Active volcanoes in the world: April 27 - May 3, 2016

Active volcanoes in the world: April 27 - May 3, 2016

New activity/unrest was observed at 5 volcanoes between April 27 and May 3, 2016. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 13 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Kerinci, Indonesia | Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica | Santa Maria, Guatemala | White Island, North Island (New Zealand).

Ongoing activity: Alaid, Kuril Islands (Russia) | Bagana, Bougainville (Papua New Guinea) | Cleveland, Chuginadak Island (USA) | Colima, Mexico | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | Masaya, Nicaragua | Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia | Sangay, Ecuador | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Sinabung, Indonesia | Tengger Caldera, Eastern Java (Indonesia) | Turrialba, Costa Rica.

New activity/unrest

Kerinci, Indonesia
1.697°S, 101.264°E, Summit elev. 3800 m

Based on a pilot observation, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 29 April an ash plume from Kerinci rose to an altitude of 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l.

Geological summary: The 3800-m-high Gunung Kerinci in central Sumatra forms Indonesia's highest volcano and is one of the most active in Sumatra. Kerinci is capped by an unvegetated young summit cone that was constructed NE of an older crater remnant. The volcano contains a deep 600-m-wide summit crater often partially filled by a small crater lake that lies on the NE crater floor, opposite the SW-rim summit of Kerinci. The massive 13 x 25 km wide volcano towers 2400-3300 m above surrounding plains and is elongated in a N-S direction. The frequently active Gunung Kerinci has been the source of numerous moderate explosive eruptions since its first recorded eruption in 1838.

Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia)
56.056°N, 160.642°E, Summit elev. 4754 m

KVERT reported that a Strombolian eruption at Klyuchevskoy continued during 21-29 April. Satellite and video data showed a lava flow effusing on the SE flank, moving down the Apakhonchich drainage. Satellite images showed an intense thermal anomaly over the volcano, and an ash cloud that drifted about 500 km SW during 23-24 April. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Orange.

Geological 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.

Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica
10.83°N, 85.324°W, Summit elev. 1916 m

OVSICORI-UNA reported that a moderate hydrothermal explosion occurred at 1437 on 1 May in Rincón de la Vieja's crater lake. The seismic network recorded the explosion for 11 minutes.

Geological summary: Rincón de la Vieja, the largest volcano in NW Costa Rica, is a remote volcanic complex in the Guanacaste Range. The volcano consists of an elongated, arcuate NW-SE-trending ridge that was constructed within the 15-km-wide early Pleistocene Guachipelín caldera, whose rim is exposed on the south side. Sometimes known as the "Colossus of Guanacaste," it has an estimated volume of 130 cu km and contains at least nine major eruptive centers. Activity has migrated to the SE, where the youngest-looking craters are located. The twin cone of 1916-m-high Santa María volcano, the highest peak of the complex, is located at the eastern end of a smaller, 5-km-wide caldera and has a 500-m-wide crater. A plinian eruption producing the 0.25 cu km Río Blanca tephra about 3500 years ago was the last major magmatic eruption. All subsequent eruptions, including numerous historical eruptions possibly dating back to the 16th century, have been from the prominent crater containing a 500-m-wide acid lake (known as the Active Crater) located ENE of Von Seebach crater.

Santa Maria, Guatemala
14.756°N, 91.552°W, Summit elev. 3772 m

INSIVUMEH reported in a special notice posted on 2 May that strong explosive activity continued at Caliente cone, part of Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex. Two pyroclastic flows, generated by strong explosions the previous day, traveled down E and W drainages. Collapses of the E and W edges of the crater generated a mushroom-shaped ash cloud that rose 7.6 km and drifted 40 km W and SW.

Geological 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.

White Island, North Island (New Zealand)
37.52°S, 177.18°E, Summit elev. 321 m

GeoNet Data Centre reported that an eruption at White Island at 2150 on 27 April was inferred by a combination of data that included the seismic network and a MetService rain radar image. The Volcanic Alert Level was raised from 1 to 3 (Minor Volcanic Eruption) and the Aviation Colour Code was raised from Green to Orange. Seismicity returned to normal levels shortly afterwards. During an overflight the next day volcanologists noted that ash deposits covered about 80% of the floor of Main Crater and continued up the N and S parts of the crater walls. Ash deposits were about 5 mm thick in areas 500 m away from the eruption site. Seismicity remained low and gas emission levels were similar to those measured prior to the event. The Volcanic Alert Level was lowered to 2. 

During an aerial inspection of the area on 29 April, volcanologists observed a new crater in the NE corner of the 1978/90 Crater Complex. Gas output was slightly elevated but within the range of measurements of long-term gas output. Analysis of the eruption deposits showed that no new lava was ejected, and was instead old strongly hydrothermally altered rock material. On 2 May the Aviation Colour Code was lowered to Yellow.

Geological summary: Uninhabited 2 x 2.4 km White Island, one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes, is the emergent summit of a 16 x 18 km submarine volcano in the Bay of Plenty about 50 km offshore of North Island. The 321-m-high island consists of two overlapping andesitic-to-dacitic stratovolcanoes; the summit crater appears to be breached to the SE because the shoreline corresponds to the level of several notches in the SE crater wall. Volckner Rocks, four sea stacks that are remnants of a lava dome, lie 5 km NNE of White Island. Intermittent moderate phreatomagmatic and strombolian eruptions have occurred at White Island throughout the short historical period beginning in 1826, but its activity also forms a prominent part of Maori legends. Formation of many new vents during the 19th and 20th centuries has produced rapid changes in crater floor topography. Collapse of the crater wall in 1914 produced a debris avalanche that buried buildings and workers at a sulfur-mining project.

Ongoing activity

Alaid, Kuril Islands (Russia)
50.861°N, 155.565°E, Summit elev. 2285 m

KVERT reported that moderate activity at Alaid continued during 22-29 April. Satellite images showed an intense daily thermal anomaly over the volcano, and an ash plume that drifted 260 km SE on 21 and 23 April. The Aviation Color Coderemained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Geological summary: The highest and northernmost volcano of the Kuril Islands, 2285-m-high Alaid is a symmetrical stratovolcano when viewed from the north, but has a 1.5-km-wide summit crater that is breached widely to the south. Alaid is the northernmost of a chain of volcanoes constructed west of the main Kuril archipelago and rises 3000 m from the floor of the Sea of Okhotsk. Numerous pyroclastic cones dot the lower flanks of basaltic to basaltic-andesite Alaid volcano, particularly on the NW and SE sides, including an offshore cone formed during the 1933-34 eruption. Strong explosive eruptions have occurred from the summit crater beginning in the 18th century. Reports of eruptions in 1770, 1789, 1821, 1829, 1843, 1848, and 1858 were considered incorrect by Gorshkov (1970). Explosive eruptions in 1790 and 1981 were among the largest in the Kuril Islands during historical time.

Bagana, Bougainville (Papua New Guinea)
6.137°S, 155.196°E, Summit elev. 1855 m

Based on analyses of satellite imagery and model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 27 April-3 May ash plumes from Bagana rose to an altitude of 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 45-100 km SW, W, and NW.

Geological summary: Bagana volcano, occupying a remote portion of central Bougainville Island, is one of Melanesia's youngest and most active volcanoes. This massive symmetrical, roughly 1850-m-high cone was largely constructed by an accumulation of viscous andesitic lava flows. The entire edifice could have been constructed in about 300 years at its present rate of lava production. Eruptive activity is frequent and characterized by non-explosive effusion of viscous lava that maintains a small lava dome in the summit crater, although explosive activity occasionally producing pyroclastic flows also occurs. Lava flows form dramatic, freshly preserved tongue-shaped lobes up to 50-m-thick with prominent levees that descend the volcano's flanks on all sides. Satellite thermal measurements indicate a continuous eruption from before February 2000 through at least late August 2014.

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

On 29 April, AVO reported that no activity had been detected at Cleveland following the 16 April explosion; seismicity had returned to low levels within an hour of the event and no infrasound (pressure sensor) signals had been detected. Recent satellite images indicated that the August 2015 lava dome was gone and had been replaced with a small cinder cone within the summit crater. The Level of Concern Color Code was lowered to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level was lowered to Advisory.

Geological 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.

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

The Washington VAAC reported that a three-minute-long ash emission was recorded on 28 April by Colima's webcam. On 1 May ash puffs observed with the webcam and satellite images rose to an altitude of 4.6 km (15,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E. Based on information from Colima Towers and the Mexico City MWO, and webcam and satellite views, ash plumes rose to an altitude of 5.2 km (17,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE during 2-3 May.

Geological 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, Summit elev. 1513 m

On 28 April KVERT reported that satellite images over Karymsky showed either cloud cover or quiet conditions at the volcano during March-April. Moderate gas-and-steam emissions continued. The Aviation Color Code was lowered to Yellow.

Geological 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 27 April-3 May. The lava lake continued to circulate and eject spatter in the Overlook vent. Webcams recorded outgassing from multiple spatter cones on the Pu'u 'O'o Crater floor. A small lava flow from the E vent flowed onto the crater floor during 28 April-1 May. The June 27th NE-trending lava flow continued to be active within 5.7 km NE of Pu'u 'O'o Crater.

Geological 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.

Masaya, Nicaragua
11.984°N, 86.161°W, Summit elev. 635 m

INETER reported that during 27 April-3 May gas emissions at Masaya's Santiago crater were at low-to-moderate levels. Seismic tremor decreased though continued to fluctuate between low to moderate levels. The lava lake continued to strongly circulate.

Geological summary: Masaya is one of Nicaragua's most unusual and most active volcanoes. It lies within the massive Pleistocene Las Sierras pyroclastic shield volcano and is a broad, 6 x 11 km basaltic caldera with steep-sided walls up to 300 m high. The caldera is filled on its NW end by more than a dozen vents that erupted along a circular, 4-km-diameter fracture system. The twin volcanoes of Nindirí and Masaya, the source of historical eruptions, were constructed at the southern end of the fracture system and contain multiple summit craters, including the currently active Santiago crater. A major basaltic plinian tephra erupted from Masaya about 6500 years ago. Historical lava flows cover much of the caldera floor and have confined a lake to the far eastern end of the caldera. A lava flow from the 1670 eruption overtopped the north caldera rim. Masaya has been frequently active since the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, when an active lava lake prompted attempts to extract the volcano's molten "gold." Periods of long-term vigorous gas emission at roughly quarter-century intervals cause health hazards and crop damage.

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

Based on a SGC notice, the Washington VAAC reported that on 2 May an ash emission from Nevado del Ruiz rose to an altitude of 7 km (23,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW.

Geological 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.

Sangay, Ecuador
2.005°S, 78.341°W, Summit elev. 5286 m

Based on satellite images and notices from the Guayaquil MWO, the Washington VAAC reported that during 27 April-3 May ash plumes from Sangay rose to altitudes of 5.8-7 km (19,000-23,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted as far as 120 km WNW, W, and S. A thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images during 29-30 April and on 2 May.

Geological summary: The isolated Sangay volcano, located east of the Andean crest, is the southernmost of Ecuador's volcanoes, and its most active. The dominantly andesitic volcano has been in frequent eruption for the past several centuries. The steep-sided, 5230-m-high glacier-covered volcano grew within horseshoe-shaped calderas of two previous edifices, which were destroyed by collapse to the east, producing large debris avalanches that reached the Amazonian lowlands. The modern edifice dates back to at least 14,000 years ago. It towers above the tropical jungle on the east side; on the other sides flat plains of ash have been sculpted by heavy rains into steep-walled canyons up to 600 m deep. The earliest report of a historical eruption was in 1628. More or less continuous eruptions were reported from 1728 until 1916, and again from 1934 to the present. The almost constant activity has caused frequent changes to the morphology of the summit crater complex.

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

KVERT reported that during 21-29 April lava-dome extrusion onto Sheveluch’s N flank was accompanied by strong fumarolic activity, dome incandescence, ash explosions, and hot avalanches. Satellite images showed an intense daily thermal anomaly over the dome. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Geological 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.

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

Based on satellite images and information from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 28-30 April and 4 May ash plumes from Sinabung rose to altitudes of 3.6-4.2 km (12,000-14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W and WSW.

Geological 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.

Tengger Caldera, Eastern Java (Indonesia)
7.942°S, 112.95°E, Summit elev. 2329 m

Based on satellite images and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 27-28 April ash plumes from Tengger Caldera's Bromo cone rose to altitudes of 3-3.6 km (10,000-12,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW, W, SW, and SE.

Geological summary: The 16-km-wide Tengger caldera is located at the northern end of a volcanic massif extending from Semeru volcano. The massive volcanic complex dates back to about 820,000 years ago and consists of five overlapping stratovolcanoes, each truncated by a caldera. Lava domes, pyroclastic cones, and a maar occupy the flanks of the massif. The Ngadisari caldera at the NE end of the complex formed about 150,000 years ago and is now drained through the Sapikerep valley. The most recent of the calderas is the 9 x 10 km wide Sandsea caldera at the SW end of the complex, which formed incrementally during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. An overlapping cluster of post-caldera cones was constructed on the floor of the Sandsea caldera within the past several thousand years. The youngest of these is Bromo, one of Java's most active and most frequently visited volcanoes.

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

OVSICORI-UNA reported that at about 0530 on 28 April seismicity at Turrialba increased, though gas-and-steam emissions continued at normal levels. At 0300 on 30 April passive ash emissions began and rose over 500 m above West Crater. Continuous variable amplitude tremor and frequent small explosions were recorded during 30 April-1 May. At 0630 on 1 May residents in Santa Cruz de Turrialba (8 km SSE) reported hearing sounds from the volcano resembling a turbine. At the same time the seismic network recorded an increase in the amplitude of tremor, associated with an increase in gas and tephra emissions. Minor amounts of ash fell in La Central (4 km SW) and La Pastora. On 2 May frequent small explosions and sustained seismic tremor with significantly variable amplitude were recorded. Ash-and-gas emissions rose 500 m above the crater and drifted W, though periodically plumes with higher volumes of ash rose just over 1 km. Based on a news report, there were more than 200 explosions recorded during 29 April-2 May; an explosion at around 0600 on 2 May produced an ash plume that rose 2 km high. Seismic amplitude began decreasing during 0300-0700 on 3 May. Frequent explosions continued to produce ash plumes that rose as high as 1 km and drifted mainly N. Most tephra-fall occurred around West and Central craters.

Geological 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.

Source: GVP 

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