Active volcanoes in the world: November 30 - December 6, 2016

Active volcanoes in the world: November 30 - December 6, 2016

New activity was reported for 5 volcanoes between November 30 and December 7, 2016. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 8 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Cerro Hudson, Chile | Chirinkotan, Kuril Islands (Russia) | Copahue, Central Chile-Argentina border | Langila, New Britain (Papua New Guinea) | Sabancaya, Peru.

Ongoing activity: Bagana, Bougainville (Papua New Guinea) | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia | Reventador, Ecuador | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Sinabung, Indonesia | Turrialba, Costa Rica. 

New activity/unrest

Cerro Hudson, Chile
45.9°S, 72.97°W, Elevation 1905 m

Based on OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN notices from 1 and 30 November, ONEMI reported on 2 December that, although the rate of seismicity at Cerro Hudson had remained at normal levels and similar to previous periods, the magnitude of the highest energy events had steadily increased during the last months. Additionally, the earthquakes were occurring in the same general area as those detected during the 2011 volcanic crisis. OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN raised the Alert Level to Yellow (second highest level on a four-color scale), and ONEMI declared an Alert Level Yellow (the middle level on a three-color scale) for the communities of Aysén, Río Ibáñez, and Chile Chico.

Geological summary: The ice-filled, 10-km-wide caldera of the remote Cerro Hudson volcano was not recognized until its first 20th-century eruption in 1971. Cerro Hudson is the southernmost volcano in the Chilean Andes related to subduction of the Nazca plate beneath the South American plate. The massive, 1905-m-high Cerro Hudson covers an area of 300 sq km. The compound caldera is drained through a breach on its NW rim, which has been the source of mudflows down the Río de Los Huemeles. Two cinder cones occur north of the volcano and others occupy the SW and SE flanks. Hudson has been the source of several major Holocene explosive eruptions. An eruption about 6700 years ago was one of the largest known in the southern Andes during the Holocene; another eruption about 3600 years ago also produced more than 10 cu km of tephra. An eruption in 1991 was Chile's second largest of the 20th century and formed a new 800-m-wide crater in the SW part of the caldera.

Chirinkotan, Kuril Islands (Russia)
48.98°N, 153.48°E, Elevation 724 m

SVERT reported that no additional activity at Chirinkotan was detected after the 29 November ash emission. The Aviation Color Code was lowered to Green (on a four-color scale) on 2 December.

Geological summary: The small, mostly unvegetated 3-km-wide island of Chirinkotan occupies the far end of an E-W-trending volcanic chain that extends nearly 50 km west of the central part of the main Kuril Islands arc. Chirinkotan is the emergent summit of a volcano that rises 3000 m from the floor of the Kuril Basin. A small 1-km-wide caldera about 300-400 m deep is open to the SE. Lava flows from a cone within the breached crater reached the north shore of the island. Historical eruptions have been recorded at Chirinkotan since the 18th century. Fresh lava flows also descended the SE flank of Chirinkotan during an eruption in the 1880s that was observed by the English fur trader Captain Snow.

Copahue, Central Chile-Argentina border
37.856°S, 71.183°W, Elevation 2953 m

Based on satellite and webcam images, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 30 November-4 December and on 6 December diffuse gas, water vapor, and ash plumes from Copahue rose to altitudes of 3.3-4.2 km (11,000-14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted S, SE, and E. 

On 2 December OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that activity at Copahue continued to be dominated by weak Strombolian explosions likely from a pyroclastic cone forming on the floor of El Agrio crater. The Alert Level remained at Yellow (second highest level on a four-color scale); SERNAGEOMIN recommended no entry into a restricted area within 1.5 km of the crater. ONEMI maintained an Alert Level Yellow (the middle level on a three-color scale) for the municipality of Alto Biobío.

Geological summary: Volcán Copahue is an elongated composite cone constructed along the Chile-Argentina border within the 6.5 x 8.5 km wide Trapa-Trapa caldera that formed between 0.6 and 0.4 million years ago near the NW margin of the 20 x 15 km Pliocene Caviahue (Del Agrio) caldera. The eastern summit crater, part of a 2-km-long, ENE-WSW line of nine craters, contains a briny, acidic 300-m-wide crater lake (also referred to as El Agrio or Del Agrio) and displays intense fumarolic activity. Acidic hot springs occur below the eastern outlet of the crater lake, contributing to the acidity of the Río Agrio, and another geothermal zone is located within Caviahue caldera about 7 km NE of the summit. Infrequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded at Copahue since the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions from the crater lake have ejected pyroclastic rocks and chilled liquid sulfur fragments.

Langila, New Britain (Papua New Guinea)
5.525°S, 148.42°E, Elevation 1330 m

Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 1-6 December ash plumes from Langila rose to altitudes of 2.1-3 km (7,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE, NW, and W. The plumes on 3 December drifted almost 40 km.

Geological summary: Langila, one of the most active volcanoes of New Britain, consists of a group of four small overlapping composite basaltic-andesitic cones on the lower eastern flank of the extinct Talawe volcano. Talawe is the highest volcano in the Cape Gloucester area of NW New Britain. A rectangular, 2.5-km-long crater is breached widely to the SE; Langila volcano was constructed NE of the breached crater of Talawe. An extensive lava field reaches the coast on the north and NE sides of Langila. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded since the 19th century from three active craters at the summit of Langila. The youngest and smallest crater (no. 3 crater) was formed in 1960 and has a diameter of 150 m.

 

Sabancaya, Peru
15.78°S, 71.85°W, Elevation 5967 m

The Technical and Scientific Committee for volcanic risk management of the Arequipa region (comprised of five groups including IGP's OVS and INGEMMET's OVI) reported that during 30 November-2 December and 5-6 December explosions at Sabancaya generated ash-and-gas plumes that rose as high as 4.5 km above the crater rim and drifted around 40 km in multiple directions. Inflation at the SE flank continued to be detected. Seismic activity remained constant; tremor amplitude greatly increased on 2 December.

Geological summary: Sabancaya, located on the saddle between 6288-m-high Ampato and 6025-m-high Hualca Hualca volcanoes, is the youngest of these volcanic centers and the only one to have erupted in historical time. The oldest of the three volcanoes, Nevado Hualca Hualca, is of probable late-Pliocene to early Pleistocene age. Both Nevado Ampato and Nevado Sabancaya are only slightly affected by glacial erosion and consist of a series of lava domes aligned along a NW-SW trend. The name of 5967-m-high Sabancaya (meaning "tongue of fire" in the Quechua Indian language) first appeared in records in 1595 CE, suggesting activity prior to that date. Holocene activity has consisted of plinian eruptions followed by emission of voluminous andesitic and dacitic lava flows, which form an extensive apron around the volcano on all sides but the south. Records of historical eruptions date back to 1750.

Ongoing activity

Bagana, Bougainville (Papua New Guinea)
6.137°S, 155.196°E, Elevation 1855 m

Based on analyses of satellite imagery and model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 3-6 December ash plumes from Bagana rose to altitudes of 2.1-3 km (7,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW, W, WSW, and SW.

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 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 flanks on all sides.

 

Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)
1.693°N, 127.894°E, Elevation 1229 m

Based on analyses of satellite imagery, VONAs issued by the Dukono Volcano Observatory, and model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 30 November-6 December ash plumes rose to altitudes of 1.7-3 km (5,500-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW, N, NE, and E.

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, Elevation 1222 m

During 30 November-6 December HVO reported that the lava lake continued to rise and fall, circulate, and spatter in Kilauea’s Overlook vent; the lake level rose as high as 7.5 m below the Halema’uma’u floor. A section of the wall of the Overlook Vent collapsed into the lava lake at 0658 on 2 December ejecting spatter onto the Halema’uma’u Crater rim. Webcams recorded incandescence from long-active sources within Pu'u 'O'o Crater and from a vent high on the NE flank of the cone. The 61G lava flow, originating from a vent on Pu'u 'O'o Crater's E flank, continued to enter the ocean near Kamokuna at the easternmost lava delta. Breakouts at the upper part of the lava-tube system sent lava E. Other breakouts occurred at the base of the Pulama pali and on the coastal plain about 1 km inland from ocean.

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.

Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia
4.892°N, 75.324°W, Elevation 5279 m

Servicio Geológico Colombiano’s (SGC) Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales reported that during 29 November-5 December seismicity at Nevado del Ruiz was characterized by a decrease in the number and magnitude of earthquakes compared to the previous week. Significant amounts of water vapor and gas rose from the crater. On 2 December a gas, water vapor, and ash plume rose 2 km above the crater rim and drifted between SW and NW directions. The Alert Level remained at III (Yellow; the second lowest level on a four-color scale).

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.

Reventador, Ecuador
0.077°S, 77.656°W, Elevation 3562 m

During 30 November-6 December IG reported a high level of seismic activity including explosions, long-period earthquakes, harmonic tremor, and signals indicating emissions at Reventador; cloud cover sometimes prevented visual observations. Incandescent blocks were observed rolling as far as 1.6 km down the flanks. Gas, water vapor, and ash plumes were observed on most days rising as high as 1.5 km and drifted SW, W, NW, and NE.

Geological summary: Reventador is the most frequently active of a chain of Ecuadorian volcanoes in the Cordillera Real, well east of the principal volcanic axis. The forested, dominantly andesitic Volcán El Reventador stratovolcano rises to 3562 m above the jungles of the western Amazon basin. A 4-km-wide caldera widely breached to the east was formed by edifice collapse and is partially filled by a young, unvegetated stratovolcano that rises about 1300 m above the caldera floor to a height comparable to the caldera rim. It has been the source of numerous lava flows as well as explosive eruptions that were visible from Quito in historical time. Frequent lahars in this region of heavy rainfall have constructed a debris plain on the eastern floor of the caldera. The largest historical eruption took place in 2002, producing a 17-km-high eruption column, pyroclastic flows that traveled up to 8 km, and lava flows from summit and flank vents.

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

KVERT reported that during 25 November-2 December 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 and ash plumes drifting 375 km SE and S on 26 November and 1 December. 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, Elevation 2460 m

Based on satellite images, wind data, and the Jakarta MWO, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 30 November an ash plume from Sinabung rose to an altitude of 4.2 km (14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE. The report noted that the eruption had ceased and that the ash plume was expected to dissipate in the next hours.

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 andesitic-to-dacitic edifice 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.

Turrialba, Costa Rica
10.025°N, 83.767°W, Elevation 3340 m

OVSICORI-UNA reported that at 1130 on 6 December an event at Turrialba generated a diffuse ash plume that rose 400 m above the crater and drifted W.

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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