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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yasur (Vanuatu) Ash and gas explosions continue through August 2020



Merapi (Indonesia) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptions in April and June 2020 produced ash plumes and ashfall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Semeru (Indonesia) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Kavachi

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Discolored water plumes observed in satellite imagery during early September 2020

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

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

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

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

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


Krakatau (Indonesia) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/).


Raung (Indonesia) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Raung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/);Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/, https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/86213/eruption-of-raung-volcano); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); Aris Yanto (URL: https://www.exploredesa.com/2012/11/mount-raung-produce-of-vulcanic-ash-plume-and-continue-eruption/); DigitalGlobe (URL: https://www.maxar.com/, https://twitter.com/Maxar/status/875449111398547457); Øystein Lund Andersen (URL: https://twitter.com/OysteinVolcano/status/1194879946042142726, http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Fuego (Guatemala) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Nishinoshima (Japan) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nishinoshima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Japan Coast Guard (JCG), Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, 3-1-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8932, Japan (URL: https://www1.kaiho.mlit.go.jp/GIJUTSUKOKUSAI/kaiikiDB/kaiyo18-e1.htm); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency-Earth Observation Research Center (JAXA-EORC), 7-44-1 Jindaiji Higashi-machi, Chofu-shi, Tokyo 182-8522, Japan (URL: http://www.eorc.jaxa.jp/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


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

Turrialba

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruptive period on 18 June 2020 consisted of ash eruptions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/, https://www.facebook.com/OVSICORI/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Etna (Italy) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Yasur (Vanuatu) — September 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash and gas explosions continue through August 2020

Recent activity at Yasur, which has been erupting since July 1774, includes frequent Strombolian explosions, along with ash and gas plumes from several vents in the summit crater (BGVN 44:02, 45:03). This report summarizes activity during March through August 2020, using information from monthly bulletins of the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) and various satellite data. The volcano has remained on Alert Level 2 (major unrest state, on a scale of 0-5), where it has been since 18 October 2016, according to VMGD.

During the current reporting period, VMGD reported that explosive activity continued at an elevated level, with ongoing ash and gas emissions (figure 71). Some of the more intense explosions ejected bombs outside the summit crater. During 2-3, 13, and 17 March, 2-3 April, and 19 July, the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) identified low-level ash plumes that reached an altitude of 1.5 km and drifted in multiple directions; the ash plume during 2-3 April resulted in ashfall on the SSW part of the island. On 19 May an ash plume rose to a maximum altitude of 2.1 km and drifted SE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Webcam photos of ash emissions from Yasur on 18 March (left)and gas-and-steam emissions on 2 April (right) 2020. Courtesy of VMGD.

During the reporting period, the MODVOLC thermal algorithm using MODIS satellite data detected a total of 55 thermal hotspots during three days in April, nine days in May, six days in June and August, and four days in July. A maximum of four pixels were recorded on a single day during 26 May, 6 June, and 20 July. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data detected numerous hotspots from 16 September 2019 through August 2020, with a slight increase in power and frequency during May (figure 72). Satellite images from Sentinel-2 detected a strong thermal anomaly within the summit crater on 10 May, accompanied by ash and gas emissions (figure 73).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Persistent low to moderate thermal activity at Yasur occurred from the summit area from 16 September 2019 through August 2020, as shown in this MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Sentinel-2 images of Yasur on 10 May 2020 showing a strong thermal anomaly from the summit crater (left) and a gas emission that appears to contain some ash (right). The thermal anomaly in the S vent area was stronger than in the N vent, an observation also noted in March and April 2019 (BGVN 44:06). The volcano was usually obscured by clouds during March through August. The left image is in false color (bands 12, 11, 4) rendering, the right image is in natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

High-resolution satellite sensors commonly recorded moderate sulfur dioxide levels drifting in multiple directions from the volcano. High sulfur dioxide levels were also occasionally observed, especially during March (figure 74).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. High-density SO2 emissions streaming from Yasur during 8 (left) and 13 (middle) March and 21 April (right) 2020, were observed using the TROPOMI imaging spectrometer on the Sentinel-5P satellite. The plume drifted W on 8 March and E on both 13 March and 21 April. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

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

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory/); Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd (MetService), PO Box 722, Wellington, New Zealand (URL: http://vaac.metservice.com/index.html); 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/).

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

Information Contacts: 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 2,000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequent growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent activity, began SW of the earlier collapse scarp. Pyroclastic flows and lahars accompanying growth and collapse of the steep-sided active summit lava dome have devastated cultivated lands on the western-to-southern flanks and caused many fatalities.

Information Contacts: 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