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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

Masaya (Nicaragua) Lava lake level drops but remains active through May 2020; weak gas plumes

Shishaldin (United States) Intermittent thermal activity and a possible new cone at the summit crater during February-May 2020

Krakatau (Indonesia) Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and crater incandescence during April 2020

Taal (Philippines) Eruption on 12 January with explosions through 22 January; steam plumes continuing into March

Unnamed (Tonga) Additional details and pumice raft drift maps from the August 2019 submarine eruption

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Strombolian activity November 2019 through May 2020; lava flow down the SE flank in April

Nyamuragira (DR Congo) Intermittent thermal anomalies within the summit crater during December 2019-May 2020

Nyiragongo (DR Congo) Activity in the lava lake and small eruptive cone persists during December 2019-May 2020

Kavachi (Solomon Islands) Discolored water plumes seen using satellite imagery in 2018 and 2020

Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) Eruption and ash plumes begin on 11 January 2020 and continue through April 2020

Soputan (Indonesia) Minor ash emissions during 23 March and 2 April 2020

Heard (Australia) Eruptive activity including a lava flow during October 2019-April 2020



Masaya (Nicaragua) — June 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 level drops but remains active through May 2020; weak gas plumes

Masaya, which is about 20 km NW of the Nicaragua’s capital of Managua, is one of the most active volcanoes in that country and has a caldera that contains a number of craters (BGVN 43:11). The Santiago crater is the one most currently active and it contains a small lava lake that emits weak gas plumes (figure 85). This report summarizes activity during February through May 2020 and is based on Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) monthly reports and satellite data. During the reporting period, the volcano was relatively calm, with only weak gas plumes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Satellite images of Masaya from Sentinel-2 on 18 April 2020, showing and a small gas plume drifting SW (top, natural color bands 4, 3, 2) and the lava lake (bottom, false color bands 12, 11, 4). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

According to INETER, thermal images of the lava lake and temperature data in the fumaroles were taken using an Omega infrared gun and a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) SC620 thermal camera. The temperatures above the lava lake have decreased since November 2019, when the temperature was 287°C, dropping to 96°C when measured on 14 May 2020. INETER attributed this decrease to subsidence in the level of the lava lake by 5 m which obstructed part of the lake and concentrated the gas emissions in the weak plume. Convection continued in the lava lake, which in May had decreased to a diameter of 3 m. Many landslides had occurred in the E, NE, and S walls of the crater rim due to rock fracturing caused by the high heat and acidity of the emissions.

During the reporting period, the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system recorded numerous thermal anomalies from the lava lake based on MODIS data (figure 86). Infrared satellite images from Sentinel-2 regularly showed a strong signature from the lava lake through 18 May, after which the volcano was covered by clouds.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Thermal anomalies at Masaya during February through May 2020. The larger anomalies with black lines are more distant and not related to the volcano. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Measurements of sulfur dioxide (SO2) made by INETER in the section of the Ticuantepe - La Concepción highway (just W of the volcano) with a mobile DOAS system varied between a low of just over 1,000 metric tons/day in mid-November 2019 to a high of almost 2,500 tons/day in late May. Temperatures of fumaroles in the Cerro El Comalito area, just ENE of Santiago crater, ranged from 58 to 76°C during February-May 2020, with most values in the 69-72°C range.

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).


Shishaldin (United States) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Shishaldin

United States

54.756°N, 163.97°W; summit elev. 2857 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal activity and a possible new cone at the summit crater during February-May 2020

Shishaldin is located near the center of Unimak Island in Alaska, with the current eruption phase beginning in July 2019 and characterized by ash plumes, lava flows, lava fountaining, pyroclastic flows, and lahars. More recently, in late 2019 and into January 2020, activity consisted of multiple lava flows, pyroclastic flows, lahars, and ashfall events (BGVN 45:02). This report summarizes activity from February through May 2020, including gas-and-steam emissions, brief thermal activity in mid-March, and a possible new cone within the summit crater. The primary source of information comes from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) reports and various satellite data.

Volcanism during February 2020 was relatively low, consisting of weakly to moderately elevated surface temperatures during 1-4 February and occasional small gas-and-steam plumes (figure 37). By 6 February both seismicity and surface temperatures had decreased. Seismicity and surface temperatures increased slightly again on 8 March and remained elevated through the rest of the reporting period. Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions were also visible from mid-March (figure 38) through May. Minor ash deposits visible on the upper SE flank may have been due to ash resuspension or a small collapse event at the summit, according to AVO.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Photo of a gas-and-steam plume rising from the summit crater at Shishaldin on 22 February 2020. Photo courtesy of Ben David Jacob via AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. A Worldview-2 panchromatic satellite image on 11 March 2020 showing a gas-and-steam plume rising from the summit of Shishaldin and minor ash deposits on the SE flank (left). Aerial photo showing minor gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit crater on 11 March (right). Some erosion of the snow and ice on the upper flanks is a result of the lava flows from the activity in late 2019 and early 2020. Photo courtesy of Matt Loewen (left) and Ed Fischer (right) via AVO.

On 14 March, lava and a possible new cone were visible in the summit crater using satellite imagery, accompanied by small explosion signals. Strong thermal signatures due to the lava were also seen in Sentinel-2 satellite data and continued strongly through the month (figure 39). The lava reported by AVO in the summit crater was also reflected in satellite-based MODIS thermal anomalies recorded by the MIROVA system (figure 40). Seismic and infrasound data identified small explosions signals within the summit crater during 14-19 March.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images (bands 12, 11, 8A) show a bright hotspot (yellow-orange) at the summit crater of Shishaldin during mid-March 2020 that decreases in intensity by late March. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. MIROVA thermal data showing a brief increase in thermal anomalies during late March 2020 and on two days in late April between periods of little to no activity. Courtesy of MIROVA.

AVO released a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) stating that seismicity had decreased by 16 April and that satellite data no longer showed lava or additional changes in the crater since the start of April. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery continued to show a weak hotspot in the crater summit through May (figure 41), which was also detected by the MIROVA system on two days. A daily report on 6 May reported a visible ash deposit extending a short distance SE from the summit, which had likely been present since 29 April. AVO noted that the timing of the deposit corresponds to an increase in the summit crater diameter and depth, further supporting a possible small collapse. Small gas-and-steam emissions continued intermittently and were accompanied by weak tremors and occasional low-frequency earthquakes through May (figure 42). Minor amounts of sulfur dioxide were detected in the gas-and-steam emissions during 20 and 29 April, and 2, 16, and 28 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images (bands 12, 11, 8A) show occasional gas-and-steam emissions rising from Shishaldin on 26 February (top left) and 24 April 2020 (bottom left) and a weak hotspot (yellow-orange) persisting at the summit crater during April and early May 2020. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. A Worldview-1 panchromatic satellite image showing gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit of Shishaldin on 1 May 2020 (local time) (left). Aerial photo of the N flank of Shishaldin with minor gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit on 8 May (right). Photo courtesy of Matt Loewen (left) and Levi Musselwhite (right) via AVO.

Geologic Background. The beautifully symmetrical Shishaldin is the highest and one of the most active volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands. The glacier-covered volcano is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes along an E-W line in the eastern half of Unimak Island. The Aleuts named the volcano Sisquk, meaning "mountain which points the way when I am lost." A steam plume often rises from its small summit crater. Constructed atop an older glacially dissected volcano, it is largely basaltic in composition. Remnants of an older ancestral volcano are exposed on the W and NE sides at 1,500-1,800 m elevation. There are over two dozen pyroclastic cones on its NW flank, which is blanketed by massive aa lava flows. Frequent explosive activity, primarily consisting of Strombolian ash eruptions from the small summit crater, but sometimes producing lava flows, has been recorded since the 18th century.

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


Krakatau (Indonesia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and crater incandescence during April 2020

Krakatau, located in the Sunda Strait between Indonesia’s Java and Sumatra Islands, experienced a major caldera collapse around 535 CE, forming a 7-km-wide caldera ringed by three islands. On 22 December 2018, a large explosion and flank collapse destroyed most of the 338-m-high island of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) 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. A larger explosion in December 2019 produced the beginnings of a new cone above the surface of crater lake (BGVN 45:02). Recently, volcanism has been characterized by occasional Strombolian explosions, dense ash plumes, and crater incandescence. This report covers activity from February through May 2020 using information provided by the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, also known as Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Activity during February 2020 consisted of dominantly white gas-and-steam emissions rising 300 m above the crater, according to PVMBG. According to the Darwin VAAC, a ground observer reported an eruption on 7 and 8 February, but no volcanic ash was observed. During 10-11 February, a short-lived eruption was detected by seismograms which produced an ash plume up to 1 km above the crater drifting E. MAGMA Indonesia reported two eruptions on 18 March, both of which rose to 300 m above the crater. White gas-and-steam emissions were observed for the rest of the month and early April.

On 10 April PVMBG reported two eruptions, at 2158 and 2235, both of which produced dark ash plumes rising 2 km above the crater followed by Strombolian explosions ejecting incandescent material that landed on the crater floor (figures 108 and 109). The Darwin VAAC issued a notice at 0145 on 11 April reporting an ash plume to 14.3 km altitude drifting WNW, however this was noted with low confidence due to the possible mixing of clouds. During the same day, an intense thermal hotspot was detected in the HIMAWARI thermal satellite imagery and the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide page showed a strong SO2 plume at 11.3 km altitude drifting W (figure 110). The CCTV Lava93 webcam showed new lava flows and lava fountaining from the 10-11 April eruptions. This activity was evident in the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) graph of MODIS thermal anomaly data (figure 111).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. Webcam (Lava93) images of Krakatau on 10 April 2020 showing Strombolian explosions, strong incandescence, and ash plumes rising from the crater. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. Webcam image of incandescent Strombolian explosions at Krakatau on 10 April 2020. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. Strong sulfur dioxide emissions rising from Krakatau and drifting W were detected using the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite on 11 April 2020 (top row). Smaller volumes of SO2 were visible in Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI maps on 13 (bottom left) and 19 April (bottom right). Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. Thermal activity at Anak Krakatau from 29 June-May 2020 shown on a MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph. The power and frequency of the thermal anomalies sharply increased in mid-April. After the larger eruptive event in mid-April the thermal anomalies declined slightly in strength but continued to be detected intermittently through May. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Strombolian activity rising up to 500 m continued into 12 April and was accompanied by SO2 emissions that rose 3 km altitude, drifting NW according to a VAAC notice. PVMBG reported an eruption on 13 April at 2054 that resulted in incandescence as high as 25 m above the crater. Volcanic ash, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions, continued intermittently through 18 April, many of which were observed by the CCTV webcam. After 18 April only gas-and-steam plumes were reported, rising up to 100 m above the crater; Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed faint thermal anomalies in the crater (figure 112). SO2 emissions continued intermittently throughout April, though at lower volumes and altitudes compared to the 11th. MODIS satellite data seen in MIROVA showed intermittent thermal anomalies through May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 112. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing the cool crater lake on 20 March (top left) followed by minor heating of the crater during April and May 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Taal (Philippines) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Taal

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption on 12 January with explosions through 22 January; steam plumes continuing into March

Taal volcano is in a caldera system located in southern Luzon island and is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. It has produced around 35 recorded eruptions since 3,580 BCE, ranging from VEI 1 to 6, with the majority of eruptions being a VEI 2. The caldera contains a lake with an island that also contains a lake within the Main Crater (figure 12). Prior to 2020 the most recent eruption was in 1977, on the south flank near Mt. Tambaro. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Philippines reports that over 450,000 people live within 40 km of the caldera (figure 13). This report covers activity during January through February 2020 including the 12 to 22 January eruption, and is based on reports by Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), satellite data, geophysical data, and media reports.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Annotated satellite images showing the Taal caldera, Volcano Island in the caldera lake, and features on the island including Main Crater. Imagery courtesy of Planet Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Map showing population totals within 14 and 17 km of Volcano Island at Taal. Courtesy of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The hazard status at Taal was raised to Alert Level 1 (abnormal, on a scale of 0-5) on 28 March 2019. From that date through to 1 December there were 4,857 earthquakes registered, with some felt nearby. Inflation was detected during 21-29 November and an increase in CO2 emission within the Main Crater was observed. Seismicity increased beginning at 1100 on 12 January. At 1300 there were phreatic (steam) explosions from several points inside Main Crater and the Alert Level was raised to 2 (increasing unrest). Booming sounds were heard in Talisay, Batangas, at 1400; by 1402 the plume had reached 1 km above the crater, after which the Alert Level was raised to 3 (magmatic unrest).

Phreatic eruption on 12 January 2020. A seismic swarm began at 1100 on 12 January 2020 followed by a phreatic eruption at 1300. The initial activity consisted of steaming from at least five vents in Main Crater and phreatic explosions that generated 100-m-high plumes. PHIVOLCS raised the Alert Level to 2. The Earth Observatory of Singapore reported that the International Data Center (IDC) for the Comprehensive test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in Vienna noted initial infrasound detections at 1450 that day.

Booming sounds were heard at 1400 in Talisay, Batangas (4 km NNE from the Main Crater), and at 1404 volcanic tremor and earthquakes felt locally were accompanied by an eruption plume that rose 1 km; ash fell to the SSW. The Alert Level was raised to 3 and the evacuation of high-risk barangays was recommended. Activity again intensified around 1730, prompting PHIVOLCS to raise the Alert Level to 4 and recommend a total evacuation of the island and high-risk areas within a 14-km radius. The eruption plume of steam, gas, and tephra significantly intensified, rising to 10-15 km altitude and producing frequent lightning (figures 14 and 15). Wet ash fell as far away as Quezon City (75 km N). According to news articles schools and government offices were ordered to close and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (56 km N) in Manila suspended flights. About 6,000 people had been evacuated. Residents described heavy ashfall, low visibility, and fallen trees.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Lightning produced during the eruption of Taal during 1500 on 12 January to 0500 on 13 January 2020 local time (0700-2100 UTC on 12 January). Courtesy of Chris Vagasky, Vaisala.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Lightning strokes produced during the first days of the Taal January 2020 eruption. Courtesy of Domcar C Lagto/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock via The Guardian.

In a statement issued at 0320 on 13 January, PHIVOLCS noted that ashfall had been reported across a broad area to the north in Tanauan (18 km NE), Batangas; Escala (11 km NW), Tagaytay; Sta. Rosa (32 km NNW), Laguna; Dasmariñas (32 km N), Bacoor (44 km N), and Silang (22 km N), Cavite; Malolos (93 km N), San Jose Del Monte (87 km N), and Meycauayan (80 km N), Bulacan; Antipolo (68 km NNE), Rizal; Muntinlupa (43 km N), Las Piñas (47 km N), Marikina (70 km NNE), Parañaque (51 km N), Pasig (62 km NNE), Quezon City, Mandaluyong (62 km N), San Juan (64 km N), Manila; Makati City (59 km N) and Taguig City (55 km N). Lapilli (2-64 mm in diameter) fell in Tanauan and Talisay; Tagaytay City (12 km N); Nuvali (25 km NNE) and Sta (figure 16). Rosa, Laguna. Felt earthquakes (Intensities II-V) continued to be recorded in local areas.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Ashfall from the Taal January 2020 eruption in Lemery (top) and in the Batangas province (bottom). Photos posted on 13 January, courtesy of Ezra Acayan/Getty Images, Aaron Favila/AP, and Ted Aljibe/AFP via Getty Images via The Guardian.

Magmatic eruption on 13 January 2020. A magmatic eruption began during 0249-0428 on 13 January, characterized by weak lava fountaining accompanied by thunder and flashes of lightning. Activity briefly waned then resumed with sporadic weak fountaining and explosions that generated 2-km-high, dark gray, steam-laden ash plumes (figure 17). New lateral vents opened on the N flank, producing 500-m-tall lava fountains. Heavy ashfall impacted areas to the SW, including in Cuenca (15 km SSW), Lemery (16 km SW), Talisay, and Taal (15 km SSW), Batangas (figure 18).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Ash plumes seen from various points around Taal in the initial days of the January 2020 eruption, posted on 13 January. Courtesy of Eloisa Lopez/Reuters, Kester Ragaza/Pacific Press/Shutterstock, Ted Aljibe/AFP via Getty Images, via The Guardian.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Map indicating areas impacted by ashfall from the 12 January eruption through to 0800 on the 13th. Small yellow circles (to the N) are ashfall report locations; blue circles (at the island and to the S) are heavy ashfall; large green circles are lapilli (particles measuring 2-64 mm in diameter). Modified from a map courtesy of Lauriane Chardot, Earth Observatory of Singapore; data taken from PHIVOLCS.

News articles noted that more than 300 domestic and 230 international flights were cancelled as the Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport was closed during 12-13 January. Some roads from Talisay to Lemery and Agoncillo were impassible and electricity and water services were intermittent. Ashfall in several provinces caused power outages. Authorities continued to evacuate high-risk areas, and by 13 January more than 24,500 people had moved to 75 shelters out of a total number of 460,000 people within 14 km.

A PHIVOLCS report for 0800 on the 13th through 0800 on 14 January noted that lava fountaining had continued, with steam-rich ash plumes reaching around 2 km above the volcano and dispersing ash SE and W of Main Crater. Volcanic lighting continued at the base of the plumes. Fissures on the N flank produced 500-m-tall lava fountains. Heavy ashfall continued in the Lemery, Talisay, Taal, and Cuenca, Batangas Municipalities. By 1300 on the 13th lava fountaining generated 800-m-tall, dark gray, steam-laden ash plumes that drifted SW. Sulfur dioxide emissions averaged 5,299 metric tons/day (t/d) on 13 January and dispersed NNE (figure 19).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Compilation of sulfur dioxide plumes from TROPOMI overlaid in Google Earth for 13 January from 0313-1641 UT. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page and Google Earth.

Explosions and ash emission through 22 January 2020. At 0800 on 15 January PHIVOLCS stated that activity was generally weaker; dark gray, steam-laden ash plumes rose about 1 km and drifted SW. Satellite images showed that the Main Crater lake was gone and new craters had formed inside Main Crater and on the N side of Volcano Island.

PHIVOLCS reported that activity during 15-16 January was characterized by dark gray, steam-laden plumes that rose as high as 1 km above the vents in Main Crater and drifted S and SW. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 4,186 t/d on 15 January. Eruptive events at 0617 and 0621 on 16 January generated short-lived, dark gray ash plumes that rose 500 and 800 m, respectively, and drifted SW. Weak steam plumes rose 800 m and drifted SW during 1100-1700, and nine weak explosions were recorded by the seismic network.

Steady steam emissions were visible during 17-21 January. Infrequent weak explosions generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1 km and drifted SW. Sulfur dioxide emissions fluctuated and were as high as 4,353 t/d on 20 January and as low as 344 t/d on 21 January. PHIVOLCS reported that white steam-laden plumes rose as high as 800 m above main vent during 22-28 January and drifted SW and NE; ash emissions ceased around 0500 on 22 January. Remobilized ash drifted SW on 22 January due to strong low winds, affecting the towns of Lemery (16 km SW) and Agoncillo, and rose as high as 5.8 km altitude as reported by pilots. Sulfur dioxide emissions were low at 140 t/d.

Steam plumes through mid-April 2020. The Alert Level was lowered to 3 on 26 January and PHIVOLCS recommended no entry onto Volcano Island and Taal Lake, nor into towns on the western side of the island within a 7-km radius. PHIVOLCS reported that whitish steam plumes rose as high as 800 m during 29 January-4 February and drifted SW (figure 20). The observed steam plumes rose as high as 300 m during 5-11 February and drifted SW.

Sulfur dioxide emissions averaged around 250 t/d during 22-26 January; emissions were 87 t/d on 27 January and below detectable limits the next day. During 29 January-4 February sulfur dioxide emissions ranged to a high of 231 t/d (on 3 February). The following week sulfur dioxide emissions ranged from values below detectable limits to a high of 116 t/d (on 8 February).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Taal Volcano Island producing gas-and-steam plumes on 15-16 January 2020. Courtesy of James Reynolds, Earth Uncut.

On 14 February PHIVOLCS lowered the Alert Level to 2, noting a decline in the number of volcanic earthquakes, stabilizing ground deformation of the caldera and Volcano Island, and diffuse steam-and-gas emission that continued to rise no higher than 300 m above the main vent during the past three weeks. During 14-18 February sulfur dioxide emissions ranged from values below detectable limits to a high of 58 tonnes per day (on 16 February). Sulfur dioxide emissions were below detectable limits during 19-20 February. During 26 February-2 March steam plumes rose 50-300 m above the vent and drifted SW and NE. PHIVOLCS reported that during 4-10 March weak steam plumes rose 50-100 m and drifted SW and NE; moderate steam plumes rose 300-500 m and drifted SW during 8-9 March. During 11-17 March weak steam plumes again rose only 50-100 m and drifted SW and NE.

PHIVOLCS lowered the Alert Level to 1 on 19 March and recommended no entry onto Volcano Island, the area defined as the Permanent Danger Zone. During 8-9 April steam plumes rose 100-300 m and drifted SW. As of 1-2 May 2020 only weak steaming and fumarolic activity from fissure vents along the Daang Kastila trail was observed.

Evacuations. According to the Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) there were a total of 53,832 people dispersed to 244 evacuation centers by 1800 on 15 January. By 21 January there were 148,987 people in 493 evacuation. The number of residents in evacuation centers dropped over the next week to 125,178 people in 497 locations on 28 January. However, many residents remained displaced as of 3 February, with DROMIC reporting 23,915 people in 152 evacuation centers, but an additional 224,188 people staying at other locations.

By 10 February there were 17,088 people in 110 evacuation centers, and an additional 211,729 staying at other locations. According to the DROMIC there were a total of 5,321 people in 21 evacuation centers, and an additional 195,987 people were staying at other locations as of 19 February.

The number of displaced residents continued to drop, and by 3 March there were 4,314 people in 12 evacuation centers, and an additional 132,931 people at other locations. As of 11 March there were still 4,131 people in 11 evacuation centers, but only 17,563 staying at other locations.

Deformation and ground cracks. New ground cracks were observed on 13 January in Sinisian (18 km SW), Mahabang Dahilig (14 km SW), Dayapan (15 km SW), Palanas (17 km SW), Sangalang (17 km SW), and Poblacion (19 km SW) Lemery; Pansipit (11 km SW), Agoncillo; Poblacion 1, Poblacion 2, Poblacion 3, Poblacion 5 (all around 17 km SW), Talisay, and Poblacion (11 km SW), San Nicolas (figure 21). A fissure opened across the road connecting Agoncillo to Laurel, Batangas. New ground cracking was reported the next day in Sambal Ibaba (17 km SW), and portions of the Pansipit River (SW) had dried up.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Video screenshots showing ground cracks that formed during the Taal unrest and captured on 15 and 16 January 2020. Courtesy of James Reynolds, Earth Uncut.

Dropping water levels of Taal Lake were first observed in some areas on 16 January but reported to be lake-wide the next day. The known ground cracks in the barangays of Lemery, Agoncillo, Talisay, and San Nicolas in Batangas Province widened a few centimeters by 17 January, and a new steaming fissure was identified on the N flank of the island.

GPS data had recorded a sudden widening of the caldera by ~1 m, uplift of the NW sector by ~20 cm, and subsidence of the SW part of Volcano Island by ~1 m just after the main eruption phase. The rate of deformation was smaller during 15-22 January, and generally corroborated by field observations; Taal Lake had receded about 30 cm by 25 January but about 2.5 m of the change (due to uplift) was observed around the SW portion of the lake, near the Pansipit River Valley where ground cracking had been reported.

Weak steaming (plumes 10-20 m high) from ground cracks was visible during 5-11 February along the Daang Kastila trail which connects the N part of Volcano Island to the N part of the main crater. PHIVOLCS reported that during 19-24 February steam plumes rose 50-100 m above the vent and drifted SW. Weak steaming (plumes up to 20 m high) from ground cracks was visible during 8-14 April along the Daang Kastila trail which connects the N part of Volcano Island to the N part of the main crater.

Seismicity. Between 1300 on 12 January and 0800 on 21 January the Philippine Seismic Network (PSN) had recorded a total of 718 volcanic earthquakes; 176 of those had magnitudes ranging from 1.2-4.1 and were felt with Intensities of I-V. During 20-21 January there were five volcanic earthquakes with magnitudes of 1.6-2.5; the Taal Volcano network (which can detect smaller events not detectable by the PSN) recorded 448 volcanic earthquakes, including 17 low-frequency events. PHIVOLCS stated that by 21 January hybrid earthquakes had ceased and both the number and magnitude of low-frequency events had diminished.

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), Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/); Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) (URL: https://dromic.dswd.gov.ph/); United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Philippines (URL: https://www.unocha.org/philippines); James Reynolds, Earth Uncut TV (Twitter: @EarthUncutTV, URL: https://www.earthuncut.tv/, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TyphoonHunter); Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc., Louisville, Colorado, USA (URL: https://www.vaisala.com/en?type=1, Twitter: @COweatherman, URL: https://twitter.com/COweatherman); Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, 50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore (URL: https://www.earthobservatory.sg/); 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/); Relief Web, Flash Update No. 1 - Philippines: Taal Volcano eruption (As of 13 January 2020, 2 p.m. local time) (URL: https://reliefweb.int/report/philippines/flash-update-no-1-philippines-taal-volcano-eruption-13-january-2020-2-pm-local); Bloomberg, Philippines Braces for Hazardous Volcano Eruption (URL: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-12/philippines-raises-alert-level-in-taal-as-volcano-spews-ash); National Public Radio (NPR), Volcanic Eruption In Philippines Causes Thousands To Flee (URL: npr.org/2020/01/13/795815351/volcanic-eruption-in-philippines-causes-thousands-to-flee); Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/); Agence France-Presse (URL: http://www.afp.com/); Pacific Press (URL: http://www.pacificpress.com/); Shutterstock (URL: https://www.shutterstock.com/); Getty Images (URL: http://www.gettyimages.com/); Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/).


Unnamed (Tonga) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Unnamed

Tonga

18.325°S, 174.365°W; summit elev. -40 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Additional details and pumice raft drift maps from the August 2019 submarine eruption

In the northern Tonga region, approximately 80 km NW of Vava’u, large areas of floating pumice, termed rafts, were observed starting as early as 7 August 2019. The area of these andesitic pumice rafts was initially 195 km2 with the layers measuring 15-30 cm thick and were produced 200 m below sea level (Jutzeler et al. 2020). The previous report (BGVN 44:11) described the morphology of the clasts and the rafts, and their general westward path from 9 August to 9 October 2019, with the first sighting occurring on 9 August NW of Vava’u in Tonga. This report updates details regarding the submarine pumice raft eruption in early August 2019 using new observations and data from Brandl et al. (2019) and Jutzeler et al. (2020).

The NoToVE-2004 (Northern Tonga Vents Expedition) research cruise on the RV Southern Surveyor (SS11/2004) from the Australian CSIRO Marine National Facility traveled to the northern Tonga Arc and discovered several submarine basalt-to-rhyolite volcanic centers (Arculus, 2004). One of these volcanic centers 50 km NW of Vava’u was the unnamed seamount (volcano number 243091) that had erupted in 2001 and again in 2019, unofficially designated “Volcano F” for reference purposes by Arculus (2004) and also used by Brandl et al. (2019). It is a volcanic complex that rises more than 1 km from the seafloor with a central 6 x 8.7 km caldera and a volcanic apron measuring over 50 km in diameter (figures 19 and 20). Arculus (2004) described some of the dredged material as “fresh, black, plagioclase-bearing lava with well-formed, glassy crusts up to 2cm thick” from cones by the eastern wall of the caldera; a number of apparent flows, lava or debris, were observed draping over the northern wall of the caldera.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Visualization of the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano (marked “Volcano F”) using bathymetric data to show the site of the 6-8 August 2020 eruption and the rest of the cone complex. Courtesy of Philipp Brandl via GEOMAR.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Map of the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano using satellite imagery, bathymetric data, with shading from the NW. The yellow circle indicates the location of the August 2019 activity. Young volcanic cones are marked “C” and those with pit craters at the top are marked with “P.” Courtesy of Brandl et al. (2019).

The International Seismological Centre (ISC) Preliminary Bulletin listed a particularly strong (5.7 Mw) earthquake at 2201 local time on 5 August, 15 km SSW of the volcano at a depth of 10 km (Brandl et al. 2019). This event was followed by six slightly lower magnitude earthquakes over the next two days.

Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed two concentric rings originating from a point source (18.307°S 174.395°W) on 6 August (figure 21), which could be interpreted as small weak submarine plumes or possibly a series of small volcanic cones, according to Brandl et al. (2019). The larger ring is about 1.2 km in diameter and the smaller one measures 250 m. By 8 August volcanic activity had decreased, but the pumice rafts that were produced remained visible through at least early October (BGVN 44:11). Brandl et al. (2019) states that, due to the lack of continued observed activity rising from this location, the eruption was likely a 2-day-long event during 6-8 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Sentinel-2 satellite image of possible gas/vapor emissions (streaks) on 6 August 2019 drifting NW, which is the interpreted site for the unnamed Tongan seamount. The larger ring is about 1.2 km in diameter and the smaller one measures 250 m. Image using False Color (urban) rendering (bands 12, 11, 4); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The pumice was first observed on 9 August occurred up to 56 km from the point of origin, according to Jutzeler et al. (2020). By calculating the velocity (14 km/day) of the raft using three satellites, Jutzeler et al. (2020) determined the pumice was erupted immediately after the satellite image of the submarine plumes on 6 August (UTC time). Minor activity at the vent may have continued on 8 and 11 August (UTC time) with pale blue-green water discoloration (figure 22) and a small (less than 1 km2) diffuse pumice raft 2-5 km from the vent.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Sentinel-2 satellite image of the last visible activity occurring W of the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano on 8 August 2019, represented by slightly discolored blue-green water. Image using Natural Color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) and enhanced with color correction; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Continuous observations using various satellite data and observations aboard the catamaran ROAM tracked the movement and extent of the pumice raft that was produced during the submarine eruption in early August (figure 23). The first visible pumice raft was observed on 8 August 2019, covering more than 136.7 km2 between the volcanic islands of Fonualei and Late and drifting W for 60 km until 9 August (Brandl et al. 2019; Jutzeler 2020). The next day, the raft increased to 167.2-195 km2 while drifting SW for 74 km until 14 August. Over the next three days (10-12 August) the size of the raft briefly decreased in size to less than 100 km2 before increasing again to 157.4 km2 on 14 August; at least nine individual rafts were mapped and identified on satellite imagery (Brandl et al. 2019). On 15 August sailing vessels observed a large pumice raft about 75 km W of Late Island (see details in BGVN 44:11), which was the same one as seen in satellite imagery on 8 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Map of the extent of discolored water and the pumice raft from the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano between 8 and 14 August 2019 using imagery from NASA’s MODIS, ESA’s Sentinel-2 satellite, and observations from aboard the catamaran ROAM (BGVN 44:11). Back-tracing the path of the pumice raft points to a source location at the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano. Courtesy of Brandl et al. (2019).

By 17 August high-resolution satellite images showed an area of large and small rafts measuring 222 km2 and were found within a field of smaller rafts for a total extent of 1,350 km2, which drifted 73 km NNW through 22 August before moving counterclockwise for three days (figure f; Jutzeler et al., 2020). Small pumice ribbons encountered the Oneata Lagoon on 30 August, the first island that the raft came into contact (Jutzeler et al. 2020). By 2 September, the main raft intersected with Lakeba Island (460 km from the source) (figure 24), breaking into smaller ribbons that started to drift W on 8 September. On 19 September the small rafts (less than 100 m x less than 2 km) entered the strait between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, the two main islands of Fiji, while most of the others were stranded 60 km W in the Yasawa Islands for more than two months (Jutzeler et al., 2020).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Time-series map of the raft dispersal from the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano using multiple satellite images. A) Map showing the first days of the raft dispersal starting on 7 August 2019 and drifting SW from the vent (marked with a red triangle). Precursory seismicity that began on 5 August is marked with a white star. By 15-17 August the raft was entrained in an ocean loop or eddy. The dashed lines represent the path of the sailing vessels. B) Map of the raft dispersal using high-resolution Sentinel-2 and -3 imagery. Two dispersal trails (red and blue dashed lines) show the daily dispersal of two parts of the raft that were separated on 17 August 2019. Courtesy of Jutzeler et al. (2020).

References: Arculus, R J, SS2004/11 shipboard scientists, 2004. SS11/2004 Voyage Summary: NoToVE-2004 (Northern Tonga Vents Expedition): submarine hydrothermal plume activity and petrology of the northern Tofua Arc, Tonga. https://www.cmar.csiro.au/data/reporting/get file.cfm?eovpub id=901.

Brandl P A, Schmid F, Augustin N, Grevemeyer I, Arculus R J, Devey C W, Petersen S, Stewart M , Kopp K, Hannington M D, 2019. The 6-8 Aug 2019 eruption of ‘Volcano F’ in the Tofua Arc, Tonga. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2019.106695

Jutzeler M, Marsh R, van Sebille E, Mittal T, Carey R, Fauria K, Manga M, McPhie J, 2020. Ongoing Dispersal of the 7 August 2019 Pumice Raft From the Tonga Arc in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean. AGU Geophysical Research Letters: https://doi.orh/10.1029/2019GL086768.

Geologic Background. A submarine volcano along the Tofua volcanic arc was first observed in September 2001. The newly discovered volcano lies NW of the island of Vava'u about 35 km S of Fonualei and 60 km NE of Late volcano. The site of the eruption is along a NNE-SSW-trending submarine plateau with an approximate bathymetric depth of 300 m. T-phase waves were recorded on 27-28 September 2001, and on the 27th local fishermen observed an ash-rich eruption column that rose above the sea surface. No eruptive activity was reported after the 28th, but water discoloration was documented during the following month. In early November rafts and strandings of dacitic pumice were reported along the coast of Kadavu and Viti Levu in the Fiji Islands. The depth of the summit of the submarine cone following the eruption determined to be 40 m during a 2007 survey; the crater of the 2001 eruption was breached to the E.

Information Contacts: Jan Steffen, Communication and Media, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany; Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian activity November 2019 through May 2020; lava flow down the SE flank in April

Klyuchevskoy is part of the Klyuchevskaya volcanic group in northern Kamchatka and is one of the most frequently active volcanoes of the region. Eruptions produce lava flows, ashfall, and lahars originating from summit and flank activity. This report summarizes activity during October 2019 through May 2020, and is based on reports by the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) and satellite data.

There were no activity reports from 1 to 22 October, but gas emissions were visible in satellite images. At 1020 on 24 October (2220 on 23 October UTC) KVERT noted that there was a small ash component in the ash plume from erosion of the conduit, with the plume reaching 130 km ENE. The Aviation Colour Code was raised from Green to Yellow, then to Orange the following day. An ash plume continued on the 25th to 5-7 km altitude and extending 15 km SE and 70 km SW and reached 30 km ESE on the 26th. Similar activity continued through to the end of the month.

Moderate gas emissions continued during 1-19 November, but the summit was obscured by clouds. Strong nighttime incandescence was visible at the crater during the 10-11 November and thermal anomalies were detected on 8 and 10-13 November. Explosions produced ash plumes up to 6 km altitude on the 20-21st and Strombolian activity was reported during 20-22 November. Degassing continued from 23 November through 12 December, and a thermal anomaly was visible on the days when the summit was not covered by clouds. An ash plume was reported moving to the NW on the 13th, and degassing with a thermal anomaly and intermittent Strombolian activity then resumed, continuing through to the end of December with an ash plume reported on the 30th.

Gas-and-steam plumes continued into January 2020 with incandescence noted when the summit was clear (figure 33). Strombolian activity was reported again starting on the 3rd. A weak ash plume produced on the 6th extended 55 km E, and on the 21st an ash plume reached 5-5.5 km altitude and extended 190 km NE (figure 34). Another ash plume the next day rose to the same altitude and extended 388 km NE. During 23-29 Strombolian activity continued, and Vulcanian activity produced ash plumes up to 5.5 altitude, extending to 282 km E on the 30th, and 145 km E on the 31st.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Incandescence and degassing were visible at Klyuchevskoy through January 2020, seen here on the 11th. Courtesy of KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. A low ash plume at Klyuchevskoy on 21 January 2020 extended 190 km NE. Courtesy of KVERT.

Strombolian activity continued throughout February with occasional explosions producing ash plumes up to 5.5 km altitude, as well as gas-and-steam plumes and a persistent thermal anomaly with incandescence visible at night. Starting in late February thermal anomalies were detected much more frequently, and with higher energy output compared to the previous year (figure 35). A lava fountain was reported on 1 March with the material falling back into the summit crater. Strombolian activity continued through early March. Lava fountaining was reported again on the 8th with ejecta landing in the crater and down the flanks (figure 36). A strong persistent gas-and-steam plume containing some ash continued along with Strombolian activity through 25 March (figure 37), with Vulcanian activity noted on the 20th and 25th. Strombolian and Vulcanian activity was reported through the end of March.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. This MIROVA thermal energy plot for Klyuchevskoy for the year ending 29 April 2020 (log radiative power) shows intermittent thermal anomalies leading up to more sustained energy detected from February through March, then steadily increasing energy through April 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Strombolian explosions at Klyuchevskoy eject incandescent ash and gas, and blocks and bombs onto the upper flanks on 8 and 10 March 2020. Courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Weak ash emission from the Klyuchevskoy summit crater are dispersed by wind on 19 and 29 March 2020, with ash depositing on the flanks. Courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

Activity was dominantly Strombolian during 1-5 April and included intermittent Vulcanian explosions from the 6th onwards, with ash plumes reaching 6 km altitude. On 18 April a lava flow began moving down the SE flank (figures 38). A report on the 26th reported explosions from lava-water interactions with avalanches from the active lava flow, which continued to move down the SE flank and into the Apakhonchich chute (figures 39 and 40). This continued throughout April and May with sustained Strombolian and intermittent Vulcanian activity at the summit (figures 41 and 42).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Strombolian activity produced ash plumes and a lava flow down the SE flank of Klyuchevskoy on 18 April 2020. Courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. A lava flow descends the SW flank of Klyuchevskoy and a gas plume is dispersed by winds on 21 April 2020. Courtesy of Yu. Demyanchuk, IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images show the progression of the Klyuchevskoy lava flow from the summit crater down the SE flank from 19-29 April 2020. Associated gas plumes are dispersed in various directions. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Strombolian activity at Klyuchevskoy ejects incandescent ejecta, gas, and ash above the summit on 27 April 2020. Courtesy of D. Bud'kov, IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Klyuchevskoy show the progression of the SE flank lava flow through May 2020, with associated gas plumes being dispersed in multiple directions. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


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

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal anomalies within the summit crater during December 2019-May 2020

Nyamuragira (also known as Nyamulagira) is located in the Virunga Volcanic Province (VVP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and consists of a lava lake that reappeared in the summit crater in mid-April 2018. Volcanism has been characterized by lava emissions, thermal anomalies, seismicity, and gas-and-steam emissions. This report summarizes activity during December 2019 through May 2020 using information from monthly reports by the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) and satellite data.

According to OVG, intermittent eruptive activity was detected in the lava lake of the central crater during December 2019 and January-April 2020, which also resulted in few seismic events. MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows thermal anomalies within the summit crater that varied in both frequency and power between August 2019 and mid-March 2020, but very few were recorded afterward through late May (figure 88). Thermal hotspots identified by MODVOLC from 15 December 2019 through March 2020 were mainly located in the active central crater, with only three hotspots just outside the SW crater rim (figure 89). Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery also showed activity within the summit crater during January-May 2020, but by mid-March the thermal anomaly had visibly decreased in power (figure 90).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity (log radiative power) at Nyamuragira during 27 July through May 2020 shows variably strong, intermittent thermal anomalies with a variation in power and frequency from August 2019 to mid-March 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Map showing the number of MODVOLC hotspot pixels at Nyamuragira from 1 December 2019 t0 31 May 2020. 37 pixels were registered within the summit crater while 3 were detected just outside the SW crater rim. Courtesy of HIGP-MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) confirmed ongoing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) at Nyamuragira from February into April 2020. The strength of the thermal anomaly in the summit crater decreased by late March 2020, but was still visible. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Information contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), Departement de Geophysique, Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles, Lwiro, D.S. Bukavu, DR Congo; MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/exp.


Nyiragongo (DR Congo) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Activity in the lava lake and small eruptive cone persists during December 2019-May 2020

Nyiragongo is located in the Virunga Volcanic Province (VVP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, part of the western branch of the East African Rift System and contains a 1.2 km-wide summit crater with a lava lake that has been active since at least 1971. Volcanism has been characterized by strong and frequent thermal anomalies, incandescence, gas-and-steam emissions, and seismicity. This report summarizes activity during December 2019 through May 2020 using information from monthly reports by the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) and satellite data.

In the December 2019 monthly report, OVG stated that the level of the lava lake had increased. This level of the lava lake was maintained for the duration of the reporting period, according to later OVG monthly reports. Seismicity increased starting in November 2019 and was detected in the NE part of the crater, but it decreased by mid-April 2020. SO2 emissions increased in January 2020 to roughly 7,000 tons/day but decreased again near the end of the month. OVG reported that SO2 emissions rose again in February to roughly 8,500 tons/day before declining to about 6,000 tons/day. Unlike in the previous report (BGVN 44:12), incandescence was visible during the day in the active lava lake and activity at the small eruptive cone within the 1.2-km-wide summit crater has since increased, consisting of incandescence and some lava fountaining (figure 72). A field survey was conducted on 3-4 March where an OVG team observed active lava fountains and ejecta that produced Pele’s hair from the small eruptive cone (figure 73). During this survey, OVG reported that the level of the lava lake had reached the second terrace, which was formed on 17 January 2002 and represents remnants of the lava lake at different eruption stages. There, the open surface lava lake was observed; gas-and-steam emissions accompanied both the active lava lake and the small eruptive cone (figures 72 and 73).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Webcam image of Nyiragongo in February 2020 showing an open lava lake surface and incandescence from the active crater cone within the 1.2 km-wide summit crater visible during the day, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions. Courtesy of OVG (Rapport OVG February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Webcam image of Nyiragongo on 4 March 2020 showing an open lava lake surface and incandescence from the active crater cone within the 1.2 km-wide summit crater visible during the day, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions. Courtesy of OVG (Rapport OVG Mars 2020).

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data continued to show frequent strong thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit crater through May 2020 (figure 74). Similarly, the MODVOLC algorithm reported multiple thermal hotspots almost daily within the summit crater between December 2019 and May 2020. These thermal signatures were also observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery within the summit crater (figure 75).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Thermal anomalies at Nyiragongo from 27 July through May 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were frequent and strong. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) showed ongoing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) in the summit crater at Nyiragongo during January through April 2020. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Kavachi (Solomon Islands) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kavachi

Solomon Islands

8.991°S, 157.979°E; summit elev. -20 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Discolored water plumes seen using satellite imagery in 2018 and 2020

Kavachi is a submarine volcano located in the Solomon Islands south of Gatokae and Vangunu islands. Volcanism is frequently active, but rarely observed. The most recent eruptions took place during 2014, which consisted of an ash eruption, and during 2016, which included phreatomagmatic explosions (BGVN 42:03). This reporting period covers December 2016-April 2020 primarily using satellite data.

Activity at Kavachi is often only observed through satellite images, and frequently consists of discolored submarine plumes for which the cause is uncertain. On 1 January 2018 a slight yellow discoloration in the water is seen extending to the E from a specific point (figure 20). Similar faint plumes were observed on 16 January, 25 February, 2 March, 26 April, 6 May, and 25 June 2018. No similar water discoloration was noted during 2019, though clouds may have obscured views.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Satellite images from Sentinel-2 revealed intermittent faint water discoloration (yellow) at Kavachi during the first half of 2018, as seen here on 1 January (top left), 25 February (top right), 26 April (bottom left), and 25 June (bottom right). Images with “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity resumed in 2020, showing more discolored water in satellite imagery. The first instance occurred on 16 March, where a distinct plume extended from a specific point to the SE. On 25 April a satellite image showed a larger discolored plume in the water that spread over about 30 km2, encompassing the area around Kavachi (figure 21). Another image on 30 April showed a thin ribbon of discolored water extending about 50 km W of the vent.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Sentinel-2 satellite images of a discolored plume (yellow) at Kavachi beginning on 16 March (top left) with a significant large plume on 25 April (right), which remained until 30 April (bottom left). Images with “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Named for a sea-god of the Gatokae and Vangunu peoples, Kavachi is one of the most active submarine volcanoes in the SW Pacific, located in the Solomon Islands south of Vangunu Island. Sometimes referred to as Rejo te Kvachi ("Kavachi's Oven"), this shallow submarine basaltic-to-andesitic volcano has produced ephemeral islands up to 1 km long many times since its first recorded eruption during 1939. Residents of the nearby islands of Vanguna and Nggatokae (Gatokae) reported "fire on the water" prior to 1939, a possible reference to earlier eruptions. The roughly conical edifice rises from water depths of 1.1-1.2 km on the north and greater depths to the SE. Frequent shallow submarine and occasional subaerial eruptions produce phreatomagmatic explosions that eject steam, ash, and incandescent bombs. On a number of occasions lava flows were observed on the ephemeral islands.

Information Contacts: Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption and ash plumes begin on 11 January 2020 and continue through April 2020

Kuchinoerabujima encompasses a group of young stratovolcanoes located in the northern Ryukyu Islands. All historical eruptions have originated from the Shindake cone, with the exception of a lava flow that originated from the S flank of the Furudake cone. The most recent previous eruptive period took place during October 2018-February 2019 and primarily consisted of weak explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall. The current eruption began on 11 January 2020 after nearly a year of dominantly gas-and-steam emissions. Volcanism for this reporting period from March 2019 to April 2020 included explosions, ash plumes, SO2 emissions, and ashfall. The primary source of information for this report comes from monthly and annual reports from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and advisories from the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Activity has been limited to Kuchinoerabujima's Shindake Crater.

Volcanism at Kuchinoerabujima was relatively low during March through December 2019, according to JMA. During this time, SO2 emissions ranged from 100 to 1,000 tons/day. Gas-and-steam emissions were frequently observed throughout the entire reporting period, rising to a maximum height of 1.1 km above the crater on 13 December 2019. Satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 showed gas-and-steam and occasional ash emissions rising from the Shindake crater throughout the reporting period (figure 7). Though JMA reported thermal anomalies occurring on 29 January and continuing through late April 2020, Sentinel-2 imagery shows the first thermal signature appearing on 26 April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed gas-and-steam and ash emissions rising from Kuchinoerabujima. Some ash deposits can be seen on 6 February 2020 (top right). A thermal anomaly appeared on 26 April 2020 (bottom right). Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

An eruption on 11 January 2020 at 1505 ejected material 300 m from the crater and produced ash plumes that rose 2 km above the crater rim, extending E, according to JMA. The eruption continued through 12 January until 0730. The resulting ash plumes rose 400 m above the crater, drifting SW while the SO2 emissions measured 1,300 tons/day. Ashfall was reported on Yakushima Island (15 km E). Minor eruptive activity was reported during 17-20 January which produced gray-white plumes that rose 300-500 m above the crater. On 23 January, seismicity increased, and an eruption produced an ash plume that rose 1.2 km altitude, according to a Tokyo VAAC report, resulting in ashfall 2 km NE of the crater. A small explosion was detected on 24 January, followed by an increase in the number of earthquakes during 25-26 January (65-71 earthquakes per day were registered). Another small eruptive event detected on 27 January at 0148 was accompanied by a volcanic tremor and a change in tilt data. During the month of January, some inflation was detected at the base on the volcano and a total of 347 earthquakes were recorded. The SO2 emissions ranged from 200-1,600 tons/day.

An eruption on 1 February 2020 produced an eruption column that rose less than 1 km altitude and extended SE and SW (figure 8), according to the Tokyo VAAC report. On 3 February, an eruption from the Shindake crater at 0521 produced an ash plume that rose 7 km above the crater and ejected material as far as 600 m away. As a result, a pyroclastic flow formed, traveling 900-1,500 m SW. The previous pyroclastic flow that was recorded occurred on 29 January 2019. Ashfall was confirmed in the N part of Yakushima Island with a large amount in Miyanoura (32 km ESE) and southern Tanegashima. The SO2 emissions measured 1,700 tons/day during this event.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Webcam images from the Honmura west surveillance camera of an ash plume rising from Kuchinoerabujima on 1 February 2020. Courtesy of JMA (Weekly bulletin report 509, February 2020).

Intermittent small eruptive events occurred during 5-9 February; field observations showed a large amount of ashfall on the SE flank which included lapilli that measured up to 2 cm in diameter. Additionally, thermal images showed 5-km-long pyroclastic flow deposits on the SW flank. An eruption on 9 February produced an ash plume that rose 1.2 km altitude, drifting SE. On 13 February a small eruption was detected in the Shindake crater at 1211, producing gray-white plumes that rose 300 m above the crater, drifting NE. Small eruptive events also occurred during 20-21 February, resulting in gas-and-steam emissions that rose 200 m above the crater. During the month of February, some horizontal extension was observed since January 2020 using GNSS data. The total number of earthquakes during this month drastically increased to 1225 compared to January. The SO2 emissions ranged from 300-1,700 tons/day.

By 2 March 2020, seismicity decreased, and activity declined. Gas-and-steam emissions continued infrequently for the duration of the reporting period. The SO2 emissions during March ranged from 700-2,100 tons/day, the latter of which occurred on 15 March. Seismicity increased again on 27 March. During 5-8 April 2020, small eruptive events were detected, generating ash plumes that rose 900 m above the crater (figure 9). The SO2 emissions on 6 April reached 3,200 tons/day, the maximum measurement for this reporting period. These small eruptive events continued from 13-20 and 23-25 April within the Shindake crater, producing gray-white plumes that rose 300-800 m above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Webcam images from the Honmura Nishi (top) and Honmura west (bottom) surveillance cameras of ash plumes rising from Kuchinoerabujima on 6 March and 5 April 2020. Courtesy of JMA (Weekly bulletin report 509, March and April 2020).

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

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


Soputan (Indonesia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Soputan

Indonesia

1.112°N, 124.737°E; summit elev. 1785 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor ash emissions during 23 March and 2 April 2020

Soputan is a stratovolcano located in the northern arm of Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. Previous eruptive periods were characterized by ash explosions, lava flows, and Strombolian eruptions. The most recent eruption occurred during October-December 2018, which consisted mostly of ash plumes and some summit incandescence (BGVN 44:01). This report updates information for January 2019-April 2020 characterized by two ash plumes and gas-and-steam emissions. The primary source of information come from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Activity during January 2019-April 2020 was relatively low; three faint thermal anomalies were observed at the summit at Soputan in satellite imagery for a total of three days on 2 and 4 January, and 1 October 2019 (figure 17). The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) based on analysis of MODIS data detected 12 distal hotspots and six low-power hotspots within 5 km of the summit during August to early October 2019. A single distal thermal hotspot was detected in early March 2020. In March, activity primarily consisted of white to gray gas-and-steam plumes that rose 20-100 m above the crater, according to PVMBG. The Darwin VAAC issued a notice on 23 March 2020 that reported an ash plume rose to 4.3 km altitude; minor ash emissions had been visible in a webcam image the previous day (figure 18). A second notice was issued on 2 April, where an ash plume was observed rising 2.1 km altitude and drifting W.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery detected a total of three thermal hotspots (bright yellow-orange) at the summit of Soputan on 2 and 4 January and 1 October 2019. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Minor ash emissions were seen rising from Soputan on 22 March 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Geologic Background. The Soputan stratovolcano on the southern rim of the Quaternary Tondano caldera on the northern arm of Sulawesi Island is one of Sulawesi's most active volcanoes. The youthful, largely unvegetated volcano is located SW of Riendengan-Sempu, which some workers have included with Soputan and Manimporok (3.5 km ESE) as a volcanic complex. It was constructed at the southern end of a SSW-NNE trending line of vents. During historical time the locus of eruptions has included both the summit crater and Aeseput, a prominent NE-flank vent that formed in 1906 and was the source of intermittent major lava flows until 1924.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Heard (Australia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptive activity including a lava flow during October 2019-April 2020

Heard Island is located on the Kerguelen Plateau in the southern Indian Ocean and contains Big Ben, a snow-covered stratovolcano with intermittent volcanism reported since 1910. Due to its remote location, visual observations are rare; therefore, thermal anomalies and hotspots detected by satellite-based instruments are the primary source of information. This report updates activity from October 2019 to April 2020.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed three prominent periods of strong thermal anomaly activity during this reporting period: late October 2019, December 2019, and the end of April 2020 (figure 41). These thermal anomalies were relatively strong and occurred within 5 km of the summit. Similarly, the MODVOLC algorithm reported a total of six thermal hotspots during 28 October, 1 November 2019, and 26 April 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Thermal anomalies at Heard from 29 April 2019 through April 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were strong and frequent in late October, during December 2019, and at the end of April 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Six thermal satellite images ranging from late October 2019 to late March showed evidence of active lava at the summit (figure 42). These images show hot material, possibly a lava flow, extending SW from the summit; a hotspot also remained at the summit. Cloud cover was pervasive during the majority of this reporting period, especially in April 2020, though gas-and-steam emissions were visible on 25 April through the clouds.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Thermal satellite images of Heard Island’s Big Ben showing strong thermal signatures representing a lava flow in the SW direction from 28 October to 17 December 2019. These thermal anomalies are located NE from Mawson Peak. A faint thermal anomaly is also captured on 26 March 2020. Satellite images with atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, and 8A), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 37, Number 04 (April 2012)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Galeras (Colombia)

Frequent seismic swarms, elevated SO2; ash explosions begin in May 2012

Galunggung (Indonesia)

One possible 2008 ash plume, crater lake anomalies in 2011-2012

Gamkonora (Indonesia)

Instability followed by confusing news claims of minor June 2012 eruption

Iliamna (United States)

Rockfalls and fumarolic activity continue with spike in early 2012

Masaya (Nicaragua)

Continuous monitoring of emissions and new investigations from collaborators

Semeru (Indonesia)

Increased seismicity with lava flows and pyroclastic flows during February-April 2012

Soputan (Indonesia)

Alert level raised in May 2012 based on increased seismic activity



Galeras (Colombia) — April 2012 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent seismic swarms, elevated SO2; ash explosions begin in May 2012

Our last report focused on the VEI 2 eruption of August 2010 as well as results from regular monitoring through May 2011 by the Instituto Colombiano de Geología y Minería (INGEOMINAS) based in Pasto, the provincial capital located ~10 km E of Galeras. Here we discuss the continuing efforts to monitor Galeras from June 2011 through April 2012. We highlight regular measurements from telemetered tiltmeter data, SO2 flux values, and earthquake cataloging and analysis. Additional monitoring activities, including radon gas assessments and thermal measurements, were conducted by INGEOMINAS and reported in weekly and monthly reports online. We briefly mention ash explosions that began on 13 May 2012.

April 2011-April 2012 Seismicity. During this reporting period, INGEOMINAS characterized five types of earthquake events: volcano-tectonic (VT), long-period (LP), tremor (TRE), hybrid (HYB), and tornillo (TOR). This data is available in online reports on the INGEOMINAS website for various years.

Earthquakes during this time were rarely deeper than 20 km and clustered ~2 km below the summit, and at times, ranging 5-8 km (table 13). Seismicity was dominated by hybrid events, signals characterizing fracturing and fluid movement. Tremor frequently occurred from May-July 2011 and December 2011-January 2012. From January-March 2012, the duration of tremor was longer than 800 minutes/month (table 13). LP events occurred most frequently in April 2011 and February 2012; VT events primarily appeared in March and April 2012. Tornillo events had been rare in 2011 but were the cause for alarm in November 2011 when INGEOMINAS detected 18 events. The seismic pattern of "tornillo-type" earthquakes has been associated with pre-eruptive conditions - in particular, explosive activity in 1992 and 2010 was preceded by episodes of tornillos (BGVN 34:12). The Alert Level was raised in November (to Orange, on a four-color scale) but lowered again in December (to Yellow) when these signals disappeared from the records; only two events were recorded in December 2011, then again in February 2012.

Figure (see Caption) Table 13. Seismicity at Galeras from April 2011 through April 2012. Earthquake counts for five types of events: volcano-tectonic (VT), long-period (LP), tremor (TRE), hybrid (HYB), and tornillos (TOR). The Alert Level was raised to Orange in November (highlighted in red). Tornillos occurred rarely during this reporting period; "-" indicates events were not reported. Courtesy of INGEOMINAS.

June 2011. INGEOMINAS reported that seismic energy was relatively low this month compared to May 2011. Inflation and deformation events were recorded by two tilt stations (Cráter and Calabazo); other stations, however, were stable (see figure 116 for monitoring station locations). The most proximal tilt station, Cráter, recorded the largest changes in deformation, and especially the radial component (often an order of magnitude larger than the tangential component). During this reporting period, INGEOMINAS frequently included data from the two component tiltmeters and calculated the vectors for Cráter (see INGEOMINAS online reports).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 116. Map of station locations for the INGEOMINAS Pasto monitoring network (from the April 2012 online monthly report). Instrumentation includes: seismometers (SP = short period, BB = broadband), tiltmeters, acoustic flow, ScanDOAS, electromagnetic potential, and Global Positioning System (GPS) stations, as indicated in the legend. This map does not include all monitoring sites, for example fixed stations for Radon and EDM are also part of the network with results posted online. Courtesy of INGEOMINAS.

Large amounts of steam and gas rose from Galeras' crater in June; a plume was frequently observed with a height up to 400 m above the crater. The plume was primarily water vapor, and measurements of SO2 flux showed high variability. INGEOMINAS reported values from ScanDOAS and MobileDOAS ranging from 41-1,455 tons/day; a total of 22 measurements with wind direction and velocity were taken between 1-30 June. The maximum measurement of SO2 flux was made by ScanDOAS from the Santa Bárbara station located 7.0 km NNW from the summit. The minimum value was measured along a traverse with MobileDOAS between the towns La Buitrera and Sandoná (see figure 116 for locations, La Buitera is beyond the map).

July 2011. Seismic energy was 75% higher in July compared with calculations in June. A low-energy seismic swarm of LP events was recorded during 18-19 July. Seismic swarms have occurred periodically at Galeras, the last episode was recorded in early April 2011; this was also the last time tornillo earthquakes were detected (table 13). Deformation continued with fluctuations, however, fieldwork was necessary to reinstall the Cráter tiltmeter (located 0.8 km E of the main crater and at 4,060 m above sea level) when it was disrupted by electric storms on 11 July 2011; the tiltmeter was back online on 20 July.

During clear conditions, a steam plume was visible from Galeras which reached a maximum of 1.5 km above the crater. The maximum SO2 flux for July was 1,080 tons/day which was obtained on 11 July at the Santa Bárbara station with ScanDOAS. A total of 15 measurements with wind direction and velocity were taken between 6 and 23 July. The minimum measurement of SO2 flux was made on 19 July by ScanDOAS, also from the Santa Bárbara station (stations Alto Jiménez and Alto Tinajillas were also recording values).

August 2011. An hour-long seismic swarm was recorded starting at 1800 on 24 August. INGEOMINAS classified these earthquakes as primarily long-period, suggesting that hydrothermal processes were active beneath Galeras. Three of the tiltmeters (Cráter, Huairatola, and Calabozo) indicated deformation and two stations (Peladitos and Cobanegra) showed no change.

Emissions continued to be visible from the crater; a white plume was frequently observed that rose 800 m above the crater rim. SO2 levels were significantly low in August; INGEOMINAS calculated the maximum SO2 flux as 185 tons/day from the Santa Bárbara station on 3 August. A total of 26 measurements were recorded from 1 to 31 August. The lowest value, 25 tons/day, was recorded during a traverse along the northeastern route (between the towns of Genoy and Nariño) on 9 August with MobileDOAS.

September 2011. Seismicity continued at low levels and few earthquakes were large enough to locate (table 13). On 6 September a swarm of hybrid earthquakes was recorded; this was a small episode that occurred between 0600 and 0800. Tilt stations Cráter and Huairatola recorded fluctuations while Calabozo, Peladitos, and Cobanegra showed no significant changes.

The summit was visible for much of September; the plume rose typically less than 500 m above the crater. According to INGEOMINAS, SO2 levels were low in September. A total of 16 measurements were recorded by ScanDOAS from one fixed station (Santa Bárbara station), flux ranged from 51-225 tons/day.

October 2011. INGEOMINAS reported that an earthquake swarm occurred during 25-30 October. Events were characterized as hybrids, suggesting fluid movement and hydrothermal processes; hypocenters were very shallow, less than 2 km beneath the crater. Tilt stations Cráter, Huairatola, and Calabozo recorded fluctuations while Peladitos and Urcunina showed no significant changes.

In October, conditions were favorable for observing the summit area of Galeras. A column of white vapor was visible during most of the month; the plume rose to a height of 800 m above the rim. SO2 flux was relatively low; 19 values were recorded between 1-31 October. The maximum value was 340 tons/day as recorded on 1 October by the Alto Jiménez station (located 10.8 km NW of the summit). The lowest value, 32 tons/day, was recorded at the Santa Bárbara station on 10 October.

November 2011.INGEOMINAS continued registering swarms of shallow VT earthquakes. These events were primarily located at depths less than 1 km from the crater with magnitudes

Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. Seismogram, energy peaks, and spectrogram of the frequency of a tornillo event recorded on 14 November 2011 at 2328 from Galeras. Courtesy of INGEOMINAS.

Several overflights of the crater were conducted in November by INGEOMINAS along with the Colombian Air Force (figure 118). During these flights, staff observed conditions within the crater and noted a strong sulfur odor. Thermal anomalies were detected with a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera; on 2 and 26 November, investigators recorded maximum temperatures around 200°C.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 118. An aerial view of Galeras looking S toward a police station and towers on the crater rim. Photo taken during reconnaissance by INGEOMINAS on 2 November 2011.

INGEOMINAS reported significant changes in tilt from the Cráter station (figure 119). Between 7 September and 30 November, there were variations between 3,720 and 920 µrad with increasing and decreasing trends for tangential and radial components, respectively. Trends were also recorded from stations: Peladitos, Huairatola, and Cobanegra. Stations Calabozo and Urcunina showed small fluctuations and were considered stable.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. Galeras tiltmeter data (Radial and Tangential components are 'C.Rad' and 'C.Tang', respectively) from stations Cráter, Peladitos, Huairatola, and Cobanegra from April through November 2011. Courtesy of INGEOMINAS.

INGEOMINAS reported that SO2 flux in November ranged from 5 to 178 tons/day. The highest values were recorded by stations implementing ScanDOAS; the Alto Jiménez station recorded the maximum on 5 November. The lowest value was from a MobileDOAS traverse along the Sandoná route on 30 November.

December 2011. The Alert Level was lowered from Orange to Yellow on 6 December due to reduced seismicity; tornillo events were no longer recorded. The tilt station Cráter continued to register changes. INGEOMINAS determined that the NE sector of the volcano exhibited deflation from 7 September to 24 November (figure 119) and beginning on 24 November a change occurred and inflation began. The records suggested that the Huairatola station was detecting deflation of the NE sector from 6 August to 31 December. Data from Cobanegra, from 28 February to 31 December, was also consistent with showing changes in the NE. The Peladitos, Urcunina, and Cóndor stations showed small variations and were considered stable.

In collaboration with the Colombian Air Force, INGEOMINAS conducted an overflight of the crater on 6 December. Several thermal images were taken with a FLIR camera (figure 120). The highest temperature recorded was 200°C.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. On 6 December 2012 INGEOMINAS retrieved thermal images of Galeras. In the FLIR image on the right, three maximum temperatures were captured: 116.8°C, 98.7°C, and 74.4°C. Courtesy of INGEOMINAS.

Increased degassing was noted from two sites on the N edge of the crater, Paisita and Chavas (for a crater location map, see figure 87 in BGVN 23:01). SO2 flux was measured by three fixed ScanDOAS stations; a total of 12 measurements were recorded during 1-22 December. Emissions were low and ranging from 21 to 310 tons/day. INGEOMINAS recorded the maximum value from Alto Tinajillas (located 13.3 km W of the crater, figure 116) on 14 December; the minimum was from Santa Bárbara on 9 December.

January 2012. On 31 January, INGEOMINAS reported that a seismic swarm dominated by short-period VT events was recorded. Deformation detected by the Cráter station suggested three unique episodes where radial tilt was increasing, stabilized, and decreased. The tangential component exhibited an inversion of this trend: decreasing, stabilization, and increasing. INGEOMINAS calculated 657 µrad of inflation within the central crater, followed by stabilization and later, deflation measured as 264 µrad.

Steam continued to rise from Paisita and Chavas craters. A white plume was typically visible low over the crater however, on 5, 11, and 21 January, the plume height varied between 500 and 800 m. INGEOMINAS reported that SO2 flux continued at low levels, ranging from 32-259 tons/day. A total of 12 values were obtained from fixed ScanDOAS stations. The maximum value was recorded at the Santa Bárbara station on 27 January.

February 2012. Seismic swarms occurred in February consisting primarily of small, shallow events. At 2148 on 27 February the short-period seismic station Anganoy (located 0.8 km E of the crater, figure 116) recorded an event INGEOMINAS characterized as a 'pseudo-Tornillo'; this event had a dominant frequency of 4.1 Hz and a duration of 36 seconds.

Pseudo-tornillos appeared to be rare events and had occurred previously in November 2011. These have much shorter codas (tails) compared to those of the tornillo signals. The latter last up to several minutes, have small amplitudes compared to duration, and generally decay progressively so their seismic traces appear screw-like in appearance (tornillos is Spanish for screw). These features and various other subtypes and their diagnostic signal characteristics and names are discussed in Narváez and others (1997).

Deformation measured by the Cráter station recorded 774 µrad of deflation in the central crater. The Cobanegra station registered decreasing trends; the stations Peladitos, Urcunina, and Cóndor were considered stable.

A white plume from the crater was visible by webcameras and reached heights less than 800 m above the rim. SO2 flux in February remained low and ranged from 8 to 498 tons/day. A total of 27 values were recorded from fixed ScanDOAS and MobileDOAS measurements. The maximum flux was recorded on 22 February at the Alto Jiménez station.

March 2012. In March, seismic energy decreased by 89.1% compared to February, and few earthquakes were located. However, tremor continued (table 13). The Cráter tiltmeter recorded variability in early March, and from 22 to 31 March, 1,440 µrad of inflation was recorded within the central crater. The Cobanegra station recorded decreasing trends with both components while the stations Peladitos, Urcunina, Cóndor, Calabozo, and Arlés were considered stable.

A white plume was visible during most of the month except for four days. Plume height was maintained below 1.9 km. On 2 March, the National Park reported strong sulfur odors and also received alerts from the municipal committee of Sandoná that gas was noticeable.

Based on fixed and mobile detectors, INGEOMINAS reported that SO2 flux increased dramatically in March. A maximum of 3,390 tons/day was recorded by the Alto Jiménez station on 15 March. The lowest value recorded was 305 tons/day during a traverse along the Consaca-Sandoná route on 30 March. A total of 33 measurements were collected from 1 to 31 March.

April 2012. INGEOMINAS reported that seismic swarms occurred during 5-8 and 11-16 April consisting primarily of small, shallow VT events. The Cráter and Huairatola tilt stations registered variability suggesting inflation in the W sector of Galeras, an area known for high seismicity. The Cobanegra station recorded decreasing trends from both components between 85 and 430 µrad. The other stations were considered stable.

A white plume was frequently visible above the crater in April. Webcameras and observers recorded a maximum height of 2,000 m. On 16 April, the local committee for the prevention of disasters (CLOPAD) of the provincial capital, Pasto, received reports from inhabitants near the N flank of Galeras; gas emissions were visible and people could hear noises from the crater.

SO2 flux continued at elevated levels in April. INGEOMINAS recorded 33 measurements during April. A maximum of 1,477 tons/day was recorded at the Alto Jiménez station on 2 April. The highest levels of SO2 emissions were recorded within the first week of April, averaging 1,012 tons/day. The lowest value was recorded on 13 April, 10 tons/day, along the La Florida-Sandoná route with MobileDOAS.

Editor's Note: INGEOMINAS and the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported that ash emissions were detected in early May 2012 (figure 121) and continued into early June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. An ash explosion from Galeras was captured by the "Barranco" webcamera on 27 May 2012. This high-resolution camera was located on the NW rim of the crater. Timing of photo sequence: A. 09:37:53; B. 09:39:08; C. 09:40:15; D. 09:41:40. Courtesy of INGEOMINAS.

Reference. Narváez, L.M., Torres, R.A., Gómez, D.M., Cortez, G.P., Cepeda, H.V., and Stix, J., 1997. 'Tornillo'-type seismic signals at Galeras volcano, Colombia, 1992-1993, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 77: 159-171.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Colombiano de Geologia y Mineria (INGEOMINAS), Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Pasto, Pasto, Colombia (URL: https://www2.sgc.gov.co/volcanes/index.html); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/).


Galunggung (Indonesia) — April 2012 Citation iconCite this Report

Galunggung

Indonesia

7.25°S, 108.058°E; summit elev. 2168 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


One possible 2008 ash plume, crater lake anomalies in 2011-2012

This report mentions a possible ash plume from Galunggung volcano in July 2008 and various other anomalies, including discolored crater lake water during parts of 2011 and 2012. Our last report on Galunggung was in 1984 (SEAN 09:02), following a deadly eruption that began in mid-1982 and ended in early 1983.

The following background information on the volcano was provided in 13 February and 28 May 2012 reports from the Indonesian Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM). According to the latest report from CVGHM, the present-day lake in the conical crater of Galunggung volcano has a diameter of 1 km and a typical depth of 11 m. In the middle of the lake sits a small, 30 m high, 250 x 165 m scoria cone which was produced during the final stage of the 1982-83 eruption. Galunggung's hazards include phreatic and phreatomagmatic eruptions capable of draining the lake and producing mud flows.

As further background, some of the historical eruptions were explosive, centered at the volcano's crater lake. These eruptions occurred four times, in 1822, 1894, 1918, and 1982-1983. The eruption of 1982-1983 occurred over a period of 21 months, from 5 April 1982-8 January 1984 (SEAN 07:04, 07:06, 07:07, 07:08, 07:09, 07:10, 07:11, and 07:12). In late June 1982, a British Airways jumbo jet encountered an ash cloud that stalled all four of its engines and abraded its windshield and wing surfaces. The aircraft lost 7.5 km of altitude before the engines could be restarted, but it landed safely in Jakarta (SEAN 07:06).

Incorrect report of 2002 eruption; questionable one in 2008. Based on erroneous information from a pilot report, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) stated that an eruption occurred at Galunggung at 1748 hr on 23 August 2002. It produced a W-drifting low-level plume. No ash was visible on satellite imagery. Subsequently, Dali Ahmad of CVGHM had advised Dan Shackelford (amateur volcanist, now deceased) that the report of an eruption on 23 August 2002 was incorrect. It turned out that the likely cause of the incident was a bushfire near the volcano that led observers to believe that an eruption was occurring.

Based on a pilot report and inconclusive observations of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 17 July 2008 a possible ash plume from Galunggung rose to an altitude of 5.5 km and drifted SW. However, CVGHM did not report eruptive activity and advised that the volcanic activity status was "normal" at that time.

2011-2012 observations. CVGHM reported that from September 2011 to 8 February 2012 the crater lake water at Galunggung was discolored. In addition, a sudden increase in water temperature was measured, from 27° C on 5 February to 40° C on 8 February. Based on seismic data and crater lake observations, CVGHM raised the Alert Level from 1 to 2 (on a scale of 1-4) on 12 February and recommended that people stay at least 500 m away from the lake shore.

CVGHM reported that after the Alert Level was raised, seismic activity at Galunggung decreased drastically through 27 May 2012. Moreover, on 27 April, plants around the crater area looked green and lush, small fish were swimming in the water, and insects around the crater were active. Based on seismic data, crater lake water temperature and pH data, and visual observations, CVGHM lowered the Alert Level from 2 to 1 on 28 May 2012.

MODVOLC satellite thermal alerts were absent at Galunggung during 2011-2012 (and at least since 2000). CVCHM noted in its 28 May 2012 report that throughout the first half of 2012 Galunggung volcano was often covered in mist.

Geologic Background. The forested slopes Galunggung in western Java are cut by a large horseshoe-shaped caldera breached to the SE that has served to channel the products of recent eruptions in that direction. The "Ten Thousand Hills of Tasikmalaya" dotting the plain below the volcano are debris-avalanche hummocks from the collapse that formed the breached caldera about 4,200 years ago. Historical eruptions have been infrequent and restricted to the central vent near the caldera headwall, but have caused much devastation. The first historical eruption in 1822 produced pyroclastic flows and lahars that killed over 4,000 people. A strong explosive eruption during 1982-1983 caused severe economic disruption to nearby populated areas.

Information Contacts: Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) (URL: http://www.noaa.gov/VAAC/OTH/AU/messages.html).


Gamkonora (Indonesia) — April 2012 Citation iconCite this Report

Gamkonora

Indonesia

1.38°N, 127.53°E; summit elev. 1635 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Instability followed by confusing news claims of minor June 2012 eruption

Previous Bulletin reports on Gamkonora highlighted an eruption in 1981, minor explosions in April 1987 (SEAN 06:07), and a phreatic eruption in early July 2007 (BGVN 32:10). Reports by the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) noted tiny diffuse white plumes in 2009 and again in 2011 when the observatory recorded an average of 2 volcanic earthquakes per day. During mid-2011 through mid-2012, in addition to intervals with several shallow volcanic earthquakes per day, instruments also recorded increasing tremor and hundreds of signals of inferred emissions described as hot-air blasts. The hazard status rose accordingly and remained elevated as this report goes to press on 29 June 2012 at Alert Level 3 (on a scale of 1-4).

As this report goes to press a potentially inaccurate news report indicated an eruption starting 13 June 2012 (see subsection below). That behavior remained unconfirmed by CVGHM or the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) as discussed further in a subsection below.

Figures 2-4 provide broad regional context on Gamkonora near the northern margin of Indonesia. A previous map (figure 1 in BGVN 32:10) shows Gamkonora and other Holocene volcanoes on a map of Halmahera and adjacent islands.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Indonesian volcanoes with eruptions since 1900 A.D. as compiled from Simkin and Siebert (1994) by Lyn Topinka (USGS-Cascades Volcano Observatory). Halmahera island and Gamkonora volcano appear in the upper (N) part of the map (see figures 3 and 4). Courtesy of the USGS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Gamkonora and the situation there associated with unrest in July 2007 (BGVN 32:10). Note the globe showing Indonesia at upper right. On the main map, most of the unshaded and unlabeled islands situated NW of Gamkonora belong to the Philippines. Courtesy of Relief Web.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. A UNOSAT product made 12 July 2007 addressing Gamkonora's crisis around that time. The scale and details highlight the local setting; the box at upper left mentions 2004 population estimates and notes that there were 35,000 residents within 20 km of the volcano. Courtesy of UNOSAT.

CVGHM reports were scarce during 1982-2011. One report noted that seismic activity increased somewhat on 24 March 2008. The increase included an episode of continuous tremor.

On 23 March 2009, CVGHM lowered the Alert Level from 2 to 1 based on visual observations and decreased seismicity since January. Diffuse white plumes rose 50-150 m above the crater. Residents and visitors were reminded not to approach or climb into the crater.

CVGHM reported that during January-April 2011, diffuse white plumes rose 25-100 m above Gamkonora's crater rim. Seismicity increased during 29 April-3 May 2011.

On 1 May, white plumes rose 150 m above the crater rim. The next day, white plumes were observed rising 300 m above the crater rim and observers saw incandescence from the crater. Residents near the volcano's base noted a sulfur smell. On 3 May 2011 the Alert level was raised to 2.

Various types of earthquakes were noted during January to April 2011. They included shallow volcanic earthquakes (2 per day average), deep volcanic earthquakes (once per day average), local tectonic earthquakes (1-7 per day average), and far tectonic earthquakes (4 per day average).

A 13 June 2012 CVGHM report noted that during May and June 2012 the emissions were sparsely to medium white in color and rising 75 to 200 m above the crater rim. Absent were sulfurous smells, open flames, eruptive noises, and other similar anomalous symptoms.

The same CVGHM report noted that seismic signals since 3 May 2010 included emission signals (hot-air blasts, averaging 10-12 daily), harmonic tremor (averaging 10-15 events daily), shallow volcanic earthquakes (averaging 2 daily, but for the one specific case given, during the interval 31 May to 11 June 2012, only 1 occurred), and distant tectonic earthquakes (averaging 4 daily). Table 1 presents a breakdown of the interpreted seismic signals during 1 May to 12 June 2012.

Table 1. Seismic data released on 13 June 2012 for Gamkonora. The entries represent total events during specified intervals during May and early June 2012 ("--" signifies absence of data). Courtesy of CVGHM.

Dates Tremor Events (amplitude range) Emission signals Deep volcanic Distant tectonic Local tectonic
01 May-10 May 2012 125 (2-14 mm) 22 18 49 --
11 May-20 May 2012 186 (1.5-10 mm) 81 4 54 --
21 May-30 May 2012 233 (2-13 mm) 209 2 48 95
31 May-11 Jun 2012 246 (2-7 mm) 183 8 49 --
12 Jun 2012 38 (2-5 mm) 2 -- 1 2

The authors of the 13 June report made no further comment about the air-blast signals that had become common at the volcano (table 1). They did note that since the beginning of May 2012, tremor had increased. They interpreted this and the overall seismicity as due to magma intruding upward and approaching shallow depths within the volcano. The authors noted that intrusions could lead to increased pressure within the volcano, although they viewed this pressure as yet relatively small.

As previously noted, starting on 3 May 2011, the volcano's hazard status rose to Alert Level 2. On 3 May 2012 it rose to Level 3, where it remained at least as late as 29 June 2012. The Level 3 status excluded residents, visitors, and tourists from approaching closer than 3 km from the summit. The report also prompted local governments to coordinate with the volcano's monitoring post, which is located in the village of Gamsungi (or with CVGHM's main office in Bandung).

News claims of eruption on 13 June 2012. The English language version of Antara News released a report (edited by Ella Syafputri) at 1913 on 13 June stating that Gamakonora had erupted that afternoon. The eruption, if it did occur, escaped clear mention in available CVGHM reports. The news report said that the eruption sent a plume of undisclosed type or color 3 km "into the sky" (a term that could imply a plume to 3 km altitude or could mean a plume 3 km over the ~1.6 km summit, in effect to ~4.6 km altitude). The news report said the event had the effect of "forcing hundreds of residents living on the volcano's slope to evacuate to safer areas."

Despite the headline "Mount Gamkonora erupts" and directly under that, the sentence "The volcanic ash spread to as far as Tobelo, the capital of North Halmahera district", the two quotes referred to events at two separate volcanoes. In the 5th paragraph of the article the topic shifted to Dukono, another volcano in the region, which turned out to have been the source of the ash (not Gamkonora).

The news report spawned no fewer than 10-20 English-language reports on as many websites. Some of these derivative reports continued to mistakenly attribute Dukono ashfall to Gamkonora, and in some cases they added further errors.

Reference. Simkin, T. and Siebert, L., 1994, Volcanoes of the World: a Regional Directory, Gazetteer, and Chronology of Volcanism During the Last 10,000 Years. (2nd ed.) Geoscience Press, Tucson, 368 pp.

Geologic Background. The shifting of eruption centers on Gamkonora, the highest peak of Halmahera, has produced an elongated series of summit craters along a N-S trending rift. Youthful-looking lava flows originate near the cones of Gunung Alon and Popolojo, south of Gamkonora. Since its first recorded eruption in the 16th century, typical activity has been small-to-moderate explosive eruptions. Its largest historical eruption, in 1673, was accompanied by tsunamis that inundated villages.

Information Contacts: Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Lyn Topinka, United States Geological Survey, 1300 SE Cardinal Court, Bldg. 10, Suite 100, Vancouver, WA, 98683; UNOSAT (URL: https://unitar.org/unosat/); 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/); Antara News (URL: http://www.antaranews.com/en/news/).


Iliamna (United States) — April 2012 Citation iconCite this Report

Iliamna

United States

60.032°N, 153.09°W; summit elev. 3053 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Rockfalls and fumarolic activity continue with spike in early 2012

Iliamna was last discussed in September 1997 (BGVN 22:09). This report is largely based on seismic data extracted from Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) yearly reports for 1997 to 2011, with the exception of an increase of seismicity during early 2012 that was reported by various sources. From the start of 2012, both rockfalls and seismicity progressively increased; this prompted AVO to increase the Alert Level to Advisory in March 2012. A map showing the location of Iliamna in relation to nearby volcanoes and communities is depicted in figure 1. Figures 2 and 3 are topographic maps showing Iliamna's known debris avalanches and rockfall deposits.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Map of Iliamna and nearby volcanoes and communities. Iliamna is in SW Alaska near the mouth of the Cook Inlet, and W of the Kenai Peninsula. Courtesy of AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Iliamna topographic mapping of known debris-avalanche and rockfall deposits. As indicated in the explanation (bottom), red triangles indicate debris avalanches associated with Iliamna, pale orange triangles indicate debris avalanches associated with Iliamna that have been reworked by glaciers, green triangles indicate debris avalanches not associated with Iliamna, green and red dashed lines indicate the maximum likely extent of debris avalanches with relatively long and short runouts, respectively, potential pathways of debris avalanches are indicated by red arrows, and orange shaded areas indicate the generalized extent of rockfall debris on glacier surfaces. Courtesy of Waythomas (1999).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. View of the SE flank of Iliamna Volcano showing debris-avalanche deposits from 1997 (solid red line), the fumarole zone near the summit (yellow dashed line), and the older avalanche scar at the head of Red Glacier (red dashed line). Photo undated; courtesy of Waythomas (1999).

Most of the upper edifice exposes highly altered, unstable rock and shows scars from mass wasting. The E scar has been the source of frequent non-volcanic gravitational collapses producing mixed avalanches of ice, snow, rock, and mud that typically extend several kilometers downslope. Some are large enough to be visible from the Kenai Peninsula (Neal and others, 1995; McGimsey and Wallace, 1999).

Reports on Iliamna's seismicity since early 1997 are sparse. According to AVO, a pilot reported a fresh deposit of mud and rock on the upper NE flank on 6 July 1999. However, spring and summer avalanches are common on the glacier-dominated summit.

On 25 July 2003, an avalanche of snow, ice, and rock occurred. The event lasted four minutes and was recorded by seismometers located 75 km away on Augustine volcano. The avalanche presumably originated from the same vicinity as in previous years, a steep portion of the SE flank adjacent to an extensive permanent fumarolic zone above a debris-avalanche deposit (figure 3; Neal and others, 1995; McGimsey and Wallace, 1999; McGimsey and others, 2004).

On 15 May 2005, AVO seismologists noted a swarm of unusual seismic activity at Iliamna. The events were emergent and prolonged (the longest lasted 5-8 minutes) and were strongest at seismic station ILS, located on the S flank of South Twin (figure 4). The activity began at about 1250 UTC and tapered off at 1718 UTC. Analysis revealed that the signals most likely were caused by a surficial process, such as a snow avalanche (a common occurrence on Iliamna), but this particular event lacked the usual precursory seismicity preceding other Iliamna snow and ice avalanches ( Caplan-Auerbach and others, 2004; J. Caplan-Auerbach, written commun., 2005; Caplan-Auerbach and Huggel, 2007).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Iliamna volcano topographic map showing the location of the 15 May 2005 rockslide as a thick black line on the S flank of South Twin and the seismic station ILS as a red dot. Lake Clark National Park boundary shown as a thin black line. Base map provided by C. Waythomas, AVO/USGS; courtesy of McGimsey (2008).

During an overflight on 16 May 2005, Lee Fink of Lake Clark National Park observed a large, fresh rock slide (not a snow or ice avalanche) SE of Iliamna that began at ~1,980 m elevation on the SE flank of South Twin, and ran down to ~365 m elevation (figure 5a). Along the lengthy ridge extending S of Iliamna (including both South Twin, North Twin, and a large unnamed massif) are steep, exposed sections of bedrock. The 15 May rockfall occurred below the ridge (figure 5b).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. (a) Rock avalanche on SE flank of S Twin (topographic high at upper center) beginning at ~2 km elevation and running down to ~0.37 km elevation. Photo by Page Spencer, Lake Clark National Park, 16 May 2005. (b) Iliamna from the E captured on 12 July 2006. The arrows mark the location of the 15 May 2005 rock avalanche. Photo by Christinia Neal, AVO/USGS. Courtesy of McGimsey (2008).

During Iliamna's mid-May 2005 rock slide, earthquakes at Augustine volcano, ~100 km SSW of Iliamna in the Cook Inlet, increased from 2 per day in April to 70 per day by the end of the year (McGimsey, 2008). However, no evidence exists that this increase disturbed Iliamna. Other factors such as temperature changes, ice and snow mass (and other conditions) would have contributed to the weakening of the summit material at Iliamna.

According to AVO, earthquake numbers increased significantly between 2008-2009, but returned to near-normal levels in 2010 (table 1).

Table 1. Numbers and types of earthquakes at Iliamna between 2008 and 2010. Key: VT, volcanic tremor; LF, low frequency; Mc, magnitude of completion (lowest magnitude detectable); and '--', not reported. Courtesy of AVO.

Year Total Earthquakes Volcanic Tremor Low-frequency Other Magnitude of completion (lowest magnitude detectable)
2008 102 -- -- -- --
2009 173 159 13 1 0.3
2010 76 61 15 0 0.2

Early 2012 elevated seismicity. AVO reported that during December 2011-February 2012, earthquake activity steadily increased. During the first week of March 2012, numerous earthquakes occurred that varied in number and magnitude. According to a press account (Alaskan Dispatch), on 8 March, a moderate M 4.1 earthquake struck the region. On 9 March, AVO increased the Alert Level to Advisory and the Aviation Color Code to Yellow. AVO reported that the increased activity was a significant change, but also noted that a similarly energetic episode of seismic unrest from September 1996 to February 1997 did not lead to an eruption.

Between 9 March through at least 3 April 2012, seismicity remained above background levels. Satellite images acquired during 9-16 March showed a plume drifting 56 km downwind that was likely water vapor. An AVO report noted that long-lived fumaroles at the summit of Iliamna frequently produced visible plumes, but the current plume appeared to be more robust than usual. Scientists aboard an overflight on 17 March observed vigorous and plentiful fumaroles at the summit, consistent with elevated gas emissions. Gas measurements indicated that the volcano was emitting elevated levels of SO2 and CO2, consistent with a magmatic source. During the overflight, scientists did not observe obvious signs of recent rockfalls, such as large areas of newly exposed bedrock or unusual disturbance of the glacial ice. Some deformation of the ice at the headwall of the Red Glacier on the E side of the summit was observed, but it is not clear that this was related to the current volcanic unrest; glacier avalanching is common on this very steep area and was last seen in 2008. During 25-27 March, activity declined somewhat to just above background levels. When not obscured by clouds, satellite and web camera views showed nothing unusual.

References. Caplan-Auerbach, J., Prejean, S.G., and Power, J.A., 2004, Seismic recordings of ice and debris avalanches of Iliamna Volcano (Alaska): Acta Vulcanologica, v. 16, n. 1-2, p. 9-20.

Caplan-Auerbach, J., and Huggel, C., 2007, Precursory seismicity associated with frequent, large ice avalanches on Iliamna volcano, Alaska, USA: Journal of Glaciology, v. 53, n. 180, p. 128-140.

Detterman, R.L., and Hartsock, J.K., 1966, Geology of the Iniskin-Tuxedni region, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 512, 78 p.

Dixon, J.P., and Stihler, S.D., 2009, Catalog of earthquake hypocenters at Alaskan volcanoes: January 1 through December 31, 2008: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 467, 88 p. Available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/467/

Dixon, J.P., Stihler, S.D., Power, J.A., and Searcy, C.K., 2010, Catalog of earthquake hypocenters at Alaskan volcanoes: January 1 through December 31, 2009: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 531, 84 p. Available online at http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/531/

McGimsey, R.G., and Wallace, K.L., 1999, 1997 volcanic activity in Alaska and Kamchatka: Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report OF 99-0448, 42 p.

McGimsey, R.G., Neal, C.A., and Girina, O., 2004, 1999 Volcanic activity in Alaska and Kamchatka: Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report OF 2004-1033, 49 p.

McGimsey, R.G., Neal, C.A., Dixon, J.P., and Ushakov, S., 2008, 2005 Volcanic activity in Alaska, Kamchatka, and the Kurile Islands: Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5269, 94 p.

Neal, C.A., Doukas, M.P., and McGimsey, R.G., 1995, 1994 volcanic activity in Alaska-Summary of events and response of Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report OF 95-271, 18 p. [Iliamna, p. 4-5].

Waythomas, C.F. and Miller, T.P., 1999, Preliminary Volcano-Hazard Assessment for Iliamna Volcano, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report OF 99-373.

Geologic Background. Iliamna is a prominentglacier-covered stratovolcano in Lake Clark National Park on the western side of Cook Inlet, about 225 km SW of Anchorage. Its flat-topped summit is flanked on the south, along a 5-km-long ridge, by the prominent North and South Twin Peaks, satellitic lava dome complexes. The Johnson Glacier dome complex lies on the NE flank. Steep headwalls on the S and E flanks expose an inaccessible cross-section of the volcano. Major glaciers radiate from the summit, and valleys below the summit contain debris-avalanche and lahar deposits. Only a few major Holocene explosive eruptions have occurred from the deeply dissected volcano, which lacks a distinct crater. Most of the reports of historical eruptions may represent plumes from vigorous fumaroles E and SE of the summit, which are often mistaken for eruption columns (Miller et al., 1998). Eruptions producing pyroclastic flows have been dated at as recent as about 300 and 140 years ago, and elevated seismicity accompanying dike emplacement beneath the volcano was recorded in 1996.

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667 USA (URL: http://www.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://www.dggs.alaska.gov/); Alaskan Dispatch (URL: http://www.alaskadispatch.com/).


Masaya (Nicaragua) — April 2012 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuous monitoring of emissions and new investigations from collaborators

In our last report on Masaya volcano, we reviewed field investigations and gas measurements from 2008-2011 including the attempt to launch a small Zeppelin as an experiment to measure gas emissions in March 2011 (BGVN 36:11). Here we present results from monitoring efforts focused on the elevated activity that has continued from Masaya's Santiago crater, one of the nested summit craters in Nindirí cone (figure 30). New gas measurements and field observations have become available from the Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) from November 2011 through March 2012. Reports were also available for Masaya's Comalito cinder cone, a site of continuous gas emissions and elevated temperatures. In February 2012, INETER met with collaborators from both Simon Fraser University (Canada) and The Open University (UK). We highlight some of the results from these collaborators including mapping and modeling of Masaya's hydrothermal complex, results from long-term SO2 flux monitoring, and a conceptual model that links magma chamber dynamics with intermittent explosive activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. In this false-color image, Masaya caldera is well-defined. Landsat bands 4,3,2 emphasize vegetation (red) and soil (brown to yellow) and the panchromatic analysis improved the distinction between dark rock (lava) and water (Masaya lake, at the E edge of the caldera) (NASA Landsat Program, 2007). Annotation is based on sketch maps by Mooser and others (1958) and Girard and van Wyk de Vries (2005); image processed by GVP.

The false-color image of Masaya (figure 30) and the surrounding area is a standard composite image (bands 4,3,2) captured by Landsat on 25 March 2001, during Nicaragua's dry season (November through April). Here, vegetation appears in shades of red (darker in areas with denser vegetation), urban areas are cyan blue, and soils vary from dark to light browns. Located just 500 m E of Santiago crater, Masaya crater is distinguished by older deposits, last active around 150 AD, and contains a ring of vegetation (which appears as a pale pink circle). Masaya's recent lava flows have been contained within the larger caldera except for those dating from 1670 when lava ponded along the northern caldera rim and spilled over to cover more than 1 km2 outside the caldera.

In November 2011, INETER recorded little activity from Masaya. No field visits were made and no earthquakes were large enough to locate hypocenters. Seismicity that month was low, at 50 RSAM units.

On 12 December 2011, INETER conducted site visits to Masaya's active crater (Santiago) and Comalito cinder cone. With an infrared thermometer, temperatures were measured from vents within Santiago crater; the highest temperatures measured were 42 and 45°C. The field investigators learned from National Park personnel that, recently during a 2-hour period, booming noises were heard from Santiago crater. INETER suggested that the noise resulted from strong gas release from deep within the crater - no visible material was ejected during the episodes. Areas of gas release could be visually identified within the crater; these were also locations where debris had been shed from the S and SW walls. Rockfalls from these locations were likely affecting gas emissions.

Additional visits to Comalito cone (figure 30), a satellite cone located less than 2 km NE of Santiago crater, allowed in situ measurements of fumarole temperatures. Four sites were measured; the highest temperature was 79°C, the lowest was 75°C (fumaroles 4 and 1 respectively). These temperatures were considered typical compared to others during 2011 (as compiled by INETER; figure 31). The lowest temperatures of the year 2011 were recorded in May and July with some values as low as 60-65°C.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Temperature measurements made by INETER during 2011 at Masaya's Comalito cone. Four fumaroles were measured consistently throughout the year. Courtesy of INETER.

To quantify SO2 gas emissions, INETER used a mobile Mini DOAS throughout the year transported on two different routes. The road between Ticuantepe and San Juan de la Concepción was the closest route available when the plume trended SW. An additional route, at a greater distance (figure 25 from BGVN 36:11) was available between Las Quatro Esquinas and El Crucero. On 13 December, cloud cover limited the number of successful traverses; however, an average SO2 flux of 648 metric tons per day (t/d) was calculated from three of the six traverses. This was a significant increase compared to values obtained in October 2011 when 13 successful traverses that month yielded an average of 153 t/d. These values (and others in this report) have not been corrected for meteorological conditions and error calculations were not available during this reporting period.

On 23 January 2012 INETER conducted traverses below Masaya's plume with a Mini DOAS. Measurements along both routes, proximal (Ticuantepe and San Juan de la Concepción) and distal (Las Quatro Esquinas and El Crucero) were attempted. From 10 calculations, SO2 flux from the proximal route yielded 801 t/d. From the distal route, the average flux rate was 543 t/d.

INETER conducted fieldwork during 30-31 January 2012, visiting Santiago crater and Comalito cone. Temperatures from fumarole sites on Comalito had maximum temperatures of 70°C (fumarole 4) and 78°C (fumarole 2) on 30 January. The maximum temperature measured from Santiago crater had increased to 95°C.

On 1 February 2012, INETER visited Comalito cone and reported fumarole temperatures. The highest temperature was 97°C (fumarole 1); on 23 February the highest temperature was 86°C (fumarole 2). Fieldwork also included visits to Santiago crater; temperatures within the crater were relatively low, 75 and 70°C (from 1 February and 23 February, respectively). SO2 flux from Mini DOAS from the closest route (Ticuantepe and San Juan de la Concepción) yielded an average of 943 t/d based on 12 traverses, continuing the trend of increased SO2 emissions since December 2011.

In March 2012, National Park personnel reported that acoustic noise from the crater was less frequent compared to the previous month. Also, visible gas emissions appeared concentrated at the SW and innermost portions of Santiago crater. On 12 March 2012, INETER visited Masaya and measured temperatures from Santiago crater. A wide range of values was recorded: 100°C to 43°C. Relatively stable temperatures were measured from Comalito cone: 73°C to 76°C. The highest temperatures were measured at fumaroles 3 and 4.

On 20 March INETER conducted Mini DOAS traverses beneath Masaya's SW-trending gas plume. On the proximal route, 12 traverses were successful and determined an average SO2 flux of 1002 t/d suggesting the increasing trend that began in early December 2011 was continuing. Without error calculations and assessing meteorological conditions, however, this trend could not be directly interpreted.

Geohydrology. Long-term interest in diffuse CO2 gas emissions spurred recent investigations into Masaya's hydrothermal system. Mauri and others (2012) found active hydrothermal anomalies under many of the cinder cones and investigated these conditions with field measurements of soil CO2 concentration, self-potential (SP), soil temperatures, and flow-path modeling (figure 32). Self potential methods make observations "of the static natural voltage existing between sets of points on the ground (Sheriff, 1982)". From Comalito cone, Nindirí cone, and the lower slopes of Masaya, CO2 gas concentrations ranged from 26 to 43 ppm (mean values). During a 5-year investigation, the authors collected SP geophysical data over extensive transects within the caldera. The datasets yielded significant correlations between high CO2 soil concentrations and SP anomalies. Water depths were determined by processing the SP data with mathematical techniques (wavelets from the Poisson kernel family). They concluded that interconnected structures (ring faults, fissures, and dikes) serve as flow paths for gas, fluids, and heat. These structures also have the potential to block groundwater flow, a conclusion suggested by their models of groundwater contributions to Masaya Lake (Laguna de Masaya) (figure 32).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Groundwater flow model for Masaya volcano taken from Mauri and others (2012). (a) A map indicating key geographic and geologic features including groundwater flow. (b,c) Two vertical profiles with a legend at the bottom. The groundwater was mapped using two geo-electrical prospecting techniques. The self-potential (SP) technique yielded data processed with multi-scale wavelet tomography (MWT). The second technique was the transient electromagnetic method (TEM) (see key and text).

In Figure 32a, we see the spatial localization of uprising fluids associated with hydrothermal activity (green diamonds) and gravitational water flow (blue squares) within Masaya caldera for which depths have been determined. The names of volcanic cones are in blue; crater names and ground structures are in dark red; dark green dashed lines are the fissure vent structures; solid red lines represent the inferred structures (faults, fissures) based on previous work by Crenshaw and others (1982) and Harris (2009). The red dashed lines are the hypothetical structures (faults, fissures) (Crenshaw and others, 1982). The black dashed line is the inferred limit of the caldera.

The three segments traced in Figure 32a correspond to cross-sections along A-D-B (figure 32b) and C-D-B (figure 32c). Cross-section A-D-B represents the water flow direction across the caldera while the cross-section along profile C-D-B represents the water flow direction through the active Santiago crater and across the caldera. The dashed red lines represent underground structures in cases where the dip orientation is unknown and are based on the work of Williams (1983) and Crenshaw and others (1982). Blue lines with a single dot above the center represent water flow having a flow direction different than the cross-section view. Solid arrows represent the flow direction inferred from the self potential/elevation gradient. Elevations of the shallow flow direction (blue and solid green arrows) were estimated from multi-scale wavelet tomography (MWT). MWT is a signal processing method based on waves that allow for location of dipole and monopole sources which correspond to the electrical anomalies generated by water flow through bedrock. The dashed grey line and dashed blue arrows are deep hypothetical flows from the transient electromagnetic method (TEM) results (MacNeil and others, 2007). TEM results were considered in this study because they offered a different level of sensitivity to SP method and, at the time of the study, direct well data was not available to correlate results, making it difficult to determine which model (MWT or TEM) best represented the true water depth.

Long-term SO2 fluxes and windspeed-induced errors. Nadeau and Williams-Jones (2009) consolidated data spanning three decades (figure 33) and assessed current methods for constraining uncertainties in SO2 data collected on traverses with UV correlation spectrometers (COSPEC/DOAS/FLYSPEC). The authors agreed with previous investigators that the following factors contribute to uncertainties: variable local windspeed, emission rate, dry deposition of sulfur from the plume, and conversion of SO2 to sulfate aerosols within the plume. Of these factors, the authors stressed that for low-lying volcanoes such as Masaya, the local wind patterns cause the largest errors. "One must be wary of using one blanket plume speed value for all data collected at different locations, as it can result in misleading variations within the SO2 flux dataset (Nadeau and Williams-Jones, 2009)." At Masaya, this led to as much a 50% apparent decrease in measured SO2 flux between the proximal and distal routes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Mean SO2 fluxes grouped by month from numerous field campaigns at Masaya. Error bars represent 1 standard deviation of 1 month of measurements. Note the break in the x-axis. Data from Nadeau and Williams-Jones (2009), which expanded on previous work by numerous investigators listed in that publication.

Modeling Masaya's magma system. Glyn Williams-Jones from Simon Fraser University visited Masaya with student researchers on 21 February 2012. At the National Park facilities, this group presented recent research and results from the 8-year-long collaborative effort between Simon Fraser University, The Open University, and INETER. Williams-Jones reviewed the primary monitoring techniques applied to Masaya and preliminary results regarding the environmental impact of the persistent degassing. In particular, gravity measurements, GPS, and DOAS/FLYSPEC have been used to characterize activity. SO2 flux and air quality measurements have been part of an additional effort to characterize environmental impacts related to resident's health. The varying trend in the SO2 flux observed since 1976 has been interpreted as being related to varying rates of magma convection in the volcanic plumbing system, as opposed to models invoking intermittent magma supply (Williams-Jones and others, 2003; Stix, 2007).

The model invoking convection within the system links Masaya's periodic explosive activity with intense, long-term degassing (Williams-Jones and others, 2003; Stix, 2007). The accumulation of a gas-rich magma within a shallow reservoir could develop a buoyant, pressurized foam. This setting would be susceptible to disruptions (by convection cells or structural adjustments, for example) and could be destabilized, leading to explosive activity.

References. Crenshaw, W.B., Williams, S.N., and Stoiber, R.E., 1982, Fault location by radon and mercury detection at an active volcano in Nicaragua, Nature, 300: 345?346.

Harris, A.J.L., 2009, The pit-craters and pit-crater-filling lavas of Masaya volcano, Bulletin of Volcanology, 71(5): 541?558.

MacNeil, R.E., Sanford, W.E., Connor, C.B., Sandberg, S.K., and Diez, M., 2007, Investigation of the groundwater system at Masaya Caldera, Nicaragua, using transient electromagnetics and numerical simulation, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 166(3?4): 216?232.

Mauri, G., Williams-Jones, G., Saracco, G., and Zurek, J.M., 2012, A geochemical and geophysical investigation of the hydrothermal complex of Masaya volcano, Nicaragua, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 227?228: 15?31.

Nadeau, P.A. and Williams-Jones, G., 2009, Apparent downwind depletion of volcanic SO2 flux-lessons from Masaya Volcano, Nicaragua, Bulletin of Volcanology, 71: 389?400.

NASA Landsat Program, 2007, Landsat ETM+ scene 7dx20010325, Orthorectified, USGS, Sioux Falls, Mar. 25, 2001.

Sheriff, R.E., 1982, Encyclopedic Dictionary of Exploration Geophysics, Eighth Edition, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Tulsa, OK, 266 pp.

Stix, J., 2007, Stability and instability of quiescently active volcanoes: the case of Masaya, Nicaragua. Geology, 35(6):535?538.

Williams, S.N., 1983, Geology and eruptive mechanisms of Masaya Caldera complex, Nicaragua [PhD Thesis]: Hanover, New Hampshire, Dartmouth College, 169 p.

Williams-Jones, G., Rymer, H., and Rothery, D.A., 2003, Gravity changes and passive SO2 degassing at the Masaya caldera complex, Nicaragua, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 123: 137?160.

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/); Glyn Williams-Jones, Department of Earth Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada (URL: http://www.sfu.ca/earth-sciences.html); Hazel Rymer, Department of Environment, Earth and Ecosystems, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK (URL: http://www8.open.ac.uk/science/environment-earth-ecosystems/).


Semeru (Indonesia) — April 2012 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

8.108°S, 112.922°E; summit elev. 3657 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Increased seismicity with lava flows and pyroclastic flows during February-April 2012

Semeru is one of the most active volcanoes worldwide and is of special concern because the drainage area is heavily populated. The volcano has a steep canyon that extends from the summit to the SE, which has funneled pyroclastic flows and lahars into populated areas. The decades-long seismicity from Semeru has typically included mildly explosive Strombolian style eruptions, earthquakes and tremor, ash plumes, and occasional pyroclastic flows (BGVN 32:03, 34:05, and 35:08). See the location of Semeru with respect to the regional setting in figure 17.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Index map of Semeru (red triangle) with respect to other Holocene regional volcanoes (black triangles). Courtesy of CVGHM and VDAP.

According to reporting by the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) and the USGS Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP), six large explosions between 1981 and 2002 resulted in many fatalities. They noted that since 1995, pyroclastic flows have been restricted to S drainages such as Kali Kembar; however, a small proportion of recent flows have entered the headwaters of Kali Koboan on the SE, which leads to heavily populated areas, including Sumberrejo and Candipuro (figure 18). This report discusses activity between February 2010 (the end of the previous report) and 2 May 2012.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. 2010 map of Semeru and adjacent area, showing drainage channels from the summit and nearby population centers. Note the location of the 2012 lava flows just S and SE of the volcano. The area around the SE quadrant is heavily populated with a Volcano Population Index (VPI10) of 7,000. In previous eruptions, lahars reached as far as 30 km from the summit. Should similar lahars occur in the future, as many as 150,000 more inhabitants along major drainages could be affected. Based in part on a summary of activity by CVGHM and VDAP. Modified from Siswowidjoyo and others (1997) and Thouret and others (2007); VPI10 was calulated using LandScan 2010.

On 4 November 2010, CVGHM reported that from August to October 2010 seismic activity at Semeru had increased, and "smoke" and occasional gas plumes rose 400-500 m above the crater. During September incandescent avalanches traveled 400 m SE into the Besuk Kembar drainage on three occasions. Incandescence from the crater was observed in October. Incandescent avalanches traveled 600 m into Besuk Kembar on 2 November. Two days later, they reached 4 km into the Besuk Kembar and Besuk Bang (S) drainages (figure 18). CVGHM noted that the lava dome in the Jonggring Saloko crater was growing. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

According to the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), during 18-19 November 2010, ash plumes rose to an altitude of 4.6 km and drifted 75-110 km N and NW. Sulfur dioxide gas was detected 75 km SW.

According to Volcano Discovery, the group observed 2-3 small-to-medium ash explosions per day during a photo expedition in May 2011, but noted that activity had increased during the past weeks.

In an account posted online by Volcano Discovery on 15 September 2011, the group visited the volcano and noted that an active lava dome was growing inside the crater and that 3-4 eruptions occurred daily. They inferred that the size and frequency of the eruptions had apparently increased in the past days (figure 19).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Photo of Semeru's crater on 1 September 2011, with a lava dome. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

CVGHM reported that on 29 December 2011, both earthquakes and tremor increased, and dense white-and-gray plumes rose as high as 600 m above the active crater. During January 2012, crater incandescence was observed, and avalanches carried incandescent material 200-400 m away from the crater. According to a 4 January 2012 article in the Jakara Globe, a government official indicated that authorities had closed the trail to the peak of Semeru because of heavy rain and an increased danger of landslides.

On 2 February 2012 a large explosion was reported and incandescent material fell up to 2.5 km from the crater. Tables 20 and 21 indicate the types and numbers of earthquakes and other seismic events reported by CVGHM for February to April 2012. Based on the increased seismic activity and visual observations, CVGHM raised the Alert Level from 2 to 3 on 2 February 2012.

Table 20. Types and numbers of earthquakes and plumes observed at Semeru during February-April 2012. Courtesy of CVGHM.

Month Deep Shallow Long-distance Local Eruptive Explosive Harmonic Tremor Pyroclastic Flow
Feb 2012 4 1 61 -- 80 2336 116 430
Mar 2012 17 5 60 23 -- 1665 610 40
Apr 2012 7 2 44 -- -- 3447 66 4

Table 21. Observed Semeru plumes during February-April 2012. Data from CVGHM. The only other plume noted by the Darwin VAAC between February 2010 and May 2012 was on 18-19 November 2010; this plume was noted in the text. Courtesy of CVGHM.

Month Number of observed plumes Plume height above crater
Feb 2012 22 100-500 m
Mar 2012 9 100-400 m
Apr 2012 155 100-500 m

CVGHM reported that during 1-29 February 2012 multiple pyroclastic flows from Semeru traveled 500 and 2,500 m into the Besuk Kembar and Besuk Kobokan rivers (on the S flank), respectively. Government officials set up an exclusion zone on the SE flank where pyroclastic flows had occurred.

During 1 February-30 April 2012, dense gray-to-white plumes rose 100-500 m above Jongring Seloko crater and drifted W and N. Incandescence was visible up to 50 m above the crater during 1 February-31 March. Seismicity decreased toward the end of April, although the lava dome grew that month.

According to a news account (People's Daily Online) on 1 March 2012, seismic activity had increased from 28 to 38 tremors per day. According to the news account, Dr. Surono, head of CVGHM, stated that the volcano was erupting daily, emitting ash plumes, and tremor occurred every 15-30 minutes. He also noted that the volcanic dome was increasing in size.

According to Volcano Discovery, an expedition leader visiting Semeru observed frequent explosions every few minutes on 27 March 2012, with many powerful enough to eject glowing bombs that produced small glowing avalanches down the S flank.

According to CVGHM and VDAP, a new lava dome started to extrude in late 2011 directly over a dome formed in 2010. The new dome probably will not completely fill the summit crater because it is being drained by two new lava flows, both flowing SE. The longer of the two lava flows extended about 1.9 km from the summit vent. Pyroclastic flows are being generated by collapse of the steep termini of the lava flows, and their deposits extend to 3.2 km from the summit, i.e. 0.7 km from the front shown in figure 18. In addition, the collapsing lava flow fronts are resulting in high levels of avalanche and rockfall activity. According to CVGHM and VDAP, the closest villages in the highest-risk areas on the S and SE flanks are about 10 km from the summit.

On 2 May 2012 CVGHM lowered the Alert Level to 2, but reminded the public not to approach the crater within a 4-km radius.

Geologic Background. Semeru, the highest volcano on Java, and one of its most active, lies at the southern end of a volcanic massif extending north to the Tengger caldera. The steep-sided volcano, also referred to as Mahameru (Great Mountain), rises above coastal plains to the south. Gunung Semeru was constructed south of the overlapping Ajek-ajek and Jambangan calderas. A line of lake-filled maars was constructed along a N-S trend cutting through the summit, and cinder cones and lava domes occupy the eastern and NE flanks. Summit topography is complicated by the shifting of craters from NW to SE. Frequent 19th and 20th century eruptions were dominated by small-to-moderate explosions from the summit crater, with occasional lava flows and larger explosive eruptions accompanied by pyroclastic flows that have reached the lower flanks of the volcano.

Information Contacts: Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP), US Geological Survey (USGS), 1300 SE Cardinal Court, Bldg. 10, Suite 100, Vancouver, WA 98683; 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); Jakarta Globe (URL: http://www.thejakartaglobe.com); People’s Daily Online (URL: english.peopledaily.com; Volcano Discovery (URL: http://mobile.volcanodiscovery.com).


Soputan (Indonesia) — April 2012 Citation iconCite this Report

Soputan

Indonesia

1.112°N, 124.737°E; summit elev. 1785 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Alert level raised in May 2012 based on increased seismic activity

Our previous report of Soputan volcano chronicled activity during July-September 2011 (BGVN 36:11). Table 9 gives a brief history of activity and highlights activity through early May 2012. The data sources are the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) for satellite monitoring of ash plumes and the Indonesian Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) for seismic monitoring and assignment of alert levels. According to a 28 May 2012 report by CVGHM, Soputan's activities are characterized by the growth of lava domes that have been accreting steadily since 1991. The accretion of these lava domes has been frequently accompanied by ash/cinder eruptions.

Table 9. Summary of volcanic ash observations and other activity at Soputan volcano from late June 2011 through mid-2012. 'VA' refers to volcanic ash. Courtesy of Darwin VAAC and CVGHM.

Date Observations Remarks
21 Jun-02 Jul 2011 Seismic activity increased --
02 Jul 2011 -- Alert Level 2 to 3
03 Jul-04 Jul 2011 Explosive eruption of incandescent material with pyroclastic flow 4 km to W; VA plume to 4.6-14 km extending 407 km W --
04 Jul 2011 High-level eruption has ceased, dissipating --
19 Jul 2011 -- Alert Level 3 to 2
14 Aug 2011 Two eruptions; VA plume to 3.7 km extending 107 km W Alert Level 2 to 3; VA not identifiable on satellite imagery
14 Aug-07 Sep 2011 Seismic Activity significantly decreased after eruption --
08 Sep 2011 Hot air blasts of smoke from the mass of the lava dome Alert Level 3 to 2
28 May 2012 Seismic activity significantly increased Alert Level 2 to 3

On 28 May 2012, CVGHM raised the Alert Level of Soputan from 2 to 3 (on a scale of 1-4) following increasing sesimic activity. According to CVGHM, increasing activity had been observed from 21-27 May, when the volcano spewed out white smoke to heights of between 50 to 150 m above the summit. Seismicity increased significantly on 25 May.

CVGHM called on local residents to stay beyond a 6 km radius from the volcano's summit. It also warned residents of the threat of a lahar, urging people living near Ranowangko, Pentu, Lawian and Popang rivers to remain alert and aware.

MODVOLC Thermal Alerts. MODVOLC satellite thermal alerts were measured at Soputan on 2-3 July, 9 July, and 14-15 August 2011, all on the volcano's W flank. These were the first such measurements since the volcano's last eruption, during late October to early November 2008 (BGVN 33:09). Since 8 August 2011 to early March 2012, no alerts have been measured.

Geologic Background. The Soputan stratovolcano on the southern rim of the Quaternary Tondano caldera on the northern arm of Sulawesi Island is one of Sulawesi's most active volcanoes. The youthful, largely unvegetated volcano is located SW of Riendengan-Sempu, which some workers have included with Soputan and Manimporok (3.5 km ESE) as a volcanic complex. It was constructed at the southern end of a SSW-NNE trending line of vents. During historical time the locus of eruptions has included both the summit crater and Aeseput, a prominent NE-flank vent that formed in 1906 and was the source of intermittent major lava flows until 1924.

Information Contacts: Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI), Jalan Diponegoro 57 Bandung, Jawa Barat 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, Northern Territory 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac); MODVOLC, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Jakarta Post (URL: http://www.thejakartapost.com).

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements  Obituaries

Misc Reports

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

Additional Reports  False Reports