Active volcanoes in the world: May 7 - 13, 2014

Active volcanoes in the world: May 7 - 13, 2014

New activity/unrest was observed at 4 volcanoes from May 7 - 13, 2014. Ongoing activity was reported for 12 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Ahyi, Mariana Islands (USA)  | Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia)  | Santa María, Guatemala  | Tengger Caldera, Eastern Java (Indonesia)

Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan)  | Chirinkotan, Kuril Islands (Russia)  | Chirpoi, Kuril Islands (Russia)  | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)  | Etna, Sicily (Italy)  | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)  | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA)  | Krakatau, Indonesia  | San Miguel, El Salvador  | Shishaldin, Fox Islands (USA)  | Shiveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)  | 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

A helicorder plot from a station on Pagan showed that seismic signals from a source at or near the Ahyi seamount stopped at 1610 on 8 May. An additional isolated event was reported at 1810.

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 during 2-8 May white plumes rose as high as 650 m above Merapi. Thumping noises continued to be reported from multiple observation posts. Seismicity fluctuated but remained above background levels. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4) on 29 April.

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.

Santa María, Guatemala
14.756°N, 91.552°WSummit elev. 3772 m

CONRED and INSIVUMEH reported that activity at the Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex increased on 9 May. Pyroclastic flows descended the E and SE flanks, and a dense ash plume rose to an altitude of 7.6 km (25,000 ft) a.s.l. Ashfall was reported in areas at least 20 km away, including Las Marías, San Marcos (10 km SW), Palajunoj (18 km SSW), El Faro (SW flank), La Florida (5 km S), Patzulín, and Quetzaltenango (18 km WNW); about 130 people were evacuated from these areas due to persistent airborne ash. A deep notch left in the crater between the E and NE flanks channeled a pyroclastic flow which traveled 7 km into the Nima I drainage (S flank). Deposits in the drainage were estimated to be a million cubic meters; secondary explosions in the drainage were caused by the interaction of water and these hot deposits.

INSIVUMEH noted that activity returned to a normal range on 10 May, with 2-3 explosions per hour generating ash plumes that rose 800 m and drifted W. On 11 May explosions produced ash plumes that rose 800 m, drifted SW, and caused ashfall in San Marcos and the El Rosario Palajunoj finca.

Geologic summary: Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa María volcano is one of the most prominent of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rises dramatically above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The 3772-m-high stratovolcano has a sharp-topped, conical profile that is cut on the SW flank by a large, 1.5-km-wide crater. The oval-shaped crater extends from just below the summit of Volcán Santa María to the lower flank and was formed during a catastrophic eruption in 1902. The renowned plinian eruption of 1902 that devastated much of SW Guatemala followed a long repose period after construction of the large basaltic-andesite stratovolcano. The massive dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex has been growing at the base of the 1902 crater since 1922. Compound dome growth at Santiaguito has occurred episodically from four westward-younging vents, the most recent of which is Caliente. Dome growth has been accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions, with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.

Tengger Caldera, Eastern Java (Indonesia)
7.942°S, 112.95°ESummit elev. 2329 m

PVMBG reported that during 1-30 April diffuse white plumes from Tengger Caldera's Bromo cone rose 50 m above the crater. Seismicity increased during 15-30 April. From 1 to 4 May seismicity again increased and denser white plumes rose as high as 250 m. On 4 May the Alert Level was raised to 2 (on a scale of 1-4). Residents and visitors were warned not to approach the crater within a radius of 1 km.

Geologic summary: The 16-km-wide Tengger caldera is located at the northern end of a volcanic massif extending from Semeru volcano. The massive Tengger volcanic complex dates back to about 820,000 years ago and consists of five overlapping stratovolcanoes, each truncated by a caldera. Lava domes, pyroclastic cones, and a maar occupy the flanks of the massif. The Ngadisari caldera at the NE end of the complex formed about 150,000 years ago and is now drained through the Sapikerep valley. The most recent of the Tengger calderas is the 9 x 10 km wide Sandsea caldera at the SW end of the complex, which formed incrementally during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. An overlapping cluster of post-caldera cones was constructed on the floor of the Sandsea caldera within the past several thousand years. The youngest of these is Bromo, one of Java's most active and most frequently visited volcanoes.

Ongoing activity

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

JMA reported that a small non-explosive eruption from Showa Crater at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano occurred during 7-9 May. Incandescence from the crater was detected at night. A very small eruption at Minamidake Crater at 1151 on 8 May produced a plume that rose 400 m above the crater rim. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5). The Tokyo VAAC reported that during 10 and 12 May plumes rose to altitudes of 2.4-5.5 km (8,000-18,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W, SE, and E. On 13 May a pilot observed an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 1.2 km (4,000 ft) a.s.l.

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 (Russia)
48.98°N, 153.48°ESummit elev. 724 m

SVERT reported that satellite images of Chirinkotan showed gas-and-steam emissions on 7 May. Cloud cover obscured views on the other days during 5-12 May. 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 7 and 9 May. Cloud cover obscured views on other days during 5-12 May. 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 8-9 and 12 May ash plumes from Dukono rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 75-110 km WNW, W, and SW.

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.

Etna, Sicily (Italy)
37.734°N, 15.004°ESummit elev. 3330 m

INGV reported that weak Strombolian activity at Etna's New Southeast Crater (NSEC) continued through 9 May. Some explosions ejected incandescent pyroclastic material a few tens of meters above the crater rim that rarely fell onto the outer flanks.

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 BCE. Historical lava flows of basaltic composition cover much of the surface of this massive volcano, whose edifice is the highest and most voluminous in Italy. The Mongibello stratovolcano, truncated by several small calderas, was constructed during the late Pleistocene and Holocene over an older shield volcano. The most prominent morphological feature of Etna is the Valle del Bove, a 5 x 10 km horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the east. 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 (the latter formed in 1978). Flank vents, typically with higher effusion rates, are less frequently active and originate from fissures that open progressively downward from near the summit (usually accompanied by strombolian eruptions at the upper end). Cinder cones are commonly constructed over the vents of lower-flank lava flows. Lava flows extend to the foot of the volcano on all sides and have reached the sea over a broad area on the SE flank.

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

KVERT reported that Vulcanian and Strombolian activity continued at Karymsky during 2-8 May. Satellite images detected a thermal anomaly on the volcano every day except during 3-4 May, days cloud cover obscure views. 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 7-13 May 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.

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. The S spatter cone periodically erupted lava flows that overflowed on the N flanks and extended from the S base of the cone. The N cone ejected spatter. The Kahauale’a 2 lava flow continued to advance, with breakouts from the main stalled lobe, and burn adjoining forest. On 5 May geologists mapped the farthest point of activity, 8.6 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.

Krakatau, Indonesia
6.102°S, 105.423°ESummit elev. 813 m

PVMBG reported that during January-8 May diffuse white plumes rose 25-50 m above Anak Krakatau. Seismicity continued to be dominated by shallow and deep volcanic earthquakes, as well as signals indicating emissions. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4). Residents and visitors were warned not to approach the volcano within 1 km of the crater.

Geologic summary: The renowned volcano Krakatau (frequently misstated as Krakatoa) lies in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra. Collapse of the ancestral Krakatau edifice, perhaps in 416 CE, formed a 7-km-wide caldera. Remnants of this ancestral volcano are preserved in Verlaten and Lang Islands; subsequently Rakata, Danan and Perbuwatan volcanoes were formed, coalescing to create the pre-1883 Krakatau Island. Caldera collapse during the catastrophic 1883 eruption destroyed Danan and Perbuwatan volcanoes, and left only a remnant of Rakata volcano. This eruption, the 2nd largest in Indonesia during historical time, caused more than 36,000 fatalities, most as a result of devastating tsunamis that swept the adjacent coastlines of Sumatra and Java. Pyroclastic surges traveled 40 km across the Sunda Strait and reached the Sumatra coast. After a quiescence of less than a half century, the post-collapse cone of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) was constructed within the 1883 caldera at a point between the former cones of Danan and Perbuwatan. Anak Krakatau has been the site of frequent eruptions since 1927.

San Miguel, El Salvador
13.434°N, 88.269°WSummit elev. 2130 m

According to SNET, the Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN) reported that on 10 May San Miguel emitted small amounts of ash. Ashfall, less than 1 mm thick, was observed in areas between the Parque de las Placitas and Placitas.

Geologic summary: The symmetrical cone of San Miguel volcano, one of the most active in El Salvador, rises from near sea level to form one of the country's most prominent landmarks. The unvegetated summit of the 2130-m-high volcano rises above slopes draped with coffee plantations. A broad, deep crater complex that has been frequently modified by historical eruptions (recorded since the early 16th century) caps the truncated summit of the towering volcano, which is also known locally as Chaparrastique. Radial fissures on the flanks of the basaltic-andesitic volcano have fed a series of historical lava flows, including several erupted during the 17th-19th centuries that reached beyond the base of the volcano on the north, NE, and SE sides. The SE-flank lava flows are the largest and form broad, sparsely vegetated lava fields crossed by highways and a railroad skirting the base of the volcano. The location of flank vents has migrated higher on the edifice during historical time, and the most recent activity has consisted of minor ash eruptions from the summit crater.

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 7-13 May, periods of elevated surface temperatures and minor steaming were observed. A report from 9 May noted that dark ash-covered snow near the summit was visible on an unspecified day during the past week. A continuous “tremor-like” signal detected during 0430-0630 on 13 May coincided with a distinct increase in surface temperatures, possibly indicating a Strombolian eruption. 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 2-8 May 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. Video images showed ash plumes rising to altitudes of 7-9.5 km (23,000-31,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifting 60 km NW at 1150 on 13 May. Later that day, at 1300, satellite images detected an ash plume that rose to altitudes of 5-8 km (16,400-26,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 90 km NW. 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.

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 7-12 May gas-and-ash plumes, sometimes with only minor amounts of ash, rose 0.6-3 km above the crater. Ash fell in various towns downwind of the plumes including Querapi (4 km S), Ubinas (6.5 km SSE), Escacha, Anascapa, San Miguel, and Tonohaya. Significant ashfall was reported in Santa Rosa de Phara on 8 May.

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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