The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: March 29 – April 4, 2023

the weekly volcanic activity report

New activity/unrest was reported for 5 volcanoes from March 29 – April 4, 2023. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 22 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Ambae, Vanuatu | Kikai, Ryukyu Islands (Japan) | Laguna del Maule, Central Chile-Argentina | Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia | Ubinas, Peru.

Ongoing activity: Ahyi, Mariana Islands (USA) | Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Asamayama, Honshu (Japan) | Bezymianny, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Cotopaxi, Ecuador | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Fuego, South-Central Guatemala | Great Sitkin, Andreanof Islands (USA) | Karangetang, Sangihe Islands | Krakatau, Sunda Strait | Lewotolok, Lembata Island | Merapi, Central Java | Reventador, Ecuador | Sangay, Ecuador | Santa Maria, Southwestern Guatemala | Semeru, Eastern Java | Semisopochnoi, Aleutian Islands (USA) | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Stromboli, Aeolian Islands (Italy) | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan) | Ulawun, New Britain (Papua New Guinea) | Yasur, Vanuatu.

New activity/unrest

Ambae, Vanuatu

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

On 30 March the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) reported that the cone in Ambae’s Lake Voui continued to produce emissions consisting of steam, volcanic gases, and possibly occasional ash that drifted downwind. Volcanic earthquakes were recorded by the seismic network. According to the Wellington VAAC, a low-level ash plume rose to an altitude of 2.4 km based on satellite imagery on 5 April. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-5) and the public was warned to stay outside of the Danger Zone, defined as a 2-km radius around the active vents in Lake Voui, and away from drainages during heavy rains. Source: Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Wellington VAAC

Geological summary: The island of Ambae, also known as Aoba, is a massive 2,500 km3 basaltic shield that is the most voluminous volcano of the New Hebrides archipelago. A pronounced NE-SW-trending rift zone dotted with scoria cones gives the 16 x 38 km island an elongated form. A broad pyroclastic cone containing three crater lakes (Manaro Ngoru, Voui, and Manaro Lakua) is located at the summit within the youngest of at least two nested calderas, the largest of which is 6 km in diameter. That large central edifice is also called Manaro Voui or Lombenben volcano. Post-caldera explosive eruptions formed the summit craters about 360 years ago. A tuff cone was constructed within Lake Voui (or Vui) about 60 years later. The latest known flank eruption, about 300 years ago, destroyed the population of the Nduindui area near the western coast.

Kikai, Ryukyu Islands (Japan)

30.793°N, 130.305°E | Summit elev. 704 m

JMA reported that minor eruptive activity was recorded at Satsuma Iwo-Jima, a subaerial part of Kikai’s NW caldera rim, from 27 March-3 April. White gas-and-steam plumes rose 700 m above the crater rim. Surveillance cameras observed nightly incandescence. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale), and residents were warned to stay 500 m away from the crater.

Geological summary: Kikai is a mostly submerged, 19-km-wide caldera near the northern end of the Ryukyu Islands south of Kyushu. It was the source of one of the world’s largest Holocene eruptions about 6,300 years ago when rhyolitic pyroclastic flows traveled across the sea for a total distance of 100 km to southern Kyushu, and ashfall reached the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The eruption devastated southern and central Kyushu, which remained uninhabited for several centuries. Post-caldera eruptions formed the Iodake lava dome and Inamuradake scoria cone, as well as submarine lava domes. Historical eruptions have occurred at or near Satsuma-Iojima (also known as Tokara-Iojima), a small 3 x 6 km island forming part of the NW caldera rim. Showa-Iojima lava dome (also known as Iojima-Shinto), a small island 2 km E of Tokara-Iojima, was formed during submarine eruptions in 1934 and 1935. Mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have occurred during the past few decades from Iodake, a rhyolitic lava dome at the eastern end of Tokara-Iojima.

Laguna del Maule, Central Chile-Argentina

36.058°S, 70.492°W | Summit elev. 2162 m

SERNAGEOMIN reported that increased seismicity at Laguna del Maule was first registered around 1800 on 30 March. The seismic monitoring stations recorded a swarm of 300 volcano-tectonic earthquakes that occurred in an elongated area in an NW-SE direction approximately 10 km SW of the crater at a depth of up 8 km. These events were associated with rock fracturing processes. Starting on 3 April there was an increase in the magnitude of the earthquakes at M 2.5, M 2.8, and M 2.9 at depths of 4.5-8 km. The Alert Level was raised to Yellow, the second lowest on a four-color scale on 3 April.

Geological summary: The Laguna del Maule volcanic complex includes a 15 x 25 km caldera with a cluster of small stratovolcanoes, lava domes, and pyroclastic cones of the Pleistocene-to-Holocene age. The caldera lies mostly on the Chilean side of the border but partially extends into Argentina. Fourteen Pleistocene basaltic lava flows erupted down the upper part of the Maule River valley. A cluster of Pleistocene cinder cones was constructed on the NW side of Maule Lake in the northern part of the caldera. The latest activity produced an explosion crater on the E side of the lake and a series of Holocene rhyolitic lava domes and blocky lava flows that surround it.

Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia

4.892°N, 75.324°W | Summit elev. 5279 m

Servicio Geológico Colombiano’s (SGC) reported that thermal anomalies, persistent in Arenas Crater at Nevado del Ruiz since October 2022, were low-to-moderate in intensity. Seismicity increased significantly on 24 March, characterized by rock-fracturing earthquakes mainly located 2-5 km SW of Arenas crater at depths of 2-4 km. On 28 March there were 6,500 of these events, the highest daily count since 2010. The number of daily events continued to increase and on 29 March the seismic network recorded 11,000 earthquakes, the highest daily count since seismic monitoring began in 1985; on 30 March there were 11,600 earthquakes. The maximum magnitudes per day were also increasing, with a M 2.6 on 24 March, a M 2.7 on 29 March, and a M 3.1 on 30 March. The earthquake locations migrated towards Arenas Crater, though the depths remained within the same range. The Alert Level was raised to Orange, Level II (the second highest level on a four-level scale) on 30 March. In addition to the swarm, seismic signals indicating fluid movement continued to be recorded and some were associated with ash emissions; the tallest plume on 30 March rose 1.8 km above the summit and drifted NW and SW.

The number of earthquakes on 31 March totaled 8,800 with a maximum magnitude of 2.6 event at 1236. The number of signals indicating fluid movement increased from 31 March-1 April and were likely associated with ash emissions. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 1.3 km above the summit and drifted SW and SE. A total of 10,400 earthquakes were recorded on 1 April with the largest event, a M 3.1, recorded at 1040. On 2 April a total of 5,400 earthquakes were recorded and the largest event (M 2.3) occurred at 1122 and was located 4.3 km SW of the crater. Ash-and-gas emissions persisted and rose to 1.2 km above the summit and drifted SW and NW. Ashfall was reported in Brisas y de Potosí by Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados officials. The Gestión del Riesgo de Desastres (UNGRD) reported that there were 57,000 people living in 22 municipalities in the departments of Tolima, Caldas, Risaralda, Valle del Cauca, Quindío, and Cundinamarca who could be impacted by Nevado del Ruiz. Preparations and coordination for a possible evacuation of residents were centered on areas in high-risk zones including the municipalities of Villamaría in the department of Caldas, Casabianca, Herveo, Murillo, and Villahermosa in Tolima, and the sector of the Gualí River in the municipality of Guaduas, Cundinamarca.

Geological summary: Nevado del Ruiz is a broad, glacier-covered volcano in central Colombia that covers more than 200 km2. Three major edifices, composed of andesitic and dacitic lavas and andesitic pyroclastics, have been constructed since the beginning of the Pleistocene. The modern cone consists of a broad cluster of lava domes built within the caldera of an older edifice. The 1-km-wide, 240-m-deep Arenas crater occupies the summit. The prominent La Olleta pyroclastic cone located on the SW flank may also have been active in historical time. Steep headwalls of massive landslides cut the flanks. Melting of its summit icecap during historical eruptions, which date back to the 16th century, has resulted in devastating lahars, including one in 1985 that was South America’s deadliest eruption.

Ubinas, Peru

16.355°S, 70.903°W | Summit elev. 5672 m

Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) reported that at 1713 on 28 March a moderate-volume lahar descended the Volcánmayo drainage on Ubinas’s SE flank. The town of Tonohaya (7 km SSE) is located along the drainage and the town of Ubinas is 2 km E of the drainage. The Alert Level remained at Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-color scale).

Geological summary: A small, 1.4-km-wide caldera cuts the top of Ubinas, Perú’s most active volcano, giving it a truncated appearance. It is the northernmost of three young volcanoes located along a regional structural lineament about 50 km behind the main volcanic front. The growth and destruction of Ubinas I was followed by the construction of Ubinas II beginning in the mid-Pleistocene. The upper slopes of the andesitic-to-rhyolitic Ubinas II stratovolcano are composed primarily of andesitic and trachyandesitic lava flows and steepen to nearly 45 degrees. The steep-walled, 150-m-deep summit caldera contains an ash cone with a 500-m-wide funnel-shaped vent that is 200 m deep. Debris-avalanche deposits from the collapse of the SE flank about 3,700 years ago extend 10 km from the volcano. Widespread Plinian pumice-fall deposits include one of Holocene age about 1,000 years ago. Holocene lava flows are visible on the flanks, but historical activity, documented since the 16th century, has consisted of intermittent minor-to-moderate explosive eruptions.

Ongoing activity

Ahyi, Mariana Islands (USA)

20.42°N, 145.03°E | Summit elev. -75 m

Unrest at Ahyi Seamount continued from 28 March-4 April. Underwater events were detected by pressure sensors on Wake Island, 2,270 km E, on 29 and 31 March and during 1-2 April. The events were possibly related to underwater explosions or earthquakes at the volcano. 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 an 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) from 27 March-4 April with nightly crater incandescence. Five eruptive events were recorded during 27-31 March producing plumes that rose 1.5 km above the crater rim. A few small eruptive events occasionally occurred during the rest of the week. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale), and residents were warned to stay 2 km away from both craters.

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 the 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.

Asamayama, Honshu (Japan)

36.406°N, 138.523°E | Summit elev. 2568 m

JMA reported that inflation on Asamayama’s W flank persisted from 29 March-4 April, and the number of shallow volcanic earthquakes continued to increase. There were 95 events on 29 March, 91 on 30 March, 94 on 31 March, 77 on 1 April, 68 on 2 April, 104 on 3 April, and 149 on 4 April. Sulfur dioxide measurements were 1,600 tons per day on 29 March, which had increased compared to the previous measurement of 100 tons per day on 17 March. On 3 April the sulfur dioxide concentration was 1,000 tons per day. The Alert Level remained at a 2 (on a scale of 1-5) and warned the public to be aware of large volcanic blocks and pyroclastic flows within 2 km of the crater.

Geological summary: Asamayama, Honshu’s most active volcano, overlooks the resort town of Karuizawa, 140 km NW of Tokyo. The volcano is located at the junction of the Izu-Marianas and NE Japan volcanic arcs. The modern Maekake cone forms the summit and is situated east of the remnant of an older andesitic volcano, Kurofuyama, which was destroyed by a late-Pleistocene landslide about 20,000 years before the present (BP). The growth of a dacitic shield volcano was accompanied by pumiceous pyroclastic flows, the largest of which occurred about 14,000-11,000 BP, and by the growth of the Ko-Asamayama lava dome on the east flank. Maekake, capped by the Kamayama pyroclastic cone that forms the present summit, is probably only a few thousand years old and has observed activity dating back at least to the 11th century CE. Maekake has had several major Plinian eruptions, the last two of which occurred in 1108 (Asamayama’s largest Holocene eruption) and 1783 CE.

Bezymianny, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

55.972°N, 160.595°E | Summit elev. 2882 m

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Bezymianny persisted in satellite images at least through 31 March, local time. On 2 April an ash plume rose 4.3 km (14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE according to the Tokyo VAAC. The Aviation Color Code was as raised to Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Geological summary: The modern Bezymianny, much smaller than its massive neighbors Kamen and Kliuchevskoi on the Kamchatka Peninsula, was formed about 4,700 years ago over a late-Pleistocene lava-dome complex and an ancestral edifice built about 11,000-7,000 years ago. Three periods of intensified activity have occurred during the past 3,000 years. The latest period, which was preceded by a 1,000-year quiescence, began with the dramatic 1955-56 eruption. This eruption, similar to that of St. Helens in 1980, produced a large open crater that was formed by the collapse of the summit and an associated lateral blast. Subsequent episodic but ongoing lava-dome growth, accompanied by intermittent explosive activity and pyroclastic flows, has largely filled the 1956 crater.

Cotopaxi, Ecuador

0.677°S, 78.436°W | Summit elev. 5911 m

IG reported that eruptive activity at Cotopaxi was ongoing from 29 March-4 April. Gas-and-ash plumes visible in webcam images and reported by the Washington VAAC during 28-29 March rose as high as 2 km above the summit and drifted SE and N. Minor ashfall was reported in Machachi (23 km NW), El Chasqui (17 km W), and Latacunga (34 km SW). Gas-and-steam plumes were seen rising 100-300 m during 30-31 March. Ash-and-gas plumes rose as high as 1 km and drifted W during 1-2 April. Gas-and-steam plumes rose 1 km and drifted W on 3 April. 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 the 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 23-30 March. According to volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island, about 7 km E) explosions during 23, 26, and 29-30 March generated ash plumes that rose as high as 2.8 km (9,200 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE and 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 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.

Fuego, South-Central Guatemala

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

INSIVUMEH reported that 4-12 explosions per hour recorded at Fuego from 29 March-4 April generated ash plumes that rose as high as 4.8 km above sea level (15,700 ft a.s.l.) and drifted at least 10 km W, NW, SE, SW. Weak to moderate rumbling accompanied the explosions, vibrating the roofs and windows of nearby houses. During the night and early morning, incandescent material was ejected 100-200 m above the crater. Daily block avalanches descended all the flanks toward the Seca (W), Taniluya (SW), Ceniza (SSW), Trinidad (S), Las Lajas (SE), El Jute (ESE), Honda (E), and Santa Teresa drainages, sometimes reaching vegetated areas. Some avalanches resuspended ash to 100 m high. Ashfall was reported almost daily in areas downwind including Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Finca Asunción, Yepocapa (8 km NW), La Rochela, El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Finca Palo Verde, Aldeas, Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), Quisaché, and Ojo de Agua.

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

Great Sitkin, Andreanof Islands (USA)

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

AVO reported that lava likely continued to slowly effuse at the summit of Great Sitkin from 29 March-4 April, producing a thick lava flow. Minor earthquakes and seismic events were noted during 1-2 April. 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 color 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 of 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.

Karangetang, Sangihe Islands

2.781°N, 125.407°E | Summit elev. 1797 m

From 29 March-4 April, a webcam image of Karangetang captured in the PVMBG daily reports showed incandescent material at the summit Main Crater (S crater) and on the flanks at 0016 on 1 April. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4) and the public was advised to stay 2.5 km away from Main Crater with an extension to 3.5 km on the S and SE flanks.

Geological summary: Karangetang (Api Siau) volcano lies at the northern end of the island of Siau, about 125 km NNE of the NE-most point of Sulawesi. The stratovolcano contains five summit craters along an N-S line. It is one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes, with more than 40 eruptions recorded since 1675 and many additional small eruptions that were not documented (Neumann van Padang, 1951). Twentieth-century eruptions have included frequent explosive activity sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows and lahars. Lava dome growth has occurred in the summit craters; the collapse of lava flow fronts have produced pyroclastic flows.

Krakatau, Sunda Strait

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

PVMBG reported that daily white steam-and-gas plumes rose as high as 300 m above Anak Krakatau’s summit from 29 March-4 April. White-and-gray plumes rose 50-200 m above the summit and drifted NE on 2 April. 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. The 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.

Lewotolok, Lembata Island

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

PVMBG reported that the eruption at Lewotolok was ongoing from 29 March-4 April. White gas plumes rose as high as 700 m above the summit and drifted in multiple directions from 29 March and 1-2 April. White-and-gray ash plumes of variable densities rose 100-750 m above the summit and drifted in multiple directions during 30-31 March and 3-4 April. A webcam image from 0050 on 4 April showed summit incandescence. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4) and the public was warned to stay 2 km away from the summit crater.

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 (on Java) continued during 24-30 March and seismicity remained at high levels. The SW lava dome produced 176 lava avalanches that traveled as far as 2 km down the SW flank (upstream in the Bebeng and Boyong drainages). Two pyroclastic flows traveled 1 km down the SW flank, upstream of the Boyong drainage. Morphological changes to the SW lava dome were evident in webcam images due to continuing collapses of material. 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 the Ungaran volcano. Growth of Old Merapi during the Pleistocene ended with a 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 the 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.

Reventador, Ecuador

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

IG described the ongoing eruption at Reventador as moderate from 29 March-4 April. Seismicity was characterized by explosions, long-period earthquakes, periods of harmonic tremor, and signals that indicated emissions. The number of daily explosions ranged from 24 to 45; though the daily seismic data transmission was sometimes interrupted. Steam, gas, and ash plumes were observed in IG webcam images and described in Washington VAAC advisories during 29-31 March; weather conditions occasionally prevented views. The plumes rose as high as 1.3 km above the summit and drifted W. Crater incandescence was visible during the night of 29 and 30 March. Incandescent blocks were seen rolling as far as 700 m down the flanks in all directions during 30-31 March. Servicio Nacional de Gestión de Riesgos y Emergencias (SNGRE) maintained the Alert Level at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Geological summary: Volcán El 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 stratovolcano has a 4-km-wide avalanche scarp open to the E formed by edifice collapse. A young, unvegetated, cone rises from the amphitheater floor about 1,300 m to a height comparable to the rim. It has been the source of numerous lava flows as well as explosive eruptions visible from Quito, about 90 km ESE. Frequent lahars in this region of heavy rainfall have constructed a debris plain on the eastern floor of the scarp. The largest recorded 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 from 29 March-4 April, which included daily explosions, periods of tremor, and gas, steam, and ash emissions. The daily count of explosions ranged from 7-72, though the daily seismic data transmission was sometimes interrupted. Almost daily gas, steam, and ash plumes were either observed in IG webcam images or described in Washington VAAC volcanic activity notifications; weather clouds often prevented observations of the summit. The plumes rose as high as 1.4 km above the volcano and drifted W. TROPOMI data from the Sentinel-5P satellite showed that sulfur dioxide plumes contained 183-2,049 tons/day. Multiple thermal anomalies were identified in satellite images on most days. Incandescence from the crater and an avalanche of material on the SE flank were visible during the night of 30 March; only crater incandescence was visible during the night of 31 March. 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 isolated Sangay volcano, located east of the Andean crest, is the southernmost of Ecuador’s volcanoes and it’s 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.

Santa Maria, Southwestern Guatemala

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

INSIVUMEH reported that the Santa Maria-Santiaguito lava dome complex remained highly active from 29 March-4 April. Seismic stations and webcams recorded weak-to-moderate explosions which produced ash plumes to 4.3 km altitude (14,100 ft a.s.l.). Incandescence from the dome and along lava flow margins was visible most nights or early mornings. Weak-to-moderate block-and-ash flows were recorded around the crater, on the S, W, SE, SW, and E flanks, and at the front of the western lava flow. Ash plumes rose 3.5 km above the crater and drifted W on 31 March. Avalanches traveled down the S, SW, E, and N flanks; on 31 March the avalanches were accompanied by small pyroclastic flows. The active lava flow measured 4.3 km long in the WSW direction down the San Isidro and Zanión Seco drainages on 1 April, with some block collapses that generated ash clouds several hundred meters high. On 4 April ash plumes rose 3.5 km above the crater and drifted W and the active lava flow generated avalanches and moderate-to-strong pyroclastic flows.

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

Semeru, Eastern Java

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

PVMBG reported that the eruption at Semeru continued from 29 March-4 April, with almost daily emissions of dense ash plumes; weather conditions prevented views on 30 March. Several Volcano Observatory Notices for Aviation (VONAs) were issued throughout the week. At 0714 on 29 March, a dense gray ash plume rose 500 m above the summit and drifted N and NE. At 0517, 0605, and 0704 on 31 March dense white-to-gray ash plumes rose as high as 1 km and drifted NE, N, and NW. At 0552 and 0804 on 1 April and 0532, 0622, and 1630 on 2 April white-to-gray ash plumes rose 500-800 m and drifted N, SE, S, and SW. At 0538 and 0630 white-to-gray ash plumes rose as high as 1.2 km and drifted S and SE. 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 in all directions, 13 km from the summit to the SE, 100 m away from the banks of the Kobokan drainage as far as 17 km from the summit, and to avoid other drainages originating on Semeru, including the Bang, Kembar, and Sat, due to lahar, avalanche, and pyroclastic flow hazards.

Geological summary: Semeru, the highest volcano on Java, and one of its most active, lies at the southern end of a volcanic massif extending north to the Tengger caldera. The steep-sided volcano, also referred to as Mahameru (Great Mountain), rises above coastal plains to the south. Gunung Semeru was constructed south of the overlapping Ajek-ajek and Jambangan calderas. A line of lake-filled maars was constructed along a N-S trend cutting through the summit, and cinder cones and lava domes occupy the eastern and NE flanks. Summit topography is complicated by the shifting of craters from NW to SE. Frequent 19th and 20th-century eruptions were dominated by small-to-moderate explosions from the summit crater, with occasional lava flows and larger explosive eruptions accompanied by pyroclastic flows that have reached the lower flanks of the volcano.

Semisopochnoi, Aleutian Islands (USA)

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

AVO reported that low-level unrest continued at Semisopochnoi from 28 March-4 April. Steam emissions from the N crater of Mount Young were visible in webcam images during 29-30 March; weather clouds obscured webcam and satellite views during most of the week. Minor seismic and infrasound signals were recorded from 31 March-1 April that may or may not have been related to activity at N crater. Local earthquakes and periods of tremor occurred during 1-2 April. A 200-km-long gas-and-steam emission was visible at low altitudes during the night of 3 April; no ash signatures were detected in the cloud. 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 color on a four-color scale).

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 the 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 (renamed Mount Young in 2023) was constructed within the caldera during the Holocene. Each of the peaks contains a summit crater; lava flows on the N flank 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 Young, 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 generally characterized by explosions, hot avalanches, lava-dome extrusion, and strong fumarolic activity. A daily thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images during 23-30 March. Ash plumes drifted 80 km E during 25-26 and 28-30 March. 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.

Stromboli, Aeolian Islands (Italy)

38.789°N, 15.213°E | Summit elev. 924 m

INGV reported that both explosive and effusive activity at Stromboli occurred from 27 March-2 April, though inclement weather conditions often prevented views on most days. The activity was centered at three vents (two at crater N1 and one at crater N2) in Area N, within the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco, and from three vents in the Area C-S (South-Central Crater area) in the crater terrace area. Explosions at two vents in the N1 crater and one vent in the N2 crater in Area N were low to medium in intensity levels and ejected coarse material (bombs and lapilli) 80-150 m at a rate of 7-9 explosions per hour. Explosive activity at three active vents at the S2 sector in the Central-South area (CS) ejected coarse material generally as high as 150 m above the vent at a rate of 4-7 explosions per hour. No activity was recorded at sectors C and S1.

Geological summary: Spectacular incandescent nighttime explosions at Stromboli have long attracted visitors to the “Lighthouse of the Mediterranean” in the NE Aeolian Islands. This volcano has lent its name to the frequent mild explosive activity that has characterized its eruptions throughout much of historical time. The small island is the emergent summit of a volcano that grew in two main eruptive cycles, the last of which formed the western portion of the island. The Neostromboli eruptive period took place between about 13,000 and 5,000 years ago. The active summit vents are located at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a prominent scarp that formed about 5,000 years ago due to a series of slope failures which extends to below sea level. The modern volcano has been constructed within this scarp, which funnels pyroclastic ejecta and lava flows to the NW. Essentially continuous mild Strombolian explosions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded for more than a millennium.

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 from 27 March-3 April. Two eruption events on 31 March and 3 April ejected large volcanic blocks 300-400 m from the crater and the accompanying eruption plumes rose 1.7-2 km above the crater rim. Crater incandescence was visible nightly. Ashfall was reported in Toshima village (3.5 km SSW). The Alert Level was raised from 2 to 3 on 5 March and 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.

Ulawun, New Britain (Papua New Guinea)

5.05°S, 151.33°E | Summit elev. 2334 m

RVO reported that after a short-lived eruption at Ulawun on 28 March seismicity decreased and was characterized by very low levels of volcanic tremor at least through 31 March. In addition, small high-frequency volcanic earthquakes were recorded mainly during 29-30 March. White steam plumes of variable densities rose above the summit.

Geological summary: The symmetrical basaltic-to-andesitic Ulawun stratovolcano is the highest volcano of the Bismarck arc, and one of Papua New Guinea’s most frequently active. The volcano, also known as the Father, rises above the N coast of the island of New Britain across a low saddle NE of Bamus volcano, the South Son. The upper 1,000 m is unvegetated. A prominent E-W escarpment on the south may be the result of large-scale slumping. Satellitic cones occupy the NW and E flanks. A steep-walled valley cuts the NW side, and a flank lava-flow complex lies to the south of this valley. Historical eruptions date back to the beginning of the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions were mildly explosive until 1967, but after 1970 several larger eruptions produced lava flows and basaltic pyroclastic flows, greatly modifying the summit crater.

Yasur, Vanuatu

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

According to the Wellington VAAC, a pilot saw an ash plume rising from Yasur to an altitude below 3 km (10,000 ft) and drifting W at 1752 on 4 April. Ash was not identified in satellite images.

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 the 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 – March 29 – April 2023 – Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert


Commenting rules and guidelines

We value the thoughts and opinions of our readers and welcome healthy discussions on our website. In order to maintain a respectful and positive community, we ask that all commenters follow these rules.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *