New activity/unrest was reported for 4 volcanoes from February 19 to 25, 2020. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 16 volcanoes.
New activity/unrest: Huaynaputina, Peru | Reykjanes, Iceland | San Miguel, El Salvador | Semisopochnoi, United States.
Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Ibu, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Kadovar, Papua New Guinea | Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Kuchinoerabujima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan) | Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia) | Nevados de Chillan, Chile | Popocatepetl, Mexico | Reventador, Ecuador | Semeru, Eastern Java (Indonesia) | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan) | Taal, Luzon (Philippines) | White Island, North Island (New Zealand).
16.608°S, 70.85°W, Summit elev. 4850 m
IGP reported that during 11 and 20-21 February small- to moderate-sized lahars descended the El Volcán drainage, on the S flank of Huaynaputina, and traveled to within 500 m of Quinistaquillas, in the province of Sánchez Cerro, Moquegua region.
Geological summary: Huaynaputina (whose name means "new volcano") is a relatively inconspicuous volcano that was the source of the largest historical eruption of South America in 1600 CE. It has no prominent topographic expression and lies within a 2.5-km-wide depression formed by edifice collapse and further excavated by glaciers within an older edifice of Tertiary-to-Pleistocene age. Three overlapping ash cones with craters up to 100 m deep were constructed during the 1600 CE eruption on the floor of the ancestral crater, whose outer flanks are heavily mantled by ash deposits from the 1600 eruption. This powerful fissure-fed eruption may have produced nearly 30 km3 of dacitic tephra, including pyroclastic flows and surges that traveled 13 km to the east and SE. Lahars reached the Pacific Ocean, 120 km away. The eruption caused substantial damage to the major cities of Arequipa and Moquengua, and regional economies took 150 years to fully recover.
63.85°N, 22.566°W, Summit elev. 140 m
On 25 February IMO reported that seismic activity at Reykjanes, in an area N of the town of Grindavík, had significantly decreased during the previous few days, and inflation was not detected in GPS and InSAR data. The Aviation Color Code was lowered to Green. Preliminary data suggested a small deflation signal beginning mid-February, though further analysis was needed for confirmation. The report warned the public not to explore lava tubes in the Eldvörp area as gas measurements showed a dangerous level of oxygen depletion; there are no pre-unrest measurements existing for comparison.
Geological summary: The Reykjanes volcanic system at the SW tip of the Reykjanes Peninsula, where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge rises above sea level, comprises a broad area of postglacial basaltic crater rows and small shield volcanoes. The submarine Reykjaneshryggur volcanic system is contiguous with and is considered part of the Reykjanes volcanic system, which is the westernmost of a series of four closely-spaced en-echelon fissure systems that extend diagonally across the Reykjanes Peninsula. Most of the subaerial part of the system (also known as the Reykjanes/Svartsengi volcanic system) is covered by Holocene lavas. Subaerial eruptions have occurred in historical time during the 13th century at several locations on the NE-SW-trending fissure system, and numerous submarine eruptions dating back to the 12th century have been observed during historical time, some of which have formed ephemeral islands. Basaltic rocks of probable Holocene age have been recovered during dredging operations, and tephra deposits from earlier Holocene eruptions are preserved on the nearby Reykjanes Peninsula.
San Miguel, El Salvador
13.434°N, 88.269°W, Summit elev. 2130 m
SNET reported that local observers of San Miguel reported a series of rumbling noises that occurred from 1900 on 20 February to 0750 on 21 February. The report noted an increase in amplitude of microearthquakes and minor gas emissions form the main crater. Sulfur dioxide levels had also increased. Beginning at 1055 on 22 February an ash emission that lasted 10 minutes long resulted in a small gas-and-ash plume that rose 400 m above the crater rim. Minor ashfall was reported in the area of Piedra Azul, 5 km SW. RSAM peaked at 510 units during the period of emissions, above the normal values of 150, as recorded by station VSM located on the upper N flank. The number of low-amplitude tremor events increased after a quiet period of about 11 hours and were associated with gas emissions; RSAM was 33-97 units and minor gas plumes were visible rising 400 m during 23-24 February.
Geological summary: The symmetrical cone of San Miguel volcano, one of the most active in El Salvador, rises from near sea level to form one of the country's most prominent landmarks. The unvegetated summit rises above slopes draped with coffee plantations. A broad, deep crater complex that has been frequently modified by historical eruptions (recorded since the early 16th century) caps the truncated summit, also known locally as Chaparrastique. Radial fissures on the flanks of the basaltic-andesitic volcano have fed a series of historical lava flows, including several erupted during the 17th-19th centuries that reached beyond the base of the volcano on the N, NE, and SE sides. The SE-flank flows are the largest and form broad, sparsely vegetated lava fields crossed by highways and a railroad skirting the base of the volcano. The location of flank vents has migrated higher on the edifice during historical time, and the most recent activity has consisted of minor ash eruptions from the summit crater.
Semisopochnoi, United States
51.93°N, 179.58°E, Summit elev. 1221 m
AVO reported that intermittent, low-level tremor was detected at Semisopochnoi during 19-25 February. Brief periods of elevated tremor were recorded during 19-20 February. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.
Geological summary: Semisopochnoi, the largest subaerial volcano of the western Aleutians, is 20 km wide at sea level and contains an 8-km-wide caldera. It formed as a result of collapse of a low-angle, dominantly basaltic volcano following the eruption of a large volume of dacitic pumice. The high point of the island is 1221-m-high Anvil Peak, a double-peaked late-Pleistocene cone that forms much of the island's northern part. The three-peaked 774-m-high Mount Cerberus volcano was constructed during the Holocene within the caldera. Each of the peaks contains a summit crater; lava flows on the northern flank of Cerberus appear younger than those on the southern side. Other post-caldera volcanoes include the symmetrical 855-m-high Sugarloaf Peak SSE of the caldera and Lakeshore Cone, a small cinder cone at the edge of Fenner Lake in the NE part of the caldera. Most documented historical eruptions have originated from Cerberus, although Coats (1950) considered that both Sugarloaf and Lakeshore Cone within the caldera could have been active during historical time.
Aira, Kyushu (Japan)
31.593°N, 130.657°E, Summit elev. 1117 m
JMA reported that during 17-25 February there were 34 explosions and 19 non-explosive eruptive events detected by the Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) seismic network. Ash plumes rose as high as 2.4 km above the crater rim and material was ejected 600-1,100 m away from the crater. Crater incandescence was visible every night. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was elevated at 1,900 tons/day on 20 February. 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, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 18-25 February ash plumes from Dukono rose to 2.1-2.4 km (7,000-8,000 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 18-19 February that sent ash plumes up to 2.3 km (7,500 ft) a.s.l. Ash plumes drifted 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.
Ibu, Halmahera (Indonesia)
1.488°N, 127.63°E, Summit elev. 1325 m
The Darwin VAAC reported that on 18, 20, and 22 February ash plumes from Ibu rose to 1.8-2.1 km (6,000-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE, S, and SW. PVMBG stated that at 1113 on 20 February a white-to-gray ash plume rose at least 400 m above the summit (6,800 ft a.s.l.) and drifted SE. 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 and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 23 February an ash plume from Kadovar rose to an altitude of 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E and SE.
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.
Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia)
56.056°N, 160.642°E, Summit elev. 4754 m
KVERT reported that Strombolian activity at Klyuchevskoy was visible during 14-21 February, and a thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images those same days. 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.
Kuchinoerabujima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan)
30.443°N, 130.217°E, Summit elev. 657 m
JMA reported that very small eruptive events recorded at Kuchinoerabujima’s Shindake Crater during 20-21 February generated whitish plumes that rose 200 m above the crater rim. No changes were observed during field visits on those two days. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 400-600 tons per day during 20-23 February. 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.
Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia)
7.54°S, 110.446°E, Summit elev. 2910 m
PVMBG reported that the volume of Merapi’s summit lava dome decreased after the 13 February eruption which produced a 2-km-tall ash plume, ejected material within 1 km, and caused ashfall within a 10-km radius. The dome volume the day before the event was estimated at 407,000 cubic meters, and afterwards (19 February) was reduced to 291,000 cubic meters. Visual observations during 17-23 February were mostly hindered due to inclement weather conditions, though on 18 February a white plume was seen rising 100 m above the summit. 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.
Nevados de Chillan, Chile
36.868°S, 71.378°W, Summit elev. 3180 m
SERNAGEOMIN reported that during 18-22 February white-and-gray plumes from Nevados de Chillán’s Nicanor Crater generally rose as high as 1.9 km above the rim and drifted mainly SE. An explosion recorded at 1924 on 19 February generated an ash plume that rose 2 km. White plumes rose 100 m during 23-25 February. 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.
19.023°N, 98.622°W, Summit elev. 5393 m
CENAPRED reported that during an overflight of Popocatépetl on 18 February volcanologists noted no significant morphological changes at the summit crater; the inner crater was 350 m in diameter and 100-150 m deep, and the crater floor was covered with tephra. Each day during 18-25 February there were 130-263 steam-and-gas emissions from the summit crater. As many as nine low- to moderate-level explosions were recorded each day, generating gas plumes with minor amounts of ash that drifted N, NW, and SW. An explosion at 1737 on 19 February produced an ash plume that rose 1.2 km above the crater rim and drifted NW, and ejected incandescent material onto the flanks. 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.
0.077°S, 77.656°W, Summit elev. 3562 m
IG reported that during 18-24 January seismic data from Reventador’s network indicated a high level of seismic activity, including explosions, long-period earthquakes, and signals indicating emissions. Daily gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 1.3 km above the crater rim and drifted NW, W, and SW. Incandescent blocks rolled 600-700 m down the flanks during 18-21 February. Weather sometimes prevented views of the summit area.
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.
Semeru, Eastern Java (Indonesia)
8.108°S, 112.922°E, Summit elev. 3657 m
PVMBG reported that during 17-23 February eruptive events at Semeru generated ash plume that rose around 400 m above the summit. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).
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 15-21 February. 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 during 14-21 February incandescence from Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater was visible nightly. An eruption on 19 February produced a grayish-white ash plume that rose 1.6 km above the crater rim. Ashfall was reported in Toshima village, 4 km SSW. 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.
Taal, Luzon (Philippines)
14.002°N, 120.993°E, Summit elev. 311 m
PHIVOLCS reported that during 19-24 February steam plumes rose 50-100 m above the vent and drifted SW. Sulfur dioxide emissions were below detectable limits during 19-20 February. According to the Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) there were a total of 4,113 people in 15 evacuation centers, and an additional 191,451 people were staying at other locations as of 25 February. PHIVOLCS recommended no entry onto Volcano Island, the area defined as the Permanent Danger Zone.
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.
White Island, North Island (New Zealand)
37.52°S, 177.18°E, Summit elev. 294 m
On 19 February GeoNet reported that White island remained at an elevated state of unrest, confirmed by two overflights of the island for visual observations and data collection. Results from a gas data showed a steady decline on both carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide flux, though levels were still slightly elevated. Thermal infrared data indicated that the fumarolic gases and the five lobes of lava in the main vent remained very hot at 660 degrees Celsius. A small pond of water had formed in the vent area and small-scale jetting was occurring, similar to September-December 2019 activity. 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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