The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: May 23 - 29, 2018

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: May 23 - 29, 2018

New activity/unrest was reported for 4 volcanoes between May 23 and 29, 2018. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 11 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia) | Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion Island (France).

Ongoing activity: Agung, Bali (Indonesia) | Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Ambae, Vanuatu | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Langila, New Britain (Papua New Guinea) | Mayon, Luzon (Philippines) | Reventador, Ecuador | Sabancaya, Peru | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | 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

Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA)

19.421°N, 155.287°W, Summit elev. 1222 m

HVO reported that the eruption at Kilauea’s Lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) and at Overlook Crater within Halema`uma`u Crater continued during 23-29 May. Lava fountaining and spatter was concentrated in the middle portion of the fissure system, feeding lava flows that spread through Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions, and also traveled to the ocean.

Earthquakes beneath the summit and ash emissions from Overlook Crater continued as the summit area subsided and adjusted to the withdrawal of magma. Ash emissions were small and frequent, punctuated by larger plumes. The Overlook crater vent continued to widen to the W, and by 25 May the vent area was about 36 hectares. At 1244 on 25 May a M 4 earthquake was located in the summit region. That same day a new pit opened on the N part of Halema`uma`u Crater floor. Three explosions (at 0042, 0144, and 0500) on 26 May generated ash plumes that rose 3-3.3 km (10,000-10,800 ft) a.s.l. A small explosion at 0156 on 29 May sent an ash plume vertically to 4.6 km (15,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted slightly NW. The explosion was felt by residents in Volcano, and ejected incandescent blocks within Halema`uma`u Crater. On 28 May a M 4.1 earthquake occurred at 1739 along the Koa'e fault zone, S of the caldera.

Lava fountains from Fissure 22 continued to form a channelized lava flow that entered the ocean NE of MacKenzie State Park, causing explosions and generating a plume of hazardous laze (lava haze, a mixture of condensed acidic steam, hydrochloric acid gas, and tiny shards of volcanic glass). On 23 May relatively tall lava fountains at fissures 6 and 13 fed another channelized flow that created a second ocean entry. Observers noted that a perched lava pond/channel was 11 m above ground level, and that methane was seen overnight that burned blue in road cracks. On 24 May lava was entering the ocean at three points between Pohoiki Bay and MacKenzie State Park, though by the next day only two were active.

Overnight during 25-26 May vigorous spatter was observed from a cone on Fissure 8, and multiple booming gas emissions occurred at Fissure 17. By the morning of 26 May an estimated 9.6 square kilometers had been covered by new lava. Fissures 7 and 21 fed a perched lava pond and sent flows NE; the lava-flow fronts became ‘a’a. A perched pond on the W side of Fissure 7 was breached, sending short flows W. Later that day the flows turned S, and by dusk were cascading into Pawaii crater, adjacent to the W margin of the Fissure 6 flow that fed one of the ocean entries. Lava from Fissure 21 flowed onto Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) property.

During 26-27 May activity at Fissure 7 increased; lava from fountains 45-60 m tall built a large, 30-m-high spatter rampart. Large cracks were observed overnight on Kupono St., near Fissure 9. Three vents active at Fissure 8 spattered and flamed, and doubled in size in one day. On 27 May lava flows from fissures 7 and 8 advanced NE on PGV property; at about 1900 a flow broke out in this area and advanced rapidly to the N and W, through the E portion of Leilani Estates, prompting several residents to evacuate. Three minor ocean entries were again active. Fissure 24 opened in Leilani Estates.

On 28 May the vents that fed the ocean entries stopped erupting, leading to only residual lava in the channel to occasionally enter the ocean. During 28-29 May fountains, lava flows, and spattering from multiple fissures persisted. Pele's hair from vigorous fountaining (60 m high) at Fissure 8 drifted downwind, with some strands falling in Pahoa. According to a news article, the LERZ eruption had destroyed at least 94 structures, including 53 homes, by 29 May. The flows also cut off road access to PGV, which had been evacuated.

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 Halema`uma`u 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.

Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

56.056°N, 160.642°E, Summit elev. 4754 m

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Klyuchevskoy was identified in satellite images during 19-20 and 24 May. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Geological summary: Klyuchevskoy (also spelled Kliuchevskoi) is Kamchatka's highest and most active volcano. Since its origin about 6000 years ago, the beautifully symmetrical, 4835-m-high basaltic stratovolcano has produced frequent moderate-volume explosive and effusive eruptions without major periods of inactivity. It rises above a saddle NE of sharp-peaked Kamen volcano and lies SE of the broad Ushkovsky massif. More than 100 flank eruptions have occurred during the past roughly 3000 years, with most lateral craters and cones occurring along radial fissures between the unconfined NE-to-SE flanks of the conical volcano between 500 m and 3600 m elevation. The morphology of the 700-m-wide summit crater has been frequently modified by historical eruptions, which have been recorded since the late-17th century. Historical eruptions have originated primarily from the summit crater, but have also included numerous major explosive and effusive eruptions from flank craters.

Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia)

7.54°S, 110.446°E, Summit elev. 2910 m

PVMBG reported that a two-minute-long phreatic eruption at Merapi which began at 1349 on 23 May was heard from the Babadan observation post. A plume was not visible due to inclement weather, though minor ashfall was reported in Ngepos post. On 24 May an event at 0256 generated an ash plume that rose 6 km above the crater rim and drifted W. Roaring was heard from all of the Merapi observation posts. A two-minute-long event at 1048 produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km and drifted W. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and PVMBG noted that all people within 3 km of the summit should be evacuated.

Geological summary: Merapi, one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, lies in one of the world's most densely populated areas and dominates the landscape immediately north of the major city of Yogyakarta. It is the youngest and southernmost of a volcanic chain extending NNW to Ungaran volcano. Growth of Old Merapi during the Pleistocene ended with major edifice collapse perhaps about 2000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequently growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent eruptive activity, began SW of the earlier collapse scarp. Pyroclastic flows and lahars accompanying growth and collapse of the steep-sided active summit lava dome have devastated cultivated lands on the western-to-southern flanks and caused many fatalities during historical time.

Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion Island (France)

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

OVPF reported that the eruption at Piton de la Fournaise which began on 27 April from fissures at Rivals Crater continued through 29 May. Tremor levels continued to decrease slightly, though were mostly stable at low levels. Observations on 24 May indicated flowing lava was mostly confined to tubes, though a small area of incandescence was visible at the main crater.

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

Agung, Bali (Indonesia)

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

PVMBG reported that although there were some periods of foggy conditions during 23-29 May, white plumes were occasionally observed rising as high as 400 m above Agung’s crater rim. At 0539 on 29 May an event generated an ash plume that rose 500 m above the crater rim and drifted SW. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4) and the exclusion zone continued at a 4-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, Summit elev. 1117 m

JMA reported that there were 21 events and 19 explosions at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 21-28 May. Tephra was ejected as far as 1.3 km from the crater, and ash plumes rose as high as 3.2 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

15.389°S, 167.835°E, Summit elev. 1496 m

On 18 May a news article noted that the eruption from a cone in Ambae’s Lake Voui continued with minor activity at the vent. The article noted that widespread ashfall had significantly impacted food and water supplies, shelter, and the health of island residents. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 0-5), and the report reminded residents to stay at least 3 km away from the active crater.

Geological summary: The island of 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 (Manaro Ngoru, Voui, and Manaro Lakua) is located at the summit within the youngest of at least two nested calderas, the largest of which is 6 km in diameter. That large central edifice is also called Manaro Voui or Lombenben volcano. Post-caldera explosive eruptions formed the summit craters about 360 years ago. A tuff cone was constructed within Lake Voui (or Vui) about 60 years later. The latest known flank eruption, about 300 years ago, destroyed the population of the Nduindui area near the western coast.

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 23-29 May ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 1.8-2.1 km (6,000-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W, WNW, and NW. Ash plumes drifted as far as 225 km NW on 28 May.

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.

Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)

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

KVERT reported that during 19-20 May a thermal anomaly over Karymsky was identified in satellite images. 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.

Langila, New Britain (Papua New Guinea)

5.525°S, 148.42°E, Summit elev. 1330 m

Based on analyses of satellite imagery and model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 23 and 26-28 May ash plumes from Langila rose to altitudes of 2.4-3 km (8,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted WSW, W, and NW.

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

Mayon, Luzon (Philippines)

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

PHIVOLCS reported that during 23-29 May white steam plumes from Mayon drifted WNW, WSW, and SW, sometimes rising 250-300 m above the crater rim. Crater incandescence was visible each night. The Alert Level remained at 2 (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.

Reventador, Ecuador

0.077°S, 77.656°W, Summit elev. 3562 m

During 23-28 May 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 1.5 km above the crater rim and drifted NW on 23 May, and a plume of gas, water vapor, and ash rose 300 m on 26 May; cloudy weather prevented views of emissions on most days. A lava flow had advanced to 900 m on the NE flank. On 27 May incandescent blocks were observed rolling as far as 800 m down the flanks in multiple directions. An ash plume rose 3 km above the crater rim and quickly drifted W, causing ashfall in Papallacta (62 km SW), San Antonio de Pichincha (90 km W), Tabacundo (63 km WNW), Cayambe (57 km WNW), Puellaro (85 km WNW), and Puembo (80 km W).

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, 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 comparable to the previous week; explosions averaged 35 per day during 21-27 May. Seismicity was dominated by long-period events and signals indicating emissions. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 3.3 km above the crater rim and drifted 30 km NE, E, and SE. The MIROVA system detected nine thermal anomalies, and on 24 May the sulfur dioxide gas flux was high at 3,950 tons/day. The report noted that the public should not 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 on 19-20 and 23-24 May. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

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.

Turrialba, Costa Rica

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

OVSICORI-UNA reported that an event at Turrialba at 0930 on 28 May generated a plume that rose 300 m above the crater rim and drifted SE.

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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