Activity for the week of 24 December-30 December 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
| Central Kamchatka (Russia)
| 55.972°N, 160.595°E
| Elevation 2882 m
A large explosive eruption occurred at Bezymianny on 25 December. Prior to the eruption, on 23 December, a 1-pixel-large thermal anomaly was detected on satellite imagery that increased to 7-10 pixels on 24-25 December. Seismicity was also slightly above background levels during 24-25 December, and weak intermittent spasmodic tremor was registered on the 25th. That same day at 1321 a very hot plume that probably contained ash was visible on satellite imagery. At this time the Concern Color Code was raised from Yellow to Orange. Moderate explosive activity began on the 25th around 1900. Seismic data revealed that a large explosive eruption occurred on 26 December at 0715. The resultant ash cloud rose 5 km a.s.l. and deposited ash in Kozyrevsk, 55 km NW of Bezymianny. The Concern Color Code was raised to Red.
The eruption continued through the 27th, but activity decreased. Three weak earthquakes were registered on the 26th, and the amplitude of intermittent spasmodic volcanic tremor gradually decreased. KVERT reported that a viscous lava flow was probably being emitted from the volcano's active lava dome. The Concern Color Code was reduced to Orange. On 28 December seismicity was at background levels. Meteorological clouds obscured views of the volcano during 27-28 December. On the 28th the Concern Color Code was reduced to Yellow.
Sources: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT), Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Interfax News
| Western Java (Indonesia)
| 7.143°S, 107.84°E
| Elevation 2249 m
During 9-15 December higher-than-normal seismicity at Guntur led VSI to raise the Alert Level to 2 (on a scale of 1-4). Visual observations of the summit did not reveal any surface changes or ash plumes. In comparison to the previous week, the number of shallow volcanic and tectonic earthquakes increased, while deep volcanic earthquakes decreased. Seismicity remained higher than normal during 16-22 December, but fewer earthquakes occurred than during the previous week. The Alert Level remained at 2.
Source: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM)
| Central Kamchatka (Russia)
| 56.056°N, 160.642°E
| Elevation 4754 m
A gas-and-ash explosion at Kluichevskoi on 24 December led KVERT to increase the Concern Color Code from Yellow to Orange. Seismicity was above background levels during 19-25 December, with 6-9 earthquakes recorded each day at ~30-km depth. Intermittent spasmodic volcanic tremor was also recorded. On 19, 21, and 23 December gas-and-steam plumes rose 1-2 km above the crater. Visual observations and video data from the town of Klyuchi revealed that a plume from a gas-and-ash explosion on 24 December at 1210 rose 4 km above the crater and drifted WSW. By the 27th the Concern Color Code had been reduced back to Yellow.
Sources: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT), Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)
| Aeolian Islands (Italy)
| 38.789°N, 15.213°E
| Elevation 924 m
According to an INGV-CT report, "At 1830 of 28 December a new effusive eruption started at Stromboli volcano... Strombolian activity at Stromboli was very intense since May 2002, and lava level within the craters was very high on 19 November, when a survey using a thermal camera from [a] helicopter has been carried out. In November, an overflow from the N rim of Crater 2 formed a small lava flow a few tens of meters long, which spread in the upper Sciara del Fuoco. This event has been accompanied by a greater frequency of explosion-quakes associated to the explosions. Between 7 and 10 December explosive activity from the summit craters decreased. On 11 December Strombolian activity increased again as [reflected in the] frequency of the explosions and heights of ejecta, and was particularly intense at Crater 1, the NE crater. On 28 December the height of ejecta reached 200 m above Crater 1, and the shape of explosions suggested magma very close to the crater rim. This activity climaxed at 1830 with a strong explosion that caused ash fallout on the village of Stromboli, accompanied by the opening of an eruptive fissure trending NE-SW. The fissure opened at the NE base of Crater 1. A lava flow came out from the base of the fissure, and formed three lava branches spreading within the Sciara del Fuoco. Within 30 minutes the flows reached the sea, about 1 km away, far away from the villages. The lava flows were up to 300 m wide at the shoreline, and very narrow along the steep slope of Sciara del Fuoco. A small increase in the volcanic tremor accompanied the lava flow emission, and the number of seismic events associated to the eruptive activity is still of about five shocks per hour."
"A thermal survey carried out from [a] helicopter on 29 December did not allow us to see the craters because of poor weather conditions. A thick cloud was covering the summit of the volcano above 600 m a.s.l. The lava flows below this elevation were cooling and did not show any movement, suggesting the end of the effusive phase. A map of the lava flows, today's photos of Stromboli and updated reports (in Italian) are visible on the INGV-CT web page."
According to several news articles, volcanic activity at Stromboli on 30 December caused a landslide, which entered the sea and generated a tsunami. The articles stated that in the small village of Ginostra, waves injured six people, and damaged homes and boats. Residents and tourists were evacuated to nearby Sicily.
Sources: Sezione di Catania - Osservatorio Etneo (INGV), ABC News - Australian Broadcasting Corporation, BBC News, Reuters, CNN
| Sicily (Italy)
| 37.748°N, 14.999°E
| Elevation 3320 m
INGV-CT reported that the eruption that began at Etna on 27 October continued through 23 December. Lava flows and Strombolian activity occurred at the volcano's S flank at the 2,750 m vent. During 9-10 December, two vents opened at the SE base of the 2,750-m cinder cone that fed four major lava flows which spread between the S and SE. On the 17th a strong explosion occurred at a building in the Rifugio Sapienza tourist area. The explosion was not directly caused by the eruption, but by the vaporization of oil or water, still contained inside the building, when the lava flow contacted it.
The effusion rate from the two vents gradually decreased, eventually causing the closure of the western vent and then the lack of supply to the lava flows spreading SW towards Monte Nero. A new vent opened on 17 December at the S base of the 2,750 m cinder cone, a few meters W of the previous vents. A lava flow soon started from this vent, spreading SW towards Monte Nero. Lava flows from the 17 December vent slowed down and crusted over on 22 December, when a new vent opened at the SW base of the 2,750 m cinder cone. Again, a flow traveled SW towards Monte Nero. As of 23 December the lava flow continued to flow in this direction. SO2 emission rates remained relatively low, around 7,000 tons per day. Updated maps of the lava flows, and reports of the eruptive activity, gas emission, and ash composition can be found on the INGV-CT web page (in Italian).
Source: Sezione di Catania - Osservatorio Etneo (INGV)
| 14.473°N, 90.88°W
| Elevation 3763 m
An explosive eruption and partial crater collapse occurred at Fuego on 26 December around 0905. An ash cloud was generated that reached ~2 km above the volcano and drifted W toward the Yepocapa region. Neither damage nor injuries were reported.
Sources: EFE News Service, Prensa Libre, Siglo XXI News
| Hawaiian Islands (USA)
| 19.421°N, 155.287°W
| Elevation 1222 m
During 26-29 December at Kilauea, lava continued to enter the sea at several points along the coast at three lava deltas. Surface lava flows were visible on the coastal flat, and upslope at Paliuli, and on the Pulama pali. On 28 December moderate collapses occurred at the Wilipe`a lava delta, apparently in the area of the 15 December collapse. None came anywhere close to the rope barrier, and no explosion debris reached this area. Generally, seismicity continued at background levels at Kilauea. The long-lasting swarm of long-period earthquakes and tremor at Kilauea's summit, which began last June, continued at moderate levels. During 27-28 December, slight deflation occurred at the Uwekahuna and Pu`u `O`o tiltmeters.
Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)
| Western Java (Indonesia)
| 7.32°S, 107.73°E
| Elevation 2665 m
During 9-22 December, low-level ash plumes were continuously emitted from Papandayan's Baru crater. On 12 December at 1758 an explosion occurred, causing stepped landslides on the wall of Nangkak crater. Small lahars traveled down Cibeureum Gede and Ciparugpug rivers on 13 December at 1600 and on 14 December at 1700. On 21 December at 1154 stepped landslides occurred again. Papandayan remained at Alert Level 3 (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
A moderate explosion occurred at Popocatépetl on 23 December. The resultant ash cloud rose ~2 km above the volcano and deposited ash on nearby towns. CENAPRED indicated that this type of activity is related to the destruction of the lava dome. According to a news article, a series of small eruptions just before Christmas deposited ash in towns as far away as central Texas. According to the article, "Upper-level winds just happened to be flowing from the Pacific Ocean over central México towards Texas, and that 'jet stream' effectively transported the ash right into central Texas." There were reports of ashfall from San Antonio to New Braunfels, in addition to Austin, covering cars and vegetation with a light, white film.
Sources: Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED), Associated Press, News 8 Austin
| Eastern Java (Indonesia)
| 8.108°S, 112.922°E
| Elevation 3657 m
During 9-22 December, volcanic and seismic activity remained above normal levels at Semeru. Ash columns rose 400-500 m above the volcano, and lava avalanches and pyroclastic flows were seismically recorded. The Alert Level was at 2 (on a scale of 1-4). According to news articles, the emission of lava and hot gas caused authorities to ban all recreational activity at Semeru beginning on 22 December.
Sources: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM), News.com.au - News Limited, Channelnewsasia.com
| Central Kamchatka (Russia)
| 56.653°N, 161.36°E
| Elevation 3283 m
During 20-27 December, seismicity remained above background levels at Shiveluch. Seismic data indicated that six ash-and-gas explosions reached heights of 2-3 km above the lava dome, and hot avalanches possibly occurred. Several smaller earthquakes at depths of 0-6 km were recorded. Weak, intermittent, spasmodic tremor was registered during 21-25 December. On 25 December during 1945-2045, the amplitude of volcanic tremor sharply increased. According to visual data from Klyuchi, on 19 December at 1238 and 1514, short-lived explosions sent gas-and-ash plumes to heights of ~5.5 and 5 km a.s.l., respectively. Following the first explosion, pyroclastic flows traveled SE; after the second, they traveled to the S, inside the Baidarnaya River. The runout of both pyroclastic flows was 3 km. Shiveluch remained at Concern Color Code Yellow.
Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)
| 16.72°N, 62.18°W
| Elevation 915 m
Activity at Soufrière Hills during 20-27 December remained at high levels. The active extruded lobe on the N side of the lava dome continued to grow, giving rise to rockfalls and small-to-moderate pyroclastic flows across a broad sector of the NE and N flanks. Spectacular incandescence was observed on most nights. Growth was focused mainly towards the NNE, producing pyroclastic flows in White's Ghaut, the Tar River Valley, and Tuitt's Ghaut. Extrusion also occurred on the N side of the summit and occasionally on the NW. A large spine was pushed up at the back of the active extruded lobe during the night of 26-27 December. The Washington VAAC reported that on 28 December around 1130 a 3-km-high ash cloud generated from pyroclastic flows drifted over the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Sources: Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), 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.
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