The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: May 15 - 21, 2019

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: May 15 - 21, 2019

New activity/unrest was reported for 6 volcanoes from May 15 - 21, 2019. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 20 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Azumayama, Honshu (Japan) | Hakoneyama, Honshu (Japan) | Pavlof, United States | Sangay, Ecuador | Sarychev Peak, Matua Island (Russia) | Sinabung, Indonesia.

Ongoing activity: Agung, Bali (Indonesia) | Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Asosan, Kyushu (Japan) | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Etna, Sicily (Italy) | Fuego, Guatemala | Ibu, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Krakatau, Indonesia | Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia) | Popocatepetl, Mexico | Reventador, Ecuador | Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica | Sabancaya, Peru | Santa Maria, Guatemala | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Turrialba, Costa Rica | Villarrica, Chile.

New activity / unrest

Azumayama, Honshu (Japan)

37.735°N, 140.244°E, Elevation 1949 m

The number of volcanic earthquakes at Azumayama increased on 5 May and data from a tiltmeter about 1 km SE of Ohana Crater showed inflation on 9 May, prompting JMA to raise the Alert Level to 2 (on a 5-level scale). Field observations on 7 and 10 May indicated no changes in the fumarolic and thermal areas around Ohana. Seismicity began to decrease on 10 May, though continued to fluctuate through 20 May. Deformation continued but at a slower rate.

Geological summary: The Azumayama volcanic group consists of a cluster of stratovolcanoes, shield volcanoes, lava domes, and pyroclastic cones. The andesitic and basaltic complex was constructed in two E-W rows above a relatively high basement of Tertiary sedimentary rocks and granodiorites west of Fukushima city. Volcanic activity has migrated to the east, with the Higashi-Azuma volcano group being the youngest. The symmetrical Azuma-Kofuji crater and a nearby fumarolic area on the flank of Issaikyo volcano are popular tourist destinations. The Azumayama complex contains several crater lakes, including Goshikinuma and Okenuma. Historical eruptions, mostly small phreatic explosions, have been restricted to Issaikyo volcano at the northern end of the Higashiyama group.

Hakoneyama, Honshu (Japan)

35.233°N, 139.021°E, Elevation 1438 m

JMA reported that the number of earthquakes at Hakoneyama increased during 18-19 May, with epicenters centered around the W bank of Lake Ashinoko and around Komagatake. Fumaroles in the Owakudani hot springs area continued to be active. Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) data showed changes in deformation beginning in mid-March. On 19 May JMA raised the Alert Level to 2 (on a 5-level scale). Elevated seismicity continued to be recorded through 21 May.

Geological summary: Hakoneyama volcano is truncated by two overlapping calderas, the largest of which is 10 x 11 km wide. The calderas were formed as a result of two major explosive eruptions about 180,000 and 49,000-60,000 years ago. Scenic Lake Ashi lies between the SW caldera wall and a half dozen post-caldera lava domes that were constructed along a NW-SE trend cutting through the center of the calderas. Dome growth occurred progressively to the NW, and the largest and youngest of these, Kamiyama, forms the high point. The calderas are breached to the east by the Hayakawa canyon. A phreatic explosion about 3000 years ago was followed by collapse of the NW side of Kamiyama, damming the Hayakawa valley and creating Lake Ashi. The latest magmatic eruptive activity about 2900 years ago produced a pyroclastic flow and a lava dome in the explosion crater, although phreatic eruptions took place as recently as the 12-13th centuries CE. Seismic swarms have occurred during the 20th century. Lake Ashi, along with the thermal areas in the caldera, is a popular resort destination SW of Tokyo.

Pavlof, United States

55.417°N, 161.894°W, Elevation 2493 m

AVO reported that low-frequency tremor was detected at Pavlof during 14-15 May and a vigorous steam plume rising from the summit was visible in webcam images on 15 May. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level was raised to Advisory primarily because of increased seismicity. Steam plumes recorded by the webcam, low levels of seismic tremor, and warm surface temperatures identified in satellite data continued during 16-19 May; AVO noted that steam emissions and warm surface temperatures are common at Pavlof.

Geological summary: The most active volcano of the Aleutian arc, Pavlof is a 2519-m-high Holocene stratovolcano that was constructed along a line of vents extending NE from the Emmons Lake caldera. Pavlof and its twin volcano to the NE, 2142-m-high Pavlof Sister, form a dramatic pair of symmetrical, glacier-covered stratovolcanoes that tower above Pavlof and Volcano bays. A third cone, Little Pavlof, is a smaller volcano on the SW flank of Pavlof volcano, near the rim of Emmons Lake caldera. Unlike Pavlof Sister, Pavlof has been frequently active in historical time, typically producing Strombolian to Vulcanian explosive eruptions from the summit vents and occasional lava flows. The active vents lie near the summit on the north and east sides. The largest historical eruption took place in 1911, at the end of a 5-year-long eruptive episode, when a fissure opened on the N flank, ejecting large blocks and issuing lava flows.

Sangay, Ecuador

2.005°S, 78.341°W, Elevation 5286 m

IG reported that a new eruption at Sangay began on 7 May and was continuing as of 21 May. Activity was concentrated at two eruptive centers; the Central Crater and the Ñuñurcu dome (located 190 m SSE of Central Crater). Explosive activity at Central Crater produced ash plumes that rose an average of 1 km above the crater rim and drifted W and NW. Ejected blocks rolled as far as 2.5 km down the SE flank. The Ñuñurcu dome produced a lava flow that had a maximum width of 175 m and traveled about 470 m down the SE flank. Collapses of the lava-flow front generated small pyroclastic flows and numerous block flows; one of the pyroclastic flows traveled 340 m.

Geological summary: The isolated Sangay volcano, located east of the Andean crest, is the southernmost of Ecuador's volcanoes and its most active. The steep-sided, glacier-covered, dominantly andesitic volcano grew within horseshoe-shaped calderas of two previous edifices, which were destroyed by collapse to the east, producing large debris avalanches that reached the Amazonian lowlands. The modern edifice dates back to at least 14,000 years ago. It towers above the tropical jungle on the east side; on the other sides flat plains of ash have been sculpted by heavy rains into steep-walled canyons up to 600 m deep. The earliest report of a historical eruption was in 1628. More or less continuous eruptions were reported from 1728 until 1916, and again from 1934 to the present. The almost constant activity has caused frequent changes to the morphology of the summit crater complex. This volcano is located within the Sangay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage property.

Sarychev Peak, Matua Island (Russia)

48.092°N, 153.2°E, Elevation 1496 m

SVERT reported that a weak thermal anomaly over Sarychev Peak was visible in satellite images on 10, 12, and 17 May. At 0830 on 16 May satellite images showed an ash plume drifting 50 km SE at an altitude as high as 2.5 km (8,200 ft) a.s.l. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Yellow on 16 May.

Geological summary: Sarychev Peak, one of the most active volcanoes of the Kuril Islands, occupies the NW end of Matua Island in the central Kuriles. The andesitic central cone was constructed within a 3-3.5-km-wide caldera, whose rim is exposed only on the SW side. A dramatic 250-m-wide, very steep-walled crater with a jagged rim caps the volcano. The substantially higher SE rim forms the 1496 m high point of the island. Fresh-looking lava flows, prior to activity in 2009, had descended in all directions, often forming capes along the coast. Much of the lower-angle outer flanks of the volcano are overlain by pyroclastic-flow deposits. Eruptions have been recorded since the 1760s and include both quiet lava effusion and violent explosions. Large eruptions in 1946 and 2009 produced pyroclastic flows that reached the sea.

Sinabung, Indonesia

3.17°N, 98.392°E, Elevation 2460 m

PVMBG reported that white plumes rose as high as 700 m above Sinabung’s crater rim during 13-21 May. On 20 May the Alert Level was lowered to 3 (on a scale of 1-4), with a general exclusion zone of 3 km and extensions to 5 km on the SE sector and 4 km in the NE sector. PVMBG noted that the seismic activity surrounding the recent ash emissions during 7 and 11-12 May were not indicative of renewed activity.

Geological summary: Gunung Sinabung is a Pleistocene-to-Holocene stratovolcano with many lava flows on its flanks. The migration of summit vents along a N-S line gives the summit crater complex an elongated form. The youngest crater of this conical andesitic-to-dacitic edifice is at the southern end of the four overlapping summit craters. The youngest deposit is a SE-flank pyroclastic flow 14C dated by Hendrasto et al. (2012) at 740-880 CE. An unconfirmed eruption was noted in 1881, and solfataric activity was seen at the summit and upper flanks in 1912. No confirmed historical eruptions were recorded prior to explosive eruptions during August-September 2010 that produced ash plumes to 5 km above the summit.

Ongoing activity

Agung, Bali (Indonesia)

8.343°S, 115.508°E, Elevation 2997 m

PVMBG reported that at 1409 on 18 May an explosion at Agung ejected incandescent material radially onto the flanks as far as 2.5 km from the crater rim. A dense gray-white ash plume rose 2 km and drifted NE, E, and SE, causing ashfall in hamlets downwind including Cutcut, Tongtongan, Bonyoh, and Temakung. A weak roar was audible from the Agung Volcano Observatory in Rendang (about 8 km SW). The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4) with the exclusion zone set at a 4-km radius.

Geological summary: Symmetrical Agung stratovolcano, Bali's highest and most sacred mountain, towers over the eastern end of the island. The volcano, whose name means "Paramount," rises above the SE caldera rim of neighboring Batur volcano, and the northern and southern flanks extend to the coast. The summit area extends 1.5 km E-W, with the high point on the W and a steep-walled 800-m-wide crater on the E. The Pawon cone is located low on the SE flank. Only a few eruptions dating back to the early 19th century have been recorded in historical time. The 1963-64 eruption, one of the largest in the 20th century, produced voluminous ashfall along with devastating pyroclastic flows and lahars that caused extensive damage and many fatalities.

Aira, Kyushu (Japan)

31.593°N, 130.657°E, Elevation 1117 m

JMA reported that on 13 May two explosions at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) produced plumes that rose 1.8 km above the crater rim and ejected material as far as 1.3 km. Crater incandescence from the crater was visible. Very small non-explosive events were recorded by the seismic network during 17-20 May. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Geological summary: The Aira caldera in the northern half of Kagoshima Bay contains the post-caldera Sakurajima volcano, one of Japan's most active. Eruption of the voluminous Ito pyroclastic flow accompanied formation of the 17 x 23 km caldera about 22,000 years ago. The smaller Wakamiko caldera was formed during the early Holocene in the NE corner of the Aira caldera, along with several post-caldera cones. The construction of Sakurajima began about 13,000 years ago on the southern rim of Aira caldera and built an island that was finally joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kitadake summit cone ended about 4850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minamidake. Frequent historical eruptions, recorded since the 8th century, have deposited ash on Kagoshima, one of Kyushu's largest cities, located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km from the summit. The largest historical eruption took place during 1471-76.

Asosan, Kyushu (Japan)

32.884°N, 131.104°E, Elevation 1592 m

JMA reported that during 15-20 May sulfur dioxide emission levels were somewhat high at Asosan’s Nakadake Crater. At 1028 on 15 May an eruption produced a plume that rose 700 m above the crater rim. White plumes rose 200 m during 17-20 May. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-5).

Geological 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. This volcano is located within the Aso, a UNESCO Global Geopark property.

Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)

1.693°N, 127.894°E, Elevation 1229 m

Based on satellite and wind model data, and notices from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 15-21 May ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 2.1-3 km (7,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

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

A thermal anomaly over Ebeko was identified in satellite images during 12-13 May. Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions during 13-15 May that sent ash plumes up to 2.5 km (8,200 ft) a.s.l. 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.

Etna, Sicily (Italy)

37.748°N, 14.999°E, Elevation 3295 m

INGV reported that gas emissions of variable intensity were observed rising from Etna’s summit craters during 14 and 17-19 May; weather conditions prevented views on the other days during 13-19 May. Ash emissions periodically rose from vents in the S and E parts of New Southeast Crater (NSEC). Several Strombolian explosions at NSEC ejected incandescent pyroclastic material a few dozen meters above the crater rim during 17-18 May.

Geological 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. This volcano is located within the Mount Etna, a UNESCO World Heritage property.

Fuego, Guatemala

14.473°N, 90.88°W, Elevation 3763 m

INSIVUMEH reported that there were 15-20 explosions per hour recorded at Fuego during 16-17 and 19-20 May, generating ash plumes that rose as high as 1.1 km above the crater rim and drifted 10-25 km S, SW, and W. Explosions sometimes produced shock waves that rattled houses in nearby communities. Incandescent material was ejected 300-400 m high and caused avalanches of material that occasionally traveled long distances (reaching vegetated areas) down Seca (W), Taniluyá (SW), Ceniza (SSW), Trinidad (S), and Las Lajas (SE) ravines. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind including Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), and El Porvenir (8 km ENE). A lava flow on the W flank was 300 m long.

On 16 May lahars carrying variously-sized blocks and tree branches and trunks descended the Las Lajas ravine. On 20 May hot lahars with a sulfur odor descended the Ceniza, El Jute, and Las Lajas drainages, carrying blocks 1-3 m in diameter.

Geological 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, Elevation 1325 m

The Darwin VAAC reported that during 14-16 and 18-19 May ash plumes from Ibu rose to 2.1-3 km (7,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW, N, ENE, and SE based on satellite data. 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.

Geological 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, Elevation 1513 m

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Karymsky was visible in satellite images during 10-14 May. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Geological summary: Karymsky, the most active volcano of Kamchatka's eastern volcanic zone, is a symmetrical stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera that formed during the early Holocene. The caldera cuts the south side of the Pleistocene Dvor volcano and is located outside the north margin of the large mid-Pleistocene Polovinka caldera, which contains the smaller Akademia Nauk and Odnoboky calderas. Most seismicity preceding Karymsky eruptions originated beneath Akademia Nauk caldera, located immediately south. The caldera enclosing Karymsky formed about 7600-7700 radiocarbon years ago; construction of the stratovolcano began about 2000 years later. The latest eruptive period began about 500 years ago, following a 2300-year quiescence. Much of the cone is mantled by lava flows less than 200 years old. Historical eruptions have been vulcanian or vulcanian-strombolian with moderate explosive activity and occasional lava flows from the summit crater.

Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

56.056°N, 160.642°E, Elevation 4754 m

KVERT reported that a weak thermal anomaly over Klyuchevskoy was identified in satellite images on 10 and 15 May. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

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

Krakatau, Indonesia

6.102°S, 105.423°E, Elevation 813 m

PVMBG reported that Anak Krakatau’s seismic network detected 22 eruptive events during 13-19 May, though none of the events were followed by ash emissions. Dense white plumes were visible rising as high as 200 m above the summit during periods of clear weather. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to remain outside of the 2-km radius hazard zone around 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 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. 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 on 11 May the lava dome at Merapi had an estimated volume of 458,000 cubic meters, based on analyses of drone footage. The dome morphology remained relatively unchanged during 12-19 May, as most of the extruded lava fell into the upper parts of the SE-flank Gendol River drainage. Two block-and-ash flows traveled as far as 1.2 km down the Gendol 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.

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.

Popocatepetl, Mexico

19.023°N, 98.622°W, Elevation 5393 m

CENAPRED reported that each day during 15-21 May there were 22-72 steam-and-gas emissions from Popocatépetl, some of which contained ash (19-21 May). Two explosions, at 0817 and 0831 on 16 May, generated ash plumes that rose 1.6 and 1 km above the crater rim, respectively. During 20-21 May crater incandescence was visible during some emissions. The Alert Level had returned to Yellow, Phase Two (middle level on a three-color scale) on 7 May and remained there through 21 May.

Geological summary: Volcán Popocatépetl, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain, rises 70 km SE of Mexico City to form North America's 2nd-highest volcano. The glacier-clad stratovolcano contains a steep-walled, 400 x 600 m wide crater. The generally symmetrical volcano is modified by the sharp-peaked Ventorrillo on the NW, a remnant of an earlier volcano. At least three previous major cones were destroyed by gravitational failure during the Pleistocene, producing massive debris-avalanche deposits covering broad areas to the south. The modern volcano was constructed south of the late-Pleistocene to Holocene El Fraile cone. Three major Plinian eruptions, the most recent of which took place about 800 CE, have occurred since the mid-Holocene, accompanied by pyroclastic flows and voluminous lahars that swept basins below the volcano. Frequent historical eruptions, first recorded in Aztec codices, have occurred since Pre-Columbian time. This volcano is located within the Las Volcanes, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve property.

Reventador, Ecuador

0.077°S, 77.656°W, Elevation 3562 m

IG reported that during 14-21 May seismic data from Reventador’s network indicated a high level of seismic activity, including explosions, long-period earthquakes, harmonic tremor, and signals indicating emissions. Weather conditions often prevented views of the summit area, although when clear (during 17-18 and 20-21 May) several ash plumes were visible rising as high as 1 km above the crater rim and drifting W and NW. Crater incandescence was visible on some mornings and evenings. On 19 May a 500-m-long pyroclastic flow deposit on the N flank was visible. Blocks were observed rolling 800 m down the flanks on 21 May.

Geological summary: Reventador is the most frequently active of a chain of Ecuadorian volcanoes in the Cordillera Real, well east of the principal volcanic axis. The forested, dominantly andesitic Volcán El Reventador stratovolcano rises to 3562 m above the jungles of the western Amazon basin. A 4-km-wide caldera widely breached to the east was formed by edifice collapse and is partially filled by a young, unvegetated stratovolcano that rises about 1300 m above the caldera floor to a height comparable to the caldera rim. It has been the source of numerous lava flows as well as explosive eruptions that were visible from Quito in historical time. Frequent lahars in this region of heavy rainfall have constructed a debris plain on the eastern floor of the caldera. The largest historical eruption took place in 2002, producing a 17-km-high eruption column, pyroclastic flows that traveled up to 8 km, and lava flows from summit and flank vents.

Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica

10.83°N, 85.324°W, Elevation 1916 m

OVSICORI-UNA reported that phreatic eruptions at Rincón de la Vieja were recorded at 1703 on 14 May and 0357 on 17 May, though dense fog prevented visual confirmation of both events with webcams. On 15 May a local observer noted a diffuse plume of steam, gas, and particulates rising from the crater and photographed milky-gray deposits on the N part of the crater rim, ejected from the event the day before.

Geological 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. This volcano is located within the Area de Conservación Guanacaste, a UNESCO World Heritage property.

Sabancaya, Peru

15.787°S, 71.857°W, Elevation 5960 m

Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) and Instituto Geológico Minero y Metalúrgico (INGEMMET) reported that an average of 33 low-to-medium intensity explosions per day occurred at Sabancaya during 13-19 May. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 2.5 km above the crater rim and drifted NW, N, and NE. There were 10 thermal anomalies identified in satellite data. 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.

Santa Maria, Guatemala

14.757°N, 91.552°W, Elevation 3745 m

INSIVUMEH reported that during 16-17 May there were two explosions per hour detected at Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex. Ash plumes rose 700 m above the complex and drifted SW. Eight weak explosions were recorded during 19-20 May, generating ash plumes that rose 700 m and drifted SW. Avalanches of material descended the E and SE flanks of the lava dome.

Geological summary: Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa María volcano is one of the most prominent of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rises dramatically above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The stratovolcano has a sharp-topped, conical profile that is cut on the SW flank by a 1.5-km-wide crater. The oval-shaped crater extends from just below the summit to the lower flank and was formed during a catastrophic eruption in 1902. The renowned Plinian eruption of 1902 that devastated much of SW Guatemala followed a long repose period after construction of the large basaltic-andesite stratovolcano. The massive dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex has been growing at the base of the 1902 crater since 1922. Compound dome growth at Santiaguito has occurred episodically from four westward-younging vents, the most recent of which is Caliente. Dome growth has been accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions, with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.

Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

56.653°N, 161.36°E, Elevation 3283 m

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch’s lava dome was identified daily in satellite images during 10-17 May. Plumes of re-suspended ash were visible drifting 16 km SE on 13 May. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Geological summary: The high, isolated massif of Sheveluch volcano (also spelled Shiveluch) rises above the lowlands NNE of the Kliuchevskaya volcano group. The 1300 km3 volcano is one of Kamchatka's largest and most active volcanic structures. The summit of roughly 65,000-year-old Stary Shiveluch is truncated by a broad 9-km-wide late-Pleistocene caldera breached to the south. Many lava domes dot its outer flanks. The Molodoy Shiveluch lava dome complex was constructed during the Holocene within the large horseshoe-shaped caldera; Holocene lava dome extrusion also took place on the flanks of Stary Shiveluch. At least 60 large eruptions have occurred during the Holocene, making it the most vigorous andesitic volcano of the Kuril-Kamchatka arc. Widespread tephra layers from these eruptions have provided valuable time markers for dating volcanic events in Kamchatka. Frequent collapses of dome complexes, most recently in 1964, have produced debris avalanches whose deposits cover much of the floor of the breached caldera.

Turrialba, Costa Rica

10.025°N, 83.767°W, Elevation 3340 m

On 19 May OVSICORI-UNA reported that passive, short-duration emissions with small amounts of ash had been sporadically occurring at Turrialba over the previous week. Prolonged and intermittent periods of emissions with minor amounts of ash were visible during 19-20 May.

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.

Villarrica, Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W, Elevation 2847 m

POVI reported continuing activity at Villarrica during 5-6 May when Strombolian explosions ejected lava 50 m above the crater rim. On 14 May the webcam recorded 24-m-wide lava fountains rising as high as 70 m. An explosion later that day at 2220 ejected a mushroom-shaped fountain 70 m high. POVI noted it was one of the largest lava explosions since 2015.

Geological 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.

Source: GVP


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