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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

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

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

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

Yasur (Vanuatu) Strong thermal activity with incandescent ejecta continues, February-May 2019

Bagana (Papua New Guinea) Infrequent thermal anomalies, no ash emissions, February-May 2019

Ambae (Vanuatu) Declining thermal activity and no explosions during February-May 2019

Sangay (Ecuador) Explosion on 26 March 2019; activity from 10 May through June produced ash plumes, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows

Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) Ash emissions and thermal anomalies during October 2018-April 2019; lava emissions at the E flank coast and summit area

Sarychev Peak (Russia) Brief ash emission reported on 16 May 2019

Nyiragongo (DR Congo) Lava lake remains active through May 2019; three new vents around the secondary cone

Bezymianny (Russia) Ongoing thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam plumes, and lava dome growth during February-May 2019; strong explosion in mid-March

Nevados de Chillan (Chile) Small ash explosions and dome growth during December 2018-May 2019; ballistic ejecta deposited around the crater, with a pyroclastic flow in May



Ibu (Indonesia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ibu

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/).


Ebeko (Russia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/).


Yasur (Vanuatu) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

19.532°S, 169.447°E; summit elev. 361 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong thermal activity with incandescent ejecta continues, February-May 2019

Yasur volcano on Tanna Island has been characterized by Strombolian activity with large incandescent bombs, frequent explosions, lava fountaining, and ash emissions for much of its known eruptive history. Melanesians from nearby islands are believed to have settled Tanna in about 400 BCE; it is now part of the nation of Vanuatu, independent since 1980. The Kwamera language (or Tannese) spoken on the SE coast of the island is thought to be the source of the name of the island. No known oral history describes volcanic activity; the first written English-language documentation of activity dates to 5 August 1774, when Captain James Cook saw "a great fire" on Tanna Island. Cook realized that it "was a Volcano which threw up vast quantities of fire and smoak and made a rumbling noise which was heard at a good distance" (The Captain Cook Society) (figure 51).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Incandescence, steam, and dark ash from Yasur fill the sky in this sketch representing Captain James Cook's landing in the 'Resolution' at Tanna Island on 5 August 1774. The form of the volcano is behind the ship, the incandescence is in the upper right next to the ship's masts. "Landing at Tanna" by William Hodges, 1775-1776, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. The Maritime Museum noted that this is one of a group of panel paintings produced by Hodges of encounters with islanders during the voyage, in which the European perception of each society at the time is portrayed. Image taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Based on numerous accounts from ships logs and other sources, volcanic activity has been continuous since that time. During periods of higher activity, multiple vents within the summit crater send ejecta 100 m or more above the crater rim, with large bombs occasionally landing hundreds of meters away. Continued activity during February-May 2019 is covered in this report with information provided by the Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) which monitors the volcano and satellite data; photographs from tourists also provide valuable information about this remote location.

VMGD has maintained Alert Level 2 at Yasur since October 2016, indicating that it is in a major state of unrest. There is a permanent exclusion zone within 395 m of the eruptive vents where access is prohibited due to multiple hazards, primarily from large incandescent bombs up to 4 m in diameter which have been ejected from the vents onto the crater rim in the past, resulting in fatalities (BGVN 20:08).

Satellite and ground based information all support high levels of thermal activity during February -May 2019. MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued 11 times in February, 27 times in March, and 20 times each in April and May. The MIROVA graph also indicated the ongoing consistently high levels of thermal energy throughout the period (figure 52). Plumes of SO2 emissions are common from Vanuatu's volcanoes; newer higher resolution data available beginning in 2019 reveal a persistent stream of SO2 from Yasur on a near-daily basis (figure 53).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. The MIROVA graph of thermal energy at Yasur from 3 September 2018 through May 2019 indicates the ongoing activity at the volcano. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. The SO2 plumes from Yasur were persistent during January-May 2019 when they were visible many days of each week throughout the period. Top left: On 12 January plumes were visible drifting E from both Ambrym (top) and Yasur (bottom). Top right: Plumes drifted W from three Vanuatu volcanoes on 7 February, Gaua (top), Ambrym (middle) and Yasur (bottom). Bottom left: On 12 March N drifting plumes could be seen from Ambae (top) and Yasur (bottom). On 27 April, only Yasur had an SO2 plume drifting W. Courtesy of Goddard Space Flight Center.

Satellite imagery confirmed that the heat sources from Yasur were vents within the summit crater of the pyroclastic cone. Both northern and southern vent areas were active. On 7 March 2019 the N vent area had a strong thermal signal. Ten days later, on 17 March, similar intensity thermal anomalies were present in both the N and S vent areas (figure 54). On 6 April the S vent area had a stronger signal, and gas emissions from both vents were drifting N (figure 55). Satellite imagery from 21 May 2019 indicated a strong thermal signal inside the crater in the area of the vents, and included a weaker signal clearly visible on the inside E crater rim. Strong Strombolian activity or spatter sending large incandescent bombs as far as the crater rim are a likely explanation for the signal (figure 56), underscoring the hazardous nature of approaching the crater rim.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Strong thermal anomalies from the crater of Yasur's pyroclastic cone seen in satellite images confirmed the ongoing high level of activity. Left: 7 March 2019, a strong thermal anomaly from the N vent area, shown with "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2). Right: 17 March 2019, thermal anomalies at both the N and S vent areas, shown with "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). The crater is about 500 m in diameter. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Strong thermal anomalies (left) and gas emissions (right) at Yasur were captured with different bands in the same Sentinel-2 satellite image on 6 April 2019. Left: The thermal anomaly in the S vent area was stronger than in the N vent area, "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Right: Gas plumes drifted N from both vent areas, "Natural color" rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). The crater is about 500 m in diameter. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Thermal activity from the crater of Yasur on 21 May 2019 produced a strong thermal signal from the center of the crater and a weaker signal on the inside E crater rim, likely the result of hazardous incandescent bombs and ejecta, frequent products of the activity at Yasur. Left: "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Right: "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2). The crater is about 0.5 km in diameter. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Tourists visit Yasur on a regular basis. A former lake on the N side of Yasur has left ripples in the sand deposits over older volcanic rocks on the N side of the volcano (figure 57) since it drained in 2000 (BGVN 28:01). Visitors are allowed to approach the S rim of the crater where incandescence from both the N and S vents is usually visible (figure 58). Incandescent spatter from the convecting lava in the vents is highly dangerous and unpredictable and often covers the inner slopes of the rim as well as sending bombs outside the crater (figure 59).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. The pyroclastic cone of Yasur viewed from the north on 6 May 2019. Ripples in volcaniclastic sand in the foreground are remnants of a lake that was present on the N side of the volcano until a natural dam breached in 2000. Copyrighted photo by Nick Page, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Two glowing vents were visible from the south rim of Yasur on 6 May 2019. The S vent area is in the foreground, the N vent area is in the upper left. Copyrighted by Nick Page, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Incandescent spatter at Yasur on 6 May 2019 sent fragments of lava against the inside crater wall and onto the rim. The convecting lava in the vent can be seen in the lower foreground. Copyrighted photo by Nick Page, used with permission.

Geologic Background. Yasur, the best-known and most frequently visited of the Vanuatu volcanoes, has been in more-or-less continuous Strombolian and Vulcanian activity since Captain Cook observed ash eruptions in 1774. This style of activity may have continued for the past 800 years. Located at the SE tip of Tanna Island, this mostly unvegetated pyroclastic cone has a nearly circular, 400-m-wide summit crater. The active cone is largely contained within the small Yenkahe caldera, and is the youngest of a group of Holocene volcanic centers constructed over the down-dropped NE flank of the Pleistocene Tukosmeru volcano. The Yenkahe horst is located within the Siwi ring fracture, a 4-km-wide, horseshoe-shaped caldera associated with eruption of the andesitic Siwi pyroclastic sequence. Active tectonism along the Yenkahe horst accompanying eruptions has raised Port Resolution harbor more than 20 m during the past century.

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); 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 Captain Cook Society (URL: https://www.captaincooksociety.com/home/detail/225-years-ago-july-september-1774); Royal Museums Greenwich (URL: https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/13383.html); Wikimedia Commons, (URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Landing_at_Tana_one_of_the_New_Hebrides,_by_William_Hodges.jpg); Nick Page, Australia,Flickr: (URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/152585166@N08/).


Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — June 2019 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)


Infrequent thermal anomalies, no ash emissions, February-May 2019

With historical eruptions reported back to 1842, Papua New Guinea's Bagana volcano on the island of Bougainville has been characterized by viscous andesitic lava flows down the steep flanks of its cone, along with intermittent ash plumes and pyroclastic flows. Ongoing thermal anomalies and frequent ash plumes have been typical of activity during the current eruption since it began in early 2000. Activity declined significantly in December 2018 and remained low through May 2019, the period covered in this report (figure 33). Information for this report comes primarily from satellite images and thermal data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. The MIROVA plot of radiative power at Bagana from 1 September 2018 through May 2019 shows a marked decline in thermal activity during December 2018 after ash explosions and satellite observations of flows during the previous months. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The last ash emission at Bagana was reported on 1 December 2018 by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). A Sentinel-2 satellite image showed a linear thermal anomaly trending NW from the summit on 14 December (BGVN 50:01). On 8 January 2019, an image contained a dense steam plume drifting E and a very faint thermal anomaly on the N flank a few hundred meters from the summit. A more distinct thermal anomaly at the summit appeared on 22 February 2019 (figure 34). A visitor to the region photographed incandescence on the flank, likely from the volcano, at dawn around 19 February 2019 (figure 35).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery revealed thermal anomalies at Bagana in January and February 2019. Left: a very faint thermal anomaly was N of the summit at the edge of the E-drifting steam plume on 8 January 2019. Right: A thermal anomaly was located at the summit, at the base of the NE-drifting steam plume on 22 February 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite images with "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. A visitor near Bagana spotted incandescence on the flank at dawn, possibly from a lava flow. Posted online 19 February 2019. Courtesy of Emily Stanford.

Two faint thermal anomalies were visible at the summit in satellite imagery on 19 March; a single one appeared on 29 March 2019 (figure 36). No thermal anomalies were recorded in Sentinel-2 images during April or May, but steam plumes and gas emissions were visible through cloud cover on multiple occasions (figure 37).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Faint thermal anomalies at Bagana were recorded in satellite imagery twice during March 2019. Left: 19 March, two anomalies appear right of the date label. Right: 29 March, a small anomaly appears right of the date label. Sentinel-2 image rendered with "Atmospheric Penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Steam and gas emissions at Bagana were recorded in satellite imagery during April and May 2019. Left: A steam plume drifted NW from the summit on 23 April, visible through dense cloud cover. Right: A gas plume drifted SW from the summit on 18 May. Sentinel-2 image with "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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); Emily Stanford (Twitter: https://twitter.com/NerdyBatLady, image posted at https://twitter.com/NerdyBatLady/status/1098052063009792001/photo/1).


Ambae (Vanuatu) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambae

Vanuatu

15.389°S, 167.835°E; summit elev. 1496 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Declining thermal activity and no explosions during February-May 2019

Ambae (Aoba) is a large basaltic shield volcano in the New Hebrides arc, part of the multi-island country of Vanuatu. Its periodic phreatic and pyroclastic explosions originating in the summit crater lakes have been recorded since the 16th century. A pyroclastic cone appeared in Lake Voui during November 2005-February 2006 (BGVN 31:12, figure 30); an explosive eruption from a new pyroclastic cone in the lake began in mid-September 2017 (BGVN 43:02). Activity included high-altitude ash emissions (9.1 km), lava flows, and Strombolian activity. Intermittent pulses of ash emissions during the following months resulted in extensive ashfall and evacuations; multiple communities were affected by lahars. The most recent episode of the eruption from July to September 2018 (BGVN 44:02) resulted in 11-km-altitude ash plumes and the evacuation of the entire island due to heavy ashfall and lahars. This report covers activity from February to May 2019, with information provided by the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory of the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) and satellite data from multiple sources.

Activity diminished after the extensive eruptive phase of July-September 2018 when substantial ash plumes and ashfall resulted in evacuations. An explosion with an ash plume on 30 October 2018 was the last activity reported for 2018. Thermal alerts were reported by the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) MODVOLC thermal alerts system through January 2019, and the Log Radiative Power graph prepared by the MIROVA project showed decreasing thermal anomalies into June 2019 (figure 92). Satellite images recorded in April and May 2019 (figure 93) showed the configuration of the summit lakes to be little changed from the previous November except for the color (BGVN 44:02, figure 89). No ash emissions or SO2 plumes were reported during the period. VMGD noted that the volcano remained at Alert Level 2 through May 2019 with a 2-km-radius exclusion zone around the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. The MIROVA log radiative power plot for Ambae showed ongoing intermittent thermal anomalies from early September 2018 through May 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. Satellite imagery in April and May 2019 showed little change in the configuration of lakes at the summit of Ambae since November 2018 (see BGVN 44:02, figure 89). Left: 24 April 2019. Right: 29 May 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery with "Natural Color" rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The island of Ambae, also known as Aoba, is a massive 2500 km3 basaltic shield that is the most voluminous volcano of the New Hebrides archipelago. A pronounced NE-SW-trending rift zone dotted with scoria cones gives the 16 x 38 km island an elongated form. A broad pyroclastic cone containing three crater lakes (Manaro Ngoru, Voui, and Manaro Lakua) is located at the summit within the youngest of at least two nested calderas, the largest of which is 6 km in diameter. That large central edifice is also called Manaro Voui or Lombenben volcano. Post-caldera explosive eruptions formed the summit craters about 360 years ago. A tuff cone was constructed within Lake Voui (or Vui) about 60 years later. The latest known flank eruption, about 300 years ago, destroyed the population of the Nduindui area near the western coast.

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Sangay (Ecuador) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangay

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosion on 26 March 2019; activity from 10 May through June produced ash plumes, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows

Sangay is the southernmost active volcano in Ecuador, with confirmed historical eruptions going back to 1628. The previous eruption occurred during August and December and was characterized by ash plumes reaching 2,500 m above the crater. Lava flows and pyroclastic flows descended the eastern and southern flanks. This report summarizes activity during January through July 2019 and is based on reports by Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

After the December 2018 eruption there was a larger reduction in seismicity, down to one event per day. During January, February, and most of March there was no recorded activity and low seismicity until the Washington VAAC reported an ash plume at 0615 on 26 March. The ash plume rose to a height of around 1 km and dispersed to the SW as seen in GOES 16 satellite imagery as a dark plume within white meteorological clouds. There was no seismic data available due to technical problems with the station.

More persistent eruptive activity began on 10 May with thermal alerts (figure 30) and an ash plume at 0700 that dispersed to the W. An explosion was recorded at 1938 on 11 May, producing an ash plume and incandescent material down the flank (figure 31). Two M 2 earthquakes were detected between 3.5 and 9 km below the crater on 10 May, possibly corresponding to explosive activity. By 17 May there were two active eruptive centers, the central crater and the Ñuñurcu dome (figure 32).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. MIROVA log radiative power plot of MODIS thermal infrared at Sangay for the year ending June 2019. The plot shows the August to December 2018 eruption, a break in activity, and resumed activity in May 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. An explosion at Sangay on 10 May 2019 sent ballistic projectiles up to 650 m above the crater at a velocity of over 400 km/hour, an ash plume that rose to over 600 m, and incandescent blocks that traveled over 1.5 km from the crater at velocities of around 150 km/hour. Screenshots are from video by IG-EPN.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. A photograph of the southern flank of Sangay on 17 May 2019 with the corresponding thermal infrared image in the top right corner. The letters correspond to: a) a fissure to the W of the lava flow; b) an active lava flow from the Ñuñurcu dome; c) the central crater producing a volcanic gas plume; d) a pyroclastic flow deposit produced by collapsing material from the front of the lava flow. Prepared by M. Almeida; courtesy of IG-EPN (special report No. 3 – 2019).

Activity at the central crater by 21 May was characterized by sporadic explosive eruptions that ejected hot ballistic ejecta (blocks) with velocities over 400 km/hour; after landing on the flanks the blocks travelled out to 2.5 km from the crater. Ash plumes reached heights between 0.9-2.3 km above the crater and dispersed mainly to the W and NW; gas plumes also dispersed to the W. The Ñuñurcu dome is located around 190 m SSE of the central crater and by 21 May had produced a lava flow over 470 m long with a maximum width of 175 m and an estimated minimum volume of 300,000 to 600,000 m3. Small pyroclastic flows and rockfalls resulted from collapse of the lava flow front, depositing material over a broad area on the E-SE flanks (figure 33). One pyroclastic flow reached 340 m and covered an area of 14,300 m2. During the 17 May observation flight the lava flow surface reached 277°C.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. A view of the ESE flanks of Sangay on 17 May 2019. The area within the black dotted line is the main area of pyroclastic flow deposition from the Ñuñurco Dome. Photo by M. Almeida; courtesy of IG-EPN (special report No. 4 – 2019).

At the end of June activity was continuing at the central crater and Ñuñurco Dome. At least three lava flows had been generated from the dome down the SE flank and pyroclastic flows continued to form from the flow fronts (figure 34). Pyroclastic material had been washed into the Upano river and steam was observed in the Volcán River possibly due to the presence of hot rocks. Ash plumes continued through June reaching heights of 800 m above the crater (figure 35), but no ashfall had been reported in nearby communities.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Sentinel-2 natural color (left) and thermal (center) images (bands 12, 11, 4), and 1:50 000 scale maps (right) of Sangay with interpretation on the background of a 30 m numerical terrain model (WGS84; Zone 17S) (Prepared by B. Bernard). The dates from top to bottom are 17 May, 22 May, 27 May, 16 June, and 26 June 2019. Prepared by B. Bernard; courtesy IG-EPN (special report No. 4 – 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Plots giving the heights and dispersal direction of ash plumes at Sangay during May and June 2019. Top: Ash plume heights measures in meters above the crater. Bottom: A plot showing that the dominant dispersal direction of ash plumes is to the W during this time. Courtesy of IG-EPN (special report No. 4 – 2019).

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


Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) — May 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kadovar

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions and thermal anomalies during October 2018-April 2019; lava emissions at the E flank coast and summit area

Steeply-sloped Kadovar Island is located about 25 km NNE from the mouth of the Sepik River on the mainland of Papua New Guinea. The first confirmed historical eruption with ash plumes and lava extrusion began in early January 2018, resulting in the evacuation of around 600 residents from the N side of the approximately 1.4-km-diameter island (BGVN 43:03); continuing activity from October 2018 through April 2019 is covered in this report. Information was provided by the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), satellite sources, and photos from visiting tourists.

Activity during March-September 2018. After the first recorded explosions with ash plumes in early January 2018, intermittent ash plumes continued through March 2018. A lava flow on the E flank extended outward from the island, extruding from a vent low on the E flank and forming a dome just offshore. The dome collapsed and regrew twice during February 2018; the growth rate slowed somewhat during March. A satellite image from 21 March 2018 was one of the first showing the new dome growing off the E flank with a thermal anomaly and sediment plumes in the water drifting N and E from the area. Thermal anomalies were visible at both the summit vent and the E-flank coastal dome in in April and May 2018, along with steam and gas rising from both locations (figure 19).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Kadovar provided clear evidence of thermal activity at the new E-flank coastal dome during March-May 2018. Sediment plumes were visible drifting N and E in the water adjacent to the coastal dome. The summit crater also had a persistent steam plume and thermal anomaly in April and May 2018. Left: 21 March 2018. Middle 10 April 2018. Right: 15 May 2018. Images all shown with "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

A trip to Kadovar by tourists in mid-May 2018 provided close-up views of the dense steam plumes at the summit and the growing E-flank coastal dome (figures 20 and 21). The thermal anomaly was still strong at the E-flank coastal dome in a mid-June satellite image, but appeared diminished in late July. Intermittent puffs of steam rose from both the summit and the coastal dome in mid-June; the summit plume was much denser on 29 July (figure 22). Ash emissions were reported by the Darwin VAAC and photographed by tourists during June (figure 23) and September 2018 (BGVN 43:10), but thermal activity appeared to decline during that period (figure 24).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. A tourist photographed Kadovar and posted it online on 19 May 2018. Steam plumes rose from both the summit and the E-flank coastal dome in this view taken from the SE. Courtesy of Tico Liu.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. A closeup view of the E-flank coastal dome at Kadovar posted online on 19 May 2018 showed steam rising from several places on the dome, and dead trees on the flank of the volcano from recent eruptive activity. Courtesy of Tico Liu.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. The thermal anomaly was still strong at the E-flank coastal dome of Kadovar in a 14 June 2018 satellite image (left), but appeared diminished on 29 July 2018 (right). Intermittent puffs of steam rose from both the summit and the coastal dome on 14 June; the summit plume was much denser on 29 July. Sentinel-2 images both show "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. An ash plume rose from the summit of Kadovar and drifted W while steam and gas rose from the E-flank coastal dome, posted online 27 June 2018. Courtesy of Shari Kalt.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Thermal activity at Kadovar for the year ending on 26 April 2019 was consistent from late April 2018 through mid-June 2018; a quiet period afterwards through late September ended with renewed and increased thermal activity beginning in October 2018. All distances are actually within 1 km of the summit of Kadovar, a DEM georeferencing error makes some locations appear further away. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Multiple satellite images during August and early September 2018 showed little or no sign of thermal activity at the E-flank coastal dome, with only intermittent steam plumes from the summit. A new steam plume on the eastern slope appeared in a 22 September 2018 image (figure 25). The Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) reported explosive activity on the afternoon of 21 September. Noises of explosions were accompanied by dark gray and brown ash clouds that rose several hundred meters above the summit crater and drifted NW. Local reports indicated that the activity continued through 26 September and ashfall was reported on Blupblup island during the period. Ground observers noted incandescence visible from both the summit and the E-flank coastal dome.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Steam plumes were seen in satellite images of Kadovar during August and early September 2018, but no thermal anomalies. Intermittent steam plumes rose from the summit vent on 28 August (left). A new dense steam plume originating mid-way down the E flank appeared on 22 September 2018 (right). Sentinel-2 images both show "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during October-December 2018. Evidence of both thermal and explosive activity reappeared in October 2018 (figure 24). The Darwin VAAC reported intermittent ash plumes rising to 2.7 km altitude and drifting W on 1 October 2018. Low-level continuous ash emissions rising less than a kilometer and drifting W were reported early on 3 October. A higher plume drifted WNW at 2.4 km altitude on 7 October. Intermittent discrete emissions of ash continued daily at that altitude through 16 October, drifting NW or W. Ash emissions drifting NW and thermal anomalies at the summit were visible in satellite imagery on 2 and 12 October (figure 26). A brief ash emission was reported on 21 October 2018 at 2.4 km altitude drifting NE for a few hours. Intermittent ash emissions also appeared on 29 October moving SE at 1.8 km altitude. For the following three days ash drifted SW, W, then NW at 2.1 km altitude, finally dissipating on 1 November; the thermal anomaly at the summit was large and intense in satellite images on 27 October and 1 November compared with previous images (figure 27).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Ash emissions drifting NW and thermal anomalies at the summit of Kadovar were visible in satellite imagery on 2 and 12 October 2018; no thermal activity was noted at the E-flank coastal dome. Sentinel-2 images both show "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Strong thermal anomalies at the summit of Kadovar on 27 October and 1 November 2018 were not concealed by the steam plumes drifting SW and NW from the summit. Sentinel-2 images both show "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

An ash explosion was photographed by tourists on a cruise ship on the afternoon of 6 November 2018 (figure 28). After the explosion, a dense steam plume rose from a large dome of lava near the summit at the top of the E flank (figure 29). Continuous ash emissions rising to 1.8 km altitude were reported by the Darwin VAAC beginning on 9 November 2018 moving WNW and lasting about 24 hours. A new ash plume clearly identifiable on satellite imagery appeared on 13 November at 2.4 km altitude moving E, again visible for about 24 hours. Another shipboard tourist photographed an ash plume on 18 November rising a few hundred meters above the summit (figure 30).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. An explosion at Kadovar photographed on the afternoon of 6 November 2018 sent a dense gray ash plume hundreds of meters above the summit drifting W; blocks of volcanic debris descended the flanks as well. View is from the S. Courtesy of Coral Expeditions, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Tourists on a cruise ship passed by Kadovar on 6 November 2018 and witnessed a steam plume drifting W from a large dome of lava near the summit at the top of the E flank after an ash explosion. Smaller steam plumes were visible in the middle and at the base of the E flank, but no activity was visible at the coastal dome off the E flank (lower right). View is from the SE. Courtesy of Coral Expeditions, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. An ash plume rose at dusk from the summit of Kadovar and was witnessed by a cruise ship tourist on 18 November 2018. View is from the E; the E-flank coastal dome is a lighter area in the lower foreground. Courtesy of Philip Stern.

Low-level ash emissions were reported briefly on 28 November at about 1 km altitude moving SE. Intermittent puffs of ash were seen drifting WSW on 2 and 3 December at about 1.2 km altitude. They were the last VAAC reports for 2018. Two thermal anomalies were visible at the summit in satellite imagery on 26 November, they grew larger and more intense through 16 December when multiple anomalies appeared at the summit and on the E flank (figure 31).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Multiple thermal anomalies near the summit of Kadovar grew larger and more intense between 26 November and 16 December 2018. Sentinel-2 images show "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during January-April 2019. Multiple thermal anomalies were still visible at the summit in satellite imagery on 5 January 2019 as regular puffs of steam drifted SE from the summit, leaving a long trail in the atmosphere (figure 32). Additional imagery on 10 and 30 January showed a single anomaly at the summit, even through dense meteorologic clouds. A short-lived ash emission rose to 2.4 km altitude on 11 January 2019 and drifted E; it dissipated the next day. Multiple minor intermittent discrete ash plumes extended WNW at 3.0 km altitude on 18 January; they dissipated within six hours.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Multiple thermal anomalies were visible in satellite imagery of Kadovar on 5 January 2019 as regular puffs of steam drifted SE from the summit. Sentinel-2 image shows "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force released images of eruptive activity on 10 February 2019 (figure 33). Satellite imagery in February was largely obscured by weather; two thermal anomalies were barely visible through clouds at the summit on 14 February. The Darwin VAAC reported an ash emission at 1.8 km altitude drifting ESE on 16 February; a similar plume appeared on 21 February that also dissipated in just a few hours.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. The Royal New Zealand Air Force released images of an ash plume at Kadovar on 10 February 2019. Courtesy of Brad Scott.

Satellite imagery on 1 March 2019 confirmed a strong thermal anomaly from the summit and down the E flank almost to the coast. A month later on 5 April the anomaly was nearly as strong and a dense ash and steam plume drifted N from the summit (figure 34). A tourist witnessed a dense steam plume rising from the summit on 4 April (figure 35). Multiple discrete eruptions were observed in satellite imagery by the Darwin VAAC on 9 April at 1.2-1.5 km altitude drifting SE. The thermal anomaly at the summit persisted in satellite imagery taken on 15 April 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. A strong thermal anomaly appeared from the summit down the E flank of Kadovar on 1 March 2019 (left). A month later on 5 April the strong anomaly was still present beneath a dense plume of ash and steam (right). Sentinel-2 imagery shows "Geology" rendering with bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. A dense steam plume is shown here rising from the summit area of Kadovar, posted online on 4 April 2019. View is from the N. Courtesy of Chaiyasit Saengsirirak.

Geologic Background. The 2-km-wide island of Kadovar is the emergent summit of a Bismarck Sea stratovolcano of Holocene age. Kadovar is part of the Schouten Islands, and lies off the coast of New Guinea, about 25 km N of the mouth of the Sepik River. The village of Gewai is perched on the crater rim. A 365-m-high lava dome forming the high point of the andesitic volcano fills an arcuate landslide scarp that is open to the south, and submarine debris-avalanche deposits occur in that direction. Thick lava flows with columnar jointing forms low cliffs along the coast. The youthful island lacks fringing or offshore reefs. No certain historical eruptions are known; the latest activity was a period of heightened thermal phenomena in 1976.

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; Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Tico Liu, Hong Kong (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tico.liu. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155389178192793&set=pcb.10155389178372793&type=3&theater); Shari Kalt (Instagram user LuxuryTravelAdvisor: https://www.instagram.com/luxurytraveladviser/, https://www.instagram.com/p/BkhalnuHu2j/); Coral Expeditions, Australia (URL: https://www.coralexpeditions.com/, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/coralexpeditions); Philip Stern (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sternph, https://www.facebook.com/sternph/posts/2167501866616908); Brad Scott, GNS Science Volcanologist at GNS Science, New Zealand (Twitter: https://twitter.com/Eruptn); Chaiyasit Saengsirirak, Bangkok, Thailand (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chaiyasit.saengsirirak, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2197513186969355).


Sarychev Peak (Russia) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sarychev Peak

Russia

48.092°N, 153.2°E; summit elev. 1496 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Brief ash emission reported on 16 May 2019

Located on Matua Island in the central Kurile Islands of Russia, Sarychev Peak has historical observations of eruptions dating back to 1765. Thermal activity in October 2017 (BGVN 43:11) was the first sign of renewed activity since a major eruption with ash plumes and pyroclastic flows in June 2009 (BGVN 34:06). The following month (November 2017) there was fresh dark material on the NW flank that appeared to be from a flow of some kind. After that, intermittent thermal anomalies were the only activity reported until explosions with ash plumes took place that lasted for about a week in mid-September 2018 (figure 24). Additional explosions in mid-October were the last reported for 2018. A single ash explosion in May 2019 was the only reported activity from November 2018 to May 2019, the period covered in this report. Information is provided by the Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT) and the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), members of the Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (FEB RAS), and from satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Multiple ash plumes were observed at Sarychev Peak during September 2018. Left: 13 September. Right: 18 September. Photos by S. A. Tatarenkov, courtesy of IMGG FEB RAS.

Satellite imagery in mid-September and early October 2018 showed gas emissions from the summit vent, and a weak thermal anomaly in October (figure 25). KVERT lowered the Aviation Color Code from Orange to Yellow on 1 November 2018, and SVERT released a VONA on 12 November 2018 lowering the Aviation Color Code from Yellow to Green after the ash emissions in October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Minor gas emissions were visible at Sarychev Peak in satellite imagery in mid-September and early October 2018; a possible weak thermal anomaly appeared in the summit vent in October. Top left: 13 September. Top right: 18 September. Bottom left: 8 October. Bottom right: 11 October. The 13 September image uses "Natural Color" rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) and the other images use "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2). Sentinel-2 satellite imagery courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Sentinel-2 satellite instruments in March, April, and May 2019 acquired images that showed dark streaks in the snow-covered peak radiating out from the summit vent in various directions. As the spring snows melted, more dark streaks appeared. It is unclear whether the streaks represent fresh ash, particulates from gas emissions in the snow, or concentrated material from earlier emissions that were exposed during the spring melting (figure 26). No further activity was reported until the Tokyo VAAC noted an eruption on 16 May 2019 that produced an ash plume which rose to 2.4 km altitude and drifted S. It was visible in satellite imagery for 3 or 4 hours before dissipating. SVERT reported the ash plume visible up to 50 km SE of the island. They also noted that weak thermal anomalies had been seen in satellite data on 10, 12, and 17 May 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Streaks of brown radiate outward from the summit vent at Sarychev Peak in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery taken during March-May 2019. The exact material and timing of deposition is unknown. Top left: 17 March. Top middle: 14 April. Top right: 19 April. Bottom left: 29 April, Bottom middle: 6 May. Bottom right: 26 May 2019. Sentinel-2 images with "Natural Color" rendering using bands 4,3, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Sarychev Peak, one of the most active volcanoes of the Kuril Islands, occupies the NW end of Matua Island in the central Kuriles. The andesitic central cone was constructed within a 3-3.5-km-wide caldera, whose rim is exposed only on the SW side. A dramatic 250-m-wide, very steep-walled crater with a jagged rim caps the volcano. The substantially higher SE rim forms the 1496 m high point of the island. Fresh-looking lava flows, prior to activity in 2009, had descended in all directions, often forming capes along the coast. Much of the lower-angle outer flanks of the volcano are overlain by pyroclastic-flow deposits. Eruptions have been recorded since the 1760s and include both quiet lava effusion and violent explosions. Large eruptions in 1946 and 2009 produced pyroclastic flows that reached the sea.

Information Contacts: Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, (FEB RAS IMGG), 693 022 Russia, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, ul. Science 1B (URL: http://imgg.ru/ru); Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT), Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Science, Nauki st., 1B, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia, 693022 (URL: http://www.imgg.ru/en/, http://www.imgg.ru/ru/svert/reports); 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/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Nyiragongo (DR Congo) — May 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake remains active through May 2019; three new vents around the secondary cone

Since at least 1971 scientists and tourists have observed a lava lake within the Nyiragongo summit crater. Lava flows have been a hazard in the past for the nearby city of Goma (15 km S). The previous report (BGVN 43:06) of activity between November 2017 and May 2018 described nearly daily record of thermal anomalies due to the active lava lake and lava fountaining, gas-and-steam plumes, and the opening of a new vent within the crater in February 2016. Monthly reports from the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) disseminate information regarding the volcano's activity. This report updates the activity during June 2018-May 2019.

OVG noted that the level of the lava lake changes frequently, and was lower when observed on October 2018, 12 April 2019, and 12 May 2019. According to data from the OVG, on 15 April 2019 the secondary cone that formed in February 2016 produced lava flows and ejecta. In addition, at least three other vents formed surrounding this secondary cone. During most of April 2019 the lava lake was still active; however, beginning on 12 April 2019, seismic and lava lake activity both declined.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data continues to show almost daily, strong thermal anomalies every month from June 2018 through 24 May 2019 (figure 66). Similarly, the MODVOLC algorithm reports a majority of the hotspot pixels (2,406) occurring within the lava lake at the summit crater (figure 67).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Thermal anomalies at Nyiragongo for June 2018 through 24 May 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were frequent and strong. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Map showing the number of MODVOLC hotspot pixels at Nyiragongo from 1 June 2018 to 31 May 2019. Nyiragongo (2,423 pixels) is at the bottom center; Nyamuragira volcano (342 pixels) is about 13 km NW. Courtesy of HIGP-MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

Geologic Background. One of Africa's most notable volcanoes, Nyiragongo contained a lava lake in its deep summit crater that was active for half a century before draining catastrophically through its outer flanks in 1977. The steep slopes of a stratovolcano contrast to the low profile of its neighboring shield volcano, Nyamuragira. Benches in the steep-walled, 1.2-km-wide summit crater mark levels of former lava lakes, which have been observed since the late-19th century. Two older stratovolcanoes, Baruta and Shaheru, are partially overlapped by Nyiragongo on the north and south. About 100 parasitic cones are located primarily along radial fissures south of Shaheru, east of the summit, and along a NE-SW zone extending as far as Lake Kivu. Many cones are buried by voluminous lava flows that extend long distances down the flanks, which is characterized by the eruption of foiditic rocks. The extremely fluid 1977 lava flows caused many fatalities, as did lava flows that inundated portions of the major city of Goma in January 2002.

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), Goma, North Kivu, DR Congo (URL: https://www.facebook.com/Observatoire-Volcanologique-de-Goma-OVG-180016145663568/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/).


Bezymianny (Russia) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

55.972°N, 160.595°E; summit elev. 2882 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam plumes, and lava dome growth during February-May 2019; strong explosion in mid-March

Volcanism at Bezymianny has been frequent since 1955. During the last reporting period, observations primarily consisted of moderate gas-and-steam emissions and thermal anomalies. Lava dome growth has been reported, as well as the effusion of several lava flows onto the dome flanks. Monitoring is the responsibility of the Kamchatka Volcano Eruptions Response Team (KVERT). Activity during February to mid-March 2019 consisted of predominantly moderate gas-and-steam emissions. Incandescent, hot avalanches from the lava dome, strong fumarolic activity, and a thermal anomaly began to occur in mid-March 2019. This reporting period includes activity from February-May 2019.

One explosion occurred during this reporting period. According to video data from KVERT and seismic data from the Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Service, on 15 March 2019 an explosion sent ash up to an altitude of 15 km. According to the KVERT Weekly Reports, satellite data showed large ash clouds from this eruption drifting several thousands of kilometers east from the volcano. The Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) issued by KVERT for this event described ash clouds to a distance of about 870 km. Ashfall was reported in Ust'-Kamchatsk (115 km E) on 15 March and Nikolskoe (350 km E) on 15-16 March 2019.

Beginning 15 March and continuing through May 2019, the number of hot avalanches from the lava dome top significantly increased, as well as the temperature of the thermal anomalies as reported by KVERT based on satellite data. Incandescent lava dome growth with extruding, viscous lava flows accompanying strong fumarolic activity and thermal anomalies continued in late April-May 2019 (figure 30).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. Fumarolic plume rising above at Bezymianny on 14 April 2019. Photo by A. Klimova, courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT.

MODIS infrared data processed by MIROVA showed stronger and more frequent thermal anomalies in mid-March 2019 compared to the typical thermal activity since late January and afterwards through May (figure 31). According to the MODVOLC algorithm, 11 hotspot pixels were recorded between February and May 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Thermal anomalies at Bezymianny for September 2018 through May 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. Prior to its noted 1955-56 eruption, Bezymianny had been considered extinct. The modern volcano, much smaller in size than its massive neighbors Kamen and Kliuchevskoi, was formed about 4700 years ago over a late-Pleistocene lava-dome complex and an ancestral edifice built about 11,000-7000 years ago. Three periods of intensified activity have occurred during the past 3000 years. The latest period, which was preceded by a 1000-year quiescence, began with the dramatic 1955-56 eruption. This eruption, similar to that of St. Helens in 1980, produced a large horseshoe-shaped crater that was formed by collapse of the summit and an associated lateral blast. Subsequent episodic but ongoing lava-dome growth, accompanied by intermittent explosive activity and pyroclastic flows, has largely filled the 1956 crater.

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/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Service, Russian Academy of Sciences (KB GS RAS) (URL: http://www.emsd.ru/); 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/).


Nevados de Chillan (Chile) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevados de Chillan

Chile

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash explosions and dome growth during December 2018-May 2019; ballistic ejecta deposited around the crater, with a pyroclastic flow in May

The current Nevados de Chillán eruption period began on 8 January 2018 with a phreatic explosion from the new Nicanor crater, within the Nuevo crater; a new dome was observed within this crater the next day. Dome growth continues with explosions that eject ash plumes and incandescent ejecta. This bulletin summarizes activity from December 2018 through May 2019 and is based on reports by Chile's Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)-Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS) and satellite imagery.

Throughout December 2018 pulsating emissions from the Nicanor crater produced white plumes predominantly composed of water vapor, with occasional ash ejections giving the plume a gray appearance. Incandescence was frequently observed during the night due to the ejection of hot ballistic ejecta emplaced around the crater during explosions. After 11 months of observations, the dacite dome in the crater maintained a semi-stable extrusion rate of around 345 m3/day. Explosions were reported on 7, 17, 28, and 29 December.

Similar background activity continued through January with pulsating gas-and-steam plumes occasionally including ash, and incandescence observed during the nights due to hot ejecta around the crater. Explosions were recorded at 0500 and 1545 on 11 January, and on 13, 21, and 31 January (figures 33 and 34). During the night explosions and incandescent ejecta were observed impacting the area around the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. An explosion at Nevados de Chillán on 11 January 2019. The explosion ejected incandescent blocks that impacted the flanks. The timestamp is at the top left of each image; screenshots are of footage courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. An explosion at Nevados de Chillán on 31 January 2019 produced an ash plume from the Nicanor crater. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

Activity continued through February similar to previous months. The dome in the crater maintained a low extrusion, and activity alternated between dome growth and partial destruction during explosions. Steam-and-gas plumes with occasional ash content continued, with plumes reaching 1 km and drifting in multiple directions. Incandescence was observed during the night. Explosions were reported on 15 February.

During March through May, typical activity consisting of pulsating emission of steam plumes with occasional ash content, and incandescence at night, continued. Intermittent explosions associated with the partial destruction of the dome continued, with events reported on 1 March at 2323, and on 4, 7, and 8 March. Several explosions were reported during 8-9 and 23-30 April. Three explosions were reported on 3 May with one of them producing a 2-km-high ash plume and a pyroclastic flow on 10 May (figure 35). Additional explosions occurred on the 12 and 18 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. An explosion at Nevados de Chillán on 10 May 2019 produced an ash plume that rose to 2 km above the crater and a pyroclastic flow. The white plume in the bottom two images is steam from the interaction of the hot pyroclastic material and the snow. Screenshots are of a video courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN with timestamps indicated in the top left of each image.

Satellite data from December 2018 through May 2019 recorded intermittent thermal energy, with an increase after February 2019 (figure 36). Thermal anomalies from MODIS instruments were detected by the MODVOLC system on 29 March and 17 May 2019 (two anomalies). A thermal anomaly in the Nicanor crater was persistent in Sentinel-2 data throughout this period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Thermal anomalies at the active Nicanor crater of the Nevados de Chillán complex. Top: Sentinel-2 thermal image of showing the location of the thermal anomaly (orange). Bottom: MIROVA log radiative power plot of MODIS thermal infrared data from September 2018 through May 2019. Thermal signatures are intermittent and increase after February 2019. Note that the black lines are not from the crater and are unlikely to be related to volcanic activity. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground and MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 34, Number 12 (December 2009)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Cleveland (United States)

At least three eruptions during 2009, with a possible fourth on 12 December

Fuego (Guatemala)

Many small ash plumes and some lava flows during 2008-2009; instrumented study

Galeras (Colombia)

Explosive eruptions in September and November 2009, January 2010

Gaua (Vanuatu)

Significant ashfall through early January 2010

Kerinci (Indonesia)

Eruptions, ash plumes, and seismicity during 1-21 April 2009

Mayon (Philippines)

December 2009 eruption causes evacuation of more than 47,000 people

Pacaya (Guatemala)

Variable activity in 2009 and early 2010

Sangeang Api (Indonesia)

Explosive eruptions during 1997-1999 were previously unreported

West Mata (Tonga)

Deep submarine volcano found to be composed of boninite



Cleveland (United States) — December 2009 Citation iconCite this Report

Cleveland

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


At least three eruptions during 2009, with a possible fourth on 12 December

Cleveland, an Aleutian Islands volcano situated almost 1,500 km S of the E margin of the Bering strait, had multiple short-duration ash-bearing explosive eruptions in 2009. The first of these documented eruptions took place on 2 January 2009 (BGVN 33:11). The next two documented ash-bearing eruptions occurred on 25 June and 2 October 2009 (BGVN 34:10). As stated in those previous issues, thermal anomalies were common in satellite data as reported by the Alaskan Volcano Observatory (AVO).

Previously not reported was a possible fourth 2009 eruption, which took place on 12 December. It seemingly generated a diffuse ash plume, an event detected a few days later in satellite imagery (figure 7). AVO had also lowered the hazard status on 12 December to "Unassigned," a level that results from the lack of a nearby seismic receiver and the consequent inability to define background seismicity. As of late January 2010, further activity at Cleveland was absent and no further reports were issued.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. A MODIS satellite image of Cleveland volcano and vicinity captured at 2237 UTC on 12 December 2009 (brightness temperature difference from Channel 31 minus Channel 32). The plume (at tip of horizontal arrow) was judged as likely due to an eruption but this was not certain. N is towards the top and for approximate scale, the adjacent (Nikolski) island outlined to the E is ~100 km long (for other maps, see BGVN 33:07 and 26:01). Courtesy of John Dehn, AVO (arrows added).

John Dehn of AVO provided more details regarding the discovery and interpretation of the 12 December plume (figure 7). It was initially detected by David J. Beberwyk at the Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA). The information was passed to AVO and distributed to staff on 14 December. After looking at the imagery, they announced in log entries on 15 December that they had possibly missed the faint signal in their daily reporting. Dehn was "pretty confident that this [was] real but the signal is comparable to weather systems."

Dehn went on to note that "Cleveland is known for these small events, and whether we catch them is up to the fortuitousness of a satellite pass and good weather. No further activity was reported, though [AVO's] Rick Wessels noted that a MODIS image from a few hours later shows possible dark deposits on the NW side of the summit. The summit of the volcano has typically had dark deposits on the snow in recent years as we've seen on the webcam, satellite imagery and observer reports so this [was] not conclusive."

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

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


Fuego (Guatemala) — December 2009 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Many small ash plumes and some lava flows during 2008-2009; instrumented study

The current eruption from Fuego, located ~40 km WSW of the country's main airport (La Aura) and 17 km NE of the historic city of Antigua, has been ongoing since 2002. The Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH) monitors this volcano, providing regular observations. During the current reporting interval, 11 January 2008-12 January 2010, minor ash plumes were common, typically rising several hundred meters above the summit (tables 5 and 6). Some were incandescent. Plumes often drifted 5-15 km from the vent and residents in the region sometimes noted noise and shock waves. Observers occasionally saw avalanches and lahars, and sometimes an active lava flow traveled ~100 m from its vent. On 30 January 2009 observers saw incandescent material ejected 50-100 m above the crater and avalanches from the crater rim descended multiple ravines.

Table 5. Summary of reported activity at Fuego volcano for January 2008-December 2008. "--" indicates no data. Information courtesy of INSIVUMEH, Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and HIGP Thermal Alerts System.

Dates Explosions Ash Plumes Altitude (km) Plume Drift Other observations
11 Jan 2008 weak 4.1-4.3 -- Alert Level Yellow.
24 Jan 2008 shock waves detected 3 km away 4.2-4.5 S, SW, W Avalanches of blocks traveled W towards Taniluya ravine; Alert Level lowered to Green.
04 Feb 2008 multiple 5 W --
06-19 Feb 2008 multiple 4-4.7 -- Fumarolic plumes.
22-25 Mar 2008 4-5/hour 4.1-4.6 6-8 km S, SE Noise/shock waves felt 5-8 km distant.
31 Mar-01 Apr 2008 multiple -- SW --
15-21 Apr 2008 1-2/hour 4.3-4.7 5-8 km SW Noise/shock waves felt 5-15 km distant.
28 Apr 2008 1/hour 4.4 5 km SW Noise audible 15 km distant.
22-27 May 2008 multiple 4.1-4.5 5 km SW Noise/shock waves felt 10-15 km distant; constant avalanches of blocks traveled W towards Taniluya and Santa Teresa ravines.
28-30 May 2008 many 4.1-4.4 S, SW Noise/shock waves felt several km away; avalanches of blocks traveled W into Taniluya and Santa Teresa ravines.
02 Jun 2008 -- -- -- Incandescent material ejected 50-100 m above crater; small lava flow traveled 100 m W towards Santa Teresa ravine.
13-17 Jun 2008 -- 3.9-4.4 -- On 13 Jun lahars descended Santa Teresa (W) and Ceniza (SW) drainages; a lava flow traveled 100 m towards Santa Teresa; on 15 Jun rumbling noises accompanied by shock waves; on 17 Jun fumarolic plumes noted and incandescent material ejected ~50 m above crater.
18 Jun 2008 -- 4.3 W, SW Incandescent material ejected 50 m above crater; constant avalanches of blocks traveled W; rumbling/degassing noises.
20 Jun 2008 -- -- -- Lahar that was hot in areas descended Ceniza drainage to SW, dragging tree branches and blocks 0.5-1 m in diameter.
04 Jul 2008 multiple -- -- Lava flow traveled 100 m W toward Santa Teresa ravine; lahar carrying blocks descended Ceniza ravine to SW.
07-08 Jul 2008 many 4-4.5 S, SE, SW Incandescence at summit; constant avalanches of blocks from lava-flow fronts descended W flank.
31 Jul 2008 -- -- -- Lahar descended El Jute River to SE.
01 Aug 2008 many 4.1 W, SW Rumbling noises and shockwaves occasionally accompanied explosions.
20 Aug 2008 -- -- -- Lahars descended several rivers carrying blocks up to 1 m diameter.
25-26 Aug 2008 many 4.1 SW 300-m long lava flow traveled W towards Santa Teresa ravine.
18 Sep 2008 -- 4.3 SSW --
24 Sep 2008 many 4.1 W Lava flow traveled 300 m W towards Seca ravine; avalanches generated by lava flow front.
20-21, 25 Nov 2008 many 4.1-4.6 W, S Rumbling/degassing noises and shock waves detected 10 km away; lava flowed 150 m towards Taniluya ravine; incandescent material rolled down flanks.
12 Dec 2008 many 4.1-5 SSW Rumbling/degassing noises and shock waves detected 10 km away.

Table 6. Summary of reported activity at Fuego volcano for January 2009-January 2010. "--" indicates no data. Information courtesy of INSIVUMEH, Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and HIGP Thermal Alerts System.

Dates Explosions Ash Plumes Altitude (km) Plume Drift Other observations
04-06 Jan 2009 multiple 4.1-5.1 12 km W, SW Rumbling noises and shock waves detected 10 km away; constant avalanches of blocks descended S and SW flanks.
08-09 Jan 2009 3-5/hour 4.3-5.4 10-15 km S, SW Rumbling noises and shock waves detected 10-15 km away; constant avalanches of blocks descended S and SW flanks.
19-20 Jan 2009 many 4.1-4.6 7 km W, SW Some explosions produced rumbling sounds; avalanches occurred on S and SW flanks; MODIS/MODVOLC thermal alerts 23 and 25 Jan.
30 Jan, 3 Feb 2009 multiple 4.1-4.7 S, SE Some explosions produced rumbling sounds and shock waves; fumarolic plumes rose 100 m above crater; on 30 Jan incandescent material ejected 50-100 m above crater and avalanches from crater rim traveled down multiple ravines.
06, 08, 10 Feb 2009 multiple 4.1-5.4 S, SW Some explosions produced rumbling sounds; constant avalanches of blocks; MODIS/MODVOLC thermal alerts 5 and 10 Feb.
20, 24 Feb 2009 many 4.1-4.7 6-8 km SW Some explosions produced rumbling sounds and shock waves; incandescent material ejected 150 m above crater; incandescent avalanches of blocks traveled down W and SW flanks.
06, 10 Mar 2009 many 4.2-4 12-15 km; S, SW Some strong explosions produced rumbling sounds; shock waves detected 8 km away; avalanches of blocks; MODIS/ MODVOLC thermal alerts 4 and 7 Mar.
12, 16, 17 Mar 2009 many 4.2-4.8 S, SW Incandescent material ejected 75 m into air; some explosions produced rumbling noises.
27, 30 Mar 2009 many 4.1-4.8 S, SW Some explosions produced rumbling sounds; shock waves detected 10 kn away; avalanches of blocks down W and SW flanks; on 30 Mar incandescent material ejected 75 m into air.
24, 28 Apr 2009 many 4.1-4.8 10 km SW Some explosions produced rumbling sounds; shock waves detected 5 km away; avalanches of blocks; fumarolic plumes rose 50-150 m and rifted S,NW, N; on 28 Apr incandescent material ejected 75-100 m into air; MODIS/MODVOLC thermal alerts 7, 12, and 15 Apr.
21 May 2009 -- -- -- Lahars descended Santa Teresa and Ceniza ravines to W and SW, carrying blocks up to 2 km diameter; MODIS/ MODVOLC thermal alert 16 May.
25-26 May 2009 many 4.1-4.7 W, SW, S, SE Some rumbling noises; on 25 May fumarolic plumes rose to 4.2 km and drifted S, SE.
05, 08, 09 Jun 2009 many 4.1-4.7 10 km; W, SW, S Some rumbling noises; shock waves detected 12-15 km away; avalanches descended several ravines; fumarolic plumes rose 100 m and drifted S, SW.
10, 14 Jul 2009 many 4.1-4.6 10-15 km; W, SW Some rumbling noises and shock waves; incandescent material ejected 75 m and avalanches descended several ravines; fumarolic plumes rose 100 m and drifted S, SW.
31 Jul, 3 Aug 2009 many 4-4.6 W Some rumbling noises; incandescent materials ejected 75 m; avalanches occurred; fumarolic plumes rose 200 m and drifted W, NW.
02-03 Aug 2009 frequency increased -- -- MODIS/MODVOLC thermal alert 7 Aug.
21, 25 Aug 2009 many 4.2-4.6 5-7 km; W, SW On 21 Aug rumbling noises accompanied by incondescent tephra ejected 75 m high; MODIS/MODVOLC thermal alert 31 Aug.
10, 14 Sep 2009 many 4.1-4.7 10 km; W, SW, S Some explosions accompanied by rumbling noises and shock waves; incandescent material ejected 100 m high; avalanches descended multiple ravines.
09, 12, 13 Oct 2009 many 4.1-4.6 W Rumbling noises; avalanches of blocks; on 9 Oct lahar traveled down Lajas ravine carrying blocks up to 50 cm in diameter.
21 Oct 2009 -- -- 55 km S --
26 Oct 2009 many 4.4-4.8 10 km; S, SW Rumbling/degassing sounds; avalanches of blocks.
13 Nov 2009 many 4.2-4.7 7 km S Rumbling noises and incandescence noted; white fumarolic plumes rose 100 m and drifted S, SW.
30 Nov-01 Dec 2009 many 4.3-4.7 8-15 km; W, SW Rumbling noises noted; incandescent block avalanches generated; MODIS/MODVOLC thermal alerts 24, 25, and 29 Nov.
04 Dec 2009 multiple 4.2-4.7 15-18 km W Rumbling noises and incandescent block avalanches noted.
11, 14, 15 Dec 2009 many 4.1-4.7 8-12 km; W, SW Incandescence from main crater and rumbling noises noted; avalanches descended S and W flanks; MODIS/MODVOLC thermal alert 31 Dec.
8, 11, 12 Jan 2010 many 4-4.7 10 km; multiple Incandescent material ejected to heights up to 75 m; some explosions accompanied by rumbling noises and shock waves felt up to 7 km away; avalanches descended flanks; MODIS/MODVOLC thermal alerts 5, 6, and 12 Jan.

Observations. A report from Michigan Technological University described multi-instrument fieldwork during 9-21 January 2009 (Nadeau and Dalton, 2009), work often amid conditions of poor visibility. The authors also credited seven other people (from INSIVUMEH and PCMI; see Information Contacts) who participated in the campaign. One of the instruments deployed was an ultraviolet (UV) camera that enabled researchers to measure SO2 emission rates with high temporal resolution. They also took concurrent seismic and infrasonic acoustic measurements, some mini-DOAS measurements, and they recorded their visual observations of volcanism. A similar campaign occurred in January 2008.

During this fieldwork, activity was dominated by passive degassing accompanied by intermittent tephra eruptions of variable size (figure 11). Explosions ranged from small puffs of ash that mixed with the passive gas plume to larger, convective columns with ejected bombs.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Passive degassing (left) and an explosion (right) at Fuego, December 2008-January 2009. From Nadeau and Dalton (2009).

During 9-21 January 2009, the UV camera was placed on Meseta ~1 km from the erupting vent (figures 12 and 13). An array seismo-acoustic stations was also deployed around the circumference of the vent for full azimuthal coverage. Thick clouds prohibited visibility on most days, resulting in collection of imagery on only 3 dates (12, 14, and 21 January). On 21 January several stationary mini-DOAS (differential optical absorption spectroscopy) scans of the passively degassed plume were also made for comparison with SO2 retrievals from camera images.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Vertical aerial photo the Fuego summit (steaming, near the bottom) and Meseta edifice. Star indicates location of UV camera during field measurements. (inset) UV camera and plume as seen from measurement site. From Nadeau and Dalton (2009).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. A map of SO2 concentration-pathlength created from UV imagery of Fuego during the 2009 campaign. Scale bar at bottom indicates concentration pathlength in colored versions (in units of ppm-m with highest values on the scale and in portions of the plume at ~1,000 ppm-m). From Nadeau and Dalton (2009).

Preliminary evaluation of camera-derived emissions at Fuego in January 2009 show decreases in SO2 output prior to explosive events, and may indicate short-term sealing of the vent. Additionally, some small low-frequency seismic events without explosion signals in the acoustic record were associated with short-term increases in SO2 output.

A paper presented by Lyons, Waite, and Rose (2009) suggests the potential to track activity of Fuego volcano using explosive energy partitioning. This has implications for monitoring and hazard prediction.

References. Nadeau, P., and Dalton, M., 2009, Report on UV camera field campaign, Fuego and Santiaguito volcanoes, Guatemala, December 2008-January 2009, unpublished informal report accessed January 2010 (URL: http://www.geo.mtu.edu/~panadeau/)

Lyons, J.J., Waite, G.P., and Rose, W.I., 2009, Variable explosive energy partitioning during open vent activity at Fuego volcano, Guatemala 2007-2009: Constraining explosion source processes and implications for monitoring, American Geophysical Union 2009 Fall Meeting Abstract V23D-2124.

Geologic Background. Volcán Fuego, one of Central America's most active volcanoes, is one of three large stratovolcanoes overlooking Guatemala's former capital, Antigua. The scarp of an older edifice, Meseta, lies between 3763-m-high Fuego and its twin volcano to the north, Acatenango. 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 Acatenango. In contrast to 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, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH) (National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology), Ministero de Communicaciones, Transporto, Obras Públicas y Vivienda, 7a. Av. 14-57, zona 13, Guatemala City 01013, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/); MODIS/MODVOLC Thermal Alerts, 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/); Gregory Waite, John Lyons, Patricia Nadeau, Marike Dalton, and Joshua Richardson, Michigan Technological University, Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Science, Houghton, MI, USA (URL: http://www.geo.mtu.edu/rs4hazards/); Kyle Brill, Jemile Erdem, and Jesse Silverman, PCMI (Peace Corps, Master's International Program), Michigan Technological University; Amilcar Cardenas (INSIVUMEH).


Galeras (Colombia) — December 2009 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosive eruptions in September and November 2009, January 2010

Our last report on Galeras discussed ongoing explosions and ash plumes during February-June 2009 (BGVN 34:07). That report concluded with a rise in the alert level to II (orange; "probable eruption in terms of days or weeks") on 26 June 2009. That change followed elevated seismicity suggestive of precursory behavior similar to that of previous eruptions. This report continues coverage of activity from July 2009 to January 2010, including eruptions on 30 September and 30 November 2009, and 2 January 2010.

Overflight observations from 12 and 13 July 2009 found reduced crater temperatures, including a decrease from 220 to 100°C in one small area. In a 28 July report, INGEOMINAS reported earthquakes of up to M 1.6. Due to continuing low levels of activity, on 4 August the Alert Level was decreased to III (on a scale of I-IV, with I being high). It was also noted that there were active fumaroles on the W flank. An episode of tremor lasting ~3 hours was reported on 10 August, and an overflight on 23 August observed an increase in fumarolic activity since 12 July. On 8 September 2009 INGEOMINAS reported recent earthquakes of up to M 1.5.

Eruption of 30 September 2009. At 0914 on 30 September, INGEOMINAS reported an explosive eruption prompting the rise in Alert Level to I (red; "imminent eruption or in progress"). A second INGEOMINAS report stated that National Park personnel observed two explosions and ejection of incandescent material at the active cone, as well as an ash plume rising to ~12 km altitude that drifted E and later N. The SO2 measurements between 0930 and 1000 included values between 1,100 and 9,300 tons/day. Ashfall was reported in Sandoná (15 km NW), Ancuya, Linares, La Llanada, and Sotomayor (40 km NW). Seismicity decreased after the eruption and the Alert Level was lowered on 1 October to II and on 6 October to III.

On 30 October, INGEOMINAS reported that degassing had decreased and seismicity had increased, a previous indication of possible eruptions; the Alert Level was raised to II. A 3 November report described decreasing SO2 emissions and seismicity, and INGEOMINAS reported on 10 November that seismicity continued to decrease and SO2 was not detected. An overflight on 14 November detected low rates of gas discharge and thermal anomalies inside the main crater measuring 110°C.

Eruption of 20 November 2009. INGEOMINAS reported an explosive eruption on 20 November at 2037. Five explosions were reported by residents in San Cayetano, and incandescence was observed at the summit. The Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported an eruptive column to ~14 km altitude that drifted N, and ashfall occurred in Nariño, La Florida, and Bellavista. INGEOMINAS stated that seismicity levels associated with the eruption were lower than those during the 30 September eruption. Seismicity increased after the eruption but then gradually decreased. The Alert Level had been raised to I during the eruption but was dropped to II on 21 November and to III on 27 November.

Overflights on 26 November and 3 December revealed fumarolic activity in the main crater, with respective estimated temperatures up to 200°C and on the latter date, 155°C. The Alert Level was raised to II.

Earthquakes with magnitudes of up to 2.2 were measured during 12-15 December, at distances of up to 2 km from the crater and at depths of up to 3 km. INGEOMINAS noted that seismicity included both tornillo (BGVN 18:04) and pseudo-tornillo earthquakes. The seismicity was similar to the behavior prior to the eruptions on 30 September and 20 November. In a 29 December report, INGEOMINAS noted that these types of earthquakes have preceded the majority of the explosive eruptions of Galeras from 1992 to 2009.

Eruption of 2 January 2010. An explosive eruption at Galeras on 2 January at 1943 lasted ~30 minutes and prompted INGEOMINAS to raise the Alert Level to I. Ash emissions, summit incandescence, and ejected incandescent blocks that ignited surrounding areas of the volcano were observed. The Washington VAAC reported an eruptive column to 12 km altitude that drifted W and NW, with ashfall observed in Sandoná, Consacá, Ancuya, Linares, Samaniego, Santacruz-Guachavéz and La Llanada. Seismicity declined after the end of the eruptive event and INGEOMINAS lowered the Alert Level to II. An overflight on 3 January revealed diffuse white-colored gas plumes from the main crater. On 5 January ashfall was reported in areas as far as 110 km to the W, with falling blocks having reached distances of 3.2-3.5 km from the crater.

INGEOMINAS reported eight tornillo-type seismic events between 16-18 January, similar to those observed before previous eruptions, followed by low-to-moderate SO2 emissions beginning on 19 January and continuing low through at least 26 January.

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: Instituto Colombiano de Geología y Minería (INGEOMINAS), Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Popayán, Popayán, Colombia.


Gaua (Vanuatu) — December 2009 Citation iconCite this Report

Gaua

Vanuatu

14.27°S, 167.5°E; summit elev. 797 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Significant ashfall through early January 2010

Beginning on 29 September 2009, Gaua produced a series of eruptions from Mount Garat, a cone in the SW portion of its caldera. The eruptions generated a small pyroclastic flow, thick ash plumes, and elevated sulfur dioxide (SO2) levels. Our last report (BGVN 34:10) described these events through November 2009. This new report carries events into February 2010, and discusses ongoing eruptions and stress on residents. We also present a December 2009 hazard map created by the Vanuatu Department of Geology, Mines and Water Resources (DGMWR) and the New Zealand GNS Science.

A news article on 29 November (Radio New Zealand International) quoted Brad Scott (New Zealand GNS), "Downwind ashfall is falling on the forest, it's falling on the villages, it's falling on the gardens. In some places it's already started to create a desert, in other places it's only light ashfall. But people are suffering from sore eyes, throat inflammation, and [intestinal] problem[s] ...."

The health aspects of the eruption were also noted in the Vanuatu Daily Post on 24 November 2009, stating that the drinking water in the affected area was "contaminated with ash and many of the villagers depend only on spring water by the sea for cooking and drinking. Island cabbages and other greens must be thoroughly washed before they are cooked."

According to the DGMWR and Brad Scott, Gaua continued to erupt in December 2009 and early January 2010, with even stronger explosions than those previously described (BGVN 34:10). According to DGMWR, this eruptive phase was different from previous Gaua eruptions, with denser and darker plumes (figure 12). The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-4).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Photo of an ash plume from Gaua taken on 31 December 2009, viewed from the caldera rim. Courtesy of Vanuatu Department of Geology, Mines and Water Resources (DGMWR).

Ash emissions and ashfall were significant (figure 13). Beginning on 14 December and continuing at least through 8 January 2010, the emission of fine ash from Gaua had been continuous, with ashfall blown W (figure 14). Chemical analysis of the ashfall carried out by York University in England found high concentrations of toxic chemicals. As a result of the ashfall, 257 people were relocated to the upwind side of the island during the last week of November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Ash from Gaua on 29 December 2009 that fell on plants in Quetekaveau village. Courtesy of DGMWR.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Volcanic hazards map of Gaua illustrating the caldera's topographic margin, the active inner cone (Mount Garet), and Lake Letas, which curves around the N to E to S sides of the caldera floor. The zones 1 (red), 2 (orange), 3 (yellow), and 4 (white or unshaded) are discussed in text. Modified from DGMWR Bulletin Number 4 (14 December 2009).

The 3-km inner circle centered on the active vent (figure 14) represents the area of greatest risk (1, red zone), a region where volcanic projectiles are likely and access is officially banned. A second area of risk lies inside a curve around Mount Garet and surrounding the island's NW side (2, orange zone), a region so delineated because of likely distribution of ongoing plumes by trade winds. This zone is considered exposed to ash and gas; with heavy rains, the water could mix with tephra to create lahars.

A third area of risk (3, yellow zone) trends E-W and forms an elongate region that follows the caldera lake's established drainage along the Lussal valley. Floods and lahars are indicated here. Note the settlements of Lebal (on the E coast directly S of the river mouth) and Siriti (~3 km N of Lebal). A sudden eruption could send material into the lake, and the resulting displaced water or water-and-ash mixture would surge down the Lussal river drainage. The villages on the other part of the island (4, white or unshaded) could receive light ashfall, should the wind direction temporarily change.

An 18 January 2010 satellite image (taken by the ozone monitoring instrument) quantifying emissions from Gaua showed the persistence of significant gas flux (figure 15). These emissions became more frequent in December, although the daily SO2 gas flux stayed steady around 3,000 metric tons per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. OMI satellite data showing SO2 degassing over Ambrym and Gaua volcanoes on 18 January 2010. Courtesy of OMI Sulfur Dioxide Group and DGMWR.

Based on analyses of satellite imagery and pilot observations, the Wellington VAAC reported that at 1300 on 21 January an ash plume rose to an altitude of 3 km and drifted S. They also detected another ash cloud on MODIS satellite imagery on 26 January blowing SE at 3 km altitude.

DGMWR Bulletin Number 7 (dated 29 January 2010) reported that more gas had been emitted since 16 January 2010, followed by multiple explosions with thicker and darker ash plumes. These plumes rose to more than 3 km high and blew towards surrounding villages in the S and W (figures 15 and 16). On 24 January 2010 villagers witnessed strong Strombolian activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Ash and gas cloud emission directed to the S part of Gaua Island on 23 January 2009. Courtesy of DGMWR.

The Wellington VAAC reported that on 27 January an ash cloud was seen on satellite imagery. Strong explosions were seen and heard from East Gaua on 29 January. According to the VAAC, the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory reported that gas-and-ash plumes to altitudes of 3 km altitude that drifted S and W on 29 January and 4 February.

As of 1 February 2010, the hazard status was at Level 2 on the Vanuatu Volcano Alert Level (VVAL) (table 1), but the activity was still increasing. Visitors were advised to avoid approaching the volcano.

Table 1. The hazard status of the crisis on Gaua is addressed with a five-stage scale called the Vanuatu Volcanic Alert Level (VVAL). Courtesy of Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory.

Hazard Level Description
Level 0 Normal low-level activity.
Level 1 Increased activity, danger near crater only.
Level 2 Moderate eruptions, danger close to the volcano vent, within parts of Volcanic Hazards Map Red Zone.
Level 3 Large eruption, danger in specific areas within parts of Volcanic Hazards Map Red and Yellow Zones.
Level 4 Very large eruption, island-wide danger (including areas within Red, Yellow and Green Zones).

The MODIS/MODVOLC satellite thermal alerts website showed a 1-pixel alert at 2225 on 21 January 2010, the only alert during the previous year.

Geologic Background. The roughly 20-km-diameter Gaua Island, also known as Santa Maria, consists of a basaltic-to-andesitic stratovolcano with an 6 x 9 km wide summit caldera. Small parasitic vents near the caldera rim fed Pleistocene lava flows that reached the coast on several sides of the island; several littoral cones were formed where these lava flows reached the sea. Quiet collapse that formed the roughly 700-m-deep caldera was followed by extensive ash eruptions. Construction of the historically active cone of Mount Garat (Gharat) and other small cinder cones in the SW part of the caldera has left a crescent-shaped caldera lake. The symmetrical, flat-topped Mount Garat cone is topped by three pit craters. The onset of eruptive activity from a vent high on the SE flank in 1962 ended a long period of dormancy.

Information Contacts: E. Garaebiti, S. Todman, C. Haruel, D. Charley, D. Nakedau, J. Cevuard, and A. Worwor, Department of Geology, Mines and Water Resources (DGMWR), Geohazards Unit, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/vmgd/); Brad Scott, Volcano Surveillance, GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/); OMI (Ozone Monitoring Instrument) Sulfur Dioxide Group, Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Vanuatu Daily Post (URL: http://www.dailypost.vu/); Radio New Zealand International (URL: http://www.mzi.com/); Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, Meteorological Service of New Zealand Limited, 30 Salamanca Road, Kelburn, PO Box 722, Wellington, New Zealand(URL: http://vaac.metservice.com/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).


Kerinci (Indonesia) — December 2009 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptions, ash plumes, and seismicity during 1-21 April 2009

Since a 2004 eruption, Kerinci had been relatively quiet except for ash plumes in September 2007 and ash and steam plumes in February, March, and May 2008 (BGVN 33:05). Eruptions sent ash plumes hundreds of meters above the crater during the first three weeks of April 2009, causing ashfall 8 km away. A report on this period by the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) noted that the active crater normally emits whitish plumes ~300 m above the peak. During September 2007 through at least 21 April 2009 the Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4). Residents and visitors have been advised to remain at least 1 km from the summit and to don masks in cases of heavy ashfall.

According to CVGHM, seismicity also increased at Kerinci during the first three weeks of April 2009. The signals were generally dominated by those from eruptions and their associated seismically detected signals traveling through air (as opposed to rock), 'air blasts.' The daily average of air blasts was 38, with the daily maximum reaching 54. The amplitudes of eruptive earthquake signals were 5-49 mm; the amplitudes of the air blasts were 0.5-9 mm. In addition, earthquakes during this 3-week period also included those of deep volcanic origin on 9 and 10 April (1 per day).

The increased seismicity was accompanied by steam-, ash-, or cinder-bearing plumes, sometimes dense, that rose as high as 500-600 m above the crater. On 3 April an eruption reached ~500 m above the crater; variable plumes continued through 12 April. A nearby observation post reported the rumbling of eruptions and ashfall during 19-20 April that extended as much as 8 km from the crater.

The eruptions deposited loose material (ash, cinders, lapilli, volcanic bombs, etc.) along the volcano's slope that leads to a nearby river. CVGHM was concerned that a heavy rain in the vicinity of the volcano could pick up this loose material and cause a lahar along the river channel.

Satellite thermal monitoring using MODVOLC during 2009 recorded over 25 alerts at Kerinci between 29 April and 19 June 2009.

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

Information Contacts: Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); 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/).


Mayon (Philippines) — December 2009 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

13.257°N, 123.685°E; summit elev. 2462 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


December 2009 eruption causes evacuation of more than 47,000 people

After erupting in September and November 2009 (BGVN 34:10), monitoring of Mayon by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) continued. Renewed eruptions began on 14 December 2009 with ash columns reaching as high as 1,000 m above the summit, incandescent materials rolling downslope from the crater, and a lava flow descending SE from the summit (table 11). More than 47,000 people were ordered to evacuate for nearly three weeks (figure 16), requiring them to abandon homes and farms (figure 17). International news attention was acute, highlighting evacuations, the volcano's grandeur, and glow over substantial areas in long-exposure night photos.

Table 11. Daily summaries of observations reported at Mayon, including seismicity, SO2 emission rates, and other observations (including Alert Levels) during 14 December 2009-12 January 2010. Numbers of events represent counts from the seismic monitoring network over a 24-hour period prior to the stated reporting date/time (except as noted). Rockfall events are related to the detatchment of fresh lava fragments at the volcano's upper slopes. Ash explosions and other observation are based on actual sightings. SO2 emission rates, measured by FLYSPEC, are for the day before the reporting date. Courtesy of PHIVOLCS.

Report Date (local time) Volcanic earthquakes and rockfalls Ash explosions SO2 flux (t/d) Observations
14 Dec 2009 (2000) VE: 23(0800-1600) 6 (3 minutes at 0704) 535 Ash columns (gray to brown) to 1 km above summit, drifting WSW and WNW; incandescent materials rolling downslope ~3 km towards Bonga, Buyuan, Mabinit channels. Alert Level raised to 3.
15 Dec 2009 (0800) VE: 83 -- 757 Incandescent lava fragments from summit crater rolling downslope ~3 km.
16 Dec 2009 (0800) VE: 78 -- 750 Lava front (~700-800 m from summit) and incandescent fragments ~3-4 km along Bonga gully.
18 Dec 2009 (0700) VE: 248 7 1,065 Dark gray to dark brown ash columns up to 1 km above summit, drifting SW; crater glow.
19 Dec 2009 (0700) VE: 197 15 2,034 18 volcanic earthquakes; white to grayish ash columns up to 2 km above summit, drifting SW; steam dirty white to light brown; crater glow, continuous rolling downslope of incandescent materials from crater.
20 Dec 2009 (0700) VE: 222 -- 7,024 Dirty white to gray ash columns to 500 m above summit, drifting SW; crater glow, continuous rolling downslope of incandescent materials; lava flow ~4.5 km along Bonga-Buyuan gully; Alert Level raised to 4.
21 Dec 2009 (0700) VE: 1,942 many 6,089 Intensified crater glow and rolling incandescent fragments from crater; lava flows along Bonga-Buyuan (to ~5 km from crater), Miisi, Lidong gullies; lava fountains rose ~200 m.
22 Dec 2009 (0700) VE: 1,266 reported 6,529 Lava flows along Bonga-Buyuan (to ~5 km from crater), Miisi, Lidong gullies.
23 Dec 2009 (0700) VE: 1,051 66 6,737 Ash columns (gray to light brown) to 1 km above summit, drifting SW; lava continuously flowed along Bonga-Buyuan, Miisi, Lidong gullies.
24 Dec 2009 (0700) VE: 815 21 5,737 Ash columns to 1.5 km above summit; lava fountains reached 500 m; lava continuously flowed along Bonga-Buyuan, Miisi, Lidong gullies.
25 Dec 2009 (0700) VE: 871 RF: 98 96 2,738 Ash columns (gray to light brown) up to 2 km above summit; three rockfall events generated pyroclastic flows that moved down ~2 km from crater.
26 Dec 2009 (0700) VE: 406 RF: 142 33 8,993 Ash columns (dirty white to brownish) up to 1 km; lava and rolling incandescent fragments along Bonga-Buyuan, Miisi, Lidong gullies.
27 Dec 2009 (0700) VE: 44 RF: 297 9 2,304 Ash columns (dirty white to brown) with lava fragments up to 800-1,000 m above summit; flowing lava and rolling incandescent lava fragments; edifice remained inflated.
28 Dec 2009 (0700) VE: 44 RF: 137 7 4,329 Ash columns (dirty white to light gray) with lava fragments up to 2 km, drifting SW; lava flows along Bonga-Buyuan, Miisi, Lidong gullies; rolling incandescent fragments.
29 Dec 2009 (0700) VE: 38 RF: 171 9 3,416 Ash columns (dirty white to brown) to 2 km, drifting W and SW; lava flowed along Bonga-Buyuan (to 5.8 km), Miisi, Lidong gullies; rolling incandescent fragments.
30 Dec 2009 (0700) VE: 16 RF: 150 1 4,397 Dirty white ash column ~100 m, drifted NW; lava flowed along Bonga-Buyuan (to 5.9 km from summit), Miisi, Lidong gullies; volcanic edifice remained inflated in NE sector.
31 Dec 2009 (0800) VE: 60 RF: 267 -- 1,158 Lava extrusion and rolling incandescent fragments along Bongo gully; white steam drifted WSW; volcanic edifice remained inflated in NE sector.
01 Jan 2010 (0700) VE: 28 RF: 91 0 1,255 White steam drifted WSW; flowing lava and rolling incandescent lava fragments.
02 Jan 2010 (0800) VE: 13 RF: 68 -- 2,621 White steam; Alert Level lowered to 3.
03 Jan 2010 (0700) VE: 9 RF: 30 -- 2,094 --
04 Jan 2010 (0700) VE: 7 RF: 33 -- -- --
05 Jan 2010 (0700) VE: 3 RF: 21 -- -- --
06 Jan 2010 (0700) VE: 4 RF: 21 -- 1,914 White steam; pale glow from crater at night.
07 Jan 2010 (0700) VE: 20 RF: 20 -- 672 White steam from summit crater.
08 Jan 2010 (0700) VE: 5 RF: 29 -- 1,077 --
09 Jan 2010 (0700) VE: 5 RF: 20 -- 1,345 Glow from crater at night.
10 Jan 2010 (0700) VE: 8 RF: 12 -- 759 White steam from summit crater; pale glow from crater at night.
11 Jan 2010 (0700) VE: 4 RF: 18 -- -- White steam from summit crater, reaching 300-500 m above crater rim, drifting WSW; pale glow from crater at night.
12 Jan 2010 (0700) VE: 6 RF: 17 -- 820 White steam from summit crater; pale glow from crater at night; ground deformation at Buang and Lidong level lines showed deflation compared to 2 December 2009 survey.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. A Mayon map variously showing volcanic hazard (3-, 6-, and 8-km radius danger zones), evacuation centers, Albay Province census data (shaded areas defined on legend), and the actual evacuated population (44,637 people). The locations evacuated (table at upper left) were within the 6-km Permanent Danger Zone and SE Quadrant High-Risk Zone (7-8 km radial distance) and came from eight municipalities and their 32 subdivisions (barangays). The table shows both the targeted number of evacuees and the actual number as of 1100 on 21 December. Courtesy of the United Nations OCHA, 21 December 2009.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. A farmer tills the soil while Mayon steams in the background. Many residents in threatened areas were reluctant to leave their homes and livestock. Date and photographer unknown. Courtesy of AFP.

At the onset of the eruption, after a minor ash explosion at 0740 on 14 December, five more minor ash explosions occurred at the summit crater. These explosions produced brownish to grayish ash clouds which were blown by strong winds WSW and WNW. The explosions lasted for ~3 minutes and were registered on the seismograph as explosion earthquakes. Twenty-three volcanic earthquakes were also recorded from 0800 to 1600. During the morning of 14 December the sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rate measured by FLYSPEC [a miniature, light-weight ultraviolet correlation spectrophotometer (Horton and others, 2006)] was 757 metric tons/day (t/d). At 1800, incandescent materials originating from the summit crater were seen rolling downslope SE ~3 km in the direction of Bonga, Buyuan, and Mabinit channels.

On 14 December 2009 PHIVOLCS raised the hazard status to Alert Level 3 (meaning that magma is close to the crater and a hazardous explosive eruption is possible). The alert was again raised, to Level 4 (meaning a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within days), on 20 December. After decreased activity the Alert was lowered to Level 3 on 2 January 2010.

Satellite observations and measurements. Figure 18 shows a satellite image of Mayon captured on 15 December 2009. NASA's Jesse Allen noted that "A small plume of ash and steam is blowing west from the summit. Dark-colored lava or debris flows from previous eruptions streak the flanks of the mountain. A ravine on the southeast slope is occupied by a particularly prominent lava or debris flow."

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. A natural-color image of Mayon taken 15 December 2009 (N to the top; for approximate scale, the distance from the summit to the coast is ~10 km). Image acquired by the Advanced Land Imager on NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. Courtesy of NASA.

MODIS/MODVOLC satellite thermal alerts were measured nearly daily during 14-31 December 2009; alerts were absent after 31 December 2009 and at least as late as 12 January 2010. It is noted that during 3 passes of the MODIS satellite (on 24 December at 1715 UTC, 25 December at 1330 UTC, and 28 December at 1400 UTC), 11-pixel alerts occurred each pass that gave some idea of the area covered by the thermal anomaly. Prior to this period, alerts were measured only during an eruption of Mayon from 15 July-25 September 2006 (BGVN 31:07, 31:08, 32:05, and 34:02).

Evacuation. The alert status rose from Level 3 to 4 (on a scale of 1-5) on 20 December (table 11). According to a news article by Sophia Dedace at GMANews.TV on 14 January 2010, between 14 December and 2 January, the threatening eruption prompted the provincial government to evacuate more than 47,000 residents located within Mayon danger zones.

Reference. Horton, K.A., Williams-Jones, G., Garbeil, H., Elias, T., Sutton, A.J., Mouginis-Mark, P., Porter, J.N., and Clegg, S., 2006, Real-time measurement of volcanic SO2 emissions: validation of a new UV correlation spectrometer (FLYSPEC): Bull. Volc., v. 68, no. 4, p. 323-327 (doi:10.1007/s00445-005-0014-9).

Geologic Background. Beautifully symmetrical Mayon, which rises above the Albay Gulf NW of Legazpi City, is the Philippines' most active volcano. The structurally simple edifice has steep upper slopes averaging 35-40 degrees that are capped by a small summit crater. Historical eruptions date back to 1616 and range from Strombolian to basaltic Plinian, with cyclical activity beginning with basaltic eruptions, followed by longer term andesitic lava flows. Eruptions occur predominately from the central conduit and have also produced lava flows that travel far down the flanks. Pyroclastic flows and mudflows have commonly swept down many of the approximately 40 ravines that radiate from the summit and have often devastated populated lowland areas. A violent eruption in 1814 killed more than 1,200 people and devastated several towns.

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/); Philippine Daily Inquirer (URL: http://www.inquirer.net/); Vox Bikol (URL: http://www.voxbikol.com/); Philippine Information Agency (URL: http://pia.gov.ph/); GMANews.TV, 6/F GMA Network Center, EDSA corner Timog Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, 1101, PHILIPPINES (URL: http://www.gmanews.tv/index.html); Jesse Allen, NASA (URL: https://www.nasa.gov/), and MODIS/MODVOLC Thermal Alerts, 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/); Agence France Presse (URL: http://www.afp.com/).


Pacaya (Guatemala) — December 2009 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Variable activity in 2009 and early 2010

Our last report on Pacaya was in August 2008 (BGVN 33:08), which covered activity through September 2008. Unless otherwise indicated, the following report is a compilation of reports from Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH).

During 8-14 October 2008, the pattern of previous activity continued with multiple lava flows on the W and SW flanks of MacKenney cone that traveled a maximum distance of 250 m and continued to fill in the area between the cone and Cerro Chino crater to the N. Avalanches occurred from the lava-flow fronts on 8 October. Fumarolic plumes drifted SW.

Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported that on 2 November 2008 a possible ash-and-gas plume was emitted from Pacaya and drifted E. On 3 November, INSIVUMEH reported that fumarolic plumes drifted S at a low altitude. Ash occasionally entrained by strong winds drifted S. Multiple lava flows on the S and SW flanks of MacKenney cone traveled a maximum distance of 400 m on 3 and 4 November, and continued to fill in the area between the cone and Cerro Chino crater to the N. Fumarolic plumes drifted E on 4 November. On 20 November fumarolic plumes from Pacaya's MacKenney cone drifted S at a low altitude. Ash occasionally entrained by strong winds drifted S. Multiple lava flows on the S, W, and SW flanks of the cone traveled 50-300 m during 20-21 and 25 November.

On 12 December 2008 fumarolic plumes from Pacaya's MacKenney cone drifted NE at a low altitude. Three lava flows, 150, 250, and 800 m long, were observed from the S. Seismic data indicated small explosions at the crater.

On 30 January and 3 February 2009, white and blue fumarolic plumes from MacKenney cone drifted S and SW at a low altitude. One lava flow, 75-100 m long, traveled down the SW flank.

On 12, 16, and 17 March 2009, fumarolic plumes from MacKenney cone drifted S at a low altitude. Lava flows, 25-200 m long, traveled S, SW, and W. Explosions during March ejected greater amounts of material that was deposited in the crater, enlarging the cones there. On 23 March, visual and audible changes in Strombolian activity were noted. Vigorous degassing produced sounds resembled airplane engines.

In a report issued on 3 April 2009, INSIVUMEH stated that Strombolian explosions from MacKenney cone during the previous few days ejected material 25 m into the air. On 2 April, lava flow volume increased, sending four lava flows W and one SW; the flows traveled 25-200 m. The seismic network detected tremor and explosions. On 6 April, lava flows on the W flank traveled 150-300 m, causing lava to collect on the SW flank. Activity from MacKenney cone was continuous; one cone emitted gas and explosions about every 5-10 minutes, and a second cone ejected tephra 25 m high. On 7 April, one lava flow traveled 150 m W and one traveled 200 m SW. INSIVUMEH recommended that CONRED coordinate with authorities in Pacaya National Park to restrict visitors from climbing Pacaya. On 24 and 28 April, INSIVUMEH reported gas emissions from Pacaya's MacKenney cone; occasional ash explosions ejected tephra 15-25 m high. The seismic network detected tremor and explosions. A small spatter cone being built in the S part of the crater was 4 m high. Rumbling noises were heard 3-5 km away and degassing produced sounds resembling airplane engines. Lava flows traveled 50-400 m down the SW flank and fumarolic plumes drifted S. This pattern of activity continued throughout May 2009.

For the remainder of 2009, the pattern remained much the same. On 5, 8, and 9 June 2009, white and blue fumarolic plumes from Pacaya's MacKenney cone rose to as high as 400 m and drifted, S, W and SW. Multiple lava flows up to 600 m long, were emitted from an area on the lower S flank, SW from the main edifice and traveled S, SW and W. Incandescence at night was noted on 20 November and 18 December.

Similar activity continued in 2010. On 8, 11, and 12 January 2010, white and blue fumarolic plumes from Pacaya's MacKenney cone rose up 400 m and drifted S and SW. Multiple lava flows on the S, SW, and W flanks traveled 25-200 m. Incandescence was noted at night from one of the inter-crater cones on 8 January and from MacKenney cone on 11 and 12 January.

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

Information Contacts: Gustavo Chigna, Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), 7a Avenida 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); 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/).


Sangeang Api (Indonesia) — December 2009 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangeang Api

Indonesia

8.2°S, 119.07°E; summit elev. 1949 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosive eruptions during 1997-1999 were previously unreported

A recent translation of an older report from the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) discussed previously undocumented interval of eruptions at Sangeang Api (figure 3) during 1997-1999. These eruptions were described, along with other known eruptions, in broad terms in their report. They were generally explosive, with lava domes and lava discharges, similar to the eruptions of 1911, 1953, 1954, 1985-1988.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. A photograph of the 13-km-wide Sangeang Api taken on 15 October 2002 by Space Shuttle astronauts (photo STS-112-E-5628). A wide channel running W from provides a path for inferred lava and pyroclastic flows. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

Dali Ahmad confirmed the occurrence of explosive activity during the 1997-1999 period. These took place without causing casualties because, since 1989, all of the island residents had departed to the nearby Sumbawa Island. No additional eruptions were indicated through at least 2009. In recent times the island's summit crater has produced intermittent steam clouds.

Turner and others (2003) used Uranium-series isotopes to provide insights into Sangeang Api magma evolution. The volcano erupts potassic lavas (SiO2 ~47?55%) with a spectrum of xenoliths that record the liquid line of descent. The scientists estimated that the Sangeang Api magma chamber was about 6-10 km3 in volume and underwent cooling rates of ~0.05°C/year.

Reference. Turner, S., Foden, J., George, R., Evans, P., Varne, R., Elburg, M., and Jenner, G., 2003, Rates and processes of potassic magma evolution beneath Sangeang Api volcano, East Sunda Arc, Indonesia: Journal of Petrology, v. 44, no. 3, pp. 491-515.

Geologic Background. Sangeang Api volcano, one of the most active in the Lesser Sunda Islands, forms a small 13-km-wide island off the NE coast of Sumbawa Island. Two large trachybasaltic-to-tranchyandesitic volcanic cones, 1949-m-high Doro Api and 1795-m-high Doro Mantoi, were constructed in the center and on the eastern rim, respectively, of an older, largely obscured caldera. Flank vents occur on the south side of Doro Mantoi and near the northern coast. Intermittent historical eruptions have been recorded since 1512, most of them during in the 20th century.

Information Contacts: Dali Ahmad, Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).


West Mata (Tonga) — December 2009 Citation iconCite this Report

West Mata

Tonga

15.1°S, 173.75°W; summit elev. -1174 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Deep submarine volcano found to be composed of boninite

The eruption of the submarine back-arc West Mata volcano was reported in May 2009 (BGVN 34:06) at 1,200 m water depth in the NE Lau basin. The activity was discovered during a research cruise aboard the University of Washington's RV Thomas Thompson.

Ken Rubin, a geochemist at the University of Hawaii, reported that during the 2009 cruise a remote operated vehicle (ROV Jason) was used to observe extrusive and mildly explosive (Strombolian, or the deep-submarine equivalent) activity near the summit. Among the many attributes of this event was the unique style of eruption from multiple active vents. In addition, the lavas were composed of boninite (a lava of olivine-bronzite andesite composition containing little or no feldspar), making this the first observed eruption of a lava of this composition. Such lavas have previously been seen only on volcanoes over a million years old, and are thought to represent the early stages of subduction in primitive island arcs. One of the tasks on the cruise was to sample an active lava pillow. Rubin provided several photographs of the sampling sequence, done with a T-handled rod rammed into a molten zone on the pillow (figures 4 and 5). Some of the sample has been distributed for analysis.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Photograph taken from the ROV Jason of a sample of lava from West Mata being placed in a container aboard the vehicle. Courtesy of K. Rubin.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Photograph of lava sample collected at West Mata. Courtesy of K. Rubin.

According to press release 09-243 of 17 December 2009 by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the expedition's chief scientist and a chemical oceanographer at the University of Washington, Joseph Resing, stated that "we found a type of lava never before seen erupting from an active volcano, and for the first time observed molten lava flowing across the deep-ocean floor." Bob Embley, marine geologist at NOAAs' Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, noted that "since the water pressure at that depth supresses the violence of the volcano's explosions, we could get an underwater robot within feet of the active eruption." Imagery includes large molten lava bubbles ~1 m across bursting into cold seawater, glowing red vents exploding lava particles into the sea, and lava flows. Video images may be seen on a number of websites (such as NSF).

Water from the volcano was very acidic, and Tom Shank, a biologist from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, found that shrimp were the only animals thriving in the vent water near the eruption. The press release from NSF included a video of the volcanic explosions.

Several papers pertaining to research conducted on the 2009 eruption of West Mata were presented at the 2009 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, 14-18 December 2009; titles and authors of abstracts are shown in the reference list below.

References. Caress, D.W., Thomas, H., Conlin, D., and Clague, D.A., 2009, Fine-scale morphology of West Mata volcano and the Northeast Lau Spreading Center, Lau Basin from AUV multibeam surveys, American Geophysical Union 2009 Fall Meeting abstract V51D-1731.

Clague, D.A., Rubin, K.H., and Keller, N.S., 2009, Products of submarine fountains and bubble-burst eruptive activity at 1200 m on West Mata volcano, Lau Basin, American Geophysical Union 2009 Fall Meeting abstract V43I-02.

Huber, J.A., Cantin, H., Resing, J., and Butterfield, D.A., 2009, Microbial communities in erupting fluids from West Mata volcano, Tonga Arc, American Geophysical Union 2009 Fall Meeting abstract V41I-07.

Keller, N.S., Rubin, K.H., Clague, D.A., Michael, P.J., Resing, J.A., Cooper, L.B., Shaw, A.M., Ono, S., and Tamura, Y., 2009, Sulfur in submarine eruptions: Observations and preliminary data from West Mata, NE Lau Basin, American Geophysical Union 2009 Fall Meeting abstract V43I-08.

Lin, H., Cowen, J.P., Butterfield, D.A., Embley, R.W., and Resing, J., 2009, Dissolved organic carbon distribution in two hydrothermal systems ? West Mata, NE Lau Basin during an eruption event and basement fluids from sediment-buried Juan de Fuca Ridge flanks, American Geophysical Union 2009 Fall Meeting abstract B21D-06.

Michael, P.J., Escrig, S., Rubin, K.H., Cooper, L.B., Langmuir, C.H., Clague, D.A., Keller, N.S., and Plank, T., 2009, Major and trace elements and volatiles in glasses from the 2009 Rapid Response Expedition to West Mata volcano and Northeast Lau spreading center (NELSC), American Geophysical Union 2009 Fall Meeting abstract V51D-1720.

Resing, J., Lupton, J., Embley, R., Baker, E., and Lilley, M. (compilers), 2009, Preliminary findings from the North Lau eruption sites, informal report, 2/5/09 (URL: http://www.ridge2000.org/science/downloads/email/Nlaupreliminaryfindings25.pdf).

Geologic Background. West Mata, a submarine volcano rising to within 1174 m of the sea surface, is located in the northeastern Lau Basin at the northern end of the Tonga arc, about 200 km SW of Samoa. West Mata volcano lies about 7 km west of another submarine volcano, East Mata; both lie at the northern end of the Tonga arc, north of the historically active Curacoa submarine volcano. The two volcanoes were discovered during a November 2008 NOAA Vents Program expedition, and West Mata was found to be producing submarine hydrothermal plumes consistent with a recent or lava effusion. A return visit in May 2009 documented explosive and effusive activity from two closely spaced vents, one at the summit, and the other on the SW rift zone.

Information Contacts: Ken Rubin, NOAA, University of Hawaii; National Science Foundation (NSF) (URL: http://www.nsf.gov/); American Geophysical Union 2009 Fall Meeting.

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


Central Chile and Argentina


Estero de Parraguirre


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

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

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

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



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

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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


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

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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