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

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

New activity/unrest was reported for 2 volcanoes between November 7 and 13, 2018. Ongoing activity was reported for 13 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Mayon, Luzon (Philippines) | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan).

Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Fuego, Guatemala | Kadovar, Papua New Guinea | Krakatau, Indonesia | Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia) | Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica | 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.

Mayon, Luzon (Philippines)

13.257°N, 123.685°E, Elevation 2462 m

PHIVOLCS reported that at 1243 on 8 November and at 0739 on 12 November small, short-lived brownish ash plumes from Mayon, associated with a degassing events, drifted WSW and SW, respectively. There was no accompanying seismic or infrasound record from these events. On 11 November a volcanic earthquake was associated with a short-lived lava fountaining event at 0840. The event lasted for 36 seconds based on the seismic record and produced a brownish-gray ash plume that drifted SW. Crater incandescence was visible most nights during 7-13 November. 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.

Geologic background: 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.

Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan)

29.638°N, 129.714°E, Elevation 796 m

JMA reported that an explosion at Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater was recorded at 0428 on 9 November. A plume could not be confirmed because weather clouds obscured views, but large pieces of pumice were observed being ejected 700 m S. Explosions had not been recorded since 2 June. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

Geologic background: 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.

Ongoing activity

Aira, Kyushu (Japan)

31.593°N, 130.657°E, Elevation 1117 m

JMA reported that the sulfur dioxide emission rate at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was high at 1,100 tons/day on 6 November, an increase from the previous measurement of 1,000 tons/day recorded on 23 October. Very small eruptive events were occasionally recorded during 9-12 November. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Geologic background: 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.

Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)

1.693°N, 127.894°E, Elevation 1229 m

PVMBG reported that an event at Dukono, recorded by the seismic network at 0824 on 8 November, generated an ash plume that rose 200 m above the crater rim and drifted SW. The Darwin VAAC reported that during 12-13 November ash plumes rose to an altitude of 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E and NE.

Geologic background: 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 2-9 November that sent ash plumes to 3.7 km (12,400 ft) a.s.l. Ash plumes drifted in multiple directions and caused ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Geologic background: 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.

Fuego, Guatemala

14.473°N, 90.88°W, Elevation 3763 m

INSIVUMEH reported that 7-18 explosions per hour were detected at Fuego during 8-12 November. Ash plumes from the explosions rose as high as 1.1 km above the crater rim and drifted 8-20 km W and SW. Ash fell in areas downwind including Morelia (9 km SW), Santa Sofia (12 km SW), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), Panimaché (8 km SW), El Porvenir, Finca Palo Verde, and San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW). Incandescent material was ejected 150-300 m high and caused avalanches that traveled far, reaching vegetated areas in multiple drainages. Lava flows as long as 1.2 km advanced in the Ceniza (SSW) drainage, though lava-flow activity greatly decreased by 12 November.

Geologic background: Volcán Fuego, one of Central America's most active volcanoes, is one of three large stratovolcanoes overlooking Guatemala's former capital, Antigua. The scarp of an older edifice, Meseta, lies between 3763-m-high Fuego and its twin volcano to the north, Acatenango. Construction of Meseta dates back to about 230,000 years and continued until the late Pleistocene or early Holocene. Collapse of Meseta may have produced the massive Escuintla debris-avalanche deposit, which extends about 50 km onto the Pacific coastal plain. Growth of the modern Fuego volcano followed, continuing the southward migration of volcanism that began at Acatenango. In contrast to the mostly andesitic Acatenango, eruptions at Fuego have become more mafic with time, and most historical activity has produced basaltic rocks. Frequent vigorous historical eruptions have been recorded since the onset of the Spanish era in 1524, and have produced major ashfalls, along with occasional pyroclastic flows and lava flows.

Kadovar, Papua New Guinea

3.608°S, 144.588°E, Elevation 365 m

According to the Darwin VAAC an ash plume from Kadovar was identified in satellite data on 9 November drifting WNW at an altitude of 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l.

Geologic background: 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.

Krakatau, Indonesia

6.102°S, 105.423°E, Elevation 813 m

PVMBG reported that four events at Anak Krakatau occurred between 1620 and 1710 on 9 November. Each event lasted for 42-55 seconds, based on the seismic data, and produced ash plumes that rose 300-500 m above the crater rim and drifted N. An event at 0939 on 10 November generated an ash plume that rose 500 m and drifted N. There were 10 events recorded during 1029-1656 on 12 November, each lasting 38-117 seconds, and producing ash plumes that rose 200-700 m and drifted N. Four events were recorded during 0546-0840 on 13 November, each lasting 44-175 seconds, and producing ash plumes that rose as high as 800 m. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4); residents and visitors were warned not to approach the volcano within 2 km of the crater.

Geologic background: 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.

Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia)

7.54°S, 110.446°E, Elevation 2910 m

PVMBG reported that during 2-8 November the lava dome in Merapi’s summit crater grew slowly at a rate of 3,500 cubic meters per day, faster than the previous week. By 7 November the volume of the dome, based on photos from the SE sector, was an estimated 273,000 cubic meters. White emissions of variable density rose a maximum of 100 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.

Geologic background: 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.

Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica

10.83°N, 85.324°W, Elevation 1916 m

OVSICORI-UNA reported a two-minute-long eruption at Rincón de la Vieja began at 1703 on 9 November. Weather conditions prevented webcam views and estimates of plume heights.

Geologic background: Rincón de la Vieja, the largest volcano in NW Costa Rica, is a remote volcanic complex in the Guanacaste Range. The volcano consists of an elongated, arcuate NW-SE-trending ridge that was constructed within the 15-km-wide early Pleistocene Guachipelín caldera, whose rim is exposed on the south side. Sometimes known as the "Colossus of Guanacaste," it has an estimated volume of 130 km3 and contains at least nine major eruptive centers. Activity has migrated to the SE, where the youngest-looking craters are located. The twin cone of 1916-m-high Santa María volcano, the highest peak of the complex, is located at the eastern end of a smaller, 5-km-wide caldera and has a 500-m-wide crater. A plinian eruption producing the 0.25 km3 Río Blanca tephra about 3500 years ago was the last major magmatic eruption. All subsequent eruptions, including numerous historical eruptions possibly dating back to the 16th century, have been from the prominent active crater containing a 500-m-wide acid lake located ENE of Von Seebach crater.

Sabancaya, Peru

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 18 explosions per day occurred at Sabancaya during 5-11 November. Hybrid earthquakes were infrequent and of low magnitude. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 3.7 km above the crater rim and drifted 40 km N, NW, and W. MIROVA detected seven thermal anomalies, and on 8 November the sulfur-dioxide gas flux was high at 2,500 tons per day. The report noted that the public should not approach the crater within a 12-km radius.

Geologic background: 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.


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Semisopochnoi, United States

51.93°N, 179.58°E, Elevation 1221 m

AVO reported that three possible small explosions at Semisopochnoi were detected in infrasound data between 1951 and 2004 on 9 November. No associated ash clouds were observed in partly cloudy satellite images, and no other activity was noted during 7-11 November also in partly cloudy images. Images were cloudy during 12-13 November. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange and Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch (both are the second highest levels on four-level scales).

Geologic background: 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.

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 2 and 6 November. Explosions at 1510 on 9 November generated ash plumes that rose to 7 km (23,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 5 km NE. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Geologic background: 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 during 6-11 November low-level ash-and-gas emissions at Turrialba were continuous, though occasionally punctuated by energetic explosions which elevated the plumes as high as 500 m above the crater rim. The emission drifted towards the Valle Central. Ashfall was reported in several areas downwind including Cascajal de Coronado, Desamparados (35 km WSW), San Antonio, Guadalupe (32 km WSW), Sabanilla, San Pedro Montes de Oca, Moravia (31 km WSW), Heredia (38 km W), and Coronado (San José, 35 km WSW). Emissions likely continued on 12 November, though inclement weather did not allow for visual confirmation.

Geologic background: 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 at low levels during 7-13 November. Satellite and webcam data showed elevated surface temperatures from minor lava spattering and lava effusion. Continuous low-amplitude tremor was recorded. Steam and diffuse ashplumes periodically identified in webcam and satellite images rose as high as 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted S and W. Recent satellite data showed that the lava flows had traveled as far as 1.2 km from the vent. 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).

Geologic background: 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.

Source: GVP

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