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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

Reventador (Ecuador) Continued ash emissions and incandescent blocks avalanches; new dome and lava flow emerge in August 2020

Popocatepetl (Mexico) Daily low-intensity emissions with ash and persistent tremor during August 2020-January 2021

Pacaya (Guatemala) Explosions continue, and effusive activity increases during August-November 2020

Stromboli (Italy) Explosions, incandescent ejecta, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows during September-December 2020

Saunders (United Kingdom) Elevated crater temperatures and gas emission through May 2020; research expedition

Santa Maria (Guatemala) Frequent explosions and avalanches August 2020-January 2021; lava extrusion in September 2020

Tengger Caldera (Indonesia) Ash plumes during 26-28 December 2020 with ashfall to the NE

Lewotolok (Indonesia) New eruption in late November 2020 consisting of ash plumes, crater incandescence, and ashfall

Soufriere St. Vincent (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) New lava dome on the SW edge of the main crater in December 2020

Erta Ale (Ethiopia) Brief increase in strong thermal activity during late November-early December 2020

Bagana (Papua New Guinea) Ongoing thermal anomalies possibly indicating lava flows during May-December 2020

Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) Occasional ash and gas-and-steam plumes along with summit thermal anomalies



Reventador (Ecuador) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued ash emissions and incandescent blocks avalanches; new dome and lava flow emerge in August 2020

The andesitic Volcán El Reventador lies almost 100 km E of the main axis of active volcanoes in Ecuador and has historical eruptions with numerous lava flows and explosive events going back to the 16th century. An eruption in November 2002 generated a 17-km-high eruption cloud, pyroclastic flows that traveled 8 km, and multiple lava flows. Eruptive activity has been continuous since 2008. Daily explosions with ash emissions and ejecta of incandescent blocks rolling hundreds of meters down the flanks have been typical for many years. Similar activity continued during August 2020-January 2021, the period covered in this report, with information provided by Ecuador's Instituto Geofisico (IG-EPN), the Washington Volcano Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and infrared satellite data.

Near-daily emissions of gas and ash often rose 500-1,000 m above the summit and drifted mostly in a westerly direction throughout August 2020-January 2021. Incandescence at night was produced by explosions of ejecta that sent blocks rolling hundreds of meters down the flanks of the pyroclastic cone inside the summit caldera. IG-EPN reported the presence of a new dome inside the crater in early August. A small lava flow about 400 m long persisted on the NE flank through at least the end of 2020; another flow was observed on the N flank in January. Small pyroclastic flows were reported a few times, and ashfall occurred in the San Rafael region (10 km SSE) at the end of October. After a relatively quiet June 2020, thermal activity increased to moderate levels and remained there throughout the period (figure 132).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 132. Thermal activity at Reventador was consistent at moderate to high levels from late June 2020 through January 2021, according to this MIROVA project graph of log radiative power at the volcano. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Gas and ash emissions rose 500-1,000 m above the summit almost every day during August 2020 (figure 133). Incandescence and explosions at the summit crater, visible at night, were accompanied many nights by incandescent blocks that rolled 500-700 m down various flanks. The Washington VAAC issued 1-4 alerts most days, reporting ash observed in satellite data that rose 700-1,400 m above the summit. Drift directions were generally NW, W, or SW. IG reported a pyroclastic flow on the NE flank on 4 August, and a new 200-m-long lava flow near the summit on the NE flank was seen on 10 August (figure 134). By 19 August the lava flow had reached 350 m long; it remained active for the rest of the month but didn’t increase in length. Based on the analysis of webcam photographs and infrared images, they confirmed the growth of a new dome on 17 August (figure 135). MODVOLC thermal alerts were recorded on 3 and 11 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 133. Gas and ash rose 500-1,000 m above the summit of Reventador most days during August 2020, as seen here on 17 August. Courtesy of IG-EPN (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN REVENTADOR No. 2020-231, LUNES, 17 AGOSTO 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 134. IG-EPN reported a new lava flow on the NE flank of Reventador on 10 August 2020. It was about 400 m long and persisted through the end of 2020. Courtesy of IG-EPN (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN REVENTADOR No. 2020-224, LUNES, 10 AGOSTO 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 135. Infrared images show volcanic activity at Reventador during August 2020, including a pyroclastic flow on 4 August (top right), a lava flow on 6 August (middle left), and a lava dome on 17 August (middle right and bottom row). Courtesy of IG-EPN (Prepared by Cámar IR, S Vallejo; Informe Especial del Volcán El Reventador No. 2-2020).

Incandescence from summit explosions was visible most nights in September 2020; explosions sent glowing blocks 500-800 m down multiple flanks on many nights. The lava flow on the NE flank remained active, growing slightly from 350 to 400 m in length. Three or four VAAC alerts were issued each day for ash plumes that rose usually 700-1,400 m above the summit and drifted NW. IG webcams captured images of ash emissions rising 600-900 m above the summit on most days; a few exceeded 1,000 m in height. IG reported pyroclastic flows on the N flank on 3 and 4 September, and on the W flank on 6 September. Pyroclastic deposits were observed on the E flank of the cone on 26 September, and the webcams captured a pyroclastic flow in the early morning of 29 September along the WSW flank that reached 600 m from the summit (figure 136). All of the pyroclastic flows remained inside the summit caldera. MODVOLC thermal alerts were recorded on 11, 12, and 20 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 136. A pyroclastic flow was visible on the WSW flank of Reventador on 29 September 2020 along with an ash plume that rose hundreds of meters above the summit. Courtesy of IG-EPN (IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN REVENTADOR No. 005, MARTES, 29 SEPTIEMBRE 2020).

The 400- to 450-m-long lava flow that first emerged on the NE flank in early August remained active, as seen in thermal imagery, throughout October 2020 (figure 137). Emissions of gas and ash continued rising daily 500-1,000 m above the summit and drifting in multiple different directions. Multiple VAAC reports were issued on most days; the plumes increased in height and frequency during the second half of the month, reaching 1,400 m above the summit. Incandescent blocks rolled 500-800 m down the flanks on most nights. MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on five days during the month, on 2, 11, 14, 25, and 27 October; five alerts were issued on 25 October. Occasional pyroclastic flows were recorded on the N flank on 21 October. Fine-grained ashfall was reported in the San Rafael region (on the border between the Napo and Sucumbios provinces, 10 km ESE) on 28 and 30 October (figure 138).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 137. The lava flow on the NE flank of Reventador was about 450 m long and active throughout October 2020. In this 6 October 2020 infrared image incandescent ejecta rose from the summit and the lava flow was visible on the NE flank. Courtesy of IG-EPN (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN REVENTADOR No. 2020-281, MARTES, 6 OCTUBRE 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 138. IGEPN official S. Vallejo reported ashfall on a vehicle in the San Rafael region on the border between the Napo and Sucumbios provinces, 10 km ESE of Reventador on 28 and 30 October. US penny for scale. Photo by S. Vallejo, courtesy of IG-EPN (IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN REVENTADOR No. 007, VIERNES, 30 OCTUBRE 2020).

Steam, gas, and ash emissions continued throughout November 2020, with many plumes rising 800-1,000 m above the summit and drifting NW (figure 139). Multiple daily VAAC reports indicated plumes visible in satellite imagery 1,000-1,400 m above the summit on most days. The lava flow remained active on the NE flank with thermal imagery indicating a strong heat signal 400-450 m from the summit. The explosions that produced the incandescent blocks were strongest during 5-7 November when the blocks rolled as far as 1,000 m from the summit. Cloudy weather and rain obscured views of activity at the end of the month, and a lahar was measured by seismic instruments on 27 November, but no damage was reported. MODVOLC alerts were issued on 3, 10, 26, and 30 November. Cloudy weather during the first week of December prevented many observations, but clearer skies later in the month indicated ongoing activity that included gas and ash emissions rising about 1,000 m and drifting NW; incandescent blocks rolled 500 m down the flanks following explosions inside the crater. Only a single MODVOLC alert was issued on 25 December. The 450-m-long lava flow on the NE flank remained active.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 139. Many ash plumes at Reventador rose 800-1,000 m above the summit during November 2020. They were visible on some days when the mountain was not; clear days revealed blocks rolling down the NE flank and raising ash clouds as they rolled (bottom left). Courtesy of IG-EPN (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN REVENTADOR Nos. 2020-312, 2020-315, 2020-323, and 2020-327).

A new pulse of lava was first reported from a vent on the N flank on 10 January 2021 and remained active for the rest of the month. That same day incandescent blocks traveled 700 m down the NE flank. Pyroclastic flows were observed on the night of 14 January on the N flank. Satellite imagery on 16 January showed multiple areas of thermal activity at the summit and on the NNE flank (figure 140). On 21 January the ejecta from the explosions rose a hundred meters or more into the air over the pyroclastic cone in addition to traveling several hundred meters down the NE flank (figure 141). MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on 4, 13, and 31 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 140. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Reventador on 16 January 2021 indicated strong thermal anomalies at the summit and on the NE flank, even through the frequently dense cloud cover. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 141. On 21 January 2021 the ejecta from explosions at Reventador could be seen rising a hundred meters or more over the pyroclastic cone in addition to traveling several hundred meters down the NE flank. Courtesy of IG-EPN (INFORME DIARIO DEL VOLCAN REVENTADOR No. 2021-021, Quito, jueves 21 de enero de 2021).

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/); 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).


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily low-intensity emissions with ash and persistent tremor during August 2020-January 2021

Volcán Popocatépetl is an active stratovolcano near Mexico City that has had frequent historical eruptions dating back to the 14th century. The current eruption has been ongoing since January 2005 and has more recently consisted of lava dome growth and destruction, frequent explosions, and emissions of ash plumes and incandescent ejecta. Activity through July 2020 was characterized by hundreds of daily low-intensity emissions that included gas-and-steam and small amounts of ash, and multiple daily minor and moderate explosions that sent ash plumes more than 1 km above the crater (BGVN 45:08). This report covers somewhat decreased activity from August 2020 through January 2021 using information from México's Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Popocatépetl had ongoing water vapor, gas, and ash emissions throughout August 2020-January 2021, but far fewer minor and moderate explosions than during the period of the previous report. Ash emissions generally rose to 5.8-7.1 km altitude and drifted in many different directions. Ashfall was reported in multiple communities during August, October, and numerous times in January 2021. Thermal anomalies were recorded in satellite images inside the summit crater a few times each month. The MIROVA thermal anomaly data indicated persistent, low levels of activity throughout the reporting period (figure 162). CENAPRED reported the number of low-intensity emissions or ‘exhalations’ and the number of minutes of tremor in their daily reports (figure 163). Tremor activity was very high at the beginning of August, and then again during January 2021. The daily number of exhalations was highest during late October and November 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 162. MIROVA thermal anomaly data for Popocatépetl for the year ending on 3 February 2021 showed persistent low levels of activity from August 2020 through January 2021, the period covered in this report. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 163. CENAPRED reported the number of exhalations (low-intensity emissions) and the number of minutes of tremor at Popocatépetl in their daily reports. Tremor activity was very high at the beginning of August, and then again during January 2021 (yellow columns). The daily number of exhalations was highest during late October and November 2020 (blue columns). Data courtesy of CENAPRED daily monitoring reports.

During August 2020 daily water vapor and gas emissions often contained small quantities of ash. In addition, low-intensity emissions or exhalations with larger quantities of ash occurred tens of times per day. The daily number of minutes of tremor was over 1,000 at the beginning of the month but dropped back to lower levels of a few tens or hundreds of minutes later in the month. Slight amounts of ashfall were reported in Amecameca and Ozumba in the State of Mexico on 1 August. On 2 August the 1159 minutes of tremor were sometimes accompanied by incandescent ejecta that fell into and a short distance from the summit crater. The Washington VAAC observed an ash emission drifting NE at 6.1 km altitude on 2 August that later rose to 7.6 km altitude. It fanned out from the summit to the N and E for about 15 km. Similar observations were made virtually every day of the month; ash or gas-and-ash emissions generally rose to 5.8-7.6 km altitude and drifted a few tens of kilometers in different directions before dissipating. Constant gas emissions and incandescence were reported at night during 10-23 August; an ash emission that rose to 600 m above the crater rim and drifted W on 14 August was captured in the webcam (figure 164). The largest SO2 emissions during the period were captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite during 2-5 August (figure 165).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 164. An ash emission at Popocatépetl rose to 600 m above the crater rim and drifted W on 14 August 2020. Dense steam emissions also drifted just above the summit. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 14 de Agosto).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 165. The largest SO2 emissions at Popocatépetl during the period were captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite during 2-5 August 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Gas and occasional weak ash emissions accompanied the tens of daily low-intensity emissions during September 2020; thermal activity was very low with weak anomalies inside the summit present in satellite images on 3, 8, and 13 September. Ash emissions were visible from a webcam on 18 September and in satellite imagery on 23 September (figure 166). Weak incandescence above the crater was only reported by CENAPRED during 26 and 27 September. The Washington VAAC reported intermittent ash emissions throughout the month that commonly rose to 6-7 km altitude and drifted over 50 km downwind before dissipating.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 166. Ash emissions were visible from a webcam at Popocatépetl on 18 September (left) and in satellite imagery on 23 September 2020 (right). Right image is from Sentinel-2 with natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Left image courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 18 de septiembre). Right image courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Water-vapor and gas emissions with small quantities of ash similar to those seen in September were also typical activity during October 2020. Tens or a few hundred daily low-intensity emissions often produced ash plumes visible in the webcams (figure 167). Ashfall was reported in Tetela del Volcano (20 km SW), in the state of Morelos, and in Amecameca (20 km NW), Atlautla (17 km W), Ayapango (22 km NW) and Ecatzingo (15 km SW), in the State of Mexico on 7 October; a small amount of ashfall was also reported in Amecameca on 13 October. The Washington VAAC issued multiple daily ash advisories throughout the month; many ash plumes were visible in satellite imagery. Incandescence appeared over the summit crater at night during 10-16 October, and was noted in satellite imagery on 3, 8, 18, 23, and 28 October. Incandescence and ash emissions were both captured in satellite imagery on 8 and 18 October (figure 168). Personnel from the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED) conducted an overflight on 16 October and verified that the inner crater at the summit was covered in tephra and about 360-390 m in diameter and 120-170 m deep (figure 169).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 167. Ash plumes and steam rose hundreds of meters above Popocatépetl on 5 (left) and 10 (right) October 2020. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 5 de octubre y 10 de octubre de 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 168. Thermal anomalies at the summit of Popocatépetl and ash plumes drifting SW were both present in satellite imagery on 8 (left) and 18 (right) October 2020. Images are using Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 169. Personnel from the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED) conducted an overflight of Popocatépetl on 16 October 2020 and verified that the inner crater at the summit was covered in tephra, about 360-390 m in diameter, and 120-170 m deep. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Sobrevuelo al volcán Popocatépetl, 16 de octubre de 2020).

Activity during November 2020 consisted primarily of weak emissions of steam and gas with occasional small quantities of ash that rose a short distance above the summit crater (figure 170). The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions on 19 days during the month, most rising to 5.8-6.7 km altitude and drifting for a few tens of kilometers before dissipating. CENAPRED reported a few hundred low-intensity emissions daily, but only a few tens of minutes of tremor each day, significantly lower than previous months. Satellite imagery showed weak thermal anomalies inside the summit crater on 2, 7, 12, 22, and 27 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 170. Activity during November 2020 at Popocatépetl consisted primarily of weak emissions of steam and gas with occasional small quantities of ash that rose a short distance above the summit crater such as this one on 2 November. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 02 de noviembre).

Emissions of steam and gas with occasional low quantities of ash continued during December 2020. Six explosions on 5 December produced small ash plumes that rose 500-1,000 m above the crater. The next day two explosions produced plumes that rose less than 1,500 m above the crater and drifted NE. Incandescent ejecta was captured in the webcam on 14 December (figure 171). The Washington VAAC issued multiple aviation alerts nearly every day of the month; ash plumes generally rose to 6-7 km altitude and drifted 30-50 km before dissipating. Activity increased during the second half of the month (figure 172). Visible ejecta was seen in webcams during low-energy emissions on 24 December, accompanied by an ash plume that rose 1,000 m above the crater. The next day an ash emission rose 300 m. Ejecta was noted on the SE flank after an explosion on 27 December, and ash plumes rose to 500-1,400 m above the crater each day through the end of December and into January 2021. Thermal anomalies appeared in satellite data inside the summit crater on 2, 17, 22, and 27 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 171. Explosions at Popocatépetl produced dense ash emissions and incandescent ejecta. On 6 December the ash plume rose to 1,500 m above the crater and drifted NE (left). On 14 December 2020 incandescent ejecta rose a few hundred meters above the summit crater (right). Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl, 7 de diciembre y 15 de Diciembre de 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 172. Ash emissions occurred daily at Popocatépetl during December 2020. On 20 December the dense plume rose about one kilometer above the summit (left). On 31 December a thermal inversion was the likely reason that the ash from the summit flowed down the flank towards the webcam (right). Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl, 20 de diciembre y 31 de Diciembre de 2020).

Daily ash emissions were reported by the Washington VAAC during January 2021, rising to 5.8-7.0 km altitude and drifting tens or hundreds of kilometers before dissipating (figure 173). Ash plumes rose 500-600 m above the crater on 1 and 2 January; at least one explosion each of those days produced incandescent ejecta in and around the crater. The Washington VAAC reported the ash plume from 1 January as visible in the webcam and satellite imagery over 200 km NE from the summit before dissipating, and one on 6 January visible about 100 km E of the volcano (figure 174). Ashfall was reported each day during 4-6 January in Puebla to the NW. On 8 January ashfall occurred in Atlixco (23 km SE), San Andrés Cholula (35 km E), San Nicolás de los Ranchos (15 km ENE) and Domingo Arenas (22 km NE), all in the state of Puebla. The following day ashfall was reported in San Salvador el Verde (30 km NNE) and San Nicolás de los Ranchos. Multiple explosions with ash plumes rising 500-700 m were reported on 14 and 15 January followed the next day by ashfall in San Nicolás de los Ranchos. Trace amounts of ash were reported in Tetela del Volcán (18 km SW) in the State of Morelos on 22 January. An explosion on 26 January ejected ash 700 m high and sent incandescent fragments a short distance from the crater rim. Ashfall on 28 January was reported in Ixtlacuixtla de Mariano, Nativitas and part of the center of Tlaxcala (50 km NE). The circular inner crater rim at the summit was sharply defined in a satellite image taken on 31 January 2021; a thermal anomaly was also present inside the crater (figure 175).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 173. Ash plumes were reported daily at Popocatépetl during January 2021, including on 19 (left) and 21 (right) January, some rising over a kilometer above summit and drifting for tens of kilometers before dissipating. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl, 20 y 21 de Enero de 2021).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 174. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume at Popocatépetl from 1 January 2020 as visible over 200 km NE from the summit before dissipating (left), and one on 6 January as visible about 100 km E of the volcano (right). Sentinel-2 satellite images are with Natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) and Atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8a) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 175. A thermal anomaly inside the summit crater of Popocatépetl seen in this Sentinel-2 image was surrounded by a distinct gray circle that was the rim of the inner crater on a clear 31 January 2021. Image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México D.F. 04360, México (URL: http://www.cenapred.unam.mx/, Daily Report Archive https://www.gob.mx/cenapred/archivo/articulos); 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/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Pacaya (Guatemala) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions continue, and effusive activity increases during August-November 2020

Extensive lava flows, bomb-laden Strombolian explosions, and ash plumes emerging from Mackenney crater have characterized the persistent activity at Pacaya since 1961. The latest eruptive episode began with intermittent ash plumes and incandescence in June 2015; the growth of a new pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater was confirmed later that year. The pyroclastic cone has continued to grow, producing Strombolian explosions rising above the crater rim and frequent loud explosions. In addition, fissures on the flanks of the summit crater have produced an increasing number of lava flows traveling distances of over one kilometer down multiple flanks during 2019 and 2020 (figure 129). Increasing explosive and effusive activity during August-November 2020 is covered in this report with information provided by Guatemala's Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), multiple sources of satellite data, and numerous photographs from observers on the ground.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 129. Lava flows traveled down the flank of Pacaya during July 2019 while ash emissions and incandescent ejecta marked the summit of Fuego located 30 km NW. The large edifice on the right is Agua, and the one between it and Fuego is Acatenango, which last erupted in the early 20th century. Photo courtesy David Rojas, used with permission.

After a brief pause in effusive activity at the end of July 2020, two lava flows appeared on the NW flank on 12 August. Another flow began on the NE flank ten days later, and multiple flows were active for the remainder of the month, some reaching 650 m long. Multiple lava flows issued from fissures on the N flank and elsewhere throughout September. A flow on the NE flank was reported as 1,200 m long and was visible from Guatemala City on 8 September. A new flow on the S flank was very active later in the month. Flows were persistent on most of the flanks throughout October; a flow appeared from a fissure on the W flank on 20 October and reached 1 km in length by 24 October. Block avalanches spalled off the front of the flows and generated small ash plumes. Multi-branched flows on the W and SW flanks from the W flank fissure remained active throughout November. The slowdown in effusive activity in late July and early August 2020 is apparent in the MIROVA thermal anomaly data, as is the significant increase in activity during September that persisted into November 2020 (figure 130).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 130. Thermal activity at Pacaya decreased in late July and early August 2020 but then increased significantly in early September and remained high through November 2020; numerous lava flows were reported during the periods of increased thermal activity. Thermal data is shown from 3 February through November 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The break in the lava flow activity that began on 25 July 2020 (BGVN 45:08) lasted until 12 August. During that time, steam plumes were reported rising 25-75 m above the summit and drifting generally S or SW as far as 6 km before dissipating. Strombolian explosions rose 25-150 m above the rim of Mackenney crater and ejecta reached 50 m from the rim; noises as loud as a train engine were heard in nearby communities. Incandescence was observed nearly constantly along with persistent seismic tremor activity. On 12 August two lava flows emerged on the NW flank, each reaching about 150 m long. Incandescence from the flows was visible each day through 21 August on the NW flank in the area just above Cerro Chino (figure 131). The active flows were 100-200 m long during this period. A new lava flow appeared on the NE flank and grew to 300 m in length on 22 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 131. A thermal anomaly from a lava flow on the NNW flank of Pacaya was present in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 17 August 2020 in addition to a thermal anomaly at the center of the pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater. Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Multiple lava flows were active on the NW, N, and NE flanks for the rest of the August. Incandescence on 24 August from the NW-flank flow near Cerro Chino indicated it was 250-300 m long. During 27 and 28 August flows were reported on the N and NNE flanks, 600 and 300 m long, respectively (figure 132). Incandescent pulses were reported from the crater overnight on 28-29 August; the NW flank flow remained active and was 300 m long. MODVOLC reported three thermal alerts on 29 August. The next day, 30 August, incandescence from the 650-m-long N flank flow and 300-m-long NE flank flow continued. Constant crater incandescence accompanied dense gray ash emissions on 31 August; the lava flow on the N flank remained incandescent for 350-400 m, but there was no incandescence or degassing from the NE-flank flow on the last day of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 132. A 600-m-long lava flow was visible on the N flank of Pacaya as seen from Villa Nueva, part of Guatemala City, late on 27 August 2020. Courtesy of Sh!ft.

White and blue steam and gas plumes were present daily throughout September 2020. They drifted in multiple directions as far as 8 km from the summit before dissipating. Strombolian activity was constant, building up the pyroclastic cone inside of Mackenney crater and sending ejecta as far as 50 m from the rim. Ejecta rose 50-150 m on most days; it was reported at 200 m high on 3, 9, and 14 September and was heard loudly and rattled windows nearby on 17 and 27 September. Constant crater incandescence with prolonged degassing of dense gray ash plumes was reported on 5, 10, 15, 17, and 21 September.

Multiple lava flows issued from fissures on the N flank and elsewhere throughout the month. Two lava flows on 1 September on the N flank were 50 and 350 m long. The next day three flows on the same flank were 300, 350, and 650 m long. On 3 September a new flow appeared on the E flank and extended 600 m from its source in addition to two flows on the N flank. For the next several days multiple flows were active on the N and NE flanks, reaching 450 m on the NE flank on 7 September. The next day the flow on the NE flank reached 1,200 m in length and was visible from Guatemala City. Activity continued with multiple flows 150-300 m long through 12 September (figure 133).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 133. Lava flows at Pacaya were active on multiple flanks on 11 September 2020, including one that reached over a kilometer in length on the NE flank. Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

On 13 September 2020 the flows on the N and NE flanks reached 600 and 300 m long, while a third flow reached 150 m down the S flank. The flow on the S flank was the most active during 14-23 September, extending 550 m from its source and producing numerous block avalanches from the flow front (figure 134). During the last week of the month the focus of the flow activity returned to the NE, N, and NW flanks where multiple flows were reported, some up to 550 m long, along with constant Strombolian activity (figures 135). Increased thermal activity resulted in MODVOLC thermal alerts reported on seven days during the second half of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 134. A large lava flow on the S flank of Pacaya during 14-23 September 2020 produced block avalanches from the flow front. It was seen here in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 21 September 2020 using atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 135. Strombolian explosions sent ejecta 40-70 m above the crater at Pacaya on 26 September 2020. In addition, a lava flow 200 m long descended the N flank. Courtesy of CONRED.

Gas and steam plumes persisted throughout October 2020. They generally rose a few hundred meters above the summit and usually drifted S or W up to 10 km. Strombolian explosions continued daily, reported at 75-150 m high for most of the month. In a special report on 8 October INSIVUMEH noted increased Strombolian activity that sent bombs and fine ash 200-300 m above the crater, with ash emissions drifting 12 km W. During the last week of the month the ejecta reached 250 m high on several days. Loud noises and shock waves were periodically reported; vibrations were felt in San Francisco de Sales on 23 October and in areas to the S of Guatemala City on 27 October. INSIVUMEH reported ash emissions that drifted 8-10 km S and W from the summit on 23 October. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions seen in satellite imagery drifting 15 km NE at 3.7 km altitude on 28 October. Weak sulfur dioxide emissions were recorded by the TROPOMI instrument on 6, 20, and 26 October (figure 136).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 136. Weak SO2 emissions from Pacaya were recorded by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite on 6, 20, and 26 October 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Numerous lava flows were active throughout the month of October 2020 on multiple flanks (figure 137). During 1-4 October INSIVUMEH reported one or two flows active on the N and NE flanks that were 100-500 m long (figure 138). On 4 October there was a 200-m-long flow on the S flank, and another flow on the W flank. The S-flank flow grew to 250 m long by 8 October, had block avalanches spalling off the front, and fine ash that was stirred up by the wind. The next day three flows were active; they were 400 m long on the NE flank, 300 m on the N flank, and 200 m on the W flank. The N-flank flow was the most active during 11-15 October, reaching 650 m long. The W-flank flow was very active from 20 October through the end of the month, issuing from a fissure at mid-flank. It reached 1 km in length by 24 October and burned vegetation at the flow front (figures 139). A flow on the NE flank was 350 m long on 26 October (figure 140). MODVOLC issued thermal alerts on 7 days of the month, including seven alerts on 5 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 137. Numerous lava flows were active throughout the month of October 2020 on multiple flanks of Pacaya. On 1 October the flows were concentrated on the N flank (left), and on 31 October a long flow was active on the W flank in addition to strong thermal activity at the summit crater (right). Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, and 8a) of Sentinel-2 satellite data. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 138. A lava flow 125 m long on the N flank of Pacaya was active on 1 October 2020. Courtesy of CONRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 139. A flow on the W flank of Pacaya was over 1 km long by 24 October 2020 when it was burning vegetation as it traveled downslope. Courtesy of Noti7.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 140. An active flow on the SW flank of Pacaya issuing from a fissure on the W flank was over 1 km long on 26 October 2020 and had multiple branches flowing down the slope. Numerous people were camped on the slope below the flow. Photo by Mariana Lemus.

Although the weather was cloudy for much of November 2020, white steam and blue gas plumes were visible drifting S or W from the summit on many days, some reaching 10 km from the volcano before dissipating. Sporadic Strombolian explosions rose 100-200 m above the pyroclastic cone inside Mackenney crater; the explosions were often accompanied by small ash plumes that rose a few hundred meters and drifted downwind 8-10 km before dissipating. A small SO2 plume was recorded in the TROPOMI satellite data on 8 November, the same day that INSIVUMEH and the Washington VAAC reported an ash emission drifting NE at 3.4 km altitude over the village of Los Llanos and others in the area (figure 141). An increase in activity reported by INSIVUMEH on 15 November consisted of Strombolian explosions sending material up to 300 m above the summit and ejecting bombs up to 100 m outside the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 141. Ash and steam emissions were observed at Pacaya on 8 November 2020. Courtesy of CONRED.

Lava flows were still very active on the SW flank throughout November, emerging from a fissure a few hundred meters down from the summit that initially opened on 20 October. The main flow was 600 m long on 1 November and grew to 1,200 m long by 11 November (figure 142). On 5 November there were four separate branches of the SW-flank flow that were active. Block avalanches were common at the flow front. On 14 November a second flow was observed emerging from a fissure higher up on the SW flank from the earlier flow; they both were active for several days. INSIVUMEH issued a special report indicating increased effusion on 15 November from the SW-flank fissure. Block avalanches were occurring from the front of the 1-km-long flow, which had several branches. The blocks were 1-3 m in diameter and created small plumes of ash when moving as far as 500 m down the slope. An explosion during the night of 14-15 November at the SW-flank fissure created incandescent ejecta and ash emissions for several hours (figure 143). The flow remained active throughout the rest of November; on 26 November two flows were active from the main fissure, 500 and 400 m long (figure 144). On 30 November the main flow on the SW flank had three branches and extended 600 m from the mid-flank fissure.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 142. A fissure on the W flank of Pacaya that opened on 20 October 2020 sent multiple flows down the W and SW flanks during November. The flow extended more than a kilometer on 10 November (left). It had moved in a SW direction by 20 November (center) and had three major branches active on 25 November (right). Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, and 8a) of Sentinel-2 satellite data. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 143. An explosion at the fissure on the W flank of Pacaya during the night of 14-15 November 2020 produced incandescent ejecta almost as bright as that coming from the Strombolian activity inside the summit crater. For several hours dense ash emissions were visible at the fissure vent (inset). Large copyrighted photo courtesy of David Rojas, used with permission; inset courtesy of Prensa Objetiva.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 144. Two flows with multiple branches were active on the W and SW flanks of Pacaya on 26 November 2020. Both copyrighted photos courtesy of David Rojas, used with permission.

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/ ); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://conred.gob.gt/www/index.php) (URL: https://twitter.com/ConredGuatemala/status/1310057080162844673, https://conred.gob.gt/monitoreo-a-flujo-de-lava-en-el-volcan-pacaya/) ; NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); David Rojas, Guatemala (URL: https://www.instagram.com/davidrojasgtfoto/, https://twitter.com/DavidRojasGt/); Mariana Lemus, Guatemala (URL: https://www.instagram.com/marianalemusgt/); Noti7 (URL: https://twitter.com/Noti7Guatemala/status/1320169410833883136); Sh!ft (URL: https://twitter.com/kevingt_/status/1299204020662304768); Prensa Objetiva (URL: https://twitter.com/noticiasprensa/status/1328102695832612865).


Stromboli (Italy) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions, incandescent ejecta, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows during September-December 2020

Stromboli, located in the northeastern Aeolian Islands, is composed of two active summit craters: the Northern (N) crater and the Central-South (CS) crater that are situated at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a large scarp that runs from the summit down the NW side of the volcano (figure 187). The current eruption period began in February 1934 and has been recently characterized by Strombolian explosions at both summit craters, ash plumes, and SO2 plumes (BGVN 45:09). This report covers activity consisting of dominantly Strombolian explosions, incandescent ejecta, and ash plumes from September to December 2020, with information primarily from daily and weekly reports by Italy's Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) and various satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 187. Photo of the summit craters at Stromboli showing the North and Central-South crater areas with the location of each active vent: N1 and N2 in the N crater and S1, S2, and C in the CS crater. Photo was taken from the Pizzo sopa la Fossa during an expedition on 22 August by INGV-OE personnel. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 37/2020, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 31/08/2020 - 06/09/2020, data emissione 08/09/2020).

Activity was consistent during this reporting period. Explosion rates typically ranged from 1-14 events per hour and varied in intensity that ejected material 80-250 m above the N crater and 150-250 m above the CS crater (table 10). An ash plume on 16 November rose 1 km above the crater, accompanied by a pyroclastic flow descending the Sciara del Fuoco to the NW as far as 200 m. As a result, some ash and lapilli fell in the town of Stromboli (2 km NE). Strombolian explosions were often accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions, occasional spattering that deposited material on the Sciara del Fuoco, small lava flows, and small pyroclastic flows. According to INGV, the daily SO2 emissions measured 250-300 tons/day.

Table 10. Summary of activity at Stromboli during September-December 2020. Low-intensity activity indicates ejecta rising less than 80 m, medium-intensity is ejecta rising less than 150 m, and high-intensity is ejecta rising over 200 m above the vent. Data courtesy of INGV.

Month Activity
Sep 2020 Strombolian activity and degassing continued. Explosion rates varied from 2-22 per hour in the N crater and 1-10 in the CS crater. Ejected material rose 80-200 m above the N crater and 250 m above the CS crater. The average SO2 emissions measured 250-300 tons/day.
Oct 2020 Strombolian activity and degassing continued, along with occasional spattering. Explosion rates varied from 2-13 per hour in the N crater and 1-4 per hour in the CS crater. Ejected material rose 80-250 m above the N crater and 150-250 m above the CS crater. The average SO2 emissions measured 250-300 tons/day.
Nov 2020 Strombolian activity and degassing continued. Explosion rates varied from 2-10 per hour in the N crater and 1-4 in the CS crater. Ejected material rose 80-250 m above the N crater and 150 m above the CS crater. The average SO2 emissions measured 250-300 tons/day.
Dec 2020 Strombolian activity and degassing continued, along with some spattering in the N crater. Explosion rates varied from 1-13 per hour in the N crater and 1-5 in the CS crater. Ejected material rose 80-150 m above the N crater and 150 m above the CS crater. The average SO2 emissions measured 250-300 tons/day.

During September the frequency of the Strombolian explosions in the N crater typically ranged from 2-14 per hour; in the CS crater there were 1-10 explosions per hour. N1 consisted of three points of emissions that produced low- to high-intensity explosions, launching lapilli and bombs, sometimes mixed with fine ash, 80-200 m above the N crater and were distributed radially (figure 188); N2 typically showed low-intensity explosions (less than 80 m above the crater). Medium- to high-intensity explosions ejected mostly fine material mixed with some coarse tephra 250 m above the CS crater. On 28 September the number of explosive events reached a high of 22 per hour.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 188. Webcam images of Strombolian activity at Stromboli in the N1 crater on 29 September (left) and in the CS crater on 4 October (right) 2020. Images captured by the SCV surveillance cameras. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 41/2020, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 28/09/2020 - 04/10/2020, data emissione 06/10/2020).

Explosions with occasional spatter continued in October at a rate of 2-13 per hour in the N crater and 1-4 per hour in the CS crater. In the N crater, N1 consisted of 2-4 eruptive vents that produced explosions of variable intensity while N2 contained two vents that primarily produced low-intensity explosions. Lapilli and bombs, sometimes mixed with fine ash, were ejected 80-250 m above the N crater. Fine ash sometimes mixed with coarse-to-medium tephra rose 150-250 m above the CS crater. Spatter was reported from two hornitos that formed in the N1 crater (figure 189). On 11 October sporadic ash emissions and coarse ejecta were observed above the S2 crater, episodic ash emissions rose above the S1 crater, and occasional degassing with modest spattering were visible in the C crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 189. Drone images showing gas-and-steam emissions and Strombolian activity at Stromboli during 8-9 October 2020. The white annotations label the craters and the red show the active hornitos (H). The N2H2 label shows a small explosion (right). Images from the HPHT Lab from INGV-Roma 1. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 42/2020, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 05/10/2020 - 11/10/2020, data emissione 13/10/2020).

Strombolian explosions persisted into November. The N1 crater consisted of 2-3 vents, producing explosions of variable intensity; the N2 crater also consisted of 2-3 active vents that produced low- to medium-intensity explosions. The frequency of explosions ranged from 2-10 per hour in the N crater and 1-4 per hour in the CS crater. Lapilli and bombs, sometimes mixed with fine ash, rose 80-250 m above the N crater and fine material was ejected 150 m above the CS crater. On 10 November an explosion was detected at 2104 in the S2 crater of the CS area, producing pyroclastic material that was distributed radially along the Sciara del Fuoco, followed by an ash plume (figure 190). Within 30 seconds, another pulse of activity from the C crater in the northern part of the CS area produced intense lava fountaining that ejected coarse incandescent material 300 m above the crater, lasting about two minutes. At 2106 a small explosion was detected in the N2 crater, ending the explosive sequence.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 190. Thermal (rows 1 and 3) and webcam (rows 2 and 4) images showing the evolution of the explosion at Stromboli on the evening of 10 November 2020 accompanied by an ash plume and incandescent ejecta. Images captured by the SCT and SQV surveillance cameras. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 47/2020, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 09/11/2020 - 15/11/2020, data emissione 17/11/2020).

During an overflight by the 2nd Air Unit of the Coast Guard of Catania on 11 November, scientists identified degassing in the entire summit crater area; a small lava flow was observed in the S1 crater, originating from an intra-crater vent. Additional thermal anomalies were noted at the bottom of the C, N1, and N2 craters. Strong fumaroles were visible originating from a hornito located outside the S1 crater on the Sciara del Fuoco. A second hornito was visible on the slope of the Sciara del Fuoco near the N2 crater. On 16 November a major explosion was detected at 1017 in the N crater area and on the edge of the N2 crater. Thermal and visible images captured the resulting dense, gray ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater and the accompanying pyroclastic flow that descended the Sciara del Fuoco as far as 200 m (figure 191). Some ash and lapilli fell over the town of Stromboli, about 2 km away on the NE coast of the island. A sequence of explosive events at 0133 on 21 November was detected in three different craters: the first two events occurred in the N1 and N2 craters, and the third occurred in the C crater. Coarse material was ejected 300 m above the crater and was distributed radially, affecting the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco. A small ash plume was also visible.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 191. Thermal (top row) and webcam (bottom row) images showing the evolution of the explosion at Stromboli on the morning of 16 November 2020 accompanied by a significant gray ash plume. Images captured by the SCT and SCV surveillance cameras. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 48/2020, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 16/11/2020 - 22/11/2020, data emissione 24/11/2020).

During December, similar Strombolian explosions were reported. There were two eruptive vents in the N1 crater and 2-4 in the N2 crater that produced explosions of low intensity and low-to-medium intensity, respectively. The frequency of explosions ranged from 1-13 per hour in the N crater and 1-5 per hour in the CS crater. Fine ash mixed with some coarse material (lapilli and bombs) was ejected 80-150 m above the N crater and mostly fine material rose 150 m above the CS crater. Some spattering activity was reported in the N2 crater, which contributed to the formation of hornitos that produced incandescent material. On 6 December an explosive sequence of events was detected in the CS crater area at 0612. An explosion ejected material 300 m above the crater that were distributed radially, depositing on the upper Sciara del Fuoco. In addition, two small lava flows formed (figure 192). A second explosion was recorded at 0613, characterized by lava fountaining in the CS crater that reached a height of 200 m. Similar activity in the N and CS craters were also captured by webcam images on 21 and 27 December, which showed lava fountaining, accompanied by a small pyroclastic flow (figure 193).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 192. Thermal images of the explosion at Stromboli in the CS crater on 6 December 2020, accompanied by incandescent ejecta and two small lava flows. Some lava fountaining was visible in the bottom center image at 0513:47. Images captured by the SCT surveillance camera. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 50/2020, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 30/11/2020 - 06/12/2020, data emissione 08/12/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 193. Webcam (top row) and thermal (bottom row) images of Strombolian activity in the N (left column) and CS (right column) crater areas at Stromboli on 21 December (top right) and 27 December (top left and bottom row) 2020. This activity included a small pyroclastic flow and lava fountaining. Images captured by the SCV and SCT surveillance cameras. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 53/2020, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 21/12/2020 - 27/12/2020, data emissione 29/12/2020).

Intermittent and low-power thermal activity was detected during September through December, according to the MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph using MODIS infrared satellite information (figure 194). Though there were no detected MODVOLC thermal alerts during this reporting period, many thermal hotspots were visible in one or both summit craters on clear weather days using Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery, which is due to Strombolian activity (figure 195).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 194. Intermittent, low thermal activity at Stromboli was recorded by the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power) during September through December 2020. The frequency of the thermal anomalies had decreased compared to the previous months of May through August; a total of eleven thermal anomalies were detected during this reporting period. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 195. Weak thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) at Stromboli were visible in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery from typically both summit craters during September through December 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Saunders (United Kingdom) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Saunders

United Kingdom

57.8°S, 26.483°W; summit elev. 843 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Elevated crater temperatures and gas emission through May 2020; research expedition

The glaciated Saunders Island is located in the remote South Sandwich Volcanic Arc in the South Atlantic between Candlemas (to the north) and Montagu (to the south) islands. The main volcanic features are Mount Michael, lava flows on the northern Blackstone Plain, and the Ashen hills complex near the eastern Nattriss Point (figure 31). The Ashen Hills complex is a group of overlapping craters formed through phreatomagmatic activity, with the largest crater opening towards the NW (figure 32). Gas emissions have been remotely observed from the ice-filled Old crater to the SE, with reports of gas plumes extending back to 1820 (LeMasurier et al., 1990; Patrick and Smellie, 2013; Liu et al., 2021). The current eruption period, centered at the 500-m-diameter Mount Michael summit crater, has been ongoing since at least 12 November 2014, based on remote sensing analysis (Gray et al., 2019). Activity consists of a lava lake, persistent degassing, and intermittent explosions producing ash plumes (Patrick and Smellie 2013; Gray et al. 2019). Visits are infrequent due to the remote location, and cloud and plume cover often prevents satellite observations. This report summarizes activity during June 2019 through May 2020 primarily using satellite data, as well as observations from visiting scientists.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. This 24 December 2019 satellite image (PlanetScope 3-Band scene) of Saunders Island shows the locations of the active Mount Michael summit crater and other features on the island. Courtesy of Planet Labs.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Images of the southeastern area of Saunders Island taken in January 2020. The top left image shows Nattriss Point with Ashen Hills in the background. The other photos show the crater and flanks of the Ashen Hills complex with rill and gully features from fluvial erosion. White and black speckled features in the images are penguins. Photos courtesy of Emma Liu and the 2020 Pelagic Australis expedition group.

Activity during June-December 2019. Ashfall deposits on the flanks were sometimes visible on the snow and ice (figure 33). MIROVA thermal anomaly data during June 2019 through June 2020 showed few days where high temperatures were detected by this sensor, but the active summit crater floor is often obscured by cloud cover or condensed gas-and-steam plumes. The TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) detected frequent sulfur dioxide (SO2) plumes of varying concentrations that are dispersed in different directions by wind (figure 34). Small condensed gas-and-steam plumes are often visible in satellite imagery within the crater, and some larger plumes are also imaged (figure 35). All satellite images where the summit crater was not obscured by either cloud cover or gas-and-steam plumes showed elevated temperatures within the summit crater, with three distinct areas visible possibly indicating multiple active vents (figure 36).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. This satellite image of Saunders Island acquired on 15 September 2019 shows the snow and ice-covered island and a recent ashfall deposit on the NE flank towards Cordelia Bay, with a green sediment plume in the water. Sentinel-2 image with Natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering. Courtesy of Planet Labs.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. These images show data acquired by the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) that demonstrate detected SO2 (sulfur dioxide) from Mount Michael on Saunders Island on 2, 3, 25, and 29 September 2019. These are examples of gas plumes through the month with wind dispersing the plumes in different directions. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. This 10 October 2019 satellite image shows Saunders Island and the surrounding area with light cloud cover, and a condensed gas-and-steam plume from the summit crater drifting towards the E to SE. Sentinel-2 image with Natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering. Courtesy of Planet Labs.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. These two Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Saunders Island acquired on 2 and 24 December 2019 show three distinct areas of elevated temperature within the Mount Michael summit crater (yellow to red). While the locations of the thermal anomalies look different in these images, the angle of the view into the crater is not specified. Blue is Ice, black is ocean water. Sentinel-2 image with False color (Urban) (bands 12, 11, 4) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during January-May 2020. During January through May 2020 various remote sensing data showed the same activity as the previous seven months, with abundant cloud cover over the island. The Sentinel-2 satellite imaged a vertical plume on 13 March rising then being dispersed NE (figure 37). Intermittent observations of SO2 plumes continued through TROPOMI data analysis (figure 38). A clear view of the summit area on 29 May showed the ice-free active summit crater producing a weak gas-and-steam plume, and ash deposition on the NE to SE upper flanks (figure 39).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. This Sentinel-2 satellite image of the Mount Michael summit area on Saunders Island with a gas-and-steam plume rising from the summit crater above the cloud cover, and dispersing NE. The plume and clouds are casting dark shadows below them. Sentinel-2 image with False color (Urban) (bands 12, 11, 4) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Examples of SO2 gas plumes originating from Saunders detected by the TROPOMI instrument on 14 and 18 March 2020. The plumes are dispersing N to NNE. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. This 29 May 2020 Planet Scope satellite image shows the summit area of Mount Michael above cloud cover with the active summit crater and the old crater to the SE. There is a weak gas plume rising from the crater and ashfall on the upper E flank. Courtesy of Planet Labs.

Research expedition in January 2020. The team of the 2020 Pelagic Australis expedition visited the island on 5-8 January 2020, with shore landings on the last three days, to quantify gas emissions from the island. The following information is from the published expedition results (Liu et al., 2021), with photos supplied by volcanologist Emma Liu.

Across the South Sandwich islands they used a combination of a ground-based and drone-mounted gas detectors (Multi-GAS), a UV imaging camera, sample collection, and NDIR spectrometer analyses to quantify gas output. They confirmed that the summit crater is a persistent source of gas emissions with 145 ± 59 tons per day of SO2 and a CO2 flux of 179 ± 76 tons per day. On the 5th they observed a vertical plume and on the 7th they observed the plume drifting down the E flank before rising (figure 40). They noted that the surface was steaming and was warm to the touch, suggesting widespread geothermal activity. The non-glaciated surfaces of the island contain tephra deposits, with units exposed by erosion and preserved within snow and ice (figure 41). Explosions have emplaced tephra layers across the island as well as ballistic blocks and bombs on the E flank (figure 42; Liu et al., 2021).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. These images show the gas emissions from Mount Michael on Saunders Island in January 2020. The top right image is a vertical gas plume rising from the summit crater on the evening of the 5th. The two photos on the right are looking towards the E on the 7th. The bottom left image is a low-lying condensed gas plume on the 8th travelling down the E flank before rising. Courtesy of Emma Liu, and Liu et al. (2021).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Tephra layers are preserved within the stratigraphy of snow and ice on Saunders Island. Scale shown by penguins (top) and volcanologist Kieran Wood (right). Photos courtesy of Emma Liu.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Dense volcanic blocks up to a meter in size are widespread on Saunders Island. The block in the foreground has a height of approximately 35 cm; the Chinstrap penguin in the foreground is around 50 cm tall. Courtesy of Emma Liu and Liu et al. (2021).

References: Liu E J, Wood K, Aiuppa A, Giudice G, Bitetto M, Fischer T P, McCormick Kilbride B T, Plank T, Hart T, 2021. Volcanic activity and gas emissions along the South Sandwich Arc. Bull Volcanol 83. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00445-020-01415-2

LeMasurier W E, Thomson J W, Baker P E, Kyle P R, Rowley P D, Smellie J L, Verwoerd W J, 1990. Volcanoes of the Antarctic Plate and Southern Ocean. American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C.

Lachlan-Cope T, Smellie J L, Ladkin R, 2001. Discovery of a recurrent lava lake on Saunders Island (South Sandwich Islands) using AVHRR imagery. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 112: 105-116.

Gray D M, Burton-Johnson A, Fretwell P T, 2019. Evidence for a lava lake on Mt. Michael volcano, Saunders Island (South Sandwich Islands) from Landsat, Sentinel-2 and ASTER satellite imagery. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 379:60-71. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.volgeores.2019.05.002

Derrien A, Richter N, Meschede M, Walter T, 2019. Optical DSLR camera- and UAV footage of the remote Mount Michael Volcano, Saunders Island (South Sandwich Islands), acquired in May 2019. GFZ Data Services. http://doi.org/10.5880/GFZ.2.1.2019.003

Patrick M R, Smellie J L, 2013. Synthesis A spaceborne inventory of volcanic activity in Antarctica and southern oceans, 2000–10. Antarct Sci 25:475–500. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954102013000436

Geologic Background. Saunders Island is a volcanic structure consisting of a large central edifice intersected by two seamount chains, as shown by bathymetric mapping (Leat et al., 2013). The young constructional Mount Michael stratovolcano dominates the glacier-covered island, while two submarine plateaus, Harpers Bank and Saunders Bank, extend north. The symmetrical Michael has a 500-m-wide summit crater and a remnant of a somma rim to the SE. Tephra layers visible in ice cliffs surrounding the island are evidence of recent eruptions. Ash clouds were reported from the summit crater in 1819, and an effusive eruption was inferred to have occurred from a N-flank fissure around the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. A low ice-free lava platform, Blackstone Plain, is located on the north coast, surrounding a group of former sea stacks. A cluster of parasitic cones on the SE flank, the Ashen Hills, appear to have been modified since 1820 (LeMasurier and Thomson, 1990). Analysis of satellite imagery available since 1989 (Gray et al., 2019; MODVOLC) suggests frequent eruptive activity (when weatehr conditions allow), volcanic clouds, steam plumes, and thermal anomalies indicative of a persistent, or at least frequently active, lava lake in the summit crater. Due to this observational bias, there has been a presumption when defining eruptive periods that activity has been ongoing unless there is no evidence for at least 10 months.

Information Contacts: Emma Liu, University College London, Kathleen Lonsdale Building, 5 Gower Place, London, WC1E 6BS, United Kingdom; Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent explosions and avalanches August 2020-January 2021; lava extrusion in September 2020

Santa Maria is one of the most active volcanoes in Guatemala. Major features are the Santa Maria edifice with the large crater that formed in the 1902 eruption, and the Santiaguito dome complex about 2.5 km down the SW flank that includes the currently active Caliente dome (figure 113). Activity typically includes ash plumes, gas emissions, lava extrusion, and avalanches. This report summarizes activity during August 2020 through January 2021 and is based on reports by Instituto Nacional de Sismología, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrología (INSIVUMEH), Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), and satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 113. Main features of the Santa Maria complex are shown in this March 2021 Planet Labs satellite image monthly mosaic. The large scarp is the wall of the crater produced during the 1902 eruption. Within that the El Brujo, El Monje, La Mitad domes, and the currently active Caliente dome, are from W to E. Courtesy of Planet Labs.

Throughout August weak to moderate explosions were reported most days, some days occurring 2-4 times per hour. These produced ash plumes to an altitude of 3.5 km, typically reaching 3.4 km. The plumes were dispersed mostly W and SW, sometimes S, SE, and NW. Degassing was reported throughout the month, with plumes reaching 3.5 km, but most often 3-3.1 km altitude. On the 3rd, ashfall was reported in San Marcos Palajuno (8 km SW), Loma Linda (6 km WSW) and others in that direction, and again on the 29th. It was also reported in Monte Claro (S of the summit) on the 12th and light ashfall occurred on the flanks through the month. Explosions on the 23rd produced weak pyroclastic flows that traveled down the SW flank of the dome. The activity produced frequent avalanches on the S, SW, and SE flanks of the dome, some reaching the base of the dome and some depositing fine ash onto the flanks. The sound of explosions and degassing were reported most days and incandescence was frequently seen at the crater at night.

This activity continued through September, maintaining the same eruptive pattern of weak and moderate explosions, gas emission, lava extrusion, and avalanches. Incandescence continued to be visible at the crater. There was ashfall reported in Monte Claro, Aldea San Marcos Palajunoj and other surrounding communities on the 7th, Monte Claro on the 11th, and across the Palajunoj area on the 28th. On the afternoon of 25 September lahars occurred in the Cabello de Ángel and Nimá I drainages. Lava extrusion was reported on the morning of the 29th along with resulting block-and-ash flows.

Throughout October explosions, gas emission, avalanches, and elevated crater temperatures producing nighttime incandescence (figure 114) continued in the same manner as the previous months. From the 9th the extrusion of lava was observed over the dome, generating block-and-ash flows mainly down the W flank. Ashfall was reported in of Loma Linda and El Rosario Palajunoj and others in the area on the 13th, 7 km SW on the 18th, and in San Marcos Palajunoj and nearby areas on the 23rd. Lava extrusion generated constant avalanches down multiple flanks from the 23rd, with some producing small ash plumes as they descended.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 114. This Shortwave Infrared (SWIR) image of Santa Maria acquired on 19 October by the Landsat 8 satellite shows elevated temperatures at the Caliente dome. The contour intervals are 30 m. Courtesy of USGS and INSIVUMEH.

Throughout November gas emissions and explosions continued to produce gas-and-steam and ash plumes that rose up to 3.4 km altitude. Lava extrusion also continued down the W flank, producing incandescence and frequent avalanches down the SE, S, SW, and W flanks, as well as less frequent block-and-ash flows (figure 115). An increase in thermal energy detected towards the end of the month resulted from this extrusion (figure 116). Ashfall occurred around the volcano from explosions and avalanches. Ashfall was reported SE within the villages of Las Marías, Calaguache and others nearby on the 12th and 22nd, and SSW over the village of San Marcos Palajunoj, Loma Linda and Fincas in the Palajunoj area on the 27th. Degassing and explosions were intermittently heard in nearby communities with reports of sounds similar to an airplane turbine. An explosion on the 16th produced an ash plume up to 3.6 km altitude and pyroclastic flows down the flanks (figure 117).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 115. This nighttime Landsat 8 Shortwave Infrared (SWIR) satellite image of Santa Maria with the contours of the Caliente dome overlain was acquired on 20 November 2020. There are elevated temperatures within the summit crater and lava is flowing down a channel on the western flank. The contour intervals are 20 m. Courtesy of USGS and INSIVUMEH.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 116. This MIROVA log radiative power plot shows the thermal energy released at Santa Maria between April 2020 to February 2021. There was a decrease in energy emitted from May to November, followed by an increase in the frequency and the energy released on some days. The black vertical lines like the two in January-February are more than 5 km from the summit and are likely not a result of volcanic activity. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. An explosion from the Caliente dome of Santa Maria is seen here at 0715 on 16 November 2020. The photo shows the ash plume that rose to 3.6 km altitude and pyroclastic flows descending the flanks. The seismogram shows the explosion in the center of the bottom line (the times on the left are given in UTC). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

Gas emissions and weak to moderate explosions continued throughout December, producing plumes reaching 3.4 km altitude along with ongoing lava extrusion producing avalanches (figures 118 and 119). Ash from explosions and avalanches was intermittently emplaced onto the flanks, and ashfall was reported in the villages of San Marcos and Loma Linda Palajunoj on the 7th, and in Loma Linda and Finca Montebello on the 11th. Activity increased from 0430 on 11 December 2020 with the generation of moderate to powerful avalanches as well as block-and-ash flows from lava extrusion and accumulation, with 13 events recorded between that time and when a report was released at 0900. The intensity continued with block-and-ash flows and pyroclastic flows moving down the W and SW flanks that generated ash plumes which extended 20 km downwind.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 118. Plumes rise from the Caliente dome at Santa Maria on 9 (top left) and 15 (top right) December 2020. A faint plume rises from the summit of the Caliente dome and another plume rises from a possible avalanche down the SW flank (bottom). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Fotografías Recientes de Volcanes).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. A gas-and-steam plume rises from the degassing Caliente dome at Santa Maria on 30 December 2020. Around this time weak and moderate explosions produced ash plumes up to 3-3.4 km altitude, resulting in ashfall on the flanks. Courtesy of CONRED.

The high level of background activity associated with lava extrusion continued through January. Satellite images show the lava flow advancing down the W-flank channel (figure 120), reaching approximately 250 m by the 11th. Avalanches also continued, producing ash that was emplaced nearby (figure 121). On the 22nd the collapse of dome material produced a pyroclastic flow to the E and SE. Explosions ejected ash to 3.4 km altitude, with ashfall that was reported in the Aldeas de San Marcos and Loma Linda Palajunoj on the 1st, Aldeas de San Marcos and Loma Linda Palajunoj on the 11th, Aldeas de San Marcos y Loma Linda Palajunoj, Fca. El Patrocinio during the 20-21st. Ashfall was again reported on the 31st to the west on farms, in Aldeas de San Marcos, and in Loma Linda Palajunoj. Sounds generated by explosions were sometimes heard around 10 km away.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. PlanetScope satellite images of Santa Maria acquired on 20 December 2020 and 10 and 11 January 2021 show the development of a lava flow down a channel on the W flank (white arrows). In the latest image the flow is approximately 250 m long. Courtesy of Planet Labs.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. Thermal infrared satellite images of Santa Maria acquired on 12 and 22 January 2021 show higher temperatures on the Caliente dome. Top: Elevated thermal areas are detected at the summit and hot material is emplaced down the W-flank channel. Bottom: Elevated temperatures at the summit of the lava dome, with a possible avalanche on the E flank. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images with false color (urban) (bands 12, 11, 4) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://conred.gob.gt/www/index.php); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Tengger Caldera (Indonesia) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Tengger Caldera

Indonesia

7.942°S, 112.95°E; summit elev. 2329 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes during 26-28 December 2020 with ashfall to the NE

Activity at Bromo, the youngest and only active cone within the 16-km-wide Tengger caldera in East Java, is characterized by occasional explosions with ash plumes followed by periods of relative quiet with only gas-and-steam emissions (BGVN 44:05). There have been more than 30 eruptive periods since 1900. During the first seven months of 2019, ash explosions occurred on 18 February 2019 and became especially numerous in March and April, with more explosive activity in July 2019 (BGVN 44:05, 44:08). The volcano is monitored by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM) and by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

Following the ash explosion on 28 July 2019, satellite observations frequently showed a white gas-and-steam plume in the Bromo crater (figure 19). No additional eruptive activity was reported until 26-27 December 2020 when PVMBG reported white-and-gray plumes rose 50-700 m above the summit of Bromo’s cone. The next day, at 0550 on 28 December, an observer spotted a gas-and-ash emission rising at least 500 m above the summit. The Darwin VAAC was unable to confirm if there was ash in the plume based on satellite data, but ashfall was reported in the Ngadirejo area, about 5 km NE. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and visitors were warned to stay outside a 1-km radius of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Satellite image of the Tengger Caldera on 12 September 2020, with a typical white plume visible in the Bromo crater. Sentinel-2 image with natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The 16-km-wide Tengger caldera is located at the northern end of a volcanic massif extending from Semeru volcano. The massive volcanic complex dates back to about 820,000 years ago and consists of five overlapping stratovolcanoes, each truncated by a caldera. Lava domes, pyroclastic cones, and a maar occupy the flanks of the massif. The Ngadisari caldera at the NE end of the complex formed about 150,000 years ago and is now drained through the Sapikerep valley. The most recent of the calderas is the 9 x 10 km wide Sandsea caldera at the SW end of the complex, which formed incrementally during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. An overlapping cluster of post-caldera cones was constructed on the floor of the Sandsea caldera within the past several thousand years. The youngest of these is Bromo, one of Java's most active and most frequently visited volcanoes.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Lewotolok (Indonesia) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Lewotolok

Indonesia

8.274°S, 123.508°E; summit elev. 1431 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruption in late November 2020 consisting of ash plumes, crater incandescence, and ashfall

Lewotolok (also known as Lewotolo) is located on the eastern end of a peninsula connected to Lembata (formerly Lomblen) that extends north into the Flores Sea. Eruptions date back to 1660, characterized by explosive activity in the summit crater. Typical activity has consisted of seismicity and thermal anomalies near the summit crater (BGVN 36:12 and 41:09). A new eruption that began in late November 2020 was characterized by increased seismicity, dense, gray ash plumes, nighttime crater incandescence, and ashfall. This report covers activity through January 2021 using information primarily from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM, or the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation), MAGMA Indonesia, and satellite data.

Summary of activity during February 2012-October 2020. Activity from February 2012 to November 2020 was relatively low and consisted primarily of a persistent thermal anomaly in the summit crater since at least March 2016 and occasional white gas-and-steam emissions. During January 2012 intermittent white gas-and-steam plumes rose 15-500 m above the crater, accompanied by crater incandescence; no thermal anomalies were reported during 16-24 January. On 6 January there were 500 people in the Lembata district evacuated due to reports of ash plumes that were observed by local residents, the smell of sulfur, and the sound of rumbling (BGVN 36:12).

Thermal activity dates back to 13 October 2014 using MODIS data in MODVOLC satellite data (BGVN 41:09; figure 3). According to the MODVOLC algorithm, a total of seven thermal alerts were detected on 13 October 2014 (1), 27 September 2015 (1), 2, 3, and 4 (2) October 2015, and 5 November 2017 (1). The number of thermal alerts in both MODVOLC and Sentinel-2 satellite data had increased slightly in 2020 compared to 2018 and 2019, though cloud cover often prevented visual confirmation for the latter (figure 3). Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery captured occasional thermal anomalies in the summit crater during 2016-2019 (figure 4). White gas-and-steam plumes were intermittently reported from September 2017 through 2 March 2018 that rose as high as 500 m above the crater and drifted dominantly E and W, according to PVMBG.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Graph comparing the number of thermal anomalies using MODVOLC alerts and Sentinel-2 satellite data for Lewotolok during January 2014-January 2021 for MODVOLC and 20 March 2016-January 2021 for Sentinel-2 thermal satellite data. Data courtesy of HIGP - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System and Sentinel Hub Playground.

Brief seismicity, which included shallow and deep volcanic earthquakes was detected during October 2017. On 9 October 2017 PVMBG issued a VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) reporting that white gas-and-steam emissions rose 500 m above the crater. On 10 October BNPB (Badan Nacional Penanggulangan Bencana) reported that five earthquakes 10-30 km below Lewotolok and ranging in magnitude of 3.9-4.9 as recorded by Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi, dan Geofisika (BMKG). These seismic events were felt by local populations and resulted in an evacuation of 723 people. The only activity reported between January 2018 and October 2020 was white gas-and-steam plumes that rose 5-100 m above the crater drifting primarily E and W and an occasional thermal anomaly in the summit crater (figure 4).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery shows a thermal anomaly in the summit crater of Lewotolok during 20 March 2016 (top left), 8 July 2017 (top right), 13 July 2018 (bottom left), and 12 August 2019 (bottom right). Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

New eruption starting in November 2020. On 26 November 2020 a continuous tremor began at 1943, followed by a series of volcanic earthquakes at 1947 and deep volcanic earthquakes at 1951, 1952, 1953, and 2255; white gas-and-steam emissions rose 20 m above the crater. Deep volcanic earthquakes were again recorded at 0242, 0537, 0556 on 27 November. At 0557 an explosion produced a gray ash plume that rose 500 m above the crater and drifted W; by 0630 the plume turned white, according to PVMBG (figure 5). Seismicity decreased slightly after the explosion, but tremor continued. During 27-28 November dense white gas-and-steam plumes rose as high as 500 m above the crater and nighttime crater incandescence was observed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Webcam image of a dense gray ash plume rising 500 m above the crater of Lewotolok on 27 November 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

During the morning of 29 November seismicity increased again and consisted of six deep volcanic earthquakes, continuous tremor occurred around 0930. A second explosion was recorded at 0945 that produced an ash plume 4 km above the crater, accompanied by incandescent material that was ejected above the crater (figure 6). The ash plume consisted of two levels: the lower-level drifted W and NW and the upper-level drifted E and SE. The large, gray ash plume was captured in a satellite image as it spread generally E and W (figure 7). Ashfall and a sulfur odor was reported in several surrounding villages; videos from social media showed tephra falling onto the roofs of residential areas. BPBD evacuated residents in 28 villages in two sub-districts; by 29 November at 1300 about 900 people had been evacuated. At 1900 Strombolian activity was observed and during the night, crater incandescence was visible.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Photos of the eruption at Lewotolok on 29 November 2020 that produced a dense, gray ash plume 4 km above the crater. Courtesy of Devy Kamil Syahbana, PVMBG (left) and MAGMA Indonesia (right).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Satellite image showing a strong gray ash plume above Lewotolok on 29 November 2020, expanding roughly E and W. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground and the European Space Agency, Copernicus.

The eruption continued from 29 November into 1 December, where the white-and-gray ash plumes rose 700-2,000 m above the crater and drifted SE and W, accompanied by incandescent material that was ejected above the crater and the smell of sulfur, according to PVMBG (figure 8). A large sulfur dioxide plume was reported drifting SE and extending over the N half of Australia by 30 November (figure 9). By 1300 that day, 4,628 people had been evacuated. Incandescent lava flows near the summit were visible and incandescent material traveled down the flanks during 30 November and 1 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Webcam image of the continuous eruption at Lewotolok showing a dense gray ash plume rising above the cloud-covered summit on 30 November 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. SO2 plume from Lewotolok captured by the Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI instrument on 30 November 2020 drifting SE and along the N part of Australia. Courtesy of Simon Carn and the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

White-and-gray plumes continued frequently through January 2021, rising 100-1,500 m above the crater, drifting in multiple directions, accompanied by nighttime crater incandescence and occasional incandescent ejecta (figure 10). During 1-8 December gray plumes rose 100-1,000 m above the crater and drifted E, W, and SW accompanied by nightly crater incandescence and incandescent material ejected as high as 20 m above the crater. By 5 December at 2200 about 9,028 residents had been evacuated to 11 evacuation centers, according to BNPB. Black, gray, and brown ash plumes were visible daily during 9-15 December, rising 1 km above the crater, accompanied by nightly Strombolian explosions that ejected material above the crater. More Strombolian explosions on most nights over 16-29 December ejected material 100-300 m above the crater; in addition, the sounds of rumbling and banging could be heard. The material was deposited as far as 1 km from the crater E and SE during 24-25 and 27-31 December and 4-7 January 2021. Strombolian activity continued into January, accompanied by frequent gray-and-white ash plumes, rumbling and banging sounds, and incandescent ejecta up to 600 above the crater that extended as far as 500 m E, SE, and W. Crater incandescence was visible up to 600 m above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Webcam images showing continuing dense gray ash plumes from Lewotolok on 1 December 2020 (top) and 8 January 2021 (bottom). Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

A consistent level of thermal activity was recorded in the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity from February 2019 through October 2020; in early December 2020 a slight increase in thermal anomalies were detected (figure 11). This data reflects the start of the new eruption in late November 2020. According to the MODVOLC thermal algorithm, five thermal hotspots were detected between January 2020 and January 2021 on 3 September (1), 29 November (2), 24 December (1), and 5 January 2021 (1). Some of this thermal activity was also observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery in the summit crater (figure 12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity data (bands 12, 11, 8A) shows consistent thermal activity (red dots) at Lewotolok during February 2020 through December 2020. Stronger thermal anomalies in early December is likely due to the new eruption that began in late November 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showing a thermal anomaly in the summit crater of Lewotolok on 25 October (top left), 9 November (top right), and 3 January 2021 (bottom right). On 14 December (bottom left) a Natural Color image showed a gray ash emission above the clouds and drifted E. On 3 January 2021 (bottom right) two thermal anomalies were visible in the summit crater accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions drifting NE. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Natural Color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) on 14 December 2020, all other images use “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The Lewotolok (or Lewotolo) stratovolcano occupies the eastern end of an elongated peninsula extending north into the Flores Sea, connected to Lembata (formerly Lomblen) Island by a narrow isthmus. It is symmetrical when viewed from the north and east. A small cone with a 130-m-wide crater constructed at the SE side of a larger crater forms the volcano's high point. Many lava flows have reached the coastline. Eruptions recorded since 1660 have consisted of explosive activity from the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); European Space Agency (ESA), Copernicus (URL: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/Copernicus); NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Simon Carn, Dept of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Dr., Houghton, MI 49931, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Soufriere St. Vincent (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) — March 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Soufriere St. Vincent

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

13.33°N, 61.18°W; summit elev. 1220 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New lava dome on the SW edge of the main crater in December 2020

Soufrière St. Vincent is the northernmost stratovolcano on St. Vincent Island in the southern part of the Lesser Antilles. The NE rim of the 1.6-km-wide summit crater is cut by a crater (500 m wide and 60 m depth) that formed in 1812. Recorded eruptions date back to 1718, with notable eruptions occurring in 1812, 1902, and 1979. The eruption of 1979 was characterized by ashfall, pyroclastic flows, and lahars, in addition to a series of Vulcanian explosions during 13-26 April 1979 that destroyed the lava dome in the summit crater, which had formed during a 1971 effusive eruption (SEAN 04:04). As a result, more than 20,000 people were evacuated. Beginning around 3 May 1979 another lava dome began to form in the main crater (SEAN 04:05; Shepherd et al., 1979) that continued to grow until the end of October 1979, expanding to 850 m in diameter and 120 m high (SEAN 04:11; Cole et al., 2019).

No further eruptive activity took place until December 2020, when a new lava dome began to grow SW of the pre-existing 1979 lava dome, accompanied by increased seismicity, crater incandescence, and gas-and-steam emissions. This report reviews information through February 2021 using bulletins from the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC), the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), and various satellite data. Soufrière St. Vincent is monitored by the SRC assisted by the Soufrière Monitoring Unit (SMU) from the Ministry of Agriculture in Kingstown. As of 2004, the monitoring network had consisted of five seismic stations, eight GPS stations, and several dry tilt sites. Seismic data are transmitted from field sites to the Belmont Observatory (9 km SSW), which is operated by the SMU (figure 4). On 1 January 2021 a new seismic station was installed at Georgetown, on 10 January one was installed in Owia, followed on 15 January by another on the upper S flank, station SSVA at the summit on 18 January, and in Fancy on 21 January. In February 2021 the USGS-USAID (US Geological Survey-US Agency for International Development), through the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP), donated equipment to build four more seismic stations.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Location map of the Belmont Observatory (yellow star) located in Rosehall, St. Vincent, 9 km SSW from the Soufrière St. Vincent summit crater (red triangle). Base map satellite imagery courtesy of Google Earth.

A spike in seismicity was recorded during June-July 2019 (figure 5), though no cause was reported. The number of events sharply declined after July but continued intermittently through November 2020. Seismicity began to increase in early November through 23 December 2020, which included 126 earthquakes described as volcano-tectonic events and rockfall signals that were captured on one reliable seismic station (SVB) located 9 km from the volcano. The maximum daily count was 11 events on 16 November. After 23 December a total of eight events were detected before seismicity briefly subsided.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Daily count of volcanic earthquakes recorded at Soufrière St. Vincent during 1 January 2019 through February 2021. Increased seismicity was detected during June-July 2019 and mid-October 2020 through February 2021. An installation of station SVV on 6 January 2021 at Wallibou is annotated on this graph. Data courtesy of UWI-SRC.

Activity during December 2020. Staff members of the Soufrière Monitoring Unit (SMU) made visual observations of the crater on 16 December and reported minor changes in fumarolic activity and a small lake on the E side of the crater floor. On 27 December UWI-SRC and NEMO reported that an effusive eruption had begun, which was characterized by a new lava dome in the main crater on the SW perimeter of the 1979 dome (figures 6 and 7). A thermal hotspot in the crater was also detected that day using satellite data by NASA FIRMS. As a result, the Volcanic Alert Level (VAL) was raised to Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) on 29 December (figure 8). The Volcano Ready Communities Project, a collaboration between NEMO SVG and UWI Seismic Research Centre, distributed their volcano hazard map for the surrounding communities, in preparation for a potential evacuation (figure 9).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Photo of the first documented observation of the new lava dome at Soufrière St. Vincent on 27 December 2020 taken from the E side of the summit. Courtesy of Melanie Grant, IG, UWI-SRC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Photo of an early observation of the new lava dome at Soufrière St. Vincent on 29 December 2020 growing WSW of the 1979 lava dome on the SW edge of the summit crater, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. The dome was estimated to be 60 m high on 30 December. Courtesy of Kemron Alexander (color corrected), SMU, UWI-SRC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Volcanic Hazard Alert Level System for Soufriere St. Vincent. Courtesy of UWI-SRC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Volcanic hazard map for Soufrière St. Vincent, showing different areas that are likely to experience hazardous volcanic events which would require evacuations. The hazard map is divided into four zones: Zone 1 (Red), which is a very high hazard location; Zone 2 (Orange), which is a high hazard location; Zone 3 (Yellow), which is a moderate hazard location; and Zone 4 (Green), which is a low hazard location. This poster was created prior to the current eruption as part of the Volcano Ready Communities Project, a collaboration between NEMO SVG and UWI Seismic Research Centre. Courtesy of UWI-SRC and NEMO.

Activity during January-February 2021. Observations made during a field visit on 5 January, during a helicopter overflight on 6 January, and based on 9 January drone video noted that the new dome was expanding to the W on the WSW edge of the 1979 lava dome and continued to gradually grow through February 2021 (figure 10). Growth of the 2020/21 lava dome produced small, hot rockfalls and gas-and-steam emissions that were visible from the Belmont Observatory. The gas emissions were most notable from a small depression at the top of the dome. Two seismic stations were installed on the flank of the volcano at Wallibou (SVV) and at the summit (SSVA) on 6 and 18 January, respectively.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Map showing the growth of the new 2020/21 lava dome at Soufrière St. Vincent from 27 December 2020 to 12 February 2021. The dome is located on the SW edge of the crater rim and WSW of the 1979 lava dome that is covered in vegetation. Courtesy of UWI-SRC.

Seismic stations recorded 573 events through 0730 on 30 January; this number continued to grow into February (up to 703 events by 0830 on 4 February) (figure 5). Observations on 14 January showed that the dome was growing taller and expanding to the E and W. An overflight on 15 January showed extensive vegetation damage on the E, S, and W inner crater walls; damage previously noted on the upper SW crater rim had expanded downslope (figure 11). Scientists visited on 16 January and recorded temperatures of 590°C at the dome surface (figure 12). During 15-17 January residents to the W of the volcano reported nighttime crater incandescence. Persistent gas-and-steam emissions were observed rising above the dome, as well as from the contact between the 2020/21 and 1979 domes during the rest of the month and through February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Oblique aerial view of the lava dome at Soufrière St. Vincent between the 1979 dome and the SW crater rim on 15 January 2021, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. On this day, the dome was 340 m long, 160 m wide, and 80 m high. Courtesy of Adam Stinton, MVO, UWI-SRC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Thermal measurements were taken at the base of the freshly extruded lava dome at Soufrière St. Vincent on 16 January 2021. Top: Photo (color corrected) of the base of the new lava dome. Bottom: Thermal FLIR (Forward-Looking InfraRed) image of the base of the new lava dome showing a maximum temperature of 590.8°C. Courtesy of Adam Stinton, MVO, UWI-SRC.

Sulfur dioxide emissions were first detected on 1 February using a Multi-Gas Instrument and a filter pack; the dome had reached an estimated volume of 5.93 million cubic meters. Vegetation on the NW part of the crater (N of the dome) was damaged, likely due to fire. The dome continued to expand laterally to the N and S, according to reports issued on 6 and 8 February. After that it grew about 15 m to the NW and SE, according to 11 and 15 February reports (figure 13). NEMO reported that the growth rate of the lava dome ranged from 1.9 to 2.13 m3/s (figure 14). Active gas-and-steam emissions originated dominantly at contact areas between the pre-existing 1979 dome and the 2020/21 dome, as well as at the top of the new dome.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Photo of the 2020/21 lava dome (dark mass at left) at Soufrière St. Vincent on 12 February 2021 showing continuous gas-and-steam emissions and damaged vegetation on the 1979 lava dome (right). On this day, the dome was 618 m long, 232 m wide, 90 m high, and an estimated volume of 6.83 million cubic meters. Courtesy of Kemron Alexander, SMU, UWI-SRC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Estimated lava extrusion rates and added volume of material at Soufrière St. Vincent’s 2020/21 lava dome during 27 December 2020 through 3 February 2021. Calculations were based on UAV photography and photogrammetry. Data courtesy of UWI-SRC.

Thermal satellite data. MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows the beginning of thermal activity in late December 2020 and continuing at a lower power into early February (figure 15). A single MODVOLC thermal alert was detected on 29 December. This activity marks the beginning of the effusive eruption and the formation of the new lava dome. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery detected a thermal anomaly on the SW side of the main crater during clear weather days in January 2021, which represents the active 2020/21 lava dome (figure 16). Fresh, hot material is also visible surrounding the thermal anomaly, which demonstrates the growth of the lava dome over time.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Thermal activity at Soufrière St. Vincent was detected beginning in late December 2020 and continued through early February 2021, as reflected in the MIROVA data (Log Radiative Power). The power of the thermal anomalies had slightly decreased after December. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showing a persistent thermal anomaly (bright yellow-orange) in Soufrière St. Vincent’s growing lava dome on the WSW edge of the main crater during 3 January through 28 January 2021. The dark black color is the freshly cooled material from the effusive activity, which also demonstrates the increasing size of the lava dome. Images using “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Field work during mid-January 2021. SRC collected rock samples from the new lava dome and sent them to scientists from the University of East Anglia, University of Plymouth, and University of Oxford on 16 January 2021 as a collaborative project to analyze their composition and compare them with the composition of rocks erupted in 1902, 1971, and 1979. Analyses showed that the new 2020/21 lava dome was basaltic andesite, similar in composition to the earlier domes (figure 17).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Backscattered electron image of a sample from the 2020/21 lava dome showing groundmass texture. Low-contrast dark gray crystals are feldspar microlites in glass (darkest gray). Some of the larger feldspar crystals have Ca-rich cores (paler gray). Clinopyroxenes also make up the groundmass (brighter gray) and some are breaking down to Fe-oxides (small oxides at edges of clinopyroxene bottom center and bottom right). In some areas dark glass is devitrifying (paler gray irregular shapes within dark gray glassy patches). Fe-Ti oxides are also common (bright white crystals). Total image width is about 0.3 mm. Image and description courtesy of Bridie Davies, UEA.

References: Cole P D, Robertson R E A, Fedele L, Scarpati C, 2019. Explosive activity of the last 1000 years at La Soufrière, St Vincent, Lesser Antilles. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 371:86-100.

Shepherd, J. B., Aspinall, W. P., Rowley, K. C., Pereira, J., Sigurdsson, H., Fiske, R. S., Tomblin, J. F., 1979. The eruption of Soufrière volcano, St Vincent April–June 1979. Nature, 282 (5734), 24–28. doi:10.1038/282024a0.

Geologic Background. Soufrière St. Vincent is the northernmost and youngest volcano on St. Vincent Island. The NE rim of the 1.6-km wide summit crater is cut by a crater formed in 1812. The crater itself lies on the SW margin of a larger 2.2-km-wide caldera, which is breached widely to the SW as a result of slope failure. Frequent explosive eruptions after about 4,300 years ago produced pyroclastic deposits of the Yellow Tephra Formation, which cover much of the island. The first historical eruption took place in 1718; it and the 1812 eruption produced major explosions. Much of the northern end of the island was devastated by a major eruption in 1902 that coincided with the catastrophic Mont Pelée eruption on Martinique. A lava dome was emplaced in the summit crater in 1971 during a strictly effusive eruption, forming an island within a lake that filled the crater. A series of explosive eruptions in 1979 destroyed the 1971 dome and ejected the lake; a new dome was then built.

Information Contacts: University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC), University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies (URL: http://www.uwiseismic.com/); National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Biseé, PO. Box 1517, Castries, Saint Lucia, West Indies (URL: http://nemo.gov.lc/); 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); Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/); Bridie Davies, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, Norfolk, NR4 7TJ, UK (URL: https://people.uea.ac.uk/bridie_davies).


Erta Ale (Ethiopia) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Erta Ale

Ethiopia

13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Brief increase in strong thermal activity during late November-early December 2020

Erta Ale, located in Ethiopia, is a highly active volcano that contains a 0.7 x 1.6 km, elliptical summit caldera with multiple pit craters that frequently host active lava lakes. Another larger 1.8 x 3.1 km wide depression SE of the summit is bounded by curvilinear fault scarps on the SE side. Recent activity has been characterized by lava flow outbreaks (BGVN 45:05) and thermal anomalies detected from pit craters in the summit caldera (BGVN 45:05 and 45:10). This report covers activity from October 2020 through February 2021 and is characterized by a brief period of strong thermal anomalies in late November, which sharply declined in December. Information primarily comes from satellite data.

Activity at Erta Ale had gradually decreased compared to previous months; thermal activity during this reporting period remained primarily in the N summit caldera. MIROVA (Middle Infrared Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows a total of four low-power thermal anomalies from October through most of November. At the end of November, a brief surge of strong thermal activity was detected in the S pit crater of the summit caldera, followed by a sharp decrease the following days (figure 102). Similarly, the MODVOLC system detected a total of eight thermal alerts; two were detected on 29 November and six were detected on 30 November, primarily focused in the summit caldera. Only two thermal anomalies were recorded in the MIROVA graph after this surge of activity; one in mid-December and one in early January. Thermal data from NASA VIIRS detected hotspots on 28-30 November, 1-3 December, and 8 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. A total of four low-power thermal anomalies were recorded at Erta Ale during October through most of November 2020. Beginning in late November into early December a strong but brief surge of thermal activity was detected according to the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power). Only two low-power thermal anomalies were recorded after the activity in early December; one in mid-December and one in early January 2021. Courtesy of MIROVA.

According to Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images, a weak thermal anomaly was first visible on 20 October in the summit caldera. Intermittent, weak anomalies were also detected in the summit caldera on 25 and 30 October and 4, 9, 19, and 24 November. On 29 November the thermal activity increased significantly, detected as a strong hotspot in the S pit crater of the summit caldera (figure 103). This brief increase in power was also recorded in the MIROVA graph and by the MODVOLC thermal algorithm. By 4 December the size and power of this thermal activity decreased significantly, though it was still visible in the summit caldera. Thermal activity was no longer observed after 4 December until clear weather days on 2 and 12 February when a faint anomaly was detected.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Erta Ale during 30 October 2020 to 12 February 2021 showing a single thermal anomaly (bright yellow-orange) in the S pit crater of the summit caldera that varies in strength. Top left: 30 October 2020 shows a faint thermal anomaly in the S pit crater. Top right: 29 November 2020 shows the strongest thermal anomaly in the S pit crater during the reporting period and is also reflected in the MIROVA graph and detected by the MODVOLC system. Bottom left: 4 December 2020 shows that the thermal anomaly from activity in late November remains hot but begins to decrease in strength. Bottom right: 12 February 2021 again shows thermal activity from the S pit but weaker than the previous November and December. Sentinel-2 images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — January 2021 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)


Ongoing thermal anomalies possibly indicating lava flows during May-December 2020

Bagana is a remote volcano located in central Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea with eruptions dating back to 1842. The current eruption period began in February 2000, with more recent activity characterized by thermal anomalies along with gas-and-steam and ash plumes (BGVN 44:12 and 45:07). Typical activity consists of episodes of lava flows and intermittent strong passive degassing, especially sulfur dioxide. This report covers activity from May-December 2020 using primarily thermal data and satellite imagery.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed a cluster of intermittent low-power thermal anomalies during June through early August, followed by a period of quiescence during August to mid-October, with the exception of two anomalies detected in early September (figure 44). Thermal activity slightly increased again by mid-October and continued infrequently through December at low levels. This pattern of thermal activity is also reflected in three Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images that showed faint, roughly linear, thermal anomalies, indicative of lava flows trending NE and NW on 21 June, NE on 1 July, and W on 23 November (figure 45). On clear weather days, gas-and-steam emissions could be seen in satellite imagery on 30 August, 4 October, and 23 November, each of which drifted W (figure 45). Gas-and-steam emissions on 13 December drifted E.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Intermittent low-power thermal anomalies were detected at Bagana during late May-December 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power). Relatively higher power and frequency anomalies were detected during June-early August. Thermal activity declined after early August into mid-October, with the exception of two thermal anomalies in early September. Activity increased again slightly by mid-October and continued through December, but at a lower power and frequency. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showing weak thermal anomalies at Bagana during June through December 2020. Top left: Faint, linear thermal anomalies on 21 June 2020 on the NE and NW flanks, which could represent lava effusion, though clouds covered much of the area. Top right: Hot material traveling down the NE flank on 1 July 2020. Middle left and right: Gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit crater and drifting W on 30 August and 4 October 2020; very faint thermal anomalies can be observed in the crater. Bottom left: Gas-and-steam emissions in the summit crater drifted W on 23 November 2020, and a probable lava flow is visible extending down the NW flank. Bottom right: Gas-and-steam emissions rose above the summit crater on 13 December 2020 and drifted E. Sentinel-2 images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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: 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).


Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Kadovar

Papua New Guinea

3.608°S, 144.588°E; summit elev. 365 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional ash and gas-and-steam plumes along with summit thermal anomalies

Kadovar is located in the Bismark Sea offshore from the mainland of Papua New Guinea about 25 km NNE from the mouth of the Sepik River. Its first confirmed eruption began in early January 2018, characterized by ash plumes and a lava extrusion that resulted in the evacuation of around 600 residents from the N side of the island (BGVN 43:03). Activity has recently consisted of intermittent ash plumes, gas-and-steam plumes, and thermal anomalies (BGVN 45:07). Similar activity continued during this reporting period of July-December 2020 using information from the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

RVO issued an information bulletin on 15 July reporting minor eruptive activity during 1-5 July with moderate light-gray ash emissions rising a few hundred meters above the Main Crater. On 5 July activity intensified; explosions recorded at 1652 and 1815 generated a dense dark gray ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater and drifted W. Activity subsided that day, though fluctuating summit crater incandescence was visible at night. Activity increased again during 8-10 July, characterized by explosions detected on 8 July at 2045, on 9 July at 1145 and 1400, and on 10 July at 0950 and 1125, each of which produced a dark gray ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater. According to Darwin VAAC advisories issued on 10, 16, and 30 July ash plumes were observed rising to 1.5-1.8 km altitude and drifting NW.

Gas-and-steam emissions and occasional ash plumes were observed in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on clear weather days during August through December (figure 56). Ash plumes rose to 1.2 and 1.5 km altitude on 3 and 16 August, respectively, and drifted NW, according to Darwin VAAC advisories. On 26 August an ash plume rose to 2.1 km altitude and drifted WNW before dissipating within 1-2 hours. Similar activity was reported during September-November, according to several Darwin VAAC reports; ash plumes rose to 0.9-2.1 km altitude and drifted mainly NW. VAAC notices were issued on 12 and 22 September, 4, 7-8, and 18 October, and 18 November. A single MODVOLC alert was issued on 27 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Sentinel-2 satellite data showing a consistent gas-and-steam plume originating from the summit of Kadovar during August-December 2020 and drifting NW. On 21 September (top right) a gray plume was seen drifting several kilometers from the island to the NW. Images with “Natural color” (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows intermittent low-power anomalies during July through December 2020 (figure 57). Some of this thermal activity in the summit crater was observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions that drifted primarily NW (figure 58).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Intermittent low-power thermal anomalies at Kadovar were detected in the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power) during July through December 2020. The island location is mislocated in the MIROVA system by about 5.5 km SE due to older mis-registered imagery; the anomalies are all on the island. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Sentinel-2 satellite data showing thermal anomalies at the summit of Kadovar on 23 July (top left), 7 August (top right), 1 September (bottom left), and 21 September (bottom right) 2020, occasionally accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume drifting dominantly NW. Two thermal anomalies were visible on the E rim of the summit crater on 23 July (top left) and 7 August (top right). Images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The 2-km-wide island of Kadovar is the emergent summit of a Bismarck Sea stratovolcano of Holocene age. It is part of the Schouten Islands, and lies off the coast of New Guinea, about 25 km N of the mouth of the Sepik River. Prior to an eruption that began in 2018, a lava dome formed the high point of the andesitic volcano, filling an arcuate landslide scarp open to the south; submarine debris-avalanche deposits occur in that direction. Thick lava flows with columnar jointing forms low cliffs along the coast. The youthful island lacks fringing or offshore reefs. A period of heightened thermal phenomena took place in 1976. An eruption began in January 2018 that included lava effusion from vents at the summit and at the E coast.

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 32, Number 04 (April 2007)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Aira (Japan)

Eruption from E-slope Showa crater on 4 June 2007

Bagana (Papua New Guinea)

Almost daily thermal anomalies over past year; plumes and glow

Bulusan (Philippines)

Continued explosive eruptions and ashfall during October 2006 through May 2007

Home Reef (Tonga)

Island almost gone in mid-February; pumice reaches Australia

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Mild eruptive activity between August 2006 and May 2007

Popocatepetl (Mexico)

Minor explosions and lava dome growth

Raoul Island (New Zealand)

Update on March 2006 eruption; new submarine volcanoes discovered

Santa Ana (El Salvador)

Lahars follow October 2005 eruptions; steam emissions

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Seismic activity continues at a reduced level through 1 June

Stromboli (Italy)

Flank eruption begins on 27 February 2007

Sulu Range (Papua New Guinea)

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

Tungurahua (Ecuador)

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



Aira (Japan) — April 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption from E-slope Showa crater on 4 June 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Bagana

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Almost daily thermal anomalies over past year; plumes and glow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Herman Patia, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, Northern Territory 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Hot Spots System, University of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).


Bulusan (Philippines) — April 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Bulusan

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued explosive eruptions and ashfall during October 2006 through May 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Home Reef

Tonga

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Island almost gone in mid-February; pumice reaches Australia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Manam

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Mild eruptive activity between August 2006 and May 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Herman Patia and Steve Saunders, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, Northern Territory 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Hot Spots System, University of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — April 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor explosions and lava dome growth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México D.F. 04360, México (URL: https://www.gob.mx/cenapred/); Alicia Martinez Bringas and Angel Gómez Vázquez, CENAPRED; Servando de la Cruz Reyna, Insituto de Geofisica UNAM. Ciudad Universitaria, s/n. Circuito Institutos . Coyoacan México D.F. México; Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/).


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

Raoul Island

New Zealand

29.27°S, 177.92°W; summit elev. 516 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Update on March 2006 eruption; new submarine volcanoes discovered

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Santa Ana

El Salvador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lahars follow October 2005 eruptions; steam emissions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Geologic Background. Santa Ana (also known as Ilamatepec), is a massive, dominantly andesitic-to-trachyandesitic stratovolcano in El Salvador immediately W of Coatepeque caldera. Collapse 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 vents and cones have formed along a 20-km-long fissure system that extends from near the town of Chalchuapa NNW of the volcano to the San Marcelino and Cerro la Olla cinder cones on the SE flank. Historical activity, largely consisting of small-to-moderate explosive eruptions from both summit and flank vents, has been documented since the 16th century. The San Marcelino cinder cone on the SE flank produced a lava flow in 1722 that traveled 13 km E.

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


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

Soufriere Hills

United Kingdom

16.72°N, 62.18°W; summit elev. 915 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismic activity continues at a reduced level through 1 June

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), Fleming, Montserrat, West Indies (URL: http://www.mvo.ms/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, MODIS Thermal Alert System, School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).


Stromboli (Italy) — April 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Flank eruption begins on 27 February 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Sulu Range

Papua New Guinea

5.5°S, 150.942°E; summit elev. 610 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tungurahua (Ecuador) — April 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Tungurahua

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements  Obituaries

Misc Reports

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

Additional Reports  False Reports