The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: November 6 - 12, 2019

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: November 6 - 12, 2019

New activity/unrest was reported for 5 volcanoes from November 6 - 12, 2019. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 10 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Cleveland, Chuginadak Island (USA) | Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Manam, Papua New Guinea | Popocatepetl, Mexico | Shishaldin, Fox Islands (USA).

Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Asamayama, Honshu (Japan) | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Karangetang, Siau Island (Indonesia) | Krakatau, Indonesia | Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia) | Sangeang Api, Indonesia | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan).

New activity/unrest

Cleveland, Chuginadak Island (USA)

52.825°N, 169.944°W, Summit elev. 1730 m

Highly elevated surface temperatures identified in satellite data indicated that slow lava effusion in Cleveland’s summit crater may have begun during 7-8 November. AVO raised the Volcano Alert Level to Watch and the Aviation Color Code to Orange. Robust steaming was visible in satellite and webcam images on 7 November.

Geological summary: The beautifully symmetrical Mount Cleveland stratovolcano is situated at the western end of the uninhabited Chuginadak Island. It lies SE across Carlisle Pass strait from Carlisle volcano and NE across Chuginadak Pass strait from Herbert volcano. Joined to the rest of Chuginadak Island by a low isthmus, Cleveland is the highest of the Islands of the Four Mountains group and is one of the most active of the Aleutian Islands. The native name, Chuginadak, refers to the Aleut goddess of fire, who was thought to reside on the volcano. Numerous large lava flows descend the steep-sided flanks. It is possible that some 18th-to-19th century eruptions attributed to Carlisle should be ascribed to Cleveland (Miller et al., 1998). In 1944 Cleveland produced the only known fatality from an Aleutian eruption. Recent eruptions have been characterized by short-lived explosive ash emissions, at times accompanied by lava fountaining and lava flows down the flanks.

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 6 November. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

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.

Manam, Papua New Guinea

4.08°S, 145.037°E, Summit elev. 1807 m

RVO reported that at 1330 on 2 November a single large explosion at Manam generated a dense dark ash plume that rose 1 km above the summit and drifted NW. A shock wave was felt at the Bogia Government station (about 40 km SE) about 1 minute later. RSAM values on 6 November fluctuated between 250 and 360 units but began to increase around 1430 and triggered alerts around 1445. Values continued to increase and reached 400-500 units, heralding an eruption which began during 1600-1630. A gray ash plume rose 1 km and drifted NW. Incandescent material ejecting from the vent was visible at the start of the eruption and became more visible as the evening grew darker. The eruption peaked in intensity around 1930, then declined and ceased during 2100-2200.

Geological summary: The 10-km-wide island of Manam, lying 13 km off the northern coast of mainland Papua New Guinea, is one of the country's most active volcanoes. Four large radial valleys extend from the unvegetated summit of the conical 1807-m-high basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano to its lower flanks. These "avalanche valleys" channel lava flows and pyroclastic avalanches that have sometimes reached the coast. Five small satellitic centers are located near the island's shoreline on the northern, southern, and western sides. Two summit craters are present; both are active, although most historical eruptions have originated from the southern crater, concentrating eruptive products during much of the past century into the SE valley. Frequent historical eruptions, typically of mild-to-moderate scale, have been recorded since 1616. Occasional larger eruptions have produced pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached flat-lying coastal areas and entered the sea, sometimes impacting populated areas.

Popocatepetl, Mexico

19.023°N, 98.622°W, Summit elev. 5393 m

During an overflight of Popocatépetl on 5 November CENAPRED scientists, researchers from Instituto de Geofísica de UNAM, and members of the Coordinación Nacional de Protección Civil observed lava dome number 85 in the bottom of the inner summit crater. The dome was 210 m in diameter, 80 m thick, and had an irregular surface. The inner crater remained 350 m in diameter and was 90 m deep. CENAPRED reported that each day during 6-12 November there were 58-148 steam-and-gas emissions, some of which contained ash. Explosions at 0300 and 0501 on 6 November and at 0023 and 0655 on 7 November ejected incandescent tephra onto the upper flanks. Five more explosions were detected on 6 November. Eruptive events at 0858 and 0941 on 9 November generated ash plumes that rose 2 km above the crater rim and drifted NW; between those two ash emissions explosions were recorded at 0923 and 2055. Explosions on 10 November were recorded at 0648 and 1636. An explosion at 2203 on 11 November ejected incandescent tephra as far down the E flank as 1.5 km and generated an ash plume that rose 2 km and drifted NE. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two (middle level on a three-color scale).

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.

Shishaldin, Fox Islands (USA)

54.756°N, 163.97°W, Summit elev. 2857 m

AVO reported that the eruption at Shishaldin continued at variable levels during 5-12 November. Periods of high-amplitude tremor during 5-6 November were likely related to increased lava effusion and fountaining, though weather clouds prevented visual confirmation. Intermittent advancement of active lava flows and lahars on the N flank were confirmed in RADAR data, and by 7 November the lava flow was 1.3 km long and the debris flow runout was 5 km. Seismic tremor was low during 8-9 November suggesting lava effusion was less likely; weather cloud cover continued to obscure views, though elevated surface temperatures were sometimes detected during brief periods of clear weather. Activity significantly increased during 10-11 November with lava fountaining visible in webcam views throughout the evening and night. Strongly elevated surface temperatures at the summit and along the flanks were visible in satellite data. Ash emissions reported by pilots and visible on webcam images rose as high as 3.7 km (12,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N. Activity decreased during 11-12 November. Strongly elevated surface temperatures were consistent with cooling lava flows. Seismicity decreased during the evening of 11 November and remained low. Minor steam-and-ash emissions were visible in webcam images. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.

Geological summary: The beautifully symmetrical volcano of Shishaldin is the highest and one of the most active volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands. The 2857-m-high, glacier-covered volcano is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes along an E-W line in the eastern half of Unimak Island. The Aleuts named the volcano Sisquk, meaning "mountain which points the way when I am lost." A steady steam plume rises from its small summit crater. Constructed atop an older glacially dissected volcano, it is Holocene in age and largely basaltic in composition. Remnants of an older ancestral volcano are exposed on the west and NE sides at 1500-1800 m elevation. There are over two dozen pyroclastic cones on its NW flank, which is blanketed by massive aa lava flows. Frequent explosive activity, primarily consisting of strombolian ash eruptions from the small summit crater, but sometimes producing lava flows, has been recorded since the 18th century.

Ongoing activity

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 visible at night during 5-11 November. There were 13 explosions and 25 non-explosive eruptive events detected by the seismic network. Blocks were ejected as far as 1.3 km away. Explosions at 1557 and 1615 on 7 November generated ash plumes that rose 3.8 and 3.5 km above the crater rim, respectively. An explosion at 1724 on 8 November generated an ash plume that rose 5.5 km above the crater rim and drifted E, and ejected large blocks that fell 500-800 m away. The last time plumes rose over 5 km from the active vents was on 26 July 2016 at Showa Crater and on 7 October 2000 at Minamidake Crater. 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.

Asamayama, Honshu (Japan)

36.406°N, 138.523°E, Summit elev. 2568 m

On 6 November JMA lowered the Alert Level for Asamayama to 1 (on a scale of 1-5) noting that no eruptions had occurred since 26 August, volcanic tremor had not been recorded since early September, and volcanic gas emissions had been generally low.

Geological summary: Asamayama, Honshu's most active volcano, overlooks the resort town of Karuizawa, 140 km NW of Tokyo. The volcano is located at the junction of the Izu-Marianas and NE Japan volcanic arcs. The modern Maekake cone forms the summit and is situated east of the horseshoe-shaped remnant of an older andesitic volcano, Kurofuyama, which was destroyed by a late-Pleistocene landslide about 20,000 years before present (BP). Growth of a dacitic shield volcano was accompanied by pumiceous pyroclastic flows, the largest of which occurred about 14,000-11,000 BP, and by growth of the Ko-Asama-yama lava dome on the east flank. Maekake, capped by the Kamayama pyroclastic cone that forms the present summit, is probably only a few thousand years old and has an historical record dating back at least to the 11th century CE. Maekake has had several major plinian eruptions, the last two of which occurred in 1108 (Asamayama's largest Holocene eruption) and 1783 CE.

Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)

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

Based on satellite and wind model data, and information from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 6-12 November ash plumes from Dukono rose to an altitude of 1.8-2.1 km (6,000-7,000 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

Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions during 2-6 November that sent ash plumes up to 3 km (10,00 ft) a.s.l. Ash plumes drifted N, E, and SE. The 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.

Karangetang, Siau Island (Indonesia)

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

PVMBG reported that during 4-10 November lava continued to effuse from Karangetang’s Main Crater (S) and travel down the Nanitu, Pangi, and Sense drainages on the SW and W flanks. Incandescent blocks from the flows reached a distance of 1.8 km from the crater. Sometimes dense white plumes rose to 250 m above the summit craters. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Geological summary: Karangetang (Api Siau) volcano lies at the northern end of the island of Siau, about 125 km NNE of the NE-most point of Sulawesi island. 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 have produced pyroclastic flows.

Krakatau, Indonesia

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

PVMBG reported that during 4-10 November diffuse white plumes rose as high as 200 m above Anak Krakatau’s active vent. The seismic network detected 30 eruptive events; dense gray-to-black plumes rose as high as 300 m above the vent. 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 at 0621 on 9 November an eruption was detected by the seismic network at Merapi and lasted two minutes and 40 seconds. A pyroclastic flow traveled 2 km down the Gendol drainage on the SE flank and an ash plume rose around 1.5 km above the summit. Minor ashfall was reported in areas to the W as far as 15 km away, including Wonolelo, Sawangan, Magelang, and Tlogolele. The event did not notably impact the morphology of the lava dome and the drainage. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and residents were warned to stay 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.

Sangeang Api, Indonesia

8.2°S, 119.07°E, Summit elev. 1912 m

The Darwin VAAC reported that during 6-12 November discrete and short-lived ash emissions from Sangeang Api rose to 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW, W, and SW. Thermal anomalies were visible during 6-8 November. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Geological summary: Sangeang Api volcano, one of the most active in the Lesser Sunda Islands, forms a small 13-km-wide island off the NE coast of Sumbawa Island. Two large trachybasaltic-to-tranchyandesitic volcanic cones, Doro Api and Doro Mantoi, were constructed in the center and on the eastern rim, respectively, of an older, largely obscured caldera. Flank vents occur on the south side of Doro Mantoi and near the northern coast. Intermittent historical eruptions have been recorded since 1512, most of them during in the 20th century.

Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

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

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 1-8 November. Ash plumes drifted as far as 640 km NW on 3 and 5 November. 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.

Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan)

29.638°N, 129.714°E, Summit elev. 796 m

JMA reported that incandescence at Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater was visible during 1-8 November. Very small eruptive events on 5 and 7 November generated grayish white plumes that rose 900 m above the crater rim. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

Geological summary: The 8-km-long, spindle-shaped island of Suwanosejima in the northern Ryukyu Islands consists of an andesitic stratovolcano with two historically active summit craters. The summit of the volcano is truncated by a large breached crater extending to the sea on the east flank that was formed by edifice collapse. Suwanosejima, one of Japan's most frequently active volcanoes, was in a state of intermittent strombolian activity from Otake, the NE summit crater, that began in 1949 and lasted until 1996, after which periods of inactivity lengthened. The largest historical eruption took place in 1813-14, when thick scoria deposits blanketed residential areas, and the SW crater produced two lava flows that reached the western coast. At the end of the eruption the summit of Otake collapsed forming a large debris avalanche and creating the horseshoe-shaped Sakuchi caldera, which extends to the eastern coast. The island remained uninhabited for about 70 years after the 1813-1814 eruption. Lava flows reached the eastern coast of the island in 1884. Only about 50 people live on the island.

Source: GVP

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