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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karymsky (Russia) New eruption during April-July 2020; ash explosions in October 2020



Ebeko (Russia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Service, Russian Academy of Sciences (KB GS RAS) (URL: http://www.emsd.ru/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal anomalies and small eruptions in May and August 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Raung (Indonesia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Raung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sinabung (Indonesia) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sinabung

Indonesia

3.17°N, 98.392°E; summit elev. 2460 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); The Jakarta Post, 3rd Floor, Gedung, Jl. Palmerah Barat 142-143 Jakarta 10270 (URL: https://www.thejakartapost.com/amp/news/2020/08/08/mount-sinabung-erupts-again-after-year-of-inactivity.html);Rizal (URL: https://twitter.com/Rizal06691023/status/1319452375887740930); CultureVolcan (URL: https://twitter.com/CultureVolcan/status/1321156861173923840).


Heard (Australia) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sabancaya (Peru) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sabancaya

Peru

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Observatorio Volcanologico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico), Barrio Magisterial Nro. 2 B-16 Umacollo - Yanahuara Arequipa, Peru (URL: http://ovi.ingemmet.gob.pe); Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), Calle Badajoz N° 169 Urb. Mayorazgo IV Etapa, Ate, Lima 15012, Perú (URL: https://www.gob.pe/igp); Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Meteorológico Nacional-Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 25 de mayo 658, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/inicio.php); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

10.83°N, 85.324°W; summit elev. 1916 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Geologic Background. Rincón de la Vieja, the largest volcano in NW Costa Rica, is a remote volcanic complex in the Guanacaste Range. The volcano consists of an elongated, arcuate NW-SE-trending ridge constructed within the 15-km-wide early Pleistocene Guachipelín caldera, whose rim is exposed on the south side. Sometimes known as the "Colossus of Guanacaste," it has an estimated volume of 130 km3 and contains at least nine major eruptive centers. Activity has migrated to the SE, where the youngest-looking craters are located. The twin cone of Santa María volcano, the highest peak of the complex, is located at the eastern end of a smaller, 5-km-wide caldera and has a 500-m-wide crater. A Plinian eruption producing the 0.25 km3 Río Blanca tephra about 3,500 years ago was the last major magmatic eruption. All subsequent eruptions, including numerous historical eruptions possibly dating back to the 16th century, have been from the prominent active crater containing a 500-m-wide acid lake located ENE of Von Seebach crater.

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/, https://www.facebook.com/OVSICORI/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html).


Fuego (Guatemala) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/ ); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground);Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html).


Kikai (Japan) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kikai

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosion on 6 October 2020 and thermal anomalies in the crater

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Manam

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Karymsky (Russia) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

54.049°N, 159.443°E; summit elev. 1513 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruption during April-July 2020; ash explosions in October 2020

Karymsky is an active volcano, part of Kamchatka’s eastern volcanic zone. Eruptive activity has been frequent since 1996 and has included ash explosions, gas-and-steam and ash emissions, and thermal anomalies. The most recent eruptive period ended in September 2019 (BGVN 44:11) with a new one beginning in April 2020. Both eruptions consisted of moderate explosive activity and ash plumes. This report updates information from November 2019 through October 2020, which describes a short-lived eruption from April to July and renewed activity in October. Information comes from daily, weekly, and special reports from the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and satellite data.

Activity at Karymsky after November 2019 primarily consisted of moderate gas-and-steam emissions and rare weak thermal anomalies in the summit crater (on 2, 8, and 17 December 2019, according to KVERT). No thermal activity was reported during January through March 2020.

Over the weeks of late March to early April 2020, minor amounts of ash were present in gas-and-steam emissions that led to trace ashfall deposits on the snowy flanks and were visible in satellite imagery (figure 47). A weak thermal anomaly was observed in satellite imagery on 6 April. On 13 April the Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume to 2.1 km altitude drifting SE. Gas-and-steam emissions containing some ash rose 2 km altitude on 17 April and drifted up to 80 km SE on both 17 and 21 April, accompanied by a weak thermal anomaly seen in satellite data. On 18 April the Tokyo VAAC released an advisory noting an ash plume at 1.5-2.1 km altitude drifting S.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Sentinel-2 natural color satellite images showing ash deposits (dark gray) on the snowy flanks at Karymsky from just before the eruptive period began on 20 March 2020 (top left) through April 2020. Images with “Natural Color” (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

KVERT reported intermittent thermal anomalies during May, along with moderate gas-and-steam emissions. On 10 May gas-and-steam plumes containing some ash drifted 77 km SE while ash plumes observed in HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery rose to 2.7 km altitude. A dense plume drifting S resulted in large ash deposits covering all but the N flank of the volcano by 14 May, as observed in Sentinel-2 natural color satellite imagery (figure 48). KVERT reported that ash continued to be observed during 24-31 May, rising to a maximum altitude of 7 km on 27 May and extending in multiple directions. On 29 and 31 May explosions generated ash plumes that rose to 6 and 4 km altitude, respectively, and both extended up to 380 km SW, SE, and E. MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows a pulse in thermal activity within 5 km of the summit crater starting in late May, reflecting the renewed activity (figure 49). On 1 June another strong brown-gray ash plume was seen rising from Karymsky, drifting SE in satellite imagery, depositing large amounts of ash on all flanks (figure 48).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Sentinel-2 natural color satellite images showing ash deposits (dark gray) on the all the snowy flanks at Karymsky on 14 May (left) and 1 June (right) 2020. Images with “Natural Color” (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. A pulse of thermal activity at Karymsky during late May through July 2020 was seen in the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.

Intermittent ash emissions and moderate explosive activity continued in June. During 1-4 June continuous ash plumes rose to a high of 4.6 km altitude and drifted up to 400 km generally E, according to KVERT and the Tokyo VAAC advisories. By 19 June, KVERT stated that possible Strombolian activity was occurring, accompanied by moderate gas-and-steam emissions and frequent thermal anomalies; Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery also showed a thermal anomaly in the crater (figure 50). Ash plumes and gas-and-steam plumes containing some amount of ash were seen drifting SW and NW on 30 June (figure 51).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images show a bright thermal hotspot (yellow-orange) in the summit crater of Karymsky during June 2020, sometimes accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Photos of an ash plume rising from Karymsky on 30 June drifting SW (top) and a fumarolic gas plume containing some amount of ash drifting NW (bottom). Both photos by A. Sokorenko; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

Similar activity continued into July, which included possible Strombolian activity, moderate gas-and-steam emissions, and frequent thermal anomalies. On 14 July a gas-and-steam plume that contained some ash drifted 26 km SW (figure 52); the Tokyo VAAC advisory reported a continuous ash plume that rose 3 km altitude and drifted SW. During 27-30 July Strombolian and Vulcanian explosions generated ash plumes that rose 3-3.7 km altitude and extended 250 km SW and SE. The frequency of thermal anomalies seen in MIROVA decreased in July; the MODVOLC system detected one thermal hotspot on 28 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Fumarolic activity at Karymsky on 14 July 2020. Photo has been color corrected. Photo by Ivan Nuzhdaev; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

Activity decreased in August; thermal anomalies were reported on 5-7, 10, 18, and 21 August, the latter of which was last observed thermal anomaly, according to KVERT. Moderate gas-and-steam emissions continued to occur through the week of 3 September (figure 53). On 26 September, the Tokyo VAAC issued an advisory for a small ash plume that rose to 1.8 km altitude and extended SE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Minor gas-and-steam emissions rose from Karymsky on 2 September 2020. Photo by A. Gerasimov; courtesy of KVERT.

After a brief period of little to no activity, Tokyo VAAC advisories on 10 and 11 October both reported small ash plumes that rose 1.8 km altitude and drifted SE. An ash plume on 17 October rose to 3.9 km altitude drifting E; on 20 October an ash plume drifted up to 50 km SE. KVERT reported that a new eruption began on 21 October; pilots observed explosions at 1430 that generated ash plumes up to 4 km altitude and extended 40 km SE (figure 54). Multiple ash plumes during that day rose up to 6.4 km altitude and drifted as far as 530 km SE, accompanied by a thermal anomaly. Frequent ash explosions continued through the end of the month, with the highest plume rising to an altitude of 6 km on 30 October. In late October two thermal anomalies were detected in MIROVA.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Frame from a video of the eruption at Karymsky on 21 October 2020. The ash plume is rising 6 km altitude. Video by Bel-Kam-Tour, courtesy of Russia Today.

Geologic Background. Karymsky, the most active volcano of Kamchatka's eastern volcanic zone, is a symmetrical stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera that formed during the early Holocene. The caldera cuts the south side of the Pleistocene Dvor volcano and is located outside the north margin of the large mid-Pleistocene Polovinka caldera, which contains the smaller Akademia Nauk and Odnoboky calderas. Most seismicity preceding Karymsky eruptions originated beneath Akademia Nauk caldera, located immediately south. The caldera enclosing Karymsky formed about 7600-7700 radiocarbon years ago; construction of the stratovolcano began about 2000 years later. The latest eruptive period began about 500 years ago, following a 2300-year quiescence. Much of the cone is mantled by lava flows less than 200 years old. Historical eruptions have been vulcanian or vulcanian-strombolian with moderate explosive activity and occasional lava flows from the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Bel-Kam-Tour, st. Elizova, 39 Paratunka Kamchatka Krai, 684000, Russia (URL: https://bel-kam-tour.business.site/); Russia Today (RT), Borovaya St., 3 bldg. 1, Moscow 111020 (URL: https://www.rt.com/).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 37, Number 12 (December 2012)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Akan (Japan)

Relatively quiet during 2009-2012

Krakatau (Indonesia)

September 2012 eruption spews ash; lava flows reach the sea

Loihi (United States)

Seismic swarms during 2001-2006

Nyiragongo (DR Congo)

Bubbling lava lake visited by three groups during January 2011

Pagan (United States)

Ash, gas, and thermal emissions during 2011-2012

Tolbachik (Russia)

Seismicity precedes onset of dual fissure eruption in November 2012



Akan (Japan) — December 2012 Citation iconCite this Report

Akan

Japan

43.384°N, 144.013°E; summit elev. 1499 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Relatively quiet during 2009-2012

Although Akan is the most active volcano on the island, little activity has been reported by JMA since November 2008; activity during 2008 was summarized in two previous Bulletins (BGVN 33:10 and 35:10). Since then quiet prevailed except for a few instances of tremor in 2009 and 2010 reported in Japan Meteorology Agency's (JMA) monthly summaries from September 2010 to November 2012. The caldera is located in Akan National Park on the island of Hokkaido, Japan (figure 11).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. The location of the Akan volcano complex (a caldera with multiple cones) on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. Courtesy of Google Maps.

The Me-Akan volcano group, E of Lake Akan, is the only site of historical activity in Akan caldera. Me-Akan is composed of 9 overlapping cones; the main cone contains three prominent craters, the Akanuma crater, 96-1 crater, and "old crater" (figure 12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. An aerial photo taken on 17 April 2009 looking from the N of the Me-Akan cones. (a) The main Me-Akan cone hosts three craters (labled in red): 96-1 crater, steaming in the upper center; below it to the left, old crater; and adjacent to old crater to the right, Akanuma crater. (b) The same image without captions. Courtesy of Keiji Wada and JMA.

JMA monitors the Akan complex, reporting eruptions, seismicity, and topographic change. A single seismic anomaly was discussed in the December 2010 monthly report (the latest report on Akan as of February 2013):

"Tremors with small amplitudes were observed four times from 12am to 10pm on 17 December [2010]. No remarkable changes in plume, infrasonic and tilt data were observed during the occurrence of these tremors. The previous tremor was observed on 18 March 2009. Seismic activity has returned to the background level, after a temporal increase of volcanic earthquakes with small amplitude during 17 December through 19 December. According to the observation by Kakioka Magnetic Observatory of JMA, geomagnetic total intensity at Meakandake [Akan] has been increasing since July 2009, which reflects the cooling process beneath the south slope of 96-1 crater, and its trend has been declining since July 2010. No remarkable changes in both plume activity and crustal deformation were observed."

Since the Me-Akan complex, part of a 13 X 24 km elongated caldera, lies within the Akan National Park (figure 13), JMA not only monitors the complex, but as well produced safety and evacuation procedures for the visitors. The JMA prepared both a hazard alert map (figure 14), and volcano hazard and evacuation procedure poster (figure 15). These are available at Lake Akan and Lake Kussharo-ko, hot springs, nature sites, and accommodations. Figures 14 and 15 meet the needs of those visitors unfamiliar with the nature of volcanoes, hot springs and calderas. In the form of a cartoon (infographics), the latter helps those with little or no knowledge of the Japanese language.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Akan volcano on Mt. Me-Akan (Mt. Meakan-dake). Note Lake Akan (Lake Akan-ko), roads, rail lines, and density of tourist facilities and travel near the volcano complex. Courtesy of Secret-Japan.com.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. JMA hazard map for the active Me-Akan cone (in Japanese). Courtesy of JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. JMA cartoon of Akan volcano hazard and evacuation information (chiefly in Japanese with several English translations). Courtesy of JMA.

Geologic Background. Akan is a 13 x 24 km caldera located immediately SW of Kussharo caldera. The elongated, irregular outline of the caldera rim reflects its incremental formation during major explosive eruptions from the early to mid-Pleistocene. Growth of four post-caldera stratovolcanoes, three at the SW end of the caldera and the other at the NE side, has restricted the size of the caldera lake. Conical Oakandake was frequently active during the Holocene. The 1-km-wide Nakamachineshiri crater of Meakandake was formed during a major pumice-and-scoria eruption about 13,500 years ago. Within the Akan volcanic complex, only the Meakandake group, east of Lake Akan, has been historically active, producing mild phreatic eruptions since the beginning of the 19th century. Meakandake is composed of nine overlapping cones. The main cone of Meakandake proper has a triple crater at its summit. Historical eruptions at Meakandake have consisted of minor phreatic explosions, but four major magmatic eruptions including pyroclastic flows have occurred during the Holocene.

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/); Keiji Wada, Hokkaido University of Education, Hokumon-cho 9, Asahikawa 070-8621, Japan; Google Maps (URL: http://maps.google.com/); Secret-Japan.com (URL: http://www.secret-japan.com/).


Krakatau (Indonesia) — December 2012 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


September 2012 eruption spews ash; lava flows reach the sea

One of our previous reports on Krakatau (BGVN 36:08) discussed two eruption episodes, one spanning from 25 October 2010 to March 2011 and another beginning in August 2011 and continuing through the end of that report, around 1 October 2011. During the last two weeks of September 2011 volcanic earthquake swarms and diffuse emissions persisted. In November 2011, the photographer and guide Øystein Lund Andersen visited Krakatau and observed mild Strombolian explosions (BGVN 37:11).

This report summarizes behavior chiefly during 1 October 2011 through early October 2012. Eruptions around early September 2012 deposited ash on towns in Sumatra, and lava flows extended the shoreline of the island (Anak Krakatau) by ~100 m. The Alert Level was lowered after that and remained low into at least mid-January 2013.

Figure 30 is an index map showing the location of the famous caldera Krakatau, located in the Sunda Strait (E of Sumatra and W of Java). The smaller feature Anak Krakatau grew to form an island well after the 1883 eruption and continues as the active center.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. An index map showing the location of Krakatau. Small yellow triangles indicate other Holocene volcanoes (from the current Global Volcanism Program database). Created by GVP staff from ARC software.

October 2011-2012. The Alert Level was raised to 3 (on a scale of 1-4) on 30 September 2011, prohibiting visitors and residents from approaching within 2 km of the active crater. On 8 October 2011, a Jakarta Post article stated that activity at Krakatau was increasing; the number of seismic events on 6 October was 5,204; on 7 October, 5,543; and on 8 October, 5,883.

On 26 January 2012, CVGHM lowered the Alert Level from 3 to 2, noting that the number of tremor events had decreased significantly. The lowered Alert Level excluded visitors and residents from approaching within 1 km of the active crater.

During 1 June-1 September 2012, CVGHM's visual observations were often prevented by fog cover. When views were clear during June, observers saw occasional diffuse white plumes above the crater. In June, July, and August, the respective seismic events totaled 1,075, 807, and 2,335. Detailed seismicity during 1 June-2 September 2012 is cataloged in table 8.

Table 8. Type and occurrence of earthquakes and tremor at Krakatau during 1 June-2 September 2012; '-' indicates data not reported. Courtesy of CVGHM.

Date Deep volcanic Shallow volcanic Local tectonic Distant tectonic Harmonic tremor "Hot air blast" tremor Seismic tremor
Jun 2012 63 837 1 5 17 152 --
Jul 2012 80 679 11 6 -- 31 --
Aug 2012 165 1436 9 6 139 547 34
1-2 Sep 2012 7 79 -- -- -- 15 20

Seismicity increased on 2 September 2012. CVGHM recorded continuous tremor, and a Strombolian eruption ejected lava 200-300 m above the crater. At times, residents heard booming sounds that rattled windows. On 3 September, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) reported that ash plumes rose to altitudes of 2.4-4.3 km and drifted 35-95 km N. The Jakarta Globe (citing the state news agency Antara News) reported that a dense ash plume had drifted N, reaching a number of areas in Lampung (the most southerly province of Sumatra), and blanketing Lampung's capital, Bandar Lampung (~75 km NNW of Krakatau; figure 31), with a thin layer of ash.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Sketch map showing Krakatau and Sumatra's Lampung province (Indonesia) including the capital, Bandar Lampung, the scene of September 2012 ashfall from the post-1927 vent, Anak Krakatau (the small island labeled with a triangle). Adapted from a brochure offered for tourists (Indonesia Destination & Travel Information Guide; baliwww.com).

Ashfall on 2 September prompted officials to recommend that residents and tourists wear masks outside and not venture within 3 km of the volcano. The Jakarta Post indicated that government officials planned to distribute 680,000 masks to residents in a number of affected districts in anticipation of further Krakatau explosions.

According to Antara News, less intense tremor continued on 4 September. A satellite image acquired by NASA's Earth Observatory on 4 September showed fresh lava flows descending Anak Krakatau's SE flank, extending the shoreline by about 100 m (figure 32).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. A natural-color satellite image of Anak Krakatau acquired by the Advanced Land Imager aboard Earth Observatory-1 on the morning of 4 September 2012. The NASA caption noted that fresh lava flows extended the SE shoreline by ~100 m. The ash plume drifted W. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

September 2012 eruption and visit by Volcano Discovery. A Volcano Discovery group toured Krakatau during the first several days of September 2012 and observed what they noted was the largest explosion there in ten years. They noted that seismic activity (recorded by CVGHM) peaked on 2 September, with a day of continuous explosions and lava descending the volcano's E and W flanks. Photos showed lava entering the sea (figure 33).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. A lava flow from Anak Krakatau reaching the sea on 3 September 2012. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

The Volcano Discovery group noted that the eruption had altered part of the S and W crater rim, splitting the rim into two parts. They saw an abundance of lava bombs on the volcano's flanks in the forest, indicating the force of the explosions. The group indicated that by 5 September, activity had greatly diminished and incandescence from the crater was absent. On 6 September, Krakatau was calm with limited seismic activity reported by the observatory.

On 8 September, the Jakarta Post also reported that seismic activity had greatly diminished during the previous two days. However, this news account noted that residents in Bandar Lampung still reported ashfall. The article also stated that ash from the eruption had damaged volcano-monitoring equipment.

The Alert Level remained at 2 from 26 January 2012 through at least 3 January 2013.

2012 visits by Øystein Lund Andersen. As indicated in our previous report on Krakatau (BGVN 37:11), the photographer and guide Øystein Lund Andersen has visited Krakatau multiple times and his website contains good descriptions and photos of the volcano during these visits. The following describes his observations during 2012.

On 8 January 2012, during a 3-hour visit, Andersen observed no Strombolian activity, in contrast with his observation on 13 November 2011. On his next visit, during 12-14 February, he reported medium to heavy venting from the crater and fumarolic activity that was more intense than the activity during January. He noted continuous steam-and-gas emissions that rose 100-500 m and incandescence at night, but no eruptions.

During a visit on 6-7 April 2012, Andersen noticed that the S part of the crater was illuminated at night. He further reported that on 7 April, Krakatau started to produce small eruptions from the S part of the crater, the same side as the growing lava dome.

During 6-8 May, Andersen noted that activity at Krakatau had decreased somewhat in the previous several weeks. Steam plumes reached a height of 100-200 m and seemed less intense than during his visit in April. He noted incandescence at night, but it was less intense that the previous month. Andersen reported on 7 April: "footage taken by Pierre Fortine showed no sign of any lava dome, but the red glow that is often clearly visible at night from Verlaten, Lang, or Rakata are in fact multiple glowing vents (some of them were gas vents that were burning) and red hot material surrounding them. The lava dome that people have claimed to observe [through] February to April may have been destroyed during the last small eruptions that I reported of in April. Shallow earthquake data recorded by the Krakatau Volcano Observatory in Pasauran (PVMG) shows that the level of activity remains on the relative same level as last month."

During 2-3 June, he reported that activity had decreased since April and May. He stated that incandescence was almost non-observable, and steam plumes only rose 50-100 m on this visit (compared to 200 m in May), and were at times non-existent.

On 3 September 2012, Andersen wrote that he had heard continuous booming noises half way from Java, and that large booming sounds could be heard in the villages of Carita and Anyar (or Anyer), neighboring villages on the W coast of Java, about 50 km ESE of the volcano. As he approached the volcano, he noted a high plume from the main vent and the ejection of lava bombs to heights of up to 300 m. An area on the SE shore also emitted a large steam plume. According to Andersen: "The local crew/guides who joined our group looked very surprised and worried, as we all noticed these major changes. I first thought this was the result of new geothermal activity, but first realized later that this was in fact a new lava flow." According to Andersen, the lava flow had extended the seashore on the E side by up to 100 m, and the E and W part of the crater walls had experienced a partial collapse (figure 34).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. New lava extending the seashore on the E side of Anak Krakatau on 3 September 2012. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.

On a visit during 6-7 October 2012, Andersen observed no activity other than a weak and irregular steam plume and, at night, "some small spots of glowing lava, near and on the lava flow on the western flank." On this visit, he studied the new lava flow. He reported that the lava had flowed down both the W and E sides of the volcano, leaving deep scars on both flanks. According to Andersen, news accounts had reported the lava flow on the E flank, but few had noted the one on the W flank, which was significant, although not as great as the one on the E flank.

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: Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov and http://eo1.gsfc.nasa.gov/); The Jakarta Post (URL: http://www2.thejakartapost.com); Antara News (URL: http://www.antaranews.com/en/); Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com); Indonesia Destination & Travel Information Guide (URL: http://baliwww.com); Øystein Lund Andersen (URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com/).


Loihi (United States) — December 2012 Citation iconCite this Report

Loihi

United States

18.92°N, 155.27°W; summit elev. -975 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismic swarms during 2001-2006

Ken Rubin of the University of Hawaii provided some of the following information concerning Loihi volcano, noting that there hasn't been much activity reported over the last 10 years. The ocean bottom seismometer (OBS) died several months after installation in mid-1996 because the cable connecting it to land was not armored and thus failed early after deployment. However, using available seismic data from the OBS and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) land network, Caplan-Auerbach and others (2001), were able to develop a more precise crustal velocity model so that seismic events at Loihi recorded by the land stations at Kilauea can now be precisely located. Unfortunately, only large events (probably >M 3 or M 4) are detected.

Several papers were published on Loihi by Schipper and others (2010, 2011) looking at a reworked pyroclastic section of unknown age on the summit platform and making inferences on eruptive conditions (especially on the conditions of vesiculation and fragmentation). The samples for their studies were collected during the last known geological dives to the summit by Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) and NOAA in 2007.

Seismic swarms during 2001-2006. The Loihi web site reported that a seismic swarm was detected at Loihi's summit with earthquakes up to M 5.2 on 13 September 2001. Activity continued for a couple of weeks, with 4 events >M 4 at depths of 12-13 km. No >M 4 earthquakes were detected at Loihi during 2002-2004. An M 4.3 earthquake occurred on 23 April 2005 at ~33 km depth beneath Loihi, and earthquakes of M 5.1 and 5.4 occurred on 13 May and 17 July 2005, respectively, both at a depth of 44 km. The U.S. Geological Survey Advanced National Seismic System measured a small swarm of about 100 earthquakes (the largest 3 events were ~M 4, and between 12 and 28 km deep) that occurred beneath Loihi on 7 December 2005. A more recent earthquake (estimated M 4.7) occurred on 18 January 2006, roughly midway between Loihi and Pahala (on the S coast of the island of Hawaii).

References. Caplan-Auerbach, J., and Duennebier, F.K., 2001, Seismicity and Velocity Structure of Loihi Seamount from the 1996 Earthquake Swarm, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 91, no. 2, p. 178-190.

Rubin, K.H., Soule, S.A., Chadwick Jr., W.W., Fornari, D.J., Clague, D.A., Embley, R.W., Baker, E.T., Perfit, M.R., Caress, D.W., and Dziak, R.P., 2012, Volcanic eruptions in the deep sea, Oceanography, v. 25, no. 1, p. 142-157.

Schipper, C.I., White, J.D.L., and Houghton, B.F., 2010, Syn- and post-fragmentation textures in submarine pyroclasts from Lo`ihi Seamount, Hawai`i, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 191, issues 3-4, p. 93-106.

Schipper, C.I., White, J.D.L., and Houghton, B.F., 2011, Textural, geochemical, and volatile evidence for a Strombolian-like eruption sequence at Lo`ihi Seamount, Hawai`i, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 207, issues 1-2, p. 16-32.

Geologic Background. Loihi seamount, the youngest volcano of the Hawaiian chain, lies about 35 km off the SE coast of the island of Hawaii. Loihi (which is the Hawaiian word for "long") has an elongated morphology dominated by two curving rift zones extending north and south of the summit. The summit region contains a caldera about 3 x 4 km wide and is dotted with numerous lava cones, the highest of which is about 975 m below the sea surface. The summit platform includes two well-defined pit craters, sediment-free glassy lava, and low-temperature hydrothermal venting. An arcuate chain of small cones on the western edge of the summit extends north and south of the pit craters and merges into the crests prominent rift zones. Deep and shallow seismicity indicate a magmatic plumbing system distinct from that of Kilauea. During 1996 a new pit crater was formed at the summit, and lava flows were erupted. Continued volcanism is expected to eventually build a new island; time estimates for the summit to reach the sea surface range from roughly 10,000 to 100,000 years.

Information Contacts: Lo`ihi Volcano website (URL: http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/GG/HCV/loihi.html); Ken Rubin, Department of Geology and Geophysics, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI (URL: http://www/soest.hawaii.edu/GG); U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) (URL: https://earthquake.usgs.gov/neis); Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), U.S. Geological Survey, PO Box 51, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718, USA (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/).


Nyiragongo (DR Congo) — December 2012 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Bubbling lava lake visited by three groups during January 2011

This report discusses observations of Nyiragongo made in January 2011. As noted in BGVN 35:09, a 14-24 June 2010 expedition into the crater showed that Nyiragongo's lava lake was continuously active and had risen since the last extensive eruption that inundated central Goma in January 2002.

Similar activity was confirmed during visits by three groups to the crater during 9-12 January, 16-26 January, and 20-23 January 2011, with observations of a continuously active lava lake, lava fountains reaching several meters high, and gas emissions (figures 48 and 49; dozens more images appear on the websites noted in the Information Contacts subsection). One group described the lava lake as "boiling so lively and quick-tempered, like cream of wheat in a pot at the highest heat setting."

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Photographers watched Nyiragongo's lava lake from an undisclosed point on the rim; this photo was taken in low-light conditions sometime during 9-12 January 2011. Disrupted portions of the lava lake surface (described by observers as "degassing fountains") often formed clusters that shifted position as the lava lake underwent convection. Fumes emitted through the disruptions rose vertically and were illuminated by the intense glow of the lava. Courtesy of Tom Pfeiffer (Volcano Discovery).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. A photo taken at night sometime during 9-12 January 2011 showing an isolated disruption in the crust of Nyiragongo's lava lake (a surface composed of numerous interlocking polygonal plates) and spatter. The plates were drawn towards the disruption, rather than pushed away. The lake's cooling crust was thin and easily torn apart, exposing hot lava, which in turn quickly cooled to form new plates. Photo courtesy of Tom Pfeiffer (Volcano Discovery).

On 20 January 2011, the topography of the interior of the crater remained the same as in mid-June 2010 (figure 50). The surface of the lava lake was then between 3,010 m and 3,020 m elevation. Convection of the lava lake surface and disruptions in the cooled surface that produced fountains and gas emissions were observed at differing intensities. The symbols in figure 50 correspond to those of figure 45 in our previous report, thus preserving terminology (BGVN 35:09). The observers recognized three upper terraces from the previous figure (α, β, and γ) but not all are visible in figure 50.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Image of the lava lake inside the crater of Nyiragongo on 20 January 2011. The central crater contains the lava lake (ε), which oscillated. A ring wall (ψ) confined the lake and led to the lower terrace (ξ). The rim of the ring wall is several meters higher than the lower terrace. The photo is taken at some elevation above the post 1977-2002 eruption terrace (γ). The team noted variations in both the lake's convection and degassing fountains. Courtesy of Christoph Weber.

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: Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); Marc Szeglat, Vulkane.net (URL: http://vulkane.net/); Christoph Weber, VHDL, Muehlweg 11, 74199 Untergruppenbach, Germany (URL: http://www.volcanic-hazards.de/).


Pagan (United States) — December 2012 Citation iconCite this Report

Pagan

United States

18.13°N, 145.8°E; summit elev. 570 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash, gas, and thermal emissions during 2011-2012

Our last report described gas-and-steam plumes in October and November 2010 that rose from Pagan's active cone located on the N side of the island (BGVN 35:12). After that, the Volcanic Alert Level and Aviation Color Code were reduced from Advisory (Yellow) to Unassigned on 22 February 2011. The Alert was raised again to Advisory ("Volcano is exhibiting signs of elevated unrest above known background level") on 23 April 2011 where it remained level through the end of 2012.

In this report, we tabulate and briefly comment on advisories from the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) that reported Pagan's gas emissions, occasional ash plumes, and thermal anomalies. Reports of activity were also contributed by observers from other islands and a passing research vessel. We also share the results from the ash transport and dispersion model, PUFF, for the 30 January 2012 ash emission. MODVOLC thermal alerts were triggered several times during this reporting period, mainly in late 2012. Clear images from satellites and the International Space Station are also included in this report.

The primary methods of monitoring Pagan are satellite remote sensing and visual observations from the Emergency Management office (based in Saipan), local residents of the islands, and mariners. Pagan lacks ground-based geophysical instrumentation dedicated to volcano monitoring. During this reporting period, the closest operating seismometers were located over 155 km away on the islands of Sarigan, Anatahan, Rota, and Saipan (figure 11).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Pagan is one of the 15 volcanic islands within the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. This region of the volcanic arc (Mariana Arc) is the N half of a ridge which extends about 2-4 km above the ocean floor; to the E of the arc lies the Mariana Trench where depths reach greater than 6 km (Trusdell and others, 2006). This map also labels the five submarine features Esmeralda Bank, NW Rota, and the seamounts (SMT) Tracey, Taga, and Ruby. Courtesy of Trusdell and others (2006) and Google Earth (Terra Metrics Image IBCAO, 2013; Cnes/Spot Image, 2013).

Activity during 2011. With the exception of a diffuse steam-and-gas plume observed on 24 January 2011, no unusual activity at Pagan volcano had been detected in satellite imagery during January-March.

On 23 April, a Northern Mariana Islands status report noted that a NOAA research vessel in the vicinity of Pagan reported incandescence at the summit of the volcano at night. Satellite image observations were obscured by clouds during that time.

Between 27 June and 1 September, the Washington VAAC reported that emissions were visible from Pagan (table 3). Gas and possible ash were noted based on satellite imagery from MTSAT (Multifunctional Transport Satellites), meteorological centers, and Global Forecast System (GFS) Winds. GFS is a model developed by NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction. Ash emissions appeared in satellite imagery on 1 September during an event that produced a plume that rose 2.4 km above sea level (a.s.l.). That day, the Saipan Emergency Management Center also reported that gases and ash were visible.

Figure (see Caption) Table 3. Summit activity from Pagan included ash plumes during 27 June 2011-2 December 2012 as reported by the Washington VAAC and hotspot notifications from MODVOLC. The VAAC frequently incorporated data from several sources as noted in the "Reporting Source" column. Note that "Altitude" values are approximate from the flight levels provided in the original online reports. Courtesy of the Washington VAAC and Hawai`i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System.

Northern Mariana Islands status reports noted that low-level gas-and-steam plumes with possible fine ash were detected in satellite imagery (as well as noted by observers on the island) on 7 July and during 26 August-2 September 2011. From 28 October to 2 December, status reports noted satellite observations of a persistent gas-and-steam plume drifting from the island.

Activity during 2012. During 2012, the Washington VAAC released periodic notices describing emissions from Pagan; these reports were primarily during January, April, July, November, and December (table 3). The tallest plumes rose 3 km a.s.l. with various drift directions (S, E, SSW, N, and NW). The Marianas Emergency Management Center reported local observations of ashfall on the island on 9 July 2012.

PUFF volcanic ash transport and dispersion simulations. The results from a volcanic ash tracking model were available for the 30 January 2012 ash event (figure 12). Simulations from the PUFF model provided the extent of ash for a plume with starting conditions determined by the Washington VAAC; the time of the eruption, reported plume heights, drift direction and speed were required for the model. "The intent of PUFF is to show the position of eruption clouds when satellite image observations are not available, and to use satellite observations, when available, to validate or improve simulations (Searcy and others, 1998)." The model is frequently used for ash events within the N Pacific air traffic region and assists the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO, a joint program of the United States Geological Survey, USGS, the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, UAFGI, and the State of Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, ADGGS) and other agencies.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Three simulations of ash dispersal based on Pagan's 30 January 2012 event were available from the PUFF volcanic ash dispersion model. At 1050, 1250, and 1450, the three-dimensional model forecasted ash distribution drifting in a narrow band E of the island. Initial drift parameters were determined by the Washington VAAC (start time = 0849 UTC on 30 January 2012, plume heights = 1.5 km and 3 km, drift = E at 5-10 knots). The plume top reached a calculated maximum of 3.048 km a.s.l. The location of Pagan is indicated with the star; the northernmost island in view is Asuncion Island (~177 km NNW) and the southernmost island is Saipan (~315 km S). The PUFF volcanic ash dispersion and transport model was developed by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute (UAF-GI). Courtesy of Peter Webley, UAF-GI.

The simulation for the 30 January 2012 ash event began at 1050 UTC and showed that, by 1450 UTC, ash had drifted E in a narrow band with a maximum altitude of 3.048 km. This result correlates well with satellite observations reported by the Washington VAAC at 1041 (table 3); after that time, the Washington VAAC reported that ash was possible but not detectable during the time period that the Puff model forecasted ash extending further E.

The PUFF model was recently expanded to include an interface with Google Earth. Ash dispersion results can be viewed in Google Earth including the plume start time, altitude and simulation length, two-dimensional maps of ash with time stamps (color coded by altitude), and the three-dimensional ash cloud. This interface also allows selection by ash particle so the user can view its location, its volcanic origin, the elapsed time since the eruption began, and altitude (in km and feet a.s.l.) (Webley and others, 2008).

Thermal anomaly detection in 2012. Hotspots from the summit region were detected by the MODIS instrument (onboard the Terra and Aqua satellites) during 2012. The MODVOLC hotspot alerting system recorded six significant thermal anomalies between 6 August and 11 December (figure 13). Thermal anomalies appeared at least once per month between October and December 2012 suggesting clear viewing conditions during times of elevated activity (table 3).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. During 2012, the MODVOLC system detected elevated temperatures in the area of Pagan's summit, located at the N end of the island. This image includes hotspots detected during the year and listed in table 3. Courtesy of the Hawai`i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System.

A view of Pagan from the International Space Station. On 6 March 2012, an astronaut on the International Space Station photographed Pagan Island during spectacular viewing conditions (figure 14). With a digital camera, the entire extent of the island was captured as well as a persistent white plume drifting from the summit area. Some clouds had gathered around the southern region of the island (a narrow peninsula of older volcanic centers), but the main features of the island were easy to distinguish. Historical lava flows appeared dark brown and black within the large (5.5 km wide), circular caldera (a feature that dominates the N end of the island) (Trusdell and others, 2006). The youngest lava flows date from 1981, however, lavas from an eruption during 1872-1873 reached the N shoreline; note the black region in contrast with the vegetated shoreline at the right-hand side of the photo.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. On 6 March 2012, a steam plume was drifting WSW from Pagan Island's northernmost peak, Mount Pagan, the highest point on the island. This photo was taken by an astronaut with the Expedition 30 crew on the International Space Station while orbiting ~480 km above the Pacific Ocean. The viewing angle and distance from the station caused some skewing of the image; the image was cropped and enhanced, improving contrast and removing lens artifacts. Astronaut photograph ISS030-E-122047. Courtesy of NASA-JSC.

MODIS satellite images: May and October 2012. On 7 May, the MODIS instrument on the Terra satellite acquired a clear image of Pagan Island with a conspicuous plume of gas and steam drifting W (figure 15). The plume's blue tint suggested the presence of sulfur dioxide. According to NASA's Earth Observatory, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on the Aura satellite detected elevated levels of SO2 just W of the volcano several hours after this image was acquired. The USGS reported that minor steam-and-gas plumes were observed in partly cloudy satellite images during 4-11 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. This satellite image of Pagan Island is a natural-color view of emissions drifting W on 7 May 2012. The small volcanic island of Alamagan is in view ~55 km S of Pagan. NASA's Earth Observatory noted that, for three years, North Pagan had emitted intermittent volcanic plumes. By mid-2011, Pagan's activity was nearly continuous, and NASA's MODIS instrument detected a plume almost every time there was a clear view. Courtesy of NASA and Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC.

According to NASA's Earth Observatory, a satellite image acquired on 16 October showed a steam-and-gas plume drifting WNW (figure 16). Scattered clouds filled much of the view but the island was mostly cloud-free with a plume trailing into the denser bands of clouds.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. This image of Pagan Island shows a gas plume drifting WNW on 16 October 2012. The MODIS instrument on board the Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image. Note that the blue-tinted plume becomes more diffuse with distance but remains visible up to ~160 km from the island (extending to the upper left-hand corner of the image). The green outline of Agrigan island is partly obscured by cloud-cover, but is visible ~70 km N of Pagan island. Courtesy of NASA and Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC.

References. Searcy, C., Dean, K., and Stringer, W., 1998. PUFF: A high-resolution volcanic ash tracking model, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 80, pp. 1-16.

Trusdell, F.A., Moore, R.B., and Sako, M.K., 2006. Preliminary Geologic Map of Mount Pagan Volcano, Pagan Island, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2006-1386 (URL: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2006/1386/).

Webley, P.W., Dean, K., Bailey, J.E., Dehn, J., and Peterson, R., 2008. Automated forecasting of volcanic ash dispersion utilizing Virtual Globes, Natural Hazards, 51, 2, pp. 345-361.

Geologic Background. Pagan Island, the largest and one of the most active of the Mariana Islands volcanoes, consists of two stratovolcanoes connected by a narrow isthmus. Both North and South Pagan stratovolcanoes were constructed within calderas, 7 and 4 km in diameter, respectively. North Pagan at the NE end of the island rises above the flat floor of the northern caldera, which may have formed less than 1,000 years ago. South Pagan is a stratovolcano with an elongated summit containing four distinct craters. Almost all of the recorded eruptions, which date back to the 17th century, have originated from North Pagan. The largest eruption during historical time took place in 1981 and prompted the evacuation of the sparsely populated island.

Information Contacts: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (EMO-CNMI) and USGS Volcano Hazards Program, PO Box 100007, Saipan, MP 96950, USA (URL: http://www.cnmihsem.gov.mp/, http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/nmi/activity/); Frank Trusdell, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, PO Box 51, Hawaii National Park, HI, 96718-0051; Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/); Hawai`i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System (MODVOLC), 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/); Peter Webley, University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, 909 Koyukuk Drive, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA (URL: http://www.gi.alaska.edu/); NASA Earth Observatory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).


Tolbachik (Russia) — December 2012 Citation iconCite this Report

Tolbachik

Russia

55.832°N, 160.326°E; summit elev. 3611 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity precedes onset of dual fissure eruption in November 2012

Nearly 36 years after its last eruption, the largest basaltic eruption in Kamchatka during historic times (1975/76 eruptions; CSLP 51-75; SEAN 01:07, 01:08), Tolbachik (figure 1) began erupting again on 27 November 2012 following almost three weeks of episodic volcanic tremor. The eruption emerged as two fissures along the W side of Tolbachinsky Dol (a lava plateau along the SW flank of Tolbachik), in the same area as the northern vents of the 1975/76 eruptions. The eruption produced both effusive lava flows and explosions that generated low-level ash-bearing plumes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) colored elevation and shaded relief map highlighting the location of Tolbachik at the S end of the Kliuchevskoi (Kliuchevskaya) volcanic group, Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia (inset shows regional setting, with the Kamchatka peninsula highlighted in dark gray at the top right, and the location of the Kliuchevskoi volcanic group indicated by the star). Tolbachik comprises the flat-topped Plosky Tolbachik shield volcano (and its nested calderas) to the E and the sharp-topped Ostry Tolbachik stratovolcano to the W. SRTM map modified from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; inset regional map modified from Wikipedia.

This report mainly summarizes Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) daily and weekly reports and information releases concerning the ongoing (as of early February 2013) Tolbachik fissure eruption.

Seismicity preceding 27 November 2012 eruption. Episodic tremor was recorded at Tolbachik during 7-10, 18, and 26 November 2012; KVERT noted a distinct difference between these episodes of tremor and discrete events that had occurred over "many years" prior. Shallow volcanic earthquakes began on 26 November, increasing in number to ~267 through 27 November. The Aviation Color Code was raised from Green to Yellow (on a scale increasing from Green-Yellow-Orange-Red) on 27 November. In a daily report discussing activity on 27 November, KVERT reported that shallow events, possibly indicating ash explosions, had occurred during 1715-2000. The Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Service of the Russian Academy of Sciences (KB GS RAS) reported a strong seismic event at 1752 that day. Informed by KB GS RAS, the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) posted a volcanic ash advisory at 1837 (table 1). The ash explosions prompted KVERT to raise the Aviation Color Code to Orange. Continuos tremor occurred for the rest of the day, indicating possible lava flows.

Table 1. Summary of Tokyo VAAC volcanic ash (VA) advisories for Tolbachik during November 2012-January 2013. Plume heights are reported in km above sea level (a.s.l.); '-' indicates data not reported. Note that the fissures are at approximately 1,600-1,700 m elevation, and not at the summit (3,682 m elevation), thus complicating plume height estimates. Yelizovo Airport is indicated as a data source by its airport code, UHPP. All times are local (UTC - 12 hours). Courtesy of Tokyo VAAC.

Date Time Plume Altitude (km) Drift Direction Remarks (data source)
27 Nov 2012 1837 6.1 -- Eruption reported at 1715 (KB GS RAS)
27 Nov 2012 2313 10.05 NNW Eruption (KB GS RAS)
29 Nov 2012 1003 3.95 N VA reported (UHPP)
29 Nov 2012 1500 3.65 SE VA reported (KVERT)
29 Nov 2012 1746 3.95 SE Continuing emissions (satellite imagery)
29 Nov 2012 2355 3.95 SE Continuing emissions (satellite imagery)
30 Nov 2012 0600 3.95 N Continuing emissions (satellite imagery)
30 Nov 2012 1152 -- -- VA dissipated on imagery (satellite imagery)
30 Nov 2012 1634 NVA reported (UHPP)
03 Dec 2012 2138 4.25 NW VA reported (UHPP)
05 Dec 2012 1221 4.25 SE VA reported (KVERT)
07 Dec 2012 1431 4.25 SW VA reported (KVERT)
13 Dec 2012 1139 3.05 NE VA reported (KVERT)
13 Dec 2012 1232 4.55 E VA reported (UHPP)
14 Dec 2012 1209 3.05 NE VA reported (KVERT)
27 Dec 2012 1126 5.2 SE VA reported (UHPP)
07 Jan 2013 1145 3.65 NE VA reported (KVERT)
07 Jan 2013 1202 4.25 NE VA reported (KVERT)

Observations reveal two fissure vents. By the early morning of 28 November 2012, observers in Kozyrevsk (~40 km NW) and Lazo (~50 km SW) had reported periodic incandescence from Tolbachik during the night. Later that morning, observers in the same locations reported ash explosions and lava flows in the area of the northern vents of the 1975/76 eruptions, along the W side of Tolbachinsky Dol.

The first available photograph of the eruption showed that lava was issuing through two fissures (figure 2). Ashfall 4-cm-deep was reported in Krasny Yar (~60 km NNW) by midday on 28 November (figure 3). According to a KVERT information release, the Aviation Color Code was raised to Red for a brief period on 29 November, but this was not reflected in the daily reports; the Aviation Color Code remained Orange for the remainder of the reporting interval.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. The first available photograph of the Tolbachik dual fissure eruption that began on 27 November 2012. Fire fountaining through two fissure vents are seen generating ash plumes that reached ~3 km above sea level on 28 November 2012. Courtesy of Dmitry Melnikov (IVS FED RAS) and KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Ashfall from Tolbachik was reported in Krasny Yar (~60 km NNW). Two deposits are distinguishable, separated by fresh snowfall; lens cap for scale. Courtesy of Y. Demyanchuk (IVS FED RAS) and KVERT.

KVERT reported on 28 November that the N and S fissures were located 4-5 km and 6-7 km S of Plosky Tolbachik, respectively. Plosky Tolbachik is a shield volcano with nested summit calderas that makes up the E half of Tolbachik; the W portion of Tolbachik is the sharply-peaked Ostry Tolbachik stratovolcano (figures 1 and 4). At that time, Strombolian activity (figure 5) was observed at 4-5 vents in the N fissure and 2-3 vents in the S fissure; the very fluid lavas (figure 6) were flowing, often in 'lava rivers', to the W side of Tolbachinsky Dol (figure 7), and KVERT noted a large thermal anomaly over the N part of Tolbachinsky Dol (figure 8). Observers reported booming noises and vibrating windowpanes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Tolbachik viewed from the NNE on 13 December 2012, showing Plosky Tolbachik, the shield volcano, and its large, nested summit calderas on the left (E) and Ostry Tolbachik, the sharply peaked stratovolcano on the right (W). An E-drifting plume is seen rising from the fissure eruption on Tolbachinsky Dol to the S (in the background). Courtesy of Y. Demyanchuk (IVS FEB RAS) and KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Strombolian activity during the eruption from the S fissure of Tolbachinsky Dol on 29 November 2012. Courtesy of S. Samoilenko and A. Sokorenko (IVS FEB RAS) and KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Photographs highlighting the very fluid nature of lavas effused from the fissure eruption of Tolbachinsky Dol. (a) Fluid lavas from the S fissure of Tolbachinsky Dol flowing in a 'lava river' on 6 December 2012. A dog is in the foreground for scale. Courtesy of V. Yaschuk (KB GS RAS) and KVERT. (b) A 'lava river', presumably effused from the S fissure, flowing around a 'lava island' on 23 January 2013. Courtesy of Y. Demyanchuk (IVS FEB RAS) and KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. A false color infrared satellite image showing lava flowing W from the fissure eruption of Tolbachinsky Dol; snow appears green in this image. The fissure vents are hidden behind the plume in the N part of the image. To the S of the lava flow are cinder cones from the 1975/76 eruption of Tolbachik. The image was collected on 1 December 2012 by the Advanced Land Imager on the Earth Observing-1 Satellite; courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. A MODVOLC thermal alert image for 29 November 2012 showing a large thermal anomaly over the N portion of Tolbachinsky Dol, resulting from the eruption of lava through two fissure vents. This image is a combination of multiple pixel alerts registered at 7 different times during the same day. Courtesy of the Hawai`i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System.

On 29 November, seismicity declined, and KVERT characterized the eruption as effusive; renewed seismicity occurred the next day, and a gas-and-steam plume with small amounts of ash rising to ~3 km was reported. Lava flows from the N fissure destroyed two scientific base camps located ~10 km from Tolbachik.

Cinder cones grow on S fissure; new fumarole. A KVERT weekly report issued on 6 December 2012 noted that cinder cones were growing on the S fissure, and that lava effused from the S fissure had flowed up to 20 km away by 7 December. A fumarole was observed at the bottom of the Plosky Tolbachik caldera on 8 December (figure 9); this was the first fumarole observed in the caldera in ~30 years. On 9 December KVERT daily reports began stating that the effusion of lava was continuing from the S fissure, no longer mentioning the N fissure.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. A new fumarole that was observed in the Plosky Tolbachik caldera on 8 December 2012. KVERT reported that this is the first fumarole in the caldera in ~30 years. Courtesy of O. Evdokimova (IVS FEB RAS) and KVERT.

By the end of December, KVERT reported that five cinder cones were growing on the S fissure (e.g. figure 10); by 10 January 2013, however, KVERT reported only four cinder cones on the S fissure.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Strombolian activity within a cinder cone on the S fissure of Tolbachinsky Dol on 27 December 2012. The strombolian activity is feeding a lava river, flowing to the left. Courtesy of Y. Demyanchuk (IVS FEB RAS) and KVERT.

As of early February 2013, the eruption continued to produce very fluid lava flows, four growing cinder cones, gas-and-steam plumes with variable ash contents that often reached ~4 km a.s.l. and drifted in various directions, and daily thermal alerts above Tolbachinsky Dol. Two examples of eruptive products from the eruption are shown in figure 11.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Examples of eruptive products from the fissure eruption of Tolbachik that began on 27 November 2012 (ongoing as of early February 2013). (a) Vesicular lava sample (of unspecified dimensions and source location) photographed on 15 December 2012, displaying a very fluidal texture. (b) A volcanic bread-crust bomb photographed in situ (unspecified dimensions and source location) on 24 January 2013. Courtesy of Y. Demyanchuk (IVS FEB RAS) and KVERT.

Geologic Background. The massive Tolbachik basaltic volcano is located at the southern end of the dominantly andesitic Kliuchevskaya volcano group. The massif is composed of two overlapping, but morphologically dissimilar volcanoes. The flat-topped Plosky Tolbachik shield volcano with its nested Holocene Hawaiian-type calderas up to 3 km in diameter is located east of the older and higher sharp-topped Ostry Tolbachik stratovolcano. The summit caldera at Plosky Tolbachik was formed in association with major lava effusion about 6500 years ago and simultaneously with a major southward-directed sector collapse of Ostry Tolbachik volcano. Lengthy rift zones extending NE and SSW of the volcano have erupted voluminous basaltic lava flows during the Holocene, with activity during the past two thousand years being confined to the narrow axial zone of the rifts. The 1975-76 eruption originating from the SSW-flank fissure system and the summit was the largest historical basaltic eruption in Kamchatka.

Information Contacts: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT), Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia; Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Service of the Russian Academy of Sciences (KB GS RAS), Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia; Yelizovo Airport (UHPP), Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Kamchatka Krai, Russia; NASA Earth Observatory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (URL: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/); Wikipedia (URL: http://www.wikipedia.org/).

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