Active volcanoes in the world: November 6 - November 12, 2013

Active volcanoes in the world: November 6 - November 12, 2013

During past seven days 4 volcanoes had new activity, ongoing activity was reported for 8 volcanoes. This report covers active volcanoes in the world from November 6 - November 12, 2013 based on Smithsonian/USGS criteria.

New activity/unrest: | Colima, México border | Etna, Sicily (Italy) | Sinabung, Sumatra (Indonesia) | Tungurahua, Ecuador

Ongoing activity: | Batu Tara, Komba Island (Indonesia) | Chirinkotan, Kuril Islands | Chirpoi, Kuril Islands (Russia) | Copahue, Central Chile-Argentina | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaii (USA) | Sakura-jima, Kyushu | Shiveluch, 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 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

COLIMA, México
19.514°N, 103.62°W; summit elev. 3850 m

The Washington VAAC reported that between 2315 and 2345 on 9 November a bright thermal anomaly over Colima was detected in satellite images. A diffuse puff of gas and steam observed at 0115 on 10 November possibly contained ash.

Geologic summary: The Colima volcanic complex is the most prominent volcanic center of the western Mexican Volcanic Belt. It consists of two southward-younging volcanoes, Nevado de Colima (the 4,320 m high point of the complex) on the N and the historically active Volcán de Colima on the S. Volcán de Colima (also known as Volcán Fuego) is a youthful stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera, breached to the S, that has been the source of large debris avalanches. Major slope failures have occurred repeatedly from both the Nevado and Colima cones, and have produced a thick apron of debris-avalanche deposits on three sides of the complex. Frequent historical eruptions date back to the 16th century. Occasional major explosive eruptions (most recently in 1913) have destroyed the summit and left a deep, steep-sided crater that was slowly refilled and then overtopped by lava dome growth.

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

INGV reported that ash emissions from Etna’s New Southeast Crater (NSEC) occurred at 1251 and 1254 on 6 November and were quickly dispersed by the wind. During 6-7 November several phases of frequent explosions produced ash puffs visible during the daytime and ejected incandescent material from Strombolian activity was visible at night. On 8 November the explosions occurred at intervals of several hours, producing small ash plumes that rose a few hundred meters above the summit and drifted ENE.

A culminating phase of lava fountains, ash emissions, and lava flows began at 0500 on 11 November, after about 10 hours of gradually intensifying Strombolian activity. Weather conditions prevented visual observations, but a strong increase in the volcanic tremor amplitude was detected. The phase of maximum intensity lasted about 7.5 hours, ending around 1130; the cessation of lava fountaining was followed by a long series of powerful explosions that generated loud bangs heard mostly in the N sector of the volcano. Ash and lapilli fell in areas E and NE. A voluminous lava flow expanded S from the NSEC, and two smaller lava flows traveled ESE and NE. Vigorous Strombolian activity continued, with explosions at intervals of 1-2 minutes, which launched incandescent material as high as 150 m above the crater rim. At night during 11-12 November Strombolian activity ceased and the lava flows were no longer active.

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.

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

Based on information from the Jakarta Meteorological Watch Office, webcam data, wind data, and satellite images, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 6 November an ash plume from Sinabung rose to an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. The next day an ash plume rose to the same altitude but was not observed in satellite images due to meteorological cloud cover. According to webcam views an eruption on 8 November produced a low-level ash plume. The Jakarta Meteorological Watch Office, the webcam, and satellite data detecting sulfur dioxide indicated two explosions on 10 November. The first one, at 0720, generated an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 3.7 km (12,000 ft) a.s.l. The altitude of the second plume, from an explosion at 1600, was unknown. An ash plume on 11 November rose to an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted less than 20 km SW. The next day an ash plume rose to an altitude of 3.7 km (12,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted almost 40 km NW.

According to a news article posted on 12 November, more than 5,000 people from seven villages had evacuated their homes in recent days. The article noted that the government had called for an evacuation of people living within a 3-km radius of Sinabung, but people outside of that zone had also been evacuating.

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.    

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

IG reported that activity at Tungurahua remained at moderate levels during 6-12 November. Although cloud cover sometimes prevented visual observations of the crater, ash plumes were observed on most days. An ash plume rose 1 km and drifted W on 7 November. The next day ashfall was reported in Runtún (6 km NNE), Pondoa (8 km N), and Baños (8 km N). On 9 November an ash plume rose 3 km and drifted W, and blocks rolled down the flanks. Ash fell in Choglontus (SW), Bilbao (W), and Cusúa (8 km NW). On 10 and 12 November ash plumes rose 1 km and drifted SW, and 1.5 km and drifted W, respectively. Ashfall was reported in El Manzano (8 km SW) on 12 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

BATU TARA, Komba Island (Indonesia)
7.792°S, 123.579°E; summit elev. 748 m

Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind data, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) reported that on 6 November an ash plume from Batu Tara drifted almost 20 km W.

Geologic summary: The small isolated island of Batu Tara in the Flores Sea about 50 km north of Lembata (formerly Lomblen) Island contains a scarp on the eastern side similar to the Sciara del Fuoco of Italy's Stromboli volcano. Vegetation covers the flanks of Batu Tara to within 50 m of the 748-m-high summit. Batu Tara lies north of the main volcanic arc and is noted for its potassic leucite-bearing basanitic and tephritic rocks. The first historical eruption from Batu Tara, during 1847-52, produced explosions and a lava flow.

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

SVERT reported that during 4-6 November a thermal anomaly over Chirinkotan was observed. Steam-and-gas emissions during 5-6 November drifted 55-100 km SE. 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 a thermal anomaly from Snow, a volcano of Chirpoi, was detected in satellite images during 4-6 November. Weak steam-and-gas emissions were detected on 4 and 6 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.

COPAHUE, Central Chile-Argentina border 
37.85°S, 71.17°W; summit elev. 2997 m

OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that during 16-31 October the webcam installed 18 km SW of Copahue recorded steady fumarolic activity from Del Agrio Crater, which produced plumes that rose 1.8 km above the crater rim. On 28 October the plume changed color, suggesting ash content, and was accompanied by a small explosion recorded at 1252. The Alert Level remained at Yellow.

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.

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 1-8 November. Satellite images detected a daily bright thermal anomaly on the volcano, possibly indicating weak Vulcanian and Strombolian activity. Ash plumes drifted 184 km SE and E during 2-3 and 5-6 November. 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 6-12 November HVO reported that the circulating lava lake occasionally rose and fell in the deep pit within Kilauea's Halema'uma'u Crater. 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. On 5 November a cone erupted a low fountain of lava which waned quickly; it was the first lava erupted in Pu'u 'O'o in several months.

The 6.4-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. On 7 November geologists confirmed that, after being active for more than two years and producing some memorable ocean entries, the Peace Day flow, to the SE of Pu'u 'O'o, was no longer active.

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.

SAKURA-JIMA, Kyushu 
31.585°N, 130.657°E; summit elev. 1117 m

The Tokyo VAAC reported that during 6-8 and 10-11 November, explosions from Sakura-jima generated plumes that rose to altitudes of 1.8-3 km (6,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N, NE, E, and SE. On 8 November a pilot observed an ash plume drifting at an altitude of 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l.

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.

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

KVERT reported that during 1-8 November several strong explosions from Shiveluch generated ash plumes that rose to an maximum altitude of 7 km (24,600 ft) a.s.l. Ash plumes drifted more than 290 km SE. Viscous lava continued to effuse onto the N and NE flanks of the lava dome, accompanied by hot avalanches, incandescence, ash explosions, and fumarolic activity. A thermal anomaly was detected daily in satellite images. The Aviation 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.

Source: GVP

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