Active volcanoes in the world: August 17 - 23, 2016

Active volcanoes in the world: August 17 - 23, 2016

New activity/unrest was observed at 3 volcanoes between August 17 and 23, 2016. During the same period, ongoing activity was observed at 9 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Aoba, Vanuatu  | Chikurachki, Paramushir Island (Russia)  | Santa Maria, Guatemala.

Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan)  | Bagana, Bougainville (Papua New Guinea)  | Colima, Mexico  | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)  | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA)  | Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia)  | Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia  | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)  | Sinabung, Indonesia.

New activity/unrest

Aoba, Vanuatu
15.4°S, 167.83°E, Summit elev. 1496 m

On 21 August the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory stated that the Alert Level for Aoba was raised to 2 (on a scale of 0-4) signifying increased unrest. VGO reminded residents and tourists that hazardous areas were near and around the Manaro lakes.

Geological summary: Aoba, also known as Ambae, is a massive 2500 cu km basaltic shield volcano that is the most voluminous volcano of the New Hebrides archipelago. A pronounced NE-SW-trending rift zone dotted with scoria cones gives the 16 x 38 km island an elongated form. A broad pyroclastic cone containing three crater lakes is located at the summit of the Hawaiian-style shield volcano within the youngest of at least two nested calderas, the largest of which is 6 km in diameter. Post-caldera explosive eruptions formed the summit craters of Lake Voui (also spelled Vui) and Lake Manaro Ngoru about 360 years ago. A tuff cone was constructed within Lake Voui about 60 years later. The latest known flank eruption, about 300 years ago, destroyed the population of the Nduindui area near the western coast.

Chikurachki, Paramushir Island (Russia)
50.324°N, 155.461°E, Summit elev. 1781 m

KVERT reported that strong gas-and-steam emissions from Chikurachki were visible during 1132-1700 on 18 August. Ash was visible in the plume beginning at 1720, prompting KVERT to raise the Aviation Color Code to Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale). The ash plume rose over 2.7 km above the crater and drifted 280 km NE. Ashfall was reported in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island). Ash was no longer detected in the plume starting at 2330 on 19 August; the Aviation Color Code was lowered to Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-color scale), and then to Green on 21 August.

Geological summary: Chikurachki, the highest volcano on Paramushir Island in the northern Kuriles, is actually a relatively small cone constructed on a high Pleistocene volcanic edifice. Oxidized basaltic-to-andesitic scoria deposits covering the upper part of the young cone give it a distinctive red color. Frequent basaltic plinian eruptions have occurred during the Holocene. Lava flows from 1781-m-high Chikurachki reached the sea and form capes on the NW coast; several young lava flows also emerge from beneath the scoria blanket on the eastern flank. The Tatarinov group of six volcanic centers is located immediately to the south of Chikurachki, and the Lomonosov cinder cone group, the source of an early Holocene lava flow that reached the saddle between it and Fuss Peak to the west, lies at the southern end of the N-S-trending Chikurachki-Tatarinov complex. In contrast to the frequently active Chikurachki, the Tatarinov volcanoes are extensively modified by erosion and have a more complex structure. Tephrochronology gives evidence of only one eruption in historical time from Tatarinov, although its southern cone contains a sulfur-encrusted crater with fumaroles that were active along the margin of a crater lake until 1959.

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

CONRED stated that at 0808 on 18 August a strong and loud explosion at Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex generated a dense ash plume that rose 1.5 km and drifted S and SW. Pyroclastic flows descended the flanks. INSIVUMEH reported that gas emissions were observed during 20-21 August, along with some weak avalanches originating at the dome. Another strong and loud explosion was detected at 0203 on 23 August, generating a mushroom-shaped ash plume that rose 2.5 km and drifted W and SW. Pyroclastic flows descended the E flank. Ashfall was reported in San Marcos (10 km SW), Loma Linda (6 km WSW), and Palajunoj (18 km SSW), and possibly in the local ranches of El Faro and La Florida. Later that day three moderate explosions produced ash plumes that rose 800 m and drifted W and SW, causing ashfall in San Marcos, Loma Linda, and Palajunoj.

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.

Ongoing activity

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

JMA reported that small-scale explosions occasionally occurred at Minamidake summit crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 15-19 August. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Geological 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.

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 on 21 August ash plumes from Bagana rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 65-75 km E.

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.

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

Based on satellite and webcam images, the Washington VAAC reported that on 20 August ash plumes from Colima rose to an altitude of 4.9 km (16,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted almost 30 km W and N.

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.

Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)
1.693°N, 127.894°E, Summit elev. 1229 m

Based on ground reports from PVMBG, satellite data, and model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 17-24 August ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 2.4-3 km (8,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted as far as 130 km NE, E, ESE, and SE.

Geological 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.

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

During 17-23 August HVO reported that the lava lake continued to rise and fall, circulate, and spatter in Kilauea’s Overlook vent. Several incandescent vents on Pu'u 'O'o Crater's floor were evident in webcam images. The 61G lava flow, originating from a vent on Pu'u 'O'o Crater's E flank, continued to enter the ocean at multiple areas near Kamokuna and spanning about 1 km of coastline. Scattered breakouts were active on the coastal plain and the pali.

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 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, Summit elev. 4754 m

KVERT reported that a Strombolian eruption at Klyuchevskoy continued during 12-19 August. Volcanic bombs that were ejected above the summit crater and the cinder cone landed in the Apakhonchich drainage on the SE flank. A lava flow traveled down the Apakhonchich drainage. Satellite images showed a large daily thermal anomaly at the volcano. The Aviation Color Code remained at 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.

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

Based on information from the Servicio Geológico Colombiano’s (SGC) Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales, the Washington VAAC reported that on 19 August an ash plume from Nevado del Ruiz rose to an altitude of 6.9 km (22,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W and SW. The Alert Level remained at III (Yellow; "changes in the behavior of volcanic activity").

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.

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

KVERT reported that during 12-19 August lava-dome extrusion onto Sheveluch’s N flank was accompanied by strong fumarolic activity, dome incandescence, ash explosions, and hot avalanches. Satellite images showed a 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, model data, and ground reports from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 17 and 21-22 August ash plumes from Sinabung rose to an altitude of 4 km (13,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE.

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.

Source: GVP

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