Active volcanoes in the world: November 11 - 17, 2015

Active volcanoes in the world: November 11 - 17, 2015

New activity/unrest was observed at 3 volcanoes from November 11 - 17, 2015. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 15 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Fuego, Guatemala  | Rinjani, Lombok Island (Indonesia)  | Yasur, Vanuatu.

Ongoing activity: Chirpoi, Kuril Islands (Russia)  | Colima, Mexico  | Cotopaxi, Ecuador  | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)  | Karangetang, Siau Island (Indonesia)  | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)  | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA)  | Lokon-Empung, Sulawesi (Indonesia)  | Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia  | Popocatepetl, Mexico  | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)  | Shishaldin, Fox Islands (USA)  | Sinabung, Indonesia  | Tungurahua, Ecuador  | Ubinas, Peru.

New activity/unrest

Fuego, Guatemala
14.473°N, 90.88°W, Summit elev. 3763 m

INSIVUMEH reported that during 11-12 and 14-16 November explosions at Fuego generated ash plumes that rose 450-750 m above the crater and drifted WSW. Ashfall was reported in Panimache I and II (8 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Sangre de Cristo, and in the municipalities of San Pedro Yepocapa, Rochela, Ceilán, San Andrés Osuna, and El Zapote. Lava flows remained active in the Las Lajas and El Jute (SE) drainages.

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.

Rinjani, Lombok Island (Indonesia)
8.42°S, 116.47°E, Summit elev. 3726 m

Based on observations conducted at a volcano observation post in the village of Lawang Sembalun, PVMBG reported that during 11-13 November dense white-and-gray plumes rose as high as 2.6 km above Rinjani’s Barujari crater. Elevated levels of continuous tremor were detected by the seismic network, although RSAM values showed a declining trend. Strombolian activity continued to feed N-to-E-trending lava flows. A lava flow entered lake Segara Anak, causing an increase in the lake level and increased flow in the Kokok Putih river. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4); visitors and residents were warned not to approach the crater within a 3-km radius. BNPB reported on 14 November that ash plumes rose as high as 1.6 km and drifted WSW; ashfall was reported in some villages downwind. The report also noted that flight conditions were normal at the airport. Based on satellite observations, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 15-17 November ash plumes rose to altitudes of 3.7-4.3 km (12,000-14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted as far as 240 km NW, WNW, W, and SW.

Geologic summary: Rinjani volcano on the island of Lombok rises to 3726 m, second in height among Indonesian volcanoes only to Sumatra's Kerinci volcano. Rinjani has a steep-sided conical profile when viewed from the east, but the west side of the compound volcano is truncated by the 6 x 8.5 km, oval-shaped Segara Anak (Samalas) caldera. The caldera formed during one of the largest Holocene eruptions globally in 1257 CE, which truncated Samalas stratovolcano. The western half of the caldera contains a 230-m-deep lake whose crescentic form results from growth of the post-caldera cone Barujari at the east end of the caldera. Historical eruptions dating back to 1847 have been restricted to Barujari cone and consist of moderate explosive activity and occasional lava flows that have entered Segara Anak lake.

Yasur, Vanuatu
19.53°S, 169.442°E, Summit elev. 361 m

On 13 November, the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory stated that activity at Yasur had increased with more intense explosions. The Alert Level was raised to 2 (on a scale of 0-4). VGO reminded residents and tourists that hazardous areas were near and around the volcanic crater, and that volcanic ash and gas could reach areas impacted by trade winds.

Geologic summary: Yasur, the best-known and most frequently visited of the Vanuatu volcanoes, has been in more-or-less continuous strombolian and vulcanian activity since Captain Cook observed ash eruptions in 1774. This style of activity may have continued for the past 800 years. Yasur, located at the SE tip of Tanna Island, is a mostly unvegetated 361-m-high pyroclastic cone with a nearly circular, 400-m-wide summit crater. Yasur is largely contained within the small Yenkahe caldera and is the youngest of a group of Holocene volcanic centers constructed over the down-dropped NE flank of the Pleistocene Tukosmeru volcano. The Yenkahe horst is located within the Siwi ring fracture, a 4-km-wide, horseshoe-shaped caldera associated with eruption of the andesitic Siwi pyroclastic sequence. Active tectonism along the Yenkahe horst accompanying eruptions of Yasur has raised Port Resolution harbor more than 20 m during the past century.

Ongoing activity

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, detected a thermal anomaly during 11-12 and 15 November. Steam-and-gas emissions were also observed on 12 and 14 November. 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, Summit elev. 3850 m

Based on satellite images, wind data, webcam images, and notices from the Mexico City MWO, the Washington VAAC reported that during 11-17 November ash plumes from Colima rose to altitudes of 4.3-6.3 km (14,000-21,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE, NW, W, and SW.

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.

Cotopaxi, Ecuador
0.677°S, 78.436°W, Summit elev. 5911 m

IG reported that during 11-17 November gas, steam, and ash plumes rose from Cotopaxi as high as 2 km above the crater and drifted NW, W, and SW.

Geologic summary: Symmetrical, glacier-clad Cotopaxi stratovolcano is Ecuador's most well-known volcano and one of its most active. The steep-sided cone is capped by nested summit craters, the largest of which is about 550 x 800 m in diameter. Deep valleys scoured by lahars radiate from the summit of the andesitic volcano, and large andesitic lava flows extend as far as the base of Cotopaxi. The modern conical volcano has been constructed since a major edifice collapse sometime prior to about 5000 years ago. Pyroclastic flows (often confused in historical accounts with lava flows) have accompanied many explosive eruptions of Cotopaxi, and lahars have frequently devastated adjacent valleys. The most violent historical eruptions took place in 1744, 1768, and 1877. Pyroclastic flows descended all sides of the volcano in 1877, and lahars traveled more than 100 km into the Pacific Ocean and western Amazon basin. The last significant eruption of Cotopaxi took place in 1904.

Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)
1.68°N, 127.88°E, Summit elev. 1335 m

Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 11-12 and 14-17 November ash plumes from Dukono rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 45-120 km S, SW, W, and NW.

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. This complex volcano presents a broad, low profile with multiple summit peaks and overlapping craters. Malupang Wariang, 1 km SW of the summit crater complex, contains a 700 x 570 m crater that has also been active during historical time.

Karangetang, Siau Island (Indonesia)
2.78°N, 125.4°E, Summit elev. 1784 m

Based on observations conducted at the Karangetang Volcano Observation Post in the village of Salili, PVMBG reported during 4-11 November that activity remained stable. The lava dome was incandescent at night. Incandescent avalanches from lava-flow fronts traveled as far as 1.5 km E down the Batuawang and Kahetang drainages. Seismicity decreased, but continued to be dominated by avalanche signals. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4); visitors and residents were warned not to approach Karangetang within a 4-km radius.

Geologic summary: Karangetang (Api Siau) volcano lies at the northern end of the island of Siau, north of Sulawesi. The 1784-m-high stratovolcano contains five summit craters along a N-S line. Karangetang is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, with more than 40 eruptions recorded since 1675 and many additional small eruptions that were not documented in the historical record (Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World: Neumann van Padang, 1951). Twentieth-century eruptions have included frequent explosive activity sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows and lahars. Lava dome growth has occurred in the summit craters; collapse of lava flow fronts has also produced pyroclastic flows.

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

KVERT reported that moderate explosive activity at Karymsky continued during 6-13 November. Satellite images detected ash plumes drifting 110 km SE during 8 and 10-11 November. 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 11-17 November. The lava lake continued to circulate and spatter in the Overlook vent. Webcams recorded multiple incandescent outgassing vents within Pu'u 'O'o. The June 27th NE-trending lava flow continued to be active within 1.9-6.1 km NE of Pu'u 'O'o Crater.

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

Although inclement weather sometimes obscured views of Lokon-Empung's Tompaluan Crater, PVMBG reported that during 5-12 November observers at the post in Kakaskasen Tomohon (North Sulawesi, 4 km from the crater), saw white plumes rising as high as 300 m above the crater. Seismicity fluctuated, but the seismic spectral amplitude measurement (SSAM) showed a gradually increasing trend. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4). Residents and tourists were reminded not to approach the 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 km apart), has a flat, craterless top. The morphologically younger Empung volcano to the NE 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. A ridge extending WNW from Lokon includes Tatawiran and Tetempangan peak, 3 km away.

Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia
4.892°N, 75.324°W, Summit elev. 5279 m

Servicio Geológico Colombiano’s (SGC) Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales reported that during 9-16 November seismicity at Nevado del Ruiz was characterized by long-period earthquakes and short-duration volcanic tremor associated with gas-and-ash emissions. Earthquakes occurred at depths between 1 and 8.1 km. The largest event was recorded at 1637 on 9 November; it was a local M 1.5, E of Arenas Crater at a depth of 2.1 km. Significant amounts of water vapor and gas rose from the crater during the week. A gas, steam, and ash plume rose 2 km and drifted NW and SW on 14 and 17 November. The Alert Level remained at III (Yellow; "changes in the behavior of volcanic activity").

Geologic summary: Nevado del Ruiz is a broad, glacier-covered volcano in central Colombia that covers >200 sq km. Three major edifices, composed of andesitic and dacitic lavas and andesitic pyroclastics, have been constructed since the beginning of the Pleistocene. The modern cone consists of a broad cluster of lava domes built within the caldera of an older edifice. The 1-km-wide, 240-m-deep Arenas crater occupies the summit. The prominent La Olleta pyroclastic cone located on the SW flank may also have been active in historical time. Steep headwalls of massive landslides cut the flanks. Melting of its summit icecap during historical eruptions, which date back to the 16th century, has resulted in devastating lahars, including one in 1985 that was South America's deadliest eruption.

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

CENAPRED reported that during 11-17 November the seismic network at Popocatépetl recorded 30-62 daily emissions; 102 and 88 were detected on 14 and 16 November, respectively. Variable nighttime crater incandescence was observed on some days. The seismic and acoustic network registered explosions almost daily. Ash plumes rose from the crater on 12 November; ash plumes rose 2 km on 17 November and incandescent material was deposited on the flanks within 1 km of the crater. Daily gas plumes drifted SW and NW. 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.

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

KVERT reported that during 6-13 November lava-dome extrusion onto Sheveluch’s N flank was accompanied by fumarolic activity, dome incandescence, ash explosions, and hot avalanches. Satellite images detected an intense daily thermal anomaly over the dome. 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 slightly elevated over background levels during 11-17 November, indicating that low-level eruptive activity confined to the summit crater continued. 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 information from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 15-16 November ash plumes from Sinabung rose to an altitude of 3.7 km (12,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW and E.

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.

Tungurahua, Ecuador
1.467°S, 78.442°W, Summit elev. 5023 m

IG reported high seismic activity at Tungurahua during 11-17 November, characterized by long-period events, volcano-tectonic events, explosions, and signals indicating emissions; cloud cover often prevented visual observations. Daily ash-and-gas emissions rose as high as 4 km above the crater and drifted W and NW. Ashfall was also reported daily, in areas including Choglontus (13 km WSW), Manzanó (8 km SW), Cotaló (8 km NW), Bilbao (8 km W), Chontapamba (W), Penipe (15 km SW), Cevallos (23 km NW), Mocha (25 km W), and Píllate (8 km W). Incandescent blocks rolled 500 m down the flanks during 12 and 14 November, and 1 km down the flanks on 15 November.

Geologic summary: Tungurahua, a steep-sided andesitic-dacitic stratovolcano that towers more than 3 km above its northern base, is one of Ecuador's most active volcanoes. Three major edifices have been sequentially constructed since the mid-Pleistocene over a basement of metamorphic rocks. Tungurahua II was built within the past 14,000 years following the collapse of the initial edifice. Tungurahua II itself collapsed about 3000 years ago and produced a large debris-avalanche deposit and a horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the west, inside which the modern glacier-capped stratovolcano (Tungurahua III) was constructed. Historical eruptions have all originated from the summit crater, accompanied by strong explosions and sometimes by pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached populated areas at the volcano's base. Prior to a long-term eruption beginning in 1999 that caused the temporary evacuation of the city of Baños at the foot of the volcano, the last major eruption had occurred from 1916 to 1918, although minor activity continued until 1925.

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 10-16 November sporadic ash-and-gas emissions from Ubinas were observed during rare breaks in the cloud cover. On 13 November an ash plume rose 1.5 km above the crater floor and drifted S and SW. The next day ash plumes rose 600 m. Thermal anomalies were detected on 17 November. Long-period and hybrid earthquakes were less frequent than the previous week; volcano-tectonic signals increased although the energy levels remained low.

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.

Source: GVP

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