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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) Intermittent ash, gas-and-steam, and SO2 plumes, and thermal anomalies during January 2018-December 2019

Erebus (Antarctica) Lava lakes persist through 2019

Sangay (Ecuador) Continuing ash emissions, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars through December 2019

Shishaldin (United States) Multiple lava flows, pyroclastic flows, lahars, and ashfall events during October 2019 through January 2020

Sangeang Api (Indonesia) Ash emissions and lava flow extrusion continue during May 2019 through January 2020



Krakatau (Indonesia) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Mayotte (France) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayotte

France

12.83°S, 45.17°E; summit elev. 660 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fernandina (Ecuador) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Fernandina

Ecuador

0.37°S, 91.55°W; summit elev. 1476 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fissure eruption produced lava flows during 12-13 January 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Masaya (Nicaragua) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Reventador (Ecuador) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Geologic Background. Reventador is the most frequently active of a chain of Ecuadorian volcanoes in the Cordillera Real, well east of the principal volcanic axis. The forested, dominantly andesitic Volcán El Reventador stratovolcano rises to 3562 m above the jungles of the western Amazon basin. A 4-km-wide caldera widely breached to the east was formed by edifice collapse and is partially filled by a young, unvegetated stratovolcano that rises about 1300 m above the caldera floor to a height comparable to the caldera rim. It has been the source of numerous lava flows as well as explosive eruptions that were visible from Quito in historical time. Frequent lahars in this region of heavy rainfall have constructed a debris plain on the eastern floor of the caldera. The largest historical eruption took place in 2002, producing a 17-km-high eruption column, pyroclastic flows that traveled up to 8 km, and lava flows from summit and flank vents.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Radio La Voz del Santuario (URL: https://www.facebook.com/Radio-La-Voz-del-Santuario-126394484061111/, posted at: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2630739100293291&id=126394484061111); Martin Rietze, Taubenstr. 1, D-82223 Eichenau, Germany (URL: https://mrietze.com/, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5LzAA_nyNWEUfpcUFOCpJw/videos).


Pacaya (Guatemala) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kikai (Japan) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kikai

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Single explosion with steam and minor ash, 2 November 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — January 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)


Intermittent ash, gas-and-steam, and SO2 plumes, and thermal anomalies during January 2018-December 2019

Nevado del Ruiz is a glaciated stratovolcano located in Colombia. It is most known for the eruption on 13 November 1985 that produced an ash plume and pyroclastic flows onto the glacier, triggering a lahar and killing approximately 25,000 people in the towns of Armero (46 km W) and Chinchiná (34 km E). Since the September 1985-July 1991 eruption, volcanism has occurred dominantly at the Arenas crater, with eruptive periods during February 2012-July 2013 and November 2014-May 2017 (BGVN 42:06 and 44:12). The previous eruption included ash and gas-and-steam plumes, ashfall, and thermal anomalies through May 2017, after which no clear observations of ongoing activity were available until an ash plume was seen in satellite and webcam images on 18 December 2017. This report provides data and observations from January 2018 through December 2019 using information primarily from reports by the Servicio Geologico Colombiano and the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales, the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) notices, and various satellite data.

Summary of activity during December 2017-December 2019. Although data is incomplete, the current eruptive period is considered to have begun with the emission of an ash plume on 18 December 2017. The Washington VAAC issued an advisory that day for an ash plume to 6 km that was moving west and dispersing, further describing it as a "thin veil of volcanic ash and gasses" that was seen in visible satellite imagery, NOAA/CIMSS, and supported by webcam imagery.

Reports of significant ash plumes visible in satellite imagery were infrequent in 2018 and 2019, with a few notable pulses in July 2018, February-March 2019, and August-September 2019 (figure 95). Sentinel-2 thermal satellite data in comparison with Suomi NPP/VIIRS sensor data, and the MODVOLC algorithm for MODIS data registered infrared thermal hotspots intermittently throughout 2018 to 2019 with more frequent anomalies during January-March 2018, August 2018, October 2018-February 2019, and November-December 2019; observations during March-June of each year were low. Identification of SO2 emissions were frequent and consistent during all of 2018-2019 (figure 96).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Timeline summary of observed activity at Nevado del Ruiz from January 2018 through December 2019. VAAC reports typically indicate a significant ash plume. Satellite-based SO2 data is variable with respect to volume of emitted gas, but reflects a point source at the volcano. For Sentinel-2, MODVOLC, and VIIRS data, the dates indicated represents detected thermal anomalies. White areas indicate no activity was observed, which may also be due to meteoric clouds. Data courtesy of Washington VAAC, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Sentinel Hub Playground, HIGP, and NASA Worldview using the "Fire and Thermal Anomalies" layer.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Examples of SO2 plumes from Nevado del Ruiz detected by the Aura/OMI instrument during 12 May (top left), 7 October (top middle), and 29 November 2018 (top right) and 9 January (bottom left), 30 March (bottom middle), and 6 October 2019 (bottom right). Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows weak thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit occurring dominantly between October 2018 through March 2019 (figure 97). Between April and October 2019, the number of thermal anomalies was low, registering eight during this time. The number of thermal signatures increased at the beginning of November 2019 and continued through the rest of 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Weak thermal anomalies at Nevado del Ruiz for 25 September 2018 through December 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (log radiative power) occurred mostly during December 2018 through March 2019. Activity was low during April to October 2019 with renewed signatures in November 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Seismicity that occurred during 2018-2019 was located mainly in the Arenas crater and consisted of low-frequency (LF) and very low-frequency (VLF) earthquakes and volcanic tremors, many of which were associated with minor gas-and-steam and ash emissions confirmed through webcams. The number of earthquakes reported by SGC fluctuated each week, but the energy remained relatively consistent. The highest magnitude earthquake that occurred during 2018 was on 26 October reaching 3.1 ML (local magnitude) and during 2019 the largest was 2.8 ML on 21 April.

Activity during 2018. Throughout 2018, gas-and-steam plumes, mostly composed of water vapor and sulfur dioxide frequently occurred, rising to a maximum of 2.2 km above the Arenas crater on 24 March. Weak thermal anomalies were seen intermittently in thermal satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 and NASA Worldview during 4 January through March and September to December (figure 98). Activity during March to April 2018 was relatively low and consisted dominantly of gas-and-steam emissions, low-energy seismicity, and intermittent thermal anomalies. Between 9 May and 5 August, no thermal signatures were detected.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery detected thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) within the Arenas crater at Nevado del Ruiz that were mostly visible during the beginning and last months of 2018. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Ash plumes were seen in GOES-EAST satellite imagery, through webcams, and by SGC personnel. The first ash plume of 2018 occurred on 21 April at 0800, six days after NASA Worldview detected a thermal anomaly within the Arenas crater. The plume rose 6 km altitude and drifted NW as seen in GOES-EAST satellite imagery and reported by the Washington VAAC. Weak gas-and-steam and ash emissions were confirmed by webcams on 22 July, associated with a volcanic tremor. On 11 August 2018, another ash plume was reported in a VAAC notice rising 6.7 km altitude drifting W. During the week of 21 August, SGC reported that seismicity in the Arenas crater was associated with minor gas-and-steam and ash emissions, as confirmed by webcams.

The number of ash plumes increased during September (figure 99), one of which reached a maximum altitude of 7.3 km on 2 September. On 5 September, a continuous volcanic tremor occurred and was accompanied by an ash plume rising 7 km altitude drifting W, according to a Washington VAAC report. Ashfall was observed during the week of 11 September in Manizales (30 km NW) and Villamaría (27 km NW). A new volcanic tremor occurred on 15 September and was accompanied by various ash emissions reaching 1.4 km above the crater and drifting NW as confirmed by PNNN, inhabitants within the vicinity of the volcano, and the Washington VAAC. Seismicity continuing into the weeks of 25 September and 2 October was also accompanied by ash emissions, rising to an altitude of 1.4 km above the crater on 22 September. The number of reported gas-and-steam and ash emissions decreased after September; ash emissions were reported by SGC on 19, 22, 26, and 31 October, 6, 9, and 17 November, and 14 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. Webcam images of gas-and-steam and ash plumes rising from Nevado del Ruiz during 2018. Courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano.

Activity during 2019. Gas-and-steam and ash emissions continued intermittently through 2019, with an increased number of ash emissions compared to the previous year. Infrared hotspots were detected in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery primarily during January-February 2019 and December 2019, often accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions (figure 100). An ash plume was seen in GOES-EAST satellite imagery on 2 January 2019, rising to an altitude of 5.8 km and drifting NW, according to a Washington VAAC report. On 7 January, ashfall in Manizales and Villamaría was observed. A thermal hotspot was detected in multispectral imagery, according to a Washington VAAC report on 29 January. Slight ground deformation was observed by GNSS and electronic inclinometers during the weeks of 29 January and 10 September. Volcanism was relatively low during February to March and consisted of mostly gas-and-steam emissions and rare ash plumes; these ash emissions were reported on 2 and 9 February and 16 March by the Washington VAAC rising between 5.8-6.7 km altitude. Gas-and-steam emission were detected on 6 and 17 February and 17 and 21 March.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery detected thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) mostly visible within the Arenas crater at Nevado del Ruiz during the last three months of 2019 and were accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The number of ash emissions detected in satellite imagery increased after March, occurring on 4, 7, 16, 17-19, and 23-26 April and 2 and 4-5 May. Ash plumes were detected on 27 June, 4, 7, 8, and 29 July, 1 August, and on 19, 29, and 30 September. Los Nevados National Natural Park (PNNN) personnel reported that the ash plume on 8 July was accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions and a continuous tremor occurring at 0722 (figure 101). These emissions rose 450 m above the crater and drifted W. On 29 September, a tremor associated with an ash plume occurred at 2353. The ash plume rose to a maximum altitude of 8.5 km drifted NW, resulting in ashfall confirmed by PNNN, GOES-EAST satellite imagery, and SGC personnel in the field.

Seismicity increased during the week of 1 October compared to the previous week, which was accompanied by several gas-and-steam and ash emissions rising 1 km altitude drifting NW observed by webcams, PNNN personnel, and GOES-EAST satellite imagery. An ash plume rising 7 km altitude drifting NW on 4 October resulted in fine ashfall in Manizales. Ash plumes rose to an altitude of 7.3 km drifting N on 5, 9, and 16 October and was seen in the GOES-EAST satellite according to Washington VAAC notices. Ash emissions were observed frequently during November; 11 Washington VAAC notices, the most for any month during 2019, reported emissions ranging 5.8 to 7 km altitude drifting in different directions. Gas-and-steam plumes rose to a maximum of 2.4 km above the crater during 14 and 30 November. The number of reported emissions decreased during December with one ash emission observed on 4 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. Webcam images of gas-and-steam and ash plumes rising from Nevado del Ruiz during 2019. Courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano.

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

Information Contacts: Servicio Geologico Colombiano (SGC), Diagonal 53 No. 34-53 - Bogotá D.C., Colombia (URL: https://www2.sgc.gov.co/volcanes/index.html); 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); 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); 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/).


Erebus (Antarctica) — January 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Erebus

Antarctica

77.53°S, 167.17°E; summit elev. 3794 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lakes persist through 2019

Erebus, the world's southernmost historically active volcano, overlooks the McMurdo research station on Antarctica's Ross Island, 35 km SSW. Because of the remoteness of the volcano, activity is primarily monitored using satellites (figure 27), including MODIS infrared detectors aboard the Aqua and Terra satellites and analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Satellite image of Erebus (on left) acquired on 19 October 2019 by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA's Terra satellite. The false-color combines visible and near-infrared wavelengths of light (ASTER bands 3, 2, 1). The area was just days away from constant 24-hour sunlight when this image was acquired, with the Sun angle low enough to cast a long shadow towards the west. The blue patches are areas clear of surface snow, exposing glacial ice. Nearby areas that appear smooth are the snow- and ice-topped waters of McMurdo Sound. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory: image by Joshua Stevens, using data from NASA/METI/AIST/Japan Space Systems and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team; description by Kathryn Hansen.

Available since 2000, MODIS-MODVOLC data have shown a strong and nearly continuous thermal signal through 2019. A compilation of thermal alert pixels during 2017-2019 (table 5, continuing the table in BGVN 44:01) shows a wide range of detected activity in 2019, with a high of 162 in April. Infrared satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 identified one or two lava lakes during January-March and September-December 2019; a few of the images showed gas emissions, possibly from melted snow (figure 28).

Table 5. Number of monthly MODVOLC thermal alert pixels recorded at Erebus from 1 January 2017 to 31 December. Table compiled using data provided by the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec SUM
2017 0 21 9 0 0 1 11 61 76 52 0 3 234
2018 0 21 58 182 55 17 137 172 103 29 0 0 774
2019 2 21 162 151 55 56 75 53 29 19 1 0 624
Figure (see Caption) Figures 28. Sentinel-2 satellite image of Erebus in color infrared (bands 8, 4, 3) on 20 October 2019 showing two lava lakes in the summit crater. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Mount Erebus, the world's southernmost historically active volcano, overlooks the McMurdo research station on Ross Island. It is the largest of three major volcanoes forming the crudely triangular Ross Island. The summit of the dominantly phonolitic volcano has been modified by one or two generations of caldera formation. A summit plateau at about 3,200 m elevation marks the rim of the youngest caldera, which formed during the late-Pleistocene and within which the modern cone was constructed. An elliptical 500 x 600 m wide, 110-m-deep crater truncates the summit and contains an active lava lake within a 250-m-wide, 100-m-deep inner crater; other lava lakes are sometimes present. The glacier-covered volcano was erupting when first sighted by Captain James Ross in 1841. Continuous lava-lake activity with minor explosions, punctuated by occasional larger Strombolian explosions that eject bombs onto the crater rim, has been documented since 1972, but has probably been occurring for much of the volcano's recent history.

Information Contacts: 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); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).


Sangay (Ecuador) — January 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangay

Ecuador

2.005°S, 78.341°W; summit elev. 5286 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuing ash emissions, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars through December 2019

Frequent activity at Ecuador's Sangay has included pyroclastic flows, lava flows, ash plumes, and lahars since 1628. Its remoteness on the east side of the Andean crest has made ground observations difficult until recent times. The current eruption began in March 2019; this report covers ongoing activity from July through December 2019. Information is provided by Ecuador's Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), and a number of sources of remote data including the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), the Italian MIROVA Volcano HotSpot Detection System, and Sentinel-2 satellite imagery.

The eruption that began in March 2019 continued during July-December 2019 with activity focused on two eruptive centers at the summit, the Cráter Central and the Ñuñurco (southeast) vent. The Cráter Central produced explosive activity which generated small ash emissions that rose up to 3.2 km above the crater and were frequently directed towards the W and SW. Associated with these emissions in early November, ashfall was reported in Chimborazo province and elsewhere, and ejecta from explosions was deposited on all the upper flanks. At the Ñuñurcu vent, effusive activity resulted in an almost continuous emission of material down the SE flank. Small rockfalls and pyroclastic flows along the fronts and sides of the flows reached the basin and upper channel of the Volcán river which flows into the Upano river. These deposits were remobilized by rainfall and formed mud and debris flows (lahars) in the Volcán river, which caused damming at the confluence with the Upano river downstream. Increased thermal activity was recorded by the MIROVA system from mid-May 2019 through the end of the year, corresponding to the ongoing lava flow and explosive activity (figure 36).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Increased heat flow at Sangay was recorded beginning in mid-May 2019 and continued steadily through the end of the year as seen in this graph of Log Radiative Power produced by the MIROVA project. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during July-September 2019. Several ash emissions were reported by the Washington VAAC during the first part of July 2019. On 1 July a plume rose to 6.7 km altitude and extended 45 km WSW from the summit. During 3-4 July a plume rose 6.4 km and drifted WNW; it included occasional discrete emissions that extended approximately 35 km from summit. The VAAC recorded a bright hotspot in SWIR imagery on 4 July. On 11 July a 7.3-km-altitude ash plume detached from the summit and extended from immediately W of the summit S past Segu. Webcam and satellite imagery on 11 July demonstrated the continuing thermal activity of the lava flow on the SE flank and ash emissions drifting W (figure 37). On 29 July a plume rose to 7.6 km altitude and drifted 65 km WSW. Later in the day continuous emissions were drifting SW from the summit at 5.8 km altitude before dissipating. The first satellite images of 30 July showed a plume extending 110 km WSW from the summit at 7 km altitude. Activity decreased later in the day and the plume extended W about 45 km from the summit at 6.4 km altitude. Composite satellite imagery on 31 July showed almost constant ash emissions extending over 150 km W of the summit (figure 38).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. The local webcam at Sangay (left) and Sentinel satellite imagery (right, bands 12, 11, and 8A) both confirmed the high heat output from the active lava flow on the SE flank on 11 July 2019. The flow is about 2 km long. A plume of steam and ash also drifted W from the summit (right). Courtesy of IG-EPN (left) and Sentinel Hub Playground (right).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. An ash emission from Sangay on 29 July 2019 drifted tens of km WSW as seen in the webcam (left). Two days later on 31 July a small dark ash plume was visible above the dense cloud cover in Sentinel satellite imagery; the VAAC reported ash drifting W throughout the day. Courtesy of IG-EPN (left) and Sentinel Hub Playground (right).

During an overflight on 6 August 2019 scientists from IG-EPN observed ash emissions from the Cráter Central, and the lava flow continuing from the Vento Ñuñurco in a similar location to where it was in May 2019 (figure 39). Light-colored sediments filled much of the upper basin of the Volcán river. Thermal images of the area also showed that some of the deposits were elevated in temperature, even in the riverbed (figure 40).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. The E and SE flanks of Sangay showed continuing activity during August 2019 (right) that was similar to activity going on during May (left). In May, steam issued from the Cráter Central and a lava flow descended the SE flank from Vento Ñuñurco (photo by M. Almeida, IG-EPN). In August, diffuse ash and steam issued from the Crater Central, and a new flow descended from the same area of the Vento Ñuñurco seen in May (photo by P. Ramón , IG-EPN). Courtesy of IG-EPN (Informe Especial del Volcán Sangay - 2019 - No 5, Quito, 13 de noviembre del 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. The upper Volcán River basin was filled with deposits of pyroclastic material associated with the most recent activity at Sangay when observed during an overflight on 6 August 2019 (left). Thermal analysis of the drainage indicated that several of the deposits were still hot, as was the active flow (right). Left photo by P. Ramón, thermal image by Silvia Vallejo; courtesy of IG-EPN (Informe Especial del Volcán Sangay - 2019 - No 5, Quito, 13 de noviembre del 2019).

Frequent ash emissions continued during August 2019. Diffuse ash was seen moving W from the summit at 5.8 km altitude on 1 August. Another short-lived plume was observed extending 15 km WSW the next day at 5.8-6.1 km altitude. Continuous ash emissions were visible in satellite imagery extending 35 km SW from the summit at 6.1 km altitude on 5 August. During the next two days, the emissions extended 45 km WSW and a prominent hot spot was visible through the meteoric clouds. The ash plume altitude rose to 6.7 km on 8 August and a larger ash emission extended more than 100 km WSW. A new emission the next day drifted 25-35 km W at 6.1 km altitude. A well-defined hotspot seen in shortwave imagery on 10 August accompanied an ash emission that extended 35 km WSW from the summit at 6.7 km altitude. On 12 August a plume drifted 65 km due W at 6.4 km altitude; emissions continued the next day in the same direction at 6.1 km altitude. An ash plume extended 100 km WNW of the summit at 5.8 km altitude on 18 August. A very bright hotspot was observed in infrared imagery the next day. The ash emissions continued to be visible in satellite imagery through 20 August.

An ash plume extending 10 km N from the summit on 25 August coincided with the appearance of a vivid hot spot, according to the Washington VAAC. The plume was initially reported at 7.6 km altitude and later in the day was at 6.7 km altitude. The leading edge of an ash emission reported on 31 August was 350 km W of the summit late that day moving at 5.8 km altitude, and over 950 km WSW before it dissipated on 1 September. Fewer ash emissions were reported during September 2019. The leading edge of a plume extended about 160 km W from the summit on 2 September at 7.6 km altitude; a second emission that day moved NE at 6.4 km altitude. On 4 September a small emission rose to 6.4 km altitude and drifted SW; on 9 September a plume was observed moving W at 5.5 km. A new emission on 19 September was seen in satellite imagery moving in many different directions (N, NE, E, and SE) at 6.7 km altitude. The lava flow on the SE flank produced a strong thermal signature that appeared unchanged from late August through late September (figure 41).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. The thermal signature from the lava flow on the SE flank of Sangay appeared unchanged from late August (top left) to late September 2019 (bottom right) in Sentinel-2 imagery (bands 12, 11, and 8A); an ash emission drifted in multiple directions on 19 September 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground and IG-EPN.

Activity during October-December 2019. Pulses of ash were reported during 1, 9-11, 14, 26, and 31 October 2019 by the Washington VAAC. On 1 October the plume rose to 5.8 km altitude and drifted NE. A narrow plume on 9 October extending 55 km NW corresponded with a bright hotspot at its source. Concentrated emissions the next day rose to 7.3 km altitude and extended over 200 km WNW. Later in the day on 10 October emissions were reported at 5.8 km drifting W. A substantial thermal anomaly and a constant plume of diffuse ash appeared in satellite imagery on 14 October at 6.1 km altitude drifting 15 km W. Diffuse emissions on 26 October appeared 35 km NW of the summit at 5.8 km altitude. The intensity of the thermal anomaly from the lava flow on the SE flank remained strong during the month, and emissions of steam and ash were also visible in satellite images (figure 42). In a site visit on 19 October 2019, IG-EPN scientists measured a recent lahar deposited near the confluence of the Volcán and Upano rivers. It was full of sand-sized particles and approximately 30 cm thick at the river’s edge (figure 43).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. The thermal anomaly from the lava flow on the SE flank of Sangay remained strong during October 2019, and both ash and steam emissions were seen in Sentinel-2 satellite images (bands 12, 11, and 8A). The lava flow is about 2 km long. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. A lahar deposit at the confluence of Río Volcán and Río Upano at Sangay was about 30 cm thick on 19 October 2019. Photograph by Francisco Vasconez, courtesy of IG-EPN (Informe Especial del Volcán Sangay - 2019 - No 5, Quito, 13 de noviembre del 2019).

Ash emissions during 10-26 November 2019 were reported daily by the Washington VAAC, each lasting for less than 24 hours before dissipating. The first report of ash detected in satellite imagery on 10 November indicated that the plume extended 25 km WSW at 6.7 km altitude. On the subsequent days, the plumes drifted in many different directions at altitudes of 5.8-7.3 km, usually around 6.4 km. The plumes generally drifted 25-45 km from the summit, although some were still visible over 100 km away, depending on weather conditions. The highest plume reached 7.3 km altitude on 18 November and drifted W. The plume on 26 November rose to 6.4 km altitude and was last seen 140 km SW of the summit before it dissipated. Pyroclastic flows were witnessed on 20 November 2019 (figure 44). The last plume of the month, on 29 November, rose to 6.4 km altitude and drifted 65 km W, dissipating quickly, and was accompanied by a very bright thermal anomaly.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Ash plumes from Sangay rose to 5.8 km altitude on 20 November 2019 and drifted 25 km NE before dissipating, according to the Washington VAAC. Pyroclastic flows appeared on the flank that day. Courtesy of Walter Calle C.

Ashfall was reported during November in the provinces of Chimborazo (Alao, 20 km NW, Cebadas, 35 km NW, and Guaguallá), Morona Santiago (Macas, 40 km SE), and Azuay (120 km SW). Samples of ash collected from two locations indicated that the amount of material was very small (less than10 g/m2) with a high content of extremely fine ash (between 40 and 60% ash less 63 μm in diameter). The larger fraction over 63 μm was mainly composed of juvenile magma (80%) and a small fraction of free crystals (10% plagioclase and pyroxenes), oxidized fragments (5%), and gray lithics (5%) (figure 45).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Photos from a binocular microscope of the greater than 63 μm fraction of ash from Sangay collected in Macas and at the SAGA station during November 2019. See text for details. Courtesy if IG (Informe Especial del Volcán Sangay - 2019 - No 6, 4 de diciembre del 2019).

In a report issued in early December 2019 the IG-EPN noted that eruptive activity which increased in May 2019 was continuing (figure 46); a small amount of inflation was observed during November. Explosive activity continued at the Cráter Central with ash plumes reaching 2 km above the summit, and plumes drifting frequently towards the NE causing small amounts of ash to fall in the Chimborazo, Morona Santiago, and Azuay provinces. Effusive activity from the Ñuñurco vent produced almost continuous lava that flowed down the SE flank. Small pyroclastic flows around the margins of the lava flows reached the basin and the upper channel of the Volcán river, causing temporary dams that turned to mudflows during rain events.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. IG-EPN published this multi-parameter chart of activity of the Sangay volcano from May to 1 December 2019. a: seismic activity (number of events per day) detected at the PUYO station (source: IG-EPN); b: SO2 emissions (tons per day) detected by the Sentinel-5P satellite sensor (source: MOUNTS); c: height of ash clouds (m above crater level) detected by the GOES-16 satellite sensor (source: Washington VAAC); d: thermal emission power (megawatt) detected by the MODIS satellite sensor (source: MODVOLC) and estimated accumulated lava volume (million m3, dotted lines represent the error range). Courtesy of IG-EPN (Informe Especial del Volcán Sangay - 2019 - No 6, 4 de diciembre del 2019).

During an overflight on 3 December 2019 a strong smell of sulfur was noted 1 km above the summit. The Ñuñurco vent continued to emit lava with a maximum apparent temperature of 100 to 210°C (figure 47). IG-EPN scientists concluded that approximately 58 ± 29 million m3 of lava had been emitted through 3 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Views of the SE flank of Sangay on 3 December 2019 with visible (left) and thermal (right) imagery. Photograph by C. Viracucha, thermal analysis by F. Naranjo; courtesy of IG-EPN (Informe Especial del Volcán Sangay - 2019 - No 6, 4 de diciembre del 2019).

Recurring lahars in the Río Volcán during the period occasionally reached the Rio Upano (figure 48). By late November, they had partially dammed the Upano river (figure 49). On 26 November 2019 when IG-EPN and Sangay National Park officials inspected the area, they recorded deposits more than 2 m thick at the confluence of the two rivers (figure 50). During an overflight the next day, additional deposits were identified along 16 km upstream. The total volume of the lahar deposits was estimated at 5 million m3 to date.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Inferred lahar deposits at Sangay along the Río Volcán from the foot of the volcano up to its confluence with Río Upano shown in red. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Informe Especial del Volcán Sangay - 2019 - No 6, 4 de diciembre del 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Lahar deposits at Sangay filled Río Volcán and dammed part of the confluence where it joins río Upano when photographed during an overflight on 26 November 2019. Photographs by Pedro Espín; courtesy of IG-EPN (Informe Especial del Volcán Sangay - 2019 - No 6, 4 de diciembre del 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Lahar deposits from Sangay exceeded 2 m in thickness at the confluence of the Upano and Volcán rivers on 26 November 2019. Photography by Pedro Espín; courtesy of IG-EPN (Informe Especial del Volcán Sangay - 2019 - No 6, 4 de diciembre del 2019).

Another extended period of ash emissions began on 4 December 2019 and continued daily through 19 December. The Washington VAAC reported that an ash plume was initially at 6.7 km altitude drifting S on 4 December. Continuous emissions were observed at 4.6 km altitude later in the day and were visible in satellite images located 25 km S at 5.8 km altitude that evening. The drift directions were initially mostly SW in early December, but migrated to mostly SE during 10-16 December, then back to SW. Plume altitudes ranged from 5.8 to 7.3 km and satellite images revealed ash as far as 160 km away; most plumes were visible to about 25 km before dissipating or disappearing into meteoric clouds. IG-EPN reported steam and gas emissions with small amounts of ash on 13 December that drifted SE (figure 51). Small block avalanches from the active flow were also observed on the SE flank. The next day, ash and gas emissions rose to 1,170 m above the summit and drifted NE while the lava flow appeared incandescent on the SE flank.

During the night of 14-15 December ashfall was reported in San Isidro in the Province of Morona Santiago (30 km SE). Ash plumes rose 870 m above the summit on 15 December and 1,470 m high the next day. Ashfall was reported in the Guasuntos (60 km SW) and Llagos (80 km SW) areas of the Chimborazo province on the morning of 16 December. The next day plumes drifted SE and SW, and minor ashfall was reported that night (16-17 December) in Macas (40 km SE), Morona Santiago province. Satellite images captured gas and ash emissions on 25 December, and ashfall was reported in Alausí (60 km SW) in the province of Chimborazo. An explosion on 29 December produced an ash plume that rose to 6.1 km and first drifted WNW then in an arc to the SW almost 185 km to the coast. Multiple plumes at 5.8-6.7 km drifted westerly for tens of kilometers that day and the next. Prominent thermal anomalies were noted in satellite imagery on 8, 15, 17, and 30 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Numerous explosions produced ash emissions from Sangay during 4-30 December 2019, shown here on days 13, 14, 16, and 25. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Informe Diario del Estado del Volcán Sangay No. 2019-1, 13 Diciembre; No. 2019-2, 14 Diciembre; No. 2019-5, 17 Diciembre; No. 2019-13, 25 Diciembre 2019).

By late December 2019, the lahar deposits in Rio Volcán had backed up noticeably further into the Upano river from a month earlier (figure 52). Sulfur dioxide emissions were not recorded during July through August 2019, but small, pulsing plumes were captured in satellite images during September, October and November, gradually increasing in density. Several plumes were detected hundreds of kilometers from the volcano before dissipating; by December, larger, more frequent pulses of SO2 were measured during many days when ash emissions were reported (figure 53).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Lahar deposits from Sangay in the Rio Volcán (right) continued to dam up the Rio Upano into late December 2019. Compare with figure 49 taken one month earlier. Photo by WJ Hernandes, courtesy of Edgar Chulde, posted online 21 December 2019.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Sulfur dioxide emissions from Sangay were weak but persistent during September-November 2019 (top row), often drifting in narrow plumes with distinct pulses. During December, the density of the SO2 emissions increased noticeably (bottom row). Columbia’s Nevado del Ruiz was also producing plumes of SO2 at the same time. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Geologic Background. The isolated Sangay volcano, located east of the Andean crest, is the southernmost of Ecuador's volcanoes and its most active. The steep-sided, glacier-covered, dominantly andesitic volcano grew within horseshoe-shaped calderas of two previous edifices, which were destroyed by collapse to the east, producing large debris avalanches that reached the Amazonian lowlands. The modern edifice dates back to at least 14,000 years ago. It towers above the tropical jungle on the east side; on the other sides flat plains of ash have been sculpted by heavy rains into steep-walled canyons up to 600 m deep. The earliest report of a historical eruption was in 1628. More or less continuous eruptions were reported from 1728 until 1916, and again from 1934 to the present. The almost constant activity has caused frequent changes to the morphology of the summit crater complex.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Walter Calle C., Macas, Ecuador (Twitter: @walterc333; URL: https://twitter.com/walterc333/status/1197273200822046720); Edgar Chulde, Quito, Ecuador (Twitter: @EdgarChulde2; URL: https://twitter.com/EdgarChulde2/status/1208547471024173056).


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

Shishaldin

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Multiple lava flows, pyroclastic flows, lahars, and ashfall events during October 2019 through January 2020

Shishaldin is located near the center of Unimak Island in Alaska and has been frequently active in recent times. Activity includes steam plumes, ash plumes, lava flows, lava fountaining, pyroclastic flows, and lahars. The current eruption phase began on 23 July 2019 and through September included lava fountaining, explosions, and a lava lake in the summit crater. Continuing activity during October 2019 through January 2020 is described in this report based largely on Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) reports, photographs, and satellite data.

Minor steam emissions were observed on 30 September 2019, but no activity was observed through the following week. Activity at that time was slightly above background levels with the Volcano Alert Level at Advisory and the Aviation Color Code at Yellow (figure 17). In the first few days of October weak tremor continued but no eruptive activity was observed. Weakly elevated temperatures were noted in clear satellite images during 4-9 October and weak tremor continued. Elevated temperatures were recorded again on the 14th with low-level tremor.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Alaska Volcano Observatory hazard status definitions for Aviation Color Codes and Volcanic Activity Alert Levels used for Shishaldin and other volcanoes in Alaska. Courtesy of AVO.

New lava extrusion was observed on 13 October, prompting AVO to raise the Aviation Color Code to Orange and the Volcano Alert Level to Watch. Elevated surface temperatures were detected by satellite during the 13th and 17-20th, and a steam plume was observed on the 19th. A change from small explosions to continuous tremor that morning suggested a change in eruptive behavior. Low-level Strombolian activity was observed during 21-22 October, accompanied by a persistent steam plume. Lava had filled the crater by the 23rd and began to overflow at two places. One lava flow to the north reached a distance of 200 m on the 24th and melted snow to form a 2.9-km-long lahar down the N flank. The second smaller lava flow resulted in a 1-km-long lahar down the NE flank. Additional snowmelt was produced by spatter accumulating around the crater rim. By 25 October the northern flow reached 800 m, there was minor explosive activity with periodic lava fountaining, and lahar deposits reached 3 km to the NW with shorter lahars to the N and E (figure 18). Trace amounts of ashfall extended at least 8.5 km SE. There was a pause in activity on the 29th, but beginning at 1839 on the 31st seismic and infrasound monitoring detected multiple small explosions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. PlanetScope satellite images of Shishaldin on 3 and 29 October 2019 show the summit crater and N flank before and after emplacement of lava flows, lahars, and ashfall. Copyright PlanetLabs 2019.

Elevated activity continued through November with multiple lava flows on the northern flanks (figure 19). By 1 November the two lava flows had stalled after extending 1.8 km down the NW flank. Lahars had reached at least 4 km NW and trace amounts of ash were deposited on the north flank. Elevated seismicity on 2 November indicated that lava was likely flowing beyond the summit crater, supported by a local pilot observation. The next day an active lava flow moved 400 m down the NW flank while a smaller flow was active SE of the summit. Minor explosive activity and/or lava fountaining at the summit was indicated by incandescence during the night. Small explosions were recorded in seismic and infrasound data. On 5 November the longer lava flow had developed two lobes, reaching 1 km in length. The lahars had also increased in length, reaching 2 km on the N and S flanks. Incandescence continued and hot spatter was accumulating around the summit vent. Activity continued, other than a 10-hour pause on 4-5 November, and another pause on the 7th. The lava flow length had reached 1.3 km on the 8th and lahar deposits reached 5 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images show multiple lava flows (orange) on the upper northern flanks of Shishaldin between 1 November and 1 December 2019. Blue is snow and ice in these images, and partial cloud cover is visible in all of them. Sentinel-2 Urban rendering (bands 21, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

After variable levels of activity for a few days, there was a significant increase on 10-11 November with lava fountaining through the evening and night. This was accompanied by minor to moderate ash emissions up to around 3.7 km altitude and drifting northwards, and a significant increase in seismicity. Activity decreased again during the 11-12th while minor steam and ash emissions continued. On 14 November minor ash plumes were visible on the flanks, likely caused by the collapse of accumulated spatter. By 15 November a large network of debris flows consisting of snowmelt and fresh deposits extended 5.5 km NE and the collapse of spatter mounds continued. Ashfall from ash plumes reaching as high as 3.7 km altitude produced thin deposits to the NE, S, and SE. Activity paused during the 17-18th and resumed again on the 19th; intermittent clear views showed either a lava flow or lahar descending the SE flank. Activity sharply declined at 0340 on the 20th.

Seismicity began increasing again on 24 November and small explosions were detected on the 23rd. A small collapse of spatter that had accumulated at the summit occurred at 2330 on the 24th, producing a pyroclastic flow that reached 3 km in length down the NW flank. A new lava flow had also reached several hundred meters down the same flank. Variable but elevated activity continued over 27 November into early December, with a 1.5-km-long lava flow observed in satellite imagery acquired on the 1st. On 5 December minor steam or ash emissions were observed at the summit and on the north flank, and Strombolian explosions were detected. Activity from that day produced fresh ash deposits on the northern side of the volcano and a new lava flow extended 1.4 km down the NW flank. Three small explosions were detected on the 11th.

At 0710 on 12 December a 3-minute-long explosion produced an ash plume up to 6-7.6 km altitude that dispersed predominantly towards the W to NW and three lightning strokes were detected. Ash samples were collected on the SE flank by AVO field crews on 20 December and analysis showed variable crystal contents in a glassy matrix (figure 20). A new ash deposit was emplaced out to 10 km SE, and a 3.5-km-long pyroclastic flow had been emplaced to the north, containing blocks as large as 3 m in diameter. The pyroclastic flow was likely a result from collapse of the summit spatter cone and lava flows. A new narrow lava flow had reached 3 km to the NW and lahars continued out to the northern coast of Unimak island (figure 21). The incandescent lava flow was visible from Cold Bay on the evening of the 12th and a thick steam plume continued through the next day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. An example of a volcanic ash grain that was erupted at Shishaldin on 12 December 2019 and collected on the SE flank by the Alaska Volcano Observatory staff. This Scanning Electron Microscope images shows the different crystals represented by different colors: dark gray crystals are plagioclase, the light gray crystals are olivine, and the white ones are Fe-Ti oxides. The groundmass in this grain is nearly completely crystallized. Courtesy of AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. A WorldView-2 satellite image of Shishaldin with the summit vent and eruption deposits on 12 December 2019. The tephra deposit extends around 10 km SE, a new lava flow reaching 3 km NW with lahars continuing to the N coast of Unimak island. Pyroclastic flow deposits reach 3.5 km to the N and contain blocks as large as 3 m. Courtesy of Hannah Dietterich, AVO.

A new lava flow was reported by a pilot on the night of 16 December. Thermal satellite data showed that this flow reached 2 km to the NW. High-resolution radar satellite images over the 15-17th showed that the lava flow had advanced out to 2.5 km and had developed levees along the margins (figure 22). The lava channel was 5-15 m wide and was originating from a crater at the base of the summit scoria cone, which had been rebuilt since the collapse the previous week. Minor ash emissions drifted to the south on the 19tt and 20th (figure 23).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. TerraSAR-X radar satellite images of Shishaldin on 15 and 17 December 2019 show the new lava flow on the NW flank and growth of a scoria cone at the summit. The lava flow had reached around 2.5 km at this point and was 5-15 m wide with levees visible along the flow margins. Pyroclastic flow deposits from a scoria cone collapse event on 12 December are on the N flank. Figure courtesy of Simon Plank (German Aerospace Center, DLR) and Hannah Dietterich (AVO).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Geologist Janet Schaefer (AVO/DGGS) collects ash samples within ice and snow on the southern flanks of Shishaldin on 20 December 2019. A weak ash plume is rising from the summit crater. Photo courtesy of Wyatt Mayo, AVO.

On 21 December a new lava flow commenced, traveling down the northern slope and accompanied by minor ash emissions. Continued lava extrusion was indicated by thermal data on the 25th and two lava flows reaching 1.5 km and 100 m were observed in satellite data on the 26th, as well as ash deposits on the upper flanks (figure 24). Weak explosions were detected by the regional infrasound network the following day. A satellite image acquired on the 30th showed a thick steam plume obscuring the summit and snow cover on the flanks indicating a pause in ash emissions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. This 26 December 2019 WorldView-2 satellite image with a close-up of the Shishaldin summit area to the right shows a lava flow extending nearly 1.5 km down the NW flank and a smaller 100-m-long lava flow to the NE. Volcanic ash was deposited around the summit, coating snow and ice. Courtesy of Matt Loewen, AVO.

In early January satellite data indicated slow lava extrusion or cooling lava flows (or both) near the summit. On the morning of the 3rd an ash plume rose to 6-7 km altitude and drifted 120 km E to SE, producing minor amounts of volcanic lightning. Elevated surface temperatures the previous week indicated continued lava extrusion. A satellite image acquired on 3 January showed lava flows extending to 1.6 km NW, pyroclastic flows moving 2.6 km down the western and southern flanks, and ashfall on the flanks (figure 25).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. This WorldView-2 multispectral satellite image of Shishaldin, acquired on 3 January 2019, shows the lava flows reaching 1.6 km down the NW flank and an ash plume erupting from the summit dispersing to the SE. Ash deposits cover snow on the flanks. Courtesy of Hannah Dietterich, AVO.

On 7 January the most sustained explosive episode for this eruption period occurred. An ash plume rose to 7 km altitude at 0500 and drifted east to northeast then intensified reaching 7.6 km altitude with increased ash content, prompting an increase of the Aviation Color Code to Red and Volcano Alert Level to Warning. The plume traveled over 200 km to the E to NE (figure 26). Lava flows were produced on the northern flanks and trace amounts of ashfall was reported in communities to the NE, resulting in several flight cancellations. Thermal satellite images showed active lava flows extruding from the summit vent (figure 27). Seismicity significantly decreased around 1200 and the alert levels were lowered to Orange and Watch that evening. Through the following week no notable eruptive activity occurred. An intermittent steam plume was observed in webcam views.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. This Landsat 8 satellite image shows a detached ash plume drifts to the NE from an explosive eruption at Shishaldin on 7 January 2020. Courtesy of Chris Waythomas, AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. This 7 January 2019 Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image shows several lava flows on the NE and NW flanks of Shishaldin, as well as a steam plume from the summit dispersing to the NE. Blue is snow and ice in this false color image (bands 12, 11, 4). Courtesy of Sentinel-Hub playground.

Eruptive activity resumed on 18 January with lava flows traveling 2 km down the NE flank accompanied by a weak plume with possible ash content dispersing to the SW (figure 28). A steam plume was produced at the front of the lava flow and lahar deposits continued to the north (figures 29 to 32). Activity intensified from 0030 on the 19th, generating a more ash-rich plume that extended over 150 km E and SE and reached up to 6 km altitude; activity increased again at around 1500 with ash emissions reaching 9 km altitude. AVO increased the alert levels to Red/Warning. Lava flows traveled down the NE and N flanks producing meltwater lahars, accompanied by elevated seismicity (figures 33). Activity continued through the day and trace amounts of ashfall were reported in False Pass (figure 34). Activity declined to small explosions over the next few days and the alert levels were lowered to Orange/watch shortly after midnight. The next morning weak steam emissions were observed at the summit and there was a thin ash deposit across the entire area. Satellite data acquired on 23 January showed pyroclastic flow deposits and cooling lava flows on the northern flank, and meltwater reaching the northern coast (figure 35).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. This Worldview-3 multispectral near-infrared satellite image acquired on 18 January 2020 shows a lava flow down the NE flank of Shishaldin. A steam plume rises from the end of the flow and lahar deposits from snowmelt travel further north. Courtesy of Matt Loewen, AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Steam plumes from the summit of Shishaldin and from the lava flow down the NE flank on 18 January 2020. Lahar deposits extend from the lava flow front and towards the north. Photo courtesy of Matt Brekke, via AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. A lava flow traveling down the NE flank of Shishaldin on 18 January 2020, seen from Cold Bay. Photo courtesy of Aaron Merculief, via AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Two plumes rise from Shishaldin on 18 January 2020, one from the summit crater and the other from the lava flow descending the NE Flank. Photos courtesy of Woodsen Saunders, via AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. A low-altitude plume from Shishaldin on the evening of 18 January 2020, seen from King Cove. Photo courtesy of Savannah Yatchmeneff, via AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. This WorldView-2 near-infrared satellite image shows a lava flow reaching 1.8 km down the N flank and lahar deposits filling drainages out to the Bering Sea coast (not shown here) on 19 January 2020. Ash deposits coat snow to the NE and E. Courtesy of Matt Loewen, AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. An ash plume (top) and gas-and-steam plumes (bottom) at Shishaldin on 19 January 2020. Courtesy of Matt Brekke, via AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. A Landsat 8 thermal satellite image (band 11) acquired on 23 January 2019 showing hot lava flows and pyroclastic flow deposits on the flanks of Shishaldin and the meltwater flow path to the Bering Sea. Figure courtesy of Christ Waythomas, AVO.

Activity remained low in late January with some ash resuspension (due to winds) near the summit and continued elevated temperatures. Seismicity remained above background levels. Infrasound data indicated minor explosive activity during 22-23 January and small steam plumes were visible on 22, 23, and 26 January. MIROVA thermal data showed the rapid reduction in activity following activity in late-January (figure 36).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. MIROVA thermal data showing increased activity at Shishaldin during August-September, and an even higher thermal output during late-October 2019 to late January 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667 USA (URL: https://avo.alaska.edu/), b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA (URL: http://dggs.alaska.gov/); Simon Plank, German Aerospace Center (DLR) German Remote Sensing Data Center, Geo-Risks and Civil Security, Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234 Weßling (URL: https://www.dlr.de/eoc/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-5242/8788_read-28554/sortby-lastname/); 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/); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Sangeang Api (Indonesia) — February 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)


Ash emissions and lava flow extrusion continue during May 2019 through January 2020

Sangeang Api is located in the eastern Sunda-Banda Arc in Indonesia, forming a small island in the Flores Strait, north of the eastern side of West Nusa Tenggara. It has been frequently active in recent times with documented eruptions spanning back to 1512. The edifice has two peaks – the active Doro Api cone and the inactive Doro Mantori within an older caldera (figure 37). The current activity is focused at the summit of the cone within a horseshoe-shaped crater at the summit of Doro Api. This bulletin summarizes activity during May 2019 through January 2020 and is based on Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reports, Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, or CVGHM) MAGMA Indonesia Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) reports, and various satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. A PlanetScope satellite image of Sangeang Api with the active Doro Api and the inactive Doro Mantori cones indicated, and the channel SE of the active area that contains recent lava flows and other deposits. December 2019 monthly mosaic copyright of Planet Labs 2019.

Thermal anomalies were visible in Sentinel-2 satellite thermal images on 4 and 5 May with some ash and gas emission visible; bright pixels from the summit of the active cone extended to the SE towards the end of the month, indicating an active lava flow (figure 38). Multiple small emissions with increasing ash content reached 1.2-2.1 km altitude on 17 June. The emissions drifted W and WNW, and a thermal anomaly was also visible. On the 27th ash plumes rose to 2.1 km and drifted NW and the thermal anomaly persisted. One ash plume reached 2.4 km and drifted NW on the 29th, and steam emissions were ongoing. Satellite images showed two active lava flows in June, an upper and a lower flow, with several lobes descending the same channel and with lateral levees visible in satellite imagery (figure 39). The lava extrusion appeared to have ceased by late June with lower temperatures detected in Sentinel-2 thermal data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Sentinel-2 satellite thermal images of Sangeang Api on 20 May and 9 June 2019 show an active lava flow from the summit, traveling to the SE. False color (urban) image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. PlanetScope satellite images of Sangeang Api show new lava flows during June and July, with white arrows indicating the flow fronts. Copyright Planet Labs 2019.

During 4-5 July the Darwin VAAC reported ash plumes reaching 2.1-2.3 km altitude and drifting SW and W. Activity continued during 6-9 July with plumes up to 4.6 km drifting N, NW, and SW. Thermal anomalies were noted on the 4th and 8th. Plumes rose to 2.1-3 km during 10-16th, and to a maximum altitude of 4.6 km during 17-18 and 20-22. Similar activity was reported during 24-30 July with plumes reaching 2.4-3 km and dispersing NW, W, and SW. The upper lava flow had increased in length since 15 June (see figure 39).

During 31 July through 3 September ash plumes continued to reach 2.4-3 km altitude and disperse in multiple directions. Similar activity was reported throughout September. Thermal anomalies also persisted through July-September, with evidence of hot avalanches in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery on 23 August, and 9, 12, 22, and 27 September. Thermal anomalies suggested hot avalanches or lava flows during October (figure 40). During 26-28 October short-lived ash plumes were reported to 2.1-2.7 km above sea level and dissipated to the NW, WNW, and W. Short-lived explosions produced ash plumes up to 2.7-3.5 km altitude were noted during 30-31 October and 3-4 November 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Sentinel-2 satellite thermal images of Sangeang Api on 7 and 22 October 2019 show an area of elevated temperatures trending from the summit of the active cone down the SE flank. False color (urban) image rendering (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Discrete explosions produced ash plumes up to 2.7-3.5 km altitude during 3-4 November, and during the 6-12th the Darwin VAAC reported short-lived ash emissions reaching 3 km altitude. Thermal anomalies were visible in satellite images during 6-8 November. A VONA was released on 14 November for an ash plume that reached about 2 km altitude and dispersed to the west. During 14-19 November the Darwin VAAC reported short-lived ash plumes reaching 2.4 km that drifted NW and W. Additional ash plumes were observed reaching a maximum altitude of 2.4 km during 20-26 November. Thermal anomalies were detected during the 18-19th, and on the 27th.

Ash plumes were recorded reaching 2.4 km during 4-5, 7-9, 11-13, and 17-19 December, and up to 3 km during 25-28 December. There were no reports of activity in early to mid-January 2020 until the Darwin VAAC reported ash reaching 3 km on 23 January. A webcam image on 15 January showed a gas plume originating from the summit. Several fires were visible on the flanks during May 2019 through January 2020, and this is seen in the MIROVA log thermal plot with the thermal anomalies greater than 5 km away from the crater (figure 41).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. MIROVA log plot of radiative power indicates the persistent activity at Sangeang Api during April 2019 through March 2020. There was a slight decline in September-October 2019 and again in February 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 42, Number 04 (April 2017)

Managing Editor: Edward Venzke

Ahyi (United States)

Hydrothermal activity continues in December 2014

Alaid (Russia)

Ash plumes and lava flow, October 2015 to August 2016

Cleveland (United States)

Growth and destruction of six lava domes between June 2014 and February 2017

Copahue (Chile-Argentina)

Eruptive activity consisting of Strombolian explosions and gas-and-ash plumes ends in late December 2016

Daikoku (United States)

Explorations in 2014 and 2016 reveal active hydrothermal plumes and sulfur chimney formation

Kerinci (Indonesia)

Brief ash eruptions in December 2011, June 2013, March-June 2016, and November 2016

Klyuchevskoy (Russia)

Mixed explosive and effusive eruption ongoing from August 2015 through March 2017

Pacaya (Guatemala)

Summary of 2004-2010 eruptions including a fatality in May 2010; lava flows in 2013-2014

Paluweh (Indonesia)

Two major pyroclastic flows in February and August 2013; five fatalities on 10 August 2013

Zhupanovsky (Russia)

Moderate ash plumes continued until 24 March, then an explosion on 20 November 2016



Ahyi (United States) — April 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Ahyi

United States

20.42°N, 145.03°E; summit elev. -75 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Hydrothermal activity continues in December 2014

Ahyi seamount is one of a long string of submarine seamounts at the northern edge of the Northern Mariana Islands, part of the Mariana Back-arc segment of the Izu-Bonin trench in the western Pacific Ocean. The remote location of the seamount has made eruptions difficult to document, but seismic stations installed in the region confirmed an eruption in the vicinity in 2001. No further activity was reported until a new eruption was detected by seismic stations and felt by divers in the immediate area in April 2014. Volcanic activity in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is monitored by the US Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program, and observations are sometimes gathered by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) expeditions. The 2014 eruption and follow-up observations from December 2014 are summarized here.

The eruption at Ahyi seamount between 24 April and 17 May 2014 (BGVN 39:02; Haney et al., 2014) was first recorded as T-phase signals that were detected by various seismometers in the Mariana Islands. Submarine explosions were also heard and felt by NOAA scuba divers conducting coral reef research on the SE coastline of Farallon de Pajaros (Uracas) Island, about 20 km NW of Ahyi. In the same area, the NOAA crew reported sighting mats of orange-yellow bubbles on the water surface that extended up to 1 km from the shoreline. T-phase seismic signals registered across the Northern Mariana Islands (NMI) seismic network at a rate of approximately 10 per hour until 8 May, and then sporadically until 17 May (Haney et al., 2014).

During mid-May, the NOAA ship Hi'ialakai gathered multibeam sonar bathymetry and took three water-column CTD casts (Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth sensor; it gives scientists a precise and comprehensive charting of the distribution and variation of water temperature, salinity, and density). The May 2014 bathymetry revealed that the minimum depth to the summit was about 90 m, notably deeper than the 60 m measured during a 2003 survey. In addition a new crater about 100 m deep had formed at the summit, replacing the summit cone. Also, a distinct landslide chute descended the SE slope 2,300 m, removing material from the head and depositing debris at the base (see figure 4, BGVN 39:02). Significant particle plumes were detected with all three CTD casts, indicating ongoing hydrothermal activity. Plumes with optical anomalies up to 0.4 NTU (nephelometric turbidity units) were found S and W of Ahyi at 100-175 m water depth, corresponding to the depth of the new summit crater. NTU's are light backscattering measurements done by optical sensors in sea water to determine the presence of hydrothermal plumes in the water column.

On 4 December 2014, the NOAA Expedition "Submarine Ring of Fire 2014 – Ironman" visited Ahyi, and again used a CTD sensor to assess the hydrothermal status of the volcano. EM122 multibeam bathymetry data imaged CO2 gas bubbles rising from the summit (figure 5), and clearly revealed the new summit crater. When the CTD sensor and sampling package was lowered into the water, it measured a thick plume of particles indicating ongoing hydrothermal activity near 150 m depth, close to the base of the new crater that formed during the eruption in April-May 2014.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Three-dimensional image of the summit of Ahyi submarine volcano gathered on 4 December 2014 with the mid-water data shown above the new crater created by the April 2014 eruption. The summit crater is ~100 m deep. CO2 bubbles (in green) can be seen rising from most of the summit, suggesting that there is more than one source of venting. This image shows an area 850 m across with depths ranging from 78 (red) to 400 m (blue). No vertical exaggeration. Image courtesy of Submarine Ring of Fire 2014 - Ironman, NSF/NOAA (http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/ 14fire/logs/december04/media/ahyi.html).

References: Haney, M. M., Chadwick, W., Merle, S. G., Buck, N. J., Butterfield, D. A., Coombs, M. L., Evers, L. G., Heaney, K. D., Lyons, J. J., Searcy, C. K., Walker, S. L., Young, C., and Embley, R. W., The 2014 Submarine Eruption of Ahyi Volcano, Northern Mariana Islands, American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2014, abstract V11B-4727.

Geologic Background. Ahyi seamount is a large conical submarine volcano that rises to within 75 m of the sea surface about 18 km SE of the island of Farallon de Pajaros (Uracas) in the northern Marianas. Water discoloration has been observed there, and in 1979 the crew of a fishing boat felt shocks over the summit area of the seamount, followed by upwelling of sulfur-bearing water. On 24-25 April 2001 an explosive eruption was detected seismically by a station on Rangiroa Atoll, Tuamotu Archipelago. The event was well constrained (+/- 15 km) at a location near the southern base of Ahyi. An eruption in April-May 2014 was detected by NOAA divers, hydroacoustic sensors, and seismic stations.

Information Contacts: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA (URL: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/welcome.html); US Geological Survey, Volcano Hazards Program (USGS-VHP), 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA, USA (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/index.html).


Alaid (Russia) — April 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Alaid

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes and lava flow, October 2015 to August 2016

Russia's Alaid volcano, located just off the southern tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula, is the northernmost of the chain of volcanoes that comprise the Kuril archipelago. A number of strong explosive eruptions have been recorded there in the last 200 years, including VEI 4 explosions in 1790 and 1981. The last eruption occurred between 5 October and 12 December 2012 when repeated thermal anomalies and ash plumes from the summit crater were observed. A new eruption was first reported on 29 September 2015 by the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) (BGVN 41:06). Alaid is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT); valuable information about this remote site is also gathered from satellite thermal infrared data reported by both the University of Hawai'i's MODVOLC system and the Italian MIROVA system.

A new eruption at Alaid was reported on 29 September 2015. It was characterized by strong thermal anomalies and intermittent gas-and-ash plumes. The thermal anomalies were interpreted by KVERT as Strombolian eruptions and lava flows. The first episode of the eruption exhibited strong thermal anomalies with only two reports of ash, and lasted until 4 January 2016. The second episode began with the reappearance of a strong thermal anomaly and an ash plume on 20 February 2016. This was followed by a series of low-level ash plumes in March and April, and ongoing strong thermal anomalies through early May. The anomalies decreased during mid-May and June, but then a large spike of intense anomalies in the first week of July was accompanied by ash plumes and observations by KVERT of Strombolian eruptions at the summit crater and a lava flow down the SW flank. Thermal activity decreased substantially following this spike, and tapered off completely by the second week of August 2016.

The Tokyo VAAC reported an eruption at Alaid at 2120 UTC on 28 September (0720 on 29 September local time) 2015. They reported it as below 6.1 km altitude, and volcanic ash was not identifiable in satellite images. KVERT raised the Aviation Color Code from Green to Yellow early on 2 October 2015 (local time) based on an intense thermal anomaly observed during the night that they interpreted to be the beginning of a new Strombolian eruption. The first thermal anomalies identified by MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) also appear during the first two days of October (figure 5). MODVOLC thermal alerts first appeared on 5 October and were essentially continuous with no more than a few days break until 4 January 2016. The MIROVA signal remained steady until about the same date when it abruptly decreased. KVERT reported consistent and usually intense thermal anomalies, when the volcano was not obscured by clouds, until 4 January. They observed anomalies in satellite images with decreasing frequency and intensity during the rest of January and into early February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. MIROVA thermal anomaly data for Alaid from 5 April 2015 through 13 January 2017. The first thermal anomaly is visible on 1 or 2 October 2015. The signal remained consistently in the Moderate to High range until the first week of January when it abruptly stopped. It reappeared during the third week of February and was consistently 'High' until mid-May when it decreased to 'Low' values. A sudden spike to near 'Very High' values during the first week of July corresponded with KVERT reports of Strombolian eruptions from the summit crater and a lava flow down the SW flank. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The first report of observed gas-and-steam activity (after the Tokyo VAAC report on 29 September) was by KVERT on 16 December. Visual observations from nearby Paramushir Island (45 km SE) noted a small amount of ash in the steam-and-gas plumes on 28 and 29 December. The Tokyo VAAC also reported a plume of volcanic ash at 4.6 km altitude on 29 December drifting SW. On 5 February 2016 local time KVERT lowered the Aviation Color Code (ACC) to Green, noting decreased thermal activity and only moderate continuing fumarole activity during the previous weeks. A break in the thermal activity between early January and late February is also recorded in the MIROVA data (figure 5).

Another eruptive episode began with the appearance of a strong thermal anomaly and a weak ash emission sending a plume 50 km E on 20 February UTC, leading KVERT to raise the ACC back to Yellow. Renewed MIROVA thermal anomalies appeared on 16 or 17 February (figure 5). The first MODVOLC thermal alert was reported 23 February, and they were essentially continuous (except for probable cloudy days) until 5 May 2016. MIROVA thermal anomalies values remained consistently in the 'High' (VRP of 108-109 Watts) range until the second week of May when they dropped back to 'Low' (VRP of 106-107 Watts).

KVERT reported gas-and-steam plumes containing a small amount of ash on 20 and 24 February 2016. Minor ashfall (less than 1 mm) was reported on 24 February in Severo-Kurilsk, 45 km SE on Paramushir Island. The Tokyo VAAC also reported a possible eruption that day with a plume to 3 km altitude extending NE. An ash plume was reported by KVERT and the Tokyo VAAC on 3 March 2016 at 3 km altitude drifting 52 km WSW. This prompted KVERT to raise the ACC to Orange. Ash emissions continued for the next two days, rising to 3.4-3.9 km and drifting S and SW, according to the Tokyo VAAC. KVERT reported visual data from Paramushir Island confirming an ash plume extending SW on 6 March, and satellite data showing the plume 90 km SW that same day.

Possible eruptions were again reported on 11 and 12 March 2016 by the Tokyo VAAC under 3 km altitude, and on 12 and 14 March by KVERT as visual observations from Paramushir extending 85 km E. Weak ash emissions were reported several more times in March and April rising to between 3 and 4.3 km altitude and drifting in various directions (some as far as 90 km) on 22, 26, and 30-31 March, and 1, 9, 14, 18, 21, and 24 April. KVERT noted that on 21 and 23 April the ash plumes extended about 260 km SE. Moderate thermal anomalies were reported by KVERT from mid-May through the beginning of July, and MIROVA anomalies registered in the 'Low' range during this time. KVERT reported on 12 May that satellite data showed a lava flow on the SW flank. They noted continuing thermal anomalies over the volcano during clear weather throughout May and June, but no ash plumes were reported.

KVERT and the Tokyo VAAC once again noted ash plumes that drifted 150 km SW during 3-4 July. This is consistent with an Aura/OMI image of an SO2 plume drifting SW from Alaid on 4 July (figure 6). On 7 July, KVERT reported Strombolian activity from a new cinder cone in the summit crater and a lava flow effusing down the SW flank. A sudden spike in the MIROVA data with values rising to 109 W of Radiative Power during 3-7 July (figure 5) corroborates the KVERT observation of the lava flow; the MODVOLC data also shows a strong signal between 3 and 7 July, including several alert pixels on the SW flank of the volcano (figure 7).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. SO2 plume drifting SW from Alaid captured on 4 July 2016 by the Aura instrument on the OMI satellite. Courtesy NASA/GSFC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. MODVOLC thermal alert pixel data for Alaid during 3-7 July 2016 showing a multi-pixel alert at the summit likely from Strombolian activity and alert pixels on the SW flank described by KVERT as a lava flow. Green grid lines represent 0.05 decimal degrees. Courtesy of MODVOLC.

The last ash plume was observed by the Tokyo VAAC on 3 July 2016. The final thermal alert was recorded by MODVOLC on 7 July. MIROVA anomalies continued steadily, however, at low levels through the first week in August before ceasing. Two additional MIROVA anomalies appeared briefly in the first and last weeks of September. KVERT reported thermal anomalies continuing until early August. They also noted a gas-and-steam plume extending 155 km NE on 26 July. In their VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) issued on 11 August 2016 at 2305 UTC (1105 on 12 August KST), KVERT lowered the ACC to Yellow based on decreasing intensity of thermal anomalies, and no additional ash plumes since 4 July; they lowered it again to Green on 19 August (local time) citing no further evidence for volcanic activity since the last thermal anomaly on 11 August.

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 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/, http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Cleveland (United States) — April 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Cleveland

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Growth and destruction of six lava domes between June 2014 and February 2017

Large lava flows descend the flanks of Alaska's Cleveland volcano, located on Chuginadak Island in the Aleutians, slightly over 1,500 km SW of Anchorage (figure 18). However, dome growth and destruction by frequent small ash explosions have been more typical behavior in recent years; historical activity, including three large (VEI 3) eruptions, is recorded back to 1893. The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) and the Anchorage Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) are responsible for monitoring activity and notifying air traffic of aviation hazards associated with Cleveland. This report summarizes activity between July 2011 and June 2014, and provides details of activity from June 2014 through February 2017.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Morning sunlight illuminates the southeast-facing slopes of the Islands of the Four Mountains on 15 November 2013 in this photograph taken from the International Space Station (ISS). The islands, part of the Aleutian Island chain, are the upper slopes of volcanoes rising from the sea floor: Carlisle, Cleveland, Herbert, and Tana. Carlisle and Herbert volcanoes are distinct cones and form separate islands. Cleveland and the Tana volcanic complex form the eastern and western ends respectively of Chuginadak Island; clouds obscure the connecting land area. Astronaut photograph ISS038-E-3612 acquired with a Nikon D3S digital camera using a 400 mm lens, provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 38 crew. It has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. Caption by William L. Stefanov, Jacobs at NASA-JSC. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

Summary of activity during July 2011-June 2014. Dome growth and destruction characterized activity at Cleveland during 2011-2014. Eruptive episodes are challenging to determine due to weather conditions and the remoteness of the volcano; detectible ash plumes are intermittent, and thermal anomalies caused by dome growth are often obscured in satellite imagery. Seismic and infrasound data on explosions often provide valuable information. Dome growth was clearly documented between late July and October 2011 (BGVN 36:08, 37:01). An ash cloud observed on 29 December 2011 was followed by observations of dome growth in satellite data on 30 January 2012. Significant ash explosions occurred during April and June 2012 (BGVN 38:10). AVO also reported ash plumes on 12 July and 20 August 2012. Another small ash cloud was noted by AVO on 10 Nov 2012.

Details of the 2013 activity are provided in Dixon et al. (2015) and summarized here. Elevated temperatures in mid-January 2013 were followed by observations of a new lava dome that measured 100 m in diameter on 30 January 2013, and a second lava extrusion on 9 February. Elevated surface temperatures were intermittently observed until the next ash explosion on 4 May 2013, which was followed by a larger series of explosions on 6 May that filled the crater with tephra and created flowage deposits on the NE, E, and SE flanks. On 26 July, analysis of a satellite images suggested a new lava flow within the summit crater.

From August through 28 December 2013 the infrasound and seismic networks detected a number of additional explosions and periods of infrasonic tremor (see table 8 in Dixon et al., 2015). Most of these events did not have an accompanying ash signal in AVHRR satellite images, suggesting minor to no ash emissions. A detectible ash cloud on 30 December 2013 was preceded by strongly elevated surface temperature readings in the summit area on 28 December (BVGN 39:08). Ash plumes were again detected at the summit on 2 January, 25 February, and 6 March 2014. Cleveland was quiet for almost three months until an explosion on 5 June with a weak ash signal was detected.

Summary of activity during June 2014-February 2017. The growth and explosive destruction of six lava domes at Cleveland were recorded between June 2014 and February 2017. Although an explosion on 5 June 2014 was the last recorded explosion with confirmed ash until 14 June 2015, thermal and visual satellite evidence suggested dome growth activity during July-September and late November 2014. Weakly elevated surface temperatures at the summit were intermittent through February 2015. Minor ash deposits on the flanks were observed on 14 June 2015 in addition to stronger elevated surface temperatures, suggesting a new dome growth episode. An explosion on 21 July 2015 was thought to have destroyed the dome, and strongly elevated surface temperatures indicating new dome growth continued through July and August.

Moderately-elevated surface temperatures were detected at the summit in satellite data from January through 16 April 2016 when a new explosion was recorded. Satellite views in late April indicated that the August 2015 lava dome had been replaced with a small cinder cone within the summit crater. Explosions with no ash reported occurred twice in May, before the extrusion of a small amount of lava forming a new lava dome was observed on 17 May 2016, and which continued to grow for about one week. Moderately-elevated surface temperatures reappeared in mid-July, and field crews observed incandescence in a vent at the summit in late July. Satellite thermal anomalies were persistent from mid-May through September 2016. A new explosion on 24 October 2016 destroyed the dome emplaced in May; satellite views in November showed a deep pit within the summit crater. Weakly elevated surface temperatures reappeared in early December 2016. Moderately-elevated surface temperatures reappeared on 31 January 2017, [followed on 3 February by satellite observations that indicated] a new dome of similar size to earlier ones was once again filling the summit crater.

Activity during June 2014-February 2015. An ash-bearing explosion occurred in the late evening hours of 5 June 2014, resulting in a detached cloud with a weak ash signal observed in a satellite image that rapidly dissipated; no additional ash explosions were observed over the next 12 months. Weakly elevated surface temperatures were observed in satellite data on 7 July, and a vigorous steam-and-gas plume was observed on 8 and 9 July. Typical steam-and-gas emissions and persistent elevated surface temperatures in the summit crater were noted in satellite observations during clear periods through July and August, but AVO received no reports from pilots or mariners of any eruptive activity. Scientists working on the island in early August noted incandescence and puffing activity of steam and gas at the summit, and witnessed several small rockfall events. A newly installed webcam and other geophysical equipment at station CLCO near Concord Point on the SE coast of Chuginadak Island, about 15 km E of the volcano's summit, became operational in September 2014. In mid-September several rockfall signals were detected by the new local seismic network, and indicated the continued instability of volcanic debris on the steep upper flanks of the volcano.

Elevated surface temperatures were observed at the summit on clear days with occasional minor steaming visible in webcam images from late September to late October 2014. On 14 November AVO reported that vigorous steaming from the summit crater was observed in webcam images during the prior week, although they remarked that steam emissions are routinely observed at Cleveland and do not necessarily indicate an increase in unrest. On 28 November, they noted that a small mound of lava in the crater was observed in clear satellite views earlier that week that may have corresponded with the appearance of a faint thermal signal in the satellite data; the lava possibly extruded around 24 November. Satellite views on 19 December 2014 showed weakly elevated surface temperatures at the summit vent.

Low-density gas emissions and weakly elevated surface temperatures in the summit region were observed on 1 January 2015, and during clear weather up to 9 January. After this, nothing of note was observed in satellite or webcam images, and no significant activity was detected in seismic or infrasound (air pressure) data until weakly elevated surface temperatures were again detected in satellite data on 25 February. A low-level steam-and-gas plume emanated from the summit on 24 February, and again was identified in multiple satellite images on 28 February. During March, April, and May 2015, no significant activity, except for occasional steaming from the summit crater, was observed during periods of clear weather, causing AVO to downgrade both the Aviation Color Code (ACC) and the Volcano Alert Level (VAL) to Unassigned on 28 May 2015.

Activity during June 2015-March 2016. AVO issued a new VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) on 17 June 2015 returning the Aviation Color Code to Yellow (Yellow is 2nd lowest on a 4-color scale), and the Volcano Alert Level to Advisory (also 2nd lowest on a 4-level scale). This was based on satellite detection of elevated surface temperatures at the summit and an image from 14 June showing very minor ash deposits on the upper flanks. They interpreted the increase in temperature as consistent with renewed growth of the small lava dome within the crater. Elevated summit surface temperatures were again observed on 30 June, and during three clear days in early July. On 21 July AVO detected an explosion in both infrasound and seismic data, and raised the ACC to Orange and the VAL to WATCH. Satellite views were obscured by clouds, though a dusting of ash on the upper flanks was noted by a nearby field crew and recorded by the webcam later in the day. The explosion destroyed the dome that had formed in November 2014. Strongly elevated surface temperatures were recorded at the summit during the last week of July, including a thermal alert pixel from the MODVOLC system on 31 July.

Slightly elevated surface temperatures were recorded at the summit during the first week of August 2015. On 4 August, a field crew working in the area reported a small amount of lava covering the crater floor. Surface temperatures of the cooling lava measured by the crew were in the range of 550-600°C. Minor ash-and-gas emissions were also observed. A small explosion occurred on 6 August at 2203 AKDT, but no ash cloud was identified. Strongly elevated surface temperatures suggestive of lava effusion were noted in satellite data through 18 August, and weakly elevated temperatures were recorded for the rest of August and September. A small swarm of earthquakes was detected on 29 August.

AVO lowered the ACC to Yellow and the VAL to ADVISORY on 14 October 2015, citing the likely cessation of lava effusion, while minor steaming, weakly elevated surface temperatures, and slightly above-background seismicity continued through November 2015. Exceptionally clear weather during late November allowed many views of the volcano, showing only modest steaming from the summit. Elevated surface temperatures were detected twice during December, and an increase in frequency of small VT (Volcano-Tectonic) events was noted on 22 and 23 December, but otherwise no significant seismicity or emissions (other than steam plumes) were detected.

Moderately-elevated surface temperatures were detected at the beginning of the second week in January 2016, followed by several small earthquakes per day during the third week, and weakly elevated temperatures. Low-level seismicity and elevated surface temperatures were next observed during the last week of February; a brief burst of small local earthquakes was recorded on 28 February followed by weakly elevated surface temperatures during the first week of March. Moderately-elevated surface temperatures were again observed during the last week of March.

Activity during April-September 2016. A new explosion on 16 April 2016 was detected in both infrasound and seismic data, but satellite views were obscured by clouds. AVO raised the ACC to Orange until 29 April, when they noted that recent satellite imagery indicated that the August 2015 lava dome had been replaced with a small cinder cone within the summit crater; seismic activity remained lower after the explosion. Another explosion on 5 May at 1844 local time led AVO to raise the ACC back to Orange, although no ash emissions were observed above the cloud deck. A brief explosive event on 10 May was detected by pressure sensors near the volcano, and again no ash was reported.

A small volume of lava was extruded from the summit on 17 or 18 May, as confirmed in satellite data. The low-relief, 50-m-diameter dome was similar in size and shape to the ten domes observed since 2011, the most recent of which was extruded and destroyed earlier in May. During the week of 20 May, this lava dome enlarged to about 60 m in diameter. Dome growth appeared to have paused or ceased by 23 May. Weakly elevated surface temperatures were observed in mostly clear views by satellite on 25 and 26 May, which is consistent with the presence of the new lava dome. The Aviation Color Code was lowered from Orange to Yellow by AVO on 3 June when no other signs of eruptive activity were observed. Occasional clear satellite views detected weakly elevated surface temperatures that AVO interpreted as consistent with cooling lava during June 2016.

The MIROVA infrared data suggests ongoing thermal anomalies from late May through September 2016 (figure 19). AVO reported weakly-to-moderately-elevated surface temperatures reappearing during the second and third weeks of July. Field crews conducted an overflight during the last week of July and observed incandescence from a vent in the summit crater. Low-level steam plumes and minor degassing were observed a number of times during August. A small swarm of earthquakes occurred on 29 August; owing to the small number of telemetered seismometers on Cleveland, the locations and magnitudes of the earthquakes could not be determined precisely. Thermal anomalies were observed in satellite data during the last week of August and slightly elevated surface temperatures were observed on clear satellite images a number of times in September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. MIROVA data from 18 January 2016 to 18 January 2017 showing a persistent thermal anomaly from Cleveland starting about the time of the observation of the new lava dome (17 or 18 May) through late September 2016. A new thermal anomaly appears in late December 2016. AVO reported elevated surface temperatures on 6 January 2017. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during October 2016-February 2017. AVO detected an explosion at 1310 local time on 24 October 2016 that was heard by residents in Nikolski (75 km E), prompting AVO to raise the ACC to Orange and the VAL to WATCH. No evidence of an eruption cloud was detected above the weather cloud present at 8.5 km altitude, and no ashfall was reported in Nikolski. However, clear post-explosion webcam views of the volcano showed a darkened area around the summit crater which may have been the result of minor ash fallout. Narrow dark streaks were also observed extending down the upper snow-covered part of the edifice, which according to AVO may have been produced by small flows of meltwater and ash. They lowered the ACC back to Yellow on 4 November 2016. Satellite views from early November indicated that the lava dome emplaced in late May was mostly destroyed in the 24 October explosion, and was replaced with a deep pit within the summit crater. Minor steaming was observed from the summit during a few periods of clear weather in November.

Observations of weakly-elevated surface temperatures returned 8 and 9 December, with minor steaming at the summit observed on clear days. A MIROVA thermal anomaly signal reappeared around 25 December. This was followed by AVO's observation of weak-to-moderate elevated surface temperatures during first week of January 2017. Low-level steam plumes were seen on clear days later in the month. Moderately-elevated surface temperatures appeared in satellite data on 31 January. [On 3 February 2017 the appearance of a new dome] led AVO to raise the ACC to Orange. Satellite observations indicated that a new lava dome had been extruded and was partially filling the summit crater. The new dome was about 70 m in diameter and similar in size to previous lava domes that have developed on the floor of the crater.

References: Dixon, J.P., Cameron, C., McGimsey R.G., Neal, D.A., and Waythomas, C., 2015, 2013 Volcanic activity in Alaska-Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2015-5110, 92 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20155110 .

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

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667 USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA (URL: http://www.dggs.alaska.gov/); Anchorage Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Alaska Aviation Weather Unit, NWS NOAA US Dept of Commerce, 6930 Sand Lake Road, Anchorage, AK 99502-1845(URL: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); 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/); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).


Copahue (Chile-Argentina) — April 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Copahue

Chile-Argentina

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptive activity consisting of Strombolian explosions and gas-and-ash plumes ends in late December 2016

Recent activity at Copahue through January 2016 (BGVN 41:03) consisted of gas and steam plumes with minor amounts of ash. This report, based on information obtained from the Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), the Southern Andes Volcanological Observatory (OVDAS), and the Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (National Geology and Mining Service) (SERNAGEOMIN), covers similar activity from mid-January through December 2016. Volcano Alert Levels were maintained by SERNAGEOMIN (on a four-color scale) and by the Chilean Oficina Nacional de Emergencia del Ministerio del Interior (National Office of Emergency of the Interior Ministry) (ONEMI), on a three-color scale), for alerts to individual communes in the region.

Reports from the Buenos Aires VAAC between 13 January and 26 March 2016, based on Significant Meteorological Information (SIGMET) notices, satellites, and webcam views, indicated continuous gas-and-steam plumes containing minor amounts of ash. The plumes rose as high as 3.3-4.3 km altitude (during 24-25 and 28 February) and drifted as far as 160 km (trending SE and SW) between 28 January and 2 February, and more generally as far as 150 km in a variety of directions.

The Buenos Aires VAAC next reported steam-and-gas emissions, possibly containing minor amounts of ash on 11 June, based on webcam recordings. OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported an eruption during 16-30 June characterized by phreato-magmatic explosions and Strombolian activity. During an overflight on 3 July, SERNAGEOMIN scientists observed Strombolian activity from a pyroclastic cone that was forming on the floor of El Agrio crater (figure 17).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Photo taken during an overflight of Copahue on 3 July 2016 showing Strombolian activity from a pyroclastic cone on the floor of El Agrio crater. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

Based on webcam and satellite views, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 7-8 July diffuse gas-and-steam plumes with minor amounts of ash rose to an altitude of 3 km and drifted E and SE. The Alert Level remained at Yellow (second highest level on a four-color scale).

Activity renewed in September and lasted through December 2016. Based on satellite and webcam images, notices from the Buenos Aires VAAC after 23 September described gas and water vapor plumes with minor ash content rising above the summit. The plumes rose as high as 5.2 km a.s.l. (during 23-25 and 27-29 November) and drifted based on wind direction SW, S, SSE, ESE, SE, E, ENE, NE, and N. On 2 December OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that activity continued to be dominated by weak Strombolian explosions, likely from a pyroclastic cone forming on the floor of El Agrio crater. The last VAAC reports of activity during 2016 were for gas-and-ash emissions to altitudes of 3.6-3.9 km drifting in S and E directions.

The only MODVOLC thermal anomaly during the entire reporting period was on 26 October 2016 (1 pixel). The MIROVA volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, detected low level thermal anomalies that became more frequent during the latter part of June through early July 2016 and thereafter occurred less often. The last anomalies recorded by MIROVA (as of early April 2017) were in about the third week of December 2016 (figure 18).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Plot of thermal anomalies at Copahue as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power), April 2016-March 2017. Courtesy of MIROVA.

At some point after the December 2016 activity, SERNAGEOMIN lowered the Alert Level to Green, the lowest of the four levels. No additional reports of activity were issued from any agency through March 2017.

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

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería, (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile ( URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); Oficina Nacional de Emergencia - Ministerio del Interior (ONEMI), Beaucheff 1637/1671, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.onemi.cl/); 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?lang=es); 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/); 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/).


Daikoku (United States) — April 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Daikoku

United States

21.324°N, 144.194°E; summit elev. -323 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explorations in 2014 and 2016 reveal active hydrothermal plumes and sulfur chimney formation

Daikoku seamount lies in the Northern Seamount Province of the Mariana Arc, and is about 850 km due N of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean. The summit is about 325 m below sea level and was first shown to be hydrothermally active in 2003 (figure 3). NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has conducted four expeditions to the Northern Mariana Islands in 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2014 under their Ocean Explorer program, specifically to study the volcanoes and the marine life they support. A comparison of the bathymetry recorded in 2003 and 2014 suggests that an explosion may have occurred at Daikoku during that interval, and both geochemical data and rock sampling indicate ongoing hydrothermal activity. In 2016, a research cruise conducted by the Schmidt Ocean Institute included a visit to Daikoku that revealed sulfur chimney formation.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Bathymetry and other data gathered on the 2003 NOAA Ocean Explorer Program's 'Submarine Ring of Fire 2003' expedition at the Mariana Arc between 9 February and 5 March 2003. The stars indicate submarine volcanoes where evidence of hydrothermal activity was found. The volcanoes were mapped in high resolution, and sampled with a CTD, as indicated by the open black circles on the tracklines. The red dots represent the location of the deployed hydrophones and the red line represents the location of the back-arc spreading center. Daikoku is located in the Northern Seamount Province of the Mariana Arc. Courtesy of NOAA's 'Submarine Ring of Fire 2003' expedition.

Geochemical sampling of the seawater is carried out with an instrument package that measures conductivity, temperature, and depth, commonly referred to as a CTD. Turbidity of the water, which estimates the concentration of particulate matter suspended in the plumes, is also measured. The CTD carries bottles for seawater sampling which is then geochemically analyzed.

On 15 April 2004 the NOAA 'Submarine Ring of Fire 2004' expedition made a single dive at Daikoku and noted warm water present over large areas of sandy sediment deposits near the summit, and small flatfish in great abundance in the venting areas. The 'Submarine Ring of Fire 2006' expedition again visited Daikoku on 4 May 2006 and discovered a "cauldron" of molten sulfur (BGVN 31:05). They also observed extensive sulfur crusts in the vicinity of the cauldron, suggesting past emissions of liquid sulfur; they were able to sample a large piece of sulfur crust (figure 4). At that time, they also mapped two large craters on the summit. One pit was reported as over 100 m deep and about 80 m in diameter, and a large plume of white fluid was observed rising out of it.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Sulfur crusts near the Diakoku "cauldron" were observed insitu as well as sampled by the ROV. Upper Image: Sulfur crusts in the vicinity of the sulfur cauldron (BGVN 31:05) imply past emissions of liquid sulfur at Daikoku. Lower Image: The Jason remotely operated vehicle (ROV) holds up a large piece of the sulfur crust that was sampled at Daikoku on 4 May 2006. The lasers- two red dots in the images- are 10 cm apart. Courtesy of Submarine Ring of Fire 2006 expedition, NOAA Ocean Explorer Program.

Researchers from the NOAA Ocean Explorer program visited Daikoku again on 14 December 2014 during its 'Submarine Ring of Fire 2014 – Ironman' expedition, which was conducted from the R/V (Research Vessel) Revelle between 29 November and 22 December 2014. They gathered geochemical and bathymetric data which they were able to compare with 2003 data. The CTD information gathered in 2014 showed very strong plumes coming from the top of the seamount. The plumes had high turbidity, low pH, strong anomalies in reduced chemicals, and very high levels of hydrogen (figure 5).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Cross-section over the top of Daikoku seamount measured on 14 December 2014 with the results from a CTD tow (black line), showing turbidity anomalies (warm colors indicate high particle concentrations) in the plume. Courtesy of 'Submarine Ring of Fire 2014 – Ironman' expedition, NOAA/PMEL, NSF.

The 2014 bathymetry data revealed two summit craters; the larger one measured 150 m across and 100 m deep on the N side of the summit with a crater floor depth of 452 m below sea level, and the smaller one, about 50 m across on the NE flank, had a crater floor depth of 443 m below sea level. The bathymetry data from 2003 show only one small crater on the N side of the summit about 50 m across with a floor depth of 400 m below sea level (figure 6). The larger pit appeared to be about 70 m wider in 2014 than in 2006.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Bathymetric comparison of data collected at the Daikoku summit during the 2014 expedition (top) and in 2003 (bottom). The summit crater was significantly larger, and confirmed to be hydrothermally active by the CTD tow and midwater data collected by the 2014 expedition. A second crater has also appeared on the NE flank of the volcano. Arrows with numbers represent the depth below sea level (Z) in meters. Courtesy of 'Submarine Ring of Fire 2014 – Ironman' expedition, NSF/NOAA.

On 3 and 4 December 2016, the Schmidt Ocean Institute Research Vessel R/V Falkor traveled to the Mariana back-arc with a multidisciplinary team of scientists to gather evidence of active hydrothermal vents and the life they support. They were able to make two ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) dives at Daikoku and collected data on the seamount and sea life living there. On their first dive they observed (and sampled) a fissure with a sulfur chimney caked with yellow sulfur, emitting white bubbles and particulates in 70°C water (figure 7).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. An active sulfur chimney at Daikoku on 3 December 2016 was videoed and sampled by the Schmidt Ocean Institute expedition. Upper Image: A fissure at Daikoku on 3 December 2016 with a yellow sulfur-caked chimney emitting white bubbles and particulates in 70°C water. Lower Image: The sulfur chimney was sampled by the ROV SuBastian for chemical analysis. Courtesy of Schmidt Ocean Institute, Expedition FK161129.

On their second dive on 4 December 2016, they collected tube worms and crabs, and recorded the formation of "sulfur needles," tadpole-shaped fragments of sulfur that were previously observed in sampled sediments and seen floating in the water column. They appear to form when gas bubbles (probably CO2) rise through molten sulfur, forming a coating of sulfur around the bubble before the gas escapes (figure 8). Their video shows a sulfur chimney caked with yellow sulfur emitting yellow, white, and orange droplets of sulfur.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Tadpole shaped "sulfur needles" coat the side of a sulfur chimney at Daikoku on 4 December 2016 as gas bubbles coated with sulfur rise through the chimney and drip residue around the sides. A video recording was also made of the chimney emitting bubbles (https://schmidtocean.org/cruise-log-post/daikoku-dive-2-sulfur-good/). Courtesy of Schmidt Ocean Institute, Expedition FK161129.

The cruise scientists used the ship's EM302/710 multibeam echosounder to get a 2-m-resolution image of the summit crater, which they combined with water column data to create an image showing both the bathymetry of the volcano and the shape of the hydrothermal plume emitting from the summit (figure 9).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Multibeam echosounder data reveals the topography of the summit at Daikoku on 4 December 2016 as well as the shape of the hydrothermal plume emitting from the summit. Courtesy of Schmidt Ocean Institute, Expedition FK161129.

Geologic Background. The conical summit of Daikoku seamount lies along an elongated E-W ridge SE of Eifuku submarine volcano and rises to within 323 m of the sea surface. It is one of about a dozen displaying hydrothermal activity in the southern part of the Izu-Marianas chain. A steep-walled, 50-m-wide cylindrical crater on the north flank, about 75 m below the summit, is at least 135 m deep and was observed to emit cloudy hydrothermal fluid. During a NOAA expedition in 2006, scientists observed a convecting, black pool of liquid sulfur with a partly solidified, undulating sulfur crust at a depth of 420 m below the summit. Gases, particulate with the appearance of smoke, and liquid sulfur were bubbling up from the back edge of the sulfur pool.

Information Contacts: Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA (URL: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/, Cruise logs at: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/03fire/logs/summary/summary.html, http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/04fire/logs/april15/april15.html, http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/06fire/logs/may4/may4.html, http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/14fire/logs/december14/december14.html); Schmidt Ocean Institute, 555 Bryant Street #374, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA (URL: https://schmidtocean.org/, https://schmidtocean.org/cruise/searching-life-mariana-back-arc/).


Kerinci (Indonesia) — April 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Brief ash eruptions in December 2011, June 2013, March-June 2016, and November 2016

After an eruption in April 2009 (BGVN 34:12), Kerinci was quiet until it erupted again in December 2011. The Indonesian agency responsible for volcano monitoring is the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), also known as the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM). Since mid-December 2011 there have been four instances where there was an emission of ash, qualifying the event as an eruption. These took place in December 2011, June 2013, and twice in 2016. The eruptions in 2016 were separated by five months, so are treated as distinct eruptions.

PVMBG mentioned in its 2015 reports on Kerinci that an eruption on 15 December 2011 generated an ash plume that rose about 600 m above the summit (summit elevation is 3.8 km). No other details were given.

A brief eruption was reported by PVMBG on 2 June 2013, from 0843 to 0848, that generated an ash plume 1 km above the crater. Ashfall as thick as 5 mm was reported in areas to the E, including Tangkil (7.5 km SE). In a Jakarta Post story, a resident of Sungai Rumpun village (about 10 km SE) reported hearing a loud bang and black plumes with a sulfur odor. The article noted that several villages in Gunung Tujuh district (an area that includes the SE flank of the volcano) received heavy ashfall, but it was washed off the crops by rain.

Although PVMBG reported white plumes during 1 February-12 July 2015 that rose 50-300 m and drifted E and W, no clear eruptive activity was noted. Seismicity during this period was dominated by signals indicating emissions and shallow volcanic earthquakes. Climbers who reached the summit around this time (exact dates not reported, images uploaded 17 January 2016) photographed steam plumes (figure 1) and solid lava flows (figure 2) in the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Photo of a steam plume rising from the Kerinci summit crater. Date not reported; uploaded 17 January 2016. Courtesy of Bernhard Huber.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Photo of the crater floor at Kerinci showing solidified lava flows and steam. Date not reported; uploaded 17 January 2016. Courtesy of Bernhard Huber.

Based on satellite images and ground reports from PVMBG, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) reported that during 15 days between 31 March and 9 June 2016 ash plumes rose to altitudes of 4.0-4.9 km and drifted N, NW, NE, E, and WSW. On 29 April an ash plume rose to an altitude of 6.1 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Photo of Kerinci showing a plume rising from the summit crater on 9 June 2016. Courtesy of Luke Mackin.

Ash plumes were again reported on 15-19, and 21 November 2016 based on observations of satellite data by the Darwin VAAC. The plumes rose to altitudes of 4.3-4.6 km and drifted NE, ENE, SE, and S. On 15 and 17 November they drifted almost 30 km downwind. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), where it has been since September 2007, and PVMBG advised residents and visitors not to enter an area within 3 km of 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/); Bernhard Huber (URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/97278656@N08/, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/); Luke Mackin (URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wildsumatra/, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/); Jakarta Post (URL: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/06/02/mt-kerinci-erupts.html).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — April 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Mixed explosive and effusive eruption ongoing from August 2015 through March 2017

Klyuchevskoy has been quite active for many decades, with eruptive periods alternating with less active times (BGVN 35:06, 38:07, and 39:10). Recent eruptions took place during August-December 2013, with another period of activity beginning in January 2015 and continuing at least into March 2015 (BGVN 39:10). MODVOLC thermal alert pixels, based on MODIS satellite data, were frequent starting on 3 January but had stopped after 26 February 2015. Moderate activity continued until 10 May 2015, when the eruption that began in January ended. Eruptive activity was again observed in late August 2015, and fluctuating activity has continued through March 2017. The Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) is responsible for monitoring this volcano, and is the primary source of information. Times are in UTC (local time is UTC + 12 hours).

Activity during April-July 2015. KVERT lowered the Aviation Color Code (ACC) to Green, the lowest of four levels, on 6 April 2015, although moderate gas-and-steam activity continued. On 13 April, gas-and-steam emissions increased at 0840, and continued at least through 1215 on 14 April, with incandescence at the summit possibly indicative of renewed Strombolian activity. KVERT raised the ACC from Green to Yellow. Strong gas-and-steam activity continued through the rest of April; the plumes sometimes contained small amounts of ash. Satellite data showed a weak thermal anomaly when not obscured by clouds, and incandescence at the summit was occasionally observed. On 18 April, KVERT reported that Strombolian activity was continuing, and that a webcam had recorded a narrow ash plume rising 1-2 km and drifting 100 km SE; the ACC was raised to Orange. Satellite images showed a weak thermal anomaly during 16-17 and 23 April; a gas plume containing a small amount of ash drifted 147 km E on 21 April. On 26 April the ACC was lowered to Yellow; KVERT noted that gas-and-steam activity and tremor continued.

Satellite data showed ash-bearing plumes during 2-5 May that drifted more than 450 km SE, and moderate activity continued through 9 May. The ACC was briefly raised to Orange before again being set at Yellow on 12 May. Moderate activity prevailed though the rest of the month. Satellite data showed occasional gas-and-steam plumes, sometimes containing small amounts of ash; weak thermal anomalies were often observed over the volcano when clouds did not obscure viewing.

On 22 May, KVERT described activity as weak. This remained the case through 27 August 2015. Gas-and-steam emissions continued, and satellite data often showed a thermal anomaly when the volcano was not obscured by clouds. Gas-steam plumes drifted 20 km SE on 26-27 May. On 20 July, the ACC was lowered to Green.

Activity during August 2015-March 2016. On 27 August, KVERT reported that a moderate Strombolian explosion had occurred, which continued into 28 August. At 1544 UTC on 27 August, incandescence of the crater was observed. The ACC was raised to Yellow.

Thereafter, through 17 September 2015, KVERT described activity as moderate, with moderate gas-steam activity. Strombolian explosions occurred on 27-28 August and 8-10 September. Satellite data showed occasional weak thermal anomalies when the volcano was not obscured by clouds. On 13-14 September, a diffuse ash plume rose to about 1.5 km and drifted E.

During 24 September-30 November 2015, KVERT described the activity as a "weak explosive eruption." According to video data, moderate gas-and-steam activity continued and a weak thermal anomaly was sometimes observed when the volcano was not obscured by clouds. Occasionally, incandescence of the summit volcanic crater was noted.

KVERT again described activity as moderate during December 2015-March 2016, with strong gas-steam emissions, although the volcano was usually either quiet or obscured by clouds. KVERT reported thermal anomalies each month, ranging from two during December 2015 to 12 during both January and February 2016. Video often recorded incandescence at the summit during the latter part of December.

Activity during April 2016-November 2016. On 3 April 2016, activity increased with Strombolian explosions. Detection of very frequent thermal anomalies by the MODVOLC system began again on 8 April and continued being reported almost daily through 2 November 2016. Thermal data identified by the MIROVA system showed strong anomalies over the same time period (figure 18). The MIROVA data also indicated a steady increase in radiative power beginning in the second half of May 2016.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Plots of MODIS thermal data detected at Klyuchevskoy during the year ending on 23 March 2017. The data analyzed by the MIROVA system is presented as radiative power (top) and log radiative power (bottom). Courtesy of MIROVA.

Strong gas-steam emissions continued, and plumes extended to about 100 km SE on 10 April and about 55 km NE on 14-15 April. Satellite data by KVERT through June showed persistent intense thermal anomalies when not obscured by clouds. On 24 April, activity increased again. According to video and satellite data, a lava flow began to effuse on the S and SE flank of the volcano (along Apakhonchich chute). An ash plume drifted about 500 km SW on 23-24 April. The ACC was raised to Orange.

The explosive-effusive eruption continued from May through September 2016. Lava continued to effuse along the SE flank. Satellite data showed an ash plume extending 88 km SE on 2 May, up to 80 km E and SE on 13 May and 16 May, 47 km W on 13 June, about 30 km E on 18 June, and 60 km W and E on 27-28 June. Gas-steam plumes drifted about 60 km W and E on 27 and 28 June. On 24 June, at 2115 and 2350 UTC, video data showed two rock collapses into the Apakhonchich chute and ash plumes drifted W, then NW. According to video and satellite data, Strombolian activity of the summit crater continued on 24 June.

According to video data, the eruption intensified on 6 July. Strong explosions sent ash to an altitude of 7.5 km and the plumes drifted about 350 km SW, S, and SE. A large bright thermal anomaly was observed all that week. On 6-7 July, dense ash plumes drifted about 400 km SE and E, and numerous ash plumes were observed thereafter through September. Bursts of volcanic bombs shot up to 200-300 m above the summit crater and up to 50 m above the cinder cone into the Apakhonchich chute along the SE flank. Lava continued to flow on the SE flank along the chute (figure 19). Strong gas-steam activity within two volcanic centers emitted various amounts of ash. On 10, 13 and 15 September, explosions shot ash up to an altitude of 7 km and ash plumes extended for about 50 km SE and NE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Photo of Klyuchevskoy on 25 August 2016 with ash-containing emissions and lava streaming from the cone into the Apakhonchich chute. Courtesy of Denis Bud'kov/Bernard Duick.

During the second week of September, KVERT reported that lava began to effuse on the E and SW flanks. Explosions sent ash up to an altitude of 7.5 km and ash plumes extended for about 530 km in various directions. Small ash layers were observed over Koryaksky and Avachinsky volcanoes on 8 September. On 10, 13, 15, and 20-22 September, explosions sent ash up to an altitude of 6-7 km and ash plumes extended for up to 165 km in various directions. In their 29 September and 6 October reports, KVERT noted that bursts of volcanic ash that rose above the summit crater and cinder cone fell into Apakhonchich chute.

Explosions during the first week of October sent ash to an altitude of 5-6 km and plumes extended about 260 km E. On 7-8 October, gas-steam plumes containing ash drifted about 390 km E and SE. By 13 October, activity had apparently diminished, with moderate gas-steam emissions containing some ash. A weak thermal anomaly was noted on 7 and 12 October.

By 20 October the explosive-effusive activity had returned with a lava flow on the E flank, a large strong thermal anomaly, and strong gas-steam emissions containing various amounts of ash. Explosions sent ash to 5-6 km altitude and plumes extended for about 300 km E, SE, and NW on 14 and 18-19 October. On 20-21 and 23-27 October explosions sent ash up to an altitude of 5-7 km; gas-steam plumes containing ash extended for about 335 km in various directions. On 30-31 October and 1-3 November, explosions sent ash up to an altitude of 5-8 km and gas-steam plumes containing ash extended for about 277 km E and SE. Strong thermal anomalies detected from satellite by the MODIS instrument decreased significantly in strength after 2 November.

On 3-5 November, ash plumes extended up to 116 km E. KVERT's report on 10 November noted that activity had decreased significantly during the previous week. Lava effusion onto the flanks was last noted on 3 November; the next day the thermal anomaly was weaker. Ash plumes were last detected in satellite images during 3-4 November. The ACC was lowered to Yellow on 7 November. However, moderate activity continued and thermal anomalies and Strombolian activity could still be observed. Strong gas-and-steam emissions continued. On 16 November, an ash plume extended up to 85 km NW. KVERT reported a daily thermal anomaly visible in satellite images during 18-25 November.

Activity during December 2016-March 2017. Thermal anomaly data after early November 2016 was not sufficient to cause alerts on MODVOLC, and was seen to be very weak and fluctuating in MIROVA plots before ending completely in mid-February 2017 (see figure 19). On 26 December KVERT reported that a weak thermal anomaly had been detected and that gas-and-steam plumes sometimes contained small amounts of ash. Over the next few months the ACC was frequently changed between Yellwo and Orange, depending on the ash plume hazard to aviation.

Explosions on 1 January 2017 generated ash plumes that rose to an altitude of 5 km and drifted 114 km SE, resulting in KVERT raising the ACC to Orange. Daily satellite imagery showed a thermal anomaly over the volcano during 2-6 January. Gas-and-steam emissions sometimes with minor ash, along with thermal anomalies, continued through 20 January. During 9-10 January ash plumes drifted 160 km ESE, and on 22 January an ash plume rose to 5-5.5 km and drifted 45 km E.

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly was identified in satellite data during 25 February and 1-3, 5, and 8-9 March. At 1340 on 2 March a gas, steam, and ash plume recorded by the webcam rose to altitudes of 8-9 km and drifted 110 km NE and NW. Explosions on 8 March produced ash plumes that rose to 5.5 km altitude and drifted about 20 km NW. As of 24 March gas-and-steam emissions continued to rise from the crater, and a weak thermal anomaly was sometimes identified in satellite images, but no explosions had been detected since 8 March. On 24 March the ACC was lowered to Green.

A gas, steam, and ash plume identified in satellite data on 28 March rose to altitudes of 5-6 km and drifted 108 km ENE, resulting in the ACC being raised to Yellow. Another ash plume the next day that rose to as high as 7.5 km altitude and drifted 75 km SW prompted an Orange ACC status. Additional explosions during 27-30 March generated ash plumes to an altitude of 7 km that drifted 300 km in multiple directions.

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/); 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/); 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/).


Pacaya (Guatemala) — April 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Summary of 2004-2010 eruptions including a fatality in May 2010; lava flows in 2013-2014

Guatemala's Pacaya volcano has a 450-year record of observations of frequent activity, in addition to confirmed radiocarbon dating of eruptions over the last 1,500 years. Its location, approximately 30 km south of the capital of Guatemala City, makes it both a popular tourist attraction as a national park, and a hazard to the several million people that live within 50 km. Activity during the last 50 years has been characterized by extensive lava flows, bomb-laden Strombolian explosions, and large and small ash plumes that have dispersed ash to cities and towns across the region.

This report summarizes activity at Pacaya during the long-lived 2004-2010 eruptive episode, and continues with the details of activity during the next eruption between March 2013 and April 2014. Most of the information is provided by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), the Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED) of Guatemala, and the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), which provides air traffic advisories. Information is also gathered from remote sensing satellite data provided through the University of Hawai'i's MODVOLC program and from Google Earth images.

Renewed Strombolian activity was observed on 19 July 2004 after two years of mostly steam emissions, and again in early December 2004. Intermittent Strombolian explosions accompanied near-continuous lava flows down most flanks of MacKenney Cone from December until 11 September 2005. An explosion on 9 March 2006 was the beginning of a new, lengthy episode characterized by extensive lava flows and few significant ash plumes. Multiple strong thermal anomalies were recorded every month from March 2006 through June 2010, excepting December 2006. It climaxed with a major explosion of ash and lava flows during 27- 28 May 2010, and ended with the last Strombolian explosions recorded on 26 October 2010. After two and a half years of quiet, a new period of Strombolian activity began on 5 March 2013, which included intermittent lava flows. This continued until an outbreak of more extensive lava flows during the second half of January 2014. After a final burst of lava flows in early March, a small ash plume on 10 April 2014 was the last reported activity for four months.

Activity during June 2004-September 2005. Renewed periods of near-continuous tremor and frequent long-period earthquakes were recorded during June- August 2004, after the end of visible incandescence from a long-lived lava lake in June 2001. Incandescence was first reported on 14 June 2004, followed by ejection of lava fragments from a vent at the bottom of the central crater of MacKenney Cone on 19 July (BGVN 30:10). Incandescence was observed during the next few months, and tephra was expelled from the cone during 7-9 December 2004.

A sequence of substantial lava flows was first observed by INSIVUMEH in January 2005; strong thermal signatures were initially captured by MODVOLC beginning on 24 December 2004 and persisted until 28 August 2005. During this period, most of the lava flows covered the NW, N, and NE flanks of the central crater, but some extended up to 300 m down the W and SW flanks (figure 62). An INSIVUMEH report from 2008 noted that in March and April 2005 the growth of N-S oriented cracks on the MacKenney Crater created a new vent on the cone's ENE side. In just a few days, the flow field from this vent grew to about 800 m long and curved westward down the N flank, filling much of the depression formed by the cracks in the subsequent months (BGVN 33:08).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Two MODVOLC images of Pacaya showing locations of lava flows during 2005. Upper image shows lava flows during 1-15 April 2005. Flows are located NW, N, and NE of MacKenney Cone as well as to the W in a longer flow. During August 2005 (lower image), active flows were concentrated NE and E of the cone with residual cooling observed to the W and SW. Courtesy of HIGP MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

Strombolian explosions reached 100 m above the crater, and avalanches of ejected incandescent blocks produced small ash clouds to low levels during much of 2005. Thermal anomalies ceased at Pacaya after 28 August 2005, although observations by INSIVUMEH of occasional Strombolian activity and ejected bombs were made until 11 September. After that, only weak incandescence was reported in early November and January 2006; a new Strombolian explosion occurred on 9 March 2006.

Activity during 2006-2009. The Strombolian explosions that began on 9 March 2006 ejected material tens of meters above the volcano in pulses of activity lasting 10-30 seconds; on 12 March material rose 250 m above MacKenney Cone. Significant lava flows began in late March, advancing about 150 m from the S and SW edges of the crater. A new flow on 13 April was reported by INSIVUMEH as issuing from a parasitic cone, at the ENE base of the main cone, and was 125 m long by 17 April. During the rest of 2006, lava flows from this vent reached lengths of more than 800 m NW of the summit cone and covered an area N, NE, and NW of the cone, known as the 'meseta' (plateau) popular with visitors to the Park (see figures 39, 40, and 41, BGVN 33:08). The Washington VAAC issued only one ash advisory in 2006, on 28 August, and noted possible ash emissions at 3 km altitude drifting 16 km W.

Throughout 2007, 2008, and 2009, multiple vigorous lava flows traveled in different directions from MacKenney Cone. The new lava flows that emerged from a vent on the ENE flank during March and April 2006 also continued to flow NE and N, and then curved to the W in multiple branches, covering large areas of the plateau between the active cone and the three older cones (Cerro Grande, Cerro Chiquito and Cerro Chino) to the N. These flows were most active through November 2008 (figure 63). Flows down the S and SW flanks continued intermittently and reached lengths of several hundred meters. They were most active between August 2008 and the end of 2009; reaching 800 m long in December 2008. Lava flow volume and explosive activity increased during April 2009; the flows traveled down the S and SW flanks for distances up to 400 m. During July, they traveled as far as 600 m down the flanks, and remained vigorous throughout the rest of the year.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. Location and extent of thermal anomalies from lava flows and Strombolian activity at Pacaya during April and November 2008. Upper image: Thermal anomalies suggest that lava flows during the first half of April 2008 were primarily issuing from a vent on the NE flank and flowing N, NW, and NE, and not originating from MacKenney Cone. Lower image: By November 2008, there were extensive flows from the summit crater flowing W and SW, as well as to areas N of the cone. Courtesy of HIGP MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

Strombolian explosions were intermittent during this three year period, only reported a handful of times in January, June, and December 2007, February, May, and July 2008, and March and April 2009, with explosions of material to a few tens of meters above the summit cone. These explosions often created gas plumes reported by INSIVUMEH to altitudes of 2-3 km. They reported that material from explosions in March 2009 enlarged the cones in the summit crater, and vigorous degassing contributed to substantial noise. A small spatter cone, 4 m high, was detected in the S part of the crater in late April.

There were only three series of VAAC reports during 2007-2009, two in 2007 and one in 2008. A small ash plume was observed on 6 April 2007 at 4.6 km altitude that drifted less than 10 km SSE before dissipating. On 17 November 2007 a narrow plume was observed in satellite imagery extending 15-25 km NW of the summit at an altitude of 4.3 km. A brief emission of gas and possible ash was reported on 2 November 2008, but dissipated within three hours.

Activity during 2010. During January 2010, the lava flows that had descended the S, SW, and W flanks of MacKenney Cone since 2006 ceased flowing. Strombolian explosions were observed again in early February and new flows originating from a depression on the NE flank of the cone traveled 400 m down the E and NE flanks toward the meseta. Avalanches of blocks from the flow fronts set fire to local vegetation. Significant tephra explosions reached up to 150 m high in late February and lava flows traveled 800 m E (figure 64). Multiple lava flows on the SW flank of MacKenney cone on 20 May 2010 traveled 1.6 km, farther than previously recorded flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. Significant new lava flows at Pacaya can be identified moving E from the NE flank of MacKenney Cone beginning in February 2010 on this map of MODVOLC thermal alerts. The flows that had been active through January to the W and SW were cooling but still produced a thermal signature visible in this MODVOLC image from the second half of March 2010. Courtesy of HIGP MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

This increasing activity culminated in a large Strombolian eruption on 27 and 28 May 2010. On 29 May a 90-m-wide lava flow traveled SSE down the flank at an estimated rate of 100 m per hour and burned three houses on the Pacaya Grande ranch (see details in BGVN 39:05). The eruption was characterized in a report from CONRED as having constant explosions that ejected material 500 m into the air. INSIVUMEH reported a continuing series of explosions 5-10 seconds apart that ejected black ash up to 1 km above the crater on 28 May.

Numerous weather clouds prevented the Washington VAAC from determining an altitude of the ash plume until late on 28 May, when it was visible in satellite imagery at about 13 km altitude. Ash plumes drifted 20-30 km NW, causing ashfall as thick as 10 cm in areas downwind, including in Guatemala City, about 30 km NNE. INSIVUMEH reported 5-7 mm of ashfall during 27-28 May at the Aurora International Airport. CONRED reported on 28 May that about 1,600 people had been evacuated from six towns 3-4 km W, NNW, N, and NNE, and that the airport was closed. According to a map posted by CONRED, blocks fell in areas as far as 12 km NE, and ash was reported in areas E of Chinautla, 37 km NNE. Reuters News Agency reported that one person (a reporter) died and three children were missing.

The lava flow moving down the SSE flank of MacKenney Cone was shown by MODVOLC thermal alert pixels that persisted through much of June 2010 (figure 65). The lava flowed to within 450 m of several properties including El Chupadero, located 2-2.5 km S of the crater, and disrupted an access road from El Caracol (3 km SW) and Los Pocitos (5.5 km S).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Thermal alert pixels seen in MODVOLC data show the area of lava flows at Pacaya extending down the SSE flank of MacKenney Cone from the summit and from a vent on the SSE side of the cone during June 2010, damaging property in its path. Courtesy of HIGP MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

Intermittent Strombolian activity continued into June 2010, with tephra ejected as high as 700 m above the crater. The lava flows on the SE flank remained active through mid-June and had traveled as far as 3.5 km before cooling. By late June, the cone was primarily emitting white and blue fumarolic plumes to several hundred meters. Significant ash emissions and small pyroclastic flows were again reported during the last two weeks of July, causing an evacuation of 150 people from nearby areas. A Washington VAAC report on 22 July noted a plume at an altitude of 4.1 km drifting N, that produced ashfall within 10 km. Strombolian explosions on 24 and 25 July were strong enough to cause a MODVOLC thermal alert pixel at the summit, and to eject tephra blocks onto the flanks.

The last eruptive events of this multi-year eruption were ash plumes emitted in August and Strombolian activity in October 2010. Small ash plumes rose to 800 m above the crater causing ashfall 5 km away on 2 and 3 August. This was followed by a burst of Strombolian explosions during 21-22 and 26 October. After this, only fumarolic emissions of primarily water vapor were reported at Pacaya until a plume of ash-and-gas was reported by INSIVUMEH on 5 March 2013.

A comparison of a geologic map prepared by INSIVUMEH's Rudiger Escobar Wolf in 2010 (also published in BGVN 39:05) and a Google Earth image from December 2010 readily shows the impact of the extensive flows at Pacaya during the 2006-2010 eruptive episode (figure 66).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Comparison of 2010 geologic map (also published in BGVN 39:05) and a Google Earth image dated 12 December 2010 showing the impact of the lava flows at Pacaya from the 2006-2010 eruption. Geologic map from INSIVUMEH, imagery from Google Earth.

Activity during March 2013-August 2014. Pacaya remained quiet between October 2010 and March 2013 except for intermittent pulses of seismicity and minor water vapor and gas emissions. An increase in explosions was noted beginning late in 2012, but only steam plumes were observed rising less than 500 m above the summit during January and February 2013. A single MODVOLC thermal alert pixel captured on 2 Feb 2013 to the SE of MacKenney Cone is likely the result of agricultural, not volcanic, activity.

The first report of renewed activity was on 5 March 2013 when INSIVUMEH noted that a thin plume of brown ash accompanied the fumarolic plumes, and dispersed to the S. Weak gas-and-ash plumes recurred several more times during March. On 24 April tephra was ejected 25 m high by weak explosions; incandescence and explosions were detected the next day and again on 29 April. Incandescence was regularly observed during May, and more substantial Strombolian activity started on 20 May and carried through to the end of the month. Tephra ejections rose to 25 m above the crater, and continuous explosions a few minutes apart that ejected bombs and generated rumbles, were heard 4 km away. An explosion on 30 May ejected ash and lapilli 200 m above the crater that was then deposited within 400 m of the crater.

Strombolian activity on 27 June 2013 again ejected small amounts of tephra that were deposited on the W flank. An investigation of the summit crater of MacKenney Cone during June determined that a 15 m high cone had been the source of the most recent explosive activity. An increase in seismicity in late July indicated the continued growth of the pyroclastic cone which had risen to 4 m above the crater rim by 24 July, doubling its total height from June to more than 30 m high. Weak explosions and incandescence were observed the next night, and a Strombolian eruption on 30 July lasted for four hours and ejected material 250 m above the cone. A diffuse ash plume drifted 2 km N, causing ashfall in areas downwind, and another ash plume drifted 5 km S. A prominent hot spot at the summit was reported by the Washington VAAC.

During 9 and 10 August seismicity increased again and Strombolian explosions ejected tephra 200 m above MacKenney Crater and onto the flanks, 400 m from the crater, causing small avalanches on the flanks. Another explosion during the night of 14-15 August produced a 300-m-long lava flow that traveled W from MacKenney Crater; new emissions of ash and gases to 500 m above the crater were reported by the Washington VAAC the next day. Tremors and explosions of incandescent material continued through August and the first half of September ejecting material and sending small ash plumes a few kilometers above the cone. Incandescence was reported as visible from the capital to the N by mid-September. Two MODVOLC thermal anomaly pixels were recorded on 30 August and 3 September confirming the increased thermal activity reported by INSIVUMEH.

In late November 2013 INSIVUMEH reported that activity remained unchanged with weak explosions, gas emissions and tephra ejections continuing. Pilots reported that ash plumes rose to 2.7 km and drifted 10 km SW. This continued into early January 2014 when activity at the main crater increased; seismographs recorded constant tremor, and beginning on 11 January, INSIVUMEH observed tephra explosions to 100 m, gas plumes to 600 m, and new craters on the E, S, and W flanks that produced extensive new lava flows. These flows emitted strong thermal anomaly signatures that were captured by MODVOLC for the next two weeks (figure 67).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. MODVOLC thermal alert images from Pacaya on individual days during January 2014 show the extent of new lava from multiple vents on the E, S, and W flanks of MacKenney Cone. The green dot is the summit crater at MacKenney Cone. Clockwise from top left: a) 11 January, thermal signatures N and SW of the summit crater; b) 13 January, the strongest signals are from the SW and SW flanks; c) 19 January, fewer signals suggest a pause in the flows; d) 20 January, renewed flows on the S flank. Courtesy of HIGP MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

At the beginning of this event (on 11 January) CONRED reported evacuations from Villa Canales (14 km NW), El Chupadero (2-2.5 km S), and San Vicente Pacaya (5 km NW). Lava flows had reached 3 km by 13 January. A report on 21 January noted that the S-flank lava flow was 3.6 km long and continued to slowly advance, burning vegetation (figure 68) between the Rodeo and Los Pocitos roads.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. An a'a lava flow at Pacaya burning its way through a forest on 11 January 2014. Courtesy of CONRED.

Volcanologists observed that the cone in MacKenney Crater had been completely destroyed during the January events, leaving a deep crater that produced fumarolic activity. The Washington VAAC noted an ash plume on 11 January that rose to 3.4 km and extended 55 km SSW from the summit. After that, a prominent hot spot was visible but there was no further indication of ash in satellite imagery. Separate Google Earth images captured in December 2013 and April 2014 show the extent of the new lava flows on the S flank of MacKenney Cone (figure 69) during January 2014.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Two Google Earth images of the S flank of MacKenney Cone at Pacaya before and after lava flows during January 2014. Upper image is dated 30 December 2013. Lower image is dated 9 April 2014. An image dated 30 March also shows the new flows, but was much hazier. Note that the location of MODVOLC thermal alerts in figure 67d matches the location of January 2014 lava flows. Courtesy of Google Earth.

The next episode of activity began with increased gas-and-vapor plumes during 27-28 February 2014 and included ejection of fine pyroclastic material 600 m S and SW from the crater. INSIVUMEH and CONRED noted increased activity on 2 March; at 0515 Strombolian activity at MacKenney Crater ejected material as high as 800 m and lava flows descended the W flank (figure 70). Explosions produced dense ash plumes that initially rose 2.5 km and drifted 15 km S, SW, and W. Ashfall was reported in El Rodeo (4 km WSW), Patrocinio (about 5 km W), and Francisco de Sales (5 km N). By the next day, activity had decreased, but lava flows traveled up to 1.3 km S and ejected tephra drifted 600 m S and SW. Small explosions and lava flows continued to be active for the next week. MODVOLC thermal alerts were captured around the summit on 2 and 3 March, but no additional thermal alerts were recorded in 2014. The Washington VAAC also noted emissions of gas and volcanic ash on 2 March that rose to 4.9 km altitude and extended over 200 km W before the end of the day. By 3 March an area of light ash remained 370 km W of the volcano off the southern Mexico coast and dissipated during the day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. The eruption of Pacaya on 2 March 2014. The lava fountain (reddish) can be seen at the summit vent. Courtesy of CONRED.

After INSIVUMEH reported a small ash plume on 10 April 2014, only minor episodes of increased seismicity and steam plumes rising a few tens of meters above the summit were observed through August.

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/); Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://conred.gob.gt/www/index.php); 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: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); 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/); Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/); Reuters News Agency (URL: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-guatemala-volcano-idUSTRE64R11M20100528?pageNumber=2).


Paluweh (Indonesia) — April 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Paluweh

Indonesia

8.32°S, 121.708°E; summit elev. 875 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Two major pyroclastic flows in February and August 2013; five fatalities on 10 August 2013

Mount Rokatenda, or Paluweh, on the island of Palu'e, lies north of the primary volcanic arc that cuts across Flores Island in Indonesia's Lesser Sunda Islands, and has seen infrequent activity in modern times. The previous eruption in 1985 from a summit lava dome spread 3 cm of ash over villages on the W side of the island. This report is a summary of the October 2012 to August 2013 eruption, and an update through 2016 that includes information provided by Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and the University of Hawai'i's MODVOLC thermal alert reporting system. Numerous news reports also covered the major explosions during 2013.

Two brief periods of increased seismicity in April 2009 and January 2012 were the only recorded activity at Paluweh since 1985, prior to an eruption that began in October 2012 and continued through August 2013. PVMBG noted the beginning of lava dome growth on 8 October. A substantial number of MODVOLC thermal alert pixels from MODIS satellite data were first recorded on 11 October 2012 and recurred regularly through 20 July 2013. The first ash plumes were reported by the Darwin VAAC on 11 November 2012 and continued several times each month through May 2013, and then again in late June and during 10-12 August. Plumes generally rose to 2-3 km and drifted between 50 and 100 km in various directions, although a large ash plume on 3 February 2013 rose to higher than 13 km and drifted over 500 km SE, S and SW, briefly impacting air travel in NW Australia. A major explosion on 10 August 2013 created a large pyroclastic flow to the NW from the summit that killed five people on the beach. No further explosions were specifically dated after 12 August 2013, and seismicity gradually decreased over the next several months.

Activity during October 2012-April 2013. PVMBG noted lava dome growth, incandescent avalanches, pyroclastic flows, and ash plumes during October 2012 through January 2013. Ejecta as large as 6 cm in diameter was deposited up to 3 km from the summit, and ashfall affected the entire island, averaging 2 cm thick in places; lahars and ash damaged homes and infrastructure on the island (BGVN 39:01). A large eruption on 2 February 2013, which produced a 13-km-high ash plume the next day, generated a substantial SO2 signature, pyroclastic flows to the S and SW, and avalanches. Residents of eight villages were evacuated and significant ashfall was reported up to 1 mm thick in Ende (60 km S on East Nusa Tenggara Island). Thick ashfall was also reported in Ona (SE part of the island) and thin deposits were reported in other areas of the island to the W, N, and E. During a field expedition on 7 February, PVMBG staff observed that about 25% of the S portion of the dome was lost; the lava-dome volume had been an estimated 5.1 million cubic meters on 13 January, prior to the explosion.

After the large early February 2013 explosion, many intermittent low-level ash emissions continued through the last week in May, with over 175 VAAC reports issued from the Darwin VAAC during the period. NASA's Earth Observatory (EO) identified an ash plume in MODIS satellite images drifting over 440 km SW on 24 March 2013, and discoloration of the seawater from ash W of the island (figure 7).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. NASA image acquired 24 March 2013 with the MODIS instrument shows an ash plume from Paluweh drifting over 440 km SW across Flores Island. Light-colored ash coats the southern third of Paluweh Island, and the ocean to the W of the island is colored turquoise from ash floating near the water's surface. Image posted at http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=80737. Courtesy of NASA, GSFC.

Another NASA-EO image captured on 19 April 2013 shows the extent of ash deposits covering areas of the S and E sides of the summit where the plumes most commonly drift. A delta extending S into the Flores Sea, which was visible in imagery on 12 February and likely created by a pyroclastic flow during the large 2-3 February explosion (figure 8), was also visible.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. NASA-EO image of Paluweh captured 19 April 2013. Note the extent of ash covering the area of the island on the S and E sides of the summit where the plumes usually drift. It also shows a delta extending S into the Flores Sea, also visible in imagery on 12 February (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=80422 ) and likely created by a pyroclastic flow during the large 2-3 February explosion. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory (ihttp://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=80987).

Activity during May-August 2013. There was a three-week break in reported ash plumes between 25 May and 19 June when a low level plume rising to 2.4 km was observed drifting 37 km SE. After this, no further activity was reported until 10 August. A large and deadly explosion took place on 10 August, producing an ash plume that rose to 4.3 km and drifted 130 km W. Details of the explosion are given in BGVN 39:01 and additional information is provided in this report. According to PVMBG, a substantial pyroclastic flow traveled NW from the summit down the Ojaubi drainage towards a village on the beach and killed five fisherman. Rescuers noted that the ground was hot and covered with 10-20 cm of ash. NASA-EO captured images before and after the 10 August 2013 eruption where the path of the pyroclastic flow to the NW is clearly visible (figure 9).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. NASA-EO images of Paluweh (Mt. Rokatenda) on 3 August and 4 September 2013, before and after a large eruption with a deadly pyroclastic flow that traveled NW from the summit to the ocean, killing 5 people at the beach on 10 August. The delta on the S of the island was created during an earlier eruption and pyroclastic flow on 2-3 February 2013. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory ( http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=81986).

Activity during 2014-2016. In April 2014, PVMBG noted that the last major explosion had been on 10 August 2013. The last 2013 ash plume recorded by the Darwin VAAC was on 12 August 2013. Visual observations of occasional eruptive activity were noted until November 2013; small explosion earthquakes were also reported as being last recorded in November. No changes were observed in the lava dome between September 2013 and March 2014. PVMBG lowered the Alert level from III to II (on a scale of 1-4) on 7 April 2014.

No additional reports of activity at Paluweh appeared until late 2015, when PVMBG noted that steam plumes rising 75-200 m above the summit were common between August and October 2015. Seismicity remained low but variable during this time as well. From November 2015 through January 2016, steam plume heights ranged from 5-150 m. Seismicity remained low; earthquakes indicating rock avalanches and fumarolic emissions were the most common type recorded (figure 10). Paluweh remained quiet throughout 2016, although in February 2017 it was still listed by PVMBG at Alert Level II, with a potential for eruptive activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Seismic activity at Paluweh between 1 January 2015 and 13 January 2016. Vertical Axis represents daily number of events for all graphs. Guguran are avalanche events, Hembusan are emission-related events, Vulkanik Dangkal (VB) are shallow volcanic events, Vulkanik Dalam (VA) are deep volcanic events, Tektonik Local are local tectonic events, and Tektonik Jauh are distant tectonic events. Courtesy of PVMBG (Paluweh report, 18 January 2016).

Geologic Background. Paluweh volcano, also known as Rokatenda, forms the 8-km-wide island of Palu'e north of the volcanic arc that cuts across Flores Island. The broad irregular summit region contains overlapping craters up to 900 m wide and several lava domes. Several flank vents occur along a NW-trending fissure. The largest historical eruption occurred in 1928, when strong explosive activity was accompanied by landslide-induced tsunamis and lava dome emplacement. Pyroclastic flows in August 2013 resulted in fatalities.

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/); 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 Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).


Zhupanovsky (Russia) — April 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Zhupanovsky

Russia

53.589°N, 159.15°E; summit elev. 2899 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Moderate ash plumes continued until 24 March, then an explosion on 20 November 2016

A brief eruption that began on 23 October 2013 was the first reported activity at Zhupanovsky since 1959 (BGVN 39:09). After another eight months of quiet, eruptive activity began again in early June 2014 that was characterized by periods of frequent, moderate, ash-generating explosions that continued through the end of that year (BGVN 39:09). As described below, similar activity continued from January 2015 through 24 March 2016, with periods of strong explosions generating ash plumes as high as 10 km altitude. Another long period of eight months without observed activity was broken by a large eruption on 20 November 2016. No additional activity was reported through March 2017. Most of the data comes from Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) reports. Often, the volcano is obscured by clouds. All reported dates are UTC unless otherwise noted (local = -12 hours).

Activity during 2015. According to KVERT, the moderate eruption with explosions generating ash plumes continued into 2015 (table 1). The Aviation Color Code remained Orange (third level on a four-color scale) between 1 January and 15 May 2015. After an explosion on 3 April, explosive activity waned and KVERT lowered the Aviation Color Code from Orange to Yellow (second level on a four-color scale) on 16 May. On 9 June 2015, activity increased again, with webcam and satellite images showing an ash plume rising to an altitude of 6 km. The Aviation Color Code was raised on 8 June to Orange.

During an overflight on 16 July, volcanologists observed fresh deposits at the foot of the volcano from collapses of the S section of the active Priemysh Crater that likely occurred on 12 July (figures 7 and 8). Moderate activity at the crater continued through 17 July; the Aviation Color Code was lowered to Yellow on 18 June and to Green on 23 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Photo of the summit area of Zhupanovsky showing the collapse deposits from the Priemysh cone, 16 July 2015. Photo credit to A. Plechova and V.I. Vernadsky, IGAC RAS. Courtesy of Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Photo of the southern side of Zhupanovsky showing the collapse deposits from the Priemysh cone, 16 July 2015. Photo credit to A. Plechova and V.I. Vernadsky, IGAC RAS. Courtesy of Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT.

On 7 August KVERT reported that explosive activity had ended, but collapses of the S part of the active crater continued. On 6 August ash plumes rose to an altitude of 5 km and drifted 25-60 km SW, triggering KVERT to raise the Aviation Color Code to Yellow. The code was lowered back to Green on 13 August.

KVERT indicated that activity remained low until 27 November 2015 when, based on satellite images, ash plumes rose to altitudes of 5-6 km and drifted 285 km E. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Orange. IVS FED RAS (Institute Volcanology and Seismology Far East Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences) observers noted an ash explosion at 0356 on 30 November (UTC); the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported that the resulting ash plume rose to an altitude of 9 km. Pyroclastic flow deposits 15.5 km long were observed on the S flank after the 30 November event.

According to KVERT, activity decreased after a partial collapse of the S central sector on 27 and 30 November 2015. Satellite images detected a very weak thermal anomaly over the volcano on 4 and 7 December. Moderate levels of fumarolic activity continued. On 10 December the Aviation Color Code was lowered to Yellow. By early-to-mid December 2015, only moderate levels of fumarolic activity were observed. On 17 December the Aviation Color Code was lowered to Green.

KVERT reported that thermal anomalies occurred frequently during the reporting period; often they were obscured by clouds. The only MODVOLC thermal alerts, based on MODIS anomalies, during the reporting period were during March-June 2015: on 7 March, 8 March (2 pixels), 15 March (2 pixels), 21 March (2 pixels), 20 May, and 16 June.

Table 1. Summary of reported activity at Zhupanosky, January 2015-March 2016. Data is from webcam images, satellite images, and visual observations. On many days, clouds obscured visibility. Courtesy of KVERT and Tokyo VAAC.

Date (UTC) Plume height (km) Plume drift Thermal anomaly Other
2015 Jan 6 -- 50 km E -- --
2015 Jan 11-12 5 40 km SW 12 Jan --
2015 Jan 17-21 -- 300 km SW, E 17-20 Jan --
2015 Jan 22, 25-26 5-6 160 km SW, SE 23, 25-27 Jan --
2015 Jan 30-6 Feb -- -- Daily --
2015 Feb 6, 9 3 65 km W Daily --
2015 Feb 15-19 3-3.5 200 km W, SE 14-15,18 Feb --
2015 Feb 20-27 3-3.5 250 km E, SE 20-22, 25-26 Feb --
2015 Feb 27-6 Mar 3-8 400 km E 27 Feb, 1 Mar --
2015 Mar 7-8 6-7 333 km E (7, 10 Mar), 232 km NE (8 Mar) 7-10 Mar --
2015 Mar 12, 15 7 350 km NE, S 14-17 Mar Incandescence on 15 Mar
2015 Mar 25 8 100 km ENE Daily --
2015 Mar 27-2 Apr -- -- 26, 30 Mar, 2 Apr --
2015 Apr 3 -- 25 km SE -- --
2015 Apr 9 -- -- 9 Apr --
2015 Apr 10-17 -- -- 16-17 Apr --
2015 Apr 23-1 May -- -- 23, 25, 28 Apr --
2015 May 1-8 -- -- 3, 5 May --
2015 May 8-15 -- -- 14 May --
2015 May 20-23 -- 470 km E 23 May --
2015 Jun 7-9 6 95 km S, 250 km SE 8-9 June --
2015 Jun 12-19 -- 150 km W 16 June --
2015 Jul 3-10 -- SW on 6 July -- --
2015 Jul 12 10 1,100 km SE -- Ashfall at Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (12 Jul)
2015 Jul 14 2 60 km S -- --
2015 Aug 6 5 25-60 km SW -- --
2015 Nov 27 6-7 300 km E, SE Over volcano --
2015 Nov 30 9 300 km E, SE Over both volcano and pyroclastic flow Pyroclastic flow deposits 15.5 km long observed on S flank
2015 Dec 3-4 -- -- Over pyroclastic flow --
2015 Dec 5-7 -- -- 7 Dec --
2016 Jan 19-21 7-8 80 km NE, 36 km W 19, 21 Jan Plume 150 km long observed 50 km NE
2016 Jan 24 8 235 km NNE 23 Jan --
2016 Jan 29-5 Feb -- -- 30 Jan --
2016 Feb 5, 7, 9, 11 7 546 km E, N 5,9-11 Feb --
2016 Feb 12-13 7; 10; 1 2 km E; 50-200 km SE, E; 600 km E, NE; 288 km ESE 12-13 Feb Aviation Color Code raised to Red.
2016 Mar 24 8 8 x 10 km ash cloud 134 km NW at 3.5-4 km altitude -- --

Activity during 2016. The eruption pattern of fluctuating activity levels continued into 2016. Based on visual observations, KVERT reported that at 1636 on 19 January 2016 (UTC), an explosion generated an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 7-8 km and drifted 20 km E (figure 9). The Aviation Color Code was raised to Orange.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Photo of the ash column rising from Zhupanovsky, 19 January 2016. Still image taken from webcam video. Courtesy of Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT.

Moderate steam-and-gas activity continued during 5 February-18 March. An explosion at 2029 on 12 February (UTC) was recorded by a video camera and generated an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 7 km and drifted E. A larger explosion visually observed a minute later generated an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 10 km and drifted 50 km SE. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Red for several hours. In a report issued at 2334 (UTC), KVERT noted that only moderate amounts of gas and steam rose from the volcano; the Aviation Color Code was lowered to Orange. Ash from the earlier explosions drifted E over Kronotsky Bay and NW. A few hours later, an ash plume was detected in satellite images rising 1 km above the volcano and drifting 288 km E.

The Tokyo VAAC recorded an explosion at 1320 on 24 March (UTC) that generated an ash plume which rose to an altitude of 8 km. After the explosion, no further activity was observed. A very weak thermal anomaly was detected over the volcano in satellite images on 1 and 10 April. The Aviation Color Code was thus lowered to Yellow on 13 April. The last thermal anomaly detection in a satellite image was on 10 April. However, moderate fumarolic activity continued. The Aviation Color Code was lowered to Green on 16 June.

At 1429 on 20 November 2016 a webcam recorded ash plumes rising to altitudes of 6-8 km and drifting 73 km E (figure 10); the Aviation Color Code was raised from Green to Orange. No further activity was observed, and on 22 November the Aviation Color Code was lowered to Yellow.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Photo of the ash column rising from Zhupanovsky and extending E, 20 November 2016. Still image taken from webcam video. Courtesy of Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT.

Geologic Background. The Zhupanovsky volcanic massif consists of four overlapping stratovolcanoes along a WNW-trending ridge. The elongated volcanic complex was constructed within a Pliocene-early Pleistocene caldera whose rim is exposed only on the eastern side. Three of the stratovolcanoes were built during the Pleistocene, the fourth is Holocene in age and was the source of all of Zhupanovsky's historical eruptions. An early Holocene stage of frequent moderate and weak eruptions from 7000 to 5000 years before present (BP) was succeeded by a period of infrequent larger eruptions that produced pyroclastic flows. The last major eruption took place about 800-900 years BP. Historical eruptions have consisted of relatively minor explosions from the third cone.

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); 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/).

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

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

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

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



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

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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


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

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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