New activity/unrest was reported for 3 volcanoes from January 29 to February 4, 2020. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 17 volcanoes.
New activity/unrest: Kuchinoerabujima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan) | Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica | Taal, Luzon (Philippines).
Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Asosan, Kyushu (Japan) | Bulusan, Luzon (Philippines) | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Ibu, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Kadovar, Papua New Guinea | Karangetang, Siau Island (Indonesia) | Kerinci, Indonesia | Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Nevados de Chillan, Chile | Sangay, Ecuador | Semeru, Eastern Java (Indonesia) | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Shishaldin, Fox Islands (USA) | Ulawun, New Britain (Papua New Guinea) | White Island, North Island (New Zealand).
Kuchinoerabujima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan)
30.443°N, 130.217°E, Summit elev. 657 m
JMA reported that at 0521 on 3 February an eruption at Kuchinoerabujima’s Shindake Crater produced an ash plume that rose 7 km above the crater rim, based on satellite images, and ejected material 600 m away from the crater. A pyroclastic flow traveled about 900 m SW, the first one recorded since 29 January 2019. Ashfall was confirmed in the northern part of neighboring Yakushima Island (a large amount in Miyanoura, 32 km ESE) and southern Tanegashima. According to a news article the eruption caused one flight to be diverted and one to be cancelled. The Alert Level remained at 3 (the middle level on a scale of 1-5).
Geological summary: A group of young stratovolcanoes forms the eastern end of the irregularly shaped island of Kuchinoerabujima in the northern Ryukyu Islands, 15 km W of Yakushima. The Furudake, Shindake, and Noikeyama cones were erupted from south to north, respectively, forming a composite cone with multiple craters. The youngest cone, centrally-located Shindake, formed after the NW side of Furudake was breached by an explosion. All historical eruptions have occurred from Shindake, although a lava flow from the S flank of Furudake that reached the coast has a very fresh morphology. Frequent explosive eruptions have taken place from Shindake since 1840; the largest of these was in December 1933. Several villages on the 4 x 12 km island are located within a few kilometers of the active crater and have suffered damage from eruptions.
Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica
10.83°N, 85.324°W, Summit elev. 1916 m
OVSICORI-UNA reported that at 1213 on 31 January a phreatic eruption at Rincón de la Vieja ejected material onto the N flanks and generated a plume that rose 2 km above the crater rim. Lahars descended rivers on the N flank and reached populated areas 7-10 km downriver around 40 minutes after the eruption.
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.
Taal, Luzon (Philippines)
14.002°N, 120.993°E, Summit elev. 311 m
PHIVOLCS reported that whitish steam plumes rose as high as 800 m above Taal’s main vent during 29 January-4 February and drifted SW. Sulfur dioxide emissions ranged from values below detectable limits to a high of 231 tonnes per day (on 3 February). According to the Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) there were a total of 23,915 people in 152 evacuation centers, and an additional 224,188 people were staying at other locations as of 3 February. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 0-5) and PHIVOLCS recommended no entry onto Volcano Island and Taal Lake, nor into towns W of the island within a 7-km radius.
Geological summary: Taal is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines and has produced some of its most powerful historical eruptions. Though not topographically prominent, its prehistorical eruptions have greatly changed the landscape of SW Luzon. The 15 x 20 km Talisay (Taal) caldera is largely filled by Lake Taal, whose 267 km2 surface lies only 3 m above sea level. The maximum depth of the lake is 160 m, and several eruptive centers lie submerged beneath the lake. The 5-km-wide Volcano Island in north-central Lake Taal is the location of all historical eruptions. The island is composed of coalescing small stratovolcanoes, tuff rings, and scoria cones that have grown about 25% in area during historical time. Powerful pyroclastic flows and surges from historical eruptions have caused many fatalities.
Aira, Kyushu (Japan)
31.593°N, 130.657°E, Summit elev. 1117 m
JMA reported that during 27 January-3 February there were 26 explosions and 33 non-explosive eruptive events detected by the Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) seismic network. Ash plumes rose as high as 2.2 km above the crater rim and material was ejected 700-1,300 m away from the crater. Crater incandescence was visible at night. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was very high at 4,700 tons/day on 31 January. 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, Summit elev. 1592 m
JMA reported that eruptive activity at Asosan was recorded during 27 January-3 February. Plumes rose 1.1 km above the crater rim and caused ashfall in areas downwind. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was high, ranging from 1,900 to 3,400 tons per day during 28-29 and 31 January and 3 February. 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.
Bulusan, Luzon (Philippines)
12.769°N, 124.056°E, Summit elev. 1535 m
PHIVOLCS lowered the Alert Level for Bulusan to 0 (on a scale of 0-5) on 25 January, noting that activity at the volcano was at baseline levels. Specifically, sulfur dioxide flux had been below detectable levels since 2018, the frequency of volcanic earthquakes had been at baseline levels (0-2 earthquakes/day) since May 2019, and overall ground deformation data indicated that there was no pressurization from subsurface magma. Weak gas emissions from hydrothermal activity continued. PHIVOLCS reminded the public of the 4-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ).
Geological summary: Luzon's southernmost volcano, Bulusan, was constructed along the rim of the 11-km-diameter dacitic-to-rhyolitic Irosin caldera, which was formed about 36,000 years ago. It lies at the SE end of the Bicol volcanic arc occupying the peninsula of the same name that forms the elongated SE tip of Luzon. A broad, flat moat is located below the topographically prominent SW rim of Irosin caldera; the NE rim is buried by the andesitic complex. Bulusan is flanked by several other large intracaldera lava domes and cones, including the prominent Mount Jormajan lava dome on the SW flank and Sharp Peak to the NE. The summit is unvegetated and contains a 300-m-wide, 50-m-deep crater. Three small craters are located on the SE flank. Many moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the mid-19th century.
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 29 January-4 February ash plumes from Dukono rose to 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW, S, and SE. 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 24-31 January that sent ash plumes up to 4 km (13,100 ft) a.s.l.; ash plumes drifted E. 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.
Ibu, Halmahera (Indonesia)
1.488°N, 127.63°E, Summit elev. 1325 m
PVMBG reported that during 29 January-2 February white-to-gray plumes rose 200-800 m above Ibu’s summit; plumes drifted S on 2 February. Weather clouds prevented visual observations during 3-4 February. 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.
Kadovar, Papua New Guinea
3.608°S, 144.588°E, Summit elev. 365 m
Based on satellite data, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 2 February an ash plume from Kadovar rose to an altitude of 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted ESE.
Geological summary: The 2-km-wide island of Kadovar is the emergent summit of a Bismarck Sea stratovolcano of Holocene age. It is part of the Schouten Islands, and lies off the coast of New Guinea, about 25 km N of the mouth of the Sepik River. Prior to an eruption that began in 2018, a lava dome formed the high point of the andesitic volcano, filling an arcuate landslide scarp open to the south; submarine debris-avalanche deposits occur in that direction. Thick lava flows with columnar jointing forms low cliffs along the coast. The youthful island lacks fringing or offshore reefs. A period of heightened thermal phenomena took place in 1976. An eruption began in January 2018 that included lava effusion from vents at the summit and at the E coast.
Karangetang, Siau Island (Indonesia)
2.781°N, 125.407°E, Summit elev. 1797 m
PVMBG reported that during 27 January-2 February lava continued to effuse from Karangetang’s Main Crater (S), traveling as far as 1.8 km down the Nanitu, Pangi, and Sense drainages on the SW and W flanks. Sometimes dense white plumes rose 200 m above the summit. Incandescence from both summit craters was visible at night. 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.
1.697°S, 101.264°E, Summit elev. 3800 m
PVMBG reported that during 1-3 February brown ash plumes rose 150-300 m above Kerinci’s summit; ash plumes drifted NE on 1 February. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to remain outside of the 3-km exclusion zone.
Geological summary: Gunung Kerinci in central Sumatra forms Indonesia's highest volcano and is one of the most active in Sumatra. It is capped by an unvegetated young summit cone that was constructed NE of an older crater remnant. There is a deep 600-m-wide summit crater often partially filled by a small crater lake that lies on the NE crater floor, opposite the SW-rim summit. The massive 13 x 25 km wide volcano towers 2400-3300 m above surrounding plains and is elongated in a N-S direction. Frequently active, Kerinci has been the source of numerous moderate explosive eruptions since its first recorded eruption in 1838.
Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia)
56.056°N, 160.642°E, Summit elev. 4754 m
KVERT reported that Strombolian activity at Klyuchevskoy was visible during 24-31 January, and a thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images during 27-28 and 30 January. Vulcanian activity was recorded on 30 January; explosions generated ash plumes that rose to 5.5 km (18,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 282 km E. 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.
Nevados de Chillan, Chile
36.868°S, 71.378°W, Summit elev. 3180 m
SERNAGEOMIN reported that during 28 January-4 February white gas plumes from Nevados de Chillán’s Nicanor Crater rose as high as 900 m above the rim and drifted E, ESE, and SE. Minor explosions during 28-29 January ejected incandescent blocks that were visible at night. At 1356 on 30 January an explosion generated a gas-and-ash plume that rose 3.4 km above the crater rim; parts of the plume collapsed, generating pyroclastic flows that traveled NE and SE. Two thermal anomalies were identified in satellite images, one from vent CE4 (November 2019) and the second from a new vent named CE5, formed 60 m NW of the center of CE4. There had been no advancement of the lava flows (L1, L2, L3, and L4) since 24 November 2019. The number of long-period earthquakes and tremor associated with explosions both considerably decreased after December 2019. The volcano Alert Level remained at Orange, the second highest level on a four-color scale. ONEMI maintained an Alert Level Yellow (the middle level on a three-color scale) for the communities of Pinto, Coihueco, and San Fabián, and stated that the public should stay at least 3 km away from the crater on the SW flank and 5 km away on the ENE flank.
Geological summary: The compound volcano of Nevados de Chillán is one of the most active of the Central Andes. Three late-Pleistocene to Holocene stratovolcanoes were constructed along a NNW-SSE line within three nested Pleistocene calderas, which produced ignimbrite sheets extending more than 100 km into the Central Depression of Chile. The largest stratovolcano, dominantly andesitic, Cerro Blanco (Volcán Nevado), is located at the NW end of the group. Volcán Viejo (Volcán Chillán), which was the main active vent during the 17th-19th centuries, occupies the SE end. The new Volcán Nuevo lava-dome complex formed between 1906 and 1945 between the two volcanoes and grew to exceed Volcán Viejo in elevation. The Volcán Arrau dome complex was constructed SE of Volcán Nuevo between 1973 and 1986 and eventually exceeded its height.
2.005°S, 78.341°W, Summit elev. 5286 m
IG reported a high level of activity at Sangay during 27 January-4 February, though weather clouds often prevented visual confirmation. Ash, steam, and gas plumes rose 880-1,200 m above the summit and drifted W and SW during 27-29 January. Minor ashfall was reported in Púngala and in several Chimborazo province communities during 27-28 February. A pyroclastic flow descended the SE flank on 28 January, reaching the Volcán River and causing secondary lahars in the river. Incandescent blocks rolled down the SE flank on 29 January. Minor ashfall was reported in the province of Chimborazo (W), particularly in the towns of Cebadas (35 km WNW) and Palmira (46 km W). On 30 January residents in the town of Alao (20 km NW) reported that vegetation was covered with fine white ash. An ash emission rose 570 m above the summit and drifted W on 31 January. Ashfall was reported in Macas (42 km SE) the next day. Gas-and-steam plumes rose up to 200 m and drifted W on 2 February. Incandescent blocks rolled down the SE flank on 3 February.
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.
Semeru, Eastern Java (Indonesia)
8.108°S, 112.922°E, Summit elev. 3657 m
PVMBG reported that ash plumes from Semeru rose 400-500 m above the crater rim and drifted N on 30 January as well as 2 and 4 February. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale from 1-4); the public was warned to stay 1 km away from the active crater and 4 km away on the SSE flank.
Geological 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 was identified in satellite images during 23-24 and 27-30 January. 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.
Shishaldin, Fox Islands (USA)
54.756°N, 163.97°W, Summit elev. 2857 m
AVO reported that seismic activity at Shishaldin remained above background levels during 29 January-4 February. Weakly- to moderately-elevated surface temperatures were sometimes identified in satellite images. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.
Geological summary: The beautifully symmetrical Shishaldin is the highest and one of the most active volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands. The 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 steam plume often rises from its small summit crater. Constructed atop an older glacially dissected volcano, it is largely basaltic in composition. Remnants of an older ancestral volcano are exposed on the W 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.
Ulawun, New Britain (Papua New Guinea)
5.05°S, 151.33°E, Summit elev. 2334 m
RVO reported that during 17-31 January white vapor plumes rose from Ulawun’s Main Crater and weak, diffuse white vapor rose from the WSW flank fissure. Lahars were detected mid-month. Seismic activity was low with RSAM values below 200 units. The Alert Level remained at Stage 1.
Geological summary: The symmetrical basaltic-to-andesitic Ulawun stratovolcano is the highest volcano of the Bismarck arc, and one of Papua New Guinea's most frequently active. The volcano, also known as the Father, rises above the N coast of the island of New Britain across a low saddle NE of Bamus volcano, the South Son. The upper 1,000 m is unvegetated. A prominent E-W escarpment on the south may be the result of large-scale slumping. Satellitic cones occupy the NW and E flanks. A steep-walled valley cuts the NW side, and a flank lava-flow complex lies to the south of this valley. Historical eruptions date back to the beginning of the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions were mildly explosive until 1967, but after 1970 several larger eruptions produced lava flows and basaltic pyroclastic flows, greatly modifying the summit crater.
White Island, North Island (New Zealand)
37.52°S, 177.18°E, Summit elev. 294 m
On 4 February GeoNet reported that White island remained at an elevated state of unrest. Temperatures at the vent area remained very hot at more than 550-570 degrees Celsius. Gas emissions measured during an overflight on 30 January had decreased compared to the previous week but remained at high levels. No changes to the vent area, the receding lake, or the area of lava extrusion were visually apparent. Continuing movement of the back-crater wall W of the 1914 landslide deposits was identified in satellite images, though not noted during the overflight. According to the New Zealand Police another person died as a result from the eruption, bringing the total number of deaths to 21. The Volcanic Alert Level remained at 2 and the Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow.
Geological summary: The uninhabited White Island, also known as Whakaari in the Maori language, is the 2 x 2.4 km emergent summit of a 16 x 18 km submarine volcano in the Bay of Plenty about 50 km offshore of North Island. The island consists of two overlapping andesitic-to-dacitic stratovolcanoes. The summit crater appears to be breached to the SE, because the shoreline corresponds to the level of several notches in the SE crater wall. Volckner Rocks, sea stacks that are remnants of a lava dome, lie 5 km NW. Descriptions of eruptions since 1826 have included intermittent moderate phreatic, phreatomagmatic, and Strombolian eruptions; activity there also forms a prominent part of Maori legends. Formation of many new vents during the 19th and 20th centuries has produced rapid changes in crater floor topography. Collapse of the crater wall in 1914 produced a debris avalanche that buried buildings and workers at a sulfur-mining project. Explosive activity in December 2019 took place while tourists were present, resulting in many fatalities.
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