Active volcanoes in the world: November 27 - December 3, 2013

Active volcanoes in the world: November 27 - December 3, 2013

During past seven days 5 volcanoes had new activity, ongoing activity was reported for 10 volcanoes. This report covers active volcanoes in the world from November 27 - December 3, 2013 based on Smithsonian/USGS criteria.

New activity/unrest: | Etna, Sicily (Italy) | Kliuchevskoi, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Nishimo-shima, Japan | Sinabung, Sumatra (Indonesia) | Shiveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

Ongoing activity: | Chirinkotan, Kuril Islands | Chirpoi, Kuril Islands (Russia) | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaii (USA) | Manam, Northeast of New Guinea (SW Pacific) | Pacaya, Guatemala | Rabaul, New Britain | Sakura-jima, Kyushu | Suwanose-jima, Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu | Ulawun, New Britain

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 the 18th paroxysm occurred from Etna’s New Southeast Crater (NSEC) late in the afternoon on 28 November. Weather clouds prevented observations of the event. Vigorous Strombolian activity on 2 December produced a plume comprised mostly of gas drifting N. The activity intensified during the evening and evolved into a paroxysmal event that finished by 2330. The event was characterized by tall lava fountains, lava flows, and a plume laden with pyroclastic material that drifted NNW and deposited ash and lapilli in that area. The lava flows traveled SSE, SE, NE, and S. The next day sporadic explosions continued, inclement weather however prevented visual 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

KVERT reported that moderate seismic activity continued at Kliuchevskoi during 22-29 November. Video data showed Strombolian activity during that period. Satellite images recorded a daily thermal anomaly on the volcano; gas-and-steam plumes containing small amounts of ash were visible drifting 90 km SE on 25 November. On 3 December KVERT noted that since 19 November ash-plume altitudes had been decreasing. The Aviation Color Code was lowered to Yellow.

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.

NISHIMO-SHIMA, Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands (Japan) 
27.274°N, 140.882°E; summit elev. 38 m

The Japan Coast Guard reported that the eruption at Nishimo-shima, that generated a new island called Niijima continued on 1 December. The crater remained very hot and lava flows continued to expand.

Geologic summary: The small island of Nishino-shima was recently enlarged when it was joined to several new islands that formed during an eruption in 1973-74. Water discoloration has been observed on several occasions since. The 700-m-wide island is the summit of a massive submarine volcano that has prominent satellitic peaks to the south, west, and NE. The summit of the southern cone rises to within 214 m of the sea surface 9 km SSE of Nishino-shima.

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

Based on webcam data and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 28-31 November and 2 December ash plumes from Sinabung rose to altitudes of 3-5.5 km (10,000-18,000 ft) a.s.l. Ash plumes drifted 150 km W during 30-31 November and 55 km Won 2 December. On 3 December ash plumes rose to an altitude of 8.2 km (27,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W. According to a news report on 2 December, landslides killed nine people in the Gundaling village, 12 km E.

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.    

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 22-29 November a new lava dome extruded onto the NW part of Shiveluch's older lava dome. Moderate ash explosions generated ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 4-5 km (13,100-16,400) a.s.l. Lava-dome extrusion was accompanied by hot avalanches, incandescence, and fumarolic activity. A thermal anomaly was detected daily in satellite images. On 3 December activity increased and hot avalanches occurred continuously. Video data showed ash plumes rising to altitudes of 4-5 km (13,100-16,400) a.s.l. and drifting 20 km NW. A strong explosive event began at 1325 and generated ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 8-9 km (26,200-29,500 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW. Pyroclastic flows descended the SW and NW flanks. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Red. Later that day KVERT noted that the strong explosive phase had ended; the Aviation Color Code was lowered back to Orange. An ash plume observed in satellite images was 200 km long and extended N. Ashfall was reported in Ivashka Village.

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.

Ongoing activity

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

SVERT reported that steam-and-gas emissions from Chirinkotan drifted more than 50 km on 25 November. 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 drifting 90 km SE on 25 November. A thermal anomaly was detected during 27-28 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.

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 22-29 November. Satellite images detected a bright thermal anomaly on the volcano during 25-26 November, possibly indicating Vulcanian and Strombolian activity. 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 27 November-3 December 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. The 7.3-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 flow however was most active between 3.3 and 5.8 km NE of Pu'u 'O'o based on a satellite images from 30 November. 

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.

MANAM, Northeast of New Guinea (SW Pacific) 
4.080°S, 145.037°E; summit elev. 1807 m

RVO reported that activity at both Manam's Southern Crater and Main Crater was low during 16-30 November; white vapor emissions rose from both craters. Incandescence from Southern Crater was visible on 28 and 30 November, and on 30 November diffuse gray ash plumes rose from the crater.

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.

PACAYA, Guatemala 
14.381°N, 90.601°W; summit elev. 2552 m

On 28 November INSIVUMEH reported that activity at Pacaya remained unchanged; weak explosions, gas emissions, and the ejection of tephra continued. Pilots reported that ash plumes rose 2.5-2.7 km and drifted 10 km SW.

Geologic summary: Eruptions from Pacaya, one of Guatemala's most active volcanoes, are frequently visible from Guatemala City, the nation's capital. Pacaya is a complex volcano constructed on the southern rim of the 14 x 16 km Pleistocene Amatitlan caldera. A cluster of dacitic lava domes occupies the caldera floor. The Pacaya massif includes the Cerro Grande lava dome and a younger volcano to the SW. Collapse of Pacaya volcano about 1,100 years ago produced a debris-avalanche deposit that extends 25 km onto the Pacific coastal plain and left an arcuate somma rim inside which the modern Pacaya volcano (MacKenney cone) grew. During the past several decades, activity at Pacaya has consisted of frequent Strombolian eruptions with intermittent lava flow extrusion on the flanks of MacKenney cone, punctuated by occasional larger explosive eruptions.

RABAUL, New Britain 
4.271°S, 152.203°E; summit elev. 688 m

RVO reported that Rabaul caldera's Tavurvur cone was generally quiet during 16-30 November. A few explosions during 15-18 November generated ash plumes that rose to low altitudes (no more than 1 km) and drifted E, SE, and NW. Small amounts of fine-grained ash fell around Rabaul town (3-5 km NW). White-to-light-gray emissions rose from the crater the remainder of the month.

Geologic summary: The low-lying Rabaul caldera on the tip of the Gazelle Peninsula at the NE end of New Britain forms a broad sheltered harbor. The outer flanks of the 688-m-high asymmetrical pyroclastic shield volcano are formed by thick pyroclastic-flow deposits. The 8 x 14 km caldera is widely breached on the E, where its floor is flooded by Blanche Bay. Two major Holocene caldera-forming eruptions at Rabaul took place as recently as 3,500 and 1,400 years ago. Three small stratovolcanoes lie outside the northern and NE caldera rims. Post-caldera eruptions built basaltic-to-dacitic pyroclastic cones on the caldera floor near the NE and western caldera walls. Several of these, including Vulcan cone, which was formed during a large eruption in 1878, have produced major explosive activity during historical time. A powerful explosive eruption in 1994 occurred simultaneously from Vulcan and Tavurvur volcanoes and forced the temporary abandonment of Rabaul city.

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

JMA reported that three explosions from Sakura-jima's Showa Crater ejected tephra as far as 800 m during 29 November-2 December. On 29 November an explosion ejected tephra, up to 1 cm in diameter, 4 km away. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5).The Tokyo VAAC reported that during 29-30 November, and 1 and 4 December, explosions generated plumes that rose to altitudes of 2.1-2.7 km (7,000-9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E and SE.

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.

SUWANOSE-JIMA, Kyushu 
29.635°N, 129.716°E; summit elev. 799 m

Based on information from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported that an explosion from Suwanose-jima on 27 November generated a plume that rose to an altitude of 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E.

Geologic summary: The 8-km-long, spindle-shaped island of Suwanose-jima in the northern Ryukyu Islands consists of an andesitic stratovolcano with two historically active summit craters. Only about 50 persons live on the sparsely populated island. The summit of the volcano is truncated by a large breached crater extending to the sea on the east flank that was formed by edifice collapse. Suwanose-jima, one of Japan's most frequently active volcanoes, was in a state of intermittent strombolian activity from On-take (Otake), the NE summit crater, that began in 1949 and lasted until 1996, after which periods of inactivity lengthened. The largest historical eruption took place in 1813-14, when thick scoria deposits blanketed residential areas, and the SW crater produced two lava flows that reached the western coast. At the end of the eruption the summit of On-take collapsed forming a large debris avalanche and creating the horseshoe-shaped Sakuchi caldera, which extends to the eastern coast. The island remained uninhabited for about 70 years after the 1813-1814 eruption. Lava flows reached the eastern coast of the island in 1884.

ULAWUN ,New Britain 
5.05°S, 151.33°E; summit elev. 2334 m

RVO reported that activity at Ulawun was low during 16-30 November. Small volumes of gray to gray-brown ash plumes rose 100 m from the crater on most days and drifted S. On 21 November ashfall was reported in Navo on the SW flank. 

Geologic summary: The symmetrical basaltic to andesitic Ulawun stratovolcano is the highest volcano of the Bismarck arc, and one of Papua New Guinea's most frequently active. Ulawun rises above the N coast of New Britain opposite Bamus volcano. The upper 1,000 m of the 2,334-m-high volcano is unvegetated. A steep-walled valley cuts the NW side of the volcano, and a flank lava-flow complex lies to the S of this valley. Historical eruptions date back to the beginning of the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions were mildly explosive until 1967, but after 1970 several larger eruptions produced lava flows and basaltic pyroclastic flows, greatly modifying the summit crater.

Source: GVP

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