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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

San Miguel (El Salvador) Small ash emissions during 22 February 2020

Cleveland (United States) Intermittent thermal anomalies and lava dome subsidence, February 2019-January 2020

Ambrym (Vanuatu) Fissure eruption in December 2018 produces an offshore pumice eruption after lava lakes drain

Copahue (Chile-Argentina) Ash emissions end on 12 November; lake returns to El Agrio Crater in December 2019

Nishinoshima (Japan) Ongoing activity enlarges island with lava flows, ash plumes, and incandescent ejecta, December 2019-February 2020

Krakatau (Indonesia) Tephra and steam explosions in the crater lake; explosions in December 2019 build a tephra cone

Mayotte (France) Seismicity and deformation, with submarine E-flank volcanism starting in July 2018

Fernandina (Ecuador) Fissure eruption produced lava flows during 12-13 January 2020

Masaya (Nicaragua) Lava lake persists with lower temperatures during August 2019-January 2020

Reventador (Ecuador) Nearly daily ash emissions and frequent incandescent block avalanches August 2019-January 2020

Pacaya (Guatemala) Continuous explosions, small cone, and lava flows during August 2019-January 2020

Kikai (Japan) Single explosion with steam and minor ash, 2 November 2019



San Miguel (El Salvador) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

San Miguel

El Salvador

13.434°N, 88.269°W; summit elev. 2130 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash emissions during 22 February 2020

San Miguel, locally known as Chaparrastique, is a stratovolcano located in El Salvador. Recent activity has consisted of occasional small ash explosions and ash emissions. Infrequent gas-and-steam and ash emissions were observed during this reporting period of June 2018-March 2020. The primary source of information for this report comes from El Salvador's Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET) and special reports from the Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN) in addition to various satellite data.

Based on Sentinel-2 satellite imagery and analyses of infrared MODIS data, volcanism at San Miguel from June 2018 to mid-February was relatively low, consisting of occasional gas-and-steam emissions. During 2019, a weak thermal anomaly in the summit crater was registered in thermal satellite imagery (figure 27). This thermal anomaly persisted during a majority of the year but was not visible after September 2019; faint gas-and-steam emissions could sometimes be seen rising from the summit crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of a faint but consistent thermal anomaly at San Miguel during 2019. Images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Volcanism was prominent beginning on 13-20 February 2020 when SO2 emissions exceeded 620 tons/day (typical low SO2 values are less than 400 tons/day). During 20-21 February the amplitude of microearthquakes increased and minor emissions of gas-and-steam and SO2 were visible within the crater (figure 28). According to SNET and special reports from MARN, on 22 February at 1055 an ash cloud was visible rising 400 m above the crater rim (figure 29), resulting in minor ashfall in Piedra Azul (5 km SW). That same day RSAM values peaked at 550 units as recorded by the VSM station on the upper N flank, which is above normal values of about 150. Seismicity increased the day after the eruptive activity. Minor gas-and-steam emissions continued to rise 400 m above the crater rim during 23-24 February; the RSAM values fell to 33-97 units. Activity in March was relatively low; some seismicity, including small magnitude earthquakes, occurred during the month in addition to SO2 emissions ranging from 517 to 808 tons/day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Minor gas-and-steam emissions rising from the crater at San Miguel on 21 February 2020. Courtesy of Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Gas-and-steam and ash emissions rising from the crater at San Miguel on 22 February 2020. Courtesy of Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN).

Geologic Background. The symmetrical cone of San Miguel volcano, one of the most active in El Salvador, rises from near sea level to form one of the country's most prominent landmarks. The unvegetated summit rises above slopes draped with coffee plantations. A broad, deep crater complex that has been frequently modified by historical eruptions (recorded since the early 16th century) caps the truncated summit, also known locally as Chaparrastique. Radial fissures on the flanks of the basaltic-andesitic volcano have fed a series of historical lava flows, including several erupted during the 17th-19th centuries that reached beyond the base of the volcano on the N, NE, and SE sides. The SE-flank flows are the largest and form broad, sparsely vegetated lava fields crossed by highways and a railroad skirting the base of the volcano. The location of flank vents has migrated higher on the edifice during historical time, and the most recent activity has consisted of minor ash eruptions from the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET), Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN), Km. 5½ Carretera a Nueva San Salvador, Avenida las Mercedes, San Salvador, El Salvador (URL: http://www.snet.gob.sv/ver/vulcanologia); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Cleveland (United States) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Cleveland

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal anomalies and lava dome subsidence, February 2019-January 2020

Cleveland is a stratovolcano located in the western portion of Chuginadak Island, a remote island part of the east central Aleutians. Common volcanism has included small lava flows, explosions, and ash clouds. Intermittent lava dome growth, small ash explosions, and thermal anomalies have characterized more recent activity (BGVN 44:02). For this reporting period during February 2019-January 2020, activity largely consisted of gas-and-steam emissions and intermittent thermal anomalies within the summit crater. The primary source of information comes from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) and various satellite data.

Low levels of unrest occurred intermittently throughout this reporting period with gas-and-steam emissions and thermal anomalies as the dominant type of activity (figures 30 and 31). An explosion on 9 January 2019 was followed by lava dome growth observed during 12-16 January. Suomi NPP/VIIRS sensor data showed two hotspots on 8 and 14 February 2019, though there was no evidence of lava within the summit crater at that time. According to satellite imagery from AVO, the lava dome was slowly subsiding during February into early March. Elevated surface temperatures were detected on 17 and 24 March in conjunction with degassing; another gas-and-steam plume was observed rising from the summit on 30 March. Thermal anomalies were again seen on 15 and 28 April using Suomi NPP/VIIRS sensor data. Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions continued as the number of detected thermal anomalies slightly increased during the next month, occurring on 1, 7, 15, 18, and 23 May. A gas-and-steam plume was observed on 9 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity (log radiative power) at Cleveland during 4 February 2019 through January 2020 shows increased thermal anomalies between mid-April to late November 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) confirmed intermittent thermal signatures occurring in the summit crater during March 2019 through October 2019. Some gas-and-steam plumes were observed accompanying the thermal anomaly, as seen on 17 March 2019 and 8 May 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

There were 10 thermal anomalies observed in June, and 11 each in July and August. Typical mild degassing was visible when photographed on 9 August (figure 32). On 14 August, seismicity increased, which included a swarm of a dozen local earthquakes. The lava dome emplaced in January was clearly visible in satellite imagery (figure 33). The number of thermal anomalies decreased the next month, occurring on 10, 21, and 25 September. During this month, a gas-and-steam plume was observed in a webcam image on 6, 8, 20, and 25 September. On 3-6, 10, and 21 October elevated surface temperatures were recorded as well as small gas-and-steam plumes on 4, 7, 13, and 20-25 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Photograph of Cleveland showing mild degassing from the summit vent taken on 9 August 2019. Photo by Max Kaufman; courtesy of AVO/USGS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Satellite image of Cleveland showing faint gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit crater. High-resolution image taken on 17 August 2019 showing the lava dome from January 2019 inside the crater (dark ring). Image created by Hannah Dietterich; courtesy of AVO/USGS and DigitalGlobe.

Four thermal anomalies were detected on 3, 6, and 8-9 November. According to a VONA report from AVO on 8 November, satellite data suggested possible slow lava effusion in the summit crater; however, by the 15th no evidence of eruptive activity had been seen in any data sources. Another thermal anomaly was observed on 14 January 2020. Gas-and-steam emissions observed in webcam images continued intermittently.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows intermittent weak thermal anomalies within 5 km of the crater summit during mid-April through November 2019 with a larger cluster of activity in early June, late July and early October (figure 30). Thermal satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 also detected weak thermal anomalies within the summit crater throughout the reporting period, occasionally accompanied by gas-and-steam plumes (figure 31).

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

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


Ambrym (Vanuatu) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambrym

Vanuatu

16.25°S, 168.12°E; summit elev. 1334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fissure eruption in December 2018 produces an offshore pumice eruption after lava lakes drain

Ambrym is an active volcanic island in the Vanuatu archipelago consisting of a 12 km-wide summit caldera. Benbow and Marum are two currently active craters within the caldera that have produced lava lakes, explosions, lava flows, ash, and gas emissions, in addition to fissure eruptions. More recently, a submarine fissure eruption in December 2018 produced lava fountains and lava flows, which resulted in the drainage of the active lava lakes in both the Benbow and Marum craters (BGVN 44:01). This report updates information from January 2019 through March 2020, including the submarine pumice eruption during December 2018 using information from the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (VMGD) and research by Shreve et al. (2019).

Activity on 14 December 2018 consisted of thermal anomalies located in the lava lake that disappeared over a 12-hour time period; a helicopter flight on 16 December confirmed the drainage of the summit lava lakes as well as a partial collapse of the Benbow and Marum craters (figure 49). During 14-15 December, a lava flow (figure 49), accompanied by lava fountaining, was observed originating from the SE flank of Marum, producing SO2 and ash emissions. A Mw 5.6 earthquake on 15 December at 2021 marked the beginning of a dike intrusion into the SE rift zone as well as a sharp increase in seismicity (Shreve et al., 2019). This intrusion extended more than 30 km from within the caldera to beyond the east coast, with a total volume of 419-532 x 106 m3 of magma. More than 2 m of coastal uplift was observed along the SE coast due to the asymmetry of the dike from December, resulting in onshore fractures.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Ambrym before the December 2018 eruption (left), and during the eruption (right). Before the eruption, the thermal signatures within both summit craters were strong and after the eruption, the thermal signatures were no longer detected. A lava flow was observed during the eruption on 15 December. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Shreve et al. (2019) state that although the dike almost reached the surface, magma did not erupt from the onshore fractures; only minor gas emissions were detected until 17 December. An abrupt decrease in the seismic moment release on 17 December at 1600 marked the end of the dike propagation (figure 50). InSAR-derived models suggested an offshore eruption (Shreve et al., 2019). This was confirmed on 18-19 December when basaltic pumice, indicating a subaqueous eruption, was collected on the beach near Pamal and Ulei. Though the depth and exact location of the fissure has not been mapped, the nature of the basaltic pumice would suggest it was a relatively shallow offshore eruption, according to Shreve et al. (2019).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Geographical timeline summary of the December 2018 eruptive events at Ambrym. The lava lake level began to drop on 14 December, with fissure-fed lava flows during 14-15 December. After an earthquake on 15 December, a dike was detected, causing coastal uplift as it moved E. As the dike continued to propagate upwards, faulting was observed, though magma did not breach the surface. Eventually a submarine fissure eruption was confirmed offshore on 18-19 December. Image modified from Shreve et al. (2019).

In the weeks following the dike emplacement, there was more than 2 m of subsidence measured at both summit craters identified using ALOS-2 and Sentinel-1 InSAR data. After 22 December, no additional large-scale deformation was observed, though a localized discontinuity (less than 12 cm) measured across the fractures along the SE coast in addition to seismicity suggested a continuation of the distal submarine eruption into late 2019. Additional pumice was observed on 3 February 2019 near Pamal village, suggesting possible ongoing activity. These surveys also noted that no gas-and-steam emissions, lava flows, or volcanic gases were emitted from the recently active cracks and faults on the SE cost of Ambrym.

During February-October 2019, onshore activity at Ambrym declined to low levels of unrest, according to VMGD. The only activity within the summit caldera consisted of gas-and-steam emissions, with no evidence of the previous lava lakes (figure 51). Intermittent seismicity and gas-and-steam emissions continued to be observed at Ambrym and offshore of the SE coast. Mével et al. (2019) installed three Trillium Compact 120s posthole seismometers in the S and E part of Ambrym from 25 May to 5 June 2019. They found that there were multiple seismic events, including a Deep-Long Period event and mixed up/down first motions at two stations near the tip of the dike intrusion and offshore of Pamal at depths of 15-20 km below sea level. Based on a preliminary analysis of these data, Mével et al. (2019) interpreted the observations as indicative of ongoing volcanic seismicity in the region of the offshore dike intrusion and eruption.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Aerial photograph of Ambrym on 12 August 2019 showing gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit caldera. Courtesy of VMGD.

Seismicity was no longer reported from 10 October 2019 through March 2020. Thermal anomalies were not detected in satellite data except for one in late April and one in early September 2019, according to MODIS thermal infrared data analyzed by the MIROVA system. The most recent report from VMGD was issued on 27 March 2020, which noted low-level unrest consisting of dominantly gas-and-steam emissions.

References:

Shreve T, Grandin R, Boichu M, Garaebiti E, Moussallam Y, Ballu V, Delgado F, Leclerc F, Vallée M, Henriot N, Cevuard S, Tari D, Lebellegard P, Pelletier B, 2019. From prodigious volcanic degassing to caldera subsidence and quiescence at Ambrym (Vanuatu): the influence of regional tectonics. Sci. Rep. 9, 18868. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-55141-7.

Mével H, Roman D, Brothelande E, Shimizu K, William R, Cevuard S, Garaebiti E, 2019. The CAVA (Carnegie Ambrym Volcano Analysis) Project - a Multidisciplinary Characterization of the Structure and Dynamics of Ambrym Volcano, Vanuatu. American Geophysical Union, Fall 2019 Meeting, Abstract and Poster V43C-0201.

Geologic Background. Ambrym, a large basaltic volcano with a 12-km-wide caldera, is one of the most active volcanoes of the New Hebrides Arc. A thick, almost exclusively pyroclastic sequence, initially dacitic then basaltic, overlies lava flows of a pre-caldera shield volcano. The caldera was formed during a major Plinian eruption with dacitic pyroclastic flows about 1,900 years ago. Post-caldera eruptions, primarily from Marum and Benbow cones, have partially filled the caldera floor and produced lava flows that ponded on the floor or overflowed through gaps in the caldera rim. Post-caldera eruptions have also formed a series of scoria cones and maars along a fissure system oriented ENE-WSW. Eruptions have apparently occurred almost yearly during historical time from cones within the caldera or from flank vents. However, from 1850 to 1950, reporting was mostly limited to extra-caldera eruptions that would have affected local populations.

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Copahue (Chile-Argentina) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Copahue

Chile-Argentina

37.856°S, 71.183°W; summit elev. 2953 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions end on 12 November; lake returns to El Agrio Crater in December 2019

Most of the large edifice of Copahue lies high in the central Chilean Andes, but the active El Agrio crater lies on the Argentinian side of the border at the W edge of the Pliocene Caviahue caldera. Infrequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 18th century. The most recent eruptive episode began with phreatic explosions and ash emissions on 2 August 2019 that continued until mid-November 2019. This report summarizes activity from November 2019 through February 2020 and is based on reports issued by Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN) Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), satellite data, and photographs from nearby residents.

MIROVA data indicated a few weak thermal anomalies during mid-October to mid-November 2019. Multiple continuous ash emissions were reported daily until mid-November when activity declined significantly. By mid-December the lake inside El Agrio crater had reappeared and occasional steam plumes were the only reported surface activity at Copahue through February 2020.

The Buenos Aires VAAC and SERNAGEOMIN both reported continuous ash emissions during 1-9 November 2019 that were visible in the webcam. Satellite imagery recorded the plumes drifting generally E or NE at 3.0-4.3 km altitude (figure 49). Most of the emissions on 10 November were steam (figure 50). The last pulse of ash emissions occurred on 12 November with an ash plume visible moving SE at 3 km altitude in satellite imagery and a strong thermal anomaly (figure 51). The following day emissions were primarily steam and gas. SERNAGEOMIN noted the ash emissions rising around 800 m above El Agrio crater and also reported incandescence visible during most nights through mid-November. During the second half of November the constant degassing was primarily water vapor with occasional nighttime incandescence. Steam plumes rose 450 m above the crater on 27 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Continuous ash emissions at Copahue during 1-9 November 2019 were visible in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 2 and 7 November 2019 drifting NE. Natural color rendering uses bands 4,3, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Most of the emissions from Copahue on 10 November 2019 were steam. Left image courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina. Right image courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground, natural color rendering using bands 4, 3, and 2.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. A strong thermal anomaly and an ash plume at Copahue were visible in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 12 November 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground, Atmospheric penetration rendering bands 12, 11, and 8A.

Nighttime incandescence was last observed in the SERNAGEOMIN webcam on 1 December; SERNAGEOMIN lowered the alert level from Yellow to Green on 15 December 2019. Throughout December degassing consisted mainly of minor steam plumes (figure 52), the highest plume rose to 300 m above the crater on 18 December, and minor SO2 plumes persisted through the 21st (figure 53),. By mid-December the El Agrio crater lake was returning and satellite images clearly showed the increase in size of the lake through February (figure 54). The only surface activity reported during January and February 2020 was occasional white steam plumes rising near El Agrio crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Small wisps of steam were the only emissions from Copahue on 3 December 2019. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Small plumes of SO2 were recorded at Copahue during November and December 2019. Top row: 7, 9, and 30 November. Bottom row: 1, 20, and 21 December. Courtesy of Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, NASA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. The lake within El Agrio crater reappeared between 5 and 12 December 2019 and continued to grow in size through the end of January 2020. Top row (left to right): There was no lake inside the crater on 5 December 2019, only a small steam plume rising from the vent. The first water was visible on 12 December and was slightly larger a few days later on 17 December. Bottom row (left to right): the lake was significantly larger on 4 January 2020 filling an embayment close to the steam vent. Fingers of water filled in areas of the crater as the water level rose on 24 and 29 January. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Volcán Copahue is an elongated composite cone constructed along the Chile-Argentina border within the 6.5 x 8.5 km wide Trapa-Trapa caldera that formed between 0.6 and 0.4 million years ago near the NW margin of the 20 x 15 km Pliocene Caviahue (Del Agrio) caldera. The eastern summit crater, part of a 2-km-long, ENE-WSW line of nine craters, contains a briny, acidic 300-m-wide crater lake (also referred to as El Agrio or Del Agrio) and displays intense fumarolic activity. Acidic hot springs occur below the eastern outlet of the crater lake, contributing to the acidity of the Río Agrio, and another geothermal zone is located within Caviahue caldera about 7 km NE of the summit. Infrequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions from the crater lake have ejected pyroclastic rocks and chilled liquid sulfur fragments.

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


Nishinoshima (Japan) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nishinoshima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing activity enlarges island with lava flows, ash plumes, and incandescent ejecta, December 2019-February 2020

After 40 years of dormancy, Japan’s Nishinoshima volcano, located about 1,000 km S of Tokyo in the Ogasawara Arc, erupted above sea level in November 2013. Lava flows were active through November 2015, emerging from a central pyroclastic cone. A new eruption in mid-2017 continued the growth of the island with ash plumes, ejecta, and lava flows. A short eruptive event in July 2018 produced a new lava flow and vent on the side of the pyroclastic cone. The next eruption of ash plumes, incandescent ejecta, and lava flows, covered in this report, began in early December 2019 and was ongoing through February 2020. Information is provided primarily from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) monthly reports.

Nishinoshima remained quiet after a short eruptive event in July 2018 until MODVOLC thermal alerts appeared on 5 December 2019. Multiple near-daily alerts continued through February 2020. The intermittent low-level thermal anomalies seen in the MIROVA data beginning in May and June 2019 may reflect areas with increased temperatures and fumarolic activity reported by the Japan Coast Guard during overflights in June and July. The significant increase in thermal anomalies in the MIROVA data on 5 December correlates with the beginning of extrusive and explosive activity (figure 63). Eruptive activity included ash emissions, incandescent ejecta, and numerous lava flows from multiple vents that flowed into the sea down several flanks, significantly enlarging the island.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. The MIROVA graph of thermal energy from Nishinoshima from 13 April 2019 through February 2020 shows low-level thermal activity beginning in mid-2019; there were reports of increased temperatures and fumarolic activity during that time. Eruptive activity including ash emissions, incandescent ejecta, and numerous lava flows began on 5 December 2019 and was ongoing through February 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

A brief period of activity during 12-21 July 2018 produced explosive activity with blocks and bombs ejected 500 m from a new vent on the E flank of the pyroclastic cone, and a 700-m-long lava flow that stopped about 100 m before reaching the ocean (BGVN 43:09). No further activity was reported during 2018. During overflights on 29 and 31 January, and 7 February 2019, white steam plumes drifted from the E crater margin and inner wall of the pyroclastic cone and discolored waters were present around the island, but no other signs of activity were reported. A survey carried out by the Japan Coast Guard during 7-8 June 2019 reported minor fumarolic activity from the summit crater, and high-temperature areas were noted on the hillsides, measured by infrared thermal imaging equipment. Sulfur dioxide emissions were below the detection limit. In an overflight on 12 July 2019, Coast Guard personnel noted a small white plume rising from the E edge of the summit crater of the pyroclastic cone (figure 64).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. The Japan Coast Guard noted a small white plume at the summit of Nishinoshima during an overflight on 12 July 2019, but no other signs of activity. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, July 2019).

The white plume was still present during an overflight on 14 August 2019. Greenish yellow areas of water about 500 m wide were distributed around the island, and a plume of green water extended 1.8 km from the NW coast. Similar conditions were observed on 15 October 2019; pale yellow-green discolored water was about 100 m wide and concentrated on the N shore of Nishinoshima. No steam plume from the summit was present during a visit on 19 November 2019, but yellow-white discolored water on the N shore was about 100 m wide and 700 m long. Along the NE and SE coasts, yellow-white water was 100-200 m wide and about 1,000 m long.

A MODVOLC thermal alert appeared at Nishinoshima on 5 December 2019. An eruption was observed by the Japan Coast Guard the following day. A pulsating light gray ash plume rose from the summit crater accompanied by tephra ejected 200 m above the crater rim every few minutes (figure 65). In addition, ash and tephra rose intermittently from a crater on the E flank of the pyroclastic cone, from which lava also flowed down towards the E coast (figure 66). By 1300 on 7 December the lava was flowing into the sea (figure 67).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. The eruption observed at Nishinoshima on 6 December 2019 included ash and tephra emissions from the summit vent, and ash, tephra, and a lava flow from the vent on the E flank of the pyroclastic cone. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, November 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Thermal infrared imagery revealed incandescent ejecta from the summit crater and lava flowing from the E flank vent at Nishinoshima on 6 December 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, November 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. By 1300 on 7 December 2019 lava from the E-flank vent at Nishinoshima was flowing into the sea. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, November 2019).

Observations by the Japan Coast Guard on 15 December 2019 confirmed that vigorous eruptive activity was ongoing; incandescent ejecta and ash plumes rose 300 m above the summit crater rim (figure 68). A new vent had opened on the N flank of the cone from which lava flowed NW to the sea (figure 69). The lava flow from the E-flank crater also remained active and continued flowing into the sea. The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash emission on 24 December that rose to 1,000 m altitude and drifted S. On 31 December, explosions at the summit continued every few seconds with ash and ejecta rising 300 m high. In addition, lava from the NE flank of the pyroclastic cone flowed NE to the sea (figure 70).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Incandescent ejecta and ash rose 300 m above the summit crater rim at Nishinoshima on 15 December 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, December 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Lava from a new vent on the NW flank of Nishinoshima was entering the sea on 15 December 2019, producing vigorous steam plumes. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, December 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. At Nishinoshima on 31 December 2019 lava flowed down the NE flank of the pyroclastic cone into the sea, and incandescent ejecta rose 300 m above summit. Courtesy of JMA and the Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, December 2019).

Satellite data from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) made it possible for JMA to produce maps showing the rapid changes in topography at Nishinoshima resulting from the new lava flows. The new E-flank lava flow was readily seen when comparing imagery from 22 November with 6 December 2019 (figure 71a). An image from 6 December compared with 20 December 2019 shows the flow on the E flank splitting and entering the sea at two locations (figure 71b), the flow on the NW flank traveling briefly N before turning W and forming a large fan into the ocean on the W flank, and a new flow heading NE from the summit area of the pyroclastic cone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Satellite data from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) made it possible to produce maps showing the changes in topography at Nishinoshima resulting from the new lava flows (shown in blue). In comparing 22 November with 6 December 2019 (A, left), the new lava flow on the E flank was visible. A new image from 20 December compared with 6 December (B, right) showed the flow on the E flank splitting and entering the sea at two locations, the NW-flank flow building a large fan into the ocean on the W flank, and a new flow heading NE from the summit area of the pyroclastic cone. Courtesy of JMA and the Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, December 2019).

The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery on 15 January 2020 that rose to 1.8 km altitude and drifted SE. The Japan Coast Guard conducted an overflight on 17 January that confirmed the continued eruptions of ash, incandescent ejecta, and lava. Dark gray ash plumes were observed at 1.8 km altitude, with ashfall and tephra concentrated around the pyroclastic cone (figure 72). Plumes of steam were visible where the NE lava flow entered the ocean; the E and NW lava entry areas did not appear active but were still hot. Satellite data from ALOS-2 prepared by JAXA confirmed ongoing activity around the summit vent and on the NE flank, while activity on the W flank had ceased (figure 73). An ash plume was reported by the Tokyo VAAC on 25 January; it rose to 1.5 km altitude and drifted SW for most of the day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Dense, dark gray ash plumes rose from the summit of Nishinoshima on 17 January 2020. Small plumes of steam from lava-seawater interactions were visible on the NE shore of the island as well (far right). Courtesy of JMA and the Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, January 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. JAXA satellite data from 3 January 2020 (left) showed the growth of a new lava delta on the NE flank of Nishinoshima and minor activity occuring on the W flank compared with the previous image from 20 December 2019. By 17 January 2020 (right), the lava flow activity was concentrated on the NE flank with multiple deltas extending out into the sea. The ‘low correlation areas’ shown in blue represent changes in topography caused by new material from lava flows and ejecta added between the dates shown above the images. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, January 2020).

On 3 Feburary 2020 the Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery that rose to 2.1 km altitude and drifted E. The following day the Japan Coast Guard observed eruptions from the summit crater at five minute intervals that produced grayish white plumes. The plumes rose to 2.7 km altitude (figure 74). Large bombs were scattered around the pyroclastic cone, and the summit crater appeared filled with lava except for the active vent. The lava deltas on the NE flank were only active at the tips of the flows producing a few steam jets where lava entered the sea. The active flows were on the SE flank, and a new 200-m-long lava flow was flowing down the N flank of the pyroclastic cone (figure 75). The lava flowing from the E flank of the pyroclastic cone to the SE into the sea, produced larger jets of steam (figure 76). Yellow-brown discolored water appeared around the island in several places.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Ash emissions at Nishinoshima rose to 2.7 km altitude on 4 February 2020; steam jets from lava entering the ocean were active on the SE flank (far side of the island, right). Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. The lava deltas on the NE flank of Nishinoshima (bottom center) were much less active on 4 February 2020 than the lava flow and growing delta on the SE flank (left). The newest flow headed N from the summit and was 200 m long (right of center). Courtesy of JMA and the Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. The most active lava flows at Nishinoshima on 4 February 2020 were on the E flank; significant steam plumes rose in multiple locations along the coast where they entered the sea. Intermittent ash plumes also rose from the summit crater. Courtesy of JMA and Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).

JAXA satellite data confirmed that the flow activity was concentrated on the NE flank and shore during the second half of January 2020, but also recorded the new flow down the SE flank that was observed by the Coast Guard in early February. By mid-February the satellite topographic data indicated the decrease in activity in the NE flank flows, the increased activity on the SE and E flank, and the extension of the flow moving due N to the coast (figure 77). Observations on 17 February 2020 by the Japan Coast Guard revealed eruptions from the summit crater every few seconds, and steam-and-ash plumes rising about 600 m. Vigorous white emissions rose from fractures near the top of the W flank of the pyroclastic cone, but thermal data indicated the area was no hotter than the surrounding area (figure 78). The lava flow on the SE coast still had steam emissions rising from the ocean entry point, but activity was weaker than on 4 February. The newest flow moving due N from the summit produced steam emissions where the flow front entered the ocean.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Constantly changing lava flows at Nishinoshima reshaped the island during late January and February 2020. During the second half of January, flows were active on the NE flank, creating deltas into the sea off the NE coast and also on the SE flank into the sea at the SE coast (left). The ‘low correlation areas’ shown in blue represent changes in topography caused by new material from lava flows and ejecta added between the dates shown above the images. By 14 February (right) activity had slowed on the NE flank and expanded on the SE flank and N flank. Data is from the Land Observing Satellite-2 "Daichi-2" (ALOS-2). Courtesy of JMA and JAXA (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Vigorous white emissions rose from fractures near the top of the W flank of the pyroclastic cone at Nishinoshima on 17 February 2020, but thermal data indicated the area was no hotter than the surrounding area. Courtesy of JMA and Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).

Sulfur dioxide plumes from Nishinoshima have been small and infrequent in recent years, but the renewed and increased eruptive activity beginning in December 2019 produced several small SO2 plumes that were recorded in daily satellite data (figure 79).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Small sulfur dioxide plumes from Nishinoshima were captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite a few times during December 2019-February 2020 as the eruptive activity increased. The large red streak in the 3 February 2020 image is SO2 from an eruption of Kuchinoerabujima volcano (Ryukyu Islands) on the same day. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Simon Carn.

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency-Earth Observation Research Center (JAXA-EORC), 7-44-1 Jindaiji Higashi-machi, Chofu-shi, Tokyo 182-8522, Japan (URL: http://www.eorc.jaxa.jp/); Japan Coast Guard (JCG) Volcano Database, Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, 3-1-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8932, Japan (URL: http://www.kaiho.mlit.go.jp/info/kouhou/h29/index.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, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); 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/); Simon Carn, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931, USA (URL: http://www.volcarno.com/, Twitter: @simoncarn).


Krakatau (Indonesia) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Tephra and steam explosions in the crater lake; explosions in December 2019 build a tephra cone

Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Strait between Indonesia’s Java and Sumatra Islands experienced a major caldera collapse around 535 CE; it formed a 7-km-wide caldera ringed by three islands. Remnants of this volcano joined to create the pre-1883 Krakatau Island which collapsed during the major 1883 eruption. Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau), constructed beginning in late 1927 within the 1883 caldera (BGVN 44:03, figure 56), was the site of over 40 eruptive episodes until 22 December 2018 when a large explosion and flank collapse destroyed most of the 338-m-high edifice and generated a deadly tsunami (BGVN 44:03). The near-sea level crater lake inside the remnant of Anak Krakatau was the site of numerous small steam and tephra explosions from February (BGVN 44:08) through November 2019. A larger explosion in December 2019 produced the beginnings of a new cone above the surface of crater lake. Activity from August 2019 through January 2020 is covered in this report with information provided by the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, referred to as Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG). Aviation reports are provided by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and photographs are from the PVMBG webcam and visitors to the island.

Explosions were reported on more than ten days each month from August to October 2019. They were recorded based on seismicity, but webcam images also showed black tephra and steam being ejected from the crater lake to heights up to 450 m. Activity decreased significantly after the middle of November, although smaller explosions were witnessed by visitors to the island. After a period of relative quiet, a larger series of explosions at the end of December produced ash plumes that rose up to 3 km above the crater; the crater lake was largely filled with tephra after these explosions. Thermal activity persisted throughout the period of August 2019-January 2020. The wattage of Radiative Power increased from August through mid-October, and then decreased through January 2020 (figure 96).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Thermal activity persisted at Anak Krakatau from 20 March 2019-January 2020. The wattage of Radiative Power increased from August through mid-October, and then decreased through January 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during August-November 2019. The new profile of Anak Krakatau rose to about 155 m elevation as of August 2019, almost 100 m less than prior to the December 2018 explosions and flank collapse (figure 97). Smaller explosions continued during August 2019 and were reported by PVMBG in 12 different VONAs (Volcano Observatory Notice to Aviation) on days 1, 3, 6, 17, 19, 22, 23, 25, and 28. Most of the explosions lasted for less than two minutes, according to the seismic data. PVMBG reported steam plumes of 25-50 m height above the sea-level crater on 20 and 21 August. They reported a visible ash cloud on 22 August; it rose to an altitude of 457 m and drifted NNE according to the VONA. In their daily update, they noted that the eruption plume of 250-400 m on 22 August was white, gray, and black. The Darwin VAAC reported that the ash plume was discernable on HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery for a short period of time. PVMBG noted ten eruptions on 24 August with white, gray, and black ejecta rising 100-300 m. A webcam installed at month’s end provided evidence of diffuse steam plumes rising 25-150 m above the crater during 28-31 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Only one tree survived on the once tree-covered spit off the NE end of Sertung Island after the December 2018 tsunami from Anak Krakatau covered it with ash and debris. The elevation of Anak Krakatau (center) was about 155 m on 8 August 2019, almost 100 m less than before the explosions and flank collapse. Panjang Island is on the left, and 746-m-high Rakata, the remnant of the 1883 volcanic island, is behind Anak Krakatau on the right. Courtesy of Amber Madden-Nadeau.

VONAs were issued for explosions on 1-3, 11, 13, 17, 18, 21, 24-27 and 29 September 2019. The explosion on 2 September produced a steam plume that rose 350 m, and dense black ash and ejecta which rose 200 m from the crater and drifted N. Gray and white tephra and steam rose 450 m on 13 and 17 September; ejecta was black and gray and rose 200 m on 21 September (figure 98). During 24-27 and 29 September tephra rose at least 200 m each day; some days it was mostly white with gray, other days it was primarily gray and black. All of the ejecta plumes drifted N. On days without explosions, the webcam recorded steam plumes rising 50-150 m above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Explosions of steam and dark ejecta were captured by the webcam on Anak Krakatau on 21 (left) and 26 (right) September 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia and PVMBG.

Explosions were reported daily during 12-14, 16-20, 25-27, and 29 October (figure 99). PVMBG reported eight explosions on 19 October and seven explosions the next day. Most explosions produced gray and black tephra that rose 200 m from the crater and drifted N. On many of the days an ash plume also rose 350 m from the crater and drifted N. The seismic events that accompanied the explosions varied in duration from 45 to 1,232 seconds (about 20 minutes). The Darwin VAAC reported the 12 October eruption as visible briefly in satellite imagery before dissipating near the volcano. The first of four explosions on 26 October also appeared in visible satellite imagery moving NNW for a short time. The webcam recorded diffuse steam plumes rising 25-150 m above the crater on most days during the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. A number of explosions at Anak Krakatau were captured by the webcam and visitors near the island during October 2019, shown here on the 12th, 14th, 17th, and 29th. Black and gray ejecta and steam plumes jetted several hundred meters high from the crater lake during the explosions. Webcam images courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia, with 12 October 2019 (top left) via VolcanoYT. Bottom left photo on 17 October courtesy of Christoph Sator.

Five VONAs were issued for explosions during 5-7 November, and one on 13 November 2019. The three explosions on 5 November produced 200-m-high plumes of steam and gray and black ejecta and ash plumes that rose 200, 450, and 550 m respectively; they all drifted N (figure 100). The Darwin VAAC reported ash drifting N in visible imagery for a brief period also. A 350-m-high ash plume accompanied 200-m-high ejecta on 6 November. Tephra rose 150-300 m from the crater during a 43 second explosion on 7 November. The explosion reported by PVMBG on 13 November produced black tephra and white steam 200 m high that drifted N. For the remainder of the month, when not obscured by fog, steam plumes rose daily 25-150 m from the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. PVMBG’s KAWAH webcam captured an explosion with steam and dark ejecta from the crater lake at Anak Krakatau on 5 November 2019. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.

A joint expedition with PVMBG and the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) installed geophysical equipment on Anak Krakatau and Rakata during 12 and 13 November 2019 (figure 101). Visitors to the island during 19-23 and 22-24 November recorded the short-lived landscape and continuing small explosions of steam and black tephra from the crater lake (figures 102 and 103).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. A joint expedition to Anak Krakatau with PVMBG and the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) installed geophysical equipment on Anak Krakatau and Rakata (background, left) during 12 and 13 November 2019. Images of the crater lake from the same spot (left) in December and January show the changes at the island (figure 108). Monitoring equipment installed near the shore sits over the many layers of ash and tephra that make up the island (right). Courtesy of Anna Perttu.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 102.The crater lake at Anak Krakatau during a 19-23 November 2019 visit was the site of continued explosions with jets of steam and tephra that rose as high as 30 m. Courtesy of Andrey Nikiforov and Volcano Discovery, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. The landscape of Anak Krakatau recorded the rapidly evolving sequence of volcanic events during November 2019. Fresh ash covered recent lava near the shoreline on 22 November 2019 (top left). Large blocks of gray tephra (composed of other tephra fragments) were surrounded by reddish brown smaller fragments in the area between the crater and the ocean on 23 November 2019 (top right). Explosions of steam and black tephra rose tens of meters from the crater lake on 23 November 2019 (bottom). Courtesy of and copyright by Pascal Blondé.

Activity during December 2019-January 2020. Very little activity was recorded for most of December 2019. The webcam captured daily images of diffuse steam plumes rising 25-50 m above the crater which occasionally rose to 150 m. A new explosion on 28 December produced black and gray ejecta 200 m high that drifted N; the explosion was similar to those reported during August-November. A new series of explosions from 30 December 2019 to 1 January 2020 produced ash plumes which rose significantly higher than the previous explosions, reaching 2.4-3.0 km altitude and drifting S, E, and SE according to PVMBG (figure 104). They were initially visible in satellite imagery and reported drifting SW by the Darwin VAAC. By 31 December meteorological clouds prevented observation of the ash plume but a hotspot remained visible for part of that day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104.The KAWAH webcam at Anak Krakatau captured this image of incandescent ejecta exploding from the crater lake on 30 December 2019 near the start of a new sequence of large explosions. Courtesy of PVMBG and Alex Bogár.

The explosions on 30 and 31 December 2019 were captured in satellite imagery (figure 105) and appeared to indicate that the crater lake was largely destroyed and filled with tephra from a new growing cone, according to Simon Carn. This was confirmed in both satellite imagery and ground-based photography in early January (figures 106 and 107).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Satellite imagery of the explosions at Anak Krakatau on 30 and 31 December 2019 showed dense steam rising from the crater (left) and a thermal anomaly visible through moderate cloud cover (right). Left image courtesy of Simon Carn, and copyright by Planet Labs, Inc. Right image uses Atmospheric Penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, and 8a) to show the thermal anomaly at the base of the steam plume, courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Sentinel-2 images of Anak Krakatau before (left, 21 December 2019) and after (right, 13 January 2020) explosions on 30 and 31 December 2019 show the filling in of the crater lake with new volcanic material. Natural color rendering based on bands 4,3, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. The crater lake at Anak Krakatau changed significantly between the first week of December 2019 (left) and 8 January 2020 (right) after explosions on 30 and 31 December 2019. Compare with figure 101, taken from the same location in mid-November 2019. Left image courtesy of Piotr Smieszek. Right image courtesy of Peter Rendezvous.

Steam plumes rose 50-200 m above the crater during the first week of January 2020. An explosion on 7 January produced dense gray ash that rose 200 m from the crater and drifted E. Steam plume heights varied during the second week, with some plumes reaching 300 m above the crater. Multiple explosions on 15 January produced dense, gray and black ejecta that rose 150 m. Fog obscured the crater for most of the second half of the month; for a brief period, diffuse steam plumes were observed 25-1,000 m above the crater.

General Reference: Perttu A, Caudron C, Assink J D, Metz D, Tailpied D, Perttu B, Hibert C, Nurfiani D, Pilger C, Muzli M, Fee D, Andersen O L, Taisne B, 2020, Reconstruction of the 2018 tsunamigenic flank collapse and eruptive activity at Anak Krakatau based on eyewitness reports, seismo-acoustic and satellite observations, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 541:116268. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2020.116268.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.esdm.go.id/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Amber Madden-Nadeau, Oxford University (URL: https://www.earth.ox.ac.uk/people/amber-madden-nadeau/, https://twitter.com/AMaddenNadeau/status/1159458288406151169); Anna Perttu, Earth Observatory of Singapore (URL: https://earthobservatory.sg/people/anna-perttu); Simon Carn, Michigan Tech University (URL: https://www.mtu.edu/geo/department/faculty/carn/; https://twitter.com/simoncarn/status/1211793124089044994); VolcanoYT, Indonesia (URL: https://volcanoyt.com/, https://twitter.com/VolcanoYTz/status/1182882409445904386/photo/1; Christoph Sator (URL: https://twitter.com/ChristophSator/status/1184713192670281728/photo/1); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); Pascal Blondé, France (URL: https://pascal-blonde.info/portefolio-krakatau/, https://twitter.com/rajo_ameh/status/1199219837265960960); Alex Bogár, Budapest (URL: https://twitter.com/AlexEtna/status/1211396913699991557); Piotr (Piter) Smieszek, Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia (URL: http://www.lombok.pl/, https://twitter.com/piotr_smieszek/status/1204545970962231296); Peter Rendezvous (URL: https://www.facebook.com/peter.rendezvous ); Wulkany swiata, Poland (URL: http://wulkanyswiata.blogspot.com/, https://twitter.com/Wulkany1/status/1214841708862693376).


Mayotte (France) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayotte

France

12.83°S, 45.17°E; summit elev. 660 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity and deformation, with submarine E-flank volcanism starting in July 2018

Mayotte is a volcanic island in the Comoros archipelago between the eastern coast of Africa and the northern tip of Madagascar. A chain of basaltic volcanism began 10-20 million years ago and migrating W, making up four principal volcanic islands, according to the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP) and Cesca et al. (2020). Before May 2010, only two seismic events had been felt by the nearby community within recent decades. New activity since May 2018 consists of dominantly seismic events and lava effusion. The primary source of information for this report through February 2020 comes from semi-monthly reports from the Réseau de Surveillance Volcanologique et Sismologique de Mayotte (REVOSIMA), a cooperative program between the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP), the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), and the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF-IPGP); Lemoine et al. (2019), the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and the Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER).

Seismicity was the dominant type of activity recorded in association with a new submarine eruption. On 10 May 2018, the first seismic event occurred at 0814, detected by the YTMZ accelerometer from the French RAP Network, according to BRGM and Lemoine et al. (2019). Seismicity continued to increase during 13-15 May 2018, with the strongest recorded event for the Comoros area occurring on 15 May at 1848 and two more events on 20-21 May (figure 1). At the time, no surface effusion were directly observed; however, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) instruments were deployed to monitor any ground motion (Lemoine et al. 2019).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. A graph showing the number of daily seismic events greater than M 3.5 occurring offshore of Mayotte from 10 May 2018 through 15 February 2020. Seismicity significantly decreased in July 2018, but continued intermittently through February 2020, with relatively higher seismicity recorded in late August and mid-September 2018. Courtesy of IPGP and REVOSIMA.

Seismicity decreased dramatically after June 2018, with two spikes in August and September (see figure 1). Much of this seismicity occurred offshore 50 km E of Mayotte Island (figure 2). The École Normale Supérieure, the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF-IPGP), and the REVOSIMA August 2019 bulletin reported that measurements from the GNSS stations and Teria GPS network data indicated eastward surface deformation and subsidence beginning in July 2018. Based on this ground deformation data Lemoine et al. (2019) determined that the eruptive phase began fifty days after the initial seismic events occurred, on 3 July 2018.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Maps of seismic activity offshore near Mayotte during May 2019. Seismic swarms occurred E of Mayotte Island (top) and continued in multiple phases through October 2019. New lava effusions were observed 50 km E of Petite Terre (bottom). Bottom image has been modified with annotations; courtesy of IPGP, BRGM, IFREMER, CNRS, and University of Paris.

Between 2 and 18 May 2019, an oceanographic campaign (MAYOBS 1) discovered a new submarine eruption site 50 km E from the island of Mayotte (figure 2). The director of IPGP, Marc Chaussidon, stated in an interview with Science Magazine that multibeam sonar waves were used to determine the elevation (800 m) and diameter (5 km) of the new submarine cone (figure 3). In addition, this multibeam sonar image showed fluid plumes within the water column rising from the center and flanks of the structure. According to REVOSIMA, these plumes rose to 1 km above the summit of the cone but did not breach the ocean surface. The seafloor image (figure 3) also indicated that as much as 5 km3 of magma erupted onto the seafloor from this new edifice during May 2019, according to Science Magazine.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Seafloor image of the submarine vent offshore of Mayotte created with multibeam sonar from 2 to 18 May 2019. The red line is the outline of the volcanic cone located at approximately 3.5 km depth. The blue-green color rising from the peak of the red outline represents fluid plumes within the water column. Courtesy of IPGP.

On 17 May 2019, a second oceanographic campaign (MAYOBS 2) discovered new lava flows located 5 km S of the new eruptive site. BRGM reported that in June a new lava flow had been identified on the W flank of the cone measuring 150 m thick with an estimated volume of 0.3 km3 (figure 4). According to REVOSIMA, the presence of multiple new lava flows would suggest multiple effusion points. Over a period of 11 months (July 2018-June 2019) the rate of lava effusion was at least 150-200 m3/s; between 18 May to 17 June 2019, 0.2 km3 of lava was produced, and from 17 June to 30 July 2019, 0.3 km3 of lava was produced. The MAYOBS 4 (19 July 2019-4 August 2019) and SHOM (20-21 August 2019) missions revealed a new lava flow formed between 31 July and 20 August to the NW of the eruptive site with a volume of 0.08 km3 and covering 3.25 km2.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Bathymetric map showing the location of the new lava flow on the W flank of the submarine cone offshore to the E of Mayotte Island. The MAYOBS 2 campaign was launched in June 2019 (left) and MAYOBS 4 was launched in late July 2019 (right). Courtesy of BRGM.

During the MAYOBS 4 campaign in late July 2019, scientists dredged the NE flank of the cone for samples and took photographs of the newly erupted lava (figure 5). Two dives found the presence of pillow lavas. When samples were brought up to the surface, they exploded due to the large amount of gas and rapid decompression.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Photographs taken using the submersible interactive camera system (SCAMPI) of newly formed pillow lavas (top) and a vesicular sample (bottom) dredged near the new submarine eruptive site at Mayotte in late July 2019. Courtesy of BRGM.

During April-May 2019 the rate of ground deformation slowed. Deflation was also observed up to 90 km E of Mayotte in late October 2019 and consistently between August 2019 and February 2020. Seismicity continued intermittently through February 2020 offshore E of Mayotte Island, though the number of detected events started to decrease in July 2018 (see figure 1). Though seismicity and deformation continued, the most recent observation of new lava flows occurred during the MAYOBS 4 and SHOM campaigns on 20 August 2019, as reported in REVOSIMA bulletins.

References: Cesca S, Heimann S, Letort J, Razafindrakoto H N T, Dahm T, Cotton F, 2020. Seismic catalogues of the 2018-2019 volcano-seismic crisis offshore Mayotte, Comoro Islands. Nat. Geosci. 13, 87-93. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-019-0505-5.

Lemoine A, Bertil D, Roulle A, Briole P, 2019. The volcano-tectonic crisis of 2018 east of Mayotte, Comoros islands. Preprint submitted to EarthArXiv, 28 February 2019. https://doi.org/10.31223/osf.io/d46xj.

Geologic Background. Mayotte, located in the Mozambique Channel between the northern tip of Madagascar and the eastern coast of Africa, consists two main volcanic islands, Grande Terre and Petite Terre, and roughly twenty islets within a barrier-reef lagoon complex (Zinke et al., 2005; Pelleter et al., 2014). Volcanism began roughly 15-10 million years ago (Pelleter et al., 2014; Nougier et al., 1986), and has included basaltic lava flows, nephelinite, tephrite, phonolitic domes, and pyroclastic deposits (Nehlig et al., 2013). Lavas on the NE were active from about 4.7 to 1.4 million years and on the south from about 7.7 to 2.7 million years. Mafic activity resumed on the north from about 2.9 to 1.2 million years and on the south from about 2 to 1.5 million years. Several pumice layers found in cores on the barrier reef-lagoon complex indicate that volcanism likely occurred less than 7,000 years ago (Zinke et al., 2003). More recent activity that began in May 2018 consisted of seismicity and ground deformation occurring offshore E of Mayotte Island (Lemoine et al., 2019). One year later, in May 2019, a new subaqueous edifice and associated lava flows were observed 50 km E of Petite Terre during an oceanographic campaign.

Information Contacts: Réseau de Surveillance Volcanologique et Sismologique de Mayotte (REVOSIMA), a cooperative program of a) Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP), b) Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), c) Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF-IPGP); (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr/reseau-de-surveillance-volcanologique-sismologique-de-mayotte); Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, 14 route nationale 3, 27 ème km, 97418 La Plaine des Cafres, La Réunion, France (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr); Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), 3 avenue Claude-Guillemin, BP 36009, 45060 Orléans Cedex 2, France (URL: https://www.brgm.fr/); Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER), 1625 route de Sainte-Anne, CS 10070, 29280 Plouzané, France (URL: https://wwz.ifremer.fr/); Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), 3 rue Michel-Ange, 75016 Paris, France (URL: http://www.cnrs.fr/); École Normale Supérieure, 45 rue d'Ulm, F-75230 Paris Cedex 05, France (URL: https://www.ens.psl.eu/); Université de Paris, 85 boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris, France (URL: https://u-paris.fr/en/498-2/); Roland Pease, Science Magazine (URL: https://science.sciencemag.org/, article at https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/05/ship-spies-largest-underwater-eruption-ever) published 21 May 2019.


Fernandina (Ecuador) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Fernandina

Ecuador

0.37°S, 91.55°W; summit elev. 1476 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fissure eruption produced lava flows during 12-13 January 2020

Fernandina is a volcanic island in the Galapagos islands, around 1,000 km W from the coast of mainland Ecuador. It has produced nearly 30 recorded eruptions since 1800, with the most recent events having occurred along radial or circumferential fissures around the summit crater. The most recent previous eruption, starting on 16 June 2018, lasted two days and produced lava flows from a radial fissure on the northern flank. Monitoring and scientific reports come from the Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN).

A report from IG-EPN on 12 January 2020 stated that there had been an increase in seismicity and deformation occurring during the previous weeks. On the day of the report, 11 seismic events had occurred, with the largest magnitude of 4.7 at a depth of 5 km. Shortly before 1810 that day a circumferential fissure formed below the eastern rim of the La Cumbre crater, at about 1.3-1.4 km elevation, and produced lava flows down the flank (figure 39). A rapid-onset seismic swarm reached maximum intensity at 1650 on 12 January (figure 40); a second increase in seismicity indicating the start of the eruption began around 70 minutes later (1800). A hotspot was observed in NOAA / CIMSS data between 1800 and 1810, and a gas plume rising up to 2 km above the fissure dispersed W to NW. The eruption lasted 9 hours, until about 0300 on 13 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Lava flows erupting from a circumferential fissure on the eastern flank of Fernandina on 12 January 2020. Photos courtesy of Parque Nacional Galápagos.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Graph showing the Root-Mean-Square (RMS) amplitude of the seismic signals from the FER-1 station at Fernandina on 12-13 January 2020. The graph shows the increase in seismicity leading to the eruption on the 12th (left star), a decrease in the seismicity, and then another increase during the event (right star). Courtesy of S. Hernandez, IG-EPN (Report on 13 January 2020).

A report issued at 1159 local time on 13 January 2020 described a rapid decrease in seismicity, gas emissions, and thermal anomalies, indicating a rapid decline in eruptive activity similar to previous events in 2017 and 2018. An overflight that day confirmed that the eruption had ended, after lava flows had extended around 500 m from the crater and covered an area of 3.8 km2 (figures 41 and 42). Seismicity continued on the 14th, with small volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes occurring less than 500 m below the surface. Periodic seismicity was recorded through 13-15 January, though there was an increase in seismicity during 17-22 January with deformation also detected (figure 43). No volcanic activity followed, and no additional gas or thermal anomalies were detected.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. The lava flow extents at Fernandina of the previous two eruptions (4-7 September 2017 and 16-21 June 2018) and the 12-13 January 2020 eruption as detected by FIRMS thermal anomalies. Thermal data courtesy of NASA; figure prepared by F. Vásconez, IG-EPN (Report on 13 January 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. This fissure vent that formed on the E flank of Fernandina on 12 January 2020 produced several lava flows. A weak gas plume was still rising when this photo was taken the next day, but the eruption had ceased. Courtesy of Parque Nacional Galápagos.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Soil displacement map for Fernandina during 10 and 16 January 2020, with the deformation generated by the 12 January eruption shown. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Report on 23 January 2020).

Geologic Background. Fernandina, the most active of Galápagos volcanoes and the one closest to the Galápagos mantle plume, is a basaltic shield volcano with a deep 5 x 6.5 km summit caldera. The volcano displays the classic "overturned soup bowl" profile of Galápagos shield volcanoes. Its caldera is elongated in a NW-SE direction and formed during several episodes of collapse. Circumferential fissures surround the caldera and were instrumental in growth of the volcano. Reporting has been poor in this uninhabited western end of the archipelago, and even a 1981 eruption was not witnessed at the time. In 1968 the caldera floor dropped 350 m following a major explosive eruption. Subsequent eruptions, mostly from vents located on or near the caldera boundary faults, have produced lava flows inside the caldera as well as those in 1995 that reached the coast from a SW-flank vent. Collapse of a nearly 1 km3 section of the east caldera wall during an eruption in 1988 produced a debris-avalanche deposit that covered much of the caldera floor and absorbed the caldera lake.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec/); Dirección del Parque Nacional Galápagos (DPNG), Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos, Ecuador (URL: http://www.galapagos.gob.ec/).


Masaya (Nicaragua) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake persists with lower temperatures during August 2019-January 2020

Masaya is a basaltic caldera located in Nicaragua and contains the Nindirí, San Pedro, San Juan, and Santiago craters. The currently active Santiago crater hosts a lava lake, which has remained active since December 2015 (BGVN 41:08). The primary source of information for this August 2019-January 2020 report comes from the Instituto Nicareguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) and satellite -based imagery and thermal data.

On 16 August, 13 September, and 11 November 2019, INETER took SO2 measurements by making a transect using a mobile DOAS spectrometer that sampled for gases downwind of the volcano. Average values during these months were 2,095 tons/day, 1,416 tons/day, and 1,037 tons/day, respectively. August had the highest SO2 measurements while those during September and November were more typical values.

Satellite imagery showed a constant thermal anomaly in the Santiago crater at the lava lake during August 2019 through January 2020 (figure 82). According to a news report, ash was expelled from Masaya on 15 October 2019, resulting in minor ashfall in Colonia 4 de Mayo (6 km NW). On 21 November thermal measurements were taken at the fumaroles and near the lava lake using a FLIR SC620 thermal camera (figure 83). The temperature measured 287°C, which was 53° cooler than the last time thermal temperatures were taken in May 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed the consistent presence of an active lava lake within the Santiago crater at Masaya during August 2019 through January 2020. Images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Thermal measurements taken at Masaya on 21 November 2019 with a FLIR SC620 thermal camera that recorded a temperature of 287°C. Courtesy of INETER (Boletin Sismos y Volcanes de Nicaragua, Noviembre, 2019).

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed intermittent low-power thermal anomalies compared to the higher-power ones before May 2019 (figure 84). The thermal anomalies were detected during August 2019 through January 2020 after a brief hiatus from early may to mid-June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Thermal anomalies occurred intermittently at Masaya during 21 February 2019 through January 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); La Jornada (URL: https://www.lajornadanet.com/, article at https://www.lajornadanet.com/index.php/2019/10/16/volcan-masaya-expulsa-cenizas/#.Xl6f8ahKjct).


Reventador (Ecuador) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

0.077°S, 77.656°W; summit elev. 3562 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Nearly daily ash emissions and frequent incandescent block avalanches August 2019-January 2020

Reventador is an andesitic stratovolcano located in the Cordillera Real, Ecuador. Historical eruptions date back to the 16th century, consisting of lava flows and explosive events. The current eruptive activity has been ongoing since 2008 with previous activity including daily explosions with ash emissions, and incandescent block avalanches (BGVN 44:08). This report covers volcanism from August 2019 through January 2020 using information primarily from the Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), the Washington Volcano Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various infrared satellite data.

During August 2019 to January 2020, IG-EPN reported almost daily explosive eruptions and ash plumes. September had the highest average of explosive eruptions while January 2020 had the lowest (table 11). Ash plumes rose between a maximum of 1.2 to 2.5 km above the crater during this reporting period with the highest plume height recorded in December. The largest amount of SO2 gases produced was during the month of October with 502 tons/day. Frequently at night during this reporting period, crater incandescence was observed and was occasionally accompanied by incandescent block avalanches traveling as far as 900 m downslope from the summit of the volcano.

Table 11. Monthly summary of eruptive events recorded at Reventador from August 2019 through January 2020. Data courtesy of IG-EPN (August to January 2020 daily reports).

Month Average Number of Explosions Max plume height above the crater Max SO2
Aug 2019 26 1.6 km --
Sep 2019 32 1.7 km 428 tons/day
Oct 2019 29 1.3 km 502 tons/day
Nov 2019 25 1.2 km 432 tons/day
Dec 2019 25 2.5 km 331 tons/day
Jan 2020 12 1.7 km --

During the month of August 2019, between 11 and 45 explosions were recorded every day, frequently accompanied by gas-and-steam and ash emissions (figure 119); plumes rose more than 1 km above the crater on nine days. On 20 August the ash plume rose to a maximum 1.6 km above the crater. Summit incandescence was seen at night beginning on 10 August, continuing frequently throughout the rest of the reporting period. Incandescent block avalanches were reported intermittently beginning that same night through 26 January 2020, ejecting material between 300 to 900 m below the summit and moving on all sides of the volcano.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. An ash plume rising from the summit of Reventador on 1 August 2019. Courtesy of Radio La Voz del Santuario.

Throughout most of September 2019 gas-and-steam and ash emissions were observed almost daily, with plumes rising more than 1 km above the crater on 15 days, according to IG-EPN. On 30 September, the ash plume rose to a high of 1.7 km above the crater. Each day, between 18 and 72 explosions were reported, with the latter occurring on 19 September. At night, crater incandescence was commonly observed, sometimes accompanied by incandescent material rolling down every flank.

Elevated seismicity was reported during 8-15 October 2019 and almost daily gas-and-steam and ash emissions were present, ranging up to 1.3 km above the summit. Every day during this month, between 13 and 54 explosions were documented and crater incandescence was commonly observed at night. During November 2019, gas-and-steam and ash emissions rose greater than 1 km above the crater except for 10 days; no emissions were reported on 29 November. Daily explosions ranged up to 42, occasionally accompanied by crater incandescence and incandescent ejecta.

Washington VAAC notices were issued almost daily during December 2019, reporting ash plumes between 4.6 and 6 km altitude throughout the month and drifting in multiple directions. Each day produced 5-52 explosions, many of which were accompanied by incandescent blocks rolling down all sides of the volcano up to 900 m below the summit. IG-EPN reported on 11 December that a gas-and-steam and ash emission column rose to a maximum height of 2.5 km above the crater, drifting SW as was observed by satellite images and reported by the Washington VAAC.

Volcanism in January 2020 was relatively low compared to the other months of this reporting period. Explosions continued on a nearly daily basis early in the month, ranging from 20 to 51. During 5-7 January incandescent material ejected from the summit vent moved as block avalanches downslope and multiple gas-and-steam and ash plumes were produced (figures 120, 121, and 122). After 9 January the number of explosions decreased to 0-16 per day. Ash plumes rose between 4.6 and 5.8 km altitude, according to the Washington VAAC.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. Night footage of activity on 5 (top) and 6 (bottom) January 2020 at the summit of Reventador, producing a dense, dark gray ash plume and ejecting incandescent material down multiple sides of the volcano. This activity is not uncommon during this reporting period. Courtesy of Martin Rietze, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. An explosion at Reventador on 7 January 2020, which produced a dense gray ash plume. Courtesy of Martin Rietze, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 122. Night footage of the evolution of an eruption on 7 January 2020 at the summit of Reventador, which produced an ash plume and ejected incandescent material down multiple sides of the volcano. Courtesy of Martin Rietze, used with permission.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed frequent and strong thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit during 21 February 2019 through January 2020 (figure 123). In comparison, the MODVOLC algorithm reported 24 thermal alerts between August 2019 and January 2020 near the summit. Some thermal anomalies can be seen in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery throughout this reporting period, even with the presence of meteorological clouds (figure 124). These thermal anomalies were accompanied by persistent gas-and-steam and ash plumes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 123. Thermal anomalies at Reventador persisted during 21 February 2019 through January 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 124. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Reventador from August 2019 to January 2020 showing a thermal hotspot in the central summit crater summit. In the image on 7 January 2020, the thermal anomaly is accompanied by an ash plume. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Reventador is the most frequently active of a chain of Ecuadorian volcanoes in the Cordillera Real, well east of the principal volcanic axis. The forested, dominantly andesitic Volcán El Reventador stratovolcano rises to 3562 m above the jungles of the western Amazon basin. A 4-km-wide caldera widely breached to the east was formed by edifice collapse and is partially filled by a young, unvegetated stratovolcano that rises about 1300 m above the caldera floor to a height comparable to the caldera rim. It has been the source of numerous lava flows as well as explosive eruptions that were visible from Quito in historical time. Frequent lahars in this region of heavy rainfall have constructed a debris plain on the eastern floor of the caldera. The largest historical eruption took place in 2002, producing a 17-km-high eruption column, pyroclastic flows that traveled up to 8 km, and lava flows from summit and flank vents.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec/); 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/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Radio La Voz del Santuario (URL: https://www.facebook.com/Radio-La-Voz-del-Santuario-126394484061111/, posted at: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2630739100293291&id=126394484061111); Martin Rietze, Taubenstr. 1, D-82223 Eichenau, Germany (URL: https://mrietze.com/, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5LzAA_nyNWEUfpcUFOCpJw/videos).


Pacaya (Guatemala) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuous explosions, small cone, and lava flows during August 2019-January 2020

Pacaya is a highly active basaltic volcano located in Guatemala with volcanism consisting of frequent lava flows and Strombolian explosions originating in the Mackenney crater. The previous report summarizes volcanism that included multiple lava flows, Strombolian activity, avalanches, and gas-and-steam emissions (BGVN 44:08), all of which continue through this reporting period of August 2019 to January 2020. The primary source of information comes from reports by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH) in Guatemala and various satellite data.

Strombolian explosions occurred consistently throughout this reporting period. During the month of August 2019, explosions ejected material up to 30 m above the Mackenney crater. These explosions deposited material that contributed to the formation of a small cone on the NW flank of the Mackenney crater. White and occasionally blue gas-and-steam plumes rose up to 600 m above the crater drifting S and W. Multiple incandescent lava flows were observed traveling down the N and NW flanks, measuring up to 400 m long. Small to moderate avalanches were generated at the front of the lava flows, including incandescent blocks that measured up to 1 m in diameter. Occasionally incandescence was observed at night from the Mackenney crater.

In September 2019 seismicity was elevated compared to the previous month, registering a maximum of 8,000 RSAM (Realtime Seismic Amplitude Measurement) units. White and occasionally blue gas-and-steam plumes that rose up to 1 km above the crater drifted generally S as far as 3 km from the crater. Strombolian explosions continued, ejecting material up to 100 m above the crater rim. At night and during the early morning, crater incandescence was observed. Incandescent lava flows traveled as much as 600 m down the N and NW flanks toward the Cerro Chino crater (figure 116). On 21 September two lava flows descended the SW flank. Constant avalanches with incandescent blocks measuring 1 m in diameter occurred from the front of many of these lava flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 116. Webcam image of Pacaya on 25 September 2019 showing thermal signatures and the point of emission on the NNW flank at night using Landsat 8 (Nocturnal) imagery (left) and a daytime image showing the location of these lava effusions (right) along with gas-and-steam emissions from the active crater. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

Weak explosions continued through October 2019, ejecting material up to 75 m above the crater and building a small cone within the crater. White and occasionally blue gas-and-steam plumes rose 400-800 m above the crater, drifting W and NW and extending up to 4 km from the crater during the week of 26 October-1 November. Lava flows measuring up to 250 m long, originating from the Mackenney crater were descending the N and NW flanks (figure 117). Avalanches carrying large blocks 1 m in diameter commonly occurred at the front of these lava flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. Photo of lava flows traveling down the flanks of Pacaya taken between 28 September 2019 and 4 October. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (28 September 2019 to 4 October Weekly Report).

Continuing Strombolian explosions in November 2019 ejected material 15-75 m above the crater, which then contributed to the formation of the new cone. White and occasionally blue gas-and-steam plumes rose 100-600 m above the crater drifting in different directions and extending up to 2 km. Multiple lava flows from the Mackenney crater moving down all sides of the volcano continued, measuring 50-700 m long. Avalanches were generated at the front of the lava flows, often moving blocks as large as 1 m in diameter. The number of lava flows decreased during 2-8 November and the following week of 9-15 November no lava flows were observed, according to INSIVUMEH. During the week of 16-22 November, a small collapse occurred in the Mackenney crater and explosive activity increased during 16, 18, and 20 November, reaching RSAM units of 4,500. At night and early morning in late November crater incandescence was visible. On 24 November two lava flows descended the NW flank toward the Cerro Chino crater, measuring 100 m long.

During December 2019, much of the activity remained the same, with Strombolian explosions originating from two emission points in the Mackenney crater ejecting material 75-100 m above the crater; white and occasionally blue gas-and-steam plumes to 100-300 m above the crater drifted up to 1.5 km downwind to the S and SW. Lava flows descended the S and SW flanks reaching 250-600 m long (figure 118). On 29 December seismicity increased, reaching 5,000 RSAM units.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 118. Lava flows moving to the S and SW at Pacaya on 31 December 2019. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (28 December 2019 to 3 January 2020 Weekly Report).

Consistent Strombolian activity continued into January 2020 ejecting material 25-100 m above the crater. These explosions deposited material inside the Mackenney crater, contributing to the formation of a small cone. White and occasionally blue fumaroles consisting of mostly water vapor were observed drifting in different directions. At night, summit incandescence and lava flows were visible descending the N, NW, and S flanks with the flow on the NW flank traveling toward the Cerro Chino crater.

During August 2019 through January 2020, multiple lava flows and bright thermal anomalies (yellow-orange) within the crater were seen in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (figures 119 and 120). In addition, constant strong thermal anomalies were detected by the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system during 21 February 2019 through January 2020 within 5 km of the summit (figure 121). A slight decrease in energy was seen from May to June and August to September. Energy increased again between November and December. According to the MODVOLC algorithm, 37 thermal alerts were recorded during August 2019 through January 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Pacaya showing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) during August 2019 to November. All images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Pacaya showing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) during December 2019 through January 2020. All images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. The MIROVA thermal activity graph (log radiative power) at Pacaya during 21 February 2019 to January 2020 shows strong, frequent thermal anomalies through January with a slight decrease in energy between May 2019 to June 2019 and August 2019 to September 2019. 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).


Kikai (Japan) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kikai

Japan

30.793°N, 130.305°E; summit elev. 704 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Single explosion with steam and minor ash, 2 November 2019

The 19-km-wide submerged Kikai caldera at the N end of Japan’s Ryukyu Islands was the source of one of the world's largest Holocene eruptions about 6,300 years ago, producing large pyroclastic flows and abundant ashfall. During the last century, however, only intermittent minor ash emissions have characterized activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima island, the larger subaerial fragment of the Kikai caldera; several events have included limited ashfall in communities on nearby islands. The most recent event was a single day of explosions on 4 June 2013 that produced ash plumes and minor ashfall on the flank. A minor episode of increased seismicity and fumarolic activity was reported in late March 2018, but no ash emissions were reported. A new single-day event on 2 November 2019 is described here with information provided by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

JMA reduced the Alert Level to 1 on 27 April 2018 after a brief increase in seismicity during March 2018 (BGVN 45:05); no significant changes in volcanic activity were observed for the rest of the year. Steam plumes rose from the summit crater to heights around 1,000 m; the highest plume rose 1,800 m. Occasional nighttime incandescence was recorded by high-sensitivity surveillance cameras. SO2 measurements made during site visits in March, April, and May indicated amounts ranging from 300-1,500 tons per day, similar to values from 2017 (400-1,000 tons per day). Infrared imaging devices indicated thermal anomalies from fumarolic activity persisted on the N and W flanks during the three site visits. A field survey of the SW flank on 25 May 2018 confirmed that the crater edge had dropped several meters into the crater since a similar survey in April 2007. Scientists on a 19 December 2018 overflight had observed fumarolic activity.

There were no changes in activity through October 2019. Weak incandescence at night continued to be periodically recorded with the surveillance cameras (figure 9). A brief eruption on 2 November 2019 at 1735 local time produced a gray-white plume that rose slightly over 1,000 m above the Iodake crater rim (figure 10). As a result, JMA raised the Alert Level from 1 to 2. During an overflight the following day, a steam plume rose a few hundred meters above the summit, but no further activity was observed. No clear traces of volcanic ash or other ejecta were found around the summit (figure 11). Infrared imaging also showed no particular changes from previous measurements. Discolored seawater continued to be observed around the base of the island in several locations.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Incandescence at night on 25 October 2019 was observed at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) with the Iwanogami webcam. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, October 1st year of Reiwa [2019]).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. The Iwanogami webcam captured a brief gray-white ash and steam emission rising above the Iodake crater rim on Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 2 November 2019 at 1738 local time. The plume rose slightly over 1,000 m before dissipating. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, October 1st year of Reiwa [2019]).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. During an overflight of Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 3 November 2019 no traces of ash were seen from the previous day’s explosion; only steam plumes rose a few hundred meters above the summit, and discolored water was present in a few places around the shoreline. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, October 1st year of Reiwa [2019]).

For the remainder of November 2019, steam plumes rose up to 1,300 m above the summit, and nighttime incandescence was occasionally observed in the webcam. Seismic activity remained low and there were no additional changes noted through January 2020.

Geologic Background. Kikai is a mostly submerged, 19-km-wide caldera near the northern end of the Ryukyu Islands south of Kyushu. It was the source of one of the world's largest Holocene eruptions about 6,300 years ago when rhyolitic pyroclastic flows traveled across the sea for a total distance of 100 km to southern Kyushu, and ashfall reached the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The eruption devastated southern and central Kyushu, which remained uninhabited for several centuries. Post-caldera eruptions formed Iodake lava dome and Inamuradake scoria cone, as well as submarine lava domes. Historical eruptions have occurred at or near Satsuma-Iojima (also known as Tokara-Iojima), a small 3 x 6 km island forming part of the NW caldera rim. Showa-Iojima lava dome (also known as Iojima-Shinto), a small island 2 km E of Tokara-Iojima, was formed during submarine eruptions in 1934 and 1935. Mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have occurred during the past few decades from Iodake, a rhyolitic lava dome at the eastern end of Tokara-Iojima.

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html).

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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 1807-m-high basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano to its lower flanks. These "avalanche valleys" channel lava flows and pyroclastic avalanches that have sometimes reached the coast. Five small satellitic centers are located near the island's shoreline on the northern, southern, and western sides. Two summit craters are present; both are active, although most historical eruptions have originated from the southern crater, concentrating eruptive products during much of the past century into the SE valley. Frequent historical eruptions, typically of mild-to-moderate scale, have been recorded since 1616. Occasional larger eruptions have produced pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached flat-lying coastal areas and entered the sea, sometimes impacting populated areas.

Information Contacts: 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

Additional 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 subregion and subject.

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

08/1997 (BGVN 22:08) False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

False report of volcanism intended to exclude would-be gold miners

12/1997 (BGVN 22:12) False Report of Somalia Eruption

Press reports of Somalia's first historical eruption were likely in error

11/1999 (BGVN 24:11) False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

05/2003 (BGVN 28:05) Har-Togoo

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

False report of activity; confusion caused by burning dung in a lava tube



False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption (Philippines) — August 1997

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

7.975°N, 123.23°E; summit elev. 1510 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


False report of volcanism intended to exclude would-be gold miners

In discussing the week ending on 12 September, "Earthweek" (Newman, 1997) incorrectly claimed that a volcano named "Mount Pinukis" had erupted. Widely read in the US, the dramatic Earthweek report described terrified farmers and a black mushroom cloud that resembled a nuclear explosion. The mountain's location was given as "200 km E of Zamboanga City," a spot well into the sea. The purported eruption had received mention in a Manila Bulletin newspaper report nine days earlier, on 4 September. Their comparatively understated report said that a local police director had disclosed that residents had seen a dormant volcano showing signs of activity.

In response to these news reports Emmanuel Ramos of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) sent a reply on 17 September. PHIVOLCS staff had initially heard that there were some 12 alleged families who fled the mountain and sought shelter in the lowlands. A PHIVOLCS investigation team later found that the reported "families" were actually individuals seeking respite from some politically motivated harassment. The story seems to have stemmed from a local gold rush and an influential politician who wanted to use volcanism as a ploy to exclude residents. PHIVOLCS concluded that no volcanic activity had occurred. They also added that this finding disappointed local politicians but was much welcomed by the residents.

PHIVOLCS spelled the mountain's name as "Pinokis" and from their report it seems that it might be an inactive volcano. There is no known Holocene volcano with a similar name (Simkin and Siebert, 1994). No similar names (Pinokis, Pinukis, Pinakis, etc.) were found listed in the National Imagery and Mapping Agency GEOnet Names Server (http://geonames.nga.mil/gns/html/index.html), a searchable database of 3.3 million non-US geographic-feature names.

The Manila Bulletin report suggested that Pinokis resides on the Zamboanga Peninsula. The Peninsula lies on Mindanao Island's extreme W side where it bounds the Moro Gulf, an arm of the Celebes Sea. The mountainous Peninsula trends NNE-SSW and contains peaks with summit elevations near 1,300 m. Zamboanga City sits at the extreme end of the Peninsula and operates both a major seaport and an international airport.

[Later investigation found that Mt. Pinokis is located in the Lison Valley on the Zamboanga Peninsula, about 170 km NE of Zamboanga City and 30 km NW of Pagadian City. It is adjacent to the two peaks of the Susong Dalaga (Maiden's Breast) and near Mt. Sugarloaf.]

References. Newman, S., 1997, Earthweek, a diary of the planet (week ending 12 September): syndicated newspaper column (URL: http://www.earthweek.com/).

Manila Bulletin, 4 Sept. 1997, Dante's Peak (URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/).

Simkin, T., and Siebert, L., 1994, Volcanoes of the world, 2nd edition: Geoscience Press in association with the Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program, Tucson AZ, 368 p.

Information Contacts: Emmanuel G. Ramos, Deputy Director, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Department of Science and Technology, PHIVOLCS Building, C. P. Garcia Ave., University of the Philippines, Diliman campus, Quezon City, Philippines.


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Press reports of Somalia's first historical eruption were likely in error

Xinhua News Agency filed a news report on 27 February under the headline "Volcano erupts in Somalia" but the veracity of the story now appears doubtful. The report disclosed the volcano's location as on the W side of the Gedo region, an area along the Ethiopian border just NE of Kenya. The report had relied on the commissioner of the town of Bohol Garas (a settlement described as 40 km NE of the main Al-Itihad headquarters of Luq town) and some or all of the information was relayed by journalists through VHF radio. The report claimed the disaster "wounded six herdsmen" and "claimed the lives of 290 goats grazing near the mountain when the incident took place." Further descriptions included such statements as "the volcano which erupted two days ago [25 February] has melted down the rocks and sand and spread . . . ."

Giday WoldeGabriel returned from three weeks of geological fieldwork in SW Ethiopia, near the Kenyan border, on 25 August. During his time there he inquired of many people, including geologists, if they had heard of a Somalian eruption in the Gedo area; no one had heard of the event. WoldeGabriel stated that he felt the news report could have described an old mine or bomb exploding. Heavy fighting took place in the Gedo region during the Ethio-Somalian war of 1977. Somalia lacks an embassy in Washington DC; when asked during late August, Ayalaw Yiman, an Ethiopian embassy staff member in Washington DC also lacked any knowledge of a Somalian eruption.

A Somalian eruption would be significant since the closest known Holocene volcanoes occur in the central Ethiopian segment of the East African rift system S of Addis Ababa, ~500 km NW of the Gedo area. These Ethiopian rift volcanoes include volcanic fields, shield volcanoes, cinder cones, and stratovolcanoes.

Information Contacts: Xinhua News Agency, 5 Sharp Street West, Wanchai, Hong Kong; Giday WoldeGabriel, EES-1/MS D462, Geology-Geochemistry Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545; Ayalaw Yiman, Ethiopian Embassy, 2134 Kalorama Rd. NW, Washington DC 20008.


False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption (Turkey) — November 1999

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

Following the Ms 7.8 earthquake in Turkey on 17 August (BGVN 24:08) an Email message originating in Turkey was circulated, claiming that volcanic activity was observed coincident with the earthquake and suggesting a new (magmatic) volcano in the Sea of Marmara. For reasons outlined below, and in the absence of further evidence, editors of the Bulletin consider this a false report.

The report stated that fishermen near the village of Cinarcik, at the E end of the Sea of Marmara "saw the sea turned red with fireballs" shortly after the onset of the earthquake. They later found dead fish that appeared "fried." Their nets were "burned" while under water and contained samples of rocks alleged to look "magmatic."

No samples of the fish were preserved. A tectonic scientist in Istanbul speculated that hot water released by the earthquake from the many hot springs along the coast in that area may have killed some fish (although they would be boiled rather than fried).

The phenomenon called earthquake lights could explain the "fireballs" reportedly seen by the fishermen. Such effects have been reasonably established associated with large earthquakes, although their origin remains poorly understood. In addition to deformation-triggered piezoelectric effects, earthquake lights have sometimes been explained as due to the release of methane gas in areas of mass wasting (even under water). Omlin and others (1999), for example, found gas hydrate and methane releases associated with mud volcanoes in coastal submarine environments.

The astronomer and author Thomas Gold (Gold, 1998) has a website (Gold, 2000) where he presents a series of alleged quotes from witnesses of earthquakes. We include three such quotes here (along with Gold's dates, attributions, and other comments):

(A) Lima, 30 March 1828. "Water in the bay 'hissed as if hot iron was immersed in it,' bubbles and dead fish rose to the surface, and the anchor chain of HMS Volage was partially fused while lying in the mud on the bottom." (Attributed to Bagnold, 1829; the anchor chain is reported to be on display in the London Navy Museum.)

(B) Romania, 10 November 1940. ". . . a thick layer like a translucid gas above the surface of the soil . . . irregular gas fires . . . flames in rhythm with the movements of the soil . . . flashes like lightning from the floor to the summit of Mt Tampa . . . flames issuing from rocks, which crumbled, with flashes also issuing from non-wooded mountainsides." (Phrases used in eyewitness accounts collected by Demetrescu and Petrescu, 1941).

(C) Sungpan-Pingwu (China), 16, 22, and 23 August 1976. "From March of 1976, various large anomalies were observed over a broad region. . . . At the Wanchia commune of Chungching County, outbursts of natural gas from rock fissures ignited and were difficult to extinguish even by dumping dirt over the fissures. . . . Chu Chieh Cho, of the Provincial Seismological Bureau, related personally seeing a fireball 75 km from the epicenter on the night of 21 July while in the company of three professional seismologists."

Yalciner and others (1999) made a study of coastal areas along the Sea of Marmara after the Izmet earthquake. They found evidence for one or more tsunamis with maximum runups of 2.0-2.5 m. Preliminary modeling of the earthquake's response failed to reproduce the observed runups; the areas of maximum runup instead appeared to correspond most closely with several local mass-failure events. This observation together with the magnitude of the earthquake, and bottom soundings from marine geophysical teams, suggested mass wasting may have been fairly common on the floor of the Sea of Marmara.

Despite a wide range of poorly understood, dramatic processes associated with earthquakes (Izmet 1999 apparently included), there remains little evidence for volcanism around the time of the earthquake. The nearest Holocene volcano lies ~200 km SW of the report location. Neither Turkish geologists nor scientists from other countries in Turkey to study the 17 August earthquake reported any volcanism. The report said the fisherman found "magmatic" rocks; it is unlikely they would be familiar with this term.

The motivation and credibility of the report's originator, Erol Erkmen, are unknown. Certainly, the difficulty in translating from Turkish to English may have caused some problems in understanding. Erkmen is associated with a website devoted to reporting UFO activity in Turkey. Photographs of a "magmatic rock" sample were sent to the Bulletin, but they only showed dark rocks photographed devoid of a scale on a featureless background. The rocks shown did not appear to be vesicular or glassy. What was most significant to Bulletin editors was the report author's progressive reluctance to provide samples or encourage follow-up investigation with local scientists. Without the collaboration of trained scientists on the scene this report cannot be validated.

References. Omlin, A, Damm, E., Mienert, J., and Lukas, D., 1999, In-situ detection of methane releases adjacent to gas hydrate fields on the Norwegian margin: (Abstract) Fall AGU meeting 1999, Eos, American Geophysical Union.

Yalciner, A.C., Borrero, J., Kukano, U., Watts, P., Synolakis, C. E., and Imamura, F., 1999, Field survey of 1999 Izmit tsunami and modeling effort of new tsunami generation mechanism: (Abstract) Fall AGU meeting 1999, Eos, American Geophysical Union.

Gold, T., 1998, The deep hot biosphere: Springer Verlag, 256 p., ISBN: 0387985468.

Gold, T., 2000, Eye-witness accounts of several major earthquakes (URL: http://www.people.cornell.edu/ pages/tg21/eyewit.html).

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

48.831°N, 101.626°E; summit elev. 1675 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

In December 2002 information appeared in Mongolian and Russian newspapers and on national TV that a volcano in Central Mongolia, the Har-Togoo volcano, was producing white vapors and constant acoustic noise. Because of the potential hazard posed to two nearby settlements, mainly with regard to potential blocking of rivers, the Director of the Research Center of Astronomy and Geophysics of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Bekhtur, organized a scientific expedition to the volcano on 19-20 March 2003. The scientific team also included M. Ulziibat, seismologist from the same Research Center, M. Ganzorig, the Director of the Institute of Informatics, and A. Ivanov from the Institute of the Earth's Crust, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Geological setting. The Miocene Har-Togoo shield volcano is situated on top of a vast volcanic plateau (figure 1). The 5,000-year-old Khorog (Horog) cone in the Taryatu-Chulutu volcanic field is located 135 km SW and the Quaternary Urun-Dush cone in the Khanuy Gol (Hanuy Gol) volcanic field is 95 km ENE. Pliocene and Quaternary volcanic rocks are also abundant in the vicinity of the Holocene volcanoes (Devyatkin and Smelov, 1979; Logatchev and others, 1982). Analysis of seismic activity recorded by a network of seismic stations across Mongolia shows that earthquakes of magnitude 2-3.5 are scattered around the Har-Togoo volcano at a distance of 10-15 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Photograph of the Har-Togoo volcano viewed from west, March 2003. Courtesy of Alexei Ivanov.

Observations during March 2003. The name of the volcano in the Mongolian language means "black-pot" and through questioning of the local inhabitants, it was learned that there is a local myth that a dragon lived in the volcano. The local inhabitants also mentioned that marmots, previously abundant in the area, began to migrate westwards five years ago; they are now practically absent from the area.

Acoustic noise and venting of colorless warm gas from a small hole near the summit were noticed in October 2002 by local residents. In December 2002, while snow lay on the ground, the hole was clearly visible to local visitors, and a second hole could be seen a few meters away; it is unclear whether or not white vapors were noticed on this occasion. During the inspection in March 2003 a third hole was seen. The second hole is located within a 3 x 3 m outcrop of cinder and pumice (figure 2) whereas the first and the third holes are located within massive basalts. When close to the holes, constant noise resembled a rapid river heard from afar. The second hole was covered with plastic sheeting fixed at the margins, but the plastic was blown off within 2-3 seconds. Gas from the second hole was sampled in a mechanically pumped glass sampler. Analysis by gas chromatography, performed a week later at the Institute of the Earth's Crust, showed that nitrogen and atmospheric air were the major constituents.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Photograph of the second hole sampled at Har-Togoo, with hammer for scale, March 2003. Courtesy of Alexei Ivanov.

The temperature of the gas at the first, second, and third holes was +1.1, +1.4, and +2.7°C, respectively, while air temperature was -4.6 to -4.7°C (measured on 19 March 2003). Repeated measurements of the temperatures on the next day gave values of +1.1, +0.8, and -6.0°C at the first, second, and third holes, respectively. Air temperature was -9.4°C. To avoid bias due to direct heating from sunlight the measurements were performed under shadow. All measurements were done with Chechtemp2 digital thermometer with precision of ± 0.1°C and accuracy ± 0.3°C.

Inside the mouth of the first hole was 4-10-cm-thick ice with suspended gas bubbles (figure 5). The ice and snow were sampled in plastic bottles, melted, and tested for pH and Eh with digital meters. The pH-meter was calibrated by Horiba Ltd (Kyoto, Japan) standard solutions 4 and 7. Water from melted ice appeared to be slightly acidic (pH 6.52) in comparison to water of melted snow (pH 7.04). Both pH values were within neutral solution values. No prominent difference in Eh (108 and 117 for ice and snow, respectively) was revealed.

Two digital short-period three-component stations were installed on top of Har-Togoo, one 50 m from the degassing holes and one in a remote area on basement rocks, for monitoring during 19-20 March 2003. Every hour 1-3 microseismic events with magnitude <2 were recorded. All seismic events were virtually identical and resembled A-type volcano-tectonic earthquakes (figure 6). Arrival difference between S and P waves were around 0.06-0.3 seconds for the Har-Togoo station and 0.1-1.5 seconds for the remote station. Assuming that the Har-Togoo station was located in the epicentral zone, the events were located at ~1-3 km depth. Seismic episodes similar to volcanic tremors were also recorded (figure 3).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Examples of an A-type volcano-tectonic earthquake and volcanic tremor episodes recorded at the Har-Togoo station on 19 March 2003. Courtesy of Alexei Ivanov.

Conclusions. The abnormal thermal and seismic activities could be the result of either hydrothermal or volcanic processes. This activity could have started in the fall of 2002 when they were directly observed for the first time, or possibly up to five years earlier when marmots started migrating from the area. Further studies are planned to investigate the cause of the fumarolic and seismic activities.

At the end of a second visit in early July, gas venting had stopped, but seismicity was continuing. In August there will be a workshop on Russian-Mongolian cooperation between Institutions of the Russian and Mongolian Academies of Sciences (held in Ulan-Bator, Mongolia), where the work being done on this volcano will be presented.

References. Devyatkin, E.V. and Smelov, S.B., 1979, Position of basalts in sequence of Cenozoic sediments of Mongolia: Izvestiya USSR Academy of Sciences, geological series, no. 1, p. 16-29. (In Russian).

Logatchev, N.A., Devyatkin, E.V., Malaeva, E.M., and others, 1982, Cenozoic deposits of Taryat basin and Chulutu river valley (Central Hangai): Izvestiya USSR Academy of Sciences, geological series, no. 8, p. 76-86. (In Russian).

Geologic Background. The Miocene Har-Togoo shield volcano, also known as Togoo Tologoy, is situated on top of a vast volcanic plateau. The 5,000-year-old Khorog (Horog) cone in the Taryatu-Chulutu volcanic field is located 135 km SW and the Quaternary Urun-Dush cone in the Khanuy Gol (Hanuy Gol) volcanic field is 95 km ENE. Analysis of seismic activity recorded by a network of seismic stations across Mongolia shows that earthquakes of magnitude 2-3.5 are scattered around the Har-Togoo volcano at a distance of 10-15 km.

Information Contacts: Alexei V. Ivanov, Institute of the Earth Crust SB, Russian Academy of Sciences, Irkutsk, Russia; Bekhtur andM. Ulziibat, Research Center of Astronomy and Geophysics, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Ulan-Bator, Mongolia; M. Ganzorig, Institute of Informatics MAS, Ulan-Bator, Mongolia.


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

1.136°N, 34.559°E; summit elev. 3885 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


False report of activity; confusion caused by burning dung in a lava tube

An eruption at Mount Elgon was mistakenly inferred when fumes escaped from this otherwise quiet volcano. The fumes were eventually traced to dung burning in a lava-tube cave. The cave is home to, or visited by, wildlife ranging from bats to elephants. Mt. Elgon (Ol Doinyo Ilgoon) is a stratovolcano on the SW margin of a 13 x 16 km caldera that straddles the Uganda-Kenya border 140 km NE of the N shore of Lake Victoria. No eruptions are known in the historical record or in the Holocene.

On 7 September 2004 the web site of the Kenyan newspaper The Daily Nation reported that villagers sighted and smelled noxious fumes from a cave on the flank of Mt. Elgon during August 2005. The villagers' concerns were taken quite seriously by both nations, to the extent that evacuation of nearby villages was considered.

The Daily Nation article added that shortly after the villagers' reports, Moses Masibo, Kenya's Western Province geology officer visited the cave, confirmed the villagers observations, and added that the temperature in the cave was 170°C. He recommended that nearby villagers move to safer locations. Masibo and Silas Simiyu of KenGens geothermal department collected ashes from the cave for testing.

Gerald Ernst reported on 19 September 2004 that he spoke with two local geologists involved with the Elgon crisis from the Geology Department of the University of Nairobi (Jiromo campus): Professor Nyambok and Zacharia Kuria (the former is a senior scientist who was unable to go in the field; the latter is a junior scientist who visited the site). According to Ernst their interpretation is that somebody set fire to bat guano in one of the caves. The fire was intense and probably explains the vigorous fuming, high temperatures, and suffocated animals. The event was also accompanied by emissions of gases with an ammonia odor. Ernst noted that this was not surprising considering the high nitrogen content of guano—ammonia is highly toxic and can also explain the animal deaths. The intense fumes initially caused substantial panic in the area.

It was Ernst's understanding that the authorities ordered evacuations while awaiting a report from local scientists, but that people returned before the report reached the authorities. The fire presumably prompted the response of local authorities who then urged the University geologists to analyze the situation. By the time geologists arrived, the fuming had ceased, or nearly so. The residue left by the fire and other observations led them to conclude that nothing remotely related to a volcanic eruption had occurred.

However, the incident emphasized the problem due to lack of a seismic station to monitor tectonic activity related to a local triple junction associated with the rift valley or volcanic seismicity. In response, one seismic station was moved from S Kenya to the area of Mt. Elgon so that local seismicity can be monitored in the future.

Information Contacts: Gerald Ernst, Univ. of Ghent, Krijgslaan 281/S8, B-9000, Belgium; Chris Newhall, USGS, Univ. of Washington, Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences, Box 351310, Seattle, WA 98195-1310, USA; The Daily Nation (URL: http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/); Uganda Tourist Board (URL: http://www.visituganda.com/).