The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: May 22 - 28, 2019

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: May 22 - 28, 2019

New activity/unrest was reported for 4 volcanoes from May 22 - 28, 2019. Ongoing activity was reported for 12 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Colima, Mexico | Hakoneyama, Honshu (Japan) | Sarychev Peak, Matua Island (Russia) | Sinabung, Indonesia. 

Ongoing activity: Agung, Bali (Indonesia) | Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Etna, Sicily (Italy) | Ibu, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Krakatau, Indonesia | Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia) | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Soputan, Sulawesi (Indonesia).

New activity/unrest

Colima, Mexico

19.514°N, 103.62°W, Summit elev. 3850 m

Centro Universitario de Estudios e Investigaciones de Vulcanologia - Universidad de Colima reported that 51 low-magnitude explosions mainly from the NE part of Colima’s crater were recorded by the seismic and infrasound network during 11-24 May. Emissions from the explosions consisted mainly of water vapor and gas, and were the first surficial manifestations of activity since seismicity increased in the past few weeks. Footage from five drone overflights conducted on 22 May showed fumarolic activity on the inner wall of the NE part of the crater and a new small explosion crater near the center of the main crater.

Geological summary: The Colima volcanic complex is the most prominent volcanic center of the western Mexican Volcanic Belt. It consists of two southward-younging volcanoes, Nevado de Colima (the 4320 m high point of the complex) on the north and the 3850-m-high historically active Volcán de Colima at the south. A group of cinder cones of late-Pleistocene age is located on the floor of the Colima graben west and east of the Colima complex. Volcán de Colima (also known as Volcán Fuego) is a youthful stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera, breached to the south, that has been the source of large debris avalanches. Major slope failures have occurred repeatedly from both the Nevado and Colima cones, and have produced a thick apron of debris-avalanche deposits on three sides of the complex. Frequent historical eruptions date back to the 16th century. Occasional major explosive eruptions (most recently in 1913) have destroyed the summit and left a deep, steep-sided crater that was slowly refilled and then overtopped by lava dome growth.

Hakoneyama, Honshu (Japan)

35.233°N, 139.021°E, Summit elev. 1438 m

JMA reported that the number of earthquakes at Hakoneyama increased on 18 May and remained elevated through 27 May. The epicenters were centered around the W bank of Lake Ashinoko and around Komagatake. Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) data continued to indicate a trend of inflation. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

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.

Sarychev Peak, Matua Island (Russia)

48.092°N, 153.2°E, Summit elev. 1496 m

SVERT lowered the Alert Level for Sarychev Peak to Green on 22 May, noting that the last activity recorded was an ash plume on 16 May and a thermal anomaly on 17 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, Summit elev. 2460 m

PVMBG reported that an eruption at Sinabung was recorded at 0253 on 25 May. An ash plume from the event drifted W and NW according to the Darwin VAAC; fog prevented ground-based visual observations. Ashfall was reported in several areas downwind according to a news article. At 0629 on 27 May a dense gray ash plume rose 2.5 km above the crater rim and drifted S. The VAAC reported that at 0700 an ash plume was visible in satellite images at an altitude of 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l., or 3.7 km above the crater rim. Eruptive events were recorded at 2323 on 27 May and 0118 on 28 May, though ash plumes were not visible. The Alert Level remained at 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.

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, Summit elev. 2997 m

PVMBG reported that at 1923 on 24 May an explosion at Agung ejected incandescent material radially onto the flanks as far as 3 km from the crater rim, setting fire to some vegetation. A dense gray-white ash plume rose 2 km and, based on satellite data, drifted SW, causing thick ashfall in several villages to the S. Roaring was audible from the Agung Volcano Observatory in Rendang (about 8 km SW). According to a news article several flights to and from Australia were cancelled or diverted, though the International Gusti Ngurah Rai (IGNR) airport (60 km SW) in Denpasar was not closed. 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, Summit elev. 1117 m

JMA reported that during 22-23 May two explosions at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) produced plumes that rose 1.6 km above the crater rim and ejected material as far as 900 m. Crater incandescence was periodically visible. Very small eruptive events were recorded during 24-27 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.

Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)

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

Based on satellite and wind model data, and notices from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 22-28 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, Summit elev. 1103 m

A thermal anomaly over Ebeko was identified in satellite images during 16-17 May. Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions during 16-20 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, Summit elev. 3295 m

INGV reported that gas emissions of variable intensity were observed rising from Etna’s summit craters during 20-26 May; weather conditions often prevented views. Weak and diffuse ash emissions occasionally rose from the New Southeast Crater (NSEC). An ash plume rose from Bocca Nuova Crater on 23 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.

Ibu, Halmahera (Indonesia)

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

The Darwin VAAC reported that during 23-24 May ash plumes from Ibu rose to altitudes of 2.4-2.7 km (8,000-9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 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, Summit elev. 1513 m

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Karymsky was visible in satellite images during 17-21 May. An ash plume drifted 9 km SW on 21 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, Summit elev. 4754 m

KVERT reported that a weak thermal anomaly over Klyuchevskoy was identified in satellite images on 17, 19, and 21 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.

Krakatau, Indonesia

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

PVMBG reported that Anak Krakatau’s seismic network detected 26 eruptive events during 20-26 May. None of the events were followed by visible ash emissions, though observations were hindered by fog. 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 from 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.

Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia)

7.54°S, 110.446°E, Summit elev. 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, and remained unchanged at least through 26 May. The dome morphology remained relatively unchanged, as most of the extruded lava fell into the upper parts of the SE-flank Gendol River drainage. One block-and-ash flow traveled 1.1 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.

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 17-24 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.

Soputan, Sulawesi (Indonesia)

1.112°N, 124.737°E, Summit elev. 1785 m

PVMBG reported that during 22-28 May white plumes rose as high as 100 m above Soputan’s summit. On 27 May white-to-gray plumes rose 150 m high. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4). The public was advised not to approach the craters within a radius of 4 km, or 6.5 km on the WSW flank.

Geological summary: The Soputan stratovolcano on the southern rim of the Quaternary Tondano caldera on the northern arm of Sulawesi Island is one of Sulawesi's most active volcanoes. The youthful, largely unvegetated volcano is located SW of Riendengan-Sempu, which some workers have included with Soputan and Manimporok (3.5 km ESE) as a volcanic complex. It was constructed at the southern end of a SSW-NNE trending line of vents. During historical time the locus of eruptions has included both the summit crater and Aeseput, a prominent NE-flank vent that formed in 1906 and was the source of intermittent major lava flows until 1924.

Source: GVP

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