The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: September 29 – October 5, 2021


New activity/unrest was reported for 4 volcanoes from September 29 to October 5, 2021. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 18 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | La Palma, Spain | Nyiragongo, DR Congo | Vulcano, Aeolian Islands (Italy).

Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Great Sitkin, Andreanof Islands (USA) | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Katmai, United States | Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Krysuvik-Trolladyngja, Iceland | Langila, New Britain (Papua New Guinea) | Lewotolok, Lembata Island (Indonesia) | Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia) | Pavlof, United States | Reventador, Ecuador | Sangay, Ecuador | Semisopochnoi, Aleutian Islands (USA) | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan) | Taal, Luzon (Philippines) | Telica, Nicaragua | Yasur, Vanuatu.

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.

New activity/unrest

Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA)

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

Seismicity abruptly increased below Kilauea's summit at about 1400 on 29 September. Around 30 minutes later the earthquakes became more intense, frequent, and shallower, and deformation patterns rapidly changed. The data suggested an upward movement of magma that prompted HVO to raise the Aviation Color Code to Orange and the Volcano Alert Level to Watch at 1509. A new eruption was identified at 1521 when incandescence from Halema`uma`u Crater became visible in webcam views; HVO raised the Aviation Color Code to Red and the Volcano Alert Level to Warning. Fissures opened along the bottom of Halema`uma`u Crater floor and produced lava fountains and flows. A photo taken at 1615 showed a large plume comprised of steam, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide rising from the fissures. Measurements just after the eruption started showed sulfur dioxide emissions of around 85,000 tonnes/day. At about 1640 another fissure with several vents opened on the inner W wall of the crater and produced low lava fountains and flows that descended to the crater floor. The vent expanded by 1709. Lava from both fissures pooled on the solidified lava lake surface and quickly began to overturn and create a lava lake. Tephra was deposited in areas SW of the crater and collected by HVO scientists for analysis.

The tallest lava fountain was near the S end of the lava lake and rose 20-25 m during the night of 29-30 September. During a helicopter overflight around 0730 on 30 September scientists determined that the lake was about 980 m E-W and 710 m N-S, covering an estimated 52 hectares. The W wall vent was visible, and several fountains were rising from the fissure in the central part of the lake. Sulfur dioxide emission rates remained high, estimated at around 20,000 tonnes/day. Overnight during 30 September-1 October fountains rose as high as 15 m at the dominant vent in the W wall. Less vigorous fountaining persisted at other vents, though fewer were active. The lake had risen 24 m by the morning of 1 October, adding 4 m in the past day. Cooled and crusted parts of the lake's surface overturned, or "foundered." Sulfur dioxide emission rates remained high, estimated at around 12,900 tonnes per day.

The lake had risen another 2 m by the morning of 2 October; fountains were 7 m tall at the main W wall vent and 1-2 m at the southern vents. Fountains occasionally rose as high as 50-60 m in bursts. Pumice, Pele?s hair, and fragments of volcanic glass were deposited downwind. The sulfur dioxide emission rate on 3 October was again high at 14,750 tonnes/day. The W vent was again the most vigorous during 3-4 October with sustained lava fountains to 10-15 m with occasional bursts up to 20 m. The lake rose 3 m, past the base of the W vent where a 12-m-high spatter cone had formed, and continued to founder in spots. Lava fountains rose 5-10 m from the vents in the S and central portions of the lake, including along a fissure 35-42 m long, with occasional larger bursts. The lake was not level and generally higher near the location of the vents; the W end was 1-2 m higher than the E, and S end was about 1 m higher than the N. By 4 October ledges about 20 m wide separated the N and E parts of the active lava lake from the crater wall and were lower than the lake surface; the N, E, and S margins of the lake were perched about 3 m above the surrounding ledge. The sulfur dioxide emission rate remained elevated but had decreased to 7,000-9,000 tonnes/day. HVO lowered the Aviation Color Code to Orange and the Volcano Alert Level to Watch at 1652. On 5 October lava fountaining from the W vent was unchanged while fountains from the other vents rose 1-5 m. The lake rose 1 more meter.

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.

La Palma, Spain

28.57°N, 17.83°W, Summit elev. 2426 m

The eruption at La Palma continued during 29 September-5 October, characterized by Strombolian explosions, lava fountaining from multiple vents, lava flows, and daily ash emissions. Seismicity continued to be elevated with earthquakes located mainly 10-15 km deep (though some were 25-40 km deep) in the same area where the swarm first began on 11 September; dozens of events were felt by residents.

Within the first eight days of the eruption, 21-27 September, an estimated 50 million cubic meters of material had been erupted. Just before midnight on 28 September the lava reached the ocean, producing a steam-and-gas plume; within 45 minutes the lava created a 50-m-high delta. The sulfur dioxide flux was as high as 16,760 tons per day. On 29 September the PEVOLCA (Plan de Emergencias Volcánicas de Canarias) steering committee restated that the 2.5 km and maritime exclusion zones around the vents and ocean entry, respectively, remained in effect; residents were periodically allowed to collect belongings and care for animals and crops. The lava covered almost 4.8 square kilometers, burying or damaging 744 buildings. There were 185 evacuees in a local hotel. Ash plumes continued to rise from the active vents, and IGN noted a decrease in plume altitude to 3.5 km (11,500 ft) a.s.l. on 29 September and then a rise to 5 km (16,400 ft) a.s.l. the next day.

Lava continued flowing to the sea along the same path. The lava delta had grown three times in size by 30 September to an estimated 0.17 square kilometers; the furthest edge of the delta was 450 m from the coast, it had spread laterally 600-800 m, and was as thick as 24 m. PEVOLCA lifted access restrictions for residents of Tazacorte, San Borondón, Marina Alta, Marina Baja, and La Condesa (nearly 4,000 people); they had previously been warned to stay indoors to minimize coming into contact with potentially toxic gas plumes generated from the ocean entry. Restrictions for other residents living near the margins of the flows were also lifted.

Two vents opened about 600 m NW of the main cone on 1 October and within two days had formed small cones. Lava from the vents traveled W and joined the main flow field downslope. The lava delta had extended 540 m from the coastline. Ash plumes rose to 3-5 km a.s.l. and drifted S on 2 October, and sulfur dioxide emissions were 3,401 tons per day.

By 3 October an estimated 946 houses had been completely demolished and 128 had been partially damaged. The width of the flow field was a maximum of 1,250 m and lava tubes were identified in satellite images. The lava delta had developed four lobes being fed by multiple flows and had an estimated area of 0.32 square kilometers. In the afternoon the frequency and intensity of explosive activity increased and bombs were ejected as far as 800 m. Lava fountains rose hundreds of meters and ash plumes rose as high as 4.5 km (14,800 ft) a.s.l. The sulfur dioxide emission rate reached 16,000 tons per day. During 1900-1945 one of the new cones collapsed, which allowed the inner lava lake to spill out, sending flows downslope carrying blocks from the destroyed portion of the cone. Ash plumes rose as high as 4.5 km a.s.l. and explosions ejected bombs on 5 October according to a news report. Some explosions produced dense black plumes that billowed as they rose above the vent. The Alert Level remained at Red (the highest level on a four-color scale) for affected communities.

Geological summary: The 47-km-long wedge-shaped island of La Palma, the NW-most of the Canary Islands, is composed of two large volcanic centers. The older northern one is cut by the massive steep-walled Caldera Taburiente, one of several massive collapse scarps produced by edifice failure to the SW. The younger Cumbre Vieja, the southern volcano, is one of the most active in the Canaries. The elongated volcano dates back to about 125,000 years ago and is oriented N-S. Eruptions during the past 7,000 years have formed abundant cinder cones and craters along the axis of Cumbre Vieja, producing fissure-fed lava flows that descend steeply to the sea. Eruptions recorded since the 15th century have produced mild explosive activity and lava flows that damaged populated areas. The southern tip of the island is mantled by a broad lava field emplaced during the 1677-1678 eruption. Lava flows also reached the sea in 1585, 1646, 1712, 1949, and 1971.

Nyiragongo, DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E, Summit elev. 3470 m

According to a news article the scientific director of GVO stated that lava had returned to Nyiragongo's crater on 18 September. Notable thermal anomalies were visible in Sentinel satellite images on 29 September and 4 October.

Geological summary: One of Africa's most notable volcanoes, Nyiragongo contained a lava lake in its deep summit crater that was active for half a century before draining catastrophically through its outer flanks in 1977. The steep slopes of a stratovolcano contrast to the low profile of its neighboring shield volcano, Nyamuragira. Benches in the steep-walled, 1.2-km-wide summit crater mark levels of former lava lakes, which have been observed since the late-19th century. Two older stratovolcanoes, Baruta and Shaheru, are partially overlapped by Nyiragongo on the north and south. About 100 parasitic cones are located primarily along radial fissures south of Shaheru, east of the summit, and along a NE-SW zone extending as far as Lake Kivu. Many cones are buried by voluminous lava flows that extend long distances down the flanks, which is characterized by the eruption of foiditic rocks. The extremely fluid 1977 lava flows caused many fatalities, as did lava flows that inundated portions of the major city of Goma in January 2002.

Vulcano, Aeolian Islands (Italy)

38.404°N, 14.962°E, Summit elev. 500 m

INGV reported that hydrothermal activity at Vulcano increased in July, and notably more in September. Specifically, temperatures of the fumaroles on the crater rim and on the inner flank had increased along with the amounts of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide in the emissions. The highest temperature of 340 degrees Celsius was along the rim. The temperature and salinity of groundwater measured near the base of La Fossa cone were both elevated, and outgassing from ground sites was noted. On 13 September the seismic network detected a significant increase in microseismcity linked to hydrothermal processes. Additionally, very-long-period events were also recorded for the first time in 15 years when instrumentation able to detect the signals was installed. Deformation on the N side of the cone was first identified in mid-August and totaled 1 cm of uplift by mid-September. The report stated that new seismic stations and instruments to measure carbon dioxide emissions had been added to the monitoring network, and a thermal camera pointing at the fumarolic field was planned. The Dipartimento della Protezione Civile raised the Alert Level to Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-color scale) on 1 October.

Geological summary: The word volcano is derived from Vulcano stratovolcano in Italy's Aeolian Islands. Vulcano was constructed during six stages over the past 136,000 years. Two overlapping calderas, the 2.5-km-wide Caldera del Piano on the SE and the 4-km-wide Caldera della Fossa on the NW, were formed at about 100,000 and 24,000-15,000 years ago, respectively, and volcanism has migrated north over time. La Fossa cone, active throughout the Holocene and the location of most historical eruptions, occupies the 3-km-wide Caldera della Fossa at the NW end of the elongated 3 x 7 km island. The Vulcanello lava platform is a low, roughly circular peninsula on the northern tip of Vulcano that was formed as an island beginning more than 2,000 years ago and was connected to the main island in about 1550 CE. Vulcanello is capped by three pyroclastic cones and was active intermittently until the 16th century. The latest eruption from Vulcano consisted of explosive activity from the Fossa cone from 1898 to 1900.

Ongoing activity

Aira, Kyushu (Japan)

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

JMA reported that incandescence from Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera's Sakurajima volcano) was visible at night during 27 September-4 October. The trend of inflation that was first detected on 13 September continued. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was 1,500 tons per day on 28 September. A very small eruptive event occurred on 3 October. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale), and residents were warned to stay 2 km away from the crater.

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.

Great Sitkin, Andreanof Islands (USA)

52.076°N, 176.13°W, Summit elev. 1740 m

AVO reported that lava effusion continued at Great Sitkin during 29 September-5 October. Seismicity remained elevated and was characterized by small earthquakes consistent with lava effusion. Elevated surface temperatures were detected in satellite images. By 3 October the dome had grown to 1,200 m E-W and 1,000 m N-S. Lava flows that continued to advance down the S and SW flanks were about 300-350 m long. The SW lobe was descending two drainages and produced hot avalanches that traveled 450 m downslope on top of a snow field. The Aviation Color Code and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Orange and Watch, respectively.

Geological summary: The Great Sitkin volcano forms much of the northern side of Great Sitkin Island. A younger parasitic volcano capped by a small, 0.8 x 1.2 km ice-filled summit caldera was constructed within a large late-Pleistocene or early Holocene scarp formed by massive edifice failure that truncated an ancestral volcano and produced a submarine debris avalanche. Deposits from this and an older debris avalanche from a source to the south cover a broad area of the ocean floor north of the volcano. The summit lies along the eastern rim of the younger collapse scarp. Deposits from an earlier caldera-forming eruption of unknown age cover the flanks of the island to a depth up to 6 m. The small younger caldera was partially filled by lava domes emplaced in 1945 and 1974, and five small older flank lava domes, two of which lie on the coastline, were constructed along northwest- and NNW-trending lines. Hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles occur near the head of Big Fox Creek, south of the volcano. Historical eruptions have been recorded since the late-19th century.

Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)

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

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Karymsky was identified in satellite images during 24-28 September. Ash plumes rose as high as 4.6 km (15,100 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 100 km E, SE, and SW during 24-26 September. 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.

Katmai, United States

58.28°N, 154.963°W, Summit elev. 2047 m

AVO reported that beginning at 0400 on 2 October strong winds in the vicinity of Katmai and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes blew unconsolidated ash SE towards Kodiak Island at an altitude up to 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. The ash was originally deposited during the Novarupta eruption in 1912. The Volcano Alert Level remained at Normal and the Aviation Color Code remained at Green.

Geological summary: Prior to 1912, Mount Katmai was a compound stratovolcano with four NE-SW-trending summits, most of which were truncated by caldera collapse in that year. Two or more large explosive eruptions took place from Mount Katmai during the late Pleistocene. Most of the two overlapping pre-1912 Katmai volcanoes are Pleistocene in age, but Holocene lava flows from a flank vent descend the SE flank of the SW stratovolcano into the Katmai River canyon. Katmai was initially considered to be the source of the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes ash flow in 1912. However, the 3 x 4 km wide caldera of 1912 is now known to have formed as a result of the voluminous eruption at nearby Novarupta volcano. The steep walled young caldera has a jagged rim that rises 500-1000 m above the caldera floor and contains a 250-m-deep, still-rising lake. Lake waters have covered a small post-collapse lava dome (Horseshoe Island) that was seen on the caldera floor at the time of the initial ascent to the caldera rim in 1916. Post-1912 glaciers have formed on a bench within Katmai caldera.

Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

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

On 29 September strong winds resuspended unconsolidated ash from Klyuchevskoy's flanks causing KVERT to raise the Aviation Color Code to Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale). Conditions were quiet the next day; KVERT lowered the Aviation Color Code back to Green.

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.

Krysuvik-Trolladyngja, Iceland

63.917°N, 22.067°W, Summit elev. 360 m

The Institute of Earth Sciences reported that lava effusion at Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcanic system, close to Fagradalsfjall on the Reykjanes Peninsula, likely ceased during the evening of 18 September. The area of the flow field was about 4.85 square kilometers, and the total volume erupted was 150 million cubic meters, based on 30 September measurements. Parts of lava flows thickened in areas to the S of Geldingadalur and in Nàtthagi valley, and deflated in areas N of Geldingadalur. Points of incandescence were visible at night, at least through 4 October, likely from lava flows that continued to advance downslope.

A seismic swarm in an area SW of Keilir (about 10 km NE of the fifth vent), at the N end of the dike intrusion, began on 27 September. According to news reports, over 6,000 earthquakes at depths of 5-6 km had been recorded by 4 October with at least 12 of them over M 3; the largest event was a M 3.8. Some of the larger events were felt in the capital. The seismicity was similar to patterns recorded before the beginning of the eruption to the SW. IMO stated that more data was needed to characterize the data as either indicative of magma movement or due to tectonic stress. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange due to the lack of ash and tephra emissions, though IMO warned of the potential for lapilli and scoria fallout within a 650 m radius of the active vent. Authorities also warned of gas emission hazards.

Geological summary: The Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcanic system is described by the Catalogue of Icelandic Volcanoes as an approximately 50-km-long composite fissure swarm trending about N38°E, including a 30-km-long swarm of fissures, with no central volcano. It is one of the volcanic systems arranged en-echelon along the Reykjanes Peninsula west of Kleifarvatn lake. The Fagradalsfjall and Krýsuvík fissure swarms are considered splits or secondary swarms of the Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcanic system. Small shield volcanoes have produced a large portion of the erupted volume within the system. Several eruptions have taken place since the settlement of Iceland, including the eruption of a large basaltic lava flow from the Ogmundargigar crater row around the 12th century. The latest eruption, identified through tephrochronology, took place during the 14th century.

Langila, New Britain (Papua New Guinea)

5.525°S, 148.42°E, Summit elev. 1330 m

The Darwin VAAC reported that a discrete ash plume from Langila rose to 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. on 3 October and drifted S. A thermal anomaly was visible afterward. On 4 October an ash plume again rose to 1.8 km a.s.l. and drifted S.

Geological summary: Langila, one of the most active volcanoes of New Britain, consists of a group of four small overlapping composite basaltic-andesitic cones on the lower E flank of the extinct Talawe volcano in the Cape Gloucester area of NW New Britain. A rectangular, 2.5-km-long crater is breached widely to the SE; Langila was constructed NE of the breached crater of Talawe. An extensive lava field reaches the coast on the N and NE sides of Langila. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded since the 19th century from three active craters at the summit. The youngest and smallest crater (no. 3 crater) was formed in 1960 and has a diameter of 150 m.

Lewotolok, Lembata Island (Indonesia)

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

PVMBG reported that the eruption at Lewotolok continued during 28 September-4 October. White-and-gray plumes rose as high as 800 m above the summit and drifted NW, W, and SW. Rumbling sounds were reported almost daily. During 30 September-1 October and 3-4 October incandescent material was ejected as far as 700 m away from the vent in multiple directions. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4) and the public was warned to stay 3 km away from the summit crater.

Geological summary: The Lewotolok (or Lewotolo) 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.

Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia)

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

BPPTKG reported minor morphological changes to Merapi's SW lava dome, located just below the SW rim and in the summit crater, and no changes to the summit crater dome during 24-30 September. The SW dome grew 1 m taller and had an estimated volume of 1.63 million cubic meters; the summit lava dome had an estimated volume of 2.85 million cubic meters. As many as 67 lava avalanches traveled a maximum of 1.8 km SW. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to stay 3-5 km away from the summit based on location.

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.

Pavlof, United States

55.417°N, 161.894°W, Summit elev. 2493 m

AVO reported that seismicity at Pavlof remained elevated during 29 September-5 October. No explosions were recorded most days by the seismic and infrasound networks, and no eruptive activity was observed in mostly cloudy webcam and satellite images. On 3 October webcam images showed that recent ash deposits on the flanks had been covered by fresh snow; later that night either new ash deposits were visible in webcam images or older deposits were revealed due to snowmelt. Weakly elevated surface temperatures were identified in satellite images. At least two minor explosions were recorded during 4-5 October and minor emissions likely comprised of steam and sulfur dioxide were visible in morning webcam images on 5 October. The Volcano Alert Level and Aviation Color Code remained at Watch and Orange, respectively.

Geological summary: The most active volcano of the Aleutian arc, Pavlof is a 2519-m-high Holocene stratovolcano that was constructed along a line of vents extending NE from the Emmons Lake caldera. Pavlof and its twin volcano to the NE, 2142-m-high Pavlof Sister, form a dramatic pair of symmetrical, glacier-covered stratovolcanoes that tower above Pavlof and Volcano bays. A third cone, Little Pavlof, is a smaller volcano on the SW flank of Pavlof volcano, near the rim of Emmons Lake caldera. Unlike Pavlof Sister, Pavlof has been frequently active in historical time, typically producing Strombolian to Vulcanian explosive eruptions from the summit vents and occasional lava flows. The active vents lie near the summit on the north and east sides. The largest historical eruption took place in 1911, at the end of a 5-year-long eruptive episode, when a fissure opened on the N flank, ejecting large blocks and issuing lava flows.

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 29 September-3 October; cloudy weather conditions sometimes prevented webcam and satellite views. Gas-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 W and NW. Crater incandescence was often observed at night along with incandescent blocks that rolled as far as 800 m down the flanks.

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 28 September-5 October. Weather clouds and rain sometimes prevented visual and webcam observations of the volcano. Ash plumes were identified in satellite images by the Washington VAAC or in webcam views during 30 September-1 October and 3 and 5 October; plumes rose 500-1,200 m above the volcano and drifted W and SW. Thermal anomalies over the volcano were often visible in satellite data. An active lava flow on the flanks was visible during a break in the weather cloud cover the evening of 4 October.

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.

Semisopochnoi, Aleutian Islands (USA)

51.93°N, 179.58°E, Summit elev. 1221 m

AVO reported that eruptive activity at Semisopochnoi's North Cerberus crater continued during 29 September-5 October. Seismicity remained elevated with intermittent explosion signals or bursts of activity likely from explosions. A few explosions were also detected in regional infrasound data during 2-5 October. Small ash clouds were observed almost daily in either webcam or satellite images rising to altitudes below 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l.; plumes drifted ENE on 2 October, then N and NW on 3 October. Sulfur dioxide plumes were possibly observed on a few days, though definitely on 3 October. Webcams located 5-6 km from the active vent recorded ashfall during 4-5 October. 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 Anvil Peak, a double-peaked late-Pleistocene cone that forms much of the island's northern part. The three-peaked Mount Cerberus was constructed within the caldera during the Holocene. Each of the peaks contains a summit crater; lava flows on the N flank of Cerberus appear younger than those on the south side. Other post-caldera volcanoes include the symmetrical 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 eruptions have originated from Cerberus, although Coats (1950) considered that both Sugarloaf and Lakeshore Cone could have been recently active.

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 24 September-1 October. 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 129 explosions at Suwanosejima's Ontake Crater produced eruption plumes that rose as high as 3 km above the crater rim during 27 September-4 October. Large volcanic bombs were ejected as far as1 km from the crater. Crater incandescence was visible nightly. The Alert Level remained at 3 and the public was warned to stay 2 km away from the crater.

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.

Taal, Luzon (Philippines)

14.002°N, 120.993°E, Summit elev. 311 m

PHIVOLCS reported that sulfur dioxide emissions at Taal averaged 8,854 tonnes/day beginning on 27 September, and peaked on 5 October at 25,456 tonnes/day which was the highest ever sulfur dioxide gas flux recorded at the volcano. On 27 September the number of daily volcanic earthquakes significantly decreased. During 27 September-5 October upwelling of hot volcanic fluids in the lake was visible and gas-and-steam plumes rose as high as 3 km above the lake. The report noted that a sudden increase in inflation below Taal Volcano Island was recorded in August. The Volcano Alert Level remained at a 2 (on a scale of 0-5). PHIVOLCS reminded the public that the entire Taal Volcano Island is a Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) and that boating on Taal Lake was prohibited.

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.

Telica, Nicaragua

12.606°N, 86.84°W, Summit elev. 1036 m

INETER reported that on 4 September a diffuse ash plume from Telica rose 1.2 km (4,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted less than 10 km WSW, based on satellite images and model data.

Geological summary: Telica, one of Nicaragua's most active volcanoes, has erupted frequently since the beginning of the Spanish era. This volcano group consists of several interlocking cones and vents with a general NW alignment. Sixteenth-century eruptions were reported at symmetrical Santa Clara volcano at the SW end of the group. However, its eroded and breached crater has been covered by forests throughout historical time, and these eruptions may have originated from Telica, whose upper slopes in contrast are unvegetated. The steep-sided cone of Telica is truncated by a 700-m-wide double crater; the southern crater, the source of recent eruptions, is 120 m deep. El Liston, immediately E, has several nested craters. The fumaroles and boiling mudpots of Hervideros de San Jacinto, SE of Telica, form a prominent geothermal area frequented by tourists, and geothermal exploration has occurred nearby.

Yasur, Vanuatu

19.532°S, 169.447°E, Summit elev. 361 m

On 30 September the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) reported that seismic data and recent visual observations at Yasur confirmed ongoing explosions and gas-and-ash emissions. A few earthquakes were recorded on 28 September. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-4). VMGD reminded residents and tourists that hazardous areas were near and around the volcanic crater, within a 600-m-radius exclusion zone, and that volcanic ash and gas could reach areas impacted by trade winds.

Geological summary: Yasur, the best-known and most frequently visited of the Vanuatu volcanoes, has been in more-or-less continuous Strombolian and Vulcanian activity since Captain Cook observed ash eruptions in 1774. This style of activity may have continued for the past 800 years. Located at the SE tip of Tanna Island, this mostly unvegetated pyroclastic cone has a nearly circular, 400-m-wide summit crater. The active cone is largely contained within the small Yenkahe caldera, and is the youngest of a group of Holocene volcanic centers constructed over the down-dropped NE flank of the Pleistocene Tukosmeru volcano. The Yenkahe horst is located within the Siwi ring fracture, a 4-km-wide, horseshoe-shaped caldera associated with eruption of the andesitic Siwi pyroclastic sequence. Active tectonism along the Yenkahe horst accompanying eruptions has raised Port Resolution harbor more than 20 m during the past century.


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 September-5 October 2021. Managing editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

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