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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

San Miguel (El Salvador) Small ash emissions during 22 February 2020

Cleveland (United States) Intermittent thermal anomalies and lava dome subsidence, February 2019-January 2020

Ambrym (Vanuatu) Fissure eruption in December 2018 produces an offshore pumice eruption after lava lakes drain

Copahue (Chile-Argentina) Ash emissions end on 12 November; lake returns to El Agrio Crater in December 2019

Nishinoshima (Japan) Ongoing activity enlarges island with lava flows, ash plumes, and incandescent ejecta, December 2019-February 2020

Krakatau (Indonesia) Tephra and steam explosions in the crater lake; explosions in December 2019 build a tephra cone

Mayotte (France) Seismicity and deformation, with submarine E-flank volcanism starting in July 2018

Fernandina (Ecuador) Fissure eruption produced lava flows during 12-13 January 2020

Masaya (Nicaragua) Lava lake persists with lower temperatures during August 2019-January 2020

Reventador (Ecuador) Nearly daily ash emissions and frequent incandescent block avalanches August 2019-January 2020

Pacaya (Guatemala) Continuous explosions, small cone, and lava flows during August 2019-January 2020

Kikai (Japan) Single explosion with steam and minor ash, 2 November 2019



San Miguel (El Salvador) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

San Miguel

El Salvador

13.434°N, 88.269°W; summit elev. 2130 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash emissions during 22 February 2020

San Miguel, locally known as Chaparrastique, is a stratovolcano located in El Salvador. Recent activity has consisted of occasional small ash explosions and ash emissions. Infrequent gas-and-steam and ash emissions were observed during this reporting period of June 2018-March 2020. The primary source of information for this report comes from El Salvador's Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET) and special reports from the Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN) in addition to various satellite data.

Based on Sentinel-2 satellite imagery and analyses of infrared MODIS data, volcanism at San Miguel from June 2018 to mid-February was relatively low, consisting of occasional gas-and-steam emissions. During 2019, a weak thermal anomaly in the summit crater was registered in thermal satellite imagery (figure 27). This thermal anomaly persisted during a majority of the year but was not visible after September 2019; faint gas-and-steam emissions could sometimes be seen rising from the summit crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of a faint but consistent thermal anomaly at San Miguel during 2019. Images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Volcanism was prominent beginning on 13-20 February 2020 when SO2 emissions exceeded 620 tons/day (typical low SO2 values are less than 400 tons/day). During 20-21 February the amplitude of microearthquakes increased and minor emissions of gas-and-steam and SO2 were visible within the crater (figure 28). According to SNET and special reports from MARN, on 22 February at 1055 an ash cloud was visible rising 400 m above the crater rim (figure 29), resulting in minor ashfall in Piedra Azul (5 km SW). That same day RSAM values peaked at 550 units as recorded by the VSM station on the upper N flank, which is above normal values of about 150. Seismicity increased the day after the eruptive activity. Minor gas-and-steam emissions continued to rise 400 m above the crater rim during 23-24 February; the RSAM values fell to 33-97 units. Activity in March was relatively low; some seismicity, including small magnitude earthquakes, occurred during the month in addition to SO2 emissions ranging from 517 to 808 tons/day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Minor gas-and-steam emissions rising from the crater at San Miguel on 21 February 2020. Courtesy of Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Gas-and-steam and ash emissions rising from the crater at San Miguel on 22 February 2020. Courtesy of Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN).

Geologic Background. The symmetrical cone of San Miguel volcano, one of the most active in El Salvador, rises from near sea level to form one of the country's most prominent landmarks. The unvegetated summit rises above slopes draped with coffee plantations. A broad, deep crater complex that has been frequently modified by historical eruptions (recorded since the early 16th century) caps the truncated summit, also known locally as Chaparrastique. Radial fissures on the flanks of the basaltic-andesitic volcano have fed a series of historical lava flows, including several erupted during the 17th-19th centuries that reached beyond the base of the volcano on the N, NE, and SE sides. The SE-flank flows are the largest and form broad, sparsely vegetated lava fields crossed by highways and a railroad skirting the base of the volcano. The location of flank vents has migrated higher on the edifice during historical time, and the most recent activity has consisted of minor ash eruptions from the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET), Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN), Km. 5½ Carretera a Nueva San Salvador, Avenida las Mercedes, San Salvador, El Salvador (URL: http://www.snet.gob.sv/ver/vulcanologia); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Cleveland (United States) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Cleveland

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal anomalies and lava dome subsidence, February 2019-January 2020

Cleveland is a stratovolcano located in the western portion of Chuginadak Island, a remote island part of the east central Aleutians. Common volcanism has included small lava flows, explosions, and ash clouds. Intermittent lava dome growth, small ash explosions, and thermal anomalies have characterized more recent activity (BGVN 44:02). For this reporting period during February 2019-January 2020, activity largely consisted of gas-and-steam emissions and intermittent thermal anomalies within the summit crater. The primary source of information comes from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) and various satellite data.

Low levels of unrest occurred intermittently throughout this reporting period with gas-and-steam emissions and thermal anomalies as the dominant type of activity (figures 30 and 31). An explosion on 9 January 2019 was followed by lava dome growth observed during 12-16 January. Suomi NPP/VIIRS sensor data showed two hotspots on 8 and 14 February 2019, though there was no evidence of lava within the summit crater at that time. According to satellite imagery from AVO, the lava dome was slowly subsiding during February into early March. Elevated surface temperatures were detected on 17 and 24 March in conjunction with degassing; another gas-and-steam plume was observed rising from the summit on 30 March. Thermal anomalies were again seen on 15 and 28 April using Suomi NPP/VIIRS sensor data. Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions continued as the number of detected thermal anomalies slightly increased during the next month, occurring on 1, 7, 15, 18, and 23 May. A gas-and-steam plume was observed on 9 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity (log radiative power) at Cleveland during 4 February 2019 through January 2020 shows increased thermal anomalies between mid-April to late November 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) confirmed intermittent thermal signatures occurring in the summit crater during March 2019 through October 2019. Some gas-and-steam plumes were observed accompanying the thermal anomaly, as seen on 17 March 2019 and 8 May 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

There were 10 thermal anomalies observed in June, and 11 each in July and August. Typical mild degassing was visible when photographed on 9 August (figure 32). On 14 August, seismicity increased, which included a swarm of a dozen local earthquakes. The lava dome emplaced in January was clearly visible in satellite imagery (figure 33). The number of thermal anomalies decreased the next month, occurring on 10, 21, and 25 September. During this month, a gas-and-steam plume was observed in a webcam image on 6, 8, 20, and 25 September. On 3-6, 10, and 21 October elevated surface temperatures were recorded as well as small gas-and-steam plumes on 4, 7, 13, and 20-25 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Photograph of Cleveland showing mild degassing from the summit vent taken on 9 August 2019. Photo by Max Kaufman; courtesy of AVO/USGS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Satellite image of Cleveland showing faint gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit crater. High-resolution image taken on 17 August 2019 showing the lava dome from January 2019 inside the crater (dark ring). Image created by Hannah Dietterich; courtesy of AVO/USGS and DigitalGlobe.

Four thermal anomalies were detected on 3, 6, and 8-9 November. According to a VONA report from AVO on 8 November, satellite data suggested possible slow lava effusion in the summit crater; however, by the 15th no evidence of eruptive activity had been seen in any data sources. Another thermal anomaly was observed on 14 January 2020. Gas-and-steam emissions observed in webcam images continued intermittently.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows intermittent weak thermal anomalies within 5 km of the crater summit during mid-April through November 2019 with a larger cluster of activity in early June, late July and early October (figure 30). Thermal satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 also detected weak thermal anomalies within the summit crater throughout the reporting period, occasionally accompanied by gas-and-steam plumes (figure 31).

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

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


Ambrym (Vanuatu) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambrym

Vanuatu

16.25°S, 168.12°E; summit elev. 1334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fissure eruption in December 2018 produces an offshore pumice eruption after lava lakes drain

Ambrym is an active volcanic island in the Vanuatu archipelago consisting of a 12 km-wide summit caldera. Benbow and Marum are two currently active craters within the caldera that have produced lava lakes, explosions, lava flows, ash, and gas emissions, in addition to fissure eruptions. More recently, a submarine fissure eruption in December 2018 produced lava fountains and lava flows, which resulted in the drainage of the active lava lakes in both the Benbow and Marum craters (BGVN 44:01). This report updates information from January 2019 through March 2020, including the submarine pumice eruption during December 2018 using information from the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (VMGD) and research by Shreve et al. (2019).

Activity on 14 December 2018 consisted of thermal anomalies located in the lava lake that disappeared over a 12-hour time period; a helicopter flight on 16 December confirmed the drainage of the summit lava lakes as well as a partial collapse of the Benbow and Marum craters (figure 49). During 14-15 December, a lava flow (figure 49), accompanied by lava fountaining, was observed originating from the SE flank of Marum, producing SO2 and ash emissions. A Mw 5.6 earthquake on 15 December at 2021 marked the beginning of a dike intrusion into the SE rift zone as well as a sharp increase in seismicity (Shreve et al., 2019). This intrusion extended more than 30 km from within the caldera to beyond the east coast, with a total volume of 419-532 x 106 m3 of magma. More than 2 m of coastal uplift was observed along the SE coast due to the asymmetry of the dike from December, resulting in onshore fractures.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Ambrym before the December 2018 eruption (left), and during the eruption (right). Before the eruption, the thermal signatures within both summit craters were strong and after the eruption, the thermal signatures were no longer detected. A lava flow was observed during the eruption on 15 December. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Shreve et al. (2019) state that although the dike almost reached the surface, magma did not erupt from the onshore fractures; only minor gas emissions were detected until 17 December. An abrupt decrease in the seismic moment release on 17 December at 1600 marked the end of the dike propagation (figure 50). InSAR-derived models suggested an offshore eruption (Shreve et al., 2019). This was confirmed on 18-19 December when basaltic pumice, indicating a subaqueous eruption, was collected on the beach near Pamal and Ulei. Though the depth and exact location of the fissure has not been mapped, the nature of the basaltic pumice would suggest it was a relatively shallow offshore eruption, according to Shreve et al. (2019).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Geographical timeline summary of the December 2018 eruptive events at Ambrym. The lava lake level began to drop on 14 December, with fissure-fed lava flows during 14-15 December. After an earthquake on 15 December, a dike was detected, causing coastal uplift as it moved E. As the dike continued to propagate upwards, faulting was observed, though magma did not breach the surface. Eventually a submarine fissure eruption was confirmed offshore on 18-19 December. Image modified from Shreve et al. (2019).

In the weeks following the dike emplacement, there was more than 2 m of subsidence measured at both summit craters identified using ALOS-2 and Sentinel-1 InSAR data. After 22 December, no additional large-scale deformation was observed, though a localized discontinuity (less than 12 cm) measured across the fractures along the SE coast in addition to seismicity suggested a continuation of the distal submarine eruption into late 2019. Additional pumice was observed on 3 February 2019 near Pamal village, suggesting possible ongoing activity. These surveys also noted that no gas-and-steam emissions, lava flows, or volcanic gases were emitted from the recently active cracks and faults on the SE cost of Ambrym.

During February-October 2019, onshore activity at Ambrym declined to low levels of unrest, according to VMGD. The only activity within the summit caldera consisted of gas-and-steam emissions, with no evidence of the previous lava lakes (figure 51). Intermittent seismicity and gas-and-steam emissions continued to be observed at Ambrym and offshore of the SE coast. Mével et al. (2019) installed three Trillium Compact 120s posthole seismometers in the S and E part of Ambrym from 25 May to 5 June 2019. They found that there were multiple seismic events, including a Deep-Long Period event and mixed up/down first motions at two stations near the tip of the dike intrusion and offshore of Pamal at depths of 15-20 km below sea level. Based on a preliminary analysis of these data, Mével et al. (2019) interpreted the observations as indicative of ongoing volcanic seismicity in the region of the offshore dike intrusion and eruption.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Aerial photograph of Ambrym on 12 August 2019 showing gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit caldera. Courtesy of VMGD.

Seismicity was no longer reported from 10 October 2019 through March 2020. Thermal anomalies were not detected in satellite data except for one in late April and one in early September 2019, according to MODIS thermal infrared data analyzed by the MIROVA system. The most recent report from VMGD was issued on 27 March 2020, which noted low-level unrest consisting of dominantly gas-and-steam emissions.

References:

Shreve T, Grandin R, Boichu M, Garaebiti E, Moussallam Y, Ballu V, Delgado F, Leclerc F, Vallée M, Henriot N, Cevuard S, Tari D, Lebellegard P, Pelletier B, 2019. From prodigious volcanic degassing to caldera subsidence and quiescence at Ambrym (Vanuatu): the influence of regional tectonics. Sci. Rep. 9, 18868. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-55141-7.

Mével H, Roman D, Brothelande E, Shimizu K, William R, Cevuard S, Garaebiti E, 2019. The CAVA (Carnegie Ambrym Volcano Analysis) Project - a Multidisciplinary Characterization of the Structure and Dynamics of Ambrym Volcano, Vanuatu. American Geophysical Union, Fall 2019 Meeting, Abstract and Poster V43C-0201.

Geologic Background. Ambrym, a large basaltic volcano with a 12-km-wide caldera, is one of the most active volcanoes of the New Hebrides Arc. A thick, almost exclusively pyroclastic sequence, initially dacitic then basaltic, overlies lava flows of a pre-caldera shield volcano. The caldera was formed during a major Plinian eruption with dacitic pyroclastic flows about 1,900 years ago. Post-caldera eruptions, primarily from Marum and Benbow cones, have partially filled the caldera floor and produced lava flows that ponded on the floor or overflowed through gaps in the caldera rim. Post-caldera eruptions have also formed a series of scoria cones and maars along a fissure system oriented ENE-WSW. Eruptions have apparently occurred almost yearly during historical time from cones within the caldera or from flank vents. However, from 1850 to 1950, reporting was mostly limited to extra-caldera eruptions that would have affected local populations.

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Copahue (Chile-Argentina) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Copahue

Chile-Argentina

37.856°S, 71.183°W; summit elev. 2953 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions end on 12 November; lake returns to El Agrio Crater in December 2019

Most of the large edifice of Copahue lies high in the central Chilean Andes, but the active El Agrio crater lies on the Argentinian side of the border at the W edge of the Pliocene Caviahue caldera. Infrequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 18th century. The most recent eruptive episode began with phreatic explosions and ash emissions on 2 August 2019 that continued until mid-November 2019. This report summarizes activity from November 2019 through February 2020 and is based on reports issued by Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN) Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), satellite data, and photographs from nearby residents.

MIROVA data indicated a few weak thermal anomalies during mid-October to mid-November 2019. Multiple continuous ash emissions were reported daily until mid-November when activity declined significantly. By mid-December the lake inside El Agrio crater had reappeared and occasional steam plumes were the only reported surface activity at Copahue through February 2020.

The Buenos Aires VAAC and SERNAGEOMIN both reported continuous ash emissions during 1-9 November 2019 that were visible in the webcam. Satellite imagery recorded the plumes drifting generally E or NE at 3.0-4.3 km altitude (figure 49). Most of the emissions on 10 November were steam (figure 50). The last pulse of ash emissions occurred on 12 November with an ash plume visible moving SE at 3 km altitude in satellite imagery and a strong thermal anomaly (figure 51). The following day emissions were primarily steam and gas. SERNAGEOMIN noted the ash emissions rising around 800 m above El Agrio crater and also reported incandescence visible during most nights through mid-November. During the second half of November the constant degassing was primarily water vapor with occasional nighttime incandescence. Steam plumes rose 450 m above the crater on 27 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Continuous ash emissions at Copahue during 1-9 November 2019 were visible in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 2 and 7 November 2019 drifting NE. Natural color rendering uses bands 4,3, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Most of the emissions from Copahue on 10 November 2019 were steam. Left image courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina. Right image courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground, natural color rendering using bands 4, 3, and 2.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. A strong thermal anomaly and an ash plume at Copahue were visible in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 12 November 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground, Atmospheric penetration rendering bands 12, 11, and 8A.

Nighttime incandescence was last observed in the SERNAGEOMIN webcam on 1 December; SERNAGEOMIN lowered the alert level from Yellow to Green on 15 December 2019. Throughout December degassing consisted mainly of minor steam plumes (figure 52), the highest plume rose to 300 m above the crater on 18 December, and minor SO2 plumes persisted through the 21st (figure 53),. By mid-December the El Agrio crater lake was returning and satellite images clearly showed the increase in size of the lake through February (figure 54). The only surface activity reported during January and February 2020 was occasional white steam plumes rising near El Agrio crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Small wisps of steam were the only emissions from Copahue on 3 December 2019. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Small plumes of SO2 were recorded at Copahue during November and December 2019. Top row: 7, 9, and 30 November. Bottom row: 1, 20, and 21 December. Courtesy of Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, NASA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. The lake within El Agrio crater reappeared between 5 and 12 December 2019 and continued to grow in size through the end of January 2020. Top row (left to right): There was no lake inside the crater on 5 December 2019, only a small steam plume rising from the vent. The first water was visible on 12 December and was slightly larger a few days later on 17 December. Bottom row (left to right): the lake was significantly larger on 4 January 2020 filling an embayment close to the steam vent. Fingers of water filled in areas of the crater as the water level rose on 24 and 29 January. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Volcán Copahue is an elongated composite cone constructed along the Chile-Argentina border within the 6.5 x 8.5 km wide Trapa-Trapa caldera that formed between 0.6 and 0.4 million years ago near the NW margin of the 20 x 15 km Pliocene Caviahue (Del Agrio) caldera. The eastern summit crater, part of a 2-km-long, ENE-WSW line of nine craters, contains a briny, acidic 300-m-wide crater lake (also referred to as El Agrio or Del Agrio) and displays intense fumarolic activity. Acidic hot springs occur below the eastern outlet of the crater lake, contributing to the acidity of the Río Agrio, and another geothermal zone is located within Caviahue caldera about 7 km NE of the summit. Infrequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions from the crater lake have ejected pyroclastic rocks and chilled liquid sulfur fragments.

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue, Caviahue, Argentina (URL: https://twitter.com/valecaviahue, Twitter:@valecaviahue).


Nishinoshima (Japan) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nishinoshima

Japan

27.247°N, 140.874°E; summit elev. 25 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing activity enlarges island with lava flows, ash plumes, and incandescent ejecta, December 2019-February 2020

After 40 years of dormancy, Japan’s Nishinoshima volcano, located about 1,000 km S of Tokyo in the Ogasawara Arc, erupted above sea level in November 2013. Lava flows were active through November 2015, emerging from a central pyroclastic cone. A new eruption in mid-2017 continued the growth of the island with ash plumes, ejecta, and lava flows. A short eruptive event in July 2018 produced a new lava flow and vent on the side of the pyroclastic cone. The next eruption of ash plumes, incandescent ejecta, and lava flows, covered in this report, began in early December 2019 and was ongoing through February 2020. Information is provided primarily from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) monthly reports.

Nishinoshima remained quiet after a short eruptive event in July 2018 until MODVOLC thermal alerts appeared on 5 December 2019. Multiple near-daily alerts continued through February 2020. The intermittent low-level thermal anomalies seen in the MIROVA data beginning in May and June 2019 may reflect areas with increased temperatures and fumarolic activity reported by the Japan Coast Guard during overflights in June and July. The significant increase in thermal anomalies in the MIROVA data on 5 December correlates with the beginning of extrusive and explosive activity (figure 63). Eruptive activity included ash emissions, incandescent ejecta, and numerous lava flows from multiple vents that flowed into the sea down several flanks, significantly enlarging the island.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. The MIROVA graph of thermal energy from Nishinoshima from 13 April 2019 through February 2020 shows low-level thermal activity beginning in mid-2019; there were reports of increased temperatures and fumarolic activity during that time. Eruptive activity including ash emissions, incandescent ejecta, and numerous lava flows began on 5 December 2019 and was ongoing through February 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

A brief period of activity during 12-21 July 2018 produced explosive activity with blocks and bombs ejected 500 m from a new vent on the E flank of the pyroclastic cone, and a 700-m-long lava flow that stopped about 100 m before reaching the ocean (BGVN 43:09). No further activity was reported during 2018. During overflights on 29 and 31 January, and 7 February 2019, white steam plumes drifted from the E crater margin and inner wall of the pyroclastic cone and discolored waters were present around the island, but no other signs of activity were reported. A survey carried out by the Japan Coast Guard during 7-8 June 2019 reported minor fumarolic activity from the summit crater, and high-temperature areas were noted on the hillsides, measured by infrared thermal imaging equipment. Sulfur dioxide emissions were below the detection limit. In an overflight on 12 July 2019, Coast Guard personnel noted a small white plume rising from the E edge of the summit crater of the pyroclastic cone (figure 64).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. The Japan Coast Guard noted a small white plume at the summit of Nishinoshima during an overflight on 12 July 2019, but no other signs of activity. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, July 2019).

The white plume was still present during an overflight on 14 August 2019. Greenish yellow areas of water about 500 m wide were distributed around the island, and a plume of green water extended 1.8 km from the NW coast. Similar conditions were observed on 15 October 2019; pale yellow-green discolored water was about 100 m wide and concentrated on the N shore of Nishinoshima. No steam plume from the summit was present during a visit on 19 November 2019, but yellow-white discolored water on the N shore was about 100 m wide and 700 m long. Along the NE and SE coasts, yellow-white water was 100-200 m wide and about 1,000 m long.

A MODVOLC thermal alert appeared at Nishinoshima on 5 December 2019. An eruption was observed by the Japan Coast Guard the following day. A pulsating light gray ash plume rose from the summit crater accompanied by tephra ejected 200 m above the crater rim every few minutes (figure 65). In addition, ash and tephra rose intermittently from a crater on the E flank of the pyroclastic cone, from which lava also flowed down towards the E coast (figure 66). By 1300 on 7 December the lava was flowing into the sea (figure 67).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. The eruption observed at Nishinoshima on 6 December 2019 included ash and tephra emissions from the summit vent, and ash, tephra, and a lava flow from the vent on the E flank of the pyroclastic cone. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, November 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Thermal infrared imagery revealed incandescent ejecta from the summit crater and lava flowing from the E flank vent at Nishinoshima on 6 December 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, November 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. By 1300 on 7 December 2019 lava from the E-flank vent at Nishinoshima was flowing into the sea. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, November 2019).

Observations by the Japan Coast Guard on 15 December 2019 confirmed that vigorous eruptive activity was ongoing; incandescent ejecta and ash plumes rose 300 m above the summit crater rim (figure 68). A new vent had opened on the N flank of the cone from which lava flowed NW to the sea (figure 69). The lava flow from the E-flank crater also remained active and continued flowing into the sea. The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash emission on 24 December that rose to 1,000 m altitude and drifted S. On 31 December, explosions at the summit continued every few seconds with ash and ejecta rising 300 m high. In addition, lava from the NE flank of the pyroclastic cone flowed NE to the sea (figure 70).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Incandescent ejecta and ash rose 300 m above the summit crater rim at Nishinoshima on 15 December 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, December 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Lava from a new vent on the NW flank of Nishinoshima was entering the sea on 15 December 2019, producing vigorous steam plumes. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, December 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. At Nishinoshima on 31 December 2019 lava flowed down the NE flank of the pyroclastic cone into the sea, and incandescent ejecta rose 300 m above summit. Courtesy of JMA and the Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, December 2019).

Satellite data from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) made it possible for JMA to produce maps showing the rapid changes in topography at Nishinoshima resulting from the new lava flows. The new E-flank lava flow was readily seen when comparing imagery from 22 November with 6 December 2019 (figure 71a). An image from 6 December compared with 20 December 2019 shows the flow on the E flank splitting and entering the sea at two locations (figure 71b), the flow on the NW flank traveling briefly N before turning W and forming a large fan into the ocean on the W flank, and a new flow heading NE from the summit area of the pyroclastic cone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Satellite data from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) made it possible to produce maps showing the changes in topography at Nishinoshima resulting from the new lava flows (shown in blue). In comparing 22 November with 6 December 2019 (A, left), the new lava flow on the E flank was visible. A new image from 20 December compared with 6 December (B, right) showed the flow on the E flank splitting and entering the sea at two locations, the NW-flank flow building a large fan into the ocean on the W flank, and a new flow heading NE from the summit area of the pyroclastic cone. Courtesy of JMA and the Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, December 2019).

The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery on 15 January 2020 that rose to 1.8 km altitude and drifted SE. The Japan Coast Guard conducted an overflight on 17 January that confirmed the continued eruptions of ash, incandescent ejecta, and lava. Dark gray ash plumes were observed at 1.8 km altitude, with ashfall and tephra concentrated around the pyroclastic cone (figure 72). Plumes of steam were visible where the NE lava flow entered the ocean; the E and NW lava entry areas did not appear active but were still hot. Satellite data from ALOS-2 prepared by JAXA confirmed ongoing activity around the summit vent and on the NE flank, while activity on the W flank had ceased (figure 73). An ash plume was reported by the Tokyo VAAC on 25 January; it rose to 1.5 km altitude and drifted SW for most of the day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Dense, dark gray ash plumes rose from the summit of Nishinoshima on 17 January 2020. Small plumes of steam from lava-seawater interactions were visible on the NE shore of the island as well (far right). Courtesy of JMA and the Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, January 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. JAXA satellite data from 3 January 2020 (left) showed the growth of a new lava delta on the NE flank of Nishinoshima and minor activity occuring on the W flank compared with the previous image from 20 December 2019. By 17 January 2020 (right), the lava flow activity was concentrated on the NE flank with multiple deltas extending out into the sea. The ‘low correlation areas’ shown in blue represent changes in topography caused by new material from lava flows and ejecta added between the dates shown above the images. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, January 2020).

On 3 Feburary 2020 the Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery that rose to 2.1 km altitude and drifted E. The following day the Japan Coast Guard observed eruptions from the summit crater at five minute intervals that produced grayish white plumes. The plumes rose to 2.7 km altitude (figure 74). Large bombs were scattered around the pyroclastic cone, and the summit crater appeared filled with lava except for the active vent. The lava deltas on the NE flank were only active at the tips of the flows producing a few steam jets where lava entered the sea. The active flows were on the SE flank, and a new 200-m-long lava flow was flowing down the N flank of the pyroclastic cone (figure 75). The lava flowing from the E flank of the pyroclastic cone to the SE into the sea, produced larger jets of steam (figure 76). Yellow-brown discolored water appeared around the island in several places.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Ash emissions at Nishinoshima rose to 2.7 km altitude on 4 February 2020; steam jets from lava entering the ocean were active on the SE flank (far side of the island, right). Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. The lava deltas on the NE flank of Nishinoshima (bottom center) were much less active on 4 February 2020 than the lava flow and growing delta on the SE flank (left). The newest flow headed N from the summit and was 200 m long (right of center). Courtesy of JMA and the Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. The most active lava flows at Nishinoshima on 4 February 2020 were on the E flank; significant steam plumes rose in multiple locations along the coast where they entered the sea. Intermittent ash plumes also rose from the summit crater. Courtesy of JMA and Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).

JAXA satellite data confirmed that the flow activity was concentrated on the NE flank and shore during the second half of January 2020, but also recorded the new flow down the SE flank that was observed by the Coast Guard in early February. By mid-February the satellite topographic data indicated the decrease in activity in the NE flank flows, the increased activity on the SE and E flank, and the extension of the flow moving due N to the coast (figure 77). Observations on 17 February 2020 by the Japan Coast Guard revealed eruptions from the summit crater every few seconds, and steam-and-ash plumes rising about 600 m. Vigorous white emissions rose from fractures near the top of the W flank of the pyroclastic cone, but thermal data indicated the area was no hotter than the surrounding area (figure 78). The lava flow on the SE coast still had steam emissions rising from the ocean entry point, but activity was weaker than on 4 February. The newest flow moving due N from the summit produced steam emissions where the flow front entered the ocean.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Constantly changing lava flows at Nishinoshima reshaped the island during late January and February 2020. During the second half of January, flows were active on the NE flank, creating deltas into the sea off the NE coast and also on the SE flank into the sea at the SE coast (left). The ‘low correlation areas’ shown in blue represent changes in topography caused by new material from lava flows and ejecta added between the dates shown above the images. By 14 February (right) activity had slowed on the NE flank and expanded on the SE flank and N flank. Data is from the Land Observing Satellite-2 "Daichi-2" (ALOS-2). Courtesy of JMA and JAXA (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Vigorous white emissions rose from fractures near the top of the W flank of the pyroclastic cone at Nishinoshima on 17 February 2020, but thermal data indicated the area was no hotter than the surrounding area. Courtesy of JMA and Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).

Sulfur dioxide plumes from Nishinoshima have been small and infrequent in recent years, but the renewed and increased eruptive activity beginning in December 2019 produced several small SO2 plumes that were recorded in daily satellite data (figure 79).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Small sulfur dioxide plumes from Nishinoshima were captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite a few times during December 2019-February 2020 as the eruptive activity increased. The large red streak in the 3 February 2020 image is SO2 from an eruption of Kuchinoerabujima volcano (Ryukyu Islands) on the same day. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Simon Carn.

Geologic Background. The small island of Nishinoshima was enlarged when several new islands coalesced during an eruption in 1973-74. Another eruption that began offshore in 2013 completely covered the previous exposed surface and enlarged the island again. Water discoloration has been observed on several occasions since. The island is the summit of a massive submarine volcano that has prominent satellitic peaks to the S, W, and NE. The summit of the southern cone rises to within 214 m of the sea surface 9 km SSE.

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency-Earth Observation Research Center (JAXA-EORC), 7-44-1 Jindaiji Higashi-machi, Chofu-shi, Tokyo 182-8522, Japan (URL: http://www.eorc.jaxa.jp/); Japan Coast Guard (JCG) Volcano Database, Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, 3-1-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8932, Japan (URL: http://www.kaiho.mlit.go.jp/info/kouhou/h29/index.html); 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/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); 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, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931, USA (URL: http://www.volcarno.com/, Twitter: @simoncarn).


Krakatau (Indonesia) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

6.102°S, 105.423°E; summit elev. 155 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Tephra and steam explosions in the crater lake; explosions in December 2019 build a tephra cone

Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Strait between Indonesia’s Java and Sumatra Islands experienced a major caldera collapse around 535 CE; it formed a 7-km-wide caldera ringed by three islands. Remnants of this volcano joined to create the pre-1883 Krakatau Island which collapsed during the major 1883 eruption. Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau), constructed beginning in late 1927 within the 1883 caldera (BGVN 44:03, figure 56), was the site of over 40 eruptive episodes until 22 December 2018 when a large explosion and flank collapse destroyed most of the 338-m-high edifice and generated a deadly tsunami (BGVN 44:03). The near-sea level crater lake inside the remnant of Anak Krakatau was the site of numerous small steam and tephra explosions from February (BGVN 44:08) through November 2019. A larger explosion in December 2019 produced the beginnings of a new cone above the surface of crater lake. Activity from August 2019 through January 2020 is covered in this report with information provided by the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, referred to as Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG). Aviation reports are provided by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and photographs are from the PVMBG webcam and visitors to the island.

Explosions were reported on more than ten days each month from August to October 2019. They were recorded based on seismicity, but webcam images also showed black tephra and steam being ejected from the crater lake to heights up to 450 m. Activity decreased significantly after the middle of November, although smaller explosions were witnessed by visitors to the island. After a period of relative quiet, a larger series of explosions at the end of December produced ash plumes that rose up to 3 km above the crater; the crater lake was largely filled with tephra after these explosions. Thermal activity persisted throughout the period of August 2019-January 2020. The wattage of Radiative Power increased from August through mid-October, and then decreased through January 2020 (figure 96).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Thermal activity persisted at Anak Krakatau from 20 March 2019-January 2020. The wattage of Radiative Power increased from August through mid-October, and then decreased through January 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during August-November 2019. The new profile of Anak Krakatau rose to about 155 m elevation as of August 2019, almost 100 m less than prior to the December 2018 explosions and flank collapse (figure 97). Smaller explosions continued during August 2019 and were reported by PVMBG in 12 different VONAs (Volcano Observatory Notice to Aviation) on days 1, 3, 6, 17, 19, 22, 23, 25, and 28. Most of the explosions lasted for less than two minutes, according to the seismic data. PVMBG reported steam plumes of 25-50 m height above the sea-level crater on 20 and 21 August. They reported a visible ash cloud on 22 August; it rose to an altitude of 457 m and drifted NNE according to the VONA. In their daily update, they noted that the eruption plume of 250-400 m on 22 August was white, gray, and black. The Darwin VAAC reported that the ash plume was discernable on HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery for a short period of time. PVMBG noted ten eruptions on 24 August with white, gray, and black ejecta rising 100-300 m. A webcam installed at month’s end provided evidence of diffuse steam plumes rising 25-150 m above the crater during 28-31 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Only one tree survived on the once tree-covered spit off the NE end of Sertung Island after the December 2018 tsunami from Anak Krakatau covered it with ash and debris. The elevation of Anak Krakatau (center) was about 155 m on 8 August 2019, almost 100 m less than before the explosions and flank collapse. Panjang Island is on the left, and 746-m-high Rakata, the remnant of the 1883 volcanic island, is behind Anak Krakatau on the right. Courtesy of Amber Madden-Nadeau.

VONAs were issued for explosions on 1-3, 11, 13, 17, 18, 21, 24-27 and 29 September 2019. The explosion on 2 September produced a steam plume that rose 350 m, and dense black ash and ejecta which rose 200 m from the crater and drifted N. Gray and white tephra and steam rose 450 m on 13 and 17 September; ejecta was black and gray and rose 200 m on 21 September (figure 98). During 24-27 and 29 September tephra rose at least 200 m each day; some days it was mostly white with gray, other days it was primarily gray and black. All of the ejecta plumes drifted N. On days without explosions, the webcam recorded steam plumes rising 50-150 m above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Explosions of steam and dark ejecta were captured by the webcam on Anak Krakatau on 21 (left) and 26 (right) September 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia and PVMBG.

Explosions were reported daily during 12-14, 16-20, 25-27, and 29 October (figure 99). PVMBG reported eight explosions on 19 October and seven explosions the next day. Most explosions produced gray and black tephra that rose 200 m from the crater and drifted N. On many of the days an ash plume also rose 350 m from the crater and drifted N. The seismic events that accompanied the explosions varied in duration from 45 to 1,232 seconds (about 20 minutes). The Darwin VAAC reported the 12 October eruption as visible briefly in satellite imagery before dissipating near the volcano. The first of four explosions on 26 October also appeared in visible satellite imagery moving NNW for a short time. The webcam recorded diffuse steam plumes rising 25-150 m above the crater on most days during the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. A number of explosions at Anak Krakatau were captured by the webcam and visitors near the island during October 2019, shown here on the 12th, 14th, 17th, and 29th. Black and gray ejecta and steam plumes jetted several hundred meters high from the crater lake during the explosions. Webcam images courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia, with 12 October 2019 (top left) via VolcanoYT. Bottom left photo on 17 October courtesy of Christoph Sator.

Five VONAs were issued for explosions during 5-7 November, and one on 13 November 2019. The three explosions on 5 November produced 200-m-high plumes of steam and gray and black ejecta and ash plumes that rose 200, 450, and 550 m respectively; they all drifted N (figure 100). The Darwin VAAC reported ash drifting N in visible imagery for a brief period also. A 350-m-high ash plume accompanied 200-m-high ejecta on 6 November. Tephra rose 150-300 m from the crater during a 43 second explosion on 7 November. The explosion reported by PVMBG on 13 November produced black tephra and white steam 200 m high that drifted N. For the remainder of the month, when not obscured by fog, steam plumes rose daily 25-150 m from the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. PVMBG’s KAWAH webcam captured an explosion with steam and dark ejecta from the crater lake at Anak Krakatau on 5 November 2019. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.

A joint expedition with PVMBG and the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) installed geophysical equipment on Anak Krakatau and Rakata during 12 and 13 November 2019 (figure 101). Visitors to the island during 19-23 and 22-24 November recorded the short-lived landscape and continuing small explosions of steam and black tephra from the crater lake (figures 102 and 103).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. A joint expedition to Anak Krakatau with PVMBG and the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) installed geophysical equipment on Anak Krakatau and Rakata (background, left) during 12 and 13 November 2019. Images of the crater lake from the same spot (left) in December and January show the changes at the island (figure 108). Monitoring equipment installed near the shore sits over the many layers of ash and tephra that make up the island (right). Courtesy of Anna Perttu.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 102.The crater lake at Anak Krakatau during a 19-23 November 2019 visit was the site of continued explosions with jets of steam and tephra that rose as high as 30 m. Courtesy of Andrey Nikiforov and Volcano Discovery, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. The landscape of Anak Krakatau recorded the rapidly evolving sequence of volcanic events during November 2019. Fresh ash covered recent lava near the shoreline on 22 November 2019 (top left). Large blocks of gray tephra (composed of other tephra fragments) were surrounded by reddish brown smaller fragments in the area between the crater and the ocean on 23 November 2019 (top right). Explosions of steam and black tephra rose tens of meters from the crater lake on 23 November 2019 (bottom). Courtesy of and copyright by Pascal Blondé.

Activity during December 2019-January 2020. Very little activity was recorded for most of December 2019. The webcam captured daily images of diffuse steam plumes rising 25-50 m above the crater which occasionally rose to 150 m. A new explosion on 28 December produced black and gray ejecta 200 m high that drifted N; the explosion was similar to those reported during August-November. A new series of explosions from 30 December 2019 to 1 January 2020 produced ash plumes which rose significantly higher than the previous explosions, reaching 2.4-3.0 km altitude and drifting S, E, and SE according to PVMBG (figure 104). They were initially visible in satellite imagery and reported drifting SW by the Darwin VAAC. By 31 December meteorological clouds prevented observation of the ash plume but a hotspot remained visible for part of that day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104.The KAWAH webcam at Anak Krakatau captured this image of incandescent ejecta exploding from the crater lake on 30 December 2019 near the start of a new sequence of large explosions. Courtesy of PVMBG and Alex Bogár.

The explosions on 30 and 31 December 2019 were captured in satellite imagery (figure 105) and appeared to indicate that the crater lake was largely destroyed and filled with tephra from a new growing cone, according to Simon Carn. This was confirmed in both satellite imagery and ground-based photography in early January (figures 106 and 107).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Satellite imagery of the explosions at Anak Krakatau on 30 and 31 December 2019 showed dense steam rising from the crater (left) and a thermal anomaly visible through moderate cloud cover (right). Left image courtesy of Simon Carn, and copyright by Planet Labs, Inc. Right image uses Atmospheric Penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, and 8a) to show the thermal anomaly at the base of the steam plume, courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Sentinel-2 images of Anak Krakatau before (left, 21 December 2019) and after (right, 13 January 2020) explosions on 30 and 31 December 2019 show the filling in of the crater lake with new volcanic material. Natural color rendering based on bands 4,3, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. The crater lake at Anak Krakatau changed significantly between the first week of December 2019 (left) and 8 January 2020 (right) after explosions on 30 and 31 December 2019. Compare with figure 101, taken from the same location in mid-November 2019. Left image courtesy of Piotr Smieszek. Right image courtesy of Peter Rendezvous.

Steam plumes rose 50-200 m above the crater during the first week of January 2020. An explosion on 7 January produced dense gray ash that rose 200 m from the crater and drifted E. Steam plume heights varied during the second week, with some plumes reaching 300 m above the crater. Multiple explosions on 15 January produced dense, gray and black ejecta that rose 150 m. Fog obscured the crater for most of the second half of the month; for a brief period, diffuse steam plumes were observed 25-1,000 m above the crater.

General Reference: Perttu A, Caudron C, Assink J D, Metz D, Tailpied D, Perttu B, Hibert C, Nurfiani D, Pilger C, Muzli M, Fee D, Andersen O L, Taisne B, 2020, Reconstruction of the 2018 tsunamigenic flank collapse and eruptive activity at Anak Krakatau based on eyewitness reports, seismo-acoustic and satellite observations, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 541:116268. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2020.116268.

Geologic Background. The renowned volcano Krakatau (frequently misstated as Krakatoa) lies in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra. Collapse of the ancestral Krakatau edifice, perhaps in 416 or 535 CE, formed a 7-km-wide caldera. Remnants of this ancestral volcano are preserved in Verlaten and Lang Islands; subsequently Rakata, Danan, and Perbuwatan volcanoes were formed, coalescing to create the pre-1883 Krakatau Island. Caldera collapse during the catastrophic 1883 eruption destroyed Danan and Perbuwatan, and left only a remnant of Rakata. This eruption, the 2nd largest in Indonesia during historical time, caused more than 36,000 fatalities, most as a result of devastating tsunamis that swept the adjacent coastlines of Sumatra and Java. Pyroclastic surges traveled 40 km across the Sunda Strait and reached the Sumatra coast. After a quiescence of less than a half century, the post-collapse cone of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) was constructed within the 1883 caldera at a point between the former cones of Danan and Perbuwatan. Anak Krakatau has been the site of frequent eruptions since 1927.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.esdm.go.id/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Amber Madden-Nadeau, Oxford University (URL: https://www.earth.ox.ac.uk/people/amber-madden-nadeau/, https://twitter.com/AMaddenNadeau/status/1159458288406151169); Anna Perttu, Earth Observatory of Singapore (URL: https://earthobservatory.sg/people/anna-perttu); Simon Carn, Michigan Tech University (URL: https://www.mtu.edu/geo/department/faculty/carn/; https://twitter.com/simoncarn/status/1211793124089044994); VolcanoYT, Indonesia (URL: https://volcanoyt.com/, https://twitter.com/VolcanoYTz/status/1182882409445904386/photo/1; Christoph Sator (URL: https://twitter.com/ChristophSator/status/1184713192670281728/photo/1); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); Pascal Blondé, France (URL: https://pascal-blonde.info/portefolio-krakatau/, https://twitter.com/rajo_ameh/status/1199219837265960960); Alex Bogár, Budapest (URL: https://twitter.com/AlexEtna/status/1211396913699991557); Piotr (Piter) Smieszek, Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia (URL: http://www.lombok.pl/, https://twitter.com/piotr_smieszek/status/1204545970962231296); Peter Rendezvous (URL: https://www.facebook.com/peter.rendezvous ); Wulkany swiata, Poland (URL: http://wulkanyswiata.blogspot.com/, https://twitter.com/Wulkany1/status/1214841708862693376).


Mayotte (France) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayotte

France

12.83°S, 45.17°E; summit elev. 660 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity and deformation, with submarine E-flank volcanism starting in July 2018

Mayotte is a volcanic island in the Comoros archipelago between the eastern coast of Africa and the northern tip of Madagascar. A chain of basaltic volcanism began 10-20 million years ago and migrating W, making up four principal volcanic islands, according to the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP) and Cesca et al. (2020). Before May 2010, only two seismic events had been felt by the nearby community within recent decades. New activity since May 2018 consists of dominantly seismic events and lava effusion. The primary source of information for this report through February 2020 comes from semi-monthly reports from the Réseau de Surveillance Volcanologique et Sismologique de Mayotte (REVOSIMA), a cooperative program between the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP), the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), and the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF-IPGP); Lemoine et al. (2019), the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and the Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER).

Seismicity was the dominant type of activity recorded in association with a new submarine eruption. On 10 May 2018, the first seismic event occurred at 0814, detected by the YTMZ accelerometer from the French RAP Network, according to BRGM and Lemoine et al. (2019). Seismicity continued to increase during 13-15 May 2018, with the strongest recorded event for the Comoros area occurring on 15 May at 1848 and two more events on 20-21 May (figure 1). At the time, no surface effusion were directly observed; however, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) instruments were deployed to monitor any ground motion (Lemoine et al. 2019).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. A graph showing the number of daily seismic events greater than M 3.5 occurring offshore of Mayotte from 10 May 2018 through 15 February 2020. Seismicity significantly decreased in July 2018, but continued intermittently through February 2020, with relatively higher seismicity recorded in late August and mid-September 2018. Courtesy of IPGP and REVOSIMA.

Seismicity decreased dramatically after June 2018, with two spikes in August and September (see figure 1). Much of this seismicity occurred offshore 50 km E of Mayotte Island (figure 2). The École Normale Supérieure, the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF-IPGP), and the REVOSIMA August 2019 bulletin reported that measurements from the GNSS stations and Teria GPS network data indicated eastward surface deformation and subsidence beginning in July 2018. Based on this ground deformation data Lemoine et al. (2019) determined that the eruptive phase began fifty days after the initial seismic events occurred, on 3 July 2018.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Maps of seismic activity offshore near Mayotte during May 2019. Seismic swarms occurred E of Mayotte Island (top) and continued in multiple phases through October 2019. New lava effusions were observed 50 km E of Petite Terre (bottom). Bottom image has been modified with annotations; courtesy of IPGP, BRGM, IFREMER, CNRS, and University of Paris.

Between 2 and 18 May 2019, an oceanographic campaign (MAYOBS 1) discovered a new submarine eruption site 50 km E from the island of Mayotte (figure 2). The director of IPGP, Marc Chaussidon, stated in an interview with Science Magazine that multibeam sonar waves were used to determine the elevation (800 m) and diameter (5 km) of the new submarine cone (figure 3). In addition, this multibeam sonar image showed fluid plumes within the water column rising from the center and flanks of the structure. According to REVOSIMA, these plumes rose to 1 km above the summit of the cone but did not breach the ocean surface. The seafloor image (figure 3) also indicated that as much as 5 km3 of magma erupted onto the seafloor from this new edifice during May 2019, according to Science Magazine.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Seafloor image of the submarine vent offshore of Mayotte created with multibeam sonar from 2 to 18 May 2019. The red line is the outline of the volcanic cone located at approximately 3.5 km depth. The blue-green color rising from the peak of the red outline represents fluid plumes within the water column. Courtesy of IPGP.

On 17 May 2019, a second oceanographic campaign (MAYOBS 2) discovered new lava flows located 5 km S of the new eruptive site. BRGM reported that in June a new lava flow had been identified on the W flank of the cone measuring 150 m thick with an estimated volume of 0.3 km3 (figure 4). According to REVOSIMA, the presence of multiple new lava flows would suggest multiple effusion points. Over a period of 11 months (July 2018-June 2019) the rate of lava effusion was at least 150-200 m3/s; between 18 May to 17 June 2019, 0.2 km3 of lava was produced, and from 17 June to 30 July 2019, 0.3 km3 of lava was produced. The MAYOBS 4 (19 July 2019-4 August 2019) and SHOM (20-21 August 2019) missions revealed a new lava flow formed between 31 July and 20 August to the NW of the eruptive site with a volume of 0.08 km3 and covering 3.25 km2.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Bathymetric map showing the location of the new lava flow on the W flank of the submarine cone offshore to the E of Mayotte Island. The MAYOBS 2 campaign was launched in June 2019 (left) and MAYOBS 4 was launched in late July 2019 (right). Courtesy of BRGM.

During the MAYOBS 4 campaign in late July 2019, scientists dredged the NE flank of the cone for samples and took photographs of the newly erupted lava (figure 5). Two dives found the presence of pillow lavas. When samples were brought up to the surface, they exploded due to the large amount of gas and rapid decompression.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Photographs taken using the submersible interactive camera system (SCAMPI) of newly formed pillow lavas (top) and a vesicular sample (bottom) dredged near the new submarine eruptive site at Mayotte in late July 2019. Courtesy of BRGM.

During April-May 2019 the rate of ground deformation slowed. Deflation was also observed up to 90 km E of Mayotte in late October 2019 and consistently between August 2019 and February 2020. Seismicity continued intermittently through February 2020 offshore E of Mayotte Island, though the number of detected events started to decrease in July 2018 (see figure 1). Though seismicity and deformation continued, the most recent observation of new lava flows occurred during the MAYOBS 4 and SHOM campaigns on 20 August 2019, as reported in REVOSIMA bulletins.

References: Cesca S, Heimann S, Letort J, Razafindrakoto H N T, Dahm T, Cotton F, 2020. Seismic catalogues of the 2018-2019 volcano-seismic crisis offshore Mayotte, Comoro Islands. Nat. Geosci. 13, 87-93. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-019-0505-5.

Lemoine A, Bertil D, Roulle A, Briole P, 2019. The volcano-tectonic crisis of 2018 east of Mayotte, Comoros islands. Preprint submitted to EarthArXiv, 28 February 2019. https://doi.org/10.31223/osf.io/d46xj.

Geologic Background. Mayotte, located in the Mozambique Channel between the northern tip of Madagascar and the eastern coast of Africa, consists two main volcanic islands, Grande Terre and Petite Terre, and roughly twenty islets within a barrier-reef lagoon complex (Zinke et al., 2005; Pelleter et al., 2014). Volcanism began roughly 15-10 million years ago (Pelleter et al., 2014; Nougier et al., 1986), and has included basaltic lava flows, nephelinite, tephrite, phonolitic domes, and pyroclastic deposits (Nehlig et al., 2013). Lavas on the NE were active from about 4.7 to 1.4 million years and on the south from about 7.7 to 2.7 million years. Mafic activity resumed on the north from about 2.9 to 1.2 million years and on the south from about 2 to 1.5 million years. Several pumice layers found in cores on the barrier reef-lagoon complex indicate that volcanism likely occurred less than 7,000 years ago (Zinke et al., 2003). More recent activity that began in May 2018 consisted of seismicity and ground deformation occurring offshore E of Mayotte Island (Lemoine et al., 2019). One year later, in May 2019, a new subaqueous edifice and associated lava flows were observed 50 km E of Petite Terre during an oceanographic campaign.

Information Contacts: Réseau de Surveillance Volcanologique et Sismologique de Mayotte (REVOSIMA), a cooperative program of a) Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP), b) Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), c) Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF-IPGP); (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr/reseau-de-surveillance-volcanologique-sismologique-de-mayotte); Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, 14 route nationale 3, 27 ème km, 97418 La Plaine des Cafres, La Réunion, France (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr); Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), 3 avenue Claude-Guillemin, BP 36009, 45060 Orléans Cedex 2, France (URL: https://www.brgm.fr/); Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER), 1625 route de Sainte-Anne, CS 10070, 29280 Plouzané, France (URL: https://wwz.ifremer.fr/); Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), 3 rue Michel-Ange, 75016 Paris, France (URL: http://www.cnrs.fr/); École Normale Supérieure, 45 rue d'Ulm, F-75230 Paris Cedex 05, France (URL: https://www.ens.psl.eu/); Université de Paris, 85 boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris, France (URL: https://u-paris.fr/en/498-2/); Roland Pease, Science Magazine (URL: https://science.sciencemag.org/, article at https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/05/ship-spies-largest-underwater-eruption-ever) published 21 May 2019.


Fernandina (Ecuador) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Fernandina

Ecuador

0.37°S, 91.55°W; summit elev. 1476 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fissure eruption produced lava flows during 12-13 January 2020

Fernandina is a volcanic island in the Galapagos islands, around 1,000 km W from the coast of mainland Ecuador. It has produced nearly 30 recorded eruptions since 1800, with the most recent events having occurred along radial or circumferential fissures around the summit crater. The most recent previous eruption, starting on 16 June 2018, lasted two days and produced lava flows from a radial fissure on the northern flank. Monitoring and scientific reports come from the Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN).

A report from IG-EPN on 12 January 2020 stated that there had been an increase in seismicity and deformation occurring during the previous weeks. On the day of the report, 11 seismic events had occurred, with the largest magnitude of 4.7 at a depth of 5 km. Shortly before 1810 that day a circumferential fissure formed below the eastern rim of the La Cumbre crater, at about 1.3-1.4 km elevation, and produced lava flows down the flank (figure 39). A rapid-onset seismic swarm reached maximum intensity at 1650 on 12 January (figure 40); a second increase in seismicity indicating the start of the eruption began around 70 minutes later (1800). A hotspot was observed in NOAA / CIMSS data between 1800 and 1810, and a gas plume rising up to 2 km above the fissure dispersed W to NW. The eruption lasted 9 hours, until about 0300 on 13 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Lava flows erupting from a circumferential fissure on the eastern flank of Fernandina on 12 January 2020. Photos courtesy of Parque Nacional Galápagos.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Graph showing the Root-Mean-Square (RMS) amplitude of the seismic signals from the FER-1 station at Fernandina on 12-13 January 2020. The graph shows the increase in seismicity leading to the eruption on the 12th (left star), a decrease in the seismicity, and then another increase during the event (right star). Courtesy of S. Hernandez, IG-EPN (Report on 13 January 2020).

A report issued at 1159 local time on 13 January 2020 described a rapid decrease in seismicity, gas emissions, and thermal anomalies, indicating a rapid decline in eruptive activity similar to previous events in 2017 and 2018. An overflight that day confirmed that the eruption had ended, after lava flows had extended around 500 m from the crater and covered an area of 3.8 km2 (figures 41 and 42). Seismicity continued on the 14th, with small volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes occurring less than 500 m below the surface. Periodic seismicity was recorded through 13-15 January, though there was an increase in seismicity during 17-22 January with deformation also detected (figure 43). No volcanic activity followed, and no additional gas or thermal anomalies were detected.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. The lava flow extents at Fernandina of the previous two eruptions (4-7 September 2017 and 16-21 June 2018) and the 12-13 January 2020 eruption as detected by FIRMS thermal anomalies. Thermal data courtesy of NASA; figure prepared by F. Vásconez, IG-EPN (Report on 13 January 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. This fissure vent that formed on the E flank of Fernandina on 12 January 2020 produced several lava flows. A weak gas plume was still rising when this photo was taken the next day, but the eruption had ceased. Courtesy of Parque Nacional Galápagos.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Soil displacement map for Fernandina during 10 and 16 January 2020, with the deformation generated by the 12 January eruption shown. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Report on 23 January 2020).

Geologic Background. Fernandina, the most active of Galápagos volcanoes and the one closest to the Galápagos mantle plume, is a basaltic shield volcano with a deep 5 x 6.5 km summit caldera. The volcano displays the classic "overturned soup bowl" profile of Galápagos shield volcanoes. Its caldera is elongated in a NW-SE direction and formed during several episodes of collapse. Circumferential fissures surround the caldera and were instrumental in growth of the volcano. Reporting has been poor in this uninhabited western end of the archipelago, and even a 1981 eruption was not witnessed at the time. In 1968 the caldera floor dropped 350 m following a major explosive eruption. Subsequent eruptions, mostly from vents located on or near the caldera boundary faults, have produced lava flows inside the caldera as well as those in 1995 that reached the coast from a SW-flank vent. Collapse of a nearly 1 km3 section of the east caldera wall during an eruption in 1988 produced a debris-avalanche deposit that covered much of the caldera floor and absorbed the caldera lake.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec/); Dirección del Parque Nacional Galápagos (DPNG), Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos, Ecuador (URL: http://www.galapagos.gob.ec/).


Masaya (Nicaragua) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

11.985°N, 86.165°W; summit elev. 594 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake persists with lower temperatures during August 2019-January 2020

Masaya is a basaltic caldera located in Nicaragua and contains the Nindirí, San Pedro, San Juan, and Santiago craters. The currently active Santiago crater hosts a lava lake, which has remained active since December 2015 (BGVN 41:08). The primary source of information for this August 2019-January 2020 report comes from the Instituto Nicareguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) and satellite -based imagery and thermal data.

On 16 August, 13 September, and 11 November 2019, INETER took SO2 measurements by making a transect using a mobile DOAS spectrometer that sampled for gases downwind of the volcano. Average values during these months were 2,095 tons/day, 1,416 tons/day, and 1,037 tons/day, respectively. August had the highest SO2 measurements while those during September and November were more typical values.

Satellite imagery showed a constant thermal anomaly in the Santiago crater at the lava lake during August 2019 through January 2020 (figure 82). According to a news report, ash was expelled from Masaya on 15 October 2019, resulting in minor ashfall in Colonia 4 de Mayo (6 km NW). On 21 November thermal measurements were taken at the fumaroles and near the lava lake using a FLIR SC620 thermal camera (figure 83). The temperature measured 287°C, which was 53° cooler than the last time thermal temperatures were taken in May 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed the consistent presence of an active lava lake within the Santiago crater at Masaya during August 2019 through January 2020. Images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Thermal measurements taken at Masaya on 21 November 2019 with a FLIR SC620 thermal camera that recorded a temperature of 287°C. Courtesy of INETER (Boletin Sismos y Volcanes de Nicaragua, Noviembre, 2019).

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed intermittent low-power thermal anomalies compared to the higher-power ones before May 2019 (figure 84). The thermal anomalies were detected during August 2019 through January 2020 after a brief hiatus from early may to mid-June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Thermal anomalies occurred intermittently at Masaya during 21 February 2019 through January 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. Masaya is one of Nicaragua's most unusual and most active volcanoes. It lies within the massive Pleistocene Las Sierras caldera and is itself a broad, 6 x 11 km basaltic caldera with steep-sided walls up to 300 m high. The caldera is filled on its NW end by more than a dozen vents that erupted along a circular, 4-km-diameter fracture system. The Nindirí and Masaya cones, the source of historical eruptions, were constructed at the southern end of the fracture system and contain multiple summit craters, including the currently active Santiago crater. A major basaltic Plinian tephra erupted from Masaya about 6,500 years ago. Historical lava flows cover much of the caldera floor and there is a lake at the far eastern end. A lava flow from the 1670 eruption overtopped the north caldera rim. Masaya has been frequently active since the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, when an active lava lake prompted attempts to extract the volcano's molten "gold." Periods of long-term vigorous gas emission at roughly quarter-century intervals have caused health hazards and crop damage.

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); La Jornada (URL: https://www.lajornadanet.com/, article at https://www.lajornadanet.com/index.php/2019/10/16/volcan-masaya-expulsa-cenizas/#.Xl6f8ahKjct).


Reventador (Ecuador) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Nearly daily ash emissions and frequent incandescent block avalanches August 2019-January 2020

Reventador is an andesitic stratovolcano located in the Cordillera Real, Ecuador. Historical eruptions date back to the 16th century, consisting of lava flows and explosive events. The current eruptive activity has been ongoing since 2008 with previous activity including daily explosions with ash emissions, and incandescent block avalanches (BGVN 44:08). This report covers volcanism from August 2019 through January 2020 using information primarily from the Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), the Washington Volcano Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various infrared satellite data.

During August 2019 to January 2020, IG-EPN reported almost daily explosive eruptions and ash plumes. September had the highest average of explosive eruptions while January 2020 had the lowest (table 11). Ash plumes rose between a maximum of 1.2 to 2.5 km above the crater during this reporting period with the highest plume height recorded in December. The largest amount of SO2 gases produced was during the month of October with 502 tons/day. Frequently at night during this reporting period, crater incandescence was observed and was occasionally accompanied by incandescent block avalanches traveling as far as 900 m downslope from the summit of the volcano.

Table 11. Monthly summary of eruptive events recorded at Reventador from August 2019 through January 2020. Data courtesy of IG-EPN (August to January 2020 daily reports).

Month Average Number of Explosions Max plume height above the crater Max SO2
Aug 2019 26 1.6 km --
Sep 2019 32 1.7 km 428 tons/day
Oct 2019 29 1.3 km 502 tons/day
Nov 2019 25 1.2 km 432 tons/day
Dec 2019 25 2.5 km 331 tons/day
Jan 2020 12 1.7 km --

During the month of August 2019, between 11 and 45 explosions were recorded every day, frequently accompanied by gas-and-steam and ash emissions (figure 119); plumes rose more than 1 km above the crater on nine days. On 20 August the ash plume rose to a maximum 1.6 km above the crater. Summit incandescence was seen at night beginning on 10 August, continuing frequently throughout the rest of the reporting period. Incandescent block avalanches were reported intermittently beginning that same night through 26 January 2020, ejecting material between 300 to 900 m below the summit and moving on all sides of the volcano.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. An ash plume rising from the summit of Reventador on 1 August 2019. Courtesy of Radio La Voz del Santuario.

Throughout most of September 2019 gas-and-steam and ash emissions were observed almost daily, with plumes rising more than 1 km above the crater on 15 days, according to IG-EPN. On 30 September, the ash plume rose to a high of 1.7 km above the crater. Each day, between 18 and 72 explosions were reported, with the latter occurring on 19 September. At night, crater incandescence was commonly observed, sometimes accompanied by incandescent material rolling down every flank.

Elevated seismicity was reported during 8-15 October 2019 and almost daily gas-and-steam and ash emissions were present, ranging up to 1.3 km above the summit. Every day during this month, between 13 and 54 explosions were documented and crater incandescence was commonly observed at night. During November 2019, gas-and-steam and ash emissions rose greater than 1 km above the crater except for 10 days; no emissions were reported on 29 November. Daily explosions ranged up to 42, occasionally accompanied by crater incandescence and incandescent ejecta.

Washington VAAC notices were issued almost daily during December 2019, reporting ash plumes between 4.6 and 6 km altitude throughout the month and drifting in multiple directions. Each day produced 5-52 explosions, many of which were accompanied by incandescent blocks rolling down all sides of the volcano up to 900 m below the summit. IG-EPN reported on 11 December that a gas-and-steam and ash emission column rose to a maximum height of 2.5 km above the crater, drifting SW as was observed by satellite images and reported by the Washington VAAC.

Volcanism in January 2020 was relatively low compared to the other months of this reporting period. Explosions continued on a nearly daily basis early in the month, ranging from 20 to 51. During 5-7 January incandescent material ejected from the summit vent moved as block avalanches downslope and multiple gas-and-steam and ash plumes were produced (figures 120, 121, and 122). After 9 January the number of explosions decreased to 0-16 per day. Ash plumes rose between 4.6 and 5.8 km altitude, according to the Washington VAAC.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. Night footage of activity on 5 (top) and 6 (bottom) January 2020 at the summit of Reventador, producing a dense, dark gray ash plume and ejecting incandescent material down multiple sides of the volcano. This activity is not uncommon during this reporting period. Courtesy of Martin Rietze, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. An explosion at Reventador on 7 January 2020, which produced a dense gray ash plume. Courtesy of Martin Rietze, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 122. Night footage of the evolution of an eruption on 7 January 2020 at the summit of Reventador, which produced an ash plume and ejected incandescent material down multiple sides of the volcano. Courtesy of Martin Rietze, used with permission.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed frequent and strong thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit during 21 February 2019 through January 2020 (figure 123). In comparison, the MODVOLC algorithm reported 24 thermal alerts between August 2019 and January 2020 near the summit. Some thermal anomalies can be seen in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery throughout this reporting period, even with the presence of meteorological clouds (figure 124). These thermal anomalies were accompanied by persistent gas-and-steam and ash plumes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 123. Thermal anomalies at Reventador persisted during 21 February 2019 through January 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 124. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Reventador from August 2019 to January 2020 showing a thermal hotspot in the central summit crater summit. In the image on 7 January 2020, the thermal anomaly is accompanied by an ash plume. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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/); 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); 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); Radio La Voz del Santuario (URL: https://www.facebook.com/Radio-La-Voz-del-Santuario-126394484061111/, posted at: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2630739100293291&id=126394484061111); Martin Rietze, Taubenstr. 1, D-82223 Eichenau, Germany (URL: https://mrietze.com/, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5LzAA_nyNWEUfpcUFOCpJw/videos).


Pacaya (Guatemala) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuous explosions, small cone, and lava flows during August 2019-January 2020

Pacaya is a highly active basaltic volcano located in Guatemala with volcanism consisting of frequent lava flows and Strombolian explosions originating in the Mackenney crater. The previous report summarizes volcanism that included multiple lava flows, Strombolian activity, avalanches, and gas-and-steam emissions (BGVN 44:08), all of which continue through this reporting period of August 2019 to January 2020. The primary source of information comes from reports by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH) in Guatemala and various satellite data.

Strombolian explosions occurred consistently throughout this reporting period. During the month of August 2019, explosions ejected material up to 30 m above the Mackenney crater. These explosions deposited material that contributed to the formation of a small cone on the NW flank of the Mackenney crater. White and occasionally blue gas-and-steam plumes rose up to 600 m above the crater drifting S and W. Multiple incandescent lava flows were observed traveling down the N and NW flanks, measuring up to 400 m long. Small to moderate avalanches were generated at the front of the lava flows, including incandescent blocks that measured up to 1 m in diameter. Occasionally incandescence was observed at night from the Mackenney crater.

In September 2019 seismicity was elevated compared to the previous month, registering a maximum of 8,000 RSAM (Realtime Seismic Amplitude Measurement) units. White and occasionally blue gas-and-steam plumes that rose up to 1 km above the crater drifted generally S as far as 3 km from the crater. Strombolian explosions continued, ejecting material up to 100 m above the crater rim. At night and during the early morning, crater incandescence was observed. Incandescent lava flows traveled as much as 600 m down the N and NW flanks toward the Cerro Chino crater (figure 116). On 21 September two lava flows descended the SW flank. Constant avalanches with incandescent blocks measuring 1 m in diameter occurred from the front of many of these lava flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 116. Webcam image of Pacaya on 25 September 2019 showing thermal signatures and the point of emission on the NNW flank at night using Landsat 8 (Nocturnal) imagery (left) and a daytime image showing the location of these lava effusions (right) along with gas-and-steam emissions from the active crater. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

Weak explosions continued through October 2019, ejecting material up to 75 m above the crater and building a small cone within the crater. White and occasionally blue gas-and-steam plumes rose 400-800 m above the crater, drifting W and NW and extending up to 4 km from the crater during the week of 26 October-1 November. Lava flows measuring up to 250 m long, originating from the Mackenney crater were descending the N and NW flanks (figure 117). Avalanches carrying large blocks 1 m in diameter commonly occurred at the front of these lava flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. Photo of lava flows traveling down the flanks of Pacaya taken between 28 September 2019 and 4 October. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (28 September 2019 to 4 October Weekly Report).

Continuing Strombolian explosions in November 2019 ejected material 15-75 m above the crater, which then contributed to the formation of the new cone. White and occasionally blue gas-and-steam plumes rose 100-600 m above the crater drifting in different directions and extending up to 2 km. Multiple lava flows from the Mackenney crater moving down all sides of the volcano continued, measuring 50-700 m long. Avalanches were generated at the front of the lava flows, often moving blocks as large as 1 m in diameter. The number of lava flows decreased during 2-8 November and the following week of 9-15 November no lava flows were observed, according to INSIVUMEH. During the week of 16-22 November, a small collapse occurred in the Mackenney crater and explosive activity increased during 16, 18, and 20 November, reaching RSAM units of 4,500. At night and early morning in late November crater incandescence was visible. On 24 November two lava flows descended the NW flank toward the Cerro Chino crater, measuring 100 m long.

During December 2019, much of the activity remained the same, with Strombolian explosions originating from two emission points in the Mackenney crater ejecting material 75-100 m above the crater; white and occasionally blue gas-and-steam plumes to 100-300 m above the crater drifted up to 1.5 km downwind to the S and SW. Lava flows descended the S and SW flanks reaching 250-600 m long (figure 118). On 29 December seismicity increased, reaching 5,000 RSAM units.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 118. Lava flows moving to the S and SW at Pacaya on 31 December 2019. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (28 December 2019 to 3 January 2020 Weekly Report).

Consistent Strombolian activity continued into January 2020 ejecting material 25-100 m above the crater. These explosions deposited material inside the Mackenney crater, contributing to the formation of a small cone. White and occasionally blue fumaroles consisting of mostly water vapor were observed drifting in different directions. At night, summit incandescence and lava flows were visible descending the N, NW, and S flanks with the flow on the NW flank traveling toward the Cerro Chino crater.

During August 2019 through January 2020, multiple lava flows and bright thermal anomalies (yellow-orange) within the crater were seen in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (figures 119 and 120). In addition, constant strong thermal anomalies were detected by the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system during 21 February 2019 through January 2020 within 5 km of the summit (figure 121). A slight decrease in energy was seen from May to June and August to September. Energy increased again between November and December. According to the MODVOLC algorithm, 37 thermal alerts were recorded during August 2019 through January 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Pacaya showing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) during August 2019 to November. All images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Pacaya showing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) during December 2019 through January 2020. All images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. The MIROVA thermal activity graph (log radiative power) at Pacaya during 21 February 2019 to January 2020 shows strong, frequent thermal anomalies through January with a slight decrease in energy between May 2019 to June 2019 and August 2019 to September 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); 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).


Kikai (Japan) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kikai

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Single explosion with steam and minor ash, 2 November 2019

The 19-km-wide submerged Kikai caldera at the N end of Japan’s Ryukyu Islands was the source of one of the world's largest Holocene eruptions about 6,300 years ago, producing large pyroclastic flows and abundant ashfall. During the last century, however, only intermittent minor ash emissions have characterized activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima island, the larger subaerial fragment of the Kikai caldera; several events have included limited ashfall in communities on nearby islands. The most recent event was a single day of explosions on 4 June 2013 that produced ash plumes and minor ashfall on the flank. A minor episode of increased seismicity and fumarolic activity was reported in late March 2018, but no ash emissions were reported. A new single-day event on 2 November 2019 is described here with information provided by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

JMA reduced the Alert Level to 1 on 27 April 2018 after a brief increase in seismicity during March 2018 (BGVN 45:05); no significant changes in volcanic activity were observed for the rest of the year. Steam plumes rose from the summit crater to heights around 1,000 m; the highest plume rose 1,800 m. Occasional nighttime incandescence was recorded by high-sensitivity surveillance cameras. SO2 measurements made during site visits in March, April, and May indicated amounts ranging from 300-1,500 tons per day, similar to values from 2017 (400-1,000 tons per day). Infrared imaging devices indicated thermal anomalies from fumarolic activity persisted on the N and W flanks during the three site visits. A field survey of the SW flank on 25 May 2018 confirmed that the crater edge had dropped several meters into the crater since a similar survey in April 2007. Scientists on a 19 December 2018 overflight had observed fumarolic activity.

There were no changes in activity through October 2019. Weak incandescence at night continued to be periodically recorded with the surveillance cameras (figure 9). A brief eruption on 2 November 2019 at 1735 local time produced a gray-white plume that rose slightly over 1,000 m above the Iodake crater rim (figure 10). As a result, JMA raised the Alert Level from 1 to 2. During an overflight the following day, a steam plume rose a few hundred meters above the summit, but no further activity was observed. No clear traces of volcanic ash or other ejecta were found around the summit (figure 11). Infrared imaging also showed no particular changes from previous measurements. Discolored seawater continued to be observed around the base of the island in several locations.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Incandescence at night on 25 October 2019 was observed at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) with the Iwanogami webcam. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, October 1st year of Reiwa [2019]).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. The Iwanogami webcam captured a brief gray-white ash and steam emission rising above the Iodake crater rim on Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 2 November 2019 at 1738 local time. The plume rose slightly over 1,000 m before dissipating. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, October 1st year of Reiwa [2019]).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. During an overflight of Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 3 November 2019 no traces of ash were seen from the previous day’s explosion; only steam plumes rose a few hundred meters above the summit, and discolored water was present in a few places around the shoreline. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, October 1st year of Reiwa [2019]).

For the remainder of November 2019, steam plumes rose up to 1,300 m above the summit, and nighttime incandescence was occasionally observed in the webcam. Seismic activity remained low and there were no additional changes noted through January 2020.

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html).

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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. Accroding 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).

On 17 November 2010 (UTC), based on information from KB GS RAS and analysis of satellite imagery, the Tokyo VAAC reported that an ash plume rose to an altitude of 3 km and drifted NE. KVERT noted lightning in the ash plumes. The Aviation Color Code was raised to 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).

Evgeny Gordeev wrote a reply to Don Page thanking him for sharing the rare photos (figure 5) of the eruption's start and providing interpretation of the unusual genesis of the ash cloud. Gordeev told Page that he had documented the beginning of the Kizimen 10 December eruption, noting that the closest village to Kizimen is almost 100 km distant. Gordeev commented that the only practical way to monitor the volcano involves satellite images, which are discontinuous and not always of high resolution. "Your pictures help us enormously, mainly to recognize the vent of eruption. It is very unusual for volcanoes to erupt through [such a] long fissure on the slope. You are right, this fissure [is] very narrow and very long. After [this,] your pictures you will be very [well] known [by] volcanologists."

On 12 December 2010 an explosive eruption generated ash plumes that rose to an altitude of 3-3.5 km and drifted NW. Ash deposits in Kozyrevsk and Tigil, 110 and 308 km NW, respectively, were 5 mm thick. Later that day seismic activity decreased and 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 1807-m-high basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano to its lower flanks. These "avalanche 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 historical eruptions have originated from the southern crater, concentrating eruptive products during much of the past century into the SE valley. Frequent historical 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 2000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequently growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent eruptive 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 during historical time.

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

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

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

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

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



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

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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


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

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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