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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

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

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

Recently Published Bulletin Reports

Sangay (Ecuador) Ash plumes, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars during July-December 2020; larger explosions in September

Ebeko (Russia) Continued explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall; June-November 2020

Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) Intermittent thermal anomalies and small eruptions in May and August 2020

Nyamuragira (DR Congo) Numerous thermal anomalies and gas emissions from the lava lake through November 2020

Raung (Indonesia) Explosions with ash plumes and a thermal anomaly at the summit crater, July-October 2020

Sinabung (Indonesia) Explosions begin again on 8 August 2020; dome growth confirmed in late September

Heard (Australia) Persistent thermal anomalies in the summit crater from June through October 2020

Sabancaya (Peru) Daily explosions produced ash plumes, SO2 plumes, and thermal anomalies during June-September 2020

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) Frequent small phreatic explosions with intermittent ash plumes during April-September 2020

Fuego (Guatemala) Daily explosions, ash emissions, and block avalanches during August-November 2020

Kikai (Japan) Explosion on 6 October 2020 and thermal anomalies in the crater

Manam (Papua New Guinea) Intermittent ash plumes, thermal anomalies, and SO2 emissions in April-September 2020



Sangay (Ecuador) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangay

Ecuador

2.005°S, 78.341°W; summit elev. 5286 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars during July-December 2020; larger explosions in September

Sangay is one of the most active volcanoes in Ecuador with the current eruptive period continuing since 26 March 2019. Activity at the summit crater has been frequent since August 1934, with short quiet periods between events. Recent activity has included frequent ash plumes, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars. This report summarizes activity during July through December 2020, based on reports by Ecuador's Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), ash advisories issued by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), webcam images taken by Servicio Integrado de Seguridad ECU911, and various satellite data.

Overall activity remained elevated during the report period. Recorded explosions were variable during July through December, ranging from no explosions to 294 reported on 4 December (figure 80), and dispersing mostly to the W and SW. SO2 was frequently detected using satellite data (figure 81) and was reported several times to be emitting between about 770 and 2,850 tons/day. Elevated temperatures at the crater and down the SE flank were frequently observed in satellite data (figure 82), and less frequently by visual observation of incandescence. Seismic monitoring detected lahars associated with rainfall events remobilizing deposits emplaced on the flanks throughout this period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. A graph showing the daily number of explosions at Sangay recorded during July through December 2020. Several dates had no recorded explosions due to lack of seismic data. Data courtesy of IG-EPN (daily reports).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Examples of stronger SO2 plumes from Sangay detected by the Sentinel 5P/TROPOMI instrument, with plumes from Nevado del Ruiz detected to the north. The image dates from left to right are 31 August 2020, 17 September 2020, 1 October 2020 (top row), 22 November 2020, 3 December 2020, 14 December 2020 (bottom row). Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. This log radiative power MIROVA plot shows thermal output at Sangay during February through December 2020. Activity was relatively constant with increases and decreases in both energy output and the frequency of thermal anomalies detected. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during July-August 2020. During July activity continued with frequent ash and gas emission recorded through observations when clouds weren’t obstructing the view of the summit, and Washington VAAC alerts. There were between one and five VAAC alerts issued most days, with ash plumes reaching 570 to 1,770 m above the crater and dispersing mostly W and SE, and NW on two days (figure 83). Lahar seismic signals were recorded on the 1st, 7th, three on the 13th, and one on the 19th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Gas and ash plumes at Sangay during July 2020, at 0717 on the 17th, at 1754 on the 18th, and at 0612 on the 25th. Bottom picture taken from the Macas ECU 911 webcam. All images courtesy of IG-EPN daily reports.

During August there were between one and five VAAC alerts issued most days, with ash plumes reaching 600 to 2,070 m above the crater and predominantly dispersing W, SW, and occasionally to the NE, S, and SE (figure 84). There were reports of ashfall in the Alausí sector on the 24th. Using seismic data analysis, lahar signals were identified after rainfall on 1, 7, 11-14, and 21 August. A lava flow was seen moving down the eastern flank on the night of the 15th, resulting in a high number of thermal alerts. A pyroclastic flow was reported descending the SE flank at 0631 on the 27th (figure 85).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. This 25 August 2020 PlanetScope satellite image of Sangay in Ecuador shows an example of a weak gas and ash plume dispersing to the SW. Courtesy of Planet Labs.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. A pyroclastic flow descends the Sangay SE flank at 0631 on 27 August 2020. Webcam by ECU911, courtesy of courtesy of IG-EPN (27 August 2020 report).

Activity during September-October 2020. Elevated activity continued through September with two significant increases on the 20th and 22nd (more information on these events below). Other than these two events, VAAC reports of ash plumes varied between 1 and 5 issued most days, with plume heights reaching between 600 and 1,500 m above the crater. Dominant ash dispersal directions were W, with some plumes traveling SE, S, SE, NE, and NW. Lahar seismic signals were recorded after rainfall on 1, 2, 5, 8-10, 21, 24, 25, 27, and 30 September. Pyroclastic flows were reported on the 19th (figure 86), and incandescent material was seen descending the SE ravine on the 29th. There was a significant increase in thermal alerts reported throughout the month compared to the July-August period, and Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed a lava flow down the SE flank (figure 87).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Pyroclastic flows descended the flank of Sangay on 19 (top) and 20 (bottom) September 2020. Webcam images by ECU911 from the city of Macas, courtesy of IG-EPN (14 August 2018 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. The thermal signature of a lava flow is seen on SW flank of Sangay in this 8 September 2020 Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image, indicated by the white arrow. False color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Starting at 0420 on the morning of 20 September there was an increase in explosions and emissions recorded through seismicity, much more energetic than the activity of previous months. At 0440 satellite images show an ash plume with an estimated height of around 7 km above the crater. The top part of the plume dispersed to the E and the rest of the plume went W. Pyroclastic flows were observed descending the SE flank around 1822 (figure 88). Ash from remobilization of deposits was reported on the 21st in the Bolívar, Chimborazo, Los Ríos, Guayas and Santa Elena provinces. Ash and gas emission continued, with plumes reaching up to 1 km above the crater. There were seven VAAC reports as well as thermal alerts issued during the day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. An eruption of Sangay on 22 September 2020 produced a pyroclastic flow down the SE flank and an ash plume that dispersed to the SW. PlanetScope satellite image courtesy of Planet Labs.

Ash plumes observed on 22 September reached around 1 km above the crater and dispersed W to NW. Pyroclastic flows were seen descending the SE flank (figure 89) also producing an ash plume. A BBC article reported the government saying 800 km2 of farmland had experienced ashfall, with Chimborazo and Bolívar being the worst affected areas (figure 90). Locals described the sky going dark, and the Guayaquil was temporarily closed. Ash plume heights during the 20-22 were the highest for the year so far (figure 91). Ash emission continued throughout the rest of the month with another increase in explosions on the 27th, producing observed ash plume heights reaching 1.5 km above the crater. Ashfall was reported in San Nicolas in the Chimborazo Province in the afternoon of the 30th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. A pyroclastic flow descending the flank of Sangay on 22 September 2020. Webcam image by ECU911 from the city of Macas, courtesy of IG-EPN (Sangay Volcano Special Report - 2020 - No 5, 22 September 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Ashfall from an eruption at Sangay on 22 September 2020 affected 800 km2 of farmland and nearby communities. Images courtesy of EPA and the Police of Ecuador via Reuters (top-right), all via the BBC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Ash plume heights (left graph) at Sangay from January through to late September, with the larger ash plumes during 20-22 September indicated by the red arrow. The dominant ash dispersal direction is to the W (right plot) and the average speed is 10 m/s. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Sangay Volcano Special Report - 2020 - No 5, 22 September 2020).

Thermal alerts increased again through October, with a lava flow and/or incandescent material descending the SE flank sighted throughout the month (figure 92). Pyroclastic flows were seen traveling down the SE flank during an observation flight on the 6th (figure 93). Seismicity indicative of lahars was reported on 1, 12, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, and 28 October associated with rainfall remobilizing deposits. The Washington VAAC released one to five ash advisories most days, noting plume heights of 570-3,000 m above the crater; prevailing winds dispersed most plumes to the W, with some plumes drifting NW, N, E to SE, and SW. Ashfall was reported in Alausí (Chimborazo Province) on the 1st and in Chunchi canton on the 10th. SO2 was recorded towards the end of the month using satellite data, varying between about 770 and 2,850 tons on the 24th, 27th, and 29th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. A lava flow descends the SE flank of Sangay on 2 October 2020. Webcam images courtesy of ECU 911.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. A pyroclastic flow descends the Sangay SE flank was seen during an IG-EPN overflight on 6 October 2020. Photo courtesy of S. Vallejo, IG-EPN.

Activity during November-December 2020. Frequent ash emission continued through November with between one and five Washington VAAC advisories issued most days (figure 94). Reported ash and gas plume heights varied between 570 and 2,700 m above the crater, with winds dispersing plumes in all directions. Thermal anomalies were detected most days, and incandescent material from explosions was seen on the 26th. Seismicity indicating lahars was registered on nine days between 15 and 30 November, associated with rainfall events.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Examples of gas and ash plumes at Sangay during November 2020. Webcam images were published in IG-EPN daily activity reports.

Lahar signals associated with rain events continued to be detected on ten out of the first 18 days of November. Ash emissions continued through December with one to five VAAC alerts issued most days. Ash plume heights varied from 600 to 1,400 m above the crater, with the prevailing wind direction dispersing most plumes W and SW (figure 95). Thermal anomalies were frequently detected and incandescent material was observed down the SE flank on the 3rd, 14th, and 30th, interpreted as a lava flow and hot material rolling down the flank. A webcam image showed a pyroclastic flow traveling down the SE flank on the 2nd (figure 96). Ashfall was reported on the 10th in Capzol, Palmira, and Cebadas parishes, and in the Chunchi and Guamote cantons.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Examples of ash plumes at Sangay during ongoing persistent activity on 9, 10, and 23 December 2020. Webcam images courtesy of ECU 911.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. A nighttime webcam image shows a pyroclastic flow descending the SE flank of Sangay at 2308 on 2 December 2020. Image courtesy of ECU 911.

Geologic Background. The isolated Sangay volcano, located east of the Andean crest, is the southernmost of Ecuador's volcanoes and its most active. The steep-sided, glacier-covered, dominantly andesitic volcano grew within horseshoe-shaped calderas of two previous edifices, which were destroyed by collapse to the east, producing large debris avalanches that reached the Amazonian lowlands. The modern edifice dates back to at least 14,000 years ago. It towers above the tropical jungle on the east side; on the other sides flat plains of ash have been sculpted by heavy rains into steep-walled canyons up to 600 m deep. The earliest report of a historical eruption was in 1628. More or less continuous eruptions were reported from 1728 until 1916, and again from 1934 to the present. The almost constant activity has caused frequent changes to the morphology of the summit crater complex.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec); ECU911, Servicio Integrado de Seguridad ECU911, Calle Julio Endara s / n. Itchimbía Park Sector Quito – Ecuador. (URL: https://www.ecu911.gob.ec/; Twitter URL: https://twitter.com/Ecu911Macas/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); BBC News “In pictures: Ash covers Ecuador farming land” Published 22 September 2020 (URL: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-54247797).


Ebeko (Russia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall; June-November 2020

Volcanism at Ebeko, located on the N end of the Paramushir Island in the Kuril Islands, has been ongoing since October 2016, characterized by frequent moderate explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk (7 km ESE) (BGVN 45:05). Similar activity during this reporting period of June through November 2020 continues, consisting of frequent explosions, dense ash plumes, and occasional ashfall. Information for this report primarily comes from the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) and satellite data.

Activity during June was characterized by frequent, almost daily explosions and ash plumes that rose to 1.6-4.6 km altitude and drifted in various directions, according to KVERT reports and information from the Tokyo VAAC advisories using HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery and KBGS (Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Service) seismic data. Satellite imagery showed persistent thermal anomalies over the summit crater. On 1 June explosions generated an ash plume up to 4.5 km altitude drifting E and S, in addition to several smaller ash plumes that rose to 2.3-3 km altitude drifting E, NW, and NE, according to KVERT VONA notices. Explosions on 11 June generated an ash plume that rose 2.6 km altitude and drifted as far as 85 km N and NW. Explosions continued during 21-30 June, producing ash plumes that rose 2-4 km altitude, drifting up to 5 km in different directions (figure 26); many of these eruptive events were accompanied by thermal anomalies that were observed in satellite imagery.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Photo of a dense gray ash plume rising from Ebeko on 22 June 2020. Photo by L. Kotenko (color corrected), courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

Explosions continued in July, producing ash plumes rising 2-5.2 km altitude and drifting for 3-30 km in different directions. On 3, 6, 15 July explosions generated an ash plume that rose 3-4 km altitude that drifted N, NE, and SE, resulting in ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk. According to a Tokyo VAAC advisory, an eruption on 4 July produced an ash plume that rose up to 5.2 km altitude drifting S. On 22 July explosions produced an ash cloud measuring 11 x 13 km in size and that rose to 3 km altitude drifting 30 km SE. Frequent thermal anomalies were identified in satellite imagery accompanying these explosions.

In August, explosions persisted with ash plumes rising 1.7-4 km altitude drifting for 3-10 km in multiple directions. Intermittent thermal anomalies were detected in satellite imagery, according to KVERT. On 9 and 22 August explosions sent ash up to 2.5-3 km altitude drifting W, S, E, and SE, resulting in ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk. Moderate gas-and-steam activity was reported occasionally during the month.

Almost daily explosions in September generated dense ash plumes that rose 1.5-4.3 km altitude and drifted 3-5 km in different directions. Moderate gas-and-steam emissions were often accompanied by thermal anomalies visible in satellite imagery. During 14-15 September explosions sent ash plumes up to 2.5-3 km altitude drifting SE and NE, resulting in ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk. On 22 September a dense gray ash plume rose to 3 km altitude and drifted S. The ash plume on 26 September was at 3.5 km altitude and drifted SE (figure 27).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Photos of dense ash plumes rising from Ebeko on 22 (left) and 26 (right) September 2020. Photos by S. Lakomov (color corrected), IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

During October, near-daily ash explosions continued, rising 1.7-4 km altitude drifting in many directions. Intermittent thermal anomalies were identified in satellite imagery. During 7-8, 9-10, and 20-22 October ashfall was reported in Severo-Kurilsk.

Explosions in November produced dense gray ash plumes that rose to 1.5-5.2 km altitude and drifted as far as 5-10 km, mainly NE, SE, E, SW, and ENE. According to KVERT, thermal anomalies were visible in satellite imagery throughout the month. On clear weather days on 8 and 11 November Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed ashfall deposits SE of the summit crater from recent activity (figure 28). During 15-17 November explosions sent ash up to 3.5 km altitude drifting NE, E, and SE which resulted in ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk on 17 November. Similar ashfall was observed on 22-24 and 28 November due to ash rising to 1.8-3 km altitude (figure 29). Explosions on 29 November sent an ash plume up to 4.5 km altitude drifting E (figure 29). A Tokyo VAAC advisory reported that an ash plume drifting SSE on 30 November reached an altitude of 3-5.2 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of a gray-white gas-and-ash plume at Ebeko on 8 (left) and 11 (right) November 2020, resulting in ashfall (dark gray) to the SE of the volcano. Images using “Natural Color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Photos of continued ash explosions from Ebeko on 28 October (left) and 29 November (right) 2020. Photos by S. Lakomov (left) and L. Kotenko (right), courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows a pulse in low-power thermal activity beginning in early June through early August (figure 30). On clear weather days, the thermal anomalies in the summit crater are observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery, accompanied by occasional white-gray ash plumes (figure 31). Additionally, the MODVOLC algorithm detected a single thermal anomaly on 26 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. A small pulse in thermal activity at Ebeko began in early June and continued through early August 2020, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). The detected thermal anomalies were of relatively low power but were persistent during this period. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed gray ash plumes rising from Ebeko on 11 June (top left) and 16 July (bottom left) 2020, accompanied by occasional thermal anomalies (yellow-orange) within the summit crater, as shown on 24 June (top right) and 25 August (bottom right). The ash plume on 11 June drifted N from the summit. Images using “Natural Color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) on 11 June (top left) and 16 July (bottom left) and the rest have “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

30.443°N, 130.217°E; summit elev. 657 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal anomalies and small eruptions in May and August 2020

Kuchinoerabujima encompasses a group of young stratovolcanoes located in the northern Ryukyu Islands. All historical eruptions have originated from the Shindake cone, with the exception of a lava flow that originated from the S flank of the Furudake cone. The current eruptive period began in January 2020 and has been characterized by small explosions, ash plumes, ashfall, a pyroclastic flow, and gas-and-steam emissions. This report covers activity from May to October 2020, which includes small explosions, ash plumes, crater incandescence, and gas-and-steam emissions. The primary source of information for this report comes from monthly and annual reports from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and advisories from the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Volcanism at Kuchinoerabujima remained relatively low during May through October 2020, according to JMA. During this time, SO2 emissions ranged from 40 to 3,400 tons/day; occasional gas-and-steam emissions were reported, rising to a maximum of 900 m above the crater. Sentinel-2 satellite images showed a particularly strong thermal anomaly in the Shindake crater on 1 May (figure 10). The thermal anomaly decreased in power after 1 May and was only visible on clear weather days, which included 19 August and 3 and 13 October. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) observations identified continued slight inflation at the base of the volcano during the entire reporting period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed a strong thermal anomaly (bright yellow-orange) in the Shindake crater at Kuchinoerabujima on 1 May 2020 (top left). Weaker thermal anomalies were also seen in the Shindake crater during 19 August (top right) and 3 (bottom left) and 13 (bottom right) October 2020. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Three small eruptions were detected by JMA on 5, 6, and 13 May, which produced an ash plume rising 500 m above the crater on each day, resulting in ashfall on the downwind flanks. Incandescence was observed at night using a high-sensitivity surveillance camera (figure 11). On 5 and 13 May the Tokyo VAAC released a notice that reported ash plumes rising 0.9-1.2 km altitude, drifting NE and S, respectively. On 20 May weak fumaroles were observed on the W side of the Shindake crater. The SO2 emissions ranged from 700-3,400 tons/day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Webcam images of an eruption at Kuchinoerabujima on 6 May 2020 (top), producing a gray ash plume that rose 500 m above the crater. Crater incandescence was observed from the summit crater at night on 25 May 2020 (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Monthly bulletin report 509, May 2020).

Activity during June and July decreased compared to May, with gas-and-steam emissions occurring more prominently. On 22 June weak incandescence was observed, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions rising 700 m above the crater. Weak crater incandescence was also seen on 25 June. The SO2 emissions measured 400-1,400 tons/day. White gas-and-steam emissions were again observed on 31 July rising to 800 m above the crater. The SO2 emissions had decreased during this time to 300-700 tons/day.

According to JMA, the most recent eruptive event occurred on 29 August at 1746, which ejected bombs and was accompanied by some crater incandescence, though the eruptive column was not visible due to the cloud cover. However, white gas-and-steam emissions could be seen rising 1.3 km above the Shindake crater drifting SW. The SO2 emissions measured 200-500 tons/day. During August, the number of volcanic earthquakes increased significantly to 1,032, compared to the number in July (36).

The monthly bulletin for September reported white gas-and-steam emissions rising 900 m above the crater on 9 September and on 11 October the gas-and-steam emissions rose 600 m above the crater. Seismicity decreased between September and October from 1,920 to 866. The SO2 emissions continued to decrease compared to previous months, totaling 80-400 tons/day in September and 40-300 tons/day in October.

Geologic Background. A group of young stratovolcanoes forms the eastern end of the irregularly shaped island of Kuchinoerabujima in the northern Ryukyu Islands, 15 km W of Yakushima. The Furudake, Shindake, and Noikeyama cones were erupted from south to north, respectively, forming a composite cone with multiple craters. All historical eruptions have occurred from Shindake, although a lava flow from the S flank of Furudake that reached the coast has a very fresh morphology. Frequent explosive eruptions have taken place from Shindake since 1840; the largest of these was in December 1933. Several villages on the 4 x 12 km island are located within a few kilometers of the active crater and have suffered damage from eruptions.

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


Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Numerous thermal anomalies and gas emissions from the lava lake through November 2020

Nyamuragira (also known as Nyamulagira) is a shield volcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with a 2 x 2.3 km caldera at the summit. A summit crater lies in the NE part of the caldera. In the recent past, the volcano has been characterized by intra-caldera lava flows, lava emissions from its lava lake, thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam emissions, and moderate seismicity (BGVN 44:12, 45:06). This report reviews activity during June-November 2020, based on satellite data.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed numerous thermal anomalies associated with the volcano during June-November 2020, although some decrease was noted during the last half of August and between mid-October to mid-November (figure 91). Between six and seven thermal hotspots per month were identified by MODVOLC during June-November 2020, with as many as 4 pixels on 11 August. In the MODVOLC system, two main hotspot groupings are visible, the largest being at the summit crater, on the E side of the caldera.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. MIROVA graph of thermal activity (log radiative power) at Nyamuragira during March 2020-January 2021. During June-November 2020, most were in the low to moderate range, with a decrease in power during November. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Sentinel-2 satellite images showed several hotspots in the summit crater throughout the reporting period (figure 92). By 26 July and thereafter, hotspots were also visible in the SW portion of the caldera, and perhaps just outside the SW caldera rim. Gas-and-steam emissions from the lava lake were also visible throughout the period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Sentinel-2 satellite images of Nyamuragira on 26 July (left) and 28 November (right) 2020. Thermal activity is present at several locations within the summit crater (upper right of each image) and in the SW part of the caldera (lower left). SWIR rendering (bands 12, 8A, 4). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Africa's most active volcano, Nyamuragira, is a massive high-potassium basaltic shield about 25 km N of Lake Kivu. Also known as Nyamulagira, it has generated extensive lava flows that cover 1500 km2 of the western branch of the East African Rift. The broad low-angle shield volcano contrasts dramatically with the adjacent steep-sided Nyiragongo to the SW. The summit is truncated by a small 2 x 2.3 km caldera that has walls up to about 100 m high. Historical eruptions have occurred within the summit caldera, as well as from the numerous fissures and cinder cones on the flanks. A lava lake in the summit crater, active since at least 1921, drained in 1938, at the time of a major flank eruption. Historical lava flows extend down the flanks more than 30 km from the summit, reaching as far as Lake Kivu.

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), Departement de Geophysique, Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles, Lwiro, D.S. Bukavu, DR Congo; 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/exp).


Raung (Indonesia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Raung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions with ash plumes and a thermal anomaly at the summit crater, July-October 2020

A massive stratovolcano in easternmost Java, Raung has over sixty recorded eruptions dating back to the late 16th Century. Explosions with ash plumes, Strombolian activity, and lava flows from a cinder cone within the 2-km-wide summit crater have been the most common activity. Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM) has installed webcams to monitor activity in recent years. An eruption from late 2014 through August 2015 produced a large volume of lava within the summit crater and formed a new pyroclastic cone in the same location as the previous one. The eruption that began in July 2020 is covered in this report with information provided by PVMBG, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and several sources of satellite data.

The 2015 eruption was the largest in several decades; Strombolian activity was reported for many months and fresh lava flows covered the crater floor (BGVN 45:09). Raung was quiet after the eruption ended in August of that year until July of 2020 when seismicity increased on 13 July and brown emissions were first reported on 16 July. Tens of explosions with ash emissions were reported daily during the remainder of July 2020. Explosive activity decreased during August, but thermal activity didn’t decrease until mid-September. The last ash emissions were reported on 3 October and the last thermal anomaly in satellite data was recorded on 7 October 2020.

Eruption during July-October 2020. No further reports of activity were issued after August 2015 until July 2020. Clear Google Earth imagery from October 2017 and April 2018 indicated the extent of the lava from the 2015 eruption, but no sign of further activity (figure 31). By August 2019, many features from the 2015 eruption were still clearly visible from the crater rim (figure 32).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Little change can be seen at the summit of Raung in Google Earth images dated 19 October 2017 (left) and 28 April 2018 (right). The summit crater was full of black lava flows from the 2015 eruption. Courtesy of Google Earth.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. A Malaysian hiker celebrated his climbing to the summit of Raung on 30 August 2019. Weak fumarolic activity was visible from the base of the breached crater of the cone near the center of the summit crater, and many features of the lava flow that filled the crater in 2015 were still well preserved. Courtesy of MJ.

PVMBG reported that the number and type of seismic events around the summit of Raung increased beginning on 13 July 2020, and on 16 July the height of the emissions from the crater rose to 100 m and the emission color changed from white to brown. About three hours later the emissions changed to gray and white. The webcams captured emissions rising 50-200 m above the summit that included 60 explosions of gray and reddish ash plumes (figure 33). The Raung Volcano Observatory released a VONA reporting an explosion with an ash plume that drifted N at 1353 local time (0653 UTC). The best estimate of the ash cloud height was 3,432 m based on ground observation. They raised the Aviation Color Code from unassigned to Orange. About 90 minutes later they reported a second seismic event and ash cloud that rose to 3,532 m, again based on ground observation. The Darwin VAAC reported that neither ash plume was visible in satellite imagery. The following day, on 17 July, PVMBG reported 26 explosions between midnight and 0600 that produced brown ash plumes which rose 200 m above the crater. Based on these events, PVMBG raised the Alert Level of Raung from I (Normal) to II (Alert) on a I-II-III-IV scale. By the following day they reported 95 explosive seismic events had occurred. They continued to observe gray ash plumes rising 100-200 m above the summit on clear days and 10-30 daily explosive seismic events through the end of July; plume heights dropped to 50-100 m and the number of explosive events dropped below ten per day during the last few days of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. An ash plume rose from the summit of Raung on 16 July 2020 at the beginning of a new eruption. The last previous eruption was in 2015. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery and PVMBG.

After a long period of no activity, MIROVA data showed an abrupt return to thermal activity on 16 July 2020; a strong pulse of heat lasted into early August before diminishing (figure 34). MODVOLC thermal alert data recorded two alerts each on 18 and 20 July, and one each on 21 and 30 July. Satellite images showed no evidence of thermal activity inside the summit crater from September 2015 through early July 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery first indicated a strong thermal anomaly inside the pyroclastic cone within the crater on 19 July 2020; it remained on 24 and 29 July (figure 35). A small SO2 signature was measured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite on 25 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. MIROVA thermal anomaly data indicated renewed activity on 16 July 2020 at Raung as seen in this graph of activity from 13 October 2019 through September 2020. Satellite images indicated that the dark lines at the beginning of the graph are from a large area of fires that burned on the flank of Raung in October 2019. Heat flow remained high through July and began to diminish in mid-August 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Thermal anomalies were distinct inside the crater of the pyroclastic cone within the summit crater of Raung on 19, 24, and 29 July 2020. Data is from the Sentinel-2 satellite shown with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

After an explosion on 1 August 2020 emissions from the crater were not observed again until steam plumes were seen rising 100 m on 7 August. They were reported rising 100-200 m above the summit intermittently until a dense gray ash plume was reported by PVMBG on 11 August rising 200 m. After that, diffuse steam plumes no more than 100 m high were reported for the rest of the month except for white to brown emissions to 100 m on 21 August. Thermal anomalies of a similar brightness to July from the same point within the summit crater were recorded in satellite imagery on 3, 8, 13, 18, and 23 August. Single MODVOLC thermal alerts were reported on 1, 8, 12, and 19 August.

In early September dense steam plumes rose 200 m above the crater a few times but were mostly 50 m high or less. White and gray emissions rose 50-300 m above the summit on 15, 20, 27, and 30 September. Thermal anomalies were still present in the same spot in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 2, 7, 12, 17, and 27 September, although the signal was weaker than during July and August (figure 36). PVMBG reported gray emissions rising 100-300 m above the summit on 1 October 2020 and two seismic explosion events. Gray emissions rose 50-200 m the next day and nine explosions were recorded. On 3 October, emissions were still gray but only rose 50 m above the crater and no explosions were reported. No emissions were observed from the summit crater for the remainder of the month. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed a hot spot within the summit crater on 2 and 7 October, but clear views of the crater on 12, 17, and 22 October showed no heat source within the crater (figure 37).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. The thermal anomaly at Raung recorded in Sentinel-2 satellite data decreased in intensity between August and October 2020. It was relatively strong on 13 August (left) but had decreased significantly by 12 September (middle) and remained at a lower level into early October (right). Data shown with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. A small but distinct thermal anomaly was still present within the pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater of Raung on 7 October 2020 (left) but was gone by 12 October (middle) and did not reappear in subsequent clear views of the crater through the end of October. Satellite imagery of 7 and 12 October processed with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) from 17 October (right) shows no clear physical changes to the summit crater during the latest eruption. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); MJ (URL: https://twitter.com/MieJamaludin/status/1167613617191043072).


Sinabung (Indonesia) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sinabung

Indonesia

3.17°N, 98.392°E; summit elev. 2460 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions begin again on 8 August 2020; dome growth confirmed in late September

Indonesia’s Sinabung volcano in north Sumatra has been highly active since its first confirmed Holocene eruption during August and September 2010. It remained quiet after the initial eruption until September 2013, when a new eruptive phase began that continued through June 2018. A summit dome emerged in late 2013 and produced a large lava “tongue” during 2014. Multiple explosions produced ash plumes, block avalanches, and deadly pyroclastic flows during the eruptive period. A major explosion in February 2018 destroyed most of the summit dome. After a pause in eruptive activity from September 2018 through April 2019, explosions resumed during May and June 2019. The volcano was quiet again until an explosion on 8 August 2020 began another eruption that included a new dome. This report covers activity from July 2019 through October 2020 with information provided by Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), referred to by some agencies as CVGHM or the Indonesian Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and the Badan Nacional Penanggulangan Bencana (National Disaster Management Authority, BNPB). Additional information comes from satellite instruments and local news reports.

Only steam plumes and infrequent lahars were reported at Sinabung during July 2019-July 2020. A new eruption began on 8 August 2020 with a phreatic explosion and dense ash plumes. Repeated explosions were reported throughout August; ashfall was reported in many nearby communities several times. Explosions decreased significantly during September, but SO2 emissions persisted. Block avalanches from a new growing dome were first reported in early October; pyroclastic flows accompanied repeated ash emissions during the last week of the month. Thermal data suggested that the summit dome continued growing slowly during October.

Activity during July 2019-October 2020. After a large explosion on 9 June 2019, activity declined significantly, and no further emissions or incandescence was reported after 25 June (BGVN 44:08). For the remainder of 2019 steam plumes rose 50-400 m above the summit on most days, occasionally rising to 500-700 m above the crater. Lahars were recorded by seismic instruments in July, August, September, and December. During January-July 2020 steam plumes were reported usually 50-300 m above the summit, sometimes rising to 500 m. On 21 March 2020 steam plumes rose to 700 m, and a lahar was recorded by seismic instruments. Lahars were reported on 26 and 28 April, 3 and 5 June, and 11 July.

A swarm of deep volcanic earthquakes was reported by PVMBG on 7 August 2020. This was followed by a phreatic explosion with a dense gray to black ash plume on 8 August that rose 2,000 m above the summit and drifted E; a second explosion that day produced a plume that rose 1,000 m above the summit. According to the Jakarta Post, ash reached the community of Berastagi (15 km E) along with the districts of Naman Teran (5-10 km NE), Merdeka (15 km NE), and Dolat Rayat (20 km E). Continuous tremor events were first recorded on 8 August and continued daily until 26 August. Two explosions were recorded on 10 August; the largest produced a dense gray ash plume that rose 5,000 m above the summit and drifted NE and SE (figure 77). The Darwin VAAC reported the eruption clearly visible in satellite imagery at 9.7 km altitude and drifting W. Later they reported a second plume drifting ESE at 4.3 km altitude. After this large explosion the local National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB) reported significant ashfall in three districts: Naman Teran, Berastagi and Merdeka. Emissions on 11 and 12 August were white and gray and rose 100-200 m. Multiple explosions on 13 August produced white and gray ash plumes that rose 1,000-2,000 m above the summit. Explosions on 14 August produced gray and brown ash plumes that rose 1,000-4,200 m above the summit and drifted S and SW (figure 77). The Darwin VAAC reported that the ash plume was partly visible in satellite imagery at 7.6 km altitude moving W; additional plumes were moving SE at 3.7 km altitude and NE at 5.5 km altitude.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Numerous explosions were recorded at Sinabung during August 2020. An ash plume rose to 5,000 m above the summit on 10 August (left) and drifted both NE and SE. On 14 August gray and brown ash plumes rose 1,000-4,200 m above the summit and drifted S, SW, SE and NE (right) while ashfall covered crops SE of the volcano. Courtesy of PVMBG (Sinabung Eruption Notices, 10 and 14 August 2020).

White, gray, and brown emissions rose 800-1,000 m above the summit on 15 and 17 August. The next day white and gray emissions rose 2,000 m above the summit. The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume visible at 5.2 km altitude drifting SW. A large explosion on 19 August produced a dense gray ash plume that rose 4,000 above the summit and drifted S and SW. Gray and white emissions rose 500 m on 20 August. Two explosions were recorded seismically on 21 August, but rainy and cloudy weather prevented observations. White steam plumes rose 300 m on 22 August, and a lahar was recorded seismically. On 23 August, an explosion produced a gray ash plume that rose 1,500 m above the summit and pyroclastic flows that traveled 1,000 m down the E and SE flanks (figure 78). Continuous tremors were accompanied by ash emissions. White, gray, and brown emissions rose 600 m on 24 August. An explosion on 25 August produced an ash plume that rose 800 m above the peak and drifted W and NW (figure 79). During 26-30 August steam emissions rose 100-400 m above the summit and no explosions were recorded. Dense gray ash emissions rose 1,000 m and drifted E and NE after an explosion on 31 August. Significant SO2 emissions were associated with many of the explosions during August (figure 80).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. On 23 August 2020 an explosion at Sinabung produced a gray ash plume that rose 1,500 m above the summit and produced pyroclastic flows that traveled 1,000 m down the E and SE flanks. Courtesy of PVMBG (Sinabung Eruption Notice, 23 August 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. An explosion on 25 August 2020 at Sinabung produced an ash plume that rose 800 m above the peak and drifted W and NW. Courtesy of PVMBG (Sinabung Eruption Notice, 25 August 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Significant sulfur dioxide emissions were measured at Sinabung during August 2020 when near-daily explosions produced abundant ash emissions. A small plume was also recorded from Kerinci on 19 August 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Explosive activity decreased substantially during September 2020. A single explosion reported on 5 September produced a white and brown ash plume that rose 800 m above the summit and drifted NNE. During the rest of the month steam emissions rose 50-500 m above the summit before dissipating. Two lahars were reported on 7 September, and one each on 11 and 30 September. Although only a single explosion was reported, anomalous SO2 emissions were present in satellite data on several days.

The character of the activity changed during October 2020. Steam plumes rising 50-300 m above the summit were reported during the first week and a lahar was recorded by seismometers on 4 October. The first block avalanches from a new dome growing at the summit were reported on 8 October with material traveling 300 m ESE from the summit (figure 81). During 11-13 October block avalanches traveled 300-700 m E and SE from the summit. They traveled 100-150 m on 14 October. Steam plumes rising 50-500 m above the summit were reported during 15-22 October with two lahars recorded on 21 October. White and gray emissions rose 50-1,000 m on 23 October. The first of a series of pyroclastic flows was reported on 25 October; they were reported daily through the end of the month when the weather permitted, traveling 1,000-2,500 m from the summit (figure 82). In addition, block avalanches from the growing dome were observed moving down the E and SE flanks 500-1,500 m on 25 October and 200-1,000 m each day during 28-31 October (figure 83). Sentinel-2 satellite data indicated a very weak thermal anomaly at the summit in late September; it was slightly larger in late October, corroborating with images of the slow-growing dome (figure 84).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. A new lava dome appeared at the summit of Sinabung in late September 2020. Block avalanches from the dome were first reported on 8 October. Satellite imagery indicating a thermal anomaly at the summit was very faint at the end of September and slightly stronger by the end of October. The dome grew slowly between 30 September (top) and 22 October 2020 (bottom). Photos taken by Firdaus Surbakti, courtesy of Rizal.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Pyroclastic flows at Sinabung were accompanied ash emissions multiple times during the last week of October, including the event seen here on 27 October 2020. Courtesy of PVMBG and CultureVolcan.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Block avalanches from the growing summit dome at Sinabung descended the SE flank on 28 October 2020. The dome is visible at the summit. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. A very faint thermal anomaly appeared at the summit of Sinabung in Sentinel 2 satellite imagery on 28 September 2020 (left). One month later on 28 October the anomaly was bigger, corroborating photographic evidence of the growing dome. Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Gunung Sinabung is a Pleistocene-to-Holocene stratovolcano with many lava flows on its flanks. The migration of summit vents along a N-S line gives the summit crater complex an elongated form. The youngest crater of this conical andesitic-to-dacitic edifice is at the southern end of the four overlapping summit craters. The youngest deposit is a SE-flank pyroclastic flow 14C dated by Hendrasto et al. (2012) at 740-880 CE. An unconfirmed eruption was noted in 1881, and solfataric activity was seen at the summit and upper flanks in 1912. No confirmed historical eruptions were recorded prior to explosive eruptions during August-September 2010 that produced ash plumes to 5 km above the summit.

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/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); 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/); The Jakarta Post, 3rd Floor, Gedung, Jl. Palmerah Barat 142-143 Jakarta 10270 (URL: https://www.thejakartapost.com/amp/news/2020/08/08/mount-sinabung-erupts-again-after-year-of-inactivity.html);Rizal (URL: https://twitter.com/Rizal06691023/status/1319452375887740930); CultureVolcan (URL: https://twitter.com/CultureVolcan/status/1321156861173923840).


Heard (Australia) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

53.106°S, 73.513°E; summit elev. 2745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Persistent thermal anomalies in the summit crater from June through October 2020

The remote Heard Island is located in the southern Indian Ocean and contains the Big Ben stratovolcano, which has had intermittent activity since 1910. The island’s activity, characterized by thermal anomalies and occasional lava flows (BGVN 45:05), is primarily monitored by satellite instruments. This report updates activity from May through October 2020 using information from satellite-based instruments.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed frequent thermal activity in early June that continued through July (figure 43). Intermittent, slightly higher-power thermal anomalies were detected in late August through mid-October, the strongest of which occurred in October. Two of these anomalies were also detected in the MODVOLC algorithm on 12 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. A small pulse in thermal activity at Heard was detected in early June and continued through July 2020, according to the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power). Thermal anomalies appeared again starting in late August and continued intermittently through mid-October 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed a single thermal anomaly on 3 May. In comparison to the MIROVA graph, satellite imagery showed a small pulse of strong thermal activity at the summit of Big Ben in June (figure 44). Some of these thermal anomalies were accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. Persistent strong thermal activity continued through July. Starting on 2 July through at least 17 July two hotspots were visible in satellite imagery: one in the summit crater and one slightly to the NW of the summit (figure 45). Some gas-and-steam emissions were seen rising from the S hotspot in the summit crater. In August the thermal anomalies had decreased in strength and frequency but persisted at the summit through October (figure 45).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Thermal satellite images of Heard Island’s Big Ben volcano showed strong thermal signatures (bright yellow-orange) sometimes accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions drifting SE (top left) and NE (bottom right) during June 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Thermal satellite images of Heard Island’s Big Ben volcano showed persistent thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) near the summit during July through October 2020. During 14 (top left) and 17 (top right) July a second hotspot was visible NW of the summit. By 22 October (bottom right) the thermal anomaly had significantly decreased in strength in comparison to previous months. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Heard Island on the Kerguelen Plateau in the southern Indian Ocean consists primarily of the emergent portion of two volcanic structures. The large glacier-covered composite basaltic-to-trachytic cone of Big Ben comprises most of the island, and the smaller Mt. Dixon lies at the NW tip of the island across a narrow isthmus. Little is known about the structure of Big Ben because of its extensive ice cover. The historically active Mawson Peak forms the island's high point and lies within a 5-6 km wide caldera breached to the SW side of Big Ben. Small satellitic scoria cones are mostly located on the northern coast. Several subglacial eruptions have been reported at this isolated volcano, but observations are infrequent and additional activity may have occurred.

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


Sabancaya (Peru) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sabancaya

Peru

15.787°S, 71.857°W; summit elev. 5960 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily explosions produced ash plumes, SO2 plumes, and thermal anomalies during June-September 2020

Sabancaya, located in Peru, is a stratovolcano that has been very active since 1986. The current eruptive period began in November 2016 and has recently been characterized by lava dome growth, daily explosions, ash plumes, ashfall, SO2 plumes, and ongoing thermal anomalies (BGVN 45:06). Similar activity continues into this reporting period of June through September 2020 using information from weekly reports from the Observatorio Vulcanologico INGEMMET (OVI), the Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), and various satellite data. The Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) issued a total of 520 reports of ongoing ash emissions during this time.

Volcanism during this reporting period consisted of daily explosions, nearly constant gas-and-ash plumes, SO2 plumes, and persistent thermal anomalies in the summit crater. Gas-and-ash plumes rose to 1.5-4 km above the summit crater, drifting up to 35 km from the crater in multiple directions; several communities reported ashfall every month except for August (table 7). Sulfur dioxide emissions were notably high and recorded almost daily with the TROPOMI satellite instrument (figure 83). The satellite measurements of the SO2 emissions exceeded 2 DU (Dobson Units) at least 20 days each month of the reporting period. These SO2 plumes sometimes persisted over multiple days and ranged between 1,900-10,700 tons/day. MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows frequent thermal activity through September within 5 km of the summit crater, though the power varied; by late August, the thermal anomalies were stronger compared to the previous months (figure 84). This increase in power is also reflected by the MODVOLC algorithm that detected 11 thermal anomalies over the days of 31 August and 4, 6, 13, 17, 18, 20, and 22 September 2020. Many of these thermal hotspots were visible in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery, occasionally accompanied by gas-and-steam and ash plumes (figure 85).

Table 7. Persistent activity at Sabancaya during June through September included multiple daily explosions that produced ash plumes rising several kilometers above the summit and drifting in multiple directions; this resulted in ashfall in communities within 35 km of the volcano. Satellite instruments recorded daily SO2 emissions. Data courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET, IGP, and the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Month Avg. daily explosions by week Max plume heights (km above the crater) Plume drift (km) and direction Communities reporting ashfall Minimum days with SO2 over 2 DU SO2 emissions per day (tons) by week
Jun 2020 20, 10, 9, 13 1.5-4 30 km, SE, S, SW, NE, W, E Chivay, Achoma, Ichupampa, Yanque, and Coporaque, Sallali, Madrigal, Lari, and Ichupampa 28 8,400, 2,200, 3,100, 7,600
Jul 2020 20, 15, 11, 12, 19 2-2.6 15-30 km E, NE, NW, SE, SW, S, W Achoma and Chivay 23 4,400, 6,000, 1,900, 2,100, 5,900
Aug 2020 18, 12, 9, 29 1.7-3.6 20-30 km W, SW, SE, S, E, NW - 20 2,300, 3,800, 5,300, 10,700
Sep 2020 39, 35, 33, 38, 40 1.8-3.5 25-35 km SE, S, SW, W, E, NE, N, NW, W Lari, Achoma, Maca, Chivay, Taya, Huambo, Huanca, and Lluta 28 9,700, 2,600, 8,800, 7,800, 4,100
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Sulfur dioxide plumes were captured almost daily from Sabancaya during June through September 2020 by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Some of the largest SO2 plumes occurred on 19 June (top left), 5 July (top right), 30 August (bottom left), and 10 September (bottom right) 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Thermal activity at Sabancaya varied in power from 13 October 2019 through September 2020, but was consistent in frequency, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). A pulse in thermal activity is shown in late August 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed frequent gas-and-steam and ash plumes rising from Sabancaya, accompanied by ongoing thermal activity from the summit crater during June through September 2020. On 23 June (top left) a dense gray-white ash plume was visible drifting E from the summit. On 3 July (top right) and 27 August (bottom left) a strong thermal hotspot (bright yellow-orange) was accompanied by some degassing. On 1 September (bottom right) the thermal anomaly persisted with a dense gray-white ash plume drifting SE from the summit. Images using “Natural Color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) on 23 June 2020 (top left) and the rest have “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

OVI detected slight inflation on the N part of the volcano, which continued to be observed throughout the reporting period. Persistent thermal anomalies caused by the summit crater lava dome were observed in satellite data. The average number of daily explosions during June ranged from 18 during 1-7 June to 9 during 15-21 June, which generated gas-and-ash plumes that rose 1.5-4 km above the crater and drifted 30 km SE, S, SW, NE, W, and E (figure 86). The strongest sulfur dioxide emissions were recorded during 1-7 June measuring 8,400 tons/day. On 20 June drone video showed that the lava dome had been destroyed, leaving blocks on the crater floor, though the crater remained hot, as seen in thermal satellite imagery (figure 85). During 22-28 June there were an average of 13 daily explosions, which produced ash plumes rising to a maximum height of 4 km, drifting NE, E, and SE. As a result, ashfall was reported in the districts of Chivay, Achoma, Ichupampa, Yanque, and Coporaque, and in the area of Sallali. Then, on 27 June ashfall was reported in several areas NE of the volcano, which included the districts of Madrigal, Lari, Achoma, Ichupampa, Yanque, Chivay, and Coporaque.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Multiple daily explosions at Sabancaya produced ash plumes that rose 1.5-4 km above the crater during June 2020. Images are showing 8 (left) and 27 (right) June 2020. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-24-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 08 al 14 de junio del 2020 and RSSAB-26-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 22 al 28 de junio del 2020).

Slight inflation continued to be monitored in July, occurring about 4-6 km N of the crater, as well as on the SE flank. Daily explosions continued, producing gas-and-ash plumes that rose 2-2.6 km above the crater and drifting 15-30 km E, NE, NW, SE, SW, S, and W (figure 87). The number of daily explosions increased slightly compared to the previous month, ranging from 20 during 1-5 July to 11 during 13-19 July. SO2 emissions that were measured each week ranged from 1,900 to 6,000 tons/day, the latter of which occurred during 6-12 July. Thermal anomalies continued to be observed in thermal satellite data over the summit crater throughout the month. During 6-12 July gas-and-ash plumes rose 2.3-2.5 km above the crater, drifting 30 km SE, E, and NE, resulting in ashfall in Achoma and Chivay.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Multiple daily explosions at Sabancaya produced ash plumes that rose 2-3.5 km above the crater during July 2020. Images are showing 7 (left) and 26 (right) July 2020. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-28-2020/INGEMMET Semanal: del 06 al 12 de julio del 2020 and RSSAB-30-2020/INGEMMET Semanal: del 20 al 26 de julio del 2020).

OVI reported continued slight inflation on the N and SE flanks during August. Daily explosive activity had slightly declined in the first part of the month, ranging from 18 during the 3-9 August to 9 during 17-23 August. Dense gray gas-and-ash plumes rose 1.7-3.6 km above the crater, drifting 20-30 km in various directions (figure 88), though no ashfall was reported. Thermal anomalies were observed using satellite data throughout the month. During 24-30 August a pulse in activity increased the daily average of explosions to 29, as well as the amount of SO2 emissions (10,700 tons/day); nighttime incandescence accompanied this activity. During 28-29 August higher levels of seismicity and inflation were reported compared to the previous weeks. The daily average of explosions increased again during 31 August-6 September to 39; nighttime incandescence remained.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Multiple daily explosions at Sabancaya produced ash plumes that rose 1.7-3.6 km above the crater during August 2020. Images are showing 1 (left) and 29 (right) August 2020. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-31-2020/INGEMMET Semanal del 27 de julio al 02 de agosto del 2020 and RSSAB-35-2020/INGEMMET Semanal del 24 al 30 de agosto del 2020).

Increased volcanism was reported during September with the daily average of explosions ranging from 33 during 14-20 September to 40 during 28 September-4 October. The resulting gas-and-ash plumes rose 1.8-3.5 km above the crater drifting 25-35 km in various directions (figure 89). SO2 flux was measured by OVI ranging from 2,600 to 9,700 tons/day, the latter of which was recorded during 31 August to 6 September. During 7-13 September an average of 35 explosions were reported, accompanied by gas-and-ash plumes that rose 2.6-3.5 km above the crater and drifting 30 km SE, SW, W, E, and S. These events resulted in ashfall in Lari, Achoma, and Maca. The following week (14-20 September) ashfall was reported in Achoma and Chivay. During 21-27 September the daily average of explosions was 38, producing ash plumes that resulted in ashfall in Taya, Huambo, Huanca, and Lluta. Slight inflation on the N and SE flanks continued to be monitored by OVI. Strong activity, including SO2 emissions and thermal anomalies over the summit crater persisted into at least early October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Multiple daily explosions at Sabancaya produced ash plumes that rose 1.8-2.6 km above the crater during September 2020. Images are showing 4 (left) and 27 (right) September 2020. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-36-2020/INGEMMET Semanal del 31 de agosto al 06 de septiembre del 2020 and RSSAB-39-2020/INGEMMET Semanal del 21 al 27 de septiembre del 2020).

Geologic Background. Sabancaya, located in the saddle NE of Ampato and SE of Hualca Hualca volcanoes, is the youngest of these volcanic centers and the only one to have erupted in historical time. The oldest of the three, Nevado Hualca Hualca, is of probable late-Pliocene to early Pleistocene age. The name Sabancaya (meaning "tongue of fire" in the Quechua language) first appeared in records in 1595 CE, suggesting activity prior to that date. Holocene activity has consisted of Plinian eruptions followed by emission of voluminous andesitic and dacitic lava flows, which form an extensive apron around the volcano on all sides but the south. Records of historical eruptions date back to 1750.

Information Contacts: Observatorio Volcanologico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico), Barrio Magisterial Nro. 2 B-16 Umacollo - Yanahuara Arequipa, Peru (URL: http://ovi.ingemmet.gob.pe); Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), Calle Badajoz N° 169 Urb. Mayorazgo IV Etapa, Ate, Lima 15012, Perú (URL: https://www.gob.pe/igp); Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Meteorológico Nacional-Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 25 de mayo 658, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/inicio.php); 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).


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — October 2020 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)


Frequent small phreatic explosions with intermittent ash plumes during April-September 2020

Rincón de la Vieja is a remote volcanic complex in Costa Rica that contains an acid lake. Frequent weak phreatic explosions have occurred since 2011 (BGVN 44:08). The most recent eruption period began in January 2020, which consisted of small phreatic explosions, gas-and-steam plumes, pyroclastic flows, and lahars (BGVN 45:04). This reporting period covers April through September 2020, with activity characterized by continued small phreatic explosions, three lahars, frequent gas-and-steam plumes, and ash plumes. The primary source of information for this report is the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA) using weekly bulletins and the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Small, frequent, phreatic explosions were common at Rincón de la Vieja during this reporting period. One to several eruptions were reported on at least 16 days in April, 15 days in May, 8 days in June, 10 days in July, 18 days in August, and 13 days in September (table 5). Intermittent ash plumes accompanied these eruptions, rising 100-3,000 m above the crater and drifting W, NW, and SW during May and N during June. Occasional gas-and-steam plumes were also observed rising 50-2,000 m above the crater rim.

Table 5. Monthly summary of activity at Rincón de la Vieja during April through September 2020. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Month Minimum total days of eruptions Ash plume height (m above the crater) Notable plume drift Gas-and-steam plume height (m above the crater)
Apr 2020 16 200-1,000 - 50-1,500
May 2020 15 200-3,000 W, NW, SW 200-2,000
Jun 2020 8 100-2,000 N -
Jul 2020 10 1,000 - -
Aug 2020 18 500-1,000 - 500
Sep 2020 13 700 - 50

During April small explosions were detected almost daily, some of which generated ash plumes that rose 200-1,000 m above the crater and gas-and-steam emissions that rose 50-1,500 m above the crater. On 4 April an eruption at 0824 produced an ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim. A small hydrothermal explosion at 0033 on 11 April, recorded by the webcam in Sensoria (4 km N), ejected water and sediment onto the upper flanks. On 15 April a phreatic eruption at 0306 resulted in lahars in the Pénjamo, Azufrada, and Azul rivers, according to local residents. Several small explosions were detected during the morning of 19 April; the largest phreatic eruption ejected water and sediment 300 m above the crater rim and onto the flanks at 1014, generated a lahar, and sent a gas-and-steam plume 1.5 km above the crater (figure 30). On 24 April five events were recorded by the seismic network during the morning, most of which produced gas-and-steam plumes that rose 300-500 m above the crater. The largest event on this day occurred at 1020, ejecting water and solid material 300 m above the crater accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume rising up to 1 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. Webcam image of small hydrothermal eruptions at Rincón de la Vieja on 19 April 2020. Image taken by the webcam in Dos Ríos de Upala; courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Similar frequent phreatic activity continued in May, with ash plumes rising 200-1,500 m above the crater, drifting W, NW, and SW, and gas-and-steam plumes rising up to 2 km. On 5 May an eruption at 1317 produced a gas-and-steam plume 200 m above the crater and a Washington VAAC advisory reported that an ash plume rose to 2.1 km altitude, drifting W. An event at 1925 on 9 May generated a gas-and-steam plume that rose almost 2 km. An explosion at 1128 on 15 May resulted in a gas-and-steam plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim, accompanied by a gray, sediment-laden plume that rose 400 m. On 21 May a small ash eruption at 0537 sent a plume 1 km above the crater (figure 31). According to a Washington VAAC advisory, an ash plume rose 3 km altitude, drifting NW on 22 May. During the early evening on 25 May an hour-long sequence of more than 70 eruptions and emissions, according to OVSICORI-UNA, produced low gas-and-steam plumes and tephra; at 1738, some ejecta was observed above the crater rim. The next day, on 26 May, up to 52 eruptive events were observed. An eruption at 2005 was not visible due to weather conditions; however, it resulted in a minor amount of ashfall up to 17 km W and NW, which included Los Angeles of Quebrada Grande and Liberia. A phreatic explosion at 1521 produced a gray plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater (figure 31). An eruption at 1524 on 28 May sent an ash plume 3 km above the crater that drifted W, followed by at least three smaller eruptions at 1823, 1841, and 1843. OVSICORI-UNA reported that volcanism began to decrease in frequency on 28-29 May. Sulfur dioxide emissions ranged between 100 and 400 tons per day during 28 May to 15 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Webcam images of gray gas-and-steam and ash emissions at Rincón de la Vieja on 21 (left), and 27 (right) May 2020. Both images taken by the webcam in Dos Ríos de Upala and Sensoria; courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

There were eight days with eruptions in June, though some days had multiple small events; phreatic eruptions reported on 1-2, 13, 16-17, 19-20, and 23 June generated plumes 1-2 km above the crater (figure 32). During 2-8 June SO2 emissions were 150-350 tons per day; more than 120 eruptions were recorded during the preceding weekend. Ashfall was observed N of the crater on 4 June. During 9-15 June the SO2 emissions increased slightly to 100-400 tons per day. During 16-17 June several small eruptive events were detected, the largest of which occurred at 1635 on 17 June, producing an ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Webcam images of gray gas-and-steam and ash plumes rising from Rincón de la Vieja on 1 (top left), 2 (top right), 7 (bottom left), and 13 (bottom right) June 2020. The ash plume on 1 June rose between 1.5 and 2 km above the crater. The ash plume on 13 June rose 1 km above the crater. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Explosive hydrothermal activity was lower in June-September compared to January-May 2020, according to OVSICORI-UNA. Sporadic small phreatic explosions and earthquakes were registered during 22-25 and 29 July-3 August, though no lahars were reported. On 25 July an eruptive event at 0153 produced an ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater. Similar activity continued into August. On 5 and 6 August phreatic explosions were recorded at 0546 and 0035, respectively, the latter of which generated a plume that rose 500 m above the crater. These events continued to occur on 10, 16, 19-20, 22-25, 27-28, and 30-31 August, generating plumes that rose 500 m to 1 km above the crater.

On 3 September geologists observed that the acid lake in the main crater had a low water level and exhibited strong gas emissions; vigorous fumaroles were observed on the inner W wall of the crater, measuring 120°C. Gas-and-steam emissions continued to be detected during September, occasionally accompanied by phreatic eruptions. On 7 September an eruption at 0750 produced an ash plume that rose 50 m above the crater while the accompanying gas-and-steam plume rose 500 m. Several low-energy phreatic explosions occurred during 8-17, 20, and 22-28 September, characterized primarily by gas-and-steam emissions. An eruption on 16 September ejected material from the crater and generated a small lahar. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 100 tons per day during 16-21 September. On 17 September an eruption at 0632 produced an ash plume that rose 700 m above the crater (figure 33). A relatively large eruptive event at 1053 on 22 September ejected material out of the crater and into N-flank drainages.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Webcam image of an eruption plume rising above Rincón de la Vieja on 17 September 2020. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

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 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 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 3,500 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/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html).


Fuego (Guatemala) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily explosions, ash emissions, and block avalanches during August-November 2020

Guatemala's Volcán de Fuego has been erupting vigorously since 2002 with reported eruptions dating back to 1531. These eruptions have resulted in major ashfalls, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and damaging lahars, including a series of explosions and pyroclastic flows in early June 2018 that caused several hundred fatalities. Eruptive activity consisting of explosions with ash emissions, block avalanches, and lava flows began again after a short break and has continued; activity during August-November 2020 is covered in this report. Daily reports are provided by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH); aviation alerts of ash plumes are issued by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Satellite data provide valuable information about heat flow and emissions.

Summary of activity during August-November 2020. Eruptive activity continued at Fuego during August-November 2020, very similar to that during the first part of the year (table 22). Ash emissions were reported daily by INSIVUMEH with explosions often in the 6-12 per hour range. Most of the ash plumes rose to 4.5-4.7 km altitude and generally drifted SW, W, or NW, although rarely the wind direction changed and sent ash to the S and SE. Multiple daily advisories were issued throughout the period by the Washington VAAC warning aviators about ash plumes, which were often visible on the observatory webcam (figure 136). Some of the communities located SW of the volcano received ashfall virtually every day during the period. Block avalanches descended the major drainages daily as well. Sounds were heard and vibrations felt from the explosions most days, usually 7-12 km away. The stronger explosions could be felt and heard 20 km or more from the volcano. During late August and early September a lava flow was active on the SW flank, reaching 700 m in length during the second week of September.

Table 22. Eruptive activity was consistently high at Fuego throughout August – November 2020 with multiple explosions every hour, ash plumes, block avalanches, and near-daily ashfall in the communities in certain directions within 10-20 km of the volcano. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH daily reports.

Month Explosions per hour Ash Plume Heights (km) Ash plume distance (km) and direction Drainages affected by block avalanches Communities reporting ashfall
Aug 2020 2-15 4.3-4.8 SW, W, NW, S, N, 8-20 km Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, Santa Teresa Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Rochela, Finca Palo Verde, Yepocapa, Santa Sofia, El Porvenir, Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa
Sep 2020 3-16 4.3-4.9 W, SW, NW, N, S, 8-20 km Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, Santa Teresa Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, Yepocapa, Porvenir, Yucales, Ojo de Agua, Finca La Conchita
Oct 2020 3-19 4.1-4.8 SW, W, S, SE, N, E, 10-20 km Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, Santa Teresa Panimache I and II, Morelia, Sangre de Cristo, Yepocapa, La Rochela, El Porvenir, Ceilán, Santa Sofía, Yucales, Finca Palo Verde
Nov 2020 4-14 4.0-4.8 S, SW, SE, W, NW, 10-35 km Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, Santa Teresa El Jute Panimaché I and II, Sangre de Cristo, Morelia, Ceilan, La Rochela, El Zapote, Santa Sofía, Yucales, San Juan Alotenango, Ciudad Vieja, San Miguel Dueñas y Antigua Guatemala, Palo Verde, El Porvenir, San Pedro Yepocapa, Quisaché, Santa Emilia
Figure (see Caption) Figure 136. Consistent daily ash emissions produced similar looking ash plumes at Fuego during August-November 2020. Plumes usually rose to 4.5-4.8 km altitude and drifted SW. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

The frequent explosions, block avalanches, and lava flows produced a strong thermal signal throughout the period that was recorded in both the MIROVA project Log Radiative Power graph (figure 137) and in numerous Sentinel-2 satellite images (figure 138). MODVOLC data produced thermal alerts 4-6 days each month. At least one lahar was recorded each month; they were most frequent in September and October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 137. The MIROVA graph of activity at Fuego for the period from 15 January through November 2020 suggested persistent moderate to high-level heat flow for much of the time. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 138. Atmospheric penetration rendering of Sentinel-2 satellite images (bands 12, 11, 8A) of Fuego during August-November 2020 showed continued thermal activity from block avalanches, explosions, and lava flows at the summit and down several different ravines. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during August-November 2020. The number of explosions per hour at Fuego during August 2020 was most often 7-10, with a few days that were higher at 10-15. The ash plumes usually rose to 4.5-4.8 km altitude and drifted SW or W up to 15 km. Incandescence was visible 100-300 m above the summit crater on most nights. All of the major drainages including the Seca, Santa Teresa, Ceniza, Trinidad, Taniluyá, Las Lajas, and Honda were affected by block avalanches virtually every day. In addition, the communities of Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, El Porvenir, San Pedro Yepocapa, and Sangre de Cristo reported ashfall almost every day. Sounds and vibrations were reported multiple days every week, often up to 12 km from the volcano, but occasionally as far as 20 km away. Lahars carrying blocks of rocks and debris 1-2 m in diameter descended the SE flank in the Las Lajas and Honda ravines on 6 August. On 27 August a lava flow 150 m long appeared in the Ceniza ravine. It increased in length over the subsequent few days, reaching 550 m long on 30 August, with frequent block avalanches falling off the front of the flow.

The lava flow in the Ceniza ravine was reported at 100 m long on 5 September. It grew to 200 m on 7 September and reached 700 m long on 12 September. It remained 200-350 m long through 19 September, although instruments monitored by INSIVUMEH indicated that effusive activity was decreasing after 16 September (figure 139). A second flow was 200 m long in the Seca ravine on 19 September. By 22 September, active flows were no longer observed. The explosion rate varied from a low of 3-5 on 1 September to a high of 12-16 on 4, 13, 18, and 22-23 September. Ash plumes rose to 4.5-4.9 km altitude nearly every day and drifted W, NW, and SW occasionally as far as 20 km before dissipating. In addition to the active flow in the Ceniza ravine, block avalanches persisted in the other ravines throughout the month. Ashfall continued in the same communities as in August, but was also reported in Yucales on 4 September along with Ojo de Agua and Finca La Conchita on 17 September. The Las Lajas, Honda, and El Jute ravines were the sites of lahars carrying blocks up to 1.5 m in diameter on 8 and 18 September. On 19 and 24 September lahars again descended Las Lajas and El Jute ravines; the Ceniza ravine had a lahar on 19 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 139. Avalanche blocks descended the Ceniza ravine (left) and the Las Lajas ravine (right) at Fuego on 17 September 2020. The webcam that captured this image is located at Finca La Reunión on the SE flank. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (BOLETÍN VULCANOLÓGICO ESPECIAL BEVFGO # 76-2020, 18 de septiembre de 2020, 14:30 horas).

The same activity continued during October 2020 with regard to explosion rates, plume altitudes, distances, and directions of drift. All of the major ravines were affected by block avalanches and the same communities located W and SW of the summit reported ashfall. In addition, ashfall was reported in La Rochela on 2, 3, 7-9 and 30 October, in Ceilán on 3 and 7-9 October, and in Yucales on 5, 14, 18 and 19 October. Multiple strong explosions with abundant ash were reported in a special bulletin on 14 October; high levels of explosive activity were recorded during 16-23 October. Vibrations and sounds were often felt up to 15 km away and heard as far as 25 km from the volcano during that period. Particularly strong block avalanches were present in the Seca and Ceniza ravines on 20, 25, and 30 October. Abundant rain on 9 October resulted in lahars descending all of the major ravines. The lahar in the Las Lajas ravine overflowed and forced the closure of route RN-14 road affecting the community of San Miguel on the SE flank (figure 140). Heavy rains on 15 October produced lahars in the Ceniza, Las Lajas, and Hondas ravines with blocks up to 2 m in diameter. Multiple lahars on 27 October affected Las Lajas, El Jute, and Honda ravines.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 140. Heavy rains on 9 October 2020 at Fuego caused lahars in all the major ravines. Debris from Las Lajas ravine overflowed highway RN-14 near the community of San Miguel on the SE flank, the area devastated by the pyroclastic flow of June 2018. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (BEFGO #96 VOLCAN DE FUEGO- ZONA CERO RN-14, SAN MIGUEL LOS LOTES y BARRANCA LAS LAJAS, 09 de octubre de 2020).

On 8 November 2020 a lahar descended the Seca ravine, carrying rocks and debris up to 1 meter in diameter. During the second week of November 2020, the wind direction changed towards the SE and E and brought ashfall to San Juan Alotenango, Ciudad Vieja, San Miguel Dueñas, and Antigua Guatemala on 8 November. Especially strong block avalanches were noted in the Seca and Ceniza ravines on 14, 19, 24, and 29 November. During a period of stronger activity in the fourth week of November, vibrations were felt and explosions heard more than 20 km away on 22 November and more than 25 km away on 27 November. In addition to the other communities affected by ashfall during August-November, Quisaché and Santa Emilia reported ashfall on 30 November.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/ ); 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);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/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html).


Kikai (Japan) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kikai

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosion on 6 October 2020 and thermal anomalies in the crater

Kikai is a mostly submarine caldera, 19-km-wide, just S of the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. At the NW rim of the caldera lies the island of Satsuma Iwo Jima (also known as Satsuma-Iojima and Tokara Iojima), and the island’s highest peak, Iodake, a steep stratovolcano. Recent weak ash explosions at Iodake occurred on 2 November 2019 and 29 April 2020 (BGVN 45:02, 45:05). The volcano is monitored by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and satellite sensors. This report covers the period May-October 2020. During this time, the Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

Activity at Kikai has been relatively low since the previous eruption on 29 April 2020. During May through October occasional white gas-and-steam emissions rose 0.8-1.3 km above the Iodake crater, the latter of which was recorded in September. Emissions were intermittently accompanied by weak nighttime incandescence, according to JMA (figure 17).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. White gas-and-steam emissions rose 1 km above the crater at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 25 May (top) 2020. At night, occasional incandescence could be seen in the Iodake crater, as seen on 29 May (bottom) 2020. Both images taken by the Iwanoue webcam. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, May 2nd year of Reiwa [2020]).

A small eruption at 0757 on 6 October occurred in the NW part of the Iodake crater, which produced a grayish white plume rising 200 m above the crater (figure 18). Faint thermal anomalies were detected in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery in the days just before this eruption (28 September and 3 October) and then after (13 and 23 October), accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions (figures 19 and 20). Nighttime crater incandescence continued to be observed. JMA reported that sulfur dioxide emissions measured 700 tons per day during October, compared to the previous eruption (400-2,000 tons per day in April 2020).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Webcam images of the eruption at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 6 October 2020 that produced an ash plume rising 200 m above the crater (top). Nighttime summit crater incandescence was also observed (bottom). Images were taken by the Iwanoue webcam. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, October 2nd year of Reiwa [2020]).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Weak thermal hotspots (bright yellow-orange) were observed at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) during late September through October 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Webcam image of a white gas-and-steam plume rising 1.1 km above the crater at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 27 October 2020. Image was taken by the Iwanoue webcam. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, October 2nd year of Reiwa [2020]).

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Manam

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash plumes, thermal anomalies, and SO2 emissions in April-September 2020

Manam, located 13 km off the N coast of Papua New Guinea, is a basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano with historical eruptions dating back 400 years. Volcanism has been characterized by low-level ash plumes, occasional Strombolian activity, lava flows, pyroclastic avalanches, and large ash plumes from Main and South, the two active summit craters. The current eruption period has been ongoing since 2014, typically with minor explosive activity, thermal activity, and SO2 emissions (BGVN 45:05). This reporting period updates information from April through September 2020, consisting of intermittent ash plumes from late July to mid-September, persistent thermal anomalies, and SO2 emissions. Information comes from Papua New Guinea's Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), part of the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Explosive activity was relatively low during April through late July; SO2 emissions and low power, but persistent, thermal anomalies were detected by satellite instruments each month. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite recorded SO2 emissions, many of which exceeded two Dobson Units, that drifted generally W (figure 76). Distinct SO2 emissions were detected for 10 days in April, 4 days in May, 10 days in June, 4 days in July, 11 days in August, and 8 days in September.

Thermal anomalies recorded by the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system were sparse from early January through June 2020, totaling 11 low-power anomalies within 5 km of the summit (figure 77). From late July through September a pulse in thermal activity produced slightly stronger and more frequent anomalies. Some of this activity could be observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (figure 78). Occasionally, these thermal anomalies were accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions or ash plumes, as shown on 28 July. On 17 August a particularly strong hotspot was detected in the S summit crater. According to the MODVOLC thermal alert data, a total of 10 thermal alerts were detected in the summit crater over four days: 29 July (5), 16 August (1), and 3 (1) and 8 (3) September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Distinct sulfur dioxide plumes rising from Manam and drifting generally W were detected using data from the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite on 28 April (top left), 24 May (top right), 16 July (bottom left), and 12 September (bottom right) 2020. Courtesy of the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Intermittent thermal activity at Manam increased in power and frequency beginning around late July and continuing through September 2020, as shown on the MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing a persistent thermal anomaly (yellow-orange) at Manam’s summit craters (Main and South) each month during April through August; sometimes they were seen in both summit craters, as shown on 8 June (top right), 28 July (bottom left), and 17 August (bottom right). A particularly strong anomaly was visible on 17 August (bottom right). Occasional gas-and-steam emissions accompanied the thermal activity. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during mid-July slightly increased compared to the previous months. On 16 July seismicity increased, fluctuating between low and moderate RSAM values through the rest of the month. In Sentinel-2 satellite imagery a gray ash plume was visible rising from the S summit crater on 28 July (figure 78). RSAM values gradually increased from a low average of 200 to an average of 1200 on 30 July, accompanied by thermal hotspots around the summit crater; a ground observer reported incandescent material was ejected from the summit. On 31 July into 1 August ash plumes rose to 4.3 km altitude, accompanied by an incandescent lava flow visible at the summit, according to a Darwin VAAC advisory.

Intermittent ash plumes continued to be reported by the Darwin VAAC on 1, 6-7, 16, 20, and 31 August. They rose from 2.1 to 4.6 km altitude, the latter of which occurred on 31 August and drifted W. Typically, these ash plumes extended SW, W, NW, and WSW. On 11 September another ash plume was observed rising 2.4 km altitude and drifting W.

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

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 33, Number 03 (March 2008)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Bagana (Papua New Guinea)

June 2007-March 2008, ongoing emissions including a pyroclastic flow

Chikurachki (Russia)

New eruption with significant ash plumes began in mid-August 2007

Erebus (Antarctica)

Significant eruptions tabulated for 2007

Galeras (Colombia)

Eruption of January 2008

Karkar (Papua New Guinea)

Seismic monitoring of increased fumarolic activity

Kelut (Indonesia)

Comparatively passive 2007 lava-dome emplacement in a crater lake

Monowai (New Zealand)

Eruption recorded on 8 February 2008

Montagu Island (United Kingdom)

December 2006 plume seen in satellite imagery

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Main vent plugged; seismicity, deformation, explosions, and H2S all high

Sangay (Ecuador)

Conspicuous ash plumes, October 2006-December 2007

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea)

Mostly gentle emissions of white vapor; low-frequency earthquakes



Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — March 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Bagana

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


June 2007-March 2008, ongoing emissions including a pyroclastic flow

Lava flows, pyroclastic flows, loud noises, and repeated forceful emissions were witnessed during June 2007-March 2008. Previously, there were brief periods of effusive activity and almost daily thermal anomalies during June 2006 through May 2007 (BGVN 32:04). Emissions during June 2007 consisted largely of steam of variable density.

On 12 June, there was a particularly forceful emission. Glow was observed on the night of 14 June. This kind of behavior continued into July. On 8 July observers saw glow and watched a single forceful release of pale gray ash.

On 14 July, Bagana generated a particularly forceful release that generated a pyroclastic flow. The release spewed out thick, dark-gray ash. The pyroclastic flow descended the S flank of the volcano stopping at the base near a small hot-spring-fed lake located at the head of the Torokina river. Since that event, rock falls from the edge of the active lava flow triggered thin ash clouds of light brown color from the S flank. This was accompanied by a loud roaring noise persisting into 15 July.

On 6 August, some emissions occasionally contained gray ash. The lava flow from the summit crater on the SE flank became active again and continued through 23 August. Thick white plumes escaped forcefully during 13-16 August. Ash clouds seen then were attributed to rock falls from collapse at the edges of the active lava flow. The Darwin VAAC reported that a diffuse plume rose to an altitude of 3.7 km on 23 August.

A particularly forceful emission occurred on 25 August and 12 September and the latter generated thin gray ash clouds directed over the SE flank.

Into October, the summit continued to release gentle emission of thin to thick white vapor. A weak to bright fluctuating glow was visible at night from 2-5 October and a continuous rumbling noise that lasted about an hour was heard on 5 October. On 6 October, there was a particularly forceful emission and the lava flow on the SE flank became active. Observers saw the lava flow emitting glow as it passed down the SE flank on 6-7, 10-12, and 17 October. Occasional thin pale gray ash clouds observed at the edges of the active lava flow were visible on 9-10, and 14-15 October. Based on satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that ash plumes drifted N then NW on 19 October.

White vapor escaped through November and into December. It was occasionally accompanied by plumes containing ash that were generated along the lava flow.

Two explosions sent forth ash plumes on 19 and 27 November. The SE-flank lavas descended almost continuously and lava fragments vented at the summit on 7 and 9 December. On 9 December an ash plume rose to an altitude of 2.8 km; another on 17 December rose to uncertain height; and one on 26-27 December rose to 3 km altitude and drifted W.

Activity in January through March was generally weak but persistent, with earthquakes absent. Satellite imagery and information from RVO led the Darwin VAAC to report a diffuse plume on 3 March. It rose to an altitude of less than 3 km and drifted SW. Later that day, an ash-and-steam plume drifted SW.

Throughout the reporting period, the MODVOLC satellite system typically detected multiple thermal anomalies monthly. The system uses MODIS (the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) and a processing algorithm and staff at HIGP (see Information Contacts, below).

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

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


Chikurachki (Russia) — March 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Chikurachki

Russia

50.324°N, 155.461°E; summit elev. 1781 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruption with significant ash plumes began in mid-August 2007

Olga Girina of the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) reported no eruptive activity at Chikurachki volcano [activity that began 4 March 2007 (BGVN 32:05)] after about 18 April 2007. The following report was based primarily on information found on the KVERT website. Chikurachki is not monitored with seismic instruments, but KVERT has satellite monitoring and receives occasional reports of visual observations (figure 5).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Ash plume extending to the ESE from Chikurachki on 8 September 2007. Photo by L. Kotenko, supported by JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science); courtesy of KVERT Current Activity of Chikurachki website.

According to observations, no eruptive activity was noted on 12 and 14 August. However, visual information from Podgorny (20 km SSE) indicated that an eruption began on 18 August 2007 at 2200 UTC. Ashfall was noted in Podgorny at that time and on 19-20 August, and satellite data showed an ash plume extending about 120 km SE (figure 6). An ash plume extending about 100 km SE at an altitude of 5 km was observed by pilots on 20 August 20 at 0140 UTC. An ash plume extending about 160 km to the NNE at an altitude of 3 km and ashfall on Alaid volcano were noted by volcanologists on 21 August. Table 2 lists observations, when available, of the ash plume during this eruption.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Plume from Chikurachki taken 19 August 2007 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying on NASA's Aqua satellite. Besides Chikurachki, whose plume blows SE over the ocean, the image captures the summits of neighboring volcanos Atlasova Island and Fuss Peak above the cloud cover. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

Table 2. Ash plume observations for the eruption of Chikurachki beginning 18 August 2007. Clouds obscured the volcano on most days not noted. Courtesy of KVERT.

Date Plume altitude Plume distance/direction Type of observation
18 Aug 2007 -- -- Visual
19-20 Aug 2007 2.4 km 120 km SE Satellite
20 Aug 2007 5 km 100 km SE Visual
21 Aug 2007 4-5 km 160 km NE Visual, Satellite
21-26 Aug 2007 1 km -- Visual
28-30 Aug 2007 ~3 km 150-300 km NE Satellite
31 Aug, 01 Sep 2007 ~3 km 30-160 km NE Satellite
03 Sep 2007 -- S, SE Satellite
~06 Sep 2007 3.2 km -- Visual
07 Sep 2007 -- more than 80 km SE Satellite
08 and 11 Sep 2007 2.3 km ESE Visual, Satellite (figure 5)
18-19 Sep 2007 -- more than 110 km Satellite (figure 6)
19-20 Sep 2007 -- more than 250 km E Visual
21 Sep 2007 -- more than 75 km ESE Satellite
04 Oct 2007 -- more than 100 m ESE Satellite
07 and 10 Oct 2007 -- more than 50 km NE Satellite
17-18 Oct 2007 -- more than 180 km NE Satellite
20 Oct 2007 -- more than 50 km NW Satellite

The eruption continued through at least 25 October 2007, and perhaps through 8 November. Clouds obscured the volcano on many days, making estimates of the continuity of this eruption and its ending date difficult. KVERT has reported no later plumes observed over Chikurachki to mid-April 2008. No thermal anomalies were measured by the MODIS satellites during 2007 or 2008 to 20 April.

Geologic Background. Chikurachki, the highest volcano on Paramushir Island in the northern Kuriles, is actually a relatively small cone constructed on a high Pleistocene volcanic edifice. Oxidized basaltic-to-andesitic scoria deposits covering the upper part of the young cone give it a distinctive red color. Frequent basaltic plinian eruptions have occurred during the Holocene. Lava flows from 1781-m-high Chikurachki reached the sea and form capes on the NW coast; several young lava flows also emerge from beneath the scoria blanket on the eastern flank. The Tatarinov group of six volcanic centers is located immediately to the south of Chikurachki, and the Lomonosov cinder cone group, the source of an early Holocene lava flow that reached the saddle between it and Fuss Peak to the west, lies at the southern end of the N-S-trending Chikurachki-Tatarinov complex. In contrast to the frequently active Chikurachki, the Tatarinov volcanoes are extensively modified by erosion and have a more complex structure. Tephrochronology gives evidence of only one eruption in historical time from Tatarinov, although its southern cone contains a sulfur-encrusted crater with fumaroles that were active along the margin of a crater lake until 1959.

Information Contacts: Olga Girina, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), a cooperative program of the Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia, the Kamchatka Experimental and Methodical Seismological Department (KEMSD), GS RAS (Russia), and the Alaska Volcano Observatory (USA) (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/updates.shtml); Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA; NASA Earth Observatory Natural Hazards (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/); KVERT Current Activity of Chikurachki (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/current/chkr/).


Erebus (Antarctica) — March 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Erebus

Antarctica

77.53°S, 167.17°E; summit elev. 3794 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Significant eruptions tabulated for 2007

The Mt. Erebus Volcano Observatory (MEVO) website activity log gives information on each eruption of the volcano detected. Daily activity that usually includes several eruptions. Erebus eruption sizes are measured in the pressure unit of Pascals (Pa) from the infrasonic overpressure (at Station E1S.IS1). The eruption size index scale is divided into events classified as small (0-19 Pa), medium (20-39 Pa), large (40-59 Pa), and very large (>= 60 Pa).

Table 2 lists large and very large eruptions for the period December 2006 through 23 October 2007 (BGVN 31:12 gave a similar list for the year 2006 through November). The absence of recorded eruptions from 13 April 2007 to 29 August 2007 is notable. No eruptions were reported on the website during 23 October 2007 to 29 April 2008.

Table 2. Eruptions recorded at Erebus in the instrumentally derived categories "large" and "very large" during December 2006-23 October 2007. Courtesy of MEVO.

Month Large Eruptions Very Large Eruptions
Dec 2006 2 0
Jan 2007 29 24
Feb 2007 8 39
Mar 2007 7 11
Apr 2007 2 7
May 2007 0 0
Jun 2007 0 0
Jul 2007 0 0
Aug 2007 0 1
Sep 2007 0 2
Oct 2007 1 1

Thermal anomalies over Erebus, measured from the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) satellite images were analyzed by the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) MODVOLC algorithm. They commonly appeared throughout the 2007 due to the presence of a molten lava lake within the crater.

Geologic Background. Mount Erebus, the world's southernmost historically active volcano, overlooks the McMurdo research station on Ross Island. It is the largest of three major volcanoes forming the crudely triangular Ross Island. The summit of the dominantly phonolitic volcano has been modified by one or two generations of caldera formation. A summit plateau at about 3,200 m elevation marks the rim of the youngest caldera, which formed during the late-Pleistocene and within which the modern cone was constructed. An elliptical 500 x 600 m wide, 110-m-deep crater truncates the summit and contains an active lava lake within a 250-m-wide, 100-m-deep inner crater; other lava lakes are sometimes present. The glacier-covered volcano was erupting when first sighted by Captain James Ross in 1841. Continuous lava-lake activity with minor explosions, punctuated by occasional larger Strombolian explosions that eject bombs onto the crater rim, has been documented since 1972, but has probably been occurring for much of the volcano's recent history.

Information Contacts: Philip R. Kyle and Kyle Jones, Mt. Erebus Volcano Observatory (MEVO), New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, NM 87801, USA (URL: https://nmtearth.com/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) MODIS Thermal Alerts, 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/).


Galeras (Colombia) — March 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption of January 2008

As reported in (BGVN 31:07) Galeras displayed dome growth and elevated seismicity from November 2005 through mid-August 2006; ~ 10,000 residents evacuated but the crisis later abated. The key source of this report was the Instituto Colombiano de Geologia y Mineria (INGEOMINAS). This report follows the August 2006 events and covers the period through April 2008.

In September 2006, INGEOMINAS recorded continuing low-level minor earthquakes, M 1.4, corresponding to the movement of fluids at depths between 4 and 8 km and low SO2 fluxes. A fly-over observed gas and steam emissions from the periphery of the active cone with diminished intensity through early November.

Beginning in late November and continuing through December 2006, an increase in the level of the volcanic activity occurred indicating the movement of solid material at focal depths to 9.6 km and at intensities to M 2.1. INGEOMINAS raised the Alert Level from 3 to 2 elevating the hazard status to "likely eruption in days or weeks" on 22 November 2006. The scale extends from 4 (lowest) to 1 ( highest hazard). The change was based on the increase in activity, behavior resembling characteristics that preceded earlier eruptions, i.e., increased earthquake activity associated with rock fractures within 2 km of the surface and weak gas emissions caused by the apparent capping of the lava dome.

On 2 March 2007, a tectonic earthquake was recorded ~ 2 km NNW of Galeras at M 3.5 and focal depth of 8.2 km. On 15 March, observations made with the support of the Colombian Air Force (FACE), showed continuing low rates of gas discharge continuing from secondary craters and fumaroles mainly located in the periphery of the main crater. On 20 March, because of decreased seismicity, low gas emissions, and no indication of changes below the surface of the dome, the Alert Level shifted towards less severe, from 2 to 3 (to "changes in the behavior of volcanic activity have been noted").

On 19 and 21 May 2007, two earthquakes registered, M 3.0 and M 2.1 respectively. These earthquakes were located SW of Galeras and felt by residents. The inclinometer to the SW of the active crater continued showing deformation indicating deeper volcanic activity.

Little volcanic activity occurred through September 2007. From October 2007 through January 2008, INGEOMINAS and the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center reported an increase in gas-and steam plumes emitted from Galeras (table 8). During an overflight on 27 November, thermal images recorded by INGEOMINAS indicated an increase in temperatures at the point sources of emissions. The Alert Level remained at 3. Occasional gas and steam eruptions continued through January 2008.

Table 8. Summary of activity reported at Galeras from October 2007 through January 2008. Based on information from INGEOMINAS and the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center.

Date Event Maximum plume (km) Plume direction
04 Oct-05 Oct 2007 Steam, ash 5.8-6.3 N, NW
29 Oct-04 Nov 2007 Steam, ash 5.7 --
05 Nov-11 Nov 2007 Ash 4.5-7.2 NW, W
13 Nov 2007 Steam 5.5 S
21-23 Nov 2007 Steam and gas 5.3 --
27 Nov 2007 Steam, gas, ash 4.4 NW
03 Dec 2007 Steam, gas, ash 5.3 NW
31 Dec 2007 Gas and ash 4.9 NW
12 Jan 2008 Steam, gas, ash 6.3 --

On 11 January 2008, INGEOMINAS noted variations in seismicity associated with greater volumes of gas discharge. On 16-17 January, 5 tremors were recorded near the active cone. Early on 17 January, INGEOMINAS noted the similarity of these events to those preceding the eruptions of 1992, 1993, and 2004-2006.

Later, on the 17th, an explosive eruption was registered by the seismic network and prompted INGEOMINAS to raise the Alert Level from 3 ("changes in the behavior of volcanic activity have been noted") to 1 ("imminent eruption or in course"). The Washington VAAC reported that an ash plume rose to an altitude of 11 km and drifted W. According to a news article, small settlements to the N were ordered to evacuate; about 100 people moved to shelters.

About 2 km away from the main crater, military personnel saw blocks 1.5 m in diameter on a highway. Several impact craters of 17 January were spotted; the largest, ~ 15 m across and ~ 5 m deep (figure 111).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. A composite of several photos showing a large impact crater formed by the Galeras eruption of 17 January 2008. The impact site was 1.5 km S of the main crater. Courtesy of INGEOMINAS.

On 19 January 2008, INGEOMINAS lowered the Alert Level to 2 ("likely eruption in days of weeks") because seismic events decreased in occurrence and energy and on 21 January, INGEOMINAS further lowered the Alert Level to 3 and reported that the initial ash plume from the eruption drifted SW, then W. Through February and into March seismic activity remained low. However, in mid-March, a a cluster of earthquakes (several events in a relatively short time interval), associated mainly with movement of magmatic fluids to the interior of the volcanic system were recorded. Volcanic gas and steam columns were routinely observed between 200 and 450 m from the top of Galeras, with variable directions of dispersion depending on the wind direction. Seismicity decreased in early April and SO2 emissions remained low.

Geologic Background. Galeras, a stratovolcano with a large breached caldera located immediately west of the city of Pasto, is one of Colombia's most frequently active volcanoes. The dominantly andesitic complex has been active for more than 1 million years, and two major caldera collapse eruptions took place during the late Pleistocene. Long-term extensive hydrothermal alteration has contributed to large-scale edifice collapse on at least three occasions, producing debris avalanches that swept to the west and left a large horseshoe-shaped caldera inside which the modern cone has been constructed. Major explosive eruptions since the mid-Holocene have produced widespread tephra deposits and pyroclastic flows that swept all but the southern flanks. A central cone slightly lower than the caldera rim has been the site of numerous small-to-moderate historical eruptions since the time of the Spanish conquistadors.

Information Contacts: Diego Gomez Martinez, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Pasto (OVSP), INGEOMINAS, Carrera 31, 1807 Parque Infantil, PO Box 1795, Pasto, Colombia (URL: https://www2.sgc.gov.co/volcanes/index.html; Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/); Associated Press (URL: http://www.ap.org/).


Karkar (Papua New Guinea) — March 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Karkar

Papua New Guinea

4.649°S, 145.964°E; summit elev. 1839 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismic monitoring of increased fumarolic activity

During late 2007 and continuing into 2008, it became clear the Karkar's vegetation had suffered and seismicity was significant (tens of earthquakes per day). Herman Patia of the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) reported that the Bagiai cone situated in the inner caldera of Karkar volcano continued to release thin to moderate white vapor while a RVO team was at the volcano from 27-31 December 2007. The white vapor plume was also visible from the mainland. Prior to the visit, communities on the W and SW had heard occasional roaring noises associated with the gas emission from the Bagiai cone. The last Bulletin (BGVN 25:11) discussed light ashfall ultimately attributed to Ulawun. In early November 2007, RVO had reported vegetation die-back and increased fumarolic activity at Bagiai cone on the floor of the inner caldera (figure 5). Latest images sent to RVO by Sir Peter Barter on 11 December 2007 indicated that vegetation on the SE flank had withered completely. According to RVO, the last eruption of Karkar was in 1979.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Vegetation die-back and increased fumarolic activity on Bagiai cone at Karkar; (top) photo taken early in 2007, (bottom) photo taken during the last week of October 2007. Courtesy of RVO; photos by Paul Goodyear.

During the team's December visit, they deployed three portable seismic recorders on the NW, SW, and E sides of the island (figure 6, open triangles). Preliminary results indicated a total of 30 high-frequency (HF) earthquakes recorded during the 3 days of deployment. These events were interpreted as indicative of rock-breaking due to magma movement under the volcano. The overall seismicity was low.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. A map of the island of Karkar showing morphology. Open triangles indicate seismograph stations during 28-31 December 2007 (KSUG, KWAD, and KKEV). The filled triangles indicate seismograph stations during 24 January-3 February 2008 (KMAT, KARS, and KMID). The outlined oval-shaped region endorses the approximate area where the high-frequency earthquakes had epicenters. The regions decorated with square dots indicate channels, which provide possible pathways for mudflows and pyroclastic flows. Small dots villages, some of which lie within these channels. Courtesy of RVO.

Bagiai cone continued to release variable volumes of white vapor towards the end of January 2008. A second phase of seismic monitoring at Karkar was carried on from 24 January to 3 February 2008. (figure 6, filled triangles). The closest seismometer to the cone was placed ~ 3 km away Seismic activity was low, dominated by high-frequency earthquakes, but low-frequency earthquakes also occurred. About 15?20 earthquakes were recorded daily during the first 3 days of recording (24-28 January), the earthquakes occurring near Bagiai cone in the center of the inner caldera.

The two phases of seismic monitoring detected both high-frequency volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes and low-frequency earthquakes. VT earthquakes were taken to indicate magma intrusion underneath or near Karkar volcano and were detected during the December 2007 deployment by two of the three stations (KWAD and KKEV) on the E and SE side. Station KSUG did not record the HF earthquakes.

The seismic monitor installed about 3 km from Bagiai cone (KMAT), at a spot adjacent to the thermal activity, recorded LF earthquakes as well. LF earthquakes were presumed to be associated with movement of steam and gas and the hydrothermal activity at Bagiai cone.

To provide continuous seismic monitoring at Karkar, on 3 February 2008 a portable seismic recorder was installed 9 km N of the cone. RVO intends to download and analyze the data every 2 months.

For several weeks during late February into early March 2008, RVO scientists visited Karkar to monitor the increased seismic activity first monitored during December 2007. Once again, the group reported that thermal activity from within the cone had caused the vegetation to die and turn brown. On this visit, withered and dry vegetation could be observed on Bagiai's flanks. Seismicity was continuing, but at low levels. On this visit, three portable seismic recorders were deployed close to the summit area on the outer caldera, 3.5 km from Bagiai. They recorded 15-20 volcanic earthquakes per day.

There have been no thermal anomalies measured over Karkar by MODIS instruments since at least the beginning of 2007 through mid-April 2008.

Geologic Background. Karkar is a 19 x 25 km wide, forest-covered island that is truncated by two nested summit calderas. The 5.5-km-wide outer caldera was formed during one or more eruptions, the last of which occurred 9000 years ago. The eccentric 3.2-km-wide inner caldera was formed sometime between 1500 and 800 years ago. Parasitic cones are present on the N and S flanks of this basaltic-to-andesitic volcano; a linear array of small cones extends from the northern rim of the outer caldera nearly to the coast. Most historical eruptions, which date back to 1643, have originated from Bagiai cone, a pyroclastic cone constructed within the steep-walled, 300-m-deep inner caldera. The floor of the caldera is covered by young, mostly unvegetated andesitic lava flows.

Information Contacts: Herman Patia, Rabaul Volcanological Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 3386, Kokopo, Papua New Guinea; MODVOLC 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/).


Kelut (Indonesia) — March 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Kelut

Indonesia

7.93°S, 112.308°E; summit elev. 1731 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Comparatively passive 2007 lava-dome emplacement in a crater lake

The extrusion of a substantial dome into the center of the active crater lake at Kelut (also spelled Kelud) started in early November 2007. The volcano and lake are among the most historically active and dangerous in Indonesia (Thouret and others, 1998). They were studied by members of the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI), Alain Bernard, and colleagues. During about 15 years prior to the eruption, the crater lake showed considerable hydrothermal influence, with temperatures several degrees above the ambient air temperature of 19°C, but with near-neutral pH. Prior to this eruption, the lake was ~ 34 m deep, ~ 350 m in diameter, and it held ~ 2.1 x 106 m3 of water (Bernard and Mazot, 2004).

Lava was clearly seen emerging from the center of the lake on 4 November 2007. The activity was passive, even at the contact between the dome and lake. Neither water nor substantial ash were thrown forcefully out of the lake and onto the flanks. The dome rose rapidly above the lake, building a steep construct surrounded by a placid but dwindling lake. A well-defined depression crossed the dome's center, dividing its top surface in two. A few undated photos showed a mildly explosive phase. During 29-30 November the still-erupting dome was stable. As of early May 2008, tentative reports suggested that dome extrusion had ceased or paused. A lake still existed at that point.

Setting, historical lahars, and morphology. The volcano resides in a densely populated part of Java (1,800 people/km2) and could threaten over 3 million residents (Bernard, 2000). Bernard (2000) also noted that Kelut's approximately 30 historical eruptions have caused over 15,000 deaths since 1500 AD. Kelut's last eruption occurred in 1990 (BGVN 15:01). One of the most detailed VSI reports on Kelud's pre-eruptive behavior was issued 30 October 2007 (Surono, 2007).

Although lahars were absent during the 2007 eruption, lahars were associated with eruptions in 1919 and 1966; post-1996 lahars came in response to rainfall (figure 2). To control lahars and related problems, decades before engineers had driven a complex series of drainage tunnels through the edifice's walls, draining much of the lake.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Map of Kelut showing prominent drainages on the W side and key settlements such as Kediri, Tulungagung, and Blitar (respective populations, 252,000, 970,000 and 1,200,000), and three sets of lahars. Heavy (often straight) lines indicate some local political boundaries. The 2007 eruption did not trigger lahars. After Rodolfo (1999).

Lake chemistry. Active crater lakes such as Kelut's trap some fraction of the heat and fluids escaping the magmatic and hydrothermal system (Delmelle and Bernard, 1999), and their study has led to breakthroughs in eruption prediction. One example of this kind of study (figure 3) presents various heat and mass-balance factors in a model of Kelut's lake (Bernard and Mazot, 2004). Heat is derived from the enthalpy (E) of hydrothermal fluids (Ebrine + steam) and from solar and atmospheric radiation (Erad). Heat is lost by evaporation (Eevap), conduction (Econd), radiation (Erad), and by the overflow (Eover) of hot waters through the drainage tunnel.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. A sketch of Kelut's summit crater made prior to the 2007 eruption, looking E. The 2007 eruption built a dome in the lake's center. The irregular high area on the far wall of the crater (labeled "dome") is called Gunung Kelut, and is but one of many domes at the complex. The arrows are explained in the text. The dashed 'drainage tunnel' through the edifice walls is schematic, the actual tunnels consist of a network built in successive stages. Diagram after Bernard and Mazot (2004).

Monitoring instrumentation is in place on and around the lake (figure 4). Fieldwork is also performed to measure the flux of CO2 emitted at the lake surface (figure 5). Numerous CO2-bearing gas bubbles rising to the surface were seen in July 2006. Bubbles were also widespread on bathymetric soundings (eg. detected at 50 and 200 kHz) in July 2007, and in some cases observers witnessed frequent discontinuous gas releases (puffing) from bottom fumaroles.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. A pre-eruption photo showing Kelut's lake from a high point on the rim. Numbered sites are monitoring stations, as follows: 1) temperature and conductivity at 15 m depth and meteorological conditions (air temperature, relative humidity, and wind velocity), 2-4) lake level sensors, where the pressure difference between stations 3 and 4 functions as a N-S tilt meter), and 5) a radon sensor. Instrumentation also monitors the runoff volume in the drainage tunnel. A buoy (at 1) was one of three ultimately installed in the lake. A service road down the crater wall leads to the lake end of a drainage tunnel. Courtesy of A. Bernard.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. (bottom left) A July 2006 photo at Kelut of the team taking a CO2 flux measurement at a sample site. The team consisted of (left to right) Loic Peiffer, Khirul Huda from VSI, and Alain Bernard. The team used a floating accumulation chamber connected by tubing to a dedicated spectrometer residing in the boat. (top left) A graph of 2007 spectrometer data from a sampling cycle with the accumulation chamber. After a lag time of ~ 30 seconds, the accumulation rate was stable at a slope of ~ 400 ppm/s. (right) Resulting map of lake surface showing CO2 flux per unit area (in the units of grams per square meter per day, g/(m2/d)). The map resulted from 230 spot measurements taken between 30 July and 2 August 2007. Courtesy of Alain Bernard.

The CO2 flux from the lake's surface was measured by IR spectrophotometry using a Dr?ger Polytron instrument. Bernard's team modified a technique initially developed for monitoring the flux of gases in soil (Chiodini and others, 1996), applying this method by means of the floating accumulation chamber at multiple sites.

According to the VSI report, carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations measured during 30 July to 2 August 2007 ranged from below 500 g/m2/d to hotspots of 12,000 g/m2/d, especially in the E portion of the lake. The overall flux of CO2 from the lake reached more than 500 tons/day on 11 September 2007, about ten times greater than measurements made in 2005 and 2006 (figure 6).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. A plot for Kelut from 2001 through 2 August 2007 showing water temperature and total CO2 flux from the lake. The total CO2 flux was estimated by normalizing the data to the relevant lake area at Kelut, 103,600 m2). The latest CO2 field measurements were made during 30 July to 2 August 2007. The line shows lake temperature readings (taken at uncertain depth and location, but presumably more consistently measured than temperature data shown on table 2. Unfortunately, these plotted temperature data do not extend into late 2007 when table 2 suggests lake temperatures rose more than 50°C higher, to ~ 78°C).

Data on lake chemistry (table 2) was compiled by Surono (2007) and Bernard (2000). The water chemistry of the active crater lake showed both stable and variable parameters. Comparatively stable ones included pH and during various time periods (including 2007), some chemical species. Among the largest perturbations were a sudden, almost two-fold rise in SO2 during September-October 2007; and a rapid increase in lake water temperature during November 2007. Soluble Cl stood over 1,000 ppm during 1993 and dropped sharply reaching a low of 67 ppm on 20 August 2007. It climbed after that, reaching 354 ppm in the last (11 November) measurement, a value taken about a week after the dome broke the lake surface.

Table 2. A compilation for Kelut's lake water showing temperature, pH, and chemical concentration data from VSI for 2007 (Surono, 2007) and Alain Bernard (2000) during 1993 to 2005. Some of the data presented here were rounded and the number of significant figures reduced. The 23 October 2007 Cl value was variously reported. Some of the original data were presumably collected at different locations and depths; and some of the original data included additional parameters such as total dissolved solids (see cited publications). Eruptions began on 3 November 2007, and the dome emerged above the lake surface on 4 November.

Date Temp (°C) pH Na K Ca Mg HCO3 Cl SO4 B
18 Dec 1993 42.8 5.9 700 92 105 55 238 1,297 631 11
01 Aug 1994 42.1 6.3 1,024 102 130 67 207 1,289 692 14
24 Sep 2002 33.2 6.5 342 39 135 80 435 289 670 4
04 Sep 2003 30.7 6.5 271 30 147 78 472 202 679 2.5
27 Apr 2005 32.2 6.6 198 23 121 71 330 139 571 2
20 Aug 2007 31.5 6.9 104 14 166 48 221 66.5 538 0.8
16 Sep 2007 33.2 6.4 106 16 184 52 294 120 1,083 1.1
25 Sep 2007 33.4 5.9 109 17 178 51 279 133 1,121 1.3
29 Sep 2007 36.1 5.9 109 17 179 45 279 137 1,121 1.5
23 Oct 2007 38.4 5.8 257 22 186 56 297 210 (173) 1,119 1.3
28 Oct 2007 39.2 5.6 117 20 190 48 303 179 1,151 1.4
02 Nov 2007 ~50 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
06 Nov 2007 77.5 6.7 124 21 200 48 170 294 542 1.7
11 Nov 2007 77.8 6.2 130 21 223 45 26.3 354 615 2.1

Monitoring, hazards status, and dome extrusion. Visual monitoring was carried out by means of a closed-circuit video monitor installed on Mount Lirang, as well as from photographs taken in or near the crater. During 15-28 September, gas emissions from the crater lake increased and spread over a zone within a radius of ~ 5 m.

According to Surono (2007), pre-eruption CO2 fluxes from the lake were typically 50 metric tons/day. During August 2007 they rose to 333 tons/day; during late August to early September they reached 500 tons/day.

During 2006, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported a pilot observation. An ash plume on 18 May 2006 allegedly reached an altitude of 5.5 km.

On 17 October 2007 Kelut was the subject of further VAAC reports, first noting the elevation of the hazard status to 4 (the highest level, indicating an eruption imminent). On 23 October there was a brief noting evidence from a satellite of a eruption (to ~ 6 km altitude) but ground observers suggested that it was a meteorological cloud. A VAAC report on 4 November noted "ash not identifiable on satellite imagery." On 8 November an advisory noted the continued absence of identifiable ash.

Seismicity rose suddenly on 10 September 2007 (figure 7). It peaked on 16 October at all four seismic stations on or adjacent the volcano, at 510 events. The next day, the number of earthquakes still stood quite high, 151.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Kelut seismicity, lake-water temperature, and Alert Levels registered during June to early November October 2007. After plots by Surono (2007) and Bernard.

Cross sections showing hypocenters for 10-11 and 26-29 September 2007 depicted them broadly centered below the edifice but distributed around 2.5 km depth; they were initially absent in a zone about 2-3 km below the summit . During mid-October the hypocenters became more closely packed along a narrow vertical band beneath the edifice. They then filled a zone 0.7-1.2 km beneath the summit, with a few other hypocenters centered ~ 2 km below the summit. During 24-29 October, many hypocenters clustered ~ 6 km below the summit, but others strung out on or about a vertical line intersecting near the summit. The shallowest events plotted were then ~ 1 km below the summit. Reports also noted tremor was common during 24 October through 4 November.

VSI issued a series of increases in Kelut's hazard status (a scale of 1-4, figure 7). On 11 September 2007, VSI raised the status from 1 to 2. This corresponded to the CO2 flux mentioned above, a sudden jump in seismicity on 10 September (figure 7), and changes in both lake temperature and color, which shifted from its usual green, becoming yellow in some areas and blue-white in others. On 29 September, the status went from 2 to 3 based on visual observations, increased seismicity, deformation measurements, and further changes of crater lake water chemistry and temperature.

VSI brought the status to 4 on 16 October (figure 7). Factors included the sudden rise in seismicity, and the summit's inflation during 13-16 October. Before the crisis of 16 October the lake water was whitish green; after the crisis, dominantly green. VSI to recommend that villagers within a 10-km radius evacuate. According to a United Nations report, local authorities evacuated ~ 117,000 people within this radius. The UN report cited Indonesian media as stating that an eruption could affect as many as ~ 290,000 people (figure 8).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. A map of a portion of E Java that indicates the location of Kelut (sometimes written as "Kelud," as is the case here) and the major city Surabaya (~ 85 km NE; population, ~ 4 million). The map was issued after the alert status was raised to the highest level ("4"; at 1800 on 16 October) and indicates the number of people in two adjacent jurisdictions that could be affected by its eruption. Courtesy of Relief Web (United Nations); boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.

According to a news article, thousands returned to their homes on 17 October to tend to crops and animals, and to retrieve food. On 8 November the status fell to 3 and residents were allowed to return home. On 29 November the status fell from 3 to 2 following both decreased seismicity and a lack of deformation. At this stage, people were advised to remain at least 1.5 km from the lake.

During 24-31 October, a series of regional earthquakes occurred, dominated by shallow events and tremor. Seismicity intensified during 2-3 November, but then decreased on 4 November.

Dome emerges during 3-4 November 2007. On 3 November, VSI and news media mentioned plumes, and possibly some evidence of erupted solids entering the lake. Also, their buoy ceased functioning. On 4 November, white plumes rose to an altitude of 2.2 km and drifted N.

Plumes on the 4th came from a fresh black lava dome, protruding from the then turbid green lake. Monitoring cameras showed copious steam obscuring the dome. The exposed mass grew quickly. Although steaming continued, relative calm usually prevailed at both the dome and the lake. Although the dome steadily displaced the lake, the water did not undergo violent broad-scale boiling.

According to VSI, the temperature at the surface of the crater lake on 6 November had climbed to over 75°C. The newly exposed dome surface was 150-210°C. Plumes generally inhibited clear views.

On 8 November, VSI reported a decrease in seismicity, and deformation-monitoring suggested greater stability. An infrared camera (FLIR) captured images of the dome on 9 November as it emerged from the lake. The images revealed considerable radiant heat in the FLIR-sensitive wavelengths (figure 9).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. On 9 November 2007, scientists looking at Kelut's new dome took these two photos, and at right, coinciding infrared (FLIR) images. The scale bars on the FLIR images indicate that the highest temperatures were on the order of 135°C. The hottest zones occurred both over a large area at the dome's top and along a band following the dome near the lake surface. Courtesy of VSI and taken from Bernard (2007).

According to a news article by Agence France Presse on 12 November, a volcanologist reported that the lava dome had reached 250 m in diameter and was 120 m above the lake surface.

November photos and videos. On 11 November, a plume rose to an altitude of 3.7 km and ashfall was reported in several areas. News accounts indicated that tremors continued and that Kelut was spewing ash and lava. More photos of the dome, particularly during 10-29 November, would be useful for understanding activity in this period.

An undated video provides views of a short-lived avalanche down from the new dome's upper walls. Based on the size of the dome then, the scene was probably captured in mid- to late November (it was posted on 7 December; Masdjawa, 2007). The avalanche initially contained on the order of 5-20 m3 of loose material, much of it incandescent in daylight. A large portion of this material bounced downslope into the steaming lake. When sufficient fragmental material entered the lake an intense phreatic eruption took place. The clouds rose vertically; they were initially jet black, but within tens of seconds became dominantly white steam, hiding the dome for ~ 1-2 minutes.

Daniel Brazilier visited during 25-26 November and saw mildly to moderately explosive activity; his photos appeared in Societe de Volcanologie Geneve reports (SVG, 2007). Many of his photos were taken during daylight from ~ 1.5 km away; they showed several explosions with billowing white-to-tan clouds. The foreground, the W crater wall, contained small amounts of tephra and some bombs. The billowing clouds appeared to contain minor ash; they vented from the dome upper area or side, and accompanied numerous steaming bombs, which from their arcing trails, seemed destined to land within the crater. Night photos disclosed large areas of incandescence on the W side.

Tom Pfeiffer took a series of remarkable photos on 29-30 November 2007, documenting a surprisingly large and clearly fast-growing dome. He posted over 60 photos on the Volcano Discovery website and elsewhere, and several of them appear here (figures 10, 11, and 12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Kelut's dome seen in low-light conditions on 29 or 30 November 2007 in a view looking towards the E. Myriad incandescent fragments detached from the dome, leaving incandescent scars in the middle to upper dome area. The dome's summit area and much of its lower skirt are chiefly dark, except in the latter case for the trails of material bouncing and falling past. The much reduced lake was calm and wrapping around the dome's left (N) side. The segment of the crater rim towering above the new dome's right side is the older dome mentioned in figure 3. Copyrighted photo by Tom Pfeiffer (Volcano Discovery).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. A NE view under dark conditions of Kelut's growing dome at a time on 29 or 30 November when dome incandescence was particularly high. In the foreground is the pathway leading to the lake. Comparatively few bombs littered the curbing along the pathway, but pelting from bombs had apparently damaged the steel hand-rail in a few places. Copyrighted photo by Tom Pfeiffer (Volcano Discovery).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Kelut's new lava dome had reduced the crater lake to a narrow band by 29-30 November 2007. This low-light photo looking NE captured the shrinking lake and its contact with the new dome. At right is a prominent avalanche chute choked with the incandescent trails of bouncing blocks. Upon entry into the lake some of the trails made a second bounce. Copyrighted photo by Tom Pfeiffer (Volcano Discovery).

Note that Pfeiffer's photos are night-time shots with long exposures and thus the impression of large glowing areas implies more activity than really occurred at any one time. The dome had clearly crowded out the then green or brownish lake, which in the field of view had been reduced to an arcuate sliver. The extent of the lake on the dome's W and SW sides was unclear from his perspective.

Particularly on figures 10 and 11, the dome was rife with abundant glowing zones and numerous red traces due to incandescent dome rocks bouncing downslope. Abundant were glowing avalanche trails, and large rockfall scars. The photos also suggest possible lava seeps and narrow lava flows, although Tom Pfeiffer attributed most of the incandescence to mobile and solidified material, rather than narrow zones occupied by fluid moving lava.

A few of the glowing traces in the photos terminate upon entering the crater lake (figure 12). After their first contact with the water, some of those descending traces also seemingly shattered and bounced, producing one or more secondary arcs (akin to a skipping stone).

Pfeiffer described the scene as "filled with the noises of cracking lava, falling debris, and chilled lava blocks that splashed into the lake." He went on to note the lack of "explosions, or major ash emissions attached to the activity. The lava dome was simply growing quietly and not doing anything else than what is visible on the photos." He was struck by the observation "that the lake was simply there and NOT boiling. A sign how well rock insulates. Also, the upper 10 meters of the dome, its very top, were rather inactive, like the top of a mushroom being lifted up. The most active zones were just underneath that upper crust . . .."

References. Bernard A., and Mazot A., 2004, Geochemical evolution of the young crater lake of Kelud volcano in Indonesia: Proceedings of the Eleventh International Symposium on Water-Rock Interaction, Saratoga Springs, New York, USA, v. 1, p. 87-90.

Bernard, A., 2000, Geochemistry of the crater lake of Kelut volcano, Indonesia: Essay labeled "in preparation" on the http://www.ulb.ac.be/ website.

Bourdier, J. L., Pratomo, I., Thouret, J.C., Boudon, G. and Vincent, P.M., 1997. Observations, stratigraphy and eruptive processes of the 1990 eruption of Kelut volcano, Indonesia: J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., v. 79, p. 181-203.

Delmelle, P., and Bernard, A., 1999, Volcanic lakes, in Encyclopedia of volcanoes, H. Sigurdsson (ed.): Academic Press, p. 877-895.

Masdjawa, 2007, Kelud-Kubah Lava: Kelud_03.mpg (23.2 Mb), 2 min 20 sec; http://masdjawa.multiply.com/video/item/4

Rodolfo, K. S., 1999, The hazard from lahars and Jökulhaups, in Encyclopedia of volcanoes, H. Sigurdsson (ed.): Academic Press, p. 973-995.

Surono, 2007, Pusat Vulkanologi Dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi, Pos Pengamatan Gunungapi Kelut (Hasil evaluasi tingkat kegiatan G. Kelut): Departemen Energi Dan Sumber Daya Mineral, Republik Indonesia, Badan Geologi, Nomor, 112/GK/X/2007, 30 Oktober 2007.

Thouret, J. C., Abdurachman, K. E., and Bourdier, J. L., 1998, Origin, characteristics, and behavior of lahars following the 1990 eruption of Kelud volcano, eastern Java (Indonesia): Bull. Volcanol., v. 59, p. 460-480.

Geologic Background. The relatively inconspicuous Kelut stratovolcano contains a summit crater lake that has been the source of some of Indonesia's most deadly eruptions. A cluster of summit lava domes cut by numerous craters has given the summit a very irregular profile. Satellitic cones and lava domes are also located low on the E, W, and SSW flanks. Eruptive activity has in general migrated in a clockwise direction around the summit vent complex. More than 30 eruptions have been recorded from Gunung Kelut since 1000 CE. The ejection of water from the crater lake during the typically short but violent eruptions has created pyroclastic flows and lahars that have caused widespread fatalities and destruction. After more than 5000 people were killed during an eruption in 1919, an ambitious engineering project sought to drain the crater lake. This initial effort lowered the lake by more than 50 m, but the 1951 eruption deepened the crater by 70 m, leaving 50 million cubic meters of water after repair of the damaged drainage tunnels. After more than 200 deaths in the 1966 eruption, a new deeper tunnel was constructed, and the lake's volume before the 1990 eruption was only about 1 million cubic meters.

Information Contacts: Volcanological Survey of Indonesia, Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Saut Simatupang, 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://vsi.esdm.go.id/); Alain Bernard, Free University of Brussels, CP 160/02, 50, avenue F, Roosevelt, 1050 Brussels, Belgium (URL: http://www.ulb.ac.be/sciences/cvl/); Relief Web, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Resident Coordinator's Office, Jakarta, Indonesia (URL: https://reliefweb.int/, http://www.unocha.org/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, Northern Territory 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.VolcanoDiscovery.com/); Daniel Brazilier, France.


Monowai (New Zealand) — March 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Monowai

New Zealand

25.887°S, 177.188°W; summit elev. -132 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption recorded on 8 February 2008

On 28 March 2008, reporter Michael Field noted that an eruption of the submarine volcano Monowai was taking place. Olivier Hyvernaud was quoted in the article as saying that they recorded on the Polynesian Seismic Network (Réseau Sismique Polynésien, or RSP) a "big acoustic event" on 8 February. [He also noted that the volcano was in an eruptive phase, but it was not clear if it was a strong eruption.] The news article went on to say that, according to geologist Cornel de Ronde, the French Polynesian RSP currently receives submarine hydrophone signals from Monowai eruptions more easily than stations in New Zealand. The article concluded that this activity went unnoticed as its location is off the main shipping routes.

Ian Wright of the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) informed us about new volcano discoveries along the S-central Kermadec arc and some recent mapping results from Monowai. In recent years, New Zealand scientists have mapped, using soundings made by multibeam acoustic arrays, most of the Kermadec arc, with the consequent discovery and naming of a number of 'new' arc volcanoes. Some of the more recent work for the 30°-35°S latitude sector was published in Wright and others (2006). A second manuscript detailing the 25°-30°S latitude sector will be completed soon for publication by Graham and others.

Wright and his colleagues mapped Monowai using the multibeam system in 1998 and again in 2004, identifying drastic changes in morphology during that 6-year period. They found edifice collapse and cone regrowth. They interpreted these changes in morphology in the context of T-wave data recorded by Hyvernaud and his colleague Dominique Reymond [Wright and others, 2008 (in press); BGVN 32:01].

As indicated on figures 20 and 21, the group subsequently re-mapped Monowai in mid-2007 for a third time, again finding drastic changes coinciding with a period of ongoing and high T-wave activity. They are currently preparing a manuscript detailing these latter changes (Chadwick and others, in preparation). According to Bill Chadwick, while the research ship was on site conducting the 2007 survey and attempting some remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives, scientists heard booming sounds and saw slicks and bubbles on the surface.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Multibeam bathymetry and shaded terrain model of the Monowai volcanic complex, including its caldera and cone. Isobaths are shown at 50 m intervals. Courtesy of Wright and others, 2008 (in press).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Cumulative number of T-wave events centered at Monowai during the latter half of 2002 through 2007 from monitoring data at RSP (covering the times of the September 2004 and May 2007 bathymetric surveys, and the anomalous 24 May 2002 swarm, as reported in BGVN 27:05 and 32:01). Courtesy of Hyvernaud and Reymond, Laboratoire de Geophysique (LDG); from Chadwick and others (in preparation).

Bob Dziak of NOAA informed the Bulletin staff that Monowai T-phases are recorded on the NOAA East Pacific Rise hydrophone arrays, but analysis of data from those arrays await their retrieval of recording packages from ocean deployment sites. (In contrast, Hyvernaud of LDG in French Polynesia recovers data in real-time.) Dziak also mentioned that, from time to time, T-phase events from what is likely volcanic activity in the Izu-Bonin Mariana region are recorded by the NOAA real-time system in the North Pacific. He offered to provide a later Bulletin report.

A recent paper by de Rhonde and others (2008) noted that all the major submarine volcanic centers on the Kermadec intraoceanic arc NE of New Zealand (including Monowai) are hydrothermally active. The Monowai volcanic complex has two separate and extensive hydrothermal fields associated with the Monowai caldera and the Monowai cone, respectively.

References. Wright, I.C., Worthington, T.J., and Gamble, J.A., 2006, New multibeam mapping and geochemistry of the 30°-35°S sector, and overview, of southern Kermadec arc volcanism, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 149, p. 263-296.

Wright, I. C., Chadwick, W., de Ronde, C. E. J., Reymond, D., Hyvernaud, O., Gennerich, H., Stoffers, P., Mackay, K., Dunkin, M., and Bannister, S., 2008 (in press), Collapse and reconstruction of Monowai submarine volcano, Kermadec arc, 1998-2004, Journal of Geophysical Research, doi:10.1029/2007JB005138.

de Ronde, C.E.J., Baker, E.T., Lupton, J.L., Sprovieri, M., Bruno, P.P., Faure, K., Leybourne, M.I., Walker, S.L., Italiano, F., Embley, R.W., Graham, I., Greene, R.R., Wright, I.C., and NZAPLUME III & Aeolian'07 shipboard parties, 2008, Contrasting examples of submarine hydrothermal venting along the Kermadec intraoceanic arc and the Aeolian island arc, Geophysical Research Abstracts, v. 10, EGU2008-A-05597, 2008 (SRef-ID: 1607-7962/gra/EGU2008-A-05597).

Geologic Background. Monowai, also known as Orion seamount, rises to within 100 m of the sea surface about halfway between the Kermadec and Tonga island groups. The volcano lies at the southern end of the Tonga Ridge and is slightly offset from the Kermadec volcanoes. Small parasitic cones occur on the N and W flanks of the basaltic submarine volcano, which rises from a depth of about 1500 m and was named for one of the New Zealand Navy bathymetric survey ships that documented its morphology. A large 8.5 x 11 km wide submarine caldera with a depth of more than 1500 m lies to the NNE. Numerous eruptions from Monowai have been detected from submarine acoustic signals since it was first recognized as a volcano in 1977. A shoal that had been reported in 1944 may have been a pumice raft or water disturbance due to degassing. Surface observations have included water discoloration, vigorous gas bubbling, and areas of upwelling water, sometimes accompanied by rumbling noises.

Information Contacts: Ian Wright, New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Private Bag 14-901, Wellington, 6003, New Zealand; Cornel de Ronde, GNS Science, Lower Hutt, 5040 New Zealand; Olivier Hyvernaud and Dominique Reymond, Laboratoire de Géophysique, Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique (CEA/DASE/LDG), PO Box 640, Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia; GNS Science, Wairakei Research Center, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/); Michael Field, Fairfax Media, Auckland, New Zealand; William Chadwick and Robert Dziak, NOAA and Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies at Oregon State University, 2115 SE OSU Drive, Newport, OR 97365.


Montagu Island (United Kingdom) — March 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Montagu Island

United Kingdom

58.445°S, 26.374°W; summit elev. 1370 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


December 2006 plume seen in satellite imagery

An ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometry) satellite image became available, showing a Montagu Island plume blowing NNE on 17 December 2006 (figure 19). A persistent ash plume over Montagu was previously noted in October 2006 ASTER imagery (BGVN 31:11).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. ASTER near-infrared image of Montagu Island volcano at 1115 UTC on 17 December 2006. Courtesy of ASTER Volcano Archive.

Thermal anomalies from Montagu were often detected by MODIS satellite instruments nearly weekly from at least 2006 until 20 September 2007. However, during that interval anomalies were absent for more than two months, from January 2007 through late March 2007. Anomalies were also absent from 21 September 2007 to 17 April 2008. The absence of anomalies could be due to lack of visibility, or the chilling of lava flows after the end of an eruptive phase.

Geologic Background. The largest of the South Sandwich Islands, Montagu consists of a massive shield volcano cut by a 6-km-wide ice-filled summit caldera. The summit of the 10 x 12 km wide island rises about 3000 m from the sea floor between Bristol and Saunders Islands. Around 90% of the island is ice-covered; glaciers extending to the sea typically form vertical ice cliffs. The name Mount Belinda has been applied both to the high point at the southern end of the summit caldera and to the young central cone. Mount Oceanite, an isolated 900-m-high peak with a 270-m-wide summit crater, lies at the SE tip of the island and was the source of lava flows exposed at Mathias Point and Allen Point. There was no record of Holocene or historical eruptive activity until MODIS satellite data, beginning in late 2001, revealed thermal anomalies consistent with lava lake activity that has been persistent since then. Apparent plumes and single anomalous pixels were observed intermittently on AVHRR images during the period March 1995 to February 1998, possibly indicating earlier unconfirmed and more sporadic volcanic activity.

Information Contacts: ASTER Volcano Archive (URL: http://ava.jpl.nasa.gov/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/);.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — March 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Rabaul

Papua New Guinea

4.271°S, 152.203°E; summit elev. 688 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Main vent plugged; seismicity, deformation, explosions, and H2S all high

This report describes ash plumes (figure 48) and explosions (table 9) located at Tavurvur, a cone located on the NE flank of Rabaul caldera. Tavurvur's summit sits at ~ 240 m elevation. The largest nearby settlement is Rabaul Town. Throughout the course of this report, audible sounds such as roaring, glowing of the cone, incandescent events, and hydrogen-sulfide (H2S) odor were frequently reported. RVO interpreted high-frequency earthquakes as rocks breaking or explosion events, and low-frequency earthquakes driven by fluids, steam or gas (rarely liquid magma), their motions imparting a slower shaking or rocking to the ground.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. MODIS satellite image of a Rabaul ash plume on 18 March 2008.The plume can be seen over 150 km. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

Table 9. Summary of events at Rabaul's Tavurvur cone during August 2007 to April 2008. Not all events are reported here. Further details of some of the events can be found in the text. Some data such as plume height or direction of plume were not measured. Areas effected by ashfall can generally be found in the text. Courtesy of the Darwin VAAC.

Date Plume height (km) Direction Notes and Comments
01-07 Aug 2007 0.9-1.7 N, NW, W Thick, dark gray. Occasional emission of white vapors. Ashfall.
14-20 Aug 2007 -- -- White vapors. Accompanied by blue vapor plumes.
22-28 Aug 2007 3 -- --
03 Sep 2007 -- NW Gray ash. Fine ashfall.
04 Sep 2007 2 WNW White vapor.
20-24 Sep 2007 1.2 W, NW White vapor. Ashfall.
25 Sep 2007 1.7 W --
02 Oct 2007 2.4 -- --
03 Oct 2007 1.7-2.7 NW Ashfall.
04 Oct 2007 -- W Ashfall.
08-23 Oct 2007 1.7-2.7 NNE, S Thick white, gray ash clouds. Occasional explosions, ashfall on large area.
29-30 Oct 2007 2.7-3.7 -- Ashfall.
10 Dec 2007 2 SSE, E, NW, W Thick dark ash clouds. Ashfall.
11 Jan 2008 1.2-1.5 SE Ash plume.
11-15 Jan 2008 0.9-1.2 SE, E, NE, N, W Ash vapor plume. Ashfall.
18-20 Jan 2008 1.7 NE --
28 Jan 2008 1.7 W --
29-30 Jan 2008 1.7 SW, W, E Ash and gas plumes.
01-03 Feb 2008 1.2 SSE Weak ash emissions.
Mid Feb 2008 1.2-1.7 NW, W, SW, S, SE, E Thick gray ash clouds. Long duration of ashfall.
26 Feb 2008 3.7 SE, E Thick billowing ash plumes. Explosion caused ashfall.
27 Feb-04 Mar 2008 0.9-2.2 W Ash and steam plumes. Ashfall.
08-10 Mar 2008 1.2-1.7 NW, W, SW, S, SE Ash plumes. Ashfall.
13 Mar 2008 2.5 NE Ashfall.
16 Mar 2008 2 S, W Gray ash. Ashfall.
17 Mar 2008 2.5 WNW High ashfall, rapid gas escape.
18 Mar 2008 2 WNW --
19 Mar 2008 2 NW, N --
20 Mar 2008 2 NW, SSE Ashfall.
21 Mar 2008 -- S Fine ashfall.
22 Mar 2008 1 SW, W, NW Ashfall.
23 Mar 2008 2.5 N, SE Ashfall.
26 Mar 2008 1.5 SE Ashfall, disruption of aviation.
27 Mar 2008 2 S Thick gray.
28 Mar 2008 0.5-1.0 W, SW Gray.
30 Mar 2008 1-2 N, NW Thick white vapor gray ash clouds.
01 Apr 2008 0.5 -- Fluctuating between water vapor and dense gray ash. Occasional explosions.
03 Apr 2008 1 SE Discrete puffs gray ash. Rarer explosions.
07-09 Apr 2008 1 E Gray ash clouds. Ashfall.
13 Apr 2008 1-1.5 W, NW Ashfall.
28 Apr 2008 1-1.5 N Gray.

Low eruptive activity such as reported in this issue have been periodically occurring since the powerful explosion in 1994. Our last report (BGVN 32:06) reported the six explosions that occurred in June and July (2007) at Tavurvur cone that produced shockwaves that rattled windows of houses in Rabaul Town and surrounding areas. The explosions also showered the flanks with lava fragments and conveyed ashfall and sulfurous odors to the NW.

RVO stated that there was no indication of any build up that might lead to significant eruptive activity like in October 2006. Ground deformation remains to be in a deflated but stable state. Seismic activity remains at a moderate to high level dominated by low-frequency earthquakes.

Throughout the entire period covered by these observations and reports, authorities have been regularly advising the public not to venture close to the volcano due to the possibility of rocks being expelled during the occasional eruptions.

Late July 2007. Rabaul Volcanic Observatory (RVO) described this time as marked by minor eruptions. The activity consisted of emission of thin to thick, white, and bluish vapor, which rose to an altitude of ~ 0.9 km and drifted NNW. Roaring noises were occasionally heard and incandescence was intermittently visible at the crater rim.

Red glow was visible at night, associated with a small lava dome centrally located within Tavurvur's wide vent. A weak smell of sulphur was evident on the downwind side of the vapor plume on 25 July. Occasional low roaring noise continued to be heard and a weak to bright red glow was visible above the crater rim on 28 and 29 July. On 30 July, a white plume with little ash content rose to an altitude of 2.7 km and drifted SW.

Seismicity was low but it and deformation were consistent with a dynamic and restless caldera. The real-time GPS at the caldera's center of the showed that centimeter-scale movements often occurred over a few hours. Small inflation events sometimes preceded activity by 6-12 hours. Only 17 low-frequency earthquakes were recorded between 22 and 27 July. One high-frequency earthquake was recorded on 26 July which originated NE of the caldera. Ground deformation continued to show a slow inflation trend with movement N.

August 2007. August activity was characterized by Tarvurvur emitting almost continuous ash and vapor plumes. During 1-7 August 2007, ashfall was reported at Rabaul Town (~ 6.5 km NW of the vent) and surrounding areas. Seismicity was generally moderate during the earlier part of August but increased to higher levels between 22-29 August. Activity was usually low frequency earthquakes, with occasional high-frequence earthquakes between 25-29 August. Five weak explosions were recorded on 27 August.

Ground deformation was stable until the middle of August when minor uplifts were noted. On 22 August, a marked uplift began and then subsided with the resumption of ash emissions. The subsidence continued until 28 August when a minor uplift began but subsided on 30 August.

A total of 1,087 low frequency earthquakes were recorded during 28-31 August. Three weak explosions were recorded on 30 August, but no high-frequency earthquakes were recorded. Ash emission persisted before declining significantly on the night of 30 August. A total of 150 low-frequency earthquakes were recorded on 31 August. After a momentary eruptive interlude took place at the end of August, blending into early September

September 2007. On 2 September, fine ashfall continued on Rabaul Town. Seismicity continued at a moderate level, dominated by bands of irregular tremor and discrete low-frequency earthquakes. A total of 886 low-frequency earthquakes were recorded during 1-5 September; no high-frequency events were recorded. During 6-10 September there was little or no ash emitted. Emissions consisted of billowing white fume when atmospheric conditions were humid or cool. During hot dry periods, observers saw clear air above the cone, with a white plume appearing several hundred meters higher. On 8 September, odors of H2S became noticeable downwind; this coincided with a blue tinge to the plume. Ground deformation measurements indicated an uplift. Emissions began again on 20 September, with ashfall in Rabaul Town and areas downwind, including Namanula Hill (3 km W). On 27 September, a large explosion was noted. During 30 September-2 October, incandescent fragments were ejected from the summit and rolled down the flanks.

October 2007. On 3 October ashfall was reported from areas downwind, including Rabaul Town. On 4 October ash plumes resulted in ashfall in Matupit Island (3.3 km SE), Malaguna. Incandescent fragments were ejected from the summit. On 5 October, vapor plumes with minor ash content were noted. During 8-23 October, occasional explosions produced ash plumes. Ashfall was reported at Namanula Hill and surrounding areas. Continuous weak glow was visible at night and incandescence at the summit was observed. The glow was bright on the night of 17 October. On 29-30 October ashfall was reported in Rabaul Town. Seismicity continued at moderate to moderately high level between the 17th and 20th. One high-frequency event was recorded on 21 October from NE of Rabaul.

November 2007. In late November, after five weeks of low-level activity, Tavurvur began to emit ash from a new vent on the NE crater rim. The new vent was formed as a result of the lava dome blocking the vent on the crater floor. The activity progressed and on 8-9 December emissions were thick white gray ash. The new dome has been the source of the continuous red glow visible at night.

December 2007. There was a slight increase in seismicity during December, but it was still low. The average daily number of low-frequency earthquakes was 20 during 1-3 December, before increasing to 55 during 4- 6 December, and 85 during 7- 8 December. The activity was accompanied by low-level sub-continuous signals. Two high-frequency earthquakes were recorded on 3 December which originated NE of the caldera. Ashfall continued downwind, including Rabaul Town. During 13-18 December, white plumes were observed and a strong smell of H2S gas was reported.

January 2008. January 2008 continued the December activity. White ash and vapor plumes continued from the Tavurvur cone. The eruptive activity came from vents based on the inner eastern wall. One vigorous coneless fumarole on the upper outer eastern flank occasionally erupted ash. Unfortunately, NW winds carried ash towards the Provincial Airport (5.3 km NW) on a few occasions, causing closures.

During 11-12 January slight ashfall was reported about 20 km SE of Tokua. On 17 January ashfall at Tokua, prompted Air Niugini to cancel some flights. During 18-20 January, the ash plumes were released at 10-20 minute intervals. Slight ashfall was reported in areas on the E coast. Incandescence from the center of the crater was visible at night throughout most of January.

Deformation-monitoring instruments indicated that uplift started on 23 January and peaked during 25-26 January with 2 cm of inflation. On 26 January, ashfall was quite heavy but died down on the morning of 27 January. Seismicity remained moderately high, with small sub-continuous low-frequency signals dominating. In the preceeding 24 hrs there were 400 low-frequency events and 3 explosion type signals, most of them were not associated with the seen emissions. There were no high-frequency or hybrid events. There were small explosion type signals, even when ash was not emitted. Deformation monitoring showed a slight uplift superimposed on the gradual 6 month long subsidence. On 29 January two small, instrumentally recorded, high-frequency events occured within the caldera, one between Tavurvur and Rabalanakia and the other just off the E coast of Vulcan (the first here since the '94 eruption). Deformation monitoring showed that the center of the caldera underwent a rapid centimetre scale uplift and matching deflation on 31 January.

February 2008. There was little variance in the activity at Tarvurur which was essentially a continuation of the January activity. Because of light winds, the plumes reached 1 km above Tavurvur. Drift was predominantly E. During 1-3 February ashfall was reported in Kokopo (20 km SE). On 4 February, a strong smell of H2S gas was reported from Rabaul Town (3-5 km NW). Incandescence from the center of the crater was visible almost every night.

Low-frequency seismicity was moderately high and increased slightly, with occasional low-frequency signals dominating. Some hybrid events were also recorded. Seismic activity did not always appear to be related to the observed events. Deformation monitoring showed that the center of the caldera remaining reasonable stable during the early part of the month, although the trend was towards inflation. On 5 February, deformation monitoring showed some small, but significant movements with horizontal strain greater than vertical. A slight deflation was noted.

Toward the middle of February, ashfall was reported everyday in areas downwind, including Matupit, Kokopo, and Rabaul Town, and surrounding areas. Incandescence at the summit was noted and incandescent material was propelled from a vent on the inner E wall of the crater. Seismic activity remained at moderate levels; but again, the activity did not always appear to be related to observed events. Deflation appeared to continue but only slightly. Occasional periods of high level seismic activity were dominated by low-frequency volcanic earthquakes. A total of over 1,570 events were recorded during 7-8 February. Ground deformation showed no significant movement although the trend after 9 February was towards inflation.

From 13-19 February, ashfall was reported in Barovon, Lalakua, Raluana, Kokopo, and surrounding villages. During 19-20 February, incandescence at the summit was accompanied by projections of lava fragments. Ground deformation as indicated by both the GPS and water-tube tiltmeter continued to indicate a trend towards inflation. On 25 February an explosion showered the flanks with lava fragments. On 26 February a large explosion occurred. The flanks were again showered with lava fragments. Ashfall was reported in Kokopo and surrounding areas.

March 2008. Tavurvur's activity during March was a continuation of the preceeding months. During 27 February-4 March ashfall was reported in areas downwind, including Matupit. A smell of H2S gas was again reported in Rabaul Town. During 3-7 March, incandescence at the summit. A slight smell of H2S was reported in areas to the S on 5 March. During 8-11 March, ash fall was reported in areas downwind, including Kokopo town (SE), and Rabaul Town (NW) on 11 and 13 March. Seismic activity often remained at a high level during March, but, the instrument's batteries died during 10-11 March. A total of over 980 events were recorded on 9 March. No high-frequency earthquakes were recorded. Deformation continued to indicate an inflationary trend after 8 March. On 13 March fine ash fell upon Rabaul Town. Ground deformation began towards an inflation trend after previous indications towards deflation. Unlike most plume eruptions, on 13 March sounds were not recorded. On 17 March moderate to heavy ash fall rained on Matupit island and surrounding areas.

At 1105 on 20 March a large explosion occurred showering the flanks with lava fragments. The shockwave rattled windows in Rabaul Town. At 1730 on 22 March 2008 an explosion occurred showering the flanks with lava fragments. During 22-23 March areas downwind had ashfall.

On 25 March 2008 ash clouds formed a broad fan from S at Barovon/Ialakua to Kokopo. The cloud drifted SE towards Tokua later that morning. During the morning on 26 March 2008 ash plumes caused Air Niugini flights into Tokua to be affected.

During 27 March into July 2007 overall deflation was 5 cm of subsidence, step-wise with small superimposed up lifts. RVO suggested that low-pressure intrusions were periodically rising in an open conduit causing the uplift before intersecting with the surface. The overall deflation implied that the deeper source was being depleted. The deformation measurements were made at Matupit. Constant expansion and degassing of magma in the recent weeks had apparently kept the conduit open. Pressure and debris have started to block the mouth of the vent by compaction and partial welding of molten material. This would lead to pressure build-up causing periodic explosions, in a plausible waning explosive phase.

April-May 2008. On 2 April ground deformation was stable with small and continued rapid fluctuations due to the repeating sealing and rupturing of the shallow conduit. Seismicity generally became moderate, but still generally dominated by low-frequency earthquakes. Activity was no longer preceded by notable explosions. The vent would be clear for a period of time. On 7 April a high-frequency event occurred NE of the caldera. On 9-10 April 9 mm of uplift occurred. On 11 April moderate ashfall was noted in Rabaul Town. Fine ashfall occurred in Matupit island. Seismic activity returned to a high level dominated by low-frequency earthquakes. On 11 April a total of 1,000 earthquakes were recorded. At 1100 on 22 April a modest explosion occurred. On 23 April 1-2 mm of non compacted flocculated pale ash was deposited in a sector from Malaguna E to S of Matupit. The cone was obscured to vision. On 28 April ground deformation was in a deflated but stable state. Ashfalls on 2 May left 3-4 cm in eastern Rabaul and 1-2 cm in western Rabaul.

Geologic Background. The low-lying Rabaul caldera on the tip of the Gazelle Peninsula at the NE end of New Britain forms a broad sheltered harbor utilized by what was the island's largest city prior to a major eruption in 1994. The outer flanks of the 688-m-high asymmetrical pyroclastic shield volcano are formed by thick pyroclastic-flow deposits. The 8 x 14 km caldera is widely breached on the east, where its floor is flooded by Blanche Bay and was formed about 1400 years ago. An earlier caldera-forming eruption about 7100 years ago is now considered to have originated from Tavui caldera, offshore to the north. Three small stratovolcanoes lie outside the northern and NE caldera rims. Post-caldera eruptions built basaltic-to-dacitic pyroclastic cones on the caldera floor near the NE and western caldera walls. Several of these, including Vulcan cone, which was formed during a large eruption in 1878, have produced major explosive activity during historical time. A powerful explosive eruption in 1994 occurred simultaneously from Vulcan and Tavurvur volcanoes and forced the temporary abandonment of Rabaul city.

Information Contacts: Steve Saunders and Herman Patia, Rabaul Volcanological Observatory (RVO), Department of Mining, Private Mail Bag, Port Moresby Post Office, National Capitol District, Papua New Guinea (URL: http://www.pngndc.gov.pg/); NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).


Sangay (Ecuador) — March 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangay

Ecuador

2.005°S, 78.341°W; summit elev. 5286 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Conspicuous ash plumes, October 2006-December 2007

Our previous report on Sangay (BGVN 21:03) described occasional, but sometimes conspicuous, steam and/or ash plumes between January 2004 and January 2006. The current report continues coverage of plume emissions through December 2007.

Sangay has continued to erupt, sending ash plumes up to an altitude of about 11 km. A summary of plume activity is indicated in table 1. The information is from the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and is based on reports from the Guayaquil Meteorologic Watch Office, pilot reports, satellite imagery, and the Instituto Geofísico-Departamento de Geofísica (Escuela Politécnica Nacional). We did not receive any report of activity during the period February 2006 through September 2006, or during the first three months of 2008.

Table 1. Ash plume advisories about Sangay activity, October 2006 through December 2007. Courtesy of the Washington VAAC.

Date Altitude (km) Bearing Remarks
11 Oct 2006 2.7 W --
21 Oct 2006 6.7 -- --
22 Nov 2006 -- WNW Hotspot visible on satellite imagery
02 Dec 2006 8.5 SW --
23 Dec 2006 7.6 -- --
01 Jan 2007 5.2 -- --
14 Jan 2007 6.1 SW --
28 Jan 2007 6.4 -- --
06 Feb 2007 9.1 SW --
06-10 Feb 2007 6.1-9 Several Hotspot at summit visible on satellite imagery
13 Feb 2007 -- -- Hotspot at summit visible on satellite imagery
23 Feb 2007 10.7 S --
25 Feb 2007 6.4 SW --
28 Feb 2007 7.6 -- --
02 Mar 2007 -- -- Weak hotspot visible on satellite imagery
05 Mar 2007 5.2-6.1 W --
12-13 Mar 2007 7 W Hotspot visible on satellite imagery
17 Mar 2007 5.2 -- Hotspot visible on satellite imagery
04 May 2007 5.2-7.6 -- --
05 May 2007 -- W Possible narrow plume on satellite imagery
24 May 2007 7.3 -- --
03 Jul 2007 5.2-7.9 W --
23 Jul 2007 5.5 W Ash not detected by satellite imagery
24 Jul 2007 5.2 SW --
28 Jul 2007 6.7-8.2 -- Weak hotspot visible on satellite imagery, but ash not detected
02 Aug 2007 5.5 W Ash not detected by satellite imagery
19 Aug 2007 -- -- Clouds inhibited satellite imagery
08-09 Sep 2007 -- -- Ash not detected by satellite imagery
12 Oct 2007 7 W --
26 Dec 2007 6.1 SW --
26-27 Dec 2007 -- -- Thermal anomaly seen on satellite imagery

According to a report from the Instituto Geofísico, activity at Sangay increased at the end of 2006 through the beginning of 2007. They reported that a thermal anomaly was detected by satellite imagery during several days in December 2006. During that time, mountain guides near the volcano observed the fall of incandescent rocks down the volcano's flanks at night and a recent deposit of ash that was sufficiently deep to affect birds, rabbits, and other small animals. The report indicated that the Instituto Geofísico has not installed monitoring instrumentation near Sangay because of a significant logistics problem in maintaining them in this inhospitable area, and also because the area is uninhabited and thus poses no direct human risk. However, the report notes that because ash emissions from Sangay may pose problems for aircraft in the S, SE, and SW parts of the country, the Instituto maintains contact with the civil aviation authority.

Geologic Background. The isolated Sangay volcano, located east of the Andean crest, is the southernmost of Ecuador's volcanoes and its most active. The steep-sided, glacier-covered, dominantly andesitic volcano grew within horseshoe-shaped calderas of two previous edifices, which were destroyed by collapse to the east, producing large debris avalanches that reached the Amazonian lowlands. The modern edifice dates back to at least 14,000 years ago. It towers above the tropical jungle on the east side; on the other sides flat plains of ash have been sculpted by heavy rains into steep-walled canyons up to 600 m deep. The earliest report of a historical eruption was in 1628. More or less continuous eruptions were reported from 1728 until 1916, and again from 1934 to the present. The almost constant activity has caused frequent changes to the morphology of the summit crater complex.

Information Contacts: Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/); P. Ramón, Instituto Geofísico-Departamento de Geofísica (IG), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador.


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — March 2008 Citation iconCite this Report

Ulawun

Papua New Guinea

5.05°S, 151.33°E; summit elev. 2334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Mostly gentle emissions of white vapor; low-frequency earthquakes

This report updates activity through March 2008. Our last overview of Ulawun (BGVN 32:02) reported little activity of note other than frequent ash plumes from March 2006 to January 2007. Typical activity at Ulawun has consisted of gentle emission of thin-to-thick white vapor from the summit Based on satellite imagery and information from the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), the Darwin VAAC reported that diffuse plumes from Ulawun drifted N on 28 April 2007. On 1 May, an ash plume rose to an altitude of 4 km and drifted W.

[On 29 May 2007, RVO reported thick white vapor; there were no audible noises or night glow.] The two N valley vents remained quiet. Seismicity was at a low to moderate level dominated by low-frequency earthquakes. Through May, between 500 and 1,265 low frequency events were recorded daily with the most recorded on 28 and 29 May.

Similar conditions continued through the end of 2007 with only minor incidental variation. On 6 June, the elevated characteristics of the forceful emissions of 28-29 May were repeated. The daily total number of low-frequency earthquakes fluctuated between 400 and 1,042 events with the highest numbers recorded on 24 June (1,032) and 8 August (1,042). A high-frequency earthquake was recorded on 1 August. On 3 September forceful emissions were recorded sending the vapor plume ~ 1 km above the summit before being blown SE. On 25 December, based on satellite imagery observations, the Darwin VAAC reported that an ash-and-steam plume from Ulawun drifted W.

Low levels of activity continued from January through March 2008. Emissions consisted of thin to thick white vapor and with no audible noises and no glow visible at night. Seismicity continued at moderate level dominated by low frequency volcanic earthquakes. Variable amounts of white fume were emitted, sometimes forcefully. The two N valley vents continued to remain quiet.

Geologic Background. The symmetrical basaltic-to-andesitic Ulawun stratovolcano is the highest volcano of the Bismarck arc, and one of Papua New Guinea's most frequently active. The volcano, also known as the Father, rises above the N coast of the island of New Britain across a low saddle NE of Bamus volcano, the South Son. The upper 1,000 m is unvegetated. A prominent E-W escarpment on the south may be the result of large-scale slumping. Satellitic cones occupy the NW and E flanks. A steep-walled valley cuts the NW side, and a flank lava-flow complex lies to the south of this valley. Historical eruptions date back to the beginning of the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions were mildly explosive until 1967, but after 1970 several larger eruptions produced lava flows and basaltic pyroclastic flows, greatly modifying the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Herman Patia, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P. O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); US Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA), Satellite Applications Branch, Offutt AFB, NE 68113-4039, USA; Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); James Mori, Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University, Uji, Kyoto 611-0011, Japan (URL: http://eqh.dpri.kyoto-u.ac.jp/~mori/).

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements  Obituaries

Misc Reports

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

Additional Reports  False Reports