Active volcanoes in the world April 23 - April 29, 2014

Active volcanoes in the world April 23 - April 29, 2014

New activity/unrest was observed at 2 volcanoes from April 23 - 29, 2014. Ongoing activity was reported for 12 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Ahyi, Mariana Islands (USA) | Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia)

Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan)  | Batu Tara, Komba Island (Indonesia)  | Chirinkotan, Kuril Islands (Russia)  | Chirpoi, Kuril Islands (Russia)  | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)  | Fuego, Guatemala  | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)  | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA)  | Shishaldin, Fox Islands (USA)  | Shiveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)  | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan)  | Ubinas, Peru

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.

New activity/unrest

Ahyi, Mariana Islands (USA)
20.42°N, 145.03°ESummit elev. -137 m

Seismic stations on Pagan, Sarigan, Anatahan, and Saipan began recording signals starting at 0635 on 24 April believed to be from an undersea volcanic source. Hydroacoustic sensors on Wake Island suggested that the source is at or near Ahyi seamount, although it was possible that the vent is located at one of the other volcanic seamounts in the area. While conducting coral reef research at Farallon de Pajaros, NOAA divers reported hearing loud explosions and feeling the shock waves. One of the more powerful explosions was felt by the crew as it reverberated through the hull of the ship. On 27 April the Color Code was raised from Unassigned to Yellow. A report issued at 0536 on 30 April noted that seismic activity remained high.

Geologic summary: Ahyi seamount is a large conical submarine volcano that rises to within 137 m of the sea surface about 18 km SE of the island of Farallon de Pajaros (Uracas) in the northern Marianas. Water discoloration has been observed over the submarine volcano, and in 1979 the crew of a fishing boat felt shocks over the summit area of the seamount followed by upwelling of sulfur-bearing water. On April 24-25, 2001 an explosive submarine eruption was detected seismically from a seismic station on Rangiroa Atoll, Tuamotu Archipelago. The event was well constrained (+/- 15 km) at a location near the southern base of Ahyi; the summit of the seamount lies within the location uncertainty.

Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia)
7.542°S, 110.442°ESummit elev. 2968 m

PVMBG reported that field observations of Merapi conducted two days after the explosion on 20 April revealed that a fracture in the dome had widened 70 m to the W, and new material had been deposited in the W part of the crater. The Alert Level remained at 1 (on a scale of 1-4).

Geologic summary:  Merapi, one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, lies in one of the world's most densely populated areas and dominates the landscape immediately north of the major city of Yogyakarta. Merapi is the youngest and southernmost of a volcanic chain extending NNW to Ungaran volcano. Growth of Old Merapi volcano beginning during the Pleistocene ended with major edifice collapse perhaps about 2000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequently growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent eruptive activity, began SW of the earlier collapse scarp. Pyroclastic flows and lahars accompanying growth and collapse of the steep-sided active summit lava dome have devastated cultivated lands on the volcano's western-to-southern flanks and caused many fatalities during historical time. The volcano is the object of extensive monitoring efforts by the Merapi Volcano Observatory.

Ongoing activity

Aira, Kyushu (Japan)
31.593°N, 130.657°ESummit elev. 1117 m

JMA reported that seven explosions from Showa Crater at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano during 22-25 April ejected tephra as far as 1,300 m. Incandescence from the crater was detected at night. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5). The Tokyo VAAC reported that during 23-24 and 26 April plumes rose to altitudes of 2.1-3 km (7,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW, W, and SE. On 26 April a pilot observed an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 2.7 km (9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted WNW. An explosion was reported on 29 April.

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.

Batu Tara, Komba Island (Indonesia)
7.792°S, 123.579°ESummit elev. 748 m

Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 27-28 April ash plumes from Batu Tara rose to an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 35-55 km NE and N.

Geologic summary: The small isolated island of Batu Tara in the Flores Sea about 50 km north of Lembata (fomerly 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 (Russia)
48.98°N, 153.48°E, Summit elev. 724 m

SVERT reported that satellite images of Chirinkotan showed gas-and-steam emissions on 25 and 27 April. Cloud cover obscured views during 21-28 April. 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°ESummit elev. 742 m

SVERT reported that satellite images over Snow, a volcano of Chirpoi, detected a thermal anomaly on 21 and 27 April. Cloud cover obscured views on the other days during 22-28 April. 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.

Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)
1.68°N, 127.88°ESummit elev. 1335 m

Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 23-29 April ash plumes from Dukono rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 55-150 km E, ESE, and SE.

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 north-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.

Fuego, Guatemala
14.473°N, 90.88°WSummit elev. 3763 m

INSIVUMEH noted in a special report from 25 April that explosions at Fuego were occurring at a rate of 5-6 per hour, generating ash plumes that rose 350-650 m above the crater and drifting 10 km S and SW. Ashfall was reported in Panimaché, Morelia, and Santa Sofía; shock waves vibrated houses in those three towns among others. Avalanches of incandescent blocks reached vegetated areas. Explosions during 26-28 April produced ash plumes that rose 350-800 m and drifted 10 km W. Villagers in Panimaché, Morelia, and Santa Sofía again reported vibrating houses and ashfall. Block avalanches originated from the crater and descended the flanks. During 28-29 April explosions were detected at a rate of 6-8 per hour. Ash plumes rose 750 m and drifted 10 km W and NW. Explosions caused houses on the SW flank to vibrate.

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 3763-m-high Fuego and its twin volcano to the north, Acatenango. Construction of Meseta volcano dates back to about 230,000 years and continued until the late Pleistocene or early Holocene. Collapse of Meseta volcano may have produced the massive Escuintla debris-avalanche deposit, which extends about 50 km onto the Pacific coastal plain. Growth of the modern Fuego volcano followed, continuing the southward migration of volcanism that began at Acatenango. In contrast to the mostly andesitic Acatenango volcano, eruptions at Fuego have become more mafic with time, and most historical activity has produced basaltic rocks. 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.

Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)
54.05°N, 159.45°ESummit elev. 1536 m

KVERT reported that Vulcanian and Strombolian activity continued at Karymsky during 17-25 April. Satellite images detected a thermal anomaly on the volcano on 19 and 22; cloud cover obscured views on the other days. 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 during the early Holocene. The caldera cuts the south side of the Pleistocene Dvor volcano and is located outside the north margin of the large mid-Pleistocene Polovinka caldera, which contains the smaller Akademia Nauk and Odnoboky calderas. Most seismicity preceding Karymsky eruptions originated beneath Akademia Nauk caldera, which is located immediately south of Karymsky volcano. The caldera enclosing Karymsky volcano formed about 7600-7700 radiocarbon years ago; construction of the Karymsky stratovolcano began about 2000 years later. The latest eruptive period began about 500 years ago, following a 2300-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.

Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA)
19.421°N, 155.287°WSummit elev. 1222 m

During 23-29 April 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; smaller particles may have been dropped several kilometers away. During 28-29 April the lake level rose to an estimated 30 m below the crater floor, the highest level measured since February 2013.

At Pu'u 'O'o Crater, glow emanated from spatter cones on the N and S portions of the crater floor, and from the lava pond in the NE spatter cone. On 22 April, just before midnight, the N spatter cone produced a vigorous lava flow that traveled E across the crater floor in minutes, over the crater edge, and then down the NE flank of the cone along the Kahauale’a 2 lava flow tube. The flow continued to be sporadically active during the rest of this reporting period. The Kahauale’a 2 lava flow continued to advance, with breakouts from the main stalled lobe, and burn adjoining forest. On 28 April geologists mapped the farthest point of activity, 8.3 km NE of Pu’u 'O'o.

Geologic summary: Kilauea volcano, which overlaps the east flank of the massive Mauna Loa shield volcano, has been Hawaii's most active volcano during historical time. Eruptions of Kilauea are prominent in Polynesian legends; written documentation extending back to only 1820 records frequent summit and flank lava flow eruptions that were interspersed with periods of long-term lava lake activity that lasted until 1924 at Halemaumau crater, within the summit caldera. The 3 x 5 km caldera was formed in several stages about 1500 years ago and during the 18th century; eruptions have also originated from the lengthy East and SW rift zones, which extend to the sea on both sides of the volcano. About 90% of the surface of the basaltic shield volcano is formed of lava flows less than about 1100 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.

Shishaldin, Fox Islands (USA)
54.756°N, 163.97°WSummit elev. 2857 m

AVO reported that although cloud cover occasionally prevented web-cam and satellite observations of Shishaldin's summit area during 23-29 April, periods of elevated surface temperatures and minor steaming were observed. No significant changes were detected in seismic data. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.

Geologic summary: The beautifully symmetrical volcano of Shishaldin is the highest and one of the most active volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands. The 2857-m-high, glacier-covered volcano is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes along an E-W line in the eastern half of Unimak Island. The Aleuts named the volcano Sisquk, meaning "mountain which points the way when I am lost." A steady steam plume rises from its small summit crater. Constructed atop an older glacially dissected volcano, Shishaldin is Holocene in age and largely basaltic in composition. Remnants of an older ancestral volcano are exposed on the west and NE sides at 1500-1800 m elevation. Shishaldin contains over two dozen pyroclastic cones on its NW flank, which is blanketed by massive aa lava flows. Frequent explosive activity, primarily consisting of strombolian ash eruptions from the small summit crater, but sometimes producing lava flows, has been recorded since the 18th century.

Shiveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)
56.653°N, 161.36°ESummit elev. 3283 m

KVERT reported that during 18-25 April lava-dome extrusion onto Shiveluch’s SE flank was accompanied by ash explosions, incandescence, hot avalanches, and fumarolic activity. Satellite images showed a bright thermal anomaly daily. 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. The 1300 cu km Shiveluch is one of Kamchatka's largest and most active volcanic structures. The summit of roughly 65,000-year-old Stary Shiveluch is truncated by a broad 9-km-wide late-Pleistocene caldera breached to the south. Many lava domes dot its outer flanks. The Molodoy Shiveluch lava dome complex was constructed during the Holocene within the large horseshoe-shaped caldera; Holocene lava dome extrusion also took place on the flanks of Stary Shiveluch. At least 60 large eruptions of Shiveluch have occurred during the Holocene, making it the most vigorous andesitic volcano of the Kuril-Kamchatka arc. Widespread tephra layers from these eruptions have provided valuable time markers for dating volcanic events in Kamchatka. Frequent collapses of dome complexes, most recently in 1964, have produced debris avalanches whose deposits cover much of the floor of the breached caldera.

Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan)
29.638°N, 129.714°ESummit elev. 796 m

The Tokyo VAAC reported that on 29 April an explosion at Suwanosejima produced a plume that rose to an altitude of 1.2 km (4,000 ft) a.s.l. and 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.

Ubinas, Peru
16.355°S, 70.903°WSummit elev. 5672 m

IGP's Observatorio Volcanologico de Arequipa (IGP-OVA) and Observatorio Vulcanológico del INGEMMET (OVI) reported that during 23-28 April daily explosions at Ubinas generated ash plumes that rose 0.2-2.5 km above the crater and drifted in multiple directions, especially to the S, SE, and E. Ash fell in various towns downwind of the plumes including Querapi (4 km S), Ubinas (6.5 km SSE), Escacha, Yungas, and Chojata. Seismicity was at a low level; signals indicating magma ascent were absent.

Geologic summary: A small, 1.4-km-wide caldera cuts the top of Ubinas, Peru's most active volcano, giving it a truncated appearance. Ubinas is the northernmost of three young volcanoes located along a regional structural lineament about 50 km behind the main volcanic front of Perú. The growth and destruction of Ubinas I volcano was followed by construction of Ubinas II volcano beginning in the mid-Pleistocene. The upper slopes of the andesitic-to-rhyolitic Ubinas II stratovolcano are composed primarily of andesitic and trachyandesitic lava flows and steepen to nearly 45 degrees. The steep-walled, 150-m-deep summit caldera contains an ash cone with a 500-m-wide funnel-shaped vent that is 200 m deep. Debris-avalanche deposits from the collapse of the SE flank of Ubinas about 3700 years ago extend 10 km from the volcano. Widespread plinian pumice-fall deposits from Ubinas include one of Holocene age about 1000 years ago. Holocene lava flows are visible on the volcano's flanks, but historical activity, documented since the 16th century, has consisted of intermittent minor-to-moderate explosive eruptions.

Source: GVP

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