Active volcanoes in the world: February 19 - February 25, 2014

Active volcanoes in the world: February 19 - February 25, 2014

In last 7 days new activity was observed at 5 volcanoes, ongoing activity was reported for 12 volcanoes. This report covers active volcanoes in the world from February 19 - February 25, 2014 based on Smithsonian/USGS criteria.

New activity/unrest: | Asosan, Kyushu | Kelut, Eastern Java (Indonesia) | Marapi, Sumatra (Indonesia) | Popocatépetl, México | Tungurahua, Ecuador

Ongoing activity: | Aira, Kyushu | Chirinkotan, Kuril Islands | Chirpoi, Kuril Islands (Russia) | Cleveland, Chuginadak Island | Dukono, Halmahera | Etna, Sicily (Italy) | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaii (USA) | Puyehue-Cordón Caulle, Central Chile | Shiveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Sinabung, Sumatra (Indonesia) | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu

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

ASOSAN, Kyushu 

32.881°N, 131.106°E; summit elev. 1592 m

JMA reported that a very small explosion from Asosan's Nakadake Crater occurred on 19 February. An off-white plume rose 200 m above the crater rim and drifted SW. During fieldwork on 21 February volcanologists noted that sulfur dioxide emissions remained high. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-5).

Geologic summary: The 24-km-wide Asosan caldera was formed during four major explosive eruptions from 300,000 to 90,000 years ago. These produced voluminous pyroclastic flows that covered much of Kyushu. The last of these, the Aso-4 eruption, produced more than 600 cu km of airfall tephra and pyroclastic-flow deposits. A group of 17 central cones was constructed in the middle of the caldera, one of which, Nakadake, is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. It was the location of Japan's first documented historical eruption in 553 AD. The Nakadake complex has remained active throughout the Holocene. Several other cones have been active during the Holocene, including the Kometsuka scoria cone as recently as about 210 CE. Historical eruptions have largely consisted of basaltic to basaltic-andesite ash emission with periodic strombolian and phreatomagmatic activity. The summit crater of Nakadake is accessible by toll road and cable car, and is one of Kyushu's most popular tourist destinations.

KELUT, Eastern Java (Indonesia)

7.93°S, 112.308°E; summit elev. 1731 m

PVMBG reported that on 14 February, the day after a large eruption at Kelut that began at 2250 on 13 February, gray-to-black plumes rose 400-600 m above the crater. On 15 February grayish white plumes rose as high as 3 km. During 16-20 February white plumes rose as high as 1 km and drifted N, NE, and E. Heavy rain on 18 February caused lahars in Ngobo, Mangli (Kediri, 35 km WNW), Bladak (Blitar, 20 km SW), and Konto (Malang, 35 km E). BNPB noted that the lahars flooded five houses and one mosque, and destroyed two homes and one bridge.

The report noted that four out of the five seismic stations monitoring Kelut were destroyed during the eruption. The one remaining station, 5 km away, recorded declining seismicity during 14-20 February. Two more seismic stations were installed, 2-3 km from the crater, on 16 February. The Alert Level was lowered to 3 on 20 February. Visitors and residents were prohibited from approaching the crater within a radius of 5 km; residents outside of the 5-km restricted zone were permitted to return home. 

Geologic summary: The relatively inconspicuous 1,731-m-high Kelut stratovolcano contains a summit crater lake that has been the source of some of Indonesia's most deadly eruptions. A cluster of summit lava domes cut by numerous craters has given the summit a very irregular profile. More than 30 eruptions have been recorded from Gunung Kelut since 1000 AD. The ejection of water from the crater lake during Kelut's typically short, but violent eruptions has created pyroclastic flows and lahars that have caused widespread fatalities and destruction. After more than 5,000 people were killed during the 1919 eruption, an ambitious engineering project sought to drain the crater lake. This initial effort lowered the lake by more than 50 m, but the 1951 eruption deepened the crater by 70 m, leaving 50 million cubic meters of water after repair of the damaged drainage tunnels. After more than 200 people were killed in the 1966 eruption, a new deeper tunnel was constructed, lowering the lake's volume to only about 1 million cubic meters prior to the 1990 eruption.

MARAPI, Sumatra (Indonesia)

0.381°S, 100.473°E; summit elev. 2891 m

According to a news article from 5 February four explosions from Marapi occurred in early February. One of the explosions was followed by ashfall in the Tarab River area and Batu Sangkar (17 km SE).

Geologic summary: Gunung Marapi, not to be confused with the better known Merapi volcano on Java, is Sumatra's most active volcano. Marapi is a massive complex stratovolcano that rises 2,000 m above the Bukittinggi plain in Sumatra's Padang Highlands. A broad summit contains multiple partially overlapping summit craters constructed within the small 1.4-km-wide Bancah caldera. The summit craters are located along an ENE-WSW line, along which volcanism has migrated to the W. More than 50 eruptions, typically consisting of small-to-moderate explosive activity, have been recorded since the end of the 18th century; no historical lava flows outside the summit craters have been reported.

POPOCATEPETL, México

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

CENAPRED reported that at 0944 on 19 February a gas-and-vapor plume containing moderate amounts of ash rose 1.5 km above Popocatépetl's crater and drifted NE and SW. At 2338 a gas-and-vapor plume containing small amounts of ash rose 1 km and drifted E. A small explosion at 0409 on 21 February ejected incandescent tephra which mostly fell back inside the crater, and produced an ash plume that rose 2 km. An explosion at 1233 ejected incandescent tephra 600 m from the crater rim. An ash plume rose 4 km and drifted NE. Another explosion at 1541 produced an ash plume with lower ash content that rose 2 km and also drifted NE. At 0312 on 22 February an explosion generated an ash plume that rose 2 km and drifted SE. Explosions at 0615 and 0619 ejected incandescent tephra and produced ash plumes that rose 1 km and drifted SE. On 25 February steam-and-gas plumes drifting SE were occasionally seen during times of good visibility. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two.

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.

TUNGURAHUA, Ecuador

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

IG reported that activity at Tungurahua was at moderate-to-high levels during 19-25 February; cloud cover often prevented observations. On 20 February ash plumes rose 2-3.5 km above the crater and drifted SW. Ashfall was reported in Píllate (8 km W), Quero (20 km NW), and Tizaleo (29 km NW). The next day observers reported blocks rolling down the flanks. Ash fell in Píllate on 23 February.

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

AIRA, Kyushu

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

JMA reported that during 17-21 February three explosions from Showa Crater at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano ejected tephra as far as 1,300 m. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5). The Tokyo VAAC reported that explosions during 19-20 and 22-25 February generated ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 1.8-3.7 km (6,000-12,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE, SE, and S. A pilot observed ash on 20 February.

Geologic summary: The Aira caldera in the northern half of Kagoshima Bay contains the post-caldera Sakurajima volcano, one of Japan's most active. Eruption of the voluminous Ito pyroclastic flow accompanied formation of the 17 x 23 km caldera about 22,000 years ago. The smaller Wakamiko caldera was formed during the early Holocene in the NE corner of the Aira caldera, along with several post-caldera cones. The construction of Sakurajima began about 13,000 years ago on the southern rim of Aira caldera and built an island that was finally joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kitadake summit cone ended about 4850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minamidake. 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.

CHIRINKOTAN, Kuril Islands

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

SVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Chirinkotan was observed in satellite images on 20 February. Cloud cover obscured views on other days during 17-24 February. 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 over Snow, a volcano of Chirpoi, was detected in satellite images during 19-20 February. Cloud cover obscured views on the other days during 17-24 February. 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.

CLEVELAND, Chuginadak Island

52.825°N, 169.944°W; summit elev. 1730 m

AVO reported that small explosions from Cleveland were detected by infrasound and lightning alarms at 1917 on 24 February and 0135 on 25 February. Small ash clouds from the explosions were detected in satellite images several hours after the events drifting at an altitude of about 5 km (16,000 ft) a.s.l. The Volcanic Alert Level remained at Advisory and the Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow.

Geologic summary: Symmetrical Mount Cleveland stratovolcano is situated at the western end of the uninhabited dumbbell-shaped Chuginadak Island in the east-central Aleutians. The 1,730-m-high stratovolcano is the highest of the Islands of Four Mountains group and is one of the most active in the Aleutians. Numerous large lava flows descend its flanks. It is possible that some 18th to 19th century eruptions attributed to Carlisle (a volcano located across the Carlisle Pass Strait to the NW) should be ascribed to Cleveland. In 1944 Cleveland produced the only known fatality from an Aleutian eruption. Recent eruptions from Mt. Cleveland have been characterized by short-lived explosive ash emissions, at times accompanied by lava fountaining and lava flows down the flanks.

DUKONO, Halmahera

1.68°N, 127.88°E; summit elev. 1335 m

Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 20 and 22-23 February ash plumes from Dukono rose to an altitude of 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 55-150 km E, SE, and SSE.

Geologic summary: Reports from this remote volcano in northernmost Halmahera are rare, but Dukono has been one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes. More-or-less continuous explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, occurred from 1933 until at least the mid-1990s, when routine observations were curtailed. During a major eruption in 1550, a lava flow filled in the strait between Halmahera and the N-flank cone of Gunung Mamuya. Dukono is a complex volcano presenting a broad, low profile with multiple summit peaks and overlapping craters. Malupang Wariang, 1 km SW of Dukono's summit crater complex, contains a 700 x 570 m crater that has also been active during historical time.

ETNA, Sicily (Italy)

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

INGV reported that during 19-22 February Strombolian activity continued at Etna's New Southeast Crater (NSEC) and produced diffuse ash plumes. Lava continued to flow from a vent on the lower part of the NSEC cone to the W wall of the Valle del Bove. An unstable part of the lower E flank of the cone that collapsed on 11 February continued to produce small collapses with reddish ash clouds, and thermal anomalies.

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.

KARYMSKY, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)

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

KVERT reported that Vulcanian and Strombolian activity at Karymsky continued during 14-21 February. Satellite images detected a daily thermal anomaly on the volcano. 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 19-25 February HVO reported that the circulating lava lake occasionally rose and fell in the deep pit within Kilauea's Halema'uma'u Crater. Gas emissions remained elevated. 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, and a lava pond was active in the NE spatter cone. The 7.8-km-long Kahauale’a 2 lava flow, fed by the NE spatter cone, stalled in mid-January but remained active with scattered break-out flows behind the flow front that burned adjoining forest.

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.

PUYEHUE-CORDON CAULLE, Central Chile

40.590°S, 72.117°W; summit elev. 2236 m

Based on analyses of satellite images, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that on 24 February a diffuse plume possibly containing ash from the Cordón Caulle rift zone, part of the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex, was lifted from the surface by the wind.

Geologic summary: The Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex (PCCVC) is a large NW-SE-trending late-Pleistocene to Holocene basaltic-to-rhyolitic transverse volcanic chain SE of Lago Ranco. The 1799-m-high Pleistocene Cordillera Nevada caldera lies at the NW end, separated from Puyehue stratovolcano at the SE end by the Cordón Caulle fissure complex. The Pleistocene Mencheca volcano with Holocene flank cones lies NE of Puyehue. The basaltic-to-rhyolitic Puyehue volcano is the most geochemically diverse of the PCCVC. The flat-topped, 2236-m-high Puyehue volcano was constructed above a 5-km-wide caldera and is capped by a 2.4-km-wide summit caldera of Holocene age. Lava flows and domes of mostly rhyolitic composition are found on the eastern flank of Puyehue. Historical eruptions originally attributed to Puyehue, including major eruptions in 1921-22 and 1960, are now known to be from the Cordón Caulle rift zone. The Cordón Caulle geothermal area, occupying a 6 x 13 km wide volcano-tectonic depression, is the largest active geothermal area of the southern Andes volcanic zone.

SHIVELUCH, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

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

KVERT reported that during 14-21 February lava-dome extrusion at Shiveluch was accompanied by ash explosions, incandescence, and fumarolic activity. A thermal anomaly was detected daily in satellite images. On 19 February a gas-and-steam plume containing small amounts of ash rose to an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted about 50 km SSE. On 25 February satellite images detected ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 4-4.5 km (13,100-14,800 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE. 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.

SINABUNG, Sumatra (Indonesia)

3.17°N, 98.392°E; summit elev. 2460 m

On 19 February BNPB reported that villagers outside of the 5-km evacuation zone around Sinabung continued to return to their homes. Based on wind data and satellite images, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 19 and 21-22 February ash plumes rose to an altitude of 4.6 km (15,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 25-35 km NE and SW. Ash plumes were visible in webcam images during 23-25 February; ash plumes rose to altitudes of 3.7-4.6 km (12,000-15,000 ft) a.s.l. on 25 February and drifted 45 km E. On 24 February BNPB noted that 16,361 people remained in 34 evacuation shelters. Dense white plumes rose 100-300 m above the dome and incandescent material as far as 2 km SE from the dome was observed.

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.    

SUWANOSEJIMA, Kyushu

29.635°N, 129.716°E; summit elev. 799 m

The Tokyo VAAC reported an explosion from Suwanosejima on 19 February. Explosions during 23-24 February produced plumes that rose to an altitude of 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. An ash plume on 24 February drifted E.

Geologic summary: The 8-km-long, spindle-shaped island of Suwanosejima in the northern Ryukyu Islands consists of an andesitic stratovolcano with two historically active summit craters. 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. Suwanosejima, one of Japan's most frequently active volcanoes, was in a state of intermittent strombolian activity from 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 Otake 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. Only about 50 persons live on the island.

Source: GVP

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