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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

Pacaya (Guatemala) Strombolian explosions, multiple lava flows, and the formation of a small cone during February-July 2020

Sangeang Api (Indonesia) Two ash plumes and small thermal anomalies during February-June 2020

Stromboli (Italy) Strombolian explosions persist at both summit craters during January-April 2020

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) Lava dome confirmed inside Arenas crater; intermittent thermal anomalies and ash emissions, January-June 2020

Asosan (Japan) Daily ash emissions continue through mid-June 2020 when activity decreases

Aira (Japan) Near-daily explosions with ash plumes continue, large block ejected 3 km from Minamidake crater on 4 June 2020

Nevados de Chillan (Chile) Explosions and pyroclastic flows continue; new dome emerges from Nicanor crater in June 2020

Kerinci (Indonesia) Intermittent ash emissions during January-early May 2020

Tinakula (Solomon Islands) Intermittent small thermal anomalies and gas-and-steam plumes during January-June 2020

Ibu (Indonesia) Frequent ash emissions and summit incandescence; Strombolian explosions in March 2020

Suwanosejima (Japan) Frequent explosions, ash plumes, and summit incandescence in January-June 2020

Bagana (Papua New Guinea) Ash plumes during 29 February-2 March and 1 May 2020



Pacaya (Guatemala) — August 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian explosions, multiple lava flows, and the formation of a small cone during February-July 2020

Pacaya, located in Guatemala, is a highly active volcano that has previously produced continuous Strombolian explosions, multiple lava flows, and the formation of a small cone within the crater due to the constant deposition of ejected material (BGVN 45:02). This reporting period updates information from February through July 2020 consisting of similar activity that dominantly originates from the Mackenney crater. Information primarily comes from reports by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH) in Guatemala and various satellite data.

Strombolian explosions were recorded consistently throughout this reporting period. During February 2020, explosions ejected incandescent material 100 m above the Mackenney crater. At night and during the early morning the explosions were accompanied by incandescence from lava flows. Multiple lava flows were active during most of February, traveling primarily down the SW and NW flanks and reaching 500 m on 25 February. On 5 February the lava flow on the SW flank divided into three flows measuring 200, 150, and 100 m. White and occasionally blue gas-and-steam emissions rose up to 2.7 km altitude on 11 and 14 February and drifted in multiple directions. On 16 February Matthew Watson utilized UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) to take detailed, close up photos of Pacaya and report that there were five active vents at the summit exhibiting lava flows from the summit, gas-and-steam emissions, and small Strombolian explosions (figure 122).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 122. Drone image of active summit vents at Pacaya on 16 February 2020 with incandescence and white gas-and-steam emissions. Courtesy of Matthew Watson, University of Bristol, posted on 17 February 2020.

Activity remained consistent during March with Strombolian explosions ejecting material 100 m above the crater accompanied by occasional incandescence and white and occasionally blue gas-and-steam emissions drifting in multiple directions. Multiple lava flows were detected on the NW and W flanks reaching as far as 400 m on 9-10 March.

In April, frequent Strombolian explosions were accompanied by active lava flows moving dominantly down the SW flank and white gas-and-steam emissions. These repeated explosions ejected material up to 100 m above the crater and then deposited it within the Mackenney crater, forming a small cone. On 27 April seismicity increased at 2140 due to a lava flow moving SW as far as 400 m (figure 123); there were also six strong explosions and a fissure opened on the NW flank in front of the Los Llanos Village, allowing gas-and-steam to rise.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 123. Infrared image of Pacaya on 28 April 2020, showing a lava flow approximately 500 m long and moving down the S flank on the day after seismicity increased and six strong explosions were detected. Courtesy of ISIVUMEH (Reporte Volcán de Pacaya July 2020).

During May, Strombolian explosions continued to eject incandescent material up to 100 m above the Mackenney crater, accompanied by active lava flows on 1-2, 17-18, 22, 25-26, and 29-30 May down the SE, SW, NW, and NE flanks up to 700 m on 30 May. White gas-and-steam emissions continued to be observed up to 100 m above the crater drifting in multiple directions. Between the end of May and mid-June, the plateau between the Mackenney cone and the Cerro Chiquito had become inundated with lava flows (figure 124).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 124. Aerial views of the lava flows at Pacaya to the NW during a) 18 September 2019 and b) 16 June 2020 showing the lava flow advancement toward the Cerro Chiquito. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Volcán de Pacaya July 2020).

Lava flows extended 700 m on 8 June down multiple flanks. On 9 June, a lava flow traveled N and NW 500 m and originating from a vent on the N flank about 100 m below the Mackenney crater. Active lava flows continued to originate from this vent through at least 19 June while white gas-and-steam emissions were observed rising 300 m above the crater. At night and during the early mornings of 24 and 29 June Strombolian explosions were observed ejecting incandescent material up to 200 m above the crater (figure 125). These explosions continued to destroy and then rebuild the small cone within the Mackenney crater with fresh ejecta. Active lava flows on the SW flank were mostly 100-600 m long but had advanced to 2 km by 30 June.

On 10 July a 1.2 km lava flow divided in two which moved on the NE and N flanks. On 11 July, another 800 m lava flow divided in two, on the N and NE flanks (figure 126). On 14 and 19 July, INSIVUMEH registered constant seismic tremors and stated they were associated with the lava flows. No active lava flows were observed on 18-19 July, though some may have continued to advance on the SW, NW, N, and NE flanks. On 20 July, lava emerged from a vent at the NW base of the Mackenney cone near Cerro Chino, extending SE. Strombolian explosions ejected incandescent material up to 200 m above the crater on 22 July, accompanied by active incandescent lava flows on the SW, N, NW, NE, and W flanks. Three lava flows on the NW flank were observed on 22-24 July originating from the base of the Mackenney cone. Explosive activity during 22 July vibrated the windows and roofs of the houses in the villages of San Francisco de Sales, El Patrocinio, El Rodeo, and others located 4 km from the volcano. The lava flow activity had decreased by 25 July, but remnants of the lava flow on the NW flank persisted with weak incandescence observed at night, which was no longer observed by 26 July. Strombolian explosions continued to be detected through the rest of the month, accompanied by frequent white gas-and-steam emissions that extended up to 2 km from the volcano; no active lava flows were observed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 125. Photos of Pacaya on 11 July 2020 showing Strombolian explosions and lava flows moving down the N and NE flanks. Courtesy of William Chigna, CONRED, posted on 12 July 2020.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 126. Infrared image of Pacaya on 20 July 2020 showing a hot lava flow accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (BEPAC 47 Julio 2020-22).

During February through July 2020, multiple lava flows and thermal anomalies within the Mackenney crater were detected in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (figure 127). These lava flows were observed moving down multiple flanks and were occasionally accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions. Thermal anomalies were also recorded by the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system during 10 August through July 2020 within 5 km of the crater summit (figure 128). There were a few breaks in thermal activity from early to mid-March, late April, early May, and early June; however, each of these gaps were followed by a pulse of strong and frequent thermal anomalies. According to the MODVOLC algorithm, 77 thermal alerts were recorded within the summit crater during February through July 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 127. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Pacaya showing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) primarily as lava flows originating from the summit crater during February to July 2020 frequently accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions. All images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 128. The MIROVA thermal activity graph (Log Radiative Power) at Pacaya during 10 August to July 2020 shows strong, frequent thermal anomalies through late July with brief gaps in activity during early to mid-March, late April, early May, and early June. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Matthew Watson, School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol (Twitter: @Matthew__Watson, https://twitter.com/Matthew__Watson); William Chigna, CONRED (URL: https://twitter.com/william_chigna).


Sangeang Api (Indonesia) — August 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangeang Api

Indonesia

8.2°S, 119.07°E; summit elev. 1912 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Two ash plumes and small thermal anomalies during February-June 2020

Sangeang Api is a 13-km-wide island located off the NE coast of Sumbawa Island, part of Indonesia's Lesser Sunda Islands. Documentation of historical eruptions date back to 1512. The most recent eruptive episode began in July 2017 and included frequent Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and block avalanches. The previous report (BGVN 45:02) described activity consisting of a new lava flow originating from the active Doro Api summit crater, short-lived explosions, and ash-and-gas emissions. This report updates information during February through July 2020 using information from the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reports, Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, or CVGHM) reports, and various satellite data.

Volcanism during this reporting period was relatively low compared to the previous reports (BGVN 44:05 and BGVN 45:02). A Darwin VAAC notice reported an ash plume rose 2.1 km altitude and drifted E on 10 May 2020. Another ash plume rose to a maximum of 3 km altitude drifting NE on 10 June, as seen in HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery.

The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data detected a total of 12 low power thermal anomalies within 5 km from the summit during February through May 2020 (figure 42). No thermal anomalies were recorded during June and July according to the MIROVA graph. Though the MODVOLC algorithm did not detect any thermal signatures between February to July, many small thermal hotspots within the summit crater could be seen in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (figure 43).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Thermal anomalies at Sangeang Api from 10 August 2019 through July 2020 recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were infrequent and low power during February through May 2020. No thermal anomalies were detected during June and July. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery using “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering showed small thermal hotspots (orange-yellow) at the summit of Sangeang Api during February through June 2020. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Sangeang Api volcano, one of the most active in the Lesser Sunda Islands, forms a small 13-km-wide island off the NE coast of Sumbawa Island. Two large trachybasaltic-to-tranchyandesitic volcanic cones, Doro Api and Doro Mantoi, were constructed in the center and on the eastern rim, respectively, of an older, largely obscured caldera. Flank vents occur on the south side of Doro Mantoi and near the northern coast. Intermittent historical eruptions have been recorded since 1512, most of them during in the 20th century.

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/); 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).


Stromboli (Italy) — August 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian explosions persist at both summit craters during January-April 2020

Stromboli is a stratovolcano located in the northeastern-most part of the Aeolian Islands composed of two active summit vents: the Northern (N) Crater and the Central-South (CS) Crater that are situated at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a large scarp that runs from the summit down the NW side of the volcano. The ongoing eruption began in 1934 and has been characterized by regular Strombolian explosions in both summit craters, ash plumes, and occasional lava flows (BGVN 45:08). This report updates activity from January to April 2020 with information primarily from daily and weekly reports by Italy's Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) and various satellite data.

Activity was consistent during this reporting period. Explosion rates ranged from 1-20 per hour and were of variable intensity, producing material that rose from less than 80 to over 250 m above the vents (table 8). Strombolian explosions were often accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions, spattering, and lava flows which has resulted in fallout deposited on the Sciara del Fuoco and incandescent blocks rolling toward the coast up to a few hundred meters down the slopes of the volcano. According to INGV, the average SO2 emissions measured 300-650 tons/day.

Table 8. Summary of activity at Stromboli during January-April 2020. Low-intensity activity indicates ejecta rising less than 80 m, medium-intensity is ejecta rising less than 150 m, and high-intensity is ejecta rising over 200 m above the vent. Data courtesy of INGV.

Month Activity
Jan 2020 Strombolian activity and degassing continued with some spattering. Explosion rates varied from 2-20 per hour. Ejected material rose 80-150 m above the N crater and 150-200 m above the CS crater. A small cone is growing on the S1 crater and has produced some explosions and ejected coarse material mixed with fine ash. The average SO2 emissions measured 300 tons/day.
Feb 2020 Strombolian activity and degassing continued. Explosion rates varied from 2-14 per hour. Ejected material rose 80-200 m above the N crater and 80-250 m above the CS crater. The average SO2 emissions measured 300 tons/day.
Mar 2020 Strombolian activity and degassing continued with discontinuous spattering. Explosion rates varied from 1-16 per hour. Ejected material rose 80-150 m above the N crater and 150-250 m above the CS crater. Intense spattering was observed in the N crater. The average SO2 emissions measured 300-650 tons/day.
Apr 2020 Strombolian activity and degassing continued with spattering. Explosion rates varied from 1-17 per hour. Ejected material rose 80-150 m above the N crater and 150-250 m above the CS crater. Spattering was observed in the N crater. The average SO2 emissions measured 300-650 tons/day.

During January 2020, explosive activity mainly originated from three vents in the N crater and at least three vents in the CS crater. Ejecta from numerous Strombolian explosions covered the slopes on the upper Sciara del Fuoco, some of which rolled hundreds of meters down toward the coast. Explosion rates varied from 2-12 per hour in the N crater and 9-14 per hour in the CS crater; ejected material rose 80-200 m above the craters. According to INGV, a small cone growing in the S1 crater produced some explosions that ejected coarse material mixed with fine ash. On 18 and 19 January a lava flow was observed, both of which originated in the N crater. In addition, two explosions were detected in the N crater that was associated with two landslide events.

Explosive activity in February primarily originated from 2-3 eruptive vents in the N crater and at least three vents in the CS crater (figure 177). The Strombolian explosions ejected material 80-250 m above the craters, some of which fell onto the upper part of the Sciara. Explosion rates varied from 3-12 per hour in the N crater and 2-14 per hour in the CS crater (figure 178). On 3 February a short-lived lava flow was reported in the N crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 177. A drone image showed spattering accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions at Stromboli rising above the N crater on 15 February 2020. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 08/2020, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 10/02/2020 - 16/02/2020, data emissione 18/02/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 178. a) Strombolian explosions during the week of 17-23 February 2020 in the N1 crater of Stromboli were seen from Pizzo Sopra La Fossa. b) Spattering at Stromboli accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions was detected in the N1 and S2 craters during the week of 17-23 February 2020. c) Spattering at Stromboli accompanied by a dense ash plume was seen in the N1 and S2 craters during the week of 17-23 February 2020. All photos by F. Ciancitto, courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 09/2020, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 17/02/2020 - 23/02/2020, data emissione 25/02/2020).

Ongoing explosive activity continued into March, originating from three eruptive vents in the N crater and at least three vents in the CS crater. Ejected lapilli and bombs rose 80-250 m above the craters resulting in fallout covering the slopes in the upper Sciara del Fuoco with blocks rolling down the slopes toward the coast and explosions varied from 4-13 per hour in the N crater and 1-16 per hour in the CS crater. Discontinuous spattering was observed during 9-19 March. On 19 March, intense spattering was observed in the N crater, which produced a lava flow that stretched along the upper part of the Sciara for a few hundred meters. Another lava flow was detected in the N crater on 28 March for about 4 hours into 29 March, which resulted in incandescent blocks breaking off the front of the flow and rolling down the slope of the volcano. On 30 March a lava flow originated from the N crater and remained active until the next day on 31 March. Landslides accompanied by incandescent blocks rolling down the Sciara del Fuoco were also observed.

Strombolian activity accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions continued into April, primarily produced in 3-4 eruptive vents in the N crater and 2-3 vents in the CS crater. Ejected material from these explosions rose 80-250 m above the craters, resulting in fallout products covering the slopes on the Sciara and blocks rolling down the slopes. Explosions varied from 4-15 per hour in the N crater and 1-10 per hour in the CS crater. On 1 April a thermal anomaly was detected in satellite imagery accompanied by gas-and-steam and ash emissions downstream of the Sciara del Fuoco. A lava flow was observed on 15 April in the N crater accompanied by gas-and-steam and ash emissions; at the front of the flow incandescent blocks detached and rolled down the Sciara (figure 179). This flow continued until 16 April, ending by 0956; a thermal anomaly persisted downslope from the lava flow. Spatter was ejected tens of meters from the vent. Another lava flow was detected on 19 April in the N crater, followed by detached blocks from the front of the flow rolling down the slopes. Spattering continued during 20-21 April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 179. A webcam image of an ash plume accompanied by blocks ejected from Stromboli on 15 April 2020 rolling down the Sciara del Fuoco. Courtesy of INGV via Facebook posted on 15 April 2020.

Moderate thermal activity occurred frequently during 16 October to April 2020 as recorded in the MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph using MODIS infrared satellite information (figure 180). The MODVOLC thermal alerts recorded a total of 14 thermal signatures over the course of nine different days between late February and mid-April. Many of these thermal signatures were captured as hotspots in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery in both summit craters (figure 181).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 180. Low to moderate thermal activity at Stromboli occurred frequently during 16 October-April 2020 as shown in the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 181. Thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) at Stromboli were observed in thermal satellite imagery from both of the summit vents throughout January-April 2020. Images with Atmospheric Penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/en/, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ingvvulcani/); 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).


Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — August 2020 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)


Lava dome confirmed inside Arenas crater; intermittent thermal anomalies and ash emissions, January-June 2020

Columbia’s broad, glacier-capped Nevado del Ruiz has an eruption history documented back 8,600 years, and historical observations since 1570. It’s profound notoriety stems from an eruption on 13 November 1985 that produced an ash plume and pyroclastic flows onto the glacier, triggering large lahars that washed down 11 valleys, inundating most severely the towns of Armero (46 km W) and Chinchiná (34 km E) where approximately 25,000 residents were killed. It remains the second deadliest volcanic eruption of the 20th century after Mt. Pelee killed 28,000 in 1902. Ruiz remained quiet for 20 years after the September 1985-July 1991 eruption until a new explosive event occurred in February 2012; a series of explosive events lasted into 2013. Renewed activity beginning in November 2014 included ash and gas-and-steam plumes, ashfall, and the appearance of a lava dome inside the Arenas crater in August 2015 which has regularly displayed thermal anomalies through 2019. This report covers ongoing activity from January-June 2020 using information primarily from reports by the Servicio Geologico Colombiano (SGC) and the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales, the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) notices, and various sources of satellite data.

Gas and ash emissions continued at Nevado del Ruiz throughout January-June 2020; they generally rose to 5.8-6.1 km altitude with the highest reported plume at 7 km altitude during early March. SGC confirmed the presence of the growing lava dome inside Arenas crater during an overflight in January; infrared satellite imagery indicated a continued heat source from the dome through April. SGC interpreted repeated episodes of ‘drumbeat seismicity’ as an indication of continued dome growth throughout the period. Small- to moderate-density sulfur dioxide emissions were measured daily with satellite instruments. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity indicated a heat source consistent with a growing dome from January through April (figure 102).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity at Nevado del Ruiz from 2 July 2019 through June 2020 indicated persistent thermal anomalies from mid-November 2019-April 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during January-March 2020. During January 2020 some of the frequent tremor seismic events were associated with gas and ash emissions, and several episodes of “drumbeat” seismicity were recorded; they have been related by SGC to the growth of the lava dome on the floor of the Arenas crater. An overflight on 10 January, with the support of the Columbian Air Force, confirmed the presence of the dome which was first proposed in August 2015 (BGVN 42:06) (figure 103). The Arenas crater had dimensions of 900 x 980 m elongate to the SW-NE and was about 300 m deep (figure 104). The dome inside the crater was estimated to be 173 m in diameter and 60 m high with an approximate volume of 1,500,000 m3 (figures 105 and 106). In addition to the dome, the scientists also noted ash deposits on the summit ice cap (figure 107). The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume on 19 January that rose to 5.5 km altitude and drifted SW, dissipating quickly. On 30 January they reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery extending 15 km NW from the summit at 5.8 km altitude. A single MODVOLC alert was issued on 15 January and data from the VIIRS satellite instrument reported thermal anomalies inside the summit crater on 14 days of the month. Sulfur dioxide plumes with DU values greater than 2 were recorded by the TROPOMI satellite instrument daily during the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. SGC confirmed the presence of a lava dome inside the Arenas crater at Nevado del Ruiz on 10 January 2020. The dome is shown in brown, and zones of fumarolic activity are labelled around the dome. Courtesy of SGC (El Nuevo Domo de Lava del Volcán Nevado del Ruiz y la Geomorfología Actual del Cráter Arenas 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. A view of the Arenas crater at the summit of Nevado del Ruiz on 10 January 2020 (left) is compared with a view from 2010 (right). They were both taken during overflights supported by the Colombian Air Force (FAC). Ash deposits on the ice fields are visible in both images. Fumarolic activity rises from the inner walls of the crater in January 2020. Courtesy of SGC (El Nuevo Domo de Lava del Volcán Nevado del Ruiz y la Geomorfología Actual del Cráter Arenas 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. The dome inside the Arenas crater at Nevado del Ruiz appeared dark against the crater rim and ash-covered ice field on 10 January 2020. Features observed include (A) the edge of the Arenas crater, (B) a secondary crater 150 m in diameter located to the west, (C) interior cornices, (D) the lava dome, (E) a depression in the center of the dome caused by possible subsidence and cooling of the lava, (F) a source of gas and ash emission with a diameter of approximately 15 m (secondary crater), and (G, H, and I) several sources of gas emission located around the crater. Courtesy of SGC (El Nuevo Domo de Lava del Volcán Nevado del Ruiz y la Geomorfología Actual del Cráter Arenas 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Images of the summit of Nevado del Ruiz captured by the PlanetScope satellite system on 14 March 2018 (A) and 10 January 2020 (B) show the lava dome at the bottom of Arenas crater. Courtesy Planet Lab Inc. and SGC (El Nuevo Domo de Lava del Volcán Nevado del Ruiz y la Geomorfología Actual del Cráter Arenas 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. Ash covered the snow and ice field around the Arenas crater at the summit of Nevado del Ruiz on 10 January 2020. The lava dome is the dark area on the right. Courtesy of SGC (posted on Twitter @sgcol).

The Washington VAAC reported multiple ash plumes during February 2020. On 4 February an ash plume was observed in satellite imagery drifting 35 km W from the summit at 5.8 km altitude. The following day a plume rose to 6.1 km altitude and extended 37 km W from the summit before dissipating by the end of the day (figure 108). On 6 February an ash cloud was observed in satellite imagery centered 45 km W of the summit at 5.8 km altitude. Although it had dissipated by midday, a hotspot remained in shortwave imagery until the evening. Late in the day another plume rose to 6.7 km altitude and drifted W. Diffuse ash was seen in satellite imagery on 13 February fanning towards the W at 5.8 km altitude. On 18 February at 1720 UTC the Bogota Meteorological Weather Office (MWO) reported an ash emission drifting NW at 5.8 km altitude; a second plume was reported a few hours later at the same altitude. Intermittent emissions continued the next day at 5.8-6.1 km altitude that reached as far as 50 km NW before dissipating. A plume on 21 February rose to 6.7 km altitude and drifted W (figure 109). Occasional emissions on 25 February at the same altitude reached 25 km SW of the summit before dissipating. A discrete ash emission around 1550 UTC on 26 February rose to 6.1 km altitude and drifted W. Two similar plumes were reported the next day. On 28 and 29 February plumes rose to 5.8 km altitude and drifted W.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. Emissions rose from the Arenas crater at Nevado del Ruiz on 5 February 2020. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume that day that rose to 6.1 km altitude and drifted 37 km W before dissipating. Courtesy of Camilo Cupitre.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. Emissions rose from the Arenas crater at Nevado del Ruiz around 0600 on 21 February 2020. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions that day that rose to 6.7 km altitude and drifted W. Courtesy of Manuel MR.

SGC reported several episodes of drumbeat type seismicity on 2, 8, 9, and 27 February which they attributed to effusion related to the growing lava dome in the summit crater. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed ring-shaped thermal anomalies characteristic of dome growth within Arenas crater several times during January and February (figure 110). The VIIRS satellite instrument recorded thermal anomalies on twelve days during February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. Persistent thermal anomalies from Sentinel-2 satellite imagery during January and February 2020 suggested that the lava dome inside Nevado del Ruiz’s Arenas crater was still actively growing. Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

On 4, 14, and 19 March 2020 thermal anomalies were visible in Sentinel-2 satellite data from within the Arenas crater. Thermal anomalies were recorded by the VIIRS satellite instrument on eight days during the month. Several episodes of drumbeat seismicity were recorded during the first half of the month and on 30-31 March. Distinct SO2 plumes with DU values greater than 2 were recorded by the TROPOMI satellite instrument daily throughout February and March (figure 111). The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission on 1 March that rose to 5.8 km altitude and drifted NW; it was centered 15 km from the summit when detected in satellite imagery. The next day a plume was seen in satellite imagery moving SW at 7.0 km altitude, extending nearly 40 km from the summit. Additional ash emissions were reported on 4, 14, 15, 21, 28, 29, and 31 March; the plumes rose to 5.8-6.7 km altitude and drifted generally W, some reaching 45 km from the summit before dissipating.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. Distinct SO2 plumes with Dobson values (DU) greater than 2 were recorded by the TROPOMI satellite instrument daily during February and March 2020. Ecuador’s Sangay produced smaller but distinct plumes most of the time as well. Dates are shown at the top of each image. Courtesy of NASA’s Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Activity during April-June 2020. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission that rose to 6.7 km altitude and drifted W on 1 April 2020. On 2 April, emission plumes were visible from the community of Tena in the Cundinamarca municipality which is located 100 km ESE (figure 112). The unusually clear skies were attributed to the reduction in air pollution in nearby Bogota resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic quarantine. On 4 April the Bogota MWO reported an emission drifting SW at 5.8 km altitude. An ash plume on 8 April rose to 6.7 km altitude and drifted W. On 25 April the last reported ash plume from the Washington VAAC for the period rose to 6.1 km altitude and was observed in satellite imagery moving W at 30 km from the summit; after that, only steam and gas emissions were observed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 112. On the evening of 2 April 2020, emission plumes from Nevado del Ruiz were visible from Santa Bárbara village in Tena, Cundinamarca municipality which is located 100 km ESE. The unusually clear skies were attributed to the reduction in air pollution in the nearby city of Bogota resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic quarantine. Photo by Williama Garcia, courtesy of Semana Sostenible (3 April 2020).

Distinct SO2 plumes with DU values greater than 2 were recorded by the TROPOMI satellite instrument daily throughout the month. On 13 April, a Sentinel-2 thermal image showed a hot spot inside the Arenas crater largely obscured by steam and clouds. Cloudy images through May and June prevented observation of additional thermal anomalies in satellite imagery, but the VIIRS thermal data indicated anomalies on 3, 4, and 26 April. SGC reported low-energy episodes of drumbeat seismicity on 4, 9, 10, 12, 15, 16, 20, and 23 April which they interpreted as related to growth of the lava dome inside the Arenas crater. The seismic events were located 1.5-2.0 km below the floor of the crater.

Small emissions of ash and gas were reported by SGC during May 2020 and the first half of June, with the primary drift direction being NW. Gas and steam plumes rose 560-1,400 m above the summit during May and June (figure 113). Drumbeat seismicity was reported a few times each month. Sulfur dioxide emissions continued daily; increased SO2 activity was recorded during 10-13 June (figure 114).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 113. Gas and steam plumes rose 560-1,400 m above the summit of Nevado del Ruiz during May and June 2020, including in the early morning of 11 June. Courtesy of Carlos-Enrique Ruiz.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 114. Increased SO2 activity during 10-13 June 2020 at Nevado del Ruiz was recorded by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Sangay also emitted SO2 on those days. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

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: El Servicio Geológico Colombiano (SGC), Diagonal 53 No. 34-53 - Bogotá D.C., Colombia (URL: https://www.sgc.gov.co/volcanes, https://twitter.com/sgcol); 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/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Camilo Cupitre (URL: https://twitter.com/Ccupitre/status/1225207439701704709); Manuel MR (URL: https://twitter.com/ElPlanetaManuel/status/1230837262088384512); Semana Sostenible (URL: https://sostenibilidad.semana.com/actualidad/articulo/fumarola-del-nevado-del-ruiz-fue-captada-desde-tena-cundinamarca/49597); Carlos-Enrique Ruiz (URL: https://twitter.com/Aleph43/status/1271800027841794049).


Asosan (Japan) — July 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

32.884°N, 131.104°E; summit elev. 1592 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily ash emissions continue through mid-June 2020 when activity decreases

Japan's 24-km-wide Asosan caldera on the island of Kyushu has been active throughout the Holocene. Nakadake has been the most active of 17 central cones for 2,000 years; all historical activity is from Nakadake Crater 1. The largest ash plume in 20 years occurred on 8 October 2016. Asosan remained quiet until renewed activity from Crater 1 began in mid-April 2019; explosions with ash plumes continued through the first half of 2020 and are covered in this report. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) provides monthly reports of activity; the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) issues aviation alerts reporting on possible ash plumes, and Sentinel-2 satellite images provide data on ash emissions and thermal activity.

The Tokyo VAAC issued multiple daily reports of ash plumes from Nakadake Crater 1 from 1 January-14 June 2020. They were commonly at 1.8-2.1 km altitude, and often drifted E or S. JMA reported that ashfall continued downwind from the ash plumes until mid-June; seismic activity was relatively high during January and February and decreased steadily after that time. The measured SO2 emissions ranged from 1,000-4,900 tons per day through mid-June and dropped to 500 tons per day during the second half of June. Intermittent thermal activity was recorded at the crater through mid-May.

Explosive activity during January-June 2020. Ash plumes rose up to 1.1 km above the crater rim at Nakadake Crater 1 during January 2020 (figure 70). Ashfall was confirmed downwind of an explosion on 7 January. During February, ash plumes rose up to 1.7 km above the crater, and ashfall was again reported downwind. The crater camera provided by the Aso Volcano Museum occasionally observed incandescence at the floor of the crater during both months. Incandescence was also occasionally observed with the Kusasenri webcam (3 km W) and was seen on 20 February from a webcam in Minamiaso village (8 km SW).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. Ash plumes rose up to 1.1 km above the Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan during January 2020 (left) and up to 1.7 km above the crater during February 2020 (right) as seen in these images from the Kusasenri webcam. Ashfall was reported downwind multiple times. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material for Mt. Aso, January and February 2020).

During March 2020, ash plumes rose as high as 1.3 km. Ashfall was reported on 9 March in Ichinomiyamachi, Aso City (figure 71). In field surveys conducted on the 18th and 25th, there was no visible water inside the crater, and high-temperature grayish-white plumes were observed. The temperature at the base of the plume was measured at 300°C (figure 72).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Ashfall from Asosan appeared on 9 March 2020 in Ichinomiyamachi, Aso City around 10 km N. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material for Mt. Aso, March 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. During a field survey of Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan on 25 March 2020, JMA staff observed a gray ash plume rising from the crater floor (left). The maximum temperature of the ash plume was measured at about 300°C with an infrared thermal imaging device (right). Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material for Mt. Aso, March 2020).

Occasional incandescence was observed at the bottom of the crater during April and May 2020; ash plumes rose 1.1 km above the crater on most days in April and were slightly higher, rising to 1.8 km during May, although activity was more intermittent (figure 73). A brief increase in SO2 activity was reported by JMA during field surveys on 7 and 8 May; satellite data captured small plumes of SO2 on 1 and 6 May (figure 74). A brief increase in tremor amplitude was reported by JMA on 16 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Although activity at Asosan’s Nakadake Crater 1 was more intermittent during April and May 2020 than earlier in the year, ash plumes were still reported most days and incandescence was seen at the bottom of the crater multiple times until 15 May. Left image taken 11 May 2020 from the Kusachiri webcam; right image taken from the crater webcam on 10 May provided by the Aso Volcano Museum. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material for Mt. Aso, May 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite detected small but distinct SO2 plumes from Asosan on 1 and 6 May 2020. Additional small plumes are visible from Aira caldera’s Sakurajima volcano. Courtesy of NASA’s Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

The last report of ash emissions at Nakadake Crater 1 from the Tokyo VAAC was on 14 June 2020. JMA also reported that no eruption was observed after mid-June. On 8 June they reported an ash plume that rose 1.4 km above the crater. During a field survey on 16 June, only steam was observed at the crater; the plume rose about 100 m (figure 75). In addition, a small plume of steam rose from a fumarole on the S crater wall.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. A steam plume rose about 100 m from the floor of Nakadake Crater 1 on 16 June 2020. A small steam plume was also observed by the S crater wall. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material for Mt. Aso, June 2020).

Thermal activity during January-June 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite data indicated thermal anomalies present at Nakadake Crater 1 on 2 January, 6 and 21 February, 16 April, and 11 May (figure 76). In addition, thermal anomalies from agricultural fires appeared in satellite images on 11 February, 7 and 17 March (figure 77). The fires were around 5 km from the crater, thus they appear on the MIROVA thermal anomaly graph in black, but are likely unrelated to volcanic activity (figure 78). No thermal anomalies were recorded in satellite data from the Nakadake Crater 1 after 11 May, and none appeared in the MIROVA data as well.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Thermal anomalies appeared at Asosan’s Nakadake Crater 1 on 2 January, 6 and 21 February, 16 April and 11 May 2020. On 2 January a small ash plume drifted SSE from the crater (left). On 6 February a dense ash plume drifted S from the crater (center). Only a small steam plume was visible above the crater on 21 February (right). Images use Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Thermal anomalies from agricultural fires located about 5 km from the crater appeared in satellite images on 11 February, and 7 and 17 March 2020. Although a dense ash plume drifted SSE from the crater on 11 February (left), no thermal anomalies appear at the crater on these dates. Images use Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. The MIROVA project plot of Log Radiative Power at Asosan from 29 June 2019 through June 2020 shows only a few small thermal alerts within 5 km of the summit crater during January-June 2020, and a spike in activity during February and March located around 5 km away. These data correlate well with the Sentinel-2 satellite data that show intermittent thermal anomalies at the summit throughout January-May and agricultural fires located several kilometers from the crater during February and March. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. The 24-km-wide Asosan caldera was formed during four major explosive eruptions from 300,000 to 90,000 years ago. These produced voluminous pyroclastic flows that covered much of Kyushu. The last of these, the Aso-4 eruption, produced more than 600 km3 of airfall tephra and pyroclastic-flow deposits. A group of 17 central cones was constructed in the middle of the caldera, one of which, Nakadake, is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. It was the location of Japan's first documented historical eruption in 553 CE. The Nakadake complex has remained active throughout the Holocene. Several other cones have been active during the Holocene, including the Kometsuka scoria cone as recently as about 210 CE. Historical eruptions have largely consisted of basaltic to basaltic-andesite ash emission with periodic strombolian and phreatomagmatic activity. The summit crater of Nakadake is accessible by toll road and cable car, and is one of Kyushu's most popular tourist destinations.

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Aira (Japan) — July 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

31.593°N, 130.657°E; summit elev. 1117 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Near-daily explosions with ash plumes continue, large block ejected 3 km from Minamidake crater on 4 June 2020

Sakurajima rises from Kagoshima Bay, which fills the Aira Caldera near the southern tip of Japan's Kyushu Island. Frequent explosive and occasional effusive activity has been ongoing for centuries. The Minamidake summit cone has been the location of persistent activity since 1955; the adjacent Showa crater on its E flank has also been intermittently active since 2006. Numerous explosions and ash-bearing emissions have been occurring each month at either Minamidake or Showa crater since the latest eruptive episode began in late March 2017. This report covers ongoing activity at Minamidake from January through June 2020; the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) provides regular reports on activity, and the Tokyo VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center) issues tens of reports each month about the frequent ash plumes.

Activity continued during January-June 2020 at Minamidake crater with tens of explosions each month. The Tokyo VAAC issued multiple daily reports of ash emissions during January and February. Less activity occurred during the first half of March but picked up again with multiple daily reports from mid-March through mid-April. Emissions were more intermittent but continued through early June, when activity decreased significantly. JMA reported explosions with ash plumes rising 2.5-4.2 km above the summit, and ejecta traveling generally up to 1,700 m from the crater, although a big explosion in early June send a large block of tephra 3 km from the crater (table 23). Thermal anomalies were visible in satellite imagery on a few days most months and were persistent in the MIROVA thermal anomaly data from November 2019 through early June 2020 (figure 94). Incandescence was often visible at night in the webcams through early June; the Showa crater remained quiet throughout the period.

Table 23. Monthly summary of eruptive events recorded at Sakurajima's Minamidake crater within the Aira Caldera, January through June 2020. The number of events that were explosive in nature are in parentheses. No events were recorded at the Showa crater during this time. Ashfall is measured at the Kagoshima Local Meteorological Observatory (KLMO), 10 km W of Showa crater. Data courtesy of JMA (January to June 2020 monthly reports).

Month Ash emissions (explosive) Max plume height above crater Max ejecta distance from crater Total amount of ashfall (g/m2) Total ashfall previous month
Jan 2020 104 (65) 2.5 km 1,700 m 75 (12 days) 280,000 tons
Feb 2020 129 (67) 2.6 km 1,800 m 21 (14 days) 230,000 tons
Mar 2020 26 (10) 3.0 km 1,700 m 3 (8 days) 360,000 tons
Apr 2020 51 (14) 3.8 km 1,700 m less than 0.5 (2 days) 160,000 tons
May 2020 51 (24) 4.2 km 1,300 m 19 (8 days) 280,000 tons
Jun 2020 28 (16) 3.7 km 3,000 m 71 (9 days) 150,000 tons
Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Persistent thermal anomalies were recorded in the MIROVA thermal energy data for the period from 2 July 2019 through June 2020. Thermal activity increased in October 2019 and remained steady through May 2020, decreasing abruptly at the beginning of June. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Explosions continued at Minamidake crater during January 2020 with 65 ash plumes reported. The highest ash plume rose 2.5 km above the crater on 30 January, and incandescent ejecta reached up to 1,700 m from the Minamidake crater on 22 and 29 January (figure 95). Slight inflation of the volcano since September 2019 continued to be measured with inclinometers and extensometers on Sakurajima Island. Field surveys conducted on 15, 20, and 31 January measured the amount of sulfur dioxide gas released as very high at 3,400-4,700 tons per day, as compared with 1,000-3,000 tons in December 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. An explosion at the Minamidake summit crater of Aira’s Sakurajima volcano on 29 January 2020 produced an ash plume that rose 2.5 km above the crater rim and drifted SE (left). On 22 January incandescent ejecta reached 1,700 m from the summit during explosive events. Courtesy of JMA (Sakurajima Volcanic Activity Commentary, January 2020).

About the same number of explosions produced ash plumes during February 2020 (67) as in January (65) (figure 96). On 10 February a large block was ejected 1,800 m from the crater, the first to reach that far since 5 February 2016. The tallest plume, on 26 February rose 2.6 km above the crater. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery indicated two distinct thermal anomalies within the Minamidake crater on both 1 and 6 February (figure 97). Activity diminished during March 2020 with only 10 explosions out of 26 eruptive events. On 21 March a large bomb reached 1,700 m from the crater. The tallest ash plume rose 3 km above the crater on 17 March. Scientists noted during an overflight on 16 March that a small steam plume was rising from the inner wall on the south side of the Showa crater; a larger steam plume rose to 300 m above the Minamidake crater and drifted S (figure 98). Sulfur dioxide emissions were similar in February (1,900 to 3,100 tons) and March (1,300 to 3,400 tons per day).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. An ash plume rose from the Minamidake crater at the summit of Aira’s Sakurajima volcano on 6 February 2020 at 1752 local time, as seen looking S from the Kitadake crater. Courtesy of JMA (Sakurajima Volcanic Activity Commentary, February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery revealed two distinct thermal anomalies within the Minamidake crater at Aira’s Sakurajima volcano on 1 and 6 February 2020. Images use Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. During an overflight of Aira’s Sakurajima volcano on 16 March 2020, JMA captured this view to the SW of the Kitadake crater on the right, the steam-covered Minamidake crater in the center, and the smaller Showa crater on the left adjacent to Minamidake. Courtesy of JMA and the Maritime Self-Defense Force 1st Air Group P-1 (Sakurajima Volcanic Activity Commentary, March 2020).

During April 2020, ejecta again reached as far as 1,700 m from the crater; 14 explosions were identified from the 51 reported eruptive events, an increase from March. The tallest plume, on 4 April, rose 3.8 km above the crater (figure 99). The same number of eruptive events occurred during May 2020, but 24 were explosive in nature. A large plume on 9 May rose to 4.2 km above the rim of Minamidake crater, the tallest of the period (figure 100). On 20 May, incandescent ejecta reached 1,300 m from the summit. Sulfur dioxide emissions during April (1,700-2,100 tons per day) and May (1,200-2,700 tons per day) were slightly lower than previous months.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. A large ash plume at Aira’s Sakurajima volcano rose from Minamidake crater at 1621 on 4 April 2020. The plume rose to 3.8 km above the crater and drifted SE. Courtesy of JMA (Sakurajima Volcanic Activity Commentary, April 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. Activity continued at Aira’s Sakurajima volcano during May 2020. A large plume rose to 4.2 km above the summit and drifted N in the early morning of 9 May (left). The Kaigata webcam located at the Osumi River National Highway Office captured abundant incandescent ejecta reaching 1,300 m from the crater during the evening of 20 May. Courtesy of JMA (Sakurajima Volcanic Activity Commentary, May 2020).

A major explosion on 4 June 2020 produced 137 Pa of air vibration at the Seto 2 observation point on Sakurajima Island. It was the first time that air vibrations exceeding 100 Pa have been observed at the Seto 2 station since the 21 May 2015 explosion at the Showa crater. The ash plume associated with the explosion rose 1.5 km above the crater rim. During an 8 June field survey conducted in Higashisakurajima-cho, Kagoshima City, a large impact crater believed to be associated with this explosion was located near the coast 3 km SSW from Minamidake. The crater formed by the ejected block was about 6 m in diameter and 2 m deep (figure 101); fragments found nearby were 10-20 cm in diameter (figure 102). A nearby roof was also damaged by the blocks. Smaller bombs were found in Kurokami-cho, Kagoshima City, around 4- 5 km E of Minamidake on 5 June; the largest fragment was 5 cm in diameter. Multiple ash plumes rose to 3 km or more above the summit during the first ten days of June; explosions on 4 and 5 June reached 3.7 km above the crater (figure 103). Larger than normal inflation and deflation before and after the explosions was recorded during early June in the inclinometers and extensometers located on the island. Incandescence at the summit was observed at night through the first half of June. The Tokyo VAAC issued multiple daily ash advisories during 1-10 June after which activity declined abruptly. Two brief explosions on 23 June and one on 28 June were the only two additional ash explosions reported in June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. A large crater measuring 6 m wide and 2 m deep was discovered 3 km from the Minamidake crater in Higashisakurajima, part of Kagoshima City, on 8 June 2020. It was believed to be from the impact of a large block ejected during the 4 June explosion at Aira’s Sakurajima volcano. Photo courtesy of Kagoshima City and JMA (Sakurajima Volcanic Activity Commentary, June 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. Fragments 10-30 cm in diameter from a large bomb that traveled 3 km from Minamidake crater on Sakurajima were found a few days after the 4 June 2020 explosion at Aira. Courtesy of JMA, photo courtesy of Kagoshima City (Sakurajima Volcanic Activity Commentary, June 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. An ash plume rose 3.7 km above the Minamidake crater at Aira’s Sakurajima volcano on 5 June 2020 and was recorded in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery. Image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub playground.

Geologic Background. The Aira caldera in the northern half of Kagoshima Bay contains the post-caldera Sakurajima volcano, one of Japan's most active. Eruption of the voluminous Ito pyroclastic flow accompanied formation of the 17 x 23 km caldera about 22,000 years ago. The smaller Wakamiko caldera was formed during the early Holocene in the NE corner of the Aira caldera, along with several post-caldera cones. The construction of Sakurajima began about 13,000 years ago on the southern rim of Aira caldera and built an island that was finally joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kitadake summit cone ended about 4850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minamidake. Frequent historical eruptions, recorded since the 8th century, have deposited ash on Kagoshima, one of Kyushu's largest cities, located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km from the summit. The largest historical eruption took place during 1471-76.

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Nevados de Chillan (Chile) — July 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevados de Chillan

Chile

36.868°S, 71.378°W; summit elev. 3180 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions and pyroclastic flows continue; new dome emerges from Nicanor crater in June 2020

Nevados de Chillán is a complex of late-Pleistocene to Holocene stratovolcanoes in the Chilean Central Andes. An eruption started with a phreatic explosion and ash emission on 8 January 2016 from a new crater (Nicanor) on the E flank of the Nuevo crater, itself on the NW flank of the large Volcán Viejo stratovolcano. Strombolian explosions and ash emissions continued throughout 2016 and 2017; a lava dome within the Nicanor crater was confirmed in early January 2018. Explosions and pyroclastic flows continued during 2018 and 2019, with several lava flows appearing in late 2019. This report covers continuing activity from January-June 2020 when ongoing explosive events produced ash plumes, pyroclastic flows, and the growth of new dome inside the crater. Information for this report is provided primarily by Chile's Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)-Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), and by the Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Explosions with ash plumes rising up to three kilometers above the summit area were intermittent from late January through early June 2020. Some of the larger explosions produced pyroclastic flows that traveled down multiple flanks. Thermal anomalies within the Nicanor crater were recorded in satellite data several times each month from February through June. A reduction in overall activity led SERNAGEOMIN to lower the Alert Level from Orange to Yellow (on a 4-level, Green-Yellow-Orange-Red scale) during the first week of March, although tens of explosions with ash plumes were still recorded during March and April. Explosive activity diminished in early June and SERNAGEOMIN reported the growth of a new dome inside the Nicanor crater. By the end of June, a new flow had extended about 100 m down the N flank. Thermal activity recorded by the MIROVA project showed a drop in thermal energy in mid-December 2019 after the lava flows of September-November stopped advancing. A decrease in activity in January and February 2020 was followed by an increase in thermal and explosive activity in March and April. Renewed thermal activity from the growth of a new dome inside the Nicanor crater was recorded beginning in mid-June (figure 52).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. MIROVA thermal anomaly data for Nevados de Chillan from 8 September 2019 through June 2020 showed a drop in thermal activity in mid-December 2019 after the lava flows of September-November stopped advancing. A decrease in activity in January and February 2020 was followed by an increase in explosive activity in March and April. Renewed thermal activity from the growth of a new dome inside the Nicanor crater was recorded beginning in mid-June. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Weak gas emissions were reported daily during January 2020 until a series of explosions began on the 21st. The first explosion rose 100 m above the active crater; the following day, the highest explosion rose 1.6 km above the crater. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported pulse emissions visible in satellite imagery on 21 and 24 January that rose to 3.9-4.3 km altitude and drifted SE and NE, respectively. Intermittent explosions continued through 26 January. Incandescent ejecta was observed during the night of 28-29 January. The VAAC reported an isolated emission on 29 January that rose to 5.2 km altitude and drifted E. A larger explosion on 30 January produced an ash plume that SERNAGEOMIN reported at 3.4 km above the crater (figure 53). It produced pyroclastic flows that traveled down ravines on the NNE and SE flanks. The Washington VAAC reported on behalf of the Buenos Aires VAAC that an emission was observed in satellite imagery on 30 January that rose to 4.9 km altitude and was moving rapidly E, reaching 15 km from the summit at midday. The altitude of the ash plume was revised two hours later to 7.3 km, drifting NNE and rapidly dissipating. Satellite images identified two areas of thermal anomalies within the Nicanor crater that day. One was the same emission center (CE4) identified in November 2019, and the second was a new emission center (CE5) located 60 m NW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. A significant explosion and ash plume from the Nicanor crater at Nevados de Chillan on 30 January 2020 produced an ash plume reported at 7.3 km altitude. The left image was taken within one minute of the initial explosion. Images posted by Twitter accounts #EmergenciasÑuble (left) and T13 (right); original photographers unknown.

When the weather permitted, low-altitude mostly white degassing was seen during February 2020, often with traces of fine-grained particulate material. Incandescence at the crater was observed overnight during 4-5 February. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported an emission on 14 February visible in the webcam. The next day, an emission was visible in satellite imagery at 3.9 km altitude that drifted E. Episodes of pulsating white and gray plumes were first observed by SERNAGEOMIN beginning on 18 February and continued through 25 February (figure 54). The Buenos Aires VAAC reported pulses of ash emissions moving SE on 18 February at 4.3 km altitude. Ash drifted E the next day at 3.9 km altitude and a faint plume was briefly observed on 20 February drifting N at 3.7 km altitude before dissipating. Sporadic pulses of ash moved SE from the volcano on 22 February at 4.3 km altitude, briefly observed in satellite imagery before dissipating. Thermal anomalies were visible from the Nicanor crater in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 23 and 28 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. An ash emission at Nevados de Chillan on 18 February 2020 was captured in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery drifting SE (left). Thermal anomalies within the Nicanor crater were measured on 23 (right) and 28 February. Images use Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Only low-altitude degassing of mostly steam was reported for the first half of March 2020. When SERNAGEOMIN lowered the Alert Level from Orange to Yellow on 5 March, they reduced the affected area from 5 km NE and 3 km SW of the crater to a radius of 2 km around the active crater. Thermal anomalies were recorded at the Nicanor crater in Sentinel-2 imagery on 4, 9, 11, 16, and 19 March (figure 55). A new series of explosions began on 19 March; 44 events were recorded during the second half of the month (figure 56). Webcams captured multiple explosions with dense ash plumes; on 25 and 30 March the plumes rose more than 2 km above the crater. Fine-grained ashfall occurred in Las Trancas (10 km SW) on 25 March. Pyroclastic flows on 25 and 30 March traveled 300 m NE, SE, and SW from the crater. Incandescence was observed at night multiple times after 20 March. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported several discrete pulses of ash that rose to 4.3 km altitude and drifted SE on 20 and 21 March, SW on 25 March, and SE on 29 and 30 March. Another ash emission rose to 5.5 km altitude later on 30 March and drifted SE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Sentinel-2 Satellite imagery of Nevados de Chillan during March 2020 showed thermal anomalies on five different dates at the Nicanor crater, including on 9, 11, and 16 March. A second thermal anomaly of unknown origin was also visible on 11 March about 2 km SW of the crater (center). Images use Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Forty-four explosive events were recorded at Nevados de Chillan during the second half of March 2020 including on 19 March. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN webcams and chillanonlinenoticia.

In their semi-monthly reports for April 2020, SERNAGEOMIN reported 94 explosive events during the first half of the month and 49 during the second half; many produced dense ash plumes. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported frequent intermittent ash emissions during 1-13 April reaching altitudes of 3.7-4.3 km (figure 57). They reported the plume on 8 April visible in satellite imagery at 7.3 km altitude drifting SE. An emission on 13 April was also visible in satellite imagery at 6.1 km altitude drifting NE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery captured a strong thermal anomaly and an ash plume drifting SE from Nevados de Chillan on 10 April 2020. Image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During the second half of April 2020, SERNAGEOMIN reported that only one plume exceeded 2 km in height; on 21 April, it rose to 2.4 km above the crater (figure 58). The Buenos Aires VAAC reported isolated pulses of ash on 18, 26, 28, and 30 April. During the second half of April SERNAGEOMIN also reported that a pyroclastic flow traveled about 1,200 m from the crater rim down the SE flank. The ash from the pyroclastic flow drifted SE and S as far as 3.5 km. Satellite images showed continued activity from multiple emission centers around the crater. Pronounced scarps were noted on the internal walls of the crater, attributed to the deepening of the crater from explosive activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Tens of explosions were reported at Nevados de Chillan during the second half of April 2020 that produced dense ash plumes. The plume on 21 April rose 2.4 km above the Nicanor crater. Photo by Josefa Carrasco Acuña from San Fabián de Alico; posted by Noticias Valpo Express.

Intermittent explosive activity continued during May 2020. The plumes contained abundant particulate material and were accompanied by periodic pyroclastic flows and incandescent ejecta around the active crater, especially visible at night. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported several sporadic weak ash emissions during the first week of May that rose to 3.7-5.2 km altitude and drifted NE. SERNAGEOMIN reported that only one explosion produced an ash emission that rose more than two km above the crater during the first two weeks of the month; on 6 May it rose to 2.5 km above the crater and drifted NE. They also observed pyroclastic flows on the E and SE flanks that day. Additional pyroclastic flows traveled 450 m down the S flank during the first half of the month, and similar deposits were observed to the N and NE. Satellite observations showed various emission points along the NW-trending lineament at the summit and multiple erosion scarps. Major erosion was noted at the NE rim of the crater along with an increase in degassing around the rim.

During the second half of May 2020 most of the ash plumes rose less than 2 km above the crater; a plume from one explosion on 22 May rose 2.2 km above the crater; the Buenos Aires VAAC reported the plume at 5.5 km altitude drifting NW (figure 59). Continuing pyroclastic emissions deposited material as far as 1.5 km from the crater rim on the NNW flank. There were also multiple pyroclastic deposits up to 500 m from the crater directed N and NE during the period. SERNAGEOMIN reported an increase in steam degassing between Nuevo-Nicanor and Nicanor-Arrau craters.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Explosions produced dense ash plumes and pyroclastic flows at Nevados de Chillan multiple times during May 2020 including on 22 May. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

Webcam images during the first two weeks of June 2020 indicated multiple incandescent explosions. On 3 and 4 June plumes from explosions reached heights of over 1.25 km above the crater; the Buenos Aires VAAC reported them drifting NW at 3.9 km altitude. Incandescent ejecta on 6 June rose 760 m above the vent and drifted NE. In addition, pyroclastic flows were distributed on the N, NW, E and SE flanks. Significant daytime and nighttime incandescence was reported on 6, 9, and 10 June (figure 60). The VAAC reported emission pulses on 6 and 9 June drifting E and SE at 4.3 km altitude.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. Multiple ash plumes with incandescence were reported at Nevados de Chillan during the first ten days of June 2020 including on 6 June, after which explosive activity decreased significantly. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIIN and Sismo Alerta Mexicana.

SERNAGEOMIN reported that beginning on the afternoon of 9 June 2020 a tremor-type seismic signal was first recorded, associated with continuous emission of gas and dark gray ash that drifted SE (figure 61). A little over an hour later another tremor signal began that lasted for about four hours, followed by smaller discrete explosions. A hybrid-type earthquake in the early morning of 10 June was followed by a series of explosions that ejected gas and particulate matter from the active crater. The vent where the emissions occurred was located within the Nicanor crater close to the Arrau crater; it had been degassing since 30 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. A tremor-type seismic signal was first recorded on the afternoon of 9 June 2020 at Nevados de Chillan. It was associated with the continuous emission of gas and dark gray ash that drifted SE, and incandescent ejecta visible after dark. View is to the S, courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN webcam, posted by Volcanology Chile.

After the explosions on the afternoon of 9 June, a number of other nearby vents became active. In particular, the vent located between the Nuevo and Nicanor craters began emitting material for the first time during this eruptive cycle. The explosion also generated pyroclastic flows that traveled less than 50 m in multiple directions away from the vent. Abundant incandescent material was reported during the explosion early on 10 June. Deformation measurements showed inflation over the previous 12 days.

SERNAGEOMIN identified a surface feature in satellite imagery on 11 June 2020 that they interpreted as a new effusive lava dome. It was elliptical with dimensions of about 85 x 120 m. In addition to a thermal anomaly attributed to the dome, they noted three other thermal anomalies between the Nuevo, Arrau, and Nicanor craters. They reported that within four days the base of the active crater was filled with effusive material. Seismometers recorded tremor activity after 11 June that was interpreted as associated with lava effusion. Incandescent emissions were visible at night around the active crater. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery recorded a bright thermal anomaly inside the Nicanor crater on 14 June (figure 62).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. A bright thermal anomaly was recorded inside the Nicanor crater at Nevados de Chillan on 14 June 2020. SERNAGEOMIN scientists attributed it to the growth of a new lava dome within the crater. Image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

A special report from SERNAGEOMIN on 24 June 2020 noted that vertical inflation had increased during the previous few weeks. After 20 June the inflation rate reached 2.49 cm/month, which was considered high. The accumulated inflation measured since July 2019 was 22.5 cm. Satellite imagery continued to show the growth of the dome, and SERNAGEOMIN scientists estimated that it reached the E edge of the Nicanor crater on 23 June. Based on these images, they estimated an eruptive rate of 0.1-0.3 m3/s, about two orders of magnitude faster than the Gil-Cruz dome that emerged between December 2018 and early 2019.

Webcams revealed continued low-level explosive activity and incandescence visible both during the day and at night. By the end of June, webcams recorded a lava flow that extended 94 m down the N flank from the Nicanor crater and continued to advance. Small explosions with abundant pyroclastic debris produced recurring incandescence at night. Satellite infrared imagery indicated thermal radiance from effusive material that covered an area of 37,000 m2, largely filling the crater. DEM analysis suggested that the size of the crater had tripled in volume since December 2019 due largely to erosion from explosive activity since May 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed a bright thermal anomaly inside the crater on 27 June.

Geologic Background. The compound volcano of Nevados de Chillán is one of the most active of the Central Andes. Three late-Pleistocene to Holocene stratovolcanoes were constructed along a NNW-SSE line within three nested Pleistocene calderas, which produced ignimbrite sheets extending more than 100 km into the Central Depression of Chile. The largest stratovolcano, dominantly andesitic, Cerro Blanco (Volcán Nevado), is located at the NW end of the group. Volcán Viejo (Volcán Chillán), which was the main active vent during the 17th-19th centuries, occupies the SE end. The new Volcán Nuevo lava-dome complex formed between 1906 and 1945 between the two volcanoes and grew to exceed Volcán Viejo in elevation. The Volcán Arrau dome complex was constructed SE of Volcán Nuevo between 1973 and 1986 and eventually exceeded its height.

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/, https://twitter.com/Sernageomin); 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/); 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); #EmergenciasÑuble (URL: https://twitter.com/urgenciasnuble/status/1222943399185207296); T13, Channel 13 Press Department (URL: https://twitter.com/T13/status/1222951071443771394); Chillanonlinenoticia (URL: https://twitter.com/ChillanOnline/status/1240754211932995595); Noticias Valpo Express (URL: https://twitter.com/NoticiasValpoEx/status/1252715033131388928); Sismo Alerta Mexicana (URL: https://twitter.com/Sismoalertamex/status/1269351579095691265); Volcanology Chile (URL: https://twitter.com/volcanologiachl/status/1270548008191643651).


Kerinci (Indonesia) — July 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash emissions during January-early May 2020

Kerinci is a stratovolcano located in Sumatra, Indonesia that has been characterized by explosive eruptions with ash plumes and gas-and-steam emissions. The most recent eruptive episode began in April 2018 which has included intermittent explosions and ash plumes. The previous report (BGVN 44:12) described more recent activity consisting of intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes which occurred during June through early November 2019. This volcanism continued through May 2020, though little to no activity was reported during December 2019. 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) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

Activity during December 2019 consisted of white gas-and-steam emissions rising 100-500 m above the summit. White and brown emissions continued intermittently through May 2020, rising to a maximum altitude of 1 km above the summit on 14 April. During 3-6 and 8-9 January 2020, the Darwin VAAC and PVMBG issued notices reporting brown volcanic ash rising 150-600 m above the summit drifting S and ESE (figure 19). PVMBG published a VONA notice on 24 January at 0828 reporting ash rising 400 m above the summit. Brown emissions continued intermittently throughout the reporting period. On 1 February, volcanic ash was observed rising 300-960 m above the summit and drifting NE; PVMBG reported continuing brown emissions during 1-3 February. During 16-17 February, two VONA notices reported that brown ash plumes rose 150-400 m above the summit and drifted SW accompanied by consistent white gas-and-steam emissions (figure 20).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Brown ash plume rose 500-600 m above Kerinci on 4 January 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia via Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. White gas-and-steam emissions rose 400 m above Kerinci on 19 February 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia via Øystein Lund Andersen.

During 1-16 and 25-26 March 2020 brown ash emissions were frequently observed rising 100-500 m above the summit drifting in multiple directions. During 6-8 and 10-15, April brown ash emissions were reported 50-1,000 m above the summit. The most recent Darwin VAAC and VONA notices were published on 14 April, reporting volcanic ash rising 400 and 600 m above the summit, respectively; however, PVMBG reported brown emissions rising up to 1,000 m. By 25-27 April brown ash emissions rose 50-300 m above the summit. Intermittent white gas-and-steam emissions continued through May. The last brown emissions seen in May were reported on the 7th rising 50-100 m above the summit.

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); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com, images at https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse/status/1213658331564269569/photo/1 and https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse/status/1230419965209018369/photo/1).


Tinakula (Solomon Islands) — July 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Tinakula

Solomon Islands

10.386°S, 165.804°E; summit elev. 796 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent small thermal anomalies and gas-and-steam plumes during January-June 2020

Tinakula is a remote stratovolcano located 100 km NE of the Solomon Trench at the N end of the Santa Cruz. In 1971, an eruption with lava flows and ash explosions caused the small population to evacuate the island. Volcanism has previously been characterized by an ash explosion in October 2017 and the most recent eruptive period that began in December 2018 with renewed thermal activity. Activity since then has consisted of intermittent thermal activity and dense gas-and-steam plumes (BGVN 45:01), which continues into the current reporting period. This report updates information from January-June 2020 using primary source information from various satellite data, as ground observations are rarely available.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed weak, intermittent, but ongoing thermal activity during January-June 2020 (figure 41). A small cluster of slightly stronger thermal signatures was detected in late February to early March, which is correlated to MODVOLC thermal alert data; four thermal hotspots were recorded on 20, 27, and 29 February and 1 March. However, observations using Sentinel-2 satellite imagery were often obscured by clouds. In addition to the weak thermal signatures, dense gas-and-steam plumes were observed in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery rising from the summit during this reporting period (figure 42).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Weak thermal anomalies at Tinakula from 26 June 2019 through June 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were intermittent and clustered more strongly in late February to early March.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery shows ongoing gas-and-steam plumes rising from Tinakula during January through May 2020. Images with atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8a) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Three distinct thermal anomalies were observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery on 22 January, 11 April, and 6 May 2020, accompanied by some gas-and-steam emissions (figure 43). The hotspot on 22 January was slightly weaker than the other two days, and was seen on the W flank, compared to the other two that were observed in the summit crater. According to MODVOLC thermal alerts, a hotspot was recorded on 6 May, which corresponded to a Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image with a notable anomaly in the summit crater (figure 43). On 10 June no thermal anomaly was seen in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery due to the presence of clouds; however, what appeared to be a dense gas-and-steam plume was extending W from the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing a weak thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) on 22 January 2020 on the W flank of Tinakula (top) and slightly stronger thermal hotspots on 11 April (middle) and 6 May (bottom) in at the summit, which are accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. Images with atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8a) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The small 3.5-km-wide island of Tinakula is the exposed summit of a massive stratovolcano at the NW end of the Santa Cruz islands. Similar to Stromboli, it has a breached summit crater that extends from the summit to below sea level. Landslides enlarged this scarp in 1965, creating an embayment on the NW coast. The satellitic cone of Mendana is located on the SE side. The dominantly andesitic volcano has frequently been observed in eruption since the era of Spanish exploration began in 1595. In about 1840, an explosive eruption apparently produced pyroclastic flows that swept all sides of the island, killing its inhabitants. Frequent historical eruptions have originated from a cone constructed within the large breached crater. These have left the upper flanks and the steep apron of lava flows and volcaniclastic debris within the breach unvegetated.

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


Ibu (Indonesia) — July 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ibu

Indonesia

1.488°N, 127.63°E; summit elev. 1325 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent ash emissions and summit incandescence; Strombolian explosions in March 2020

Ibu is an active stratovolcano located along the NW coast of Halmahera Island in Indonesia. Volcanism has recently been characterized by frequent ash explosions, ash plumes, and small lava flows within the crater throughout 2019 (BGVN 45:01). Activity continues, consisting of frequent white-and-gray emissions, ash explosions, ash plumes, and lava flows. This report updates activity through June 2020, using data from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and various satellites.

Volcanism during the entire reporting period dominantly consisted of white-and-gray emissions that rose 200-800 m above the summit drifting in multiple directions. The ash plume with the maximum altitude of 13.7 km altitude occurred on 16 May 2020. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery detected multiple smaller hotspots within the crater throughout the reporting period.

Continuous ash emissions were reported on 6 February rising to 2.1 km altitude drifting E, accompanied by a hotspot visible in infrared satellite imagery. On 16 February, a ground observer reported an eruption that produced an ash plume rising 800 m above the summit drifting W, according to a Darwin VAAC notice. Ash plumes continued through the month, drifting in multiple directions and rising up to 2.1 km altitude. During 8-10 March, video footage captured multiple Strombolian explosions that ejected incandescent material and produced ash plumes from the summit (figures 21 and 22). Occasionally volcanic lightning was observed within the ash column, as recorded in video footage by Martin Rietze. This event was also documented by a Darwin VAAC notice, which stated that multiple ash emissions rose 2.1 km altitude drifting SE. PVMBG published a VONA notice on 10 March at 1044 reporting ash plumes rising 400 m above the summit. PVMBG and Darwin VAAC notices described intermittent eruptions on 26, 28, and 29 March, all of which produced ash plumes rising 300-800 m above the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Strombolian explosions recorded at the crater summit of Ibu during 8-10 March 2020 ejected incandescent ejecta and a dense ash plume. Video footage copyright by Martin Rietze, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Strombolian explosions recorded at the crater summit of Ibu during 8-10 March 2020 ejected incandescent ejecta and ash. Frequent volcanic lightning was also observed. Video footage copyright by Martin Rietze, used with permission.

A majority of days in April included white-and-gray emissions rising up to 800 m above the summit. A ground observer reported an eruption on 9 April, according to a Darwin VAAC report, and a hotspot was observed in HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery. Minor eruptions were reported intermittently during mid-April and early to mid-May. On 12 May at 1052 a VONA from PVMBG reported an ash plume 800-1,100 m above the summit. A large short-lived eruption on 16 May produced an ash plume that rose to a maximum of 13.7 km altitude and drifted S, according to the Darwin VAAC report. By June, volcanism consisted predominantly of white-and-gray emissions rising 800 m above the summit, with an ash eruption on 15 June. This eruptive event resulted in an ash plume that rose 1.8 km altitude drifting WNW and was accompanied by a hotspot detected in HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery, according to a Darwin VAAC notice.

The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected frequent hotspots during July 2019 through June 2020 (figure 23). In comparison, the MODVOLC thermal alerts recorded a total of 24 thermal signatures over the course of 19 different days between January and June. Many thermal signatures were captured as small thermal hotspots in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery within the crater (figure 24).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Thermal anomalies recorded at Ibu from 2 July 2019 through June 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were frequent and consistent in power. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) showed occasional thermal hotspots (bright orange) in the Ibu summit crater during January through June 2020. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The truncated summit of Gunung Ibu stratovolcano along the NW coast of Halmahera Island has large nested summit craters. The inner crater, 1 km wide and 400 m deep, contained several small crater lakes through much of historical time. The outer crater, 1.2 km wide, is breached on the north side, creating a steep-walled valley. A large parasitic cone is located ENE of the summit. A smaller one to the WSW has fed a lava flow down the W flank. A group of maars is located below the N and W flanks. Only a few eruptions have been recorded in historical time, the first a small explosive eruption from the summit crater in 1911. An eruption producing a lava dome that eventually covered much of the floor of the inner summit crater began in December 1998.

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/); 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); Martin Rietze, Taubenstr. 1, D-82223 Eichenau, Germany (URL: https://mrietze.com/, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5LzAA_nyNWEUfpcUFOCpJw/videos, video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMkfT1e4HQQ).


Suwanosejima (Japan) — July 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

29.638°N, 129.714°E; summit elev. 796 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent explosions, ash plumes, and summit incandescence in January-June 2020

Suwanosejima is an active stratovolcano located in the northern Ryukyu Islands. Volcanism has previously been characterized by Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and summit incandescence (BGVN 45:01), which continues to occur intermittently. A majority of this activity originates from vents within the large Otake summit crater. This report updates information during January through June 2020 using monthly reports from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

During 3-10 January 2020, 13 explosions were detected from the Otake crater rising to 1.4 km altitude; material was ejected as far as 600 m away and ashfall was reported in areas 4 km SSW, according to JMA. Occasional small eruptive events continued during 12-17 January, which resulted in ash plumes that rose 1 km above the crater rim and ashfall was again reported 4 km SSW. Crater incandescence was visible nightly during 17-24 January, while white plumes rose as high as 700 m above the crater rim.

Nightly incandescence during 7-29 February, and 1-6 March, was accompanied by intermittent explosions that produced ash plumes rising up to 1.2 km above the crater rim (figure 44); activity during early February resulted in ashfall 4 km SSW. On 19 February an eruption produced a gray-white ash plume that rose 1.6 km above the crater (figure 45), resulting in ashfall in Toshima village (4 km SSW), according to JMA. Explosive events during 23-24 February ejected blocks onto the flanks. Two explosions were recorded during 1-6 March, which sent ash plumes as high as 900-1,000 m above the crater rim and ejected large blocks 300 m from the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Surveillance camera images of summit incandescence at Suwanosejima on 29 January (top left), 21 (middle left) and 23 (top right) February, and 25 March (bottom left and right) 2020. Courtesy of JMA (Monthly bulletin reports 511, January, February, and March 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Surveillance camera images of which and white-and-gray gas-and-steam emissions rising from Suwanosejima on 5 January (top), 19 February (middle), and 24 March 2020 (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Monthly bulletin reports 511, January, February, and March 2020).

Nightly incandescence continued to be visible during 13-31 March, 1-10 and 17-24 April, 1-8, 15-31 May, 1-5 and 12-30 June 2020; activity during the latter part of March was relatively low and consisted of few explosive events. In contrast, incandescence was frequently accompanied by explosions in April and May. On 28 April at 0432 an eruption produced an ash plume that rose 1.6 km above the crater rim and drifted SE and E, and ejected blocks as far as 800 m from the crater. The MODVOLC thermal alerts algorithm also detected four thermal signatures during this eruption within the summit crater. An explosion at 1214 on 29 April caused glass in windows to vibrate up to 4 km SSW away while ash emissions continued to be observed following the explosion the previous day, according to the Tokyo VAAC.

During 1-8 May explosions occurred twice a day, producing ash plumes that rose as high as 1 km above the crater rim and ejecting material 400 m from the crater. An explosion on 29 May at 0210 produced an off-white plume that rose as high as 500 m above the crater rim and ejected large blocks up to 200 m above the rim. On 5 June an explosion produced gray-white plumes rising 1 km above the crater. Small eruptive events continued in late June, producing ash plumes that rose as high as 900 m above the crater rim.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed relatively stronger thermal anomalies in late February and late April 2020 with an additional six weaker thermal anomalies detected in early January (2), early February (1), mid-April (2), and mid-May (1) (figure 46). Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery in late January through mid-April showed two distinct thermal hotspots within the summit crater (figure 47).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Prominent thermal anomalies at Suwanosejima during July-June 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) occurred in late February and late April. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing small thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) from two locations within the Otake summit crater at Suwanosejima. Images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The 8-km-long, spindle-shaped island of Suwanosejima in the northern Ryukyu Islands consists of an andesitic stratovolcano with two historically active summit craters. The summit is truncated by a large breached crater extending to the sea on the east flank that was formed by edifice collapse. Suwanosejima, one of Japan's most frequently active volcanoes, was in a state of intermittent strombolian activity from Otake, the NE summit crater, that began in 1949 and lasted until 1996, after which periods of inactivity lengthened. The largest historical eruption took place in 1813-14, when thick scoria deposits blanketed residential areas, and the SW crater produced two lava flows that reached the western coast. At the end of the eruption the summit of Otake collapsed forming a large debris avalanche and creating the horseshoe-shaped Sakuchi caldera, which extends to the eastern coast. The island remained uninhabited for about 70 years after the 1813-1814 eruption. Lava flows reached the eastern coast of the island in 1884. Only about 50 people live on the island.

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


Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — July 2020 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)


Ash plumes during 29 February-2 March and 1 May 2020

Bagana lies in a nearly inaccessible mountainous tropical rainforest area of Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea and is primarily monitored by satellite imagery of ash plumes and thermal anomalies. After a state of elevated activity that lasted through December 2018 (BGVN 43:05, 44:06, 44:12), the volcano entered a quieter period that persisted through at least May 2020. This report focuses on activity between December 2019 and May 2020.

Atmospheric clouds often obscured satellite views of the volcano during the reporting period. When the volcano could be observed, light-colored gas plumes were often observed (figure 43). Based on satellite and wind model data, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) reported that during 29 February-2 March ash plumes rose to an altitude of 1.8-2.1 km and drifted SW and N. On 1 May an ash plume rose to an altitude of 3 km and drifted NW and W. According to both Darwin VAAC volcanic ash advisories, the Aviation Color Code was Orange (second highest of four hazard levels).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Sentinel-2 image of Bagana, showing a gas plume drifting SE on 13 March 2020, during a period when the Darwin VAAC had not reported any ash explosions (Natural Color rendering, bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During the reporting period, the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system recorded only intermittent thermal anomalies, all of which were of low radiative power. Sulfur dioxide emissions detected by satellite-based instruments over this reporting period were at low levels.

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

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

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 39, Number 03 (March 2014)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Cameroon (Cameroon)

Brief 2012 explosion; follow up on earlier activity and studies

Nyamuragira (DR Congo)

Eruption during 6 November 2011 to April 2012; pit crater morphology changes

Salton Buttes (United States)

Instrument-aided IR detection of 5 steaming vents at Red Island in 2013

Santa Maria (Guatemala)

Large May 2014 eruption with ashfall, pyroclastic flow, and lava flow; activity during October 2011-June 2014

Villarrica (Chile)

During November 2010 to December 2013, lava lake persists but few explosions



Cameroon (Cameroon) — March 2014 Citation iconCite this Report

Cameroon

Cameroon

4.203°N, 9.17°E; summit elev. 4095 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Brief 2012 explosion; follow up on earlier activity and studies

Introduction. The Associated Press reported a sudden explosion had occurred at Mount Cameroon on 3 February 2012 (see subsection below). A review of MODVOLC thermal alerts based on satellite infrared data during 2001 to mid-2014 found few if any of the highest-level alerts. In contrast, there were numerous stronger alerts during 3 March to 17 July 2000 (activity described in BGVN 24:09, 25:06).

In (BGVN 26:11) we reported that during 26-27 June 2001, Limbe, an economically important coastal town with ~85,000 residents located on the S foot of the steep sided stratovolcano Mt. Cameroon (figure 4), was struck by a series of heavy rains leading to deadly floods and landslides. Figure 5 shows a photo taken in Limbe during the flood. Although many would classify the flood as a meteorological disaster and not a volcanological one, Mt. Cameroon is the tallest peak in Western Africa and orogenic uplift of warm most air over the massive edifice is a factor affecting the amount of rainfall. Limbe sits at the mouth of drainages coming down this side of the edifice. During July 2014, heavy rains again resulted in floods in Limbe (Ndaley, 2014). In strict eruptive-hazard terms, Mount Cameroon is the only volcanic peak in Western Africa with recent ongoing eruptions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. (Inset) Indicating the location of the Republic of Cameroon in Africa. (Main map) The location of Mount Cameroon, the main bulk of which is centered ~25 km from the coastline. Some other regional volcanic features and their ages are also indicated. Etinde is a prominent conical volcanic center on the SW flank of the larger structure of Mount Cameroon. The town of Limbe resides along the coast just S of the volcano. Taken from Suh and others (2008).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Flooding that inundated Clerks quarter, Limbe in 2001. The volcanic topography feeds a number of catchment basins into Limbe, which is also why the same town is also highly vulnerable to lava flows (Wantim and others, 2011). Photo taken from MIA-VITA literature.

This report discusses recent research on the 2000 eruption of Mount Cameroon and then summarizes news articles on a smaller 2012 explosion. After that, this report discusses vulnerability studies, including a United Nations project that examined and attempted to mitigate the risk to local communities.

The 2000 eruption. On the basis of first-hand knowledge of some of their co-authors, Wantim and others (2011) stated that the eruption occurred during 28 May and 20 July 2000. MODVOLC satellite-based thermal alerts were found during the interval 3 March 2000 to 17 July 2000. The seismic activity for this eruption lasted 3 months, up to September 2000 (Ateba and others, 2009). Multiple fissure segments produced lava that built four different lava flow fields at three sites they specify in their paper (Wantim and others, 2011).

Eruptions at site 1 (~ 3,930 m a.s.l) began in the night of 28 May 2000 with an explosive phase that produced only tephra and ballistic blocks (Suh and others, 2003 and Wantim and others, 2011). A ~850 m-long ′a′a flow field was emplaced at this site a month later, an observation supported by data from MODVOLC and multispectral images (Landsat ETM + and ASTER) analyzed in this study. The upper 2000 flow is one of the shortest (850 m) recorded for historical lava flows here despite having descended steep slopes (10-25°). Late emission of the lava and field observations of cone breach at the lava source suggest that the lava flow was fed by the drainage of a transient lava lake. That lake was presumably formed by lava fountaining in the eruptive cone (Wantim and others., 2011). The lava flow field covers a total surface area of (8 ± 2) × 104 m2 with a total volume of (3.4 ± 0.8) × 105 m3. There were two lobes, ~4.5 m and ~8.7 m thick (Wantim and others., 2011).

Brief explosion--2012 news reports. Cameroon state radio and television reports stated that Mount Cameroon sent "ashes and flames" into the air in a brief explosion on 3 February 2012. A violent explosion lasted a couple of seconds and lightly injured two of the porters and guides on the mountain, according to a 6 February 2012 Associated Press report.

Lava flow hazard and risk, and weathering studies. According to Favalli and others (2010), Mt. Cameroon is one of the most active effusive volcanoes in Africa. About 500,000 people living or working around its fertile flanks are subject to significant threat from lava flow inundation. Therefore, this group initiated a scientific project to assess the hazards/risks associated with the volcano by simulating probable lava flow paths using the DOWNFLOW code, a routine that for lava-flow-hazard mapping that defines areas susceptible to inundation.

According to Wantim and others (2013), as for many other effusive volcanoes, only limited information exists on the relevant lava flow properties and emplacement dynamics for recent eruptions. This study provides new quantitative constraints for rheological and dynamic characteristics of lava flow effusion at Mount Cameroon during the 1982 and 2000 eruptions. These constraints were used to calibrate the FLOWGO thermo-rheological model for these lava flows. FLOWGO (Harris and Rowland, 2001) was the only model that enables full inversion of the thermo-rheological properties of lava flows. It can be constrained from channel morphology and down-flow evolution of crystal content.

Lava flow hazard and risk were assessed by simulating probable lava flow paths using the DOWNFLOW code (Tarquini and Favalli, 2011). That code incorporates digital elevation data and allows the definition of areas that are susceptible to inundation by lava flows originating from each vent; it has been used extensively to simulate lava flows at Mt. Etna and Nyiragongo volcanoes ( Favalli and others, 2005, 2006, 2009; Chirico and others 2009). The details of the modeling and the resulting maps they produced can be found in the cited references. Simulated lava flows from about 80,000 possible vents were used to produce a detailed lava flow hazard map. The lava flow risk in the area was mapped by combining the hazard map with digitized infrastructures (i.e., human settlements and roads).

Results show that the risk of lava flow inundation is greatest in the most inhabited coastal areas, specifically the town of Limbe (which constitutes the center of Cameroon's oil industry and an important commercial port). Buea, the second most important town in the area, has a much lower risk although it is significantly closer to the summit of the volcano. Non-negligible risk characterizes many villages and most roads in the area surrounding the volcano. In addition to the conventional risk mapping described above, the authors also present (1) two reversed risk maps (one for buildings and one for roads), where each point on the volcano is classified according to the total damage expected as a consequence of vent opening at that point; (2) maps of the lava catchments for the two main towns of Limbe and Buea, illustrating the expected damage upon venting at any point in the catchment basin. The hazard and risk maps provided here represent valuable tools for both medium/long-term land-use planning and real-time volcanic risk management and decision making.

The largely geochemical study of Che and others (2012), analyses the behavior and mobility of major and some trace elements during the physical and chemical development of landslide-prone soil profiles in Limbe, SW Cameroon. The soils result from in situ weathering of Tertiary basaltic and picrobasaltic rocks. Textural and chemical characterizations, together with two mass balance models are applied to understand the mobility and redistribution of elements during the weathering of pyroclastic cones and lava flows in the setting of Mt. Cameroon. This weathering is a major factor in the cohesion of steep slopes, and thus these studies address slope stability, another kind of volcano-related hazard that could occur even in times of volcanic quiescence.

Socio-economic vulnerability study. A United Nations project, MIA-VITA (Mitigate and Assess risk from Volcanic Impact on Terrain and human Activities) was started in Cameroon during 2011 (Apa and others, 2007; Bosi and others, 2011; European Commission, 2010). (The phrase 'Mia Vita' comes from the Italian, "My Life"). The project was based on the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and a key expected outcome was to finding the best means to help local populations and authorities better perceive risks and thus reduce community vulnerability.

The program in Cameroon, as well in three other developing countries with active volcanoes, had several goals: (1) to assess the natural risk to local communities from the selected volcano, based on risk mapping and damage scenarios; (2) to improve crisis management, based on early warning systems and improved communications between government officials and the local populations, and (3) to reduce the vulnerability of populations in the wake of an eruption.

Besides Mount Cameroon, MIA-VITA also contributed to similar goals at Mount Merapi in Indonesia, Mount Kanlaon in Philippines, and Mount Fogo in Cape Verde. In the service of local citizens facing volcanic hazards, the MIA-VITA study also aimed to improve civil-defence, planning, and coordination and to reduce rumors and alarmist information.

MIA-VITA also integrates GIS capability with an analytic hierarchy method that yields volcanic risk maps. The approach is designed to solve complex multiple criteria problems using relative pairwise comparisons (Saaty, 1996; Wikipedia, 2014). To apply this approach, it is necessary to break down a complex unstructured problem into its component factors. The method incorporates both qualitative and quantitative criteria in the evaluation.

References. Apa, M.I., Kouokam, E:, Akoko, R.M, Thierry, P., and Buongiorno, M.F., 2007, Mt. Cameroon Socio-Economic Vulnerability and Resilience Assessment Through Traditional Survey Methods[FP7-ENV-2007-1] (URL: http://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2011/EGU2011-3402.pdf http://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2011/EGU2011-3402.pdf )

Bosi, V., Cristiani C. and Costantini, L., 2011, 3rd MIA-VITA Newsletter (Sept. 2011), MIA-VITA (URL: www.spinics.net/lists/volcano/msg02475.html )

Che, V.B., Fontijin, K., Ernst, G.G.J., Kervyn, M., Elburg, M, Van Ranst, E., Suh, C.E., 2012, Evaluating the degree of weathering in landslide-prone soils in the humid tropics: The case of Limbe, SW Cameroon; Geoderma, Vol. 170, pp. 378-389

Chirico G.D., Favalli, M., Papale, P., Pareschi, M.T., Boschi, E., 2009, Lava flow hazard at Nyiragongo volcano, D.R.C. 2. Hazard reduction in urban areas. Bull Volcanol 71:375-387. doi:10.1007/s00445-008-0232-z

European Commission, 2010 (31 March 2010), MIA-VITA--1st newsletter (URL: http://images.nationmaster.com/images/motw/africa/calabar_tpc_1996.jpg )

Favalli, M., Chirico, G.D., Papale, P., Pareschi, M.T., Boschi, E. (2009a) Lava flow hazard at Nyiragongo volcano, D.R.C. 1. Model calibration and hazard mapping. Bull Volcanol 71:363-374. doi:10.1007/s00445-008-0233-y

Favalli, M., Tarquini, S., Papale, P, Fomacai, A, and Boschi, E., 2011, Lava flow hazard and risk at Mt. Cameroon volcano, _Journal of Volcanology 2012 74:433-439. adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2012BVol...74..423F

Favalli, M., Mazzarini, F., Pareschi, M.T., Boschi E (2009b) Topographic control on lava flow paths at Mount Etna, Italy: Implications for hazard assessment. J Geophys Res 114:F01019. doi:10.1029/2007JF000918

Favalli, M., Tarquini, S., Fornaciai, A., Boschi, E., 2009c, A new approach to risk assessment of lava flow at Mount Etna, Geology, 37(12):1111-1114. doi:10.1130/G30187A

Harris, AJL and Rowland, SK, 2001, FLOWGO: A kinematic thermorheological model for lava flowing in a channel. Bull Volcanol., . 63:20-44. doi:10.1007/s004450000120

Ndaley, Yannick Fonki, 2014, Heavy Rains Beat Limbe, Floods Put Residents In Distress. Eden Newspaper, 12 July 2014, (URL: http://edennewspaper.net/)

Saaty, T. L. (1996). Multicriteria decision making: The analytic hierarchy process. Pittsburgh, PA: RWS Publications, 479 pp. (ISBN 0962031712, 9780962031717)

Suh, C.E., Luhr, J.F., and Njome, M.S., 2008, Olivine-hosted glass inclusions from Scoriae erupted in 1954-2000 at Mount Cameroon volcano, West Africa, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, Volume 169, Issues 1-2, 1 January 2008, pp. 1-33, ISSN 0377-0273, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2007.07.004.

Tarquini, S and Favalli, M, 2011, Mapping and DOWNFLOW simulation of recent lava flow fields at Mount Etna. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 204:27-39. doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2011.05.001

Wantim, M.N. , Kervyn, M., Ernst, G.G.J, del Marmol, M.A., Suh, C.E.. and Jacobs, P., 2013, Numerical experiments on the dynamics of channelised lava flows at Mount Cameroon volcano with the FLOWGO thermo-rheological model, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, Volume 253, pp. 35-53, ISSN 0377-0273

Wikipedia, 2014, Multi-criteria decision analysis (URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-criteria_decision_analysis ).

Geologic Background. Mount Cameroon, one of Africa's largest volcanoes, rises above the coast of west Cameroon. The massive steep-sided volcano of dominantly basaltic-to-trachybasaltic composition forms a volcanic horst constructed above a basement of Precambrian metamorphic rocks covered with Cretaceous to Quaternary sediments. More than 100 small cinder cones, often fissure-controlled parallel to the long axis of the 1400 km3 edifice, occur on the flanks and surrounding lowlands. A large satellitic peak, Etinde (also known as Little Cameroon), is located on the S flank near the coast. Historical activity was first observed in the 5th century BCE by the Carthaginian navigator Hannon. During historical time, moderate explosive and effusive eruptions have occurred from both summit and flank vents. A 1922 SW-flank eruption produced a lava flow that reached the Atlantic coast, and a lava flow from a 1999 south-flank eruption stopped only 200 m from the sea. Explosive activity from two vents on the upper SE flank was reported in May 2000.

Information Contacts: MODVOLC Thermal Alert System, Hawai'i Instiute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), (Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Corrrea Road, Honolulu, HI 96822 USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Mary-Ann del Marmol, Department of Geology and Soil Science, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281 S8, 9000 Gent, Belgium; Associated Press, and Cameroon Radio Television, CRTV Siège, CRTV Mballa II B.P. 1634, Yaounde, Cameroon (URL: http://crtv.cm/).


Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — March 2014 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption during 6 November 2011 to April 2012; pit crater morphology changes

Our last report (BGVN 35:08) described a flank eruption at Nyamuragira during 2-27 January 2010 that produced a new cone and 12-km-long lava flows. The final report of the GORISK Scientific Network (Kervyn and others, 2010) stated that this eruption ended by 27 January 2010. At this stage we lack reporting from the field on Nyamuragira's behavior during February 2010 through early November 2011. That said, MODVOLC thermal alerts occurred regularly at Nyamuragira through 2 February 2010 and then ceased until early November 2011. We discuss the longer-term MODVOLC data at the end of the main body of this report.

Nyamuragira began to erupt again on its flanks at 1755 on 6 November 2011, according to GORISK, after two days of unspecified "intense seismic activity." GORISK inferred that the eruption lasted through April 2012. This report conveys information from a variety of sources credited below, but largely from Dario Tedesco and the GORISK Scientific Network. GORISK was an initiative of both the National Museum of Natural History (Luxembourg) and the Royal Museum for Central Africa (Belgium).

An early synopsis of the eruption that began on 6 November 2011 came from the Virunga National Park. The eruption was visible at Park headquarters. Park staff described the 6 November eruption as coming from a fissure on the volcano's NE flank. It produced slow-moving lava flows that advanced into unpopulated areas to the N. Park staff also took a (1080p) video of fountaining at night. On 7 November the Park uploaded 39 seconds of their footage on Youtube.

During the first week of the eruption the Park staff hiked cross country through the bush, in places having to cut vegetation, crossing young forest and irregular lichen-covered volcanic topography on a 4 hour hike that enabled them to take a closer view. This also established a narrow access route for later use.

The hikers described airfall scoria covering the landscape as they approached closer. Their log said that the ". . . eruption finally came into view, along with the roar of intensely spewing fire and lava, as well as lightning and thunder." The Park noted that the vent area was located 12 km ENE of the crater, close to one of the 1989 eruptive sites. The first fissure was oriented E-W, perpendicular to the rift, and emitted lava fountains up to 300 m high. The eruption site was described as a flat area cut by a 500- to 1,000-m-long fissure. Figure 39 shows a photo from around this time but a topographic high of new material had already grown. NASA Earth Observatory reported that lava flows had advanced as far as 11.5 km by 12 November 2011 (figure 40). On 12 November, the lava flow front was located 5 km from the Kelengera-Tongo road.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Lava fountaining at Nyamuragira during early November 2011. The venting fissure is also seen in the distance at left; tephra created the topographic high seen here, rising from a comparatively flat area. Exact date and look-direction unknown. Courtesy Dario Tedesco and the GORISK Scientific Network.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Satellite image of Nyamuragira on 15 November 2011 showing lava flowing away from the rift. The imager combines infrared and visible light; hot lava appears orange, and cooled lava appears black. Cooler clouds appear blue, and warm steam appears white and orange. Nyiragongo's lava lake is visible to the S. Image created by Jesse Allen, using EO-1 ALI data provided by the NASA EO-1 team. Courtesy NASA Earth Observatory.

For about a month, the park allowed overnight treks to the eruption site. A video featured on Youtube ) by Piet Schutter contains footage taken on 12 November. Some scenes are at close range (looking up towards the eruption). That (720p) video shows both daylight and night scenes, features sound, and has people in the foreground, which helps establish scale.

The GORISK Scientific Team reported that satellite radar (InSAR) images acquired on 11 November 2011 revealed major ground deformation features associated with the eruption—the largest deformation detected by that method (InSAR) since the early 1990s at Nyamuragira. Preliminary estimation of the observed deformation signal suggested an affected area spreading over 250 km2. Pressure from the ascending magma caused the ground to rise more than 50 cm at the eruptive site where a spatter cone developed. Another 15 cm deformation was detected within the Nyamuragira caldera, which was accompanied by deflation observed on the flanks.

An elongated spatter-and-scoria cone, referred to by scientists as the western cone and by locals as "Umoja," formed along the first fissure (figure 41). In early December 2011, a new cone formed on a new eruptive fracture to the E; this cone was referred to by scientists as the eastern cone and by locals as "Tuungane" (figure 41). During the next few days, the eruptive activity migrated to this new edifice. Satellite images acquired on 3 January 2012 showed fresh lava flowing to the N-NE (figures 42 and 43).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Panoramic view of Nyamuragira and the two new cones of the November 2011-April 2012 eruption. Date of photo unknown (sometime between November 2011 and early June 2012). Photo courtesy Benoit Smets, GORISK Scientific Network.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. False-color satellite image of Nyamuragira on 3 January 2012. The hot active lava was detected in shortwave and near-infrared light (bright red-orange). Nyiragongo's crater lava lake is visible to the S. Image acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. Courtesy Jesse Allen, Robert Simmon, and EO-1 Team, NASA Earth Observatory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Natural-color satellite image of Nyamuragira on 3 January 2012 showing close-up of outlined area in Figure 42 of this report. Active lava is visible flowing N-NE, with older flows also visible to the N and NE. A sulfur-dioxide-rich plume extends to the SW from the central vent. Undisturbed vegetation is also visible. Image acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. Courtesy Jesse Allen, Robert Simmon, and EO-1 Team, NASA Earth Observatory.

According to scientists from the Afar Consortium Project visiting the 2011 fissure eruption, activity continued on 8 January 2012. The initial scoria cone appeared inactive and second cone formed to the N of the first cone. Both cones were about 300 m high. The second cone was extremely active for the duration of the observations (about 15 hours) with fire fountains over twice the height of the cone; lava flowed N. The observers, about 1.5 km away, felt the heat from the eruption and noted lapilli fall.

A team from Volcano Discovery observed the ongoing fissure eruption during 22-25 January 2012 from the newly formed cinder cones near the fissure. They reported three coalescent cones, the largest cradling a small lava lake. The lake ejected spatter every few seconds, rising as high as 200 m above the summit. Some bombs reached the base of the cone. Lava flows from the vent extended several kilometers N. Numerous small breakouts formed secondary flows, and a large breakout ~2 km N of the cone fed a large lava flow ~20 m wide. Burning forests were reported to the NNE.

A lava lake was present within the eastern cone during February 2012 through the end of the eruption in April 2012. Lava flows were fed through lava tubes, with fresh lava mainly visible at night.

Preliminary estimates by the GORISK Scientific Team for the 2011-2012 eruption indicated a volume of emitted lavas of at least 81.5 x 106 m3. The lava flows did not reach inhabited areas and only affected vegetation in Virunga National Park. The 2011-2012 eruption was the biggest event at Nyamuragira since the 1991-1993 eruption, which lasted nearly 1.5 years and emitted an estimated ~131 x 106 m3 of lava (Smets and others, 2010).

Beginning in late February 2012 through at least June 2012, degassing occurred in the Nyamuragira's caldera. The emission site was located inside the pit crater, but degassing occurred from all fractures inside the caldera. On several occasions, meteorological conditions caused sulfur odors to reach the city of Goma (~30 km S from Nyamuragira's crater).

A report by Dario Tedesco stated that in March 2012, a series of explosion earthquakes were recorded by the seismic network of the Goma Volcano Observatory. Following this activity, the fissure eruptions suddenly stopped. Also in March 2012, the morphology of the pit crater began to change (figures 44 and 45).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. View of Nyamuragira's pit crater on 20 January 2012. Direction unknown. Courtesy Dario Tedesco, International Organization of Migrants and Second University of Naples.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. View of Nyamuragira's pit crater on 16 April 2012. Direction unknown. Courtesy Dario Tedesco, International Organization of Migrants and Second University of Naples.

MODVOLC thermal alerts were accessed online in late July 2014. The alerts had waned at the fissure area in late March 2012 suggesting the end of the fissure eruption in that time frame. The last alerts around the summit area had occurred on 2 February 2010. The next alerts in the summit area appeared on the NE rim on 5 March 2014 and again on 30 May 2014. A sequence of several alerts took place in the same spot during 22-29 June and on 12 and on 28 July 2014.

References. Kervyn, F, d'Oreye, N, van Overbeke, A-C, 2010, GORISK: The combined use of Ground-Based and Remote Sensing techniques as a tool for volcanic risk and health impact assessment for the Goma region (North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo). Final Report. [Project SR/00/113] (URL: http://www.ecgs.lu/gorisk/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/GORISK_Final_Report_DISSEMINATION.pdf )

Smets, B., Wauthier, C., d'Oreye, N. (2010). A new map of the lava flow field of Nyamulagira (D.R. Congo) from satellite imagery. Journal of African Earth Sciences, 58 (5), 778-786. DOI:10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2010.07.005

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: Dario Tedesco, International Organization of Migrants (I.O.M.), Goma, DRC, and Second University of Naples, DISTABIF, Caserta, Italy; GORISK Scientific Team [an International scientific team for the study and monitoring of active volcanoes and their corresponding hazards in the Virunga Volcanic Province] (URL: http://terra.ecgs.lu/rnvt/); Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo (URL: http://virunga.org/); Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov); Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); and Afar Consortium Project (URL: http://www.see.leeds.ac.uk/afar/).


Salton Buttes (United States) — March 2014 Citation iconCite this Report

Salton Buttes

United States

33.197°N, 115.616°W; summit elev. -40 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Instrument-aided IR detection of 5 steaming vents at Red Island in 2013

A recent partial survey conducted by David K. Lynch and Paul M. Adams of Red Island, previously known as Red Hill, in Southern California, USA, has resulted in the discovery of five steaming hot vents on the SW flank of the northern Salton Buttes volcanic field. Lynch and Adams sent us a report, which follows. We also include some remarks from related literature and note geothermal power plants in the region.

Background. Red Island is part of the Salton Buttes, a collection of five late Quaternary rhyolitic volcanic necks in the Salton Sea Geothermal Field (SSGF) (figure 1). The SSGF rests within a topographic low, and has a geothermal gradient that averages ~0.3°C/m, reaching a maximum of 4.3°C/m (Lynch and others, 2013). This high geothermal gradient results from the shallow magma body of the spreading center between the San Andreas and Imperial faults. As shown in figure 2, the SSGF lies at the head of the Gulf of California, on the boundary of the Pacific and North American plates (Elders and Sass, 1988). Consequently, the SSGF's unique geology creates the perfect setting for hot geothermal fluids to seep to the surface, and has been slated as a site for geothermal electricity-generating plants. There are no previous Bulletin reports on the Salton Buttes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. The Salton Trough is a result of crustal stretching and sinking associated with regional extensional tectonics including the San Andreas Fault (SAF) and the East Pacific Rise (EPR, the spreading center shown at the bottom of the map).This sketch shows the boundary between the Pacific and North American plates, with the rectangle indicating the Salton Trough. The S end of the Salton Trough (as defined by the box) begins adjacent to the Sea of Cortez, the body of water separating the Baja California peninsula from mainland Mexico. The SSGF is within the Salton Trough. Other abbreviations include Gorda Rise, GR; Mendocino Triple Junction, MTJ; and Rivera Triple Junction, RTJ. Taken from Elders and Sass (1988).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Sketch map showing location of Salton Sea and the Salton Buttes volcanic area study area. For scale, the N-S distance from the S end of the Salton Sea to the USA-Mexico border is ~100 km. The lake is receding but its 2014 surface elevation is close to -69 m. Courtesy of Lynch and others (2013).

The Salton Buttes reside near the SE end of the Salton Sea. The Sea resides on the floor of the Salton Trough, chiefly in Imperial County, California. This briny water body is about 56 x 10 km. The Buttes lie along a NNE trending line spanning a distance of 7 km. The Salton Trough was filled, in part, by sediments carried by the Colorado River, which eventually built up and blocked the river's flow. The river was diverted away from the Salton Trough, yet, in 1905, heavy rainfall caused nearby levees to collapse, creating the Salton Sea (Morris, 2008).

Until recent work by Lynch and others (2011) and Schmidt and others (2013), the Salton Buttes were thought to have been formed by extruded magma during the late Pleistocene, ~16,000 BP. Age dates for some lavas are now dated to closer to 2,000 BP, much younger than originally understood, bringing closer scrutiny of the Buttes by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) California Volcano Observatory and other agencies concerned with geological threats in California (Lynch and Adams, unpublished draft).

Red Island consists of two conjoined volcanoes of related, yet distinctly different, geology. They are 2.5 km SSW of the Mullet Island fumaroles, an area discussed further by Lynch and others (2013).

Mullet Island fumaroles: As the briny water level of the Salton Sea began dropping in 1983, a number of fumarole fields were exposed subaerially for the first time since 1945. The Salton Sea overlaps the SSGF and, as a result, an interaction of rising gas and hot water with sediments has produced a number of hot, fumarolic gryphons (mud volcanoes) and salses (bubbling water in calderas of gryphons) (Lynch and others, 2013). Over-pressured subsurface gas cause the upward migration of fluidized sediment, creating these gryphons, as seen in figure 3.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. View of a steaming spatter cone, one of the first stages of a gryphon's development. Once the rising mud becomes more viscous and covers the spatter cone completely, a composite gryphon is formed. The height of these gryphons can range from a few centimeters to ~2 m. Mullet Island can be seen at the top left of the image. Taken from Lynch and others (2013).

The NW trending alingment of these geothermal features is suggestive of a fault, most likely the Calipatria fault. Other fumarole fields are still below water level or are being exposed as the lake recedes.

Red Island vents. Before the work on Mullet Island fumaroles was published, Michael McKibben, while on a 2008 Desert Symposium field trip (Reynolds and others, 2008), mentioned a 'volcanic hotspot' on the SW flank of the N volcano at Red Island in a private communication to Lynch and Adams. However, a swift search of the area during the field trip did not reveal its location. As a result of this observation, Lynch and Adams performed a partial survey of the SW flank of the N volcano on 6, 7, and 29 November 2013, which resulted in the discovery of the five hot steaming vents on the summit of the south-facing slope. Lynch and Adams found that the vents were distributed along an ~80 m long line trending N65E, which they recognized as a possible fault.

All attempts at identifying vents were made before sunrise, when the air temperature was at its lowest diurnal value (~8°C). This provided a recognizable thermal contrast between cold and hot rocks. Lynch and Adams noted that it was unlikely that warm air coming from the vents could have been felt on a hot or windy day, as the vents appeared unremarkable from a relatively close distance (a few meters), "among the uneven field of loose, jutting volcanic rocks." To locate the vents, Lynch and Adams employed the following three tactics:

1. An Agena ThermoVision 470 infrared camera was used to look for areas that were warmer than the background (e.g., figure 4, lower). Absolute temperatures from the camera may have been off by 3-4°C due to systematic errors, but the image records relative temperatures between different parts of scene. were preserved. The vent seen in figure 4 may have been deliberately covered with a pile of rocks.

2. They reached into holes and crevasses to check for heat.

3. They measured rock temperatures using a Martin P. Jones & Associates, Inc., Model 9910 TE Infrared Thermometer. Because it was small enough to be placed deeper in the vents, the temperatures from this thermometer were higher than the IR camera temperatures.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. (Top) Image of a hotspot (designated H3) seen in visible wavelength light. (Bottom) Image of the same spot taken with an Agena ThermoVision 470 IR camera. Yellow patches in the center and lower right of the image indicate bad pixels in the IR camera. Taken from Lynch and Adams (2013).

Lynch and Adams found one vent "by feeling hot air coming from it," one "by noticing wet rock," one "by seeing its steam cloud," and two by locating them with the IR camera. Once located, all vents were found to be steaming (figure 5) and surrounded by rocks wet from condensation.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Steam cloud from H1; still taken from a video of the hotspot at Red Island, Salton Buttes. Taken from Lynch and Adams (2013).

No surface deposits (e.g., sulfur) were seen, aside from water and greenish algae. The temperatures 1-2 m within the vents were 35-38°C. According to Lynch and Adams, these hotspots may "represent heat from original volcanism, or recent magma intrusions that have not reached the surface." The distribution of these vents, distinguished as H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, is shown in figure 6.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Vent locations marked on an image of Red Island, Salton Buttes, from Google Earth. Taken from Lynch and Adams (2013).

The team was relatively confident that no additional vents were located within the area extending 225 m to the S and W, although a more complete survey must be undertaken to investigate seismicity and movement/deformation of the area from GPS networks. However, other "warm spots" not associated with venting or outgassing were found on the SW flank of the N volcano. They were ~5-10°C warmer than ambient temperatures and may represent weak signals from the warm interior of the volcano. More likely, however, the warmer temperatures are due to emissivity variations in rock layers, or normal temperature distributions that occur in crevasses where rocks are not able to radiate heat into the cold night sky.

Geothermal electricity-generating plants. According to the Geothermal Energy Association, currently there are three major geothermal production sites in the Imperial Valley, totaling in 16 plants. Figure 7 shows one of these sites, which hosts seven geothermal plants with running capacities ranging from 5-45 MW (Geothermal Energy Association). Despite the fact that this site alone has contributed enough electricity to power ~100,000 homes, geothermal energy only accounts for 4.4% of all system power in California (Matek and Gawell, 2014). The SSGF is considered the best opportunity for increasing the production of geothermal energy in California. The unique geology of the Salton Sea area allows geothermal fluids to seep to the surface, allowing a range of capacity from 1,700 to 2,900 MW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. This CalEnergy geothermal site is located on the edge of the Salton Sea, and currently has seven running geothermal power plants. Taken from The Center for Land Use Interpretation.

References. Elders, W and Sass, J, 10 November 1988, The Salton Sea Scientific Drilling Project; Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 03, no. B11, pp. 12,953-12,968.

Lynch, D., Hudnut, K., and Adams, P., 2013, Development and growth of recently-exposed fumarole fields near Mullet Island, Imperial County, California; Geomorphology, v. 195, pp. 27-44.

Lynch, D.K., Schmitt, A.K.., Rood, D., and Akciz, S, 2011, Radiometric Dating of the Salton Buttes, Proposal to the Southern California Earthquake Center.

Matek, B., and Gawell, K., February 2014, Report on the State of Geothermal Energy in California; Geothermal Energy Association, 2014.

Morris, R., 2008, Welcome to the Salton Trough, California State University Long Beach Geology.

Reynolds, R., Jefferson, G., Lynch, D., 2008, Trough to Trough: The Colorado River and the Salton Sea, Proceedings of the 2008 Desert Symposium, Robert E. Reynolds (ed.), California State University, Desert Studies Consortium and LSA Associates, Inc.

Schmitt, A, Martin, A, Stockli, D, Farley, K, Lovera, O, 2013, (U-­-Th)/He zircon and archaeological ages for a late prehistoric eruption in the Salton Trough (California, USA), Geology, January 2013, v. 41, pp. 7-10.

Geologic Background. The Salton Buttes consist of five small rhyolitic lava domes extruded onto Quaternary sediments of the Colorado River delta at the SE margin of the Salton Sea. The age of the Salton Buttes has variously been considered to be late Pleistocene or early Holocene based on different dating techniques. Recent paleomagnetic dating calibrated by radiocarbon ages suggests that the Salton Buttes domes were erupted during an interval of about 500 years between about 2300 and 1800 years ago, with the possible exception of Mullet Island at the northern end of the field, which could be as much as 5000 years older. The present-day saline Salton Sea was formed in the early 20th century by unintended flooding into the basin formerly occupied by Pleistocene Lake Cahuilla Lake during diversion of the Colorado River for irrigation purposes. The Salton Sea geothermal field produces saline brines.

Information Contacts: David Lynch, Earthquake Science Center, USGS- Pasadena; Paul Adams, Thule Scientific, Topanga, CA (URL: http://thulescientific.com/Research.html); The Center for Land Use Interpretation, Culver City, CA (URL: http://clui.org/); and Geothermal Energy Association, Washington, D.C. (URL: http://geo-energy.org/).


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — March 2014 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Large May 2014 eruption with ashfall, pyroclastic flow, and lava flow; activity during October 2011-June 2014

This report summarizes activity from Santa María's active cone, Santiaguito, during October 2011-June 2014. Ash explosions, ashfall, and incandescent avalanches were observed throughout this time period. During the rainy season (April-September), lahars were frequently reported within the major drainages in the southern sector of the volcano. The sources for this report were Guatemala's Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED).

Recurrent ash explosions. INSIVUMEH and the Washington VAAC reported frequent ash explosions from Santiaguito's active dome, Caliente, during October 2011-June 2014 (figure 35). Ash plumes were typically in the range of 500 m above the dome with exceptional cases in the range of 4,000 m, such as the explosive event on 9 May 2014. Significant ash plumes were known to drift as far as the Guatemala-Mexico border (such as activity during 5-6 November 2011 when ash extended 18-28 km SE of the summit). Degassing from the Caliente dome also generated frequent, diffuse, white plumes that rose to heights around 200 m above the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. The Santiaguito dome complex of Santa María includes four major domes: El Brujo, El Monje, La Mitad, and Caliente (active since 1922). This photo was taken from the INSIVUMEH observatory located on Finca El Faro, ~6 km S of the active dome. Modified from Ball and others (2013).

Ashfall from explosions and rumbling noises from explosions and avalanches were frequently reported in communities nearby (table 5). Following activity on 9 May 2014, ashfall triggered evacuations affecting ~130 people. CONRED and INSIVUMEH reported that ash had extended up to 20 km from the summit reaching the communities of Las Marías, San Marcos (10 km SW), Palajunoj (18 km SSW), El Faro (SW flank), La Florida (5 km S), Patzulín, and Quetzaltenango (18 km WNW).

Table 5. Ashfall from explosions at Santa María's active dome, Santiaguito, was reported in numerous communities during November 2011-June 2014. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

Year Date Town reporting ashfall
2011 2 Nov. Las Marías, El Rosario (45 km SW), San Marcos (46 km NW), Palajunoj (SW), and San Felipe Retalhuleu (25 km SSE of the volcano)
2012 19 Jan. La Florida (5 km S), Palajunoj (SW flank), and San Marcos (46 km NW)
27 Jan. Monte Claro (S) and Palajunoj (SW)
1 Feb. Monte Claro (S) and Palajunoj (SW)
2-3 Feb. La Florida (5 km S), San Marcos (46 km NW), and Palajunoj (W)
23 Feb. El Rosario (45 km SW), Monte Bello (S), Palajunoj (SW), and Quetzaltenango (18 km WNW)
27-28 Feb. Monte Claro (S), San Marcos (46 km NW), Buena Vista (49 km NW), El Rosario, Monte Bello, and Palajunoj
11-12 Mar. Observatory Vulcanológico de Santiaguito (OVSAN), the El Faro and Patzulín ranches, and in the village of Las Marías (SW)
8-9 Mar. Loma Linda (W), San Marcos (10 km SW), and Palajunoj (W)
25-27 Mar. Observatory Vulcanológico de Santiaguito (OVSAN), at the El Faro, La Florida, and Patzulín ranches (SW), and in the village of Santa María de Jesús (SE)
30 Apr.-1 May Quetzaltenango (18 km WNW)
22 May San Felipe (15 km SSW), El Nuevo Palmar (12 km SSW)
22 Jun. Santa María de Jesús (SE)
1-3 Jul. Ashfall was reported in La Florida (5 km S) and Monte Claro (S)
4-6 & 9-10 Jul. La Florida (5 km S), Monte Claro (S), and Palajunoj (SW
18-20 Aug. Monte Claro (S), El Rosario (45 km SW), Palajunoj (S),
25-26 Aug. Monte Claro (S)
27 Aug. San José (SE)
21 Nov. Las Marías, Calaguaché (9 km S), and Nuevo Palmar (12 km S)
13-14 Dec. La Florida (5 km S) and El Faro (SW flank)
2013 30 Jan. Esperanza and San Mateo in Quetzaltenango
7-8 & 10-11 Feb. La Florida (5 km S)
23 Feb. Quetzaltenango (18 km WNW)
22 Feb. Monte Claro (S)
20-21 Feb. Palajunoj (SW) and La Florida (5 km S)
6-11 Mar. Calahuaché, El Faro (SW flank), and San José Patzulín (SW flank)
19 Mar. San José (SE)
17-18 Mar. Quetzaltenango (18 km WNW)
13-14 & 25-26 Mar. El Faro (SW flank) and La Florida (5 km S)
29-30 Mar. El Faro (SW flank) and La Florida (5 km S)
1-2 Apr. San José (SE)
29 Apr. San Jose, La Quina, and areas near Calahuaché (SE)
16 May La Florida and Monte Claro (S)
30 May Calahuaché village (SE)
9 Jun. Monte Claro (S)
23 Jun. Monte Claro (S)
27-28 Jun. Monte Claro (S) and Finca La Florida (5 km S)
1 Aug. Monte Claro (S) and La Florida (5 km S)
6 Aug. Palajunoj area (S)
10 Aug. Monte Claro (S)
27 Aug. Palajunoj (S)
23 Aug. Palajunoj region (S)
24 Sept. Monte Claro (S)
2014 27-28 Jan. Santa María de Jesús (SE) and the El Rosario Palajunoj finca
13-14 Mar. La Florida and Monte Claro (S)
14-15 Apr. San Marcos (10 km SW), La Florida (5 km S), Rosario, and other areas in Palajunoj (18 km SSW)
9 May Las Marías, San Marcos (10 km SW), Palajunoj (18 km SSW), El Faro (SW flank), La Florida (5 km S), Patzulín, and Quetzaltenango (18 km WNW)
11 May San Marcos and the El Rosario Palajunoj finca
19-20 May Monte Claro (S)
23 May parts of Monte Claro (S)
2 Jun. Monte Bello and Loma Linda (W)
19 Jun. Parcelamiento Monte Claro (S of the summit)

Avalanches and pyroclastic flows originating from Caliente dome were reported throughout late 2011 through June 2014 (table 6). A pyroclastic flow observed on 9 May 2014 traveled ~7 km from the active lava dome (figure 35). Approximately 1 million cubic meters of tephra was deposited within the Nimá I drainage. Secondary explosions occurred along the flowpath associated with hot deposits in contact with river water.

Table 6. A summary of significant pyroclastic flows from Santa María's Santiaguito occurred during February 2012-May 2014. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

Year Date Direction
2012 22-23 Feb. upper flanks
26 Mar. W flank
29-31 Jul. S flank
27-30 Nov. upper flanks
2013 11-12 Mar. SW,S,SE and E flanks
27 Jun. S flank
6 Aug. S and SW flanks
7 Aug. E, S, SW flanks
27 Aug. extended down the SW flank
22 & 24 Aug. portions of the SE rim collapsed and flows were directed S and SE
21 Sept. restricted to the upper flanks
2014 23 Jan. restricted to the upper flanks
11 Feb. directed NE
9 May E and SE flanks and also channelized by the notch on the E flank
Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Looking approximately N toward Santa María's Santiaguito cone, this photo has been annotated to show surveyed distance measurements (in meters, here "mts.") measured along the slope between the summit and base of Santiaguito as well as the main pathway along the Nimá I drainage. The pyroclastic flow from 9 May 2014 traveled more than 6 km from the active dome (red dotted line). The length of the active lava flow on 11 May 2014 was 152 m. Courtesy of Gustavo Chigna, INSIVUMEH, and the International Volcano Monitoring Fund (IVM Fund).

Lahars. During 2012-2014, lahars began flowing down Santa María's SE drainages during the onset of the rainy season (table 7). INSIVUMEH reported that many of these events were triggered by heavy rainfall and were frequently contained within the Nimá I drainage (figure 37). Lahars following the nearby rivers Nimá II, San Isidro, and Tambor and merged with the larger river, Samalá. These primary drainages are located S and SW of the active dome (see map in figure 28 of BGVN 24:03; note that Río San Isidro is an intermittent stream located between the Tambor and Nimá II rivers), three of which were included in a hazard map prepared by INSIVUMEH in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in 2003 (figure 38). INSIVUMEH and CONRED released public announcements when Río Samalá was threatened by lahars (for example: 21 May 2012, 23 June 2012, and 6 June 2014) that included specific warnings for the Castillo de Armas bridge; the bridge supports the Interamerican Highway where it passes through the town of San Sebastián.

Table 7. During April 2012- June 2014, weak-to-strong flowing lahars were frequently triggered by heavy rainfall, mainly during April-September each year. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

Year Date Drainages Dimensions Load Notes Damage/At risk
2012 25 Apr. Nimá II na 1.5 m diameter blocks; branches and tree trunks; sulfur odor na na
21 May Nimá II na 0.4 m diameter blocks; branches and tree trunks moderate flow threatened the Castillo Armas bridge and the river bend of El Niño
29 May Nimá I & San Isidro na 1.5 m diameter blocks; branches and tree trunks; sulfur odor hot material; moderate strength in Río Nimá I and weak in Río San Isidro; seismic station recorded the event na
23 Jun. Nimá I & San Isidro na 0.8 m diameter blocks; branches and tree trunks moderate strength threatened the Castillo Armas bridge and the river bend of El Niño
25 Jun. Nimá I na na weak strength na
27 Jun. Nimá I 16 m wide; .9 m high 0.8 m diameter blocks; sulfur odor hot material; weak strength; seismic station recorded the event na
4 Sept. Nimá I & San Isidro 30 m wide; 2 m high 0.5 m diameter blocks; branches and tree trunks; sulfur odor hot material; moderate strength; seismic station recorded the event na
2013 1 Jun. Nimá I na na weak strength na
4 Jun. Nimá I 40 m wide; 2.5 m high blocks moderate flow na
8 Jun. Nimá I, Tambor, & Samalá na blocks moderate flow na
20 Jun. Nimá I and Tambor 30 m wide; 3 m high 3 m diameter blocks; branches and tree trunks moderate flow na
11 Aug. San Isidro, Tambor, & Samalá 30 m wide; 1.5 m high 1.5 m in diameter blocks; sulfur odor; branches and tree trunks and plants hot material vibrations were felt as the flow passed observers
31 Aug. Nimá I na 2 m diameter blocks; branches and tree trunks moderate flow vibrations were felt as the flow passed observers; river banks were weakened after the flow and small avalanches occurred
5 Sept. Nimá I na 1-2 m diameter blocks na river banks were weakened after the flow and small avalanches occurred
10 Sept. Nimá I 15 m wide; 6 m high 3 m diameter blocks; sulfur odor hot material; moderate flow na
7 Oct. Nimá I 10 m wide; 1 m high na weak flow na
2014 14 May Nimá I na 2 m diameter blocks; branches and tree trunks na na
18 May Nimá I, San Isidro, & Tambor 15 m wide; 2 m high 1.5 m in diameter blocks; sulfur odor; branches of tree trunks and plants hot material; moderate flow vibrations were felt as the flow passed observers
22 May Nimá I 15 m wide; 2 m high 1 m diameter blocks; sulfur odor; branches and tree trunks hot material; moderate flow na
24 May Nimá I, San Isidro, & Tambor 25 m wide; 2 m high sulfur odor; branches and tree trunks hot material; moderate flow vibrations were felt as the flow passed observers
29 May Nimá I, San Isidro, Tambor, & Samalá 25 m wide; 3 m high 0.5 and 2 m diameter blocks; sulfur odor; branches and tree trunks hot material; strong flow vibrations were felt as the flow passed observers
30 May Nimá I & San Isidro na na weak and moderate flow in the afternoon and evening
1 Jun. Nimá I, San Isidro, & Samalá na sulfur odor hot material; strong flow in the afternoon and evening
2 Jun. Nimá I & San Isidro na na moderate and strong flow na
6 Jun. Nimá I 80 m wide; 5 and 9 m high in series 5 m diameter strong flow emergency evacuation of Observatory staff; lost scientific equipment; damage to the Castillo Armas bridge
7 Jun. Nimá I 35 m wide 1 m diameter blocks; sulfur odor hot material; strong flow na
8 Jun. Nimá I na na weak and moderate flow na
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. This set of two images of the Nimá I drainage shows a small-sized lahar that flowed from Santiaguito cone at 1615 on 7 October 2013 (left image was before (Antes); right image was during (Durante) the lahar flow). Looking upstream, this view is focused on a narrow section of Nimá I that was filled by a 12-m-wide and 1.5-m-high lahar. The rock wall on the right-hand side of the drainage (~3 m high) became a ramp for the lahar and was half-covered by the flow as the gray mass wrapped around the narrow corner in a fast and turbulent flow. Courtesy of Gustavo Chigna, INSIVUMEH and the IVM Fund.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Volcanic hazard map (#3 of 5 published in a series) for Santa María focused on the region S of Santiaguito dome. The basemap is from 2001-2002 aerial survey photos and the hazard assessments conducted during 2001-2003 in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The three drainages (Río Nimá I, Río Nimá II, and Río Samalá labeled in red text) were added by GVP staff. Major towns, farms, and the INSIVUMEH observatory (OVSAN) are labeled; hazard zones are indicated with color coding; the blue semicircle and linear corridor indicates the extent of the study area; the area encompassed by the red semi-circle is at risk for volcanic ballistics. Other hazards include pyroclastic flows (orange shading), lava flows (pink), lahars (blue), ashfall (orange outline), and debris avalanches (yellow and green outlines). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

The most damaging lahar during this reporting period occurred on 6 June 2014. The lahar flowed in pulses down the Nimá I drainage with crests 5-9 m high reaching a maximum width of 80 m. The Santiaguito Observatory (OVSAN) was forced to evacuate when the lahar overflowed the banks and spread across the facility grounds; important scientific equipment was damaged and also washed away. The lahar also flowed into a nearby farm.

Reference. Ball, J.L., Calder, E.S., Hubbard, B.E., and Bernstein, M.L., 2013, An assessment of hydrothermal alteration in the Santiaguito lava dome complex, Guatemala: implications for dome collapse hazards, Bulletin of Volcanology, 75:676.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/inicio.html); Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié; 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.conred.org/); and Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20748, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/).


Villarrica (Chile) — March 2014 Citation iconCite this Report

Villarrica

Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


During November 2010 to December 2013, lava lake persists but few explosions

The year 2014 marks the 3rd decade of largely non-explosive activity at Villarrica, historically one of the most active volcanoes in the Andes. Villarrica has been relatively quiet since our last report, which discussed events from April 2010 to October 2010 (BGVN 35:10). This report covers the time period from November 2010 to December 2013.

During this reporting period, comparative quiet prevailed. There were occasional cases reported of spattering lava, small white plumes, minor ash emissions (up to 50 m above the crater rim), and nighttime incandescence reflected off of the plumes according to Proyecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI) and Observatorio Volcanológico de los Andes del Sur (OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN). Satellite thermal radiance during the reporting interval suggested often low radiance, with rare cases of high incandescence consistent with turbulence and fountaining in the deep, 40 m wide lava lake.

On 17 September 2011 remobilized tephra rose ~500 m above the crater, which according to POVI, was likely caused by a sudden impact when a snow cornice detached and fell into the crater. On 19 September 2011, a rapid rise in the level of the lava lake caused much of the snow and ice to melt, especially on the southern inner wall. Strombolian explosions from the crater were observed on 26 September 2011, and tephra deposits on the E edge of the crater were noted. On 27 September 2011 incandescence from the lava lake was reflected in the cloud cover above.

The period from November 2011 to March 2012 saw very little explosive activity. Two small ash emissions occurred on 7 March. Incandescence from the crater was observed from the town of Pucon (16 km N) during 7-8 March. During 7-9 March, lava spattering from the lava lake was observed for the first time that year. Four small ash emissions were observed during 13-14 March. On 20 March a large, white plume was visible above the crater. The observer postulated that due to the humid atmospheric conditions that day, the steam condensate in the visible plume remained conspicuous both to a height of 1,500 m above the crater as well as 20 km SW of the crater.

According to POVI, an ash plume rose 50 m above Villarrica on 19 April 2012. Incandescence from Villarrica's crater subsided in mid-April and was undetected by satellite and ground observations at least through 10 November 2012.

On 30 January 2013, weak incandescence was observed in the near-infrared spectrum from the ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) instrument on the Terra satellite. POVI reported that satellite images of Villarrica acquired on 25 July revealed a weak thermal anomaly. On 29 July 2013 observers photographed the crater and described a thermal anomaly on the S edge of the crater rim, in the same area from which a lava flow originated on 29 December 1971. They also heard deep degassing sounds. A second photograph showed a diffuse gas plume rising from the bottom of the crater, and ash and lapilli on the snow on the inner crater walls.

Analysis of MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) band 21 (3.929-3.989 μm) satellite images from 2003 to 2013 highlights three main cycles of activity. These were characterized by convective lava fountains and Strombolian explosions from the lava pit, located ~ 40-150 m below the rim of the crater, according to POVI. The last time MODIS infrared sensors detected elevated thermal radiance was in early 2012 (figure 8).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Elevated thermal radiance in Watts per square meter detected at Villarrica using MODIS band 21 (3.929-3.989 μm) from 2003 through 2013. Courtesy of POVI and NASA MODIS.

In accord with the thermal radiance data seen in figure 28, OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN maintained an Alert Level of Green for Villarrica from the period of 5 March 2012 to 30 December 2013, characterizing Villarrica as active but stable with no immediate threat. The seismicity reports from OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN during the period of July 2013 to December 2013 showed the monthly number of earthquakes recorded ranged from 439 to 1,433. The reduced displacement of the tremors recorded fluctuated throughout July 2013- December 2013 from 0.6 cm² to 9.9 cm². During this period of time, the amount of SO2 emissions recorded by a scanning DOAS spectrometer OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN varied from 156 tons/day to 888 tons/day. The height above the crater rim of the steam-gas plumes ranged from 150 m to 1,500 m. MODIS did not record any thermal anomalies during this period of time.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Aerial image of the Villarrica crater at dawn on 14 October 2013. Copyrighted image taken by Diego Spatafore.

Geologic Background. Glacier-clad Villarrica, one of Chile's most active volcanoes, rises above the lake and town of the same name. It is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes that trend perpendicular to the Andean chain. A 6-km-wide caldera formed during the late Pleistocene. A 2-km-wide caldera that formed about 3500 years ago is located at the base of the presently active, dominantly basaltic to basaltic-andesitic cone at the NW margin of the Pleistocene caldera. More than 30 scoria cones and fissure vents dot the flanks. Plinian eruptions and pyroclastic flows that have extended up to 20 km from the volcano were produced during the Holocene. Lava flows up to 18 km long have issued from summit and flank vents. Historical eruptions, documented since 1558, have consisted largely of mild-to-moderate explosive activity with occasional lava effusion. Glaciers cover 40 km2 of the volcano, and lahars have damaged towns on its flanks.

Information Contacts: Proyecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI) (URL: http://www.povi.cl/); and Observatorio Volcanológico de los Andes del Sur Servicio Nacional de Geologia y Mineria (OVDAS SERNAGEOMIN), Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www2.sernageomin.cl/ovdas).

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements  Obituaries

Misc Reports

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

Additional Reports  False Reports