Activity for the week of 9 January-15 January 2002
The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report is a cooperative project between the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program. Updated by 2300 UTC every Wednesday, notices of volcanic activity posted on these pages are preliminary and subject to change as events are studied in more detail. This is not a comprehensive list of all of Earth's volcanoes erupting during the week, but rather a summary of activity at volcanoes that meet criteria discussed in detail in the "Criteria and Disclaimers" section. Carefully reviewed, detailed reports on various volcanoes are published monthly in the Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network.
New Activity / Unrest
| 14.473°N, 90.88°W
| Elevation 3763 m
An eruption began at Fuego on 4 January during 0200-0300. A probable explosion was followed by Strombolian-type ejections and continuous tremor. No lava flows were visible. Until at least 9 January intermittent mild-to-moderate explosions produced ash clouds that rose 400-600 m above the cone.
Source: US Geological Survey
| DR Congo
| 1.52°S, 29.25°E
| Elevation 3470 m
18 January Update
The following information is based on preliminary reports from various government and news agencies that were received during the ongoing crisis. An eruption began at Nyiragongo on 17 January and, according to news reports, as of 18 January lava flows had destroyed parts of 14 villages and 45 people had been killed. Some reports state that the eruption began at 0500 local time. Other reports state that probably around mid-day, fissures N of the Goma Airport opened and lava flowed from them at an estimated 2-3 m/min (1.2-1.8 km/hour) towards the town of Goma, ~10 km S of the volcano. Eruptions occurred on the volcano's S and E flanks. By late afternoon, at least one flow had advanced into Goma. At this time tremor with 5-second durations accompanied the lava flows about every 10 minutes. Gas stations exploded as the flows advanced through Goma, cutting a reported 35-70 m swath through the town on its way to Lake Kivu. In places, the lava flows were 2 meters high and 30 m wide.
The lava flows damaged 14 villages as they destroyed everything in their paths including, buildings, homes, and the port in Goma. The population of Goma (~400,000 people) and surrounding areas evacuated with some moving W on the road toward the town of Sake, while the majority of the population reportedly moved E towards Rwanda to the town of Gisenyi. According to news reports, United Nations officials reported that 45 people had been killed by the eruption as of 18 January. A Goma resident stated that by the morning of 18 January tremor had died down to "about one every 40 seconds to one an hour." Also, lava continued to flow, but was no longer a threat to the road linking Goma with Rwanda.
Sources: US Agency for International Development / Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, Agence France-Presse (AFP), Reuters, Associated Press, CNN
Piton de la Fournaise
| Reunion Island (France)
| 21.244°S, 55.708°E
| Elevation 2632 m
The eruption that began at Piton de la Fournaise on 5 January, continued through 15 January. There was a decrease in tremor during 7-11 January, with as few as 8 small earthquakes recorded per day at about 1-km depth. On 12 January tremor increased by a factor of two in comparison to the previous day and earthquakes were recorded about 4 km beneath the Plaine des Osmondes, near the N caldera wall. During the evening of 12 January, a new fissure opened at the base of the rampart in the lower part of the Plaine des Osmondes. Lava flowed from the fissure down into the Grand Brûlé close to the northern rampart. On 14 January lava flowed across the National Highway on its way to the ocean, entering it at 1540. By 15 January tremor was stable and about 100 earthquakes were recorded over a 24-hour period on the N side of the volcano. At 0600 a swarm of low-frequency earthquakes began near Bois-Blanc, a village on the island's E coast, NE of Plaine des Osmondes.
Sources: Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF), Clicanoo - Le Journal de l'Ile de la Reunion
| Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)
| 54.049°N, 159.443°E
| Elevation 1513 m
During 4-11 January, volcanic activity at Karymsky was similar to that of the previous week. Seismicity was above background levels, with 40-80 weak, local earthquakes per day. Several shallow seismic events indicated possible gas-and-ash explosions. Beginning on 10 January at 1200, local earthquakes noticeably increased. The Color Concern Code remained at Yellow ("volcano is restless").
Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)
| Hawaiian Islands (USA)
| 19.421°N, 155.287°W
| Elevation 1222 m
Lava entered the ocean at multiple locations along the Kamoamoa ocean entry, while the amount of lava entering the ocean at the E Kupapa`u entry was very small. A broad, 1.5- to 2-km-long surface flow was visible on the upper portion of the flow field above the Pulama pali scarp and surface flows that emanated from the Kamoamoa lava tube system were seen on the coastal flat. Generally, volcanic tremor was moderate-to-strong at Pu`u `O`o for several days and the ongoing swarm of small long-period earthquakes continued at Kilauea's summit. Following minor deflation on 11 January, tiltmeters across the volcano showed no significant deformation.
Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)
| Central Java (Indonesia)
| 7.54°S, 110.446°E
| Elevation 2910 m
During 7-13 January lava avalanches continued to travel down the flanks of Merapi, predominately SW toward the upstream portions of the Sat and Bebeng rivers and partly WSW to the Lamat and Senowo rivers. The maximum run-out distance was about 2.5 km. On 7 January a small pyroclastic flow traveled ~2 km to the upstream portion of Bebeng River. Merapi remained at Alert Level 2 (on a scale of 1-4).
Source: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM)
| 19.023°N, 98.622°W
| Elevation 5393 m
During the week, Popocatépetl emitted small clouds of steam, gas, and generally minor amounts of ash. In addition, episodes of harmonic tremor were recorded. The highest reported volcanic cloud, from an eruption on 13 January at 1709, reached a height of ~7.3 km and drifted to the ENE. A photograph of Popocatépetl 's summit area taken on 11 January confirmed that the lava dome reported in December 2001 had been partially destroyed.
Sources: Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)
| North Island (New Zealand)
| 39.28°S, 175.57°E
| Elevation 2797 m
On 11 and 12 January steam plumes were emitted from Ruapehu. This activity was believed to be associated with hydrothermal activity in the crater lake. Prior to the steam emissions, measurements taken on 8 December revealed that the lake water temperature was at 36-38°C and that it had been heating since late November 2001. Evidence of convection was observed at the S-central vent area including minor sulfur slicks, upwelling, and light steaming. Only minor volcanic tremor was recorded at Ruapehu. The volcano remained at Alert Level 1 ("Initial signs of possible volcano unrest.").
| Central Kamchatka (Russia)
| 56.653°N, 161.36°E
| Elevation 3283 m
During 4-11 January, about 40 earthquakes with magnitudes greater than or equal to 1.7 occurred, and weak, shallow seismic signals (possible collapses and avalanches) were registered. The total number of earthquakes within the volcano's edifice increased during the week. Several small explosions produced steam-and-gas plumes, with the highest reported plume rising ~1 km above the dome on 5 January. Thermal anomalies were visible on satellite imagery, but ash was not. The Color Concern Code remained at Yellow ("volcano is restless").
Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)
| 16.72°N, 62.18°W
| Elevation 915 m
During 4-11 January volcanic activity remained high at Soufrière Hills. Observations on 10 January revealed that the summit region had increased in volume considerably over the past several weeks and that the lava dome was broad with several spines sticking out from it. The highest spine reached 1,015 m a.s.l. on the 12th. The western side of the zone appeared to be inactive. A large extrusion lobe was active on the upper E flank of the dome, just below the summit. The E flank of the dome was very active, producing numerous rockfalls and pyroclastic flows. On 5 January a series of pyroclastic flows traveled down the Tar River Valley to the sea. This event was accompanied by vigorous venting of ash from the summit, producing a pulsating ash-laden plume that drifted to the W. Seismicity remained at a similar level in comparison to the previous week. SO2 and HCl emissions were high; 898 and 1,122 metric tons of SO2 were measured on 1 and 10 January, respectively. Low-level ash emissions occurred throughout the week.
Sources: Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)
| 1.467°S, 78.442°W
| Elevation 5023 m
Several eruptions of steam and ash occurred during the week at Tungurahua. An eruption on 8 January produced a steam column with a low ash concentration to a height of 1 km above the crater and deposited small amounts of ash in the towns of Baños, Guaranda, and Chimborazo. The next day a 1-km-high steam-and-ash cloud drifted to the W, depositing small amounts of ash in the vicinity of Juive on the NW flank of the volcano. Heavy rainfall generated lahars on 9 January that traveled down the volcano's W flank.
Sources: Instituto Geofísico-Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)
Criteria & Disclaimers
The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report does not necessarily include all volcanic activity that occurred on Earth during the week. More than a dozen volcanoes globally have displayed more-or-less continuous eruptive activity for decades or longer, and such routine activity is typically not reported here. Moreover, Earth's sea-floor volcanism is seldom reported even though in theory it represents the single most prolific source of erupted material. The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report summarizes volcanic activity that meets one or more of the following criteria:
- A volcano observatory raises or lowers the alert level at the volcano.
- A volcanic ash advisory has been released by a volcanic ash advisory center (VAAC) stating that an ash cloud has been produced from the volcano.
- A verifiable news report of new activity or a change in activity at the volcano has been issued.
- Observers have reported a significant change in volcanic activity. Such activity can include, but is not restricted to, pyroclastic flows, lahars, lava flows, dome collapse, or increased unrest.
Volcanoes are included in the "New Activity/Unrest" section of the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report if the activity occurs after at least 3 months of quiescence. Once a volcano is included in the "New Activity/Unrest" section, updates will remain in that section unless the activity continues for more than 1 month without escalating, after which time updates will be listed in the "Continuing Activity" section. Volcanoes are also included in the "New Activity/Unrest" section if the volcano is undergoing a period of relatively high unrest, or increasing unrest. This is commonly equal to Alert Level Orange on a scale of Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, where Red is the highest alert. Or alert level 3 on a scale of 1-4 or 1-5.
It is important to note that volcanic activity meeting one or more of these criteria may occur during the week, but may not be included in the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report because we did not receive a report.
1. The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report is intended to provide timely information about global volcanism on a weekly basis. Consequently, the report is generated rapidly by summarizing volcanic reports from various sources, with little time for fact checking. The accuracy of the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report is dependent upon the quality of the volcanic activity reports we receive. Reports published in the Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network are monthly, and more carefully reviewed, although all of the volcanoes discussed in the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report are not necessarily reported in the Bulletin. Because of our emphasis on rapid reporting on the web we have avoided diacritical marks. Reports are updated on the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report web page as they are received, therefore information may be included regarding events that occurred before the current report period.
2. Rapidly developing events lead to coverage that is often fragmentary. Volcanoes, their eruptions, and their plumes and associated atmospheric effects are complex phenomena that may require months to years of data analysis in order to create a comprehensive summary and interpretation of events.
3. Preliminary accounts sometimes contain exaggerations and "false alarms," and accordingly, this report may include some events ultimately found to be erroneous or misleading.
4. Many news agencies do not archive the articles they post on the Internet, and therefore the links to some sources may not be active. To obtain information about the cited articles that are no longer available on the Internet contact the source.
5. USGS Disclaimer Statement for this Website:
Information presented on this website is considered public information and may be distributed or copied. Use of appropriate byline/photo/image credit is requested. We strongly recommend that USGS data be acquired directly from a USGS server and not through other sources that may change the data in some way. While USGS makes every effort to provide accurate and complete information, various data such as names, telephone numbers, etc. may change prior to updating. USGS welcomes suggestions on how to improve our home page and correct errors. USGS provides no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of furnished data.
Some of the documents on this server may contain live references (or pointers) to information created and maintained by other organizations. Please note that USGS does not control and cannot guarantee the relevance, timeliness, or accuracy of these outside materials.
For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, this government computer system employs software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. Unauthorized attempts to upload information or change information on this website are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act. Information may also be used for authorized law enforcement investigations. (Last modified September 21, 1999.)
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, USA