The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: September 14 – 20, 2022

the weekly volcanic activity report

New activity/unrest was reported for 4 volcanoes from September 14 to 20, 2022. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 20 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Alaid, Kuril Islands (Russia) | Home Reef, Tonga Ridge | Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion Island (France) | Taupo, North Island (New Zealand).

Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Fagradalsfjall, Iceland | Great Sitkin, Andreanof Islands (USA) | Ibu, Halmahera | Kadovar, Northeast of New Guinea | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | Krysuvik-Trolladyngja, Reykjanes Peninsula | Lewotolok, Lembata Island | Merapi, Central Java | Nevados de Chillan, Central Chile | Pavlof, Alaska Peninsula, Alaska | Purace, Colombia | Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica | Semeru, Eastern Java | Semisopochnoi, Aleutian Islands (USA) | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan) | Whakaari/White Island, North Island (New Zealand).

New activity/unrest

Alaid, Kuril Islands (Russia)

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

KVERT reported that an intense thermal anomaly over Alaid identified in satellite images beginning at 1139 on 15 September (local time) likely indicated the onset of a Strombolian eruption. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-color scale) the next day. Satellite images acquired at 1108 on 18 September showed a gas-and-steam plume containing ash drifting ESE. Several photographs of the eruption were taken that same day. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Orange.

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.

Home Reef, Tonga Ridge

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

The Tonga Geological Services reported that the new island at Home Reef that emerged from the ocean on 10 September continued to grow through 20 September. The eruption continued at variable intensities, producing daily plumes of gas and steam that rose no higher than 1 km above sea level. The island was surrounded by plumes of discolored water. The island was 170 m in diameter by 16 September and had grown to 182 m N-S and 173 m E-W by 18 September. Steam plumes with some ash content rose 3 km during 19-20 September. Mariners were advised to stay 4 km away from the volcano.

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.

Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion Island (France)

21.244°S, 55.708°E | Summit elev. 2632 m

OVPF reported that a seismic crisis at Piton de la Fournaise began at 0623 on 19 September. Volcanic tremor located beneath the SSW part of the caldera began at 0748, likely signifying the arrival of magma at the surface, though weather clouds prevented visual confirmation from webcams. Pelotons de Gendarmerie de Haute Montagne (PGHM) teams that were on-site to evacuate people from inside the caldera observed lava fountains 20-30 m high rising from a fissure that had opened E of Piton Kala Pélé. The eruption was confined to the caldera, so the Alert Level was raised to 2-1 (“2” is the highest level of a 3-level scale and “-1” denotes the lowest of three sub-levels). By 20 September lava fountaining had decreased and the focus of the eruption was at the lower part of the fissure. Sulfur dioxide emissions peaked at an estimated 8,000 tons per day at the beginning of the eruption and then decreased to about 2,300 tons per day during 20-21 September.

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.

Taupo, North Island (New Zealand)

38.82°S, 176°E | Summit elev. 760 m

On 20 September GeoNet raised the Volcanic Alert Level for Taupo to 1 (the second lowest level on a six-level scale) reflecting “minor volcanic unrest” characterized by ongoing seismicity and inflation. Seismicity beneath Lake Taupo began increasing in May. Earthquakes occurred at a rate of about 30 per week but increased to about 40 per week in early September. A M 4.2 earthquake, the largest so far this year, was recorded on 10 September and felt by over 1,000 people. By 20 September over 700 earthquakes had been located with depths less than 30 km, though most ranged 4-13 km. The earthquake locations were in two clusters: a larger cluster beneath the central and E part of the lake, and a smaller cluster to the W centered just offshore from Karangahape. An area of deformation at Horomatangi Reef had been rising at a rate of 60 mm (plus or minus 20 mm) per year since May. The area of uplift corresponded to the main seismic swarm. The data suggested that the seismicity and deformation was caused by the movement of magma and hydrothermal fluids.

GeoNet noted that unrest at calderas was common and may continue for months or years without resulting in an eruption; more significant unrest would be indicated by additional indicators of activity and substantial impacts on the local area. There have been 17 previous episodes of unrest at Taupo over the previous 150 years, some more notable than the current episode, and many others before written records. None resulted in an eruption, with the last eruption occurring around 232 CE. The Volcanic Alert Level change was informed by ongoing analysis of monitoring data, research, and deepening knowledge of past unrest.

Geological summary: Taupo, the most active rhyolitic volcano of the Taupo volcanic zone, is a large, roughly 35-km-wide caldera with poorly defined margins. It is a type example of an “inverse volcano” that slopes inward towards the most recent vent location. The caldera, now filled by Lake Taupo, largely formed as a result of the voluminous eruption of the Oruanui Tephra about 22,600 years before present (BP). This was the largest known eruption at Taupo, producing about 1,170 km3 of tephra. This eruption was preceded during the late Pleistocene by the eruption of a large number of rhyolitic lava domes north of Lake Taupo. Large explosive eruptions have occurred frequently during the Holocene from many vents within Lake Taupo and near its margins. The most recent major eruption took place about 1800 years BP from at least three vents along a NE-SW-trending fissure centered on the Horomotangi Reefs. This extremely violent eruption was New Zealand’s largest during the Holocene and produced the thin but widespread phreatoplinian Taupo Ignimbrite, which covered 20,000 km2 of North Island.

Ongoing activity

Aira, Kyushu (Japan)

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

JMA reported that 10 explosions at Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) were recorded during 12-19 September. Volcanic plumes produced by the explosions rose as high as 1.6 km above the crater rim and ballistics were ejected as far as 1.3 km from the vent. Sulfur dioxide emissions were high at 2,400 tons per day on 24 September. Nighttime incandescence at the crater was visible during 2-16 September. 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.

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) explosions generated ash plumes that rose up to 3.6 km (11,800 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. A thermal anomaly over the volcano was identified in satellite images during 8 and 12-13 September. Ash fell in Severo-Kurilsk during 9-10 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.

Fagradalsfjall, Iceland

63.895°N, 22.258°W | Summit elev. 250 m

IMO stated that the Fagradalsfjall and Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcanic systems have been designated as two separate systems based on previous scientific research combined with data collected and analyzed from the two recent eruptions (2021 and 2022). On 15 September the Aviation Color Code for Fagradalsfjall was lowered to Green; lava from the fissure that opened in Meradalir stopped erupting on 21 August. Seismicity remained at low levels and no deformation was detected.

Geological summary: Although the Fagradalsfjall fissure swarm has previously been considered a split or secondary swarm of the Krýsuvík–Trölladyngja volcanic system, as of September 2022 Icelandic volcanologists managing the Catalogue of Icelandic Volcanoes made the decision to identify Fagradalsfjall as a distinct separate system. The recent eruptions and related reports have been reassigned here, and other content will be prepared and adjusted as appropriate in the next few months.

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 13-20 September, an analysis confirmed by clear satellite images during 13-15 September. Lava flowed outward from the vent area but flows at the margins did not advance. Minor steam emissions were also visible during 13-14 September and elevated surface temperatures were identified during 13-15 and 17-18 September. Weather cloud cover occasionally prevented webcam and satellite views. A data outage affected the local seismic network during 16-20 September, though no significant activity was detected on regional geophysical networks. 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 14-20 September. Gray-and-white ash plumes of variable densities rose as high as 800 m above the summit and drifted in multiple directions. 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.

Kadovar, Northeast of New Guinea

3.608°S, 144.588°E | Summit elev. 365 m

Based on satellite and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 18 September multiple, discrete, ash plumes from Kadovar rose to an altitude of 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW and WNW.

Geological summary: The 2-km-wide island of Kadovar is the emergent summit of a Bismarck Sea stratovolcano of Holocene age. It is part of the Schouten Islands, and lies off the coast of New Guinea, about 25 km N of the mouth of the Sepik River. Prior to an eruption that began in 2018, a lava dome formed the high point of the andesitic volcano, filling an arcuate landslide scarp open to the south; submarine debris-avalanche deposits occur in that direction. Thick lava flows with columnar jointing forms low cliffs along the coast. The youthful island lacks fringing or offshore reefs. A period of heightened thermal phenomena took place in 1976. An eruption began in January 2018 that included lava effusion from vents at the summit and at the E coast.

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 9 and 10-11 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 13-20 September, entering the lava lake and flowing onto the crater floor. Part of the lake’s surface was continuously active. 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.

Krysuvik-Trolladyngja, Reykjanes Peninsula

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

IMO stated that the Fagradalsfjall and Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcanic systems have been designated as two separate systems based on previous scientific research combined with data collected and analyzed from the two recent eruptions (2021 and 2022). On 15 September the Aviation Color Code for Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja was changed to Green, reflecting that the activity was at known background levels.

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.

Lewotolok, Lembata Island

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

PVMBG reported that the eruption at Lewotolok continued during 13-20 September. Daily white emissions rose as high as 300 m above the summit and drifted in multiple directions. During 16-19 September white-and-gray or white, gray, and black plumes rose as high 1 km and drifted W and NW. Incandescence above the crater rim was visible in some webcam photographs posted during 14-15 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 9-15 September and seismicity remained at high levels. As many as 13 lava avalanches from the SW lava dome traveled down the Bebeng drainage on the SW flank, reaching a maximum distance of 1.8 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.

Nevados de Chillan, Central Chile

36.868°S, 71.378°W | Summit elev. 3180 m

SERNAGEOMIN reported that a long-period earthquake signals were recorded at Nevados de Chillán at 0750 and 1913 on 19 September. Associated emissions at 0750 rose 1.1 km above the summit and drifted NE, and at 1913 rose 1.7 km above the summit and drifted SE. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, the second lowest level on a four-color scale, and residents were reminded not to approach the crater within 3 km. ONEMI maintained an Alert Level Yellow (the middle level on a three-color scale) for the communities of Pinto, Coihueco, and San Fabián, and stated that the public should stay at least 3 km away from the crater on the SW flank and 5 km away on the ENE flank.

Geological summary: The compound volcano of Nevados de Chillán is one of the most active of the Central Andes. Three late-Pleistocene to Holocene stratovolcanoes were constructed along a NNW-SSE line within three nested Pleistocene calderas, which produced ignimbrite sheets extending more than 100 km into the Central Depression of Chile. The dominantly andesitic Cerro Blanco (Volcán Nevado) stratovolcano is located at the NW end of the massif. Volcán Viejo (Volcán Chillán), which was the main active vent during the 17th-19th centuries, occupies the SE end. The Volcán Nuevo lava-dome complex formed during 1906-1945 on the NW flank of Viejo. The Volcán Arrau dome complex was then constructed on the SE side of Volcán Nuevo between 1973 and 1986, and eventually exceeded its height. Smaller domes or cones are present in the 5-km valley between the two major edifices.

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 13-20 September. Seismic tremor persisted. New lahar and minor ash deposits extending less than 900 m from the vent were visible during 11-13 September. Strong incandescence at the vent and from an area within 200 m downslope was visible in webcam images starting on 14 September, signifying the emplacement of a short lava flow. Elevated surface temperatures over the vent and flow were identified in satellite images through 20 September; lava effusion continued but no active lava flows extended down the flank from the vent. Explosions were recorded during 18-19 September and steam emissions were visible in webcam images during 19-20 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.

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 13-19 September the number of earthquakes at Puracé was slightly higher compared to previous weeks. A seismic swarm was recorded on 15 September. Events were located about 1.5 km SW of Puracé crater, at depths of 3-4 km, and were as large as M 1.3. A total of 904 earthquakes were recorded during the week; 296 of those were volcano-tectonic events, 538 were long-period events, 54 were low-energy pulses of tremor, 11 were tornillo-type events, and five were hybrid events. Data from the GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) geodetic network indicated continuing inflation. White gas plumes were visible in the Anambío, Mina, Lavas Rojas, Cerro Sombrero, and Curiquinga webcams drifting NW. Sulfur dioxide emissions were as high as 2,021 tonnes per day. The Alert Level remained at Yellow (the second lowest on a four-color scale).

Geological summary: Puracé in Colombia consists of an andesitic stratovolcano with a 500-m-wide summit crater 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.

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 explosion at 0147 on 14 September produced a steam-and-gas plume that rose 600 m above the crater rim. Low-frequency tremor began at 0900 on 17 September and was possibly associated with small eruptive events, though they were not visually confirmed. A possible emission was recorded at 0219.

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.

Semeru, Eastern Java

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

PVMBG reported that the eruption at Semeru continued during 13-20 September. Eruptive events at 0524 on 17 September and 0505 on 19 September produced ash plumes that rose 500 m above the summit and drifted 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 that the eruption at Semisopochnoi was ongoing during 13-20 September. Seismicity remained elevated and characterized by intermittent tremor. Low-level ash emissions from the N crater of Mount Cerberus were occasionally visible in mostly cloudy webcam views during 13-15 September. Possible fresh local ashfall was seen in webcam images during 16-17 September. Steam emissions were visible in webcam views during 19-20 September. 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 8-15 September. A daily thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images. Plumes of re-suspended ash drifted 90 km E on 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 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 12-19 September. A total of 11 explosions produced eruption plumes that rose as high as 1.4 km above the crater rim and ejected large blocks 600 m from the vent. 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.

Whakaari/White Island, North Island (New Zealand)

37.52°S, 177.18°E | Summit elev. 294 m

GeoNet reported that minor ash emissions from the active vent area in Whakaari/White Island’s crater were visible in webcam images on 18 September. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Orange; the Volcanic Alert Level remained at 2. Minor light brown ash emissions were visible through the day, and rose no higher than 600 m above the volcano. Ash emissions were not visible beyond the island, but a steam plume was seen from the Bay of Plenty coast. A strong sulfur dioxide signal associated with the emissions was identified in satellite images that same day. One of the seismic stations began working again on 19 September and showed typical low-level seismicity, consistent with no visible ash emissions. GeoNet was unable to accurately characterize the ash emissions due to the lack of data from inoperable instruments and the semi-operational webcam on the island. They noted that the most likely cause was a small amount of magma moving into the shallow part of the volcano.

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

Reference:

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report – September 14 – 20, 2022 – Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

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