Activity for the week of 19 March-25 March 2008
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
| Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)
| 54.049°N, 159.443°E
| Elevation 1513 m
KVERT reported that seismic activity at Karymsky was slightly above background levels during 13-16 March and at background levels during 17-19 March. Weak ash explosions or avalanches possibly occurred on 15 March when observations of satellite imagery revealed an ash plume drifting 40 km SE. On 16 March, ash deposits 15-20 km in length mantled the snow to the NE and ESE. The Level of Concern Color Code remained at Orange.
Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)
| Hawaiian Islands (USA)
| 19.421°N, 155.287°W
| Elevation 1222 m
Based on visual observations from HVO and National Park Service (NPS) crews as well as web camera views, HVO reported that during 19-25 March lava flow activity from Kilauea's Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) shield was mostly concentrated in and near the Royal Gardens subdivision and at multiple points along the Waikupanaha and Ki ocean entries. Lava flows advanced eastward over an old sea cliff and onto the 1990 lava delta, and were 120 m W of the viewing area on 23 March. Flows through a kipuka produced fires during 18-22 March.
During the reporting period, Kilauea summit earthquakes were located beneath the S-half of the caldera, beneath Halema`uma`u Crater, N of Pu'u 'O'o, along the S-flank faults, and along the SW rift zone. At 0258 on 19 March, an explosion from Halema'uma'u Crater scattered debris over an area of about 75 acres (30 hectares), covering a portion of Crater Rim Drive and damaging the overlook. On Crater Rim Drive, the debris was up to 2 cm in diameter and increased in size and thickness towards the overlook. The largest block ejected during the explosion was about 1 cubic meter. Small impact craters from 30-cm-blocks were abundant in the overlook area. The event was the first explosive activity in the crater since 1924. During 19-24 March, seismic tremor levels were elevated above their already high pre-explosion levels and incandescence at the gas vent was intermittent. Small incandescent tephra particles erupted from the vent overnight during 23-24 March and were deposited on the rim of the crater. On 24 March, the gas plume from the vent became ash-laden and rose to an altitude of about 2.8 km (9,200 ft) a.s.l. The plumes drifted SW. Geologists found Pele's hair, Pele's tears, and spatter in the overlook area. The largest spatter was 10 cm in diameter. During 24-25 March, overnight observers reported incandescence at the base of the continuous ash plume. Based on a pilot observation, the Washington VAAC reported that ash plumes rose to an altitude of 2 km (6,500 ft) a.s.l. on 25 March and drifted SW. The eruption was the first to produce lava in Halema'uma'u since 1982.
Sulfur dioxide emission rates from the summit area have been elevated at 2-4 times background values since early January. The emission rate fluctuated between 1,200-2,200 tonnes per day during 18-23 March, compared to a background rate of 150-200 tonnes per day. On 23 March, the emission rate was 2,200 tonnes per day at Pu'u 'O'o. Sulfur dioxide concentrations were mostly below detection limits at the Jaggar museum and the Kilauea Visitors Center.
Sources: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)
| New Britain (Papua New Guinea)
| 5.416°S, 150.027°E
| Elevation 564 m
RVO reported that white plumes from two sources at the summit of Garbuna drifted SE during 19-21 March. Ashfall and a strong sulfur odor were reported in Kimbe Town (about 17 km SE) on 19 March.
Source: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO)
| Mariana Islands (USA)
| 16.35°N, 145.67°E
| Elevation 790 m
The USGS reported that seismicity at Anatahan remained elevated during 19-25 March. Based on observations of satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported that diffuse gas-and-ash plumes drifted SW, NE, and E during 19-22 March. The Volcanic Alert Level remained at Watch and the Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.
Sources: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program, Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)
| 14.473°N, 90.88°W
| Elevation 3763 m
INSIVUMEH reported that during 22-25 March more frequent explosions (4-5 per hour) from Fuego produced ash plumes to altitudes of 4.1-4.6 km (13,500-15,100 ft) a.s.l. The plumes drifted 6-8 km S and SE. Most explosions produced degassing and rumbling noises, and shock waves that vibrated windows and ceilings within a 5-8 km radius.
Source: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH)
| 38.692°S, 71.729°W
| Elevation 3125 m
SERNAGEOMIN reported that fumarolic activity from the central pyroclastic cone in Llaima's main crater reactivated on 13 March and intensified during 15-17 March. Sulfur dioxide plumes rose to an altitude of 3.6 km (11,800 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E. People from nearby areas reported incandescence in the crater during 19-21 March. Incandescent material propelled from the crater was observed at night during 20-21 March.
Source: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)
| New Britain (Papua New Guinea)
| 4.271°S, 152.203°E
| Elevation 688 m
RVO reported that ash plumes from Rabaul caldera's Tavurvur cone rose to altitudes of 1.7-3.2 km (5,600-10,500 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in almost all directions during 19-26 March. Ashfall was reported daily in areas downwind, including Rabaul Town (3-5 km NW), Matupit Island (2 km W), and Kokopo (20 km SE). Incandescence at the summit was observed and roaring noises were occasionally heard. An explosion produced lava fragments that showered the flanks on 20 March. Shockwaves rattled windows in Rabaul Town. Another explosion showered the flanks with lava fragments on 22 March. During 25-26 March, ashfall affected flights into Tokua (about 20 km SE of Rabaul).
Source: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO)
| Central Kamchatka (Russia)
| 56.653°N, 161.36°E
| Elevation 3283 m
KVERT reported that seismic activity at Shiveluch was slightly above background levels during 14-21 March. Based on seismic interpretation, ash plumes possibly rose to an altitude of 3.5 km (11,200 ft) a.s.l. on 13 and 17 March. According to video footage and visual observations, an ash plume rose to an altitude of 4 km (12,800 ft) a.s.l. on 17 March and fumarolic activity from the lava dome was observed during 17 and 19-20 March. Observations of satellite imagery revealed that a gas plume drifted 17 km SW on 17 March and a thermal anomaly was present in the crater during the reporting period. The Level of Concern Color Code remained at Orange.
Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)
| 16.72°N, 62.18°W
| Elevation 915 m
MVO reported that that during 19-25 March the lava dome at Soufrière Hills changed very little, based on visual observations and other measurable parameters. Fumarolic activity was concentrated on the NW and SE flanks where abundant sulfur deposits were noted, and at the head of Gages Valley to the W. The Alert Level remained elevated at 4 (on a scale of 0-5).
Source: Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO)
| Ryukyu Islands (Japan)
| 29.638°N, 129.714°E
| Elevation 796 m
Based on information from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported that an explosion from Suwanose-jima occurred on 22 March. The altitude and direction of a possible resultant plume were not reported.
Source: Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)
| 1.467°S, 78.442°W
| Elevation 5023 m
IG reported that although visual observations were limited due to cloud cover, ash-and-steam plumes from Tungurahua were spotted and rose to altitudes of 5.5-8 km (18,000-26,200 ft) a.s.l. during 19-25 March. Ash plumes drifted S, SW, W, NNW, and NNE; ashfall was reported in areas downwind during 19-21 and 23-25 March. Roaring noises were reported on 23 March. During 24-25 March, small explosions were registered by the seismic network.
Source: Instituto Geofísico-Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG)
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.
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