Active volcanoes in the world: March 4 - 10, 2015

Active volcanoes in the world: March 4 - 10, 2015

New activity was observed at 5 volcanoes from March 4 - 10, 2015. During the same period, ongoing activity was observed at 11 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Asosan, Kyushu (Japan) | Fuego, Guatemala | Popocatepetl, Mexico | Soputan, Sulawesi (Indonesia) | Villarrica, Chile.

Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Chirpoi, Kuril Islands (Russia) | Colima, Mexico | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Santa Maria, Guatemala | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Shishaldin, Fox Islands (USA) | Sinabung, Indonesia | Zhupanovsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia).

New activity/unrest

Asosan, Kyushu (Japan)
32.884°N, 131.104°E, Elevation 1592 m

JMA reported that, based on seismicity and infrasound data, the eruption from Asosan’s Nakadake Crater that began on 25 November 2014 continued during 2-6 March. Incandescent material was sometimes ejected onto the crater rim and plumes rose 1 km above the crater. High-amplitude tremor continued to be detected and infrasound data sometimes indicated eruptions. 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.

Fuego, Guatemala
14.473°N, 90.88°W, Elevation 3763 m

INSIVUMEH reported that during 5-10 March explosions at Fuego produced ash plumes that rose 550-850 m above the crater and drifted 10 km NW, W, and SW. Avalanches descended the Santa Teresa (W), Cenizas (SSW), Trinidad (S), and Las Lajas (SE) ravines, and ash fell in nearby areas including Panimache I and II, Morelia, and Santa Sofía. Incandescence from the crater was sometimes observed at night.

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 dates back to about 230,000 years and continued until the late Pleistocene or early Holocene. Collapse of Meseta 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, eruptions at Fuego have become more mafic with time, and most historical activity has produced basaltic rocks. Frequent vigorous historical eruptions have been recorded since the onset of the Spanish era in 1524, and have produced major ashfalls, along with occasional pyroclastic flows and lava flows.

Popocatepetl, Mexico
19.023°N, 98.622°W, Elevation 5426 m

CENAPRED reported that during 3-10 March the seismic network at Popocatépetl recorded between 39 and 211 gas, steam, and ash emissions. Crater incandescence at night sometimes increased coincident with emissions. During 3-4 March there were 45 explosions detected; an explosion at 2004 on 3 March ejected tephra 700 m from the crater onto the NE flank, and other explosions ejected material 100 m onto the flanks. Gas-and-ash plumes drifted NE. On 5 March there were 29 explosions. Ash plumes mostly rose less than 1 km, although one gas, steam, and ash plume rose 3 km and drifted NE. The next day an explosion generated an ash plume that rose 1.2 km and drifted NE. A series of explosions on 7 March produced ash plumes that rose 1-2 km and drifted SW and N. Incandescent tephra was ejected 800 m onto the flanks and ashfall was reported in Ecatzingo (15 km SW). A series of explosions on 8 March produced ash plumes that rose 2 km and drifted NE. Ashfall was reported in Amecameca (20 km NW), Ecatzingo (15 km SW), and Tepextlipa. On 9 March a low-intensity explosion detected at 1014 generated a water vapor, gas, and ash plume. On 10 March two explosions were detected (at 0747 and 0859). 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.

Soputan, Sulawesi (Indonesia)
1.108°N, 124.73°E, Elevation 1784 m

Based on information from PVMBG and weather models, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 7 March an eruption at Soputan generated ash plumes that rose to an altitude of 9.1 km (30,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 260 km SE and SW. A thermal anomaly was detected in satellite images. BNPB noted that the eruption occurred at 1709, and produced ash plumes that rose 4.5 km above the crater and drifted E. Pyroclastic flows traveled 2.5 km down the W flank. Minor ashfall was reported in the Silian Raya district, Touluaan, Tombatu, and party in the districts of Pasan and Rataha. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4). The next day the VAAC noted that an ash plume rose to an altitude of 3.7 km (12,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted almost 95 km SE.

Geologic summary: The small Soputan stratovolcano on the southern rim of the Quaternary Tondano caldera on the northern arm of Sulawesi Island is one of Sulawesi's most active volcanoes. The youthful, largely unvegetated volcano rises to 1784 m and is located SW of Sempu volcano. It was constructed at the southern end of a SSW-NNE trending line of vents. During historical time the locus of eruptions has included both the summit crater and Aeseput, a prominent NE-flank vent that formed in 1906 and was the source of intermittent major lava flows until 1924.

Villarrica, Chile
39.42°S, 71.93°W, Elevation 2847 m

Based on OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN data, representatives from ONEMI, SERNAGEOMIN, Sistema Nacional de Protección Civil, and others reduced the exclusion zone around Villarrica to 5 km on 5 March. OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that the Alert Level for Villarrica was lowered to Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) on 6 March, citing that seismicity had declined to below baseline levels and visual observations indicated no active lava lake. During an overflight on 9 March scientists observed subsidence of material in the crater which partially obscured the conduit. Weak degassing was also noted. On 10 March the Alert Level was lowered to Yellow; OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN warned of avalanches of unconsolidated material and maintained an exclusion zone of 3 km.

Geologic summary: Glacier-clad Villarrica, one of Chile's most active volcanoes, rises above the lake and town of the same name. It is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes that trend perpendicular to the Andean chain. A 6-km wide caldera formed during the late Pleistocene. A 2-km-wide caldera that formed about 3500 years ago is located at the base of the presently active, dominantly basaltic to basaltic-andesitic cone at the NW margin of the Pleistocene caldera. More than 30 scoria cones and fissure vents dot Villarrica's flanks. Plinian eruptions and pyroclastic flows that have extended up to 20 km from the volcano have been produced during the Holocene. Lava flows up to 18 km long have issued from summit and flank vents. Historical eruptions, documented since 1558, have consisted largely of mild-to-moderate explosive activity with occasional lava effusion. Glaciers cover 40 sq km of the volcano, and lahars have damaged towns on its flanks.

Ongoing activity

Aira, Kyushu (Japan)
31.593°N, 130.657°E, Elevation 1117 m

JMA reported that seven explosions from Showa Crater at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano ejected tephra as far as 1,300 m during 2-6 March. Incandescence from the crater was periodically visible at night, and inflation continued to be detected. During a field survey conducted on 4 March scientists observed deposits of tephra, up to 2 cm in diameter, in an area 3 km S of Showa Crater. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5). The Tokyo VAAC reported that during 4-5 and 7-8 March plumes rose to altitudes of 1.5-3.7 km (5,000-12,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions.

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.

Chirpoi, Kuril Islands (Russia)
46.525°N, 150.875°E, Elevation 742 m

SVERT reported that satellite images over Snow, a volcano of Chirpoi, showed a thermal anomaly during 3-5 and 7-8 March. Cloud cover obscured views on other days during 2-9 March. 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.

Colima, Mexico
19.514°N, 103.62°W, Elevation 3850 m

Based on satellite images and wind models, the Washington VAAC reported that on 4 March an ash plume rose from Colima to an altitude of 5.2 km (17,000 ft)a.s.l. and drifted 65 km NE and ENE. The webcam recorded an ash plume rising from the crater and drifting NE later that day. On 5 March the webcam recorded an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 7.6 km (25,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NNE. Gas emissions with some possible ash continued to be recorded. An explosion at 1546 on 6 March generated an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 7.6 km (25,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NNE. Satellite images detected a plume drifting almost 65 km E at an altitude of 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l. The webcam recorded continuing ash puffs on 7 March drifting NW. A wide ash plume rose to an altitude of 7 km (23,000 ft) a.s.l. and fanned out N and NE. On 9 March the Mexico City MWO reported an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE. Webcam views indicated that the emission rose higher. Multiple ash emissions were detected later that day, and one was detected on 10 March.

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.

Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)
54.049°N, 159.443°E, Elevation 1513 m

KVERT reported that during 27 February-6 March moderate seismicity at Karymsky was detected. Satellite images showed ash plumes drifting 215 km ENE on 27 February, and ash deposits extending 10-15 km E and SE on 1 March. 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, located immediately south. The caldera enclosing Karymsky formed about 7600-7700 radiocarbon years ago; construction of the 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°W, Elevation 1222 m

During 4-10 March HVO reported that Kilauea’s 27 June NE-trending lava flow continued to be active with several small and scattered breakouts within the flow-field margins, upslope of the leading front. These breakouts included a lobe extending to the N, about 1.6 km upslope from Highway 130, and a lobe on the S side of the flow, about 870 m upslope of Malama Market. The most northern lobe of lava remained stalled, about 500 m above Highway 130, near police and fire stations. At Pu'u 'O'o Crater, glow emanated from several outgassing openings in the crater floor. The circulating lava lake occasionally rose and fell in the deep pit within Halema'uma'u Crater. Gas emissions remained elevated.

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.

Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia)
56.056°N, 160.642°E, Elevation 4754 m

KVERT reported that a Strombolian and Vulcanian eruption at Klyuchevskoy continued during 27 February-6 March. Explosions generated ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 5-6 km (16,400-19,700 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 400 km E, SE, and NE. Satellite images showed a daily thermal anomaly over the volcano. The magnitude of seismic tremor significantly decreased at 0520 on 9 March, likely signifying the end of the explosive eruption. Only moderate emissions of steam and gas were observed and a thermal anomaly over the summit had been absent for the previous 10 hours. The Aviation Color Code was lowered to Yellow.

Geologic summary: Klyuchevskoy (also spelled Kliuchevskoi) is Kamchatka's highest and most active volcano. Since its origin about 6000 years ago, the beautifully symmetrical, 4835-m-high basaltic stratovolcano has produced frequent moderate-volume explosive and effusive eruptions without major periods of inactivity. It rises above a saddle NE of sharp-peaked Kamen volcano and lies SE of the broad Ushkovsky massif. More than 100 flank eruptions have occurred during the past roughly 3000 years, with most lateral craters and cones occurring along radial fissures between the unconfined NE-to-SE flanks of the conical volcano between 500 m and 3600 m elevation. The morphology of the 700-m-wide summit crater has been frequently modified by historical eruptions, which have been recorded since the late-17th century. Historical eruptions have originated primarily from the summit crater, but have also included numerous major explosive and effusive eruptions from flank craters.

Santa Maria, Guatemala
14.756°N, 91.552°W, Elevation 3772 m

INSIVUMEH reported that during 5-6 March explosions from Caliente cone, part of Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex, generated ash plumes that rose 500 m and caused ashfall in Monte Claro (S). Lava-dome incandescence was observed at night. Explosions during 7-8 March generated ash plumes that rose 500 m and drifted W. During 9-10 March explosions generated ash plumes that rose 500 m and drifted S and SW, causing ashfall in San Marcos (10 km SW), Palajunoj (18 km SSW), Las Marías, and San Felipe Retalhuleu (27 km SSW). Avalanches descended the E flank of Caliente cone.

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 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.

Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)
56.653°N, 161.36°E, Elevation 3283 m

KVERT reported that during 27 February-6 March lava-dome extrusion onto Sheveluch’s N flank was accompanied by incandescence, hot block avalanches, andfumarolic activity. Strong explosions on 28 February and 3 March generated ash plumes that rose to an altitude of 9 km (29,500 ft) a.s.l. Ash fell in Ust-Kamchatsk, 85 km SE. Satellite images showed a daily thermal anomaly and ash plumes that drifted 600 km E and NE. 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, Elevation 2857 m

AVO reported that seismicity at Shishaldin continued to be elevated over background levels during 4-10 March. Elevated surface temperatures were sometimes detected in satellite images. Low-level eruptive activity confined to the summit crater likely continued. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange and theVolcano 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, Elevation 2460 m

Based on reports from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 5 March an eruption at Sinabung generated a plume that rose 3 km above the summit. Satellite images detected an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 9.1 km (30,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 100-230 km WNW and NW. Later that day an ash plume rose to an altitude of 4.3 km (14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 75 km SW.

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.

Zhupanovsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)
53.589°N, 159.15°E, Elevation 2899 m

KVERT reported that a moderate explosive eruption at Zhupanovsky continued during 27 February-6 March. Satellite images detected a thermal anomaly over the volcano during 27 February, and 1 and 4 March. Ash clouds rose to altitudes of 3-8 km (10,000-26,200 ft) a.s.l. and drifted over 400 km E. 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.

Source: GVP

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