The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: March 28 - April 3, 2018

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: March 28 - April 3, 2018

New activity/unrest was reported for 6 volcanoes between March 28 and April 3, 2018. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 9 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Ambae, Vanuatu | Dieng Volcanic Complex, Central Java (Indonesia) | Kikai, Japan | Kirishimayama, Kyushu (Japan) | Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion Island (France).

Ongoing activity: Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | Mayon, Luzon (Philippines) | Sabancaya, Peru | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan) | 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

Aira, Kyushu (Japan)

31.593°N, 130.657°E, Summit elev. 1117 m

JMA reported that there were 16 events at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 26 March-2 April, 12 of which were explosive. Tephra was ejected as far as 900 m from the crater. At 1541 on 26 March an explosion generated an ash plume that rose 3.4 km above the crater rim. An explosion recorded at 0740 on 1 April produced an ash plume that rose 3 km. Crater incandescence was visible the morning of 27 March and at night during 30 March-1 April.

During 30 March-2 April there were three events at Showa crater. An event at 1611 on 1 April ejected tephra 300-500 m from the crater, and produced a very small pyroclastic flow (the first since 3 June 2016) that traveled 800 m E. A plume rose 1.7 km above the crater rim, up into weather clouds. The previous eruption at Showa crater occurred on 8 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.

Ambae, Vanuatu

15.4°S, 167.83°E, Summit elev. 1496 m

Based on satellite data, webcam and VGO observations, and wind model data, the Wellington VAAC reported that during 28 March-3 April ash plumes from the vent at Ambae’s Lake Voui rose to altitudes of 2.3-6.1 km (8,000-20,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. News articles noted that ashfall continued to damage crops and buildings, and contaminate water.

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.

Dieng Volcanic Complex, Central Java (Indonesia)

7.2°S, 109.879°E, Summit elev. 2565 m

PVMBG reported that a phreatic eruption at the Sileri Crater lake (Dieng Volcanic Complex) occurred at 1342 on 1 April, ejecting mud and material 150 m high, and up to 200 m in multiple directions. The event was preceded by black emissions that rose 90 m, and then diffuse white emissions that rose 150 m. The report noted that there were not many tourists in the area due to rainy weather; tourists are not permitted within 200 m of the crater rim.

Geological summary: The Dieng plateau in the highlands of central Java is renowned both for the variety of its volcanic scenery and as a sacred area housing Java's oldest Hindu temples, dating back to the 9th century CE. The Dieng volcanic complex consists of two or more stratovolcanoes and more than 20 small craters and cones of Pleistocene-to-Holocene age over a 6 x 14 km area. Prahu stratovolcano was truncated by a large Pleistocene caldera, which was subsequently filled by a series of dissected to youthful cones, lava domes, and craters, many containing lakes. Lava flows cover much of the plateau, but have not occurred in historical time, when activity has been restricted to minor phreatic eruptions. Toxic gas emissions are a hazard at several craters and have caused fatalities. The abundant thermal features and high heat flow make Dieng a major geothermal prospect.

Kikai, Japan

30.793°N, 130.305°E, Summit elev. 704 m

JMA reported that the number of volcanic earthquakes at Satsuma Iwo-jima, a subaerial part of Kikai’s NW caldera rim, was low during 27 March-2 April after an increase recorded during 22-23 March. White plumes rose as high as 1.8 km above the Iwo-dake lava dome. Incandescence from the crater was visible at night during 27-28 March. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

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

Based on observations during overflights on 28 March and 2 April, JMA reported that the crack on the W flank of Shinmoedake (Shinmoe peak), a stratovolcano of the Kirishimayama volcano group, continued to widen. White emissions rose as high as 500 m above the crater rim. Several high-temperature regions around the margins of the lava in the crater, and from the flow on the NW flank, were detected on 28 March. The lava flow on the NW flank advanced 85 m from 9-29 March. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 300 tons/day on 30 March. The number of volcanic earthquakes began to decline after 26 March; though from 0014 to 1430 on 3 April the number increased to 239. Many low-frequency earthquakes with shallow hypocenters continued to be 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.

Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion Island (France)

21.244°S, 55.708°E, Summit elev. 2632 m

OVPF reported that intermittent inflation at Piton de la Fournaise had been detected since the end of the last eruption on 28 August 2017. Seismicity began increasing the last two weeks in February. Seismicity fluctuated during March; peaks were recorded on 28 and 31 March, with volcano-tectonic earthquakes occurring less than 2 km below the summit area. An enrichment of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide in summit fumaroles was noted on 23 March.

A seismic crisis began at 0300 on 3 April, and along with deformation, indicted magma migration towards the surface. An eruption began at 1040 on the N flank, just below the rampart at the Nez Coupé de Sainte Rose area. During an overflight, scientist observed a 1-km-long fissure, divided in seven segments, with two active vents producing lava fountains. At 1600 many landslides were recorded by the seismic network in the active area. The eruption ended At 0400 on 4 April, though a few landslides were recorded through 1530.

Geological summary: The massive Piton de la Fournaise basaltic shield volcano on the French island of Réunion in the western Indian Ocean is one of the world's most active volcanoes. Much of its more than 530,000-year history overlapped with eruptions of the deeply dissected Piton des Neiges shield volcano to the NW. Three calderas formed at about 250,000, 65,000, and less than 5000 years ago by progressive eastward slumping of the volcano. Numerous pyroclastic cones dot the floor of the calderas and their outer flanks. Most historical eruptions have originated from the summit and flanks of Dolomieu, a 400-m-high lava shield that has grown within the youngest caldera, which is 8 km wide and breached to below sea level on the eastern side. More than 150 eruptions, most of which have produced fluid basaltic lava flows, have occurred since the 17th century. Only six eruptions, in 1708, 1774, 1776, 1800, 1977, and 1986, have originated from fissures on the outer flanks of the caldera. The Piton de la Fournaise Volcano Observatory, one of several operated by the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, monitors this very active volcano.

Ongoing activity

Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)

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

Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 28 and 30 March and 1-3 April ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 1.5-2.1 km (5,000-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted ENE, E, and ESE.

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 23-25 and 28-29 March generated ash plumes that rose as high as 2.3 km (7,500 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.

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 during 23-26 March. 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 28 March-3 April HVO reported that the lava lake continued to rise, fall, and spatter in Kilauea’s Overlook crater. Surface lava flows were active above Pulama pali. Webcams recorded spattering from a small lava pond in a pit on the W side of Pu'u 'O'o Crater. The lava flow from a vent on the SE part of the crater floor continued to expand.

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.

Mayon, Luzon (Philippines)

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

On 29 March PHIVOLCS lowered the Alert Level for Mayon to 2 (on a 0-5 scale) noting a deflationary trend since 20 February, decreased seismicity, a lower sulfur dioxide flux, and decreased surficial activity. During the previous two weeks the number of rockfalls from collapse of unstable lava-flow deposits fell from a peak of 82 to less than 10 per day. Sulfur dioxide flux ranged from 500 to 2,000 tonnes/day during the previous two weeks, lower than 700-4,500 tonnes/day during 13 January-8 March. Lava last effused from the crater on 18 March, and crater incandescence from hot gas emissions had become faint. Fewer rockfalls and pyroclastic flows were noted as the lava flows stabilized; at 0934 on 27 March one pyroclastic flow traveled down the Bonga-Buyuan drainage and produced a dirty-white ash cloud that drifted SW. During 30 March-3 April a few rockfalls were recorded, there was faint crater incandescence, and steam plumes drifted SW, WNW, and NW. PHIVOLCS reminded residents to stay away from the 6-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone.

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.

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 compared to the previous week; explosions averaged 18 per day during 26 March-1 April. Seismicity was dominated by long-period events, with signals indicating emissions. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 4.7 km above the crater rim and drifted 50 km SW and NW. The sulfur dioxide flux was high, at 2,855 tons per day on 30 March. The MIROVA system detected six thermal anomalies. On 28 March a lahar which began at 1113 descended the SE flank towards the Sallalli river. 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 23-30 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 during 28-30 March and 2 April explosions at Suwanosejima produced plumes that rose 1.2-2.7 km (4,000-9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE, NW, W, SW, and S.

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.

Turrialba, Costa Rica

10.025°N, 83.767°W, Summit elev. 3340 m

OVSICORI-UNA reported that events at Turrialba at 1802 on 31 March and 0838 on 1 April generated plumes that rose 400 and 500 m above the crater rim, and drifted SW and NW, respectively. An event at 0700 on 3 April produced an ash plume that rose 500 m and went NW; passive ash emissions followed.

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 edifice covers an area of 500 km2. 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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