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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

Fuego (Guatemala) Ongoing ash plume explosions and block avalanches, April-September 2019

Erta Ale (Ethiopia) Continued summit activity and lava flow outbreaks during April-October 2019

Karymsky (Russia) Moderate explosive activity with ash plumes through 24 September 2019

Shishaldin (United States) Active lava lake and spattering on 23 July 2019; minor explosions and lava fountaining on 17 August

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Ongoing weak thermal anomalies during July-September 2019, but no ash plumes after 1 August

Heard (Australia) Ongoing thermal anomalies at the summit crater during April-September 2019

Dukono (Indonesia) Eruption with frequent ash plumes continues through September 2019

Poas (Costa Rica) Occasional phreatic explosions continue through September 2019

Etna (Italy) Five lava flows and numerous ash plumes and Strombolian explosions, April-September 2019

Ubinas (Peru) Intermittent ash explosions in June-August 2019

Santa Maria (Guatemala) Persistent explosions with local ashfall, March-August 2019; frequent lahars during June; increased explosions in early July

Stromboli (Italy) Major explosions on 3 July and 28 August 2019; hiker killed by ejecta



Fuego (Guatemala) — September 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing ash plume explosions and block avalanches, April-September 2019

Guatemala's Volcán de Fuego was continuously active through September 2019; it has been erupting vigorously since 2002 with historical observations of eruptions dating back to 1531. These eruptions have resulted in major ashfalls, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and damaging lahars. Large explosions with hundreds of fatalities occurred during 3-5 June 2018; after a brief pause, significant activity resumed and continued during April-September 2019, the period covered in this report. Reports are provided by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH) and the National Office of Disaster Management (CONRED); aviation alerts of ash plumes are issued by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Satellite data from NASA and other sources provide valuable information about heat flow and gas emissions.

Daily activity continued at a high level throughout April-September 2019 (table 19) with multiple ash explosions every hour, incandescent ejecta reaching hundreds of meters above the summit sending block avalanches down multiple ravines, and ash falling on communities on the SW flank and beyond. During April and part of May a lava flow was also active in the Seca ravine. Although explosive activity remained at a high level throughout the period, thermal activity began a decline in May that continued through September, noticeable in both the MIROVA radiative power data (figure 117), and monthly images of MODVOLC thermal alerts (figure 118).

Table 19. Activity summary by month for Fuego with information compiled from INSIVUMEH daily reports.

Month Fumarole Color, Height (m), Direction Ash Explosions per hour Ash Plume Heights (km) Ash Plume Distance (km) and Direction Incandescent Ejecta Height (m) Ravines affected by avalanche blocks Sounds and Vibrations Villages Reporting ashfall Lava Flow activity
Apr 2019 Gray and White, 4,100-4,500, W-SW 10-25 4.3-5.0 10-25, W-SW-E-N 100-450 Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas and Honda Weak to moderate rumbles, shock waves rattled roofs, train engine noises every 5-20 minutes Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, El Porvenir, Los Yucales, Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, La Rochela, Ceilán, El Rodeo, Alotenango, Ciudad Vieja, Osuna Active flow in Seca ravine, 200-800 m long
May 2019 Gray and White, 4,200-4,500, W-SW-S 12-26 4.5-4.9 10-30, W-SW-S-SE 200-450 Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, El Jute, Las Lajas and Honda Weak to moderate rumbles, shock waves rattled roofs, train engine noises at regular intervals Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, El Porvenir, Los Yucales, Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, Ceilán, La Rochela Active flow in Seca ravine, 300-1,000 m
Jun 2019 White, 4,100-4,500, E-SE-N-W-SW 10-24 4.4-4.8 10-30, W-SW-NW-N-E-SE 200-450 Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, El Jute, Las Lajas and Honda Weak to moderate rumbles, shock waves rattled roofs, train engine noises every 5-10 minutes Sangre de Cristo, Yepocapa, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Panimache I and II, El Porvenir, Finca Palo Verde, La Rochela, Ceilán, Alotenango, San Miguel Dueñas --
Jul 2019 White, 4,100-4,500, W-SW 8-25 4.3-4.8 10-25, W-SW 150-450 Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, El Jute, Las Lajas and Honda Weak to moderate rumbles, shock waves rattled roofs, train engine noises every 5-15 minutes Morelia, Santa Sofía, El Porvenir, Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa, Panimaché I y II, Sangre de Cristo, La Rochela, Ceilán --
Aug 2019 White, 4,100-4,500, W-SW 10-23 4.4-4.8 10-25 W-SW 200-400 Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, El Jute, Las Lajas y Honda Weak to moderate rumbles, shock waves rattle windows; train engine noises every 3-13 minutes Morelia, Santa Sofía, El Porvenir, Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa, Panimaché I y II, Sangre de Cristo, and others Flow in Seca ravine, 13 Aug 75-100 m
Sep 2019 White, 4,100-4,400, W-SW 5-22 4.4-4.8 10-20 W-SW 200-400 Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, El Jute, Las Lajas and Honda Weak to moderate rumbles, shock waves rattled roofs, train engine noises every 3-10 minutes Panimaché I, Panimache II villages,Morelia, Santa Sofía, Palo Verde estate, San Pedro Yepocapa, Sangre de Cristo, El Porvenir, La Rochela villages and Ceylon --
Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. Thermal activity at Fuego increased steadily from January through April 2019, and then began a gradual decline through September as seen in this MIROVA graph of Radiative Power. The active lava flow in the Seca Ravine in April and early May likely contributed to the higher heat values during that time. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 118. A steady decline in thermal activity at Fuego is apparent in the MODVOLC thermal alert images for April-September 2019. During April and early May a lava flow was active in the Seca ravine that extended as far as 1,000 m from the summit. Courtesy of MODVOLC.

Activity increased at the very end of March 2019. The rate of explosions increased to 14-32 events per hour by 31 March; ash plumes rose to 5 km altitude and resulted in ashfall in numerous nearby communities. An early morning lava flow that day reached 800 m down the Seca ravine. Continuous white and gray fumarolic plumes reached 4.1 to 4.4 km altitude during April 2019 and drifted generally W and SW. There were about 15-20 ash-bearing explosions per hour; the highest rate of 25 per hour occurred on 10 April. Plume altitudes were below 4.8 km for most of the month; on 28 and 29 April they rose to 5.0 and 4.9 km. For most of the month they drifted W and SW; the wind direction changed to the E during 10-16 April. Most days of the month ashfall was reported in the communities of Panimaché I y II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa, Sangre de Cristo and El Porvenir on the W and SW flank. During 10-13 April when the wind direction changed to easterly, communities to the NE, E and SE of Alotenango, Ciudad Vieja, La Reunión, La Rochela, El Rodeo, Osuna, Ceilán and others on the N and E flanks were affected by ashfall. The Washington VAAC issued multiple daily advisories on 18 days in April, identifying short-lived ash plumes drifting with the prevailing winds.

Incandescent ejecta rose 200-300 m above the summit on most days (figure 119). During 23-25 April, ejecta rose 300-450 m above the summit. Six ravines were affected by the incandescent avalanche blocks nearly every day: the Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, and Honda. The explosions caused rumbles, shock waves that rattled roofs, and sounds similar to a train locomotive at intervals of 5-20 minutes in nearby communities throughout the month. A lava flow was present in the Seca (Santa Teresa) ravine for most of the month; its length varied from 200 to 800 m. Special reports of lahars were issued seven times during April. On 4 April a moderate lahar descended the Seca ravine carrying centimeter- to meter-sized blocks, tree trunks and branches. During 9-11 April nine lahars were recorded in the Las Lajas, El Jute, Seca, Rio Mineral, Taniluya, and Ceniza ravines. The largest flows were 20 m wide and 3 m deep carrying blocks and debris up to 3 m in diameter; they were warm and thick with a strong sulfurous odor. Two more lahars were reported on 18 April in the Taniluya and Ceniza ravines carrying 1-2 m sized blocks in a warm, sulfurous flow.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. Incandescent ejecta rose several hundred meters above the summit of Fuego on 30 April 2019 and sent large blocks down multiple ravines, typical activity for the entire month. Courtesy of CONRED (Boletín Informativo No. 1242019, martes, 30 de abril 2019, VOLCÁN DE FUEGO BAJO CONSTANTE MONITOREO).

During May 2019, primarily white fumaroles rose to 4.2-4.5 km altitude and drifted W, SW, and S; gray fumaroles were reported only during the first few days of the month. Generally, 15-20 ash explosions per hour occurred; the maximum was 26 on 17 May. Ash plume heights ranged from 4.5-4.8 km altitude nearly every day, drifting 10-25 km primarily W, SW, and S throughout the month, except for 6-8 May when plumes drifted NW and 18-19 May when wind directions changed and sent ash S and SE. Plumes drifted 25-30 km SE, S, and SW on 19 May. Ashfall was reported daily from communities on the W flank including Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, El Porvenir, Los Yucales, Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, and San Pedro Yepocapa, among others, and also from the E side including Ceilán and La Rochela when the wind direction changed. The Washington VAAC issued multiple daily ash advisories on 19 days during May.

Incandescent Strombolian activity continued sending ejecta 200-300 m above the summit during the first half of the month and 300-450 m high during the latter half (figure 120). Seven major ravines, the Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, El Jute, Las Lajas, and Honda were affected by block avalanches throughout the month. Intermittent explosions caused rumbles, shock waves that rattled roofs, and sounds similar to a train locomotive at frequent intervals on most days. The lava flow in the Seca ravine advanced from 300 m length on 2 May to 1,000 m long on 9 May. It was reported as being 500 m long on 18 May but was not active after that date. Numerous lahars descended multiple ravines in May. INSIVUMEH issued nine special reports of lahar activity on 3, 14, 16, 20, 23, and 27-29 May. They affected the Las Lajas, Ceniza, El Jute, El Mineral, and Seca ravines. The thick, pasty flows contained blocks of various sizes up to 3 m in diameter along with tree trunks and branches. Several were warm with a sulfurous smell (figure 121). SO2 emissions remained low throughout April-September with only minor emissions recorded in satellite data on 1 April and 9 May 2019 (figure 122).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. Incandescent ejecta at Fuego was captured on 27 May 2019 under a starry night sky by photographer Diego Rizzo in a 25-second exposure. Block avalanches are seen descending several ravines. NASA used the photo as an Astronomy Photo of the day and noted that the central plane of the Milky Way galaxy runs diagonally from the upper left, with a fleeting meteor just below, and the trail of a satellite to the upper right. The planet Jupiter also appears toward the upper left, with the bright star Antares just to its right. Much of the land and the sky were captured together in a single 25-second exposure taken in mid-April from the side of Acatenango volcano; the meteor was captured in a similar frame taken about 30 minutes earlier and added to this image digitally. Courtesy of NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day, copyright by Diego Rizzo.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. Lahars were reported at Fuego nine separate times during May 2019. A steaming lahar descends a ravine at Fuego on 11 May 2019 (top). The Santa Teresa Canyon was clogged with debris from numerous past lahars on 22 May 2019. INSIVUMEH monitors the ravines continuously during the rainy season. Courtesy of CONRED (Boletín Informativo No. 1382019, sábado, 11 de mayo 2019, LLUVIAS GENERAN DESCENSO DE LAHARES EN EL VOLCÁN DE FUEGO and Boletín Informativo No. 1562019, miércoles, 22 de mayo 2019, SE REGISTRA DESCENSO DE LAHARES MODERADOS EN EL VOLCÁN DE FUEGO).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 122. Weak SO2 emissions were recorded from Fuego on 1 April and 9 May 2019 by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

The fumarolic plumes were only white during June 2019, rising to 4.1-4.5 km altitude daily, drifting W or SW except during the first days of the month when variable winds sent the steam N, E, and SE. Explosions with ash took place 15-20 times per hour on most days with plumes rising to 4.5-4.8 km altitude and drifting primarily W or SW except for the first days of the month (figure 123). On most days, ash plumes drifted 15-20 km W and SW, except during 2-7 June when winds sent ash E, SE, N, and NW. Ashfall was reported virtually every day in Sangre de Cristo, Yepocapa, Morelia, Santa Sofía, and Panimache I and II. In addition, the communities of El Porvenir, Los Yucales, and Finca Palo Verde reported ashfall several days each week. During 2, 4, and 7 June, the N and SE winds caused ash to fall in Alotenango and San Miguel Dueñas. The Washington VAAC issued ash advisories on 15 days during June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 123. Emissions of both steam and ash rose from Fuego on 11 June 2019. Courtesy of Paul A. Wallace, University of Liverpool.

The height of the Strombolian ejecta varied from 200-300 m above the summit on many days in June , but also was sometimes stronger, rising 300-450 m. While block avalanches were reported in all seven barrancas (ravines) more than once (Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, El Jute, Las Lajas and Honda), on all days they were reported in the Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, and Trinidad. Weak to moderate rumbles and shock waves rattled roofs every day, and train engine noises were heard every 5-10 minutes. Seven special reports of lahars were issued on days 2, 11, 21-23, and 30. They affected the Las Lajas, El Jute, Seca, El Mineral, and Ceniza ravines with thick, pasty flows containing blocks 1-3 m in size, shaking the ground as they flowed downstream.

During July 2019, white steam plumes rose daily from the summit of Fuego to an altitude of 4.1-4.3 km and drifted W and SW; higher plumes on 30 and 31 July rose to 4.5 km altitude. Fifteen to twenty ash explosions per hour were typical throughout the month and produced ash plumes that rose to 4.3-4.8 km altitude and drifted SW and W for 10-25 km before dissipating (figure 124). Near-daily ashfall was reported in Morelia, Santa Sofía, El Porvenir, Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa, Panimaché I y II, and Sangre de Cristo; La Rochela and Ceilán also reported ash on 4 and 6 July. Incandescent ejecta height varied from 150-450 m above the summit from day to day, sending block avalanches down all seven ravines on many days. Weak to moderate rumbles and shock waves rattled roofs every day, and train engine noises were heard every 5-15 minutes. On 19 July noises and vibrations were heard and felt 25 km away. Only one lahar was reported on 12 July in the Las Lajas ravine. It was warm, with a sulfurous odor, and carried volcanic ash, sand, and blocks 1-3 m in diameter that shook the ground as they flowed downstream. The Washington VAAC issued ash advisories on 13 days during July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 124. Steam-and-ash plumes rose from Fuego on 12 July 2019 in this image taken at dawn from Villa Flores San Miguel Petapa. Courtesy of Alex Cruz (cropped and color adjusted from original).

White steam plumes continued during August 2019, rising to an altitude of 4.1-4.5 km and drifting W and SW daily. Ash-bearing explosions continued also at a rate of about 15-20 per hour throughout the month, rising most days to between 4.5 and 4.7 km altitude. They drifted 15-20 km W or SW nearly every day before dissipating. Every day during the month, ashfall was reported in Morelia, Santa Sofía, El Porvenir, Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa, Panimaché I y II, Sangre de Cristo, and other communities on the SW flank. The Washington VAAC reported ash plumes at Fuego on 15 days during August (figure 125).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 125. An ash emission at Fuego was recorded on 22 August 2019. Courtesy of William Chigna.

Incandescent ejecta also rose every day during August 2019 to 200-300 m above the summit, a few days were reported to 350-400 m. Every day, block avalanches descended the Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, and Trinidad ravines; most days blocks also traveled down the Las Lajas and Honda ravines, and many days they were also reported in the El Jute ravine (figure 126). Every 5-10 minutes, every day, weak and moderate rumbles sounding like a train engine shook buildings and rattled roofs in the nearby villages. On 13 August a small lava flow, 75-100 m long, was reported in the Seca ravine. Six lahars were reported on 3 August. They occurred in the Santa Teresa, Mineral, Ceniza, El Jute, and Las Lajas ravines. The thick pasty flows carried blocks 1-2 m in diameter, tree trunks and branches, and disrupted the roads between Siquinala and San Andres Osuna and El rodeo and El Zapote. The next day two more occurred in the Seca and Mineral drainages. From 17-20 August, six more lahars occurred, most in the Las Lajas drainage, but also in the Seca, Mineral and Ceniza ravines.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 126. Incandescent blocks traveled down several ravines at Fuego on 2 August 2019. Courtesy of Publinews Guatamala.

There were no changes in the steam fumaroles during September 2019; plumes seldom rose over 4.3 km altitude and continued drifting W and SW. The ash explosion rate decreased somewhat and rates of 5-10 per hour were typical on many days. Ash plume heights remained constant around 4.5-4.7 km altitude most days, also drifting W and SW 15-20 km before dissipating (figure 127). While ashfall was reported daily in Panimaché I, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Porvenir, Palo Verde, Yepocapa and other communities on the SW flank for the first half of the month, it grew more intermittent during the second half of September. South-directed winds deposited ash on La Rochela villages and Ceylon on 25 September. The Washington VAAC issued aviation ash advisories on 11 days during the month. Strombolian ejecta mostly rose 200-300 m above the summit; occasionally it reached 300-400 m. On most days, block avalanches descended the Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, and Las Lajas ravines; occasionally they were reported in the El Jute and Honda ravines as well. Every day, rumbles and shock waves shook roofs in nearby villages every 5-10 minutes. Lahars were reported twice, on 2 ad 9 September, in the Seca and Rio Mineral drainages both days, dragging branches, tree trunks and blocks up to 2 m in diameter.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 127. An ash plume drifts from the summit of Fuego on 16 September 2019, seen from the La Reunion webcam. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán de Fuego (1402-09), Semana del 14 al 20 de septiembre de 2,019).

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/ ); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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/); 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); NASA Astronomy Picture of the day (URL: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190527.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/); Paul A. Wallace, Lecturer in Geology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool England (URL: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/environmental-sciences/staff/paul-wallace/, Twitter: @Paul_A_Wallace, URL: https://twitter.com/Paul_A_Wallace/status/1138527752963993600); Alex Cruz, Photojournalist, Guatemala (Twitter: @ACruz_elP, URL: https://twitter.com/ACruz_elP/status/1149690904023691264/photo/1); William Chigna, Guatemala (Twitter: @William_Chigna, URL: https://twitter.com/William_Chigna/status/1164575009966370816); Publinews Guatemala, (Twitter: @PublinewsGT, URL: https://twitter.com/PublinewsGT/status/1157288917365903360).


Erta Ale (Ethiopia) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Erta Ale

Ethiopia

13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued summit activity and lava flow outbreaks during April-October 2019

Erta Ale, located in Ethiopia, contains multiple active pit craters both within the summit and the southeast calderas. On 17 January 2017 the active lava lake displayed intense spattering, fountaining, and rim overflows with lava flows that traveled as far as 1 km, forming a lava flow field. During April 2018 through March 2019 minor activity continued in both the summit and southeast calderas, and along the active lava flow to the E (BGVN 44:04). This report updates volcanism from April through October 2019. Information primarily comes from infrared satellite images and MODIS data.

Continued lava flow breakouts occurred from April through October 2019. On 4 May 2019 a lava flow outbreak was observed in satellite imagery NE of the summit caldera (figure 92). This outbreak continued to appear in clear-weather thermal satellite images through 13 June when it was seen south of its original location (figure 93). Faint incandescence is observed at the summit caldera between June and October 2019, though it is more pronounced in the months of August through October. On 28 June a second smaller lava flow outbreak occurred within 3.8 km of the summit location. The two lava flow outbreaks remained active at least through 18 June. The distal NE lava flow does not appear in very similar images from 17 August or 16 September 2019, but three proximal thermal anomalies are seen in the southeastern caldera within 4 km of the summit. The thermal anomalies remained within 5 km through October 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery of Erta Ale volcanism on 4 May 2019 with thermal anomalies observed to the northeast of the summit caldera (bright orange). White plumes are seen rising from the summit with faint incandescence. Sentinel-2 satellite images with "False Color (Urban)" (bands 12, 11, 4) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery of Erta Ale volcanism between 8 June and 21 October 2019. Lava flow outbreaks initially occur in the distal NE part of the lava flow, which then migrates slightly south. A second lava flow outbreak is seen less than 5 km of the summit caldera. Faint incandescence is seen at the summit caldera in each of these images. Sentinel-2 satellite images with "False Color (Urban)" (bands 12, 11, 4) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed consistently high-power thermal anomalies during this reporting period (figure 94). Through July 2019 these thermal anomalies were detected at distances greater than 5 km from the summit. In early August 2019 there was an abrupt decrease in the distance that continued through late October 2019 (figure 94); this likely indicates when the distal NE outbreak ended and lava emissions from the closer SE locations increased (see satellite images in figure 93). The distance changes of MODIS thermal anomalies from the summit seen in MIROVA are corroborated by MODVOLC data, which show no distal NE thermal alert pixels after July 2019 (figure 95).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Two time-series plots of thermal anomalies from Erta Ale for the year ending on 24 October 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system. The top plot (A) shows that the thermal anomalies were consistently strong (measured in log radiative power) and occurred frequently. The lower plot (B) shows these anomalies as function of distance from the summit, including a sudden decrease in the distance (measured in kilometers) in early August 2019 that reflects a change in lava flow outbreak location. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Locations of the thermal alerts at Erta Ale during November 2018-July 2019 (top) and August-October 2019 (bottom) identified by the MODVOLC system. A majority of the proximal (less than 5 km from the summit) thermal anomalies are found within the southeastern calderas while the distal (beyond 5 km) anomalies are northeast of the summit. Note that the distal NE anomalies are not present after July 2019. Two thermal alerts mark the location of the summit caldera (bottom map). Data courtesy of HIGP-MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

Geologic Background. Erta Ale is an isolated basaltic shield that is the most active volcano in Ethiopia. The broad, 50-km-wide edifice rises more than 600 m from below sea level in the barren Danakil depression. Erta Ale is the namesake and most prominent feature of the Erta Ale Range. The volcano contains a 0.7 x 1.6 km, elliptical summit crater housing steep-sided pit craters. Another larger 1.8 x 3.1 km wide depression elongated parallel to the trend of the Erta Ale range is located SE of the summit and is bounded by curvilinear fault scarps on the SE side. Fresh-looking basaltic lava flows from these fissures have poured into the caldera and locally overflowed its rim. The summit caldera is renowned for one, or sometimes two long-term lava lakes that have been active since at least 1967, or possibly since 1906. Recent fissure eruptions have occurred on the N flank.

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


Karymsky (Russia) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Moderate explosive activity with ash plumes through 24 September 2019

Eruptive activity at Karymsky has been frequent since 1996, with moderate ash explosions, gas-and-steam emissions, and thermal anomalies. The latest eruptive period began in mid-February 2019 (BGVN 44:05) when explosions resumed after more than four months of quiet, producing an ash plume that extended 55 km downwind. Intermittent explosive activity continued until 24 September 2019. The volcano is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT).

Ash plumes were reported during the second half of February and the first half of March 2019 (BGVN 44:05). During May-September 2019 similar activity continued, with ash plumes being generated at least every few days (table 12). Though not included in the weekly KVERT report as notable events, obvious ash plumes were also seen in Sentinel-2 imagery on 22 July and photographed from an aircraft on 23 July. Volcanologists doing fieldwork on 14 August observed an ash plume rising to 5 km altitude (figure 44). A week later, during 20-22 August, explosions generated ash plumes as high as 6 km altitude that were visible in satellite imagery (figure 45). Although not noted in KVERT reports, a photo from 9 September showed a plume blowing downwind directly from the summit crater (figure 46). No significant ash plumes were reported by KVERT after 24 August, but the last ash explosion was recorded on 24 September.

Table 12. Notable ash plumes reported from Karymsky during May-October 2019. All dates are in UTC. Courtesy of KVERT.

Date Observations
06-07 May 2019 Gas-and-steam plume containing ash rose to 2-2.2 km in altitude and drifted 105 km SE and SW.
21 May 2019 Ash plume drifted 9 km SW.
24 May 2019 Ash plume identified in satellite images drifted 45 km NE.
13-17 Jul 2019 Ash plumes drifted 60 km in multiple directions.
25 Jul 2019 Ash plume drifted 134 km SE.
26 Jul 2019 Ash plume drifted 60 km SE.
03-05 Aug 2019 Ash plumes drifted 180 km SE and NW.
06 Aug 2019 Ash plume rose 2-2.5 km in altitude and drifted about 17 km NW.
14 Aug 2019 Volcanologists observed explosions and ash plumes that rose to 5 km altitude. Satellite images showed ash plumes drifting E and SSE that same day.
20-22 Aug 2019 Ash plumes visible in satellite images drifted 500 km SW. Explosions on 21 August produced ash plumes to 6 km altitude.
23-24 Aug 2019 Ash plumes drifted 51 km SE.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Aerial photo showing an ash plume rising to 5 km altitude from Karymsky 14 August 2019. Photo by D. Melnikov; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Satellite image from Sentinel-2 (natural color) of an ash plume at Karymsky on 21 August 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Photo showing explosive activity at Karymsky at 1920 UTC on 9 September 2019. Photo by A. Manevich; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

During May-October 2019, thermal anomalies were detected with the MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm only on 25 July (2 pixels) and 21 August (10 pixels). Consistent with both observations, KVERT noted ash explosions on those dates. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, detected numerous hotspots in May, none in June, 3 in July, 5 in August, and none in September or October. KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly was visible in satellite images on most, if not all, days when not obscured by clouds.

The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) until 3 October, when KVERT reduced it to Yellow, after which moderate gas-and-steam activity continued.

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); 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/); 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/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Shishaldin (United States) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Shishaldin

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Active lava lake and spattering on 23 July 2019; minor explosions and lava fountaining on 17 August

Recent activity at Shishaldin, located on Unimak Island within the Aleutian Islands, has included a lava eruption in the summit crater, thermal anomalies, elevated seismicity, and gas-and-steam and ash plumes (BGVN 41:11). This report describes minor gas-and-steam emissions, increased seismicity, thermal anomalies, lava fountaining accompanied by minor explosive activity, and a spatter cone. The primary source of information is the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO). This report updates activity through September 2019.

Volcanism was relatively low between March 2016 and early July 2019; increased seismicity and steam emissions were detected in December 2017, but the activity declined in February 2018. Elevated seismicity and some thermal anomalies accompanied by incandescence observed in satellite imagery (when not obscured by clouds) returned in mid-July 2019 (figure 12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Summary graphic of MODVOLC thermal alerts measured over Shishaldin during July-September 2019. Courtesy of HIGP - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

Elevated surface temperatures and low-level seismic tremors remained elevated through September 2019 (figure 13). Field crews reported an active lava lake and minor spattering within the summit crater on 23 July 2019 (figures 14 and 15). Satellite imagery showed the presence of a small spatter cone and some lava flows within the summit crater on 28 July. A small steam plume was observed in satellite imagery and webcam images on 29 July, 20 August, and 30 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Shishaldin showing detected thermal anomalies between the months of July and September 2019. Top left: Satellite image on 19 July showing a gas-and-steam plume. Top center: On 29 July a thermal anomaly is detected in the summit crater. Top right: On 28 August, the thermal anomaly is still present. Bottom left: On 7 September, the thermal anomaly continues. Bottom right: On 24 September, the power of the thermal anomaly significantly decreases. Atmospheric penetration satellite image (bands 12, 11, 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Photo of surface lava within the summit crater at Shishaldin taken on 23 July 2019. Photo by David Fee (color corrected); courtesy of Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Photo of lava and a slightly growing spatter cone within the summit crater at Shishaldin taken on 23 July 2019. Photo by Dane Ketner (color corrected); courtesy of Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO).

On 17 August 2019, a video taken by NOAA during an overflight showed repetitive minor explosive activity and low-level lava fountaining within the summit crater. This activity may have continued through 24 September, according to AVO. The spatter cone grew slightly in August and September, partially filling the summit crater. Accompanying lava flows also grew slightly during this time.

Satellite data from 3 September showed SO2 emissions and elevated surface temperatures. Satellite imagery and tiltmeter data recorded a collapse and slumping of the summit crater floor, which may have occurred on 19 September. In the last few weeks of September, seismicity and surface temperatures decreased to slightly above background levels.

According to MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) data from MODIS satellite instruments, more frequent thermal anomalies were detected in mid-July 2019 and remained elevated through early September (figure 16).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Thermal anomalies increased at Shishaldin from mid-July 2019 through early September and then abruptly stopped as recorded by MIROVA (log radiative power). Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. The beautifully symmetrical volcano of Shishaldin is the highest and one of the most active volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands. The 2857-m-high, 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 steady steam plume rises from its small summit crater. Constructed atop an older glacially dissected volcano, it is Holocene in age and largely basaltic in composition. Remnants of an older ancestral volcano are exposed on the west and NE sides at 1500-1800 m elevation. There are over two dozen pyroclastic cones on its NW flank, which is blanketed by massive aa lava flows. Frequent explosive activity, primarily consisting of strombolian ash eruptions from the small summit crater, but sometimes producing lava flows, has been recorded since the 18th century.

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667 USA (URL: https://avo.alaska.edu/), b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA (URL: http://dggs.alaska.gov/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing weak thermal anomalies during July-September 2019, but no ash plumes after 1 August

During September 2018 through June 2019, activity at Klyuchevskoy was characterized by weak thermal anomalies and moderate Strombolian-type explosions. Ash emissions were only reported on 1-2 July and 1 August during the period of July-September 2019. The volcano is monitored by the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) and is the primary source of information.

According to KVERT, moderate activity continued from July through at least the middle of September, with gas-and-steam emissions. At the beginning of July, KVERT reported incandescence in the crater. During 1-2 July, ash plumes drifted as far as 85 km E and SE. Ash plumes were visible blowing E in Sentinel-2 images on 17 and 19 July (figure 32); steam plumes were evident on some other days. KVERT reported that an ash emission was seen in webcam images on 1 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. An ash plume can be seen blowing E from the summit crater of Klyuchevskoy in this Sentinel-2 natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) satellite image from 17 July 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

No thermal anomalies were detected with the MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, detected no thermal anomalies in June, four scattered ones in July, and only one in August, all low power. According to KVERT, a weak thermal anomaly was detected throughout the reporting period, at least through mid-September, except for the numerous days when the volcano was obscured by clouds; the temperature of the anomalies had steadily decreased with time.

Instruments aboard NASA satellites detected high levels of sulfur dioxide near or directly above the volcano every day during the first week of July and on 12 July, but not on other days during the reporting period. However, the origin for the high levels may, at least in part, have been due to other active volcanoes in the area.

At the beginning of July, the Aviation Color Code (ACC) remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale). Because of decreased activity, KVERT lowered the ACC to Yellow on 30 August and to Green (the lowest on the scale) on 24 September.

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Heard (Australia) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing thermal anomalies at the summit crater during April-September 2019

Heard Island, in the Southern Indian Ocean, is about 4,000 km from its closest point to Australia and about 1,500 km from the closest point in Antarctica. Because of the island's remoteness, monitoring is primarily accomplished by satellites. The Big Ben volcano has been active intermittently since 1910, if not before (BGVN 42:10), and thermal anomalies have been observed every month since June 2018 (BGVN 43:10, 44:04). The current reporting period is from April to September 2019.

During April-September 2019, only one thermal anomaly was detected with the MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, and that was on 10 June (2 pixels). The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, detected a few scattered thermal alerts in late May-early June and three in September; most were between 1-2 km of the summit and of low to moderate power.

The island is usually covered by heavy clouds, obscuring satellite views. However, Sentinel-2 satellite imagery detected cloud-obscured thermal anomalies during the reporting period, most likely due to a persistent lava lake and possibly lava flows (BGVN 41:08).

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

Information Contacts: 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/); 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/).


Dukono (Indonesia) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Dukono

Indonesia

1.693°N, 127.894°E; summit elev. 1229 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption with frequent ash plumes continues through September 2019

The eruption at Dukono, ongoing since 1933, is typified by frequent ash explosions and ash plumes (BGVN 43:04). This activity continued through at least September 2019. The data below were primarily provided by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), also known as the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

According to PVMBG, during April-September 2019 the volcano continued to generate ash plumes almost every day that rose to altitudes of 1.5-3 km (table 20, figure 12). Ashfall was reported on 8 August at the Galela Airport, Maluku Utara, 17 km NW. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the 2-km exclusion zone remained in effect.

Table 20. Monthly summary of reported ash plumes from Dukono for April-September 2019. The direction of drift for the ash plume through each month was highly variable, but did not extend for any notable distances during this reporting period. Data courtesy of the Darwin VAAC and PVMBG.

Month Plume Altitude (km) Notable Plume Drift
Apr 2019 1.5-2.4 --
May 2019 1.5-3 --
Jun 2019 1.8-2.4 --
Jul 2019 1.5-2.1 --
Aug 2019 1.8-2.1 --
Sep 2019 1.5-2.1 --
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Satellite image from Sentinel-2 (natural color) of an ash plume at Dukono on 4 August 2019, with the plume blowing almost straight up. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Instruments aboard NASA satellites detected high levels of sulfur dioxide near or directly above the volcano on 11, 20-22 April; 17, 22, and 27 May; 15-18 August; and 23-24 and 29 September. However, the cause of the high levels may, at least in part, have been due to other active volcanoes in the area.

Geologic Background. Reports from this remote volcano in northernmost Halmahera are rare, but Dukono has been one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes. More-or-less continuous explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, occurred from 1933 until at least the mid-1990s, when routine observations were curtailed. During a major eruption in 1550, a lava flow filled in the strait between Halmahera and the north-flank cone of Gunung Mamuya. This complex volcano presents a broad, low profile with multiple summit peaks and overlapping craters. Malupang Wariang, 1 km SW of the summit crater complex, contains a 700 x 570 m crater that has also been active during historical time.

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/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Poas (Costa Rica) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Poas

Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2708 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional phreatic explosions continue through September 2019

Activity at Poás is characterized by weak phreatic explosions and gas-and-ash-emissions, with a hot acid lake that occasionally disappears (BGVN 44:05). During the current reporting period of May-September 2019, this weak activity continued. The volcano is monitored by the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), and most of the material below comes from their weekly bulletins (Boletin Semanal Vulcanologia).

According to OVSICORI-UNA, a period of continuous emissions occurred during 30 April-1 May with plumes rising 300 m above the crater rim and drifting SW. Ash emissions were visible for a few hours on 30 April, and incandescence was visible at night. OVSICORI-UNA did not report any additional phreatic explosions in May until daily phreatic, geyser-type explosions were observed between 29 May and 1 June, which reached approximately 100 m above the vent. A phreatic explosion on 10 June reached approximately 20-30 m in height, and frequent small phreatic explosions (heights below 20 m) were reported through 16 June.

OVSICORI-UNA reported that on 12 June small geyser-like explosions ejected material less than 50 m high at a rate of about once per hour. At 0604 on 18 June an explosion that lasted about six minutes produced a plume of unknown height. Residents reportedly heard several loud noises during 0610-0615 and observed a plume rising from the crater. Ash fell in Cajón (12 km SW), San Luis de Grecia (11 km SW), Los Ángeles, San Miguel de Grecia (11 km SW), San Isidro (28 km SE), and San Roque (23 km SSE). Whitish ash deposits surrounding the crater, especially on the W and S sectors, were visible in webcam images. On 21 June frequent small phreatic explosions from vent A (Boca Roja) were visible during good viewing conditions ejecting material less than 10 m high.

No additional phreatic activity was reported by OVSICORI-UNA during rest of June or July. The small crater lake was still present on 5 July when visible in satellite imagery and as seen by visitors (figure 130), During the first part of August geyser-like explosions occurred on several days, and reached a maximum height of 50 m. This activity culminated on 17 August with about 30 explosions/day from the vent (Boca Roja). At least one event at 0650 on that day generated a 1-km-high plume of steam, gas, and fine particles. By 26 August, the geyser-type activity had ceased. Geyser-type phreatic explosions resumed on 12 September, reaching a maximum height of 30 m. The number of explosions increased up to 10-15 events/hour and then became continuous for a short time. A phreatic explosion occurred on 22 September at 2059 that generated a plume that rose 3 km above the crater rim and drifted NE. During 22-23 September explosions generated plumes that rose 1 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 130. View of the Poás crater on 5 July 2019. The volcano is surrounded by cloud-cover, and there is some steam rising from the crater lake. Photo by Sheila DeForest (Creative Commons BY-SA license).

According to OVSICORI-UNA, during 16-26 September sulfur dioxide emissions drifted W and NE, causing a sulfur odor in Alajuela, Heredia, San José, and Cartago. Acidic rain was recorded at an official's house in the Poás Volcano National Park (PNVP) on 23 September and at the Universidad Nacional Costa Rica (UNA) in Heredia (23 km SE) on 26 September. On 30 September, at 0540, a 5-minute long phreatic explosion ejected sediment, and produced a plume that rose 2 km above the crater rim and drifted SW. Ashfall and a sulfur odor was reported in Trojas de Sarchi (10 km SW) and Grecia (16 km SSW). Officials closed the PNVP because of the eruption and ongoing elevated seismicity; the park remained closed the next day.

During the first week of August, strong evaporation had reduced the intracrater lake significantly, and by mid-September, the lake had disappeared. At the end of September, however, some water had begun to accumulate again.

General monitoring data. During April and May, OVSICORI-UNA took few gas measurements due to an unfavorable wind direction. An SO2 measurement during the first part of June was between 100 and 200 t/d. Flux remained low through July, with low SO2/CO2 ratios, and high H2S/SO2 ratios, which OVSICORI-UNA stated were consistent with water infiltration. At the end of July, SO2 concentrations significantly increased to 300-800 t/d, with H2S disappearing and the CO2/SO2 ratio declining, with some fluctuations. Levels remained high through most of August, but had decreased to about 300 t/d by the end of the month. They rose again in September, with fluctuations, and on 29 September were measured at about 1,000 t/d before falling to between 300-400 t/d.

According to OVSICORI-UNA weekly reports, seismicity was relatively low during the reporting period, with a few VTs and LPs and normal background tremor. No significant deformation occurred, except for some deflation in June and July.

Geologic Background. The broad, well-vegetated edifice of Poás, one of the most active volcanoes of Costa Rica, contains three craters along a N-S line. The frequently visited multi-hued summit crater lakes of the basaltic-to-dacitic volcano, which is one of Costa Rica's most prominent natural landmarks, are easily accessible by vehicle from the nearby capital city of San José. A N-S-trending fissure cutting the 2708-m-high complex stratovolcano extends to the lower northern flank, where it has produced the Congo stratovolcano and several lake-filled maars. The southernmost of the two summit crater lakes, Botos, is cold and clear and last erupted about 7500 years ago. The more prominent geothermally heated northern lake, Laguna Caliente, is one of the world's most acidic natural lakes, with a pH of near zero. It has been the site of frequent phreatic and phreatomagmatic eruptions since the first historical eruption was reported in 1828. Eruptions often include geyser-like ejections of crater-lake water.

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Sheila DeForest (URL: https://www.facebook.com/sheila.deforest).


Etna (Italy) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3295 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Five lava flows and numerous ash plumes and Strombolian explosions, April-September 2019

Italy's Mount Etna on the island of Sicily has had historically recorded eruptions for the past 3,500 years and has been erupting continuously since September 2013 through at least September 2019. Lava flows, explosive eruptions with ash plumes, and Strombolian lava fountains commonly occur from its summit areas that include the Northeast Crater (NEC), the Voragine-Bocca Nuova (or Central) complex (VOR-BN), the Southeast Crater (SEC, formed in 1978), and the New Southeast Crater (NSEC, formed in 2011). The newest crater, referred to as the "cono della sella" (saddle cone), emerged during early 2017 in the area between SEC and NSEC. Varying activity that included several lava flows, Strombolian activity, and numerous ash plumes from most of the active summit vents and several flank fissures occurred during April-September 2019, the period covered in this report, with information provided primarily by the Osservatorio Etneo (OE), part of the Catania Branch of Italy's Istituo Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologica (INGV).

Degassing of variable intensity was typical activity from all the vents at Etna during much of April 2019. Intermittent ash emission and Strombolian activity occurred at Bocca Nuova, especially during the last week. Minor ash emissions were reported from NEC and NSEC the last week as well. Most of the activity at the summit during May 2019 was focused around the New South East Crater (NSEC); repeated Strombolian activity was witnessed from the E vent near the summit throughout the month. Beginning on 30 May, two fissures opened on the N and SE flanks of NSEC and produced lava flows that traveled E and SE across the W wall of the Valle del Bove. The flows ceased during the first week of June; activity for the rest of that month consisted of intermittent explosions with small ash plumes from Voragine and Bocca Nuova. Discontinuous Strombolian explosions and isolated ash emissions from NEC, NSEC, and Bocca Nuova characterized activity during the first half of July 2019; the explosions intensified at NSEC later in the month. A lava flow emerged from the lower NE flank of NSEC on 18 July that lasted for several days. Explosions produced substantial ash plumes from the NSEC summit crater, causing ashfall nearby, and a new flow emerged from a fissure on the S flank of NSEC on 27 July.

Explosions with intermittent ash emissions during August 2019 were focused primarily on the North East Crater (NEC), with occasional ash emissions from Bocca Nuova. These continued into early September. Activity increased to include Strombolian explosions with the ash emissions at NEC, Bocca Nuova, and Voragine where a scoria cone formed deep within the crater from continued Strombolian activity. A lava flow emerged from the base of the scoria cone on 18 September and was active for about four days, sending branches of lava into multiple areas of the adjacent Bocca Nuova crater. Ash emissions at NEC continued during the end of the month. The multiple episodes of varying activity during the period were reflected in the MIROVA thermal energy data; spikes of thermal activity that corresponded to periods of lava effusion were apparent late May-early June, multiple times in July, and during the second half of September (figure 260).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 260. The multiple episodes of varying activity at Etna from 11 December 2018 through September 2019 were reflected in the MIROVA thermal energy data; spikes of thermal activity were apparent in late April, late May-early June, multiple times in July, and during the second half of September. The largest energy spikes correlated with lava flows. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during April-May 2019. During a site visit to the summit on 1 April scientists from INGV noted weak degassing from both pit craters, BN-1 and BN-2, within Bocca Nuova (BN); the Voragine (VOR) and North East Crater (NEC) were emitting abundant steam and gas emissions. The New Southeast Crater (NSEC) also had significant fumarolic activity concentrated primarily on the crater rim along with gas plumes visible from both the E vent and the 24 December 2018 flank fissure (figure 261). A brief episode of ash emission was observed from BN on the morning of 8 April. Persistent pulsating flashes of incandescence were noted at the E vent of NSEC during the second week. A new vent was observed in the inner wall of the Voragine crater during an inspection on 19 April, located immediately below the vent which formed on 12 January 2019 (figure 262). During the last week of April there were ten episodes of ash emission from BN, two from NEC, and one produced by the E vent at NSEC. Strombolian activity was observed on the morning of 28 April at BN-1, and persistent incandescence was visible from the E vent of NSEC. Early on 30 April both BN-1 and BN-2 were producing explosions every few seconds. Coarse ejecta (lapilli and bombs) rose higher than the crater rim; most fell back within the crater, but some material was observed on the rim the following day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 261. During a site visit to the summit of Etna on 1 April 2019 scientists from INGV noted weak degassing from both pit craters, BN-1 and BN-2, within Bocca Nuova (BN); Voragine (VOR) and North East Crater (NEC) were emitting abundant steam and gas emissions, and the New Southeast Crater (NSEC) also had significant fumarolic activity concentrated primarily on the crater rim along with gas plumes visible from both the E vent (bocca orientale) and the 24 December 2018 flank fissure. Courtesy of INGV, photos by Laboratorio di Cartografia FlyeEye Team (Report 15/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 01/04/2019 - 07/04/2019, data emissione 09/04/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 262. A new vent was observed at the W rim of Etna's Voragine crater on 19 April 2019. INGV scientists concluded that it likely formed during 17-18 April. It was located immediately below a pit crater that opened on 12 January 2019. Inset shows thermal image of the vents. Courtesy of INGV (Report 17/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/04/2019 - 21/04/2019, data emissione 24/04/2019).

Activity at the summit during May 2019 was focused around the New South East Crater (NSEC). Discontinuous Strombolian activity was observed at the E vent of NSEC early on 2 May accompanied by ash emissions from the summit vent that rose about 1,000 m (figure 263). Explosion frequency increased beginning on 5 May with weak and discontinuous ash emissions reported from the NSEC summit for the next several days; ash emissions were also observed from the Saddle vent and the NSEC E vent during 6-8 May. In addition to ash emissions and Strombolian activity continuing from both the summit and E vents at NSEC during the third and fourth weeks, overnight on 17-18 May several larger Strombolian explosions sent pyroclastic ejecta tens of meters above the crater rim (figure 264). The explosion intervals ranged from a few minutes to a few hours. The new vent that had formed at Voragine in mid-April coalesced with the 12 January vent during the second week of May; dilute ash was observed from the BN-1 vent on 23 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 263. Strombolian activity at the E vent of NSEC at Etna was accompanied by ash emission on 2 May 2019. Left image is from the thermal camera at La Montagnola and the right image is from Tremestieri Etneo, taken by B. Behncke. Coutesy of INGV (Report 19/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 29/04/2019 - 05/05/2019, data emissione 07/05/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 264. Strombolian activity sent ejecta from a vent at Etna's NSEC crater on 14 May 2019 (a) and was captured by the Monte Cagliato thermal camera. Ash emission from the same vent was also visible that day (b) and on 17 May (c). Strombolian explosions from the E Vent of NSEC on 17 May (d) were captured by the EMOH (Montagnola) webcam. Courtesy of INGV (Report 21/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 13/05/2019 - 19/05/2019, data emissione 21/05/2019).

A fissure opened at the base of the N flank of NSEC shortly after midnight on 30 May 2019 at an elevation of about 3,150 m (figure 265). It produced mild explosive activity and a lava flow that spread towards the W wall of the Valle del Bove. By 0800 UTC the flow had reached an elevation of 2,050 m. A second fissure opened at 0335 the same morning at the base of the SE flank of NSEC at an elevation of 3,050 m. The lava flowed along the W wall of the Valle del Bove towards Serra Giannicola Grande and had reached an elevation of 2,260 m by 0815. Strong winds dispersed ash emissions from the fissures to the NE for much of the day; ashfall occurred in Linguaglossa (figure 266). The Toulouse VAAC reported an ash plume drifting ENE at 3.9 km altitude on 30 May. Samples of the ash that were collected and analyzed were shown to be about 70% lithic clasts, 25% crystals, and about 5% juvenile material. It became clear the next day that two vents along the SE-flank fissure initially produced separate flows that coalesced into a single flow which expanded along the W wall of Valle del Bove. By 0830 on 31 May that flow had reached an elevation of 1,700 m at the base of Serra Giannicola Grande. The fissure at the base of the N flank continued to propagate along the W wall of Valle del Bove also, and had reached an elevation of 2,050 near Monte Simone by 1030 on 31 May (figure 267). When the new eruptive activity began on 29 May, inclinometers measured slight but prolonged deflation of the volcano.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 265. Two fissures opened at Etna during the early morning of 30 May 2019. One started from the base of the N flank of the NSEC/SEC complex and flowed E towards the Valle del Bove, and a second fissure with two vents opened on the SE flank of NSEC and flowed SE towards Serra Giannicola Grande. Mapping of the lava flows were done with drones, using the Sentinel 2 satellite images of 30 May and thermal images from 2 June taken at the Schiena dell'Asino. Courtesy of INGV (Report 23/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 27/05/2019 - 02/06/2019, data emissione 04/06/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 266. Lava flows broke out at Etna on both the N and SE flanks of NSEC on 30 May 2019. Ash emissions were also produced from the fissures. The northern flank fissure is seen from the (a) Monte Cagliato thermal camera (EMCT) and (b) the Montagnola high definition camera (EMOH). The fissure on the SE flank was seen from the Montagnola thermal (c) and high definition (d) (EMOH) webcams. Ash emissions and lava flows were visible on the flank (e) and ashfall was recorded in Linguaglossa (f). Courtesy of INGV (Report 23/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 27/05/2019 - 02/06/2019, data emissione 04/06/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 267. Images of the active lava flows at Etna on 31 May 2019 indicated the extent of the flow activity. Lava was flowing from two vents along a fissure on the SE flank (a and b, drone images courtesy of the FlyEye Team OE). The thermal image of the flow (c) is from Schiena dell'Asi, the visible photo (d) is also taken from Schiena dell'Asi by L. Lodato. The thermal (e) and visual (f) images of the active lava fields were taken from the Monte Cagliato (EMCT) thermal webcam and the Monte Cagliato (EMCH) high definition webcam. Courtesy of INGV (Report 23/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 27/05/2019 - 02/06/2019, data emissione 04/06/2019).

Activity during June-July 2019. The flow from the N flank of NSEC ceased advancing on 1 June 2019, but the active spattering continued from the fissure on the SE flank for a few more days. The SE-flank flow had reached 1,700 m elevation in the Valle del Bove by the afternoon of 2 June (figure 268). The intensity and frequency of the explosions decreased over the next few days, with the active flow front receding back towards the vent until it stopped moving on 6 June. The NE rim of the summit cone at NSEC appeared lowered by several meters after the eruption ceased. The lava flows and explosions of 30 May-2 June produced persistent SO2 emissions that drifted E and N for over 800 km (figure 269).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 268. During the morning of 1 June 2019 Strombolian and effusive activity at Etna continued from the fissure on the SE flank of NSEC (a and b, photos by M. Neri). By the evening of 1 June there was only one remaining arm of the flow that was active (c) as seen in the Monte Cagliato (EMCT) thermal webcam. The following evening, 2 June, another thermal image(d, photo by S. Scollo) showed the remaining active arm. Courtesy of INGV (Report 23/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 27/05/2019 - 02/06/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 269. Active lava flows and Strombolian activity at Etna during 30 May-2 June 2019 contributed to significant SO2 plumes that drifted E and NE from the volcano during this time, extending as far as 800 km from the source. Captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Activity for the rest of June 2019 moved to the other craters, mainly Voragine, after the flows ceased at NSEC. On the morning of 6 June there were sporadic ash emissions from NEC that quickly dissipated. A small ash plume appeared from Bocca Nuova (BN) on 11 June. An explosive sequence that began on 13 June from the crater floor of Voragine continued intermittently through the third week of the month (figure 270) and produced several small ash plumes. A new vent opened on the crater floor and produced a small ash plume; ejecta also landed on the crater rim several times. On 22 June small, discontinuous ash emissions were produced from BN-1; they dispersed rapidly, but intermittent explosions continued during the following week. By the end of the month, only BN was exhibiting activity other than degassing; incandescence from the crater was seen during the night of 24 June and three isolated ash emissions were seen in the webcams on 26 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 270. An ash plume at Etna rose from the Voragine crater on 15 June 2019 during a series of intermittent explosions. Image taken from the Torre del Filosofo by M. Coltelli. Courtesy of INGV (Report 25/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 10/06/2019 - 16/06/2019, data emissione 18/06/2019).

Discontinuous Strombolian explosions and isolated ash emissions characterized activity during the first half of July 2019. Pulsating degassing from NEC produced ash emissions on 2 and 3 July (figure 271), and incandescence on 4 and 5 July. Intense degassing was observed at NSEC during 1-5 July, this turned into isolated ash emissions and Strombolian activity on 5 and 6 July from the E vent with explosions occurring every 1-5 minutes; the ejecta landed on the upper E flank. Dilute ash emissions were observed from Bocca Nuova on 6 July. NEC produced two major ash emissions on the evening of 8 July and the late morning of 13 July. The ash plumes quickly dispersed in the summit area. Strombolian activity at the E vent of NSEC was witnessed on 14 July. Explosive activity at Bocca Nuova remained deep within the crater during mid-July. Steam produced by the 13 June 2019 vent on the floor of Voragine occasionally contained dilute ash. During 15-17 July sporadic explosions were observed at NSEC accompanied by small puffs of ash that rapidly dispersed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 271. Surveillance cameras at Etna captured images of explosions with ash emissions from NEC on 2 (top) and 3 (bottom) July 2019. The left images are from Montagnola and the right images are from Monte Cagliato. Courtesy of INGV (Report 28/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 01/07/2019 - 07/07/2019, data emissione 09/07/2019).

Beginning early on 18 July, Strombolian activity increased at NSEC from an explosion every 1-2 minutes to multiple explosions per minute in the following hours. Continuous activity during the evening decreased sharply around 2200. About an hour later visual and thermal surveillance cameras on Monte Cagliato recorded the opening of a vent on the lower NE flank of NSEC; lava slowly advanced from the vent towards Valle del Leone (figures 272 and 273). Explosive activity resumed at the NSEC summit a few hours later, accompanied by occasional ash emissions from NEC and Bocca Nuova. Explosions tapered off briefly by noon on 19 July, but a sudden increase in explosive activity during the afternoon of 19 July produced Strombolian activity and sporadic ash emissions from three vents inside the NSEC crater. Ashfall was reported that evening in communities on the S flank of Etna. The Toulouse VAAC reported significant ash above the summit at 3.7 km altitude. Activity declined again later that evening at NSEC, but abundant ash emission began at NEC that lasted until the morning of 20 July. A new phase of explosive activity began at NSEC around 0700 on 20 July with an ash plume and an increase in lava emission from the vent on the NE flank (figure 274). By the evening of 20 July only a small amount of material was feeding the lava flow; the farthest advanced fronts were at an elevation around 2,150 m, above Monte Simone. A few small ash emissions were observed at Bocca Nuova on 21 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 272. Map of the summit craters of Etna showing the active vents and the lava flow of 19-21 July 2019. The base is modified from a 2014 DEM created by Laboratorio di Aerogeofisica-Sezione Roma 2. Black hatch marks indicate the crater rims: BN = Bocca Nuova, with NW BN-1 and SE BN-2; VOR = Voragine; NEC = North East Crater; SEC = South East Crater; NSEC = New South East Crater. Red circles indicate areas with ash emissions and/or Strombolian activity, yellow circles indicate steam and/or gas emissions only. Courtesy of INGV (Report 30/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/07/2019 - 21/07/2019, data emissione 23/07/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 273. Activity at Etna on 18 and 19 July 2019 included a new lava flow from a vent on the NE flank of NSEC and Strombolian activity at the NSEC summit vent. (a) Start of the flow from a vent on the NE flank of NSEC seen from the high-resolution camera at Monte Cagliato (EMCH) at 2307 UTC on 18 July. (b) Strombolian activity at the NSEC and glow of the new lava flow on the right seen from Tremestieri Etneo, 2347 that evening. (c) A new advancing lava flow and brown ash emission from NEC seen from the EMCH camera, 0338 on 19 July; (d) lava flow seen from the thermal camera at Monte Cagliato, 0700 on 19 July. Courtesy of INGV (Report 30/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/07/2019 - 21/07/2019, data emissione 23/07/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 274. Activity at Etna on 20 July 2019 included (a) ash emission from both NSEC and NEC craters at 0402 seen from Tremestieri Etneo, (b) ash from NSEC and the active flow on the SE flank at 0608 seen from the Monte Cagliato high-resolution camera, (c) ash emission from NSEC at 0700 seen by Tremesteieri Etneo, and (d) explosive activity at NSEC and the lava flow on the W wall of the Valle del Bove at 0700 seen from the Monte Cagliato thermal camera. Courtesy of INGV (Report 30/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/07/2019 - 21/07/2019, data emissione 23/07/2019).

Visible and thermal images taken on 24 July 2019 indicated only degassing at BN-1 and BN-2, and limited degassing from low-temperature fumaroles from the multiple vents at VOR (figure 275). After a few days of quiet, NSEC resumed discontinuous ash emissions on 25 July. A sudden increase in the amplitude of volcanic tremor was noted early on 27 July, which was followed a few hours later by the opening of a new eruptive fissure on the S flank of NSEC (figure 276). Explosive activity intensified and produced a dense ash-rich plume that dispersed to the E at an estimated altitude of 4.5-5 km. A thin layer of ash was reported in Giarre, Riposto, and Torre Archirafi. A lava flow emerged from the S portion of the fissure and expanded SW and S. By 1135 the most advanced front had reached and passed the N side of the base of the Barbagallo Mountians at an elevation of about 2,850 m. It continued to spread down into the area between Monte Frumento Supino and the pyroclastic cones of 2002-2003 (figure 277). A series of particularly strong explosions occurred from NSEC around midday, producing an ash plume that rose to 7.5 km altitude. By this time the most advanced lava fronts were located at an elevation of about 2,600 m, but they were rapidly advancing SSW towards Monte Nero, surrounding Monte Frumento Supino from the W. Explosive activity decreased significantly early in the morning on 28 July; flow activity also slowed around the same time. Occasional puffs of reddish-brown ash were noted from NEC during the morning as well. The explosions and the lava effusion ceased on the evening of 28 July. An isolated ash emission from Bocca Nuova in the early hours of 31 July was the last activity reported in July. A substantial SO2 plume (6.59 DU) from the explosions on 27 July had drifted to the E coast of the Adriatic Sea by midday on 28 July and was detected in satellite instruments.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 275. Degassing was the only activity occurring at the multiple vents at Etna's Voragine crater on 24 July 2019. The joined pit crater from the 12 January and 18 April 2019 vents is at the upper left; the newest vent formed 16 June 2019 is at lower left and appears cool in the thermal image inset a. Photo and annotations by S. Branca. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. N° 31/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 22/07/2019 - 28/07/2019, data emissione 30/07/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 276. A new eruptive fissure at Etna opened on the S flank of NSEC on 27 July 2019 (line of red circles). The base map is modified from a 2014 DEM created by Laboratorio di Aerogeofisica-Sezione Roma 2. Black hatch marks indicate the crater rims: BN=Bocca Nuova, with NW BN-1 and SE BN-2; VOR = Voragine; NEC = North East Crater; SEC = South East Crater; NSEC = New South East Crater. Red circles indicate areas with ash emissions and/or Strombolian activity, yellow circles indicate steam and/or gas emissions only. Courtesy of INGV (Report 31/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 22/07/2019 - 28/07/2019, data emissione 30/07/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 277. Lava flows and substantial ash emissions were reported at Etna on 27 July 2019. The lava flow at 1216 was located at about 2,600 m elevation (a). A thermal image of the S flank of NSEC showed the extent of the flow activity (b). A large ash plume formed after several explosions at NSEC at 1221 (c). Thermal images of the emissions were captured by the Montagnola (EMOT) webcam and by an INGV operator (d, e). Photos by S. Branca (a), B. Behncke (c), and E. Pecora (b, e). Courtesy of INGV (Report 31/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 22/07/2019 - 28/07/2019, data emissione 30/07/2019).

Activity during August-September 2019. Activity during August 2019 was focused primarily on the North East Crater (NEC), with occasional ash emissions from Bocca Nuova. The plumes were occasionally dense and dark brown from NEC. Weak emissions of dilute ash from NEC quickly dispersed on the morning of 4 August, followed by more intermittent ash emissions during 6-10 August; a few had significant concentrations of ash that drifted SE. Part of the N rim of NEC collapsed during the explosions of early August (figure 278). During a site inspection to the summit by INGV personnel on 16 August, continuous degassing at Bocca Nuova was interrupted every 10-15 minutes by explosions, but no ejecta was noted. Discontinuous emissions from NEC formed small ash plumes that rose a few hundred meters and remained in the summit area (figure 279). Thermal surveys that day indicated high temperatures of about 800°C along a 10-m-fracture zone on the northern rim of VOR. Ash emissions from NEC were persistent through 20 August when they decreased significantly; a few explosions had dilute ash emissions from Bocca Nuova that day and the next (figure 280). Sulfur dioxide emissions were notable during 19-22 August, drifting S and W hundreds of kilometers before dissipating. Isolated and dilute ash from NEC early on 28 August was interpreted by INGV as resulting from collapses along the inner crater walls. During site inspections on 27, 28, and 30 August, deep explosions from Bocca Nuova were heard, and degassing was observed at all of the summit vents.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 278. Part of the N rim of the NEC crater at Etna collapsed during explosions in early August 2019. In this image from 10 August 2019 the collapsed N wall is shown by white arrows, the old crater rim is the dashed yellow line, and the new rim is the solid yellow line. Photo by Michele Mammino, courtesy of INGV (Report 33/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 05/08/2019 - 11/08/2019, data emissione 13/08/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 279. Discontinuous emissions at Etna on 16 August 2019 from the NEC crater formed small ash plumes that rose a few hundred meters and remained in the summit area (a). Smaller ash plumes remained within the crater (b and c). Courtesy of INGV (Report 34/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 12/08/2019 - 18/08/2019, data emissione 20/08/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 280. In the foreground weak degassing occurs on 21 August 2019 at Etna's BN-2 vent inside Bocca Nuova while a small ash plume in the background rises from NEC. Photo by F. Ciancitto, courtesy of INGV (Report 35/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 19/08/2019 - 25/08/2019, data emissione 27/08/2019).

Activity during September 2019 began with discontinuous and dilute ash emissions from NEC and Bocca Nuova, as well as episodes of Strombolian activity at both vents. This was followed by increased Strombolian activity, ash emissions, and a lava flow at Voragine. Isolated ash emissions occurred at NEC and VOR on 4 and 5 September. Sporadic deep explosions were heard from BN-1 during a site inspection on 7 September. Overnight during 7-8 September the visual webcams recorded incandescence at NEC and pyroclastic ejecta observed outside the crater rim that coincided with increased tremor activity. A more intense episode of Strombolian activity began the following evening at NEC. Activity was continuous from 1800 on 9 September to 0500 on 10 September, and produced dilute ash emissions that quickly dispersed (figure 281). Slight ashfall was reported in Piedimonte Etneo, Giarre-Riposto, and Rifugio Citelli. Continuous puffs of dilute ash were observed beginning at dawn on 11 September with sporadic ejecta again landing outside the crater rim. Significant SO2 plumes were measured by satellite instruments on 10 and 11 September (figure 282).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 281. Activity at Etna overnight during 9-10 September 2019 included Strombolian activity and dilute ash emissions from NEC that were observed from webcams on the S, W, and E flanks. Courtesy of INGV (Report 38/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 09/09/2019 - 15/09/2019, data emissione 17/09/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 282. Significant SO2 plumes from Etna were detected on 10 and 11 September 2019. Increased Strombolian activity was reported by INGV from the NEC crater during 9-11 September. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Center.

In addition to the Strombolian activity at NEC on 12 September, ash emissions began that morning at VOR. They increased in frequency and then transitioned to near-continuous Strombolian activity that produced ejecta which landed in the base of the adjacent Bocca Nuova crater. The explosions from the Strombolian activity were felt in Zafferana Etnea, Aci S. Antonio, Pedara, and neighboring areas. On 13 September the webcams observed multiple periods of continuous ash emissions from NEC and short, intense pulses of ash from VOR that accompanied Strombolian activity; coarse ejecta rose 20 m above and landed outside of the crater rim, producing impact craters on the W side of the summit between VOR and BN. The vent that sourced the Strombolian activity was located in the deepest part of the Voragine crater. By 15 September, continued ejecta had formed a scoria cone around the vent inside VOR (figure 283).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 283. On 13 September 2019 Strombolian activity at Etna's NEC and VOR craters increased (a). INGV personnel observed an ash emission from NEC (b), a Strombolian explosion with ejecta from VOR (c), and impact craters from the ejecta around the rim (d). The continued activity at VOR produced a scoria cone inside the crater that grew noticeably between 13 (e) and 15 (f) September. Photos (a) and (e) courtesy of L. D'Agata, photo (f) by B. Behncke. Courtesy of INGV (Report 38/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 09/09/2019 - 15/09/2019, data emissione 17/09/2019).

Explosive activity inside VOR increased on the afternoon of 18 September 2019. Pyroclastic ejecta and ash erupted from several vents and reached heights of several tens of meters. A lava flow emerged from the W base of the scoria cone and headed S, advancing several hundred meters (figure 284). It then flowed over the saddle that divides VOR and BN, split into two branches, and entered Bocca Nuova. One stream poured into BN-1, and another stopped near the edge of the BN-2 pit crater. By 22 September the flow was cooling, but strong Strombolian activity continued inside Voragine. NEC was characterized by large-scale ash emissions during the end of September, including one in the morning of 27 September that sent a plume over the S flank of Etna before dissipating (figure 285). Strombolian activity continued within Bocca Nuova during the last week of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 284. Significant Strombolian and lava flow activity at Etna affected the Voragine crater on 18 and 19 September 2019. Visible and thermal images of the scoria cone (cono scorie) and lava flow (colata) inside Etna's large Voragine crater on 19 September 2019 (top) were taken from the southern edge of BN. Photo by F. Ciancitto. The bottom images were taken from the SW rim of BN on 18 September (left) by M. Tomasello and (right) 19 September by INGV personnel. Courtesy of INGV (Report 39/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 16/09/2019 - 22/09/2019, data emissione 24/09/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 285. An ash emission from Etna's NEC crater early on 27 September 2019 sent a plume drifting S before dissipating. It was captured by both the high-definition webcam of Bronte (EBVH, left) and the Milo (EMV) webcam. Courtesy of INGV (Report 40/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 23/09/2019 - 29/09/2019, data emissione 01/10/2019).

Geologic Background. Mount Etna, towering above Catania, Sicily's second largest city, has one of the world's longest documented records of historical volcanism, dating back to 1500 BCE. Historical lava flows of basaltic composition cover much of the surface of this massive volcano, whose edifice is the highest and most voluminous in Italy. The Mongibello stratovolcano, truncated by several small calderas, was constructed during the late Pleistocene and Holocene over an older shield volcano. The most prominent morphological feature of Etna is the Valle del Bove, a 5 x 10 km horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the east. Two styles of eruptive activity typically occur, sometimes simultaneously. Persistent explosive eruptions, sometimes with minor lava emissions, take place from one or more summit craters. Flank vents, typically with higher effusion rates, are less frequently active and originate from fissures that open progressively downward from near the summit (usually accompanied by Strombolian eruptions at the upper end). Cinder cones are commonly constructed over the vents of lower-flank lava flows. Lava flows extend to the foot of the volcano on all sides and have reached the sea over a broad area on the SE flank.

Information Contacts: Sezione di Catania - Osservatorio Etneo, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/it/ ); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Météo-France, 42 Avenue Gaspard Coriolis, F-31057 Toulouse cedex, France (URL: http://www.meteo.fr/aeroweb/info/vaac/).


Ubinas (Peru) — September 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ubinas

Peru

16.355°S, 70.903°W; summit elev. 5672 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash explosions in June-August 2019

Prior to renewed activity in June 2019, the most recent eruptive episode at Ubinas occurred between 13 September 2016 and 2 March 2017, with ash explosions that generated plumes that rose up to 1.5-2 km above the summit crater (BGVN 42:10). The volcano remained relatively quiet between April 2017 and May 2019. This report discusses an eruption that began in June 2019 and continued through at least August 2019. Most of the Information was provided by the Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP), Observatoria Vulcanologico del Sur (IGP-OVS), the Observatorio Volcanológico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico) (OVI-INGEMMET), and the Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Activity during June 2019. According to IGP, seismic activity increased suddenly on 18 June 2019 with signals indicating rock fracturing. During 21-24 June, signals indicating fluid movement emerged and, beginning at 0700 on 24 June, webcams recorded ash, gas, and steam plumes rising from the crater. Plumes were visible in satellite images rising to an altitude of 6.1 km and drifting N, NE, and E.

IGP and INGEMMET reported that seismic activity remained elevated during 24-30 June; volcano-tectonic (VT) events averaged 200 per day and signals indicating fluid movement averaged 38 events per day. Emissions of gas, water vapor, and ash rose from the crater and drifted N and NE, based on webcam views and corroborated with satellite data. According to a news article, a plume rose 400 m above the crater rim and drifted 10 km NE. Weather clouds often obscured views of the volcano, but an ash plume was visible in satellite imagery on 24 June 2019 (figure 49). On 27 June the Alert Level was raised to Yellow (second lowest on a 4-level scale).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Sentinel-2 satellite image in natural color showing an ash plume blowing north from Ubinas on 24 June 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during July 2019. IGP reported that seismic activity remained elevated during 1-15 July; VT events averaged 279 per day and long-period (LP) events (indicating fluid movement) averaged 116 events per day. Minor bluish emissions (magmatic gas) rose from the crater. Infrared imagery obtained by Sentinel-2 first showed a hotspot in the summit crater on 4 July.

According to IGP, during 17-19 July, gas-and-ash emissions occasionally rose from Ubinas's summit crater and drifted N, E, and SE. Beginning at 0227 on 19 July, as many as three explosions (two were recorded at 0227 and 0235) generated ash plumes that rose to 5.8 km above the crater rim. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported that, based on satellite images, ash plumes rose to an altitude as high as 12 km. The Alert Level was raised to Orange and the public were warned to stay beyond a 15-km radius. Ash plumes drifted as far as 250 km E and SE, reaching Bolivia. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind, including the towns of Ubinas (6.5 km SSE), Escacha, Anascapa (11 km SE), Tonohaya (7 km SSE), Sacohaya, San Miguel (10 km SE), Huarina, and Matalaque, causing some families to evacuate. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 20-23 July ash plumes rose to an altitude of 7.3-9.5 km and drifted E, ESE, and SE.

IGP reported that activity remained elevated after the 19 July explosions. A total of 1,522 earthquakes, all with magnitudes under 2.2, were recorded during 20-24 July. Explosions were detected at 0718 and 2325 on 22 July, the last ones until 3 September. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported that an ash plume rising to an altitude of 9.4 km. and drifting SE was identified in satellite data at 0040 on 22 July (figure 50). Continuous steam-and-gas emissions with sporadic pulses of ash were visible in webcam views during the rest of the day. Ash emissions near the summit crater were periodically visible on 24 July though often partially hidden by weather clouds. Ash plumes were visible in satellite images rising to an altitude of 7 km. Diffuse ash emissions near the crater were visible on 25 July, and a thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images. During 26-28 July, there were 503 people evacuated from areas affected by ashfall.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Image of ash streaming from the summit of Ubinas on 22 July 2019 captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite. Courtesy of NASA's Earth Observatory (Joshua Stevens and Kathryn Hansen).

Activity during August 2019. IGP reported that during 13-19 August blue-colored gas plumes rose to heights of less than 1.5 km above the base of the crater. The number of seismic events was 1,716 (all under M 2.4), a decrease from the total recorded the previous week.

According to IGP, blue-colored gas plumes rose above the crater and eight thermal anomalies were recorded by the MIROVA system during 20-26 August. The number of seismic events was 1,736 (all under M 2.4), and there was an increase in the magnitude and number of hybrid and LP events. Around 1030 on 26 August an ash emission rose less than 2 km above the crater rim. Continuous ash emissions on 27 August were recorded by satellite and webcam images drifting S and SW.

IGP reported that during the week of 27 August, gas-and-water-vapor plumes rose to heights less than 1 km above the summit. The number of seismic events was 2,828 (all under M 2.3), with VT signals being the most numerous. There was a slight increase in the number of LP, hybrid, and VT events compared to the previous week. The Alert Level remained at Orange.

Thermal anomalies. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected a large concentration of anomalies between 19 July until almost the end of August 2019, all of which were of low radiative power (figure 51). Infrared satellite imagery (figure 52) also showed the strong thermal anomaly associated with the explosive activity on 19 July and then the continuing hot spot inside the crater through the end of August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Log radiative power MIROVA plot of MODIS thermal anomalies at Ubinas for the year ending on 4 October 2019. Thermal activity began in the second half of July. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Sentinel-2 satellite images (Atmospheric penetration rendering, bands 12, 11, 8A) showing thermal anomalies during the eruption on 19 July (left) and inside the summit crater on 29 July 2019 (right). A hot spot inside the crater persisted through the end of August. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. A small, 1.4-km-wide caldera cuts the top of Ubinas, Peru's most active volcano, giving it a truncated appearance. It is the northernmost of three young volcanoes located along a regional structural lineament about 50 km behind the main volcanic front of Perú. The growth and destruction of Ubinas I was followed by construction of Ubinas II beginning in the mid-Pleistocene. The upper slopes of the andesitic-to-rhyolitic Ubinas II stratovolcano are composed primarily of andesitic and trachyandesitic lava flows and steepen to nearly 45 degrees. The steep-walled, 150-m-deep summit caldera contains an ash cone with a 500-m-wide funnel-shaped vent that is 200 m deep. Debris-avalanche deposits from the collapse of the SE flank about 3700 years ago extend 10 km from the volcano. Widespread plinian pumice-fall deposits include one of Holocene age about 1000 years ago. Holocene lava flows are visible on the flanks, but historical activity, documented since the 16th century, has consisted of intermittent minor-to-moderate explosive eruptions.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), Observatoria Vulcanologico del Sur (IGP-OVS), Arequipa Regional Office, Urb La Marina B-19, Cayma, Arequipa, Peru (URL: http://ovs.igp.gob.pe/); Observatorio Volcanologico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico), Barrio Magisterial Nro. 2 B-16 Umacollo - Yanahuara Arequipa (URL: http://ovi.ingemmet.gob.pe); 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); 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); Instituto Nacional de Defensa Civil Perú (INDECI) (URL: https://www.indeci.gob.pe/); Gobierno Regional de Moquegua (URL: http://www.regionmoquegua.gob.pe/web13/); La Republica (URL: https://larepublica.pe/); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — September 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Persistent explosions with local ashfall, March-August 2019; frequent lahars during June; increased explosions in early July

The dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex on the W flank of Guatemala's Santa María volcano has been growing and actively erupting since 1922. The youngest of the four vents in the complex, Caliente, has been erupting with ash explosions, pyroclastic, and lava flows for more than 40 years. A lava dome that appeared within the summit crater of Caliente in October 2016 has continued to grow, producing frequent block avalanches down the flanks. Daily explosions of steam and ash also continued during March-August 2019, the period covered in this report, with information primarily from Guatemala's INSIVUMEH (Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meterologia e Hidrologia) and the Washington VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center).

Activity at Santa Maria continued with little variation from previous months during March-August 2019, except for a short-lived increase in the frequency and intensity of explosions during early July that produced minor pyroclastic flows. Plumes of steam with minor magmatic gases rose continuously from both the S rim of the Caliente crater and from the summit of the growing dome throughout the period. They usually rose 100-700 m above the summit, generally drifting W or SW, and occasionally SE, before dissipating. In addition, daily explosions with varying amounts of ash rose to altitudes of around 2.8-3.5 km and usually extended no more than 25 km before dissipating. Most of the plumes drifted SW or SE; minor ashfall occurred in the adjacent hills almost daily and was reported at the fincas located within 10 km in those directions several times each month. Continued growth of the Caliente lava dome resulted in daily block avalanches descending its flanks to the base of the dome. The MIROVA plot of thermal energy during this time shows a consistent level of heat from early December 2018 through April 2019, very little activity during May and June, and a short-lived spike in activity from late June through early July that coincides with the increase in explosion rate and intensity. Activity decreased later in July and into August (figure 95).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Thermal activity at Santa Maria from 8 December 2018 through August 2019 was similar to previous months. A noticeable decrease in activity occurred during May and early June 2019 with a short-lived spike during late June and early July that corresponded to an increase in explosion rate and intensity during that brief interval. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Explosive activity increased slightly during March 2019 to 474 events from 409 events during February, averaging about 15 per day; the majority of explosions were weak to moderate in strength. The moderate explosions generated small block avalanches daily that sent debris 300 m down the flanks of Caliente dome; the explosions contained low levels of ash and large quantities of steam. Daily activity consisted mostly of degassing around the southern rim of the crater and within the central dome, with plumes rising about 100 m from the S rim, and pulsating between 100-400 m above the central dome, usually white and sometimes blue with gases; steam plumes drifted as far as 10 km. The weak ash emissions resulted in ashfall close to the volcano, primarily to the W and SW in the mountainous areas of El Faro, Patzulín, La Florida, and Monte Bello farms. During mid-March, residents of the villages of Las Marías and El Viejo Palmar, located S of the dome, reported the smell of sulfur. The seismic station STG3 registered 8-23 explosions daily that produced ash plumes which rose to altitudes between 2.7 and 3.3 km altitude. Explosions from the S rim were usually steam rich, while reddish oxidized ash was more common from the NE edge of the growing dome in the summit crater (figure 96). The constant block avalanches were generated by viscous lava slowly emerging from the growing summit dome, and also from the explosive activity. On the steep S flank of Santa Maria, blocks up to 3 m in diameter often produce small plumes of ash and debris as they fall.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Mostly steam rose from the S rim of the Caliente dome at Santa Maria throughout March-August 2019. On 1 March 2019, oxidized reddish ash from the growing dome was also part of the emissions (left). The dome continued to grow, essentially filling the inside of the summit crater of Caliente. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (INFORME MENSUAL DE ACTIVIDAD VOLCÁNICA MARZO 2019, VOLCÁN SANTIAGUITO).

Late on 4 March 2019 an explosion was heard 10 km away that generated incandescence 100 m above the crater and block avalanches that descended to the base of the Caliente dome; it also resulted in ashfall around the perimeter of the volcano. Powerful block avalanches were reported in Santa María creek on 8 March. Ashfall was reported in the villages of San Marcos and Loma Linda Palajunoj on 14 March. Ash plumes on 18 March drifted W and caused ashfall in the villages of Santa María de Jesús and Calaguache. A small amount of ashfall was reported on 26 March around San Marcos Palajunoj. The Washington VAAC reported volcanic ash drifting W from the summit on 8 March at 4.6 km altitude. A small ash plume was visible in satellite imagery moving WSW on 11 March at 4.6 km altitude. On 20 March a plume was detected drifting SW at 3.9 km altitude for a short time before dissipating.

Explosion rates of 10-14 per day were typical for April 2019. Ash plumes rose to 2.7-3.2 km altitude. Block avalanches reached the base of the Caliente dome each day. Steam and gas plumes pulsated 100-400 m above the S rim of the crater (figure 97). Ashfall in the immediate vicinity of the volcano, generally on the W and SW flanks was also a daily feature. The Washington VAAC reported multiple small ash emissions on 2 April moving W and dissipating quickly at 4.9 km altitude. An ash plume from two emissions drifted WSW at 4.3 km altitude on 10 April, and on 22 April two small discrete emissions were observed in satellite images moving SE at 4.6 km altitude. Ashfall was reported on 13 and 14 April in the nearby mountains and areas around Finca San José to the SE. On 15 and 23 April, ash plumes drifted W and ashfall was reported in the area of San Marcos and Loma Lina Palajunoj.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Degassing from the Caliente dome at Santa Maria on 3 April (left, infrared image) and 13 April 2019 (right) produced steam-rich plumes with minor quantities of ash. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo:, Volcán Santiaguito, Semana del 30 de marzo al 05 de abril de 2019).

Constant degassing continued from the S rim of the crater during May 2019 while pulses of steam and gas rose 100-500 m from the dome at the center of the summit crater. Weak to moderate explosions continued at a rate of 8-12 per day. White and gray plumes of steam and ash rose 300-700 m above the crater daily. A moderate-size lahar on 16 May descended the Rio San Isisdro; it was 20 m wide and carried blocks 2 m in diameter. Ashfall was reported on the W flank around the area of San Marcos and Loma Lina Palajunoj on 21 and 24 May. INSIVIUMEH reported on 29 and 30 May that seismic station STG8 recorded moderate lahars descending the Rio San Isidro (a drainage to the Rio Tambor). The thick, pasty lahars transported blocks 1-3 m in diameter, branches, and tree trunks. They were 20 m wide and 1.5-2 m deep.

Weak to moderate explosions continued during June 2019 at a rate of 9-12 per day, producing plumes of ash and steam that rose 300-700 m above the Caliente crater. On 1 June explosions produced ashfall to the E over the areas of Calaguache, Las Marías and other nearby communities. Ash plumes commonly reached 3.0-3.3 km altitude and drifted W and SW, and block avalanches constantly descended the E and SE flanks from the dome at the top of Caliente. Ashfall was reported at the Santa María de Jesús community on 7 June. Ashfall to the W in San Marcos and Loma Linda Palajunoj was reported on 10, 15, 18, 20, and 22 June. Ashfall to the SE in Fincas Monte Claro and El Patrocinio was reported on 26 June. A few of the explosions on 28 June were heard up to 10 km away. On 29 June ash dispersed to the W again over the farms of San Marcos, Monte Claro, and El Patrocinio in the area of Palajunoj; the next day, ash was reported in Loma Linda and finca Monte Bello to the SW. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions on 29 June that rose to 4.3 km and drifted W; two ash clouds were observed, one was 35 km from Santa Maria and the second drifted 55 km before dissipating.

With the onset of the rainy season, eight lahars were reported during June. The Rio Cabello de Ángel, a tributary of Río Nimá I (which flows into Rio Samalá) on the SE flank experienced lahars on 3, 5, 11, 12, 21, and 30 June (figure 98). The lahars were 15-20 m wide, 1-2 m deep, and carried branches, tree trunks and blocks 1-3 m in diameter. On 12 and 15 June, lahars descended the Río San Isidro on the SW flank. They were 1.5 m deep, 15-20 m wide and carried tree trunks and blocks up to 2 m in diameter.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Activity at Santa Maria on 12 June 2019 included explosions with abundant ash and lahars. This lahar is in the Rio Nimá I, and started in the Rio Cabello de Ángel. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito, Semana del 08 al 14 de junio de 2019).

An increase in the frequency and intensity of seismic events was noted beginning on 28 June that lasted through 6 July 2019. Explosions occurred at a rate of 5-6 per hour, reaching 40-45 events per day instead of the 12-15 typical of previous months. Ash plumes rose to 3.5-3.8 km altitude and drifted W, SW, and S as far as 10 km, and ashfall was reported in San Marcos Palajunoj, Loma Linda villages, Monte Bello farms, El Faro, La Mosqueta, La Florida, and Monte Claro. Activity decreased after 7 July back to similar levels of the previous months. As a result of the increased activity during the first week of July, several small pyroclastic flows (also known as pyroclastic density currents or PDC's) were generated that traveled up to 1 km down the S, SE, and E flanks during 2-5 and 13 July, in addition to the constant block avalanches from the dome extrusion and explosions (figure 99). As activity levels decreased after 6 July, the ash plume heights lowered to 3.3 km altitude, while pulsating degassing continued from the summit dome, rising 100-500 m.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. An increase in explosive activity at Santa Maria during the first week of July 2019 resulted in several small pyroclastic flows descending the flanks, including one on 3 July 2019 (left). An ash emission on 19 July 2019 rose above the nearby summit of Santa Maria (right). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (INFORME MENSUAL DE ACTIVIDAD VOLCÁNICA JULIO 2019, VOLCÁN SANTIAGUITO).

The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume on 2 July from a series of emissions that rose to 3.9 km altitude and drifted W. Satellite imagery on 4 July showed a puff of ash moving W from the summit at 4.3 km altitude. The next day an ash emission was observed in satellite imagery moving W at 4.9 km altitude. A plume on 11 July drifted W at 4.3 km for several hours before dissipating. Ashfall was reported on 2 July at the San Marcos farm and in the villages of Monte Claro and El Patrocinio in the Palajunoj area. On 4 and 6 July ash fell to the SW and W in San Marcos and Loma Linda Palajunoj. On 5 July there were reports of ashfall in Monte Claro and areas around San Marcos Palajunoj and some explosions were heard 5 km away. In Monte Claro to the SW ash fell on 7 July and sounds were heard 5 km away every three minutes. Incandescence was observed in the early morning on the SE and NE flanks of the dome. During 8 and 9 July, four to eight weak explosions per hour were noted and ash dispersed SW, especially over Monte Claro; pulsating degassing noises were heard every two minutes. Monte Bello and Loma Linda reported ashfall on 12, 16, 17, 19, and 20 July. On 15, 22, 26, and 29 July ash was reported in San Marcos and Loma Linda Palajunoj; 33 explosions occurred on 25 July. Two lahars were reported on 8 July. A strong one in the Rio San Isidro was more than 2 m deep, and 20-25 m wide with blocks as large as 3 m in diameter. A more moderate lahar affected Rio Cabello de Angel and was also 2 m deep. It was 15-20 m wide and had blocks 1-2 m in diameter.

Activity declined further during August 2019. Constant degassing continued from the S rim of the crater, but only occasional pulses of steam and gas rose from the central dome. Weak to moderate explosions occurred at a rate of 15-20 per day. White and gray plumes with small amounts of ash rose 300-800 m above the summit daily. Block avalanches descended to the base of the dome and sent fine ash particles down the SE and S flanks. Ashfall was common within 5 km of the summit, generally on the SW flank, near Monte Bello farm, Loma Linda village and San Marcos Palajunoj. Explosions rates decreased to 10-11 per day during the last week of the month. Degassing and ash plumes rose to 2.9-3.2 km altitude throughout the month.

On 1 August ash plumes drifted 10-15 km SW, causing ashfall in that direction. On 3 and 27 August ashfall occurred at Monte Claro and El Patrocinio in the Palajunoj area to the SW. On 7 and 31 August ashfall was reported in Monte Claro. San Marcos and Loma Linda Palajunoj reported ash on 11, 16, 19, and 23 August. On 21 August ashfall was reported to the SE around Finca San José. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery on 10 August 2019 drifting W at 4.3 km altitude a few kilometers from the summit which dissipated quickly. On 27 August a plume was observed 25 km W of the summit at 3.9 km altitude, dissipating rapidly. On 3 August a moderate lahar descended the Rio Cabello de Ángel that was 1 m deep, 15 m wide and carried blocks up to 1 m in diameter along with branches and tree trunks. A large lahar on 20 August descended Río Cabello de Ángel; it was 2-3 m high, 15 m wide and carried blocks 1-2 m diameter, causing erosion along the flanks of the drainage (figure 100).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. A substantial lahar at Santa Maria on 20 August 2019 sent debris down the Río Cabello de Ángel in the vicinity of El Viejo Palmar (left), the spectrogram of the seismic signal lasted for 2 hours and 16 minutes (top right), and the seismograph was saturated with the lahar signal in red (bottom right). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito, Semana del 17 al 23 de agosto de 2019).

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); 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/); 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).


Stromboli (Italy) — September 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Major explosions on 3 July and 28 August 2019; hiker killed by ejecta

Near-constant fountains of lava at Stromboli have served as a natural beacon in the Tyrrhenian Sea for at least 2,000 years. Eruptive activity at the summit consistently occurs from multiple vents at both a north crater area (N area) and a southern crater group (CS area) on the Terrazza Craterica at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a large scarp that runs from the summit down the NW side of the volcano-island. Periodic lava flows emerge from the vents and flow down the scarp, sometimes reaching the sea; occasional large explosions produce ash plumes and pyroclastic flows. Thermal and visual cameras that monitor activity at the vents are located on the nearby Pizzo Sopra La Fossa, above the Terrazza Craterica, and at multiple locations on the flanks of the volcano. Detailed information for Stromboli is provided by Italy's Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) as well as other satellite sources of data; March-August 2019 is covered in this report.

Typical eruptive activity recorded at Stromboli by INGV during March-June 2019 was similar to activity of the past few years (table 6); two major explosions occurred in July and August with a fatality during the 3 July event. In the north crater area, both vents N1 and N2 emitted fine (ash) ejecta, occasionally mixed with coarser lapilli and bombs; most explosions rose less than 80 m above the vents, some reached 150 m. Average explosion rates ranged from 1 to 12 per hour. In the CS crater area continuous degassing and occasional intense spattering were typical at vent C, vent S1 was a low-intensity incandescent jet throughout the period. Explosions from vent S2 produced 80-150 m high ejecta of ash, lapilli, and bombs at average rates of 2-17 per hour.

After a high-energy explosion and lava flow on 25 June, a major explosion with an ash plume and pyroclastic flow occurred on 3 July 2019; ejecta was responsible for the death of a hiker lower down on the flank and destroyed monitoring equipment near the summit. After the explosion on 3 July, coarse ejecta and multiple lava flows and spatter cones emerged from the N area, and explosion rates increased to 4-19 per hour. At the CS area, lava flows emerged from all the vents and spatter cones formed. Explosion intensity ranged from low to very high with the finer ash ejecta rising over 250 m from the vents and causing ashfall in multiple places on the island. This was followed by about 7 weeks of heightened unrest and lava flows from multiple vents. A second major explosion with an ash plume and pyroclastic flow on 28 August reshaped the summit area yet again and scattered pyroclastic debris over the communities on the SW flank near the ocean.

Table 6. Summary of activity levels at Stromboli, March-August 2019. Low-intensity activity indicates ejecta rising less than 80 m, medium-intensity is ejecta rising less than 150 m, and high-intensity is ejecta rising over 200 m above the vent. Data courtesy of INGV.

Month North (N) Area Activity Central-South (CS) Area Activity
Mar 2019 Low- to medium-intensity explosions at both N1 and N2. Coarse-grained ejecta (lapilli and bombs) from N1, fine-grained ash mixed with coarse material from N2. Explosion rates of 3-12 per hour. Medium-intensity explosions from both S area vents, lapilli and bombs mixed with ash, 2-9 explosions per hour.
Apr 2019 Low- to medium-intensity explosions at both N1 and N2. Coarse-grained ejecta (lapilli and bombs) from N1, fine-grained ash from N2. Explosion rates of 5-12 per hour. Continuous degassing from C, low-intensity incandescent jets form S1, up to 4 emission points from S2, mostly fine-grained ejecta, 4-15 explosions per hour.
May 2019 Low- to medium-intensity explosions at both N1 and N2. Mostly fine-grained ejecta, occasionally mixed with coarser material. Explosion rates of 2-8 per hour. Continuous degassing from C, low-intensity incandescent jets form S1, low- to medium-intensity explosions from C, S1, and S2. Mostly fine-grained ejecta, occasionally mixed with coarser material. Explosion rates of 5-16 per hour.
June 2019 Low- to medium-intensity explosions at both N1 and N2. Mostly fine-grained ejecta, occasionally mixed with coarser material. Explosion rates of 1-12 per hour. Continuous degassing at C and sporadic short duration spattering events, low- to medium-intensity incandescent jets at S1, multiple emission points from S2. Ejecta of larger lapilli and bombs mixed with ash. Explosion rates of 2-17 per hour. High-energy explosion on 25 June.
Jul 2019 Low- to medium-intensity explosions at both N1 and N2. Coarse ejecta after major explosion on 3 July. Intermittent intense spattering. Explosions rates of 4-19 per hour. Lava flows from all vents. Major explosion and pyroclastic flow, 3 July, with fatality from falling ejecta. Lava flows from all vents. Continuous degassing and variable intensity explosions from low to very high (over 200 m). Coarse ejecta until 20 July; followed by mostly ash.
Aug 2019 Low- to medium-intensity explosions from the N area, coarse ejecta and occasional intense spattering. Explosion rates of 7-17 per hour. Lava flows. Low- to high-intensity explosions; ash ejecta over 200 m; ashfall during week 1 in S. Bartolo area, Scari, and Piscità. Major explosion on 28 August, with 4-km-high ash plume and pyroclastic flow; lava flows. Explosion rates of 4-16 per hour.

Thermal activity was low from March through early June 2019 as recorded in the MIROVA Log Radiative Power data from MODIS infrared satellite information. A sharp increase in thermal energy coincided with a large explosion and the emergence of numerous lava flows from the summit beginning in late June (figure 144). High heat-flow continued through the end of August and dropped back down at the beginning of September 2019 after the major 28 August explosion.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 144. Thermal activity at Stromboli was low and intermittent from 12 November 2018 through early June 2019, based on this MIROVA plot of thermal activity through August 2019. A spike in thermal energy in late June coincided with a major explosion on 3 July and the emergence of lava from the summit area. Heightened activity continued from 3 July through 28 August with multiple lava flows emerging from both crater areas. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during March-June 2019. Activity was low during March 2019. Low- to medium-intensity explosions occurred at both vents N1 and N2 in the north area. Ejecta was mostly coarse grained (lapilli and bombs) from N1 and fine-grained ash mixed with some coarse material from N2. Intense spattering activity was reported from N2 on 29 March. Explosion rates were reported at 5-12 per hour. At the CS area, medium-intensity explosions from both south area vents produced lapilli and bombs mixed with ash at a rate of 2-9 explosions per hour.

During a visit to the Terrazza Craterica on 2 April 2019, degassing was visible from vents N1, N2, C, and S2; activity continued at similar levels to March throughout the month. Low- and medium-intensity explosions with coarse ejecta, averaging 3-12 per hour, were typical at vent N1 while low-intensity explosions with fine-grained (ash) ejecta occurred at a similar rate from N2. Continuous degassing was observed at the C vent, and low-intensity incandescent jets were present at S1 throughout the month. Multiple emission points from S2 (as many as 4) produced low- to medium-intensity explosions at rates of 4-14 explosions per hour; the ejecta was mostly fine-grained mixed with some coarse material. Frequent explosions on 19 April produced abundant pyroclastic material in the summit area.

Low to medium levels of explosive activity at all of the vents continued during May 2019. Emissions consisted mostly of ash occasionally mixed with coarser material (lapilli and bombs). Rates of explosion were 2-8 per hour in the north area, and 5-16 per hour in the CS Area. Explosions of low-intensity continued from all the vents during the first part of June at rates averaging 2-12 per hour, although brief periods of high-frequency explosions (more than 21 events per hour) were reported during the week of 10 June. Strong degassing was observed from crater C during an inspection on 12 June (figure 145); by the third week, continuous degassing was interrupted at C by sporadic short-duration spattering events.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 145. The Terrazza Craterica as seen from the Pizzo sopra la Fossa (above, near the summit) at Stromboli on 12 June 2019. In red are the two craters (N1 and N2) of the N crater area, in green is the CS crater area with 2 vents (C1 and C2) in the central crater and S2, the largest and deepest crater in the CS area, also with at least two vents. S1 is hidden by the degassing of crater C. Photograph by Giuseppe Salerno, courtesy of INGV (Report 25/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 10/06/2019-16/06/2019).

Late on 25 June 2019, a high-energy explosion that lasted for 28 seconds affected vent C in the CS area. The ejecta covered a large part of the Terrazza Craterica, with abundant material landing in the Valle della Luna. An ash plume rose over 250 m after the explosion and drifted S. After that, explosion frequency varied from medium-high (17/hour) on 25 June to high (25/hour) on 28 June. On 29 June researchers inspected the summit and noted changes from the explosive events. Thermal imagery indicated that the magma level at N1 was almost at the crater rim. The magma level at N2 was lower and explosive activity was less intense. At vent C, near-constant Strombolian activity with sporadic, more intense explosions produced black ash around the enlarged vent. At vent S2, a pyroclastic cone at the center of the crater produced vertical jets of gas, lapilli, and bombs that exceeded 100 m in height (figure 146).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 146. A high-energy explosion at Stromboli late on 25 June 2019 affected vent C in the CS Area (top row). The ejecta covered a large part of the Terrazza Craterica. An ash plume rose over 250 m after the explosion and drifted S. On 29 June (bottom row) thermal imagery indicated that the magma level at N1 was almost at the crater rim. At vent C, near-constant Strombolian activity was interrupted with sporadic, more intense explosions. At vent S2, a pyroclastic cone at the center of the crater produced vertical jets of gas, lapilli, and bombs that exceeded 100 m in height. Photo 2f by L. Lodato, courtesy of INGV (Rep 27/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 24/06/2019-30/06/2019).

Activity during July 2019. A large explosion accompanied by lava and pyroclastic flows affected the summit and western flank of Stromboli on 3 July 2019. Around 1400 local time an explosion from the CS area generated a lava flow that spilled onto the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco. Just under an hour later several events took place: lava flows emerged from the C vent and headed E, from the N1 and N2 vents and flowed N towards Bastimento, and from vent S2 (figure 147). The emergence of the flows was followed a minute later by two lateral blasts from the CS area, and a major explosion that involved the entire Terrazza Craterica lasted for about one minute (figure 148). Within seconds, the pyroclastic debris had engulfed and destroyed the thermal camera located above the Terrazza Craterica on the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa and sent a plume of debris across the W flank of the island (figure 149). Two seismic stations were also destroyed in the event. The Toulouse VAAC reported a plume composed mostly of SO2 at 9.1 km altitude shortly after the explosion. They noted that ash was present in the vicinity of the volcano, but no significant ashfall was expected. INGV scientists observed the ash plume at 4 km above the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 147. A major eruptive event at Stromboli on 3 July 2019 began with an explosion from the CS area that generated a lava flow at 1359 (left). About 45 minutes later (at 1443:40), lava flows emerged from all of the summit vents (right), followed closely by a major explosion. Courtesy of INGV (Eruzione Stromboli. Comunicato straordinario del 4 luglio 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 148. A major explosion at Stromboli beginning at 1445 on 3 July 2019 was preceded by lava flows from all the summit vents in the previous 60 seconds (top row). This thermal camera (SPT) and other monitoring equipment on the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa above the vents were destroyed in the explosion (bottom row). Courtesy of INGV (Il parossismo dello Stromboli del 3 luglio 2019 e l'attività nei giorni successivi: il punto della situazione al 13 luglio 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 149. The monitoring equipment at Stromboli on the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa above the summit was destroyed in the major explosion of 3 July 2019 (left, photo by F. Ciancitto). Most of the W half of the island was affected by pyroclastic debris after the explosion, including the town of Ginostra (right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 28/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 01/07/2019 - 07/07/2019).

Two pyroclastic flows were produced as a result of the explosions; they traveled down the Sciara and across the water for about 1 km before collapsing into the sea (figure 150). A hiker from Sicily was killed in the eruption and a Brazilian friend who was with him was badly injured, according to a Sicilian news source, ANSA, and the New York Post. They were hit by flying ejecta while hiking in the Punta dei Corvi area, due W of the summit and slightly N of Ginostra, about 100 m above sea level according to INGV. Most of the ejecta from the explosion dispersed to the WSW of the summit. Fallout also ignited vegetation on the slopes which narrowly missed destroying structures in the town. Ejecta blocks and bombs tens of centimeters to meters in diameter were scattered over a large area around the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa and the Valle della Luna in the direction of Ginostra. Smaller material landed in Ginostra and was composed largely of blonde pumice, that floated in the bay (figure 151). The breccia front of the lava flows produced incandescent blocks that reached the coastline. High on the SE flank, the abundant spatter of hot pyroclastic ejecta coalesced into a flow that moved 200-300 m down the flank before cooling, crossing the path normally used by visitors to the summit (figure 152).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 150. At the time of the major explosion of Stromboli on 3 July 2019 people on a German ship located about 2 km off the northern coast captured several images of the event. (a) Two pyroclastic flows traveled down the Sciara del Fuoco and spread over the sea up to about 1 km from the coast. (b) The eruption column was observed rising several kilometers above the summit as debris descended the Sciara del Fuoco. (c) Fires on the NW flank were started by incandescent pyroclastic debris. The photos were taken by Egon Karcher and used with permission of the author by INGV. Courtesy of INGV (Il parossismo dello Stromboli del 3 luglio 2019 e l'attività nei giorni successivi: il punto della situazione al 13 luglio 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 151. Pumice filled the harbor on 4 July 2019 (left) and was still on roofs (right) on 7 July 2019 in the small port of Ginostra on the SW flank of Stromboli after the large explosion on 3 July 2019. Photos by Gianfilippo De Astis, courtesy of INGV (Il parossismo dello Stromboli del 3 luglio 2019 e l'attività nei giorni successivi: il punto della situazione al 13 luglio 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 152. A small lava flow high on the SE flank of Stromboli formed during the 3 July 2019 event from abundant spatter of hot pyroclastic ejecta that coalesced into a flow and moved 200-300 m down the flank before cooling, crossing the path normally used by visitors to the summit. Photo by Boris Behncke taken on 9 July 2019, courtesy of INGV (Il parossismo dello Stromboli del 3 luglio 2019 e l'attività nei giorni successivi: il punto della situazione al 13 luglio 2019).

INGV scientists inspected the summit on 4 and 5 July 2019 and noted that the rim of the Terrazza Craterica facing the Sciara del Fuoco in both the S and N areas had been destroyed, but the crater edge near the central area was not affected. In addition, the N area appeared significantly enlarged and deepened, forming a single crater where the former N1 and N2 vents had been located; an incandescent jet was active in the CS area (figure 153). Explosive activity declined significantly after the major explosions, although moderate overflows of lava continued from multiple vents, especially the CS area where the flows traveled about halfway down the southern part of the Sciara del Fuoco; lava also flowed E towards Rina Grande (about 0.5 km E of the summit). The main lava flows active between 3 and 4 July produced a small lava field along the Sciara del Fuoco which flowed down to an elevation of 210 m in four flows along the S edge of the scarp (figure 154). Additional block avalanches rolled to the coastline.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 153. The summit craters of Stromboli were significantly altered during the explosive event of 3 July 2019. The rim of the Terrazza Craterica facing the Sciara del Fuoco in both the CS and N areas was destroyed, but the crater edge near the CS area was not affected. In addition, the N area was significantly enlarged and deepened, forming a single crater where the former N1 and N2 vents had been located; an incandescent jet was active in the CS area. Courtesy of INGV (Report 28/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 01/07/2019 - 07/07/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 154. The main lava flows active between 3 and 4 July at Stromboli after the major explosion on 3 July 2019 produced a small lava field along the Sciara del Fuoco. Left: Aerial photo taken by Stefano Branca (INGV-OE) on 5 July; the yellow arrow shows a small overflow from the N crater area, the red arrow shows the largest overflow from the CS crater area. Right: Flows from the CS area traveled down to an elevation of 210 m in four flows along the S edge of the scarp. Additional block avalanches rolled to the coastline. Right photo by Francesco Ciancitto taken on 5 July 2019. Courtesy of INGV (Il parossismo dello Stromboli del 3 luglio 2019 e l'attività nei giorni successivi: il punto della situazione al 13 luglio 2019).

During the second week of July lava flows continued; on 8 July volcanologists reported two small lava flows from the CS area flowing towards the Sciara del Fuoco. A third flow was noted the following day. The farthest flow front was at about 500 m elevation on 10 July, and the flow at the center of the Sciara del Fuoco was at about 680 m. An overflow from the N area during the evening of 12 July produced two small flows that remained high on the N side of the scarp; lava continued flowing from the CS area into the next day. A new flow from the N area late on 14 July traveled down the N part of the scarp (figure 155).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 155. During the second week of July 2019 lava flows at Stromboli continued from both crater areas. Top left: Lava flows from the CS area flowed down the Sciara on 9 July while Strombolian activity continued at the summit, photo by P. Anghemo, mountain guide. Bottom left: A lava flow from the CS area at Stromboli is viewed from Punta dei Corvi during the night of 12-13 July 2019. Photo by Francesco Ciancitto. Right: The active flows on 10 July (in red) were much closer to the summit crater than they had been during 3-4 July (in yellow). Courtesy of INGV, top left and right photos published in Report 29/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 08/07/2019 - 14/07/2019; bottom left photo published in 'Il parossismo dello Stromboli del 3 luglio 2019 e l'attività nei giorni successivi: il punto della situazione al 13 luglio 2019'.

A new video station with a thermal camera was installed at Punta dei Corvi, a short distance N of Ginostra on the SW coast, during 17-20 July 2019. During the third week of July lava continued to flow from the CS crater area onto the southern part of the Sciara del Fuoco, but the active flow area remained on the upper part of the scarp; block avalanches continuously rolled down to the coastline (figure 156). During visits to the summit area on 26 July and 1 August activity at the Terrazza Craterica was observed by INGV scientists. There were at least six active vents in the N area, including a scoria cone and an intensely spattering hornito; the other vents were ejecting coarse material in jets of Strombolian activity. In the CS area, a large scoria cone was clearly visible from the Pizzo, with two active vents generating medium- to high-intensity explosions rich in volcanic ash mixed with coarse ejecta (figures 157 and 158). Some of the finer-grained material in the jets reached 200 m above the vents. A second smaller cone in the CS area faced the southernmost part of the Sciara del Fuoco and produced sporadic low-intensity "bubble explosions." Effusive activity decreased during the last week of July; the active lava front was located at about 600 m elevation. Blocks continued to roll down the scarp, mostly from the explosive activity, and were visible from Punta dei Corvi.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 156. Lava continued to flow from the CS area at Stromboli during the third week of July 2019, although the active flow area remained near the top of the scarp. Block avalanches continued to travel down the scarp. Image taken by di Francesco Ciancitto from Punta dei Corvi on 19 July 2019. Courtesy of INGV (Report 30/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/07/2019 - 21/07/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 157. Thermal and visible images of Terrazza Craterica at the summit of Stromboli from the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa on 1 August 2019 showed significant changes since the major explosion on 3 July 2019. A large scoria cone was present in the CS area (left) and at least six vents from multiple cones were active in the N area (right). The active lava flow 'Trabocco Lavico' emerged from the southernmost part of the CS area (far left). Courtesy if INGV (Report 32/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 29/07/2019 - 04/08/2019.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 158. At the summit of Stromboli on 1 August 2019 two active vents inside a large cone in the CS area generated medium- to high-intensity explosions rich in volcanic ash mixed with coarse ejecta (left). There were at least six active vents in the N area (right), including a scoria cone and an intensely spattering hornito; the other vents were ejecting coarse material in jets of Strombolian activity. Courtesy of INGV (Report 32/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 29/07/2019 - 04/08/2019).

Activity during August 2019. A small overflow of lava on 4 August 2019 from the N area lasted for about 20 minutes and formed a flow that went a few hundred meters down the Sciara del Fuoco. Observations made at the summit on 7 and 8 August 2019 indicated that nine vents were active in the N crater area, three of which had scoria cones built around them (figure 159). They all produced low- to medium-intensity Strombolian activity. In the CS area, a large scoria cone was visible from the summit that generated medium- to high-intensity explosions rich in volcanic ash, which sometimes rose more than 200 m above the vent. Lava overflowing from the CS area on 8 August was confined to the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco, at an elevation between 500 and 600 m (figure 160). Occasional block avalanches from the active lava fronts traveled down the scarp. Ashfall was reported in the S. Bartolo area, Scari, and Piscità during the first week of August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 159. Nine vents were active in the N crater area of Stromboli on 7 August 2019, three of which had scoria cones built around them. They all produced low- to medium-intensity Strombolian activity (top). In the CS area (bottom), a large scoria cone was visible from the summit that generated medium- to high-intensity explosions rich in volcanic ash, which sometimes rose more than 200 m above the vent. Visible images taken by S. Consoli, thermal images taken by S. Branca. Courtesy of INGV (Report 33/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 05/08/2019 - 11/08/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 160. Multiple Lava flows were still active on the Sciara del Fuoco at Stromboli on 7 August 2019. Top images by INGV personnel S Branca and S. Consoli, lower images by A. Di Pietro volcanological guide. Courtesy of INGV (Report 33/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 05/08/2019 - 11/08/2019).

Drone surveys on 13 and 14 August 2019 confirmed that sustained Strombolian activity continued both in the N area and the CS area. Lava flows continued from two vents in the CS area; they ceased briefly on 16 and 17 August but resumed on the 18th, with the lava fronts reaching 500-600 m elevation (figure 161). A fracture field located in the southern part of the Sciara del Fuoco was first identified in drone imagery on 9 July. Repeated surveys through mid-August indicated that about ten fractures were identifiable trending approximately N-S and ranged in length from 2.5 to 21 m; they did not change significantly during the period. An overflight on 23 August identified the main areas of activity at the summit. A NE-SW alignment of 13 vents within the N area was located along the crater edge that overlooks the Sciara del Fuoco. At the CS area, the large scoria cone had two active vents, there was a pit crater, and two smaller scoria cones. A 50-m-long lava tube emerged from one of the smaller lava cones and fed two small flows that emerged at the top of the Sciara del Fuoco (figure 162).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 161. Detail of a vent at Stromboli on 14 August 2019 located in the SW part of the Sciara del Fuoco at an elevation of 730 m. Flow is tens of meters long. Courtesy of INGV (COMUNICATO DI DETTAGLIO STROMBOLI del 20190816 ORE 17:05 LT).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 162. Thermal and visual imagery of the summit of Stromboli on 23 August 2019 revealed a NE-SW alignment of 13 vents within the N area located along the crater edge that overlooks the Sciara del Fuoco. At the CS area, the large scoria cone had two active vents (1 and 2), there was a pit crater (3), and two smaller scoria cones (4). A 50-m-long lava tube formed from one of the smaller lava cones (5) and fed two small flows that emerged at the top of the Sciara del Fuoco. Photos by L. Lodato and S. Branca, courtesy of INGV (Report 35/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 19/08/2019 - 25/08/2019).

INGV reported a strong explosion from the CS area at 1217 (local time) on 28 August 2019. Ejecta covered the Terrazza Craterica and sent debris rolling down the Sciara del Fuoco to the coastline. A strong seismic signal was recorded, and a large ash plume rose more than 2 km above the summit (figure 163). The Toulouse VAAC reported the ash plume at 3.7-4.6 km altitude, moving E and rapidly dissipating, shortly after the event. Once again, a pyroclastic flow traveled down the Sciara and several hundred meters out to sea (figures 164). The entire summit was covered with debris. The complex of small scoria cones within the N area that had formed since the 3 July explosion was destroyed; part of the N area crater rim was also destroyed allowing lava to flow down the Sciara where it reached the coastline by early evening.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 163. A major explosion at Stromboli on 28 August 2019 produced a high ash plume and a pyroclastic flow. The seismic trace from the STR4 station (top left) indicated a major event. The ash plume from the explosion was reported to be more than 2 km high (right). The thermal camera located at Stromboli's Punta dei Corvi on the southern edge of the Sciara del Fuoco captured both the pyroclastic flow and the ash plume produced in the explosion (bottom left). Seismogram and thermal image courtesy of INGV (INGVvulcani blog, 30 AGOSTO 2019INGVVULCANI, Nuovo parossismo a Stromboli, 28 agosto 2019). Photo by Teresa Grillo (University of Rome) Courtesy of AIV - Associazione Italiana di Vulcanologia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 164. A pyroclastic flow at Stromboli traveled across the sea off the W flank for several hundred meters on 28 August 2019 after a major explosion at the summit. Photo by Alberto Lunardi, courtesy of INGV (5 SETTEMBRE 2019INGVVULCANI, Quando un flusso piroclastico scorre sul mare: esempi a Stromboli e altri vulcani).

At 1923 UTC on 29 August a lava flow was reported emerging from the N area onto the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco; it stopped at mid-elevation on the slope. About 90 minutes later, an explosive sequence from the CS area resulted in the fallout of pyroclastic debris around Ginostra. Shortly after midnight, a lava flow from the CS area traveled down the scarp and reached the coast by dawn, but the lava entry into the sea only lasted for a short time (figure 165).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 165. Lava flows continued for a few days after the major explosion of 28 August 2019 at Stromboli. Left: A lava flow emerged from the N crater area on 29 August 2019 and traveled a short distance down the Sciara del Fuoco. Incandescent blocks from the flow front reached the ocean. Photo by A. DiPietro. Right: A lava flow that emerged from the CS crater area around midnight on 30 August 2019 made it to the ocean around dawn, as seen from the N ridge of the Sciara del Fuoco at an altitude of 400 m. Photo by Alessandro La Spina. Both courtesy of INGV. Left image from 'COMUNICATO DI ATTIVITA' VULCANICA del 2019-08-29 22:20:06(UTC) – STROMBOLI', right image from INGVvulcani blog, 30 AGOSTO 2019 INGVVULCANI, 'Nuovo parossismo a Stromboli, 28 agosto 2019'.

An overflight on 30 August 2019 revealed that after the explosions of 28-29 August the N area had collapsed and now contained an explosive vent producing Strombolian activity and two smaller vents with low-intensity explosive activity. In the CS area, Strombolian activity occurred at a single large crater (figure 166). INGV reported an explosion frequency of about 32 events per hour during 31 August-1 September. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite captured small but distinct SO2 plumes from Stromboli during 28 August-1 September, even though they were challenging to distinguish from the larger signal originating at Etna (figure 167).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 166. A 30 August 2019 overflight of Stromboli revealed that after the explosions of 28-29 August the N area had collapsed and now contained a single explosive vent producing Strombolian activity and two smaller vents with low intensity explosive activity. In the CS area, a single large crater remained with moderate Strombolian activity. No new lava flows appeared on the Sciara del Fuoco, only cooling from the existing flows was evident. Courtesy of INGV (Report 35.6/2019, Stromboli, Daily Bulletin of 08/31/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 167. Small but distinct SO2 signals were recorded from Stromboli during 28 August through 1 September 2019; they were sometimes difficult to discern from the larger signal originating at nearby Etna. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

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

Information Contacts: Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy, (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/en/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Météo-France, 42 Avenue Gaspard Coriolis, F-31057 Toulouse cedex, France (URL: http://www.meteo.fr/aeroweb/info/vaac/); AIV, Associazione Italiana di Vulcanologia (URL: https://www.facebook.com/aivulc/photos/a.459897477519939/1267357436773935; ANSA.it, (URL: http://www.ansa.it/sicilia/notizie/2019/07/03/-stromboli-esplosioni-da-cratere-turisti-in-mare); The New York Post, (URL: https://nypost.com/2019/07/03/dozens-of-people-dive-into-sea-to-escape-stromboli-volcano-eruption-in-italy/).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 42, Number 07 (July 2017)

Managing Editor: Edward Venzke

Erta Ale (Ethiopia)

Persistent lava lake; crater rim overflows; new fissure eruption begins in January 2017

Fournaise, Piton de la (France)

Intermittent effusive episodes during February-October 2015; May and September 2016; and February 2017

Kambalny (Russia)

First major eruption in over 600 years consists of large ash explosions during March-April 2017

Lascar (Chile)

Thermal anomaly persists until April 2017

Popocatepetl (Mexico)

Ash plumes several times weekly, multiple episodes of dome growth and destruction, and high SO2 flux during January 2015-June 2016.

Reventador (Ecuador)

Lava flow emerges from summit cone, January 2016; continued explosions, pyroclastic flows, and ash emissions

San Miguel (El Salvador)

Six small ash emission events during January 2015-June 2017

Santa Maria (Guatemala)

Continuous ash emissions, pyroclastic flows and lahars; new lava dome visible at Caliente dome, October 2016

Stromboli (Italy)

Persistent low- and moderate-level explosive activity during 2015 and 2016

Yasur (Vanuatu)

Strong explosions reported through mid-June 2017, with ongoing thermal anomalies



Erta Ale (Ethiopia) — July 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Erta Ale

Ethiopia

13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Persistent lava lake; crater rim overflows; new fissure eruption begins in January 2017

Ethiopia's Erta Ale basaltic shield volcano has had an active lava lake since the mid 1960s, and possibly much earlier. The first confirmed historical observations were in 1906. Two active craters (Northern and Southern) within a larger oval-shaped caldera exhibit periodic fountaining of lava causing lava lake overflows; this creates spectacular incandescence as the pahoehoe lava flows into the larger caldera around the craters and occasionally beyond. Lava flows in the South Pit crater overflowed its rim in November 2010 (BGVN 36:06). This report discusses activity from 2011 through June 2017, including the South Pit crater overflows in January and November 2016, and a new fissure eruption on the SE flank that began in January 2017 and was continuing in June 2017. Information comes from satellite thermal and visual data (NASA Earth Observatory, MODIS), and photographs from expeditions (primarily from Volcano Discovery) that regularly visit this remote site.

The lava lake at the South Pit crater in the summit caldera remained active, with the lake level falling and rising to within a few meters of the rim, during 2011-2015. Intermittent lava flows were reported from the North Pit Crater as well during this time. Activity increased late in 2015, and the first overflows of the South Pit crater rim since late 2010 occurred in mid-January 2016. It overflowed again in November 2016, and covered a significant area of the surrounding caldera floor with pahoehoe. By late December, effusive activity was reported from both craters. Flow intensity and volume increased dramatically for several days beginning on 17 January 2017, followed by ash emissions and crater collapses on 20-21 January. A new fissure eruption on the SE flank about 4 km from the caldera appeared on 21 January 2017, and sent lava flows several kilometers to the NE and the SW. Activity at the fissure vent increased during subsequent months, and by June 2017 a substantial new lava field that contained at least one new lava lake and flows more than 1,500 m long covered the area. Effusive activity had also resumed at both craters in the summit caldera.

Activity during November 2011-December 2016. Visitors in November 2011 confirmed the continued presence of the lava lake (figure 32) at the South Pit crater in the summit caldera. On 16 January 2012, an attack by Eritrean rebels on tourists camping at the S crater rim left at least five European tourists dead and seven others wounded; four Europeans and their Ethiopian guides were also abducted, according to Volcano Discovery reports. News reported through Volcano Discovery suggested that the abducted tourists were released in March 2012.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. The active lava lake at Erta Ale's South pit crater during November 2011. Photo by Reinhard Radke, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

Visitors in January 2013 reported that the lava lake in the North Pit crater was active and about 10 m below the rim. Intermittent lava flows were observed from a hornito in the South Pit crater and were continuing to fill the crater floor. Members of an expedition in December 2013 observed that the active lava lake at the South Pit crater had risen considerably during previous months (figure 33). An expedition in February 2015 also documented continued lava fountaining (figure 34) at the South Pit crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. The active lava lake at the South Pit crater of Erta Ale in December 2013. Photo copyright by Dominique Voegtli, courtesy of Volcano Discovery, used by permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. The active lava lake at the South Pit crater at Erta Ale in February 2015. Upper image: lava fountaining up over the lake surface. Lower image: night time glow of lava seeping up through cracks in the lake surface. Photos by Dietmar Berendes, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

During 19-21 November 2015, visitors on an expedition to Erta Ale observed significant changes in the lava lake level at the South Pit crater. On the morning of 19 November (figure 35) the lake surface was 2-3 m below the rim. A local guide reported that the lake had been very active during the previous weeks, rising to levels near overflowing similar to the event in late 2010. A second terrace of freshly cooled pahoehoe was visible less than 1 m below the rim, indicating the most recent maximum height of the lake. On 19 November, the lake rose to within 30 cm of the terrace rim, with occasional lava fountains splashing onto the terrace (figure 36), and Pele's hair forming continuously. The level had dropped several meters by the next morning. During 20 and 21 November, the activity was characterized by large, periodic "exploding bubbles" from the center of the lake creating waves across the surface; minor Strombolian activity and fountaining occurred around the edges. The lake level generally fluctuated between 0.5 and 1 m below the second terrace. On the evening of 21 November, the level rose rapidly from five to three meters below the second terrace; lava rapidly seeped out of the cracks in the cooling surface, overflowing onto the thin crust.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. The lava lake at the South Pit crater of Erta Ale on the morning of 19 November 2015. The lake level was higher than it was in February 2015 (figure 34). Photo by Ingrid Smet, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Fountains from the lake at the South Pit crater of Erta Ale splatter lava onto the crater rim on 19 November 2015. Photo by Ingrid Smet, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

Volcano Discovery reported that the lava overflowed the rim of the South Pit crater during the night of 15-16 January 2016, and covered the rim with a fresh crust of pahoehoe. An expedition leader reported that during 12-15 February 2016, the lake level had dropped 5-7 m. A visitor to the crater in April 2016 photographed the lake level several meters below the rim with active fountaining lava (figure 37).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. The boiling lava lake at the Sout Pit crater of Erta Ale on 3 April 2016. Photo by V, courtesy of Flickr.

The southern pit crater began overflowing again at the beginning of November 2016, and covered significant parts of the surrounding caldera floor (figures 38 and 39). The overflow was observed at mid-day on 14 November by visitors from the Societe de Volcanologie Geneve (SVG).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. The South Pit crater of Erta Ale began overflowing the rim in early November 2016. An expedition during the second half of November witnessed lava overflowing its newly constructed containment ring a number of times each day. Upper image: the perched lava lake sits above the recent flows. Lower Image: a closeup of the fresh pahoehoe flows that covered Erta Ale´s caldera floor from the overflow. Photos by Hans en Jooske, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. The summit caldera of Erta Ale around the South Pit crater before and after the overflows of November 2016. Upper image: The South Pit Crater in November 2015 is surrounded by the lava flows from the 2010 overflow. Photo by Ingrid Smet. Lower image: A large volume of fresh pahoehoe from November 2016 covers the older flows. The active lake is center-left in the background with a gas plume. Views are from different places along the caldera rim. Photo by Hans en Jooske, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

By late December 2016, effusive activity was reported from both the North and South Pit craters, including activity at the South Pit crater overflowing beyond the surrounding summit caldera. An expedition during 29 December 2016-1 January 2017 observed changing activity from both craters inside the summit caldera (figure 40). During 29-31 December, the lake level at the South Pit crater fluctuated between 0.5 and 1 m below the rim. During this time lava fountains 2-3 m high were frequent along the South Pit crater rim, but it did not overflow. The caldera floor around the crater was covered with 2-3 m of fresh pahoehoe, over an area about 150 m in diameter. Activity at the North Pit crater had formed three hornitos, one of which was emitting lava.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Erta Ale's lava lake at the South Pit crater on 29 December 2016. Photo by Jens Wolfram Erben, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

Activity during January-June 2017. Observations on 16 January 2017 at the North Pit crater showed remnants of two large hornitos surrounded by fresh lava flows (figure 41). During 16-20 January 2017, the lava lake at the South Pit crater underwent rapid and large variations, producing massive overflows and intense spattering. During the morning of 16 January the lake overflowed the W rim of the crater (figure 42); in the afternoon two lava rivers, reaching 500 m in length, appeared on the SW flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. The center of the less active North Pit crater of Erta Ale on 16 January 2017, with remnants of two large hornitos surrounded by fresh lava flows. This crater collapsed shortly after the expedition group left. Photo by Paul Reichert, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. A vigorous overflow of the western rim of Erta Ale's South Pit crater started at 1030 on 16 January 2017 and produced a flood of lava that flowed SW. It was reported by Ethiopian geologist Enku Mulugeta as traveling at several meters per second. Photo by Paul Reichert, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

On 17 January around 1300, two overflows began on the South Pit crater rim. Two hours later, overflows appeared on the NE and N flank; lava was flowing over about 70% of the rim according to visitors (figure 43). They reported the speed of the lava flowing on the flank at 50-70 km per hour, covering about 1 km2 within the larger caldera. In the morning of 18 January, fresh, glowing lava covered the area around the South Pit crater 500-700 m in all directions (figure 44). Sporadic overflows occurred with lake levels fluctuating by 10-15 m for several days. During lower levels, Strombolian fountains reached 50-60 m above the lake.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. The lava lake at the South Pit crater of Erta Ale overflowing on all sides on 17 January 2017. Photo by Enku Mulugeta, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Lava flows on the SW side of the South Pit crater at Erta Ale had covered much of the western caldera floor by the afternoon of 17 January 2017, and invaded the larger, gently dipping southern part of the oval-shaped NW-SE trending caldera. View is to the S, with the SW rim of the Summit caldera on the right. Photo by Paul Reichert, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

On the evening of 20 January, explosions of very large gas bubbles were observed by Oliver Grunewald and reported by Culture Volcan, causing lava to spatter up to 30 m high. Parts of both of the craters in the Summit caldera began to collapse. At the North Pit crater, a new 20 m deep oval-shaped pit crater 150 x 30 m formed during the next 24 hours. A collapse at the South Pit crater doubled its size. This activity was accompanied by ash emissions that reached 700-800 m above the crater.

Volcano Discovery reported news from eyewitness reports of a fissure eruption beginning on 21 January 2017. Two fissure eruptions were visible on the SE flank, 3 and 4 km SE of the South Pit crater lava lake, in satellite imagery taken on 26 January 2017 (figure 45). The higher vent was located at about 650 m elevation, and the lower one around 400 m. The fissures created three distinct lava fields, one to the NE reaching about 3 km length, a smaller one to the W (about 1 km), and one to the SSE about 2 km long. The surface area covered by the first two (on either side on the northernmost fissures) was estimated to be about 1.5 km² (1,500,000 m²), while the southern flow covered about 0.35 km² (350,000 m²). As a result of the sudden draining of the magma into the new fissure zone, the lava lake in the South Pit crater was reported to have dropped by 80-100 m. Additional satellite imagery taken before and after the fissure eruptions began reveal the locations of the new flows on 23 and 27 January 2017 (figure 46).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Infrared hot spots and gas plumes are clearly visible from Erta Ale on 26 January 2017. The new fissure eruptions 3-4 km SE of the South Pit crater were first reported on 21 January. This led to a large drop in lake level at the South Pit crater. This image was captured by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) sensor on Landsat 8 on 26 January 2017. It is a composite of natural color (OLI bands 4-3-2) and shortwave infrared (OLI band 7). Shortwave infrared light (SWIR) is invisible to the naked eye, but strong SWIR signals indicate increased temperatures. Infrared hot spots representing two distinct lava flows are visible. Plumes of volcanic gases and steam drift from lava lakes at both summit craters. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Satellite imagery showing changes in the lava flows from the flank eruption at Erta Ale during 16-27 January 2017. The flank eruption began on 21 January. On 16 January (top), the flank eruption has not yet begun. By 23 January (middle) the new lava flows and steam emissions are visible from several vents located 3-4 km SE of the South Pit crater. Additional new lava is visible in the lower center of the 27 January image (bottom). Images copyright by Planet Labs Inc., 3 m per pixel resolution, and used with permission under a Creative Common license.

After dropping about 100 m after the flank eruption began, the South Pit crater lake level rose again by mid-February to 40-50 m below its rim. By April 2017, activity still remained high; a new lava lake about 80 x 175 m in size had formed at the flank eruption site, and a growing lava field, about 1,500 m wide had reached 3.5 km NE of the original site. Geologists from Addis Abeba University who visited the site during 11-15 April 2017 noted two coalesced hornitos in the NE part of the South Pit crater, estimated to be 7 m high. The old lava lake was covered with cooled lava in a 200-m-diameter near-circular shape. Frequent surface collapse and lake-level changes occurred every 30 minutes, and lava fountains rose 25 m above the surface. The fresh lava surface around the crater rim had cooled enough to walk on it. The North Pit crater was still degassing, with several small hornitos growing in the center. The lake level at the new fissure (the SE Rift Zone) had dropped by about 10 m.

By early May 2017, the first lava lake at the SE Rift Zone had crusted over and a new lake was forming about 350 m E. A new breakout also started in early May, and was feeding a new flow field overlapping the previous one to the NE, more than 1,500 m long and over 500 m wide.

Satellite data. In addition to field observations of Erta Ale, valuable information is available from continuous satellite data. Thermal data from MODIS is processed by both the MIROVA and MODVOLC systems. The MIROVA thermal anomaly system recorded the high levels of heat flow and changes in location of the heat flow sources from late September 2015 through June 2017 (figure 47). The change in location and intensity of the heat flow in late January 2017 corresponds with the opening of the SE-flank fissure.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. MIROVA thermal anomalies at Erta Ale from late September 2015 through early July 2017. The thermal anomaly signature has been strong and variable since late September 2015. The large spike in intensity and change in location of activity in late January 2017 coincides with the opening of the SE flank fissure vents. The black lines indicate heat sources more than 5 km from the summit crater, and correspond to the new fissure zone SE of the summit caldera. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The MODVOLC thermal alert system managed by the University of Hawaii has captured persistent thermal alerts from Erta Ale for at least 10 years. When activity is moderate to high at the lava lakes in the pit craters, the signal is concentrated in those areas (figure 48). The reports of lava overflowing the south crater rim in January 2016 correspond to increased heat flow visible in the MODVOLC data. The dramatic changes in heat flow with the new fissure flows from the SE rift zone and subsequent new lava lake formation are apparent in MODVOLC images from January-May 2017 (figure 49).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Selected MODVOLC thermal alert images from 2015 and 2016 for Erta Ale showing variations in heat flow when activity is concentrated at the North and South Pit craters in the Summit caldera. The increase in January 2016 corresponds to lava overflows at the South Pit Crater. Courtesy of MODVOLC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. The dramatic changes in heat flow with the new fissure flows from the SE rift zone and subsequent new lava lake formation are apparent in MODVOLC images from January-May 2017. On 20 January, only the Summit Caldera craters were active. On 27 January, a new lava lake was reported at the fissure on the SE flank. During the week of 17-24 February, lava flows were active at both the fissure and at the summit craters. By 29 April-5 May, the new SE Rift Zone is extending several kilometers to the NE. Courtesy of MODVOLC.

Geologic Background. Erta Ale is an isolated basaltic shield that is the most active volcano in Ethiopia. The broad, 50-km-wide edifice rises more than 600 m from below sea level in the barren Danakil depression. Erta Ale is the namesake and most prominent feature of the Erta Ale Range. The volcano contains a 0.7 x 1.6 km, elliptical summit crater housing steep-sided pit craters. Another larger 1.8 x 3.1 km wide depression elongated parallel to the trend of the Erta Ale range is located SE of the summit and is bounded by curvilinear fault scarps on the SE side. Fresh-looking basaltic lava flows from these fissures have poured into the caldera and locally overflowed its rim. The summit caldera is renowned for one, or sometimes two long-term lava lakes that have been active since at least 1967, or possibly since 1906. Recent fissure eruptions have occurred on the N flank.

Information Contacts: NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); Robert Simon, Sr. Data Visualization Engineer, Planet Labs Inc. (URL: http://www.planet.com/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Societe de Volcanologie Geneve (SVG), Bulletin 161, January 2017.


Piton de la Fournaise (France) — July 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Piton de la Fournaise

France

21.244°S, 55.708°E; summit elev. 2632 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent effusive episodes during February-October 2015; May and September 2016; and February 2017

Short pulses of intermittent eruptive activity have characterized Piton de la Fournaise, the large basaltic shield volcano on Reunion Island in the western Indian Ocean, for several thousand years. Recent eruptive episodes on 21 June 2014 and activity that started on 4 February 2015 have already been reported (BGVN 40:02). This report covers the remainder of the 2015 eruptive episode, and additional activity through May 2017. Information about Piton de la Fournaise is provided by the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF) and satellite instruments.

A one-day fissure eruption on the ESE side of the central cone of the summit caldera on 21 June 2014 created a 1.5-km-long flow. This was followed by seven months of quiet. There were four effusive eruption events during 2015. The 4-15 February event occurred on the W side of the Dolomieu summit cone and the lava flow traveled about 2.5 km S. Effusion during 17-30 May started outside and SE of the Dolomieu Crater and traveled 4 km before it ceased. The brief 30 July-2 August event erupted from a 1-km-long fissure in the NE part of the l'Enclos Fouqué caldera and produced dozens of lava fountains. During 24 August-31 October a more sustained eruption from a fissure on the S flank of Dolomieu Crater sent lava flows at least 3.5 km down the flank to the S. Piton de la Fournaise experienced two effusive episodes in 2016. The 26-27 May event caused lava fountains on the SE flank of Dolomieu Crater. During 11-18 September, several fissures opened in the N part of the l'Enclos Fouqué caldera and produced numerous lava fountains and a lava flow. An effusive event on the SE flank of the summit crater during 31 January-27 February 2017 sent lava through tubes and flowed several kilometers to the SE before subsiding.

Activity during June 2014 and February 2015. The one-day eruption on 21 June 2014 consisted of a fissure eruption that was entirely contained within the Enclos Fouqué (the summit caldera) on the ESE side of the central (Dolomieu) cone. A lava fountain at the fissure created a spatter rampart and two lava flows that traveled about 1.5 km to the SE (BGVN 40:02).

The next eruption began abruptly on 4 February 2015 at a fissure on the W side of the summit cone adjacent to Bory crater (see figure 87), and lava flowed generally S, reaching about 2.5 km in length by 8 February (figure 88). The MODVOLC thermal alert signal for this event was detected over 4-14 February, and indications of continuing activity ceased by 15 February. OVPF partially reopened access to the volcano on 21 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. The eruptive cone from the 4-15 February 2015 eruption at Piton de la Fournaise. Upper image: 6 February 2015; lower Image: 12 February 2015. Courtesy of OVPF (Bulletin d'acitivité du Piton de la Fournaise du 15 février 2015 à 9h00 Locale).

Activity during May 2015. A brief increase in seismic activity, continued deformation, and increased magmatic gas emissions occurred on 29 April, but no effusive activity took place. A 90-minute seismic swarm of 200 volcano-tectonic (VT) events followed by significant deformation at the summit crater preceded a new effusive eruption at 1345 on 17 May. The eruption started outside and SE of Dolomieu crater in the Castle crater area. Volcanologists noted lava fountains from three fissures, and two lava flows. A very large gas plume emitted during the first few hours of the eruption rose 3.6-4 km above the summit and drifted NW. The fissure furthest W stopped issuing lava fountains before midnight.

On 18 May only one fissure was active and the SSW-drifting gas plume was much smaller. Hydrogen sulfide emissions continued to be high, and carbon dioxide emissions increased. Lava fountains from a single vent along the second fissure, further E, rose 40-50 m. The lava flow had traveled 4 km, reaching an elevation of 1.1 km. On 19 May, scientists observed lava fountains 20-30 m high, and noted the lava flow which had traveled 750 m in the previous day, reaching 1 km elevation. Lava-flow rates estimated by satellite data fluctuated but showed an overall decrease from 24.2 m2/s on 17 May to 2.5 m2/s on 21 May. During 21-22 May observers reported large variations in activity, including increasing heights of the lava fountain (over 50 m high), collapsing parts of the newly formed cinder cone, and a new very fluid lava flow adjacent to the main flow.

During an overflight on 23 May scientists observed a large blue sulfur dioxide plume above the vent, lower lava fountains, a smaller vent in the cone, and the presence of a lava tube about 200 m downstream of the vent. During 24-25 May activity remained unchanged; low lava fountains and low-level lava flows persisted (figure 89). OVPF reported that the eruption continued through 30 May 2015 after which tremor was no longer detected. The MODVOLC thermal alerts for this event agreed well with the observations of the volcanologists. Strong multi-pixel alerts were issued daily from 17-30 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Eruptive cone at Piton de la Fournaise on 24 May 2015. Courtesy of OVPF (Observations des 24 et 25 mai 2015).

Activity during 30 July-2 August 2015. A brief spike in seismicity on 6 July was the only notable activity after 30 May prior to a new eruptive episode that began on 30 July with a sharp increase in seismicity, increased gas emissions, and deformation near the summit. A fissure eruption began the next day at 0920, preceded by 90 minutes of high seismicity and 80 minutes of major deformation; it was confirmed by a hiker and then by observation of a gas plume. The 1-km-long fissure opened in the NE part of the l'Enclos Fouqué caldera and produced dozens of lava fountains (figure 90). Based on satellite images and gas data, the flow rate was estimated to be 28 m2/s initially and then 11 m2/s later that day. A gas plume rose to altitudes of 3.2-3.5 km. By the evening there were only five fountains, and a lava flow had traveled as far E as Plaine des Osmondes (NE part of the caldera). According to an AP news article, lava fountains were 40 m high, forming 20-m-high cones on 31 July. At 1115 on 2 August tremor stopped after several hours of fluctuating intensity, indicating the end of effusive activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Fountains of lava erupt from a 1-km-long fissure that opened in the NE part of the l'Enclos Fouqué caldera at Piton de la Fournaise on 1 August 2015. AP Photo by Ben Curtis, courtesy of the Associated Press.

Activity during 24 August-November 2015. The government reopened access to the caldera on 20 August; this was very short-lived, however, as a new eruption began on 24 August that continued through November 2015. Sulfur dioxide gas emissions increased at 1600, and the seismic and deformation network indicated a magmatic intrusion beginning at 1711 (figure 91). Lava fountains were visible at 1850 from a fissure on the S flank of Dolomieu Crater, at about 2,000 m elevation, near Rivals Crater. The fissure propagated towards the top of Rivals, and at around 2115 a fissure opened to the NW, below Bory Crater. The lava-flow rate was 30-60 m2/s . By the next morning fountains at higher elevations ceased, and were only active from a 100-m-long section near Rivals crater. The lava flow rate had significantly decreased to 10 m2/s . Near the top of the active fissure, a small cone had formed 140 m E of the sign to Rivals crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. New lava flows at Piton de la Fournaise on the S flank of Dolomieu Crater, 24 August 2015. To create this image, OVPF superimposed a daytime image taken earlier the same day onto one showing the nighttime lava flows, which allows the location of the activity to be better identified. Images taken from the Piton de Bert webcam. Courtesy of OVPF (Localisation des coulees vers 21h00 le 24/08/2015).

OVPF reported that the eruption fluctuated during the rest of August, causing variations in the height of the lava fountains and emissions. One vent remained active, and lava flows from it traveled at least as far as 3.5 km during 27-28 August. During an overflight the next day, scientists observed two growing cinder cones with lava lakes and lava fountains. An 'a'a lava flow was active, and a large gas plume rose 3 km.

Scientists conducting fieldwork during 31 August-1 September observed an active cone (20 m high) filled with a lava lake. Fluctuating lava fountains rose 15-20 m above the surface and gas bubbles exploded. Lava traveled through a 50-m-long lava tube and extended a distance of 1 km. During 1-2 September, seismicity increased and the lava flow grew to 2 km long (figure 92). Lava was observed in two separate side-by-side vents on 4 September (figure 93), and lava fountains were lower compared to recent days. Five small lava flows were visible near the foot of the cone; four were 30 m long and the fifth was 1 km long.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Thermal measurements of an active lava flow on 3 September 2015 at Piton de la Fournaise. Courtesy of OVPF (Bulletin d'activité du vendredi 4 septembre 2015 à 09h00).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. Side-by-side eruptive vents at Piton de la Fournaise on 4 September 2015. Courtesy of OVPF (Bulletin d'activité du samedi 5 septembre 2015 à 15h00).

The side-by-side vents remained active through 17 September, after which only one was active. Lava flows emerged from and were active beyond a 50-100 m lava tube; the largest lava flows were up to 1.5 km in length. During 22-23 September a new lava tube formed to the W of the lava field. By 24 September the active cone was 30 m high; lava fountains were lower and less frequently observed but lava flows continued to be active, traveling as far as 3 km S and E (figure 94). OVPF reported that seismicity at Piton de la Fournaise slowly increased during the last week of September, and deformation data showed a trend of deflation during the last few days of the month. During fieldwork on 27 September volcanologists noted continuous lava fountains. Small lava flows were active, though the fronts of the two larger ones were no longer advancing.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Map-view image showing lava flows created between 24 August and 28 September 2015 at Piton de la Fournaise. Contour extraction was performed using the coherence images (obtained in the interferogram production chain) produced by the OI2 observation service. Image courtesy of OVPF/IPGP and JL.Froger LMV/OPGC (Bulletin d'activité du vendredi 2 septembre 2015 à 07h00).

During the first two weeks of October, the lava lake remained active; bursting gas bubbles ejected lava onto the edges of the 30-35-m-high cone. Pahoehoe lava flows issued from ephemeral vents on lava tubes, and in many instances hornitos were built at these vents. Lava was active as far as 2.5 km from the base of the cone and burned vegetation near the base of Piton de Bert. The lava-flow rate peaked at 11 m2/s during 1-4 October then returned to the previous rate of 5-10 m2/s. On 7 October lava flowed out of a breach in the cone. The evolution of the morphology of the eruptive vent changed from a fissure to a single cone between late August and early October (figure 95).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Evolution of the morphology of the eruptive cone at Piton de la Fournaise, 25 August-10 October 2015. Courtesy of OVPF (Bulletin d'activité du vendredi 9 octobre 2015 à 19h00)

On 12 October there was a strong increase in tremor intensity, with values reaching or exceeding those detected during the first few hours of the eruption (24 August). Strain measurements showed continued deflation. A hornito SW of the cone ejected spatter during 13-14 October. Activity continued to increase on 16 and 17 October (figure 96). The cone continued to grow; the base was 100 m in diameter and it was about 40 m high. Parts of the cone rim continued to collapse, and a notch in the rim allowed for periodic lava-lake overflows. Increased SO2 flux created bubbles in the lava that caused ejection and spattering of large amounts of lava around the vent rim.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Large amounts of lava spattered around the rim of the active vent at Piton de la Fournaise on 16 October 2015 (Bulletin d'activité du samedi 17 octobre 2015 à 08h00).

Tremor ceased abruptly on 19 October. Observers reported that a small explosion in the vent ejected spatter on 22 October, but lava flows were not observed. Lava fountains were visible from the main 24 August vent on 30 October for the last time (figure 97).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Lava fountains were observed for the last time in the early morning on 30 October 2015 from the vent of the 24 August 2015 eruption (Bulletin d'activité du vendredi 30 octobre 2015 à 07h00).

OVPF reported that based on the change in seismic and lava flow activity, the effusive phase of the eruption beginning on 24 August had ended by 31 October 2015. They noted that during a few days before 11 November, the networks had recorded geophysical and geochemical signs of pressurization within the volcano. They also observed during aerial reconnaissance on 11 November persistent white fumarolic activity reflecting the high temperature of the lava field. Indications of inflation ceased at the end of November. MODVOLC thermal alerts became sporadic during November and ceased altogether on 2 December 2015 for more than five months.

MODVOLC thermal alerts for 2015. The MODVOLC thermal alerts captured for Piton de la Fournaise during 2015 show the differing locations of the four effusive eruptions (figure 98). The 4-14 February episode was located on the W side of the summit cone adjacent to Bory crater, in the W side of the Enclos Fouqué summit caldera. The 17-30 May episode extended farther E than that of the February event. A 1-km-long fissure opened in the NE part of the l'Enclos Fouqué caldera for the brief 31 July-1 August episode. Activity was concentrated on the S flank of the Dolomieu Crater during the lengthier 24 August-31 October effusive episode.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. MODVOLC thermal alerts for the four eruptive episodes of 2015 at Piton de la Fournaise. The 4-14 February activity was located on the W side of the summit cone adjacent to Bory crater, in the W side of the Enclos Fouqué summit caldera. The 17-30 May episode extended farther E than that of the February event. A 1-km-long fissure opened in the NE part of the l'Enclos Fouqué caldera during the 31 July-1 August. Activity was concentrated on the S flank of the Dolomieu Crater during the lengthier 24 August-31 October effusive period; only the first week of thermal activity is shown here. Courtesy of MODVOLC.

Sulfur Dioxide flux during 2015. Images captured by the OMI (Ozone Monitoring Instrument) on the Aura satellite showed significant SO2 plumes during three of the 2015 eruptive episodes, especially at the onset of the activity (figure 99). Dobson Unit (DU) values greater than 2 are shown as red pixels in the images. The largest plumes of SO2 captured during 2015 were after the effusive episodes had ended on 24 and 31 October 2015 (figure 100).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. Images of SO2 flux at Piton de la Fournaise during three of the eruptive episodes during 2015. Dobson Unit (DU) values greater than two are shown as red pixels. On 19 May 2015, the SO2 plume drifts W (top left). The plume captured on 31 July 2015 is drifting E (top right). The lower two images are the second day (25 August) and the last day (17 October) that effusive activity was reported by OVPF for that eruptive episode. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. Images of SO2 flux at Piton de la Fournaise on 24 and 31 October 2015. Courtesy of NASA GSFC. Top: The large, 7.88 DU plume drifts SE from Reunion Island on 24 October. Bottom: Another plume with 10.96 DU SO2 drifted W and N from the island on 31 October. Courtesy of NASA/GSFC.

Activity during 2016. Piton de la Fournaise experienced two effusive episodes in 2016, one occurred during 26-27 May, and the other during 11-18 September. The GPS networks detected evidence of inflation on 24 January 2016. This lasted until the second week of February when weak deflation was recorded. OVPF reported that CO2 gas emission, deformation, and seismicity began to slowly increase on 16 May, and then seismicity significantly increased at 1140 on 25 May. Tremor began at 0805 on 26 May, characteristic of an ongoing eruption, likely from a new fissure near Château Fort crater. Bad weather prevented visual observations of the area at first, though at 0900 ground observers confirmed a new eruption. Later that day scientists and reporters saw about six lava fountains (some were 40-50 m high) during brief aerial surveys and a cinder cone being built on a flat area at 1850 m elevation about 1-1.5 km SE of Castle Crater. On 27 May, tremor levels significantly dropped at 0845 and then ceased at 1100. Signals indicative of degassing continued. The lava fountains on 26 May were located on the SE flank of the main Dolomieu Crater south of the locations of both the May and August 2015 episodes (figure 101).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. The location of the highest elevation point of the 26 May 2016 effusive episode at Piton de la Fournaise is shown by the yellow pin (260515 should be 260516), as recorded that day by the Section Aerienne de la Gendarmerie (SAG, the French Air Force). In white and red, respectively, are the contours of the eruptions of May and August 2015 (Bulletin d'activité du jeudi 26 mai 2016 à 22h00).

Significant inflation continued after the 26-27 May eruption until mid-June (more than two centimeters between 27 May and 8 June) when it levelled off, and then began again in mid-July along with increased seismicity beginning on 13 July that lasted through the remainder of the month. OVPF reported that seismicity remained low during August. Gas emissions were also low and dominated by water vapor; CO2 emissions had been elevated during 21-27 July. Inflation had stopped in early August and slight deflation was detected through 2 September.

Seismicity increased on 10 September, and elevated levels of SO2 were detected at fumaroles. A seismic swarm occurred at 0735 on 11 September, characterized by several earthquakes per minute. Deformation suggested magma migrating to the surface. Volcanic tremor began at 0841, indicating the beginning of the eruption. Several fissures opened in the N part of the l'Enclos Fouqué caldera, between Puy Mi-côte and the July 2015 eruption site, and produced a dozen 15-30-m-high lava fountains distributed over several hundred meters. The eruption continued on the next day.

OVPF reported that volcanic tremor stabilized during 14-17 September. Field observations on 15 September revealed that the two volcanic cones that had formed on the lower part of the fissures had begun to coalesce (figure 102). Lava from the northernmost cone flowed N and NE, and by 0900 was active midway between Piton Partage and Nez Coupé de Sainte Rose. The height of the lava fountains grew in the afternoon, rising as high as 60 m, likely from activity ceasing at the southernmost cone and focusing at one main cone. On 16 September the main cone continued to build around a 50-m-high lava fountain; lava flows from this vent traveled NE. Tremor rose during the night on 17 September, and then fell sharply at 0418 on 18 September, indicating the end of surface activity. During 11-18 September, the erupted volume was an estimated 7 million cubic meters. By 26 September, earthquake frequency had decreased to less than five per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. View of the eruptive site at Piton de la Fournaise on 15 September 2016 at 0930. The two cones are coalescing into one. Courtesy of OVPF/IPGP (copyright OVPF / IPGP; Bulletin d'activité du jeudi 15 septembre 2016 à 16h30).

Following the slight deflation observed during the eruption (11-18 September), inflation began again on 18 September, slowed significantly by 1 October and ceased by 6 October. Inflation resumed at the summit on 12 December, and increased summit seismicity was reported by OVPF on 22 December 2016.

Activity during January-May 2017. A return to background levels of seismicity (0-1 events per day) and a slowdown in inflation were reported on 9 January 2017. Inflation resumed on 22 January. This was interpreted by OVPF to represent the deep-seated magma supplies beginning to feed the surface reservoir about 1.5-2 km under the summit craters once again. Following a seismic swarm beginning at 1522 on 31 January, seismic tremor indicated that a new effusive eruption began at 1940 on 31 January.

Visual observations on 1 February confirmed that the active vent was located about 1 km SE of Château Fort and about 2.5 km ENE of Piton de Bert (figure 103). Lava fountains rose 20-50 m above the 10-m-high vent, and 'a'a lava flows branched and traveled 750 m (figure 104). Two other cracks had opened at the beginning of the eruption, but were no longer active. Tremor levels decreased in the early hours of the eruption; lava-fountain heights were variable (between 20-50 m).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. Topographic map showing the location of the 1 February 2017 eruption vent. Piton de Bert is located in the lower left (SW) corner at the caldera edge. The plot of the lava flows at 0830 is shown. Smaller red areas NW of flow are eruptive cracks that opened briefly at the beginning of the eruption. Base map courtesy of IGN, data courtesy of OVPF/IPGP (copyright OVPF / IPGP; Bulletin d'activité du mercredi 1 février 2017 à 17h00).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. The eruptive site at Piton de la Fournaise on 1 February 2017 at 0740. Courtesy of OVPF (copyright OVPF / IPGP; Bulletin d'activité du mercredi 1 février 2017 à 09h00).

On 2 February, two lava fountains at the vent were visible, and lava flows had traveled an additional 500 m E (figure 105). The vent was 128 m long and about 35 m high at the highest part. On 4 February OVPF noted that significant fluctuations of volcanic tremor were detected for more than 24 hours, with intensity levels reaching those observed at the onset of the eruption. Higher levels of seismicity continued through 7 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Thermal images of the Piton de la Fournaise eruptive site from 1 and 2 February 2017. Left and center are aerial views taken in on 2 February at 0845, and the right image is a ground view from 1 February at 1000. Courtesy of OVPF (copyright OVPF / IPGP; Bulletin d'activité du jeudi 2 février 2017 à 16h00).

OVPF reported that during 8-14 February volcanic tremor was high, with levels reaching those observed at the onset of the eruption on 31 January. The eruptive vent was perched on top of a cone that was 30-35 m high and 190 m wide at the base (figure 106). The lava level inside of the cone was low, or about half of cone's height, and incandescent material was ejected from the vent. Inflation stopped on 11 February. The lava flow reached its farthest extent on 10 February, almost 3 km SE of the vent (figures 107 and 108).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. The eruptive cone at Piton de la Fournaise on 10 February 2017 at 0850. The lava is exiting the cone from the side and then flowing SE. Courtesy of OVPF (copyright OVPF / IPGP; Bulletin d'activité du vendredi 10 février 2017 à 17h00).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. Approximate location of Piton de la Fournaise lava flows as of 10 February 2017 at 0850, interpreted from aerial photographs (IGN background map). Courtesy of OVPF (copyright OVPF / IPGP; Bulletin d'activité du vendredi 10 février 2017 à 17h00).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. The front of the lava flow at Piton de la Fournaise on 10 February at 0730. View is looking SE, see flow location on topographic map in figure 107. Courtesy of OVPF (copyright OVPF / IPGP; Bulletin d'activité du vendredi 10 février 2017 à 17h00).

Volcanic tremor fluctuated during 14-21 February. Observations made on the ground on 16 February by the observatory teams indicated that activity continued mainly in lava tubes. Only a few flows were visible a hundred meters downstream of the eruptive cone. A resumption of inflation was confirmed on 20 February.

During 25-26 February OVPF observers noted ejections of material from the active vent. A few skylights in the lava tubes were spotted. Late at night on 26 February tremor began to decline, and ceased at 1010 the next morning. Mid-day on 27 February observers confirmed that no material was being ejected from the vent, and that only white plumes were rising; gas emissions ceased at 1930. OVPF reported that the 28-day eruption at Piton de la Fournaise, beginning on 31 January and ending on 27 February, was estimated to have produced between 8 and 10 million cubic meters of lava. Although the eruption had ended on 27 February, inflation at the summit continued until about 7 March. It resumed at a low rate in mid-April, along with minor seismicity.

A new seismic swarm began at 1340 on 17 May and was accompanied by rapid deformation that suggested rising magma; volcanic tremor was recorded at 2010. The seismic and deformation activity was located in the NE part of l'Enclos Fouqué caldera. During an overflight at 1100 on 18 May scientists observed no surface activity at the base of the Nez Coupé de Sainte Rose rampart (on the N side of the volcano) nor outside of l'Enclos Fouqué caldera, and suggested that fractures opened but did not emit lava.

Seismicity increased again at 0400 on 18 May. The number of shallow (2 km depth) volcano-tectonic earthquakes progressively decreased over the next three days. During a field visit on 22 May scientists mapped the deformation associated with the 17 May event and measured displacements which did not exceed 35 cm. The 17-18 May activity resulted in two new zones of fumaroles that followed the trends seen in seismic and deformation data. Inflation stopped around mid-June, and seismicity was minimal for the remainder of the month.

MIROVA thermal data for 2016 and January-May 2017. Plots of thermal anomaly data by the MIROVA system correlated with the eruptive activity of 26-27 May 2016, 11-18 September 2016, and 31 January-27 February 2017 (figure 109). The thermal signatures of the September 2016 and February 2017 episodes show continued cooling of the new lava flows for several weeks after the effusive activity ceased.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. MIROVA data for Piton de la Fournaise from March 2016 through May 2017. The thermal signatures of the September 2016 and February 2017 events show continued cooling of the new lava flows for several weeks after the effusive activity ceased. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. The massive Piton de la Fournaise basaltic shield volcano on the French island of Réunion in the western Indian Ocean is one of the world's most active volcanoes. Much of its more than 530,000-year history overlapped with eruptions of the deeply dissected Piton des Neiges shield volcano to the NW. Three calderas formed at about 250,000, 65,000, and less than 5000 years ago by progressive eastward slumping of the volcano. Numerous pyroclastic cones dot the floor of the calderas and their outer flanks. Most historical eruptions have originated from the summit and flanks of Dolomieu, a 400-m-high lava shield that has grown within the youngest caldera, which is 8 km wide and breached to below sea level on the eastern side. More than 150 eruptions, most of which have produced fluid basaltic lava flows, have occurred since the 17th century. Only six eruptions, in 1708, 1774, 1776, 1800, 1977, and 1986, have originated from fissures on the outer flanks of the caldera. The Piton de la Fournaise Volcano Observatory, one of several operated by the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, monitors this very active volcano.

Information Contacts: 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/); 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 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/); Associated Press (URL: http://www.ap.org/); U.S. News (URL: https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2015/08/01/highly-active-volcano-erupts-on-reunion-amid-media-frenzy).


Kambalny (Russia) — July 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Kambalny

Russia

51.306°N, 156.875°E; summit elev. 2116 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


First major eruption in over 600 years consists of large ash explosions during March-April 2017

The last major eruption at Kambalny volcano was around 1350, although younger undated tephra layers have been found; there are also five Holocene cinder cones on the W and SE flanks. According to the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT), a new eruption began began at about 2120 UTC on 24 March 2017. Satellite data showed an initial ash plume at about 5-6 km altitude drifting about 35 km SW from the volcano.

Explosive activity was strong during 24-27 March, generating ash plumes up to 7 km high that drifted downwind as far as 2,000 km (table 1). Activity then decreased, with only minor ash emissions through 6 April, followed by ash plumes that drifted 50 and 170 km on 9 and 10 April, respectively. Only gas-and-steam plumes were reported after that time.

Table 1. Chronological details of the March-April 2017 eruption of Kambalny. Data from KVERT reports.

Date Time (UTC) Plume height (km) Drift (km) Other observations
24 Mar 2017 2250 5-6 35 SW Aviation Color Code Orange
25 Mar 2017 0053 5-6 100 SSW --
25 Mar 2017 0240 5-6 163 SSW --
25 Mar 2017 0409 5-7 255 SW --
25 Mar 2017 1250 5 550 SSW --
25 Mar 2017 1807 6 870 SSW --
25 Mar 2017 2250 5.5 930 S --
26 Mar 2017 0530 5 1,350 SSE --
26 Mar 2017 2131 3.5-4 670 SE --
27 Mar 2017 0041 5 830 SE --
27 Mar 2017 0347 4-4.5 425 SE --
27 Mar 2017 2119 4-5 51 W --
27-31 Mar 2017 -- 5-6 2,000 W to SE --
01 Apr 2017 -- -- 200 E, SE Quiet.
02-04 Apr 2017 -- 7 -- Minor ash emissions thru 6 Apr; satellite thermal anomaly 3-4 Apr.
09 Apr 2017 -- 7 50 NE --
10 Apr 2017 -- -- 170 SE --
12 Apr 2017 -- -- -- Gas-and-steam activity.
21-28 Apr 2017 -- -- -- Moderate activity.
05 May 2017 -- -- -- Aviation Color Code Yellow. Moderate gas-steam activity.
19 May 2017 -- -- -- Aviation Color Code Yellow Green. Only gas-steam activity during last month; explosive phase began 24 Mar, ended 10 Apr 2017.

On 25 March satellite imagery showed an ash plume stretching about 100 km SW of the Kamchatka Peninsula (figure 1). A dark stain is visible to the W of the plume, where ash has covered the snow. By 26 March ashfall had covered the ground on both sides of the volcano. The eruption was also observed on the ground by staff at the South Kamchatka Federal Wildlife Sanctuary (figure 2). The Ozone Monitoring Instrument on the Aura satellite observed an airborne plume of sulfur dioxide (SO2) trailing S of Kamchatka on 26 March 2017 (figure 3).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite captured a natural-color image of Kambalny and its plume on 25 March 2017, the day after it began to erupt (N to top of photo.) By 0134 UTC (1334 local time) that day, the plume stretched about 100 km SW. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory; image prepared by Jeff Schmatlz and Joshua Stevens using MODIS data from LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response, and caption by Pola Lem.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Eruption of Kambalny on 25 March 2017. Photo by Liana Varavskaya, South Kamchatka Federal Wildlife Sanctuary (URL: http://www.kronoki.ru/news/1187).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Sulfur dioxide in the 26 March 2017 plume from Kambalny eruption. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory; map by Joshua Stevens using data from the Aura OMI science team.

On 28 March 2017, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite acquired a natural-color image of an ash plume from Kambalny (figure 4), including a large area of ash-covered snow. When photographed by scientists on 12 April (figure 5), the entire edifice was covered by ash and there was a gas-and-steam plume rising from a crater fumarole.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Ash plume from Kambalny moving WNW on 28 March 2017. A large area of ash-covered snow is visible across the southern portion of the image. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory; image by Joshua Stevens using Landsat 8 OLI data from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. A small gas-and-steam plume rises from a fumarole in the Kambalny crater on 12 April 2017. View is from the S. Photo by A. Sokorenko; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS.

Geologic Background. The southernmost major stratovolcano on the Kamchatka peninsula, Kambalny has a summit crater that is breached to the SE. Five Holocene cinder cones on the W and SE flanks have produced fresh-looking lava flows. Beginning about 6,300 radiocarbon years ago, a series of major collapses of the edifice produced at least three debris-avalanche deposits. The last major eruption took place about 600 years ago, although younger tephra layers have been found, and an eruption was reported in 1767. Active fumarolic areas are found on the flanks of the volcano, which is located south of the massive Pauzhetka volcano-tectonic depression.

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); South Kamchatka Federal Wildlife Sanctuary, Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation, Kamchatka Territory 684000, Russia (URL: http://www.kronoki.ru/); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); 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/).


Lascar (Chile) — July 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Lascar

Chile

23.37°S, 67.73°W; summit elev. 5592 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal anomaly persists until April 2017

The six overlapping summit craters of northern Chile's Lascar volcano have produced numerous lava flows down the NW flanks. Frequent small-to-moderate explosive eruptions since the mid-19th century, and infrequent larger eruptions, have produced ashfall hundreds of kilometers away. The largest historical eruption took place in 1993, producing pyroclastic flows to 8.5 km NW of the summit and ashfall in Buenos Aires. An explosion on 30 October 2015 produced an ash plume that rose 2.5 km above the 5.6 km high summit and drifted NE; this event also initiated a distinct thermal anomaly signal recorded by MIROVA that continued through June 2016 (BGVN 41:07). Continuous incandescence from the crater was seen for the next two months. The thermal anomaly did not begin to diminish until February 2017; details of activity through June 2017 are reported here with information primarily from Chile's Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería, (SERNAGEOMIN), and the Italian MIROVA project.

After the 30 October 2015 explosion, a persistent thermal anomaly appeared in the MIROVA data that maintained a near-constant level of activity through June 2016 (figure 49, BGVN 41:07). The MIROVA VRP (Volcanic Radiative Power) values remained steady with multiple weekly anomalies through January 2017 when they began to taper off in both frequency and intensity (figure 50). They were intermittent during February, persistent but at a lower level during March and into the first few days of April. A few anomalies appeared later in April, and one during mid-May 2017; there is no evidence to determine exactly when eruptive activity ended or the cause of the anomalies.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Thermal anomaly data from MIROVA (Log Radiative Power) at Lascar for the year ending on 12 June 2017. The thermal anomalies persisted at a steady rate and intensity from November 2015 (see figure 49, BGVN 41:07) through January 2017 when they began to decrease in both frequency and intensity, until they ceased in May 2017. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Throughout July 2016-June 2017, the local webcam showed persistent degassing of mostly steam plumes from the main crater, with plume heights ranging from 500-1,500 m above the summit (table 6). Although there were three pilot reports of ash emissions from Lascar on 22 and 25 September and 29 December 2016, in each case the Buenos Aires VAAC noted that there was no indication of volcanic ash in satellite images under clear skies; the webcam did show continuous emissions of steam and gas dissipating rapidly near the summit. Seismicity during this period varied from a low of three events during October 2016 to a high of 122 events during June 2017. Although there was an increase in the number of seismic events during April 2017, the total energy released remained low. Continuous incandescence at the crater was observed during October-December 2016.

Table 6. Seismic events, degassing information, and incandescence observed at Lascar from July 2016-June 2017. Information provided by SERNAGEOMIN monthly reports. Maximum height is meters above the 5,592 m elevation summit.

Month No of Seismic Events Degassing Maximum Height (m) Date of Maximum Height Incandescence Observed
Jul 2016 11 Steam 700 4 Jul --
Aug 2016 12 Steam 850 25 Aug --
Sep 2016 24 Steam 1,100 21 Sep --
Oct 2016 3 Steam 1,000 28 Oct Continuous
Nov 2016 7 Steam 1,500 4 Nov Continuous
Dec 2016 6 Steam 1,400 20 Dec Continuous
Jan 2017 13 Constant 800 6 Jan --
Feb 2017 36 Constant 650 19 Feb --
Mar 2017 19 Constant 600 5 Mar --
Apr 2017 112 Constant 600 29 Apr --
May 2017 97 Constant 560 8 May --
Jun 2017 122 Constant 500 1 Jun --

Geologic Background. Láscar is the most active volcano of the northern Chilean Andes. The andesitic-to-dacitic stratovolcano contains six overlapping summit craters. Prominent lava flows descend its NW flanks. An older, higher stratovolcano 5 km E, Volcán Aguas Calientes, displays a well-developed summit crater and a probable Holocene lava flow near its summit (de Silva and Francis, 1991). Láscar consists of two major edifices; activity began at the eastern volcano and then shifted to the western cone. The largest eruption took place about 26,500 years ago, and following the eruption of the Tumbres scoria flow about 9000 years ago, activity shifted back to the eastern edifice, where three overlapping craters were formed. Frequent small-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the mid-19th century, along with periodic larger eruptions that produced ashfall hundreds of kilometers away. The largest historical eruption took place in 1993, producing pyroclastic flows to 8.5 km NW of the summit and ashfall in Buenos Aires.

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/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Meteorológico Nacional-Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 25 de mayo 658, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/inicio.php?lang=es).


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — July 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes several times weekly, multiple episodes of dome growth and destruction, and high SO2 flux during January 2015-June 2016.

Frequent historical eruptions, first recorded in Aztec codices, have occurred since pre-Columbian time at México's Popocatépetl, the second highest volcano in North America. More recently, activity picked up in the mid-1990s after about 50 years of quiescence. The current eruption, which has been ongoing since January 2005, has included frequent ash plumes rising generally 1-4 km above the 5.4-km-elevation summit, and numerous episodes of lava-dome growth and destruction within the 500-m-wide summit caldera. Multiple ash emissions generally occur daily, with larger, more explosive events that generate ashfall in neighboring communities occurring several times each month. Information about Popocatépetl comes primarily from daily reports provided by México's Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED). Many ash emissions are also reported by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Satellite visible and thermal imagery and SO2 data also provide important information about the character of the eruptive activity. Our last report covered activity through December 2014 (BGVN 40:02); this report covers 2015 and the first six months of 2016.

CENAPRED reported near-constant emissions of water vapor, gas, and minor ash during 2015 and January-June 2016. Ash plumes from larger explosions regularly occurred several times per day during the more active months, and a few times a week during the quieter months. Ashfall is sometimes reported within 40 km of the summit. The plumes generally rose to altitudes of 6.1-7.9 km, and occasionally higher. The prevailing winds most often sent the ash NE or E, but multi-direction plumes at different altitudes were also common. Incandescent tephra was ejected onto the flank within 1 km of the summit every month, and was reported 3.5 km from the summit after stronger activity on 3 April 2016. Sulfur dioxide emissions are persistent, with plumes drifting a hundred or more kilometers from the volcano observed regularly in satellite data. Two episodes of dome growth were reported in February and April 2015, and dome destruction was inferred during January 2016.

Activity during January-June 2015. During January 2015 CENAPRED reported at least 13 explosions with ash-bearing plumes, as well as near-constant emissions of water vapor and gas that sometimes contained ash. The ash plumes generally rose to 600-1,500 m above the summit crater (up to 6.9 km altitude) and drifted either E or NE. Incandescence from the crater was visible on most clear nights. The Washington VAAC issued two series of reports; ash emissions on 4 January were not observed in satellite imagery due to weather clouds, but the 17 January emission was observed via webcam and satellite images at 5.8 km altitude drifting E. There were 58 MODVOLC thermal alerts issued in January, all from the immediate vicinity of the summit crater; most days had multiple-pixel alerts. NASA's Global Sulfur Dioxide monitoring system captured nine days of SO2 emissions with values greater than two Dobson Units (DU), a measure of the molecular density of SO2 in the atmosphere. Values greater than 2 show as red pixels on the imagery created from the OMI on the Aura satellite (figure 69).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Sulfur dioxide plume from Popocatépetl on 15 January 2015 extending ENE from the summit over the Gulf of México. The gas is measured in Dobson Units (DU), the number of molecules in a square centimeter of the atmosphere. If you were to compress all of the sulfur dioxide in a column of the atmosphere into a flat layer at standard temperature and pressure (0° C and 1013.25 hPa), one Dobson Unit would be 0.01 millimeters thick and would contain 0.0285 grams of SO2 per square meter. The red pixels represent values >2 DU. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).

The volcano was very active during February 2015. CENAPRED reported that their seismic network recorded several hundred low-intensity events that were accompanied by steam-and-gas-emissions and usually contained ash. Numerous explosions were attributed to lava-dome growth. Ash plumes rose 1-2 km above the crater, generally drifting NE. Ashfall was reported a number of times in communities up to 50 km away, and incandescence at the summit was observed on many nights.

On 11 February, ashfall was reported in the city of Puebla (~50 km to the E) and in the municipalities of Juan C. Bonilla (30 km ENE), Domingo Arenas (22 km NE), Huejotzingo (27 km NE), and at the airport to the E. On 15 February, explosions generated ashfall in Huejotzingo, Domingo Arenas, Salvador el Verde (30 km NNE), San Felipe Teotlalcingo (26 km NNE), and Puebla. Five explosions generated ash plumes on 18 February (figure 70). On 21 February, there were 22 small explosions, some of which ejected tephra 200 m onto the NE flank. A series of explosions on 24 February ejected incandescent material as far as 700 m onto the NE and SE flanks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. Ash explosion from Popocatépetl on 18 February 2015. Webcam image courtesy of CENAPRED.

Additional explosions (19) detected on 25 February resulted in ashfall 20-37 km to the NE in San Martín Texmelucan (35 km NE), San Matías Tlalancaleca (35 km NE), San Salvador el Verde (29 km NE), Santa Rita Tlahuapan (34 km NNE), Tlaltenango, Huejotzingo, San Miguel Xoxtla (37 km NE), Domingo Arenas, Santa María Atexcac (20 km NE), and the Puebla airport (30 km NE). Explosions on 26 February ejected incandescent tephra 700 m onto the N and NE flanks; ashfall was again noted in Domingo Arenas, San Martín Texmelucan, and Huejotzingo in the state of Puebla. The international airport in Huejotzingo suspended operations to clean up the ash. On 27 February explosions generated ash emissions and again ejected incandescent tephra 300 m onto the flanks. Ashfall was reported in Huejotzingo, Domingo Arenas, Tlaltenango, San Andrés Cholula (33 km E), and Puebla. Two separate series of explosions were detected on 28 February, and more incandescent tephra was ejected 300 m onto the flanks.

During an overflight on 17 February, volcanologists observed a dome at the bottom of the inner crater, which formed in July 2013 and extends 100 m below the floor of the main crater. They identified this as dome number 55; it was 150 in diameter. On a second overflight on 27 February, volcanologists observed that the dome had grown and was filling the bottom of the inner crater (figure 71). The dome was 250 m in diameter and at least 40 m high, putting the top about 60 m above the bottom of the main crater floor. The volume was an estimated 1.96 million cubic meters. They also witnessed a small ash explosion from the inner crater (figure 71).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. The summit crater with dome 55 at Popocatépetl on 27 February 2015. The dome at the bottom of the inner crater was estimated to be 250 m in diameter and at least 40 m high (upper). CENAPRED scientists witnessed a small ash explosion from the inner crater during the overflight (lower). Courtesy of CENAPRED.

The Washington VAAC issued reports of ash emissions on 3 February, and during 11-16 and 24-28 February. Ash plumes identified in satellite imagery rose to altitudes of 6.1-6.7 km during 11-13 February and drifted as far as 5 km NE. On 24 February, a plume was seen extending about 15 km ENE from the summit at 6.7 km altitude. The next day an ash plume was observed in satellite imagery at 9.1 km altitude extending NE about 12 km from the summit. Later that day (25 February) it extended 300 km NE at 6.7 km altitude, out over the Gulf of México, before it dissipated. Additional emissions on 25 February occurred about every 60-90 minutes and drifted 130 km ENE at 8.2 km altitude. These bursts of ash continued moving ENE and finally dissipated about 170 km from the volcano. Plumes observed on 27 and 28 February in multispectral satellite images rose to 7-7.9 km altitude. A small area of faint ash from the 27 February emission was visible in images in the Gulf of México about 390 ENE of the summit late on 28 February, while a new emission was visible extending NE about 25 km. Twenty-five MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued most days during February (except 12-17). The OMI instrument on the AURA satellite captured 14 days of SO2 emissions with DU>2.

Activity continued at a high rate during March 2015, again with hundreds of emission events with gas, steam, and small quantities of ash (figure 72). Larger quantities of ash from multiple-per-week explosions rose 1-3 km above the summit and drifted N or NE. Incandescent tephra was ejected 100-800 m onto the N, NE, and SE flanks at least four times. A series of explosions on 7 March led to ashfall reported in Ecatzingo (15 km SW). On 9 March ashfall was reported in Amecameca (20 km NW), Ecatzingo (15 km SW), and Tepextlipa from explosions the previous day. A four-hour series of explosions on 24 March produced steam, gas, and ash emissions that rose 3 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Ash emission from Popocatépetl on 2 March 2015. Webcam image courtesy of CENAPRED.

The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions every day during 1-5, 7-10, 19-21, and 24-26 March. During the first week, the plumes rose 6.1-7.6 km altitude, drifted NE, N, and NW, and were usually visible for about 100 km from the summit before dissipating. On 8 March, two plumes drifted in opposite directions: one went 15 km ENE at 7 km altitude and one drifted 45 km W at 5.6 km altitude. During the second half of March, the plumes drifted generally NE, at altitudes of 6.1-7.3 km, tens of kilometers before dissipating. Only 11 MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued in March; SO2 data showed four days with DU>2, although SO2 plumes were visible in satellite data almost every day.

Hundreds of daily ash emissions were noted by CENAPRED during April 2015. Ash plumes generally drifted N or NE at 1-3 km above the summit crater, but occasionally they drifted W or SW. Incandescence was often noted at night. Incandescent tephra was ejected several hundred meters onto the flanks during 4-6 April, and again on 18 and 20 April. The only ashfall reported during the month was in Tetela and Ocuituco (both about 22 km SW) after ash-bearing explosions during 3-4 April.

During an overflight on 10 April (figure 73), scientists confirmed that a lava dome had been emplaced in the bottom of the crater between 24 March and 4 April. The lava dome was at least 250 m in diameter and 30 m high. The surface of the dome had concentric fractures and the central part was collapsed from deflation.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. During an overflight on 10 April 2015, CENAPRED scientists confirmed that a lava dome had been emplaced in the bottom of the inner summit crater at Popocatépetl between 24 March and 4 April. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

The Washington VAAC issued aviation alerts during 1, 3-8, 13, and 18-21 April. On 3 April volcanic ash was observed moving SE from the summit at 8.2 km altitude. The plume extended over 150 km before dissipating later in the day. Another plume the same day rose to 9.1 km altitude and drifted 55 km NE. During 4 and 5 April, ongoing emissions at various altitudes from 6.1 to 9.1 km drifted in multiple directions for tens of kilometers before dissipating. Most of the alerts were for brief, intermittent emissions that dissipated within 20 km of the summit after a few hours. On 7 April one ash cloud drifted 45 km SSE and another drifted 100 km SE, both at 7.6 km altitude. An ash emission on 13 April traveled around 260 km E at 7.3 km altitude before dissipating. The plumes observed during 18-21 April ranged from 6.7 to 9.7 km in altitude, and mostly drifted NE or E. There were 20 MODVOLC thermal alerts issued during April, scattered throughout the month. Most days during April had SO2 plumes with values >2 DU in the satellite data.

Ashfall was reported in San Pedro Benito Juárez (10-12 km SE), in the municipality of Atlixco Puebla on 2 May 2015, and in Ocuituco (24 km SW) on 22 May. On 26 May ashfall was reported in Tetela del Volcán (20 km SW) and slight ashfall was recorded in Amozoc, Puebla (60 km E) on 31 May. The ongoing explosions generated ash emissions that generally rose 0.5-2.5 km above the crater rim and sent plumes to the SW, SE, and E (figure 74). Nighttime crater incandescence was observed on most clear nights.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Ash emission at Popocatépetl on 30 May 2015. Webcam image courtesy of CENAPRED.

Although aviation alerts from the Washington VAAC were issued during 9 days of May (2, 10, 20-21, 25-26, 28, and 30-31), plumes were only visible in satellite images a few times. The highest plume was on 20 May, at 8.2 km altitude drifting SSW. The plume on 26 May was observed drifting NW at 6.1 km, extending 150 km from the summit. Only four MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued during 10, 19, 21 and 30 May, but strong SO2 plumes (>2 DU values) were recorded 12 times, with just as many days showing smaller-magnitude plumes.

Activity was much quieter at Popocatépetl during June 2015. Only six VAAC reports were issued (during 7-8, 12, and 21-22), and only two were identified in satellite images. The plume on 7 June rose to 8.2 km altitude and drifted SW. The larger plume on 12 June came from multiple small emissions; it rose to 6.1 km altitude and was last seen at 55 km SW of the summit before dissipating. There were seven MODVOLC thermal alerts on seven different days during June, and 17 different days with SO2 plumes with recorded values >2 Dobson Units.

Activity during July-December 2015. Multiple daily emissions, nighttime incandescence, and intermittent explosions continued during July 2015 (figure 75). Nine MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued, but they were concentrated during 6-8 and 26-31 July. The Washington VAAC issued alerts on 8, 10, and 11 July, and then during a second period from 24 to 28 July. The report on 8 July noted an ash emission at 7.6 km altitude extending 15 km SW from the summit. The report on 10 July noted that ashfall had been reported about 10 km NW of the summit, but cloudy skies prevented satellite observations. Reports issued during 24-28 July included satellite observations of emissions at 6.1 to 7.6 km altitude extending 25-45 km NE or W from the summit before dissipating. The SO2 emissions during July were visible nearly every day in the satellite data, with 16 days having values >2 DU.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Ash emission on 17 July 2015 from Popocatépetl. Webcam image courtesy of CENAPRED.

Sulfur dioxide emissions during August 2015 were also visible in satellite imagery nearly every day. Six days had values >2 DU. There were no Washington VAAC reports during August, but there were ten MODVOLC thermal alerts issued throughout the month.

The number of daily emissions during September 2015 were far fewer than during January-July 2015, although crater incandescence was still observed. The Washington VAAC only issued three reports, all during 19-20 September. They observed an ash emission on 19 September at 6.7 km altitude that extended 45 km WNW from the summit for a few hours before dissipating (figure 76). Ten MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued in September, and SO2 plumes were visible daily with values >2 DU on half the days of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Ash emission from Popocatépetl on 19 September 2015. Webcam image courtesy of CENAPRED.

Ash emissions increased again during October 2015. Ash-bearing plumes rose as high as 2 km above the crater. The Washington VAAC issued reports of ash plumes on 12 different days. An ash plume observed on 2 October at 7.6 km altitude extended 185 km SW before dissipating; another plume on 20 October was identified in satellite images at 8.5 km altitude drifting NW, and was visible from México City. Eighteen MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued throughout the month, and strong SO2 plumes were detected nearly every day in OMI satellite data.

Activity during November 2015 was similar to that during October. CENAPRED recorded tens of daily emissions of water vapor, gas, and minor amounts of ash. Explosions at regular intervals sent ash plumes 1-3 km above the summit, and incandescent material was deposited on the flanks within 1 km of the crater a number of times (figure 77). The Washington VAAC issued aviation alerts almost daily during 1-17 November, but none after that for the rest of the year. Most of the ash plumes reached 6.1-7.3 km altitude and drifted N, NE, SW, W, and S for a few tens of kilometers before dissipating. The plume on 7 November rose to 9.1 km and was visible as a dark feature above the weather clouds before it dissipated.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Incandescent material showers the flanks of Popocatépetl from an explosion during the early morning hours of 17 November 2015. Webcam image courtesy of CENAPRED.

While ash plume observations decreased during the second half of November and during December, MODVOLC thermal alerts increased in number. Thirty-three appeared during November, and 35 during December. Plumes of SO2 were persistently visible in Aura/OMI satellite data both months.

Activity during January-June 2016. A series of explosive events during 2-8 January 2016 resulted in 13 aviation alerts from the Washington VAAC. An ash plume first reported in satellite data early on 6 January was drifting E at 6.4 km altitude. By late the next day, VAAC reports indicated that the plume was still visible over 1,000 km E before it finally dissipated. A new series of explosive events began on 20 January (figure 78) and lasted through 26 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Ash explosion at Popocatépetl on 20 January 2016. Webcam image courtesy of CENAPRED.

CENAPRED reported that on 23 January 2016 an increase in activity was characterized by continuous gas-and-ash emissions, likely related to the destruction of a recently-formed lava dome. Later that night cameras recorded incandescent fragments ejected during periods of emissions. The constant steam-and-ash emissions drifted E and ENE for more than 48 hours at altitudes from 6.1 to 8.2 km. By 25 January, an ash plume was still visible over 900 km E. NASA Earth Observatory posted a satellite image of the plume around 1930 UTC (1330 local time) (figure 79). NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center also captured an image of a strong SO2 plume drifting NE from Popocatépetl at the same time (figure 80). Twenty-six MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on 15 days of January. Especially strong SO2 plumes were visible on 6, 7, 23, and 25 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Popocatépetl emits an ash plume on 25 January 2016 that extends over 300 km E over the Gulf of México. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite captured this image at 1930. Image prepared by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response using VIIRS data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership. Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Defense. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. A strong SO2 plume drifting over 500 km NE from Popocatépetl was captured by the OMI instrument on the AURA satellite during 1918-2015 UTC on 25 January 2016. A visible infrared image was acquired within this same period (see figure 79). Courtesy of NASA GSFC.

Tens of daily emissions of water vapor, gas, and ash were reported during February 2016, along with multiple daily explosions generating ash plumes and occasionally sending tephra onto the flank. The Washington VAAC issued aviation alerts on twelve days during the month. They were discrete events that sent ash plumes generally E or SE at altitudes between 6 and 7 km, and generally dissipated within 6 hours, tens of kilometers from the summit. An ash plume reported on 15 February was still visible 500 km E of the summit before it dissipated. MODVOLC thermal alerts were reported on 10 days during the month, SO2 plumes were more intermittent and only exceeded 2 DU on four days.

The largest ash explosion events during March 2016 took place at the end of the month. On 27 March, an ash plume was spotted by the Washington VAAC extending about 100 km NE at 6.4 km altitude. Explosions on 29 March created an ash plume at 9.1 km altitude moving rapidly ESE (figure 81). Ashfall from the plume caused Puebla's airport to close from 2000 on 29 March to 0600 on 30 March. The plume fanned out and extended tens of kilometers to both the S and SE before dissipating. On 31 March an explosion produced an ash plume that rose 1.8 km and drifted ENE; incandescent fragments fell 1 km away on the ESE flank. Thermal alerts were issued by MODVOLC on 13 days of March, and SO2 plumes were visible about the same number of days, but values did not exceed 2 DU.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. An ash plume at Popocatépetl on 29 March 2016. Webcam image courtesy of CENAPRED.

On 2 April 2016 CENAPRED scientists conducted an overflight of the crater and observed the inner crater which was 325 m in diameter and 50 m deep (figure 82). The crater had previously been filled with a lava dome, destroyed in January, which had grown to an estimated volume of 2,000,000 cubic meters. Small landslides had occurred on the E wall of the inner crater. During 3 April, incandescent fragments were ejected as far as 3.5 km onto the E and SE flanks, generating fires in that part of the forest; authorities noted that the event was the largest explosion in three years. Ash fell in the towns of Juan C. Bonilla (32 km ENE) and Coronango (35 km ENE), both in the state of Puebla. The Washington VAAC reported numerous ash plumes during 1-9 April. The highest, on 1 April, was observed in satellite data at 9.7 km altitude, extending over 300 km NE over the Gulf of México. The other plumes were mostly observed between 6.4 and 8.5 km altitude, drifting E or NE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. The inner crater at Popocatépetl on 2 April 2016. CENAPRED scientists estimated that it was 325 m in diameter and 50 m deep. The previous lava dome was destroyed during January 2016. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

Strombolian activity on 18 April ejected incandescent fragments 1.6 km onto the NE flank, and ash plumes rose 3 km above the crater and drifted ENE. Ashfall was reported in San Pedro Benito Juárez (12 km SE), San Nicolás de los Ranchos (15 km ENE), Tianguismanalco (17 km E), San Martín Texmelucan (35 km NNE), and Huejotzingo (27 km NE). According to a news article, the airport in Puebla closed again due to the ash plumes. Thermal alerts from MODVOLC were recorded on 13 days during the month, and SO2 plumes were visible in the Aura/OMI data almost every day.

Activity continued at slightly lower levels during May 2016 with VAAC reports issued on nine days. The ash plumes reported all dissipated quickly within a few tens of kilometers of the summit after drifting E at altitudes generally around 6.4 to 6.7 km. Single MODVOLC alerts were reported on only six days during the month, and except for a large SO2 plume on 3 May, small plumes were visible about 8 days of the month.

An increase in the number of daily explosions with ash emissions was reported by CENAPRED during June 2016. As many as six a day were reported during the second week of the month. An explosion on 12 June produced an ash plume that rose 2.5 km and drifted W (figure 83). Minor amounts of ash fell in Ozumba (18 km W). Aviation alerts were issued by the Washington VAAC on 13 days. Most of the ash plumes dissipated within six hours a few tens of kilometers from the summit due to high winds. The plumes rose to altitudes between 6.1 and 7.9 km, and drifted NE, W and SW. The ash plume reported on 23 June extended NE 16 km at 7.3 km altitude, and 26 km SW at 5.8 km altitude simultaneously. Thermal alerts from the MODVOLC system were reported on 1, 8, and 25 June. SO2 satellite data was only available for the second half of the month, and showed two days with significant SO2 plumes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Explosion with ash plume at Popocatépetl on 12 June 2016. Webcam image courtesy of CENAPRED.

Geologic Background. Volcán Popocatépetl, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain, rises 70 km SE of Mexico City to form North America's 2nd-highest volcano. The glacier-clad stratovolcano contains a steep-walled, 400 x 600 m wide crater. The generally symmetrical volcano is modified by the sharp-peaked Ventorrillo on the NW, a remnant of an earlier volcano. At least three previous major cones were destroyed by gravitational failure during the Pleistocene, producing massive debris-avalanche deposits covering broad areas to the south. The modern volcano was constructed south of the late-Pleistocene to Holocene El Fraile cone. Three major Plinian eruptions, the most recent of which took place about 800 CE, have occurred since the mid-Holocene, accompanied by pyroclastic flows and voluminous lahars that swept basins below the volcano. Frequent historical eruptions, first recorded in Aztec codices, have occurred since Pre-Columbian time.

Information Contacts: Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México D.F. 04360, México (URL: https://www.gob.mx/cenapred/); 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/); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); 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/).


Reventador (Ecuador) — July 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava flow emerges from summit cone, January 2016; continued explosions, pyroclastic flows, and ash emissions

The andesitic Volcán El Reventador lies well east of the main volcanic axis of the Cordillera Real in Ecuador and has historical observations of eruptions with numerous lava flows and explosive events going back to the 16th century. The largest historical eruption took place in November 2002 and generated a 17-km-high eruption cloud, pyroclastic flows that traveled 8 km, and several lava flows. From June 2014-December 2015, monthly eruptive activity included ash plumes, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and ejected incandescent blocks (BGVN 42:06). Similar activity during January-April 2016 is described below with information provided by the Instituto Geofisico-Escuela Politecnicia Nacional (IG) of Ecuador, and the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Almost daily eruptive activity continued during January-April 2016. Steam and gas emissions, usually containing minor amounts of ash, were visible at the summit crater on most clear days rising 500-1,000 m above the 3.6-km-high summit. Explosions sent incandescent blocks 500-1,500 m down all flanks several times each month. Pyroclastic flows also traveled similar distances down the flanks a few times each month. A lava flow was observed descending the N flank of the summit cone on 28 January 2016.

Steam and gas emissions, usually with minor amounts of ash, rose daily from the summit crater during January 2016. Plumes generally rose 500-1,000 m and drifted NW or W. A pyroclastic flow descended 1,000 m down the NE flank on 5 January. Loud explosions were heard in the community of El Reventador (15 km E) on 6 and 7 January, and plumes were observed 1.5 km above the crater. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission moving SW on 9 January at 4.6 km altitude; it extended 65 km SW before dissipating. The Guayaquil Meteorological Weather Office (MWO) reported an ash emission on 12 January at 6.7 km altitude, but extensive cloud cover prevented satellite observation.

The Washington VAAC observed emissions in satellite imagery moving 25 km NW on 15 and 16 January at about 4.9 km altitude. Technical crews performing maintenance on 15 January observed and documented several explosions with ash plumes that reached 2 km above the summit (about 5.5 km altitude) and observed a pyroclastic flow that moved 500 m down the N flank (figure 53). They also noted pyroclastic deposits that had been emplaced during recent weeks along the N flank. Small pyroclastic flows during the night of 18 January descended the flanks of the cone for 1,000 m. Additional explosions the next day sent blocks down the SW flank. On 21 January, incandescent blocks traveled 1,200 m down the W flank; on 27 January, they were observed 500 m below the summit crater. The Washington VAAC observed a hotpot in infrared imagery on 24 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Activity at Reventador on 15 January 2016 was documented by technicians working on monitoring equipment. Top: an ash column reached 1.5 to 2 km above the summit during the afternoon. Bottom: A pyroclastic flow traveled 500 m down the flank as seen in this thermal image. Top photo by J. Córdoba, courtesy of IG-EPN (Actualization de la Actividad eruptive del volcán Reventador Informe 2016-1).

On 28 January 2016, IG conducted an overflight and observed pulsing fumarolic activity producing plumes with low to moderate ash emissions drifting W. They noted pyroclastic flow deposits on all the flanks that did not go beyond the foot of the active cone. They also witnessed an active lava flow descending the N flank, emerging from a vent on the N side of the summit of the cone (figure 54). Thermal measurements were taken at the N vent (501°C ), the central vent (372.8°C), and the base of the flow (324.6°C) (figure 55). MODVOLC thermal alerts were reported on eight days during January (6, 9 (4), 14, 16 (3), 18 (3), 25 (2), 27 (3), 29, 31).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. A lava flow descends the N flank of the summit cone at Reventador on 28 January 2016 as seen during an overflight by IG. The lava is emerging from a vent on the N side of the summit 'Vento Norte,' distinct from the vent at the center of the summit 'Vento Central.' Photo by M Almeida, courtesy of IG-EPN (Resumen de las Observaciones efectuadas durante el vuelo efectuado el 28 de enero de 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Closeup view of the 28 January 2016 lava flow at Reventador showing the temperature values from three different locations. The temperature at the central vent was 372.8°C, at the N vent from which the flow emerged it was 501°C, and 324.6°C at the base of the flow. The points of thermal measurement are shown in the corresponding photograph on the right. Minor gas emissions drifted W. Thermal image by P. Ramón, photograph by M. Almeida, courtesy of IG-EPN (Resumen de las Observaciones efectuadas durante el vuelo efectuado el 28 de enero de 2016).

Reventador was quieter during February 2016 than in January. Steam and gas emissions with minor ash were observed often, with emissions generally below 500 m above the crater. Incandescent blocks observed on 4 February were 1,000 m below the summit crater. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions visible in satellite imagery on 5 February moving SSW, extending about 25 km at 4.3 km altitude (about 700 m above the summit crater); they also observed incandescence at the crater. Incandescence was again observed on 6 and 7 February; blocks traveled 700 m down the SW flank on 13 February. A diffuse, narrow plume of ash was drifting NW from the summit on 14 February at 4.6 km altitude. The Guayaquil MWO reported an ash plume at 6.1 km altitude moving W on 23 February, but weather clouds obscured views in satellite imagery. Although it was cloudy on 27 February, loud explosions were heard during the night. MODVOLC thermal alerts were reported on seven days of the month; 1 (3), 3 (5), 5 (4), 6, 14 (3), 19, and 26 (3).

Tourists visiting the Hostería el Reventador observed steam, gas, and ash emissions on 2 March 2016. On many clear days during March, emissions of steam with minor ash were observed rising 1 km above the summit crater, drifting NW, W or SW. Incandescence and pyroclastic flows were seen much more frequently than during February. A pyroclastic flow traveled down the SE flank on 5 March. Explosions that afternoon sent incandescent blocks 1,200 m down the E and SE flanks. This activity continued through 9 March with blocks traveling daily 500-1,000 m down the flanks. On 9 March, ash emissions rose to 1 km above the crater and drifted NW; morning explosions sent blocks 1,200 m down the flanks and a small pyroclastic flow was observed that night. Explosions with steam and ash rising 1 km above the summit were observed on 10 March. Incandescence at the summit, and blocks rolling up to 1,500 m down the flanks were observed on most clear nights during the second half of March. A pyroclastic flow on 20 March descended 2 km down the SW flank. Steam and ash were reported drifting W 1 km above the crater on 21 March.

The Guayaquil MWO reported ash emissions on 7 March to 4.9 km, but weather clouds prevented observations by the Washington VAAC. On 10 March, ash emissions were confirmed in satellite imagery at 6.1 km altitude drifting W. The MWO reported ash emissions at 6.4 km altitude on 15 March, but weather clouds again prevented satellite observation. Webcam images showed ash emissions on 18 March at 4.3 km altitude drifting NW. The next day, the Washington VAAC was able to observe emissions in both satellite imagery and the webcam drifting W at 5.5 km altitude. Possible emissions on 31 March were also obscured by weather clouds. MODVOLC thermal alerts were reported on 7 days during March; 6, 15 (2), 16 (2), 22 (4), 26 (4), 29, 31.

Explosions that sent incandescent blocks down the flanks were observed nine times during April 2016, on days 3, 4, 7, 9, 12, 19, 23, 25, and 26. They generally travelled 1,000 m or more down various flanks. They were observed 2,000 m down the SW flank after a large explosion on 23 April. Pyroclastic flows were observed three times. On 6 April they traveled 1,500 m down the NW flank; on 13 and 21 April they traveled 1,000 m down the E flank. Steam and gas emissions were observed on most clear days, and generally contained minor amounts of ash. The plumes usually rose 300 to 800 m above the summit and drifted W, but on 13 and 18 April they rose 2 km above the summit, according to INSIVUMEH.

The Washington VAAC reported a possible ash emission on 4 April drifting NW at 4.3 km altitude based on a brief emission witnessed from the webcam. Weather clouds prevented satellite imagery views. There were also reports of volcanic ash at 6.7 km altitude drifting SE on 12 April, but both the webcam and satellite imagery were obscured by clouds. Observers reported an ash plume moving NE at 5.5 km altitude the next day. Ash emissions were reported moving NW at 5.8 km altitude on 29 April, but weather clouds again obscured satellite imagery. MODVOLC thermal alerts were reported on 8 days of April: 3, 11 (2), 14 (2), 19 (2), 20, 25 (4), 26 (3), 30.

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 (IG), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, 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: 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/).


San Miguel (El Salvador) — July 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

San Miguel

El Salvador

13.434°N, 88.269°W; summit elev. 2130 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Six small ash emission events during January 2015-June 2017

Volcán de San Miguel (Chaparrastique), in southern El Salvador, was active with several flank lava flows during the 17th-19th centuries, but recent activity has consisted of occasional ash eruptions from the summit crater. The beginning of the most recent eruption on 29 December 2013 resulted in a large ash plume that rose to 9.7 km altitude, and dispersed ash to many communities within 30 km of the volcano (BGVN 40:08). Intermittent ash plumes lasted through 28 July 2014. This report covers activity from January 2015 through June 2017, and describes six small ash emission events during this time. Information about San Miguel comes from the the Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN) of El Salvador, and the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Six ash-bearing explosions occurred at San Miguel between January 2015 and June 2017. Otherwise, minor seismicity and pulses of gas-and-steam emissions were the primary type of activity. The explosion on 26 January 2015 sent a plume 300 m above the crater, drifting SW. An explosion on 11 April 2015 resulted in an ash plume rising about 800 m above the crater that also drifted SW. Trace amounts of ash were emitted on 13 August 2015. The largest explosion of the period took place on 12 January 2016, when an ash plume drifting W caused ashfall as far as 25 km away, and the plume was ultimately visible as far as 300 km from the volcano. Incandescence was observed at the base of the 900-m-high eruptive column that appeared on 18 June 2016. Minor ash emissions were reported on 7 January 2017 drifting 130 km SW from San Miguel. Minor seismic swarms and steam-and-gas plumes were reported during February-June 2017.

Activity during 2015. After very little activity other than slightly elevated RSAM values since July 2014, a small ash-bearing explosion occurred on 26 January 2015 (figure 18). The ash plume rose about 300 m above the crater and drifted SW, dissipating quickly. Trace amounts of ash fell in the Piedra Azul area about 6 km SW of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Gas-and-steam emissions at San Miguel on 26 January 2015, after an ash-bearing explosion that occurred earlier in the day. Courtesy of MARN (Informe Especial No. 8. Continúa constante emanación de gases del volcán Chaparrastique January 27, 2015 at 11:21 am).

Another emission lasting for 20 minutes on 22 February 2015 sent a column of gas 300 m above the crater that dispersed to the SSW; no ash was observed. Occasional pulses of gas were reported during March rising 200 m above the summit crater. An explosion on 11 April 2015 resulted in an ash plume rising about 800 m above the crater and drifting SW. Local observers reported a millimeter of ashfall in the areas of La Piedra, Morita, and San Jorge, less than 10 km to the SW.

Occasional small pulses of gas that rose to about 200 m above the crater were typical behavior during May-July (figure 19). On 13 August 2015, the webcam captured a gas plume emission that contained minor amounts of ash and rose 200-300 m above the crater. A millimeter of ashfall was reported in San Jorge, and near the communities of Moritas and Piedrita to the SW. No emissions were reported during September, and the small pulses of gas observed during October did not exceed 200 m above the summit crater. No anomalous activity was reported during November, and small discrete pulses of gas were the only activity reported for December 2015.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Diffuse degassing from the summit crater at San Miguel on 24 June 2015. Courtesy of MARN (Informe Mensual de Monitoreo Volcánico Junio, 2015).

Activity during 2016. San Miguel began the year with what MARN described as a VEI 1 eruption of ash and gas on 12 January 2016 (figure 20). Periodic pulses of ash and gas lasting 3-5 minutes rose to less than 1,000 m above the crater and drifted WSW. Ashfall was reported from La Piedra, Moritas, La Placita, San Jorge, (all less than 10 km SW), San Rafael Oriente (10 km SW), Alegría (25 km NW) and Berlin in Usulután (21 km SW).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Ash eruption at San Miguel in the early morning of 12 January 2016. Image from the MARN webcam on the N side of the volcano. Courtesy of MARN (Informe Mensual de Monitoreo Volcánico Enero, 2016).

NASA Earth Observatory captured images of two pulses of ash from the 12 January eruption that show the changing direction of the plume (figure 21). The first image, taken at 1635 (UTC) shows the ash plume headed directly W. The second image, taken three hours later at 1935 shows the active plume drifting SW, with the earlier plume segment farther to the W over the Pacific Ocean. The Washington VAAC reported the ash emission at 2.4 km altitude (300 m above the summit crater) drifting WSW at 1745 (UTC). At that time, the denser part of the plume extended 45 km from the volcano and the diffuse, wispy plume extended 130 km WSW. By midday on 13 January, the Washington VAAC reported ongoing emissions and that the plume extended 300 km SW. The plume was no longer visible in satellite images by the end of the day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors on NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites acquired these natural-color images of ash streaming from San Miguel on 12 January 2016. Terra captured the upper image at 1035 local time (1635 UTC) which shows the ash plume drifting W; Aqua captured the lower image three hours later at 1335 local time (1935 UTC), and it shows the SW drift of the plume with the older remnant to the W over the Pacific Ocean. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

Seismicity declined during 12-14 January 2016. On 15 January, local observers reported a millimeter of ash deposited in Las Cruces on the N flank. Gas emissions during 17-18 January were weak, only rising 150 m. At 0900 on 18 January, the emission plume became dark and drifted SW. By the next crater inspection on 19 February, MARN scientists noted only minor degassing from the summit crater.

Although a period of volcanic tremor occurred on 8 March 2016, only short pulses of gas were observed that did not rise more than 150 m above the crater. Another spike in seismicity occurred on 3 April, but no gas or ash emissions were observed. Otherwise, only minor pulses of gas issued from the crater during February through May. A seismic swarm indicating rock fracturing at depth on 31 May could have resulted in trace amounts of ash deposited within the crater, but cloudy weather prevented observations. A few pulses of gas were observed from the webcam other times during May.

Seismic activity increased significantly during the second week in June. An explosion in the early morning of 18 June 2016 lasted about 60 seconds, and sent an ash emission to about 900 m above the crater (figure 22). Incandescence was observed within the eruptive column, and the debris fell about 100 m down the N flank. Ashfall of less than half a millimeter was reported in the El Volcan area about 7 km NE of the crater. The volcanologist who examined the ash determined that it was juvenile material from a magmatic explosion. A continuous column of steam-and-gas issued from the crater until 29 June (figure 23). During this time, local observers and officials from the Civil Protection of San Jorge reported sulfur odors and slight acid rain damage to the vegetation in the La Morita, La Piedrita, La Ceiba, and LACAYO farms, located about 4 km W of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. The pre-dawn eruption of 18 June 2016 at San Miguel photographed from the MARN webcam. The ash emission rose to about 900 m above the summit crater. Courtesy of MARN (Informe Mensual de Monitoreo Volcánico Junio, 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Gas plumes from San Miguel during the second half of June 2016 caused acid rain damage to vegetation W of the volcano. Upper image from the MARN webcam taken on 24 June 2016. The lower image was taken at 0800 on 27 June near Las Moritas, about 5 km WSW of the crater by Antonio Saravia. Courtesy of MARN (Informe Mensual de Monitoreo Volcánico Junio, 2016).

Seismic activity was slightly elevated during the first half of July 2016, but otherwise only small pulses of gas were observed from the crater. Low-level activity continued from the summit crater during August. On 29 August, however, a seismic signal indicative of a lahar was noted near the VSM (Santa Isabel) seismic station, but no damage was reported. Periodic pulses of gases were noted during September 2016. A 20-minute-long seismic signal on 5 September indicated another lahar passing near seismic station VSM, but no damage was reported. GPS measurements during September indicated deformation of a few millimeters on the N flank. No explosions were reported during October-December 2016, only small plumes of steam and gas were observed (figure 24).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Steam-and-gas plumes blowing SW from San Miguel during December 2016. Image taken by the webcam located at the El Pacayal (Chinameca) volcano about 8 km S. Courtesy of MARN (Informe Mensual de Monitoreo Volcánico Diciembre, 2016).

Activity during January-June 2017. On 7 January 2017, the Washington VAAC reported minor volcanic ash emissions from San Miguel at 2.6 km altitude extending SW about 130 km from the summit. Mild degassing continued during February and March. A brief seismic swarm occurred on 17 April 2017, but no explosions of gas or ash were observed in the webcam. A strong gas plume rose 1.2 km above the crater rim on 27 April. Seismicity decreased during May. Other than small gas plumes, the only activity reported during June 2017 was a slight increase in seismicity beginning on 12 June and lasting to the end of the month.

Geologic Background. The symmetrical cone of San Miguel volcano, one of the most active in El Salvador, rises from near sea level to form one of the country's most prominent landmarks. The unvegetated summit rises above slopes draped with coffee plantations. A broad, deep crater complex that has been frequently modified by historical eruptions (recorded since the early 16th century) caps the truncated summit, also known locally as Chaparrastique. Radial fissures on the flanks of the basaltic-andesitic volcano have fed a series of historical lava flows, including several erupted during the 17th-19th centuries that reached beyond the base of the volcano on the N, NE, and SE sides. The SE-flank flows are the largest and form broad, sparsely vegetated lava fields crossed by highways and a railroad skirting the base of the volcano. The location of flank vents has migrated higher on the edifice during historical time, and the most recent activity has consisted of minor ash eruptions from the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN), Km. 5½ Carretera a Nueva San Salvador, Avenida las Mercedes, San Salvador, El Salvador (URL: http://www.snet.gob.sv/ver/vulcanologia); 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).


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — July 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuous ash emissions, pyroclastic flows and lahars; new lava dome visible at Caliente dome, October 2016

The dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex on the W flank of Guatemala's Santa María volcano has been growing since 1922. The youngest of the four vents in the complex, Caliente, has been actively erupting with ash explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lava flows for more than 40 years. Constant steam and magmatic gases during January-June 2016 were accompanied by some of the largest explosive events of the last few years in April and May. Ash plumes rose to over 5 km altitude and spread ash regularly over communities within 30 km (BGVN 41:09). Guatemala's INSIVUMEH (Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meterologia e Hidrologia) and the Washington VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center) provided regular updates on the continuing activity during the second half of 2016, and are the primary sources of information for this report.

Constant emission of both steam and magmatic gas were observed from the summit of Caliente dome throughout July-December 2016. Overall, eruptive activity decreased during this period compared with the previous six months. During July-September, INSIVUMEH reported 3-5 daily weak or moderate explosions with ash plumes that rose to 3.3-3.5 km altitude and dispersed ash over communities generally to the SW within 30 km. Stronger explosions took place 5-10 times each month from July-September. The ash plumes from these larger explosions usually rose to 5-5.5 km altitude. The highest plume was reported by the Washington VAAC at 6.1 km altitude during August. Ash plumes drifted more than 100 km from the volcano on several occasions, and ashfall was reported more than 50 km away more than once. These larger explosions also produced numerous pyroclastic flows that descended into the drainages on the SE, S, and SW flanks of Caliente dome. Heavy rains resulted in substantial lahars generated from the ash and debris several times each month.

INSIVUMEH observed the growth of a new lava dome inside the summit crater of Caliente beginning in October. By the end of the year, it had filled more than half of the summit crater with new material. During October, November, and the first part of December, the number of smaller explosions to around 3.5 km altitude increased to 25-35 daily events.

Activity during July-August 2016. Eruptive activity at the Santiaguito dome complex decreased from previous months during July 2016. Constant degassing from the Caliente dome, weak and moderate daily explosions, and ashfall in nearby (5-20 km) communities to the W and SW were typical. Steam and magmatic gases generally rose 300-400 m above the summit crater. Three or four weak to moderate explosions per day generally created diffuse ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 3.3-3.5 km. Ashfall from the smaller explosions generally affected the villages of San Marcos Palajunoj, Loma Linda, Monte Bello, and a few others located 10-20 km SW. Four stronger explosions on 1 (2), 3, and 10 July sent ash plumes to altitudes of 5-5.5 km (figure 48) and generated pyroclastic flows that descended the SW, S, and SE flanks (figure 49).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. A strong explosion with a mushroom-cloud-shaped ash plume rising to 5.5 km on 1 July 2016 at Santa María. View is from the NW. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual de Actividad Volcánica, Julio 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. A strong explosion with pyroclastic flows traveling down the SW, S, and SE flanks of Caliente dome at Santa María during July 2016. View is from the SE. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual de Actividad Volcánica, Julio 2016).

Ash from the larger explosions was reported at least once in Columba, about 20 km SW (figure 50), Malacatán (about 55 km NW), and also from the Chiapas regions of Mexico, 70 km W. The Washington VAAC reported a plume on 1 July at 5.2 km altitude with ash extending about 35 km WNW. On 10 July, they observed an ash plume in multispectral imagery moving NW about 45 km from the summit. They also observed a bright hotspot at the summit. On 11 July, they reported an ash plume at 6.4 km altitude extending over 80 km NW. Dissipating ash was visible in imagery about 275 km NW later in the day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Ash fall covered vehicles in Colomba, about 20 km SW, from one of the larger explosions at Santa María during July 2016. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual de Actividad Volcánica, Julio 2016).

A lahar descended the Cabello de Ángel river drainage on 3 July 2016 after a large explosion (figure 51). It was up to 30 m wide in places, and 1.5 m deep with blocks up to 1.5 m in diameter. The Cabello de Ángel flows into the Nimá I and Samala River drainages.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. A lahar descends the Nimá I drainage on 3 July 2016 at Santa María after a large explosion created a pyroclastic flow down the S flank. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual de Actividad Volcánica, Julio 2016).

Constant degassing of steam and bluish magmatic gases continued during August 2016, rising 100-400 m above the summit of Caliente dome. Three to five weak or moderate explosions occurred daily, sending ash plumes to altitudes of 3.3-3.5 km (800-1,000 m above the dome). The STG3 seismic station recorded nine larger explosions in August (4, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 28) that sent ash emissions to 4-5.5 km altitude, and generated pyroclastic flows that descended up to 2.5 km down the flanks (figure 52). The incandescent rock and ash descended the Nimá I, Nimá II, and San Isidro drainages on the SW, S, and SE flanks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Pyroclastic flows descend several drainages on the S, SW, and SE flanks of Caliente at Santa María during one of the large explosions of August 2016. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual de Actividad Volcánica, Agosto 2016).

Communities and fincas (farms) affected by ashfall from these explosions included San Marcos Palajunoj, Loma Linda, Monte Bello, San Felipe (15 km SSW), Mazatenango (25 km SSE), Retalhuleu (27 km SW), El Faro, La Florida (5 km S), Patzulin (SW flank), and El Patrocinio. Tephra particles as large as 8 mm were collected in Loma Linda (figure 53). A few of the explosions resulted in ashfall more than 50 km from the volcano, including into Mexico. The Washington VAAC reported ash plumes rising to 5.8 km on 1 August; they were later visible 175 km W of the Mexico coast, W of Tapachula, Mexico. Two emissions on 12 August were seen at 5.2 km altitude drifting W. Ongoing emissions were reported at 6.1 km altitude on 16 August moving WNW and extending about 80 km. The plume observed on 19 August was 65 km NW at 5.5 km altitude. A plume observed in multispectral imagery on 25 August was moving NW at 6.1 km altitude over 185 km from the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Lapilli fragments as large as 8 mm diameter were collected in Loma Linda on 16 August 2016 from an explosion at Santa María. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual de Actividad Volcánica, Agosto 2016).

Increased precipitation during August 2016 led to lahars on 8, 13, and 29 August 2016 that descended the Cabello de Ángel , Nimá I, and Samalá drainages. They ranged from 18 to 25 m wide and were 1.5 m deep containing blocks up to 1.5 m in diameter. Flooding was reported downstream near the Castillo Armas bridge on the Samalá River.

Activity during September 2016. Most of the steam and magmatic gases emitting daily from Caliente during September 2016 rose 100-400 m above the dome and generally drifted SW or W (figure 54). Small to moderate ash-bearing explosions occurred 3-5 times daily; ash plumes generally rose to 3.3-3.5 km altitude during these events. Several stronger explosions during September (1, 4, 11, 17, 19, 24, 25, 30) generated ash plumes that rose to 4.5 or 5 km altitude and drifted W, SW, S, SE and E. The Washington VAAC also reported an ash plume observed in multispectral imagery on 20 September at 5.2 km altitude drifting 45 km W. A few hours later, they reported two plumes, one at 4.6 km drifting 75 mi W, and a second at 5.2 km altitude moving WSW over 80 km from the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. A magmatic gas plume drifts W from the Caliente dome in this view from the summit of Santa María during September 2016. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual de Actividad Volcánica, Septiembre 2016).

Near-daily ashfall was reported from many of the communities 10-20 km SW including San Marcos Palajunoj, Loma Linda, Monte Bello, Santa María de Jesús, El Nuevo Palmar, and Las Marías (figure 55) during September 2016. Lapilli as large as 15 mm diameter was collected in the neighborhoods of San Marcos Palajunoj (figure 56).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Vegetation near Loma Linda was covered with ash almost daily from Santa María during September 2016. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual de Actividad Volcánica, Septiembre 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Lapilli from Santa María up to 15 mm in diameter fell in the village San Marcos Palajunoj during September 2016. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual de Actividad Volcánica, Septiembre 2016).

The larger explosions also resulted in pyroclastic flows that travelled 2.0-2.5 km down the SW, S, and SE flanks in the Nimá I, Nimá II, and San Isidro drainages. Areas of vegetation burned from the heat of the pyroclastic flows (figure 57).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Several areas of burned vegetation from the pyroclastic flows that descended the drainages on the SE flank of Caliente dome at Santa María during September 2016 are highlighted in yellow. The view is from the summit of Santa María looking S. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual de Actividad Volcánica, Septiembre 2016).

Lahars or heavy mudflows were recorded on ten days during September, primarily in the Cabello de Ángel and Nimá I drainages (figure 58). Channels of debris worked their way over the 2015 lava flows in the Nimá I drainage and continued downstream. The lahars were 13-20 m wide and 1.5 m high and carried clay, volcanic ash, and blocks up to 1.5 m in diameter.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. The active channels of the Cabello de Ángel and Nimá I drainages (in yellow) on the SE flank of the Caliente dome at Santa María hosted numerous pyroclastic flows and lahars. The many lahars of September 2016 traveled over parts of the channel covered by the 2015 lava flows in the Nimá I drainage. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual de Actividad Volcánica, Septiembre 2016).

The constant explosive activity at Caliente dome during 2016 enlarged the summit crater significantly between January and the end of September 2016. In January 2016, it was about 260 m wide and 20 m deep; by 21 September, it was 340 m wide and 175 m deep according to INSIVUMEH (figure 59).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. The summit crater at Santa María's Caliente dome enlarged substantially between 9 January (left) and 21 September (right) 2016 from numerous explosions. In January 2016, it was about 260 m wide and 20 m deep; by 21 September, it was 340 m wide and 175 m deep. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual de Actividad Volcánica, Septiembre 2016).

Activity during October-December 2016. INSIVUMEH reported that a new lava dome began growing inside the summit crater of Caliente on 1 October 2016. The number of weak to moderate ash-bearing explosions increased during October, but the overall amount of energy from the explosions decreased. The STG3 seismic station recorded 25-35 weak to moderate explosions per day and the ash plumes they created generally rose to 3.3-3.5 km altitude (figure 60). There were no strong explosions reported by INSIVUMEH. The Washington VAAC reported larger ash plumes at 5.5 km altitude on 3 and 4 October that drifted a few tens of kilometers SSW from the summit before dissipating. Ashfall from these plumes was reported in the villages of San Marcos Palajunoj, Loma Linda, Monte Bello, El Faro, Patzulin and others to the S and SW. Lahars up to 20 m wide descended the Cabello de Ángel drainage on 4, 27, and 28 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. An ash-bearing emission from the Caliente dome at Santa María on 5 October 2016 rises into the sunset glow. The plume rose to an altitude of about 3.5 km before drifting SW. View from the SE. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual de Actividad Volcánica, Octubre 2016).

The same eruptive pattern as October continued during November 2016 with 25-35 daily weak to moderate explosions that were responsible for ashfall in the villages to the SW, including Monte Claro, San José, and La Quinta and others. Steam and magmatic gasses continued to rise 100-500 m above the Caliente dome. A 15-m-wide lahar descended the Cabello de Ángel drainage on 9 November that was one meter deep, and carried material several kilometers down the Nimá and Samala drainages. The Washington VAAC reported some of the ash plumes visible up to 50 km from the dome. On 14 November, they noted two ash emissions at 4.6 km altitude. One was dissipating about 40 km SW while the second was within 15 km headed in the same direction. They also noted a small ash emission at 4.6 km altitude on 25 November drifting 20 km W.

Eruptive activity continued at a similar level during the first half of December 2016 with many weak and a few moderate explosions. During the second half of the month, the number of moderate explosions increased, but the overall number of explosions decreased. Twenty-five to thirty weak to moderate explosions per day were responsible for ash plumes rising to 3.0-3.5 km altitude. The Washington VAAC reported plumes on 24 and 30 December visible in satellite imagery at 4.6 km altitude drifting W. INSIVUMEH reported that the explosion on 30 December generated a pyroclastic flow that traveled for 2 km.

The growth of the new lava dome within the summit crater of Caliente first observed in October continued during November and December. By 18 December 2016 the new, growing dome had filled about two-thirds of the summit crater (figure 61). Heat flow at Caliente steadily declined during the second half of 2016, especially as compared with values during the first half of the year (see figure 47, BGVN (41:09). Only two MODVOLC thermal alerts were recorded after June 2016, on 29 July and 1 August. The MIROVA signal also showed a steady decrease in heat flow during this period (figure 62).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. Growth of the new lava dome at the summit crater of Caliente dome at Santa María during November and December 2016. The upper image was taken by Barbara Garcia during November 2016. The lower image is dated 18 December 2016. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual de Actividad Volcánica, Noviembre and Diciembre 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. MIROVA graph of Log Radiative Power from Santa María from early June through December 2016 shows steadily declining heat flow. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); 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/); 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/).


Stromboli (Italy) — July 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Persistent low- and moderate-level explosive activity during 2015 and 2016

Confirmed historical eruptions at Italy's Stromboli volcano go back 2,000 years as this island volcano in the Tyrrhenian Sea has been a natural beacon for eons with its near-constant fountains of lava. Explosive activity during 2014 generated numerous lava flows that traveled down the flanks, including several that reached the ocean during August (BGVN 42:01). The volcano was quieter during 2015 and 2016 as reported by the Instituto Nazionale de Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione de Catania, who monitors the gas geochemistry, deformation, and seismology, as well as the surficial activity at Stromboli. Their weekly reports are summarized briefly below. Eruptive activity at the summit consistently occurs from multiple vents at both a north crater area (N Area) and a southern crater group (S Area) on the Terrazza Craterica at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a large scarp that runs from the summit down the NW side of the island. Thermal and visual cameras placed on the nearby Pizzo Sopra La Fossa monitor activity at the Terrazza Craterica.

No reports were issued by INGV after a report of 16 October 2014. The last activity at Stromboli in 2014 captured remotely was a MODVOLC thermal alert on 8 November 2014. Low- to medium-intensity explosions from the active vent areas at the summit characterized activity throughout 2015 and 2016. Occasional bursts of higher-intensity activity sent ash, lapilli, and bombs across the Terrazza Craterica and onto the head of the Sciara del Fuoco.

Activity during 2015. While no thermal anomalies were identified in MODIS data during 2015 or 2016, the eruptive activity continued at low-to-moderate levels. Strombolian explosions were frequent from both crater areas during January 2015. Six explosions accompanied by abundant ash emissions erupted from the N Area on 12 and 13 January. In the S Area, vents also produced tephra containing lapilli and small bombs. A high-intensity burst from the S Area on 23 January contained ash and a few lapilli and bombs.

Intermittent explosive activity continued at both crater areas during February 2015. Medium-to-low intensity explosive activity during the first week characterized the N Area, with the ejection of bombs mixed with ash. Strombolian activity increased on 7 February. In the S Area, explosions were characterized by the ejection of fine ash with lesser coarse material (lapilli and bombs). An energetic explosive event took place at the S Area on 15 February (figure 92). It was the strongest event since the activity of August 2014, and was followed by several explosions over the following 12 hours that contained abundant tephra.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. The explosive sequence of 15 February 2015 at the S Area crater of Stromboli. Images captured by the thermal and visual cameras located on the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa span a two-minute interval that starts at 1109:08 on 15 February (A) and goes through 1110:52 (D). Image E is from the same moment as image D. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 17/2/2015).

Low-intensity explosions characterized both the N and S Areas during March and early April 2015. Beginning on the afternoon of 15 April, the intensity and number of explosions increased significantly in the N Area for about 48 hours. Low- to medium-intensity explosions continued at both crater areas during May. On the evening of 11 May, and again during 13-15 May, a continuous glow was observed from the S Area caused by significant spattering activity. Strombolian activity was also noted from both crater areas on 20 and 21 May, and was more frequently observed during June 2015 (figure 93).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. Images from the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa visual camera show the increased Strombolian activity of June 2015 at Stromboli. On 11 June a double explosion of medium intensity from the two vents located in the S Area occurred just 10 seconds apart (top). The morphology of the terrace is visible in the lower left image, and the only explosion observed from the N Area was simultaneous with an explosion from the S Area (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 16/6/2015).

Members of an expedition to the summit on 1 July 2015 observed explosive activity from the S Area vents (figure 94). Activity continued at low-to-moderate levels during July. On 16 July, a strongly intense explosive sequence occurred at both crater areas (figure 95). The first explosion occurred in the S Area at 0103. A larger explosion a few seconds later produced a jet of bombs and lapilli that lasted for about 15 seconds and rose about 300 m into the air, depositing material across the Terrazza Craterica area and the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco. A third explosion, this time from the N Area, occurred about one minute later, ejecting bombs and lapilli 200 m into the air. Intense spattering continued from both crater areas for the next hour, after which activity resumed at lower levels.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Explosive activity from the S Area photographed from the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa at Stromboli on 1 July 2015. Photo by B. Behncke, courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 7/7/2015).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. The explosive sequence of 16 July 2015 at Stromboli. A) the first explosion from the S Area; B) the second and strongest explosion from another S Area vent; C) bombs ejected across the Terrazza Craterica; D) maximum height of the eruptive column; E) the third explosion rises from the N Area; F) glowing bombs and lapilli are ejected during the third explosion. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 21/7/2015).

Low-intensity explosions accompanied by weak and discontinuous spattering with ash, lapilli, and bombs characterized activity from both areas for most of August except for a short-lived (2-hour) vigorous explosive event at the S Area beginning around 2300 on 8 August 2015. Activity was more vigorous at the N Area from 23 August through the end of the month. Low- and medium-low intensity explosions were typical during September with only a few days of medium- to medium-high intensity explosive events. Activity during October was difficult for INGV to monitor due to difficulty with their equipment, but it appeared to continue at low-to-moderate levels.

A series of medium- and medium-high intensity events occurred during 7-9 November 2015 from the N Area and were captured by the thermal camera on the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa (figure 96). Two vents in the N Area produced strong explosions at the same time generating plumes with fine ash and lapilli that likely reached over 200 m above the Terrazza Craterica. Another strong explosion from the N Area occurred on 19 November, sending coarse ejecta onto the top of the Sciara del Fuoco.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. A strong explosion on 8 November 2015 from the N Area from 2053:26 to 2053:40 (14 seconds). Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 10/11/2015).

Explosions during 12 and 14 December ejected bombs and lapilli onto the Sciara del Fuoco. During an overflight on 16 December thermal imagery showed hot explosive material from the N Area deposited on the Sciara del Fuoco, and freshly erupted material surrounding the S Area as well.

Activity during 2016. During January 2016 windy and cloudy weather conditions and technical equipment problems made observations difficult for INGV, but activity was generally low to moderate at both crater areas. A strong Strombolian explosion from the N Area on 14 January was one of the larger events of the month, sending lapilli and bombs to the top of the Sciara del Fuoco. Numerous explosions from the N Area of medium-to-medium-high intensity were typical during February. Explosions at the S Area were generally low intensity. Clear weather on 15 February provided an excellent view of the two crater areas on the Terrazza Craterica (figure 97). A brief event on 21 February at the S Area caused weak spattering around the vent.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. The Terrazza Craterica at Stromboli as seen on a clear day from the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa on 15 February 2016, showing the two crater areas (AREA N, AREA S). Photo by F. Ciancitto, courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 16/2/2016).

During March 2016, two vents were active in the S Area, and one in the N Area until 16 March, when a second vent began activity (figure 98). The typical frequency of events during low-level activity is 0-1 explosions per hour. Rarely, higher energy events will deposit material on the Sciara del Fuoco. After a month of low-intensity activity at both crater areas, there was a rapid intensification of explosive activity at the S Area at around 2130 on 28 April, which continued through 1 May (figure 99).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. The Terrazza Craterica as viewed from the thermal camera on the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa at Stromboli during 16 March 2016. In (A) and (B), the vents of the S Area (Area S) (1, 4) are active with occasional spattering from vent 3. In C), vent 2 of the N Area (Area N) is active; the arrow marks the new vent triggered on 16 March, in conjunction with an explosion from vent 2. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 22/3/2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. The Terrazza Craterica as viewed from the visible camera on the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa at Stromboli during 29-30 April 2016. On 29 April (A), simultaneous explosive activity was observed at two vents in the S Area (yellow and white arrows) and one the N Area (red arrow). On 30 April (B), daylight illuminates the profile of the Terrazza Craterica and the position of the three vents shown in (A). Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 3/5/2016).

Generally low-level activity during most of May was interrupted during 6-11 May with persistent incandescence and pulsating spattering at the S Area vents. Occasional medium-to-high-intensity explosions from the S Area produced significant ash emissions during the second half of May, and often sent lapilli and bombs on to the Terrazza Craterica, and occasionally onto the Sciara del Fuoco.

Events with medium-to-high intensity levels continued at the S Area during June 2016, which resulted in ash emissions covering much of the Terrazza Craterica. Intensity increased in the N area by the third week of June. Two site inspections on 6 and 7 July by INGV provided details of the ongoing changes in morphology at the Terrazza Craterica (figure 100). At the N Area, they noted two distinct vents, while in the S area they observed a large crater depression with subvertical walls that had many deep vents on the S side. Episodic explosive activity from the N Area was accompanied by small ash plumes. In the S Area, landslides occurred along the southernmost wall, lasting for tens of seconds and producing small ash clouds.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. The Terrazza Craterica at Stromboli on the morning of 6 July 2016. The S Area (on the left) is a large crater depression with subvertical walls that has many deep vents on the S side; two distinct vents are visible from the N Area on the right. Photo by D. Andronico, courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 12/7/2016).

During late July, persistent incandescence was visible at night from the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa coming from the northernmost vent of the S Area, which continued until 19 August. Activity diminished from this vent and appeared at the southernmost vent of the S Area on 20 August. Explosions of incandescent lava were observed about ten meters above the crater rim. Occasional high-intensity explosions from the N Area resulted in coarse ash emissions during August, especially during 27 and 28 August when two vents were active at the N area, sending bombs, lapilli, and ash onto the Sciara del Fuoco.

By the end of August activity was concentrated mostly in the N Area where two active vents ejected lapilli, bombs, and abundant ash in explosions that occurred at a rate of 2-3 per hour. On 29 September, a nighttime pulsating glow was observed from the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa visible camera emanating from the southernmost vent of the S area. Observations of the glow persisted until 6 October. INVG inferred the glow was related to deep explosive activity. Typical low-to-moderate activity during October included Strombolian activity several tens of meters above the crater rim and frequent ash emissions, primarily from the S Area.

During November and December 2016, low- and moderate-level activity continued, with persistent incandescence observed at northern vent of the S Area for most of December, and rare low-and-medium-intensity explosions observed at the N Area (figure 101).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. Typical activity during November and December 2016 at Stromboli is represented in images captured by the visible camera located on the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa on 6 and 7 November. A) the main vents active on the Terrazza Craterica. The yellow and white arrows point respectively to the southern and northern vents of the S Area; the green and red arrows point respectively to the southern and northern vents of the N Area. B) bomb-laden explosion from the southern vent (yellow arrow) of the S Area. C) an explosion from the southern vent (green arrow) of the N Area. D) the northern vent (red arrow) of the N Area explodes and sends a bomb outside the crater. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 8/11/2016).

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

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


Yasur (Vanuatu) — July 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

19.532°S, 169.447°E; summit elev. 361 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong explosions reported through mid-June 2017, with ongoing thermal anomalies

The almost continuous eruption at Yasur, possibly over the previous 800 years, remained active through October 2016 (BGVN 41:12). The Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO) has maintained the hazards status at Volcano Alert Level 2 (major unrest - danger around the crater rim and specific area, notable/large unrest, considerable possibility of eruption and also chance of flank eruption) through mid-June 2017.

Volcano Alert Bulletins posted by the VGO on 19 April, 22 May, and 22 June 2017 indicated ongoing strong explosive activity. Satellite-detected MODIS thermal anomalies identified by MODVOLC were numerous during the reporting period, with at least one every month except during November 2016. The MIROVA system also detected nearly continuous thermal anomalies during the year ending on 12 June 2017 (figure 46), though activity decreased in the last few months of 2016 and was somewhat more intermittent in the first half of 2017 compared to July-September 2016.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Thermal anomalies detected in MODIS data by the MIROVA system (log radiative power) at Yasur for the year ending 12 June 2017. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. Yasur, the best-known and most frequently visited of the Vanuatu volcanoes, has been in more-or-less continuous Strombolian and Vulcanian activity since Captain Cook observed ash eruptions in 1774. This style of activity may have continued for the past 800 years. Located at the SE tip of Tanna Island, this mostly unvegetated pyroclastic cone has a nearly circular, 400-m-wide summit crater. The active cone is largely contained within the small Yenkahe caldera, and is the youngest of a group of Holocene volcanic centers constructed over the down-dropped NE flank of the Pleistocene Tukosmeru volcano. The Yenkahe horst is located within the Siwi ring fracture, a 4-km-wide, horseshoe-shaped caldera associated with eruption of the andesitic Siwi pyroclastic sequence. Active tectonism along the Yenkahe horst accompanying eruptions has raised Port Resolution harbor more than 20 m during the past century.

Information Contacts: Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory, Department of Geology, Mines and Water Resources of Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/vmgd/, http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/vmgd/index.php/geohazards/volcano); 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/).

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


Central Chile and Argentina


Estero de Parraguirre


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

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

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

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



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

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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


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

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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