The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: December 29 – January 4, 2022
New activity/unrest was reported for 7 volcanoes from December 29, 2021 to January 4, 2022. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 17 volcanoes.
New activity/unrest: Ambae, Vanuatu | Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai, Tonga Islands | Karangetang, Siau Island (Indonesia) | Krysuvik-Trolladyngja, Iceland | Nyiragongo, DR Congo | Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion Island (France) | Semeru, Eastern Java (Indonesia).
Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Davidof, United States | Fukutoku-Oka-no-Ba, Volcano Islands (Japan) | Great Sitkin, Andreanof Islands (USA) | Ibu, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | Lewotolok, Lembata Island (Indonesia) | Merapi, Central Java (Indonesia) | Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia | Pavlof, United States | Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica | Sabancaya, Peru | Semisopochnoi, Aleutian Islands (USA) | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan) | Yasur, Vanuatu.
15.389°S, 167.835°E, Summit elev. 1496 m
The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) stated that ash-and-gas plumes from Ambae had recently become more noticeable and that residents had reported minor ashfall on roofs and crops. Webcam images showed ash plumes drifting ENE at 1730 and 1830 on 2 January. At 0600 on 3 January an ash-and-steam plume rose 5 km, though only the lower portion of the plume contained ash. At 0730 that same day an ash plume rose almost 1.6 km. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-5) and the public was warned to stay outside of the Danger Zone defined as a 2-km radius around the active vents in Lake Voui and away from drainages during heavy rains.
Geological summary: The island of Ambae, also known as Aoba, is a massive 2,500 km3 basaltic shield that is the most voluminous volcano of the New Hebrides archipelago. A pronounced NE-SW-trending rift zone dotted with scoria cones gives the 16 x 38 km island an elongated form. A broad pyroclastic cone containing three crater lakes (Manaro Ngoru, Voui, and Manaro Lakua) is located at the summit within the youngest of at least two nested calderas, the largest of which is 6 km in diameter. That large central edifice is also called Manaro Voui or Lombenben volcano. Post-caldera explosive eruptions formed the summit craters about 360 years ago. A tuff cone was constructed within Lake Voui (or Vui) about 60 years later. The latest known flank eruption, about 300 years ago, destroyed the population of the Nduindui area near the western coast.
Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai, Tonga Islands
20.536°S, 175.382°W, Summit elev. 114 m
The eruption at Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai continued intermittently during 29 December 2021 to 4 January 2022, though by 3 January activity had significantly decreased. Several surges of Surtseyan activity, with some periods lasting as long as 30 minutes, occurred during 28-29 December; gas, steam, and ash plumes rose at least to 12.2 km (40,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N, though the maximum altitude of the ash-rich portion of the plume was lower. Ashfall was local to areas around the island. Discolored water and rafts of pumice were visible in areas around the island on 30 December, and had been observed since the beginning of the eruption. Steam-and-gas plumes were visible throughout the day, interspersed with occasional tephra ejections. The plumes rose as high as 12 km (39,400 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NNE. During the morning of 31 December intermittent plumes of ash, steam, and gas rose to 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. according to the Wellington VAAC, though the steam-and-gas portion of the plume rose as high as 18 km (59,000 ft) a.s.l. as stated by the Tonga Meteorological Services. The Met Services also noted that ash was no longer visible in the emissions starting around noon.
Steam-and-gas plumes were occasional visible in satellite data during 1-2 January. A small ash plume rose 6-7 km (19,700-23,000 ft) a.s.l. during 2220-2230 on 2 January and drifted 10 m NE, dropping in altitude along the way. A cyclone that passed through the area during 3-4 January obscured views of the volcano.
Geological summary: The small islands of Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai cap a large seamount located about 30 km SSE of Falcon Island. The two linear andesitic islands are about 2 km long and represent the western and northern remnants of the rim of a largely submarine caldera lying east and south of the islands. Hunga Tonga reaches an elevation of about 114 m above sea level, and both islands display inward-facing sea cliffs with lava and tephra layers dipping gently away from the submarine caldera. A rocky shoal 3.2 km SE of Hunga Ha'apai and 3 km south of Hunga Tonga marks a historically active vent. Several submarine eruptions have occurred at Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai since the first historical eruption in 1912. An eruption that began in mid-December 2014 built a new island between the other two large islands.
Karangetang, Siau Island (Indonesia)
2.781°N, 125.407°E, Summit elev. 1797 m
PVMBG reported that incandescence from Karangetang’s N crater was periodically visible during 31 December 2021 to 4 January 2022. Bluish-white emissions drifted S on 2 January. White-and-gray plumes rose as high as 200 m during 2-3 January. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).
Geological summary: Karangetang (Api Siau) volcano lies at the northern end of the island of Siau, about 125 km NNE of the NE-most point of Sulawesi island. The stratovolcano contains five summit craters along a N-S line. It is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, with more than 40 eruptions recorded since 1675 and many additional small eruptions that were not documented in the historical record (Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World: Neumann van Padang, 1951). Twentieth-century eruptions have included frequent explosive activity sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows and lahars. Lava dome growth has occurred in the summit craters; collapse of lava flow fronts have produced pyroclastic flows.
63.917°N, 22.067°W, Summit elev. 360 m
Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) reported that the earthquake swarm at the Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcanic system was ongoing with more than 19,000 earthquakes recorded during 21-28 December. Earthquakes M 4 or above totaled 14. The number and size of the earthquakes progressively decreased during 29 December 2021 to 3 January 2022; 200 events were recorded during 0000-1535 on 3 January. The seismicity was located along the same dyke system that fed the recent eruption at Geldingadalir. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.
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.
Nyiragongo, DR Congo
1.52°S, 29.25°E, Summit elev. 3470 m
OVG reported that voluminous gas plumes were visible rising from Nyiragongo and crater incandescence was visible during 3-5 January. Lava fountaining and collapses at active vents on the crater floor were observed along with a growing lava lake. Rumbling was sometimes audible.
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.
Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion Island (France)
21.244°S, 55.708°E, Summit elev. 2632 m
OVPF reported that the eruption at Piton de la Fournaise continued during 29 December 2021 to 4 January 2022. Weather clouds often obscured views of the vent, though visual observations were made daily. Low lava fountaining, with material rarely rising just above the crater rim, was visible on 29 December. A small mound with a vent that had grown at the base of the main cone was producing gas emissions, and lava advanced through a tube. Lava fountaining was slightly more intense during 30 December 2021 to 3 January 2022, with lava more frequently rising above the crater rim. Several breakouts of lava from the tube were noted downstream of the vent. The lava effusion rate was an estimated 2.3-9 meters per second, with peak rates of 21 meters per second, based on satellite data. Activity at the main cone decreased during 3-4 January. Lava flows within the first 100 m from the cone were an estimated 15 m thick. The flow field continued to widen but had not significantly lengthened.
Geological summary: The massive Piton de la Fournaise basaltic shield volcano on the French island of Réunion in the western Indian Ocean is one of the world's most active volcanoes. Much of its more than 530,000-year history overlapped with eruptions of the deeply dissected Piton des Neiges shield volcano to the NW. Three calderas formed at about 250,000, 65,000, and less than 5000 years ago by progressive eastward slumping of the volcano. Numerous pyroclastic cones dot the floor of the calderas and their outer flanks. Most historical eruptions have originated from the summit and flanks of Dolomieu, a 400-m-high lava shield that has grown within the youngest caldera, which is 8 km wide and breached to below sea level on the eastern side. More than 150 eruptions, most of which have produced fluid basaltic lava flows, have occurred since the 17th century. Only six eruptions, in 1708, 1774, 1776, 1800, 1977, and 1986, have originated from fissures on the outer flanks of the caldera. The Piton de la Fournaise Volcano Observatory, one of several operated by the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, monitors this very active volcano.
Semeru, Eastern Java (Indonesia)
8.108°S, 112.922°E, Summit elev. 3657 m
PVMBG reported that the eruption at Semeru continued during 29 December 2021 to 4 January 2022. Crater incandescence was visible during the nights of 31 December-4 January. At 0431 on 31 December a pyroclastic flow was generated from the end of the lava flow and an ash plume that rose 2 km above the summit drifted N. A pyroclastic flow descended the Kobokan drainage a maximum distance of 5 km SE on 1 January. Gray-and-white ash plumes rose as high as 800 m above the summit during 3-4 January and drifted in multiple directions. A pyroclastic flow traveled 5 km SE. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4). The public was warned to stay at least 500 m away from Kobokan drainages within 17 km of the summit, and other drainages originating on Semeru including the Bang, Kembar, and Sat, due to lahar, avalanche, and pyroclastic flow hazards.
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.
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 December 2021 to 3 January 2022. An eruptive event at 2324 on 28 December produced an ash plume that rose 1.1 km above the crater rim. An eruptive event at 2105 on 1 January 2022 generated ash plumes that rose 1 km and ejected bombs 600-900 m away from the crater. 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.
Davidof, United States
51.97°N, 178.33°E, Summit elev. 328 m
AVO lowered both the Aviation Color Code and the Volcano Alert Level for Davidof to Unassigned on 31 December, noting that the earthquake swarm that had begun in early December had subsided. The closest seismometers are approximately 15 km E, on Little Sitkin Island. Davidof is also monitored by satellite data and remote infrasound and lightning networks.
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.
Fukutoku-Oka-no-Ba, Volcano Islands (Japan)
24.285°N, 141.481°E, Summit elev. -29 m
The Japan Coast Guard reported that during a 27 December overflight of Fukutoku-Oka-no-Ba, observers noted that the island formed in mid-August had become smaller since 14 December, and had almost eroded below the ocean surface. No eruptive activity was observed, though brownish water spouted from the E end of the island. Yellowish-green water and a string of floating pumice, 400 m long, was circulating 5 km E. Discolored water was visible around almost the entire coast of Minami-Ioto (5 km SSW).
Geological summary: Fukutoku-Oka-no-ba is a submarine volcano located 5 km NE of the pyramidal island of Minami-Ioto. Water discoloration is frequently observed from the volcano, and several ephemeral islands have formed in the 20th century. The first of these formed Shin-Ioto ("New Sulfur Island") in 1904, and the most recent island was formed in 1986. The volcano is part of an elongated edifice with two major topographic highs trending NNW-SSE, and is a trachyandesitic volcano geochemically similar to Ioto.
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 29 December 2021 to 4 January 2022 along with very low and persistent seismicity. Satellite images acquired on 29 December 2021 and 1 January 2022 showed that the lava flows on the W flanks had advanced. 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.
Ibu, Halmahera (Indonesia)
1.488°N, 127.63°E, Summit elev. 1325 m
PVMBG reported that during 31 December 2021 to 4 January 2022 gray-and-white ash plumes from Ibu rose 200-1,000 m above the summit. Avalanches were detected daily, though not visually observed. The Alert Level remained at a 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, has contained several small crater lakes. The 1.2-km-wide outer crater is breached on the N, creating a steep-walled valley. A large cone grew ENE of the summit, and 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. The first observed and recorded eruption was a small explosion from the summit crater in 1911. Eruptive activity began again in December 1998, producing a lava dome that eventually covered much of the floor of the inner summit crater along with ongoing explosive ash emissions.
Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)
54.049°N, 159.443°E, Summit elev. 1513 m
KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Karymsky was visible in satellite images during 28-30 December. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale). Dates are based on UTC times; specific events are in local time where noted.
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 intermittently continued from a vent in the lower W wall of Kilauea’s Halema`uma`u Crater during 29 December 2021 to 4 January 2022. Effusion at the vent paused on the evening of 29 December and the lake mostly crusted over, though lava oozed over the edge of the lake margins in several areas, suggesting a continuing supply of molten lava below the crust. Parts of the crusted lake overturned during 2000-2300. Occasional minor activity at the vent was visible during the morning of 30 December, and lava again began effusing form the vent at 1445. Several large lava overflows of the lake occurred in the evening and bright glow was visible in the evening sky from Volcano to lower Puna. Lava effusion was low during 1-2 January and by 0200 on 2 January the lake once again began to crust over. A large breakout along the N margin of the lake was active. Effusion ceased during 2-4 January; the lake was mostly crusted over except a few overturns N of the vent were noted. 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.
Lewotolok, Lembata Island (Indonesia)
8.274°S, 123.508°E, Summit elev. 1431 m
PVMBG reported that the eruption at Lewotolok continued during 31 December 2021 to 4 January 2022. White-and-gray ash plumes that were sometimes dense rose as high as 600 m above the summit. Incandescent material was occasionally ejected from the vent up to 300 m from the vent and rumbling was sometimes heard. 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 no notable morphological changes to Merapi’s summit lava dome, though the dome just below the SW rim had decreased about 3 m in height during 24-30 December. The estimated dome volumes were over 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 175 lava avalanches traveled a maximum of 2 km SW down the Bebeng drainage, and two pyroclastic flows 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.
Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia
4.892°N, 75.324°W, Summit elev. 5279 m
Servicio Geológico Colombiano’s (SGC) Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales reported that during 28 December 2021 to 3 January 2022 seismicity at Nevado del Ruiz was at similar levels to the week before, characterized by periods of continuous volcanic tremor, long-period events, and very-long-period earthquakes, indicating movement of fluids. These earthquakes occurred in the vicinity of Arenas Crater. Additional earthquake signals indicating rock fracturing were located in the SW, SE, and NE parts of the volcano. Several periods of “drumbeat” seismicity, indicting growth of the lava dome, were recorded during 29-30 December and 3 January. Several low-level thermal anomalies were identified in satellite images during the week. The highest gas-and-steam plume rose about 1.2 km above the summit, recorded on 3 January. The Alert Level remained at 3 (Yellow; the second lowest level on a four-color scale).
Geological summary: Nevado del Ruiz is a broad, glacier-covered volcano in central Colombia that covers more than 200 km2. Three major edifices, composed of andesitic and dacitic lavas and andesitic pyroclastics, have been constructed since the beginning of the Pleistocene. The modern cone consists of a broad cluster of lava domes built within the caldera of an older edifice. The 1-km-wide, 240-m-deep Arenas crater occupies the summit. The prominent La Olleta pyroclastic cone located on the SW flank may also have been active in historical time. Steep headwalls of massive landslides cut the flanks. Melting of its summit icecap during historical eruptions, which date back to the 16th century, has resulted in devastating lahars, including one in 1985 that was South America's deadliest eruption.
Pavlof, United States
55.417°N, 161.894°W, Summit elev. 2493 m
AVO reported that seismicity at Pavlof was elevated during 29 December 2021 to 4 January 2022 and was characterized by daily periods of tremor. Minor ash emissions were visible during 28-29 December and small explosions were occasionally recorded during 29-30 December. Thermal emissions continued to be low, and elevated surface temperatures consistent with a hot vent region were identified in satellite images during 1-3 January. During 3-4 January lava was active in an area within 100 m of the SE vent. 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.
Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica
10.83°N, 85.324°W, Summit elev. 1916 m
OVSICORI-UNA reported that at 1437 on 1 January a small eruption at Rincón de la Vieja produced a plume that rose 50 m above the crater rim. A small eruption was recorded by the seismic network at 0431 on 4 January, though weather clouds prevented visual confirmation. The amplitude of the seismic signal was similar to those recorded for events occurring in the previous few weeks.
Geological summary: Rincón de la Vieja, the largest volcano in NW Costa Rica, is a remote volcanic complex in the Guanacaste Range. The volcano consists of an elongated, arcuate NW-SE-trending ridge constructed within the 15-km-wide early Pleistocene Guachipelín caldera, whose rim is exposed on the south side. Sometimes known as the "Colossus of Guanacaste," it has an estimated volume of 130 km3 and contains at least nine major eruptive centers. Activity has migrated to the SE, where the youngest-looking craters are located. The twin cone of Santa María volcano, the highest peak of the complex, is located at the eastern end of a smaller, 5-km-wide caldera and has a 500-m-wide crater. A Plinian eruption producing the 0.25 km3 Río Blanca tephra about 3,500 years ago was the last major magmatic eruption. All subsequent eruptions, including numerous historical eruptions possibly dating back to the 16th century, have been from the prominent active crater containing a 500-m-wide acid lake located ENE of Von Seebach crater.
15.787°S, 71.857°W, Summit elev. 5960 m
Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) reported a daily average of 32 explosions at Sabancaya during 27 December 2021 to 2 January 2022. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 2.8 km above the summit and drifted NW, W, and SW. Eight thermal anomalies originating from the lava dome in the summit crater were identified in satellite data. Minor inflation continued to be detected near Hualca Hualca (4 km N). The Alert Level remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) and the public were warned to stay outside of a 12-km radius.
Geological summary: Sabancaya, located in the saddle NE of Ampato and SE of Hualca Hualca volcanoes, is the youngest of these volcanic centers and the only one to have erupted in historical time. The oldest of the three, Nevado Hualca Hualca, is of probable late-Pliocene to early Pleistocene age. The name Sabancaya (meaning "tongue of fire" in the Quechua language) first appeared in records in 1595 CE, suggesting activity prior to that date. Holocene activity has consisted of Plinian eruptions followed by emission of voluminous andesitic and dacitic lava flows, which form an extensive apron around the volcano on all sides but the south. Records of historical eruptions date back to 1750.
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 29 December 2021 to 4 January 2022. Minor ash-and-steam emissions were visible in webcam images during 28-29 December. Ash plumes observed in webcam and satellite images on 31 December rose to 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted as far as 100 km NE. Ash emissions observed in webcam images during daylight hours on 1 and 2 January were being blown down the flank by high winds. Small explosions were detected in seismic data during 2-4 January, though cloud cover obscured views. 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 24-31 December. Intense steam-and-gas emissions were visible. Ash plumes rose as high as 4.5 km (14,800 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 110 km NW and NE during 24-25, 27, and 30 December. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale). Dates are based on UTC times; specific events are in local time where noted.
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 27 December 2021 to 3 January 2022. The number of explosions totaled 124. The explosions produced ash plumes that rose as high as 2.2 km above the crater rim and ejected material up to 1.1 km distance from the crater. 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.
19.532°S, 169.447°E, Summit elev. 361 m
On 30 December the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (VMGD) reported that activity at Yasur continued at a high level of “major unrest,” as defined by the Alert Level 2 status. Activity consisted of loud explosions, emissions of steam and ash, and the ejection of bombs that fell inside and around the crater area. Alert Level 2 is the middle level on a scale of 0-4. The public was reminded not to enter the restricted area within 600 m around the cone, defined by Danger Zone A on the hazard map.
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 December-4 January 2022 Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
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