The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: December 8 – 14, 2021

the-weekly-volcanic-activity-report-december-8-14-2021

New activity/unrest was reported for 3 volcanoes from December 8 to 14, 2021. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 13 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Awu, Sangihe Islands (Indonesia) | Davidof, United States | Semeru, Eastern Java (Indonesia).

Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Etna, Sicily (Italy) | Great Sitkin, Andreanof Islands (USA) | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | La Palma, Spain | Lewotolok, Lembata Island (Indonesia) | Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia) | Pavlof, United States | Semisopochnoi, Aleutian Islands (USA) | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan) | Whakaari/White Island, North Island (New Zealand).

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

Awu, Sangihe Islands (Indonesia)

3.689°N, 125.447°E, Summit elev. 1318 m

PVMBG reported that volcanic seismicity at Awu had increased beginning in October. Notably, the number of shallow volcanic earthquakes increased to 7-26 events per day from the previous maximum of 5 daily events. The number of deep volcanic earthquakes also increased. The Alert Level was raised to 2 (on a scale of 1-4) and the public was warned to stay 1 km away from the summit crater. The report also noted that no emissions nor any other surficial activity had been visible during 1 September-10 December, though weather sometimes hindered views.

Geological summary: The massive Gunung Awu stratovolcano occupies the northern end of Great Sangihe Island, the largest of the Sangihe arc. Deep valleys that form passageways for lahars dissect the flanks of the volcano, which was constructed within a 4.5-km-wide caldera. Powerful explosive eruptions in 1711, 1812, 1856, 1892, and 1966 produced devastating pyroclastic flows and lahars that caused more than 8000 cumulative fatalities. Awu contained a summit crater lake that was 1 km wide and 172 m deep in 1922, but was largely ejected during the 1966 eruption.

Davidof, United States

51.97°N, 178.33°E, Summit elev. 328 m

Earthquake swarms either related to tectonic processes or volcanic unrest were recorded in the vicinity of Davidof during 8-10 December. The largest earthquake was a M 4.2 recorded at 1045 on 10 December. AVO raised the Aviation Color Code to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level to Advisory due to the possibility of escalating volcanic unrest. Small earthquakes continued to be detected during 11-14 December, though at a lower rate and amplitude. Cloudy or mostly cloudy satellite and webcams views showed no volcanic activity.

Geological summary: A cluster of small islands between Segula and Little Sitkin in the western Aleutians, the largest of which is Davidof, are remnants of a stratovolcano that collapsed during the late Tertiary, forming a 2.7-km-wide caldera. The islands include Khvostof, Pyramid, Lopy, and Davidof; the latter three form the eastern rim of the mostly submarine caldera, sometimes referred to as the "Aleutian Krakatau." The islands were constructed above a roughly 100-m-deep submarine platform extending NW to Segula Island; the floor of the caldera lies 80 m below sea level. The islands are vegetated, but lava flows are recognizable, and Smith et al. (1978) suggested a possible Holocene age.

Semeru, Eastern Java (Indonesia)

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

PVMBG reported that lava avalanches from the end of the 700-m-long lava flow on Semeru’s SE flank descended 500 m during 7-8 December. Lava avalanches were detected by the seismic network almost daily during 9-14 December, though weather conditions prevented visual confirmation. During 9-11 December crater incandescence was visible and gray-white ash plumes rose 300-1,000 m above the summit. White plumes rose as high as 1 km above the summit during 12-14 December.

According to BNPB, the death toll from the 4 December collapse event rose to 48 by 13 December, 12 people were still missing, 21 were seriously injured, and 9,374 people were in 129 evacuation centers. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), with a general exclusion zone of 1 km and extensions to 5 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.

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 6-13 December. As many as five eruptive events generated plumes that rose 1.2 km above the crater rim. 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.

Etna, Sicily (Italy)

37.748°N, 14.999°E, Summit elev. 3320 m

INGV reported that during 6-12 December activity at Etna was characterized by gas emissions from all summit craters and ash emissions from Southeast Crater (SEC); weather conditions prevented views during most of the week. During 6-7 December Strombolian activity at SEC produced almost continuous ash emissions that dispersed ENE. On 8 December the ash emissions were diffuse and discontinuous, and dissipated near the summit. At 1805 on 13 December a new vent opened at the base of the W wall of the Valle del Bove, at 2,180 m elevation. A lava flow emerged from the vents and descended a few hundred meters.

Geological summary: Mount Etna, towering above Catania, Sicily's second largest city, has one of the world's longest documented records of historical volcanism, dating back to 1500 BCE. Historical lava flows of basaltic composition cover much of the surface of this massive volcano, whose edifice is the highest and most voluminous in Italy. The Mongibello stratovolcano, truncated by several small calderas, was constructed during the late Pleistocene and Holocene over an older shield volcano. The most prominent morphological feature of Etna is the Valle del Bove, a 5 x 10 km horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the east. Two styles of eruptive activity typically occur, sometimes simultaneously. Persistent explosive eruptions, sometimes with minor lava emissions, take place from one or more summit craters. Flank vents, typically with higher effusion rates, are less frequently active and originate from fissures that open progressively downward from near the summit (usually accompanied by Strombolian eruptions at the upper end). Cinder cones are commonly constructed over the vents of lower-flank lava flows. Lava flows extend to the foot of the volcano on all sides and have reached the sea over a broad area on the SE flank.

Great Sitkin, Andreanof Islands (USA)

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

AVO reported that slow lava effusion at Great Sitkin continued during 8-14 December and very low seismicity persisted. Elevated surface temperatures at the summit, that were sometimes intense, were detected overnight during 10-11 and 13-14 December. A radar image acquired during 12-13 December showed a growing flow 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 during 2-3 December explosions at Karymsky generated ash plumes that rose as high as 4.5 km (14,800 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 235 km ENE. A thermal anomaly was visible in satellite images during 2-4, 7, and 9 December. Dates are based on UTC times. 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 lava effusion continued at a vent in the lower W wall of Kilauea’s Halema`uma`u Crater on most days during 8-14 December. The vent contained ponded and sometimes spattering lava that fed the lake through the E part of the W wall cone. The size of the active part of the lake varied, and lava periodically oozed from the cooler, outer margins of the lake onto the lowest of the exposed down-dropped caldera floor blocks. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was about 3,500 tonnes per day on 9 December. The eruption paused on 11 December then resumed at 2100 on 13 December. The Aviation Color Code and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Orange and Watch, respectively.

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 8-13 December, characterized by sporadic Strombolian activity, occasional lava jetting, advancing and sometimes branching lava flows, and daily ash-and-gas emissions. Seismicity was low at depths of 10-15 km and very low at depths of 30-40 km. Volcanic tremor levels were also generally low, though they fluctuated near the end of the week concurrent with explosive activity.

During 8-12 December activity at several vents in the central and SE part of the main cone was low, with only sporadic pulses of Strombolian activity and ash emissions. Ash-and-gas plumes rose as high as 3.7 km a.s.l. and drifted SSE, SSW, SW, and W. Very intense gas emissions were recorded during 9-11 December. Small landslides from fractured areas in the upper part of the secondary cone (on the E flank) descended the interior part of the crater as well as the flanks. Lava from the vents moved through tubes towards the western part of the flow field, though two main breakout flows traveled W over older flows. The most active area was along the S margin of flow 9, where 9 and 11 had joined, as lava continued to descend the sea cliff and widen in the area of Las Hoyas. During 11-12 December lobes from the S margins of the flow traveled S over new ground in the Las Norias area.

On 12 December several strong pulses of tremor were accompanied by intense Strombolian activity, with the most intense events at 1200 and 1730 and decreased activity during 1300-1700. A small overflow of lava from one of the vents traveled N over older flows. One of the more intense periods produced dense dark ash plumes that rose 6 km a.s.l. and ejected bombs (some several meters in diameter) as far as 500 m away from the vent. New collapses were visible in the main cone, enlarging the crater, and at the secondary cone. During 12-13 December lava continued to travel W through tubes in the central part of the flow field. At the S margins lava filled in uncovered areas between flows 9 and 11. On 13 December tremor levels fluctuated with pulses of intense signals. A period of major explosive activity during 1745-1900 ejected bombs towards the N flank and produced ash-and-gas plumes. At 1820 video showed lava jetting above the vent and incandescent material falling onto the flanks. Activity at the vents quieted afterwards; tremor decreased at 2000 and by 2200 had reached background levels. Gas emissions from the vents were at high levels through 14 December. Lava continued to advance from the W base of the main cone on 14 December, though at a much lower rate compared to the day before. Small breakouts were visible near Montaña Cogote and Las Norias.

Gas and ash emissions continued to impact island residents. Daily measurements indicated that sulfur dioxide emissions persisted at “high” levels (between 1,000 and 29,999 tons per day). Suspended ash and high concentrations of volcanic gases, specifically sulfur dioxide, triggered periodic air-quality alerts mostly affecting the W part of the island including Los Llanos de Aridane, El Paso, and Tazacorte; authorities warned residents of affected areas to stay indoors. Residents and essential personnel were often barred from entering the exclusion zones to irrigate crops, gather belongings, and remove ash from streets and buildings, especially in Las Manchas, Las Norias, and La Bombilla. During 12-13 December diffuse carbon dioxide emissions were 6.9-7.2 times average background levels, specifically impacting the La Bombilla area where dead birds were observed.

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.

Lewotolok, Lembata Island (Indonesia)

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

PVMBG reported that the eruption at Lewotolok continued during 8-14 December. Daily white-and-gray ash plumes that were sometimes dense rose as high as 700 m above the summit, though weather conditions prevented visual confirmation during 11-12 December. Incandescent material was ejected from the vent up to 300 m during 7-11 December, and was accompanied by faint rumbling. 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 that Merapi’s lava domes, located just below the SW rim and in the summit crater, had both grown during 3-9 December. The estimated dome volumes were almost 1.63 million cubic meters for the SW dome and just over 3 million cubic meters for the summit dome. The intensity of the seismic signals remained at high levels. As many as 190 lava avalanches traveled a maximum of 2 km SW down the Bebeng drainage. Four pyroclastic flows traveled a maximum of 2.2 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 seismicity at Pavlof was elevated during 8-14 December, and weak explosive activity was detected by geophysical sensors during 8-11 and 13-14 December. No ash emissions were visible, though satellite and webcam views were often cloudy. Elevated surface temperatures were visible in satellite images during 11-14 December; a lava flow on the E flank was visible in images during 12-13 December. The Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch and the Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

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.

Semisopochnoi, Aleutian Islands (USA)

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

AVO reported that low-level eruptive activity and elevated seismicity at Semisopochnoi's North Cerberus crater continued during 8-14 December. Several daily explosions were detected in seismic and infrasound data. Small ash clouds drifting at least 185 km SE were identified in satellite images during 8-9 December. Persistent steam emissions occasionally punctuated by ash emissions were visible in webcam views during 10-11 December, and ash emissions were visible the next day even though conditions were mostly cloudy. 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 3-10 December. 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 crater incandescence at Suwanosejima's Ontake Crater was visible nightly during 6-13 December. No explosions were detected by the seismic network, though eruption plumes rose 1-3.4 km and material was ejected 400-700 m away from the crater. Ashfall was reported in Toshima village (4 km SSW). 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.

Whakaari/White Island, North Island (New Zealand)

37.52°S, 177.18°E, Summit elev. 294 m

GeoNet reported results from a 10 December overflight of Whakaari/White Island, noting a significant increase of temperatures at the active vent area. Temperatures in the main vent area were as high as 516 degrees Celsius, an increase from the range of 202-264 degrees Celsius measured in both September and November; temperatures over 500 degrees Celsius were last recorded during July-August. Very minor ash emissions continued to be visible with deposits only extending around the active vents. Gas emissions had possibly decreased, though measurements had not been taken since 18 November. The water in the lake has receded likely due to recent weather conditions. The Volcanic Alert Level remained at 2 and the Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow.

Geological summary: The uninhabited Whakaari/White Island is the 2 x 2.4 km emergent summit of a 16 x 18 km submarine volcano in the Bay of Plenty about 50 km offshore of North Island. The island consists of two overlapping andesitic-to-dacitic stratovolcanoes. The SE side of the crater is open at sea level, with the recent activity centered about 1 km from the shore close to the rear crater wall. Volckner Rocks, sea stacks that are remnants of a lava dome, lie 5 km NW. Descriptions of volcanism since 1826 have included intermittent moderate phreatic, phreatomagmatic, and Strombolian eruptions; activity there also forms a prominent part of Maori legends. The formation of many new vents during the 19th and 20th centuries caused rapid changes in crater floor topography. Collapse of the crater wall in 1914 produced a debris avalanche that buried buildings and workers at a sulfur-mining project. Explosive activity in December 2019 took place while tourists were present, resulting in many fatalities. The official government name Whakaari/White Island is a combination of the full Maori name of Te Puia o Whakaari ("The Dramatic Volcano") and White Island (referencing the constant steam plume) given by Captain James Cook in 1769.

Reference:

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 8 December-14 December 2021 – Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

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