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Report on Karangetang (Indonesia) — August 2007


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 32, no. 8 (August 2007)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Karangetang (Indonesia) Eruptions during mid-2007; evacuations; pyroclastic flows; lava avalanches

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2007. Report on Karangetang (Indonesia) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 32:8. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200708-267020



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The previous Bulletin report (BGVN 32:05) discussed periodic activity at Karangetang from January 2004 through April 2007. This report updates activity through August 2007. The island (Ulau Siau, or Siau) has a tear-drop-shape, widest at the N end with the tail bent E. The island's maximum E-W extent is about 10 km.

During April through mid August 2007, the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) recorded mild activity with periodic tremor activity registering at 0.5-2 mm and "thick-white-ash" periodically being ejected 25-750 m above the Main crater.

On 25 June 2007, an incandescent explosion 750 m high was observed and a lava avalanche traveled 1,000 m down the to Nawitu river and 400 m down the Bahambang river. Some materials descended into the Batuawang Valley.

Beginning 5 August 2007, the CVGHM recorded tremors with amplitude 4 mm in the vicinity of Karangetang. On 8 August, tremor amplitude increased to 23 mm and a lava fountain rose up to 25-75 m above the summit. Additional lava and pyroclastic flows observed on 10 August prompted authorities to evacuate more than 500 people from villages on the flanks.

On 11 August, because observers witnessed increased eruptive activity, and seismicity included tremors increasing to 46 mm in amplitude, the CVGHM raised the alert status from 2 to 3 (on a scale of 1-4). The alert status was again raised on 18 August from 3 to 4 as the CVGHM reported tremor (45-47 mm amplitude), lava emission, and a debris-flow about 2 km down the S flank. "Booming" noises were also heard and thick ashfall covered villages, farms, and trees on the flanks. Based on these advisories the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center notified aviation interests of the potential for a major eruption.

On 19 August, Karangetang erupted again several times. An avalanche of lava and hot ash poured down the flanks. Avalanches reportedly reached the coastal villages of Karalung (several kilometers SE of the summit) and Hiung (several kilometers NW of the summit). After 19 August eruptive activity decreased and on 30 August the hazard status was dropped to 3.

Thermal anomalies were detected by MODIS beginning 6-8 August with major activity occurring on 10 August and nearly continuous activity from 13 August through 2 September.

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: Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), Saut Simatupang, 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://vsi.esdm.go.id/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Hot Spots System, University of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, Northern Territory 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Jakarta Post, Indonesia (URL: http://www.thejakartapost.com/).