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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

Nyiragongo (DR Congo) Lava lake persists during June-November 2019

Ebeko (Russia) Frequent moderate explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall continue through November 2019

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) Intermittent ash plumes with significant gas and steam emissions during January 2016-December 2017

Sabancaya (Peru) Explosions, ash and SO2 plumes, thermal anomalies, and lava dome growth during June-November 2019

Karangetang (Indonesia) Lava flows, strong thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam emissions, and ash plumes during May-November 2019

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) New vent, lava fountaining, lava flow, and ash plumes in late September-October 2019

Nyamuragira (DR Congo) Strong thermal anomalies and fumaroles within the summit crater during June-November 2019

Bagana (Papua New Guinea) Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions and thermal anomalies during June-November 2019

Kerinci (Indonesia) Intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes during June-early November 2019

Bezymianny (Russia) Lava dome growth, ongoing thermal anomalies, moderate gas-steam emissions, June-November 2019

Mayon (Philippines) Gas-and-steam plumes and summit incandescence during May-October 2019

Merapi (Indonesia) Low-volume dome growth continues during April-September 2019 with rockfalls and small block-and-ash flows



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

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake persists during June-November 2019

Nyiragongo is a stratovolcano with a 1.2 km-wide summit crater containing an active lava lake that has been present since at least 1971. It is located the Virunga Volcanic Province (VVP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, part of the western branch of the East African Rift System. Typical volcanism includes strong and frequent thermal anomalies, primarily due to the lava lake, incandescence, gas-and-steam plumes, and seismicity. This report updates activity during June through November 2019 with the primary source information from monthly reports by the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) and satellite data.

In the July 2019 monthly report, OVG stated that the lava lake level had dropped during the month, with incandescence only visible at night (figure 68). In addition, the small eruptive cone within the crater, which has been active since 2014, decreased in activity during this timeframe. A MONUSCO (United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) helicopter overflight took photos of the lava lake and observed that the level had begun to rise on 27 July. Seismicity was relatively moderate throughout this reporting period; however, on 9-16 July and 21 August strong seismic swarms were recorded.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Webcam images of Nyiragongo on 20 July 2019 where incandescence is not visible during the day (left) but is observed at night (right). Incandescence is accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. Courtesy of OVG.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data continued to show frequent and strong thermal anomalies within 5 km of the crater summit through November 2019 (figure 69). Similarly, the MODVOLC algorithm reported almost daily thermal hotspots (more than 600) within the summit crater between June 2019 through November. These data are corroborated with Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery and a photo from OVG on 19 December 2019 showing the active lava lake (figures 70 and 71).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Thermal anomalies at Nyiragongo from 3 January through November 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were frequent and strong. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) showed ongoing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) at Nyiragongo during June through November 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Photo of the active lava lake in the summit crater at Nyiragongo on 19 December 2019. Incandescence is accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume. Courtesy of OVG via Charles Balagizi.

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

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


Ebeko (Russia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent moderate explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall continue through November 2019

Activity at Ebeko includes frequent explosions that have generated ash plumes reaching altitudes of 1.5-6 km over the last several years, with the higher altitudes occurring since mid-2018 (BGVN 43:03, 43:06, 43:12, 44:07). Ash frequently falls in Severo-Kurilsk (7 km ESE), which is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT). This activity continued during June through November 2019; the Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Explosive activity during December 2018 through November 2019 often sent ash plumes to altitudes between 2.2 to 4.5 km, or heights of 1.1 to 3.4 km above the crater (table 8). Eruptions since 1967 have originated from the northern crater of the summit area (figure 20). Webcams occasionally captured ash explosions, as seen on 27 July 2019(figure 21). KVERT often reported the presence of thermal anomalies; particularly on 23 September 2019, a Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image showed a strong thermal signature at the crater summit accompanied by an ash plume (figure 22). Ashfall is relatively frequent in Severo-Kurilsk (7 km ESE) and can drift in different direction based on the wind pattern, which can be seen in satellite imagery on 30 October 2019 deposited NE and SE from the crater(figure 23).

Table 8. Summary of activity at Ebeko, December 2018-November 2019. S-K is Severo-Kurilsk (7 km ESE of the volcano). TA is thermal anomaly in satellite images. Data courtesy of KVERT.

Date Plume Altitude (km) Plume Distance Plume Directions Other Observations
30 Nov-07 Dec 2018 3.6 -- E Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 1, 4 Dec.
07-14 Dec 2018 3.5 -- E Explosions.
25 Jan-01 Feb 2019 2.3 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 27 Jan.
02-08 Feb 2019 2.3 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 4 Feb.
08-15 Feb 2019 2.5 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 11 Feb.
15-22 Feb 2019 3.6 -- -- Explosions.
22-26 Feb 2019 2.5 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 23-26 Feb.
01-02, 05 Mar 2019 -- -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 1, 5 Mar.
08-10 Mar 2019 4 30 km ENE Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 9-10 Mar.
15-19, 21 Mar 2019 4.5 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 15-16, 21 Mar.
22, 24-25, 27-28 Mar 2019 4.2 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 24-25, 27 Mar.
29-31 Mar, 01, 04 Apr 2019 3.2 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 31 Mar. TA on 31 Mar.
09 Apr 2019 2.2 -- -- Explosions.
12-15 Apr 2019 3.2 -- -- Explosions. TA on 13 Apr.
21-22, 24 Apr 2019 -- -- -- Explosions.
26 Apr-03 May 2019 3 -- -- Explosions.
04, 06-07 May 2019 3.5 -- -- Explosions. TA on 6 May.
12-13 May 2019 2.5 -- -- Explosions. TA 12-13 May.
16-20 May 2019 2.5 -- -- Explosions. TA on 16-17 May.
25-28 May 2019 3 -- -- Explosions. TA on 27-28 May.
03 Jun 2019 3 -- E Explosions.
12 Jun 2019 -- -- -- TA.
14-15 Jun 2019 2.5 -- NW, NE Explosions.
21-28 Jun 2019 -- -- -- TA on 23 June.
28 Jun-05 Jul 2019 4.5 -- Multiple Explosions. TA on 29 Jun, 1 Jul.
05-12 Jul 2019 3.5 -- S Explosions. TA on 11 Jul.
15-16 Jul 2019 2 -- S, SE Explosions. TA on 13-16, 18 Jul.
20-26 Jul 2019 4 -- Multiple Explosions. TA on 18, 20, 25 Jul
25-26, 29 Jul, 01 Aug 2019 2.5 -- Multiple Explosions.
02, 04 Aug 2019 3 -- SE Explosions. TA on 2, 4 Aug.
10-16 Aug 2019 3 -- SE Explosions. TA on 10, 12 Aug.
17-23 Aug 2019 3 -- SE Explosions. TA on 16 Aug.
23, 27-28 Aug 2019 3 -- E Explosions. TA on 23 Aug.
30-31 Aug, 03-05 Sep 2019 3 -- E, SE Explosions on 30 Aug, 3-5 Sep. TA on 30-31 Aug.
07-13 Sep 2019 3 -- S, SE, N Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 6 Sep. TA on 8 Sep.
13-15, 18 Sep 2019 2.5 -- E Explosions. TA on 15 Sep.
22-23 Sep 2019 3 -- E, NE Explosions. Ashfall in S-K.
27 Sep-04 Oct 2019 4 -- SE, E, NE Explosions.
07-08, 10 Oct 2019 2.5 -- E, NE Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 4-5 Oct. Weak TA on 8 Oct.
11-18 Oct 2019 4 -- NE Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 15 Oct. Weak TA on 12 Oct.
18, 20-21, 23 Oct 2019 3 -- N, E, SE Explosions. Weak TA on 20 Oct.
25-26, 29-30 Oct 2019 2.5 -- E, NE Explosions. Weak TA on 29 Oct.
02-06 Nov 2019 3 -- N, E, SE Explosions.
11-12, 14 Nov 2019 3 -- E, NE Explosions.
15-17, 20 Nov 2019 3 -- SE, NE Explosions.
22-23, 28 Nov 2019 2.5 -- SE, E Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 23 Nov.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Satellite image showing the summit crater complex at Ebeko, July 2019. Monthly mosaic image for July 2019, copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Webcam photo of an explosion and ash plume at Ebeko on 27 July 2019. Videodata by IMGG FEB RAS and KB GS RAS (color adjusted and cropped); courtesy of Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Satellite images showing an ash explosion from Ebeko on 23 September 2019. Top image is in natural color (bands 4, 3, 2). Bottom image is using "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A) to show a thermal anomaly in the northern crater visible around the rising plume. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. A satellite image of Ebeko from Sentinel-2 (LC1 natural color, bands 4, 3, 2) on 30 October 2019 showing previous ashfall deposits on the snow going in multiple directions. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data detected four low-power thermal anomalies during the second half of July, and one each in the months of June, August, and October; no activity was recorded in September or November MODVOLC thermal alerts observed only one thermal anomaly between June through November 2019.

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/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); 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/).


Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevado del Ruiz

Colombia

4.892°N, 75.324°W; summit elev. 5279 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash plumes with significant gas and steam emissions during January 2016-December 2017

Nevado del Ruiz is a glaciated volcano in Colombia (figure 86). It is known for the 13 November 1985 eruption that produced an ash plume and associated pyroclastic flows onto the glacier, triggering a lahar that approximately 25,000 people in the towns of Armero (46 km west) and Chinchiná (34 km east). Since 1985 activity has intermittently occurred at the Arenas crater. The eruption that began on 18 November 2014 included ash plumes dominantly dispersed to the NW of Arenas crater (BGVN 42:06). This bulletin summarizes activity during January 2016 through December 2017 and is based on reports by Servicio Geologico Colombiano and Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales, Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) notices, and satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. A satellite image of Nevado del Ruiz showing the location of the active Arenas crater. September 2019 Monthly Mosaic image copyright Planet Labs 2019.

Activity during 2016. Throughout January 2016 ash and steam plumes were observed reaching up to a few kilometers. Significant water vapor and volcanic gases, especially SO2, were detected throughout the month. Thermal anomalies were detected in the crater on the 27th and 31st. Significant water vapor and volcanic gas plumes, in particular SO2, were frequently detected by the SCAN DOAS (Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy) station and satellite data (figure 87). A M3.2 earthquake was felt in the area on 18 January. Similar activity continued through February with notable ash plumes up to 1 km, and a M3.6 earthquake was felt on the 6th. Ash and gas-and-steam plumes were reported throughout March with a maximum of 3.5 km on the 31st (figure 88). Significant water vapor and gas plumes continued from the Arenas crater throughout the month, and a thermal anomaly was noted on the 28th. An increase in seismicity was reported on the 29th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Examples of SO2 plumes from Nevado del Ruiz detected by the Aura/OMI instrument on 10, 26, and 31 January 2019. Courtesy of Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Ash plumes at Nevado del Ruiz during March. Webcam images courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano, various 2016 reports.

The activity continued into April with a M 3.0 earthquake felt by nearby inhabitants on the 8th, an increase in seismicity reported in the week of 12-18, and another significant increase on the 28th with earthquakes felt around Manizales. Thermal anomalies were noted during 12-18 April with the largest on the 16th. Ash plumes continued through the month as well as significant steam-and-gas plumes. Ashfall was reported in Murillo on the 29th.

The elevated activity continued through May with significant steam plumes up to 1.7 km above the crater during the week of 10-16. Thermal anomalies were reported on the 11th and 12th. Steam, gas, and ash plumes reached 2.5 km above the crater and dispersed to the W and NW. Ashfall was reported in La Florida on the 20th (figure 89) and multiple ash plumes on the 22nd reached 2.5 km and resulted in the closure of the La Nubia airport in Manizales. Ash and gas-and-steam emission continued during June (figure 90).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Ash plumes at Nevado del Ruiz on 17, 18, and 20 May 2016 with fine ash deposited on a car in La Florida, Manizales on the 20th. Webcams located in the NE Guali sector of the volcano, courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano 20 May 2016 report.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Examples of gas-and-steam and ash plumes at Nevado del Ruiz during June and July 2016. Courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano (7 July 2016 report).

Similar activity was reported in July with gas-and-steam and ash plumes often dispersing to the NW and W. Ashfall was reported to the NW on 16 July (figure 91). Drumbeat seismicity was detected on 13, 15, 16, and 17 July, with two hours on the 16th being the longest duration episode do far. Drumbeat seismicity was noted by SGC as indicating dome growth. Significant water vapor and gas emissions continued through August. Ash plumes were reported through the month with plumes up to 1.3 km above the crater on 28 and 2.3 km on 29. Similar activity was reported through September as well as a thermal anomaly and ash deposition apparent in satellite data (figure 92). Drumbeat seismicity was noted again on the 17th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. The location of ashfall resulting from an explosion at Nevado del Ruiz on 16 July 2016 and a sample of the ash under a microscope. The ash is composed of lithics, plagioclase and pyroxene crystals, and minor volcanic glass. Courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano (16 July 2016 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. This Sentinel-2 thermal infrared satellite image shows elevated temperatures in the Nevado del Ruiz Arenas crater (yellow and orange) on 16 September 2016. Ash deposits are also visible to the NW of the crater. In this image blue is snow and ice. False color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During the week of 4-10 October it was noted that activity consisting of regular ash plumes had been ongoing for 22 months. Ash plumes continued with reported plumes reaching 2.5 above the crater throughout October (figure 93), accompanied by significant steam and water vapor emissions. A M 4.4 earthquake was felt nearby on the 7th. Similar activity continued through November and December 2016 with plumes consisting of gas and steam, and sometimes ash reaching 2 km above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. An ash plume rising above Nevado del Ruiz on 27 October 2016. Courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano.

Activity during 2017. Significant steam and gas emissions, especially SO2, continued into early 2017. Ash plumes detected through seismicity were confirmed in webcam images and through local reports; the plumes reached a maximum height of 2.5 km above the volcano on the 6th (figure 94). Drumbeat seismicity was recorded during 3-9, and on 22 January. Inflation was detected early in the month and several thermal anomalies were noted.

Intermittent deformation continued into February. Significant steam-and-gas emissions continued with intermittent ash plumes reaching 1.5-2 km above the volcano. Thermal anomalies were noted throughout the month and there was a significant increase in seismicity during 23-26 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Ash plumes at Nevado del Ruiz on 6 January 2017. Courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano.

Thermal anomalies continued to be detected through March. Ash plumes continued to be observed and recorded in seismicity and maximum heights of 2 km above the volcano were noted. Deflation continued after the intermittent inflation the previous month. On 10-11 April a period of short-duration and very low-energy drumbeat seismicity was recorded. Significant gas and steam emission continued through April with intermittent ash plumes reaching 1.5 km above the volcano. Thermal anomalies were detected early in the month.

Unrest continued through May with elevated seismicity, significant steam-and-gas emissions, and ash plumes reaching 1.7 km above the crater. Five episodes of drumbeat seismicity were recorded on 29 May and intermittent deformation continued. There were no available reports for June and July.

Variable seismicity was recorded during August and deflation was measured in the first week. Gas-and-steam plumes were observed rising to 850 m above the crater on the 3rd, and 450 m later in the month. A thermal anomaly was noted on the 14th. There were no available reports for September through December.

On 18 December 2017 the Washington VAAC issued an advisory for an ash plume to 6 km that was moving west and dispersing. The plume was described as a "thin veil of volcanic ash and gasses" that was seen in visible satellite imagery, NOAA/CIMSS, and supported by webcam imagery.

Geologic Background. Nevado del Ruiz is a broad, glacier-covered volcano in central Colombia that covers more than 200 km2. Three major edifices, composed of andesitic and dacitic lavas and andesitic pyroclastics, have been constructed since the beginning of the Pleistocene. The modern cone consists of a broad cluster of lava domes built within the caldera of an older edifice. The 1-km-wide, 240-m-deep Arenas crater occupies the summit. The prominent La Olleta pyroclastic cone located on the SW flank may also have been active in historical time. Steep headwalls of massive landslides cut the flanks. Melting of its summit icecap during historical eruptions, which date back to the 16th century, has resulted in devastating lahars, including one in 1985 that was South America's deadliest eruption.

Information Contacts: Servicio Geologico Colombiano (SGC), Diagonal 53 No. 34-53 - Bogotá D.C., Colombia (URL: https://www2.sgc.gov.co/volcanes/index.html); Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales (URL: https://www.facebook.com/ovsmanizales); 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); 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).


Sabancaya (Peru) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sabancaya

Peru

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions, ash and SO2 plumes, thermal anomalies, and lava dome growth during June-November 2019

Sabancaya is an andesitic stratovolcano located in Peru. The most recent eruptive episode began in early November 2016, which is characterized by gas-and-steam and ash emissions, seismicity, and explosive events (BGVN 44:06). The ash plumes are dispersed by wind with a typical radius of 30 km, which occasionally results in ashfall. Current volcanism includes high seismicity, gas-and-steam emissions, ash and SO2 plumes, numerous thermal anomalies, and explosive events. This report updates information from June through November 2019 using information primarily from the Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP) and Observatorio Volcanologico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico) (OVI-INGEMMET).

Table 5. Summary of eruptive activity at Sabancaya during June-November 2019 based on IGP weekly reports, the Buenos Aires VAAC advisories, the HIGP MODVOLC hotspot monitoring algorithm, and Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite data.

Month Avg. Daily Explosions by week Max plume Heights (km above crater) Plume drift MODVOLC Alerts Min Days with SO2 over 2 DU
Jun 2019 12, 13, 16, 17 2.6-3.8 30 km S, SW, E, SE, NW, NE 15 20
Jul 2019 23, 22, 16, 13 2.3-3.7 E, SE, S, NE 7 25
Aug 2019 12, 30, 25, 26 2-4.5 30 km NW, W S, NE, SE, SW 7 25
Sep 2019 29, 32, 24, 15 1.5-2.5 S, SE, E, W, NW, SW 14 26
Oct 2019 32, 36, 44, 48, 28 2.5-3.5 S, SE, SW, W 11 25
Nov 2019 58, 50, 47, 17 2-4 W, SW, S, NE, E 13 22

Explosions, ash emissions, thermal signatures, and high concentrations of SO2 were reported each week during June-November 2019 by IGP, the Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), HIGP MODVOLC, and Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite data (table 5). Thermal anomalies were visible in the summit crater, even in the presence of meteoric clouds and ash plumes were occasionally visible rising from the summit in clear weather (figure 68). The maximum plume height reached 4.5 km above the crater drifting NW, W, and S the week of 29 July-4 August, according to IGP who used surveillance cameras to visually monitor the plume (figure 69). This ash plume had a radius of 30 km, which resulted in ashfall in Colca (NW) and Huambo (W). On 27 July the SO2 levels reached a high of 12,814 tons/day, according to INGEMMET. An average of 58 daily explosions occurred in early November, which is the largest average of this reporting period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery detected ash plumes, gas-and-steam emissions, and multiple thermal signatures (bright yellow-orange) in the crater at Sabancaya during June-November 2019. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. A webcam image of an ash plume rising from Sabancaya on 1 August 2019 at least 4 km above the crater. Courtesy of IGP.

Seismicity was also particularly high between August and September 2019, according to INGEMMET. On 14 August, roughly 850 earthquakes were detected. There were 280 earthquakes reported on 15 September, located 6 km NE of the crater. Both seismic events were characterized as seismic swarms. Seismicity decreased afterward but continued through the reporting period.

In February 2017, a lava dome was established inside the crater. Since then, it has been growing slowly, filling the N area of the crater and producing thermal anomalies. On 26 October 2019, OVI-INGEMMET conducted a drone overflight and captured video of the lava dome (figure 70). According to IGP, this lava dome is approximately 4.6 million cubic meters with a growth rate of 0.05 m3/s.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. Drone images of the lava dome and degassing inside the crater at Sabancaya on 26 (top) and 27 (bottom) October 2019. Courtesy of INGEMMET (Informe Ténico No A6969).

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows strong, consistent thermal anomalies occurring all throughout June through November 2019 (figure 71). In conjunction with these thermal anomalies, the October 2019 special issue report by INGEMMET showed new hotspots forming along the crater rim in July 2018 and August 2019 (figure 72).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Thermal anomalies at Sabancaya for 3 January through November 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were frequent, strong, and consistent. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Thermal hotspots on the NW section of the crater at Sabancaya using MIROVA images. These images show the progression of the formation of at least two new hotspots between February 2017 to August 2019. Courtesy of INGEMMET, Informe Técnico No A6969.

Sulfur dioxide emissions also persisted at significant levels from June through November 2019, as detected by Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite data (figure 73). The satellite measurements of the SO2 emissions exceeded 2 DU (Dobson Units) at least 20 days each month during this time. These SO2 plumes sometimes occurred for multiple consecutive days (figure 74).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Consistent, large SO2 plumes from Sabancaya were seen in TROPOMI instrument satellite data throughout June-November 2019, many of which drifted in different directions based on the prevailing winds. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Persistent SO2 plumes from Sabancaya appeared daily during 13-16 September 2019 in the TROPOMI instrument satellite data. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

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: Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), Calle Badajoz N° 169 Urb. Mayorazgo IV Etapa, Ate, Lima 15012, Perú (URL: https://www.gob.pe/igp); 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); 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/); 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); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Karangetang (Indonesia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava flows, strong thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam emissions, and ash plumes during May-November 2019

Karangetang (also known as Api Siau), located on the island of Siau in the Sitaro Regency, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, has experienced more than 40 recorded eruptions since 1675 in addition to many smaller undocumented eruptions. In early February 2019, a lava flow originated from the N crater (Kawah Dua) traveling NNW and reaching a distance over 3 km. Recent monitoring showed a lava flow from the S crater (Kawah Utama, also considered the "Main Crater") traveling toward the Kahetang and Batuawang River drainages on 15 April 2019. Gas-and-steam emissions, ash plumes, moderate seismicity, and thermal anomalies including lava flow activity define this current reporting period for May through November 2019. The primary source of information for this report comes from daily and weekly reports by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM, or the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and satellite data.

PVMBG reported that white gas-and-steam emissions were visible rising above both craters consistently between May through November 2019 (figures 30 and 31). The maximum altitude for these emissions was 400 m above the Dua Crater on 27 May and 700 m above the Main Crater on 12 June. Throughout the reporting period PVMBG noted that moderate seismicity occurred, which included both shallow and deep volcanic earthquakes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. A Sentinel-2 image of Karangetang showing two active craters producing gas-and-steam emissions with a small amount of ash on 7 August 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Webcam images of gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit of Karangetang on 14 (top) and 25 (bottom) October 2019. Courtesy of PVMBG via Øystein Lund Andersen.

Activity was relatively low between May and June 2019, consisting mostly of gas-and-steam emissions. On 26-27 May 2019 crater incandescence was observed above the Main Crater; white gas-and-steam emissions were rising from both craters (figures 32 and 33). At 1858 on 20 July, incandescent avalanches of material originating from the Main Crater traveled as far as 1 km W toward the Pangi and Kinali River drainages. By 22 July the incandescent material had traveled another 500 m in the same direction as well as 1 km in the direction of the Nanitu and Beha River drainages. According to a Darwin VAAC report, discreet, intermittent ash eruptions on 30 July resulted in plumes drifting W at 7.6 km altitude and SE at 3 km, as observed in HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Photograph of summit crater incandescence at Karangetang on 12 May 2019. Courtesy of Dominik Derek.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Photograph of both summit crater incandescence at Karangetang on 12 May 2019 accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. Courtesy of Dominik Derek.

On 5 August 2019 a minor eruption produced an ash cloud that rose 3 km and drifted E. PVMBG reported in the weekly report for 5-11 August that an incandescent lava flow from the Main Crater was traveling W and SW on the slopes of Karangetang and producing incandescent avalanches (figure 34). During 12 August through 1 September lava continued to effuse from both the Main and Dua craters. Avalanches of material traveled as far as 1.5 km SW toward the Nanitu and Pangi River drainages, 1.4-2 km to the W of Pangi, and 1.8 km down the Sense River drainage. Lava fountaining was observed occurring up to 10 m above the summit on 14-20 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Photograph of summit crater incandescence and a lava flow from Karangetang on 7 August 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

PVMBG reported that during 2-22 September lava continued to effuse from both craters, traveling SW toward the Nanitu, Pangi, and Sense River drainages as far as 1.5 km. On 24 September the lava flow occasionally traveled 0.8-1.5 km toward the West Beha River drainage. The lava flow from the Main Crater continued through at least the end of November, moving SW and W as far as 1.5 km toward the Nanitu, Pangi, and Sense River drainages. In late October and onwards, incandescence from both summit craters was observed at night. The lava flow often traveled as far as 1 km toward the Batang and East Beha River drainage on 12 November, the West Beha River drainage on 15, 22, 24, and 29 November, and the Batang and West Beha River drainages on 25-27 November (figure 35). On 30 November a Strombolian eruption occurred in the Main Crater accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions rising 100 m above the Main Crater and 50 m above the Dua Crater. Lava flows traveled SW and W toward the Nanitu, Sense, and Pangi River drainages as far as 1.5 km, the West Beha and Batang River drainages as far as 1 km, and occasionally the Batu Awang and Kahetang River drainages as far as 2 km. Lava fountaining was reported occurring 10-25 m above the Main Crater and 10 m above the Dua Crater on 6, 8-12, 15, 21-30 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Webcam image of gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit of Karangetang accompanied by incandescence and lava flows at night on 27 November 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia via Øystein Lund Andersen.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed consistent and strong thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit craters from late July through November 2019 (figure 36). Satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 corroborated this data, showing strong thermal anomalies and lava flows originating from both craters during this same timeframe (figure 37). In addition to these lava flows, satellite imagery also captured intermittent gas-and-steam emissions from May through November (figure 38). MODVOLC thermal alerts registered 165 thermal hotspots near Karangetang's summit between May and November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Frequent and strong thermal anomalies at Karangetang between 3 January through November 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) began in late July and were recorded within 5 km of the summit craters. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) confirmed ongoing thermal activity (bright orange) at Karangetang from July into November 2019. The lava flows traveled dominantly in the W direction from the Main Crater. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showing gas-and-steam emissions with a small amount of ash (middle and right) rising from both craters of Karangetang during May through November 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite data detected multiple sulfur dioxide plumes between May and November 2019 (figure 39). These emissions occasionally exceeded 2 Dobson Units (DU) and drifted in different directions based on the dominant wind pattern.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. SO2 emissions from Karangetang (indicated by the red box) were seen in TROPOMI instrument satellite data during May through November 2019, many of which drifted in different directions based on the prevailing winds. Top left: 27 May 2019. Top middle: 26 July 2019. Top right: 17 August 2019. Bottom left: 27 September 2019. Bottom middle: 3 October 2019. Bottom right: 21 November 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: https://www.oysteinlundandersen.com); Dominik Derek (URL: https://www.facebook.com/07dominikderek/).


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ulawun

Papua New Guinea

5.05°S, 151.33°E; summit elev. 2334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New vent, lava fountaining, lava flow, and ash plumes in late September-October 2019

Ulawun is a basaltic-to-andesitic stratovolcano located in West New Britain, Papua New Guinea, with typical activity consisting of seismicity, gas-and-steam plumes, and ash emissions. The most recent eruption began in late June 2019 involving ash and gas-and-steam emissions, increased seismicity, and a pyroclastic flow (BGVN 44:09). This report includes volcanism from September to October 2019 with primary source information from the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

Activity remained low through 26 September 2019, mainly consisting of variable amounts of gas-and-steam emissions and low seismicity. Between 26 and 29 September RVO reported that the seismicity increased slightly and included low-level volcanic tremors and Real-Time Seismic Amplitude Measurement (RSAM) values in the 200-400 range on 19, 20, and 22 September. On 30 September small volcanic earthquakes began around 1000 and continued to increase in frequency; by 1220, they were characterized as a seismic swarm. The Darwin VAAC advisory noted that an ash plume rose to 4.6-6 km altitude, drifting SW and W, based on ground reports.

On 1 October 2019 the seismicity increased, reaching RSAM values up to 10,000 units between 0130 and 0200, according to RVO. These events preceded an eruption which originated from a new vent that opened on the SW flank at 700 m elevation, about three-quarters of the way down the flank from the summit. The eruption started between 0430 and 0500 and was defined by incandescence and lava fountaining to less than 100 m. In addition to lava fountaining, light- to dark-gray ash plumes were visible rising several kilometers above the vent and drifting NW and W (figure 21). On 2 October, as the lava fountaining continued, ash-and-steam plumes rose to variable heights between 2 and 5.2 km (figures 22 and 23), resulting in ashfall to the W in Navo. Seismicity remained high, with RSAM values passing 12,000. A lava flow also emerged during the night which traveled 1-2 km NW. The main summit crater produced white gas-and-steam emissions, but no incandescence or other signs of activity were observed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Photographs of incandescence and lava fountaining from Ulawun during 1-2 October 2019. A) Lava fountains along with ash plumes that rose several kilometers above the vent. B) Incandescence and lava fountaining seen from offshore. Courtesy of Christopher Lagisa.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Photographs of an ash plume rising from Ulawun on 1 October 2019. In the right photo, lava fountaining is visible. Courtesy of Christopher Lagisa.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Photograph of lava fountaining and an ash plume rising from Ulawun on 1 October 2019. Courtesy of Joe Metto, WNB Provincial Disaster Office (RVO Report 2019100101).

Ash emissions began to decrease by 3 October 2019; satellite imagery and ground observations showed an ash cloud rising to 3 km altitude and drifting N, according to the Darwin VAAC report. RVO reported that the fissure eruption on the SW flank stopped on 4 October, but gas-and-steam emissions and weak incandescence were still visible. The lava flow slowed, advancing 3-5 m/day, while declining seismicity was reflected in RSAM values fluctuating around 1,000. RVO reported that between 23 and 31 October the main summit crater continued to produce variable amounts of white gas-and-steam emissions (figure 24) and that no incandescence was observed after 5 October. Gas-and-steam emissions were also observed around the new SW vent and along the lava flow. Seismicity remained low until 27-29 October; it increased again and peaked on 30 October, reaching an RSAM value of 1,700 before dropping and fluctuating around 1,200-1,500.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Webcam photo of a gas-and-steam plume rising from Ulawun on 30 October 2019. Courtesy of the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO).

In addition to ash plumes, SO2 plumes were also detected between September and October 2019. Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI data showed SO2 plumes, some of which exceeded 2 Dobson Units (DU) drifting in different directions (figure 25). MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed strong, frequent thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit beginning in early October 2019 and throughout the rest of the month (figure 26). Only one thermal anomaly was detected in early December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI data showing a high concentration of SO2 plumes rising from Ulawun between late September-early October 2019. Top left: 11 September 2019. Top right: 1 October 2019. Bottom left: 2 October 2019. Bottom right: 3 October 2019. Courtesy of the NASA Space Goddard Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Frequent and strong thermal anomalies at Ulawun for February through December 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) began in early October and continued throughout the month. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity in November was relatively low, with only a variable amount of white gas-and-steam emissions visible and low (less than 200 RSAM units) seismicity with sporadic volcanic earthquakes. Between 9-22 December, a webcam showed intermittent white gas-and-steam emissions were observed at the main crater, accompanied by some incandescence at night. Some gas-and-steam emissions were also observed rising from the new SW vent along the lava flow.

Geologic Background. The symmetrical basaltic-to-andesitic Ulawun stratovolcano is the highest volcano of the Bismarck arc, and one of Papua New Guinea's most frequently active. The volcano, also known as the Father, rises above the N coast of the island of New Britain across a low saddle NE of Bamus volcano, the South Son. The upper 1,000 m is unvegetated. A prominent E-W escarpment on the south may be the result of large-scale slumping. Satellitic cones occupy the NW and E flanks. A steep-walled valley cuts the NW side, and a flank lava-flow complex lies to the south of this valley. Historical eruptions date back to the beginning of the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions were mildly explosive until 1967, but after 1970 several larger eruptions produced lava flows and basaltic pyroclastic flows, greatly modifying the summit crater.

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/); 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/); Christopher Lagisa, West New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea (URL: https://www.facebook.com/christopher.lagisa, images posted at https://www.facebook.com/christopher.lagisa/posts/730662937360239 and https://www.facebook.com/christopher.lagisa/posts/730215604071639).


Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong thermal anomalies and fumaroles within the summit crater during June-November 2019

Nyamuragira (also known as Nyamulagira) is a high-potassium basaltic shield volcano located in the Virunga Volcanic Province (VVP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Previous volcanism consisted of the reappearance of a lava lake in the summit crater in mid-April 2018, lava emissions, and high seismicity (BGVN 44:05). Current activity includes strong thermal signatures, continued inner crater wall collapses, and continued moderate seismicity. The primary source of information for this June-November 2019 report comes from the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) and satellite data and imagery from multiple sources.

OVG reported in the July 2019 monthly that the inner crater wall collapses that were observed in May continued to occur. During this month, there was a sharp decrease in the lava lake level, and it is no longer visible. However, the report stated that lava fountaining was visible from a small cone within this crater, though its activity has also decreased since 2014. In late July, a thermal anomaly and fumaroles were observed originating from this cone (figure 85). Seismicity remained moderate throughout this reporting period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Photograph showing the small active cone within the crater of Nyamuragira in late July 2019. Fumaroles are also observed within the crater originating from the small cone. Courtesy of Sergio Maguna.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows strong, frequent thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit between June through November (figure 86). The strength of these thermal anomalies noticeably decreases briefly in September. MODVOLC thermal alerts registered 54 thermal hotspots dominantly near the N area of the crater during June through November 2019. Satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 corroborated this data, showing strong thermal anomalies within the summit crater during this same timeframe (figure 87).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity (log radiative power) at Nyamuragira during 30 January through November 2019 shows strong, frequent thermal anomalies through November with a brief decrease in activity in late April-early May and early September. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) confirmed ongoing thermal activity at Nyamuragira into November 2019. 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; Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sergio Maguna (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sergio.maguna.9, images posted at https://www.facebook.com/sergio.maguna.9/posts/1267625096730837).


Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Bagana

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions and thermal anomalies during June-November 2019

Bagana volcano is found in a remote portion of central Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea. The most recent eruptive phase that began in early 2000 has produced ash plumes and thermal anomalies (BGVN 44:06, 50:01). Activity has remained low between January-July 2019 with rare thermal anomalies and occasional steam plumes. This reporting period updates information for June-November 2019 and includes thermal anomalies and intermittent gas-and-steam emissions. Thermal data and satellite imagery are the primary sources of information for this report.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed an increased number of thermal anomalies within 5 km from the summit beginning in late July-early August (figure 38). Two Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed faint, roughly linear thermal anomalies, indicative of lava flows trending EW and NS on 7 July 2019 and 6 August, respectively (figure 39). Weak thermal hotspots were briefly detected in late September-early October after a short hiatus in September. No thermal anomalies were recorded in Sentinel-2 past August due to cloud cover; however, gas-and-steam emissions were visible on 7 July and in September (figures 39, 40, and 41).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Thermal anomalies near the crater summit at Bagana during February-November 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) increased in frequency and power in early August. A small cluster was detected in early October after a brief pause in activity in early September. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showing small thermal anomalies at Bagana between July-August 2019. Left: A very faint thermal anomaly and a gas-and-steam plume is seen on 7 July 2019. Right: Two small thermal anomalies are faintly seen on 6 August 2019. Both Sentinel-2 satellite images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. A gas-and-steam plume rising from the summit of Bagana on 18 September 2019. Courtesy of Brendan McCormick Kilbride (University of Manchester).

The Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) scientific team partnered with the Rabaul Volcano Observatory and the Bougainville Disaster Office to observe activity at Bagana and collect gas data using drone technology during two weeks of field work in mid-September 2019. For this field work, the major focus was to understand the composition of the volcanic gas emitted at Bagana and measure the concentration of these gases. Since Bagana is remote and difficult to climb, research about its gas emissions has been limited. The recent advancements in drone technology has allowed for new data collection at the summit of Bagana (figure 41). Most of the emissions consisted of water vapor, according to Brendan McCormick Kilbride, one of the volcanologists on this trip. During 14-19 September there was consistently a strong gas-and-steam plume from Bagana (figure 42).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Degassing plumes seen from drone footage 100 m above the summit of Bagana. Top: Zoomed out view of the summit of Bagana degassing. Bottom: Closer perspective of the gases emitted from Bagana. Courtesy of Kieran Wood (University of Bristol) and the Bristol Flight Laboratory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Photos of gas-and-steam plumes rising from Bagana between 14-19 September 2019. Courtesy of Brendan McCormick Kilbride (University of Manchester).

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

Information Contacts: MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Brendan McCormick Kilbride, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, United Kingdom (URL: https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/brendan.mccormickkilbride.html, Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrendanVolc); Kieran Wood, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1QU, United Kingdom (URL: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/engineering/people/kieran-t-wood/index.html, Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrKieranWood, video posted at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7Hx645v0eU); University of Bristol Flight Laboratory, Bristol BS8 1QU, United Kingdom (Twitter: https://twitter.com/UOBFlightLab).


Kerinci (Indonesia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes during June-early November 2019

Kerinci, located in Sumatra, Indonesia, is a highly active volcano characterized by explosive eruptions with ash plumes and gas-and-steam emissions. The most recent eruptive episode began in April 2018 and included intermittent explosions with ash plumes. Volcanism continued from June-November 2019 with ongoing intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes. The primary source of information for this report comes from Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and MAGMA Indonesia.

Brown- to gray-colored ash clouds drifting in different directions were reported by PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC, and MAGMA Indonesia between June and early November 2019. Ground observations, satellite imagery, and weather models were used to monitor the plume, which ranged from 4.3 to 4.9 km altitude, or about 500-1,100 m above the summit. On 7 June 2019 at 0604 a gray ash emission rose 800 m above the summit, drifting E, according to a ground observer. An ash plume on 12 July rose to 4 km altitude and drifted SW, as determined by satellite imagery and weather models. An eruption produced a gray ash cloud on 31 July that rose to 4.6 km altitude and drifted NE and E, according to PVMBG and the Darwin VAAC (figure 17). Another ash cloud rose up to 4.3 km altitude on 3 August. On 2 September a possible ash plume rose to a maximum altitude of 4.9 km and drifted WSW, according to the Darwin VAAC advisory.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. A gray ash plume at Kerinci rose roughly 800 m above the summit on 31 July 2019 and drifted NE and E. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Brown ash emissions rose to 4.4 km altitude at 1253 on 6 October, drifting WSW. Similar plumes reached 4.6 km altitude twice on 30 October and moved NE, SE, and E at 0614 and WSW at 1721, based on ground observations. On 1-2 November, ground observers saw brown ash emissions rising up to 4.3 km drifting ESE. Between 3 and 5 November the brown ash plumes rose 100-500 m above the summit, according to PVMBG.

Gas emissions continued to be observed through November, as reported by PVMBG and identified in satellite imagery (figure 18). Seismicity that included volcanic earthquakes also continued between June and early November, when the frequency decreased.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showing a typical white gas-and-steam plume at Kerinci on 9 August 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite image with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Bezymianny (Russia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava dome growth, ongoing thermal anomalies, moderate gas-steam emissions, June-November 2019

The long-term activity at Bezymianny has been dominated by almost continuous thermal anomalies, moderate gas-steam emissions, dome growth, lava flows, and an occasional ash explosion (BGVN 44:06). The volcano is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT. Throughout the reporting period of June to November 2019, the Aviation Colour Code remained Yellow (second lowest of four levels).

According to KVERT weekly reports, lava dome growth continued in June through mid-July 2019. Thereafter the reports did not mention dome growth, but indicated that moderate gas-and-steam emissions (figure 32) continued through November. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, based on analysis of MODIS data, detected hotspots within 5 km of the summit almost every day. KVERT also reported a thermal anomaly over the volcano almost daily, except when it was obscured by clouds. Infrared satellite imagery often showed thermal anomalies generated by lava flows or dome growth (figure 33).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Photo of Bezymianny showing fumarolic activity on 4 July 2019. Photo by O. Girina (IVS FEB RAS, KVERT); courtesy of KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Typical infrared satellite images of Bezymianny showing thermal anomalies in the summit crater, including a lava flow to the WNW. Top: 21 August 2019 with SWIR filter (bands 12, 8A, 4). Bottom: 17 September 2019 with Atmospheric Penetration filter (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); 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).


Mayon (Philippines) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Gas-and-steam plumes and summit incandescence during May-October 2019

Mayon, located in the Philippines, is a highly active stratovolcano with recorded historical eruptions dating back to 1616. The most recent eruptive episode began in early January 2018 that consisted of phreatic explosions, steam-and-ash plumes, lava fountaining, and pyroclastic flows (BGVN 43:04). The previous report noted small but distinct thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam plumes, and slight inflation (BGVN 44:05) that continued to occur from May into mid-October 2019. This report includes information based on daily bulletins from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and Sentinel-2 satellite imagery.

Between May and October 2019, white gas-and-steam plumes rose to a maximum altitude of 800 m on 17 May. PHIVOLCS reported that faint summit incandescence was frequently observed at night from May-July and Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed weaker thermal anomalies in September and October (figure 49); the last anomaly was identified on 12 October. Average SO2 emissions as measured by PHIVOLCS generally varied between 469-774 tons/day; the high value of the period was on 25 July, with 1,171 tons/day. Small SO2 plumes were detected by the TROPOMI satellite instrument a few times during May-September 2019 (figure 50).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery of Mayon between May-October 2019. Small thermal anomalies were recorded in satellite imagery from the summit and some white gas-and-steam plumes are visible. Top left: 30 May 2019. Top right: 9 June 2019. Bottom left: 22 September 2019. Bottom right: 12 October 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Small SO2 plumes rising from Mayon during May-September 2019 recorded in DU (Dobson Units). Top left: 28 May 2019. Top right: 26 July 2019. Bottom left: 16 August 2019. Bottom right: 23 September 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Continuous GPS data has shown slight inflation since June 2018, corroborated by precise leveling data taken on 9-17 April, 16-25 July, and 23-30 October 2019. Elevated seismicity and occasional rockfall events were detected by the seismic monitoring network from PHIVOLCS from May to July; recorded activity decreased in August. Activity reported by PHIVOLCS in September-October 2019 consisted of frequent gas-and-steam emissions, two volcanic earthquakes, and no summit incandescence.

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

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/); 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/).


Merapi (Indonesia) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Low-volume dome growth continues during April-September 2019 with rockfalls and small block-and-ash flows

Merapi is an active volcano north of the city of Yogyakarta (figure 79) that has a recent history of dome growth and collapse, resulting in block-and-ash flows that killed over 400 in 2010, while an estimated 10,000-20,000 lives were saved by evacuations. The edifice contains an active dome at the summit, above the Gendol drainage down the SE flank (figure 80). The current eruption episode began in May 2018 and dome growth was observed from 11 August 2018-onwards. This Bulletin summarizes activity during April through September 2019 and is based on information from Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG, the Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology, a branch of PVMBG), Sutopo of Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), MAGMA Indonesia, along with observations by Øystein Lund Andersen and Brett Carr of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Merapi volcano is located north of Yogyakarta in Central Java. Photo courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. A view of the Gendol drainage where avalanches and block-and-ash flows are channeled from the active Merapi lava dome. The Gendol drainage is approximately 400 m wide at the summit. Courtesy of Brett Carr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

At the beginning of April the rate of dome growth was relatively low, with little morphological change since January, but the overall activity of Merapi was considered high. Magma extrusion above the upper Gendol drainage resulted in rockfalls and block-and-ash flows out to 1.5 km from the dome, which were incandescent and visible at night. Five block-and-ash flows were recorded on 24 April, reaching as far as 1.2 km down the Gendol drainage. The volume of the dome was calculated to be 466,000 m3 on 9 April, a slight decrease from the previous week. Weak gas plumes reached a maximum of 500 m above the dome throughout April.

Six block-and-ash flows were generated on 5 May, lasting up to 77 seconds. Throughout May there were no significant changes to the dome morphology but the volume had decreased to 458,000 by 4 May according to drome imagery analysis. Lava extrusion continued above the Gendol drainage, producing rockfalls and small block-and-ash flows out to 1.2 km (figure 81). Gas plumes were observed to reach 400 m above the top of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. An avalanche from the Merapi summit dome on 17 May 2019. The incandescent blocks traveled down to 850 m away from the dome. Courtesy of Sutopo, BNPB.

There were a total of 72 avalanches and block-and-ash flows from 29 January to 1 June, with an average distance of 1 km and a maximum of 2 km down the Gendol drainage. Photographs taken by Øystein Lund Andersen show the morphological change to the lava dome due to the collapse of rock and extruding lava down the Gendol drainage (figures 82 and 83). Block-and-ash flows were recorded on 17 and 20 June to a distance of 1.2 km, and a webcam image showed an incandescent flow on 26 June (figure 84). Throughout June gas plumes reached a maximum of 250 m above the top of the crater

Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. The development of the Merapi summit dome from 2 June 2018 to 17 June 2019. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Photos taken of the Merapi summit lava dome in June 2019. Top: This nighttime time-lapse photograph shows incandescence at the south-facing side of the dome on the 16 June. Middle: A closeup of a small rockfall from the dome on 17 June. Bottom: A gas plume accompanying a small rockfall on 17 June. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Blocks from an incandescent rockfall off the Merapi dome reached out to 1 km down the Gendol drainage on 26 June 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Analysis of drone images taken on 4 July gave an updated dome volume of 475,000 m3, a slight increase but with little change in the morphology (figure 85). Block-and-ash flows traveled 1.1 km down the Gendol drainage on 1 July, 1 km on the 13th, and 1.1 km on the 14th, some of which were seen at night as incandescent blocks fell from the dome (figure 86). During the week of 19-25 July there were four recorded block-and-ash flows reaching 1.1 km, and flows traveled out to around 1 km on the 24th, 27th, and 31st. The morphology of the dome continued to be relatively stable due to the extruding lava falling into the Gendol drainage. Gas plumes reached 300 m above the top of the crater during July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. The Merapi dome on 30 July 2019 producing a weak plume. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Incandescent rocks from the hot lava dome at the summit of Merapi form rockfalls down the Gendol drainage on 14 July 2019. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.

During the week of 5-11 August the dome volume was calculated to be 461,000 m3, a slight decrease from the week before with little morphological changes due to the continued lava extrusion collapsing into the Gendol drainage. There were five block-and-ash flows reaching a maximum of 1.2 km during 2-8 August. Two flows were observed on the 13th and 14th reaching 950 m, out to 1.9 km on the 20th and 22nd, and to 550 m on the 24th. There were 16 observed flows that reached 500-1,000 m on 25-27 August, with an additional flow out to 2 km at 1807 on the 27th (figure 87). Gas plumes reached a maximum of 350 m through the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. An incandescent rockfall from the Merapi dome that reached 2 km down the Gendol drainage on 27 August 2019. Courtesy of BPPTKG.

Brett Carr was conducting field work at Merapi during 12-26 September. During this time the lava extrusion was low (below 1 m3 per second). He observed small rockfalls with blocks a couple of meters in size, traveling about 50-200 m down the drainage every hour or so, producing small plumes as they descended and resulting in incandescence on the dome at night. Small dome collapse events produced block-and-ash flows down the drainage once or twice per day (figure 88) and slightly larger flows just over 1 km long a couple of times per week.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. A rockfall on the Merapi dome, towards the Gendol drainage at 0551 on 20 September 2019. Courtesy of Brett Carr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

The dome volume was 468,000 m3 by 19 September, a slight increase from the previous calculation but again with little morphological change. Two block-and-ash flows were observed out to 600 m on 9 September and seven occurred on the 9th out to 500-1,100 m. Two occurred on the 14th down to 750-900 m, three occurred on 17, 20, and 21 September to a maximum distance of 1.2 km, and three more out to 1.5 km through the 26th. A VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) was issued on the 22nd due to a small explosion producing an ash plume up to approximately 3.8 km altitude (about 800 m above the summit) and minor ashfall to 15 km SW. This was followed by a block-and-ash flow reaching as far as 1.2 km and lasting for 125 seconds (figure 89). Preceding the explosion there was an increase in temperature at several locations on the dome. Weak gas plumes were observed up to 100 m above the crater throughout the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. An explosion at Merapi on 22 September 2019 was followed by a block-and-ash flow that reached 1.2 km down the Gendol drainage. Courtesy of BPPTKG.

Geologic Background. Merapi, one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, lies in one of the world's most densely populated areas and dominates the landscape immediately north of the major city of Yogyakarta. It is the youngest and southernmost of a volcanic chain extending NNW to Ungaran volcano. Growth of Old Merapi during the Pleistocene ended with major edifice collapse perhaps about 2000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequently growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent eruptive activity, began SW of the earlier collapse scarp. Pyroclastic flows and lahars accompanying growth and collapse of the steep-sided active summit lava dome have devastated cultivated lands on the western-to-southern flanks and caused many fatalities during historical time.

Information Contacts: Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG), Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology (URL: http://merapi.bgl.esdm.go.id/, Twitter: @BPPTKG); Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); 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/, Twitter: https://twitter.com/BNPB_Indonesia); Øystein Lund Andersen? (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com); Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB (Twitter: @Sutopo_PN, URL: https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN); Brett Carr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY, USA (URL: https://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/user/bcarr).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 38, Number 10 (October 2013)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Alaid (Russia)

Minor ash plumes on 17 and 23 October and 8 November 2012

Apoyeque (Nicaragua)

Seismic swarms in 2009 and 2012

Barren Island (India)

Ash plume drifted up to 220 km SW in February 2013

Cleveland (United States)

Dome growth and destruction during 2012-2013

Karymsky (Russia)

Seismicity and ash plumes, September 2010-December 2013

Negro, Cerro (Nicaragua)

Seismic swarm in 2013

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Variable but often modest eruptions during mid-2011 through 2013



Alaid (Russia) — October 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Alaid

Russia

50.861°N, 155.565°E; summit elev. 2285 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor ash plumes on 17 and 23 October and 8 November 2012

Our previous report noted weak seismicity from Alaid during November 2003, although seismologists determined it was not related to volcanic activity (BGVN 28:11). This report discusses activity from December 2003 to January 2014. Emissions were observed in May 2010 and October 2012, but ash was not detected in the plumes until 23 October 2012. The last thermal anomaly was detected in December 2012.

Alaid volcano is located on Atlasova island off the southern tip of Russia's Kamchatka peninsula and represents the northernmost Holocene volcano in the Kuril Islands (figures 2 and 3). Other names for the volcano and island include Araido, Atlasova, Oyakoba, and Uyakhuzhach (Ukviggen, 2013). Despite the islands small size, its summit (2,339 m elevation) is the highest in the Kuriles. The volcano also plays a large and colorful role in the region's folklore (Ukviggen, 2013; Svalova, 1999).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. A regional map showing Alaid volcano, located S of the Kamchatka Peninsula (K), S of the city Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (P-K), and W of Paramushir and Shumshu Islands. Alaid (red triangle) is located at Atlasora Island. The original map was in Russian with authorship information at lower right. Courtesy of Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. A simple map with S towards the top, illustrating Alaid on Atlasov island and some of the adjacent Holocene volcanoes in the Kuriles. Volcanoes on Kamchatka are omitted. Taken from Volcano World.

On 5 October 2012, (KVERT) changed the Aviation Color Code from Green to Yellow due to "signs of elevated unrest above known background levels." A Volcano Observatory Notification to Aviation (VONA) noted that a possible explosive eruption could produce an ash column height of 10-15 km. Because Alaid is located near many flight routes, an eruption poses hazards to aviation (Girina and others, 2013).

On 23 May a gas-and-steam plume from Alaid was seen in satellite imagery drifting 11 km ESE. No other signs of possible increasing activity were seen in imagery or noted by observers on Paramushir Island during 21-28 May. During 2012, thermal anomalies were detected on 6, 12, 14-17, 19, 23, 27-28 and 30-31 October, 1, 4, 6-9, 12, 14, 20 and 24 November, and 4 and 12 December. At times, satellites could not detect thermal anomalies over Alaid volcano because of cloud cover, for example during the end of December 2012 and the beginning of January 2013. Visual observations from the adjacent Paramushir and Shumshu islands reported steam activity on 5, 11, 16, 17, 23, 26 and 27 October 2012; steam plumes rose 200 m on 5 October and 3 km on 23 October. (KVERT) and Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (IVS) FED RAS photographs showed fumarole activity on 6, 11, 12, 16, 25 and 27 October and 29 November 2012.

Several ash plumes erupting from Alaid volcano were reported in October and November 2012. (KVERT) and (IVS) FED RAS photographs from 17 and 23 October showed steam plumes containing ash rising 700 m. During this time, a small cinder cone grew in the larger summit crater. The volcano and its summit crater can be observed during an interval of inactivity on figure 4. Observers on 8 November 2012 noted that the volcanic cone was covered by ash.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Photograph of Alaid during clear viewing conditions taken by the International Space Station's Expedition 31 crew on 18 May 2012. The silver-gray appearance on the sea surface surrounding much of the volcano results from strongly reflected sunlight bounced off the sea surface (sunglint). The image was provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center (Photo ID, ISS031-E-41959). Courtesy of the International Space Station, the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory at Johnson Space Center, and William L. Stefanov (Jacobs/ESCG at NASA-JSC).

Because of mechanical problems, seismicity could not be monitored for the majority of the time Alaid was at Aviation Color Code Yellow; seismic data was unavailable from January 2009 until November 2012. The seismic station was repaired on 16 November 2012, and KVERT noted moderate seismic activity. During early December, the amplitude of volcanic tremor was in the range 12.1-18.7 μm/s. After 11 December 2012, technical reasons again prevented further seismic data acquisition.

On 8 January 2013 the Aviation Color Code was reduced to Green, meaning that "volcanic activity was considered to have ceased, and the volcano reverted to its normal, non-eruptive state" (KVERT).

References: Svalova, VB, 1999, Geothermal Legends through History in Russia and the Former USSR: A Bridge to the Past, Geothermal Resources Council Transactions, v. 22 p.235-239. PDF file. (URL: http://pubs.geothermal-library.org/lib/grc/1015911.pdf)

Ukviggen, 2013, Alaid: Part 1–the Banished Beauty, Volcano Cafe, 24 April 2013. Accessed online 13 January 2014. (URL: http://volcanocafe.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/alaid-part-1-the-banished-beauty/)

Girina,O., Manevich, A., Melnikov, D., Nuzhdaev,A., Demyanchuk, Y., and Petrova, E., 2013, Explosive Eruptions of Kamchatkan Volcanoes in 2012 and Danger to Aviation, EGU General Assembly, (abstract), 2013 meeting in Vienna, Austria. (URL: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2013EGUGA..15.6760G).

Geologic Background. The highest and northernmost volcano of the Kuril Islands, 2285-m-high Alaid is a symmetrical stratovolcano when viewed from the north, but has a 1.5-km-wide summit crater that is breached widely to the south. Alaid is the northernmost of a chain of volcanoes constructed west of the main Kuril archipelago. Numerous pyroclastic cones dot the lower flanks of this basaltic to basaltic-andesite volcano, particularly on the NW and SE sides, including an offshore cone formed during the 1933-34 eruption. Strong explosive eruptions have occurred from the summit crater beginning in the 18th century. Reports of eruptions in 1770, 1789, 1821, 1829, 1843, 1848, and 1858 were considered incorrect by Gorshkov (1970). Explosive eruptions in 1790 and 1981 were among the largest in the Kuril Islands during historical time.

Information Contacts: Olga Girina, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), a cooperative program of the Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia; Volcano World (URL: http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/alaid); and International Space Station, the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory at Nasa's Johnson Space Center, and William L. Stefanov (Jacobs Technology).


Apoyeque (Nicaragua) — October 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Apoyeque

Nicaragua

12.242°N, 86.342°W; summit elev. 518 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismic swarms in 2009 and 2012

Within the last five years, Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) reported at least two seismic swarms at Apoyeque, and between the Chiltepe Peninsula and the city of Managua (~15 km SE) (figure 1). Our last report also highlighted swarms which lasted several hours and days in 2001 and 2007 (BGVN 34:04). Intermittent seismicity was reported within the region during 2009-2012, but events were rarely larger than M 2.5.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Regional maps showing Apoyeque and the tectonic setting. (A) Sketch map highlighting volcanic centers in Central America relative to the active subduction of Cocos Plate beneath the Caribbean Plate. In Nicaragua active volcanism is concentrated inside the Nicaragua Depression (ND). The red box labeled "B" refers to the 50 x 50 km area that includes Apoyeque on the Chiltepe Peninsula. (B) This Landsat 7 image corresponds to the extent of the red box labeled "B" in the sketch map "A"; the Nejapa-Miraflores fault (NMF) marks an offset in the main arc and frequently generates seismicity. (C) Along the NMF, mainly monogenetic volcanoes have formed W of Managua city. Modified from Pardo and others, 2009.

2009 swarm. INETER reported a seismic swarm on 29 September 2009. It began at 1800 local time in an area W of Apoyeque volcano. The main event occurred at 1817 local time, with a ML 3.1 event at a depth of 5 km. The earthquake was felt by the population in Sandino City, ~5 km W of the earthquakes. The seismic swarm lasted until 2 October 2009; the total number of detected earthquakes was not disclosed.

2012 swarm. INETER reported a swarm that began at 1727 local time on 6 September 2012. The National Seismic Network detected and located the series of earthquakes between Apoyeque and the Nejapa-Miraflores fault (figure 1).

More than 20 earthquakes were detected and the two largest had magnitudes of 2.3 and 3.8, with depths of 2.8 and 6 km respectively; the largest event occurred at 1937 (figure 2). None of these earthquakes were reportedly felt by local populations and the event was assigned an Intensity II. The swarm lasted ~2 hours.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Epicenters of the largest earthquakes from the Apoyeque swarm are plotted. INETER detected ~20 earthquakes on 6 September 2012 all within 30 km depth. Courtesy of INETER.

Avellán and others (2012) described the polygenetic Apoyeque volcano as belonging to the Nejapa volcanic field (figure 1), which is bound by the Nejapa fault system. There were 23 eruptions from the field within the last ~30 ka; 13 of these events were explosive (VEI 2). The most recent eruption was dated between 2,130 ± 40 and 1,245 ± 120 years BP. With respect to hazards implications, clear vent migration patterns were seemingly absent for this volcanic field. The authors concluded that there is a high probability of future, similar eruptions, particularly phreatomagmatic ones, within this area of Nicaragua.

References: Avellán, D.R., Macías, J.L., Pardo, N., Scolamacchia, T., and Rodriguez, D., 2012, Stratigraphy, geomorphology, geochemistry and hazard implications of the Nejapa Volcanic Field, western Managua, Nicaragua, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 213-214: 51-71.

Pardo, N., Macías, J.L., Giordano, G., Cianfarra, P., Avellán, D.R., and Bellatreccia, F., 2009, The ~1245 yr BP Asososca maar eruption: The youngest event along the Nejapa-Miraflores volcanic fault, Western Managua, Nicaragua, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 184: 292-312.

Geologic Background. The Apoyeque volcanic complex occupies the broad Chiltepe Peninsula, which extends into south-central Lake Managua. The peninsula is part of the Chiltepe pyroclastic shield volcano, one of three large ignimbrite shields on the Nicaraguan volcanic front. A 2.8-km wide, 400-m-deep, lake-filled caldera whose floor lies near sea level truncates the low Apoyeque volcano, which rises only about 500 m above the lake shore. The caldera was the source of a thick mantle of dacitic pumice that blankets the surrounding area. The 2.5 x 3 km wide lake-filled Xiloá (Jiloá) maar, is located immediately SE of Apoyeque. The Talpetatl lava dome was constructed between Laguna Xiloá and Lake Managua. Pumiceous pyroclastic flows from Laguna Xiloá were erupted about 6100 years ago and overlie deposits of comparable age from the Masaya plinian eruption.

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni/).


Barren Island (India) — October 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Barren Island

India

12.278°N, 93.858°E; summit elev. 354 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plume drifted up to 220 km SW in February 2013

Our last Bulletin report (BGVN 36:06) noted that Barren Island was still erupting during 2011. This report both discusses an April 2010 ash plume that recently came to our attention and reports on activity as late as October 2013. A regional map appears in the last section.

On 19 April 2010, based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) reported that a plume from Barren Island rose to an altitude of 2.4 km and drifted 55 km N. Ash, however, could not be identified from the satellite data.

A Twitter posting included the photo in figure 20, an image apparently acquired in December 2010. The Indian Navy (via Twitter) reported seeing "smoke" and lava was also seen on the island from a surveillance plane on 16 October 2013. A large hot spot is visible on recent MODIS satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. A photo of Barren Island emitting a dark ash plume from its main cone. The photo's metadata indicated that it was taken on 10 December 2010. Copyrighted photo by Paul Andrew Johnson and posted on Panoramio photo display website.

VAAC reported that on 16 February 2013 during 1430 to 2000 (UTC date and time) an ash plume from Barren Island reached an altitude of 6.1 km and drifted 220 km SW. Meteorological clouds masked the ash cloud after 2000 UTC and the VAAC warned that ash could still reside at altitude. The 16 February 2013 plume height was derived from a 1530 UTC MTSAT-2 infrared image and an atmospheric sounding at Penang made at 1200 UTC. The VAAC also created a forecast of the plume's movement based on the Hysplit model data.

Darwin VAAC found that on 17 October 2013 an ash plume rose to an altitude of 3.7 km and drifted ~30 km NW. The plume was first seen in imagery at 0732 UTC and last seen at 0932 UTC. Plume height was derived from MTSAT-2 visible wavelength image, observed ash movement, and comparison to winds from both an atmospheric model and a 0600 UTC sounding.

Regional map. A regional map brings together geography and tectonics of the region centered on Barren Island (figure 21).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Location map for Barren Island seen on the digital version of the wall map "This Dynamic Planet" (Simkin and others, 2005). The background image is from ER Mapper. The oceanic bathymetry and on-land topography translate for this gray-scale image, forming two independent series ranging from dark (low) to light (high). Thus, deep ocean and low land are dark, and shallow ocean and high land are light. White triangles with black borders represent Holocene volcanoes (Siebert and Simkin, 2002). Labeled volcanoes are Barren Island, Narcondam (N); Popa (P) and the Singu Plateau (SP) in Myanmar, the Tengchong pyroclastic cones (T) in southern China. The curving white line is the convergent boundary between the Indian Plate and the Eurasian Plate, including the Burma sub-plate (BP) of the Eurasian Plate.

At Barren Island's latitude, the convergent boundary is the subduction zone named the Andaman trench; to the S is the Sumatran trench, and to the N is the continental-collision zone marked by the Indo-Myanmar ranges (IMR) and still farther N and W, the Himalayan front. The large white arrow shows the NNE relative-motion vector of ~60 mm/yr for the Indian Plate and the Eurasian PlateW of Sumatra. The 26 December 2004 Sumatran earthquake (Mw 9.3) is marked by a white dot. Taken from Sanjeev Raghav (2011).

References: Luhr, J. F. and Haldar, D., 2006, Barren Island volcano (NE Indian Ocean): island-arc high-alumina basalts produced by troctolite contamination; J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., vol. 149, pp. 177-212.

Ray, J.S, Pande K., Awasthi, N. 2013, A minimum age for the active Barren Island volcano, Andaman Sea, Current Science; Special Section: Earth Sciences, Vol. 104, No. 7, 10 April 2013.

Sanjeev, R. 2011, Barren Volcano- A Pictorial Journey From Recorded Past To Observed Recent Part-I Earth Science India, Open Access e-Journal, Popular Issue, IV (III), July, 2011; (URL: www.earthscienceindia.info ).

Siebert, L. and Simkin, T.,2002, Volcanoes of the world: an illustrated catalog of Holocene volcanoes and their eruptions, Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program, Digital Information Series, GVP-3.

Simkin, T., Tilling, R.I., Vogt, P.R., Kirby, S., Kimberly, P., and Stewart, D.B. This Dynamic Planet: World Map of Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Impact Craters, and Plate Tectonics U.S. Geological Survey (2005).

Geologic Background. Barren Island, a possession of India in the Andaman Sea about 135 km NE of Port Blair in the Andaman Islands, is the only historically active volcano along the N-S volcanic arc extending between Sumatra and Burma (Myanmar). It is the emergent summit of a volcano that rises from a depth of about 2250 m. The small, uninhabited 3-km-wide island contains a roughly 2-km-wide caldera with walls 250-350 m high. The caldera, which is open to the sea on the west, was created during a major explosive eruption in the late Pleistocene that produced pyroclastic-flow and -surge deposits. Historical eruptions have changed the morphology of the pyroclastic cone in the center of the caldera, and lava flows that fill much of the caldera floor have reached the sea along the western coast.

Information Contacts: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina Northern Territory 0811 Australia; Twitter (URL: https://twitter.com/twitter); and VolcanoDiscovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/).


Cleveland (United States) — October 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Cleveland

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dome growth and destruction during 2012-2013

In the previous Bulletin report (BGVN 37:01) we discussed a cycle of lava-dome growth within the summit crater from late 2011 through early 2012. That cycle of extrusion and destruction of domes continued into 2013. The lava dome observed on 30 January 2013 persisted to the end of this reporting period, September 2013. The dynamic conditions at Cleveland caused the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) to report numerous changes in the Aviation Color Code and Alert Level, fluctuating between Yellow/Advisory and Orange/Watch throughout this time period (table 5).

Table 5. During 2012-2013, AVO announced changes in the Aviation Color Code and Volcano Alert Level for Cleveland. AVO and other US Observatories use a combination color code and alert level system that addresses both airborne and ground-based hazards (Gardner and Guffanti, 2006); the lowest level in this 4-step system is Normal/Green and the highest is Warning/Red. Courtesy of USGS-AVO.

Date of Change Aviation Color Code/ Volcano Alert Level
31 Jan 2012 Orange/Watch
23 Mar 2012 Yellow/Advisory
28 Mar 2012 Orange/Watch
30 May 2012 Yellow/Advisory
19 Jun 2012 Orange/Watch
05 Sep 2012 Yellow/Advisory
10 Nov 2012 Orange/Watch
21 Nov 2012 Yellow/Advisory
06 Feb 2013 Orange/Watch
08 Mar 2013 Yellow/Advisory
04 May 2013 Orange/Watch
04 Jun 2013 Yellow/Advisory

Continued explosions during 2012-2013. Cleveland has a history of frequent, minor ash emissions particularly during 2005-2009 (McGimsey and others, 2007; Neal and others, 2011) and with more frequency during 2011-2013 (Guffanti and Miller, 2013; De Angelis and others, 2012). During 2012-2013, Cleveland remained unmonitored by ground-based seismic instrumentation; volcanic unrest was primarily detected by the seismic network located on nearby Umnak Island (figure 12). Observations were also conducted with satellites that have capabilities of distinguishing ash from meteorological clouds during clear conditions: GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite), POES (Polar Operational Environmental Satellite which carries the AVHRR scanner), and the Terra and Aqua satellites that carry MODIS sensors.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Locations of Cleveland volcano (red triangle) and the infrasound stations in Alaska. Black dots are individual infrasound sensors co-located with seismic monitoring stations, yellow dots are infrasound arrays. The inset shows Umnak Island where the Okmok volcano stations are located; this is the closest seismic network to Cleveland. Map modified from De Angelis and others, 2012.

Additional assessments of explosive activity in this period were aided by (1) direct observations from mariners or pilots (PIREPS); (2) near real-time recordings of ground-coupled airwaves that characteristically arrive at seismic stations as extremely slow velocity signals, ~1 order of magnitude smaller than typical seismic velocity in the crust (De Angelis and others, 2012); (3) new infrasound detection capabilities recently expanded to include a station on Akutan (~500 km ENE of Cleveland).

De Angelis and others (2012) determined that 20 explosions were detected between December 2011 and August 2012, particularly by infrasound sensors as far away as 1,827 km from the active vent, as well as ground-coupled acoustic waves recorded at seismic stations across the Aleutian Arc. By retrospectively examining the record of airwaves from Cleveland, those authors determined that many explosions had gone unnoticed in satellite images, likely because of poor weather conditions that obscured the signal or because these explosions were brief, small, and lofted little ash.

Significant ash explosions in April-June 2012 and May 2013. During the 2012-2013reporting period, explosions from Cleveland's summit crater were most frequently detected during April and June 2012 (figure 13). Additional explosions were reported by AVO through July 2013. Relative quiescence (which included minor thermal anomalies visible in satellite images) followed and continued through September 2013.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Satellite image of Cleveland collected on 9 June 2012 by the satellite Worldview-2. Snow persisted on the flanks during this time, but recent, minor ash deposits were visible around the summit crater. In this view, N is at the top of the image and the narrow isthmus connecting Cleveland to the rest of Chuginadak Island is at the R-hand side of the image (although not visible here). Courtesy of USGS-AVO and Digital Globe.

During 2012-2013, at least two explosions were large enough to generate ash plumes that reached >4 km above the summit crater. Both were reported by the Anchorage Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) on 7 April 2012 and 4 May 2013. The April event produced a plume that rose ~6 km a.s.l.; AVO reported that ash drifted E at 18 m/s. The 4 May 2013 event (figure 14) generated an ash plume that rose ~4.6 km a.s.l. Based on POES data and AVO observations, the ash drifted SE at ~10 m/s and dissipated within 5 hours.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. (A) AVHRR satellite image of Cleveland was taken at 0643 on 4 May 2013. This infrared image shows elevated temperatures that were present at Cleveland's summit and a small, low-level eruption plume containing minor amounts of ash trailed to the E. The thermal anomaly appears as a white dot in the center of the image. Courtesy of USGS-AVO/UAF-GI. (B) True-color Terra MODIS satellite image acquired at 2050 on 4 May 2013 shows an eruption plume from Cleveland. The diffuse ash plume extended from Cleveland's summit and across the SW point of Umnak Island. Courtesy of USGS-AVO and Land Atmosphere Near-real time Capability for EOS (LANCE) system operated by the NASA/GSFC/Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS).

During 2012-2013, AVO reported that explosions were frequently attributed to dome destruction. Those events often completely removed the new lava domes from the crater (table 6).

Table 6. Cleveland's lava dome history during 2012-2013 based on a variety of observations of the Cleveland summit crater. Note that an earlier dome was destroyed during 25-29 December 2011 and was confirmed absent by 24 January 2012. Courtesy of USGS-AVO.

New Dome Date Observations
30 Jan 2012 40 m across. Dome was gone by 11 March 2012.
26 Mar 2012 70 m across. Dome was gone by 4 April 2012.
25 Apr 2012 25 m across. Dome was gone some time before 29 April 2012.
03 May 2012 25 m wide. Dome was gone by 6 May 2012.
30 Jan 2013 100 m wide. Dome persisted through September 2013.

More on elevated surface temperatures during 2012-2013. In addition to the case shown in figure 14A, thermal anomalies in the vicinity of Cleveland's summit crater were frequently detected during this reporting period. AVO inferred that these observations reflected a variety of volcanic activity such as fresh, hot tephra from recent explosions, the hot open conduit at the bottom of the summit crater, incandescent rock such as the above mentioned domes (table 6) at the surface, or hot volcaniclastic flow deposits on the flanks (figure 15).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Composite image of the Cleveland summit area compiled from Landsat-8 images acquired on 8 June 2013. N is at the top of the image. Thermal infrared data are overlain onto a visible wavelength image; the extent of lava flows erupted during early May 2013 appears bright with colors corresponding to temperatures in the key (upper-L-hand corner). Temperature values are given in Kelvin, and range from 303-312 K (86-102 °F). The longest lava flows extended to ~715 m downslope from the summit. The summit was also covered by dark ash deposits and is surrounded by a low cloud deck. Courtesy of USGS-AVO.

AVO reported that a satellite-based thermal alarm was triggered on 12 June 2012, attributed to the formation of hot lahars or rubble flows on Cleveland's flanks. While no lava dome was present at that time (see table 6), this was a significant event that transported debris to 700 m elevation on the NW flank (note that Cleveland has a summit elevation of 1,730 m). Other deposits, likely from other lahars, were mobilized on the NNW and NNE flanks. The deposits were mainly confined to drainages; deposits extended >1.5 km in length. Flowage features on the SE and SW flanks reached >1 km in length. AVO scientists also noted that all flanks had shown signs of melted snow but cautioned that the visual effect could also be attributed to non-eruptive remobilization of existing fragmental material on the steep flanks.

Volcaniclastic deposits were also noted based in satellite images on 10 November 2012. These features were located on the E flank and extended ~1 km down the slope.

References: De Angelis, S., Fee, D., Haney, M., and Schneider, D., 2012. Detecting hidden volcanic explosions from Mt. Cleveland Volcano, Alaska with infrasound and ground-coupled airwaves, Geophysical Research Letters, 39, L21312, doi:10.1029/2012GL053635.

Gardner, C.A. and Guffanti, M.C., 2006. U.S. Geological Survey's Alert Notification System for Volcanic Activity, USGS Fact Sheet 2006-3139.

Guffanti, M., and Miller, T., 2013. A volcanic activity alert-level system for aviation: review of its development and application in Alaska: Natural Hazards, 15 p., doi:0.1007/s11069-013-0761-4.

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

Neal, C.A., McGimsey, R.G., Dixon, J.P., Cameron, C.E., Nuzhaev, A.A., and Chibisova, Marina, 2011. 2008 Volcanic activity in Alaska, Kamchatka, and the Kurile Islands: Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010-5243, 94 p., available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2010/5243.

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

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a)U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), b)Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA (URL: http://www.gi.alaska.edu/), and c)Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA (URL: http://www.dggs.alaska.gov/); and Anchorage Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 6930 Sand Lake Road, Anchorage, AK 99502, USA (URL: http://vaac.arh.noaa.gov/list_vaas.php).


Karymsky (Russia) — October 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity and ash plumes, September 2010-December 2013

This report summarizes activity at Karymsky from September 2010 to 31 December 2013. This period was characterized by frequent explosions with ash plumes, and persistent thermal anomalies. During this period, explosions catapulted ash to altitudes as high as 6.5 km (and possibly higher). According to Girina and others (2013), Karymsky has been in a state of explosive eruption since 1996.

The Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) monitors the volcano by seismic instruments and by satellite. Occasionally, pilots and volcanologists observe the volcano visually; however, the volcano is frequently shrouded by clouds. KVERT does not directly observe ash plumes, but infers their presence and their maximum altitudes based upon seismic data, although sometimes satellite observations are used. Occasionally, plume altitudes and directions are provided by the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), based on information from Yelizovo Airport (UHPP). The Aviation Color Code was Orange (the second highest) throughout the reporting period. This report is based on weekly KVERT online reports.

Figures 27 and 28 show Kamchatka and Karymsky in the context of both geography and representative aviation flight paths. Since Karymsky sits directly below a principal flight route and close to many others, tall ash plumes from Karymsky present an acute hazard to aircraft. More than 200 flights per day occurred over the North Pacific region at the end of 2007 (Neal and others, 2007). That translated to over 10,000 passengers and millions of dollars in cargo that flew across the North Pacific every day (Neal and others, 2007).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. The Northern Pacific region showing major Holocene volcanoes in red and selected aeronautical flight paths across the Russian Far East and North Pacific. Karymsky lies nearly directly below the major, bidirectional flight path G583. Taken from Neal and others (2009).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. A smaller-scale map than the one above, centered on the Kamchataka Peninsula showing major Holocene volcanoes including Karymsky, with a more detailed view of flight routes (arrows show directions of travel). Seismically monitored volcanoes are distinguished from those unmonitored, with about 30 real-time seismometers available in the region as of 2008. Alaid volcano, just S of Kamchatka, is the subject of a separate report in this issue of the Bulletin. Taken from Neal and others (2009).

September 2010-December 2012 activity. During September 2010-December 2010, KVERT weekly reports stated that seismic activity was at or above background levels. During January 2011-December 2012, most reports characterized the seismic activity as moderate. However, KVERT stated that activity was weak and moderate between 23 August-20 September 2012, during the week before 25 October 2012, and during all of December 2012. Activity was weak during the first week of July 2012.

According to KVERT, one or more ash explosions occurred weekly, and ash plumes rose to altitudes of 2-6.5 km, with most weekly values in the altitude range of 2.5-5 km. Explosive activity apparently weakened slightly during April and May 2012, with plume altitudes decreasing to 1.8-2.5 km, and apparently weakened further between mid-July and mid-August 2012, when KVERT did not report any ash plumes.

Figure 29 shows an image captured the MODIS instrument during May 2011. A plume is discernable to the edge of the image, ~140 km ESE. Radiating from the volcano is a pattern of recent ash fall deposits contrasting with broad snow cover.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Satellite image of Karymsky acquired on 7 May 2011. Evidence of frequent eruptions is visible in this natural-color satellite image. Dark gray ash extends away from Karymsky's summit covering sectors of the volcano in radial patterns. A plume of ash extends to the SE, over Kronotskiy Kroniv (Kronotsky Gulf). The image was acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite. Courtesy of NASA's Earth Observatory (image by Jeff Schmaltz and original descriptive material by Robert Simmon).

During mid-September 2012, ash plume altitudes reached 5.5-6 km, but had decreased to a more normal 3 km in December 2012. On 11 April 2012, instruments aboard the Terra satellite detected ash deposits about 15 km long on the E flank. According to the Tokyo VAAC, an ash plume rose to an altitude of 7.3 km and drifted N on 13 March 2011, and to an altitude of 5.5-11.9 km and drifted SW on 18 April 2011; the Tokyo VAAC reported several other ash plumes during the reporting period, but the two mentioned here represent the maximum plumes heights recorded during the reporting period.

KVERT reported Stombolian activity during October 2010. A thermal anomaly was reported every week during this period, although clouds often obscured satellite data.

On 20 November 2010, volcanologists aboard a helicopter observed moderate gas-and-steam activity. Slopes near the summit were covered with ash. According to KVERT, volcanologists also visually observed weak gas-and-steam activity on 18 December 2012.

2013 activity. During January through March 2013, seismic activity fluctuated from weak to moderate. During April through mid-August, seismic activity was not recorded for technical reasons. From mid-August through the end of 2013, activity was moderate. When satellite data was included in 2013 KVERT weekly reports (6, 14 March; 11, 18 July; 5, 12, 19 September; 3 October), the volcano was either quiet or obscured by clouds.

KVERT reports from 10 October 2013 through at least 2 January 2014 stated that Strombolian and weak Vulcanian activity probably had occurred, because satellite data sometimes showed a bright thermal anomaly over the volcano along with ash plumes (figure 30). The reports did not mention this activity during earlier portions of the reporting period (September 2010-December 2013), except for mid-October 2010; however, because thermal anomalies persisted throughout the reporting period and ash plumes were common, we suspect that Strombolian and weak Vulcanian activity probably occurred often during this time.

During 2013, ash plumes seldom exceeded an altitude of 3.5 km. However, powerful ash explosions up to an altitude of 6 km were observed on 5 August by a helicopter crew and volcanologists on the flank of nearby Tolbachik volcano.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. Photo of Karymsky on 30 November 2013 showing Vulcanian explosion with ash cloud billowing upward. Look direction unknown. Courtesy of Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT (with credit to Alexander Bichenko. NP VK).

Lopez and others (2012) used "coincident measurements of infrasound, SO2, ash, and thermal radiation collected over a ten day period at Karymsky Volcano in August 2011 to characterize the observed activity and elucidate vent processes. The ultimate goal of this project is to enable different types of volcanic activity to be identified using only infrasound data, which would significantly improve our ability to continuously monitor remote volcanoes. Four types of activity were observed. Type 1 activity is characterized by discrete ash emissions occurring every 1- 5 minutes that either jet or roil out of the vent, by plumes from 500-1500 m (above vent) altitudes, and by impulsive infrasonic onsets. Type 2 activity is characterized by periodic pulses of gas emission, little or no ash, low altitude (100 - 200 m) plumes, and strong audible jetting or roaring. Type 3 activity is characterized by sustained emissions of ash and gas, with multiple pulses lasting from ~1-3 minutes, and by plumes from 300-1500 m. Type 4 activity is characterized by periods of relatively long duration (~30 minutes to >1 hour) quiescence, no visible plume and weak SO2 emissions at or near the detection limit, followed by an explosive, magmatic eruption, producing ash-rich plumes to >2,000 m, and centimeter to meter (or greater) sized pyroclastic bombs that roll down the flanks of the edifice. Eruption onset is accompanied by high-amplitude infrasound and occasionally visible shock-waves, indicating high vent overpressure."

The above meeting abstract ultimately led to the paper Lopez and others (2013). In the abstract for that work, the authors characterized the four types of activity as: (1) ash explosions, (2) pulsatory degassing, (3) gas jetting, and (4) explosive eruption.

Ongoing eruptions, often on a near daily basis, prevailed during January-March 2014, with thermal anomalies on satellite data, ash plumes hundreds of meters over the ~1.5 km summit's elevation. The plumes were visible in imagery for over 100 km downwind (often in the sector NE-E-SE).

References: Girina, O., Manevich, A., Melnikov, D., Nuzhdaev, A., Demyanchuk, Y., and Petrova, E., 2013, Explosive Eruptions of Kamchatkan Volcanoes in 2012 and Danger to Aviation, Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 15, EGU General Assembly 2013 held 7-12 April, 2013 in Vienna, Austria, id. EGU2013-6760.

Lopez, T., Fee, D, and Prata, F., 2012, Characterization of volcanic activity using observations of infrasound, volcanic emissions, and thermal imagery at Karymsky Volcano, Kamchatka, Russia, Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 14, EGU General Assembly 2012, held 22-27 April, 2012 in Vienna, Austria., p.13076.

Lopez, T., D. Fee, F. Prata, and J. Dehn, 2013, Characterization and interpretation of volcanic activity at Karymsky Volcano, Kamchatka, Russia, using observations of infrasound, volcanic emissions, and thermal imagery, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 14, 5106-5127, doi:10.1002/2013GC004817

Neal C, Girina O, Senyukov S, Rybin A, Osiensky J, Izbekov P, Ferguson G, 2009, Russian eruption warning systems for aviation. Natural Hazards, 51(2), p. 245-262

Neal, C, Girina, O, Senyukov, S, Rybin, A, Osiensky, J, Hall, T, Nelson, K, and Izbekov, P, 2007, Eruption Warning Systems for Aviation in Russia: A 2007 Status Report, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), in close collaboration with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Civil Aviation Authority Of New Zealand, paper at the Fourth International Workshop On Volcanic Ash, Rotorua, New Zealand, 26-30 March 2007 [VAWS/4 WP/03-01] (URL: http://www.caem.wmo.int/moodle/file.php?file=/1/VWS/6_VAWS4WP0301_1_.pdf)

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 East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Kamchatka Branch of Geophysical Survey of RAS (KB GS RAS) (URL: http://www.emsd.ru/); and Jeff Schmaltz and Robert Simmon, NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov).


Cerro Negro (Nicaragua) — October 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Cerro Negro

Nicaragua

12.506°N, 86.702°W; summit elev. 728 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismic swarm in 2013

Since our last report (BGVN 37:01), Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) continued to conduct fieldwork at Cerro Negro during 2012-2013 and reported that stable conditions prevailed except for a small seismic swarm detected in 2013.

INETER reported that from Cerro Negro's activity during 2012 was considered normal. Several significant landslides occurred that year, particularly from the S-SW interior rim of the primary crater. Seismicity was variable throughout the year with some interruptions of the signal (table 5).

Table 5. Seismicity was reported in INETER monthly reports during January-June 2012. Note that representative values are presented in the RSAM column (not mathematical averages) whereas the Max RSAM column contains the highest value recorded each month. There was a station outage during part of January. Courtesy of INETER.

Month EQ Count RSAM Max RSAM Tremor (hours/day)
Jan 2012 43 ~20 160 --
Feb 2012 85 ~20 80 3-18
Mar 2012 76 ~50 255 1-16
Apr 2012 162 ~20 50 1-15
May 2012 111 12-30 65 some
Jun 2012 179 10-20 45 1

A gas measurement campaign was conducted within Cerro Negro's main crater in collaboration with the Instituto Tecnologicos de Energias Renovables (ITER) in late 2012. During the course of fieldwork, on 26 and 30 November, and 1 December, the team measured diffuse CO2 emissions from the soil at 219 points. The preliminary results showed normal levels, ~33 tons per day, compared to past results from this area.

Temperature measurements for 2012 were reported based on the four different fumarolic sites within the main crater (figure 20). The range varied between 50 and 325 degrees C.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Temperature measurements from Cerro Negro's crater summarized for 2011-2013. Data were collected December 2011-May 2013. Four different fumaroles were sampled and measured (fumaroles 1, 2, 3, and 6; for locations see figure 21). The data were collected at intervals of days and many are shown here (as in the original INETER plot) connected with line segments. Courtesy of INETER.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. The location of the four measured fumaroles located within Cerro Negro's largest crater. The view is approximately to the N. Courtesy of INETER.

Field investigations during March-June 2013 yielded additional observations of rockfalls and slides within the main crater. INETER also measured temperatures from the four fumarolic sites and concluded that steady conditions persisted (figure 20).

INETER reported a seismic swarm on 4 June 2013. RSAM had increased 60 units; 49 earthquakes were detected but were too small to be located. INETER maintained Alert Status Green and released informational statements to the media that described their response to the escalation and they also highlighted the potential of hazardous gas emissions for the area. The Sistema Nacional para Prevención, Mitigación y Atención de Desastres (SINAPRED) suggested that local residents and tourists in the area should be cautious around the flanks of Cerro Negro due to the possibility of rockfalls triggered by seismic events.

As a response to the increased seismicity that month, INETER conducted hot spring sampling and gas measuring campaigns in the area of Cerro Negro during 6-7 June. A team of fieldworkers focused on diffuse CO2 flux from the soil in a fault area on the W side of the Las Pilas-El Hoyo complex (SE of Cerro Negro, figure 15 in BGVN 37:01). The team took measurements 5 m apart at 91 points along a fault scarp, with depths of 11 and 40 cm within the soil; those measurements indicate an average flux of 59-80 ppm/s. No additional seismic unrest was reported during the month.

Geologic Background. Nicaragua's youngest volcano, Cerro Negro, was created following an eruption that began in April 1850 about 2 km NW of the summit of Las Pilas volcano. It is the largest, southernmost, and most recent of a group of four youthful cinder cones constructed along a NNW-SSE-trending line in the central Marrabios Range. Strombolian-to-subplinian eruptions at intervals of a few years to several decades have constructed a roughly 250-m-high basaltic cone and an associated lava field constrained by topography to extend primarily NE and SW. Cone and crater morphology have varied significantly during its short eruptive history. Although it lies in a relatively unpopulated area, occasional heavy ashfalls have damaged crops and buildings.

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni/); Instituto Tecnológico y de Energías Renovables (ITER), 38611 Granadilla, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain (URL: http://www.iter.es/); Hoy: El Periodico que yo quiero, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.hoy.com.ni/2013/06/05/vigilan-al-volcán-cerro-negro/); and Sistema Nacional para Prevención, Mitigación y Atención de Desastres (SINAPRED), Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.sinapred.gob.ni/).


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — October 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Rabaul

Papua New Guinea

4.271°S, 152.203°E; summit elev. 688 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Variable but often modest eruptions during mid-2011 through 2013

The last Bulletin report on Rabaul Caldera (BGVN 36:07) recorded dozens of explosions in the first week of August 2011. The explosions produced ash-rich clouds that drifted NW and deposited ash in areas from Rabaul Town (3-5 km NW) to Nonga Village (10 km NW) (figure 57). This report covers activity from the end of August 2011 to December 2013, using data primarily compiled from the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). During this time, hundreds of small earthquakes were detected, almost all of which occurred congruently with ash emissions or explosions. One notable development occurred in July 2013, when a new lava dome formed on Tavurvur in the middle of a long period of eruptive activity running from April to September of the same year. Shortly after the dome's formation, strong venting of ash at Tavurvur gave way to explosions on 10 July that continued until 5 September, 2013. A second period of explosive activity began on 13 November, 2013, and terminated at the end of November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Location maps of Rabaul and Tavurvur Cone (a and b). White boxes in a and b zoom to show maps b and c, respectively. Maps derived from Google Earth Landsat images and modified to show regional reference points in relation to Rabaul's Tavurvur Cone. (c) map of Rabaul caldera derived from work by Almond and McKee and prepared by Lyn Topinka (US Geological Survey 1998).

August 2011 to November 2012. Rabaul Caldera was generally tranquil from 12 August 2011 to November 2012. During this time, only emissions of white vapor were seen rising from the cone, which became denser with the rain and humidity or periods of cool temperatures. Seismicity was low although several high frequency earthquakes NE of Tavurvur were recorded on 6 June 2012. GPS instruments recorded at least 2 cm of inflation (greater than the long-term decadal trend in inflation) and sub-continuous tremor was recorded by four local seismic stations 17-20 September 2011. Diffuse SO2 emissions recorded in late November 2012.

January and February 2013. At 2128 on 19 January 2013, Rabaul town residents and volcanologists at RVO heard loud rumbling and roaring noises from Tavurvur, marking the beginning of a period of activity that lasted until 2 February 2013 (table 12). RVO determined on the morning of 20 January that small discrete explosions had produced ash plumes during the night. Those plumes reached a maximum height of 500 m above the crater, and the prevailing winds pushed them E and SE.

Table 12.Maximum height above the crater, date, direction, and color for plumes from Tavurvur Cone from 19 January, 2013 to 7 February 2013. Seismicity during some of the events is also described. Courtesy of RVO.

DatePlume Height (m)DirectionColorSeismicity
1/19 500 E, SE N/A N/A
1/20 200 E, SE Light Gray N/A
1/22 200 S, SSE Gray N/A
1/22 (2148) 2000 SE, ESE Gray N/A
1/23 2000 SE Light Gray Numerous, associated with ash emissions
1/24 1000 E, ESE Light Gray Numerous, associated with volcanic degassing
1/25 700 E, ESE Light Gray Low, associated with ash emissions
1/26 500 ESE Gray Low, associated with ash emissions
1/27 500 ESE White and Light Gray Low, associated with ash emissions
1/28 500 ESE White and Light Gray Low
1/29 500 E, ESE Light Gray Low
1/30 500 ESE Light Gray Low
2/1 500 E, ESE Light Gray Low
2/2 500 E, ESE Light Gray Low
2/3 2000 E, NE Dark Gray Low, associated with ash emissions
2/4 2000 E, SE Light Gray Low, associated with ash emissions
2/5 2688 E, ENE Pale Gray Low, associated with ash emissions
2/6 2000 NW Pale Gray Low, associated with ash emissions
2/7 2000 NW Pale Gray Low, associated with ash emissions

On 21 January at 0930, RVO noted an increase in emissions from Tavurvur consisting of mostly water vapor and low volumes of ash that created a plume ranging in color from white to light gray. The plume rose to a maximum height of 200 m and drifted SW. These conditions remained constant for the next 24 hours, except for a loud explosion and several minutes of roaring and rumbling at 2335 that night. The vegetation on the north side of South Daughter (also known as Turangunan, see figure 57) turned brown, suggesting the release of SO2 from the volcano.

Further increase in emissions was noted at 0930 on 22 January, and plumes rose to a maximum height of 200m drifting to the SE. That night at 2147 a large explosion ejected both a light gray plume low in ash content and small amounts of incandescent spatter. Explosive noises were heard throughout the night and continued through 23 January. Both diffuse and dense ash plumes drifted SE. RVO remarked that calm meteorological conditions allowed the plume to ascend to a maximum altitude of 2,000 m. Activity at Tavurvur through 7 February was characterized by small-to-moderate explosions producing light-to-dark-gray ash clouds of low ash content and variable plume heights, constant white vapor, and low-to-moderate levels of roaring and rumbling. Ash affected areas downwind; ABC Australia Network News reported that the ash shut down New Britain airports until 31 January.

On 5 February, the Darwin VAAC reported a pale gray plume that rose to 2,000 m a.s.l. and drifted E and ENE.

Ash fell on Turangunan on 3 February. Very fine ash fell in Rabaul Town on 6 and 7 February due to a southeasterly wind blowing the plume NW from Tavurvur. There were no other affected areas.

March 2013. RVO recorded increased ash emissions on 3 March. Those emissions were brown and continued until 7 March. Volcanologists at RVO reported that the emissions increased over time throughout the latter part of 3 March and by 6 March were occurring nearly every minute. At the same time, many small earthquakes associated with ash emissions were detected. Four regional earthquakes were felt on 5 March at 1358, 1606, and 1621, and on 6 March at 1953. These earthquakes ranged from a magnitude of 5.1 to 5.4, originating SSE from Rabaul to the east of Wide Bay (see figure 57 for reference) at depths of 50-60 km. They were felt in Rabaul Town with intensities III - IV. RVO did not report any change in volcanic activity at this time. Earthquakes on 7 March occurred with instances of ash emissions, which had declined in frequency to once every few hours.

Tavurvur remained quiet until 12 March, when an explosion at 1108 expelled a dark gray-to-black billowing ash column for 40 minutes. Afterwards, emissions changed to billowing white ash clouds that rose 300 m and drifted SE.

April 2013 to September 2013. Activity at Tavurvur from 14 April until 9 July was characterized by ongoing roaring, rumbling, and diffuse to dense white plumes, including some occasionally laden with fine ash particles (table 13). Throughout the period, some low intensity earthquakes and some explosions were detected, which ejected ash clouds to variable heights. Many ash plumes were blown to the SE until 30 April, when the wind began blowing to the NW. As a result, downwind areas including Rabaul town experienced ashfall from 30 April to 9 September.

Table 13.Table describes the height, color, direction, and plume densities from Rabaul's Tavurvur cone as well as the areas affected by ash fall from 14 April to 5 September 2013. Note that towns referenced here can be found in figure 57. Courtesy of RVO and Darwin VAAC.

Date Plume Height (m) Ash Color Direction Notes Areas affected by ash fall
4/14 - 4/17 100 White SE diffuse to dense None
4/18 5288 White 35km E   None
4/19 - 4/23 100 White SE diffuse to dense None
4/24 - 4/28 200 White SE diffuse to dense None
4/29 - 5/16 200 White NW diffuse to dense Rabaul Town
5/17 - 6/15 800 White NW to SE diffuse to dense Rabaul Town
6/16 - 6/30 1000 White to Light Gray NW to SE diffuse to dense Rabaul Town
7/1 - 7/9 2000 White to Gray NW diffuse to dense Rabaul Town
7/10 -7/14 2000 Gray NW Moderate to dense Rabaul Town
7/15 - 7/21 2000 Light to Pale Gray E, NNE, NW, W, SW, Energetic explosions, fine ashfall Between Nodup and Rapolo, Rabaul town
7/22 - 7/31 2000 Light to Pale Gray E, NNE, NW, W, SW, Energetic explosions, fine ashfall Between Namanula and Malaguna No. 1, Rabaul Town, Malaguna No. 2, Vulcan Area
8/1 - 8/24 1000 Pale Gray NW Forceful emissions east Old Rabaul, Namanula Hill, Nonga Area, Rabaul Town, Malaguna No. 1
8/29 1800 Pale Gray 150 km NW Forceful emissions east Old Rabaul, Namanula Hill, Nonga Area, Rabaul Town, Malaguna No. 2
8/26 - 8/28 1000 Pale Gray NW Forceful emissions east Old Rabaul, Namanula Hill, Nonga Area, Rabaul Town, Malaguna No. 3
8/29 2100 Pale Gray 40 km NW Forceful emissions east Old Rabaul, Namanula Hill, Nonga Area, Rabaul Town, Malaguna No. 4
8/30 - 8/31 1000 Pale Gray NW Forceful emissions east Old Rabaul, Namanula Hill, Nonga Area, Rabaul Town, Malaguna No. 5
9/1 - 9/5 50 Pale Gray NW Strong winds re-suspended old ash Rabaul Town, exposure low - moderate

On 12 June 2013 a small lava dome, estimated to be 25-30 m high, began forming on the floor of Tavurvur. Photos taken that day appear as figures 58 and 59.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Photo of the new lava dome forming on 12 June 2013. Courtesy of RVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. A new lava dome in Tavurvur, taken on 12 June 2013 with estimated scale bars. Courtesy of the RVO.

On 26 June, incandescence was observed at a vent on the dome and was associated with strong venting of steam and ash, which continued to 14 July.

A few discrete explosions occurred on 10 July, producing moderate to dense gray ash clouds. This low level eruptive activity persisted until 9 September, with energetic explosions producing mostly light-to-pale-gray ash clouds that drifted NW and affected areas downwind. The eruptions occurred at a varying range of intervals from ten's of seconds to hours.

From 14 April to 14 July, several small low-frequency earthquakes occurred. The majority of these were too small to be located, but time series data suggest that they originated near Tavurvur. In early July, a recently restored seismic station near Tavurvur confirmed that earthquakes were occurring beneath Tavurvur volcano. The station also detected smaller earthquakes that other seismic stations had not recorded. On 15 July, the level of seismicity increased, with events concurrent with ash emissions. On 1 August, seismicity increased and remained elevated until 9 September; seismic events continued to be associated with ash emissions.

Ground deformation during this entire period remained relatively stable, reflecting the long-term trend of uplift. On 11 May, the base station antenna broke, resulting in a loss of GPS data. Ground measurements using water tube tilt meters showed a slight inflation recorded at Matupit Island (see figure 57). Throughout the entire month of August, ground measurements showed slight deflation, but the long term inflation trend resumed beginning on 1 September.

During 1-5 September, RVO stated that "people in Rabaul town reported an odor reflective of chlorine. The substance that caused the odor is normal output of volcanic processes but an uncommon one. Its presence does not represent anything unusual or increase in volcanic activity."

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. This natural color image of Tavurvur Cone emitting an ash plume on 6 August 2013 was acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite, and posted on the NASA Earth Observatory website. Note scale and N arrow at far left. Courtesy of Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon (Nasa Earth Observatory).

September to November 2013. The Darwin VAAC observed one ash plume on 27 September 2013. The plume rose to an altitude of 2,400 m a.s.l. and drifted 110 km NE and NW. No other activity was recorded until mid- November.

On 13 November 2013, a moderate explosion at Tavurvur produced a dense, gray billowing plume of ash which rose 1000 m and blew NW. More explosions followed at irregular intervals, and continued until 18 November. Ash plumes from those explosions were blown E, SE, and NW at lower altitudes and rose to a maximum height of 1000 m. Between explosions, wisps of white vapor rose from the volcano. Large explosions occurred at 0738, 0851, 1308, and 1903 on 13 November, and the next day at 2044. RVO reported minor inflation at the center of the caldera. There was some roaring and rumbling, but seismicity was low with small low-frequency earthquakes occurring with explosions.

During 19-30 November, Tavurvur produced fewer explosions, accompanied by white to light gray emissions, and small traces of diffuse to dense white vapors were occasionally observed. Those plumes drifted E, SE, and NW at a maximum height of 1,000 m above the crater summit. Two small, high-frequency volcano-tectonic earthquakes were detected during 23-27 November and located NE of Tavurvur.

December 2013. Little activity occurred at Rabaul during December. Minor emissions of mainly diffuse, though occasionally dense, white vapor occurred. A blue tint to the emissions was reported on some days during the reporting periodThere were no audible noises except for two two moderate explosions at 1850 on 15 December and 0732 on 22 December. Neither explosion was ash rich. RVO noted a weak fluctuating glow visible at night on 31 December.

Geologic Background. The low-lying Rabaul caldera on the tip of the Gazelle Peninsula at the NE end of New Britain forms a broad sheltered harbor utilized by what was the island's largest city prior to a major eruption in 1994. The outer flanks of the 688-m-high asymmetrical pyroclastic shield volcano are formed by thick pyroclastic-flow deposits. The 8 x 14 km caldera is widely breached on the east, where its floor is flooded by Blanche Bay and was formed about 1400 years ago. An earlier caldera-forming eruption about 7100 years ago is now considered to have originated from Tavui caldera, offshore to the north. Three small stratovolcanoes lie outside the northern and NE caldera rims. Post-caldera eruptions built basaltic-to-dacitic pyroclastic cones on the caldera floor near the NE and western caldera walls. Several of these, including Vulcan cone, which was formed during a large eruption in 1878, have produced major explosive activity during historical time. A powerful explosive eruption in 1994 occurred simultaneously from Vulcan and Tavurvur volcanoes and forced the temporary abandonment of Rabaul city.

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management, Volcanological Observatory Geohazards Management Division, P.O. Box 386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; and Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Nasa Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov); and ABC Australia Network News (URL: http://www.abc.net.au/news-01-31/an-png-airport-reopens-after-volcano-forces-closure/4492838).

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


Central Chile and Argentina


Estero de Parraguirre


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

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

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

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



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

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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


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

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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