The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: September 21 – 27, 2022

the weekly volcanic activity report

New activity/unrest was reported for 4 volcanoes from September 21 to 27, 2022. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 17 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) | Great Sitkin, Andreanof Islands (USA) | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Lewotolok, Lembata Island | Merapi, Central Java | Pavlof, Alaska Peninsula, Alaska | Pinatubo, Luzon (Philippines) | Reventador, Ecuador | Sangay, Ecuador | Semeru, Eastern Java | Semisopochnoi, Aleutian Islands (USA) | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan) | Taal, Luzon (Philippines).

New activity/unrest

Alaid, Kuril Islands (Russia)

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

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Alaid was identified in satellite images during 15-22 September. On 18 September an ash plume drifted 50 km E. 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 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 27 September. The eruption continued at variable intensities, mainly producing daily plumes of gas and steam that rose no higher than 2 km above sea level. During 0040-0250 on 25 September steam-and-ash plumes rose 2-4 km a.s.l. and drifted 30 km W, S, and SE. At 0030 on 27 September an ash plume rose 6-8 km a.s.l. and drifted 25 km SSE. The island was surrounded by plumes of discolored water. 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 the eruption at Piton de la Fournaise that began on 19 September, E of Piton Kala Pélé, was ongoing during 21-27 September. Gas plumes drifted SW, WSW, W, NNW, and were detected as far as 200 km from the vent in a 27 September satellite image. The active cone on the low end of the fissure ejected lava to low heights above the cone’s rim. Lava flows from the base of the cone formed two main flows that traveled SE and ESE. Lava flowed through sections of tubes mainly located along the first kilometer of both flows. Average daily lava-flow rate estimates varied from 1 to 8 meters per second based on satellite data. The SE flow front had advanced to the Château Fort crater area, reaching 2,000 m elevation on 24 September, though that flow had stopped advancing by 26 September. The eruption was confined to the caldera, so the Alert Level remained at 2-1 (“2” is the highest level of a 3-level scale and “-1” denotes the lowest of three sub-levels).

Geological summary: Piton de la Fournaise is a massive basaltic shield volcano on the French island of Réunion in the western Indian Ocean. 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 scarps formed at about 250,000, 65,000, and less than 5,000 years ago by progressive eastward slumping, leaving caldera-sized embayments open to the E and SE. Numerous pyroclastic cones are present on the floor of the scarps and their outer flanks. Most recorded eruptions have originated from the summit and flanks of Dolomieu, a 400-m-high lava shield that has grown within the youngest scarp, which is about 9 km wide and about 13 km from the western wall to the ocean on the E 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 outside the scarps.

Taupo, North Island (New Zealand)

38.82°S, 176°E | Summit elev. 760 m

On 28 September GeoNet reported that seismic unrest and deformation at Taupo continued during the previous week. About 750 earthquakes have been located at depths of 4-13 km beneath the lake since unrest began in May. During the past week the locations were concentrated beneath the E part of the lake and occurred at a slightly lower rate than the week before. 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 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. The Volcanic Alert Level remained at 1 (the second lowest level on a six-level scale) reflecting “minor volcanic unrest” characterized by ongoing seismicity and inflation.

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 six eruptive events and three explosions at Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) were recorded during 19-26 September. Volcanic plumes rose as high as 2.4 km above the crater rim and large blocks were ejected as far as 700 m from the vent. Incandescence at the crater was visible nightly. Sulfur dioxide emissions were somewhat high at 1,900 tons per day on 22 September. Nighttime incandescence at the crater was visible during 2-16 September. A notable eruptive event at 1335 on 23 September generated an ash plume that rose 1.7 km above the crater rim and also drifted down-flank to the SE until 1600. A large amount of ashfall was deposited on the SE flank. 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 3.5 km (11,500 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E. A thermal anomaly over the volcano was identified in satellite images on 18 September. Ash fell in Severo-Kurilsk during 20-22 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 20-27 September. Elevated surface temperatures were identified during 20-21 September; weather clouds often prevented webcam and satellite views during the rest of the week. A data outage that affected the local seismic network was resolved by 23 September. Seismicity was low during 24-25 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 16-18 and 20-21 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 20-27 September, entering the lava lake and flowing onto the crater floor. The continuously active part of the lake dropped 10 m, regained 3 m during 19-22 September, and then was unchanged the rest of the week. Breakouts of lava occurred at the W and N margins of the lake during most of the week. 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.

Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

56.056°N, 160.642°E | Summit elev. 4754 m

Strong winds re-suspended ash from the E flank of Klyuchevskoy and created plumes that were visible in satellite images drifting 460 km SE during 21-22 September. KVERT raised the Aviation Color Code to Orange on 21 September but lowered it back to Green on 24 September. Dates are based on UTC times; specific events are in local time where noted.

Geological summary: Klyuchevskoy (also spelled Kliuchevskoi) is Kamchatka’s highest and most active volcano. Since its origin about 6000 years ago, the beautifully symmetrical, 4835-m-high basaltic stratovolcano has produced frequent moderate-volume explosive and effusive eruptions without major periods of inactivity. It rises above a saddle NE of sharp-peaked Kamen volcano and lies SE of the broad Ushkovsky massif. More than 100 flank eruptions have occurred during the past roughly 3000 years, with most lateral craters and cones occurring along radial fissures between the unconfined NE-to-SE flanks of the conical volcano between 500 m and 3600 m elevation. The morphology of the 700-m-wide summit crater has been frequently modified by historical eruptions, which have been recorded since the late-17th century. Historical eruptions have originated primarily from the summit crater, but have also included numerous major explosive and effusive eruptions from flank craters.

Lewotolok, Lembata Island

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

PVMBG reported that the eruption at Lewotolok continued during 20-27 September. Daily white emissions rose as high as 350 m above the summit and drifted in multiple directions. At 0350 on 23 September an eruptive event produced an ash plume that rose 800 m and drifted W. An image captured at that time showed Strombolian activity with incandescent material being ejected above the summit. White-and-gray plumes generally rose as high 500 m and drifted NW, W, and S that same day. 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 16-22 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 1.9 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 20-27 September. Small explosions were detected in seismic and infrasound data during 20-21 September; seismic tremor levels were variable during the rest of the week. Weather clouds often prevented views of the volcano, though elevated surface temperatures were identified in satellite and webcam images during 20-21 and 23-27 September. A diffuse gas was occasionally seen in webcam images during 25-26 September, and one plume with possible ash content was visible during 26-27 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.

Pinatubo, Luzon (Philippines)

15.13°N, 120.35°E | Summit elev. 1486 m

On 25 September PHIVOLCS warned of potential lahars around Pinatubo due to intense rains from a typhoon expected during 25-26 September. Significant deposits from 1991 pyroclastic density currents on the W flank may be remobilized, generating lahars down major drainages in that watershed. PHIVOLCS noted that the communities of San Marcelino, San Narciso, San Felipe, and Botolan, Zambales Province, and communities in Tarlac and Pampanga Provinces may be affected by lahars and flooding.

Geological summary: Prior to 1991 Pinatubo volcano was a relatively unknown, heavily forested lava dome complex located 100 km NW of Manila with no records of historical eruptions. The 1991 eruption, one of the world’s largest of the 20th century, ejected massive amounts of tephra and produced voluminous pyroclastic flows, forming a small, 2.5-km-wide summit caldera whose floor is now covered by a lake. Caldera formation lowered the height of the summit by more than 300 m. Although the eruption caused hundreds of fatalities and major damage with severe social and economic impact, successful monitoring efforts greatly reduced the number of fatalities. Widespread lahars that redistributed products of the 1991 eruption have continued to cause severe disruption. Previous major eruptive periods, interrupted by lengthy quiescent periods, have produced pyroclastic flows and lahars that were even more extensive than in 1991.

Reventador, Ecuador

0.077°S, 77.656°W | Summit elev. 3562 m

IG characterized the ongoing eruption at Reventador as moderate during 20-27 September. Gas, steam, and ash plumes, observed with webcams or reported by the Washington VAAC, rose as high as 1.3 km above the summit and drifted SW, W, NW, and NE. Crater incandescence was visible nightly; the lava flow on the NE flank continued to be active, and incandescent blocks were visible rolling 600-800 m down the flanks during 20-23 and 26-27 September.

Geological summary: Reventador is the most frequently active of a chain of Ecuadorian volcanoes in the Cordillera Real, well east of the principal volcanic axis. The forested, dominantly andesitic Volcán El Reventador stratovolcano rises to 3562 m above the jungles of the western Amazon basin. A 4-km-wide caldera widely breached to the east was formed by edifice collapse and is partially filled by a young, unvegetated stratovolcano that rises about 1300 m above the caldera floor to a height comparable to the caldera rim. It has been the source of numerous lava flows as well as explosive eruptions that were visible from Quito in historical time. Frequent lahars in this region of heavy rainfall have constructed a debris plain on the eastern floor of the caldera. The largest historical eruption took place in 2002, producing a 17-km-high eruption column, pyroclastic flows that traveled up to 8 km, and lava flows from summit and flank vents.

Sangay, Ecuador

2.005°S, 78.341°W | Summit elev. 5286 m

IG reported a high level of activity at Sangay during 20-27 September. Daily seismic counts ranges were 702-1,152 explosions, 12-105 long-period events, and 9-95 tremor events indicating emissions. Daily ash-and-gas plumes were identified in IG webcam images and visible in satellite images according to the Washington VAAC. Plumes generally rose as high as 2 km above the volcano but during 25-27 September they rose as high as 3 km. The plumes drifted mostly W and NW, but some drifted SW, N, and NE. Daily thermal anomalies were identified in satellite images. Ashfall was reported in the Chauzán sector, Chimborazo province, during 22-23 September.

Geological summary: The isolated Sangay volcano, located east of the Andean crest, is the southernmost of Ecuador’s volcanoes and its most active. The steep-sided, glacier-covered, dominantly andesitic volcano grew within the open calderas of two previous edifices which were destroyed by collapse to the east, producing large debris avalanches that reached the Amazonian lowlands. The modern edifice dates back to at least 14,000 years ago. It towers above the tropical jungle on the east side; on the other sides flat plains of ash have been eroded by heavy rains into steep-walled canyons up to 600 m deep. The earliest report of an eruption was in 1628. Almost continuous eruptions were reported from 1728 until 1916, and again from 1934 to the present. The almost constant activity has caused frequent changes to the morphology of the summit crater complex.

Semeru, Eastern Java

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

PVMBG reported that the eruption at Semeru continued during 20-27 September. Eruptive events on 24 September (at 0606) and 27 September (at 0517 and 0651) produced ash plumes that rose 400-500 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 with intermittent periods of low-amplitude tremor. Steam emissions from the active vent in the N crater of Mount Cerebus were visible in webcam views on most days. 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 15-22 September. A daily thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images. Plumes of re-suspended ash drifted 430 km E during 17-18 and 21-22 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 19-26 September. A total of 19 explosions produced eruption plumes that rose as high as 2 km above the crater rim. Crater incandescence was visible nightly and ash fell in Toshima village (3.5 km SSW). 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.

Taal, Luzon (Philippines)

14.002°N, 120.993°E | Summit elev. 311 m

On 25 September PHIVOLCS warned of potential lahars around Taal due to intense rains from a typhoon expected during 25-26 September, with a particular focus on the western part of the caldera where ash deposits could become remobilized and affect the communities of Agoncillo and Laurel, Batangas Province. The report also warned that the ground cracks formed during the 2020 eruption on the NE and SW sectors of Taal Caldera may become enlarged or eroded and cause damage to buildings and houses. The ground cracks were located in the municipalities of Agoncillo, San Nicolas, Lemery, and Taal on the SW part of the caldera, and in the cities of Talisay and Tanauan on the NE side.

Geological summary: Taal is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines and has produced some of its most powerful historical eruptions. Though not topographically prominent, its prehistorical eruptions have greatly changed the landscape of SW Luzon. The 15 x 20 km Talisay (Taal) caldera is largely filled by Lake Taal, whose 267 km2 surface lies only 3 m above sea level. The maximum depth of the lake is 160 m, and several eruptive centers lie submerged beneath the lake. The 5-km-wide Volcano Island in north-central Lake Taal is the location of all observed eruptions. The island is composed of coalescing small stratovolcanoes, tuff rings, and scoria cones. Powerful pyroclastic flows and surges have caused many fatalities.

References:

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report – September 21-27, 2022 – Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

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