-30 events per hour. The ejecta periodically landed outside the craters on the Terrazza Craterica and even traveled partway down the Sciara del Fuoco. An inspection on 7 September by INGV revealed four eruptive vents in the N crater area and five in the S crater area (figure 171). The most active vents in the N area were N1 with mostly ash emissions and N2 with Strombolian explosions rich in incandescent coarse material that sometimes rose well above 150 m in height. In the S area, S1 and S2 produced jets of lava that often reached 100 m high. A small cone was observed around N2, having grown after the 28 August explosion. Between 11 and 13 September aerial surveys with drones produced detailed visual and thermal imagery of the summit (figure 172).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 171. Video of the Stromboli summit taken with a thermal camera on 7 September 2019 from the Pizzo sopra la Fossa revealed four active vents in the N area and five active vents in the S area. Images prepared by Piergiorgio Scarlato, courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 37.2/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Giornaliero del 10/09/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 172. An aerial drone survey on 11 September 2019 at Stromboli produced a detailed view of the N and CS vent areas (left) and thermal images taken by a drone survey on 13 September (right) showed elevated temperatures down the Sciara del Fuoco in addition to the vents in the N and CS areas. Images by E. De Beni and M. Cantarero, courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 37.5/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Giornaliero del 13/09/2019).

Strombolian activity from the N crater on 28 September and 1 October 2019 produced blocks and debris that rolled down the Sciara del Fuoco and reached the ocean (figure 173). Explosive activity from the CS crater area sometimes produced ejecta over 150 m high (figure 174). A survey on 26 November revealed that a layer of ash 5-10 cm thick had covered the bombs and blocks that were deposited on the Pizzo Sopra la Fossa during the explosions of 3 July and 28 August (figure 175). On the morning of 27 December a lava flow emerged from the CS area and traveled a few hundred meters down the Sciara del Fuoco. The frequency of explosive events remained relatively constant from September through December 2019 after decreasing from higher levels during July and August (figure 176).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 173. Strombolian activity from vents in the N crater area of Stromboli produced ejecta that traveled all the way to the bottom of the Sciara del Fuoco and entered the ocean. Top images taken 28 September 2019 from the 290 m elevation viewpoint by Rosanna Corsaro. Bottom images captured on 1 October from the webcam at 400 m elevation. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 39.0/2019 and Rep. No. 40.3, Stromboli, Bollettino Giornaliero del 29/09/2019 and 02/10/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 174. Ejecta from Strombolian activity at the CS crater area of Stromboli rose over 150 m on multiple occasions. The webcam located at the 400 m elevation site captured this view of activity on 8 November 2019. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 45.5/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Giornaliero del 08/11/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 175. The Pizzo Sopra la Fossa area at Stromboli was covered with large blocks and pyroclastic debris on 6 September 2019, a week after the major explosion of 28 August (top). By 26 November, 5-10 cm of finer ash covered the surface; the restored webcam can be seen at the far right edge of the Pizzo (bottom). Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 49/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 25/11/2019 - 01/12/2019, data emissione 03/12/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 176. The average hourly frequency of explosive events at Stromboli captured by surveillance cameras from 1 June 2019 through 5 January 2020 remained generally constant after the high levels seen during July and August. The Total value (blue) is the sum of the average daily hourly frequency of all explosive events produced by active vents.

Geologic Background. Spectacular incandescent nighttime explosions at this volcano have long attracted visitors to the "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean." Stromboli, the NE-most of the Aeolian Islands, has lent its name to the frequent mild explosive activity that has characterized its eruptions throughout much of historical time. The small island is the emergent summit of a volcano that grew in two main eruptive cycles, the last of which formed the western portion of the island. The Neostromboli eruptive period took place between about 13,000 and 5,000 years ago. The active summit vents are located at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a prominent horseshoe-shaped scarp formed about 5,000 years ago due to a series of slope failures that extend to below sea level. The modern volcano has been constructed within this scarp, which funnels pyroclastic ejecta and lava flows to the NW. Essentially continuous mild Strombolian explosions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded for more than a millennium.

Information Contacts: Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy, (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/en/); 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).


Semeru (Indonesia) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes and thermal anomalies continue during September 2019-February 2020

Semeru is a stratovolcano located in East Java, Indonesia containing an active Jonggring-Seloko vent at the Mahameru summit. Common activity has consisted of ash plumes, pyroclastic flows and avalanches, and lava flows that travel down the SE flank. This report updates volcanism from September 2019 to February 2020 using primary information from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

The dominant activity at Semeru for this reporting period consists of ash plumes, which were frequently reported by the Darwin VAAC. An eruption on 10 September 2019 produced an ash plume rising 4 km altitude drifting WNW, as seen in HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery. Ash plumes continued to rise during 13-14 September. During the month of October the Darwin VAAC reported at least six ash plumes on 13, 14, 17-18, and 29-30 October rising to a maximum altitude of 4.6 km and moving primarily S and SW. Activity in November and December was relatively low, dominated mostly by strong and frequent thermal anomalies.

Volcanism increased in January 2020 starting with an eruption on 17 and 18 January that sent a gray ash plume up to 4.6 km altitude (figure 38). Eruptions continued from 20 to 26 January, producing ash plumes that rose up to 500 m above the crater that drifted in different directions. For the duration of the month and into February, ash plumes occurred intermittently. On 26 February, incandescent ejecta was ejected up to 50 m and traveled as far as 1000 m. Small sulfur dioxide emissions were detected in the Sentinel 5P/TROPOMI instrument during 25-27 February (figure 39). Lava flows during 27-29 February extended 200-1,000 m down the SE flank; gas-and-steam and SO2 emissions accompanied the flows. There were 15 shallow volcanic earthquakes detected on 29 February in addition to ash emissions rising 4.3 km altitude drifting ESE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Ash plumes rising from the summit of Semeru on 17 (left) and 18 (right) January 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia and via Ø.L. Andersen's Twitter feed (left).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Small SO2 plumes from Semeru were detected by the Sentinel 5P/TROPOMI instrument during 25 (left) and 26 (right) February 2020. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed relatively weak and intermittent thermal anomalies occurring during May to August 2019 (figure 40). The frequency and power of these thermal anomalies significantly increased during September to mid-December 2019 with a few hotspots occurring at distances greater than 5 km from the summit. These farther thermal anomalies to the N and NE of the volcano do not appear to be caused by volcanic activity. There was a brief break in activity during mid-December to mid-January 2020 before renewed activity was detected in early February 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Thermal anomalies were relatively weak at Semeru during 30 April 2019-August 2019, but significantly increased in power and frequency during September to early December 2019. There was a break in activity from mid-December through mid-January 2020 with renewed thermal anomalies around February 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The MODVOLC algorithm detected 25 thermal hotspots during this reporting period, which took place during 25 September, 18 and 21 October 2019, 29 January, and 11, 14, 16, and 23 February 2020. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery shows intermittent hotspots dominantly in the summit crater throughout this reporting period (figure 41).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery detected intermittent thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) at the summit of Semeru, which included some lava flows in late January to early February 2020. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dome growth and destruction continues along with ash emissions and ejecta, September 2019-February 2020

Frequent historical eruptions have been reported from Mexico's Popocatépetl going back to the 14th century. Activity increased in the mid-1990s after about 50 years of quiescence, and the current eruption, ongoing since January 2005, has included numerous episodes of lava-dome growth and destruction within the 500-m-wide summit caldera. Multiple emissions of steam and gas occur daily, rising generally 1-3 km above the summit at about 5,400 m elevation; many contain small amounts of ash. Larger, more explosive events with ash plumes and incandescent ejecta landing on the flanks occur frequently. Activity through August 2019 was typical of the ongoing eruption with near-constant emissions of water vapor, gas, and minor ash, as well as multiple explosions with ash plumes and incandescent blocks scattered on the flanks (BGVN 44:09). This report covers similar activity from September 2019 through February 2020. Information comes from daily reports provided by México's Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED); ash plumes are reported by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Satellite visible and thermal imagery and SO2 data also provide helpful observations of activity.

Activity summary. Activity at Popocatépetl during September 2019-February 2020 continued at the high levels that have been ongoing for many years, characterized by hundreds of daily low-intensity emissions that included steam, gas, and small amounts of ash, and periods with multiple daily minor and moderate explosions that produce kilometer-plus-high ash plumes (figure 140). The Washington VAAC issued multiple daily volcanic ash advisories with plume altitudes around 6 km for many, although some were reported as high as 8.2 km. Hundreds of minutes of daily tremor activity often produced ash emissions as well. Incandescent ejecta landed 500-1,000 m from the summit frequently. The MIROVA thermal anomaly data showed near-constant moderate to high levels of thermal energy throughout the period (figure 141).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 140. Emissions continued at a high rate from Popocatépetl throughout September 2019-February 2020. Daily low-intensity emissions numbered usually in the hundreds (blue, left axis), while less frequent minor (orange) and moderate (green) explosions, plotted on the right axis, occurred intermittently through November 2019, and increased again during February 2020. Data was compiled from CENAPRED daily reports.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 141. MIROVA log radiative power thermal data for Popocatépetl from 1 May 2019 through February 2020 showed a constant output of moderate energy the entire time. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Sulfur dioxide emissions were measured with satellite instruments many days of each month from September 2019 thru February 2020. The intensity and drift directions varied significantly; some plumes remained detectable hundreds of kilometers from the volcano (figure 142). Plumes were detected almost daily in September, and on most days in October. They were measured at lower levels but often during November, and after pulses in early and late December only small plumes were visible during January 2020. Intermittent larger pulses returned in February. Dome growth and destruction in the summit crater continued throughout the period. A small dome was observed inside the summit crater in late September. Dome 85, 210-m-wide, was observed inside the summit crater in early November. Satellite imagery captured evidence of dome growth and ash emissions throughout the period (figure 143).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 142. Sulfur dioxide emissions from Popocatépetl were frequent from September 2019 through February 2020. Plumes drifted SW on 7 September (top left), 30 October (top middle), and 21 February (bottom right). SO2 drifted N and NW on 26 November (top right). On 2 December (bottom left) a long plume of sulfur dioxide hundreds of kilometers long drifted SW over the Pacific Ocean while the drift direction changed to NW closer to the volcano. The SO2 plumes measured in January (bottom center) were generally smaller than during the other months covered in this report. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 143. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Popocatépetl during November 2019-February 2020 provided evidence for ongoing dome growth and explosions with ash emissions. Top left: a ring of incandescence inside the summit crater on 8 November 2019 was indicative of the growth of dome 85 observed by CENAPRED. Top middle: incandescence on 8 December inside the summit crater was typical of that observed many times during the period. Top right: a dense, narrow ash plume drifted N from the summit on 17 January 2020. Bottom left: Snow cover made ashfall on 6 February easily visible on the E flank. On 11 February, the summit crater was incandescent and nearly all the snow was covered with ash. Bottom right: a strong thermal anomaly and ash emission were captured on 21 February. Bottom left and top right images use Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); other images use Atmospheric penetration rendering to show infrared signal (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during September-November 2019. On 1 September 2019 minor ashfall was reported in the communities of Atlautla, Ozumba, Juchitepec, and Tenango del Aire in the State of Mexico. The ash plumes rose less than 2 km above the summit and incandescent ejecta traveled less than 100 m from the summit crater. Twenty-two minor and three moderate explosions were recorded on 4-5 September along with minor ashfall in Juchitepec, Tenango del Aire, Tepetlixpa, and Atlautla. During a flyover on 5 September, officials did not observe a dome within the crater, and the dimensions remained the same as during the previous visit (350 m in diameter and 150 m deep) (figure 144). Ashfall was reported in Tlalmanalco and Amecameca on 6 September. The following day incandescent ejecta was visible on the flanks near the summit and ashfall was reported in Amecameca, Ayapango, and Tenango del Aire. The five moderate explosions on 8 September produced ash plumes that rose as high as 2 km above the summit, and incandescent ejecta on the flanks. Explosions on 10 September sent ejecta 500 m from the crater. Eight explosions during 20-21 September produced ejecta that traveled up to 1.5 km down the flanks (figure 145). During an overflight on 27 September specialists from the National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED ) of the National Coordination of Civil Protection and researchers from the Institute of Geophysics of UNAM observed a new dome 30 m in diameter; the overall crater had not changed size since the overflight in early September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 144. CENAPRED carried out overflights of Popocatépetl on 5 (left) and 27 September (right) 2019; the crater did not change in size, but a new dome 30 m in diameter was visible on 27 September. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Sobrevuelo al volcán Popocatépetl, 05 y 27 de septiembre).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 145. Ash plumes at Popocatépetl on 19 (left) and 20 (right) September 2019 rose over a kilometer above the summit before dissipating. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 19 y 20 de septiembre).

Fourteen explosions were reported on 2 October 2019. The last one produced an ash plume that rose 2 km above the summit and sent incandescent ejecta down the E slope (figure 146). Ashfall was reported in the municipalities of Atlautla Ozumba, Ayapango and Ecatzingo in the State of Mexico. Explosions on 3 and 4 October also produced ash plumes that rose between 1 and 2 km above the summit and sent ejecta onto the flanks. Additional incandescent ejecta was reported on 6, 7, 15, and 19 October. The communities of Amecameca, Tenango del Aire, Tlalmanalco, Cocotitlán, Temamatla, and Tláhuac reported ashfall on 10 October; Amecameca reported more ashfall on 12 October. On 22 October slight ashfall appeared in Amecameca, Tenango del Aire, Tlalmanalco, Ayapango, Temamatla, and Atlautla.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 146. Incandescent ejecta at Popocatépetl traveled down the E slope on 2 October 2019 (left); an ash plume two days later rose 2 km above the summit (right). Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 2 y 4 de octubre).

During 2-3 November 2019 there was 780 minutes of tremor reported in four different episodes. The seismicity was accompanied by ash emissions that drifted W and NW and produced ashfall in numerous communities, including Amecameca, Juchitepec, Ozumba, Tepetlixpa, and Atlautla in the State of México, in Ayapango and Cuautla in the State of Morelos, and in the municipalities of Tlahuac, Tlalpan, and Xochimilco in Mexico City. A moderate explosion on 4 November sent incandescent ejecta 2 km down the slopes and produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km and drifted NW. Minor ashfall was reported in Tlalmanalco, Amecameca, and Tenango del Aire, State of Mexico. Similar ash plumes from explosions occurred the following day. Scientists from CENAPRED and the Institute of Geophysics of UNAM observed dome number 85 during an overflight on 5 November 2019. It had a diameter of 210 m and was 80 m thick, with an irregular surface (figure 147). Multiple explosions on 6 and 7 November produced incandescent ejecta; a moderate explosion late on 11 November produced ejecta that traveled 1.5 km from the summit and produced an ash plume 2 km high (figure 148). A lengthy period of constant ash emission that drifted E was reported on 18 November. A moderate explosion on 28 November sent incandescent fragments 1.5 km down the slopes and ash one km above the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 147. A new dome was visible inside the summit crater at Popocatépetl during an overflight on 5 November 2019. It had a diameter of 210 m and was 80 m thick. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Sobrevuelo al volcán Popocatépetl, 05 de noviembre).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 148. Ash emissions and explosions with incandescent ejecta continued at Popocatépetl during November 2019. The ash plume on 1 November changed drift direction sharply a few hundred meters above the summit (left). Incandescent ejecta traveled 1.5 km down the flanks on 11 November (right). Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 1 y 12 de noviembre).

Activity during December 2019-February 2020. Throughout December 2019 weak emissions of steam and gas were reported daily, sometimes with minor amounts of ash, and minor explosions were only reported on 21 and 27 December. On 21 December two new high-resolution webcams were installed around Popocatépetl, one 5 km from the crater at the Tlamacas station, and the second in San Juan Tianguismanalco, 20 km away. Ash emissions and incandescent ejecta 800 m from the summit were observed on 25 December (figure 149). Incandescence at night was reported during 27-29 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 149. Incandescent ejecta moved 800 m down the flanks of Popocatépetl during explosions on 25 December 2019 (left); weak emissions of steam, gas, and minor ash were visible on 27 December and throughout the month. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 25 y 27 de diciembre).

Continuous emissions of water vapor and gas with low ash content were typical daily during January 2020. A moderate explosion on 9 January produced an ash plume that rose 3 km from the summit and drifted NE. In addition, incandescent ejecta traveled 1 km from the crater rim. A minor explosion on 21 January produced a 1.5-km-high plume with low ash content and incandescent ejecta that fell near the crater (figure 150). The first of two explosions late on 27 January produced ejecta that traveled 500 m and a 1-km-high ash plume. Constant incandescence was observed overnight on 29-30 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 150. Although fewer explosions were recorded at Popocatépetl during January 2020, activity continued. An ash plume on 19 January rose over a kilometer above the summit (top left). A minor explosion on 21 January produced a 1.5-km-high plume with low ash content and incandescent ejecta that fell near the crater (top right). Smaller emissions with steam, gas, and ash were typical many days, including on 22 (bottom left) and 31 (bottom right) January 2019. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 19, 21, 22 y 31 de enero).

A moderate explosion on 5 February 2020 produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km and drifted NNE. Explosions on 10 and 13 February sent ejecta 500 m down the flanks (figure 151). During an overflight on 18 February scientists noted that the internal crater maintained a diameter of 350 m and its approximate depth was 100-150 m; the crater was covered by tephra. For most of the second half of February the volcano had a continuous emission of gases with minor amounts of ash. In addition, multiple explosions produced ash plumes that rose 400-1,200 m above the crater and drifted in several different directions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 151. Ash emissions and explosions continued at Popocatépetl during February 2020. Dense ash drifted near the snow-covered summit on 6 February (top left). Incandescent ejecta traveled 500 m down the flanks on 13 February (top right). Ash plumes billowed from the summit on 18 and 22 February (bottom row). Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl, 6, 15, 18 y 22 de febrero).

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

Information Contacts: Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México D.F. 04360, México (URL: http://www.cenapred.unam.mx/), Daily Report Archive http://www.cenapred.unam.mx:8080/reportesVolcanGobMX/BuscarReportesVolcan); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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).


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily explosions with ash plumes and block avalanches continue, September 2019-February 2020

The dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex on the W flank of Guatemala's Santa María volcano has been growing and actively erupting since 1922. Ash explosions, pyroclastic, and lava flows have emerged from Caliente, the youngest of the four vents in the complex, for more than 40 years. A lava dome that appeared within the summit crater of Caliente in October 2016 has continued to grow, producing frequent block avalanches down the flanks. Daily explosions with ash plumes and block avalanches continued during September 2019-February 2020, the period covered in this report, with information primarily from Guatemala's INSIVUMEH (Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meterologia e Hidrologia) and the Washington VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center).

Constant fumarolic activity with steam and gas persisted from the Caliente dome throughout September 2019-February 2020. Explosions occurred multiple times per day, producing ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 3.1-3.5 km and usually drifted a few kilometers before dissipating. Several lahars during September and October carried volcanic blocks, ash, and debris down major drainages. Periodic ashfall was reported in communities within 10 km of the volcano. An increase in thermal activity beginning in November (figure 101) resulted in an increased number of observations of incandescence visible at night from the summit of Caliente through February 2020. Block avalanches occurred daily on the flanks of the dome, often reaching the base, stirring up small clouds of ash that drifted downwind.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. The MIROVA project graph of thermal activity at Santa María from 12 May 2019 through February 2020 shows a gradual increase in thermal energy beginning in November 2019. This corresponds to an increase in the number of daily observations of incandescence at the summit of the Caliente dome during this period. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Constant steam and gas fumarolic activity rose from the Caliente dome, drifting W, usually rising to 2.8-3.0 km altitude during September 2019. Multiple daily explosions with ash plumes rising to 2.9-3.4 km altitude drifted W or SW over the communities of San Marcos, Loma Linda Palajunoj, and Monte Claro (figure 102). Constant block avalanches fell to the base of the cone on the NE and SE flanks. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery on 10 September at 3.1 km altitude drifting W. On 14 September another plume was spotted moving WSW at 4.6 km altitude which dissipated quickly; the webcam captured another plume on 16 September. Ashfall on 27 September reached about 1 km from the volcano; it reached 1.5 km on 29 September. Lahars descended the Rio Cabello de Ángel on 2 and 24 September (figure 102). They were about 15 m wide, and 1-3 m deep, carrying blocks 1-2 m in diameter.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. A lahar descended the Rio Cabello de Ángel at Santa Maria and flowed into the Rio Nima 1 on 24 September 2019. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 21 al 27 de septiembre de 2019).

Througout October 2019, degassing of steam with minor gases occurred from the Caliente summit, rising to 2.9-3.0 km altitude and generally drifting SW. Weak explosions took place 1-5 times per hour, producing ash plumes that rose to 3.2-3.5 km altitude. Ashfall was reported in Monte Claro on 2 October. Nearly constant block avalanches descended the SE and S flanks, disturbing recent layers of fine ash and producing local ash clouds. Moderate explosions on 11 October produced ash plumes that rose to 3.5 km altitude and drifted W and SW about 1.5 km towards Río San Isidro (figure 103). The following day additional plumes drifted a similar distance to the SE. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission visible in satellite imagery at 4.9 km altitude on 13 October drifting NNW. Ashfall was reported in Parcelamiento Monte Claro on 14 October. Some of the block avalanches observed on 14 October on the SE, S, and SW flanks were incandescent. Ash drifted 1.5 km W and SW on 17 October. Ashfall was reported near la finca Monte Claro on 25 and 28 October. A lahar descended the Río San Isidro, a tributary of the Río El Tambor on 7 October carrying blocks 1-2 m in diameter, tree trunks, and branches. It was about 16 m wide and 1-2 m deep. Additional lahars descended the rio Cabello de Angel on 23 and 24 October. They were about 15 m wide and 2 m deep, and carried ash and blocks 1-2 m in diameter, tree trunks, and branches.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. Daily ash plumes were reported from the Caliente cone at Santa María during October 2019, similar to these from 30 September (left) and 11 October 2019 (right). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 28 de septiembre al 04 de octubre de 2019; Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 05 al 11 de octubre de 2019).

During November 2019, steam plumes rose to 2.9-3.0 km altitude and generally drifted E. There were 1-3 explosions per hour; the ash plumes produced rose to altitudes of 3.1-3.5 km and often drifted SW, resulting in ashfall around the volcanic complex. Block avalanches descended the S and SW flanks every day. On 4 November ashfall was reported in the fincas (ranches) of El Faro, Santa Marta, El Viejo Palmar, and Las Marías, and the odor of sulfur was reported 10 km S. Incandescence was observed at the Caliente dome during the night of 5-6 November. Ash fell again in El Viejo Palmar, fincas La Florida, El Faro, and Santa Marta (5-6 km SW) on 7 November. Sulfur odor was also reported 8-10 km S on 16, 19, and 22 November. Fine-grained ash fell on 18 November in Loma Linda and San Marcos Palajunoj. On 29 November strong block avalanches descended in the SW flank, stirring up reddish ash that had fallen on the flanks (figure 104). The ash drifted up to 20 km SW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. Ash plumes rose from explosions multiple times per day at Santa Maria’s Santiaguito complex during November 2019, and block avalanches stirred up reddish clouds of ash that drifted for many kilometers. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH. Left, 11 November 2019, from Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 09 al 15 de noviembre de 2019. Right, 29 November 2019 from BOLETÍN VULCANOLÓGICO ESPECIAL BESTG# 106-2019, Guatemala 29 de noviembre de 2019, 10:50 horas (Hora Local).

White steam plumes rising to 2.9-3.0 km altitude drifted SE most days during December 2019. One to three explosions per hour produced ash plumes that rose to 3.1-3.5 km altitude and drifted W and SW producing ashfall on the flanks. Several strong block avalanches sent material down the SW flank. Ash from the explosions drifted about 1.5 km SW on 3 and 7 December. The Washington VAAC reported a small ash emission that rose to 4.9 km altitude and drifted WSW on 8 December, and another on 13 December that rose to 4.3 km altitude. Ashfall was reported up to 10 km S on 24 December. Incandescence was reported at the dome by INSIVUMEH eight times during the month, significantly more than during the recent previous months (figure 105).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Strong thermal anomalies were visible in Sentinel-2 imagery at the summit of the Caliente cone at Santa María’s Santiaguito’s complex on 19 December 2019. Image uses Atmospheric Penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during January 2020 was similar to that during previous months. White plumes of steam rose from the Caliente dome to altitudes of 2.7-3.0 km and drifted SE; one to three explosions per hour produced ash plumes that rose to 3.2-3.4 km altitude and generally drifted about 1.5 km SW before dissipating. Frequent block avalanches on the SE flank caused smaller plumes that drifted SSW often over the ranches of San Marcos and Loma Linda Palajunoj. On 28 January ash plumes drifted W and SW over the communities of Calaguache, El Nuevo Palmar, and Las Marías. In addition to incandescence observed at the crater of Caliente dome at least nine times, thermal anomalies in satellite imagery were detected multiple times from the block avalanches on the S flank (figure 106).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Incandescence at the summit and in the block avalanches on the S flank of the Caliente cone at Santa María’s Santiaguito’s complex was visible in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 8 and 13 January 2020. Atmospheric penetration rendering images (bands 12, 11, 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery at 4.6 km altitude drifting W on 3 February 2020. INSIVUMEH reported constant steam degassing that rose to 2.9-3.0 km altitude and drifted SW. In addition, 1-3 weak to moderate explosions per hour produced ash plumes to 3.1-3.5 km altitude that drifted about 1 km SW. Small amounts of ashfall around the volcano’s perimeter was common. The ash plumes on 5 February drifted NE over Santa María de Jesús. On 8 February the ash plumes drifted E and SE over the communities of Calaguache, El Nuevo Palmar, and Las Marías. Block avalanches on the S and SE flanks of Caliente dome continued, creating small ash clouds on the flank. Incandescence continued frequently at the crater and was also observed on the S flank in satellite imagery (figure 107).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. Incandescence at the summit and on the S flank of the Caliente cone at Santa María’s Santiaguito’s complex was frequent during February 2020, including on 2 (left) and 17 (right) February 2020 as seen in Sentinel-2 imagery. Atmostpheric Penetration rendering imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/ ); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 32, Number 02 (February 2007)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Anatahan (United States)

Increased seismicity and plumes during February-March 2007

Etna (Italy)

Episodes of eruptions continue between 4 November and 14 December 2006

Ijen (Indonesia)

Acidic crater lake and active solfatara investigations

Kanlaon (Philippines)

Steam-and-ash explosions in June and July 2006

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Emission of ash plumes continues through March 2007

Lastarria (Chile-Argentina)

Intense fumarolic emissions typical of activity since at least 1940

Lengai, Ol Doinyo (Tanzania)

March-April 2006 eruption sends lava down flanks

Lopevi (Vanuatu)

Three eruptive episodes between October 2005 and August 2006

Merapi (Indonesia)

March-July 2006 volcanic crisis; May earthquake killed ~5,800

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Mild eruptive activity between December 2006 and March 2007

Ruapehu (New Zealand)

Minor October 2006 eruption and concern of impending lahar

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea)

Frequent ash plumes



Anatahan (United States) — February 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Anatahan

United States

16.35°N, 145.67°E; summit elev. 790 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Increased seismicity and plumes during February-March 2007

Regular plume emissions seen in satellite imagery and by aviators during March-May 2006 (BGVN 31:05) apparently ended in June, with the last reported activity being a pilot report of an ash cloud on 26 June that reached 3 km altitude. A report issued by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on 7 December noted that the Alert Level was being lowered to Green and that seismic activity at Anatahan was very low during late November and early December, although diffuse steam-and-gas plumes were occasionally visible on recent satellite images or by aviators.

According to the USGS, seismometers recorded tremor starting on 24 February (UTC) that continued at high levels through 17 March. During that time, recorded tremor occasionally increased to much higher values. In addition, OMI satellite spectrometer data showed occasionally high amounts of sulfur dioxide over Anatahan. Tremor levels increased significantly starting at 1625 on 9 March (UTC) and continued for over 40 hours. As of 13 March the tremor bursts were infrequent, and some were high amplitude. In addition, a distinct gas plume was visible in Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) imagery, suggesting increased emissions. On that day the Alert Level was raised to Advisory.

The MODIS flying onboard the Aqua satellite captured a view of the plume on 18 March 2007 as emissions continued. In the image, the volcanic plume headed SE, then changed direction slightly and trended towards for the islands of Saipan and Tinian. The same day MODIS acquired this image, the U.S. Air Force Weather Agency reported an odor of sulfur, which would also suggest the presence of vog (volcanic smog) on Guam, ~200 km SW of Saipan. USGS and Emergency Management Office air quality instruments on Saipan recorded a maximum 5-minute average of 959 ppb sulfur dioxide and 99 ppb hydrogen sulfide on 18 March.

As of 24 March, the USGS was reporting that tremor levels after 17 March had remained low at pre-24 February levels. The plume visible in MODIS imagery had also remained weak but distinct since 18 March. On 24 March the Alert Level was lowered to Normal, with an aviation color code of Green. No confirmed ash eruptions had occurred after 3 September 2005.

Geologic Background. The elongate, 9-km-long island of Anatahan in the central Mariana Islands consists of a large stratovolcano with a 2.3 x 5 km compound summit caldera. The larger western portion of the caldera is 2.3 x 3 km wide, and its western rim forms the island's high point. Ponded lava flows overlain by pyroclastic deposits fill the floor of the western caldera, whose SW side is cut by a fresh-looking smaller crater. The 2-km-wide eastern portion of the caldera contained a steep-walled inner crater whose floor prior to the 2003 eruption was only 68 m above sea level. A submarine cone, named NE Anatahan, rises to within 460 m of the sea surface on the NE flank, and numerous other submarine vents are found on the NE-to-SE flanks. Sparseness of vegetation on the most recent lava flows had indicated that they were of Holocene age, but the first historical eruption did not occur until May 2003, when a large explosive eruption took place forming a new crater inside the eastern caldera.

Information Contacts: Juan Takai Camacho and Ramon Chong, Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (EMO-CNMI), PO Box 100007, Saipan, MP 96950, USA (URL: http://www.cnmihsem.gov.mp/); Frank Trusdell, U.S. Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025-3591, USA (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/nmi/activity/); U.S. Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA)/XOGM, Offutt Air Force Base, NE 68113, USA; NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/).


Etna (Italy) — February 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Episodes of eruptions continue between 4 November and 14 December 2006

The 10-day-long eruption of Etna's Southeast Crater (SEC) in mid-July 2006 (BGVN 31:08 and 31:10) was considered by scientists at the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) to represent a distinct phase of 2006 activity for Etna. They identified a very different phase when eruptive activity shifted to SEC's summit vent between 31 August and early 15 September 2006. The latter activity led to lava overflows and repeated collapse on SEC's E side. The seven eruptive activity episodes previously described (BGVN 31:10) have since been renumbered slightly, with Episode 1 taking place between 31 August and 16 September.

The following report was compiled from recent reports by Boris Behncke and Sonia Calvari, based on daily observations by numerous staff members of the INGV Catania (INGV-CT). This issue overlaps with our previous Bulletin reports and then goes on through the end of 2006.

Overview of the 31 August to 14 December eruption. Figure 117 indicates key vents and lava flows during the period 4 September-7 December 2006. It excludes lavas emitted during the short but intense final episode (Episode 20, 11-14 December 2006), but they did not significantly extend beyond flow margins shown here. The longest lava flows of the reporting interval reached ~ 4.7 km SE from their source vent (figure 117).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. Map Etna showing lava flows and their corresponding periods of activity: (1) lavas from the summit and flanks of the SEC, 4 September-3 December 2006; (2) lavas from the 2,800-m vent, 13 October-7 December 2006; (3) lavas from the 3,050-m vent, 27 October-27 November 2006; and (4) lavas from 3,180-m vent, 8-27 November 2006. The capital letters indicate the most persistent eruption sources: (A) SEC summit; (B) 2,800?m vent; (C) 3,050-m vent; (D) 3,180-m vent; (E) 3,100-m vent (active between 30 November and 3 December 2006); and (F) the foundation crater of the 23 October 2006 activity (which developed a pit that was also active between 24 November and 7 December 2006). Courtesy of INGV-CT; Behncke, Branca, Neri, and Norini (2006).

Table 9 summarizes the 20 episodes of recent eruptive activity, as currently identified by the INGV staff. Note, however, that episode numbers have changed since discussed in BGVN 31:10. One earlier episode has been added (31 August-15 September). Former Episodes 1-7 as listed in BGVN 31:10 based on earlier INGV reports, have been renumbered to Episodes 2-8. Subsequent episodes (9 through 20) are the main subject of this report.

Table 9. List of eruptive episodes (1-20) at Etna as reported by INGV-CT for the interval 31 August-December 2006. "Former number" refers to the episode numbers stated in BGVN 31:10 but here revised. Geberal morning and afternoon times are indicated by am and pm, respectively. Courtesy of INGV-CT.

Episode (former number) Dates (2006) Comments on onset of episode
1 (new) 31 Aug-15 Sep 2006 Eruptive activity shifted to SEC's summit vent (see BGVN 31:10).
2 (1) 22 Sep (pm)-27 Sep (am) Mild Strombolian explosions for first 2 days.
3 (2) 03 Oct (pm)-6 Oct (am) Started with Strombolian explosions from SEC summit, increasing in vigor during the following hours.
4 (3) 10 Oct (late pm)-11 Oct (late pm) Vigorous Strombolian activity and lava descending SE flank of SEC cone.
5 (4) 20 Oct (0500-late) Rapid increase in tremor amplitude, vigorous Strombolian activity in the central SEC summit and isolated large explosions from a vent near the E rim.
6 (5) 23 Oct (0600-?) Vigorous Strombolian activity and pulsating lava fountained from two vents at the summit of the SEC.
7 (6) 25 Oct (late pm)-26 Oct (late pm) Marked increase in tremor amplitude and ash emissions from the summit of the SEC, which produced only weak Strombolian activity.
8 (7) 27 Oct (pm) Increase in tremor amplitude and ash emissions from the SEC (see text for 26 Oct-4 Nov).
9 29-30 Oct Pulse of activity.
10 05 Nov (2004)-06 Nov (am) Strong eruptive episode started at SEC summit vent and continued with some fluctuations and intermittent ash emissions.
11 08 Nov (until 2200) Ash emissions from summit of SEC, followed by vigorous Strombolian activity.
12 10 Nov (2100)-11 Nov (1100) Tremor amplitude rapidly increased, bad weather hampered visual observations.
13 16 Nov (0500-late pm) Lava issued from the 3,180-m vent, sharp increase in tremor amplitude, vigorous ash emissions at the SEC summit, these gradually replaced by intense Strombolian bursts.
14 19 Nov (0400)-20 Nov (am) Strombolian activity at SEC occurred from two vents at the summit, lava flowed through the 16 November trench.
15 21 Nov (1200)-23 Nov (0000) Inclement weather, a black ash plume rose to 1.5 km above the summit.
16 24 Nov (0219-1530) Ash emissions mixed with Strombolian explosions at the SEC.
17 27 Nov (0410-pm) SEC monitoring camera recorded thermal anomaly and an ash plume.
18 31 Nov (1600)-03 Dec (am) Rising lava fountains followed 2 hours later by the '23 October pit' emitting dense ash and Strombolian explosions.
19 06 Dec Increased tremor implied weak Strombolian activity and ash emission at SEC.
20 11 Dec (0330)-14 Dec (pm) Strombolian explosions and voluminous lava flows from 2,800-m vent, ash from '23 October pit'.

Episode 9. Although there were no real paroxysms of Strombolian activity or lava fountaining at the SEC during 26 October-4 November, clear pulses of activity occurred at the effusive vents at 2,800 and 3,050 m elevation, accompanied by ash emission or weak Strombolian explosions at the SEC. These events defined Episode 8, on 27 October, and Episode 29, which took place during 29-30 October. The clear pattern of distinct paroxysms from the SEC finally returned on 5 November and lasted through late that month, before the activity became again more continuous early in December.

Episode 10. Following one week of intermittent ash emissions and weak Strombolian activity on late 4 November, a new strong eruptive episode started at the SEC summit vent at 2004 on 5 November and continued with some fluctuations and intermittent ash emissions for the next 9.5 hours. Light ashfalls occurred over populated areas to the SE. At about 2147 on 5 November, the effusion rate increased at a vent at 3,050 m elevation at the S base of the central summit cone (C on figure 117) which had been continuously active since 27 October. A new lobe of lava traveled S of the summit cone complex across a flat area known as the Cratere del Piano.

An apparent increase in the effusion rate was also noted at the effusive fissure at 2,800 m elevation on the ESE flank (B on figure 117), with active lava lobes extending downslope. Lava effusion from the 3,050-m vent ended during the morning of 6 November, and for the following 48 hours, lava emission continued only at the 2,800-m vent.

Episode 11. Ash emissions from the summit of the SEC occurred on 8 November 2006, followed by vigorous Strombolian activity that continued until about 2200. Around 1600, lava started to flow from a new vent located in the saddle between the SEC cone and the adjacent main summit cone, at an elevation of ~ 3,180 m (D on figure 117). The lava reached the SW base of the SEC cone in a few minutes, where it bifurcated into several short lobes, the largest and westernmost lobe stopping at the E margin of the lava flow field from the 3,050-m vent. Lava from the 3,180-m vent had ceased flowing by about 1845, whereas spattering and lava effusion continued at the 3,050-m vent for some time. Spattering ended at that vent around 1930, but lava continued to flow for another 24 hours.

Episode 12. At 2100 on 10 November 2006, tremor amplitude rapidly increased. Bad weather hampered visual observations until 11 November, when it became evident that this episode was quite similar to its predecessor, with lava emission occurring from both the 3,050-m and 3,180-m vents. Strombolian activity from the SEC summit ceased at 1100 on 11 November. Lava emission from the 3,050-m vent continued until the following night, and the associated lava flow field grew mainly on its W side, with flow fronts descending to ~ 2,800 m. For the next five days, lava emission continued unabated from the 2,800-m-vent, whereas the SEC and all other vents remained inactive.

Episode 13. Following a sharp increase in tremor amplitude at 0500 on 16 November, vigorous ash emissions started at the SEC summit at 0507 and were gradually replaced by intense Strombolian bursts, marking the onset of this eruptive episode.

Very early during the episode, lava issued from the 3,180-m vent, forming a lobe ~ 100 m long before activity at this vent ceased.

Lava effusion from the summit started at 0615 on 16 November and triggered a series of rockfalls down the SE flank of the SEC cone, before the lava descended on the same flank. At 0626, brownish ash was emitted from a spot next to the effusive vent, and major rockfalls and avalanches started shortly thereafter. These originated at the S rim of what remained of the 2004/2005 collapse pit on the E flank of the SEC (see BGVN 30:01 and 30:12). Plumes rising from the descending avalanches contained both brownish ash and white steam. Avalanching was most intense between 0631 and 0640, after which the new lava flow rapidly descended the lower SE flank of the cone and began to extend beyond its base toward the area of the 2,800-m vent. At the same time, strong emissions of black ash marked the opening of another explosive vent next to the summit, and a third explosive vent became active in the same area. For the next several hours, the vents continued to eject ash and occasionally bombs, and to produce vigorous Strombolian activity.

At 0700 on 16 November emissions of white vapor occurred from the SE flank of the SEC cone; a few minutes later large rock avalanches started to descend that flank. Simultaneously a fissure began to open near the summit to downslope on the SSE flank, triggering local rockfalls and dust avalanches. This fissure initially propagated ~ 100 m downslope, then it temporarily stopped; but at 0720, it propagated another 150 m downslope. During the following 15 minutes, another fissure perpendicular to the earlier one cut SE across the flank, generating more rockfalls and dust avalanches. The resulting fissure system had the form of an inverted Y delimiting a block that was actively pushed outward by magma intruding into the cone's flank.

Lava began to issue from the lower end of the W branch of the fissure system at about 0810 on 16 November. At approximately the same time, the 3,050-m vent started to emit lava. By this time, the upper portion of the fissure cutting the SSE flank of the SEC cone had significantly enlarged and became a deep trench. Dense volumes of steam were emitted from this trench at 0831 and were followed a few minutes later by another series of rockfalls and avalanches. Direct observation from ~ 700 m showed that the most energetic of these avalanches resulted from the collapse of low fountains of gas and tephra at the lower end of the large trench. The avalanches and rockfalls lasted about 15 minutes, then a voluminous surge of lava issued from the lower end of the opening trench.

Over the next few hours this sequence of events (vapor emission?rockfalls and avalanches?lava emission) was repeated several times as the trench widened and propagated further downslope. During the few moments when steam and dust clouds cleared and the interior of the trench became visible, a cascade of very fluid lava was seen in the center of the trench. Apparently, the lava issued from a source high in the head wall of the trench, and at times spurted from the vent like a firehose.

At 1100 on 16 November, white steam plumes, rockfalls, and dust avalanches appeared high on the SE flank of the SEC cone, in the area where the summit lava flow was emitted. These phenomena marked a major collapse of the E wall of the trench, which eventually cut into the descending summit lava flow, diverting it into the trench. The original flow, which had descended immediately S of the 2,800-m vent down to ~ 2,600 m elevation, rapidly stopped, although lava continued to drain from the main flow channel and accumulated in a thickening lobe at the cone's base.

At about 1425 on 16 November, several vertical jets of black tephra shot upward from an area at ~ 150 m distance from the cone's base. These emissions were very distinct in color from the brownish dust clouds, which at the same time descended from the trench. The activity at the new site appeared to migrate rapidly both toward the SEC as dark plumes began to rise closer to the cone, while a ground-hugging plume of white vapor shot in the opposite direction. A few ten's of seconds later, very dense clouds of dark brown material began to appear at the base of the surging white cloud and formed a distinct flow that rapidly overtook the front of the white cloud while speeding toward SE. At the slope break along the W rim of the Valle del Bove (~ 2,800 m elevation), both clouds disappeared from view in weather clouds, but at the site where the activity had originated, a huge plume of white vapor soared skyward. White vapor continued to rise from the area and from the path of the white and dark brown clouds for more than 15 minutes.

Another explosive emission of white steam and dark brown plumes occurred at about 1455. Like the 1425 event, it generated ground-hugging clouds of steam and dark brown material, the latter again traveling faster. During the following hours, activity at the SEC gradually decreased, with several spectacular cascades of lava descending through the trench on the cone's SSE side. Steam explosions and rock avalanches occurred at the lower termination of the trench at 1525. Strombolian activity ceased at 1500 on 16 November, but lava emission continued until about midnight. This lava does not seem to have extended far from the base of the SEC cone, since investigation during the following day failed to reveal any fresh lava on top of the debris deposits emplaced during the major explosive events at 1425 and 1455. A minor lava flow was also fed from a new short fissure ~ 80 m E of the 3,050-m vent. During the evening a small lobe of lava was emitted from the accumulation at the SEC cone's base.

Fieldwork and aerial surveys during the two days following 16 November revealed that the 1425 and 1455 explosions and related volcaniclastic density currents (figure 118) had left two main types of deposit. One was of lobate shape and extended a few hundred meters from the source of the explosions to the SE, covering a footpath established by mountain guides to allow tourists to approach the persistently active 2,800-m vent.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 118. One of the peculiar density currents at Etna that occurred during Episode 13, 16 November 2006. The photo was taken from the N side of the large 2002-2003 cone complex, ~ 1.3 km S of the SEC. Seen in the photo are strong emissions of dark gray ash from two vents at the summit (a third caused intense Strombolian activity, but not in the moment shown in the photo). A huge gash carved out of the near right side of the cone emitted a lot of white vapor, with lava flowing from its lower end, and a ground-hugging brownish ash cloud spilling downslope on top of the flowing lava. Photo courtesy of INGV-CT.

On the ground the deposit consisted of very fine grained reddish-brown ash made up almost exclusively of lithic fragments. To the N the deposit gradually thickened and larger clasts were found on its surface, some of which represented fresh magmatic material. Close to the 2,800-m vent, the deposit abruptly graded into a sort of debris flow rich in lithics but with up to 25% of fresh magmatic clasts. These latter showed a peculiar flattened-out morphology. Where this deposit overlay the tourist path near the 2,800-m vent it was 1.52 m thick. In one place the flow had surrounded a plastic-coated sign warning tourists to stay on the path. The plastic lacked evidence of strong heating, indicating that the flow was relatively cool at this point along its path.

Volcanic tremor amplitude began to increase during the late afternoon of 18 November and, during a helicopter flight at 1800, the 2,800-m vent showed vigorous spattering. Active lava from the vent traveled ~ 3 km to Monte Centenari. Bright incandescence was also noted within the 3,180-m vent during this overflight.

Episode 14. At 0400 on 19 November, Strombolian activity at the SEC occurred from 2 vents at the summit while lava flowed through the 16 November trench and divided into numerous braiding lobes on top of the debris deposited 3 days earlier. The longest lobe traveled along the prominent channel in the main debris flow, passing immediately to the S of the 2,800-m vent and extending to an elevation of ~ 2,600 m. This episode was much less violent than its predecessor and lacked the explosions, surges, and flows characteristic of that event. Strombolian activity continued until the late evening, while lava effusion ended early on 20 November. As during previous episodes, lava had also briefly issued from the 3,050-m and 3,180-m vents. In addition, a flow of a few meters in length started from another fissure that opened at ~ 3,200 m, on the saddle between Bocca Nuova and SEC. This upper flow merged with the flow coming out from the 3,180-m vent.

Episode 15. This eruptive episode at the SEC started at 1200 on 21 November 2006, but direct observations were thwarted by inclement weather through nightfall. At about 1500, a black ash plume was seen rising above the cloud cover to ~ 1.5 km above the summit. Light ashfalls occurred along the Ionian coast near Giarre and further N, while at Rifugio Citelli (~ 6 km NE of the SEC), ash deposition was nearly continuous.

After 1900, the cloud cover gradually opened, allowing direct views of the strong Strombolian explosions generating jets sometimes over 300 m high. Lava once more flowed through the 16 November trench on the cone's SSE flank toward the 2,800-m vent. Likewise, the 3,050-m and 3,180-m-vents reactivated, although the latter apparently ceased erupting early during the episode. Lava flowed from the trench until shortly after midnight on 22 November. Bad weather precluded observations until the evening, when all activity was again limited to the 2,800-m vent.

Episode 16. At 0219 on 24 November, there began ash emissions mixed with Strombolian explosions. These were recorded by the INGV-CT thermal camera in Nicolosi (~ 15 km S of the SEC) with a significant anomaly occurring at the SEC summit. Strombolian activity at 0320 was accompanied by voluminous ash emission, which formed a plume that rose ~ 2 km above the summit before being blown to SE.

Two particularly powerful explosions occurred at 0452 and 0455. The latter was followed by lava extruding from a vent presumably located within the 16-November trench. At around 0535, lava began to issue from the 3,050-m vent, forming a small flow on the W side of the lava flow field emplaced since 26 October. A second minor flow issued from another vent located ~ 80 m SE of the 3,050-m vent. Vigorous ash emission from the summit of the SEC caused light ashfalls over populated areas between Zafferana and Acireale (figure 119).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. Dark ash plume rising from Etna's SEC during eruptive Episode 16 on the morning of 24 November, photographed from a helicopter provided by the Italian Department of Civil Protection (Dipartimento di Protezione Civile) during that day's particularly explosive episode. A small steam plume at left rises from the area of the 2,800-m vent. More diffuse gas emitted from active lava flows engulfs the photo's extreme left. Etna's other summit craters (Northeast Crater foremost, with Voragine and Bocca Nuova behind) are in the lower right corner of the image, showing normal degassing activity. View is approximately to the S. Courtesy of INGV-CT.

A fracture opened at about 0817 at the SSE base of the SEC cone, producing a violent explosion and a rock avalanche that descended at a speed of several ten's of km/h toward the Valle del Bove, following the path of similar avalanches that had occurred on 16 November. Lava effusion continued from vents at the cone's base, where mild spattering was observed. Upslope from the effusive vent at 2,800 m elevation, a second fracture formed and commenced spattering and lava emission.

During the early afternoon a change in the wind direction drew the plume from its earlier SE-ward course toward Catania and adjacent areas, forcing the closure of the Fontanarossa International airport of Catania. The activity began to diminish, and by 1530 all explosive phenomena ceased. For several more hours lava continued to issue from two vents at the SEC cone's base.

Late in the afternoon of 24 November, weak sporadic Strombolian explosions occurred from a pit located on the E flank of the SEC cone, which had formed during the 23 October eruptive episode (hereafter, '23 October pit' identified as F on figure 117). On 25 November this vent produced pulsating ash emissions that continued intermittently for the next two days.

Episode 17. At around 0410 on 27 November, eruptive activity occurred at the SEC and the thermal monitoring camera at Nicolosi began to record a significant thermal anomaly at the crater and a W-drifting ash plume. Visual observations were hampered by inclement weather. Around 0730, the thermal camera at Nicolosi disclosed lava emission on the W side of the SEC cone, possibly from the vent at 3,180 m elevation in the saddle between the SEC and the Bocca Nuova. About 45 min later, lava emission became evident at the cone's SE base. No further visual observations were available after 0845, but the tremor amplitude remained high until the afternoon, when a sharp drop indicated the end of this eruptive episode.

Bad weather persisted until early on 29 November when observers saw ash emissions from the '23 October pit.' These emissions became more intense after 0545, and the tremor amplitude began to increase rapidly during the late morning. Intermittent, weak Strombolian activity from the '23 October pit' was visible after nightfall; this became notably stronger shortly after 0100 on 30 November and reached its highest intensity around 0130, after which there was a notable decrease. Ash emissions occurred from the same pit at dawn and again from 1240 onward, producing low ash plumes.

Episode 18. At around 1600 on 30 November 2006, lava fountains began to rise from the 2,800-m vent. Two hours later the '23 October pit' emitted a dense ash plume, and Strombolian explosions reached up to 150 m above the vent. At 2045, a fissure opened at ~ 3,100 m elevation, venting spatter several ten's of meters high and releasing a short lava flow towards the 2,800-m vent. After about 10 min the effusion rate at this new fissure diminished, but lava continued to escape at a decreasing rate for ~ 1 hour. The '23 October pit' remained vigorously active for the next 5 hours, producing incandescent jets and a dense tephra plume.

The new fissure at 3,100 m elevation revived around 0115 on 1 December, with vigorous spattering and a new surge of similarly directed lava. At the same time, the '23 October pit' emissions strongly increased. Like on the evening before, the new fissure at 3,100 m elevation remained active only for a short time; lava emission ceased by 0200 on 1 December.

The 2800-m vent produced the largest lava flows during the entire period of activity, in this episode extending lava flows to ~ 1,500 m elevation on the Valle del Bove floor, to a distance of ~ 4.7 km from their source.

Between 1-3 December, the '23 October pit' remained active with nearly continuous emissions of ash interspersed with Strombolian activity. This was accompanied by the 3,100-m fissure emitting low fountaining and lava; lava flows from that fissure were generally short and did not extend far beyond the 2,800-m vent. The last observed activity at the 3,100-m vent occurred during the morning of 3 December. Ash emissions from the '23 October pit' continued for another few days but became progressively weaker; likewise the lava emission at the 2,800-m vent diminished gradually.

Episode 19. Weak Strombolian activity and ash emission occurred at the SEC on the afternoon of 6 December, evidenced by increased tremor, but the amplitude dropped rapidly to very low levels implying that the SEC ceased erupting late on 6 December. Minor lava emissions continued from the 2,800-m vent. On the morning of 8 December, no eruptive activity was visible at any of the numerous vents of the previous weeks. Following several days of very low tremor amplitude, it began to increase again late on 10 December.

Episode 20. Eruptive activity resumed around 0330 on 11 December 2006 from the '23 October pit' on the SEC, with Strombolian explosions documented by INGV-CT's monitoring cameras. Simultaneously, lava emission started from the area of the 2,800-m vent, forming a flow that slowly descended toward the Valle del Bove. Bad weather hampered observations during the following days, but occasional clear views revealed ash emissions from the '23 October pit.' In addition, there were voluminous lava emissions from the 2,800-m vents, feeding a broad lava flow adjacent the N margin of the lava flowfield produced from the same vent between mid-October and early December. The 2,800-m vents generated vigorous Strombolian explosions from two vents that built up a pair of large hornitos, and lava emissions came from a third vent located on the lower E flank of the larger, more easterly of the hornitos. No activity occurred from any other of the numerous vents that had been active during the previous weeks at the summit and in the vicinity of the SEC. Late in the afternoon of 14 December, a sharp drop in tremor amplitude indicated that the end of this final eruptive episode was imminent, and field observations made on the following morning revealed the absence of eruptive activity.

INGV considered Etna's 2006 summit eruptions during 14 July-14 December and made a rough estimate of erupted lava volumes. The total volume produced during those 5 months amounted to ~ 15-20 x 106 m3.

There was a single, relatively small ash emission from Bocca Nuova on 19 March 2007, discharged without an associated seismic signal. This was followed ten days later by a brief episode of violent lava fountaining and tephra emission from the SEC. Details on that and subsequent activity will be reported in a future Bulletin.

References. Behncke, B., and Neri, M., 2006, Mappa delle colate laviche aggiornata al 20 Novembre 2006 (1 page PDF file on the INGV website) and Carta delle colate laviche emesse dall'Etna dal 4 Settembre al 7 Dicembre 2006 (Map of lava flow emissions at Etna from 4 September to 7 December 2006).

Behncke, B., Branca, S., Neri, M., and Norini, G., 2006, Rapporto eruzione Etna: mappatura dei campi lavici aggiornata al 7 Dicembre 2006 (Report of Etna eruption: map of lava flows up to 7 December 2006): INGV report WKRVGALT20061215.pdf.

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 and Boris Behncke, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia-Catania (INGV-CT), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/).


Ijen (Indonesia) — February 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Ijen

Indonesia

8.058°S, 114.242°E; summit elev. 2769 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Acidic crater lake and active solfatara investigations

Scientists from Simon Fraser and McGill universities conducted preliminary geophysical and geochemical field studies at Ijen (figure 4) between 13 and 26 August 2006. During this period, volcanic activity was low and restricted to persistent degassing of the solfatara in the SE part of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Photograph of the acid crater lake and solfatara (bottom left) in the active crater at Ijen, August 2006. View is from the E crater rim. Courtesy of G. Mauri.

Measurements of temperature and pH were made every morning during 14-19 August at four locations: the Banyupuhit River, ~ 5 km from the Banyupuhit River source, the acid lake in the summit crater, and the E shore of the crater lake. Temperatures of the Banyupuhit River were 16-20°C, always above atmospheric temperature by ~ 1-3°C; the pH was ~ 0.4. Lake temperatures varied between 31 and 43°C and the pH was -0.02. The color of the crater lake was generally homogeneous, although large black to brown linear patches, probably sulfur deposits from the solfatara, were observed on the turquoise-green surface. These ephemeral patches were of variable size (e.g. several ten's of meters long and a few meters wide) and moved across the lake during the course of the day, but were not always evident throughout the day. The area near the E shore appeared lighter than the rest of the lake, probably due to a spring at the bottom of the inner E slope.

Pipes driven into the fumaroles are used to extract gases for sulfur mining (figure 5). Temperatures measured 50 cm down into four of those pipes ranged from 224 to 248°C. These measurements almost certainly represent minimum estimates of the true temperatures due to heat loss along the length of the extraction pipes. After the gases had exited less than 50 cm from the pipes, temperatures had dropped below 120°C, the melting point of native sulfur.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Close-up view of the solfatara at Ijen with fumarole temperature of more than 220°C. Note pipes for extracting sulfur gases. Courtesy of G. Mauri.

A survey of sulfur dioxide (SO2) fluxes made by a portable spectrometer (FLYSPEC) on 21 and 23 August along the SE rim of the crater consisted of seven and twelve walking traverses through the plume, respectively. The gas plume produced directly from the active solfatara near the lake surface rose buoyantly before flowing over the crater rim. During the first survey (conducted over a 2-hour period), the concentration-pathlength of the gas in the plume fluctuated between 1,000 and 2,500 ppm-m. The wind speed (measured by handheld anemometer at plume height) during this time averaged 6.1 m/s and the resultant SO2 flux was therefore calculated to average 412 metric tons per day (t/d) with a standard deviation of 154 t/d. On 23 August, gas concentrations were somewhat lower, ranging between 500 and 2,000 ppm-m. The average wind speed during the survey period (2 hours) was 3.9 m/s and the resultant SO2 flux averaged 254 t/d, with a standard deviation of 117 t/d. Based on this very limited survey, the flux of SO2 was estimated to be 330 t/d.

Gravity surveys (Bouguer and dynamic) were conducted in the active crater and seven gravity stations were selected for future dynamic gravity monitoring. A digital elevation map was prepared (using digital photogrammetric mapping methods) to provide the spatial framework required for interpretation of the geophysical surveys.

The scientists also applied the self-potential (SP) method, also know as spontaneous potential, that measures electrical potentials developed in the Earth by electrochemical action between minerals and solutions with which they are in contact. SP mapping of the active summit crater showed two main hydrologic structures (figure 6). The first is a hydrogeologic zone on the E and NE rim characterized by a negative SP anomaly with a minimum at -100 mV (millivolts), an inverse SP/elevation gradient of -1.6 mV/m, and length of 1,500 m. This almost certainly represents inflow of meteoric water and groundwater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Self-potential survey results shown on a topographic map of the active crater of Ijen, August 2006. All the SP data were referenced at the Banyupuhit River and at a spring on the inner E slope of the crater. Contour line intervals are 100 m. Courtesy of G. Williams-Jones.

The second structure is the main hydrothermal system located S, W, and N of the crater as well as in the southern inner slope of the crater, places where the surface expressions are solfataras. The SP maxima range between 48 and 60 mV and are located on the slope of the river below a dam on the outer W slope (+52 mV), on the N rim (+48 mV) and in the S part of the solfatara (+ 59 mV). Processing of the SP data along the crater profile by continuous wavelet transform (Mauri and others, 2006) shows that the hydrothermal fluid cells are near the surface (less than 200 m below the topographic surface) suggesting that the hydrothermal system is under high pressure with significant heat flux, as shown by the solfatara.

Reference. Mauri, G., Saracco, G., and Labazuy, P., 2006, Volcanic activity of the Piton de la Fournaise volcano characterized by temporal analysis of hydrothermal fluid movement, 1992 to 2005: AGU, Eos Trans, v. 87, no. 52, Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract V51A-1653.

Geologic Background. The Ijen volcano complex at the eastern end of Java consists of a group of small stratovolcanoes constructed within the large 20-km-wide Ijen (Kendeng) caldera. The north caldera wall forms a prominent arcuate ridge, but elsewhere the caldera rim is buried by post-caldera volcanoes, including Gunung Merapi, which forms the high point of the complex. Immediately west of the Gunung Merapi stratovolcano is the historically active Kawah Ijen crater, which contains a nearly 1-km-wide, turquoise-colored, acid lake. Picturesque Kawah Ijen is the world's largest highly acidic lake and is the site of a labor-intensive sulfur mining operation in which sulfur-laden baskets are hand-carried from the crater floor. Many other post-caldera cones and craters are located within the caldera or along its rim. The largest concentration of cones forms an E-W zone across the southern side of the caldera. Coffee plantations cover much of the caldera floor, and tourists are drawn to its waterfalls, hot springs, and volcanic scenery.

Information Contacts: Guillaume Mauri and Glyn Williams-Jones, Department of Earth Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada (URL: http://www.sfu.ca/earth-sciences.html); Willy (A.E.) Williams-Jones, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (URL: http://www.mcgill.ca/eps/); Deddy Mulyadi, Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), Diponegoro 57, Bandung, Jawa Barat 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://vsi.esdm.go.id/).


Kanlaon (Philippines) — February 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Kanlaon

Philippines

10.412°N, 123.132°E; summit elev. 2435 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Steam-and-ash explosions in June and July 2006

After a year of quiet following ash ejections from Canlaon in May 2005 (BGVN 30:06), the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reported that a new period of activity began on 3 June 2006. In total, twenty-three ash ejections occurred between 3 June and 25 July 2006. These outbursts were all water-driven in nature, characterized by emission of ash and steam that rose up to 2 km above the active crater. The prevailing winds dispersed ash in all directions. The seismic network, however, did not detect significant seismic activity before or after the ash emissions, supporting the idea that the explosions were very near-surface hydrothermal events.

Four explosive episodes that occurred over the days 3, 10, and 12 June ejected mainly steam with some ash, and affected only the summit crater and upper SW slopes. The event at 1430 on 3 June sent dirty white to grayish steam 800 m above the summit. The activity was observed until 1445 when thick clouds covered the summit. Another emission started at 2316 on 10 June and lasted until 0030 the next morning. The plume was estimated to attain heights of 700-1,000 m before drifting SW. After the ash emission, moderate to wispy steam plumes escaped, to maximum heights of 600 m above the summit. Another steam-and-ash episode during 0515-0535 on 12 June caused a plume to rise about 600 m before drifting SW. After the ash emission, generally weak to moderate steaming to a height of ~ 400 m returned. Plumes rose 600-1,000 m and drifted SW; ashfall was confined to the upper slopes. This new period of low-level unrest prompted PHIVOLCS to raise the hazard status to Alert Level 1 on 12 June, suspending all visits to within 4 km of the summit.

Three small steam-and-ash emissions without recorded seismicity occurred again between the afternoon of 13 June and the morning of the 14th. The grayish steam clouds rose ~ 900 m above the active crater and drifted NE and NW. Only traces of ash were observed over the N upper slope. An explosion from 0845 to 0924 on 14 June produced an ash and steam cloud, which rose up to 1.5 km above the summit and drifted N, affecting mainly the upper slopes. Voluminous grayish steam plumes were then seen rising up to 1.5 km above the summit crater after 1640 through the next morning. The seismic network detected only two low-frequency volcanic earthquakes. Kanlaon City proper experienced light ashfall starting at 1630 on 15 June after voluminous dirty white steam was observed rising 1.5-2 km above the summit crater a few hours earlier (from 1346 to 1520). As of 1800, ashfall was still wafting through the city.

The character of this episode changed on the afternoon of 19 June when two episodes of steam-and-ash emission sent clouds 600 m above the crater that drifted SW. Weak to moderate steaming was observed after the second explosion and during the morning observation on the 20th. The initial explosion was recorded by the Cabagnaan station's seismograph as low-frequency tremor with a duration of 13 minutes. One minute of tremor was recorded at the time of the second explosion. No precursor seismicity was detected. Traces of ashfall and sulfurous odors were reported at Barangay Cabagnaan proper in La Castellana. During the 24 hours before 0730 on 20 June, the seismic network detected two cases of low-frequency tremor and three small low-frequency volcanic earthquakes.

An additional six short steam-and-ash emissions took place during 21-25 June. The explosions produced grayish columns that rose 800-1,500 m above the crater and drifted NW, SW, and SSW. Volcanic seismicity was not associated with these events except for a single harmonic tremor before the emission on 25 June. Light ashfall was reported at Upper Cabagnaan in La Castellana. Weak to moderate steaming was observed after the explosions.

Steam-and-ash emissions were not reported again until the afternoon of 2 July. The grayish steam clouds then rose to heights of up to 1,000 m above the active crater and generally drifted NW. Another episode on the morning of 3 July produced a column to a height of 500 m above the crater. The seismograph at Cabagnaan recorded ten volcanic earthquakes while the seismograph at Sto. Bama near Guintubdan in La Carlota City recorded eight local seismic events during the 24 hour observation period that included these emissions.

An explosion-type earthquake with a 10 min, 25 sec duration was recorded at 0426 on 23 July, but cloud cover prevented observations. Traces of ash fell up to about 9 km ENE from the crater, affecting Barangays Pula, Malaiba, and Lumapao. When clouds cleared during 0630-0800 on 25 July, ash-laden steam clouds were seen rising up to 300 m above the crater drifting ENE and SE. Light ashfall was experienced at Gabok, Malaiba, and Lumapao of Kanlaon City, about 9 km from the crater. This emission was not reflected on the seismic record as only two small volcanic earthquakes were detected during the preceding 24 hours. Dirty white steam was observed on the morning of the 26th rising to a maximum of 100 m above the crater.

Explosions ceased after 25 July, and other activity, such as weak steaming and minor seismicity, showed a general trend towards quiescence. After three months with no further explosive emissions, on 2 November 2006 PHIVOLCS lowered the hazard status from Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 0, meaning the volcano has returned to normal conditions.

Geologic Background. Kanlaon volcano (also spelled Canlaon), the most active of the central Philippines, forms the highest point on the island of Negros. The massive andesitic stratovolcano is dotted with fissure-controlled pyroclastic cones and craters, many of which are filled by lakes. The largest debris avalanche known in the Philippines traveled 33 km SW from Kanlaon. The summit contains a 2-km-wide, elongated northern caldera with a crater lake and a smaller, but higher, historically active vent, Lugud crater, to the south. Historical eruptions, recorded since 1866, have typically consisted of phreatic explosions of small-to-moderate size that produce minor ashfalls near the volcano.

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, PHIVOLCS Building, C.P. Garcia Avenue, Univ. of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/).


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — February 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Langila

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Emission of ash plumes continues through March 2007

Moderate activity occurred at Langila between January and March 2006 (BGVN 31:05), with eruptive activity accompanied by a continuous ashfall, rumbling, and weak emissions of lava fragments. Since March 2006, activity has continued at Crater 2.

According to the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), eruptions at Crater 2 occurred in August 2006 and from October 2006 through March 2007, with explosions of incandescent lava fragments, roaring noises at regular intervals, and continuous emissions of gray-to-brown ash plumes. Plumes generally reached 2.3-3.3 km altitude, although on 31 October a small ash plume rose to an altitude of 4.6 km. Ash plumes were occasionally visible on satellite imagery. During October and through the first part of January 2007, plumes generally drifted N, NW, W, WNW, and NE; between the end of January and March, plumes drifted SE and SW.

Thermal anomalies detected by MODIS instruments on the Terra and Aqua satellites were absent after 2 January 2006 until 21 July 2006. The same system (the HIGP Thermal Alerts System) identified anomalies again on 24 and 31 October, 12 and 21 November, 16 and 27 December 2006, 6 January, 8 March, and 18 March 2007.

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

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), PO Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, Northern Territory 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) 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/).


Lastarria (Chile-Argentina) — February 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Lastarria

Chile-Argentina

25.168°S, 68.507°W; summit elev. 5706 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intense fumarolic emissions typical of activity since at least 1940

The rarely visited Lastarria has not erupted in historical time, but has displayed strong fumarolic activity (figure 1) for at least 67 years. This is the first Bulletin report ever issued on this volcano; it presents new images of the steaming edifice. On 2 February 2007, a group of scientists from the Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN) and the Corporación Nacional Forestal (CONAF) observed the fumarolic activity from a distance. The scientists were on a field trip to count flamingos and other Andean birds at Ramsar sites. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (http://www.ramsar.org/), named after a city in Iran, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. The group noted steam plumes blowing NE at mid-day from ~ 47 km SW. Fumarolic gases were again seen, from ~ 35 km WSW, slowly moving down the W slope of the cone (figure 2). Steam plumes were seen intermittently throughout the afternoon.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Lastarria imaged by satellite on an unknown date. Fumaroles can be seen on the SW and SE crater rims. Crater width (E-W) is ~600 m. Courtesy of Google Earth and DigitalGlobe.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Photograph showing Lastarria from ~35 km WSW, 2 February 2007. Fumarolic gases can be seen rising above the cone and moving down the W flank. Courtesy of Héctor Cepeda.

Jose Antonio Naranjo, who has worked at Lastarria since 1983, is very familiar with its spectacular fumarolic activity. He confirmed that the observations of February 2007 reflect Lastarria's normal intense fumarolic emissions. Such activity has continued since at least 1940, when observed by Danko Slozilo. Naranjo noted that in 2007 he saw the same fumarole locations as those he observed in 1983 and in October 2002 (figure 3). The temperatures of these fumaroles were unchanged between 1983 and 2002.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Photograph of the Lastarria cone showing the lava dome overlapping the N crater rim and fumaroles along the rim, October 2002. View is from the N. Courtesy of Jose Antonio Naranjo.

References. Naranjo, J.A., 1985, Sulphur flows at Lastarria volcano in the North Chilean Andes: Nature, v. 313, no. 6005, p. 778-780.

Naranjo, J.A., 1986, Geology and evolution of the Lastarria volcanic complex, north Chilean Andes: Unpublished M Phil. Thesis, The Open University, England, 157 p.

Naranjo, J.A., and Francis, P., 1987, High velocity debris avalanche at Lastarria volcano in the north Chilean Andes: Bull. Volcanol., v. 49, p. 509-514.

Naranjo, J.A., 1988, Coladas de azufre de los volcanes Lastarria y Bayo en el norte de Chile: reologia, genesis e importancia en geologia planetaria: Revista Geologica de Chile, v. 15, no. 1, p. 3-12.

Naranjo, J.A., 1992, Chemistry and petrological evolution of Lastarria volcanic complex in the north Chilean Andes: Geol. Magazine, v. 129, p. 723-740.

Geologic Background. The NNW-trending edifice of 5706-m-high Lastarria volcano along the Chile-Argentina border contains five nested summit craters. The youngest feature is a lava dome that overlaps the northern crater rim. The large andesitic-dacitic Negriales lava field on the western flanks was erupted from a single SW-flank vent. A large debris-avalanche deposit is found on the SE flank. Recent pyroclastic-flow deposits form an extensive apron below the northern flanks of the volcano. Although no historical eruptions have been recorded, the youthful morphology of deposits suggests activity during historical time. Persistent fumarolic activity occurs at the summit and NW flank, and sulfur flows have been produced by melting of extensive sulfur deposits in the summit region.

Information Contacts: Héctor Cepeda and Margaret Mercado, Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Chile; Jorge Carabantes, Cristian Rivera, Eric Díaz, and Juan Soto, Corporación Nacional Forestal (CONAF), Chile; Jose Antonio Naranjo, Volcano Hazards Programme, Servicio Nacional de Geologia y Mineria, Chile.


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — February 2007 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)


March-April 2006 eruption sends lava down flanks

The previous Bulletin report (BGVN 31:03) discussed an unusually vigorous eruption during late March and early April 2006. This report revisits the March 2006 eruption and continues to the beginning of 2007, thanks in large part to the reports of many observers posted by Frederick Belton on his website.

March-April 2006 eruption. The March 2006 eruption was initially characterized in the Arusha Times as being more massive than the one in 1966. However, Celia Nyamweru noted that subsequent information indicated that the 2006-2007 event was smaller than the 1966-1967 event. During the March-April 2006 event, the volcano was reported to have emitted "red-hot rivers of molten rock and scalding fumes." Ibrahim Ole Sakay, a resident of Ngaresero (-1.3 km from the volcano) reported that the eruption began on the night of 24 March 2006, continuing the following day, and marked by "rumbling and spitting lava for more than a week."

Several news sources, including CNN, reported that on 30 March 2006 the eruption led to the evacuation of up to 3,000 people from several villages, some quite distant from the volcano. As of 5 April, there was a great deal of contradictory information about this eruption. Belton noted that news media and people distant from the volcano reported explosions, but that people living and working nearby reported a "smoke column" followed by a very large lava flow down the W flank, but no explosions or ash. All evidence now indicates that there was no explosive activity and that this was only a very large eruption of lava.

Visitor observations. Belton posted reports from a number of persons who observed the volcano before and shortly after the March 2006 eruption. One observer, Christoph Weber, drew a new map of the crater in February 2006 (figure 91). Belton visited the volcano in August 2006 and provided (figure 92) an update to Weber's February map as well as a photo of the recent changes (figure 93). The following text and table 11 were taken from observations by visitors, as reported by Belton on his website.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Sketch map showing features in Ol Doinyo Lengai's active crater as of February 2006 (i.e., before the March-April 2006 eruption). Courtesy of Christoph Weber.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Sketch map showing features in Ol Doinyo Lengai's active crater as of August 2006 (i.e., after the March-April 2006 eruption). Courtesy of Frederick Belton, based on update of the map by Christoph Weber.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. Photo of Ol Doinyo Lengai's active crater as seen 7 August 2006, looking N from the S rim. To elucidate recent changes in the crater, see maps in figures 91 and 92 [and earlier maps and photos from BGVN 31:03 (March 2006), 30:10 (October 2005), and 30:04 (April 2005)]. The tall cone is T49B. Slightly to its front and to the right, note the large collapse zone that grew in the spot where cones T56B, T58B, and T58C once stood. The dark lava on the right (E side of crater) was believed to have erupted around 20 June 2006 from T37B. The dark lava to the lower left probably dates from early April 2006. Although it appears dark and fresh here, it had already been highly weathered and easily crumbled into powder if touched. Courtesy of Frederick Belton.

Table 11. Summary of visitors to Ol Doinyo Lengai and their brief observations (from a climb, crater overflight photos, or from the flank) from January 2006 to February 2007 (see figures 91 and 92 for crater features). Detailed observations prior to March 2006 were reported in BGVN 31:03; most of the later observations were detailed in the text. Courtesy of Frederick Belton.

Date Reporting Visitor(s) Brief Observations
04 Jan-06 Jan 2006 Bernard Donth Climb, 1100 hours, 4 Jan: lava from hornito T49B; spatter and little flows in all directions with eruption every 30 minutes; 1 larger flow reached NW Overflow. At 1500 hours activity decreased; no more flows during rest of stay.
10 Jan 2006 Christian Mann and family Climb: no activity except some degassing from hornito T47. During previous weeks lava filled large open vent of T56B and flowed from there to possibly other locations onto NE part of crater floor.
02 Feb-07 Feb 2006 Christoph Weber with film team Climb: see BGVN 31:03.
13 Feb 2006 Christoph Weber Overflight: new lava flows from T58B and T56B vents. Crater rim overflow widths unchanged since Aug 2005.
25 Feb-26 Feb 2006 Chris DeVries with McGill Univ. students Climb: see BGVN 31:03.
11 Mar 2006 Cristine Mentzel Overflight: numerous small lava flows extending in all directions in the crater from the central cone cluster.
13 Mar 2006 Rick and Heidi Rosen Overflight.
14 Mar 2006 Serge and Sandrine Magnier Overflight: fresh lava on crater floor. Photos of lava show thin, fine textured aa flows, very black, originating from unidentifiable source in central cone cluster.
29 Mar 2006 Locals reporting to Amos Bupunga Flank: lava flowed within 2 km of village, but no one vacated.
01 Apr 2006 Dean Polley Overflight: photos of crater documenting partial collapse of T56B and T58B and possible existence of a lava lake there.
01 Apr 2006 Matt Jones Climb.
04 Apr 2006 Michael Dalton-Smith Overflight.
05 Apr 2006 Michael Dalton-Smith Flank.
07 or 08 Apr 2006 Amos Bupunga Climb: lava still being emitted only within the new lake.
06 May-11 May 2006 Jean Perrin Climb: absence of lava lake activity; a thick ash layer was seen in the crater.
12 May-13 May 2006 Tobias Fischer Climb.
21 May-28 May 2006 Matthieu Kervyn Climb.
13 Jul-15 Jul 2006 Steve Beresford, Michelle Carey, Mark and Rene Tait Climb.
31 Jul-05 Aug 2006 Daniela Szczepanski, Andreas Ramsler, Norbert Fischer Climb: no activity other than smoking cones and rockfalls in the collapse zone.
04 Aug-08 Aug 2006 Fred Belton, Peter and Jennifer Elliston Climb.
20 Aug 2006 Ram Weinberger, Majura Songo Climb: no significant changes in crater since 8 Aug.
22 Aug 2006 Helene Frume Climb: no eruptive activity and no visible change since 20 Aug.
22 Sep 2006 Magda Kozbial Climb: no activity since the previous reported visit on 20 and 22 Aug; only noticeable change since early Aug was some additional collapse of CP1 on its W edge, which appeared to have destroyed all but a tiny remnant of T46. Smoke arose from the cracks in the ground near the crater (CP1) behind the biggest cone, mostly at the location of T46, and smell of sulfur quite strong.
31 Jan-02 Feb 2007 Tom Pfeiffer Climb.

When Rick and Heidi Rosen flew over on 13 March 2006, there appeared to be no activity and many lava flows had turned white. Several flows still contained dark areas, their surface color indicating that they were then only a few days old. Narrow flows extended in all directions from the central cone mound, and a small flow originating on the upper part of T49B extended across the NW crater rim overflow and a short distance down that flank. Lava also appeared to have reached the E crater rim overflow. Most of the flows appeared to have been subject to the same amount of weathering, except for the flow down the NW flank, which looked more recent.

After a 1 April 2006 climb, Matt Jones reported that there was a fairly large lava flow down the W flank. Residents in nearby Ngaresero village and the Ngorongoro District Commissioner said that activity started on 27 March 2006. At the summit in the dark, Jones noted no glowing from lava emissions. The new eruption left a big hole to the left of the climbing path to the crater that emitted a plume of steam. On the following day, abundant steam came from the hornitos and from fissures all around the rim. Two central hornito's had been blown open relatively recently.

According to people interviewed by Amos Bupunga, who visited later, lava had flowed out on 29 (30?) March 2006 and extended to ~ 2 km from a Maasai family village (boma) at Ol Doinyo Lengai's foot. Bupunga heard that residents did not vacate their village. In the crater, lava of unstated ages covered almost all of the NW to SE regions of the crater to a depth of 2 m. At its outlet over the crater's W rim, one or more lava flows was 2.5 m deep and 3 m wide.

On 4 April 2006, Michael Dalton-Smith flew over and observed a very large lava flow that traveled over 1 km down the mountain and into a gorge. He reported that a bush pilot observed a 30 March eruption consisting of a fountain and lava flow, without an ash cloud. Local pilots also noted that on 4 April the eruption stopped. No steam was seen, nor any evidence that the large lava flow was still hot or moving.

On 5 April, Dalton-Smith drove to the foot of the volcano and saw a huge lava fountain coming from one of the summit hornitos. The fountain stopped before he could photograph it, but from the previous overall structure of the hornitos, it appeared that a new one had been building. All hornitos emitted black plumes, and there appeared to be a lake at the summit about the size of the large hornito.

Amos Bupunga visited the crater on 7 or 8 April 2006, and, in addition to the above-mentioned information he gathered relevant to 29 or 30 March, he saw that the fresh lava coming to the surface remained inside the new lava lake.

Table 12 summarizes annual measurements from 2000 to 2006 of widths of lava flows leaving the crater at various rim overflows. The number and size of the overflows have generally grown, although the width of the NW overflow has remained 135 m since 2002.

Table 12. Annual crater rim overflow measurements taken during 2000 to 2006. Stated values are the width of the crater outflow area at the crater rim. Courtesy of Frederick Belton.

Date NW overflow width E overflow width W overflow width N overflow width
Jul 2000 60 m 38 m -- --
23 Jul 2001 106 m 38 m -- --
05 Aug 2002 135 m 39 m 12 m --
02 Aug 2003 135 m 44 m 17 m --
16 Jul 2004 135 m 47 m 17 m --
07 Aug 2005 135 m 72 m 20 m 1 m at three locations
07 Aug 2006 135 m 73 m 23 m 1 m at three locations

Aerial photos made on 1 April by Dean Polley showed that there had been a huge collapse of the upper parts of hornitos T56B and T58B, which merged together and probably contained a lava lake (figure 94); as noted earlier, photos by Rick Rosen showed that the collapse had not occurred by 13 March 2006.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Aerial photo of Ol Doinyo Lengai, taken 1 April 2006, viewing the central crater looking toward the S. The very recent collapse of hornitos T56B and T58B, which appear to have merged together, is evidenced by the depressions sharp edges. Courtesy of Dean Polley.

Polley's 1 April photos show that at the SE base of T58C (just behind the collapse pit) there appeared to be a new vent with prominent lava channels leading away to the SE. Lava from this vent seemingly filled up the low lying areas in the S crater, spilled across the W overflow and down the flank. A similar eruption probably occurred again on 3 April. It was likely that a large amount of the lava was flowing through buried tubes, typical during an eruption of long duration.

From 6-11 May 2006, Jean Perrin and four others from Reunion Island visited ol Doinyo Lengai and reported an absence of active lava flows but small gaseous emissions at some hornitos and plausible rare explosions (which may have also been the sound of rocks collapsing). Due to the very large collapse mentioned above, hornitos T56B, T58B, T58C, and T57B no longer existed. No lava lake activity was seen or heard in the collapsed area. The crater floor was covered with a thick ash layer and looked considerably different than before.

On 12-13 May 2006, Tobias Fischer reported seeing no activity, but the crater was filled with old lava much higher than what was seen the previous year. A very large collapsed cone with sharp rugged edges was noticed in the T58B area. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) flux was measured using a differential optical absorption spectrometer (mini-DOAS), but the fluxes measured were low, the same as in 2005. Sampled lava were later analyzed and their carbonatite compositions were identical to 2005 lavas. Some possible carbonatite tephra was also sampled. Coming from deep inside the volcano there were discrete rumblings lasting for several seconds and up to 10 seconds; these repeated up to 15 times per hour.

Matthieu Kervyn reported that during his visit to the volcano, 21-28 May 2006, he noted no eruptive activity at all except for fumaroles from cracks in the rim and from most of the hornitos (especially in the afternoons). The collapse pit in the middle was enlarging through rim collapse. Visual inspection showed that the collapse pit might soon cause instability of the very high T49B cone. Maasai guides were also expecting T49B to collapse soon. There were some tremors felt several times per hour within the N crater, as if rocks were collapsing beneath the crater.

During 13-15 July 2006, Steve Beresford, Michelle Carey, and Mark and Rene Tait visited the active crater. Activity at that time was limited to abundant fumarolic degassing from the crater rim and central hornitos. They noted a recent (several days old) major lava flow in the SE part of the N crater, its path emanating from the S end of the lava lake at the crater dominating the central N crater. The pre-March 2006 morphology of the N crater had been the scene of a prominent central hornito cluster (figure 91). During 13-15 July the group found much of that cluster destroyed, with the dominant feature on 13 July being a wide (120 x 120 m) crater hosting a recently active lava lake. The hosting crater's S margin was very unstable and periodic collapse of the crater walls was common over the two days of observation. The crater's N margin was marked by a steep collapse scarp in the T49B hornito. Talus breccia from this scarp partially infilled the N part of the lava lake. Numerous scarp collapses (associated with abundant seismic activity) highlighted the ephemeral nature of the current crater/lava lake outline. Marks around the lava lake recorded former high-stands of lava during recent months. SE- and S-draining tubes were present, both testifying to the lateral draining of lava.

The above group saw the S tubes that emanated from the central lava lake appeared to connect to the T37B hornito. The majority of the lava flow of the March-April eruption appeared to have come from this hornito. The reduction in lava lake level and southerly flow direction suggested that the lava lake dramatically drained to the S and may have provided the lava that escaped in the T37B eruption. Pyroclastics surrounding T37B suggested that early mild Strombolian/Hawaiian style activity preceded or accompanied effusion, as was typical of recent N crater volcanism. The lava flow itself was dominantly slabby to spiny pahoehoe with many aa and frothy pahoehoe breakouts along the E margin. This flow appeared similar to an inflated slabby pahoehoe flow field. Very small toothpaste pahoehoe flows emanated from the slabby pahoehoe flow front.

August 2006 map and its interpretation. During 4-8 August 2006, Fred Belton and Peter and Jennifer Elliston camped on the volcano. The visitors found degassing cones and fumaroles; no lava erupted. Occasional rockfalls occurred in the collapse zone.

To explain the August map and field relationships (figure 21), Belton and the visitors provided the following synopsis of the most recent activity and collateral observations. Some of the following revisits observations already discussed, but other points are new to this report and convey the significance of this stage where substantial lava flows descend out of the summit crater.

Prior to their arrival, lava had flowed from T37B and CP2 and spread over the SE part of the crater floor. Thermal anomaly satellite sensing data from MODIS, analyzed by Matthieu Kervyn, indicated that the eruption probably occurred on 20 June (UTC). An Aster image from June 29 shows new dark lava in the SE part of the crater. During the eruption, lava lakes existed in CP1 and CP2 and lava flowed from CP2 and T37B and covered most of the crater floor lying between T45, T37B, T37, and the crater rim. Lava also flowed across the E overflow and down the flank. The flow was composed of at least two distinct, differently weathered lavas that may have occurred within days or hours of one another. The first eruption phase produced a fine-textured aa no more than 40 cm thick and was the more extensive of the two flows, covering a large area of the crater floor and crossing the E rim overflow. The second phase produced a less extensive but much thicker flow, nearly 2 m deep in places, that stopped before reaching the crater rim or the E overflow. It consisted of broken, ropy pahoehoe slabs. Lava from this eruption and possibly from prior activity completely covered cone T24, which was no longer visible. The collapse of the E half of T46 has revealed an interior cave containing long thin stalactites.

Since March 2006, ~ 8,000 m2 of the central crater floor had collapsed. Photographs by several observers indicated that the collapse began just prior to or during the eruption of late March through early April 2006 and continued as an ongoing process. The current collapse zone consisted of two collapse pits, designated CP1 and CP2 in figure 92, plus a fractured area between the two pits and S of CP1 where large sections of terrain had broken away from the crater floor proper and subsided by 1-3 m. The displaced sections had tilted at various angles and were separated from one another and the crater floor by 1- to 2-m-wide fissures. The fissures contain numerous large boulders composed of lavas that were altered by weathering and then lithified.

Cones T58C, T56B, and T58B had collapsed into CP1 and were completely gone. Further enlargement of CP1 claimed the SW half of T57B, the SE base of T49B, and the E half of T46. The SW half of T37B had collapsed into CP2. Tall cone T49B, visible from the Rift Valley floor, appeared likely to collapse in the near future. Failure of its SE base resulted in a talus slope that spilled out onto the floor of CP1. CP1 and CP2 were each ~ 10 m deep with respect to the lowest point on their rims. CP2's floor and E side were talus-covered, but CP1 had a bi-level floor of slabby pahoehoe lava, the surface of a frozen lava lake. A wide lava channel exited CP2 to the SE, near the base of T37B, indicating that it contained a lava lake, which had overflowed onto the crater floor during the March-April eruption. From the lowest point of CP2, a tunnel sloped upward to CP1, connecting the pits. The floor of the tunnel was covered by talus from its unstable walls and roof.

A prominent open lava channel, with a smaller channel diverging from it, led SSE from CP1 past T37 and then wound W and NW to the W overflow, recording the route of the lava that flowed from T58C to Ol Doinyo Lengai's base during the exceptionally strong discharges of roughly 25 March-5 April 2006. Near CP1 the channel's path had thermally eroded to a depth of ~ 3 m, and remained nearly closed at the top. An overhanging ledge contained stalactites. The channel became indistinct in the S part of the crater, but regained prominence near the W overflow, where in places it attained a width of ~ 5 m and depth of ~ 2.5 m. A large chasm just below the W overflow carved by thermal erosion extended ~ 20 m down the flank, with a depth of 5 m and a width of ~ 12 m. Its sides appeared unstable and prone to collapse. Immediately downslope of the chasm, the lava entered an existing gully and could not be easily seen again until the slope moderated near the base of the volcano, at which place the lava chilled only a few meters from the climbing track. From there its path continued into an aa field at its terminus, ~3 km from the summit.

The terminus of the flow lies within 1 km of a Masai boma on the flank, the only habitation evacuated as a result of the eruption. The lava channel near the climbing track was ~ 3 m high and at one point formed a tumulus ~ 5 m in height (tumulus, an elliptical, domed structure formed on the surface of a pahoehoe flow on flat or gentle slopes, created when the upward pressure of slow-moving molten lava within a flow swells or pushes the overlying crust upward). A video of this segment of the lava flow (made during the eruption viewed from the escarpment to the W) showed a rapid, turbulent flow with blobs of lava becoming airborne. The lava near the base of Ol Doinyo Lengai had a dark gray-black coloration and appeared less weathered than might be expected based on its age of 4 months.

Lava flows from the same eruption also covered much of the S part of the crater floor to a depth of at least 2 m. Based on the indistinctness of the main lava channel in the S part of the crater, it appeared likely that the low areas of the S part of the crater were filled by lava prior to spilling over the W crater rim overflow and down the flank. Hornitos T27 and T30, formed in 1993, were completely covered by this flow.

Satellite IR data for 2006 (MODIS and MODLEN). Remote thermal monitoring by satellite using an algorithm called MODLEN was analyzed by Matthieu Kervyn. The analysis suggested an increase in volcanism around 11-13 March 2006. MODLEN is the name of a semi-automated algorithm using MODIS night-time imagery to record thermal activity and detect abnormally high-intensity eruptive events. It is built upon MODVOLC, an algorithm developed by the University of Hawaii, which provides a fully-automated global-coverage hot-spot-detection system. MODLEN was specifically tailored to Ol Doinyo Lengai's low-temperature and small scale eruptive activity (Kervyn and others, 2006a and 2006b).

Table 13 shows the MODIS/MODVOLC thermal anomalies for the year 2006. MODIS thermal alerts on 25, 27, and 29 March 2006 indicated a small but intense area of activity, possibly in the form of a large lava lake. A thermal alert at about 2255 on 29 March was consistent with eye-witness reports and air photos by Polley (mentioned above). A thermal alert for a large area of the flank on 3 April probably indicated a second lava flow to the base of the volcano.

Table 13. MODIS thermal anomalies detected at Ol Doinyo Lengai during 2006. Courtesy of Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology.

Date Time (UTC) Number of pixels Satellite
23 Mar 2006 2325 1 Aqua
25 Mar 2006 2020 5 Terra
25 Mar 2006 2315 2 Aqua
27 Mar 2006 2005 1 Terra
27 Mar 2006 2300 2 Aqua
29 Mar 2006 1955 1 Terra
03 Apr 2006 0750 2 Terra
03 Apr 2006 2010 3 Terra
03 Apr 2006 2310 6 Aqua
04 Apr 2006 1130 1 Aqua
20 Jun 2006 2025 1 Terra
20 Jun 2006 2320 1 Aqua

Kervyn reported that the MODIS algorithm indicated a strong thermal anomaly in the crater on 20 June 2006 (table 13). He interpreted this anomaly as likely thermal signatures from new lava in the SE part of the crater and the lava lakes that later observers reported. No thermal alerts were detected through the remainder of 2006.

Early 2007 observations. Tom Pfeiffer reported that during a visit from 31 January-2 February 2007, no lava erupted from the summit vents. According to local Masai guides, the form of the central area of the crater with the large collapse pit near the tall hornito T49b appeared unchanged since the summer of 2006. From an open vent in the NE corner at the bottom of the pit at the base of the hornito, continuous sounds of loud sloshing suggested mobile lava in some caverns just beneath that area, an assumption confirmed by the glow of lava visible at night from a second, smaller vent located about 30 m S of the large vent in the base of the collapse pit. One guide confirmed he had seen spattering of lava from this vent some two weeks earlier. In addition to the loud sound of moving lava underground, a constant, deep rumbling could be heard from the ground, resembling the sounds of very distant thundering. It was strongest in the NW area of the crater between the collapse pit and the fissure vents of the March 2006 lava flow.

References. Kervyn, M., Harris, A.J.L., Mbede, E., Jacobs, P., and Ernst, G.G.J., 2006a, MODIS thermal remote sensing monitoring of low-intensity anomalies at volcanoes: Oldoinyo Lengai (Tanzania) and the MODLEN algorithm: Geophysical Research Abstracts, v. 8, p. 03887.

Kervyn, M., Harris, A.J.L., Mbede, E., Jacobs, P., and Ernst, G.G.J., 2006b, MODLEN: A semi-automated algorithm for monitoring small-scale thermal activity at Oldoinyo Lengai Volcano, Tanzania: International Association for Mathematical Geology XIth International Congress, Université de Liège, Belgium, 3-8 September 2006, paper SO9-15.

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: Frederick Belton, Developmental Studies Department, PO Box 16, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN 37132, USA (URL: http://oldoinyolengai.pbworks.com/); Christoph Weber, Volcano Expeditions International, Muehlweg 11, 74199 Untergruppenbach, Germany (URL: http://www.v-e-i.de/); Celia Nyamweru, Department of Anthropology, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617, USA (URL: http://blogs.stlawu.edu/lengai/); Matthieu Kervyn, University of Ghent, Geology Department, Ghent, Belgium (URL: http://homepages.vub.ac.be/~makervyn/); Arusha Times, Arusha, Tanzania (URL: http://www.arushatimes.co.tz/); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) 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/).


Lopevi (Vanuatu) — February 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Lopevi

Vanuatu

16.507°S, 168.346°E; summit elev. 1413 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Three eruptive episodes between October 2005 and August 2006

Volcanic activity from Lopevi has continued intermittently since November 1998 (BGVN 24:02). Though there are no permanent residents on the island, which is known as Vanei Vollohulu in the local language, the nearby islands of Epi (~ 17 km SW) and Paama (~ 10 km WNW) are heavily populated. Ambrym, another active volcanic island 18 km NNW, is also at risk of ashfall from Lopevi. Ash plumes during active periods are often reported by aviators, and thermal anomalies are frequently detected by the MODIS instrument on the Terra and Aqua satellites. Ash plumes and lava flows have most recently been reported in January, May, and July 2006.

Activity during 2006. Vertical plumes were observed by aviators reaching altitudes of 2.1-2.4 km on the morning of 24 January, and ~ 2.7 km the next morning. Further advisories issued by the Wellington VAAC reported that "smoke" plumes with a "steady rate of growth" rose to ~ 2.1 km on the morning of 26 January and drifted S. Lava flowing down the S flank was also reported on the 26th.

Based on information from a pilot report, the Wellington VAAC reported that on 7 May 2006 a small ash plume was visible below an altitude of ~ 3 km and an active lava flow was observed. On 10 May, a slow moving plume reached 3 km altitude. The next day a plume rose to 4.6 km and trended SE. During 12-13 May, the plume heights lessened to 3 km as the eruption vigor reportedly decreased. News media also reported heavy ashfall on Ambrym and Paama from an eruption on 15 May. An official spokesperson for Vanuatu's National Disaster Management Office reported no new ashfall during 17-22 May.

A situation report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted that the May eruptive episode caused heavy ashfall on Paama and SE Ambrym, affecting water supplies and crops. The total population of Paama is 1,572, comprised of 23 villages and 511 households. On the island of Paama, the two main cash crops of vanilla and pepper were damaged badly. On both islands, staple foods such as wild yams, kumala, taros, bananas, and coconut trees were either damaged or destroyed. Residents experienced health problems caused by the consumption of contaminated food and water as well as the inhalation of ash. Head pain, skin infections, diarrhea, vomiting and respiratory difficulties were reported.

The Wellington VAAC received pilot reports of an eruption plume on 5 July that reached an unknown altitude. Another pilot report indicated that the eruption may have started on 27 June. The eruption continued over the next few days, with dark ash plumes reaching altitudes of 3.7 km and drifting E and SE. No plumes were reported after the morning of 10 July.

MODIS thermal anomalies during 2005-2006. Thermal anomalies were detected by MODIS during 26-31 March 2005, though no corresponding explosive activity was reported. No hot spots were identified at Lopevi again until 27 October 2005, after which anomalies were present on most days through 26 January 2006; ash plumes were not reported until the end of this period, 24-26 January.

Later in 2006, thermal anomalies were detected by MODIS on most days during 25-28 April, 2-16 May, 25-28 May, 26 June-9 July, and 18 July-1 August 2006. The largest number of alert pixels (24) during this time occurred at 2225 on 2 May. These data indicated two significant episodes of activity that included both explosive activity and probably lava emission during 25 April-28 May and 26 June-1 August. Two periods of plumes observations discussed previously, during 7-15 May and 27 June-10 July, fall within these longer episodes defined by the thermal data. No MODIS thermal anomalies were detected between 2 August 2006 and mid-March 2007.

Geologic Background. The small 7-km-wide conical island of Lopevi, known locally as Vanei Vollohulu, is one of Vanuatu's most active volcanoes. A small summit crater containing a cinder cone is breached to the NW and tops an older cone that is rimmed by the remnant of a larger crater. The basaltic-to-andesitic volcano has been active during historical time at both summit and flank vents, primarily along a NW-SE-trending fissure that cuts across the island, producing moderate explosive eruptions and lava flows that reached the coast. Historical eruptions at the 1413-m-high volcano date back to the mid-19th century. The island was evacuated following major eruptions in 1939 and 1960. The latter eruption, from a NW-flank fissure vent, produced a pyroclastic flow that swept to the sea and a lava flow that formed a new peninsula on the western coast.

Information Contacts: Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd (MetService), PO Box 722, Wellington, New Zealand (URL: http://www.metservice.com/vaac/, http://vaac.metservice.com/); MODVOLC Alerts Team, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), SOEST, University of Hawaii and Manoa, 168 East-West Road, Post 602, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Department of Geology, Mines, and Water Resources, PMB 01, Port-Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.suds-en-ligne.ird.fr/fr/volcan/vanu_eng/lopevi1.htm); Port Vila Presse, PO Box 637, Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.news.vu/en/); ReliefWeb, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations, New York, NY 10017, USA (URL: https://reliefweb.int/).


Merapi (Indonesia) — February 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


March-July 2006 volcanic crisis; May earthquake killed ~5,800

Merapi, one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world owing to its perched lava dome and location in populous central Java, underwent vigorous dome growth during early to mid-2006, and its increasingly unstable summit dome released numerous pyroclastic flows and incandescent avalanches. Thousands of residents evacuated and the volcano became prominent in international news. The longest pyroclastic flows of mid-2006 took place on 8 and 14 June, with respective run-out distances from the summit area of ~ 5 and 7 km. Merapi's summit lies 32 km N of the large city of Yogyakarta.

This report contains summary notes on activity during 7 March to 1 July 2006. These notes were assembled and reported by scientists from the Merapi Volcano Observatory and the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), formerly the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia, and augments material presented previously (BGVN 31:05 and 31:06).

The USGS provided a satellite image with labels showing key drainages and features near the summit (figure 27). The dome's instability leads to pyroclastic flows and various kinds of rockfalls and other mass wasting episodes down the labeled drainages. During the 7 March to 1 July reporting interval, pyroclastic flows followed the headwaters of the Gendol , Krasak, Boyong, and Sat rivers, which trend to the SE, SW, SSW, and W, respectively.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. An annotated Ikonos satellite image of Merapi taken 10 May 2006. Image resolution is 2 m; N is to the top, and the scale is such that the entire distance N-S on the image is approximately 1 km. The labeled arrows indicate key rivers into which upslope avalanche shoots drain. Multiple drainage names are separated by a slash, and many western headwaters descend into the Woro river. The "K." stands for Kali, Indonesian for stream. Lava domes and viscous flows ("L") are labeled with the year of extrusion. The Gegerbuaya ridge was formed by 1911 lavas. Garuda, Woro, and Gendol identify headwaters. Letters reference locations used by scientists to facilitate communication. The Kaliurang Observatory lies ~ 4 km to the SE of the summit. The labeled image was a collaborative effort provided here courtesy of John Pallister, USGS. Image copyright 2006, GeoEye.

Tectonic earthquake on 27 May 2006. The tectonics of Java are dominated by the subduction of the Australia plate to the NNE beneath the Sunda plate with a relative velocity of ~ 6 cm/year. The Australia plate dips NNE from the Java trench, attaining depths of 100-200 km beneath the island of Java, and depths of 600 km to the N of the island. The earthquake of 27 May 2006 occurred at shallow depth in the overriding Sunda plate, well above the dipping Australia plate.

The pace of volcanism and the intensity of the regional crisis increased after 27 May 2006. At 0553 that day, a destructive Mw 6.3 earthquake occurred leaving damage across central Java's southern coastal and inland areas (figure 28). The earthquake occurred at 10 km focal depth. The epicenter (at 7.962°S, 110.458°E) was 20 km SSE of Yogyakarta (population, 511,000; 6 million in the larger metro area). Some initial estimates put the earthquake at MR 5.9; this was later revised and even the newer (above-stated) seismic parameters are preliminary.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Epicenter of the 27 May 2006 earthquake in Central Java, including impact on regions around Merapi. The histograms show numbers of people killed (on left bar) and injured (right bar). As mentioned in text, some of the seismic parameters stated were later revised. Modified from a UN OCHA ReliefWeb Map Centre (1 June 2006) map in a 2006 United Nations report (see References).

A US Geological Survey (USGS) summary stated that the earthquake caused 5,749 deaths, 38,568 injuries, and led to as many as 600,000 people displaced in the Bantul-Yogyakarta area. The shaking left more than 127,000 houses destroyed and an additional 451,000 houses damaged in the area, with the total loss estimated at ~3.1 billion US dollars. Modified Mercalli intensities were as follows: at Bantul and Klaten, IX; at Sleman and Yogyakarta, VIII; at Surakarta, V; at Salatiga and Blitar, IV; and at Surabaya, II. The earthquake was felt in much of Java and at Denpasar, Bali. The website of the US Geological Survey's Earthquake Hazards Program features a large number of photos (captioned in English) depicting various aspects of the earthquake.

Events during 7 March-1 July 2006. Tables 17 and 18 summarize some of the details during the reporting interval. Merapi's activity had increased to include volcanic earthquakes and deformation of the summit area a year earlier (in July 2005). Although the number of daily lava avalanches and pyroclastic flows had increased almost a week earlier, a tectonic earthquake, MR 6.3 (Richter scale magnitude), at 0555 (local time, WIB) on 27 May was followed by another significant increase in those events for another week (tables 17 and 18). Pyroclastic flows and lava avalanches between 10 May and 30 June were rare in the W-flank Sat drainage (31 May, 2 June, and 10 June), and did not descend into the Boyong drainage (SSW) after 4 June (table 18). The Krasak river drainage (SW) had material entering it on an almost daily basis after 27 May, except for a brief time during 14-19 June, with maximum run-out distances of 4 km. The Gendol drainage (SE) also experienced daily pyroclastic flows and lava avalanches starting on 28 May. Most of these flows to the SE did not extend more than 5 km, but on 14 June a pyroclastic flow descended 7 km.

Table 17. A compilation of seismic events at Merapi during 7 March to 1 July 2006. In creating this table Bulletin editors merged the category "landslides" with the category "lava avalanches". Similarly, the category "hot cloud reports" was interpreted to be equivalent to "pyroclastic flow" and those were also merged. Those mergers were driven by sudden shifts in terminology found in CVGHM reports. No data was available for 26-27 April, 29 April-5 May, 8 May, 12-21 May, 24-26 May, 9 June, or 16-18 June. * Earthquake, MR 6.3 (Richter scale magnitude) recorded at 0555 (local time, WIB). ** Incomplete data only 0000-0600 (local time). All data courtesy of CVGHM.

Date Plume seen to (meters above summit) Lava avalanche signals Multiphase earthquakes Pyroclastic flow signals Tectonic earthquakes
07-12 Mar 2006 -- -- 198 -- --
13-19 Mar 2006 -- -- 239 -- --
21 Apr 2006 -- 13 162 -- 1
22 Apr 2006 -- 12 95 -- --
23 Apr 2006 -- 5 60 -- 1
24 Apr 2006 -- 21 178 -- 1
25 Apr 2006 200 6 25 -- --
28 Apr 2006 -- 20 126 -- --
06 May 2006 -- 82 95 -- --
07 May 2006 -- 59 104 -- --
10 May 2006 -- 133 153 -- --
11 May 2006 600 88 115 -- --
22 May 2006 -- 309 56 25 --
23 May 2006 700 243 60 31 --
27 May 2006 * 100 279 -- 54 138
28 May 2006 1600 237 43 159 95
29 May 2006 500 332 18 88 57
30 May 2006 800 337 19 56 40
31 May 2006 800 276 36 127 24
01 Jun 2006 1300 315 35 144 13
02 Jun 2006 650 338 25 163 24
03 Jun 2006 800 488 79 107 16
04 Jun 2006 900 397 54 118 25
05 Jun 2006 400 300 9 157 17
06 Jun 2006 300 212 10 78 14
07 Jun 2006 275 256 12 66 8
08 Jun 2006 300 210 28 67 10
10 Jun 2006 900 337 37 34 4
11 Jun 2006 800 299 20 20 10
12 Jun 2006 350 264 31 22 8
13 Jun 2006 1200 273 88 28 5
14 Jun 2006 500 371 29 61 2
15 Jun 2006 900 260 100 27 6
19 Jun 2006 600 272 88 21 7
20 Jun 2006 1250 312 136 38 4
21 Jun 2006 -- 256 65 15 4
22 Jun 2006 1200 319 39 4 5
23 Jun 2006 ** 600 78 5 4 5
24 Jun 2006 1500 338 48 21 6
25 Jun 2006 800 321 32 18 17
26 Jun 2006 800 372 27 17 11
27 Jun 2006 1000 251 16 23 11
28 Jun 2006 1000 308 16 19 1
29 Jun 2006 700 290 11 15 12
30 Jun 2006 500 74 0 9 3
01 Jul 2006 ** 350 250 4 13 4

Table 18. Record of run out distances (km) of pyroclastic flows and lava avalanches (the latter, in parentheses) toward river drainages on Merapi from 10 May to 30 June 2006. No data was reported for 16-18 June, and weather obscured views on21-22 June. Courtesy of CVGHM.

Date Gendal (km) Krasak (km) Boyong (km) Sat (km)
10 May 2006 0.2 1.5 -- --
20 May 2006 3.0 3.0 3.0 --
22 May 2006 -- 3.5 -- --
27 May 2006 -- 3.8 (2.0) (2.0) --
28 May 2006 3.0 (1.0) (2.5) (2.5) --
29 May 2006 1.0 (1.0) 3.5 (2.0) (2.0) --
30 May 2006 2.0 (1.0) 3.5 (2.0) (2.0) --
31 May 2006 2.0 (1.5) 3.5 (2.5) 3.5 (2.5) (2.5)
01 Jun 2006 1.5 (1.5) 2.0 (3.0) 2.0 (3.0) --
02 Jun 2006 1.0 (1.0) 3.0 3.0 (1.0)
03 Jun 2006 4.0 (1.0) 2.0 (1.0) 2.0 (2.0) --
04 Jun 2006 4.0 (1.0) 1.5 (2.0) 1.5 (2.0) --
05 Jun 2006 3.0 (1.0) 1.5 (2.0) -- --
06 Jun 2006 2.0 (1.0) (2.0) -- --
07 Jun 2006 3.0 (1.0) 1.5 (2.0) -- --
08 Jun 2006 5.0 (1.0) 4.0 (2.0) -- --
09 Jun 2006 4.0 -- -- --
10 Jun 2006 3.5 (1.0) (2.0) -- (3.0)
11 Jun 2006 4.0 (3.0) -- --
12 Jun 2006 1.5 (3.0) -- --
13 Jun 2006 3.0 (1.0) (2.0) -- --
14 Jun 2006 7.0 -- -- --
15 Jun 2006 4.5 -- -- --
19 Jun 2006 3.0 (1.0) -- -- --
20 Jun 2006 3.5 (1.0) (2.0) -- --
23 Jun 2006 (1.0) (2.0) -- --
24 Jun 2006 4.0 (1.0) 2.5 (2.5) -- --
25 Jun 2006 3.0 (1.0) (3.0) -- --
26 Jun 2006 4.5 (1.0) 4.0 (3.0) -- --
28 Jun 2006 3.0 (1.0) (2.5) -- --
29 Jun 2006 2.0 (1.0) (2.5) -- --
30 Jun 2006 3.0 (1.0) (2.0) -- --

Because of the vigor of activity, the Alert Level rose in several steps as follows: 19 March (Green to Yellow), 12 April (Yellow to Orange), and 13 May (Orange to Red). The step to Red (which is the highest alert level, and sometimes also referred to as Level 4) followed clear deformation at the dome during elevated seismicity. On 28 April, a new lava dome emerged. By 20 May, pyroclastic flows several kilometers long were regularly seen passing down several key drainages (table 18). Figure 29 shows a 15 May pyroclastic flow (seen two days after the alert status rose to red).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. A photo taken on 15 May 2006 (0555 local time) of a pyroclastic flow traveling down the W flank of Merapi (the Krasak headwaters). Photo taken from the Kaliurang Observatory; courtesy of CVGHM.

Volcano enthusiasts and photographers Martin Rietze and Tom Pfeiffer viewed Merapi on the morning of 27 May, during the destructive earthquake, from a high-elevation parking area ~ 4 km S of the summit. Prior to the earthquake, Rietze took several spectacular photos of incandescent avalanches pouring down avalanche shoots (figure 30 A-B). During the earthquake, he described horizontal swinging motion and dull rumbling sounds lasting perhaps 20 seconds. Dust rose from the volcano. Plants rubbing together also produced a rustling noise. Cries and engine noises in the background came from distant residents responding to the earthquake. At ~1-minute intervals, Merapi emitted about six pyroclastic flows and a substantial ash cloud grew overhead, reaching several kilometers in altitude above them. The photo in figure 30 C depicts the scene on Merapi around that time (which Rietze lists as 0555 on 27 May). His companion, Tom Pfeiffer, also took photos just after the large earthquake (e.g., figure 30 D).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. (A and B) Pre-dawn shots of incandescent material traveling down S-flank avalanche shoot(s) at Merapi on 27 May 2006 (prior to the M ~ 6 earthquake). (C) A photo of Merapi's response at 0555 on 27 May during or just after the M ~ 6 earthquake, with several pyroclastic flows clearly visible. (D) A second photo of the scene on Merapi during or just after the earthquake. This photo captured the chaotic scene at the summit and upper slopes, including a complex array of billowing ash clouds seemingly from multiple sources, and suspended dust hanging over many parts of the volcano (particularly distinguishable along the photo's lower central and right-hand areas). Copyrighted photos; those labeled A-C, used with permission of Martin Rietze; the one labeled D, with permission of Tom Pfeiffer.

During early June the activity level of Merapi remained at red and on 4 June, the increase in volume of the new lava dome had caused the southern part of the crater wall called Gegerbuaya (1910 lavas) to collapse. Prior to its collapse, Gegerbuaya had functioned as a barrier to prevent pyroclastic flows moving southward from entering the Gendol River, which they did later in June.

On 8 June, multiple pyroclastic flows reached 4 km from the Krasak and Boyong Rivers and up to 4.5 km down the Gendol River. On 9 June, ash drifted W and NW and accumulated as ashfall ~ 1.5 mm thick. Pyroclastic flows traveled as far as 4 km toward the Gendol River. Figures 31 and 32 show pyroclastic flows on 7 and 10 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. A pyroclastic flow at Merapi at 08:54:37 on 7 June 2006 shown traveling down Merapi's upslope region in a generally SE direction. Photo credit to BPPTK (The Research and Technology Development Agency for Volcanology, Yogyakarta). Provided courtesy of CVGHM.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. A Merapi pyroclastic flow in its early stages as seen at 08:50:53 on 10 June 2006. Photo credit to BPPTK; provided courtesy of CVGHM.

In the period after the hazard level was raised to red, the lava dome grew and by 22 May its volume was ~ 2.3 million cubic meters. The M 6.3 earthquake in S-Central Java on 27 May triggered additional activity at Merapi. The dome's growth rate increased from the previous rate of around 100,000 cubic meters/day, leading to a lava dome volume on 8 June 2006 of ~4.3 million cubic meters. That lava dome stood 116 m above the nominal summit elevation of Merapi's peak (Garuda peak).

Dome collapse created the longest pyroclastic flow of the reporting interval, which took place on 14 June 2006. That pyroclastic flow attained a run-out distance of 7.0 km (table 18, figures 33 and 34, and previously reported in BGVN 31:05).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Deserted houses and dislodged lumber amid ash and volcanic rocks from Merapi (left-background) as seen in the village of Kaliadem (E of Kinahrejo near Bebeng, on the SE flank ~ 5 km from the summit) shortly after the 14 June 2006 pyroclastic flows passed through the settlement. Courtesy of Agence France Presse (photo by Tarko Sudiarno).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Night photo of Merapi (unknown date) showing incandescence on the slopes and, in the foreground, the large pyroclastic flow deposited on 14 June 2006. This photo is taken from nearly the same spot as the photos of 27 May (figure 30, above). Copyrighted photo used with permission of Tom Pfeiffer.

At least in part owing to loss of topographic relief at the Gegerbuaya ridge along the S crater wall (figure 27), the 14 June pyroclastic flow took a different path. It crossed the former barrier and descended the Gendol drainage. As previously noted (BGVN 31:05), the 14 June pyroclastic flow took two lives when the underground bunker where the victims sought refuge was buried by the pyroclastic flow.

The bunker overridden on 14 June resides in Kaliadem village (~ 5 km SE of the summit). News stories showed pictures of the rescue attempt with initial digging commencing using picks and shovels, with the excavation by soldiers wearing dust masks and standing on boards or wooden platforms, presumably to reduce the heat flow from the fresh deposit. The article also noted that the soldiers wore heat-retardant clothes. A report from the Taipei Times of 16 June 2006 and credited to the Associated Press said that "The fierce heat melted the troops' shovels and the tires on a mechanical digger brought in to plow through more than 2 m of volcanic debris covering the bunker, built for protection from volcanic eruption . . .." Later news reports noted that authorities unearthed the bunker, which lay beneath more than 2 m of steaming pyroclastic flow deposit. The two bodies had suffered burns and the facility's door was ajar. A BBC report showed deeper portions of the hole being excavated by a large backhoe. They also noted that upon deeper excavation a probe into the deposit with a hand-held digital thermometer apparently indicated temperatures reached ~ 400°C. Several grim photographs circulated in the press showing the excavated entrance of the bunker and a team in the process of removing the victim's bodies. No report has been found discussing the exact reason for the bunker's failure, although several comments in the press suggested it was not designed to withstand burial by a pyroclastic flow.

Prior to that, on 13 June, the alert status dropped to orange, but it rose back to red again the next day after the pyroclastic flow and increases in multi-phased earthquakes. Activity remained stable but high through June 29 but began to decrease after 30 June. During July the intensity and frequency of pyroclastic flows and rock falls decreased. On 10 July, authorities reduced the alert status to orange on all but the S slopes. By the end of July 2006, pyroclastic flows had ceased.

Merapi's long-term dome growth continued at low to modest levels during the rest of 2006 and early 2007. The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center noted a plume to 6.1 km altitude drifting NE on 19 March 2007. These later incidents will be discussed in more detail in a forthcoming issue of the Bulletin.

MODVOLC Thermal Alerts. The Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology MODIS Thermal Alert System web site lacked any thermal alerts for over a year preceding May 2006. Thermal alerts over Merapi began 14 May 2006 and extended through early September 2006 on nearly a daily basis. The alerts continued intermittently into 2007.

Reference. United Nations, 2006, Indonesia Earthquake 2006 Response Plan: United Nations, OCHA Situation Report No. 5, Issued 31 May 2006, GUDE EQ-2006-000064-IDN, 42 p.

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 2000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequently growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent eruptive 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 during historical time.

Information Contacts: Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://vsi.esdm.go.id/); United Nations-Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), United Nations, New York, NY 10017, USA; National Earthquake Information Center, US Geological Survey, PO Box 25046, Denver Federal Center MS967, Denver, CO 80225, USA (URL: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, Northern Territory 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/advisories/); John Pallister, Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, 1300 SE Cardinal Court, Suite 100, Vancouver, WA 98683-9589, USA (URL: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/); Tom Pfeiffer and Martin Rietze, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.decadevolcano.net/), http://www.tboeckel.de/); Tarko Sudiarno, Agence France Presse (AFP) (URL: http://www.afp.com/english/home/); Taipei Times (URL: http://www.taipeitimes.com/); Associated Press (URL: http://www.ap.org/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) 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/).


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — February 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Rabaul

Papua New Guinea

4.271°S, 152.203°E; summit elev. 688 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Mild eruptive activity between December 2006 and March 2007

As previously reported, the Rabaul Volcano Observatory noted a large, sustained Vulcanian eruption at Rabaul on 7 October 2006. Since that initial event at the Tavurvur cone, activity has varied in intensity (BGVN 31:10). During 13 December 2006 through the end of March 2007, generally mild eruptive activity continued, often with loud roaring noises and in some cases with ash plumes rising 1.5 to 3.7 km above Tavurvur's summit.

During December 2006, there was only low level seismicity, including high-frequency earthquakes and mild eruptive activity. During 24-29 December, ash clouds rose 1-3.7 km above the summit before being blown variably to the NE and SW. On 25, 27, and 28 December, fine ash fell downwind, including in Rabaul Town, and occasional roaring noises were heard. Seismic activity continued at low levels. No high-frequency earthquakes were recorded. Low seismicity continued during most of January.

During 4-10 January 2007 plumes occasionally bearing ash rose 0.9-3.3 km above the cone and drifted E and NE. Vapor emissions accompanied by pale gray ash clouds occurred on 13, 16, and 24 January. The emissions rose 0.4- 2.5 km above Tavurvur's summit and blew E, NE, and N. During 24-25 January there were nine low-frequency earthquakes recorded. Ground deformation measurements showed no significant movement apart from a slight deflation of about 1 cm during the last few days of January. From 29 January onwards, seismicity increased to a moderate level. Three high-frequency earthquakes were recorded, one on 27 January, and two on 30 January, all originating NE of the caldera. Low-frequency earthquakes began 24 January. A total of 16 events were recorded during 24-28 January, and a further 50-60 small events 29-31 January.

Two small explosions occurred at 0448 and 0548 on 27 January and a large explosion occurred at 0130 on 31 January. The latter explosion showered the cone's flanks. The accompanying ash clouds rose a couple of hundred meters straight above the summit. Fine ashfall occurred at Rabaul Town and surrounding areas.

Mild eruptive activity continued during early February with associated seismicity at very low levels. The small low-frequency earthquakes had declined in number by about half. Ground deformation data indicated a noticeable deflation of the caldera. Mild eruptive activity continued intermittently during the latter half of February, associated with low seismicity. Ash fell on surrounding villages on 20 February. On 16, 19, and 21 February, low-frequency earthquakes and white vapor emissions containing very low ash content rose as high as 3 km above Tavurvur's summit. The emissions were not accompanied by high-frequency signals or significant ground deformation.

Moderate explosions occurred on 21, 26, and 27 February. A larger explosion, at 1150 on 28 February, showered the cone's flanks with lava fragments. Thick ash clouds rose 2 km above the summit and blew NE.

Between 3 and 4 March, multiple explosions occurred; the biggest on 3, 4, and 8 March. The explosion's shockwaves rattled houses in Rabaul Town and surrounding villages. Thick ash and lava fragments showered the flanks of the cone. Other emissions consisted of white gray ash clouds that drifted E and SE. On 4 and 6 March ash plumes rose as high as 2.7 km above the summit. A weak glow was visible only during forceful emissions. During 6 to 21 March, ash plumes intermittently rose as high as 3.7 km. From 16 to 25 March, multiple explosions again produced shockwaves felt in Rabaul Town, and ash fell in surrounding villages. Incandescent material was seen rolling down the cone's flanks. During the period 27-30 March only low level vapor emissions rising to 400 m above the cone were visible. Seismic activity continued to remain at a very low level, with just three or four short (< 30 second) low-frequency events. There were no high-frequency events.

Geologic Background. The low-lying Rabaul caldera on the tip of the Gazelle Peninsula at the NE end of New Britain forms a broad sheltered harbor utilized by what was the island's largest city prior to a major eruption in 1994. The outer flanks of the 688-m-high asymmetrical pyroclastic shield volcano are formed by thick pyroclastic-flow deposits. The 8 x 14 km caldera is widely breached on the east, where its floor is flooded by Blanche Bay and was formed about 1400 years ago. An earlier caldera-forming eruption about 7100 years ago is now considered to have originated from Tavui caldera, offshore to the north. Three small stratovolcanoes lie outside the northern and NE caldera rims. Post-caldera eruptions built basaltic-to-dacitic pyroclastic cones on the caldera floor near the NE and western caldera walls. Several of these, including Vulcan cone, which was formed during a large eruption in 1878, have produced major explosive activity during historical time. A powerful explosive eruption in 1994 occurred simultaneously from Vulcan and Tavurvur volcanoes and forced the temporary abandonment of Rabaul city.

Information Contacts: Steve Saunders and Herman Patia, Rabaul Volcanological Observatory (RVO), Department of Mining, Private Mail Bag, Port Moresby Post Office, National Capitol District, Papua, New Guinea; Andrew Tupper, Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Darwin, Australia.


Ruapehu (New Zealand) — February 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Ruapehu

New Zealand

39.28°S, 175.57°E; summit elev. 2797 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor October 2006 eruption and concern of impending lahar

A moderate volcanic earthquake struck Ruapehu at 2230 on 4 October 2006. The M 2.8 event falsely triggered the lahar warning system. A visit to the crater lake on 7 October revealed evidence that a small hydrothermal eruption had occurred. Wave action reached up to 4-5 m above the lake surface around the basin, but was insufficient to overflow the tephra dam where it might have formed a lahar on the outer slopes. Since the last measurement (date not specified) the lake's temperature rose ~8°C, and the water level increased ~ 1 m. Both of these effects were expected. Seismic activity remained at typical background levels on 7 October 2006.

At about 1300 on 18 March 2007, Crater Lake partly emptied and its runoff traveled rapidly downstream as a powerful lahar. A subsequent issue will discuss that dramatic event and its impact.

Since the last report in February 2004 (BGVN 29:02), from May 2003 to October 2006, there were eight alerts issued by the Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences (IGNS, table 12), indicating appreciable changes in both the level of the lake and its temperature; these alerts can be compared with the temperature data (table 13).

Table 12. Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences (IGNS) alerts posted for Ruapehu volcano, May 2003 to October 2006. Compiled from IGNS reports.

Alert Date Alert Comments
26 May 2003 Steam plumes, volcanic tremor, Crater Lake temperatures increase
15 Nov 2004 Volcanic tremor, Crater Lake temperature increase
22 Aug 2005 Crater Lake temperature increase
13 Sep 2005 Steam plumes
18 Oct 2005 Crater Lake temperature decrease
01 Nov 2005 Crater Lake temperature increase
05 Oct 2006 Moderate (M 2.8) volcanic earthquake
07 Oct 2006 Minor hydrothermal eruptions

Table 13. Lake temperature data recorded at Ruapehu during 2003-2006. Some months have multiple sets of readings. Data were rounded to two significant figures. Compiled from IGNS reports.

Date Crater Lake Temperature Notes
Jan 2003 42°C --
05 Mar 2003 30°C --
15 May 2003 42°C --
15 Mar 2004 35°C --
Aug 2004 16°C --
13 Nov 2004 19°C --
Feb 2005 39°C Peak for heating cycle.
04 Aug 2005 23°C --
21 Aug 2005 32°C --
03 Sep 2005 39°C --
24 Sep 2005 34°C --
12 Oct 2005 30°C --
24 and 27 Oct 2005 35-36°C --
Nov 2005-Sep 2006 15°C Unstated date between 27 October 2005 and 5 October 2006.
05 Oct 2006 23°C After earthquake.

Volcanic tremor was recorded during July 2005 and continued at varying levels. Although tremor is not unusual at Ruapehu, this was the strongest recorded since November 2004. Prominent steam plumes rose above Ruapehu on the morning of 13 September 2005. The crater lake temperature had recently risen from 23°C in August 2005 (table 13) to 39°C in early September 2005. By 12 October 2005 it had fallen to 30°C, indicating the end of the heating cycle. Thereafter, another cycle of lake heating took place in middle to late October 2005. During the period when the lake was at its hottest, steam plumes appeared on several days, but no eruptive activity was observed. Seismic activity continued at about normal levels except for a slight increase in the occurrence of volcanic earthquakes over the previous two weeks.

Lahar hazard. The last report on Ruapehu (BGVN 29:02) reviewed the government of New Zealand's efforts to lessen potential damage and loss of life from the possible collapse of the ash dam surrounding the lake that sits directly within the crater. An illustrative model of the most likely potential lahar was presented in the previous Bulletin (BGVN 29:02). Figure 27 provides more details on the regional geography.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Composite maps of the Ruapehu area modified from part of a lahar hazards poster titled "How will the Lahar Affect Me?" The schematic map (at left) shows that the Tongariro river trends N, crosses State Highway 1 two times, and eventually enters Lake Taupo. The shaded relief map (right) of Ruapehu and adjacent flanks along its E-sector. Note the multiple chutes created to divert flood waters and lahars toward the S on the Whangaehu river. These chutes are intended to protect the Tongariro river's headwaters. Courtesy of the NZ Department of Conservation.

According to IGNS and related government websites, the most likely lahar's path starts from a 7-m-thick tephra dam sitting above bedrock along the low point in Ruapehu's crater rim. This path descends along the Whangaehu valley, a drainage that initially travels radially down the cone to the E. Where the Whangaehu reaches beyond ~ 10 km from the rim (figure 27), the channel curves sharply S and then SW, ultimately crossing Ruapehu's S side. In contrast, just upstream of the above-mentioned bend, the intersecting Tongariro river flows N. At that connection between the two drainages (a divide), engineers added a 300-m-long embankment (a levee or bund), to keep substantial material from entering the Tongariro drainage. Engineers also added one or more chutes to direct some of the Whangaehu river S and away from the critical junction. Protecting the Tongariro river from sudden influx of water and debris protects infrastructure along and downstream of that river. For example, the Tongariro river enters Lake Taupo, a 30 x 40 km caldera lake. Lake Taupo drains to the N along the Waikato river and dams along that river generate hydroelectric power.

According to the Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences (IGNS), about 60 lahars have swept down the mountain's southern side in the past 150 years. Lahars are not limited to the Whangaehu valley as eruptive and mass wasting processes can result in sudden influx of water and debris in other drainages as well. Lahar episodes since 1945 appear on figure 28.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Lahar episodes occurring at Ruapehu since 1945, as grouped into four categories. The categories are those associated with an extended eruption, a sudden (blue-sky) eruption, rain mobilization, and dam break or failure. From Harry J. R. Keys (date unknown), Department of Conservation (see Reference, below).

Figure 29 contains plots of the crater lake's surface elevation during the past several years. The plot is part of a poster available on the Department of Conservation website. The poster also notes the approximate volume of the crater lake, 107 m3. The tephra dam allows lake water to seep through it, considerably complicating estimates of the late-stage-filling rates, and any predicted date of overflow or related failure. Derek Cheng wrote an 8 January 2007 New Zealand Herald news piece stating that the lake then stood ~2.7 m below the dam's top. According to Chang's news story, the tephra dam allowed lake water to seep through it at a rate of ~10 L per second.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. A plot of the surface elevation with time (1996 to mid-2006) of Ruapehu's crater lake. Absolute lake elevations in meters above sea-level apply to the curve labeled "Lake level" and correspond to the y-axis scale at the right. Indices of lake fullness (percent above or below the elevation 2,440 m) apply to the curve describing "Lake volume as percent of fullness." This curve corresponds to the y-axis at left (i.e., 0 % full = 2,440 m a.s.l.; 100% full = 2,529.3 m a.s.l.). The dotted horizontal line indicates the elevation of the base of the tephra dam that lies over the rim's low point. This plot came directly from an informative poster on the lahar available online at the Department of Conservation website (Keys, (date unknown), in reference list below).

Crater Lake observations. Ruapehu's Crater Lake had warmed following periods of volcanic tremor, with heating cycles getting to temperatures ranging from about 15 to 40°C (eg., 39°C during February 2004 and ~36°C during late October 2006; table 13). The IGNS website notes that Ruapehu's heating cycles typically occur every 9-12 months and normally last 1-3 months.

An innovative approach to covering the current lahar hazard status can be found at the Department of Conservation website. As of early February 2007 the reports were "updated every 1-2 weeks depending on weather conditions and [field] site visits."

Reference. Keys, H.J.R., (date unknown), Lahars from Mount Ruapehu—mitigation and management; NZ Dept. of Conservation website (a poster conveyed as a PDF file; creation/publication date unknown) (URL: http://www.doc.govt.nz/templates/summary.aspx?id=42442).

Geologic Background. Ruapehu, one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes, is a complex stratovolcano constructed during at least four cone-building episodes dating back to about 200,000 years ago. The dominantly andesitic 110 km3 volcanic massif is elongated in a NNE-SSW direction and surrounded by another 100 km3 ring plain of volcaniclastic debris, including the Murimoto debris-avalanche deposit on the NW flank. A series of subplinian eruptions took place between about 22,600 and 10,000 years ago, but pyroclastic flows have been infrequent. A single historically active vent, Crater Lake (Te Wai a-moe), is located in the broad summit region, but at least five other vents on the summit and flank have been active during the Holocene. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have occurred in historical time from the Crater Lake vent, and tephra characteristics suggest that the crater lake may have formed as early as 3,000 years ago. Lahars produced by phreatic eruptions from the summit crater lake are a hazard to a ski area on the upper flanks and to lower river valleys.

Information Contacts: Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences (IGNS), Private Bag 2000, Wairakei, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/, https://www.geonet.org.nz/); New Zealand Department of Conservation, Private Bag, Turangi, New Zealand (URL: http://www.doc.govt.nz/).


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — February 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Ulawun

Papua New Guinea

5.05°S, 151.33°E; summit elev. 2334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent ash plumes

A previous report (BGVN 31:02) described small earthquakes on 1-2 March 2006, accompanied by "gray-blue emissions." Subsequent ongoing eruptions continued at Ulawun through 18 January 2007, generating almost daily aviation reports describing plumes blowing W to NW and of generally modest height (table 3). The tallest plume of the reporting interval rose to 4.6 km altitude.

Table 3. A summary of key events at Ulawun observed during the reporting interval 22 March 2006-18 January 2007. Reported plumes did not attain an altitude of over 4 km except on 12 November, when they reached an altitude of 4.6 km. Information based primarily on satellite data and pilot reports from the Darwin VAAC and in a few cases, the US Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA).

Date Comments
22-28 Mar 2006 Ash visible at an altitude of ~3 km (pilot report).
09 Apr 2006 Small low-level plume extending W.
14 May 2006 An ash plume of unknown height.
25 May 2006 Thin steam-and-ash plume.
31 May 2006 A thin steam-and-ash plume reached an altitude of below 3 km.
15 Aug 2006 Ash-and-steam plume to an altitude of ~3.7 km.
25 Aug 2006 Steam-and-ash plumes reached altitudes of 3.7 km and drifted NW.
27 Aug 2006 Steam-and-ash plumes reached altitudes of 3.7 km and drifted W.
28 Aug 2006 Steam-and-ash plumes reached altitudes of 3.7 km and drifted SW.
30 Aug 2006 Ash-and-steam plumes drifting SW.
02 Sep 2006 Ash-and-steam plumes drifting S visible on satellite imagery.
12 Nov 2006 Diffuse plume to altitude of 4.6 km drifted NW.
16-18 Nov 2006 Diffuse plumes drifting N and NW. Ash-and-steam plume visible on 18 November.
22 Nov 2006 Diffuse plume.
28 Nov 2006 Ash-and-steam plume.
29 Nov 2006 Diffuse ash-and-steam plume. The altitudes and drift directions were not reported.
04 Dec 2006 Ash plume. Altitudes and drift directions not reported.
09 Dec 2006 Diffuse plumes reaching altitudes of 4 km.
11 Dec 2006 Plumes reached unreported altitudes.
21 Dec 2006 Ash plumes drifting ENE.
22 Dec 2006 Ash plumes drifting NW.
25 Dec 2006 Ash plumes drifting SW.
04 Jan 2007 Diffuse steam-and-ash plumes drifting SW.
18 Jan 2007 Pilot report noted an ash plume to an altitude of 2.4 km drifting SW.

No MODIS thermal alerts were identified between March 2006 and January 2007 on the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology MODIS Thermal Alert System web site. The lack of thermal anomalies may indicate explosive eruptions, and not lava emissions. However, such activity has occurred at the summit in the past. One such episode, in November 1985, generated Strombolian activity and pyroclastic flows (figure 11).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Photograph of Ulawun taken from a helicopter on 25 November 1985. The view from the NE shows emission of large clots of molten lava into the air above the vent and pyroclastic flows (right). The other large stratovolcano in the background is 2,248-m-tall Bamus. Photographs were taken and provided by James Mori, Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University.

Four Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers (VAAC): Tokyo, Washington, Darwin, and Wellington, have an interest in this volcano, because plumes may enter their areas of responsibility (figure 12). The VAACs came into existence to keep aviators informed of volcanic hazards. A key player in their development was the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations Related Agency that is the recognized international authority regarding a large number of aviation isses. Nine VAAC were created, in Anchorage (Alaska), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Darwin (Australia), London (England), Montreal (Canada), Tokyo (Japan), Toulouse (France), Washington (United States), and Wellington (New Zealand). These centers are tasked with monitoring volcanic ash plumes and providing Volcanic Ash Advisories (VAA) whenever those plumes enter their assigned airspace. The VAACs are often integrated with aviation weather centers; many have developed back-up sites. For example, the Washington VAAC is backed-up by the US Air Force Weather Agency; the Tokyo by Japan Meteorological Association Headquarters, and Darwin by the National Meteorological & Oceanographic Centre.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Map of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea showing selected volcanoes, including Ulawun on New Britain (right center), with areas of responsibility for local VAACs. Courtesy of Darwin VAAC.

Geologic Background. The symmetrical basaltic-to-andesitic Ulawun stratovolcano is the highest volcano of the Bismarck arc, and one of Papua New Guinea's most frequently active. The volcano, also known as the Father, rises above the N coast of the island of New Britain across a low saddle NE of Bamus volcano, the South Son. The upper 1,000 m is unvegetated. A prominent E-W escarpment on the south may be the result of large-scale slumping. Satellitic cones occupy the NW and E flanks. A steep-walled valley cuts the NW side, and a flank lava-flow complex lies to the south of this valley. Historical eruptions date back to the beginning of the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions were mildly explosive until 1967, but after 1970 several larger eruptions produced lava flows and basaltic pyroclastic flows, greatly modifying the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P. O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea; 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/); US Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA), Satellite Applications Branch, Offutt AFB, NE 68113-4039, USA; Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) 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/); James Mori, Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University, Uji, Kyoto 611-0011, Japan (URL: http://eqh.dpri.kyoto-u.ac.jp/~mori/).

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