Active volcanoes in the world: January 9 – January 15, 2013

Active volcanoes in the world: January 9 – January 15, 2013

New unrest has been noticed around 5 volcanoes, ongoing activity was reported for 9 volcanoes. This report covers active volcanoes in the world recorded from January 9 – January 15, 2013 based on Smithsonian/USGS criteria.

New activity/unrest: | Copahue, Central Chile-Argentina border | Etna, Sicily (Italy) | Kizimen, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Medvezhia, Iturup Island | Stromboli, Aeolian Islands (Italy)
Ongoing activity: | Chirpoi, Kuril Islands (Russia) | Iliamna, Southwestern Alaska | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaii (USA) | Little Sitkin, Aleutian Islands | Manam, Northeast of New Guinea (SW Pacific) | Sakura-jima, Kyushu | Shiveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Tolbachik, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

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 2300 UTC every Wednesday, notices of volcanic activity posted on these pages 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, but rather a summary of activity at volcanoes that meet criteria discussed in detail in the "Criteria and Disclaimers" section. Carefully reviewed, detailed reports on various volcanoes are published monthly in the Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network.

 

New activity/unrest


 

COPAHUE Central Chile-Argentina border


37.85°S, 71.17°W; summit elev. 2997 m

OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that the web camera near Copahue recorded white gas plumes rising 0.9-1.5 km above the crater during 9-15 January and drifting NNE, E, ESE, and SSE. Incandescence from the crater was observed on some nights. Satellite images showed plumes drifting 10 km E and SSE during 10-12 January. The Alert Level remained at Orange.

Geologic 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.

 

ETNA, Sicily (Italy)


37.734°N, 15.004°E; summit elev. 3330 m

Sezione di Catania - Osservatorio Etneo reported that during 22 November-early December 2012 weak glow emanated from Etna's New Southeast Crater (NSEC) caused by the emission of high-temperature gas. The glow was most intense during 1-2 December, then rapidly diminished and reappeared on 24 December. During 25-27 December sporadic and weak ash emissions from NSEC were accompanied by increased gas emissions. On the evening of 3 January a strong glow was briefly observed.

Vigorous Strombolian activity at Bocca Nuova Crater began at night during 9-10 January, three months after the last episode. At 0000 on 10 January a rapid rise in tremor amplitude was detected. Ten minutes later a video camera recorded the first incandescent burst in the E part of the crater, which progressively became stronger and more frequent. At 0350 jets of incandescent fragments rose significantly higher than the crater rim. In daylight the phenomenon was no longer visible via the surveillance cameras; the volcanic tremor amplitude remained elevated but started to decrease around 1200. In the early morning of 15 January volcanic tremor amplitude rapidly decreased, marking the cessation of Strombolian activity in the Bocca Nuova Crater.

Geologic summary: Mount Etna, towering above Catania, Sicily's second largest city, has one of the world's longest documented records of historical volcanism, dating back to 1500 BC. Historical lava flows cover much of the surface of this massive basaltic stratovolcano, the highest and most voluminous in Italy. Two styles of eruptive activity typically occur at Etna. Persistent explosive eruptions, sometimes with minor lava emissions, take place from one or more of the three prominent summit craters, the Central Crater, NE Crater, and SE Crater. Flank eruptions, typically with higher effusion rates, occur less frequently and originate from fissures that open progressively downward from near the summit. A period of more intense intermittent explosive eruptions from Etna's summit craters began in 1995. The active volcano is monitored by the Instituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Volcanologia (INGV) in Catania.

 

KIZIMEN, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)


55.130°N, 160.32°E; summit elev. 2376 m

KVERT reported that during 4-11 January moderate seismic activity at Kizimen continued. Video data showed that lava continued to extrude from the summit onto the NE flank. Summit incandescence, strong gas-and-steam activity, and occasional hot avalanches on the W and E flank accompanied the process. Satellite images detected a daily thermal anomaly over the volcano. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Based on information from the Kamchatkan Branch of Geophysical Services (KGBS), the Tokyo VAAC reported that ash plumes rose to an altitude over 5.2 km (17,000 ft) a.s.l. on 11 January and over 4.6 km (15,000 ft) a.s.l. on 13 January.

Geologic summary: Kizimen is an isolated, conical stratovolcano that is morphologically similar to Mount St. Helens prior to its 1980 eruption. The summit of Kizimen consists of overlapping lava domes, and blocky lava flows descend the flanks of the volcano, which is the westernmost of a volcanic chain north of Kronotsky volcano. The 2,376-m-high Kizimen was formed during four eruptive cycles beginning about 12,000 years ago and lasting 2,000-3,500 years. The largest eruptions took place about 10,000 and 8300-8400 years ago, and three periods of long term lava-dome growth have occurred. The latest eruptive cycle began about 3,000 years ago with a large explosion and was followed by lava-dome growth lasting intermittently about 1,000 years. An explosive eruption about 1,100 years ago produced a lateral blast and created a 1.0 x 0.7 km wide crater breached to the NE, inside which a small lava dome (the fourth at Kizimen) has grown. A single explosive eruption, during 1927-28, has been recorded in historical time.

 

MEDVEZHIA, Iturup Island


45.387°N, 148.843°E; summit elev. 1125 m

SVERT reported that a thermal anomaly was detected over Kudriavy, a stratovolcano of the Medvezhia volcanic complex, on 11 January. Strong steam-and-gas plumes were also observed.

Geologic summary: The Medvezhia volcanic complex occupies the NE end of Iturup Island. Two overlapping calderas, 14 x 18 and 10 x 12 km in diameter, were formed during the Pleistocene. The caldera floor contains several lava domes, cinder cones and associated lava fields, and a small lake. Four small closely spaced stratovolcanoes were constructed along an E-W line on the eastern side of the complex. The easternmost and highest, Medvezhii, lies outside the western caldera, along the Pacific coast. Srednii, Tukap, and Kudriavy volcanoes lie immediately to the west. Historically active Kudriavy (also known as Moyoro-dake) is younger than 2000 years; it and Tukap remain fumarolically active. The westernmost of the post-caldera cones, Menshoi Brat, is a large lava dome with flank scoria cones, one of which has produced a series of young lava flows up to 4.5 km long that reached Slavnoe Lake. Eruptions of Kudriavy have been documented since the 18th century, although lava flows from cinder cones on the flanks of Menshoi Brat were also probably erupted within the past few centuries.

 

STROMBOLI, Aeolian Islands (Italy)


38.789°N, 15.213°E; summit elev. 924 m

On 10 January Sezione di Catania - Osservatorio Etneo reported that since the morning of 23 December 2012 overflowing lava from vents lying just below the rim of the northernmost explosive vent on Stromboli's crater terrace generated small lava flows that traveled down the N and NW sectors of the Sciara del Fuoco. In addition, the rapid accumulation of spatter during intense explosive activity often generated small flows that were accompanied by numerous landslides. Major lava flows occurred on 23 December (traveling N), during 25-27 December (traveling NW), and on 7 January (traveling NW).

During the intervals between the main effusive episodes, lava was extruded at extremely low rates from the vents, resulting numerous incandescent blocks descending the Sciara del Fuoco. Sometimes small lava flows advanced for a few tens of meters before disintegrating into blocks, such as on the morning of 10 January 2013. In all cases, the effusion of lava was preceded, and often accompanied, by intense explosive activity on the crater terrace.

A report on 15 January noted that intermittent emissions of small lava flows from the crater terrace continued, sometimes accompanied by landslides caused by the sliding and rolling of loose rock material on the steep slope of the Sciara del Fuoco.

Geologic summary: Spectacular incandescent nighttime explosions at Stromboli volcano have long attracted visitors to the "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean."Stromboli, the NE-most of the Aeolian Islands, has lent its name to the frequent mild explosive activity that has characterized its eruptions throughout historical time. The small, 926-m-high island of Stromboli is the emergent summit of a volcano that grew in two main eruptive cycles, the last of which formed the western portion of the island. The active summit vents are located at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a horseshoe-shaped scarp formed as a result of slope failure that extends to below sea level and funnels pyroclastic ejecta and lava flows to the NW. Essentially continuous mild Strombolian explosions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded at Stromboli since Roman times.

 

Ongoing activity


 

CHIRPOI, Kuril Islands (Russia)


46.525°N, 150.875°E; summit elev. 742 m

SVERT reported that a thermal anomaly was detected over Snow, a volcano of Chirpoi, on 8 January, and steam-and-gas plumes were detected on 9 and 11 January; cloud cover prevented observations of the volcano on other days during 7-14 January.

Geologic summary: Chirpoi, a small island lying between the larger islands of Simushir and Urup, contains a half dozen volcanic edifices constructed within an 8-9 km wide, partially submerged caldera. The southern rim of the caldera is exposed on nearby Brat Chirpoev Island. Two volcanoes on Chirpoi Island have been historically active. The symmetrical Cherny volcano, which forms the 691 m high point of the island, erupted twice during the 18th and 19th centuries. The youngest volcano, Snow, originated between 1770 and 1810. It is composed almost entirely of lava flows, many of which have reached the sea on the southern coast. No historical eruptions are known from 742-m-high Brat Chirpoev, but its youthful morphology suggests recent strombolian activity.

 

ILIAMNA, Southwestern Alaska


60.032°N, 153.090°W; summit elev. 3053 m

On 9 January, AVO reported that unrest at Iliamna had decreased over the past several months, reaching background levels. The Volcano Alert Level was lowered to Normal and the Aviation Color Code was lowered to Green. The report also noted that occasional small earthquakes had continued, but at a greatly reduced rate and magnitude relative to the peak of unrest in March 2012. Steam and sulfur gas emissions continued to be observed from sites near the summit during periods of favorable meteorological conditions, not unusual at Iliamna.

Geologic summary: Iliamna is a prominent, 3053-m-high glacier-covered stratovolcano in Lake Clark National Park on the western side of Cook Inlet, about 225 km SW of Anchorage. Its flat-topped summit is flanked on the south, along a 5-km-long ridge, by the prominent North and South Twin Peaks, satellitic lava dome complexes. The Johnson Glacier dome complex lies on the NE flank. Steep head walls on the southern and eastern flanks expose an inaccessible cross-section of the volcano. Major glaciers radiate from the summit, and valleys below the summit contain debris-avalanche and lahar deposits. Only a few major Holocene explosive eruptions have occurred from the deeply dissected volcano, which lacks a distinct crater. Most of the reports of historical eruptions may represent plumes from vigorous fumaroles east and SE of the summit, which are often mistaken for eruption columns (Miller et al., 1998). Eruptions producing pyroclastic flows have been dated at as recent as about 300 and 140 years ago (into the historical period), and elevated seismicity accompanying dike emplacement beneath the volcano was recorded in 1996.

 

KARYMSKY, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)


54.05°N, 159.45°E; summit elev. 1536 m

KVERT reported that moderate seismic activity at Karymsky was detected during 4-11 January, indicating that possible ash plumes rose to an altitude of 3 km (9,800 ft) a.s.l. Satellite imagery showed a thermal anomaly on the volcano during 5-6 January. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Geologic summary: Karymsky, the most active volcano of Kamchatka's eastern volcanic zone, is a symmetrical stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera that formed about 7,600-7,700 radiocarbon years ago. Construction of the Karymsky stratovolcano began about 2,000 years later. The latest eruptive period began about 500 years ago, following a 2,300-year quiescence. Much of the cone is mantled by lava flows less than 200 years old. Historical eruptions have been Vulcanian or Vulcanian-Strombolian with moderate explosive activity and occasional lava flows from the summit crater. Most seismicity preceding Karymsky eruptions has originated beneath Akademia Nauk caldera, which is located immediately S of Karymsky volcano and erupted simultaneously with Karymsky in 1996.

 

KILAUEA, Hawaii (USA)


19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m

During 9-15 January HVO reported that the circulating lava lake periodically rose and fell in the deep pit within Kilauea's Halema'uma'u Crater. The gas plume from the vent continued to deposit variable amounts of ash, spatter, and Pele's hair onto nearby areas. The lake level was 40-45 m below the Halema'uma'u crater floor during 9-10 January, 32 m below the floor on 14 January, and 25 m below the floor on 15 January (which was a little higher than the previous high point in late October 2012).

At Pu'u 'O'o Crater, glow emanated from spatter cones on the SE part of the crater floor, from a spatter cone at the NW edge of the floor, and from a circulating lava lake on the NE part of the floor. Lava flows were active in a 1-km-wide area that stretched from near the base of the pali to the coast. Web cameras recorded steam plumes from lava sporadically entering the ocean at multiple locations. During 9-13 January the lava lake overflowed and occasionally fed larger flows on the crater floor and two small flows on the E flank of Pu'u 'O'o cone. Lava flowed from the SE spatter cone on 11 January and from the SW spatter cone the next day. Lava levels remained high in the crater during 14-15 January; several lava flows from multiple vents were active on the crater floor.

Geologic summary: Kilauea, one of five coalescing volcanoes that comprise the island of Hawaii, is one of the world's most active volcanoes. Eruptions at Kilauea originate primarily from the summit caldera or along one of the lengthy E and SW rift zones that extend from the caldera to the sea. About 90% of the surface of Kilauea is formed of lava flows less than about 1,100 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.

 

LITTLE SITKIN, Aleutian Islands


51.95°N, 178.543°E; summit elev. 1174 m

On 9 January, AVO reported that unrest at Little Sitkin had decreased over the past several months, reaching background levels. The Volcano Alert Level was lowered to Normal and the Aviation Color Code was lowered to Green.

Geologic summary: Diamond-shaped Little Sitkin Island is bounded by steep cliffs on the east, north, and NE sides. Little Sitkin volcano contains two nested calderas. The older, nearly circular Pleistocene caldera is 4.8 km wide, may have once contained a caldera lake, and was partially filled by a younger cone formed mostly of andesitic and dacitic lava flows. The elliptical younger caldera is 2.7 x 4 km wide; it lies within the eastern part of the older caldera and shares its eastern and southern rim. The younger caldera partially destroyed the lava cone within the first caldera and is of possible early Holocene age. Young-looking dacitic lava flows, erupted in 1828 (Kay, in Wood and Kienle 1990), issued from the central cone within the younger caldera and from a vent on the west flank outside the older caldera. Fumarolic areas are found near the western coast, along the NW margin of the older caldera, and from the summit crater down the southern flank for a 1 km distance.

 

MANAM, Northeast of New Guinea (SW Pacific)


4.080°S, 145.037°E; summit elev. 1807 m

RVO reported that dark gray ash plumes were occasionally emitted from Manam's Southern Crater during 8-12 January. At about 1000 on 12 January a sub-Plinian eruption generated ash plumes that rose 1.4-1.5 km above the crater; activity peaked between 1200 and 1300. The ash plumes drifted SW, S, and SE, producing ashfall on the island in areas downwind and light ashfall in Bogia (23 km SSW). Rumbling was heard in areas on the S and SW parts of the island, and a few loud booming noises were heard in Bogia. Activity decreased after 1600 and ash plumes only rose 500 m above the crater. At night ejected incandescent material was observed. Ejected material and ashfall was deposited in the SE and SW valleys. Ash plumes drifted S during 13-14 January. White vapor plumes rose from Main Crater during the reporting period.

Geologic summary: The 10-km-wide island of Manam, lying 13 km off the northern coast of mainland Papua New Guinea, is one of the country's most active volcanoes. Four large radial valleys extend from the unvegetated summit of the conical 1807-m-high basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano to its lower flanks. These "avalanche valleys," regularly spaced 90 degrees apart, channel lava flows and pyroclastic avalanches that have sometimes reached the coast. Two summit craters are present; both are active, although most historical eruptions have originated from the southern crater, concentrating eruptive products during much of the past century into the SE avalanche valley. Frequent historical eruptions, typically of mild-to-moderate scale, have been recorded at Manam since 1616. Occasional larger eruptions have produced pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached flat-lying coastal areas and entered the sea, sometimes impacting populated areas.

 

SAKURA-JIMA, Kyushu


31.585°N, 130.657°E; summit elev. 1117 m

JMA reported that during 7-11 January explosions from Sakura-jima's Showa Crater ejected tephra as far as 1.3 km from the crater. Very small eruptions occurred at Minami-dake Crater during 10-11 January.

Based on information from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported that explosions during 9-15 January generated plumes that rose to altitudes of 1.2-2.7 km (4,000-9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N, NE, E, SE, and S. Pilots reported that ashplumes drifted E at an altitude of 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. on 12 January and drifted SE at altitudes of 2.1-3 km (7,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. on 15 January.

Geologic summary: Sakura-jima, one of Japan's most active volcanoes, is a post-caldera cone of the Aira calderaat the northern half of Kagoshima Bay. Eruption of the voluminous Ito pyroclastic flow was associated with the formation of the 17 x 23-km-wide Aira caldera about 22,000 years ago. The construction of Sakura-jima began about 13,000 years ago and built an island that was finally joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kita-dake summit cone ended about 4,850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minami-dake. 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.

 

SHIVELUCH, Central Kamchatka (Russia)


56.653°N, 161.360°E; summit elev. 3283 m

Based on visual observations and analyses of satellite data, KVERT reported that during 4-11 January a viscouslava flow continued to effuse on the NW flank of Shiveluch's lava dome, accompanied by hot avalanches, incandescence, and fumarolic activity. Satellite imagery showed a daily thermal anomaly on the lava dome. TheAviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Geologic summary: The high, isolated massif of Shiveluch volcano (also spelled Sheveluch) rises above the lowlands NNE of the Kliuchevskaya volcano group and forms one of Kamchatka's largest and most active volcanoes. The currently active Molodoy Shiveluch lava-dome complex was constructed during the Holocene within a large breached caldera formed by collapse of the massive late-Pleistocene Strary Shiveluch volcano. At least 60 large eruptions of Shiveluch have occurred during the Holocene, making it the most vigorous andesitic volcano of the Kuril-Kamchatka arc. Frequent collapses of lava-dome complexes, most recently in 1964, have produced large debris avalanches whose deposits cover much of the floor of the breached caldera. Intermittent explosive eruptions began in the 1990s from a new lava dome that began growing in 1980. The largest historical eruptions from Shiveluch occurred in 1854 and 1964.

 

TOLBACHIK, Central Kamchatka (Russia)


55.830°N, 160.330°E; summit elev. 3682 m

KVERT reported that the S fissure along the W side of Tolbachinsky Dol, a lava plateau on the SW side of Tolbachik, continued to produce very fluid lava flows during 4-15 January that traveled to the W and SE sides of Tolbachinsky Dol. Gas-and-ash plumes rose to an altitude of 4.5 km (14,800 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. A very large thermal anomaly on the N part of Tolbachinsky Dol was visible daily in satellite imagery. TheAviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Geologic summary: The massive Tolbachik basaltic volcano is located at the southern end of the dominantly andesitic Kliuchevskaya volcano group. The Tolbachik massif is composed of two overlapping, but morphologically dissimilar volcanoes. The flat-topped Plosky Tolbachik shield volcano with its nested Holocene Hawaiian-type calderas up to 3 km in diameter is located east of the older and higher sharp-topped Ostry Tolbachik stratovolcano. The summit caldera at Plosky Tolbachik was formed in association with major lava effusion about 6500 years ago and simultaneously with a major southward-directed sector collapse of Ostry Tolbachik volcano. Lengthy rift zones extending NE and SSW of the volcano have erupted voluminous basaltic lava flows during the Holocene, with activity during the past two thousand years being confined to the narrow axial zone of the rifts. The 1975-76 eruption originating from the SSW-flank fissure system and the summit was the largest historical basaltic eruption in Kamchatka.

Source: Global Volcanism Program

Featured image: Tony Hisgett - CC BY 2.0

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