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Report on Karangetang (Indonesia) — December 2000


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 25, no. 12 (December 2000)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Karangetang (Indonesia) Explosions generate ash plumes, ashfall, lava flows and avalanches

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2000. Report on Karangetang (Indonesia) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 25:12. Smithsonian Institution.



2.781°N, 125.407°E; summit elev. 1797 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Heightened activity continued at Karangetang in late December 2000-late January 2001, following a year of frequent activity in 2000 (BGVN 25:11). The main crater and Crater II sent a white, variably-thick ash plume up to 600 m above the summit during 19-25 December. Plume illumination up to 150 m above the craters was visible at night. Lava flows occurred on 21-22 December and reached as far as 1,250 m laterally along the SW flank. The seismic record also showed increased activity with multi-phase earthquakes predominating.

Activity, however, tailed off during 26 December-1 January before increasing again with renewed vigor from 2 to 8 January. At 1258 on 2 January an explosion produced a white-gray ash plume that rose ~500 m above the summit. At 1845 on the same day, workers observed a glowing lava avalanche issuing from the main crater and moving 50 m from the summit down toward the Naitu River. A larger explosion on 7 January sent gray ash 1,500 m above Karangetang. A coeval Strombolian eruption cloud rose 200 m. Ashfall occurred W of the volcano, coating Pahe, Lehi, Mini, and Kinali villages. Lava flowed down to the Tanitu River as far a 1 km from the summit. Tectonic earthquakes dominated seismicity during the week, and a significant number of tremor earthquakes also occurred.

A minor explosion occurred on 10 January; ash rose and subsequently fell back into the crater. Tectonic earthquakes again overshadowed all other types during 9-15 January. At 0845 on 17 January an explosion generated a small ash plume and a lava avalanche. Ash fell on Salili and Beong villages; lava flowed down both the E and W flanks of the volcano. Seismicity remained elevated with earthquake distributions similar to the previous week. The VSI maintained a hazard status of 2 (on a scale of 1-4) for Karangetang throughout the report period.

Geological Summary. Karangetang (Api Siau) volcano lies at the northern end of the island of Siau, about 125 km NNE of the NE-most point of Sulawesi island. The stratovolcano contains five summit craters along a N-S line. It is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, with more than 40 eruptions recorded since 1675 and many additional small eruptions that were not documented in the historical record (Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World: Neumann van Padang, 1951). Twentieth-century eruptions have included frequent explosive activity sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows and lahars. Lava dome growth has occurred in the summit craters; collapse of lava flow fronts have produced pyroclastic flows.

Information Contacts: Dali Ahmad, Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI), Jalan Diponegoro No. 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/).