The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: August 12 - 18, 2020

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: August 12 - 18, 2020

New activity/unrest was reported for 3 volcanoes from August 12 to 18, 2020. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 11 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Manam, Papua New Guinea | Raung, Eastern Java (Indonesia) | Sinabung, Indonesia.

Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Ibu, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Kadovar, Papua New Guinea | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kerinci, Indonesia | Nishinoshima, Japan | Reventador, Ecuador | Semeru, Eastern Java (Indonesia) | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia).

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report is a cooperative project between the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program. Updated by 23:00 UTC every Wednesday, these reports are preliminary and subject to change as events are studied in more detail. This is not a comprehensive list of all of Earth's volcanoes erupting during the week, but rather a summary of activity at volcanoes that meet criteria discussed in detail in the "Criteria and Disclaimers" section. Carefully reviewed, detailed reports about recent activity are published in issues of the Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network.

New activity/unrest

Manam, Papua New Guinea

4.08°S, 145.037°E, Elevation 1807 m

The Darwin VAAC reported that on 16 August ash plumes from Manam rose 2.1-4.3 km (7,000-14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W and NW.

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.

Raung, Eastern Java (Indonesia)

8.119°S, 114.056°E, Elevation 3260 m

PVMBG reported that gray emissions rose 200 m above Raung’s summit and drifted S during 11-12 August. White plumes rose as high as 100 m and drifted N and S on a few days during 13-18 August; weather conditions sometimes prevented visual observations. 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: Raung, one of Java's most active volcanoes, is a massive stratovolcano in easternmost Java that was constructed SW of the rim of Ijen caldera. The unvegetated summit is truncated by a dramatic steep-walled, 2-km-wide caldera that has been the site of frequent historical eruptions. A prehistoric collapse of Gunung Gadung on the W flank produced a large debris avalanche that traveled 79 km, reaching nearly to the Indian Ocean. Raung contains several centers constructed along a NE-SW line, with Gunung Suket and Gunung Gadung stratovolcanoes being located to the NE and W, respectively.

Sinabung, Indonesia

3.17°N, 98.392°E, Elevation 2460 m

PVMBG reported that white-and-gray plumes rose 200 m above Sinabung’s summit and drifted E and SE on 12 August. A series of seven eruptions late on 13 August generated ash plumes that rose as high as 2 km and drifted E, SE, and S. The first event, at 0607, lasted for 12 minutes and produced an ash plume that rose 2 km according to BNPB. Seismicity was dominated by continuous tremor during the series. Eruptive events at 1030, 1425, and 1455 on 14 August produced ash plumes that rose as high as 2.1 km and drifted SSE and ESE. An ash plume from an event at 1656 rose 4.2 km and drifted E. At 1724 on 17 August an ash plume rose 1.5 km and drifted SE. Ash plumes rose as high as 2 km on 18 August. 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

Aira, Kyushu (Japan)

31.593°N, 130.657°E, Elevation 1117 m

JMA reported that very small eruptive events at Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) were recorded during 10-17 August. The daily sulfur dioxide emission rate was just over 1,000 tons/day on 13 August. During an overflight on 14 August observers noted that emissions were rising from multiple vents in the 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.

Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)

1.693°N, 127.894°E, Elevation 1229 m

Based on satellite and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 12-18 August ash plumes from Dukono rose to 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. A discrete ash plume rose to 4.3 km (14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W on 17 August; the event was associated with a summit thermal anomaly. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

Geological summary: Reports from this remote volcano in northernmost Halmahera are rare, but Dukono has been one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes. More-or-less continuous explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, occurred from 1933 until at least the mid-1990s, when routine observations were curtailed. During a major eruption in 1550, a lava flow filled in the strait between Halmahera and the north-flank cone of Gunung Mamuya. This complex volcano presents a broad, low profile with multiple summit peaks and overlapping craters. Malupang Wariang, 1 km SW of the summit crater complex, contains a 700 x 570 m crater that has also been active during historical time.

Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia)

50.686°N, 156.014°E, Elevation 1103 m

Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions on 7, 9, 11, and 13 August that sent ash plumes up to 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W, S, and E. Ashfall was reported in Severo-Kurilsk on 9 August. A thermal anomaly over the volcano was identified in satellite images on 7 and 10 August. 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, Elevation 1325 m

PVMBG reported that during 12-14 and 16-17 August ash plumes rose 200-800 m above Ibu’s summit and drifted N, W, and S. Weather conditions sometimes prevented visual observations of the summit. 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, Elevation 365 m

Based on satellite and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 16 August an ash plume from Kadovar rose to an altitude of 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW.

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.

Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)

54.049°N, 159.443°E, Elevation 1513 m

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Karymsky was identified in satellite images on 7 and 10 August; weather clouds prevented views of the volcano on the other days during 7-14 August. 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.

Kerinci, Indonesia

1.697°S, 101.264°E, Elevation 3800 m

PVMBG reported that at 1602 on 12 August a brown ash emission from Kerinci rose 1 km above the summit and drifted NE, E, and SE. At 1225 on 13 August and 0731 on 15 August brown ash emissions rose 600-800 m and drifted ENE and NW, respectively. On 16 August brown emissions rose 300-500 m and drifted W. 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. This volcano is located within the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, a UNESCO World Heritage property.

Nishinoshima, Japan

27.247°N, 140.874°E, Elevation 25 m

Based on satellite data, the Tokyo VAAC reported that during 12-18 August ash plumes from Nishinoshima rose to 2.4-5.5 km (8,000-18,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE, NW, W, and SW.

Geological summary: The small island of Nishinoshima was enlarged when several new islands coalesced during an eruption in 1973-74. Another eruption that began offshore in 2013 completely covered the previous exposed surface and enlarged the island again. Water discoloration has been observed on several occasions since. The island is the summit of a massive submarine volcano that has prominent satellitic peaks to the S, W, and NE. The summit of the southern cone rises to within 214 m of the sea surface 9 km SSE.

Reventador, Ecuador

0.077°S, 77.656°W, Elevation 3562 m

IG reported that a high level of activity continued to be recorded at Reventador during 11-17 August. Gas, steam, and ash emissions observed sometimes multiple times a day with the webcam or reported by the Washington VAAC rose as high as 1 km above the summit crater and drifted NW and W. Cloudy weather sometimes prevented views of the volcano. Incandescent blocks rolled 500-700 m down mainly the NE and E flanks during 12-13 and 15-16 August. A lava flow traveled 200 m down the NE flank on 13 August. The flow lengthened to 300 m by 15 August and remained active, though did not advance, through 18 August. A small pyroclastic flow descended the NE flank during 15-16 August.

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, Elevation 3657 m

The Darwin VAAC reported, based on satellite images and weather models, that on 14 and 16 August ash plumes from Semeru rose to an altitude of 4 km (13,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W and WSW. A thermal anomaly was visible on 16 August. 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. This volcano is located within the Bromo Tengger Semeru-Arjuno, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve property.

Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

56.653°N, 161.36°E, Elevation 3283 m

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 7-14 August. 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.

Source: GVP


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