Active volcanoes in the world: June 17 - 23, 2015

Active volcanoes in the world: June 17 - 23, 2015

New activity/unrest was observed at 4 volcanoes from June 17 - 23, 2015. During the same period, ongoing activity was observed at 13 volcanoes. 

New activity/unrest: Bulusan, Luzon (Philippines) | Cleveland, Chuginadak Island (USA | Concepcion, Nicaragua | Sinabung, Indonesia.

Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Colima, Mexico | Grimsvotn, Iceland | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | Lokon-Empung, Sulawesi (Indonesia) | Manam, Papua New Guinea | Pacaya, Guatemala | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Shishaldin, Fox Islands (USA) | Soputan, Sulawesi (Indonesia) | Ubinas, Peru | Zhupanovsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia).

New activity/unrest

Bulusan, Luzon (Philippines)
12.77°N, 124.05°E, Summit elev. 1565 m

PHIVOLCS reported that the seismic network at Bulusan recorded an explosion-type event that lasted for two minutes on 18 June; dense clouds obscured visual observations of the summit area. A phreatic explosion that occurred at 1455 on 19 June, and lasted for seven minutes, produced a 1.5-km-high grayish ash plume that drifted WSW. A low-level ash cloud on the upper NW flank, possibly from a short pyroclastic flow, was also observed. Minor amounts of ash fell in the neighborhoods of Bacolod, Buraburan, Mapili, Puting Sapa, and Juban. The event was followed by a voluminous gray white emission, which later turned completely white, that rose 250 m and drifted SW. At 1315 on 21 June an event which lasted 111 seconds generated a steam-and-ash plume that rose 150 m and drifted E. Trace amounts of ash fell in San Jose, San Francisco, Bulusan Proper, Sapngan, San Rafael, and Dapdap. The Alert Level remained at 1, indicating abnormal conditions and a 4-km radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ).

Geologic summary: Luzon's southernmost volcano, Bulusan, was constructed along the rim of the 11-km-diameter dacitic-to-rhyolitic Irosin caldera, which was formed about 36,000 years ago. Bulusan lies at the SE end of the Bicol volcanic arc occupying the peninsula of the same name that forms the elongated SE tip of Luzon. A broad, flat moat is located below the topographically prominent SW rim of Irosin caldera; the NE rim is buried by the andesitic Bulusan complex. Bulusan is flanked by several other large intracaldera lava domes and cones, including the prominent Mount Jormajan lava dome on the SW flank and Sharp Peak to the NE. The summit of 1565-m-high Bulusan volcano is unvegetated and contains a 300-m-wide, 50-m-deep crater. Three small craters are located on the SE flank. Many moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded at Bulusan since the mid-19th century.

Cleveland, Chuginadak Island (USA)
52.825°N, 169.944°W, Summit elev. 1730 m

On 19 June AVO reported renewed unrest at Cleveland the previous week, characterized by elevated surface temperatures detected in satellite images and a dusting of ash near the summit visible on 14 June. Minor steaming was visible in the webcam during the week. The consistently elevated temperatures suggested possible renewed growth of the small lava dome in the summit crater. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Geologic summary: Beautifully symmetrical Mount Cleveland stratovolcano is situated at the western end of the uninhabited, dumbbell-shaped Chuginadak Island. It lies SE across Carlisle Pass strait from Carlisle volcano and NE across Chuginadak Pass strait from Herbert volcano. Cleveland is joined to the rest of Chuginadak Island by a low isthmus. The 1730-m-high Mount Cleveland is the highest of the Islands of the Four Mountains group and is one of the most active of the Aleutian Islands. The native name for Mount Cleveland, Chuginadak, refers to the Aleut goddess of fire, who was thought to reside on the volcano. Numerous large lava flows descend the steep-sided flanks. It is possible that some 18th-to-19th century eruptions attributed to Carlisle should be ascribed to Cleveland (Miller et al., 1998). In 1944 Cleveland produced the only known fatality from an Aleutian eruption. Recent eruptions have been characterized by short-lived explosive ash emissions, at times accompanied by lava fountaining and lava flows down the flanks.

Concepcion, Nicaragua
11.538°N, 85.622°W, Summit elev. 1700 m

INETER reported that gas explosions continued to be detected at Concepción; by 23 June a total of 2,304 explosions, 320 since 15 June, had been detected by the network since activity increased (date not specified).

Geologic summary: Volcán Concepción is one of Nicaragua's highest and most active volcanoes. The symmetrical basaltic-to-dacitic stratovolcano forms the NW half of the dumbbell-shaped island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua and is connected to neighboring Madera volcano by a narrow isthmus. A steep-walled summit crater is 250 m deep and has a higher western rim. N-S-trending fractures on the flanks of the volcano have produced chains of spatter cones, cinder cones, lava domes, and maars located on the NW, NE, SE, and southern sides extending in some cases down to Lake Nicaragua. Concepción was constructed above a basement of lake sediments, and the modern cone grew above a largely buried caldera, a small remnant of which forms a break in slope about halfway up the north flank. Frequent explosive eruptions during the past half century have increased the height of the summit significantly above that shown on current topographic maps and have kept the upper part of the volcano unvegetated.

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

BNPB reported that activity at Sinabung remained high. On 17 June there were 120 avalanches, four pyroclastic flows that traveled 2-3 km ESE and S, and lava was incandescent as far as 2 km S and SE. On 18 June a pyroclastic flow traveled 2.5 km SE and incandescent lava as far as 1.5 km SE was observed. Based on ground observations, the Washington VAAC reported that an ash plume rose to an altitude of 4.3 km (14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE during 18-22 June. On 23 June BNPB noted that 10,184 people (3,030 families) were displaced, housed in 10 different shelters. The Alert Level remained at 4 (on a scale of 1-4).

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.

Ongoing activity

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

JMA reported 15 explosions during 15-22 June from Showa Crater at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano, some that ejected tephra as far as 800 m, and incandescence from the crater that was occasionally visible at night. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

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.

Colima, Mexico, 19.514°N
103.62°W, Summit elev. 3850 m

Based on webcam views, the Washington VAAC reported an explosion at Colima on 18 June that ejected lava onto the flanks and possibly produced an ash emission. Ash emissions were visible in the webcam later that day. On 21 June satellite images showed a diffuse ash plume drifting WNW, and Colima Tower reported ash to altitudes of 4.6-6.1 km (15,000-20,000 ft) a.s.l.

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.

Grimsvotn, Iceland
64.42°N, 17.33°W, Summit elev. 1725 m

According to the Icelandic Meteorological Office, the water level of the Skaftá river at Sveinstindur and electrical conductivity both rose during 16-17 June, indicating a glacial outburst flood (jokulhlaup), originating from Grímsvötn's western Skaftá ice cauldron. The jokulhlaup was unconfirmed without visual observations, however. The report warned that hydrogen sulfide released from the floodwater as it drains is particularly potent at the river outlet at the ice margin, where concentrations may reach poisonous levels. The cauldrons drain an average every two years, producing floods of up to 1,500 cubic meters per second.

Geologic summary: Grímsvötn, Iceland's most frequently active volcano in historical time, lies largely beneath the vast Vatnajökull icecap. The caldera lake is covered by a 200-m-thick ice shelf, and only the southern rim of the 6 x 8 km caldera is exposed. The geothermal area in the caldera causes frequent jökulhlaups (glacier outburst floods) when melting raises the water level high enough to lift its ice dam. Long NE-SW-trending fissure systems extend from the central volcano. The most prominent of these is the noted Laki (Skaftar) fissure, which extends to the SW and produced the world's largest known historical lava flow during an eruption in 1783. The 15-cu-km basaltic Laki lavas were erupted over a 7-month period from a 27-km-long fissure system. Extensive crop damage and livestock losses caused a severe famine that resulted in the loss of one-fifth of the population of Iceland.

Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)
54.049°N, 159.443°E, Summit elev. 1513 m

KVERT reported that explosive activity at Karymsky likely continued during 12-19 June; weather clouds obscured views of the volcano. 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, Summit elev. 1222 m

HVO reported that seismicity beneath Kilauea's summit, upper East Rift Zone, and Southwest Rift Zone was at background levels during 17-23 June. The lava lake continued to be active in the deep pit within the Overlook vent, exhibiting vigorous spattering. The June 27th NE-trending lava flow continued to be active with surface flows within 8 km NE of Pu'u 'O'o. A small-scale lava flow spilled onto the Pu'u 'O'o crater floor from a vent on the N side of the floor at 0130 on 19 June.

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.

Lokon-Empung, Sulawesi (Indonesia)
1.358°N, 124.792°E, Summit elev. 1580 m

PVMBG reported that during 10-17 June observers at the Lokon Observation Post in Kakaskasen Tomohon, North Sulawesi (4 km from the crater) reported that although inclement weather sometimes obscured views of Lokon-Empung's Tompaluan Crater, white plumes were observed rising as high as 450 m above the crater. The number of volcanic earthquakes fluctuated and signals indicating emissions were detected almost daily. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4). Residents and tourists were reminded not to approach Tompaluan Crater within a radius of 2.5 km.

Geologic summary: The twin volcanoes Lokon and Empung, rising about 800 m above the plain of Tondano, are among the most active volcanoes of Sulawesi. Lokon, the higher of the two peaks (whose summits are only 2.2 km apart), has a flat, craterless top. The morphologically younger Empung volcano has a 400-m-wide, 150-m-deep crater that erupted last in the 18th century, but all subsequent eruptions have originated from Tompaluan, a 150 x 250 m wide double crater situated in the saddle between the two peaks. Historical eruptions have primarily produced small-to-moderate ash plumes that have occasionally damaged croplands and houses, but lava-dome growth and pyroclastic flows have also occurred.

Manam, Papua New Guinea
4.08°S, 145.037°E, Summit elev. 1807 m

Based on observations of satellite imagery and wind data analyses, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 21-23 June ash plumes from Manam drifted over 35 km N and NW at an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l.

Geologic summary: The 10-km-wide island of Manam, lying 13 km off the northern coast of mainland Papua New Guinea, is one of the country's most active volcanoes. Four large radial valleys extend from the unvegetated summit of the conical 1807-m-high basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano to its lower flanks. These "avalanche valleys" channel lava flows and pyroclastic avalanches that have sometimes reached the coast. Five small satellitic centers are located near the island's shoreline on the northern, southern, and western sides. Two summit craters are present; both are active, although most historical eruptions have originated from the southern crater, concentrating eruptive products during much of the past century into the SE valley. Frequent historical eruptions, typically of mild-to-moderate scale, have been recorded since 1616. Occasional larger eruptions have produced pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached flat-lying coastal areas and entered the sea, sometimes impacting populated areas.

Pacaya, Guatemala
4.381°N, 90.601°W, Summit elev. 2552 m

INSIVUMEH reported a gradual increase of tremor amplitude at Pacaya during 17-18 June. Observers noted that small ash ejections from Mackenney cone were dispersed around the crater. Tremor continued to be detected during 20-22 June. Ash emissions continued to be confined to the crater area during 21-22 June, and incandescence from the crater was visible at night.

Geologic summary: Eruptions from Pacaya, one of Guatemala's most active volcanoes, are frequently visible from Guatemala City, the nation's capital. This complex basaltic volcano was constructed just outside the southern topographic rim of the 14 x 16 km Pleistocene Amatitlán caldera. A cluster of dacitic lava domes occupies the southern caldera floor. The post-caldera Pacaya massif includes the ancestral Pacaya Viejo and Cerro Grande stratovolcanoes and the currently active Mackenney stratovolcano. Collapse of Pacaya Viejo between 600 and 1500 years ago produced a debris-avalanche deposit that extends 25 km onto the Pacific coastal plain and left an arcuate somma rim inside which the modern Pacaya volcano (Mackenney cone) grew. A subsidiary crater, Cerro Chino, was constructed on the NW somma rim and was last active in the 19th century. During the past several decades, activity has consisted of frequent strombolian eruptions with intermittent lava flow extrusion that has partially filled in the caldera moat and armored the flanks of Mackenney cone, punctuated by occasional larger explosive eruptions that partially destroy the summit of the growing young stratovolcano.

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

KVERT reported that during 12-19 June lava-dome extrusion onto Sheveluch’s N flank was accompanied by fumarolic activity. Satellite images showed an ash plume drifting W at an altitude of 5 km (16,400 ft ) a.s.l. on 15 June, and a thermal anomaly over the volcano during 15-17 June. 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 over background levels 17-23 June, indicating that low-level eruptive activity confined to the summit crater likely continued. Elevated surface temperatures were periodically detected in satellite images, and minor steaming was recorded by the webcam. On 18 June pilot and satellite observations indicated a weak ash plume rising around 100 m above the summit crater, resulting in ash deposits on the upper flanks. Weak ash emissions were also visible with the webcam the next day. 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.

Soputan, Sulawesi (Indonesia)
1.108°N, 124.73°E, Summit elev. 1784 m

PVMBG reported that during 10-17 June white plumes were observed rising as high as 500 m above Soputan even though inclement weather sometimes obscured crater views. Variable seismicity was dominated by volcanic earthquakes and signals indicating emissions and avalanches. Low-frequency harmonic tremor was occasionally detected. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4). Residents and tourists were advised not to approach the craters within a radius of 4 km, or 6.5 km on the WSW flank.

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.

Ubinas, Peru
16.355°S, 70.903°W, Summit elev. 5672 m

Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) Observatorio Volcanológico del Sur (OVS) reported that during 17-22 June the occurrence of long-period earthquakes slightly increased to an average of 110 events/day from 62 events/day the previous week. Volcano-tectonic events continued to occur at a high rate. Harmonic tremor and hybrid events were also detected. Ash-and-gas emissions rose as high as 2 km above the crater base and drifted in multiple directions; 12 emissions were counted, eight of them on 22 June.

Geologic summary: A small, 1.4-km-wide caldera cuts the top of Ubinas, Peru's most active volcano, giving it a truncated appearance. It 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 was followed by construction of Ubinas II 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 about 3700 years ago extend 10 km from the volcano. Widespread plinian pumice-fall deposits include one of Holocene age about 1000 years ago. Holocene lava flows are visible on the flanks, but historical activity, documented since the 16th century, has consisted of intermittent minor-to-moderate explosive eruptions.

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

KVERT reported that explosive activity at Zhupanovsky continued during 12-19 June. Weak steam-and-gas activity was observed on 14 June. Satellite images showed a thermal anomaly over the volcano on 16 June, as well as an ash cloud drifting 150 km W. 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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