Increased volcanic activity: Popocatepétl, Batu Tara, Tungurahua, Santiaguito, Volcán de Fuego, Lamington

Increased volcanic activity: Popocatepétl, Batu Tara, Tungurahua, Santiaguito, Volcán de Fuego, Lamington

Volcanoes around the world are showing an increase in activity again. Here is the overview of last 24 - 48 hours of recorded activity, indepth analisys will be made after all reports come in. 6 volcano updates since March 25.

Popocatepétl volcano (Mexico): signs of increasing activity

Popocatepétl volcano in Mexico has been showing signs of increased activity. During 24-25 March, the volcano had 33 small steam and gas emissions, accompanied by small earthquakes and volcanic tremor. On Saturday night, incandescence was observed at the crater.

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.

Batu Tara volcano (Indonesia): larger ash eruption

Volcano Batu Tara in the Sunda Sea off the island of Flores in Indonesia had a larger than usual ash eruption on March 26, which triggered an alert of the VAAC Darwin, who raised the aviation color code to "orange", as the drifting ash cloud is be a hazard to local air traffic.

Batu Tara is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia and is characterized, similar to Stromboli volcano, by semi-permanent explosive summit activity.

Until 2006, the only confirmed historical eruption from Batu Tara were during 1847-52, which produced explosions with volcanic bombs and a lava flow. On July 1st, 2006, Batu Tara was observed erupting again. An ash plume rose to 5000 ft (ca 2 km). Since then, it has been erupting frequently. Most eruptions were strombolian or vulcanian type, with explosions producing ash plumes of 1-2 km, similar to Anak Krakatau's activity.

In March 2007, a phase of stronger eruptions promted the evacuation of 15000 people from Lembata Island nearby.

Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador): constant ash emissions and ash fall


Eruptive column above Tungurahua volcano reaching about 2 km height and heading towards the northeast was reported on March 26.


Tungurahua volcano's activity has been increasing, Ecuador's Instituto Geofísico reports. Throughout the morning of March 26, a constant column of steam and ash was rising from the summit crater, reaching up to 3 km height and drifting towards the northeast, where ash fall occurred.

Ash fall was significant in the San Francisco and Black River areas, and mild in Baños, the Ventanas en Runtún, Juive, Pondoa, Puntzán and Cusúa sectors.

Occasional roaring explosion sounds were heard from small to moderate explosive events. Seismic activity remains characterized by volcanic tremor episodes lasting several minutes, interspersed with tremor bursts and long-period events, which are related to fluid movements within the volcano.

Santiaguito volcano (Guatemala): increased activity

Guatemalan volcano Santiaguito increased activity. The authorities on March 26th took all the necessary precautions with the surrounding air traffic. The dispersion of ash in various directions and changes in wind pattern led to the National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (Insivumeh) to warn about the civil aviation. An Insivumeh report that Santiaguito volcano recorded 33 explosions in 24 hours, with a range of up to 800 meters above the crater, leaving ashes scattered in the southwest and southeast.

Santiaguito volcano is located in Quetzaltenango district, and its height is 2,550 meters above sea level.

The massive dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex has been growing at the base of the 1902 crater since 1922. Compound dome growth at Santiaguito has occurred episodically from four westward-younging vents, the most recent of which is Caliente. Dome growth has been accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions, with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.

Fuego (Guatemala): increased activity

Guatemalan volcano Fuego also increased activity. Authorities took all the necessary precautions with the surrounding air traffic. The Insivumeh reported white and blue plume up to 100 meters above the crater, with displacement to the southwest, in the case of Fuego volcano, whose height is 3,763 meters above sea level and is located between the departments of Sacatepequez, Chimaltenango and Escuintla (center south).

Volcano Fuego is one of Central America's most active volcanoes. It's 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.

Lamington (Papua New Guinea): smoke and ash emission

Local community of Popendetta reported smoke and ash emission on March 25. No official reports have come in yet.

Lamington is an andesitic stratovolcano with a 1.3-km-wide breached summit crater containing a lava dome.

After a long quiescent period, the volcano sprang suddenly to life in 1951, producing a powerful explosive eruption during which devastating pyroclastic flows and surges swept all sides of the volcano, killing nearly 3000 persons. The eruption concluded with growth of a 560-m-high lava dome in the summit crater.

Some reports of 1951 eruption say that not enough percautions were taken and it led to many casualties.

Featured image: Kevin Sebold, photographer