Logo link to homepage

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

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

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


Recently Published Bulletin Reports

Pacaya (Guatemala) Lava flows and Strombolian explosions continued during February-July 2019

Colima (Mexico) Renewed volcanism after two years of quiet; explosion on 11 May 2019

Masaya (Nicaragua) Lava lake activity declined during March-July 2019

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) Occasional weak phreatic explosions during March-July 2019

Aira (Japan) Explosions with ejecta and ash plumes continue weekly during January-June 2019

Agung (Indonesia) Continued explosions with ash plumes and incandescent ejecta, February-May 2019

Kerinci (Indonesia) Intermittent explosions with ash plumes, February-May 2019

Suwanosejima (Japan) Small ash plumes continued during January through June 2019

Great Sitkin (United States) Small steam explosions in early June 2019

Ibu (Indonesia) Frequent ash plumes and small lava flows active in the crater through June 2019

Ebeko (Russia) Continuing frequent moderate explosions though May 2019; ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Weak thermal anomalies and moderate Strombolian-type eruptions in September 2018-June 2019



Pacaya (Guatemala) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava flows and Strombolian explosions continued during February-July 2019

Pacaya is one of the most active volcanoes in Guatemala, with activity largely consisting of frequent lava flows and Strombolian activity at the Mackenney crater. This report summarizes continued activity during February through July 2019 based on reports by Guatemala's Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH) and Sistema de la Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), visiting scientists, and satellite data.

At the beginning of February activity included Strombolian explosions ejecting material up to 5 to 30 m above the Mackenney crater and a degassing plume up to 300 m. Multiple lava flows were observed throughout the month on the N, NW, and W flanks, reaching 350 m from the crater and resulting in avalanches from the flow fronts. Strombolian activity continued with sporadic to continuous explosions ejecting material 5-75 m above the Mackenney crater. Degassing produced plumes up to 300 m above the crater, and incandescence from the crater and lava flows were seen at night. Daniel Sturgess of Bristol University observed activity on the 24th, noting a 70-m-long lava flow with individual blocks from the front of the flow rolling down the flanks (figure 108). He reported that mild Strombolian explosions occurred every 10-20 minutes and ejected blocks, up to approximately 4 m in diameter, as high as 5-30 m above the crater and towards the northern flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. An active lava flow on the NW flank of Pacaya on 24 February 2019 with incandescence visible in lower light conditions. Courtesy of Daniel Sturgess, University of Bristol.

Similar activity continued through March with multiple lava flows reaching a maximum of 200 m N and NW, and avalanches descending from the flow fronts. Ongoing Strombolian explosions expelled material up to 75 m above the Mackenney crater. Degassing produced a white-blue plume to a maximum of 900 m above the crater (figure 109) and incandescence was noted some nights.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. A degassing plume at Pacaya reaching 350 m above the crater and dispersing to the S on 19 March 2019. Courtesy of CONRED.

During April lava flows continued on the N and NW flanks, reaching a maximum length of 300 m, with avalanches forming from the flow fronts. Degassing formed plumes up to 600 m above the crater that dispersed with various wind directions. Strombolian activity continued with explosions ejecting material up to 40 m above the crater. On the 2nd and 3rd weak rumbles were heard at distances of 4-5 km. Similar activity continued through May with lava flows reaching 300 m to the N, degassing producing plumes up to 600 m above the crater, and Strombolian explosions ejecting material up to 15 m above the crater.

Lava flows continued out to 300 m in length to the N and NW during June (figures 110 and 111). Strombolian activity ejected material up to 30 m above the crater and degassing resulted in plumes that reached 300 m. During July there were multiple active lava flows that reached a maximum of 300 m in length on the N and NW flanks (figure 112). Avalanches generated by the collapse of material at the front of the lava flows were accompanied by explosions ejecting material up to 30 m above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. An active lava flow on Pacaya on 9 June 2019 with incandescent blocks rolling down the flank from the flow front. Courtesy of Paul Wallace, University of Liverpool.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. Activity at Pacaya on 22 June 2019 with a degassing plume dispersed to the W and a 300-m-long lava flow. Photos by Miguel Morales, courtesy of CONRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 112. Two lava flows were active to the N and NW at Pacaya on 20 July 2019. Photos courtesy of CONRED.

During February through July multiple lava flows and crater activity were detected in Sentinel-2 satellite thermal images (figures 113 and 114) and relatively constant thermal energy was detected by the MIROVA system with a slight decrease in the energy and frequency of anomalies during June (figure 115). The thermal anomalies detected by the MODVOLC system for each month from February through July spanned 6-30, with six during June and 30 during April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 113. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Pacaya show lava flows to the N and NW during February through April 2019. There was a reduction in visible activity in early March. False color (urban) satellite images (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 114. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Pacaya showing lava flow and hot avalanche activity during June and July 2019. False color (urban) satellite images (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 115. MIROVA log radiative power plot of MODIS thermal infrared at Pacaya during October 2018 through July 2019. Detected thermal energy is relatively stable with a decrease through June and subsequent increase during July. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); 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/); 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/); Daniel Sturgess, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Queens Road, Bristol BS8 1RJ, United Kingdom (URL: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/earthsciences/); Paul Wallace, Department of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences, University of Liverpool, 4 Brownlow Street, Liverpool L69 3GP, United Kingdom (URL: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/environmental-sciences/staff/paul-wallace/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Colima (Mexico) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Colima

Mexico

19.514°N, 103.62°W; summit elev. 3850 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Renewed volcanism after two years of quiet; explosion on 11 May 2019

Frequent historical eruptions at Volcán de Colima date back to the 16th century and include explosive activity, lava flows, and large debris avalanches. The most recent eruptive episode began in January 2013 and continued through March 2017. Previous reports have covered activity involving ash plumes with extensive ashfall, lava flows, lahars, and pyroclastic flows (BGVN 41:01 and 42:08). In late April 2019, increased seismicity related to volcanic activity began again. This report covers activity through July 2019. The primary source of information was the Centro Universitario de Estudios e Investigaciones de Vulcanologia, Universidad de Colima (CUEIV-UdC).

On 11 May 2019, CUEIV-UdC reported an explosion that was recorded by several monitoring stations. A thermal camera located south of Colima captured thermal anomalies associated with the explosion as well as intermittent degassing, which mainly consisted of water vapor (figure 131). A report from the Unidad Estatal de Protección Civil de Colima (UEPCC), and seismic and infrasound network data from CUEIV-UdC, recorded about 60 high-frequency events, 16 landslides, and 14 low-magnitude explosions occurring on the NE side of the crater during 11-24 May. Drone imagery showed fumarolic activity occurring on the inner wall of this crater on 22 May (figure 132).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 131. Gas emissions from Colima during the 11 May 2019 eruption as seen from the Naranjal station. Courtesy of CUEIV-UdC (Boletin Seminal de la Actividad del Volcan de Colima 17 mayo 2019 no 121).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 132. A drone photo showing fumarolic activity occurring within the NE wall of the crater at Colima on 22 May 2019. Courtesy of CUEIV-UdC (Boletin Seminal de la Actividad del Volcan de Colima 24 mayo 2019 no 122).

Small explosions and gas-and-steam emissions continued intermittently through mid-July 2019 concentrated on the NE side of the crater. An overflight on 9 July 2019 revealed that subsidence from the consistent activity slightly increased the diameter of the vent; other areas within the crater also showed evidence of subsidence and some collapsed material on the outer W wall (figure 133). During the weeks of 19 and 26 July 2019, monitoring cameras and seismic data recorded eight lahars.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 133. A drone photo of the crater at Colima on 8 July 2019 shows continuing fumarolic activity and evidence of a collapsed wall on the W exterior side. Courtesy of CUEIV-UdC (Boletin Seminal de la Actividad del Volcan de Colima 12 julio 2019 no 129).

Geologic Background. The Colima volcanic complex is the most prominent volcanic center of the western Mexican Volcanic Belt. It consists of two southward-younging volcanoes, Nevado de Colima (the 4320 m high point of the complex) on the north and the 3850-m-high historically active Volcán de Colima at the south. A group of cinder cones of late-Pleistocene age is located on the floor of the Colima graben west and east of the Colima complex. Volcán de Colima (also known as Volcán Fuego) is a youthful stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera, breached to the south, that has been the source of large debris avalanches. Major slope failures have occurred repeatedly from both the Nevado and Colima cones, and have produced a thick apron of debris-avalanche deposits on three sides of the complex. Frequent historical eruptions date back to the 16th century. Occasional major explosive eruptions (most recently in 1913) have destroyed the summit and left a deep, steep-sided crater that was slowly refilled and then overtopped by lava dome growth.

Information Contacts: Centro Universitario de Estudios e Investigaciones de Vulcanologia, Universidad de Colima (CUEIV-UdC), Colima, Col. 28045, Mexico; Centro Universitario de Estudios Vulcanologicos y Facultad de Ciencias de la Universidad de Colima, Avenida Universidad 333, Colima, Col. 28045, Mexico (URL: http://portal.ucol.mx/cueiv/); Unidad Estatal de Protección Civil, Colima, Roberto Esperón No. 1170 Col. de los Trabajadores, C.P. 28020, Mexico (URL: http://www.proteccioncivil.col.gob.mx/).


Masaya (Nicaragua) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

11.984°N, 86.161°W; summit elev. 635 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake activity declined during March-July 2019

Masaya, in Nicaragua, contains a lava lake found in the Santiago Crater which has remained active since its return in December 2015 (BGVN 41:08). In addition to this lava lake, previous volcanism included explosive eruptions, lava flows, and gas emissions. Activity generally decreased during March-July 2019, including the number and frequency of thermal anomalies, lava lake levels, and gas emissions. The primary source of information for this report comes from the Instituto Nicareguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER).

On 21 July 2019 a small explosion in the Santiago Crater resulted in some gas emissions and an ash cloud drifting WNW. In addition to the active lava lake (figure 77), monthly reports from INETER noted that thermal activity and gas emissions (figure 78) were decreasing.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Active lava lake visible in the Santiago Crater at Masaya on 27 June 2019. Photo by Sheila DeForest (Creative Commons BY-SA license).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Gas emissions coming from the Santiago Crater at Masaya on 29 June 2019. Photo by Sheila DeForest (Creative Commons BY-SA license).

On 15 May and 22 July 2019, INETER scientists used a FLIR SC620 thermal infrared camera to measure temperatures of fumaroles on the Santiago Crater. In May 2019 the temperature of fumaroles had decreased by 48°C since the previous month. Between May and July 2019 fumarole temperatures continued to decline; temperatures ranged from 90° to 136°C (figure 79). Compared to May 2019 these temperatures are 3°C lower. INETER reports that the level of the lava lake has been slowly dropping during this reporting period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. FLIR (forward-looking infrared) and visible images of the Santiago Crater at Masaya showing fumarole temperatures ranging from 90° to 136°C. The scale in the center shows the range of temperatures in the FLIR image. Courtesy of INETER (March 2019 report).

According to MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) data from MODIS satellite instruments, frequent thermal anomalies were recorded from mid-March through early May 2019, with little to no activity from mid-May to July 2019 (figure 80). Sentinel-2 thermal images show high temperatures in the active lava lake on 10 March 2019 (figure 81). Thermal energy detected by the MODVOLC algorithm showed 14 hotspot pixels with the most number of hotspots (7) occurring in March 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Thermal anomalies were relatively constant at Masaya from early September 2018 through early May 2019 and then abruptly decreased until mid-June 2019 as recorded by MIROVA. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image showing a detected heat signature from the active lava lake at Masaya on 10 March 2019. The lava lake is visible (bright yellow-orange). Approximate diameter of the crater containing the lava lake is 500 m. Thermal (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Masaya is one of Nicaragua's most unusual and most active volcanoes. It lies within the massive Pleistocene Las Sierras pyroclastic shield volcano and is a broad, 6 x 11 km basaltic caldera with steep-sided walls up to 300 m high. The caldera is filled on its NW end by more than a dozen vents that erupted along a circular, 4-km-diameter fracture system. The twin volcanoes of Nindirí and Masaya, the source of historical eruptions, were constructed at the southern end of the fracture system and contain multiple summit craters, including the currently active Santiago crater. A major basaltic Plinian tephra erupted from Masaya about 6500 years ago. Historical lava flows cover much of the caldera floor and have confined a lake to the far eastern end of the caldera. A lava flow from the 1670 eruption overtopped the north caldera rim. Masaya has been frequently active since the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, when an active lava lake prompted attempts to extract the volcano's molten "gold." Periods of long-term vigorous gas emission at roughly quarter-century intervals cause health hazards and crop damage.

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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); Sheila DeForest (URL: https://www.facebook.com/sheila.deforest).


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

10.83°N, 85.324°W; summit elev. 1916 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional weak phreatic explosions during March-July 2019

The acid lake of Rincón de la Vieja's active crater has generated intermittent weak phreatic explosions regularly since 2011, continuing during the past year through at least August 2019. The volcano is monitored by the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), and the information below comes from its weekly bulletins between 4 March and 2 September 2019. Clouds often prevented webcam and satellite views. The current report describes activity from March through July 2019.

OVSICORI-UNA reported that weak events occurred on 19 March at 1851 and on 29 March 2019 at 2043. A two-minute-long phreatic explosion on 1 April at 0802 produced a plume that rose 600 m above the crater rim. Continuous emissions were visible during 3-4 April, rising 200 m above the crater rim. On 3 April, at 1437, a small explosion was detected. An explosion on 10 April at 0617 produced a gas-and-steam plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim and drifted SE. On 12 April at 0643, a plume rose 500 m. Another event took place at 0700 on 13 April, although poor weather conditions prevented visual observations. On 14 April, OVSICORI-UNA noted that aerial photographs showed a milky-gray acid lake at a relatively low water level with convection cells of several tens meters of diameter in the center and eastern parts of the lake.

According to an OVSICORI-UNA bulletin, a small phreatic explosion occurred on 1 May. Another explosion on 11 May at 0720 produced a white gas-and-steam plume that rose 600 m above the crater rim. Phreatic explosions were recorded on 14 May at 1703 and on 17 May at 0357, though dense fog prevented visual confirmation of both events with webcams. On 15 May a local observer noted a diffuse plume of steam and gas, material rising from the crater, and photographed milky-gray deposits on the N part of the crater rim ejected from the event the day before. A major explosion occurred on 24 May.

OVSICORI-UNA recorded a significant phreatic 10-minute-long explosion that began on 11 June at 0343, but plumes were not visible due to weather conditions. No further phreatic events were reported in July.

Seismic activity was very low during the reporting period, and there was no significant deformation. Short tremors were frequent toward the end of April, but were only periodic in May and June; tremor almost disappeared in July. A few long-period earthquakes were recorded, and volcano-tectonic earthquakes were even less frequent.

Geologic Background. Rincón de la Vieja, the largest volcano in NW Costa Rica, is a remote volcanic complex in the Guanacaste Range. The volcano consists of an elongated, arcuate NW-SE-trending ridge that was constructed within the 15-km-wide early Pleistocene Guachipelín caldera, whose rim is exposed on the south side. Sometimes known as the "Colossus of Guanacaste," it has an estimated volume of 130 km3 and contains at least nine major eruptive centers. Activity has migrated to the SE, where the youngest-looking craters are located. The twin cone of 1916-m-high Santa María volcano, the highest peak of the complex, is located at the eastern end of a smaller, 5-km-wide caldera and has a 500-m-wide crater. A plinian eruption producing the 0.25 km3 Río Blanca tephra about 3500 years ago was the last major magmatic eruption. All subsequent eruptions, including numerous historical eruptions possibly dating back to the 16th century, have been from the prominent active crater containing a 500-m-wide acid lake located ENE of Von Seebach crater.

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/, https://www.facebook.com/OVSICORI/).


Aira (Japan) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions with ejecta and ash plumes continue weekly during January-June 2019

Sakurajima rises from Kagoshima Bay, which fills the Aira Caldera near the southern tip of Japan's Kyushu Island. Frequent explosive and occasional effusive activity has been ongoing for centuries. The Minamidake summit cone has been the location of persistent activity since 1955; the Showa crater on its E flank has also been intermittently active since 2006. Numerous explosions and ash-bearing emissions have been occurring each month at either Minamidake or Showa crater since the latest eruptive episode began in late March 2017. This report covers ongoing activity from January through June 2019; the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) provides regular reports on activity, and the Tokyo VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center) issues tens of reports each month about the frequent ash plumes.

From January to June 2019, ash plumes and explosions were usually reported multiple times each week. The quietest month was June with only five eruptive events; the most active was March with 29 (table 21). Ash plumes rose from a few hundred meters to 3,500 m above the summit during the period. Large blocks of incandescent ejecta traveled as far as 1,700 m from the Minamidake crater during explosions in February and April. All the activity originated in the Minamidake crater; the adjacent Showa crater only had a mild thermal anomaly and fumarole throughout the period. Satellite imagery identified thermal anomalies inside the Minamidake crater several times each month.

Table 21. Monthly summary of eruptive events recorded at Sakurajima's Minamidake crater in Aira caldera, January-June 2019. The number of events that were explosive in nature are in parentheses. No events were recorded at the Showa crater during this time. Data courtesy of JMA (January to June 2019 monthly reports).

Month Ash emissions (explosive) Max. plume height above crater Max. ejecta distance from crater
Jan 2019 8 (6) 2.1 km 1.1 km
Feb 2019 15 (11) 2.3 km 1.7 km
Mar 2019 29 (12) 3.5 km 1.3 km
Apr 2019 10 (5) 2.2 km 1.7 km
May 2019 15 (9) 2.9 km 1.3 km
Jun 2019 5 (2) 2.2 km 1.3 km

There were eight eruptive events reported by JMA during January 2019 at the Minamidake summit crater of Sakurajima. They occurred on 3, 6, 7, 9, 17, and 19 January (figure 76). Ash plume heights ranged from 600 to 2,100 m above the summit. The largest explosion, on 9 January, generated an ash plume that rose 2,100 m above the summit crater and drifted E. In addition, incandescent ejecta was sent 800-1,100 m from the summit. Incandescence was visible at the summit on most clear nights. During an overflight on 18 January no significant changes were noted at the crater (figure 77). Infrared thermal imaging done on 29 January indicated a weak thermal anomaly in the vicinity of the Showa crater on the SE side of Minamidake crater. The Kagoshima Regional Meteorological Observatory (KRMO) (11 km WSW) recorded ashfall there during four days of the month. Satellite imagery indicated thermal anomalies inside Minamidake on 7 and 27 January (figure 77).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Incandescent ejecta and ash emissions characterized activity from Sakurajima volcano at Aira during January 2019. Left: A webcam image showed incandescent ejecta on the flanks on 9 January 2019, courtesy of JMA (Explanation of volcanic activity in Sakurajima, January 2019). Right: An ash plume rose hundreds of meters above the summit, likely also on 9 January, posted on 10 January 2019, courtesy of Mike Day.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. The summit of Sakurajima consists of the larger Minamidake crater and the smaller Showa crater on the E flank. Left: The Minamidake crater at the summit of Sakurajima volcano at Aira on 18 January 2019 seen in an overflight courtesy of JMA (Explanation of volcanic activity in Sakurajima, March 2019). Right: Two areas of thermal anomaly were visible in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 27 January 2019. "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, and 2) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity increased during February 2019, with 15 eruptive events reported on days 1, 3, 7, 8, 10, 13, 14, 17, 22, 24, and 27. Ash plume heights ranged from 600-2,300 m above the summit, and ejecta was reported 300 to 1,700 m from the crater in various events (figure 78). KRMO reported two days of ashfall during February. Satellite imagery identified thermal anomalies at the crater on 6 and 26 February, and ash plumes on 21 and 26 February (figure 79).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. An explosion from Sakurajima at Aira on 7 February 2019 sent ejecta up to 1,700 m from the Minamidake summit crater. Courtesy of JMA (Explanation of volcanic activity in Sakurajima, February 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Thermal anomalies and ash emissions were captured in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 6, 21, and 26 February 2019 originating from Sakurajima volcano at Aira. Top: Thermal anomalies within the summit crater were visible underneath steam and ash plumes on 6 and 26 February (closeup of bottom right photo). Bottom: Ash emissions on 21 and 26 February drifted SE from the volcano. "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, and 2) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The number of eruptive events continued to increase during March 2019; there were 29 events reported on numerous days (figures 80 and 81). An explosion on 14 March produced an ash plume that rose 3,500 m above the summit and drifted E. It also produced ejecta that landed 800-1,100 m from the crater. During an overflight on 26 March a fumarole was the only activity in Showa crater. KRMO reported 14 days of ashfall during the month. Satellite imagery identified an ash plume on 13 March and a thermal anomaly on 18 March (figure 82).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. A large ash emission from Sakurajima volcano at Aira was photographed by a tourist on the W flank and posted on 1 March 2019. Courtesy of Kratü.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. An ash plume from Sakurajima volcano at Aira on 18 March 2019 produced enough ashfall to disrupt the trains in the nearby city of Kagoshima according to the photographer. Image taken from about 20 km away. Courtesy of Tim Board.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. An ash plume drifted SE from the summit of Sakurajima volcano at Aira on 13 March (left) and a thermal anomaly was visible inside the Minamidake crater on 18 March 2019 (right). "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, and 2) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

A decline in activity to only ten eruptive events on days 7, 13, 17, 22, and 25 was reported by JMA for April 2019. An explosion on 7 April sent ejecta up to 1,700 m from the crater. Another explosion on 13 April produced an ash plume that rose 2,200 m above the summit. Most of the eruptive events at Sakurajima last for less than 30 minutes; on 22 April two events lasted for almost an hour each producing ash plumes that rose 1,400 m above the summit. Ashfall at KRMO was reported during seven days in April. Two distinct thermal anomalies were visible inside the Minamidake crater on both 12 and 27 April (figure 83).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Two thermal anomalies were present inside Minamidake crater at the summit of Sakurajima volcano at Aira on 12 (left) and 27 (right) April 2019. "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, and 2) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

There were 15 eruptive events during May 2019. An event that lasted for two hours on 12 May produced an ash plume that rose 2,900 m from the summit and drifted NE (figure 84). The Meteorological Observatory reported 14 days with ashfall during the month. Two thermal anomalies were present in satellite imagery in the Minamidake crater on both 17 and 22 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. An ash plume rose 2,900 m above the summit of Sakurajima at Aira on 12 May 2019 (left); incandescent ejecta went 1,300 m from the summit crater on 13 May. Courtesy of JMA (Explanation of volcanic activity in Sakurajima, May 2019).

During June 2019 five eruptive events were reported, on 11, 13, and 24 June; the event on 11 June lasted for almost two hours, sent ash 2,200 m above the summit, and produced ejecta that landed up to 1,100 m from the crater (figure 85). Five days of ashfall were reported by KRMO.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. A large ash plume on 11 June 2019 rose 2,200 m above the summit of Sakurajima volcano at Aira. Courtesy of Aone Wakatsuki.

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Mike Day, Minnesota, Twitter (URL: https://twitter.com/MikeDaySMM, photo at https://twitter.com/MikeDaySMM/status/1083489400451989505/photo/1); Kratü, Twitter (URL: https://twitter.com/TalesOfKratue, photo at https://twitter.com/TalesOfKratue/status/1101469595414589441/photo/1); Tim Board, Japan, Twitter (URL: https://twitter.com/Hawkworld_, photo at https://twitter.com/Hawkworld_/status/1107789108754038789); Aone Wakatsuke, Twitter (URL: https://twitter.com/AoneWakatsuki, photo at https://twitter.com/AoneWakatsuki/status/1138420031258210305/photo/3).


Agung (Indonesia) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Agung

Indonesia

8.343°S, 115.508°E; summit elev. 2997 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued explosions with ash plumes and incandescent ejecta, February-May 2019

After a large, deadly explosive and effusive eruption during 1963-64, Indonesia's Mount Agung on Bali remained quiet until a new eruption began in November 2017 (BGVN 43:01). Lava emerged into the summit crater at the end of November and intermittent ash plumes rose as high as 3 km above the summit through the end of the year. Activity continued throughout 2018 with explosions that produced ash plumes rising multiple kilometers above the summit, and the slow effusion of the lava within the summit crater (BGVN 43:08, 44:02). Information about the ongoing eruptive episode comes from Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), also known as the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and multiple sources of satellite data. This report covers the ongoing eruption from February through May 2019.

Intermittent but increasingly frequent and intense explosions with ash emissions and incandescent ejecta characterized activity at Agung during February through May 2019. During February, explosions were reported three times; events on seven days in March were documented with ash plumes and ashfall in surrounding villages. Five significant events occurred during April; two involved incandescent ejecta that traveled several kilometers from the summit, and ashfall tens of kilometers from the volcano. Most of the five significant events reported in May involved incandescent ejecta and ashfall in adjacent villages; air traffic was disrupted during the 24 May event. Ash plumes in May reached altitudes over 7 km multiple times. Thermal activity increased steadily during the period, according to both the MIROVA project (figure 44) and MODVOLC thermal alert data. MAGMA Indonesia reported at the end of May 2019 that the volume of lava within the summit crater remained at about 25 million m3; satellite information indicated continued thermal activity within the crater. Alert Level III (of four levels) remained in effect throughout the period with a 4 km exclusion radius around the volcano.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Thermal activity at Agung from 4 September 2018 through May 2019 was variable. The increasing frequency and intensity of thermal events was apparent from February-May. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Steam plumes rose 30-300 m high daily during February 2019. The Agung Volcano Observatory (AVO) and PVMBG issued a VONA on 7 February (UTC) reporting an ash plume, although it was not visible due to meteoric cloud cover. Incandescence, however, was observed at the summit from webcams in both Rendang and Karangasem City (16 km SE). The seismic event associated with the explosion lasted for 97 seconds. A similar event on 13 February was also obscured by clouds but produced a seismic event that lasted for 3 minutes and 40 seconds, and ashfall was reported in the village of Bugbug, about 20 km SE. On 22 February a gray ash plume rose 700 m from the summit during a seismic event that lasted for 6 minutes and 20 seconds (figure 45). The Darwin VAAC reported the plume visible in satellite imagery moving W at 4.3 km altitude. It dissipated after a few hours, but a hotspot remained visible about 10 hours later.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. An ash plume rose from the summit of Agung on 22 February 2019, viewed from the Besakih temple, 7 km SW of the summit. Courtesy of PunapiBali.

Persistent steam plumes rose 50-500 m from the summit during March 2019. An explosion on 4 March was recorded for just under three minutes and produced ashfall in Besakih (7 km SW); no ash plume was observed due to fog. A short-lived ash plume rose to 3.7 km altitude and drifted SE on 8 March (UTC) 2019. The seismic event lasted for just under 4 minutes. Ash emissions were reported on 15 and 17 March to 4.3 and 3.7 km altitude, respectively, drifting W (figure 46). Ashfall from the 15 March event spread NNW and was reported in the villages of Kubu (6 km N), Tianyar (14 km NNW), Ban, Kadundung, and Sukadana. MAGMA Indonesia noted that two explosions on the morning of 17 March (local time) produced gray plumes; the first sent a plume to 500 m above the summit drifting E and lasted for about 40 seconds, while the second plume a few hours later rose 600 m above the crater and lasted for 1 minute and 16 seconds. On 18 March an ash plume rose 1 km and drifted W and NW. An event on 20 March was measured only seismically by PVMBG because fog prevented observations. An eruption on 28 March produced an ash plume 2 km high that drifted W and NW. The seismic signal for this event lasted for about two and a half minutes. The Darwin VAAC reported the ash plume at 5.5 km altitude, dissipating quickly to the NW. No ash was visible four hours later, but a thermal anomaly remained at the summit (figure 47). Ashfall was reported in nearby villages.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Ash plumes from Agung on 15 (left) and 17 (right) March 2019 resulted in ashfall in communities 10-20 km from the volcano. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia (Information on G. Agung Eruption, 15 March 2019 and Gunung Agung Eruption Press Release March 17, 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. A thermal anomaly was visible through thick cloud cover at the summit of Agung on 29 March 2019 less than 24 hours after a gray ash plume was reported 2,000 m above the summit. "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, and 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The first explosion of April 2019 occurred on the 3rd (UTC); PVMBG reported the dense gray ash plume 2 km above the summit drifting W. A few hours later the Darwin VAAC raised the altitude to 6.1 km based on infrared temperatures in satellite imagery. The seismic signal lasted for three and a half minutes and the explosion was heard at the PGA Post in Rendang (12 km SW). Incandescent material fell within a radius of 2-3 km, mainly on the S flank (figure 48). Ashfall was reported in the villages of Telungbuana, Badeg, Besakih, Pempatan, Teges, and Puregai on the W and S flanks (figure 49). An explosion on 11 April also produced a dense gray ash plume that rose 2 km above the summit and drifted W. A hotspot remained about six hours later after the ash dissipated.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Incandescent ejecta appeared on the flanks of Agung after an eruption on 4 April 2019 (local time) as viewed from the observation post in Rendang (8 km SW). Courtesy of Jamie Sincioco.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Ashfall in a nearby town dusted mustard plants on 4 April 2019 from an explosion at Agung the previous day. Courtesy of Pantau.com (Photo: Antara / Nyoman Hendra).

PVMBG reported an eruption visible in the webcam early on 21 April (local time) that rose to 5.5 km altitude and drifted SW. The ash spread W and S and ash fell around Besakih (7 km SW), Rendang (8 km SW), Klungkung (25 km S), Gianyar (20 km WSW), Bangli (17 km WNW), Tabanan (50 km WSW), and at the Ngurah Rai-Denpasar Airport (60 km SW). About 15 hours later a new explosion produced a dense gray ash plume that rose to 3 km above the summit and produced incandescent ejecta in all directions as far as 3 km away (figure 50). The ash spread to the S and ashfall was reported in Besakih, Rendang, Sebudi (6 km SW), and Selat (12 km SSW). Both of the explosions were heard in Rendang and Batulompeh. The incandescent ejecta from the explosions remained within the 4-km exclusion zone. A satellite image on 23 April showed multiple thermal anomalies within the summit crater (figure 51). A dense gray plume drifted E from Agung on 29 April (30 April local time) at 4.6 km altitude. It was initially reported by ground observers, but was also visible in multispectral satellite imagery for about six hours before dissipating.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. An explosion at Agung on 21 April 2019 sent incandescent eject 3,000 m from the summit. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia (Gunung Agung Eruption Press Release April 21, 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Multiple thermal anomalies were still present within the summit crater of Agung on 23 April 2019 after two substantial explosions produced ash and incandescent ejecta around the summit two days earlier. "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, and 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

PVMBG reported an eruption on 3 May 2019 that was recorded on a seismogram with a signal that lasted for about a minute. Satellite imagery reported by the Darwin VAAC showed a growing hotspot and possible ash near the summit at 4.3 km altitude moving NE. A few days later, on 6 May, a gray ash plume rose to 5.2 km altitude and drifted slowly W before dissipating; it was accompanied by a seismic signal that lasted for about two minutes. Explosions on 12 and 18 May produced significant amounts of incandescent ejecta (figure 52). The seismic signal for the 12 May event lasted for about two minutes; no plume was observed due to fog, but incandescent ejecta was visible on the flanks and the explosion was heard at Rendang. The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume from the explosion on 17 May (18 May local time) at 6.1 km altitude in satellite imagery moving E. They revised the altitude a short while later to 7.6 km based on IR temperature and movement; the plume drifted N, NE, and E in light and variable winds. A few hours after that it was moving NE at 7.6 km altitude and SE at 5.5 km altitude; this lasted for about 12 hours until it dissipated. Ashfall was reported in villages downwind including Cutcut, Tongtongan, Bonyoh (20 km WNW), and Temakung.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Explosions on 12 (left) and 18 (right) May (local time) 2019 produced substantial ejecta on the flanks of Agung visible from a distance of 10 km or more in PVMBG webcams. The ash plume from the 18 May event resulted in ashfall in numerous communities downwind. Courtesy of PVMBG (Information Eruption G. Agung, May 13, 2019, Information Eruption G. Agung, May 18, 2019).

The initial explosion on 18 May was captured by a webcam at a nearby resort and sent incandescent ejecta hundreds of meters down the NE flank within 20 seconds (figure 53). Satellite imagery on 3, 8, 13, and 18 May indicated multiple thermal anomalies growing stronger at the summit. All of the images were captured within 24 hours of an explosive event reported by PVMBG (figure 54).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. The 18 May 2019 explosion at Agung produced an ash plume that rose to over 7 km altitude and large bombs of incandescent material that traveled hundreds of meters down the NE flank within the first 20 seconds of the explosion. Images taken from a private webcam located 12 km NE. Courtesy of Volcanoverse, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Satellite images from 3, 8, 13, and 18 May 2019 at Agung showed persistent and increasing thermal anomalies within the summit crater. All images were captured within 24 hours of explosions reported by PVMBG. "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, and 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

PVMBG issued a VONA on 24 May 2019 reporting a new ash emission. They indicated that incandescent fragments were ejected 2.5-3 km in all directions from the summit, and the seismic signal lasted for four and a half minutes (figure 55). A dense gray ash plume was observed from Tulamben on the NE flank rising 2 km above the summit. Satellite imagery indicated that the plume drifted SW and ashfall was reported in the villages of Besakih, Pempatan, Menanga, Sebudi, Muncan, Amerta Bhuana, Nongan, Rendang, and at the Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpassar. Additionally, ashfall was reported in the districts of Tembuku, Bangli, and Susut (20 km SW). The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery at 4.6 km altitude along with a thermal anomaly and incandescent lava visible in webcam imagery. The remains of the ash plume were about 170 km S of the airport in Denpasar (60 km SW) and had nearly dissipated 18 hours after the event. According to a news article several flights to and from Australia were cancelled or diverted, though the International Gusti Ngurah Rai (IGNR) airport was not closed. On 31 May another large explosion produced the largest ash plume of the report period, rising more than 2 km above the summit (figure 56). The Darwin VAAC reported its altitude as 8.2 km drifting ESE visible in satellite data. It split into two plumes, one drifted E at 8.2 km and the other ESE at 6.1 km altitude, dissipating after about 20 hours.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. A large explosion at Agung on 24 May 2019 produced incandescent ejecta that covered all the flanks and dispersed ash to many communities to the SW. Courtesy of PVMBG (Gunung Agung Eruption Press Release 24 May 2019 20:38 WIB, Kasbani, Ir., M.Sc.).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. An explosion at Agung on 31 May 2019 sent an ash plume to 8.2 km altitude, the highest for the report period. Courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB.

Geologic Background. Symmetrical Agung stratovolcano, Bali's highest and most sacred mountain, towers over the eastern end of the island. The volcano, whose name means "Paramount," rises above the SE caldera rim of neighboring Batur volcano, and the northern and southern flanks extend to the coast. The summit area extends 1.5 km E-W, with the high point on the W and a steep-walled 800-m-wide crater on the E. The Pawon cone is located low on the SE flank. Only a few eruptions dating back to the early 19th century have been recorded in historical time. The 1963-64 eruption, one of the largest in the 20th century, produced voluminous ashfall along with devastating pyroclastic flows and lahars that caused extensive damage and many fatalities.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); 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); The Jakarta Post, Mount Agung eruption disrupts Australian flights, (URL: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/05/25/mount-agung-eruption-disrupts-australian-flights.html); PunapiBali (URL: http://punapibali.com/, Twitter: https://twitter.com/punapibali, image at https://twitter.com/punapibali/status/1098869352588288000/photo/1); Jamie S. Sincioco, Phillipines (URL: Twitter: https://twitter.com/jaimessincioco. Image at https://twitter.com/jaimessincioco/status/1113765842557104130/photo/1); Pantau.com (URL: https://www.pantau.com/berita/erupsi-gunung-agung-sebagian-wilayah-bali-terpapar-hujan-abu?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter); Volcanoverse (URL: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi3T_esus8Sr9I-3W5teVQQ); Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB (Twitter: @Sutopo_PN, URL: https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN ).


Kerinci (Indonesia) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent explosions with ash plumes, February-May 2019

Frequently active, Indonesia's Mount Kerinci on Sumatra has been the source of numerous moderate explosive eruptions since its first recorded eruption in 1838. Intermittent explosions with ash plumes, usually multiple times per month, have characterized activity since April 2018. Similar activity continued during February-May 2019, the period covered in this report with information provided primarily by the Indonesian volcano monitoring agency, Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), MAGMA Indonesia, notices from the Darwin Volcano Ash Advisory Center (Darwin VAAC), and satellite data. PVMBG has maintained an Alert Level II (of 4) at Kerinci for several years.

On 13 February 2019 the Kerinci Volcano Observatory (KVO), part of PVMBG, noted a brownish-white ash emission that was drifting NE about 400 m above the summit. The seismicity during the event was dominated by continuous volcanic tremor. A brown ash emission was reported on 7 March 2019 that rose to 3.9 km altitude and drifted NE. Ash also drifted 1,300 m down the SE flank. Another ash plume the next morning drifted W at 4.5 km altitude, according to KVO. On 10, 11, and 13 March KVO reported brown ash plumes drifting NE from the summit at about 4.0-4.3 km altitude. The Darwin VAAC observed continuous ash emissions in satellite imagery on 15 March drifting W at 4.3 m altitude that dissipated after about 3 hours (figure 10). A gray ash emission was reported on 19 March about 600 m above the summit drifting NE; local news media noted that residents of Kayo Aro reported emissions on both 18 and 19 March (figure 11). An ash emission appeared in satellite imagery on 25 March (figure 10). On 30 March the observatory reported two ash plumes; a brown emission at 0351 UTC and a gray emission at 0746 UTC that both drifted NE at about 4.4 km altitude and dissipated within a few hours. PVMBG reported another gray ash plume the following day at a similar altitude.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Kerinci from 15 (left) and 25 (right) March 2019 showed evidence of ash plumes rising from the summit. Kerinci's summit crater is about 500 m wide. "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Dense ash plumes from Kerinci were reported by local news media on 18 and 19 March 2019. Courtesy of Nusana Jambi.

Activity continued during April with a brown ash emission reported on 3 April by several different agencies; the Darwin VAAC and PVMBG daily reports noted that the plume was about 500 m above the summit (4.3 km altitude) drifting NE. KVO observed two brown ash emissions on 13 April (UTC) that rose to 4.2 km altitude and drifted NE. Satellite imagery showed minor ash emissions from the summit on 14 April; steam plumes 100-500 m above the summit characterized activity for the remainder of April (figure 12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. A dilute ash emission rose from the summit of Kerinci on 14 April 2019 (left); only steam emissions were present on a clear 29 April in Sentinel-2 imagery (right). "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Ashfall on the NE and S flanks within 7 km of the volcano was reported on 2 May 2019. According to a news article, at least five villages were affected late on 2 May, including Tanjung Bungo, Sangir, Sangir Tengah, Sungai Rumpun, and Bendung Air (figures 13 and 14). The smell of sulfur was apparent in the villages. Brown ash emissions were observed on 3 and 4 May that rose to 4.6 and 4.1 km altitude and drifted SE. The Darwin VAAC reported an emission on 5 May, based on a pilot report, that rose to 6.7 km altitude and drifted NE for about an hour before dissipating. A brown ash emission on 10 May rose 700 m above the summit and drifted SE. Satellite imagery captured ash emissions from the summit on 14 and 24 May (figure 15). For the remainder of the month, 300-700-m-high dense steam plumes were noted daily until PVMBG reported white and brown plumes on 26 and 27 May rising 500-1,000 m above the summit. Although thermal anomalies were not reported during the period, persistent weak SO2 emissions were identified in TROPOMI instrument satellite data multiple times per month (figure 16).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Ashfall was reported from five villages on the flanks of Kerinci on 2 May 2019. Courtesy of Uzone.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. An ash plume at Kerinci rose hundreds of meters on 2 May 2019; ashfall was reported in several nearby villages. Courtesy of Kerinci Time.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Ash emissions from Kerinci were captured in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 14 (left) and 24 (right) May 2019. The summit crater is about 500 m wide. "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Weak SO2 anomalies from Kerinci emissions were captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite multiple times each month from February to May 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); 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/); Nuansa Jambi, Informasi Utama Jambi: (URL: https://nuansajambi.com/2019/03/20/gunung-kerinci-semburkan-asap-tebal/); Kerinci Time (URL: https://kerincitime.co.id/gunung-kerinci-semburkan-abu-vulkanik.html); Uzone.id (URL: https://news.uzone.id/gunung-kerinci-erupsi-5-desa-tertutup-abu-tebal).


Suwanosejima (Japan) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash plumes continued during January through June 2019

Suwanosejima is an active volcanic island south of Japan in the Ryuku islands with recent activity centered at Otake crater. The current eruption began in October 2004 and activity has mostly consisted of small ash plumes, ballistic ejecta, and visible incandescence at night. This report summarizes activity during January through June 2019 and is based on reports by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), and various satellite data.

Thermal activity recorded by the MIROVA system was low through January and February after a decline in November (figure 36), shown in Sentined-2 thermal infrared imagery as originating at a vent in the Otake crater (figure 37). During January an explosive event was observed at 1727 on the 3rd, producing a gray plume that rose 600 m above the crater. A white gas-and-steam plume rose to 1.5 km above the crater and nighttime incandescence was observed throughout the month. Reduced activity continued through February with no reported explosive eruptions and light gray plumes up to 900 m above the crater. Incandescence continued to be recorded at night using a sensitive surveillance camera.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. MIROVA log radiative power plot of MODIS thermal infrared data at Suwanosejima during September 2018 through June 2019. There was reduced activity in 2019 with periods of more frequent anomalies during March and June. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. A Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image shows Suwanosejima with the active Otake crater in the center with elevated temperatures shown as bright orange/yellow. There is a light area next to the vent that may be a gas plume. False color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

There was an increase in thermal energy detected by the MIROVA system in mid-March and there was a MODVOLC thermal alert on the 15th. Occasional small explosions occurred but no larger explosive events were recorded. A white plume was noted on the 27th rising to 900 m above the crater and an event at 1048 on the 30th produced a light-gray plume that rose to 800 m. Incandescence was only observed using a sensitive camera at night (figure 38).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Incandescence from the Suwanosejima Otake crater reflecting in clouds above the volcano. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity of Suwanosejima March 2019).

No explosive events were observed through April. A white gas-and-steam plume rose to 1,200 m above the crater on the 19th and incandescence continued intermittently. Minor explosions were recorded on 5, 30, and 31 May, but no larger explosive events were observed during the month. The event on the 30th produced ash plume that reached 1.1 km above the crater. Similar activity continued through June with one explosive event occurring on the 2nd. Overall, there was a reduction in the number of ash plumes erupted during this period compared to previous months (figure 39).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Observed activity at Suwanosejima for the year ending in July 2019. The black vertical bars represent steam, gas, or ash plume heights (scale in meters on the left axis), yellow diamonds represent incandescence observed in webcams, gray volcano symbols along the top are explosions accompanied by ash plumes, red volcano symbols represent large explosions with ash plumes. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity of Suwanosejima June 2019).

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

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


Great Sitkin (United States) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Great Sitkin

United States

52.076°N, 176.13°W; summit elev. 1740 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small steam explosions in early June 2019

The Great Sitkin volcano is located about 40 km NE of Adak Island in the Aleutian Islands and has had a few short-lived eruptions over the past 100 years. Prior to the latest activity in early June 2019 described below, small phreatic explosions occurred in June and August 2018 (BGVN 43:09). An eruption in 1974 produced a lava dome in the center of the crater. The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) is the primary source of information for this September 2018-June 2019 reporting period.

Low-level unrest occurred from September 2018 through February 2019 with slightly elevated seismic activity (figure 6). Small explosions were seismically detected by AVO on 30 October, 5 and 16 November, and 11 December 2018, but they were not seen in regional infrasound data and satellite data did not show an ash cloud.

On 1, 7, and 9 June 2019, AVO reported small steam explosions as well as slightly elevated seismic activity. Steam plumes and surficial evidence of an explosion were not observed during these events. On 18 June 2019 weakly elevated surface temperatures were recorded, field crews working on Adak observed some steam emissions, and a gas flight was conducted. Elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide detected above the lava dome were likely associated with the steam explosions earlier in the month (figures 7 and 8). From 23 June through the end of the month seismicity began to decline back to background levels.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. A steam plume was seen at the summit of Great Sitkin on 7 December 2018. Photo by Andy Lewis and Bob Boyd; courtesy of AVO/USGS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Some degassing was observed on the southern flank of the Great Sitkin during an overflight on 18 June 2019. Photo by Laura Clor; image courtesy of AVO/USGS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. View of Great Sitkin with white plumes rising from the summit on 20 June 2019. Photo by Laura Clor, courtesy of AVO/USGS.

Geologic Background. The Great Sitkin volcano forms much of the northern side of Great Sitkin Island. A younger parasitic volcano capped by a small, 0.8 x 1.2 km ice-filled summit caldera was constructed within a large late-Pleistocene or early Holocene scarp formed by massive edifice failure that truncated an ancestral volcano and produced a submarine debris avalanche. Deposits from this and an older debris avalanche from a source to the south cover a broad area of the ocean floor north of the volcano. The summit lies along the eastern rim of the younger collapse scarp. Deposits from an earlier caldera-forming eruption of unknown age cover the flanks of the island to a depth up to 6 m. The small younger caldera was partially filled by lava domes emplaced in 1945 and 1974, and five small older flank lava domes, two of which lie on the coastline, were constructed along northwest- and NNW-trending lines. Hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles occur near the head of Big Fox Creek, south of the volcano. Historical eruptions have been recorded since the late-19th century.

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667 USA (URL: https://avo.alaska.edu/), b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA (URL: http://dggs.alaska.gov/).


Ibu (Indonesia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ibu

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent ash plumes and small lava flows active in the crater through June 2019

Ibu volcano on Halmahera island in Indonesia began the current eruption episode on 5 April 2008. Since then, activity has largely consisted of small ash plumes with less frequent lava flows, lava dome growth, avalanches, and larger ash plumes up to 5.5 km above the crater. This report summarizes activity during December 2018 through June 2019 and is based on Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) reports by MAGMA Indonesia, reports by Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) and Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), and various satellite data.

During December PVMBG reported ash plumes ranging from 200 to 800 m above the crater. There were 11 MODVOLC thermal alerts that registered during 1-12 December. An explosion on 12 January 2019 produced an ash plume that reached 800 m above the crater and dispersed to the S (figure 15). A report released for this event by Sutopo at BNPB said that Ibu had erupted almost every day over the past three months; an example given was of activity on 10 January consisting of 80 explosions. There were four MODVOLC thermal alerts through the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. An eruption at Ibu at 1712 on 21 January 2019 produced an ash plume that rose to 800 m above the crater. Courtesy of BNPB (color adjusted).

Throughout February explosions frequently produced ash plumes as high as 800 m above the crater, and nine MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued. Daily reports showed variable plume heights of 200-800 m most days throughout the month. Wind directions varied and dispersed the plumes in all directions. A VONA released at 1850 on 6 February reported an ash plume that rose to 1,925 m altitude (around 600 m above the summit) and dispersed S. Activity continued through March with the Darwin VAAC and PVMBG reporting explosions producing ash plumes to heights of 200-800 m above the crater and dispersing in various directions. There were ten MODVOLC alerts through the month.

Similar activity continued through April, May, and June, with ash plumes reaching 200-800 m above the crater. There were 12, 6, and 15 MODVOLC Alerts in April, May, and June, respectively.

Planet Scope satellite images show activity at a two vents near the center of the crater that were producing small lava flows from February through June (figure 16). Thermal anomalies were frequent during December 2018 through June 2019 across MODVOLC, MIROVA, and Sentinel-2 infrared data (figures 17 and 18). Sentinel-2 data showed minor variation in the location of thermal anomalies within the crater, possibly indicating lava flow activity, and MIROVA data showed relatively constant activity with a few reductions in thermal activity during January and February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Planet Scope natural color satellite images showing activity in the Ibu crater during January through June 2019, with white arrows indicating sites of activity. One vent is visible in the 21 February image, and a 330-m-long (from the far side of the vent) lava flow with flow ridges had developed by 24 March. A second vent was active by 12 May with a new lava flow reaching a maximum length of 520 m. Activity was centered back at the previous vent by 23-27 June. Natural color Planet Scope Imagery, copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Examples of thermal activity in the Ibu crater during January through May 2019. These Sentinel-2 satellite images show variations in hot areas in the crater due to a vent producing a small lava flow. Sentinel-2 false color (urban) images (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. MIROVA log radiative power plot of MODIS thermal infrared at Ibu from September 2018 through June 2019. The registered energy was relatively stable through December, with breaks in January and February. Regular thermal anomalies continued with slight variation through to the end of June. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

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


Ebeko (Russia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

50.686°N, 156.014°E; summit elev. 1103 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuing frequent moderate explosions though May 2019; ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk

The Ebeko volcano, located on the northern end of the Paramushir Island in the Kuril Islands, consists of many craters, lakes, and thermal features and has been frequently erupting since late February 2017. Typical activity includes ash plumes, explosive eruptions, and gas-and-steam activity. The previous report through November 2018 (BGVN 43:12) described frequent ash explosions that sometimes caused ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk (7 km E). The primary source of information is the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT). This report updates the volcanic activity at Ebeko for December 2018 through May 2019.

Frequent moderate explosive activity continued after November 2018. Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk observed explosions sending up ash, which drifted N, NE, and E, resulting in ash falls on Severo-Kurilsk on 28 different days between December 2018 and March 2019. On 25 December 2018 an explosion sent ash up to a maximum altitude of 4.5 km and then drifted N for about 5 km. Explosions occurring on 8-10 March 2019 sent ash up to an altitude of 4 km, resulting in ashfall on Severo-Kurilsk on 9-10 March 2019. An ash plume from these explosions rose to a height of 2.5 km and drifted to a maximum distance of 30 km ENE.

Satellite data analyzed by KVERT registered 12 thermal anomalies from December 2018 through May 2019. According to satellite data analyzed by MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), only one thermal anomaly was recorded from December 2018-May 2019, and no hotspot pixels were recognized using satellite thermal data from the MODVOLC algorithm.

Geologic Background. The flat-topped summit of the central cone of Ebeko volcano, one of the most active in the Kuril Islands, occupies the northern end of Paramushir Island. Three summit craters located along a SSW-NNE line form Ebeko volcano proper, at the northern end of a complex of five volcanic cones. Blocky lava flows extend west from Ebeko and SE from the neighboring Nezametnyi cone. The eastern part of the southern crater contains strong solfataras and a large boiling spring. The central crater is filled by a lake about 20 m deep whose shores are lined with steaming solfataras; the northern crater lies across a narrow, low barrier from the central crater and contains a small, cold crescentic lake. Historical activity, recorded since the late-18th century, has been restricted to small-to-moderate explosive eruptions from the summit craters. Intense fumarolic activity occurs in the summit craters, on the outer flanks of the cone, and in lateral explosion craters.

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); 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/).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak thermal anomalies and moderate Strombolian-type eruptions in September 2018-June 2019

Klyuchevskoy has had alternating eruptive and less active periods since August 2015. Activity has included lava flows, a growing cinder cone, thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam plumes, and ash explosions. Though some eruptions occur near the summit crater, major explosive and effusive eruptions have also occurred from flank craters (BGVN 42:04 and 43:05). Intermittent moderate gas-and-steam and ash emissions were previously reported from mid-February to mid-August 2018. The Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) is the primary source of information for this September 2018-June 2019 reporting period.

KVERT reported that moderate gas-and-steam activity, some of which contained a small amount of ash, and weak thermal anomalies occurred intermittently from the beginning of September 2018 through mid-April 2019. On 21-22 April 2019 webcam data showed a gas-and-steam plume extending about 160 km SE (figure 31). Moderate Strombolian-type volcanism began late April 2019 and continued intermittently through June 2019. On 11-12 June webcam data showed explosions that sent ash up to a maximum altitude of 6 km, with the resulting ash plume extending about 200 km WNW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Gas-and-steam plume containing some amount of ash rising from the summit of Klyuchevskoy on 22 April 2019. Photo by A. Klimova, courtesy of Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (IVS FEB RAS).

Thermal anomalies were noted by KVERT during two days in September 2018, six days in April 2019, eleven days in May 2019, and six days in June 2019. MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed infrequent weak thermal anomalies December 2018 through early May 2019.

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); 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/).

Search Bulletin Archive by Publication Date

Select a month and year from the drop-downs and click "Show Issue" to have that issue displayed in this tab.

   

The default month and year is the latest issue available.

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 33, Number 02 (February 2008)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Barren Island (India)

Satellite imagery of ash plume, 23 December 2007

Bulusan (Philippines)

Ash ejections continued to at least late 2007

Cleveland (United States)

Thermal anomalies and minor explosions continue through February 2008

Krummel-Garbuna-Welcker (Papua New Guinea)

Ash emissions during March 2008

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Intermittent ash emissions in May and August 2007

Lengai, Ol Doinyo (Tanzania)

Explosive eruptions of December 2007-March 2008; hazard warnings

Lokon-Empung (Indonesia)

June 2007-March 2008, variable seismicity and minor white plumes

NW Rota-1 (United States)

Visit on 24 February 2008 found eruption plume and acoustic signals

Suwanosejima (Japan)

Small (~1 km) plumes noted during late 2007-early 2008

Talang (Indonesia)

Ash emissions in March, June, and November 2007

Tara, Batu (Indonesia)

Satellite thermal anomalies indicate that near-daily eruptions continue



Barren Island (India) — February 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Barren Island

India

12.278°N, 93.858°E; summit elev. 354 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Satellite imagery of ash plume, 23 December 2007

Thermal anomalies associated with the eruption that began in May 2005 were noted at Barren Island through 1 September 2007 (BGVN 32:07). Anomalies detected on 4 and 5 October 2007 again generated MODIS thermal alerts. On 23 December 2007 the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre reported that an ash plume seen on satellite imagery rose to an altitude of 1.5 km and drifted S.

Geologic Background. Barren Island, a possession of India in the Andaman Sea about 135 km NE of Port Blair in the Andaman Islands, is the only historically active volcano along the N-S volcanic arc extending between Sumatra and Burma (Myanmar). It is the emergent summit of a volcano that rises from a depth of about 2250 m. The small, uninhabited 3-km-wide island contains a roughly 2-km-wide caldera with walls 250-350 m high. The caldera, which is open to the sea on the west, was created during a major explosive eruption in the late Pleistocene that produced pyroclastic-flow and -surge deposits. Historical eruptions have changed the morphology of the pyroclastic cone in the center of the caldera, and lava flows that fill much of the caldera floor have reached the sea along the western coast.

Information Contacts: HIGP MODIS Thermal Alert System, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), University of Hawaii and Manoa, 168 East-West Road, Post 602, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, Northern Territory 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/).


Bulusan (Philippines) — February 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Bulusan

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash ejections continued to at least late 2007

Our last report on Bulusan described explosive eruptions and ashfall during 10 October 2006 to 12 May 2007 (BGVN 32:04). This current report will cover the events from late May 2007 to January 2008. There were ash-bearing eruptions on 31 July and 4 October 2007. Hazard concerns also included steam-driven explosions, lahars, and related flooding.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reported on 20 May 2007 that seismicity remained high following an explosion on 12 May (BGVN 32:04). The seismic network detected 673 volcanic earthquakes during five days. The epicenters were located along a NW-SE trend. Ground deformation measurements conducted on 17 May on the NE flank revealed 4 mm of inflation since 7 April, measurements in a series which have shown continued inflation since June 2006. Sulfur dioxide flux measurements were 165-315 tons per day (t/d), below a baseline level of 500 t/d. The Alert Level was raised in mid-May from 1 to 2 (out of 5) due to the increased seismicity and inflation. On 22 May, heavy rain triggered lahars, but they were confined and did not affect populated areas. On 25 May 2007 sulfur emission reached 500 t/d.

During mid-2007, scientists from PHIVOLCS conducting an aerial investigation discovered lahar deposits and three steaming fissures. Scientists also observed steam plumes that rose to altitudes of 1.6-1.7 km and drifted NW and NE. The S flank had inflated by 3 mm. Residents near the base of the volcano noted the odor of sulfur dioxide.

No significant activity was reported during June 2007. Steaming from the active vents and fissures generally consisted of weak to moderate emissions of steam. On 13 July 2007, PHIVOLCS lowered the Alert Level to 1 due to a decline in activity including decreased seismicity, and lower than baseline sulfur dioxide emissions. On 19-21 June the NE and SE flanks were deflated when compared to previous surveys. Sulfur dioxide emission rates were 50-400 t/d.

On the morning of 31 July 2007 an explosion produced an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 6.6 km and drifted WSW and WNW. Initial field reports indicated that light ashfalls were experienced in Cogon, Gulang-gulang, Puting Sapa, Bolos, Monbon and Gabao in Irosin, and Sangkayon and Buraburan in Juban. Small to moderate sized earthquakes and ash explosions continued. On 2 August, white steam plumes rose from active craters and fissures.

On 28 September 2007 the number of volcanic earthquakes increased and PHIVOLCS noted a possible eruption. Explosions at 0134 and 0139 on 4 October 2007 caused a blanket of thick ashfall in sixteen villages that resulted in minor injuries and damage. Instruments recorded 40 volcanic earthquakes and eight short harmonic tremors during a 24 hour interval ending at 0526 that day. Moderate steaming from fissures were found on the SW flank.

According to the news source Southen Luzon Bureau, on 15 October 2007 PHIVOLCS found an additional six points of emission around the volcano, three each on the NW and SE slopes. Several other emission points had stopped on the N, SSW, and SW slopes. Overall, nine emission points were active. News reports also mentioned that residents in the village of San Rogue noted bulging of the ground. A deformation survey was allegedly conducted, but results were not available in PHIVOLCS reports.

In the 24 hours from 0800 on 6 January 2008, at least seven minor earthquakes were recorded, but no steaming was noted. Although the Alert Level remained at 1, authorities began to enforce a no-entry policy in a 4-km radius.

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); Southern Luzon Bureau, Philippine Daily Inquirer, PO Box 2353, Makati Central Post Office, 1263 Makati City, Philippines (URL: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/).


Cleveland (United States) — February 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Cleveland

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal anomalies and minor explosions continue through February 2008

Our previous reports on Cleveland discussed short duration explosions on 6 February 2006 (BGVN 31:01), 23 May 2006 (BGVN 31:07), and on 24 August and 28 October 2006 (BGVN 31:09).

We received no further reports on Cleveland until June 2007. On 12 June, steam emissions were observed. The plume rose to an altitude of 3.7 km and drifted SE for 200 km. On 17 June, satellite imagery showed a significant thermal anomaly. Low level eruptive activity was suggested. No ash plume was detected. On 26 June, satellite imagery showed another thermal anomaly. On 20 July, the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) raised the Alert Level from Advisory to Watch and the Aviation Color Code from Yellow to Orange, based upon an intense thermal anomaly in the crater and an associated steam-and-gas plume observed on satellite imagery. Three small SO2 clouds produced by small explosions on 20 July were detected in OMI satellite data. Weak thermal activity was observed by satellite imagery throughout the month.

On 27 July AVO noted that low-level eruptive activity continued. Photographs from 27 July and a pilot report from 2 August indicated fresh volcanic ejecta on the slopes and summit. The E portion of Chuginadak Island was dusted with ash on 3 August. AVO lacks a local seismic system at the volcano was thus unable to track local volcanic earthquakes.

Thermal anomalies continued to be detected on satellite imagery, although clouds obscured satellite and web camera views of the volcano on most days during August through 11 September. A few clear views of the crater during this time revealed multiple thermal anomalies at the summit, indicating that low-level eruptive activity continued.

On 6 September, AVO lowered the Volcanic Alert Level for Cleveland from Watch to Advisory and the Aviation Color Code from Orange to Yellow, based on the observation that since late July, ash and gas plumes had been absent in satellite imagery and no reports of activity had been received. On 20 November the last weak thermal anomaly was observed for the year.

At 1200 on 17 January 2008, minor ash emission was detected, which drifted N. The plume height could not be determined. Thermal anomalies were found in the satellite imagery later that day. According to the AVO, on 8 February, during a break in the cloud cover, satellite imagery detected a diffuse ash plume extending about 12 km SE at an altitude below 1.5 km. Later that day AVO received pilot reports of a diffuse ash plume that rose to an altitude of 6.1 km and, according to satellite imagery, drifted NW. Due to the increased activity, the Volcanic Alert Level was raised to Watch and the Aviation Color Code was raised to Orange. During 10-11 February, a feeble thermal anomaly was marginally visible on satellite imagery.

On 12 February, the Volcanic Alert Level was lowered back to Advisory and the Aviation Color Code was lowered to Yellow. This occurred in response to the observation that minor eruptive activity appeared to have subsided and no further evidence of ash emission had been reported.

On 15 February, a minor explosion from Cleveland produced a small, diffuse ash plume that rose to an altitude of below 3 km and drifted NW. On 16 February, a brief explosion occurred. On 22 February, satellite imagery detected a low-level ash plume that drifted about 300 km SE. On 23 February, satellite imagery revealed a thermal anomaly. On 29 February, satellite imagery detected a weak thermal anomaly and a small ash plume that rose to an altitude of below 3 km. On 15, 27, and 30 March, weak thermal anomalies were detected. As of 4 April 2008, Cleveland remains at Advisory and the Aviation code Yellow.

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

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA, the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and the Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/); Volcanic Emissions Group, Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI)-Total Ozone Monitoring Spectrometer (TOMS), Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (URL: http://toms.unbc.edu/).


Krummel-Garbuna-Welcker (Papua New Guinea) — February 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Krummel-Garbuna-Welcker

Papua New Guinea

5.416°S, 150.027°E; summit elev. 564 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions during March 2008

Garbuna again began to erupt in March 2008. Prior to that, during late June 2007, the summit continued to release variable volumes of white vapor. Occasional increases in volume caused concern in local communities, although noises and night-time glow were absent. An investigation by the West New Britain Disaster Office indicated no other increased activity or emission of solid material. Vapor emissions from the active vent continued through October 2007. Through the end of 2007 and into January and February 2008 activity was characteristically uneventful, with no indication of an eruption.

A new eruption began on 11 March 2008. Gray ash clouds rose less than a kilometer above the summit before being blown SW, causing fine ashfall. Occasional booming noises were heard accompanying the ash emissions. Ash emissions continued on 12-13 March, and reports indicated most of the ash fell in the summit area. On 14-15 March the odor of sulfur was reported downwind. No glow was visible at night. Around this time, observations from the Kulingai Volcano Observatory (15 km SE) noted white vapor emissions from numerous vents at the summit area. During 17-18 March activity increased slightly with forceful and continuous emission of white vapor. Emissions rose vertically less than a kilometer before dissipating. There were no noises heard and no glow visible at night. A strong smell of sulfur was again noted to the E.

All of the monitoring equipment installed during 2005 and 2006 was destroyed. The two GPS stations at the summit and at the base remained out of service, and for most of the reporting interval there was no functioning seismometer. Seismicity began to be monitored using a KD1 recorder, along with a portable seismometer to the E, at SiSi village. Seismicity fluctuated between low and moderate levels. On 17 March, seismicity increased to a moderate level characterized by non-overlapping tremor. Only three high-frequency volcano-tectonic earthquakes were noted during the first day of recording; no low-frequency events were recorded. Seismicity declined on 18 March but rose to a moderate level on 19 March.

Geologic Background. The basaltic-to-dacitic Krummel-Garbuna-Welcker Volcanic Complex consists of three volcanic peaks located along a 7-km N-S line above a shield-like foundation at the southern end of the Willaumez Peninsula. The central and lower peaks of the centrally located Garbuna contain a large vegetation-free area that is probably the most extensive thermal field in Papua New Guinea. A prominent lava dome and blocky lava flow in the center of thermal area have resisted destruction by thermal activity, and may be of Holocene age. Krummel volcano at the south end of the group contains a summit crater, breached to the NW. The highest peak of the group is Welcker volcano, which has fed blocky lava flows that extend to the eastern coast of the peninsula. The last major eruption from both it and Garbuna volcanoes took place about 1800 years ago. The first historical eruption took place at Garbuna in October 2005.

Information Contacts: Herman Patia, Steve Saunders, and Felix Taranu, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), PO Box 3386, Rabaul, E.N.B.P, Papua New Guinea.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — February 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Langila

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash emissions in May and August 2007

Satellite thermal anomalies occurred at or near Langila on three different days in early 2007 (BGVN 32:02). Although erupting regularly, only one other anomaly (on 2 April 2007) was detected after that time through 6 March 2008. Langila is noted for its ongoing fluctuating eruptions and occasional ash clouds that rise to more than 5 km altitude and pose a threat to aviation. Throughout this reporting period, April 2007 to January 2008, ash emissions were usually accompanied by weak to moderately loud roaring.

During May 2007, the Rabaul Volcanic Observatory (RVO) reported the emission of ash clouds from Langila's Crater 2. Ash plumes rose to an altitude of 3.3-4.3 km and drifted NW. Weak roaring noises were heard on 11-12 May and a weak glow was visible on 7-8, 11-12, and 15 May. Weak roaring noises were again heard on 20 May, and an increased phase of eruptive activity that began on 22 May continued until end of the month. The increased activity was characterized by forceful emission of thick pale-gray to dark gray-brown ash clouds from 22-27 May. The emission changed to subcontinuous thick dark gray-brown ash clouds on 28-29 May before changing back to occasional thick, pale-gray clouds on 30-31 May. Two large explosions on 30 May accompanied the ash emission. The ash clouds from these two explosions rose 4 km above the summit before being blown NW. On the other days, the ash clouds rose 2-3 km above the summit before drifting NW of the volcano. Continuous fine ashfall occurred at Kilenge Catholic Mission (~10 km NW) and surrounding areas during 22-31 May. The ash emissions were accompanied by occasional weak to loud roaring noises from the 22 to 28 May before turning subcontinuous during 29-31 May. On 30 May two large explosions produced ash plumes that rose to ~5.3 km and drifted NW. A weak glow was visible on 7-8, 11-12, 15, and 20 May and again on 29 and 31 May. Incandescence was visible on 29 May. On 26 May, the seismograph deployed at Kilenge became operational.

During June RVO reported a slight decrease in eruptive activity that began on 22 May, however, the emissions of ash plumes from Crater 2 were occasionally forceful. The emissions were continuous on 6, 7, and 10 June and accompanied by roaring noises; booming noises were heard on 1 and 10 June. Ash plumes rose to ~ 2.3-4.3 km and drifted NNW. Based on observations of satellite imagery and information from RVO, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 3 June, an ash plume rose to an altitude of 3 km and drifted W. Ashfall was again reported at Kilenge Catholic Mission and surrounding areas. Seismic activity in June was at a high level, dominated by continuous tremor and occasional explosion signals. During the latter part of the month, seismic activity decreased to a low-moderate level. It was dominated by continuous irregular tremors and occasional harmonic tremors. Low-frequency earthquakes ranged from 1 to 7 events per day.

During July 2007, eruptive activity continued at a low level but included thin-to-thick, pale-gray ash clouds. Weak roaring noises were heard on 1 July, but glow was absent at night. On 2 July ash clouds were ejected forcefully and rose ~2 km, drifted NW, and resulted in a fine ashfall downwind. On 6-7, and 9-13 July, ash clouds rose less than 1 km above the summit before drifting NNW. Except for 1 July when weak roaring noises were heard, the volcano was quiet and without appreciable night glow. Seismicity registered at low-moderate levels, dominated by non-harmonic and harmonic tremor of continuous, irregular, or banded character. During July, the daily number of low-frequency earthquakes ranged between 1 and 12 events per day. The one high-frequency earthquake occurred on 27 July.

RVO reports noted mild but continuous ash and white vapor plumes from Crater 2 during 1 August-30 September. Ash plumes generally rose to altitudes of ~1.8-3.3 km and drifted WNW. On 8 August, a large explosion produced an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 5.3 km and drifted SW. Ashfall was reported downwind. Incandescent fragments were ejected from the summit on 21-22 September.

During 1-7 October 2007, RVO reported low-to-moderate eruptive activity consisting of continuous emission of pale gray ash clouds which rose to ~1.8-3.3 km and were blown W to NW. During the second week, the white vapor accompanied by pale gray ash clouds continued; these rose less than 1 km before being blown to the NW of the volcano. On 19, 16, and 27 October, the ash clouds rose less than 2 km before being blown WNW. Consistently, the ash emissions were accompanied by occasional weak-to-loud roaring or booming noises. On most occasions, there was no glow observed at night, however, a weak-to-bright glow accompanied by projection of incandescent lava fragments was visible on 12 and 22 October. Crater 3 remained quiet. Seismic activity was at low-to- moderate level dominated by low frequency earthquakes and bands of harmonic and non-harmonic tremors. The daily number of low-frequency earthquakes ranged from 2-15. Less than 10 high-frequency events were recorded during October.

In January 2008, activity generally remained low. Some ash fell on 6-7, and 9 January with fluctuating glow visible. On 10, 13, and 25 January the incandescent glow was bright. More direct observations through late February 2008 by RVO staff and affiliates confirmed ongoing eruptions. During February, Crater 2 continued to erupt. Most days, these eruptions generated ash plumes typically rising a few hundred meters. Observers noted incandescent glow or noises on 7, 9, 11, and 21-23 February.

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

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


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — February 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosive eruptions of December 2007-March 2008; hazard warnings

The previous report on Ol Doinyo Lengai (BGVN 32:11), often simply called Lengai, summarized seismicity and energetic ash emissions during 2007. The development of a single large cone with a prominent venting crater significantly changed the crater morphology.

This report discusses field observations by various individuals during December 2007 through March 2008. The reports and photos from visitors provided by Frederick Belton on his website form the source for much of which follows. Table 16 summarizes the observations from December 2007 through March 2008.

Table 16. Summary of visitors to Ol Doinyo Lengai and their brief observations (from a climb, aerial overflight, or flank) from December 2007 through 26 March 2008. Observations for 2007 were reported in BGVN 32:11. Most of this list is courtesy of Frederick Belton.

Date Observer Observation Location Brief Observations
07 Dec 2007 Joerg Keller, Jurgis Klaudius Climb Geological samples collected; ash eruption with plumes rising to several thousand meters above volcano (see text).
25 Dec 2007 Jens Fissenebert, Paul Johns Aerial/Climb Observations of crater from helicopter and ground (see text).
31 Dec 2007 Raphael Wolf Climb Volcano "shook 3 times as my guide and I were climbing;" vent of new cinder cone steaming.
06 Jan 2008 Paul Johns Aerial/Climb Helicopter landed in S crater, group walked to summit; eruption during flight to crater and 15 minutes after they left; large rocks (bombs?) had been thrown into the S crater.
14 Jan 2008 Vegard Laukhammer Climb Experienced eruption (see text).
17 Jan-21 Jan 2008 Tom Pfeiffer, group from Volcano Discovery Climb See text.
18 Jan 2008 Thomas Holden Climb New climbing route on the SE described.
19 Jan 2008 Bernhard Donth, Thomas Schulmeister, William (Maasai) Climb Occasional rain of fine gray ash and small white pebbles during ascent; small ash jets from the active crater.
04 Feb 2008 Michael Dalton-Smith Flank See text.
12 Feb 2008 Michel Picard Aerial Photographed a dark ash cloud.
13 Feb 2008 Walt Bilofsky Aerial Ash rising from summit crater.
15 Feb 2008 Gerrit Jan Plaisier, Rob Alakaposa Aerial Plume over Lengai to altitude of 11 km.
15 Feb 2008 Benoit Wangermez (pilot) Aerial Summit crater heavily cloaked in fresh ash; ash cloud rising from crater; movie of eruption on Celia Nyamweru's website.
20 Feb 2008 Nigel D'Aubrey Aerial Plume over Lengai.
21 Feb 2008 KLM pilot Aerial Eruption.
24 Feb 2008 Claude Humbert Climb Party of 11 people attempted to climb the S side, but terminated the climb about half-way up due to eruption.
27 Feb 2008 Reported to Michael Dalton-Smith Flank Eruptions getting stronger; observed from Gol, massive cloud.
27-28 Feb 2008 Flight crew Aerial Ash emissions at 1030 and 1200 on 27 Feb and 0530 on 28 Feb; ash cloud moved SW and dissipated.
27-28 Feb 2008 Dave Rhys Flank Eruptions observed from the Serengeti Plain and Ngorongoro Crater 3; single ash plumes rose rapidly following each eruption (none continuous) and dispersed S (thin ash coating on leaves around the rim of Ngorongoro crater).
01 Mar 2008 Max Voight Aerial Photo of ash plume rising.
late Feb 2008, 1-2 Mar 2008 Benoit Wilhelmi (pilot) Aerial Photos of ash plumes.
03 Mar-05 Mar 2008 Tony Drummond-Murray Flank Massive eruptions (see text).
05 Mar 2008 Benoit Wilhelmi (pilot) Aerial Plume to altitude of ~15.2 km.
11 Mar-12 Mar 2008 Benoit Wilhelmi (pilot) Aerial Strong ash eruption (see text).
18 Mar 2008 Benoit Wilhelmi (pilot) Aerial Photos of crater (see text).
22 Mar 2008 Benoit Wilhelmi (pilot) Aerial Photos of new crater (see text).
25 Mar 2008 Paul Westerman, friend, and Maasai guide Climb Walked to the top of the ash cone and heard the tremendous roar; no sulfur smell but some heat.
26 Mar 2008 Paul Westerman Flank From shore of Lake Natron observed some smoke and ashfall (on the downwind side) starting around 0930.

An accident last August highlights the hazards of summit access. On his 21 August 2007 ascent, Chris Weber's group evacuated a local Maasai porter who had fallen into an active lava flow (around 500°C) in the crater. The porter had managed to get out of the lava, but with both legs and one arm seriously burned. Initial treatment at an Arusha hospital was financed by Weber's tour company. As of January 2008 he was bedridden in his home near Engare Sero, experiencing pain and muscle wasting. Celia Nyamweru (see web address below) has appealed for financial support to assist the young man during his recovery.

Keller and Klaudius fieldwork, December 2007. Subsequent to publication of BGVN 32:11, we received an unpublished report by Joerg Keller and Jurgis Klaudius on their fieldwork during 5-11 December 2007. According to them, the 4 September eruption ended a period of about 25 years of activity dominated by the effusion of highly fluid natrocarbonatite lavas within the summit crater. The deep pit crater from the 1966/67 eruption period had gradually filled by about 1999/2000. According to the report, the last days of August 2007 were characterized by Weber as displaying seemingly increased lava output. A natrocarbonatite lava, collected by Weber during his ascent on 23 August, was analyzed by Keller at Freiburg University and was close to the average or standard composition for natrocarbonatite from the last 20 years.

During their field work on 5-11 December 2007, Keller and Klaudius observed intermittent but impressive explosions with ash plumes rising to several thousand meters above the volcano. This activity alternated with periods dominated by either minor puffing or degassing, or with seemingly dormant phases up to several days long. This pattern seemed to be representative of the period following the 4 September 2007 paroxysm, which Keller and Klaudius had also studied.

Keller and Klaudius reported that an impressive bomb field with impacted blocks of up to 1 m in diameter extended along the crater rim, on the E ridge to the summit, and on the flank down into the S crater. They noted that, given the observed sudden onset of explosions from the intra-crater vent, the summit area was potentially dangerous. They found that fumarolic activity in the N crater was strong, especially along the N rim. It was also observed within the upper part of the N flank.

According to Keller and Klaudius, the 4 September paroxysm complicated access to the summit. With the help of Maasai guides, they used a newly opened route on 7 December that follows a prominent steep ridge and ends at the SE edge of the S crater. They reported that the track was quite strenuous and, while being rather direct, took much longer (7 hours) than the old trail from the W. They found that, with ongoing explosive activity, the S crater was the only safe arrival place. An attempt to use the old W route during their descent was unsuccessful because the very cemented surface of the lapilli beds provided no grip on the steep entrance from above to the ascent chasm.

While at the crater, Keller and Klaudius collected fresh samples of black lapilli, ash, and bombs from the active cone. The large intra-crater cinder-and-ash cone (figure 102) occupied more than half of the former crater platform, with a crater diameter of ~200 m. Its location coincided with the large collapse structure formed during the March/April 2006 natrocarbonatite effusive activity (BGVN 32:02) (Kervyn and others, 2008), which has also been the area of strong lava emission before the explosive eruption of 4 September 2007. It had a slightly N-S elongation, oval shape and, despite the heavy fumes filling the crater, it appeared that two vents, a more northerly one and a more southerly one, were erupting.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. The ash-and-cinder cone that dominated the N crater of Ol Doinyo Lengai. Taken 7 December 2007 from the summit looking N. Courtesy of Joerg Keller.

The cone was formed by and covered by ash, black-to-brown lapilli, cinders, angular blocks, and cored oval bombs. The magmatic lapilli contained macroscopic phenocrysts of nepheline, garnet, and wollastonite. With time, the black lapilli and bombs on the slopes of the cone and in the ring plain around it turned white by weathering of their components. Products of the active cone have covered almost all the old natrocarbonatite structures. Only the spiny remnant of the T49B hornito still stands out at the northern crater rim of the cone. The surface of a blocky flow was also still recognizable at the foot of the N wall.

Analyses of the magmatic material were in harmony with the recent observations of Roger Mitchell and Barry Dawson (reported in BGVN 32:11), who analyzed the mineralogy after the 24 September 2007 eruption, and their suggestion that at the onset of the explosive eruptive period on 4 September 2007 a silicate component became involved in the eruptive activity. Mitchell and Dawson concluded that "in lacking clinopyroxene, the mantling ash is not nephelinite or melilitite and is unlike any other magma type previously recorded from the volcano."

During the December fieldwork, Keller and Klaudius collected samples and examined cross-sections of the 4 September 2007 ash. Proximal (near-source) accumulations of tephra in the S crater occurred to a thickness of ~ 20 cm in the depression and on the upper slopes of the S flank, decreasing to a thickness of 1 cm at the E starting point of the new trail. This compared with a thickness of ~ 5 cm at the upper parking site of the old W trail and the abandoned Maasai home closest to the volcano, 4.2 km away (figure 103). Towards Engare Sero village, relics of the ashfall were still locally preserved and indicated an original thickness of ~ 1 cm, consistent with eyewitness reports of ashfall over the village during 4 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. The abandoned settlement of the Lesele family, located in the major ash fallout area W of the volcano. Note the ash on the roofs of the huts. Courtesy of J. Keller and J. Klaudius.

Other observations. Jens Fissenebert's visit on 25 December 2007 to the summit by helicopter again confirmed that the ash cone had grown. He estimated that it covered nearly the northern two-thirds of the crater floor. The N and W parts of the crater rim were indistinct, having been mostly covered by the growing flank of the new cone. Newly erupted ash and lapilli had filled in the flank area below the former crater rim and down through the "Pearly Gates" through which the former W climbing route passed.

Several eruptions were noted by Paul Johns when landing by helicopter on 6 January 2008. During early 2008, there were also occasional thermal anomalies measured by MODIS (table 17).

Table 17. MODIS/MODVOLC thermal anomalies measured at Ol Doinyo Lengai during January through early April 2008. Anomalies measured during 2007 were reported in BGVN 32:11. Courtesy of the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System.

Date Time (UTC) Number of pixels Satellite
08 Jan 2008 2030 2 Terra
17 Jan 2008 2025 2 Terra
17 Feb 2008 2240 3 Aqua
22 Feb 2008 2300 1 Aqua
28 Feb 2008 1135 1 Aqua
29 Feb 2008 2305 1 Aqua
07 Mar 2008 2310 1 Aqua
10 Mar 2008 2045 4 Terra
03 Apr 2008 1955 1 Terra

Vegard Laukhammer climbed the volcano with several others on 14 January 2008. Laukhammer reported arriving at the summit at 0652 (local time). "The visibility was so poor and there was so much smoke that we decided to try to climb down again after 10 minutes. . . . About 10 minutes later (0715), when we had been able to climb about 50 meters down from the summit, a thundering, ear-breaking sound came from the volcano. A large shower of rocks (many the size of a football) were thrown out from the volcano directly towards us 4 on the top" (translation from Norwegian by Sven Dahlgren, found on Belton's website). The climbers managed to descend without serious injury.

Tom Pfeiffer and a VolcanoDiscovery group stayed near and on Ol Doinyo Lengai during 17-21 January 2008. During this period episodic ash eruptions lasted several hours. These phases alternated with quiet intervals when there was only a weak plume of very fine gray ash and gas. After sunset on 17 January, strong ash eruptions started with plumes reaching about 500-1,000 m high, accompanied by strong lightning. After around 2130, Randle Robertson observed a fountain that appeared as a bright red-orange "blow-torch" rising from the summit crater to an estimated height of 500 m above the crater. The light was steady in appearance and lasted for at least 5 minutes. When the fountain died, a dark ash cloud emerged from the crater, which did not reach a great height. The volcano was more or less quiet during most of 18 January (figure 104).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. View looking N from the summit of Ol Doinyo Lengai, taken 18 January 2008. The large cone in the crater was quiet at this time. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

At around 1600 on 19 January, weak explosions set in, increasing in intensity until the ash plumes reached about 500 m above the crater at around 1730 (figure 105). Blocks were ejected 300-400 m above the crater, and all explosions were near-vertical jets from two vents in the crater's W and central portions. Activity decreased after sunset. No incandescence was observed during the night. Activity intensified during the night, with loud-explosion sounds, and the hissing sound of gas-and-ash jets. During their descent on 20 January, ash eruptions continued until early afternoon.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. View looking N over the active crater from the summit of Ol Doinyo Lengai, taken 18 January 2008, showing the onset of ash eruption. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

Michael Dalton-Smith observed a fairly large eruption at 1200 on 3 February 2008 from the Gol mountains just E of Sanjan gorge. He saw a cloud that rose about ~1 km above the summit. Activity was present all day, ceasing around 1600, followed by renewed activity with ash rising 0.3-0.5 km above the crater.

At about 0600 on 4 February there was a larger eruption with the ash rising about 1.4 km. It was a fairly dense cloud that flattened out at the top. The camp manger of Asilia (where Dalton-Smith was staying) also said that there had been several large explosive eruptions three days before (on 1 February). Two explosions were heard, one in the morning and one in the evening.

On 6 February, Dalton-Smith opted to not climb because of strong eruptions. When he drove past the volcano he reported that "it was having some of the biggest eruptions in a long time" with continuous activity from sunrise to about 1400.

During 3-5 March 2008, Tony Drummond-Murray and his wife observed very strong eruptions (figure 106). Figure 107 shows pyroclastic flows from what appeared to be a collapsing ash column. The valley between Lengai and the escarpment itself was covered with a highly visible layer of light ash after the eruption on 4 March. On 5 March the plume appeared even larger than the one seen on 4 March.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Large eruption of Ol Doinyo Lengai taken around 4 March 2008 from the Lake Natron area. Courtesy of Tony Drummond-Murray.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. During an energetic eruption, small pyroclastic or debris flows propagated down the flanks of Ol Doinyo Lengai. This photo was taken around 4 March 2008 from the Lake Natron area. Courtesy of Tony Drummond-Murray.

At 1010 on 5 March 2008, pilot Benoît Wilhelmi observed a plume rising to ~15 km altitude. On 12 March, he also saw a strong ash eruption; weaker activity was also seen that day (figure 108). That photo indicates that the powerful eruptions of 3-5 March did not significantly alter the ash cone or crater rim. Large amounts of ash and cinders had piled up against the northward facing ridge below the summit. The S crater was covered in ash and cinder layers so deep that previously prominent erosion gullies were becoming indistinct. It appeared that all vegetation had either died or been buried.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. Ash eruption from Ol Doinyo Lengai seen 12 March 2008 from the NNE. This image shows that the E, N, and W flanks of the ash cone had buried the original crater rim. Oversteepening of the cone flank in places resulted in small landslides which can be seen just below the cone as dark material covering the lighter areas of older weathered carbonatite. The peak beyond the ash plume is the summit. Photo courtesy Benoît Wilhelmi.

Wilhelmi photographed the summit cone on 18 March at 1530 (figure 109). On 22 March, Wilhelmi photographed directly into the crater (figure 110). At that time there had been no reports of activity for three days, but the smell of hydrogen sulfide returned after being gone for days.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. Aerial photo highlighting the summit profile of Ol Doinyo Lengai, as seen looking W at ~1530 (local time) on 18 March by Benoît Wilhelmi (pilot). Courtesy of Frederick Belton.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. Aerial photo at Ol Doinyo Lengai looking sub-vertically, down into the new cone's crater. Taken at about 0930 (local time) on 22 March by Benoît Wilhelmi (pilot). Courtesy of Frederick Belton.

Table 18 lists a number of volcanic ash advisories (VAAs) issued in March 2008 by the Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Table 18. March 2008 Volcanic Ash Advisories (VAAs) relating to Ol Doinyo Lengai issued by Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Date Time (UTC) Information Source Observed Details
04 Mar 2008 0900 Satellite Eruption occurred at 0630 (UTC), cloud rising to 12.2 km may contain some ash; stopped by 0900.
05 Mar 2008 0854 Meterological watch office (MWO) Dar-Es-Salaam Eruption of very short duration; "simple puff", ash cloud to 10.7 km altitude.
06 Mar 2008 1730 MWO Dar-Es-Salaam Eruption occurred at 0830 (UTC); cloud top at 9.1 km altitude, ash not identified from satellite.
09 Mar 2008 0845 MartinAir Current eruption; ash plume to 8.8 km altitude, ash not identified from satellite.
10 Mar 2008 0711 Satellite Cloud to 7.3 km altitude.
11 Mar 2008 1800 Infrared satellite Possible brief eruption at about 1700 (UTC); cloud up to 12.2 km altitude, moving S.
13 Mar 2008 1800 KLM pilot, MartinAir Volcanism with ash cloud rising to 12.2 km altitude.
16 Mar 2008 0450 Satellite Short eruption at ~0330 (UTC); plume reached 13.7 km altitude.
16 Mar 2008 2148 Satellite Ash cloud to 12.2 km altitude.

Thomas Holden reported that as of 29 March 2008 there had been no activity at Lengai for 10 days. Chris Daborn (Tropical Veterinary Services Ltd.) reported on 2 April 2008 the following: "Lengai has of late quieted down significantly-first in changing ash colour from a 'salty' white to a more inert black and now with much smaller eruptions that barely extend above the mountain. We have heavy rains on at present which makes movement in the area difficult-but are also washing ash residue away." Jurgis Klaudius reported that he checked MODIS data and found a thermal anomaly in the N crater on 3 April 2008, indicating on-going eruptions then (table 17).

Warnings of hazards. Celia Nyamweru posted the following warning on her web site: "A team of Tanzanian, US, and French scientists visited the region around the volcano in January 2008, and interviewed local porters who routinely climb Ol Doinyo Lengai with tourists. Our observations and photos indicate continuing eruptive activity, and a growing threat to the region, as outlined below.

"Almost daily eruptions from the central caldera have filled the crater, and produced a steep lapilli-ash cone around the crater rim. A film clip of the crater made by a Medecins Sans Frontieres pilot confirms that the loose lapilli is near collapse. These conditions mean that there are very high risks of one or more of the following: 1) a debris flow or lahar (mix of hot ash, water/mud) down the existing channels around the volcano; 2) burns from hot lapilli and ash; and 3) catastrophic collapse of the steep lapilli cones around the crater. The risks increase with increasing rainfall during the March-May rains.

"We also urge extreme caution to anyone driving in the river channels on the eastern and northern slopes of Lengai between Engaruka and Ngare Sero. There are scars of immense debris flows on the flanks of Kerimasi, and smaller scars on Ol Doinyo Lengai. These scars attest to catastrophic flows in the past, some of which carried rock fragments up to 50 cm in diameter for distances extending up to 10 km from Ol Doinyo Lengai. Even smaller debris flows could do great damage to vehicles and people moving along the eastern and northern slopes of the volcano."

Reference. Kervyn, M., Ernst, G.G.J., Klaudius, J., Keller, J., Kervyn, F., Mattsson, H.B., Belton, F., Mbede, E., and Jacobs, P., 2008, Voluminous lava flows at Ol Doinyo Lengai in 2006: chronology of events and insights into the shallow magmatic system: Bulletin of Volcanology, DOI 10.1007/s00445-007-0190-x.

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

Information Contacts: Joerg Keller and Jurgis Klaudius, Mineralogisch-geochemisches Institut, Albertstr. 23B D-79104 Freiburg, Germany; Jens Fissenebert, Molvaro-Lake Natron Tented Camp and Campsite; Vegard Laukhammer, Norway; Frederick Belton, Developmental Studies Department, PO Box 16, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN 37132, USA (URL: http://oldoinyolengai.pbworks.com/); J. Barry Dawson, Grant Institute of Earth Science, University of Edinburgh, King's Building, Edinburgh EH9 3JW, U.K.; Roger Mitchell, Lakehead University, 955 Oliver Road, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada P7B 5EI; Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Celia Nyamweru, Department of Anthropology, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617 USA (URL: http://blogs.stlawu.edu/lengai/); Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) (URL: http://www.meteo.fr/vaac/); Michael Dalton-Smith (URL: http://digitalcrossing.ca/); Lake Natron Camp (URL: http://www.ngare-sero-lodge.com/); Chris Weber, Volcano Expeditions International (VEI) (URL: http://www.v-e-i.de/).


Lokon-Empung (Indonesia) — February 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Lokon-Empung

Indonesia

1.358°N, 124.792°E; summit elev. 1580 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


June 2007-March 2008, variable seismicity and minor white plumes

Our most recent report on Lokon-Empung discussed low seismicity and plume emissions between January-October 2005 (BGVN 31:03). Since then, available reports from the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) discussed seismic events in June and December 2007, and January 2008. Plumes mentioned in these reports were small, white in color, and only rose 15-40 m, occasionally up to 125 m, above the rim of the active vent area (Tompaluan crater), in the saddle between the peaks of Lokon and Empung.

During 11-24 June 2007 CVGHM reported 52 A-type and 156 B-type earthquakes, but no tremor. Only one earthquake was felt by residents. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

On 9 December 2007, CVGHM raised the Alert Level from 2 to 3 based on visual observations, inflation detected by deformation instruments, and an increase in seismicity. The water in the Tompaluan crater changed color from green to gray and noises from degassing became stronger. Visitors were advised not to go within 2 km of the crater.

After a short period of decline, seismicity began to increase again on 22 January 2008, peaking on 3 February. Visitors were prohibited from going within 1 km of the crater.

Geologic Background. The twin volcanoes Lokon and Empung, rising about 800 m above the plain of Tondano, are among the most active volcanoes of Sulawesi. Lokon, the higher of the two peaks (whose summits are only 2 km apart), has a flat, craterless top. The morphologically younger Empung volcano to the NE has a 400-m-wide, 150-m-deep crater that erupted last in the 18th century, but all subsequent eruptions have originated from Tompaluan, a 150 x 250 m wide double crater situated in the saddle between the two peaks. Historical eruptions have primarily produced small-to-moderate ash plumes that have occasionally damaged croplands and houses, but lava-dome growth and pyroclastic flows have also occurred. A ridge extending WNW from Lokon includes Tatawiran and Tetempangan peak, 3 km away.

Information Contacts: Dali Ahmad, Hetty Triastuty, Nia Haerani and Suswati, Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/).


NW Rota-1 (United States) — February 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

NW Rota-1

United States

14.601°N, 144.775°E; summit elev. -517 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Visit on 24 February 2008 found eruption plume and acoustic signals

During an April 2006 expedition (BGVN 31:05), scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) and Oregon State University aboard the research vessel Melville witnessed the volcano ejecting lava, bombs, and sulfur-rich (SO2 and H2S) plumes. This is the first site where explosive submarine eruptions have been directly observed from a submersible (see Videos, below).

According to William Chadwick, a brief visit to NW Rota-1 was made on 24 February 2008. With support from the NOAA Ocean Exploration Program and the U.S. Coast Guard, the scientists deployed a hydrophone and plume sensor. While on site, scientists found that the volcano was still erupting. There were no instruments left after the April 2006 visit, so the observational record was discontinuous. On the other hand, scientists visited the site four times in four years and consistently found that it was active. Moreover, Chadwick and colleagues had collected multibeam bathymetry in 2003 and 2006 (Walker and others, in press). Depth changes between those surveys were up to +40 m and extended from the eruptive vent at 550 m directly downslope to at least 2,000 m. They were consistent with volcaniclastic deposits from ongoing eruptions. The suggestion is that NW Rota-1 has been very active, if not continuously active.

On 24 February 2008 the Melville crew made a vertical cast over the eruptive vent with a light-scattering sensor and detected an eruption plume below 500 m depth. Hydrophone data also indicated eruptions with cyclic bursts about once a minute. These appear very similar to the explosions observed by ROV and hydrophone in 2006 (Chadwick and others, 2008). The explosion sounds were louder and more frequent in 2008 than in 2006. During the 2008 visit, explosion signals filled the 24-hour acoustic record. Before departure, the crew installed a hydrophone and plume sensor to record activity over the next year.

Resing and others (2007) described two types of venting at NW Rota-1. The first was a focused plume rich in Al, S, Si, CO2, Fe, Mn, and 3He. The second was a plume with diffuse flow, rich in Fe, Mn, CO2, and 3He, but without Al, S, and Si. Data suggested that the pH of these plumes were less than 1.0, primarily due to SO2 and possibly HCl. The authors claimed that the volcano is producing some of the greatest chemical anomalies ever observed in non-buoyant hydrothermal plumes and greatly different from that observed in any other hydrothermal setting.

Videos. Eruption videos taken from an unmanned submersible on 29 April 2006 can be found at http://www.oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/06fire/logs/april29/april29.html website. The five videos are titled as follows: (1) The extremely dynamic Brimstone Pit, (2) Brimstone Pit erupting with glowing red lava jetting out of the vent, (3) Brimstone Pit erupting with glowing red lava and gas bubbles, (4) Brimstone Pit sulfur plume envelopes the Jason ROV [remotely operated vehicle], and (5) The pulse and shake of the Brimstone Pit during another eruption.

References. Chadwick, W.W., Jr., Cashman, K.V., Embley, R.W., Matsumoto, H., Dziak, R.P., de Ronde, C.E.J., Lau, T.-K., Deardorff, N., and Merle, S.G., 2008, Direct video and hydrophone observations of submarine explosive eruptions at NW Rota-1 volcano, Mariana Arc: J. Geophys. Res.-Solid Earth, doi:10.1029/2007JB005215 (in press).

Resing, J.A., Lebon, G., Baker, E.T., Lupton, J.E., Embley, R.W., Massoth, G.J., Chadwick, Jr., W.W., and de Ronde, C.E.J., 2007, Venting of acid-sulfate fluids in a high-sulfidation setting at NW Rota-1 submarine volcano on the Mariana Arc: Economic Geology, v. 102, no. 6, p. 1047-1061.

Walker, S.L., Baker, E.T., Chadwick, Jr., W.W., Resing, J.A., Lebon, G.T., Lupton, J.E., and Merle S.G., (in press), Eruption-fed particle plumes and volcaniclastic deposits at a submarine volcano: NW-Rota-1, Mariana Arc: J. Geophys. Res.

Geologic Background. A submarine volcano detected during a 2003 NOAA bathymetric survey of the Mariana Island arc was found to be hydrothermally active and named NW Rota-1. The basaltic to basaltic-andesite seamount rises to within 517 m of the sea surface SW of Esmeralda Bank and lies 64 km NW of Rota Island and about 100 km north of Guam. When Northwest Rota-1 was revisited in 2004, a minor submarine eruption from a vent named Brimstone Pit on the upper south flank about 40 m below the summit intermittently ejected a plume several hundred meters high containing ash, rock particles, and molten sulfur droplets that adhered to the surface of the remotely operated submersible vehicle. The active vent was funnel-shaped, about 20 m wide and 12 m deep. NW Rota-1 is a large submarine volcano with prominent structural lineaments about a kilometer apart cutting across the summit of the edifice and down the NE and SW flanks.

Information Contacts: William Chadwick and Robert Dziak, Oregon State University and NOAA Vents Program, Newport, Oregon; 2115 SE OSU Drive, Newport, OR 97365 USA (URL: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/06fire/welcome.html).


Suwanosejima (Japan) — February 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small (~1 km) plumes noted during late 2007-early 2008

Our last Bulletin (BGVN 3211) covered eruptive activity during July 2005 to December 2007. This issue covers eruptions recorded by the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) from December 2007 to March 2008. Kinoshita and others (2003) noted that Sakura-jima "has been the most eruptive in Japan, with the eruption columns a few kilometers above the crater occasionally."

Table 5 summarizes information gathered by the Tokyo VAAC from observers between 9 December 2007 and 21 March 2008. In all cases the VAAC could not detect plumes using satellite data. An overview of satellite and image monitoring of Suwanose-jima appears in an article by Kinoshita and others (2003).

Table 5. A summary of Tokyo VAAC reports on ash plumes from Suwanose-jima during 9 December 2007 to 21 March 2008. Cases with only dashes in the data fields were when observers detected an explosion but they were unable to say more about a resulting plume. In many of the examples given, there were multiple Volcanic Ash Advisories issued, but no new data came to light. Courtesy of the Tokyo VAAC.

Date Time (UTC) Plume Altitude (km) Drift Direction
09 Dec 2007 2340 1.5 W
10 Dec 2007 0734 1.8 W
14 Dec 2007 0914 -- --
15 Dec 2007 0016 1.8 E
16 Dec 2007 0353 1.5 E
16 Dec 2007 2310 1.5 E
08 Feb 2008 0248 1.8 E
13 Feb 2008 0208 -- --
21 Mar 2008 1622 -- --

Reference. Kinoshita, K., Kanagaki, C., Minaka, A., Tsuchida, S., Matsui, T., Tupper, A., Yakiwara, H., and Iino, N., 2003, Ground and Satellite Monitoring of Volcanic Aerosols in Visible and Infrared Bands: The CEReS International Symposium on Remote Sensing - Monitoring of Environmental Change in Asia, Chiba, Japan, 16-17 December 2003, 10 p.

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

Information Contacts: Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Tokyo, Japan (URL: https://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/).


Talang (Indonesia) — February 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Talang

Indonesia

0.979°S, 100.681°E; summit elev. 2575 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions in March, June, and November 2007

The Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) lowered the Alert Level of Talang to 2 (on a scale of 1-4) on 27 January 2007 due to a reduced seismicity between 23 November 2006 and 24 January 2007, although gas plumes originated from South and Main craters. There had been eruptive episodes in April 2005 and elevated activity during late 2006 (BGVN 32:01).

On 17 March 2007, CVGHM raised the Alert Level based on increased "smoke" and tremors to 3 (on a scale of 1-4). The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) reported that, based on information from CVGHM, ash plumes rose to altitudes of 3.4-3.9 km on 19-20 March. Local authorities and residents were advised to prepare for a possible evacuation. On 23 April 2007 the Alert Level was reduced to 2. During 18-25 June, thick brown ash plumes rose from Main crater to an altitude of 3.1 km. Diffuse "white ash" plumes rose from South crater to an altitude of 3 km.

On 29 November CVGHM raised the Alert Level to 3 (on a scale of 1-4) based on visual observations and seismicity. During 27-29 November, ash and steam plumes from multiple craters rose to altitudes of 3.1-4.1 km. A strong smell of sulfur dioxide gas was reported. Visitors were advised not to go within 3 km of the summit.

During 7-10 December, observations were limited by inclement weather. On 11 December, "smoke" rose from the Main crater to a maximum altitude of 3.3 km. Plumes were also observed from the South crater and Gabuo Atas solfatara field. On 14 December visual observations and a decrease in the number of earthquakes prompted a lowering of the Alert Level back to 2.

Geologic Background. Talang, which forms a twin volcano with the extinct Pasar Arbaa volcano, lies ESE of the major city of Padang and rises NW of Dibawah Lake. Talang has two crater lakes on its flanks; the largest of these is 1 x 2 km wide Danau Talang. The summit exhibits fumarolic activity, but which lacks a crater. Historical eruptions have mostly involved small-to-moderate explosive activity first documented in the 19th century that originated from a series of small craters in a valley on the upper NE flank.

Information Contacts: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, Bureau of Meteorology, Commonwealth of Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac); Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/).


Batu Tara (Indonesia) — February 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Batu Tara

Indonesia

7.791°S, 123.585°E; summit elev. 633 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Satellite thermal anomalies indicate that near-daily eruptions continue

Our last report (the first ever for this volcano) covered eruptive activity through 13 October 2007 (BGVN 32:12). This report continues coverage through early April 2008.

Thermal anomalies were first measured by the MODIS satellites on 17 January 2007 (1420 UTC). According to the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System, through the end of 2007 anomalies were measured every 1 to 7 days. This trend of nearly daily anomalies continued up to 9 April 2008, with the following exceptions: a 10-day gap beginning 21 December 2007, a 10-day gap beginning 8 January 2008, and a 21-day gap beginning 2 February 2008.

The regularity and repeating character of the thermal anomalies suggest ongoing venting of hot fragmental material or lava flows, similar to March and April 2007 (BGVN 32:12). However, the late 2007 and early 2008 behavior and deposits have not been observed.

On 4 February 2008, the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) reported that since 9 October 2007, white plumes were a daily occurrence. On 8 January 2008, gray plumes rose to 1.5 km altitude and drifted E. On 26 January, white plumes rose to altitudes of 1.7 km and drifted E. On 30 January, white plumes rose to altitudes of 1.5 km. and drifted E. The Darwin VAAC reported that eruption plumes were observed from a ship on 31 January, but ash was not seen in satellite imagery. The Alert level remained at 1 (on a scale of 1-4).

On 11 March the Darwin VAAC reported that satellite imagery that day revealed an ash-and-steam plume from Batu Tara that rose to an altitude of 3 km and drifted SW. On 12 March satellite imagery revealed an ash-and-steam plume at an altitude of 2.1 km moving SE.

Geologic Background. The small isolated island of Batu Tara in the Flores Sea about 50 km N of Lembata (fomerly Lomblen) Island contains a scarp on the eastern side similar to the Sciara del Fuoco of Italy's Stromboli volcano. Vegetation covers the flanks to within 50 m of the summit. Batu Tara lies north of the main volcanic arc and is noted for its potassic leucite-bearing basanitic and tephritic rocks. The first historical eruption, during 1847-52, produced explosions and a lava flow.

Information Contacts: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, Bureau of Meteorology, Commonwealth of Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac); Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


Central Chile and Argentina


Estero de Parraguirre


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

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

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

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



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

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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


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

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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