Activity for the week of 2 December-8 December 2009
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
| 38.692°S, 71.729°W
| Elevation 3125 m
Cameras operated by OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN showed steam-and-gas plumes rising from Llaima's main crater and E flank during 14 November-1 December. Although seismicity generally decreased, a new type of long-period, low-frequency earthquake was detected. An overflight on 4 December revealed fumarolic activity and some sulfur dioxide emissions coming mainly from fissures on the N crater wall and outer E and W flanks. The Alert Level was raised to Yellow, Level 3. Activity last noted in the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report from 9-16 June was described as occasional steam emissions with minor amounts of ash rising from the E flank.
Source: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)
| Kyushu (Japan)
| 31.593°N, 130.657°E
| Elevation 1117 m
Based on information from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported that explosions from Sakura-jima during 2-8 December produced plumes that rose to altitudes of 1.5-2.7 km (5,000-9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. On 4 and 8 December, pilots 30-65 km S of Kagoshima airport reported ash plumes that rose to an altitude of 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW and NE.
Source: Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)
| 16.25°S, 168.12°E
| Elevation 1334 m
On 3 December, a diffuse plume from Ambrym, likely largely composed of sulfur dioxide, was visible on satellite imagery acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and posted on NASA's Earth Observatory website.
Source: NASA Earth Observatory
| 42.833°S, 72.646°W
| Elevation 1122 m
Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that emissions from Chaitén's lava-dome complex drifted 15 km SE on 8 December.
Source: Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)
| 19.514°N, 103.62°W
| Elevation 3850 m
The government of the state of Colima reported that on 1 December a white plume from the Colima volcano rose 100 m above the crater and drifted E. On 2 December, incandescent tephra was ejected 50 m above the crater towards the SE. Later that day, a white plume rose 50 m and drifted SW.
Source: Gobierno del Estado de Colima
| Halmahera (Indonesia)
| 1.693°N, 127.894°E
| Elevation 1229 m
The Darwin VAAC reported that during 5-6 December ash plumes from Dukono rose to an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 55-85 km NE and SE.
Source: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)
| 14.473°N, 90.88°W
| Elevation 3763 m
On 4 December, INSIVUMEH reported that multiple explosions produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 4.2-4.7 km (13,800-15,400 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 15-18 km W. Ashfall was reported in communities downwind. Rumbling noises and incandescent block avalanches were also noted.
Source: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH)
| Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)
| 54.049°N, 159.443°E
| Elevation 1513 m
KVERT reported that seismic activity at Karymsky was above background levels during 27-30 November and 1 December; data were not available during 2-4 December due to technical problems. Analyses of satellite imagery revealed a daily thermal anomaly and ash plumes that drifted 165 km E during 29-30 November and 1-2 December. The Level of Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.
Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)
| Hawaiian Islands (USA)
| 19.421°N, 155.287°W
| Elevation 1222 m
During 2-8 December, HVO reported that lava flowed SE from beneath Kilauea's Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) and rootless shield complex through a lava tube system, reaching the ocean at multiple locations between Waikupanaha and an area 700 m farther to the W. Thermal anomalies detected by satellite and visual observations revealed active lava flows on the coastal plain. Incandescence was occasionally seen from Pu'u 'O'o crater; on 2 December, incandescence originated from vents on the E wall. The vent in Halema'uma'u crater continued to produce a white or off-white plume that drifted E, W, and SW, and dropped small amounts of ash downwind. Incandescence originated from multiple spattering holes in the deep floor of the vent cavity.
Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)
| Central Kamchatka (Russia)
| 56.056°N, 160.642°E
| Elevation 4754 m
KVERT reported that during 27 November-4 December seismic activity from Kliuchevskoi was above background levels and lava continued to flow down the ESE flank. Strombolian activity ejected tephra 300 m above the crater. Satellite imagery revealed a large daily thermal anomaly at the volcano. The Level of Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.
Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)
| New Britain (Papua New Guinea)
| 4.271°S, 152.203°E
| Elevation 688 m
RVO reported that during 27 November-3 December dense white plumes and gray ash plumes rose from Rabaul caldera's Tavurvur cone. Strong explosions produced ash plumes that rose 1.5 km above the summit and showered the flanks with lava fragments that were incandescent at night. Shock waves rattled windows in the Kokopo area, about 20 km SE. Incandescence from the summit crater was occasionally noted. During 2-4 December, ash fell in Rabaul town (3-5 km NW) and other villages downwind. Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 5 and 7-8 December ash plumes rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 45-55 km E.
Sources: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)
| 12.702°N, 87.004°W
| Elevation 1745 m
Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported that on 6 December a gas-and-steam plume from San Cristóbal, possibly containing ash, drifted SW. The VAAC also noted smoke from local fires.
Source: Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)
| Central Kamchatka (Russia)
| 56.653°N, 161.36°E
| Elevation 3283 m
KVERT reported that during 27 November-4 December seismic activity from Shiveluch was above background levels, possibly indicating that ash plumes rose to an altitude of 4.5 km (14,800 ft) a.s.l. Fumarolic activity was seen with a video camera. Analyses of satellite imagery revealed a large daily thermal anomaly from the lava dome and gas-and-steam plumes, possibly with ash, drifting 70 km E on 27, 28, and 30 November. The Level of Aviation Color Code remained at Orange. Based on information from KEMSD, the Tokyo VAAC reported that on 4 December an eruption produced a plume that rose to an altitude of 5.8 km (19,000 ft) a.s.l.
Sources: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT), Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)
| 16.72°N, 62.18°W
| Elevation 915 m
MVO reported that during 27 November-4 December activity from the Soufrière Hills lava dome continued at a high level. Pyroclastic flow activity was concentrated to the NE and W. The largest pyroclastic flows traveled NE down Tuitt's Ghaut on 27 November and 2 December, reaching within 200 m of the sea. Associated ash plumes rose to altitudes of 4.6-6.1 km (15,000-20,000 ft) a.s.l. Pyroclastic flows also traveled W down Gages Valley, S down the White River valley and Gingoes Ghaut, and into the upper reaches of Tyers Ghaut (NW). One descended the Tar River valley to the E. Rockfalls cascaded directly from the summit of the lava dome into Tyers Ghaut. Ash venting from the S part of the lava dome was noted several times. Ashfall containing accretionary lapilli, reported from Salem, Old Towne, and parts of Olveston on the evening of 27 November, was associated with a pyroclastic flow down Tuitt's and White Bottom Ghaut. The Hazard Level remained at 3.
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 an explosion from Suwanose-jima during 5-6 December. Details of possible resulting emissions were not reported.
Source: Tokyo 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.
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