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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

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

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

Recently Published Bulletin Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Reventador (Ecuador) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México D.F. 04360, México (URL: http://www.cenapred.unam.mx/, Daily Report Archive https://www.gob.mx/cenapred/archivo/articulos); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Pacaya (Guatemala) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/ ); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://conred.gob.gt/www/index.php) (URL: https://twitter.com/ConredGuatemala/status/1310057080162844673, https://conred.gob.gt/monitoreo-a-flujo-de-lava-en-el-volcan-pacaya/) ; NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); David Rojas, Guatemala (URL: https://www.instagram.com/davidrojasgtfoto/, https://twitter.com/DavidRojasGt/); Mariana Lemus, Guatemala (URL: https://www.instagram.com/marianalemusgt/); Noti7 (URL: https://twitter.com/Noti7Guatemala/status/1320169410833883136); Sh!ft (URL: https://twitter.com/kevingt_/status/1299204020662304768); Prensa Objetiva (URL: https://twitter.com/noticiasprensa/status/1328102695832612865).


Stromboli (Italy) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy, (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/en/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


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

Saunders

United Kingdom

57.8°S, 26.483°W; summit elev. 843 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Santa Maria

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Tengger Caldera

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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


Lewotolok (Indonesia) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Lewotolok

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Soufriere St. Vincent

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

13.33°N, 61.18°W; summit elev. 1220 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC), University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies (URL: http://www.uwiseismic.com/); National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Biseé, PO. Box 1517, Castries, Saint Lucia, West Indies (URL: http://nemo.gov.lc/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/); Bridie Davies, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, Norfolk, NR4 7TJ, UK (URL: https://people.uea.ac.uk/bridie_davies).


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

Erta Ale

Ethiopia

13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Bagana

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


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

Kadovar

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 36, Number 01 (February 2011)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Bagana (Papua New Guinea)

Occasional ash plumes during 11 February-1 October 2010

Karangetang (Indonesia)

Eruption in August 2010 isolated 20,000 residents and caused four deaths

Kizimen (Russia)

Powerful fissure eruption in November 2010 ends ~82-year repose

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Ashfall, pyroclastic flows, and seismicity in late December 2010

Merapi (Indonesia)

Eruption started 26 October 2010; 386 deaths, more than 300,000 evacuated

Rumble III (New Zealand)

Eruption in 2009 linked to over 100 m of sea floor collapse

Sangay (Ecuador)

Many plumes seen by pilots during past year ending February 2011

Taal (Philippines)

Intermittent non-eruptive unrest during 2008-2010



Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — February 2011 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)


Occasional ash plumes during 11 February-1 October 2010

This report discusses thermal anomalies and occasional ash plumes at Bagana during February into October 2010, with some satellite thermal data (MODVOLC) as late as early 2011. Our previous report (BGVN 35:02) also noted small lava flows, occasional ash plumes, and thermal anomalies from October 2009 through February 2010.

Historical records describe frequent eruptions since 1842. Bagana lacks instrumental monitoring and sits far from population centers. Many recent observations are remote-sensing based, although the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) produces reports with direct air- and ground-based observations. Bagana's flanks are covered with andesitic lava flows up to 50 m thick (Blake, 1968). The flows typically descend the mid-slope within the confines of tall lava levees, but emerge from the levees on the outer flanks to form sub-circular flow fields. Bagana's thick lava flows are visible in two photos below (figures 18 and 19).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. An International Space Station photo taken on 2 April 2007 showing a diffuse white vapor plume extending SSW from Bagana's summit. The volcano is known for ongoing activity and lava flows of noteworthy thickness (~ 50 m thick). The brown-to-olive colors of the volcano stand out amidst the green of tropical rain forest. Astronaut Photo ISS014-E-18844. Courtesy NASA.

Activity. Between 10 February 2010 and 1 October 2010, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported one or a few ash plumes per month from Bagana. Many rose to ~3 km and drifted from 20-205 km (table 5). According to RVO, ash plumes were seen on 5 February and night-time incandescence was seen on 2, 12, 13, and 19 February. White vapor was emitted during 1-21 February. Sulfur dioxide plumes drifted ENE during 11-20 February and NNW on 20 and 21 February. Consistent with the thick lava flows, MODVOLC detected well over 100 thermal anomalies at Bagana in the year ending 10 February 2011.

Table 5. Summary of ash plumes from Bagana reported during 1 February-October 2010. Courtesy of the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

Date Altitude (km) Drift (distance and direction)
11-15 Feb 2010 2.4 18-150 km E, NE
19-20, 23, 25 and 27 Apr 2010 1.5-3 35-85 km S, SW, W, NW
06, 10-12 May 2010 2.4-3 55-75 km W, SW, WSW
25-28 May 2010 3 30-185 km NW, W, SW
13-14 Jun 2010 3 75-205 km SW, W
04 Jul 2010 2.4 75 km W
10-11 Jul 2010 2.4 75-150 km SW
13-15 Aug 2010 2.4 75 km SW, W
01 Oct 2010 2.4 75 km NW

Reference. Blake D H, 1968. Post Miocene volcanoes on Bougainville Island, Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Bull Volc, 32: 121-140

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: 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/); Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), PO Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea; NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Marshall Space Flight Center (URL: http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov, http://www.flickriver.com/photos/); VolcanoWallpapers (URL: http://www.volcanowallpapers.com/Volcano-Smoke/mount-bagana-volcano/).


Karangetang (Indonesia) — February 2011 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

2.781°N, 125.407°E; summit elev. 1797 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption in August 2010 isolated 20,000 residents and caused four deaths

A sudden eruption at Karangetang on 6 August 2010 occurred without warning and caused considerable damage. This report covers the interval from 6 August 2010 to mid-March 2011. Previously, the Indonesian Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) had reported that, after explosions and lava flows during May and June 2009 and a pyroclastic flow and lahar in November 2009, seismicity had declined through early February 2010 (BGVN 35:01). On 12 February 2010, CVGHM had lowered the Alert Level to 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

According to news articles, an explosion on 6 August 2010 ejected hot clouds of gas and sent pyroclastic flows down the W flank. At least one house was buried and several other buildings, including a church, were damaged. A damaged bridge isolated about six villages and their ~20,000 residents, and communication links were lost. According to news reports (CNN and Associated Press), four people were confirmed dead and five were injured, and about 65 were evacuated. The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) reported that an ash plume rose to an altitude of 9.1 km and drifted W on that same day.

The news reports cited CVGHM official Priyadi Kardono as noting that the volcano erupted just after midnight when water from heavy rains had penetrated the volcano's hot lava dome, causing the explosion. According to these reports, Kardono said volcanologists did not issue a warning about the eruption because there were no indications of increased volcanic activity. Kardono also noted that the explosion was not large, and the flow of volcanic debris had since decreased.

CVGHM reported that during 1-21 September 2010, lava traveled 75-500 m down Karangetang's flanks and avalanches traveled as far as 2 km down multiple drainages, to the S, E, and W. Incandescent material was ejected up to 500 m above the crater. Ashfall was reported in areas to the NW.

On 21 and 22 September incandescent material traveled down multiple drainages. Strombolian activity was observed on 22 September; material ejected 50 m high fell back down around the crater. That same day, the Alert level was raised to 3.

During November and early December 2010, CVGHM noted a drastic decrease in the occurrence of pyroclastic flows on Karangetang's flanks. Seismicity also decreased. The only reports were of white plumes that rose up to 300 m above the craters. The Alert Level was thus lowered to 2 on 13 December 2010.

According to CVGHM, the Alert Level was again raised from 2 to 3 on 11 March 2011 due to increased seismicity. According to news reports, lava flows were visible and blocks originating from the lava dome traveled as far as 2 km down the flanks, along with hot gas clouds. A Reuters News photo published in Okezone News showed a moderate Strombolian eruption venting from the summit on 11 March, with an apron of incandescent spatter dotting the upper slopes, and a swath of red spatter and bombs bouncing down one flank. Darwin VAAC reported that on that same day, an ash plume rose to an altitude of 2.4 km and drifted 55 km SW; on 13 March, another ash plume rose to an altitude of 3.7 km and drifted 37 km.

During 12-16 March, CVGHM stated that bluish gas plumes rose 50-150 m above the main crater. On 17 March lava flows traveled as far as 2 km from the main crater, accompanied by roaring and booming noises.

On 18 and 20 March lava flows traveled 1.5-1.8 km and collapses from the lava flow fronts generated avalanches that moved another 500 m. Avalanches from the crater traveled 3.8 km down the flanks. Multiple pyroclastic flows about 1.5-2.3 km long destroyed a bridge, damaged a house, and trapped 31 people (later rescued) between the flow paths. Later that day, pyroclastic flows traveled 4 km, reaching the shore. The Alert Level was raised to 4. According to news articles, 600-1,200 people were evacuated from villages on the W flank.

During the week after 20 March, seismicity and deformation declined. The number of new lava flows also declined.

MODVOLC Thermal Alerts. Thermal alerts derived from the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology Thermal Alerts System (MODVOLC) were reported through 19 February 2010 in BGVN 35:01. A significant number of alerts were measured on 19 March 2010 (14 pixels at 0215 UCT on Terra) and 23 March (1 pixel on Aqua), followed by ~5 months without measured alerts. Alerts reappeared during 16 August-19 October 2010. Alerts were absent between 20 October 2010 and 10 March 2011, followed by renewed alerts during 11-12 March 2011.

Geologic Background. Karangetang (Api Siau) volcano lies at the northern end of the island of Siau, about 125 km NNE of the NE-most point of Sulawesi island. The stratovolcano contains five summit craters along a N-S line. It is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, with more than 40 eruptions recorded since 1675 and many additional small eruptions that were not documented in the historical record (Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World: Neumann van Padang, 1951). Twentieth-century eruptions have included frequent explosive activity sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows and lahars. Lava dome growth has occurred in the summit craters; collapse of lava flow fronts have produced pyroclastic flows.

Information Contacts: Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://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/); Okezone News (URL: http://news.okezone.com/read/2011/03/12/340/434280/gunung-muntahkan-lava-pijar); Associated Press (URL: http://www.ap.org/); Reuters (URL: http://www.reuters.com/); CNN (URL: http://www.cnn.com/); Straits Times (URL: http://www.straitstimes.com/); Novinite (URL: http://www.novinite.com/).


Kizimen (Russia) — February 2011 Citation iconCite this Report

Kizimen

Russia

55.131°N, 160.32°E; summit elev. 2334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Powerful fissure eruption in November 2010 ends ~82-year repose

Eruption began here during mid-November 2010, the first since 1927-1928 (Brown and other, 2010). Ash plumes rose to ~10 km and were visible in satellite imagery as they traveled hundreds of kilometers during November 2010 through at least late February 2011. Our previous Bulletin (BGVN 35:02) reported that the number of earthquakes at Kizimen had increased substantially beginning in July 2009 (up to 120 earthquakes per day) through early April 2010 and that fumarolic temperatures increased in August. This report discusses activity since early April 2010.

After early April 2010, seismicity at Kizimen entered a quiescent phase until the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) reported increased seismic activity on 20 August and particularly during early November 2010. Based on information from a tourist center 10 km from Kizimen, KVERT noted that on 11 November 2010, strong gas-and-steam emissions resulted in a plume, possibly containing some ash, that rose to an altitude of 4 km.

According to the Kamchatkan Branch of Geophysical Survey (KG GS RAS), seismicity of the volcano was above background levels all week, and an M 4 earthquake occurred on 16 November 2010. According to information from the Yelizovo Airport (UHPP), the Tokyo VAAC reported that on 17 November an ash plume from Kizimen rose to an altitude of 3 km and drifted NE. KVERT noted the lack of satellite data about ash near Kizimen. The Level of Aviation Color Code remained at Green (on a scale that goes from low to high using these terms: Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red).

Seismic activity was above background levels during 19 November to 24 December 2010. On 20 November, volcanologists flying around Kizimen by helicopter observed several new fumaroles at the summit and SW flank. A small amount of "dust" covered the SW flank, possibly ash from the new fumaroles. Activity at the established old fumarole "Revuschaya" on the volcano's NE flank decreased. No thermal anomaly was noted from satellite images. The Level of Aviation Color Code was raised to Yellow.

On 9 December 2010, seismicity increased significantly and the Aviation Color Code level was raised to Orange. That same day, the Tokyo VAAC reported that, according to KB GS RAS, an explosion produced a plume that rose to an altitude of 2.7 km and drifted N. Ash was not identified in satellite images. A bright thermal anomaly was observed in satellite imagery the next day.

The beginning of the eruption Kizimen was captured in in a photo made by Don Page on 10 December from a commercial flight. The eruption start from long fissure on the SE slope (figure 5).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Photo taken on 10 December 2010 at 0314 UTC (1414 local Kamchatka time; from Seat 36K of Air Canada Flight 063 from Vancouver, Canada, to Incheon-Seoul, Korea). A dark, angled (non-vertical) plume rises from the along the length of an elongate fissure network on the SE slope. [Photo: 981x656 pixels, with a Nikon D80 digital camera and an AF-S Nikkor 18-200 mm zoom lens (probably set at 200 mm).] Photo by Don Nelson Page (University of Alberta).

[On 13 December 2010 (UTC) an explosive eruption generated ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 3-3.5 km and drifted NW. Based on information from KEMSD and analysis of satellite imagery, the Tokyo VAAC reported that an ash plume rose to an altitude of 10 km and drifted N. KVERT noted that lightning in the ash plumes was observed. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Red. Ash deposits in Kozyrevsk and Tigil, 110 and 308 km NW, respectively, were 5 mm thick. Later that day seismic activity decreased; the Aviation Color Code was lowered to Orange.]

Kronotsky National Park staff, residing at Ipuin (~16 km WSW), noted that the water level in Levaya Schapina river rose 60 cm after the explosions and remained elevated for the next two days. The water was also very muddy. During 14-24 December seismicity remained above background and a thermal anomaly over the lava dome was detected in satellite imagery.

KVERT noted that during 17-24 December 2010 the number of shallow seismic earthquakes increased from 110 events on 17 December to 304 events on 22 December. Volcanic tremor was detected on 23 December. During 26-28 December, seismicity also increased and there were possible small ash explosions and hot avalanches. A thermal anomaly over the lava dome was again seen in satellite imagery. On 27 December seismic analysis indicated that ash plumes that day possibly rose to altitudes of 3.5-4.5 km. Satellite imagery showed ash plumes drifting 140 km W at an altitude of 4 km. On 28 December, based on a Yelizovo Airport (UHPP) notice, the Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume drifting W at an altitude of 3.7 km. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Red.

A thermal anomaly over Kizimen's lava dome was again observed in satellite imagery during 29 December 2010-1 January 2011 and an explosive eruption that began on 13 December continued. On 31 December seismicity increased and volcanic tremor was detected. Explosions occurred sporadically for a period of about 20 minutes. Ash plumes detected in satellite imagery rose to an altitude of 8 km and drifted SW. Ashfall at least 1 mm thick occurred in multiple areas 225-275 km SSW, including Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Yelizovo, Paratunka, and Nalychevo. Ash plumes at an altitude of 4 km drifted 480-500 km SW; ash continued to accumulate in some areas.

Seismic data indicated increased activity on 3 January. Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Tokyo VAAC reported that possible eruptions during 2-4 January produced plumes that rose to an altitude of 3-4.6 km and drifted S, E, and NE. Subsequent images on those same days showed ash emissions continuing, then dissipating. During 4-7 January seismicity remained high and variable and volcanic tremor continued. A thermal anomaly over the volcano was observed in satellite imagery. Explosions continued through 7 January 2011 producing ash plumes mostly below altitudes of 6-8 km as reported by pilots or observed in satellite imagery. These drifted more than 200 km SE. A large and bright thermal anomaly was observed in satellite imagery.

A pattern of high seismicity and ash emissions was noted during early January 2011. On 5 January ash plumes drifted more than 500 km ENE. Ashfall was reported on the Komandorsky Islands, 350-500 km E (figure 6).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. An ash plume rising from Kizimen and blowing to the ENE on 5 January 2011. Courtesy of A. Lobashevsky.

The Tokyo VAAC reported that ash continued to be observed in satellite imagery on 5 January. According to information from KVERT and analyses of satellite imagery, a possible eruption on 6 January produced a plume that rose to an altitude of 3.7 km and drifted E. Subsequent satellite images that same day showed continuing ash emissions. Ash plumes drifted NW on 9 January, and drifted NW again on 11 January 2011, at an altitude of 2.7 km.

KVERT reported that during 7-13 January 2011 they saw both a thermal anomaly over Kizimen in satellite imagery and pyroclastic flow deposits on the E flank. Seismicity recorded during 6-7 and 12 January was high but variable, and many shallow volcanic earthquakes as well as volcanic tremor continued to be detected. Ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 6-8 km during 5-13 January were seen drifting multiple directions, and appeared in satellite imagery to be drifting more than 275 km W and NW. On 12 January ashfall was reported in the villages of Anavgai and Esso, 140 km NW. Seismic data during 14-15 January suggested that ash plumes rose to altitudes of 4-5 km. Satellite images showed a bright thermal anomaly over the volcano and ash plumes drifting more than 180 km W on 15 January 2011. The Aviation Color Code level was lowered to Orange.

From 14 January through 1 February, KVERT reported that seismicity from Kizimen was high but variable, and many shallow volcanic earthquakes as well as volcanic tremor continued to be detected. Seismic data analyses suggested that ash plumes possibly rose to an altitude no higher than 6 km. Satellite images showed a daily bright thermal anomaly over the volcano, and ash plumes that drifted more than 200 km W during 15-16 and 20 January. Based on satellite data, the Tokyo VAAC also reported that during 23-25 January eruptions produced plumes that rose to altitudes of 4.9-10.1 km. Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Tokyo VAAC reported that a possible eruption on 29 January produced a plume that rose to an altitude of 3.7 km and drifted SW. Photo and satellite images taken during late January through late February showed continuing ash emissions (figures 7 and 8).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Two images of Kizimen taken on 26 January 2011. On the left photo (a), a dark pyroclastic flow rushes down the slopes of the volcano. Photo by Igor Shpilenok. On the right (b), a thermal infra-red (IR) image taken of a pyroclastic flow during an explosion (IR scale temperature appears at right). The pyroclastic flow originated from the summit of the lava dome and swept downward. (The infrared image shows radiated energy as areas of bright glow.) During this eruptive stage a pyroclastic surge spread out over the slopes. IR image by V. Droznin, S. Chirkov, and I. Dubrovskaya (IVS RAS).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. This satellite image taken on 25 February 2011 shows a vigorous ash-laden plume extending from Kizimen at an altitude of ~3 km, drifting towards the NE, and visible for more than 170 km. The white portion of the plume is likely rich in steam, while the tan plume is primarily ash. The ground E of Kizimen is coated in newly fallen ash not yet covered by fresh snow. To the S of the summit are several dark streaks. These are probably traces of pyroclastic flows. Thermal anomalies (red in colored versions of this Bulletin) show the presence of recent hot block-and-ash flows from summit dome collapses. The image was acquired by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) aboard the Terra satellite. Courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS.

Reference: Browne B., Izbekov, P., Eichelberger, J., and Churikova, T., 2010, Pre-eruptive storage conditions of the Holocene dacite erupted from Kizimen Volcano, Kamchatka: International Geology Review, v. 52, Issue 1 January 2010, p. 95-110.

Geologic Background. Kizimen is an isolated, conical stratovolcano that is morphologically similar to St. Helens prior to its 1980 eruption. The summit consists of overlapping lava domes, and blocky lava flows descend the flanks of the volcano, which is the westernmost of a volcanic chain north of Kronotsky volcano. The 2334-m-high edifice was formed during four eruptive cycles beginning about 12,000 years ago and lasting 2000-3500 years. The largest eruptions took place about 10,000 and 8300-8400 years ago, and three periods of long-term lava dome growth have occurred. The latest eruptive cycle began about 3000 years ago with a large explosion and was followed by intermittent lava dome growth lasting about 1000 years. An explosive eruption about 1100 years ago produced a lateral blast and created a 1.0 x 0.7 km wide crater breached to the NE, inside which a small lava dome (the fourth at Kizimen) has grown. Prior to 2010, only a single explosive eruption, during 1927-28, had been recorded in historical time.

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Institute of Volcanology and Seismology Russian Academy of Sciences, Far East Division, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/); Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Service of the Russian Academy of Sciences (KB GS RAS), Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/); Sergey Senukov, Russia (URL: http://www.emsd.ru/) Valery Droznin and Sergey Chirkov, Institute of Volcanology and Seismology Russian Academy of Sciences, Far Eastern Branch, 9 Piip Boulevard, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia; A. Lobashevsky (URL: http://www.photokamchatka.ru/); I. Shpilenok (URL: http://shpilenok.livejournal.com/44922.html); NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); Don Nelson Page, Theoretical Physics Institute, 412 Physics Lab., University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2J1, Canada.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — February 2011 Citation iconCite this Report

Manam

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ashfall, pyroclastic flows, and seismicity in late December 2010

This report discusses Manam behavior during November 2010 to early 2011. As previously reported, during August-October 2010, lava fragments and ash plumes rose from Manam (BGVN 35:09). Similar activity continued through at least 4 January 2011. Over 10,000 former island residents remain in care centers on the mainland (see below).

During the reporting period, the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) reported that the Main Crater produced mostly white plumes that were occasionally laden with ash. Incandescent material was ejected at times and mainly fell back in and around the crater, but occasionally spilled into the SE and SW valleys.

Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) reported that ash plumes during 14-16 November 2010 rose to an altitude of 2.7 km and drifted ~95 km NW.

RVO reported that light brown to dark gray ash plumes rose 400-500 m above the South Crater during late November. People living on the island reported occasional roaring and rumbling noises. A new episode of eruptive activity began at South Crater on 25 December and was characterized during 25-29 December by rising ash plumes and ejections of incandescent lava fragments. Electronic tilt measurements showed a strong inflationary trend during 24-26 December but this slowed down on 26 December.

On 30 December 2010, activity from South Crater increased and was reported by observers in Bogia (on the mainland 20 km SSW). A dense ash plume rose 3 km above the summit crater and drifted NW, causing light ashfall in Tabele (4 km SW of Manam). An observer at Tabele confirmed the eruption and also reported that three pyroclastic flows descended the SE valley, stopping within a few to several hundred meters from the coastline. The first and largest pyroclastic flow devastated a broad unpopulated area between Warisi (E of Manam) and Dugulava (S of Manam) villages. RVO increased the Alert Level to Stage 3. Later that day, both ash emissions and the ejection of incandescent fragments diminished.

During early January 2011, plumes, sometimes containing ash, continued to rise above the South and Main Craters. RVO reported low roaring from the South Crater and incandescence was reported at times. On 8 January, the Alert Level was lowered from Stage 3 to Stage 2.

Seismicity and MODVOLC thermal alerts. Seismic data were not available during late November because of technical problems. Seismicity was low on 24 December, increased slightly after 25 December, then reached a point after 27 December where it fluctuated at and above moderate level. RVO reported seismicity during early January 2011 to be at a moderately low to moderate level.

Between 16 October 2010 and 10 January 2011, MODVOLC detected thermal anomalies on 25 days, mostly during late November and December. After 10 January, no thermal anomalies were detected through at least 16 February.

Multi-year evacuation. The UN's IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks) discussed Manam evacuees in reports issued 5 May and 20 December 2010. The 5 May 2010 report stated that "Around 14,000 islanders have been living in three care centres in the mainland province of Madang since November 2004. In March 2010 there was discussion that the displaced persons might be allowed to voluntarily return home to Manam Island."

According to the report, "A July 2009 assessment by the National Disaster Centre, the UN, and Oxfam concluded that living on the island was not a viable option because of a lack of access to arable land and public services, and the risk of further volcanic activity."

"The decision to begin returning residents was taken following heightened tensions between islanders and local residents (they speak the same language), largely over land issues. With little to no assistance, many of the IDPs rely on local gardening as their only source of food and livelihood, meaning they often encroach on nearby land.

"In March 2010, the National Executive Council (NEC) approved the establishment of the Manam Task Force Committee to manage the needs of the displaced islanders, with the primary goal of finding a suitable location for their permanent relocation."

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

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), PO Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); 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/).


Merapi (Indonesia) — February 2011 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

7.54°S, 110.446°E; summit elev. 2910 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption started 26 October 2010; 386 deaths, more than 300,000 evacuated

This report represents a preliminary discussion of the deadly eruption at Merapi that started on 26 October 2010. That eruption included weeks of instability that generated pyroclastic (block-and-ash) flows, which became particularly vigorous and numerous in early November, with at least one surge reportedly traveling along the Gendol drainage to 15-16 km from the summit dome. Of particular note from a hazards perspective, the path of some of these deposits differed at times from those of the recent past (but we have yet to find maps showing the flow directions and associated dates). An abstract by Lavigne and others (2011) reported the volume of tephra erupted in the 2010 eruption at over 100 x 106 m3, ~10-fold higher than similar deposits after typical eruptions in the past few decades, and among the factors why ongoing lahars are likely to be a hazard.

Our summary covers events into late 2010, with recognition of ongoing seismicity, weaker emissions, and repeated lahars in early 2011. The bulk of this report is based on those from the Indonesian Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) and their observatory dedicated to Merapi (MVO). According to CVGHM, the 2010 eruption was the biggest since the 1872 eruption. Eruptions in 1930 killed around 1,300 people. The last eruption of Merapi occurred during March 2006-August 2007 (BGVN 31:05, 31:06, 32:02, and 33:10). A table appears near the end of this report summarizing some key events and observations. Fatalities and scale of evacuations are discussed in a separate subsection below. Another subsection notes that at least one commercial airliner sustained serious in-flight engine damage.

Regional background and prior eruptive patterns. Merapi (figures 38, 39, and 40) is located in the central part of Java, and this region and the island as a whole have extremely high population density (roughly double that of Japan or Thailand). Substantial numbers of people live or vacation on the mountain. The most densely settled part of the mountain is the dangerous S side (figure 39).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. (Bottom) Two maps showing Merapi's location and (on the larger map) the distribution of block-and-ash flows that took place during 1954-1998. During that interval, these deposits went to the NW, W, and SW. From Hort and others (2006).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. A map of the S portion of Merapi showing population data in shaded patterns with key at left. The segments of circles depict distances from the summit. The 2010 eruptions sent pyroclastic flows through Merapi's SE quadrant, thus passing areas of elevated population. Taken from OCHA (8 November 2010).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. A set of simple diagrams illustrating Merapi in cross section (looking W; S is to the left) summarizing behavior that occurred during 1986-1994 (such a diagram has yet to be published for the 2010 eruption). The 1989 case shows VT earthquakes in the edifice (circles containing crosses). Taken from Ratdomopurbo and Poupinet (2000).

Figure 38 provides a summary of block-and ash-flow deposits from 1954-1998 (Hort and others, 2006; Schwarzkopf, 2001). The eruptions starting in October 2010 sent pyroclastic flows and possible surges at least 15 km in the volcano's W to S quadrant. Block-and-ash flows are pyroclastic flows formed by dome collapse and containing a substantial amount of broken dome fragments.

The inset map at the lower left shows Merapi with respect to the city of Yogyakarta (30 km SSW). Although the metro area of that city has a population of 1.6 million residents, the Indonesian statistical bureau estimated the 2010 populations of the ~30 km2 city of Yogyakarta at ~396,000 residents, and the broader region at ~3.5 million residents.

Figure 39 shows the summit and S part of Merapi, plotting population data by village at distances up to 20-25 km from the summit. This side of the volcano is by far the most densely populated, and was also crossed by numerous pyroclastic flows both historically and in the 2010 eruptions.

Figure 40 illustrates critical processes in Merapi's mode of eruption in the recent past. A significant portion of the dome is unconfined by the summit crater and the S side is free to descend the volcano's upper slopes endangering residents below. In the recent episode, CVGHM benefitted from daily access to satellite radar imagery that reliably depicted dome morphology despite weather and steam clouds. Vöge and Hort (2008) and Hort and others (2006) discuss monitoring dome instability using Doppler radar.

Monitoring and lead-up to the 26 October 2010 eruption. Since 2007, short swarms of volcanic earthquakes occurred (eg., on 31 October 2009, 6 December 2009, and 10 June 2010). Monitored parameters, including earthquakes, deformation, and gas emmisions increased significantly during September 2010. Steeper increases in seismicity appeared during 15-26 October with the main ramp-up during 20-26 October.

Figure 41 shows several histograms that depict Merapi seismic data and summarize the variations in hazard status. The CVGHM scale, which stretches from 1 (low) to 4 (high), makes a complete ascent and partial descent through the full range of those levels during the date range shown. The heavy vertical line between Alert Levels 3 and 4 took place on 25 October, slightly before the onset of the major eruption on 26 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Three histograms describing Merapi seismicity during 1 September 2010 to 6 March 2011. Horizontal scale marked in weeks and extends from 1 September 2010 to 5 March 2011. Words along the top line show hazard status (on an increasing scale starting from 1 [Normal] and extending to 2 [Waspada]), to 3 [Siaga]), and finally to 4 [Awas] and then declining). The top panel contains seismically inferred rockfalls and avalanches (guguran in Indonesian). The middle panel shows multiphase (MP) earthquakes (shallow source, dominant frequency ~1.5 Hz). The bottom panel shows volcanic earthquakes of both A- and B-type (where VTA represents deep volcano-tectonic earthquakes, 2.5-5 km below the summit; VTB represents shallow volcano-tectonic earthquakes, less than ~1.5 km below the summit). Taken from CVGHM report of 7 March, with minor revisions by Bulletin editors.

Figure 42 presents typical waveforms for various types of earthquakes and tremor signals previously recorded at Merapi (Ratdomopurbo and Poupinet, 2000). Both multiphase (MP) and volcanic type-A (VTA) showed strong peaks in seismicity prior to the 26 October eruption's onset. Rockfalls on upper panel (labeled guguran) and type-b events on bottom panel both peaked on or near 26 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Typical waveforms, tremor signals, and descriptive seismic terminology in use at Merapi. These include tremor, LF-low frequency (earthquakes nominally from shallow sources, dominant frequency between 3 and 4 Hz), VTA and VTB (volcano-tectonic A and B, where VTA represents deeper volcano-tectonic earthquakes, 2.5-5 km below the summit; and VTB represents shallower volcano-tectonic earthquake, less than ~1.5 km below the summit), and MP-multiphase earthquakes. Records are from Station PUS (~0.5 km E of summit), shown in the upper part of the figure, and from Station DEL (~3 km SE of the summit), in the lower part. From Ratdomopurbo and Poupinet (2000).

The onset of the 26 October explosion occurred ~19 hours after an M 7.7 tectonic earthquake along the trench near the Mentawai islands adjacent to Central Sumatra, 1,200 km NW of Merapi. This earthquake was followed by several aftershocks, including two prior to the eruption (M 6.1 and 6.2) and one after the eruption (M 5.8). One or more of these earthquakes triggered tsunamis that hit the remote Mentawai islands, sweeping entire villages to sea and killing at least 428 people. There, too, thousands of people were displaced. The two near-simultaneous crises taxed authorities, NGOs, and the natural hazards community (figure 43).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. A map emphasizing the locations of the M 7.7 tsunamigenic (tsunami-generating) earthquake and the eruption onset at Merapi, events of 25 and 26 October, respectively. (The earthquake time stated is incorrect—according to USGS cataloging, it registered at 1442 UTC on the 25th, which corresponds to 2142 local time that day. The eruption began at 1002 UTC on the 26th). Jakara is Indonesia's capital. Courtesy of Relief Web.

Except for the close timing and regional proximity, the linkage between the M 7.7 earthquake and the eruption remains ambiguous. However, many researchers have noted that tectonic earthquakes can seemingly trigger volcanic responses (eg., Delle Donne and others, 2010; Lowenstern, JB, Smith, RB, and Hill, DP, 2006; Manga and Brodsky, 2006).

In early September 2010, the pattern of increased volcanic seismicity began to appear with MP earthquakes averaging 10/day and VTA and VTB averaging 3/day, with a total daily seismic energy of 603 x 1012 erg.

Gas analyses in August 2010 showed concentrations of HCl of 0.8 % mol and H2O of 80 % mol. Declining levels of H2O (less than 90 %) and increased levels of HCl (>0.5 %) were interpreted to indicate increased activity.

In September, summit inflation increased markedly. Seismicity also increased beginning on 12 September, when an M 2.5 VTA earthquake and pyroclastic flows/avalanches occurred. On 13 September, VTA earthquakes occurred twice, and white plumes rose 800 m above the crater.

During 23-26 October, there were small steam-and-ash emissions. Inflation increased sharply on 24 October to a rate of 420 mm/day. The next day, CVGHM raised the Alert Level to 4, and recommended immediate evacuation for several communities within a 10-km radius. A Reuters photo by Dwi Oblo taken at sunrise on 26 October looking up at the dome and the prominent S-trending avalanche channel revealed comparatively calm conditions, with emissions consisting of a thick white steam plume blowing W from the dome.

Initial October eruptions. The first eruption occurred at 1702 on 26 October 2010, an event characterized by explosions and multiple pyroclastic flows that traveled S ~8 km down the Gendol and Kuning drainages, and to some extent WSW down the Bedog drainage. Most of the pyroclastic flows lasted 2-9 minutes, but the eruptions associated with the final two each lasted 35 minutes. The event killed 35 people including the renowned mystical guardian of Merapi, Mbah Mbahmarijan, at 7 km distance.

Figure 44 shows an exposed ridge affected by pyroclastic flows in a photo taken on 27 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. An exposed ridge at Merapi as it appeared the day after the 26 October eruption. Pyroclastic flows had reduced forest to stumps, leaving stripped and fallen trees. Courtesy of The Boston Globe website of Merapi photos (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images).

According to the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), an ash plume rose to an altitude of 18 km, followed by extrusion of lava in the summit crater.

By 27 October the lava dome had sustained damage and a new 200-m-diameter crater had formed at the summit. After that, lava extrusions built a small dome in the crater. A space-based estimate made from the ozone monitoring instrument (OMI) indicated the eruption on the 26th vented at least 3,000 metric tons of SO2 gas. According to the Darwin VAAC, ground-based reports indicated that another explosion occurred on 28 October 2010. Cloud cover prevented satellite observations.

Following the eruption and continuing through 4 November, intense tremor took place. It was felt by people up to 20 km from the volcano.

CVGHM reported that two pyroclastic flows occurred on 30 October following an early morning explosion, the third since 26 October. According to a news article, ash fell in Yogyakarta, 30 km SSW, causing low visibility. CVGHM noted four pyroclastic flows on 31 October.

Stronger eruptions in November. According to CVGHM, during 31 October-4 November, a lava dome grew rapidly within Merapi's summit crater. Collapses from the S side of the dome fed minor pyroclastic flows that extended several hundred meters into the upper part of the Gendol valley.

On 1 November, an explosion began mid-morning with a low-frequency earthquake, and avalanches occurred. About seven pyroclastic flows occurred during the next few hours (figure 45), traveling SSE a maximum runout distance of 4 km, and in another (possibly later) case that day, 9 km. The Darwin VAAC reported that the explosion produced an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 6.1 km. News reports noted flight diversions and cancellations in and out of the airports serving Solo (40 km E) and Yogyakarta.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. On 1 November 2010, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA's Terra satellite captured this thermal signature of Merapi's lava dome and hot pyroclastic flows. The thermal information is overlaid on a three-dimensional map of the volcano to show the approximate location of the pyroclastic flow. The three-dimensional data is from a global topographic model created using ASTER stereo observations. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory website (credit to Robert Simmon and Jesse Allen and NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and the U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team). Original caption by Holli Riebeek.

On 2 November, an ash plume was seen in satellite imagery drifting 75 km N at an altitude of 6.1 km. On the same day, CVGHM reported 26 pyroclastic flows. On 3 November, observers stationed at multiple posts reported ash plumes from pyroclastic flows. One pyroclastic flow traveled 10 km, prompting CVGHM to extend the hazard zone from a radius of 10 km to 15 km, and they recommended evacuations from several more communities. Another pyroclastic flow traveled 9 km SE later that day. Figure 46 shows a 2 November view of Merapi.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Incandescent material spilled from Merapi's dome glows orange-red in colored versions of this long-exposure photograph taken on 2 November 2010 from ~25 km SSE of the summit (Klaten district). Condensate droplets in the thin (lenticular) clouds over the summit also reflect considerable light. Courtesy of The Boston Globe (Boston.com website); photo credit to Sonny Timbelaka (AFP/Getty Images).

CVGHM reported that, during 3-8 November, the eruption from Merapi continued at a vigorous pace, characterized by incandescent avalanches from the lava dome, pyroclastic flows, ash plumes, and occasional explosions.

Visual observations were often difficult due to inclement weather and eruption plumes. To overcome these challenges, people working on the crisis gained regular access to satellite radar data of high resolution (RADARSAT2). That data was made available 25 October through an agreement called the International Charter Space and Major Disasters.

According to the NASA Earth Observatory website, the strongest explosion during the 2010 eruption took place on 4-5 November, lasting more than 24 hours, when plumes rose to ~18 km altitude and drifted 110 km W. They claimed that some surges of pyroclastic material reached an 18 km runout distance (direction and damage unstated and several kilometers longer than some other observations). They also said that, according to local geologists, this explosion was the most violent one at Merapi since the 1870's. They noted that, by some estimates, the 4-5 November eruption was five times more intense than the one on 26 October.

A CVGHM report on the 4-5 November eruption stated that 38 pyroclastic flows had occurred before it ended. Although dense fog hampered visual observations, a CVGHM observer from Kaliurang post (~7 km S of the summit) saw 19 of those 38 flows travel ~4 km S. Another traveled 9 km SE. Ashfall was noted in some nearby areas. Satellite data indicated this explosion released much more SO2 than previous recent Merapi eruptions, ~300,000 metric tons.

Residents in towns up to 240 km away reported that 'heavy gray ash' blanketed trees, cars, and roads. On 5 November, rumbling sounds were heard in areas 30 km away, and pyroclastic flows continued to descend the flanks. Ash fell in Yogyakarta and "sand"-sized tephra fell within 15 km. CVGHM recommended evacuations from several more towns within a 20-km radius. Observations shortly after the 5 November eruption showed that the large lava dome of the previous week had been destroyed, and the summit crater had enlarged to a diameter of 300-400 m. However, by 6 November, another lava dome had grown, amassing, according to RADARSAT images 11 hours apart, at a rate of ~35 m3 per second.

Activity remained very intense on 6 November. Pyroclastic flows continued to descend the flanks; one flow traveled 4 km down the Senowo drainage to the W. Incandescent flashes from the lava dome were reported from observations posts, and incandescent material was ejected above the crater. Incandescent avalanches traveled 2 km down multiple drainages to the SSE, S, and SSW. The Darwin VAAC reported that ash plumes seen in satellite imagery rose to an altitude of 16.8 km on 5 and 6 November.

During this period, ashfall was heavy on Merapi's flanks, and was observed in multiple surrounding areas, including the villages of Selo (~5 km NNE) and Magelang (26 km WNW). In Muntilan village (18 km WSW), tephra and ash accumulated up to 4 cm. At the volcano, a new dome formed during 6-7 November 2010; it stood ~240 m in a NW-SE orientation, 140 m wide, and 40-50 m high.

On 7 November, the number of pyroclastic flows increased from the previous day. An explosion was heard, and ash plumes rose 6 km and drifted W. Lightning was seen from Yogyakarta. Pyroclastic flows traveled 5 km, and lava avalanches moved 600 m S and SW. The next day, ash plumes rose to altitudes of 6-7 km and were accompanied by rumbling sounds. According to the Darwin VAAC, satellite imagery during 7-8 November showed ash plumes at an altitude of 7.6 km drifting 165-220 km W and SW.

Figure 47 shows Merapi's erupted SO2 in the atmosphere during 4-8 November 2010. On 9 November, an SO2 cloud was seen over the Indian Ocean at altitudes of 12-15 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. SO2 concentration-pathlength (in Dobson units, with 100 DU as darkest colors) during 4-8 November 2010, as observed by the OMI on NASA's Aura spacecraft. OMI data provided courtesy of Simon Carn (Michigan Technical University). Courtesy of Natural Hazards NASA Earth Observatory website (image by Jesse Allen, and original caption by Michon Scott).

The European Space Agency (ESA) has created updates on SO2 gas retrieval from their Envisat, Eumetsat's MetOp, and NASA's Aura satellites. For the interval 4-13 November 2010, the peak atmospheric loading of SO2 appeared on 8 November at 227 kT SO2. The estimates can be seen presented as animations that depict complex rotating dispersal patterns. As seen in figure 47, significant portions of the gas blew over Western Australia. In Norwegian Institute for Air Research models shown in the article, many of the Merapi plumes centered around 15 km altitude, with tops and bottoms ~5 km above and below that height.

ESA (2010) quoted Andrew Tupper as saying, "The updates from ESA have been very useful to Darwin VAAC [Volcanic Ash Advisory Center] when received in real time, and we expect that in the post-event analysis we'll be able to show lots more potential value." The SO2 maps can help the aviation community avoid dangerous emissions from volcanoes.

ESA (2010) noted that they send SO2 email alerts in near-real time. The alerts link to a web page with a map showing the location of the sulphur dioxide peak.

Reduced eruptive vigor; lahars. Eruptions and seismicity generally dropped during mid-November 2010 into March 2011, but lahars became a problem. On 9 November, CVGHM noted a reduction in the intensity of activity; a single pyroclastic flow occurred in a 6-hour period. Rumbling sounds were accompanied by an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 4.5 km, and ashfall was reported in Selo (~5 km NNE). Lava-dome incandescence was again observed, and lava avalanches moved 800 m SSE.

During 10-11 November, seismicity continued to decrease. Lahar deposits were seen in multiple drainages, at a maximum distance of 16.5 km from the summit. On 10 November, plumes generally rose 0.8-1.5 km above the crater. Heavy ashfall was reported in areas to the WSW and WNW. A 3.5-km-long pyroclastic flow and a 200-m-long avalanche both traveled S in the Gendol drainage. Incandescence from the crater was observed through a closed-circuit television system at the Merapi museum (in the village of Kaliurang, ~7 km S of the summit). On 11 November, roaring was followed by light ashfall at the Ketep Merapi observation post, ~9 km NW of the summit. Plumes, brownish-black at times, rose 800 m above the crater and drifted W and NW, and one plume rose 1.5 km. Avalanches again proceeded S in the Gendol drainage.

According to the Darwin VAAC, during 12-21 November, ash plumes rose as high as 7.6 km and drifted in multiple directions. The SO2 concentration at high altitudes decreased. About 300,000 residents also began to return home after the "danger zone" was reduced in some areas due to decreased activity.

Between 10 November and 1 December, lahar deposits were seen in multiple drainages and in all rivers flowing from Merapi. CVGHM noted that several bridges had been damaged. On 29 November, a narrow tongue of lava was observed, and light-colored flow deposits extended S down several narrow channels (Gendol and Kuning drainages) at least 5 km from the summit.

According to CVGHM, seismicity declined further during 1-3 December, in number of volcanic earthquakes and their associated energy. Deformation measurements were either stable or did not show significant changes. Although fog often prevented visual observations, gas plumes were seen rising 500 m above the crater and drifting W. SO2 plumes were no longer detected in satellite imagery. On 4 December, the Alert Level was lowered to 3.

On 9 January, as seismicity continued to decrease, CVGHM lowered the Alert Level to 2. Plumes continued to rise above the crater and, on 12 January, avalanches descended the Krasak drainage, traveling 1.5 km SW. Lahars and high water during 15-23 January damaged infrastructure and caused temporary road closures. On 22 January, plumes rose 175 m above the crater and drifted E.

According to a news account (vivanews.com), Merapi spewed thick white plumes as of the first week of February 2011. CVGHM reported that gas plumes rose from Merapi during 28 February-6 March. The highest plume, on 5 March, rose 100 m and drifted E. The number of MP earthquakes was slightly lower compared to the previous week.

Analysis of the lahar problem emerged as this issue went to press. According to Lavigne and others (2011) the volume of pyroclastic debris from the 2010 eruptive episode was in excess of 100 x 106 m3, ~10-fold higher than similar deposits after more conventional eruptions. These deposits and subsequent lahars filled most of the protective Sabo-dam structures. The eruption coincided with the onset of the rainy season, an interval that usually brings 4 m of rain but due to La Niña conditions, is predicted to bring more rain than usual. The 50-year absence of lahars in Kuning and Woro drainages altered the perception of risk in residents there. Thousands of sand miners work in the riverbed of all lahar-prone channels.

Fatalities and scale of evacuations. As previously noted, on 26 October, pyroclastic flows killed ~35 people who 7 km from the summit. They had refused to evacuate the village of Kinahejo (Kinahrejo).

According to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) (quoting the Government of Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency-Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana or BNPB), the 2010 eruptions killed 386 people, injured 131 people, and displaced initially more than 300,000 residents (USAID, 2011). According to Relief Web, the 11,000 displaced remained unable to return to their homes at least as late as January 2011.

Lahars followed the eruptive processes and caused at least one additional death and one injury. An 11 January IRIN News article stated that " . . . more than 300,000 people have been able to return home, another 11,000 remain displaced, living with family or in camps, according to the government's National Disaster Management Agency."

According to the UN's Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN News), a source of humanitarian news and analysis, rainfall triggered lahars on Merapi's flanks on 3 and 9 January 2011. This caused damage to houses, farms, and infrastructure in multiple villages in the Magelang district, 26 km WNW of Merapi. One death and an injury were reported. The flooded area reportedly affected an estimated 3,000 residents but the number evacuated was unstated. The flooding on 9 January was more intense and, according to IRIN News, the Red Cross evacuated dozens of people trapped in their homes.

Referring to the larger 2010 eruption and evacuees, the same 11 January IRIN article stated that " . . . more than 300,000 people have been able to return home, another 11,000 remain displaced, living with family or in camps, according to the government's National Disaster Management Agency." This article also quoted the same agency with regard to the 386 reported deaths and the 131 injuries from the 2010 eruption.

Airlines affected. According the Jakarta Post, a total of 13 international carriers stopped their flights to Jakarta on 6 November, citing concerns about volcanic ash in the air that could cause damage to their aircraft and engines, and thus jeopardize safety. They included Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia, Singapore Airlines, Emirate, Ethihad, Turkish Air, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, and KLM.

Andrew Tupper at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology notified us that Indonesian media reported that a plane encountered a volcanic cloud N of Java ascribed to Merapi on 28 October 2010. The suspected ash-plume encounter occurred at altitudes in the range 9.1-11.6 km. An engine stall message alerted the crew, who also noted a strong burning odor that disappeared as the plane descended from 9.1 to 6.1 km altitude.

According to another news account (Kompas.com), possibly reporting the same incident, on 28 October, a Garuda Indonesia airplane with 383 passengers from Solo, Central Java, landed safely at Hang Nadim Airport, Batam, a scheduled refueling stop. Enroute, volcanic ash from Merapi had been sucked into the left engine of the Airbus 330 aircraft, disrupting the engine. Richard Wijaya, Operational Duty Manager of Garuda Indonesia in Batam, explained that the pilot had notified ground staff of the disruption before landing, and as soon as they landed in Batam, the engine was checked. The crew cancelled the next leg of the scheduled flight to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

On 2 November, an unspecified number of international airlines had to cancel flights to airports at Solo and Yogyakarta, as plumes blackened the sky. Poor visibility and heavy ash on the runway caused the cancellations. According to an ABC news report, Yogyakarta airport reopened on 20 November after being closed for ~2 weeks.

Data table. Table 20 summarizes currently available CVGHM reports on Merapi's behavior during September to 1 December 2010. In the first row, it presents some background values commonly seen at Merapi during non-eruption conditions. Seismic terminology in the table is equivalent to that seen in figure 42 (Ratdomopurbo and Poupinet, 2000). Note the rise in seismic energy on 19 September, various changes in Alert Level, and major events in bolded type. Comparative calm prevailed after early November, but lahars became a problem (see text). The table is intended to give readers an overview of the eruption rather than capture all the details.

Table 20. Preliminary summary of pyroclastic flows as well as some collateral observations, and hazard status changes relating to Merapi during early September through 22 November 2010. Pyroclastic flows (locally termed AP for awan panas, hot clouds) here are tallied both from seismic detection and visual observations, along with direction of travel. The table omits seismic data shown in figure 41. The "ber" (beruntun) refers to episodes of densely spaced signals indistinguishable from each other. Those signals were common beginning 4 November and complicated assessments of tremor (not shown). The pre-eruption seismic energy was less than 342 x 1012 erg (normal, non-eruptive conditions). Courtesy of CVGHM and A. Ratdomopurbo (personal communication).

Date Pyroclastic flows Related comments
Early Sep 2010 -- Seismic energy, 603 x 1012 ergs
19 Sep 2010 -- Seismic energy, ~6,000 x 1012 erg
20 Sep 2010 -- Alert Level raised to 2
21 Oct 2010 -- Alert Level raised to 3
25 Oct 2010 -- Regional M 7.7 earthquake; Alert Level raised to 4
26 Oct 2010 8 [Multiple (WSW, SE)] Initial eruption at 1702 LT
30 Oct 2010 2 Second explosive eruption; ashfall in city of Yogyakarta
31 Oct 2010 4 Eruption
01 Nov 2010 7 during several hr --
02 Nov 2010 26 Eruption; 9 and 10 km runout distances
03 Nov 2010 38 [At least 19 (S)] Eruption
04 Nov 2010 ber [Multiple] Eruption (over 24 hours)
05 Nov 2010 ber [Multiple] 4-5 Nov. eruption was largest 2010 eruption (ash plume to 16.8 km asl); runout distances of ~18 km(?); widespread ash fall; dome destruction
06 Nov 2010 5 [Multiple] Eruption, rapid dome extrusion
07 Nov 2010 ber [Multiple] Eruption
08 Nov 2010 7 Eruption
09 Nov 2010 2 [1 in 6 hr period] Weaker eruption
10 Nov 2010 1 [At least 1 (S)] Weaker eruption
11 Nov 2010 1 [At least 1 (S)] Weaker eruption
14 Nov 2010 2 [0 (none)] Weaker eruption
15 Nov 2010 [1] Weaker eruption
16 Nov 2010 [1] Weaker eruption
22 Nov 2010 [5] Eruption

References. Delle Donne, D., Harris, AJL, Ripepe, M, and Wright, R., 2010, Earthquake-induced thermal anomalies at active volcanoes, Geology, Sept. 2010; v. 38; pp. 771-774 [DOI: 10.1130/G30984.1].

European Space Agency (ESA), 2010, Satellites tracking Mt Merapi volcanic ash clouds, ESA News (online; 15 November 2010) (URL: http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMY0Y46JGG_index_0.html).

Hort, M, Vöge, FM., Seyfried, R, and Ratdomopurbo, A, 2006, In situ observation of dome instabilities at Merapi volcano, Indonesia: A new tool for volcanic hazard mitigation, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 154, no. 3-4, p. 301-312.

Lavigne,F, de Bélizal, E, Cholik, N, Aisyah, N, Picquout, A, and Wulan Mei, ET, 2011, Lahar hazards and risks following the 2010 eruption of Merapi volcano, Indonesia, Geophysical Research Abstracts, v. 13, EGU2011-4400, 2011, EGU General Assembly 2011.

Lowenstern, JB, Smith, RB, and Hill, DP, 2006, Monitoring super-volcanoes: geophysical and geochemical signals at Yellowstone and other large caldera systems, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A, 15 August 2006, v. 364, no. 1845, p. 2055-2072.

Manga, M. and Brodsky, E, 2006, Seismic triggering of eruptions in the far field: volcanoes and geysers, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, v. 34, p. 263-291 [DOI: 10.1146/annurev.earth.34.031405.125125].

Ratdomopurbo, A, and Poupinet, G, 2000, An overview of the seismicity of Merapi volcano (Java, Indonesia), 1983-1994, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 100, no. 1-4, p.193-214 (DOI: 10.1016/S0377-0273(00)00137-2).

Schwarzkopf, L, 2001, The 1995 and 1998 block and ash flow deposits at Merapi volcano, Central Java, Indonesia: implications for emplacement mechanisms and hazard mitigation. Ph.D. Thesis, University at Kiel, Kiel, Germany.

USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development), 2011 (February 4), Indonesia - Tsunami and Volcano, Fact Sheet 2, Fiscal Year 2011.

Vöge, FM, and Hort, M, 2008, Automatic classification of dome instabilities based on Doppler radar measurements at Merapi volcano, Indonesia: Part I. Geophysical Journal International, v. 172, no. 3, p. 1188-1206 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2007.03605.x).

Geologic Background. Merapi, one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, lies in one of the world's most densely populated areas and dominates the landscape immediately north of the major city of Yogyakarta. It is the youngest and southernmost of a volcanic chain extending NNW to Ungaran volcano. Growth of Old Merapi during the Pleistocene ended with major edifice collapse perhaps about 2,000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequent growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent activity, began SW of the earlier collapse scarp. Pyroclastic flows and lahars accompanying growth and collapse of the steep-sided active summit lava dome have devastated cultivated lands on the western-to-southern flanks and caused many fatalities.

Information Contacts: Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://vsi.esdm.go.id/); Merapi Volcano Observatory (MVO); 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/); NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) (URL: https://www.usaid.gov/); Antonius Ratdomopurbo, Nanyang Technological University, Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Avenue, Singapore (URL: http://www.earthobservatory.sg/); Andrew Tupper, Australian Bureau of Meteorology (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/); European Geosciences Union (URL: http://www.egu.eu/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB - Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency) (URL: http://dibi.bnpb.go.id/); Relief Web (URL: https://reliefweb.int/); Kompas News, Jakarta, Indonesia (URL: http://www.Kompas.com); The Jakarta Post (URL: http://www.thejakartapost.com/); Reuters (URL: http://www.reuters.com/); Vivanews.com (URL: http://vivanews.com/); ABC News (Australia) (URL: http://www.abc.net.au/); The Boston Globe (URL: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/11/mount_merapis_eruptions.html); IRIN News (URL: http://www.IRINnews.org/).


Rumble III (New Zealand) — February 2011 Citation iconCite this Report

Rumble III

New Zealand

35.745°S, 178.478°E; summit elev. -220 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption in 2009 linked to over 100 m of sea floor collapse

We reported in BGVN 34:07 that New Zealand scientists found evidence during a research cruise in 2009 of a recent large eruption at Rumble III, one of more than 30 big submarine volcanoes on the Kermadec Arc, NE of the Bay of Plenty on the N coast of New Zealand's North Island (figures 3 and 4). A newly available report of the 2009 cruise (Dodge, 2010) noted some new details, including the following: (1) since the last study of Rumble III volcano in 2007, significant volcanic activity had occurred; (2) the bathymetric profile of the seamount had changed since it was last mapped in 2007—the summit of Rumble III had collapsed and was ~100 m deeper, at 310 m, much of the 800-m-wide crater was filled by ash, and much of the W side of the volcano had slid down-slope; (3) volcanic flow deposits were documented in camera tows—lava boulders, hackley flow, truncated lobate or pillows, and talus were common; and (4) there was a massive abundance of ash, in particular draped across substrates in many areas, provided compelling evidence for a large eruption since 2007.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Southwest Pacific from Samoa (NE) to New Zealand (SW), showing the location of Rumble III and other submarine volcanoes along the southern Kermadec Arc. Rumble III volcano is located ~ 350 km NE of the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, 200 km NE of Auckland, and is one of a number of submarine volcanoes that delineate the active arc front in this region. Bathymetry data were satellite-derived (for deep water) and acquired using an EM 300 multibeam echo sounder (along the arc and Lau Basin). Satellite-derived bathymetry from Sandwell and Smith (1997); EM300 bathymetry data courtesy of New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). Map courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) Ocean Explorer web site; from New Zealand American Submarine Ring of Fire 2005 expedition plan.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Bathymetric map of all available multibeam data as of 2009 for the Southern Havre Trough, between the Colville and Kermadec Ridges and N of the New Zealand's North Island. In the colored version of this figure, the bathymetry key (in meters) ranges from red at the surface to purple at depths of 5 to 6 km. The location of Rumble III submarine volcano is highlighted. The inset indicates the tracks and areas of individual surveys whose data comprise the map. Areas that are not covered use satellite data configured to fit the edges of multibeam data set. Courtesy of Wysoczanski and others (2010).

A press release dated 17 August 2010 by the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) noted that, during an oceanographic cruise aboard NIWA's research vessel R/V Tangaroa in May-June 2010, scientists confirmed that (a) the W flank of the volcano had collapsed ~100 m or more, (b) collapse of 90 m was observed at its highest (shallowest) point, and (c) as much as 120 m collapse occurred in some places. The release noted that the collapse was caused by an eruption some time in the last 2 years.

Glassy, black basaltic rock filled with vesicles was dredged from the volcano. Richard Wysoczanski (NIWA) noted that the samples are the youngest-known rocks from the Kermadec Arc region, created some time between the years 2007 and 2009. It is notable that andesite samples were previously collected from the flank of the submarine volcano by Brothers (1967). Rumble III was last mapped using multibeam technology in 2002.

NIWA principal scientist Geoffrey Lamarche said that the observation of significant pieces of sea floor moving hundreds of meters in height over a short timespan of 8 years give insight into short-time movements of the seabed. Research of the Kermadec Arc is directed in part by NIWA's survey of the area for massive sulphide deposits that sometimes develop over hydrothermal vents.

On 28 February 2011, NIWA and GNS Science announced an upcoming research cruise of about 3 weeks in 2011 to investigate mineral deposits and hydrothermal activity at five major submarine volcanoes in the Kermadec Arc (Clark, Healy, Brothers, Rumble II West, and Rumble III; see figure 4).

References. Brothers, R.N., 1967, Andesite from Rumble III Volcano, Kermadec Ridge, southwest Pacific, Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 31, no. 1, pp. 17-19.

Dodge, E., 2010, Catastrophic volcanic activity at Rumble III volcano based on EM300 bathymetry and direct sea floor imaging, Senior Thesis for Oceanography 444, University of Washington, School of Oceanography, Seattle, WA.

Smith, W. H. F., and Sandwell, D.T., 1997, Global seafloor topography from satellite altimetry and ship depth soundings, Science, v. 277, p. 1957-1962+.

Todd, E., Gill, J.B., Wysoczanski, R.J., Handler, M.R., Wright, I.C., Gamble, J.A., 2010, Sources of constructional cross-chain volcanism in the southern Havre Trough: New insights from HFSE and REE concentration and isotope systematics, Geochemistrry Geophysics Geosystems. v. 11, Q04009, 31 pp, DOI: 10.1029/2009GC002888.

Wysoczanski, R.J., Todd, E., Wright, I.C., Leybourne, M.I., Hergt, J.M., Adam, C., and Mackay, K., 2010, Backarc rifting, constructional volcanism and nascent disorganised spreading in the southern Havre Trough backarc rifts (SW Pacific), Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 190, issues 1-2, p. 39-57.

Geologic Background. The Rumble III seamount, the largest of the Rumbles group of submarine volcanoes along the South Kermadec Ridge, rises 2300 m from the sea floor to within about 200 m of the sea surface. Collapse of the edifice produced a horseshoe-shaped caldera breached to the west and a large debris-avalanche deposit. Fresh-looking andesitic rocks have been dredged from the summit and basaltic lava from its flanks. Rumble III has been the source of several submarine eruptions detected by hydrophone signals.

Information Contacts: Roger Matthews, North Shore City Council, 1 The Strand, Takapuna Private Bag 93500, Takapuna, North Shore City, New Zealand; Richard Wysoczanski, New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) (URL: https://www.niwa.co.nz/); Geoffrey Lamarche, NIWA (URL: https://www.niwa.co.nz/); GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/); National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) Ocean Explorer (URL: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/gallery/gallery.html).


Sangay (Ecuador) — February 2011 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangay

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Many plumes seen by pilots during past year ending February 2011

The last report discussed observations of ash plumes and MODVOLC thermal alerts at Sangay through February 2010 (BGVN 35:01). Intermittent reporting indicated that similar activity continued through at least February 2011, with plumes reaching up to 7.6 km altitude (table 7). Clouds obscured the view at times, and plumes were reported primarily by pilots and were sometimes visible on satellite imagery.

Table 7. Plumes reported at Sangay during April 2010-February 2011. No plumes were noted during March 2011. Courtesy of the Washington VAAC.

Date Type of plume Altitude Distance and direction Source
21 Apr 2010 Ash 6.7 km -- Pilot observation
06 May 2010 Ash -- -- Pilot observation
06 May 2010 Ash -- W Pilot observation and satellite imagery
22-23 Jul 2010 Diffuse plumes -- 65-115 km W Pilot observation and satellite imagery
21 and 23 Jul 2010 Occasional thermal anomalies -- -- Satellite imagery
19 Aug 2010 Ash-and-gas plumes, intermittent thermal anomalies -- 25 km W Satellite imagery
20 Aug 2010 Emission -- -- Pilot observation
30 Aug 2010 Ash -- -- Pilot observation (near Sangay)
05 Sep 2010 Ash 5.5 km -- Pilot observation
10 Sep 2010 Small plume and thermal anomaly -- -- Satellite imagery
13 Sep 2010 Gas with possible ash and a thermal anomaly -- W Tegucigalpa Meteorological Watch Office (MWO) (Honduras), pilot observation, and satellite imagery
21 Sep 2010 Ash 7.6 km -- Pilot observation
06 Oct 2010 Small ash clouds -- WNW Pilot observation and satellite imagery
14 Oct 2010 Pilot reported ash, only gas plumes drifting NW observed in satellite imagery -- NW Pilot observation and satellite imagery
29 Oct 2010 Steam and gas plume possibly with ash and a thermal anomaly -- -- Satellite imagery
05 Dec 2010 Ash -- -- Guayaquil MWO (Ecuador)
12 Jan 2011 Ash and thermal anomaly 6.7 km >45 km SW Pilot observation and satellite imagery
20 Jan 2011 Ash 7.6 km -- Pilot observation
27 Jan 2011 Small ash clouds -- N Satellite imagery
23 Feb 2011 Pilot reported ash, small cloud drifting NW in satellite imagery with no ash confirmed -- SSE Pilot observation and satellite imagery

On 5 December 2010, the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) stated that Instituto Geofisico reported elevated seismicity.

The MODVOLC alert system issued thermal alerts for Sangay monthly during March 2010 through early October 2010. Then, alerts were absent until 11 January 2011 (table 8).

Table 8. Thermal alerts issued for Sangay by the MODVOLC system during March 2010-20 March 2011 (continued from the list in BGVN 35:01). The system uses the MODIS instrument on the Terra and Aqua satellites. Courtesy MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

Date (UTC) Time (UTC) Pixels Satellite
15 Mar 2010 0330 1 Terra
30 Apr 2010 0345 1 Terra
16 May 2010 0345 1 Terra
03 Jun 2010 0330 1 Terra
12 Jul 2010 0340 1 Terra
18 Aug 2010 0655 1 Aqua
28 Sep 2010 0650 2 Aqua
30 Sep 2010 0335 1 Terra
02 Oct 2010 0325 1 Terra
07 Oct 2010 0345 1 Terra
11 Jan 2011 0345 1 Terra
02 Mar 2011 0330 1 Terra

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

Information Contacts: Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/); 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/).


Taal (Philippines) — February 2011 Citation iconCite this Report

Taal

Philippines

14.002°N, 120.993°E; summit elev. 311 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent non-eruptive unrest during 2008-2010

As previously reported (BGVN 32:01), during the last four months of 2006 Taal displayed restlessness. This report discusses Taal seismicity, deformation, and hydrothermal behavior (steaming, and temperature changes in lake water at Main Crater) that occurred intermittently during 2008, 2010, and 2011.

Taal (also known as Talisay) is a lake-filled, 15 x 20 km caldera located on SW Luzon Island 65 km S of Manila (figure 9). The lake engulfs a large island with several thousand residents, Volcano Island, the place where all historical eruptions have vented (figures 10 and 11). Restlessness described herein was not confined to the area beneath the island.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Index map of the Philippines showing Manila (the Capital) and several major volcanoes including Taal. Courtesy of Lyn Topinka (US Geological Survey).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. A map showing Taal caldera and surroundings. Notice that the caldera lies at the intersection of major faults and the topographic margin extends well beyond the caldera lake's margin. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observing System (EOS) Volcanology and their slide set compiled by Peter Mouginis-Mark (University of Hawaii).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Photo of the Taal caldera lake and Volcano Island taken from the N in November 1999. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observing System (EOS) Volcanology and their slide set compiled by Peter Mouginis-Mark (University of Hawaii).

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) announced in August 2008 that seismic unrest continued. On 28 August 2008, ten volcanic earthquakes occurred, two of which were felt and heard as rumbling sounds by residents in the Pira-Piraso village on Volcano Island. The earthquakes were located NE of the island near the Daang Kastila area (below Taal caldera's N rim) at estimated depths of 0.6-0.8 km. Surface observations indicated no change in the main crater lake area. The Alert Level remained at 1 (scale is 0-5, with 0 referring to No Alert).

On 8 June 2010, PHIVOLCS raised the Alert Level for Taal to 2 because of changes in several monitored parameters that began in late April. Since 26 April, the number and magnitude of volcanic earthquakes had increased. Most signals were high-frequency earthquakes, but at least one, on 2 June, was low-frequency. Steam emissions from the N and NE sides of Main Crater occasionally intensified. Deformation data showed slight inflation since 2004; measurements taken at the SE side of Taal on 7 June showed further inflation by 3 mm.

In addition to increased seismicity, the temperature of the Main Crater Lake increased from 32°C on 11 May to 34°C on 24 May. According to PHIVOLCS, the ratios of Mg:Cl and SO4:Cl, as well as total dissolved solids in the lake, all increased. Temperature measurements of the main crater lake did not increase further, remaining between 33-34°C.

PHIVOLCS proposed that the high frequency earthquakes could be the result of active rock fracturing associated with magma intrusion beneath the volcano, and that the fractures could serve as passageways through which hot gases from the intruding magma could escape into the lake.

According to news reports (Xinhua, Philippine Daily Inquirer), the more than 5,000 residents living near Taal were advised to evacuate their homes voluntarily. On 10 June, the Philippine Coast Guard sent five teams of divers and rescue swimmers with rubber boats and medical teams to its forward command post to help evacuate, if necessary, these residents. A news report (Philippine Daily Inquirer), however, indicated that most residents refused to leave without an official order.

The number of earthquakes recorded daily gradually declined to background levels beginning the second week of July 2010. Hydrothermal activity in the N and NE sides of the main crater and Daang Kastila also decreased. Precise leveling measurements conducted during 13-21 July along the NE, SE, and SW flanks detected minimal inflation. On 2 August, PHIVOLCS lowered the Alert Level to 1.

According to PHIVOLCS, seismic activity increased during the first week of September 2010. From 1-27 September 2010, a total of 274 volcanic earthquakes, or an average of 10 events/day, was recorded. However, given that field surveys conducted at the Main Crater and at the 1965-1977 "New Eruption" site (SW edge of Main Crater) indicated no anomalous thermal or surface activity.

PHIVOLCS reported that a December 2010 deformation survey showed slight inflation compared to a September 2010 survey. Field observations on 10 and 18 January revealed no significant changes. Weak steaming from a thermal area inside the main crater was noted and the lake temperature, acidity, and color were normal. During 15-16 January 2011, ten volcanic earthquakes were detected, two of which were felt by residents of Pira-Piraso, on the N side of the island. On 17 January three volcanic earthquakes were detected and on 18 January only one was reported. Between 18-30 January, up to seven daily volcanic earthquakes were detected by the seismic network.

Field observations during 23-25 January 2011 revealed an increase in the number of steaming vents inside the main crater and a drop in the lake level there. The lake water temperature and pH values remained normal. Visual observations on 27 January showed weak steaming at a thermal area in the crater.

Geologic Background. Taal is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines and has produced some of its most powerful historical eruptions. Though not topographically prominent, its prehistorical eruptions have greatly changed the landscape of SW Luzon. The 15 x 20 km Talisay (Taal) caldera is largely filled by Lake Taal, whose 267 km2 surface lies only 3 m above sea level. The maximum depth of the lake is 160 m, and several eruptive centers lie submerged beneath the lake. The 5-km-wide Volcano Island in north-central Lake Taal is the location of all historical eruptions. The island is composed of coalescing small stratovolcanoes, tuff rings, and scoria cones that have grown about 25% in area during historical time. Powerful pyroclastic flows and surges from historical eruptions have caused many fatalities.

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph).Pete Mouginis-Mark, 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://eos.higp.hawaii.edu/ppages/pinatubo/8.taal/?); Xinhua (URL: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english2010); Philippine Daily Inquirer (URL: http://www.inquirer.net/).

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements  Obituaries

Misc Reports

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

Additional Reports  False Reports