Environment

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: May 30


New activity/unrest was reported for 4 volcanoes between May 30 and June 5, 2018. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 9 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Fuego, Guatemala | Kerinci, Indonesia | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia).

Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion Island (France) | Sabancaya, Peru | San Miguel, El Salvador | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan) | Yasur, Vanuatu.

New activity/unrest

Fuego, Guatemala

14.473°N, 90.88°W, Summit elev. 3763 m

In a special bulletin from 0600 on 3 June INSIVUMEH noted increased activity at Fuego. Strong explosions were accompanied by rumbling sounds, and shock waves that vibrated local structures. Dense ash plumes rose 2.3 km above the crater and drifted SW, W, NW, and N. Pyroclastic flows descended the Seca (Santa Teresa) drainage on the W flank, and possibly other drainages, though poor weather conditions prevented clear views of the summit area. Ash plumes drifted in westerly directions, causing ashfall (on roofs and cars) in Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW) and San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW). By 1000 pyroclastic flows were descending the Cenizas (SSW) drainage. Ashfall was reported in additional areas including La Soledad (10 km ESE), Quisache, and the municipality of Acatenango (8 km E).

Based on information from multiple agencies, the Washington VAAC reported an ash plume rising to 9 km (30,000 ft) a.s.l. at 1130 from an explosive eruption. In a report from 1340, INSIVUMEH described large pyroclastic flows traveling down the Seca, Cenizas, Mineral, Taniluya (SW), Las Lajas (SE), and Honda (E) drainages, producing dense ash plumes that rose 6.2 km above the summit (or 32,800 ft a.s.l.). A news article stated that the pyroclastic flows traveled at least 8 km and reached temperatures of 700 degrees Celsius. Tephra and lapilli fell in areas more than 25 km away, including in La Soledad, San Miguel Dueñas (10 km NE), Alotenango, Antigua Guatemala (18 km NE), and Chimaltenango (21 km NNE). Ashfall was reported as far away as Guatemala City, 70 km E. Explosions rattled structures within 20 km of Fuego. The La Aurora International Airport closed at 1415. Eyewitness accounts described the fast-moving pyroclastic flows inundating fields people were working in, overtaking bridges, and burying homes up to their roof lines in some areas. San Miguel Los Lotes, Alotenango, and El Rodeo (10 km SSE) were the worst affected.

According to Simon Carn, satellite data analysis showed that the event produced the highest SO2 loading measured from a Fuego eruption in the satellite era (since 1978), and therefore most likely the highest since the major 1974 eruption. He went on to note that the SO2 mass was about ~2 orders of magnitude than the 1974 eruption, which had a significant stratospheric impact.

At 1650 INSIVUMEH noted reports of lahars descending the Pantaleón drainage (fed by the Santa Teresa and El Mineral rivers) and other drainages. CONRED had evacuated communities near Fuego, including Sangre de Cristo, finca Palo Verde, and Panimache. At 2200 (~16.5 hours after the increased activity began), the eruption waned, with activity characterized by weak-to-moderate explosions, crater incandescence, and ash plumes that rose almost 800 m. The seismic station (FG3) recorded the last pyroclastic flow at 1845. By 0725 on 4 June seismicity had returned to normal levels. Explosions occurring at a rate of 5-7 per hour produced ash-rich plumes that rose as high as 900 m and drifted 15 km SW, W, NW, and N. Avalanches of material descended the flanks. The La Aurora International Airport reopened and flights resumed at 0930.

On 5 June INSIVUMEH reported that activity again increased. Explosions occurring at a rate of 8-10/hour, some strong, generated ash plumes that rose 5 km and drifted E and NE. At 1928 a pyroclastic flow traveled down the Las Lajas drainage. News articles noted that authorities called for another evacuation.

CONRED reported that by 0630 on 6 June a total of 12,089 people had been evacuated, with 3,319 people dispersed in 13 shelters. One bridge and two power networks had been destroyed. According to news sources on 6 June, Guatemala’s National Institute of Forensic Sciences stated that 75 people were confirmed to have died and 192 were still missing. Many, possibly thousands, received burns and other injuries. Weather conditions, continuing activity at Fuego, poor air quality, hot pyroclastic flow deposits, and rain made rescue efforts difficult.

Geological summary: Volcán Fuego, one of Central America’s most active volcanoes, is one of three large stratovolcanoes overlooking Guatemala’s former capital, Antigua. The scarp of an older edifice, Meseta, lies between 3763-m-high Fuego and its twin volcano to the north, Acatenango. Construction of Meseta dates back to about 230,000 years and continued until the late Pleistocene or early Holocene. Collapse of Meseta may have produced the massive Escuintla debris-avalanche deposit, which extends about 50 km onto the Pacific coastal plain. Growth of the modern Fuego volcano followed, continuing the southward migration of volcanism that began at Acatenango. In contrast to the mostly andesitic Acatenango, eruptions at Fuego have become more mafic with time, and most historical activity has produced basaltic rocks. Frequent vigorous historical eruptions have been recorded since the onset of the Spanish era in 1524, and have produced major ashfalls, along with occasional pyroclastic flows and lava flows.

Kerinci, Indonesia

1.697°S, 101.264°E, Summit elev. 3800 m

Based on satellite data, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 5 June a minor ash emission from Kerinci rose to an altitude of 4.3 km (14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W.

Geological summary: The 3800-m-high Gunung Kerinci in central Sumatra forms Indonesia’s highest volcano and is one of the most active in Sumatra. Kerinci is capped by an unvegetated young summit cone that was constructed NE of an older crater remnant. The volcano contains a deep 600-m-wide summit crater often partially filled by a small crater lake that lies on the NE crater floor, opposite the SW-rim summit of Kerinci. The massive 13 x 25 km wide volcano towers 2400-3300 m above surrounding plains and is elongated in a N-S direction. The frequently active Gunung Kerinci has been the source of numerous moderate explosive eruptions since its first recorded eruption in 1838.

Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA)

19.421°N, 155.287°W, Summit elev. 1222 m

HVO reported that the eruption at Kilauea’s Lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) and at Overlook Crater within Halema`uma`u Crater continued during 30 May-6 June. Lava fountaining and spatter was concentrated at Fissure 8, feeding lava flows that spread through Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions, and reached the ocean at Kapoho Bay. Fissures 22, 6, and 13 were periodically active on 30 May, and fissures 6/13 spattered on 4 June. Sluggish lava flows were present around Fissure 18.

Inward slumping of the crater rim and walls of Halema`uma`u continued, and earthquake activity beneath the caldera was mostly high, as the summit area adjusted to the withdrawal of magma from Overlook Crater. Passive degassing of SO2 from the summit decreased, but emission rates were high enough to impact air quality downwind. Ash emissions were intermittent and low, though around 1100 on 30 May an ash plume rose to 3.6 km (12,000 ft) a.s.l. A small explosion was detected at 1339 on 1 June. A preliminary M 5.5 earthquake was recorded at 1550 on 3 June, producing an ash plume that rose to 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. A small explosion and accompanying M 5.5 earthquake was detected at 0432 on 5 June; an ash plume rose to 1.6 km (5,100 ft) a.s.l.

During the beginning of the reporting period Fissure 8 generated tall lava fountains, rising 80 m, and some secondary fountains that rose 18 m. Pele’s hair and other volcanic glass from the high fountaining fell in areas W of the fissure and within Leilani Estates. A small (30 m high) spatter cone formed at the downwind side of the fountain. Volcanic gas emissions from the fissures were very high; trade winds blew vog to the S and W parts of the island.

The lava flow fed by Fissure 8 advanced NE at a rate of 550 m/hour during 29-30 May, but then slowed to 90 m/hour on 31 May. High eruption rates led to the formation of a leveed channel along the W edge of the lava flow; small overflows from the channel occurred along its length. On 2 June lava flowed around the N part of Kapoho Crater and then turned S, entering the Vacationland neighborhood. At 0700 the flow front had entered Kapoho Beach Lots, moving about 75 m/hour. Lava entered Green Lake (70 m x 120 m in dimension, and 60 m deep) at 1000, creating a large steam plume. By 1500 lava had completely filled the lake and boiled off the water. Locals reported that lava (with a flow front 800 m wide) entered the ocean at Kapoho Bay around 2230. By late afternoon on 4 June lava had built a delta extending almost 700 m into the bay.

Overnight during 4-5 June lava fountaining at Fissure 8 was less vigorous, with a maximum height of 55 m. By 0630 on 5 June lava had completely filled Kapoho Bay, creating a new coastline 1.1 km away from the former coastline. To the S lava had overtaken most of the Vacationland subdivision and was entering the tidepools. All but the northern part of Kapoho Beach Lots had been covered.

Geological summary: Kilauea, which overlaps the E flank of the massive Mauna Loa shield volcano, has been Hawaii’s most active volcano during historical time. Eruptions are prominent in Polynesian legends; written documentation extending back to only 1820 records frequent summit and flank lava flow eruptions that were interspersed with periods of long-term lava lake activity that lasted until 1924 at Halemaumau crater, within the summit caldera. The 3 x 5 km caldera was formed in several stages about 1500 years ago and during the 18th century; eruptions have also originated from the lengthy East and SW rift zones, which extend to the sea on both sides of the volcano. About 90% of the surface of the basaltic shield volcano is formed of lava flows less than about 1100 years old; 70% of the volcano’s surface is younger than 600 years. A long-term eruption from the East rift zone that began in 1983 has produced lava flows covering more than 100 km2, destroying nearly 200 houses and adding new coastline to the island.

Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia)

7.54°S, 110.446°E, Summit elev. 2910 m

PVMBG reported that at 0820 on 1 June an event at Merapi generated an ash plume that rose at least 6 km above the crater rim and drifted NW, but then winds changed to the SW. Ashfall was reported at the Selo observation post. Observers noted white smoke rising from a forested area 1.5 km NW, possibly indicating burning vegetation. The report noted that volcano-tectonic events were occurring at about 3 km below the crater. Later that day at 2024 an ash plume from a 1.5-minute-long event rose 2.5 km above the crater rim and drifted NE and W. At 2100 an ash plume rose 1 km and drifted NW. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and PVMBG noted that all people within 3 km of the summit should be evacuated.

Geological summary: Merapi, one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes, lies in one of the world’s most densely populated areas and dominates the landscape immediately north of the major city of Yogyakarta. It is the youngest and southernmost of a volcanic chain extending NNW to Ungaran volcano. Growth of Old Merapi during the Pleistocene ended with major edifice collapse perhaps about 2000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequently growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent eruptive activity, began SW of the earlier collapse scarp. Pyroclastic flows and lahars accompanying growth and collapse of the steep-sided active summit lava dome have devastated cultivated lands on the western-to-southern flanks and caused many fatalities during historical time.

Ongoing activity

Aira, Kyushu (Japan)

31.593°N, 130.657°E, Summit elev. 1117 m

JMA reported that there were 12 events and four explosions at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 28 May-4 June. Tephra was ejected as far as 1.1 km from the crater, and ash plumes rose as high as 2.5 km above the crater rim. Crater incandescence was occasionally visible at night. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Geological summary: The Aira caldera in the northern half of Kagoshima Bay contains the post-caldera Sakurajima volcano, one of Japan’s most active. Eruption of the voluminous Ito pyroclastic flow accompanied formation of the 17 x 23 km caldera about 22,000 years ago. The smaller Wakamiko caldera was formed during the early Holocene in the NE corner of the Aira caldera, along with several post-caldera cones. The construction of Sakurajima began about 13,000 years ago on the southern rim of Aira caldera and built an island that was finally joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kitadake summit cone ended about 4850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minamidake. Frequent historical eruptions, recorded since the 8th century, have deposited ash on Kagoshima, one of Kyushu’s largest cities, located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km from the summit. The largest historical eruption took place during 1471-76.

Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)

1.693°N, 127.894°E, Summit elev. 1229 m

Based on ground observations and satellite data, PVMBG and the Darwin VAAC reported that during 30 May-June ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 1.4-2.1 km (4,500-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE and E.

Geological summary: Reports from this remote volcano in northernmost Halmahera are rare, but Dukono has been one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes. More-or-less continuous explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, occurred from 1933 until at least the mid-1990s, when routine observations were curtailed. During a major eruption in 1550, a lava flow filled in the strait between Halmahera and the north-flank cone of Gunung Mamuya. This complex volcano presents a broad, low profile with multiple summit peaks and overlapping craters. Malupang Wariang, 1 km SW of the summit crater complex, contains a 700 x 570 m crater that has also been active during historical time.

Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

56.056°N, 160.642°E, Summit elev. 4754 m

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Klyuchevskoy was identified in satellite images on 25 and 28 May. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Geological summary: Klyuchevskoy (also spelled Kliuchevskoi) is Kamchatka’s highest and most active volcano. Since its origin about 6000 years ago, the beautifully symmetrical, 4835-m-high basaltic stratovolcano has produced frequent moderate-volume explosive and effusive eruptions without major periods of inactivity. It rises above a saddle NE of sharp-peaked Kamen volcano and lies SE of the broad Ushkovsky massif. More than 100 flank eruptions have occurred during the past roughly 3000 years, with most lateral craters and cones occurring along radial fissures between the unconfined NE-to-SE flanks of the conical volcano between 500 m and 3600 m elevation. The morphology of the 700-m-wide summit crater has been frequently modified by historical eruptions, which have been recorded since the late-17th century. Historical eruptions have originated primarily from the summit crater, but have also included numerous major explosive and effusive eruptions from flank craters.

Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion Island (France)

21.244°S, 55.708°E, Summit elev. 2632 m

OVPF reported that during an overflight of Piton de la Fournaise on 29 May scientists noted that the vent atop the main cone (about 22-25 m high) was about 5 m in diameter. Slumping and small collapses on the flanks were visible, and gas emissions rose from the vent. Based on seismicity, OVPF stated that at 1430 on 1 June the eruption that began on 27 April was over.

Geological summary: The massive Piton de la Fournaise basaltic shield volcano on the French island of Réunion in the western Indian Ocean is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Much of its more than 530,000-year history overlapped with eruptions of the deeply dissected Piton des Neiges shield volcano to the NW. Three calderas formed at about 250,000, 65,000, and less than 5000 years ago by progressive eastward slumping of the volcano. Numerous pyroclastic cones dot the floor of the calderas and their outer flanks. Most historical eruptions have originated from the summit and flanks of Dolomieu, a 400-m-high lava shield that has grown within the youngest caldera, which is 8 km wide and breached to below sea level on the eastern side. More than 150 eruptions, most of which have produced fluid basaltic lava flows, have occurred since the 17th century. Only six eruptions, in 1708, 1774, 1776, 1800, 1977, and 1986, have originated from fissures on the outer flanks of the caldera. The Piton de la Fournaise Volcano Observatory, one of several operated by the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, monitors this very active volcano.

Sabancaya, Peru

15.787°S, 71.857°W, Summit elev. 5960 m

Observatorio Vulcanológico del Sur del IGP (OVS-IGP) and Observatorio Vulcanológico del INGEMMET (OVI) reported that explosive activity at Sabancaya was comparable to the previous week; explosions averaged 28 per day during 28 May-3 June. Seismicity was dominated by long-period events and signals indicating emissions. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 4.3 km above the crater rim and drifted 40 km NE, E, and SE. The MIROVA system detected six thermal anomalies, and on 30 May the sulfur dioxide gas flux was high at 5,571 tons/day. The report noted that the public should not approach the crater within a 12-km radius.

Geological summary: Sabancaya, located in the saddle NE of Ampato and SE of Hualca Hualca volcanoes, is the youngest of these volcanic centers and the only one to have erupted in historical time. The oldest of the three, Nevado Hualca Hualca, is of probable late-Pliocene to early Pleistocene age. The name Sabancaya (meaning “tongue of fire” in the Quechua language) first appeared in records in 1595 CE, suggesting activity prior to that date. Holocene activity has consisted of Plinian eruptions followed by emission of voluminous andesitic and dacitic lava flows, which form an extensive apron around the volcano on all sides but the south. Records of historical eruptions date back to 1750.

San Miguel, El Salvador

13.434°N, 88.269°W, Summit elev. 2130 m

SNET reported a significant increase in the number of low- and high-frequency earthquakes beneath San Miguel’s crater beginning on 22 May. RSAM values fluctuated between 142 and 176 units (normal values are 50-150 units) during 30 May-1 June. Webcam images on 30 May showed a small gray gas emission.

Geological summary: The symmetrical cone of San Miguel volcano, one of the most active in El Salvador, rises from near sea level to form one of the country’s most prominent landmarks. The unvegetated summit rises above slopes draped with coffee plantations. A broad, deep crater complex that has been frequently modified by historical eruptions (recorded since the early 16th century) caps the truncated summit, also known locally as Chaparrastique. Radial fissures on the flanks of the basaltic-andesitic volcano have fed a series of historical lava flows, including several erupted during the 17th-19th centuries that reached beyond the base of the volcano on the N, NE, and SE sides. The SE-flank flows are the largest and form broad, sparsely vegetated lava fields crossed by highways and a railroad skirting the base of the volcano. The location of flank vents has migrated higher on the edifice during historical time, and the most recent activity has consisted of minor ash eruptions from the summit crater.

Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

56.653°N, 161.36°E, Summit elev. 3283 m

KVERT reported that a weak thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images on 31 May. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Geological summary: The high, isolated massif of Sheveluch volcano (also spelled Shiveluch) rises above the lowlands NNE of the Kliuchevskaya volcano group. The 1300 km3 volcano is one of Kamchatka’s largest and most active volcanic structures. The summit of roughly 65,000-year-old Stary Shiveluch is truncated by a broad 9-km-wide late-Pleistocene caldera breached to the south. Many lava domes dot its outer flanks. The Molodoy Shiveluch lava dome complex was constructed during the Holocene within the large horseshoe-shaped caldera; Holocene lava dome extrusion also took place on the flanks of Stary Shiveluch. At least 60 large eruptions have occurred during the Holocene, making it the most vigorous andesitic volcano of the Kuril-Kamchatka arc. Widespread tephra layers from these eruptions have provided valuable time markers for dating volcanic events in Kamchatka. Frequent collapses of dome complexes, most recently in 1964, have produced debris avalanches whose deposits cover much of the floor of the breached caldera.

Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan)

29.638°N, 129.714°E, Summit elev. 796 m

Based on JMA notices and satellite data, the Tokyo VAAC reported an explosion at Suwanosejima on 2 June.

Geological summary: The 8-km-long, spindle-shaped island of Suwanosejima in the northern Ryukyu Islands consists of an andesitic stratovolcano with two historically active summit craters. The summit of the volcano is truncated by a large breached crater extending to the sea on the east flank that was formed by edifice collapse. Suwanosejima, one of Japan’s most frequently active volcanoes, was in a state of intermittent strombolian activity from Otake, the NE summit crater, that began in 1949 and lasted until 1996, after which periods of inactivity lengthened. The largest historical eruption took place in 1813-14, when thick scoria deposits blanketed residential areas, and the SW crater produced two lava flows that reached the western coast. At the end of the eruption the summit of Otake collapsed forming a large debris avalanche and creating the horseshoe-shaped Sakuchi caldera, which extends to the eastern coast. The island remained uninhabited for about 70 years after the 1813-1814 eruption. Lava flows reached the eastern coast of the island in 1884. Only about 50 people live on the island.

Yasur, Vanuatu

19.532°S, 169.447°E, Summit elev. 361 m

Based on webcam images and model data, the Wellington VAAC reported that during 5-6 June intermittent, low-level ash plumes from Yasur rose to an altitude of 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW. Ash was not identified on satellite imagery.

Geological summary: Yasur, the best-known and most frequently visited of the Vanuatu volcanoes, has been in more-or-less continuous Strombolian and Vulcanian activity since Captain Cook observed ash eruptions in 1774. This style of activity may have continued for the past 800 years. Located at the SE tip of Tanna Island, this mostly unvegetated pyroclastic cone has a nearly circular, 400-m-wide summit crater. The active cone is largely contained within the small Yenkahe caldera, and is the youngest of a group of Holocene volcanic centers constructed over the down-dropped NE flank of the Pleistocene Tukosmeru volcano. The Yenkahe horst is located within the Siwi ring fracture, a 4-km-wide, horseshoe-shaped caldera associated with eruption of the andesitic Siwi pyroclastic sequence. Active tectonism along the Yenkahe horst accompanying eruptions has raised Port Resolution harbor more than 20 m during the past century.

Source: GVP



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