Active volcanoes in the world: December 3 - 9, 2014

Active volcanoes in the world: December 3 - 9, 2014

New activity/unrest was observed at 6 volcanoes from December 3 - December 9, 2014. Ongoing activity was observed at 14 volcanoes. 

New activity/unrest: Asosan, Kyushu (Japan)  | Chirinkotan, Kuril Islands (Russia)  | Fogo, Cape Verde  | Sinarka, Shiashkotan Island (Russia)  | Turrialba, Costa Rica  | Zhupanovsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)

Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan)  | Ambrym, Vanuatu  | Bardarbunga, Iceland  | Chirpoi, Kuril Islands (Russia)  | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA)  | Kuchinoerabujima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan)  | Mayon, Luzon (Philippines)  | Ontakesan, Honshu (Japan)  | Popocatepetl, Mexico  | Reventador, Ecuador  | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)  | Shishaldin, Fox Islands (USA)  | Sinabung, Indonesia  | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan)

New activity/unrest

Asosan, Kyushu (Japan)
32.884°N, 131.104°E, Summit elev. 1592 m

JMA reported that, based on seismicity and infrasound data, the eruption from Asosan’s Nakadake Crater that began on 25 November continued during 1-8 December; inclement weather often prevented observations of the crater. A webcam recorded incandescent material being ejected from the crater at night. A very small amount of ashfall was observed at Sensui Gorges, 2 km NE on 3 December. 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.

Chirinkotan, Kuril Islands (Russia)
48.98°N, 153.48°E, Summit elev. 724 m

SVERT reported that satellite images of Chirinkotan showed a thermal anomaly during 2-5 and 7 December, and diffuse gas-and-steam emissions on 3 December. Cloud cover obscured views on the other days during 1-8 December. 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.

Fogo, Cape Verde
14.95°N, 24.35°W, Summit elev. 2829 m

According to news articles the eruption from Fogo's Pico cone inside the Cha Caldera continued during 3-9 December. The eruption became more intense on 6 December with lava flows traveling at a rate of 30 meters per hour. By that afternoon 20 houses in the N half of Portela had been destroyed, and authorities ordered a complete evacuation of the area. The third access road that allowed for residents to retrieve property was being covered by lava. Later that day lava reached the town of Bangaeira. More than half of Bangaeira was inundated by the very fluid lava and by the evening only a few houses remained. Flights from the island to a few other locations were cancelled due to ash emissions. By 8 December about 90% of Bangaeira and 95% of Portela were overtaken by the flows which, and as noted by the article, destroyed 100 years of town history. After moving through the towns the lava-flow front was about 300 m wide. By 8 December the almost 1,500 residents of the caldera had been evacuated, with 848 of them in shelters. Lava-flow advancement slowed on 9 December.

Geologic summary: The island of Fogo consists of a single massive stratovolcano that is the most prominent of the Cape Verde Islands. The roughly circular 25-km-wide island is truncated by a large 9-km-wide caldera that is breached to the east and has a headwall 1 km high. The caldera is located asymmetrically NE of the center of the island and was formed as a result of massive lateral collapse of the ancestral Monte Armarelo edifice. A very youthful steep-sided central cone, Pico, rises more than 1 km above the caldera floor to about 100 m above the caldera rim, forming the 2829 m high point of the island. Pico, which is capped by a 500-m-wide, 150-m-deep summit crater, was apparently in almost continuous activity from the time of Portuguese settlement in 1500 CE until around 1760. Later historical lava flows, some from vents on the caldera floor, reached the eastern coast below the breached caldera.

Sinarka, Shiashkotan Island (Russia)
48.875°N, 154.175°E, Summit elev. 934 m

SVERT reported that on 3 December satellite images of Sinarka showed steam-and-gas emissions with small amounts of ash drifting 40 km NE. Diffuse steam-and-gas emissions were observed on 6 December. Cloud cover obscured views on the other days during 1-8 December. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Yellow.

Geologic summary: Sinarka volcano, occupying the northern end of Shiashkotan Island in the central Kuriles, has a complex structure. A small, 2-km-wide depression open to the NW has been largely filled and overtopped by an andesitic postglacial central cone that itself contains a lava dome that forms the 934 m high point of the island. Another lava dome, Zheltokamennaya Mountain, lies 1.5 km to the SW along the buried SW rim of the caldera, and a smaller dome lies along the northern caldera rim. Historical eruptions have occurred at Sinarka during the 17th and 18th centuries. The last and largest of these, during 1872-78, was once thought to originate from Kuntomintar volcano at the southern end of the island, but is now attributed to Sinarka volcano (Gorshkov, 1970).

Turrialba, Costa Rica
10.025°N, 83.767°W, Summit elev. 3340 m

OVSICORI-UNA reported that at 2128 on 8 December a strong Strombolian explosion at Turrialba lasted about 10 minutes and had no precursory activity. Ashfall (1 cm thick) and ballistics were deposited as far as 300 m W. Trace amounts of ashfall were reported in the Central Valley and in towns to the W and SW.

Geologic summary: Turrialba, the easternmost of Costa Rica's Holocene volcanoes, is a large vegetated basaltic-to-dacitic stratovolcano located across a broad saddle NE of Irazú volcano overlooking the city of Cartago. The massive 3340-m-high Turrialba is exceeded in height only by Irazú, covers an area of 500 sq km, and is one of Costa Rica's most voluminous volcanoes. Three well-defined craters occur at the upper SW end of a broad 800 x 2200 m summit depression that is breached to the NE. Most activity originated from the summit vent complex, but two pyroclastic cones are located on the SW flank. Five major explosive eruptions have occurred during the past 3500 years. A series of explosive eruptions during the 19th century were sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows. Fumarolic activity continues at the central and SW summit craters.

Zhupanovsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)
53.589°N, 159.15°E, Summit elev. 2899 m

KVERT reported that ash explosions at Zhupanovsky continued during 25 November-1 December. Ash plumes rose to an altitude of 6 km (19,700 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 422 km E and SE during 28 November-1 December. Satellite images detected a thermal anomaly during 28-29 November; the volcano was either quiet or obscured by clouds on the other days. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Geologic summary: The Zhupanovsky volcanic massif consists of four overlapping stratovolcanoes along a WNW-trending ridge. The elongated volcanic complex was constructed within a Pliocene-early Pleistocene caldera whose rim is exposed only on the eastern side. Three of the stratovolcanoes were built during the Pleistocene, the fourth is Holocene in age and was the source of all of Zhupanovsky's historical eruptions. An early Holocene stage of frequent moderate and weak eruptions from 7000 to 5000 years before present (BP) was succeeded by a period of infrequent larger eruptions that produced pyroclastic flows. The last major eruption took place about 800-900 years BP. Historical eruptions have consisted of relatively minor explosions from the third cone.

Ongoing activity

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

JMA reported that three explosions from Showa Crater at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano ejected tephra as far as 1,800 m during 5-8 December. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5). The Tokyo VAAC reported that during 4 and 6-8 December plumes rose to altitudes of 1.8-3 km (6,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE and E.

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.

Ambrym, Vanuatu
16.25°S, 168.12°E, Summit elev. 1334 m

On 8 December the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory reported that observations and analyses of Ambrym conducted during November and early December showed that activity levels had slightly decreased. The Alert Level was lowered to 1 (on a scale of 0-4). VGO warned that the area in close proximity to the active vents (Benbow, Maben-Mbwelesu, Niri-Mbwelesu, and Mbwelesu) remained dangerous.

Geologic summary: Ambrym, a large basaltic volcano with a 12-km-wide caldera, is one of the most active volcanoes of the New Hebrides arc. A thick, almost exclusively pyroclastic sequence, initially dacitic, then basaltic, overlies lava flows of a pre-caldera shield volcano. The caldera was formed during a major plinian eruption with dacitic pyroclastic flows about 1900 years ago. Post-caldera eruptions, primarily from Marum and Benbow cones, have partially filled the caldera floor and produced lava flows that ponded on the caldera floor or overflowed through gaps in the caldera rim. Post-caldera eruptions have also formed a series of scoria cones and maars along a fissure system oriented ENE-WSW. Eruptions have apparently occurred almost yearly during historical time from cones within the caldera or from flank vents. However, from 1850 to 1950, reporting was mostly limited to extra-caldera eruptions that would have affected local populations.

Bardarbunga, Iceland
64.63°N, 17.53°W, Summit elev. 2009 m

During 3-9 December, IMO maintained Aviation Colour Code Orange due to continued activity at Bárdarbunga’s Holuhraun eruptive fissure. The Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection reviewed data from the beginning of the eruption on 31 August to 3 December and found a decreased rate of subsidence of the Bárdarbunga Caldera from up to 80 cm/day to 25 cm/day, with most of the subsidence concentrated at the center of the caldera. Data also showed a decline in the intensity of the eruption at Holuhraun, although seismic activity remained strong. The lava field covered just over 76 square kilometers on 9 December, making it the largest lava field in Iceland since the Laki eruption (1783-1784). Additionally, the gas emissions have had an impact all over Iceland for the first time in 150 years.

Geologic summary: The large central volcano of Bárdarbunga lies beneath the NW part of the Vatnajökull icecap, NW of Grímsvötn volcano, and contains a subglacial 700-m-deep caldera. Related fissure systems include the Veidivötn and Trollagigar fissures, which extend about 100 km SW to near Torfajökull volcano and 50 km NE to near Askja volcano, respectively. Voluminous fissure eruptions, including one at Thjorsarhraun, which produced the largest known Holocene lava flow on Earth with a volume of more than 21 cu km, have occurred throughout the Holocene into historical time from the Veidivötn fissure system. The last major eruption of Veidivötn, in 1477, also produced a large tephra deposit. The subglacial Loki-Fögrufjöll volcanic system located SW of Bárdarbunga volcano is also part of the Bárdarbunga volcanic system and contains two subglacial ridges extending from the largely subglacial Hamarinn central volcano; the Loki ridge trends to the NE and the Fögrufjöll ridge to the SW. Jökulhlaups (glacier-outburst floods) from eruptions at Bárdarbunga potentially affect drainages in all directions.

Chirpoi, Kuril Islands (Russia)
46.525°N, 150.875°E, Summit elev. 742 m

SVERT reported that satellite images over Snow, a volcano of Chirpoi, showed a thermal anomaly during 2-5 December. Cloud cover obscured views on other days during 1-8 December. 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. 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.

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

During 3-9 December HVO reported that Kilauea’s 27 June NE-trending lava flow continued to be active. A narrow lobe of lava that had broken away from the W edge of the flow field below the crack system advanced at rates of several hundred meters per day; by 9 December the front was about 3.5 km above the intersection of Pahoa Village Road and Highway 130, near the Pahoa Marketplace.

The circulating lava lake occasionally rose and fell in the deep pit within Halema'uma'u Crater. Gas emissions remained elevated. The plume from the vent continued to deposit variable amounts tephra onto nearby areas; smaller particles may have been dropped several kilometers away. At Pu'u 'O'o Crater, glow emanated from several outgassing openings in the crater floor.

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.

Kuchinoerabujima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan)
30.443°N, 130.217°E, Summit elev. 657 m

JMA reported that no eruptions occurred from Kuchinoerabujima during 1-5 December, although the level of activity remained elevated. White plumes rose 300 m above the crater. Low-level seismicity continued and tremor was absent. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5).

Geologic summary: A group of young stratovolcanoes forms the eastern end of the irregularly shaped island of Kuchinoerabujima in the northern Ryukyus, 15 km west of Yakushima. Furutake, Shintake, and Noike were erupted from south to north, respectively, to form a composite cone that is parallel to the trend of the Ryukyu Islands. The highest peak, Furutake, reaches only 657 m above sea level. The youngest cone, 640-m-high Shintake, was formed after the NW side of Furutake was breached by an explosion. All historical eruptions have occurred from Shintake, although a lava flow from the S flank of Furutake that reached the coast has a very fresh morphology. Frequent explosive eruptions have taken place from Shintake since 1840; the largest of these was in December 1933. Several villages on the 4 x 12 km island are located within a few kilometers of the active crater and have suffered damage from eruptions.

Mayon, Luzon (Philippines)
13.257°N, 123.685°E, Summit elev. 2462 m

PHIVOLCS reported that during 3-8 December white plumes were occasionally observed rising from Mayon's crater and drifted WSW, SSW, and NW, sometimes downslope. Inclement weather prevented views of the summit on some days. As many as three volcanic earthquakes were recorded per day. Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 0-5 scale). PHIVOLCS reminded residents of the 6-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) around the volcano and the 7-km Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) on the SE flank.

Geologic summary: Beautifully symmetrical Mayon volcano, which rises to 2462 m above the Albay Gulf, is the Philippines' most active volcano. The structurally simple volcano has steep upper slopes averaging 35-40 degrees that are capped by a small summit crater. Historical eruptions at this basaltic-andesitic volcano date back to 1616 and range from strombolian to basaltic plinian, with cyclical activity beginning with basaltic eruptions, followed by longer term andesitic lava flows. Eruptions occur predominately from the central conduit and have also produced lava flows that travel far down the flanks. Pyroclastic flows and mudflows have commonly swept down many of the approximately 40 ravines that radiate from the summit and have often devastated populated lowland areas. Mayon's most violent eruption, in 1814, killed more than 1200 people and devastated several towns.

Ontakesan, Honshu (Japan)
35.893°N, 137.48°E, Summit elev. 3067 m

JMA reported that cloud cover mostly prevented visual observations of Ontakesan during 3-9 December; white plumes rose 100 m above the crater rim on 7 December. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5).

Geologic summary: The massive Ontakesan stratovolcano, the second highest volcano in Japan, lies at the southern end of the Northern Japan Alps. Ascending this volcano is one of the major objects of religious pilgrimage in central Japan. It is constructed within a largely buried 4 x 5 km caldera and occupies the southern end of the Norikura volcanic zone, which extends northward to Yakedake volcano. The older volcanic complex consisted of at least four major stratovolcanoes constructed from about 680,000 to about 420,000 years ago, after which Ontakesan was inactive for more than 300,000 years. The broad, elongated summit of the younger edifice is cut by a series of small explosion craters along a NNE-trending line. Several phreatic eruptions post-date the roughly 7300-year-old Akahoya tephra from Kikai caldera. The first historical eruption took place in 1979 from fissures near the summit. A non-eruptive landslide in 1984 produced a debris avalanche and lahar that swept down valleys south and east of the volcano. Very minor phreatic activity caused a dusting of ash near the summit in 1991 and 2007. A significant phreatic explosion in September 2014, when a large number of hikers were at or near the summit, resulted in many fatalities.

Popocatepetl, Mexico
19.023°N, 98.622°W, Summit elev. 5426 m

CENAPRED reported that during 3-9 December seismicity at Popocatépetl indicated continuing emissions of water vapor and gas, which occasionally contained ash during 6-9 December. Incandescence from the crater was visible each night. On 3 December an ash plume rose 800 m above the crater and drifted WSW. An explosion at 2154 was associated with crater incandescence. An ash plume rose 600 m, and explosions at 1056 and 2121 produced ash plumes that rose 800 m and drifted SW. Two ash plumes rose 400-600 m and drifted SW the next day. Explosions detected at 0544 and 0608 on 6 December produced plumes with low ash content that rose 800 m. At 1508 a small rockslide on the N flank was recorded by a webcam. An explosion at 0431 on 8 December ejected incandescent tephra onto the flanks and generated an ash plume that rose 3 km. Slight ashfall was reported in the municipality of Tetela del Volcán (20 km SW). Explosions were detected at 0917 and 0933 on 9 December. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two.

Geologic summary: Volcán Popocatépetl, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain, towers to 5426 m 70 km SE of Mexico City to form North America's 2nd-highest volcano. The glacier-clad stratovolcano contains a steep-walled, 400 x 600 m wide crater. The generally symmetrical volcano is modified by the sharp-peaked Ventorrillo on the NW, a remnant of an earlier volcano. At least three previous major cones were destroyed by gravitational failure during the Pleistocene, producing massive debris-avalanche deposits covering broad areas to the south. The modern volcano was constructed south of the late-Pleistocene to Holocene El Fraile cone. Three major plinian eruptions, the most recent of which took place about 800 CE, have occurred from Popocatépetl since the mid Holocene, accompanied by pyroclastic flows and voluminous lahars that swept basins below the volcano. Frequent historical eruptions, first recorded in Aztec codices, have occurred since precolumbian time.

Reventador, Ecuador
0.077°S, 77.656°W, Summit elev. 3562 m

IG reported moderate seismic activity including explosions, long-period earthquakes, harmonic tremor, and tremor at Reventador during 3-9 December. Cloudy conditions occasionally obscured views of the summit. Steam emissions on 3 December rose from the crater and drifted NW. On 4 December steam plumes with minor ash content rose 200 m and drifted S. On 5 December a webcam recorded a steam-and-gas emission associated with an incandescent lava flow on the E flank. Water vapor plumes rose 500-700 m and drifted NW on 7 December, and 1 km and drifted SW on 9 December.

Geologic summary: Reventador is the most frequently active of a chain of Ecuadorian volcanoes in the Cordillera Real, well east of the principal volcanic axis. The forested, dominantly andesitic Volcán El Reventador stratovolcano rises to 3562 m above the jungles of the western Amazon basin. A 4-km-wide caldera widely breached to the east was formed by edifice collapse and is partially filled by a young, unvegetated stratovolcano that rises about 1300 m above the caldera floor to a height comparable to the caldera rim. It has been the source of numerous lava flows as well as explosive eruptions that were visible from Quito in historical time. Frequent lahars in this region of heavy rainfall have constructed a debris plain on the eastern floor of the caldera. The largest historical eruption took place in 2002, producing a 17-km-high eruption column, pyroclastic flows that traveled up to 8 km, and lava flows from summit and flank vents.

Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)
56.653°N, 161.36°E, Summit elev. 3283 m

KVERT reported that during 27 November-4 December lava-dome extrusion onto Sheveluch’s N flank was accompanied by incandescence, hot avalanches, and fumarolic activity. Satellite images detected a thermal anomaly over the dome during 28-29 November and 2 December; cloud cover prevented views of the volcano on the other days. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Geologic summary: The high, isolated massif of Sheveluch volcano (also spelled Shiveluch) rises above the lowlands NNE of the Kliuchevskaya volcano group. The 1300 cu km volcano 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 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.

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

AVO reported that seismicity at Shishaldin continued to be elevated during 3-9 December. Thermal anomalies were often detected in satellite images during periods of clear weather. Webcam images on 9 December showed minor steam emissions. A low-level lava eruption was likely still occurring within the summit crater of the volcano. 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, it 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. There are 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.

Sinabung, Indonesia
3.17°N, 98.392°E, Summit elev. 2460 m

Based on webcam views and weather models, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 3 December an ash plume from Sinabung rose to an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E. Eruptions during 5-7 December produced ash plumes that drifted 2-20 km in multiple directions. On 14 December an ash plume rose to an altitude of 4.3 km (14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W.

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 in 1912. No confirmed historical eruptions were recorded prior to explosive eruptions during August-September 2010 that produced ash plumes to 5 km above the summit.

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

The Tokyo VAAC reported that on 7 December explosions at Suwanosejima produced plumes that rose to altitudes of 1.5-1.8 km (5,000-6,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E and SE.

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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