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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

Stromboli (Italy) Explosions, incandescent ejecta, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows during September-December 2020

Saunders (United Kingdom) Elevated crater temperatures and gas emission through May 2020; research expedition

Popocatepetl (Mexico) Daily low-intensity emissions with ash and persistent tremor during August 2020-January 2021

Pacaya (Guatemala) Explosions continue, and effusive activity increases during August-November 2020

Santa Maria (Guatemala) Frequent explosions and avalanches August 2020-January 2021; lava extrusion in September 2020

Tengger Caldera (Indonesia) Ash plumes during 26-28 December 2020 with ashfall to the NE

Lewotolok (Indonesia) New eruption in late November 2020 consisting of ash plumes, crater incandescence, and ashfall

Soufriere St. Vincent (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) New lava dome on the SW edge of the main crater in December 2020

Erta Ale (Ethiopia) Brief increase in strong thermal activity during late November-early December 2020

Bagana (Papua New Guinea) Ongoing thermal anomalies possibly indicating lava flows during May-December 2020

Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) Occasional ash and gas-and-steam plumes along with summit thermal anomalies

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Renewed activity in October 2020 with explosions, lava flows, and ash plumes



Stromboli (Italy) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions, incandescent ejecta, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows during September-December 2020

Stromboli, located in the northeastern Aeolian Islands, is composed of two active summit craters: the Northern (N) crater and the Central-South (CS) crater that are situated at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a large scarp that runs from the summit down the NW side of the volcano (figure 187). The current eruption period began in February 1934 and has been recently characterized by Strombolian explosions at both summit craters, ash plumes, and SO2 plumes (BGVN 45:09). This report covers activity consisting of dominantly Strombolian explosions, incandescent ejecta, and ash plumes from September to December 2020, with information primarily from daily and weekly reports by Italy's Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) and various satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 187. Photo of the summit craters at Stromboli showing the North and Central-South crater areas with the location of each active vent: N1 and N2 in the N crater and S1, S2, and C in the CS crater. Photo was taken from the Pizzo sopa la Fossa during an expedition on 22 August by INGV-OE personnel. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 37/2020, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 31/08/2020 - 06/09/2020, data emissione 08/09/2020).

Activity was consistent during this reporting period. Explosion rates typically ranged from 1-14 events per hour and varied in intensity that ejected material 80-250 m above the N crater and 150-250 m above the CS crater (table 10). An ash plume on 16 November rose 1 km above the crater, accompanied by a pyroclastic flow descending the Sciara del Fuoco to the NW as far as 200 m. As a result, some ash and lapilli fell in the town of Stromboli (2 km NE). Strombolian explosions were often accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions, occasional spattering that deposited material on the Sciara del Fuoco, small lava flows, and small pyroclastic flows. According to INGV, the daily SO2 emissions measured 250-300 tons/day.

Table 10. Summary of activity at Stromboli during September-December 2020. Low-intensity activity indicates ejecta rising less than 80 m, medium-intensity is ejecta rising less than 150 m, and high-intensity is ejecta rising over 200 m above the vent. Data courtesy of INGV.

Month Activity
Sep 2020 Strombolian activity and degassing continued. Explosion rates varied from 2-22 per hour in the N crater and 1-10 in the CS crater. Ejected material rose 80-200 m above the N crater and 250 m above the CS crater. The average SO2 emissions measured 250-300 tons/day.
Oct 2020 Strombolian activity and degassing continued, along with occasional spattering. Explosion rates varied from 2-13 per hour in the N crater and 1-4 per hour in the CS crater. Ejected material rose 80-250 m above the N crater and 150-250 m above the CS crater. The average SO2 emissions measured 250-300 tons/day.
Nov 2020 Strombolian activity and degassing continued. Explosion rates varied from 2-10 per hour in the N crater and 1-4 in the CS crater. Ejected material rose 80-250 m above the N crater and 150 m above the CS crater. The average SO2 emissions measured 250-300 tons/day.
Dec 2020 Strombolian activity and degassing continued, along with some spattering in the N crater. Explosion rates varied from 1-13 per hour in the N crater and 1-5 in the CS crater. Ejected material rose 80-150 m above the N crater and 150 m above the CS crater. The average SO2 emissions measured 250-300 tons/day.

During September the frequency of the Strombolian explosions in the N crater typically ranged from 2-14 per hour; in the CS crater there were 1-10 explosions per hour. N1 consisted of three points of emissions that produced low- to high-intensity explosions, launching lapilli and bombs, sometimes mixed with fine ash, 80-200 m above the N crater and were distributed radially (figure 188); N2 typically showed low-intensity explosions (less than 80 m above the crater). Medium- to high-intensity explosions ejected mostly fine material mixed with some coarse tephra 250 m above the CS crater. On 28 September the number of explosive events reached a high of 22 per hour.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 188. Webcam images of Strombolian activity at Stromboli in the N1 crater on 29 September (left) and in the CS crater on 4 October (right) 2020. Images captured by the SCV surveillance cameras. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 41/2020, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 28/09/2020 - 04/10/2020, data emissione 06/10/2020).

Explosions with occasional spatter continued in October at a rate of 2-13 per hour in the N crater and 1-4 per hour in the CS crater. In the N crater, N1 consisted of 2-4 eruptive vents that produced explosions of variable intensity while N2 contained two vents that primarily produced low-intensity explosions. Lapilli and bombs, sometimes mixed with fine ash, were ejected 80-250 m above the N crater. Fine ash sometimes mixed with coarse-to-medium tephra rose 150-250 m above the CS crater. Spatter was reported from two hornitos that formed in the N1 crater (figure 189). On 11 October sporadic ash emissions and coarse ejecta were observed above the S2 crater, episodic ash emissions rose above the S1 crater, and occasional degassing with modest spattering were visible in the C crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 189. Drone images showing gas-and-steam emissions and Strombolian activity at Stromboli during 8-9 October 2020. The white annotations label the craters and the red show the active hornitos (H). The N2H2 label shows a small explosion (right). Images from the HPHT Lab from INGV-Roma 1. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 42/2020, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 05/10/2020 - 11/10/2020, data emissione 13/10/2020).

Strombolian explosions persisted into November. The N1 crater consisted of 2-3 vents, producing explosions of variable intensity; the N2 crater also consisted of 2-3 active vents that produced low- to medium-intensity explosions. The frequency of explosions ranged from 2-10 per hour in the N crater and 1-4 per hour in the CS crater. Lapilli and bombs, sometimes mixed with fine ash, rose 80-250 m above the N crater and fine material was ejected 150 m above the CS crater. On 10 November an explosion was detected at 2104 in the S2 crater of the CS area, producing pyroclastic material that was distributed radially along the Sciara del Fuoco, followed by an ash plume (figure 190). Within 30 seconds, another pulse of activity from the C crater in the northern part of the CS area produced intense lava fountaining that ejected coarse incandescent material 300 m above the crater, lasting about two minutes. At 2106 a small explosion was detected in the N2 crater, ending the explosive sequence.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 190. Thermal (rows 1 and 3) and webcam (rows 2 and 4) images showing the evolution of the explosion at Stromboli on the evening of 10 November 2020 accompanied by an ash plume and incandescent ejecta. Images captured by the SCT and SQV surveillance cameras. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 47/2020, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 09/11/2020 - 15/11/2020, data emissione 17/11/2020).

During an overflight by the 2nd Air Unit of the Coast Guard of Catania on 11 November, scientists identified degassing in the entire summit crater area; a small lava flow was observed in the S1 crater, originating from an intra-crater vent. Additional thermal anomalies were noted at the bottom of the C, N1, and N2 craters. Strong fumaroles were visible originating from a hornito located outside the S1 crater on the Sciara del Fuoco. A second hornito was visible on the slope of the Sciara del Fuoco near the N2 crater. On 16 November a major explosion was detected at 1017 in the N crater area and on the edge of the N2 crater. Thermal and visible images captured the resulting dense, gray ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater and the accompanying pyroclastic flow that descended the Sciara del Fuoco as far as 200 m (figure 191). Some ash and lapilli fell over the town of Stromboli, about 2 km away on the NE coast of the island. A sequence of explosive events at 0133 on 21 November was detected in three different craters: the first two events occurred in the N1 and N2 craters, and the third occurred in the C crater. Coarse material was ejected 300 m above the crater and was distributed radially, affecting the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco. A small ash plume was also visible.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 191. Thermal (top row) and webcam (bottom row) images showing the evolution of the explosion at Stromboli on the morning of 16 November 2020 accompanied by a significant gray ash plume. Images captured by the SCT and SCV surveillance cameras. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 48/2020, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 16/11/2020 - 22/11/2020, data emissione 24/11/2020).

During December, similar Strombolian explosions were reported. There were two eruptive vents in the N1 crater and 2-4 in the N2 crater that produced explosions of low intensity and low-to-medium intensity, respectively. The frequency of explosions ranged from 1-13 per hour in the N crater and 1-5 per hour in the CS crater. Fine ash mixed with some coarse material (lapilli and bombs) was ejected 80-150 m above the N crater and mostly fine material rose 150 m above the CS crater. Some spattering activity was reported in the N2 crater, which contributed to the formation of hornitos that produced incandescent material. On 6 December an explosive sequence of events was detected in the CS crater area at 0612. An explosion ejected material 300 m above the crater that were distributed radially, depositing on the upper Sciara del Fuoco. In addition, two small lava flows formed (figure 192). A second explosion was recorded at 0613, characterized by lava fountaining in the CS crater that reached a height of 200 m. Similar activity in the N and CS craters were also captured by webcam images on 21 and 27 December, which showed lava fountaining, accompanied by a small pyroclastic flow (figure 193).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 192. Thermal images of the explosion at Stromboli in the CS crater on 6 December 2020, accompanied by incandescent ejecta and two small lava flows. Some lava fountaining was visible in the bottom center image at 0513:47. Images captured by the SCT surveillance camera. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 50/2020, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 30/11/2020 - 06/12/2020, data emissione 08/12/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 193. Webcam (top row) and thermal (bottom row) images of Strombolian activity in the N (left column) and CS (right column) crater areas at Stromboli on 21 December (top right) and 27 December (top left and bottom row) 2020. This activity included a small pyroclastic flow and lava fountaining. Images captured by the SCV and SCT surveillance cameras. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. No. 53/2020, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 21/12/2020 - 27/12/2020, data emissione 29/12/2020).

Intermittent and low-power thermal activity was detected during September through December, according to the MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph using MODIS infrared satellite information (figure 194). Though there were no detected MODVOLC thermal alerts during this reporting period, many thermal hotspots were visible in one or both summit craters on clear weather days using Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery, which is due to Strombolian activity (figure 195).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 194. Intermittent, low thermal activity at Stromboli was recorded by the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power) during September through December 2020. The frequency of the thermal anomalies had decreased compared to the previous months of May through August; a total of eleven thermal anomalies were detected during this reporting period. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 195. Weak thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) at Stromboli were visible in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery from typically both summit craters during September through December 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Saunders (United Kingdom) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Saunders

United Kingdom

57.8°S, 26.483°W; summit elev. 843 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Elevated crater temperatures and gas emission through May 2020; research expedition

The glaciated Saunders Island is located in the remote South Sandwich Volcanic Arc in the South Atlantic between Candlemas (to the north) and Montagu (to the south) islands. The main volcanic features are Mount Michael, lava flows on the northern Blackstone Plain, and the Ashen hills complex near the eastern Nattriss Point (figure 31). The Ashen Hills complex is a group of overlapping craters formed through phreatomagmatic activity, with the largest crater opening towards the NW (figure 32). Gas emissions have been remotely observed from the ice-filled Old crater to the SE, with reports of gas plumes extending back to 1820 (LeMasurier et al., 1990; Patrick and Smellie, 2013; Liu et al., 2021). The current eruption period, centered at the 500-m-diameter Mount Michael summit crater, has been ongoing since at least 12 November 2014, based on remote sensing analysis (Gray et al., 2019). Activity consists of a lava lake, persistent degassing, and intermittent explosions producing ash plumes (Patrick and Smellie 2013; Gray et al. 2019). Visits are infrequent due to the remote location, and cloud and plume cover often prevents satellite observations. This report summarizes activity during June 2019 through May 2020 primarily using satellite data, as well as observations from visiting scientists.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. This 24 December 2019 satellite image (PlanetScope 3-Band scene) of Saunders Island shows the locations of the active Mount Michael summit crater and other features on the island. Courtesy of Planet Labs.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Images of the southeastern area of Saunders Island taken in January 2020. The top left image shows Nattriss Point with Ashen Hills in the background. The other photos show the crater and flanks of the Ashen Hills complex with rill and gully features from fluvial erosion. White and black speckled features in the images are penguins. Photos courtesy of Emma Liu and the 2020 Pelagic Australis expedition group.

Activity during June-December 2019. Ashfall deposits on the flanks were sometimes visible on the snow and ice (figure 33). MIROVA thermal anomaly data during June 2019 through June 2020 showed few days where high temperatures were detected by this sensor, but the active summit crater floor is often obscured by cloud cover or condensed gas-and-steam plumes. The TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) detected frequent sulfur dioxide (SO2) plumes of varying concentrations that are dispersed in different directions by wind (figure 34). Small condensed gas-and-steam plumes are often visible in satellite imagery within the crater, and some larger plumes are also imaged (figure 35). All satellite images where the summit crater was not obscured by either cloud cover or gas-and-steam plumes showed elevated temperatures within the summit crater, with three distinct areas visible possibly indicating multiple active vents (figure 36).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. This satellite image of Saunders Island acquired on 15 September 2019 shows the snow and ice-covered island and a recent ashfall deposit on the NE flank towards Cordelia Bay, with a green sediment plume in the water. Sentinel-2 image with Natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering. Courtesy of Planet Labs.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. These images show data acquired by the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) that demonstrate detected SO2 (sulfur dioxide) from Mount Michael on Saunders Island on 2, 3, 25, and 29 September 2019. These are examples of gas plumes through the month with wind dispersing the plumes in different directions. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. This 10 October 2019 satellite image shows Saunders Island and the surrounding area with light cloud cover, and a condensed gas-and-steam plume from the summit crater drifting towards the E to SE. Sentinel-2 image with Natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering. Courtesy of Planet Labs.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. These two Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Saunders Island acquired on 2 and 24 December 2019 show three distinct areas of elevated temperature within the Mount Michael summit crater (yellow to red). While the locations of the thermal anomalies look different in these images, the angle of the view into the crater is not specified. Blue is Ice, black is ocean water. Sentinel-2 image with False color (Urban) (bands 12, 11, 4) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during January-May 2020. During January through May 2020 various remote sensing data showed the same activity as the previous seven months, with abundant cloud cover over the island. The Sentinel-2 satellite imaged a vertical plume on 13 March rising then being dispersed NE (figure 37). Intermittent observations of SO2 plumes continued through TROPOMI data analysis (figure 38). A clear view of the summit area on 29 May showed the ice-free active summit crater producing a weak gas-and-steam plume, and ash deposition on the NE to SE upper flanks (figure 39).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. This Sentinel-2 satellite image of the Mount Michael summit area on Saunders Island with a gas-and-steam plume rising from the summit crater above the cloud cover, and dispersing NE. The plume and clouds are casting dark shadows below them. Sentinel-2 image with False color (Urban) (bands 12, 11, 4) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Examples of SO2 gas plumes originating from Saunders detected by the TROPOMI instrument on 14 and 18 March 2020. The plumes are dispersing N to NNE. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. This 29 May 2020 Planet Scope satellite image shows the summit area of Mount Michael above cloud cover with the active summit crater and the old crater to the SE. There is a weak gas plume rising from the crater and ashfall on the upper E flank. Courtesy of Planet Labs.

Research expedition in January 2020. The team of the 2020 Pelagic Australis expedition visited the island on 5-8 January 2020, with shore landings on the last three days, to quantify gas emissions from the island. The following information is from the published expedition results (Liu et al., 2021), with photos supplied by volcanologist Emma Liu.

Across the South Sandwich islands they used a combination of a ground-based and drone-mounted gas detectors (Multi-GAS), a UV imaging camera, sample collection, and NDIR spectrometer analyses to quantify gas output. They confirmed that the summit crater is a persistent source of gas emissions with 145 ± 59 tons per day of SO2 and a CO2 flux of 179 ± 76 tons per day. On the 5th they observed a vertical plume and on the 7th they observed the plume drifting down the E flank before rising (figure 40). They noted that the surface was steaming and was warm to the touch, suggesting widespread geothermal activity. The non-glaciated surfaces of the island contain tephra deposits, with units exposed by erosion and preserved within snow and ice (figure 41). Explosions have emplaced tephra layers across the island as well as ballistic blocks and bombs on the E flank (figure 42; Liu et al., 2021).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. These images show the gas emissions from Mount Michael on Saunders Island in January 2020. The top right image is a vertical gas plume rising from the summit crater on the evening of the 5th. The two photos on the right are looking towards the E on the 7th. The bottom left image is a low-lying condensed gas plume on the 8th travelling down the E flank before rising. Courtesy of Emma Liu, and Liu et al. (2021).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Tephra layers are preserved within the stratigraphy of snow and ice on Saunders Island. Scale shown by penguins (top) and volcanologist Kieran Wood (right). Photos courtesy of Emma Liu.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Dense volcanic blocks up to a meter in size are widespread on Saunders Island. The block in the foreground has a height of approximately 35 cm; the Chinstrap penguin in the foreground is around 50 cm tall. Courtesy of Emma Liu and Liu et al. (2021).

References: Liu E J, Wood K, Aiuppa A, Giudice G, Bitetto M, Fischer T P, McCormick Kilbride B T, Plank T, Hart T, 2021. Volcanic activity and gas emissions along the South Sandwich Arc. Bull Volcanol 83. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00445-020-01415-2

LeMasurier W E, Thomson J W, Baker P E, Kyle P R, Rowley P D, Smellie J L, Verwoerd W J, 1990. Volcanoes of the Antarctic Plate and Southern Ocean. American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C.

Lachlan-Cope T, Smellie J L, Ladkin R, 2001. Discovery of a recurrent lava lake on Saunders Island (South Sandwich Islands) using AVHRR imagery. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 112: 105-116.

Gray D M, Burton-Johnson A, Fretwell P T, 2019. Evidence for a lava lake on Mt. Michael volcano, Saunders Island (South Sandwich Islands) from Landsat, Sentinel-2 and ASTER satellite imagery. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 379:60-71. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.volgeores.2019.05.002

Derrien A, Richter N, Meschede M, Walter T, 2019. Optical DSLR camera- and UAV footage of the remote Mount Michael Volcano, Saunders Island (South Sandwich Islands), acquired in May 2019. GFZ Data Services. http://doi.org/10.5880/GFZ.2.1.2019.003

Patrick M R, Smellie J L, 2013. Synthesis A spaceborne inventory of volcanic activity in Antarctica and southern oceans, 2000–10. Antarct Sci 25:475–500. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954102013000436

Geologic Background. Saunders Island is a volcanic structure consisting of a large central edifice intersected by two seamount chains, as shown by bathymetric mapping (Leat et al., 2013). The young constructional Mount Michael stratovolcano dominates the glacier-covered island, while two submarine plateaus, Harpers Bank and Saunders Bank, extend north. The symmetrical Michael has a 500-m-wide summit crater and a remnant of a somma rim to the SE. Tephra layers visible in ice cliffs surrounding the island are evidence of recent eruptions. Ash clouds were reported from the summit crater in 1819, and an effusive eruption was inferred to have occurred from a N-flank fissure around the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. A low ice-free lava platform, Blackstone Plain, is located on the north coast, surrounding a group of former sea stacks. A cluster of parasitic cones on the SE flank, the Ashen Hills, appear to have been modified since 1820 (LeMasurier and Thomson, 1990). Analysis of satellite imagery available since 1989 (Gray et al., 2019; MODVOLC) suggests frequent eruptive activity (when weatehr conditions allow), volcanic clouds, steam plumes, and thermal anomalies indicative of a persistent, or at least frequently active, lava lake in the summit crater. Due to this observational bias, there has been a presumption when defining eruptive periods that activity has been ongoing unless there is no evidence for at least 10 months.

Information Contacts: Emma Liu, University College London, Kathleen Lonsdale Building, 5 Gower Place, London, WC1E 6BS, United Kingdom; Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily low-intensity emissions with ash and persistent tremor during August 2020-January 2021

Volcán Popocatépetl is an active stratovolcano near Mexico City that has had frequent historical eruptions dating back to the 14th century. The current eruption has been ongoing since January 2005 and has more recently consisted of lava dome growth and destruction, frequent explosions, and emissions of ash plumes and incandescent ejecta. Activity through July 2020 was characterized by hundreds of daily low-intensity emissions that included gas-and-steam and small amounts of ash, and multiple daily minor and moderate explosions that sent ash plumes more than 1 km above the crater (BGVN 45:08). This report covers somewhat decreased activity from August 2020 through January 2021 using information from México's Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Popocatépetl had ongoing water vapor, gas, and ash emissions throughout August 2020-January 2021, but far fewer minor and moderate explosions than during the period of the previous report. Ash emissions generally rose to 5.8-7.1 km altitude and drifted in many different directions. Ashfall was reported in multiple communities during August, October, and numerous times in January 2021. Thermal anomalies were recorded in satellite images inside the summit crater a few times each month. The MIROVA thermal anomaly data indicated persistent, low levels of activity throughout the reporting period (figure 162). CENAPRED reported the number of low-intensity emissions or ‘exhalations’ and the number of minutes of tremor in their daily reports (figure 163). Tremor activity was very high at the beginning of August, and then again during January 2021. The daily number of exhalations was highest during late October and November 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 162. MIROVA thermal anomaly data for Popocatépetl for the year ending on 3 February 2021 showed persistent low levels of activity from August 2020 through January 2021, the period covered in this report. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 163. CENAPRED reported the number of exhalations (low-intensity emissions) and the number of minutes of tremor at Popocatépetl in their daily reports. Tremor activity was very high at the beginning of August, and then again during January 2021 (yellow columns). The daily number of exhalations was highest during late October and November 2020 (blue columns). Data courtesy of CENAPRED daily monitoring reports.

During August 2020 daily water vapor and gas emissions often contained small quantities of ash. In addition, low-intensity emissions or exhalations with larger quantities of ash occurred tens of times per day. The daily number of minutes of tremor was over 1,000 at the beginning of the month but dropped back to lower levels of a few tens or hundreds of minutes later in the month. Slight amounts of ashfall were reported in Amecameca and Ozumba in the State of Mexico on 1 August. On 2 August the 1159 minutes of tremor were sometimes accompanied by incandescent ejecta that fell into and a short distance from the summit crater. The Washington VAAC observed an ash emission drifting NE at 6.1 km altitude on 2 August that later rose to 7.6 km altitude. It fanned out from the summit to the N and E for about 15 km. Similar observations were made virtually every day of the month; ash or gas-and-ash emissions generally rose to 5.8-7.6 km altitude and drifted a few tens of kilometers in different directions before dissipating. Constant gas emissions and incandescence were reported at night during 10-23 August; an ash emission that rose to 600 m above the crater rim and drifted W on 14 August was captured in the webcam (figure 164). The largest SO2 emissions during the period were captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite during 2-5 August (figure 165).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 164. An ash emission at Popocatépetl rose to 600 m above the crater rim and drifted W on 14 August 2020. Dense steam emissions also drifted just above the summit. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 14 de Agosto).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 165. The largest SO2 emissions at Popocatépetl during the period were captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite during 2-5 August 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Gas and occasional weak ash emissions accompanied the tens of daily low-intensity emissions during September 2020; thermal activity was very low with weak anomalies inside the summit present in satellite images on 3, 8, and 13 September. Ash emissions were visible from a webcam on 18 September and in satellite imagery on 23 September (figure 166). Weak incandescence above the crater was only reported by CENAPRED during 26 and 27 September. The Washington VAAC reported intermittent ash emissions throughout the month that commonly rose to 6-7 km altitude and drifted over 50 km downwind before dissipating.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 166. Ash emissions were visible from a webcam at Popocatépetl on 18 September (left) and in satellite imagery on 23 September 2020 (right). Right image is from Sentinel-2 with natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Left image courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 18 de septiembre). Right image courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Water-vapor and gas emissions with small quantities of ash similar to those seen in September were also typical activity during October 2020. Tens or a few hundred daily low-intensity emissions often produced ash plumes visible in the webcams (figure 167). Ashfall was reported in Tetela del Volcano (20 km SW), in the state of Morelos, and in Amecameca (20 km NW), Atlautla (17 km W), Ayapango (22 km NW) and Ecatzingo (15 km SW), in the State of Mexico on 7 October; a small amount of ashfall was also reported in Amecameca on 13 October. The Washington VAAC issued multiple daily ash advisories throughout the month; many ash plumes were visible in satellite imagery. Incandescence appeared over the summit crater at night during 10-16 October, and was noted in satellite imagery on 3, 8, 18, 23, and 28 October. Incandescence and ash emissions were both captured in satellite imagery on 8 and 18 October (figure 168). Personnel from the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED) conducted an overflight on 16 October and verified that the inner crater at the summit was covered in tephra and about 360-390 m in diameter and 120-170 m deep (figure 169).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 167. Ash plumes and steam rose hundreds of meters above Popocatépetl on 5 (left) and 10 (right) October 2020. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 5 de octubre y 10 de octubre de 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 168. Thermal anomalies at the summit of Popocatépetl and ash plumes drifting SW were both present in satellite imagery on 8 (left) and 18 (right) October 2020. Images are using Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 169. Personnel from the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED) conducted an overflight of Popocatépetl on 16 October 2020 and verified that the inner crater at the summit was covered in tephra, about 360-390 m in diameter, and 120-170 m deep. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Sobrevuelo al volcán Popocatépetl, 16 de octubre de 2020).

Activity during November 2020 consisted primarily of weak emissions of steam and gas with occasional small quantities of ash that rose a short distance above the summit crater (figure 170). The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions on 19 days during the month, most rising to 5.8-6.7 km altitude and drifting for a few tens of kilometers before dissipating. CENAPRED reported a few hundred low-intensity emissions daily, but only a few tens of minutes of tremor each day, significantly lower than previous months. Satellite imagery showed weak thermal anomalies inside the summit crater on 2, 7, 12, 22, and 27 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 170. Activity during November 2020 at Popocatépetl consisted primarily of weak emissions of steam and gas with occasional small quantities of ash that rose a short distance above the summit crater such as this one on 2 November. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 02 de noviembre).

Emissions of steam and gas with occasional low quantities of ash continued during December 2020. Six explosions on 5 December produced small ash plumes that rose 500-1,000 m above the crater. The next day two explosions produced plumes that rose less than 1,500 m above the crater and drifted NE. Incandescent ejecta was captured in the webcam on 14 December (figure 171). The Washington VAAC issued multiple aviation alerts nearly every day of the month; ash plumes generally rose to 6-7 km altitude and drifted 30-50 km before dissipating. Activity increased during the second half of the month (figure 172). Visible ejecta was seen in webcams during low-energy emissions on 24 December, accompanied by an ash plume that rose 1,000 m above the crater. The next day an ash emission rose 300 m. Ejecta was noted on the SE flank after an explosion on 27 December, and ash plumes rose to 500-1,400 m above the crater each day through the end of December and into January 2021. Thermal anomalies appeared in satellite data inside the summit crater on 2, 17, 22, and 27 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 171. Explosions at Popocatépetl produced dense ash emissions and incandescent ejecta. On 6 December the ash plume rose to 1,500 m above the crater and drifted NE (left). On 14 December 2020 incandescent ejecta rose a few hundred meters above the summit crater (right). Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl, 7 de diciembre y 15 de Diciembre de 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 172. Ash emissions occurred daily at Popocatépetl during December 2020. On 20 December the dense plume rose about one kilometer above the summit (left). On 31 December a thermal inversion was the likely reason that the ash from the summit flowed down the flank towards the webcam (right). Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl, 20 de diciembre y 31 de Diciembre de 2020).

Daily ash emissions were reported by the Washington VAAC during January 2021, rising to 5.8-7.0 km altitude and drifting tens or hundreds of kilometers before dissipating (figure 173). Ash plumes rose 500-600 m above the crater on 1 and 2 January; at least one explosion each of those days produced incandescent ejecta in and around the crater. The Washington VAAC reported the ash plume from 1 January as visible in the webcam and satellite imagery over 200 km NE from the summit before dissipating, and one on 6 January visible about 100 km E of the volcano (figure 174). Ashfall was reported each day during 4-6 January in Puebla to the NW. On 8 January ashfall occurred in Atlixco (23 km SE), San Andrés Cholula (35 km E), San Nicolás de los Ranchos (15 km ENE) and Domingo Arenas (22 km NE), all in the state of Puebla. The following day ashfall was reported in San Salvador el Verde (30 km NNE) and San Nicolás de los Ranchos. Multiple explosions with ash plumes rising 500-700 m were reported on 14 and 15 January followed the next day by ashfall in San Nicolás de los Ranchos. Trace amounts of ash were reported in Tetela del Volcán (18 km SW) in the State of Morelos on 22 January. An explosion on 26 January ejected ash 700 m high and sent incandescent fragments a short distance from the crater rim. Ashfall on 28 January was reported in Ixtlacuixtla de Mariano, Nativitas and part of the center of Tlaxcala (50 km NE). The circular inner crater rim at the summit was sharply defined in a satellite image taken on 31 January 2021; a thermal anomaly was also present inside the crater (figure 175).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 173. Ash plumes were reported daily at Popocatépetl during January 2021, including on 19 (left) and 21 (right) January, some rising over a kilometer above summit and drifting for tens of kilometers before dissipating. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl, 20 y 21 de Enero de 2021).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 174. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume at Popocatépetl from 1 January 2020 as visible over 200 km NE from the summit before dissipating (left), and one on 6 January as visible about 100 km E of the volcano (right). Sentinel-2 satellite images are with Natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) and Atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8a) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 175. A thermal anomaly inside the summit crater of Popocatépetl seen in this Sentinel-2 image was surrounded by a distinct gray circle that was the rim of the inner crater on a clear 31 January 2021. Image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México D.F. 04360, México (URL: http://www.cenapred.unam.mx/, Daily Report Archive https://www.gob.mx/cenapred/archivo/articulos); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA 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/).


Pacaya (Guatemala) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions continue, and effusive activity increases during August-November 2020

Extensive lava flows, bomb-laden Strombolian explosions, and ash plumes emerging from Mackenney crater have characterized the persistent activity at Pacaya since 1961. The latest eruptive episode began with intermittent ash plumes and incandescence in June 2015; the growth of a new pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater was confirmed later that year. The pyroclastic cone has continued to grow, producing Strombolian explosions rising above the crater rim and frequent loud explosions. In addition, fissures on the flanks of the summit crater have produced an increasing number of lava flows traveling distances of over one kilometer down multiple flanks during 2019 and 2020 (figure 129). Increasing explosive and effusive activity during August-November 2020 is covered in this report with information provided by Guatemala's Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), multiple sources of satellite data, and numerous photographs from observers on the ground.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 129. Lava flows traveled down the flank of Pacaya during July 2019 while ash emissions and incandescent ejecta marked the summit of Fuego located 30 km NW. The large edifice on the right is Agua, and the one between it and Fuego is Acatenango, which last erupted in the early 20th century. Photo courtesy David Rojas, used with permission.

After a brief pause in effusive activity at the end of July 2020, two lava flows appeared on the NW flank on 12 August. Another flow began on the NE flank ten days later, and multiple flows were active for the remainder of the month, some reaching 650 m long. Multiple lava flows issued from fissures on the N flank and elsewhere throughout September. A flow on the NE flank was reported as 1,200 m long and was visible from Guatemala City on 8 September. A new flow on the S flank was very active later in the month. Flows were persistent on most of the flanks throughout October; a flow appeared from a fissure on the W flank on 20 October and reached 1 km in length by 24 October. Block avalanches spalled off the front of the flows and generated small ash plumes. Multi-branched flows on the W and SW flanks from the W flank fissure remained active throughout November. The slowdown in effusive activity in late July and early August 2020 is apparent in the MIROVA thermal anomaly data, as is the significant increase in activity during September that persisted into November 2020 (figure 130).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 130. Thermal activity at Pacaya decreased in late July and early August 2020 but then increased significantly in early September and remained high through November 2020; numerous lava flows were reported during the periods of increased thermal activity. Thermal data is shown from 3 February through November 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The break in the lava flow activity that began on 25 July 2020 (BGVN 45:08) lasted until 12 August. During that time, steam plumes were reported rising 25-75 m above the summit and drifting generally S or SW as far as 6 km before dissipating. Strombolian explosions rose 25-150 m above the rim of Mackenney crater and ejecta reached 50 m from the rim; noises as loud as a train engine were heard in nearby communities. Incandescence was observed nearly constantly along with persistent seismic tremor activity. On 12 August two lava flows emerged on the NW flank, each reaching about 150 m long. Incandescence from the flows was visible each day through 21 August on the NW flank in the area just above Cerro Chino (figure 131). The active flows were 100-200 m long during this period. A new lava flow appeared on the NE flank and grew to 300 m in length on 22 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 131. A thermal anomaly from a lava flow on the NNW flank of Pacaya was present in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 17 August 2020 in addition to a thermal anomaly at the center of the pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater. Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Multiple lava flows were active on the NW, N, and NE flanks for the rest of the August. Incandescence on 24 August from the NW-flank flow near Cerro Chino indicated it was 250-300 m long. During 27 and 28 August flows were reported on the N and NNE flanks, 600 and 300 m long, respectively (figure 132). Incandescent pulses were reported from the crater overnight on 28-29 August; the NW flank flow remained active and was 300 m long. MODVOLC reported three thermal alerts on 29 August. The next day, 30 August, incandescence from the 650-m-long N flank flow and 300-m-long NE flank flow continued. Constant crater incandescence accompanied dense gray ash emissions on 31 August; the lava flow on the N flank remained incandescent for 350-400 m, but there was no incandescence or degassing from the NE-flank flow on the last day of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 132. A 600-m-long lava flow was visible on the N flank of Pacaya as seen from Villa Nueva, part of Guatemala City, late on 27 August 2020. Courtesy of Sh!ft.

White and blue steam and gas plumes were present daily throughout September 2020. They drifted in multiple directions as far as 8 km from the summit before dissipating. Strombolian activity was constant, building up the pyroclastic cone inside of Mackenney crater and sending ejecta as far as 50 m from the rim. Ejecta rose 50-150 m on most days; it was reported at 200 m high on 3, 9, and 14 September and was heard loudly and rattled windows nearby on 17 and 27 September. Constant crater incandescence with prolonged degassing of dense gray ash plumes was reported on 5, 10, 15, 17, and 21 September.

Multiple lava flows issued from fissures on the N flank and elsewhere throughout the month. Two lava flows on 1 September on the N flank were 50 and 350 m long. The next day three flows on the same flank were 300, 350, and 650 m long. On 3 September a new flow appeared on the E flank and extended 600 m from its source in addition to two flows on the N flank. For the next several days multiple flows were active on the N and NE flanks, reaching 450 m on the NE flank on 7 September. The next day the flow on the NE flank reached 1,200 m in length and was visible from Guatemala City. Activity continued with multiple flows 150-300 m long through 12 September (figure 133).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 133. Lava flows at Pacaya were active on multiple flanks on 11 September 2020, including one that reached over a kilometer in length on the NE flank. Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

On 13 September 2020 the flows on the N and NE flanks reached 600 and 300 m long, while a third flow reached 150 m down the S flank. The flow on the S flank was the most active during 14-23 September, extending 550 m from its source and producing numerous block avalanches from the flow front (figure 134). During the last week of the month the focus of the flow activity returned to the NE, N, and NW flanks where multiple flows were reported, some up to 550 m long, along with constant Strombolian activity (figures 135). Increased thermal activity resulted in MODVOLC thermal alerts reported on seven days during the second half of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 134. A large lava flow on the S flank of Pacaya during 14-23 September 2020 produced block avalanches from the flow front. It was seen here in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 21 September 2020 using atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 135. Strombolian explosions sent ejecta 40-70 m above the crater at Pacaya on 26 September 2020. In addition, a lava flow 200 m long descended the N flank. Courtesy of CONRED.

Gas and steam plumes persisted throughout October 2020. They generally rose a few hundred meters above the summit and usually drifted S or W up to 10 km. Strombolian explosions continued daily, reported at 75-150 m high for most of the month. In a special report on 8 October INSIVUMEH noted increased Strombolian activity that sent bombs and fine ash 200-300 m above the crater, with ash emissions drifting 12 km W. During the last week of the month the ejecta reached 250 m high on several days. Loud noises and shock waves were periodically reported; vibrations were felt in San Francisco de Sales on 23 October and in areas to the S of Guatemala City on 27 October. INSIVUMEH reported ash emissions that drifted 8-10 km S and W from the summit on 23 October. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions seen in satellite imagery drifting 15 km NE at 3.7 km altitude on 28 October. Weak sulfur dioxide emissions were recorded by the TROPOMI instrument on 6, 20, and 26 October (figure 136).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 136. Weak SO2 emissions from Pacaya were recorded by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite on 6, 20, and 26 October 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Numerous lava flows were active throughout the month of October 2020 on multiple flanks (figure 137). During 1-4 October INSIVUMEH reported one or two flows active on the N and NE flanks that were 100-500 m long (figure 138). On 4 October there was a 200-m-long flow on the S flank, and another flow on the W flank. The S-flank flow grew to 250 m long by 8 October, had block avalanches spalling off the front, and fine ash that was stirred up by the wind. The next day three flows were active; they were 400 m long on the NE flank, 300 m on the N flank, and 200 m on the W flank. The N-flank flow was the most active during 11-15 October, reaching 650 m long. The W-flank flow was very active from 20 October through the end of the month, issuing from a fissure at mid-flank. It reached 1 km in length by 24 October and burned vegetation at the flow front (figures 139). A flow on the NE flank was 350 m long on 26 October (figure 140). MODVOLC issued thermal alerts on 7 days of the month, including seven alerts on 5 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 137. Numerous lava flows were active throughout the month of October 2020 on multiple flanks of Pacaya. On 1 October the flows were concentrated on the N flank (left), and on 31 October a long flow was active on the W flank in addition to strong thermal activity at the summit crater (right). Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, and 8a) of Sentinel-2 satellite data. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 138. A lava flow 125 m long on the N flank of Pacaya was active on 1 October 2020. Courtesy of CONRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 139. A flow on the W flank of Pacaya was over 1 km long by 24 October 2020 when it was burning vegetation as it traveled downslope. Courtesy of Noti7.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 140. An active flow on the SW flank of Pacaya issuing from a fissure on the W flank was over 1 km long on 26 October 2020 and had multiple branches flowing down the slope. Numerous people were camped on the slope below the flow. Photo by Mariana Lemus.

Although the weather was cloudy for much of November 2020, white steam and blue gas plumes were visible drifting S or W from the summit on many days, some reaching 10 km from the volcano before dissipating. Sporadic Strombolian explosions rose 100-200 m above the pyroclastic cone inside Mackenney crater; the explosions were often accompanied by small ash plumes that rose a few hundred meters and drifted downwind 8-10 km before dissipating. A small SO2 plume was recorded in the TROPOMI satellite data on 8 November, the same day that INSIVUMEH and the Washington VAAC reported an ash emission drifting NE at 3.4 km altitude over the village of Los Llanos and others in the area (figure 141). An increase in activity reported by INSIVUMEH on 15 November consisted of Strombolian explosions sending material up to 300 m above the summit and ejecting bombs up to 100 m outside the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 141. Ash and steam emissions were observed at Pacaya on 8 November 2020. Courtesy of CONRED.

Lava flows were still very active on the SW flank throughout November, emerging from a fissure a few hundred meters down from the summit that initially opened on 20 October. The main flow was 600 m long on 1 November and grew to 1,200 m long by 11 November (figure 142). On 5 November there were four separate branches of the SW-flank flow that were active. Block avalanches were common at the flow front. On 14 November a second flow was observed emerging from a fissure higher up on the SW flank from the earlier flow; they both were active for several days. INSIVUMEH issued a special report indicating increased effusion on 15 November from the SW-flank fissure. Block avalanches were occurring from the front of the 1-km-long flow, which had several branches. The blocks were 1-3 m in diameter and created small plumes of ash when moving as far as 500 m down the slope. An explosion during the night of 14-15 November at the SW-flank fissure created incandescent ejecta and ash emissions for several hours (figure 143). The flow remained active throughout the rest of November; on 26 November two flows were active from the main fissure, 500 and 400 m long (figure 144). On 30 November the main flow on the SW flank had three branches and extended 600 m from the mid-flank fissure.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 142. A fissure on the W flank of Pacaya that opened on 20 October 2020 sent multiple flows down the W and SW flanks during November. The flow extended more than a kilometer on 10 November (left). It had moved in a SW direction by 20 November (center) and had three major branches active on 25 November (right). Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, and 8a) of Sentinel-2 satellite data. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 143. An explosion at the fissure on the W flank of Pacaya during the night of 14-15 November 2020 produced incandescent ejecta almost as bright as that coming from the Strombolian activity inside the summit crater. For several hours dense ash emissions were visible at the fissure vent (inset). Large copyrighted photo courtesy of David Rojas, used with permission; inset courtesy of Prensa Objetiva.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 144. Two flows with multiple branches were active on the W and SW flanks of Pacaya on 26 November 2020. Both copyrighted photos courtesy of David Rojas, used with permission.

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/ ); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://conred.gob.gt/www/index.php) (URL: https://twitter.com/ConredGuatemala/status/1310057080162844673, https://conred.gob.gt/monitoreo-a-flujo-de-lava-en-el-volcan-pacaya/) ; NASA 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/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); David Rojas, Guatemala (URL: https://www.instagram.com/davidrojasgtfoto/, https://twitter.com/DavidRojasGt/); Mariana Lemus, Guatemala (URL: https://www.instagram.com/marianalemusgt/); Noti7 (URL: https://twitter.com/Noti7Guatemala/status/1320169410833883136); Sh!ft (URL: https://twitter.com/kevingt_/status/1299204020662304768); Prensa Objetiva (URL: https://twitter.com/noticiasprensa/status/1328102695832612865).


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent explosions and avalanches August 2020-January 2021; lava extrusion in September 2020

Santa Maria is one of the most active volcanoes in Guatemala. Major features are the Santa Maria edifice with the large crater that formed in the 1902 eruption, and the Santiaguito dome complex about 2.5 km down the SW flank that includes the currently active Caliente dome (figure 113). Activity typically includes ash plumes, gas emissions, lava extrusion, and avalanches. This report summarizes activity during August 2020 through January 2021 and is based on reports by Instituto Nacional de Sismología, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrología (INSIVUMEH), Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), and satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 113. Main features of the Santa Maria complex are shown in this March 2021 Planet Labs satellite image monthly mosaic. The large scarp is the wall of the crater produced during the 1902 eruption. Within that the El Brujo, El Monje, La Mitad domes, and the currently active Caliente dome, are from W to E. Courtesy of Planet Labs.

Throughout August weak to moderate explosions were reported most days, some days occurring 2-4 times per hour. These produced ash plumes to an altitude of 3.5 km, typically reaching 3.4 km. The plumes were dispersed mostly W and SW, sometimes S, SE, and NW. Degassing was reported throughout the month, with plumes reaching 3.5 km, but most often 3-3.1 km altitude. On the 3rd, ashfall was reported in San Marcos Palajuno (8 km SW), Loma Linda (6 km WSW) and others in that direction, and again on the 29th. It was also reported in Monte Claro (S of the summit) on the 12th and light ashfall occurred on the flanks through the month. Explosions on the 23rd produced weak pyroclastic flows that traveled down the SW flank of the dome. The activity produced frequent avalanches on the S, SW, and SE flanks of the dome, some reaching the base of the dome and some depositing fine ash onto the flanks. The sound of explosions and degassing were reported most days and incandescence was frequently seen at the crater at night.

This activity continued through September, maintaining the same eruptive pattern of weak and moderate explosions, gas emission, lava extrusion, and avalanches. Incandescence continued to be visible at the crater. There was ashfall reported in Monte Claro, Aldea San Marcos Palajunoj and other surrounding communities on the 7th, Monte Claro on the 11th, and across the Palajunoj area on the 28th. On the afternoon of 25 September lahars occurred in the Cabello de Ángel and Nimá I drainages. Lava extrusion was reported on the morning of the 29th along with resulting block-and-ash flows.

Throughout October explosions, gas emission, avalanches, and elevated crater temperatures producing nighttime incandescence (figure 114) continued in the same manner as the previous months. From the 9th the extrusion of lava was observed over the dome, generating block-and-ash flows mainly down the W flank. Ashfall was reported in of Loma Linda and El Rosario Palajunoj and others in the area on the 13th, 7 km SW on the 18th, and in San Marcos Palajunoj and nearby areas on the 23rd. Lava extrusion generated constant avalanches down multiple flanks from the 23rd, with some producing small ash plumes as they descended.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 114. This Shortwave Infrared (SWIR) image of Santa Maria acquired on 19 October by the Landsat 8 satellite shows elevated temperatures at the Caliente dome. The contour intervals are 30 m. Courtesy of USGS and INSIVUMEH.

Throughout November gas emissions and explosions continued to produce gas-and-steam and ash plumes that rose up to 3.4 km altitude. Lava extrusion also continued down the W flank, producing incandescence and frequent avalanches down the SE, S, SW, and W flanks, as well as less frequent block-and-ash flows (figure 115). An increase in thermal energy detected towards the end of the month resulted from this extrusion (figure 116). Ashfall occurred around the volcano from explosions and avalanches. Ashfall was reported SE within the villages of Las Marías, Calaguache and others nearby on the 12th and 22nd, and SSW over the village of San Marcos Palajunoj, Loma Linda and Fincas in the Palajunoj area on the 27th. Degassing and explosions were intermittently heard in nearby communities with reports of sounds similar to an airplane turbine. An explosion on the 16th produced an ash plume up to 3.6 km altitude and pyroclastic flows down the flanks (figure 117).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 115. This nighttime Landsat 8 Shortwave Infrared (SWIR) satellite image of Santa Maria with the contours of the Caliente dome overlain was acquired on 20 November 2020. There are elevated temperatures within the summit crater and lava is flowing down a channel on the western flank. The contour intervals are 20 m. Courtesy of USGS and INSIVUMEH.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 116. This MIROVA log radiative power plot shows the thermal energy released at Santa Maria between April 2020 to February 2021. There was a decrease in energy emitted from May to November, followed by an increase in the frequency and the energy released on some days. The black vertical lines like the two in January-February are more than 5 km from the summit and are likely not a result of volcanic activity. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. An explosion from the Caliente dome of Santa Maria is seen here at 0715 on 16 November 2020. The photo shows the ash plume that rose to 3.6 km altitude and pyroclastic flows descending the flanks. The seismogram shows the explosion in the center of the bottom line (the times on the left are given in UTC). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

Gas emissions and weak to moderate explosions continued throughout December, producing plumes reaching 3.4 km altitude along with ongoing lava extrusion producing avalanches (figures 118 and 119). Ash from explosions and avalanches was intermittently emplaced onto the flanks, and ashfall was reported in the villages of San Marcos and Loma Linda Palajunoj on the 7th, and in Loma Linda and Finca Montebello on the 11th. Activity increased from 0430 on 11 December 2020 with the generation of moderate to powerful avalanches as well as block-and-ash flows from lava extrusion and accumulation, with 13 events recorded between that time and when a report was released at 0900. The intensity continued with block-and-ash flows and pyroclastic flows moving down the W and SW flanks that generated ash plumes which extended 20 km downwind.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 118. Plumes rise from the Caliente dome at Santa Maria on 9 (top left) and 15 (top right) December 2020. A faint plume rises from the summit of the Caliente dome and another plume rises from a possible avalanche down the SW flank (bottom). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Fotografías Recientes de Volcanes).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. A gas-and-steam plume rises from the degassing Caliente dome at Santa Maria on 30 December 2020. Around this time weak and moderate explosions produced ash plumes up to 3-3.4 km altitude, resulting in ashfall on the flanks. Courtesy of CONRED.

The high level of background activity associated with lava extrusion continued through January. Satellite images show the lava flow advancing down the W-flank channel (figure 120), reaching approximately 250 m by the 11th. Avalanches also continued, producing ash that was emplaced nearby (figure 121). On the 22nd the collapse of dome material produced a pyroclastic flow to the E and SE. Explosions ejected ash to 3.4 km altitude, with ashfall that was reported in the Aldeas de San Marcos and Loma Linda Palajunoj on the 1st, Aldeas de San Marcos and Loma Linda Palajunoj on the 11th, Aldeas de San Marcos y Loma Linda Palajunoj, Fca. El Patrocinio during the 20-21st. Ashfall was again reported on the 31st to the west on farms, in Aldeas de San Marcos, and in Loma Linda Palajunoj. Sounds generated by explosions were sometimes heard around 10 km away.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. PlanetScope satellite images of Santa Maria acquired on 20 December 2020 and 10 and 11 January 2021 show the development of a lava flow down a channel on the W flank (white arrows). In the latest image the flow is approximately 250 m long. Courtesy of Planet Labs.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. Thermal infrared satellite images of Santa Maria acquired on 12 and 22 January 2021 show higher temperatures on the Caliente dome. Top: Elevated thermal areas are detected at the summit and hot material is emplaced down the W-flank channel. Bottom: Elevated temperatures at the summit of the lava dome, with a possible avalanche on the E flank. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images with false color (urban) (bands 12, 11, 4) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://conred.gob.gt/www/index.php); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Tengger Caldera (Indonesia) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Tengger Caldera

Indonesia

7.942°S, 112.95°E; summit elev. 2329 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes during 26-28 December 2020 with ashfall to the NE

Activity at Bromo, the youngest and only active cone within the 16-km-wide Tengger caldera in East Java, is characterized by occasional explosions with ash plumes followed by periods of relative quiet with only gas-and-steam emissions (BGVN 44:05). There have been more than 30 eruptive periods since 1900. During the first seven months of 2019, ash explosions occurred on 18 February 2019 and became especially numerous in March and April, with more explosive activity in July 2019 (BGVN 44:05, 44:08). The volcano is monitored by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM) and by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

Following the ash explosion on 28 July 2019, satellite observations frequently showed a white gas-and-steam plume in the Bromo crater (figure 19). No additional eruptive activity was reported until 26-27 December 2020 when PVMBG reported white-and-gray plumes rose 50-700 m above the summit of Bromo’s cone. The next day, at 0550 on 28 December, an observer spotted a gas-and-ash emission rising at least 500 m above the summit. The Darwin VAAC was unable to confirm if there was ash in the plume based on satellite data, but ashfall was reported in the Ngadirejo area, about 5 km NE. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and visitors were warned to stay outside a 1-km radius of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Satellite image of the Tengger Caldera on 12 September 2020, with a typical white plume visible in the Bromo crater. Sentinel-2 image with natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The 16-km-wide Tengger caldera is located at the northern end of a volcanic massif extending from Semeru volcano. The massive volcanic complex dates back to about 820,000 years ago and consists of five overlapping stratovolcanoes, each truncated by a caldera. Lava domes, pyroclastic cones, and a maar occupy the flanks of the massif. The Ngadisari caldera at the NE end of the complex formed about 150,000 years ago and is now drained through the Sapikerep valley. The most recent of the calderas is the 9 x 10 km wide Sandsea caldera at the SW end of the complex, which formed incrementally during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. An overlapping cluster of post-caldera cones was constructed on the floor of the Sandsea caldera within the past several thousand years. The youngest of these is Bromo, one of Java's most active and most frequently visited volcanoes.

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/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Lewotolok (Indonesia) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Lewotolok

Indonesia

8.274°S, 123.508°E; summit elev. 1431 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruption in late November 2020 consisting of ash plumes, crater incandescence, and ashfall

Lewotolok (also known as Lewotolo) is located on the eastern end of a peninsula connected to Lembata (formerly Lomblen) that extends north into the Flores Sea. Eruptions date back to 1660, characterized by explosive activity in the summit crater. Typical activity has consisted of seismicity and thermal anomalies near the summit crater (BGVN 36:12 and 41:09). A new eruption that began in late November 2020 was characterized by increased seismicity, dense, gray ash plumes, nighttime crater incandescence, and ashfall. This report covers activity through January 2021 using information primarily from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM, or the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation), MAGMA Indonesia, and satellite data.

Summary of activity during February 2012-October 2020. Activity from February 2012 to November 2020 was relatively low and consisted primarily of a persistent thermal anomaly in the summit crater since at least March 2016 and occasional white gas-and-steam emissions. During January 2012 intermittent white gas-and-steam plumes rose 15-500 m above the crater, accompanied by crater incandescence; no thermal anomalies were reported during 16-24 January. On 6 January there were 500 people in the Lembata district evacuated due to reports of ash plumes that were observed by local residents, the smell of sulfur, and the sound of rumbling (BGVN 36:12).

Thermal activity dates back to 13 October 2014 using MODIS data in MODVOLC satellite data (BGVN 41:09; figure 3). According to the MODVOLC algorithm, a total of seven thermal alerts were detected on 13 October 2014 (1), 27 September 2015 (1), 2, 3, and 4 (2) October 2015, and 5 November 2017 (1). The number of thermal alerts in both MODVOLC and Sentinel-2 satellite data had increased slightly in 2020 compared to 2018 and 2019, though cloud cover often prevented visual confirmation for the latter (figure 3). Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery captured occasional thermal anomalies in the summit crater during 2016-2019 (figure 4). White gas-and-steam plumes were intermittently reported from September 2017 through 2 March 2018 that rose as high as 500 m above the crater and drifted dominantly E and W, according to PVMBG.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Graph comparing the number of thermal anomalies using MODVOLC alerts and Sentinel-2 satellite data for Lewotolok during January 2014-January 2021 for MODVOLC and 20 March 2016-January 2021 for Sentinel-2 thermal satellite data. Data courtesy of HIGP - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System and Sentinel Hub Playground.

Brief seismicity, which included shallow and deep volcanic earthquakes was detected during October 2017. On 9 October 2017 PVMBG issued a VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) reporting that white gas-and-steam emissions rose 500 m above the crater. On 10 October BNPB (Badan Nacional Penanggulangan Bencana) reported that five earthquakes 10-30 km below Lewotolok and ranging in magnitude of 3.9-4.9 as recorded by Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi, dan Geofisika (BMKG). These seismic events were felt by local populations and resulted in an evacuation of 723 people. The only activity reported between January 2018 and October 2020 was white gas-and-steam plumes that rose 5-100 m above the crater drifting primarily E and W and an occasional thermal anomaly in the summit crater (figure 4).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery shows a thermal anomaly in the summit crater of Lewotolok during 20 March 2016 (top left), 8 July 2017 (top right), 13 July 2018 (bottom left), and 12 August 2019 (bottom right). Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

New eruption starting in November 2020. On 26 November 2020 a continuous tremor began at 1943, followed by a series of volcanic earthquakes at 1947 and deep volcanic earthquakes at 1951, 1952, 1953, and 2255; white gas-and-steam emissions rose 20 m above the crater. Deep volcanic earthquakes were again recorded at 0242, 0537, 0556 on 27 November. At 0557 an explosion produced a gray ash plume that rose 500 m above the crater and drifted W; by 0630 the plume turned white, according to PVMBG (figure 5). Seismicity decreased slightly after the explosion, but tremor continued. During 27-28 November dense white gas-and-steam plumes rose as high as 500 m above the crater and nighttime crater incandescence was observed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Webcam image of a dense gray ash plume rising 500 m above the crater of Lewotolok on 27 November 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

During the morning of 29 November seismicity increased again and consisted of six deep volcanic earthquakes, continuous tremor occurred around 0930. A second explosion was recorded at 0945 that produced an ash plume 4 km above the crater, accompanied by incandescent material that was ejected above the crater (figure 6). The ash plume consisted of two levels: the lower-level drifted W and NW and the upper-level drifted E and SE. The large, gray ash plume was captured in a satellite image as it spread generally E and W (figure 7). Ashfall and a sulfur odor was reported in several surrounding villages; videos from social media showed tephra falling onto the roofs of residential areas. BPBD evacuated residents in 28 villages in two sub-districts; by 29 November at 1300 about 900 people had been evacuated. At 1900 Strombolian activity was observed and during the night, crater incandescence was visible.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Photos of the eruption at Lewotolok on 29 November 2020 that produced a dense, gray ash plume 4 km above the crater. Courtesy of Devy Kamil Syahbana, PVMBG (left) and MAGMA Indonesia (right).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Satellite image showing a strong gray ash plume above Lewotolok on 29 November 2020, expanding roughly E and W. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground and the European Space Agency, Copernicus.

The eruption continued from 29 November into 1 December, where the white-and-gray ash plumes rose 700-2,000 m above the crater and drifted SE and W, accompanied by incandescent material that was ejected above the crater and the smell of sulfur, according to PVMBG (figure 8). A large sulfur dioxide plume was reported drifting SE and extending over the N half of Australia by 30 November (figure 9). By 1300 that day, 4,628 people had been evacuated. Incandescent lava flows near the summit were visible and incandescent material traveled down the flanks during 30 November and 1 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Webcam image of the continuous eruption at Lewotolok showing a dense gray ash plume rising above the cloud-covered summit on 30 November 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. SO2 plume from Lewotolok captured by the Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI instrument on 30 November 2020 drifting SE and along the N part of Australia. Courtesy of Simon Carn and the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

White-and-gray plumes continued frequently through January 2021, rising 100-1,500 m above the crater, drifting in multiple directions, accompanied by nighttime crater incandescence and occasional incandescent ejecta (figure 10). During 1-8 December gray plumes rose 100-1,000 m above the crater and drifted E, W, and SW accompanied by nightly crater incandescence and incandescent material ejected as high as 20 m above the crater. By 5 December at 2200 about 9,028 residents had been evacuated to 11 evacuation centers, according to BNPB. Black, gray, and brown ash plumes were visible daily during 9-15 December, rising 1 km above the crater, accompanied by nightly Strombolian explosions that ejected material above the crater. More Strombolian explosions on most nights over 16-29 December ejected material 100-300 m above the crater; in addition, the sounds of rumbling and banging could be heard. The material was deposited as far as 1 km from the crater E and SE during 24-25 and 27-31 December and 4-7 January 2021. Strombolian activity continued into January, accompanied by frequent gray-and-white ash plumes, rumbling and banging sounds, and incandescent ejecta up to 600 above the crater that extended as far as 500 m E, SE, and W. Crater incandescence was visible up to 600 m above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Webcam images showing continuing dense gray ash plumes from Lewotolok on 1 December 2020 (top) and 8 January 2021 (bottom). Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

A consistent level of thermal activity was recorded in the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity from February 2019 through October 2020; in early December 2020 a slight increase in thermal anomalies were detected (figure 11). This data reflects the start of the new eruption in late November 2020. According to the MODVOLC thermal algorithm, five thermal hotspots were detected between January 2020 and January 2021 on 3 September (1), 29 November (2), 24 December (1), and 5 January 2021 (1). Some of this thermal activity was also observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery in the summit crater (figure 12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity data (bands 12, 11, 8A) shows consistent thermal activity (red dots) at Lewotolok during February 2020 through December 2020. Stronger thermal anomalies in early December is likely due to the new eruption that began in late November 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showing a thermal anomaly in the summit crater of Lewotolok on 25 October (top left), 9 November (top right), and 3 January 2021 (bottom right). On 14 December (bottom left) a Natural Color image showed a gray ash emission above the clouds and drifted E. On 3 January 2021 (bottom right) two thermal anomalies were visible in the summit crater accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions drifting NE. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Natural Color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) on 14 December 2020, all other images use “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The Lewotolok (or Lewotolo) stratovolcano occupies the eastern end of an elongated peninsula extending north into the Flores Sea, connected to Lembata (formerly Lomblen) Island by a narrow isthmus. It is symmetrical when viewed from the north and east. A small cone with a 130-m-wide crater constructed at the SE side of a larger crater forms the volcano's high point. Many lava flows have reached the coastline. Eruptions recorded since 1660 have consisted of explosive activity from the summit crater.

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/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); European Space Agency (ESA), Copernicus (URL: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/Copernicus); NASA 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, Dept of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Dr., Houghton, MI 49931, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Soufriere St. Vincent (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) — March 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Soufriere St. Vincent

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

13.33°N, 61.18°W; summit elev. 1220 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New lava dome on the SW edge of the main crater in December 2020

Soufrière St. Vincent is the northernmost stratovolcano on St. Vincent Island in the southern part of the Lesser Antilles. The NE rim of the 1.6-km-wide summit crater is cut by a crater (500 m wide and 60 m depth) that formed in 1812. Recorded eruptions date back to 1718, with notable eruptions occurring in 1812, 1902, and 1979. The eruption of 1979 was characterized by ashfall, pyroclastic flows, and lahars, in addition to a series of Vulcanian explosions during 13-26 April 1979 that destroyed the lava dome in the summit crater, which had formed during a 1971 effusive eruption (SEAN 04:04). As a result, more than 20,000 people were evacuated. Beginning around 3 May 1979 another lava dome began to form in the main crater (SEAN 04:05; Shepherd et al., 1979) that continued to grow until the end of October 1979, expanding to 850 m in diameter and 120 m high (SEAN 04:11; Cole et al., 2019).

No further eruptive activity took place until December 2020, when a new lava dome began to grow SW of the pre-existing 1979 lava dome, accompanied by increased seismicity, crater incandescence, and gas-and-steam emissions. This report reviews information through February 2021 using bulletins from the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC), the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), and various satellite data. Soufrière St. Vincent is monitored by the SRC assisted by the Soufrière Monitoring Unit (SMU) from the Ministry of Agriculture in Kingstown. As of 2004, the monitoring network had consisted of five seismic stations, eight GPS stations, and several dry tilt sites. Seismic data are transmitted from field sites to the Belmont Observatory (9 km SSW), which is operated by the SMU (figure 4). On 1 January 2021 a new seismic station was installed at Georgetown, on 10 January one was installed in Owia, followed on 15 January by another on the upper S flank, station SSVA at the summit on 18 January, and in Fancy on 21 January. In February 2021 the USGS-USAID (US Geological Survey-US Agency for International Development), through the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP), donated equipment to build four more seismic stations.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Location map of the Belmont Observatory (yellow star) located in Rosehall, St. Vincent, 9 km SSW from the Soufrière St. Vincent summit crater (red triangle). Base map satellite imagery courtesy of Google Earth.

A spike in seismicity was recorded during June-July 2019 (figure 5), though no cause was reported. The number of events sharply declined after July but continued intermittently through November 2020. Seismicity began to increase in early November through 23 December 2020, which included 126 earthquakes described as volcano-tectonic events and rockfall signals that were captured on one reliable seismic station (SVB) located 9 km from the volcano. The maximum daily count was 11 events on 16 November. After 23 December a total of eight events were detected before seismicity briefly subsided.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Daily count of volcanic earthquakes recorded at Soufrière St. Vincent during 1 January 2019 through February 2021. Increased seismicity was detected during June-July 2019 and mid-October 2020 through February 2021. An installation of station SVV on 6 January 2021 at Wallibou is annotated on this graph. Data courtesy of UWI-SRC.

Activity during December 2020. Staff members of the Soufrière Monitoring Unit (SMU) made visual observations of the crater on 16 December and reported minor changes in fumarolic activity and a small lake on the E side of the crater floor. On 27 December UWI-SRC and NEMO reported that an effusive eruption had begun, which was characterized by a new lava dome in the main crater on the SW perimeter of the 1979 dome (figures 6 and 7). A thermal hotspot in the crater was also detected that day using satellite data by NASA FIRMS. As a result, the Volcanic Alert Level (VAL) was raised to Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) on 29 December (figure 8). The Volcano Ready Communities Project, a collaboration between NEMO SVG and UWI Seismic Research Centre, distributed their volcano hazard map for the surrounding communities, in preparation for a potential evacuation (figure 9).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Photo of the first documented observation of the new lava dome at Soufrière St. Vincent on 27 December 2020 taken from the E side of the summit. Courtesy of Melanie Grant, IG, UWI-SRC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Photo of an early observation of the new lava dome at Soufrière St. Vincent on 29 December 2020 growing WSW of the 1979 lava dome on the SW edge of the summit crater, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. The dome was estimated to be 60 m high on 30 December. Courtesy of Kemron Alexander (color corrected), SMU, UWI-SRC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Volcanic Hazard Alert Level System for Soufriere St. Vincent. Courtesy of UWI-SRC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Volcanic hazard map for Soufrière St. Vincent, showing different areas that are likely to experience hazardous volcanic events which would require evacuations. The hazard map is divided into four zones: Zone 1 (Red), which is a very high hazard location; Zone 2 (Orange), which is a high hazard location; Zone 3 (Yellow), which is a moderate hazard location; and Zone 4 (Green), which is a low hazard location. This poster was created prior to the current eruption as part of the Volcano Ready Communities Project, a collaboration between NEMO SVG and UWI Seismic Research Centre. Courtesy of UWI-SRC and NEMO.

Activity during January-February 2021. Observations made during a field visit on 5 January, during a helicopter overflight on 6 January, and based on 9 January drone video noted that the new dome was expanding to the W on the WSW edge of the 1979 lava dome and continued to gradually grow through February 2021 (figure 10). Growth of the 2020/21 lava dome produced small, hot rockfalls and gas-and-steam emissions that were visible from the Belmont Observatory. The gas emissions were most notable from a small depression at the top of the dome. Two seismic stations were installed on the flank of the volcano at Wallibou (SVV) and at the summit (SSVA) on 6 and 18 January, respectively.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Map showing the growth of the new 2020/21 lava dome at Soufrière St. Vincent from 27 December 2020 to 12 February 2021. The dome is located on the SW edge of the crater rim and WSW of the 1979 lava dome that is covered in vegetation. Courtesy of UWI-SRC.

Seismic stations recorded 573 events through 0730 on 30 January; this number continued to grow into February (up to 703 events by 0830 on 4 February) (figure 5). Observations on 14 January showed that the dome was growing taller and expanding to the E and W. An overflight on 15 January showed extensive vegetation damage on the E, S, and W inner crater walls; damage previously noted on the upper SW crater rim had expanded downslope (figure 11). Scientists visited on 16 January and recorded temperatures of 590°C at the dome surface (figure 12). During 15-17 January residents to the W of the volcano reported nighttime crater incandescence. Persistent gas-and-steam emissions were observed rising above the dome, as well as from the contact between the 2020/21 and 1979 domes during the rest of the month and through February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Oblique aerial view of the lava dome at Soufrière St. Vincent between the 1979 dome and the SW crater rim on 15 January 2021, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. On this day, the dome was 340 m long, 160 m wide, and 80 m high. Courtesy of Adam Stinton, MVO, UWI-SRC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Thermal measurements were taken at the base of the freshly extruded lava dome at Soufrière St. Vincent on 16 January 2021. Top: Photo (color corrected) of the base of the new lava dome. Bottom: Thermal FLIR (Forward-Looking InfraRed) image of the base of the new lava dome showing a maximum temperature of 590.8°C. Courtesy of Adam Stinton, MVO, UWI-SRC.

Sulfur dioxide emissions were first detected on 1 February using a Multi-Gas Instrument and a filter pack; the dome had reached an estimated volume of 5.93 million cubic meters. Vegetation on the NW part of the crater (N of the dome) was damaged, likely due to fire. The dome continued to expand laterally to the N and S, according to reports issued on 6 and 8 February. After that it grew about 15 m to the NW and SE, according to 11 and 15 February reports (figure 13). NEMO reported that the growth rate of the lava dome ranged from 1.9 to 2.13 m3/s (figure 14). Active gas-and-steam emissions originated dominantly at contact areas between the pre-existing 1979 dome and the 2020/21 dome, as well as at the top of the new dome.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Photo of the 2020/21 lava dome (dark mass at left) at Soufrière St. Vincent on 12 February 2021 showing continuous gas-and-steam emissions and damaged vegetation on the 1979 lava dome (right). On this day, the dome was 618 m long, 232 m wide, 90 m high, and an estimated volume of 6.83 million cubic meters. Courtesy of Kemron Alexander, SMU, UWI-SRC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Estimated lava extrusion rates and added volume of material at Soufrière St. Vincent’s 2020/21 lava dome during 27 December 2020 through 3 February 2021. Calculations were based on UAV photography and photogrammetry. Data courtesy of UWI-SRC.

Thermal satellite data. MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows the beginning of thermal activity in late December 2020 and continuing at a lower power into early February (figure 15). A single MODVOLC thermal alert was detected on 29 December. This activity marks the beginning of the effusive eruption and the formation of the new lava dome. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery detected a thermal anomaly on the SW side of the main crater during clear weather days in January 2021, which represents the active 2020/21 lava dome (figure 16). Fresh, hot material is also visible surrounding the thermal anomaly, which demonstrates the growth of the lava dome over time.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Thermal activity at Soufrière St. Vincent was detected beginning in late December 2020 and continued through early February 2021, as reflected in the MIROVA data (Log Radiative Power). The power of the thermal anomalies had slightly decreased after December. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showing a persistent thermal anomaly (bright yellow-orange) in Soufrière St. Vincent’s growing lava dome on the WSW edge of the main crater during 3 January through 28 January 2021. The dark black color is the freshly cooled material from the effusive activity, which also demonstrates the increasing size of the lava dome. Images using “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Field work during mid-January 2021. SRC collected rock samples from the new lava dome and sent them to scientists from the University of East Anglia, University of Plymouth, and University of Oxford on 16 January 2021 as a collaborative project to analyze their composition and compare them with the composition of rocks erupted in 1902, 1971, and 1979. Analyses showed that the new 2020/21 lava dome was basaltic andesite, similar in composition to the earlier domes (figure 17).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Backscattered electron image of a sample from the 2020/21 lava dome showing groundmass texture. Low-contrast dark gray crystals are feldspar microlites in glass (darkest gray). Some of the larger feldspar crystals have Ca-rich cores (paler gray). Clinopyroxenes also make up the groundmass (brighter gray) and some are breaking down to Fe-oxides (small oxides at edges of clinopyroxene bottom center and bottom right). In some areas dark glass is devitrifying (paler gray irregular shapes within dark gray glassy patches). Fe-Ti oxides are also common (bright white crystals). Total image width is about 0.3 mm. Image and description courtesy of Bridie Davies, UEA.

References: Cole P D, Robertson R E A, Fedele L, Scarpati C, 2019. Explosive activity of the last 1000 years at La Soufrière, St Vincent, Lesser Antilles. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 371:86-100.

Shepherd, J. B., Aspinall, W. P., Rowley, K. C., Pereira, J., Sigurdsson, H., Fiske, R. S., Tomblin, J. F., 1979. The eruption of Soufrière volcano, St Vincent April–June 1979. Nature, 282 (5734), 24–28. doi:10.1038/282024a0.

Geologic Background. Soufrière St. Vincent is the northernmost and youngest volcano on St. Vincent Island. The NE rim of the 1.6-km wide summit crater is cut by a crater formed in 1812. The crater itself lies on the SW margin of a larger 2.2-km-wide caldera, which is breached widely to the SW as a result of slope failure. Frequent explosive eruptions after about 4,300 years ago produced pyroclastic deposits of the Yellow Tephra Formation, which cover much of the island. The first historical eruption took place in 1718; it and the 1812 eruption produced major explosions. Much of the northern end of the island was devastated by a major eruption in 1902 that coincided with the catastrophic Mont Pelée eruption on Martinique. A lava dome was emplaced in the summit crater in 1971 during a strictly effusive eruption, forming an island within a lake that filled the crater. A series of explosive eruptions in 1979 destroyed the 1971 dome and ejected the lake; a new dome was then built.

Information Contacts: University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC), University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies (URL: http://www.uwiseismic.com/); National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Biseé, PO. Box 1517, Castries, Saint Lucia, West Indies (URL: http://nemo.gov.lc/); 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); Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/); Bridie Davies, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, Norfolk, NR4 7TJ, UK (URL: https://people.uea.ac.uk/bridie_davies).


Erta Ale (Ethiopia) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Erta Ale

Ethiopia

13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Brief increase in strong thermal activity during late November-early December 2020

Erta Ale, located in Ethiopia, is a highly active volcano that contains a 0.7 x 1.6 km, elliptical summit caldera with multiple pit craters that frequently host active lava lakes. Another larger 1.8 x 3.1 km wide depression SE of the summit is bounded by curvilinear fault scarps on the SE side. Recent activity has been characterized by lava flow outbreaks (BGVN 45:05) and thermal anomalies detected from pit craters in the summit caldera (BGVN 45:05 and 45:10). This report covers activity from October 2020 through February 2021 and is characterized by a brief period of strong thermal anomalies in late November, which sharply declined in December. Information primarily comes from satellite data.

Activity at Erta Ale had gradually decreased compared to previous months; thermal activity during this reporting period remained primarily in the N summit caldera. MIROVA (Middle Infrared Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows a total of four low-power thermal anomalies from October through most of November. At the end of November, a brief surge of strong thermal activity was detected in the S pit crater of the summit caldera, followed by a sharp decrease the following days (figure 102). Similarly, the MODVOLC system detected a total of eight thermal alerts; two were detected on 29 November and six were detected on 30 November, primarily focused in the summit caldera. Only two thermal anomalies were recorded in the MIROVA graph after this surge of activity; one in mid-December and one in early January. Thermal data from NASA VIIRS detected hotspots on 28-30 November, 1-3 December, and 8 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. A total of four low-power thermal anomalies were recorded at Erta Ale during October through most of November 2020. Beginning in late November into early December a strong but brief surge of thermal activity was detected according to the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power). Only two low-power thermal anomalies were recorded after the activity in early December; one in mid-December and one in early January 2021. Courtesy of MIROVA.

According to Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images, a weak thermal anomaly was first visible on 20 October in the summit caldera. Intermittent, weak anomalies were also detected in the summit caldera on 25 and 30 October and 4, 9, 19, and 24 November. On 29 November the thermal activity increased significantly, detected as a strong hotspot in the S pit crater of the summit caldera (figure 103). This brief increase in power was also recorded in the MIROVA graph and by the MODVOLC thermal algorithm. By 4 December the size and power of this thermal activity decreased significantly, though it was still visible in the summit caldera. Thermal activity was no longer observed after 4 December until clear weather days on 2 and 12 February when a faint anomaly was detected.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Erta Ale during 30 October 2020 to 12 February 2021 showing a single thermal anomaly (bright yellow-orange) in the S pit crater of the summit caldera that varies in strength. Top left: 30 October 2020 shows a faint thermal anomaly in the S pit crater. Top right: 29 November 2020 shows the strongest thermal anomaly in the S pit crater during the reporting period and is also reflected in the MIROVA graph and detected by the MODVOLC system. Bottom left: 4 December 2020 shows that the thermal anomaly from activity in late November remains hot but begins to decrease in strength. Bottom right: 12 February 2021 again shows thermal activity from the S pit but weaker than the previous November and December. Sentinel-2 images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: 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); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/).


Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Bagana

Papua New Guinea

6.137°S, 155.196°E; summit elev. 1855 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing thermal anomalies possibly indicating lava flows during May-December 2020

Bagana is a remote volcano located in central Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea with eruptions dating back to 1842. The current eruption period began in February 2000, with more recent activity characterized by thermal anomalies along with gas-and-steam and ash plumes (BGVN 44:12 and 45:07). Typical activity consists of episodes of lava flows and intermittent strong passive degassing, especially sulfur dioxide. This report covers activity from May-December 2020 using primarily thermal data and satellite imagery.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed a cluster of intermittent low-power thermal anomalies during June through early August, followed by a period of quiescence during August to mid-October, with the exception of two anomalies detected in early September (figure 44). Thermal activity slightly increased again by mid-October and continued infrequently through December at low levels. This pattern of thermal activity is also reflected in three Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images that showed faint, roughly linear, thermal anomalies, indicative of lava flows trending NE and NW on 21 June, NE on 1 July, and W on 23 November (figure 45). On clear weather days, gas-and-steam emissions could be seen in satellite imagery on 30 August, 4 October, and 23 November, each of which drifted W (figure 45). Gas-and-steam emissions on 13 December drifted E.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Intermittent low-power thermal anomalies were detected at Bagana during late May-December 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power). Relatively higher power and frequency anomalies were detected during June-early August. Thermal activity declined after early August into mid-October, with the exception of two thermal anomalies in early September. Activity increased again slightly by mid-October and continued through December, but at a lower power and frequency. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showing weak thermal anomalies at Bagana during June through December 2020. Top left: Faint, linear thermal anomalies on 21 June 2020 on the NE and NW flanks, which could represent lava effusion, though clouds covered much of the area. Top right: Hot material traveling down the NE flank on 1 July 2020. Middle left and right: Gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit crater and drifting W on 30 August and 4 October 2020; very faint thermal anomalies can be observed in the crater. Bottom left: Gas-and-steam emissions in the summit crater drifted W on 23 November 2020, and a probable lava flow is visible extending down the NW flank. Bottom right: Gas-and-steam emissions rose above the summit crater on 13 December 2020 and drifted E. Sentinel-2 images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: 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).


Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Kadovar

Papua New Guinea

3.608°S, 144.588°E; summit elev. 365 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional ash and gas-and-steam plumes along with summit thermal anomalies

Kadovar is located in the Bismark Sea offshore from the mainland of Papua New Guinea about 25 km NNE from the mouth of the Sepik River. Its first confirmed eruption began in early January 2018, characterized by ash plumes and a lava extrusion that resulted in the evacuation of around 600 residents from the N side of the island (BGVN 43:03). Activity has recently consisted of intermittent ash plumes, gas-and-steam plumes, and thermal anomalies (BGVN 45:07). Similar activity continued during this reporting period of July-December 2020 using information from the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

RVO issued an information bulletin on 15 July reporting minor eruptive activity during 1-5 July with moderate light-gray ash emissions rising a few hundred meters above the Main Crater. On 5 July activity intensified; explosions recorded at 1652 and 1815 generated a dense dark gray ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater and drifted W. Activity subsided that day, though fluctuating summit crater incandescence was visible at night. Activity increased again during 8-10 July, characterized by explosions detected on 8 July at 2045, on 9 July at 1145 and 1400, and on 10 July at 0950 and 1125, each of which produced a dark gray ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater. According to Darwin VAAC advisories issued on 10, 16, and 30 July ash plumes were observed rising to 1.5-1.8 km altitude and drifting NW.

Gas-and-steam emissions and occasional ash plumes were observed in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on clear weather days during August through December (figure 56). Ash plumes rose to 1.2 and 1.5 km altitude on 3 and 16 August, respectively, and drifted NW, according to Darwin VAAC advisories. On 26 August an ash plume rose to 2.1 km altitude and drifted WNW before dissipating within 1-2 hours. Similar activity was reported during September-November, according to several Darwin VAAC reports; ash plumes rose to 0.9-2.1 km altitude and drifted mainly NW. VAAC notices were issued on 12 and 22 September, 4, 7-8, and 18 October, and 18 November. A single MODVOLC alert was issued on 27 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Sentinel-2 satellite data showing a consistent gas-and-steam plume originating from the summit of Kadovar during August-December 2020 and drifting NW. On 21 September (top right) a gray plume was seen drifting several kilometers from the island to the NW. Images with “Natural color” (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows intermittent low-power anomalies during July through December 2020 (figure 57). Some of this thermal activity in the summit crater was observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions that drifted primarily NW (figure 58).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Intermittent low-power thermal anomalies at Kadovar were detected in the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power) during July through December 2020. The island location is mislocated in the MIROVA system by about 5.5 km SE due to older mis-registered imagery; the anomalies are all on the island. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Sentinel-2 satellite data showing thermal anomalies at the summit of Kadovar on 23 July (top left), 7 August (top right), 1 September (bottom left), and 21 September (bottom right) 2020, occasionally accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume drifting dominantly NW. Two thermal anomalies were visible on the E rim of the summit crater on 23 July (top left) and 7 August (top right). Images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The 2-km-wide island of Kadovar is the emergent summit of a Bismarck Sea stratovolcano of Holocene age. It is part of the Schouten Islands, and lies off the coast of New Guinea, about 25 km N of the mouth of the Sepik River. Prior to an eruption that began in 2018, a lava dome formed the high point of the andesitic volcano, filling an arcuate landslide scarp open to the south; submarine debris-avalanche deposits occur in that direction. Thick lava flows with columnar jointing forms low cliffs along the coast. The youthful island lacks fringing or offshore reefs. A period of heightened thermal phenomena took place in 1976. An eruption began in January 2018 that included lava effusion from vents at the summit and at the E coast.

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


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Renewed activity in October 2020 with explosions, lava flows, and ash plumes

Klyuchevskoy, located in northern Kamchatka, has had historical eruptions dating back 3,000 years characterized by major explosive and effusive eruptions from the flank craters. The current eruption began in April 2019 and has recently consisted of Strombolian activity, ash plumes, and an active lava flow descending the SE flank (BGVN 45:09). This report covers September-December 2020 and describes similar activity of Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and active lava flows beginning in early October. Information primarily comes from weekly and daily reports from the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT), the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory (VAAC), and satellite data.

Activity from July through September was relatively low, with no thermal activity detected during August-September. On 2 October renewed Strombolian explosions began at 1003, ejecting ash 300-400 m above the summit and producing gas-and-steam plumes with some ash that drifted down the E flank (figure 48). That night, crater incandescence was visible. On 5 October KVERT reported that a lava flow began to effuse along the Apakhonchich chute at 0100. During 7-8 October activity intensified and was characterized by strong explosions, collapses of the sides of the drainage, strong thermal anomalies, and ash plumes that extended over 200 km SE from the crater; the lava flow remained active and continued to descend the SE flank. A Tokyo VAAC advisory issued on 7 October reported that an ash plume rose to 8.8 km altitude and drifted E and SE; during 8-9 October ash plumes rose to 5.5 km altitude and drifted as far as 270 km SE. A strong, bright, thermal anomaly was observed daily in satellite imagery, which represented the new lava flow. Strombolian explosions continued throughout the month, accompanied by gas-and-steam plumes containing some ash and an active lava flow advancing down the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank (figure 49).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Photos of a gray ash plume (left) and the beginning of the lava flow (right), represented as summit crater incandescence at Klyuchevskoy on 2 October 2020 at 1030 and 2100, respectively. Photos by Y. Demyanchuk; courtesy of Volkstat.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Photo of Strombolian explosions at the summit of Klyuchevskoy accompanied by ash emissions and a lava flow advancing down the SE-flank Apakhonchich chute on 25 October 2020. Photo by Y. Demyanchuk (color corrected); courtesy of Volkstat.

Similar activity continued to be reported in November, consisting of Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and a lava flow advancing down the SE flank. A bright thermal anomaly was observed in thermal satellite imagery each day during the month. During 16-19 November explosions recorded in satellite and video data showed ash plumes rising to 7.5 km altitude and drifting as far as 108 km to the NE, E, SE, and S (figure 50). On 19 November an ash cloud 65 x 70 km in size drifted 50 km SE, according to a KVERT VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation). During 26-30 November video and satellite data showed that gas-and-steam plumes containing some ash rose to 7 km altitude and extended as far as 300 km NW and E, accompanied by persistent moderate explosive-effusive activity (figure 51).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Photo of the Strombolian and Vulcanian explosions at Klyuchevskoy on 18 November 2020 which produced a dense gray ash plume. Photo by Yu. Demyanchuk, IVS FEB RAS, KVERT
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Photo of the summit of Klyuchevskoy (right foreground) showing incandescent Strombolian explosions, the lava flow descending the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank, and a gray ash plume on 29 November 2020. Kamen volcano is the cone at back left. Photo by Y. Demyanchuk (color corrected); courtesy of Volkstat.

Moderate explosive-effusive activity continued through December; a strong daily thermal anomaly was visible in satellite images. During 2-3 December gas-and-steam plumes containing some ash rose to 7 km altitude and extended 300 km NW and E. Intermittent gas-and-ash plumes continued through the month. On 7 December KVERT reported that a new lava flow began to advance down the Kozyrevsky chute on the S flank, while the flow on the SE flank continued. Strombolian explosions in the crater ejected incandescent material up to 300 m above the crater on 8 December while hot material was deposited and traveled 350 m below the crater. A cinder cone was observed growing in the summit crater and measured 75 m tall.

Strombolian and Vulcanian activity continued during 11-25 December, accompanied by the lava flow on the S flank; according to Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images, the effusion on the SE flank had stopped around 13 December and had begun to cool. The lava flow in the Kozyrevsky chute spalled off incandescent material that continued to travel an additional 350 m. Gas-and-steam plumes that contained some ash rose to 6 km altitude and drifted up to 350 km generally E. On 24 December the Kamchatka Volcanological Station field team visited Klyuchevskoy to do work on the field stations. The scientists observed explosions that ejected incandescent material 300 m above the crater and the S-flank lava flow (figure 52). On 28 December KVERT reported that the moderate explosive-effusive eruption continued, but the intensity of the explosions had significantly decreased. The lava flow on the S flank continued to effuse, but its flow rate had already decreased.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Photos of a dense ash plume (left) and a color corrected photo of the lava flow advancing on the S flank (right) of Klyuchevskoy on 24 December 2020, accompanied by incandescent Strombolian explosions and a gray ash plume. Photos by Y. Demyanchuk; courtesy of Volkstat.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows frequent and strong thermal activity beginning in early October and continuing through December 2020, which is represented by the active lava flows reported in the summit crater (figure 53). According to the MODVOLC thermal algorithm, a total of 615 thermal alerts were detected at or near the summit crater from 1 October to 31 December; none were reported in September. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery frequently showed the progression of the active lava flows as a strong thermal anomaly descending the SE flank during October through late November and the SW flank during December, sometimes even through weather clouds (figure 54). The thermal anomalies were commonly accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume that drifted mainly E and NE. A total of 164 VAAC advisories were issued from 2 October through 31 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Strong and frequent thermal anomalies were detected in early October at Klyuchevskoy and continued through December 2020, as recorded by the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing the progression of two lava flows (bright yellow-orange) originating from the summit crater at Klyuchevskoy from 4 October through December 2020. Crater incandescence was visible on 4 October (top left), which marked the beginning of the lava flow. By 31 October (top right) the active flow had traveled down the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank, accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume that drifted NE. On 10 November (bottom left) the lava flow continued down the SE flank; the darker black color represents parts of the lava flow that began to cool. The gas-and-steam plume drifted E from the summit. On 25 December (bottom right) a new lava flow was observed descending the SW flank, also accompanied by a strong gas-and-steam plume. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 43, Number 02 (February 2018)

Managing Editor: Edward Venzke

Aira (Japan)

Explosions gradually decrease in frequency during 2015-2016

Ambae (Vanuatu)

New eruption begins in early September 2017, forcing evacuation of thousands

Ambrym (Vanuatu)

Elevated seismicity in early August 2017-early November 2017, lava lakes remain

Fernandina (Ecuador)

Brief fissure eruption sends lava flow down the SW flank in early September 2017

Fuego (Guatemala)

Seven eruptive episodes during July-December 2017

Sheveluch (Russia)

Ash explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lava dome growth continue through January 2018

Stromboli (Italy)

Moderate increase in thermal energy and explosion rate, April-August 2017

Tinakula (Solomon Islands)

Short-lived ash emission and large SO2 plume 21-26 October 2017; historical eruption accounts

Tungurahua (Ecuador)

Ash emissions, explosions, and pyroclastic flows 26 February-16 March 2016; no further activity through 2017

Yasur (Vanuatu)

Typical ongoing eruptive activity and thermal anomalies through January 2018



Aira (Japan) — February 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions gradually decrease in frequency during 2015-2016

Sakurajima rises from Kagoshima Bay, which fills the Aira Caldera near the southern tip of Japan's Kyushu Island. Frequent explosive and occasional effusive activity has been ongoing for centuries. The Minamidake summit cone has been the location of persistent activity since 1955; the Showa crater on its E flank has been the most active site since 2006. Tens of explosions and ash-bearing emissions have been occurring monthly for the last several years and were continuous through October 2015. After a three-month break, activity resumed in February 2016 and lasted through August 2016. No further activity was reported through December 2016. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) provided regular reports on activity, and the Tokyo VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center) issued hundreds of reports about ash plumes during 2015-2016.

The number of explosive events at the Showa crater of Sakurajima increased from January-May 2015. During the period, ash emissions commonly rose 3,000 m above the crater rim, and a few exceeded 4,000 m; tephra was often ejected 1.3 km and as far as 1.8 km from the crater. Incandescence was observed every week; multiple MODVOLC thermal alerts were reported monthly from January-June 2015. The Tokyo VAAC issued 845 reports between 1 January and 14 October 2015. The number of monthly explosions decreased sharply during June-August. Tiltmeter and strainmeter data indicated continuing inflation through mid-August when the inflation rate increased significantly for a brief period. This was followed by deflation for the remainder of 2015. Pyroclastic flows were reported in March, April, and June. Minor emissions occurred at Minamidake crater in May, June, and August. Activity increased at both craters during September, with the first substantial explosion at Minamidake in almost a year. An emission from Showa on 2 November 2015 was noted in a JMA weekly report, but its composition was not described; the last confirmed ash emission of the year was on 14 October 2015.

After three months of quiet, a substantial explosion at Showa in early February 2016 marked the beginning of a new eruptive episode that continued through the end of July, after which explosive activity ceased at Showa for the remainder of the year (figure 49). Minor emissions were reported at Minamidake through August 2016. Pyroclastic flows occurred in April and June from explosions at the Showa crater. Inflation was measured again beginning in April 2016 and continued through December 2016.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Explosions from the Showa crater at Sakurajima, January 2013-December 2016. Data do not include activity at Minamidake crater, or passive (non-explosive) ash or steam emissions from Showa. After many years of multiple monthly explosions, activity decreased in September 2015. A smaller burst of activity occurred from February to July 2016. Data compiled from JMA reports.

Activity during January-May 2015. JMA reported 61 explosions from the Showa crater during January 2015, twice the number recorded in December 2014 (figure 50). Explosions on 4 and 30 January sent ejecta as far as 1.8 km from the crater. The maximum plume height reported by JMA was 4,000 m above the crater rim on 23 January. Lapilli up to 2 cm in diameter from recent explosions were found in Kurokami (3.5 km E) and Arimura (3 km S) during JMA field visits on 16 and 30 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. An ash emission at Sakurajima on 20 January 2015 was captured by a webcam in Kagoshima (10 km W). Courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

The number of explosions increased to 88 during February 2015, with events on 21 and 22 February sending tephra 1.8 km from the crater. Plumes rose as much as 3,500 m above the rim during the month. During a field survey on 4 March scientists observed ash deposits with fragments up to 2 cm in diameter, in an area 3 km S of Showa Crater. JMA reported that the largest number of explosions they have recorded in a month, 178, occurred at the crater in March. Numerous plumes rose 3,300 m above the crater. A small pyroclastic flow on 17 March traveled 600 m SE.

Seismicity below the island increased briefly between 31 March and 2 April 2015. An explosion on 17 April sent tephra 1.8 km from the crater rim. Two pyroclastic flows were reported on 18 and 28 April 2015; Showa crater had 112 explosions throughout the month. The pyroclastic flow on 28 April travelled 500 m down the SE flank. The highest ash plume rose 4,000 m on 24 April. JMA calculated that about 1.2 million tons of ash fell during April, the largest monthly amount recorded since 2006.

Several of the 169 explosions at the Showa crater during May 2015 produced ejecta that was deposited up to 1.8 km from the crater. Many explosions had plume heights exceeding 3,000 m. A small emission, rising 200 m, was observed from the Minamidaki crater on 12 May and was the first in several months. JMA scientists observed 2-cm-diameter tephra in the vicinity of Kurojin-cho, Kagoshima-shi on 14 May, likely from an explosion the previous day; significant ashfall covered the ground as well. The highest ash plume of the month rose 4,300 m above the Showa crater on 21 May 2015 (figures 51 and 52).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. An ash plume rose 4,300 m above Sakurajima on 21 May 2015, shown in this webcam image from Kagoshima. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. A dense plume of ash drifted S and E from Sakurajima on 21 May 2015. This natural-color satellite image was taken by the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

Activity during June-December 2015. Five of the 64 explosions recorded during June produced ejecta that landed up to 1.3 km from the Showa Crater (figure 53). A 3,300-m-high ash plume on 1 June was the highest for the month. After three explosions on 4 June, a small pyroclastic flow traveled 400 m down the E flank. A second small event on 22 June at Minamidake produced a gray plume that rose 200 m.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Ash rose from Showa Crater at Sakurajima on 9 June 2015. Image taken by a drone managed by Naoto Yoshitome and Krishima Aerial Photography. Courtesy of Naoto Yoshitome, Twitter.

Activity decreased significantly beginning in July 2015, with 14 explosions reported from the Showa Crater, and declined further during August with only 5 explosions. A small explosion from the Minamidake crater on 16 July sent emissions likely containing ash (described as "non-white") to 200 m. A rapid increase in seismicity directly beneath Minamidake began on 15 August and lasted about 48 hours; along with tiltmeter and strainmeter observations of rapid inflation (figure 54), this led JMA to briefly raise the Alert Level from 3 (Do not approach the volcano) to 4 (Prepare to evacuate) an a scale of 1-5. They lowered it back to 3 on 1 September 2015. Only small explosions with tephra ejected up to 800 m were recorded during the rest of the August. Minor emissions occurred at Minamidake Crater on 30 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. An interference image of Sakurajima using PALSAR-2 high-resolution mode (3 m resolution) data comparing displacement between 4 January and 16 August 2015. The data showed a displacement toward the satellite (inflation) of about 16 cm maximum (within the white square), on the E side of the Minamidake summit crater. The synthetic aperture radar (PALSAR - 2) equipped with Daichi 2 (Land Observing Satellite No. 2 "Daichi 2" (ALOS- 2)) can measure the displacement of the ground surface (how much the ground moved) by taking the difference between two sets of observation data. Such an analysis method is called interference SAR analysis (or interferometry, InSAR). The color changes represent the differences in the two observations, a pattern of green to red to blue indicates movement of the surface towards the satellite (inflation); a pattern of green to blue to red indicates movement away from the satellite (deflation). Courtesy of JAXA (http://www.eorc.jaxa.jp/ALOS-2/img_up/jpal2_sakurajima_20150816-17.htm).

Incandescence at the Showa Crater was observed several times during September 2015; 46 explosive events were reported. The first significant explosions at the Minamidake summit crater since 7 November 2014 occurred on 13 and 28 September. The 28 September plume rose to 2,700 m above the crater rim. Tiltmeter data indicated no additional inflation since the rapid ground deformation of 15-16 August. The last explosive event of 2015 reported by JMA at the Showa crater was on 17 September and at the Minamidaki crater on 29 September.

The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash emission on 14 October 2015 that rose to 1.8 km and drifted SW. This was the last VAAC report until 5 February 2016. No explosions were recorded at the Showa crater in October, but minor ash emissions were reported on 14, 15, 21, 22, and 30 October. No activity was observed at Minamidake. Data from continuous GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) observations suggested that deflation began after the 15 August rapid inflation event.

A minor emission was reported by JMA from the Showa crater on 2 November 2015, the last emission reported for the year. After not having explosive activity since late September, JMA lowered the Alert Level to 2 (Do not approach the crater) on 25 November, reducing the exclusion area to 1 km around the two craters. Only steam plumes rising 50-200 m above the Showa crater and 50-600 m above the Minamidake crater were observed during December 2015.

Aerial observation on 2 December 2015 revealed 100-m-high steam plumes around the floor of the Showa crater. Thermal observations showed high heat flow around the edges and at the center of the crater floor, unchanged since the previous observation in August 2015; 200-m-high steam plumes around the Minamidake crater prevented observation of the crater floor.

Activity during 2016. No explosive activity was observed at Showa or Minamidake craters from October 2015 to 5 February 2016. JMA raised the Alert Level back to 3 after a substantial explosion on 5 February sent incandescent tephra up to 1.8 km from the Showa crater; lightning was observed in the ash cloud (figure 55). The Tokyo VAAC reported that an ash plume visible in satellite imagery was at 3 km altitude drifting SE. Multiple explosions continued from the Showa crater for the rest of February with ash plumes rising to 2.2 km above the crater, and tephra was frequently ejected 1.3 km from the crater. Four MODVOLC thermal alerts in February were the only alerts for 2016. At the Minamidake summit crater, minor emissions occurred on 8, 9, and 20 February with plumes rising 800 m above the crater rim.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Incandescent tephra explodes from Showa crater at Sakurajima on 5 February 2016 after three months of inactivity. Photo by Kyoto News/AP. Courtesy of the Washington Post.

Eight explosions at the Showa crater were reported by JMA, and six at the Minamidake summit crater during March 2016. Ash plumes at Minamidake on 4, 8, and 11 March rose 1,600-1,900 m above the crater rim; on 25 and 26 March they rose 2,000 m. Minor emissions were also noted on 14 and 15 March. Three explosions from the Showa Crater on 26 March sent ash plumes 2,700 m high (figure 56); tephra as large as 8 mm in diameter was found in areas 4 km E.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Multiple explosions on 26 March 2016 at Sakurajima sent tephra as large as 8 mm in diameter as far as 4 km from Minamidake crater. Image taken from a drone managed by Naoto Yoshidome. Courtesy of Naoto Yoshidome, Twitter.

Activity increased during April 2016 with 51 emission events that included 15 explosions at Showa, and JMA reported inflation again after several months of stability. Reports of falling tephra, 2 cm in diameter, came from a town 3 km S after explosions were witnessed during 1-3 April. On 1 April, an explosion at Minamidake summit crater produced an ash plume which rose 800 m above its crater rim; another on 3 April rose 1,700 m. Minor emissions also occurred at Minamidake on 5, 6, and 9 April. Explosions on 6 and 8 April at Showa sent ash plumes 3,500-3,700 m high and tephra 1.3 km. During the 8 April explosion at Showa, a small pyroclastic flow traveled 400 m down the E flank, the first since June 2015. A 2,200-m-high ash plume rose from Showa crater on 17 April. Minor emissions that rose 800 m were detected at Minamidake on 20 and 28 April. Two explosions occurred on 27 April at Showa, followed by additional explosions on 28, 29, and 30 April; the events generated ash plumes that rose 3,000 m. Pyroclastic flows were generated during the events of 28 and 30 April; they each flowed about 500 m, SE and E, respectively.

A large explosion at the Showa crater on 1 May sent an ash plume to 4,100 m above the crater rim (figure 57). It was the first time since 21 May 2015 that a plume rose higher than 4,000 m. At the Minamidake summit crater, ash emissions on 1 and 13 May rose 3,500 and 3,700 m, respectively, the first plumes at Minamidake over 3,000 m since October 2009. An explosion on 8 May at Showa sent an ash plume over 3,300 m above the crater rim, and tephra reached 1,300 m from the crater. Numerous ash emissions continued throughout the month, some with plumes rising to 3,500 m. The Tokyo VAAC issued 26 reports between 13 and 22 May. Activity diminished toward the end of the month, but minor inflation continued.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. An explosive eruption at Sakurajima's Showa Crater on 1 May 2016 sent an ash plume 4,100 m above the crater that drifted SE. It was the highest plume in the last year. Taken with the "Cattle Root" webcam, courtesy of JMA (May 2016 Monthly Sakurajima report).

Multiple ash emissions in early June 2016 produced plumes as high as 2,000 m above the Showa crater rim. An explosion on 3 June produced a pyroclastic flow that traveled 400 m SE, and tephra that was ejected 800 m from the crater. An emission at the Minamidake crater on 3 June rose 1,500m high. No further explosive activity was reported for June; only a minor emission from the Showa crater on 29 June. During the month, the Tokyo VAAC issued only six reports (during 2-3 June).

Two explosive events were recorded at Showa crater in July 2016. An explosion occurred on 2 July that produced a 1,200-m-high ash plume and sent large blocks 800 m from the crater. A substantial explosion on 26 July at Showa sent blocks 800 m from the crater, and produced an ash plume that rose 5,000 m. A minor amount of ashfall on the W and SW flanks of Sakurajima was observed, and ashfall was confirmed in a wide area from Kagoshima City (10 km W) to Hioki City (25 km NW). The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume drifting SW at 6.1 km altitude that day.

Minor emissions were observed at the Minamidake crater intermittently throughout August 2016, but no emissions or explosions were reported from Showa. The Tokyo VAAC reported a low-level ash plume on 22 August at 1.2 km altitude drifting 50 km SW (figure 58). This was the last VAAC report for 2016. Although there were no emissions or explosive activity reported from either crater during September-December 2016, inflation of the volcano continued, and thus the Alert Level remained at 3.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. An ash emission rose from Sakurajima's Minamidake crater on the morning of 22 August 2016. This was the last reported ash emission of 2016. Taken from the Tarumizu City MBC (Minaminihon Broadcasting Co., Ltd.) webcam no. 14, located about 14 km E. Courtesy of Minaminihon Broadcasting Co., Ltd. (http://www.mbc.co.jp/web-cam/).

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) (URL: http://global.jaxa.jp/); Associated Press (URL: http://www.ap.org/); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/ ); Naoto Yoshidome, Twitter (URL: https://twitter.com); Minaminihon Broadcasting Co., Ltd (MBC). (http://www.mbc.co.jp/web-cam/).


Ambae (Vanuatu) — February 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambae

Vanuatu

15.389°S, 167.835°E; summit elev. 1496 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruption begins in early September 2017, forcing evacuation of thousands

Ambae (formerly called Aoba) is a large basaltic shield volcano in the New Hebrides arc that has generated periodic phreatic and pyroclastic explosions originating in the summit crater lakes Manaro Lakua and Voui during the last 25 years; the central edifice with the active summit craters is also commonly referred to as Lombenben, Manaro Voui, or simply the Manaro volcano. From late November 2005 to mid-February 2006 explosions from Lake Voui resulted in the formation of a pyroclastic cone in the lake. By late November 2006 the side of the cone was breached, and its central crater filled with lake water (figure 30, BGVN 31:12). The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) reported intermittent increases in degassing activity between 2006 and August 2017, and minor ash emissions during June-July 2011 and August 2016. An explosive eruption from a new pyroclastic cone in the lake began in mid-September 2017 and lasted through mid-November. This report summarizes activity between 2010 and the new eruption in September 2017 and provides details for the eruption through December 2017, with information provided primarily by the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory of VMGD, the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and satellite data from several sources.

Local ashfall around the pyroclastic cone in Lake Voui during June-July 2011 and August 2016 were the only eruptive events between February 2006 and September 2017, although intermittent SO2 emissions were noted throughout the period. Renewed explosive activity was reported beginning on 6 September 2017. Lava was first observed on 22 September emerging from a vent at the summit of the pyroclastic cone. Ash plumes and fountaining lava persisted for a few weeks as the pyroclastic cone increased in size. Activity became more intermittent by mid-October, but explosions still produced ash plumes; the highest was reported at 9.1 km altitude. Pulses of thermal activity suggesting lava flows continued through early November. The last ash emission of the year was reported on 23 November 2017, after which only steam and gas were noted.

Activity during 2010-August 2017. After several years of quiet since early 2006, substantial gas plumes were observed beginning in December 2009 and the Volcanic Alert Level was raised to 1 (on a 0-5 scale). Plumes of gas emissions were observed during 6-11 April 2010, and steam emissions were photographed during 3-4 June 2010 (figure 32).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Steam plumes rose from the crater of the pyroclastic cone in Lake Voui at Ambae on 4 June 2010. Courtesy of Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) (Vanuatu Volcanic Activity Bulletin No. 1-Ambae activity, Monday, July 11th, 2011).

Sulfur dioxide emissions were often elevated, and plumes were identified multiple times with satellite instruments during 2011 (figure 33). Local ashfall around the crater of the pyroclastic cone in Lake Voui was reported after explosions and seismicity on 4 June 2011; additional explosions occurred on 10 July 2011. Compared to January 2010, the cone was significantly eroded when photographed on 12 July 2011.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. SO2 plumes from Ambae and Ambrym volcanoes during 2011. SO2 plumes drifted W from both Ambae (N) and Ambrym (S) on 19 April 2011 (left). The SO2 plume from Ambae is small but also distinct from the much larger plume from Ambrym on 30 October 2011 (right). It is often difficult to distinguish between the two sources of the SO2. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

While no ash emissions or explosions were reported during 2012 from Ambae, SO2 plumes were recorded by satellite instruments every month except June and August (figure 34). Villagers in Ambanga reported a "phase of minor activity" beginning in December 2012. Increased SO2 plumes were recorded in satellite data during December as well (figure 35). Nearby Ambrym often produces large SO2 plumes which obscure SO2 emissions from Ambae.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. SO2 plumes were recorded every month of 2012 except June and August. Plumes emerging from Ambae are often difficult to distinguish from larger plumes released from Ambrym, located 100 km S. Data from the OMI instrument on the Aura satellite on both 9 January and 5 April (top images) showed SO2 emissions from three volcanos in the New Hebrides arc; from N to S, Gaua, Ambae, and Ambrym. Plumes from both Ambae and Ambrym drifted SE on 21 September (lower left), and smaller plumes drifted W from both Ambrym and Ambae on 3 November (lower right). Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Increased gas emissions from Ambae were reported by nearby residents in Ambanga during December 2012. More frequent SO2 emissions were also recorded by the OMI satellite instrument including on 1 (top left), 12 (top right), 17 (bottom left), and 21 (bottom right) December 2012. Courtesy of NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center.

Site observations during 30 January-2 February 2013 confirmed continuing degassing at Lake Voui, and remnants of the old pyroclastic cone still visible in the lake. The Aura satellite instrument detected SO2 emissions a number of times throughout 2013-2016 (figure 36), and VMGD noted continuing unrest multiple times during 2015.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Selected SO2 emissions during 2013-2016 at Ambae. SO2 emissions drifted W from both Ambae (N) and Ambrym (S) on 13 February 2013 (top left). A rare image of an SO2 plume from Ambae with no plume from Ambrym was recorded on 5 May 2014 (top right). SO2 emissions were also distinct from each volcano on 10 November 2015 (bottom left) and 28 December 2016 (bottom right). Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

VMGD reported that during 18-19 August 2016 a steam plume was accompanied by a small ash emission in the caldera area. The Vanuatu Volcanic Alert Level (VVAL) was raised from 1 to 2 on 21 August 2016 and remained there for just over a year. Changing conditions were first reported by VMGD on 30 August 2017.

Activity during September-December 2017. The Alert Level was raised to 3 on 6 September 2017, indicating that a minor eruption was occurring. A week later VMGD reminded residents of the 3 km danger zone around the lake and added a 1 km exclusion zone within that area (figure 37). Explosive activity began building a new pyroclastic cone in Lake Voui, and ash plumes generated local ashfall on the island.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. "Safety Map" showing hazard zones in the summit area of Ambae, consisting of a Danger Zone A (red oval line) around the summit caldera and a 1-km-radius Exclusion Zone around Manaro Voui. Courtesy of VMGD (Vanuatu Volcano Alert Bulletin No 10-Ambae Activity, Friday September 15th 2017).

On 22 September 2017, lava was observed at the surface by VMGD staff, there was a MODVOLC thermal alert, and a volcanic ash advisory was issued by the Wellington VAAC. The VAAC report estimated the ash plume observed in satellite data to be at an altitude of 3 km drifting E. On 23 September the VMGD stated that activity had continued to increase, prompting them to raise the VVAL to 4, indicating that a moderate eruption was taking place. They warned that ejecta and gas would affect an area within 6.5 km of Lake Voui, and many communities were at risk from various types of volcanic activity (figure 38). A dense plume of dark ash was photographed on 23 September by airplane travelers going to Ambae (figure 39).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Volcanic hazard map for Ambae. On 23 September 2017, VMGD raised the alert level to 4 and warned that ejecta and gas would likely affect an area within 6.5 km of Lake Voui (pink zone). Villages located in the gray and orange areas of the map could see ashfall and other hazards such as lahars and pyroclastic flows. The lighter area outlined with a dashed border indicates where villages would be more susceptible to ashfall and acid rain based on the general wind direction. Courtesy of VMGD (Vanuatu Volcano Alert Bulletin No. 11 - Ambae Activity, Saturday, September 23rd, 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Ash emission photographed on 23 September 2017 from an airplane going to Ambae. Courtesy of Batik Bong Shem, Facebook.

Eruptive activity increased over the next few days. Larger explosions generated ash plumes that caused local ashfall. A photo taken on 24 September showed incandescent ejections and an ash plume rising from the pyroclastic cone (figure 40). The Wellington VAAC reported intermittent emissions that day at 2.4 km altitude drifting N, and again on 26 September at 2.1 km altitude drifting W. The New Zealand Defense Force conducted an overflight on 25 September 2017 and witnessed incandescence at the summit and lava flowing into the lake (figures 41, 42, and 43).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. An eruption from the pyroclastic cone in Lake Voui at Ambae on 24 September 2017. Courtesy of Yumi Toktok Stret News, Facebook.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) aerial survey on 25 September 2017 showed large columns of gas, ash, and volcanic rocks emerging from Lake Voui on Ambae. Courtesy of NZDF.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Lava flows into Lake Voui at Ambae, causing steam plumes. Incandescence is visible at the cone's summit through the clouds. The photo was likely taken on 25 or 26 September 2017. Posted by Geoff Reid NZ on Facebook on 2 October 2017.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Incandescent lava from the crater of the Lake Voui cone was photographed at Ambae on 25 September 2017. Image courtesy of Reuters, reported by BBC.

A 27 September a news article from ABC.net stated that about 8,000 residents had been evacuated from the northern and southern parts of the island to eastern and western areas. An overflight by the New Zealand Defence Force showed ongoing activity. Multiple MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued nearly every day from 22 September through 7 October.

Photographs and thermal infrared images taken by VMGD during observation flights on 30 September and 1 October 2017 showed explosions of tephra, and lava flowing from small vents into the lake (figures 44-48). The number of vents on the cone varied from 2 to 4 during the observation flights.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Aerial view of the pyroclastic cone that formed in Lake Voui during September in the Ambae summit caldera. The active lava-producing vents are near the center of the island. The blue steaming zone is a lava flow. The white steaming to the right is lava entering the lake. Photo taken on 30 September 2017. Courtesy of VMGB, posted on Facebook 2 October 2017.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. The pyroclastic cone in Lake Voui at the summit of Ambae had active steam, ash, and gas emissions, in addition to lava flowing into the lake, on 1 October 2017. Courtesy of VMGD.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Aerial view of the cone that formed in Lake Voui during September 2017 in the summit caldera of Ambae. The Manaro Lakua lake can be seen in the background. The active vents are near the center of the island. The white steaming zone at the far end of the island was caused by lava flows entering the lake. Photo taken on 1 October 2017. Courtesy of VMGB, posted on Facebook 2 October 2017.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Infrared aerial view of the volcanic cone that has formed in Lake Voui during September 2017 near the summit of Ambae Island. The active lava producing vents are the hottest areas near the center of the island (inwhite). The white streak in the foreground is a lava flow. The red areas in the foreground are areas where lava recently entered the lake. The caldera rim at the summit of Ambae is visible in the background. Photo taken on 1 October 2017. Courtesy of VMGB, posted on Facebook, 2 October 2017.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Closeup view of a lava flow from the cone entering into Lake Voui at Ambae on 1 October 2017. Courtesy of VMGB, posted on Facebook 2 October 2017.

On 6 October 2017, the VMGD noted that there was no evidence of the eruption escalating; the Alert Level was lowered to 3 and residents and tourists were reminded to stay outside of the Red Zone, defined as a 3 km radius around the active cone. The Wellington VAAC reported ash emissions on 9 October visible in satellite imagery spreading N of the island as high as 3.7 km altitude. They reported low-level (2.4-4.6 km) ash plumes daily through 15 October. A short-lived eruption on 13 October produced an ash plume clearly visible in satellite imagery that rose to 9.1 km altitude.

Webcam observations and seismic analysis reported on 13 October by VMGD indicated ongoing minor explosive activity and ash emission from vents on the cone in Lake Voui over the previous several days (figure 49). Lava had apparently ceased flowing to the lake. The local population from Ambae and neighboring islands could still hear some of the explosions, see volcanic ash and gas plumes, and see incandescence at night. Multiple MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on 15 and 16 October, and again during 19-23 October. Wellington VAAC reports during 22-23 October indicated intermittent low-level ash plumes at 2.4-3.7 km altitude moving E.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. An ash plume rises over Ambae island on 12 October 2017 in this photo taken from Santo - Pekoa Airport 65 km W on Espiritu Santo Island. Photo by Steve Clegg, courtesy of VMGD (posted on their Facebook page).

A new surge of activity created multiple MODVOLC thermal alerts between 27 October and 1 November 2017. The Wellington VAAC reported an ash plume on 29 October at 6.1 km altitude drifting SE. The activity ceased, and the plume dissipated by the end of the day. VMGD reported on 31 October that seismic activity was ongoing, and explosions could be seen in webcam photos; incandescence and explosions were also heard and seen from neighboring islands at night.

Webcam photos from 5 and 6 November showed that ash emissions and incandescent explosions continued (figures 50 and 51). The Wellington VAAC reported an ash emission rising to 4.3 km altitude and drifting W on 5 November. By the next day the altitude of the ash plume had dropped to 2.1 km. This was followed late on 6 November by an ash emission reported at 3.9 km altitude extending 25 km W and SW of the volcano, which continued through the next day. Another emission on 8 November drifted W at 3 km altitude for several hours before dissipating. Fourteen MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on 5 November, and two more the next day. A final alert on 9 November was the last for 2017.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Webcam images of Ambae indicate that ash emissions and incandescent explosions were continuing on 5 November 2017. Image taken from the Saratamata webcam located 22 km NE on the NE tip of Ambae Island. Courtesy of VMGD, posted on Facebook 5 November 2017.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Steam and ash emissions were visible from the Saratamata webcam (22 km NE) in the early morning of 6 November 2017. Courtesy of VMGD, posted on Facebook 5 November 2017 (UTC).

VGO reported on 8 November 2017 that the eruption had been continuing, and photos taken during the first week of the month confirmed that the pyroclastic cone in Lake Voui continued to grow in height and size, with frequent explosions and ash plumes. The Wellington VAAC reported a ground observation of an ongoing minor eruption on 21 November that produced an ash plume that rose to 1.8 km altitude. By the following day, the plume appeared to be mostly steam. A new eruption the next day (23 November) produced a plume estimated at 3.7 km altitude moving W. An ash emission later that day was estimated at 3 km altitude drifting N based on satellite imagery. It had dissipated by the following day, and there were no further VAAC reports issued during 2017.

By 7 December 2017, activity had decreased significantly, and emissions consisted of only steam and gas plumes; VMGD lowered the Alert Level from 3 to 2, and reduced the restricted area to within 2 km of the active vent in Lake Voui, noting that the eruption had ceased. The MIROVA plot of Log Radiative Power at Ambae (Aoba) correlates well with visual and thermal observations of activity between 23 September and early November 2017 (figure 52). Significant quantities of SO2 were released at Ambae during October-December 2017 (figure 53). SO2 emissions continued into December after the ash emissions ceased.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. The MIROVA plot of Log Radiative Power at Ambae (Aoba) for the year ending on 29 December 2017 correlates well with visual and thermal observations of activity between 23 September and early November 2017. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Significant quantities of SO2 were released from Ambae during October-December 2017. Variable wind directions seem to create complex patterns of SO2 plumes. Emissions on 23 and 28 October (top), 8, 13, and 17 November (middle row and bottom left) all show plumes that appear to be mostly sourced from Ambae, but some component of source from Ambrym is also likely. By 31 December 2017 (bottom right) SO2 emissions at Ambae were still significant even though no ash emissions had been reported for over a month. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Geologic Background. The island of Ambae, also known as Aoba, is a massive 2,500 km3 basaltic shield that is the most voluminous volcano of the New Hebrides archipelago. A pronounced NE-SW-trending rift zone dotted with scoria cones gives the 16 x 38 km island an elongated form. A broad pyroclastic cone containing three crater lakes (Manaro Ngoru, Voui, and Manaro Lakua) is located at the summit within the youngest of at least two nested calderas, the largest of which is 6 km in diameter. That large central edifice is also called Manaro Voui or Lombenben volcano. Post-caldera explosive eruptions formed the summit craters about 360 years ago. A tuff cone was constructed within Lake Voui (or Vui) about 60 years later. The latest known flank eruption, about 300 years ago, destroyed the population of the Nduindui area near the western coast.

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department, 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/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd (MetService), PO Box 722, Wellington, New Zealand (URL: http://www.metservice.com/vaac/, http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/OTH/NZ/messages.html); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); New Zealand Defence Force (URL: http://www.nzdf.mil.nz/); BBC News (URL: http://www.bbc.com/news); ABC News (http://abcnews.go.com/); Batik Bong Shem, Facebook (URL: https://www.facebook.com/batick.shem); Yumi Toktok Stret News, Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/ytsnews.today/); Geoff Reid NZ, Facebook (URL: https://www.facebook.com/GeoffReidNZ/).


Ambrym (Vanuatu) — February 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambrym

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Elevated seismicity in early August 2017-early November 2017, lava lakes remain

Occasional weak eruptions and low-level ash emissions are typical of activity at Ambrym. The most recent ash emission was on 3 April 2017 (BGVN 42:05). The current report summarizes activity from late April through December 2017.

On 30 August 2017, the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) reported that "drastic changes" at Ambrym prompted an increase in the Alert Level from 2 to 3 (on a scale of 0-5). Areas deemed hazardous were near and around the active vents (Benbow, Maben-Mbwelesu, Niri-Mbwelesu and Mbwelesu), and in downwind areas prone to ashfall. According to a news report (Radio New Zealand), a representative of VMGD indicated that the Alert Level change was based on increased seismicity detected since the beginning of August, but which became more notable on 25 August.

According to VMGD, aerial observations on 24 and 30 September, and 1 and 6 October, combined with analysis of seismic data, confirmed that minor eruptive activity within the caldera was characterized by hot volcanic gas and steam emissions. Areas deemed hazardous were within a 2-km radius from Benbow Crater and a 3-km radius from Marum Crater.

A news report (The Vanuatu Independent) quoted an official from VMGD as stating that on 8 November 2017 at 0500, the Niri-Mbwelesu eruptive vent emitted a minor ash plume. On 7 December 2017, VGO lowered the Alert Level to 2, noting that activity had stabilized by the end of November and was characterized by gas-and-steam emissions. Seismicity had also declined. The report reminded the public to stay outside of the Permanent Danger Zone, defined as a 1-km radius from Benbow Crater and a 2.7-km radius from Marum Crater.

During the reporting period, thermal anomalies based on MODIS satellite instruments and analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, continued to be numerous every month, possibly reflecting lava lakes in Benbow and Marum craters. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system also detected numerous hotspots every month within 5 km of the volcano.

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, 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/); Radio New Zealand (URL: https://www.radionz.co.nz); The Vanuatu Independent (URL: https://vanuatuindependent.com/); 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/); Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity (MIROVA), Mirova (collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence, Italy)(URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it).


Fernandina (Ecuador) — February 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Fernandina

Ecuador

0.37°S, 91.55°W; summit elev. 1476 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Brief fissure eruption sends lava flow down the SW flank in early September 2017

Eruptions at Fernandina Island in the Galapagos often occur from vents located around the caldera rim along boundary faults and fissures, and occasionally from side vents on the flank. The last eruption in 2009 generated fountaining basaltic lava along several fissure vents. Lava flowed down the SW flank and entered the sea for a few weeks during April 2009. A new eruption began on 4 September 2017 after eight years of no surface activity, and lasted for about one week. Information about this new eruption was provided by Ecuador's Institudo Geofisica, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), the Dirección del Parque Nacional Galápagos (DPNG), the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and several sources of satellite data.

A brief fissure vent eruption began on 4 September 2017 at Fernandina, located at the SW rim of the caldera. Small amounts of ash were noted in the plume that rose 2.5 km, but most of the emission was steam and SO2. Vegetation fires were ignited on the SW flank, but lava did not reach the ocean. There was no sign of volcanic activity within the summit crater. A significant area with thermal anomalies was seen in infrared satellite data through 7 September.

Eruption of early September 2017. After eight years of little activity, Fernandina (La Cumbre) began a new eruptive phase on 4 September 2017, at approximately 1225 (Galápagos time) (figure 22). Inflation between March 2015 and September 2017 was 17 cm centered on the caldera; 5 cm of that inflation occurred in the last two months before the eruption (figure 23).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Fernandina began a new eruption on 4 September 2017. The initial plume was mostly steam, but contained significant SO2 and possibly minor ash. Photo by DPNG personnel, courtesy of IG-EPN (INFORME ESPECIAL VOLCÁN FERNANDINA N°1 – 2017, Lunes, 04 Septiembre 2017 16:49).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Interferogram image of Fernandina between 19 March 2015 and 4 September 2017 shows about 17 cm of inflation in the caldera. Each concentric band of colors within the caldera represents several centimeters of inflation. Created by Yu Zhou and Mike Stock, courtesy of IG-EPN (INFORME ESPECIAL DEL VOLCÁN FERNANDINA N°2 – 2017, Miércoles, 06 Septiembre 2017 17:16).

Seismic activity began with hybrid-type earthquakes (fractures with fluid movements) followed by Long Period (LP) earthquakes (fluid movements). The seismic network of the Geophysical Institute installed in the Galapagos began to detect activity at the volcano around 0955 on 4 September 2017. The beginning of the eruption was associated with a volcanic tremor that began at 1225. At 1428, an eruptive column was visible in satellite imagery, interpreted at an approximate height of 4,000 m above the crater, drifting WNW (figure 24).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. This false-color satellite image of Fernandina on 4 September 2017 showed the eruption column drifting NW estimated at 4,000 m altitude. Source: http://goes.higp.hawaii.edu/cgi-bin/imageview?sitename=galapagos. Courtesy of IG-EPN (INFORME ESPECIAL VOLCÁN FERNANDINA N°1 – 2017, Lunes, 04 Septiembre 2017 16:49).

The Washington VAAC reported that satellite imagery indicated a lava eruption which produced a plume of steam and gas that rose to 2,400 m above sea level and extended about 60 km W of the summit. While initially no ash was reported in the plume, a few hours later a new VAAC report suggested that minor ash was possibly present, although it was most likely primarily SO2. Satellite data reported by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center showed SO2 emissions on 4-6 and 8 September (figure 25).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. SO2 emissions from Fernandina were identified with the OMI instrument on the Aura satellite and the OMPS instrument on Japan's Suomi satellite during 4-8 September 2017. Upper left: A small SO2 emission emerges very close in time to the first reported observation of the eruption on 4 September. Upper right: The low-resolution OMPS image clearly shows a large plume drifting W about 24 hours later. Lower left and right: SO2 is present NW of the Galapagos over the eastern Pacific on 6 and 8 September. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Thermal alerts indicative of fresh lava flows from the rim of the summit crater were first reported by MODVOLC on 4 September 2017 (UTC), and abundant through 7 September (figure 26). No thermal anomalies were recorded in MODVOLC data on 8 September. An additional group of alert pixels was recorded on 9 September, but it's not clear if they were caused by fresh lava flows or burning fires; a few more intermittent pixels were recorded through 20 September. The MIROVA system also captured a significant spike in heatflow at Fernandina during the same period (figure 27). Some of the anomalies measured by both systems were likely the result of the fires caused by the lava flows as well as the flows themselves.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Map showing the location of new lava flows at Fernandina during 4-7 September 2017 using MODVOLC thermal alerts. Fires may have caused some of the alert pixels. Courtesy of HIGP MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. MIROVA thermal anomalies show a spike in activity at Fernandina during the period of the September 2017 eruption in this graph of log radiative power for the year ending on 16 October 2017. The initial spike that was located more than 5 km from the summit confirms the lava flows were located on the crater rim and flank and not in the summit crater. Some anomalies may also be due to the fires caused by the lava flows. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Incandescence was first observed during the night of 4 September (figure 28). Lava flows apparently originated from a circumferential fissure near the fissure of the 2005 eruption on the SSW rim of the caldera. The lava flowed down the S and SW flanks but did not reach the sea. Active lava flows were observed during the night of 5 September (figure 29). The intensity of the eruption decreased significantly after about 48 hours.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Incandescence at Fernandina on 4 September 2017. Photo by Alex Medina, courtesy of IG-EPN (INFORME ESPECIAL DEL VOLCÁN FERNANDINA N°2 – 2017, Miércoles, 06 Septiembre 2017 17:16).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. A lava flow is visible on the SW flank of Fernandina on 5 September 2017. Photo by Alex Medina, courtesy of IG-EPN (INFORME ESPECIAL DEL VOLCÁN FERNANDINA N°2 – 2017, Miércoles, 06 Septiembre 2017 17:16).

A technical team from the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park (DPNG) made an aerial inspection using the seaplane Sea Wolf on 7 September 2017. They observed a radial fissure in the same area where the 2005 eruption occurred, and several lava flows. No recent volcanic activity or any landslides were seen inside the caldera. The lava flows had ceased movement, but there were isolated fires burning patches of vegetation surrounded by older lava flows (figures 30 and 31). The lava had traveled from the summit crater at about 1,200 m down to 500 m elevation. While lava was not observed flowing into the sea, coastal monitoring by the park rangers showed water vapor on the SW coast, so it was possible that lava had reached the ocean through subsurface lava tubes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. Lava flows burn vegetation on Fernandina during the eruption of September 2017. Observers on a 7 September 2017 flyover by DPNG reported that the active flows had ceased, but vegetation was burning at four different sites. Courtesy of Directorate of the Galapagos National Park (DPNG) (11/09/2017– Sobrevuelo al volcán La Cumbre, en Galápagos).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Vegetation on Fernandina burns on 7 September 2017 after lava flows erupted beginning on 4 September 2017. There was no evidence of flowing lava during the overflight. Courtesy of the Galapagos Conservancy.

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 (IG-EPN), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, 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/); 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 Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/index.html ); Galapagos Conservancy, (URL:https://www.galapagos.org).


Fuego (Guatemala) — February 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seven eruptive episodes during July-December 2017

Guatemala's Volcán de Fuego was continuously active throughout 2017, and has been erupting vigorously since 2002; historical observations of eruptions date back to 1531. These eruptions have resulted in major ashfalls, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and damaging lahars. Reports of activity are provided by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), and aviation alerts of ash plumes are issued by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Satellite data from NASA, NOAA, and other sources provide valuable information about heat flow and gas emissions.

Activity remained high at Fuego throughout July-December 2017. Background levels of activity included frequent explosions (4-6 per hour) with incandescent material rising 150 m above the summit and sending blocks 200 m down the flanks. Block avalanches commonly traveled down the major ravines for hundreds of meters. Ash plumes regularly rose 500-1,000 m above the summit (4.3-4.8 km altitude); ashfall affected communities SW of the summit within 15 km every week. During the multiple short-lived (48-hour or less) eruptive episodes, the hourly explosion rates increased significantly (6-12 per hour), and incandescent material often rose 300 m above the summit; one or more lava flows would also travel more than a kilometer down major ravines. Higher ash plumes (often rising to 5-6 km altitude) during the eruptive episodes sent ash plumes drifting hundreds of kilometers in various directions causing ashfall in cities tens of kilometers away in various directions. Pyroclastic flows often accompanied the eruptive episodes. Seven episodes were reported by INSIVUMEH during July-December 2017 (table 17); they are clearly discernible as periods of higher heat flow in the MIROVA thermal anomaly data (figure 73) as well.

Table 17. Eruptive episodes at Fuego during July-December 2017. Information provided primarily by INSIVUMEH. Some ash plume information is from the Washington VAAC.

Dates Episode Ash plume height Ash plume drift Ashfall areas Lava flow distances Lava flow drainages Pyroclastic flows
11-12 Jul 2017 6 5.1 km 35 km W 10-20 km WSW 2.3 km, 1.7 km Las Lajas, Santa Teresa --
07-08 Aug 2017 7 -- 20 km W 10-20 km W 1.5 km, 700 m Ceniza, Santa Teresa -- 
19-21 Aug 2017 8 6.1 km 75 km W, SW, WNW 20 km WSW 1.4 km, 1.2 km Ceniza, Santa Teresa (Seca) Santa Teresa
12-13 Sep 2017 9 4.6 km 65 km N 10-20 km WSW 1.3 km Seca (Santa Teresa) Seca (Santa Teresa)
27-28 Sep 2017 10 4.7 km 25 km W More than 30 km N, E 800 m, 500 m Seca, Las Lajas --
05-07 Nov 2017 11 4.8 km 25 km W, SW 8-12 km SW 1.2 km, 800 m Seca, Ceniza --
10-11 Dec 2017 12 5.0 km 20 km S, SW 20 km S, SW 1.5 km Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza --
Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. MIROVA thermal anomaly data for Fuego for 2017 shows the continuing activity that included intermittent pulses of high-heat-flow from twelve defined eruptive episodes shown by red arrows. Courtesy of MIROVA. Eruptive episodes defined by INSIVUMEH.

Activity during July 2017. Activity increased at Fuego during July 2017, compared with the previous month. INSIVUMEH reported that explosions per hour increased during 6-7 July from 4-7 to 7-10; a lava flow also traveled 1.5 km down Las Lajas ravine. Incandescent material was ejected 100-200 m above the crater rim and caused avalanches of material that traveled down the Ceniza (SSW), Taniluyá (SW), Santa Teresa (SW), and Trinidad (S) drainages (figure 74). Ash plumes during 7-9 July caused ashfall in Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), and possibly San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km N).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Incandescent material was ejected over a hundred meters above the summit of Fuego and blocks of material traveled hundreds of meters down the flank on 9 July 2017. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH and OVFGO (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Fuego (1402-09), Semana del 08 al 14de julio 2017).

The Washington VAAC reported dense ash emissions seen in satellite data on 10 July extending WNW 60 km from the summit at 4.6 km altitude. They noted that ashfall was reported 10 km SW from the summit the following morning. The 6th eruptive episode of the year occurred on 11-12 July 2017. Explosions generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1.3 km above the crater and drifted 35 km W, and shock waves rattled nearby structures. Ash fell in areas to the SW. Two lava flows were fed by lava fountains 150-250 m high; one flow traveled 2.3 km down the Las Lajas drainage and another traveled 1.7 km down the Santa Teresa (SW) drainage. The increased activity levels lasted for about 31 hours, with tens of explosions. Weak-to-moderate explosions continued afterwards, generating ash plumes that rose 850 m and drifted 6 km W.

Multiple explosions continued generating ash plumes and block avalanches during 13-14 July. On 16 July, a 30-m-wide, 2-m-deep, hot lahar descended tributaries of the Pantaleón (W) drainage, carrying blocks more than 2 m in diameter, branches, and tree trunks. The lahars again overtook the road between communities on the SW flank, isolating the village of Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW) and the Palo Verde estate. The Washington VAAC estimated that the ash plumes released early on 16 July rose to 5.2 km altitude, and drifted SE from the summit. By afternoon they had risen to 5.8 km and were drifting SW, extending about 75 km. Explosions during 17-18 July produced dense ash plumes that drifted 15 km W and NW causing ashfall in Panimache, Morelia, and Santa Sofía. Satellite imagery on 19 July showed an ash plume extending 65 km WNW of the summit in a narrow band at 4.3 km altitude. Similar plumes were reported daily between 19-23 July at 4.3-4.9 km altitude drifting generally W up to about 50 km before dissipating (figure 75).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Ash emissions were reported almost daily from Fuego during July 2017. A small pulse of ash on 20 July was captured on the Panimaché I webcam (10 km SW) in this view looking NE in the early morning. Courtesy of OVFGO-INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Fuego (1402-09), Semana del 15 al 21 de julio 2017).

Activity during August 2017. MODVOLC thermal alerts that were issued on 28 and 30 July confirmed the continuing incandescent summit activity which produced block avalanches down the major drainages. Multiple daily alerts were also issued during 15 days of August. Coordinadora Nacional Para la Reduccion de Desastres (CONRED) reported increased activity on 4 August that included 300-m-high ejections of incandescent material and a lava flow that traveled 600 m down the Ceniza ravine. During 7-8 August two lava fountains rose 150 m high, prompting INSIVUMEH to announce the seventh effusive episode at Fuego in 2017. The fountains fed lava flows, 1.5 km and 700 m long, in the Ceniza and the Santa Teresa ravines (figure 76). Explosions (occurring at a rate of 6-8 per hour) produced ash plumes that drifted 20 km W, causing ashfall in Panimache, Morelia, Santa Sofía, El Porvenir, and Yepocapa. The Washington VAAC also noted increasing ash emissions on 7 August. Weather clouds prevented observations from satellite images on 7 and 8 August, but the VAAC reported a "" strong hotspot in infrared imagery on 8 August. Although the lava flow in the Ceniza drainage remained active, explosive activity decreased to an average of three explosions per hour the following week, with ash emissions rising to 4.4-4.6 km and drifting 10 or more km W and SW, bringing ashfall to communities on the W and SW flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. A lava flow at Fuego during eruptive episode 7 descends the SE flank on 7 August 2017. Courtesy of OVFGO-INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo:, Volcán Fuego (1402-09), Semana del 5 al 11 de agosto 2017).

Activity intensified again during 19-20 August, when constant explosions generated ash plumes that rose 2.3 km above the crater and drifted more than 50 km W and SW. INSIVUMEH reported that the eighth effusive episode at Fuego in 2017 began on 20 August and lasted for about 48 hours. Two lava fountains, each 300 m high, fed lava flows that traveled 1.4 km SSW down the Ceniza ravine and 1.2 km W down the Seca (Santa Teresa) ravine (figure 77). Incandescent block avalanches occurred throughout the crater. Pyroclastic flows (figure 78) were concentrated in the Santa Teresa ravine, possibly filling the drainage with deposits (similar to activity from 5 May) and increasing the chances for lahars. A bright hotspot was visible in satellite imagery from 19-21 August. Seismicity remained elevated through 21 August. During 21 August, the Washington VAAC reported the ash plume near 5.5 km altitude extending 75 km WNW. A remnant cloud of ash was detected in satellite imagery over 200 km WNW of the summit in extreme SE Mexico late on 21 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Incandescent explosions and block avalanches descend the SE flank of Fuego during eruptive episode 8, 19-21 August 2017 in this view from the Panimaché I webcam. Courtesy of OVGFO-INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán de Fuego (1402-09), Semana del 19 al 25 de agosto 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. A pyroclastic flow descends the Santa Teresa ravine at Fuego during eruptive episode 8 on 21 August 2017 in this view from the Panimaché I webcam. Courtesy of OVGFO-INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán de Fuego (1402-09), Semana del 19 al 25 de agosto 2017).

INSIVUMEH reported that on 25 August multiple lahars descended the Pantaleón, Cenizas, El Jute, and Las Lajas drainages on Fuego's W, SSW, and SE flanks. The lahar in the Pantaleón river (fed by the Santa Teresa and El Mineral rivers) was 35 m wide, 2.5-3 m deep, and carried trees and blocks more than 2-3 m in diameter. The Cenizas lahar was about 25 m wide, 3 m deep, and carried blocks up to 2 m in diameter. The lahars in El Jute and Las Lajas drainages were 20 m wide, 1.5 m deep, and carried tree debris and blocks up to 2 m in diameter.

Explosions during 26-29 August generated ash plumes that rose as high as 950 m above the crater and drifted 7-12 km SW, W, and NW. The Washington VAAC reported near continuous emissions of ash on 28 August moving WSW and extending about 100 km at 4.6 km altitude, rising to 5.8 km altitude the following day. Incandescent material was ejected 100-200 m above the crater rim and caused avalanches of material around the crater area. Explosions were audible within a 20-km radius, and shock waves vibrated local structures. Ash fell in areas downwind including Panimache I and II, Morelia, Finca Palo verde, Sangre de Cristo, and El Porvenir. On 29 August, lahars 10 m wide and 1.5 m deep again descended the Santa Teresa and El Mineral drainages, carrying tree debris and blocks up to 2 m in diameter.

Activity during September 2017. Lahars were reported in the Santa Teresa and El Mineral drainages intermittently during September. Ash emissions continued to cause ashfall in communities within 10 km W and SW throughout the month. Continuous ejection of incandescent blocks rose 200-300 m above the crater and sent material 300 m down the flanks. The Washington VAAC reported a continuous plume of ash detected in satellite imagery and in the webcam extending about 95 km WSW on 8 September at 4.6 km altitude. INISVUMEH reported that the increase in activity during 8 September fed a lava flow that traveled 800 m down Barranca Seca.

The ninth eruptive episode of 2017 began late on 12 September and lasted about 35 hours (figure 79). Pyroclastic flows descended the Seca (Santa Teresa) ravine on the W flank, along with a lava flow that traveled 1.3 km during the episode. Ashfall was reported in Morelia, Palo Verde Estate, Sangre de Cristo, El Porvenir, Santa Sofía, and Panimaché I and II. The Washington VAAC reported that an ash plume extended about 65 km N from the summit on 13 September at 4.6 km altitude. After several days of weather clouds obscuring the satellite images, they reported a plume drifting W on 17 September extending 95 km from the summit. A hotspot intermittently appeared during 13-17 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Incandescent lava rises 200-300 m above the summit of Fuego, and a lava flow traveled down the Santa Theresa ravine on the W flank during eruptive episode 9 on 12 September 2017. View from Panimaché I webcam. Courtesy of OVFGO-INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán de Fuego (1402-09), Semana del 09 al 15 de septiembre 2017.

The Washington VAAC reported weak puffs of ash drifting N and quickly dissipating on 25 September, and another ash plume extending 15 km W on 28 September at 4.6 km. Hotspots were also observed both days in satellite images. INSIVUMEH reported eruptive episode 10 during 27-28 September, lasting about 40 hours. The ash plume generated during the episode drifted in multiple directions simultaneously (figure 80) and resulted in ashfall more than 30 km from the crater, primarily N and NE, in La Soledad (7 km N), Pastores (20 km NNE), San Miguel Dueñas (10 km NE) and Antigua Guatemala (20 km NE). The incandescent material reached 300 meters above the crater and fed two lava flows, the first went 300 m down the Seca Canyon, and the second traveled 500 m down Las Lajas Canyon.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. The ash plumes drift in multiple directions (W, NW, SW and S) from the summit of Fuego on 28 September 2017 during eruptive episode 10. Image taken in San Pedro Yepocapa, 8 km NW. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán de Fuego (1402-09), Semana del 23 al 29 de septiembre 2017).

Seven lahars were recorded during September in the main ravines of Fuego, on days 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 27, and 29, as a result of the unusually large amount of rainfall during the month (1,059 mm) (figure 81). The larger ones at the beginning of the month contained blocks up to 3 m in diameter, and many were warm enough to generate steam with strong odors of SO2. Several roads were damaged.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. High rainfall (1,059 mm) during September 2017 generated large lahars in the Seca, Mineral, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lahas, El Jute, and Honda ravines at Fuego, shown in purple. Many dirt roads (shown in red) were damaged. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (VOLCÁN DE FUEGO, INFORME MENSUAL, Septiembre 2017).

Activity during October 2017. Overall activity was quieter during October 2017. Background levels of activity included incandescent material rising up to 250 m above the summit and falling a similar distance down the flanks, and ash plumes rising to 4.4-5.0 km altitude and drifting more than 25 km W, NW, and E. Eight to twelve explosions per hour were not uncommon, although 4-6 per hour were more typical. A few of the block avalanches traveled 2 km down the flanks. The communities that experienced persistent ashfall were all located 10-20 km SW, and included Morelia, Palo Verde Farm, Sangre de Cristo, El Porvenir, Santa Sofía, and Panimaché I and II. Due to the wind conditions and increased activity during the first week of October, ashfall was also reported farther away in Guatemala City (40 km NE), Antigua Guatemala, Villa Nueva (30 km ENE) and San Miguel Petapa (35 km ENE). INSIVUMEH reported three increases in explosive activity during the month on 2, 3, and 5 October, but they did not develop into eruptive episodes.

Four lahars were reported on 1, 2, and 4 October in the Seca and Mineral drainages. They carried blocks of volcanic rocks and debris as large as 3 m in diameter and were 6-12 m wide and 1-2 m deep. The Washington VAAC reported a series of explosions on 4 October, after which ash emissions were seen in multispectral imagery at 5.2 km altitude drifting SW that reached as far as 75 km. They reported occasional puffs of ash on 15 October extending up to 95 km W of the summit. By 17 October, imagery showed continuous emissions with an ash plume extending 95 km SSW from the summit before dissipating. A possible ash plume was reported by the Washington VAAC on 31 October extending 45 km W from the summit at 4.3 km altitude.

Activity during November 2017. There were numerous periods of intermittent ash emissions during November. Continuous emissions often drifted 65-100 km or more SW or W at altitudes around 4.6-5.2 km during periods of activity. INSIVUMEH reported that during 2-3 November tremor at Fuego increased. Explosions during the first week averaged 5-8 per hour and ash plumes rose as high as 1.3 km above the crater. Incandescent material was ejected 300 m above the crater, causing avalanches that were confined to the crater. The 11th eruptive episode in 2017 began on 5 November and lasted for two days. Lava flowed 1-1.2 km W down the Seca drainage and 800 m SSW down the Ceniza drainage. Avalanches of material from the ends of the lava flows descended the flanks and reached vegetated areas.

Ashfall was reported in areas downwind in the communities 8-12 km SW including Morelia, Santa Sofia, Palo Verde Farm, and Panimaché I and II throughout the month. Shockwaves from explosions often rattled windows and roofs around the volcano. Avalanche blocks were reported in the Cenizas, Trinidad, Taniluyá and Seca canyons. Multiple VAAC reports were issued on 25 days of November, and multiple daily MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on 20 days of the month. On 10 November the emissions extended about 275 km WSW from the summit. A lahar during the third week descended the Seca and el Mineral drainages.

Activity during December 2017. Explosions averaged 4-8 per hour during most of December sending incandescent material 200-250 m above the crater. INSIVUMEH reported that the 12th eruptive episode at Fuego in 2017 began on 10 December and, based on seismicity, lasted for about 36 hours. Ash plumes from moderate-to-strong explosions rose as high as 1.2 km above the crater rim and drifted 20 km S and SW. Lava flowed as far as 1.5 km W down the Seca (Santa Teresa), SW down the Taniluyá, and SSW down the Ceniza ravines. Ash fell many times in the communities of La Rochela, San Andrés Osuna, Morelia, and Panimaché I and II. On 12 December there was an average of 10 explosions per hour, generating avalanches in the Ceniza and Taniluyá drainages and ashfall in nearby areas. Ashfall was also reported in San Miguel Dueñas, Alotenango, and Ciudad Vieja (13.5 km NE) on 14 December.

Multiple MODVOLC thermal alerts appeared on 20 days during December, and the Washington VAAC issued 91 reports of continuous or intermittent ash plume activity. During eruptive episode 12 on 11 December, they reported an intense hot spot seen at the crater in satellite imagery despite meteoric cloud cover. For most of the second half of December, either continuous or intermittent ash emissions drifted 100-150 km WNW from the summit before dissipating. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission on 20 December drifting WNW at 5.8 km altitude that extended over 300 km from the summit. A remnant of the plume was observed almost 450 km away late on 20 December before dissipating. Plumes were repeatedly observed over 200 km from the summit during 20-25 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: Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://conred.gob.gt/www/index.php ); 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/).


Sheveluch (Russia) — February 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

56.653°N, 161.36°E; summit elev. 3283 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lava dome growth continue through January 2018

An eruption at Sheveluch has been ongoing since 1999, and volcanic activity was previously described through August 2017 (BGVN 42:08). Ongoing activity consists of pyroclastic flows, explosions, and lava dome growth with a viscous lava flow in the N. Strong fumarole activity, ash explosions, hot avalanches and incandescence from the dome accompany this process. Explosions and ash flows were reported by Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) during the August 2017 through January 2018 period.

During this report period the Aviation Color Code (ACC) remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale), except for 10 January 2018 when it was briefly elevated to Red (highest level) and lowered back to Orange later the same day. Satellite infrared data also showed increased activity on this day. Ash plume altitudes ranged from a low of 5 km to a high of 11 km on 10 January 2018. The farthest lateral extent of the ash plume was reported at 990 km to the NE on 8 November 2017.

On 4 and 8 August 2017 large ash clouds reached altitudes of 6.5 km and approximately 10 km, respectively. Ashfall was reported in Klyuchi Village (50 km SW) on 8 August and drifted about 180 km E, NW, and NE during 12 and 15-16 August. On 7 September ash plumes rose to 8-10 km altitude and drifted NE, SE, and S; another ash plume was photographed on 8 September (figure 47). On 15-22 September ash plumes rose to 9-10 km altitude and drifted about 400 km NW, E, and SE. Explosions on 10 October generated ash plumes to 10 km altitude and drifted about 250 km N (figure 48). Plumes comprised of re-suspended ash drifted about 350 km SE on 12 October and about 230 km SE on 13 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Photo of an ash cloud from Sheveluch generated by an explosion on 8 September 2017. Photo by G. Teplitsky; courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Explosions from Sheveluch sent ash up to 10 km altitude on 10 October 2017. Photo from a webcam, courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT.

Explosions on 2 and 8 November generated ash plumes that rose to an altitude of 8 km and drifted approximately 990 km NE. Weather prevented observations on the other days from 4-10, 12-17, and 19-24 November. A strong explosive event on 5 December generated ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 10.5 km and 5 km and drifted NE and E, respectively. Explosions on 26 December generated an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 8 km and drifted about 300 km NE.

On 10 January 2018 satellite images captured an ash cloud with a dimension of 192 x 132 km drifting 230 km NE from explosions rising to altitudes of 10-11 km. In response, KVERT raised the ACC to Red. Later that same day, satellite images showed the ash cloud expanded to 350 x 180 km in dimension and had drifted 400 km E; the ACC was lowered back to Orange. The 10 January explosions began at 1035 with resulting ash that drifted about 900 km E during 10-11 January.

Thermal anomalies. As reported by KVERT, satellite imagery continue to detect the existence of a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch. The anomaly was reported on 10-30 days every month from August 2017 through January 2018. Detections of the thermal anomaly were lower in certain months because cloudy conditions obscured satellite imagery. The MIROVA system detected numerous hotspots every month during August 2017-January 2018, most of which were about 5 km or less from the summit with mainly low to a few high power signatures in August, September 2017 and January 2018. Thermal anomalies based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm were detected in 11-12 August 2017 and 10 January 2018 corresponding to the explosive eruptions on those days.

Geologic Background. The high, isolated massif of Sheveluch volcano (also spelled Shiveluch) rises above the lowlands NNE of the Kliuchevskaya volcano group. The 1300 km3 volcano is one of Kamchatka's largest and most active volcanic structures. The summit of roughly 65,000-year-old Stary Shiveluch is truncated by a broad 9-km-wide late-Pleistocene caldera breached to the south. Many lava domes dot its outer flanks. The Molodoy Shiveluch lava dome complex was constructed during the Holocene within the large horseshoe-shaped caldera; Holocene lava dome extrusion also took place on the flanks of Stary Shiveluch. At least 60 large eruptions have occurred during the Holocene, making it the most vigorous andesitic volcano of the Kuril-Kamchatka arc. Widespread tephra layers from these eruptions have provided valuable time markers for dating volcanic events in Kamchatka. Frequent collapses of dome complexes, most recently in 1964, have produced debris avalanches whose deposits cover much of the floor of the breached caldera.

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/).


Stromboli (Italy) — February 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Moderate increase in thermal energy and explosion rate, April-August 2017

Confirmed historical eruptions at Italy's Stromboli volcano go back 2,000 years as this island volcano in the Tyrrhenian Sea has been a natural beacon for eons with its near-constant fountains of lava. Eruptive activity at the summit consistently occurs from multiple vents at both a north crater area (N Area) and a southern crater group (S or CS Area) on the Terrazza Craterica at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a large scarp that runs from the summit down the NW side of the island (figures 102 and 103). Thermal and visual cameras placed on the nearby Pizzo Sopra La Fossa monitor activity at the Terrazza Craterica. Eruptive activity continued at low to moderate levels during 2015 and 2016, with intermittent periods of frequent explosions from both crater areas that sent ash, lapilli, and bombs across the Terrazza Craterica and onto the head of the Sciara del Fuoco (BGVN 42:07).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. A view of Stromboli looking SW with the Sciara del Fuoco on the NW flank on the right. Image taken during 10-12 June 2017. Copyrighted photo by Martin Rietze, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. A view to the NW of the Terrazza Craterica from the summit of Stromboli shows the CS Area (left) and N Area (right) vents during 10-12 June 2017. Copyrighted photo by Martin Rietze, used with permission.

This report covers activity from January-October 2017. Activity similar to 2016 continued through March 2017 when an increase began in explosion rates. The increase peaked during June and then declined through August, returning to background levels in September (figures 104). Thermal energy increased beginning in early May and lasted through mid-August (figure 105). Multiple MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued for Stromboli between 4 May and 25 August 2017. Weekly reports of activity were provided by the Instituto Nazionale de Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione de Catania, which monitors the gas geochemistry, deformation, and seismology, as well as the surficial activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. Increased rates of explosive activity at Stromboli were recorded between early April and late August 2017, peaking during mid-June. Rates declined to background levels by early September. The green line represents the number of daily explosions from the S Area, the red line is the number of daily explosions from the N Area, and the blue line is the cumulative of the two areas. Graph includes activity from 28 March-30 October 2017. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 44/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 31/10/2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. After a lengthy period of low to intermittent thermal activity during 2015 and 2016, a distinct increase in thermal energy was recorded in satellite thermal imagery and is shown in the MIROVA system data for the year ending on 25 August 2017. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during January 2017 consisted of low to moderate intensity explosions from the southern crater area (S Area), and low intensity explosions at the northern crater area (N Area). Two vents in the S Area generated explosive activity. Modest explosions with ash and lapilli occurred regularly from the southernmost vent, and rare explosions were observed from the northernmost vent (figure 106). At the northern crater area (N Area) the southern vent was active, generating ash and lapilli that was ejected a few tens of meters from the vent. There were no explosions from the northern vent in the N Area.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Typical activity at Stromboli's Terrazza Craterica during January 2017 photographed from visible cameras on the Pizzo sopra la Fossa. Left: Explosions at the S Area on 23 January 2017 included moderate activity at the southern vent (yellow arrow) and low activity at the northern vent (white arrow). Right: The southern vent (green arrow) of the N Area showed moderate explosive activity on 17 January 2017. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 04/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 24/01/2017).

There were no notable changes in activity until the second week of February 2017 when explosive activity returned to the northern vent of the N Area. During the third week of February, a gradual increase in the rate and intensity of the explosions at both areas was observed which lasted throughout the rest of the month (figure 107). Coarse pyroclastic material was ejected onto the Terrazza Craterica and occasionally onto the Sciara del Fuoco. The stronger explosions generated modest plumes of dilute ash that quickly dissipated.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. Explosive activity at Stromboli during the third week of February 2017: A) The colored arrows indicate the active vents in the S and N Areas as seen by the visible camera of the Pizzo. B) Explosion at the northern vent (blue arrow) of the N area (visible camera). C) Explosion at the southern vent (yellow arrow) of the S area (visible camera). D-F) explosions from the N and S Areas taken by the 400 level Thermal camera. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 08/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 21/02/2017).

During the first week of March 2017, the most active vents were the southernmost vent of the S Area and the northernmost vent of the N Area. The strongest explosions from the northern vent of the N Area produced dilute ash emissions and pyroclastic ejecta that landed on the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco. By the third week of March, and through the end of the month, most of the activity had shifted to the vents in the N Area and diminished in the S Area. On 28 March, Etna Observatory personnel restored operations at both the infrared and visible cameras on the Pizzo sopra la Fossa which allowed for more detailed observations of the activity at the summit (figure 108).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. The Terrazza Craterica at Stromboli seen from the thermal camera on the Pizzo sopra la Fossa on 31 March 2017, showing active vents in the two crater areas (AREA N, AREA CS). The abbreviations and arrows indicate the names and locations of the active vents. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 14/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del, vulcano Stromboli del 04/04/2017).

Throughout April 2017, the N1 vent produced low (less than 80 m high) to medium (80-150 m) intensity explosions containing ash, lapilli, and bombs. The N2 vent showed sporadic low intensity explosive activity with occasional ash emissions until 20 April when more coarse (lapilli and bombs) material was ejected. Vent C showed continuous degassing throughout the month, and low intensity explosions began there during the third week of April, causing intense spattering on 29 April. The S1 vent showed sporadic and weak explosive activity of low intensity with the ejection of coarse material until the third week when activity ceased. Vent S2 showed explosive activity of medium-low intensity (less than 120 m high) of coarse material sometimes mixed with ash. Explosion rates were around 2-10 events per hour during the first half of the month, rising to 10-15 per hour for the second half of April.

In the N Area, the N1 and N2 vents continued with a similar level of activity throughout May 2017 (figure 109). Explosions of low to medium intensity sent coarse ejecta of lapilli and bombs up to 150 m high at N1 and 120 m high at N2. The rate of explosions in the N Area ranged from 4-12 per hour.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. The Terrazza Craterica at Stromboli seen from the thermal camera located on the Pizzo sopra la Fossa on 18 May 2017, showing active vents in the two crater areas (AREA N, AREA CS). The abbreviations and arrows indicate the names and locations of the active vents. The vents in the N Area exhibited similar levels of activity throughout the month. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 21/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 23/05/2017).

In the S Area, activity was more variable during May, and the rate of explosions ranged from 2-10 per hour. Vent C also continued with intense degassing and low-intensity explosions and spattering. On 13 May, two emission points were observed at vent C, one a few meters S of the other. Vent S1 showed no activity until late in the second week of May when low to moderate intensity explosions rose up to 150 m with coarse ejecta. During 14-15 May, a second vent opened a few meters north of S1, and simultaneous explosions from both S1 vents sent jets of gas and incandescent material into the air. Activity decreased to low intensity explosions (less than 80 m high) with ejecta during the third week, but then increased significantly during the last week of the month. Ejecta reached 200 m high from the S1 vents (figure 110). The southern S1 vent built a surrounding hornito and produced high and narrow jets of incandescent material, while the northern emission point produced more modest jets of gas and material. Vent S2 was quiet for most of May, producing only low-intensity explosions of coarse material sometimes mixed with ash for a few days near the beginning of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. The Terrazza Craterica at Stromboli seen from the thermal camera on the Pizzo sopra la Fossa on 29 May 2017, showing active vents in the two crater areas (AREA N, AREA CS). The abbreviations and arrows indicate the names and locations of the active vents. The S1 vent in the CS Area produced high intensity jets of incandescent material that rose 200 m during the last week of the month. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 22/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 30/05/2017).

An increase in activity during June 2017 was apparent at both the N and S Areas (figure 111). Video taken by drone and from the summit during 10-12 June shows periodic explosions with ash, lapilli, and bombs ejected around the Terrazza Craterica (See Information Contacts for link). Vent N1 was characterized by low to medium-high intensity explosive activity that ejected lapilli and bombs to 200 m and was sometimes accompanied by ash that drifted S over the island. N2 also showed variable activity which ranged from low to high intensity (ejecta rising over 200 m high) during the first week, and low to medium-high (ejecta rose to 150 m) for the rest of the month (figure 112). Numerous bombs and lapilli were deposited both inside and outside the crater rim. Intense spattering was reported at N2 on 11, 12, 18, 19, and 26 June. The explosion rate in the N Area was 9-18 per hour.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. Thermal activity increased during June 2017 at Stromboli. Simultaneous explosions from both the S (left) and N (right) Areas during 10-12 June 2017 were photographed from the summit. Copyrighted photo by Martin Rietze, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 112. Increased thermal activity was apparent in the N Area of the Terrazza Craterica at Stromboli as seen from the thermal camera located on the Pizzo sopra la Fossa on 5 June 2017. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 23/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 06/06/2017).

In the CS Area, sporadic low-intensity explosions (less than 80 m high) characterized vent C, with modest spattering reported on 11, 12, 13, 26, 30 June 2017. Activity at S1 continued from two vents simultaneously with low to medium intensity explosive activity (figure 113 and 114). The vent at S2 reactivated briefly on 3 June after about a month of quiet with weak spattering activity but was not active again during the month. The CS Area was characterized by an explosion frequency of 1-10 per hour.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 113. Explosions of incandescent ejecta from the CS Area at Stromboli during 10-12 June 2017. Copyrighted photo by Martin Rietze, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 114. Increased activity at the CS Area of Stromboli on 26 June 2017 was recorded by the thermal camera located on the Pizzo sopra la Fossa. Activity at S1 continued from two vents simultaneously with low to medium intensity explosive activity for most of the month. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 26/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 27/06/2017).

During July 2017, thermal activity at the vents remained moderate to high; explosions at the N1 vent sent lapilli and bombs, sometimes mixed with ash, to 200 m above the vent. At vent N2, lapilli and bombs were ejected outside the crater rim, sometimes rolling down the Sciara del Fuoco to the ocean. The hourly frequency of explosions ranged from 5-18. At S1, both vents exploded simultaneously with lapilli, bombs and occasional ash rising to 150 m numerous times.

Beginning in the afternoon of 26 July, an explosive sequence at the CS Area lasting about 90 seconds was recorded with the thermal and visible image cameras on the Pizzo sopra la Fossa (figure 115). It began with explosions from vents C and S1, followed by a second explosion at S2. More explosions from C and S1 sent debris to the SE and were followed by fountaining to about 50 m from the vents for about a minute. INGV personnel witnessed 10-cm-diameter bombs on the SW side of the Pizzo at about 850 m elevation during a 30 July site visit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 115. The explosive sequence of 26 July 2017 at Stromboli was recorded by the thermal and visible cameras located on the Pizzo sopra la Fossa. Details of the 90-second-long event are described in the text. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 31/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 01/08/2017).

A return to background activity during August consisted of explosions of varying intensity from low (less than 80 m) to medium-low (ejecta sometimes reached 120 m in height) at both the N and CS Area vents. Explosion frequency ranged from 2-11 per hour, decreasing significantly by the end of the month. Activity continued to diminish during September. Periodic spattering from vent C occurred. Only one vent was active in the CS Area during the month. A brief increase in intensity at vent N1 during 8-9 September sent ejecta over 150 m high. By the end of September, few explosions reached over 80 m in height. A brief episode of intense spattering at vent C on 24 September sent bombs and lapilli to 40 m above the vent. Explosion frequency averaged only 2-6 per hour by the end of September.

Continuous spattering, occasionally intense, from vent C continued during October. The vents in the N Area produced low to moderate intensity explosions, and one vent in the CS Area produced low intensity explosions. A strong explosive sequence in the CS Area lasted for about five minutes on 23 October 2017 (figure 116). The first explosion of the sequence came from vent C and lasted 30 seconds. It destroyed the hornito formed around the vent. About a minute later, two explosions occurred at the S1 vent, reaching about 120 m in height and dispersing to the SE. Another explosion at vent C about 3 minutes later sent ejecta 100 m high. The event ended with a series of small ash emissions that rose a few tens of meters. Low intensity activity continued from both areas through the end of October, with low explosion rates of around 2-6 per hour.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 116. An explosive sequence from the CS Area at Stromboli on 23 October 2017 lasted about five minutes. Ejecta from vents C and S1 rose 100-150 m above the vents and dispersed SE. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 43/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 24/10/2017).

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

Information Contacts: Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy, (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/en/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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/); Martin Rietze, Taubenstr. 1, D-82223 Eichenau, Germany (URL: https://mrietze.com/, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5LzAA_nyNWEUfpcUFOCpJw/videos, http://mrietze.com/web16/Stromb_Vesuv17.htm).


Tinakula (Solomon Islands) — February 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Tinakula

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Short-lived ash emission and large SO2 plume 21-26 October 2017; historical eruption accounts

Remote Tinakula lies 100 km NE of the Solomon Trench at the N end of the Santa Cruz Islands, part of the country of the Solomon Islands, which generally lie 400 km to the W. It has been uninhabited since an eruption with lava flows and ash explosions in 1971 when the small population was evacuated (CSLP 87-71). The nearest inhabitants live on Te Motu (Trevanion) Island (about 30 km S), Nupani (40 km N), and the Reef Islands (60 km E); they occasionally report explosion noises from Tinakula. Ashfall from larger explosions has historically reached these islands. The last reported evidence of activity came from MODVOLC thermal alerts between August 2010 and October 2012, and observations of incandescent lava blocks rolling into the sea in May 2012. A new eruptive episode with a large ash explosion and substantial SO2 plume during 21-26 October 2017 is reported below, along with newly available historical newspaper accounts of earlier eruptions.

Reports of ash plumes are issued by the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC); the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) of the Solomon Islands Government also issues situation reports when significant activity is reported. Satellite data from infrared, visual, and SO2 monitoring instruments are an important source of information for this remote volcano. News reports from local (and social) media are often the only sources of information for the smaller events. Recently identified 19th- and 20th-century newspaper accounts of eruptive activity witnessed by sailors passing nearby is a valuable new resource for previously unreported events.

Eruption of 21-26 October 2017. Reports of a substantial explosion with an ash plume from Tinakula appeared on social media and in the local press during 22-26 October 2017. Staff from the Lata Met Service Office approached the island by boat on 23 October to make direct observations (figures 17-19). A video clip from the Himawari8 Satellite showing the ash plume explosion was posted by Stephan Armbruster on Twitter on 22 October. The Solomon Islands NDMO issued a situation report on 26 October showing ashfall covering vegetation on the island. According to the NDMO, ashfall was concentrated on the island, although a small amount of ash drifted SE and was reported to briefly contaminate drinking water in several communities in the nearby Reef Islands (60 km ENE) . Ashfall was also reported on Fenualoa Island (50 km ENE) (Radio New Zealand). The eruption was categorized by NMDO as a VEI 3. A team of geologists from NDMO brought seismic monitoring equipment to Tinakula in early November, and measured a high frequency volcanic tremor on 5 November 2017.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. View from the SE of the eruption at Tinakula on 23 October 2017 during a site visit by staff from the Lata Office of the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service. Photo by Okano Gamara.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Ash and steam emissions rose from Tinakula on 23 October 2017 during a site visit by staff from the Lata Office of the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service. Photo by Okano Gamara.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Ash emission from Tinakula on 23 October 2017 during a site visit by staff from the Lata Office of the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service. Photo by Okano Gamara.

The Wellington VAAC first reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery shortly after midnight (UTC) on 21 October 2017. The plume was estimated to be at 4.6 km altitude and drifting N. About 90 minutes later they reported a second eruption with a much higher plume drifting SE at 10.7 km altitude using IR imagery cloud top temperatures to estimate the altitude. They reported ongoing ash emissions visible in satellite imagery drifting SE at 6.1 km altitude throughout the morning, dropping to 3 km altitude by the end of the day. The following day, 22 October, intermittent ash emissions were reported at 3.7 km altitude moving E. By that afternoon, they had dropped to 2.4 km, and had lowered to 1.8 km by late on 23 October. Ongoing low-level ash emission (2.1 km altitude) continued through 25 October; by early on 26 October, there was no further evidence of ongoing activity.

No MODVOLC thermal alerts were associated with this event, but there was a brief MIROVA signal from the MODIS infrared data during 20-23 October 2017 (figure 20). A major SO2 plume was released from Tinakula on 21 October, and a smaller one was recorded on 28 October as well (figure 21).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Moderate thermal signals were recorded from Tinakula on 20 and 23 October 2017 (top graph) by the MIROVA system that captures MODIS infrared satellite data. Another signal reported during the first week of March 2017 (bottom graph) could also have been an eruptive event, but no other corroborating evidence is available. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Major SO2 plumes from Tinakula and the Vanatu volcanoes of Ambae and Ambrym were released during October 2017. A substantial SO2 plume drifted in several directions from Tinakula on 21 October 2017 (left). Much smaller plumes are also visible from Ambae and Ambrym which are located farther south. On 28 October (right), a smaller SO2 plume was drifting SE from Tinakula while much larger plumes were apparent from Ambae and Ambrym. Data gathered by the OMI instrument on the Aura Satellite. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Summary of activity during 1971-2012. After the 1971 eruption, intermittent ash emissions, lava bombs, and pyroclastic flows were reported by geologists and sailors passing nearby in 1984, 1985, 1989-1990, 1995, and 1999. Infrared MODIS thermal data was first reported as MODVOLC thermal alerts beginning in 2000 and has provided satellite-based confirmation of thermal activity since then. Months with thermal activity included February 2000-May 2001, February 2006-November 2007, September-November 2008, August 2009, and January 2010-October 2012 (figure 22). No additional thermal alerts were issued through 2017. Since 2004, SO2 data has been gathered by satellite instruments and processed by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; in February and April 2006 small SO2 plumes were recorded (figure 23).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Months with MODVOLC thermal alerts from MODIS infrared data for Tinakula, during January 2000-December 2017. The orange boxes indicate months where at least one MODVOLC thermal alert was issued; the number of alerts is indicated inside the square. Months highlighted in green represent contiguous periods of time of three months or greater with no recorded MODVOLC thermal alerts. Pale orange squares indicate months with no MODVOLC thermal alerts issued, but within a three-month buffer of an earlier thermal alert. Data courtesy of MODVOLC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. SO2 emission data captured by the OMI instrument on the Aura satellite indicated small plumes from Tinakula (top center of images) on 12 and 14 February 2006 (top) and 21 and 23 April 2006 (bottom). Small plumes were also visible from Ambrym on 12 February, and from Ambae and Ambrym on 14 February and 21 and 23 April 2006. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Eruption reports during 1868-1932. Reports of eruptions at Tinakula between 1868 and 1932 have recently been found in 19th and 20th century newspaper accounts from Australia and New Zealand (table 6). The accounts describe incandescence, water discoloration of the sea, explosions, ash plumes, and lava flows extending from the summit to the ocean.

Table 6. Newly discovered historical newspaper accounts of volcanic activity from ships passing near Tinakula between 1868 and 1932. This is not a full eruptive history for the time period. Online links provided in the References section. Courtesy of Steve Hutcheon.

Date Account Reference
17 Oct 1868 Passed Volcano Island, one of the South (sic) Cruz group, on the 17th of October. It was then in active operation, vomiting forth immense volumes of fire and smoke. Note; Volcano Island is another name for Tinakula. The Age, Melbourne, 10 November 1868, page 2b; also in The Argus, Melbourne, 10 November 1868, page 4b
9 Oct 1869 On the 9th October sighted three low islands, also Volcano Island; the discharge from the latter was plainly visible. The Empire, Sydney, 27 October 1869, page 2a
29/30 Nov 1871 During the night, the active volcano, Tinakula, was passed. Large masses of red hot lava were emitted; and the sight is described as being very imposing and grand. The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 February 1872, page 6a
20 Jun 1887 When his vessel was off the Santa Cruz group Mount Tinakula became an active volcano. It broke out at 4 o'clock on the morning of June 20 and viewed from the ship's deck presented a most grand spectacle. The water for miles round was of a pea green color and had the appearance of being very shallow. The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, NSW, 20 July 1887, page 4f
~23 Aug 1910 Tinakula Island was found to be in an active state of eruption, and presented a fine sight. The ship Tambo departed Tarawa 19 August and arrived in Sydney on 31 August 1910. The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, NSW, 1 September 1910, page 7a
2/3 May 1932 The steamer passed within half a mile of the active volcano of Tinakula. It was at night, and the passengers obtained a remarkable view of the red hot lava streams flowing from the summit, which is 2000 ft. high, to the water's edge. Three eruptions occurred while the vessel was within view of the island, each preceded by an explosion which sounded like thunder. The New Zealand Herald, Auckland, NZ, 27 June 1932, page 6a; The Auckland Star, 10 September 1932 page 1h (Supplement)

References. The Age (Melbourne, Victoria) 10 November 1868, page 2b (URL: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article177002744).

The Empire (Sydney, NSW) 27 October 1869, page 2a, (URL: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60895166).

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW) 19 Februay 1872, page 6a (URL: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13252748).

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW) 1887 20 July, page 4f (URL: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article239817295).

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW) 1 September 1910, page 7a (URL: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article237993807; http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15183461 ).

The New Zealand Herald (Auckland, NZ) 27 June 1932, page 6a (URL: https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZH19320627.2.19 ).

The Auckland Star (NZ) 10 September 1932, page 1h (Supplement) (URL: https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS19320910.2.180.6 ).

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

Information Contacts: National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), Solomon Islands Government, Prince Philip Highway, Ranadi, Solomon Islands (URL: http://www.ndmo.gov.sb); Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd (MetService), PO Box 722, Wellington, New Zealand (URL: http://www.metservice.com/vaac/, http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/OTH/NZ/messages.html); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/index.html ); Radio New Zealand (URL: http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/342267/solomons-pm-calls-for-calm-in-communities-close-to-volcano); Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, SIBC Voice of the Nation, Honiara, Solomon Islands (URL: http://www.sibconline.com.sb/no-its-not-snow-in-the-solomons-its-ash-from-the-tinakula-volcano/); Andy Prata, AIRES Atmospheric Industrial Research and Environmental Solutions, Melbourne, Australia (URL: https://www.aires.space/, https://twitter.com/andyprata/status/922177129944625157); Gamara Okzman Bencarson, Facebook.


Tungurahua (Ecuador) — February 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Tungurahua

Ecuador

1.467°S, 78.442°W; summit elev. 5023 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions, explosions, and pyroclastic flows 26 February-16 March 2016; no further activity through 2017

Episodic eruptive activity at Ecuador's Tungurahua has persisted since November 2011. Periods of activity over several weeks that included ash plumes, Strombolian activity, pyroclastic flows, and lava flows were often followed by quiescence for a similar time span. This type of activity continued throughout 2015 (BGVN 42:08, 42:12); Strombolian activity, significant ash emissions, and SO2 plumes in mid-November 2015 marked the last significant activity for that year. The next episode began in late February 2016 and is discussed below with information provided by the Observatorio del Volcán Tungurahua (OVT) of the Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN) of Ecuador, aviation alerts from the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and other sources of satellite data.

The latest eruptive episode at Tungurahua lasted from 26 February-16 March 2016. Multiple explosions with ash plumes that rose 3-8 km were frequent. Incandescent blocks were ejected up to 1,500 m down most flanks. Pyroclastic flows affected many of the ravines, although no communities reported damage. Significant SO2 emissions were recorded by satellite data between 27 February-8 March. An inflationary trend was recorded from early March through late September 2016, after which a period of deflation began. Tungurahua had occasional seismic swarms after the eruption, but no reported surface activity for the remainder of 2016 and 2017.

IG reported an ash emission on 5 January 2016 that rose 2 km above the crater and drifted NE, causing minor ashfall in the Pondoa and Bilbao sectors. Otherwise, no volcanic activity was reported until a new episode began on 26 February 2016 with a seismic swarm followed by a series of explosions and ash plumes that rose 3-8 km above the crater (figures 96 and 97). Incandescent blocks were ejected up to a kilometer down the NW, W, and SW flanks (figure 98). Pyroclastic flows were also generated that descended through the gorges of Juive, La Hacienda, Mandur and Cusúa, reaching distances of 500-1,500 m (figure 99).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. An ash emission at Tungurahua observed from OVT on 26 February 2016. Courtesy of IG-EPN, (Explosion en el Volcan Tunguraha, No. 20 [1], Informe especial Tungurahia No. 1).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Ejecta traveled 1,000 m from the crater, an ash plume rose 2 km, and pyroclastic flows traveled down several drainages on the NW flank at Tungurahua on 26 February 2016 in this thermal image taken from the Mandur camera. Courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 836, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 23 de febrero al 01 de marzo de 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Incandescent blocks descended 1,000 m down the NW, W, and SW flanks of Tungurahua on 26 February 2016, and explosions were audible at OVT. Photo by F. Vásconez, courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 836, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 23 de febrero al 01 de marzo de 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. Pyroclastic flows descended the Mandur, La Hacienda and other ravines on the W flank of Tungurahua on 26 February 2016 as far as 1 km. Photo by F. Vásconez, courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 836, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 23 de febrero al 01 de marzo de 2016).

Continuous emissions with low to moderate ash content drifted W and SW on 27 February. The communities most affected by ashfall were Choglontus, Cotaló, El Manzano, Palitahua, Bilbao, Pillate, Juive, Ambato, Tisaleo, Riobamba, and Quero. The ash was mostly fine-grained, except in the area near Pillate and Choglontus, where the grain size reached up to 3 mm and consisted of reddish, black, gray, and beige fragments (figure 100). On the morning of 1 March 2015, several pyroclastic flows were observed descending through the Juive, Mandur, Achupashal, La Hacienda, and Romero ravines; they traveled 1.5-1.7 km (figure 101).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. Coarse-grained ash fragments from Tungurahua collected in Ambato on 26 February 2016. Photo by Marco Montesdeoca (ECU911 Ambato), Courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (Explosion en el Volcan Tunguraha, No. 2, Informe especial Tungurahia No. 2, 26 de febrero del 2016 (16h45)).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. A pyroclastic flow descended 1.5 km down the Hacienda Ravine on 1 March 2016 at Tungurahua and was captured by the Mandur thermal camera. Courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 836, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 23 de febrero al 01 de marzo de 2016).

Ash emissions were constant throughout the first week in March (figures 102 and 103). During 1-5 March they drifted NW, SW and E, with ashfall reported in the towns of Pillate, Manzano, Choglontus, Palictahua and El Altar (figure 104). Incandescent blocks descended most of the flanks (figure 105). Beginning on 6 March, plumes drifted SW and S, with variable ash content. Pyroclastic flows along the W and NW flanks descended the Cusua, Juive, Mandur, Ashupashal, Romero, and Rhea drainages (figure 106), the farthest traveled went 2.2 km down the Ashupashal on 7 March. In addition to ash and other explosive debris, daily sulfur dioxide emissions were identified from 27 February-8 March 2016 by the OMI instrument on the Aura satellite (figure 107).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. Constant ash emissions rose at least 1 km above the summit of Tungurahua during the first week of March 2016. Photo take on 3 March 2016 by P. Espin. Courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 837, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 01 al 08 de marzo de 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. A dark ash plume formed a mushroom cloud over Tungurahua on 5 March 2016; it rose 2 km above the summit and drifted SW. Photo by E. Telenchana , courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 837, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 01 al 08 de marzo de 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. Ashfall in Choglontus on 6 March 2016 from Tungurahua. Photo by P. Espín, courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 837, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 01 al 08 de marzo de 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Strombolian explosions send incandescent blocks down the flanks of Tungurahua on 6 March 2016. Photo by E. Gaunt, courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 837, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 01 al 08 de marzo de 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Visual (upper) and thermal (lower) images of Tungurahua taken from Cotalo showing a pyroclastic flow extending down the Achupashal drainage on 6 March 2016. Photo by E. Gaunt, thermal image by M. Almeida, courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 837, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 01 al 08 de marzo de 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. Substantial SO2 emissions from Tungurahua were measured daily during 27 February-8 March 2016 by the OMI instrument on the Aura satellite. The plumes drifted 300 km or more W on 27 February, 1, 3, and 5 March. Colombia's Nevado del Riuz (upper plume in images) also produced SO2 emissions during this same period. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Beginning on 28 February, a strong inflationary trend (almost 3 cm) was observed in the GPS data at the Mazón (SW flank) station. Three inclinometers on the NW flank also indicated inflation during 28 February-4 March.

Episodic explosions on 8 March 2016 produced plumes with high ash contents that rose 6 km. Small pyroclastic flows descended the NW flank in the Mandur, Rea, Achupashal, and La Hacienda ravines. Sporadic emissions continued for most of the second week of March, with varying ash contents, reaching between 1.5 and 4 km above the crater and drifting to the SSW. Reports of ashfall were received in the sectors of Choglontús, Manzano, Pillate, El Altar, and Palitahua, and minor ashfall in Juive and Cusúa. Several ash plumes (figure 108) and a small pyroclastic flow were observed on 13 March 2016. The Manzano lookout reported loud noises on 14 March, and ashfall in the afternoon, but weather obscured views of emissions. Rainy weather on 16 March also obscured views, but Manzano, Chacauco, Cusúa, and Juive lookouts reported ashfall and explosions. There were no further reports from the observatory of ash emissions, ashfall, or explosions; only minor steam plumes were observed on clear days after 16 March 2016.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. An ash emission at Tungurahua on 13 March 2016 was the last photographed for the eruption. Photo by M. Córdova from OVT, courtesy of IG-EPN (INFORME No. 838, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 08 al 15 de marzo de 2016).

The Washington VAAC reported possible ash emissions on 31 March 2016, but information from OVT indicated no surface activity. Intense rain on 28 March generated a small lahar that descended through the La Pampa ravine. Significant rainfall on 2 April caused lahars to affect Vazcun, Juive, Pondoa, Bilbao, Achupashal, Chontapamba and Malpayacu drainages. Seismicity continued to decrease throughout April 2016. A small swarm of Long Period seismic events (LP's) occurred between 1 and 20 May that were associated with fluid movements. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions on 3, 8, and 13 May, but OVT reported no surface activity during the entire month (figure 109).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. Clear skies on 31 May 2016 at Tungurahua revealed a snow-covered summit with no evidence of emissions. Photo by M. Córdova, courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 849, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 24 al 31 de mayo del 2016).

In a Special Report released on 2 June 2016, IG-EPN noted a clear inflationary trend in data collected from two stations at Tungurahua since the end of the eruption in mid-March. The Retu inclinometer, located N of the crater, showed inflation on the radial axis of about 600 μrad (microradians), and about 200 μrad on the tangential axis. The same axis at the Mandur inclinometer (on the NW flank) had a smaller but distinct (~30 μrad) inflationary signal (figure 110).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. The pattern of deformation registered at the Retu (Refugio Tungurahua) and Mndr (Mandur) inclinometers from 14 February-30 May 2016 at Tungurahua. The gray area corresponds to the eruption of 26 February -16 March. An inflationary trend is apparent on both axes at the Retu instrument and on the tangential axis of the Mndr site. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Informe Especial Volcán Tungurahua - N°6, 2 de Junio de 2016).

A Washington VAAC report on 1 June 2016 noted that the Guayaquil Meteorological Weather Office (MWO) reported an ash plume at Tungurahua, but OVT confirmed no surface activity. A very small lahar was recorded in the La Pampa ravine on 2 June. Although there were rains of varying intensity many days during June, they did not generate significant lahars, except one of medium size that occurred on 21 June in the Achupashal ravine. The Washington VAAC noted a report from the Guayaquil MWO of an ash emission on 5 July, but it was not detected in satellite imagery, and the OVT reported no surface activity. There was no surface activity reported by OVT from July to mid-September (figure 111), and internal seismicity remained very low. Occasional rainy periods generated muddy water in the ravines, but no significant lahars were reported.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. The summit of Tungurahua showed no sign of surface activity on 1 August 2016. Photo by Bernard J., courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 858, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 26 de julio al 02 de agosto de 2016).

A significant increase in the number of LP seismic events began on 12 September 2016, and a small seismic swarm was recorded on 18 September (figure 112). Small fumaroles were visible at the edges of the crater on 15 and 16 September (figure 113). At this same time, the inflationary trend that had been ongoing since the eruption earlier in the year switched to deflation as measured at the Retu inclinometer.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 112. The number of different types of seismic events and explosions recorded at Tungurahua between 1 January and 18 September 2016. The largest spike between 26 February and 16 March corresponds to the eruption of that period. Other episodes of seismicity were recorded during May and mid-September, but did not result in ash emissions or explosions. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Informe Especial Volcán Tungurahua - N°7, 18 de Septiembre de 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 113. Closeup images of the summit of Tungurahua on 15 (top) and 16 (bottom) September 2016 reveal minor fumarolic activity. Top: Steam rises from two snow free areas on 15 September (INFORME No. 865, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 13 al 20 de septiembre de 2016). Bottom: Fumarolic activity was also apparent in this telephoto image taken from OVT on 16 September. Photo by P. Ramón (Informe Especial Volcán Tungurahua - N°7, 18 de Septiembre de 2016). Courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN.

Another increase in LP seismicity and tremors occurred on 24 September, but there were no reports of surface activity other than minor steam fumaroles. Seismicity remained elevated through early October; a one-hour tremor event was reported on 1 October. Seismicity decreased gradually over the following two weeks. Low-energy steam and gas emissions from fumaroles located on the S and SW flanks were observed during a flyover on 7 October 2016. This corresponded to the warmest areas revealed in the thermal image of the summit (figure 114). with a TMA (maximum apparent temperature) of 47.9°C and 36.5°C.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 114. A thermal image of the summit of Tungurahua taken during a flyover on 7 October 2016 showed two areas on the crater rim with slightly elevated temperatures where fumarolic activity was occasionally observed. Image by P. Ramón, courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 868, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 4 al 11 de octubre de 2016).

Re-suspended ash from high winds in mid-November 2016 caused several VAAC notices to be issued, but no new emissions were reported by OVT through the end of 2016.

Tungurahua remained quiet throughout 2017. A 90-minute seismic swarm on 8 January 2017 and a minor increase in seismicity in the second half of March were the only seismic events above background levels. There were no emissions except for occasional minor fumarolic activity around the crater rim. Periods of heavy rainfall occasionally produced muddy water in the ravines; the only lahars were reported during 5-6 January, late April and 15 November.

Geologic Background. Tungurahua, a steep-sided andesitic-dacitic stratovolcano that towers more than 3 km above its northern base, is one of Ecuador's most active volcanoes. Three major edifices have been sequentially constructed since the mid-Pleistocene over a basement of metamorphic rocks. Tungurahua II was built within the past 14,000 years following the collapse of the initial edifice. Tungurahua II itself collapsed about 3000 years ago and produced a large debris-avalanche deposit and a horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the west, inside which the modern glacier-capped stratovolcano (Tungurahua III) was constructed. Historical eruptions have all originated from the summit crater, accompanied by strong explosions and sometimes by pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached populated areas at the volcano's base. Prior to a long-term eruption beginning in 1999 that caused the temporary evacuation of the city of Baños at the foot of the volcano, the last major eruption had occurred from 1916 to 1918, although minor activity continued until 1925.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico (IG), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec ); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); 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).


Yasur (Vanuatu) — February 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Typical ongoing eruptive activity and thermal anomalies through January 2018

Regular monitoring reports about Yasur from the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) indicated that the centuries-long eruptive activity continued from mid-June 2017 through January 2018. VMGD volcano bulletins on 21 July, 30 August, 29 September, 31 October, and 8 December 2017, and 30 January 2018, stated that major unrest was continuing, and the Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-4). Based on seismic data, explosions continued to be intense. Visitors were reminded of the closed 395-m-radius Permanent Exclusion Zone (figure 47) and that volcanic ash and gas could impact other areas near the volcano due to trade winds.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Oblique aerial photograph of Yasur with an overlay of designated hazard zones that may be closed depending on the level of eruptive activity. Courtesy of Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department.

During the reporting period thermal anomalies based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm were numerous every month. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system also detected numerous hotspots every month (figure 48).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Thermal anomalies detected in MODIS data by the MIROVA system (log radiative power) at Yasur for the year ending 23 February 2018. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department, 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/); Radio New Zealand (URL: https://www.radionz.co.nz); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/).

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements  Obituaries

Misc Reports

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

Additional Reports  False Reports