The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: March 14 – 20, 2018
New activity/unrest was reported for 5 volcanoes between March 14 and 20, 2018. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 13 volcanoes.
New activity/unrest: Ambae, Vanuatu | Kick 'em Jenny, North of Grenada | Kikai, Japan | Kirishimayama, Kyushu (Japan) | Stromboli, Aeolian Islands (Italy).
Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Ambrym, Vanuatu | Cleveland, Chuginadak Island (USA) | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Kadovar, Papua New Guinea | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | Kusatsu-Shiranesan, Honshu (Japan) | Mayon, Luzon (Philippines) | Sabancaya, Peru | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan) | Yasur, Vanuatu.
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.
15.4°S, 167.83°E, Summit elev. 1496 m
On 18 March the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO) reported that eruptive activity at Ambae’s Lake Voui during February-March was similar to activity observed at the end of October 2017, but with more sustained ash emissions from explosions at the vent. The ongoing ash-and-gas emissions were impacting local villages, prompting VGO to raise the Alert Level to 3 (on a scale of 0-5) and to warn residents and tourists to stay outside of the Danger Zone defined as a 3-km radius around the active vent in Lake Voui. A news article noted that ashfall was reported in the NW, W, SW, and S parts of the island.
Geologic 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.
Kick 'em Jenny, North of Grenada
12.3°N, 61.64°W, Summit elev. -185 m
The University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre (SRC) and the National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) reported that during 12-15 March seismicity at Kick 'em Jenny significantly decreased. The Alert Level remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) with a 5-km maritime exclusion zone.
Geological summary: Kick 'em Jenny, a historically active submarine volcano 8 km off the N shore of Grenada, rises 1300 m from the sea floor. Recent bathymetric surveys have shown evidence for a major arcuate collapse structure, which was the source of a submarine debris avalanche that traveled more than 15 km W. Bathymetry also revealed another submarine cone to the SE, Kick 'em Jack, and submarine lava domes to its S. These and subaerial tuff rings and lava flows at Ile de Caille and other nearby islands may represent a single large volcanic complex. Numerous historical eruptions, mostly documented by acoustic signals, have occurred since 1939, when an eruption cloud rose 275 m above the sea. Prior to the 1939 eruption, which was witnessed by a large number of people in northern Grenada, there had been no written mention of the volcano. Eruptions have involved both explosive activity and the quiet extrusion of lava flows and lava domes in the summit crater; deep rumbling noises have sometimes been heard onshore. Historical eruptions have modified the morphology of the summit crater.
30.793°N, 130.305°E, Summit elev. 704 m
JMA reported that one small-amplitude, short-duration volcanic tremor was detected on 16 March at Satsuma Iwo-jima, a subaerial part of Kikai’s NW caldera rim. The number of volcanic earthquakes increased on 19 March, prompting JMA to raise the Alert Level to 2 (on a 5-level scale), and then decreased the next day. The report noted increased thermal activity since February, with occasional visual observations of incandescence.
Geological summary: Kikai is a mostly submerged, 19-km-wide caldera near the northern end of the Ryukyu Islands south of Kyushu. Kikai was the source of one of the world's largest Holocene eruptions about 6300 years ago. Rhyolitic pyroclastic flows traveled across the sea for a total distance of 100 km to southern Kyushu, and ashfall reached the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The eruption devastated southern and central Kyushu, which remained uninhabited for several centuries. Post-caldera eruptions formed Iodake lava dome and Inamuradake scoria cone, as well as submarine lava domes. Historical eruptions have occurred in the 20th century at or near Satsuma-Iojima (also known as Tokara-Iojima), a small 3 x 6 km island forming part of the NW caldera rim. Showa-Iojima lava dome (also known as Iojima-Shinto), a small island 2 km east of Tokara-Iojima, was formed during submarine eruptions in 1934 and 1935. Mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have occurred during the past few decades from Iodake, a rhyolitic lava dome at the eastern end of Tokara-Iojima.
Kirishimayama, Kyushu (Japan)
31.934°N, 130.862°E, Summit elev. 1700 m
JMA reported that the eruption at Shinmoedake (Shinmoe peak), a stratovolcano of the Kirishimayama volcano group, continued during 13-19 March. Lava effusion possibly stopped on 9 March, though the lava flow on the NW flank continued to advance. An explosion at 1413 on 15 March generated a gray-white plume that rose 2.1 km above the crater and ejected material 1 km from the crater. A high number of volcanic earthquakes continued to be recorded, in addition to many low-frequency earthquakes with shallow hypocenters. Volcanic tremor was occasionally recorded. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5).
Geological summary: Kirishimayama is a large group of more than 20 Quaternary volcanoes located north of Kagoshima Bay. The late-Pleistocene to Holocene dominantly andesitic group consists of stratovolcanoes, pyroclastic cones, maars, and underlying shield volcanoes located over an area of 20 x 30 km. The larger stratovolcanoes are scattered throughout the field, with the centrally located, 1700-m-high Karakunidake being the highest. Onamiike and Miike, the two largest maars, are located SW of Karakunidake and at its far eastern end, respectively. Holocene eruptions have been concentrated along an E-W line of vents from Miike to Ohachi, and at Shinmoedake to the NE. Frequent small-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 8th century.
Stromboli, Aeolian Islands (Italy)
38.789°N, 15.213°E, Summit elev. 924 m
INGV reported that during 12-17 March activity at Stromboli was at normal levels, characterized by explosive activity and gas emissions from two vents (N1 and N2) in Area N and two vents in Area C-S (C and S2). Explosions at N1 ejected lapilli, bombs, and sometimes ash less than 120 m high, and less intense explosions at N2 emitted ash no higher than 80 m. The frequency of explosions in Area N was 3-8 events/hour. Continuous gas emissions rose from C. Explosions at S2 emitted ash no higher than 80 m at a rate of 2-5 explosions/hour. A high-energy explosive sequence began at vent C at 2027 on 19 March and lasted about 40 seconds. The first explosion ejected ash and incandescent material that fell in a radial distribution around the crater. Two subsequent explosions ejected incandescent material as high as 80 m. Tephra fell along the Sciara del Fuoco, towards the NE parts of the island. At 2028 an explosion at N2 ejected lapilli 100-120 m high.
Geological summary: Spectacular incandescent nighttime explosions at this volcano have long attracted visitors to the "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean." Stromboli, the NE-most of the Aeolian Islands, has lent its name to the frequent mild explosive activity that has characterized its eruptions throughout much of historical time. The small island is the emergent summit of a volcano that grew in two main eruptive cycles, the last of which formed the western portion of the island. The Neostromboli eruptive period from about 13,000 to 5000 years ago was followed by formation of the modern edifice. The active summit vents are located at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a prominent horseshoe-shaped scarp formed about 5000 years ago as a result of the most recent of a series of slope failures that extend to below sea level. The modern volcano has been constructed within this scarp, which funnels pyroclastic ejecta and lava flows to the NW. Essentially continuous mild strombolian explosions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded for more than a millennium.
Aira, Kyushu (Japan)
31.593°N, 130.657°E, Summit elev. 1117 m
JMA reported that during 12-19 March there were seven events and six explosions at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano). Some of the explosions ejected tephra as far as 1.1 km and generated ash plumes that rose 1.7-2.3 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.
16.25°S, 168.12°E, Summit elev. 1334 m
On 19 March the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO) reported that, based on photos taken during February-March, the lava lakes in Ambrym’s Benbow and Marum craters continued to be active and produced gas-and-steam emissions. Visitors occasionally reported smelling volcanic gases and hearing explosions. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-5); the report reminded the public to stay outside of the Permanent Danger Zone defined as a 1-km radius from Benbow Crater and a 2.7-km radius from Marum Crater.
Geological summary: Ambrym, a large basaltic volcano with a 12-km-wide caldera, is one of the most active volcanoes of the New Hebrides arc. A thick, almost exclusively pyroclastic sequence, initially dacitic, then basaltic, overlies lava flows of a pre-caldera shield volcano. The caldera was formed during a major plinian eruption with dacitic pyroclastic flows about 1900 years ago. Post-caldera eruptions, primarily from Marum and Benbow cones, have partially filled the caldera floor and produced lava flows that ponded on the caldera floor or overflowed through gaps in the caldera rim. Post-caldera eruptions have also formed a series of scoria cones and maars along a fissure system oriented ENE-WSW. Eruptions have apparently occurred almost yearly during historical time from cones within the caldera or from flank vents. However, from 1850 to 1950, reporting was mostly limited to extra-caldera eruptions that would have affected local populations.
Cleveland, Chuginadak Island (USA)
52.825°N, 169.944°W, Summit elev. 1730 m
AVO reported that seismic and infrasound sensors recorded a small explosion at Cleveland at 2219 on 14 March; ash plumes were not visible in subsequent cloudy satellite images. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.
Geological summary: The 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. Joined to the rest of Chuginadak Island by a low isthmus, 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, 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 14-20 March ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 1.8-2.7 km (6,000-9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions.
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 12-13 March generated ash plumes that rose as high as 2.7 km (8,900 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.
Kadovar, Papua New Guinea
3.608°S, 144.588°E, Summit elev. 365 m
RVO reported that the lava dome at Kadovar’s SE Coastal Vent continued to grow, though slowly, with only a 1-m change detected during 10-20 March. Weak incandescence from the Main Crater was visible on 13 March. Bright incandescence from both the Main Crater and the SE Coastal vent was visible on 14 March, coincident with the start of dark gray ash emissions from both vents, lasting until 19 March.
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.
Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA)
19.421°N, 155.287°W, Summit elev. 1222 m
During 14-20 March 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 Pulama pali.
Geological summary: Kilauea, which overlaps the E 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 km2, destroying nearly 200 houses and adding new coastline to the island.
Kusatsu-Shiranesan, Honshu (Japan)
36.618°N, 138.528°E, Summit elev. 2165 m
On 16 March JMA lowered the Alert Level for the Kusatsu-Shiranesan complex to 2 (on a 5-level scale) noting that the number of volcanic earthquakes had gradually declined since the 23 January eruption; seismicity remained elevated.
Geological summary: The Kusatsu-Shiranesan complex, 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 E, S, and SW flanks. The latest eruptive stage began about 14,000 years ago. 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, Summit elev. 2462 m
PHIVOLCS reported that during 13-20 March activity at Mayon was mostly characterized by periods of gravity-driven lava advancement, gas-and-steam emissions, rockfalls, and quiescence. Lava flows extended 3.3 km, 4.5 km, and 1.9 km long in the Mi-isi (S), Bonga (SE), and Basud (E) drainages, respectively. Sulfur dioxide emissions were between 969 and 2,077 tonnes/day. Steam-and-gas emissions drifted SW. An episode of lava fountaining was recorded during 0831-0832 on 14 March and produced a light-gray ash plume that rose 200 m above the crater and drifted SW. At 1347 on 16 March a pyroclastic flow traveled 4-5 km down the Mi-isi and Basud drainages. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 0-5 scale) and PHIVOLCS reminded residents to stay away from the 6-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone and the 7-km Extended Danger Zone on the SSW and ENE flanks.
Geological summary: Beautifully symmetrical Mayon, which rises above the Albay Gulf NW of Legazpi City, is the Philippines' most active volcano. The structurally simple edifice has steep upper slopes averaging 35-40 degrees that are capped by a small summit crater. Historical eruptions 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. A violent eruption in 1814 killed more than 1,200 people and devastated several towns.
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 increased compared to the previous week; explosions averaged 17 per day during 12-18 March. Seismicity was dominated by long-period events, with signals indicating emissions. Gas-and-ash plumes rose 3 km above the crater rim and drifted 30 km NW, SW, and S. The sulfur dioxide flux was high, at 3,110 tons per day on 14 March. 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, Summit elev. 3283 m
KVERT reported that a weak thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 11-14 March. 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 km3 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.
Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan)
29.638°N, 129.714°E, Summit elev. 796 m
Based on JMA notices and satellite data, the Tokyo VAAC reported that on 17 March an eruption at Suwanosejima produced a plume that rose 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W.
Geological summary: The 8-km-long, spindle-shaped island of Suwanosejima in the northern Ryukyu Islands consists of an andesitic stratovolcano with two historically active summit craters. The summit of the volcano is truncated by a large breached crater extending to the sea on the east flank that was formed by edifice collapse. Suwanosejima, one of Japan's most frequently active volcanoes, was in a state of intermittent strombolian activity from Otake, the NE summit crater, that began in 1949 and lasted until 1996, after which periods of inactivity lengthened. The largest historical eruption took place in 1813-14, when thick scoria deposits blanketed residential areas, and the SW crater produced two lava flows that reached the western coast. At the end of the eruption the summit of Otake collapsed forming a large debris avalanche and creating the horseshoe-shaped Sakuchi caldera, which extends to the eastern coast. The island remained uninhabited for about 70 years after the 1813-1814 eruption. Lava flows reached the eastern coast of the island in 1884. Only about 50 people live on the island.
19.532°S, 169.447°E, Summit elev. 361 m
Based on visual observations and satellite data, the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory reported on 19 March that explosions at Yasur remained strong. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-4). VGO reminded residents and tourists that hazardous areas were near and around the volcanic crater, within a 395-m-radius permanent exclusion zone, and that volcanic ash and gas could reach areas impacted by trade winds.
Geological summary: Yasur, the best-known and most frequently visited of the Vanuatu volcanoes, has been in more-or-less continuous Strombolian and Vulcanian activity since Captain Cook observed ash eruptions in 1774. This style of activity may have continued for the past 800 years. Located at the SE tip of Tanna Island, this mostly unvegetated pyroclastic cone has a nearly circular, 400-m-wide summit crater. The active cone is largely contained within the small Yenkahe caldera, and is the youngest of a group of Holocene volcanic centers constructed over the down-dropped NE flank of the Pleistocene Tukosmeru volcano. The Yenkahe horst is located within the Siwi ring fracture, a 4-km-wide, horseshoe-shaped caldera associated with eruption of the andesitic Siwi pyroclastic sequence. Active tectonism along the Yenkahe horst accompanying eruptions has raised Port Resolution harbor more than 20 m during the past century.
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