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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

Pacaya (Guatemala) Strombolian explosions, multiple lava flows, and the formation of a small cone during February-July 2020

Sangeang Api (Indonesia) Two ash plumes and small thermal anomalies during February-June 2020

Stromboli (Italy) Strombolian explosions persist at both summit craters during January-April 2020

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) Lava dome confirmed inside Arenas crater; intermittent thermal anomalies and ash emissions, January-June 2020

Asosan (Japan) Daily ash emissions continue through mid-June 2020 when activity decreases

Aira (Japan) Near-daily explosions with ash plumes continue, large block ejected 3 km from Minamidake crater on 4 June 2020

Nevados de Chillan (Chile) Explosions and pyroclastic flows continue; new dome emerges from Nicanor crater in June 2020

Kerinci (Indonesia) Intermittent ash emissions during January-early May 2020

Tinakula (Solomon Islands) Intermittent small thermal anomalies and gas-and-steam plumes during January-June 2020

Ibu (Indonesia) Frequent ash emissions and summit incandescence; Strombolian explosions in March 2020

Suwanosejima (Japan) Frequent explosions, ash plumes, and summit incandescence in January-June 2020

Bagana (Papua New Guinea) Ash plumes during 29 February-2 March and 1 May 2020



Pacaya (Guatemala) — August 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian explosions, multiple lava flows, and the formation of a small cone during February-July 2020

Pacaya, located in Guatemala, is a highly active volcano that has previously produced continuous Strombolian explosions, multiple lava flows, and the formation of a small cone within the crater due to the constant deposition of ejected material (BGVN 45:02). This reporting period updates information from February through July 2020 consisting of similar activity that dominantly originates from the Mackenney crater. Information primarily comes from reports by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH) in Guatemala and various satellite data.

Strombolian explosions were recorded consistently throughout this reporting period. During February 2020, explosions ejected incandescent material 100 m above the Mackenney crater. At night and during the early morning the explosions were accompanied by incandescence from lava flows. Multiple lava flows were active during most of February, traveling primarily down the SW and NW flanks and reaching 500 m on 25 February. On 5 February the lava flow on the SW flank divided into three flows measuring 200, 150, and 100 m. White and occasionally blue gas-and-steam emissions rose up to 2.7 km altitude on 11 and 14 February and drifted in multiple directions. On 16 February Matthew Watson utilized UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) to take detailed, close up photos of Pacaya and report that there were five active vents at the summit exhibiting lava flows from the summit, gas-and-steam emissions, and small Strombolian explosions (figure 122).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 122. Drone image of active summit vents at Pacaya on 16 February 2020 with incandescence and white gas-and-steam emissions. Courtesy of Matthew Watson, University of Bristol, posted on 17 February 2020.

Activity remained consistent during March with Strombolian explosions ejecting material 100 m above the crater accompanied by occasional incandescence and white and occasionally blue gas-and-steam emissions drifting in multiple directions. Multiple lava flows were detected on the NW and W flanks reaching as far as 400 m on 9-10 March.

In April, frequent Strombolian explosions were accompanied by active lava flows moving dominantly down the SW flank and white gas-and-steam emissions. These repeated explosions ejected material up to 100 m above the crater and then deposited it within the Mackenney crater, forming a small cone. On 27 April seismicity increased at 2140 due to a lava flow moving SW as far as 400 m (figure 123); there were also six strong explosions and a fissure opened on the NW flank in front of the Los Llanos Village, allowing gas-and-steam to rise.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 123. Infrared image of Pacaya on 28 April 2020, showing a lava flow approximately 500 m long and moving down the S flank on the day after seismicity increased and six strong explosions were detected. Courtesy of ISIVUMEH (Reporte Volcán de Pacaya July 2020).

During May, Strombolian explosions continued to eject incandescent material up to 100 m above the Mackenney crater, accompanied by active lava flows on 1-2, 17-18, 22, 25-26, and 29-30 May down the SE, SW, NW, and NE flanks up to 700 m on 30 May. White gas-and-steam emissions continued to be observed up to 100 m above the crater drifting in multiple directions. Between the end of May and mid-June, the plateau between the Mackenney cone and the Cerro Chiquito had become inundated with lava flows (figure 124).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 124. Aerial views of the lava flows at Pacaya to the NW during a) 18 September 2019 and b) 16 June 2020 showing the lava flow advancement toward the Cerro Chiquito. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Volcán de Pacaya July 2020).

Lava flows extended 700 m on 8 June down multiple flanks. On 9 June, a lava flow traveled N and NW 500 m and originating from a vent on the N flank about 100 m below the Mackenney crater. Active lava flows continued to originate from this vent through at least 19 June while white gas-and-steam emissions were observed rising 300 m above the crater. At night and during the early mornings of 24 and 29 June Strombolian explosions were observed ejecting incandescent material up to 200 m above the crater (figure 125). These explosions continued to destroy and then rebuild the small cone within the Mackenney crater with fresh ejecta. Active lava flows on the SW flank were mostly 100-600 m long but had advanced to 2 km by 30 June.

On 10 July a 1.2 km lava flow divided in two which moved on the NE and N flanks. On 11 July, another 800 m lava flow divided in two, on the N and NE flanks (figure 126). On 14 and 19 July, INSIVUMEH registered constant seismic tremors and stated they were associated with the lava flows. No active lava flows were observed on 18-19 July, though some may have continued to advance on the SW, NW, N, and NE flanks. On 20 July, lava emerged from a vent at the NW base of the Mackenney cone near Cerro Chino, extending SE. Strombolian explosions ejected incandescent material up to 200 m above the crater on 22 July, accompanied by active incandescent lava flows on the SW, N, NW, NE, and W flanks. Three lava flows on the NW flank were observed on 22-24 July originating from the base of the Mackenney cone. Explosive activity during 22 July vibrated the windows and roofs of the houses in the villages of San Francisco de Sales, El Patrocinio, El Rodeo, and others located 4 km from the volcano. The lava flow activity had decreased by 25 July, but remnants of the lava flow on the NW flank persisted with weak incandescence observed at night, which was no longer observed by 26 July. Strombolian explosions continued to be detected through the rest of the month, accompanied by frequent white gas-and-steam emissions that extended up to 2 km from the volcano; no active lava flows were observed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 125. Photos of Pacaya on 11 July 2020 showing Strombolian explosions and lava flows moving down the N and NE flanks. Courtesy of William Chigna, CONRED, posted on 12 July 2020.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 126. Infrared image of Pacaya on 20 July 2020 showing a hot lava flow accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (BEPAC 47 Julio 2020-22).

During February through July 2020, multiple lava flows and thermal anomalies within the Mackenney crater were detected in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (figure 127). These lava flows were observed moving down multiple flanks and were occasionally accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions. Thermal anomalies were also recorded by the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system during 10 August through July 2020 within 5 km of the crater summit (figure 128). There were a few breaks in thermal activity from early to mid-March, late April, early May, and early June; however, each of these gaps were followed by a pulse of strong and frequent thermal anomalies. According to the MODVOLC algorithm, 77 thermal alerts were recorded within the summit crater during February through July 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 127. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Pacaya showing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) primarily as lava flows originating from the summit crater during February to July 2020 frequently accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions. All images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 128. The MIROVA thermal activity graph (Log Radiative Power) at Pacaya during 10 August to July 2020 shows strong, frequent thermal anomalies through late July with brief gaps in activity during early to mid-March, late April, early May, and early June. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Matthew Watson, School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol (Twitter: @Matthew__Watson, https://twitter.com/Matthew__Watson); William Chigna, CONRED (URL: https://twitter.com/william_chigna).


Sangeang Api (Indonesia) — August 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangeang Api

Indonesia

8.2°S, 119.07°E; summit elev. 1912 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Two ash plumes and small thermal anomalies during February-June 2020

Sangeang Api is a 13-km-wide island located off the NE coast of Sumbawa Island, part of Indonesia's Lesser Sunda Islands. Documentation of historical eruptions date back to 1512. The most recent eruptive episode began in July 2017 and included frequent Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and block avalanches. The previous report (BGVN 45:02) described activity consisting of a new lava flow originating from the active Doro Api summit crater, short-lived explosions, and ash-and-gas emissions. This report updates information during February through July 2020 using information from the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reports, Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, or CVGHM) reports, and various satellite data.

Volcanism during this reporting period was relatively low compared to the previous reports (BGVN 44:05 and BGVN 45:02). A Darwin VAAC notice reported an ash plume rose 2.1 km altitude and drifted E on 10 May 2020. Another ash plume rose to a maximum of 3 km altitude drifting NE on 10 June, as seen in HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery.

The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data detected a total of 12 low power thermal anomalies within 5 km from the summit during February through May 2020 (figure 42). No thermal anomalies were recorded during June and July according to the MIROVA graph. Though the MODVOLC algorithm did not detect any thermal signatures between February to July, many small thermal hotspots within the summit crater could be seen in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (figure 43).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Thermal anomalies at Sangeang Api from 10 August 2019 through July 2020 recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were infrequent and low power during February through May 2020. No thermal anomalies were detected during June and July. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery using “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering showed small thermal hotspots (orange-yellow) at the summit of Sangeang Api during February through June 2020. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Sangeang Api volcano, one of the most active in the Lesser Sunda Islands, forms a small 13-km-wide island off the NE coast of Sumbawa Island. Two large trachybasaltic-to-tranchyandesitic volcanic cones, Doro Api and Doro Mantoi, were constructed in the center and on the eastern rim, respectively, of an older, largely obscured caldera. Flank vents occur on the south side of Doro Mantoi and near the northern coast. Intermittent historical eruptions have been recorded since 1512, most of them during in the 20th century.

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


Stromboli (Italy) — August 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian explosions persist at both summit craters during January-April 2020

Stromboli is a stratovolcano located in the northeastern-most part of the Aeolian Islands composed of two active summit vents: the Northern (N) Crater and the Central-South (CS) Crater that are situated at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a large scarp that runs from the summit down the NW side of the volcano. The ongoing eruption began in 1934 and has been characterized by regular Strombolian explosions in both summit craters, ash plumes, and occasional lava flows (BGVN 45:08). This report updates activity from January to April 2020 with information primarily from daily and weekly reports by Italy's Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) and various satellite data.

Activity was consistent during this reporting period. Explosion rates ranged from 1-20 per hour and were of variable intensity, producing material that rose from less than 80 to over 250 m above the vents (table 8). Strombolian explosions were often accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions, spattering, and lava flows which has resulted in fallout deposited on the Sciara del Fuoco and incandescent blocks rolling toward the coast up to a few hundred meters down the slopes of the volcano. According to INGV, the average SO2 emissions measured 300-650 tons/day.

Table 8. Summary of activity at Stromboli during January-April 2020. Low-intensity activity indicates ejecta rising less than 80 m, medium-intensity is ejecta rising less than 150 m, and high-intensity is ejecta rising over 200 m above the vent. Data courtesy of INGV.

Month Activity
Jan 2020 Strombolian activity and degassing continued with some spattering. Explosion rates varied from 2-20 per hour. Ejected material rose 80-150 m above the N crater and 150-200 m above the CS crater. A small cone is growing on the S1 crater and has produced some explosions and ejected coarse material mixed with fine ash. The average SO2 emissions measured 300 tons/day.
Feb 2020 Strombolian activity and degassing continued. Explosion rates varied from 2-14 per hour. Ejected material rose 80-200 m above the N crater and 80-250 m above the CS crater. The average SO2 emissions measured 300 tons/day.
Mar 2020 Strombolian activity and degassing continued with discontinuous spattering. Explosion rates varied from 1-16 per hour. Ejected material rose 80-150 m above the N crater and 150-250 m above the CS crater. Intense spattering was observed in the N crater. The average SO2 emissions measured 300-650 tons/day.
Apr 2020 Strombolian activity and degassing continued with spattering. Explosion rates varied from 1-17 per hour. Ejected material rose 80-150 m above the N crater and 150-250 m above the CS crater. Spattering was observed in the N crater. The average SO2 emissions measured 300-650 tons/day.

During January 2020, explosive activity mainly originated from three vents in the N crater and at least three vents in the CS crater. Ejecta from numerous Strombolian explosions covered the slopes on the upper Sciara del Fuoco, some of which rolled hundreds of meters down toward the coast. Explosion rates varied from 2-12 per hour in the N crater and 9-14 per hour in the CS crater; ejected material rose 80-200 m above the craters. According to INGV, a small cone growing in the S1 crater produced some explosions that ejected coarse material mixed with fine ash. On 18 and 19 January a lava flow was observed, both of which originated in the N crater. In addition, two explosions were detected in the N crater that was associated with two landslide events.

Explosive activity in February primarily originated from 2-3 eruptive vents in the N crater and at least three vents in the CS crater (figure 177). The Strombolian explosions ejected material 80-250 m above the craters, some of which fell onto the upper part of the Sciara. Explosion rates varied from 3-12 per hour in the N crater and 2-14 per hour in the CS crater (figure 178). On 3 February a short-lived lava flow was reported in the N crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 177. A drone image showed spattering accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions at Stromboli rising above the N crater on 15 February 2020. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 08/2020, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 10/02/2020 - 16/02/2020, data emissione 18/02/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 178. a) Strombolian explosions during the week of 17-23 February 2020 in the N1 crater of Stromboli were seen from Pizzo Sopra La Fossa. b) Spattering at Stromboli accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions was detected in the N1 and S2 craters during the week of 17-23 February 2020. c) Spattering at Stromboli accompanied by a dense ash plume was seen in the N1 and S2 craters during the week of 17-23 February 2020. All photos by F. Ciancitto, courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 09/2020, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 17/02/2020 - 23/02/2020, data emissione 25/02/2020).

Ongoing explosive activity continued into March, originating from three eruptive vents in the N crater and at least three vents in the CS crater. Ejected lapilli and bombs rose 80-250 m above the craters resulting in fallout covering the slopes in the upper Sciara del Fuoco with blocks rolling down the slopes toward the coast and explosions varied from 4-13 per hour in the N crater and 1-16 per hour in the CS crater. Discontinuous spattering was observed during 9-19 March. On 19 March, intense spattering was observed in the N crater, which produced a lava flow that stretched along the upper part of the Sciara for a few hundred meters. Another lava flow was detected in the N crater on 28 March for about 4 hours into 29 March, which resulted in incandescent blocks breaking off the front of the flow and rolling down the slope of the volcano. On 30 March a lava flow originated from the N crater and remained active until the next day on 31 March. Landslides accompanied by incandescent blocks rolling down the Sciara del Fuoco were also observed.

Strombolian activity accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions continued into April, primarily produced in 3-4 eruptive vents in the N crater and 2-3 vents in the CS crater. Ejected material from these explosions rose 80-250 m above the craters, resulting in fallout products covering the slopes on the Sciara and blocks rolling down the slopes. Explosions varied from 4-15 per hour in the N crater and 1-10 per hour in the CS crater. On 1 April a thermal anomaly was detected in satellite imagery accompanied by gas-and-steam and ash emissions downstream of the Sciara del Fuoco. A lava flow was observed on 15 April in the N crater accompanied by gas-and-steam and ash emissions; at the front of the flow incandescent blocks detached and rolled down the Sciara (figure 179). This flow continued until 16 April, ending by 0956; a thermal anomaly persisted downslope from the lava flow. Spatter was ejected tens of meters from the vent. Another lava flow was detected on 19 April in the N crater, followed by detached blocks from the front of the flow rolling down the slopes. Spattering continued during 20-21 April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 179. A webcam image of an ash plume accompanied by blocks ejected from Stromboli on 15 April 2020 rolling down the Sciara del Fuoco. Courtesy of INGV via Facebook posted on 15 April 2020.

Moderate thermal activity occurred frequently during 16 October to April 2020 as recorded in the MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph using MODIS infrared satellite information (figure 180). The MODVOLC thermal alerts recorded a total of 14 thermal signatures over the course of nine different days between late February and mid-April. Many of these thermal signatures were captured as hotspots in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery in both summit craters (figure 181).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 180. Low to moderate thermal activity at Stromboli occurred frequently during 16 October-April 2020 as shown in the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 181. Thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) at Stromboli were observed in thermal satellite imagery from both of the summit vents throughout January-April 2020. Images with Atmospheric Penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/en/, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ingvvulcani/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — August 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevado del Ruiz

Colombia

4.892°N, 75.324°W; summit elev. 5279 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava dome confirmed inside Arenas crater; intermittent thermal anomalies and ash emissions, January-June 2020

Columbia’s broad, glacier-capped Nevado del Ruiz has an eruption history documented back 8,600 years, and historical observations since 1570. It’s profound notoriety stems from an eruption on 13 November 1985 that produced an ash plume and pyroclastic flows onto the glacier, triggering large lahars that washed down 11 valleys, inundating most severely the towns of Armero (46 km W) and Chinchiná (34 km E) where approximately 25,000 residents were killed. It remains the second deadliest volcanic eruption of the 20th century after Mt. Pelee killed 28,000 in 1902. Ruiz remained quiet for 20 years after the September 1985-July 1991 eruption until a new explosive event occurred in February 2012; a series of explosive events lasted into 2013. Renewed activity beginning in November 2014 included ash and gas-and-steam plumes, ashfall, and the appearance of a lava dome inside the Arenas crater in August 2015 which has regularly displayed thermal anomalies through 2019. This report covers ongoing activity from January-June 2020 using information primarily from reports by the Servicio Geologico Colombiano (SGC) and the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales, the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) notices, and various sources of satellite data.

Gas and ash emissions continued at Nevado del Ruiz throughout January-June 2020; they generally rose to 5.8-6.1 km altitude with the highest reported plume at 7 km altitude during early March. SGC confirmed the presence of the growing lava dome inside Arenas crater during an overflight in January; infrared satellite imagery indicated a continued heat source from the dome through April. SGC interpreted repeated episodes of ‘drumbeat seismicity’ as an indication of continued dome growth throughout the period. Small- to moderate-density sulfur dioxide emissions were measured daily with satellite instruments. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity indicated a heat source consistent with a growing dome from January through April (figure 102).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity at Nevado del Ruiz from 2 July 2019 through June 2020 indicated persistent thermal anomalies from mid-November 2019-April 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during January-March 2020. During January 2020 some of the frequent tremor seismic events were associated with gas and ash emissions, and several episodes of “drumbeat” seismicity were recorded; they have been related by SGC to the growth of the lava dome on the floor of the Arenas crater. An overflight on 10 January, with the support of the Columbian Air Force, confirmed the presence of the dome which was first proposed in August 2015 (BGVN 42:06) (figure 103). The Arenas crater had dimensions of 900 x 980 m elongate to the SW-NE and was about 300 m deep (figure 104). The dome inside the crater was estimated to be 173 m in diameter and 60 m high with an approximate volume of 1,500,000 m3 (figures 105 and 106). In addition to the dome, the scientists also noted ash deposits on the summit ice cap (figure 107). The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume on 19 January that rose to 5.5 km altitude and drifted SW, dissipating quickly. On 30 January they reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery extending 15 km NW from the summit at 5.8 km altitude. A single MODVOLC alert was issued on 15 January and data from the VIIRS satellite instrument reported thermal anomalies inside the summit crater on 14 days of the month. Sulfur dioxide plumes with DU values greater than 2 were recorded by the TROPOMI satellite instrument daily during the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. SGC confirmed the presence of a lava dome inside the Arenas crater at Nevado del Ruiz on 10 January 2020. The dome is shown in brown, and zones of fumarolic activity are labelled around the dome. Courtesy of SGC (El Nuevo Domo de Lava del Volcán Nevado del Ruiz y la Geomorfología Actual del Cráter Arenas 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. A view of the Arenas crater at the summit of Nevado del Ruiz on 10 January 2020 (left) is compared with a view from 2010 (right). They were both taken during overflights supported by the Colombian Air Force (FAC). Ash deposits on the ice fields are visible in both images. Fumarolic activity rises from the inner walls of the crater in January 2020. Courtesy of SGC (El Nuevo Domo de Lava del Volcán Nevado del Ruiz y la Geomorfología Actual del Cráter Arenas 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. The dome inside the Arenas crater at Nevado del Ruiz appeared dark against the crater rim and ash-covered ice field on 10 January 2020. Features observed include (A) the edge of the Arenas crater, (B) a secondary crater 150 m in diameter located to the west, (C) interior cornices, (D) the lava dome, (E) a depression in the center of the dome caused by possible subsidence and cooling of the lava, (F) a source of gas and ash emission with a diameter of approximately 15 m (secondary crater), and (G, H, and I) several sources of gas emission located around the crater. Courtesy of SGC (El Nuevo Domo de Lava del Volcán Nevado del Ruiz y la Geomorfología Actual del Cráter Arenas 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Images of the summit of Nevado del Ruiz captured by the PlanetScope satellite system on 14 March 2018 (A) and 10 January 2020 (B) show the lava dome at the bottom of Arenas crater. Courtesy Planet Lab Inc. and SGC (El Nuevo Domo de Lava del Volcán Nevado del Ruiz y la Geomorfología Actual del Cráter Arenas 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. Ash covered the snow and ice field around the Arenas crater at the summit of Nevado del Ruiz on 10 January 2020. The lava dome is the dark area on the right. Courtesy of SGC (posted on Twitter @sgcol).

The Washington VAAC reported multiple ash plumes during February 2020. On 4 February an ash plume was observed in satellite imagery drifting 35 km W from the summit at 5.8 km altitude. The following day a plume rose to 6.1 km altitude and extended 37 km W from the summit before dissipating by the end of the day (figure 108). On 6 February an ash cloud was observed in satellite imagery centered 45 km W of the summit at 5.8 km altitude. Although it had dissipated by midday, a hotspot remained in shortwave imagery until the evening. Late in the day another plume rose to 6.7 km altitude and drifted W. Diffuse ash was seen in satellite imagery on 13 February fanning towards the W at 5.8 km altitude. On 18 February at 1720 UTC the Bogota Meteorological Weather Office (MWO) reported an ash emission drifting NW at 5.8 km altitude; a second plume was reported a few hours later at the same altitude. Intermittent emissions continued the next day at 5.8-6.1 km altitude that reached as far as 50 km NW before dissipating. A plume on 21 February rose to 6.7 km altitude and drifted W (figure 109). Occasional emissions on 25 February at the same altitude reached 25 km SW of the summit before dissipating. A discrete ash emission around 1550 UTC on 26 February rose to 6.1 km altitude and drifted W. Two similar plumes were reported the next day. On 28 and 29 February plumes rose to 5.8 km altitude and drifted W.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. Emissions rose from the Arenas crater at Nevado del Ruiz on 5 February 2020. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume that day that rose to 6.1 km altitude and drifted 37 km W before dissipating. Courtesy of Camilo Cupitre.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. Emissions rose from the Arenas crater at Nevado del Ruiz around 0600 on 21 February 2020. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions that day that rose to 6.7 km altitude and drifted W. Courtesy of Manuel MR.

SGC reported several episodes of drumbeat type seismicity on 2, 8, 9, and 27 February which they attributed to effusion related to the growing lava dome in the summit crater. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed ring-shaped thermal anomalies characteristic of dome growth within Arenas crater several times during January and February (figure 110). The VIIRS satellite instrument recorded thermal anomalies on twelve days during February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. Persistent thermal anomalies from Sentinel-2 satellite imagery during January and February 2020 suggested that the lava dome inside Nevado del Ruiz’s Arenas crater was still actively growing. Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

On 4, 14, and 19 March 2020 thermal anomalies were visible in Sentinel-2 satellite data from within the Arenas crater. Thermal anomalies were recorded by the VIIRS satellite instrument on eight days during the month. Several episodes of drumbeat seismicity were recorded during the first half of the month and on 30-31 March. Distinct SO2 plumes with DU values greater than 2 were recorded by the TROPOMI satellite instrument daily throughout February and March (figure 111). The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission on 1 March that rose to 5.8 km altitude and drifted NW; it was centered 15 km from the summit when detected in satellite imagery. The next day a plume was seen in satellite imagery moving SW at 7.0 km altitude, extending nearly 40 km from the summit. Additional ash emissions were reported on 4, 14, 15, 21, 28, 29, and 31 March; the plumes rose to 5.8-6.7 km altitude and drifted generally W, some reaching 45 km from the summit before dissipating.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. Distinct SO2 plumes with Dobson values (DU) greater than 2 were recorded by the TROPOMI satellite instrument daily during February and March 2020. Ecuador’s Sangay produced smaller but distinct plumes most of the time as well. Dates are shown at the top of each image. Courtesy of NASA’s Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Activity during April-June 2020. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission that rose to 6.7 km altitude and drifted W on 1 April 2020. On 2 April, emission plumes were visible from the community of Tena in the Cundinamarca municipality which is located 100 km ESE (figure 112). The unusually clear skies were attributed to the reduction in air pollution in nearby Bogota resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic quarantine. On 4 April the Bogota MWO reported an emission drifting SW at 5.8 km altitude. An ash plume on 8 April rose to 6.7 km altitude and drifted W. On 25 April the last reported ash plume from the Washington VAAC for the period rose to 6.1 km altitude and was observed in satellite imagery moving W at 30 km from the summit; after that, only steam and gas emissions were observed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 112. On the evening of 2 April 2020, emission plumes from Nevado del Ruiz were visible from Santa Bárbara village in Tena, Cundinamarca municipality which is located 100 km ESE. The unusually clear skies were attributed to the reduction in air pollution in the nearby city of Bogota resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic quarantine. Photo by Williama Garcia, courtesy of Semana Sostenible (3 April 2020).

Distinct SO2 plumes with DU values greater than 2 were recorded by the TROPOMI satellite instrument daily throughout the month. On 13 April, a Sentinel-2 thermal image showed a hot spot inside the Arenas crater largely obscured by steam and clouds. Cloudy images through May and June prevented observation of additional thermal anomalies in satellite imagery, but the VIIRS thermal data indicated anomalies on 3, 4, and 26 April. SGC reported low-energy episodes of drumbeat seismicity on 4, 9, 10, 12, 15, 16, 20, and 23 April which they interpreted as related to growth of the lava dome inside the Arenas crater. The seismic events were located 1.5-2.0 km below the floor of the crater.

Small emissions of ash and gas were reported by SGC during May 2020 and the first half of June, with the primary drift direction being NW. Gas and steam plumes rose 560-1,400 m above the summit during May and June (figure 113). Drumbeat seismicity was reported a few times each month. Sulfur dioxide emissions continued daily; increased SO2 activity was recorded during 10-13 June (figure 114).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 113. Gas and steam plumes rose 560-1,400 m above the summit of Nevado del Ruiz during May and June 2020, including in the early morning of 11 June. Courtesy of Carlos-Enrique Ruiz.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 114. Increased SO2 activity during 10-13 June 2020 at Nevado del Ruiz was recorded by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Sangay also emitted SO2 on those days. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Geologic Background. Nevado del Ruiz is a broad, glacier-covered volcano in central Colombia that covers more than 200 km2. Three major edifices, composed of andesitic and dacitic lavas and andesitic pyroclastics, have been constructed since the beginning of the Pleistocene. The modern cone consists of a broad cluster of lava domes built within the caldera of an older edifice. The 1-km-wide, 240-m-deep Arenas crater occupies the summit. The prominent La Olleta pyroclastic cone located on the SW flank may also have been active in historical time. Steep headwalls of massive landslides cut the flanks. Melting of its summit icecap during historical eruptions, which date back to the 16th century, has resulted in devastating lahars, including one in 1985 that was South America's deadliest eruption.

Information Contacts: El Servicio Geológico Colombiano (SGC), Diagonal 53 No. 34-53 - Bogotá D.C., Colombia (URL: https://www.sgc.gov.co/volcanes, https://twitter.com/sgcol); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Camilo Cupitre (URL: https://twitter.com/Ccupitre/status/1225207439701704709); Manuel MR (URL: https://twitter.com/ElPlanetaManuel/status/1230837262088384512); Semana Sostenible (URL: https://sostenibilidad.semana.com/actualidad/articulo/fumarola-del-nevado-del-ruiz-fue-captada-desde-tena-cundinamarca/49597); Carlos-Enrique Ruiz (URL: https://twitter.com/Aleph43/status/1271800027841794049).


Asosan (Japan) — July 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

32.884°N, 131.104°E; summit elev. 1592 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily ash emissions continue through mid-June 2020 when activity decreases

Japan's 24-km-wide Asosan caldera on the island of Kyushu has been active throughout the Holocene. Nakadake has been the most active of 17 central cones for 2,000 years; all historical activity is from Nakadake Crater 1. The largest ash plume in 20 years occurred on 8 October 2016. Asosan remained quiet until renewed activity from Crater 1 began in mid-April 2019; explosions with ash plumes continued through the first half of 2020 and are covered in this report. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) provides monthly reports of activity; the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) issues aviation alerts reporting on possible ash plumes, and Sentinel-2 satellite images provide data on ash emissions and thermal activity.

The Tokyo VAAC issued multiple daily reports of ash plumes from Nakadake Crater 1 from 1 January-14 June 2020. They were commonly at 1.8-2.1 km altitude, and often drifted E or S. JMA reported that ashfall continued downwind from the ash plumes until mid-June; seismic activity was relatively high during January and February and decreased steadily after that time. The measured SO2 emissions ranged from 1,000-4,900 tons per day through mid-June and dropped to 500 tons per day during the second half of June. Intermittent thermal activity was recorded at the crater through mid-May.

Explosive activity during January-June 2020. Ash plumes rose up to 1.1 km above the crater rim at Nakadake Crater 1 during January 2020 (figure 70). Ashfall was confirmed downwind of an explosion on 7 January. During February, ash plumes rose up to 1.7 km above the crater, and ashfall was again reported downwind. The crater camera provided by the Aso Volcano Museum occasionally observed incandescence at the floor of the crater during both months. Incandescence was also occasionally observed with the Kusasenri webcam (3 km W) and was seen on 20 February from a webcam in Minamiaso village (8 km SW).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. Ash plumes rose up to 1.1 km above the Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan during January 2020 (left) and up to 1.7 km above the crater during February 2020 (right) as seen in these images from the Kusasenri webcam. Ashfall was reported downwind multiple times. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material for Mt. Aso, January and February 2020).

During March 2020, ash plumes rose as high as 1.3 km. Ashfall was reported on 9 March in Ichinomiyamachi, Aso City (figure 71). In field surveys conducted on the 18th and 25th, there was no visible water inside the crater, and high-temperature grayish-white plumes were observed. The temperature at the base of the plume was measured at 300°C (figure 72).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Ashfall from Asosan appeared on 9 March 2020 in Ichinomiyamachi, Aso City around 10 km N. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material for Mt. Aso, March 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. During a field survey of Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan on 25 March 2020, JMA staff observed a gray ash plume rising from the crater floor (left). The maximum temperature of the ash plume was measured at about 300°C with an infrared thermal imaging device (right). Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material for Mt. Aso, March 2020).

Occasional incandescence was observed at the bottom of the crater during April and May 2020; ash plumes rose 1.1 km above the crater on most days in April and were slightly higher, rising to 1.8 km during May, although activity was more intermittent (figure 73). A brief increase in SO2 activity was reported by JMA during field surveys on 7 and 8 May; satellite data captured small plumes of SO2 on 1 and 6 May (figure 74). A brief increase in tremor amplitude was reported by JMA on 16 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Although activity at Asosan’s Nakadake Crater 1 was more intermittent during April and May 2020 than earlier in the year, ash plumes were still reported most days and incandescence was seen at the bottom of the crater multiple times until 15 May. Left image taken 11 May 2020 from the Kusachiri webcam; right image taken from the crater webcam on 10 May provided by the Aso Volcano Museum. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material for Mt. Aso, May 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite detected small but distinct SO2 plumes from Asosan on 1 and 6 May 2020. Additional small plumes are visible from Aira caldera’s Sakurajima volcano. Courtesy of NASA’s Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

The last report of ash emissions at Nakadake Crater 1 from the Tokyo VAAC was on 14 June 2020. JMA also reported that no eruption was observed after mid-June. On 8 June they reported an ash plume that rose 1.4 km above the crater. During a field survey on 16 June, only steam was observed at the crater; the plume rose about 100 m (figure 75). In addition, a small plume of steam rose from a fumarole on the S crater wall.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. A steam plume rose about 100 m from the floor of Nakadake Crater 1 on 16 June 2020. A small steam plume was also observed by the S crater wall. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material for Mt. Aso, June 2020).

Thermal activity during January-June 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite data indicated thermal anomalies present at Nakadake Crater 1 on 2 January, 6 and 21 February, 16 April, and 11 May (figure 76). In addition, thermal anomalies from agricultural fires appeared in satellite images on 11 February, 7 and 17 March (figure 77). The fires were around 5 km from the crater, thus they appear on the MIROVA thermal anomaly graph in black, but are likely unrelated to volcanic activity (figure 78). No thermal anomalies were recorded in satellite data from the Nakadake Crater 1 after 11 May, and none appeared in the MIROVA data as well.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Thermal anomalies appeared at Asosan’s Nakadake Crater 1 on 2 January, 6 and 21 February, 16 April and 11 May 2020. On 2 January a small ash plume drifted SSE from the crater (left). On 6 February a dense ash plume drifted S from the crater (center). Only a small steam plume was visible above the crater on 21 February (right). Images use Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Thermal anomalies from agricultural fires located about 5 km from the crater appeared in satellite images on 11 February, and 7 and 17 March 2020. Although a dense ash plume drifted SSE from the crater on 11 February (left), no thermal anomalies appear at the crater on these dates. Images use Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. The MIROVA project plot of Log Radiative Power at Asosan from 29 June 2019 through June 2020 shows only a few small thermal alerts within 5 km of the summit crater during January-June 2020, and a spike in activity during February and March located around 5 km away. These data correlate well with the Sentinel-2 satellite data that show intermittent thermal anomalies at the summit throughout January-May and agricultural fires located several kilometers from the crater during February and March. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. The 24-km-wide Asosan caldera was formed during four major explosive eruptions from 300,000 to 90,000 years ago. These produced voluminous pyroclastic flows that covered much of Kyushu. The last of these, the Aso-4 eruption, produced more than 600 km3 of airfall tephra and pyroclastic-flow deposits. A group of 17 central cones was constructed in the middle of the caldera, one of which, Nakadake, is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. It was the location of Japan's first documented historical eruption in 553 CE. The Nakadake complex has remained active throughout the Holocene. Several other cones have been active during the Holocene, including the Kometsuka scoria cone as recently as about 210 CE. Historical eruptions have largely consisted of basaltic to basaltic-andesite ash emission with periodic strombolian and phreatomagmatic activity. The summit crater of Nakadake is accessible by toll road and cable car, and is one of Kyushu's most popular tourist destinations.

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); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Aira (Japan) — July 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

31.593°N, 130.657°E; summit elev. 1117 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Near-daily explosions with ash plumes continue, large block ejected 3 km from Minamidake crater on 4 June 2020

Sakurajima rises from Kagoshima Bay, which fills the Aira Caldera near the southern tip of Japan's Kyushu Island. Frequent explosive and occasional effusive activity has been ongoing for centuries. The Minamidake summit cone has been the location of persistent activity since 1955; the adjacent Showa crater on its E flank has also been intermittently active since 2006. Numerous explosions and ash-bearing emissions have been occurring each month at either Minamidake or Showa crater since the latest eruptive episode began in late March 2017. This report covers ongoing activity at Minamidake from January through June 2020; the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) provides regular reports on activity, and the Tokyo VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center) issues tens of reports each month about the frequent ash plumes.

Activity continued during January-June 2020 at Minamidake crater with tens of explosions each month. The Tokyo VAAC issued multiple daily reports of ash emissions during January and February. Less activity occurred during the first half of March but picked up again with multiple daily reports from mid-March through mid-April. Emissions were more intermittent but continued through early June, when activity decreased significantly. JMA reported explosions with ash plumes rising 2.5-4.2 km above the summit, and ejecta traveling generally up to 1,700 m from the crater, although a big explosion in early June send a large block of tephra 3 km from the crater (table 23). Thermal anomalies were visible in satellite imagery on a few days most months and were persistent in the MIROVA thermal anomaly data from November 2019 through early June 2020 (figure 94). Incandescence was often visible at night in the webcams through early June; the Showa crater remained quiet throughout the period.

Table 23. Monthly summary of eruptive events recorded at Sakurajima's Minamidake crater within the Aira Caldera, January through June 2020. The number of events that were explosive in nature are in parentheses. No events were recorded at the Showa crater during this time. Ashfall is measured at the Kagoshima Local Meteorological Observatory (KLMO), 10 km W of Showa crater. Data courtesy of JMA (January to June 2020 monthly reports).

Month Ash emissions (explosive) Max plume height above crater Max ejecta distance from crater Total amount of ashfall (g/m2) Total ashfall previous month
Jan 2020 104 (65) 2.5 km 1,700 m 75 (12 days) 280,000 tons
Feb 2020 129 (67) 2.6 km 1,800 m 21 (14 days) 230,000 tons
Mar 2020 26 (10) 3.0 km 1,700 m 3 (8 days) 360,000 tons
Apr 2020 51 (14) 3.8 km 1,700 m less than 0.5 (2 days) 160,000 tons
May 2020 51 (24) 4.2 km 1,300 m 19 (8 days) 280,000 tons
Jun 2020 28 (16) 3.7 km 3,000 m 71 (9 days) 150,000 tons
Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Persistent thermal anomalies were recorded in the MIROVA thermal energy data for the period from 2 July 2019 through June 2020. Thermal activity increased in October 2019 and remained steady through May 2020, decreasing abruptly at the beginning of June. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Explosions continued at Minamidake crater during January 2020 with 65 ash plumes reported. The highest ash plume rose 2.5 km above the crater on 30 January, and incandescent ejecta reached up to 1,700 m from the Minamidake crater on 22 and 29 January (figure 95). Slight inflation of the volcano since September 2019 continued to be measured with inclinometers and extensometers on Sakurajima Island. Field surveys conducted on 15, 20, and 31 January measured the amount of sulfur dioxide gas released as very high at 3,400-4,700 tons per day, as compared with 1,000-3,000 tons in December 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. An explosion at the Minamidake summit crater of Aira’s Sakurajima volcano on 29 January 2020 produced an ash plume that rose 2.5 km above the crater rim and drifted SE (left). On 22 January incandescent ejecta reached 1,700 m from the summit during explosive events. Courtesy of JMA (Sakurajima Volcanic Activity Commentary, January 2020).

About the same number of explosions produced ash plumes during February 2020 (67) as in January (65) (figure 96). On 10 February a large block was ejected 1,800 m from the crater, the first to reach that far since 5 February 2016. The tallest plume, on 26 February rose 2.6 km above the crater. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery indicated two distinct thermal anomalies within the Minamidake crater on both 1 and 6 February (figure 97). Activity diminished during March 2020 with only 10 explosions out of 26 eruptive events. On 21 March a large bomb reached 1,700 m from the crater. The tallest ash plume rose 3 km above the crater on 17 March. Scientists noted during an overflight on 16 March that a small steam plume was rising from the inner wall on the south side of the Showa crater; a larger steam plume rose to 300 m above the Minamidake crater and drifted S (figure 98). Sulfur dioxide emissions were similar in February (1,900 to 3,100 tons) and March (1,300 to 3,400 tons per day).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. An ash plume rose from the Minamidake crater at the summit of Aira’s Sakurajima volcano on 6 February 2020 at 1752 local time, as seen looking S from the Kitadake crater. Courtesy of JMA (Sakurajima Volcanic Activity Commentary, February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery revealed two distinct thermal anomalies within the Minamidake crater at Aira’s Sakurajima volcano on 1 and 6 February 2020. Images use Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. During an overflight of Aira’s Sakurajima volcano on 16 March 2020, JMA captured this view to the SW of the Kitadake crater on the right, the steam-covered Minamidake crater in the center, and the smaller Showa crater on the left adjacent to Minamidake. Courtesy of JMA and the Maritime Self-Defense Force 1st Air Group P-1 (Sakurajima Volcanic Activity Commentary, March 2020).

During April 2020, ejecta again reached as far as 1,700 m from the crater; 14 explosions were identified from the 51 reported eruptive events, an increase from March. The tallest plume, on 4 April, rose 3.8 km above the crater (figure 99). The same number of eruptive events occurred during May 2020, but 24 were explosive in nature. A large plume on 9 May rose to 4.2 km above the rim of Minamidake crater, the tallest of the period (figure 100). On 20 May, incandescent ejecta reached 1,300 m from the summit. Sulfur dioxide emissions during April (1,700-2,100 tons per day) and May (1,200-2,700 tons per day) were slightly lower than previous months.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. A large ash plume at Aira’s Sakurajima volcano rose from Minamidake crater at 1621 on 4 April 2020. The plume rose to 3.8 km above the crater and drifted SE. Courtesy of JMA (Sakurajima Volcanic Activity Commentary, April 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. Activity continued at Aira’s Sakurajima volcano during May 2020. A large plume rose to 4.2 km above the summit and drifted N in the early morning of 9 May (left). The Kaigata webcam located at the Osumi River National Highway Office captured abundant incandescent ejecta reaching 1,300 m from the crater during the evening of 20 May. Courtesy of JMA (Sakurajima Volcanic Activity Commentary, May 2020).

A major explosion on 4 June 2020 produced 137 Pa of air vibration at the Seto 2 observation point on Sakurajima Island. It was the first time that air vibrations exceeding 100 Pa have been observed at the Seto 2 station since the 21 May 2015 explosion at the Showa crater. The ash plume associated with the explosion rose 1.5 km above the crater rim. During an 8 June field survey conducted in Higashisakurajima-cho, Kagoshima City, a large impact crater believed to be associated with this explosion was located near the coast 3 km SSW from Minamidake. The crater formed by the ejected block was about 6 m in diameter and 2 m deep (figure 101); fragments found nearby were 10-20 cm in diameter (figure 102). A nearby roof was also damaged by the blocks. Smaller bombs were found in Kurokami-cho, Kagoshima City, around 4- 5 km E of Minamidake on 5 June; the largest fragment was 5 cm in diameter. Multiple ash plumes rose to 3 km or more above the summit during the first ten days of June; explosions on 4 and 5 June reached 3.7 km above the crater (figure 103). Larger than normal inflation and deflation before and after the explosions was recorded during early June in the inclinometers and extensometers located on the island. Incandescence at the summit was observed at night through the first half of June. The Tokyo VAAC issued multiple daily ash advisories during 1-10 June after which activity declined abruptly. Two brief explosions on 23 June and one on 28 June were the only two additional ash explosions reported in June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. A large crater measuring 6 m wide and 2 m deep was discovered 3 km from the Minamidake crater in Higashisakurajima, part of Kagoshima City, on 8 June 2020. It was believed to be from the impact of a large block ejected during the 4 June explosion at Aira’s Sakurajima volcano. Photo courtesy of Kagoshima City and JMA (Sakurajima Volcanic Activity Commentary, June 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. Fragments 10-30 cm in diameter from a large bomb that traveled 3 km from Minamidake crater on Sakurajima were found a few days after the 4 June 2020 explosion at Aira. Courtesy of JMA, photo courtesy of Kagoshima City (Sakurajima Volcanic Activity Commentary, June 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. An ash plume rose 3.7 km above the Minamidake crater at Aira’s Sakurajima volcano on 5 June 2020 and was recorded in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery. Image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub playground.

Geologic Background. The Aira caldera in the northern half of Kagoshima Bay contains the post-caldera Sakurajima volcano, one of Japan's most active. Eruption of the voluminous Ito pyroclastic flow accompanied formation of the 17 x 23 km caldera about 22,000 years ago. The smaller Wakamiko caldera was formed during the early Holocene in the NE corner of the Aira caldera, along with several post-caldera cones. The construction of Sakurajima began about 13,000 years ago on the southern rim of Aira caldera and built an island that was finally joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kitadake summit cone ended about 4850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minamidake. Frequent historical eruptions, recorded since the 8th century, have deposited ash on Kagoshima, one of Kyushu's largest cities, located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km from the summit. The largest historical eruption took place during 1471-76.

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


Nevados de Chillan (Chile) — July 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevados de Chillan

Chile

36.868°S, 71.378°W; summit elev. 3180 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions and pyroclastic flows continue; new dome emerges from Nicanor crater in June 2020

Nevados de Chillán is a complex of late-Pleistocene to Holocene stratovolcanoes in the Chilean Central Andes. An eruption started with a phreatic explosion and ash emission on 8 January 2016 from a new crater (Nicanor) on the E flank of the Nuevo crater, itself on the NW flank of the large Volcán Viejo stratovolcano. Strombolian explosions and ash emissions continued throughout 2016 and 2017; a lava dome within the Nicanor crater was confirmed in early January 2018. Explosions and pyroclastic flows continued during 2018 and 2019, with several lava flows appearing in late 2019. This report covers continuing activity from January-June 2020 when ongoing explosive events produced ash plumes, pyroclastic flows, and the growth of new dome inside the crater. Information for this report is provided primarily by Chile's Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)-Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), and by the Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Explosions with ash plumes rising up to three kilometers above the summit area were intermittent from late January through early June 2020. Some of the larger explosions produced pyroclastic flows that traveled down multiple flanks. Thermal anomalies within the Nicanor crater were recorded in satellite data several times each month from February through June. A reduction in overall activity led SERNAGEOMIN to lower the Alert Level from Orange to Yellow (on a 4-level, Green-Yellow-Orange-Red scale) during the first week of March, although tens of explosions with ash plumes were still recorded during March and April. Explosive activity diminished in early June and SERNAGEOMIN reported the growth of a new dome inside the Nicanor crater. By the end of June, a new flow had extended about 100 m down the N flank. Thermal activity recorded by the MIROVA project showed a drop in thermal energy in mid-December 2019 after the lava flows of September-November stopped advancing. A decrease in activity in January and February 2020 was followed by an increase in thermal and explosive activity in March and April. Renewed thermal activity from the growth of a new dome inside the Nicanor crater was recorded beginning in mid-June (figure 52).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. MIROVA thermal anomaly data for Nevados de Chillan from 8 September 2019 through June 2020 showed a drop in thermal activity in mid-December 2019 after the lava flows of September-November stopped advancing. A decrease in activity in January and February 2020 was followed by an increase in explosive activity in March and April. Renewed thermal activity from the growth of a new dome inside the Nicanor crater was recorded beginning in mid-June. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Weak gas emissions were reported daily during January 2020 until a series of explosions began on the 21st. The first explosion rose 100 m above the active crater; the following day, the highest explosion rose 1.6 km above the crater. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported pulse emissions visible in satellite imagery on 21 and 24 January that rose to 3.9-4.3 km altitude and drifted SE and NE, respectively. Intermittent explosions continued through 26 January. Incandescent ejecta was observed during the night of 28-29 January. The VAAC reported an isolated emission on 29 January that rose to 5.2 km altitude and drifted E. A larger explosion on 30 January produced an ash plume that SERNAGEOMIN reported at 3.4 km above the crater (figure 53). It produced pyroclastic flows that traveled down ravines on the NNE and SE flanks. The Washington VAAC reported on behalf of the Buenos Aires VAAC that an emission was observed in satellite imagery on 30 January that rose to 4.9 km altitude and was moving rapidly E, reaching 15 km from the summit at midday. The altitude of the ash plume was revised two hours later to 7.3 km, drifting NNE and rapidly dissipating. Satellite images identified two areas of thermal anomalies within the Nicanor crater that day. One was the same emission center (CE4) identified in November 2019, and the second was a new emission center (CE5) located 60 m NW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. A significant explosion and ash plume from the Nicanor crater at Nevados de Chillan on 30 January 2020 produced an ash plume reported at 7.3 km altitude. The left image was taken within one minute of the initial explosion. Images posted by Twitter accounts #EmergenciasÑuble (left) and T13 (right); original photographers unknown.

When the weather permitted, low-altitude mostly white degassing was seen during February 2020, often with traces of fine-grained particulate material. Incandescence at the crater was observed overnight during 4-5 February. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported an emission on 14 February visible in the webcam. The next day, an emission was visible in satellite imagery at 3.9 km altitude that drifted E. Episodes of pulsating white and gray plumes were first observed by SERNAGEOMIN beginning on 18 February and continued through 25 February (figure 54). The Buenos Aires VAAC reported pulses of ash emissions moving SE on 18 February at 4.3 km altitude. Ash drifted E the next day at 3.9 km altitude and a faint plume was briefly observed on 20 February drifting N at 3.7 km altitude before dissipating. Sporadic pulses of ash moved SE from the volcano on 22 February at 4.3 km altitude, briefly observed in satellite imagery before dissipating. Thermal anomalies were visible from the Nicanor crater in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 23 and 28 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. An ash emission at Nevados de Chillan on 18 February 2020 was captured in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery drifting SE (left). Thermal anomalies within the Nicanor crater were measured on 23 (right) and 28 February. Images use Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Only low-altitude degassing of mostly steam was reported for the first half of March 2020. When SERNAGEOMIN lowered the Alert Level from Orange to Yellow on 5 March, they reduced the affected area from 5 km NE and 3 km SW of the crater to a radius of 2 km around the active crater. Thermal anomalies were recorded at the Nicanor crater in Sentinel-2 imagery on 4, 9, 11, 16, and 19 March (figure 55). A new series of explosions began on 19 March; 44 events were recorded during the second half of the month (figure 56). Webcams captured multiple explosions with dense ash plumes; on 25 and 30 March the plumes rose more than 2 km above the crater. Fine-grained ashfall occurred in Las Trancas (10 km SW) on 25 March. Pyroclastic flows on 25 and 30 March traveled 300 m NE, SE, and SW from the crater. Incandescence was observed at night multiple times after 20 March. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported several discrete pulses of ash that rose to 4.3 km altitude and drifted SE on 20 and 21 March, SW on 25 March, and SE on 29 and 30 March. Another ash emission rose to 5.5 km altitude later on 30 March and drifted SE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Sentinel-2 Satellite imagery of Nevados de Chillan during March 2020 showed thermal anomalies on five different dates at the Nicanor crater, including on 9, 11, and 16 March. A second thermal anomaly of unknown origin was also visible on 11 March about 2 km SW of the crater (center). Images use Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Forty-four explosive events were recorded at Nevados de Chillan during the second half of March 2020 including on 19 March. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN webcams and chillanonlinenoticia.

In their semi-monthly reports for April 2020, SERNAGEOMIN reported 94 explosive events during the first half of the month and 49 during the second half; many produced dense ash plumes. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported frequent intermittent ash emissions during 1-13 April reaching altitudes of 3.7-4.3 km (figure 57). They reported the plume on 8 April visible in satellite imagery at 7.3 km altitude drifting SE. An emission on 13 April was also visible in satellite imagery at 6.1 km altitude drifting NE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery captured a strong thermal anomaly and an ash plume drifting SE from Nevados de Chillan on 10 April 2020. Image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During the second half of April 2020, SERNAGEOMIN reported that only one plume exceeded 2 km in height; on 21 April, it rose to 2.4 km above the crater (figure 58). The Buenos Aires VAAC reported isolated pulses of ash on 18, 26, 28, and 30 April. During the second half of April SERNAGEOMIN also reported that a pyroclastic flow traveled about 1,200 m from the crater rim down the SE flank. The ash from the pyroclastic flow drifted SE and S as far as 3.5 km. Satellite images showed continued activity from multiple emission centers around the crater. Pronounced scarps were noted on the internal walls of the crater, attributed to the deepening of the crater from explosive activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Tens of explosions were reported at Nevados de Chillan during the second half of April 2020 that produced dense ash plumes. The plume on 21 April rose 2.4 km above the Nicanor crater. Photo by Josefa Carrasco Acuña from San Fabián de Alico; posted by Noticias Valpo Express.

Intermittent explosive activity continued during May 2020. The plumes contained abundant particulate material and were accompanied by periodic pyroclastic flows and incandescent ejecta around the active crater, especially visible at night. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported several sporadic weak ash emissions during the first week of May that rose to 3.7-5.2 km altitude and drifted NE. SERNAGEOMIN reported that only one explosion produced an ash emission that rose more than two km above the crater during the first two weeks of the month; on 6 May it rose to 2.5 km above the crater and drifted NE. They also observed pyroclastic flows on the E and SE flanks that day. Additional pyroclastic flows traveled 450 m down the S flank during the first half of the month, and similar deposits were observed to the N and NE. Satellite observations showed various emission points along the NW-trending lineament at the summit and multiple erosion scarps. Major erosion was noted at the NE rim of the crater along with an increase in degassing around the rim.

During the second half of May 2020 most of the ash plumes rose less than 2 km above the crater; a plume from one explosion on 22 May rose 2.2 km above the crater; the Buenos Aires VAAC reported the plume at 5.5 km altitude drifting NW (figure 59). Continuing pyroclastic emissions deposited material as far as 1.5 km from the crater rim on the NNW flank. There were also multiple pyroclastic deposits up to 500 m from the crater directed N and NE during the period. SERNAGEOMIN reported an increase in steam degassing between Nuevo-Nicanor and Nicanor-Arrau craters.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Explosions produced dense ash plumes and pyroclastic flows at Nevados de Chillan multiple times during May 2020 including on 22 May. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

Webcam images during the first two weeks of June 2020 indicated multiple incandescent explosions. On 3 and 4 June plumes from explosions reached heights of over 1.25 km above the crater; the Buenos Aires VAAC reported them drifting NW at 3.9 km altitude. Incandescent ejecta on 6 June rose 760 m above the vent and drifted NE. In addition, pyroclastic flows were distributed on the N, NW, E and SE flanks. Significant daytime and nighttime incandescence was reported on 6, 9, and 10 June (figure 60). The VAAC reported emission pulses on 6 and 9 June drifting E and SE at 4.3 km altitude.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. Multiple ash plumes with incandescence were reported at Nevados de Chillan during the first ten days of June 2020 including on 6 June, after which explosive activity decreased significantly. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIIN and Sismo Alerta Mexicana.

SERNAGEOMIN reported that beginning on the afternoon of 9 June 2020 a tremor-type seismic signal was first recorded, associated with continuous emission of gas and dark gray ash that drifted SE (figure 61). A little over an hour later another tremor signal began that lasted for about four hours, followed by smaller discrete explosions. A hybrid-type earthquake in the early morning of 10 June was followed by a series of explosions that ejected gas and particulate matter from the active crater. The vent where the emissions occurred was located within the Nicanor crater close to the Arrau crater; it had been degassing since 30 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. A tremor-type seismic signal was first recorded on the afternoon of 9 June 2020 at Nevados de Chillan. It was associated with the continuous emission of gas and dark gray ash that drifted SE, and incandescent ejecta visible after dark. View is to the S, courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN webcam, posted by Volcanology Chile.

After the explosions on the afternoon of 9 June, a number of other nearby vents became active. In particular, the vent located between the Nuevo and Nicanor craters began emitting material for the first time during this eruptive cycle. The explosion also generated pyroclastic flows that traveled less than 50 m in multiple directions away from the vent. Abundant incandescent material was reported during the explosion early on 10 June. Deformation measurements showed inflation over the previous 12 days.

SERNAGEOMIN identified a surface feature in satellite imagery on 11 June 2020 that they interpreted as a new effusive lava dome. It was elliptical with dimensions of about 85 x 120 m. In addition to a thermal anomaly attributed to the dome, they noted three other thermal anomalies between the Nuevo, Arrau, and Nicanor craters. They reported that within four days the base of the active crater was filled with effusive material. Seismometers recorded tremor activity after 11 June that was interpreted as associated with lava effusion. Incandescent emissions were visible at night around the active crater. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery recorded a bright thermal anomaly inside the Nicanor crater on 14 June (figure 62).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. A bright thermal anomaly was recorded inside the Nicanor crater at Nevados de Chillan on 14 June 2020. SERNAGEOMIN scientists attributed it to the growth of a new lava dome within the crater. Image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

A special report from SERNAGEOMIN on 24 June 2020 noted that vertical inflation had increased during the previous few weeks. After 20 June the inflation rate reached 2.49 cm/month, which was considered high. The accumulated inflation measured since July 2019 was 22.5 cm. Satellite imagery continued to show the growth of the dome, and SERNAGEOMIN scientists estimated that it reached the E edge of the Nicanor crater on 23 June. Based on these images, they estimated an eruptive rate of 0.1-0.3 m3/s, about two orders of magnitude faster than the Gil-Cruz dome that emerged between December 2018 and early 2019.

Webcams revealed continued low-level explosive activity and incandescence visible both during the day and at night. By the end of June, webcams recorded a lava flow that extended 94 m down the N flank from the Nicanor crater and continued to advance. Small explosions with abundant pyroclastic debris produced recurring incandescence at night. Satellite infrared imagery indicated thermal radiance from effusive material that covered an area of 37,000 m2, largely filling the crater. DEM analysis suggested that the size of the crater had tripled in volume since December 2019 due largely to erosion from explosive activity since May 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed a bright thermal anomaly inside the crater on 27 June.

Geologic Background. The compound volcano of Nevados de Chillán is one of the most active of the Central Andes. Three late-Pleistocene to Holocene stratovolcanoes were constructed along a NNW-SSE line within three nested Pleistocene calderas, which produced ignimbrite sheets extending more than 100 km into the Central Depression of Chile. The largest stratovolcano, dominantly andesitic, Cerro Blanco (Volcán Nevado), is located at the NW end of the group. Volcán Viejo (Volcán Chillán), which was the main active vent during the 17th-19th centuries, occupies the SE end. The new Volcán Nuevo lava-dome complex formed between 1906 and 1945 between the two volcanoes and grew to exceed Volcán Viejo in elevation. The Volcán Arrau dome complex was constructed SE of Volcán Nuevo between 1973 and 1986 and eventually exceeded its height.

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/, https://twitter.com/Sernageomin); 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/); Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Meteorológico Nacional-Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 25 de mayo 658, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/inicio.php); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); #EmergenciasÑuble (URL: https://twitter.com/urgenciasnuble/status/1222943399185207296); T13, Channel 13 Press Department (URL: https://twitter.com/T13/status/1222951071443771394); Chillanonlinenoticia (URL: https://twitter.com/ChillanOnline/status/1240754211932995595); Noticias Valpo Express (URL: https://twitter.com/NoticiasValpoEx/status/1252715033131388928); Sismo Alerta Mexicana (URL: https://twitter.com/Sismoalertamex/status/1269351579095691265); Volcanology Chile (URL: https://twitter.com/volcanologiachl/status/1270548008191643651).


Kerinci (Indonesia) — July 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash emissions during January-early May 2020

Kerinci is a stratovolcano located in Sumatra, Indonesia that has been characterized by explosive eruptions with ash plumes and gas-and-steam emissions. The most recent eruptive episode began in April 2018 which has included intermittent explosions and ash plumes. The previous report (BGVN 44:12) described more recent activity consisting of intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes which occurred during June through early November 2019. This volcanism continued through May 2020, though little to no activity was reported during December 2019. The primary source of information for this report comes from 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 during December 2019 consisted of white gas-and-steam emissions rising 100-500 m above the summit. White and brown emissions continued intermittently through May 2020, rising to a maximum altitude of 1 km above the summit on 14 April. During 3-6 and 8-9 January 2020, the Darwin VAAC and PVMBG issued notices reporting brown volcanic ash rising 150-600 m above the summit drifting S and ESE (figure 19). PVMBG published a VONA notice on 24 January at 0828 reporting ash rising 400 m above the summit. Brown emissions continued intermittently throughout the reporting period. On 1 February, volcanic ash was observed rising 300-960 m above the summit and drifting NE; PVMBG reported continuing brown emissions during 1-3 February. During 16-17 February, two VONA notices reported that brown ash plumes rose 150-400 m above the summit and drifted SW accompanied by consistent white gas-and-steam emissions (figure 20).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Brown ash plume rose 500-600 m above Kerinci on 4 January 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia via Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. White gas-and-steam emissions rose 400 m above Kerinci on 19 February 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia via Øystein Lund Andersen.

During 1-16 and 25-26 March 2020 brown ash emissions were frequently observed rising 100-500 m above the summit drifting in multiple directions. During 6-8 and 10-15, April brown ash emissions were reported 50-1,000 m above the summit. The most recent Darwin VAAC and VONA notices were published on 14 April, reporting volcanic ash rising 400 and 600 m above the summit, respectively; however, PVMBG reported brown emissions rising up to 1,000 m. By 25-27 April brown ash emissions rose 50-300 m above the summit. Intermittent white gas-and-steam emissions continued through May. The last brown emissions seen in May were reported on the 7th rising 50-100 m above the summit.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); 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/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com, images at https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse/status/1213658331564269569/photo/1 and https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse/status/1230419965209018369/photo/1).


Tinakula (Solomon Islands) — July 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Tinakula

Solomon Islands

10.386°S, 165.804°E; summit elev. 796 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent small thermal anomalies and gas-and-steam plumes during January-June 2020

Tinakula is a remote stratovolcano located 100 km NE of the Solomon Trench at the N end of the Santa Cruz. In 1971, an eruption with lava flows and ash explosions caused the small population to evacuate the island. Volcanism has previously been characterized by an ash explosion in October 2017 and the most recent eruptive period that began in December 2018 with renewed thermal activity. Activity since then has consisted of intermittent thermal activity and dense gas-and-steam plumes (BGVN 45:01), which continues into the current reporting period. This report updates information from January-June 2020 using primary source information from various satellite data, as ground observations are rarely available.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed weak, intermittent, but ongoing thermal activity during January-June 2020 (figure 41). A small cluster of slightly stronger thermal signatures was detected in late February to early March, which is correlated to MODVOLC thermal alert data; four thermal hotspots were recorded on 20, 27, and 29 February and 1 March. However, observations using Sentinel-2 satellite imagery were often obscured by clouds. In addition to the weak thermal signatures, dense gas-and-steam plumes were observed in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery rising from the summit during this reporting period (figure 42).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Weak thermal anomalies at Tinakula from 26 June 2019 through June 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were intermittent and clustered more strongly in late February to early March.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery shows ongoing gas-and-steam plumes rising from Tinakula during January through May 2020. Images with atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8a) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Three distinct thermal anomalies were observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery on 22 January, 11 April, and 6 May 2020, accompanied by some gas-and-steam emissions (figure 43). The hotspot on 22 January was slightly weaker than the other two days, and was seen on the W flank, compared to the other two that were observed in the summit crater. According to MODVOLC thermal alerts, a hotspot was recorded on 6 May, which corresponded to a Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image with a notable anomaly in the summit crater (figure 43). On 10 June no thermal anomaly was seen in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery due to the presence of clouds; however, what appeared to be a dense gas-and-steam plume was extending W from the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing a weak thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) on 22 January 2020 on the W flank of Tinakula (top) and slightly stronger thermal hotspots on 11 April (middle) and 6 May (bottom) in at the summit, which are accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. Images with atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8a) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The small 3.5-km-wide island of Tinakula is the exposed summit of a massive stratovolcano at the NW end of the Santa Cruz islands. Similar to Stromboli, it has a breached summit crater that extends from the summit to below sea level. Landslides enlarged this scarp in 1965, creating an embayment on the NW coast. The satellitic cone of Mendana is located on the SE side. The dominantly andesitic volcano has frequently been observed in eruption since the era of Spanish exploration began in 1595. In about 1840, an explosive eruption apparently produced pyroclastic flows that swept all sides of the island, killing its inhabitants. Frequent historical eruptions have originated from a cone constructed within the large breached crater. These have left the upper flanks and the steep apron of lava flows and volcaniclastic debris within the breach unvegetated.

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


Ibu (Indonesia) — July 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ibu

Indonesia

1.488°N, 127.63°E; summit elev. 1325 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent ash emissions and summit incandescence; Strombolian explosions in March 2020

Ibu is an active stratovolcano located along the NW coast of Halmahera Island in Indonesia. Volcanism has recently been characterized by frequent ash explosions, ash plumes, and small lava flows within the crater throughout 2019 (BGVN 45:01). Activity continues, consisting of frequent white-and-gray emissions, ash explosions, ash plumes, and lava flows. This report updates activity through June 2020, using data from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and various satellites.

Volcanism during the entire reporting period dominantly consisted of white-and-gray emissions that rose 200-800 m above the summit drifting in multiple directions. The ash plume with the maximum altitude of 13.7 km altitude occurred on 16 May 2020. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery detected multiple smaller hotspots within the crater throughout the reporting period.

Continuous ash emissions were reported on 6 February rising to 2.1 km altitude drifting E, accompanied by a hotspot visible in infrared satellite imagery. On 16 February, a ground observer reported an eruption that produced an ash plume rising 800 m above the summit drifting W, according to a Darwin VAAC notice. Ash plumes continued through the month, drifting in multiple directions and rising up to 2.1 km altitude. During 8-10 March, video footage captured multiple Strombolian explosions that ejected incandescent material and produced ash plumes from the summit (figures 21 and 22). Occasionally volcanic lightning was observed within the ash column, as recorded in video footage by Martin Rietze. This event was also documented by a Darwin VAAC notice, which stated that multiple ash emissions rose 2.1 km altitude drifting SE. PVMBG published a VONA notice on 10 March at 1044 reporting ash plumes rising 400 m above the summit. PVMBG and Darwin VAAC notices described intermittent eruptions on 26, 28, and 29 March, all of which produced ash plumes rising 300-800 m above the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Strombolian explosions recorded at the crater summit of Ibu during 8-10 March 2020 ejected incandescent ejecta and a dense ash plume. Video footage copyright by Martin Rietze, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Strombolian explosions recorded at the crater summit of Ibu during 8-10 March 2020 ejected incandescent ejecta and ash. Frequent volcanic lightning was also observed. Video footage copyright by Martin Rietze, used with permission.

A majority of days in April included white-and-gray emissions rising up to 800 m above the summit. A ground observer reported an eruption on 9 April, according to a Darwin VAAC report, and a hotspot was observed in HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery. Minor eruptions were reported intermittently during mid-April and early to mid-May. On 12 May at 1052 a VONA from PVMBG reported an ash plume 800-1,100 m above the summit. A large short-lived eruption on 16 May produced an ash plume that rose to a maximum of 13.7 km altitude and drifted S, according to the Darwin VAAC report. By June, volcanism consisted predominantly of white-and-gray emissions rising 800 m above the summit, with an ash eruption on 15 June. This eruptive event resulted in an ash plume that rose 1.8 km altitude drifting WNW and was accompanied by a hotspot detected in HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery, according to a Darwin VAAC notice.

The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected frequent hotspots during July 2019 through June 2020 (figure 23). In comparison, the MODVOLC thermal alerts recorded a total of 24 thermal signatures over the course of 19 different days between January and June. Many thermal signatures were captured as small thermal hotspots in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery within the crater (figure 24).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Thermal anomalies recorded at Ibu from 2 July 2019 through June 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were frequent and consistent in power. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) showed occasional thermal hotspots (bright orange) in the Ibu summit crater during January through June 2020. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The truncated summit of Gunung Ibu stratovolcano along the NW coast of Halmahera Island has large nested summit craters. The inner crater, 1 km wide and 400 m deep, contained several small crater lakes through much of historical time. The outer crater, 1.2 km wide, is breached on the north side, creating a steep-walled valley. A large parasitic cone is located ENE of the summit. A smaller one to the WSW has fed a lava flow down the W flank. A group of maars is located below the N and W flanks. Only a few eruptions have been recorded in historical time, the first a small explosive eruption from the summit crater in 1911. An eruption producing a lava dome that eventually covered much of the floor of the inner summit crater began in December 1998.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Martin Rietze, Taubenstr. 1, D-82223 Eichenau, Germany (URL: https://mrietze.com/, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5LzAA_nyNWEUfpcUFOCpJw/videos, video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMkfT1e4HQQ).


Suwanosejima (Japan) — July 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

29.638°N, 129.714°E; summit elev. 796 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent explosions, ash plumes, and summit incandescence in January-June 2020

Suwanosejima is an active stratovolcano located in the northern Ryukyu Islands. Volcanism has previously been characterized by Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and summit incandescence (BGVN 45:01), which continues to occur intermittently. A majority of this activity originates from vents within the large Otake summit crater. This report updates information during January through June 2020 using monthly reports from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

During 3-10 January 2020, 13 explosions were detected from the Otake crater rising to 1.4 km altitude; material was ejected as far as 600 m away and ashfall was reported in areas 4 km SSW, according to JMA. Occasional small eruptive events continued during 12-17 January, which resulted in ash plumes that rose 1 km above the crater rim and ashfall was again reported 4 km SSW. Crater incandescence was visible nightly during 17-24 January, while white plumes rose as high as 700 m above the crater rim.

Nightly incandescence during 7-29 February, and 1-6 March, was accompanied by intermittent explosions that produced ash plumes rising up to 1.2 km above the crater rim (figure 44); activity during early February resulted in ashfall 4 km SSW. On 19 February an eruption produced a gray-white ash plume that rose 1.6 km above the crater (figure 45), resulting in ashfall in Toshima village (4 km SSW), according to JMA. Explosive events during 23-24 February ejected blocks onto the flanks. Two explosions were recorded during 1-6 March, which sent ash plumes as high as 900-1,000 m above the crater rim and ejected large blocks 300 m from the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Surveillance camera images of summit incandescence at Suwanosejima on 29 January (top left), 21 (middle left) and 23 (top right) February, and 25 March (bottom left and right) 2020. Courtesy of JMA (Monthly bulletin reports 511, January, February, and March 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Surveillance camera images of which and white-and-gray gas-and-steam emissions rising from Suwanosejima on 5 January (top), 19 February (middle), and 24 March 2020 (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Monthly bulletin reports 511, January, February, and March 2020).

Nightly incandescence continued to be visible during 13-31 March, 1-10 and 17-24 April, 1-8, 15-31 May, 1-5 and 12-30 June 2020; activity during the latter part of March was relatively low and consisted of few explosive events. In contrast, incandescence was frequently accompanied by explosions in April and May. On 28 April at 0432 an eruption produced an ash plume that rose 1.6 km above the crater rim and drifted SE and E, and ejected blocks as far as 800 m from the crater. The MODVOLC thermal alerts algorithm also detected four thermal signatures during this eruption within the summit crater. An explosion at 1214 on 29 April caused glass in windows to vibrate up to 4 km SSW away while ash emissions continued to be observed following the explosion the previous day, according to the Tokyo VAAC.

During 1-8 May explosions occurred twice a day, producing ash plumes that rose as high as 1 km above the crater rim and ejecting material 400 m from the crater. An explosion on 29 May at 0210 produced an off-white plume that rose as high as 500 m above the crater rim and ejected large blocks up to 200 m above the rim. On 5 June an explosion produced gray-white plumes rising 1 km above the crater. Small eruptive events continued in late June, producing ash plumes that rose as high as 900 m above the crater rim.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed relatively stronger thermal anomalies in late February and late April 2020 with an additional six weaker thermal anomalies detected in early January (2), early February (1), mid-April (2), and mid-May (1) (figure 46). Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery in late January through mid-April showed two distinct thermal hotspots within the summit crater (figure 47).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Prominent thermal anomalies at Suwanosejima during July-June 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) occurred in late February and late April. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing small thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) from two locations within the Otake summit crater at Suwanosejima. Images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The 8-km-long, spindle-shaped island of Suwanosejima in the northern Ryukyu Islands consists of an andesitic stratovolcano with two historically active summit craters. The summit is truncated by a large breached crater extending to the sea on the east flank that was formed by edifice collapse. Suwanosejima, one of Japan's most frequently active volcanoes, was in a state of intermittent strombolian activity from Otake, the NE summit crater, that began in 1949 and lasted until 1996, after which periods of inactivity lengthened. The largest historical eruption took place in 1813-14, when thick scoria deposits blanketed residential areas, and the SW crater produced two lava flows that reached the western coast. At the end of the eruption the summit of Otake collapsed forming a large debris avalanche and creating the horseshoe-shaped Sakuchi caldera, which extends to the eastern coast. The island remained uninhabited for about 70 years after the 1813-1814 eruption. Lava flows reached the eastern coast of the island in 1884. Only about 50 people live on the island.

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — July 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Bagana

Papua New Guinea

6.137°S, 155.196°E; summit elev. 1855 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes during 29 February-2 March and 1 May 2020

Bagana lies in a nearly inaccessible mountainous tropical rainforest area of Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea and is primarily monitored by satellite imagery of ash plumes and thermal anomalies. After a state of elevated activity that lasted through December 2018 (BGVN 43:05, 44:06, 44:12), the volcano entered a quieter period that persisted through at least May 2020. This report focuses on activity between December 2019 and May 2020.

Atmospheric clouds often obscured satellite views of the volcano during the reporting period. When the volcano could be observed, light-colored gas plumes were often observed (figure 43). Based on satellite and wind model data, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) reported that during 29 February-2 March ash plumes rose to an altitude of 1.8-2.1 km and drifted SW and N. On 1 May an ash plume rose to an altitude of 3 km and drifted NW and W. According to both Darwin VAAC volcanic ash advisories, the Aviation Color Code was Orange (second highest of four hazard levels).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Sentinel-2 image of Bagana, showing a gas plume drifting SE on 13 March 2020, during a period when the Darwin VAAC had not reported any ash explosions (Natural Color rendering, bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During the reporting period, the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system recorded only intermittent thermal anomalies, all of which were of low radiative power. Sulfur dioxide emissions detected by satellite-based instruments over this reporting period were at low levels.

Geologic Background. Bagana volcano, occupying a remote portion of central Bougainville Island, is one of Melanesia's youngest and most active volcanoes. This massive symmetrical cone was largely constructed by an accumulation of viscous andesitic lava flows. The entire edifice could have been constructed in about 300 years at its present rate of lava production. Eruptive activity is frequent and characterized by non-explosive effusion of viscous lava that maintains a small lava dome in the summit crater, although explosive activity occasionally producing pyroclastic flows also occurs. Lava flows form dramatic, freshly preserved tongue-shaped lobes up to 50 m thick with prominent levees that descend the flanks on all sides.

Information Contacts: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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 04 (April 2007)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Aira (Japan)

Eruption from E-slope Showa crater on 4 June 2007

Bagana (Papua New Guinea)

Almost daily thermal anomalies over past year; plumes and glow

Bulusan (Philippines)

Continued explosive eruptions and ashfall during October 2006 through May 2007

Home Reef (Tonga)

Island almost gone in mid-February; pumice reaches Australia

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Mild eruptive activity between August 2006 and May 2007

Popocatepetl (Mexico)

Minor explosions and lava dome growth

Raoul Island (New Zealand)

Update on March 2006 eruption; new submarine volcanoes discovered

Santa Ana (El Salvador)

Lahars follow October 2005 eruptions; steam emissions

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Seismic activity continues at a reduced level through 1 June

Stromboli (Italy)

Flank eruption begins on 27 February 2007

Sulu Range (Papua New Guinea)

Non-eruptive, but geysers and indications of a shallow dike intrusion

Tungurahua (Ecuador)

Post-eruptive quiet spurs return of residents, but activity increases again in 2007



Aira (Japan) — April 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

31.593°N, 130.657°E; summit elev. 1117 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption from E-slope Showa crater on 4 June 2007

According to the Sakurajima Volcano Research Center (SVRC) at Kyoto University, an eruption started on 4 June 2006 at the Showa crater, a spot that differs from vents active in recent decades at the summit of Minami-dake ("south mountain"; BGVN 31:06 and many previous reports). The Showa crater resides on the E slope of Minami-dake at an elevation of ~ 800 m (figures 23, 24, and 25). Showa crater was formed in a 1946 eruption; the 1946 vent was the source of lava flows that spread E and then branched to travel S and ENE (figure 25).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Map images showing Sakura-jima stratovolcano and environs on Japan's Kyushu island (~ 1,000 km S of Tokyo). (left) Image from Google Earth showing the S end of Kyushu Island. Population centers are labeled. Sakura-jima forms the dominant topographic feature in Kagoshima Bay. The Osumi Peninsula is to the E; the Satsuma Peninsula to the W. (right) Image from Google Earth showing terrain features looking NW towards the upper portions of Kagoshima Bay. Courtesy of Google Earth.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. A sketch map focused on the geologic context of Sakura-jima, the Aira caldera, and adjacent calderas. The Kagoshima graben forms the Bay of the same name. The graben also lies coincident with several caldera margins. Sakura-jima resides at the S portion of Aira caldera. Modified slightly from Okuno and others (1998).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. A geological map of Sakura-jima shown with several key features and eruptive dates labeled. Topographic highs from N to S include Kita-dake (K), Nika-dake (N), and Minami-dake (M). Craters at the summit of Minami-dake have been the active in past decades, but the eruption that started on 4 June eruption vented at Showa crater (S). An E flank lava flow (the Taisho Lava of 1914-1915) joined what had been an island's SE side to the shore (arrow at lower right labeled "j" aims at the zone of contact). Fringing the roughly circular former island are several areas of submarine volcanic and intrusive deposits (labeled here with the abbreviation "subm."). For example, the large area budding NE from the island consists of submarine and intrusive rocks of 1779-1780. Many of the Holocene eruptive deposits are dacites and andesites. They commonly bear pyroxene (and also sometimes, olivine). Besides lava flows, deposits include welded air-fall and pyroclastic-flow deposits (in some cases showing rheomorphosed textures indicative of movement downslope after forming a welded mass). From the Geologic Survey of Japan, AIST website (after Fukuyama and Ono, 1981 and Kobayashi, 1988).

Unfortunately, at press time many details still remained unavailable to Bulletin editors regarding the duration and character of the return of venting at Showa crater. It is also unclear to what extent the Minami-dake summit craters continued to participate in the emissions.

The 4 June 2006 eruption continued intermittently, including an evening eruption on 7 June which sent an ash column ~ 1 km above the crater. Figure 26 shows one such eruption on 6 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. A photograph of Sakura-jima erupting at 1231 on 6 June 2006 from Showa crater. Courtesy of SVRC, Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University.

A series of plots describe the short- and long-term seismicity and volume of magma supplied at Sakura-jima (figures 27 and 28). The number of shallow earthquakes had increased since the middle of March 2006 (figures 26 and 27), and small volcanic tremors with a duration shorter than 2 minutes had increased since the middle of May 2006. GPS data showed continued inflation in the N part of the Aira caldera, an observation attributed to incoming magma. Kazuhiro Ishihara, director of SVRC, commented that the present eruption was considered to be related to magma accumulating in the Aira caldera and searching for an exit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. A multi-year (1995 to mid-2006) view of Sakura-jima's activity: (top) monthly A-type earthquakes, (middle) monthly number of explosions (determined geophysically, exact method undisclosed), and (bottom) the cumulative volume of magma supplied. Courtesy of SVRC, Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Plot of the daily number of volcanic earthquakes at Sakura-jima for the period 1 January-7 June 2006. Courtesy of SVRC, Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University.

Table 14 presents a chronology of ash-plume observations made since the previous Bulletin report (BGVN 31:06). The table is based primarily on reports from Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) and covers the interval 7 June 2006 to 20 March 2007. Most of the plumes described did not exceed 3 km altitude. The tallest plume recorded on the table, an ash plume on 20 March 2007, rose to 3.7 km altitude.

Table 14. Heights and drift of plumes and their character at Sakurajima from June 2006-March 2007. Some of the data during mid-June 2006 were previously reported, but new information has emerged. Courtesy of SVRC and Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center.

Date Plume altitude/drift Other observations
07-12 Jun 2006 3.4 km --
10 Jun 2006 -- SVRC reported increase in low-frequency earthquakes since mid-March and in small tremors with a less than 2-minute duration since mid-May 2006; thermal anomaly at the volcano grew in size after February 2006.
14, 16, 19 Jun 2006 2.1 km --
02 Aug 2006 2.4 km/SW explosion
09 Aug 2006 2.4 km/straight up eruption
22, 23, 26 Aug 2006 2.4 km/SW eruptions
03-04 Sep 2006 2.7 km/NW and N eruptions
06 Sep 2006 -- explosion generated eruption cloud
19 Sep 2006 3 km/straight up eruption
20, 21 Sep 2006 2.4 km eruptions
07, 08, 10 Oct 2006 1.8-2.4 km/W, S, and SW eruptions
21 Oct 2006 3.4 km/straight up explosions
25 and 27 Oct 2006 2.1-2.4 km/SW and NE ash plumes
04-05 Nov 2006 2.1-2.4 km/NE, SE, E eruptions
22 Nov 2006 2.1 km/W explosions
26 Nov 2006 -- eruption
12 Dec 2006 2.1 km/NE eruption
13 Dec 2006 -- explosion
02 Jan 2007 3.4 km/SW eruption
10 Feb 2007 -- explosion
13 Feb 2007 2.1 km explosion
15 Feb 2007 1.5 km ash plume
20 Mar 2007 3.7 km ash plume

Volcanic hazards research. Lee and others (2005) reported the successful remote measurement of significant amounts of ClO (as well as BrO and SO2) in a volcanic plume from Sakura-jima during May 2004. Near the volcano they also observed halogen-catalyzed, local surface ozone depletion. The investigators employed ground-based, multi-axis, differential optical absorption spectroscopy. Their results help document the presence of a wide range of chemical species that have potential health implications for populations living nearby.

The center of Kagoshima City (population ~ 550,000) sits ~ 10 km from Minami-dake's summit and ~ 4 km from Sakura-jima's E shore (just off figure 24, but along the trend of the arrow labeled KC). According to Durand and others (2001), "Since 1955 the city has been subjected to ashfall from Sakura-jima. Until 1990 ashfalls occurred up to twice per week, although this has decreased in frequency in recent years."

Durand and others (2001) comment that "[Kagoshima City] presents a good opportunity to study the impacts of volcanic ash on key services, or 'lifelines.' In addition, the city provides a chance to see how lifelines have been adapted to counter any problems presented by ashfalls." They also noted that, "The advice from Kagoshima would seem to be that during an ashfall event, people should bring in the washing and shut the doors and windows. People who have to go out and work in ashfall should wear goggles and a face mask. In Kagoshima, umbrellas are the only form of protection for many people going to work during ashfall events."

References. Durand, M.; Gordon, K .; Johnston, D. ; Lorden, R. ; Poirot ,T. ; Scott, J. ; and Shephard, B.; 2001; Impacts of, and responses to ashfall in Kagoshima from Sakurajima Volcano?lessons for New Zealand. Science report 2001/30, Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences; Lower Hutt, New Zealand, November 2001 53p. (ISSN 1171-9184, ISBN 0-478-09748-4).

Fukuyama, H. and Ono, K., 1981, Geological Map of Sakura-jima, scale 1:25,000

Kobayashi, Tetsuo, 1988, Geological Map of Sakurajima Volcano, A Guidebook for Sakura-jima Volcano, in Kagoshima International Conference on Volcanoes, 1988 (1:50,000).

Lee, C., Kim, Y. J., Tanimoto, H., Bobrowski, N., Platt, U., Mori, T., Yamamoto, K., and Hong, C. S., 2005, High ClO and ozone depletion observed in the plume of Sakurajima volcano, Japan, Geophysical Research Letters, v. 32, L21809, doi:10.1029/2005GL023785.

Okuno, Mitsuru; Nakamura, Toshio, and Kobayashi, Tetsuo, 1998, AMS 14C dating of historic eruptions of the Kirishima, Sakura-jima and Kaimon-dake volcanoes, Southern Kyushu, Japan. Proceedings of the 16th International 14C Conference, edited by W. G. Mook and van der Plicht, RADIOCARBON, Vol. 40, No. 2, 1998, P. 825,832.

Geologic Background. The Aira caldera in the northern half of Kagoshima Bay contains the post-caldera Sakurajima volcano, one of Japan's most active. Eruption of the voluminous Ito pyroclastic flow accompanied formation of the 17 x 23 km caldera about 22,000 years ago. The smaller Wakamiko caldera was formed during the early Holocene in the NE corner of the Aira caldera, along with several post-caldera cones. The construction of Sakurajima began about 13,000 years ago on the southern rim of Aira caldera and built an island that was finally joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kitadake summit cone ended about 4850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minamidake. Frequent historical eruptions, recorded since the 8th century, have deposited ash on Kagoshima, one of Kyushu's largest cities, located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km from the summit. The largest historical eruption took place during 1471-76.

Information Contacts: Sakura-jima Volcano Research Center, Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI), Kyoto University, Gokasho, Uji, Kyoto 611-0011, Japan (URL: http://www.dpri.kyoto-u.ac.jp/~kazan/default_e.html); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/).


Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — April 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Bagana

Papua New Guinea

6.137°S, 155.196°E; summit elev. 1855 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Almost daily thermal anomalies over past year; plumes and glow

Brief periods of effusive activity took place during January to mid-April 2006 (BGVN 31:05), with ash-and-steam emissions reported as late as 18 June 2006. Activity has continued since that time through early June 2007, with evidence coming from either MODIS thermal satellite data, observations of glow, or plume observations from the ground or satellites (figure 8). It appears that there were three episodes of increased plume generation, two periods of frequent glow observations, and almost daily MODIS anomalies over that one-year time frame.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Summary of daily activity at Bagana, 18 June 2006-5 June 2007. Plumes are all varieties (steam or ash) reported by RVO or Darwin VAAC; glow as reported by RVO; MODIS data indicates days with at least one thermal pixel detected. Compiled from MODIS/HIGP data, Darwin VAAC reports, and RVO reports.

The Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) noted that between 18 September and 4 December 2006 only white vapor was released; some of these emissions were forceful. Jet engine-like roaring noises were heard on 11 and 20 November. Variable glow was visible on 25-26 September, 15, 20, and 29 October, 15-21 November, and 4 December. The lava flow on the S flank was active only on 15 October.

There were no aviation warnings after June until a diffuse plume became visible on satellite imagery on 22 November. Based on satellite imagery, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) reported subsequent plumes on 5 December (ash), 21-22 December (ash-and steam), and 9 January 2007.

RVO reported that white vapor emissions from the summit crater continued during 10 January-21 May 2007. Emissions were occasionally forceful and were accompanied by ash clouds on 3 and 17 March, as well as 1 and 3-5 April. Summit incandescence was visible on 7, 8, 20, and 24 March, and 17 May. Based on satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported diffuse plumes to altitudes of 2.4 and 3 km on 10 March and 20 May, respectively. Forceful, white emissions on 21 May produced plumes that rose to an altitude of 2.3 km and drifted W. Diffuse ash-and-steam plumes were seen in satellite images again on 22 and 28 May, rising to altitudes of 3.7 and 3 km, respectively.

Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometers (MODIS) satellite thermal anomaly data reported by the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) revealed frequent thermal anomalies during 20 June-24 July 2006, 16 August-3 October 2006, 9 November 2006-23 January 2007, and 13 February-2 June 2007.

Geologic Background. Bagana volcano, occupying a remote portion of central Bougainville Island, is one of Melanesia's youngest and most active volcanoes. This massive symmetrical cone was largely constructed by an accumulation of viscous andesitic lava flows. The entire edifice could have been constructed in about 300 years at its present rate of lava production. Eruptive activity is frequent and characterized by non-explosive effusion of viscous lava that maintains a small lava dome in the summit crater, although explosive activity occasionally producing pyroclastic flows also occurs. Lava flows form dramatic, freshly preserved tongue-shaped lobes up to 50 m thick with prominent levees that descend the flanks on all sides.

Information Contacts: Herman Patia, 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, Northern Territory 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Hot Spots System, University of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).


Bulusan (Philippines) — April 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Bulusan

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued explosive eruptions and ashfall during October 2006 through May 2007

Activity declined at Bulusan in late June 2006 after a series of 10 explosions that began on 19 March 2006 (BGVN 31:09). Between 30 August and 1 September steam plumes reached up to 350 m above the summit; the plumes drifted NW and SE. This report summarizes Bulusan's activity from 10 October 2006 through 12 May 2007 (table 4). Hazard maps created by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) illustrate the risks to the large numbers of cummunities in the vicinity of the volcano (figure 7). Review of the available MODIS data indicates no thermal alerts during the year prior to 31 May 2007.

Table 4. An overview of Bulusan's activity, as noted by PHIVOLCS during 10 October 2006 through 12 May 2007. Courtesy of PHIVOLCS.

Date Plume altitude Drift direction(s) Areas affected by ashfall or lahars Remarks
10 Oct 2006 3 km SSW and SE Irosin: San Benon, Sto. Domingo, and Patag, Bulusan: Bulusan Proper, San Roque, San Rafael, San Francisco, and Dangkalan. Accompanied by rumbling sound.
19 Oct 2006 -- -- Irosin: Monbon, Gulang-Gulang, Cogon (traces of ash); Tinampo (0.5 mm thick ash). Not observed, but recorded as explosion-type earthquake lasting for 2 minutes.
23 Oct 2006 1 km SE and SW Irosin: Monbon and Tinampo (0.5 mm thick ash); Gulang-Gulang, and Tinampo (trace). Accompanied by rumbling sounds.
25-26 Oct 2006 -- -- Irosin: Cogon (sediments 15 cm thick); Lahar (channel-confined muddy stream flow). --
30 Oct 2006 ~1 km N and NW Light ashfalls (trace to 1.0 mm): Casiguran: Inlagadian, San Juan, Casay, and Escuala; Gubat-Bentuco, Tugawe, Benguet, Rizal, Buenavista, Ariman, Tabi, Bulacao, Naagtan, Panganiban, Carriedo, and Gubat proper. Series of three explosion explosion-type earthquakes lasting 35 minutes, accompanied by rumbling sounds.
31 Oct 2006 0.7 km N and NE Casiguran: Inlagadian. Small tremor that lasted for ~8 minutes.
31 Oct 2006 -- -- Irosin: Patag and Mapaso. Not observed due to thick cloud cover; recorded as explosion type earthquake.
21-28 Nov 2006 -- -- -- Seismic swarm - total of 170 events in three days; majority of epicenters more than 2 km away from the summit; 16-87 earthquakes daily.
20 Dec 2006 -- -- Irosin: ashfall at Monbon (1.5 mm), Buenavista (1.5 mm), Salvacion (2.5 mm), Casini (4.0 mm), Patag (trace), Santo (Sto.) Dmingo (trace), Tulay (3.0 mm), Poblacion (0.5 mm), and Bulan-Trece and Gate (trace). Explosion-type earthquake for 20 minutes, accompanied by rumbling sound and lightning flashes.
24 Jan 2007 -- -- Traces of ash in Irosin: Cogon, Monbon, San Benon, Gulang-Gulang (including Sito Omagom) and Tinampo. Explosion-type earthquake for 10 minutes.
26 Jan 2007 1.0 km SW Irosin: Barangay Monbon. Explosion-type earthquake lasting for 10 minutes.
Feb-Mar 2007 -- -- Areas SW of the volcano. Dirty white moderate to voluminous steam emission, no seismic record of ash explosion.
07 Apr 2007 -- -- -- Increase in number of volcanic earthquakes; total of 68 events for two days.
08 Apr 2007 4.0 SW Irosin: Mombon, Tinampo, Cogon, Gulang-Gulang (including Sitio Omagom), Bolos, and Sangkayon; Juban: Bura-buran and Bacolod; Magallanes: Siuton; Bulan: Cadandanan, Busay, Palale, San Francisco, and Sumagongsong. Explosion-type earthquake for 27 minutes.
09 Apr 2007 -- -- -- Not seen, but recorded as explosion-type earthquake lasting for 20 minutes, accompanied by rumbling sounds.
09 Apr 2007 -- -- -- Not observed, but recorded as explosion-type earthquake for 20 minutes.
17 Apr 2007 -- -- -- Increase in number of volcanic earthquakes; total of 35 events for 24 hours.
12 May 2007 4.0 WSW, WNW Trace to 2 mm of ashfall. Irosin: Cogon, Gulang-Gulang, Tinampo, Bolos of Irosin. Juban: Bura-buran, Sangkayon, Bacolod, Puting Sapa, Aniog, and Sitio Cawayan (Bgy. Guruyan). Event accompanied by rumbling sounds; recorded as explosion-type earthquake lasting for 35 minutes; elevated numbers of volcanic earthquakes.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Hazards maps for Bulusan showing susceptibility to pyroclastic flows and surges (left), and lava flows and lahars (right). Courtesy of PHIVOLCS.

PHIVOLCS reported an explosion from Bulusan on 10 October that produced an ash-and-steam plume that rose to 4.5 km altitude and drifted mainly SE and SSW. Light ashfall (1.5-5.0 mm thick) was reported in neighboring towns downwind. Based on seismic data, the activity lasted for 9 minutes. On 11 and 12 October, steam plumes drifted SW and SSW. Another explosion occurred on 19 October. The following day, steam plumes drifted W and WSW. On 23 October, an explosion produced a brownish ash plume that rose to about 2.6 km and drifted SE and SW. Light ashfall (trace to 0.5 mm thick) from the 19 and 23 Cctober explosions was reported from neighborhoods in the municipality of Irosin, about 7 km S of the summit.

During 25-26 October, PHIVOLCS reported a lahar that deposited sediments 15 cm thick along a tributary leading to the Gulang-gulang River. According to news articles, the lahar mobilized boulders as large as trucks and caused at least 96 people to evacuate. During 30-31 October, ash explosions generated a light gray ash-and-steam plume that rose to 2.3 km and drifted NNE. Later field inspection revealed ashfall (trace to 1 mm) N of the volcano, as well as in the municipalities of Casiguran and Gubat, about 12 km SSE and 18 km NNE, respectively, from the summit. Two explosion-type earthquakes recorded late on 31 October were followed by ashfall in Casiguran, Malapatan, and Irosin.

News articles and wire services reported that Bulusan emitted ash accompanied by rumbling noises and lightning flashes on 20 December. Clouds hindered a view of the summit. Ash deposits up to 4 mm thick were noted in several villages in the foothills. A news report in News Balita noted a plume of gas and "white ash" on 22 December.

In January 2007, PHIVOLCS reported that an explosion from the summit on 24 January lasted about 10 minutes, based on seismic interpretation. Observation was inhibited due to cloud cover. Ashfall was reported SW of the volcano.

On 15 March, news media reported that ash fell on Bulusan's SW slopes and nearby villages. A resident volcanologist stated that ashfall was caused by voluminous steaming during 12-15 March, not explosions. Other news articles stated that eruptions on 8 April produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 3.1-6.6 km.

PHIVOLCS reported another ash explosion on 12 May 2007 with an eruption column reaching a maximum height of 4 km above the summit before drifting to the WSW and WNW. The activity was accompanied by rumbling sounds and was recorded by the seismic network as an explosion type earthquake that lasted for about 35 minutes. Prior to the explosion, during 9-12 May, an increase in the daily number of volcanic earthquakes was noticed, with 42, 65 and 97 events recorded.

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

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/jma-eng/jma-center/vaac/index/html); Inquirer.net, Philippines (URL: http://www.inquirer.net/); Associated Press (URL: http://www.ap.org/); News Balita, Philippines (URL: http://news.balita.ph/).


Home Reef (Tonga) — April 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Home Reef

Tonga

18.992°S, 174.775°W; summit elev. -10 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Island almost gone in mid-February; pumice reaches Australia

The new island at Home Reef that was constructed by the 8-11 August 2006 felsic shallow marine explosive eruption (BGVN 31:09) was visited on 18 February 2007 by Scott Bryan (Kingston University, United Kingdom), Alex Cook (Queensland Museum, Australia), and Peter Colls (University of Queensland, Australia). The initial aim of field research was to map and describe the volcanic geology of the new island at Home Reef and to collect samples for comparison to floating pumice generated by the eruption (Bryan, 2007).

Island observations. Satellite imagery on 4 October 2006 showed an 800-m-long elongate island (0.23-0.26 km2), which was being rapidly modified by wave erosion (BGVN 31:10). An overflight by the RNZAF on 7 December 2006 revealed a roughly circular island, 450 m in diameter and up to 75 m above the water line (BGVN31:12). Upon arrival on 18 February 2007, the scientists found that only a small (50-75 m diameter) <5 m high low-relief wave-reworked "pumice mound" remained at the southern windward end of the Home Reef shoal (figure 23). Due to strong winds and large swells, landing on the tidally-exposed mound was not possible and it could only be viewed from a couple of hundred meters offshore. The location of the mound (18.993°S 174.758°W) is close to that reported for the circular island observed on 7 December 2006. Swells 2-m high or greater were strongly impacting the mound, with the largest waves almost completely engulfing and sweeping over the mound at half-tide.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. View to the NW of the wave-reworked pumice mound at Home Reef, as seen on 18 February 2007. The diameter of the mound is ~ 75 m. Note the scattered large blocks on the upper surface of the mound. Late Island is in the background at right. Courtesy of Scott Bryan.

The morphology of the island suggests that no primary subaerial island-building deposits remain from the eruption and that complete reworking has occurred of the previously observed cone. On the southern side of the pumice mound were scattered large (>1 m diameter), outsized blocks (10-20 in number) on the mound surface (figure 23) that were largely immobile in the waves. Slopes of the mound reflected wave run-up and the pumiceous material comprising the mound appeared to be relatively coarse and well-sorted. There was little entrained particulate material in the water column downwind and downcurrent, but considerable amounts of material within the surf zone surrounding the island, coloring the water brown. A considerable area of discolored water (green, translucent milky) extended N of the mound for more than 500 m. Several smaller lobes or plumes extended off the W side of the main body of discoloration.

A strong sulfurous odor was detected downwind (NW) of the mound, indicating that magma was continuing to cool and degas at shallow levels in the seamount seven months after the eruption; no surface plume was visible. Surface water temperature measurements did not detect any thermal anomalies, recording ambient water temperatures (28-29°C).

Local pumice sightings. Downwind and downcurrent of the mound were small scattered pumice stringers forming orange-brown slicks a few meters to tens of meters long, characterized by low pumice clast abundance and size (usually 0.5-1 cm diameter). The pumice fragments were generally moderate to high sphericity grains, but some more platy pumice fragments were also sampled. Some clasts had orange to brown surface stains, reflecting hydrothermal alteration since the eruption. Most grains showed some signs of abrasion. Orange-brown algal clumps or coagulates floating on the ocean surface were associated with the stringers.

Small pumice rafts were also encountered around some of the islands at the SW end of the Vava'u Group during the week of 17-24 February (figure 24). The pumice rafts had lateral extents of tens of meters, but other flotsam (leaf, twig, sea grass and plastics) was also present. Pumice clast sizes ranged from ~ 2 mm up to 6 cm, and some of the gray pumice possessed orange-brown surface hydrothermal staining. Some rafts had abundant attached fauna, dominated bygoose barnacles (Lepas sp.) ~ 2-7 mm long. Much of these pumice rafts reflected remobilization of previously stranded material from neighboring beaches, and many SE-facing beaches had been stripped of pumice by strong SE trade winds.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Pumice slick from Home Reef found on the W side of Nuatapu Island, 21 February 2007. Note other flotsam (leaves, plastic) within the slick. Courtesy of Scott Bryan.

Many beaches had several pumice strandline deposits, the lowermost of which reflected tidal sorting. Dominantly lapilli-sized gray pumice formed the deposits, whereas a black glassy, moderately vesicular pumice of higher density was a notable feature of the highest strandlines. There were also abundant pumice clasts with an orange-brown staining on clast surfaces.

Floating pumice reaches Australia. Pumice rafts and beach strandings were reported previously as the pumice drifted westward past the Lau and Fiji islands and on to Vanuatu in November 2006. A major influx of pumice reached the E coast of northeastern Australia during March and April 2007, seven to eight months after the eruption. Pumice was first noticed passing the offshore islands of Willis Island (16.30°S, 149.98°E) in early February, and Lizard Island (14.66°S 145.47°E) the last week of February. Pumice strandings along the eastern Australian coast began in March in northern Queensland, with a substantial stranding occurring in mid-April corresponding to a change to easterly and northeasterly onshore wind conditions and king tides. This stranding event extended for more than 1,300 km along the Queensland and northern New South Wales coast.

Most stranded pumice clasts ranged in size from 1-4 cm diameter, with the largest clasts up to 17 cm diameter. Pumice clasts were fouled by a variety of organisms, primarily goose barnacles (Lepas sp.) up to 2.7 cm long, molluscs, bryozoa, and dark green algae (figure 25), with serpulids, oysters and other species of algae (e.g., Halimeda) less abundant. A substantial proportion of stranded pumice material remains on beaches inshore from the Great Barrier Reef. However, little stranded material has remained on exposed beaches south of 25°S, to the extent that some beaches still have more pumice preserved from the 2001 eruption of an unnamed Tongan seamount about 85 km NW of Home Reef.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Closeup of a pumice clast from Home Reef that reached Marion Reef (19.095°S, 152.390°E), Australia, fouled by goose barnacles (Lepas sp.), bryozoa, and mollusc. Coin is 2 cm in diameter. Courtesy of Scott Bryan.

Seismicity. Although no seismicity has been reported that was detected during the eruption, Robert Dziak identified seismic signals from Home Reef in March 2006. The East Pacific hydrophone array maintained by NOAA recorded 52 earthquakes over a 12-hour period beginning at 1700 UTC on 12 March 2006. The arrivals were all very clear and had medium to low T-wave amplitudes.

Reference. Bryan, S.E., 2007, Preliminary Report: Field investigation of Home Reef volcano and Unnamed Seamount 0403-091: Unpublished Report for Ministry of Lands, Survey, Natural Resources and Environment, Tonga, 9 p.

Geologic Background. Home Reef, a submarine volcano midway between Metis Shoal and Late Island in the central Tonga islands, was first reported active in the mid-19th century, when an ephemeral island formed. An eruption in 1984 produced a 12-km-high eruption plume, copious amounts of floating pumice, and an ephemeral island 500 x 1500 m wide, with cliffs 30-50 m high that enclosed a water-filled crater. Another island-forming eruption in 2006 produced widespread dacitic pumice rafts that reached as far as Australia.

Information Contacts: Scott Bryan, School of Earth Sciences & Geography, Kingston University, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2EL, United Kingdom; Peter Colls, School of Physical Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland 4072, Australia; Robert Dziak, NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL), Hatfield Marine Science Center, 2115 SE Oregon State University Drive, Newport, OR 97365, USA.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — April 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Manam

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Mild eruptive activity between August 2006 and May 2007

Eruptive activity at Manam has generally been low following a significant explosion in late February 2006 (BGVN 31:02). Between March and July 2006 the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) reported intermittent, milder, ash explosions (BGVN 31:06). Similar variable activity has continued into early May 2007, with plumes frequently identified on satellite imagery by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

RVO received a report that four people were swept away by a mudflow in the early hours of 13 March following heavy rainfall on the northern part of the island. A 5th person was reportedly critically wounded and in a hospital.

Activity during August-December 2006. On 4 and 5 August, an ash plume was visible on satellite imagery extending 30 km NW. Ash plumes were emitted again during 14-15August. Over the next couple of days, the emissions became more diffuse and weak incandescence was observed at night. Based on pilot reports and satellite imagery, continuous emissions during 17-21 August eached altitudes of 3.7 km and drifted NW. Eruptive activity from Main Crater during 22-23 August consisted mainly of dark brown-to-gray ash plumes that rose 1-2 km above the summit and drifted W and NW. The Darwin VAAC reported that eruption plumes were visible on satellite imagery on 23 and 26 August, extending NW. Southern Crater continued to release only diffuse white vapor.

From the end of August to 5 September 2006, the Darwin VAAC reported that ash-and-steam plumes reached altitudes of 4.6 km and drifted W. Steam plumes with possible ash were visible on imagery below 3 km and drifted NE. RVO reported mild eruptive activity during 15-17 October that consisted of steam and ash plumes. White vapor plumes were visible from Southern Crater and intermittently from Main Crater. Main Crater produced gray ash plumes on 19 October. Weak incandescence was seen during 15-17 and 29 October.

During 1-13 November, white vapor plumes rose from Southern and Main craters. Incandescence was noted from both craters during 8-10 November and from Main Crater on 12 November. On 13 November a diffuse plume seen on satellite imagery drifted W. Steady incandescence was again observed from Main Crater during 8-10 December and bluish white vapor emissions during 6-9 December changed to a darker gray on 10 December. Weak glow continued from Main Crater during 14-18 December and a white vapor plume rose just above 2 km altitude. Based on satellite imagery, diffuse plumes drifted mainly W during 13-15 December. The daily number of volcanic earthquakes fluctuated between 700 and 1,000.

Activity during January-May 2007. RVO reported that mild eruptive activity and emissions of white vapor plumes from Main Crater were observed during 1-14 January. Brown-to-gray ash plumes accompanied emissions on 6 and 9-11 January; and nighttime incandescence was observed intermittently. White vapor clouds were occasionally released from Southern Crater. Seismic activity was at low to moderate levels; the daily number of low-frequency earthquakes fluctuated between 500 and 1,000.

Satellite imagery showed diffuse plumes drifting WSW on 15 February. Southern Crater emitted gray ash plumes during 15-19 February and white vapor plumes on 21 February. Continuous gray ash plumes from Main Crater rose to an altitude of 2.3 km and drifted SE during 19-21 February. The daily number of low-frequency earthquakes fluctuated between 400 and 500 during 22-24 February before the seismograph developed technical problems.

Mild eruptive activity continued during 22 February-10 March. Main Crater forcefully released variable gray ash clouds on 22 February that rose less than 1 km above the summit before being blown SE. Incandescence was also visible that day. Poor weather prevented observations for the remainder of the month. When the clouds cleared on 3 March, Main Crater was seen sending ash clouds less than 500 m high. Glow was visible during 2-5 and 9-10 March. Southern Crater released occasional diffuse gray ash clouds on 3-4 and 6 March, but only white vapor on 5 and 7-11 March.

Main Crater continued to release occasional low-level ash clouds through 6 April. Incandescence was visible during clear weather on the nights of 11-12 and 16-18 March. Southern Crater released diffuse white vapor on 11-12 and 15 March; however, diffuse ash clouds were reported on 16-20 March. Weak roaring noises were heard on 24 March, and on 7, 12, and 26 April. Low-level plumes were seen during 25-26 April, and a small plume was blowing W on 28 April. Weak incandescence was again visible from Main Crater on 2 and 4 May. Diffuse plumes were seen in satellite imagery on 6 and 23 May. Seismic activity was at a low level, with the daily number of volcanic earthquakes between 800 and 1,000 events.

Thermal satellite data. Thermal anomalies were not detected by Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometers (MODIS) for 9 months after events related to the 27-28 February 2006 explosion. Anomalies reappeared in December, with hot pixels detected on 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, and 14 December 2006. Another anomaly was recorded on 19 April 2007. Additional thermal anomalies were present on 16 and 23 May 2007. Most of the pixels were located near the summit, or slightly towards the NE. The May anomalies were the furthest down the NE Valley.

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

Information Contacts: Herman Patia and Steve Saunders, 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, Northern Territory 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Hot Spots System, University of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — April 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor explosions and lava dome growth

Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED) reported only sporadic, modest activity at Popocatépetl during early 2006 through April 2007. Based on information from the Mexico City Meteorological Watch Office (MWO), and the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), there were five occasions when ash plumes rose substantially. On 25 and 27 July 2006 ash plumes rose to an altitude of ~ 9.8 km. On 18 and 20 December 2006, ash plumes rose to an altitude of ~ 6.7 km and 7.9 km, respectively. In April 2007, ash plumes rose to ~ 7.6 km on the 1st, and to ~ 7.3 km on the 3rd.

In August 2006, the lava dome that had been irregularly growing since July 2005 covered the floor of the internal crater and began a piston-like growth on the top of the previous dome. The enlarged dome can be seen in an aerial photography taken in 24 November 2006 (figure 51). This formation of the dome was the twenty-sixth such event since 1996.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Aerial photo taken 24 November 2006 showing the growing lava dome at Popocatépetl.The dashed white line defines the dome edge. The lava dome that started growing in July 2005 has covered the floor of the internal crater and began growing on the top of the previous dome. The white areas outside the inner-crater rim are snow cover. Courtesy of the government of the State of Puebla, Mexico.

On 4-5 August and 1-3 November 2006 episodes of large-amplitude harmonic tremor (figure 52) were believed to reflect an increased rate of dome growth. The accumulated volume of the lava dome between November of 2005 and November of 2006 was estimated to be 1,299,000 m3. The average rate growth over that interval is around 0.04 m?/s. Assuming that the dome grows only during the tremor episodes, the rate would be ~ 6.75 m3/s.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Evidence of a large-amplitude, multiband harmonic tremor, showing clear frequency peaks in its spectrum detected in August 2006 at Popocatépetl. The combination of the frequencies appear as moiré shadows in the paper recording.Courtesy of CENAPRED.

Incandescence at the summit was recorded by the CENAPRED camera on 3 August and 4-5 September 2006. Over 27-29 October 2006, eigth small explosions ejected incandescent debris on the slopes surrounding the crater. During November and December 2006, more episodes of low amplitude tremors were recorded. From August to December 2006, 77 volcano-tectonic micro-earthquakes were detected, with magnitudes ranging between 2.0 and 3.0. From these, 66 were located below the crater at depths ranging between 3 and 7 km (figure 53).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Location and depth of micro-earthquakes on Popocatépetl recorded during August to December 2006. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

Hot spots at the summit were detected on satellite imagery by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) on 7-8 January 2007. According to the Washington VAAC, a puff with little ash content emitted from Popocatépetl was reported from the MWO and visible from the camera operated by CENEPRED on 14 February 2007. A very diffuse plume was seen drifting to the E on satellite imagery. Base on an aerial photograph taken on 24 January 2007, CENEPRED reported that the lava-dome dimensions have slightly increased since 24 November 2006.

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

Information Contacts: Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México D.F. 04360, México (URL: https://www.gob.mx/cenapred/); Alicia Martinez Bringas and Angel Gómez Vázquez, CENAPRED; Servando de la Cruz Reyna, Insituto de Geofisica UNAM. Ciudad Universitaria, s/n. Circuito Institutos . Coyoacan México D.F. México; 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/).


Raoul Island (New Zealand) — April 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Raoul Island

New Zealand

29.27°S, 177.92°W; summit elev. 516 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Update on March 2006 eruption; new submarine volcanoes discovered

This report discusses evidence for the end of the March 2006 eruption, and press releases announcing newly acquired multibeam bathymetry that disclosed submarine calderas on the flanks of Raoul Island and some adjacent volcanoes.

End of the March 2006 eruption. After the 17 March 2006 eruption (BGVN 31:03), volcanic activity decreased significantly. On 18 September 2006 the Alert Level was lowered to 0.

GeoNet Science (GNS) summarized the decreased activity in their Volcano Alert Bulletin of 18 September 2006. The report noted an absence of significant earthquakes within ~ 30 km of Raoul Island. The water level in Green Lake had continued to drop and was close to the pre-eruption level by 18 September. On 27 August the lake temperature was 20.3°C, well within the seasonal range. The level of ongoing hydrothermal activity (upwelling in Green Lake, nearby hot pools, and steaming ground) was commensurate with that expected six months after an eruption like that seen in March. Chemical analyses of samples recently collected from some of the thermal features were typical of volcano-hydrothermal features in this environment.

GNS reported that the water level in Green Lake, which had risen significantly during the week after the March 2006 eruption and had drowned several new steam vents, still remained above pre-eruption levels as of July 2006, but thereafter dropped slowly. Upwelling and bubbling of springs indicated the volcanic-hydrothermal system was still weakly active 3 months after the eruption. The water temperature, obtained from a thermal infrared satellite image taken on 11 April 2006, was 39.2°C, was 7°C above the average water temperature in April, but had returned to seasonal temperatures by August 2006.

Only 1 to 5 earthquakes were recorded per day in the months following the eruption. The number of earthquakes 30-40 km offshore was slightly higher than normal.

New submarine volcanoes discovered. Marine geologists who had investigated two volcanoes in the Kermadec Arc during May 2007, discovered two new submarine volcanoes near Raoul Island. The geologists were on a scientific expedition mounted by New Zealand's National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and the University of Auckland aboard NIWA's deepwater research vessel Tangaroa. They investigated volcanoes on the two largest Kermadec Islands (Raoul and Macauley) and their submerged flanks.

A 22 May 2007 press release by NIWA reported that new seafloor observations revealed for the first time the presence of two submerged calderas. Both calderas were relatively small, ~ 4 km in diameter. One caldera was very deep, measuring ~ 1 km from the rim to the crater floor. Both volcanoes appeared geologically young, on the order of thousands of years old, but laboratory analysis of sediments will be needed to better quantify their age.

The expedition took sediment samples and mapped the contours of the volcanoes both above and below sea level (the latter using multibeam sonar). A series of sediment cores taken from E and W of both islands revealed at least six eruptions from the two islands, recorded as centimeter-thick layers up to 100 km from the islands.

Geologic Background. Anvil-shaped Raoul Island is the largest and northernmost of the Kermadec Islands. During the past several thousand years volcanism has been dominated by dacitic explosive eruptions. Two Holocene calderas exist, the older of which cuts the center the island and is about 2.5 x 3.5 km wide. Denham caldera, formed during a major dacitic explosive eruption about 2200 years ago, truncated the W side of the island and is 6.5 x 4 km wide. Its long axis is parallel to the tectonic fabric of the Havre Trough that lies W of the volcanic arc. Historical eruptions during the 19th and 20th centuries have sometimes occurred simultaneously from both calderas, and have consisted of small-to-moderate phreatic eruptions, some of which formed ephemeral islands in Denham caldera. An unnamed submarine cone, one of several located along a fissure on the lower NNE flank, has also erupted during historical time, and satellitic vents are concentrated along two parallel NNE-trending lineaments.

Information Contacts: Steve Sherburn, GeoNet Science (GNS), Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo, New Zealand; Ian Wright, Ocean Geology group, National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA), PO Box 14901, Wellington, New Zealand (URL: http://www.niwascience.co.nz); Roger Matthews, North Shore City Council, 1 The Strand, Takapuna Private Bag 93500, Takapuna, North Shore City, New Zealand (URL: http://www.northshorecity.govt.nz/).


Santa Ana (El Salvador) — April 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Ana

El Salvador

13.853°N, 89.63°W; summit elev. 2381 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lahars follow October 2005 eruptions; steam emissions

Our last report (BGVN 31:01) discussed post-eruption lahars following the sudden 1 October 2005 eruption (BGVN 30:09). This report contains two sections. The first section addresses regional processes such as vegetation loss, ash accumulation, and lahars on and beyond the E flank of Santa Ana (also known as Ilamatepec) to the shores of Lake Coatepeque. Those lahars began soon after the 1 October 2005 eruption. The information on these lahars chiefly came from a report (SNET, 2006) authored by El Salvador's Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET).

The second section addresses monitoring and observations such as extensive steaming and drop in the surface elevation of the lake in the summit crater. Material for this section, primarily found on the SNET website, covers January-April 2006, when activity was fumarolic with no large eruptions. The 1 October 2005 eruption was possibly followed by a second one two days later on 3 October (SNET, 2006). A 3 October eruption was not mentioned in previous Bulletin reports.Carlos Pullinger explained that the evidence for the second eruption was tremor that day, but that could stemmed from other causes such as geysers in the summit crater lake, so the evidence for a 3 October eruption remains equivocal.

E-flank issues. October 2005 volcanism took place coincident with unusually high rains during tropical storm Stan (1-10 October 2005). On the E flank, the October 2005 eruptive episode killed extensive vegetation and left loose ash deposits covering the upper slopes (figure 7).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. A November 2005 photo looking southward showing Santa Ana in the foreground, along with denuded, ash-laden vegetation. A wisp of steam escapes the summit crater, a basin hosting an acidic crater lake. Santa Ana's plumes and October 2005 ash deposits, coupled with other factors such as steep slopes, stress to vegetation, the lack of surviving permeable soils, and regional rainfall have led to a rash of new E-flank lahars. Peaks beyond Santa Ana include its satellitic cone Cerro Verde and then Izalco (sharp peak beyond the notch). Photo from SNET (2006).

Based on a rain gauge 5 km W of the crater (national meteorological station Los Naranjos), rainfall in October averages 193 mm; the yearly average is 2,155 mm. In the months prior to October 2006, rainfall at that station remained at normal values, always below 460 mm per month. In contrast, rainfall reached 865 mm during October 2006. During the peak of the storm, 3-6 October 2005, the Los Naranjos rain gauge collected more than 100 mm per day; the highest reading of 320 mm was on 5 October.

The lahars on Santa Ana's E slope consisted of both material from the October 2005 eruption as well as previous deposits. The first lahar seen by local witnesses took place on the night of 2 October 2005. It carried material up to 2 m in diameter. The lahars that produced most of the damage were those that occurred immediately after the eruption and reached a maximum thickness of 1.5 m. Other lahars descended later in the storm, persisting well into 2006.The 2006 rainy season did not generate damaging lahars, just heavy runoff with minor sediment. In all, SNET seismically registered 22 lahar events, all of which were confirmed by local residents. The communities used tractors used to keep the main drainages open and to build levees, which confined the lahars inside main drainage areas. The SNET website mentioned several lahar episodes during 2006. Some of these episodes occurred in May, June, and July 2006.

A large scallop in the topographic margin of Coatepeque caldera results in Planes de la Laguna (an area of ~ 10 km2), which was where lahars eventually deposited (figures 8 and 9). This area of less steeply sloped, and in places comparatively level, ground contains numerous coffee plantations and small settlements. The largest settlement is El Javillal (figure 8, adjacent Lake Coatepeque).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Lahars displayed as trains of heavy dots on a topographic base map of the E-central side of Santa Ana and the adjacent W side of Lake Coatepeque. (N is towards the top; light grid-lines are 1 km apart, so the distance from the summit on the W to the large lake on the E is ~ 6.5 km.) In general, the lahars descended from W to E. Coatepeque is a 7 x 10 km caldera and the series of dashed lines across the map indicate the caldera's steep-sided topographic margin in. Several caldera domes are labeled, including Cerro Pacho and Cerro Afate. Note the lahar entering the settlement adjacent Lake Coatepeque ("Caserío El Javillal"). From SNET (2006).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. An E-W topographic profile with Santa Ana on the W across to the E side of Lake Coatepeque on the E. Dashed lines indicate the location of Coatepeque's caldera wall. From SNET (2006).

The upslope areas contained numerous channels carrying lahars (figure 8). Several kilometers into the caldera the channels merge as they cross the less steeply sloped Planes de Laguna. The channels eventually grow into two primary channels, La Mina on the S and El Javillal on the N (figure 10). The La Mina channel led directly towards the Cerro Pacho dome, where the lahars proceeded to branch into multiple routes (A, B, C, and D) before entering El Javillal (figure 11).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Annotated aerial photo at unknown date showing part of Coatepeque's Planes de Laguna, W of Santa Ana, taken looking roughly S. The view illustrates lahars in and around El Javillal.The lahars entered the area along two drainages (Quebradas La Mina and El Javillal), both flowing from right to left (arrows). Adjacent to the domes and settlements, the flow patterns become quite complex (as indicated by flow directions A, B, C, and D). Lake Coatepeque appears at the upper left. The steep caldera wall lies along the photo's margin from the upper center to right corner. The large circular dome is Cerro Pacho; the smaller dome to the right is Cerro Guacamayero. Photo from SNET (2006).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Photos showing October 2005 lahar deposits from Santa Ana in El Javillal. Deposits included lava blocks of differing sizes, and a mixture of soil, tree parts, mud, and water. Photos from SNET (2006).

Given the lack of soils and the state of vegetation, lahars were viewed as a potential ongoing hazard. To control lahars, SNET (2006) proposed excavating two channels from the vicinity of the domes to Lake Coatepeque, to carry sediment farther towards the lake. The proposed artificial channels are 2 m deep, with sides that slope at 45° outwards, and with a flat floor 5 m across. One proposed channel follows the S margin of the Cerro Pacho dome, the other follows a path similar to arrow A on figure 10.

Pullinger noted that the jocote de corona crop harvest was not affected because it came out just after the eruption. However, coffee was damaged wherever ash fell. Lahars did not directly hurt coffee plantations, but access roads were damaged and labor for harvesting was minimal, after much of the population had fled.

Monitoring. Moderate seismic activity and steam emissions continued during 2006. During 2006, seismicity was slightly above normal levels. Small earthquakes were interpreted as being associated with gas pulses.

Degassing continued in January 2006 with sporadic gas-and-steam emissions which rose approximately 200 m before dispersing. The SO2 flux ranged between 163 and 1,578 metric tons/day.

On 2 February, there was an increase in seismicity, possibly related to an earthquake on the coast of Guatemala. From 1-7 February the SO2 flux averaged 2,000 metric tons per day. A drop in the water level of the steaming, green-colored acidic lake in the summit crater revealed a local topographic high in the lake's center, which took the form of an irregular island (figure 12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Photo showing the crater lake at Santa Ana volcano. The decrease in the water level has revealed an island of rocks and sediments that was previously covered by the crater lake. Photo taken on 17 February 2006 and provided courtesy of SNET.

Intense bubbling and fumarole activity during 27 February-23 March disturbed the lake's surface and made it difficult to assess the level of the water. During April, instability in the crater led to periodic landslides. One significant landslide deposited material in the SW section of the beach of the crater lake.

Reference. Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET), 2006, Flujos de escombros en la Ladera Oriente del Volcán Ilamatepec, Departamento de Santa Ana: Perfil de Obras de Mitigacion, Enero de 2006, 12 p.

Geologic Background. Santa Ana, El Salvador's highest volcano, is a massive, dominantly andesitic-to-trachyandesitic stratovolcano that rises immediately W of Coatepeque caldera. Collapse of Santa Ana (also known as Ilamatepec) during the late Pleistocene produced a voluminous debris avalanche that swept into the Pacific Ocean, forming the Acajutla Peninsula. Reconstruction of the volcano subsequently filled most of the collapse scarp. The broad summit is cut by several crescentic craters, and a series of parasitic vents and cones have formed along a 20-km-long fissure system that extends from near the town of Chalchuapa NNW of the volcano to the San Marcelino and Cerro la Olla cinder cones on the SE flank. Historical activity, largely consisting of small-to-moderate explosive eruptions from both summit and flank vents, has been documented since the 16th century. The San Marcelino cinder cone on the SE flank produced a lava flow in 1722 that traveled 13 km E.

Information Contacts: Carlos Pullinger, Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET), Alameda Roosevelt y 55 Avenida Norte, Edificio Torre El Salvador, Quinta Planta, San Salvador, El Salvador (URL: http://www.snet.gob.sv).


Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — April 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Soufriere Hills

United Kingdom

16.72°N, 62.18°W; summit elev. 915 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismic activity continues at a reduced level through 1 June

Activity returned to normal levels following the strong explosive episode of 10 September 2006 (BGVN 31:09). Activity after September included an occasional minor explosions, rockfalls, minor pyroclastic flows, venting of ash and gases and steam with emissions reaching up to 3 km altitude, minor ashfalls, and mudflows during heavy rains. In September and October, the minor pyroclastic flows primarily moved down the N and NE flanks of the dome. In January, pyroclastic flows traveled down the Gages Valley, Tyres Ghaut, Belham Valley, Tuits Ghaut, Farrells Plain, and especially the lower Tar River Valley E of the volcano.

Lava-dome growth slowed in March, and by the end of April it appeared to have ceased. On 1 June Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) (figure 75) warned that, while the lava extrusion had ceased and the dome may not be actively growing, it remains as a large mass of partially molten lava capable of collapsing or exploding. According to MVO, the amount of material above Tyres Ghaut to the NW was sufficient to generate pyroclastic flows and surges capable of affecting the lower Belham Valley and other areas.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Map of Montserrat showing the pre-eruption topography of Soufrière Hills. The black circle shows the location of the MVO. The approximate outline of the Tar River delta in July 2004 is shown. Courtesy of Wadge and others (2005).

Data provided by MVO (table 64) shows the elevated seismicity (hybrid earthquakes and rockfall signals) related to the increased activity in late August and early September (BGVN 31:09). The high number of long-period earthquakes in late June reflects the dome collapse at that time (BGVN 31:05). The dramatic decrease in long-period events and rockfalls in mid-March corresponds to the observed reduction in dome growth.

Table 64. Seismicity at Soufrière Hills between 16 June 2006 and 25 May 2007. * Data for the first 4 days only. VT: volcanic tectonic; LP: long-period. Courtesy of MVO.

Date Hybrid EQ's Volcano-tectonic EQ's Long-period EQ's Rockfall signals SO2 flux (metric tons/day)
16 Jun-23 Jun 2006 -- -- 32 51 --
23 Jun-30 Jun 2006 54 4 1236 100 --
30 Jun-07 Jul 2006 17 6 448 194 593
07 Jul-14 Jul 2006 2 1 49 61 468
14 Jul-21 Jul 2006 9 -- 341 293 523
21 Jul-28 Jul 2006 12 -- 190 144 --
28 Jul-04 Aug 2006 -- 2 162 166 120
04 Aug-11 Aug 2006 5 1 100 165 230
11 Aug-18 Aug 2006 8 1 69 253 222
18 Aug-25 Aug 2006 142 -- 124 280 150
25 Aug-01 Sep 2006 30 12 61 588 351
01 Sep-08 Sep 2006 154 1 39 366 160
08 Sep-15 Sep 2006 210 5 38 413 405
15 Sep-22 Sep 2006 17 1 11 279 232
22 Sep-29 Sep 2006 1 -- 21 383 450
29 Sep-06 Oct 2006 -- 3 83 616 144
06 Oct-13 Oct 2006 -- 1 107 585 150
13 Oct-20 Oct 2006 -- 2 107 807 --
20 Oct-27 Oct 2006 2 2 88 732 356
27 Oct-03 Nov 2006 1 -- 110 487 420
03 Nov-10 Nov 2006 1 -- 162 346 520
10 Nov-17 Nov 2006 -- 1 209 565 332
17 Nov-24 Nov 2006 1 1 124 452 845
24 Nov-01 Dec 2006 -- 2 101 298 465
01 Dec-08 Dec 2006 -- -- 81 121 524
08 Dec-15 Dec 2006 -- -- 9 100 574
15 Dec-22 Dec 2006 -- -- 29 257 --
22 Dec-29 Dec 2006 3 6 163 396 200
29 Dec-05 Jan 2007 3 3 22 231 152
05 Jan-12 Jan 2007 -- 2 24 348 159
12 Jan-19 Jan 2007 1 1 2 52 156
19 Jan-26 Jan 2007 -- 7 22 53 204
26 Jan-02 Feb 2007 -- 2 101 57 213
02 Feb-09 Feb 2007 -- 3 69 108 153
09 Feb-16 Feb 2007 -- 3 127 370 --
16 Feb-23 Feb 2007 -- 2 219 353 271
23 Feb-02 Mar 2007 1 1 189 608 157
02 Mar-09 Mar 2007 -- -- 141 594 150
09 Mar-16 Mar 2007 -- 3 61 383 157
16 Mar-23 Mar 2007 1 3 1 124 135
23 Mar-30 Mar 2007 -- 8 5 16 158
30 Mar-05 Apr 2007 -- 17 1 45 1035
06 Apr-13 Apr 2007 -- -- 1 8 3114
13 Apr-20 Apr 2007 -- -- 3 8 203*
20 Apr-27 Apr 2007 -- -- 1 3 476
27 Apr-04 May 2007 -- -- -- 9 223
04 May-11 May 2007 -- -- -- 4 125
11 May-18 May 2007 -- -- -- 2 143
18 May-25 May 2007 -- 1 -- 1 216

Strong activity during mid-September 2006. On 9 and 10 September, vigorous ash venting from the Gages Wall was accompanied by small explosions. Pyroclastic flows from fountain collapse occurred on all sides of the dome and reached 1 km W down Gages valley. On 11 September, the collapse of an overhanging lava lobe produced pyroclastic flows NE down the Tar River valley. One pyroclastic flow in the same area on 13 September reached the sea. On 14 September, vigorous ash venting resumed. Continuous ash and gas emissions during 13-19 September produced plumes that reached altitudes of 2.4-3.7 km. The Gages Wall vent continued to produce ash and gas emissions into mid-October.

Activity during September-December 2006. During 15 September-6 October the lava dome continued to grow at a moderate rate in the summit area and on the S and E sides of the dome. On 22 September the volume of the dome was about 80 million cubic meters. Lava-dome growth was concentrated on the NE part of the edifice from 6 October until 15 December, when growth moved to the SW part of the dome. A new E-facing shear lobe with a smooth, curved back enlarged during 13-20 October.

During 24 November-1 December, the two cracks in the curved back of the shear E-facing lobe on the summit propagated downward and divided the lobe into three blocks. The dome overtopped the NE crater wall and fresh rock and boulder deposits were observed in that region. During 22-29 December, lava-dome growth was focused on the W, where gas-and-ash venting occurred. A high whaleback lobe directed SW was observed on 26 December.

Aviation notices reported continuous ash and gas emissions almost every day from 15 September through 14 November, with plumes rising above 2 km to a maximum of 4.6 km altitude. Plumes extended 140 km W on 2-3 October. During 17-24 November, ash venting originated from the westernmost of two cracks in the curved back of the shear E-facing lobe on the summit. An explosion produced an ash plume that rose to altitudes of 1.5-1.7 km.

Pyroclastic flows occurred regularly as collapses from the dome sent material in all directions. Pyroclastic flows reached both the upper region of Tuitts Ghaut (N) and the sea via the Tar River Valley (E) on 23 November.

Activity during January-March 2007. Rapid lava-dome growth, pyroclastic flows, and ash venting increased during 3-9 January. Dome growth was concentrated in the NW, the highest part of the dome. Pyroclastic flows were observed in Tyres Ghaut (NW), Gages Valley (W), and N, behind Gages Mountain and accompanied by ash venting. On 4 January, simultaneous pyroclastic flows descended Tyres Ghaut and Gages Valley, and a resultant ash cloud reached an altitude of 2.5 km. The maximum distance for the Gages Valley flow was 4 km. During 6-9 January, distances of pyroclastic flows increased in Tyres Ghaut and possibly exceeded 1.5 km.

During 10-16 January, lava-dome growth was focused on the NW quadrant. During 10-11 January, one pyroclastic flow was observed to the W in Gages Valley and one to the NW in Tyres Ghaut. On 15 January, a relatively large pyroclastic flow traveled E down the Tar River Valley. After 15 January, measurable activity was low. Gas and ash venting that originated from the W side of the dome continued. A clear view on 22 January revealed that the collapse scar from the 8 January event was filled in. A small spine was noted on the W side. On 23 January, a large pyroclastic flow traveled down Gages Valley. The Washington VAAC reported that ash plumes were visible during 26-27 January. On 28 January, a large pyroclastic flow traveled down the Tar River Valley and reached the sea. A diffuse plume rose to an altitude of 1.5 km on 31 January.

During 7-13 February, growth of the lava dome continued on the W side, then was concentrated on the E and N sides for the rest of the month. The lava-dome volume in mid-February was estimated at 200 million cubic meters based on LIDAR data. Previous measurements over-estimated the lava-dome volume due to the perceived location of the dome and the lack of data from inside the crater. Small pyroclastic traveled in multiple directions throughout February. Moderate pyroclastic flows traveled down the Tar River Valley during 24-25 and 27 February. Continuous ash emissions were reported during 14 February-6 March, with plumes to altitudes of 2.1-6.1 km.

Lava-dome growth during 2-9 March was concentrated on an E-facing lobe topped with blocky, spine-like protrusions. Rockfalls affected the E and NE flanks. Pyroclastic flows traveled 2 km in the Tar River Valley. Heightened pyroclastic activity on 7 March resulted in an ash plume that rose to an estimated 2.4 km. On 11 March, a pyroclastic flow traveled down the NE flank into White's Ghaut.

During 9-26 March, lava-dome growth was concentrated on the NE side. Intermittent pyroclastic flows traveled E down the Tar River valley and produced ash plumes. One plume on 12 March rose to 3 km altitude. Pyroclastic flows were observed NW in Tyre's Ghaut and ashfall was reported from the Salem /Old Towne areas. During 23 March-3 April, dome growth apparently stopped.

MODIS thermal data indicated hot pixels at the dome and from pyroclastic flows on 24 March. Another thermal anomaly from a pyroclastic flow Tar River was detected on 29 March. No futher anomalies had been recorded by the HIGP Hotspot system through May. However, the Washington VAAC reported that a SW-drifting, diffuse plume and a hotspot were visible on satellite imagery on 2 April.

During 30 March-13 April, small, intermittent pyroclastic flows from the E-facing shear lobe occurred in the Tar River valley (figure 76). Incandescent rockfalls were seen at night during 5-9 April. On 17 April, a small pyroclastic flow was observed to the NW in the upper part of Tyres Ghaut. In mid-April MVO estimated that the lava-dome volume was about 208 million cubic meters.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Photograph taken 4 April 2007 of southern Montserrat and Soufrière Hills from the NE, showing from left the Tar River Delta and the debris fans spilling from Tuitts and Whites Ghauts. Courtesy MVO.

The sulfur dioxide (SO2) flux rate during 6-13 April was high, with an average value of 3,114 metric tons per day (t/d), well above the long-term average for the eruption. The previous week averaged 1,035 t/d, from a low of 71 to a high of 3,818 t/d. The three days from 8 to 10 April showed markedly elevated emissions: 3,550, 7,396 peaking at 7,471 t/d, whereas the remaining days' emissions were extremely low, some below 100 t/d.

During 13-20 April, material originating from the lava dome's E-facing shear lobe was shed down the Tar River Valley. A bluish haze containing sulfur dioxide was observed flowing down the N flanks on 18-20 April. Pyroclastic activity was ongoing on the E and NE sides of the dome during 27 April-4 May. After 4 May the overall structure of the dome changed very little. Low-level rockfall and pyroclastic-flow activity continued into late May.

Reference. Wadge, G., Macfarlane, D.G., Robertson, D.A., Hale, A.J., Pinkerton, H., Burrell, R.V., Norton, G.E., and James, M.R., 2005, AVTIS: a novel millimetre-wave ground based instrument for volcano remote sensing: J. Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 146, no. 4, p. 307-318.

Geologic Background. The complex, dominantly andesitic Soufrière Hills volcano occupies the southern half of the island of Montserrat. The summit area consists primarily of a series of lava domes emplaced along an ESE-trending zone. The volcano is flanked by Pleistocene complexes to the north and south. English's Crater, a 1-km-wide crater breached widely to the east by edifice collapse, was formed about 2000 years ago as a result of the youngest of several collapse events producing submarine debris-avalanche deposits. Block-and-ash flow and surge deposits associated with dome growth predominate in flank deposits, including those from an eruption that likely preceded the 1632 CE settlement of the island, allowing cultivation on recently devegetated land to near the summit. Non-eruptive seismic swarms occurred at 30-year intervals in the 20th century, but no historical eruptions were recorded until 1995. Long-term small-to-moderate ash eruptions beginning in that year were later accompanied by lava-dome growth and pyroclastic flows that forced evacuation of the southern half of the island and ultimately destroyed the capital city of Plymouth, causing major social and economic disruption.

Information Contacts: Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), Fleming, Montserrat, West Indies (URL: http://www.mvo.ms/); 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/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, MODIS Thermal Alert System, School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).


Stromboli (Italy) — April 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Flank eruption begins on 27 February 2007

According to Sonia Calvari of Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV-CT), a flank eruption started on Stromboli volcano on 27 February 2007 and continued to at least 15 March. Compared to the previous flank eruption during 2002-2003, lava effusion was about an order of magnitude greater. Initially, a NE fissure opened on the NE flank of the NE-crater, and lava emitted from the fissure formed three branches and rapidly reached the sea (figure 75).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Lava from Stromboli reaching the sea on 27 February 2007. Courtesy of the INGV-CT 2007 Stromboli eruption web site.

Late on the eruption's first day, the three initial flows stopped and a new vent opened at the E Margin of the Sciara del Fuoco at about 400 m elevation. In a few days, this vent emitted sufficient lava to build a lava bench several tens of meters wide, which significantly modified the coastline. These lava emissions stopped for a few hours on 9 March, after which another vent opened at about 550 m elevation on the N flank of the NE-crater, almost in the same position as one of the vents of the 2002-2003 eruption. The 550-m vent was active for less than 24 hours and, when it ceased emitting lava, the 400-m vent reopened, again feeding lava to the sea.

On 15 March 2007, while the effusion from the 400-m vent continued, a major explosion occurred at 2137 (2037 UTC). This event, similar to that on 5 April 2003 (BGVN 28:04), was recorded by all the INGV-CT monitoring web cams. As in 2003, the 2007 event occurred during a flank effusive eruption, when the summit craters were obstructed by debris fallen from the crater rims. Still images and videos can be downloaded from the INGV-CT webpage dedicated to the 2007 Stromboli eruption.

Satellite imagery. Satellite imagery revealed an ash plume fanning SSE from the eruption site beginning at 1215 UTC on 27 February 2007. Another eruption was observed on MET-8 split-window IR (infrared) imagery on the same day at 1830 UTC. Ash then blew SSE at 46-56 km/hour.

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

Information Contacts: Sonia Calvari, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/); INGV-CT 2007 Stromboli eruption website (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/stromboli2007/main.htm); U.S. Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA)/XOGM, Offutt Air Force Base, NE 68113, USA.


Sulu Range (Papua New Guinea) — April 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Sulu Range

Papua New Guinea

5.5°S, 150.942°E; summit elev. 610 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Non-eruptive, but geysers and indications of a shallow dike intrusion

New and revised information has emerged regarding the behavior of the Sulu Range (Johnson, 1971), a volcanic field adjacent to and immediately E of Walo hot springs along the coast in the N-central part of New Britain Island (BGVN 31:07 and 31:09; figure 3). Initial Rabaul Volcanological Observatory (RVO) reports mentioned apparent steam and ash emission during mid-July 2006, but although weak-to-moderate vapor emission occured, and a later section of this report discusses heightened hot spring activity, the reported "forceful dark emissions" have been instead linked to dust during mass wasting.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. A sketch map of New Britain island showing a small portion of the main island of Papua New Guinea (lower left) and New Ireland (upper right). Volcanoes on or adjacent New Britain are labeled. Volcanoes active and erupting frequently in the last decade include (from the SW) Langila, Ulawun, and Rabaul. Volcanoes that have erupted or undergone anomalous unrest in the past few years include (from the SW) Ritter Island, the Garbuna group, Pago, Sulu Range, and Bamus.

In a 12 April Email message, Steve Saunders clarified the latest RVO views on Sulu's behavior. He noted that ". . . Sulu did not erupt! It was purely a series of seismic cris[es]. The 'emissions' which were reported before we got there turned out to be dust from landslides."

Unusually vigorous hot springs, declining seismicity. Following the first two weeks of unrest during mid-July at Sulu Range, an RVO report discussing 31 July to 2 August activity stated that area hot springs such as those at Walo were undergoing unusually strong activity. This included expelled mud, the emergence of geysers, and abnormal quantities of steam.

RVO noted waning seismicity in late July. Seismicity had declined to relatively low levels, although small volcano-tectonic events continued to be recorded. The small earthquakes were centered around the settlements of Silanga, Sege, and Sale (figure 4; respectively, from Mt.Ruckenberg's summit, located 12.7 km to the SW; 7.2 km SW, and 5.5 km S). The 31 July to 2 August earthquakes were described as more irregular and less frequent than those in preceeding weeks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Geological map showing the cluster of overlapping cones of the Sulu Range. Walo village lies just off the map near the coast within a few kilometers of the map 's W margin. The thermal area by the same name lies ~ 5 km SW of Lava Point. The prominent cone on the N edge of the Range is called Mount Ruckenberg or Mount Karai. The initial "vent location" was 2 km SW of Mount Karai between Ubia and Ululu volcanoes. Part of that area is crossed by two parallel, closely spaced faults. The narrow zone between those faults was down-thrown. A SW-directed debris flow was also mapped near this area. Three centers in the N, Ruckenberg (Karai), Kaiamu maar, and Voku, are specifically mentioned in the text as areas with recently documented Holocene activity. Modified from a map by Chris McKee, RVO.

The pattern of located earthquakes defined an irregular ellipse, with major axis 9 km E-W. Two earthquakes represented a 1-2 km extension N from the ellipse under Bangula Bay. There were also two earthquakes offshore about 4-5 km due N of Cape Reilnitz, a broad promontory the most extreme point of which lies 18 km to the W of Mt. Ruckenberg's summit. As of the end of July an area devoid of earthquakes remained; it was 2-3 km in diameter and centered on Walo village.

The RVO estimated that the top of the underlying magma body was 10-15 km deep when volcano-tectonic earthquakes began on 6 July 2006. They judged that volatiles or heat escaping from the magma were responsible for onset of the mud and water ejections at the once quiet hot springs.

Postulated intrusion. Randy White (US Geological Survey) analyzed the July seismic crisis, which in his interpretation did not follow the pattern of a tectonic earthquake with a main shock and associated aftershocks, but did follow behavior of many earthquakes accompanying the onset of volcanic unrest. He attributed the seismicity to a dike intruded to shallow depth (and confined to the subsurface). According to White, the epicenters well outboard of, but surrounding the area of intrusion, occurred in a pattern similar to those accompanying many shallow intrusions.

The elevated seismicity began after a volcano-tectonic earthquake, M ~ 6 on 19 July (BGVN 31:07). It was located on the N side of New Britain, slightly offshore, and a few ten's of kilometers from the Sulu Range. The focal depth was thought to be in the 10-20 km range. White noted that soon after the 19 July earthquake, Australia provided portable seismometers. Once those arrived and began recording data, computed moment tensors indicated that subsequent earthquakes were very shallow. Epicenters occurred slightly W of the Sulu Range.

Short level-lines installed by RVO in August 2006 showed, by November, ~ 2 cm of deflation of the Kaiamu area in relation to a datum ~ 1 km E on the Kaiamu-Sulu track. By April 2006 the measured levels had returned to approximately the August datum line.

To the W of the area at Lasibu a similar pattern existed, with over 2.5 cm of deflation locally measured by November and an approximate return to the datum-line by April 2006. The center of the area delimited by seismicity is swamp and difficult to access. Google satellite images show an interesting series of raised shorelines W of Kaiamu.

Upon prompting from White, Chuck Wicks acquired satellite radar (L-band imagery) from Japanese collaborators for the Sulu Range. The radar data were taken weeks before and weeks after the July seismicity. When processed to obtain radar interferometry, the data indicated over 80 cm of vertical surface deformation. The deformation was centered in a region W of the Sulu Range along an area along the coast ~ 5 km W of Lava Point (Lara Point on some maps). It trends ENE. The data were interpreted as a shallow dike intrusion on the order of ~ 8 m wide trending out beneath Bangula Bay.

Wick's preliminary analysis suggests the intrusion's volume may be on the order of one cubic kilometer. White's qualitative estimate of the volume, from the intensity, style, and duration of the seismicity, were consistent with that analysis. In addition, the strike-slip focal mechanisms seen in the seismic data suggested the dike-intrusion episode caused movement along a nearby strike-slip fault.

Geological investigations conducted in the past several months by Herman Patia and Chris McKee indicated that Sulu Range has been quite active 'recently.' The latest eruptive phase at Kaiamu maar was radiocarbon-dated at 1,300 BP. Since that time at least seven eruptions have taken place at other vents, notably Voko, involving phreatomagmatic eruptions. Ruckenberg (Karai) appears to be the source of the most recent activity. Within the last 200 years it produced lava flows.

Reference. Johnson, RW., 1971, Bamus volcano, Lake Hargay area, and Sulu Range, New Britain: Volcanic geology and petrology: Australia Department of National Development, Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics, Record 1971/55.

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

Information Contacts: Steve Saunders, Herman Patia, and Chris McKee, Rabaul Volcanological Observatory (RVO), Department of Mining, Private Mail Bag, Port Moresby Post Office, National Capitol District, Papua New Guinea; USGS Earthquakes Hazard Program (URL: http://earthquakes.usgs.gov/); Randy White and Chuck Wicks, US Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Rd., MS 977, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA; United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (URL: https://reliefweb.int/).


Tungurahua (Ecuador) — April 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Tungurahua

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Post-eruptive quiet spurs return of residents, but activity increases again in 2007

This report covers the time interval early January to 2 March 2007, based on Special Reports of the Ecuadorian Geophysical Institute (IG). This reporting interval was mainly one of relative quiet. In contrast, our previous report (BGVN 32:12), covered IG reports describing energetic eruptions of July and August 2006. Those IG reports also mentioned eruption-related fatalities and the discovery of a new growing bulge on the volcano's N flank. A map and geographic background were tabulated in BGVN 29:01.

Relative quiet prevails and some residents return. As touched on in BGVN 32:12, after August 2006, the volcanic vigor at Tungurahua was minimal and of low energy. The decrease in activity was gradual through mid-December 2006. The vigor remained low until mid-January 2007. Ash emissions did occur but were consistently minor.

IG reports noted that the relative tranquility at Tungurahua could reflect a pattern similar to that seen there in 1918. That was a case when various months of volcanic quiet occurred, only to be followed by explosive eruptions of large size. The latter generated pyroclastic flows.

During the quiet that followed the July and August 2006 eruptions, residents who had evacuated from the margins of the volcano returned to their properties. The IG noted that, unfortunately, these returning residents became more vulnerable to volcanic hazards and made emergency response more difficult.

Vigor increases. Between 20 January and 5 February 2007 internal seismic activity resumed, behavior consisting of a few earthquakes inferred as associated with fractures (volcano-tectonic earthquakes, VTs). On 13 February the volcano emitted an eruptive column with moderate ash content. After 19 February there was a reoccurrence of seismic VTs. These were of shorter duration but higher intensity than those that occurred during the previous period.

During 23-24 February 2007, volcanic tremors and seismic LP's were registered at the Volcanic Observatory of Tungurahua (VOT). At 0310 on 24 February, VOT staff and local observers reported continuous roars of moderate intensity, and discharge of incandescent material that both rose to ~ 800 m above the summit and descended ~ 1000 m down the volcano's flanks.

The emission column headed NW. Fine tephra fell, followed by a thick ashfall that was black in color. It left a deposit 3 mm thick in the towns of Pillate and San Juan. Reports received from Cotaló, Bilbao, Manzano, and Choglontús that indicate a thick, dark ashfall in those spots left a deposit 2 mm thick. Ashfall was also reported in the area of Quero.

Seismic activity decreased on 24 February as well as the intensity and frequency of the roars. As of 2 March, sporadic explosions of ash and incandescent material had been observed. Around this time some bad weather prevented clear views of the upper volcano; however, some reporters noted minor ashfall along the SW portion of the crater. Additionally, the SO2 flux increased to ~ 2,000 metric tons a day for the first time since the beginning of the year. The IG's "Seismic Activity Index" indicated an increase of the volcano's internal activity.

Two scenarios envisioned. Given the available data, the IG concluded that the volcano had received a new influx of magma. They proposed two potential scenarios: (1) the current levels of activity will continue and constant emissions of ash, (potentially more intense) will be generated. Ash clouds will be blown by winds that at this time of the year are predominantly westerly, with occasional S and NW variations. These ash clouds could generate heavy ashfall in the towns downwind from the volcano; or (2) the volume and speed of ascent of the magmatic gases originating from the new magma will increase dramatically, in which case, new explosive eruptions of pyroclastic flows similar to those on 14 July and 16 August could occur.

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

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

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements  Obituaries

Misc Reports

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

Additional Reports  False Reports