The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: April 10 - 16, 2019

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: April 10 - 16, 2019

New activity/unrest was reported for 3 volcanoes from April 10 to 16, 2019. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 15 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Asosan, Kyushu (Japan) | Tengger Caldera, Eastern Java (Indonesia) | Villarrica, Chile.

Ongoing activity: Agung, Bali (Indonesia) | Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Etna, Sicily (Italy) | Fuego, Guatemala | Ibu, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Kadovar, Papua New Guinea | Karangetang, Siau Island (Indonesia) | Kerinci, Indonesia | Krakatau, Indonesia | Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia) | Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica | Ruapehu, North Island (New Zealand) | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia).

New activity/unrest

Asosan, Kyushu (Japan)

32.884°N, 131.104°E, Summit elev. 1592 m

JMA reported an increase in the amplitude of volcanic tremor at Asosan on 14 April, increasing the possibility of an eruption at Nakadake Crater. The Alert Level was raised to 2 (on a scale of 1-5). Tremor amplitude further increased on 15 April. A very small eruption was recorded at 1828 on 16 April, producing a plume that rose 200 m above the crater rim and drifted NW.

Geologic summary: The 24-km-wide Asosan caldera was formed during four major explosive eruptions from 300,000 to 90,000 years ago. These produced voluminous pyroclastic flows that covered much of Kyushu. The last of these, the Aso-4 eruption, produced more than 600 km3 of airfall tephra and pyroclastic-flow deposits. A group of 17 central cones was constructed in the middle of the caldera, one of which, Nakadake, is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. It was the location of Japan's first documented historical eruption in 553 CE. The Nakadake complex has remained active throughout the Holocene. Several other cones have been active during the Holocene, including the Kometsuka scoria cone as recently as about 210 CE. Historical eruptions have largely consisted of basaltic to basaltic-andesite ash emission with periodic strombolian and phreatomagmatic activity. The summit crater of Nakadake is accessible by toll road and cable car, and is one of Kyushu's most popular tourist destinations.

Tengger Caldera, Eastern Java (Indonesia)

7.942°S, 112.95°E, Summit elev. 2329 m

The Darwin VAAC reported that during 10-11 and 15-16 April ash plumes from Tengger Caldera’s Bromo cone rose to an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions, based on webcam images and satellite data. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and visitors were warned to stay outside of a 1-km radius of the crater.

Geologic summary: The 16-km-wide Tengger caldera is located at the northern end of a volcanic massif extending from Semeru volcano. The massive volcanic complex dates back to about 820,000 years ago and consists of five overlapping stratovolcanoes, each truncated by a caldera. Lava domes, pyroclastic cones, and a maar occupy the flanks of the massif. The Ngadisari caldera at the NE end of the complex formed about 150,000 years ago and is now drained through the Sapikerep valley. The most recent of the calderas is the 9 x 10 km wide Sandsea caldera at the SW end of the complex, which formed incrementally during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. An overlapping cluster of post-caldera cones was constructed on the floor of the Sandsea caldera within the past several thousand years. The youngest of these is Bromo, one of Java's most active and most frequently visited volcanoes.

Villarrica, Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W, Summit elev. 2847 m

POVI reported that during 14-15 April lava fountains at Villarrica were visible rising as high as 70 m above the crater rim. Seismicity was low.

Geologic summary: Glacier-clad Villarrica, one of Chile's most active volcanoes, rises above the lake and town of the same name. It is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes that trend perpendicular to the Andean chain. A 6-km-wide caldera formed during the late Pleistocene. A 2-km-wide caldera that formed about 3500 years ago is located at the base of the presently active, dominantly basaltic to basaltic-andesitic cone at the NW margin of the Pleistocene caldera. More than 30 scoria cones and fissure vents dot the flanks. Plinian eruptions and pyroclastic flows that have extended up to 20 km from the volcano were produced during the Holocene. Lava flows up to 18 km long have issued from summit and flank vents. Historical eruptions, documented since 1558, have consisted largely of mild-to-moderate explosive activity with occasional lava effusion. Glaciers cover 40 km2 of the volcano, and lahars have damaged towns on its flanks.

Ongoing activity

Agung, Bali (Indonesia)

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

PVMBG reported that at 1847 on 11 April an explosion at Agung produced a dense gray ash plume that rose 2 km above the crater rim and drifted W. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4) with the exclusion zone set at a 4-km radius.

Geologic 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 incandescence from Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was occasionally visible during 12-15 April. Two events and one explosion generated plumes that rose a maximum of 2.2 km above the crater rim and ejected material as far as 700 m. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Geologic 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.

Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)

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

Based on satellite and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 10-12 and 15-16 April ash plumes from Dukono rose as high as 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and visitors were warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

Geologic 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

Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions on 9 April that sent ash plumes up to 2.2 km (7,200 ft) a.s.l. Weather clouds obscured views on the other days during 5-12 April. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Geologic 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.

Etna, Sicily (Italy)

37.748°N, 14.999°E, Summit elev. 3295 m

INGV reported that during 8-14 April gas emissions of variable intensity rose from Etna’s summit craters. During each night webcams recorded pulsating flashes from the E vent in New Southeast Crater (NSEC) which became more intense towards the end of the week. A minor ash emission from Bocca Nuova Crater was visible at 0520 on 8 April.

Geologic summary: Mount Etna, towering above Catania, Sicily's second largest city, has one of the world's longest documented records of historical volcanism, dating back to 1500 BCE. Historical lava flows of basaltic composition cover much of the surface of this massive volcano, whose edifice is the highest and most voluminous in Italy. The Mongibello stratovolcano, truncated by several small calderas, was constructed during the late Pleistocene and Holocene over an older shield volcano. The most prominent morphological feature of Etna is the Valle del Bove, a 5 x 10 km horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the east. Two styles of eruptive activity typically occur, sometimes simultaneously. Persistent explosive eruptions, sometimes with minor lava emissions, take place from one or more summit craters. Flank vents, typically with higher effusion rates, are less frequently active and originate from fissures that open progressively downward from near the summit (usually accompanied by Strombolian eruptions at the upper end). Cinder cones are commonly constructed over the vents of lower-flank lava flows. Lava flows extend to the foot of the volcano on all sides and have reached the sea over a broad area on the SE flank.

Fuego, Guatemala

14.473°N, 90.88°W, Summit elev. 3763 m

INSIVUMEH reported that during 10-11 April steaming lahars descended Fuego’s Las Lajas (SE), El Jute (SE), Ceniza (SSW), and Taniluyá (SW) drainages, carrying blocks up to 3 m in diameter, and branches and tree trunks. On 11 April lahars were 3 m deep and 20 m wide. During 11-15 April there were 12-22 explosions per hour, generating ash plumes that rose almost 1.1 km and drifted10-15 km N, NE, E, and W. Minor ashfall was reported in areas downwind including Alotenango, Ciudad Vieja (13.5 km NE), La Réunion, Yepocapa (8 km N), Morelia (9 km SW), Santa Sofia (12 km SW), and Panimache (8 km SW). Shock waves sometimes vibrated residential structures. Incandescent material was ejected 100-300 m high and caused avalanches of material that occasionally traveled long distances down Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, and Honda ravines. A lava flow, 400-500 m long, advanced in the Seca drainage.

Geologic summary: 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.

Ibu, Halmahera (Indonesia)

1.488°N, 127.63°E, Summit elev. 1325 m

The Darwin VAAC reported that on 10 April ash plumes from Ibu were identified in satellite images drifting N at an altitude of 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. During 15-16 April ash plumes drifted N and NE at an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to stay at least 2 km away from the active crater, and 3.5 km away on the N side.

Geologic summary: The truncated summit of Gunung Ibu stratovolcano along the NW coast of Halmahera Island has large nested summit craters. The inner crater, 1 km wide and 400 m deep, contained several small crater lakes through much of historical time. The outer crater, 1.2 km wide, is breached on the north side, creating a steep-walled valley. A large parasitic cone is located ENE of the summit. A smaller one to the WSW has fed a lava flow down the W flank. A group of maars is located below the N and W flanks. Only a few eruptions have been recorded in historical time, the first a small explosive eruption from the summit crater in 1911. An eruption producing a lava dome that eventually covered much of the floor of the inner summit crater began in December 1998.

Kadovar, Papua New Guinea

3.608°S, 144.588°E, Summit elev. 365 m

Based on satellite data and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 10 April an ash plume from Kadovar rose to an altitude of 1.2 km (4,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE and E.

Geologic 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.

Karangetang, Siau Island (Indonesia)

2.781°N, 125.407°E, Summit elev. 1797 m

Based on analyses of satellite imagery and model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 16 April an ash emission from Karangetang rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Geologic summary: Karangetang (Api Siau) volcano lies at the northern end of the island of Siau, north of Sulawesi. The stratovolcano contains five summit craters along a N-S line. It is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, with more than 40 eruptions recorded since 1675 and many additional small eruptions that were not documented in the historical record (Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World: Neumann van Padang, 1951). Twentieth-century eruptions have included frequent explosive activity sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows and lahars. Lava dome growth has occurred in the summit craters; collapse of lava flow fronts has also produced pyroclastic flows.

Kerinci, Indonesia

1.697°S, 101.264°E, Summit elev. 3800 m

PVMBG reported that at 1559 on 13 April and 0629 on 14 April brownish ash plumes rose 400 m above Kerinci’s crater rim and drifted E and NE, respectively, as noted by a ground-based observer. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and tourists were warned to remain outside of the 3-km exclusion zone.

Geologic summary: Gunung Kerinci in central Sumatra forms Indonesia's highest volcano and is one of the most active in Sumatra. It is capped by an unvegetated young summit cone that was constructed NE of an older crater remnant. There is a deep 600-m-wide summit crater often partially filled by a small crater lake that lies on the NE crater floor, opposite the SW-rim summit. The massive 13 x 25 km wide volcano towers 2400-3300 m above surrounding plains and is elongated in a N-S direction. Frequently active, Kerinci has been the source of numerous moderate explosive eruptions since its first recorded eruption in 1838.

Krakatau, Indonesia

6.102°S, 105.423°E, Summit elev. 813 m

PVMBG reported that an eruption at Anak Krakatau was recorded by the seismic network at 0932 on14 April. An ash plume drifted NE. An event was recorded at 2358 on 15 April, though no ash plume was visible. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4), and residents were warned to remain outside of the 5-km radius hazard zone from the crater.

Geologic 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 or 535 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, and left only a remnant of Rakata. 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, Summit elev. 2910 m

PVMBG reported that during 5-11 April the lava dome at Merapi continued to grow slowly, with extruded material channeled into the SE-flank Gendol River drainage. 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 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.

Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica

10.83°N, 85.324°W, Summit elev. 1916 m

OVSICORI-UNA reported that an eruption at Rincón de la Vieja recorded at 0617 on 10 April produced a gas-and-steam plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim and drifted SE. At 0643 on 12 April a plume rose 500 m. Another event was detected at 0700 on 13 April, although poor weather conditions prevented visual observations. On 14 April OVSICORI-UNA noted that aerial photographs taken during an overflight showed a milky-gray acid lake at a relatively low water level with convection cells of several tens meters of diameter in the center and Eastern parts of the lake.

Geologic summary: 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.

Ruapehu, North Island (New Zealand)

39.28°S, 175.57°E, Summit elev. 2797 m

GeoNet reported that, at least for the last 10 years of continuous lake-temperature monitoring, heating cycles at Ruapehu’s summit Crater Lake have occurred over periods of about 12 months with temperatures ranging from 15 to 45 degrees Celsius. However, the temperature remained elevated at 30 degrees for a period of six months starting in September 2018. GeoNet noted that during the previous two weeks the lake temperature increased further, at a rate of around a half of a degree per day, to 42 degrees on 9 April. Tremor levels also increased. The Volcanic Alert Level remained at 1 (minor volcanic unrest) and the Aviation Color Code remained at Green.

Geologic summary: Ruapehu, one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes, is a complex stratovolcano constructed during at least four cone-building episodes dating back to about 200,000 years ago. The 110 km3 dominantly andesitic volcanic massif is elongated in a NNE-SSW direction and surrounded by another 100 km3 ring plain of volcaniclastic debris, including the Murimoto debris-avalanche deposit on the NW flank. A series of subplinian eruptions took place between about 22,600 and 10,000 years ago, but pyroclastic flows have been infrequent. A single historically active vent, Crater Lake, is located in the broad summit region, but at least five other vents on the summit and flank have been active during the Holocene. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have occurred in historical time from the Crater Lake vent, and tephra characteristics suggest that the crater lake may have formed as early as 3000 years ago. Lahars produced by phreatic eruptions from the summit crater lake are a hazard to a ski area on the upper flanks and to lower river valleys.

Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

56.653°N, 161.36°E, Summit elev. 3283 m

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch’s lava dome was identified daily in satellite images during 6-12 April. Explosions on 10 April generated ash plumes that rose to 8-9 km (26,200-29,500 ft) a.s.l. and drifted about 1,300 km SSE. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Geologic 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.

Source: GVP

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