Active volcanoes in the world: May 14 - 20, 2014

Active volcanoes in the world: May 14 - 20, 2014

New activity/unrest was observed at 5 volcanoes from May 14 - 20, 2014. Ongoing activity was reported for 9 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Ahyi, Mariana Islands (USA)  | Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia)  | San Miguel, El Salvador  | Santa María, Guatemala  | Slamet, Central Java (Indonesia)

Ongoing activity:  Aira, Kyushu (Japan)  | Batu Tara, Komba Island (Indonesia)  | Colima, Mexico  | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)  | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)  | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA)  | 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

On 16 May the USGS reported that during the previous week seismic signals from the source at or near Ahyi seamount had greatly diminished, indicating that the eruption had possibly paused or ended. Scientists aboard the research ship Hi'ialakai conducted water column tests in the vicinity of Ahyi on 15 May and reported no sign of activity, suggesting that the eruption occurred from a nearby volcanic vent and not the summit. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

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 seismicity at Merapi decreased during 9-15 May, as compared to the previous week. Thumping noises continued to be reported from multiple observation posts, and on 12 May fumarolic plumes rose 350 m. 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.

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 on 19 May that activity at San Miguel had increased significantly in the previous few days. The activity was characterized by an increase in the frequency and magnitude of gas emissions, rumbling in the crater, and small explosions followed by juvenile ashfall. On 18 May between 2230 and 2300 less than 1 mm of ash fell to the WNW in San Jorge. On 19 May the webcam recorded periodic pulses of gray gas plumes that rose 300 m and drifted W. On 20 May seismicity remained high and gray emissions rose 300 m.

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.

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

INSIVUMEH reported that on 14 May a lahar, the first since the 9 May eruption at Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex, carried blocks up to 2 m in diameter as well as tree trunks. During 15-16 May explosions generated ash plumes that rose 700 m and drifted W and SW. During an overflight on 16 May, experts from both CONRED and INSIVUMEH observed affected areas from the 9 May eruption including deposits in the Nima I river drainage. They also noted that explosions and rumbling from the complex were at normal levels. On 18 May a lahar that was 15 m wide and 2 m deep in the Nima I drainage carried tree trunks and branches and had a strong sulfur odor. A secondary explosion in the drainage was caused by the interaction of water with the hot deposits. Lahars in the San Isidro rivers and Tambor also carried blocks. During 19-20 May explosions produced ash plumes that rose 700 m and drifted SW, causing ashfall in Monte Claro.

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.

Slamet, Central Java (Indonesia)
7.242°S, 109.208°ESummit elev. 3428 m

BNPB reported that the Alert Level for Slamet was lowered to 2 (on a scale of 1-4) on 12 May because activity had decreased. Visitors and tourists were prohibited from approaching the crater within a radius of 2 km.

Geologic summary: Slamet, Java's second highest volcano at 3428 m and one of its most active, has a cluster of about three dozen cinder cones on its lower SE-NE flanks and a single cinder cone on the western flank. Slamet is composed of two overlapping edifices, an older basaltic-andesite to andesitic volcano on the west and a younger basaltic to basaltic-andesite one on the east. Gunung Malang II cinder cone on the upper eastern flank on the younger edifice fed a lava flow that extends 6 km to the east. Four craters occur at the summit of Gunung Slamet, with activity migrating to the SW over time. Historical eruptions, recorded since the 18th century, have originated from a 150-m-deep, 450-m-wide, steep-walled crater at the western part of the summit and have consisted of explosive eruptions generally lasting a few days to a few weeks.

Ongoing activity

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

JMA reported that an explosion from Showa Crater at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano at 2229 on 12 May ejected tephra as far as 1.8 km from the crater and produced a plume that rose 1.6 km above the crater rim. Incandescence from the crater was detected at night during 13-14 May.

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 16-18 May ash plumes from Batu Tara rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 55-75 km NW and W.

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.

Colima, Mexico  
19.514°N, 103.62°WSummit elev. 3850 m

Based on statements from the Mexico City Meteorological Watch Office, the Washington VAAC reported that on 15 May an ash emission from Colima rose to an altitude of 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l. Ash was not detected in satellite images. On 18 May a possible ash plume was observed in satellite images drifting almost 30 km W.

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 4320 m high point of the complex) on the north and the 3850-m-high historically active Volcán de Colima at the south. A group of cinder cones of late-Pleistocene age is located on the floor of the Colima graben west and east of the Colima complex. Volcán de Colima (also known as Volcán Fuego) is a youthful stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera, breached to the south, 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.

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 14-15 May ash plumes from Dukono rose to an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 45 km NW and S.

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.

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

KVERT reported that Strombolian and weak Vulcanian activity continued at Karymsky during 9-16 May. Satellite images detected a thermal anomaly on the volcano on 14 May. 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 14-20 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. Lava flows from the N spatter cone traveled short distances during 14-15 May. The Kahauale’a 2 lava flow continued to advance, with breakouts from the main stalled lobe, and burn adjoining forest. A satellite image acquired on 14 May showed that the farthest point of activity was 8.8 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 during 14-20 May elevated surface temperatures at Shishaldin's summit were detected in satellite images, and minor steam emissions were observed in webcam images. A report from 16 May noted that dark ash-covered snow near the summit was visible on an unspecified day during the past week. Seismometers near the volcano detected brief explosion signals during 17-20 May. 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 9-16 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. Satellite images detected daily thermal anomalies. 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 14-16 May emissions at Ubinas continued. On 14 May emissions with minor amounts of ash rose 0.6-1.8 km above the crater. An explosion at 1902 on 14 May ejected fragments around the crater and caused thick ashfall in Chojata and Escacha. Water vapor and ash plumes rose 0.7-3.5 km on 15 May, and gas, steam, and ash plumes rose 500-800 m on 16 May. A moderate explosion at 1915 on 18 May was followed by nine hours of continuous emissions. Later that day gas-and-ash plumes rose 0.4-1.1 km. During 14-16 and 18 May ash fell in various towns downwind of the plumes, including Querapi (4 km S), Ubinas (6.5 km SSE), Escacha, Lloque, Chojata, and Tonohaya.

A news article from 15 May noted that the mayor of the district of San Juan de Tarucani in Arequipa continued the effort to relocate families.

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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