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Report on Lokon-Empung (Indonesia) — February 2002


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 27, no. 2 (February 2002)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Lokon-Empung (Indonesia) Explosions, 1.5-km ash plumes, and tremor through at least February 2002

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2002. Report on Lokon-Empung (Indonesia) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 27:2. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200202-266100



1.358°N, 124.792°E; summit elev. 1580 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

After an explosion at Lokon on 28 January 2001 (BGVN 26:01), the hazard status was raised from 2 to 3 (on a scale of 1-4). During the following two months activity continued but decreased and the hazard status was reduced to 2. Then, at 1440 on 26 March, Lokon exploded again, producing dark ash that rose 1.5 km above the crater rim and drifted E and N. The explosion did not produce any incandescent material. Ash began falling on Kinilow (3.5 km from the crater) and Kakaskasen villages (4 km from the crater) 25 minutes later, eventually reaching a thickness of 1-2 cm near Pasahapen river (~1 km away). Tremor shortly after the explosion had a maximum amplitude of 2-16 mm.

During April and May there were occasional tremor earthquakes with amplitudes of ~0.5-1 mm. White, medium-thick plumes from Tompaluan crater were observed from the Kakaskasen observatory. An explosion from Tompaluan at 2014 on 20 May produced a grey-black plume 900 m high that drifted N. The plume was accompanied by glowing ejecta to a height of 400 m. Subsequently, activity fluctuated and white, medium-thick plumes ~50-250 m high were visible from the observatory.

At 2230 on 18 August an explosion produced ash that reached 800 m above the crater rim and spread 25 km N to Manado. Seismicity increased significantly shortly after the explosion, then returned to periods of varying intensity during the following months. An M 1 tectonic earthquake on 19 October was followed by periods of high-frequency tremor. Gray plumes rose 50-200 m above the Tompaluan crater. These conditions continued until 25 October. The significant increase in seismic activity and the changing color of the plume signaled a need for intensive monitoring in anticipation of probable higher activity levels. Increased levels continued until early December when activity decreased and the hazard level was lowered to 1.

The hazard level was again raised to 2 after an eruption on 9 February 2002. Plumes rose to 1.0 km and moved toward the SE, depositing ash (~0.5-2 mm thick) around the villages of Kakaskasen III, Talete I, Talete II, and Rurukan. The phreatic eruption was triggered by extensive rainfall; specifically, 602 mm of rain fell during January 2002 compared to 193 mm during December 2001. This excessive rainfall was thought to cause instability of the edifice. After the eruption, activity decreased significantly and remained low through at least February 2002.

Geological Summary. The Lokong-Empung volcanic complex, rising above the plain of Tondano in North Sulawesi, includes four peaks and an active crater. Lokon, the highest peak, has a flat craterless top. The morphologically younger Empung cone 2 km NE has a 400-m-wide, 150-m-deep crater that erupted last in the 18th century. A ridge extending 3 km WNW from Lokon includes the Tatawiran and Tetempangan peaks. All eruptions since 1829 have originated from Tompaluan, a 150 x 250 m crater in the saddle between Lokon and Empung. These eruptions have primarily produced small-to-moderate ash plumes that sometimes damaged croplands and houses, but lava-dome growth and pyroclastic flows have also occurred.

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