The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: April 20 – 26, 2022

Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

New activity/unrest was reported for 5 volcanoes from April 20 to 26, 2022. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 20 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Edgecumbe, Southeastern Alaska (USA) | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Krakatau, Sunda Strait | Purace, Colombia | Ruapehu, North Island (New Zealand).

Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Davidof, Aleutian Islands (USA) | Dukono, Halmahera | Fuego, South-Central Guatemala | Great Sitkin, Andreanof Islands (USA) | Ibu, Halmahera | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | Langila, New Britain (Papua New Guinea) | Lewotolok, Lembata Island | Merapi, Central Java | Pavlof, Alaska Peninsula, Alaska | Popocatepetl, Mexico | Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica | Sabancaya, Peru | Santa Maria, Southwestern Guatemala | Semeru, Eastern Java | Semisopochnoi, Aleutian Islands (USA) | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan) | Wolf, Isla Isabela (Galapagos).

New activity/unrest

Edgecumbe, Southeastern Alaska (USA)

57.05°N, 135.75°W, Summit elev. 970 m

AVO stated that a seismic swarm beneath Kruzof Island near Edgecumbe that began at about 0200 on 11 April had declined to background levels by 22 April. The swarm prompted an in-depth analysis of satellite data which spanned the last 7.5 years. The data showed that a broad area of uplift, about 17 km in diameter, was located about 2.5 km E of Edgecumbe. The uplift began in August 2018 and deformed at a rate of up to 8.7 cm per year in the center of the area, totaling 27 cm of uplift; the deformation was ongoing. Retrospective analysis of seismic data revealed that earthquakes started occurring in 2020, though the recent swarm was unusual. The deformation and seismic data together suggested magma movement beneath the volcano, consistent with an intrusion at about 5 km below sea level. The closest seismic station to the volcano was on Sitka, 24 km E; both the Volcano Alert Level and Aviation Color Code remained at Unassigned due to the lack of dedicated, local instrumentation.

Geological summary: The Pleistocene-to-Holocene Edgecumbe volcanic field covers about 260 km2 of Kruzov Island west of Sitka in the SE panhandle of Alaska. The basaltic-to-dacitic field is dominated by the large composite cones of Mount Edgecumbe, Crater Ridge, and Shell Mountain, and has an unusual tectonic setting only 16 km E of the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather transform fault separating the North American and Pacific plates. Mount Edgecumbe is a stratovolcano with a well-defined crater, and is the largest volcano of the field. Crater Ridge is truncated by a 1.6-km-wide, 240-m-deep caldera. These and other vents are oriented along a SW-NE line. Volcanic activity originated about 600,000 years ago along fissures cutting Kruzof Island. A series of major silicic explosive eruptions took place about 9000-13,000 radiocarbon years ago. The latest dated eruptions were phreatomagmatic explosions during the mid-Holocene, and all postglacial activity has been pyroclastic. Reports of historical eruptions of Mount Edgecumbe are unsubstantiated.

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 15-22 April. Explosions during 17-19 and 21 April generated ash plumes that rose as high as 7.5 km (24,600 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 500 km NE. SE, and E. A powerful explosion at 0805 on 20 April (local time) generated ash plumes that rose as high as 11 km (36,100 ft) a.s.l. and drifted more than 2,000 km NE. KVERT raised the Aviation Color Code to Red (the highest level on a four-color scale). Ashfall was reported in the territory of the Kronotsky Reserve (Semyachinsky, Valley of Geysers), 50 km NE, and at Cape Nalychevo, 100 km S. Explosions continued through the day; ash plumes rising to 5 km (16,400 ft) a.s.l. were visible in satellite images at 1500, local time. The previous ash plume was about 505 x 130 km and drifted NE, S, and SE at an altitude of 8.7 km (28,500 ft) a.s.l. The Aviation Color Code was lowered to Orange by 1544, local time, on 20 April.

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.

Krakatau, Sunda Strait

6.102°S, 105.423°E, Summit elev. 155 m

PVMBG reported that the eruption at Anak Krakatau had intensified. Dense white, gray, and black ash plumes rose as high as 1 km above the summit and drifted SW during 17-19 April. Strombolian activity was first observed on 17 April; that same day that sulfur dioxide emissions increased to 181.1 tons per days from 28.4-68.4 tons per day recorded during 14-15 April. A dense gray-black ash plume rose around 800 m above the summit at 0621 on 21 April and drifted E. At 0049, 0145, 0237, and 1730 on 22 April dense gray-to-black ash plumes rose 500-1,500 m above the summit and drifted SW. Incandescent material was occasionally ejected above the vent. Sulfur dioxide emissions notably increased to 9,219 tons per day on 23 April. That same day, at around 1219, lava flowed into the sea and produced a white steam plume at the entry point. Ash plumes were taller on 23 April, rising to 3 km above the summit at 0608, 1200, and 2020, with SSW, S, and SE drifts. The plumes continued to be characterized as dense, and white, gray, and black in color. On 24 April PVMBG raised the Alert Level to 3 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to stay at least 5 km away from the crater.

Geological summary: The renowned volcano Krakatau (frequently misstated as Krakatoa) lies in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra. Collapse of the ancestral Krakatau edifice, perhaps in 416 or 535 CE, formed a 7-km-wide caldera. Remnants of this ancestral volcano are preserved in Verlaten and Lang Islands; subsequently Rakata, Danan, and Perbuwatan volcanoes were formed, coalescing to create the pre-1883 Krakatau Island. Caldera collapse during the catastrophic 1883 eruption destroyed Danan and Perbuwatan, and left only a remnant of Rakata. This eruption, the 2nd largest in Indonesia during historical time, caused more than 36,000 fatalities, most as a result of devastating tsunamis that swept the adjacent coastlines of Sumatra and Java. Pyroclastic surges traveled 40 km across the Sunda Strait and reached the Sumatra coast. After a quiescence of less than a half century, the post-collapse cone of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) was constructed within the 1883 caldera at a point between the former cones of Danan and Perbuwatan. Anak Krakatau has been the site of frequent eruptions since 1927.

Purace, Colombia

2.32°N, 76.4°W, Summit elev. 4650 m

Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Popayán, Servicio Geologico Colombiano (SGC), reported that during 19-25 April the number and magnitudes of earthquakes at Puracé was similar to the previous week. Signals included 72 volcano-tectonic (VT) events, indicating rock fracturing, along with 207 long-period (LP) events and 14 low-energy tremor pulses, indicating fluid movement. Data from the GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) geodetic network continued to show inflation on the centimeter scale. Sulfur dioxide emissions were lower than the previous week, with values of 937-992 tonnes per day, and gas plumes drifted NW. During a field visit on 22 April scientists observed no changes to the crack near Puracé and Curiquinga volcanoes, and no visible gas emissions. Additional cracks, oriented NW-SE, were observed, in addition to volcanic ash deposits that were likely emplaced on 29 March. The Alert Level remained at Yellow (the second lowest on a four-color scale).

Geological summary: One of the most active volcanoes of Colombia, Puracé consists of an andesitic stratovolcano with a 500-m-wide summit crater that was constructed over a dacitic shield volcano. It lies at the NW end of a volcanic massif opposite Pan de Azúcar stratovolcano, 6 km SE. A NW-SE-trending group of seven cones and craters, Los Coconucos, lies between the two larger edifices. Frequent explosive eruptions in the 19th and 20th centuries have modified the morphology of the summit crater. The largest eruptions occurred in 1849, 1869, and 1885.

Ruapehu, North Island (New Zealand)

39.28°S, 175.57°E, Summit elev. 2797 m

On 26 April GeoNet reported that elevated unrest at Ruapehu had been ongoing for the past five weeks, characterized by lake water heating, volcanic gas output, and strong volcanic tremor. Tremor levels fluctuated the past week but represented a record for the longest and strongest tremor episode ever recorded at the volcano. The lake water temperature remained at 37 degrees Celsius, indicating a substantial amount of heat from magma at a shallow depth (0.5-2 km), though water chemistry showed no change based on sampling during 31 March-15 April. The Volcanic Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale from 0-5) and the Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow.

Geological summary: Ruapehu, one of New Zealand’s most active volcanoes, is a complex stratovolcano constructed during at least four cone-building episodes dating back to about 200,000 years ago. The dominantly andesitic 110 km3 volcanic massif is elongated in a NNE-SSW direction and surrounded by another 100 km3 ring plain of volcaniclastic debris, including the NW-flank Murimoto debris-avalanche deposit. A series of subplinian eruptions took place between about 22,600 and 10,000 years ago, but pyroclastic flows have been infrequent. The broad summait area and flank contain at least six vents active during the Holocene. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded from the Te Wai a-Moe (Crater Lake) vent, and tephra characteristics suggest that the crater lake may have formed as recently as 3,000 years ago. Lahars resulting from phreatic eruptions at the summit crater lake are a hazard to a ski area on the upper flanks and lower river valleys.

Ongoing activity

Aira, Kyushu (Japan)

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

JMA reported that very small eruptive events at Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) were recorded during 18-25 April. Crater incandescence was periodically visible at night. The sulfur dioxide emissions were slightly high at 1,300 tons per day on 19 April but then dropped to 500 tons per day on 22 April. 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, Aleutian Islands (USA)

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 21 April, noting that the earthquake swarm which began in January had declined in the previous few weeks. It is unknown if the swarm was due to tectonic processes or volcanic unrest. The level “Unassigned” means that there is not sufficient instrumentation on the volcano for AVO to characterize a base level of activity; the closest seismometer was on Little Sitkin (15 km E).

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.

Dukono, Halmahera

1.693°N, 127.894°E, Summit elev. 1229 m

Based on satellite and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 21-23 and 25 April ash plumes from Dukono rose to 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

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

Fuego, South-Central Guatemala

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

INSIVUMEH reported that 2-10 explosions per hour were recorded at Fuego during 21-25 April, generating ash plumes that rose as high as 1.3 km above the crater rim. The ash plumes mainly drifted as far as 15 km SE, S, and SW causing daily ashfall in areas downwind including Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), Finca Palo Verde, Finca la Asunción, El Zapote (10 km S), San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW), Ceylon, San Andrés Osuna, and La Rochela. Shock waves rattled structures in communities around the volcano on most days and occasional rumbling was heard. Block avalanches descended the flanks in all directions, but most commonly were visible in the Ceniza (SSW), Seca (W), Trinidad (S), Taniluyá (SW), Honda, and Las Lajas (SE) drainages, often reaching vegetated areas. Explosions ejected incandescent material 100-350 m above the summit during 21-24 April.

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

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 20-26 April, and very low seismicity persisted. 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

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

PVMBG reported that the eruption at Ibu continued during 22-26 April. Daily dense gray ash plumes generally rose 400-1,500 m above the summit and drifted W and NE, though at 0948 on 25 April ash plumes rose up to 3 km above the summit and drifted W. 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.

Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA)

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

HVO reported that lava continued to effuse from a vent in the lower W wall of Kilauea’s Halema`uma`u Crater during 19-26 April, entering an active lava lake and flowing onto the crater floor. The surface of the lava lake was active all week, and the height of the lake fluctuated; the lake occasionally overflowed the rim, sending lava onto the crater floor. Daily breakouts occurred along the N, NE, E, and S parts of the crater. The Aviation Color Code and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Orange and Watch, respectively.

Geological summary: Kilauea overlaps the E flank of the massive Mauna Loa shield volcano in the island of Hawaii. Eruptions are prominent in Polynesian legends; written documentation since 1820 records frequent summit and flank lava flow eruptions interspersed with periods of long-term lava lake activity at Halemaumau crater in the summit caldera until 1924. The 3 x 5 km caldera was formed in several stages about 1,500 years ago and during the 18th century; eruptions have also originated from the lengthy East and Southwest rift zones, which extend to the ocean in both directions. About 90% of the surface of the basaltic shield volcano is formed of lava flows less than about 1,100 years old; 70% of the surface is younger than 600 years. The long-term eruption from the East rift zone between 1983 and 2018 produced lava flows covering more than 100 km2, destroyed hundreds of houses, and added new coastline.

Langila, New Britain (Papua New Guinea)

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

The Darwin VAAC reported that on 24 April an ash plume from Langila rose 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW. The plume had dissipated within 5.5 hours.

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

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

PVMBG reported that the eruption at Lewotolok continued during 19-26 April. Daily white-and-gray ash plumes rose 50-400 m above the summit and drifted W, NW, and E. 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 and 4 km away from the crater on the SE flank.

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

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

BPPTKG reported that the eruption at Merapi continued during 15-21 April. The heights and morphologies of the SW lava dome and the central lava dome were unchanged from the previous week, and seismicity remained at high levels. As many as 150 lava avalanches traveled a maximum of 2 km mostly down the Bebeng drainage on the SW flank. One pyroclastic flows traveled 2 km SW down the Bebeng. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to stay 3-7 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, Alaska Peninsula, Alaska

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

AVO reported that the eruption at a vent on Pavlof’s upper E flank was ongoing during 20-26 April, though weather conditions sometimes prevented visual observations. Seismic tremor persisted and daily elevated surface temperatures were identified in satellite images. 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.

Popocatepetl, Mexico

19.023°N, 98.622°W, Summit elev. 5393 m

CENAPRED reported that the eruption at Popocatépetl continued during 19-26 April. Each day there were 6-27 steam-and-gas emissions that rose from the crater and drifted mainly SW. The plumes sometimes contained ash. Incandescence from the crater was sometimes visible at night. Two minor explosions were recorded at 0152 and 0559 on 21 April. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two (the middle level on a three-color scale).

Geological summary: Volcán Popocatépetl, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain, rises 70 km SE of Mexico City to form North America’s 2nd-highest volcano. The glacier-clad stratovolcano contains a steep-walled, 400 x 600 m wide crater. The generally symmetrical volcano is modified by the sharp-peaked Ventorrillo on the NW, a remnant of an earlier volcano. At least three previous major cones were destroyed by gravitational failure during the Pleistocene, producing massive debris-avalanche deposits covering broad areas to the south. The modern volcano was constructed south of the late-Pleistocene to Holocene El Fraile cone. Three major Plinian eruptions, the most recent of which took place about 800 CE, have occurred since the mid-Holocene, accompanied by pyroclastic flows and voluminous lahars that swept basins below the volcano. Frequent historical eruptions, first recorded in Aztec codices, have occurred since Pre-Columbian time.

Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica

10.83°N, 85.324°W, Summit elev. 1916 m

OVSICORI-UNA reported that a small eruptive event at Rincón de la Vieja was recorded at 0618 on 25 April, though it was not visible due to weather conditions. Another small event was recorded at 0156 on 26 April; the plume was not visible due to conditions.

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.

Sabancaya, Peru

15.787°S, 71.857°W, Summit elev. 5960 m

Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) reported moderate levels of activity at Sabancaya during 18-24 April with a daily average of 37 explosions. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 2.3 km above the summit and drifted N, NE, SE, and S. As many as 10 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.

Santa Maria, Southwestern Guatemala

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

INSIVUMEH reported that the eruption at Santa María’s Santiaguito lava-dome complex continued during 21-25 April. Incandescence from Caliente crater and the lava flows on the W and SW flanks was visible nightly and early mornings. Avalanches of blocks descended the W and SW flanks of Caliente. The lava flows continued to advance, traveling as far as 2.5 km in the San Isidro channel, and produced block avalanches from the ends and sides of the flows that descended the S, SW, and S flanks. Ash from these avalanches fell in areas around the volcano and a sulfur odor was also occasionally noticed.

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

Semeru, Eastern Java

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

PVMBG reported that the eruption at Semeru continued during 19-26 April. Almost daily ash plumes were visible rising 200-600 m above the summit that drifted N, S, SW, and W. Cloudy weather sometimes prevented visual observations. 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, along with 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.

Semisopochnoi, Aleutian Islands (USA)

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

AVO reported that low-level eruptive activity at Semisopochnoi’s North Cerberus cone continued during 19-26 April. Periods of seismic tremor were occasionally detected and small explosions were recorded in seismic data during 19-20 April. Minor, low-level, plumes with low ash content were visible in webcam images through each day during 19-20 April, with occasional more energetic ash plumes. Weather cloud cover often hindered webcam and satellite views during the rest of the week. 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 15-22 April, and lava-dome extrusion continued. Explosions during 15-16 April produced ash plumes that rose as high as 5 km (16,400 ft) a.s.l. and drifted about 75 km SE. 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 eruptive activity continued to be recorded at Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater during 18-25 April. Eruption plumes rose as high as 1.5 km above the crater rim; no explosions were recorded. 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.

Wolf, Isla Isabela (Galapagos)

0.02°N, 91.35°W, Summit elev. 1710 m

IG reported that thermal anomalies over Wolf were periodically identified in satellite images during 19-26 April, though were absent on several of the days. Lava advancement was identified in images during 19-21 April; no surface activity was visible the rest of the week.

Geological summary: Wolf, the highest volcano of the Galápagos Islands, straddles the equator at the north end of the archipelago’s largest island, Isabela. The 1710-m-high edifice has steeper slopes than most other Isabela volcanoes, reaching angles up to 35 degrees. A 6 x 7 km caldera, at 700 m one of the deepest of the Galápagos Islands, is located at the summit. A prominent bench on the west side of the caldera rises 450 above the caldera floor, much of which is covered by a lava flow erupted in 1982. Radial fissures concentrated along diffuse rift zones extend down the north, NW, and SE flanks, and submarine vents lie beyond the north and NW fissures. Similar unvegetated flows originating from a circumferential chain of spatter and scoria cones on the eastern caldera rim drape the forested flanks to the sea. The proportion of aa lava flows at Volcán Wolf exceeds that of other Galápagos volcanoes. An eruption in in 1797 was the first documented historical eruption in the Galápagos Islands.

Reference:

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 20 April-26 April 2022. Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

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