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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

Sangay (Ecuador) Ash plumes, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars during July-December 2020; larger explosions in September

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Sangay (Ecuador) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangay

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars during July-December 2020; larger explosions in September

Sangay is one of the most active volcanoes in Ecuador with the current eruptive period continuing since 26 March 2019. Activity at the summit crater has been frequent since August 1934, with short quiet periods between events. Recent activity has included frequent ash plumes, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars. This report summarizes activity during July through December 2020, based on reports by Ecuador's Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), ash advisories issued by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), webcam images taken by Servicio Integrado de Seguridad ECU911, and various satellite data.

Overall activity remained elevated during the report period. Recorded explosions were variable during July through December, ranging from no explosions to 294 reported on 4 December (figure 80), and dispersing mostly to the W and SW. SO2 was frequently detected using satellite data (figure 81) and was reported several times to be emitting between about 770 and 2,850 tons/day. Elevated temperatures at the crater and down the SE flank were frequently observed in satellite data (figure 82), and less frequently by visual observation of incandescence. Seismic monitoring detected lahars associated with rainfall events remobilizing deposits emplaced on the flanks throughout this period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. A graph showing the daily number of explosions at Sangay recorded during July through December 2020. Several dates had no recorded explosions due to lack of seismic data. Data courtesy of IG-EPN (daily reports).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Examples of stronger SO2 plumes from Sangay detected by the Sentinel 5P/TROPOMI instrument, with plumes from Nevado del Ruiz detected to the north. The image dates from left to right are 31 August 2020, 17 September 2020, 1 October 2020 (top row), 22 November 2020, 3 December 2020, 14 December 2020 (bottom row). Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. This log radiative power MIROVA plot shows thermal output at Sangay during February through December 2020. Activity was relatively constant with increases and decreases in both energy output and the frequency of thermal anomalies detected. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during July-August 2020. During July activity continued with frequent ash and gas emission recorded through observations when clouds weren’t obstructing the view of the summit, and Washington VAAC alerts. There were between one and five VAAC alerts issued most days, with ash plumes reaching 570 to 1,770 m above the crater and dispersing mostly W and SE, and NW on two days (figure 83). Lahar seismic signals were recorded on the 1st, 7th, three on the 13th, and one on the 19th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Gas and ash plumes at Sangay during July 2020, at 0717 on the 17th, at 1754 on the 18th, and at 0612 on the 25th. Bottom picture taken from the Macas ECU 911 webcam. All images courtesy of IG-EPN daily reports.

During August there were between one and five VAAC alerts issued most days, with ash plumes reaching 600 to 2,070 m above the crater and predominantly dispersing W, SW, and occasionally to the NE, S, and SE (figure 84). There were reports of ashfall in the Alausí sector on the 24th. Using seismic data analysis, lahar signals were identified after rainfall on 1, 7, 11-14, and 21 August. A lava flow was seen moving down the eastern flank on the night of the 15th, resulting in a high number of thermal alerts. A pyroclastic flow was reported descending the SE flank at 0631 on the 27th (figure 85).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. This 25 August 2020 PlanetScope satellite image of Sangay in Ecuador shows an example of a weak gas and ash plume dispersing to the SW. Courtesy of Planet Labs.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. A pyroclastic flow descends the Sangay SE flank at 0631 on 27 August 2020. Webcam by ECU911, courtesy of courtesy of IG-EPN (27 August 2020 report).

Activity during September-October 2020. Elevated activity continued through September with two significant increases on the 20th and 22nd (more information on these events below). Other than these two events, VAAC reports of ash plumes varied between 1 and 5 issued most days, with plume heights reaching between 600 and 1,500 m above the crater. Dominant ash dispersal directions were W, with some plumes traveling SE, S, SE, NE, and NW. Lahar seismic signals were recorded after rainfall on 1, 2, 5, 8-10, 21, 24, 25, 27, and 30 September. Pyroclastic flows were reported on the 19th (figure 86), and incandescent material was seen descending the SE ravine on the 29th. There was a significant increase in thermal alerts reported throughout the month compared to the July-August period, and Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed a lava flow down the SE flank (figure 87).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Pyroclastic flows descended the flank of Sangay on 19 (top) and 20 (bottom) September 2020. Webcam images by ECU911 from the city of Macas, courtesy of IG-EPN (14 August 2018 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. The thermal signature of a lava flow is seen on SW flank of Sangay in this 8 September 2020 Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image, indicated by the white arrow. False color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Starting at 0420 on the morning of 20 September there was an increase in explosions and emissions recorded through seismicity, much more energetic than the activity of previous months. At 0440 satellite images show an ash plume with an estimated height of around 7 km above the crater. The top part of the plume dispersed to the E and the rest of the plume went W. Pyroclastic flows were observed descending the SE flank around 1822 (figure 88). Ash from remobilization of deposits was reported on the 21st in the Bolívar, Chimborazo, Los Ríos, Guayas and Santa Elena provinces. Ash and gas emission continued, with plumes reaching up to 1 km above the crater. There were seven VAAC reports as well as thermal alerts issued during the day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. An eruption of Sangay on 22 September 2020 produced a pyroclastic flow down the SE flank and an ash plume that dispersed to the SW. PlanetScope satellite image courtesy of Planet Labs.

Ash plumes observed on 22 September reached around 1 km above the crater and dispersed W to NW. Pyroclastic flows were seen descending the SE flank (figure 89) also producing an ash plume. A BBC article reported the government saying 800 km2 of farmland had experienced ashfall, with Chimborazo and Bolívar being the worst affected areas (figure 90). Locals described the sky going dark, and the Guayaquil was temporarily closed. Ash plume heights during the 20-22 were the highest for the year so far (figure 91). Ash emission continued throughout the rest of the month with another increase in explosions on the 27th, producing observed ash plume heights reaching 1.5 km above the crater. Ashfall was reported in San Nicolas in the Chimborazo Province in the afternoon of the 30th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. A pyroclastic flow descending the flank of Sangay on 22 September 2020. Webcam image by ECU911 from the city of Macas, courtesy of IG-EPN (Sangay Volcano Special Report - 2020 - No 5, 22 September 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Ashfall from an eruption at Sangay on 22 September 2020 affected 800 km2 of farmland and nearby communities. Images courtesy of EPA and the Police of Ecuador via Reuters (top-right), all via the BBC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Ash plume heights (left graph) at Sangay from January through to late September, with the larger ash plumes during 20-22 September indicated by the red arrow. The dominant ash dispersal direction is to the W (right plot) and the average speed is 10 m/s. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Sangay Volcano Special Report - 2020 - No 5, 22 September 2020).

Thermal alerts increased again through October, with a lava flow and/or incandescent material descending the SE flank sighted throughout the month (figure 92). Pyroclastic flows were seen traveling down the SE flank during an observation flight on the 6th (figure 93). Seismicity indicative of lahars was reported on 1, 12, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, and 28 October associated with rainfall remobilizing deposits. The Washington VAAC released one to five ash advisories most days, noting plume heights of 570-3,000 m above the crater; prevailing winds dispersed most plumes to the W, with some plumes drifting NW, N, E to SE, and SW. Ashfall was reported in Alausí (Chimborazo Province) on the 1st and in Chunchi canton on the 10th. SO2 was recorded towards the end of the month using satellite data, varying between about 770 and 2,850 tons on the 24th, 27th, and 29th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. A lava flow descends the SE flank of Sangay on 2 October 2020. Webcam images courtesy of ECU 911.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. A pyroclastic flow descends the Sangay SE flank was seen during an IG-EPN overflight on 6 October 2020. Photo courtesy of S. Vallejo, IG-EPN.

Activity during November-December 2020. Frequent ash emission continued through November with between one and five Washington VAAC advisories issued most days (figure 94). Reported ash and gas plume heights varied between 570 and 2,700 m above the crater, with winds dispersing plumes in all directions. Thermal anomalies were detected most days, and incandescent material from explosions was seen on the 26th. Seismicity indicating lahars was registered on nine days between 15 and 30 November, associated with rainfall events.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Examples of gas and ash plumes at Sangay during November 2020. Webcam images were published in IG-EPN daily activity reports.

Lahar signals associated with rain events continued to be detected on ten out of the first 18 days of November. Ash emissions continued through December with one to five VAAC alerts issued most days. Ash plume heights varied from 600 to 1,400 m above the crater, with the prevailing wind direction dispersing most plumes W and SW (figure 95). Thermal anomalies were frequently detected and incandescent material was observed down the SE flank on the 3rd, 14th, and 30th, interpreted as a lava flow and hot material rolling down the flank. A webcam image showed a pyroclastic flow traveling down the SE flank on the 2nd (figure 96). Ashfall was reported on the 10th in Capzol, Palmira, and Cebadas parishes, and in the Chunchi and Guamote cantons.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Examples of ash plumes at Sangay during ongoing persistent activity on 9, 10, and 23 December 2020. Webcam images courtesy of ECU 911.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. A nighttime webcam image shows a pyroclastic flow descending the SE flank of Sangay at 2308 on 2 December 2020. Image courtesy of ECU 911.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec); ECU911, Servicio Integrado de Seguridad ECU911, Calle Julio Endara s / n. Itchimbía Park Sector Quito – Ecuador. (URL: https://www.ecu911.gob.ec/; Twitter URL: https://twitter.com/Ecu911Macas/); 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/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); BBC News “In pictures: Ash covers Ecuador farming land” Published 22 September 2020 (URL: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-54247797).


Ebeko (Russia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal anomalies and small eruptions in May and August 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Raung (Indonesia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Raung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sinabung (Indonesia) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sinabung

Indonesia

3.17°N, 98.392°E; summit elev. 2460 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Heard (Australia) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sabancaya (Peru) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sabancaya

Peru

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fuego (Guatemala) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kikai (Japan) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kikai

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosion on 6 October 2020 and thermal anomalies in the crater

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Manam

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 42, Number 10 (October 2017)

Managing Editor: Edward Venzke

Chillan, Nevados de (Chile)

Intermittent ash emissions from new craters along the E flanks of Volcáns Nuevo and Arrau persist through September 2017

Dieng Volcanic Complex (Indonesia)

Three phreatic eruptions at Sileri Crater; deaths due to helicopter crash involved in evacuations

Etna (Italy)

Extensive lava flows during February-May 2017; new summit crater emerges

Fuego (Guatemala)

Six eruptive episodes with Strombolian fountains, lava flows, ash plumes, and pyroclastic flows during July-December 2016

Heard (Australia)

Expedition visit in March-April 2016, intermittent eruptive activity through September 2017

Ibu (Indonesia)

Occasional weak ash explosions and thermal anomalies during April-August 2017

Marapi (Indonesia)

Four short ash explosions on 4 June 2017

Tolbachik (Russia)

Eruption that started in late November 2012 ends by mid-September 2013

Ubinas (Peru)

Intermittent ash explosions during September 2016-February 2017

Wrangell (United States)

Occasional steam plumes and wind-blown ash, but no recent eruptive activity



Nevados de Chillan (Chile) — October 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevados de Chillan

Chile

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash emissions from new craters along the E flanks of Volcáns Nuevo and Arrau persist through September 2017

Nevados de Chillán, in the Chilean Central Andes, is a complex of late-Pleistocene to Holocene stratovolcanoes constructed along a NNW-SSE trend (figure 5). The Nuevo and Arrau craters, active during 1906-1945 and 1973-1986, respectively, are adjacent vents on the NW cone of a large stratovolcano complex 5 km SE of Cerro Blanco; the summit 1 km SE of Arrau is named Volcán Viejo (figure 6). A short eruption during August-September 2003 created a new fissure vent between the Nuevo and Arrau craters (BGVN 29:03, figure 3). Increased seismicity and fumarolic activity were recorded during December 2015, and a new eruption started with a phreatic explosion and ash emission on 8 January 2016 from a new crater on the E flank of Nuevo cones (BGVN 41:06). This report adds information about the beginning of the event and continues with activity through September 2017. Information for this report is provided by Chile's Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN) - Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Oficina Nacional de Emergencia - Ministerio del Interior (ONEMI), Corporación Ciudadana Red Nacional de Emergencia (RNE), and by the Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. This photograph, taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station on 11 June 2013, shows three of the largest features of the Nevados de Chillán volcanic complex: Cerro Blanco, Volcán Nuevo, and Volcán Viejo. North is to the lower right. New eruptive activity began in January 2016 from craters located in between Volcán Nuevo and Volcán Viejo.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Detailed location map identifying features of the Nevados de Chillán complex, and the warning zones around the volcano. The colors represent High (maroon), Medium (orange-red), and Low (gold) probabilities of pyroclastic material accumulation of more than one centimeter during a VEI 6 event. Circles with hatch marks inside represent craters. Stars are "Centro de emission,", blue ovals are hot springs. Diagonal cross-hatch is the area most susceptible to pyroclastic material greater than 6.4 cm in diameter in a radius of about 4 km around the active vents. The blue grid lines are spaced four km apart. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN, excerpted from Orozco et al. (2016).

Ash emissions at Nevados de Chillán began on 8 January 2016, and were intermittent through September 2017. Four new craters emerged in a NNE trend along the flanks of Volcán Nuevo and Volcán Arrau; two eventually merged into a single 100-m-diameter crater. Most plumes were brief pulses of steam and ash that rose 200-300 m above the craters. Larger events sent a few plumes as high as 2.2 km above the summit (to 5.4 km altitude). Strong prevailing winds quickly dissipated most ash plumes. Periods of multiple small explosions lasted for 1-2 weeks, separated by periods of relative quiet characterized by only steam-and-gas emissions from the active craters and nearby fumarolic centers. The first observable incandescence at the craters was noted in early March 2016. Incandescent bombs were thrown 300 m above the craters during July and September 2016, and 500 m high during March-May 2017 when blocks also fell with 500 m of the craters.

Activity during 2016. After the first explosion with ash emissions on 8 January 2016, nine more pulses of ash were emitted the next day, and small sporadic emissions were reported in the following days (figure 7). OVDAS researchers flew over the volcano on 9 January and concluded that the explosions came from a new crater on the E slope of Volcán Nuevo, about 40 m from the edge of the crater. Researchers from the University of Cambridge who visited the site on 13 January observed continuous degassing at the new 20-m-wide crater. The Buenos Aires VAAC noted puffs of steam and gas dissipating a few hundred meters above the summit (at 3.7 km altitude) in satellite imagery on 16 January 2016. ONEMI reported an ash emission on 29 January that originated from the Arrau crater (see figure 6). During an overflight on 30 January, OVDAS researchers saw occasional explosions from the new crater at Nuevo, as well as activity at a new 30-m-diameter crater about 50 m from the Arrau crater on its NE flank (figure 8). Several fumaroles were also identified on the E flank of Arrau crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Ash emission at Nevados de Chillán on 9 January 2016 from the edifice that contains the Nuevo and Arrau craters. The peak to the right is Volcán Viejo. Courtesy of Corporación Ciudadana Red Nacional de Emergencia (RNE) (Advierten nuevo pulso volcánico en el Nevados de Chillán, 9 January 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Photograph showing the Arrau crater at Nevados de Chillán observed during a flyover on 30 January 2016. Ash emissions from a new crater on the NE flank (at right) were reported on 29 January. Courtesy of Corporación Ciudadana Red Nacional de Emergencia (RNE) (Otro cráter más se formó en Nevados de Chillán, 31 January 2016).

During the first two weeks of February 2016, there were 175 episodes of discrete tremor; webcams recorded explosions that ejected material from both craters. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported a brief ash emission on 3 February that dissipated quickly near the summit. During an overflight on 11 February coordinated with ONEMI, scientists identified a third crater, which created a 150-m-long NNE trend with the other two active craters identified during January. During the second half of February, emissions consisted mostly of steam plumes rising no more than 300 m above the crater.

Activity during March 2016 was characterized by steam plumes rising from the active craters; on 3 March, however, a small ash emission was observed. Incandescence was observed in the crater area on the night of 9 March. SERNAGEOMIN reported the beginning of an episode of long-period (LP) seismicity on 18 March, with a pulsating pattern of 3-4 events per minute. During the second half of March, LP and tremor activity was associated with ash emissions. Notably, a low-energy tremor on 30 March lasted for several hours, and concurrently a dense ash plume rose 200 m.

Ash emissions were observed on 7, 8, 9, 18, and 19 April 2016. Plumes were reported rising 400 m on 8 April, and 200 m on 18 and 19 April. Incandescence was observed along with the ash on 18 April. A significant explosion on 9 May 2016 generated an ash plume that rose 1,700 m above the summit (figure 9). The Buenos Aires VAAC reported the ash plume at 3.9 km altitude (700 m above the summit) drifting SE. An overflight by OVDAS on 9 May confirmed the presence of three active craters on the active summit, with the central one having enlarged by 50% since the previous overflight on 11 February. Only pulsating steam emissions were observed in the webcam during the remainder of May and June 2016.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. An ash plume rises 1,700 m above the active crater area at Nevados de Chillán after an explosion in the early morning of 9 May 2016. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

Only steam emissions were reported during the first half of July 2016, but on 21 July an ash-laden emission sent incandescent bombs 300 m above the crater. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported that the webcam showed an ash emission to 3.4 km altitude (200 m above the craters) that day. Webcam Images obtained on 25 July showed debris from an explosion scattered 300 m down the NE flank. During the next few days, ash emissions were inferred from the seismic tremors, but weather conditions prevented direct observations.

During the first two weeks of August 2016, 14 explosions were recorded from the new craters on the E flanks of Nuevo and Arrau. The largest explosion, on 8 August, sent an ash plume 2 km above the crater, according to SERNAGEOMIN (figure 10). The Buenos Aires VAAC reported brief ash emissions on 1, 4, 8, and 9 August at altitudes of 3.7, 3.4, 4.3, and 3.7 km altitude, respectively. Fresh ashfall was visible on the flanks during a flyover on 12 August (figure 11). On the few days when the weather permitted observation of the summit during the remainder of the month, only steam plumes were observed rising no more than 400 m above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. An ash emission at Nevados de Chillán rises 2 km above the active craters on 8 August 2016. Courtesy of Corporación Ciudadana Red Nacional de Emergencia (RNE) (Volcán Nevados de Chillán presenta nuevo pulso eruptive, 8 August 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Fresh ashfall coats the flanks of the active summit at Nevados de Chillán on 12 August 2016, after a large explosion on 8 August. Courtesy of Corporación Ciudadana Red Nacional de Emergencia (RNE) (Registro aéreo muestra actual pulso eruptivo de volcán Nevados de Chillán, 12 August 2016).

Pulsating steam plumes, interrupted by periodic ash emissions, were typical during September 2016. During the first two weeks of the month, 37 recorded explosions were characterized by a high concentration of particulate material. The largest explosion, during the evening of 1 September, generated incandescent bombs for 20 minutes. Incandescence was observed during nighttime explosions a number of times. The Buenos Aires VAAC noted a pilot report of an ash cloud moving SW at 5.2 km altitude on 2 September. They also reported a weak emission of steam and gas with possible diffuse ash visible in the webcam that day. Another pilot report on 6 September indicated an ash cloud moving NE at 6.4 km altitude from a brief but intense emission event around 1420 UTC (figure 12). SERNAGEOMIN noted in their late September report that there had been six explosive episodes since January 2016, with the latest one that occurred during 1-10 September being the strongest.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. An ash plume rises from Nevados de Chillán on 6 September 2016. Courtesy of Corporación Ciudadana Red Nacional de Emergencia (RNE) (Volcán Nevados de Chillán registró nuevo pulso eruptive, 6 September 2016).

Explosive activity was recorded on 3, 7, and 8 October 2016 by SERNAGEOMIN; The events were low-energy episodes that emitted small quantities of ash. The Buenos Aires VAAC noted a pilot report on 3 October of an ash cloud moving SE near the summit. It was visible in the webcam but not in satellite imagery, and dissipated quickly. The tallest emission of those days rose to 300 m above the crater on 7 October. During an overflight on 22 October, the continued presence of the three craters along the E flanks of Nueva and Arrau reported previously was confirmed. In addition, the existence of a fourth crater was noted along the same trend as the others. The Buenos Aires VAAC noted ash emissions on 26 and 28 October rising to between 3.7 and 4.3 km altitude and dissipating quickly near the summit.

Seismic activity during the first half of November 2016 included 17 explosions from the active craters. An explosion on 18 November generated an ash plume that rose 1.2 km (figure 13). The Buenos Aires VAAC noted a pilot report of possible ash emissions between 4.6 and 6.1 km altitude on 17 and 27 November, although neither were identified in satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. An ash emission rises 1.2 km above the active crater area at Nevados de Chillán on 18 November 2016. Courtesy of Corporación Ciudadana Red Nacional de Emergencia (RNE) (Sernageomin emite reporte especial por actividad volcánica del complejo Nevados de Chillán, 18 November 2016).

Explosions associated with LP and tremor seismicity continued into December 2016. There were 14 explosive seismic events during the second half of the month, reported by SERNAGEOMIN. The largest occurred on 28 December. The Buenos Aires VAAC noted pilot reports of ash emissions that dissipated near the summit on 13, 28, and 29 December.

Activity during January-September 2017. Explosions related to LP and tremor seismicity increased again on 5 January 2017. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported a dark fumarolic plume drifting E at 4.5 km altitude on 6 January that was observed by a pilot and in the webcam. On 11 and 13 January, the webcam showed sporadic puffs of ash that dissipated very quickly. The largest event occurred on 15 January; the Buenos Aires VAAC reported a narrow plume of ash in satellite imagery at 3.9 km altitude moving W. The webcam also showed sporadic and small puffs that dissipated quickly. An event on 16 January produced an emission that rose 700 m above the crater according to SERNAGEOMIN. This was the last LP-associated explosion of the month. Scientists on a 20 January overflight noted low-intensity steam plumes from the Nuevo and Arrau craters, and from the Chudcún crater which formed in 2003 between them (see figure 6). Yellow and ocher-colored areas, indicating the presence of precipitated sulfur, were visible around the fumaroles and craters.

Low-level degassing rising less than 200 m above the crater was the only surface activity observed during February 2017. A new stage of explosive activity began on 7 March 2017 with emissions that rose as high as 300 m above the crater. The Buenos Aires VAAC noted a pilot report of an ash plume at 3.7 km altitude, and a short-lived puff of ash seen in the webcam. On 11 March, eight explosions sent incandescent blocks up to 0.5 km from the active craters, and emissions rose to 500 m above the crater. Another series of eight explosions on 14 March produced incandescent material and sent an ash plume 1.5 km above the craters. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported intermittent emissions rising up to 4.9 km altitude that day, followed by continuing steam emissions. The following day they noted a small plume near the volcano at 3.9 km altitude visible in satellite data.

During a flyover on 15 March, OVDAS scientists noted that two of the craters (craters 3 and 4) had merged into a single crater 100 m in diameter (figure 14). They also observed five explosions within the space of an hour, the highest resulting plume rose 900 m above the active crater. Webcam images during 16-17 March showed ash emissions rising to 2 km above the crater. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported an ash emission visible in satellite imagery at 5.5 km altitude moving SW on 16 March. For the remainder of the month, only weak degassing under 200 m above the crater was observed. Beginning on 24 March, low-level incandescence at night was reported for the rest of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. OVDAS scientists photographed two merged craters (3+4) at Nevados de Chillán on 15 March 2017. They also witnessed five explosions from one crater within an hour (yellow arrow). Courtesy of Corporación Ciudadana Red Nacional de Emergencia (RNE) (Complejo Volcánico Nevados de Chillán tiene cráter de 100 metros de diámetro, 24 March 2017).

Between 1 and 12 April 2017, there were 56 intermittent explosions marking a new phase of activity according to SERNAGEOMIN. The webcams around the complex imaged emissions up to 3 km above the crater throughout the month. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported sporadic emissions of ash visible in the webcam on 3 and 6-8 April. A faint emission at 3.7 km altitude was spotted in satellite imagery on 10 April. From 16 to 30 April, there were 79 intermittent explosions recorded. During dusk and dawn, incandescent material was observed traveling 600 m down the flanks, with some episodes lasting for 60 minutes. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported a brief ash emission and incandescent material visible in the webcam on 17 April, and sporadic ash emissions that rose to 3.9 km altitude on 21, 29, and 30 April (figure 15).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. An ash emission on 30 April 2017 at Nevados de Chillán rose to 3.9 km altitude (700 m above the craters), and was photographed by a twitter user near the volcano. Courtesy of Corporación Ciudadana Red Nacional de Emergencia (RNE) (Nuevo pulso eruptivo de volcán Nevados de Chillán preocupa en la región del Bío Bío, 30 April 2017).

Nine intermittent explosions occurred between 1 and 11 May 2017. The webcams showed emissions from the explosions rising generally 300 m above the craters according to SERNAGEOMIN. Intermittent explosions increased again during 27-31 May. Emissions rose to 1.5 km above the craters and incandescent blocks could be seen traveling 600 m down the flank. Periods of constant incandescence lasted for 30 minutes.

This explosive episode continued into June 2017, with 23 intermittent explosions between 1 and 5 June. The largest emission event on 5 June sent a plume 2.2 km above the craters (figure 16). The Buenos Aires VAAC observed the ash plume at 4.6 km altitude in satellite imagery. During 6-15 June, only steam emissions rising to 300 m were reported. Intermittent explosions on 20, 22, 25, and 26 June produced plumes that rose only 200 m above the craters; cloudy weather prevented observation from the webcams during these events.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Twitter users in Chile shared this image of an ash plume rising from the active craters at Nevados de Chillán with regional authorities on 5 June 2017. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported the plume rising to 4.6 km altitude. Courtesy of Corporación Ciudadana Red Nacional de Emergencia (RNE) (Volcán Nevados de Chillán emite nuevo pulso eruptive, 5 June 2017).

No explosive events were observed in the webcams during the first half of July 2017; only steam plumes rising 200 m were reported. A single low-energy explosion was recorded on 31 July; the emission rose to only 100 m above the crater. During August 2017, there were 83 intermittent explosions associated with ash emissions recorded by SERNAGEOMIN. The emissions rose to about 300 m above the active craters; a few larger emissions rose 1,000 m. The Buenos Aires VAAC noted a pilot report of ash emissions on 17 August; the webcam captured a brief emission that dissipated rapidly.

About 150 intermittent explosions were reported during September 2017. The highest plumes, generally composed of steam and ash, rose 2,000 m above the craters. The Buenos Aires VAAC observed a narrow plume of ash in satellite imagery moving N at 3.9 km altitude and dissipating rapidly on 15 September, and a similar plume moving SE near the summit on 26 September 2017.

Reference: Orozco, G.; Jara, G.; Bertin, D. 2016. Peligros del Complejo Volcánico Nevados de Chillán, Región del Biobío. Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería, Carta Geológica de Chile, Serie Geología Ambiental 28: 34 p., 1 mapa escala 1:75.000. Santiago.

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

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería, (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile ( URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); Oficina Nacional de Emergencia - Ministerio del Interior (ONEMI), Beaucheff 1637/1671, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.onemi.cl/); Corporación Ciudadana Red Nacional de Emergencia (RNE, Citizen Corporation National Emergency Network), Avda. Vicuña Mackenna Nº3125, San Joaquín, Santiago de Chile, Chile (URL: http://www.reddeemergencia.cl/); Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Meteorológico Nacional-Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 25 de mayo 658, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/inicio.php?lang=es).


Dieng Volcanic Complex (Indonesia) — October 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Dieng Volcanic Complex

Indonesia

7.2°S, 109.879°E; summit elev. 2565 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Three phreatic eruptions at Sileri Crater; deaths due to helicopter crash involved in evacuations

Located on an elevated plateau in central Java NW of Yogyakarta (figure 4), multiple craters within the Dieng Volcanic Complex (figure 5) have been intermittently active over the past 200 years. Brief phreatic eruptions took place at Sibanteng crater on 15 January 2009 (BGVN 34:04) and at Sileri crater on 26 September later that year (BGVN 34:08). Increased unrest during March-April 2013 (BGVN 38:08) consisted of elevated volcanic gas emissions from Timbang Crater that resulted in an increase in the Alert Level to as high as 3 on 27 March, then back to Level 2 on 8 May. There was a precautionary evacuation of local villages, but no eruption took place. Regular monitoring is done by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation or CVGHM).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Topographic terrain map of central Java showing the Dieng Volcanic Province to the NW of Gunung Sumbing and Gunung Sindoro volcanoes. The volcano indicated by a red symbol N of Yogyakarta is Merapi. Courtesy of Peakery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Topographic terrain map of the Dieng Volcanic Province on the Dieng plateau of central Java. The notable cone at bottom center is Bisma; the crater with a lake at center is Merdada, adjoining Kawah Sikidang to the SE. The frequently active Sileri area is immediately W of the more noticeable Pagerkandang crater N of Merdada. Courtesy of Peakery.

The alert status remained at Level 2 for about 15 months following the hazardous gas emissions in 2013. On 11 August 2014 the PVMBG noted that, due to decreased activity and no observable flow of gas in high concentrations from the crater, the Alert Level was lowered to 1 (on a scale of 1-4). No further activity was reported until late April 2017.

A phreatic event from Sileri Crater at 1303 on 30 April 2017 ejected material 10 m high and 1 m past the crater edge, forming a 1-2 mm thick deposit. Another emission at 0941 on 24 May consisted of gas and black "smoke" that rose 20 m.

The Disaster Management Authority, Badan Nacional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), reported that there had been another phreatic eruption from the Sileri Crater lake at 1154 on 2 July 2017, ejecting mud and material 150 m high, and 50 m to the N and S. The event injured 11 of 18 tourists that were near the crater. According to a news article a helicopter on the way to assist with evacuations after the event crashed, killing all eight people (four crewmen and four rescuers) on board. PVMBG scientists visited the next day and observed weak white emissions rising 60 m.

PVMBG reported that during 8 July-14 September 2017 measurements indicated an increase in water temperature at Sileri Crater lake from 90.7 to 93.5°C. Soil temperatures also increased, from 58.6 to 69.4°C. At Timbang Crater temperatures in the lake increased from 57.3 to 62.7°C, and in the soil they decreased from 18.6 to 17.2°C. The report noted that conditions at Timbang Crater were normal.

Temperature increases at Sileri, along with tremor detected during 13-14 September, prompted PVMBG to raise the Alert Level to 2 (on a scale of 1-4). PVMBG warned the public to stay at least 1 km away from the crater rim, and for residents living within that radius to evacuate. However, after 20 September tremor and water temperatures both declined. The Alert Level was lowered back to 1 on 2 October, with a warning to stay at least 100 m from the crater rim.

Geologic Background. The Dieng plateau in the highlands of central Java is renowned both for the variety of its volcanic scenery and as a sacred area housing Java's oldest Hindu temples, dating back to the 9th century CE. The Dieng volcanic complex consists of two or more stratovolcanoes and more than 20 small craters and cones of Pleistocene-to-Holocene age over a 6 x 14 km area. Prahu stratovolcano was truncated by a large Pleistocene caldera, which was subsequently filled by a series of dissected to youthful cones, lava domes, and craters, many containing lakes. Lava flows cover much of the plateau, but have not occurred in historical time, when activity has been restricted to minor phreatic eruptions. Toxic gas emissions are a hazard at several craters and have caused fatalities. The abundant thermal features and high heat flow make Dieng a major geothermal prospect.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); Peakery (URL: https://peakery.com/).


Etna (Italy) — October 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3320 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Extensive lava flows during February-May 2017; new summit crater emerges

Italy's Mount Etna on the island of Sicily has had historically recorded eruptions for the past 3,500 years. Lava flows, explosive eruptions with ash plumes, and lava fountains commonly occur from its major summit crater areas, the North East Crater (NEC), the Voragine-Bocca Nuova (or Central) complex (VOR-BN), the South East Crater (SEC) (formed in 1978), and the New South East Crater (NSEC) (formed in 2011). A new crater, the SEC3 or "saddle cone" emerged during early 2017 from the saddle between SEC and NSEC.

After a major explosive event in December 2015 (BGVN 42:05), activity subsided for a few months before renewed Strombolian eruptions and lava flows affected all of the summit craters during late May 2016 (BGVN 42:09). These events were followed by a lengthy period of subsidence and intense fumarolic activity across the summit that lasted until a new eruptive episode began at the end of January 2017. The Osservatorio Etneo (OE), which provides weekly reports and special updates on activity, is run by the Catania Branch of Italy's Istituo Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologica (INGV). This report uses information from INGV to provide a detailed summary of events between January and August 2017.

Summary of January-August 2017 Activity. Minor ash emissions began from a new vent in the saddle between NSEC and SEC on 20 January 2017, followed by Strombolian activity a few days later. Activity intensified at the end of February when the first of several lava flows emerged from this vent, and then from several other vents on the S flank of the new, rapidly growing cone during March and April. By mid-March 2017, Strombolian activity, ash emissions, and lava flows had created a cone higher than the adjacent NSEC and SEC cones. The last effusive episode at the end of April 2017 sent flows down both the N and S flanks of the new cone from multiple vents. Intermittent weak Strombolian activity at the new summit area was associated with abrupt tremor amplitude increases during May, but no additional flows were reported. During June-August, fumarolic activity persisted at several crater areas, and minor ash emissions were observed a few times, but no major eruptive activity took place. The sharp increase in heat flow resulting from the lava flows of March and April 2017 are clearly visible in the MIROVA thermal anomaly plot of log radiative power for the year ending on 12 October 2017 (figure 186).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 186. Thermal anomalies at Etna (log radiative power) identified by the MIROVA system for the year ending on 12 October 2017. Major effusive eruptive events with lava flows and Strombolian activity occurred from late February through April 2017. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during January-February 2017. Sporadic incandescence continued from the 7 August 2016 vent on the E side of VOR during January 2017, and minor ash plumes rose from the NSEC "saddle" vent on 20 January. Modest Strombolian activity began at the saddle vent that on 23 January and continued into February (figure 187). Small bombs were ejected onto the flank of NSEC and minor ash plumes quickly dissipated in the high winds near the summit. Also during February, steady subsidence continued at BN, especially in the BN-1 area (see figure 185, BGVN 42:09), where active degassing with minor amounts of ash was observed on 1 February (figure 187). Debris deposits from Strombolian activity at the saddle vent covered the S side of the pyroclastic cone and travelled to its base during the end of February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 187. Activity at Etna during the first week of February 2017. Left: Strombolian activity at the NSEC saddle vent; photo by B. Behncke. Right: degassing with minor ash emissions from the vent at the bottom of BN-1; photo by M. Ponte. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 30/01/2017-05/02/2017, No. 6/2017).

During the late afternoon of 27 February, the Strombolian activity that began on 20 January from the saddle vent between SEC and NSEC rapidly intensified, and lava emerged from the vent and flowed down the S flank of SEC (figure 188). It slowed after reaching the flat ground at the base of the cone, and expanded slowly SE toward the older cones of Monte Frumento Supino. Intense activity that evening sent shards and bombs 200 m above the vent while the flow continued. Ash from the Strombolian activity dispersed NE, with minor ashfall reported in Linguaglossa and Zafferana. A new cone of pyroclastic material that formed around the saddle vent quickly grew to about the same elevation as the NSEC and SEC crater rims, approximately 3,290 m (figure 189). The lava continued to flow until 2 March 2017, when it stopped at about 2,750 m elevation with an overall length of 2,180 m, covering an area of 306 x 103 m2, for a total volume of slightly less than 1 x 106 m3.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 188. An outline of the new lava flow at Etna that emerged from the saddle vent located between NSEC and SEC on 27 February 2017. It rapidly advanced down the steep S flank of SEC. Base map is a DEM image created by the INGV Cartography Laboratory. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 27/02/2017-05/03/2017, No. 10/2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 189. Strombolian activity, the 27 February lava flow, and ash and vapor emissions from the new NSEC/SEC saddle vent at Etna on 28 February 2017 around 1730 local time. Photo by F. Ciancitto; courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 27/02/2017-05/03/2017, No. 10/2017).

Activity during March 2017. Sporadic ash emissions continued from the new saddle vent during early March 2017, accompanied by weak Strombolian activity during the night of 12-13 March. Intense degassing continued from VOR during March as well, with incandescent bursts visible on many clear nights. On the morning of 15 March the Montagnola webcam recorded a lava overflow from the saddle vent down the S flank of NSEC, and an intensification of explosive activity that caused the flow to reach the base of the complex at about 3,000 m elevation. During the day, it advanced towards Monte Frumento Supino; it had reached elevation 2,800 m by the late evening, overlapping significantly with the earlier flow from 27 February. Strombolian eruptions were nearly constant until late afternoon, and continued intermittently, along with ash emissions, for several days.

Shortly before 2300 UTC on 15 March (0100 on 16 March local time), a second new flow emerged from a vent near the base of the S flank of the new NSEC/SEC cone (at about 3,200 m elevation) and travelled SE (figure 190), splitting into two lobes. INGV personnel in the summit area reported a series of phreato-magmatic explosions at 0043 (just after midnight) along the lava front at an elevation of approximately 2,700 m along the W edge of the Valle del Bove. The contact of the active flow with the underlying snow caused several explosions. An INGV volcanologist suffered minor injuries during one of the explosions. Increased emissions also caused minor ashfall in Adrano and Santa Maria di Licodia (both about 17 km SW).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 190. Explosions at Etna from a vent at the base of the new NSEC/SEC cone complex during the early morning of 16 March 2017 viewed from the Torre del Filosofo, 1 km S. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 13/03/2017-19/03/2017, No. 12/2017).

By the afternoon of 17 March 2017, the second flow had reached an elevation of about 2,600 m, near the base of the W slope of the Valle del Bove. INGV personnel at Monte Zoccolaro (1.5 km S) spotted a third flow on 18 March, located S of the other two (figure 191). The front had reached about 2,200 m elevation, and was responsible for some phreato-magmatic explosions during 18 and 19 March. Several avalanches of incandescent material reached the base of the slope at the edge of Valle del Bove as the flow fronts collapsed during 18 March. Two Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager images on 18 and 19 March captured evidence of the lava flows, an ash plume, and Strombolian activity during this episode (figure 192). By 19 March, the advance had slowed as the flows began to spread out over the valley floor. The flows into the Valle del Bove ceased on 20 March.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 191. Thermal image of the W wall of the Valle del Bove at Etna on 18 March 2017, viewed from Monte Zoccolaro showing the activity of the three lava flows. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 13/03/2017-19/03/2017, No. 12/2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 192. The eruption from Etna's NSEC/SEC cone on 18 and 19 March 2017 as captured from space. The upper image was taken on 18 March by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 as a natural-color image, and shows an ash plume and two columns of gas and steam drifting SE. The more northerly steam and gas plume and the ash plume are rising from the summit vent of the new NSEC/SEC cone, and the more southerly steam and gas plume is rising from the effusive vent at the base of the S flank of the NSEC/SEC cone. The lower image shows the thermal glow of active lava flows on the SE flank on 19 March 2017, and the Strombolian activity at the summit of the new cone (the yellow spot directly below the Mt. Etna label) surrounded by the city lights of Catania and the surrounding communities. An astronaut aboard the International Space Station took this image. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

Strombolian activity and ash emissions ceased at the summit vent of the NSEC/SEC cone between 20 and 22 March 2017 leaving a new pyroclastic cone that rose above the adjacent NSEC and SEC cones (figure 193). Once the Strombolian activity had ended, yet another lava flow emerged from the base of the cone at an elevation of about 3,010-3,030 m, and spread into several segments, one of which flowed W around Monti Barbagallo (near the former Torre del Filosofo) and then turned SW following the valley between Monti Barbagallo and Monte Frumento Supino. By 26 March the front of this flow segment had reached an elevation of 2,300 m and travelled about 2.5 km from the vent. A second segment of the flow travelled E of Monti Barbagallo, following the earlier flows that had been active along the W slope of the Valle del Bove; it slowed and broke into several additional segments, reaching 1.3 km from the vent on 26 March, and advancing through the first week of April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 193. The new pyroclastic cone 'cono di scorie' between the SEC and NSEC rises above and between both older craters at Etna shortly after 22 March 2017. It first emerged during the eruption of 27 February to 1 March 2017, and then continued to increase in size until 22 March 2017 from extensive Strombolian activity. The dotted white line separates the South East Crater (SEC) from the New South East Crater (NSEC). "Bocca effusive" is the effusive vent that fed the lava flows beginning on 22 March, and the new lava is the dark material with fumarolic emissions in the foreground. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 20/03/2017-26/03/2017, No. 13/2017).

Activity during April 2017. The active lava flow continued WSW towards the cones of the 2002-2003 eruption from the vent at the base of the NSEC/SEC cone until it stopped advancing sometime during the night between 8 and 9 April (figure 194). Another new flow then emerged from the same vent on 10 April and was active for just over 24 hours. This flow travelled SE to the W edge of the Valle del Bove and moved a few hundred meters along the edge before stopping during the day of 12 April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 194. The lava flow at Etna that emerged from the base of the NSEC/SEC cone complex on 22 March 2017 flows WSW towards the cones of the 2002-2003 eruption during the first week of April 2017. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 27/03/2017-02/04/2017, No. 14/2017).

During the evening of 13 April 2017, Strombolian activity at the summit crater of the NSEC/SEC cone accompanied the emergence of flows from three vents along the S flank at elevations of approximately 3,200 m, 3,150 m, and 3,010 m which headed S and SE. The upper flows were active for only a few hours, but the lower flow continued SE towards the Valle del Bove and had overlapped the 10-11 April flow by the next day. The active front of the flow was at an elevation of 2,400 m on the western slope of the Valle del Bove, just north of the Serra Giannicola Grande. A flyover on 14 April revealed the extent of the fracture system on the flank of the NSEC/SEC complex from which the numerous flows emerged (figure 195). The flow rate diminished during the day of 15 April, and the flow stopped sometime during the next night.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 195. Thermal images of the fracture system affecting the S flank of the NSEC/SEC cone at Etna on 14 April 2017 showing the pyroclastic cone 'Cono di scorie', a collapsed portion of the cone 'Porzione collassata', and the three eruptive vents 'Frattura eruttiva' that opened on 13 April (at 3,200 m, 3,150 m and 3,010 m elevation). Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 10/04/2017-16/04/2017, No 16/2017).

A thermal anomaly appeared at the S edge of the NSEC/SEC summit vent, which INGV began calling SEC3, on the morning of 19 April. Weak Strombolian activity from the vent was followed by the emergence of a lava flow from the S side of the crater rim that flowed down the S flank of the cone. Dense, brown ash emissions about an hour later accompanied the re-opening of three vents on the S flank from which new lava flows emerged (figure 196). Lava jets rose tens of meters above the crater rim for about an hour in the afternoon. The lava flows from the three vents formed into two branches moving down the S flank (figure 197), then turned E and spread over the W slope of the Valle del Bove; by 20 April they had reached an elevation of 1,950 m. Explosive activity ceased at SEC3 that afternoon, and the flows stopped advancing sometime during the night of 20-21 April. Observations of the summit of SEC3 on 22 April revealed a N-S trending graben formed in the S rim of the summit crater about 100 m long, 10 m wide, and several tens of meters deep.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 196. The new SEC3 cone at Etna lies in the former saddle between SEC and NSEC. The red circles indicate the positions of the three eruptive vents (V1, V2, and V3) that opened on 19 April 2017 on the S flank of the cone. Lava from the vents is flowing E toward the Valle del Bove in this N-looking photo taken by Mauro Coltelli on 20 April 2017. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 17/04/2017-23/04/2017, No. 17/2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 197. Lava flows from the summit crater of the new cone (SEC3) at Etna on 20 April 2017. Photo by Salvatore Allegra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images/CFP, published in Globaltimes, 20 April 2017.

The next eruptive episode began late in the day on 26 April 2017, with a slow-moving lava flow that emerged from the summit vent of SEC3. The flow made it part way down the S flank before another flow from the same vent covered it and reached the base of the flank. Strombolian activity began at the summit vent during the late evening while the flow continued to spread SE toward the Valle del Bove (figure 198). Strombolian activity intensified during the early hours of 27 April and a new vent opened at the summit immediately N of the first one. At around 0220, two new eruptive fractures opened on the N flank of SEC3, from which lava flowed N toward the Valle del Leone (figure 199). At daybreak, an ash plume was visible about 1.5 km above the summit drifting E. Phreato-magmatic explosions were observed in the Valle del Leone when the northern lava flow encountered snow on the ground. Strombolian activity ceased around noon and the flows on both the N and S flanks had ceased by the following morning.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 198. Lava flows down the S flank of SEC3 at Etna during the early morning of 27 April 2017, heading SE towards the Valle del Bove. Strombolian activity occurred from both of the summit vents, and an ash plume rose from the summit. Photo taken from the roof of the INGV-Osservatorio Etneo located 27 km S of the volcano. Courtesy of INGV (Attivita' dell'Etna, 20 Aprile-14 Giugno 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 199. Lava flows from both the N and S flanks of SEC3 at Etna on 27 April 2017. a) the two lava flows are clearly visible from the Monte Cagliato thermal camera (EMCT) in this view looking W. b) a phreato-magmatic explosion in the Valle del Leone from the lava flow encountering snow on the N side of SEC3. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 24/04/2017 - 30/04/2017, No. 18/2017).

Activity during May-August 2017. Intense degassing with incandescence at night continued from the vent at VOR throughout April and into May 2017. At NEC, degassing continued from the large fumarole field at the bottom of the summit crater. No further lava flows erupted during May 2017, however, there were several short, high-energy tremor episodes in the area around SEC3. During May, more than 35 episodes of transient increases in tremor amplitude were recorded by INGV seismic instruments (figure 200). During 15-18 May, there were 11 episodes of Strombolian activity from the northern SEC3 summit vent, repeated at regular intervals of about every 8-9 hours. Lava fragments were ejected outside the crater rim and rolled down the flanks (figure 201). Each episode was accompanied by a sharp increase in volcanic tremor amplitude. Eight additional episodes of weak and discontinuous Strombolian activity occurred between 25 and 28 May at intervals ranging from 3 to 14 hours, each lasting about an hour, and accompanied by increased tremor amplitude. A short sequence of dense ash emissions from BN-1 on the morning of 31 May was the only ash plume reported during May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 200. During the month of May 2017, more than 35 episodes of transient increases in the amplitude of tremor were recorded by the seismic instruments at Etna. Some, but not all, of these episodes were accompanied by Strombolian activity at the N vent at the SEC3 summit. Courtesy of INGV (Attivita' dell'Etna, 20 Aprile-14 Giugno 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 201. The summit of the new NSEC/SEC complex at Etna on 16 May 2017 as viewed from the NW. The blue arrow indicates the eruptive vent that produced discontinuous Strombolian activity during May. Photo by M. Cantarero; courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 15/05/2017-21/05/2017, No. 21/2017).

Weak and discontinuous Strombolian activity resumed at NSEC on 6 June 2017, along with a sudden increase in tremor. The activity lasted until 9 June and included four episodes of roughly one hour each. Very little material fell outside the crater rim during these events. Vigorous degassing and nighttime incandescence continued at the VOR vent during June. INGV-OE personnel inspected the summit on 23 and 29 June, and 2 July 2017. High temperatures (around 600°C) were recorded at the VOR vent on 23 June. The other fumarolic areas, especially in the fracture field between NEC and VOR, were around 250°C, cooler than when last measured on 31 August 2016. Occasional weak ash emissions began on 24 June from SEC3; they lasted for a few days and quickly dissipated near the top of the cone. They ceased late in the evening of 28 June.

In a survey by drone on 4 July 2017, INGV-OE personnel noted widespread degassing along the rim and E side of the SEC3 crater. The vent that had formed during 27 February-26 April appeared to be blocked (figure 202). During the late morning of 9 July, the vent that had formed during 26-27 April emitted a small amount of red-gray ash. The next day a small amount of ash emerged from the base of BN-1. Incandescence was frequently observed at night from the VOR vent and from the NSEC. Degassing was observed regularly throughout the month at the VOR vent, the bottom of BN-1, and NEC (figure 203).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 202. Detailed view of the summit of the new SEC3 cone at Etna on 4 July 2017 taken by an INGV-OE drone. 1) eruptive vent active during 27 February-26 April; 2) eruptive vents active during 26-27 April; a) closeup of the bottom of one of the 26-27 April vents, from which a small amount of reddish-gray ash emerged on 9 July. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 3/07/2017-9/07/2017, No. 28/2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 203. Panoramic photos of the summit craters of Etna on 27 July 2017. VOR, seen from the northwestern edge, continued with strong degassing from the 7 August 2016 vent on the E rim; the NEC, seen from the fracture that cuts the southern rim, had modest, diffuse degassing from the fracture zone within the crater; and BN, seen from the eastern edge, had moderate degassing occurring from the vent at the base of BN-1 throughout the month. Courtesy of INGV-OE (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 24/07/2017-30/07/2017, No. 31/2017).

Occasional weak, diffuse ash emissions continued during August 2017 from the bottom of BN-1. INGV-OE scientists attributed this to collapse at the base of the crater. Limited degassing was noted at NEC, but persistent degassing continued from the 7 August 2016 vent at VOR, and from a vent on the E side of NSEC in addition to a vent at the SEC3 summit (figures 204 and 205).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 204. Areas of persistent degassing and fumarolic activity at Etna during August 2017. The black hatch lines outline the crater rims: BN = Bocca Nuova, which contains the NW vent (BN-1) and the SE vent (BN-2); VOR = Voragine; NEC = North East Crater; SEC = South East Crater; NSEC = New South East Crater. Yellow circles indicate the locations of the degassing mouths of VOR, BN, and both the "Cono della sella" (saddle cone, or SEC3) and the E vent at NSEC. The base map is from a 2014 DEM of the summit from INGV Aerogeophysics Laboratory - Section 2. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 31/07/2017-06/08/2017, No. 32/2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 205. Aerial photographs of the summit crater area of Etna taken on 16 August 2017. a) view from ENE; b) view from the SE. Weak fumarolic activity is visible from the E vent of the New South East Crater (NSEC). More intense and continuous degassing emerges from the Central Crater (VOR and BN). See figure 204 for additional label explanations. Photos by Piero Berti; courtesy of Butterfly Helicopter Services and INGV-OE (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 14/08/2017-20/08/2017, No. 34/2017).

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-OE), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/it/); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Times, http://www.globaltimes.cn/galleries/774.html.


Fuego (Guatemala) — October 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Six eruptive episodes with Strombolian fountains, lava flows, ash plumes, and pyroclastic flows during July-December 2016

Volcán de Fuego has been erupting continuously since 2002. Historical observations of eruptions date back to 1531, and radiocarbon dates are confirmed back to 1580 BCE. These eruptions have resulted in major ashfalls, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and damaging lahars. Fuego was continuously active from January to June 2016. Daily explosions that generated ash plumes to within 1 km above the summit (less than 5 km altitude) were typical. In addition, there were ten eruptive episodes that included Strombolian activity, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and ash plumes rising above 5 km altitude (BGVN 42:06). Every month, lahars flowed down several drainages. This report continues with a summary of similar activity during July-December 2016. In addition to regular reports from the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) provides aviation alerts. Locations of many towns and drainages are listed in table 12 (BGVN 42:05).

Activity during July-December 2016 was very similar to the previous six months. Background activity included daily explosions, and ash emissions that often generated minor ashfall in communities within 15 km, generally to the SW. Strombolian activity sent material 300 m above the crater, and block avalanches down the flanks. Six eruptive episodes occurred during the second half of 2016, with characteristics very similar to the ten that occurred during the first half of the year (table 13). The episodes usually lasted around 48 hours. During the eruptive episodes, the amplitude and frequency of explosions increased to several per hour, and ash emissions that rose 1-3 km above the summit crater (4.8-7.8 km altitude) distributed ash tens of kilometers away. Diffuse ash plumes were often visible in satellite imagery several hundred kilometers from the volcano. Each episode was also accompanied by Strombolian activity that sent incandescent material 200-500 m above the summit crater, creating lava flows that descended major drainages. Episodes 11 and 16, in July and December, also included pyroclastic flows. The thermal signature recorded in the University of Hawaii's MODVOLC thermal alert system closely correlated with the increased heat flow from the lava flows during the eruptive episodes. Numerous lahars descended major drainages after heavy rains during August, but no damage was reported. A modest lahar was reported near the end of September.

Table 13. Eruptive episodes at Fuego during 2016. Details of episodes 1-10 are described in BGVN 42:06, episodes 11-16 are discussed in this report. The eruptive episode number is just for 2016 and was assigned by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH).

Dates Episode Max Ash Plume altitude Ash Plume drift Ash Plume max distance Ashfall report locations Lava Flow drainages Lava Flow lengths Incandescence above crater Pyroclastic Flow drainages
3-5 Jan 2016 1 6.0 km SW, SE, S 40 km 8-12 km SW and SE Las Lajas (SE), Trinidad (S), Santa Teresa (S) 2.5 km 400 m --
19-21 Jan 2016 2 6.7 km NE 90 km 8-18 km NE, 12 km NW Las Lajas (SE), Trinidad (S), Santa Teresa (S) 3 km 400-500 m Las Lajas (SE), El Jute (SE)
9-10 Feb 2016 3 5.2 km NNW 40 km 45 km N, NE Las Lajas (SE), Trinidad (S), Santa Teresa (S) 800 m-3 km 300-400 m Las Lajas (SE), El Jute (SE)
29 Feb-3 Mar 2016 4 7.3 km N 400 km 10 km SW, N, NW Las Lajas (SE), El Jute (SE) 2-3 km yes Las Lajas (SE), El Jute (SE)
26-27 Mar 2016 5 6.1 km W 150 km 9-12 km, SW, NW Las Lajas (SE), Santa Theresa (S), Trinidad (SE) 2.0, 1.3, 1.0 km 500 m --
12-14 Apr 2016 6 5.8 km SW 185 km 10 km SW Las Lajas (SE), Santa Theresa (S) 2.0, 1.0 km 100-300 m --
6-7 May 2016 7 5.5 km S, SW, SE 65 km 21 km SE Las Lajas (SE), Trinidad (SE) 3.0 km, 1.5 km 300 m --
18-19 May 2016 8 5.5 km SSW 90 km 30 km NW, S, SW, W -- -- -- Las Lajas (SE), Honda (E)
21-23 May 2016 9 5.5 km SW, W, S 75 km 8-12 km, SW, ENE Las Lajas (SE) 2 km 200-300 m --
24-26 Jun 2016 10 5.5 km S, SW, W 120 km 8-12 km NW, SW Las Lajas (SE), El Jute (SE), Taniluyá (SW) 2.5 km, 2.3 km, 600 m 300 m --
28-29 Jul 2016 11 5.5 km SW, W, NW 250 km 12 km SW, W, 27 km NW Santa Teresa, Las Lajas 1.5 km, 3 km 500 m Santa Teresa
6-8 Sep 2016 12 5.0 km W, SW 25 km SW, W Las Lajas, Taniluyá 1.2 km, 500 m 300 m --
27-28 Sep 2016 13 5.0 km W, SW 20 km -- Las Lajas, Santa Theresa 1.5 km, 1.8 km 300 m --
29-30 Oct 2016 14 7.0 km W, NW 110 km 10 km NW, SW Las Lajas, Santa Teresa, Taniluyá 2.0 km, 300 m, 500 m 400-500 m --
20-21 Nov 2016 15 5.0 km SSW 175 km 8-12 km SW Trinidad, Ceniza, Las Lajas 1.0 km, 2.0 km, 2.5 km 300 m --
20-21 Dec 2016 16 5.2 km W, SW 230 km 8-12 km SW Santa Teresa, Taniluyá, Trinidad, Las Lajas 2.5, 2.0, 600, 1.8 400 m 3.5 km Taniluyá

Activity during July 2016. Explosions of incandescent material from the summit crater of Fuego were constant during July 2016, according to INSIVUMEH. On 5 July, an increase in the number of explosions per hour led to an ash plume rising to 4.5 km altitude and drifting W and SW. Incandescent blocks reached the vegetation on the W flank a few hundred meters from the summit. Ashfall was reported in the villages of Morelia, Santa Sofia, Sangre de Cristo (all around 10-12 km SW), and San Pedro Yepocapa (9 km NW). Another increase in activity on 15 July resulted in eight weak-to-moderate explosions per hour, which generated ash plumes that rose to about 4.3-4.8 km altitude and drifted more than 15 km W and SW; ash fell on the flanks in those directions. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions rising to 4.6-5.2 km altitude, and MODVOLC issued one thermal alert. On 17 July, the Washington VAAC reported an ash emission drifting about 18 km W at 4.9 km altitude. Another ash emission was observed in satellite imagery on 19 July, at 5.2 km altitude drifting NW. The Washington VAAC also reported that the webcam showed lava on the flank near the summit that day.

Eruptive episode 11 began on 28 July 2016 and lasted for about 48 hours. Moderate-to-strong explosions expelled ash plumes to 5.5 km altitude that eventually drifted more than 250 km SW, W, and NW. The INSIVUMEH webcam at Finca La Reunion (SE) captured an image of the ash plume accompanied by a pyroclastic flow which descended the Santa Teresa ravine (barranca) around midday on 29 July (figure 50). Incandescent material was ejected about 500 m above the crater and fed two lava flows; one traveled 1.5 km down the Santa Teresa ravine, and the other traveled 3 km down the Las Lajas ravine. Some of the villages that reported ashfall included Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, and Patzún (27 km NW). The Washington VAAC observed the ash plume in the early morning of 29 July extending 30 km WNW from the summit at 5.8 km altitude. By late morning, the plume had risen to 6.7 km altitude and was visible 150 km NW. The plume altitude dropped later in the day to 5.2 km, and the drift direction changed more toward the W. The farthest edge of the plume was faintly visible over 250 km W before it dissipated that evening. Incandescent explosions continued into the night, but had subsided by the next morning. A MODVOLC thermal anomaly signal first appeared on 26 July and persisted through 31 July; there were 17 thermal alert pixels reported on 29 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. An ash plume rises from the summit of Fuego on 29 July 2016 while a small pyroclastic flow descends a drainage on the SE flank, as seen from the Finca la Reunion webcam. Eruptive episode 11 lasted from 28 to 30 July. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual De La Actividad Del Volcán Fuego, Julio 2016).

Activity during August 2016. Weak and moderate explosions that generated ash plumes characterized activity during August 2016. Although a few strong explosions were recorded, there were no distinct eruptive episodes documented by INSIVUMEH. Constant rains, however, led to several lahars descending the major ravines. Persistent steam plumes rose to 4.2 km and drifted W and SW. Weak-to-moderate explosions with ash reached 4.3 to 4.8 km altitude, and drifted more than 15 km SW and W before dissipating. Ashfall was reported primarily in the communities of Sangre de Cristo, Yepocapa, Morelia, Hagia Sophia, and Panimaché I and II. Incandescent material was ejected 300 m above the crater, and generated weak-to-moderate avalanches within the crater.

The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery on 7 August at 4.9 km altitude extending about 10 km WNW from the summit. On 11 August, a narrow plume was spotted in both visible and multispectral imagery extending about 80 km W at the same altitude. A puff of volcanic ash appeared in clear satellite and webcam images drifting W at 4.9 km on 19 August. A series of ash emissions were spotted on 20 August in satellite imagery. The head of the plume was about 35 km W of the summit. The highest altitude plume reported by the Washington VAAC during August was at 5.8 km on 25 August, drifting 25 km W. A single MODVOLC thermal alert was also recorded that day. On 15 and 16 August moderate-to-large lahars descended the Las Lajas and El Jute ravines, carrying blocks as large as 3 m in diameter, tree trunks, branches, and other debris. Another lahar recorded on 28 August descended the Santa Teresa tributary of the Pantaleón River, where the residents noted the warm temperature of the debris.

Activity during September 2016. Two eruptive episodes took place during September 2016. Episode 12 began on 6 September and lasted about 48 hours. Moderate-to-strong explosions generated ash plumes that rose to 5 km altitude and drifted 25 km W and SW. Incandescent material rose to 300 m above the crater and fed two lava flows, one traveled 1.2 km down the Las Lajas ravine (figure 51), and the other travelled 500 m down the Taniluyá. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume, identified in satellite imagery, on 7 September moving WSW at 4.9 km altitude. MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued during 4-8 September, with 10 alerts appearing on 8 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. On 7 September 2016, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured this image of lava flowing down the Las Lajas and Santa Teresa ravines at Fuego during eruptive episode 12. The image 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. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

A bright hotspot in satellite imagery was reported by the Washington VAAC on 25 September 2016. A modest lahar descended the Santa Teresa ravine on 26 September, carrying 50-cm-diameter blocks, branches, and tree trunks; it was 10 m wide and 1 m high. Eruptive episode 13 began the next day, 27 September 2016, with moderate-to-strong explosions, and an ash plume that rose to 5 km altitude and drifted more than 20 km W and SW (figure 52). Incandescent material rose 300 m above the crater, feeding two lava flows. Lava traveled 1.5 km down the Las Lajas ravine (figure 53) and 1.8 km down the Santa Teresa ravine. A fissure developed on the S flank of the crater rim, and new fumarolic activity was observed during the day. Constant rumbling noises were audible in the areas of Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, and San Pedro Yepocapa on the W and SW flanks. The Washington VAAC reported an intense hotspot in shortwave imagery. Activity subsided on 28 September. A strong multi-pixel thermal alert signal appeared in the MODVOLC data from 24-29 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. An ash emission rises to 5 km altitude on 27 September 2016 at Fuego during eruptive episode 13. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual De La Actividad Del Volcán Fuego, Septiembre 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Lava flows down the Las Lajas barranca (ravine) at Fuego on 28 September 2016 during eruptive episode 13. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual De La Actividad Del Volcán Fuego, Septiembre 2016).

Activity during October 2016. Six to ten explosions per day were recorded at Fuego during October 2016. Some of them generated ashfall on the SW flank. Episode 14, which began at the end of the month, produced three lava flows and strong explosions with an ash plume that rose to 7 km altitude and drifted N and NW. The Washington VAAC reported multiple ash emissions at 5.2 km altitude on 3 October, with the furthest one extending 35 km S. The next day, ash emissions were observed at 4.9 km altitude and drifted 22 km SSE. Pyroclastic flows were seen in an INSIVUMEH webcam on 10 October. They also reported ashfall in nearby communities that day.

Incandescent material rose 150-200 m above the summit crater on 28 October, and lava traveled 500 m down the Las Lajas ravine. Episode 14 began the next day with a strong explosion that generated an ash plume to 7 km altitude that drifted 110 km W and NW. Constant loud rumbling was reported up to 15 km from the volcano, and ashfall was reported in San Pedro Yepocapa, Sangre de Cristo, and La Conchita. Three incandescent lava fountains were seen in the early hours of 30 October (figure 54). The first, 450 m above the crater, fed a 2-km-long flow in the Las Lajas ravine. The second fountain rose to 250 m and fed a flow that traveled 300 m down the Santa Teresa canyon. The third fountain rose 200 m and formed a flow that traveled down the Taniluyá drainage for 500 m. Activity declined during the night of 30 October, but weak and moderate avalanches of incandescent material continued into the first part of the next day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Three Strombolian fountains at Fuego feed three lava flows on 30 October 2016 during eruptive episode 14. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual De La Actividad Del Volcán Fuego, Octubre 2016).

The first ash emissions of episode 14 were visible in satellite imagery on 29 October, extending roughly 45 km NNW from the summit. By early the next day, the ash emissions were detected at 7.3 km altitude, based on a pilot report. They extended about 110 km NNW from the summit. Later in the day, the plume had lowered to 5 km altitude and drifted 15 km N and NW. A single MODVOLC thermal alert was reported on 13 October, but a lengthy series of multi-pixel alerts were generated during 24-31 October, including 19 pixels on 30 October at the peak of episode 14.

Activity during November 2016. Activity during November 2016 remained at background levels until the third week of the month; explosions increased in amplitude and frequency to as many as 15 per hour, leading to episode 15 which began on 20 November. The background levels of the second and third weeks included incandescent material rising to 300 m above the crater, causing avalanches down the flanks around the crater rim and continuous explosions of weak-to-moderate energy that generated ash plumes rising to altitudes between 4.3 and 4.7 km that drifted W and SW.

The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions in satellite imagery every day from 8 to15 November 2016. A plume was seen on 8 November rising to 4.6 km altitude and drifting 25 km SW. The next day, a plume at the same altitude drifted 45 km NW. On 10 November, a faint plume was seen in visible imagery, extending about 25 km NNW. A larger plume was visible in morning imagery on 11 November at 5.5 km altitude extending 35 km WSW. The next day, at the same altitude, a diffuse plume was visible 10 km W of the summit. Multiple emissions were spotted drifting W from the summit at 4.6-4.9 km altitude on 13 and 14 November. Two single MODVOLC thermal alerts were reported on 12 and 14 November. A hotspot was detected in satellite imagery on 15 November, along with continuing emissions to 4.6 km altitude that drifted within 10 km SW of the summit. On 17 November ashfall was reported in Morelia, Santa Sofia, and Panimache I and II. Emissions on 18 November rose to 4.7 km altitude and drifted 10 km SW, and on 20 November they rose to 4.9 km altitude and drifted 24 km from the summit (figure 55).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Strombolian eruption and ash emission at Fuego, looking S from Acatenango summit on the early morning of 18 November 2016. Photo copyright by Martin Rietze, used with permission.

Eruptive episode 15 began on 20 November with strong explosions that caused ash plumes to rise to 5 km altitude and drift as far as 175 km SSW and W, generating ashfall again in Morelia, Santa Sofia, and Panimache I and II. Three lava flows emerged from the 300-m-high Strombolian ejections; one traveled 1 km down the Trinidad ravine, one descended 2 km down barranca Ceniza, and the third flowed 2.5 km down barranca Las Lajas (figure 56). Numerous clouds of volcanic ash rose from block avalanches in Las Ceniza ravine on 20 and 21 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Eruptive episode 15 at Fuego occurred during 20-21 November 2016. An ash plume rose to 5 km altitude (top) before Strombolian activity 300 m high sent flows down three major ravines (bottom). These views from the rooftop of a hostel in Antigua (18 km NE) show the ravines in daylight during the afternoon of 20 November, and again around midnight that night as the incandescent material traveled downward. Photos copyright by Martin Rietze, used with permission.

The Washington VAAC reported an extremely large hotspot on 20 November 2016 (local time) in infrared imagery, along with ash emissions at 4.9 km altitude drifting SW to 65 km. Emissions at 3.8 km persisted into the night. By early morning on 21 November, they were visible extending 175 km W. A lengthy period of multi-pixel MODVOLC thermal alerts coincided with eruptive episode 15 during 17-23 November, and included 26 pixels on 21 November 2016. Eruptive activity decreased to background levels by 22 November, and only weak explosions and fumarolic activity were reported for the rest of the month.

Activity during December 2016. Weak-to-moderate explosions and ash plumes characterized background activity at Fuego during December 2016. Minor ashfall was regularly reported in communities located 8-12 km SW. Activity increased somewhat during 15-16 December, and eruptive episode 16 was recorded during 20-21 December. During episode 16, Strombolian activity created three lava flows that descended major ravines, and a large pyroclastic flow traveled 3.5 km from the summit, burning vegetation in its path.

The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission on 5 December at 5.8 km altitude drifting N. On 8 December, intermittent ash plumes were drifting W over the East Pacific Ocean at 6.1 km altitude. Remnants over 450 km W were seen in multispectral imagery by early on 9 December. Multiple new detached plumes continued moving WNW between 5.5 and 6.1 km altitude on 9 December. They were 80 km NW by late afternoon. New discrete emissions at 4.6 km altitude appeared in satellite imagery on 10 December, drifting W up to 130 km before dissipating.

During the afternoon of 20 December 2016, eruptive episode 16 began with moderate-to-strong ash emissions producing an ash plume that rose to 4.7 km altitude and drifted more than 15 km W and SW. Incandescent material rose 400 m above the crater, and bombs fell more than 300 m away. Block avalanches were concentrated in the Ceniza and Trinidad ravines. By the evening of 20 December, three lava flows had formed, in the Santa Teresa, the Taniluyá, and the Las Lajas ravines (figure 57). By the morning of 21 December, they were 2.5, 2.0, and 1.8 km long, respectively. During that day, strong explosions generated ash plumes that rose to 5.2 km altitude and drifted 18 km S, SW, W, and NW. Some of the communities that reported ash from this event included Panimaché, Morelia, Santa Sofia, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, and Palo Verde.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Landsat image showing the locations of three lava flows at Fuego during eruptive episode 16 on 21 December 2016. Image courtesy of USGS/NASA, annotations courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual De La Actividad Del Volcán Fuego, Diciembre 2016).

Around 1000 on 21 December, pyroclastic flows that descended the Taniluyá ravine generated an ash plume that rose 2 km and drifted W and SW. The flows traveled 3.5 km and were estimated to be 300 m wide. They descended the ravine at high speed and high temperature, burning everything in their path (figure 58). These were the first pyroclastic flows in several months. By the end of eruptive episode 16, the lava flow in the Taniluyá ravine had reached 2.8 km in length (figure 59).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. A pyroclastic flow descends the Taniluyá ravine around 1000 local time on 21 December 2016 at Fuego during eruptive episode 2016. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual De La Actividad Del Volcán Fuego, Diciembre 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Both a pyroclastic flow (3.5 km long, yellow outline) and a lava flow (2.8 km long, red outline) descended the Taniluyá ravine at Fuego during eruptive episode 16, from 20 to 21 December 2016. The white arrows indicate the ravine. The orange outline indicates the area where vegetation was destroyed by the pyroclastic flows. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe Mensual De La Actividad Del Volcán Fuego, Diciembre 2016).

During episode 16, the Washington VAAC reported ash emissions rising to 5.2 km (about 1.4 km above the summit crater) altitude and drifting about 230 km SW. Continuing ash emissions on 23 December were visible in satellite imagery moving 45 km SW from the summit at 4.3 km altitude. Intermittent diffuse ash emissions extended up to 30 km WSW and NW from the summit during 28-31 December at 4.3-5.2 km altitude.

MODVOLC thermal alerts were intermittent throughout December. They were recorded on 8 (2), 11 (2), 12, 14 (2), 16 (3), and 18 (3) December prior to episode 16. The biggest interval of multi-pixel alerts was during episode 16 from 20-22 December, and included 14 alerts on 21 December 2016. Additional single alerts were recorded on 25 and 29 December.

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/); 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/); Martin Rietze (URL: http://www.mrietze.com/index.htm).


Heard (Australia) — October 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Expedition visit in March-April 2016, intermittent eruptive activity through September 2017

The remote island of Heard in the southern Indian Ocean is home to the Big Ben stratovolcano, which has had confirmed intermittent activity since 1910. The nearest continental landmass, Antarctica, lies over 1,000 km S. Visual confirmation of lava flows on Heard are rare; thermal anomalies detected by satellite-based instruments provide the most reliable information about eruptive activity. Thermal alerts reappeared in September 2012 after a four-year hiatus (BGVN 38:01), and have been intermittent since that time. Information comes primarily from MODVOLC and MIROVA thermal anomaly data, but Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) also provides reports from research expeditions. The independent March-April 2016 Cordell Expedition also provided recent ground-based observations mentioned in this report, which covers activity through September 2017.

Expeditions during January-April 2016. Scientists aboard the CSIRO Research Vessel Investigator observed an eruption of Big Ben on 31 January 2016. Vapor was seen emanating from the peak and lava flowed down the flank over a glacier (see figure 23, BGVN 41:08, and video link in Information Contacts). The research team, lead by the University of Tasmania's Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), was conducting a study of the link between active volcanoes on the seafloor and the mobilization of iron by hydrothermal systems which enriches and supports life in the Southern Ocean.

During a private expedition from 22 March to 11 April 2016, scientists and engineers from the 2016 Cordell Expedition documented changes to the island and its life since a prior visit in 1997, and tested radio operations. On 23 March the team was able to photograph the usually cloud-covered Mawson Peak, the summit of Big Ben (figure 24). Steam was visible above the flat upper surface, possibly a crater rim or fissure. They estimated a height of about 45 m of an edifice rising above the adjacent slope. The ground at the site of the team campsite, near Atlas Cove on the NW side of the island, was covered with lava flows (figure 25). While the expedition had to cancel a planned expedition to the summit, rocks collected from the shoreline confirmed the diversity of volcanic rocks on the island (figure 26).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Mawson Peak is the summit of Big Ben volcano on Heard Island in the southern Indian Ocean. This photograph, taken on 23 March 2016 from Altas Cove on the NW side of the island by the 2016 Cordell Expedition, shows steam from a possible crater or vent area at the summit, and lava flows covered with a dusting of snow around the otherwise glacier-covered peak. Courtesy of Robert W. Schmieder, 2016 Cordell Expedition, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Lava flows cover the ground near the 2016 Cordell Expedition campsite at Atlas Cove on the NW side of Heard Island in March 2016. Courtesy of Robert W. Schmieder, 2016 Cordell Expedition, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Rock samples collected at Heard by the 2016 Cordell Expedition during 23 March-11 April 2016 attest to the volcanic activity of the island. Top: A conglomerate sampled from the east shore of Stephenson Lagoon with mostly volcanic rock fragments, including vesicular basalt (dark brown, lower center) and clasts of volcanic breccia containing fragments of lava (large clast on right side). Sample is about 25 cm long. Bottom: A variety of textures was typical in the volcanic rocks collected on the islands. Courtesy of Robert W. Schmieder, 2016 Cordell Expedition, used with permission.

At the southern end of Sydney Cove, near Magnet Point on the northern tip of Laurens Peninsula (the NW side of the island), the team identified a small islet, with dimensions of about 40 x 120 m and nearly vertical sides about 100 m high. Columnar jointing in the volcanic rocks is well exposed at the base and on the nearly flat upper surface (figure 27).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Distinctive columnar jointing in the volcanic rocks is visible around the base and on the top of a small islet in Sydney Cove off the NW end of Heard Island in this image taken during the 23 March-11 April 2016 Cordell Expedition. Courtesy of Robert W. Schmieder, 2016 Cordell Expedition, used with permission.

Satellite thermal and visual data, 2012-2017. The most consistent source of information about eruptive activity at Heard comes from satellite instruments in the form of visual and thermal imagery, and thermal anomaly detection. From the time that renewed activity was detected in MODVOLC data in late September 2012 through September 2017, either the MODVOLC or MIROVA systems have consistently detected thermal signals, with only a few short breaks. A four-month span from mid-July to mid-November 2014, and a two-month gap during February and March 2015 are the only periods longer than a month when no thermal signal was reported. Continuous MIROVA information from late January 2016 through September 2017 shows intermittent but persistent thermal anomalies throughout the period (figure 28).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. A continuous MIROVA signal from 27 January 2016 through 6 October 2017 shows persistent low-level thermal activity through the period with intervals of increased activity during late January 2016, July-August 2016, late September-November 2016, early February 2017, and September 2017. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The moderate signal at the very end of January 2016 coincides with the CSIRO expedition observing the lava flows on the flank of Big Ben. Low-level MIROVA anomalies were recorded in April and early May 2016. Activity picked up during June, and strengthened through July and August 2016. Late September through November 2016 was a period with heightened activity as well. From December 2016 through August 2017, intermittent low-to-moderate intensity anomalies were recorded every month. Activity appeared to increase briefly during early February and September 2017. On 4 February 2017, Landsat 8 captured a rare clear view that showed fresh lava and debris flows emanating from the summit on top of the snow (figure 29). The longest flow is estimated to be 1,300 m long. False-color infrared imagery of the same image of Mawson Peak also reveals two vents separated by about 250 m (figure 30). Subsequent imagery on 20 and 27 February also detected thermal anomalies at the summit. The visual imagery of the lava flows on 4 February 2017 corresponds to the early February spike in MIROVA thermal anomaly data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Lava and debris flows radiate away from Mawson Peak on Heard Island in this Landsat 8 OLI image captured on 4 February 2017. MIROVA thermal anomaly data show a spike in activity at the same time. Courtesy of NASA and Bill Mitchell (CC-BY).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. False-color infrared imagery of Mawson Peak, Heard Island, 4 February 2017. Two vents are visible in red-yellow, separated by about 250 m. Data source: Landsat 8 OLI/TIRS bands 7-6-5. Image courtesy of Bill Mitchell (CC-BY), data from NASA/USGS.

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: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) (URL: http://www.csiro.au/); CSIROscope, CSIRO Blog, Big Ben Erupts: Australia's active volcano cluster blows its lid (URL: https://blog.csiro.au/big-ben-erupts/); Robert W. Schmieder, 2016 Cordell Expedition, 4295 Walnut Blvd., Walnut Creek, CA 94596, Post Expedition report to the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) (URL: http://www.cordell.org/, http://www.heardisland.org/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); Bill Mitchell, The Inquisitive Rockhopper, Big Ben eruption update 2017-02-27 (URL: https://inquisitiverockhopper.wordpress.com/2017/02/).


Ibu (Indonesia) — October 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Ibu

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional weak ash explosions and thermal anomalies during April-August 2017

During March 2014-March 2017, activity at Ibu consisted of lava-dome growth, occasional weak emissions containing ash (figure 11), and frequent thermal anomalies (BGVN 40:11 and 42:05). Ongoing activity between April and August 2017 consisted primarily of intermittent ash explosions. Data come from Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Photo of an ash explosion from Ibu's central vent in November 2014. Courtesy of Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery.

On 3 April 2017, at 0757 (local), an explosion produced an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 1.7 km and drifted S. Seismic signals indicated explosions and avalanches. During the rest of April through August, occasional explosions generated weak ash plumes that generally rose to altitudes of 1.5-1.8 km (0.2-0.5 km above the volcano) and drifted in various directions (table 2).

Table 2. Ash plume data for Ibu, April-August 2017. Courtesy of PVMBG and Darwin VAAC.

Date Maximum plume altitude (km) Plume drift direction
03 Apr 2017 1.7 S
07-08 Apr 2017 1.7 N
10-11 Apr 2017 1.5-1.6 S
12-13, 17 Apr 2017 1.5-1.8 S, SW
19-21 Apr 2017 1.5-1.8 E, N
26-27, 29-30 Apr 2017 1.5-1.8 E, NE, N
10-11 May 2017 1.8 E, SW
16 May 2017 1.5 --
19-20, 23 May 2017 1.5-1.8 E, NE, S
01, 05 Jun 2017 0.15-0.25 N, SE
09-12, 14 Jun 2017 1.5-1.8 N, W, SSW
14, 17-19 Jun 2017 1.5-1.8 S, SW, W, N
15 Aug 2017 1.8 N
24, 28 Aug 2017 1.5-1.8 W

Between April and August 2017, thermal anomalies (based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm) were recorded 2-5 days per month, with no monthly trend. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected numerous hotspots each month; all except one were within 3 km of the volcano, and all were of low or moderately-low power.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/).


Marapi (Indonesia) — October 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Marapi

Indonesia

0.38°S, 100.474°E; summit elev. 2885 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Four short ash explosions on 4 June 2017

Recent activity at the large Gunung Marapi stratovolcano on Sumatra has consisted of small ash plumes, with eruptions of a single day to periods of a few months. Ashfall around the active crater rim (figure 5) and thin layers of ash deposits seen in the crater wall (figure 6) provide evidence of both the recent and very long history of explosive activity. Since 2011 there have been eruptive episodes during August-October 2011, March-May 2012, 26 September 2012, February 2014, and 14 November 2015. As reported by the Indonesian Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG), another series of explosions took place on 4 June 2017.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Photo taken at the rim of the active Verbeek Crater at Marapi on 17 April 2014. The most recent eruption prior to this photo was during 3-26 February 2014. Courtesy of Axel Drainville.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Photo showing the rim and interior wall of the Verbeek Crater at Marapi on 17 April 2014. Courtesy of Axel Drainville.

Four explosions on 4 June lasted less than one minute each, and generated ash plumes above the summit (figure 7) and drifted E. The explosions occurred at 1001 local time (0301 UTC), 1011, 1256, and 1550. Dense ash-and-steam plumes from each explosion rose 300 m, at least 700 m, 200 m, and 250 m above the crater, respectively. The Darwin VAAC reported ash at about 3.6 km altitude extending 37 km ENE, based on satellite imagery. Ejected bombs were deposited around the crater, and minor ashfall was reported in the Pariangan District (8 km SSE), Tanah Datar Regency. Seismicity increased after the explosions. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4); residents and visitors were advised not to enter an area within 3 km of the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Photos of ash plumes rising from Marapi on 4 June 2017. The upper right image appears to show a smaller white plume to the right. Photos by PVMBG, posted to Twitter by Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (BNPB).

The broad summit area with multiple craters is a popular destination for hiking expeditions. A video posted by YouTube user "SiGiTZ" documented the experience of one group during visits on 30 April 2016 and on 11 May 2017. The video provides excellent views from 2016 of the entire crater complex and of the Verbeek Crater, from which a steam-and-gas plume appears to be rising. A video posted by YouTube user "yogi antula" included a television broadcast from the Anak Borneo Channel of a video from climbers in the crater area during the 4 June explosions, taken from approximately 400-500 m away. In that video, a significant dark ash plume can be seen rising from Bungsu-Verbeek crater complex, along with a smaller white plume from a closer location. The news report was concerned with 16 hikers known to be on the mountain; there were no later reports of anyone being injured.

References: SiGiTZ, 1 August 2017, Expedisi puncak Gunung Marapi Bukittingi Sumbar Mei 2017 (URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVxhWAbo2VA).

yogi antula, 5 June 2017, Video amatir pendakian saat Gunung Marapi Erupsi – 4 Juni 2017 (by Anak Borneo Channel) (URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GAY6lsTLEE).

Geologic Background. Gunung Marapi, not to be confused with the better-known Merapi volcano on Java, is Sumatra's most active volcano. This massive complex stratovolcano rises 2,000 m above the Bukittinggi Plain in the Padang Highlands. A broad summit contains multiple partially overlapping summit craters constructed within the small 1.4-km-wide Bancah caldera. The summit craters are located along an ENE-WSW line, with volcanism migrating to the west. More than 50 eruptions, typically consisting of small-to-moderate explosive activity, have been recorded since the end of the 18th century; no lava flows outside the summit craters have been reported in 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/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB) (URL: https://twitter.com/Sutopo_BNPB); Axel Drainville, Flickr.com, with Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/) (URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/axelrd/).


Tolbachik (Russia) — October 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Tolbachik

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption that started in late November 2012 ends by mid-September 2013

The most recent eruption began on 27 November 2012 along two fissures a few kilometers S of the main Tolbachik edifice, within the Tolbachinsky Dol lava plateau (BGVN 37:12). Monitoring is done by the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT); they recorded an end date for this eruption as 15 September 2013.

Activity reported through February 2013 included Strombolian fire fountains (figure 14), voluminous lava flows on the surface (figure 15 and 16) and under the ice and snow cover (figure 17), ash explosions, and the building of cinder cones (BGVN 37:12). Satellite imagery in early June 2013 revealed both a lava pond at the active vent and a large lava flow lower down the flank, with multiple flow-front breakouts (figure 18). Cinder cones continued to grow along the S fissure through 16-22 August 2013, and lava flows remained active (figure 19), but then gas-and-ash plumes weakened and seismicity decreased during the last week of the month (BGVN 38:08).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Lava fountain in the cinder cone at Tolbachik on 24 January 2013. Photo by Yu. Demyanchuk; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS and KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Photo of lava flow at Tolbachik on 25 January 2013. Photo by Yu. Demyanchuk; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS and KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Lava flows moving ESE at Tolbachik on 25 February 2013. Photo by Yu. Demyanchuk; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS and KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Photo of a lava flow intruding under deep snow at Tolbachik on 25 February 2013. Photo by Yu. Demyanchuk; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS and KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. False-color image of Tolbachinsky in shortwave infrared and near-infrared light (combined with green light), taken on 6 June 2013 by the Advanced Land Imager on the Earth Observing-1 satellite. Hot surfaces glow in shortwave infrared wavelengths. The active vent and lava flow are bright red, along with scattered lava "breakouts"at the front of the flow. High temperature surfaces in the scene also glow in near infrared light, revealing a lava pond in the active vent and fluid lava in the center of the lava flow. Courtesy of NASA (image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, caption by Robert Simmon).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Photo of lava flow front adjacent to the Kruglenkaya slag cone at Tolbachik on 16 August 2013. Photo by D.V. Melnikov; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS and KVERT.

Seismicity continued to decrease during 22-24 August 2013, and KVERT noted on 27 August that no incandescence had been seen in recent days, and there were no current ash plumes. Satellite data did still show a large thermal anomaly in the northern area of Tolbachinsky Dol, which KVERT attributed to the lava flows remaining hot. The MODIS thermal anomaly data recorded in the MODVOLC system identified the latest hotspot on 27 August 2013. According to the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT), the Aviation Color Code (ACC) was lowered from Orange to Yellow on 27 August 2013.

When the ACC was lowered to Green on 31 January 2014, KVERT reported that weak seismic activity and episodes of tremor continued, gas-and-steam activity was sometimes observed, and satellite data continued to show a weak thermal anomaly. However, they also stated that "probably its active phase was finishing in September 2013." The KVERT website recorded an end date of 15 September 2013. The new lava flows were still noticeable in visible satellite imagery more than a year after the eruption ended (figure 20).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Satellite image from Landsat/Copernicus showing the final extent of new lava flows on the SSW flank of Tolbachik on 30 December 2014. The new lava flows extend across the center of the image, with the main edifice at top right. Color and contrast have been adjusted to enhance the contrast between fresh darker lava and faded older deposits. Courtesy of Google Earth.

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

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


Ubinas (Peru) — October 2017 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 during September 2016-February 2017

Ubinas is an active stratovolcano in southern Peru about 70 km E of the city of Arequipa. Holocene lava flows cover its flanks, and the historical record since the mid-1500's contains evidence of minor explosive eruptions, debris avalanches, tephra deposits, phreatic outbursts, and pyroclastic flows and lahars. An eruptive episode that began with phreatic explosions on 1 September 2013 lasted through 27 February 2016, producing numerous small ash emissions, several large explosions with ash plumes that rose above 10 km altitude, large SO2 anomalies, evacuations, and several millimeters of ashfall in surrounding villages. Significant MIROVA thermal anomalies first appeared in mid-June 2015 and persisted through January 2016. A smaller eruptive episode described below began on 13 September 2016 and continued with intermittent explosive activity through 2 March 2017. Information is provided by the Instituto Geofísico del Perú, Observatoria Vulcanologico del Sur (IGP-OVS), the Observatorio Volcanológico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico) (OVI-INGEMMET), and the Buenos Aires VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center).

After activity subsided at the end of February 2016, Ubinas remained quiet through August 2016, with only sporadic steam and gas emissions, and very low levels of seismicity. Seismicity increased again beginning on 9 September, and the first ash emission of a new episode was reported on 13 September 2016. An explosion on 3 October released a significant ash plume that rose 2 km above the 5,672-m-summit. Four additional explosions with minor ash emissions were reported in November, and one occurred on 6 December. Webcams captured images of sporadic low-density ash emissions throughout February 2017, with the last report of possible emissions on 2 March 2017. Emissions of steam and gas and seismicity decreased throughout April 2017, and IGP-OVS lowered the alert level to Green by the end of May. Ubinas remained quiet through September 2017.

Activity during April-December 2016. After the small ash emission of 27 February 2016, seismicity at Ubinas dropped to very low levels of a few events per day (BGVN 41:10, figure 40). Sporadic steam emissions with small quantities of bluish magmatic gases rose no more than a few hundred meters above the summit during March-August 2016; there were no reports of ash emissions. A small seismic swarm of about 100 earthquakes was recorded on 5 April. The first "tornillo" type earthquakes seen in several months appeared beginning on 4 June, indicating to IGP-OVS the beginning of a new eruptive cycle. The lagoon that had formed at the bottom of the summit crater due to rains earlier in the year began to disappear as the dry season approached (figure 41).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. A view down into the steep-sided summit crater at Ubinas shows remnants of a disappearing lake after the rainy season, during the second quarter of 2016. Photo by Melquiades Álvarez; courtesy of OVS (Reporte Annual Volcan Ubinas, 2016).

Beginning on 9 September 2016, both OVI and OVS noted an increase in seismic activity of LP, hybrid, and VT-type events (figure 42). On 13 September, OVS reported that steam plumes rose higher than 1,000 m above the summit for the first time in many months, and a minor ash emission was observed. OVI reported possible ash emissions in weekly reports on 12, 17, and 24 September. Emissions of bluish gas and steam were typical for the remainder of September (figure 43).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. An increase in several types of seismicity at Ubinas first appeared on 9 September 2016 after several months of quiet. This was followed by an ash emission on 13 September, and an explosion with ash on 3 October. Courtesy of IGP-OVS (Reporte N°31-2016, Actividad del volcán Ubinas, Resumen actualizado de la principal actividad observada del 01 al 18 de octubre).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Bluish SO2-rich gas and steam emissions increased in frequency during the second half of September 2016 at Ubinas, as seen in this image taken from the village of Ubinas on 27 September 2016 by Melquiades Álvarez. Courtesy of IGP-OVS (Reporte Annual Volcan Ubinas, 2016).

Both OVI and OVS reported ash emissions from explosions on 3 October 2016 (figure 44). Seismic tremor, associated with ash emissions, lasted for nine and a half hours. The ash plume drifted NE, E, SE, and SW up to 2 km above the summit, according to OVS. Fumarolic activity then returned, with steam and bluish gases rising no more than 1,500 m above the crater rim for the remainder of October. The Buenos Aires VAAC noted the eruption reported by IGP, but was not able to identify volcanic ash from satellite data under clear skies. After peaking in early October at several hundred events per day, seismicity declined to below 50 events on 21 October, and then rose slightly to around 200 events per day for the rest of the month. Steam and gas emissions remained less than 500 m above the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. An explosion at Ubinas on 3 October 2016 created a significant ash plume that rose 2,000 m above the crater rim, and drifted NE, E, SE, and SW. Photos by Melquiades Álvarez, courtesy of IGP-OVS (Reporte Annual Volcan Ubinas, 2016).

Three explosions with minor ash and gas (mostly SO2) were reported by IGP-OVS on 8 November (local time). NASA Goddard Space Flight Center reported a significant SO2 emission associated with this event. The ash plume rose to about 1,500 m above the crater rim (about 7.2 km altitude). Seismicity remained high, with 250-350 events per day for several days after the explosion before declining back to around 150 events per day by 15 November. Another explosion, with minor ash emissions that rose 500 m, was reported by both OVS and OVI on 17 November 2016. After a small spike in seismicity between 23 and 29 November, the number of seismic events dropped below 50 per day. OVS reported a small ash emission that rose 100 m above the summit and drifted NW on 6 December 2016. OVI noted a modest increase in seismicity between 6 and 15 December, but only sporadic emissions of water vapor and gas were detected for the remainder of the month.

Activity during January-September 2017. Gas and steam emissions remained below 500 m above the crater rim during January 2017. OVS reported an explosion at 0223 on 24 January, but could not confirm ash emissions due to darkness. Occasional emissions of steam and gas rose as high at 2 km above the summit crater, but they generally remained below 500 m. OVI observed five lahars during January, but no damage was reported. Seismicity remained below 60 events per day during the month, except for a few days during 8-12 January when the frequency increased to 100-150 events per day.

OVS reported sporadic low-density ash emissions throughout February 2017 (figure 45). They were accompanied, occasionally, by water vapor and bluish gas, and did not rise more than 1,500 m above the summit crater. Weather clouds obscured the summit for much of the month. OVI reported minor ash emissions on 4, 10, 14, and 18 February (figure 46). Seismicity fluctuated throughout the month from values as high as almost 70 events per day (8 February) to fewer than 10 events per day (10-19 February).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Sporadic emissions of ash along with steam and magmatic gases were recorded in the IGP-OVS webcams at Ubinas on 4 and 9 February 2017. Courtesy of IGP-OVS (Reporte 03-2017 - Actividad del volcán Ubinas, Resumen actualizado de la principal actividad observada del 01 al 15 de febrero de 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. The OVI webcam captured a clear image of the 4 February 2017 ash emission. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcan Ubinas, Reporte 06, Semana del 30 de enero al 05 febrero de 2017).

OVS reported only magmatic gas and steam emissions (with no ash) during March 2017, with plumes rising to a maximum height of 300 m above the summit crater. OVI noted possible diffuse ash emissions on 1 and 2 March, but only steam and gas emissions for the remainder of the month. They reported variable seismicity with the frequency of daily events ranging from less than 10 per day to almost 70, averaging about 30 events per day.

Seismic energy decreased significantly during April 2017. Sporadic steam emissions reached maximum heights of only a few hundred meters above the crater. This relative quiet enabled OVS scientist Melquiades Álvarez to make a brief inspection of the summit crater on 14 April where he observed intermittent steam emissions rising from the base of the summit crater (figure 47). No ash emissions were reported during April. OVI reported that the number of seismic events dropped consistently during April from a high of 20 daily events on 1 April, to fewer than 5 events per day at the end of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. A view into the summit crater at Ubinas on 14 April 2017 revealed only sporadic steam emissions. Photo by Melquiades Álvarez; courtesy of IGP-OVS (Reporte 07-2017-Actividad del volcán Ubinas, Resumen actualizado de la principal actividad observada del 01 al 15 de abril de 2017).

The reduction in activity continued during May 2017; steam and gas emissions became more sporadic and were rarely reported rising above 500 m over the summit crater. IGP-OVS reduced the alert level from Yellow to Green (2 to 1 on a 4-level scale) during the second half of the month. Seismicity reported by OVI fluctuated between 2 and 14 daily events. Ubinas remained quiet from June through September 2017, with only occasional minor fumarolic activity of steam or magmatic gas plumes that rose a few hundred meters above the summit crater (figure 48). Frequency of seismic events remained below 20 events per day through August and dropped to less than 10 per day in September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Virtually no emissions of any kind were reported from Ubinas after mid-July 2017, as seen in this image from the second half of August 2017. Courtesy of IGP-OVS (Reporte 16-2017-Actividad del volcán Ubinas, Resumen actualizado de la principal actividad observada del 16 al 31 de agosto de 2017).

Geologic Background. A small, 1.4-km-wide caldera cuts the top of Ubinas, Perú'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. 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 3,700 years ago extend 10 km from the volcano. Widespread Plinian pumice-fall deposits include one of Holocene age about 1,000 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, 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).


Wrangell (United States) — October 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Wrangell

United States

62.006°N, 144.017°W; summit elev. 4278 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional steam plumes and wind-blown ash, but no recent eruptive activity

A previous report on Wrangell noted that the heat flux from a crater on the N side of the summit rim had increased by an order of magnitude between 1964 and 1986 (SEAN 11:04). Wrangell has several active fumarolic areas in its summit caldera. These fumaroles frequently produce steam plumes that are mistaken for eruptive activity. The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) receives several reports per year from pilots and local residents who observe larger than normal steam clouds over the summit. Although there have been some events possibly involving wind-blown ash, there have been no recent confirmed eruptions.

Activity during 1996-2000. According to Neal and McGimsey (1997), a pilot reported a suspicious cloud around 18 January 1996 rising about 1.5 km near Wrangell. The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed that a robust steam plume had been visible over the volcano for several weeks.

McGimsey and Wallace (1999) reported that, on 3 June 1997, a pilot reported steam rising from the summit. On 24 June another report described a steam plume rising about 200 m above the summit. This sighting was not observed on satellite imagery.

McGimsey and others (2004) reported that on the morning of 14 May 1999, a NWS observer in Gulkana (about 75 km WNW) reported anomalous steam emissions containing a small amount of ash. During clear weather at approximately 0930 local time, a rapidly billowing grayish-white plume rose to about 900 m above the N summit crater. The observer stated that at this time of year, on clear days, a small, wispy, steam plume is usually visible above Wrangell in the early morning, and dissipates by early afternoon. On this day, the plume developed quickly, was abnormally voluminous, and had a grayish color.

A pilot had also observed the activity and noticed that more "dirt" surrounded the N crater than usual, and that on the upper part of the Chestnina Glacier high on the SW flank, blocks of ice were chaotically jumbled (higher relief between blocks) and that the glacier surface was much more crevassed than he had ever previously seen. He also observed that one of two known fumaroles at 3,350 m elevation on the S flank, which typically issue steam through ice holes, was surrounded by a sizeable patch of bare rock, a new development since his last recent flight over the area. The pilot further reported that he had observed no sign of flowage or melting events high on the flank, but that he had not flown over the lower reaches of the glacier. As of 1700 that day the NWS observer in Gulkana could still see a small steam plume and with binoculars could see that the snow around the summit area appeared to be light gray and that this was a definite color contrast and not an effect from shadows.

According to Neal and others (2004), a Trans Alaska Pipeline worker reported an unusually strong, white steam plume on 18 March 2000 between 0500 and 0600 local time. Later that day a National Park Service (NPS) employee in Kenny Lake reported robust steaming during the previous month from multiple sources on the SW flank between approximately 600-1,500 m below the summit. AVO found no anomalies in satellite imagery and concluded that no significant unrest had occurred.

Activity during 2002-2003. Neal and others (2005) reported that on 1 August 2002, AVO received several calls reporting a dark cloud drifting downwind from the general summit area and a dark deposit high on its snow-covered flank. AVO seismologists, however, checked data from the Wrangell seismic network and, based on a lack of correlative seismicity, concluded that no eruption or explosion had occurred. AVO also consulted with a local NPS geologist, who suggested that high winds had lofted fine-grained material exposed in the area near the summit fumaroles. On 4 August, an AVO geologist traveling in the area verified that a diffuse, light gray stripe extended a short distance down the flank of the volcano, emanating from the W caldera rim.

Subsequently, a local resident presented AVO with a video showing the waning portion of the event and his written observations. The witness described multiple dark billowing black ash puffs; the wind was from the E and the puffs were not rising over the summit. By the time he had returned to a good vantage point to film, about 10-12 minutes later, the billowing had stopped and the puffs had "turned a more grayish color."

According to the authors, the video showed discrete, light gray "puffs" that moved downwind and retained their individual integrity. There were no other weather clouds in the vicinity. A light gray, relatively motionless and irregular-shaped cloud sat near the caldera rim. A breeze could be observed at ground level (indicated by motion in the trees) but at altitude, clouds were not shearing rapidly. High on the snow-covered flank, a gray-colored swath extended from a high point at the W caldera rim near Wrangell's crater. The end of the video footage showed two distinct dark areas on the rim that were normally snow-covered. The resident's son reported a similar but more vigorous event on 2 August at about the same time of the day, but AVO received no further inquiries or reports.

AVO concluded that no volcanic process of significance had occurred. However, the authors stated "these observations remain enigmatic: lack of any seismicity would seem to preclude a phreatic or magmatic eruption and yet the pulsatory, 'puffing' nature of the dirty clouds is difficult to reconcile with a wind phenomenon."

McGimsey and others (2005) reported that NPS geologist Danny Rosenkrans contacted AVO with photographs taken by a local resident on 11 June 2003 showing an unusual towering cloud over the summit. Although the authors acknowledged that it could simply have been a common cumulus cloud, they noted that the absence of cumulus clouds in the area over nearby Mts. Drum and Sanford suggested that calm weather conditions permitted steam emissions from the known summit fumaroles to coalesce and form the plume-like cloud.

McGimsey and others (2005) also reported that on 18 September 2003 the Center Weather Service Unit called with a Pilot Weather Report of a steam plume 600-700 m over the volcano. The pilot reported no ash or sulfur smell. AVO scientists checked satellite imagery and seismograms and found nothing unusual.

Activity during 2007. McGimsey and others (2011) stated that an M 8.2 earthquake in the Kurile Islands on 13 January 2007 may have triggered seismicity at Wrangell and other nearby volcanoes. There were no reports of steaming immediately following this event; however, two weeks later, on 7 February, a relatively large local earthquake was recorded on the Wrangell network that was followed another two weeks later by steaming from the summit. According to the authors, this was the first report of Wrangell steaming in several years.

The authors also mentioned additional episodes of steaming in March 2007. On 25 March, a resident living about 80 km N of the summit reported a strong sulfur odor, an occurrence the resident stated was rare in his 15 years of living in the area. Earlier that day, the Wrangell network had recorded several multi-station seismic events. The authors note that several months later, local residents sent AVO photographs taken on 20 June of steaming from Wrangell and a deposit of ash extending from the W crater many hundreds of meters down the SW flank (figure 2). According to the authors, this ash was likely redistributed from the summit craters by strong winds. No anomalous seismic activity was observed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. View of the northwest flank of Wrangell volcano on 20 Jun e2007 showing a dark stripe of probable redistributed ash extending from West Crater. The photo was taken at Mile 20 of the Tok Cutoff (Hwy 1), between Gakona and Slana. Strong north winds were reported. Note the steam plume rising from skyline saddle near North Crater (left). Photo by Norma Traw, courtesy of AVO.

Activity during 2010. A report by Neal and others (2014) noted that no significant eruptive activity or restlessness had occurred in 2010. However, the authors stated that AVO had received a report of possible vapor emission from the summit area. In May 2010, a single LIDAR swath taken during a summit overflight by glaciologists from the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska-Fairbanks, depicted the topography of North Crater, a long-known fumarolic source on the NW rim of the ice-filled summit caldera. According to the authors, there are several secondary depressions, including a complex, kidney-bean shaped pit about 20 m deep and 200 m across, located in the center of North crater. This result is broadly consistent with previously recorded surveys of North Crater using photogrammetric techniques.

Neal and others (2014) reported that in early November 2010, a long-time local resident called AVO to report "more activity at the Mount Wrangell summit than he had ever seen before." He sent AVO several images of the volcano taken on 2 November and assured AVO that when the activity in question began, there had been no weather clouds in the area. He noted about ten "bursts" from the summit and said this was unusual compared to the typical steady emissions often seen. The authors stated that AVO reviewed available seismic and satellite data and, finding no evidence of volcanic signals, concluded that the phenomenon was most likely weather-related.

Activity during 2012. According to Herrick and others (2014), no eruptive activity or significant unrest had occurred in 2012, but as in previous years AVO received reports of fumarolic activity high on its flanks. The authors noted that, because of seismic station outages, AVO had removed Wrangell from its monitored list on 27 January 2012, where it remained for at least through the rest of the year. At the same time, the Aviation Color Code and Volcano Alert Level were downgraded from Green/Normal to Unassigned.

Herrick and others (2014) reported that on 11 March 2012, local observers noted "puffs of steam." AVO analysts using satellite images detected small plumes above known fumaroles. On 20 March 2012, a citizen noticed unusually rigorous steaming and described it as looking like "a pressure cooker shot through with nails." Steam rose from both the summit and a location on the SW flank at an elevation of about 3 km. Other calls to AVO registered concern about the significant plumes. Because no other evidence of significant volcanic unrest was detected, AVO concluded these events were likely generated by normal fumarolic activity.

References. Neal, C., and McGimsey, R. G., 1997, 1996 volcanic activity in Alaska and Kamchatka: Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report OF 97-0433, 34 p.

McGimsey, R. G., and Wallace, K. L., 1999, 1997 volcanic activity in Alaska and Kamchatka: Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report OF 99-0448, 42 p.

McGimsey, R. G., Neal, C. A., and Girina, O., 2004, 1999 Volcanic activity in Alaska and Kamchatka: Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report OF 2004-1033, 49 p.

McGimsey, R. G., Neal, C. A., Dixon, J. P., Malik, N., and Chibisova, M., 2011, 2007 Volcanic activity in Alaska, Kamchatka, and the Kurile Islands: Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010-5242, 110 p. Available online at http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2010/5242/.

Neal, C. A., McGimsey, R. G., and Chubarova, O., 2004, 2000 Volcanic activity in Alaska and Kamchatka: Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report OF 2004-1034, 37 p.

Neal, C. A., McGimsey, R. G., and Girina, O., 2005, 2002 Volcanic activity in Alaska and Kamchatka: Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report OF 2004-1058, 55 p., available online at http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2004/1058/.

McGimsey, R. G., Neal, C. A., and Girina, O., 2005, 2003 volcanic activity in Alaska and Kamchatka: Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2005-1310, 62 p., http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2005/1310/.

McGimsey, R. G., Neal, C. A., Dixon, J. P., Malik, N., and Chibisova, M., 2011, 2007 Volcanic activity in Alaska, Kamchatka, and the Kurile Islands: Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010-5242, 110 p. Available online at http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2010/5242/.

Neal, C. A., Herrick, J., Girina, O. A., Chibisova, M., Rybin, A., McGimsey, R. G., and Dixon, J., 2014, 2010 Volcanic activity in Alaska, Kamchatka, and the Kurile Islands - Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2014-5034, 76 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20145034/.

Herrick, J. A., Neal, C. A., Cameron, C. E., Dixon, J. P., and McGimsey, R. G., 2014, 2012 Volcanic activity in Alaska: Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2014-5160, 82p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20145160/.

Geologic Background. With a diameter of 30 km at 2000 m elevation, Mount Wrangell is one of the world's largest continental-margin volcanoes. The massive andesitic shield volcano has produced fluid lava flows as long as 58 km and contains an ice-filled caldera 4-6 km in diameter and 1 km deep, located within an ancestral 15-km-wide caldera. Most of the edifice was constructed during eruptions between about 600,000 and 200,000 years ago. Formation of the summit caldera followed sometime between about 200,000 and 50,000 years ago. Three post-caldera craters are located at the broad summit, along the northern and western caldera rim. A steep-sided flank cinder cone, Mount Zanetti, is located 6 km NW of the summit. The westernmost cone has been the source of infrequent historical eruptions beginning in the 18th century. Increased heat flux in recent years has melted large volumes of ice in the northern crater.

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/).

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements  Obituaries

Misc Reports

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

Additional Reports  False Reports