The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: December 28 – January 3, 2023
New activity/unrest was reported for 2 volcanoes from December 28 to January 3, 2023. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 17 volcanoes.
New activity/unrest: Barren Island, Andaman Islands (India) | Semisopochnoi, Aleutian Islands (USA).
Ongoing activity: Ahyi, Mariana Islands (USA) | Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Alaid, Kuril Islands (Russia) | Cotopaxi, Ecuador | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Great Sitkin, Andreanof Islands (USA) | Ibu, Halmahera | Kerinci, Central Sumatra | Krakatau, Sunda Strait | Marapi, Central Sumatra | Merapi, Central Java | Sabancaya, Peru | Semeru, Eastern Java | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan) | Villarrica, Central Chile | Yasur, Vanuatu.
Barren Island, Andaman Islands (India)
12.278°N, 93.858°E | Summit elev. 354 m
The Darwin VAAC reported that ash plumes from Barren Island were identified in satellite images at 2340 on 30 December and 0050 on 31 December rising to 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifting SW. A large thermal anomaly was also visible. The ash emissions had dissipated by 0940.
Geological summary: Barren Island, a possession of India in the Andaman Sea about 135 km NE of Port Blair in the Andaman Islands, is the only historically active volcano along the N-S volcanic arc extending between Sumatra and Burma (Myanmar). It is the emergent summit of a volcano that rises from a depth of about 2250 m. The small, uninhabited 3-km-wide island contains a roughly 2-km-wide caldera with walls 250-350 m high. The caldera, which is open to the sea on the west, was created during a major explosive eruption in the late Pleistocene that produced pyroclastic-flow and -surge deposits. Historical eruptions have changed the morphology of the pyroclastic cone in the center of the caldera, and lava flows that fill much of the caldera floor have reached the sea along the western coast.
Semisopochnoi, Aleutian Islands (USA)
51.93°N, 179.58°E | Summit elev. 1221 m
AVO reported that fresh ash deposits on the flanks of Semisopochnoi’s Mount Cerberus were visible in webcam images during 27-28 December, indicating that activity at the N crater had resumed on 27 December. The deposits extended about 1 km from the vent. Ash plumes were not visible in satellite and webcam images, though a persistent steam plume rising as high as 2.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. may have been carrying minor amounts of ash. Increased seismicity, including seismic tremor, had been recorded during the previous week. AVO raised the Aviation Color Code to Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) and the Volcano Alert Level to Watch (the second highest level on a four-level scale).
Seismic tremor and explosions were recorded during 30-31 December. Satellite and webcam images were obscured by clouds; no plumes were observed above the meteorological cloud deck around 4.7 km (15,000 ft) a.s.l., so any ash emissions would have been at low altitudes. Possible explosions were detected during 31 December 2022-1 January 2023. A small ash deposit extending around 2 km SSW of the N crater were visible in satellite and webcam images. A likely explosion occurred during 1-2 January based on elevated seismicity recorded on local seismometers and an infrasound signal recorded minutes later by an array at Adak. Minor steam-and-gas emissions were visible in partly cloudy satellite images. Low-level explosive activity persisted during 2-3 January, with minor steam emissions and a new ash deposit visible in webcam images.
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.
Ahyi, Mariana Islands (USA)
20.42°N, 145.03°E | Summit elev. -75 m
Unrest continued to be detected at Ahyi Seamount during 28 December 2022-3 January 2023. Daily signals possibly indicating explosions were detected by hydrophone sensors on Wake Island (2,270 km E of Ahyi). No activity was visible in mostly cloudy satellite images. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-color scale) and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory (the second lowest level on a four-level scale).
Geological summary: Ahyi seamount is a large conical submarine volcano that rises to within 75 m of the sea surface about 18 km SE of the island of Farallon de Pajaros (Uracas) in the northern Marianas. Water discoloration has been observed there, and in 1979 the crew of a fishing boat felt shocks over the summit area of the seamount, followed by upwelling of sulfur-bearing water. On 24-25 April 2001 an explosive eruption was detected seismically by a station on Rangiroa Atoll, Tuamotu Archipelago. The event was well constrained (+/- 15 km) at a location near the southern base of Ahyi. An eruption in April-May 2014 was detected by NOAA divers, hydroacoustic sensors, and seismic stations.
Aira, Kyushu (Japan)
31.593°N, 130.657°E | Summit elev. 1117 m
JMA reported ongoing eruptive activity at Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 26 December 2022-2 January 2023. Crater incandescence was visible nightly. Sulfur dioxide emissions were slightly elevated at 1,700 tons per day on 27 December. Two explosions, on 27 and 29 December, produced ash plumes that rose as high as 1.7 km above the crater rim and ejected blocks as far as 900 m from the vent. An explosion at 1423 on 2 January produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater rim. 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.
Alaid, Kuril Islands (Russia)
50.861°N, 155.565°E | Summit elev. 2285 m
KVERT lowered the Aviation Color Code for Alaid to Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-color scale) on 30 December and then to Green on 4 January. Ash plumes were last observed on 26 November and the temperature of the thermal anomaly was at background levels since 1 December.
Geological summary: The highest and northernmost volcano of the Kuril Islands, Alaid is a symmetrical stratovolcano when viewed from the north, but has a 1.5-km-wide summit crater that is breached open to the south. This basaltic to basaltic-andesite volcano is the northernmost of a chain constructed west of the main Kuril archipelago. Numerous pyroclastic cones are present the lower flanks, 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 reported in the Kuril Islands.
0.677°S, 78.436°W | Summit elev. 5911 m
IG reported that the low-level eruption at Cotopaxi continued during 28 December 2022-3 January 2023, characterized by daily steam-and-gas emissions with occasional low ash content. Several gas-and-steam emissions with low ash content were visible on 28 December rising 600-900 m above the summit and drifting W. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 1,314-2,550 tons per day during 27-28 December based on satellite data. Only gas emissions were visible during 29 December-2 January, though weather clouds often prevented webcam and satellite observations. At 1740 on 3 January a diffuse ash plume rose 1 km above the summit and drifted W, based on a satellite image. Minor ashfall was possible in areas to the W. Servicio Nacional de Gestión de Riesgos y Emergencias (SNGRE) maintained the Alert Level at Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-color scale).
Geological summary: The symmetrical, glacier-covered, Cotopaxi stratovolcano is Ecuador’s most well-known volcano and one of its most active. The steep-sided cone is capped by nested summit craters, the largest of which is about 550 x 800 m in diameter. Deep valleys scoured by lahars radiate from the summit of the andesitic volcano, and large andesitic lava flows extend to its base. The modern edifice has been constructed since a major collapse sometime prior to about 5,000 years ago. Pyroclastic flows (often confused in historical accounts with lava flows) have accompanied many explosive eruptions, and lahars have frequently devastated adjacent valleys. Strong eruptions took place in 1744, 1768, and 1877. Pyroclastic flows descended all sides of the volcano in 1877, and lahars traveled more than 100 km into the Pacific Ocean and western Amazon basin. Smaller eruptions have been frequent since that time.
Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia)
50.686°N, 156.014°E | Summit elev. 1103 m
KVERT reported that moderate activity at Ebeko was ongoing during 22-29 December. According to volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island, about 7 km E) explosions during 27-28 December generated ash plumes that rose as high as 2.5 km (8,200 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE and SE. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale). Dates are based on UTC times; specific events are in local time where noted.
Geological summary: The 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 likely continued at Great Sitkin during 28 December 2022-3 January 2023, though weather clouds mostly obscured satellite and webcam views. In general, a few small daily local earthquakes were recorded, though there were many during 1-2 January. A large steam plume was seen rising from the lava flow on 29 December and slightly elevated surface temperatures were identified in satellite images during 2-3 January. The Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch (the second highest level on a four-level scale) and the Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).
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.
1.488°N, 127.63°E | Summit elev. 1325 m
PVMBG reported that the eruption at Ibu continued during 28 December 2022-2 January 2023. Daily white-and-gray emissions of variable densities rose 200-800 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.
Kerinci, Central Sumatra
1.697°S, 101.264°E | Summit elev. 3800 m
The eruption at Kerinci was ongoing with brown or white-and-brown ash plumes rising as high as 200 m above the crater rim on most days during 20 December 2022-3 January 2023. The amplitude of continuous tremor increased during 28-29 December, suggesting increased fluid flow or rising magma. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).
Geological summary: Gunung Kerinci in central Sumatra forms Indonesia’s highest volcano and is one of the most active in Sumatra. It is capped by an unvegetated young summit cone that was constructed NE of an older crater remnant. There is a deep 600-m-wide summit crater often partially filled by a small crater lake that lies on the NE crater floor, opposite the SW-rim summit. The massive 13 x 25 km wide volcano towers 2400-3300 m above surrounding plains and is elongated in a N-S direction. Frequently active, Kerinci has been the source of numerous moderate explosive eruptions since its first recorded eruption in 1838.
Krakatau, Sunda Strait
6.102°S, 105.423°E | Summit elev. 155 m
PVMBG reported that at 1638 on 3 January a dense gray-to-brown ash plume rose 100 m above Anak Krakatau’s summit and drifted NE. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to stay at least 5 km away from the crater.
Geological summary: The renowned volcano Krakatau (frequently misstated as Krakatoa) lies in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra. Collapse of the ancestral edifice, perhaps in 416 or 535 CE, formed a 7-km-wide caldera. Remnants of that volcano are preserved in Verlaten and Lang Islands; subsequently Rakata, Danan, and Perbuwatan volcanoes were formed, coalescing to create the pre-1883 Krakatau Island. Caldera collapse during the catastrophic 1883 eruption destroyed Danan and Perbuwatan, and left only a remnant of Rakata. This eruption caused more than 36,000 fatalities, most as a result of tsunamis that swept the adjacent coastlines of Sumatra and Java. Pyroclastic surges traveled 40 km across the Sunda Strait and reached the Sumatra coast. After a quiescence of less than a half century, the post-collapse cone of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) was constructed within the 1883 caldera at a point between the former cones of Danan and Perbuwatan. Anak Krakatau has been the site of frequent eruptions since 1927.
Marapi, Central Sumatra
0.38°S, 100.474°E | Summit elev. 2885 m
In a special report posted on 27 December PVMBG reported that seismicity at Marapi increased during 25-26 December, characterized by an increase in the number of deep volcanic earthquakes, tornillo-type events, and shallow volcanic earthquakes associated with hydrothermal activity. Surficial activity showed no changes; diffuse white plumes rose as high as 100 m above the summit during the previous eight months. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).
Geological summary: Gunung Marapi, not to be confused with the better-known Merapi volcano on Java, is Sumatra’s most active volcano. This massive complex stratovolcano rises 2,000 m above the Bukittinggi Plain in the Padang Highlands. A broad summit contains multiple partially overlapping summit craters constructed within the small 1.4-km-wide Bancah caldera. The summit craters are located along an ENE-WSW line, with volcanism migrating to the west. More than 50 eruptions, typically consisting of small-to-moderate explosive activity, have been recorded since the end of the 18th century; no lava flows outside the summit craters have been reported in historical time.
Merapi, Central Java
7.54°S, 110.446°E | Summit elev. 2910 m
BPPTKG reported that the eruption at Merapi continued during 23-29 December and seismicity remained at high levels. The SW lava dome produced two lava avalanches that traveled as far as 1.5 km down the SW flank (upstream in the Kali Bebeng drainage) and were heard from the Babadan observation post. No significant morphological changes to the central and SW lava domes were evident. 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.
15.787°S, 71.857°W | Summit elev. 5960 m
Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) reported moderate levels of activity at Sabancaya during 26-31 December with a daily average of 67 explosions. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 2.6 km above the summit and drifted SW and W. Six 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 28 December 2022-3 January 2023. At 0635 on 28 December a somewhat dense white-to-brown ash plume rose 600 m above the summit and drifted N. At 0733 on 31 December a dense white-to-gray ash plume rose at least 500 m and drifted N. 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.
Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)
56.653°N, 161.36°E | Summit elev. 3283 m
KVERT reported that the ongoing eruption at Sheveluch during 22-29 December was generally characterized by explosions, hot avalanches, lava-dome extrusion, and strong fumarolic activity. A daily thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images, and gas-and-steam plumes containing some ash were visible drifting 90 km SW, S, and NE during 26-29 December. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale). Dates are based on UTC times; specific events are in local time where noted.
Geological summary: The high, isolated massif of Sheveluch volcano (also spelled Shiveluch) rises above the lowlands NNE of the Kliuchevskaya volcano group. The 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 26 December 2022-3 January 2023. No explosions were recorded. Eruption plumes rose as high as 1 km above the crater rim, and blocks were ejected as far as 200 m from the vent. Ashfall was occasionally reported in Toshima village (3.5 km SSW) during 28-30 December. 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 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.
Villarrica, Central Chile
39.42°S, 71.93°W | Summit elev. 2847 m
POVI counted 21 Strombolian events that ejected incandescent material onto Villarrica’s upper SW flank from 2200 on 28 December to 0540 on 29 December. More than 100 Strombolian events ejected incandescent material onto the upper W and NW flanks during 30-31 December. Observatorio Argentino de Vigilancia Volcánica (OAVV) reported that an explosion at 2356 on 31 December ejected incandescent material onto the upper NW flank as far as 480 m from the crater rim, and an explosion at 0219 on 31 December ejected incandescent material onto the same flank as far as 150 m. Both explosions ejected incandescent material as high as 120 m above the crater rim. SERNAGEOMIN reported that at 1307 on 1 January a long-period earthquake was recorded but weather clouds prevented visual confirmation of possible emissions. The Alert Level remained at Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-color scale) and the public was warned that material could be ejected within 500 m of the crater. ONEMI maintained the Alert Level at Yellow (the middle level on a three-color scale) for the municipalities of Villarrica, Pucón (16 km N), Curarrehue, and the commune of Panguipulli.
Geological summary: Glacier-clad Villarrica, one of Chile’s most active volcanoes, rises above the lake and town of the same name. It is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes that trend perpendicular to the Andean chain. A 6-km-wide caldera formed during the late Pleistocene. A 2-km-wide caldera that formed about 3500 years ago is located at the base of the presently active, dominantly basaltic to basaltic-andesitic cone at the NW margin of the Pleistocene caldera. More than 30 scoria cones and fissure vents dot the flanks. Plinian eruptions and pyroclastic flows that have extended up to 20 km from the volcano were produced during the Holocene. Lava flows up to 18 km long have issued from summit and flank vents. Historical eruptions, documented since 1558, have consisted largely of mild-to-moderate explosive activity with occasional lava effusion. Glaciers cover 40 km2 of the volcano, and lahars have damaged towns on its flanks.
19.532°S, 169.447°E | Summit elev. 361 m
On 29 December the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (VMGD) reported that activity at Yasur continued at a high level of “major unrest,” as defined by the Alert Level 2 status (the middle level on a scale of 0-4). Recent observations confirmed continuing low-to-moderate explosions that ejected bombs within the crater and produced ash, gas, and steam emissions. 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 has exhibited essentially continuous Strombolian and Vulcanian activity at least 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 in Vanuatu, this 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.
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report – December 28 – January 3. 2023 Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
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