The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: February 7 - 13, 2018

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: February 7 - 13, 2018

New activity/unrest was reported for 3 volcanoes between February 7 and 13, 2018. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 15 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Fuego, Guatemala | Kadovar, Papua New Guinea | Mayon, Luzon (Philippines).

Ongoing activity: Agung, Bali (Indonesia) | Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Ambae, Vanuatu | Bagana, Bougainville (Papua New Guinea) | Cleveland, Chuginadak Island (USA) | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | Pacaya, Guatemala | Popocatepetl, Mexico | Sabancaya, Peru | Santa Maria, Guatemala | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Shishaldin, Fox Islands (USA).

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

Fuego, Guatemala

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

INSIVUMEH reported that explosions at Fuego during 7-13 February generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1.5 km and drifted 10-12 km N, NW, SW, and S. Avalanches of material traveled down the Seca (W), Ceniza (SSW), and Taniluyá (SW) drainages on 12 February, and down the Las Lajas (SE) and Honda (E) drainages on 13 February. Ash fell in areas downwind on 13 February including Morelia (9 km SW) and Panimaché (8 km SW).

Geological 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.

Kadovar, Papua New Guinea

3.608°S, 144.588°E, Summit elev. 365 m

RVO reported that on 9 February the lava dome at Kadovar's SE Coastal Vent collapsed, causing 5-6 minor tsunamis, less than 1 m high, observed by residents on Blup Blup's E and W coasts. The waves were reported at 1050, before the main collapse of the dome. In a 12 February report RVO noted that activity from Main Crater consisted of white plumes rising 20 m and drifting a few kilometers SE and weak nighttime crater incandescence.

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.

Mayon, Luzon (Philippines)

13.257°N, 123.685°E, Summit elev. 2462 m

PHIVOLCS reported that during 7-13 February activity at Mayon continued to be characterized daily by lava effusion from the summit crater, rockfalls, lava fountains, steam emissions, advancing lava flows on the flanks, and pyroclastic flows. Numerous rockfall events were generated from the front and margins of advancing lava flows. Lava fountaining was nearly continuous during 6-10 February, with around 290 lava-fountaining events recorded by the seismic network from 0557 on 5 February until around 0700 on 10 February. The events each lasted between 3 and 233 minutes, and were accompanied by rumbling sounds audible with a 10-km radius. Lava fountaining was sporadic during 11-13 February. Lava fountains during phases of both nearly continuous and sporadic activity rose as tall as 400 m, and produced steam plumes up to 2.5 km above the crater that drifted in multiple directions. Lava flows advanced to 3.3 km, 4.5 km, and 900 m in the Mi-isi (S), Bonga (SE), and Basud (E) drainages, respectively. Pyroclastic density currents traveled 4.2-4.6 km in the Mi-isi, Bonga, and Basud drainages. The Alert Level remained at 4 (on a 0-5 scale) and the public was warned to remain outside of the Danger Zone defined as an area within an 8-km radius.

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.

Ongoing activity

Agung, Bali (Indonesia)

8.343°S, 115.508°E, Summit elev. 2997 m

On 10 February PVMBG reported that activity at Agung had declined during the previous month or two leading the observatory to lower the Alert Level to 3 (on a scale of 1-4) and adjusted the exclusion zone to a 4-km radius. The report noted that the tallest eruption plume in January was 2.5 km above the crater rim, occurring on 19 January, and the last event on 24 January generated a plume that rose 1 km. The volume of erupted lava was an estimated 20 million cubic meters in December 2017, and had not significantly changed. Seismicity continued to fluctuate, though the number and magnitude of events had declined. Satellite data showed a decrease in thermal output reflective of a reduced lava flow rate. PVMBG warned that activity at Agung is still high and unstable; tiltmeter data showed low rates of inflation (GPS patterns were stable) and gas-emission data indicated magma movement at depth, though at a lower intensity compared to values measured at the end of November 2017. An event at 1149 on 13 February generated as ash plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater rim.

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, Summit elev. 1117 m

JMA reported that very small events occurred at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera's Sakurajima volcano) during 7-9 February. Crater incandescence from the summit crater was visible during 8-10 February. An event at 2201 on 11 February generated a plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim. 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.

Ambae, Vanuatu

15.4°S, 167.83°E, Summit elev. 1496 m

Based on satellite, pilot, and webcam observations, the Wellington VAAC reported that during 8-9 February ash plumes from Aoba rose to altitudes of 2.7-3 km (9,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N and E.

Geological summary: Ambae, also known as Aoba, is a massive 2500 km3 basaltic shield 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 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.

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 7-8 February ash plumes from Bagana rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE.

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.

Cleveland, Chuginadak Island (USA)

52.825°N, 169.944°W, Summit elev. 1730 m

AVO reported that there was no evidence of significant activity at Cleveland since the last explosion was detected on 18 December 2017. The Aviation Color Code was lowered to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level was lowered to Advisory. AVO noted that low-level unrest continued.

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.

Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)

1.693°N, 127.894°E, Summit elev. 1229 m

Based on analyses of satellite imagery, wind model data, and notices from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 7-13 February ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 1.8-2.1 km (6,000-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE, E, 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.

Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia)

50.686°N, 156.014°E, Summit elev. 1103 m

Based on observations by volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, explosions during 5-8 February generated ash plumes that rose as high as 2.4 km (7,900 ft) a.s.l. Ash fell in Severo-Kurilsk on 8 February. 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.

Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)

54.049°N, 159.443°E, Summit elev. 1513 m

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Karymsky was identified in satellite images on 3 February. The Aviation Color Code remained at 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, Summit elev. 1222 m

During 7-13 February HVO reported that the lava lake continued to rise, fall, and spatter in Kilauea's Overlook crater. Webcams recorded incandescence from a small lava pond in a pit on the W side of Pu'u 'O'o Crater. 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.

Pacaya, Guatemala

14.382°N, 90.601°W, Summit elev. 2569 m

INSIVUMEH reported that during 7-13 February Strombolian explosions at Pacaya's Mackenney Crater ejected material 30 m above the main cone. Lava flows were at most 150 m long on the SW and W flanks.

Geological summary: Eruptions from Pacaya, one of Guatemala's most active volcanoes, are frequently visible from Guatemala City, the nation's capital. This complex basaltic volcano was constructed just outside the southern topographic rim of the 14 x 16 km Pleistocene Amatitlán caldera. A cluster of dacitic lava domes occupies the southern caldera floor. The post-caldera Pacaya massif includes the ancestral Pacaya Viejo and Cerro Grande stratovolcanoes and the currently active Mackenney stratovolcano. Collapse of Pacaya Viejo between 600 and 1500 years ago produced a debris-avalanche deposit that extends 25 km onto the Pacific coastal plain and left an arcuate somma rim inside which the modern Pacaya volcano (Mackenney cone) grew. A subsidiary crater, Cerro Chino, was constructed on the NW somma rim and was last active in the 19th century. During the past several decades, activity has consisted of frequent strombolian eruptions with intermittent lava flow extrusion that has partially filled in the caldera moat and armored the flanks of Mackenney cone, punctuated by occasional larger explosive eruptions that partially destroy the summit of the growing young stratovolcano.

Popocatepetl, Mexico

19.023°N, 98.622°W, Summit elev. 5393 m

Each day during 7-13 February CENAPRED reported 25-101 emissions from Popocatépetl, with emissions during 11-13 February containing slight amounts of ash. Explosions were detected at 0130 and 2213 on 7 February, at 0457 on 8 February, at 1729 on 12 February, and at 0631 on 13 February. Minor crater incandescence was visible on the morning of 9 February, and at night during 11-12 February. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two.

Geological summary: Volcán Popocatépetl, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain, rises 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 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 Pre-Columbian time.

Sabancaya, Peru

15.787°S, 71.857°W, Summit elev. 5960 m

Observatorio Vulcanológico del Sur del IGP (OVS-IGP) and Observatorio Vulcanológico del INGEMMET (OVI) reported that explosive activity at Sabancaya was similar to the previous week; there was an average of 18 explosions recorded per day during 5-11 February. Seismicity was dominated by long-period events, with signals indicating emissions. Gas-and-ash plumes rose 3.9 km above the crater rim and drifted 50 km NW, SW, S, and SE. The MIROVA system detected three thermal anomalies. The sulfur dioxide flux was high, at 2,062 tons per day on 10 February. 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.

Santa Maria, Guatemala

14.757°N, 91.552°W, Summit elev. 3745 m

INSIVUMEH reported that explosions at Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex, detected by the seismic network during 7-13 February, generated ash plumes that rose as high as 700 m and drifted SW. Avalanches of material descended the E and SE flanks of the lava dome. Ash fell on La Florida ranch (5 km S) on 10 February.

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.

Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

56.653°N, 161.36°E, Summit elev. 3283 m

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 1-4 and 7 February. 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.

Shishaldin, Fox Islands (USA)

54.756°N, 163.97°W, Summit elev. 2857 m

On 7 February AVO reported that seismic and infrasound activity from Shishaldin declined to background levels during the previous month, prompting the observatory to lower the Aviation Color Code to Green and the Volcano Alert Level to Normal.

Geological 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.

Source: GVP

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