The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: April 17 - 23, 2019

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: April 17 - 23, 2019

New activity/unrest was reported for 3 volcanoes from April 17 to 23, 2019. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 13 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Asosan, Kyushu (Japan) | Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Tengger Caldera, Eastern Java (Indonesia).

Ongoing activity: Agung, Bali (Indonesia) | Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Ambrym, Vanuatu | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Fuego, Guatemala | Ibu, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Krakatau, Indonesia | Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia) | Semeru, Eastern Java (Indonesia) | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Stromboli, Aeolian Islands (Italy).

New activity/unrest

Asosan, Kyushu (Japan)

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

JMA reported that during 17-19 April white plumes from Asosan’s Nakadake Crater rose 1 km above the crater rim. A very small eruption was recorded at 0824 on 19 April, producing a plume that rose 500 m above the crater rim and drifted S. During an overflight that same day scientists observed a pool of hot water on part of the crater floor and a weak volcanic gas odor. According to the Tokyo VAAC a plume rose 500 m and drifted E at 1842. A weak volcanic gas odor was also evident. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-5).

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.

Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

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

KVERT reported that at 0921 and 1155 on 22 April ash plumes from Klyuchevskoy rose to altitudes of 5-5.5 km (16,400-18,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 130-140 km E, based on satellite and webcam data. KVERT noted that the ash content in the plumes had significantly increased compared to emissions first observed on 9 April. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Geologic 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.

Tengger Caldera, Eastern Java (Indonesia)

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

The Darwin VAAC reported that on 17 April ash plumes from Tengger Caldera’s Bromo cone rose to an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W, based on webcam images and satellite data. On 21 April BNPB stated that ash emissions had been observed almost daily, and that tremor was recorded continuously. 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.

Ongoing activity

Agung, Bali (Indonesia)

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

PVMBG reported two explosive eruptions at Agung on 21 April. The first was recorded at 0321 and produced a dense gray ash plume that rose 2 km above the crater rim and drifted W and S. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind including Besakih (7 km SW), Rendang (12 km NW), Klungkung (~40 km S), Gianyar (20 km WSW), Bangli (17 km WNW), Tabanan (51 km WSW), and the International Gusti Ngurah Rai (IGNR) airport (60 km SW) in Denpasar. The second event was recorded at 1856 and generated a dense ash plume that rose 3 km and drifted S. Minor ashfall was reported in Besakih, Rendang, Sebudi (6 km SW), and Selat (12 km SSW). The eruptions were accompanied by a boom heard at both the Rendang and Batulompeh observation posts. Ejected incandescent material from the two events fell on the flanks in all directions within a radius of 4 km. 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 the sulfur dioxide emission rate at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was somewhat high on 16 April at 1,600 tons/day. An explosion on 17 April generated a plume that rose 2 km above the crater rim and ejected material as far as 900 m. During 19-22 April plumes from two events rose as high as 1.4 km. 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.

Ambrym, Vanuatu

16.25°S, 168.12°E, Summit elev. 1334 m

On 24 April the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) reported ongoing seismic activity at Ambrym and steam emissions. The lava lakes in Benbow and Marum craters had ceased to be active on 16 December 2018, one day after a fissure eruption began in the ESE part of the summit caldera near the Lewlembwi crater, and continued to be inactive. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-5); the report reminded the public to stay outside of the Permanent Danger Zone defined as a 1-km radius from Benbow Crater and a 2-km radius from Marum Crater. An additional Danger Zone was defined as a 1-km radius around the December 2018 fissures.

Geologic summary: Ambrym, a large basaltic volcano with a 12-km-wide caldera, is one of the most active volcanoes of the New Hebrides arc. A thick, almost exclusively pyroclastic sequence, initially dacitic, then basaltic, overlies lava flows of a pre-caldera shield volcano. The caldera was formed during a major plinian eruption with dacitic pyroclastic flows about 1900 years ago. Post-caldera eruptions, primarily from Marum and Benbow cones, have partially filled the caldera floor and produced lava flows that ponded on the caldera floor or overflowed through gaps in the caldera rim. Post-caldera eruptions have also formed a series of scoria cones and maars along a fissure system oriented ENE-WSW. Eruptions have apparently occurred almost yearly during historical time from cones within the caldera or from flank vents. However, from 1850 to 1950, reporting was mostly limited to extra-caldera eruptions that would have affected local populations.

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 17-23 April ash plumes from Dukono rose as high as 2.1 km (7,000 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 during 12-15 April that sent ash plumes up to 3.2 km (10,500 ft) a.s.l. A thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images on 13 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.

Fuego, Guatemala

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

INSIVUMEH reported that on 18 April steaming hot lahars descended Fuego’s Ceniza (SSW) and Taniluyá (SW) drainages, carrying variously-sized material including blocks up to 2 m in diameter. The lahars were 1 m deep, 15 m wide, and had a sulfur odor. During 20-23 April there were 17-22 explosions per hour, generating ash plumes that rose almost as high as 1.1 km and drifted 15-20 km S, SW, and W. Shock waves vibrated local structures. Incandescent material was ejected 300-450 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, 600 m long, advanced in the Seca drainage. Ashfall was reported in reported in Yepocapa (8 km N), Morelia (9 km SW), Santa Sofia (12 km SW), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), and Panimache (8 km SW).

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 18 April an ash plume from Ibu was identified in satellite images drifting E at an altitude of 2.1 km (7,000 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.

Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)

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

KVERT reported that a weak thermal anomaly over Karymsky was visible in satellite images during 13-14 April. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Geologic 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.

Krakatau, Indonesia

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

PVMBG reported that there were four eruptive events during 15-22 April and multiple events on 23 April recorded by Anak Krakatau’s seismic network, though no emissions were visible. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and residents were warned to remain outside of the 2-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 15-21 April the lava dome at Merapi continued to grow slowly, with any extruded material channeled into the SE-flank Gendol River drainage. White emissions rose 70 m. Block-and-ash flows traveled as far as 1.5 km in the Gendol drainage on 21 April. 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.

Semeru, Eastern Java (Indonesia)

8.108°S, 112.922°E, Summit elev. 3657 m

Based on analysis of satellite images, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 19 April an ash plume from Semeru rose to an altitude of 4 km (13,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW.

Geologic summary: Semeru, the highest volcano on Java, and one of its most active, lies at the southern end of a volcanic massif extending north to the Tengger caldera. The steep-sided volcano, also referred to as Mahameru (Great Mountain), rises above coastal plains to the south. Gunung Semeru was constructed south of the overlapping Ajek-ajek and Jambangan calderas. A line of lake-filled maars was constructed along a N-S trend cutting through the summit, and cinder cones and lava domes occupy the eastern and NE flanks. Summit topography is complicated by the shifting of craters from NW to SE. Frequent 19th and 20th century eruptions were dominated by small-to-moderate explosions from the summit crater, with occasional lava flows and larger explosive eruptions accompanied by pyroclastic flows that have reached the lower flanks of the volcano.

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 12-18 April. Ash plumes were visible on 13 and 15 April drifting 83 km SE. 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.

Stromboli, Aeolian Islands (Italy)

38.789°N, 15.213°E, Summit elev. 924 m

INGV reported that during 15-21 April activity at Stromboli was characterized by ongoing Strombolian activity and degassing from multiple vents within the crater terrace, though activity intensified on 19 April. Explosions originated at a rate of 3-16 per hour mainly from two vents (N1 and N2) in Area N (north crater area, NCA) and at least four vents (including C, S1, and S2) in Area C-S (South Central crater area). Explosions from the N1 vent ejected lapilli and bombs mixed with ash no more than 150 m high. Low-intensity explosions at the N2 vent ejected tephra to heights under 80 m. Vent C produced gas emissions. Incandescent material from S1 jetted as high as 150 m above the crater. Explosions from two vents at S2 ejected tephra more than 150 m high.

Geologic summary: Spectacular incandescent nighttime explosions at this volcano have long attracted visitors to the "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean." Stromboli, the NE-most of the Aeolian Islands, has lent its name to the frequent mild explosive activity that has characterized its eruptions throughout much of historical time. The small island is the emergent summit of a volcano that grew in two main eruptive cycles, the last of which formed the western portion of the island. The Neostromboli eruptive period from about 13,000 to 5000 years ago was followed by formation of the modern edifice. The active summit vents are located at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a prominent horseshoe-shaped scarp formed about 5000 years ago as a result of the most recent of a series of slope failures that extend to below sea level. The modern volcano has been constructed within this scarp, which funnels pyroclastic ejecta and lava flows to the NW. Essentially continuous mild strombolian explosions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded for more than a millennium.

Source: GVP

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