Environment

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: November 22


New activity/unrest was reported for 2 volcanoes between November 22 and 28, 2017. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 12 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Agung, Bali (Indonesia) | Great Sitkin, Andreanof Islands (USA).

Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Aoba, Vanuatu | Cleveland, Chuginadak Island (USA) | Copahue, Central Chile-Argentina border | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | Popocatepetl, Mexico | Reventador, Ecuador | Sabancaya, Peru | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Sinabung, Indonesia.

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 23:00 UTC every Wednesday, notices of volcanic activity posted 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. Carefully reviewed, detailed reports on various volcanoes are published monthly in the Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network.

New activity/unrest

Agung, Bali (Indonesia)

8.343°S, 115.508°E, Summit elev. 2997 m

PVMBG reported that at 1730 on 25 November, after the number of volcanic earthquakes significantly increased, ash plumes rose 1.5 km above Agung’s crater rim and drifted 12 km WSW. Ashfall was reported in areas SW including Besakih (7 km SW), hamlets in the upper part of Pempatan (7.5 km W), and Temukus, prompting remaining residents to evacuate to the S. Eight inbound and 13 outbound international flights were cancelled, affecting 2,087 passengers. Crater incandescence was observed at 2100, signifying the presence of lava in the crater. BNPB noted that the number of evacuees was 25,016 (spread out in 224 shelters).

On 26 November dark gray ash plumes rose 2 km at 0505, 3 km at 0545, and 4 km at 0620, and drifted E and SE. Ash emissions continued throughout the day; a few explosions were heard within a 12-km radius. PVMBG issued a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) elevating the Aviation Color Code from Orange to Red. Satellite data recorded sulfur dioxide gas concentrations ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 tons/day. Ashfall was reported in several areas downwind including North Duda (9 km S), Duda Timur (12 km S), Pempetan, Besakih, Sideman (15 km SSW), Tirta Abang, Sebudi (6 km SW), Amerta Bhuana (10 km SSW) in Klungkung, and some villages in Gianyar (20 km WSW). Ashfall was the thickest (5 mm) in Sibetan (11.5 km S). News sources noted that Lombok International Airport closed during 26-27 November.

PVMBG raised the Alert Level to 4 (the highest level on a scale of 1-4) on 27 November, and the exclusion zones were expanded to a general 8-km radius and to 10 km in the NNE, SE, S, and SW directions. Dense ash plumes continued to rise 2-4 km above the crater rim. Based on satellite data, the Darwin VAAC reported that ash plumes rose as high as 9.1 km (30,000 ft) a.s.l., or just over 6 km above the crater rim. Pictures and video showed a white steam plume adjacent to a gray ash plume rising form the crater, signifying two distinct active vents. According to news articles the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali closed due to the airborne ash. On 28 November BNPB noted that the number of evacuees had increased to 38,678, and were distributed in 225 evacuation centers. The Ngurah Rai International Airport reopened on 29 November, after the Aviation Color Code was lowered to Orange.

Geological summary: Symmetrical Agung stratovolcano, Bali’s highest and most sacred mountain, towers over the eastern end of the island. The volcano, whose name means “Paramount,” rises above the SE caldera rim of neighboring Batur volcano, and the northern and southern flanks extend to the coast. The summit area extends 1.5 km E-W, with the high point on the W and a steep-walled 800-m-wide crater on the E. The Pawon cone is located low on the SE flank. Only a few eruptions dating back to the early 19th century have been recorded in historical time. The 1963-64 eruption, one of the largest in the 20th century, produced voluminous ashfall along with devastating pyroclastic flows and lahars that caused extensive damage and many fatalities.

Great Sitkin, Andreanof Islands (USA)

52.076°N, 176.13°W, Summit elev. 1740 m

Recent observations of a robust steam plume and a period of gradually increasing seismicity over several months at Great Sitkin prompted AVO to raise the Aviation Color Code to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level to Advisory on 22 November. On 19 November local observers photographed a light-colored vapor plume rising about 300 m above the vent and drifting 15-20 km S. A satellite image acquired on 21 November showed steam continuously jetting from a small fumarole on the W side of the 1974 lava flow within the summit crater, and at least one area where snow and ice had been melted.

Seismicity had fluctuated but increased overall since July 2016, most notably in June 2017. The seismic activity was characterized by earthquakes less than M 1, and occurred either just below the summit or just offshore the NW cost of the island, 30 km below sea level. Possible explosion signals were recorded in seismic data on 10 January and 21 July 2017, but there were no confirmed emissions.

Geological summary: The 1740-m-high Great Sitkin volcano forms much of the northern side of Great Sitkin Island. A younger parasitic volcano capped by a small, 0.8 x 1.2 km ice-filled summit caldera was constructed within a large late-Pleistocene or early Holocene scarp formed by massive edifice failure that truncated an ancestral volcano and produced a submarine debris avalanche. Deposits from this and an older debris avalanche from a source to the south cover a broad area of the ocean floor north of the volcano. The 1740-m-high summit lies along the eastern rim of the younger collapse scarp. Deposits from an earlier caldera-forming eruption of unknown age cover the flanks of the island to a depth up to 6 meters. The small younger caldera was partially filled by lava domes emplaced in 1945 and 1974, and five small older flank lava domes, two of which lie on the coastline, were constructed along northwest- and NNW-trending lines. Hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles occur near the head of Big Fox Creek, south of the volcano. Historical eruptions have been recorded at Great Sitkin since the late-19th century.

Ongoing activity

Aira, Kyushu (Japan)

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

JMA reported that events at Minamidake summit crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) were occasionally detected during 20-27 November. Crater incandescence was 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.

Aoba, Vanuatu

15.4°S, 167.83°E, Summit elev. 1496 m

Based on analyses of satellite imagery, webcam views, and model data, the Wellington VAAC reported that during 22-24 November steam plumes from Aoba with possible ash content rose 1.8-3.7 km (6,000-12,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE, S, W, and N.

Geological summary: Aoba, also known as Ambae, is a massive 2500 cu km basaltic shield volcano that is the most voluminous volcano of the New Hebrides archipelago. A pronounced NE-SW-trending rift zone dotted with scoria cones gives the 16 x 38 km island an elongated form. A broad pyroclastic cone containing three crater lakes is located at the summit of the Hawaiian-style shield volcano within the youngest of at least two nested calderas, the largest of which is 6 km in diameter. Post-caldera explosive eruptions formed the summit craters of Lake Voui (also spelled Vui) and Lake Manaro Ngoru about 360 years ago. A tuff cone was constructed within Lake Voui about 60 years later. The latest known flank eruption, about 300 years ago, destroyed the population of the Nduindui area near the western coast.

Cleveland, Chuginadak Island (USA)

52.825°N, 169.944°W, Summit elev. 1730 m

AVO reported that during 22-28 November no significant activity at Cleveland was visible in cloudy to partly cloudy satellite images, and no activity was detected by seismic or infrasound sensors. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.

Geological summary: Beautifully symmetrical Mount Cleveland stratovolcano is situated at the western end of the uninhabited, dumbbell-shaped Chuginadak Island. It lies SE across Carlisle Pass strait from Carlisle volcano and NE across Chuginadak Pass strait from Herbert volcano. Cleveland is joined to the rest of Chuginadak Island by a low isthmus. The 1730-m-high Mount Cleveland is the highest of the Islands of the Four Mountains group and is one of the most active of the Aleutian Islands. The native name for Mount Cleveland, Chuginadak, refers to the Aleut goddess of fire, who was thought to reside on the volcano. Numerous large lava flows descend the steep-sided flanks. It is possible that some 18th-to-19th century eruptions attributed to Carlisle should be ascribed to Cleveland (Miller et al., 1998). In 1944 Cleveland produced the only known fatality from an Aleutian eruption. Recent eruptions have been characterized by short-lived explosive ash emissions, at times accompanied by lava fountaining and lava flows down the flanks.

Copahue, Central Chile-Argentina border

37.856°S, 71.183°W, Summit elev. 2953 m

Based on satellite and webcam views, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 21 and 24-27 November thin and diffuse steam plumes containing minor amounts of ash rose from Copahue and drifted E and NE. The plumes rose to altitudes of 3.3-3.6 km (11,000-12,000 ft) a.s.l. during 25-26 November.

Geological summary: Volcán Copahue is an elongated composite cone constructed along the Chile-Argentina border within the 6.5 x 8.5 km wide Trapa-Trapa caldera that formed between 0.6 and 0.4 million years ago near the NW margin of the 20 x 15 km Pliocene Caviahue (Del Agrio) caldera. The eastern summit crater, part of a 2-km-long, ENE-WSW line of nine craters, contains a briny, acidic 300-m-wide crater lake (also referred to as El Agrio or Del Agrio) and displays intense fumarolic activity. Acidic hot springs occur below the eastern outlet of the crater lake, contributing to the acidity of the Río Agrio, and another geothermal zone is located within Caviahue caldera about 7 km NE of the summit. Infrequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded at Copahue since the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions from the crater lake have ejected pyroclastic rocks and chilled liquid sulfur fragments.

Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)

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

Based on analyses of satellite imagery, wind model data, and notices from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 22-28 November ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 2.1-2.3 km (7,000-8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions.

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.

Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia)

50.686°N, 156.014°E, Summit elev. 1103 m

Based on observations by volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, explosions during 17-18 and 20-21 November generated ash plumes that rose as high as 2 km (6,600 ft) a.s.l. Ashfall was reported in Severo-Kurilsk on 22 November. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Geological summary: The flat-topped summit of the central cone of Ebeko volcano, one of the most active in the Kuril Islands, occupies the northern end of Paramushir Island. Three summit craters located along a SSW-NNE line form Ebeko volcano proper, at the northern end of a complex of five volcanic cones. Blocky lava flows extend west from Ebeko and SE from the neighboring Nezametnyi cone. The eastern part of the southern crater contains strong solfataras and a large boiling spring. The central crater is filled by a lake about 20 m deep whose shores are lined with steaming solfataras; the northern crater lies across a narrow, low barrier from the central crater and contains a small, cold crescentic lake. Historical activity, recorded since the late-18th century, has been restricted to small-to-moderate explosive eruptions from the summit craters. Intense fumarolic activity occurs in the summit craters, on the outer flanks of the cone, and in lateral explosion craters.

Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA)

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

During 22-28 November HVO reported that the lava lake continued to rise, fall, and spatter in Kilauea’s Overlook crater. Webcams recorded incandescence from long-active sources within Pu’u ‘O’o Crater and from a small lava pond in a pit on the W side of the crater. Surface lava flows were active above and on the pali, and on the coastal plain.

Geological summary: Kilauea volcano, which overlaps the east 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 sq km, destroying nearly 200 houses and adding new coastline to the island.

Popocatepetl, Mexico

19.023°N, 98.622°W, Summit elev. 5426 m

Each day during 22-28 November CENAPRED reported 188-725 emissions from Popocatépetl, and as many as five explosions. Two explosions on 23 November produced minor ashfall in the municipalities of Huaquechula (30 km SSW), Tepeojuma (39 km SE), Atlixco (23 km SE), and Izúcar de Matamoros (50 km SSE), in the state of Puebla. After one explosion (at 1413) there was a 90-minute period of emissions. After an explosion at 0512 on 24 November (the second of five recorded that day) a 108-minute-period of emissions was recorded. Minor amounts of ash fell in Atlixco. Almost two hours of continuous emissions of gas, steam, and ash began at 1711, producing a plume that rose as high as 4 km above the crater rim and drifted SSE. Ashfall was reported in San Pedro Benito Juárez (10-12 km SE) and Atlixco, in the state of Puebla. An explosion at 2252 ejected incandescent fragments as far as 1 km from the crater. An ash plume rose 2.5 km and drifted SSE. Two periods of emissions were recorded on 25 November, at 1110 (lasting 132 minutes) and 1929 (lasting 35 minutes). During an overflight that day observers noted that recent explosive activity had increased the dimensions of the internal crater (the crater on the main crater floor) to 370 m in diameter and 110 m deep. A 121-minute-long period of emissions began at 1529 on 27 November, with plumes rising at least 3 km and drifting SSE. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two.

Geological summary: Volcán Popocatépetl, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain, towers to 5426 m 70 km SE of Mexico City to form North America’s 2nd-highest volcano. The glacier-clad stratovolcano contains a steep-walled, 400 x 600 m wide crater. The generally symmetrical volcano is modified by the sharp-peaked Ventorrillo on the NW, a remnant of an earlier volcano. At least three previous major cones were destroyed by gravitational failure during the Pleistocene, producing massive debris-avalanche deposits covering broad areas to the south. The modern volcano was constructed south of the late-Pleistocene to Holocene El Fraile cone. Three major plinian eruptions, the most recent of which took place about 800 CE, have occurred from Popocatépetl since the mid Holocene, accompanied by pyroclastic flows and voluminous lahars that swept basins below the volcano. Frequent historical eruptions, first recorded in Aztec codices, have occurred since precolumbian time.

Reventador, Ecuador

0.077°S, 77.656°W, Summit elev. 3562 m

During 22-28 November IG reported a high level of seismic activity including explosions, long-period earthquakes, harmonic tremor, and signals indicating emissions at Reventador. Steam and ash plumes rose at least 600 m above the crater rim and drifted NW and W. Incandescent blocks rolled as far as 800 m down the flanks. Weather clouds sometimes prevented visual observations.

Geological summary: Reventador is the most frequently active of a chain of Ecuadorian volcanoes in the Cordillera Real, well east of the principal volcanic axis. The forested, dominantly andesitic Volcán El Reventador stratovolcano rises to 3562 m above the jungles of the western Amazon basin. A 4-km-wide caldera widely breached to the east was formed by edifice collapse and is partially filled by a young, unvegetated stratovolcano that rises about 1300 m above the caldera floor to a height comparable to the caldera rim. It has been the source of numerous lava flows as well as explosive eruptions that were visible from Quito in historical time. Frequent lahars in this region of heavy rainfall have constructed a debris plain on the eastern floor of the caldera. The largest historical eruption took place in 2002, producing a 17-km-high eruption column, pyroclastic flows that traveled up to 8 km, and lava flows from summit and flank vents.

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 slightly decreased compared to the previous week; there was an average of 78 explosions recorded per day during 20-26 November. Seismicity was dominated by long-period events, with signals indicating emissions. Gas-and-ash plumes rose 4.2 km above the crater rim and drifted 50 km NE, N, and NW. The MIROVA system detected 11 thermal anomalies. The sulfur dioxide flux was high, at 2,944 tons per day on 23 November. The report noted that the public should not to 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.

Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

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

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 17-18, 20, and 22 November; weather clouds prevented observations on the other days during 19-24 November. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Geological summary: The high, isolated massif of Sheveluch volcano (also spelled Shiveluch) rises above the lowlands NNE of the Kliuchevskaya volcano group. The 1300 cu km 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.

Sinabung, Indonesia

3.17°N, 98.392°E, Summit elev. 2460 m

Based on observations by PVMBG, satellite and webcam images, and model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 21-25 November ash plumes from Sinabung rose 3.4-6.7 km (11,000-22,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W, WSW, ESE, and E. The Alert Level remained at 4 (on a scale of 1-4).

Geological summary: Gunung Sinabung is a Pleistocene-to-Holocene stratovolcano with many lava flows on its flanks. The migration of summit vents along a N-S line gives the summit crater complex an elongated form. The youngest crater of this conical andesitic-to-dacitic edifice is at the southern end of the four overlapping summit craters. An unconfirmed eruption was noted in 1881, and solfataric activity was seen at the summit and upper flanks in 1912. No confirmed historical eruptions were recorded prior to explosive eruptions during August-September 2010 that produced ash plumes to 5 km above the summit.

Source: GVP



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