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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

San Miguel (El Salvador) Small ash emissions during 22 February 2020

Cleveland (United States) Intermittent thermal anomalies and lava dome subsidence, February 2019-January 2020

Ambrym (Vanuatu) Fissure eruption in December 2018 produces an offshore pumice eruption after lava lakes drain

Copahue (Chile-Argentina) Ash emissions end on 12 November; lake returns to El Agrio Crater in December 2019

Nishinoshima (Japan) Ongoing activity enlarges island with lava flows, ash plumes, and incandescent ejecta, December 2019-February 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



San Miguel (El Salvador) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

San Miguel

El Salvador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash emissions during 22 February 2020

San Miguel, locally known as Chaparrastique, is a stratovolcano located in El Salvador. Recent activity has consisted of occasional small ash explosions and ash emissions. Infrequent gas-and-steam and ash emissions were observed during this reporting period of June 2018-March 2020. The primary source of information for this report comes from El Salvador's Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET) and special reports from the Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN) in addition to various satellite data.

Based on Sentinel-2 satellite imagery and analyses of infrared MODIS data, volcanism at San Miguel from June 2018 to mid-February was relatively low, consisting of occasional gas-and-steam emissions. During 2019, a weak thermal anomaly in the summit crater was registered in thermal satellite imagery (figure 27). This thermal anomaly persisted during a majority of the year but was not visible after September 2019; faint gas-and-steam emissions could sometimes be seen rising from the summit crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of a faint but consistent thermal anomaly at San Miguel during 2019. Images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Volcanism was prominent beginning on 13-20 February 2020 when SO2 emissions exceeded 620 tons/day (typical low SO2 values are less than 400 tons/day). During 20-21 February the amplitude of microearthquakes increased and minor emissions of gas-and-steam and SO2 were visible within the crater (figure 28). According to SNET and special reports from MARN, on 22 February at 1055 an ash cloud was visible rising 400 m above the crater rim (figure 29), resulting in minor ashfall in Piedra Azul (5 km SW). That same day RSAM values peaked at 550 units as recorded by the VSM station on the upper N flank, which is above normal values of about 150. Seismicity increased the day after the eruptive activity. Minor gas-and-steam emissions continued to rise 400 m above the crater rim during 23-24 February; the RSAM values fell to 33-97 units. Activity in March was relatively low; some seismicity, including small magnitude earthquakes, occurred during the month in addition to SO2 emissions ranging from 517 to 808 tons/day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Minor gas-and-steam emissions rising from the crater at San Miguel on 21 February 2020. Courtesy of Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Gas-and-steam and ash emissions rising from the crater at San Miguel on 22 February 2020. Courtesy of Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN).

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

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET), Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN), Km. 5½ Carretera a Nueva San Salvador, Avenida las Mercedes, San Salvador, El Salvador (URL: http://www.snet.gob.sv/ver/vulcanologia); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Cleveland (United States) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Cleveland

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal anomalies and lava dome subsidence, February 2019-January 2020

Cleveland is a stratovolcano located in the western portion of Chuginadak Island, a remote island part of the east central Aleutians. Common volcanism has included small lava flows, explosions, and ash clouds. Intermittent lava dome growth, small ash explosions, and thermal anomalies have characterized more recent activity (BGVN 44:02). For this reporting period during February 2019-January 2020, activity largely consisted of gas-and-steam emissions and intermittent thermal anomalies within the summit crater. The primary source of information comes from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) and various satellite data.

Low levels of unrest occurred intermittently throughout this reporting period with gas-and-steam emissions and thermal anomalies as the dominant type of activity (figures 30 and 31). An explosion on 9 January 2019 was followed by lava dome growth observed during 12-16 January. Suomi NPP/VIIRS sensor data showed two hotspots on 8 and 14 February 2019, though there was no evidence of lava within the summit crater at that time. According to satellite imagery from AVO, the lava dome was slowly subsiding during February into early March. Elevated surface temperatures were detected on 17 and 24 March in conjunction with degassing; another gas-and-steam plume was observed rising from the summit on 30 March. Thermal anomalies were again seen on 15 and 28 April using Suomi NPP/VIIRS sensor data. Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions continued as the number of detected thermal anomalies slightly increased during the next month, occurring on 1, 7, 15, 18, and 23 May. A gas-and-steam plume was observed on 9 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity (log radiative power) at Cleveland during 4 February 2019 through January 2020 shows increased thermal anomalies between mid-April to late November 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) confirmed intermittent thermal signatures occurring in the summit crater during March 2019 through October 2019. Some gas-and-steam plumes were observed accompanying the thermal anomaly, as seen on 17 March 2019 and 8 May 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

There were 10 thermal anomalies observed in June, and 11 each in July and August. Typical mild degassing was visible when photographed on 9 August (figure 32). On 14 August, seismicity increased, which included a swarm of a dozen local earthquakes. The lava dome emplaced in January was clearly visible in satellite imagery (figure 33). The number of thermal anomalies decreased the next month, occurring on 10, 21, and 25 September. During this month, a gas-and-steam plume was observed in a webcam image on 6, 8, 20, and 25 September. On 3-6, 10, and 21 October elevated surface temperatures were recorded as well as small gas-and-steam plumes on 4, 7, 13, and 20-25 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Photograph of Cleveland showing mild degassing from the summit vent taken on 9 August 2019. Photo by Max Kaufman; courtesy of AVO/USGS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Satellite image of Cleveland showing faint gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit crater. High-resolution image taken on 17 August 2019 showing the lava dome from January 2019 inside the crater (dark ring). Image created by Hannah Dietterich; courtesy of AVO/USGS and DigitalGlobe.

Four thermal anomalies were detected on 3, 6, and 8-9 November. According to a VONA report from AVO on 8 November, satellite data suggested possible slow lava effusion in the summit crater; however, by the 15th no evidence of eruptive activity had been seen in any data sources. Another thermal anomaly was observed on 14 January 2020. Gas-and-steam emissions observed in webcam images continued intermittently.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows intermittent weak thermal anomalies within 5 km of the crater summit during mid-April through November 2019 with a larger cluster of activity in early June, late July and early October (figure 30). Thermal satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 also detected weak thermal anomalies within the summit crater throughout the reporting period, occasionally accompanied by gas-and-steam plumes (figure 31).

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

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


Ambrym (Vanuatu) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambrym

Vanuatu

16.25°S, 168.12°E; summit elev. 1334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fissure eruption in December 2018 produces an offshore pumice eruption after lava lakes drain

Ambrym is an active volcanic island in the Vanuatu archipelago consisting of a 12 km-wide summit caldera. Benbow and Marum are two currently active craters within the caldera that have produced lava lakes, explosions, lava flows, ash, and gas emissions, in addition to fissure eruptions. More recently, a submarine fissure eruption in December 2018 produced lava fountains and lava flows, which resulted in the drainage of the active lava lakes in both the Benbow and Marum craters (BGVN 44:01). This report updates information from January 2019 through March 2020, including the submarine pumice eruption during December 2018 using information from the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (VMGD) and research by Shreve et al. (2019).

Activity on 14 December 2018 consisted of thermal anomalies located in the lava lake that disappeared over a 12-hour time period; a helicopter flight on 16 December confirmed the drainage of the summit lava lakes as well as a partial collapse of the Benbow and Marum craters (figure 49). During 14-15 December, a lava flow (figure 49), accompanied by lava fountaining, was observed originating from the SE flank of Marum, producing SO2 and ash emissions. A Mw 5.6 earthquake on 15 December at 2021 marked the beginning of a dike intrusion into the SE rift zone as well as a sharp increase in seismicity (Shreve et al., 2019). This intrusion extended more than 30 km from within the caldera to beyond the east coast, with a total volume of 419-532 x 106 m3 of magma. More than 2 m of coastal uplift was observed along the SE coast due to the asymmetry of the dike from December, resulting in onshore fractures.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Ambrym before the December 2018 eruption (left), and during the eruption (right). Before the eruption, the thermal signatures within both summit craters were strong and after the eruption, the thermal signatures were no longer detected. A lava flow was observed during the eruption on 15 December. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Shreve et al. (2019) state that although the dike almost reached the surface, magma did not erupt from the onshore fractures; only minor gas emissions were detected until 17 December. An abrupt decrease in the seismic moment release on 17 December at 1600 marked the end of the dike propagation (figure 50). InSAR-derived models suggested an offshore eruption (Shreve et al., 2019). This was confirmed on 18-19 December when basaltic pumice, indicating a subaqueous eruption, was collected on the beach near Pamal and Ulei. Though the depth and exact location of the fissure has not been mapped, the nature of the basaltic pumice would suggest it was a relatively shallow offshore eruption, according to Shreve et al. (2019).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Geographical timeline summary of the December 2018 eruptive events at Ambrym. The lava lake level began to drop on 14 December, with fissure-fed lava flows during 14-15 December. After an earthquake on 15 December, a dike was detected, causing coastal uplift as it moved E. As the dike continued to propagate upwards, faulting was observed, though magma did not breach the surface. Eventually a submarine fissure eruption was confirmed offshore on 18-19 December. Image modified from Shreve et al. (2019).

In the weeks following the dike emplacement, there was more than 2 m of subsidence measured at both summit craters identified using ALOS-2 and Sentinel-1 InSAR data. After 22 December, no additional large-scale deformation was observed, though a localized discontinuity (less than 12 cm) measured across the fractures along the SE coast in addition to seismicity suggested a continuation of the distal submarine eruption into late 2019. Additional pumice was observed on 3 February 2019 near Pamal village, suggesting possible ongoing activity. These surveys also noted that no gas-and-steam emissions, lava flows, or volcanic gases were emitted from the recently active cracks and faults on the SE cost of Ambrym.

During February-October 2019, onshore activity at Ambrym declined to low levels of unrest, according to VMGD. The only activity within the summit caldera consisted of gas-and-steam emissions, with no evidence of the previous lava lakes (figure 51). Intermittent seismicity and gas-and-steam emissions continued to be observed at Ambrym and offshore of the SE coast. Mével et al. (2019) installed three Trillium Compact 120s posthole seismometers in the S and E part of Ambrym from 25 May to 5 June 2019. They found that there were multiple seismic events, including a Deep-Long Period event and mixed up/down first motions at two stations near the tip of the dike intrusion and offshore of Pamal at depths of 15-20 km below sea level. Based on a preliminary analysis of these data, Mével et al. (2019) interpreted the observations as indicative of ongoing volcanic seismicity in the region of the offshore dike intrusion and eruption.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Aerial photograph of Ambrym on 12 August 2019 showing gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit caldera. Courtesy of VMGD.

Seismicity was no longer reported from 10 October 2019 through March 2020. Thermal anomalies were not detected in satellite data except for one in late April and one in early September 2019, according to MODIS thermal infrared data analyzed by the MIROVA system. The most recent report from VMGD was issued on 27 March 2020, which noted low-level unrest consisting of dominantly gas-and-steam emissions.

References:

Shreve T, Grandin R, Boichu M, Garaebiti E, Moussallam Y, Ballu V, Delgado F, Leclerc F, Vallée M, Henriot N, Cevuard S, Tari D, Lebellegard P, Pelletier B, 2019. From prodigious volcanic degassing to caldera subsidence and quiescence at Ambrym (Vanuatu): the influence of regional tectonics. Sci. Rep. 9, 18868. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-55141-7.

Mével H, Roman D, Brothelande E, Shimizu K, William R, Cevuard S, Garaebiti E, 2019. The CAVA (Carnegie Ambrym Volcano Analysis) Project - a Multidisciplinary Characterization of the Structure and Dynamics of Ambrym Volcano, Vanuatu. American Geophysical Union, Fall 2019 Meeting, Abstract and Poster V43C-0201.

Geologic Background. Ambrym, a large basaltic volcano with a 12-km-wide caldera, is one of the most active volcanoes of the New Hebrides Arc. A thick, almost exclusively pyroclastic sequence, initially dacitic then basaltic, overlies lava flows of a pre-caldera shield volcano. The caldera was formed during a major Plinian eruption with dacitic pyroclastic flows about 1,900 years ago. Post-caldera eruptions, primarily from Marum and Benbow cones, have partially filled the caldera floor and produced lava flows that ponded on the floor or overflowed through gaps in the caldera rim. Post-caldera eruptions have also formed a series of scoria cones and maars along a fissure system oriented ENE-WSW. Eruptions have apparently occurred almost yearly during historical time from cones within the caldera or from flank vents. However, from 1850 to 1950, reporting was mostly limited to extra-caldera eruptions that would have affected local populations.

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Copahue (Chile-Argentina) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Copahue

Chile-Argentina

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions end on 12 November; lake returns to El Agrio Crater in December 2019

Most of the large edifice of Copahue lies high in the central Chilean Andes, but the active El Agrio crater lies on the Argentinian side of the border at the W edge of the Pliocene Caviahue caldera. Infrequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 18th century. The most recent eruptive episode began with phreatic explosions and ash emissions on 2 August 2019 that continued until mid-November 2019. This report summarizes activity from November 2019 through February 2020 and is based on reports issued by Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN) Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), satellite data, and photographs from nearby residents.

MIROVA data indicated a few weak thermal anomalies during mid-October to mid-November 2019. Multiple continuous ash emissions were reported daily until mid-November when activity declined significantly. By mid-December the lake inside El Agrio crater had reappeared and occasional steam plumes were the only reported surface activity at Copahue through February 2020.

The Buenos Aires VAAC and SERNAGEOMIN both reported continuous ash emissions during 1-9 November 2019 that were visible in the webcam. Satellite imagery recorded the plumes drifting generally E or NE at 3.0-4.3 km altitude (figure 49). Most of the emissions on 10 November were steam (figure 50). The last pulse of ash emissions occurred on 12 November with an ash plume visible moving SE at 3 km altitude in satellite imagery and a strong thermal anomaly (figure 51). The following day emissions were primarily steam and gas. SERNAGEOMIN noted the ash emissions rising around 800 m above El Agrio crater and also reported incandescence visible during most nights through mid-November. During the second half of November the constant degassing was primarily water vapor with occasional nighttime incandescence. Steam plumes rose 450 m above the crater on 27 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Continuous ash emissions at Copahue during 1-9 November 2019 were visible in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 2 and 7 November 2019 drifting NE. Natural color rendering uses bands 4,3, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Most of the emissions from Copahue on 10 November 2019 were steam. Left image courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina. Right image courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground, natural color rendering using bands 4, 3, and 2.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. A strong thermal anomaly and an ash plume at Copahue were visible in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 12 November 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground, Atmospheric penetration rendering bands 12, 11, and 8A.

Nighttime incandescence was last observed in the SERNAGEOMIN webcam on 1 December; SERNAGEOMIN lowered the alert level from Yellow to Green on 15 December 2019. Throughout December degassing consisted mainly of minor steam plumes (figure 52), the highest plume rose to 300 m above the crater on 18 December, and minor SO2 plumes persisted through the 21st (figure 53),. By mid-December the El Agrio crater lake was returning and satellite images clearly showed the increase in size of the lake through February (figure 54). The only surface activity reported during January and February 2020 was occasional white steam plumes rising near El Agrio crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Small wisps of steam were the only emissions from Copahue on 3 December 2019. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Small plumes of SO2 were recorded at Copahue during November and December 2019. Top row: 7, 9, and 30 November. Bottom row: 1, 20, and 21 December. Courtesy of Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, NASA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. The lake within El Agrio crater reappeared between 5 and 12 December 2019 and continued to grow in size through the end of January 2020. Top row (left to right): There was no lake inside the crater on 5 December 2019, only a small steam plume rising from the vent. The first water was visible on 12 December and was slightly larger a few days later on 17 December. Bottom row (left to right): the lake was significantly larger on 4 January 2020 filling an embayment close to the steam vent. Fingers of water filled in areas of the crater as the water level rose on 24 and 29 January. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue, Caviahue, Argentina (URL: https://twitter.com/valecaviahue, Twitter:@valecaviahue).


Nishinoshima (Japan) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nishinoshima

Japan

27.247°N, 140.874°E; summit elev. 25 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing activity enlarges island with lava flows, ash plumes, and incandescent ejecta, December 2019-February 2020

After 40 years of dormancy, Japan’s Nishinoshima volcano, located about 1,000 km S of Tokyo in the Ogasawara Arc, erupted above sea level in November 2013. Lava flows were active through November 2015, emerging from a central pyroclastic cone. A new eruption in mid-2017 continued the growth of the island with ash plumes, ejecta, and lava flows. A short eruptive event in July 2018 produced a new lava flow and vent on the side of the pyroclastic cone. The next eruption of ash plumes, incandescent ejecta, and lava flows, covered in this report, began in early December 2019 and was ongoing through February 2020. Information is provided primarily from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) monthly reports.

Nishinoshima remained quiet after a short eruptive event in July 2018 until MODVOLC thermal alerts appeared on 5 December 2019. Multiple near-daily alerts continued through February 2020. The intermittent low-level thermal anomalies seen in the MIROVA data beginning in May and June 2019 may reflect areas with increased temperatures and fumarolic activity reported by the Japan Coast Guard during overflights in June and July. The significant increase in thermal anomalies in the MIROVA data on 5 December correlates with the beginning of extrusive and explosive activity (figure 63). Eruptive activity included ash emissions, incandescent ejecta, and numerous lava flows from multiple vents that flowed into the sea down several flanks, significantly enlarging the island.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. The MIROVA graph of thermal energy from Nishinoshima from 13 April 2019 through February 2020 shows low-level thermal activity beginning in mid-2019; there were reports of increased temperatures and fumarolic activity during that time. Eruptive activity including ash emissions, incandescent ejecta, and numerous lava flows began on 5 December 2019 and was ongoing through February 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

A brief period of activity during 12-21 July 2018 produced explosive activity with blocks and bombs ejected 500 m from a new vent on the E flank of the pyroclastic cone, and a 700-m-long lava flow that stopped about 100 m before reaching the ocean (BGVN 43:09). No further activity was reported during 2018. During overflights on 29 and 31 January, and 7 February 2019, white steam plumes drifted from the E crater margin and inner wall of the pyroclastic cone and discolored waters were present around the island, but no other signs of activity were reported. A survey carried out by the Japan Coast Guard during 7-8 June 2019 reported minor fumarolic activity from the summit crater, and high-temperature areas were noted on the hillsides, measured by infrared thermal imaging equipment. Sulfur dioxide emissions were below the detection limit. In an overflight on 12 July 2019, Coast Guard personnel noted a small white plume rising from the E edge of the summit crater of the pyroclastic cone (figure 64).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. The Japan Coast Guard noted a small white plume at the summit of Nishinoshima during an overflight on 12 July 2019, but no other signs of activity. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, July 2019).

The white plume was still present during an overflight on 14 August 2019. Greenish yellow areas of water about 500 m wide were distributed around the island, and a plume of green water extended 1.8 km from the NW coast. Similar conditions were observed on 15 October 2019; pale yellow-green discolored water was about 100 m wide and concentrated on the N shore of Nishinoshima. No steam plume from the summit was present during a visit on 19 November 2019, but yellow-white discolored water on the N shore was about 100 m wide and 700 m long. Along the NE and SE coasts, yellow-white water was 100-200 m wide and about 1,000 m long.

A MODVOLC thermal alert appeared at Nishinoshima on 5 December 2019. An eruption was observed by the Japan Coast Guard the following day. A pulsating light gray ash plume rose from the summit crater accompanied by tephra ejected 200 m above the crater rim every few minutes (figure 65). In addition, ash and tephra rose intermittently from a crater on the E flank of the pyroclastic cone, from which lava also flowed down towards the E coast (figure 66). By 1300 on 7 December the lava was flowing into the sea (figure 67).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. The eruption observed at Nishinoshima on 6 December 2019 included ash and tephra emissions from the summit vent, and ash, tephra, and a lava flow from the vent on the E flank of the pyroclastic cone. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, November 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Thermal infrared imagery revealed incandescent ejecta from the summit crater and lava flowing from the E flank vent at Nishinoshima on 6 December 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, November 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. By 1300 on 7 December 2019 lava from the E-flank vent at Nishinoshima was flowing into the sea. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, November 2019).

Observations by the Japan Coast Guard on 15 December 2019 confirmed that vigorous eruptive activity was ongoing; incandescent ejecta and ash plumes rose 300 m above the summit crater rim (figure 68). A new vent had opened on the N flank of the cone from which lava flowed NW to the sea (figure 69). The lava flow from the E-flank crater also remained active and continued flowing into the sea. The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash emission on 24 December that rose to 1,000 m altitude and drifted S. On 31 December, explosions at the summit continued every few seconds with ash and ejecta rising 300 m high. In addition, lava from the NE flank of the pyroclastic cone flowed NE to the sea (figure 70).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Incandescent ejecta and ash rose 300 m above the summit crater rim at Nishinoshima on 15 December 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, December 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Lava from a new vent on the NW flank of Nishinoshima was entering the sea on 15 December 2019, producing vigorous steam plumes. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, December 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. At Nishinoshima on 31 December 2019 lava flowed down the NE flank of the pyroclastic cone into the sea, and incandescent ejecta rose 300 m above summit. Courtesy of JMA and the Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, December 2019).

Satellite data from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) made it possible for JMA to produce maps showing the rapid changes in topography at Nishinoshima resulting from the new lava flows. The new E-flank lava flow was readily seen when comparing imagery from 22 November with 6 December 2019 (figure 71a). An image from 6 December compared with 20 December 2019 shows the flow on the E flank splitting and entering the sea at two locations (figure 71b), the flow on the NW flank traveling briefly N before turning W and forming a large fan into the ocean on the W flank, and a new flow heading NE from the summit area of the pyroclastic cone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Satellite data from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) made it possible to produce maps showing the changes in topography at Nishinoshima resulting from the new lava flows (shown in blue). In comparing 22 November with 6 December 2019 (A, left), the new lava flow on the E flank was visible. A new image from 20 December compared with 6 December (B, right) showed the flow on the E flank splitting and entering the sea at two locations, the NW-flank flow building a large fan into the ocean on the W flank, and a new flow heading NE from the summit area of the pyroclastic cone. Courtesy of JMA and the Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, December 2019).

The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery on 15 January 2020 that rose to 1.8 km altitude and drifted SE. The Japan Coast Guard conducted an overflight on 17 January that confirmed the continued eruptions of ash, incandescent ejecta, and lava. Dark gray ash plumes were observed at 1.8 km altitude, with ashfall and tephra concentrated around the pyroclastic cone (figure 72). Plumes of steam were visible where the NE lava flow entered the ocean; the E and NW lava entry areas did not appear active but were still hot. Satellite data from ALOS-2 prepared by JAXA confirmed ongoing activity around the summit vent and on the NE flank, while activity on the W flank had ceased (figure 73). An ash plume was reported by the Tokyo VAAC on 25 January; it rose to 1.5 km altitude and drifted SW for most of the day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Dense, dark gray ash plumes rose from the summit of Nishinoshima on 17 January 2020. Small plumes of steam from lava-seawater interactions were visible on the NE shore of the island as well (far right). Courtesy of JMA and the Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, January 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. JAXA satellite data from 3 January 2020 (left) showed the growth of a new lava delta on the NE flank of Nishinoshima and minor activity occuring on the W flank compared with the previous image from 20 December 2019. By 17 January 2020 (right), the lava flow activity was concentrated on the NE flank with multiple deltas extending out into the sea. The ‘low correlation areas’ shown in blue represent changes in topography caused by new material from lava flows and ejecta added between the dates shown above the images. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, January 2020).

On 3 Feburary 2020 the Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery that rose to 2.1 km altitude and drifted E. The following day the Japan Coast Guard observed eruptions from the summit crater at five minute intervals that produced grayish white plumes. The plumes rose to 2.7 km altitude (figure 74). Large bombs were scattered around the pyroclastic cone, and the summit crater appeared filled with lava except for the active vent. The lava deltas on the NE flank were only active at the tips of the flows producing a few steam jets where lava entered the sea. The active flows were on the SE flank, and a new 200-m-long lava flow was flowing down the N flank of the pyroclastic cone (figure 75). The lava flowing from the E flank of the pyroclastic cone to the SE into the sea, produced larger jets of steam (figure 76). Yellow-brown discolored water appeared around the island in several places.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Ash emissions at Nishinoshima rose to 2.7 km altitude on 4 February 2020; steam jets from lava entering the ocean were active on the SE flank (far side of the island, right). Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. The lava deltas on the NE flank of Nishinoshima (bottom center) were much less active on 4 February 2020 than the lava flow and growing delta on the SE flank (left). The newest flow headed N from the summit and was 200 m long (right of center). Courtesy of JMA and the Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. The most active lava flows at Nishinoshima on 4 February 2020 were on the E flank; significant steam plumes rose in multiple locations along the coast where they entered the sea. Intermittent ash plumes also rose from the summit crater. Courtesy of JMA and Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).

JAXA satellite data confirmed that the flow activity was concentrated on the NE flank and shore during the second half of January 2020, but also recorded the new flow down the SE flank that was observed by the Coast Guard in early February. By mid-February the satellite topographic data indicated the decrease in activity in the NE flank flows, the increased activity on the SE and E flank, and the extension of the flow moving due N to the coast (figure 77). Observations on 17 February 2020 by the Japan Coast Guard revealed eruptions from the summit crater every few seconds, and steam-and-ash plumes rising about 600 m. Vigorous white emissions rose from fractures near the top of the W flank of the pyroclastic cone, but thermal data indicated the area was no hotter than the surrounding area (figure 78). The lava flow on the SE coast still had steam emissions rising from the ocean entry point, but activity was weaker than on 4 February. The newest flow moving due N from the summit produced steam emissions where the flow front entered the ocean.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Constantly changing lava flows at Nishinoshima reshaped the island during late January and February 2020. During the second half of January, flows were active on the NE flank, creating deltas into the sea off the NE coast and also on the SE flank into the sea at the SE coast (left). The ‘low correlation areas’ shown in blue represent changes in topography caused by new material from lava flows and ejecta added between the dates shown above the images. By 14 February (right) activity had slowed on the NE flank and expanded on the SE flank and N flank. Data is from the Land Observing Satellite-2 "Daichi-2" (ALOS-2). Courtesy of JMA and JAXA (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Vigorous white emissions rose from fractures near the top of the W flank of the pyroclastic cone at Nishinoshima on 17 February 2020, but thermal data indicated the area was no hotter than the surrounding area. Courtesy of JMA and Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).

Sulfur dioxide plumes from Nishinoshima have been small and infrequent in recent years, but the renewed and increased eruptive activity beginning in December 2019 produced several small SO2 plumes that were recorded in daily satellite data (figure 79).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Small sulfur dioxide plumes from Nishinoshima were captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite a few times during December 2019-February 2020 as the eruptive activity increased. The large red streak in the 3 February 2020 image is SO2 from an eruption of Kuchinoerabujima volcano (Ryukyu Islands) on the same day. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Simon Carn.

Geologic Background. The small island of Nishinoshima was enlarged when several new islands coalesced during an eruption in 1973-74. Another eruption that began offshore in 2013 completely covered the previous exposed surface and enlarged the island again. Water discoloration has been observed on several occasions since. The island is the summit of a massive submarine volcano that has prominent satellitic peaks to the S, W, and NE. The summit of the southern cone rises to within 214 m of the sea surface 9 km SSE.

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); Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency-Earth Observation Research Center (JAXA-EORC), 7-44-1 Jindaiji Higashi-machi, Chofu-shi, Tokyo 182-8522, Japan (URL: http://www.eorc.jaxa.jp/); Japan Coast Guard (JCG) Volcano Database, Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, 3-1-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8932, Japan (URL: http://www.kaiho.mlit.go.jp/info/kouhou/h29/index.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); 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/); Simon Carn, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931, USA (URL: http://www.volcarno.com/, Twitter: @simoncarn).


Krakatau (Indonesia) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Mayotte (France) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayotte

France

12.83°S, 45.17°E; summit elev. 660 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fernandina (Ecuador) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Fernandina

Ecuador

0.37°S, 91.55°W; summit elev. 1476 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fissure eruption produced lava flows during 12-13 January 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Masaya (Nicaragua) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Reventador (Ecuador) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Pacaya (Guatemala) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kikai (Japan) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kikai

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Single explosion with steam and minor ash, 2 November 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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. 3295 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

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

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

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

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



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

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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


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

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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