The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: January 20 - 26, 2021

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: January 20 - 26, 2021

New activity/unrest was reported for 5 volcanoes from January 20 to 26, 2021. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 18 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia) | Raung, Eastern Java (Indonesia) | Sarychev Peak, Matua Island (Russia) | Soufriere St. Vincent, St. Vincent | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan).

Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Fuego, Guatemala | Ibu, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Kuchinoerabujima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan) | Lewotolo, Lomblen Island (Indonesia) | Manam, Papua New Guinea | Pacaya, Guatemala | Reventador, Ecuador | Sangay, Ecuador | Santa Maria, Guatemala | Semeru, Eastern Java (Indonesia) | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Stromboli, Aeolian Islands (Italy).

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

Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia)

7.54°S, 110.446°E, Summit elev. 2910 m

BPPTKG reported that the “2021 lava dome” continued to grow just below Merapi’s SW rim during 15-21 January, producing a total of 282 incandescent lava avalanches that traveled as far as 1 km down the Krasak and Boyong river drainages on the SW flank. Pyroclastic flows were recorded 19 times and descended the SW flanks as far as 1.8 km. A comparison of photos taken on 14 and 21 January showed that the morphological changes in the summit area were attributed to the emergence of new lava domes. The 2021 dome volume was an estimated 104,000 cubic meters on 21 January, with a growth rate of about 8,600 cubic meters per day. Deformation continued, though at a lower rate; Electronic Distance Measurement (EDM) data showed a distance shortening between points in the NW at a rate of 0.8 cm per day. Seismic activity was lower than the previous week. According to news articles ashfall was reported in several villages in the Musuk, Tamansari, and Kemalang districts on 19 January. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public were warned to stay 5 km away from the summit.

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 2,000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequent growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent 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.

Raung, Eastern Java (Indonesia)

8.119°S, 114.056°E, Summit elev. 3260 m

A brown-gray ash plume from Raung rose 100-400 m above the crater rim and drifted E at 0520 on 21 January, prompting PVMBG to raise the Alert Level to 2 (on a scale of 1-4). Gray plumes rose 200-600 m above the crater rim and drifted E on the next day. White-and-gray plumes rose 200-500 m on 23 January and drifted WSW, and crater incandescence was visible in webcam images. During 24-25 January ash plumes rose 500 m and drifted E and S, and Strombolian activity was visible.

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.

Sarychev Peak, Matua Island (Russia)

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

KVERT reported that lava began to effuse from a vent in Sarychev Peak’s summit crater 10 January, and by 20 January it had traveled about 400 m down the N flank. A gas-and-steam plume drifted 36 km NE on 12 January. A thermal anomaly was visible during 15 and 18-21 January. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-color scale).

Geological summary: Sarychev Peak, one of the most active volcanoes of the Kuril Islands, occupies the NW end of Matua Island in the central Kuriles. The andesitic central cone was constructed within a 3-3.5-km-wide caldera, whose rim is exposed only on the SW side. A dramatic 250-m-wide, very steep-walled crater with a jagged rim caps the volcano. The substantially higher SE rim forms the 1496 m high point of the island. Fresh-looking lava flows, prior to activity in 2009, had descended in all directions, often forming capes along the coast. Much of the lower-angle outer flanks of the volcano are overlain by pyroclastic-flow deposits. Eruptions have been recorded since the 1760s and include both quiet lava effusion and violent explosions. Large eruptions in 1946 and 2009 produced pyroclastic flows that reached the sea.

Soufriere St. Vincent, St. Vincent

13.33°N, 61.18°W, Summit elev. 1220 m

University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC) and National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) reported that the lava dome in Soufrière St. Vincent’s main crater continued to grow during 20-26 January. Gas-and-steam plumes were often visible from Belmont Observatory, on Richmond Peak, about 6 km SSW of the crater. Another seismic station and a webcam became operational, and additional instrumentation was prepped. Weather conditions sometimes prevented visual observations of the crater, though observations on 22 and 25 January confirmed that the previously-identified area of burnt vegetation had expanded, including towards the top of the E crater rim. During a monitoring visit on 24 January scientists took video and still photos of the dome and installed both a camera and an EDM reflector on the S crater wall. The Alert Level remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Geological summary: Soufrière St. Vincent is the northernmost and youngest volcano on St. Vincent Island. The NE rim of the 1.6-km wide summit crater is cut by a crater formed in 1812. The crater itself lies on the SW margin of a larger 2.2-km-wide caldera, which is breached widely to the SW as a result of slope failure. Frequent explosive eruptions after about 4,300 years ago produced pyroclastic deposits of the Yellow Tephra Formation, which cover much of the island. The first historical eruption took place in 1718; it and the 1812 eruption produced major explosions. Much of the northern end of the island was devastated by a major eruption in 1902 that coincided with the catastrophic Mont Pelée eruption on Martinique. A lava dome was emplaced in the summit crater in 1971 during a strictly effusive eruption, forming an island within a lake that filled the crater. A series of explosive eruptions in 1979 destroyed the 1971 dome and ejected the lake; a new dome was then built.

Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan)

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

JMA reported that incandescence at Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater was occasionally visible at night during 15-22 January. Intermittent explosions produced ash plumes that rose as high as 2.5 km above the crater rim and ejected bombs 400 m away from the crater. 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 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.

Ongoing activity

Aira, Kyushu (Japan)

31.593°N, 130.657°E, Summit elev. 1117 m

JMA reported that during 18-25 January incandescence from Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was often visible nightly. The sulfur dioxide emission rate slightly high, reaching 1,500 tons per day on 18 January. Two explosions, on 18 and 20 January, produced eruption plumes that rose 1.3-1.7 km above the crater rim and ejecting bombs 1.3-1.7 km away from 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, Summit elev. 1229 m

PVMBG reported that at 0823 on 25 January an ash plume from Dukono rose 300 m and drifted S. 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 on 20 January that sent ash plumes to 3.1 km (10,200 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E and NE. Ashfall was reported in Severo-Kurilsk that same day. 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.

Fuego, Guatemala

14.473°N, 90.88°W, Summit elev. 3763 m

INSIVUMEH reported that 5-11 explosions were recorded per hour during 19-25 January at Fuego, generating ash plumes as high as 1.1 km above the crater rim that drifted no more than 15 km W, SW, and S. Shock waves rattled buildings around the volcano and were felt by residents as far as 12 km away. Block avalanches descended the Ceniza (SSW), Seca (W), Trinidad (S), Taniluyá (SW), El Jute, Las Lajas (SE), and Honda drainages, often reaching vegetated areas. Incandescent material was ejected 100-300 m above the summit almost daily. Ashfall was reported on most days in several areas downwind including Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Finca Palo Verde, Santa Sofía (12 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), and San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW).

Geological summary: Volcán Fuego, one of Central America's most active volcanoes, is also one of three large stratovolcanoes overlooking Guatemala's former capital, Antigua. The scarp of an older edifice, Meseta, lies between Fuego and Acatenango to the north. Construction of Meseta dates back to about 230,000 years and continued until the late Pleistocene or early Holocene. Collapse of Meseta may have produced the massive Escuintla debris-avalanche deposit, which extends about 50 km onto the Pacific coastal plain. Growth of the modern Fuego volcano followed, continuing the southward migration of volcanism that began at the mostly andesitic Acatenango. Eruptions at Fuego have become more mafic with time, and most historical activity has produced basaltic rocks. Frequent vigorous historical eruptions have been recorded since the onset of the Spanish era in 1524, and have produced major ashfalls, along with occasional pyroclastic flows and lava flows.

Ibu, Halmahera (Indonesia)

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

PVMBG reported that during 20-26 January gray-and-white ash plume from Ibu rose 200-800 m above the summit and drifted N, W, and S. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to stay at least 2 km away from the active crater and 3.5 km away on the N side.

Geological summary: The truncated summit of Gunung Ibu stratovolcano along the NW coast of Halmahera Island has large nested summit craters. The inner crater, 1 km wide and 400 m deep, contained several small crater lakes through much of historical time. The outer crater, 1.2 km wide, is breached on the north side, creating a steep-walled valley. A large parasitic cone is located ENE of the summit. A smaller one to the WSW has fed a lava flow down the W flank. A group of maars is located below the N and W flanks. Only a few eruptions have been recorded in historical time, the first a small explosive eruption from the summit crater in 1911. An eruption producing a lava dome that eventually covered much of the floor of the inner summit crater began in December 1998.

Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)

54.049°N, 159.443°E, Summit elev. 1513 m

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over a lava dome in Karymsky’s summit crater was visible in satellite images during 14-15 and 20-21 January. 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.

Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA)

19.421°N, 155.287°W, Summit elev. 1222 m

HVO reported that low lava fountains from a vent on a cone on the inner NW wall of Kilauea’s Halema`uma`u Crater fed flows that traveled down a channel into a perched lava lake during 20-26 January. The western half of the lake deepened from 202 to 205 m and was perched ~4 m above the solidified lava crust adjacent to the crater wall. The stagnant E half remained slightly lower, perched ~2 m above the adjacent crust. The islands remained stationary in the E part of the lake; the dimensions of the largest island remained unchanged and was 23 m above the lake’s surface at the highest point. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was 2,200 tons/day on 23 January.

Geological summary: Kilauea, which overlaps the E flank of the massive Mauna Loa shield volcano, has been Hawaii's most active volcano during historical time. Eruptions are prominent in Polynesian legends; written documentation extending back to only 1820 records frequent summit and flank lava flow eruptions that were interspersed with periods of long-term lava lake activity that lasted until 1924 at Halemaumau crater, within the summit caldera. The 3 x 5 km caldera was formed in several stages about 1500 years ago and during the 18th century; eruptions have also originated from the lengthy East and SW rift zones, which extend to the sea on both sides of the volcano. About 90% of the surface of the basaltic shield volcano is formed of lava flows less than about 1100 years old; 70% of the volcano's surface is younger than 600 years. A long-term eruption from the East rift zone that began in 1983 has produced lava flows covering more than 100 km2, destroying nearly 200 houses and adding new coastline to the island.

Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

56.056°N, 160.642°E, Summit elev. 4754 m

KVERT reported that Strombolian and sometimes Vulcanian activity at Klyuchevskoy continued during 15-22 January and lava advanced down the Kozyrevsky drainage on the S flank and the Apakhonchich drainage on the SE flank. A large bright thermal anomaly was identified daily in satellite images. Steam-and-gas plumes with some ash rose to 6 km (19,700 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 200 km in multiple directions. A notable eruptive event on 18 January generated an ash plume that rose as high as 7.5 km (24,600 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 500 km W. Ashfall (1 cm thick) was reported in Kozyrevsk. On 24 January collapses from the lava flow at about 2,200 elevation sent large amounts of material and pyroclastic flows down the Apakhonchich drainage. KVERT estimated that the ash plumes from the event rose to 8.5 km (27,900 ft) a.s.l. The Tokyo VAAC stated that ash plumes rose as high as 10.4 km (34,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W on the same day. The Aviation Color Code remined at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Geological summary: Klyuchevskoy (also spelled Kliuchevskoi) is Kamchatka's highest and most active volcano. Since its origin about 6000 years ago, the beautifully symmetrical, 4835-m-high basaltic stratovolcano has produced frequent moderate-volume explosive and effusive eruptions without major periods of inactivity. It rises above a saddle NE of sharp-peaked Kamen volcano and lies SE of the broad Ushkovsky massif. More than 100 flank eruptions have occurred during the past roughly 3000 years, with most lateral craters and cones occurring along radial fissures between the unconfined NE-to-SE flanks of the conical volcano between 500 m and 3600 m elevation. The morphology of the 700-m-wide summit crater has been frequently modified by historical eruptions, which have been recorded since the late-17th century. Historical eruptions have originated primarily from the summit crater, but have also included numerous major explosive and effusive eruptions from flank craters.

Kuchinoerabujima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan)

30.443°N, 130.217°E, Summit elev. 657 m

JMA lowered the Alert Level for Kuchinoerabujima to 2 (the second lowest level on a scale of 1-5) on 19 January, noting downward trends in activity data since mid-2020. Specifically, after May 2020 no volcanic earthquakes were detected, inflation slowed to baseline levels, and sulfur dioxide emissions began decreasing though remained slightly high. Additionally, crater incandescence had not been visible after July and no eruptions were recorded after August 2020.

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. 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.

Lewotolo, Lomblen Island (Indonesia)

8.274°S, 123.508°E, Summit elev. 1431 m

PVMBG reported that a Strombolian eruption at Lewotolo continued during 19-26 January. Gray-and-white ash plumes rose 200-1,000 m above the summit daily and drifted E, SE, and W. Rumbling sounds were occasionally reported. Strombolian explosions ejected material 100-600 m above the summit, and incandescent material was sometimes ejected as far as 500 m E, SE, and W from the crater. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4) and the public was warned to stay 4 km away from the summer crater.

Geological summary: The Lewotolo (or Lewotolok) stratovolcano occupies the eastern end of an elongated peninsula extending north into the Flores Sea, connected to Lembata (formerly Lomblen) Island by a narrow isthmus. It is symmetrical when viewed from the north and east. A small cone with a 130-m-wide crater constructed at the SE side of a larger crater forms the volcano's high point. Many lava flows have reached the coastline. Eruptions recorded since 1660 have consisted of explosive activity from the summit crater.

Manam, Papua New Guinea

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

The Darwin VAAC reported that on 23 January ash plumes from Manam rose to 4.9 km (16,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE and N.

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 basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano to its lower flanks. These 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 observed eruptions have originated from the southern crater, concentrating eruptive products during much of the past century into the SE valley. Frequent 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.

Pacaya, Guatemala

14.382°N, 90.601°W, Summit elev. 2569 m

Strombolian activity and lava effusion continued at Pacaya during 19-26 January. Explosions from the cone in Mackenney Crater ejected material as high as 200 m above the vent. Occasionally ash plumes rose no higher than 200 m above the summit and drifted as far as 10 km W, SW, and S. Moderate-to-strong Strombolian explosions on 22 January generated ash plumes that drifted NW and caused ashfall in the regions of San Francisco de Sales and San Vicente Pacaya. The explosions rattled nearby structures. Lava flows were active on the S and SW flanks; avalanches from the S flow front reached the base on the volcano and the SW lava flow traveled as far as 1.7 km by 25 January.

Geological summary: Eruptions from Pacaya, one of Guatemala's most active volcanoes, are frequently visible from Guatemala City, the nation's capital. This complex basaltic volcano was constructed just outside the southern topographic rim of the 14 x 16 km Pleistocene Amatitlán caldera. A cluster of dacitic lava domes occupies the southern caldera floor. The post-caldera Pacaya massif includes the ancestral Pacaya Viejo and Cerro Grande stratovolcanoes and the currently active Mackenney stratovolcano. Collapse of Pacaya Viejo between 600 and 1500 years ago produced a debris-avalanche deposit that extends 25 km onto the Pacific coastal plain and left an arcuate somma rim inside which the modern Pacaya volcano (Mackenney cone) grew. A subsidiary crater, Cerro Chino, was constructed on the NW somma rim and was last active in the 19th century. During the past several decades, activity has consisted of frequent strombolian eruptions with intermittent lava flow extrusion that has partially filled in the caldera moat and armored the flanks of Mackenney cone, punctuated by occasional larger explosive eruptions that partially destroy the summit of the growing young stratovolcano.

Reventador, Ecuador

0.077°S, 77.656°W, Summit elev. 3562 m

IG reported that a high level of activity continued to be recorded at Reventador during 19-26 January; adverse weather conditions sometimes prevented visual conformation. Seismicity was characterized by 42-106 daily explosions, volcano-tectonic and harmonic tremor events, and long-period earthquakes as well as signals indicating emissions. Gas, steam, and ash plumes, often observed 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 mainly NW, W, and SW. Crater incandescence and incandescent blocks rolling 600-800 m down the NE and S flanks were observed on some nights. A new lava flow was active on the N flank.

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.

Sangay, Ecuador

2.005°S, 78.341°W, Summit elev. 5286 m

IG reported a high level of activity at Sangay during 16-26 January. Seismicity was characterized by 30-166 daily explosions, occasional harmonic tremor, long-period earthquakes, and signals indicating emissions. Weather clouds often prevented visual observations of the volcano, but the Washington VAAC and IG webcams recorded daily ash plumes that rose as high as 2.1 km above the summit and drifted mainly NW, W, and SW. Ashfall was reported in the provinces of Chimborazo and Guayas on 23 January.

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.

Santa Maria, Guatemala

14.757°N, 91.552°W, Summit elev. 3745 m

INSIVUMEH reported that during 19-25 January explosions at Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex generated ash plumes that rose 600-900 m above the complex. The extrusion of blocky lava at Caliente dome generated block-and-ash flows that mainly descended the W and SW flanks, often reaching the base of the complex. Ash plumes drifted W and SW during 20-21 January, causing ashfall in Loma Linda (6 km WSW) and San Marcos Palajunoj (8 km SW). On 22 January collapses of material to the E and SE generated pyroclastic flows.

Geological summary: Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa María volcano is part of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rise above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The sharp-topped, conical profile is cut on the SW flank by a 1.5-km-wide crater. The oval-shaped crater extends from just below the summit to the lower flank, and was formed during a catastrophic eruption in 1902. The renowned Plinian eruption of 1902 that devastated much of SW Guatemala followed a long repose period after construction of the large basaltic-andesite stratovolcano. The massive dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex has been growing at the base of the 1902 crater since 1922. Compound dome growth at Santiaguito has occurred episodically from four vents, with activity progressing W towards the most recent, Caliente. Dome growth has been accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions, with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.

Semeru, Eastern Java (Indonesia)

8.108°S, 112.922°E, Summit elev. 3657 m

PVMBG reported that during 19-26 January daily incandescent avalanches of material from the Jonggring Seleko Crater at Semeru traveled 200-1,000 m down the Kobokan drainage on the SE flank. Incandescent material was ejected 50 m above the summit on most days and white-and-gray plumes rose 200-500 m and drifted in multiple directions. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), with a general exclusion zone of 1 km and extensions to 4 km in the SSE sector.

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 15-22 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.

Stromboli, Aeolian Islands (Italy)

38.789°N, 15.213°E, Summit elev. 924 m

INGV reported that during 18-24 January activity at Stromboli was characterized by ongoing explosive activity from Area N (North Crater area) and in Area C-S (South-Central Crater area). Explosions from the N1 vent (Area N) ejected lapilli and bombs 80-150 m high, and produced minor ash emissions. Explosions at four N2 vents (Area N) ejected coarse material as high as 250 m. Periods of continuous and sometimes intense spattering was also visible. Explosions from at least two vents in Area C-S occurred at a rate of 10-18 events per hour; one vent ejected coarse material 250 m high and the other produced ash emissions.

Lava emerged from the P1 and P2 vents in Area N four times, on 18, 22, and 24 January, and flowed onto the upper Sciara del Fuoco. On 18 January incandescent blocks from activity at the P1 vent rolled a few tens of meters down the upper parts of the Sciara del Fuoco. Later that same day blocks from the P2 vent traveled as far as the central part of the Sciara del Fuoco. Lava from P2 traveled down the Sciara del Fuoco on 22 January and accumulated at the coastline. A fourth lava overflow occurred on 24 January from P2, but had less volume than the third.

Geological summary: Spectacular incandescent nighttime explosions at this volcano have long attracted visitors to the "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean." Stromboli, the NE-most of the Aeolian Islands, has lent its name to the frequent mild explosive activity that has characterized its eruptions throughout much of historical time. The small island is the emergent summit of a volcano that grew in two main eruptive cycles, the last of which formed the western portion of the island. The Neostromboli eruptive period took place between about 13,000 and 5,000 years ago. The active summit vents are located at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a prominent horseshoe-shaped scarp formed about 5,000 years ago due to a series of slope failures that extend to below sea level. The modern volcano has been constructed within this scarp, which funnels pyroclastic ejecta and lava flows to the NW. Essentially continuous mild Strombolian explosions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded for more than a millennium.

Source: GVP


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