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Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

Weekly Volcanic Activity Map

You are currently viewing Archived reports for the week of 20 November-26 November 2002.

 Activity for the week of 20 November-26 November 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.

Name Location Activity
Awu Sangihe Islands (Indonesia) New
Etna Sicily (Italy) New
Papandayan Western Java (Indonesia) New
Piton de la Fournaise Reunion Island (France) New
Sheveluch Central Kamchatka (Russia) New

Bezymianny Central Kamchatka (Russia) Ongoing
Karymsky Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) Ongoing
Kilauea Hawaiian Islands (USA) Ongoing
Klyuchevskoy Central Kamchatka (Russia) Ongoing
Rabaul New Britain (Papua New Guinea) Ongoing
Reventador Ecuador Ongoing
Soufriere Hills Montserrat Ongoing
Tungurahua Ecuador Ongoing

New Activity / Unrest

Volcano index photo  Awu  | Sangihe Islands (Indonesia)  | 3.689°N, 125.447°E  | Elevation 1318 m

VSI increased the Alert Level at Awu on 15 November following an increase in seismicity. Normally four earthquakes occur per day at the volcano, but 32 volcanic earthquakes were recorded on 15 November during 0000-0900. No surface changes were observed around the volcano's summit.

Source: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM)

Volcano index photo  Etna  | Sicily (Italy)  | 37.748°N, 14.999°E  | Elevation 3320 m

The 2002 Mt. Etna flank eruption that began on 27th October is continuing, after almost a month of activity. During this period several distinct phases of eruptive style have been observed. The first phase of the eruption ended on 5th November, when lava flows from the northern fissure stopped. Strombolian and fire-fountaining activity continued at the southern fissure, localised within the 2750 m elevation cinder cone that formed during early November. Lava jets reached heights of over 300 m above the crater, forming an ash column that spread mostly N, due to the strong wind, and reached an elevation of 4.7 km a.s.l..

The second phase of activity started on 12th November, when strong jets and continuous emission of ash gave way suddenly to mild Strombolian activity. Lava flows began to spread SW from the 2750 m vent on the 13th November. These flows ran parallel to the October flows towards Monte Nero and achieved a maximum length of 4 km on 19th November, stopping just 300 m before Casa Santa Barbara, at 1770 m a.s.l.. Lava output from the main vent then declined, and overflows covered the previous flow channel. As of 25th November the most advanced active flow fronts were located within 1 km from the vent.

Between 20 and 21st November another new vent opened on the SSE base of the 2750 m cinder cone. This vent produced a new lava flow that spread south towards Rifugio Sapienza. The flow length reached 1.9 km on the 22nd, and 2.7 km on the 23rd, covering the Rifugio K. The Rifugio Sapienza was threatened by the flow, and Civil Protection soon built up two earth barriers to divert the lava towards the east of buildings, as in the 2001 eruption. This diversion was once again successful, and the flow eventually stopped on 24th, a few metres before reaching the SP92 road connecting Zafferana to Rifugio Sapienza, after having traveled 3.6 km from the main vent.

Early on the 25th November, two new explosive vents opened to the N and SSE of the 2750 m cinder cone. This caused a shift in explosive activity from the crater of the previous cone to the newly formed vents, which produced fire fountaining activity and an ash plume rising to 4.7 km elevation and spreading north. Immediately afterwards the effusion rate of the south lava flow (towards Rifugio Sapienza) significantly decreased, and slightly increased in the southwest flow (towards Casa Santa Barbara). This caused new overflows above the previous flow channel on the lava flows directed to Casa Santa Barbara. The low effusion rate did not allow these flows to reach previous flow lengths, and they were less than 1 km long when last observed on 25th November. Observation of the flow field was impossible on the 26 November due to poor weather conditions.

SO2 emission from the volcano is still very high and fluctuating, keeping within the range of 20,000 to 7,000 tons per day. Taken together, the high amount of gas released by the volcano, the still high volcanic tremor, and the explosive activity still ongoing at the south vent, rather suggest that the eruption may continue for some time.

Source: Sezione di Catania - Osservatorio Etneo (INGV)

Volcano index photo  Papandayan  | Western Java (Indonesia)  | 7.32°S, 107.73°E  | Elevation 2665 m

During 22-25 November at Papandayan small-scale continuous ash-and-gas explosions occurred, sending plumes to 300-600 m above the volcano. Tremor, tectonic earthquakes, and shallow and deep-volcanic earthquakes were recorded. An eruption on the 20th produced a NE-directed blast that sent material as far as 2 km away from the crater, burning the crater-facing sides of trees as far as 400 m away. The eruption covered the area around the volcano in 4-8 cm of ash. Papandayan remained at Alert Level 3 (on a scale of 1-4), with a 4-km-wide exclusion zone.

Source: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM)

Volcano index photo  Piton de la Fournaise  | Reunion Island (France)  | 21.244°S, 55.708°E  | Elevation 2632 m

According to OVPDLF, the eruption that began at Piton de la Fournaise on 16 November continued through at least 26 November. During 20-26 November, visual observations were largely hampered by inclement weather. Eruptive tremor was constant on the 20th and 21st, and fluctuated on the 22nd. Tremor showed short-term variations during 23-26 November. Lava flows traveled in lava tubes between the active cone and 1,200 m elevation and traveled on the land surface at elevations between about 1,200 and 500 m.

Source: Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF)

Volcano index photo  Sheveluch  | Central Kamchatka (Russia)  | 56.653°N, 161.36°E  | Elevation 3283 m

During 14-20 November, seismicity remained above background levels at Shiveluch. During this interval, seismic data indicated that there had been hot avalanches and 19 ash-and-gas explosions in which clouds reached 2-3 km above the lava dome. Weak intermittent spasmodic tremor was registered during 14-17 November. Ash-and-gas plumes were seen rising to ~2 km a.s.l. and thermal anomalies were visible on satellite imagery. Shiveluch remained at Concern Color Code Orange.

Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)

Ongoing Activity

Volcano index photo  Bezymianny  | Central Kamchatka (Russia)  | 55.972°N, 160.595°E  | Elevation 2882 m

The Concern Color Code at Bezymianny was reduced from Yellow to Green during 15-22 November. No seismic activity was recorded and satellite images revealed only a very weak thermal anomaly. KVERT stated that this hot spot may indicate hot gas emission from the lava dome.

Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)

Volcano index photo  Karymsky  | Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)  | 54.049°N, 159.443°E  | Elevation 1513 m

Seismicity remained above background levels at Karymsky during 15-22 November, with 200-220 local shallow events recorded per day. The character of the seismicity indicated that ash-and-gas explosions rose to 1-2 km above the volcano and vigorous gas emissions lasting 5-10 minutes possibly occurred. On 20 November at 1157 a 20-minute-long seismic event was taken to indicate the possible occurrence of ash explosions up to 1 km above the crater and hot avalanches. Thermal anomalies (1-3 pixels) were visible on satellite imagery on several days. Karymsky remained at Concern Color Code Yellow.

Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)

Volcano index photo  Kilauea  | Hawaiian Islands (USA)  | 19.421°N, 155.287°W  | Elevation 1222 m

During 21-24 November at Kilauea, lava continued to enter the sea at several points along two lava deltas (West Highcastle and Wilipe`a), although to a lesser extent than the previous week. Small-to-moderate littoral explosions were common at the entry point near the tip of the West Highcastle delta. Surface flows were visible extending from Paliuli to the coast. Generally, seismicity was at normal levels. Swarms of long-period earthquakes and tremor have been detected since June beneath Kilauea's caldera. During the report week, numerous short bursts of tremor were interspersed with numerous small earthquakes. Besides gentle deflation at Pu`u `O`o, no other significant deformation occurred.

Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)

Volcano index photo  Klyuchevskoy  | Central Kamchatka (Russia)  | 56.056°N, 160.642°E  | Elevation 4754 m

Seismicity remained above background levels at Kliuchevskoi during 15-22 November. The number of deep earthquakes decreased from 26 to 9 during 14-17 November, and remained at nine during the 17th to 20th. Gas-and-steam plumes were seen rising to 1-2 km above the crater and drifting to the W. Kliuchevskoi remained at Concern Color Code Yellow.

Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)

Volcano index photo  Rabaul  | New Britain (Papua New Guinea)  | 4.271°S, 152.203°E  | Elevation 688 m

Very heavy ash emission was observed at Rabaul caldera's Tavurvur cone on 24 November. A low-level plume was produced and no ash was visible on satellite imagery. RVO advised on 25 November that ash emissions were continuing from Rabaul, but at a reduced rate in comparison to previous weeks. Observations revealed that the ash content in the emissions was generally decreasing, and erupted ash clouds remained below ~1.5 km a.s.l.

Source: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)

Volcano index photo  Reventador  | Ecuador  | 0.077°S, 77.656°W  | Elevation 3562 m

IG reported that during 20-25 November seismicity decreased at Reventador in comparison to the previous week and mostly gas-and-steam emissions occurred with little ash content. On 20 and 21 November 16 earthquakes were recorded each day, whereas about 150 earthquakes were recorded on each of the previous days. At this time gas-and-steam plumes reached to 2 km above the volcano and incandescence was sometimes visible within the crater. Lahars traveled down the volcano's flanks into Montana and Marker gorges. There were many reports of a strong scent of sulfur in the city of Quito, caused by the large amount of SO2 being emitted from Reventador (15,000-29,000 tons of SO2 measured by satellite on the 21st). Eruptions on 24 and 25 November produced ash-and-gas clouds that rose ~1 km above the volcano.

Sources: Instituto Geofísico-Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)

Volcano index photo  Soufriere Hills  | Montserrat  | 16.72°N, 62.18°W  | Elevation 915 m

Activity at Soufrière Hills remained moderate during 15-22 November. The lava dome was not visible during the week due to cloudy conditions. Rockfalls and small pyroclastic flows were concentrated on the volcano's E and NE flanks. During the 15th to 19th, small pyroclastic flows traveled 1-1.5 km from the dome every few hours in Tuitt's Ghaut to the NE and in the Tar River Valley to the E. On 9 November small pyroclastic flows traveled down the Tar River Valley. Rockfalls continued to occur on the NW flank of the lava dome throughout the report period. SO2 emission rates were relatively low.

Sources: Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)

Volcano index photo  Tungurahua  | Ecuador  | 1.467°S, 78.442°W  | Elevation 5023 m

During 21-24 November, emissions of steam, gas, and ash continued at Tungurahua. Plumes rose to ~1 km above the volcano and incandescence was seen during some evenings. IG warned that lahars could be generated during heavy rain.

Sources: Instituto Geofísico-Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)

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Dempo Klyuchevskoy Puyehue-Cordon Caulle Ubinas
Descabezado Grande Kolokol Group Rabaul Ulawun
Dieng Volcanic Complex Korovin Raikoke Unknown Source
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 News Feeds and Google Placemarks

The RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed is identical to the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report minus some features including the header information (latitude and longitude and summit elevation), the Geologic Summary, and a link to the volcano's page from the Global Volcanism Program. Each volcano report includes a link from the volcano's name back to the more complete information in the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report on the Smithsonian website.

The CAP (Common Alerting Protocol) feeds are XML files specifically formatted for disaster management. They are similar in content to the RSS feed, but contain no active links.

A Google Earth network link for the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report can be loaded into the free Google Earth software, and in turn will load placemarks for volcanoes in the current weekly report. Placemark balloons include the volcano name, report date, report text, sources, and links back to the GVP volcano page for that volcano and to the complete Weekly Report for that week.

 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.

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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.

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RSS and CAP Feeds

An RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed for the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report first made available on 5 March 2008 can be utilized with the aid of various free downloadable readers. The report content of the news feed is identical to the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report minus some features including the header information (latitude and longitude and summit elevation), the Geologic Summary, and a link to the volcano's page from the Global Volcanism Program. Each volcano report includes a link from the volcano's name back to the more complete information in the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report on the Smithsonian website. On 12 March 2009, GeoRSS tags were added so that the latitude and longitude for each volcano could be included with the feed.

At the end of each individual report is a list of the sources used. We would like to emphasize that the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) website (http://www.wovo.org/) lists the regional volcano observatories that have the most authoritative data for many of these events.

CAP (Common Alerting Protocol) feeds are XML files specifically formatted for disaster management.

Google Earth Placemarks

A Google Earth network link for the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report was first made available on 1 April 2009. This file can be loaded into the free Google Earth software, and in turn will load placemarks for volcanoes in the current weekly report. Placemark balloons include the volcano name, report date, report text, sources, and links back to the GVP volcano page for that volcano and to the complete Weekly Report for that week.

 Acronyms and Abbreviations

a.s.l. - above sea level

AVO - Alaska Volcano Observatory

AVHRR - Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer

CENAPRED - Centro Nacionale de Prevencion de Desastres (México)

CONRED - Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres

COSPEC - Correlation Spectrometer

CVGHM (formerly VSI) - Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation

CVO - Cascades Volcano Observatory (USGS)

GMS - Geostationary Meteorological Satellite

GOES - Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite

GVO - Goma Volcano Observatory

GVP - Global Volcanism Program (Smithsonian Institution)

HVO - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (USGS)

ICE - Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (Costa Rica)

IG - Instituto Geofísico (Ecuador)

IGNS - Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (New Zealand) - now GNS Science

INETER - Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (Nicaragua)

INGEMMET - Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico (Peru)

INGEOMINAS - Instituto Colombiano de Geología y Minería (Colombia)

INGV-CT - Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - Sezione di Catania (Italy)

INSIVUMEH - Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hidrologia (Guatemala)

IRD - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (France)

JMA - Japanese Meteorological Agency

KEMSD - Kamchatkan Experimental and Methodical Seismilogical Department

KVERT - Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team

M - magnitude

METEOSAT - Meteorological Satellite

MEVO - Mount Erebus Volcano Observatory

MODIS - Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer

MVO - Montserrat Volcano Observatory

MWO - Meteorological Watch Office

NEIC - National Earthquake Information Center

NIED - National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (Japan)

NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOTAM - Notice to Airmen

OVDAS - Observatorio Volcanologico de los Andes del Sur (Chile)

OFDA - Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance

ONEMI - Oficina Nacional de Emergencia - Ministerio del Interior (Chile)

OVPDLF - Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (France)

OVSICORI-UNA - Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (Costa Rica)

PHIVOLCS - Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philippines)

RSAM - Real-time Seismic Amplitude Measurement

RVO - Rabaul Volcano Observatory

SERNAGEOMIN - Servicio Nacional de Geologia y Mineria (Chile)

SIGMET - Significant Meteorological Information

SNET - Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (El Salvador)

SVERT - Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (Russia)

USAID - US Agency for International Development

USGS - United States Geological Survey

UTC - Coordinated Universal Time

VAAC - Volcanic Ash Advisory Center

VAFTAD - Volcanic Ash Forecast Transport And Dispersion

VDAP - Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (USGS)

VHP - Volcano Hazards Program (USGS)

VRC - Volcano Research Center (Japan)