The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: October 24 – 30, 2018
New activity/unrest was reported for 3 volcanoes between October 24 and 30, 2018. Ongoing activity was reported for 15 volcanoes during the same period.
New activity/unrest: Ambae, Vanuatu | Kuchinoerabujima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan) | Langila, New Britain (Papua New Guinea).
Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Bezymianny, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Kadovar, Papua New Guinea | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Krakatau, Indonesia | Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia) | Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia | Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion Island (France) | Sabancaya, Peru | Semisopochnoi, United States | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Turrialba, Costa Rica | Veniaminof, United States.
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.
15.389°S, 167.835°E, Elevation 1496 m
At 1832 on 30 October an eruption at Ambae’s Lake Voui generated ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 3-10.7 km (10,000-35,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted mainly E and SE, based on satellite data, ground-based observations, wind model data, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department (VMGD), and the Wellington VAAC. According to the VAAC the ash cloud was about 3,400-5,100 square kilometers in area.
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.
Kuchinoerabujima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan)
30.443°N, 130.217°E, Elevation 657 m
Based on satellite images and information from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported that during 24-28 October ash plumes from Kuchinoerabujima’s Shindake Crater rose to altitudes of 0.9-1.5 km (3,000-5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. JMA scientists noted no changes in the thermal anomalies at the crater during a field observation on 28 October. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5).
Geological summary: A group of young stratovolcanoes forms the eastern end of the irregularly shaped island of Kuchinoerabujima in the northern Ryukyu Islands, 15 km west of Yakushima. The Furudake, Shindake, and Noikeyama cones were erupted from south to north, respectively, forming a composite cone with multiple craters. The youngest cone, centrally-located Shintake, formed after the NW side of Furutake was breached by an explosion. All historical eruptions have occurred from Shintake, although a lava flow from the S flank of Furutake that reached the coast has a very fresh morphology. Frequent explosive eruptions have taken place from Shintake since 1840; the largest of these was in December 1933. Several villages on the 4 x 12 km island are located within a few kilometers of the active crater and have suffered damage from eruptions.
Langila, New Britain (Papua New Guinea)
5.525°S, 148.42°E, Elevation 1330 m
Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind-model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 30 October an ash plume from Langila rose to an altitude of 2.7 km (9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE.
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.
Aira, Kyushu (Japan)
31.593°N, 130.657°E, Elevation 1117 m
JMA reported that during 22-26 October seven events at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) produced eruption plumes that rose as high as 1.6 km above the crater rim. Small scale events were occasionally detected through 29 October. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5).
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.
Bezymianny, Central Kamchatka (Russia)
55.972°N, 160.595°E, Elevation 2882 m
KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Bezymianny was identified in satellite images during 20 and 22-25 October. Gas-and-steam emissions continued to rise from the crater. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-color scale).
Geological summary: Prior to its noted 1955-56 eruption, Bezymianny had been considered extinct. The modern volcano, much smaller in size than its massive neighbors Kamen and Kliuchevskoi, was formed about 4700 years ago over a late-Pleistocene lava-dome complex and an ancestral edifice built about 11,000-7000 years ago. Three periods of intensified activity have occurred during the past 3000 years. The latest period, which was preceded by a 1000-year quiescence, began with the dramatic 1955-56 eruption. This eruption, similar to that of St. Helens in 1980, produced a large horseshoe-shaped crater that was formed by collapse of the summit and an associated lateral blast. Subsequent episodic but ongoing lava-dome growth, accompanied by intermittent explosive activity and pyroclastic flows, has largely filled the 1956 crater. This volcano is located within the Volcanoes of Kamchatka, a UNESCO World Heritage property.
Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)
1.693°N, 127.894°E, Elevation 1229 m
Based on satellite data, wind model data, and notices from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 24-28 October ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 1.5-1.8 km (5,000-6,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E and NE.
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, Elevation 1103 m
Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions during 19-26 October that sent ash plumes to 4.7 km (15,400 ft) a.s.l. Ash plumes drifted eastward, and caused ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk during 19-20 and 23-24 October; ash plumes drifted about 80 km E on 20 October. A thermal anomaly was visible in satellite images on 24 October. 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, Elevation 365 m
The Darwin VAAC reported that during 29-30 October intermittent ash plumes from Kadovar rose to altitudes of 1.8-2.1 km (6,000-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW, S, and SE.
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.
Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)
54.049°N, 159.443°E, Elevation 1513 m
KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Karymsky was last identified in satellite images on 28 September, and an ash plume was last visible on 30 September. The volcano was either quiet or obscured by weather clouds during 1-25 October. On 26 October the Aviation Color Code was lowered to Yellow (the second lowest 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.
6.102°S, 105.423°E, Elevation 813 m
Based on satellite data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 24-28 October ash plumes from Anak Krakatau rose to altitudes of 0.9-2.1 km (3,000-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW, NW, and N. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4); residents and visitors were warned not to approach within 2 km of the crater.
Geological summary: The renowned volcano Krakatau (frequently misstated as Krakatoa) lies in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra. Collapse of the ancestral Krakatau edifice, perhaps in 416 CE, formed a 7-km-wide caldera. Remnants of this ancestral volcano are preserved in Verlaten and Lang Islands; subsequently Rakata, Danan and Perbuwatan volcanoes were formed, coalescing to create the pre-1883 Krakatau Island. Caldera collapse during the catastrophic 1883 eruption destroyed Danan and Perbuwatan volcanoes, and left only a remnant of Rakata volcano. This eruption, the 2nd largest in Indonesia during historical time, caused more than 36,000 fatalities, most as a result of devastating tsunamis that swept the adjacent coastlines of Sumatra and Java. Pyroclastic surges traveled 40 km across the Sunda Strait and reached the Sumatra coast. After a quiescence of less than a half century, the post-collapse cone of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) was constructed within the 1883 caldera at a point between the former cones of Danan and Perbuwatan. Anak Krakatau has been the site of frequent eruptions since 1927. This volcano is located within the Ujung Kulon National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage property.
Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia)
7.54°S, 110.446°E, Elevation 2910 m
PVMBG reported that during 19-25 October the lava dome in Merapi’s summit crater grew slowly at a rate of 6,100 cubic meters per day, similar to the previous week. By 21 October the volume of the dome, based on photos from the SE sector, was an estimated 219,000 cubic meters. White emissions of variable density rose a maximum of 50 m above the summit. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and residents were warned to remain outside of the 3-km exclusion zone.
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.
Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia
4.892°N, 75.324°W, Elevation 5279 m
Servicio Geológico Colombiano’s (SGC) Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales reported that during 24-30 October seismicity at Nevado del Ruiz continued to indicate unrest. Seismicity increased during 26-27 October, with signals concentrated in an area 4.6 km WSW of Arenas Crater at depths of 4-6 km. Plumes of water vapor, ash, and gas continued to rise from the volcano, and on 26 October a plume rose as high as 1.5 km above the crater rim. A weak thermal anomaly was identified in satellite data. The Alert Level remained at 3 (Yellow; the second lowest level on a four-color scale).
Geological summary: Nevado del Ruiz is a broad, glacier-covered volcano in central Colombia that covers more than 200 km2. Three major edifices, composed of andesitic and dacitic lavas and andesitic pyroclastics, have been constructed since the beginning of the Pleistocene. The modern cone consists of a broad cluster of lava domes built within the caldera of an older edifice. The 1-km-wide, 240-m-deep Arenas crater occupies the summit. The prominent La Olleta pyroclastic cone located on the SW flank may also have been active in historical time. Steep headwalls of massive landslides cut the flanks. Melting of its summit icecap during historical eruptions, which date back to the 16th century, has resulted in devastating lahars, including one in 1985 that was South America's deadliest eruption.
Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion Island (France)
21.244°S, 55.708°E, Elevation 2632 m
OVPF reported that on 24 October satellite observations of Piton de la Fournaise suggested minimal change to the lava-flow field. During 25-26 October a breakout from the main tube emerged about 1 km downstream from the vent and remained visible through 28 October. Weather conditions prevented views on 29 October.
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. This volcano is located within the Pitons, Cirques et Remparts de I'ile de la Reunion, a UNESCO World Heritage property.
15.787°S, 71.857°W, Elevation 5960 m
Observatorio Vulcanológico del Sur del IGP (OVS-IGP) and Observatorio Vulcanológico del INGEMMET (OVI) reported that an average of 30 explosions per day occurred at Sabancaya during 22-28 October. Hybrid earthquakes were infrequent and of low magnitude, and long-period events were detected. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 3.4 km above the crater rim and drifted 40 km SE, E, and NE. MIROVA detected five thermal anomalies, and on 27 October the sulfur-dioxide gas flux was high at 2,671 tons per 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.
Semisopochnoi, United States
51.93°N, 179.58°E, Elevation 1221 m
AVO reported that an eruptive event at Semisopochnoi began at 2047 on 25 October based on seismic data; strong volcanic tremor lasted about 20 minutes and was followed by 40 minutes of weak tremor pulses. A weak infrasound signal was detected by instruments on Adak Island (260 km SE). The Aviation Color Code was raised to Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) and Volcano Alert Level was raised to Watch (the second highest level on a four-level scale). A dense meteorological cloud deck prevented observations below 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l.; a diffuse cloud was observed in satellite data rising briefly above the cloud deck, though it was unclear if it was related to eruptive activity. Tremor ended after the event, and seismicity returned to low levels.
Small explosions were detected by the seismic network at 2110 and 2246 on 26 October and 0057 and 0603 on 27 October. No ash clouds were identified in satellite data, but the volcano was obscured by high meteorological clouds. Additional small explosions were detected in seismic and infrasound data during 28-29 October; no ash clouds were observed in partly-cloudy-to-cloudy satellite images.
Geological summary: Semisopochnoi, the largest subaerial volcano of the western Aleutians, is 20 km wide at sea level and contains an 8-km-wide caldera. It formed as a result of collapse of a low-angle, dominantly basaltic volcano following the eruption of a large volume of dacitic pumice. The high point of the island is 1221-m-high Anvil Peak, a double-peaked late-Pleistocene cone that forms much of the island's northern part. The three-peaked 774-m-high Mount Cerberus volcano was constructed during the Holocene within the caldera. Each of the peaks contains a summit crater; lava flows on the northern flank of Cerberus appear younger than those on the southern side. Other post-caldera volcanoes include the symmetrical 855-m-high Sugarloaf Peak SSE of the caldera and Lakeshore Cone, a small cinder cone at the edge of Fenner Lake in the NE part of the caldera. Most documented historical eruptions have originated from Cerberus, although Coats (1950) considered that both Sugarloaf and Lakeshore Cone within the caldera could have been active during historical time. This volcano is located within the Aleutian Islands, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve property.
Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)
56.653°N, 161.36°E, Elevation 3283 m
KVERT reported that a weak thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite data on 20, 22, and 25 October; weather clouds prevented views on the other days during 19-26 October. Moderate levels of gas-and-steam emissions rose from the volcano. 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, Elevation 3340 m
OVSICORI-UNA reported that when weather conditions allowed for observations gas and periodic ash emissions rising from Turrialba were recorded by the webcam during 25-30 October. An event at 0134 on 26 October produced an ash plume that rose 500 m above the crater rim and drifted NE, causing ashfall in the neighborhoods of Coronado (San José, 35 km WSW) and San Isidro de Heredia (Heredia, 38 km W). Events at 0231 on 29 October and 1406 on 30 October produced plumes that rose 500 m and drifted NW and W respectively.
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.
Veniaminof, United States
56.17°N, 159.38°W, Elevation 2507 m
AVO reported that the eruption from the cone in Veniaminof’s ice-filled summit caldera, continued during 24-30 October. Satellite data showed elevated surface temperatures from minor lava fountaining and flows. Low-amplitude continuous tremor was detected. The webcam in Perryville, 35 km SE, periodically recorded diffuse ash emissions that often rapidly dissipated; minor ashfall was recorded in Perryville on 25 October. Based on satellite data acquired on 25 October the lava flows had traveled as far as 1.2 km from the vent, and the area of the flow field had doubled in the past month. Fractures in the ice sheet adjacent to the lava flow continued to grow due to meltwater flowing beneath the ice sheet. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch (the second highest level on a four-level scale).
Geological summary: Massive Veniaminof volcano, one of the highest and largest volcanoes on the Alaska Peninsula, is truncated by a steep-walled, 8 x 11 km, glacier-filled caldera that formed around 3700 years ago. The caldera rim is up to 520 m high on the north, is deeply notched on the west by Cone Glacier, and is covered by an ice sheet on the south. Post-caldera vents are located along a NW-SE zone bisecting the caldera that extends 55 km from near the Bering Sea coast, across the caldera, and down the Pacific flank. Historical eruptions probably all originated from the westernmost and most prominent of two intra-caldera cones, which rises about 300 m above the surrounding icefield. The other cone is larger, and has a summit crater or caldera that may reach 2.5 km in diameter, but is more subdued and barely rises above the glacier surface.
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