The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: January 24 - 30, 2018

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: January 24 - 30, 2018

New activity/unrest was reported for 5 volcanoes between January 24 and 30, 2018. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 12.

New activity/unrest: Kadovar, Papua New Guinea | Kusatsu-Shiranesan, Honshu (Japan) | Mayon, Luzon (Philippines) | San Miguel, El Salvador | Zaozan, Honshu (Japan).

Ongoing activity: Agung, Bali (Indonesia) | Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Cleveland, Chuginadak Island (USA) | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Etna, Sicily (Italy) | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | Reventador, Ecuador | Sabancaya, Peru | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Sinabung, Indonesia | Turrialba, Costa Rica.

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report is a cooperative project between the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program. Updated by 23:00 UTC every Wednesday, notices of volcanic activity posted are preliminary and subject to change as events are studied in more detail. This is not a comprehensive list of all of Earth's volcanoes erupting during the week. Carefully reviewed, detailed reports on various volcanoes are published monthly in the Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network.

New activity/unrest

Kadovar, Papua New Guinea

3.608°S, 144.588°E, Elevation 365 m

RVO reported that the eruption at Kadovar continued during 23-24 January at levels similar to the previous few days. Main Crater produced light-gray to brown ash plumes that rose at most 100 m and drifted a few tens of kilometers W. Weak incandescence from Main Crater was visible at night. The lava dome at the SE Coastal Vent continued to grow and was an estimated 50 m a.s.l. (the water depth in that area was unknown) and extends out from the coast 150-200 m. The dome glowed red at night. Seismicity was low to moderate, with one high-frequency event, and 12 significant numerous small low-frequency events. Strong sulfur dioxide emissions were detected.

Geological summary: The 2-km-wide island of Kadovar is the emergent summit of a Bismarck Sea stratovolcano of Holocene age. Kadovar is part of the Schouten Islands, and lies off the coast of New Guinea, about 25 km N of the mouth of the Sepik River. The village of Gewai is perched on the crater rim. A 365-m-high lava dome forming the high point of the andesitic volcano fills an arcuate landslide scarp that is open to the south, and submarine debris-avalanche deposits occur in that direction. Thick lava flows with columnar jointing forms low cliffs along the coast. The youthful island lacks fringing or offshore reefs. No certain historical eruptions are known; the latest activity was a period of heightened thermal phenomena in 1976.

Kusatsu-Shiranesan, Honshu (Japan)

36.618°N, 138.528°E, Elevation 2165 m

JMA reported that after the 23 January eruption near Motoshiranesan (the highest peak belonging to the Kusatsu-Shiranesan complex) seismicity, characterized by volcanic earthquakes and tremor, was elevated; it decreased the next day. Minor but elevated seismicity continued through 30 January, punctuated by periods of tremor. The eruption occurred from a fissure oriented E-W, located just inside the N rim of the northernmost Kagamiike Kitahi craters. JMA noted no juvenile material in the eruption deposits. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Geological summary: The summit of Kusatsu-Shiranesan volcano, located immediately north of Asama volcano, consists of a series of overlapping pyroclastic cones and three crater lakes. The andesitic-to-dacitic volcano was formed in three eruptive stages beginning in the early to mid Pleistocene. The Pleistocene Oshi pyroclastic flow produced extensive welded tuffs and non-welded pumice that covers much of the east, south and SW flanks. The latest eruptive stage began about 14,000 years ago. All historical eruptions have consisted of phreatic explosions from the acidic crater lakes or their margins. Fumaroles and hot springs that dot the flanks have strongly acidified many rivers draining from the volcano. The crater was the site of active sulfur mining for many years during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Mayon, Luzon (Philippines)

13.257°N, 123.685°E, Elevation 2462 m

PHIVOLCS reported that during 23-29 January there were 2-7 daily episodes of intense and sporadic lava fountaining at Mayon, each lasting 7-74 minutes. The lava fountains rose as high as 600 m above the crater rim, and fed flows in the Mi-isi and Bonga drainages and incandescent rockfalls on the summit area. Ash plumes rose 3-5 km above the crater. As many as three pyroclastic flows each day were detected by the seismic network, and had runout distances exceeding 5 km in the Buyuan drainage. Numerous rockfall events were generated by the growing and collapsing summit lava dome and traveled into the Bonga drainage, and from the front and margins of the advancing 3-km-long lava flow on the Mi-isi drainage. The Buyuan lava flow was 1 km long. Sulfur dioxide gas emissions were between 1,252 and 2,466 tonnes/day during 23-25 January. Heavy rain triggered lahars in the Binaan drainage during 28-29 January. 

A cycle of energetic lava effusion with sporadic lava fountaining, and pyroclastic flows from lava-collapse events, occurred late on 29 January. The events were mostly visually obscured, and indicated by seismic data. The period began with a large-volume lava collapse at 1950 at the summit crater that generated pyroclastic flows in the Mi-isi and Bonga drainages. Lava fountaining was detected at 2016 and lasted eight minutes. This was followed by large-volume lava effusion that lasted 96 minutes, and was interspersed with sporadic lava fountaining and/or pyroclastic flows. Sporadic lava fountaining was visually and seismically detected until 2306, with lava fountains rising as high as 200 m. Ash plumes rose 1.5 km above the crater. Significant ashfall was reported in Camalig and Guinobatan, Albay before 2100, possibly resulting from the lava fountaining and pyroclastic flows.

Geological summary: Beautifully symmetrical Mayon volcano, which rises to 2462 m above the Albay Gulf, is the Philippines' most active volcano. The structurally simple volcano has steep upper slopes averaging 35-40 degrees that are capped by a small summit crater. Historical eruptions at this basaltic-andesitic volcano date back to 1616 and range from strombolian to basaltic plinian, with cyclical activity beginning with basaltic eruptions, followed by longer term andesitic lava flows. Eruptions occur predominately from the central conduit and have also produced lava flows that travel far down the flanks. Pyroclastic flows and mudflows have commonly swept down many of the approximately 40 ravines that radiate from the summit and have often devastated populated lowland areas. Mayon's most violent eruption, in 1814, killed more than 1200 people and devastated several towns.

San Miguel, El Salvador

13.434°N, 88.269°W, Elevation 2130 m

SNET reported that during 25-26 January seismic activity at San Miguel was slightly higher than normal, with RSAM values fluctuating between 75 and 179 units. Small pulses of gas near the crater rim were visible.

Geological summary: The symmetrical cone of San Miguel volcano, one of the most active in El Salvador, rises from near sea level to form one of the country's most prominent landmarks. The unvegetated summit rises above slopes draped with coffee plantations. A broad, deep crater complex that has been frequently modified by historical eruptions (recorded since the early 16th century) caps the truncated summit, also known locally as Chaparrastique. Radial fissures on the flanks of the basaltic-andesitic volcano have fed a series of historical lava flows, including several erupted during the 17th-19th centuries that reached beyond the base of the volcano on the N, NE, and SE sides. The SE-flank flows are the largest and form broad, sparsely vegetated lava fields crossed by highways and a railroad skirting the base of the volcano. The location of flank vents has migrated higher on the edifice during historical time, and the most recent activity has consisted of minor ash eruptions from the summit crater.

Zaozan, Honshu (Japan)

38.144°N, 140.44°E, Elevation 1841 m

JMA reported that tremor was detected at Zaozan on 28 and 30 January, and minor inflation at the S part of the volcano was recorded. There were 12 volcanic earthquakes detected on 31 January. JMA raised the Alert level to 2 (on a 5-level scale), noting the increased potential for a small eruption.

Geological summary: The Zaozan volcano group, the most active of northern Honshu, consists of a complex cluster of stratovolcanoes straddling the Pacific Ocean-Japan Sea divide. The Pleistocene Ryuzan volcano forms the western group (Nishi-Zao), and Byobu and Fubo volcanoes form the southern group (Minami-Zao). The complex was constructed over granitic basement rocks as high as 1500 m and thus has a relatively small volume. The 7 cu km Zaozan volcano proper forms the central group (Chuo-Zao), a volcanic complex topped by several lava domes and the Goshikidake tuff cone, aligned along a NW-SE trend. Several episodes of edifice collapse produced debris avalanches during the Pleistocene. Goshikidake contains the active Okama crater, filled with a colorful, strongly acidic crater lake (pH 1.3). It has been the source of most of the frequent historical eruptions, which date back to the 8th century CE.

Ongoing activity

Agung, Bali (Indonesia)

8.343°S, 115.508°E, Elevation 2997 m

PVMBG reported that white-and-gray plumes rose as high as 1 km above Agung’s crater rim during 24-25 January. Foggy conditions prevented visual observations of the crater during 26-30 January. The Alert Level remained at 4 (on a scale of 1-4) and the exclusion zone continued at a 6-km radius.

Geological summary: Symmetrical Agung stratovolcano, Bali's highest and most sacred mountain, towers over the eastern end of the island. The volcano, whose name means "Paramount," rises above the SE caldera rim of neighboring Batur volcano, and the northern and southern flanks extend to the coast. The summit area extends 1.5 km E-W, with the high point on the W and a steep-walled 800-m-wide crater on the E. The Pawon cone is located low on the SE flank. Only a few eruptions dating back to the early 19th century have been recorded in historical time. The 1963-64 eruption, one of the largest in the 20th century, produced voluminous ashfall along with devastating pyroclastic flows and lahars that caused extensive damage and many fatalities.

Aira, Kyushu (Japan)

31.593°N, 130.657°E, Elevation 1117 m

JMA reported that very small events occurred at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 22-29 January. Crater incandescence from the summit crater was visible during the morning of 29 January. 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.

Cleveland, Chuginadak Island (USA)

52.825°N, 169.944°W, Elevation 1730 m

AVO reported that unrest at Cleveland continued during 24-30 January. A possible cold vapor plume drifted S on 24 January. Slightly elevated surface temperatures were identified in satellite images a few times during 26-30 January. Nothing significant was detected in seismic or infrasound data. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.

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.

Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia)

50.686°N, 156.014°E, Elevation 1103 m

Based on observations by volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, explosions during 22-23 January generated ash plumes that rose as high as 2 km (6,600 ft) a.s.l. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Geological summary: The flat-topped summit of the central cone of Ebeko volcano, one of the most active in the Kuril Islands, occupies the northern end of Paramushir Island. Three summit craters located along a SSW-NNE line form Ebeko volcano proper, at the northern end of a complex of five volcanic cones. Blocky lava flows extend west from Ebeko and SE from the neighboring Nezametnyi cone. The eastern part of the southern crater contains strong solfataras and a large boiling spring. The central crater is filled by a lake about 20 m deep whose shores are lined with steaming solfataras; the northern crater lies across a narrow, low barrier from the central crater and contains a small, cold crescentic lake. Historical activity, recorded since the late-18th century, has been restricted to small-to-moderate explosive eruptions from the summit craters. Intense fumarolic activity occurs in the summit craters, on the outer flanks of the cone, and in lateral explosion craters.

Etna, Sicily (Italy)

37.748°N, 14.999°E, Elevation 3295 m

INGV reported that activity at Etna during 22-28 January was relatively unchanged compared to the previous weeks and was mainly characterized by variable-intensity gas emissions from the summit craters. Weak and sporadic ash emissions rose from the New Southeast Crater (NSEC). On 22 January ash fell in areas on the S flank and also in Catania, though the crater which produced the ash emission was unknown due to poor visibility.

Geological summary: Mount Etna, towering above Catania, Sicily's second largest city, has one of the world's longest documented records of historical volcanism, dating back to 1500 BCE. Historical lava flows of basaltic composition cover much of the surface of this massive volcano, whose edifice is the highest and most voluminous in Italy. The Mongibello stratovolcano, truncated by several small calderas, was constructed during the late Pleistocene and Holocene over an older shield volcano. The most prominent morphological feature of Etna is the Valle del Bove, a 5 x 10 km horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the east. Two styles of eruptive activity typically occur, sometimes simultaneously. Persistent explosive eruptions, sometimes with minor lava emissions, take place from one or more summit craters. Flank vents, typically with higher effusion rates, are less frequently active and originate from fissures that open progressively downward from near the summit (usually accompanied by Strombolian eruptions at the upper end). Cinder cones are commonly constructed over the vents of lower-flank lava flows. Lava flows extend to the foot of the volcano on all sides and have reached the sea over a broad area on the SE flank.

Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)

54.049°N, 159.443°E, Elevation 1513 m

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Karymsky was identified in satellite images on 19 and 23 January. Gas-and-steam plumes drifted 30 km NE and NW on 21 and 25 January, and an ash plume drifted about 100 km NE on 23 January. An explosion at 1430 on 27 January generated ash plumes that rose as high as 5.2 km (17,100 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 80 km NNE, prompting KVERT to raise the Aviation Color Code to Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

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, Elevation 1222 m

During 24-30 January HVO reported that the lava lake continued to rise, fall, and spatter in Kilauea’s Overlook crater; spattering was briefly visible from the visitor overlook on 27 and 29 January. Surface lava flows were active above and on the pali, and on the coastal plain.

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.

Reventador, Ecuador

0.077°S, 77.656°W, Elevation 3562 m

During 24-30 January IG reported a high level of seismic activity including explosions, long-period earthquakes, harmonic tremor, and signals indicating emissions at Reventador. Steam, gas, and ash plumes rose at around 600 m above the crater rim and drifted mainly W and sometimes N. Incandescent blocks rolled as far as 800 m down the E flank and 200 m down the S and SE flanks. Weather clouds sometimes prevented visual observations.

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.

Sabancaya, Peru

15.787°S, 71.857°W, Elevation 5960 m

Observatorio Vulcanológico del Sur del IGP (OVS-IGP) and Observatorio Vulcanológico del INGEMMET (OVI) reported that explosive activity at Sabancaya had decreased compared to the previous week; there was an average of 33 explosions recorded per day during 22-28 January. Seismicity was dominated by long-period events, with signals indicating emissions. Gas-and-ash plumes rose 3 km above the crater rim and drifted 50 km NW and SW. The MIROVA system detected five thermal anomalies. The sulfur dioxide flux was high, at 3,477 tons per day on 22 January. The report noted that the public should not to approach the crater within a 12-km radius.

Geological summary: Sabancaya, located in the saddle NE of Ampato and SE of 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, Nevado Hualca Hualca, is of probable late-Pliocene to early Pleistocene age. The name Sabancaya (meaning "tongue of fire" in the Quechua 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.

Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

56.653°N, 161.36°E, Elevation 3283 m

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images on 19 and 23 January. 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

PVMBG reported that ash plumes at Sinabung rose as high as 2.5 km above the crater during 24-30 January and drifted E, S, SW, and W. Avalanches of incandescent material traveled as far as 1.5 km down the ESE flank. A pyroclastic flow traveled 2.5 km down the ESE flank on 27 January. The Alert Level remained at 4 (on a scale of 1-4), with a general exclusion zone of 3 km and extensions of 7 km on the SSE sector, 6 km in the ESE sector, and 4 km in the NNE sector.

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 events at Turrialba at 1101 and 1427 on 26 January and at 0920 on 30 January generated plumes that rose 100-200 m above the crater rim and drifted SW.

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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