The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: September 7 – 13, 2022

the weekly volcanic activity report

New activity/unrest was reported for 4 volcanoes from September 7 to 13, 2022. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 18 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Alaid, Kuril Islands (Russia) | Chikurachki, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Gamalama, Halmahera | Home Reef, Tonga Ridge.

Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Ambae, Vanuatu | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Great Sitkin, Andreanof Islands (USA) | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | Lewotolok, Lembata Island | Merapi, Central Java | Pavlof, Alaska Peninsula, Alaska | Poas, Costa Rica | Popocatepetl, Mexico | Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica | Sabancaya, Peru | Semeru, Eastern Java | Semisopochnoi, Aleutian Islands (USA) | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan) | Yasur, Vanuatu.

New activity/unrest

Alaid, Kuril Islands (Russia)

50.861°N, 155.565°E | Summit elev. 2285 m

The Tokyo VAAC reported that on 10 September an ash plume from Alaid identified in satellite images rose to an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE.

Geological summary: The highest and northernmost volcano of the Kuril Islands, 2285-m-high Alaid is a symmetrical stratovolcano when viewed from the north, but has a 1.5-km-wide summit crater that is breached widely to the south. Alaid is the northernmost of a chain of volcanoes constructed west of the main Kuril archipelago. Numerous pyroclastic cones dot the lower flanks of this basaltic to basaltic-andesite volcano, particularly on the NW and SE sides, including an offshore cone formed during the 1933-34 eruption. Strong explosive eruptions have occurred from the summit crater beginning in the 18th century. Reports of eruptions in 1770, 1789, 1821, 1829, 1843, 1848, and 1858 were considered incorrect by Gorshkov (1970). Explosive eruptions in 1790 and 1981 were among the largest in the Kuril Islands during historical time.

Chikurachki, Paramushir Island (Russia)

50.324°N, 155.461°E | Summit elev. 1781 m

KVERT lowered the Aviation Color Code for Chikurachki to Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-color scale) on 8 September, noting that ash plumes were last observed on 2 September and a thermal anomaly over the crater was last visible on 4 September. Gas-and-steam emissions continued to rise form the summit. The Aviation Color Code was lowered to Green on 8 September. Dates are based on UTC times; specific events are in local time where noted.

Geological summary: Chikurachki, the highest volcano on Paramushir Island in the northern Kuriles, is a relatively small cone constructed on a high Pleistocene edifice. Oxidized basaltic-to-andesitic scoria deposits covering the upper part of the young cone give it a distinctive red color. Frequent basaltic Plinian eruptions have occurred during the Holocene. Lava flows have reached the sea and formed capes on the NW coast; several young lava flows are also present on the E flank beneath a scoria deposit. The Tatarinov group of six volcanic centers is located immediately to the south, and the Lomonosov cinder cone group, the source of an early Holocene lava flow that reached the saddle between it and Fuss Peak to the west, lies at the southern end of the N-S-trending Chikurachki-Tatarinov complex. In contrast to the frequently active Chikurachki, the Tatarinov centers are extensively modified by erosion and have a more complex structure. Tephrochronology gives evidence of an eruption around 1690 CE from Tatarinov, although its southern cone contains a sulfur-encrusted crater with fumaroles that were active along the margin of a crater lake until 1959.

Gamalama, Halmahera

0.8°N, 127.33°E | Summit elev. 1715 m

PVMBG reported that the number of deep volcanic earthquakes at Gamalama increased during the morning of 14 September and nine volcanic earthquakes were recorded. A white-and-brown plume of variable density rose as much as 250 m above the summit. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4); visitors and residents were warned not to approach the crater within a 1.5-km radius.

Geological summary: Gamalama is a near-conical stratovolcano that comprises the entire island of Ternate off the western coast of Halmahera, and is one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes. The island was a major regional center in the Portuguese and Dutch spice trade for several centuries, which contributed to the thorough documentation of Gamalama’s historical activity. Three cones, progressively younger to the north, form the summit. Several maars and vents define a rift zone, parallel to the Halmahera island arc, that cuts the volcano. Eruptions, recorded frequently since the 16th century, typically originated from the summit craters, although flank eruptions have occurred in 1763, 1770, 1775, and 1962-63.

Home Reef, Tonga Ridge

18.992°S, 174.775°W | Summit elev. -10 m

The Tonga Geological Services reported that a new submarine eruption at Home Reef began at 0139 on 10 September based on a volcanic gas plume detected in satellite images. By 1259 material had formed a new small island, about 70 m in diameter and an estimated 10 m above the ocean surface. Gas emissions rose less than 1 km above the sea. Submarine activity was detected during 12-13 September, and a thermal anomaly was identified in a satellite image acquired at 1400 on 13 September. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-color scale) and mariners were advised to stay 5 km away from the volcano. Gas emissions persisted at least through 14 September, with plumes rising less than 1 km.

Geological summary: Home Reef, a submarine volcano midway between Metis Shoal and Late Island in the central Tonga islands, was first reported active in the mid-19th century, when an ephemeral island formed. An eruption in 1984 produced a 12-km-high eruption plume, copious amounts of floating pumice, and an ephemeral island 500 x 1500 m wide, with cliffs 30-50 m high that enclosed a water-filled crater. Another island-forming eruption in 2006 produced widespread dacitic pumice rafts that reached as far as Australia.

Ongoing activity

Aira, Kyushu (Japan)

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

JMA reported that nighttime incandescence at Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was visible during 5-12 September. The seismic network recorded four eruptive events and seven explosions. Volcanic plumes rose as high as 2.3 km above the crater rim and ballistics were ejected as far as 1.3 km from the vent. 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.

Ambae, Vanuatu

15.389°S, 167.835°E | Summit elev. 1496 m

On 31 August the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) reported that the cone in Ambae’s Lake Voui continued to produce emissions consisting of steam, volcanic gases, and possibly occasional ash. 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.

Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia)

50.686°N, 156.014°E | Summit elev. 1103 m

KVERT reported that moderate activity at Ebeko was ongoing. According to volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island, about 7 km E) daily explosions generated ash plumes that rose up to 4 km (13,100 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. A thermal anomaly over the volcano was identified in satellite images during 3 and 5-8 September. 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 flat-topped summit of the central cone of Ebeko volcano, one of the most active in the Kuril Islands, occupies the northern end of Paramushir Island. Three summit craters located along a SSW-NNE line form Ebeko volcano proper, at the northern end of a complex of five volcanic cones. Blocky lava flows extend west from Ebeko and SE from the neighboring Nezametnyi cone. The eastern part of the southern crater contains strong solfataras and a large boiling spring. The central crater is filled by a lake about 20 m deep whose shores are lined with steaming solfataras; the northern crater lies across a narrow, low barrier from the central crater and contains a small, cold crescentic lake. Historical activity, recorded since the late-18th century, has been restricted to small-to-moderate explosive eruptions from the summit craters. Intense fumarolic activity occurs in the summit craters, on the outer flanks of the cone, and in lateral explosion craters.

Great Sitkin, Andreanof Islands (USA)

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

AVO reported that slow lava effusion at Great Sitkin likely continued during 6-13 September, though weather cloud cover prevented visual confirmation with webcam and satellite images. Seismicity was very low. Weakly-elevated surface temperatures consistent with lava effusion in the summit crater were identified overnight during 12-13 September. The Aviation Color Code and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Orange and Watch, respectively.

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

Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)

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

KVERT reported that a weak thermal anomaly over Karymsky was identified in satellite images during 1, 3-4, and 7-8 September. 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 continued to effuse from a vent in the lower W wall of Kilauea’s Halema`uma`u Crater during 6-13 September, entering the lava lake and flowing onto the crater floor. Part of the lake’s surface was continuously active. By 12 September about 111 million cubic meters of lava had been erupted from the vent since the current eruption began on 29 September 2021, raising the crater floor by 143 m. 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.

Lewotolok, Lembata Island

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

PVMBG reported that the eruption at Lewotolok continued during 6-13 September. Daily white emissions rose as high as 500 m above the summit and drifted in multiple directions. During 7-8 and 10-11 September white-and-gray plumes rose as high as 700 m and 400 m above the summit, respectively, and drifted W and NW. Incandescence above the crater rim was visible in a webcam photograph captured on 13 September. 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 2-8 September and seismicity remained at elevated levels. As many as 20 lava avalanches from the SW lava dome traveled down the Bebeng drainage on the SW flank, reaching a maximum distance of 1.7 km. No morphological changes to the SW and central lava domes were evident in photographs. 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 a minor eruption at a vent on Pavlof’s upper E flank was ongoing during 6-13 September. Seismic tremor persisted. Weather clouds often prevented views of the volcano during the first part of the week, though one clear webcam view on 8 September showed a minor emission of ash or steam. Elevated surface temperatures were identified in satellite images during 10-12 September. A diffuse steam plume and new trace deposits of ash were visible in webcam images on 11 September. 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.

Poas, Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W | Summit elev. 2697 m

On 9 September OVSICORI-UNA reported that activity at Poás had increased since mid-August, characterized by notably increased seismicity. Seismic signals consisted of tremors with variable amplitudes and durations, prolonged harmonic tremors, and some long-period earthquakes with magnitudes greater than those recorded during 2022; there was no increase in low-frequency earthquakes. The energy of the seismicity had also dramatically increased in the previous few days. Sulfur dioxide emissions around the crater were mainly stable at 100 tons per day, though on a few occasions the concentrations were higher; about 300 tons per day was recorded during 17-18 August and higher than 500 tons per day was recorded on 2 September. The volume of water in Boca A lake had significantly increased during August 2021-September 2022, stabilizing at 1.4 million cubic meters between July and September with minor variations measured from week to week. Convection cells in the lake were more active and a new one formed in the N part of the lake (over the Boca C vent) since mid-August. OVSICORI-UNA stated that these data indicated disturbances to the shallow (less than 2 km) hydrothermal system and did not reflect an influx of magma. Fumarolic degassing and lake convection continued during 9-13 September.

Geological summary: The broad vegetated edifice of Poás, one of the most active volcanoes of Costa Rica, contains three craters along a N-S line. The frequently visited multi-hued summit crater lakes of the basaltic-to-dacitic volcano are easily accessible by vehicle from the nearby capital city of San José. A N-S-trending fissure cutting the complex stratovolcano extends to the lower N flank, where it has produced the Congo stratovolcano and several lake-filled maars. The southernmost of the two summit crater lakes, Botos, last erupted about 7,500 years ago. The more prominent geothermally heated northern lake, Laguna Caliente, is one of the world’s most acidic natural lakes, with a pH of near zero. It has been the site of frequent phreatic and phreatomagmatic eruptions since an eruption was reported in 1828. Eruptions often include geyser-like ejections of crater-lake water.

Popocatepetl, Mexico

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

CENAPRED reported that there were 41-74 steam-and-gas emissions, sometimes containing minor amounts of ash, rising from Popocatépetl each day during 6-13 September. Explosions at 0343 and 0611 on 9 September produced ash plumes that rose as high as 2.5 km above the crater rim and drifted SE, and ejected incandescent material above the rim. Minor ashfall was reported in Atlixco, Puebla (23 km SE). 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 continuing eruptive activity at Rincón de la Vieja characterized by occasional small phreatic explosions. A small hydrothermal explosion at 1510 on 8 September produced a steam-and-gas plume that rose 500 m above the crater rim. During a clear observation period from 0500 to 0800 on 10 September scientists saw a continuous gas-and-steam plume and noted a hydrothermal explosion at 0640.

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 5-11 September with a daily average of 44 explosions. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 2.9 km above the summit and drifted NE, E, and SE. 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.

Semeru, Eastern Java

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

PVMBG reported that the eruption at Semeru continued during 6-13 September. Eruptive events at 0846 on 8 September, 0743 on 9 September, 0507 on 10 September, 0857 on 12 September, and 0524 on 13 September produced ash plumes that rose 300-700 m above the summit and drifted mainly W and SW. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4). The public was warned to stay at least 5 km away from the summit, and 500 m 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 ongoing low-level seismicity and occasional steam emissions at Semisopochnoi during 6-13 September. Satellite and webcam views were mostly obscured by weather clouds. Explosions were recorded during 12-13 September and ash emissions drifting 8 km SE at an altitude of 1.2 km (4,000 ft) a.s.l. were visible in satellite and webcam images. 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 the ongoing eruption at Sheveluch was characterized by explosions, hot avalanches, and lava-dome extrusion during 2-8 September. A daily thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images. Dome collapses produced hot avalanches and ash plumes that drifted 130 km NE and SE during 2 and 5-7 September. Plumes of re-suspended ash drifted 210 km ESE during 4-5 September. 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 1,300 km3 andesitic volcano is one of Kamchatka’s largest and most active volcanic structures, with at least 60 large eruptions during the Holocene. 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 occur on its outer flanks. The Molodoy Shiveluch lava dome complex was constructed during the Holocene within the large open caldera; Holocene lava dome extrusion also took place on the flanks of Stary Shiveluch. 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 the eruption at Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater continued during 5-12 September. A total of 15 explosions produced eruption plumes that rose as high as 2 km above the crater rim. Large blocks were ejected 700 m from the vent. Crater incandescence was observed nightly, and volcanic tremor was occasionally recorded. The Alert Level remained at 2 and the public was warned to stay 1 km away from the crater.

Geological summary: The 8-km-long 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. One of Japan’s most frequently active volcanoes, it was in a state of intermittent Strombolian activity from Otake, the NE summit crater, between 1949 and 1996, after which periods of inactivity lengthened. The largest recorded 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 open 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.

Yasur, Vanuatu

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

On 31 August 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 (the middle level on a scale of 0-4). Ash-and-gas emissions and loud explosions continued to be recorded, with bombs falling in and around the crater. The public was reminded to not 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 exhibited essentially 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 open feature 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.

References:

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report – September 7 -13, 2022 – Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

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