Active volcanoes in the world: October 30 – November 5, 2013


During past seven days 5 volcanoes had new activity, ongoing activity was reported for 9 volcanoes. This report covers active volcanoes in the world from October 30 – November 5, 2013 based on Smithsonian/USGS criteria.

New activity/unrest: | Etna, Sicily (Italy) | Kliuchevskoi, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Shiveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Sinabung, Sumatra (Indonesia) | Tungurahua, Ecuador

Ongoing activity: | Chirinkotan, Kuril Islands | Chirpoi, Kuril Islands (Russia) | Fuego (Guatemala) | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaii (USA) | Popocatépetl, México | Reventador, Ecuador | Sakura-jima, Kyushu | White Island, New Zealand

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 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

ETNA, Sicily (Italy) 
37.734°N, 15.004°E; summit elev. 3330 m

INGV reported on 5 November that, after 10 days of relative quiescence, the New Southeast Crater (NSEC) showed signs of activity. A brief glow seen on surveillance cameras was followed by ash emissions. The event was accompanied by a strong seismic signal detected by summit seismic stations. Poor weather prevented additional observations.

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.

KLIUCHEVSKOI, Central Kamchatka (Russia) 
56.057°N, 160.638°E; summit elev. 4850 m

The Aviation Color Code was lowered to Yellow on 30 October. There was ongoing activity during the past week, including moderate seismicity. Video recordings captured Strombolian activity and strong gas-and-steam events. Satellite remote sensing detected a thermal anomaly over the volcano caused by the continuation of the flank eruption; lava flows effused on the SW and SE flanks.

Geologic summary: 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. Kliuchevskoi 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 at Kliuchevskoi 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 its 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.

SHIVELUCH, Central Kamchatka (Russia) 
56.653°N, 161.360°E; summit elev. 3283 m

KVERT reported that the current eruption continued through the week and included several strong ash eruptions that sent plumes to altitudes of 7-10 km (~22,000-33,000 ft) and drifted more than 200 km to the NE. Visual and satellite observations determined that lava extrusion continued on the NE and N flanks of the lava dome. This viscous block lava generated moderate ash explosions; fumarolic activity, hot avalanches, and incandescence at the summit also continued. A thermal anomaly was detected in daily satellite images.

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.

SINABUNG, Sumatra (Indonesia) 
3.17°N, 98.392°E; summit elev. 2460 m

An eruption began at 0126 on 3 November that generated ash plumes up to 7 km a.s.l. (~23,000 ft) and triggered evacuations from communities within 3 km of the volcano (approximately 1,681 residents); the ash plume drifted W. Rumbling sounds that lasted up to 10 minutes long were noted by staff at the Sinabung Observation Post (~8.5 km from the volcano). News agencies reported that this was the second largest eruption since the 24 October event that displaced more than 3,300 people.

The Alert Level was increased from Level II (Watch) to Level III (Alert) at 0300. A second eruption occurred in the afternoon. PVMBG reported that Sinabung had been erupting more frequently and with increasing energy.

PVMBG reported that elevated seismicity, including events of continuous tremor, was ongoing since 29 October. Relatively small ash explosions were also reported prior to the larger events on 3 November. During 29 October-2 November plumes rose to 200-2,000 m above the summit. Gas measurements conducted during 31 October and 1-2 November showed an SO2 flux of 226-426 tons per day; this was a general decrease in emissions. During 31 October ashfall was noted on the SE flank up to 1 km from the summit.

PVMBG reported that an eruption occurred at 1423 on 5 November. This event lasted for 20 minutes and generated an ash plume up to 3,000 m above the crater that drifted SW. Rumbling sounds were also noted by staff at the observation post. Pyroclastic flows were observed at 1431; the flows extended 1 km down the SE flank. No casualties were reported due to the event. The evacuated residents remained displaced on 5 November.

Geologic 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, 2460-m-high andesitic-to-dacitic volcano 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 of Sinabung in 1912, although no confirmed historical eruptions were recorded prior to 2010.    

1.467°S, 78.442°W; summit elev. 5023 m

IG reported that, during the last week of October and the first days of November, moderate activity continued at Tungurahua; there were ~10 explosive emissions recorded. Plumes reached 800-2,000 m above the crater and drifted E and SE; ashfall was not reported from nearby communities. Seismicity included explosions, long-period earthquakes, volcano-tectonic earthquakes, and tremor (often associated with emissions). SO2 flux measured during this time period reached a maximum of 725 tons per day. Inflation and deflation trends continued to be detected by the tiltmeter network. Since August 2012 there have been six periods of general deflation each separated by 2-3 month intervals of relative stability.

Ongoing emissions were reported by the Washington VAAC on 30 October, primarily due to elevated seismicity. On 3 November, a pilot observed an ash plume at 8.5 km a.s.l. (28,000 ft); later in the day, ash was detected by the GOES-13 weather satellite as well as the local weather observatory and pilots. The ash plume reached 6.7 km a.s.l. (22,000 ft) and extended ~28 km SE.

During the evening of 4 November, IG observed an ash plume rising from the crater up to ~1 km a.s.l. and drifting SE. Cloudy conditions restricted observations on 5 November.

Geologic summary: The steep-sided Tungurahua stratovolcano towers more than 3 km above its northern base. It sits ~140 km S of Quito, Ecuador's capital city, and is one of Ecuador's most active volcanoes. Historical eruptions have all originated from the summit crater. They have been accompanied by strong explosions and sometimes by pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached populated areas at the volcano's base. The last major eruption took place from 1916 to 1918, although minor activity continued until 1925. The latest eruption began in October 1999 and prompted temporary evacuation of the town of Baños on the N side of the volcano.

Ongoing activity

CHIRINKOTAN, Kuril Islands 
48.980°N, 153.480°E; summit elev. 724 m

SVERT reported that during 29-31 October, steam-and-gas emissions from Chirinkotan were detected in satellite images; thermal anomalies were also detected during this time. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow.

Geologic summary: The small, mostly unvegetated 3-km-wide island of Chirinkotan occupies the far end of an E-W-trending volcanic chain that extends nearly 50 km west of the central part of the main Kuril Islands arc. Chirinkotan is the emergent summit of a volcano that rises 3000 m from the floor of the Kuril Basin. A small 1-km-wide caldera about 300-400 m deep is open to the SE. Lava flows from a cone within the breached crater reached the north shore of the island. Historical eruptions have been recorded at Chirinkotan since the 18th century. Fresh lava flows also descended the SE flank of Chirinkotan during an eruption in the 1880s that was observed by the English fur trader Captain Snow.

CHIRPOI, Kuril Islands (Russia) 
46.525°N, 150.875°E; summit elev. 742 m

SVERT reported that steam-and-gas emissions from Snow, a volcano of Chirpoi, were detected in satellite images during 29 and 31 October. A thermal anomaly was detected during 2 and 3 November. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow.

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.

FUEGO, Guatemala 
14.473°N, 90.880°W; summit elev. 3763 m

INSIVUMEH reported that on 4 November, there was an increase in moderate and strong explosions generating plumes of ash up to 4,500 m a.s.l. The plume extended 10 km and drifted S and SW. Rumbling sounds were strong enough to shake zinc roofs and windows in the towns of Panimaché, Morelia, and Panimaché II. Weak degassing sounds were continuous and resembled the sound of a locomotive train. Pulses of incandescent ejections reached 125-200 m above the summit and caused weak-to-moderate avalanches within the crater. A lava flow that moved into the Trinidad drainage extended 100 m and also generated avalanches. Within the Ceniza drainage, incandescent avalanches traveled ~500 m. CONRED reiterated that the Alert Level remained at Yellow.

Geologic 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 3,763-m-high Fuego and its twin volcano to the N, Acatenango. Construction of Meseta volcano continued until the late Pleistocene or early Holocene, after which growth of the modern Fuego volcano continued the southward migration of volcanism that began at Acatenango. Frequent vigorous historical eruptions have been recorded at Fuego since the onset of the Spanish era in 1524, and have produced major ashfalls, along with occasional pyroclastic flows and lava flows. The last major explosive eruption from Fuego took place in 1974, producing spectacular pyroclastic flows visible from Antigua.

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 24-31 October. During this time period, satellite images also detected a daily bright thermal anomaly on the volcano. Ash plumes drifted 65 km SE and W during 24-26 and 29-30 October. 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 30 October-5 November, HVO reported that the circulating lava lake occasionally rose and fell in the deep pit within Kilauea's Halema'uma'u Crater. The depth to the lake surface ranged between 44 and 53 m, and levels frequently corresponded to fluctuations in tilt measured at the summit. The plume from the vent continued to deposit variable amounts of ash, spatter, and Pele's hair onto nearby areas.

At Pu'u 'O'o Crater, glow emanated from spatter cones on the N and S portions of the crater floor. The 5.8-km-long Kahauale’a 2 lava flow, fed by the NE spatter cone, was active with scattered break-out flows and burned the forest N of Pu'u 'O'o. The Peace Day flow, fed by lava tubes extending from Pu'u 'O'o, showed little activity and may have ceased; only one breakout flow was mapped during fieldwork on 21 October, and thermal anomalies since that date have been minor.

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.

19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5426 m

During 30 October-5 November, CENAPRED maintained Alert Level Yellow, Phase Two. Explosions were frequently detected, varying from 30 to 97 events per day. Though cloudy conditions obscured the view at times, ash plumes were detected on 30-31 October and 1 November. The ash event on 31 October generated a plume that reached an altitude of 1 km and drifted NW.

An Mc 2.1 volcanic-tectonic (VT) earthquake was recorded on 31 October and 4 November; an Mc 2.3 VT earthquake was also detected on 4 November. The largest VT earthquake during this time period was a magnitude 2.5 that occurred at 1031 on 5 November. Tremor was frequently detected during this reporting period; on 1 November, 3 hours and 21 minutes of high frequency tremor were detected.

Geologic summary: Popocatépetl, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain, towers to 5,426 m 70 km SE of Mexico City and is North America's second-highest volcano. Frequent historical eruptions have been recorded since the beginning of the Spanish colonial era. A small eruption on 21 December 1994 ended five decades of quiescence. Since 1996 small lava domes have incrementally been constructed within the summit crater and destroyed by explosive eruptions. Intermittent small-to-moderate gas-and-ash eruptions have continued, occasionally producing ashfall in neighboring towns and villages.

0.077°S, 77.656°W; summit elev. 3562 m

During 30 October through 5 November, IG reported that moderate activity from Reventador continued. Elevated seismicity included explosions (8-35 per day), long period earthquakes, and tremor related to emissions and fluid movement in the crust (harmonic tremor). Plumes of steam were frequently observed when the weather permitted; ash plumes were generated on 31 October, 2 November, and 5 November. Ashfall from these events reached the town of San Rafael on 31 October and 2 November; a pilot observed ash on 2 November at an altitude of 6.7 km (22,000 ft). Observers heard roaring noises and sounds resembling "cannon shots" on 31 October and 1 November.

Geologic summary: Reventador is the most frequently active of a chain of Ecuadorian volcanoes in the Cordillera Real, well E of the principal volcanic axis. It is a forested stratovolcano that rises above the remote jungles of the western Amazon basin. A 3-km-wide caldera breached to the E was formed by edifice collapse and is partially filled by a young, unvegetated stratovolcano that rises about 1,300 m above the caldera floor. Reventador 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.

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

The Tokyo VAAC reported that during 30 October-5 November, explosions from Sakura-jima generated plumes that rose to altitudes of 1.5 km (5,000 ft) and 3.4 km (11,000 ft) a.s.l. Plumes rose vertically or drifted N, NW, NE, S, SW, and SE.

JMA reported that seven explosions from Showa Crater ejected tephra as far as 1,800 m during 1-5 November. On 4 and 5 November, incandescence was detected by a high resolution camera at night. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5).

Geologic summary: Sakura-jima, one of Japan's most active volcanoes, is a post-caldera cone of the Aira caldera at 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.

WHITE ISLAND, New Zealand 
37.52°S, 177.18°E; summit elev. 321 m

On 4 November, the GeoNet Data Centre reported that the Volcanic Alert Level remained at 1 while the Aviation Colour Code was decreased from Yellow to Green. Since 11 October, seismicity and gas flux have remained at low levels, however, the volcano-hydrothermal system was considered unstable. GeoNet stated that eruptive activity could occur without prior warning and that current conditions permitted a range of eruptive activity.

Geologic summary: The uninhabited 2 x 2.4 km White Island, one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes, is the emergent summit of a 16 x 18 km submarine volcano in the Bay of Plenty about 50 km offshore of North Island. The 321-m-high island consists of two overlapping stratovolcanoes; the summit crater appears to be breached to the SE because the shoreline corresponds to the level of several notches in the SE crater wall. Throughout the short historical period beginning in 1826 the volcano has had long periods of continuous hydrothermal activity and steam release, punctuated by small-to-medium eruptions. Its activity also forms a prominent part of Maori legends. The most recent eruptive episode, which began on 7 March 2000, included the largest eruption at White Island in the past 20 years on 27 July.

Source: GVP

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